A little more progress

I’m slowly adding the borders/sashing to join the Ocean quilt blocks together.  I was able to pick up the additional blue batik fabrics earlier in the week.  The idea is to have deep blues at the bottom for the depths of the sea and then get lighter as the “water” gets shallower up near the beach blocks.

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I’m planning on quilting this in pieces so I can really maneuver around the creatures to highlight their details.  So the shark is now one big block with its borders, for example, and the manta ray and angel fish are another rectangular piece.  There will be seven separate rectangles to quilt – much easier than wrestling the whole thing at once.  I’ll add pieces of batting, quilt them, and then seam them together into one big top.

I would be further along if the puppy would stop racing in, grabbing scraps, and racing back out again to chew them to bits in the living room. Puppy sitting and sewing don’t go together well, especially with a not entirely housetrained puppy.

IMG_8254We also took some frisbee tossing breaks.  Every rare moment without rain is cherished by dog and human alike!

 

 

Cityscape

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In an effort to actually finish one of the languishing WIPs in my closet, yesterday I pulled out a wall hanging I started quite a while ago and ordered myself to complete it.

The inspiration was a picture of a painted door that I came across on Pinterest, and followed to this  Flickr account.  I don’t have a lot of my own creativity, so you’ll see that mine is very similar to the inspiration, but in cloth rather than paint.

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Picture from Flickr: Ahrabella Heabe Lewis

I finished the majority of this quilt more than a year ago, but then got stuck on the finishing details.  After doing black-on-black embroidery for each window, I bogged down.  I wasn’t certain how I wanted to do the rest, didn’t want to screw it up, and just generally dithered until it got buried beneath other projects. This time I was determined to just get it accomplished and not worry about wrecking it with my not so smooth finishing skills.

I started with free motion stitching around the trees.

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I went around each one twice to make it more “sketchy” so that my wobbles would look purposeful rather than inept.

It was quickly apparent that the bobbin color mattered.  I did this tree twice, first with a light bobbin thread and after ripping it out, with a darker thread.

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I couldn’t bring myself to load a multitude of bobbins with the many thread colors that I needed, but I did use four different bobbins in the end to make the shade fit the top threads better.

My friend Paige very generously gave me a bag full of Gutermann 100 meter spools a while back which included a lot of greens and teals which were perfect for most of the trees.

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The city buildings and the clouds were next.  The straight edges of the Kona cotton fabric have frayed quite a lot with all the folding and unfolding over the course of this project, so I’ll have to clip and clean up.  The batik parts held up much better.

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I quilted the details without the backing on; I usually do this with wall hangings.  It looks tidier on the back that way when it is done.  I did wait to do the edge stitching on the hills until the backing was added so that it would be anchored in place.

This is what the messy back of the batting side looked like before the backing was added.  Is it weird that I really like it?

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I didn’t want the frame that binding would create, so I just sewed the backing on right-sides-together and then turned it right side out.  I’m mulling whether to add edge stitching – I usually do to further stabilize everything, but I like the really unobtrusive edge this has now without any.

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The finished cityscape reminds me of both Israel and Italy, the first two places my husband and I lived when we met and then were first married.  The trees make me think of the Italian cypresses, and the blocky city buildings and dry hills say Israel to me.  The blue sky works for either!

My sister was also a fan of the door design and had me help her make a wall quilt of her own at the same time I was making mine, but – as always – she put her own twist into hers.

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That poor city doesn’t know what is about to befall it.

 

 

Angel fish

I completed the last paper pieced block for my younger son’s Ocean quilt today.  It is a fairly simple double angelfish block from Silver Linings.

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I added a little more fabric to the top and bottom to elongate the block.  I went ahead and added some more of the sand fabric to the crab block from earlier to make it bigger as well.

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This isn’t a great picture – the lower section isn’t as dark as it looks.  I couldn’t get far enough away to squeeze it all into the picture without screwing up the lighting.

I’ve rearranged the blocks yet again since this picture to put all the beach blocks in the top row.  And there will likely be more adjustments as I pull it all together.

As you can see, I’ve started to add some of the sashing fabric – the plan is to have dark sashing at the bottom for the deep sea, medium blues in the middle and light blues at the top for the shallows. But this is going to mean a trip to the fabric store as I don’t have enough of the medium or light batiks.

Luckily spring break just started for me, so there will be lots of time for fabric stores and quilting projects!  My sewing goal for the week is to get this quilt top fully put together and get one of the pinned sandwiches in my WIP pile to a fully finished quilt.

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More progress on the Oceans quilt for my younger son!

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I got the dolphins block finished last week. I made some color choices that didn’t work out that well, making the dolphin on the right a little hard to see against the background, but I’m hoping quilting will help with that. And he liked it, which is the main thing.

Apparently I got so caught up in it that I forgot to take progress pics. Assume it looked pretty much like the pictures from the block I started next – cutting out the pattern pieces and then sewing various pieces of batik and marbled fabric to them:

This next block has sharp teeth!

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I’ve been using different blues for the watery background for each block.  I cut it too close this time and at the end had to piece together small scraps to make slightly larger scraps.  And even then I had to make one sliver of ocean from pieces that had the waves going in the wrong direction.  Frustrating, but I wasn’t about to start over at that point!

The pic on the right below is all I had left to put on the final small pieces.  I also snuck in a bit of another dark blue in small places where I didn’t think it would be noticeable.

The next to last step last step is trimming each piece to with a quarter inch seam allowance.  It takes a while with so many pieces.  As I trim I lay them out in the general arrangement in which they’ll be sewn to make it easier to find each piece as I need it.

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And the final result – a fierce denizen of the deep:

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This block was designed by the same person who did the Oceans block of the month quilt that the dolphins came from but it wasn’t part of that QAL.  But he really wanted a shark, so I added this one from her designs on Craftsy.

I think the quilt needs just one more block and then I can start putting them all together.

The arrangement so far, though it may change again:

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Clue 3 – Surrounded by Scraps

Today I worked on the third clue of Charlotte Hawkins mystery quilt-a-long, called Surrounded by Scraps.  She was delayed in posting the clue by a massive windstorm that knocked out her internet, along with a lot of trees and other people’s power lines.    They are recovering now from that storm, so it was on with the sewing.

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Clue 1 had us sewing little 4 and 9 patches.  In Clue 3 these joined together with some background rectangles to become larger squares.

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The other part of the clue finally used the larger squares we’d cut.

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My background fabrics are scrappy as well as the darker pattern fabric, and I’ve been a little worried that it dilutes the contrast between the two.  I’m still not sure after finishing this clue.  Maybe I should have stuck with a solid or near solid background?

Here are all the blocks so far.  It will be mid April before we get another clue.

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Adding to the yarn stash

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve made some progress in moving fiber from the spinning piles to the yarn stash.

First is the Polwarth/silk yarn I finished at the early March finishing weekend, off the bobbin, wet finished, dried and in its final skein.

From this:

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To this:

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Over the last week I also plied and finished this humbug BFL fiber that I dyed back in January.

These:

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Became these:

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This makes 1.6 lbs. spun this year.  My goal is 6 lbs. so I need to pick up the pace a little bit, but my goal is definitely doable.

In knitting news, I’ve also started to work on a new cowl, practicing the two color brioche stitch that my friend taught us.  I started with a scarf, but didn’t like the way the edges were going, and I prefer cowls and shawls to straight scarves anyway, so I ripped it back and cast on for a cowl instead.

It is fairly simple now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, so this will be good mindless TV knitting.

 

We interrupt the silence to bring you a smidgeon of crafting news

Life has gotten a bit crazy lately.  We’ve spent a lot of our non-working/sleeping time house hunting, and now we are in the throes of house buying, with all the paper gathering and emails and phone calls that entails.  In the meantime, the kids still needed to eat and have clean clothes and get to track and Cub scouts and who knows what.  Some balls have been dropped, and getting anything crafty done has been one of those balls.

But I did abandon my responsibilities last weekend for another trip to join my fibery friends.  We rented a place through AirBnB and raced off through the rain storms to catch the ferry to Anderson Island for the weekend.

 

There was a lot of spinning on my part.  I finished the blue two ply yarn in the pic below, and filled another bobbin with the third single I needed to make another yarn.  I also worked on the I-cord edging on my Volt wrap.

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There was also a lot of learning.  Paige taught us all how to do two color brioche knitting, and Leslie 2 was quick enough at it to knit a shoulder wrap/cowl thing.

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We also learned it takes a great deal of junk food (and pineapple cider) to fuel so much creative effort.

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It was hard to leave and go back to the real world.  But we had a satisfying pile of progress to show for it.

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