Friday, 31 July 2015

Progress Update

The quilting on the red and white Hunter's Star is going well. The quilt is huge so slow going as I have to re-package it to do each row. Today I finished off all the horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines. You can't tell much from the front - except where I wobbled out of the ditch, and I'm not pointing those out. The quilting shows up nicely on the back though.

This is pretty accurate to the colour.

I decided to quilt around the stars as well cuz I like what it adds to the back

Tilt your head a little if you can't see it - it was getting dark so the colour and lighting are terrible.

I'm definitely on track to finish for my Sunday deadline - the reunion starts mid afternoon so I might still be sewing binding on Sunday morning. It wouldn't be the first gift I made that was getting finished just in the nick of time.

Happy sewing.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Keep Calm and Quilt On

It's stinking hot here in Southern Ontario these days - high 30s with humidex and I think the heat is starting to get to me.

I'm working on quilting the hunter's star for my cousin, trying to meet my Sunday deadline. And I've emailed my cousin to tell her I think it might be finished.

One thing I've really had to do with this quilt is package it before feeding it through the machine. I've moved from quilting at the dining room table back to the sewing table, so I can package the quilt at the dining room table.

This is the view of how it goes in the machine from above

And this is the view from the side.

It's folded up a lot and it's helping.

What I didn't take into consideration was packaging it as it came out of the machine. I watched it run into the light on the tv table at the end of the sewing table, knock the light off the table, and take the Christmas cactus beside with it. No harm to the quilt but my floor took a bit of a beating and now I really have to replace the pot for the Xmas cactus (my cat knocked it over awhile ago and I've been stalling replacing the pot cuz I can't find anything I like - no more stalling).

At this point I took a break to remain calm. I've got a fan blowing right on me and my a/c is working great so I'm at least keeping reasonably cool. The heat is supposed to let up a bit overnight when we might get some rain - I'm hopeful.

Stay cool and happy quilting.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Just Do It!

I'm overtly stealing from Nike here. This quilt was a lesson in "stop thinking so much and just do it".

I struggled a lot with how to quilt this baby. I don't know why. In the end, I'm really happy with my results - I also started reminding myself that this is a gift for a 5 year old - what she is most concerned about is whether there is enough purple - not how great the quilting is.

All my fussing was worth it. I took my first foray into feathers and I'm pleased with my results. I want to practice lots more and my confidence has a good foundation.

Here are some close up shots of quilting

It is actually bound and ready to go. I can't get any photos yet - it's way too hot to be lugging around a quilt. I'll get a few though and post them.

The label:

And an oil update - there were 2 possible spots I marked and treated for oil. Here is what I see now...

...nothing. The oil is gone or so lightweight that it hasn't left a mark, or the baking soda worked, or it was just water and not oil that dripped. I've breathed a sigh of relief.

Now I'm trying to quilt the quilt for my cousin. It's huge and heavy and slow going. Wish me luck.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Quilting Decisions

Last summer I pieced this purple swoon quilt when my quilty friends and I decided to do a "swoon-a-long". They all looked different and it was nice to all be making the same thing. Mine is a gift for my cousin's daughter - to welcome her to the family. She's 5 now, but that's inconsequential.

I'm struggling with quilting this one, in a way I've never struggled with quilting before. I don't know if it's such large spaces, or so much solid space (where the thread really shows) or I'm just in a funk. I looked online for ideas and found some I liked, but when I tried them on my quilt I didn't like them. For the solids I used 2 stencils in my collection. I marked them with a frixion pen and ironed them out - I'm happy with that. I finished that part and now I'm onto the cream part.

My first idea was loop-de-loops.

I don't like them - not loopy enough I think. So I ripped them out and tried again.

I did a split triangle but it had too many pieces - but I liked the idea. I settled on this for the triangles:
I like this much better. I did make myself a stencil and I'm tracing my lines - on this quilt for some reason I feel I must have straight lines and accurate quilting. I've no idea why I feel this way, but I do.

This quilt also has a deadline of Sun Aug 2 - I'm confident I'll get finished, especially since it's going to get hot here again so I'll hide in my house with the fans and a/c and quilt.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Hunter's Star Update

The top is finished and I was into work to baste it this week. Work is the only place I can find enough tables to spray baste on. I'm on holidays, but I went in to get this quilt finished. My deadline is Sun  Aug 2. The quilt is huge - 80" x 96" - fits a queen size bed. I'm so happy with how it turned out. The quilting will be all stitch in the ditch.

One thing I learned/realized - I had to piece the back and I have 3 horizontal pieces. I pressed all seams in the backing in the same direction - I should have pressed them in opposite directions - towards the top/bottom edge so that I would be smoothly them in the direction they are pressed. One seam went that way and one didn't. Make sense?

Friday, 24 July 2015

Keep Calm and Get the Miracle Cure

Have you seen the movie "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? In it, the father or grandfather thinks that Windex is the miracle cure for everything. I kinda feel that way about Neo Citran and blue Dawn dish soap. I'll be testing my cure shortly.

Today while sewing my free motion foot started squeaking something awful. So I carefully removed the quilt I was working on, oiled the foot, free motioned something scrap to get up any extra oil, and put the original quilt back in business. Then I noticed an oil stain on my sewing table - which also got on the quilt. I almost cried.

I put baking soda on both immediately and went off to do something else. Disclaimer: You should follow your own cures for oil stains.

The stains looked much better after. I put a piece of tape over the sewing table and I'll wash (to some degree) the quilt after soaking it in some blue Dawn dish soap (which is what I do when I get some oil on my clothing).

Through it all I stayed relatively calm - and it was nice to text my quilty friend L who shared my dismay. I'm sure it will all work out fine!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

It Is Hot! and other odds and ends

We've finally got a heat wave here in southern Ontario - I wasn't looking for one, but here it is. It is almost too hot to sew - almost, but not entirely.

I took these photos much earlier this week, then got sidetracked and now I'm going to get them posted.

I'm on Instagram as @howmytimeflies. Last week I posted the pillowcases I made for me nieces - here they are again in case you've forgotten (or need cooling off by thinking about cold weather)
All the fabric is by Ann Kelle and I used her name as a hashtag on the post. I was thrilled when she liked them - she is second from the top. 

This week I've been working on quilting the swoon quilt I pieced last summer. It's for my cousin's daughter who is now five. They are home for a bit this summer and I'm trying to finish it so they can take it home on the plane (and I don't have to pay for shipping). I've been using my stencils and a frixion iron off pen. I thought about FMQing it but it's too hot. It's going well - except for the odd bobble (see photo below)

I've been trying out this mat that I borrowed from someone. It's pretty slick and I'm going to invest in one myself. I'd seen them in an Angela Walters Craftsy class and I wanted to try it out before I invested in one (the cheapest I've found is about $35 for an 8" x 11"). It's silicone and sticks to the machine bed with magic of some kind - not static and not glue - maybe its a property of the silicone. It has reduced the drag on the quilt and I'm happy with that. My arms and shoulders and wrists don't get so sore or tight either. One caution - it is more slippery and sometimes the quilting got away from me - see photo above. Here's the product info

I've also made some progress on the wedding quilt for the cousin mentioned above. She's only been married 7 or 8 years now. It's a red and white hunter's star and is actually half pieced already. Here are the remaining pieces in triangles:

And this is the next sewing step. I've actually got some into a square since I took this photo. Stay tuned for more to follow.

Stay cool and keep sewing!

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Small, Easy Finishes

It's finally summer weather here in my part of Ontario and it's hot - not humid though. I don't like humidity and I tolerate the heat - my ideal temp is the mid 20s and cooling off at night. This weather, around 30, is okay as long as it doesn't last for too many days. My a/c is working great and the house is cool so I'm coping well.

I've been cleaning up and de-cluttering my house for a while now and I'm into the sewing room. I decided that a good way to help would be to finish up the small projects I find while de-cluttering. It makes the cleaning go slower, but I feel like I've accomplished something.

This weekend I've been working on quick and easy finishes - to finish up UFOs and feel like I've got a sense of accomplishment.

I finished up this knitting needle case with fabric I bought last fall. This makes the straight needle case - I've already finished the circular and double pointed case.

I'm only putting the bamboo ones in here. I thought I had a lot more, but I guess not (unless I find them while cleaning).

All 3 cases
I really like this fabric and I'm very happy with how they turned out. When I look in the knitting basket I feel like it's better organized and I can find my needles when I need them.

I used this pattern and found it relatively easy to follow. I switched around a few steps and didn't make the handles. It calls for bias binding, which is a lot more fabric to buy - I used my regular binding.
I did have fairly large pieces of some fabrics left over so I'd double check yardage needed before buying. I think it's because of the sizes of the needle cases, not wanton wastage.

I made up these pillowcases for my nieces for Xmas presents. They liked last years ones so I made more. Xmas is a long way off, but I'm often very busy and very tired leading up to the Season. Now I can pack these away (hoping I don't forget about them) and cross one item off my Xmas list.
I sort of used a tutorial I found on line. The body is the reindeer and the argyle is the trim.

While cleaning I came across a pile of PUL fabric - it's a knit that is waterproofed and used for making your own diapers. I made up a bib instead. I've asked a few friends with children for feedback on whether the waterproof bibs are useful - does everything just slide off? Are absorbent ones better? Any suggestions? This fabric is super cute (I have a total of 4 different prints) and soft and easy to work with. Once I get feedback then I'll either make up more bibs for baby gifts or figure something else out.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Summer Shop Hop Part 1

I like to shop hop and today was no exception. My friend C and I headed out this morning and hit some shops I'd mapped out for us. They were almost all old favourites. Both of us are on a tight budget so there wasn't any over-spending, but we both got something we wanted. I went with a list and only bought what is on the list.

There is an official July shop hop with 15 stores in it. I'm not going to hit all 15, but if I can hit 8, I can be entered into a draw to win either aurifil thread or an oliso iron - I'd be happy with either. And, if all goes as planned, I can hit 8 shops this month and get myself entered. Today we hit two of the shops on the list and I hit one last week.

Here's what I picked up today:
Adorable Ann Kelle reindeers to make Xmas pillowcases for my nieces. I got the reindeer in one store and eagle eyed C saw the coordinating argyle in another.

A pattern - I've already got the fabric, just need to find the time block to sew in. This will make a quilt for my cousin's daughter, age 5.

Thread to make a knitting needle holder. I've got everything else to do it and I've already made 2 of the 3 I need.

We hit a scrapbook store - very unusual for us. I'd wanted to hit this one for a while to see what they had for stamps; I did some stamping with my nieces for crafternoon and they loved it. The store is going out of business so I picked these up for 30% off the regular price. And a good thing we went in when we did because they'll be closed in a little while.

Tomorrow I'm off to visit an archives and I've already planned the quilt shops I will stop in to get my passport stamped.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

A Finished Quilt

I've been sewing a lot lately and getting a lot of odd sewing things finished. I've been working on this quilt for my sister and new brother in law for awhile. They got married the beginning of June - I almost made it but my sewing machine needed servicing badly and I had to give up. I'm finally finished and it's awaiting delivery later in the summer.

My sister has seen the fabric and pattern, but none of it put together. This is a duvet cover - and it's heavy. It should keep them warm in winter.

I'm very happy with how it's turned out and I'm sure my sister and her husband will love it too.

This is on my queen size bed. Their duvet is 86" x 86"; after consultation with the ladies at Thursday Therapy sewing I made it a bit bigger to account for the height of the duvet. It's about 87.5" x 87.5".

Note to self: you really need something over your bed to liven up that wall.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

T-shirt Memory Pillow

My best friend is married with two sons and her oldest is off to college in the fall. He's had a few bumps getting there - all character building in my opinion - a little grey hair making in his mother's opinion.

A long time ago we started looking at a box of t-shirts my friend has been saving since both boys were little. She always had the idea to make something for them when they leave home. My friend is very good at many things (and my chief organizer when I need it), but sewing isn't one of her many talents.

She stayed over a few weeks ago and we got to work creating a memory pillow for her oldest. He didn't want a quilt and preferred a pillow.

It sewed up very quickly and looks great finished

I offer myself, and anyone else, a few recommendations:
-knits stretch, a lot, stabilize them with light weight woven interfacing to help them keep their shape
-cut the squares bigger than you think you'll need
-lay everything out first using a template the size of the finished pillow (I used both a paper template and tape on my table)
-use some kind of woven backing to quilt the t-shirts to - it will help stabilize them; I just used some cheap broadcloth/muslin

The younger son has seen the pillow and announced that he wants something to wrap himself up in - we've got a little bit until he graduates.