On vacation

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Summer vacation finally got here, and I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to arrange camping trips.  We recently bought a little tent trailer, and I’m discovering that it is very difficult to just spontaneously go camping on a weekend.  People apparently start booking the reservable camp spots months in advance, way before we realized we were going to be able to get a trailer.  My husband, sadly, doesn’t get summer off, so if we want him to come along, it has to be on the weekend.

But I’ve cobbled together a few reservations for various locations over the next couple months.  We may have to switch spots every night – and we will know better for next year to plan way in advance.  But we will be camping!

We did a couple of test runs in nearby parks to make sure we knew how everything works.  We’ve learned how to turn on the propane heater, attach the side mounted camp stove, and made lists of things we need to organize the very minimal storage.

And saw some pretty beautiful scenery.

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Our dog, Theo, who is rather a neurotic and barky mess, has proven better at camping than we thought he’d be.  He hates strangers and cars and bikes, but it turns out he is a big fan of woods and nature walks, and he’s been willing to keep a little quieter so other campers aren’t bothered.

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So I think this camping experiment is going to be a success once we work out all the kinks.

When not endlessly searching through the Washington and Oregon state park reservation systems, I’ve been sitting down at the sewing machine and am making more X and 16 patch blocks.  Nights in the forests get chilly – we are going to need a bunch of quilts!  It is motivating to get back to the fabric.

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(P.S.  That is Mt. St. Helens in the mountain photos above, our local volcano.  The visitors’ center at Johnston Ridge is wonderful – we’ve been going for years to see the recovery proceeding since the eruption. But it turns out no dogs are allowed in the national monument. Yet another thing we’ve newly learned about camping – check ahead where and when pets are allowed.)

Growing Up Odd – a finish

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A windy photo shoot in the backyard for the finally finished Growing Up Odd quilt, based on a tutorial from the Wedding Dress Blue blog.

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We were racing to take the pictures in the last of the afternoon sunshine, hampered not just by the wind but by the fact that even on a chair and stretching, my son is barely 100” tall.  My husband didn’t need the chair but then he is 6’ 4” tall, before stretching.

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This quilt is made up of 2 1/2” squares from my precut scrap bin, sashed in Kona cotton’s windsor blue.  Nine-patch, 21-patch and 49-patch sections combined into 16 giant blocks randomly rotated to make a top that after quilting and washing is almost exactly 100” x 100”.  Bigger than a queen size, not quite a king.  It will be perfect for our bed in summer when the down comforter is too warm.

This is the quilt that I spent hours pinning badly, an epic fail of tape and will.  It ended up at Quilting Longarm Magic, a local service.

This was the first time I’ve ever sent a top out for quilting by someone else.  It felt a little bit like cheating, but then there are no quilt police, and I could never have done as well on my home machine.  It isn’t something I can afford to do often, but I can see doing it again for something equally large or a quilt that deserves really special patterns.  I don’t mind quilting, but it isn’t the part I truly enjoy, so I could finish a lot more quilts with the longarm help.

I chose a meandering squares pattern goes well with the multitude of square blocks.  With all those seams, I also wanted to anchor as many of the squares as possible.  A bed quilt will go in the washing machine and needs to be sturdy.

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The pattern shows up better on this section of the backing.  The thread used is almost the same blue as this backing fabric.

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He got it back to me in less than two weeks, on Saturday, and I spent Sunday squaring it up and then using the sliced off edges to make the binding.

It gives plenty of coverage on our bed.

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This is the largest quilt top I’ve ever made, and I have ambitions to make more now that this was a success.

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P.S.  I just did the math and there are 1,552 little squares in this quilt.  And I still have even more than those left in the scrap bin.  The scraps can never be defeated!

 

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.

Two in one weekend!

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I was on a sewing roll this weekend, and after finishing the red and white quilt, I moved on to the next WIP.  This throw sized quilt is the second of the donation quilts that my sister and son and I cut out a while back.  It was pinned into its quilt sandwich at the same time as its sibling, but somehow the first was quilted, bound and sent off, but the second sat in a box and never happened.

Compared to the Christmas quilt, this one was a quick and easy breeze to finish.  I did horizontal lines, used the edging I cut off to make the binding, and after barely two hours, it was done.  It leaves me slightly embarassed it took so long.

How many does this make?

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More tunic fabric arrived in the mail, and was quickly attacked with pins and scissors.  I think that this makes numbers 6 & 7 from the pattern for Dress no. 2.  You can see some of the others here and here.

I made a few different adjustments this time.  As usual, I shortened the pattern to tunic length and left off the patch pockets.  I also tried out a v-neck instead of the scoop,  and narrowed the back a bit to replace the darts that I’d added to the others.  For the butterfly version, I added a tie in the back.  So, you know, totally different than the last five.  🙂

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There was one major screw-up.  I cut both front and back at the same time, and I forgot to remove the back piece when I cut the v-neck out on the butterfly version, making a v-neckline in the back as well as the front.  I mulled adding a contrast color insert to fill it back in, as you can see in the pic below, but ended up just getting another length of the fabric to recut with a higher neckline.

Oops.

My work wardrobe continues to expand, filling up with these oh-so-comfortable and colorful tunics.  They don’t look terribly flattering on the hanger, but I like the length and the roominess and it is fun finding the next fabric to use.

The fabric for #8 is on deck – plaid flannel next, for the cooler weather coming in.