Friday, December 16, 2016

Bouncing along

Hi everyone!  How are you today?  We are barrelling towards Christmas and the start of 2017 (!!!), aren't we?  Have you finished shopping yet?  I had a good time on Amazon a couple of days ago, so I'm almost finished.  Yay me!

Of course, there are always a couple of things that just have to be made by hand.  Since this is my grandson's first Christmas, I made him these:

Pentagon patchwork balls!  Is there a little boy who wouldn't love throwing these around the house?  I used a tutorial from While She Naps, found HERE.  It's free, and there's even a free template for the pentagons. I used the pentagons at 100% for the smaller patchwork ball, and I printed them at 140% for the larger ball.  (150% wouldn't fit on the paper on my printer.)

I had a hard time with these little balls, but not because they're difficult.  Look what happened that really messed up my week:

Yikes!  We have a garage door with no garage door opener, and I was putting the door down when I pinched three of my fingers between the panels.  I said some very bad words and cried, too.  My finger isn't broken, but I dislocated it and the knuckle is still pretty swollen.  This made it impossible to put these little balls together using English paper piecing by hand, like they're supposed to be made.  Instead I used a really narrow zigzag and just butted the pieces up and stitched them together on the machine.  Never underestimate the determination of a grandma! It worked okay, but now I wish I had used red thread or something to give it a little zip.

One thing I learned with these is that it takes a *lot* of filling to make them really firm. I used a whole bag of fiberfill to stuff these two play balls, and I need to go get another bag because they're not really firm enough. You can see that they're just a little bit baggy.  I couldn't hand-stitch the last seam yet, but I really hope to have healed up enough to do that this coming week, so that's still open for me to add more fiberfill.  I also put a rattle in each of them:

For the record, the larger one makes a much more satisfying rattle.  I got these from While She Naps as well, and they work great.

Since I can't really cut anything right now, I also worked on these, which I had cut before I had the run-in with the door:

Purple 4-patches! Yeah, I might have to make Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt so that I can use all of these up.  I'm using the magenta for that project as well, but I haven't cut any of those pieces yet.

Hope everyone has a lovely weekend.  I think we're going to go buy a garage door opener!  And then maybe I'll give the hubs some instructions on wrapping presents.  It should be amusing!

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, crazymomquilts, Finished or Not Friday, and Oh Scrap!

Friday, December 9, 2016

From fail to finish

Hi everyone!  Are you ready for the new and improved polar vortex?  I hear that it's coming and there is no escape.  The temps were dropping Thursday afternoon, and several people I saw were already shivery.  It would probably help if they wore coats, but hey, that's not my business.  I finally did pull out my winter coat, too.  I didn't think it had been cold enough for a "real" coat, but that wind will just go right through you.

This week I have an actual finish, one that I've salvaged from a failed attempt a few weeks ago:

This is the little quilt that I had almost given up on because of a wrinkle on the backing.  When I posted about it earlier, the general consensus in the comments was along the lines of "suck it up."  So I did, and you all were right.  I was upset over nothing, really.

One commenter, who is no-reply so I couldn't thank her personally, suggested that I make the circles gradually larger in order to finish it up and avoid more wrinkles on the back.  Genius!  That's exactly what I did.  I free-motioned the remaining circles instead of using the walking foot, and they came out a little wobbly but good enough. 

The border is quilted with a big meander that simply circles around some of the flowers in the print.  It adds just enough texture to finish it off nicely.  I also had just enough (literally one inch left over) of the blue binding in the pre-made scrap binding basket.  Sometimes those come in handy!  The binding was done on the machine in no time at all.

I was worried about this being too stiff, but after I took the photos, I tossed this in the wash and it softened up really well.  And the wrinkle that I was so worried about can barely be seen on the back!

Another little quilt in the archives!  Perhaps "suck it up" will be my motto for next year.

Hope everyone has a great weekend as we race towards Christmas.  We are going shopping for a new dining room table.  Somehow ours isn't big enough for the whole family any more.  Odd how that happens, isn't it?

Finally, an update on the Gratitude Sale--donations have raised nearly $400 for the three charities I listed!  Thanks to everyone!  There are still many nice things left, and Priority Mail means you could still have something for yourself before Christmas, so check out the tabs at the top of the page.

Sharing at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, Finished or Not Friday, and crazymom quilts.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Feeling centered

Hi all!  How are things going for you?  We are in a tizzy here, as the semester is wrapping up with exams and papers and all, plus the carpenter has promised to show up this week to finish in the living room.  Cross your fingers that he actually shows, because I am tired of living with construction.  Plus it has been raining like crazy! Too many years of 20 degrees in December has me a little freaked out by 50 degrees in December.  And the allergies hate this!

When I get tired of reading papers, I've been working on the center for my medallion quilt.  After about a half dozen different tries, here's where I am now:

I don't know if this looks boring to you, but it looked the best to me.  I tried several traditional things, like flying geese and diamonds, and none of them looked good to me.  I really wanted the central block to stand out, and everything else detracted from it.

This border is a 1 inch green frame, a 1 inch white border, a colorful rectangle border that finishes at 1 inch (!!!) and another 1 inch white border so that the rectangles seem to float in the white space.  And how happy am I that that rectangle border actually did finish at at 1 inch? 

Happy dancing!  And just for grins, the 4-patches in the corners also finish at 1 inch:

The next "round" is the pieced blocks.  My current plan is to frame those blocks as well, but I'm not sure what color to use.

I'd hate to use gray, but that's what I keep coming back to.  If I had more of the green, I might use that, but I don't have enough of any one color to use it for all the blocks.  I do have some solid gray, though.  I guess I'll have to try out some things and see.  The seam ripper is getting a huge workout on this quilt.

Finally, I want to recommend this book:

It's a little bit older book (2012), but I did find it really helpful in testing out different border options and thinking about which borders would best enhance the quilt.  Bet you could find this one at the library, too!

Hope you're all having a great week!  Off to read more papers, grade more exams, and ponder the border options!

Sharing at Let's Bee Social, Oh, Scrap!, and soscrappy for RSC16.

Friday, December 2, 2016

More testing

Hi all!  Did you have a good week?  The weather here was awful and so I spent a little more time in the sewing room, still cleaning things out.  Still feels like a mess in there, but at least I'm making some progress.  I finally packed up some things that are getting donated and emptied almost the last of the boxes.  I never want to move again.

I did make some progress on the medallion quilt, which I said I would have finished by this coming Tuesday but I probably won't.  Oh well.  Here's what I'm playing with for the first border around the medallion:

Just a mock-up!  White borders to be added in construction phase.

Somehow it always looks better in my head than in fabric.  I'm not sure I like this.  I like the unbalanced part, but I'm not sure the geese are going to work out.  They might be pulling attention away from the center block.  Maybe smaller ones would be better? What do you think?  I think I have to let it marinate for a little longer.

This quilt is all made out of hand dyes, and so is the Grandma's quilt.  I cut all the border pieces for that quilt, but I was left with smaller pieces that won't work in either one.  What's a frugal quilter to do but start making some crumb blocks?

I love it!  These are 6-1/2 inch blocks.  Don't know what they'll become, but those little pieces make a pretty block, don't they?

In a few spare moments I also made up these neutral 4-patches:

They're prettier than I thought they would be.  I don't know what they're for, either, because I am definitely not making Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, even though I just painted the guest room green and hung a purple and green quilt on the wall in there.  Frankly, I don't think a new one would work out, so it's definitely not on the agenda.

One last thing to show you.  This is how I'm storing my fat quarters now:

Wow, I can't believe how well this works.  I saw this on Pinterest and didn't really know how well it would work, but I found this shoe holder at Target for less than $10, so what was the harm in trying?  The silly thing is great!  The fat quarters fit just great, and frees up some shelf space.  And if I ever use those fat quarters, maybe I could put some shoes in it.  Or maybe some notions, it works either way.

Everybody have a great weekend.  We are going to the movies, which is good, because I'm really tired of working on things for the house.  Plus--movie theater popcorn.  Yum!

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