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.

So sick of this quilt

After over three years, my son’s long wait is over – I finished his Oceans quilt.

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There are many hours of happy sewing on this quilt.  I really loved the process of putting the many blocks together.  Paper piecing became a favorite activity.  I’m in awe of Janeen Van Niekerk and Linda Hibbert’s abilities to design the block patterns.  The jigsaw puzzle aspect of getting the blocks to fit together was fun.

But I am so, so sick of this quilt.  I can barely look at it, folded up on the sewing pile.  I don’t want to see blue batik fabric again for a very, very long time, to the point that I may cover bury it under some yellow and orange yardage.

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It isn’t like I didn’t sew a lot of other things in between Ocean bouts.  That’s why it took three years!  But for the last few months, even when I was working some other project, I couldn’t escape it.  Either a nagging little voice in my head said I needed to get back to it, or a large nagging voice standing next to me in the form of my younger son declared that I obviously didn’t love him since I hadn’t finished his quilt.  (He is good with the guilt, that boy!)  Pulling fabric for other quilts, surfing quilts on Pinterest and blogs, working on little sewing projects or knitting lace – I felt like I was neglecting a duty the whole time.

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But now it is done!  I’m free again!

If I ignore all the other unfinished WIPs . . .

But at least they don’t have a representative family member to harangue me about them.

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And, it turned out just as I pictured it in my head, and more importantly, how my son pictured it in his head.

We chose fabrics that lightened from bottom to top, like the ocean does from deep to shore.  I quilted it in two ways – individual outlining and details for the creatures, and wavy water lines to suggest waves for the background.  I changed thread colors (when I remembered) from deep navy to a lighter blue as I progressed up as well.

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Even a potential disaster turned into a plus.  When I washed and dried it to bring out the crinkles, I forgot to put a color catcher sheet in, and the dark red fabric pieces bled just a little.  It didn’t really show in most areas unless you look really closely, but around the mouth of the shark, the white jaw got a little bit of a red stain.  My son and I agreed that it made it look even more vicious, the little suggestion of bloody teeth.  He’d actually asked me once to embroider on some blood, so he was really happy about it.

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This quilt is going to get used a lot.  It may not survive all the washings for very long, and I know for a fact that a dog is likely to sleep on it while its boy sleeps under it.  But however long or short its life, this quilt is going to be well used and well loved, which is the point of it all, right?

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Angel fish

I completed the last paper pieced block for my younger son’s Ocean quilt today.  It is a fairly simple double angelfish block from Silver Linings.

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I added a little more fabric to the top and bottom to elongate the block.  I went ahead and added some more of the sand fabric to the crab block from earlier to make it bigger as well.

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This isn’t a great picture – the lower section isn’t as dark as it looks.  I couldn’t get far enough away to squeeze it all into the picture without screwing up the lighting.

I’ve rearranged the blocks yet again since this picture to put all the beach blocks in the top row.  And there will likely be more adjustments as I pull it all together.

As you can see, I’ve started to add some of the sashing fabric – the plan is to have dark sashing at the bottom for the deep sea, medium blues in the middle and light blues at the top for the shallows. But this is going to mean a trip to the fabric store as I don’t have enough of the medium or light batiks.

Luckily spring break just started for me, so there will be lots of time for fabric stores and quilting projects!  My sewing goal for the week is to get this quilt top fully put together and get one of the pinned sandwiches in my WIP pile to a fully finished quilt.

Sharp teeth

More progress on the Oceans quilt for my younger son!

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I got the dolphins block finished last week. I made some color choices that didn’t work out that well, making the dolphin on the right a little hard to see against the background, but I’m hoping quilting will help with that. And he liked it, which is the main thing.

Apparently I got so caught up in it that I forgot to take progress pics. Assume it looked pretty much like the pictures from the block I started next – cutting out the pattern pieces and then sewing various pieces of batik and marbled fabric to them:

This next block has sharp teeth!

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I’ve been using different blues for the watery background for each block.  I cut it too close this time and at the end had to piece together small scraps to make slightly larger scraps.  And even then I had to make one sliver of ocean from pieces that had the waves going in the wrong direction.  Frustrating, but I wasn’t about to start over at that point!

The pic on the right below is all I had left to put on the final small pieces.  I also snuck in a bit of another dark blue in small places where I didn’t think it would be noticeable.

The next to last step last step is trimming each piece to with a quarter inch seam allowance.  It takes a while with so many pieces.  As I trim I lay them out in the general arrangement in which they’ll be sewn to make it easier to find each piece as I need it.

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And the final result – a fierce denizen of the deep:

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This block was designed by the same person who did the Oceans block of the month quilt that the dolphins came from but it wasn’t part of that QAL.  But he really wanted a shark, so I added this one from her designs on Craftsy.

I think the quilt needs just one more block and then I can start putting them all together.

The arrangement so far, though it may change again:

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Fast fish

A relatively fast finish anyway.  The previous block in this Oceans series took me over a year from start to finish, so the three days this blue fin tuna took is lightning in comparison.

I showed in the last post how some of the sections have a lot of very tiny pieces – here’s another example:

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In contrast, there were some big swaths of background water that made me worried the blue was going to run out.  In the end I had only very small bits left.  Everything remaining is in this picture – it was a tense finish to see if there would be enough!

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The tuna, in contrast, didn’t take a lot of any particular fabric.  I especially liked this one – it looks like fish scales to me.

The completed sections, awaiting trimming and attaching:

And block five, the September 2015 block, is done!

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Next up, an octopus.