Non-Quilt Projects · Quilt Designs · UFO

Summer Projects

Now that the stores have finally re-opened, I’ve been running around collecting fabrics and assorted goods. Let’s take a look at what the summer holds!

1. Christmas Fig

I got fabric to finish this quilt!!! Finally!
However … they did not have any of the same colour left available (surprising that such an ugly colour was that popular, but it is what it is). I was concerned that would be an issue, so instead of just bringing along a sample of the background fabric, I brought an orphan block made up of little fabric pieces from the quilt. Orphan blocks are blocks that go unused or scraps that are put together to form a one-off block that aren’t used in the quilt. I’m starting to amass a collection of orphan blocks for a scrap quilt down the road. 🙂 Using the orphan block, I pulled a fabric colour that I think looks very well with the quilt! It makes the ugly background look nice and adds a cohesive look to all the fabrics. I’m glad they ran out! This quilt looks even nicer than I imagined! I managed to get a trip down to the Fibre Chick to pick out backing and binding. This quilt is going to be so beautiful when complete! I think my father-in-law will love it.

I cut out all the sashing and put the quilt top together in the span of a couple of days. I took a picture from earlier and made marks on it to arrange the blocks so there weren’t touching fabrics or too much purple in one section. It really helped for reference when putting it together. I got so excited to get the flimsy made!!!! Now to get it basted and quilted. 🙂

I promise the diagram makes sense to me!

2. 6.5” panel quilts

While I was at the Fibre Chick, she gave me the suggested assembly instructions for the 6.5” panel squares quilt. I decided to pick out a background, binding, and sashing fabric for the Amish panel of 6.5” squares. I may be giving that quilt to someone for Christmas. That’s not as sure thing and I’m not even 100% certain which person would be getting it, so I’ll say no more on the matter at present. It was a good opportunity to pick up what I need for it! I believe I also got sashing for the calendar 6.5” squares. I may need more for binding fabric when I get there, but I intend to use some rough poly fabric for the back as I intend it to be my first hung quilt!! I have a special idea in mind for that one. 🙂

Ready to rock!

3. Tula Pink

We are half-way through the Tula Pink blocks! 50 blocks made so far, another 10 to be done in the next 2 weeks, and we’re at 60% completion! To that end, I decided to pick up sashing at Fabricland. I knew going into this that I wanted grey for my sashing to make the colours pop. I’m using white, black, and dark grey/charcoal in the blocks, so it had to be something that would keep the dark blocks from disappearing. After comparing to several different shades at the store, I settled on this iron grey colour. It’s a warm-toned grey, which is unusual of itself. It’s also just light enough not to blend into the dark blocks, yet still dark enough to make the hot colours pop. I cannot wait to see it come together! I will be adding the sashing to the left-hand side as I go and adding a sashing to a finished block when strip-piecing this month’s blocks. I picked out the fabrics for this month, by the way – predominantly purple with some blue. Next month, we’ll be back to random fabric pulls from stash. I love this project so much!!!

4. Niece gifts

Since I already got the nephew Christmas present out of the way (a digger for his next-year sandbox), I might as well get the girls’ presents done too.

When I made the Peter Pan quilts last year, I had one fabric left over that I had no idea what to do with. It was a long panel-type fabric, but the panel was only half width-of-fabric and repeated the same design on the other side. I guess it would be a good border fabric, but who makes borders that are 21” wide?? I folded it up and put it back with absolutely no idea what to do with it … until Fibre Chick’s summer sew-along a couple of weeks ago. That fabric would be PERFECT for travel pillows!! And I even had a left-over pillow from making the Star Trek pillows, so I can get this wrapped up in a day!

Since I was using a fabric that was printed to a certain width, I decided to cut down on the amount of pillow case cuff to get more of the graphic in. It did work, but I quickly found out that the case cuff is supposed to be a specific width in order to make it easier to sew the pillowcase together. Whoops. Now I know for the future. Everything is finished except sewing the thread ends into the seams. That won’t take long, though, so I’ll just leave it until I go to wrap them for Christmas. At least now I can put the serger away to make room for free-motion quilting!

5. Bag projects

I needs some bags for storing things, like my fabric pill shaver and the video game controllers. I decided to dig into my stash to make up some bags from my “ugly” fabrics because WHY NOT. The bag pattern I use has two fabrics on the outside (top and bottom), so the mask fabrics will be bottom fabrics with the blue as a top. The Mountie hat will be a bottom fabric with the province names as a top. The yellow chintz I’m trying to use up will be the liner for one or more bag. Finally, the bunny fabric is something I found at Fabricland. I FELL IN LOVE!!!! I want to make some sort of bag with it … maybe a fold-up shopping bag to keep in my purse? It would be better than the polyester one I have. It does for damp things, but it’s ugly and I want bunnies. 😀

I think that’s more than enough to be getting on with in the near future, don’t you?

~M

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · UFO

The One With All The Work

Oooooooh wow … this bag took a lot. It’s beautiful and worth it, but wowwy. I think it took almost 40 hrs in total to complete. That’s more than I work in a week at my paying job! Thank goodness I was on vacation last week or I never would have been able to finish it. It probably shouldn’t take 40 hrs, by the way … but I find that the first time I make a pattern, I have to devote 5-10% more time to it to account for mistakes, getting lost on the next step, and just generally not being sure of the full process. Let’s learn together!!

Step 1: Do all the cutting.
Unlike making a quilt, you can’t just cut as you go. Actually, I don’t think you’re supposed to cut as you go with quilts, but it’s definitely an option and I find it makes the quilting process easier in some cases. If you’re tight on fabric, definitely cut it out beforehand so you can figure out what you need to do to meet the pattern if you don’t have enough fabric. When making bags, though, you absolutely have to cut before you sew. Simple totes like the Tiki Tote I did for SisterN are an exception to the rule. My first time-consuming mistake was attempting to cut out only what I needed for the first step. After floundering for an hour in confusion, I sat down to cut out everything.
Cutting out and taping together the paper pattern pieces: 1hr.
Cutting out all the fabric and interfacing – 4 hrs. I was already angry at the bag at this point. 😀 Luckily, it looks SO CUTE.

What I started with

Step 2: Make the piping.
Piping is when you have a fabric cord around the edge of your project. You’ll most often see piping in cushions and on bags. It gives your project a very professional finish. I considered doing a piping on the pillow I made my dad for Christmas, but I was intimidated by the process and already under the gun to finish projects (I may still have had delusions of grandeur that I would complete the bags on time). There are two wonderful videos attached to the bag pattern. You can find them on YouTube under Andrie Designs – Crating and Attaching Piping. The process was actually a lot more straight forward than I expected. Making bias strips is easy due to all my practice with making bindings for quilts, but I had to make the strips on the fabric’s diagonal instead of with/across the grain like I usually do. This allows the fabric to give more easily, similar to how a tee-shirt stretches. If you’re curious, watch the first video on creating piping. She explains and demonstrates how bias works.

I should have cut a 1/2 meter to make my bias strips out of, but I had no idea how much fabric I would need and decided that more is better than not enough … so I did a full 44” instead. 😀 As you may imagine, HUGE overkill. I now have enough binding strips to do another bag and enough excess piping to do a small cushion or wallet … hmmmmmm …
Piping creation: 2-3 hrs. This is adding up already, isn’t it? And we aren’t even ready to start piecing yet!!

Step 3: Fuse all the things.
Remember I mentioned cutting all the fabric and interfacing? This is where I got to learn more about interfacing and stabilizers. They are roughly the same thing – they get attached to the back of the fabric to provide rigidity. The main difference is that interfacing helps the fabric to keep from fraying after it’s cut. Stabilizers … well, stabilize or stiffen the project. You can think of it as the difference when buying one of the reusable fabric grocery bags that you can roll up into a ball and one of the stand-up reusable grocery bags that you probably use for your heavy products. Those ones are usually stiff due to a vinyl exterior, but the concept should help you visualize the difference.

There’s also sub-categories of these interfaces. There’s fusible and non-fusible (fusible has a thin layer of glue that bonds to the back of the fabric when you apply heat with your iron, the other just gets attached by stitching in). There’s webbing, batting, and light interfacing. I’m not doing a deep-dive on the differences. For this bag, I needed a light-to-medium interfacing (keeps fabric from fraying), fusible batting (exactly like quilt batting except you can iron it on to the fabric instead of using basting spray or pins like I usually do), and a heavy stabilizer to give structure. I used Pelion Deco-Bond which is one of the heaviest interfacing I have. It also happened to be what I had in a drawer. It probably should have been a little more rigid, but I used what I had since the stores are all closed.
Fusing layers: 1-2 hrs. At least we get to move on to the sewing!!

The first panel was the most exciting panel to work on (in my opinion) because it highlighted the absolutely adorable Tula Pink skunk fabric I had ordered especially for this project. I LOVE it. It’s the perfect pattern for black-and-white projects. Since it is a Tula fabric, I think no one is surprised that there is still some colour in it, but just little pops that add to the design. I had chosen a mottled coloured fabrics for the piping from my stash. The colours matched perfectly and I think it added to the bag. Husband thinks I should have stuck with a black piping as he thinks it pulled focus a bit. I also took a survey at my UFO club and they told me the coloured piping “made the bag”. Let me know your opinion in the comments! I won’t re-place the piping, but it helps for me to know on future projects that I intend to give/sell.

Bright piping (how is this the only picture I took of the piping process??)

This panel also introduces a new concept – zipper tape!! There are two options for buying zippers. You can buy lengths from your local fabric store (16”, 22”. 8”, etc.) or you can buy a roll of zipper tape and a handful of zippers to go with it. The advantage to the individual zippers is mostly a range of colour. You can buy zipper tape in many colours, but if you only use them occasionally in your projects, it makes more fiscal sense to buy the individual ones in the colour you need at the time. The advantage to zipper tape is that you get a massive supply of zipper length and don’t need to worry about making a mistake if you cut it too short – you can just cut more! You can also mix-and-match the zipper colours. Since I was using gold rings for the handles, I went with yellow zippers on the black zipper tape. I could have done black zippers to have everything blend in, but it should surprise no one at this point that I would find that too boring to bother with, 😀 The one challenge to zipper tape is that you have to insert the zipper into the zipper teeth. That can be difficult to do. There are lots of hacks online for doing it. My hack was using a very old coat with a broken zipper last winter as my new good coat was stuck at my parents’ house 2 hrs away during a lockdown. I made do with re-zipping the coat each time I got in and out of the car/house/bending down to scoop dog bombs. I got VERY good at threading zippers into the teeth, so doing this part was no challenge. I also got an extra zipper and 20” of tape just in case I made a mistake and needed a second zipper. Smart on me, as I cut the zipper 1” too short on the first pocket. I still have some zipper tape to save and use on a future project!!! Maybe a matching wallet??

The final thing I’ll warble on about regarding the bag is the inner section. I wanted to make this bag big enough for SisterD to transport her laptop in when she starts going back to work after COVID. That requirement dictated the bag pattern I used. I know what model of laptop she has (and her work just issued the new device to her, so she’ll have it for at least 4-5 years), so I could make sure the bag would accommodate the laptop. Issue is, when you put a laptop in a bag, you really do need it to be in a separate section from all your other bag-things or it becomes very hard to fish up, say, your building ID to get into the office. The bag pattern only had one big pocket on the inside, so I included a divider to keep things separate. I also built two fabric pockets into the divider for tucking the power cord & mouse into in an effort to keep the main pocket as clear as possible. This was relatively easy to accomplish. When cutting the liner fabric, I added an extra 1” to the side pieces. I then cut them in half and stitched the divider in between them. One thing I did not do is make the divider go all the way up to the zipper. I feel like this adds too much weight and makes it harder to look for things/get things in/out of the bag, so it’s about 3/4 the hight of the pattern liner. I will be asking my sister to give me feedback on whether this was helpful or if things kept moving between the two sides. It’s a free bag – she can be a guinea pig!

Bag sewing together: 2-12hr days, give or take. Multiple rip-outs and forgotten pattern pieces are included here.

Yeah. On the first day, I literally got up in the morning, had breakfast, and vanished into the sewing room until much later at night than I should have been up. The next couple of days, I spaced in meals and naps. It’s a vacation, for crying out loud – I’m supposed to be taking a break!!! Was it worth it?

FINISHED!

Uh, YEAH … I think it was!! I may be biased (and sleep and energy deprived), but I think this looks stunning! After I finished it, I switched thread and made another mug mat to go with SisterN’s tote. I decided the one I made during the sewing challenges wasn’t good enough to give as a gift, especially considering all the work that went into SisterD’s bag and mat. If this seems like an unfair demonstration of giving, rest assured that SisterN is getting the major time-sink gift next Christmas. I had that picked out before I even started the bags. I intend to start it in October – I want to give myself loads of time to get that one done this year!!

For July/August, we don’t have to pick UFOs if we’re too busy. We didn’t pay into the kitty for the summer months, which works out for me. New house does not have central air and the sewing room is WAY too hot to spend large amounts of time in during heat waves. I intend to work on the two 6” feature block quilts I started in April/May whenever we have cool days. If I’m lucky, I’ll have them both pieced and the flimsies ready for quilting by September. If not, that’s okay too. I still have the Tula monthly quilt blocks to do and the Christmas Fig quilt to assemble when the stores re-open, so if that’s all I manage during my summer, I’ll be happy with that!!

Summer goals

~M

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · Piecing

Stay-cation Sew Along

FibreChick posted on Facebook that she was hosting a Stay-cation Sew Along this week. She presented 5 projects, 1 at each noon time period. It just happened to line up with my vacation, so I decided to sew along!

Monday: Quick-sew zip pouch
I was outside playing in the dirt and forgot to join. 😀 Skipped!

Tuesday: Hexie mug mat
This time, I remembered to join in. Kim encouraged us to use scraps, so I grabbed a handful of the scraps from the project on my sewing table: SisterD’s bag. Guess who is getting a matching mug coaster for her desk at work?? I think it turned out pretty cute. Because I was working with scraps, the little skunk face wasn’t centred properly, but close enough is good enough. Husband does not like the “tie-die colour bits”, but I think it adds some interest to the project.

Wednesday: Travel pillow cases
Kim has a quick project for making travel pillows for kids to use in the car for sleeping. I would have LOVED one as a kid – I was forever using uncomfortable acrylic fuzzy couch cushions and hated them. I thought they might be cute gifts for my nieces when I see them next! In this mini-class, she was showing us how to make the pillow cases to go on the travel pillows. I just happened to have a pillow case kit that I bought and used a part of for eye mask gifts for a spacey friend. The girls may not even know what Star Trek is, but I think they’ll still like the colourful cases! And if they don’t … I’mma gonna keep them for hammock pillows!!!! I may do that anyways …

Thursday: Kisses mug mat
Since the hexie mat was going to SisterD, it’s only fair to make a mug coaster for SisterN’s tote, right? I pulled out that tiny stack of strips I had left over from the tote and followed along to make the Kisses mug mat. However … we once again have a value problem with the fabrics. I thought making the sashing out of different fabric would help, but it did not work. It just looks blah. It may have to do, though – Time is a commodity in high demand this week.

Friday: Quick-sew zip pouch with see-through window
This is the same project as Monday, but with a see-through window. Since I didn’t have any clear vinyl to make the see-through window and I skipped the class Monday, I just made the normal zip. My project kind of went off the rails, though. When I cut the fabric, I thought the zipper was supposed to go at the top and bottom of the pouch. Turned out, it was to go in the middle with the pouch wrapping around it. That would have made for a quick project indeed, but since I cut printed fabric that I didn’t have enough to cut a fresh piece on, we proceed with an M-modification (I don’t learn, do I?). It took some finagling, but I finally got it to work … sort of. The picture is upside down now with the zipper below the image. I think it still works, though. You can carry the pouch with the zipper down, right? Either way – it will make a perfect Father’s Day gift for my dad. He loves the OG Star Trek series. Evidently, he has a pill bottle that keeps opening in his pocket, which can make for dosing surprises. This should fit it nicely!

~M

Finished Projects · Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) · Non-Quilt Projects · UFO

Baggin’ It

My June UFO commitment is to get caught up on the presents I was trying to get made for Christmas and ran out of time to do. With all the lockdowns, I didn’t bother picking it back up. That’s subject to change, though. We’re supposed to come out of lockdown at the start of June . First thing I intend to do is go visit my family. My sisters were both supposed to get bags (not that they know that), but the niece quilts took priority. Now I get to finish them!!!

I was supposed to finish the one I started in December for SisterD, but of course … I got distracted. I blame my father-in-law. If I hadn’t finished his quilt (mostly), I wouldn’t have all these pretty scraps just BEGGING to be made into a tote bag. That means SisterN is getting her bag finished first.

Okay, maybe it’s partially my fault. I’ve been re-watching episodes of the Midnight Quilt Show with Angela Walters on my lunch break. I like watching them for inspiration, especially the quilting designs. I’ve already got 2 more quilts planned with fabrics I bought when I first started quilting. Like I need more projects!! One of her episodes was about making a quilted bag. The template was offered for free on Craftsy which became Bluprint which has become Craftsy again … It changed hands a couple of times, hence the re-branding. With those changes, the pattern directions are no longer available on the site. I almost couldn’t find this pattern, but I finally stumbled across a PDF shared on the internet with the pattern! Who hoo!
http://static-sympoz.s3.amazonaws.com/email/2019/Member%20Patterns/April%202019/Sew/Tiki%20Tote%20Pattern.pdf

While I have a decent amount of scraps, I don’t have enough to make it totally out of 2.5 strips, so I took all the extra strips and just mix them all up with the standard strips. It gives the strip-units a less-braidy look, but I like the way it’s turned out!

I was so excited to have the exterior done within a couple of days. I’d go in with the intent to do one braid unit and SURPRISE get sucked in to finish 3 or 4. Next step – put the braids together. Because this is a bag and it may not see the most gentle use, I decided to serge the panels together for more rigidity. Yes, it makes the seams a little little bulkier, but it’s a bag. That doesn’t really matter. After serging the units and the top border, I attached some batting and started on the quilting!!

This bag is really busy and the fabric on it is sooo beautiful, so I didn’t want to do too much more than stitching the batting to the fabric. I still wanted to practice a bit, though, so I decided to do some free-motion stitching in the odd strip. I think this looks pretty good! And the ribbon candy design is definitely getting better with practice. I think it like it best on narrow strips – I struggle making it look good on wider strips.

The pattern calls for a pieced liner. This teenie tiny pile of strips is all I have left (YAY almost no scraps!!!), so I’m going to use a single piece of fabric as the liner. Since I’ve got just enough to also make the straps out of the liner fabric, I will use it there as well.

All that remains of the Crystal Waters bundle

All in all – this is a pretty quick little tote sew. It looks super cute, it’s a good way to use up fat quarter bundles, and who doesn’t like a tote bag!! 😀 Next up: the SisterD work tote.

~M

Block-of-the-Month · UFO

May UFO project

Sorry – got distracted with my new June UFO commitments and forgot to post what I finished last month. 😀

One of my UFO goals is to get my class-based blocks from past years finished up. My last class from FibreChick was interrupted by the pandemic. I got all the remaining blocks, but I haven’t gotten around to making any additional ones.

Normally, I would make the remaining 6, but I picked up a panel over the holidays to make these blocks with again. I like the layout she designed for the 6.5 squares and thought it would be perfect for this Amish barn-quilt panel. And getting the first 6 blocks made is my May-month UFO.

6.5” block panel

I used the monthly retreat hosted by the Crazy Quilter to get to work on the new blocks. I may have had the Courthouse steps made before the retreat weekend, but most of the blocks were created during the retreat.

One thing I’d forgotten about is how much I intensely dis-like the drunkard’s path blocks. As far as I’m concerned, they take too much time to make. And I got extra frustrated because I made all the blocks I need to complete it … then realized I forgot a whole circle block. GAHHHH!!! But finally, at the end, I had all the blocks made and May UFO is done!

I am switching gears a little bit for June. Don’t worry – I intend to have both these flimsies finished by summer’s end! Maybe even have one quilted?? We’ll have to see …

~M

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · UFO

UFO Surprise

Sorry it took forever to get this post out. I needed to step back from doing too much and this was one of those things. Self-care and all that, but I’m back now. 🙂

Since I could only make 1 Christmas Fig block and nothing else …. why not do some honest-to-goodness quilting to flesh out the UFO goals for April??

Remember this? I basted it last summer thinking I would have time (and desk space) to do quilting over the winter …. right. So now I have the exact right amount of time to quilt it!! I think I’m going to wind up keeping it. I might as well, right? I need a table runner too!! Not that I HAVE a table at this time … but still!

I started out with the tree. Since I’ve done this 2 times already, I had a clear vision of that I wanted. Now that I’ve decided to keep it, I decided to do the quilting free-hand. I need the practice and I prefer the activity. I decided just to do straight lines coming to a point. I think it worked out well, even if it’s not perfectly straight! If I ever make another one of these, I think I would do this again, just with a ruler.

Next up was the creamy background. I took a chance with the thread. I had this rose-gold Glide thread and I thought it matched small parts of the background that had a pinky colour pretty well. And it just fit right in! Yay! The stipple has become my go-to filler for unobtrusive dense background quilting. It takes practice to keep the bends looking casual and uniform, so I figure continual practice hurts no one. I decided to do the trunks with the same rose-gold colour so the design would stand out. It was either this or the green and I think this is the better choice. I got inspired by an old tree trunk root in our front yard. I was looking at the rings in the wood over the weekend and “DING” – that part just fell into place. It’s not the best fit, but I like how it looks and I don’t think it looks too bad. It’s staying!

Semi-final step – the red borders. I decided to try doing a ribbon candy design down the sides and what I like to think of as loopy lillies in the triangles. I need practice with the ribbon candy, but I think part of the problem is that you need to have 2 edges to work against. Since I’m binding it, I didn’t use the top edge because the binding will cut off part of the design. I was getting a feel for it by the end, so hopefully just practice required to get perfect. 🙂

I used a cream binding to finish it off. I auditioned a few fabrics and this one was what I had in stash that suited it the most.

Finished!

I also made new quilting gloves!! My Mashinger gloves were getting downright yucky, despite washing them. And the elastic was coming out of the wrist. I bought some gardening gloves and cut off fingers so I can still use my phone when I quilt! Of course, I cut the wrong fingers off, so now I look like a 4-fingered muppet when I quilt. I may have to try again in the future. After these ones wear out/get grubby, that is.

The table runner is now on my door table. I don’t have a good picture just yet, but it definitely works well. I’m just so glad to have it finished up and in use! 🙂

~M

Block-of-the-Month · UFO

UFO Calamity

My goal for April was to get my Christmas Fig top together. I thought it would be a relatively easy goal – all the blocks are together, so I just need to do the sashing, right?

That sentence never ends well.

First off, I had to go through my scraps to find enough pieces to do the 4-patch corners. There are 30 of them in all. I didn’t want to stick to two colours since I’m working with a FQ bundle and I didn’t want to cut anymore of the fabric strips than I had to, so I first cut down any bits and pieces I had, then figure out how much I needed from strips. It turned out to be not much at all!! I was very thrifty. 🙂 And it was nice to do all the work from right beside my computer at the big cutting mat. The chain piecing turned into something of a rope, but all the pieces fit on the pressing station when time came to press them down. I spent a couple of leisurely evenings getting the 4-patches made!

Next step is getting the blocks ready. Some of the blocks aren’t exactly 16.5”. When making them, some called for strips around the outside of the block. I didn’t bother because I figured I would just do them all with strips. That … was not fun. Thankfully I was on Zoom for one of Crazy Quilter’s virtual retreat. By the time the call was up at the end of the night, I wanted to throw the whole project in time-out. It just means I need practice, though, at figuring out how much fabric I need to get the right size. I can do that!

Monday evening, I started putting up all my blocks on the design wall so I could figure out if I wanted to follow the pattern exactly or mix up some of the blocks. That’s when I discovered …

I MISSED A BLOCK. How did that happen??? I swear I counted all the blocks multiple times and compared it to the book. How could I be short a block?? Did it get lost during the move? With the blocks laid out according to the pattern, it was easy to see which one was missing (ironically, it just happened to be the very last block in the very last row – that was not intentional!) I flipped through the book and found the Pinwheel Swirl. After looking at it for a bit, I don’t think I actually ever made that one (at least it’s not lost!!!!) Thankfully, I had a long weekend coming up. I could just make it then!

… or not. Sorry not sorry – the weather was BEAUTIFUL over that weekend. All I wanted to do was be outside! I cut down a couple of huge cedar shrubs that were planted right beside the foundation of the house (honestly – who does that??? The roots will crack out your foundation and make a huge mess. Save foundation gardens for flowers or foundation-friendly plants like roses). Snowdog cavorted in yard was his typical terror self. He even tried to climb into the neighbour’s car and go for a drive with them! DON’T BLAM ME … Husband thought he could let Snowdog out on his own. That should teach him. Things were raked up, dog bombs were cleaned up, and campfires were had. I LOVE being able to have a fire in our own backyard at long last! Now we just need to build up a stack of wood that is actually dry and not 25 years old … but we’ll get that old, punky, wet stuff burned up eventually. 🙂

And now we’re staring down the barrel of the deadline gun. My Tula blocks are due in a week and my UFO is due 2 days later. Gotta get chopping!!!!

The block went together fairly quickly. The seams are a little bulky, but work fine. Unfortunately, making the final block made something very clear to me. I can’t finish this quilt top right now. I don’t have enough of the background fabric to finish. I will have to go back to Fabricland to get enough to finish, but since we’re going back into lockdown, that will not be happening anytime soon. I let the Crazy Quilter know I would have to change my UFO for this month. I’ve finished the block. Next week – the second part of my surprise April UFO.

~M

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · Sewing Room

And We’re Back

I completely forgot to get back to the blog. Sorry!!! When you get out of a habit, it can be hard to get back into it. Even this week is late … OH WELL. We still made it! I have two weeks worth of updates, so let’s start with first things first, shall we?

DESK ARRIVED!!! I’m pretty sure the desk showed up 2 days after writing my last post. Even though I was pretty tired that week, I still took time to put the whole thing together the first day it arrived. I’m so glad I did!! It let me jump straight into my first project!

When we moved in, one of the few new things we bought was a new couch. The old one HAD IT. Grungy, stinky (cat and dog nest for the last year or so), and not entirely in one piece anymore. We agreed that the old couch would not enter the new house, so a new couch arrived along with us. I really love it. We totally lucked out for buying sight unseen, only what was in stock. I didn’t really care what we got, but I wanted a sectional that was in stock because wait times are tracked in terms of months with the current craziness going on. I did keep the old throw pillows from the previous couch. I figured “pillows are pillows”. I tossed them through the wash and they came out smelling great! Looks, though, not so great. The tears and worn seams, I get – they’re 10 years old after all – but how in heaven’s name did it get a bleach stain???

Now that I had my sewing desk set up, I wanted to make new pillow coverings! My original plan was to go to Fabricland for some upholstery fabric, but Fabricland has been very nutty in our region. We were in lockdown almost 2 months longer than any of the surrounding municipalities. When our restrictions finally lifted, the stores went bananas. So, I’ve been waiting to go to places like Fabricland. Their parking lot is usually only full-to-overflowing on the 40% off store-wide sale day they have once a year. It was overflowing for a week straight after lockdown. Suddenly, I remembered I had a large-enough piece of tougher-than-normal cotton that would do the trick! I got it at a guild meeting during the penny sale and it’s been sitting in Fabrique Estates awaiting a purpose. Now it has one!

Item 1: set up my serger. The other reason I picked this as my first project was to test out the dual-sided sewing desk real estate. It actually worked out very well!! The desk is a little tight to the wall on the far side (mostly due to the baseboard heater sticking out), but it’s usable for short uses. I may angle my desk a little to give that side a bit more chair room in the future … not a bad idea.

Item 2: Cut up the fabric and SERGE. Note to self – double-check the fabric before cut WHAT ARE YOU DOING??????
Evidently, I need a refresher course on sewing. I had a little fabric to spare, but not enough to make mistakes with. When I was cutting my pieces doubled up, I didn’t check the underside of the first square and missed about an inch of fabric. Thankfully, it was close enough to the seam that I could just patch in a piece to make up the seam allowance. You can’t even tell now … but I still can’t believe I was that dense. I blame the excitement on having a HUGE cutting space at the end of my sewing desk to take advantage of. I haven’t even used my cutting station yet!!! This is is just too convenient.

Once the serger was set up (I had to re-watch the tutorial on how to do that because … I forgot …) serging the pieces together went VERY fast. I made the slips a little snug so the current pillows would fit in tightly. I left the old fabric on to give it a bit of stability. It’s all clean, so I don’t think it will matter. Once the pillow was stuffed in, all that was left to do was sew down the edge and we’re finished!!

That part got a little tricky. I could have put a zipper in to make it removable (and invisible), but I don’t want to waste a zipper. I could also have sewn the ends in by hand, but that takes time AND I wanted to use my room set up!!! What I settled for instead was using my zipper foot to get as close to the pillow form as possible and leave a small lip to the top of the pillow. It’s a little unprofessional looking, but this isn’t supposed to be the forever fabric and it looks good enough. Good enough works for me!

And pillows are now finished! That was one evening’s work for all three pillows. My sewing appetite has been whetted, the couch looks decently good, and there are projects to work on!!

Next up: UFO homework.

~M

Sewing Room

New Digs

Well, we made it!

*Mostly* moved in, *mostly* settled … but the sewing room is 85% there and that’s the important part, right??

I know in my last post, I mentioned I’d be taking the big bedroom for my sewing room, but I actually took the small room. Why do you ask?? Layout. The smaller room is significantly longer than the big room and I much preferred the wall layout, so I opted for the small room and we’ll turn the big room into the guest bedroom when we get around to it. We’re still not supposed to have company where we live as per the COVID rules, so we don’t really need to worry about sleepover visitors yet.

Check it out!!!

I even have stuff up on the wall. Aren’t you proud of me? And I bought and hung new curtains!! I love them so much. Husband thinks they’re hideous, but who asked him?? 😀 They’re purple with some green-shift in them. Even I have to admit they don’t look super great when closed at night (the circumstances of this picture), but when pulled back in daylight? I think they’re lovely! FYI – those units are MONSTOUSLY heavy. I promised Husband that, in our next move, one of them will remain behind. Not Fabrique Estates, but that unit is swiftly coming to the end of its life. It made some horrible cracking noises when we moved it. It still seems solid, but if it simply falls apart while moving next time, I will morn it but it had a good long life. Plus … that means shopping, right???? 😀

The fabric has been completely re-organized. Literally the only thing in the same place is the solids. I’m not 100% happy with the fabric placement, but it’s good enough for now. At least it’s in the house and put away! Once my kits make it into the house, they will be filed in Tupperware bins and will take up residence on the closet floor. I’m going to commit to getting all my purchased kits made after my UFOs are caught up. I’d rather not have stuff stashed everywhere in the future. Yes, my clothes are in the sewing closet for now. The cats are living in the master bedroom closet and with their litter box, so my clothes are in a “fresher” location for the time being. 😀 Evidently, cats need to slowly adjust to new living environments one room at a time and that makes the most sense. It *shouldn’t* be permanent.

You may also have noted that there’s nowhere to set up a sewing machine. That seems like an oversight, right? Well … I have a new sewing desk coming and it should be delivered this week!!!! POSSIBLY EVEN TOMORROW! I’m going to put the desk in the middle of the room so I can sit on either side to do sewing. Dual sewing machine setup, anyone?? 😀 I’ll be able to piece AND quilt simultaneously!!! I am so looking forward to it and love that I have the space to comfortably do that!

This is all I have to share with you today, but next week should be exciting!!! If I do get the desk this week, I have lots to be working on right away!

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Piecing

Public Service Announcement

I don’t know where you are right now, but here where I am, we are getting snow, snow, and more snow. I’ve literally been shovelling every day the past week except for yesterday. While it is a good work out, we’re starting to run out of places to store the excess snow. It’s madness! Of course, Snowdog thinks it’s amazing. He is asking for walks all day long. At least someone is happy!

Snow-covered Snowdog

This past weekend was the Crazy Quilter’s virtual retreat, so I took the opportunity to get my Tula blocks all finished up! I swear it took me twice as along to cut everything as it did to sew it together, but I did manage to get it all done! I was super excited about this month because I’ve been wanting to make two particular blocks for some time now. What do you think?

I was VERY happy with how they turned out! I originally wanted to make the bee block using a face out of the De La Luna line, but only once face would have fit in the 4” opening and it would have been very tight. When I matched up the face, there just wasn’t enough contrast between any of the three blocks. Since I’ve already cut into my All Stars collection, I decided to go with the bee print. I like how the two colours compliment each other. I think I made the right choice!

Once again – sorry for the short-and-sweet blog post. I also have to apologize in advance for being absent for the next week or two because … WE’RE MOVING!!! We put a bid in on a house at the start of January and it was accepted, so we will be moving all this coming week. My sewing room will be the last room to get put back together and organized. My wonderful husband is spoiling me with one of the biggest bedrooms as my sewing room and he’s getting me a new sewing table! It will not get delivered until the end of the month. My office space and my sewing space will once again be separate, so I won’t have a place to set up the sewing machines until I get the table delivered and installed, so I may not have any updates for this site for the first little bit. Don’t fret, though – I will be back and I will have lots more to talk about!!!

~M