Sunday, March 17, 2019

FUN WITH FABRIC

My usual Sunday afternoon is spent playing with fabric.  Today I was making blocks for a baby quilt.  Here's the first set up of the 12 blocks:
After I had a good look at them I got rid of the purple squares.

I thought that looked better.  I substituted the orange and the light green for the purple.  The green on the right is being auditioned for an inner border.  It didn't make the cut.  So here's the quilt top as it is now.  Can you guess which block is going to be replaced?

This is the correct orientation.  There will be a narrow inner border, then another border.  I'm thinking that bigger border might be half square triangles in the various fabrics used in the quilt top.  And then a binding, same as the inner border.  I will look in my stash for the border and binding fabric, but I'll probably end up buying that fabric.  Tune in again tomorrow and see what I find.  

Friday, March 15, 2019

A BIG TREAT

 I had a really nice treat today.  My dear friend M took me out for the day.  I knew only what time she would pick me up and what time we would be back home, but not where we were going or what we would do.  This was an advance celebration of my birthday, which is coming on Sunday.

So I dressed up rather nicely, put on make up and was ready to go at 9 a.m.  We drove to Red Deer and stopped for coffee at a Second Cup.  I had a new drink there: a White chocolate Maple something.  OOOOH, that was delish!  We shared a fat slice of cranberry bread, also yummy.

Then we drove on to Blackfalds to a very nice quilting store.  M. is not a quilter, but she knows what I like!  So many beautiful fabrics to oooh and aaah over.  I did buy seven cuts of nice "baby" fabrics for the quilt I want to make this weekend.  I had previously bought a "Maple Cuts" package--a lot of 10" square fabrics, but didn't really like all of them, so this new purchase will be combined with what I had to create this new quilt.  As soon as we got home I cut and sewed two of the blocks:
The block on the left I made a few days ago, according to the pattern, the yellow background and purple background I made today.  I like the pinwheels better of a matching background, all four squares the same fabric.  I think this quilt will be quite a bit of fun.  I need six of these pinwheels and then six other blocks made of 4 fabrics in each block.  I'll think about borders and binding later.  But already I wish I had bought more of the striped fabric.  I bought just .3 meter of each of the 7 fabrics I found today.

M did buy some fabric to make some placemats.

Then we went out for lunch to a Thai restaurant in Red Deer.  I had never had Thai food before and found it delicious.

We did a little shopping in a mall and then picked up some ink for my printer and ended up at Costco, filling up a shopping cart with good food.

Home before 3:45, which was M's limit.

What a lovely day, and how very sweet of her to think to do that for me!  Plus, the weather was mild and the sun shone brightly.  THANKS!!!

Monday, March 11, 2019

A TWO HOUR JOB

Tomorrow is the day our Jacob's Ladder quilts for the R.D. quilt show need to be handed in.  Cathy will take the all to Red Deer for us, so that saves us an hour long drive there and back.  The hanging sleeve needed to be applied to my quilt yet, so this morning that was the priority.

The R.D. Quilt Show had posted explicit directions on line as to how to create the hanging sleeve they required.  They were very different from what I was used to, but I got to work over the weekend and made a sleeve according to their directions.  This morning I hand stitched the sleeve to the back of the quilt, also according to their directions.  I used hidden stitches and the whole job took 2 hours!  But it's finished.  I just need to lint-roller the quilt to pick up all the loose threads and then it's ready to go.




The sleeve forms a "D" shape.  That's what this part sticking up is.  The reason for that is that they use big rods (dowels?) to hang all the quilts.  I can surely understand how they need to have the sleeves uniform.  Hanging that many quilts is an enormous job!  You should go to their web site, Red Deer Quilt Show.  There you can find all their instructions and also, interestingly, all the quilts that were shown in '17 and '18.

I want to give a nod of thanks to my friend Elaine M. whose exceedingly helpful hint I remembered when I had much trouble with my sewing thread tangling.  The hint she brought to our club is this: When threading the needle for hand sewing, pass the thread through the needle eye, then bring the thread around and again pass it through the eye in the same direction.  The needle is able to slide along the thread.  Useful if you want to stitch with a single thread, but when stitching with a double thread, do no knot the thread before sewing.  Just take a few back stitches before starting.  This is a WONDERFUL cure for thread that wants to tangle.  As soon as I changed to this method of threading the needle I had absolutely NO MORE trouble with tangled threads as I stitched the sleeve to the back of the quilt.  KUDOS TO YOU, ELAINE!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

JUST TWO MORE...

Just two more inches of thread would have done it!
Hand stitching the binding to the back of the Jacob's Ladder quilt.  Two inches short of enough thread to finish!

Friday, March 8, 2019

THE CURE FOR ENNUI

Today I was feeling kind of "becalmed" in spite of shovelling snow and baking bread.  I needed to finish something, to achieve a feeling of accomplishment.

I had been working on hand stitching the binding to the back of the Jacob's Ladder quilt.  I'd forgotten how awfully long hand stitching takes.  It made me feel like I was "running in place."  So I picked up the Practically Perfect Pinwheels quilt and made a binding for it.  I had bought the fabric on Monday.  Usually I put a border on a quilt and then apply the binding, but this quilt was already plenty large for a lap quilt so it is finished simply with a binding.

It took three hours to finish the whole project, mainly because I made a label, and I'm new at doing that on the Janome 9400.  But it turned out well:

The fabrics for the top were given to me and are not in my usual colour choice, but I really like this quilt for how colourful it is.  And I think the green binding is perfect.


Probably a good idea to start cooking supper now, as we like to eat just a bit after five p.m.  On the menu tonight: Steelhead Trout, mushroom risotto and asparagus.  YUM!


WINTER, WINTER, WINTER

Yesterday we went to Red Deer and the roads were all clear, driving was just fine.  Overnight we got about 4 1/2" of new snow.  I went out to shovel off the patio and the approach to the garage.  Not much sun, but lots of new snow:



I took these pictures before I shovelled.  Not too inviting, is it?

When Joanne and I were little kids we made up a ditty to sing in the car.  When we got bored with riding we knelt on our knees on the back seat (this was in the days before seat belts) and looking out the back window, sang, in a minor key, "Line, line go away, Line, line go away, Line, line come back, Line, line come back."  We were singing to the white lines on the pavement.Now I think that must have driven our parents nuts, but perhaps they thought it was better than some alternatives.  But today I'm thinking I'd like to sing, Snow, snow go away!

We played other games to pass the time travelling.  One of them was to mispronounce a word, putting the accent on the wrong syllable.  Our Mom completely stumped us once with this mispronunciation: Uhtaw, (not Youtaw/Utah).  Written out it's easy to decipher.  Try saying it out loud once and see how utterly different the word sounds.

We are all very, very tired of cold and snow.  At least it's warmer (relatively) than it has been: the current temperature is -7ºC, and that is just heaps better than -25ºC! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

FINISHING SOME PROJECTS

One thing that extremely cold weather is good for: staying indoors and finishing some old projects!  I had two quilts on the way as a result of "demonstration days" last year: a "Practically Perfect Pinwheels" and a "Nicely Nesting Disappearing Four Patch."  When I do a demonstration day I have a completed quilt in the pattern being demonstrated and then I make blocks in that pattern all day, demonstrating as I go.  I also give hand-outs that show the whole process, along with illustrations of each step.  And I hand out the squares necessary to make a block, as an incentive to go home and try that pattern.  At the end of the day I have several blocks made for another quilt in that pattern!

Just now I finished the machine quilting of this Pinwheel Quilt.  It's big enough for a good-sized lap quilt without borders, so I plan to bind it and be finished!
Number one finish.  

Actually the first sewing I did after we got home in February was finishing the "Jacob's Ladder" quilt that was a club challenge.
Before we left in September I worked on this quilt.  It needed only a bit more machine quilting and then the binding, etc.  The binding has been sewed on but not hand-stitched to the back.  It needs to have a hanging sleeve and a label put on the back as it is going to the Red Deer Quilt Show this month, as part of our club challenge.  Several of us made a lap quilt in the Jacob's Ladder pattern to illustrate what incredible variety can be made from one pattern, as interpreted by a variety of quilters.  It was a fun challenge, and I am happy with what I made.

Next in the line up is the "sandwiching" and quilting of this Nicely Nesting Disappearing Four Patch.  A week from today I will be demonstrating that technique to the local quilting club.  This is the finished quilt from the "Demo Day" last year at IDA.
 

That will be three quilt projects finished, clearing the decks for a new project.  Always fun to start something new!  A young friend of mine is expecting her first baby this month and I'd like to make a quilt for this baby.  I'd been thinking of Pinwheels, but this time pinwheels that stand up from the quilt.  I made up a method a year or two ago and have wanted to use this in a quilt.  This seems like a good opportunity.

So the Pinwheels and the Disappearing Four Patch, and this new pinwheel quilt are all methods that I made up, differing in a significant way from the traditional methods.  In the traditional (not "stand-up") pinwheel I simplified the method by sewing width of fabric strips, 4 1/2" wide on each of the long sides, cut them into 4 1/2" squares, then cut them diagonally, giving 1/2 square triangles.  When you sew these 1/2" square triangles together to form the pinwheels, all the bias seams are on the inside of the block, making it much, much easier to get the inside points to match.  If you'd like complete instructions, email me at l.mantel@telus.net and I will email the instructions to you.

With the Disappearing Four Patch, I postponed one seam and that allowed the pressing of each seam toward the dark fabric.  As a result, all the blocks nest when sewed together into the quilt top.  Again, if you would like the instructions, email me and I will send them to you.

When I sew the new "Stand Up Pinwheel" quilt, I post pictures of that.

So, even though I'm getting really sick of the cold, cold weather--as are all the others around here--it has some benefits in terms of projects finished.