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!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Back in the sewing room

Is it too late to say Welcome 2017?   May this new year be one with more positives than negatives. 

The last three months of 2016 were pretty eventful for family and friends.  DS put his condo up for sale and made an offer on a house (pending sale of the condo).  The condo has not sold as of yet and we're getting pretty anxious as he really wants the house.

To make things easier for Realtors to show the condo, DS's cats are "visiting" us.  Read that to mean they have taken over and are ruling the roost.

A dear friend was diagnosed with early stages of colon cancer, had all the pre-op tests as well as the surgery.  All in about 2 months time.  It would have happened sooner except she had a two week vacation planned which postponed the surgery.  The operation was successful and she was back home in time to celebrate her Christmas with family and friends.  With no chemo required.  Something to be very grateful for.

Back at the beginning of November I managed to fall down some stairs.  Did I land on my well padded back side?  No.  That would have been too easy.  Instead I kept my balance and landed on one foot.  Which did way more damage.  A torn hamstring and nerve damage.  An ambulance ride, numerous shots of morphine later along with multiple x-rays to check for broken leg or hip and I was sent home from the hospital with some pretty strong muscle relaxants and pain killers.

The gal and guy with Edmonton Emergency Services were great.  And had a wonderful sense of humour.   When they arrived to take me to the hospital I informed them that according to the "cat" scan my injuries were between my knee and hip.  They looked up the stairs and spotted the two cats looking down and immediately caught on as to just what kind of cat scan I had.  That set the tone for the trip to the hospital.

Time and physiotherapy are taking care of the healing.  I am now able to sit for more than a few minutes and walk without a walker or cane.  My sewing room has been calling me and I've been able to spend a few minutes every day at the sewing machine.  Not much, but every minute is great therapy.  Of course I'm still using my injury as an excuse to avoid cooking and cleaning. 

My injury made for a very quiet Christmas.  We were fortunate to have friends from BC stop by twice over the holiday season.  Always wonderful to see Carol and Terry.  We miss them a lot.

Since it's been months since I've blogged I can't remember if I mentioned finishing my oldest UFO quilt top.  I started this quilt years ago and got carried away.  It was going to be large enough to cover two queen sized beds, I'm sure.

So the blocks and partially finished top were put away and forgotten about.  Just before my fall the top was pulled out and I realized that there wasn't much left to do.  Remove a few blocks at the top and bottom of the rows.  Then stitch three rows together and one top was finished.  It still needs to be quilted.  The backing is ready.  I'm waiting for my friend JT to have a top to quilt and then both of us are off to Sparrow Studioz for a quilt lesson and time on their long arm.  This is a gift from JT and I'm looking forward to the experience.

So what to do with the left over blocks.  Put them together the opposite way of the quilt above.  It made a smaller quilt.  Probably twin size.  Where as the first quilt is definitely a king size.  I'll be quilting this one at home as the size is much more manageable.

Another top was finished in October.  I had tested a pattern for Eileen Hoheisel a while back.  I needed a quilt that was just a bit larger so I added a simple border.  Now to get it quilted.

The Block of the Day Challenge is over.  At least to the point that we have instructions for all the blocks and how to put the final borders on the quilt.  Because of my leg I am almost two months behind.  This is one (okay two) quilts tops that were not completed during the challenge year.   So the pressure is on to get these blocks finished.

Why the pressure?  Two reasons.  The blocks will come off the designer's web site soon.  And while I have the e-mail instructions saved, sometimes those instructions are not as clear as the ones on her website.

Another reason....well December 21 I had another laser procedure on my eyes to deal with the on going complication from diabetes.  During the procedure I was informed that I need cataract surgery.  My consultation with the surgeon is this week. 

Now there might be a long waiting period before the surgery can happen.  But once it does happen, my time in the quilt room will be over for a number of months.  At least there is surgery to correct the problem for which I am grateful!