So sick of this quilt

After over three years, my son’s long wait is over – I finished his Oceans quilt.

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There are many hours of happy sewing on this quilt.  I really loved the process of putting the many blocks together.  Paper piecing became a favorite activity.  I’m in awe of Janeen Van Niekerk and Linda Hibbert’s abilities to design the block patterns.  The jigsaw puzzle aspect of getting the blocks to fit together was fun.

But I am so, so sick of this quilt.  I can barely look at it, folded up on the sewing pile.  I don’t want to see blue batik fabric again for a very, very long time, to the point that I may cover bury it under some yellow and orange yardage.

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It isn’t like I didn’t sew a lot of other things in between Ocean bouts.  That’s why it took three years!  But for the last few months, even when I was working some other project, I couldn’t escape it.  Either a nagging little voice in my head said I needed to get back to it, or a large nagging voice standing next to me in the form of my younger son declared that I obviously didn’t love him since I hadn’t finished his quilt.  (He is good with the guilt, that boy!)  Pulling fabric for other quilts, surfing quilts on Pinterest and blogs, working on little sewing projects or knitting lace – I felt like I was neglecting a duty the whole time.

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But now it is done!  I’m free again!

If I ignore all the other unfinished WIPs . . .

But at least they don’t have a representative family member to harangue me about them.

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And, it turned out just as I pictured it in my head, and more importantly, how my son pictured it in his head.

We chose fabrics that lightened from bottom to top, like the ocean does from deep to shore.  I quilted it in two ways – individual outlining and details for the creatures, and wavy water lines to suggest waves for the background.  I changed thread colors (when I remembered) from deep navy to a lighter blue as I progressed up as well.

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Even a potential disaster turned into a plus.  When I washed and dried it to bring out the crinkles, I forgot to put a color catcher sheet in, and the dark red fabric pieces bled just a little.  It didn’t really show in most areas unless you look really closely, but around the mouth of the shark, the white jaw got a little bit of a red stain.  My son and I agreed that it made it look even more vicious, the little suggestion of bloody teeth.  He’d actually asked me once to embroider on some blood, so he was really happy about it.

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This quilt is going to get used a lot.  It may not survive all the washings for very long, and I know for a fact that a dog is likely to sleep on it while its boy sleeps under it.  But however long or short its life, this quilt is going to be well used and well loved, which is the point of it all, right?

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Ocean sewing

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To my son’s joy,  I’ve finally completed the Oceans quilt top.  I think he wasn’t sure that he would ever see this day!  All the blocks are sashed, quilted, and sewn together.  I started this quilt back in 2015, part of a QAL from Quilt Art Designs, so it is great to finally see it coming into the home stretch.

For the most part in the quilting I just outlined the creatures, and then added some internal details.  The sea lion pup finally got his whiskers, for example.

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I tried to make sure that there weren’t any areas too large that went without quilting. I don’t want this thing to come apart in the wash after all this effort!  But I didn’t do any quilting on the sashing yet, as I plan to add lines to look like actual waves once I’ve done the sandwich.

After the quilting, I sewed the blocks together with a slightly wider seam.  After pressing the seams open, I don’t think the extra lines of thicker batting is going to be noticeable in the finished quilt.  There are places in the paper pieced blocks that are thicker/stiffer feeling due to the many tiny pieces having overlapping layers.

I also got the back pieced.

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Now, of course, my son has started nagging about getting the pinning done.  He definitely keeps me on track!

Snow day, the sequel

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We got another inch or two of snow over night, which combined with all the hills and the lack of equipment for snow means another snow day today for my district.

I am prepared!

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The best part is that the kids’ district didn’t close, just has a late start.  So I’m going to get a few hours in the house all to myself!

During yesterday’s work reprieve I dug out a box with my youngest son’s quilt-in-progress that hasn’t seen the light of day in many, many months.  The pointed comments about chilly weather, upcoming birthdays, parental neglect, and brothers who already have quilts finally got to me.  Who knew a 10 year old could be so naggy?

When last seen, the Ocean quilt was in the process of having borders added to all the creature blocks. That was April of last year! So yesterday I finished that up.

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I still have no design wall, but a bare floor area in the living room is working for now.

The idea my son and I worked out is that the blue stashing gets lighter as the quilt goes from creatures in the depths of the ocean to those on the sand.

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Adding the sashing is easy enough, like the world’s thickest log cabin rounds.  (I love the fabric being added in the bottle picture above, because I think it looks like sea anemones.)

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Some of the blocks still had the paper backing on them, so that gave me some Olympics TV time as I removed all of that.

At long last (I started this quilt in January, 2015) this project has reached the ready-to-quilt stage.  A big, sarcastic Finally! from my son is still ringing in my ears.

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I am intimidated by the idea of doing detailed quilting on the creatures while wrestling all the bulk of a big quilt, so I’m going to try quilting them in smaller blocks and then attaching the blocks and putting on the backing.  It will definitely be more maneuverable under my sewing machine harp.  My current plan is to quilt just the creatures, and then, after assembling it, put the background quilting in so that the backing is quilted also. Fingers are crossed.

If I lose courage, I can always go work on the snow fort.

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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!

 

 

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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Feeling a little crabby

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I forgot to blog this little creature when I made him last week.  He is now my favorite block for the Oceans quilt!  I love the shadow effect.

This block is not from the Oceans BOM, but it fits the theme perfectly.  I got the pattern from Silver Linings.

I mixed the sand fabrics because I didn’t have quite enough of the polka dots left.  I like the two tone effect better anyway. I had only these scraps left when I was done:

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There were also some extremely tiny paper pieces!  This pattern came without the seam allowances, so some of them were so small it was hard to hold on to them.

As usual, my backs are rather a mess of paper bits and crisscrossing seams.  In the face area there are so many folded layers so close together that it got really thick and stiff.

I love the results, and I would definitely buy another of this designer’s patterns.  In fact there are a couple of fish I have my eye on.