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

 

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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!

 

 

Josh’s Memory Quilt

The past two weeks has been filled with a lot of fun sewing.  Bright, colorful fabrics and big blocks so my lack of precise measuring doesn’t really matter.  This quilt is for my son’s best friend, Josh.  They have been in class together since kindergarten (four years) and now Josh is moving away.  So, we decided to make him a memory quilt. First I chose a pattern.  This was quite easy as I had seen Miss Print’s Euclid quilt a while ago and had decided it would be perfect for a memory quilt.  Luckily, she had a tutorial to go with the beautiful quilt.  Over the past month, I have handed out fabric (Kona silver) to all the kids in the grade as well as the teachers and some of the administration (it’s a small school!).

image (61)Each person used sharpies or fabric markers to design a goodbye patch for him.  My son chose a quote from Winnie-the-Pooh:

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

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There were lots of other sweet quotes and pictures.  I loved the Kona silver as the base color.  White was too stark and the silver still matched whatever I would choose for a background and/or sashing.  Next I chose fabric to border the silver fabric.   Four different color-ways of the same tie-dye-ish pattern.  I wasn’t sure if it would be completely overwhelming, but though busy, it all blends together really nicely.  Little by little the kids have been returning the fabric to me and this past week I sat down and started sewing it all up.  Today the quilt top was finished.  At about 60 x 65, it turned out larger than I expected (especially since I hadn’t tried to calculate)!

Next I will be trying to figure out what to do with the back.  I have a lot of fabric left over, so I want to use it for the back, but I don’t love the look of four big blocks of fabric sewn together.  And I have to be careful about any pattern or blocks that would have to line up with the front.  I never seem to baste the quilt at right angles and when it is all sewn together, it becomes clear that something is a little off.  So, off to search the internet for ideas…

-Allison

Finished Fair Isle

image (54)Well, the mini Fair Isle is finally bound, and yes, I did finish it up by hand.  A one hour wait at the doctor’s office on Tuesday and then two hours for an oil change today allowed me to finish.  (It seems I get the most sewing done at the car dealer- something to think about).  Very far from perfect, but I think it was a decent salvage of a quilt that went horribly wrong. The quilt was backed with a mint green plus sign pattern, bound with scraps from the front and quilted with parallel straight lines at every 1/3 inch.

Some pics:

Now I have moved on to quilting the (No) Golden Shadows quilt.  It will be overlapping ovals in straight lines.  Turquoise and then a dark reddish brown.  Each row is taking about two hours and I figure there will be about 35 rows in all.  Luckily, I am finding this monotony very relaxing!  Here is a picture of the turquoise.  The red will overlap in the middle of the two rows.

photo (86)And finally, I have started sewing a memory quilt for my son’s best friend.  So far it looks amazing!  This one will get a blog post all it’s own!

-Allison

Up From Here Finish

Finished!  The Up From Here baby quilt is complete.  Some things I might do differently next time, but overall, quite happy with how this one came out.  Definitely worthy of being given as a baby gift.  And, other than finishing up the one that was already started, I don’t think I’ll ever be hand stitching binding again.   Thank you to the folks at Cluck, Cluck Sew!

Four other projects under foot at the moment:

  1. The mini Fair Isle quilt needs to have the binding finished.
  2. The (No) Golden Shadows quilt needs to be basted, quilted and bound.
  3. The Modern Block of the Month needs to have the blocks pieced together (w or w/o sashing???), and then basted, quilted and bound.
  4. A memory quilt for my son’s best friend who is moving in June.

And of course, I’ve already got some other things picked out!

-Allison

Almost done…

I had wanted a finish for Finish Up (From Here) Friday, but not sure if it will happen.  Just as quickly as Diego the dog moved out, Remy the dog moved in.  We’ve now had at least 5 chihuahua mixes as fosters, and I have to say, I’m ready for a dog that you can’t step on. Bring on the St. Bernards, please!  Remy likes to try to walk on my legs while I’m sewing.

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As for the baby quilt, I decided not to use any batting since the baby is due in early fall in Florida, and just backed it in a light grey flannel.  I stitched outlines into all of the flowered parts of the blocks and then added stippling to the entire black and white section.  Somewhere in there the machine ran into some tension problems which didn’t work themselves out till the end.  It would look odd, but you can’t really see the quilting since it is white thread on a mostly white background, so I decided to just leave it alone and not risk making things worse.

For the binding, I used the leftover floral scraps, some tiny black on white polka dot scraps from another quilt and an extra fat quarter of the blue floral I had used.  I tried to line it up so that the black and white binding was on the floral part of the quilt and the floral binding was on the black and white part of the quilt, and that mostly worked out.  I stitched the binding down yesterday and was going to start the hand stitching today.  And then I decided not to.  I slowed down the speed settings on the machine and began to machine stitch it down.  After the first few inches, I realized that I didn’t even need pins to hold it in place (though I did order some Clover Clips that haven’t arrived yet).  Why did I ever hand stitch anything?  It’s been about twenty minutes and I’m more than halfway done.  And it is so much neater than my hand stitching.  If it’s not done today, then definitely over the weekend!

-Allison