Done is better than perfect

99CC3708-2453-45A7-8ADE-D06C4D8ADB6E

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.

7C411EE0-F0A3-49E0-877A-EA1D4ABE6BB0

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:

386B312C-9DE9-4826-8BC0-E29F2259EBC9

But the quilt did not.  Yay!

C5948A90-097E-4158-81FC-08C1C1E2B19A

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.

19FCB3E5-ED82-457E-9A34-91DFEC820D41

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.

ADA7C4DC-A40E-49BB-8666-EC6E4FDA4F8D

F37B1BD4-8547-4EEE-9A67-40AC1BA4A579

 

 

Down to the wire

We leave tomorrow for my cousin’s where we’ll spend Christmas and start Hanukkah, so today I absolutely had to get the last of the presents sewn.

My cousin’s husband is getting this blanket, pretty much exactly the same as the tutorial version, except I changed the binding to chocolate brown.

img_7354

img_7357

I forgot to take a picture of the finished blanket before my son whipped it out of my hands and wrapped it up.  In fact, I made it in such a rush, the two pictures above are the only two I remembered to take of it in progress.  You’ll just have to imagine the knot tying and the ironing. I’ll have to add the final shot after he unwraps it. But it really does look just like the one in the link above, except the binding color.

Well, and the fact that I did a fairly bad job of sewing on the binding.  I’m not used to working with either faux fur or suede-like fabric and I struggled a lot with sewing all those thick layers evenly.  It looks fine on the suede side, but the plaid sherpa side has a very wavery edge.  In a perfect world, or one with a couple more weeks until Christmas, I’d rip it off and redo it, but he’s unlikely to be highly critical, and the time is gone.

I did really like the suede fabric, despite the difficulties in both sewing and ironing, and I can see making something with it again.  Probably not with the sherpa fabric though.  Maybe on the back of a crazy quilt?

My other finish today was a couple of sets of felted coasters to give as stocking stuffers.  These started as a scarf, abandoned unfinished years ago.  I started throwing it in with loads of laundry until it was thoroughly felted.

Then I cut it into squares and did a blanket stitch around the edges with yarn, and viola, a couple of presents where a guilt inducing WIP used to be.

img_7359

Now, if we can just fit all the presents and six people in our car, we’ll be all set . . .

Holiday sewing

I left it a little late to get to the holiday sewing, and I’m definitely having to scale back my planned list of projects.  It has been crazy around here, particularly with my husband suddenly leaving the country for a business trip to Italy.

But he got back last night and today I tagged him in for kid duty and spent some time in the craft room getting started on presents.

It was an assembly line of zipped pouches today.  I’m going to put hand knits in each one for my sister, nieces, and cousins.  These are fun to make, not particularly tricky, and the end result is cute and useful.

I followed this tutorial, with some changes in the steps. I cut larger pieces and then quilted them with batting rather than fusing on backing.  Some got wavy lines, some straight.  After the quilting I cut out the quilted fabric and the lining together and then cut the large pieces in half for the two sides.  Easier to quilt one larger piece than two smaller ones.

I had a lot of zippers that I’ve picked up here and there, but I still ended up needing a trip to the fabric store because I needed more in the yellow/orange range.  My local JoAnn’s didn’t have a single orange zipper!  Yellow worked instead, but who bought up all the oranges?  Halloween costumes?

The length of the zipper doesn’t matter as they get cut off and the ends covered anyway.  I started out using my zipper foot but abandoned it quickly so I didn’t have to keep switching feet.  The fabric edges don’t need to be too close to the zipper teeth, so I didn’t need the specialized foot.

Some quick seams, turning right side out, a short top stitch to close the lining hole, minimal pressing, and I have a lot of pouches to fill with knitting!

image

 

 

Warm stitches

I started a new knitting project this week.

The pattern is called Drachenfels, by Melanie Berg, and it is a simple knit, increasing on one edge while decreasing on the other, creating a sideways triangle.  I just have to remember not to do the decrease every 6th row, and other than that it is pretty mindless knitting, so I can keep reading or talking or watching TV or all of those in various combinations while it grows.

image

Three yarns are all really different from each other in texture and content.  The dark cone yarn is a marked two ply wool in two different browns.  The dirty white coned yarn is a raw silk, very nubby and splitty.  The golden brown is Madeline Tosh merino light, a soft luminous yarn – Tosh merino light is one of my all time favorites to knit with.

I’m trying hard to knit from my stash, both as a money saver (though I just spend it all on fabric instead, so it is net neutral in the long run) and to reduce the sheer volume of stuff in my craft storage.  These three yarns wouldn’t normally go into the same project, but it seems to be working so far.

I was a knitter long before I started quilting, and though larger blocks of time are usually given to quilting, the portability of knitting can’t be replaced.  If I sit too long without having needles in my hands my fingers get itchy.

We also got our tree up this week, so I can knit in the glow of the colorful lights, with the Hanukkiah candles also adding in their flickers.

Those are my sons, post decorating the tree, and pre-redecorating it after the cat tried to climb it and pulled the whole thing over.  Sigh for my Swarovski snowflake ornaments.   We also went with two Hanukkiahs this year as it cuts down on the candle lighting arguments.

 

Stars and mittens

I’ve made a little more progress on the nine patch wonky stars, sewing more stars and cutting more squares.

image

I really need to clean the threads off my design wall!

I also got up the first holiday decoration.  We celebrate both Hannukah and Christmas, and today I put up the mitten advent calendar (is it still a calendar if it doesn’t have numbers?). About three years ago, I knit 24 little mittens out of handspun and strung them on a braided cord.  Each year I fill them with little candies and my sons pick a different mitten each day to open until Christmas Eve.

Oh, and one other decoration today – we’ve started to put up icicles and snowflakes in the school library for the winter decorations, and included this book tree/mountain that my office mate created.  We’re going to cut out little skiers and snowboarders to put on it.

image