I am starting to suspect that January and February are my most productive season. Either that or I’m starting to actually hit that “slowing down” period of life I’m always talking about!
Baby quilt top is finished!! The bearded man block turned out better than expected. I’m glad I changed it! I ordered the backing for the quilt online. This will be my first attempt to quilt with minky … we’ll see how that goes!! We’ll also see how it holds up as a child’s blanket. I know it won’t keep that soft furry feel forever, but I don’t know how well it wears. Baby quilts are perfect guinea pig quilts, in my opinion. Hopefully the parents allow the children to use that quilt to death, which in turn allows me to see how durable certain fabrics or quilting techniques are.
I’ve also FINALLY started quilting my Tula quilt!!! The plan is to quilt all the sashing and border, then bind it, then work on quilting each square. I figure I can pick one row per month as a starting goal and see how far I get. My UFO commitment is to get one quilt half-quilted. I’m really hoping that it will be the Tula quilt (to date, I’m almost finished the horizontal sashing quilting), but I will switch gears as soon as that backing shows up in the mail. That baby is coming early March, which could mean mid-late February if it’s early. Priorities people!
I also have another priority for February, but at may wait until my vacation at the end of that month. And I won’t be talking about it right away because IT’S A SECRET PROJECT! Maybe that will be my week for re-visiting the sewing room and some of the changes I’ve made?
If you’re looking for a fast quilt pattern to put together in just a few days of hard work, I think this might be the pattern for you.
Last week I was going to try to get the top together. Well, as you can see …
I’m pretty much there! I have one block left to assemble (already cut out and waiting), then I have to put the blocks together, then add a long strip at the top and bottom, and we have a finished flimsy! A block a night only took about an hour/hour & a half to cut out and sew together. 12 blocks, so that’s a little over a day if you’re only sewing 12 hours a day. This is a retreat quilt!!!
As you can see, I did modify the man block. I’m not 100% sure I’m happy with it though. My original idea was to give him a chinstrap beard (not what my brother has, but a beard is a beard on a square block), but I thought it made the mouth look funny. I went with a full beard, but now it looks like the bottom half was accidentally dipped in paint! What do you think? I suspect I’m going to rip that block apart tonight and do the chinstrap look. I think it’s better that way than how it is now.
Well that’s been my week and that will be my night! Short and sweet update. Next week will be the start of a quilting marathon. I now have 3 quilts in the queue … including the blanket that is still not on my bed!!!!!! Baby is coming in March, so maybe Auntie M should focus on herself first? We will see!
I don’t know what lit the fire under me … but I like it!
First up – the curtains. They … did not go according to plan. For future reference, if you ever ask someone to make sheers for you and they charge you handsomely for it, PAY THE MONEY. These things are beyond terrible to work with!!At this point, you can see I have two different lengths and I’m not entirely convinced the hem is straight. I’m sick to death of trying to get them right and I only have 2 more panels to get it right with, so this project is on hold. What I have for now is good enough … especially since we are back in lockdown here in Ontario!! No one is going to see them because no one is supposed to be in my house. They obscure the view from the back yard, so they are fulfilling the required purpose. I am DONE with them for now!
With that little nightmare fading behind me, I switched focus to the baby quilt. Again … lockdown, so am I ever glad I already bought the items I needed to work on this!!!! I will probably need to acquire a backing soon, but I can procrastinate on that for a few weeks.
Block 1: the dog block
This is the original pattern by Kelli Fannin created for Riley Blake Designs to go with the Fisher Price fabric they released. I’m not taking too many liberties with this pattern, but I think the dog block can do with some tweaking, don’t you?
There! That looks much better! 😀 Since this quilt is staying in the family, I feel that I can take a could make it look a little more personal without causing any confusion. I’m also planning on altering the bald man (column 2, row 2). Baby’s father (my brother) likes to keep a hair-free dome coupled with a big bushy beard! I haven’t looked at that block yet, but if I can modify it to look more like family … then yay!! Baby’s mother already looks somewhat like the blonde bob-hair lady (column 1, row 1), so the man block should be the only other change I need to make. I’m super excited to flex my design muscles a little bit!!
My UFO class goal for Jan 16 was to have all the fabrics picked out and the dog block done. Since I’m already well past that part, who wants to take bets on how far I can get in another week? Maybe … even … a whole quilt top?? I’m not committing to that, but … wouldn’t that be amazing???
First off – sorry for the absence. There were some WordPress issues. As a result, my domain name changed. Hopefully that doesn’t throw anyone off!
So Tula update first. The quilt is finished!!! Well, the quilt top … which was the goal! I’ve also basted the top with batting and backing. I had to order some thread and that is in the mail now, so I should be starting in the new year!! I’m not sure if I’m going to use the blue stripes or the purple stripes for the binding. We’ll have to see what happens!
I love how this top looks completed. I was very worried about how it would go together as there was an over-abundance of elements in this quilt. Light to dark from top to bottom, colour spectrum shift from left to right, but it all came together in the end! And taking out a row was the right call. It would have looked strange on a bed as it hung far down the sides of a queen but barely fit length-wise. Now it’s about the same size as the Skilly&Duff quilt shown below. And Husband went out of his way on more than one occasion to mention that he really likes it. High praise coming from him about a colourful quilt!
For Christmas, I spent a solid 2 weeks where I was sewing at least a little bit every day to get 5 (FIVE?!?!) wallets finished for the ladies of the family. I got them all done the night before (true M fashion right??). I only have a picture of 2 of the finished ones as the rest have been gifted already. I’m so happy with the way they turned out! The outer are made of vinyl (the scallop pattern) and cork. The inside is made of quilt cotton. Most of the inside was bought on sale, but the butterflies are (of course!!) from the Tula Daydream line. They are a perfect focal print!
Between Christmas and New Year’s, I decided to get a part of my life organized that I’ve been contemplating for some time. The TV stand!!! In my house, we have a lot of video game/computers type things, so it became a natural dumping ground for cables, consoles, headphones, etc. I started examining the space before the holidays with the intention of getting it all sorted. I decided that we needed to use fabric bins as they would work well in the space, but the size I needed height-wise to fit on the shelf was not a standard size. Getting what I needed from. Amazon or Wayfair was going to be expensive and I did not want to spend a ton of money on this … so I decided to make the bins!!!! I was initially planning on making all of them myself until I ran across an incredible deal on the smaller bins that was cheaper to buy than to make, so I just focused on the bigger ones. I found a pattern online (https://www.awilson.co.uk/how-to-sew-storage-boxes/) that came very close to being exactly what I wanted! I did make 2 changes to the pattern. First, I turned the box inside out when I assembled it. That was necessary because I was using bulky corrugated cardboard instead of thin cereal box cardboard. The button on bottom she suggested left the box bits hanging out in plain view. For the second part, since I wasn’t buttoning the bottom on, I made a sleeve for the box bottom, put the cardboard in the sleeve, tucked in the end, and put it face-down in the bottom. That adequately provides rigidity. Is it a solid box? No, not really, but those boxes will not be pulled out on a regular bases, so it’s firm enough to hold the shape and look good on the shelf.
Finally, the future as I see it: 1. Baby blanket!!!! We have a new baby coming to the family. IN MARCH. And I hadn’t started the new quilt at all beyond picking out the pattern. Well, I now have all the fabric selected/purchased. Come Jan 1, I will be starting to cut into it! 2. Curtains for the kitchen windows. I’ve been trying to get this part done for about a month, but I made a few different mistakes and each time I did, I didn’t have time to come back to it. I need to get those sheers done in January now! 3. Quilting Tula. Now that the top is finished and the quilt is basted, I need to get the quilting done. At the suggestion of Crazy Quilter, I’m going to quilt all the sashing, then bind the quilt, then do the block quilting over the course of the year! That actually sounds like a really cool idea and I’m all for trying new ideas!
2022 promises to be a sew-tactic year. Thanks for coming along with me so far. I’m excited to keep adventuring with you through another circle around the sun!
I am SO CLOSE to having a quilt on my bed!! You don’t even know how excited I am! When my last quilt wore out, I just started using old couch throws that we were planning on pitching. I figured on using them for a few months while I made myself a quilt, then life became a madhouse, and here I am 2 years later with no quilt going into the winter. IEEEE!!
I only have 10 blocks left. During the Crazy Quilter’s retreat weekend, I figured I’d focus on my Tula quilt and get that thing ready for quilting! The Tula club weekend had been the one previous, so I had a full list of the blocks left. I cherry-picked blocks from October and November. I’m looking for a fast finish here folks – anything with lots of piecing is going to hit the curb!
Sadly, I’ve been left chomping at the bit ever since. A couple of interferences popped up over the last 2 weeks that set me back. Thank goodness it’s stayed unseasonably warm!! I still have time!
First interference was house-related. We got new windows!! I have been patiently waiting for new windows since the spring! Moving in here late winter meant I didn’t have to deal with them much during the cold season, but my where they ever drafty!! I’m pretty sure they’re the same windows the house was built with circa late 70s early 80s. 40 years is a good run for a window, but it was long past time to upgrade. On at least one window, the plastic flange was so rotten that it simply shattered when I tried to close the window. Needless to say, we’ve had a wonderful supply of fresh air in the house this year! That is all behind us now though and we have lovely new glass to start the winter with. I moved my office into the sewing room for the duration, so I did not touch a sewing machine for A WHOLE WEEK! Horrors!
Second interference was one niece’s birthday. I desperately wanted to make her a nighttie. I’d ordered the fabric before the windows were started, so as soon as the work was done and I was able to pull my sewing machines back out of the closet, I set to work on that!!! Every time I make clothes, I always marvel at how fast I can put them together! Comparing quilts, clothes, and bags, clothes are the clear winner for fast project completion, especially fabrics that don’t need interfacing!! I think I need to make socks next. Who doesn’t like socks??
In the end, not only did I get her nighttie made, but I even had time to make the accompanying cape. Oh, did I not mention the cape? Every nighttie can be transformed into a princess gown with this handy cape mod. I picked up 40cm of satin from Fabricland, cut it in half (her little sister’s birthday is next week – guess what she’s getting? 😉 ), and put seams around it so the satin wouldn’t fray. I double-folded the edges in to make sure there are no exposed edges to fray. Then I put button holes at the top of the cape and sewed buttons to the shoulders of the nighttie. It is that simple … and that awesome! It was an absolute hit!
Last little thing finished was the father-in-law quilt!!! I’ve got all the threads on the front and the back buried! I made use of my new-to-me rocking chair (maybe I should do a blog post on the fun that was the restoration next) and parked my butt in the chair to get everything tidied up. Tonight, I need to get started on the label for the back. That’s all I have left to do, then it’s wash, dry and out the door!
As of last week, it’s finished! From top to bottom, start to finish, DONE! I can’t believe it myself! There is a teeny tiny amount to do left – weave in the thread ends and attach the label – but I’m counting this quilt as a 2021 finish!
After the previous week’s blitz, I only had the Tree of Life block to do. As we all know, that’s a special block for me, so I did a little extra quilting on it. Do you see the little leaves? I got very excited about that part. In fact, I’m still excited about it! I think it’s a perfect way to finish the block quilting portion of this quilt.
Up next was the sashing. I actually had several ideas about the sashing as I was working on it and had settled on fake cursive or waves. I thought waves would be more fitting, but would take longer. After I finished all the blocks and spread it on the bed to roll it, I realized that the quilting looked very busy because each block had completely different quilting designs. I thought that making the sashing busy too may detract from the blocks, so at the last second I decided to go with a simple X pattern on each strip. I used chalk and a ruler to mark the lines, then free-motion stitched the lines. I learned a couple of lessons about this design. First – I like it for sampler quilts! Very simple and clean looking. Second – 16” blocks are too big to quilt that design with a ruler. The first row didn’t look super straight and I got a similar look using the free-motion foot instead. Plus less cumbersome with no ruler and it went faster. Third – If I want those lines to look super straight and crisp in the future, I can only use the ruler on smaller focal blocks. I wanted to use it on the Amish Barns quilt when I finished it, but we’ll have to see. It may be easier to do the larger blocks if I’m only quilting a lap size. Fighting a queen size quilt through the machine while sewing with a ruler is hard!
With the sashing finished, all I had left was the outer border! This one I had picked out from the moment the quilt was finished and I stuck with it. I used the Taj ruler to put a simple design around the border. It will keep everything stitched down, it didn’t take too much time, and it looks neat and clean. Win win win!
Time to put away the quilting feet and rulers!! Whooo!!! Of course, we’re not quite finished, but OH SO CLOSE. First to trim the quilt. I took this opportunity to also measure the quilt dimensions at this point. When I pulled out the binding the night before, I was terrified that I didn’t have enough fabric to do the binding! Measuring the quilt first told me that I had more than enough to get it on. I may even have a fat eighth left over. And when I got the binding on, I cut off a spare 3 inches. How is that for perfect measurement!!
Binding was finished the night before UFO club. I tossed the quilt on the spare bed, took a picture, and sent everything off for my completion check-mark. I’m planning on weaving in the ends and putting on the label when I’m in Sudbury for a few days in November (more on that another day). My FIL may be dropping in this week, though, so I need to find a good place to hide it in the meantime!!
Sometimes I surprise myself at how much I can get done! I have expectations that X project will take so long, but if I really get in the zone, it feels like I can cut the time in half! Not really, but … it feels that way!
My original UFO class goal was 6 blocks this month, 6 blocks next month, bound and ready for Christmas. I’m on track to have all 12 blocksdone by the end of this week! And if I manage that, why not just have the quilt bound and finished so I can move on to other things?
The last few quilt blocks are relatively simple. Inspiration hits different ways I guess. I did try a modified version of the feather. It works okay, but not nice enough that I would try again. I’ll save it for focal quilting in blank spaces.
I did run into one snag while quilting the birds-in-the-air block. I guess I had a piece of scrap on the table that stuck to the back, then got quilted in!! This gave me a chance to use the duckbill scissors that my mum gave me for my birthday this year. I cut the fabric close to the seam, then shredded the fabric and pulled it out. It worked like a charm and I didn’t have to rip out any quilting! Whoop!!
The label is finished (but not printed), the sashing quilting has been figured out, and the binding is picked out. Can I get the whole quilt finished before my UFO class??? Probably not, but that would be nothing short of miraculous!
There’s a magic date in September where I go from having a *relatively* normal life pace to MAD DASH TO CHRISTMAS!! The date used to be Sept 19. My brother and sister’s birthdays are 2 days away from each other (Sept 19 & 21), so family festivities usually started there. Now we have a new date. Sept 18 – nephew birthday!! He turned 1. My goodness – has it really been a year? It feels like a year, but it also feels longer in some ways. I’ve had a lot of changes crammed into one year!
September is just the first stop on family gatherings. Next up: Canadian Thanksgiving (this year: Oct 11), then Halloween, then Niece 1 November birthday (the oldest), Niece 2 December birthday, Husband & SIL birthday, then Christmas.
See? I told you. MAD DASH. And that’s just for my family. Husband family needs holiday visits too!
This September got a bit more funky than usual because … well, life happens. We had in-law commitments one weekend (work party weekend), then I had the Birthday Explosion weekend, then I had an older relative holding outdoor get-together (age and health indicate this may be the last time I see them). Every weekend, booked. I didn’t even get to attend Crazy Quilter’s Zoom session! I KNOW!!! Tantamount to heresy that. You may have guessed that very little quilting was done. Some! But not much. But here’s what we have!
I buckled down and got 4 more Christmas Fig blocks done. I think I may need to rename this quilt. It’s not very Christmassy with the blues. Maybe I’ll call it Skilly & Duff. That’s a seafarer’s treat made with figs/plums – close enough! My commitment this month is 6 blocks quilted and the due date is next week!!!! So that is going to be my focus for any quilting time this month.
I’ve taken another look at my Tula Pink quilt and decided to pull a column out. The finished size of the full quilt is 90”x90”. Pulling out a row will make it 90”x80” ish, which is close to twin size. That’s about the size I was aiming for anyways, so that’s a better fit for me! It also gives me the breathing room to skip the assigned October blocks if I want. I may do that and pick and choose my last 10 blocks from the available 20. Make what I want! I did manage to get the 2 outer rows on each side sashed and sewn together in 4 patches. If I have time this month, I could put the green/blue and blue rows together. Then I’ll only have purple and purple/blue to focus on!
Now that I look at everything, I actually DID get a lot done! More than I expected I would, at least!
I did manage to get 3 more blocks quilted! My personal goal has been met. 🙂 Next month I aim to have 6 done, then 6 more done, then I just need to quilt the sashing strips and bind it! I can see the end! That reminds me – I need to get working on the label. Thank goodness I managed to fix my printer. I have 2 labels to print now, so that’s likely to happen sooner rather than later. First, though, I have to empty the Bubble Jet Wash bin of my side project …
I am making a clothes! The pattern is for the Maria Apron by Maven Sewing Patterns. I tend to wear form-fitting shirts and leggings for comfort and wanted to get some dresses to wear over them for modesty. I’ve always loved the Japanese house apron look and thought “Maybe I could just make that myself??” So – into the internet I went to find a pattern that would meet my standards. The one issue most of them is that they’re open in the back. Since I intend to wear leggings, I didn’t want that part of me sticking out when I wear it in public. The Maria Apron is PERFECT because it has pattern modification where the back wraps around and covers everything up! I’m very excited to get my first attempt together to see how it fits!
I’m using some fabric that I picked up on sale a while back (can’t beat $6 a meter!). I’m starting with the Large size and seeing how it goes from there. That may be a mistake as this is a UK designer and I find their sizes to be a bit smaller than US size standards, but we’ll see! I don’t want it to be too huge, so I’m willing to try smaller first. To that end, I had to use my multi-size method for marking fabric for cutting because I don’t want to cut the pattern down to size just yet. How do I do that? Old fashion magic.
I use carbon paper!! This method is AMAZING! First off, carbon paper is surprisingly cheap (100 black sheets at Staples cost a whopping $20 dollars). Second, it can be used MANY times over before a sheet is no longer useful (I’ve been using the same 8 pages since I got the bundle and there’s still lots of life left). Third, it doesn’t make the fabric dirty. It seems to take a significant amount of pressure to leave a mark, so resting the fabric on top of it doesn’t smudge anything. Fourth, it can come in a range of colours!! I think anything apart from black isn’t strictly carbon paper. It feels different and carbon is only black in nature. The white paper I got is technically called “graphite paper”. It behaves exactly the same way, though! Now I can mark both dark and light fabrics with patterns!
First, I start by laying down the carbon paper, carbon side up. If I’m doing several large pieces, I will tape them down so they don’t move as the fabric shifts around. Next, I put the fabric down, right side up. This means that the marks will be on the bottom. In the unlikely event that I do smudge the middle of the pattern, the marks won’t be noticeable from the front. Finally, I lay the pattern on top and put something somewhat heavy on it to make sure it doesn’t shift around. Sometimes, I’ll even tape the pattern to the fabric to make sure the pattern doesn’t shift. The one disadvantage to doing marking this way is that you can’t see your previous marks, so if the pattern moves on the fabric, you probably won’t be able to line it up perfectly again. That means re-drawing the whole thing, so it’s important the pattern-fabric layout stays the same. After all the pieces are stacked up, I use a tracing wheel to go over the size lines and voila – the pattern is marked!! I can just rotary cut along the carbon lines and I have my shape! I also use this for the small amount of appliqué I do when I need to cut out my shapes.
Now I have everything cut out and ready to sew! I’ve even finished fusing the neckline pieces that required fusing. This was the perfect project to work on for a day where I felt like sewing, but didn’t have the space to work on something other than my quilting (which I really did need a break from). For the coming week, though, there are other priorities on the horizon.
I have been so uninspired to work on my Christmas Fig quilt that I had to make it my UFO homework just to get it started. To be fair, there have been other more fun projects waving at me for distractions. Such as …
A bargello quilt!!! I got this jello role bundle from Troll Brothers this summer specifically to make a bargello quilt. I wanted something I didn’t need to spend a lot of time coordinating together and this fabric is so cute! I’ll explain more about how bargellos work in the future, but basically you sew all these strips together lengthwise, then sew the last and first strip together to make it a tube, then cut the tube different widths to make the bargello pattern. Since this will make a fairly small panel, I got some coordinating fabric to use for borders/binding, so I should get at least a lap size out of it!
But enough about distractions (or, at least, enough on that for today). This weekend was Crazy Quilter’s Zoom retreat, so I thought it best to get started on my UFO goal before I’m forced to cough up money. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a bit of incentive!
My goal for the month of September was to get 2 blocks (out of 20 total) quilted. As per usual, I started at the center of the quilt as I find that to be the most challenging part to do. The first block, despite now looking easy, took forever!! I had my handy-dandy quilt design chart pinned up to my easel design board to help, but I wanted to try a couple of modifications to the bow-tie block to see if I could get a different pattern quilted in. Each attempt was a failure, so after ripping out 2 rows, I just stuck to the stitch-in-the-ditch idea I had originally sketched. While I do intend to do quite a bit of stitch in the ditch, I have some original design ideas as well. And for at least one of the blocks so far, I barely followed my original sketch and came up with a quilting look that I LOVE! That seems to be the way for me. I just have to get started, then the ideas will begin to flow. 🙂
All in all, I managed to get 5 blocks done this weekend. I was hoping for at least 6, but when I stopped to make supper I came into the kitchen to discover Chaos reigned supreme! Husband cannot be trusted to entertain himself, apparently. Trouble ensues whenever I do that. By the time dinner was made and a sense of order had been restored, my only thought was movie night on the couch. At least I got a sweet reward for my pain … and 5 blocks really is better than no blocks at all!