A Tetris Quilt for Scotch

Some people really love quilting, and that’s good for them. Me? I kind of like planning them, and then the rest ranges from “meh” to torture. For example, I had been planning a Tetris quilt in my head for years; it was going to be varying shades of blue, twin sized, and it was going to be an heirloom that my son would someday give to my grandkids…Why yes, I do have quite an imagination. ๐Ÿ˜‰

When I finally decided to bite the bullet, I thought I should plan it out. The major snag in my plan was that the varying shades of blue I had envisioned were nixed in favor of rainbow colors by my opinionated toddler. Since it’s for him, I supposed I had to do what he wanted. So, rainbow colors it is. It was also supposed to be his 3rd birthday present, so I had Stacy from StacySews embroider a little “tag” for the back with his name and the month/year. Except that I suck, and so his quilt wasn’t even close to finished in time for his birthday, so he just got to see a quilt top on his birthday. So now, about 2 months later he finally gets to “nuggle” his quilt. I’m just glad I got it done, because it’s about to get super busy with all the weddings and showers we have going on over the next couple of months, and like every sewist, I feel like I should try to make something to wear for them. *Cue eye rolling* ๐Ÿ˜›

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It’s certainly bright, but it’s pretty much exactly what I envisioned, except for the color scheme.

Anyway, it’s a very basic quilt, just a lot of blocks sewn together. Each finished block is 3″ square, and I used this chart to calculate how big the quilt needed to be for a twin sized bed. Ultimately it’s a smidge smaller than the intended finished dimensions because of a snafu with my border. I bought every last bit of the grey the store had, intending to use it for the blocks, border, backing, and binding. So when I goofed up the width of the border I had to make it work. And even then I didn’t have quite enough fabric, so I came up with what I thought was a genius idea to make a “cast of characters” on the back using some leftover scraps.

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If I would have been thinking, I’d have taken a closeup of my nearly perfect quilting through both front AND back; I’m very proud of myself for my patience–not so much for my piss poor planning. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The only problem with that was that I then had to quilt it to match the front perfectly. It mostly worked, but it was a nightmare getting it pinned up and there was a lot of swearing involved. I also had to use even more of the color scraps to make a strip rainbow in the back to have enough fabric to get it to work. In the end, I just managed to eek everything out of the fabric I had, and there isn’t enough left to do anything with, so I’m calling it a win. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out overall, but I won’t be rushing to do another quilt any time soon, even though Irish has made puppy dog eyes at me about making him a quilt too. Eventually I’ll probably give in, but I need to forget the trauma of this one first. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m leaning toward a Super Mario themed quilt for him based on either this one or this one, but then there is this really cool R2D2 quilt too…

 

Plugging away

I’ve been trying, but the progress is slow and the blogging even slower. The quilt top is done, and thanks to Stacy from StacySews, I even have a strip with Scotch’s name and the date embroidered on it. But I’m procrastinating on getting the backing put together and quilting it. No, I have no idea why. Maybe it’s because there’s things that need planning–like a wedding shower and a baby shower (I’m going to be an aunt!! Huzzah!! And she’s having a girl, so there might be sickeningly sweet little girl clothes for my future niece featured soon!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) to plan. Or maybe it’s just because I, frankly, hate quilting. I get all excited about planning the quilt, but when the rubber hits the road I’m just not interested. Oh sure, the first few squares are exciting to see come together, but suddenly it’s tedious and I just want to shove it aside and do something else. But I can’t, because it’s so damn expensive to make a quilt. I honestly don’t understand how anyone can afford to make these as a hobby. The fabric requirements are huge and pricey, the batting isn’t exactly cheap, and then you have to either pay someone to quilt it or wrestle with it yourself. And I don’t even make complicated quilts!!

I’ve also got a dress that I started for Christmas, but didn’t finish until just before the first weekend of January. It’s kind of funky, but I kind of love it. You really have to see it as a whole outfit though, otherwise it’s maybe just a bit too weird. I’m going to try and get pictures so I can blog about it soon, because it’s way out of my comfort zone in a very cool way. I wanted to participate in Jungle January too, but I’m not allowing myself to start something until that damn quilt is finished and on my son’s bed, so I am probably not going to get to make anything by the deadline. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Oh well. Hubby says I have too many “jungle” prints in my closet anyway…I didn’t even know such a thing was possible! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Make do and mend

So many of us say you can’t save money sewing, but sometimes the combination of good quality materials and workmanship that sewing your own clothesย providesย pays off, like when I can put new elastic in the waistband of these pants for a second child to wear. Amazingly, they still look pretty much as good on the outside as they did way back then (though the lining has faded with many washes and wears!), and I have 3 pairs of lined winter pants for these extreme tempsย (it was -7*F this morning!)ย for less than $3 and 10 minutes worth of unpicking. Supplex is the bomb, and if I ever find the stuff again, I’m buying the whole stock! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Update on the Tetris quilt: Progress has been made! I’m finished with piecing onย 15 of 26 rows. Since I seriously injured my tailbone (possibly broken, but noย x-ray to know for sure)ย in a fall down some stairs a couple of weeks ago, sitting in my sewing chair has been painful so I try to keep it to a minimum. I’m on the mend though, so I can hopefully get everything finished on schedule, even if it means a few late nights toward the end. Anyway, the quilt is crazy bright, but also kind of gorgeous if I don’t say so myself.

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But then again, it might be the kind of quilt that only the maker (and hopefully it’s recipient!) could love… ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Christmas crunch time, or why do I do this to myself?

So it’s December. I’ve been hearing Christmas music on the radio for at least a couple of weeks now, but it’s never really “real” to me until the first of December (or the second, that works too. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) And immediately following–relatively speaking, of course–is Scotch’s 3rd birthday. And I realized this year that Scotch does not yet have his own quilt like big brother does.

*Cue frantic planning of said quilt.*

I’ve been dreaming of a Tetris quilt in varying shades of blue for a long time, but somehow I ended up letting Scotch choose his own colors, so there’s a little bit of everything in there. Scotch is a big fan of orange and purple, so it’s going to be red, orange, yellow, purple, and a kind of ocean green. Fairly traditional Tetris colors, or at least in my memory they are.

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This is the current plan, but I’m actually going to have to rework it a bit because the bottom 1/4 has too many of the same pieces touching each other, and that can’t happen on the final quilt or it will lose the effect. I’m hoping I can just redraw those few lines on the bottom and match them up with the rest so that I don’t have to redraw the whole thing. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I even bought the fabric this morning, so it’s really going to happen. !!! I’m not 100% convinced about this, but the colors are very pretty, and somehow they work together. And even if they don’t, my son loves them and is super excited about his quilt, so I’m not going to argue.

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The colors aren’t quite right on my screen, theย purpleย is a bit more faded and a bit less blue, and the red isn’t quite that dark either.

I’m also not sure why I keep saying “never again” to quilting and then am sucked back in to making another quilt. This will be my 3rd, so it should go together flawlessly–or at least I shouldn’t bungle it too badly. It’s got to be easier than the queen sized one I made for our bed aย while back! I can still remember the horror that was shoving a queen sized quilt through my regular sewing machine. *shudder*

Also in progress: a couple of things for me for wearing over the various Christmas celebrations and I just finished the PJ shirt I started for Scotch like a month ago. I’d make him a couple more, but even as quick as they are I think I need the time for other things. What do you suppose the odds are of being able to finish the quilt by the first week of January? Slim to none? Or can it be done?

It’s only taken a year or so…

But I finally finished my quilt! I am contemplating going back over all my white stitches with a black sharpie, but otherwise this quilt is DONE. And OMG, it’s gorgeous!! So incredibly hard to photograph, but gorgeous. The “in progress” pics are here and here, if you’re interested. I don’t remember having any major difficulties, aside from 1) not being sure I loved it and 2) wrangling a queen sized quilt under a standard home sewing machine is a bit of a trick. And the gals at the quilt shop on the far side of town were phenomenal when I went in needing something (and having no idea what that was, TBH), to bind the quilt with, and they showed me how to actually do the binding. So now I’m the proud new owner of a little laminated card that tells me how to sew on a binding, just in case I ever decide to try my hand at another (much smaller!!!) quilt. ๐Ÿ˜‰ And yes, the little card was a bit pricey, but I don’t mind at all because the gal took probably half an hour to show me how to assemble the strips, do the mitered corners, and she even cut some of the strips and one edge of my quilt for me! They even gave me a little sample quilt corner that shows what the mitered corner looks like IRL, so I’ll be prepared should I ever want to try again.

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The colors here are fairly accurate, even that teal square in the middle came out pretty close. Also, you’ll notice that two of the blocks look patchworked–they are, I was too cheap to buy more fabric and needed some extra length. So I used some scraps to make 4 more blocks.

All in all, I’m pretty proud of it. It came out exactly as I had hoped, except that it took a lot longer. And to think the part that I procrastinated on the most was the second easiest part…

It’s Quilticated

I’m having a bit of a strange feeling right now. After I finished wrangling the last seam of the quilt through the machine, I just kind of sat there, unsure of what to do. All that’s left is trimming off the excess and sewing on a binding (which I still haven’t figured out what to make the binding out of), and it’s ready to toss in the wash and then on our bed. But I’m just feeling kind of strange about it. It’s so close to done and yet….I don’t know that I like it. Oh sure, I’ll use it, I spent too much money on it to hide it in the closet, but I’m just not sure I like it. Maybe it was the quilting, maybe it was the serious space of time between choosing the fabrics and finally quilting it, I don’t know. And maybe after I’ve put it on my bed I’ll love it again–after all, the fabrics are gorgeous.

Actually, while this was in “draft” mode, I found what I think may be the perfect binding. It’s the fabric from the teal blocks. I’ve tracked some down, and I just need to figure out how much I need before pulling the trigger. I should probably do it soon though, before I change my mind and go a totally different route–dragging this project on even longer.

My machine has hairballs I’ve done so much sewing!

Well, OK, it did have hairballs. I cleaned them out a couple of days ago. All that fleece from making burp rags for a customer and myself made a disgusting little quilt under the needle plate and made my sewing machine sound more like a jackhammer. And if we’re being honest, I suspect I’ll be cleaning it out again here pretty soon because either there is a lot of fleece fuzz floating around in my sewing room or this quilting cotton is more linty than I anticipated, because my presserfoot looks like it’s trying to participate in no-shave November. And it’s been quite successful, I might add. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Since I last blogged, I’ve made a dozen burp rags for a customer, another couple of bibs/burp rags for myself (I decided to hold off on making too many, just in case I ended up with more from friends/family), and pieced together most of a quilt.

Yes, you can back up and read it again if you like, but it really does say the words “piecing” and “quilt”. And I know that I said “never again” very emphatically after my last one, but….well, quilts that are ready made are not to my taste/style and expensive. This one is only expensive. Pictures or it didn’t happen, you say? Fine. Here’s a shot of it in it’s current unfinished state in my messy basement.

Click to make it bigger.

Click to make it bigger. If only that’s all it took to make it bigger in real life.

It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but I think it’s rather pretty myself. ๐Ÿ™‚ I really like the combo of the teal and the different shades of grey. There are actually going to be strips of white between each square, with little black squares at the corner of each of the big squares. As you can probably tell, there’s one more row that isn’t finished yet, and all of my white columns are still “in progress”–partly because I decided after laying it out last night that it needed to be a bit longer. This is going on my queen sized bed, and since my hubby is a “covers thief”, I want there to be some extra so that I don’t freeze! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Wish me luck on wrapping this bad boy up here over the next week, I’m probably gonna need it! Also suggestions for backing would be appreciated. I was thinking a king-sized flat sheet? And the plan for quilting was using a twin needle on the outside of the “ditch”, would that look stupid or cool?

Now in technicolor!

OK, so not actually in technicolor, but there’s pictures–color ones even! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I promised them today, and (here at least), it still technically is, even though I’m slacking and didn’t get them up this morning or early afternoon. I know, I know, but after going to the K-State game yesterday I was kind of tired and fighting off the beginnings of a cold. Yuck. Speaking of football (you’d be surprised to learn that I’m not actually a fan…at all…) apparently our KC Chiefs are kicking some serious ass this year–probably for the first time in my lifetime (maybe even my parents’ lifetime). Even if you aren’t a sports fan, it’s still kind of cool when your “hometown” (or in my case “home state”) team is doing really well. Sort of like last year when the Shockers were doing so well in basketball–we kind of got into watching the games as a family. And believe me, I’d take college basketball over any other sport…except maybe the Olympics. ๐Ÿ™‚

So anyway, here are the pictures of the things I sewed the other day (minus the mending–I’m not that cruel. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Reversible headband, I had to use a hair elastic since I didn't have any elastic thin enough.

Reversible headband, I had to use a hair elastic since I didn’t have any elastic thin enough.

I don’t think I mentioned it the other day, but I used a regular “ouchless” hair elastic since I didn’t have any thin elastic (mine was all 3/4″ or wider) if you have longer hair, it might work for you, because I don’t think you’ll see it. It will depend on the size of your head though.

There's two pillowcases, even though it looks like one oddly shaped one here.

There’s two pillowcases, even though it looks like one oddly shaped one here.

Also, I didn’t do the contrast band on these, just a bias strip (the packaged kind) in turquoise to break up the print. I don’t know that I recommend it though, because it made the side seam bulky and it didn’t want to lie flat. I’d probably use a single layer ribbon or something with a finished edge that doesn’t need to be doubled next time. And there will be a next time, I’m planning a couple more pairs so that we have a few to choose from. ๐Ÿ™‚

Tomorrow I’m hoping to tackle some curtains for our basement. The ones that are there currently are probably the originals, so as you can imagine they are in kind of sad shape and are a fantastically ugly print. I’m just hoping I have enough fabric to do a decent job since I’m really hoping to “shop the stash” for these. I think it’ll work, but it might be a bit of a squeeze.

If I get them finished in time, I’ll probably start cutting out the squares for my quilt. I still haven’t found a good light-colored fabric to set off my others, but I have to take my car in to be repaired after a minor meetup with a deer, so I’ll have an opportunity to see what all the quilt stores of the city have to offer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I really have no idea how every post gets so wordy, but that’s how it is. Hope ya’ll had a great weekend, and maybe I’ll “see” you again sometime in the coming week! ๐Ÿ™‚

Back in the sewing saddle!

Hooray! I finally got to sit down and fire up my sewing machine!

I made up one of these headbands for #SewRedOctober. Technically, I made it yesterday, but didn’t feel it warranted a post of its own. Especially since it doesn’t “fit”…I mean, it fits my head, but my hair isn’t long enough, so the back looks really ugly and sticky-outy when I wear it. I also think I’d shave down the sides a bit if I were to do it again–the resulting headband is too wide for my child-sized head. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Today has been another sewing day! I did some repair work on a pair of maternity shorts I had borrowed from a neighbor–the waistband was sewn on poorly by the manufacturer, so some of the stitching was barely on the waistband….needless to say, I pulled them on a couple of times and noticed that the waistband wasn’t completely stitched down anymore. Not a big deal, except that if I’d have paid for them, I’d have been a bit pissed given the cost of maternity clothes!

I’m also working on a couple of pillowcases for our “leg pillows”. I’ve been a hardcore side sleeper my whole life, but didn’t discover “leg pillows” until I was newly married. We ended up with pillows because my hubby started stealing mine. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Sadly, we don’t own a single set of sheets that has 4 pillowcases, so I decided finally to replace the old nasty ones I got from Goodwill with a couple of newer, prettier ones. I used the measurements and such from this tutorial, and the burrito method from this tutorial. Next time I would just use the one from the Seasoned Homemaker, because the measurements have you end up with the same size of pillow case, it’s just that she didn’t provide finished measurements and Film In the Fridge did. (They both end up being about 20″x29″, if you’re in need of that info.)

In other sewing news, I am plotting a quilt. I know, I know. I’m eating my words over here. Really though, if you saw the sad state of my current bedding (and my budget), you’d completely understand why I broke my vow of “never again”. All I need right now is one 2 yard piece of white with a minimalist black or grey print to be the lattice pieces (I really liked a black/white version of Michael Miller’s “Pristine Paisley, but haven’t been able to find enough yardage. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ). My inspiration was this quilt, which I figured even I couldn’t screw up. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was hoping to have someone else actually do the quilting, but when I found it out would be somewhere in the ballpark of $110 to sew some straight lines in the ditch, I figured I could tough it out. I’ll post more pictures and such Sunday when I’ve for sure got my pillowcases finished and photographed so that I can take pics (and upload them) all at once.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

The Alpha & Omega of my quilting career

It’s finished. Praise the Lord! It only took like 2 or 3 years, but I finally completed my first and last quilt. I even took some pictures of it, as proof to you non-believers out there.

If you decide to make your own quilt, I do have a couple of pointers for you. 1) Don’t even think about making mitered corners on your first quilt. Learn from my mistake. 2) Binding is a bitch. I ended up wrapping the back border around to the front to make the binding, and it was a royal pain in the ass to get the corners to match up perfectly, because–natch–I did miters on the back too. 3) Don’t do the alternating corners thing, because then if your miters aren’t perfect it REALLY stands out. Unless you do perfect miters on the first try, in which case I hate you. Oh yeah, 4) test your blanket stitch to see where it goes width-wise, and also that it’s going the direction you need it to…you’ll see what I mean.

So, on to more happy subjects. I made some more burp rags today, and it occured to me that I’d never taken any pictures of the ones I’ve made previously. So, on my 5th batch or so, I’m finally getting around to it. Aren’t they cute? If only the diapers weren’t so hard to find locally, or expensive to purchase online. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

That’s all I’ve got for now, except a couple of extremely dirty machines that I promised to give the spa treatment tomorrow if they held out through the diaper project. I could tell Persephone wasn’t happy about it, but she trudged through. Every time I changed thread colors I cringed at the lint…