Monday, December 10, 2018

Year End Push

I know I'm not the only one busy in the sewing room this time of year. The thing is, I'm not actually making any Christmas presents this year. I'm mostly trying to finish up some projects I had hoped to finish LAST YEAR! I'm also busy making baby bibs for the latest round of grandchildren. 


I made nine bibs for my granddaughter that was born in May. She's just starting to eat table food. I just found out my next TWO grandbabies are boys, so Miss E got all the girly colored towels I had, so I can use all the more boyish colors on the next grandsons. Truth is, I probably need to go buy more towels to make bibs if I want to give them nine each.  I figure nine is a good number, three days worth, and how many people with babies in the house do laundry less than twice a week?

I finished one weighted blanket since my last post.


Too bad I can't count this one as a UFO finish :-( I already finished the UFO version of this weighted blanket earlier this year. Then, the recipient thought is was TOO heavy. I use a serpentine stitch to quilt the channels to reinforce the seams. No way I was unpicking all those stitches! I ended up cutting the too heavy blanket apart, and salvaging as much of the fabric as I could. (I've got a plan for that fabric, so it's another UFO now) This version is a new start for this year, but at least it's a finish as well. 

I have four weighted blankets to finish that really are UFO's, tops were made last year. I'm hoping (somewhat unrealistically) to get those all finished by the end of the year. 

AND...because working on baby bibs and five weighted blankets wasn't enough...I dug out my oldest UFO and started working on it. My oldest UFO is the Double Delight mystery quilt from 2008. Yup, ten year UFO that won't be finished this year either. I am hoping to have it finished in January though. 

Why was it a UFO? Let me count the ways. First, although I love scrappy quilts, I was a beginning quilter at the time, so I didn't have a quilter's stash. I only went scrappy on two colors, and I had to buy fabric to do that. I ended up finding my quilt boring compared to others. 

Likely because I found it boring, I decided to do a different layout. Instead of putting it on point, I decided to straight set it, which meant I needed to make more blocks. Even with more blocks, it wasn't large enough for my bed, so I added three borders, one of which is pieced blocks, which also needed to be made. 

Eventually, I got the top together (a couple years later), but remember the beginner quilter thing? Yeah, well I now had this huge quilt and no idea how to quilt it. I got it basted and stitched in the ditch around the blocks and borders. Not a bad beginning, right? I was at the very beginning of my foray into FMQ, up until this point I had only stitched in the ditch or cross hatched the entire quilt with a walking foot, which would have gotten the job done and the quilt on my bed. BUT, at this point I decided I had put enough work into the quilt it deserved nicer quilting. BIG MISTAKE! Determining a quilt needs nicer quilting is a sure roadblock for me. 

I decided to use quilt stencils. I bought a stencil appropriate for the size of the blocks, and bought a pounce pad to mark the blocks. I originally bought a white pounce pad, which didn't show up well enough for me to the marks on the quilt. I set it aside...FOR YEARS. I bought a pink pounce pad eventually, and decided to try again. By this time I had done a couple quilts with quilt stencils and done OK. Of course, none of those quilts were this big. I could see the pink on the quilt, and I quilted some blocks. It didn't take long to decide I hated using the pounce pad and the stencil, and I set the quilt aside...FOR YEARS!!!

I've finished quilting the other quilts I had basted, though two still need binding. I don't really have time to baste another quilt right now, so I decided to dig out Double Delight. I had decided if I had less than 20 blocks quilted with the stencil, I was going to rip them out and start over with a non-marking method. If I had more than 20 blocks done, I was going to do all the marking at once with a washable marker and push through. 

I dug the quilt out of the closet, spread it out upstairs, and counted the blocks I had quilted...four...four blocks and the quilt was the start of my UFO pile. I took a couple days of ripping for short periods of time during breaks, and ripped out those four blocks. I'm leaving the ditch quilting in, even though I decided to do an allover leaf design in the center of the quilt. It will only be noticeable on the back. Today I quilted for just over an hour, and quilted 12 blocks. One hour of quilting and I'm further along than I was before. I'm sure I won't get the center finished before January, so I have plenty of time to think what to do in the borders, though the wide outer border I'm going to use the same allover leaf design in. I'm only actually going to custom quilt two of the borders. 

The biggest bummer for me about finishing this quilt, is that I am in a different bedroom now, and it really won't match my new room. So I'll have finally finished a quilt for my bed, that won't match the bedroom!

With the holidays comes lots of stuff going on. I'll have some kind of company 14 of the days between now and January 2nd, plus I have a grandbaby due January 3rd, so whenever that happens we'll be taking a quick trip to see the new baby. I will have a few days to sew between different groups of company. What will I get done before the end of the year? I don't know, but hopefully I'll have a couple things marked off my list! 

Oh, in my quest to clean up my sewing rooms before the company comes, I've been using my new Studio cutter to deal with the scraps from the last few quilts I've finished. 


I even used my strip cutter die to cut up the batting scraps so I can try to make a jelly roll rug next year. I've got all the fabric scraps cut into scrap user sizes now, and the cotton batting scraps that were hanging around were cut into 2.5" strips. I've got a bunch of batting scraps in the closet, that need to be made into Frankenbatts, but that's a job for a different month! 

Sunday, December 2, 2018

It Runs in the Family

Some families run thick with musical talent, others athletic ability, mine runs thick with creative genes; the need to craft something yourself, even if it would be easier or less expensive to buy it ready made.

I remember my maternal grandfather woodworking, my granddaughter now has the doll cradle he made me when I was a little girl. I have my paternal grandmother's treadle sewing machine. I remember the bookshelves my dad made me, and all the clothes my mom made, even taking the time to hand embroider on my Easter outfit. My mother still crafts, and I hope I'll be doing the same in my 80's. 


My mom made this afghan for my next grandchild to be born. I left the note she tied on when I took the photo. She converted a coloring book picture to a stitch chart to make the elephant, still crafting, still innovative, still creative, even in her 80's. I had kept the afghan she made for my son too, when he was a baby, so this new grandbaby will be getting two afghans from his great-grandmother. 

My oldest sister is also incredibly talented, and while I mostly quilt, she dabbles in so many crafts! One of my daughters is currently pregnant, and she wanted something specific for the nursery wall, but was having a hard time finding it. My sister heard what she wanted, and made it in just a few days.


Won't this look adorable in a nursery?


My sister made herself this scrappy afghan and I loved the look of it...


..so she made me one. It's usually me giving away blankets, not receiving one! 


While she was crocheting, she made hats for my grandkids. She actually made two more than this, but two of my grandkids already got theirs. 

My sister does a lot of papercrafts too.


She made beads out of scrap scrapbooking paper, then made a basket from the beads.

She likes upcycling as well, her junk mail looks way better than mine!


All the quilling in this is made from junk mail.


This little lady also started out as junk mail. The junk mail in my house just goes into the recycle bin, and my version of upcycling is turning clothes into quilts! 

I've been watching the next generation figure out their creative talents. One of my daughters is really into photography. Another is an amazing baker, making up her own recipes and flavor combinations. My youngest daughter likes to weld and do metal crafts. 


She made me this quilter from scrap metal and old bicycle parts. 

My oldest son has dabbled in woodworking, and my youngest son was really into cartooning for a while. I have a niece that's a chef, and another that does the graphics for video games. One of my nephews has done extensive landscaping and remodeling. Those creative genes go on, I can't wait to see how they show in the next generation!


Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Quilt Top, A Finish, and a Start

I finally feel like I got something done! Of course, that could be because I actually finished something ;-)


It's not a great photo because my cutting table was making a shadow on the quilt, but here's a big quilt that's been in my way with the borders finally sewn on! It's folded into fourths for the photo, it's a queen sized quilt and I didn't have enough space to easily lay it out for a photo. Now this quilt top is hanging the sewing room closet, where it can wait (out of my way) until it gets quilted.


I just finished the quilt for my next grandson less than an hour ago. It's big for a baby quilt, but they specifically asked for it to be suitable for him to drag around until he's five or so. I had the perfect piece of minky for the backing in my stash, so I made it as big as I could and still use the minky for the backing. I literally only cut off the selvages and trimmed the bottom and top edges straight on the minky! I cut it really close, closer than I probably should have, but I was happy to use up every bit of that minky.


On the minky back, you can see the quilting I did pretty well. I opted to use my Bernina with a walking foot to quilt it. This is my favorite way to quilt an equilateral triangle quilt. I like to quilt 1/2" away from each side of every seam, which makes an interesting looking design, and you get bonus stars at the intersections. You could certainly change up the distance from the seam to quilt, I just really like the 1" sashing look it gives when I quilt 1/2" away from the seam. These are 6" triangles, if you went bigger or smaller you'd have to adjust.

As for the new start, I started playing around with some leftover 1" HSTs. I haven't counted how many I have, It's easy enough to make more should I need them. I have no idea what the final project will be, but I started making little stars.


I've only made two stars so far, but I'll make them until the leftover HSTs are gone, then I'll decide what to do with them. Once I know how many I have, I can decide if I want to make more HSTs or just figure out how to use them in something small. This star will finish at 4" in a quilt. Right now I'm thinking they might be the centers of an economy block (square in a square in square) Those blocks would be 8", so if I made 25 or so, I could get a baby quilt out of it. I don't think I have enough HSTs to make 25 stars, but I'm liking the idea, so perhaps I'll be making more. 

For the next while I won't be using anything for leaders/enders, not even these cute stars. I won't be piecing much for a bit. I have towel bibs to make for two different grandbabies, and I want to finish the weighted blankets I have ready to sew channels in. Since I won't be piecing, no leaders/enders will be happening. 

I haven't been quilting on my longarm since I got back from my trip. I was stuck on how to quilt the quilt. I was reading in the Stashbusters yahoo group, and they were talking about simple quilting. I really needed that discussion, because I realized if I had just done something simple I would have finished both the quilts I've got basted by now. Finished is better than perfect, and I needed the reminder. Now I feel ready to start quilting those last two basted quilts. 


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

 I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a great day, even with missing one of my daughter's families. We had three people not show due to illness, and another show up for the same reason. We're pretty flexible around here, so no problems either way. 

I've spent the last couple days cooking, but I did find the time to make a couple bibs for my youngest granddaughter.


She ate solids for the first time today at Thanksgiving dinner. She was not sure what to think about the banana we gave her. 


I got the quilt for the next grandbaby on the design wall, and I've actually gotten 6 (maybe 7) rows sewn. Once I finish sewing all the rows and press them, I'll start sewing the rows to each other. It should be a quick finish, no borders going on this one. I've got the backing ready to go, and the clock is ticking so I need to get this one finished up! Baby will be here soon!


I laid this mini quilt out a while back, but I finally got the top together this week. It's got 160 pieces and it's 8x10 inches. The baby quilt above only has 170 pieces, and it's about 56x60 inches. Quite different scales I've been working on! This mini quilt will actually be a mouse pad for me! I hardly ever make myself anything, but I need a mousepad, so I decided to make one. 

Besides the two bibs, I didn't finish anything this week, but progress is progress. At least I'm moving forward instead of standing still. I'll be thankful for that.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Baby Steps

I'm still not back in the swing of things. I am finally over being sick though, which is great! 

I am usually great at prioritizing and getting things done, but I'm just a bit off. Thanksgiving completely snuck up on me this year, and it's a good thing there will only be 15 of us for dinner. I was scrambling to figure out what I needed to buy for dinner. I'm glad this isn't one of the years I've had 40 coming for dinner. I can do dinner for 15 with ease. 

I am trying to prioritize which projects to work on. The next grandbaby to come is due January 3, so I really need to get the baby stuff finished. 


I cut out some swaddling blankets yesterday, and got them sewn up today. Sometimes I really have fun choosing just two fabrics for a project. I'd be bored stiff making a quilt with only two fabrics, but a swaddling blanket or a pillowcase? Those are fun projects that only use two or three fabrics. 

Now the only thing left to make for this upcoming grandbaby is the baby quilt. I need to cut some more equilateral triangles before I can start sewing on it, so that's tomorrow's project. 

I haven't done any FMQ this week, I told you I'm really off schedule. I've got a quilt ready to go, and finally wound the bobbins I needed to quilt it, but that's as far as I've gotten. 

Hopefully when I blog next, I can show some progress on the baby quilt. I need to get a move on just in case this baby decides to make an early arrival.