Wednesday, January 5, 2022

pq 13.1 - all the colors

Happy belated new year!

Project Quilting kicked off season 13 this past Sunday and I was right there, ready to roll!

I knew whole, throw-size or larger quilts was just not a good choice this year.  But I wanted to do more than my parade of pincushions from last year, so what to do?  I decided to shoot for doll-sized quilts and I will figure out where to donate them when I've finished all the challenges.  (I have a few ideas/options, I just need to research them further.)

There seems to always be a color prompt, but usually it is a restrictive one.  This year, we were told to use "all the colors" - including at least five in our project.

I have this drawer where I stash 1.5" squares that I trim from scraps.  It all started with the Unicorn quilt where I needed the squares, and then I couldn't throw out the extras.  And then I just kept cutting and keeping them.  Much like 2.5" squares, they multiplied out of control, so I decided that maybe this year, in addition to making doll quilts, I would try to use some of my littler squares (since the 2.5" variety were pretty well decimated with this project)...

And then it was time to decide how to lay it all out.  How wide?  How many?

I winged it and went through a number of variations, so I put together a little slideshow (that I hope works!) to see the progress - six noteworthy stages.

(It looks a little blurry here, but you get the idea - silly computer...)

Then it was time to choose a background.  I had two good candidates, but I consulted my friend Colette to get her option.

We both thought the lower fabric fought less with the rainbow colors, so off to cut pieces.  (Of course, I chose a directional print...)

That took a while to get it all together...

There were a few seams that needed to be ripped and background pieces cut larger or smaller, but I was working blind here, so it was inevitable!  (Nope, I didn't draw it out.  I just went for it!)

Finally I had a top - but not a finished top!

It needs a cloud!

This is actually the second cloud I cut - the first one seemed too small, so back to the drawing/cutting board.

I have no idea where this chenille-like fabric came from.  I almost got rid of it.  I'm glad I didn't - it makes a perfect cloud and will be a great tactile addition to a quilt for a little one!

I played a little with scraps cut from the edges to decide how to attach it.  I've never done applique using a zig-zag stitch, but this fabric sheds enough it needed more than a straight stitch.  And that trial went so well, I jumped right in.


But that upper left is looking a little bare.


I have an extra cloud!

Oh yeah!

Sew that down, select a back, find the spray baste and get quilting!

All done with my walking foot on my domestic machine.  It seemed like it took forever, but it actually went pretty fast.

It's hard to tell, but I also ditch-quilted in the rainbow.

Next up - binding!  Should I go fancy and piece the edge where the rainbow exits the quilt?  Why not?!

(Maybe I should have gotten even fancier and done white where the clouds exit?)



My design, my piecing, my quilting!

It didn't make much of a dent in those little squares, but every little bit counts.

Gabby got to inspect!

Not much else quilty around here this week, but I did get my booster jab on the 31st.  As expected, I felt a bit cruddy in the next day or so, but I planned ahead to be able to take it easy and the cats approved!  This one added a fun swollen armpit (lymph nodes, I'm sure) to the list of symptoms, but compared to others reactions, I'm definitely not complaining.  I DO hope this is the last one we need!

I've had quite a few more stories, photos and videos of kitties enjoying my toys, but they were all from coworkers, so were done in-person and I have no physical evidence to share.  But let me tell you, EVERY story is of a happy kitten and a surprised human!  It has me considering options for next year already...

I cleaned out my machine before starting this project...gross!

It's been worse, but I try to do it on the first of every month.  Or the first day I sew each month.  It always has me grumbling at myself that I have to postpone sewing, but when I get the throat plate off, I see all that nastiness and am glad for my pause.

Next up I will probably start the horse graduation quilt, but I have a few other little squirrels to distract me.  One is an embroidery "journal."  I started seeing these just a few days before the new year and it took me a few days to get a hoop, so I'm behind, but last night I at least got the year embroidered and the divisions marked.

A second project that I'm not entirely sure of is more masks.  The hubby and I needed to get tested right before Christmas (we'll let that ridiculous story fall unheard in the history books) and found a free location not far from home.  We hustled up there and the two gals running the place (it was an empty store front in a strip mall with a folding table and two folding chairs and piles of testing materials!) were so kind and patient and friendly and happy - on Christmas Eve no less - that when one complimented our masks and one gal REALLY liked the Godzilla masks the hubby was wearing, I thought maybe I should make her one?  But if I'm making one, a few more isn't much more trouble...

A third project are the lounge pants I bought flannel for a while back.  Maybe I should make those?

Never mind the scrapbook calendar I plan to make.  (Might be a teensy bit behind on that as well, but yesterday I got needed supplies, so I can move forward there as well.)

Oh, wait.  I have a graduation quilt to make!  (But I did get some temporary spray baste stuff for paper piecing without sewing through the paper...)

If I do all of this, you'll have photos galore.

Who knows?

Here's to hoping for a productive upcoming week!

Happy quilting!

Monday, December 20, 2021

hammock tally and back to the horse quilt

Yesterday, on the way to a family Christmas celebration, I dropped off the last of the cat hammocks and cage curtains.  I'm still working on the cage mats, but I'll share about those another day.

Today, I'm sure you'd like to know some totals of what all I did with all that fabric!

Total hammocks: 113
Total yards: 72 + 18 ironing board covers

The yardage was estimated (you know how you hold it in one hand and stretch your arm out and measure from your nose to your fingertips?  yeah, that kind of estimate) and could be off by a fair amount, but we can say it was 72 nose-to-fingertips at least!

I thought I was done for a while.


She gave me two more paper grocery sacks of fabric.

I told her not to expect these as quickly, but it IS fun to work with someone else's fabrics.  This batch, though, is not so many larger pieces, but a fair number of oddballs with chunks cut out.  I'll do what I can, but expect this to not go as far.

The funnest part was what else was in the bag!  Two shoebox-size plastic boxes with all sorts of sewing notions.  LOTS of needles (hand-sewing, hand-quilting, and a few machine), scissors, threads, tailor's chalk and accessories and all sorts of fun stuff.  Older, for sure.  I expect a grandma somewhere passed away and this was her sewing box.

The coolest thing in there?

These three needle books - with needles still in them!  (Not all the needles, but enough.)  I don't know much about these types of things, but wonder if they're worth anything?  Anybody out there in blogland know anything?

Oh, and remember how I said the second camo might be military?  When I got up close and personal, I found this:

Yep.  Military.  Marines to be exact.  Fun!

But today, with the stash of hammocks gone and a pause in sewing those, I wanted to tackle what I hope is the hardest job with the graduation quilt for my niece.  Remember the horse debacle replaced by a different horse quilt?  And I bought fabrics...

...and supplemented with some I have at home, too.  But I needed to decide what to use and what to skip.  Today, with a much bigger floor in my sewing room (thanks in part to hammocks being turned in, but also to Christmas gift giving - storage of gifts is in my sewing room because it is upstairs and easy to close the door if people show up unannounced!), I sat down with the fabrics and my notes and figured this out:

The fabrics in the center will be the horse.  Except the very top white one - that will be stars.

As I was laying out the fabrics, it occurred to me that those hearts might be in a key spot to look like, um, well, horse farts!  So I had to go look at my photo and figure it out.

I've circled in blue where this print will end up.  Not quite as bad as it could have been, so I'm leaving it.  And even if it looks that way, I think she'll get a kick out of it.  (Not quite a unicorn that farts rainbows, as the saying goes, but it IS a horse in this one!)

Okay, back to adult-land, I made a key for what everything is because there are 16 backgrounds and almost as many fabrics in the horse itself.

I'm not entirely convinced this will keep errors away, but it is definitely a good start.  (There are a number of blanks there in the center because there are a few colorway options in the pattern, not because I'm still missing a dozen or more fabrics!)  This is the most planning I've ever done for a quilt before sewing anything.  Whew!  Glad it's done!

Paper piecing is my least favorite...well, after English paper I'm not super excited to start this, but it needs to happen.  I think I'm going to do some research on different techniques before I start.  I know there are ways to do it without actually using the papers and a few different techniques that do destroy the papers, and I want to make sure my fighting method is the best one for me.

This week I also gave away many catnip fishies.  They were a big hit.

Three friends tagged me on Facebook with these photos of their kitties, and a coworker asked for more for his mom and sister.  Well, for their cats.  How can I say no to that?!

Worth every minute I spent making them for sure!  And now they're all gone.  Except for the last batch for my niece-kitty.  She'll get hers on Christmas.

Finn has been very present and helpful lately.

I laid out 13 ironing board innards to relax and he decided that was the bestest place for a nap.  He wouldn't even come down for breakfast!

And yesterday, he got a new box.

My sister-in-law got me new cookie sheets (my old ones are getting rusty and one has a crease-dent and for someone who bakes as much as I do, that seems just ridiculous), Finn got the shipping box.  He is pretty sure he is the big winner here, despite the concerned look on his face.

Happy quilting!

Monday, December 13, 2021

mostly hammocks, but almost done

This week was another busy week of sewing hammocks.  Among other things...

I teased you last week about the pink plaid.  It did not photograph well, but here you have it:

It really is more pink than this.

This one is like a lightweight oxford.  (So lightweight, in fact, that you can see my funky ironing board cover through it!)  It was about 60" wide, so I used the blue stripes for hammocks and the wider, thinner side stripes for a few more curtains.

(I don't think they're actually crooked?)

And some Christmas fabric!  Not what I might choose, but not awful either!  And though I had washed and dried all of these, this one, when hit with a hot iron, smelled a bit of a vet office.  I wonder where it lived before it came here?

This fabric was actually two pieces.  The first was about a yard.  The second was about eight yards!  And it is about 60" wide.  So that means the 15x30" hammocks are easily possible (not so thrifty when the fabric is 40" wide, so this is nice to make those longer hammocks).  And it is an odd fabric.  It feels like a woven, but when I got up close sewing, it looks to be a knit.  And it dried like crazy fast.  It was half dry just out of the washer.  So it got me wondering if this is actual military grade?

The selvedge wasn't immediately helpful, but good thing for the internet!  I actually was also curious about the fiber content, but only found this fun PDF:

(Image from the Milliken website)

It is used to diminish your thermal signature, so heat-sensing cameras or whatever kind of technology, have a harder time seeing you.  And yep.  Military.

Nine yards yielded 19 hammocks, so LOTS of ties/loops needed to be sewn.  I do this first, as they need to be pinned into the sandwich, and it turns out nicely, as this fabric does NOT like my traditional Coats & Clark thread - fair warning that a problem is imminent - before the real deal of sewing.  But throw in a slightly lighter weight longarm thread and it sews beautifully.

Bonus?  I'm using up bobbin ends and not caring much about the matchy-matchy of thread.  I'm currently working my way through the pile of these 19, and red is currently the color of choice.  I still have some orange and light blue and then a fair amount of light grey and white shades.

And then, I will move on to my last fabric!

Another camo, and I expect this one might be military as well.  Always an adventure, but I'm learning some tricks for challenges that quilting cottons don't provide.

Oh, also in the mix were 18 more ironing board covers, which yielded 9 long, skinny hammocks.  I sewed those with purple thread, so it shows a lot - they're off-white!  (But not very interesting to photograph, so I spared you that photo!)

No other sewing again this week, aside from these, but I can see the bottom of the box!  That means the floor of my sewing room will get bigger!  (Because the box will go away.)

Toby doesn't mind, so long as his poof-bed is available.

I turned around to find him like this, happy as could be.

Finn and Freddie take turns in the extra "executive" desk chair in the room.  But they are also not as present as this guy.  He seems to follow me around a lot.  He doesn't want pets or love, he just wants to make sure he knows where I am.

Once the hammocks are finished, I have a lot of "D"-shaped ends cut off from the ironing board covers, and now that I have also been given the sheets of batting-like-stuff that was the innards of the covers (they were long ovals of fabric with a draw string and then a sheet of batting to go under it - not like the covers we buy today that are all sewn together with an elastic edge), I will see if I can figure out how to piece those together (I'll trim them into even-sized rectangles first) to make some kennel mats.

The adventures never end.

I just hope that these hammocks (I'm up to 108 now and that final camo piece will add at least a few more) will keep the rescue group well supplied for a while and I can take a break.  It's been fun, but I've had over 70 yards of fabric to work with, so it's been a little overwhelming, too.

Today I'm going to take a break, though.  At least this morning.  The catnip fishies are in need of rehoming, and my intention was they would go around Christmas.  So I've found some holiday-themed cellophane bags and will work on packaging those up shortly.  Between rounds of stirring caramel corn in the oven and making batches of peanut brittle in the microwave and, when the hubby gets home, more fudge.

(By January, I'm going to need a holiday to recover from this holiday!)

Happy quilting!

Sunday, December 5, 2021

and yet more hammocks!

I continue to sew with the fabrics given to me to make hammocks.  Some days produced more than others, but this week on the whole feels like I got less done.
I picked up an extra shift at work (three coworkers are now out sick with the virus - none of them vaccinated), so that slowed me down even more.  But it allowed me an easy connection with the volunteer, who on short notice, ended up in the area and dropped off the innards of ironing board covers.  It's basically batting, and I plan to use it for cage mats.  Eventually.

First, I want this box of fabrics off the floor that is currently in the middle of my sewing room.  The room also houses Christmas gifts and things are getting cramped.  Possibly the extra chair (for the cats, of course) that was added in the last week is part of that problem?  But it just makes it easier to swap chairs than constantly chase a cat out of the only one.

Okay, fabrics!

I teased you last week with fabric #18 that was going to be more kennel curtains.  Those seem to take For. Ever. But I got six made out of that piece of fabric!

Maybe they don't take as long as I think, but there are lots of steps that aren't sewing.  Like running elastic through the casing.  And sewing on buttons.  Never mind all the pressing so I can hem all four sides.

With those out of the way I could move on to the next in the stack!  All hammocks from these.

Pin dots.  Bleh.  My nemesis.  This one had polyester in it, too.

I have no idea what this designer was thinking, but the kitties won't care.

Not bright, but nice enough.

Corduroy.  Thick corduroy.  My machine did NOT like this.  Anything this heavy I will reject in the future.  I had issues with skipped stitches when I got to many layers.  Not the best place for that!

This was a panel and two squares that I think were supposed to be coordinating pillows?  I fussy cut and made a fairly large hammock to make the best use of the birds.  Even if that's kinda mean to the poor kitties!

More pin dots.  This one was less annoying, but still.

Finally, this cute baby print.  Very thin.  I think a poly blend.  But soft.  Also it had been cut into smaller pieces.  So I made some very small hammocks.  I'm hoping they can be used in smaller crates maybe?

These take me well into load #4 of laundry (remember there were five), so I'm making progress.  Some days I feel like I get a lot more done than others.  But I suppose if I sew fewer, larger hammocks it feels like it goes faster than more, smaller hammocks?

I said last week I should get started on the graduation quilt, but I've made no progress there yet.  I'm kinda hopeful I'll eventually get this box out of the middle of the room and I can have that space back to lay things out.  No rush.  Yet.

The only other event of note this week was Finn going to the vet.  Just an annual visit, but since he has decided he wants to escape the cat playland, we opted to have him microchipped.  He seems none the worse for it - even his vaccination didn't slow him down, as they sometimes do.  I'm glad to have him done.  All four of our kitties come due in the fall, so it's nice when they're all done.

Time to get back to the hammocks.  Today's start is a lovely (ha ha ha ha!) pink plaid.  I'll tease you with the description and you'll have to wait until I post again to see it!

Happy quilting!