Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sometimes with quilting you can't get from A to B without a few detours along the way

I liked this one because we are into Sherlock at my house!
      Sometimes when I am quilting I think of those old Family Circus comic strips where it takes little Billy forever to get from A to B.   That has been me in the quilting department the last 2 weeks. After Emma went back to school I set up the big table in her room which I have dubbed "The Command Center" (her term not mine). I have several quilts which need quilting so I started layering with the big one. The table is only 3'x6' so the quilt has to be moved several times. After 3 days of shifting, pinning, back aching I got to the last section and guess what--the top had shifted so the backing was 1" too small. So I unpinned most of it, shifted, and repinned for 2 days and it was ready. Side note: when I pin a quilt I don't shut the pins until the whole thing is done. This way if something like this happens it is not so bad and also I can shut pins while sitting comfortably in a chair or in the car while waiting in a carpool line (that't what I did when I was a nanny). I also layered the second quilt and you guessed it right again--it shifted! I was so careful too!
      So then it was time to start stippling but I discovered I didn't have the right thread to match the backing or enough variegated thread for the top of the second quilt so a trip to JoAnn was in order for thread. Ok, now it is time to sew. After a couple hours I decided I should check the back and guess what--you got it--a pucker. This is because I don't have good clamps that fit my table so I can stretch the backing well. So I decided this problem had to be solved before layering quilt #3 so a field trip was in order to Home Depot. Well, they didn't have the kind of clamps I need in the size I need so I came home defeated and ordered clamps from Amazon (3" spring clamps). So I am ready for quilt #3.
      Now it is time to tear out the puckered area and fix it and guess what--my seam ripper point is broken off and I can't find the other seam ripper so now I have to make another trip to the fabric store. This time I went to Emma's Quilt Cupboard down the street and paid full price and bought 2 seam rippers in case I lose or break one again. So I get the pucker fixed and get back to stippling and CRUNCH. The presser foot came off, broke the needle and guess what--I am out of the needles I like to use. I already know neither store carries the needles I like (Jeans size 80) so back to Amazon to order needles. I put in a different needle which is working ok and I am still waiting for the needles to arrive.
      Meantime I have been stippling on both quilts and making good progress and since the clamps have now arrived I am ready to layer the next ones! GOOD GRIEF!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Thanks for all the help, quilters--it's done!

     I really want to thank everyone for your input into the Emma Block dilemma. I was really frustrated and took everyone's comments into account before I sewed those blocks together. Thanks Nancy and Kim for pointing out that not all teenagers like wallhangings. I pondered that one a while and decided to make the thing so it could be either a pillow or a wallhanging, whichever she decides.She decided on a pillow, which will always come in handy in the dorm!
      As you can see I went with the blue pinwheel. It had a lot of votes and the more I thought about it the more it made sense. You see, she made this in a class that she hated. The professor with the French accent was making her nuts at the beginning of the semester telling her she needed more "jazz" and movement. She is a person who likes things to be neat, realistic, and in order and the concept of "jazz" just didn't make any sense to her! I tried to tell her to tilt things or make something look like it was falling off the page and she just got mad at me and told me she doesn't think like me. So I decided the pinwheel had "jazz".
     I hope you can zoom in and
see the quilting design I did on this. This design is based on another of her dreaded assignments so I thought I would incorporate it too. I took the design and repeated the elements on paper until I had a complete design. Then I used a primary color variegated thread to sew right on the paper. It is such an easy technique (until you have to cut all the threads and tear all the paper).  I used the multi color thread because I figured just one color would disappear into the matching fabric so this way different elements pop. Jazz again!
      In addition to making this for her birthday I also made the craziest thing for her. When she was young she was obsessed with The Wizard of Oz books. She loved the Patchwork Girl of Oz and wanted to learn to sew to make a doll. She sewed old leftover blocks and scraps together (not very well, I must say!) to make a big piece of fabric to make into a doll. It has been haunting me every time I get into the UFO box and I decided to make her a doll. I used to make rag dolls back in the day but my patterns are buried in the bottom of the closet to I made up the pattern as I went along. I lost sleep for 3 nights figuring out how to make the wacky hair but I got it done and here it is.