Monday, February 26, 2018

Dad's Plaids become Mom's quilt

It was 2 years ago today that my father left this earth.  He had a peaceful passing at 87 years old, but we still miss him every day.  This is especially true of my mother who was happily married to him for 63 years.

As you can see from the photo, Dad loved a plaid shirt.  His closet was full of flannel ones:

I wanted to use them to make a quilt, but it was hard to think about cutting into them.  This past Christmas, I decided it was finally time to make the quilt.  I wanted to showcase the plaids as much as possible, so I cut out large squares using the sleeves and bordered them with black flannel:

This was my first time using flannel.  I found that cutting narrow strips from the loosely woven fabric  was a bit difficult.  Then I remembered that I had recently acquired a Stripology ruler.  I hadn't even tried it yet, but this was the exact right time to use it.

I only mention this because one of my Dad's favorite expressions was "the right tool for the right job".  It seemed so perfect that I had the exact tool for this job while making a quilt from Dad's shirts.  He would have greatly appreciated that.  The strips were then easily cut, all at the same time.

I laid the blocks out to give a basket weave effect:

With Christmas fast approaching, I needed to get this quilted quickly.  My friend, Rosemary was kind enough to do a beautiful job of stippling to get the project done with a quick turnaround time.

On Christmas Eve, I gave the quilt to my mother.  She was immensely surprised, pleased and, of course, emotional.  She told me she loved it, and has been using it on her bed ever since. She tells me that she sleeps better with the quilt over her.  I could not have asked for anything more.

I have kept all the remaining shirt fabrics for some future keepsakes, even the small scraps.  It was a healing experience for me to work with them and I'm so happy with how it all turned out.

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Red and White Resolution

When I left off in my last post, I was working on a small red and white quilt, but due to a mistake I ended up with two different sized blocks:

I needed to enlarge the birdhouse blocks by a half  inch so they would match the pineapple blocks.  I thought of adding a border to them with some solid white fabric strips that I left over from another quilt.
But, as I think you can see in the photo, they were actually too white and wouldn't quite match.

If you recall, the original challenge for this quilt was to use only fabric from your stash, so I went looking to see what else I had.  Luckily, I found a scrap of white fabric about the size of a fat quarter that I could use:

I had just about enough to frame each of the birdhouse blocks:

I trimmed them to match the size of Pineapple blocks, but then decided to turn them into Snowball blocks to help hide the fact that they had been expanded.

Seemed like a logical choice, but it took me many tries to get the red triangle corners to match up to the Pineapple blocks.  The test block above shows several attempts.  Each one of those triangles pictured in the test block was a slightly different measurement. Also, I had to be careful not to cut into any of the embroidery.

Eventually,  I decided to go with what I had, and I sewed the blocks together:

I'm not thrilled with the way the 2 blocks meet at the seams, but at least they are consistently inconsistent, and I can live with that.

A half inch white inner border, and a 2 inch red outer border will bring this mini quilt up to 20 X 20" which is the maximum size for my guild's challenge.

Fun to see what you can come up with using just your stash, which I think is exactly what the goal of this challenge was supposed to be.
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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Rookie mistake!

Our guild has issued a challenge to make a small quilt using only fabrics from  our stash.  I took a look through my fabric and found these little embroidered birdhouses that I bought at a quilt show years ago:

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The birdhouse squares measure 5 inches, and I thought I would combine them with red and white pineapple blocks to make a little quilt.  I knew it was an opportunity to use the "4-5-6 Pineapple Trim" ruler that I had bought for my Long Time Gone quilt. 

"Great!", I thought, "I can make the 5 inch size Pineapples to go along with the 5 inch squares.

I happily started building each round of my Pineapple blocks:

After eight rounds, I had finished my Pineapples so I could set them out next to the birdhouses and see how it was going to look.

It was only then that I realized my Rookie mistake....

The birdhouse squares measured 5 inches unfinished, and the Pineapple blocks measured 5 inches finished!

I do not  know how I could fail to realize that the birdhouse blocks would finish at only 4 1/2 inches.  (*smacks head with  palm of hand*)

It's going to take some creativity to make this work, but I'm determined to get a finished mini quilt out of it.  Stay tuned....

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

In my world, stashes are for fabric, not yarn

When I started making Prayer Shawls back in 2014, I decided that I would not generate a yarn stash.  However, it seems that no matter how hard I try to estimate the amount of yarn that I need for a project there is always some leftover.  Hence, the following collection:

These were all leftovers from previous finishes.  I thought I would use them all together in one shawl with a  ripple effect style similar to this old gem from my youth:

The pattern I chose is one that I've done several times now.  (Ironically, it's called the One Skein Wrap, although this project would be using multiple skeins.) I began crocheting with the first three pink shades, but I decided that there was too much of a jump in hue between the two darker pinks and the light pink.

I went back to look in my leftover yarns, and came up with one more skein in the dark pink/red range, and decided to ditch the pale pink and set aside the teal/aquas for another day.

Then I added in a thick, variegated yarn in the same color family.

 The thing I love about this pattern is the stitch called "dc7tog", or "double crochet 7 together".  You make 7 double crochet stitches, without pulling the yarn through the last loop, leaving you with a bunch of loops on your hook like this:

Then you pull the yarn through all the loops left on the hook.

Lastly, you gather them all together with a single chain.

The result is a series of gathered shells that create the peak in the ripple pattern:

To make the shawl, I varied the yarns as I went along and this is the way it turned out.

 In this closeup photo, you can see that the thick, variegated yarn introduced a bit of blue.

When all was said and done, I still had some yarn leftover, but I had certainly made a dent.

One more photo that shows the color variations.  I think they all came together very nicely!

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Of Football, Fish and Florals

I learned that our local Quilt for Kids chapter was ready to accept new quilt donations, so I got out some of the fabrics I had set aside, invited a friend over to join me,  and did some sewing.  I began with this set of fat quarters, and a coordinating half yard of the white flowered print.

 From each of the fabrics pictured, I cut a wide strip, sewed a narrow pink strip to each side and then subcut them into units like these:

I set the units into alternating directions and came up with this:

To be honest, I thought the vertical units of the white flowere fabric would look more like stripes, but  that's what happens sometimes when you work on the fly.  I brought scraps of the fabrics to the fabric store and found this watermelon fabric that I thought would tie it all together.

I added a narrow strip of a dark pink as an inner border, and the whole thing turned out like this:

I had quite a few units left over, and so the next day  I  made up another quilt top with just the leftovers:

I actually like it better than my original plan, in fact I might make another just like it.

While I was working on my pink watermelon top, my friend Linda was busy sewing up two quilt tops from kits that our Quilt for Kids chapter puts together.  I wish I had taken photos of the two cute quilt tops that she finished that day. 

I liked the idea of sewing from a precut kit, so I decided to make up a couple of my own. 

I had one yard each of a football fabric and an fish fabric.

I picked a tone-on-tone yellow that coordinated with both of them, and then a blue and green to pair with the yellow.

The last piece of the puzzle was to search the stash to  find a fabric for a narrow inner border for each.  For the fish quilt, I chose an orange, and for the football quilt, I found a dark brick red that matched the footballs.  I cut all the fabrics and had two kits ready to go:

In what seemed like very little time at all, I put together both quilt tops.  By working on both kits at the same time,  I was able to save steps at the ironing board and at the cutting table.  Besides, not being a football fan, it was great  to have a project to work on while everyone else was watching the Superbowl.

Here is the fish quilt:

And here is the football quilt:

Hope this quilt makes some little football fan happy.  I know that the football fans in my house were not too happy last night. 

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