Piecing · Quilt Designs · UFO

The UFO Club

I’ve joined the Crazy Quilter’s UFO club this year. I’m not planning on taking any classes this year (OK fine I’ve already lied … I think I’m signed up for ONE class, but no more!!), so I figured I could sign up for the UFO club in that absence. Plus, I have a few UFOs that I want to get finished this year if possible. There’s there 3 BOTM classes from last year that I haven’t finished, 2 cut quilt tops that need to be assembled, a baby quilt, the Tiger quilt should really get finished up … and that isn’t including the growing stack of quilts that I have in my drawer that need to be quilted once I get a different sewing desk. I know there are a couple of others that I should get to (like my coral orange slices quilt), but my main focus will be the ones I listed here. First up – the Christmas Fig BOTM quilt!

I know I said that I got a lot more of this quilt done than I thought I did, but I also had a lot more left over than I thought. There are 6 blocks remaining before I can start to assemble it. One block I’ve already done – the Tree of Life – but I kept it as a wall hanging. I will have to re-make it for the quilt. I decided to do what I had done this summer with great success. I cut up the remaining block requirements, tucked them into individual bags, and put them in the corresponding pages of the book. Then I’ll be able to pull one out a day, get it done, and move on to the next. I think my first goal will just be to get all the blocks done and no more. If I have more time than expected, I’ll try to get the quilt top assembled as well! I still need a backing fabric for it … one thing at a time.

It was at this point that I realized that I had my list wrong. The most important goal this month is not the Christmas Fig quilt. It’s the baby quilt!!! You know … the baby that was born in NOVEMBER. I think it’s fine to give a baby quilt a little late, but more than a month starts getting … awkward. So we are switching gears. My first UFO club goal is the baby quilt! I sent my goal of getting the top finished off to CQ and started looking at what needed to be done. Since club due date is January 24th, I didn’t think that I would get the quilt 100% done in 2-ish weeks, so I just committed to the top. Please excuse the orange-y light – my sewing room is not well lit over by the pressing/cutting station and I’m using a yellow-light bulb in the pictures.

UFO 1, ready to go!

As you already know from my last post, I jumped right in and got started on the blocks! This quilt is going to be a little different than anything I’ve done so far, but it will be most similar to the Mile High Eagle quilt. I’ve taken a printed panel, cut it up into strips, and the goal is to make pieced block rows to sew between the strips. Hopefully it works out nicely. And if it’s a bit ugly … my friend had a boy, her second boy. I’m betting on the quilt getting use up and worn out, so it won’t matter if it’s a little bit ugly. 😉 I hope it won’t be, though. I got unreasonably excited about the colours I chose. Now it’s time to see if they will work out!

Panel rows + pieced rows

Turns out that I’m super motivated by due dates. No surprise there. I actually managed to get the quilt top almost completed in the first two weekends! 4 rows completed in Week 1, the last two more complicated rows completed Week 2. Look at that diamond block in the arrow (flying geese) row. Doesn’t that just pull the row together? I’m glad I re-did it, despite the headache it was causing.

Week 1 rows

This is when having a design wall really showed its value. I could put up all the rows on the wall and move them around to get the best layout of the pattern. First off, I decided to get rid of the pale blue panel strip. It just wasn’t adding anything to the quilt and it would be plenty long with just the pretty strips. The other advantage was that I could seen that I was roughly 1 block too long for most of the pieced rows. A few of them have different block sizes, so I’ll need to cut the row mid-block, but that’s fine. Getting the layout is very helpful at this stage!

Once I had the layout, I clipped all the rows together to start the final top piecing. My goal for Monday (pending a catastrophic event) is to get the top pieced and trimmed!! If I have time to baste, I’ll start quilting by the weekend. With any luck, I’ll actually have it quilted and bound by Sunday! It’s nice to be ahead of the curve 🙂

Clipped for sewing!

~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

Piecing · Quilt Designs

Doubling Down

I mentioned making twinsies quilts for my nieces from Peter Pan fabric, remember? Super cute? 😀

Peter Pan by Sarah Jane, Michael Miller Fabrics

I got a quite a bit of work done on them during the last week. Last weekend was a remote sewing retreat hosted by the Crazy Quilter on a Bike. It’s a really good excuse to stay glued to my sewing machine for long stretches at a time. I got so much done!! But first … The prep-work. 😛

Honestly, getting the quilt cut up took longer than putting it together. And quilting it. Yeah … cutting it took FOREVER. That was slightly my fault, though.

I wanted to make big squares that featured the fabric, so after some study, I decided to make a snowball quilt! Super simple block. It’s supposed to be an easy sew where you put squares on the four corners, sew point to point, then cut off the excess and iron the corners out. Here’s an example picture I borrowed from www.thesprucecrafts.com.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough fabric for the corners. I wanted to do two fabrics in the corner and I still didn’t have enough. SOOOO LAME. So I had to cut the squares in half, measure the fabric on the corners, pin down, then sew. It was roughly 3 times the work … but I did it and it looked pretty good!

Once all the blocks were cornered up and pressed, the process went really fast! I had both quilts pieced together in about 1.5 hours. And it only took that long because I totally mixed up what pieces went where … M’s head was NOT in the game. 😀 But it got done! My quilting table is locked in the basement behind husband equipment, so I disrupted his nap and kicked him out of the bed so I could use it to baste the quilt. I’m so mean. 😛

Snowball quilt top

By the end of the afternoon, I was all niece quilted out. I switch gears and started working on Christmas gifts. I’m working on a table runner for my mum (since she didn’t get one last year). After an hour and TOTALLY BOTCHING IT, I quit for the night.
So.Much.Ripping.Out. Urrrrrrrrgh.

Starting this past week, I got to the quilting! I decided to do something super simple. Thank goodness … what with computer being set up on the quilting desk, it turns out that I can’t do the quilting the way I used to. I’m going to need to figure out a different desk setup in order to quilt up the way I like to. For now, I’m going to just focus on piecing up my UFO quilt tops and store them for now. Then I’ll have to go on a quilting bender. 😀 I got super excited to try a new technique, though!

Actually, it’s two quilting techniques. The first technique is walking-foot quilting. It’s really good for quilting *relatively* straight lines or stitch-in-the-ditch quilting. I did a bit of both! The straight lines were extra fun because I decided to use the decorative stitches that come with my sewing machine!

This is something that I’ve been meaning to try for a while. I did try with the binding, but I had nothing but problems. I think I picked a stitch that was too complex, but it was still worth trying to find out it didn’t work. I think a simple side-to-side decorative stitch will work on the binding, but nothing that goes back and forth. The medium intensity stitches seem to work fine for quilting! I was looking for something that would match up with the pattern in the fabric. Some of the fabrics have tiny little six-point stars printed on them. I found a couple of stitches that looked very similar, so I made a little test-strip with fabric, batting, and backing to test with. Another excellent feature that I love about my sewing machine is the ability to create “custom” stitches. I mostly used it to stitch out basic labels in the past, but I used it here to put a lot of straight stitches between the stars as I didn’t want a full row of star stitch after star stitch. I finally settled on a length that I liked, saved it to my favourites, and switched over to the quilt!

As of this entry, I have one quilt almost 100% complete! The other quilt has already been basted and is waiting for its turn under the needle, then I just need time to trim and bind! That shouldn’t be too much work! I have two job interviews coming up this week, though, so I won’t be doing much on this until Thursday. I may not have much time to quilt much of anything before next Friday, actually, so don’t be surprised if there isn’t much of an update next week.

I leave you with this: A FINISHED SPOOL!!! I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but this was my first big long-arm sized spool of thread. I bought it to make the husband quilt almost two (TWO YEARS ALREADY!!) years ago. You may remember that I had all sorts of issues with thread breakage, so I stopped using it for quilting and started using it for piecing. I’ve used it almost exclusively to piece my quilts and I finally used it up! I remember being a little scared that I’d spent 50 whole dollars on it, but look at how long it’s lasted and how much I’ve done with it! Totally worth the price for the amount of use. I think I’ve pieced 6 quilts with it so far, so that rings in at under $10 per quilt for thread and that was after doing all the stitching on the husband quilt with it. I’ll be doing that again!

Bye bye Superior Thread!

~ 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

Block-of-the-Month · Piecing · Quilt Designs · UFO

Project Updates

I actually got a lot more done than I thought I did this spring! Here’s where my projects currently stand:

FibreChick BOTM 2019-20: I was staying up-to-date with all Kim’s homework during classes. After the March shut-down, she decided to wait it out to see if things would open up quickly (a hope that I think most everyone shared at the time). However, it was not to be, so in June she emailed everyone to let us know that the remaining blocks would be available for pick-up. I did pick up the blocks, but my crazy summer/fall had just started, so these items are waiting for a finish. I’m keeping my new classes this year to a minimum – I know, I said that last year, but I mean it this time! – and instead, I’m joining a UFO club. You hand in $120 at the start, and each month that you meet your goals, you get $10 handed back. It’s an online club, so I can connect from my computer (which I LOVE). I think the rest of the blocks are going to be my first UFO commitment.

Crazy Quilter BOTM: I think I mentioned this one on my last blog entry before The Great Hiatus of 2020. It was a Christmas Fig BOTM that I was doing from a book. Surprisingly enough, this is one of the few things I worked on during the summer. I managed to keep up to date through the end of August … but more on that later. These are all the blocks I’ve made so far. I just have 4 more to make, then we’re done! All that will need to be done is to put them all together and add them to the quilting pile. I have to say, if you like reading blogs, check hers out. She’s a professional quilter based out of Toronto. I usually read her blogs in the morning on my coffee break because I like reading on my coffee break … and in the car … and at the beach … and in bed … okay, I’m a bookworm. Sue me!

FibreChick BOTM 2018-19: Speaking of on the quilting pile, I took time to piece all the peach/white blocks from last year! Whoo hoo! I think it looks good, but someone in this house has a weird take on the lightning block. If you see it, comment below. I think it’s just them playing some of the specifically themed computer games they play, but if everyone else sees it too, I may have to do something about that block. Anyways – it’s got batting, a backing, and it’s basted. It is currently folded up in a drawer and waiting for me to get around to quilting it this winter. I also have a little table runner to quilt. I know you’ve seen this pattern before, but I won this particular runner at a quilting bee, so the fabric was free and I got it already pieced. I just need to do the quilting! I haven’t decided if I’m going to keep it for myself for when I have a table again or if I’ll be gifting it. Probably for now, I’ll quilt it and tuck it away.

Completed projects: One of the fun little projects I finished this spring was a twister quilt! I borrowed a ruler from someone at quilt guild to make it. What you do first is assemble a quilt, usually made out of 4-patches. Then you take a ruler or template and cut the 4-patch quilt up. I know it sounds crazy, but because you cut it on an angle, you get these cute little “twisters”. Plus, it’s a quilt that looks super complicated even thought it’s super easy, which makes you look like a quilting super-star when you’re just starting out. I also re-upholster the kitchen chair that I use in my sewing room. I used old pillow shams from a long-since-departed quilt. I think it looks super cute! The colours should match my walls when I get around to painting them. It won’t last forever because the fabric is super-not durable, but for a homemade upcycle, it fits the bill! I intend to use it until we move to a new house. I’ll get a better sewing chair then. I also moved around my sewing room because … *drumroll* … I am using my sewing room as my work office for now. More on the that in the next blog post, but while it’s convenient to have my computer in my sewing room, it’s also cutting down on my sewing space and adding to my reluctance to sew. My upcoming projects may force me to overcome, that, though.

Projects on the table: I’ve already mentioned the baby quilt for December. I really want to start working on it. Half of it is super easy. I got a panel from Fabricland and I cut it into strips. I plan on making row blocks and sewing the panel strips between the blocks. I think it will look super cute! She already has one boy and she’s having a second one, so I think the two teddy bears are perfect. She doesn’t read this blog, so the secret is safe with you! The other work in progress is the quilt for my niece. Originally, I was going make her bed quilt out of Tula Pink (I did a whole post on that). I’ve also mentioned that she has seizures that aren’t 100% under control. Well, it sounds like she’s going to have to go back down to Toronto for more tests (a four-hour drive from us). In the past, she’s taken an old baby blanket with her, but my sister told me it’s getting too small for her and asked me to make her a new travel blanket. Of course I’m delighted too! I mentioned a long time ago that I had Peter Pan fabric stashed away for a special project. Well, the special project is here now. I’m making both my nieces quilts from the fabric. I’m using big blocks again to get it done quicker (I just finished cutting all the block last week!). It’s the same pattern and fabric, but I’m changing the block orders so they aren’t exactly the same. I’m also putting a different backing on each. Ideally, I’ll have them both done for mid-November (right between both their birthdays, one month apart) or for the Toronto appointment when they get a date. Now that they’re both cut out, I’ll focus on finishing one, then the other. The bed quilt can wait until next year.

There was one more project, but I’ll mention it in the next post. It’s going to be a bittersweet post, but I think I need the therapy of writing it all out. If you want to find out how my summer/fall went, it will be there. If you need to stick to the positives right now, I totally understand and recommend you just skip the next one. 🙂 Stay safe, stay happy, take care of your emotional state!

~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

Block-of-the-Month · Piecing

Keeping Up Appearances

I didn’t get much more done on my aunt’s quilt. I accidentally toasted my arm on the stove and it’s keeping me from doing too much at once. I joined a second BOTM club – I know, I said I wouldn’t – but it’s a go-at-your-own-pace one. Plus, I was intrigued with the pattern. 🙂 We are following the Christmas Fig sampler pattern. I’m glad I got the book. It includes table runners, cushions, and a tree skirt. I’m just doing the quilt for now.

I decided to dip into one of my super special fabrics – Botanical’s batiks in the Crystal Waters bundle. I bought it last year with a few other fabrics that I’m hording for that special future quilt. The first challenge was choosing a background fabric. I recently acquired a purple-gray fabric with tiny little leaves on it. It matched perfectly and I thought it would be perfect. All the second opinions disagreed, though. They thought it was too blendy and really wiped out the beauty of the fabric. Someone else recommended white. I really don’t like white, but they were right that it suits better. So I got an ice-blue fabric that I think works perfectly with the fabrics.

The first two blocks are nine-patches, ironically. So is my other BOTM class. January is nine-patch bonanza. I managed to get the first block done. I need to work on my 1/4″ seam. It’s always a learning experience. I can’t wait to get going on block two!

~M

Uncategorized

Winter Garden

Before talking about the next project, I need to close the book on the baby quilt from the last post. The quilt was very thankfully received. Evidently, the baby’s older sister has taken a fancy to the quilt. The mother foresees issues convincing her that the quilt belongs to her little sister, but that’s a future problem! 🙂

The new sisters

2020 Quilt 2: The pansy lap quilt. I was so excited that I forgot to take a picture of the fabric before I cut it up! Oh well. 😛 The pansy fabric was bout 0.5 of a meter. The fat quarters were … well, a quarter of a meter. 😀 When all the fabric was cut up, I had cut all the pansy fabric, all the yellow and green fabric, and half the purple fabric. I used my new Creative Grids Stripology ruler to cut the fabrics into 3.5″ strips and sub-cut the strips into squares. It only took me maybe 15 minutes to cut all the fabric! It would normally take me most of the evening to cut out all the fabric for the quilt. Some tools are totally worth buying, even if they are a bit costly. The most cool thing about the cutting was that I used up literally all the fabric (except the purple) AND I had exactly the right amount of fabric for each pile without re-cutting! I know that’s super lame to get excited about, but I was dancing around the room! I even rushed downstairs to tell my husband about my super awesome lame cool happenstance. He was understandable unappreciative. For some reason, I still love that man. 😛

My goal was to make a nine-patch quilt. I originally planned to make a disappearing nine-patch, but after I had everything cut up, I wasn’t sure. Since the first step to making a disappearing nine-patch is to first make an nine-patch, I finished up all the squares (all 18 of them) and tossed them on my display wall. While I really liked the look, I thought that it would be more interesting if I cut them up – so I did!

The biggest thing with making a disappearing nine-patch is how to rotate the blocks to make them into a seamless repeating pattern. After playing on the wall for an afternoon, I decided to go with a very standard pattern where you switch blocks 1 and 4 to make the biggest blocks and the smallest blocks “kiss” in the middle.

After sub-cutting the blocks to 4.5″ to make sure they were all even, I started stitching them together. Instead of running rows like I usually do, I strip-sewed them back into 9″ blocks, then strip-sewed the blocks into rows. It went fairly quickly this way and it made sure that I didn’t sew any of the blocks the wrong way around. The quilt was 8×9 small blocks, so the last row was simply a strip along the bottom. It took about two days to put it together. I think it looks very bright and happy!

The finished quilt is currently 34″x39″ inches. I was planning on using a dark green stash fabric for the back and what was left of the purple combined with a white fabric for the binding, but Fabricland is having a sale starting today. All their quilting fabric is 50% off. I have to go in to pick up the background fabric for the quilt I’m talking about next week, so I’m planning of matching the purple and getting enough to put a border around the quilt. It will increase the size a bit and I’d like it to be a little longer. Once I have everything together, I’ll post an update!

And just in case you’re curious – the cupboard in the picture isn’t supposed to be there. It’s the towel cupboard. I moved it in here while husband sands the drywall mud in the bathroom. I’d rather not have dry wall dust in my towels when I wash up each morning. 😛 There isn’t a lot of space in the house right now, so the cupboard will live here temporarily (I hope! :P)

~M