One of the first quilts I made was from necessity. We had just moved daughter #2 into a big girl bed and didn’t have a bedspread or anything that would fit. We bought an imported bed, these were pre Ikea days, and it was a bit narrower and longer than a conventional twin bed. It was also closer to the floor. Perfect for a toddler and a fitted bottom sheet but I couldn’t find anything that was toddler friendly for the top. I can remember putting the sewing machine on the dining room table and spending the day sewing. This was after shopping for a pattern and fabric. At that time we had a wonderful quilt store here in downtown Edmonds. I loved to go in there and just look at all the fabrics. It was housed in cute little older home in the downtown area. I picked out a sunbonnet Sue pattern and a few fabrics, came home, cut them out and sewed them together. Those were in the early days of fusible web so I think I cut them all out, layered them and appliqued the pieces by machine and then layered the quilt all with straight pins and tried to stitch it all together. I used a white flat sheet for the back so that dictated the size for the front. Kim loved it and loved playing with the feet which were not stitched down but were loose, hence the name the foot foot quilt. It was used for many years but actually still looks good even with all the daily use. I’m thinking about putting it back on the bed and remembering all those fun years of little girls.
Well, the wedding quilt is done. Not without some angst however. It’s not perfect but I doubt anyone but me will care and probably will not notice. The real challenge came when I washed the quilt after taking some lovely pictures. Into the wash it went and along with the quilt I tossed in some of the Shout Color Catchers. I know that the batik has such bold colors that there was a possibility of bleeding but I didn’t know how many times they really needed to be washed before the color wouldn’t bleed. After the first wash and tossing in the dryer I thought it was fine. The color catchers really did catch some color. It was not until I pulled it out of the dryer however that I realized the many of the dark purple squares had bled all over the white. It made me feel sick to think that maybe this fabric hadn’t been washed and now ruined all my work. After thinking about it for a while I decided that I wasn’t out anything if I tried to remove the purple from the white. I used stain stick and Clorox2 and washed it three more times. I ended up adding 3 color catchers each time as well. After the third wash I put the quilt in the dryer. When I pulled it out it was warm and dry and for the most part the purple was all gone and the colors were still bright. If you look closely and you know it’s there on a few of the squares you can still see a bit of duskiness but it really looked ok. What a relief! I’m not sure if that purple fabric never got washed or if the color was so dark that there was more color to bleed out. I guess I’ll know that next time I use such a dark batik that I need to be more careful.
The next challenge was how to wrap it and send it. Now these are young California professionals and transplants from Washington so they believe in a “green” lifestyle. This was a soft and squishy quilt and it was going in a box so I decided to pack it in a market bag and add a bow and now they will have two gifts. It’s in the mail and I’m on to different projects.
I love cold water with lots of ice but it makes a mess on the table. so I guess glasses will still drip but they won’t leave a mess on the table any more. It finally occurred to me that I didn’t have to keep using napkins or towels to clean up the mess but I could make coasters. When I was walking through the fabric store today I saw this print with apples. They were about 4″ squares and I knew I could cut them apart and they would make great coasters so I took a few minutes tonight and made a couple and now I’m off to try them out.
I’ve made it this far. It’s in the machine being quilted. It’s a bit bulky to fit through the machine but so far so good and I think (hope) it will go quickly and without too many problems. I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s ok if it’s not perfect. I’m not entering it in a contest to be judged, it’s just going to be used to cuddle on the couch with and that will be fine!
My friend the seam ripper (unfortunately) has been used several times in the last few days. First it was the iron spitting brown stuff on one of the sashing strips. I was able to sponge most of it off but after a good night sleep, I decided it really did need to be replaced. First thing this morning that’s what I did. I also started some clothes washing, washed the sheet that I am going to use for the backing, cut all the sashing strips for the rows and cut all of the binding strips. That is after I checked my measurements many times. I’ve now started to sew all the rows together and guess what I discovered. I sewed the nine patch square to the wrong side. In other words upside down which meant that I ended up with two squares of the same fabric together. I was going to start ripping off the sashing and flip it around when I realized that if I chose a different seam, I would only have to rip or unsew as some say, one seam rather than two. So I’m sitting here ripping seams and ripping a book CD to my computer so I can put it on my iPod and listen to a story while I sew. I do have a tv in my sewing room and do watch that but when I’m sewing it’s really more about listening rather than watching. So hard to watch the seams and the TV. Now I’ve finished the seam and ready to head back to the machine before I have to go and help my mother. She’s then going to come here for dinner. Ribs and corn on the cob. Should be yummy!
I’m on to another project before I finish my own lap quilt. I have another wedding gift to make. I almost have the top pieced and then I can add the batting and quilt. I think it will look fine once I have the sashing on and the binding but as with all projects… time will tell.
The daughter of a good friend has just gotten married. She and the gentleman have both had their own homes and also lived together for several years which always creates the dilemma of how to recognize this new union and give them something that they might have a use for. I hate to spend money on something that’s just going to be clutter. I know that they have outdoor activities that they enjoy and go to sporting events and such so maybe a “picnic sports blanket” would be a suitable addition to their household. This pattern by Nancy Zieman of Sewing with Nancy fame was a project that turned out well. As with any new pattern, when I’m in the middle I wonder if this is really going to work or if it’s going to be recycled into something else. The biggest challenge was with the velcro closure strap that ended up being too short. The pattern instructions said how far in to place the handle straps but they did not tell you how far from the top of the blanket they needed to be. I must have put them lower than was intended because the closure strap was too short. It did work ok but I was not pleased with the appearance so I removed the strap, recut a new one and sewed it into place. I’m so pleased I made that decision because now it does look good and I will feel good about giving it as a gift. I do have several other large pieces of fleece in my stash from projects that were planned but not executed so this one will probably get made again. All in all, a success!
So hard to believe it’s the 6th of August. If you live in the Pacific Northwest however you’re glad that it’s August and summer has arrived! Finally. We certainly have been patient for long enough.
I recently had a birthday. Now for some this is not an extraordinary event however this was a significant birthday. Usually birthdays are not a big deal to me but this bigger number really makes me stop and think.. Well that was enough thinking.
Last weekend we were invited to my brother and sister-in-laws place at Lakebay. I was just looking at the pictures again and it has me longing to be back there and enjoy the beautiful views, the beach and the good company. One of my brothers lives on San Juan Island and he even brought crab. I’m still drooling thinking about the many good meals that I had. The rest of my family made it a special weekend celebrating my birthday and the birthdays of my hubby and also brother Dave. We don’t usually get to all celebrate together so that was a special day. Even our kids were there. Jim, Dale and Jill, Larry and Joni, Dave, Amy, Kim and Aaron, thanks for the memories.
I decided I should take a hostess gift with me. As I thought about it I decided that some new dish towels and hot pads were in order. I just bought a new toy, a Slice Fabrique and had a die for it called under the sea so I wanted to do some applique on the towels. There was a bit of learning curve to the process but I did make some appliques and for a fast project it was lots of fun and I like the way they turned out. The towels are microfiber so they should dry lots of dishes and still be functional. In a vacation house this is important. Who wants to spend time doing laundry.
I did it and it was fun! Made freezer jam that is. Late on the 4th there was finally time to make one batch of jam. In keeping with the 4th of July theme we had strawberries and blueberries on hand so I decided to make strawberry blueberry jam. It looks great and tastes mighty fine as well. I still have more jars and more fruit so if I can squeeze in a few more minutes today I think I might make a batch of strawberry and also a batch of honey mango. Good eating for several months.
Been a while since I’ve updated this blog. I’ve been busy with things like a trip to Portland, getting ready for camp, Father’s Day and trips to the ER with a sick kid upgrading a computer and oh yes, a bit of work, laundry and other assorted items.. All interesting in different ways! None of this however has kept me from investing in a bit of fabric and doing a bit of sewing.
I have almost all of the rows together for my x’s and o’s quilt and am anxious to get back to that. This probably isn’t going to be the week for that however. Probably not until the end of month. I have also started another project. It’s called The Farmers Wife Quilt Sampler Quilt. I’ve been watching as folks all over blog land have been joining this quilt along and I decided that maybe I should do this at my own pace. It’s based on letters from 1920 farm wives and it contains 111 blocks they inspired. Bloggers I have noticed have talked about doing 2 blocks a week and so far I’ve had fun. I’ve just finished my first 4. Here again, there will probably be no more until close to the end of the month but I look forward to the process. I’ve enjoyed it for several reasons. I think it’s been a bit more like fashion sewing because there is a specific pattern and template pieces. It has been interesting to try to keep the accuracy up as I trace and cut the pieces with the scissors but I’ve enjoyed the very small projects and sense of accomplishment when they are done.
We are still waiting for summer to arrive but at least today there was sun. We were out for a drive and bought some fresh fruit so I think tomorrow there will be strawberry jam. I just unearthed the jam jars from the storage room and now have to go and read the directions on the pectin box. I’ll make freezer jam and will probably need to go and buy some sugar and lemon juice before I start.
More fun to follow.