Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Birthday Puppies

Last week, Karen at Kaholly posted that she had a birthday coming up and her wish was for Dog Gone Cute blocks (pattern by Lorna at Sew Fresh Quilts) that she could make into wallhangings and other items for an auction fundraiser to support a pet rescue agency in Texas that is helping victims of Hurricane Harvey. 

So Happy Birthday, Karen!! 

I had so much fun making these. They really are like potato chips. (I think there will be a few more before I'm ready to send them.) I like tiny piecing, so I chose to make them in puppy size (6 by 9 inches plus seam allowance). The hardest part was choosing which fabrics to use. I've made a Dog Gone Cute block before. That was in blues and turquoises, and I changed it a bit to look like my granddog as it was for my grandson's baby quilt. I think I might have paper pieced parts of it. But I decided to make these in more realistic doggy colors and stuck to the pattern and instructions, working really slowly to try to get my seam allowances/size accurate (or close enough), my seams pressed smoothly open, and my backs neat. Is anyone else really self conscious about block backs when you give blocks away? My block backs are usually so messy--thready, with seams not lying down where they are meant to. It all gets covered up in the quilt, but giving a block away is so exposing! Maybe I should use starch or a starch alternative. Does that help keep things neat? I've always assumed it does, but don't really know. (I probably still won't use starch if it does. It makes me sneeze.) 

I remember that when I watched all of the people being rescued in the flooding from the hurricane, I was struck by how many pets were rescued along with them under such difficult circumstances. Some of the animals seemed bewildered, but they looked so calm, trusting their rescuers and families to keep them safe. So many pets. And then I was impressed with how quickly agencies responded to shift animals to shelters around the country so that they could help displaced families stay as close as possible to their pets. 

I enjoy seeing how my granddog is a much loved part of life for my son, daughter-in-law and grandson. He's a goofy rescue dog, and watching him develop such a fun relationship with my grandson helps me see how close that bond can be between pets and their people. I'm sure all the pets rescued in the hurricane are a source of great comfort to their families as they reunite and begin rebuilding their lives.

Isn't it neat that Karen is making these wallhangings and other quilted goodies? They will celebrate pets, honor the rescuers, and provide needed funds for pet food and supplies. What a great gift! 

So thanks, Karen. Thanks, pet rescuers. And thanks, Lorna, for such a delightful pattern. I can't wait to see the finished items for the auction.

I'm linking up today with Sew Fresh Quilts (of course!!) for Let's Bee Social.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Blogger's Quilt Festival 2017

It's time for the Fall Edition of the Blogger's Quilt Festival put on by Amy's Creative Side. So here is one more post about my Deconstructed Coins quilt. (I hope you can stand one more. It's the quilt I'm most excited about of the ones I've finished so far this year.)  

Here's the summary and some of my favorite pictures. Well, this isn't one of my favorite pictures, but it's a place to start--the whole front:

 And the back:

My inspiration for the quilt came from two sources. One was a set of three fabric sample panels from a giveaway from Hawthorne Threads. I wanted to use them in a quilt but wasn't sure how. Then Kaja from Sew Slowly and Ann from Fret Not Yourself presented a challenge to the Ad Hoc Improv Quilters to make an improvisational quilt based on the Chinese coin pattern. The fabric samples were already in the shape of coins, 

so I cut them apart, split some of them randomly with solid strips 
and sewed them back together with a navy edge. (The navy was a suggestion from Louise from My Quilt Odyssey. I'm thrilled because I don't think I would have thought of that myself, and it really was a significant design element in the success of the quilt.)
 Then I added improv-pieced sashing and borders. 

As you saw above, the back is made with mostly leftover solids from the front. I quilted the whole thing with loose waves with my walking foot.

This all seems pretty straight-forward, but it was a long process--intentionally long because I wanted the design to unfold bit by bit without frustration.

Now for my favorite pictures. Here are some of the details showing the fun, quirky prints:

And on location, in the back yard

and in a nearby town:

I hope you enjoyed revisiting my quilt (or seeing it for the first time). It really helped me discover what my improvisational piecing style is (structured) and taught me to slow down and enjoy the process. If you'd like to read all about it, click on the Deconstructed Coins label on the right sidebar or the label at the bottom of this post in the web version of this post.

Thanks to Amy for hosting this festival again. I know I'll enjoy seeing what everyone else has to share this week. I hope you have fun at the festival, too.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Wee Bag

Last week, my granddaughter asked if I could make her a crossbody bag. During Facetime, she demonstrated with her hands how big she wanted it. Well, of course! That's what Grammas do! She asked if it could be pink and blue and maybe have mermaids on it. I looked at a lot of pictures of bags online but was pretty sure I knew what I wanted to do, and because it was going to be very small, I drew plans on graph paper rather than using an online pattern which would have needed to be re-sized anyway. I'm not going to include a tutorial, because there are tons of those online. But here it is!

I decided not to go all-out mermaid, but I found this cute iron-on applique (it looks like her) for the front--and the back:
That blue lower section is a pocket.
And when she opens the purse, there are more mermaids:

I didn't use the mermaid fabric on the outside of the purse. It had more red than pink on it and just didn't look right to me with the other fabrics. But I think it makes a great lining. And hey, that's my first go at installing a magnetic closure. I didn't know those were so easy.

Here's the purse, hanging up. I'd model it, but it's a bit too wee to fit over me.

The adjustable belt was a challenge to rig up, but with lots of fiddling it worked just fine. 

I had one little mishap. My iron died. Kind of a slow death, I think, because I had a little trouble getting my interfacing to stick evenly to my fabric before it quit altogether. Ironic situation (ha!) because I had just ordered a little travel iron, but it hadn't arrived yet. I ended up running to the store for a new full-sized iron because I'm sure that travel iron won't be big enough for all my pressing needs. I went over the interfacing again with the new iron and reinforced it a bit with a few "quilting" lines to disguise some residual bubbles in the fabric. Anyway, all is well. And in a few days I will have 2 new irons (that will rarely be used on clothing).

The whole bag is roughly 5 1/2 by 7 inches by 1 inch--just the right size for little treasures. The pattern pieces were about 1/4 inch bigger in width and length (plus seam allowance) to allow for the thickness of the layers. 

This was so much fun, I just might have to make one in a little bigger size for myself. Minus the mermaids, though. And probably not pink and blue. I'll be sure to share if I make it. 

My other project this week was finishing up the piecing on the Lake Michigan quilt. Here's a bit of the foreground:

Now I have a decision to make. My original plan was to somehow applique/thread paint trees along the sides so that the lake would be seen as if viewed from the forest. But I've abandoned that plan. It would be a lot more work, and after being at the lake this summer, I think I want it to be an open beach scene. I do want to add some beach grass--some long stems along the left side and tufts in other areas to give it depth. I'd like to do hand embroidery for this, but I'm not sure how that will work with the machine quilting I want to do. I will need to either carefully work in the quilting with the grass after embroidering or quilt first and then embroider, with the embroidery showing on the back (which could look a bit messy). I suppose I could put another piece of fabric on the back after quilting (sort of like the paper on the back of an art print) before binding. Hmmm. Have to think about all this a bit. Any ideas?

I'll leave you with pictures of a ride we took on Labor Day in our little town--a new trail. It's only a mile long, but so pretty, and with the riding we do to get there and an extended trail that links up to it we can get a nice ride of about 10 1/2 miles--just right for fall evenings when it gets dark too early for longer rides. 



and ponds, all in one mile.

And the fields by the linking trail:

Fall is definitely in the air here.

I hope you've had a good week. My thoughts have often been with people, not only in our country, but all over the world who are dealing with natural disasters. There will be lots for all of us to do to help in the months to come. I am so afraid that when the news coverage eases up, we will forget. Let's not, okay?

I'm linking up today with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social and on Friday with Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it Up Friday. Oh, and because this is a DrEAMi (Drop Everything and Make It), with Mmm Quilts at the end of the month.