Friday, May 29, 2015

Traces of Progress

Other than the two days a week that I'm happily watching my sweet baby granddaughter, studio time has been in fairly full swing. Today the two donation quilts were delivered to the Center for Women and Families here in Louisville.

These were number 3 and 4 of the twin-sized quilts made mostly from that huge stash of lightweight upholstery fabrics I spent weeks tearing out of sample books last year and then washed and cut. Last week I turned the remainder of that fabric (hundreds of 11-inch squares and 2- to 3-inch strips) over to someone in our local FreeCycle internet group (a Yahoo group) to use for other projects. That's because these quilts are very much on the heavy side and I'm done with wrestling them through the machine. If they hadn't been QAYG quilts, it would have been impossible.

Anyway, here are some shots of them. Some closeup photos of these rather eclectic blocks are in a previous blog post titled Knights, Castles and Princesses.

Front and back of the quilt done in blues. Had to augment the backing squares with some batiks from my stash.

Front and back of the quilt done in greens. (Thanks to VVHH for being the official quilt holder-upper.)

Here's the blue one on the extra-long twin bed:

Okay! Time to start a new landscape quilt...that's my thing, after all.

Pulled this photo from the archives, a shot we took outside The Overlook Restaurant in Leavenworth, IN. There's a glorious mess of overgrown meadow in it, so some of that will have to be omitted, but I like the birdhouse and the bend of the Ohio River down by that cabin.

Printed a good-quality 4 x 6 color photo for color reference and a black-and-white photo to better see the color values. Then traced the main outlines onto tracing paper with a black marker.

Enlarged the tracing by scanning and printing it out in 3 x 3 page poster format, then taped the 9 pages together to make an actual-size tracing for a roughly 25 x 28-inch quilt.

Ironed a piece of muslin, taped it over the large tracing, and traced again, this time in light pencil. This muslin will be the base of the quilt top and I don't want dark lines showing through any of the raw applique that will come later.

Fused Pellon Featherweight Fusible interfacing to the back of the traced muslin. Took my time and got no bubbles or wrinkles. Yay!

Clipped and taped the interfaced muslin tracing to a drawing board (for easy portability), then cut a piece of upholstery vinyl a bit larger than the pencil boundaries and clipped/taped it over the muslin...

...and traced again. Then I marked areas in red, blue and aqua for offsite (separate) construction. It is much easier to assemble a landscape quilt top in separate units if you have a lot of small pieces in one or more areas.

These are Sharpie permanent markers, so if I mess up or change my mind about line placement on the vinyl overlay, these little guys on the right are my rescuers (a faint trace of the original lines will remain, but not enough to distract me). They also clean my ruler edges after drawing straight lines with a Sharpie--just don't get the alcohol on the ruler markings! It actually smeared some of the white lines and numbers on one of my Creative Grid rulers.

All set to go! The drawing board is now off the cutting table until I'm ready to start gluing and fusing. Meanwhile the cutting table is free for other things.

This is a nice size by the way, since as mentioned already it fits nicely on the drawing board for portability, but also because it's a manageable size for free-motion quilting on a home sewing machine. (Remember, larger landscape quilts can be not only stiff but quite heavy after all the layering and fusing. They can't be bunched up like bed quilts, and they don't move easily without help from the feed dogs--which are not engaged for free motion. That said, if you use built-in stitches and feed dogs for your landscapes instead of free motion, weight is not as much of an issue.)

Next time on the blog, I'll be fusing the sky fabric and constructing units offsite.

Off subject, two more recent photos (see the captions):
Zoe watching helplessly as her nemesis chills out in the flower urn.
Zoe's turn to chill. She's in the chair, Lucy's on the floor and Mokie's on the couch.
Grandma should have been napping, too, instead of snapping (photos).
Back on subject: linking up with Whoop Whoop Fridays, Free Motion Mavericks (the landscape quilt will be free-motion quilted, so hoping Muv will give me a pass :) and WIPs Be Gone. Have fun checking them out and their reader linkups, too.

Have a great weekend!


Friday, May 8, 2015

A Mother's Day Chuckle

This week involved no free-motion quilting, I'm sorry to say. However, things moved along swiftly for the two donation quilts, headed for the Center for Women and Families.

The quilt-as-you-go blocks are joined in rows; all that's left is topstitching the front joining strips (I'm out of matching thread, otherwise that would be done), then squaring and joining rows and, finally, squaring and binding the quilt.

While waiting a day to purchase the thread, another "Lucy project" (for my baby granddaughter) was pulled from the drawer for some further work. (If knitting isn't your thing, just skip the next paragraph and move on to the funny Mother's day card.)
Using all six strands of embroidery floss instead of regular sewing thread. Faster and more secure.
The buttonhole band is being joined to the sweater at the same time the buttons are being sewn on to the button band. It's the only way I could think of to align the buttons and the holes properly, as the bands are, per directions, knitted slightly shorter than the sweater edges (to keep the front edges from stretching with wear), and--big mistake--instead of calculating the percentage of the button-band length to the sweater-front length and sewing it up with a precise stitch count, I eyeballed it. Not good! After that I couldn't just sew the second band (the buttonhole band) to the sweater in the same manner and expect the buttonholes to be spaced exactly like the buttons. So instead I measured the overall button spacing on the button band and marked it with safety pins, sewed the first button on, and then stitched the buttonhole band as far as the first hole, making sure the hole landed directly opposite the button. Then I buttoned it and began the same process for the next button. This should work as long as I don't get cross-eyed in the process...but it's still eyeballing. Lesson learned. Next time I'll do some counting and get out the calculator. Or better yet, come up with a standard percentage for band length vs. sweater-front length. Someone's probably already done that. I should Google it.

Moving on. With Mother's Day on the horizon, I wanted to share one of my cards from last year. This came from my older son and his wife (Lucy's parents) and still cracks me up.

All year long, I've kept that card on my bookshelf. Notice what's sitting in front of it....

...'nuff said. (I think the painted one is a dinosaur.) Actually, the piece on the left was made by him; the one on the right was made by my other son.

Here they are, by the way, our two wonderful, grown-up boys, each pictured holding Lucy: Papa Alex on the left and Uncle Aaron on the right.

And here's Lucy and her Mama, our awesome daughter-in-law, Shannon.

Happy Mother's day, beautiful lady. Thank you and Alex for your incredible gift, to this family and to the world.

Lucy Maeve, 7 weeks old
Linking up here with some other moms and their quilting blogs:
Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Whoop Whoop Friday
Lizzie Lenard's Vintage Sewing's Free Motion Mavericks
A Quilting Reader's Garden's WIPs Be Gone

Happy Mother's Day to them and to all who are mothers or who have ever nurtured another human being or animal. We need lots more of you on this planet.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Knights, Castles and Princesses

It's been a productive but poignant two weeks around here.

First, finished another 'ghost quilt':

(here's a shot with more obvious texture):

Had to clip it to a drawing board and move it near a window for the right light.

Second, finished 48 blocks (24 each) for two donation quilts. As with the previous two donation quilts, these were made mostly from what I cut out of upholstery sample books last year, so again, there are some rather eclectic center motifs. I especially like the Medieval ones. Here are a few of the blocks (click to enlarge):

Third, one of the highlights of our week: VVHH (very versatile handy husband) surrounded by all 5 Kentucky Derby princesses:

In all of my 60 years of living in Louisville, I'd never been anywhere near a Derby princess until yesterday. One of them lives across the street and they all came there to change into their ballgowns for the Derby Parade. You just never know what your day is going to bring!

And fourth, but not last by a long shot, the poignant aspect I mentioned: our family had to say goodbye to an altogether different princess...our sweet, wonderful cat, Morticia, who has been with us for 23 years. We are grieving, but also very aware of how lucky we are to have been blessed with her gentle, loving company for all this time. Never let anyone tell you black cats are bad luck.

Morticia / Mort / Morty, c. 2007
Hooking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict's Whoop Whoop Friday post, Lizzie Lenard Vintage Sewing's Free Motion Mavericks post, and A Quilting Reader's Garden's WIPs Be Gone post. Don't miss these blogs OR their reader hookups. I'll be checking them out this weekend.

On that note, have a great weekend. If you're betting on a horse at the Kentucky Derby, best of luck!