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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Quilting Gravity's Centre

Gravity is currently unfurled on the dining room table. It’s the best surface in the house for marking, sewing in ends and contemplating the work. This morning’s musings were about how the quilting started in the next section looks seriously lame next to the pebbling. The stitching in the star’s points may need to be reconsidered in the future, but that’ll wait until the centre is finished.
Caution dictated placing a dinner plate under the coffee to avoid a spill. You never know when someone furry and cute is going to come to check things out. While Gravity seriously needs a bath, she sure doesn’t need a drink of coffee. White rum, maybe. But not coffee.
I love how the pebbling has changed the look. Sort of like lava on the boil.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Super-Fast Fancy Fox II Flimsy

Well, yes. The flimsy is done. Cutting on Monday, with sewing on Tuesday and Saturday. The backing is even ready. Wooo hooo! Given that a single fox constitutes a quarter of the flimsy, piecing was quick and fun. 

The foxes are going to rest until Gravity’s quilting is finished. The centre’s been started. The goal the section shown below was to have it look like it was boiling, and it does. In a beginner move, the pebbling is too small - the bit that's stitched took 3 hours, and represents about 1/3 of the area to be pebbled. Wow it sure needs a bath. Sometime in the near future I hope.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Straw into Gold

Or, how to take a piece of fabric you really don’t like and turn it into something you really do. When I first started down the quilt making path, I wanted to collect a small stash, and thought that joining a fat quarter club would help. It really wasn’t the right decision, since almost every piece of fabric that was sent was not to my taste.

Witness this fabric.

That's Six's paw in the lower left corner. There are 4 more of these unattractive whale batiks in stash. The good news is that it makes these.
Fashionable, no?

My friend Natalie asked me to make a baby quilt for her to give to her expectant friend. It’s a very nice compliment and making things for a new baby is one of my favourite things. She chose Fancy Fox II by Elizabeth Hartman from my pattern collection. Baby is arriving next month. I’m already on a Fancy Fox binge with a lap quilt flimsy that’s mostly done, so it should come together rather quickly.

In other news, it’s been kind of difficult to sew on Gravity. My other assistant, Tikka, is not that helpful.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

My Diligent Assistant

Last weekend I finally plucked up the courage to start quilting Gravity’s star. Six, my trusty assistant, thought she'd help mark the circle around the centre. Here's the action from the dining room table.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Butterfly Binge

From Christmas Day until returning to work, on January 5, the Tula Pink Butterfly was an obsession. Most of the blocks were sewn during that time, and the rest were finished last weekend. I’m hoping for a good result when it all comes together. It may just look a mess once assembled, since there was absolutely no planning of colour placement. There has, however, been an effort to include the least favoured of fabrics, otherwise all of the brights would have been used up in the first couple of days. Even with that effort, a good portion of the favourites were sucked entirely into the project rather quickly. One half of the butterfly is represented in the photo below.

It is amazing how few leftovers remain from the butterfly piecing. There were enough to cut 14 foxes for a Fancy Fox lap quilt, and 2 larger dark rectangles of fabric that were deemed uninteresting have been folded into a pile of starched scraps. For the sake of full disclosure, more than half of the foxes have been assembled. It was really hard to just put it all away for another time. The only thing stopping me now is that background fabric needs to be purchased. I love this particular fox.
It’s a bit of a surprise to be at this stage with the butterfly so soon (and also with the foxes). Now that the blocks have been finished, it has been put away so work can resume on Gravity, and my sister can catch up. A quilting plan awaits the quilt's return to the machine and I am ready for it. The largest problem will be removing Tikka from her perch – she really loves to lounge on top of it.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

New Year, New Bathrobe

Last summer I fell hard for the Ex-Libris fabric collection designed by Allison Glass. So hard that every time I saw it online there was drool on the screen. Needlework downtown had a couple of bolts from the collection, and a small amount was purchased to play with. Going back for more 2 days later was a bust - it was all gone. By then I had wound myself up to make a bath robe with the blue chambray. Not being able to rid myself of that idea, the full bolt was ordered from Mad About Patchwork (sounds like a lot, but it was 5 yards), who had yet to receive their stock.
 All of the supplies (pattern, fabric and notions) had been sitting in house for a while, due entirely to avoiding the prep required to get started. With that step taken care of a number of weeks ago, and having already cut it out, it was very easy to pick the pile up and begin late on a Sunday afternoon. The bulk of the project was made in one short sitting, and a number of avoidance tactics were employed when things went wrong, or required thought.

Pattern: Simplicity 5314
Fabric: Ex-Libris Botany Chambray by Alison Glass in Navy

Things to love: The kimono like sleeves and the upright/fold over collar. It only took 3 short sessions at the sewing machine to get it done.

Not so much: The facing down the front doesn't hang nicely. Sewing it down almost the whole length of the front should tame that beast. My own procrastination.

Modifications: No pockets. That lumpy wad of fabric that side pockets create? Not a fan, so no pockets. Flat-felled seams. Belt loops left off. Twill tape instead of ribbon for the inside tie.

Washing the fabric before cutting was a great idea. More yardage than the largest size called for on the pattern envelope had been purchased, but there was not enough fabric to lay all the pieces out according to the instructions. Even though 10 cm was taken off of the bottom of the robe and the sleeves were shortened by 4 cm. If the side pockets had been wanted, disappointment would have been the result since there sure wasn’t enough to cut them out. Either the bolt was short, or the fabric shrank a lot.

You’d think I’d know by now that sewing while tired is not a good idea. It’s not like knitting where about all you’re going to lose is time. I managed to cut through the seam allowance on the last flat felled seam. Twice. And those mistakes show. Yeah, just what I needed. Another learning experience. It only took a couple of small patches on the seam allowance before felling, and you have to look for the problems in order to find them. The same sort of thing happened up on the neckline where the seam was clipped. Yes, that one is close to my face.

It’s really hard to find pretty lounge wear for larger women in Canada. All of the robes found in stores and online were hideous, the wrong colour, or something else wasn’t right. This bath robe is hitting a good number of the sweet spots for me. Lately I’ve been too warm in the mornings, despite getting up when the house is still cool from the lower nighttime temperature. In the evening I tend to be cooler, but don’t need a heavy layer anymore. Maybe this is the new normal for me in menopause, I’m not sure. Whatever. This is just the right weight, the fabric is pretty and wearing it makes make me feel mussed-up-and-a-tiny-bit-sexy as opposed to oh-my-freaking-god-do-you-see-what-she’s-wearing-frumpy. And that change in feeling? Let’s just say it was really worth the effort.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Together yet Apart

Sometime last winter I sent my sister a Quick Curve Ruler by Sew Kind of Wonderful since I was having so much fun making Blue Metro Lattice. It inspired her to embark on her own journey in making a quilt using the ruler.  We worked on the tops somewhat together, and enjoyed it, using FaceTime to help each other out. In her area, there’s one fabric store with a very limited, not-so-great selection and the service is really bad. For example, she could not purchase charcoal grey fabric, nor was another similar neutral available. Grey was not available for several months. She settled on a fabric selection just to get going on a project. To expand her options, a gift certificate to Mad About Patchwork (my favourite on-line resource) was sent for her birthday. That turned out to be a really great idea because it sparked a plan to start a project together. We each purchased an Eden fat quarter bundle by Tula Pink, and have been swapping design options for the project since June, finally deciding on the Butterfly quilt by the fabric designer. It’s a tough commute from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia to Southern Ontario. Having something we are working on together, despite the distance, is really nice.