knitting · Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

The Unfinished Object List

As I was sifting through a box this week, I happened upon an old Unfinished Object list. While I was happy to note that I had completed at least one project on the list in the past year, I still had several more to finish and had even added new projects over the past year. So I sat down to make a revised list.

Here’s what I ended up with:

Quilting projects

  • X-scrap quilt
  • Pink and green paper-piecing quilt
  • Tiny pineapples quilt
  • 4-patch squares scrap quilt
  • Cabin Quilt
  • Striped squares scrap quilt
  • Lemon Pepper quilt (Just needs to be quilted.)

Other Craft Projects

  • Knitted socks
  • Cross-stitch project

I suppose my list is not as lengthy as other’s lists, but it is still a bit daunting.

Here’s a peek at each of them:

Despite the urge to start another new something, I chose to work on three of these projects this week. I worked on the pink and green paper piecing quilt, which will probably end up hanging on a wall in our home. Or it may be a lap quilt. I haven’t decided yet what we’ll do with it. I also worked on the 4-patch scrap quilt. I intended to continue working on the pink and green paper piecing when I wandered into the office/sewing room later in the week. However, I arrived just as my husband, who often works from home, started listening to an audiobook. Normally, I’m not a fan of action books (in this case, Lee Child’s The Sentinel), but I somehow got hooked in the first few minutes. Since I was unable to hear it playing over the sound of the sewing machine, I chose to work on my cross-stitch project. Abandoning all of my other work, I arrived in the sewing room/office the next day to continue listening and cross-stitching. This could quickly become a dangerous habit!

What does your Unfinished Object list look like?

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Scrap Quilt #3

For the past year or so I’ve been attempting to make a dent in my fabric scraps. I would assume, after finishing three lap quilts, that I’ve succeeded. So why does it seem as if there’s still just as many bits and pieces left to use up?

Here is my most recently completed scrappy lap quilt. I finished this one up earlier this week.

I used up lots of odd blocks and extra pieces cut for other quilts. (See those triangle squares with the autumn colors matched with the light tan? Those were extras left over from the first quilt I ever finished.) I used up many small scraps by sewing them together, cutting a straight edge, then adding a new piece or section to that straight edge. For this quilt I was even able to use up some binding I had leftover from another project. The backing, which I showed in a previous post, consisted of brightly-colored rectangles. (These were fabrics I wasn’t overly fond of, so weeding them out in a useful way was great!) It may be a bit eye-crossing to look at, but it is still nice and toasty and was so enjoyable, though time consuming, to make. (The blocks for this quilt were 19″ by 15.” I did all-over meandering quilting since the top wasn’t busy enough!)

Here are all three I’ve completed within the last year or so. Two are very similar. the third one (the one on the left) was made by sewing strips of fabric to paper triangles. I absolutely adore that one, but that was a whole lot of triangles!!

After I complete a few of the projects on my lengthy list of Uncompleted Objects, my next scrap project will involve figuring out what to do with all of the bits left over from my I Spy quilt fabrics. (I have made numerous I Spy quilts. Nearly every single baby I’m even somewhat related to has received one. Which reminds me, I have a new niece coming soon, so I better add another I Spy quilt to my list of projects to complete.) I have an entire box of, what we’ll call, “image/picture/kids” fabrics that look like my grandmother’s newspapers after she got done cutting articles out to put in her genealogy scrapbooks. I’m thinking that I might try to play with the colors a bit for that project…maybe do something with an ombre effect.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

“It Looks Like Clown Pants”

I do this thing every month where I write out my goals for the month in my bullet journal. Sometimes I accomplish everything on the list. Sometimes I accomplish nothing on the list. Sometimes I accomplish one or two things. It all depends on how the month goes.

Last week, while reviewing my goals for September, I was reminded of how I wanted to get a quilt ready to quilt. I had two quilt tops lurking in the sewing room and decided I needed to do something with one of them.

I don’t know about any one else, but I do not like putting backing together for a quilt. I also don’t like pinning the backing, batting, and top together. But I suffered through the process, kneeling on the living room floor, with HGTV playing on the television as a distraction from the tediousness of pinning.

For this scrap quilt I chose large blocks of bright fabrics for the backing. As I looked at it laying over the ironing board, I was reminded of clown pants. I took a photo and sent it to my mom telling her what I thought. She said she liked the big blocks of bright color, so I decided they would stay.

Every couple days I’ll spend an hour or so doing random all-over quilting. I know some people aren’t fond of random all-over quilting. I love it. I don’t need a fancy machine to do it, and there are minimal threads to tie when completed. I’m probably around 3/4 finished and am pleased that I’ve done more than just get that quilt ready to quilt.

Which maybe makes up for the fact that I’m not going to complete those other goals of finishing a new quilt top or finishing one knitted sock.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

UFO #43 & WIP #20

Unfinished Objects. Works in Progress. I think I may have even heard them referred to as PIGs once at a quilt ruler class, though I can’t remember now what those letters stood for. Perhaps “Project In…” and something starting with ‘G.’ There was some story that went along with it about pigs in a barn or something like that. I’m in my early 40s and I think my memory is already going.

I know some people keep track of how many projects they’ve got in the works at any given time. They may even have them divided into their own little container with all the pieces carefully labeled. I am not one of those people. I’d take a picture of my sewing room right now, but that would be embarrassing. I have projects piled on my sewing table, stuff stacked in the closet, fabric on the floor that I was sorting through to start yet another project this week, laundry that needs ironing hanging off the back of my chair. It’s a disaster. I should also add that there are carefully cut fabric bits on the ironing board, which means my husband’s church attire won’t be meeting up with the iron any time soon.

I was thrilled to have several hours to spend in the sewing room on Tuesday while I enjoyed one of those incredibly rare moments when everyone was out of the house. (I homeschooled my kids and my husband works mostly from home, so days alone happen once in a blue moon. Our youngest will start college this fall, middle will move back to college for her junior year, and our eldest is living on her own in another part of the state, so those blue moon type days might roll around a little more frequently in the upcoming weeks.)

I sewed up some bits for scrap quilt #4 (or 5–I’ve lost count), then decided it was time to tackle a project I intended to do eons ago. My mom and I were supposed to take a class nearly 20 years ago to make a bed quilt. We bought the pattern, chose our fabric, but never took the class. (Which was fine with me. I’m not a class kind of person. I like to sew in solitude and figure things out on my own.)

The pattern is Pieceful Retreat by Laura Boehnke for Thread Head Designs. It makes a 99″x99″ bed quilt. I once said I would never make another quilt that large as it is difficult to quilt them on my machine (and I don’t send my quilts out for quilting), but here I am making another one.

Thus far I have nearly completed the cabin section. Only 95% of the quilt to go!

I’ve also made some progress on another scrap quilt. As I’ve mostly run out of cut strips to use for this one, I’m taking some time off from working on it until I get some more strips cut. I really like how it’s turning out, but I think I need to add to the width a bit. I thought 8 blocks wide would be sufficient, but it’s a bit smaller than I intended. I just love all the bright colors!

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

Playing Around With, You Guessed It, More Scraps

We’ve been replacing our deck this summer. Actually, we’ve just been replacing all horizontal surfaces, which has left us with, what I think is, a cool new look. (I’m not sure what’s going on with the little guy. I think I caught him just before he sneezed. He loves the deck. It is his absolute favorite place to be. He would probably prefer a few less trees so he could spy on the neighbor a little more easily. He really likes the neighbor or his dog. I’m not sure which. But he can stare over there for ages. It’s quite embarrassing.)

Several years ago we stained/painted the deck. It has not held up well. Within a couple years it was peeling up, falling off, and getting stuck to our feet. But this was only happening to the horizontal surfaces. Plus the wood was just getting old. Like me. We decided this year was the year it had to go. In the interest of frugality and objecting to the American way of just tossing things that are still perfectly serviceable, we kept all railings. (The old boards will be repurposed into a “boardwalk” to the pond. Presently we have an ankle-breaking path made up of downed trees.) I actually really like the painted railings with the new wood look. And, that view isn’t too shabby either!

On Saturday I assisted with the deck project, attempting to unscrew the stairs and being mildly successful at it. This was NOT an easy task, and it aggravated the tennis elbow I’ve been dealing with for nearly a year now. (Which I did not get from playing tennis. I got it from weeding the garden. Because I’m getting old. And everything seems to cause some sort of ache, pain, or injury now.) So, thanks to elbow pain, I spent Sunday inside sewing.

I pulled out some fruit and veggie scraps and played around with those. I’m thinking of creating some sort of small, place mat-sized project to use on a plant table we have by our front door. I also dove back into my scrap boxes and started another scrappy lap quilt. You can see from the photos that Rosie did not approve of my arrangement of the blocks. I also spent some time corralling the scraps and at least it now looks like I have some sort of handle on the scrap situation.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing

Fabric Coasters

We’ve had a bit of an ongoing issue in our house. The offspring will fill a water glass, leave it on a surface, and walk away. I will then enter the room, see the glass, and put it in the dishwasher. They then return looking for their glass. Thus, I’ve been washing way more glasses than necessary.

Having an abundance of fabric scraps and an abundance of batting bits too small for most purposes, I decided to sew up a few fabric coasters to solve this glass situation. I have no idea why I didn’t think of this ten years sooner.

The main fabric was a 5 1/2″ square. I added a 1″ border to give the appearance of binding without actually having to mess with binding. I Wonder-Undered the letters on and added a blanket stitch along the edge of the letters.

I had quite a bit of sewing time this week. We’ve been doing a family book club with my parents and my brother and his significant other. We meet over Zoom, because that’s how everything’s done now. Anyway, I read the book but have also been listening to it on audiobook with my husband so he can “read” it while he works. We thought we needed to have the book finished by Wednesday, so we spent a lot of time listening this week. (We were wrong. Our next meeting is next week.) Along with the coasters, I finished a fourth baby blanket and finished (I think) all of the pieced triangles needed for a scrap project.

Quilting · Quilts · sewing

Scrappy Cat 2.0

My Scrappy Cat table runner used up a fair amount of the scraps I had left over from making a larger quilt that I will share in the future, but there were still so many scraps left. Since I love the way the fabrics look together, I wasn’t quite ready to split them up by color and relegate them to my scrap boxes. I knew I could get at least one more project out of them. I liked the way the table runner turned out and how cheerful it looked in the kitchen, so I decided to make something similar for the kitchen island. Rather than doing a long runner, though, as I would usually do, I decided to mix things up a bit.

Using the pattern for a block named “Memory” from Quilter’s Mix and Match Blocks, I made four blocks, each measuring approximately 12 inches. I used the cats as the focal point, placing them in the center of the block. As I was dealing with scraps and wasn’t paying close enough attention as I was fussy cutting, the cats did not end up exactly in the center of each square. I shrugged this off, knowing from experience as a cat owner that cats are often found where they shouldn’t be, and let them be off-center. (Note the photo of Belle. She’s on the kitchen table, where she doesn’t belong, daring me to tell her to move.)

I used the Folded Corner Clipper by Creative Grids, a very helpful tool that I just had to purchase after seeing it demonstrated at InterQuilten in Traverse City, Michigan. No more drawing sewing lines on fabric squares when making flying geese blocks or when adding a triangle to a corner? Sign me up. It also eliminates the need to cut off the extra bits after sewing AND gives you two leftover triangles that are more useful as the edges are nice and neat.

Not to waste the perfectly good opportunity that was presented when I trimmed off all those little triangles, I sewed them up as I was sewing the blocks for my project and they’ll be perfect for some other project someday. (See photo below. Aren’t they adorable?)

As I’m still attempting to purge more batting, I found a piece in my scraps that was just the right size for my project. Yea! For quilting, I’m using both white thread and the bright pink I used for the Scrappy Cat table runner. Check back soon to see the finished project!

Quilting · Quilts · sewing · Uncategorized

The Great Batting Purge of 2020

One of my goals for 2020 was to begin using up the piles of batting scraps that had taken over my sewing room. I had two giant storage totes and a couple of large bags full of batting. There were bits and pieces littering the table, gathering dust and cat hair on the closet shelves, and even hanging from the doorknob. It was a problem of epic proportions, and I had zero interest in finding ways to usefully purge the fluffy stuff from my life.

I set a tiny goal. Use up one small bag of bits and pieces. To start, I sewed two pieces together to make a piece large enough for my Scrappy Cat table runner. But what to do with the rest?

Then it came to me, in the dead of a chilly northern Michigan winter night. I would make a draft stopper for the front door. We’d been keeping things super classy for several years by using an old pillow to do the job. It was time for a change. As a bonus, I decided to use up some corduroy leftover from jumpers I had made for my daughters when they were small. (Note: While I didn’t mind sewing clothes for them when they were little, I really dislike sewing clothing and, aside from a pair of pajama pants now and then, I don’t do it!) I’d cut the scraps into 4″ squares ages ago with the idea of making some sort of quilt out of them. I chose three patterns and sewed together 4 rows of 19 squares.

Yes, 19!

This was going to be a massive draft stopper, a draft stopper of epic proportions to use up an epic amount of batting.

Before sewing the top and bottom row together to form a tube, I added a square to the side. This is a bit confusing to explain, so hopefully the photo will help. Basically, each edge of the square was sewn to the edge of each row, thus forming a long rectangular prism once the bottom and top row were joined and stuffing added. Once I sewed the squares on each end, I sewed the bottom and top row together, leaving an opening in the middle to insert the “stuffing.”

For the stuffing, I cut the less useful pieces of narrow batting into small chunks (creating a lot of lint and starting myself on the path to carpal tunnel syndrome in the process). When I finished I was surprised to see that I had barely made a dent in the batting problem.

What to do?

“Little” dog, Nevy, vomiting at 3 a.m. a couple nights later, provided me with a solution. His bed, which he had vomited on, now needed washed. I removed the cover and found the inner “pillow” in tatters. (Nevy likes his bed properly fluffed at night, and he vigorously attends to the task with single-minded determination before spinning around and settling in! Thus, the tattered bed. How the cover stayed in one piece, we will never know!) Guess whose bed is now filled with more batting? Guess whose batting situation has been reduced to one large tote of mostly useful pieces? (Side note: Nevy left his bed this morning and “Big” dog, Luna, decided to try it out. I think she liked it.)

Here’s the finished draft stopper. (Nevy found it confusing and scary when he first saw it!) How do you use up those itty-bitty batting scraps? All suggestions appreciated!

Quilting · Quilts · Uncategorized

Kind of Scrappy Table Runner part 2

I ‘m not judging your quilt binding skills.

I lied.

I am sooo judging your quilt binding skills. If you do that binding where it’s like you started a new piece of binding on each side of the quilt and didn’t do continuous binding with mitered corners, it’s like you just put the Mona Lisa in a cardboard frame. You wouldn’t do that, would you?!?

But, to be fair about all this, you can feel free to judge my quilting in the ditch skills. I keep to the ditch like a drunk on Live PD keeps their feet walking on the line during a sobriety test.

Speaking of quilting in the ditch…I added some of that to my scrappy cat table runner. After adding the outline quilting around the cat blocks and the hearts in what I’ll call the “plain” blocks, I felt that it needed just a bit more quilting to hold it all together.

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Then it was time for the binding. I have the most AMAZING tool for joining the binding at the beginning and ending point. My mom found it somewhere, I can’t remember where, bought one for each of us, and gave it to me for my birthday. I praise it to her just about every time I use it. If you don’t have the CutRite Bind Up, you need this in your life. (Note: No one is paying me to say this. Also note: I wish I had thought this thing up!)

I added a cute polka dot binding. (I cut my binding at 2-1/2.” Though I know others who prefer a narrower binding, I like having a bit extra to work with on the back side.) I hand-sewed it down on the back side of the runner. (Yet another note: I hate hand-sewing. With a passion. A great passion.)

Here’s the finished runner. I love how spring-y it looks on the table, and the colors are perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Quilting · Quilts · Uncategorized

Kind of Scrappy Table Runner

It’s gloomy out today, the roads are icy, and there’s a fire in the fireplace. I can’t think of any good reason to leave the house, which means it’s a perfect day to stay in and sew!

I’m calling this a “Kind of Scrappy” table runner because while I’m using up some scraps, they are all from the same fabric collection. I think to be truly scrappy a project needs to use a random selection of fabric bits that have been moldering in a box in a corner somewhere. (Do you have boxes like this? I’ve got a box, a small container, and a bowl of such random bits, plus bins of strips and squares that are just a bit too big to be official “scraps.”)

This project started out as a means to accomplish two things.

#1 – Use up some leftover fabric in a cute way.

And most importantly…

#2 – Use up some of the batting scraps that have multiplied like unsupervised rabbits. (You know those giant storage boxes? I have two of them stuffed full of batting bits that I can’t seem to part with.)

To start, I fussy cut 7 4″ squares, each with a cat centered in the middle. I really like my rotating cutting board. It makes fussy cutting so much easier. Then, I cut several 1-3/4″ strips to add to the top, bottom, and sides, to make a finished 6-1/2″ square.

Next, I cut 7 6-1/2″ squares from a complimentary fabric. Then I alternated sewing together a cat block with a 6-1/2″ square. I did two rows of seven blocks, making a runner that is approximately 42.5″ x 12.5.” You could always use less blocks for a smaller version.

Because one of my goals was to use up batting scraps, I sewed together two pieces of batting to make a piece large enough for this project. Then I sewed larger pieces of scraps together to make the backing. I have quilted around each cat square with bright pink thread and am using the same color thread to quilt large hearts in the floral blocks. Freezer paper pinned to a quilt makes a great quilting guide for those of us who have no skill making anything “free-motion” look like something other than squiggles.

Check back soon for photos of the finished table runner. I just have a bit more quilting to do and the binding to sew on. I can’t wait to put this on the table! It will add a touch of spring to these dreary winter days.