Sewing and snowing

The magic snowflake blocks apparently had a delay in their effects this time, because we rode out the rest of the week with just one late start.  The ground did eventually get a little white on Tuesday, but not a really impressive snowfall in the low lands.  However, that changed Friday night.

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While nothing compared to what Seattle got, this is a pretty good snowfall for southwestern Washington.   And more is supposed to be on the way, though I don’t think it’s going to be the snowpocalypse students were  hoping for on Friday when we left school with weather warnings ringing out on the intercom.

And of course it is perfect sewing weather! I don’t think I’m going to risk pushing the weather gods any further with the snowflakes this weekend. Instead I’m working to finish off my framed strips wall hanging.

I started by outlining all the shapes and stitching in the ditch between all the strips on the bottom border.

My plan was to use matchstick quilting for the background.  Everything I’ve read says don’t change direction with straight line quilting to avoid puckering and waves, but quilting around shapes in the middle of the lines’ paths meant not being able to just sew off the edge.  That leaves a lot of thread ends.

When I make wall hangings, I often don’t put the backing on until I’ve done most of the top stitching. It means I don’t have to tie knot after knot after knot to bury the ends after pulling them through.  I can just leave the ends loose on the back.  That speeds things up a bit.  And they stick to the batting or get sewn over with the next lines so they stay put.

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Still, there were a lot of ends to pull through!

I started the matchstick quilting in the smaller background areas.   I figured that would give me practice, and also I could just change directions and go back-and-forth because it was such a small area it wouldn’t make waves.

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It’s very time and thread consuming! After I finish those two small areas, I decided that I wanted to vary the texture, so I kept the lines in the rest of the background half inches apart. I marked lines two inches apart, then the one inch lines in the middle of those, and then I was able to eyeball all the rest of the lines without marking to get the half-inch spaced lines in there.

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It is now fully quilted, the backing is on, and it’s been trimmed square. Just the binding to put around the edge now and it will ready for the wall.

While I sewed, my son spent some time doing his own type of craft.

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Dove

Papercuts snowflake #3 – Dove

 

For some reason this one really gave me fits.  I managed to get all the fabric right side out, but putting the pieces together was one dumb mistake after another.  Clear visual and written directions aren’t a lot of help if you don’t look at them!

I thought things were moving along swimmingly – all four part As were attached to their part Bs.

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That was when the seam ripping began.  Part C was not going to fit on that short edge.

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Sigh – I’d sewn A & B together on the wrong sides.  And because I was working in an assembly line fashion, that meant all the sections were mis-sewn.

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The misaligned version on the left, the corrected version on the right.

The Cs finally on, my next struggle was to get the seams to line up right.  There was more seam ripping — three times on the last seam! — and a bit of cursing, but it finally came out.

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Just don’t look at the back.  There is a lot of fraying.

Snowless snow day

Apparently the sympathetic magic worked – I woke up at 5:20 this morning to an automated phone call from my district declaring a snow day.

Except there is no snow.

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I guess the storm split and went around our town.  But up in the hills it got white and icey, so the buses can’t safely get those kids down to the schools.  So the whole district stayed home.

My boys were devastated to discover that because their district is in a flatter part of town, they had to head out into the cold while mom stayed in her pajamas.  I was . . . not devastated . . . to have a quiet day to myself.

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And I made the second snowflake for the January blocks of the Papercuts BOM. It is called Squall, so we will see what the evening brings!

Papercuts

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I’m really excited about the block of the month quilt that I signed up for.  It is called Papercuts, is designed by Amy Friend, and I love both the idea and the execution.

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I’ve always liked making paper snowflakes — my boys and I used to make them and tape them in the windows to help attract snow. And a blue and white quilt is on my to-do list.  This BOM runs all year, so it will be finished in time for the holidays next year.

I got a late start, only stumbling across the pattern in late January, and then my background fabric order only arrived yesterday.  Turns out I also didn’t have much white fabric either, so I had to run to the store to get lots more.  But finally on Sunday I was able to sit down and make the first snowflake,

This block is called Cloud.  (Each snowflake is named after a descriptive word for white.)

There is a second one for January, and the two patterns for February have also come out, so I need to increase my speed.  It takes me a while to get back in the paper piecing groove when I haven’t done it for awhile.  There’s always some sewing wrong sides together and misjudging scrap angles when I first start out again.

Next up is Squall.

And the paper snowflake magic may be working — we have a prediction of our first possible snow fall tonight.

Piecing bits together

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The sewing time has been hit or miss lately, but I did manage to pull together my wall hanging top.

The gold background finished, I decided that it wasn’t the right proportions, so I dug thru the string scraps again and made a thick bottom border.

I pieced some batting together and basted it on, and the next step will be to add embroidery.

I also started a new block of the month quilt that I will post about tomorrow.  It feels good to actually see some progress being made!

 

 

Thursdays

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My sister and I decided to try to reserve Thursday evenings for crafting together as a sort of New Year’s plan.  We started last week, and it was a success for her.  I showed her the tutorial I used for my lunch bag, and she made a water bottle carrier from a canvas curtain I bought at Goodwill last week.

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My project was less successful.  I added more slices in the fine line wall hanging I started a while back.  Black lines on a light background.  I’m definitely getting better at thinner lines, but I just didn’t like how it was turning out enough to keep going.  Maybe the color combo was too blah?  I also like 90 degree angles better, like I had on my first one, which was a better color combo as well – blue and white.

 

Anyway, I abandoned it to the scrap bin and chalked it up as technique practice.

Today we met up again.  My sister started out by making wavy lines with different decorative stitches.  The plan is to add embroidery and other embellishments between the lines.

 

I’d started a wall hanging on the weekend, without a strong plan in mind.  I got out my scraps and sewed a lot of strings together into blocks, and then cut the blocks repeatedly to make long striped strips.

 

Those then became frames around shot cotton rectangles, and then got their own black frames.  I revised them a couple of times until I got them the size and color combo I liked best.

 

Today I auditioned background colors and got started on filling in the connections between the blocks and making some stripes for the sides.

 

Not a lot of progress, but I have a clearer idea in my head of where I’m headed now.

And we’re having fun.

Brrr!

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It is very cold in my library this week.  Trying to type with mittens on cold.  It helped inspire this new bulletin board my aide and I put together.

(also inspired/copied from Pinterest saved pins, but really motivated by the chill)