Sunday, December 29, 2013

Must be something about New Year’s

Last year on New Year’s Eve I was inspired to delve into my scrap strips bin to pick out some scrap strips for a Lone Star table runner.  In the end I didn’t finish it completely until March, but the end of 2012 is when those scraps called to me.

It isn’t quite New Year’s Eve yet, but look what had to come out to play today:


These are strings instead of strips, but scraps just the same.  Honestly, the bin was getting rather full and I was questioning my sanity.  Why did I keep all these when I likely wasn’t going to use them?

Enter the 60 degree triangle ruler I received at Christmas.  Dig out a 2004 issue of Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting.  Resize the units to make them smaller.  Start sewing strings into strip sets.  Throw in a a few strips from the strip bin to add variety in width and color.




Ta da!  I have a good start on a new lap quilt.


I’m hoping once I have all the string sets made and the triangles cut I can distribute the colors evenly enough and avoid a muddy look.  There are rather a lot of different colors and fabric styles competing here.  Looking at this picture I really like the top and the right hand stars, but the other two don’t have the same pop.  I think the bright green and yellows might be what’s lacking in the other two.  My plan was to only use my scrap bins, but I’m wondering if they contain enough of those bright colors.  I might cheat and dip into the bin of bright fabrics and artificially create a few more bright strings. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Emergency quilt repair

I have mentioned before that I need to start a new quilt for my son’s bed.  His current quilt is only 4 years old, so I was a little surprised to see fabric shredding on it.  I do make my quits to be used, and this one has been used daily since it went on his bed in Fall 2009. It has had Legos and books and bodies on it as well as under it, and it has been in the sun every time the sun shines in the window, so perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised after all.  Still a little disappointed though.  I really loved this one.  He still does.


It is a little faded now, certainly not as bright as in this picture, but still looks pretty good except for that shredding issue so we decided it still had some wear in it.  After reading about various quilt repair techniques online that seemed very time consuming and that I thought would stick out like a sore thumb (any new fabric inserted or appliqued over would not go with the now gently faded original fabrics), I decided to do this instead.


The fabric was only shredding at the seam, so I tacked everything down again with variegated thread and fancy stitches on my sewing machine.  It gives the repaired areas a crazy quilt kind of look.  You can see in the second row, far left, that it results in random bursts of pattern on the black back of the quilt, but I can live with it. The quilt is at least stabilized, for now, and can be used a little while longer.

As a side note, all the shredding fabrics were batiks.  There were other fabrics in the worn areas that would have seen the same amount of wear, but the batiks were the ones giving out.  Has anyone else seen this or heard about such issues with batiks?  I’ll certainly think carefully before I use them again in a quilt that will see heavy use.

Now that I’ve bought a little more time, I can spend a little longer deciding on a design for my son’s new quilt.  He would like black with bright colours again, so that’s what I’m working with.  I had thought to make Seeing Stars again with a black background and more colours, but I saw a building block quilt that might be cool too.  I would need to figure out how to place the black among the colours to make that work. I have a resource or two to help with that on my Christmas wish list, so I’ll postpone my decision till after Christmas, in case those resources should find their way under the tree.  I’d like to go buy the fabric before New Year’s though, as my local quilt shop has a storewide 15% off sale through the end of the year.

I’ve already shopped the sale for another project.  I’m off to cut vast quantities of fabric now.  I’ve only made one queen size quilt before, and I’d forgotten just how much fabric and how many pieces they need!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Obsessing? Me?

I couldn’t help myself.  I cut up more red, green and white scraps and made little ornaments.  It just couldn’t be avoided!


After I made the first little blocks I tried various ways of finishing them.  The first several I tried sandwiching them face down then turning them right side out, but on this scale it looked messy, especially where I couldn’t get all the turned out corners equally pointy or rounded, and the points didn’t look vey sharp as they rounded the edge of the puffy little sandwich.  I wasn’t very satisfied with the end result and almost gave up the idea of making more at that point

Luckily, sometimes the brain cooperates.  Usually if I think of something in the middle of the night, that thought is gone by morning.  This time it stuck.  I thought of adding a little border, outline quilting in the border then pinking the edges with pinking shears.  These will be hanging in a tree, not going through the laundry so there is no reason they have to have a sewn finished edge.  The pinked edge through all three layers of the quilt sandwich looks just fine, and certainly crisper than my previous finishing attempts.  So of course I became obsessed and went from two ornaments to eight.
There are more in progress too.  These little blocks are just waiting for their borders, then I’ll sandwich them with a square of muslin and a square of batting.  I can write on the muslin to turn them into gift tags or to record the year they were made, or both.  And just so you know,  they are not very time consuming, so I still had time to do groceries and laundry the past few days.  I may be obsessed but I still like eating and clean clothes!


In case anyone else might need a harmless (and yes Katie, I know, crazy!) obsession I prepared a free photo tutorial showing how to add to the Ridiculously Tiny 4-Patch to make an ornament.  It also has alternate sizes to make a 4” coaster instead.

Only 11 more days to tree-trimming in our house…