Tuesday, May 14, 2019

more of a challenge than I wanted

The Year of the Challenge Quilts continues...

On the first of this month, I received an email about a modern mini quilt challenge.  For the most part, I ignored it.  But then one day, I decided maybe I would go for it.  I know this challenge will probably be much higher caliber entries than some of the other challenges I've done, but why not?

So while the hubby watched nonsense on television, I looked at Pinterest for inspiration.  And found some, though I don't have any links to credit.  Just a conglomeration of quilts and a color scheme I'd been wanting to try out more since I saw it in a challenge quilt a few years ago.

But I kinda stalled.  I only had a few weeks.

But with Project Quilting I only had ONE week.  And I made a whole almost-bed-sized quilt.  What's my problem?

Wednesday, the hubby went to work.  I got busy drafting my idea and sewing...

...yes, yes, this will work.

I raided my strings bin, but had to supplement with stash.  But there were some fairly skinny pieces in my stash, so that was nice to find.  (Okay, okay, I knew they were there...it wasn't an accidental finding...)

Before I knew it, I had all the blocks made!

Emma was at about 50% meltdown at this point.  It was getting close to dinner time, but what you see here is basically a 9-patch in need of sewing.  So I kept going.  It wasn't going to take that long.

And here you can see I managed to sew some things in there backwards from the original plan.  While it's not exactly to my liking, I wasn't going to rip it out.  Not yet.  I had to FEED EMMA!!!!!

(I was also kinda hungry.)

Note that the grey is NOT wrinkled.  It is a muslin that has been crinkled up and overdyed.  Remember that whole bolt of fabric I bought while at retreat in January?  This was my first cut into it.  And while I'm not sold on the ray-of-sunshine look in that lower right corner, I do like the overall effect.

At this point, I stalled out a few days.  I had a baby quilt that needed to be quilted, so I decided to work on that.  Remember this one from my Closet of Shame (also featured on my "Parade of Tops" page)?

I quilted this on Thursday, but will save that whole saga for another post...

The weekend got busy between two shifts at work, two family gatherings and all the other things that go with adulting.  (Stupid adulting.)

Monday, the hubby headed back to work, and another day off for me, so I decided it was time to get that mini quilted.  Or at least started.

In chatting with three quilting friends, I had figured out not only the motif ideas, but that I wanted to use high loft poly batting to get the definition in the quilting.  I wasn't sure two layers of the 80/20 I usually use would cut it, so I bought a small poly batt.

FYI: spray baste does NOT stick well to high loft poly batt.  It, however, does stick well to your clothing while you're trying to sew.  And your ironing board that is next to your sewing table.  And pretty much everything that you don't want it to stick to.

I tried to baste the edges of the quilt first, figuring it would help stabilize it.

Bad Messy idea.

Fire up the longarm and baste it that way.

Hard to see here, but poofy!

I had purchased a purple, air-erasing marker and marked lines prior to trying to baste.  You can't really see them here, but neither can I.  They got lighter with time.  I think the perspiration from my hands (there was probably more than usual...) did not help, as the pen is also water-erasable.  Another good-to-know thing I learned with this project.

But...there was NO WAY this thing was going to behave under a domestic machine.  (Why am I using the domestic, you ask?  Because I want to quilt straight, diagonal lines.  And I am no good on the longarm with rulers.  Also, my machine does not like to go diagonally well.  If I had weeks to practice, not days, maybe.  But I can get a more reliable straight line on my little machine.  And this is only 24x24", so doable.  Or so I thought...)

So, this challenge is becoming way more of a challenge than I wanted.  I dig out my safety pins.  The things I packed away when I got my longarm, thinking "so long, little torture devices"...yeah...

Yep, there they are.  My trusty safety pins.  I only put in a few at the start, figuring if it didn't work, I'd have fewer to remove.

But it worked.

It worked well.  I actually like how this is looking.  Of course, there are a LOT more lines to go, but the nice thing, as the squares got bigger, was that I could start sewing from the edge and not have to bury threads any more.  Much faster!

I moved safety pins and added more as necessary.

I was going to do a faced type binding on this, but one edge has a few little puckers as I quilted out to the edge, so that will need to hide.  Or be trimmed.  I'll have to decide.

For now, the quilt is here...

...I really like it!

My plan is to now put it on the longarm for real and do some doodley stuff in the wider bands.  (That was the plan all along, so the back is bigger enough that when I needed to put it on the longarm, it wasn't much trouble.)  I can do doodley stuff way better on the longarm...and not just because my little machine doesn't have a table.

I'm not sure what the larger, corner, parts will get.  It depends how daring I get between now and next Tuesday, when it's due.  I was going to work on it tonight after work, but once chores were done (and a few extra fun ones, like planting some new lilacs) and dinner was eaten, it's gotten late.  Tomorrow?

But I still have to keep in mind that my Pantone challenge quilt is due soon, too.  I added fabric to the back so that it will load easily onto the longarm, but now I'm trying to decide how to quilt it.  And I need to load a practice piece to play with tension for the thicker thread I bought because last time I used that kind, my machine threw a hissy fit.  And it's been throwing those too frequently lately, just using the same kind of thread I use almost all the time.  

I don't have any more cat photos, but I found this squirrel in my Closet of Shame.  I was looking for...um...sewing machine oil?...and there it was, just sitting in a box.  I'm pretty sure it was a Christmas decoration (short version of that story), but it made me laugh pretty hard when I found it.  So I sent this photo to my friend and then yesterday, got silly, and added a caption...

Also in the realm of squirrels...I was shopping the other day and saw these shoes.  So I bought them.

(I've been kinda wanting a pair of Chucks, but wasn't ready to commit.  These are off-brand, but super cute and a better price for shoes I can't wear much because they have no cushion or support...not good work shoes!)

And finally...


You might like it.  I do not.  They ruined orange, vanilla and Coke all in one bottle.  I'll be sticking to regular Coke in the future.

The baby quilt, shown above, is quilted and the binding has been sewn down - the machine-sewn side.  The shower is in a few weeks, but I'm not sure I'll be going.  Either way, I'll plan to blog about it soon.  I don't think my friend reads the blog (if she does, well, she knows what the top looks like!), but I kinda want to get it to her first.  But it's cool.  And there's some drama on the longarm to share with the quilting efforts, too...

Off to snuggle the kitties!

Happy quilting!


a good yarn said...

Love, love, love your mini challenge quilt. How cool is the effect of the extra batting and the grey fabric looks kind of like crumpled paper. Neat! That's a darn cute baby quilt (I recognise that pattern). What a nuisance to have longarm issues. I'm sure you'll sort them out.

Carol R. said...

cheesh! you should have told me about wanting poly batt before you went and bought some... I'm sure I have some around here small/large enough for what you needed. Infact, I think I still have a king size roll of it that someone gave to me.. which might never get used. I like your challenge piece just the way it is.. I finished TWO quilts yesterday.. will post after I take photos later this morning before I have to take hubby to dr. appt. Oh, and keep that lil squirrel at your home - he's not wanted/needed over here.

Marsha B said...

Your little quilt is amazing. The quilting really makes it shine. The ray of sunshine part of the fabric disappears with the quilting, so nothing to worry about there. Looks like you are having fun with the challenge. I love the little squirrel, now you have a real squirrel as a mascot in your sewing studio! Hope the machine issues go away and you can enjoy using it. Those shoes are adorable, too!

A Left-Handed Quilter said...

LOVE your mini - and your Squirrel - and your shoes - and Emma, of course!! - ;))

Ruth said...

I really like the challenge quilt! The close up photo really shows it off well. The orange/vanilla coke doesn't sound good at all. I really don't like flavors in drinks, unless its chocolate in coffee.