Scrappy recycle

I was looking around for a quick and fun project to do in between quilt finishing, or as it is commonly known, procrastinating. I have a bag full of old table placemats and too small for current table cloths, napkins etc. It was supposed to go to good-will, but it didn’t make it in time. I have been thinking about the Kawandi quilt that Sarah at Confessions of a Fabric Addict made a few months ago.

I happened to walk by the bag of table stuff, when I had the idea to use one of the woven placemats as a base for a Kawandi quilt-let. The two sewn edges of the mat had to be picked out, I thought they were too thick, I coaxed them down with some water and a hot iron. Then, as a challenge, I pulled a bin of scraps down from the closet. I figured there was a bunch of stuff in there that I could use. So I set up my backing, also a scrap from a quilt back, and got out my school glue stick and went to work.

As I pulled the gobs of fabric out of the bin I noticed that there were mostly strips in there. None were wider than 2 inches, most were 1 ½ or 1 1/4 inches wide. Weird because I don’t really remember saving strings specifically. Most of the fabric scraps in this bin are between ten and twenty (?!?) years old, I recognize them.

This little quilt went together quickly, I used a wave blade to cut the rectangles and squares, and put glue on the corners and placed on the mat. Like Sarah, I quilted a free form squared spiral. My machine went through the layers with no trouble, I did lengthen the stitch a bit though. The mat was a good size, easy to handle and maneuver through. There was a just long enough strip of single fold binding in the bin, which looks okay with the scraps. It was a fun quick and easy distraction, however, it also is leading me on to another tangent. I really want to make a Lego quilt. This post from 2011, Lazy Gal Quilting, shows a tutorial. There are others out there too, actually I saw one the other day on Sew Preeti Quilts blog Her scrappy quilt used lots of different shapes and fabrics. I enjoyed reading about her memories and comments about this quilt.

After the place mat was done, I started to finish the quilting on the Promenade quilt. Wouldn’t you know, the first block I quilted, I used the wrong motif? There are two blocks, I chose two motifs to alternate with the block patterns. One is a lot denser, read as “takes a long time to stitch”, than the other. Mr Murphy was helping that day, and I put the dense stitched motif on the wrong block. Oh the temptation to leave it was strong, but I couldn’t change the alternating pattern as I was on the second to last row. It just wouldn’t have looked right. In between picking that out and watching the machine sew out the others, I started ironing the strips from the bin. There are a lot.

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

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A productive weekend

I spent a few hours Saturday making a slip cover for my ottoman. Actually, it is my dog Sasha’s ottoman, she uses it the most. It was getting pretty ratty looking, and having reupholstered a smaller footstool in the way back, I though a slip cover would be a much easier way to go. I think it looks pretty good, I probably shouldn’t have centered the seem in the front panel. but there is one in the back too. Now, I really should get to the chair that I stripped down back in May of 2016.

I got the borders sewn to the blue hydrangea quilt, and the binding and backing ready. Not a great picture, sorry. Now if I could just finish the quilting on “Promenade”. Thanks to Chrisknits for the name suggestion! Only twenty more blocks to quilt, I should know better than to pick intricate designs for a “to be sold” quilt. I do have one other problem with finishing this quilt, thread. I started sewing it with a spool of variegated # 701 So Fine thread (Superior). It’s a nice blend of tans and light browns, it looks good on the light beige fabric, as well as the blues and reds. I had about a half a spool left, thought it was plenty, but then I checked on line to get some more. Yeah, it’s been discontinued and no one has anymore. I looked at the Omni thread, same weight and fiber, and saw the color Palomino. I am awaiting its arrival, because I have run out of the 701, and I am half way through the quilt.

I got my BOM’s packages for July, made the Botanica blocks and two for the Halloween Figs. The drunkards path blocks were made with a new to me technique. The instructions say to cut square 1 inch larger than the blocks unfinished size. Then cut the arc piece out of it, using the template. I used the creative grids circle savvy ruler, much easier. Then sew the pieces together, concave part on the bottom, quarter circle on top. Press the seam towards the circle and trim to 6 ½ inches square. Not sure how well this would work for smaller blocks, but I’m really happy with the way these turned out. There’s a YouTube video. One may also make a template out of paper for the quarter circles, I was happy to use the circle savvy for something.

The MKAL shawl is coming along, I finished the fourth clue. I didn’t run out of yarn, but I don’t think I have enough left of it to knit more than one row. The last section, will be all dark blue, I’m speculating that it will have some lace to make the edging pretty. 523 stitches of lace, I better get all my markers ready.

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All Together Now

I finished putting Alaska together earlier this week. I put the top up on the wall to get a picture of it. That proud moment, (remember when you would stick your kids artwork on the fridge?) Look! I did this. I sent the picture to my DS, and then I saw it. Right near the center, a block out of place.

I had a few blocks left over and plenty of pieces due to my terrific counting abilities. I carefully removed the offender and replaced it and another block that was on the bottom edge. Now it’s perfect and ready for long arm land.

I have been working on my cross stitch piece in between clues for the Stillness shawl. I am finding that I am a bit lackadaisical about this cross stitch. The little symbols are tough to see and using three shades of purple in a small area is confusing to me. Wait, was that a 1 or an upside down T or maybe its a /. I admit to getting close enough often. They are flowers, so its not like theres a pattern to mess up or make lop sided. I am giving myself permission to be creative with it. Otherwise it will go back in the drawer for posterity to find. I might see if I can enlarge it on my scanner printer – that’s a project in itself, me and the printer are on shaky terms.

The shawl is coming along. I ran out of color B, the purple, two rows short of the end of that section. This weeks clue uses color C, so I just picked up where I left off and finished clue 3 with color C. This new section increases the width of the shawl, now its over 500 stitches. These are the rows that take time, most of them are stockinet, which is fine with me. The variegated yarn provides the interest. I’m planning on working on it while the long arm works finishing the current quilt. This quilt (below) needs a name, the kit name was Pas de Deux, a French term used in ballet meaning the “dance of two”. I guess it is because of the different two blocks combine to create the quilt? I don’t think it is saying it wants to be a fur-fru ballet dancer, the fabrics are kinda civil war era/ country colors. More like a country hoedown or square dance, do si do your partner quilt.

I have two new projects that I want to get done this weekend. I got a foam bolster that I want to make a cover for (that’s it all wrapped up in plastic like a football) and I really need to make a slipcover for this ottoman. It is over twenty years old, and recently my dog has decided it’s better to sleep on than her own bed. It keeps her off the recently recovered sofa that used to be her first choice. I went to Joanns yesterday to see about upholstery fabric. I figured about three yards would do the ottoman, since it’s only a slip cover. I was a little shocked at their cotton quilt fabric inventory, it was about 25% of what it usually is. Lots of empty shelves to be seen. The funny thing is that I had gone to my local quilt shop first to get a new bobbin case for my 790, and they had more quilting fabric than Joanns did. Strange times. Anyway, I found two flat folds of three yards each that will work nicely for my projects this weekend.

Last but not least, this quilt top needs a border to contain all its scrappy hydrangeas. I am going to use the blue, for a 2″ border then the white for a four inch outer border. Binding will be the blue yellow and white stripe for the finish.

Linking up with Sara at Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I get a Whoop Whoop

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Alaska Continues

Yesterday I started putting the blocks together for my version of the Laundry Basket Quilts pattern “Alaska”. I split it up into four sections, and I am using a webbing method to join these sections. I have all the blocks in separate numbered piles, and place them on my design wall in their proper place with pins to hold them.

Then sew the first two rows of 5 together with a lot checking and rechecking. The next rows go together a bit easier, but I am constantly rechecking placement. First half is good to go.

Taking these photos really helps with checking for placement of the blocks. The mirror image from left to right and top to bottom really makes my head hurt.

I have been working a bit on the cross stitch flowers, and the MKAL ‘Stillness’. I think I need to mark my cross stitch chart, because I keep finding mistakes, most are simple and I can leave them, but the last leaf I did is four rows too high. I might be able to leave it, because it doesn’t interfere with any other parts of the design. My shawl is coming along too, we are at the 50% done part, 3rd week of 5.

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Oldest UFO

This project has been in a drawer for over twenty years, it’s a cross stitch on linen. Note the date of the magazine, 1995. I recently bought a new pattern for a sampler called ‘Pet All the Dogs’ from Teresa Kogut . I saw it on Jo’s Country Junction a few weeks ago, and decided that since I finished the Bright and Shiny wreath, I would like another hand sewing project. I got the pattern and started looking through the piles of DMC floss for the colors used in this project. That’s when I came across the UFO. I pulled it out and everything was ready to sew, there was the pattern and all the right DMC skeins even two needles. I worked on it for about an hour. I think I’ll work on in a bit more before starting the sampler.

I did have a bit of fun finding and ordering all the threads for the sampler though. I thought that I would use the Weeks dyed threads that are called for in the pattern. I like the way the space dyed threads work up in a project. I used a lot of Cosmo variegated threads in my Crabapple Garden Sampler quilt. You can see it in the lettering, the brown is all the same skien. The greens are too. It saves a little time by not having to switch thread colors and gives a little more interest.

I was a little surprised about the price of the Weeks floss, especially after seeing a price tag on the white Anchor skein from the UFO bag – .39 cents. The Cosmo floss isn’t cheap either, but its not hand dyed expensive. The store I bought the Anchor floss at, Flowertime, was a garden center-craft store chain. I worked there in the late 1980’s. I was into cross stitch back then, before quilting. Anyway, I ended up at the Fat Quarter Shop and ordered the called for threads, and linen fabric. I remember cross stitch as being a relatively inexpensive craft, but as with most things crafty the prices have risen. Between the Floss, pattern and linen cloth, this new pattern/kit is going to top 70.00, wow.

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Project Fatigue

I am working on a few things right now, sort of in the middle of all of them. The newness and excitement has worn off, and the “work” stage has begun. This is the stage before the doldrum stage, which is the” if I have to do this one more time” part. There is still enthusiasm, but not the same as that of when the end of the project is in sight.

For me it goes like this:

  1. Oh! Pretty, let me think about that.
  2. Excited about new project
  3. Design and planning stage or Purchase
  4. Reading through the pattern
  5. Creativity flowing
  6. Discovering alternate ways to achieve better results
  7. Cutting and assembling blocks
  8. Work Stage – assembly line
  9. Doldrums – resisting putting it away for a bit (UFO land)
  10. Resist temptation to start something new, or not
  11. The end is in sight
  12. Excited to sew/see the finished top
  13. Load on frame to quilt and start at 1 again.

I’m at number 8 now with Alaska/Sewards Folly. I am making 20 of this color way.

So many pieces and steps times 20, after this I am looking forward to a bit of variety, as the blocks left are made in quantities of four or less.

Yesterday I finished the BOM blocks for Halloween Figs and Botanica. Got a little break from the above. Botanica is a large quilt, 102″ square, and the Halloween Figs is a bit smaller at around 65″ square. I like that they are very different from each other, and that I have a month to finish the blocks. Which can make the above list of Quilty feelings a bit more manageable. Or condensed into a few days.

Looking at my last post, I have accomplished a few things on my list, well, most of them. A good start to the week.

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Not much sewing on

There wasn’t much time spent in the studio this past week. I spent a few days away from home on a much needed retreat. I brought the yarn and needles to start the first clue of the Stillness MKAL with me, but it stayed in the bag.

I have plenty to do this week though.

  1. Halloween figs sampler block #1
  2. Botanica Block
  3. Load new quilt on frame
  4. Make more Alaska blocks
  5. Work on shawl clue #1 (new clue Thursday)
  6. Mail out quilt
  7. Make more masks for friends

Hmm, seven items and seven days. I started figuring out the Halloween Fig block last Wednesday. I am trying to avoid making the blocks the way they do in the pattern. I want to use my rulers and avoid (what I feel is) the inaccurate way they show how to make them. I have an aversion to making HST’s by layering two squares and sewing 1/4 inch from a diagonal line and then cutting on said line. They just always come out wonky for me. I’m an Easy Angle devotee. There are a few other block assembly issues I have with this BOM, but its just me being picky. It seems to be a well written pattern in any case.

I have to finish last months Botanica clue, before moving on to this months. I ran out of one of the fabrics last month, I contacted the coordinator and she sent me another piece with my block fabric this month.

I did do a little sewing yesterday, I made two masks for friends, and one for me and one for my DH. The friends had seen my squirrel fabric masks and each wanted one. Then I realized that my DH only had one mask, made from his favorite NFL team fabric, and I didn’t feel it was appropriate to wear out to dinner. Also I made one to match my washi dress, which I wore to the dinner.

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Some finishes

Some things are getting done around here. I’m at a point where I have three, no four things in the works that are going to be done soon.

The Turkish delight quilt is quilted, needs squaring up and binding. I’m trying to decide on a name for this quilt, the kit name is Gloriana’s dream, or something like that. It reminds me of Turkish or middle eastern tiles with the colors and the block shapes. I thought the name Arabesque might work too, but for some reason the Narnia story popped into my head and Turkish delight. Maybe its the rose colors, TD has rosewater and lemon juice in it and it is a dark pink gel-thing.

The baby quilt is quilted. This was a custom order, so I had to wait for the name and birthdate to embroider on it before quilting. I made the top in January, then the whole SIP thing started, the baby was born in April and the customer didn’t see the recipient until last week to get the info. So now it’s a rush job, it’s small, and all it needed was quilting and binding. I’m hoping to finish it today and get it in the mail tomorrow.

I am still stitching on the Shiny and Bright wreath. Only the metallic threads left. I usually stitch in bed before going to sleep, its relaxing as I stitch and listen to my book. However, my DH says that its too noisy. The thread makes a growling sound as I pull it through the fabric. I can’t really hear it though as I have ear buds in, so it doesn’t bother me. After a few minutes of complaining, he manages to fall asleep though. This is the same guy who sleeps through midnight dog barking sessions and crying children.

Alaska is chugging along too. I have 60 blocks made, out of 121, yay for halfway. I have been cutting the pieces in the AM and then sewing them together in the PM. I may need to order a bit more of the tan fabric I have, I initially doubled the amounts that the pattern called for, but then I changed the colors of some blocks. I thought it might be enough, but just in case, I’m going to get two more yards.

Next week the MKAL I signed up for starts. It’s a mystery shawl patten called Stillness, from Curious Handmade. A clue a week for a 5 weeks, a lot of knitting, about 1200 yards. I had two skeins that I liked in my stash (secretly I like all the skeins though) and I bought the navy blue one from a local dyer, Serendipidye Yarns. The pattern calls for a light a medium and a dark color. I really should be working on my Nieve sweater, but it is resting, in a basket, waiting for sleeves.

Thats all I got.

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Baking Alaska

This past weekend I started the Alaska quilt. I got 32 blocks made, out of 121, a good start. I am wishing for an Accuquilt die for these shapes though. I have the Laundry Basket templates that go with the pattern, so there is less measuring, just strips and then pieces. So much bias though, lots of triangular pieces, now that I think of it, they are all triangles of some kind or another.

I spent a few hours last week with EQ8, making this quilt into a large, 100″x100″ bed size. I changed the coloring of a few blocks to get my version. I have to be a little careful when I use the LBQ pattern as a reference though. It has 13 different colorations of two blocks, my version has 18 different colorations. Most differences are left and right versions, or opposite/mirror images. There is a lot of checking and rechecking of color placement. I am thinking of renaming this quilt “Sewards Folly”, Secretary of State, William H Seward was instrumental in purchasing Alaska from Russia in 1867. Everyone thought it was a waste, but then gold was discovered and later oil, the rest is history. One day I hope to make it up there, it’s on my list.

Fun fact: After an all-night negotiating session, the treaty was signed at 4am on March 30th, 1867. The agreed price was $7.2 million, equivalent to around $120 million today, which works out at about two cents an acre.

I am also working on my current long arm quilt “Turkish Delight”, I picked a simple panto called kaleidoscope from Karlee Porter designs. This quilt is a long twin size, 80 x 108, which translates into lots of rows. While the Q24 is working through this, I stitch on my Shiny and Bright embroidery piece. I am done with most of the cotton floss parts and have moved on to the metallic threads. I got a skein of the Cosmo brand gold, and it is a little less fiddly than the DMC metallic threads. Short lengths are the key here, it shreds after a while, too much friction. I am sewing through two layers, which doesn’t help the thread last. The two layers does make it look nicer, somehow a richer hand to the fabric, plus less thread ends shadowing.

I am awaiting my first installment of the Halloween Figs BOM, it shipped out last week. This is going to be my BOM for 2020.

It’s got some interesting blocks and it is wall hanging size. I just have my Baltimore Halloween quilt that I hang every October, so this will get into the rotation for 2021.

Linking up with Judy at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts for

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I have been working on a behind the scenes project that I can’t show until September.  It is a challenge, and I would like to blog about it, so I can remember all the good points and work arounds I figured out while making it.  Maybe I’ll make a draft and keep adding to it until September.

I have also been working on the Bright and Shiny wreath embroidery.  It has become my relaxing project.  Although the metallic thread is a pain to work with, I need to figure out a better way to work with it.  Shorter lengths seem to help, but I am really questioning the use of two strands.  One strand is a bit easier, less tangling and twisting, but I have already done a bunch with two.  I could rip those out, but maybe a combo of the two would look okay too.436564B2-930A-455A-8A1C-E5DF073ECEC2

The fabric that I ordered came in last Friday, for the Alaska quilt. Blue and white shades of batik, twice the amount called for in the pattern.  I am adding two more rounds to this quilt to make it grow from 72″ square to 100″ square.  I am working it out in EQ8, and it looks pretty good, the picture below right is sort of like what I want to do.  I’m itching to start cutting this out and doing some mindless sewing/piecing.

Earlier today I finished the quilting on the Christmas pines quilt I have been working on. There were nine rows of pantographs that took 80 minutes a row.  I wish there was a calculator that could look at a Pantos and tell you how long it will take to stitch out.  It couldn’t be that hard, my embroidery machine does it.  It’ll tell you how long the total piece will take to stitch at what ever speed you choose.  Plus how long for each color stop.    I have to find the binding fabric, I put it somewhere so as not to lose it, yeah, that didn’t work.BD48142C-506C-4E59-8CDA-4E803CFB0A69

Trying to decide what to put on the frame next, do I want another end-to-end Pantograph, or do I want to break out the new rulers I got earlier this year.  Or I just bought a huge whole cloth design from Karlee Porter, which might be a learning opportunity.

Be Kind.