Sunday, October 28, 2018

We Now Resume Regular Programming

I didn't take this picture, but on the way to the library with my sister, I stopped in front of this stack of cars and told her I wouldn't take her any further until she took a picture for me. I thought about using the analogy of crushing my squirrels*, but something doesn't sound quite right with that analogy so let's just drop it, shall we?

We'll just say the stack of cars is here to lure readers in and distract them from the dark and fuzzy pictures on the rest of the post.

Now that my three little quilts are out of the way, and all the doors and windows have been locked tight to keep any other wayward squirrels* out, I have returned to the projects that are spread out all over my living room.

I decided to start first with the quilt that is closest to completion. The end of the year is fast approaching and I have to make a good showing for the end of the year post.  The Droid quilt is already a top. It just needed to be quilted, but things came crashing to a halt because the back needed to be pieced.  The backing fabric was a quarter of an inch shorter (width wise) than the top.

A reasonable person would think adding a strip to the side of a piece of fabric wouldn't be any big deal, especially for someone who has pieced the front of the quilt, but for some reason, this back added just enough hesitation to let all those squirrels* in the house.

This week, I pieced the back. I added more than a quarter inch because you need to have excess fabric when quilting to avoid crying later.  It was no big deal as you probably figured, and I thought of an idea to add a little flap for the label when piecing the two oranges together, which took the drudgery out of piecing the back. I won't have to worry about the label now!

I finished piecing the back and basted the sandwich on Friday, and I was really surprised at how excited I am now to quilt this.  You know how when you are getting ready to go on a big trip, or have a first day of school or work, you have a hard time going to sleep the night before?  That mixture of excitement and dread of things to come.  I felt that on Friday night.  I quilted the Death Star and parts of Rey on Saturday, but I had trouble sleeping Saturday night too, because I was just excited to quilt more!

You will have to trust me that the basting is done right and smooth and not as lumpy as these pictures show.

I am pretty much copying how Sam Hunter, the pattern designer, quilted the characters - why reinvent the wheel? - but my lines are a lot more organic.

15 Minutes to Stitch

The days are getting shorter, and colder and darker, and rainy so the outdoor chores have been set aside for the week.

My stitching week was all about the Droid quilt - mostly cutting long strips, and cutting away selvages, and sewing long strips, and pressing the back and top all over again.  I then basted the quilt and started the quilting.

My progress as of Sunday was:

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  253 out of 301 sessions
Success rate: 84%

*squirrels are those projects that distract you from your current works in process, and are especially pesky if you actually drop your WIPs to start work on them.

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Thursday, October 25, 2018

My Favorite October Pictures

It's not the end of the month yet, but Wandering Camera link up is up, and I have plenty of pictures to choose from, so I am going to post early.

I've started posting the stack of books I get from the library on my High Road Reader blog. It always makes me happy to go to the library, and I can expand the joy by commemorating the visit with a post. It will be a good way to list which books I may want to check out again.

I've made three small quilts this month. Here are two of them. This one makes me think of the Elephant Parade quilt since they are both facing the same way and there is an elephant.

The three small quilts temporarily interrupted my regular quilt-making, but it makes me happy to see this quilt when I walk by it. I need to add one more row before I can call the top finished.

I have to have a reminder that it is Halloween month.

We haven't had many trees change color this month, but some have already dropped their leaves.

Finally, my favorite picture of the month.

Linked to:
Wandering Camera - October Stories

Monday, October 22, 2018

Weekly Recap

I've been stitching like mad this week so I can meet some self-imposed deadlines.

First up were two fleece blankets, both blue. I bought them more than a decade ago. They were supposed to be no sew blankets. Just trim the edges, cut some fringes and tie them to each other to make a two sided blanket.  Easy right?  No, not really, since one is about half an inch shorter than the other one. I could have trimmed one but I didn't want to mess up the design, and decided to just finish each one separately with a zigzag stitch. It might be better to have two blankets instead of one anyway - it won't get too hot and you can always use two if it is really cold. It is stitching even though it isn't quilting.

The second was the housewarming present I showed you yesterday.

The cute cat blanket in the picture is not mine.

15 Minutes to Stitch

My progress as of Sunday was:

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  6 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  246 out of 294 sessions
Success rate: 84%

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Housewarming Present

I made a belated housewarming present this week. I made a self-imposed deadline so I could get it done.

First I stuck a piece of muslin on a sheet of fusible applique without pressing it, and was able to print out the 8x10 photo of the house. I fused it to a background fabric for more stability.  I really like that the car is there so it dates the picture to a particular time period - when she owned both the house and the car. I should probably embroider the purchase date somewhere in there to be even more specific.

I chose brown fabrics to match the house. Then I bordered it the printed picture with the dark brown. The light brown is a flange that has been basted to the piece. I think it adds a nice lightness to the dark browns.

I wanted use this border fabric, but I had only bought a quarter yards worth, because I had bought it for use on a different quilt, and it must not have been on sale. I didn't think I would be able to line up the pieces properly so the join wouldn't show and decided to add a skinny sashing to separate the joins.

Look at me, mitering the corners! Nothing like a deadline to force me to skip the nervous procrastinating and worrying steps.  It actually worked out pretty easily.

I appliqued her name on the oval and attached it to the quilt.

Then sandwiched and birthed the quilt.  Then I quilted it.  I didn't want to overdo it on the house so I just straight stitched out some of the outlines of the house.  There was a big open space on the yard and I didn't think I could quilt grass very well so I added a couple of kittens.

I added charms on the little sashing strips in the outer border and that worked out so wonderfully. They add a real elegance to the quilt.

I didn't poke out the corners all the way because I like the rounded corners look.

Did you notice that the finished quilt lays nice and flat without the puckers shown in my previous fun quilts?

Our house is a very fine house, with two cats in the yard . . .

I enjoyed making this quilt too.  I had to be more careful with quality since it was a gift, but I enjoyed making all the decisions in designing this quilt, and am really happy with how it turned out.

Linked to:
Let's Bee Social #247 Be sure to check out her new hammer quilt!

Monday, October 15, 2018

My Stitching Week

My stitching week included some minor dabbling on the Sweet Land of Liberty, Colonial Bricks and Quilty Circle 365, but it was waylaid by a llama and an elephant, or should I say a squirrel project.

15 Minutes to Stitch

My progress as of Sunday was:

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  240 out of 287 sessions
Success rate: 84%

If I didn't get waylaid by other projects so often, I would have bigger and more quilt finishes by this late in the year, but maybe it wouldn't be as much fun. It is hard to measure progress by the fun factor and easier to measure it by finishes and quilt progress, but looking at the quilts I made this week, let me tell you, I did have a lot of fun quilting this week.

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch
BOMs away

Thursday, October 11, 2018

I Llike You a Llot Llama

We interrupt regularly scheduled programming to bring you a very special Llama. I took a vacation from my vacation. I was running around thinking about all the things I wanted to get done before I went back to work, and decided I was going to take a pure vacation day that didn't entail getting ready to go back to work.

I watched this video.

I looked at my trash can. You know how I have been making circles out of my fabric trash. Well I can make other things besides circles too.  It's strange that the colors washed out in these photos since I did take the quilts outside to photograph them and it is bright outside. (edited to add: I took new pictures which are slightly better and replaced some of the old ones.]

The fabric scraps were mostly used as is, straight out of the fabric trash can, although I did have to make some skinnier. I didn't make sure they were all the same size.  I used double-side fusible web (Steam a Seam2) instead of liquid glue to  hold down the fabric scraps, and used a stick glue to help hold down the pieces that overlapped.

Then I cut out the shapes and fused them to the background.

Then I stitched the strips down. For this quilt, I used the wavy line stitch on my machine to avoid having to change feet. Then I added decorative stitches.

I birthed the quilt and then I stitched around the shapes with dark thread and added the words and ribbon. It was a lot of fun.

Those of you who know me are probably wondering why I used a llama instead of an elephant. "Don't you know you can use any shape with this technique?"

Way ahead of you. In fact, I finished the elephant before the llama, only because I had to piece the batting for the llama. I used scraps for everything - including the design, the background, the backing, and the batting. The size of the pieces were dictated by the size of the scraps.

The thread was new. This technique takes several feet changes, but by the time I got to the llama, I became more economical.

The circle was surprisingly in the right place to be an eye.

The border ribbon is made out of jute and polyester. I thought it worked well with the elephant.

Both of these were a lot of fun to make.

Linked to:
Off the Wall Friday 
Friday Foto Fun 
Oh Scrap! 
Moving It Forward Monday - these quilts were a brief respite from making the Sweet Land of Liberty and the Colonial Bricks quilts.
Monday Making

Monday, October 8, 2018

Weekly Recap of 15 Minutes to Stitch

This is my weekly recap.

The sun was shining today so I thought I should take a group picture of Sweet Land of Liberty blocks while I could. I forgot the map is on the sewing machine for the applique to be sewn down so it didn't get to participate. I finally got the smart idea to make the houses improv instead of trying to copy the measurements of the Cheri's blocks.  These houses will now be fun to make. I will make more houses and fewer stars.

I kept working on sewing circles together and have almost finished sewing two rows of circles together. (They had to be done together because of the big blocks). I put them under the previous rows to make sure nothing stood out at me. I don't know if you remember, but there were a couple of rows that needed a coping strip because the rows did not match up.  I don't think I should have done that, because now those rows don't match up with the new rows.  Coincidentally the gap is about the size of the coping strip.

One of my rules for this quilt apparently is that I want to avoid ripping out seams.  (It was a rule I didn't know I had but came up when I decided I had to rip the row.)  I now have to decide whether ripping out the seam would be a good rule to break for the rule breaking rule, or whether I can adjust the rest of the borders and make it a non-rectangular quilt, or at least a nonrectangular border. I'm also tempted to add the new rows to the top instead of the bottom of the quilt. I'll decide later.

The picture is from April 24, 2017. The coping strip is the blue on the left side. Once I figure out what to do, I will have four rows I can add to the quilt.

15 Minutes to Stitch

I didn't work on the bricks quilt this week, although I am close to making a top so I should.  My focus has been on Sweet Land of Liberty and the circles as I explained already.

My progress as of Sunday was:

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  233 out of 280 sessions
Success rate: 83%

Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch

I've started to add more posts to my High Road Reader blog if you care to take a look.  I review books, and have started showing pictures of my library shelf.

Friday, October 5, 2018

More Sweet Land of Liberty blocks

Another couple of blocks are made for Sweet Land of Liberty.  This one isn't one of the better blocks, but hopefully it will add to the primitive feel of the piece. I didn't position the birds close enough to hold the heart and they are pretty far from the banner so I might leave them the way they are without adding their legs. I know the pattern has long legs but these legs will be even longer. Maybe I can add a branch that can hold the banner.

Some applique and embroidery are left to be done. I hate putting pins on faces, but I gotta do what I gotta do.

I've also been sewing together some Circle 365 blocks to make a couple of rows. I'll show them to you when I am finished.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Rogue Sweet Land of Liberty Block

I've made another block for Sweet Land of Liberty. You may not recognize it in the original pattern or the quilts others have made because it is a rogue block that comes from another pattern. I want to make mine wider, and am not sure if I will make mine shorter, so I figured rogue blocks would fit right in. Or it could replace another block I don't feel like making in the future. It may make it harder for me to figure out how the blocks work together, but there is enough background fabric to fill a big space, and sashing or bordering the block is always an option if it needs to be even bigger.

I really like this block, since I have been wanting to make a map quilt like this for a while. Even though the purpose of making this block for this quilt is to get it out of my system and my to-do list, I'm now debating whether I should make another one for my small quilt collection.

The directions require fusible applique and since I am all about following the rules, I made this one fusible. I still need to sew it down.  But the bonus we got out of this block is that fusible applique is now on the table for future blocks.

There's some good news here.  The flag bird is back.  I was hoping to find it on the ironing board all nice and flat, but nope, it was with scraps of fabric.  There has been more whispering, because the bird did not return with the star.  There is a betting pool for whether it has been a big break up, the star ran off with someone else, or if the star was disappeared. 

P.S. The Orphan Block box is where the circles are stored.  During some reorganization a few years ago, the orphan blocks were kicked out of the box. Don't worry, I'm sure they were moved to a nicer home.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

More Circles 365

Here are a few more circles I made for my circle 365 project.

Circle Block 251

 I've probably made a sun like this before, but this fabric really wanted to be made into a sun.

Circle Block 252

I know I've  made a face before, but that fabric looked likes eyes to me, and my other face needed a friend or soul mate.

Circle Block 253

These are just scraps thrown together on a background. They didn't say anything to me, but the background did say "ouch" when it was pulled too hard by the machine.

Circle Block 254

A pretty lacy fabric. I sewed it on a background circle and then put the circle on the background with a decorative stitch. I also decorative stitched on the lace itself to make sure it wouldn't snag too much on anything.

Circle Block 255

This one is an attempt to copy a design I have on a blouse. The blouse is made in India but says dashiki which is an African design, so I don't know if the motif is Indian or African.

Circle Block 256

Leftovers from Sweet Land of Liberty.  I copied a circle I saw somewhere, but it had a white inner circle and didn't have a dark background, so pretty much the only thing I copied was using a stripe for a circle and putting something on top of it to make an O. I don't know if it will be in this orientation or rotated in the final quilt.

15 Minutes to Stitch

I am late posting my progress for last week, as usual but I definitely sewed all seven days working on the bricks quilt and the Liberty quilt and the circles quilt. It looks like I missed a week of progress report, but I know I've been diligently quilting every day, usually more than 15 minutes, so I am going to go ahead and give myself full credit for the missing week.  My work is going to start getting busy again soon, and I want to finish the year above 80%.

My progress as of Sunday was:

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week:  7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year:  226 out of 273 sessions
Success rate: 83%

Linked to:
Week 39 Stitching Report