DD#3 had her ultrasound today, and she's having twins! We are so excited! She is having a boy and a girl. We didn't have an inkling before today that she was having twins, so it is quite the happy surprise :-) I didn't get any sewing done today, I doubt I could sit still long enough!
As of just a few minutes ago, this is what the sea quilt looks like. Nothing new is sewn on, it's all just pinned. I haven't decided if I like the way it's arranged or not. It might be too crowded, or I might add a couple more small fish. I do want the bottom more crowded than the rest, sea floor and all. The clown fish will have an anemone under them, as it should be, I just haven't done anything with that yet. It's amazing I got as much done as I did, considering I wasn't supposed to babysit until Friday, but I had baby today and I'll have him for a while tomorrow as well.
I am also completely changing my mind on the border. I had the border all planned, and now that the center is coming together, I just don't think my original idea works. My backup plan as of right now, will be to use a fabric I only have one yard of, so the border will be narrower than I'd like. I just hate it when quilts get bossy and tell you to change everything ;-) I thought of a completely different idea for a border, but it would take me a month to make it, and I'm not doing that.
I had been planning an octopus from the beginning, and the octopus and jellyfish will be a bear to applique. I might start with the octopus, and if it gives me too many issues, I'll ditch the jellyfish. The advantages of not ironing everything on at once!
I finally got the center of the sea quilt together today. I was hoping to do that Thursday, but things came up. Next is to decide which appliques make it onto the quilt, and where they all go. I'm hoping to start that process tomorrow. For now I'll just be pinning things onto the quilt until I hit the right balance, then I will start the applique process.
I have so many other quilts going at once, it is CRAZY! My six inch square busting is going well. I have started 3 D9P quilts, and one D4P. If those four quilts weren't enough, I've also been working with 2 1/2 inch squares making four patches with those, for my favorite lap quilt pattern. I keep re-sorting my 6 inch squares as new ideas come to mind. I'm not doing anything complex with the 6 inch squares, my goal is to get them all into quilt tops pretty quickly.
I still have a pile of quilt tops waiting to be quilted, but I have been making a little (very little) progress on that front. I'll be adding to the pile of quilt tops before I quilt anything. I might do some simple stitch-in-the-ditch or crosshatching on a couple of them just to get the pile down some. I just bought two more Patsy Thompson DVD's on free motion quilting to give me some new ideas to try. They may still be beyond my current abilities, but it will give me a goal to shoot for. I need another month long quilting spree, but I don't see that happening before Christmas. I have a few quilts that must be quilted before then, and those will certainly get first priority.
This next week is iffy on quilting time. DD#2 turns 21 this week, birthday dinner and such to make. She's been craving homemade donuts, so I need to come up with a gluten-free donut recipe for her birthday breakfast. We have a big scooter event next weekend that I will have to spend time preparing for also. I might post another time this coming week, but if I don't, don't worry, just busy, busy, busy!
I didn't have a good leader/ender project to do with the dark colored piecing thread I'm using for the sea quilt. I was stuck because I work better with a leader/ender project going. I remembered I have a stack of 6" squares I want to use up, because I am no longer saving that size. I can easily use the dark piecing thread with these because they are so scrappy. Well, now I am working on multiple quilts from my 6" squares, while I work on the sea quilt too. I decided to just do some simple things with the squares, so I'm piecing some D9P, and some D4P quilts. I should be able to get them to quilt top stage pretty quickly, and eliminate this pile of squares I no longer want hanging around. If I have any left after my piecing frenzy, I'll cut them down to sizes I do still save. It doesn't count as starting new projects when the pieces are already cut, right? ;-)
As far as the sea quilt goes, here are my two newest blocks-
The two fish on the left are pretty small. I could cut the fins out of a 2 1/2 inch square and have fabric left over! Now I'm going to add background fabric to all of these pieces, and make the center the size I want. I will fill in some of the blank areas with applique. I have all kinds of things to applique on the quilt, including a sea turtle, a starfish, some sea weed, a sea horse, and some other surprises.
I was planning on cutting out a couple fish blocks that are in my quilting books, but instead, I worked on my anglerfish, for which I had no pattern. I will still have to add the thing coming out of the fish's forehead, which ends in a glowing ball, but I'm pretty happy with the shape of the fish. If I made it longer I suppose it could be Moby Dick, but once I add the other parts it will definitely be an angler fish. Angler fish have really big teeth so I had to do something for teeth. I sewed rickrack into the seam when I was piecing the triangle in a square block that makes up the mouth. It worked out pretty well, and I think the rickrack makes fine looking teeth ;-)
Here is a link to a photo of an anglerfish for anyone that isn't familiar with them.
Tomorrow I am babysitting, so if anything gets done in the sewing room, it will be amazing. I did choose the fabrics for the next two fish blocks, so maybe I will get them cut tomorrow. I think those two blocks will be the last of the pieced blocks, and everything else will be applique. That means after I get the last two blocks done, I can assemble the center adding background as needed. Once I have that together, the applique should be easy to figure out.
I knew the humpback whale blocks were going to be the most difficult blocks in the sea quilt. I had no idea just how difficult! I photocopied the templates from the back of the book. I figured out which templates needed to be cut from which color fabric, and VERY carefully cut them out with a rotary cutter and an acrylic ruler along the template edges. I was very careful, and although I wasn't feeling very well, and my head felt stuffed with cotton, I thought I did OK.
Well, when I was sewing the pieces together, I had these two pieces that just weren't going together correctly.
These pieces should be straight along the ruler, see how far off they are? I ripped out my stitching, and sewed it again- same thing, doesn't line up. I put the template up against the pieces, thinking maybe I didn't cut accurately. No, the pieces exactly match up with the templates. The templates are marked with stitching lines, so holding the paper up to light, I matched up the stitching lines and opened it up as if I had stitched it. That is when I realized, it was not me making the mistake, the templates were wrong!
Remember I said I wasn't feeling well? I knew on a good day I could probably figure out which template was wrong, and how to correct it. The thing is, today was not a good day, and I knew I couldn't figure it out today. I debated just quitting on sewing for today, or ditching the whales from the quilt. I didn't want to fall any farther behind on this project, and I really wanted the humpbacks, so I needed to come up with something. That's when I remembered the word "errata". It's a wonderful word in a case like this. I went to my computer, typed in the name of the quilt book I was using and the word errata. Even though this book is over 10 years old, up came just what I needed. All the corrections for the mistakes in the first printing of the book were there, including the corrected templates available for printing! I bought this book a couple months ago at a used book store, so I hadn't even noticed it was a first printing, but evidently this first printing was filled with errors. A few other templates were incorrect too, but only one on the humpback whales. I cut new pieces with the corrected template, and this time things were working much better.
Here are the pieces from the other whale, and see how much better they lined up? Now all was right in the sewing room.
I took a photo of both the templates, so you could see just how off it was. The one on the left is the incorrect template, the one on the right correct. See how off the angles are? I started wondering how many people don't realize the mistake is not theirs, and just give up in frustration. When you are stuck, and you've decided the error is not yours, try googling the name of your quilting book followed by the word errata, and you may just solve your problem too.
Here are my humpback whale blocks. I may have only made two blocks today, but I'm counting it as a full day of quilting. I'm exhausted!
Ok, for any of you that didn't get the title, it's from Sesame Street ;-) The top block is the sea quilt block I made today, the bottom one I made a while ago. I am trying to get different scale creatures on the quilt, so it will be an adventure getting them together in the end project. I'm looking forward to the challenge. I plan on making the pieced blocks first, then setting it together. When the center is together I will do some of the applique, then I'll add the borders and do some more applique.
The next block I'm going to tackle is the humpback whale. It will be the hardest block I'm making, and I need to get the templates cut out. I'm a rotary cutter girl, so using templates is a new thing. I've done other crafts with templates, so I have no worries about getting the pieces cut accurately, I'm only a bit concerned about getting them sewn accurately since the angles are so odd. The directions suggest you cut out two whales at once, since so many of the parts can only go one way, and it's easy to confuse them. If you cut out two at once, you end up having enough parts for one whale to swim left, and one to swim right, and you have enough of the one way parts for each whale. I guess that gives me some fudge-ability. I was only planning on one whale on the quilt, so I can use the one that comes out better, or if they are both awesome, I could use them both. Of course, if they are both lousy, I have an easier whale pattern to try and I can ditch the humpback completely ;-)
The sea quilt is stretching my quilting ability. I had never used a Tri-Recs ruler before, and both of the fish blocks used it. Now that I know how to use that ruler, I should try a star quilt that has those Triangle-in-a-Square units instead of Flying Geese for the star points. I'll be doing a lot of applique on this quilt, which I know how to do, but is not my favorite thing to do. I'm opting for raw edge applique with a satin stitch edging to save time on the applique. I am going to attempt an optical illusion with the borders, and that is what I am most excited to try. I need to get the center done before I can even cut the borders, so on to the humpback whale!
I put on purple capris and a purple top today, in preparation for finishing up a couple of purple quilt tops. I've been working on the border of this top quilt for a while, piecing it as a leader/ender project. Now that the border is on, I'm debating on if this quilt needs another border. I was hoping it was finished, but I will let it sit a while and debate. It will probably be fine with just a purple binding, and I can't see a fabric in my stash I like for another border, so it will probably get quilted as is.
This is a purple and blue quilt I finished assembling today. The border is a beautiful Asian print I bought in Hawaii. It is the last of the fabrics I bought in Hawaii, aside from a few scraps. I was originally just planning on getting this quilt to the block stage and putting it aside, when I realized it would not take that long to assemble it and put the simple borders on. Hurrah! Now this can go in the "to be quilted" pile.
Now that I've gotten these out of my way, hopefully tomorrow I can cut out a few blocks for the sea quilt.
...but I know what it can become! I saw this in a thrift store the other day for $5. I have no idea what it really is, the shelves are very strange.
I'm not positive which side is supposed to be up on these shelves, but I think it's the side with the lip, which makes me think maybe it's for something small or something that will roll. Since the shelves slide out, I'm thinking small things.
Now these plastic shelves took up way too much space, and since I had other ideas for this little guy, I had DH cut me some new shelves out of some thin wood.
Here they are on the top shelf of my workbench holding all my Accuquilt dies. I had been looking around for some way to hold all my dies, and I didn't like the Accuquilt storage rack, I think it takes up too much space and holds too few dies. I found a set of shelves meant to hold scrapbook paper which I was considering, but it was over $60. DH said he could probably make me something, but I had no idea when he would have time. When we went to the thrift store and I saw this "whatever it is" the wheels in my mind started turning and I saw the possibilities. It will only hold another one or two dies, but maybe by the time I get those, DH will build me something. For now, it holds the dies I have just fine, and for $5, I couldn't have asked for a better deal.
Here it is, the El Scoot de Tucson quilt done well before the October 3rd deadline. The yellow fabric was misbehaving a bit as I was piecing, but once I got the borders on, it settled down, and quilted just fine.
This is the back of the scooter quilt, which has all but some tiny scraps of the frog scooter fabric on it. Now that that fabric is gone, I can go in a completely different direction for the next scooter quilt, which will be for the spring scooter rally.
While I was sewing binding on, I finished this quilt as well. It was leftover HST's from the Buckeye Beauty quilt, with some scrappy four patches added in. The next quilt in the queue for quilting looks almost identical to this one, but on that one I have the light squares of the four patches following the furrows. I tried quilting the loop d loop pattern on this quilt, (notice I'm not showing another close up of the quilting) and I think I am going to go for more free motion practice before trying it again. But in the interest of "Finished is better than perfect", here it is!
I've been quilting the El Scoot de Tucson quilt, and I also finished quilting that loop d loop quilt I was struggling with. I did get a little better at loop d loops, but I think I'll leave that design alone until I get more free motion practice. I did a simple meander on the El Scoot quilt, and I finished quilting it this evening. The binding is pinned on both of the newly quilted quilts, and hopefully I'll get that binding sewn on tomorrow.
To give myself a break when I was tired of quilting, I took out a quilt that was all cut out, but I hadn't done any of the sewing. The quilt has 20 identical blocks, so there is a lot of chain piecing, which I find really relaxing. I was going to sew the binding on those two quilts this evening, when I remembered I left everything set up to chain sew the next step on the other quilt. No point in moving all of those quilt pieces multiple times, so tomorrow I will do the chain sewing, change thread, then do the bindings. I machine sew bindings on using a serpentine stitch, and only one of my machines has that stitch, so it has to be the Bernina ;-)
I just ordered some glow in the dark thread for the sea quilt. I want to put an angler fish on it, and it needs glow in the dark thread! Boy, that glowing thread is expensive :-( Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and get what you want though. I've been thinking about having an angler fish in there since the beginning. I have lots of work to do on the sea quilt, and I'm still not exactly sure what it will look like. I have a good idea, but I haven't worked out the specifics.
I was using the chain sewing to give me a break from quilting, and once I have the El Scoot and other quilts bound, the sea quilt becomes my main project. I grabbed one of the quilts that I have pin basted, changed thread on the Juki, and I have it all ready to quilt when I need a break from working on the sea quilt. I used to work on only one quilt at a time, but now I've found if I work on multiple quilts, I can use the repetitious steps of one quilt to think about what I want to do next on the other quilt. It drives other people crazy to see me working on so many things at once, but as long as quilts are being finished regularly, I don't figure it's much of a problem.
I just finished putting the borders on the quilt I'm making for El Scoot de Tucson. It was trying to fall off of the wall while I took the picture, but it is done ;-)
Here is a close up of one of the blocks. This block is one of those blocks known by more than one name. I know it as Churn Dash, but some people call it Monkey Wrench. Of course, some people call the block I know as Snail Trail a Monkey Wrench block too, so who knows what it was known as first?
I am in the middle of quilting a different quilt, and I won't start quilting this one until that one is done. I still have to finish piecing the back anyway. It shouldn't take long to finish piecing the backing for this, I'm finished with the little pieces, so it's really just adding a big border now.
DH, DS the Elder, DS the Younger, and I went to go see the exhibit "Bodies" today. It has real human bodies specially preserved and is an informative and interesting presentation. It was a bit surreal, and it actually didn't seem as if the bodies were real. I am not sure that they couldn't done just as well with models, and I'm not sure that I wouldn't have preferred that. At any rate, it was easy to see that we, as humans, are indeed, "fearfully and wonderfully made".
I started sewing on the scooter quilt today and here is the first row hanging on my door. I could have taken it off the door to take the photo, or I could have left the photo vertical and made you turn you head to see it. Obviously, I opted for leaving it on the door, and rotating the photo, easier on everyone I think ;-)
I don't normally assemble as I go like this, and why I decided to do it this time, I have no idea. I usually make all of the blocks, then assemble. There are only nine blocks, this will be a square quilt, so maybe that is part of my untypical assembly. I usually do much more complicated patterns with a lot more blocks. I'm trying for a simple quilt with good contrast. The appliqued scooters are definitely easier to see in person. This is not a good photo, but then, I'm no photographer. The appliqued scooters on this quilt are smaller and a different silhouette than my first scooter quilt.
El Scoot de Tucson on October 3rd (I think the date is right) is the event at which this quilt will be given away. Since it's not even a top yet, you can understand my urgency in getting it finished.
Tonight for dinner, I ended up feeding all the kids, but in shifts, with one kid getting his ravioli and garlic bread to go ;-) Tomorrow night for dinner, I don't have to cook, because DH and I were invited to eat with some friends. Let's hear it for friends! Let's hear it for not having to cook! Huzzah!