Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Really?!?

So, can you see it?


There is one rotated half-square triangle unit in this quilt. I sewed the blocks, pressed them, and squared them up. Didn't notice it. I arranged them on my design wall and stared at them off and on for at least a week while I auditioned several different colors of sashing and worked out the border design. Didn't notice it. I sewed it together, pressed the entire top, spread it out on the floor and crawled all over it, basting it with safety pins, and then took a photo of the quilt. Didn't notice it. I spent several hours machine quilting the quilt. Didn't notice it. I spread it out on the floor again and buried the quilting thread tails and carefully pinned the binding to the front of the quilt. Didn't notice it. Not until I hand-sewed a quarter of the binding to the back of the quilt and spread it out on the floor again to check that I wasn't getting any border wave did I see the one rotated half-square triangle unit.

I am not fixing it.



Monday, May 15, 2017

Tumbler quilt wavy borders fixed

To fix the wavy borders, I added three more rows of quilting to the borders of Tumbler quilt. The extra quilting drew in the edges of the quilt.


Next I ripped the binding off. I spritzed the borders with water and pressed them, and then pinned the binding back on the quilt. When I re-sewed the binding to the quilt, I cut about 2.5 inches off the binding. That's how much the extra quilting shrank the perimeter of the quilt.


I finished the binding by hand. No more wavy borders. Next time I will be more careful with how the quilting density is distributed across the quilt.


Now that the Tumbler quilt is fixed, I have been working on machine quilting the Charlie Harper quilt (the colors were inspired by a Charlie Harper print). The pattern is 'Tumalo Trail' by Bonnie Hunter. Two biologists saw me practicing the quilting design on the whiteboard outside of my office at lunch one day and they both said 'algae'. I ran out of thread before I finished the quilting on this one and had to order more. It took 6 hours and 40 minutes to machine quilt it.

I also finished sewing the quilt top for the quilt on the design wall behind the sewing machine in this photo, but I ran out of cotton batting so I put it away for now.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spending some time on finishes

I decided my count of unfinished quilt projects has risen as high as it needs to go, so I've been spending the last month or so of quilt time on getting some projects completed.


This one is very, very pink. It is a signature quilt for a sick friend, signed by members of our book club. It is backed with a pink flannel that is very warm.

This small wall-hanging was made with leftover triangles from cutting out diamonds for another quilt.

And this is my problem child. I basted this Tumblers quilt, and it looked great. Then I quilted it and sewed the binding to the front and began blind-stitching the binding to the back of the quilt by hand. When I laid the quilt out to see how it looked, I discovered this:

Argh! I have border wave. I am fairly certain that the problem appeared during quilting. The tight looped design in the center of the quilt appears to have made the quilt shrink up more than usual during quilting, and I didn't quilt it densely enough in the borders to balance out the shrinkage. The uneven shrinkage has given me wavy borders, and it is way noticeable with the binding on. I considered not fixing it, just finishing the binding as-is. But it is so ripply. I am going to try adding some quilting in the borders. It may still not be enough, but I don't want to rip the quilting out of the borders. I can do another sine wave in the inner border and echo the spiral border with gentle scallops. I am hoping I don't need to pull the binding off, but I suspect I will have to. I suspect adding extra quilting will make the ripple worse if I don't re-bind it.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Some days, you should just go read a book instead.



I finally finished squaring up the Tumalo Trail blocks (my least favorite part of the quilt-making process). I cut sashing rectangles and cornerstone squares to go between the blocks. Next step is to lay the blocks out on the design wall to figure out the final layout and balance the colors in the quilt. Oh wait, the design wall already has a quilt on it that is half-sewn together and has been on the wall for approximately 3 months. No problem, I can lay it out on the living room floor instead. But there is a Christmas tree in the way. Oh well, it is nearly a week after New Year’s and definitely time to take down the tree. I spend an hour un-decorating the tree and remove it from the living room. Now I have a clear floor space and can lay out the blocks.

I try two different layouts, rearrange a few blocks.

Crawl around on hardwood floor and start to lay out the sashing and cornerstones between the blocks.

Stare at quilt. Realize that I forgot to factor in putting sashing around the edges of the quilt and therefore have seriously underestimated the number of sashing rectangles and cornerstones that I need. I didn’t cut enough. And the quilt is looking sort of short. I think I need an extra row. But I made some extra blocks. Hmm, only 3 extra blocks and I need 6. Get calculator to recalculate the size of the quilt, including blocks, sashing, and the approximate size of the border that I haven’t decided on yet to make sure it is big enough. Yes, one extra row will work.

I look up to discover that my cat has decided to roll on the quilt I laid out on the floor.

Right. I’m just going to go read a book now.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Home for the Holidays

During the holidays I've been working on two quilt projects on my Singer 301a. Nine-patches and half-square triangles are a theme. The 301a is pleasant to sew with and I'm getting a pretty accurate seam. I tried a new bobbin case with the machine; it sewed okay but the case fit so tightly that it was difficult to remove to change the bobbin and it was noisier than a vintage bobbin case. I lucked out and found a vintage bobbin case in a "lot" of spare sewing machine parts on eBay. She sews quieter now.

My main Christmas present is all set up. The backyard now has something in it, so maybe we'll use it more.

My latest vintage sewing machine find was $10 at a garage sale. It is another Kingston, but a later model than the other one, and not made by Brother.

I got the machine cleaned up, oiled, and adjusted. It needed a new tension spring, belt, and bobbin winder tire, so I replaced them. I haven't gotten around to working on any projects with this one yet. The case is structurally sound, but the fabric covering it is coming off or shredding. I haven't tried re-covering a sewing machine case yet. Maybe I need to pull out the mod podge.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Quilting Through the Winter Blahs

Winter has arrived, and I don't want to do anything.

So mostly I have been quilting, with some reading and tv and napping. I can't even watch a documentary without falling asleep these days. We stayed in town for Thanksgiving and I finished Crap Quilt No. 3. It pretty much sums up the entire season. I don't do a lot of quilting with a walking foot, but I straight-line quilted this one on a 2-inch grid because that was what it needed.

This all-scraps-all-the-time quilt was one I finished a month or two ago but just recently got around to getting a photo. It has a Noah's ark panel on the back. I still have 3 plastic bins of scraps left, and I'm pretty sure I'll never get to the bottom of them.

I also took some time to finish putting together the Argyle Sweater quilt top over Thanksgiving. I put the borders on and it is now basted and ready for quilting. I have a stack of quilts ready for quilting that I've been procrastinating getting started on. It's just that time of year.



Saturday, September 24, 2016

How many quilts did you start this month?

I finished a quilt last month and a quilt this month. This scrappy 1/4-log cabin quilt was made for my sister-in-law. I tried out a quilt pattern that looks like puzzle pieces (it looks cool, but it took ages to quilt, and the quilt is so busy that the quilting doesn't even show. I probably should have just done a fast, easy meandering pattern on it instead).

I don't have a picture yet of the other quilt I finished. I am not the kind of quilter that works on one quilt at a time. And so I started 5 quilts this month. Excessive, I know, but one quilt led to another. This fast, simple pattern was made of 5-inch squares. The pattern is called 'Stretched Star' and is in one of the 'Nickel Quilt' books. I started piecing it on my hand-cranked Singer 99 when the electricity was out after Hurricane Hermine. This quilt top is finished.

I also started some pinwheel blocks from the 'Nickel Quilt' book with the box of 5-inch squares that I took up to Atlanta (yes, I sometimes take my sewing machine on vacation). I decided the blocks weren't dark enough, so I added darker sashing. I finished the blocks and am in the process of adding the sashing and sewing the blocks together.

This is what I am calling the Argyle Sweater quilt; it will be a Christmas gift. It is a Bonnie Hunter pattern called 'Oregon or Bust.' It's simple, but I used a lot of fun fabrics and I am really looking forward to seeing how it turns out. I finished the blocks but haven't started sewing the sashing on yet and I haven't laid out more than a few blocks at a time, so there is still some mystery about how the final quilt will look.