Friday, October 25, 2019

Yellow and blue and fuzzy, too

Hi everyone! I hope you have had a great week. This week I finished up one of the very hardest things I have done to date, which is saying something, because I raised three kids.  But it's done now, and I am so happy I could sew something. So I did!

As you may know, I have a closet full of tops just waiting to be quilted.  As you don't know, and I didn't either until this week, I also have an office that was apparently built on an iceberg. It's really cold in there, and I'm told it will be until they turn the heat on sometime in mid-November. Put the two of these things together and what do you get?

Here is the quilt I finished up this week to take to my office for when the cold gets to be too much:

Well, the students will have to fight me for it, don't you think?

In truth, I made this quilt in 2017 and it's all leftover bits and scrap pieces. Even the binding came from the basket of bindings made from leftovers.  I kind of always had it in my head that it was going to the office, too. And just wait until you see what I did on the back:

Yep, that is some Cuddle fabric, also known as Minky. Not sure which brand this is since I've had it for a long time. It is so soft and very cuddly. And nice and warm, too.

The backing was not as hard to work with as anticipated. There were just three things that gave me a bit of trouble.  First, there was the fuzz. Yes, it shed quite a bit. Dark blue bits everywhere. Also, stitching this absolutely ruined the needle.  By the end I could actually hear it going through the fabric. I almost changed the needle but I didn't want to ruin a second one.

The third thing that was a problem was the basting.  I don't use the spray stuff, and it was hard for me to get the tension taut enough all over the backing piece. The Minky is a bit stretchy.  Also, it didn't hold the thread (for basting) very well.  If I were to use it again, I might go for the basting spray. I think that would hold it a bit better.

The quilting itself on the backing was no problem. It went through the machine just fine and was no worse than any other backing. I got one small tuck in the backing while quilting, but it's so forgiving that I can't even see it unless I look for it. The tuck is in the picture above, but even I can't see it now, and I know where it is.

I did use batting in the quilt, which makes it just a little heavy with this backing. I don't think I would use it in a larger quilt. This one is just 42 by 52, which will be perfect for the office, and the weight is not that bad.  I used a walking foot to quilt it and kept large open areas, mainly to keep it cuddly, but also so that it didn't get heavier.  And if you are a fan of a Hera marker, it works great with the Minky backing.  I quilted this with a variegated yellow thread, though you can barely tell that there's any variegation in it at all.  I wouldn't get the variegated yellow again.

So there's another one out of the closet and put to use! I'm really, really happy about that, and I'm looking forward to being just a bit warmer in the office.  It's a really old building, and it only has single pane windows, which are huge and look pretty but haven't really done well with the wind.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! I am planning an overdue trip to Target, and we'll probably go out for some lunch or something.  For once we really don't have a plan, but that can be nice, you know?   Oh, and I should have mentioned that all of these pictures were taken on our property, too.  There is a lot of work to do here, but the trees are pretty, aren't they?

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or not Friday,  and TGIFF.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Spring into fall

Hi everyone, and happy weekend! We made it through another week. Yay us! Plus, I'm happy to say that I can now do laundry at my house again. It's a small thing, but a really important one. You don't think you'll miss it, but then you run out of clean clothes and all becomes clear. Five hundred dollars later, I have clean socks again. 

And hey-- this week, I finally finished something. Yahoo!

This is the small topper that I made back at the Delaware house. It's small, and it's all scraps, and it's a little bit spring-like for the fall, but I really like it.

The center of this little piece is just a simple cross hatch done with a walking foot. I've really grown to like that look. It's a little old fashioned, but it always looks good.

For the leaves and the sashing, I decided to experiment and use some of the embroidery stitches on the machine.  It's hard to see on the sashing, but it looks pretty good. It seemed like a good piece to experiment on, and I'm happy with how it turned out.

I love the purple binding, which was also a scrap! I went looking for a leftover bit of dark green, but I had just enough of the purple for a single fold binding. Seems like a win to me!

Even though it's a bit spring-like, I'm going to use this on the table anyway. We haven't painted yet (short, sad story) and the colors are still extremely depressing, so I need something cheerful. I could maybe dress it up with a few pumpkins or something, don't you think?

Finally, this is a blurry picture, but it was quite windy when I was taking pictures, so the wind gave us a peek of the backing:

Not a great picture, but I like it anyway!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Now that the laundry is taken care of, we may take down a huge mirror in the bathroom. Huge as in covering the entire wall, so you can watch yourself shower, I guess. We have a plan and a hammer, so it must go!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Catching up

Hi all! How have you been? I've been having quite a life.  So much to do, so little time. You know what I mean?

I must have something like 70 or 80 projects in progress (I exaggerate. . .but only a little), but I've really been wanting to catch up on some of my rainbow scrap challenge projects. I put away the Boston Common quilt in progress before we moved, and I've pulled it out to add the last rounds to it. Now that we have all the colors, I thought I could finish it right up. Here's how far I got:

I love the aquas, and the next color is orange. I have a whole bunch of oranges left over, but I can't decide if I want the orange next to the aqua--which is a pretty combination-- or if I want a round of white between them.  What do you think?

Right now I'm leaning towards the white. Dark blue follows the orange, but I know I can't do that, so I'm not sure what will happen there. I know I have a lot of pink and purple, though, so those should be easy enough.

I also started finishing up the string sections for the rainbow scrap happy rails quilt:

I've since finished off the aquas, which look really happy, and started on the oranges. I think it's going to look great once I find a fabric for the centers. And you can see that I still do like skinny strings. I just can't throw those little bits away! It's an illness, really. Making the string sections is very calming because they require almost no thought, just feeding through the machine.  Heaven knows I could use some calming right now, so I'm having a good time with them.

That's pretty much all the stitching I've done! Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who had written all her posts six weeks in advance, but we work in real time around here.  Hope you have had some time to get some stitches in!

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Stitching slowly

Hello all! It feels like fall around here at last, and I am ready for sweaters, hot tea, and some lovely fall flowers.  As it gets a bit cooler, I'm reminded that one of my big plans for this year was to make a quilt for our bed. With everything that's happened this year, I got no further than picking out a pattern and some colors. I would get on it right away but I'm so behind on everything else. Oh, well! I guess it will wait, won't it? No chance I'll freeze with all the rest of the quilts around here.

I'm still feeling a little discombobulated from all the changes in our lives the last few months, and the stitching is going slowly still. The sewing room is still a mess, but it's getting better. And I came across a panel for another baby book that I've stitched up:

These are the cutest things, ans so easy to make.  I haven't put all the pages together yet, because this time I'm hand stitching the turning openings closed and I haven't had much time to do that yet this week. It will be done before Friday, though, so a tiny girl can chew on it this weekend.

I did use two layers of thin batting again, and I like how that turns out. It's nice and soft but substantial enough for a little one to grab on to easily.  If you ever make one of these, be sure to wash the panel first, because they really do shrink.

The other thing I've been working on is finishing up my nephew's quilt. I'm further along than this picture looks, because I've also been putting the sides together as I go. When I finally finish the center, it should go together really quickly.

Other than that, I've just been trying to organize the sewing room. I've been following my own Spring Cleaning advice as I go and once again I've gotten rid of lots of old stuff. Not fabric, though!

This picture just cheers me, and there's so much room for expansion! It's like a license to shop or something. That bottom shelf is mostly empty, after all, and we wouldn't want that fabric to be lonely.

That's where I am this week! I'm hoping to have a nice finish this weekend, and I'm also greatly anticipating the arrival of the plumber tomorrow.  You almost never look forward to something like that, but I really need some clean clothes, so I can't wait until they get here and replace that valve.

Happy stitching, folks!

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Just a word

Hi everyone! You know those "word of the day" calendars? The word of the week for me is cash. It's been an expensive week. This week I paid taxes on my car for the *third* time-- when I bought it, when I moved to Delaware, and now when I moved to Maryland. Maryland's taxes were by far the worst, plus they came with a huge fee for a car inspection and the plates on top of that. It's like they really don't want people to move here or something.  Did I mention that the hubs has a car, too?

But I digress. . .let's talk quilty stuff, which is so much nicer to discuss than the time wasted at the DMV. (Excuse me, the MVA.) I did manage to get a few things stitched up this week, in between waiting rooms. First off, I have one last purple block to show:

This is what I made from the purple scrap I showed a bit ago. It was inspired by the block that Angela posted this week. I'm probably not going to make any black blocks, but this one sparked just enough to get me to use up that purple. Yay! And take a look at that lovely mum! I found a farmer's market near here and they had a whole bunch of these, along with some great tomatoes. The plums were awesome, too.

The other thing I did this week was work some more on the letters and words I've been putting together into mini quilts. I promise I did not make any of the words I was thinking repeatedly this week. (Those would be too R-rated.) I haven't decided what to do about the kindness panel yet, but I did finish this new word panel:

This is my favorite one so far! I made some lower case letters and they are actually readable. I didn't want to crop this picture because I love the trees in the background, so you can't really see how rounded the letters are, but I clipped all the points. I think they look great. That little "e" took forever but was so worth it.  Pretty sure that I'm going to go back and round the corners on the "h" as well. That little tail is not working for me.

Speaking of not working, sometimes experiments don't work out. You can see that I tried to make the "p" fancy or something and it just looked weird, so I had to lose the little tail. Not sure what I was thinking, but I definitely want to try some different fonts and ways to make letters.  I have several more words in mind, too.  (Still can't say enough good about Lynne's tutorial, either. It's great!)

That's the news from here. Hope you're having a good and inexpensive weekend! I'm going to drive my car with the very expensive plates to the grocery store and see if I can still afford something for dinner. It's a close call-- we'll see what happens!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Perfect esses

Hi everyone, and greetings from the hot zone. I think someone forgot to tell the weather that it's October, because it's going to be 95 today and I am so done with it. I want to pack away the summer clothes but I don't dare. As soon as I do, you know it will hit 100, right?

Down in my nice cool sewing room (which is still an absolute mess, though I did get new light bulbs so now I can see the mess) I've been working on making some letters. Yes, including some esses, though I'll bet that some of you thought I misspelled that word in the headline. (This is not a political blog!) Here are my fun letters:

I can definitely read that word! And look-- the esses, which have been the worst letters ever for me to make, turned out great! I might go back and "clip" the other corners in them just to soften them a little more, but they definitely look like they should. I am so pleased.

You can see that I also remade one of the Ns. It just didn't look right, so I pulled it out and made another. I saved the first one, though, and I might use it somewhere else.

I struggled with some of these letters quite a bit, and then I finally gave in and bought Lynne Tyler's Liberated Letters tutorial. It helped so much. It was like taking a class, and then it just clicked. And look at that S!  (You can get the tutorial HERE. Totally worth the price.)

Now that I put it all together into a banner, I'm not sure that I want to keep it that way or if I want to break it up or otherwise arrange the letters differently. I know that I'm going to hang this in my office with the little Joy quilt and the banner is awfully long. I'm too lazy to go get the actual measurement, but it's more than 18 inches. I have this idea that I'll hang several of these mini words together, so a long one could go at the top, but maybe I'd rather have it be more square. Not sure. Requires more thought!

These letters are really fun to make, and they do go together pretty quick. I pulled out the string jar and used those, but it does take a *lot* of the background fabric. And it makes a fun mess, too. I was in such a great mood after those successful esses that I started another word in a different "font." Hey, if you're going to play, play! Anyone want to guess what the next word is?

Hope you're all having a great week so far and haven't melted away. Seriously, a cool breeze would feel great right now, wouldn't it?