Finish to Start

Hmm, WordPress has changed my font, Okay then.

I finished the quilting on Grassy Creek yesterday. I am a little unhappy with it though. The quilt top wasn’t as square as I thought it was. The lines of quilting came up a little short on the right side as I progressed down the quilt. When I started, I trimmed all the rows at one time, which works on square quilts. When doing the layout on the computer it’s a bit easier too. I usually try to go over the edges by about an inch, that way the design looks like it goes to the edge and the stitching ends are covered in the binding. The OTHER way to do an all-over Panto is to trim it row by row. It’s sort of like the difference between rotary cutting and scissor cutting quilt pieces. I am thinking of trimming the outside border squares, so that the straight stitches are covered by the binding. That’ll make those outer patches look like they are 1 inch, instead of two.

After I removed GC from the frame I measured and cut the pink minky and pinned it to the leaders. That’s my start, today I’ll get the tops on and start quilting. It’s like assembly line quilting, right? Plenty more quilts in this line. These two tops, the Irish chain Mia Charro Forest Friends tops, are going to be quilted side to side. I set them up next to each other and make the machine quilt across both. Same panto, with a two inch space in between. It’s very efficient, but it does require a bit more watching when the machine gets to the spot in the middle of the two. You have to watch that the foot stays on top of the quilt, and doesn’t get caught underneath. Bad things can happen, and with minky, it can be difficult to remove errant stitches with out leaving a mark.

Which reminds me of something I wanted to post about. When I was piecing the backing for the large tee shirt quilt, I was using some strips of burgundy in-between the navy to make it wider. There was a bit of stitching on the burgundy that I had to remove so I could use it. The was a very visible line in the fluff left after the threads were cut out. I was thinking about how, when making a stuffed toy, one must (can)pull the fluff out of the seam lines with a needle or stiletto to make it look better. I didn’t feel like carefully doing this with the minky though. I came up with a different technique, a soft tooth brush. I found that brushing the area with the grain and then against it, actually helped to erase the stitch lines.

Going to get the binding done on GC today, have to trim it up first. Always a fun time on the floor with the three dogs “helping”.

Be Kind

Two Bags in One

I am making shopping bags this week. Just two, and a zipper bag to hold them. The shoppers are designed like those nasty plastic ones, only they are reusable and washable. Plus they are a lot prettier to look at. The recipient of these bags enjoys visiting London UK, sense the theme here? This is a linen print I picked up as a remnant, Cotton and Steel, I only had a yard, which was enough to cut the main parts for two bags, but only the handles for one. Stash to the rescue, I have a bunch of Essex linen scraps, this gray was perfect. The linings are Bella solids, simple. The zipper bag pattern came from The Polka Dot Chair, I used Annies foam stabilizer in between the fabrics and denim instead of canvas. It is “cushy” and padded, I don’t think is big enough for an iPad, but a good idea for one.

One shopper is inside the zip bag.

Speaking of stash, on our local neighborhood email group, someone posted a need for fabric and yarn. They are part of a local charity that makes blankets and things for homeless and low income families. I asked if they could use batting scraps, and yes, they could. I found three bags full, and another three bags of yarn, just hanging around. I stuffed them all into my car, for drop off later today. Yay! for de-stashing.

Yesterday I wanted to finish up the quilting on my Grassy Creek quilt, I even turned everything on and got ready to line up the next row. Then I remembered that our power supplier was going to work on equipment near by, which means they shut the power off on our road. For hours. It makes me angry, not that I don’t have power, but that they let the infrastructure degrade so much over the past 50 years, that now they have to replace rather than maintain. Reminds me of another big state in the news recently. Anyway, we had gotten letters saying that they were going to do said work on 3/9/21. Rather than have the power cut while quilting mid-row, I opted to cut out the bags. Of course, they didn’t shut it off, and they don’t have to tell us that they aren’t going to do the work on that day. They’ll just send a re-schedule notice next week. I am hoping to get GC done today. The power company can’t shut us off without 72 hours notice, thankfully. So I am safe for a few more days.

Be Kind.

Needs More Cow Bell

Actually, needs more fabric is a better title, but I like the old SSNL skit with Christopher Walken. Last month I signed on to Busy Hands’ quilt-a-long for Myra’s Hampton Court quilt. This is a monthly check in, low stress, fairly easy pattern, with nice community of quilters and I liked the quilt. First task was to choose the fabric, I wanted to use the two rolls of 30’s type florals I had bought when Blueprint had a clearance sale. But the more I looked at it, the less I liked the idea. Then the fat quarter stack of ‘Sequoia’ from Laundry Basket Quilts caught my eye, yes, that’ll do. Now to find the perfect accent solid for the pattern, I picked “earth” Bella Solid (small piece in photo), and ordered three and a half yards from The Fat Quarter shop. I then started cutting the strips from the FQ’s thinking I could get it done while waiting for the solid. That chore was finished last week and I still don’t have my accent fabric. Then I had the idea to order a different color/type from a different shop, and it would be here sooner. On average my last few orders of yardage from The FQS, have taken three weeks, precuts and supplies are faster though. I picked a pretty rust colored Essex linen ‘Sierra’ over at Equilter, checked the pattern and read 8 yards of contrasting/background needed, okay, done. I was happy that I had caught my mistake of not ordering enough fabric in the first order. Then I started thinking, wow, eight yards is a lot of fabric for this pattern. Yeah, like four and a half too much, darn it. I mis-read the pattern PDF, in my defense (lol) it was vertical on the screen, and reduced in size, and threes can look like eights. Mmhmm.

Now I have a bunch of fabric coming, a bunch because I had to buy a few more yards to get free shipping on both orders too. It’ll be a fun day when it all finally does arrive. I am thinking that the Earth colored Bella will also go with my collection of Tim Holtz fabrics, definitely a quilt or two worth of those. And, a pieced backing for the Hampton Court quilt will finish the linen. That’s my plan.

Baby quilt with Mia Charro Prints

I am slowly working my way through the quilting of my Grassy Creek quilt. I am using wool batting and a pretty swirling feathery panto called Seaside Feathers. I like the puff, and the light weighted-ness wool batts give to a quilt. Once GC is off the frame, I have the two Mia Charro baby quilts (above) to get done, and the table runner I made for my DS back in December. Work is just piling up around here. It’s a rainy day today, so the lure of being outside is not as strong, good day for quilting.

I’ve been making progress on the Pet all the Dogs sampler. Started the side border yesterday, and finished the motifs on the right side. I’m kinda wishing I had incorporated a bit more color in this sampler, but I’m committed to finishing it as is. I finally got all the threads and fabric and patterns together for my next two cross-stitch projects, Heaven and Nature Sing and Strawberry Fields. They are all kitted up and waiting.

Be Kind.

Finishes and starts

The tee shirt quilt is done, quilted and bound. The quilting was finished Sunday and the binding yesterday. I did something “different” with the binding, I used minky. I was a little hesitant, but I have seen it done on YouTube, so it must be do-able. The quilt was so soft and drape-y, I didn’t want to put a plain cotton binding on it, too stiff and scratchy. I had enough left over minky from the backing to cut long strips, perpendicular to the grain/stretch. I started with 2 ½ inches wide, but discovered that 2 1/4 was better. I sewed it to the back right sides together and then folded it to the front and sewed the cut edge to the front. It worked well, as I didn’t think I would be able to sew the two folded edges on top of each other without a struggle. I did use my seam guard set at ½ inch for the back side and 5/8 for the front side to keep it on the straight and narrow. Happy to have this project finished.

After I took the Tee shirt quilt off the frame, I pinned the backing for the Grassy Creek quilt on it. I like doing this, as then when I want to quilt, it is almost ready to go. Unfortunately, I didn’t pin it right and had to redo the top rail, so much for time saving. I seem to remember buying or finding in my panto library, an appropriate design to use, I should write these things down. I think I want to do something leafy and swirly.

Another start was a baby quilt for a regular customer. Coincidentally, I had just finished designing a block to use with the Mia Charro Forest friends fabrics. It is so sweet and springlike, as luck would have it, the baby was a girl and my customer liked the pretty flowers and animals. I decided to make two while I was at it, since I had enough fabric and I was using my Accuquilt strip cutter. For the first top I cut the individual squares and chain pieced the blocks. There are four blocks, but they are 20 inches square, really 16 ten inch blocks. The second top, I wised up and cut the strips and sewed sets of five together.

I ran into a bit of a problem with the animal prints, they are 4 1/4 by 6 inches. When I was figuring the block sizing out, I used 4 1/4 by 6 ½ inches. I had to increase the upper and lower white pieces to 2 3/4 inches wide and it all worked out. I ended my day with quilt #1 on the design wall, waiting to be put together and the strip sets for #2 sewn together. I think I have enough pink minky for the backings for both, I may even do another minky binding.

I need to get to cutting the pieces for the Busy Hands quilt along quilt, Hampton Court, this week. I decided to use this pretty pile of fat quarters from Laundry Basket Quilts, called Sequoia. I am wavering on what color to use for the contrasting blocks, I bought some ‘earth’ colored Bella solid, but it isn’t here yet. I may use tan, or gray, or white, maybe green would work too. So many options.

Pet All the Dogs stitching has been happening too. Once I finished the house, the other motifs are a breeze, I’m trying to get a bit of the lower lines done now. I’ll probably finish the right tree tonight and the brown dividing line. I ordered a bunch more Weeks floss for the Heaven and Nature sampler and the few skeins I needed for Strawberry Fields this past weekend.

I also saw a beautiful (free) blackwork quilty type sampler at Blackwork Journey , called Tiny Treasures. There is a square and a rectangle version, I downloaded the PDFs for a possible future project, this one would require the magnifiers assistance.

Time to get a move on.

Be kind

Pretty Ugly

This morning while I was pretending to sleep in, I started thinking about the words pretty and ugly. In reference to my current quilt top in progress, the Serpentine String. Lately I’ve been de-papering it while watching the quilting happen on the tee shirt quilt. Pulling all the foundation paper off, reveals all the fabrics in their glory. To me, pretty ugly means sort of nice looking, like not THAT ugly, good looking ugly? Or it could be an oxymoron ugly and pretty at the same time. Then there is quantitive pretty, a little less than very, as in that quilt is pretty ugly. I’m going to call it Pretty/Ugly, like those dogs that are not so cute, (bull dogs anyone?) but endearing in their own way. That is what this quilt is to me, all the scraps and strings from so many other projects that were pretty. It’s endearingly pretty ugly.

It started with the simple task of clearing off the top of a shelving unit. The box had a pile of string blocks from a swap circa 2001-ish. I had cut them into triangles at one point, and then put them in the box “for later”. I started playing with them and Bonnie Hunters Serpentine Quilt popped into my head. The puzzle I had completed just the week before, features this quilt along with six others from the book String Frenzy. I found a few yards of yellow and a pile of newsprint papers and was on my way to making blocks. The string pile I ironed last year was ready for use too. I started with the intent of making a lap quilt, but as I was making the blocks I found that I liked making them and they used a lot of strings. I ended up making 41, one too many, and used up most of the yellow solid. Once I had them all together though, I thought the top looked unfinished. Needed borders, yep, and there were plenty of strings left. I cut the newsprint sheets in half and make a bunch more string blocks of parallel strings. I briefly thought about extending the serpentine into the border to loop back into the next row, but I couldn’t wrap my head around the angles involved. When I put the string border next to the center, it looked too busy and “mushy”. I needed a spacer in between, the yellow would have worked, but I didn’t have enough left over, and not enough of any other yellow in my stash. Blue, when all else fails, add blue, I have lots of blue too. The blue strip was a backing scrap, and there is even enough to make a binding with.

I finished removing all the paper today, what a mess. I’m thinking I’ll bring the shop vac in and vacuum up all the scraps of paper in one go. I have a feeling though, that the little scraps are going to be around for the next week. I need to iron the top flat again too. All those seams are sticking up and not going to play nice with quilting. I have not picked out a quilting design yet, it should be something fairly open, but I want it to add a little texture. I just did a baby quilt with a plain Baptist fan design, I have a few others with different options. I am also thinking stars for some reason. Maybe tomorrow morning’s musings will arrive at something, hopefully better than the name Pretty/Ugly.

Be Kind

Binding things (up)

I got some things finished yesterday, including bindings on two quilts. My morning goal was to get the blocks for the serpentine string quilt put together. I got the columns done, four more seams to do today, I’m contemplating a stirring border for it, which would really finish up my pile of strings. I feel like the top is just floating, but I’m getting a little tired of string piecing. I did get to do another three rows of fan quilting on the second farm charm quilt, and ended my day with a little roofing of the house from “Pet All the Dogs”. The roof stitching feels like it is taking a bit longer, I’m using variegated thread and one is “supposed to” stitch each cross singly to get a more visible variation of the thread color. I am slow to get the rhythm of it though. I’m looking forward to doing one of the smaller motifs on this sampler, this house is 95 stitches across and about 70 tall, lovin’ the 32 count linen, lol.

Yesterday I got the backing for the tee shirt quilt cut and re-pieced, now it is wide enough. There are lots of little minky fluffs floating around the sewing room today. I pieced the backing with three center stripes of burgundy and blue, I must remind myself to load it sideways. Sideways loading prevents the humps of seams that develop when rolling the backing onto the frame. The humps can mess with the tension of the backing (especially stretchy minky) and in turn make a mess of it. I have three more rows of baptist fan quilting on the Farm Charm 2 quilt, then I can get to the tee shirt. I’d really like to have this off my to-do list.

Linking up with Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict today for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? today. Then I am off to sew on this rainy morning.

Be Kind

Add, Subtract, Multiply

Lately it seems like I have been doing all three math related activities. The past three quilt backings I have made were too small. Only one was discovered to be short while quilting though. Two were added to, and the third is still waiting for the fabric to get here. Two of the battings used were franken-battings, I really need to do something with all the cut off batting pieces I have accumulated. I buy most of my batting by the roll, either 90 inches wide or 45 inches wide. King size batts I like to buy already cut to size, as I usually use poly-batts due to the weight of cotton batting. I have gotten better about saving cut off pieces too. I no longer save anything less than 12 inches wide.

The white is the three inches I added to make the backing longer.

The Unity quilting was going along smoothly, or so I thought, until I took it off the frame. There were two whole rows that had rail-roaded bobbin thread on the back. There was a lot of stitch subtracting going on yesterday. The stitching came out fairly easy, partly because of the loose tension of the top thread and partly because of the panto, it was pretty simple. Once I had the rows 2 and 6, unpicked, re-quilting it was pretty simple.

The multiplying fabric strings is a bit of a mystery. Where did they all come from? I recognize most of them from past quilts and projects, but why did I save them? I don’t make strings specifically while I am cutting fabric for a quilt. Maybe I did at one time? I don’t remember. Usually I cut a bunch of 2 ½ inch squares, I have a bin full of those too. It’s not like I use a lot of 1 ½ inch wide strips either, but that’s what most of them are. Sure there were some Log Cabin quilts, but not that many. It is a big pile and as I make the Serpentine blocks, I think I am making a dent in it, but there always seems to be more in the bin. I do have another bin of extra binding pieces, which I have not opened yet. Maybe I’ll make the binding for this quilt from some of them. That’ll be a yard gone out of that bin.

I made another batch of blocks this weekend. I chain piece them, doing 12 block parts on a chain. I cut the yellow kites and glue them on, then start adding the strings alternating left then right. I have a sharp pair of scissors near me to make the strings short enough, or a bit narrow-er. These blocks are fun to make and I can make five or six in about two hours. I realized today that I’ll have plenty of strings to make another quilt top (or two) once this one is done. Maybe it is time to make the Lego quilt. I am wondering if I can do it without making all my strips 1 and ½ inches wide. Probably, even though most of them are that wide. Just the thought of cutting all the strips makes my wrist ache.

Antique “lego” quilt from Lazy Gal Quilting

I just don’t want to put them back in the bin and let them multiply anymore. I have been wanting to make the Bonnie Hunter string quilt called Emerald City since last year. I was supposed to have a class with her at Asilomar, but Covid wiped that out. Anyway, I have a whole bunch of greens that I collected to make it, but I “feel” that I need to make use of these scrappy strings first. There aren’t enough greens in the string bin to make that quilt, so it’ll wait. I’m going to look at Pinterest, and see if I can get any ideas for this never ending pile of strings.

Linking up with Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for Design Wall Monday today.

Be Kind

Scrappy Squirrel

Scrappy Squirrel is a quilter’s superhero, really. She digs into the deep stash and finds new and fun projects that appear at the speed of a sewing machine going pedal to the metal. It started out as a simple chore in the sewing room, clear off a pile of stuff that had accumulated on top of a set of drawers. There was a shoe box with fabric in it, a bag of bonus hsts from Summer Solstice (circa 2014), two large blocks made in a class (circa 2005?) and a Hawaiian quilt block from earlier 2000, parts of a storm at sea, and a bunch of triangles cut from strip sets.

After much head scratching, I remembered where they were from. In early 2000, I was part of a yahoo group that did various block swaps and group efforts. These blocks came from one of them, the project was to make a strip set of a bunch of strings 18″x 8″ (I think) and cut them into HSTs and attach them to solid triangles. Somewhere along in the past twenty years, I cut them into triangles of the pointy kind and made a few hexagons, and abandoned them in the box. I put them on the design wall, trying to randomize, but it was too eclectic, and kinda ugly. Hmm. I looked at them for a while and that’s when Scrappy Squirrel showed up. Bonnie Hunter was the answer, the quilt on the cover of her book String Frenzy , Serpentine Web. It has lots of triangles and was the ultimate in scrappy goodness. I grabbed the book and looked at the pattern, Yellow, lots of yellow, would it work with these uglies? I had three yards of yellow solid in the stash, yeah, not too bad. The center kite shape, didn’t I have an Accuquilt die that was this shape, yes! The die was slightly longer than the one from the pattern, but I could make it work. I cut a pile of newsprint triangles, yay, paper piecing.

I made one block, it was fairly easy to do using the triangles and the precut kites, most were 6 seams, square up, and done. I like it, then I grabbed the bin of strings I had ironed this past summer, lots of colors and prints and oldies in there. I was off and running. The former orphans were used up in no time and the pile of strings is being chipped away at. The pattern calls for 50 or so blocks and each block has four kites, I have 10 here. I’m thinking maybe thirty whole blocks, there are half blocks to complete the rows for a throw size.

Today I will do the dog bed covers that Scrappy Squirrel distracted me from yesterday. Really.

Be Kind.

FFO

I recently learned that in Cross Stitch land, an FFO is a framed finished object. I have another FFO, the cat head, or as the pattern is titled, Bright Eyes.

I got the frame at Michaels yesterday. I was hoping to find a square frame, but settled on the 8″ x 10″ one. I like the way the wood looks with the colors of the floss/design. I’m not sure if I’m framing and stretching my stitchery in the “correct” way, but they look okay to me. I’m sure there are hundreds of videos I could watch, but I got it done, and that’s what counts.

While at Michaels, I picked up the DMC floss I needed for the Heaven and Nature sing cross stitch. It was 62 cents, as much as I enjoy the beauty of the over-dyed floss, like Weeks, I have a bit of reticence with paying $2.50 a skein. I also picked up the scroll frame holder, I put it together and I am working with it, trying to find the best position. I think the fabric is supposed to be tighter, but I kinda like it looser, so I can stitch through only from the front if I like. I still have to figure out how to easily access the back, flipping the piece up is easy, but I need to lean forward out of my chair to reach it. It puts a strain, like doing sit ups – yuck, on my mid section, stitching is supposed to be relaxing.

very wrinkly

I finished quilting my Unity quilt last weekend. as I was taking it off the frame, I noticed railroading on the back. Damn. Two entire rows are like this. I am going to take it out and re-do the quilting. I thought about washing it and seeing if the stitches would pull in, but I think the bobbin thread is too tight and it wouldn’t help. I want to finish the Farm Charm quilt on the frame, and hopefully the minky I ordered for the tee shirt quilt will be here soon and I can get that quilt done. Then I can work on getting Unity fixed, it’s not as difficult as it seems, just have to be methodical. I’m thankful that I chose a panto with no back tracking, so much easier to rip out.

Tomorrow I am planning on making two dog bed covers. A friend of mine commissioned me to make them, one is rectangular and the other is round. I got some rip-stop 600 denier fabric from Seattle Fabrics, along with some zippers and such. Simple sewing on a large scale. It shouldn’t take too long, famous last words, right?

Lastly, I discovered a new to me Floss Tube series. Craftie Emily is a British stitcher, with a lot of projects going at one time. She’s easy to listen too and does beautiful work. Craftie Emily showed a few Long Dog Sampler patterns she is stitching. I went and looked, now I want to do them all. They have one color pieces with so much detail, and samplers that are multicolors. The patterns are in PDF form, downloadable from Great Britain, at about $24.00 each. I really like this one, called Pilgrims Progress, after the book of the same name. Lots of detail, and tiny stitches.

Be Kind.

Shopping

I did some retail therapy this past week. I visited my local quilt shop/Bernina dealer to buy some neutrals and ask about a needle set screw. I found a few neutrals, I was hoping to get ten different ones, a half yard of each to beef up my neutral bin. The store now has a one yard minimum for purchase rule, oh, I guess that’ll work. The selection wasn’t large, not much was enticing me, and I felt a little rushed. The store only allows one person at a time in, for 15 or 20 minutes. It’s not really conducive to browsing, in the end I got six different neutrals and the Minky I needed to back the tee shirt quilt. I also got a replacement needle set screw for the L890. They are tiny and I didn’t realize that they need to be tightened when not being used, the vibration and movement of the machine makes them wiggle free.

The Minky I bought was 60 inches wide, and I thought my tee shirt top was 72 inches wide. I say thought because I sort of measured it while it was hanging on the design wall. I cut the backing down the middle and inserted a 12 inch wide strip of scrap minky I had on hand and I thought I was good. I tried to load it on the frame and realized that the top was closer to 82 inches square. I needed to get another yard of minky, Amazon to the rescue. I am hoping it’ll be here soon, so I can get this quilted. In the meantime, I loaded one of the farm animal quilts. The backing on this one took me to the edge of crazy, as it took me a few tries to get it to be wide enough too. I ❤️ pieced backings, not really.

Another shopping spree was completed on etsy, in the cross stitching aisle, I write completed because it started in The Fat Quarter Shop. I have been eyeing the sampler called ‘Heaven and Nature Sing’, by Teresa Kogut for a few months now. I am working on the ‘Pet All the Dogs’ one now, so I thought it might be a good idea to have the next one I want to do ready. The FQS has a large cross stitch selection too, but I really was shopping there for binding fabric for the tee shirt quilt. I wanted shamrock print, but I’m too late for that, or they didn’t have any. I settled for green, but then found a few other fabrics I couldn’t resist. The chart in my cart led to looking for floss and linen. FQS has a pretty large selection of floss, but they are sold out of many colors. I put the order through and went to Etsy for the floss and on a tip from another blogger, saw some linen of the right color and count at Needlecase Goodies . They didn’t have all the colors of floss, which led me over to Hollis Hands Create another cross stitch shop I haunt. They had some more of the colors for Heaven and Nature, but not all. I was looking for substitution floss when I saw this cute line of samplers from Blackbird Designs. There were six different ones available, from the Magical Mystery Tour collection, I got Strawberry Fields. These are Beatle song themed, the Yellow Submarine one is obvious, but the others are a little more whimsical. The Long and Winding road, Eleanor Rigby, Blackbird, and Octopus’ Garden are the others.

New patterns necessitated more floss, which after much clicking between three different stores, I was able to get most of the colors for the two designs. Today I got an email from Michaels, telling me I had $60.00 in rewards that was expiring soon. Really? This past year we have had a bunch of posters framed by them, but I never saw any rewards from those purchases. I even asked the framers if I should get credit for them, and they said yes. I checked a few times and nothing, then after the last poster framing, I checked and there was a credit, like 5 dollars. I don’t know how the credits caught up to me, but they did, maybe because I logged in on line, or triggered something. I spent my credits on a nice embroidery frame holder, with the credit it was $15.00. Well worth it, and I really don’t buy much at Michaels, besides frames, so I’m happy not to waste it.

Now I just have to wait for the floss and linen to get here, and the minky. I want to “kit-up” the cross stitch patterns so I don’t loose the floss colors. I think I can wait to start them, maybe.

Reflected Harmony

I am thinking of starting another quilt kit I have, it is a BOM (reflected harmony) that I bought from someone on Sew-its-for-Sale. I also need to do the Holiday Snow village block from January. I’m not really enthusiastic about this BOM. I just don’t like the fusible appliqué pieces. I am trying to do something a bit different with the embellishments, but I stalled out on the first block. This second block is a restaurant, with windows that have a picture of chairs and a table in them. Might do something with cafe curtains or such, but it just doesn’t excite me.

Be Kind.