Fun Little Finish

7 06 2013

There are days when I just amaze myself with the ways I can find to procrastinate and avoid finishing something – and not for lack of desire for a finish.

My problem is that I suffer from crafty ADD. There’s always a newer, shinier project on the horizon. I can easily abandon something nearly completed to chase the vision of that new project…

I finally went back to one of those older, languishing projects – I first mentioned it here on October 12, 2012. So, yes, it’s been sitting, nearly finished for at least six months. So closed to finished, in fact, that it only took five hours of hand-quilting this week to complete.

I don’t even have a proper title for it – I’m calling it Modern Mini for now:

Modern Mini

Modern Mini Back

The quilt measures 27.5″ X 37″, and is made entirely from scraps and stash, with the exception of the Presencia thread purchased for the hand-quilting. I did a combination of machine and hand-quilting on this project. All the machine quilting was in the ditch. Obviously, I went with a scrappy binding – though I only used fabrics that were represented in the scrappy squares in the top. I love the backing fabric – it’s a favorite print from Joann’s. I love those large polka dots!

Hand-quilting was accomplished after the machine quilting was done, and after I’d already affixed the binding. By doing it this way, I was able to hand-quilt in the car to and from work, without wrestling with a hoop. Overall, quite pleased, and this would have been a project that could have been turned around in a couple of weekends, had I stuck with it.

Linking up to crazy mom quilts Finish It Up Friday.

Also linking up to i have to say…’s Show and Tell Tuesday.

Frankenstein – Done Stitching

24 05 2013

On Monday evening, I put the last hand-stitches into Frankenstein’s binding! I cannot tell you how psyched I am to finally have a finish in this year. So much of my time has been spent on starts and things in progress – and I know that this is the natural progression of things, in order to get to the finish – but sometimes one just needs to complete something.

Of note – I’m ridiculously pleased with my binding on this baby. It’s nicely full, uses a striped fabric effectively, and in three of the four corners, the mitering is kick-ass. The fourth one just wasn’t happening unless I backtracked and ripped out my stitches and redid about four hours of work. I decided that one slightly less than perfect corner was an acceptable trade-off for retaining that four hours for something else.

Frankenstein CompleteFrankenstein

55″ X 55″ – 1.5 yards of solid fabrics, 1 to 1.5 yards of scraps in top

Frankenstein Backing
Approximately 2 yards in backing, and 1/4 yard of binding

I went with minimalist quilting on this, choosing to use my walking foot to stitch along the seams. I wanted it to be softer and more snuggly than my usual quilt jobs. As I quilted this one up, I noticed that Bessie isn’t operating optimally with the table – I think I’m moving too fast, and defying the speed at which the walking foot moves. On the other hand, Bessie was NOT happy with trying FMQ – I think I need to reduce drag a bit more yet, and get a Supreme Slider. If Bessie still doesn’t handle FMQ well, I may have to retire her and switch to use my Janome for piecing and quilting.

Now that I’ve had a few years with Bessie, I’m seeing that she was definitely built for garment making, and I wish I’d made a different choice when picking a new machine. However, I don’t have a ton of extra money to drop on a new machine, so I’ll make her work if she can. If she can’t, I at least have an option to try. In the end, honestly, I think that my Janome will be the machine that I use from now on, once I’ve made the adjustment to that machine. I’m reluctant, because I hate the bobbin feed mechanism. It’s side loading, not drop in, and URGH.

But I digress…. My hope is that Frankenstein will be a gift for friends expecting their first little one – if the little one is a boy. If not then, Zebediah is enthralled by it, having already claimed it to sleep under Thursday evening. If the little one proves to be a girl, well then, I’ve an excuse to make another quilt.

Unfettered Productivity

12 08 2012

I’ve been in a highly creative phase lately, which has led to an unprecedented level of quilt-y output for me.

I completed quilting and binding of Cheating on the Farmer’s Wife, Part Deux in the middle of last week, but i wanted to save posting about it until after I’d buried all the threads and washed it. There were so many threads hanging out that it took me until Friday morning to complete that. So then I decided to wait until after Stitch ‘N’ Bitch. I only need to take care of labeling the quilt, and I can call it totally finished!

CotFW, Part Deux measures in at 72″ X 72″, and uses Warm & Natural batting, as all of my quilts do. The quilting is done in several different colors  of thread, while the bobbin thread was one of two shades of gray or black thread.

Cheating on the Farmer's Wife, Part Deux

CotFW, Part Deux - Backing

I love, love, love the backing! I had mentally questioned the decision to go with the three neutrals in the bobbin, but I’m thrilled that I went with my instinct. I love the soft geometry of the backing, and how the  quilting pops against the fabrics used in it.

Setting the Farmer's Wife

I’ve started setting my Farmer’s Wife blocks. While I’ve loved the EQ7 illustration I’ve been looking at for several months, I’ve been slightly nervous about seeing it all in fabrics. Having gotten a start on it, my fears are allayed!

Unfortunately, due to trusting  EQ7’s cutting instructions and pre-cutting everything I needed for this top, I actually need to order more of everything. Honestly, this is my own damned fault. I looked at the instructions, which told me to start with 4 7/8″ squares for the setting triangles, and had the initial thought that I should cut my squares larger, at 6″ square, so that I could trim down and square up. Instead, I let my instinct be overridden by my trust in EQ7, and cut 5″ blocks. This resulted in my blocks coming in almost a quarter inch too small.

Anyone know of an online vendor that will allow me to order just an FQ or quarter yard of Kona solids? I only need two 6″ squares of several colors, but might have re-order a full half-yard of everything if I can’t find a shop that allows smaller cuts.

A Completed Quilt Top

20 07 2012

I’ve been sewing like a woman possessed.

I make no apologies, except to my lower back.

Regardless, I persevered and thirteen days after first posting about my free-piecing efforts, I have a completed quilt top.

I think I might have broken land speed records. I’m pretty sure Bessie is smoking. Poor machine needs a good cleaning after this.

Fun with Free Piecing Top Completed

The quilt top measures 72″ x 72″. There are eighy-one 8″ square blocks. I burned through twenty-four loaded bobbins. There are about 4.25 yards of Kona Coal there, along with an indeterminate yardage of various scraps. This is definitely not a scrap buster by any means, however. I estimate that that there’s less than a yard of prints in this top.

Now I just need to figure out the backing. I wonder what I have a lot of that I don’t particularly care to cut up into smaller bits… Oooo… I bought some solid yardages for an Asian-inspired project that’s just never going to happen. Perfect!

I could be quilting this beast this weekend! I think I might even have the perfect fabric for binding this.

Back Again, With a Finish!

7 02 2012

Hello, everyone! It’s been a while…

I’ve been swamped, and haven’t had much writing time. This whole working out thing is stealing three to four evenings a week from me. I work out for two hours, and then I’m ready to pass out by ten o’clock! Still, I can’t really say that I’m willing to cut back.

I get to sew, but not nearly as much as I would like, obviously.

Still, I haven’t stopped being productive (and I even got some furniture shopping in):

The Complete Quilt, Front

Obligatory cat photo, because Demon is obsessed with the new table. Throw a quilt on it, and it’s home.

The Complete Quilt, Back

The back. From these photos, it’s tough to see just how much quilting went into this thing… The quilting lines are spaced half an inch apart. The finished size is approximately 65″ X 65″.

Yeah, that’s a lot of quilting. I spent three eight hour days working on the quilting, plus another two or three shifts of a couple hours a piece. All told, I spent 26 to 30 hours shoving this beast through my sewing machine.

As if that wasn’t enough insanity…

The Quilt Label

…I cross-stitched a quilt label. It’s edged with bits leftover from the scrappy binding (my first scrappy binding).

And, yes, I actually did finish it in January, despite posting about this quilt today. I put the last stitches into the binding just before midnight on January 31st.

Urban Worm Completed

27 09 2011

Urban Worm has been completed! Which means that my Rock Valley Modern Quilt Guild ‘Habitat Challenge’ is done. Whew!

I should probably be mortified to tell you all just how glad I am this project is done. Seriously, folks, there were moments that I wanted to just burn this pile and walk away. Mostly because I just wasn’t invested in the fabric. I felt obligated to complete the project because we’d signed up for the challenge, but also because we’d been given the fabric.

Then there was the whole challenge portion of this. I’m totally not in love with the Habitat line. Not even close. It’s got some interesting prints in it, but overall… Not my bag. And I was working with a whole freaking line! I just don’t do that. I’ve only deliberately bought most of the prints in a line once…

All that said, once I finally buckled down and decided that I would work on this particular project, did I make this mini-quilt easy on myself? Nope. Not. At. All.

I decided that I would hand applique a ‘worm’ made up of one quarter Dresden Plates. Then, once the top was done, nothing would do but for me to find one yard of just the right marigold color for the backing. On top of that, I need to get perl cotton in at least four colors to do some chunky, sashiko-style quilting.

Thankfully, I had the top done by the time we were due to to go to the Wisconsin Quilt Expo and I was able to find both the perfect color backing and perl cotton in four colors that were just off enough to bring some more interest to the top.

The backing ended up being a Kaffe Fassett cross-weave cotton, which has a really loose weave. I like it for the texture that it added to the quilt as a whole, but I don’t think I’ll ever elect to use it again. It’s a little pricey, and I don’t like the looseness of the weave.

The sashiko-style hand-quilting seemed to take forever.  I don’t regret doing it, really. I think it gives a warmth and rustic feel to the quilt, that is desperately needed to alleviate the otherwise unrelenting gray.

Overall, I’m very happy with the final product. I wish I hadn’t procrastinated as long on it. It really made Urban Worm drag on when it didn’t need to. I still have to wash the quilt; we’ll see how it turns out then.