Sunday, April 2, 2017

Virtual Retreat Weekend

The hearts2hands Yahoo group held another virtual quilting retreat weekend.  Not as many of us participated but it's still fun to pretend we're all together.

My project was to finish a top that had been on my frame way too long.  Unfortunately DS's cat, Phileas, discovered that quilts on a frame make a very comfortable cat bed.  The backing was a bit more stretchy than the top.  The sagging made getting the rest of the quilting a challenge.

If there hadn't been quite a bit of quilting already done on this quilt the solution would have been to remove it from the frame.  Then steam and press the fabrics in the hope of getting the stretch out.  But this was not an option.  So I did the best I could.  Few pleats, but lots of puckers.

Next step was to trim the backing and bat.  Phileas had to help with that.  Just as the ruler was in place and the rotary cutter to be used, he would jump at the quilt in an effort to pull it down to the floor.  What a helper.  No accidental cuts fortunately.  Bonnie got involved of course by sitting on the quilt to keep it from moving.  Even when it needed to be moved. 

Once the binding was added the quilt was washed and dried.  Using a lot of heat.
Here's the result:

You would think Phileas would be more complementary about the finished product since he was so involved in it.

Friday, March 17, 2017

My Summer Disney Backpack/shoulder Bag

It was time to make a new backpack/shoulder bag for myself.  DS had given me more Disney fabric for Christmas.  I still had some of the limited edition fabric left from Last year's Christmas gift.. 

The new bag went together easily.  As usual, there was no pattern.  Just build as you go.  Making sure there are a LOT of pockets.  Two outside zippered pockets.  The inside has one pocket with a zipper, a sunglass pocket, and 3 smaller pockets.

What I didn't do, but should have, was to make sure the pockets on the outside were placed higher up.  Keys in these pockets drop to the bottom, which is partly at the bottom of the bag.  If the bag is full (as mine always is) fishing the keys out is a pain.  One pocket was supposed to be for my cell phone.  That's not going to work.  It would be way to easy to damage the cell phone when it slides down to the bottom of the bag.  Just plunking the bag down on a counter or the floor could have a bad outcome.

The five pockets (including one zippered) on the inside are fine.   Next bag will have two zippered pockets like my first bag does.  Although this bag does have a special pocket for sunglasses.  No more searching for those.  They are always where I can find them easily.

This is also a case of measure twice and cut once.  The first bag is a perfect size.  Easy to get things in and out of.  I thought that I was making this bag the same size.  It's not.  About 2" narrower.  It's amazing how much difference 2" makes.   But it does carry what I need (and probably more) so I'll use it over the summer. 

My next bag to be made this fall will feature the Disney Evil Villains.  Possibly in purple.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Another quilt finished!

Another quilt is off the frame, bound and in the wash.  And it's about time.  The top was finished almost a year ago. 

This Trail Mix quilt was sewn as a "Leaders & Enders" project.  Thread tails can get pulled into the bobbin area by the needle.  Having a scrap of fabric under the needle before sewing what you are "really" working on keeps those tails were they need to be.  Not in the bobbin area!

Linda from the hearts2hands yahoo group introduced the group to the Trail Mix pattern.  She makes quite a few of these quilts from her scraps as she is sewing her quilt tops.  Sew two pieces of fabric together before or after sewing what your current project is and before you know it you have a quilt top finished.  It's two for one.  And no using the same sad piece of fabric as a leader that ends up in the garbage.

Not sure who is going to get this quilt.  I really enjoyed making it.  Even though I'm pretty sure at least two blocks are in the wrong place.  Oh well.  That makes it different from all the other Trail Mix quilts out there.

Now to take my Bailey apart to see why it is sounding like a John Deere tractor.  A post asking for help from the Bailey user group seems to be in order.  No more frame quilting until that issue is sorted out!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Trial and a lot of error

I decided to try making a queen size quilt using a "Quilt as you go" method.  What was I thinking?  Of course 20/20 hindsight tells me that making a small lap quilt or baby quilt first would have made more sense.  Nope, I jump in and make a queen size one.  Live and learn.

There are a lot of things I'd do differently.  In particular, pay attention to details!
Marking the stitching line on both back pieces. Pin on those lines so fabric doesn't shift.  Making the backing larger than I did so I could trim after the quilting was done.  Lots of things are apparent now.  But the quilt is done.

Here's the process....hope it's not too confusing:

First make the number of blocks required.  I used 80 9 1/2" focus fabric and 4 patches in all.  Cut the bat to the same size as the top blocks. One per block.

Of course I had a helper.  This project did use up a lot of the left overs I had saved from other projects.  In fact cutting these 80 squares freed up a huge plastic storage box.

The top block as mentioned above is 9 1/2", as is the bat.  The backing used is 11 1/2".  I really should have cut at least 12 1/2" or 13" squares and then trimmed once each block was quilted.
Here are blocks joined, backings together.  The seam will be right along the edge of the batting and block leaving 1" to be folded over as sashing.
The two blocks are sewn together, laid flat and ready to have the backing pressed open over the blocks.
The 1" backing fabric from each block is now pressed open.
Next step is to fold each of the two edges to the centre to hide the raw edges.  Then press.  Pin and stitch down.
Continue joining the blocks by sewing backs together, opening, pressing to centre and stitching down until a full row is made.  Of course a feline inspector is a must.
Join the rows the same way the blocks were joined.
Binding was done by folding the backing up to the bag and blocks, fold over again and stitch down - self binding method.

Clear as mud?  Sorry.  I'm hoping that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Unfortunately it should be a good photo not the ones I take.....

Friday, February 17, 2017

I spoke too soon

I was bragging this morning about how well my Bailey was behaving.  Maybe we have finally become friends.  A whole quilt with done and the thread broke only once.  I only had to stop quilting when it was time to either advance the quilt on the frame, or put in a fresh bobbin.  Wow.

You guessed it.  I spoke too soon.  Another top has been loaded and there have been issues.  The first pass (row) went smoothly.  Then the second had issues.  And still has issues.  The question is do I give it a rest until tomorrow.  Or dig my heels in, get stubborn and keep at it.  Fortunately the decision was made by my leg. 

Standing for any length of time is still difficult.  Going for a walk on icy sidewalks didn't help.  So Bailey and I will say good night and I'll hopefully be in the quilting zone sometime tomorrow.  It's only February and the quilt doesn't have to be finished until June.  So no pressure.

I forgot to write about the hearts2hands Christmas project challenge.  Every month members are going to see if they can make a gift(s) for their family and friends.  That way we are not scrambling at the end of November and in December.  The Christmas quilt I posted at the beginning of the month is for this challenge.  January's project was fabric bowl holders.

While we all enjoy family dinners at the holidays, it's always a pain trying to pass around the hot bowls and casseroles.  These holders make it easy.  No more casseroles sliding around on a plate.  Or trying to pass along the pot holder along with the hot bowl.  These holders make it easy enough for even the kids to pass along the food.

Not part of the Christmas challenge, but working towards one of my 2017 goals (to get some of these tops quilted), despite Phileas' assistance I managed to get the last of the L Block quilts done!

Of course Phileas has now claimed it as his.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Sewing with feline assistance

DS's cats are getting more comfortable here.  Maybe too comfortable.  Phileas has decided that he should be in charge of the sewing room anytime someone is in there.  Unfortunately he feels like the higher he is the better job he can do of supervising.  And he's not above making his own bed.

Like jumping up to the top of the closet, shredding the plastic bags that hold batting and then attempting to shred the bat into a mass that he finds the most comfortable.  Of course it's easier to get up there than to get down - gracefully.  So an entire shelf of quilting supplies will shower down along with the jumping cat.  Fortunately my light box stayed put.  That would have been an expensive item to replace.

Even with his assistance, I managed to get the October border on a quilt project I had totally forgotten about.   January 2016 I had made a centre for a new quilt.  The idea was that every month until December 2016, I would add a border.  Well October's border has been added.  I'll probably stop at November and consider the binding (after I eventually get the top quilted) as being the last colour to be added.

This quilt will definitely have pleats and puckers.  It is not laying flat.  And I am sure it's not all Phileas's re-arrangement that is the cause.  Oh well.  Someone will like it.

While trying to find something in the mess I call my sewing room, I came across a Christmas table runner top.  It is now finished and has been added to the Christmas project bag along with the large serving bowl covers I made in January.

I ended up using the back side of the black fabric with gold holly leaves for the binding.  The right side was too much "in your face" as can be seen in the strip beside the quilt. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Quilting progress

Now that I can sit at the sewing machine for more than a few minutes I should be able to have loads of fun.  Not so much.  December 21st I was told I need cataract surgery.  No date set but most likely the left eye will be done in April or May.  Then the right eye will be taken care of.

This means no sewing for a number of weeks after the surgery.  My other eye issues will complicate my recovery. priorities are getting quilts finished.  And most are at stages that I really do not enjoy working on.  I'm not going to have the fun of starting new projects.  Darn.

Progress report: 

The first BOD centre as well as the next two borders are quilted.

The second BOD centre is quilted.  The top needs the first two sets of borders added and then quilted.

My Bailey 17" has been cleaned and oiled.  Ready to sew!

The backing and bat has been prepared for another top.  Now that quilt is loaded onto the frame.  I'm hoping to get started with the quilting this morning!
(Provided I can get DS's felines out of the comfy hammock.)

My Brother embroidery machine has been cleaned.  So I have no excuse not to finish the last 20 BOD blocks.

Anna, from the hearts2hands yahoo group posted a photo of a cutting mat on top of a Lazy Susan.  I loved the idea and wish I had been able to use one these past 12 months while working on the BOD.  DH found a Lazy Susan in the garage that is a great size.  With an old cutting mat trimmed to fit, I'm ready to put it to use.  Even if it's just for those last 20 blocks.

I've started saving all fabric trimmings when squaring up blocks.  The scraps will go into a pillow and then the opening will be stitched closed.  Great pet beds and no waste.  Thanks to Missouri Star Quilting for that idea!

Off to kick some cats out of their napping spot.  The quilt is about to get quilted!