Santa Pillow

28378735_10213666897201272_1523633845452079938_nIt’s finished! At least six years ago, I started a Santa pillow. It was made from this pattern which was published in a Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Crafts magazine but, to my surprise, is still available online. I chose a background of turquoise corduroy and used regular craft felt rather than the wool of the pattern; I was in a rush to get it finished for Christmas. The hand embroidered beard was done, complete with sparkly seed beads, when my daughter, in school away, came home from Christmas and admired it. My other daughter, still in high school, liked it too. Clearly I needed two pillows… The whole operation ground to a halt.

Every year as Christmas approached, I’d sew a little on the tops, and eventually finished them. Last year I put the back on one and stuffed it, and this week, finally put a zippered back on the second, and inserted a pillow form in it. 28377721_10213666897161271_2409677293418526335_nThe corners pooked out too much, so I trimmed them back using this trick I learned on Craftsy. And now they’re done, just in time for Christmas 2018, and I have one fewer item in my PHD pile. 28575822_10213666897121270_322078407300998410_n

Wonder if the girls still want them?

Quiltcon at Home

Last year I was lucking enough to go to QuiltCon in Savannah, and had a wonderful time, so I thought I’d celebrate by sewing my way through this Quiltcon weekend at home. I have two UFO/PHDs on the go: a quilt on which I am hand finishing the binding, and a wedge from a QuiltCon workshop that I need to ponder, but mostly I’d like to do some machine quilting.

I have nothing finished. Nothing to write about. Lots of sewing done, but no finishes, so I am going to tell you about my backing challenges. No, I don’t mean backing up the car, although that is challenge enough for me. I mean backing a quilt.

I have a beautiful quilt top that I would like to complete so that my daughter can give it to her good friend for a wedding present. I really like this friend. I really like the quilt top. I have decided upon my quilting plan. I am ready.

I take the lovely backing I bought months ago at an unbelievably good price. Washed it, Ironed it. Found a flaw going right down the middle of the fabric. Guess I now know why it was cheap. Wish the store would label its seconds.

Searched my shelves and found a suitable piece. Wide enough but too short. Contemplated piecing in a strip, but I hate the thread breakage a pieced back sometimes brings. Went to the store and bought 108″ wide fabric. Washed it. It shrunk 8″, putting the selvages under the edge of my quilt. Too narrow. Accepted that I would be working with a pieced back. Trimmed the excess off the end and made initials in a heart to piece into the back. Inserted the piece. It looked like an apple. Didn’t like it. Morning wasted.

Off to the quilt store. No wider backing. Bought the same 108″ fabric, planning to use it unwashed. Left my mittens at the store. Went back for them. Bought a bottle of wine. Felt badly about the shrinkage I knew would happen (to the quilt, not the wine). Had a nap. Woke up and realized the initials were fine, just the apple was the problem. Pulled the pieced back apart and removed the apple strips. Put the initials in unadorned, and resewed the back. Finally, ready to start. Wish me luck.28279954_10213638031479647_7135533613649063646_n-e1519571970321.jpg
Progress on my PHD pile the last few weeks? Nothing finished, despite significant energy expended. Several coming close. There’s a breakthrough around the corner, I hope.

At least the days are getting longer, and the sun is giving us more heat. Have a good week.

A Map and Doll Quilts

This week the Maritime Modern Quilt Guild held a workshop, and it was FABULOUS! Andrea Tsang Jackson of 3rd story workshop led us through the construction of a beautiful map of the Maritimes. Her instruction was excellent; we are now ready to conquer the world. Literally. As a brand new member of the Guild, I was thrilled to meet some of the other members. Such a welcoming group of quilters!

At home, I made borders for the Shimmer flimsy I had spent the summer piecing, and marked curves on them, defining where I wanted the scalloped edge of the quilt to be. Then I tried to decide how to quilt it. I was having trouble, so I sat down at the computer, looking for inspiration. Didn’t find any.
27971795_10213576282495961_87043484014046318_n.jpgThen I started reading blogs, specifically those of Mari , Bernie, and Preeti, and learned about Spread the Love, Quilting for Kids. Take a look at the link; the story is inspiring. Quilts are needed for dolls made specifically for children with significant physical challenges. A light bulb went off in my head. I had a spare block from this quilt. If I enlarged it just a little, it would be doll quilt size, and I could audition my quilting for Shimmer.

This little 22 inch darling is ready to go! I even found some ancient fairy fabric for the back, and practiced machine binding, which is not my strong suit.

And then I felt badly that I had nothing for a boy, so I looked in my orphan block box and found some friendship stars left from a quilt for my American cousin’s baby ten years ago.

And here they are, side by side, getting ready for the mail.28059142_10213581505586535_6357728793851071424_nHave a quilting great week!

 

Squared away in purple

This is my scrapbag. Makes you want to dive right in, doesn’t it (NOT)? This picture is for all those who feel their scraps are imperfectly organized. 27658068_10213518235564824_7119854970226277042_n

I thought I had no purple scraps, until I dug through the first foot and found this.27867899_10213518236244841_424281093696922634_n

OK, time to make my blocks for the squared away BOM hosted by Mari and Angela. Here are my three 10″ purple blocks for February. I had fun making them, especially the one on the bottom left. I found a scrap that had been pieced with two purples, so I cut it into 6 and 1/2″ pieces and flipped some corners. I love the asymmetry of the circle. 27658132_10213518235724828_7707867604995599655_n

This makes a total of 6 blocks, or 20%, of the blocks completed. I am determined not to fall behind in this BOM; the last thing I need is another UFO/PHD. 27751642_10213518235884832_8632875824172131870_nLinking up with Angela at soscrappy happy purpley

Freefall Maple Leaves

Freefall Maple Leaves is ready for cuddles!27654467_10213487662640520_8127534225936726479_n

Sandra of  Musings of a Menopausal Melon made a stunning quilt last year, with maple leaves superimposed on a single red maple leaf. She then made another one in greens and purples, and hosted the Spring Freefall Quilt Along, generously including the pattern for the design. After months of surreptitiously visiting the site, I could resist no longer, and cut into some long stashed batiks. I even imitated Sandra’s original colour scheme; I saw no way to improve upon it.

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To make a lap quilt, I increased the blocks to 10”, and added to the background. I backed it with batik and started quilting it densely on my longarm. About ¼ of the way through it I realized that the tension was AWFUL. After several weeks of ripping and infinite expletives, the top was separated from the batting and back. I decided I didn’t like the batik for a backing, and I really didn’t want to see any of it for months. So I didn’t.

Fast forward to mid January, a flannel backing and take 2 on the quilting.

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Freefall Maple Leaves is finished. It is 58”x76” of coziness, and worth every ripped stitch (or so I tell myself). Since we have no snow, here it is under the maple trees, lying on real leaves. Freefall indeed.

Linking up with Can I get a Whoop Whoop?, and Crazy mom quilts