I went fabric shopping yesterday and holy cow did I add to my list of projects!
But first, let's see a finished quilt!
It all started out with a blog post and a quilt I couldn't quite get out of my head. As one project was finished, I gave myself permission to start this. My friend Colette and I decided to do this together-apart. This time I got a head start...usually she outpaces me!
I cut for what seemed like forever, but it was not helped by cutting just five of each colored fabric. Lots of stopping and pressing and refolding. But almost every single print in there is different. Almost!
I made all the 9-patch parts of the blocks first. Obviously.
And then, to be safe, I cut just one set of triangles and made a test block. I wanted to be sure I like this method and such...those of you who know me, know I often modify patterns to suit my needs!
Perfect! I just need to pay attention to directional fabrics. Not that this quilt has a true up or down, but sometimes you just like things to all be going the right way.
So I continued to cut setting triangles, again from my stash. (Have I mentioned this has all come from my stash so far?) And I sewed and sewed. And before I knew it (ha ha ha ha - this took days because it takes a while to line up those triangles and I wasn't too excited, so I took a lot of breaks), I had a stack of blocks!
After trimming, it was time to determine a layout. That required running the vacuum over the design floor. So a bit of a stall there, as the hubby claims he is allergic to the vacuum, so I have to run it when he is not around. (Seems awfully convenient he is allergic to a housework appliance, no?)
I had some help, but not as much as usual. And I knew no matter how I fussed with this, it was never going to be "perfect" so I settled for "looks good" and picked it up again quickly.
(I did try taking photos and turning them black and white and such, but it just looked like a mess and my eyes were struggling to take it all in, so I declared it done and will live with my choice.)
Again I procrastinated and took my time getting the top together. Matching those corner points was no fun and I made my peace with them not being perfect in a lot of places. As I finished rows, I put them on the floor in my sewing room to help me orient them when attaching them to the other rows. Gabby helped.
I finally pushed myself last weekend and got the whole top finished, but it was windy and cold and not a good time for photos, so you get this wrinkly shot instead.
(I know some quilters like to do artsy, wrinkly shots, but that was honestly not my intention here. I'm just lucky there wasn't a cat under it when I was trying to do this!)
And then a week ago, I decided I was going to get this quilted. Though Colette and I gave ourselves a January deadline, I was on a roll and the Rack of Shame isn't getting any lighter for my efforts of late, so it was time. I got up, showered, got dressed and then realized I had a chunk of sunflower fabric. I got dressed for nothing. (Showering is less optional, even when staying home a lot.)
That works quite well. I didn't notice until sewing down binding that there are even grey dots inside the sunflower heads! So the only color not in the front is the turquoise dots between the flowers, but I like those, so all is well. Except that it was a bit short, but not to worry! I snagged some orange from the stash and pieced it in. Problem solved.
Of course, the day I intended to quilt this got away from me, as did the following day. Having the hubby on third shift can easily derail my day. His sleep schedule varies a lot and if he is up, that often means I'm doing what he wants or needs, not what I want. It's all good in the long run, but some days...
Anyways, I FINALLY got to it two days later, when I was supposed to be working, but due to supply issues, I got shifted a day later. It felt like a free day, even if it was just trading a work day and a free day. But I got busy...no more procrastinating! I wanted to do something fancier than an overall pattern. I mean, that is quick and easy and you all know I love me some good swirls, but I thought this would be a good chance to break out of that rut. And I had an idea!
First I had to load the back. I had tons of help.
He was wrestling the fabric like it was another cat. I have a video, too, but that takes forever to upload, so it's not happening here. (It is on my instagram account...)
Once I finally got Finn to go play with something else, I could start my idea.
This was early on in the quilting process, but this block (and those around it) show the pattern quite nicely. I put the ruler base on to do the straight lines, using a ruler, and that limited my throat space significantly, which made this take more stopping and rolling the quilt than without it, but I am pleased with my work. Rulers are not my favorite and I struggle with them, but these straight lines were good practice. And I'm definitely getting better at controlling where the machine goes and managing to stop where I want it to, so those arcs in the 9-patches look pretty good, too. Not perfect, but this isn't intended to be a showpiece, so I'm happy.
It seems like it took forever, but I kept going. I knew I had to work the next two days, so this needed to be off the frame before I quit for the day. (Because I couldn't stay down there all night, defending it from cats who know this is The World's Most Expensive Cat Bed!)
When I started, I knew I was low on thread, but I thought I could swap out the lighter grey for something else if needed. This is a scrap quilt, so why worry about thread? Scrap thread is a thing, too, isn't it?!
The last bobbin that went in was off-white, but this was what I had left on the top! I knew I was getting low at the end of the second to last pass, but I didn't think much about it until I was cleaning up. Holy cow that was close! But it was probably better I wasn't thinking about it because I tend to try to quilt faster (making my stitches larger - stitch regulator is off, remember) and that just doesn't work.
Next up was binding. In my mind, I was going to use up a lot of red, orange and yellow leftover binding. I had about 10 feet of a few yellows. Nothing else in those colors. But I did have a LOT of greys, so let's make this entirely scrappy and use those! I measured and pieced and started sewing them on without much more thought.
And before I knew it, all 437 sides had binding sewn down!
But my stash of leftover binding still looks the same. *sigh*
Usually I watch Netflix (Gilmore Girls, to be specific) while binding, but the hubby was home this weekend and I wanted it done, so I listened to some podcasts. The setup for binding is in the living room, where the TV lives, so I had headphones in while he watched football, and we were both happy. (Well, he did suggest I move my light or go buy another light or generally move my setup to somewhere upstairs, but sheesh! I live here too! And I think, at least in part, he was being a brat.)
And since we have had a few gorgeous, warm (like 75 for a high!) days here, I ran out yesterday to get a photo. Of course, the sunshine made photography a bit difficult (as wonderful as it is coming through the trees, it makes photos of quilts look awful!), but I finally pinned it up to the cat run and got a good one!
I can see now how some colors are a bit more clumped than maybe they could have been, but also I know that some of the darker oranges are reading as red, and some of the darker yellows reading as orange. But it's okay. (At this point, it has to be, right?!)
It measures 68"x68"
Pattern from Cynthia Brunz Designs
Made entirely from my stash.
And now for my shopping trip!
It started out because JoAnn's has/had flannel on sale. I'm tired of trying to find pajamas that are made with breathable material. I don't know what is going on lately, but they all are a poly or poly blend that does not breathe so I wake up in a puddle of my own sweat too many nights. (The one set of pajamas I have that is 100% cotton does not create this problem, so I know it is the pajamas and not me or my bedding.) And you can sometimes find just pants, but seriously? If I have to go looking for a top, I have a sewing machine and these kind of pants aren't that hard and I can pick a fabric that is actually cute, not obnoxious.
So anyways, flannel is on a good sale and that seems a good choice for winter pajama pants, right?
The pink is for a cuff. We'll discuss that later.
While I was strolling around looking for all the flannels, I came across some Western Michigan University fabric. My sister-in-law's father-in-law completed a degree there a few years ago, late in life. Which means his granddaughter, my niece Alora, loves the school. He takes her to games and while I prefer she be a Michigan State fan, I can handle this. So what's a girl to do but buy some fabric to make a face mask for the niece. (And since there is enough, grandpa will probably get one, too.)
And what's that? You spy a Christmas fabric in there? Well, yes you do!
Turns out Christmas fabrics were all 40% off, though, despite my repeated efforts to find out, I did not know. You may remember that every year I make the three nieces on my side of the family Christmas pillowcases. This year will be no different, but I knew the time for good selection will be ending soon, so I kept watching for the sale.
Since I happened upon it unintentionally, I won't complain, but instead walk the aisles and find some perfect fabrics. This year, as last, I've added in the husband of the eldest niece.
I found Christmas flamingo fabric again this year, so decided that would be fun for the oldest niece. Her hubby will get the Christmas sweaters and I haven't decided who will get Santa and who will get kitties for the two other girls. But they are all washed and pressed, so ready for sewing.
While these were in the wash, I worked some on the churn dash blocks. I had cut enough for eight more, but stalled out there quite a few days ago. (Well Suited took priority for a few days!)
These look a bit dark, but I took the photo after dark last night, so it make sense. Today, I will cut and sew another set before I get to do something fun with the above fabrics. (Probably the masks...)
But after these were done last night, I decided to cut out the pants. And start sewing. Why not?!
Every single one of the cats ran in to help. I remembered the fabric was directional, so I had to cut and re-layer it, which took a while with added help. Then I had to smooth out the pattern, which had been folded and stashed in my pattern box for years, so DEEP creases. That took longer because everyone wanted to help with the crinkly sound. I kept moving cats, but finally snapped a photo of Gabby. She doubled as a pattern weight (just in case the pins failed), but did not center herself properly, so she was in the way of cutting most of the time.
I've used this pattern before and was a little worried the small wouldn't be big enough any more, but I figured worst case, I could repurpose the fabric into a quilt, right? Turns out it is okay, but I didn't cut the top shorter (as I did last time), so it sits a bit high on my waist. I could use a bit more in the backside, but thankfully I washed the fabric before I used it (flannel shrinks like mad), so I think all will be well. Next time patterns are 99 cents, I'll snag another, though, and cut a medium.
But about that cuff...let's just say it isn't gonna work and move on. I think I have a better idea how to make it work for the next pair, but not knowing how long/short to cut the legs, I had to make the pants and THEN sew on the cuff. Next time I'll have something to measure since these pants are done.
I decided, despite the cuff frustration, to finish the pants last night! (It was tempting to leave them, mostly finished, and go to bed.)
Again, not great lighting, and please forgive all the cat stuff in the background (this is my bedroom and somehow I have a lot of cat beds and toys up there...no, wait...that is the way my whole house is!)
They fit well enough and I hemmed them a bit long on purpose because I hate having too short pants.
I still want to find a pink shirt for the top, but I'm happy with my efforts. These went together really fast (except the cuff/hem debacle), so I was in bed at a reasonable hour!
And one last kitty photo. The other day, I ran the vacuum. This is where I found Toby afterwards.
Sleeping. Upside down. To be fair, I ran the vacuum on the main floor (where this ripple rug lives) and then did the upstairs, so I wasn't near him. But seriously? Such a little goofball. He is learning our ways, but it is slower going than some cats have been. It's okay. We've got time and will accept him no matter what. This is his forever home.
Time to go take that daily shower and make some churn dash blocks. I'm whittling down the stack of fabrics, but that's the only way the stash is going anywhere! (And if the stash goes, I have excuses to buy more, right?!)