Friday, July 27, 2012

You know you are addicted to starting new projects when...

When you finally cut out one project (from a kit you've had for at least 4 years)...

so you can use the leftovers to start another!

I've started making Tetris blocks, joining Melissa of Happy Quilting's "Tetris Quilt-Along"!  I love quilt-alongs, I actually have managed to finish a few quilt tops and even my Orca Bay quilt thanks to the motivation of having a set schedule.

Tonight, I watched the rebroadcast of the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics (Go, Canada!) and pieced together my blocks for Weeks One and Two.  I'm using a mix of solids, marbles and prints. So far, each "brick" is different, even if it is in the same colour category.  I decided on a black square to represent the "holes" where the Tetris blocks don't fill in.  (Not my idea, I saw a few examples on Melissa's linky.  I'm also making mine using 2 1/2" squares, not 5", so I could make use of those great leftovers.  This may end up being a mini-quilt at 24" x 36", or if I enjoy it enough, I'll keep going!

So here is my block for Week 1:

And Week Two:

Melissa has some great prizes, too, so visit her quilt-along page to join in!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weekend Sewing

I got a lot accomplished this weekend, but the best part was when my little man helped sew a pair of pyjama pants for himself.  He was so good and patient, and was able to help sew all the seams with a little help from Gramma!  He still can't reach the foot pedal (good thing!), but he sat on my lap and helped guide the fabric, push the locking stitch button, and discover how to adjust the speed (his favourite was turtle-speed, much to my chagrin). 

Little fingers were getting too close to the needle so he was willing to rest his hand on mine.

After the seams were sewn, he played while I finished the waistband and hemmed the legs.  He was so proud of them!

He had to have yellow thread because that is his "favourite colour" and I couldn't convince him otherwise. 

Then he started getting silly!  We called them his monster-hunter pants (he is using monsters as an excuse not to go to bed, so maybe these will help!)

He would not put them on for me, but later my daughter called to say they fit perfectly (and I was free to make more, if I wanted!) and that he wouldn't take them off even though it was 4 hours until bedtime.

I finally got my table cleared off so I can start doing some quilting.  I finished a mug rug first (no pics yet), then basted together the first of two lap quilts destined for my brother and his wife.  First up my sister-in-laws.

This was a remnant I bought about 5 years ago.  It was all factory-pieced together, but has an old-fashioned look as the seams aren't straight.  It was originally sold as yardage - I think it was part of Moda's Chocolat line (or same era, anyway).  It was on clearance for about $15 if I remember rightly, and was about 65" (and 50" wide), perfect for a lap quilt.  I bought another coordinating piece in a different pattern which is destined to be my brother's quilt.

I decided on straight-line quilting on the diagonal and used masking tape to mark my first lines.  I used two strips of 1 1/2" wide, so my lines are 3" apart.

I use the squish and push method of getting my quilt through the machine.  I used chocolate Minkee on the back, so I had to use my walking foot.  That meant I couldn't use the quilting guide for my machine so I had to come up with a way to mark more lines.  After stiching my first line, I marked two sets of lines at a time with the tape, and then stiched on either side of the masking tape.  I only had to fix two wrinkles on the back and it looks terrific now.

Because of the types of fabrics in the panel (woven plaids, jacquards, etc.) the quilt already has that yummy crinkly look!  I'm in love with the straight-line quilting - so easy!

Since there isn't a Sunday Stash report today, I'm saving the details hear for next report.

Details - Quilt:

Fabric used: 1.6 metres for top, 1.5 metres of Minkee for bottom.

Spray-basted - followed by pin-basting the corners to keep those together while manouvering the quilt through the machine. 

Thread: Mettler 50 weight colour 712 (I also bought varigated then forgot to use it!)

Total time: 4 hours to baste, quilt and trim.

Cost (not including taxes): $15 for top, $26.25 for backing, $10 for batting, $7 for thread = $58.25

Left to do:

Decide on binding (has anyone ever used Minkee?)

Details - Alex's PJ pants

Fabric used: 1 metre

Pattern traced from existing pants

Cost: $2 - I scored this fabric for $3 at a garage sale and used about 1/2 metre to make him a pair of shorts two years ago. 

The scraps from the trimmings of the shorts have shown up in his I-Spy quilt, my Orca Bay quilt and my ongoing 4-patch leaders and enders.  I've cut the remaining fabric into 5" charm squares for future I-Spy quilts, and the rest into 2 1/2" and 1 1/2" strips to feed into my scrap-users system (learned from Bonnie Hunter).  I'm sure they will be showing up in many quilts to come!

Friday, July 20, 2012

My new toy!

I saw an iron being demonstrated in Costco the other day, and thought $119 was a bit much to spend, when I had one that worked perfectly fine.  Then I read this post by Melissa of Happy Quilting!  It's not the same iron, it's one step down but after reading her review, and going back to ask a bunch of questions, I came home with this:

Of course, it only comes in orange, which clashes a bit with my blue, hot pink and lime green accessories, but maybe I'll make a little wall hanging to pull it all together!

It weighs more and is bigger than my old iron, but as soon as you let go of the handle it has this little feet that pop out and lift it off the ironing board (see the gap under it).  This keeps it from scorching your fabric and your board, and you never have to lift it more than a millimetre to slide it over your seams.  Of course, a new iron meant I had to test it out (but not until my 3 things were done) so I tried my hand at some flying geese.

These are for my Just Takes 2 Red & White quilt.  I'm trying different methods as I've never really been successful at making FG's.  This is the foundation-pieced method (supplied with the pattern) but I'm not married to it.  I prefer Judy Niemeyer's foundation-piecing method with precut pieces of fabric, and I can't figure out what size to cut them for these blocks.  And then I would get everything turned the wrong way, so I was frogging (you know: rip it, rip it with the seam ripper) a lot. I got frustrated and put them aside to work on the solution this weekend.  I already have some ideas - as I was piecing this, I realized I could probably use my companion angle and EZ angle to make these, and use chain-piecing to speed up the process.  

I wasn't ready to stop playing with my new iron, so I pulled out some ancient Christmas fabric inherited from my mother and ironed the wrinkles out. That iron literally got the wrinkles out with one pass!  Then I made some snowballs for Katie Mae's snowball fight.  Mine are 6 1/2" unfinished, with 2" squares in the corner.  I'll make more as I dig through the stash to add to this:

This quilt is going to be a tribute to my Mom, who has been gone for 11 long years.  Her favourite holiday was Christmas, but because she had a wicked sense of humour, she loved to portray herself as a Grinch. She also loved the classic Christmas shows, and couldn't resist this shirt with her favourite Sesame Street character, either. She used to wear this T-shirt when her workplace tried to make them wear some t-shirts emblazoned with the latest catalog cover (she worked in customer service at Sears), much to the customers' delight.  I came across it when we were cleaning out her closet and after all these years, decided it was time to do something with it. 

 I bought some Grinch fabric (Robert Kaufman line), and I've pulled some of her old Christmas fabric scraps (some date back to the early 80's) out of the box.  I'll use mostly moderns and solids, but I want some of her scraps in it. I have an idea in my head, and have drafted an initial design and I'm going to work on it slowly, and let it percolate.  I'll make blocks in some basic finished sizes (i.e. 3", 6", 9", 12", etc) and wait until I have a good size collection before I actually put together the final design. 

What I've done so far: I cut the T-shirt apart preserving all the design.  I then backed the T-shirt with a very lightweight fusible interfacing to eliminate the stretchiness.   Because the T-shirt was a smaller size, the words on the bottom extended beyond the area where the armholes were.  I solved that by piecing some strips of wonky flying geese and inseting them, making a final block of 18 1/2" square.  This will be the centerpiece of the quilt. 

One of Grinch fabrics I bought was the book panel, and I'm going to make wonky log cabins from some of them, and maverick stars from some others.  I'd love to add some of the Peanuts characters fabric, but they have a lot of blue in them, while the Grinch fabrics don't. I may still find a way to incorporate at least a little bit.  This quilt doesn't have a time frame, so I can be patient!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Trying something new!

I'm adding one more thing to my 3-things list, I have to sew for 20 minutes a day on something fun.  So today, I made one more block for my Farmer's Wife quilt-not-so-a-long. I'm up to 9 now.


Pardon the not-so-true colour, but it was 11 pm, when I took the picture.  For the first time, I tried double-stitching the corners to create HST blocks, but these babies are only 1 1/4" unfinished.  By the time I sew all four together, I will only get a 1 1/2" finished block - it would take an awful lot of those to make something with!  I think I'll just throw the cut-off triangles out if the bonus blocks turn out so small.

I didn't get the Thangles quilt top finished yet, all the rows (6) are together, so I just have to piece them together and add the outer border.  I'm setting aside an hour first thing Saturday morning for that, then I'm getting ready to do some machine quilting!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Sunday Stash Report, Week 29

One thing about getting the housework done before sewing - my floors are now clean enough to do this!

I'm taking a break from piecing this top, which will be done today!  We have thunderstorms rumbling through and my dog, Daisy, is needing comforting (she kept getting under my foot while I was trying to sew).

I am counting it in as complete, as I am determined it will be done.  I have a stack of tops that need to be quilted and this one has to get off the table to make room!

Used this Week:  10.75 metres
Used year to Date: 60.75 metres
Added this Week: 0 metres
Added Year to Date: 49.15 metres
Net Used for 2012: 11.6 metres

It sounds like a lot for a lap quilt, but I used the total amount included in the kit, which included enough for the binding and the borders. By my calculations, there should be enough over left to piece almost the entire back, if not all.  It'll be like getting two quilts in one! Of course, that means I won't be able to add to my totals when it is completely finished, but now I'm accountable to getting it done!

I've taken the last row off, as it is too long and skinny for my tastes, and I want it as a lap quilt, so I don't need to make it wider.  I'll piece the extra blocks into the backing, so there won't be any waste.

(Pardon the blurry pictures and the bare toes - it was early when I took these pics!)

This was a kit, and the directions were not quite right (or I didn't cut them right - more likely!). I was short a few sashing strips.  But there is plenty left over, so I probably could have even made 6 more blocks if I wanted to make it twin-size.  I don't mind having leftovers, all the better to increase my stash for scrappy quilts.

Once I was able to get my "helper" out of the way,  I played with the blocks to make sure I didn't have two the same together.  Some of my blocks have decent contrast:

Some - not so much (I talked more about this here):

Since this was a mystery quilt and the fabrics were a kit, I had invested too much into it (both time and money) to make drastic changes, since it is just a lap quilt for me anyway.  I think once I have put it all together and finished the machine quilting, I going to outline the inner block shapes with some chunky handstitching in a dark brown perle cotton.  That will probably make them pop a bit more.

One thing about taking pictures, it makes it easier to spot mistakes.  Can you find which one of these blocks has one? This block has been culled to be placed on the back!

It has brightened up outside so hopefully the thunder has rolled away.  We rarely get thunder and lightning here, but it's been pretty unsettled since Friday.  We had one crack of thunder that right over head, and set off car alarms, and Daisy has been jumpy ever since.  One of the neighbours thinks the lightning hit the ground just around the corner but we didn't lose power or even have rain - although just 10 minutes away at the mall, they did!  Now that she has calmed down a bit, I'm going back to finish this top!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

This weekend's 3-things list

I am good at getting things accomplished, but only if I make a list AND keep it short.  Last year, I tried listing 3 things I wanted to accomplish each day, and it worked until I fell off the wagon.  So back on I go.  I also have to make sure my 3 things are not sewing-related, that has to be a reward and the housework still has to get down.  So, my list for this weekend is:

Vacuum & dust

Scrub the bathrooms

Vacuum & wash the car

Strip the bed

Clean out the fridge

Humm, that doesn't look so bad.  Maybe I'll actually stick to it this time! Then I'll be able to post some sewing accomplishments.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday Stash Report, Week 27 & Happy Canada Day!!

Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!  I hope you're having a good day - once again, it is raining on the Wet Coase (but sun is coming! at least that's what the weatherman is saying)

Today is quiet around my house, we not getting together as a family this year, but I did have the kidlets overnight.  In past years, we have gone camping, had bar-be-ques, gone to the lake, but I'm actually looking forward to a quiet day today. I'm in the midst of decluttering and having a long weekend to do is quite productive.

When I get tired of emptying cupboards, or later in the evenings, I've been sneaking some sewing in.  I finished a second pillow cover, and started quilting it.  I hope to have both finished this week, but in the meantime, I'm counting the flimsies! I also got the top pieced for Zoey's bed quilt, which isn't due til Christmas, but I want to do some fun stuff with it. Good thing I had some finishes, after all I added some on Friday, so it's pretty much a wash!

Used this Week:  3.5 metres
Used year to Date: 50 metres
Added this Week: 3.25 metres
Added Year to Date: 49.15 metres
Net Used for 2012: 0.85 metres
At least I'm heading back in the same direction!

My wonky Union Jack, honouring the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the upcoming Olympics.  It's wonky because I apparently can't follow directions. I read "trim 1/8" instead of 1 1/8" from these excellent directions from Liz at Dandelion Dreams.  The directions really are good, and she has apparently updated them since I saved the original link - it's just this user failed!

And this is Zoey's quilt.  I'm going to quilt the top, add piping and either a tailored or flouncy skirt, depending on what type of bed she gets and what her mother wants.  The fabric is "Before the Kiss" by Avlyn Fabrics, which I found at a local chainstore but is really nice quality.

The centre panal is very cute, and detailed as well.  That's what my daughter fell in love with when she saw the sample, that and the bling that was on it.  The crowns and stars all had hot-fix crystals attached, and from my research it appears it will be okay to add those to the quilt.  I've added some crystals to a few different items, including a sample of this fabric and I can't get them off without a sandblaster!

Won't these stars look pretty and shiny!

And for a laugh, here are Dumb and Dumber trying on the Canada Hat:

Have a great long weekend and happy Independence Day to my neighbours south of me!