Monday, June 23, 2014

Random Notions – Another one off the unfinished shelf

A couple of years ago, I made a twin size quilt top for Layla – she helped me pick out the fabrics and I did them up in a disappearing nine patch.  Quite honestly, after it was done, I did not like it at all – a couple of the fabrics were just off for me.  I put it up on a shelf and after noticing it recently, I told Layla that I would make something better for her, as I did not like how it looked, and I would be scrapping it.  She had a fit, telling me she loved it and wanted it.  So I made a back for it out of a purple with white dots, and took it to Janet to be quilted. Got it back Friday and used the same purple for the binding – sewed it on Friday night as I watched Errol Flynn movies on TCM.  You know what?  Maybe it was the two years on the shelf that I didn’t look at it, but now I kind of like it.
Janet had asked Layla what she wanted quilted on it, and together they came up with hearts and flowers –
It looks very cool and Layla loves it.  Harry also loved it, so now Layla has decided to make him one in the same block pattern, and one for her BFF, Sierra.  I spent yesterday and today going through all the kids’ materials I have to cut squares.  For Harry, it is going to be an I Spy quilt, with cartoon characters, fish, and animals.  Layla will be putting together the 9 patches, then I will cut them in quarters, and she will sew pieces into rows, and I will do the long seams to finish the top.  The parts of the 9 patches that will be cut will mostly be solids or fabrics that read as solids.  The colors are going to be really bizarre in this one. 

I have already told Layla she has to finish her Irish Chain before she can start sewing on this one – I am trying to train her to do things right, finish one before starting another.  She only has two final rows of border to piece together, then I can get all the borders on for her and it will be ready for quilting.  It isn’t on her blog yet, but if you are interested, the blog can be found at Fun with LJ, and she has already done some videos on kid friendly recipes.  There are also bloopers, and you will see what a character Harry is. 

In the meantime, I finished the Butterflies & Bamboo top and think it will be lovely hanging on the wall.  I really had to search for just the right blue border, and luckily before I got it on, Mom suggested a brighter and narrower border before it –
This will go to the Janet for quilting after Layla’s Irish Chain and maybe Harry’s I Spy quilt, so it may be on the shelf for a while. 

The applique was so much fun, now I am itching to start on a new project of my own and thinking about more applique.  I have another charm pack that would be nice for that, but I also have a jelly roll in beautiful dark jewel tones I keep looking at and wondering what I can do with.  I am also feeling guilty about other things I had planned on doing first.  Argh!  Decisions, decisions! 

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Random Notions – Butterflies & Bamboo

Greetings!  I hope everyone out there is staying nice and cool inside.  Oh, unless you are up north where there are snow storms happening – I hope you folks are staying inside and warm! 

I got all my circles done - all 42 of them.  After about 2 dozen, I got into a rhythm and I think the remainder came out better.  Seeing all 42 on the wall, laid out in rows of 7 X 6, I didn’t like it.  So I took 7 of them out and made it 5 X 7, and I think it looks loads better – 
Maybe I will figure out some sort of small companion wall hanging for the other 7 blocks. 

It’s hard to tell, but because there are Butterflies and Bamboo in the prints, that is what I am calling it.  Now I am trying to figure out what to make a border out of – since this was a charm pack, I don’t have any yardage of those fabrics, and I really don’t feel like going out on a hunt for them, not to mention I probably couldn’t afford to buy it right now anyway.  So I will be rummaging through the old stash for a couple of days to hopefully find something that looks good with it.  I am itching to start something else, but lately I have been trying to finish a project before moving on.

Other than that, I have just been helping Layla with her quilt – we are onto the border now, and she is going to have to piece part of it.  I think she kind of lost her momentum by finishing up all the 9 patches so quickly last week.  Fingers crossed we will have it done next week, and in time to take to Janet the longarmer when I go to pick something up soon.

Hope all is well you.  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Random Notions – Staying Out of the Sun

It’s warming up outside, even though not as hot as I expected it to be.  Lots of wind is helping.  I don’t go outside unless it is absolutely necessary these days, especially since the AC in my car has died.

Got the kaleidoscope quilt finished.  I have been trying desperately to get a picture where it doesn’t look yellowish, but it just doesn’t seem to be happening.  Honest, the colors are just so much more vibrant than they look in this picture-
The name finally hit me after I had it all together – Dream Garden.  I’m glad I chose the dark pink to put around it – I first had a dark orange that matched some of the flowers, but I think the pink really was the better color for it.  Just the other day I dropped off another quilt to Janet the longarmer, so when I go to pick it up later this month, I will take this one to her.  That gives me a couple of weeks to figure out what to the put on the back, and if I have enough of that dark pink, I will use it for the binding. 

A while back, I shared a project made from a charm pack of batiks.  I have it all together, but for some reason, it just isn’t speaking to me-
I don’t know if it needs something else or if the green borders are throwing me off.  The green really does jump out at you, doesn’t it?  I probably need to change the purple border to something that will tone down the green. I think it is going to sit on the shelf for a while and I will take it down to look at it every once in a while to see if some sort of inspiration will strike.

There are so many things I want to make, so many piles of fabric waiting for me to get to them, but after staring at another charm pack I got a while back, I decided I needed to do something with them.  Here are the different fabrics from the pack –
The turquoise fabric really throws me off – it doesn’t really match any of the others!  For over a month I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with them.  I went through many magazines and websites, and realized that one design I saw over and over again that I really like are the quilts with all the circles.  So I used the cardboard on the back of the pack to make a circular template that gave me the least amount of waste, and started tracing it onto fusible interfacing.

This project could not have come at a better time.  Last month, I was in a thrift store where I found 3 pieces of interfacing – each was pretty long and imprinted for ease in making specific quilts.  They were a mess – whoever put them on a hanger could have cared less that they were dragging on the floor. There were 2 pieces of this one –

These pieces are for making a bargello or watercolor quilt.  Before folding them up neatly like this, I measured and found them both to be 48” wide, and over 7 yards long! The other one was marked for making an orange peel quilt –

I had to cut about 5 feet off one end of this one, because it had gotten filthy while hitting the floor.  But even cutting off that much, it was still a bit over 18 yards long and 16” wide.  This one has a copyright date of 1999 on it, so I tested it before using it, and it still adheres probably better than some of the newer stuff I have!  Best part – each piece was only $3.  Holy cow, I don’t think I will have to buy light to medium weight interfacing for the rest of my life!

For the past 2 days, I have been making circles and putting them onto a white with small leaves pattern background fabric.  Here are the first ones I have done-
They are far from perfectly round, but I am really liking them.  Since all the fabrics have a gold element to them, I am using a thread as close to a gold that I already had and using a stitch I like to call chicken tracks to applique them on –
I love applique and I really need to do more of it.  I am going really slowly to try to get it looking nice.  Good thing about that is it takes up a lot of my time that otherwise I would probably be using to take a nap. 

This past week Layla has really been working hard on her quilt and got all her nine patch blocks together.  We put it up on the wall and it looks awesome, but I can’t show you a picture – she wants to start her own crafting blog and be the first to show it.  I will link to it when I get permission.  LOL

And that’s just about it.  Just staying inside to sew and stay cool.  That will probably be my agenda for the next 3 months. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Random Notions - June? Already?

I tried very hard to get here before June got here, but obviously I failed.  It’s getting hot here, which means my upstairs work area is getting very hot.  I’m not turning the upstairs AC on very often, usually only a bit at night, because otherwise we wind up with monthly power bills over $600 in the summer. It has been 85º and above the last couple of weeks up here.  Downstairs we have a swamp cooler which works well and doesn’t kill the power bill. When I am sewing, it has mostly been in the early mornings when it is cooler.  So the good news is, I have gotten something done, bad news, just not as much as I would like.

First off, I should introduce a new family member in my house.  This is Max-
He is about 3 or 4 months old.  He is a little doll I got from a lady giving away kittens in a parking lot - he was the last one left, and I cannot resist a black cat!  I adore him even though he has been tearing me up.  If I try to smack him when he bites, he gets madder and bites harder – I may have to try a spray bottle of water.  His ears and feet are huge, and honestly, I hope he doesn’t grow into the ears – he looks so Egyptian with them! He actually spends most of his time downstairs with Mom, Casey and Penny the dog, because my girls have not been so welcoming upstairs.  They are getting a little better now – they will at least sniff him close up before they start hissing.  Penny loves him and they play like crazy all the time.

Okay – sewing stuff!  If you have been with me long, you know I went crazy making zippered change purses awhile back.  You can see them in the gallery.  The one I made for my mom was one of the first I made, and in the beginning, I was making them rather small.  She wanted a bigger one.  She loves roses, so I made this one for her-
Of course, I was so excited to have found the perfect material for her, I forgot that she asked me to put a strap on it!  That means I will be making another one soon.

I also made one for a friend that collects roosters-
She really loved it, which I was glad because it is really hard to find just the right gift for this particular friend.

One day while I was at Wally World, I found this lovely material-
How gorgeous is that?  I have been itching to make another kaleidoscope quilt, this time for MY bed, and I just knew this would be beautiful.  However, there was only one and a third yards of it.  That meant I had to go to three more Wally Worlds to find more, where I bought two more yards.

I wanted to make an 8-wedge kaleidoscope and figured that out of three and a third yards I should have 8 repeats.  My friend Rebecca asked if I had compared how it was cut, which I didn’t, and I should have listened to her – I only had 7 repeats.  I did not want to have to go back and buy more, especially since the store I finally found it at is probably the absolutely furthest from me in the valley.  So I decided to go with 6-wedge.  Good thing is that leaves me plenty for a border.

So I got to work matching up repeats and then cut sets of 60º triangles-
I got 20 sets, which worked out to each vertical row to have 5, 4, 5, 4 blocks in it, and left 2 sets to fill in the ends of the two 4 rows.  (That will make more sense in a minute or two.)  I would have liked to have a 5th row, but I could not afford to go back and buy enough fabric for another set of repeats – they are about 14” so that’s a lot of material.

When I did the 8-wedge blocks, I sewed corners on to make square blocks of them.  Here came Rebecca to the rescue – she turned me onto the One Block Wonder tutorials on YouTube.  You just sew half of each kaleidoscope together, then put background triangles, also 60º between them and you can sew them in vertical rows.  No inset seams, no corners.  Duh!  Rebecca, where were you last year when I struggled with the first ones I made?  LOL

Before I sewed each block together, I laid out all my options and took pictures with my phone to decide which one I liked best – it is so time consuming to just keep physically switching them back and forth to decide, but pictures make it easy!  Here are a couple of close ups of final choices-

After I made a few, I figured out I actually had more than just the obvious three choices of always putting the same tip in the center.  There are three ways of putting same sides together to get three designs around the middle- here is just one comparison –
Normal kaleidoscope
Same sides together
The problem with this is you have to be kind of far away to see the kaleidoscope effect.  I am thinking about trying this in the future with something else – this time around, I just did the really beautiful designs in the center.

Then when it came time to figure out those background triangles, I searched through everything I had.  I wanted something that had a bit of interest to it that read as a solid, but I didn’t want a solid.  The only thing I had enough of was a yellow, and when I started laying it out on the wall, I didn’t like it all-
It was just too much yellow – and I love yellow!  So I had to make a quick run to Hancock’s, where there was a wonderful sale going on.  I managed to pick up this tan-ish color with a green design-
I would have loved to found something with the actual pale green background of the floral, but I just could not find anything.  However, this has really grown on me and I like it.  So it all went up on the wall-
Of course, this picture does not do it justice – this looks yellowish, which it isn’t – I don’t have any natural light in this room.  Once it’s all together, I will take a picture in natural light and it should look way better.  But you can see how lovely the blocks came out.  Also in this picture, you can see where I had to add bits of my two leftover blocks to fill out the 2nd and 4th rows at the top and bottom. When together, I will cut it straight across the top and bottom.  I’m very anxious to get it done.

In other news, I got to see my grandmother’s sewing machine for the first time since she passed away in 1986.  It has been sitting in various storage locations since then, and I was bound and determined to get to it now.  This is not a picture of her machine because I was really stupid and too excited to remember to take pictures, but this is a picture of the same machine I found online- 
It is a Kenmore Imperial Rotary Machine, made in 1942, sold by Sears & Roebuck.  My mom knows that my grandmother bought it used, in the cabinet around 1961-1962.  The cabinet is in really good condition, but there is some paint loss on that rocket engine shaped thing hanging over the harp – that is the light fixture, so the heat probably caused the paint to chip.  I spent about an hour last night looking at Sears catalogs from the mid-40’s trying to figure out what it cost new.  I finally found a cabinet and machine that looked almost exactly like it in a 1944 or 1945 Sears Wishbook online - you had your choice of two machines in a cabinet for $46.95.  Whoa!  Gone are those days, right?  Here is another picture I found online of one in the original cabinet -
I remember how much she loved this machine – it was in her bedroom for as long as I can remember.  She made many of her own clothes, especially pajamas - she loved lounging around in her bright and colorful pajamas, entertaining her guests!  Her favorite materials were usually paisleys – she would go crazy for some of the stuff we have available now!

In the drawers I found-

I could not find the model number in the book – that was on the missing front page of the manual!  However, when I was looking at the buttonholer, I found this piece of paper in the box-
That is my grandmother’s handwriting – I feel like she left this note just for me!  Finally having that number, I was able to get the extra info about the machine and cabinet.  I am going back next week to where the machine is in Alexis’ house, and I am taking pictures!  And I am going to figure out how to bring this baby home!  Alexis, fair warning – you have to find something else to put the TV on in that back room!

One other interesting little tidbit before I go.  I have been collecting bits and pieces of sewing accessories for a long time.  A while back I found a box with old presser feet in it and this was one of them-
I have seen some weird presser feet before, but this one perplexed me!  A couple of days ago, I found a video of someone using one – 

It really is a fiddly thing and the demonstrator has a bit of trouble with it, but it does look like in the end, it could do a great job. I will have to try it in the future.

Thanks for stopping by – and try to stay cool this summer!