Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Border progress

This week I've been working on the quilt extension I'm making on my niece's bedspread. I have to say it's going very well considering I'm working with random lengths of fabric that were sent to me with no specific plan for what to do. After replacing two fabrics that were either too slippery or too gauzy to play well with the other fabrics, I spent a little time figuring out placement for a design. I decided to go with a simple vertical stripe border. Since I was working with a commercially made bedspread that was not completely symmetrical in shape or quilting design, simplest seemed best. I used what I call "intuitive geometry" to figure out the width of the fabric strips to make it fit and to plan the miters at the corners: limited measuring (mostly by eye) and some strategic pinning. So far everything fits. It's a looong way around a king size quilt, so I can only show a bit of it here:

Close-up of a corner
With a sham standing in for the bedspread
The quilt colors are a little washed out here. Also the bedspread is not as shiny as in the photo. It's more of a matte luster, if that makes any sense. 

I had just enough of the flower and vine fabrics to piece a back in 40-inch lengths. It was a nice way to use up the rest of the fabric, and those fabrics are a dream to work with. To put the border together, I sewed batting to the backing about 3/4 inch from the edge and then seamed the front and back together along the edge that will attach to the bedspread. In the pictures, those edges are pinned because I plan to topstitch them to add a little stability before I start quilting. There is no batting in that seam so it should be easy to attach to the spread. I've been using my walking foot because it seems to keep things feeding well despite the bulk of the border, which is about 320 inches (!) around. 

Next up is pin basting and figuring out quilting, which I think will be very simple--maybe straight lines with my walking foot (great practice)--because I don't want it to complete with the quilting on the bedspread. I had very briefly considered mimicking the bedspread quilting, but abandoned that idea as soon as I realized it wasn't quite centered. It would make everything else look crooked. 

I also have to figure out whether I want to bind the quilt or just turn the edge under. I have plenty of the shimmery gold fabric left, but it's a slippery polyester and prone to raveling, so I might get myself in trouble there. Another possibility is using a blue. (I have a tiny piece in my stash that looks good, but I don't know if I can find any more like it.) I'm just going to quilt 15 inches down the border and that will give me enough fabric to either fold it over or add a binding. 

I've taken a break from the Big Quilt project this week to work on this. Actually this project will give me an idea of how I might like using a walking foot to quilt that one. 

Now, as seems to be my typical summer post, here are a few other pictures of my week. We took a little day trip to Saugatuck, Michigan last Saturday. It's known for it's artsy vibe, and here is the most artsy public restroom I've ever seen:
Do you recognize the work and artist? The picture goes all around the building.
And here are a few garden shots:
Photo credit to my husband

Each year I collect a few rusting metal ornaments at our local art fair.

This week I'm linking up with Freemotion by the River, Freshly Pieced, Sew Fresh Quilts and My Quilt Infatuation (if she's back from vacation--last week I forgot she was off) for their fun linky parties. Buttons are on the right. 

I hope the rest of your week is quilting bliss.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


Not a whole lot to show here today. We had two and a half grand kiddies (and their parents) for a long weekend of fun. The three-year-old entertained us with her free-form songs at the piano. (Any subject can be turned into a song!) The five-month-old rolled around and did lots of baby crunches (He'll be sitting before you know it.) And the littlest just looked adorable inside of mommy-to-be. But now the house is quiet again. I had cleaned up my mess before they came (my "studio" is the whole house, so I had to), but now it's all slowly coming out again. Mostly I've been cutting strips for the bedspread extension project for my niece, and I'm starting to play around with how to place them. Here's a quick look:

I'll be playing around with these some more before stitching them together. The two solid looking colors on the left are ones I found to replace a gauzy fabric and a very slippery one that just didn't seem like they'd sew up well. These have a tiny bit of design in them that doesn't show well unless you enlarge the picture, but I think they'll work okay. 

So today was the day of the huge sidewalk sale at a local fabric store, and I went with high hopes of finding a backing for the Big Quilt. They had lots of beautiful fabric, but I couldn't find anything that I liked for the quilt. (I did buy the fabric on the left, above.)  I found a nice print that wasn't on sale, but that would have cost a fortune for a back. Now, recall that I said the other day that I wished I could steal that bud-and-vine print in the above picture. Ha! I didn't have to steal it after all. I stopped at my local big box fabric store, and there it was!! (I had previously looked online and it wasn't showing up.) They only had about half of what I needed, but the same store on the other side of town had the same amount so I bought both stores out. The fabric wasn't on sale, but I had a 60% off coupon for regularly priced fabric, so whoopee, I saved a bundle. I also scouted out batting. I needed 124" wide batting and found a bin for Warm and Natural (the only brand of that size I can get locally), but it was empty. Bummer. But then a sales associate came by and said a truck had just made a delivery. She checked, and sure enough, the batting was there. I had another coupon for that, so even though I spent a lot of time driving around, the day was a Big Success. I do wish I could have showed you stacks and stacks of sidewalk sale finds--there was a lot to love, but I spent plenty without any impulse buying. There will be another sale someday. 

I'll be sewing the bedspread extension and piecing that backing for the Big Quilt during the next few days. Then I'm going to practice some machine quilting to try out some possibilities for the Big Quilt and also figure out just how I'm going to get that beast basted. I may need to clean the basement to free up some floor space. Thanks for all your suggestions in my last post. I'm inclined to do something with straight lines, but my daughter-in-law said she really likes meandering, so we'll see what comes of it. 

The pictures here aren't all that exciting, so here are a few from my garden this week (trying to work on my photography skills):
Maltese Cross
Stella D'oro daylily

I'm linking up today with Freemotion by the River, Sew Fresh Quilts and My Quilt Infatuation for the weekly linky parties. The buttons are on the right. Have a good weekend, everyone! See you next week. 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Big Quilt Flimsy Finish

All done. Well, not ALL done, but I do have to celebrate the finish of the Big Quilt flimsy. It's really hard to photograph at this point. And then, after I took the first picture, the photo card door was open on my camera, and I lost a few other pictures by the fence. I didn't realize it until I downloaded them. At least I got another on the grass. I think when I get it quilted, I'll borrow my neighbor and her high deck and get a proper picture, but you can get an idea of how the quilt top looks here. It's in kind of a fragile state, and I didn't want to move it around anymore. 

That's my husband, He really didn't want to be in the picture, but even with only a light breeze, the quilt was a sail, and he needed to keep it from blowing away. I told him I'd crop him out. Right. Couldn't do it without cropping the quilt. But I think what shows of him is fine.

And now to quilt. But how? I think I'd like to do straight lines (maybe 1/2 inch apart) down the pale gray patches on the edges to emphasize the angles going out from the middle, but beyond that, I'm really not sure. Maybe more of the same on some of the patches, with other designs here and there? I'm thinking of using a gray thread throughout. Here are some things I have to consider:

--I'm quilting it on a domestic machine--my trusty treadle. 
--My experience with machine quilting designs is fairly limited. Mostly, I've done meandering, but I've also done some squiggles, a little bit of flowers and some scribbling. 
--I have a walking foot, but I haven't used it yet for quilting (only binding).
--This quilt is mostly on the bias. I don't know if that will be a factor in determining a quilting design. I plan to pin baste it like crazy.

So...given the above considerations, if you have any ideas on quilting, I'd love to have you share them. In the meantime, I've made a crude little practice top so I can try out some things. I just sewed some of the leftover strips together. No planning, measuring, pinning, or pressing (!). I just wanted to get it done while I was cleaning up my mess.

Next week there is a huge sidewalk sale at a quilt shop nearby. I'm hoping to find something less angular for the back--maybe floral or paisley or something. I've got my fingers crossed that I'll find enough yardage--although a few different fabrics would be okay, too, I guess. 

I know the basting and quilting will take some time, so between sessions, I have something else to work on. Remember these fabrics? I showed them ages ago. (I would love to steal that second one for the back of the Big Quilt)

I'm going to be making an extension on three sides of a commercial bedspread for my niece to make it a more comfortable size for her king size bed. She sent me the bedspread this week:

I think I'll make vertical stripes. There's one copper colored fabric (not pictured) that's sheer and gauzy (not double gauze, though). If anyone has any tips for backing that material to stabilize it, I'd appreciate it if you'd share. (Would it work to just double it? The shiny copper fabric is polyester curtain material, which will also be unusual for me to sew. It was important to my niece to use it because it goes with metallic accents in her room. I think when it comes to quilting, I'm going to use a combination of machine quilting on the cottons and big stitch hand quilting on the polyester and gauzy fabric. Stay tuned.

I'm linking up today with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish It Up Friday, Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday, and TGIFF because, well, you's finished!! (except for the quilting). Buttons for these wonderful linky parties are on the side. 

Don't forget to share your ideas about the quilting and working with the gauzy fabric. Thank you so much!! Now I'm waiting for my grandkiddies to arrive for a long weekend. I hope you have a great weekend, too. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Last Two Blocks

Just a quick post today. I finished the last two blocks of the Big Quilt this week, and here they are!

I've also worked hard to sew the nine blocks together. Because the edges of the blocks are on the bias, I was hoping to keep the freezer paper on the backs to keep the quilt from stretching out of shape while doing that, but at some point it was just too cumbersome, so I peeled it all off. So much easier (and satisfying) than removing paper foundations that have been stitched through. I wasn't sure if freezer paper is recyclable because of the plastic coating, but I called our recycling center, and they said it was fine and told me which bin to toss it in. I'm glad about that because I used a LOT of paper on this quilt and didn't want to just throw it in the trash. Anyway, to keep the blocks as stable as possible, I stay stitched around each one. 

I took some pictures of the completed top, and I can't wait to share, but you'll have to wait until Friday to see it. 

I'm linking up today with Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday, Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday, and Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social. Buttons are on the right. 

Remember to check back Friday for the finish (and maybe some questions about the quilting) and a preview of my next project.
See ya.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

2 Blocks and...Canada?

Oh, hi, again. Same old, same old. (Is this blog getting boring?) I don't have any projects to show right now except this one. But I did get two blocks done this week. So only two to go.

And here they are in the whole quilt setting:

I just need to fill in those two bottom corners and stitch the nine super blocks together, and then the fun of figuring out how to quilt this beast begins. 

In the meantime, we decided to take a little international trip. Emphasis on little. As the crow flies, we live only about 120 miles from Canada, but it's a bit of a rigmarole to get there. As the crow flies it's shorter but takes a long time (country roads and some stop-and-go traffic in cities), and by major highways, it's a longer distance (same amount of time, though). I think I can count the number of times I've been to Canada on my fingers--maybe the ones of one hand. But yesterday was a gorgeous day, so we decided a trip out of the country was in order. We took the shorter way.) 

We went to a little town called Marine City on the US side of the border. It's adorable, with water (the St Clair River, which runs from Lake Huron toward Detroit), a rescued lighthouse (that had at one time been falling into the river), antique shops, a quaint quilt shop, Victorian buildings, a cute penny candy shop, and an awesome fish restaurant. 

There is also a ferry to Canada. It holds a few vehicles and as many pedestrians that can fit, and on foot you can take the 5-minute ride for $2 a round trip. (A big part of the traffic back and forth is people carting beer from the duty-free store. It's cheap beer--not even the expensive kind of craft beer, so I don't really get it, but it must be a deal because there were some guys on their 3rd or 4th trip of the day.) On the Canadian side is the tiny town of Sombra, Ontario. It also has a few restaurants, shops and a cute little park along the river. So we took the ferry, went for a walk in Canada, and then went back to Marine City to browse the shops and eat a yummy dinner. What a wonderful day! I saw lots of things in the antique shops--two spool cabinets, a fiddle base Singer treadle machine, a gorgeous table, and a chest that would have been great for storing fabric. But I didn't spend any money, and just came away with a smile for what I had seen. I didn't even buy anything at the quilt store. I feel guilty about that. I should have supported that business, but it was such a surprise to come across it, and I didn't have any idea what I wanted. If I ever go back again, I'll make up for that. 

So, if you're interested, here are some pictures from our international adventure, plus one of my painted daisies. Oh, and one more piece of news. On the way home, we visited my son and daughter-in-law (who just happen to live between us and Canada) and they showed us the latest ultrasound of our next Grandbaby (Yippee), who is due in October. Guess who will be making another baby quilt? (Now, isn't that incentive to get the Big Quilt done and out of the way?)

Rescued lighthouse now in a city park (Important: Quilt store in the background.)

Entering Canada
Cute little park in Sombra. If you look closely, you can see the ferry returning to the US.
Freighter gliding by
Oddest site in Canada: This crocheted afghan was hanging in a huge old tree. It had been there so long, a small tree was growing through it. We looked it up on the internet. Apparently it was from a yarn bombing 4 years ago!! 
Ferry coming back to pick us up. Those guys standing there are the beer haulers with their hand carts.
Get your beer here.
Adorable quilt store. It had a gorgeous mitered wood floor and miles of fabric.
Old city hall in Marine City. It's being restored to use as a community center.
Painted daisies are in full bloom.
So that's my Week in Progress. I hope you enjoyed it. I'm linking up with Freemotion by the River for Linky Tuesday, Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday, and Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social. Buttons are on the right. 

I hope you are having a beautiful week.