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.

Oh dear

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The pinning of my king size quilt is Not Going Well.

It looks good:

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But under that deceptively smooth top is a backing that came loose of its tape and developed a couple of large wrinkles in the middle of one side.  I also think that the lack of tension means there will be a lot of puckers when the quilting starts.

I’m in denial, brainstorming solutions, because deep down, I know that the only workable answer is removing all the pins, taping it down better, and repinning.  It took almost 3 hours to pin.  My fingers are sore.  I stayed at work on a dark and stormy night.  It used every curved safety pin I own, each one of which I’ll have to unpin.  I don’t want to do it all over again.

But I know I’m going to have to face it.  It has to be redone.

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.