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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Does this make me a Designer?

Planning Peter’s quilt has given me all kinds of grandiose ideas. Ideas like “I’m a designer!” Truly, I think not I’m pretty sure it takes a bit more than a single idea to earn the designer label, but it’s amusing to bounce that idea around. Playing with block dimensions and piece placement within the blocks for the quilt has kept me busy for a little while. Sashing colour is the only thing left to make any kind of decision on, but the rest? The rest is ready to go.

Working the final details out for each of the full blocks was easy. 1/4 inch graph paper was used at full scale to mock the blocks up in true-to-life size. Pieces of graph paper were taped together and cut to size to get a feel for the finished size of the block. Squares in the various planned sizes were cut and placed on the paper block in various configurations to determine which arrangement appealed to Peter most. Since there were only a few arrangements under consideration, once it was decided, all 5 of the mock-ups were labelled with the finished size of the pieces plus seam allowances.

I did not bother with calculating fabric requirements since a generous quantity of manly fat quarters (34-ish?, or about 8.5 yards) has been waiting for the project to begin, along with a good length of shot cotton for the background. Quiltography calculated the requirement for background fabric at 7 yards and there are 6.5 yards available. The app appears to calculate full blocks for the half and quarter blocks on the edge of the design, so I expect at least 1.5 yards of the background will be leftover. The cutting directions for each set of blocks were really easy to determine, especially since all of the shapes are rectangular and regular.

I am excited about the possibilities and can hardly believe this idea is really coming to life. To the cutting mat!

Thursday, June 25, 2015


The Celestial blocks were both sewn entirely by hand. I like the flowery look, which is probably meant to resemble a star burst. The pink colour combo is interesting, though not for me. It’s coming as a surprise just how many of the colours in the kit do not tickle my fancy.

As for the hand-piecing, well, it isn’t bad and I am mostly enjoying the experience. It goes relatively quickly, is pretty accurate, relaxing, and can be accomplished over a glass of your-favourite-beverage-here all while participating in conversation. That’s pretty much a win.

Thank you Myra for hosting the Gravity QAL over at Busy Hands Quilts.

Monday, June 15, 2015


Mary at Busy Hands Quilts has graciously talked me into staying with the Gravity Quilt-A-Long. Thank you again Mary. So, here are the late-for-the party Intergalactic blocks.

I really liked putting these blocks together, and love the sort of swirly effect of the finished pieces. Both were partially sewn by machine and finished by hand, sort of earning that Intergalactic title, since the two techniques are galaxies apart. There are places where the hand-stitching is evident, but that really doesn’t bother me much. In the grand scheme of things, no one but me is going to notice.
While finding a replacement sewing machine is really tempting, holding out for the machine of my dreams is the way to go, at least for the moment. If a replacement comes home on a temporary basis, getting rid of it unless it is most certainly thoroughly broken and beyond repair will not happen, leaving me stuck with something I really don’t want. Again. Basically, I’ve been making do for a very long time, and don’t want to compromise on this another time. It won’t be much longer until that sewing machine dream comes true. At most, it will be a year, and realistically, 4 to 6 months.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

Plotting and Scheming

Since Blue Metro Lattice is too short for comfortable napping, a manly quilt is on deck for Peter-the-Spoiled. Yes, that’s an official title, and it comes with full regalia - crown, sceptre, etc. Fabric Spot just happened to have a sale on their whole Parson Gray line a while ago that could not be resisted. 30% off and a few clicks later, a decent cache of suitably manly and stylish fabrics now awaits adventure. The fabrics are gorgeous and waffling over the basic design elements is over.

There was some experimenting with drafting the design in Adobe Illustrator, but all of that tedious effort stopped after stumbling across an iPad app called Quiltography. While Illustrator is seriously a pain to learn, Quiltography is easy and fast. The diagram below provides a good portion of the details for the project I’ve got in mind. Limitations of Quiltography prevent taking the design all the way through to completion, but the bones of it are there. The fabrics shown in the diagram below are actual photos of the fabrics to be used in the actual quilt top.
Developing some sketches to add some refinement to the design is the next stage, followed by changes to some of the blocks (maximum block size is 16 x 16 units, which really does not allow for a deep dive into placement possibilities within the block, but this is an app and should not be construed as a fully developed software program meant for expert use). I love this app, and have found it to be a bit addictive and very useful.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Emma's Remberance Pillow Project Redux

Two pillow covers remained to be made for Emma’s remembrance pillow project, and they were finished a few weeks ago, before the machine gave up. They should have been completed a couple of months ago, but I just didn’t feel up to doing it. Finally feeling rested enough to carry on they have been delivered to their rightful owner. She gave some of them to her grandmother and mother. What a sweet thing to do.

Simple storage bags with French seams were made for the leftover sweater pieces, which retain the scent of her grandfather’s aftershave. It’s great to be finished with Emma’s project since I was somewhat to very uncomfortable using irreplaceable materials that mean so much to her. It was also nerve wracking to work on this project with my little helper Six. Six believes any activity on the table means it’s time for love. She has a knack for showing up in the most inconvenient place (too close to the rotary cutter) at really awkward times (mid-cut). It was very lovely to be asked to sew this project and I also learned a lot about putting pillows together.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Leaving Home

As luck would have it, my friend Jan leant me her sewing machine for the weekend in order to finish Red Metro Lattice - a happy circumstance that was fully exploited. Some angst was experienced in getting the border to work the way I wanted, but it is now a done deal. RML leaves home this weekend for a visit with a long-arm quilter. It feels like she will be away for a long time, but really, it won’t be that long at all. It’s a bit nerve wracking to entrust this stage of her maturation to someone else, but needs must. At the same time it is fun to imagine just how she’ll look on return. Her binding is ready to apply, along with 2 labels embroidered by my Aunt Carolyn. Many thanks to those who restrained me from unceremoniously shoving her into the washing machine before quilting(Valerie of Purple Boots and Pigtails and Anja over at Anja Quilts). Seriously. I wanted to, and was fully aware that it would have been a disaster.

There was lots of help with getting the final bits of RML together. Many of you have met my special little staff member Six-of-Four. Clearly Six deserves a raise for successfully guarding the fabric and quilt top from being wrongfully abused any time it got close to the dining room table.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Orbit: Aphelion and Perihelion

The perihelion is the point in the path of a celestial body’s orbit where it is closest to the sun. The aphelion is the opposite point, where it is furthest away. These terms describe the two Orbit blocks rather well with one being bright and sunny and the other dark and moody. It’s going to be hard to move into the black to grey world of the background fabrics after romping through all of this fabulous colour.
With regret, I am abandoning the Gravity quilt-along. It’s been very nice, but a structured approach just isn't for me. I'd like the freedom to move at my own pace, and being constrained by rules feels like a job rather than the pleasure it should be. Many apologies Myra for my lack of commitment.

This rest of this week is dedicated to prep for the Red Metro Lattice border. All of the fabrics are finally in place for that. She’s got a date with a long arm quilter in the near future. There is a small problem to overcome though. The sewing machine has given up. Forever. A pile of money has been thrown at this machine over the years, mostly by my aunt. This time the tensioning did not even last 2 months, and at $100 (minimum) a fix this $200 machine is not going back to the mechanic again. I’m holding out for the machine of my dreams, so it'll be hand-stitching. Yep. Stitching. By.  Hand. Everything. Including Gravity. Well, except for the border of RML. That's going to Needlework downtown to sew by the hour to finish up. Hopefully on Friday since the day is mine.