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.

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And Then There was One…

10 05 2013

ONE quilt top!

I finished the last three blocks for Frankenstein on Wednesday evening. My intention was to actually get the top put together Thursday morning… I didn’t bother getting out of bed early enough, because it was so comfy!

The Last Three

1. Frankenstein Block 38, 2. Frankenstein Block 39, 3. Frankenstein Block 40

Thursday evening, I hit the sewing machine running! After a couple hours, I had a completed top, and had even done up the backing!

Frankenstein - The Patchwork Monster

Pardon the slightly terrible, late night photo. I plan on taking a better picture once I have Frankenstein quilted up.

I’m super happy with this project at the moment. Everything is from scraps or stash, right down to the batting. I’m using batting leftover from other projects rather than buy new batting for this. There are 1.5″ yards of solids in the top. About 2.5 yards of fabric went into the backing, which even uses some fabrics I wasn’t sure how I’d use (that’s what I get for impulse buying rocket fabric).

The only piece still waiting is a decision on what to use for the binding – I’m thinking that it will be a scrappy binding, to fit with the origins of this project.





And Then There Were Three…

8 05 2013

… Three more blocks to make for Frankenstein, that is.

An Evening of Scrappiness

1. Frankenstein Block 32, 2. Frankenstein Block 33, 3. Frankenstein Block 34, 4. Frankenstein Block 35, 5. Frankenstein Block 36, 6. Frankenstein Block 37

I forgot that these blocks go together so simply, if not quickly. It is the essence of mindless sewing. I simply need to sit in front of my machine armed with iron, cutting mat, rotary cutter, snips, and scraps. A concentrated block of a few hours and I am much closer to completion of this top than I expected to be.

This is not without its advantages. Once I have Frankenstein in being a completed top, I can use the scraps of batting I’ve hung onto, to make a sandwich. I think I already know which fabrics I will use as a backing, as well. Theoretically, I might have a nearly complete quilt by the end of the week. LOL – I won’t make the mistake of assuming I can quilt and bind this thing by the end of the day on Friday. That’s just crazy talk.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try.

Because I want a finish this year, dammit.

Scrappy Star 07

Scrappy Star 08

I also got two more scrappy stars done for Swirling Sea of Stars this past weekend, clearly. I’m really enjoying these blocks, and wish they would go together just a touch faster. Since I have eight blocks now, I’m desperately tempted to start sewing them together.

Just because I can.

I’m resisting – I would like to complete two more sets of four before starting to piece these blocks together. I want to arrange for maximum scrappiness, as well as to get a real idea of how many of these blocks I will need to make. I had enough foundations printed to make 32 of these. I don’t honestly know if this is too many or too few, as of yet. I am hoping that it will be just right, though I will not be surprised if I need to go back and get more foundations printed.

As noted previously, I have difficulty working small – see the last three quilt tops I’ve completed ‘recently’: Charmed, I’m Sure, The Garden Party’s Quadrille, Technicolor Fields. Each one of these measures at least 100″ square. I’m more than a little terrified by the idea of quilting up any of these, but will persevere, and soon.

Regardless, I want A Swirling Sea of Stars to use a good chunk of my scraps, which means large is the way to go, unless I manage get moving on the other string top…





Making Progress

15 04 2013

It’s only been a little over a week since I was here last, but it feels a lot longer. Probably because I actually did very little in the way of sewing in those intervening eight days. And probably because I spent a god-awful lot of that time cutting scraps down.

I cannot find the right words with which to convey just how utterly sick of scrap management I am at this point.

Cutting Fool

So. Many. Freaking. Scraps.

Unfortunately, my current and next quilt top projects require scraps. Frankenstein needs an constant influx of incy wincy scraps, or that project goes nowhere. And I’m pretty sure that I’m giving Frankenstein away as a baby quilt, which means there’s a built in deadline. And Swirling Sea of Stars demands as many strings as I can produce. Expect to see some progress on that particular project soon – Stitched in Color is hosting String Fever, another scrap attack quilt along. No, I don’t really need to sign up for another quilt along, but it’ll give me the ‘oomph’ to get moving where I might otherwise not do so. Check out my sidebar for the linky.

All Together Now

Stitch ‘N’ Bitch was this past Saturday. I made seven more blocks for Frankenstein. I, once again, had enough incy wincy scraps to move forward with this project. That made eight loose blocks, as I’d had one hanging about. This brings me to 31 of the 40 scrappy blocks I need for this top. I can already foresee needing to dive into the scrap basket and managing the last of my scraps. No, really, I can almost see the bottom of my last scrap basket.

It’s kind of liberating, yet terrifying. Liberating, because I will no longer look at my fabric storage and see bins of crumbled scraps to which I only add. Terrifying because I will have thousands of pre-cut squares just ready and waiting for projects.

Obviously, I have ideas.

Even more obviously, I won’t be touching those ideas any time soon.

Quilting Up

I began quilting A-Tisket, A-Tasket, Lime and Cherry Baskets about a month ago. Then I took it off the table because I needed to make swap blocks. The sandwich didn’t make it back to the table until yesterday. I’m now nearly done with the outline stitching in each of the individual blocks. I have some straight line quilting to do, and then I will be using this top to practice my FMQ in the huge swaths of white background. I hate to delegate this top to a practice piece, but I look at it, and see how much progress I’ve made in the last few years, in accuracy and skill, and A-Tisket, A-Tasket, Lime and Cherry Baskets just doesn’t live up to my expectations of myself at this point in time.

But that’s all right. I’ll use this top to be a learning experience for myself, and find a good home for it in the near future. FMQ still remains high on my list of skills to master, and I have to have something to practice on ūüėČ





Frankenstein Moving Forward

24 03 2013

Frankenstein'd Forward

I’ve actually got the weekend off. Which is just weird, because I stayed home Monday through Thursday. Hubby was on a work trip to Las Vegas. I stayed home with kiddo, to try and keep his schedule normalized.

I spent a good chunk of my ‘vacation’ cleaning. My kitchen looks awesome, and all the random crap that accumulates in my living room and dining room for no reason was picked up and sorted to proper homes. I still have vacuuming and carpet steaming to do, but that’s a task for today. However, in between random chores throughout the week, I cut down more scraps, so that I could have more itty bitty pieces for Frankenstein

Saturday (yesterday) Kiddo went to stay with grandma, so I took the day as a sewing day and worked on Frankenstein. In progressing on Frankenstein, I’m finding that I’m heartily sick of piecing these scrappy squares. I’ve run out of small scraps twice now, so I keep stopping to cut more squares from my scraps. In fact, after twenty-three of these blocks, I need to attack my scrap bin again.

In looking over my progression on Frankenstein, I have to laugh at myself. The first row of blocks are literally grab and sew the scraps together. As I go along, I trim more, creating more complicated scrappy blocks. I just like small pieces, apparently. There’s also a clear (to me) dominance of acid green scraps, showing my love of this color and how often I find reason to use it.

It’s been rather like an archaeological dig of my projects, going through the scraps. I recognize those pieces that I bought, as well as what was obtained through gifts and giveaways. It amuses me to realize how much my scrap bins have been filled due to swaps of varying natures. I love to make and share blocks, as well as mini-quilts, but I have a hard time doing it with large quilts. Of course, this is partly due to the fact that I’ve continued to work larger and larger as I get older.

There’s also a large part of me loathe to give away some that took so much time, labor and materials, to someone who will not understand the inherent value of the thing that they have been gifted with. This last piece is why I do not sell my work. This is why, when browsing Etsy for handmade quilts, I am often aghast at the prices that aren’t being charged

Before going back for Scrap Management Round 3 (this week :P), I decided to piece my rows together. I’m gratified that after, essentially 16 hours of sewing, I have five rows done. I’m a little irked that there’s seams not matching perfectly. However, I know that this is due to the discrepancy of having used the markings on my cutting mat to measure and cut the solid squares versus a ruler on the scrappy blocks. Also, there’s some give when working with scraps, even this small, due to the sheer number of seams.

I’m refusing to dwell on the not matching seams, honestly. I refuse to pick the stitches out and fix them. I’m invoking my right to be lazy and not care. This is a project intended to live on my couch. My cats will sleep on it, and my son will spill on it. It will be loved to death, and thus, perfect seams are something that are not necessary. As long as it is well-constructed, beyond those minor imperfections, I will be happy.