Monday, August 13, 2018

ufo done and part one of vacation sewing

Last week, the hubby and I made our annual pilgrimage north to Drummond Island.  As in the 6 previous years, I packed a lot of sewing projects and a lot of books.  (You never know when things go faster than expected and nothing is worse than a day spent THINKING about the sewing you could be doing!  I learned from my mistake the first year!)

The trip up seems to take forever, but the scenery is beautiful.  We cross the Mackinac Bridge (sorry, no photos - hard to get a good one because you can't stop!) and then head east across the upper peninsula of Michigan, skirting the south shoreline and getting glimpses of the lake through the pine trees.

When you reach the edge of the peninsula, there's a ferry to take you just a little bit more east in the state - not quite to Canada!  Cars, boats and all board and let the amazing ferry crew maneuver that boat like nobody's business!

It's not a big ferry, but it can carry a lot of us with boats or campers attached to trucks!

Once off the ferry, another short trip to the interior, then north to the shore where the cabin we've rented stands.  This year we had a larger cabin and a later week than years before...not sure we liked either more, but sometimes you gotta mix things up!

The hubby put the boat in the water for the week and then came the chore of unpacking the truck.  But the first unpacking (unlike the getting back home (second) unpacking) doesn't seem too awful.  It's the start of vacation and you might as well dig in, get dirty and get it done.

With the chores completed, the hubby set out to find the fish and I unpacked my (large) suitcase of projects and supplies.  (I take two suitcases - the smaller one filled with clothes and such, the larger with my sewing stuff - even the machine fits in there!)  I took over the "dining room" table, as expected, and selected my first project: UFO #3 - "Boxes and Crosses."

This was a kit I purchased at the AQS show last year and though I love it, it languished in my stash for lack of assignment or deadline.  Putting it on the UFO list was definitely a good idea, even if I wondered at myself for choosing a WHOLE quilt to put there.  (It's not the only whole quilt on the list, but so far, so good!)

The pattern comes from the book "By the Bundle" by Emma Jean Jansen.

(a little wrinkly here, as the sewing stuff didn't get unpacked as quickly as the food and clothing - hey, someone had to work the next day after returning!)

This book has very modern quilts, but I think I love all but one in there!  It was in the package with the kit, so I didn't even know what else I was getting with the purchase.  This is definitely a good book and more projects may just happen from it...someday...

I failed to take a photo of the whole kit together, but at least remembered the stacks of fabrics!

It struck me as pretty amazing that the color for this months Rainbow Scrap Challenge is also orange, but I promise, this was not anything I engineered.  (And I still have to make the last 9 dreaded Patchwork City blocks...soon...)

Let's lay those all out because those low-volume backgrounds...O...M...G...!

Words!  And maps.  And newspaper ads.  And don't forget dots!!!!!

The oranges (and grey) are no slouches either.  Paperclips!  Clothespins!  (And I think that one under the grey is a Tula Pink print, but the selvedge I got was the wrong end to confirm my suspicions.)

It was almost to hard to cut into these, but I managed.

First, though, was the task of pressing out about a years worth of folded-neatly wrinkles.  Good thing I have a wonderful (though not very expensive) steamy iron.  AND I remembered to bring proper water this year!

The quilt is quite simple, just squares made into 9-patches and arranged just so.  But there are a LOT of squares to cut!  (529 if my math is right...)  That took the better part of the day (that and the de-wrinkling), but it's okay.  Any progress is progress.

Unfortunately, I was so excited to be sewing, I failed to take ANY progress photos until I had all the blocks made!

Perhaps not the best lighting for that photo, but you get what you get when you rent!  The space I had for laying this out was almost not big enough, but I got it in.  I also stubbed my toe on the legs of the table about 45 times during the week.  They stick out just a little, but apparently I'm also unaware of where my feet are?  (And who wants to wear shoes when living on the shores of Lake Huron!)

The blocks got sewn together and then the borders were added.  And then I took the quilt outside for a photo shoot.

It was windy all week, but I did my best...

Under the deck of the cabin is no fun sight, but at least the deck was high enough to accommodate the quilt, which the book claims finishes 69"x69".  (Mine might be a little smaller because, in transit, the dial that turns to move your needle got moved over a click.  For this quilt of all the same size squares, it didn't matter.  I did a little ripping at the start of project #2 before I thought to check it.  Because it's a manual dial and doesn't generally move itself, why would I check?  Ah well, fixed in time and project #2 went smoothly...well...we'll call it that...after!)

But we're on the beach, so let's take a little walk while the neighbors are away and can't wonder what that crazy lady who never leaves the cabin except for dinner is doing...

A little trouble with the colors here - my phone washed out the oranges and when trying to edit them back to a good color, it made the skies look stormy.  Though we did have some rain, it was not the case this day.

To the left you can see the marina where large boats (well, not TOO large) come in.  And to the right is the dock for the cabins where we stay.  (The hubby has his boat on the other side of the cabin, at another dock where there is electricity - permission given by the rental folks, of course.)  Straight ahead is Harbor Island, a national wildlife refuge that has no people living on it!  If I didn't get seasick so easily, I'd have been out there hiking this year, as the weather wasn't too hot.  (Some years...ugh!)  It doesn't look far, but even calm waters on this big lake are a questionable for me in our little boat.

So here is where I tidied up (I even brought a small vacuum to suck up the inevitable strings!) and started gearing up for project #2.  I'll blog about that soon - I hope.  The boss-lady at work has scheduled me 41 hours this week because a few folks are out, so I agreed to step in and help since I know they covered for me while I was away.  But that leaves little playtime.  And I do have today off, but found out the nieces (and now a nephew!) we've taken shoe shopping every fall are due to start school in a week.  There goes my day off!  But we'll have fun and the kids have a blast, too.  (Plus, I know they have quality shoes for the school year, not the kind that come from Wal-Mart and fall apart by winter, when they really need the shoes to be shoes...I've never been one for cheap shoes...I mean, I have my share of flip-flops and fun shoes that you wear for a few hours here and there, but real shoes?  Treat your feet!  You'll not be sorry!)

I'll also try, in the next post, to share the short side-trip to a quilt shop I managed on the trip up!

Happy quilting,

Friday, August 3, 2018

tbt (late) - Tasha's Frog Quilt

So I had great plans to write this post yesterday and then the internet went out.


It came back a few hours later, but by then, I was busy with twenty other tasks and it was just too late.  So we'll do it today!

I made a list a while back of all the quilts (and there are a lot) that I blogged about pre-Blogger.  On the blog that's gone.  So gradually I'll share them...

This round, I'm going to share a housewarming gift I made for a college friend.  We met at summer school between my junior and senior year and had a lot of fun.  She's the kind of person you can't not have fun with.  She's always in a good mood.  She's always up for an adventure, no matter how small.  And she appreciates all the little things in life, things like quilts and sharing your already-hot charcoal grill when she's a hungry college kid!

So I decided, when she bought a condo many years ago, to make her a quilt.  She loves frogs.  And I found a pattern that was perfect.  Sadly I don't remember the name of the pattern and don't even have a copy of it.  You see, I made this for a quilt shop as a store sample (it hung there a few months before I snagged it home!), so I was given the pattern and fabrics and struggled through it.

(I learned a very good lesson - quilting on a schedule that tight is NOT fun - and I won't make that mistake again!)

The process was fun and I learned some along the way - like BIG applique pieces are hard to keep from smooshing where they won't belong.  And that back fabric Won't. Go. Away.  It's one of two in my stash that seem to multiply while I sleep.  It's not that I don't like it, it's just a bit much...

So what does the quilt look like?

The colors aren't quite true here.  I have a printed copy of the photo that I scanned (because I can't find the original, digital one) and though I tried to adjust the colors, it just didn't go well.  The blue is a true, bright blue and the green is also a more true kelly green.  The frog is about the right color, though.

Do you see that arm poking around the side there?  From the back?


Look who is hanging out on the back!

(The colors here are pretty good...)

I have a note in my scrapbook that I gave this to Tasha in the summer of 2005.  Whew!  That was a long time ago!  We're still friends and she's had three kids, who have all gotten quilts!  Gabriel's quilt (2nd child) can be seen here, and Anna's quilt (3rd child) can be seen here.  I haven't blogged about Claire's quilt (1st child), but that is probably on the list...if not, it will be now!

I've also been to her wedding and a few fun parties, but with both of us having busy lives, we don't see each other very often.  Hmmm...perhaps it's time I give her a call?

This week my sewing room hasn't seen much action.  But I did sew some Flags for Sue...

...just three, but I used up a smallish chunk of white, and took a good chunk out of the red.  And that blue?  That's the other fabric in my stash that just won't go away.  I don't much like it, but it is a nice darker blue for these blocks.

I also spent most of Wednesday making a disaster of my kitchen...

It started out with the cupcakes.  The hubby's work was doing a fundraiser cupcake war and he asked me to participate.  The cupcakes look a little lumpy here (and I think I know why), but once they were filled with a peanut butter filling and iced with a chocolate ganache, they looked pretty good!

(hubby says they look like boobs...leave it to a boy to see boobs in a cupcake...)

They didn't win, but it was okay.  Participation was key here.  And he heard good things about them.

While the oven was hot, I decided to make a batch of brownies.  And why not make some no-bakes, too?  The kitchen is already a disaster...

And with that, a few more chores are calling my name before I have to head to work.

Happy quilting!

Monday, July 30, 2018

pineapple squirrel - done

Due to an unplanned oops-I-forgot-the-shirt moment while sewing with my sister-in-law and mom this past Friday, the pineapple squirrel made a large leap forward...

(I hung the shirt up after washing, thinking to myself "don't forget that tomorrow"...and then I did.)

After unpacking my sewing supplies and looking in the box for the shirt, wondering how I crammed everything for two projects in that small box, it dawned on me that I had NOT in fact placed the shirt in the box.  I hung it up to limit wrinkles.

Best laid plans.

Move on to Plan B.  (I had also included Plan C supplies, just in case, but those were still in the least at the location where I planned to sew...)

In my last post, I shared with you the beginning of the Star Spangled Pineapple Squirrel journey...I expected this post would be the Apron-from-Shirt journey.


You get the second half of a squirrel.

I had managed, before Friday morning, to take these half pineapples...

(with their slightly modified tops, due to an error in paying attention) whole pineapples.  (No photo there...)

So I pulled these out, along with some of the mis-cut-but-being-used-for-cornerstones-now blue squares and began to sew rows of pineapples and sashing strips together.

I had a small bit of trouble with figuring, since the blocks aren't square.  I had started six rows of pineapples, not four.  You see, it was to be six pineapples across and four down, which seems completely backwards to my brain (even now), but trust me, it's right.

Thankfully, I caught it early and was able to recover easily.  No unsewing took place!

I didn't lay them out on the design floor - remember this is the one that has a cat, but the cat doesn't visit the design floor (though she did visit me from her hiding spot in the wall, accessible by an opening in the bathroom, while I was using said bathroom, but only for a quick sniff and run) - I just decided I'd try not to get the same prints next to each other if I could.  Turned out that wasn't too hard.  (And if it was, well, I wasn't unsewing.)

So, alas, no in-progress photos.

But, by mid-afternoon I had the top together!

And so, unsure if it needed borders or not (and not sure I liked the cornerstones), my brother and I headed to a nearby sporting goods store to pick up some fishing lures for my husband.  (That was an adventure...I kinda knew what he wanted...)

Procrastination 101.

And then it was time to head home.  With a quick stop at my in-laws to retrieve my hubby, who had dropped off his truck to have a new catalytic converter put on it.  My father-in-law is a mechanic, you see, so he was helping us out.  Of course, all that I earn the next two weeks will go to pay for said part and labor, but the truck is running much better, so I guess it's all good?

Anyways, I thought about the quilt a little over the next few days.  Pondered if I had enough grey left for borders.  And pondered if it NEEDED borders.

Conference with a friend or two and it was decided I did need borders.

Today, after a round of chores (including waxing the kitchen floor on hands and knees (it's a small kitchen) and washing windows...super fun morning...), I headed up to the sewing room and measured.  I have JUST enough for a border the same width as the sashing.  YAY!

Cut, sew, press, repeat.


I like it better with the border, so my little bit of hesitation is gone.

I also like the cornerstones better now that it has the outer border.  Though I'm pretty sure I'd like it as much (maybe more) without them.  But I'm not unsewing.

I didn't set it just like the original pattern, but my changes were driven by the amount of mystery grey (have you ever tried to match up a solid color fabric you bought at a guild garage sale with another one anywhere?  I'm not even gonna try!) I had to work with and that I wanted a bigger quilt.  I made twice as many pineapples, but with skinnier sashings, didn't come up with a quilt that was twice as large.  Goal met.

It finishes 62x66", which is a great couch-size.

This one is for me!

Happy quilting!

PS The Apron-From-Shirt project is on hold indefinitely.  Vacation cleaning (aka mom-is-cat-sitting cleaning) is taking priority for the remaining week.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Christmas quilt along squirrel and a new squirrel

In my last post, I shared with you some of the Christmas quilt saga.

Today, I present to you MY version of the 12 Days of Christmas Blog Hop quilt...pretty different, no?

As I said in my last post, this quilt started out with truly good intentions.  I had a stash of Christmas fabrics and thought that, by combining the two reds and the two greens, I would have enough to make the quilt along quilt.  I really like the quilt.  I even bought the rulers.  I wanted to make it.  (I still might...)

It turns out I did not.

Maybe I did, but math was not going well the day I started it.

(It probably didn't help I was sewing with friends and trying to pay attention to conversations and join in, but we're just going to pretend that wasn't a distraction, okay?)

So, after a little frustration and diverting my attention for a bit, I decided to just sew this up.

When I left the sew-in, I had parts sewn...

And I got busy at home in the days since.

So it turns out that yet AGAIN my math was wrong.

I thought I was going to have a quilt that was 8x8 4-patches and end up 64" square.

What I HAD was enough to make an oddly shaped 8 by not quite 6 quilt.  Or something.

Thankfully, I had enough fabric to cut about 18 more of each color squares and could make it 12 squares by 14 squares.  (By this point, I'd given up on the 4-patch idea.)

But wait!

If I cut ONE more square, I could have a 13x13 patch quilt.

Well, why not?  I mean, what else could go wrong?

So I decided the quilt should have red in all the corners and cut the one last red square.

And it went together just fine.

So apparently 13 is not an unlucky number for me.

Or maybe I'd just used up all the bad things fate had to offer me on this quilt and it was forced to let me have this one.


It's a top.

And I'll quilt and donate it for a Christmas thing later in the year.

On to the next squirrel.

I will admit, the squirrel started out with the Flags for Sue project.

I really was going to pull out some of my darker blues and truer reds and make a few blocks.

Really.  I was.

And then I remembered the Star Spangled Pineapple quilt.

And it was all over.

I dug into my stash...

...and even pulled the 2 yards of grey I got at the quilt show garage sale weekend before last!  (Is it okay if the fabric is aged in someone else's stash!?)

I decided I wanted the quilt a little larger, but my grey was a limiting factor, so I decided not to do pinwheel cornerstones, which meant I could do skinnier sashing and make my grey last longer.

A little math, but this time I wasn't distracted.

As much.

And some cutting!

Due to a paying attention error, I cut the blue squares the wrong size to make half square triangles two at a time.  I had enough to recut the squares needed to make the pointy parts of the pineapple top, but decided to use the full squares (correctly sized) for the center of the top.

Doesn't make sense?

Well, how about this in-progress shot of the tops?

I like this just fine.

But there was some squirrel poop created here...

...but this in the trash.  There will be no squirrel poop giveaway this round!

Last night, after work and a few chores, I sewed a bunch more.  I didn't want to go to bed, but knew I needed to get up fairly early today to get a few more chores done before I head to work at noon.

This is where I had things last night...

...I kept telling myself, just one more set of seams and I'll be at a good stopping point.  And then I decided that just ONE MORE would make it better.

This is truly a good stopping point, but it was after 10pm when I finished!

There's still a fair amount of sewing to go and I'm making 24 pineapples that will make a good-sized throw quilt.  (Yes, double the original pattern, but with 2" sashing, it won't be double in size.  IF my math is right...)

So far, my math has not failed me other than to miscalculate the number of grey squares I'll need to round off the corners with the lost corner technique.  But that's easy to fix.  I have about 2/3 yard left and the inner sashings are all cut.  Borders will be determined by how much I can get out of what I have.  Or maybe I won't do them.

So that's it for today.

This squirrel is coming together fast, but I'm having fun.

It made a dent in my stash.  Not a huge one, but a dent.  And that's good!  (Room for new stuff?!)

Happy quilting,

PS Maybe Sue will get some flags later this week?

PPS I also have this squirrel - my mom is going to teach me to make an apron from this on Friday.  It's for a friend for her birthday...I'll tell the rest of the story another day...