Saturday, August 7, 2021

Summer Break Projects - Part 5, Some Quilty Finishes

A couple of weeks ago, after I finished the Scraptastic quilt, I suddenly remembered that I had a whole pile of quilt tops that needed to be quilted, so I started digging through the bin where I keep them. I gathered a giant pile of quilts that were ready for finishing. In addition, I found some blocks that needed to be turned into quilts.
I found 40 of these Raspberry Kisses blocks from a block swap I did in 2017. They are beautiful blocks. I didn't get any of the ones I made back, so none of these are mine. It was a simple matter to put these together and make a quilt.
I also found these 10 blocks from a bee my quilt guild did - probably about the same time. As queen bee, I requeste feathers with bright colors and low volume backgrounds. Since I never made my two blocks, and most of these are so different, this one is going to take a bit more thought and prep to put it together. It is still on my design wall. We will probably revisit this one another day.
I took a day and went up to my church where there is lots of floor space where I can lay the quilts out flat and sandwich them. Sandwiching is my least favorite part of the quilting process. As I get older, sandwiching gets harder. My knees just hate crawling around on the floor, and I don't like pinning or spray basting. However, it is a necessary part of the process and has to be done, so I just have to get on with it every once in awhile. Quilts like this little dancing pinwheels baby quilt are easy to sandwich. Larger ones are more difficult. I ended up sandwiching - or partially sandwiching - 11 quilts. that day. I ran out of backs (I was using sheets) so I didn't get completely finished. Some of them came home partially sandwiched, and I had to piece some scraps together to get enough to back the quilt. It was tricky, but ended up going suprisingly well.
I actually don't mind quilting them on my domestic machine. I have a Bernina 750 which has a large throat, and makes simple quilting jobs pretty easy. I quilted the double diamonds quilt with pebbles - or maybe we should call them stones, since the pebbles are quite a bit larger than what we usually think of when we say pebbles.
I also managed to get one of the green wonky/improv log cabins quilted. I did a simple meander design on this one and it went pretty fast. I can usually do a throw quilt in 3 to 4 hours.
Of the 11 quilts I backed that day, I have finished 3 so far, - the dancing pinwheels baby quilt, this double diamonds quilt,
and the green log cabin. Since I can't do the project I had planned for "just before I go back to school," I hope I'll get a couple of others completed too.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Summer Break Projects - Part 4 - A Bunch of Scrappy Quilts

Last year, in the midst of the Covid-19 mask-making, scrub-making chaos, I also finished a number of quilt tops. I frequently used the quilt blocks as a reward: "If you make 50 masks, you can make a quilt block." In addition, I was determined to clean out the scrap boxes, most of which were overflowing.
I started with the green basket. I have an online friend who goes by @simplegirlsimplelife on Instagram, who posted several times about how she uses her scraps to make scrappy log cabin quilts. I decided to follow her example.
These wonky/improv log cabin blocks go pretty fast, and I had not one, but TWO quilt tops made in a few days. That pretty well took care of the greens - for awhile.
Then I started on the pinks. I made another wonky/improv log cabin first.
Then I decided to branch out, and started making patchwork heart blocks.
This made a pretty fun quilt. Best of all, all of these are entirely out of my scrap bins. You can see from the top photo that I was working on the pinks in the midst of the mask chaos.
Later in the summer, after Abby made the quilt for her granny I used the scraps to make the double diamond quilt. I probably have enough scraps left from this bundle to make another quilt, but I'll save that for another day.
I made the butterfly quilt from random scraps too. Honestly, the more I look at this one, the less I like it, but maybe I will like it better when it's quilted. I saw the pattern online and couldn't wait to make it. It's not that it didn't turn out well, it's just... I don't know what exactly.
Then I made the Sunny Side Up quilt from a kit my daughter put together in her shop. (If you don't follow @a.craftyfox on Instagram, you're missing a visual treat. Her quilts, kits, and photos are so amazing. (She definitely did not get those skills from me!). This wan wasn't using up scraps exactly, but definitely scrappy.
All this piecing last year - with not much quilting of the resulting tops - left me with a huge pile of unquilted tops. So, earlier this summer, I decided I'd better do something about that. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Summer Break Projects - Part 3 - Dancing Pinwheels

Do you ever have reality staring you right in the face and almost miss it? I have known for several months that I needed to make a quilt for a friend who was going to have a baby boy this summer. I would think, "I need to order a bundle of blues from some fabric shop," and even go look for blue bundles, but I never actually ordered one. When my daughter began assembling squares for her scrappy quilt, she commented on how many scraps I have - particularly blues. I have two whole bins of blue scraps. Suddenly it hit me - I really DON'T need to order fabric. So I went through the bins and assembled some scraps, added some white from the bolt I keep in the stash, and started making pinwheels.
When I got them up on the design wall, I thought, "That's pretty boring. They need sashing." I decided to do sashing on two sides and rotate the blocks, creating a "Dancing Pinwheels" design. I decided I liked it better.
It didn't take long to quilt this 48" x 48" baby quilt. I quilted loops - which reminded me of the wind - and it went very fast. I bound it in the same blue stripe I've used so often lately (I'll be very sad when I run out!) Even better, the quilt was scrappy, and therefore "free," which makes me happy. And the finished quilt was gifted this past weekend.

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Summer Break Projects - Part 2 - A Limerick Quilt

In early March, my daughter put together a Quilt-and-Read Along on Instagram. I had plenty of greens and lots of low volumes, and when Spring Break began, I was anxious for a project that did not include Google Meet, or screens of any kind. I started cutting. By the end of Spring Break, I had all the blocks made - or thought I did. And best of all, since I had the fabrics stashed already, this quilt (in my mind, at least) was "free".
Right before the end of the school year, I managed to get most of the blocks put together. This pattern looks so complicated, but when you follow Amanda's Limerick Pattern it's super easy. She gives great tips and directions for making this process go fast.
Once I finished the scrappy quilt, I decided the next job was to finish the Limerick quilt. The top was together after all, and it only needed borders. Unfortunately, whereas I thought I had all the blocks made, I had been wondering why I has so many low volume rows left over. The answer was that I hadn't made ANY of the low volume border blocks, and hadn't put the outside row of low volumes on the green blocks. Oops. And even worse, I had allowed the grands to create with the LV strip sets, and had even taken some apart for my scrap quilt, totally ignoring that voice in my head that said, "Are you sure???" It turned out OK, of course. I have bins and bins of scraps, and an entire 1 cubic foot bin of low volume scraps. Scraps were thereby obtained, cut up, sewn together, and placed in the correct positions on the quilt, and a (very large) quilt was born. It is currently sandwiched and awaiting its turn to be quilted. I love these greens. They are so fresh and clean. And the low volumes add so much dimension. If you want a tutorial on how to choose low volumes for your next project, check out @a.crafty.fox on Instagram. It's in her stories.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Summer Break Projects - Part 1 - Two Finishes and a Scraptastic Quilt

As we all know, this past school year was a difficult one, and although my Harry Potter quilt came back from the quilter in December, it was summer break before I managed to get it bound.
I also got my Single Girl quilt back from the quilter this spring. I decided I wanted to make this one in 2011, and actually started it in 2014. I put it together in 2017, I think, and just managed to get it to the quilter this year when I saw someone else post a photo of their Single Girl on Instagram. It was obvious that if I waited to quilt it myself it would be another 10 years. There was just something very intimidating to me about this quilt from start to finish. This one got bound at the beginning of summer. I hope to get the quilt husband to let me take some photos soon.
My daughter made this stunning scrap quilt this spring, and then started another one while she was visiting. Nothing would do than I try my own version when she left. It helped alleviate the separation sadness.
I put these first 4 blocks together the day she left. It was fun putting the fabrics together and deciding just what went where. At first, I was very cautious, sticking with combinations I was certain would work.
But as I worked on it, I got a little more daring.
With each block I really began to feel the creative juices flow like I haven't felt in a long time. This was a great exercise in color theory and creativity.
It took a week, but I'm really happy with how this one turned out.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Sewing for American Girl Boy Dolls

Last Christmas, as my granddaughters and their friends were playing with their dollies, I heard them tell their brother over and over that he couldn't play with them because he didn't have a doll. To say the least, I was annoyed. After clearing it with his parents, I bought my grandson an American Girl boy doll. He had actually been wanting one for awhile, and honestly, it looks just like him. He named him Michael. So far, I have only found one outfit to buy from American Girl that would work for their boy dolls, and it was intended for the girl dolls. As it happens, it was an airline pilot outfit, and since his grandad was an airline pilot, you know he had to have it. I just can't imagine what they are thinking. If a young man has a doll that looks just like him, naturally he will want to dress him for various occasions. I just had to make Michael an all-occasion wardrobe.
It was fun seeing the photo of him opening his present.
Naturally, no young man (or doll) can exist for long without a good pair of jeans. Pixie Faire is the best source I've found for doll clothes for the American Girl boy doll.
These jeans are pretty authentic, with "designer" back pockets that actually work.
A pair of chinos is a wardrobe workhorse, and these (from a piece of khaki Kona cotton) should do fine.
Another must-have is a pair of dress slacks. These black slacks will be great for those more formal occasions.
No wardrobe can be without a white shirt.
A choice of shirts is always nice.
And a robe is a necessity, particularly if it matches one the young man himself already owns.
And a fleece hoodie is a good item to have on those colder days.
He seemed pretty happy with his birthday gift. As you can see, the bathrobe was a particular favorite.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Sewing for Wellie Wishers

Last summer I posted about making doll clothes for Willa, my granddaughter's Wellie Wishers doll. I have two granddaughters who are just about a year apart, and both have Wellie Wishers dolls. Ella has a Willa doll, and Pippa has Camille. I like sewing for these dollies better than Barbie because it's just easier to sew the slightly larger pieces. The difference between the teeny pieces for an 11" Barbie and the slightly larger pieces for the 14-1/2" Wellie Wishers dolls is immense.
Ella got her doll first, so I've had a few more opportunities to sew for Willa. Camille lives in Canada, so I try to put a little something for her (and her mommy) in every package I send. Unfortunately, I'm not great about taking pictures, as usually it has to go in the mail that very day. This little outfit - an elastic waist skirt and a sleeveless top, was very quick and simple to sew for Camille (and it went with her purple shoes!,) although the knit for the top wouldn't cooperate. I forgot all about using ball point needles on reluctant knits. It's been awhile since I've sewn anything except quilting cottons it seems. I hope I won't forget again. The frustration of skipped stitches wasn't much fun. I finally discovered that the knit stitch on my Bernina is stitch #9. It's a slightly different stitch than the one on my previous machine, but seems to work well when I remember to use it.
I had a lot of fun making Willa this little raincoat. I tried it out in quilting cotton first, but then made it from a scrap of oilcloth I had leftover from making a cosmetic bag for traveling. The pattern was a commercial pattern I purchased at Joann's by Ellie Mae Designs. It was intended for 18" dolls, but I found a resizing chart for Wellie Wishers dolls on Rosie's Doll Clothes website, and I've found it works pretty well. I've only had one project fail using her resizing chart. Since it was my first, I decided it would be prudent to try it in the inexpensive Kona cotton rather than my limited supply of oilcloth. It turned out great.
And here's the same pattern in the oilcloth.
I also used a free online pattern to create this party dress. The pattern was from PA Country Crafts and was intended for the Merida doll from the movie Brave. My first attempt was too small, so I added about 3/8" to each of the bodice pieces, adding about 1-1/2" overall, and it fit perfectly. The fabrics were from the remnant bin at Joann's. I loved the tulle overlay, and Ella was pretty pleased with Willa's new dress.
Pippa got Camille for her birthday last year, and I thought it would be fun to make dolly a complete wardrobe. Camille got plenty of tops and skirts,
a pair of jeans,
a pair of shorts,
a pink party dress (from slightly different fabric,)
and a yellow raincoat.
The jeans were super fun and very trendy, with a dropped waist, a fake fly, and working pockets. They were kind of fiddly, but very fun to make. And naturally, all the pieces coordinate for that put-together look.
My only failure in downsizing American Girl patterns was this fleece hoodie. I used the 65% recommendation, but the jacket was too tight for Camille, which is really too bad because it is very cute and had a working zipper. I'm not sure if it was because of the thickness of the fleece or what. I may try it again at 70% and see if it fits better. It's really super cute. I really wish I had a Wellie Wishers doll for a model. So it's been fun to sew for these dollies. I'm glad that I've been able to help my girls enjoy their dollies.