Saturday, November 26, 2022

Bunk Quilts

Squirrel!! Yes, I know I have two quilts to finish up if you read my last post, but something else distracted me this month. Here's the back story: We recently ordered a bunk bed set to keep our grandkids a bit more comfortable when they come to visit.  After we put the beds together, I started thinking about what to do for bedding. The twin bed that the bunk beds replaced had a rather inexpensive store-bought quilt, an odd square size meant for a queen bed. On the twin bed it had draped down to the floor with the excess stuffed against the wall out of sight.  Even though I'm not fond of store-bought quilts for several reasons, I do like the pattern and quilt design on this one. It's a bit skimpy for a queen bed, though, and wouldn't work in our other guest room. So, what to do? It seemed wasteful to make two new quilts and send this one to the back of a closet (although I could have donated it). Well, why not cut it in half and add a bit to each piece to make them big enough? So I did...

So that's it. That's my squirrel. Unless you'd like to see how I did it. (Well there is another squirrel at the end of the post, but first things first.

So, first, I found one of my Kona fabric swatches that was a pretty good match, and my big box fabric store had it in stock and substantially on sale.Yay! Well, I guess Khaki is a pretty commonly stocked fabric. I bought about 1/2 yard more than length of the quilt, pre-washed it, and sliced it lengthwise down the middle. With a bit of measuring, I figured that I could make a border along one side of each half-quilt about 9 inches wide. From each strip, I cut a border 9 1/2 inches wide (border width plus 1/2 inch seam allowance) and 10 5/8 inches wide (border backing width plus 1 1/8 inches allowance for fold-over binding plus 1/2 inch seam allowance). I made sure that I also added the binding allowance to each end of the border backing fabric. Sorry, no photos of the cutting. I was just making it up as I went to make the most efficient use of fabric, but I think you'll see from the next pictures what this looked like. 

To attach the borders, I first pinned the backing to the raw edge of the back of the quilt, extending it over the ends by 1 1/8 inches. (I pinned from the front here, which wasn't necessary.)

Then I pinned the border front to the right side, sandwiching the quilt edge and aligning the border with the ends of the quilt.

Pardon the shadow of my camera. I was working under strong LED light in my basement.

I sewed a 1/2 inch seam along the quilt edge. Here you can see the two border parts after sewing with the border backing pulled out away from the quilt.

And with the borders right sides together. You can see the extra fabric showing on the backing.

I drew a line on the backing to show the extra fabric. Then I cut batting the same size as the front border and carefully laid it out on the wrong side of the border backing overlapping the seam allowance. I had initially thought of laying it up to the seam allowance, but this seemed to ensure a neater transition from the quilt to the added border. My batting is pieced, as I was using leftover bits from other quilt projects.
Corner pulled back to show the line on the backing.

I basted the batting in place to keep it from shifting over the edge.

After that it became a typical quilting project. I pin basted, then quilted a straight line a generous quarter inch from the main seam (with walking foot) and then free motion meanders similar to the ones in the border of the original quilt. I forgot to photograph the binding process. I folded the border backing toward the front all the way to the seam line (behind the seam allowance) and then folded it again to form the binding on the front. I could have machine sewed it down, but I love to relax and hand sew a binding, so that was what I did. Mitering the corners was a bit fiddly with those layers, but it worked.  

So here are the finished quilts, as much as I can show on my living room floor. They look different sizes here, but they are exactly the same size.

I know they are a little strange. I admit that for a second at the beginning, I considered trying to match the border to the original quilt, scalloping it and even doing some embroidery. Luckily, because this was a squirrel project, I quickly came to my senses. Because the whole point of this addition is to make sure the quilt is wide enough to be comfortable to the person under it. When the bed is made it's tucked down on the side of the bed against the wall and no one will ever see it. So no need for a fancy finish. I'll be interested to see how the quilts look after washing, when the meanders crinkle up a bit to match the rest of the quilts, but I don't plan to wash them until they've had some use.

Here's a close up of the quilting and transition. You can see that there is real applique and hand-guided quilting on the original quilt, which is why I like it, although someone was probably paid pitiful wages to do this. (Come to think of it, that is always the quilter's lot, isn't it?)

And one last one of the beds ready for the kiddies. By the time you read this they will have been slept in. 

If you think I was done with squirrels after this, you would be wrong. I won't bore you with the details, but this bedding project also included cutting and hemming a huge thermal blanket (it must have been meant for a king size bed--which we have never had-- and it was always drooping off our queen sized one), to make two bunk blankets, and reworking an old contour twin sheet (truly Frankenstyle, adding material to the corners and then recontouring them) for one of the bunks. It had shrunk so that it was somehow too tight for even a bunk mattress. Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse!!! more little project I have to show you because it's soooo cute! And fun! I was making my usual Christmas ornaments for the kiddies' stockings the other day (inspired by their Halloween costumes), and suddenly had the urge to make just one more. I had seen this fabric origami star by zencrafting and just had to Drop Everything and Make it. It was such fun, and only took a few minutes. It's made with a freezer paper lining which keeps it nice and crisp. Since vintage fabric designs seem to be trending now, all I had to do was look through my drawers of fabric, which have become vintage without even trying. I used 4-inch squares for my ornament parts as 5 inches seemed a bit larger than I wanted. A quick look through my button jar yielded just the right buttons to finish it off. This ornament will top off a holiday gift. Now I might have to make one for myself. Ooh, was that another squirrel calling?

Front (convex side)

Back (concave side)

I'm linking up with Sandra at mmmquilts for DrEAMi (Drop Everything And Make it) because that is all I've been doing this month. I hope you are having fun preparing for whatever holidays you celebrate at this time of year. Next time you read this, I just might have gotten back to the sewing I was planning to do.

(Just a reminder: I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Blues, Greens and Soul Restoration

Hello. It's been awhile. My sewing and blogging this year have been scattered--a little at a time, just enough to keep going as family matters have been a priority. My dad began hospice care in March, and left this life at the very end of August at the age of 98 years, 8 months. We are so thankful to have had him in our lives for so many years--all of them with incredible mental sharpness, curiosity, and good humor, even in his last days when he was heavily medicated for pain. Dad lived independently until his last three months when he decided to move from his condo to assisted living, so you can kind of imagine the practical things that needed to be taken care of during the summer to sort and dispose of belongings, save mementos and sell the condo. But everything went well, and we were able to spend lots of time just enjoying each other. Our memories of those last months with Dad are sweet.

It has been strange in a way to live without concerns for Dad's health and to find a new rhythm of life this autumn. Shortly after Dad's funeral (an outdoor service at his request on a spectacular day), we found a last-minute cottage booking for a week-long vacation on the shore of Lake Michigan. And in the last few weeks, we've taken some hikes and have spent more time with our kids and grands during little breaks from school. So I'm taking my time getting back to sewing projects, and that's okay. We've had a glorious autumn, with long-lasting brighter-than-usual color. (I hope that isn't really a harbinger of more serious climate concerns.) There will be time enough for more sewing when winter sets in. 

Meanwhile, I do have some bits of sewing to share, as quilting has remained a relaxing and therapeutic activity during this season of my life. I have caught up on my RSC color sewing for September and October--light blues and yellow-greens. I made one quilt-as-you-go placemat each in blue and green, and then after making my adding machine strips, I still had enough green to make one more placemat. The strips were a bit wider (probably some were binding bits), so it went fast. I also used large scraps for the backs as well as frankenbatting, which greatly reduced my scrap collections. These photos show fronts and backs. All of the placemats are 14 by 18 inches and will go into my Meals on Wheels pillowcase for donation next spring.

In all, I made about 10 1/2 feet of light blue adding machine tape strips and a little over 23 feet of yellow green. I have only a handful of green scraps left, and a little more blue than that, but not enough to bother me. I've always had way too much blue fabric, so I knew that would be the case. Here are the strips with all the other ones I made this year--around 172 feet altogether.

I think this will be it for RSC adding machine tape for now. I still have most of one of the rolls of tape, so eventually another project will pop up. I've been thinking of maybe making these strips into grocery tote bags. During the pandemic, we were not allowed to use our own bags at the grocery store. Lately, we've been using kraft paper bags and recycling them--I really don't want to add to the plastics problem. But now that it's okay to use our own bags again, I'd really like to have washable totes. Our old totes weren't washable, and I sort of shudder to think of how gross they might be. 

I did not make more Bear Paw blocks in the blue and green families for RSC as I decided I had plenty of blocks for a quilt. I want to play up the black and white a bit, so I ordered some black and white 1/4 inch striped fabric which will become part of the some sashing as well as binding. 

I think I might discontinue my RSC projects in the new year after I complete the current ones. I'm a bit tired of stretching a project out for a whole year--and besides, my scrap bins are pretty depleted by now. I do have some bins that still need attention. There are lots of multi-color scraps yet as well as a bin of neutrals (white, black, brown, gray) and a bin of solid color scraps. I'll still be working with them, but on my own time frame. Maybe it's my age? Maybe it's dealing with my Dad's stuff? But I feel the need to move things along more quickly. 

So let's see, what else? I did finish a quilt top over the last couple of months, and while we were on vacation, I discovered that a quilt store I used to order from online had a brick-and-mortar store near where we were staying. I decided that I would visit that store to buy the backing fabric I needed for that quilt. We happened to have a couple hours of rain one afternoon, so it was the perfect time to make that little visit. I found just the right fabric, and there was just enough on the bolt. Yay!! I also found a couple of fat quarter sale pieces. Hmmmm. They would have worked in that quilt, too. Here's everything stacked up. You'll have to wait to see the whole quilt a little longer. It's basted, but with guests here off and on, I've put off quilting it.


One other thing I've been working on off and on is my handsewn car quilt top. I've been sewing the four-patches I made into 16-patches. I took this project on vacation to sew in the evenings.

So, that's it for the past two months. I'll leave you with (more than) a few photos from our vacation and our autumn hikes during October. Being by the lake and walking among colorful trees has been real soul restoration. 

Along Lake Michigan...

Muskegon lighthouse

On the beach by our cottage

Bike ride along Muskegon Lake

Cottage beach

Duck Lake State Park

Hoffmaster State Park (When we took childbirth classes years ago, and I had to visualize a calming scene, this was always the one.)

Cottage bluff

Postcard view from our living room

And closer to home...

Esker Landing (near our neighborhood--I've never seen this much color there before,)

Lake Lansing Park North

Lake Lansing Park North

Lake Lansing Park North

The Ledges in Grand Ledge

View from the Ledges

I'm linking this with Angela at So Scrappy for ScrapHappy Saturday and with Cynthia at Quilting is more fun than Housework for Oh Scrap

I hope you've had beautiful Autumn/Spring weather wherever you are, and that quilting is an enjoyment for you through all the seasons of life.