01 October 2020

WIPped Back into Shape

I absolutely cannot believe I whittled another notch off my WIP list last quarter, but as of 7:26 pm last night, My Little Angel Owls are no longer waiting for my longarm to take flight!

I'd crafted a backing out of some beautiful snowflake gradient fabric the day it arrived in the mail. Blue snowflake scraps I've been using to create my Moda Blockheads 2 project were incorporated. So the top was already layered and ready to go when I decided it would be next on the Finished list.

I loaded this baby onto the longarm before Lizard went into the hospital in August. I thought I'd be able to surf Instagram and Pinterest during 14 long days in the hospital to find a suitable continuous-line snowflake quilting design I might be able to adapt to the background of the quilt. I'd planned to outline the owls and their details.

I found a couple of cute designs, but the snowflakes were so... well, identical, I decided I might do better drawing my own. So I did!

However, the orange (because I needed it to show up on dark blue) quilt marking chalk I used to draw snowflake outlines didn't wash out on the first try, and I was far from happy camper. If I hadn't been through this process a time or two before when fabrics ran, you likely would see tear stains all over this quilt.

An internet search initially proved disheartening. Use the chalk eraser that came with the very expensive kit I bought at a quilt show many years ago FIRST, before washing. If that doesn't work, use a sponge and lightly rub the marks out BEFORE washing. Uh oh.

One suggestion was to try washing the quilt with vinegar. I have a ton of that on hand because of all the natural dyeing I used to do. Might as well put it to use. The vinegar removed most, but two fabrics retained markings.

Another suggestion was synthropol, which should be placed directly onto the fabric and gently scrubbed. I replace our toothbrushes every month, and today is new toothbrush day. So I used my September toothbrush to gently, then vigorously, scrub the remaining markings. Lizard for years has repurposed all our old toothbrushes for bike maintenance. This time, I get to keep my old one, and it's staying right on top of the washing machine, just in case I ever have to repeat this drill!

Next came hydrogen peroxide with a cotton swab. Now only one fabric still had tiny traces of stain, and most weren't orange anymore. So I could live with that. I tried Borax in the washing machine. Hints of orange remained on the light blue fabric. I gave straight up lemon juice a try.

AND THE STAINS CAME OUT!!! Hallelujah!!! Happy dance! Happy dance!

My freehand longarmed snowflakes, orange tinted or not, are far from perfect, but they are my own design, and they were yet more needed and excellent longarm practice. Eventually I will have a steadier hand driving Ringo.

Quilting took two nights. The quilt was ready to bind. However... with that predictively brilliant mind I posess, I used my snowflake fabric to stabilize the (dark boysenberry towel) backdrop for the gladiolus time lapse I've been shooting ALL friggin' week. !!!

This is the first time I've ever had glads in my garden, and I wasn't sure the blooms would keep going after our second overnight freeze of the pre- and actual autumn season. (Our first snowfall of the pre-season happened in late summer after a record high day, and I think the intense heat of the previous three weeks baked our rocks and bricks into an oven-like temperature, which then radiated to my plants and apparently kept them adequately warm in the 32-degree frosty night.) I clipped and vased a stem of tiny emerging dark purple buds, then aimed and set the camera and turned on the grow light for consistent exposure. The stems I left on the stalks outside did indeed survive, and they may bloom faster than their now indoor cousins!!! Blossoms seem to take so much longer to open once cut.

Because I couldn't get to the snowflake fabric without jiggling and perhaps even knocking over the vase, I decided to raid my Moda Blockheads stash once again. I'd done that a year ago when I framed the My Little Angel Owls panel. I have a cardboard box of scraps in each of the six basic colors, plus white, black, brown, multi, blue floral and blue snowflakes. Yes, I have three boxes full of blue fabric scraps. Only my green batik scraps take up more space; they are in a much bigger box!

I took every blue snowflake fabric piece wide enough to include in a binding, even if short, and in about three hours, I had nearly 30 feet of scrappy snowflake binding!

The best part, other than completing a quilt, of course, is having enough leftover scrappy snowflake binding to finish another quilt or two!!! This does mean I will have to dig into the blue snowflake fabric yardage to finish up the Blockheads project when I get back to it, but successfully using up scraps is such an adrenaline rush! Now, if that darned glad will just open, open, open!!!

Here's my quilt WIP list for the summer quarter:

1. Hawaiian Punch

2. Lizard Toes

3. Hexie Booboo

4. Tickled Pink, the Sequel

5. Teal Shadows

6. Goodbye Hollyhock Road

7. Snowflake Strip Bar

8. Green Floral Batik Postage Stamps

9. Giant Dahlia

10. Showcase

11. Snowbike II

12. Time for Me to Fly

13. Venetian Squiggles

14. Moda Blockheads

15. Tiny Triangle Leftovers

16. Matthew's Quilt

17. Charming Painterly Petals

18. Green Batik Leftovers Quilt-As-You-Go

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


  1. Great that you were finally able to get the stains out, even after the good old internet failed. Perseverance pays off.

    1. Thanks, Pat. Yes, I am SO glad I got the orange out!!!

  2. Congrats on an awesome finish!! and go you for staying with that stain removal process! you made my heart jump - and so glad it really did come out!!

  3. Toothbrushes are a necessity as are paint brushes. :-) The quilt turned out great!

  4. What a saga! The quilt back is a work of art in its own right. Awesome job quilting those snowflakes!

    I too keep an old toothbrush near the washing machine. :)


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