July 18, 2017

Do you Pre-Wash Your Fabrics? A sad tale.

This is a sad tale about fabrics.  While making the blocks for the #100Days100Blocks2017 quilt along, I noticed a spotty stain on one of the orange fabrics I had sewn into a block.  Not wanting to finish a quilt with something I could easily change, I took the block into the bathroom and soaked it in the sink.  Imagine my dismay when I returned to the sink to find a DARK pink water.

The block that started it all
Mind you, I always prewash everything, even solid white.  And wash dark fabrics many times or soak until clear. So this was unexpected.  I tested several of the suspect fabrics, and discovered at least 3 problems ones burgundy, magenta, pink--and teal.  Sigh.  What to do since most of the blocks were finished and the plan was to use an off white lattice around them.  Double sigh.  And these were washed before.  Triple sigh.

So one by one I soaked each block with a color catcher until the water was clear.  I had to replace several pieces in a few blocks that absorbed the colors that bled.  Then I soaked all the solids fabrics I had until they were no longer running.  And ironed all the blocks--again. 

And found more stains on the orange fabric.  The orange fabric was staining when I used Mary Ellen's best press.  I have no idea why.  The fabric is 30 years old.  But the stains wash out, so I didn't replace the orange. 

I'm still hoping to use the white lattice.  Am I crazy?--Asking for trouble?  It looks the nicest, but maybe I will rethink it.  It would be horrible to get it all quilted and have it ruined with one wash.  Needless to say, my enthusiasm for this project has waned.

Some of the sets of 4
On a positive note, while ironing all the blocks again (a real pain after soaking--it's hard to get them flat again), I noticed that some go really well together.  And the matching blocks seemed to happen in 4's.  So I decided to sew them together in groups of fours, making them 12" blocks.  So that's a bit of a decision and one step closer to the White or No-White lattice decision.  Would love to hear from you what you think.  Should I risk it, or just go with something darker in between?

May 18, 2017

A Dozen are Done

The first twelve are done.  Not sure how well they are going to look together--may have to separate them into light ones and dark ones or pink ones and blue ones.  Only time will tell--and another 80+ blocks.  I wish I had different pinks and a gold/yellow, but am making a serious effort not to buy any new fabrics for this project.

May 10, 2017

4 Done, 96 to Go!

Finished two more blocks in the 100Days100Blocks2017.  Aren't you just so impressed?  Ok, so it is only two, but I'm trying hard to stay focused.

And in the interest of catching up, these are the Easter baskets I made for the twins.  I put a small stuffed dog (with a cheater quilt) in each with books that starred that sort of dog and some rabbit crackers and some child size spoons and forks.  The dogs and spoons and forks were the hit, although the baskets were carried around a bunch.  Definitely worth the time just watching their delight.  The Easter baskets were made from directions here.  This is the best photo I have before they unwrapped them.
My other spring project was a baby quilt for a nephew's daughter.  I made it in the same colors as a quilt I made for her sister in case they share a room.

I tried to use fabrics with little figures that might be of interest to her older sister.

I used more blocks on the back of the quilt.
And, of course, the older sister needed a quilt of her own for her baby too.

There's something awfully nice about FINISHING something--even if it is just a little doll quilt.

Hope you have a wonderful day and get some time to stitch!

May 08, 2017

100 Days 100 Blocks

It's pretty clear I am not a dependable blog poster.  I do have the best of intentions, but I have been in a slump.  Just can't sew and that's an usual problem for me.  When I'm feeling down, sewing is what helps improve my spirits.  When I can't sew, there's a problem.

In order to shake off the lethargy, I decided to start a new project (naturally), but one that MAKES me do it.  There is currently a sew-a-long using the book, "Tula Pink's City Sampler, 100 Modern Quilt Blocks".  It started May 7, and you are supposed to sew a block a day for 100 days.  100 Days 100 Blocks. So far on Day 2, I'm going strong.

I dithered for several days beforehand about which fabrics to use, but then my eyes landed on a bin of solid fabrics that I started buying over 20 years ago to make an Amish Quilt.  I couldn't decide WHICH Amish quilt, so I decided it would go faster if I cut strips of each in different sizes.  DUMB idea.  Storing them so they don't get frayed is a pain and takes up space.  My recommendation is "don't do it"--leave the fabrics as uncut fabrics until you know what you're doing.  Anyway, I sorted the colors to get what I would call "colors of flowers plus or minus a few".

The fabrics did not play particularly well with each other.   Some are drab, dating from when the "dusty" colors were popular.  Others are brighter.  And honestly, they are kind of yucky.  I almost quit then and there, but decided that this enforced sewing would be an excellent opportunity to use colors together that I would never choose and to learn how to work with solid colors, without the benefit of the design or colors of a print helping tie fabrics together.  So, that's the plan.  We will see how well it goes.

Here's Block One:

And Block Two:

While they look uneven, they aren't all that bad.  I'm just a challenged photographer. 

The blocks are being posted on Instagram, and there are some fabulous fun ones with fussy cutting of prints (I miss being able to do that!).  Look for the hashtag, #100Days100Blocks2017 if you'd like to see them.  My profile is Catsmeowtwo.  As this is my first attempt at Instagram on my son's old phone (long story), it's been a real learning experience.  Here's hoping this will jump start my sewing again.

Happy Stitching!

November 08, 2016

When you are too tired to sew....

This is what happens when you are too tired to be sewing:

These are leftovers from a quilt started decades ago--before rotary cutters.  The pieces were pretty uneven, so I didn't worry about making things match, but even loosening up on that, I still managed to mess up the directions of the rows.  To fix it, it was either pick out two rows to make it zig zag or pick out one row to make it uniform.  I chose the one row. 
Here it is again after quilting it.  I was amazed at how much the quilting helped hide. Now I just need to find some binding to finish it up.
I'm also working on a quilt for a nephew's second baby.  We don't know if it is a girl or a boy yet, but I am making a girl quilt that coordinates with the quilt I made their first child, just on the off chance this one will also be a girl. (The first quilt was the Star Surround, found here.)  Here's the new quilt in progress:
The colors of the original quilt were mint green, yellow, pink and white, but I really had to "stretch" the mint greens as mint green fabrics are hard to find right now.  This is all sewn together, and now I'm working on piecing a back for it.  I suspect we'll learn it's a boy about the time I get the back done! :)
Happy Stitching!

November 07, 2016

It's Been Awhile.......

In my last post, over a year ago, I was working on baby things for the coming babies.  And then the babies were here and the blog was forgotten. 

While I've thought several times about reviving the blog, it just seemed so much work to catch it up to date, that I put it off--longer and longer.

So today, I've decided to jump right in and just share something.  Maybe it'll all get caught up--or not.  We'll see.

So yes, during the last year plus, I did quilt, and I did finish a few things even.  One of which was a quilt for each of the girls.  The quilts are identical.  The twins are not.

Several of the fabrics are from Backyard Baby, which has snakes and ants and stuff that I hoped their Biology teacher mama would enjoy and were in the colors she originally chose for the girls' room.  Also, trees and dogs and flowers and cats and things that little girls like too.

This is the back.

To store the quilts, since they aren't being used, I made bags with the girls' names on them, complete with a selvage ribbon tie.  The name is lightly stitched in white along the turquoise band, but it's hard to see.
The twins are now over a year old and very active.  So many changes in the past year.  This is them dressed up for Halloween.

And, since we're on the subject of babies, I also made a quilt for my daughter's friend who had her baby this past August.

Many of the fabrics are from the Sherbet Pips line by Aneela Hoey and others that match them.  The back has little girls in swings on it in between 2 rows of the leftover blocks and a red and white dot on either side of that, but I forgot to photograph the quilt before it was mailed off.  Here's one with the cute little owner of the quilt.

Happy Stitching!

June 24, 2015

Home and catching up

We've been busy moving my daughter, and we're not finished yet.  But all that driving time means stitching time, so I've accomplished a few more blocks on the 1718 Quiltalong.  They aren't perfect (applique in a car rarely is), but they are finished, and finished is good.

I've also been busy making things for the baby's room--dust ruffles and crib sheets.  The shrinking width of fabric from the once standard 45" to today's 41 or 42" really has complicated making crib sheets.  Very annoying to have to sew an additional piece on for the needed width.  Crib sheets used to be so simple.

I don't have any good photos of the finished products, since they're already in the nursery, but you can get an idea of the pretty lime green my dil chose for the room.

I've also been making a bunch of economy blocks and have discovered that my accuracy is even worse than I thought!    This project is going to have to sit a while until I get my patience restored enough to try to match points and sew the blocks together.
This lone block and its mate is still up on the wall because I have lost both the side pieces AND misfiled the fabric I cut them from.  (I'm making two of each block, since it is so much work to cut different ones from stash--and then put it all away)  May someday the fabric will turn up...I hope.
And as if that is not enough to work on, I started another new project with scraps, playing along with everyone doing the Quilt Vortex quiltalong by Crazy Mom Quilts.  Nothing much to see yet, except a mess of scraps in my once clean sewing room.  It's fun to have a project that doesn't require much accuracy or thinking or matching and uses up fabric I already have....perfect for me!

May 15, 2015

Blogger's Quilt Festival #2 -- Turn by Turn

Hi again!   This is my second entry in the Blogger's Quilt Festival which started today and runs through May 29. 
spring 2015 BQF Button
Many thanks to Amy's Creative Side for hosting the festival and giving us all the opportunity to see the lovely projects everyone has been working on this past year.  The quilts are amazing.

My entry is a quilt from a pattern found in Quilt Sampler (Spring/Summer 2011), called Turn by Turn.  I started it in February 2013, sent it off to be quilted in March, and didn't finish it until November 2014.  What can I say--I hate to do bindings and I'm not good at finishing.  This is during the binding process, but shows the richness of the Kaffe fabrics better than the other photographs.
It was quilted by Yvette of Yvette's Custom Quilting.  The quilting is hard to see, but really lovely. It runs along each strip of color, with a small separate design on the brown and white dot.  I likely wouldn't have chosen the brown and white dot for the lattice if it hadn't been used in the magazine, but it worked really well to set off the colors of the Kaffes.   
The backing is also a Kaffe, a print called Bekah.  It is one of my favorites for backing.  Really a gorgeous fabric.  I was a little sad to use up my last piece of the print.

The binding is a fabric by Philip Jacobs called Chard, in blue, which has enough teal and pink to pull it all together.

And just because this photo was in with the others, and because Bryna was so sweet at this age (and at that moment), here's the finished French General.  I'm guessing I didn't post a photo because it was to be a gift.

Both Turn by Turn and the French General were Christmas presents this past Christmas.  I was sorry to see them go!
Turn by Turn is entered in the Large Quilt Category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  It measures roughly 110 x 120 plus the outside border, so maybe 120 x 130?  (I didn't measure it before it was given away)  I pieced it, and it was quilted wonderfully by Yvette of Yvette's Custom Quilting.
Be sure to check out all the other quilts in the Large Category at the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  And thanks for stopping by!

Blogger's Quilt Festival -- Pastel Turn by Turn

In looking at my old posts, I realized I hadn't shared promised photos of my two finished Turn by Turn quilts.  Since the Blogger's Quilt Festival started today, it seems like the perfect time--and motivation (!!), so they will be my two entries. 

This is the smaller of the two.  I apologize for the wrinkles.  I had to run out in between rain storms to try to photograph it despite a bit of wind.  Fortunately, my "helper" was pretty picky about getting it "just right".

The two quilts are made the same way, but this one is scaled down so that the blocks measure roughly 6 inches.  This was supposed to be a baby sized quilt, but so many of my Kaffe pieces clamored to be included and I couldn't say no, so it ended up being 60 x 60, minus a little for shrinkage.

As always, Yvette did a lovely job quilting it.

The back fabric is from a Lakehouse fabric line called Sausalito Cottage. 

I purchased it while traveling and had to piece it in order to have enough.  As luck would have it, just after piecing it, I remembered why I had purchased it.  It is supposed to be an inner border for another project.  (oh well)
My helper was exhausted from all the work.  Fortunately she can (and does) sleep anywhere and anytime.
Be sure to check out all the lovely quilts in the Blogger's Festival at Amy's Creative Side
This one is in the Small Quilt category.  It measures just barely under 240" in total. It was pieced by me, and quilted by Yvette of Yvette's Custom Quilting. 
Thanks for visiting!

Catching up--a little!

Wow, it's been a long time since I posted!

My darling little baby (and terror) has grown into a big darling, who loves to pull up and eat my hostas and tulips if I dare turn my back.  She also eats every scrap of fabric (and some cut pieces), threads, batting, Kleenexes and one pin, stolen from my table, has been found in her mouth. So not much sewing has been done.  This is her typical pose.  She also sleeps in this ladylike position.

Despite my puppy challenge, I have managed to start a couple of projects.   First, I began a couple of baby quilts, for much wanted babies 2B, only to be told that the parents did not want any quilts.  "Other people are making us quilts."   And yes, the father is MY son.  How did this happen?  I still wonder how I failed him.

I'm sure you all can imagine how I felt about not making a quilt for my FIRST grandbabies--twin girls due this summer.  Severe depression and many tears does not begin to describe it.  To compensate for the depression, I felt it was appropriate to start something new.  Several somethings new, actually.  But this is one I can share. 

 It is from the 1718 Coverlet book by Susan Briscoe.  There is a group on Facebook which is doing it as a quiltalong.  It is a closed group, so you have to join to look at the many quilts--and they are in a wide variety of fabrics. 

I am doing my way as a "quilt-very-far-behind".  It has a lot of applique and I am painfully slow and now have a hurt thumb, so this may become another UFO.  I am using Chicopee, by Denyse Schmidt, and 25+ year old fabric that coordinates nicely with it.  A perfect reason to buy fabric all the time--colors come and go, and a girl must have a stash to meet those needs.

I also finished two more blocks from Just Takes Two.  At this rate, it might be another two decades before I am finished.

I also managed to sew some baby outfits.  Not wonderful, but they are done.  The shower is tomorrow.  I just have to wrap them.  I have lost part of the present that needs to go in the package., so have been hoping it will turn up.  Guess I need to clean house.
Unfortunately, AFTER I bought the fabric and started sewing, I learned that the mom2B doesn't like baby pink.  Sigh.  It's been one of those times.  I went with something conservative, instead of Kaffe types in an effort not to be too quilty.  The moral is:  Just be yourself and use the fabric that inspires you.  Let the chips fall where they may.
The photo is confusing, but they are reversible.  The one on the left is the front of the pants, the one on the right is the back of the reverse.  The pants are Quick Change Trousers from a book by Anna Marie Horner,  Handmade Beginnings: 24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby.    The pants stitched together easily (although with two of them, seems like forever,compared to one)  The hats are from another book I borrowed from my library, and since they did not go together well, I won't recommend it. 
And, for those of you with excellent memories, I did finally manage to finish piecing my pink and green pyramids.  (It will need to rest a bit before I can figure out a back for it--I have to get the pink and green triangles out of my brain).  I'd show you a photo, but I folded it up and tucked it away as soon as I was done.  Maybe I can stand to look at it again in a couple of months.
 My design wall is now covered with the 1718 pieces and a bunch of threads.  It's a wonderful change!  I'm also contemplating doing an I Spy economy block quilt for the twins for when they are bigger, but I'm not sure I'm up to two of them. Happy Quilting! 

November 15, 2014

Winter has come!

This week we got lots of snow, which was a really nice change...for awhile.  Note the snow on the picnic bench and barbeque--roughly NINE inches.  You can see the leaves are still on many of our trees--the temperature was in the 70's just last week.

Bryna (yes, our new puppy finally has a name!) enjoys the snow, but not the cold weather so much--it's currently 14 degrees, and going to go lower tonight.  We took this photo after our walk in the snow today.  She's growing so fast.  When we brought her home about a month ago, she was almost 6 lbs.  Yesterday at the vet, she was 20 lbs.  Seems she takes after me!

In between shoveling snow, walking with Bryna, and watching Bryna, I've managed to finish a couple things.  After working on it a couple of years--seems like forever--I finally finished the bottom panel of the Roseville Album
The trees seemed to take forever.  I wish I had used a darker fabric for the one on the left, but it is done and done is good!  Strangely enough, the darker tree stitched so much easier than the lighter one, and I really do like the fabric and the way it looks for the tree.  But it did cause one near crisis. 
Somehow the panel got damp (maybe from sitting near a condensing glass of ice water), and the fabric in the tree on the right side bled onto the background about an inch out throughout the tree area.  This happened at the point when the panel was 90% done, just a few circles and birds to go.   I just about had a heart attack seeing that. 
This is the fabric--it's a Brandon Mably called Green Clover Dots (I think).  Since I prewash everything, it wasn't a good surprise.  Luckily, when I soaked the panel, it all washed out.  But, I would recommend you prewash that fabric if you have it--mine is going to get prewashed an extra time! 
And, tonight my husband watched Bryna, my daughter was gone, and I got to sew uninterrupted (pure heaven).  I was able to do the finishing machine applique on Quilt Doodle Doodle's BOM for October.  I had finished stitching the pieces last month, but forgot about the light's string.  Since then, I've been mulling over how I wanted to add it. 
I had thought about embroidering it on, but I really wanted it to show up against the blue, so I went with a narrow bias strip instead, using a narrow black and white stripe that I had left from another quilt's binding. (Cut just slightly over 1/4 inch)
That's likely all I will get finished for awhile.  My daughter is home for 3 more weeks--such a rare treat, I want to enjoy every moment I can with her!  (When I can pry her away from Bryna that is--they've been having a grand time together--I'm going to have to be sure she doesn't pack her up in her suitcase!) 
Happy stitching--and Happy Thanksgiving if I don't post again before then!