31 March 2018

March journal

Very few photos here, because these things are either already in their own posts, or will get them when they're all the way finished ... here we go again for my monthly review.

1. I bought new curtains for my bedroom from Ikea and they were WAY too long. I cut them almost in half to get the length where I wanted it, so now I have that extra fabric for the other small window and probably the bathroom. It almost seems like cheating to BUY curtains instead of making them from scratch, but hello - cheap Ikea fabric! The windows don't get to wear expensive fabric, my kids and I do.

2. SM's theater costume - I finished the peasant top in Feb, the skirt and apron this month. I also did an alteration job on a skirt for a friend, which took a lot longer than I thought it would.

Less than an hour after I finished SM's apron, I was cutting fabric for more zip bags because I never finished the batch on the list from right after Christmas. JK wants her treasure bag! And I sliced my index finger with my rotary blade ... so that ended all sewing for over a week, which was especially irritating because I was motivated to keep sewing! Who knows what I would have finished that day if I hadn't gashed my finger! It's still not fully healed but I could at least get back to work finally before the end of the month.

3. Doll quilt - Back to work with my own contribution for A Doll Like Me, which was going to be submitted to Project Quilting 9.6 as a scrap project ... but I ran out of time for that. I did get the pieced top entirely done but it still needs to be quilted and bound. This is where it sits now. It will have pink binding, which is also a leftover scrap! And I'm apparently cleaning out the baby-print flannel on the doll quilt project, because I haven't sewn anything for a baby for a really long time.

And I still need to get 4 more daughters to work on theirs. This is apparently an extremely long-term service project - I'm glad that ADLM has all the other contributions from the quilt drive to distribute first.

4. I made 2 more zip bags for gifts that will be given to their recipient tomorrow. Up to 11 now, and poor TA and JK still haven't gotten their's. If it weren't for that darn finger injury!! SM wants another one for summer camp, I want one for summer camp (I'm going with SM as a leader), and I'll probably make more at Christmas for the next bunch of school teachers. But those can wait awhile.

5. I worked on my DC map embroidered quilt off and on because I hauled it to two different book clubs and when I was chaperoning backstage during SM's play performance.

We needed to rearrange some curtain rods between the living room and one of the bedrooms, and FINALLY got that done. We took down the metal slatted blinds in the last bedroom when we put up the curtains, because I hate those blinds. (Too many years in apartments.) There is now only one set in my house, and they're in the basement next to the furnace. So we'll leave them. But the rest are GONE!!! Hooray!!!

Adam got another set of doors up on the kitchen cabinets, but doesn't like how they line up together, so he's probably going to take it all down and do it again. Where's the eye roll on Blogger ... just get the doors up!!! He keeps saying that he "sees every flaw." I'm really not sure what level of perfection he's going here but if he doesn't let some of those flaws go, we're going to die before the kitchen is done.

One of the garage doors has been sticking and not working properly. Conveniently, a former neighbor gave us a brand new door opener motor and pulley system, still in the box, when they moved 3 years ago. It's just been sitting there all this time, so Adam spent a Saturday swapping out the door opener system. (And it's one less thing taking up space! Yay!)

21 March 2018

Happy Scrappy Baby Toy

This is a busy week.  On Thursday (tomorrow!) we are leaving our cold Canadian home to visit the slightly-less-cold of Idaho for spring break.  Lots of cleaning and packing and maybe finishing the girls' Easter dresses.  So I shouldn't have looked up the latest Quilt Challenge on Persimon Dreams.  But I did.  I had really enjoyed veering off my planned path and making my little String Bean quilt last time, so why not see if I'm inspired again.  

Scraptastic.  Of course I'm inspired!  I love scraps.  I love working with them and turning them into something new.  How could I not want to do this??  With so little time, the only way I could allow myself to do it was to use it to check off something on my to-do list.  And I have a handful of baby presents I need to make.  Perfect.

Scanning over my Pinterest board of quilting ideas, I saw a lot of scrappy stars, so I quickly jumped on that idea (since I'm really bad at debating between everything) and got working.  I pulled out all my pinks and purples and cut 3" squares - I was impressed I found 16 different fabrics!  And I had just enough of the sunny floral for my background (leftover from Snowflake's Easter dress).

Lots of fun fabrics on the front.  Super soft pink fleece on the back.  A few ribbons for baby to play with.  And as a bonus, it crinkles too!  Finished at about 8" square and made in about three hours.  Another bonus, since I didn't repeat any fabrics, I have a second set of HST's to make another one.  And while I was at it I cut out squares to make a boy version (since this is for a set of twins!).

17 March 2018

T is for theater club

At our middle school, theater/drama is not a class. It's an after school activity that anyone can participate in if they sign up. I like this much better than when I was in middle school, because if you didn't make the cut in audition, i.e. the teacher didn't already know you, too bad. Here, you're automatically in the chorus if you don't get a major role, so you still get to participate. SM loves theater and has already taken 3 or 4 acting/improvisation classes plus summer theater, and was so excited to be in a bigger play at school. There are 85 kids in the cast this year!!!

I kinda wish they'd given me a bit more notice, because I had only about 10 days (including 5 when we were out of town) to put her costume together for approval by the teachers. I thought they had a costume shop/stash but obviously not. Next year ... I will talk to them sooner. I had to rush this.

The play is Into the Woods Junior so SM needed to be a "fairy tale peasant." How did I do?

The top is a peasant top from this tutorial on Things of Cloth. You're supposed to add elastic to the ends of the sleeves to make them poofy but I skipped it.

The skirt is the Anywhere Skirt from Made EveryDay. I really like it and want one for myself! The red is a linen-ish heavier cotton so it's awesome for colder weather. She can wear this to church for the rest of the winter. I have a strip left over so I can make her a longer waistband when she outgrows this waist but can still wear the length. Just need to adjust the gathering. So this item could conceivably last many winters for her. Adam says this is one of the more professional-looking things I've ever sewn ... don'r look too closely at the buttonholes ... I thought about using brown wooden buttons but went with the black because she always ends up with black shoes.

The apron is something I put together just winging it, modeled after the pioneer-ish aprons my mom made for my kids years ago, and are in the dress-up bin. SM requested the white ribbon for a bonus.

10 March 2018

A Stitch In Time

The Challenge: create a project that includes patchwork, applique or quilting using the theme: A Stitch In Time in one week. (via Persimon Dreams, Project Quilting 9.5)

Step 1: Decide on a project.  This is where I feel like I spend the most time.  Brainstorming ideas, picking fabrics, and debating options over and over.  My sewing project wish list is quite lengthy, so why not add one more!  OR, better yet, why not use this challenge to cross something off my list?  This challenge is all about making good use of time!

Last week, while cleaning out my closet, I found a bag of scraps I was planning (before I started quilting) on using to make a rag rug.  Not anymore!  You know what saves time?  Pre-cut pieces.  Those small strips would be perfect for string piecing, which is something I had been wanting to do again.

Step 2: Prepare the fabric.  Since my scraps were all ready, the only thing I needed to do for this was cut the foundation pieces.  I originally wanted 9x9 squares but none of my scraps were long enough, so I cut them in half for 9x4.5 rectangles. Perfect.

Step 3: Piece.  I loved this part.  I spent three days sewing and ironing, over and over.  I used my little TV-tray-turned-ironing-board set up right next to my desk so I just had to turn in my seat to switch from one step to the next.  It was so relaxing, and I had fun picking what strips would come next (my only rule was no pink).  Later they got squared up and then sewn together in a 9x9 grid to complete the top.

Step 4: Sandwich and quilt.  Problem: I ran out of batting!  All my small pieces were used for the doll quilts I made last month.  Solution: don't use it and use fleece for the backing instead.  It saved me a trip to the store and certainly made the sandwich come together quickly.  I just had to be a little extra careful while quilting since fleece is stretchy.  It made the quilt so much more cuddly, perfect for these cold Alberta winters.

Step 5: Bind.  I have been slowly getting better at this part.  This time I made my seam allowance on the front quite small (a little too small perhaps), so I had more binding on the back than the front.  Which made it much easier to do, but probably isn't how it should go.  I was happy I had the perfect geometric print to make it, and it went on smoothly.  (PS I totally cheat and sew on both front and back, because I don't have time for hand-sewing!)

Step 6: Pictures!  The final stitches were sewn well after the sun went down, so I planned to take pictures the next day.  But we went to the zoo and made cookie dough, and before I knew it the sun was setting again and I still didn't have pictures.  I wandered around my tiny, dark apartment trying various locations and lighting before stumbling across a place I never thought of before - behind the bathroom door.  Blank white wall, and bright lights?  Perfect for photographing my happy little quilt!

String Bean
24" x 24"

Maple Mission

I'm not a writer like Trina is.  The hardest part of blogging is trying to write all the words between the pictures.  I spend so much time typing and retyping everything, second guessing what people want to read and am I entertaining enough and do they really care about all the behind-the-scenes.  Blah.  

Anyway, I made a quilt!  Last summer my parents got their mission call to Nova Scotia, and immediately I knew I wanted to make them a quilt.  Within a few days I sketched out an idea on graph paper and later did all the math to convert that drawing to an actual quilt.  Trina wanted to help as well, and we decided she could do the border so we weren't having to mail a lot of stuff back and forth.

Pretty huh?  It took such a long time.  After all the planning and math there was cutting the fabric.  Thank you so very much to my friend Liz who gave it all to me!  She is an amazing quilter who doesn't quilt much anymore, but has rediscovered painting and art.  Which is funny since I am an artist who is now discovering quilting!  

After the cutting came the piecing and then the project was put on pause while Christmas sewing happened.  I also had to wait for Trina's contribution - I mailed her all of the leftover red scraps which she turned into the beautiful border and then mailed back to me.  I don't usually do a lot of borders or extras on my quilts, but I really like how this frames the leaf so nicely.

Okay, quilt top was done, so a quick sandwich (a quilt sandwich that is, with top, batting and backing), and time to do the actual quilting.  The leaf wasn't too bad, with the basic diagonals.  But then came the background.  This was the first time I had to quilt something that wasn't a grid.  I foolishly used the edge of my walking foot (about 5/8") and sewed straight lines.  100+ straight lines.  It took well over a week!  It did give it a really neat texture though.

After Christmas I gave myself a Valentine's deadline to get it finished, and it was on February 14th that I put it into the mail headed for Nova Scotia.  Ta da!  More pretty pictures.

A week later I got a phone message from my mother.  They were so surprised!  They have been showing it off to everyone and they are so thrilled to have this as a reminder of their mission and time spent in Eastern Canada.

It was quite a journey, from sketch to completion. The most time-consuming sewing project I've ever done, but so worth it to show my parents how much I love and respect them.  And it's official - I love quilting!

PS. Did you notice the heart?