Done is better than perfect

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After more than two years, my red and white Xs quilt is finally done!  It waited in its box for a long, long time before getting quilted.

The background is all loops, really the only free motion pattern I can manage over wide areas.  But I did try some new quilting patterns inside the Xs.  I gave up quickly and picked out my free motion attempts at fillers, but I had more success with the walking foot.

I used the border to practice some simple dot to dot lines, marking my turning points with pins.  Then I went back and did more in the Xs that had relatively large open areas.  Nothing complex, but I got better as I went on.

There were a LOT of thread ends to bury!

I used the bright red for the binding which went on really fast after all the pulling and pausing and turning during the quilting.

We no longer have a house with an upper deck, so my tall husband did his best to hold it up in the kitchen.

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It is done just in time to put it on the couch for Christmas.  I guess I need to make a blue and white one for Hanukkah next since we celebrate both.  It is too late for this year – the last candle was a few days ago – but I can have it ready for next year.

I was really scared to put this one in the washer.  I would have skipped that step, but after being dragged around for all the sewing, the quilt needed to be cleaned.   I didn’t think to prewash the fabric way back when I was starting the blocks. I never prewash, but this time it would have been wiser.  Red and white – the bleeding potential was very high.

I did a lot of research about washing it and ended up putting it in with as much water as the washer allowed and double rinsing.  I also threw in six color catchers (the normal amount is one, maybe two for really strong colors).  They came out pretty pink:

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But the quilt did not.  Yay!

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The back is a crowded red and white winter village.  It is busy enough that the quilting doesn’t really show, neither the white or red thread.

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I especially like like the little snowflakes falling on the rooftops.

044A1B9D-AA48-44D6-8EAC-1A47500D0C3CThe quilt is done, the tree is trimmed.  Now I just need to do absolutely everything else for the holidays.  It may be time to start panicking.

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Red and White

I went way back into the closet for today’s sewing project.  Do you remember this one?  I finished the top back in May of 2016.

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You can see posts about making the various blocks and putting it all together here.

Today I settled in with my walking foot and outlined all the Xs.  A lot of twisting and pushing to turn all those corners!  I did a row at a time and then paused to bury the thread ends so I could also stretch and unlink my shoulders.  I tend to have my shoulders around my ears as I sew.  I try to be conscious of it and put them down but they inevitably creep up again.

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I sewed just outside the red, following the edge wherever it led.

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It was a happy moment when I reached the last X!

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Now I’m filling in all the white background with free motion loops.  It goes much faster, though it has been a while since I did it, so my stitch lengths are pretty uneven.  This is the stage where I really wish I had access to a long arm quilting machine so I could be more intricate with the fillers.1C1CA2B4-720A-4451-B403-0F5F1DCE897B

I have built up a backlog of quilt tops so my winter goal is to get them all finished.  There are at least four more after this one.

Ready for lunch

The day after Thanksgiving, my family usually hits the mall.  I do not.  I enjoy the calm and the aloneness and do whatever I want that doesn’t involve cooking any more complicated than hitting a few microwave buttons.

Today I got to sew all day.  On Wednesday I finished adding the final sashing  strips to my king sized Growing Up Odd top.

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Just checking the size

Today I pieced together a back for it.

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Now I just need to get a king sized piece of batting and I will take it to school to pin baste.

Then I used this tutorial and some scraps of canvas I dug out of the fabric closet to make a lunch bag.  I think a dark color would be more practical, but this is what was on hand so I figured I could try it out and then decide if I wanted to make any changes.

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The scrap canvas is actually leftover from the ironing surface I made a while back, as you can see in the picture above.

It turned out really cute, and just the right size.

I sewed it pretty much as the tutorial directed, except I cut the notches for the bottom corners a little bigger to give it more width, and I sewed my own straps.  I also improvised strings by braiding some cotton yarn.

I tested it out and it fits everything I need it to, including the Pyrex container I use when I take soup.  Come Monday, I am prepared.

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It may be time to say goodbye

I started quilting about five years ago. When we moved to Oregon, the recession recovery hadn’t gotten very far and most of the schools around us were going without librarians.  No job openings meant a lot of time on my hands.  The first year, I knit six blankets, and volunteered at my sons’ school, and got a little bored.

Then I was at a Goodwill and I found this bright pink sheet covered with cartoon fairies.  My niece was very into making little fairy houses in the garden and collecting little sculptures, so I bought it and pondered it and decided to make her a little quilt.  And a new hobby was born.

But really, this wasn’t the start of my quilting, but more of a restart.  Back in my 20s, I did a few quilts, mostly strip pieced quilts following the “Quilt in a Day” patterns.  I know I made an Irish chain one among others.

And then I made my mom and dad matching throw sized quilts to go with their matching couches.  The couches are long gone, and the house they went in, and one of the quilts disappeared, but one of them has hung on until now.

However, I think it may be time to finally let go:

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This quilt has gone from covering my dad during naps to being our TV room picnic quilt, to its current role folded up and covering the dog’s bed.  It has been camping and to parks and the roof in kid forts.

It has had a good long life and been faithful and hardworking, but the end is near.  Overdue might be more accurate.

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Can it still be called a quilt when the batting is gone?  As well as most of the original color?  All of those pinks used to be burgundy.

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I feel a bit bad about how much abuse this little collection of squares has suffered, but boy, it certainly had a full life.

How do I dispose of it?  I sort of feel like it needs some ceremony.   Maybe my son can learn taps on his clarinet? I’m pretty sure I’ll get some resistance if I try to gather all the family for a formal goodbye. . .

 

 

Yarn dithering

The newest shawlette, not yet blocked

I can’t settle on a new knitting project.  A finish of a complex multi-chart lace shawlette led to a binge knit of three identical cowls that are destined to be Chrismukkah presents.  They were about as simple as a knit can be – stockinette tubes.  The excitement was in the yarn.  A fluffy mohair silk strand held together with a linen cashmere.  It made for an almost weightless piece of cloth.

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The unblocked presents-to-be

Since then I’ve been scouring my Ravelry favorites, trying to match yarn and patterns without success.  The two just aren’t meeting up.  I’m not sure what I really want to make.  Nothing too complicated, but not just another cowl or scarf.  It needs to be something I can knit while watching TV.  It needs to be from stash yarn.  I’m leaning towards thin rather than thick yarn.  The yardage isn’t right, or the pattern is too expensive, or the color doesn’t work.  I’m stalled.

I even started a scarf tonight, but ended up unraveling it all.  The yarn combo I came up with just didn’t work.  I will have to keep trying.

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The failed scarf yarn choice heading back to the bins

In digging around I did come across a handspun silk scarf in progress that I last remember knitting on six years and two house moves ago.  It was really buried!  I will add a few inches to it while I ponder my next start.

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