Saturday, March 24, 2012

Close to My Heart and right down on the floor

I have been struggling through the FabShopHop online Shop Hop for a few months, and in February decided to do the Close To My Heart quilt sampler, even though traditional blocks aren't my first love. Lately I've been receiving donations of quilt fabrics for charity quilts, so I used what I had on hand. Some of the pinks were orangey pink, some were bricky pink, some were burgundy pink, and some were pinky pink. They seem to go together okay. One of my color theories is, if you have a weird color, use it more than once, and it will look like it belongs. Within reason, of course.

Just as I was to the point of putting all the blocks together, another project loomed:

Before and After (almost)
Top photo: A little bit after the Before.
Bottom photo: A little bit before the After.
I tiled my hall bathroom floor last summer and was very pleased with the results, so I planned to follow up during the Christmas break with the laundry room floor. A serious of unfortunate circumstances prevented completing that goal, one of them being that when I moved the washer, I found that a water leak had caused a section of the floor to sag, and I had to hire a guy to come in and build a new section of floor, covered with mismatched vinyl in the top photo. I was fine with the mismatch, because I knew I would be covering it up.

This is how the project went, as I said on my Facebook:
  • Day 1: Draft muscley friend to move laundry equipment. Apply floor patch to holes in vinyl. 
  • Day 2: Cut & loose-lay ceramic tiles. 
  • Day 3: Begin to cement tiles to floor. Take a break, put tools in small bucket of water. 
  • Day 4: Kick over small bucket of water. Remove loose tiles, mop up floor, air-dry tiles. 
  • Day 5: (today) Finish the cementing job. 
  • Day 6: Saturday night date with grout. 

When I did the bathroom tiling, I did it all on my knees, and those joints were very unhappy with the whole experience. When I did the laundry tiling, I did it bending over. My knees are happy, my back has no problems, but my neck is in serious need of a good massage. After the grout is in and cured, I get to have my washer and dryer moved back in. Hurrah! I desperately need to run a few loads.

Monday, March 19, 2012

More fused fleece puppies

Another abandoned quilt top showed up in the quilts-for-kids donation bin. I could see right away why the project had been abandoned. When the borders had been sewn on, the bias sides had stretched immensely, and the borders were wavy. Next time I do this, I should take before-and-after photos.

One of my quilting friends suggested that all the quilt top needed to get those wavy edges straight was to remove the borders, throw the thing in the wash, and the stretched edges would no longer be out of shape. I washed and dried the top, and the raw edges were still wavy. Part of the problem, I discovered, was that all the plaids are of polyester, not cotton, and therefore not likely to do any shrinking.

Somewhere in the back of my mind a thought surfaced: Stay stitching. I used to make a lot of my clothing, and stay stitching is used around edges that might stretch while being machine stitched. Stay stitching did the trick on this quilt. Maybe real quilters do this on diagonal edges all the time, I don't know. I'm just learning as I go.

I had puppy cutouts left over from my last charity quilt project, and I thought they'd make this quilt look more kid-like. I fuse-basted the puppies and free-motion stitched around the outside edges with thread that matched the outline of the puppies, some black, some tan.

One thing to remember, which I didn't, is that the fleece has a right side and a wrong side, the colors on the right side being slightly crisper. However, if you look at these puppies, you probably can't tell which ones I accidentally fused wrong-side-up. I left them that way. There's only so much I'm willing to do when it comes to fixing mistakes.