Sunday, November 28, 2021

more hammocks and a curtain or three

Still no quilty stuff this week, but more hammocks!

Last week I made 26 hammocks.  This week I've only made 24, but I made three curtains this morning, so I guess my total is 27 this week?

Let's start with the latest fabrics, shall we?

This one was a soft flannel.  So cozy now that the snow has started flying.

And this one?  It's reminds me of a batik, but it isn't.

This one was very stiff even after washing.  I didn't think it has any polyester in it, but as I worked with it and pressed it with a hot iron, it started to emit the telltale scent.  That's okay.  Kitties don't mind.

This was a piece intended to be cut out for applique.  It wasn't much and I backed it with some leftover flag print from previous efforts and it will be just fine.  I'm sure the kitties won't mind the printed directions still in there - or maybe they'll just read them and learn about our sewing tendencies?

This one.  Oh.  It has a nice feel, but I realized only after cutting strips for the loops that it stretches across the stripes.  I think maybe it was meant for button down shirts?  So it stretches around you.  I had some issues with sewing - I'll show photos in a minute.

More dogs.  Funny I got no cat fabrics.

And this last one has yet to be pressed or worked with.  This will be what I tackle when I return to the sewing room.  It is probably 60" wide and printed with these stripes and stars twice near the selvedge edges.  It is, like the denim/stars and stripes from before, a coarser weave and I wonder if it wasn't intended for tablecloths or some sort of decor.  Due to the whiteness, I plan to make kennel curtains with it - cutting it on the fold and having a nice decoration for the kitties to enjoy!

Okay, back to oddball stuff about fabrics.

The Hawaiian print had some red stitches near one selvedge.  I think it marked a flaw further into the piece, but it was an odd thread.  Almost felt like it had been waxed?

I've seen flaws marked with chalk, but I suppose this sticks around longer.  A little nip with the seam ripper and it was history.

And the stripes...sewing with the stripes, I had a nice flat seam:

But sewing against them was another story altogether!

I noticed the pull when sewing strips for the ties and went looking for a ball point needle.  While I know those are meant for knits, I thought whatever was in this that made it stretch might also work nicely with that needle?

I was pretty sure I had bought some many years ago, but who knows where they'd gone.  So I started digging.  I've tidied my sewing room a few times, but needles were pretty much in one of two places.  And holy cow did I find needles!

I might have a problem?

When things like needles and thread were becoming in short supply over a year ago, I just picked up a pack every so often when I was out and about.  I did the same with grey and white thread.  The thread has been used a lot faster than the needles.


See the yellow pack in there?  Sticking out like a sore thumb?  Those are my ball point needles!  Hooray!

Turns out they didn't make much of a difference, but I guess no difference is better than worse, right?

Anyways, I found that pressing the seam after sewing did tame the stretch.  And the direction of the stretch means the hammocks will give around the kitties, not stretch to be longer.  The ties, however, well...

Toby thought all this sewing was exasperating.

Thank goodness mom had moved the cozy poof bed up to the sewing room so he could stay cozy and warm while hiding from my ridiculous endeavors.

Today I decided to try my hand at kennel curtains.  I had held back half of a piece from last week, knowing another (the last one posted today) was coming.  My mom donated a bunch of buttons and elastic from her stash and I studied the diagrams the rescue group provided as well as checking with The Google for more information.  Armed with a half-witted idea of what I was doing, I was off and running.

I've made basic curtains before, but they were for me, so I could tweak them as I saw fit.  Having an unknown recipient is a lot harder.  Onward!

The first one went fairly well, so I dug into a second and third.

Fairly convenient is that the kennel we purchased in January for Gabby's return from major surgery is still in the upstairs hallway, folded up and waiting for my strong hubby to lug it into the attic.  It gave me a perfect place to display my work!

Finn, however, was less pleased at my efforts today.

Every time I put something down, he sat on it.  He looks angry or sad here, but really he was just annoyed that I was asking him to look at the camera.  (Add it to the list of making him move 40,000 times - he exaggerates as much as I do!)

Anyways, the kennel curtains went nicely.  I am not as excited about making them, but they are nice for the kitties as well.  They can be used when there are multiples in an area, to give privacy or help kitties feel less stressed.  But they are also good at helping to keep kitties who are sick from spreading diseases.  Kinda like we've been wearing masks, these help prevent the spread of kitty sneezes and coughs.

Also, not pictured, is a dark blue, narrow corduroy, used to make hammocks.  I had my doubts, but my machine sailed right through it.  It didn't even shed that much!

Friday my volunteer contact picked up 45 hammocks from me at work (we find that is a good meeting point), but I was busy with customers and couldn't chat.  I'm sure by Saturday a few more kitties had discovered the joy of a hammock in their crate!

I feel like I haven't sewn as much this week as last week, having worked more shifts at work than usual (a couple folks are out with the nasty virus - the ones that haven't yet been vaccinated!), and a holiday in there where we spent time with family, but my tally says I'm doing just fine.  Not that it's a race!

I am feeling the itch to start figuring out the horse quilt for my niece, though.  So maybe next week you'll see bits of that?  (But this box of fabrics is kinda in the way, so I would like to get that taken care of too...ugh!  Too many choices!)

Happy quilting!

Monday, November 22, 2021

more hammocks...well...fabrics

Last week Tuesday, my Saved By Zade contact met me at work with two boxes of fabric.  She knows I don't want fleece, but a lot else goes.  These boxes contained quilting cottons, flannels, corduroy, and some other stuff that may be linen?

Everything went into the wash first.  Five loads of laundry and two VERY dark color catchers later (I did a red load and a blue load) and I had a stack of fabrics to work with!

It is a BIG stack and was threatening to topple my ironing board, where I stashed it on the end.  They're loosely folded here in an effort to minimize wrinkles, but they are getting ironed as I go.

But I needed the ironing board, so I stashed them in a big box.  The cats had been kinda using the empty box, but I snatched it.  Well.  Apparently they're still going to use the box...

Freddie also got into the act, but I didn't catch him on camera.  And Gabby spent one day in the sewing room with me (she got tired of the bedroom and made a dash for it when I had the door open - Toby was in hot pursuit, but I locked him out of the sewing room for that day), but she was too busy sniffing everything and making note of the small changes that had been made since she was last in there to bother with the box of new fabrics.  (Eventually she got tired of that and started demanding pets.)

Anyways, to keep a quilter friend who isn't able to sew much this week due to playing nurse to her mom post-knee-surgery, I took photos of each fabric as I pulled it off the pile to iron and use.  So I'll share with you what I've worked with so far!

Dogs?  Okay, some of the kitties have canine siblings.
(But why is there a padlock and key?)

This one made me a little dizzy to sew!

Hard to see here, but the top half of this fabric is printed heavily with blue and looks like denim.  It is not.  It is a coarser weave, almost like a linen, but not as nubby.  I cut off the blue part and made hammocks.  I think this lighter half will become cage curtains, but I have to figure out that pattern...

This one looks a lot like a linen, but the more I pressed it, the more I smelled a polyester scent, so maybe not.  It's pretty and would have made a nice sundress, but it was donated for the kitties and I don't wear dresses.  (It also had a few spots of discoloration (small) that I noticed after working closely with it.)

So there are some doozies in there.  And more to come!

But the kitties aren't going to care.  The volunteer I work with is so pleased with all I've done and could not thank me enough for my work.  Heck, these are fun!  (In fact, I'm itching to get up to my sewing room and start on fabric 11!)

I decided to keep track of how much fabric I got and what it yielded.  I have a hand-written tally sheet and am doing the nose-to-fingertips measure of yardage, so it's not exact, but so far, with these 10 fabrics, I have used 20 yards and made 26 hammocks.  If I decide to cut up the white with stars and strips, that will be three more hammocks.

I'm guessing, based on the number of loads of laundry, and where I am in the pile, that I'm about a quarter of the way done.  Of course, there are more ironing board covers, so how does one count that as yardage?  But I'll guess it will be close to 80 yards when I'm done.  And not all is 40-ish inches wide - some are wider.  That's good, though, because it allows for better use of the yardage based on the sizes needed.

No quilty stuff this week.

Today I've been making goodies for work.  Tomorrow starts our "Black Friday" sale and, if last year is any indication (also started on Tuesday), we will be swamped in the morning and then things will level off later. On Friday, we'll be twiddling our thumbs.

Add in that our weekly delivery of new stock is also tomorrow, we will be a little on the extra crazy side.  Plenty of folks in the store to do stuff, but the guys doing stock will not be entirely pleased to be pulled away from that task (it's a big job and they work their tails off) to help with regular stuff.  So I thought taking in caramel corn, chocolate chip cookies and no-bake cookies might help?  I joke that I buy my friends with baked goods and some days that statement is a little bit true!

My kitchen was a disaster for a bit today, but it cleans up nicely.  And I, of course, get to sample everything to make sure it tastes right!

Happy quilting!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

fishies and pants

Thanks to all of you who gave me input on what to enter for the quilt show.  I ended up just entering two - the unicorn and #9.  The unicorn is pretty obvious why I entered it.  The other one has a lot of cool quilting in it and I'm really proud of that - and the curved piecing!

After hearing our coordinator say she had only about 25 quilts entered so far, I decided that if I entered many more it would be too much of just me.  I can always add more if needed, but I'm sure there will be a few late entries, too.  We'll play it by ear.

(It was also hard to pick a favorite among the favorites, so I wanted to enter them ALL once I got past the top few!)

I haven't done any actual quilty sewing this week.  I did get the pattern for the horse for my niece.  I'm pretty disappointed that, after paying extra, shipping costs and waiting, the pattern is printed on both sides.  The designer notes that it is to ensure you don't accidentally use the original and expects you to copy them for yourself first. printer cannot handle 11x17 sheets of paper, so that's why I wanted the printed copy!  And I kinda expected that this would be a one-and-done type deal.  But I guess since I don't do much paper piecing maybe I don't know the norm for these patterns?  So I'm in limbo about getting that sorted out.  I will, it just requires a trip somewhere that has a larger-format copier.  (Yay, lets pay for copies and gas too!  Ugh.)  I hope the instructions and ease of construction make up for the current frustration.  I'll let you know.

In non-quilty, but still fabric and sewing, news, I'm continuing on with catnip fishies.  I stuffed them all in this tub as I counted them this week.  52.  I think.  It seems I get distracted when counting more than 3 things?

When I did a little math about how far I want/need these to stretch, I decided to make a few more.  I can always make more later, but to maximize randomization, I need them all at once.  Today I completed another set of 7 and there is one more set of 7 waiting for stuffing.  I THINK that will be enough.  And then it will be about time to start distribution for CAT-mas!

I also decided I'd like some new pajamas.  And while my efforts to find NON-polyester sets in stores continues, it is also a failed effort, so time to make some new pants.  Shirts alone that coordinate that are 100% cotton seem easier to come by (though not marketed as pajamas), so pants are in order.

I love the dinosaurs.  The orange I also love, but I'm not sure I want it as pants.  But it was so soft and pretty (the color is much better in person), I just bought enough for pants.  I'll decide later.  They're pre-washed here, but I will probably press them before cutting out.

And while I was out shopping, I tried to get a new pattern.  I really was okay with another of the one I've used in the past, but couldn't find it.  I needed a slightly bigger size (you know how that goes - you cut one size and you're locked in - and it was fine for a lot of years), but couldn't find exactly the one I had.  While perusing the catalog, I found one that seemed to have pockets (the back of the pattern diagrams were hugely lacking from what I remember of earlier patterns?), so I brought it home.

Holy crap, this not only has pockets, but a button fly!  I looked on the interwebs and it seems there are a couple of videos making these pants, so I'm hoping this isn't a huge bust!  I kinda understand the concept of these things, but haven't actually sewn them myself.  It'll be fine, right?

Not much sewing, as you can see.  Not yet.

In other news, last Sunday evening, we had a car drive by the house really slowly.  We live out in the country and often deer are seen here.  Every so often, a car and deer meet unhappily.  We thought that was what had happened.  So my hubby got up to get his shoes and flashlight, but the car had pulled down our driveway and then scooted away as he got out there...he found nothing even like a deer!

Cake pops!  A high school friend makes these as a side business at Better on a Stick and oh boy are they delicious!  I've been limiting myself to one a day...  But you may remember this friend - I made her the macaron quilt...complete with the pink stand mixer you'll see her posing with on her website!  She left a note with the drive-by cake-popping, thanking me for the quilt.  I know she had been home with family last weekend (thanks Facebook) and my place is between where we grew up and where she lives now (though not exactly on the way), so the timing made sense, but I never expected this.  What fun!

And with that, the dishes are calling and soon I'll have to make dinner.  I feel like lately I'm not getting much fun stuff done, but some weeks are just like that.  The snow has started here, so I'm sure I'll be home more in the coming months and maybe NOW I'll get more fun stuff done?

Happy quilting!

Sunday, November 7, 2021

cancel that last start and let's try again!

I made two more horses.
The first one was okay:

The second one...well...

...that gold looked pretty good in the store...

I love the brown, though.

But these are getting worse, not better.  And I don't want to make a quilt with mostly brown horses.  So I was struggling and decided to set this aside while I pondered things.  Should I just make rainbow horses?  Fantasy colored horses?

A few friends suggested I look for alternate patterns.  I was hesitant, but with no other project in the works and my hands tired from sewing fishies shut (darn it, no photo again...), I decided to look around with more purpose.

I found a pattern.

If you scroll down in the link, there is an alternate colorway that is less rainbow and actually has a horse, not a unicorn.  And while I think the rainbow with a unicorn is fantastic, I'm trying to keep myself under control here.  I'm not sure that is the right option for this kid.

Today I ordered the pattern.

And bought some fabrics:

Some of the fabrics purchased for the first quilt will be used here.  And some of these may be swapped out with stash fabrics.  But you get a feel for the colors I want (the horsey fabrics are more near the bottom) and I'm more excited about this.

I'm washing the fabrics now, but ordered a paper pattern (my printer is sometimes goofy and doesn't seem to understand what size things should be when I say "actual size" or maybe it doesn't know how small or large it actually is...anyways, it gets fussy and this needs to be printed on sheets larger than I think my little printer can even run through...if I even had sheets that large, so...), so now I have to wait maybe a week.

I have plenty of time.  This is for graduation and that's not till probably May.  I don't have an exact date, but I can guesstimate pretty easily.  I mean, kids have been graduating from high school for a few years at around the same time, right?

In the meantime, you can help me decide which quilts to submit for my guild show this coming March (fingers crossed it won't be cancelled again for 2022!).  I've assembled a (poor) collage of 12 fairly recent finishes.  I don't want to have so many quilts entered it will seem to be all about me, so I need to cut it down by probably half...

There are so many more in the unquilted pile, and probably some of them will be done by March, but the entry form is due in a week and a half.  And it's not like I don't have plenty here!  (And the unquilted pile can be a cache for 2023!)

So which do you think should be entered?  I have my favorites, but I'll let you help me - what would you like to see in a show?

And now it's time to go iron the 4000 new pieces of fabric I've purchased...I think the dryer just shut off...

Happy quilting!