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Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Start on the Summer Sampler 2016

My favourite second cousin is having her first child next month. It’s a perfect excuse to make another baby quilt, this time for a boy. While trolling blogs a few months back, I stumbled upon the Summer Sampler 2016. At a block release rate of one every week for 20 weeks, the quilt will not be ready in time for the baby shower. Of course, if this particular madness gets stopped sometime in early August, a 12 block arrangement would work.

Turkey Vulture, Really not crazy about this.
I’ve been procrastinating with this project, mostly because I was not all that crazy about the first 2 blocks that were made – the Snow Cone and Turkey Vulture. The colour scheme (orange, grey, minty green and white) is not really to my taste. 4 blocks had been ready for final assembly for weeks now, and were actually finished off this week. Another block is halfway there, and would have been done if I had not insisted on taking it apart to fix it. Yep. It was ruined, and exactly half of the block must be reconstructed. Feeling some love now that a small clutch of the blocks are done has provided a bit of encouragement to actually catch up with the block release schedule. That’s a definite goal for the next 2 weeks – catching up.
Snow Cone. Yeah. I forgot to take these photos last night.
The Summer Sampler 2016 has been a challenge so far and it’s good to know your own limitations. Several of the blocks had to be adjusted to suit how things tend to go together for me. The Snow Cone block was a prime example. Making it without considerable distortion was tough and it had to be trimmed by an extra half inch. Good thing there was lots of room in the design to accommodate flawed execution. Knowing the centre of the block would be difficult for me, cutting its borders was left until it was completed. Those other curved blocks? Well, they are scary.
Sugarhouse. Man, these blocks need to be pressed again.
From experience, trouble was also anticipated in constructing the flying geese for the Sugarhouse block. It was really discouraging to see how awful the lime green looked against that orange without the white bits. Adding the white changed the block into something I like.
Summer Slice. Loving this one.
For some strange reason, putting the last two rows onto the Turkey Vulture block took 4 attempts. Everything measured the right size, but somehow kept shifting under the needle resulting in large pleats and puckers. Even with pinning things shifted. I don’t get it. Why? Summer Slice has been the only block to go together easily. Perhaps I should consider a class in piecing with accuracy.
Altogether now, with the good half of X-Spot!
The weekend is looking fully booked, and I’ve got Friday off. Hopefully it will see the finish of another little girl dress. With only the back zipper and a hem left to do, it could happen. The dress been in that state for at least 4 weeks now, so it’s iffy as to whether it will get attention or not. It’s the zipper installation, which has failed 3 times already. There’s also more cutting for the Summer Sampler to do, and getting back to quilting on Fancy Fox is something else to think about. The to-do-now list might be a bit ambitious since we’re going to see Star Trek with my buddy Susan, and my friend Marci is scheduled for the whole of Sunday. Busy. I like it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Georgia Twirl Dress Obsessed

I just might have a small obsession with making the Georgia Twirl dress for girls right now. So far, 2 of them have been made in a row, and do I ever like them. You probably would too.
Some comments on-line mentioned the front neckline is too high for comfort, so these necklines were cut to rest about a centimetre lower than designed. In a departure from the instructions, the underskirt and top skirt were sewn onto the bodice at the same time. The top skirt was pinned in place, the whole thing turned inside out, and then the underskirt pinned into position. Sewing it all on in one go avoids the stitches from sewing the underskirt to the bodice from showing up on the right side of the dress.
Things to love: That twirl-worthy skirt, back neckline, and side detail on the bodice all make for a sweet, summery dress. Georgia Twirl can also be made reversible, and instructions for doing so are included in the pattern. It’s hard not to feel good while sewing such a pretty design with adorable fabrics. It’s also lovely to imagine a little girl with the skirt swirling around her while she’s doing her thing.

Not so much: More thought could have been put into the making of the white under-skirted Georgia Twirl. Instead of cutting one piece for the skirt, 2 separate pieces should have been cut so the flowers on the back would face in the same direction as those on the front. There’s always a learning experience available and this one was applied to the one-way print on the orange dress.

I’m pretty sure more small, circle skirted dresses will be made in the near future. They’re irresistible.

Pattern: Georgia Twirl Dress/Top by Schwin Design. Both dresses, size 4T.

Fabric: Wonderland something-or-other (it might have been Flamingo Petals) by Katarina Roccella for Art Gallery Fabrics, and an unidentified white-on-white.


Trinket, Happy Garden in Tangerine by Melody Miller for Cotton and Steel, and Free Spirit Designer Essential Solids in an unknown orange-sherbet-like colour. 

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Geranium and the Chipmunks

Wow. July is fast disappearing and it’s hard to believe it’s already a week old. It’s been busy here with a lot of puttering around. My sister was here for a spur-of-the-moment visit at the end of June. We did a number of fun sewing related things, one of which was to make a couple of matching Geranium dresses. This is a fabulous pattern, and a great one to learn garment sewing techniques. It’s also great to see improvement in sewing skills. 

Things to love: Making little girl dresses sure is a lot of fun. 
Not so much: Looking at the photo, more attention could be paid to pattern placement on the fabric. Moving the fold for the front might have been a good idea.

Pattern: Geranium by Made by Rae, Size 3T
Fabric: Tula Pink Chipper in Raspberry Chipmunk


Tuesday, July 05, 2016

A Flimsy for Dad's Phyllis

Despite not caring for the fabrics used for the blocks of this flimsy, when it finally got attention after resting since last fall, it was fun to make. The blocks were simple to assemble, and their 12 inch finished size meant it didn’t take much time to churn out 36 of them. During the block assembly process I made a discovery that delighted me immensely. If the quarters of a block were chain pieced in a certain order and orientation, the thread connecting the resultant halves of the block could be used to firmly butt the seams together when sewing a block’s final seam. Once the block was opened up, the centre seam would be tightly aligned and crisp. Nice one. Butterfly will continue to rest until this piece has been quilted. My father is expected to come through town again in early September. I’d like to have the quilt ready to go by then so he can take it home. We'll see. The batting and backing have been pressed and everything’s ready to assemble, aside from the fact that a good chunk of the available pins are holding Butterfly and Fancy Fox together. The block layout of this flimsy could have used some work, but it’s together now, and staying that way.
I've been experiencing a small obsession with making dresses for little girls. Stay tuned for the runway show.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Back to the Usual

My father is home from the hospital and his prognosis looks good. Extracting that much information out of him was difficult, and perhaps he’s not really saying what’s what. There’s not really a choice if he doesn’t want to talk about it, so I’ll have to accept what he says. Oh well. He will probably be here later this month, or sometime in August.
The past few weeks have been busy. Butterfly’s stitching in the ditch is finished, and a lot of time was spent unsuccessfully trying to quilt it. To say there were bobbin tension issues is an understatement. After too much time spent messing around, it has been set aside to quilt the Fancy Fox top. Although I think the problem has been resolved, Butterfly and I are currently licking our wounds and need some time apart.

As for Fancy Fox and me, well,we’re getting along very well. While there are plenty of slips in the stitching, this is the best free motion quilting effort yet. Stitches are becoming more even with each session at the machine, and the quilting more fluid with fewer blunders. Most of the background has been quilted, but the background thread ran out last night. Some more should be in hand soon. Now, what to quilt in those faces?

Oh look. Some picking out to do.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Frustration and Distance: Too much of Each

The last time I posted was to talk about the flimsy for my father’s girlfriend, which now only requires the long bits of sashing. He had a heart attack that very morning, and was in intensive care for a few days. Circumstances have not allowed me to speak with him. It seems I have called at inopportune times, and connection is made through the nurse’s desk. That’s rather inconvenient for the nurses. Not to mention, they're nurses - not social secretaries. My sister lives about an hour from the hospital so finding things out is not necessarily easy. Particularly when the man in question thinks it’s none of your business. Really. It’s like that. He went to Halifax today for some tests and perhaps a procedure, so now there's no knowing what's what. He’s said no heroics. What that means to him seems to be somewhat nebulous. Would open heart surgery be heroic? Stents? I don’t know, and finding out is like having teeth cracked out of your head. Hard going. And what is it with older people not wanting to take a pill? I hear this all the time from my older relatives. What? You want to have a stroke and become incapacitated? Perhaps so much so you’re no longer in charge of your care or future? Hey. Take that freaking blood pressure medication. Grrrr.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Waiting for Butterfly

That title just doesn’t have the same cachet as Waiting for Godot. Unlike Godot, Butterfly will show back up in about a week, so the waiting’s not interminable. Basting has never been easier, at least for me since it’s out being basted on a long-arm. The batting had to be pieced for a bit of extra length. Funny how queen sized batting (from a roll) at 90” wide isn’t enough to cover a queen sized quilt’s dimensions. Whatever. The top is approximately 88” square, hence the Frankensteining required for the batting. I can hardly wait for it to be ready to quilt, and am happy there are other things to work on while Butterfly is busy becoming a quilt sandwich. Meanwhile, bobbins have been prepped for the ditching. Mono-poly on both sides for that activity. And speaking of ditching, my sister has started ditching her Butterfly. She despises that mono-poly as much as I do.


Since there’s some free time, the assembly line for Dad’s long neglected flimsy has ramped back into production. The project was started way back in the fall, and needs to make its way to the finish line pronto. Dad’s girlfriend is not well and something to keep her warm is a must. A good start has been made on the sewing, although it is somewhat of a slog. It’s the colour scheme – it’s just a bit too sweet, but Phyllis will love it. It certainly helps that I love pinwheels of almost any variety.