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

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

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

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

Binding · Finished Projects · Piecing

Pride Goeth

So I guess we should first address that it’s a new year. I feel very Eeyore-ish about it. Happy new year. If it is a happy year. Which I doubt. 😀 No, it’s not that bad, but it doesn’t feel like a new year. It seems like 2020 version 2. Which isn’t terrible, all things considered. It’s just not cause for excitement. What IS exciting is that I got one of the two jobs that I applied for! I’m staring that on the first Monday in January, so I guess the new year is a little exciting after all!

On to quilting!! While I didn’t get everything I wanted to have done for Christmas, I got quite a good deal finished! You’ll have to make do with these pictures – I literally washed and packed everything the day before (typical M!). First off were the girls’ quilts. When last we spoke, the quilts were together and quilted. What’s left? The binding! I tried yet another new stitch for binding – a serpentine line. I did a tighter one on the first quilt and a loser one on the second quilt, just to see how it would work out. I don’t think I’ll do that again. There’s just too much of a gap in the binding in spots. It should work for these quilts. If there’s a problem, I’ll just take my machine up for a visit and fix it. The girls were actually excited to get the quilts, which surprised me. They’re pretty young to be excited about presents that aren’t toys. The oldest one was happy because she had asked her mother to replace her old travel blanking and now she got a replacement. The youngest one though … she ripped through the package, pulled out the quilt, and immediately proceeded to run around with it over her shoulders yelling “Look at my blanket!” While it was a surprising reaction, it’s a memory that I’ll treasure for years to come.

Next up was Mum’s table runner. Here was my first downfall due to pride. When I was making it, I thought I could do one better than the pattern and cut some corners. Um …. NO. I wound up having to Frankenstein a couple of blocks because I ran out of uncut fabric due to my lack of foresight. Then I got the block together … and it looked kind of wrong. I MADE THE BLOCKS TOO BIG. Really???? If I wasn’t down to the wire, I would have put the project in jail. Nice thing about having to cut down the blocks meant that I cut off all the Franken-block parts. Yay!! Then I laid everything out, put it together, and got it quilted up. Because it’s obviously a Christmas/winter topper, I quilted it with little snowflakes a la Pan quilt. The champagne-coloured thread seemed to go with all the colours and looked very sweet. Mum loved it! She was very excited to get her own table runner that was different from my sisters. As soon as she got it home, she put it on the table and sent me pictures. I was giving myself a pat on the back for being so clever and thoughtful. That’s when I noticed Downfall #2 … do you see it??

The pinwheels are spinning different directions!!!! I worked so hard on getting them going the same way, but when I re-did the blocks I must have put the green ones on backwards and now they aren’t going the same way!!! At least both the red ones and both the green ones are spinning the same way – it looks like it was done on purpose. #facepalm

Oh well! New year, right? Clean slate, fresh start. And I did make an effort with my next project (full details coming in my next post). BUT … I decided to change the pattern (because I obviously learned nothing from the Christmas pinwheel debacle) to be more clever and artistic. Next time I say I want to do that, please just throw a banana at me before pride ruins my hard work. Part of changing the pattern was including an extra block. I thought this would be adorable and really bring the row together. Now that I paid for my pride, I think I’m allowed to say that I was right in the long run … right???

I know I mentioned this quilt earlier. It’s a baby quilt for a friend who’s expecting. The colours are a light blue, dark blue, orange, yellow, and green. It’s turning out pretty cute! In one section, I decided to use all the colours to make a middle block. I stitched the d.blue, green, yellow, and orange squares together then added a row of l.blue around the edge. That’s where I should have stopped, but no … I was in the creative zone and I just HAD to make it into a diamond. One thing I’m learning (but have by no means perfected yet) is figuring out where the center of a block is when you need to cut a specific size. In my case, I had to cut off the 4 corners to make a smaller square while changing the angle of the finished block (the picture will make more sense). Instead of a four-piece block, it’s a diamond of the four colours. I swear I measured 4-5 times. Then I walked away, came back, measured again, and then cut up the block … only to discover it was a 1/2 inch TOO SMALL!!!. I almost cried. If it was too big, no problem, but you can’t uncut fabric or hair (I say that as I hide my COVID bangs in the rest of my hair …).

Cut just a LITTLE to short. 😦

I almost quit and went back to the original pattern, but I couldn’t let go of the idea. Since I knew how much I was off by, it was super easy to re-make the block and re-cut it correctly, but it was almost more than I could bear to do. And when I did it again, it was just slightly too small AGAIN (see how all the corners are cut off a little bit?). I could make it work, though – the extra space could come out of the seams without showing anything. And now it looks stunning. But lesson *hopefully* learned. NO MORE PRIDE. Or at least, I have to admit that I did it to myself. 😀

~M

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · Piecing · Quilt Designs

The Year Was 2020

Just in case you somehow missed it, 2020 was the year the entire planet was ravaged by the Corona virus, COVID19. Most countries completely shut down, even third-world countries that would normally lump through. No one in, no one out, and lots of people stopped working. To call it a stressful time for most everyone is a bit of an understatement.

It started out not too bad for me. I lucked my way into an opportunity to buy a serger! It’s an older model from the 90s (Husqvarna Husklock 936), but it still goes for 700-800$ online because it does coverstitch. I was fortunate enough to get mine for 200$. Whoo hoo! First thing I did was make a ton of masks and ship them off to the families. I tried to pick some of the brightest fabric I had. If you’re forced to cover up your face, it may as well be happy colours! I of course kept a couple for myself and made some more muted ones for Husband. He’s not what you would call a flamboyant character.

The summer started out pretty well too. I was determined to enjoy the lovely weather as much as I possibly could. Fortunately for us, we don’t live in a big mega city, so it’s easy to get into the great outdoors with minimum effort. It sucked not being able to see people, but that was a problem for most everyone. Mid-summer comes and my husband takes time off to try to finish up some of the bigger parts of the reno’s we’ve been working on. Sometimes when you do remodelling, things wind up bing more in-depth then you originally realize. Prime example was our bathroom. When redoing part of the bathroom, we discovered someone had boarded over a whole closet in the wall. Besides being creepy, it made us re-adjust our plan for the space. Well, the rest of the house is pretty much going the same way, but it’s going about as poorly as you could ever expect a remodel to go. At one point, I had to go visit my parents for a couple weeks so I could work in peace while he hammered away at things that needed to be done as fast as possible. It’s had a surprising impact on our relationship. We are doing better now than we did before, but physically and emotionally, we’re getting run down.

My family was not spared loss during the pandemic. We first lost my auntie in May – the one I made the Winter Garden quilt for. I was so thankful that I could get that to her before the pandemic. If I had waited a couple of weeks, she never would have seen it. It was tough on everyone, especially my grandmother. My aunt was her last living sibling and they had been living together until October 2019. Grandma was expecting her to pass, but it was still so difficult when it happened. Since it was the height of the pandemic, visits were kept to a minimum. One of my dad’s siblings was able to get an exception for a couple of hours to go in, break the news to her, and stay with her, but that was it until the summer. Even when restrictions started to be lifted, her place was one of the last to allow visitors, starting in August. Her birthday was early August. Some family in the area set up a drive-by birthday celebration to help lift her spirits, but Grandma had been having a very tough summer health-wise and I believe that the isolation was starting to impact her very hard. I had scheduled a COVID test followed by a visit for the next week, but she didn’t make it that far. She fell and broke something, landing in the hospital. When she finally got back to her residence, she was only there a few days before she complained about feeling very ill. They sent her back to the hospital around 7 in the evening and we got a call that she had passed unexpectedly around 10:30.

The following week was tough. I was very close to my grandmother. I felt cut off from her due to the pandemic and I felt cheated of saying goodbye. I used the week to quilt out some of the emotion. I decided to make a pattern called “Tree of Life” to hang on my wall in memory. It helped, surprisingly enough. I pulled out a lot of pictures of my grandmother over the years and had them scattered around my sewing room. I took my favourite and printed it on some fabric to attach to the back as a label. I even used the same backing I used on the quilt I made for her. The two weeks I spent with my parents, while stressful, was also therapeutic. We talked a lot about Grandma, had some tears, some laughs, and started remembering the happy things more than the sad reality.

The end of October and start of November, while not bad, is definitely adding to the stress. I got a temporary job placement in August and two additional positions were posted recently. I applied and have two job interviews coming up in November. The outcome will dictate if I get a new role (with a new pay) or go back to my home position for the foreseeable future. I always find this process stressful and I have two happening at the same time, each of which are two-part interviews. 4 days of interviews. yaaaaaaay.

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to Christmas. 🙂

~M

Finished Projects · Piecing

The Great M Returns

Well … a lot has happened since February 2020. The whole world has just turned upside down. My 96 year old grandmother commented that she has never, ever seen or heard anything like this in her life time. She lived through the Great Depression, so that’s saying something. For my first blog post, we’re going to focus on positives. I don’t know about you, but I’m done being a depressasorus Rex. 🙂

It may not surprise you to know that not much quilting has gotten done since March. Well, some has, some has not. I think I only touched my sewing machine during the month of August. I had a due date, you see. A very important due date.

No, not me. Sheesh, people.

My little brother and his wife were expecting this year! They announced it in April and the due date was October 2. It is the first baby boy in our family, so we were all very excited. My sisterIL went with buffalo plaid for the baby colours. That seemed like a perfect opportunity to pull out a fabric bundle that I impulse-bought over a year ago …

Oh Canada collection

Isn’t that just perfect?? And I loved the cartoon Canadian things. 🙂 Along with immediately knowing the fabric, I knew what pattern I wanted to use. Something simple and big (for fast quilt making). The winner was Backyard Chicks by Down Grapevine Lane. My original idea was to use the red buffalo plaid as the background, but that didn’t happen for two reasons. 1 – the picture above is way too busy, isn’t it? 2 – evidently, buffalo plaid is REALLY popular this year and no one was getting the fabric re-stocked until the fall. I had to custom order what I had from the States. It was not a cheap order and there wasn’t enough to do the whole quilt. I took the cute little moose fabric into FibreChick and had Kim help me pick out something that would go well. Here is what we came up with:

Barnyard Chicks quilt pattern

I think that looks really good! And it works well with the pattern. One reason I wanted to use big blocks was to really showcase the awesome fabric. I find the pattern gets lost when you use little blocks. That’s okay for some things, but this stuff is too cute to hide!

Outdoor quilting

I did my basting outside on the pop-up table. I thought that was a great way to get some outdoor air while still focusing on the quilt! I also took the opportunity to cut some of my next quilts outside on the table. I have a friend who is due in December. When I start piecing that, I’ll give you a preview!

I did manage to get the quilt done in time for my sisterIL’s baby shower, which made me very happy. I actually got it done a couple of weeks before the shower. Crazy, right?? It turns out to be a good thing – September got very disrupted and someone decided to come early. He’s pretty cute, though, so I think I’ll forgive him. 🙂

New baby!

~M

Finished Projects · Non-Quilt Projects · Piecing · Quilt Designs · UFO

UFO Month

Did you see that?? We have a new catagory tag! UFO! 😀 After the last post, I deemed February “UnFinished Object” month. I’ve said from the start that I don’t want a big stack of UFO quilts, so I decided to at least get started on my list.

Item 1: The Happy Village.

Sample Happy Village

The very first guild meeting was a demo and workshop by a newly local quilter who has been hosting these classes in a few major Canadian cities. The Happy Village is a tiny scrap-busting project where you make a city (usually your hometown) out of fabric. There is a method to doing it (fabric layers, background features, then houses, then roofs, then embellishments), but it’s mostly freedom of imagination. The quilter’s sample was absolutely darling and several people made lovely villages. In typical M style, a colour bukaki village was promptly constructed, complete with a strawberry sky and a Pizza Hut. My tablemates were no help. As soon as they realized how excited sugar-high M gets when finding weird bits of usual fabric, they were tossing gold-embossed and glow-in-the-dark fabric bits at me. AND I LOVED IT! 😀 I know that my little village doesn’t really look classically beautiful like everyone else’s, but it totally suits me. The white dots in the strawberry sky are actually glow-in-the dark specks, so the sky and the fireflies on the hill light up! It’s perfect. It technically falls into the UFO category because it’s been sitting on my work table for over a month, all pinned in place. I finally took an evening to quilt down the tulling on top, add a binding, and secure a sleeve. A sleeve goes on the back of the quilt with a gap through it to hang on a rod – like curtains on a curtain rod. That’s how most wall-mounted quilts are hung. All I have left is to insert a rod and find a place to proudly hang it in my sewing room. 🙂 UFO#1 = DONE!

M’s Happy Crazy Town

UFO #2 – The De La Luna tote.

We have already glossed over my love for Tula Pink fabric and for the De La Luna fabric in particular. Here’s how much I love it – even though I already have a full meter of the whole fabric line, I simply had to pick up another half-meter curated bundle from Royal Quilts when Alexandra had it on sale last year. After looking at the fabric multiple (MULTIPLE) times, I finally decided to make a bag with it. I cut out the face fabrics with a particular goal in mind for the bag, the piled all the pieces on my spare fabrics pile and moved on to slightly more urgent projects (wedding quilt*COUGH*). It’s been sitting there ever since. Now that February is UFO month, I reached back to this project to complete it. Since plucking it from obscurity, I developed a new vision of the bag. Want to see?

Step 1: Sew the face blocks together to make the front and back of the bag.
I considered mixing up the turquoise and purple face fabrics, but I couldn’t settle on a mixture that I liked, so I made one side turquoise and the other purple. I was initially going to sew the faces together with the narrow sashing between them, but I needed a little more width on the bag, so I sewed back in the section I had cut out from between the faces. It’s sort of dumb when I say it like that, but I think the effect is actually very striking. For one thing, it makes the ghosted eye stand out of the middle panel. If (read: WHEN, since I only used half the Royal Quilt bundle so far) I make a second bag, I will switch the colours on the middle panel so the purple eye is on the turquoise side and the turquoise eye is on the purple side. I didn’t even think about that until I was sewing the last face section together. I have more eye strips set aside, so I did the fabric switch on the last block and it looked AMAZING … but I didn’t want to rip out everything I’d done so far, so I left it as is! 😀

In the span of a week, I got the bag almost completely made. The side panels, while neat, caused a little bit of havoc because I don’t have a pattern for this. I’m making it up as I go, so I jury-rigged the installation. It came out fine and I learned some lessons for the next time. I have the cross-body strap cut out and ready to go – I’m just waiting on some rainbow-coloured hardware I ordered from Emmeline Bags (PERFECT, right???). This bag really should have two handles embedded in the front and back … however, I really don’t like bag handles. They keep slipping off my narrow shoulders, especially in the winter. I’d rather carry the bag cross-body so it doesn’t fall off, so strap it is! There are inner “pocket” sections that I sewed in using a special decorative stitch. Do you see what it is?? A moth!!! Like the death-head moths on the outer bag! I thought that was the coolest!! 😀 Also, when I free-motion stitched the outside, I thought it was neat to stitch around the moths, even in the black parts. Maybe that’s just me … and that’s okay too! Even though the strap isn’t actually sewed on, everything else is absolutely done, so I’m calling UFO #2 = DONE!

UFO #3 – My VERY FIRST project! I bought a half-meter of this flannel when I first started to quilt so I could practice free-motion quilting. I kept the first one because … well, it was my very first quilt, and I did a lot of little different styles, so not suitable for babies. I wanted to re-make the blocks to try a different visual design. This week was quilt camp weekend, so I did it at camp on RED! 😀 I love RED. And she’s so popular with the ladies! Anyways, back to the quilt. I really like the way it turned out! Only problem – it’s slightly too narrow for a baby quilt for guild. I have two options. If Fabricland still has this fabric (HIGHLY unlikely after 2 years), I can buy enough to make a final row. If not, I’m going to use the complimenting brown border fabric to expand it and put something different on the back. I’ll have this done by Tuesday and take it in to guild next Monday, so I’m calling UFO #3 = Done!

UFO #4 – The orange peel quilt.

Yup – I jumped back into the orange peel quilt. It’s been weighing on my conscience. This is supposed to be MY quilt for my side of the bed. I boxed it to work on other people’s quilts, but I don’t want to keep it in a box indefinitely. Plus, I want it on my bed!!! So it’s come out of retirement.

Part of the reason it got shelved was the curved piecing . I know I spoke about this before and I don’t think I was too negative about it at the time … but the truth is that the curved piecing got to me. I was really struggling with it and it shows. That first block looks very rough and the back is a boiling hot mess. :S I’m pretty sure I tore the fabric in the middle point during the 6th or 7th attempt to piece it, so I’ll be FMQing the crap out of it to keep it from coming apart when I assemble it. That is NOT the correct way to fix this problem, but I’m very very short on both the coral and the black fabric, so I have no margin for error. Anyways – problems with curved piecing were scaring me, so it went to UFO jail for a while.

I decided to take it to quilt camp. It’s very possibly the last quilt camp weekend for a bit, so I figured I’d take the orange peel to work on. I work slower at quilt camp with all the socializing I do, but I’m also more relaxed about my work, so I thought that might help. OMG … if you’re a newbie quilter like me, get into a quilting group! If it’s a guild with quilting days, that’s fine, but attending this quilt camp (some places call them “quilt retreats”) where you’re sitting with people who have been quilting for years is invaluable! The lady who was sitting on my right (coincidentally, she’s part of my quilt guild and we’ve been slowly getting better acquainted) saw I was attempting curved piecing and gave me a couple of very simple tips. Frickin’ witchcraft, I’m telling you! The curved piecing is going together like magic! There are no puckers, no flat spots, and it presses down perfectly! Nancy, I absolutely love you!! THANK YOU!!!!

My future quilt!

Now, my pieces aren’t exactly square and the center is HUGE because of all the meeting seams, but that’s mostly due to the crappy template I’m using. I’d get a plastic template to do this again in the future, but for now I just want to get this done. I’ll hide the wiggly edges in the piecing when I put the blocks together. Since I’ll only get 40″x40″ out of the fabric I have, I’m going to take advantage of the fact that Stacey over at Troll Brother’s Quilts is having a sale and found a couple of these coral bundles left over from last year. Picking up one more bundle will get me to 50″x70″. It’ll be slightly smaller than the twin quilt I originally intended for our double-sheet sleeping arrangement, but it’ll be miles better than a lap quilt and I’m short! 🙂 UFO#4 = moving into production status. Good enough! I won’t get it done in a weekend, but I can cut and piece it over the summer when I need a break from the niece quilt. Hopefully, I’ll have a bed quilt by the fall! Yay M!!! 😀

I have BOTM work to get done and a guild demonstration to prep for, but I’m happy with the work I did this month. 🙂 Come on, March! I know you’re hiding spring and I want to see it!

~M

Finished Projects · Free Motion Quilting (FMQ)

Delivery Time!

The aunt quilt is finished! In a way, I’m glad to see the end of it. The borders caused me no end of trouble. I decided to do a 4-patch in the corners with some of the scraps (which turned out super cute!) with a stripe border. This brought the final size to 42″x40″ (I think … I didn’t even measure the final!). That stripe border … granted, I was having a really bad mental day that day, what with sewing the stripes on backwards THREE TIMES!!!, but I just couldn’t measure the sides properly to save my life. They kept coming out too large. I finally quit in a rage for a couple of days before trying again with great success. 😛

I decided to quilt fake cursive on the green/yellow rectangles and continuous curves on the big pansy blocks. The continuous curves hid in the pansies (which is what I wanted) and the fake cursive showed up boldly on the rectangles. I like the look! I did some ruler work on the border. Man oh man … I have to practice in the future! I had so much trouble on the first stretch of border before I figured it out and finished the rest! In case you’re ever wondering – Husqvarna sewing machines do not like to FMQ with rulers. Thankfully, I prefer not to use rulers unless I’m trying to get something super straight or super symmetrical.

It was my father’s birthday this weekend, so on our way up to visit them, we stopped in on my aunt to drop off the quilt. She loved it! She whipped off the minky blanket she had on her lap and pulled mine on right away. I think it’s going to be well-used. Her room is fairly pastel-y and china-y (as in dishes, not country), so that lap quilt is a real bolt of colour in the room. They are her favourite colours, incidently – I didn’t even know that until just now! I also dropped off my sister’s table runner, but I didn’t get feedback on that yet. The kidlets were SIIIICK, so that branch of the family didn’t show up for the birthday party. I left the table runner with my mother, so my sister will probably get it sometime next week.

I was feeling a bit at a loss, trying to decide on my next project. I know I should pull out the orange peel slices and finish the quilt, but I’m not quite ready to tackle that. There’s still the tiger quilt(s) (remember that?), but it will be a very fast project to finish and I wanted something involved to start. Then, I remembered a promise I made a year ago, so …

DUN DUN DUN. It’s finally time for the niece’s quilt! My initial plan was to make up my own pattern, but I decided to go with a pre-made pattern that came with the fabric line. It’s called the Starburst pattern – coincidentally, one of my favourite candies in high school. I think I have all the fabric I need for it. I checked the fabric requirements and it should use up the whole fat quarter bundle. I need 1/8 of each of the solids and I have 1/4, so there’s lots of that too! This does leave a gaping hole in my Tula Pink collection at Fabrique Estates. Don’t worry about that too much, though … I already have something coming in March to plug it up. 😉

~M