Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Summer Weight Covers

 Since 2013 I have made 3 of these light weight blankets. In my previous posts, I always called them blank-o-lets, after my grandson's name for his special blanket when he was young.

This was my first light weight blanket. The fabric is a lawn that I got from Connecting Threads. This blanket was made in 2013. I used it for almost 2 years. The backing is white flannel and it is the perfect weight for summer, although I used it year round to wrap around my shoulders when I needed a little something, especially at night when I would get hot, and then cooled down again. Perfect weight.

See the blog post here for more detail.

Then, in December of 2014, just before my first surgery, I made a new one. The intended use was the same, I just wanted something different.

 And the reason I wanted something different was because this awesome print was available in flannel! I was so in love with this. So, again, I made the top out of light weight voile from Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks voile. This blank-o-let comforted me for 8 years! I have slept with it every night and taken it everywhere with me for those eight years. But now she is getting thin. All the washing and snuggling is wearing her out. I did some repairs on her and was quite surprised to see how thin the flannel has become.

See this blog post for more detail.

So now, I found a really pretty fabric and it is not lawn or voile, but I loved it anyway. I used a yard and a half of the main print and a yard of the two coordinating prints to make this:

 This is one of those projects that I make up in my head and when it works out, it is so much better than I though it would be.

This is the main print. The line is Nocturnal by Gingiber for Moda fabrics. It is the coolest print and when I saw it, I couldn't resist. I knew that with the pink and mustard accent fabrics it would be perfect for a new light weight blank-o-let.

This is the selvedge of the fabrics. I got four of these little wordy pieces and saved them all. I put one on the bottom of the front side. I just love it.

And the backing is a well washed and used sheet that my daughter gave me, with the intended use of quilt backing. The fitted sheet was trashed, but the top sheet was in pretty good shape. This was a twin size. Now, this light weight blanket is a wee bit heavier because the fabric on top is heavier than lawn or voile. But, I am hoping it will last as long as the last one, which my husband has claimed as his own. It is a bit heavier than a sheet, and perfect for AC nights or even open window nights when it seems chilly by the early morning hours. As I said, I use it year round. I can't wait until it gets a few washings to soften it further. Oh, and I highly recommend that you prewash your fabrics to pre-shrink them. With no batting in between it matters. Ask me how I know. :)

Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Getting Unstuck

 I have been stuck. Stuck trying to find a way forward with my sewing. I do understand that it comes and it goes and I'm not worried I will never sew again or anything weird like that. And I know why I'm stuck. Grief can do that to a person. I do have some days where I sew, and I enjoy it. Other days, I don't feel like doing anything at all. I have a couple of projects in process. One, I can't seem to muster any enthusiasm for right now, and that's okay. It's more of a winter looking quilt.

My temperature quilt is one I am slowly plodding along with. I at least update the charted temps every week or so. I know I will sew them up eventually. I did some last week and am now mostly caught up.

This is January and February. I have decided to do each month as a calendar page. Whenever there is extra space in the month, I will use a piece of fabric that represents the month. Here, January is white on white that looks like snow, and February is hearts.
This is March, which has shamrocks for St. Patrick's day. Can you see how the temperature colors are changing?

This is April. April showers are represented here. Now, each month has 5 horizontal rows, but because of the way things fell in April, the 30th was all alone in a sixth row. I checked the rest of the year and it was the only one like that. So, I opted to split the last block between the 29th and the 30th. I know they usually do this on a diagonal line, but the houses don't lend themselves to that. So I guess I am caught up for the first time on this project.

Then, I got a bee in my bonnet, unlike anything else recently. I started a new project and finished the quilt top in one week.

This is from the book, Sunday Morning Quilts by Amanda Jean Nyberg and Cheryl Arkison. One of my all time favorite quilt books. I go to it a lot for inspiration. This is the High Five quilt. Amanda Jean's version is totally scrappy and I do love the look of hers. But I used some scraps and some yardage that I was looking for a way to use. I also made it a few rows shorter that in the book. I am very happy with how it turned out and now I just have to find the energy to pin baste it so I can quilt it. This got me a little unstuck.

What really got me unstuck though, was this quilt.

I started this quilt two years ago. I made the top while living in California. My plan was to have it available to quilt when I moved home. I finally basted it, using thread basting, because I had thought to hand quilt with Perle Cotton and big stitches. Until two days ago, I stopped and started many times. I really wasn't into it and working on it was a struggle. You cannot do something you are not enjoying. 

I called on a friend of mine for help. I said I don't know what to do. She said she had only hand quilted one quilt in her life and that was one too many. That really struck me. I had hand quilted many quilts back in the day before I learned to quilt on my home machine. But hearing her say this freed me somehow.

I spent a couple of hours picking out all the hand quilting I had done. It was somehow satisfying to cut those stitches and pull the threads out.
I wanted, and needed a quick and easy finish. So I did an all-over large sort of stipple. Remember stipple quilting? It used to be so popular when we were all learning how to free motion quilt. I loved it!! The quilt is soft, and crinkly. It was enough.

I found a half yard cut from the same fabric line and did the binding. The entire process of quilting and binding took me about7-ish hours. I can't tell you how good it feels to have this one done! But I'm sure you know.

Have a great rest of your week.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Searching for Me

 I am once again home. I have been going between my daughter's house and mine for the last 2 1/2 months. We are done there, she is moved closer to us now. Hopefully the healing can truly begin. For me, that means finding my new normal...again. My sewing room waits for me. Quiet. Projects stopped in time. I am waiting for motivation to come to me. I am trying to be patient, knowing it will come.

While I was traveling back and forth, I carried hand projects with me. I had crochet and embroidery to work on as time permitted. Here is a little of what I worked on.

I'm sure many of you have seen these embroidery sheets from Lecien. They are available many places. Snuggly Monkey has them, although every time she gets them in stock, they sell out super fast.
These are the 100 Ladies. Each one is a line drawing that you can "dress" with embroidery. Or you could use colored pencils or fabric scraps.
For me, it remidns me of when I was young and we played with paper dolls all the time. I love deciding how to dress my ladies.
Each time I do one, it becomes my favorite one...until the next one comes along.
I usually pick out one of the ladies, and then I just look at her until inspiration strikes. Many times I start with color, but sometimes I have a style of dress in mind.
I have to say that so far, this one is my most favorite of all. She was just a line drawing with no dress shape at all. There are several of those.

So this is helping me keep creatively busy while I transition to my new normal. I have one other thing that keeps me busy.

This is Jon Snow. He is my daughter's cat and he is living with us for now. It took him about a week to acclimate here, but now, as you can tell, he is King of the castle.
And he likes to steal my chair. But he is sweet. And after two weeks we are getting used to each other. My last post that I made about quilting was January 12. I hope that the next time I am here in this space, I will be back to sewing again. Have a good week.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Quilt Memories

 Quilts are memories. They are sometimes made from fabric that brings memories, but sometimes it's the quilts themselves that make the memories. That is the case here. This post is to document the quilt memories surrounding my grandson, who passed away suddenly 5 weeks ago at age 15. I had so many more quilts in me to make for him and it makes me sad that they will go unrealized. So I am going to post pictures of the quilts I made for him during his short life.

This was the very first quilt I made for him. The top image is a bag that the folded quilt can fit into to be taken along with the baby. I thought that was such a clever idea. I don't remember where the pattern for this quilt came from. The fabrics were from my LQS.

This is the best picture I could find of this quilt. I remember when I found this farm fabric at the LQS and I was so excited to make matching quilts for J and his cousin V. They were only about 2 and 3 years old at the time. I called the quilts Neigh and Moo. These quilts were so much bigger than they were at that time and they made such an impression. They got lots of use too.

These are not a quilt, but one year for Christmas I made bath mitts for the boys. The minions were fairly new on the scene and someone put out a pattern for this. I am still trying to use up the rest of that terry cloth to this day.

One year for Christmas I made J and V these tic tac toe bean bag toss quilts, hoping to give them a useful quilt. I can't remember which one was J's.

This was a quilt I made from some fun airplane fabric. I was learning how to make little boy quilts. I found it challenging to find fabric colors and patterns that weren't too girly, but were also fun. I loved this one.

This was the last quilt I made for J. He couldn't have been more than 8 or 9 years old at the time, but for some reason he fell in love with the periodic table of elements. When this fabric line came out, I had to have it for him. I worked so hard to make a big enough quilt for his bed with this and I was so proud of how it turned out. I think he loved it. Partly because it was cool and partly because his Grammie made it for him. It still rests on his bed.

I cherish these quilts and the memories they bring. It is painful now, but some day it will just bring me a warm feeling and a smile to think of them and how much they meant to J and how much he means to me. So, sew up those memories, that they may comfort you whenever you need them to.

I love you sweet boy.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

TA DA!! Perfect Pineapple Quilt Is Done!

 This quilt has been a year in the making. Amber, at Gigi's Thimble ran this as a quilt along. There were 36 blocks, one per week. The blocks are all machine paper pieced. Papers are available at Gigi's Thimble. The blocks finish at about 12 inches. My finished quilt is about 76 inches square.

Here it is on my bed, fresh from the wash. What made me want to do this quilt along was two things. The paper piecing, which I used to hate, makes such crisp blocks. Also, Amber showed a picture of one she'd done in pink and green like this and it really spoke to me. Most of this quilt top is made from my scrap bins and stash. I did have to buy some neutrals. I never seem to have much in the way of neutrals.

These are some images of the quilting, before I washed the quilt. I cut a 12 inch half circle out of cardboard (thank you Amazon) and marked each square's design on the front of the quilt before I quilted it with my walking foot. There is one block you can see here below, that is not scrappy. That was a deliberate choice.
The straight lines through the center of the leaves run on the diagonal, from edge to edge. It seemed to need the extra anchor of this long stitching from edge to edge. And it worked well within the design.
I used a Hera marker for a lot of the inner blocks, but after awhile, I found it harder to see my lines. So I tried chalk, a marking pencil, and finally, a graphite marking tool I bought at my LQS probably 15 years ago. That was the tool that helped me bring this over the finish line. There were several times when I thought I must be crazy for quilting this on my Bernina 440. It has such a small throat space. But, I was patient, or tried to be, and got through it all. It took me 7 days to get it quilted and bound.

And of course, today I had another small issue when I was attaching the binding. Oh, my goodness, I was never so happy for a finish.

For the back, I bought 2 1/2 yards of Bungalow in green and 2 1/2 yards in pink, by Amy Gibson for Windham Fabrics. I found it on sale somewhere, and the two colors were perfect for the backing, being green and pink.
And, as a bonus, I only had to seam it once! Hurray! I trimmed off all the extra and saved it to use for the binding. I ended up only using the pink, as I thought that would look best.
         This is another picture with pins in it as I am still quilting it at this stage.
                         I used another one of my new labels on this quilt.

And, you can see how nice the binding looks on the quilt. The four corner blocks have these little stamens, or antennae on them. I had thought to put them on every block, but when I saw them on one, I changed my mind. And, rather than rip them out, I put them in each of the other three corners for balance.

It washed and dried up so nicely. It is so soft. And that's what I wanted, a soft drapey kind of quilt. There are lots of seam lines in this quilt, so a little less quilting made that happen. Thanks to Amber for a wonderful QAL. I had two quilts on my bed, but I added this one too, because after all, it's still winter.

Saturday, December 31, 2022

Ringing the Old Year Out

And ringing the new year in. This is my last finish for 2022. My husband works for a non-profit and they are having a fund raising Gala in February. One of the things this involves is a silent auction. He asked me if I'd like to make a quilt for the auction and of course I said yes!

I immediately knew I wanted to do stars. I love stars, but I sometimes shy away from them because they can be difficult to do. But when I searched for wonky stars, I found Elizabeth Hartman's tutorial for her Sparkle Punch quilt. I didn't want to do that exact quilt, but it got me started.

I don't have any pictures prior to the pin basting, but this is how it looked at that point. I chose not to make quite as many stars as Elizabeth did, but I do love the way the wonkiness makes them appear to twinkle a little bit. For the background I used Kona Pacific. I didn't want too dark of a color blue, and this one was just what was needed. I had some fabrics in my stash and bought some more to make the stars.


I was looking for a way to quilt this so there would be an illusion of movement. My first idea was swirls, but when I quilted swirls on my Christmas quilt just before this, I decided that wasn't the look I was going for. So I then decided to do organic soft waves, horizontally. To me this gives the feeling of a gentle breeze.
These pictures are before the wash and dry crinkle part. I decided to bind this quilt in the same solid color as the background. This is how it looks where there are partial stars. Where there are no stars, it disappears.
The backing is a wide back of cross hatch by Caroline Friedlander for Robert Kauffman. I wanted a wide back to make it easy on myself, and so it would have a very cohesive look. I gave it a name, and a label with all the information, since I don't know where it will end up.
Here you can see how the binding just disappears on the edges of the quilt. I think it is such an elegant look for this quilt.

And here I also included one of my new woven labels on the quilt. It is really my signature.

Here is the beauty shot of the whole thing, taken outside under cloudy skies. This is as true to color as we could get. I love the way the stars are so random on this quilt. I could happily love it and hang it on a wall in my house. Well, that's it for today and for this year. I wish you all a very happy new year. I hope this new year is better for all of us.