Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

 IMG_5266 Take a guess which one the young man in the family carved! We were very proud of ourselves for getting these carved last night rather than this afternoon after school in a mad rush before trick-or-treating began!
Last night I also obsessed about the new quilt in progress.  I started cutting and sewing, and changing the plan as I went along and the next thing I knew it was way, way past my bedtime.  I made progress though.  With another few hours of work today, this is where it stands:
IMG_5268_r1I’ve been having trouble sorting out exactly how I want to piece the body of the lighthouse, and I have to rework my plan for other pieces of the lower half to balance out sizes and colours a bit with the upper half. I’m also peeved that my log cabin blocks are just a smidge smaller than they should be so I’ll have to redo a few seams to make the border fit around the center as the graph paper claims it should.  That said, I’m pleased with this overall so far.
Tomorrow’s task will be to stay clear of the quilting corner and clear the desk of office chores.  It will be tough though.  The desk sits on the opposite wall from the sewing machine…

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cutting fabric

I am finally cutting into this little stack of fabric.
These are mostly “Greetings from Canada” by Thimbleberries. (The light blue one second from the left is from my stash.) Mom sent these to me a year ago and I don’t think she quite believed me this summer when I assured her I had a plan for it that just needed to simmer a bit longer.
Here’s the plan:
OK, it doesn’t look like much in the picture :).  Maybe if you click on it to enlarge it you might be able to make out some of it.  I’ve drawn it out a few times to tweak this or that and I’m still not sure it will work the way I want it to.  You’ll just have to be patient right along with me until I get these pieced:IMG_5231

This just goes to show why I’d like to win a copy of the EQ7 software in The Pickledish Patch’s givewaway  It would be so much quicker and easier to design a quilt and I’d get a sneak peek before I actually sew it up!

The giveaway closes on October 27 so you still have time to go over and diminish my chances by entering too (I’ll understand and won’t take it personally, really!)
button w

Friday, October 14, 2011

Seam ripping again, and again, and…

You should know it’s time to step away from the sewing room when you spend more time becoming better acquainted with the seam ripper than the sewing machine.

Today I unpicked the free motion quilting I started on Wooffles’ quilt last night. It was worth it and I then spent a comfortable while practicing free motion on this little quilt.  It turned into a little sampler of different filler patterns.

IMG_5225 IMG_5227_r1

By the time I was done, I decided I might as well put the binding on too.  I decided to use TLC Stitches’ faux piped binding and I happily cut yellow strips for the “piping” and pulled out leftover purple strips for the binding.

Mistake #1: I cut the piping strip 1/4 inch too narrow and didn’t have any more of the yellow.   That’s OK, I just trimmed the purple narrower too and hoped for the best.

Mistake #2: I sewed a right side to a wrong side as I joined the binding strips.  Seam ripper!

Mistake #3: I sewed a beautifully straight 74” seam joining the long edges of the binding and the piping.  It just happened to be a 3/8” seam.  Another time I might have just left it but I remembered my binding strip was already 1/4” narrower than it should be and I didn’t think I could fudge with another 1/4 inch gone.  Seam ripper, it’s nice to see you again!

Mistake #4: I reset the seam allowance to a lovely perfect 1/4 inch, and promptly sewed the right face of the binding to the wrong face of the piping strip.  At least I noticed at only 30 inches into the seam this time.  Still, I had another visit with the seam ripper.

At this point a sane person would have stepped away from the sewing room, but my stubborn streak asserted itself.  Happily, it exuded a stronger aura than the seam ripper, which was not needed (much) again.


Here’s the final product.  It’s a little more “modern” than my usual work.  I don’t think any of those quilting motifs would work terribly well on my more traditional tops but it was a fun exercise.  Wooffles and his owner are perfectly happy with it, too, so it was worthwhile!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Now for something completely different

IMG_5219 Well, different for me, anyway. As my hand, full of tiny fabric scraps, hovered over the waste basket I thought “Why not sew them all together willy-nilly and see what happens?”  So I did.
I didn’t plan, measure, or square anything up as I went.  I didn’t even use my iron!  This was really out of character for me but it came out kind of cute so of course I pushed on a little further.
Voila!  Wooffles’ new play quilt (well, the top at least – it still needs quilting).  You see him in the picture on the right for scale.
That row of vertical stripes was supposed to be much less regular than it ended up.  Considering all the effort I have to put in to avoid wonky crooked blocks, you’d think that going wonky would require less work.  Not so.  Getting a crooked result on purpose was actually quite challenging!  It didn’t even get as crooked as I wanted.
The bottom section was inspired by CW quilts’ Jelly roll 1600 quilts.  I just sewed all my leftover bits of 1 1/2” bright strips together end to end, folded the resulting strip in half tip to tip and sewed along the long edge.  I cut the fold and opened up a new wider but shorter strip, which I then folded and sewed and cut again.  This was really the only way for me to sew all these bits together randomly, because otherwise I would have thought through every placement and it really wouldn’t have been random at all.  Am I making any sense?
Also, I want to point out that the little purple triangle in the white border was – ahem – totally intentional.  It had nothing whatsoever to do with sewing on a border strip a little bit over from where it needed to be and needing to fill the gap.  At no time was I – ahem- tempted to pull out a seam ripper to reposition said strip.  It is supposed to be totally improvisational after all!
This was a fun little side trip for me, but I’m going to head back into my comfort zone of carefully planned quilts for a little bit.  Here’s where the flying geese quilt stands, waiting for one last seam and then some sort of borders. (No prizes for guessing where the scraps for Wooffles’ quilt came from!)
I had thought of doing pieced borders with all the various colours, but now I think that would be overpowering.  Maybe two adjacent blue sides and two adjacent purples?  Or maybe not. Perhaps I need to bring the top in to the quilt shop and see if any appropriate fabric finds me.