Ready for School

In honor of my kids going back to school (YAY!!!!), I threw together this cute little pencil block from scraps.

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It is based off a pattern from Accuquilt called Pencil Me In.  They made it in six colors as a wall hanging.  Of course, all the instructions call for using the GO! Qube cutting machine, which I don’t have, but it was easy enough to figure out what sizes to cut the fabric.  My block of two pencils finished at 12.5 inches.

Not sure what I’ll do with the block yet, so for now it will sit in a pile of unused blocks.  Would make a cute start for a gift for a teacher!

Allison

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MODERN BOM- ALL DONE!

Yay!  So excited that my Modern Block of the Month quilt is all done!  Of course, it did not go off without a hitch or two.

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I decided to just quilt the sashing with an all-over meandering stitch, which was fun to do.  Sometimes I got bored and added little hearts or flowers into an otherwise random design.  I again used the sulky thread, this time in silver (1327 dark whisper grey), which blended beautifully with the Kona Silver I was using.  My first problem was a relatively minor one: the beautiful Tula Pink Freefall backing snags pretty easily on the feed dogs of my machine.  Perhaps it is because it has more of a sateen feel to it?  After dropping the feed dogs it didn’t become an issue again until I needed to sew the binding.

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For the binding, I chose a medium grey dotted fabric that had some of the lighter silver mixed in.  I had about half a yard left and it proved to be just enough.  Once again, I machine stitched the binding on both sides.  Not as pretty as hand-stitched, but I have so little patience when I am at the end of a quilt.

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My two bigger hitches were two popped seams I found in the middle of the quilt when I was picking off threads.  Not sure how this happens when I am using larger than 1/4 inch seams!  Both were sewn up with a zig zag stitch, which unfortunately is somewhat noticeable.  I don’t really see any other way to fix these at the end after the quilting has already been done.  The only other option seems to be fabric glue, and I’m just always concerned that it won’t hold up.  If anyone has ideas for the next time (and there will be a next time!) please send them my way!

Finally finished, wrapped in tissue paper, and packed up in a box for one of my best friends who has no idea it is coming!  Can’t wait to mail it!

-Allison

BOM Quilt Top Finish!

image (79)In between loads of laundry this week (three kids home from sleep-away camp!), I managed to add the sashing to the Modern Block of the Month Quilt.  It is now a finished quilt top- YAY!!!!  I’m still in love with the Kona silver color.  And the Tula Pink Freefall in battleship grey really is the perfect backing.  But watch out for shrinkage (at least I hope that is what the problem is).  The two yards I ordered wound up being only 67 inches after washing.  I hadn’t thought to measure it before hand.  Luckily, it was still more than enough, since this is a smaller quilt.  image (80)

I’m about half way through basting the quilt, and then I have to figure out how to quilt it. That part always makes me nervous! image (78)

(No) Golden Shadows Finish

Sometimes quilts take on a life of their own.  (No) Golden Shadows started as a square shadow quilt or throw pillow (I hadn’t yet made up my mind).  When the shadows failed to show up at the appropriate spots, I just kind of winged it.  There are no shadows to be seen in this quilt, which wound up with two-layered quilting in red and turquoise and an improvisational  block style.  At 36 x 68 inches, it is also an unusual shape for a quilt.  Perhaps a table runner?

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I did find a beautiful rust colored fabric for the binding, which was machine stitched down.  I also learned that you shouldn’t trim the batting all the way down to the quilt top, but rather should leave a good 1/4 inch.  This will help with any misplaced binding stitches and will “puff up” the binding a little.

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Now that this is finished, it is time to turn my attention back to the BOM quilt.

-Allison

Quilting Ovals

The quilting on the (No) Golden Shadows quilt is finally done… and I love how it came out!  The rust red (Coat’s & Clark’s Paprika) looks perfect on top of the turquoise and I’m really starting to get the hang of the quilting foot on my machine.

Which isn’t to say that the ovals are perfect- far from it! In fact, even though I was simply tracing the ovals from the backing of the quilt (which I lined up almost perfectly- YAY!), my stitching still looks hand done.  Actually, I should specify: hand done by me.  Some people can make perfect stitches by hand.  I can’t make even stitches by hand or machine, so when I say “by hand”, I mean more like the hand of a 5 year old.  I rather like it that way.

And now the binding dilemma.  What do I bind this with?  I know it will be machine stitched using my new binding clips.  I was thinking of using the leftover material from the back for a binding, but I’m afraid the ovals will look all wonky.  There is no material left over from the front.  I’m thinking maybe a solid rust color, which will necessitate a trip to the fabric store.  Should I pretend to be disappointed about that?

In other news, Prowler the kitty got adopted and it was indeed hard to give him up.  Even still, we will certainly be fostering more cats in the future.  I bought a new set of pre-cuts: 2.5 inch mini charms.  I got 11 packs of Moda’s Tucker Prairie by OneCanoeTwo.  I’m pretty sure that these are going to become a Plus quilt.  And finally, I’m contemplating joining a quilt guild here in South Florida.  Does anyone my age (41) participate?  Thoughts?

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-Allison

 

A Finished Memory Quilt (I love this one!)

Yay!  Four days ago I was frustrated as can be with this one, but I’m happy to report that the quilt is finished and AWESOME!  The too short backing problem was easily solved by adding scraps to the ends which wound up looking just fine:

photo (91)I would not have liked this one if I hadn’t added the contrasting strips throughout.  It could have used a few more slashes, but I was frustrated at the time!

After I basted the quilt, I added a little embroidered note on the back:

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This was before I clipped all the little strings.  I even remembered to pull the front of the quilt away so that the writing didn’t come through (backwards) on the front of the quilt.

 

 

Next came the quilting.  I knew that all the colored parts would be quilted and the signature blocks left alone.  I also knew that I needed a design that would not call attention to the fact that the back was probably not exactly lined up with the front (though it turned out to be pretty darn close!).  I kept shying away from the idea of a meandering stitch because I’m just not very good at it, but after a day of procrastinating, I decided to just go for it.  I am SO VERY glad I did.  It seems I have finally gotten the hang of it!

On top of that, I debated for a while over what thread color to use and eventually decided to use a turquoise in the bobbin for the back (which I was already using for the (No) Golden Shadows quilt) and something new for the front.  Since I really couldn’t find the “right” color, I went with a variegated spool- shades of purple, blue and fuchsia.  It is a Sulky brand 40wt. viscose and rayon blend and it is gorgeous!  It is silky and shiny and the color changes are perfect for this quilt.  I may be upgrading my quilting thread from here on out!

The quilting did bring out one little oops: a popped seam that couldn’t be fixed with a blind stitch (it had popped because there wasn’t enough of a seam allowance).  So a few little zigzags in the corner.  It isn’t noticeable unless you are looking for it. photo (94)

And then finally, the binding.  I knew that this one would be machine stitched (I am so DONE with hand stitching binding) and I really didn’t want to buy more fabric.  The perfect purple (and just enough of it) presented itself from my stash and the only problem became finding a thread to blend with it since I knew my machine stitching was sure to have a whole bunch of stitches in the binding itself (and it certainly does!).

photo (93) So through the thunderstorm I trekked to Joann’s with purple fabric in hand to match up thread colors.  Coats and Clark number 3660 was the winner and it blends perfectly!  The purple is less blue and more purple-y than the photo shows, for those of you matching up your thread colors at home!

I also tried out my new binding clips.  I used them to do both the front and the back of the binding- they were great!

And the finished beauty:

My husband was kind enough to do quilt holding duties.  He is about 5’8, so I’m guessing the quilt is a touch over 5 feet.  And I promise that the greenish-blue block at the bottom is straight, I’m just a really lousy photographer!  Thanks again to Kaye Prince of Miss Print for the fabulous Euclid quilt tutorial.

Now back to (No) Golden Shadows!

-Allison

 

A Prowler (and a Backing Fail)

Sewing has again been interrupted by a new house guest.  This time, it is Prowler, a 6-week old foster kitten with an upper respiratory infection.  He gets medicine twice a day and frequent steam showers.  My daughter walks around with him in a makeshift baby carrier and barely lets him out of her sight.  (Which is a good thing because the first time she did, he ran straight into the dishwasher housing and we had to take it apart to get him back out!) Luckily, kittens are much more independent than puppies and so, as long as she is around to watch him (or he is confined to her bedroom and bathroom), I can still get some stuff done.  The problem is that she is going to have a tough time giving this little guy up when it is time for him to be adopted.  We really don’t want to bring him back to the shelter where he will have to go in a cage.  We would much rather see him adopted outright, so if anyone is looking for a little black fuzzball to love, please send us a message!

 

As for the sewing, I did finally decide on a “pattern” for the back of the memory quilt.  I sewed three of the four extra fabrics from the front together, then slashed them to add strips of the fourth.  Less than perfect, but cute and good enough for the back.  It’s not boring and doesn’t rely on right angles which would invariably be different right angles than what is on the front of the quilt.

What I do need to remember is that the vertical and/or horizontal strips should always go first before the diagonals because otherwise things don’t line up properly.  I know I’ve made that mistake before and I’m sure I’ll make it again!

And then, I got mad at my other daughter and took it out on the quilt.  I took what was left of the fourth piece of fabric and just sewed it straight onto the side of the blue and orange one.  So there!  Okay, so I’m not really sure what that might have proven or why my daughter would possibly care or what my point even was.  I’m sure the therapist will have fun with that one.  It did have the effect of finishing the backing.  Well, at least I thought it did.

I taped the backing to the floor, took out the good batting (Warm & Natural Cotton) and taped that to the floor on top, and then tried to lay out the quilt top.  No matter which way I turned it, it was still too big.  Which tells me that either (or both) the quilt top or the backing are far from square (or rectangular) because based on the measurements I took, the backing is five inches larger than the top!  So, now I am stuck sewing scraps around the backing edges to gain just a few more inches.  UGH!