31 July 2017

Snowflake Monday

Last week, I invited readers to participate in a snowflake quiltalong. In the list of required materials if making the same basic charm square quilt as I am making, I said I'd be using at least 49 snowflake charm squares which I had cut from my blue snowflake fabric stash at least couple of years ago (and 36 focus/background fabric then yet-to-be-cut charm squares).

preparing to cut my own focus/background fabric charm squares

Once I began piecing, I realized 7x7 snowflake blocks I'd planned to do would not be quite big enough. I wanted to maintain an uneven number of snowflake blocks across horizontally and vertically, so I jumped up to 9x9, and my heavens, adding two rows was such a huge jump! I had to cut more charm squares from both the snowflake fabrics and my focus fabric!

My working name for this WIP for years has been Charmed by Snowflakes. It just got a whole lot more charming!

To make the same size quilt I am making, the project now requires 81 snowflake (or other theme) charm squares and 64 focus/background fabric charm squares. It might also require more than two yards of backing, but I had planned all along to use snowflake fabrics from my stash to fill in if the 2 yards I bought is not enough. (I am pretty sure now it won't be enough. Three yards might be required if you don't want to piece your back and you are making the same size quilt as mine.)

I also forgot about the triangles for the edges of the on-point rows. My first quiltalong, and two major changes in just the first week. Let's hope I've got my act together now and don't have to make any more fabric requirement changes or upgrades...

To make the same on-point quilt I am making the same size I am making it, you will need to cut 8 5.5x5.5-inch blocks from the focus/background fabric, which will then be cut in half diagonally into 16 quilt border triangles. You also will need one 6x6-inch block, which will then be cut in half diagonally twice to make 4 quilt corner triangles.

cutting blocks for border triangles

I hadn't initially planned to duplicates of any of the snowflake fabrics in this quilt. Making it larger made multiples necessary.

One of the ways I increased the variety of snowflake charm squares was to applique crocheted snowflakes to three non-snowflake blocks. I have a stack of blue solid, gradient and tone-on-tone charm squares left over from another project years ago, and I selected a cobalt blue batik, a Stonehenge gradation and a fairy frost. I would have used more applique squares, but apparently I gave away most of my finished white snowflakes last Christmas (to Children's Hospital, no regrets), and I guess I haven't made many white snowflakes this year. All I could find that were small enough were three.

In the past, I have hand appliqued my crocheted snowflakes. This quilt will be for a specific Frozen-adoring granddaughter, and I wanted to make sure the crochet snowflakes would stand the test of time and youth. So I appliqued them by machine.

First I glued each snowflake in place, eyeballing the centering. I used school glue because it washes out. One of the snowflakes had been stiffened with liquid starch, and that will wash out, too. However, it did make the sewing machine work harder to penetrate the layers.

Whenever I applique crocheted snowflakes, by hand or machine, I use sewing thread to match the snowflakes. That way, the stitches don't show.

I sew a circle on the inside of the snowflake to hold the center in place, following the first or second round of stitches if I can, and then I outline the outer edges of the snowflake, making sure to catch every single picot so the snowflake (hopefully) won't ever be pulled off.

If the inside of the snowflake has designs such as hearts or smileys, I also stitch around those to keep them in place and to maintain their shape. I pull the loose threads through to the back side of the fabric, tie knots and I DON'T trim the ends off. The loose ends are going to be buried in the quilt, and they aren't going to show through with blue fabric, white snowflakes and white thread. Just a little more insurance the snowflakes will stay in place.

After getting all the blocks arranged on the floor (because I don't have a design wall), I've begun sewing blocks together in diagonal rows. Make sure to clip your dog ears and loose thread ends.

Remember last week when I said I'd also begun cutting up blue scraps for a little boy quilt? Guess what happens when you have two projects going on at the same time in the same place...

Luckily, I noticed before I finished this row and was able rescue the sea life out of the deep freeze before they became landlocked!

Sashing could have been an option to increase the size of a 7x7 quilt, but I'd already decided not to sash these blocks. I had promised to show how I sash blocks, so I'll take a tiny detour from exclusively snowflakes next week just long enough to share the sashing process on a different quilt, this one with 10-inch layer cake blocks. It's a super easy and quick method that produces a child-size quilt with just 12 squares and approximately 10 44-inch jelly roll strips.

So if you are sewing along and plan to sash your blocks, hold tight just seven more days, and we'll get that sashing done.

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

28 July 2017

Friday Funny

We recently were awakened by an unusual alarm clock. Guess I'm not going to leave the birdfeeder out overnight anymore...

27 July 2017

Scrappy Blue Block-a-Day

That was my scrap collection two years ago, when I got serious about using up my scraps instead of buying new fabric.

This is my scrap collection now...

Much of the collection is due to finishing existing WIP projects. Good thing, right??? Little did I know when I started trying to finish what I've started that my scrap collection was going to exponentially multiply and replenish our home!

At the beginning of the year, I began yet another Block a Day goal, using selected patterns from this year's calendar.

My only rule was scraps only. I could not purchase new fabrics for this project. The largest portion of my scraps is blue, so I decided to do scrappy blue blocks.

When the calendar featured block designs I didn't care to make, I used up existing blue scraps in whatever manner suited the shapes already cut - many triangles, even more strips and strings, and a few squares here and there.

This block was so overgrown, I ended up using it in the backing of Peacock Blues back in March.

As the weeks progressed, I was astounded that I might be able to create an entire quilt of scraps that actually work together using block patterns that were not necessarily designed to work together. As the blocks multiplied, I thought this might be appropriate for a grandchild or grandchild sibling. (Adoptions involved.) I'm trying to finish 15 quilts by Christmas. So far, I've finished 4 quilts and 7 more quilt tops. This is the 7th flimsy.

When I began incorporating my own blocks into this top, I didn't realize not all 12-inch blocks are created equal. One was 11.5 inches, a couple were 12 inches, a couple were 12.5 inches, and the blocks I created using the shapes of the remnants I used were 14 inches.

This same thing happened last year when I finished piecing Blue Floral Nostalgia, which includes some of the same fabrics as Scrappy Blue Block-a-Day. I'd started that quilt at least two decades ago, before I had proper tools, and the old blocks ranged from 11.5 to 12.5 inches. The templates I used to make the finishing blocks last year resulted in 13-inch squares.

For that top, which probably won't be a kid gift, I evened out the blocks by adding various sized sashing to each of the old blocks.

I repeated that process with Scrappy Blue Block a Day, trying to make the sashing look like it was part of the block and not sashing (math required!!!) except for the center block and two of the four corner blocks. Two of the corner blocks were already the right size, 14 inches, and I added darker corners to just two sides of the other two to create an outer-edge photo album-like frame around the four corners. Remember the photo corners we used to insert new photos in our big, heavy albums before cling pages came around?

I'm thrilled with the scrappy composition of this new top! If it wasn't going to a grandkid, I'm not so sure I'd be able to give this one away.

I still haven't made a dent in my scrap boxes, but if I can keep creating quilt tops that look this good with just scraps, I don't mind having plenty of scraps to last a while!

Oh, and somewhere between blocks for this project, I used fabric purchased in Durango during Ride the Rockies to make another bandana for Lizard. I owed him a birthday present. To bad he couldn't wear this one during Ride the Rockies! Maybe next year...

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

25 July 2017

Terrible Twosday

I stayed up late last Tuesday night trying to finish up a couple of blog posts. I thought I was all done for a couple of weeks.

Apparently, I shouldn't schedule blog posts when I'm tired, which I was. We'd just returned from an out-of-state wedding that was half flight and half road, and the flight leg of our trip turned out to be not the kind of non-stop we thought we'd be getting. Our two-hour flight turned into a six-hour ordeal each way when the airline apparently couldn't sell enough seats for the short flight and ended up triangulating a detour through a major city about 1,200 miles away from where we intended to go.

At least we didn't have to change planes.

Sunrise Aboard a 737

The four-hour road trip after getting off the plane on Day One and then again 38 hours later for the return trip back to the airport to fly home (via the big out-of-the way city again), left me just a little off kilter, I suppose. And well, the Wordless Wednesday I scheduled for tomorrow ended up posting the same day as another Wordless Wednesday that had already been scheduled. Yuppers, twofer the price of one. A double dip.

So does that mean I don't have to run another Wordless Wednesday tomorrow? Since I'm sort of one ahead???

My brother got wrangled into carrying all the purses while the female members of the wedding party got ready.

I didn't think so. Good thing I always have plenty of other photos, even though they might not all be recent.

One of the highlights not wedding-related was our first visit to Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. It wasn't a national monument when I lived there, and I wasn't a mountain climber back then.

Needless to say, our time was VERY limited, so we didn't get to explore, but we were serenaded (or scolded) by a curved-bill thrasher. This is not my movie, but I wanted to hear the song again because it was so spectacular. (A commenter on the video says the bill of this bird is not curved and therefor not a curved-bill. But the songs remains the same. Yeah, someone else made that phrase famous.)

I hadn't planned to write about the wedding, but there were moments that shouldn't be wordless. So perhaps all's well that ends well.

My brother frightened and shocked the bridesmaid by pretending she poked him when pinning on his boutonnière.

Another humorous wedding moment in need of words is the room service tray we found outside the groom's and best man's room the day of the wedding. Another wedding had just taken place, and the bridal suite down the hall had a room service tray outside the door that strongly contrasted what the boys devoured for lunch.

The hotel spelled my brother's and the bride's surname wrong.

The cute two-year-old flower girl was the center of attention most of the time. She often refused to cooperate with the photographer (which was not me, for this particular occasion). (But she didn't always pose for me, either...)

She was supposed to deliver the Unity Ring (a decorated hula hoop) to the bride and groom at the end of the ceremony, which was supposed to be outside, but rain poured and poured and poured. The flower girl wailed and wailed and wailed when the wedding officiator tried to take her hula hoop. So the bride and groom skipped that part of the ceremony.

I'd decided not to take the big camera and all the associated lenses because I wasn't the official photographer this time around, and I wanted to go light.

The smaller (all automatic) point-and-shoot camera is like a two-year-old wedding party member who doesn't always cooperate. It doesn't always know where to focus and doesn't care.

Yes, even photographers like me produce mistakes like that!!!

Nevertheless, the wedding was beautiful, the bride and groom are happy as can be, and I'm so thrilled to be home!

Related Posts with Thumbnails