Monday, March 30, 2015

Progress

The Winding Ways quilt has reached final stages at long last. Over the weekend I got all of the quilting completed. 
A hunt for the proper sized circle ended with this charger from the craft store. I used a water soluble pen, which I've never done before. I read some online reviews and although some people said they had problems with the pens running dry after 5 minutes, mine lasted for the whole quilt. 
I've copied the APQ magazine cover quilt's use of simple circles--great way to avoid all those thick seam intersections. 
The Minky backing shows the quilting nicely.  I've removed the marking pen from about half the quilt top, and have a lot of threads to bury, but am pleased with the way it turned out. Binding and a label and this commission is done!

And now, some baby spam:
After bath hair :) 




Sunday, March 22, 2015

National Quilting Day

What I did:
Crawled around on the floor a lot measuring and cutting the Minky backing and batting for the Winding Ways top. I went to five local stores this past week looking for quilt basting spray but finally found some. I enlisted my sister's help for the chore. 

She swept off my back patio while I gathered my prepared top, batting and backing. Naturally, the wind picked up just as we started laying out the backing and she sprayed the can. Sticky and with sore knees, we celebrated our success. 
It took the two of us about half an hour to get the three layers assembled. I'm guessing that it would have taken me about 2.5 hours to layout and pin baste by myself. And now I don't have to take out any pins while I wrestle this large throw through my small sewing machine!

I also quilted a tablerunner that's been ready for months. I promised this to my dad for his birthday--in October--oy!
Some very casual and imperfect peaks and valleys. I've got the binding stitched down and ready to turn to the back. As usual, I'll machine sew the whole thing. 

Today I'll start quilting the Winding Ways quilt--about an inch or so inside each of the 80 circles with cream thread. Excited to finally get to the finishing steps.  My client has been very patient and I'm eager to get this job to completion. 

What did you do on National Quilting Day?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Getaway Weekend

Last month my darling husband and I had a fabulous getaway--and it was practically free. Grant was one of the winners of a sales promotion at work and was awarded a free weekend stay at the Bacara Resort and Spa in Santa Barbara.  The prize also included the valet and resort fee charge and a gift card for expenses.  Thank you, Hormel. We were upgraded to a wonderful suite when we arrived, yay!

  Isn't it lovely?  The other half of the suite was the luxurious and huge bathroom. 


Soaking tub, separate shower, generous vanity.


Opposite the bed was a console with TV and amenities, and a fireplace in the corner, with these double french doors leading to the private balcony.



 Our view was unobstructed since we were at the edge of the resort.  Ahhh.

The occasion was our 30th wedding anniversary.  We took this selfie right after arriving, and, I think, before Grant surprised me with some lovely diamond earrings and made me cry!

Before dinner we took a nature trail to the beach (I posted a picture of a bridge on the trail previously).  This shot is looking back to the large resort on the cliffside. 

Some local old dudes were freestylin with a Frisbee while the young surfers headed out to the waves.

Breakfast on the restaurant's outdoor patio was fantastic in the morning. 

This pier is privately owned and boats that service the offshore oil platforms moor here.


The next afternoon we took the Cliff Walk  that passed the restaurant patio--it was steep!  But charming scenery. This is looking south towards home.


We hung out a lot on the patio with our peekaboo view of one of the two pools.  Construction going on just below us was no bother. They were expanding one of the three restaurants on site and building another bar.

I brought some handwork and improvised a Hera marking tool with an iphone and a room keycard :)

This is my long term UFO, Pink Lemonade, from Lori of Humble Quilts' quiltalong a couple of years ago.  Someday I'll finish all the big stitch quilting.

"Fountain" in the resort entrance courtyard. There's a drought here and no water is running.  The reflecting balls are about 2 feet in diameter--gorgeous.  The grounds and Spanish-style buildings were stunning, and the staff could not have been better.  I don't think there was a single time that a staff member we encountered did not greet us or offer assistance.  We finished our anniversary weekend with a real treat, massages at their fantastic luxury spa.  It was a wonderful weekend and since it's just up the coast from home, there was no tiring long return trip.  We did give ourselves another day off on Monday which made the getaway glow last a bit longer :)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Design Wall Monday--3/16/2015

Finally off my design wall is the Scout quilt top, which I finished last week.  This is a larger crib size quilt and looks pretty big here!  I'm pleased with how all the colors play together and the combinations that came together. I shared this at my MQG meeting and it was a hit.

Sunday I went to Superbuzzy and picked up some more of the black with gray dot to use as backing, and some of the cream tree print for binding.  Things are moving along to the sandwich stage.  Sometime this month, I will have a finish for 2015!

Also off my design surface as of yesterday is the Winding Ways quilt top--finally (but no photo yet).  I sewed the remaining blocks into rows, then into the bottom half of the quilt top, and finally created the whole top late Saturday night about 10:00 pm.  I've washed the Minky backing and am ready to enlist my sister to help spray baste the batting to the Minky.  We found that worked really well in keeping the Minky tamed while pinning the quilt top and quilting, without shifting, curling or inducing cursing.   It's been nearly a year since I made THIS quilt with Minky backing using that method. .

While piecing the tops, I've been adding to my pile of four patches for the Go Four It APQ Quilt Along (quilt patterns in the April 2015 issue).  I'm going to make a version of Edyta Sitar's Scraptacular quilt.  However, my four patches are finishing at 2" since I'm using 1.5" strips, whereas Editya's are even smaller.  It's been great to get all these lingering scraps into blocks.  So far I have about 70 four patches completed and about 30 more matched pairs of twosies sitting by my machine waiting to be four patches as leader-enders.  I won't be making any deadline but will continue to add to the piles as I work on other projects.

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

TeePee for Cove

My daughter Elaine began sending me pictures of TeePees a month or two before Cove's first birthday.  She wanted a camping theme for his party and wondered if I could make one.  I agreed, and began looking around for a pattern.  There were a bunch of different tutorials on the web too, and I found one I liked a lot from Pink Toes and Power Tools.  There were clear instructions for materials, do's and don'ts, and it was a good size.  I especially liked that there were seam finishing instructions, something that doesn't always appear in the "make this in one hour"- type tutorials. I wanted this teepee to last!  Many folks who had made one of the teepees had left good suggestions in the comments, too. 

Piecing together tissue paper, drawing and cutting out the patterns, laying them out on the fabric and cutting the fabric took about the amount of  time expected, about 2 hours. Add onto that about 2 hours of first spraying and ironing the 5.5 yards canvas duck I foolishly chose to wash before use, and I was multiple hours into the project before I sewed a stitch. But I've always been a pre-washer!

I did a dry run of the crucial front flap sections before sewing.  I used a larger needle, a size 90/14 sharp, with my favorite Gutterman 50wt cotton thread for all the stitching. After all the curves I've been sewing on the Winding Ways blocks, it was a nice change to only sew straight seams :).  The front went together easily and then I followed the directions and hemmed the tops of all four sides, laid them out to make sure they were all the same length, and hemmed the bottoms of the panels.

For the sleeves to hold the teepee poles, I chose this striped outdoor fabric.  Fun, right? The sleeve was sandwiched between the side pieces before sewing.  Overcasting/zig-zag stitching was especially important on this fabric due to its tendency to ravel easily.  After looking at the blog comments I had decided to finish off all my other inside seams with double-fold seam tape for a cleaner look. Rummaging through my supplies, I came up with packages of different colored seam tape dating back to 1973, 1980, and 1986!  Great way to use it up and add more color to the project. 

 
 I made tiebacks by folding  a good length of the 1/2" seam tape in half and stitching, then inserting it to hang down inside and outside the front panel flaps before sewing the sleeves on. 

Here's the whole teepee laid out on the floor.  All the seam finishing meant more time spent pulling and tugging on that heavy canvas, but I did manage to finish this teepee in one day.  Although the tutorial called for plastic pipe, I bought six foot 3/4" wooden dowels at Home Depot and some leather shoelaces at Target to use for the poles and lacing.  My son-in-law drilled holes a few inches from one end, as directed in the tutorial, to feed the laces through. 


Here it is set up in their dining room.  Cove loved it...he's inside it there...
...and popping out!  He is just small enough now to run in and out without ducking and did so numerous times on the first dry run of the teepee.  It stands about five feet tall.  The sleeves do have a tendency to slide down, and in the future we may want to add some buttonholes or grommets to the top of the side panels and lace it to the poles to keep it from sliding down. 


On party day, they had it all set up as a playroom for the kids, but the adults liked it too!  I had to take this photo of their friend lying in the teepee :).  Sorry the glare from a window distorts it a bit.