Thursday, June 21, 2018

Dog Days of Summer

Happy Summer Solstice! It's a time "to slow down and appreciate the arrival of summer" during the longest day of the year.

I just finished making 4 more dog beds for the Humane Society. 

You would be surprised at how heavy this pile is! They are made from old pillowcases and stuffed with scraps of fabric and batting strips that are trimmed from the edges of a quilt just before the binding goes on. 

Remember that only scraps that are less than 1" go in the dog beds. 1" pieces are useable for things like the Omigosh project. Of course larger than 1" pieces go into regular scrap bins. Making dog beds is a great way to deal with the really small stuff and give it one more use before going to the landfill. 

If you want to make your own Missouri Star Company has a video posted with ideas and tips - dog bed tutorial.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Design Wall Wednesday - Square Dance



On the design wall today are the blocks for the Square Dance mystery quilt. The final step was posted last week over at From My Carolina Home




The first task was to sew the 9 patch blocks to the "Allemande left" units. And then sew two of these pairs together into a block.
Easy peasy and quick!

And as Carole says, when you put these blocks together "this is where the magic happens". 



Yep... there you have it! It's magical! I'm not sure how big my quilt will become, and I still have many 9 patches but not many of the other blocks. I think what I did was use my magical math skills to sew enough 9 patches for the twin size and then made enough alternate blocks for the lap size. 😖
Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Lovin Improv!

It's very freeing to make quilts using improv methods. No pattern. No end product in mind. You have no idea where the journey is going to take you. Art imitating life.
pile of leftover blocks and scraps
You look at your supplies and ask yourself what do I like about this collection? You just start taking action and see what happens.
You have to park your fears at the door of the quilt studio. You cannot entertain thoughts like "what if it's a total disaster"? You have to give up all your expectations of creating something wonderful. It might be terrible and you might have to do a "walk by drop off" at the guild meeting to dump the whole mess in the scrap bank!


first collection of strips and squares
All your worries about "wasting fabric" have to be put aside so you just focus on the next step of creating and enjoy the process!
Hmmmm...what would I like to sew more of? There has been some deconstruction of leftover blocks and lots of putting things on the design wall and asking myself "what do I like about this" and "how can I fix/change what I don't like". 


10" sections interspersed with Kate Spain squares
I started off this project knowing that the Kate Spain squares from Sarah are 10", so I decided to create blocks that measure 10" and maybe sew them into rows. The Kate Spain squares are pinned on the wall in various widths to create rows. I can see from this photo that some of those squares are not going to make it into this quilt, especially the ones that look too pink or too pale. They will have to be part of the backing. Looking at the photo I'm wondering if I need some horizontal lines to go with all that vertical movement. I'll try some and see if I like it. 

There is no "right" answer in improv... we're just making it up as we go along! The only thing I know for sure is that I am having fun and can't remember what I was working on before this!
Linking up to Small Quilts and Oh Scrap!

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Slow Sunday Stitching


Welcome to the weekly hand stitching celebration! 
This is a special weekend because it's Father's day and also my birthday. I'll be taking my Dad out for a special lunch today and remembering how blessed I am to have such a wonderful DAD!


At some point today I'll be enjoying some slow stitching time and conversation with Dad. In addition to visiting with his kids and grandkids (who adore him), Dad loves to spend time playing games, so I might need to put the stitching aside for a while!



Yesterday was also a day of celebrating - my friend Debby organized a sewing party for me with a mystery project, which was a bag with a measuring tape snap closure. Making 3D projects is a little challenging for me since my brain doesn't process the steps well, but I managed to keep up fairly well and am delighted with my finished product. 


Of course I made the  construction process a little longer by doing the quilting by hand. I can't help myself because I love it! You can maybe see that I quilted lines in all the seams, on some of the motifs in the fabric, and stitched a few diagonal lines for fun. It wasn't too difficult to hand quilt through the fusible batting.


When the quilting was done, I hand stitched a little pocket to the inside of the bag. So darn cute!





You can see my trusty little 1952 Featherweight machine was along and it did a lot of the work for me. But given a preference, I do like to do as much hand stitching as possible.



Here are the two sides of the bag... back and front. 


Many thanks to my friend Debby for organizing this special birthday party and making a lovely lunch for us, to her Mom Dorothy for sewing along while always keeping several steps ahead of us (and making sure we knew she was!) and to our wonderful teacher Deb Beirnes. Look at the pretty dessert she made for us!
So that was my fun birthday project, and in the time it took me to make one bag, both Debby and her Mom made two! That's what happens with hand stitching... you get to enjoy your project longer since it takes twice the time!

What you are hand stitching today? Link up your blog post below and share your slow progress with us.



   
    An InLinkz Link-up
   



Saturday, June 16, 2018

Scrappy Saturday

It's aqua month over at the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and for some unknown reason, most of my projects at the moment involve aqua, so the scraps are everywhere!
First I got a lovely surprise package in the mail from Sarah from Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge. Just look at these pretty Kate Spain fabrics which are mostly aqua, with a bit of lime and purple. The colours reminded me of a triangle quilt I made in 2009, and the Starburst quilt made in 2015. I searched around in the scrap bins and found the leftover blocks and scraps from both of those projects! It's a disaster in my quilt studio but miraculously I can usually find things I need!
Here are all the pieces I found. The plan is to combine the Kate Spain fabrics with the leftovers from these two finished quilts. It's so fun to make an improv quilt using this process. It's kind of like looking in the refrigerator and making a casserole from whatever is in there. You never know how it's going to turn out! 


I also finished up some quarter square triangles for the next border on my Clarissa quilt.

To see more aqua projects in the making, hop over to the weekly RSC link up.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Glue Batik Painting

At a recent weekend away with some friends we decided to make glue resist batiks. We watched a glue batik video and gathered some supplies... plain white handkerchiefs, Elmer's white glue, acrylic paints and paint brushes. We drew our designs with pencil and traced over the lines with the glue. 


My glue line was way too thick and took too long (overnight) to dry. Lesson learned. Once the glue was dry, we got out the paints. The dried glue contains the paint and prevents the colours from bleeding into other areas. I've done a lot of fabric painting with Setacolor paints but not much with acrylics. Both are fun.


Once the painting is dry, you put it in a hot water bath to dissolve the glue. There was definitely some colour loss in that process.
Here is the finished piece hanging outside on a table to dry. When picking up the freshly painted fabric some paint transferred from one area/colour to another.  You can see some blue where orange is, and some red where only blue should be. You can't control all the elements! That's life!


Here it is pinned to the design wall, which shows that some of the colours are much less intense once the paint dries. I'm looking forward to hand quilting this over the summer.
And I'm going to get more supplies for the kids to try out this technique on our annual family camping trip this summer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Ideas needed!

The new Blockheads II has begun with the first pattern released last week. Every Wednesday will bring us a new pattern from the Moda designers, although the newly revised website is harder to navigate. Hop over to see if you can find the new block that will be posted today (here's the link to block #2). 
For this new project I bought a collection of fat quarters from the Harmony fabric line by Sweetwater.  I love to start a new project, and I love to open a new bundle of fat quarters!
Love 💕 love 💗 love💖
We are not going to talk about the fact that my version of the first Blockheads project has not been completed, nor the fact that I said I was not going to start the new one until the old one was finished.



I was wrong about my self control and once I saw the first block pattern posted, I immediately opened up the bundle and grabbed the rotary cutter. When I spread all the fabric out I wondered if I was going to have a problem with the lack of contrast. The values mostly read from light medium to dark medium. 


Hmmm what to do?
I went ahead anyway and was so happy cutting up the little pieces and sewing them back together. My favourites are the text prints and the sunshiny yellows.


Here is my Stellar Star block.


 I was disappointed to see how it turned out. After all that time and excitement, to not really like the end product is just... ugh.
Do you see what I mean about not enough contrast? What do I need to add in order to improve this fabric collection to make future blocks more appealing.
Add in some dark tone on tones? Use a pure white for the light, the lights for mediums and the mediums for darks? All ideas are welcome :)
Linking up to Sew Fresh Quilts.