Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Joy's Mystery Quilt

Back in May one of my quilting friends on Facebook started a group to make a mystery quilt just to give us some fun during the quarantine. I decided to go ahead and join the group since it was for a scrap bin project and I had two overflowing scrap bins. Well I made all of the blocks she had in the mystery, but in the end I decided to just mess around with the blocks and see what else I could come up with. My final setting is not the mystery but I did use all the blocks, with no extra nor did I have to make any more than she asked for........a real win. I used a bunch of scraps and had fun. I kinda put this on hold when I started working on the tree of life applique border. Now that that is done I pulled this back out yesterday morning and started playing.

I have leftover leaves from the tree of life project. I also found some flower buds from another applique project. The flower template is from a round robin I did years ago for someone's quilt (I think it was Linda Hoo). The vine in the photo is leftover from another project and it is too dark so I will use a different fabric. I found a couple of butterflys I had cut out and am going to use them. I also love the birds I did on the tree of life project so I am going to make two more. The good thing is this is a lot less applique than the tree of life so it will not take as long to get it done. Each corner will have the flowers, vine and leaves. The top and bottom will have a bird and a butterfly. At least that is the plan right now.

This plan is close to the one I made but it needed a few more blocks to be made and it was also a bit to tall and narrow. 

I really love this idea with the string blocks and may use it in a future project. Again this setting I needed to make more of the string blocks and I had leftover fourpatches.

These are my blocks after clue 2. I just laid them out and do love the string blocks. I have decided that I like the idea of taking the string blocks and adding a plain fabric to half of them as we were instructed to do in clue 3. (Sorry no photos.........I lost some of the photos I took of the early steps of the mystery including some other alternate setting I played around with) This made 60 blocks out of the 30 string blocks without a huge amount of extra that technique!

Here are my clue 1 fourpatches. Not very exciting but I did use quite a lot of scraps to make these 32 blocks. They finish at 5" a good size. Aside from the blue triangles in the center star all of the fabrics for this quilt came from my scraps...........well ok I did cut a few from yardage but not that many.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

New Personal Record

I finally got in full gear a couple of months ago with quilting and sewing. I had been putting off making the bias strip for this project for months. I had cut the straps 5/8" wide.....yup crazy. Well one day I decided to tackle this a couple of months ago and got it done. I made one very, very long strip. It was many yards long.  The next day I basted the main strip to the drawn line on the quilt. Then another few days to cut out a million leaves. Then I was off and running. I think I started the applique on June 12th. I have only missed working on this about three days since. I just designed a section at a time and tried to do at least 5 leaves each day. This is a new record for me to finish a project of this magnitude. It was a great distraction from the rest of the insanity going on in the world around me.

I am really happy with the squirrels. I think they add a little fun. This little guy is scampering down the vine.

A bluebird at the bottom, just hanging out.

I think this squirrel is my favorite. He was also the hardest to do. I just love how he came out. 

Friday, July 17, 2020

Around The Last Corner

This project has been my focus for the past month. Once I got the vine figured out I really got excited to see this come together. I kinda set myself some hard and fast goals for this and that was to applique at least 5 leaves a day. I have actually exceeded that goal. There was a week spent figuring out the squirrels and I am very pleased with them. So now that I have finally gone around the final corner it is time to get the two birds done and figure out the last part of the vine and leaves on the top center. There will be a few more branches around that top bird.

The bottom bluebird just needs to be made and plopped down in the center and he is good to go.

This one is a mountain bluebird. Yes I just spent some time online finding images of birds I liked and then just drew my own version that would be easy to applique. I actually did these birds in the very beginning and they have been waiting patiently in the wings for their turn to come front and center in this project.

So here are the final plans for these little birds. The line art is ready to be cut apart and the fabrics are selected. This will be the focus this week to get them done and hopefully also the last group of vines and leaves. So far I am pretty pleased at how this project has come together.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Making Squirrels

This is the current state of my work table. I have reached a place on my vine and leaves where I really need to add the squirrels to determine where they will fit and what branches and leaves will go around them. I was making great progress appliqueing the vines and leaves till I hit this roadblock. So This past week has been all about these two squirrels. When you design everything yourself you have to do lots of work and research to find the image, draw it, tweak, it and tweak it more, again, and again till it works. I found images on the internet and got to drawing but they did not look right. I had my artist daughter help and then they were better but looked more like dragonlike cartoon features (she draws that style). Well now I had the proportions right and kept drawing. I had pages of squirrels till I finally settled on these two. The one on the too is pretty easy and is ready to be appliqued down, the bottom one is much more complicated and I am still tweaking.

I made templates for the outline and this is the starting point. I have simplified the idea and some of the lines will be defined with quilting instead of different parts. This is a process of designing as you go. I am pretty happy so far with how they are coming together and hope to finish the second squirrel this week and get them appliqued on the quilt.
This is a little preview of where the first squirrel will go. There will be lots of branches and leaves added before he is appliqued down but at least now I can figure out that design.

Here is the placement for the four applique creatures. The squirrel on the top right will be behind the vine so that is why he is so problematic to figure out. I am making progress with his design though.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Time Sink

Ok what have I done to myself! I finished my last forever applique project last fall, and there will be photos of that very soon. When I did my scrap bin frenzy during my 2017 Summer in Oregon I was cutting and sorting fabrics for several quilts including triangles and made this tree of life setting. Well I could not just leave it at that. I knew that a vine border with leaves and a few critters would take the quilt to another level so I had been planning that vine since I set the blocks and the outer border with enough space to put the vine. I spent quite some time fiddling with the line the vine would travel last fall. I thought I had fabric for the vine that was already made into a bias strip but when I laid it on the quilt it was just too thick. I headed to the quilt store and bought yardage of a beautiful deep forest green grunge fabric and cut bias strips 5/8" wide. I then put off making the long strip needed to go all the way around the quilt for the vine because I knew it would be fussy. Well I finally decided I just needed to get that going so a week ago I pulled it out and sewed the strips together by hand because being so narrow they needed to be dead on perfect. I spent a good chunk of time pulling that long strip thru my bias maker, slowly carefully wrapping it around an empty toilet paper roll. Now with that step done I basted the vine around the border along the line I had drawn last fall................ok looking good!

The next step was to figure out where the leaves and side branches would go. I had a sticky note pad sitting around that was green so I cut two sizes of leaf shapes. The branches are scraps from the pants I just finished sewing and drapey poly fabric so I just cut some strips and used them for placement. I really liked where this is going.

Next I pulled out the bag of green scraps I have been collecting for a couple of years and got leaves cut out and placed over the paper. Yep I really like where this is going!

I spent some time googling birds and decided to put a mountain bluebird on the top of the quilt, and a western bluebird on the bottom. I drew these birds freehand from photographs and now need to pull fabric and get them made up. I am going to use brighter fabrics than what I have here. I just colored my line drawings with colored pencils I had to see how they looked. I am going to try to focus on getting as much applique done this Summer as I can. The thing is that this project is now taking all my sewing time and is quite the time sink. It is fun to see it slowly change and evolve as I go.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

T-shirt Quilt

This quilt top has been two years in the making. The t-shirts belonged to Toni the wife of my ex boss. She was an amazing person. One of those people that was just plain fun to have around. After she passed away suddenly I told her husband Dean that I would like to make a t-shirt quilt for him. Well things in my life were in constant flux and I was moving around a good deal, living in the RV in 5 different states. I trimmed the t-shirts right after I got them and put them in a project bag with the fusible interfacing and it traveled around with me. It kept nagging at me to get it started.

Every February I go to a quilt retreat every year in Phoenix Arizona. I decided that my main project would be to get a start on this quilt. I went to Hobby Lobby and bought yardage of blue Kona cotton for the sashing and the border. I also got a yard of yellow Kona cotton for an accent. I now had everything I needed to bring this to the retreat.
My friend Cathy had done a t-shirt quilt recently and she was sitting near me so I decided to just ask her to give me the inspiration to begin. Her suggestion was to arrange the pieces up on the design wall and figure out what would go where. After some time I can up with this as a beginning. Things moved around as the design evolved but at least I had a plan. Cathy's biggest piece of advice was to start with a column so I began in the center.

The top center quilt was a giant wolf face. I guess it must have been Toni's favorite because it had holes in it. The area around the wolfs mussel was not only full of holes but really worn thin so I decided to just trim that off and cut right above the holes. There was a polyester nightgown that had sleepy bears with a pink background. I thought it would be fun to incorporate the nightgown into the design sprinkled around the quilt. I began by cutting out a bear and backed the fabric with interfacing to give it a bit of stability. Then came the tiny pinwheel which set the stage for more pinwheels and pops of yellow. I started at the top and worked down adding a few fun elements like the yellow strips to the sashing in the two blocks near the bottom and a little border of the pink nightgown to the cow at the bottom. That little border around the cow took quite some fiddling and quite a chunk of time. Once I had the center column I packed this project up to finish at home. I pulled it back out during quarantine and was determined to get it finished.

There was a baseball cap with the t-shirts and this was the hardest thing to figure out. I cut the plane out the best I could. 
There was foam on the back and it was all fused together so separating all of the layers was not going to happen. I finally decided to frame it in an oval shape as there was not enough for a rectangle around it.

I made a paper template and trimmed it into an oval shape. I needleturned the oval cutout to the plane piece.

I was very pleased with the final result!

I just laid it all out on the bed and decided to work on the right column next. I added more pops of the yellow fabric and some more of the pink nightgown.
With the yellow I just looked at what I had and tried to sprinkle pops of yellow around the quilt and do similar things to what I had already done. The little squares here are an example. They mirror the squares on the motorcycle block.

I worked on the left column balancing elements that I had done on the right side.

I finally got the columns done and needed a bit more yellow accent but not too much for the final border. Humm.............more pinwheels. I decided to just sew them up and see how they looked. I spent a lovely morning enjoying the view out of the widow chain sewing them in three sizes.

The moment of truth had arrived and I previewed the pinwheels on the top right and bottom left. Yep I really loved how that looked. Just enough to draw the eye across the quilt but still very simple and not fussy.

I will definitely use this border idea again for future quilts. I really love the asymmetry. It also mirrors the little squares around the motorcycle and chocolate world blocks.

And then for the back. Everything was shut down and I did not want to rely on mail order for fabric that might be out of stock or take weeks to arrive so I dug thru the small amount of fabric stash I had with me in quarantine. Most of my fabric was back up in the RV in Colorado. I found a large piece of batik but it was just not big enough. Humm...............maybe piece some big blocks in the back to get just that little extra I needed. I had pinwheels on the front so dug thru the stash some more and found a few extra pieces that were large enough to cut giant triangles. I just worked one step at a time with the fabric and did not cut out all the pieces in advance. In the end I had only scraps of the big piece left. I always like fun backs and am pleased with how this turned out.

Now the next step is quilting and binding. I have already made the binding so once the quilting is done I can get that on. My quilt machine is up in Colorado and we are in New Mexico for a few more weeks. We are planning on going back up to Colorado in a few weeks so this quilt just needs to wait a little longer for the finish but at least the hard part is done. For me quilting is my happy place so once I get this on the machine it will be fun!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Brown Linen Pants Simplicity 8922

After making the purple muslin pants to test Simplicity patter 8922 I decided to make another pair slightly looser as well as a bit cropped to show off sandals in the warmer weather. I found this brown linen fabric in my stash and decided to make the second test pair out of this as it was so similar to the blue linen I was waiting to use. These pants are kinda loose, baggy and are kinda like wearing pajamas. I have decided I do not need three pair so am not going to use my blue linen. This brown pair is very versatile and will go with a ton of things. They fit the casual warm weather attire so I am calling it good. They are a tad baggier than I would like but I am not going to fix them. The pockets also add bulk so if I make this pattern again I will leave the pocket off to give a smoother fit over the hip area.

Kinda like this thrifted white linen top to give these an effortless casual vibe.
Just wish I had somewhere to wear this.

I do love the detail at the hem and may use this treatment on other patterns. For now I do not need more of these in my wardrobe. That said I want to make a pair of these pants and a little matching top as longewear/pajamas to wear around the house.

I did have some fun playing with a few outfit ideas. Love this sweater with 3/4 length sleeves I thrifted last Fall. The bag is also a $1 thrift store find from a couple of years ago.

Same outfit with a linen shirt, thrifted last Fall as well.
And...........a blue t-shirt that I made recently. Brown and blue always look great together.
Here is the patter, I made view D and highly recommend the pattern. I did french seams on the inseam and crotch seam. The side seams are serged because of the time I am leaving the pockets off and will also do french seams on that as well. This is a fun little pattern to sew and it goes together pretty fast.

Friday, May 22, 2020

And Just Like That She Made A Rainbow

Ok I am done making hexi cubes now! I guess I just needed to see how this would look. I made a rainbow of colors in three sizes and really like this setting. They are just laid out on the grey deck and I even like the gray background so guess I need to find a largish piece of grey in the stash now. These hexi cubes are pretty addicting and I know I will play with them again but for right now I am happy with this arrangement and think this will be something fun to hang on the wall somewhere once  it is finished.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Fine Tuning The Hexi Cubes

These blocks are quite intriguing as well as tricky little beasties. I decided that the green one I made needed some tweaking as far as the size of the rhombus shapes on the outside of the triangles. I made them at a 1" finished size and decided they were a bit thick so wanted to see if they would look better if I made them narrower. The triangles are 3" top to base so instead of 1" strips I cut them down to a 3/4" finished size. I think I like them better a little narrower. The plan moving forward will be to make three sizes of blocks. The smallest will have 2" triangles and 1/2" strips, the middle size (the blue one pictured) will be 3" triangles with 3/4" strips and the largest will be 4" triangles with 1" strips. I plan on making each one of 7 in a rainbow color so stay tuned for progress.  also think that the contrast of the dark, medium, light really needs to be pronounced. The light on the green cube is not light enough to really make the block pop like I want it to but the blue one really pops. Finding the right three shades for each block will be a real challenge but one that I am gonna try to get just right.

If you look at these two blue cubes what is wrong with the one on the right.............yup I did not realize the problem until I had photographed the block. When I made the cube I laid out the parts and thought I was being careful comparing it to the green one but I guess I was not careful enough and got the triangles correct but not the strips. I had to do a bit of unsewing and resewing to correct the problem to end up with the block on the really need to pay attention to what you are putting together when making these. I am able to piece them pretty accurately by machine though so they go fast if you do not sew something together wrong.