Friday, February 20, 2015

Problems and Solutions: A Comedy of Errors!

My youngest son is getting married in a few short months.  He requested a quilt that he and his fiance could cuddle under while they watched TV.  He wanted big and bright! 

Last March, I found a pattern to use for the quilt.  Jean from Jean's Quilting Page had written the pattern, first as a Mystery quilt, then, the pattern was published in McCall's Quick Quilting magazine. 

Jean's pattern that I'm using
The McCall's version finishes at 59.5" x 59.5", which, according to my son, was way too small for them to both cuddle under, as he is 6' tall, and likes his quilts to go from his toes up to his ears. 

Since I was going to have to make the quilt longer and wider, I decided that I'd use 8 different colors in the quilt.  Actually, it has 2 shades of each of those 8 colors, along with black and white.  That's 18 colors. A shopping I went.
fabrics for the wedding quilt
more fabrics for the wedding quilt

I sat down and redrew the pattern to fit the colors I chose, and the size I was looking for.   I renamed this pattern.  As a mystery quilt, it was named Snake Dance.  McCall's changed the name to Twist and Shout.  Since this is a wedding quilt, to signify the joining together of two lives, I've renamed it Intertwined
my redrafted pattern
I was going to twist the 2 shades of each color around the black.  Oops!  What I thought was contrasting colors WEREN'T!
the oranges look fine

the 2 shades of aqua look almost the same shade
Back to the drawing board!
newly redrafted pattern

testing the colors, to make sure they look good next to each other
Cool!  This version passed the test.  I had already made 512 half square triangles, and cut out all the strips, ready to sew together, for the middles.
512 half square triangles

strips, stitched together, and,  half sub-cut
OOPS!!!!!!!  See if you can spot the next problem I encountered.
ready to start making the first blocks
See the middle strips?  They are cut correctly.  Unfortunately, the half square triangles are the WRONG SIZE!  Oops!  When I'd figured out what size of Trianglulations to print out, I picked the wrong size.  I needed 3.5" triangles (unfinished), but, instead, I chose 3.5" triangles FINISHED size.  Oops!  My HST's are all 4" unfinished, not 3.5" unfinished.  (can I scream now?!?!?!?)

Back to the cutting mat.  Thank goodness I just bought several more yards of Kona Black, and, that I also bought more material of all 16 colors, than I have needed (so far).  I have about 1/3 yard of each color left.  As soon as I post this, I'll head back upstairs to start cutting more strips, and sewing them together.  I was really hoping to have a complete row of twists done tonight, and maybe more. 

I also have to re-figure how large this quilt is going to be, since all my blocks will be larger. 

PS:  This pattern is really good, and easy to follow.  The problems have all been ME, not the pattern.  I would highly recommend this pattern to everyone to make.  Just don't make the same mistakes I've made.

Monday, February 9, 2015

National Quilts of Valor Sew-in

Saturday was the National Quilts of Valor sew-in day.  Our area had 5 different locations that sponsored sew-ins.  I attended the one at Sewing, Etc. in Yorkville, IL.  Kelly, the owner, lets us use her classroom space every third Tuesday for our monthly Quilts of Valor sew-ins.  Another location was at Prairie Shop Quilts in Batavia, where we have monthly sew-ins on the first Tuesday of each month.  Our local group is the Land of Lincoln Quilts of Valor.  You can find info about all of our monthly sew-in locations on the blog.

The National sew-in was my 2nd Quilts of Valor sew-in this week, since I attended the monthly sew-in on Tuesday, too. 

On Saturday, we had 18 people sewing.  Woohoo!  That is the most that we've had at this location, so far.  Everyone brought something to share, or to go with our sandwich lunch.  Yum!

We had some new people that came to sew with us, including Art, who was just learning how to sew.  The ladies next to Art kept him busy 'strip' piecing blocks.  He was having lots of fun.  We also had several people stop by, to find out when we usually meet.  We are hoping to have several of them start attending our monthly sew-ins at this location, or at one of our other locations.

our banner

some of those in attendance
 We also got to present 2 Quilts of Valor to veterans.  The first went to Mike, who thought that his group was headed out to lunch, and didn't know why they needed to stop at this store.  He was very pleased that they stopped.
Mike, wrapped in his Quilt of Valor
The second presentation, was to Art, who was sewing with us.  Art is a Vietnam veteran.  He didn't expect a quilt, either.  He sure deserved one.
Art, wrapped in his Quilt of Valor

We are hoping that Art comes back and sews with us in the future.  He makes great 1/4" seams!

I finished a top on Saturday.  I started it at the sew-in on Tuesday. 
Quilt of Valor top I finished
What a great way to say a tiny 'Thank you' to our veterans.  If you know of a veteran who has served in a war zone, and has not received a Quilt of Valor, contact Quilts of Valor, and let them know.  Each state has someone to contact, that will make sure that the veteran gets his/her quilt. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Little Bit Accomplished

I've been quiet, but, I've been busy.  Since I last posted, I've been to another Quilts of Valor sew-in, and unexpectedly gave a speech about QoV last night, since the State Coordinator was ill.  I only got half a day to prepare for the speech.  I think it went well.  Marilyn went with me, and helped.

I've also been sewing.  On January 15th, I was given some craft items, thru Freecycle.  Woohoo!  LOTS of great quilting fabrics, some other fabrics, notions, etc.  Some of the fabric I was given, were left over from a quilt the giver had made.  She had LOTS of 2.5" strips, in coordinating fabrics, and some yardage, of some of the same fabrics.  I did have to buy 3 more fabrics, so that I could finish all the blocks I'd cut out.  I ended up with 45 blocks, and made this, using 30 of the blocks.  Now to go make one more block, so I can make another, smaller quilt, with the last few blocks.
Rectangle Island finished quilt top
I bought enough of one of the fabrics, to make a backing for this.  I'll use the leftover strips (not enough to frame a 10.5" square) as the binding.  I think this quilt will be a graduation quilt for my niece, who graduates this spring. 

I also made 2 more blocks for my Mystery Row quilt block exchange.  This month's blocks are quilt shops. One block to keep, one block to exchange.  Notice the little sewing machines in the center of the window quilt blocks. 
block I'm keeping

block I'm exchanging
Last August, I was bad!  I took the hand crank off my beloved 1959 Singer Spartan and put the motor on it for the first time.  I'd never sewn on it with the motor attached.  I really  needed some 'speed' to get those 38 - 60 degree table runners made, along with some other projects.  Well, this week, I took the motor off, and put the hand crank back on the Spartan.  I made the Mystery blocks with the hand crank, and put the framed blocks together with the hand crank.  Boy did I miss my hand crank these past few months!
Mystery blocks made on the Spartan hand crank
Last Saturday, my large quilt guild had a sew-in, at a new location.  I used the day to cut out all the pieces for my son's wedding quilt. 
wedding quilt, cut out
The stack at the back will turn into HST's, using Triangulations.  The stack in the front will be sewn into strips, and sub-cut.  I did have to completely redraw the pattern that I will be using, since her pattern uses very different colors and is much smaller than this quilt will be.  I'll try to remember to take pictures of my version of the pattern, and put it in another post (and link to Jean's pattern & quilt).  Sewing all these HST's and strips on the Spartan hand crank will be fun! 

I did buy a new sewing machine this month.  I haven't even played with it.  I bought it, and my son has worked on it, instead of me.  I don't have lots of machines with (working) motors, so, this should be a great machine for loaning out for classes.
Kenmore 158.19412 free arm (1976-77)
 This is my first free arm Kenmore.  For $12.99, I couldn't go wrong.

As for classes, my little quilt guild is having a sew-in this Saturday.  Marilyn will be teaching how to make block holders in the morning.  I will be teaching how to make pin cushion/thread catchers in the afternoon.  I was supposed to get everything ready yesterday afternoon, but, I was re-writing the QoV speech instead.  Guess I'd better get everything ready. 



Sunday, January 18, 2015

Guild Party

Saturday was my large quilt guild's Holiday Party (Pride of the Prairie).  We have our Holiday Party in January, each year.  My friend, Marilyn and I have been busy making things for this party.  We hosted a table, and, instead of only having one person at the table win the centerpiece, we decided to make some special things for EVERYONE at the table. 

Since it was a 'Holiday' party, the ladies who planned the party decided that each table needed to be decorated, using a 'holiday' as it's theme.   We had to sign up, and choose what holiday we wanted to use.  I chose Sewing Machine Day. (yes, there is a Sewing Machine Day, actually there are 2 different dates, June 13th & Sept 10th).

We started by making sewing machine mats.  I made the mats, and quilted them, and Marilyn bound each mat.
4 (unbound) green sewing mats
4 (blue) unbound sewing mats
Here is what the mats looked like, finished.
green sewing machine mat

blue sewing machine mat
While I was making 8 mats for the party, I also made three sewing machine mats for myself (yes, I bound my own mats).  I made myself a blue mat, and a green mat, and....
my 3rd sewing machine mat
We used 2 of the extra mats under the sewing machines that were our centerpieces (vintage machines, of course).

Marilyn made everyone a coordinating coaster, to match the mats.
blue and green matching coasters
I also made up 8 kits that contained everything for each lady to make their own coordinating pin cushion/thread catcher.  The pin cushion/thread catcher shown was made by my son, as an example.
pin cushion/thread catcher  and kits
Here are pictures of all the decorated tables.  We'll start with Marilyn's and my table.
Our table
Here is our table, from the other side (you needed to see both sewing machines, of course) ;)
other side of our table (Sewing Machine Day)
Here are the other tables.
A Snowman's Christmas theme

Valentine's Day
The next 2 tables didn't say what they were, but, we were assuming they were both patriotic holidays.

4th of July?

Veteran's Day?
This next table was a 'Happy Birthday' theme.  I included some close ups of some of the 'gifts' they gave, too.

Happy Birthday!  They made 'tea bag holders' (on the plates)

they also made pin cushions with candle sticks (really cute)
This next table was celebrating Cinco de Mayo.  They made fabric 'boxes' and put chips in the fabric boxes (in ziplocks).  They had 2 different types of salsa, too.
Cinco de Mayo
This was a Grandparents Day table.  The centerpiece had several different 'names' for grandparents.
Grandparents Day
The last table was Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving
Everyone who came got a small gift.  The hostess' made us 'button jars' with 'Happy Holiday' embroidered on the cloth.
button jar favor
We played a couple of games, too.  I love word searches.  We also played Mr & Mrs Right (left and right game) for boxes of candy.  The people who participated in the $15 gift exchange, also played a great game that told them what presents to draw (and steal from someone else).  Great fun!
word search
I hope that your Saturday was as much fun as mine was!

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Great Gift!

Dana, over at Stormy Days blog, sent me a great gift. 
mug rug from Dana
Dana sent me this cute mug rug, because it resembles the dog that we have currently,
Katie, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel
and the dog we lost last January.
portrait of Padfoot
This mug rug will go up in my sewing room, by one of my machines. 

Thanks Dana!


Saturday, January 3, 2015

December NewFO's (last one)

Barbara, over at Cat Patches has been hosting the NewFO linky party for the past few years.  This is the last one. 

I don't have much to show for December, since I was trying to finish projects, not start new ones.

I made (and finished) a stocking for my future daughter-in-law.
Krystal's stocking
I did add jingle bells to this, and, somewhere, I have a picture of Krystal with her stocking, but, I can't find the picture.

I'm in a Mystery Row quilt block exchange.  To get the next month's pattern for free, you have to make at least one block to exchange.  This is what the block for December is supposed to look like.
designer's example block
Thank goodness she extended the deadline for December's blocks to Jan 4th.  This is how far I've gotten.
working on this block

working on this block, too

rest of the pieces, cut out
I guess I need to go upstairs and finish these blocks.  They are due on Sunday.