31 August 2017

Little Boy Blue Batiks

Boy quilt top Number 5 of 9 is done! Made entirely from leftovers of other projects, this Little Boy Blue Batiks top is Lizard's favorite of all the boy tops I've finished so far. Quilting should go fast when I get to that step, too. I will get done in time, and I will not be cramming at the last minute this year! That's a promise!

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts.

29 August 2017

Armed and Not So Dangerous

From April through July, I didn't get to ride. Instead, I walked along the greenway to the park and ride as often as I could, always armed with a camera.

I wasn't doing much on my computer throughout that time because mouse elbow prevented even minuscule enjoyment of photo retouching.

Now I'm back on my bike, and I'm starting to do some of the things I couldn't do while my arm was in so much pain, including developing a meaningful relationship with my new ergonomic mouse.

I try to stay off the computer for at least two hours before bed each night because I have trouble sleeping when I spend too much evening time staring at a computer screen.

I recently had no choice but to download my work camera. I got off work late, and I rode my bike home from the park and ride. It was nearly dark by the time I got home.

I don't have photo software at work anymore, so I have to process work photos at home. We had a brand new employee, and the new portrait had to be processed for a bus pass and for timely new hire announcements. While backing up the newly downloaded photos, I discovered literally hundreds of forgotten photos from last spring. Hundreds and hundreds of heavenly visions. My goodness, I just can't get to bed on time now because I can't stop looking at photos!

I hardly remembered so many of these! I've yet to make a dent in the tip of my digital iceberg. I think I'm going to have a cozy Photoshop winter...

28 August 2017

Snowflake Monday

Where did this month, summer and year go? Can you believe it's almost September?!?

I sure can't. It seems like just yesterday I was trying to figure out what I could do with my Snowflake Mondays while my crochet hand takes a healing break. And here we are, at the end of my first quiltalong. But, hey, it's a finish, so it's awesome, right?!?

The most difficult part of the quilting process for me has always been the trimming and squaring up after quilting to prepare for binding. Years ago, when I entered my very first quilt competitions (and shockingly got juried in, even though I had no clue, really, what I was doing), my entry was severely graded down because my edges were not completely, perfectly square. (Also received the memorable lone comment from one judge, "I like mitered corners" because I had not mitered my corners.) (Almost all my corners are mitered now, but still, back then, all I could think was, "What if I like the way I bound my quilt?" and "I'm only allowed to do it your way???")

My overall competition experience was positive because I tried to learn from each comment and set personal goals not to annoy the next quilt judges with the same errors or omissions. My quilting has come far, in my opinion, because of the snarkiness and/or pettiness of a few of the judges. I'm grateful I entered, I'm grateful I received comments that sometimes stung, and I'm sad the Denver National Quilt Festival has died and gone to wherever dead quilt shows go because it was a great learning experience each year, and it provided SO much inspiration and motivation. I wish I lived close enough to go to one of the other major quilt festivals each year because I miss the whole package, from meeting deadlines to standing in line for admission tickets and even shopping the exhibit's vendors.

Nevertheless, it remains difficult for me to this day to cut into a quilt because I'm terrified I might not get the lines completely straight or parallel or perpendicular. I guess it kind of feels like cutting off pieces of fingers or pieces of toes... It hurts!!!

Charmed By Snowflakes was no different. I spent a couple of days just admiring the unbound quilt instead of finishing it up right away because I fell to the temptation of procrastination. Because I didn't want to make any crooked cuts I'd layer regret!!!

About a year ago, I invested in a much bigger cutting board. It's too big to put on my dining room table. I have to use it on the floor. It's still not quite big enough to cut an entire quilt side in one easy slice... I still have to move the quilts two or three times each side. Yet it's better than the 23-inch square cutting board I'd been using for so long, I can actually see through some of the most popular cutting lines now. Ha ha!

I also hated having to cut off inches of quilted fabric and batting that might be suitable for nothing more than waste, although I do try to use as much of it as I can to stuff my amigurumi (which production slowed to a standstill when I developed mouse elbow last winter/spring). Sandy said she uses three inches of overlap so she can use it as binding after trimming her quilted masterpieces. Brilliant! I'm going to try that method with the next quilt I finish, if I have enough fabric to go that big. Simply brilliant!

I've read somewhere in the last couple of years that one of the professional quilters I admire most (but can't remember now which one) cut her binding at 2 inches because she likes a narrow border. I'd always done 2.5 to 3 inches because I like a thick border, and I have to confess I do like 3-inch bindings the best.

I also used to sew all my bindings onto the front of the quilt by machine, and then hand sew the binding to the back. When I'm trying to finish so many quilts per year, I don't have time for the hand-sewing at all, so I have been using the machine to attach both edges of the binding. I've used internet tutorials from Crazy Mom Quilts (my favorite), Cluck Cluck Sew and Missouri Star Quilt Company.

I did not use a bias binding for this quilt. I don't use bias bindings most of the time. It depends upon how much binding fabric I have and how much time I have to create the binding. Most everything I do these days is on a deadline, and I've never had trouble attaching a straight-cut binding. I do, however, join my binding strips together on the bias.

I do, however, save my triangles!!! One day, I'm going to have a magnificent scrappy triangle quilt!

I also save the leftover binding. I figure one day I can do a scrappy binding on a really scrappy quilt with all my binding leftovers.

I measured around the quilt to determine how much binding I need (circumference around the quilt plus about 10 to 15 inches for good measure) and did not write it down so don't have a hard number to record here.

I selected one of my dark snowflake fabric remnants that had enough yardage to bind the entire quilt, did the math on a calculator and cut 6 3-inch strips, then sewed the strips together to make one long binding. I then pressed the seams flat, then pressed the entire binding in half.

I do not have a walking foot, so I use my regular presser foot. I attach the binding to the back of the quilt, starting in about the middle of any side, leaving about a 9-inch tail. Using the corner method Jenny shares on the above tutorial, I work all the way around, then mark the two binding tails with a chalk marker, cut, join and press the 10 or so inches of unattached binding. I sew on the rest of the binding, then turn the quilt over and machine sew the front side down.

Voila! A finished Charmed by Snowflakes quilt!

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts.

25 August 2017

Friday Funny

I wish I'd seen this last week so I could have shared the "spoiler" BEFORE the eclipse...

24 August 2017

Triple Treat

2017 Finishes as of August 17

One of my goals this year was to not start any new quilts until I finished 10 on my WIP list. That goal didn't take into account I need 9 boy quilts by Christmas, or Thanksgiving if at all possible, and that very few of the lap- or bed-size quilts on my WIP list are suitable for boys.

Another of my goals is to not increase the stash too much with new fabric acquisitions until I finish 10 quilts on my WIP list, a goal in serious jeopardy whenever I see a really good sale...

I recently shared my method for quick sashing during my Snowcatcher Snowflake Quiltalong, and I whipped up a quick boy-appropriate quilt top using nothing but existing stash and leftovers for the tutorial.

I call it Lava Beds.

The ease with which this came together got me thinking about other boy-appropriate quilt tops I could quickly whip up using just existing 10-inch blocks in my stash and leftovers plus the same sashing method for one of them, with a few little creative twists.

I finished three quilt tops the next week! Four down, five to go!

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts.
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