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

Piecing · UFO

Christmas Fig Finish!

Not to give away the post plot, but … I’m done the blocks!!!! YAY!!!

Last block in the list was the Tree of Life. I started the HSTs last week, so the boring part of the piecing was out of the way! I just had to make sure all the triangles were pointing the same way before sewing them together. It went together like a dream. I was even able to spin all the seams on the back! Now I’m wishing I took a picture of that … I did take a picture of the tree trunk before attaching it. I think it looks like an arrow!

That officially means that all my Christmas Fig blocks are done!! Now I just have to square up all the blocks to the right size, put in the sashing, and I’ll have a finished “flimsy”. I just learned that some parts of the world call a finished quilt top a flimsy. Still learning new things here! I like the term. It may show up again. 😉 Now I have to decide if I’m actually going to give up that quilt to the intended owner.

All the finished blocks – PACKED away!

Sorry for the short update this week. Next week – the Tula Pink blocks!! I’m so excited. I have the Tula fabric all picked out. I may even get started before the weekend!

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Piecing · Sewing Room · UFO

Slogging Through

My goal for this weekend was to finish off the remaining Christmas Fig blocks. Spoiler: I didn’t make it, but I can see that finish line coming strong!

After my struggles last week, I decided to start off with the easiest block first. I have three blocks left – the Flying Geese Criss Cross block (ain’t that a mouthful), the Feathered Star block, and the Tree of Life block. I’m saving the Tree of Life block for last – it just seems fitting. The easiest of the two remaining blocks is by far the Flying Geese Criss Cross block. It took me less than 2 hours to put it together and the bulk of that time was spent on the flying geese blocks. I’m not super enthused with this block. It’s yet another example that I didn’t take colour value into account. Even though these two fabrics compliment each other probably better than any other fabrics I paired from this bundle, the light coloured fabrics blend into the background fabric too much. It would have been better to go with white fabrics or just use different fabrics for this pattern, but that how we learn.

On to the Feathered Star block! It doesn’t look much like a feathered star to me. In fact, if it were up to me, I’d call it the Sawtooth Star. Unfortunately, there’s already a block called that. If you compare the two, the Feathered Star looks much more sawtooth-y. I’m calling mine Sawtooth.

I honestly think this was the most challenging block in the book. Some of the others would be very close (the Puzzle block and the Milky Way block come to mind), but this one was most challenging to me, in no small part due to using directional fabric. Thankfully, the pattern was somewhat easy to conceal on the smaller pieces, but I had to make sure the eight big triangles were all flowing in the right direction. You’ll see later.

The first challenge was getting all the blocks sorted and moving in the correct direction. I love having a design wall for this sort of work!!! I know other people have boards about the size of a piece of paper that they arrange their blocks on for piecing. If I am in a place where my design wall is not directly beside my sewing machine, I will absolutely do this as well. It is so handy to be able to arrange it before sewing it to make sure it’s going the right direction. Most of my Sunday was taken up with making the half-square triangles (HSTs) and arranging them on the wall. I decided to make some of the outer blocks before calling it quits and honestly – the wall made life easy. If you’re in to quilting, please please do some form of this. It’s so much better than laying them out on the table – I promise!

Here in Ontario, we had a long weekend! Yay!! That meant I could do more quilting on Monday! First step was to make the remaining outer blocks, which was a snap. Then on to the four inner blocks!!! This is where directional fabric got the better of me. As you can see, the blocks I made last night clearly have dots streaming upwards. There are four more big triangles in the middle with the streaming dots. I got one done, then on a whim I decided to toss it on the wall to see how it worked. Am I ever glad I did!! I had it backwards! So I ripped it off, sewed it back on so the dots were going the right way, then made a second block. Have you ever heard of measure twice, cut once? Well, in quilting, you need to check two blocks, then make one quilt. 😀 My wall experience had spooked me, so I decided to take all the blocks I had made so far and put them up on the wall in the configuration I’d need them to go, just to be sure … and if I didn’t have those two fabrics backwards again!!! I need to mention here – ripping them off and sewing them back on would not have worked here except for the fact that I was working with batiks. The fun part of batik fabric is that there is no back and front to the fabric. The dye goes through to both sides so you can use either side. That made flipping these blocks around possible!

Once I finally got all my dots streaming the same way, I quickly whipped the rows together and voila – Sawtooth the block! I love that you can see the two focus fabrics interacting with each other much more in this block as there is less background fabric. The colours really are pretty. 10 out of 10, would totally make this block again. It’s a lot of effort, but I think it really looks nice.

Sawtooth The Block!

On a parting note, I still have one block left – the Tree of Life. I’ve been dealing with back pain this week due to a very old car accident from my college days that comes back to haunt me once in a while, so I was taking lots of breaks in the piecing process. I did manage to get all the HSTs made before calling it quits. I just need to cut them, press them open, and I’m ready to start piecing that tree!

~M

Block-of-the-Month · Piecing · UFO

Nothing to Fear Except Fear Itself

And appliqué. No, I take it back. Appliqué should fill your soul with unholy dread. Fear is too mild a feeling.

One of the reasons the Christmas Fig BOTM project was so easy to sideline were the next two blocks: Carolina Lily and the Triple Lily. They both had appliqué that could not be left out. The first was lots of little appliqué and the second was a big appliqué on curved pieces. Ohhhhh I did not want to start on those two blocks … so it only made sense to make those two blocks my UFO goals for February. Why just two blocks? Oh, I have reasons …

But first the blocks!! I decided to start on the Triple Lily block during Crazy Quilter’s monthly sewing retreat in January. I was very happily surprised that I was fussing over nothing!! The lily blooms were very fun to piece for starters. Because I’ve gotten to the end of the book, I was able to pick whatever fabric I wanted that I had enough scrap of. I decided to re-use the Rolling Stone block fabric because I wanted the blooms to be the same from a distance, but the same up close. I like how they look! When it came to making the stem (curved bias seams appliquéd on), it was so easy and took no time at all! I glued them to the fabric, then did a simple blanket stitch on both sides. I felt like a pro!! And I now had the confidence to move on to the scarier block – the Carolina Lily. As you can see, I still have to trim off the excess fabric before the Triple Lily is complete. The book said to trim it before assembling the block, but I figured it was better to leave it on and cut it to size afterwards.

That same evening, I started in on the Carolina Lily. I got the blooms and bloom base (whatever that part of a flower is called) all put together. I pinned the appliqué on the donkey (HAHA … ohhhh my jokes make me laugh … too bad they’re just funny to me). Then I called it a night and left the unholy dread portion for the next weekend. I mean – I’d done most of the work already, right? It would be a piece of cake!

And unholy dread, it was. Due to my overwhelming success with the curved biased appliqué, I decided to do a satin stitch again. Problem #1 – I did not stabilize anything. I’d love to say that I thought I didn’t need to, but the painfully honest truth is I plain forgot how necessary that is. I won’t ever forget again. Problem #2 – I got cocky. Hands up – who is surprised??? Well … I did not too bad for first half inch. Then the fabric started rolling up underneath itself while I simultaneously discovered I can’t go smoothly around a circle. It was … truly awful. I should have taken a picture, but I was so horrified by the end result that I started ripping it out before I finished cutting it off the sewing machine. You can see the holes below how far off the rails I went. Surprisingly, I was actually able to salvage the fabric and re-do it using the tried-and-true blanket stitch. Time will tell how well these little pieces hold up with use and washings, but for tonight’s post, I’m happy enough with the end product to call this block “Done”.

I decided to give myself a little break and do a quick, easy block to make myself feel like I went the extra mile this month. This is called the pineapple block. I simply LOVE how these colours turned out! I find this block mesmerizing. It makes me want to keep this quilt when I’m done … or maybe just this block? No M – don’t be selfish! You can’t keep all your favourites!

My Pretty Pineapple Block

~M

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · Sewing Room

This was a good weekend project-wise. Crazy Quilter on a Bike had a weekend retreat. It mostly ran on Sunday, but there were a couple of hours on Saturday that gave me enough time to prep a project that has been sitting on my cutting table for over three months now.

My sewing machine has two extended beds. I can’t remember if I actually shared this officially or not, so we might as well go over it now. Red (my mum’s machine) was sold with an extended bed included, but of course companies find ways of making you spend more to have the same amount. The new sewing machine beds are fairly high tech, though, so I don’t really mind spending the money to get a lot nicer product than the one that comes with Red. The first bed extender was a Husqvarna Extension Table that is designed to fit certain ranges of machines. It adds a nice amount of extra space so you have a place to rest your hands on either side of the needle and to hold up your project. This particular model also has a gentle slope at the front so it doesn’t dig into your arms or palms. I used this exclusively for the first year I had the machine and I’m using it right now with my limited desk space. It is an amazing product and I highly recommend it, but I upgraded to a bigger bed with a version of the Quilter’s Table. It provides a much larger flat surface which is AMAZING for free-motion quilting as it gives the quilt more slip/less drag. I cannot remember the company name of the one I bought, but I got it through my dealer. It came in three sizes I believe? Or four? I got the middle/second largest. It still more than doubled the bed space I had with the Extended Table and the larger size simply wouldn’t fit on my 6-foot sewing table. Up until I moved my office desk into my room, this was the extension bed I had set up all the time.

The question you should be asking is “How do you store the unused table?” Easy! In the box it came in! … until I went to put the Quilter’s Table away. That’s when I discovered that Husband had turfed the admittedly large and awkward Quilter’s Table box. Yaaaaaaay. So my plan was to make a protective case for it. I picked out the fabric, batting, and yes – even a zipper. Then … well, you’ve seen my blog posts over the last few months. Time has not been in free supply. This weekend, though, I was bound and determined to get that fabric off my cutting table and the Quilter’s Table off my pressing table. My iron got WAY too close for comfort a few times!

Saturday night: I had the outer fabric and the batting already basted, so I quilted it in simple, wide-set lines to make up a diamond shape. Instead of having the two sides open with it joined at the bottom like a normal person, I decided the best use of the fabric would be for the seam to run along the bottom and one side and have the fabric wrap around the other side. I was a little worried that would make inserting a zipper more difficult, but you know what? I actually liked the way it turned out better than the normal way. Less zipper bits to stitch over. There were tiny little rosebuds sprinkled in some of the stripes, so I decided to add a pocket to store the table’s feet in of the same colour. I originally intended for the pocket to be closed with a snap or button, but overlapping the panels and stitching around the whole thing seems to be just as effective. Doing it that way instead also let me have a new adventure!

Twin needles!!! These things are super neat on a domestic sewing machine, especially if you’re into making clothes. They simulate the cover stitch look you get with a serger. Red had a very old twin needle that came with it from Mum. I never tried it before as I was quite intimidated and now that I have a serger, I don’t have to fake that look. I decided to give it a try on this pocket, mostly to say I had done it at least once, but also because I was curious about the function. Well, let me tell you … I love the look!!! I’ve done this look a lot when I make bags just to get the double-line look, but stitching two rows side-by-side is never even. I think I may keep this needle on hand for future bag making. Another cool thing about them is that they come in different sizes, so you can have different widths. I may buy a pack to have on hand if this one breaks. It is older than me, after all, and I just levelled up last week.

That is not a pretty liner job …

The only thing that sort of needs attention on this bag is the liner. I cut it several inches too big, figuring I’d re-cut it fit when I went to insert it. Well … I don’t really care anymore. SURPRISE!!!! 😀 Actually, in my squashed state, I don’t really have the room to cut something that big and I’ve been using scissors a lot lately. I’m not super accurate with them either, so I figured it would be better if I left it too big than cut it too small. I just stitched the extra fabric as a fold. Maybe someday I’ll rip it out and make it pretty, but honestly – it’s a functional protective bag, I’m keeping it, and it’s staying zipped shut 99% of its life. I don’t really care that’s is a TARDIS. The added benefit of making it to fit my biggest table is that it has enough fabric to also fit my fatty smaller Extension Table whenever I go back to using the Quilter’s Table full time!

I finished this around 1PM on Sunday, which means I had time to get started on my UFO homework blocks. I got one totally done and the other most of the way done, and you know what? It was not as hard as I was dreading it would be! I may even get all the other blocks made before the February meeting and have another quilt top just about pieced together!! But we’ll talk about that NEXT TIME ON … DRAGONBALL Z!!!

I may have overplayed my millennial geek hand on that last reference.

~M

Binding · Block-of-the-Month · Finished Projects

How Not To Bind a Quilt

I got the binding on the quilt and all the ends stitched in the night before the deadline. I am very happy with the result! I used the blue rows that I removed from the quilt mixed with a blue solid. Ohhhhh boy … that was not fun. You’ve heard of measure twice, cut once? I am hear to tell you to check twice to make sure all your mitred binding seams are pointing the same way. I was coming up on the end of the quilt and suddenly realized that the seam I just stitched on was facing OUT. If I was doing this the longish way, it wouldn’t be an issue, but since I was using the binding attachment tool, it was an ordeal. I had to feed an extra 12 inches through the tool, take the tool off, then juggle it on my lap while I cut out the seam and figured out how to stitch it on so the seam would face in. The air in my sewing room may have been a little blue, but I finally figured it out and got everything attached.

I think it looks cute! All this quilt needs is a wash and a label and it is out the door! That won’t be for some time, but I let the new mother something would be heading her way in about a month. I want to tuck a colouring book in the package for the older brother anyways and I’ll need to get out and find something. Which reminds me … where did I tuck that baby card … :S

On to my next project! We had our first Tula Pink City Sampler class last week! We were getting all inspired by the lesson. I’m glad I didn’t commit to anything before the first class. I already knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how to set it. Since it’s a bunch of 6” blocks, I’m going to use a floating block setting for the blocks when they’re finished.

Floating blocks setting

I saved all my sewing for Sunday. I’ve come to realize that I can’t realistically quilt during the week with my current office set up. That’s okay – we will change that with a little time. That is one of the reasons I wanted to do this sampler – the blocks are very simple and I’m able to easily hammer them out in a weekend. Turns out, I can hammer them out in one day if I really lean into it!

Look at all the pretty colours!

I’m super excited for this project! My first 10 blocks were all made out of my scrap bin from quilts/projects I made with Tula fabric. You should recognize most of the fabric from my past blog posts. Next month, I’ll dig into some of my uncut bundles to make a diversely colourful quilt. If I’m lucky, I’ll even have some Lineworks pieces from my sister’s bag to add to the quilt! Speaking of … I should get back to that soon …

The one block I’m not happy with is the pink-and-green checked block. The idea was to take two of the less prominent colours to show case the cute little mouse blocks. Well … I did definitely use two less prominent colours. The colours are probably less prominent because they are LOUD. Instead of highlighting the block, the pink-and-green checks totally overwhelm the corner blocks and pull focus. It’s a good learning experience and I’m totally not re-doing the block at this stage. The funny thing is that the blue-and-yellow block did the exact opposite, even though they are also loud colours. Maybe because the Tula fabric I used in that one was less subtle? My favourite has to be the dark grey block with the one bright leaf in it. I love how it stands out on the dark fabric. The large amount of dark grey means I’ll need to pick a lighter background when I go to piece them in, but that’s a future problem.

~M

Free Motion Quilting (FMQ) · Quilt Designs

Deadline: Smashed

So as of last post, I had already met my UFO goal of getting the Brothers Bear quilt top pieced and had high hopes of getting it completely done. I’m happy to report a 95% success rate!

Basting it up!

On Monday night, I took the top down to the kitchen and basted it with backing and batting. That was my only goal for Monday and (as it turned out) for the balance of the week. Life sometimes gets in the way of sewing. SO ANNOYING. 😉 I did have time to try a new idea! During the days leading up to the quilting, I often think about the blocks I’ll be working on and come up with quilt designs to use. In the past, I printed off a copy of the pattern and doodled lines on it. This week, I made a copy of some of the pictures I used in the last blog post and drew on them with my computer! Isn’t that cool?? It’s not even that hard. I know a lot of others do this using their iPads – evidently, there’s an app that comes with it that you can use to draw on. I have a copy of Adobe Sketch that I used. It helped me figure out what I wanted to do – and for the most part, I stuck to my doodles. 🙂 I changed the rows around a bit, too – I think it works a little better in the final version.

Friday night was my first class for the BOTM this year. I’m doing Tula Pink’s 100 modern city blocks. Why is no one surprised that I’m doing this class?? It’s not just about the Tula in this case. All these blocks are super simple. Even though we’re getting assigned 10 blocks per class, I’m pretty sure I can do all 10 in a couple of hours. It’s a simple way to get some learning in this year without over-taxing my schedule. I’m planning on using up parts of my Tula Pink out-of-print fabric. There’s no point in having fabric you don’t intend to use – at least, that’s what I think. I intend to use up all the fabric I have – I don’t want to be a “collector”. Does that mean I’ll stop collecting cute things that come up for future projects? Of course not!!! I wouldn’t have had the perfect nephew blanket fabric if I hadn’t have impulse-bought the cute Canadian fabric. I’m extremely glad I bought it. 🙂 And I have concrete plans for at least two of my Tula lines – I just need to get to making the quilts. But that’s what this UFO club is for, right? Speaking of …

Saturday was supposed to be my first quilting day for Brothers Bear, but that didn’t happen. Actually, I’m not 100% sure what did happen on Saturday. Oh right – since Ontario is in a state of emergency again, we’re on lock down. Saturday was running around to do curbside pickup of necessities and groceries with an impromptu nap in the middle. I was tired. I was supposed to take vacation in a couple of weeks, but we’re not permitted to be outside except to walk the dog. I don’t mind staying away from people, but if I’m taking vacation, I need to be able to go somewhere to get outside. If I can’t do that, I’m going to try to postpone the time. I’m thinking March instead, but there may be other things that come up to change that. We’ll see! 😉 (not cryptic at all …)

Now we’re on to Sunday. I woke up fairly early for a weekend and decided to get up and get at it. I’m finding that I’m dead for the first few work days if I let my schedule get too much out of whack on the weekend (case in point: writing my blog at 3AM Monday morning since I haven’t been able to sleep. Yay getting old …). I modified my desk as best I could to quilt, then got started. Guys … I quilted the whole top in one day. That’s crazy!!! By the time it started getting dark at 5:30 (winter in Canada is painfully real), I felt like stopping, but I only had 2 1/2 rows left!!! 2 rows were very simple and quick. I couldn’t just stop!! So I powered through and this quilt is officially DUN. 😀 I was so pumped! I even set up the table again (last time for a while!) and trimmed off the edges. Now all I have to do is the binding! That may not happen today due to exhaustion, but I’d like to be able to have it done no later than end of day Tuesday. Imagine submitting a completed quilt for UFO homework when only the top was required!! So pumped.

All quilted up! (minus borders)

Getting it done wasn’t without sacrifices. My back is letting me know that it’s considering spasming out (old car accident from college that comes back to haunt me every so often). My sewing machine was a bit of a casualty as well. The backing for this quilt was a bright green zig-zag flannel. I think it’s common knowledge that I don’t pre-wash my fabric (right now it’s not an option with my washing machine on the fritz). Welp … the bed of my sewing machine has a slight green tint to it now. 😦 I don’t know why they insist on making sewing machines white – it seems like a bad idea for multiple reasons. At least it’s not bright green, just a shade of white with a green tint. And it may rub off with time – I seem to remember this happened to me before and the colour eventually went away. Here’s hoping?

A tint of Elphaba

Don’t let winter get you down. Spring is coming!!! The days are already starting to get longer and January is almost over. Once we’re past the worst month, winter moves along a lot faster. 🙂 We’re almost through!

~M