My late Madrona Road challenge. No chance of prizes for me, oh well, I’m glad it isn’t a UFO.
See the earlier WIP here. I tried to make the puddles work, and to incorporate a little bit of selvedge from the fabric line, but it just wasn’t. So I simplified and finished it. I bought more grey fabric (Northcott though I don’t recall the exact color at the moment) just in case, but in the end I just barely eeked out the binding (2″ strip leftover) from my first yard. I trimmed it to be around 27″ x 29″ and now I need to decided where to hang it in the house. I should probably title it PNW Spring, though I called it Raindrops at show n tell last night.
Perfect is the enemy of done. Done is better than perfect. Except most of the time when I try to remind myself of this fact, I transpose the two words and say to myself, “perfect is better than done.” Seriously, nine times out of ten. I try to think of this often as I set about quilting (maybe an odd choice, since sometimes quilting seems so focused on perfect 1/4″ seams and perfect points and corners) so when I was reading over the PMQG Madrona Road challenge, incorporate a word into your quilt, this idea of imperfection came to me. I don’t play with letters much in quilting; but I settled on imperfect for my word. I sketched a few things out (all too literal) but then got the itch to make Tula Pink’s raindrop quilt from her new book, Quilts from the House of Tula Pink.
Well, except for the fact that I had 7 fat eights, so clearly I wasn’t getting a whole quilt. And then there was the tricky matter of bad formatting in the e-book that I had borrowed from the library, the list of fabric amounts and fabric cuts had some sort of bug, causing the numbers with fractions to be smushed together. I could have converted from the given metric measurements but I had another idea. Imperfect. Following the basic construction I decided that I would work on being imperfect in my quilting. Not quite improv, but close.
And so I started cutting rectangles. I wasn’t ready to abandon my rotary cutter and ruler, but I did not measure, simply used the guides to keep things square (baby steps). I placed those rectangles on my small design wall.
And then I realized that I only had 1 yard of grey for my background – so I had to think smaller. I settled on one raindrop out of each fabric.
There was a moment of crazy, when I thought 1″ squares were a good idea (I sewed two and then realized my error, so those tiny grey bits have gone to the scrap bin – ignore the crazy of keeping 1″ squares of fabric).
And eventually I got stuck. The puddles (not part of the original inspiration piece but I had these thin strips of fabric and puddles seemed appropriate) were proving a little troublesome. I’ve messed with them a little more since this photo, but nothing has struck me as right.
And so it sits – for the past week. Which wouldn’t be too bad, but I feel like I can’t work on other projects until I get this top done. Oh, and there is that little thing called a deadline if I want to enter it in the larger Modern Quilt Guild’s Madrona Road challenge. I need to refocus on my word, imperfect, and get a move on it.
I did finish things last year, and yes, I never expect a period of time where I won’t have WIP or be dreaming up new projects. Hopefully this year I’ll be better about photographing the progress (and the finished objects, I’ve spent the last few days gathering and photographing things).
I made pants. I find this so amazing I must say it again, I made pants – honest to goodness trousers with a front fly and a blind hem and they fit me. Honestly I think sewing up the muslin and having help with the fitting (I took a class for the pants) possibly took less time than I sometimes spend shopping for a pair that fits.
And then my photo was a total bust, no worries I’m making another pair.
I made a cute little drawstring bag to wrap a christmas present.
And according to my Ravelry project page I finished the following things:
A ribbed & buttoned neckwarmer.
*Yeah, these weren’t done in the official sense (end weaving, button sewing, that sort of thing) but I’m counting them anyway, some of them need to be re-done in some manner and so they managed to make both my WIP list and my FO list.
Finished Friday. After putting off quilting for so long I managed to finish two quilts last December, the already shown Ducky Quilt and this quilt for my niece B.
I had to practice another free motion quilting design, since I wanted to quilt this with randomly placed flowers. When I was doing my practice piece I tried traveling from one flower to another but found the traveling stitches too distracting and chose to do each flower individually – never again – soooo many ends to bury (4 per flower if I was lucky). I aimed for each flower to be about the size of my hand.
The quilt measures about 45″ x 60″. I used 5 fat quarters and 2 half-yards of the black & white prints for the front, a whole piece of green polka-dotted yardage that was just barely wide enough for the back (I had to quilt this, because it didn’t have the fabric overage a long-arm quilter requires) and 1/2 yard of a third black & white print for the binding.
The quilting thread I picked out, a light green that looked subtly variegated on the spool but not at all on the quilt, was just different enough that I could see what I was doing as I quilted but it did not stand out – which meant that my random spacing left a few holes that I didn’t notice until the quilt was washed and crinkly. Luckily the unquilted spots are still within the quilting distance minimum prescribed by the batting.
This is a story of small risk and big reward. I had a quilt top lingering, it started as practice, but I feel in love and feared screwing it up. “Just send it out,” my mom said, but I had declared I’d do it myself. Last November when Christina of A Few Scraps, announced that she was teaching a free motion quilting class, I jumped at it. We brought our own machines and she supplied small quilt sandwiches, instruction and trouble-shooting. I was so excited and proud of my little practice pieces. But then the fear set in… the risk felt too high, my free motion quilting wasn’t really that good, what if I screwed up the quilt? So I decided I needed to practice some more. Except I’m still in love with most of my fabric stash and making stacks upon stacks of FMQ swatches wasn’t sounding appealing. That is when I spied the remaining 1/2 yard of the duck print used in the on my crochet-edged ducky blanket (such creative naming, I know). I quickly plotted a low risk quilt, made of large squares, alternating solids with the duck print. I ended up buying another yard of fabric, two solids (Kona Papaya and Honeydew) and two prints (Tula Pink’s raindrops and a Navy & White polka dot) from Cool Cottons. And then I pieced two remnants of flannel pieces I had bought along with the duck print so long ago for the backing. And then I had to go back for another 1/2 yard for binding (I often forget to buy the binding while I buy the other fabrics).
I started thinking about what I wanted to free motion quilt, an all-over pattern, something that reminded me of moving water. I settled on the curvy key from Leah Day’s Free Motion Quilting Project. I practiced on paper with a sharpie, then I practiced with a couple bits of spare batting and the flannel that wasn’t needed for the back of the quilt. Finally I sat down and quilted. Halfway thru, I started getting worried, the prints read much cleaner on the unquilted side, but the whole point of this was to free-motion quilt a quilt. Perhaps not surprisingly once the entire quilt had the same texture that was no longer a problem.
Of course I did make a few mistakes, my sizing/spacing is inconsistent (design feature I tell you), sometimes my curves are choppy, my stitch length isn’t consistent, and at the very end I made a wrong turn that nearly resulted in crossed threads… but I saved it with this little drain (design feature!). I conquered my FMQ fear (with help).
I did however forget to take a photograph of it once I “washed out” the mistakes and turned it into a perfectly crinkly quilt. The quilt itself is just over 40 inches square.
Saturday was the last Portland Modern Quilt Guild All Day Sew of the year. Practically any quilt guild event totally refreshes me for quilt sewing. Although before hand I completely (well almost) panic regarding what project(s) I should bring to work on. I ended up packing four different projects. Ha. The stack of fabric I lugged with me, versus the stack of fabric I actually used is nearly comical.
I’m a slow quilter, and I spent the first 4 hours of the day in a vague fog due to lack of sleep, so while some people made entire quilt tops, from cutting, piecing blocks and assembling the top… I made one 12 1/2″ block and almost finished a mini-quilt top (16 5″ blocks). Of course I also had 3 mini fabric shopping trips, 1 lunch out with a friend, several good and sometimes long conversations, and gave a tiny bit on input into a charity group our guild is working on.
First up, my quilt-club (a group/class at a local quilt shop that involves making one block a month): I would have never picked these fabrics myself, but I do like them. However I’m not so happy with my which-fabric-where decision. Oh well, I suspect the entire will work nicely when it is finally put together. And these blocks are learning tools for me.
And now my mini quilt. In my quilt guild we have some amazing artists, creating their own patterns and it is very inspiring. But I’m mostly a copier, I see a quilt and think “I want that” so I set about to recreate it. In this instance I spied a block that was part of Black Rock Stitchery (5th photo down) and an entire quilt of them flashed before me. And since I’ve had a piece of aqua fabric hanging around I decided to copy the color scheme too. Now individually this block is a wonky cross and there are some beautiful wonky cross quilts out there, but I had a slightly different vision for it. I did make a couple mistakes in my process, but overall I am pleased with the progress and execution of my vision. The top isn’t quite complete, but after working on it for a few hours I decided it needed to let it sit for a bit.
All in all, I really recommend putting effort into turning what can be a solitary activity into a social one. But, if you notice, I only used the 3 fabrics sitting on the top of the pile and a small roll of fabrics (just enough) that I was given for the quilt club block.
This weekend I had plans to go see Susan Beal at Powell’s and pick up her most recent book, Modern Log Cabin Quilting. On Friday night I got the idea for this necklace, and thanks to my nearly clean sewing/craft room I was able to make it on Saturday and wear on Sunday to showoff to Susan – I’d have never come up with this if it weren’t for her books (Bead Simple helped me figure out how to use jewelry pliers, of Bead Simple also keeps me from swearing off jewelry making as a hobby altogether, and that just means one more section of the craft store that has a siren call to me).
This particular piece is a bit unintentionally wonky and getting it attached to the chain was much more difficult than I anticipated. I’m hoping to make some improvements on the next one that I make.
And continuing the bias binding theme… my finished objects with that brown bias binding I made last week.
First up: My first mug rug for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild Swap. It measures about 6″ x 9″ because I folded up a piece of paper next to my laptop and set my mug on it to determine the size. I was constrained by my small round table, I’d probably make it 1″ bigger in each dimension if I had a rectangular table. The back is just solid fabric. And I failed to pay attention to my binding seams and accidentally put one in a corner – don’t do that – it makes mitered corners extra hard.
And the second bias bound project: my spiffy new door draft dodger. This started as a scraps project, but then I made a cutting error and had to figure out a new plan of action. That is where the bias binding entered the picture (and I bought a FQ, luckily on sale, to make said binding since nothing I had seemed appropriate and bountiful enough). It is unconventional since I decided to make a roll instead of a filled tube. My goal was something that could easily be thrown in the wash once it is covered in dog fur. See how nicely it fits – yeah – that is a cutting error. I forgot the seam allowances. Doh.
And a detailed shot with the lovely bias binding. Is there a philosophical debate on calling something finished if it contains safety pins? *la la la, I can’t hear you*
And a “how it works” shot. Canvas + fleece gets rolled up into a draft dodger (the fleece is actually doubled to make rolling a bit easier). The canvas is there to keep the fleece from being covered with dog fur. The fleece is there because I needed something to fill the canvas and I really wanted to get it out of my scrappy stash pile without throwing it in the trash.
Actually it all worked out very nicely. I only had about 12″ leftover of binding. Which of course I can’t throw away, so I’ve started a little baggie for all my scraps of binding. And think it does its job, but really the whole door needs a draft dodger and since it is a primary source of light for my dining space that isn’t going to happen.
I spent last Saturday after quilting with friends from the Portland Modern Quilt Guild. I’m so thankful this was organized, it was just the right push for me to finish this quilt. Remember the quilt (no, this quilt isn’t particularly modern at all – but that’s okay). I was so sure I was going to finish before the baby was born, in April 2009. Hah. It is a good thing I made something bigger than a standard baby quilt. Around 48″ x 48″ it isn’t quite full-sized lap-quilt but I’m sure it will still be cozy or a great blanket to spread out for playtime. Or a very pink fort.
The problem, I learned, with letting a quilt languish once you’ve made that quilt sandwich: creases. Mine creased so badly I had to redo the quilt sandwich (twice, after I foolishly tried to redo half of it at time — nope, I had to totally pull that sucker apart and put it back together). The good news, I guess, is that my spray basting lasted way longer than the two months promised by the bottle.
I actually quilting the main section a few weeks ago (at a PMQG open sew evening), but then I was stumped by the border. I had a bunch of ideas for dense quilting, but didn’t think that it would look right with the sparse, squiggly lines over the patchwork. Finally I settled on simple lines and got to it. I managed to hide all my threads, finish the quilting, cut the excess fabric and batting away and make my binding during the all-day-sew event. When I got home I went right to sewing on the binding and then over the course of a few tv shows and one movie I hand-stitched the binding to the back.
Done. I think. I haven’t sent it off yet because I want to wash it first, oh yes, and label it. And I’m a little worried the quilting is too sparse. What do you think?
Today (erm, yesterday) I made a pin cushion for a swap at the Portland Modern Quilt Guild meeting. I recently borrowed Sew Darn Cute by Jenny Ryan from the library and when I saw the ribbon embellished wrist strap pincushion I knew that I wanted to make a wrist pin cushion for the swap. I’ve never found the generic red one with plastic cuff bracelet comfortable, but with a soft, custom-fit cuff, it could be a wonderful thing.
Originally I wanted to do a crocheted granny square for the top (where did I see that recently?) but I didn’t take the time to try out the yarn I had for that idea. And I sort of felt compelled to do some sort of patchwork on the top. So I dug in my scrap box, picked out some pretty fabric for the wrist strap; when I found the little orange center piece I knew it would be a wonky log cabin block on top. I made up the wonky log cabin piecing as I went, but I think I followed the general principle of such a block.
It is so nice having a stash of ribbon and various closures. I settled on sew-in snaps since they would be easy for the recipient to adjust if needed. I used some cotton fiberfill I have on hand to stuff it since I wanted to keep it light in weight. At the meeting tonight several people used flax seed or rice to provide weight for larger pincushions meant to sit on the sewing table.