Friday, May 18, 2012

Lake Cabin Leftovers

Everyone has to make a log cabin quilt at some point, right? This one is a soft, comfy, tied quilt made of flannel - for a birthday gift a few years ago. I've had leftovers sitting in my leftover bins ever since.

Cabin on the Lake
September, 2007

There were enough leftovers to make a lap quilt without having to buy any extra fabric. A lot of it was already in strips, so I made brown strip blocks and blue strip blocks, alternated them, and sewed them together for the front.

I didn't have enough backing to do all in one piece, or even enough to make alternate blocks and still have enough left for binding, so the back is two-toned, blue on one side, brown on the other, separated by a strip of leftover blocks. I kind of like the resulting effect, partially showing below.

Lake Cabin Leftovers
May, 2012
I quilted it with LWLS (lazy wavy line stitching). As I say, I like piecing; the quilting is only a necessary evil. Now, if I had a long-arm machine, I might change my tune slightly. Notice how different the color looks in the outdoor shot than the earlier one indoors.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Stitch and Slash

In a weak moment, in the midst of all these UFOs, I signed up for an online quilting technique class at, "Stitch and Slash," taught by Carol Ann Waugh. She is a fabulous teacher, and gives unbelievably fast feedback to anyone posting their projects and asking questions.

I watched all the video classes - and what is really great about Craftsy is that once you pay for the class, you have access to the videos forever. I paid for the class perhaps a month ago and finally got around to watching the videos last week. Last night I thought I'd try out the technique.

I'll say, right up front, that I am not at all pleased with my results -- but the fault is ALL MINE, my fabric choices, my cutting, my hurry to get it done. Other students in the class have posted stupendous projects. When I have time (famous last words), I will do more with this.

The problem started with my wanting to use ugly fabrics I had on hand. Must finish my UFOs, you know, before buying any new fabric. I didn't want to use any of the nice fondle-able fabrics in my stash that are reserved for future projects. 

I apologize that most of these photos are slightly out of focus. I was shooting them with my cell phone over my head so as to be high enough; couldn't see what I was doing.

My unwanted fabrics

Oops. Those items looking like a lower case b are supposed to be musical notes.
I meant for them to go the other way, but given my disppointing end results, I don't think it matters much.
Here the first leafy layer is partially cut away. After hacking away with my ancient seam ripper on the upper left motif, I CHEATED and used my scissors for the rest.
More of layer one cut away, and part of layer two in the upper left.

Layer two, the hearts, cut away, leaving a red outline around layer one fabrics. Layer three cut away inside the boxes, revealing the musical instruments in layer four. I top stitched over the original stitching with an orange/gold thread.

Oops. Too much of layer three cut away. Very busy.

I added layer five, scrounging through my fabrics for something that might coordinate color-wise.
I knew that there would be a lack-of-texture problem, given that I had used scissors instead of my dull seam ripper; I hadn't wanted to wait until the next day to buy a new one. So I ran my project through the washer and drier with my gardening jeans, got texture, and lots of shredded threads that I trimmed away. See below.

Washed and dried (for texture)
Not pretty, not cute, not artsy. But at least I got some practice with a new technique.

Notice the color change? The previous photos were taken at night under a florescent light, this one was taken this morning by natural light is a more accurate rendering of the true color of the fabrics. Truly an ugly result. 

Here is another person's project (I could not find her name or the URL for the original photo), much more inspiring:

Isn't this wonderful?

The UFO List

All of us quilters know what UFOs are -- that pile of Unfinished Quilts (UFQ has not caught on to replace the UFO designation) that are constantly nudging the back of our minds, bothering us considerably more than does any undusted windowsill.

My great-grandmother's 102-year-old block quilt was at the top of my list. Victory achieved last week.

Flannel quillows
My two quillows, barely started for my nephews more than two years ago--when they were small enough to fit the size I picked--were next. See above. The blue one is folded up into its quillow pocket, which I discovered is pretty tricky with flannel. Victory #2, achieved yesterday.

Next on the list is the mosaic quilt I pieced from the napping photo of Mom and Dad at least a year ago. All it needs is the block outlining free-motion stitching. I think it scares me, the possibility of ruining what I have done so far.

Fifth UFO: Use of leftover blocks from the flannel Log Cabin on the Lake gift quilt I made a few years ago. That one is now on the ping pong table, laid out for sandwiching in the batting. I pieced the backing in a way I've never done before. Will have to show it when I am finished.

Sixth UFO: Sandwich and quilt the February Fab Shop Hop Close to My Heart challenge quilt, my name for it: Friendship Grows.

Seventh UFO: The Puppy quilt, all pieced and ready for sandwiching, etc.

8th & 9th UFOs:  Beverly Fabric's Block of the Month quilts, neither of which I have posted about here. I see I have been remiss. 2010 is all ready for sandwiching, and the 2011 blocks are finished (I do them faithfully each month as they come in) and taking up space on my design wall.

10th UFO: One Block Wonder #2, all cut and in stacks of pinned triangles on my to-do shelf. The name One Block Wonder still bugs me. It should be called One Fabric Wonder; lots of quilts are made from one block and are wonderful!

Since UFOs #1 through #3 are now complete, they are no longer UFOs. That leaves seven for me to do. I really want to get them done before starting any new projects.

Friday, May 11, 2012

102-year-long project finished

Whew, I don't know what happened to Blogger since I last posted, but this will take a little getting used to.

I have been happily slaving away in the garden for the last month, whacking weeds, digging little irrigation ditches, planting seeds and plants. It looks pretty bare right now except for the onions, garlic, and other over-wintering plants. More on that later.

Great Grandma's Block
A quilt that took 102 years to complete
If you've been following this blog, you have seen this quilt in progress. It is now finally finished, including burying the odd threads that your sharp eye may spy in this photo.

Great Grandma Dobson made the 16" center block of this quilt in 1910. It has been packed away in a drawer ever since. When my mother gave it to me, I immediately wanted to have it be the centerpiece of one of my quilts. The problem was that when I went fabric shopping, nothing I could find coordinated, so I ended up learning how to dye from Dharma and dyeing my own fabrics. That was so much fun that I would happily spend most of my time dyeing if I could find a funding source.

I have never done any hand quilting. My motto is: If it can't be done by machine, it doesn't get done. However, I really wanted to hand quilt this one, since you have more control over where the quilting stitches go. I thought. Ha. I bought the little quilting needles, the leather thimble, borrowed a large hoop on a stand, and sat down to what I hoped would be a rewarding experience. Half an hour and four completed stitches later, I returned to my former motto: If it can't be done by machine, it doesn't get done.

I'd send the quilt out, I thought. A good professional quilter would make this look great. Then I looked at my currently unfilled need for a renter (i.e. diminishing funds) and decided I would just finish it myself.

A real quilter, so I hear, is just as enthusiastic about the quilting (stitching) as they are the piecing, but I guess I am just not a real quilter. I specialize in long wavy lines. I have done some free-motion quilting around motifs, some flowers and curlicues and words in cursive, but all on much smaller projects. I just couldn't imagine what "fun" it would be to try quilting this on my home machine, muscling it around while trying to be kind to my rotator cuff. Yeah, something happened to it, who knows what, but now visits to physical therapy are part of my weekly schedule.

I did the long wavy lines, buried the ends, and am happy with the finished project. I wish Great Grandma, who died before I was born, were around to see it.