Sunday, April 6, 2014

9 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed

10 little monkeys jumping on the bed, one fell off and broke his head. Momma called the doctor and the doctor said, 'No more monkeys jumping on the bed!'

Well, I have the remaining 9 monkeys caught on the cutest quilt top ever! Cindy at Quilt Doodle Doodles needed some pattern testers for an adorable baby quilt with sock monkeys. I went bananas and shot her an email begging right away. You see, I have a weakness for sock monkeys. They are just so cute!

Original and the tissue tracing
I love her pattern. It went together quick and easy considering I had to juggle details due to living in the sticks, LOL. I was able to use scrap fabrics, a small amount of neutral yardage from my stash and bought a fat quarter of white. This is twice I have needed white and could not buy it locally. Next time I am in the city, I need to buy several yards. Remind me please.

The pieces all fit, even separated.
I received the pattern and traced around the various pieces to assemble the monkey. I usually use exam paper when I draw/trace patterns but I needed 9 of each piece. So I took my tracings and laid them on a single sheet of letter sized paper. They fit! I slipped them in a plastic sleeve and made a copy, so I would have a thicker template for my pieces.

The copy I made from the plastic sleeved pieces. 
I could not find heat and bond. I'm sure they sell it at Hancocks but they are an hour away. So I improvised .... I glued my pieces. Oh my gosh, I said it. I used Elmer's washable glue and glue my monkey pieces on the background. I have read about it but never used that method. By golly it worked great. I worked on a big piece of wax paper to protect my table. I was surprised that my blocks did not get stiff or awkward.

Monkeys say Wahoo!!
I did a satin stitch around the various pieces to secure them permanently to the background. This is my first true applique quilt and it was so much fun. I love the quick build, though I admit my hand got tired cutting all the small pieces. And the sock monkeys are so sweet!

Rather than creating my sashing from dozens of little squares, I cheated and sewed the strips together. Then cut the strips into the right size rows. Stitch those together to create the right sizes and voila I had super fast sashing.

I loved putting the top together. Adding bright colors to sock monkeys just delighted me. I smiled the whole time. Borders went on easy. I was done. Yeah!!!

I actually still need to stitch the monkeys eyes and mouths but the assembly is completed. I'm in love!
I think my sock monkey pets are happy too!

I think they are claiming this new quilt top. 
Have a great day!!!

Friday, March 7, 2014

An older lady in my life

There is another lady in my life.
In my husbands life.
She is in our bedroom!

And she is OOOOOOOOLD!!!

Her serial is G 4764606

Born in 1916. She is a Singer Red Eye aka model 66. I am still learning about her, so you will probably see and hear more as I learn.

Her cabinet is intact for the most part. Someone at some time let some red paint overspray get on the 'lid' and left side. You can see it some in the picture. Her lid is split - the veneer is lifting. If need be, I will find the right wood and build her a new lid but maybe we can just repair the veneer. It has all 7 drawers, including a drawer with some extra feet, a spare belt and some items I cannot identify, LOL. I need to get pictures and we can identify stuff together :)

For now, her wheel turns freely. Her decals are in great shape. She seems very intact considering she came from a home where she was simply decoration. She is my first vintage machine. Or is it proper to call her antique? Either way .... I'm so excited!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Two shirts become one

I make a mess when I cook
I want to tell you I am done with my Celtic Solstice quilt but life has me juggling. Snow, vehicle issues, snow, chaos. Lots and lots of chaos. With a house full of kids, you can't avoid chaos. Then there are the chevrons .... oh Lord help me with the chevrons. I have most of them done but not all. I have also assembled a couple dozen of the blocks that don't require evil chevrons, LOL. And I have baked banana bread. My family loves the stuff!

My daughters gentleman caller asked if I could fix a shirt for him. I said sure. Next time I will ask more questions. Oh my goodness, he doesn't really want it mended, he wants it re-created. He wants to take one of his long sleeved paintball shirts and have the under armor portion replaced with an event t-shirt. It doesn't sound hard. or does it? Turns out the shirts are 2 different sizes - the under armor is the super snug stuff, the t-shirt is a regular relaxed fit. Where is my magic wand? Hhhmmm .....

Morph two shirts into one ... hmmm
I thought about it for several hours. How to cut away a knit fabric and replace it with another knit fabric without it getting lopsided and wonky. Knits are not my strong suit. Do I put the t-shirt on the outside or the inside? I need to get the collar and sleeves lined up cohesively so the shirt will hang properly.

Basted and pinned
I decided to go t-shirt in, baste and pin it to death, snip the under armor, then fold it under and top stitch down. Too complicated? Yeah, that's what I thought, LOL. But it worked. I did not have to completely deconstruct either shirt. The camo is a top layer for the t-shirt. And slowly the event T will be revealed in a Hulk tear away maneuver. OK I snipped it quietly in my sewing corner but the Hulk was with me in spirit.

Slowly but surely, I kept basting for stability, snipping the under armor so I could top stitch the camo to the t-shirt. I am really happy with how it looks so far. Tomorrow is the really scary part - I have to attach the lower part of the under armor sleeve to the t-shirt sleeve. One is small, one is large. I need to integrate them without stretching and making the shirt wonky.

Can shirts be wonky or just quilts?

I miss straight seams.

I knew how things would go from the beginning. Stitch, rip seams, stitch again.  Snip and pray. He wants his call sign embroidered on the tshirt and thankfully my Janome Horizon does that! Yeah! But on a t-shirt? I need stabilizer. And practice.

I found some scrap stretchy material and played with stabilizers. Programmed my machine and practice stitched. Again. And again. I finally decided on a scrap of stiff fabric from a previous project. I love scraps.

Tada! I'm done. Hopefully everything will hold during one of their paintball weekends. I like how it looks. I think the tan t-shirt goes great with the camo.

What are you working on?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I stitched Celtic blocks!

Bonnie surprised us with an early reveal of Celtic Solstice on January 1st. I was super excited ... and ... totally let down. I've been having fun and I don't want it to end. Pretty much like a toddler at a birthday party, LOL. Thankfully our Facebook group is still chatty and quilting.

I have seen so many lovely pictures that I had to pause my remedial chevron punishment exercise to lay out some units to see just one block. Of course, one block leads to two. And to three. You get the idea ....

My humility block for today. I did fix it.
I laid the units on my cardboard pattern board on my bed - away from the dogs. Standing at the foot of the bed, it looked busy. And messy. And needing trimmed. I just didn't see it. I wanted a picture to share with my quilty friends. I like to run with the cool kids ya know. Bwahahahaha! Just teasing. I'm a nerd or geek or whatever we are called today. Science club and all that stuff.

Bonnie's design

I stood up on the little step stool and gasped out loud. I could see it!
Why could I not see with my eyes what the lens of the camera shows me?
It was beautiful!

Star version

My daughter came in to help me rotate chevrons so we could see it as Bonnie designed, as well as the star version many people are creating.

9 blocks stitched
In the end, she chose the star version. It is her future quilt, so it is her decision. She let her OCD out to arrange the units of the blocks. Oh my goodness, I can't wait until she is stitching her own quilts, LOL. That OCD will make her such a beautiful perfectionist :)

I am hoping to link up to Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery Monday

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Measure twice, cut once. Oops! Cut twice to get it right.

I have been struggling with creating scrappy chevrons. I am participating in Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery quilt which calls for 244 chevrons. Oh my goodness. I reviewed Bonnie's instructions, slowed down and paid attention. Some chevrons were better, some not as much. While trimming a stitched chevron side, I looked a bit closer. My green rectangle seemed a bit big but maybe it was from being too scant with my seam. Or maybe it was just too big ....

Supposed to be 2" x 3.5"

I did more exploring to find my neutral squares were also a shade big.

NOT a 2" square!

I pulled out my remaining tiny pieces and found most were too big! My sewing may be imperfect but starting with the wrong size piece just set me up to do badly. I trimmed a stack of the greens and neutrals down to the proper size. And baby, was that scrap pile big .....

I'm not sure how I cut them too big. I recall my back giving me grief and sitting down somewhere in the various cutting sessions. Maybe that angled my view? Safe to say I will be more careful in the future.

Monday, December 30, 2013

I am a rock star quilter. Today at least.

Celtic Solstice Clue #5 was released and we are making split triangles. Another new unit for me! We will use the 'leftover' HST's from Clue #3 to make the split triangles with our neutral and blues.

It looked hard to me. And looked like a lot of steps. AKA more for me to mess up.
Bad attitude alert!!
I slapped myself around until I had a smile, then started my new task.

Black is my neutral so I cut the 2.5" strips to make the side triangles. I whipped out my brand new Easy Angle ruler to cut them and found myself lost. Lay the ruler this way. No, that way. No, try the other corner.
Finally I found what I thought was right and cut a pair of triangles. Laying them next to my HST showed me I wasn't such a dork after all - they looked good! Wahoo! I went back to cutting and will admit I had to flip my ruler several times, every-single-time I cut, before I finally chilled out and realized the correct hand motions to be consistent. Frustrating but I'm proud to say I got it worked out.

I stitched some on, first one side, then the other, press ... Success! I feel like a rock star. Thank you Bonnie Hunter for this mystery quilt that is encouraging me to learn new skills. I am truly gaining confidence.

High on my tiny success, I cut some 3.5" blue strips. Back to being a confused triangle cutter, LOL. They looked too small! Again though it looked fine when I laid it next to a partially constructed unit. Off to sew ...

Another success!! I am a rock star quilter.
Tomorrow we will see what I can muck up, LOL.


I'm proud to say that as of quitting time Sunday evening, I have 143 completely finished split triangles. I also have the black neutral sides on almost all the other HST's. I can finish on Monday or go grocery shopping ... maybe one of the kids can do the shopping ;)

Linking with Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery Monday Link Up

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Learning my lesson

I hit a brick wall on Bonnie Hunter's Celtic Solstice Mystery quilt at Clue #2. It is not Bonnie's fault. She explained things very well. I followed her directions but I kept hitting snags.

My seam was a bit big. My seam was a bit small. My pieces were a shade big.

I got wonky.

Was I drinking while sewing?
I sewed too many pieces together.

I lost my mind and took two decent blocks and trimmed them too small. Instead of 2" by 3.5" .... I trimmed down to 2" by 3". What was I thinking?!?

I got frustrated. I marked my neutral square. Pinned it to my green. Stitched. Stitched again to capture the leftover HST. Cut off the unnecessary HST. Pressed the neutral. Marked the yellow square. Pinned. Stitched. Stitched again. Trim. Press. Now trim the whole side to a balanced 2" by 3.5" which should NOT be needed IF I was doing everything properly. Then stitch to sides together to make a fabulous or funky chevron. That is 9 seams. 9!!! For something that was finishing out at 3 square inches in my quilt top. Oh my goodness that is a HUGE amount of work for such a tiny piece.

A fellow Bonnie fan posted a tutorial on creating the chevron sides from strips. You lose some of your scrappiness but it looks to be more even and less work. Sadly, I already had all 1464 pieces cut out to make 244 chevrons. I could not toss it or even set it aside in good conscious. Waste not, want not.

I have been gaining so much confidence working on Bonnie's Mystery quilt. I felt it spilling over to my everyday life. I had a quest and a challenge and I walked proud. I learned how to do the tri rec units. I spun seams making pinwheels. I stitched the cutest 4 patch units and spun their seams beautifully! I was learning great new skills! The silly chevrons were threatening that new pride.

My plan? Finish what I started with all the little pieces. AND .... make some chevrons using the strip method, just 2 strips - one leaning one way and one leaning the other. That way I have enough extra chevrons pieced to easily set aside the chevrons that are really wonky. AND I learn another way of doing chevrons. Another new skill.

I don't want or expect a perfect quilt. I also don't want a hideous quilt.
I want and will be delighted with a quilt that reflects my novice status. Some units will be a tad off. Others will be gorgeous. I see my skills improving. I can do this.

Update! Strip Chevrons!

Clue #5 was released and I am backing up to chevrons. I don't even have a goal to finish them yet. Just learn a new method and see how that panned out. Turns out - it worked great!

I cut my strips 1 5/8" like the tutorial by Karen at the Stitching Circle directs. Pinned. Stitched. Then nested 2 strip sets together. Now for the tricky part - cutting at a 45o angle.

Why will this not flip over .... Argh
I have an Easy Angle ruler and it has a 45o angle - Yeah!! I measured and measured again. Then worried if I had the angle the right way for how the strips were nested - not sure if it even matters though, LOL. I mustered up my courage and sliced a set. And another and another.

The seams were nesting nicely thanks to pressing opposite ways. They were pinning nicely. I prayed they were correct. As you can see, I was finishing up my 4 patch units too.

After stitching one, I anxiously opened it to find I did it right! Wahoo!!

Neutral-black, 2 greens and one yellow

And look at how those seams line up!! I am so excited! They need trimmed down to 2" by 3.5" but that doesn't squish my happiness. I am happy to say I CAN make a decent chevron when I slow down and be careful. Of course, to me, the strip method is easier than the scrappy way. I will persevere and finish my other tiny pieces chevrons. If I mess up too many - I know I have a plan B for accomplishing my goal. Yeah me!

Happy chevrons need trimmed