Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Calendar Girl

Another finish from the UFO pile!

Calendar Girl 83 x 93 inches
'Calendar Girl' is a queen size Row-by-Row quilt of the months of the year.  It started in 2011 when Lyn Brown posted free patterns on her web site for a monochromatic row-by-row quilt.  Quite a challenge for her students!  But, I saved the patterns and made a number of them in full color rather than monochromatic.

The blocks I used for January, March, May, July, August, and September are all from her patterns.  Then I branched out a bit.  I used her baskets for April, but added Easter eggs from a great pastel striped fabric instead of her rabbits. The rest are other row-by-row patterns I found or blocks that I made up into a row, and are totally different from Lyn's quilt. 

The song 'Calendar Girl' kept running through my head as I quilted, and so that's what I named her in the end.  Why not?

"I love, I love, I love my little Calendar girl.  Every day, every day, of the year!"

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Pilgrim Ships

Here it is, March already!  The resolve to finish up some languishing UFO's this winter is still going strong.

The next project I tackled was what to do with this piece of wonderful fabric that I have had for years!  The colors are so soft and lovely.  Rich brown and rust, purple and teal.  It's called Pilgrim Fathers designed by Fabric Freedom, London England.  The squares have tall ships, a deer, a fish and a goose (or brown swan maybe.)

Quiltmaker Magazine had a pattern a few years  back called "Chopsticks."  Some adapting had to be done to fit the size squares from my feature fabric, but all worked out in the end.

Here's the final result.  The quilting and binding was finished by lunch time today, then a quick spin in the washer and dryer to get out the markings in the border.  Whoop Whoop!  Nearly every bit of that fabric was used up too.  There is only one square and four partial squares left for the scrap bin.

This is my third Queen size finished up since New Years.  I'm stuck on the next one, but that's another post.

Linking up to share with:
confessions of a fabric addict

Monday, February 19, 2018

A pair of February finishes!

This weekend up at the lake, while the guys were ice fishing, my project was to hand sew bindings on two little quilts.

The first is the February challenge from Kathleen Tracy.  "Windowpane" is from her book "Small and Scrappy." This one's entirely from my scrap bag.  I was trying to use up some of those mid-tone fabrics that I always seem to put back.   I wasn't sure I had enough contrast when I first put it together, but it's growing on me.

And, finished just in the nick of time, is this small Delectable Mountains quilt for my DIL who wanted a purple table topper.  We celebrated her birthday this evening.  The block is from Bonnie Hunter's "Scrappy Mountain Majesties," which I've been wanting to try out.  It went together very easily!  I might be persuaded to make a Scrappy Mountain quilt one of these days.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Tutorial: Apron for Care Center Residents

Many of us will have to face an elder loved one moving into Assisted Care or a Nursing Home.  As "Dad" has advanced into his 90's his hands tremble a bit, and eating in the dining hall has become frustrating.  He became discouraged that he spilled so often, but staunchly refused to wear a 'bib.'  And who can blame him?  He has had to let go of his dignity and independence in so many ways.  It was time to figure a way to help him out.

 The answer came when my husband's company changed their corporate logo.  The old shirts, though in great condition, were about to go out to the thrift store.  That is, until I got ahold of them. 

This is the result:  A double layer apron that looks like a man's dress shirt. The double layer keeps wet spills from soaking through before he can grab a napkin. It's wide and long enough to give good coverage down onto his lap.  No ties or buttons for arthritic hands to fumble with, and it doesn't pull over his head.  The weighted straps just rest over his shoulders.   It even has a pocket for his silverware or cell phone.  And, it went together in an hour!

He loves it! "Dad" wears one at every meal.  It's easy for him to put on and take off, has saved a ton of effort on laundry and he doesn't feel it's demeaning.  He's proud of his son, and pleased to wear his old company logo.  Win, win!

Here's how it's done:

* one men's medium weight, long sleeved dress shirt.  (I used chambray and a light twill size Large Tall.)
* six old fashioned disc drapery weights.  You could use quarters too, but would need about 3 in each of the six pockets to have enough weight.
* sewing machine, scissors, marking chalk, thread and sewing pins. (Rotary cutter, cutting mat and 5-inch wide ruler optional.)

Step one:
step 1: cut off collar and sleeves
With scissors, cut off the collar and sleeves.  Discard collar.

Step two:
Turn the shirt inside out.  Spread out the shirt.  The back will probably be a little wider than the front.  Use pins to extend the center pleat farther down on the shirt back.  This will take up the extra fabric for now. The sleeve opening front and back won't exactly match.   Smooth out and draw a gentle curve around the armholes from a point a bit below the armhole and re-cut so they match. 

step 2: pin to extend pleat in back

Step three: 
Cut straight across the top above the top button, but below the back yoke. I had to cut off the collar buttons because they were just where I wanted to cut.  Make sure you don't cut through the pins holding the back pleat together.  You can't see them from the front!  Stitch the curve from side seam to top opening.  I used a standard seam allowance.  Then, stay stitch across the pleat in the back so it doesn't shift.

step 3:  cut straight across the top, below the yoke
Stitch curved side seams.

Step four:
Next, smooth out the the sleeves.  Cut off the cuffs right above the placket, parallel to the cuff edge.  Discard the cuffs.  Turn sleeves inside out.  Using the fold of the sleeve as one edge, cut a five-inch wide strip from shoulder to cuff.  Trim the top edge at an angle, cutting off the seam at the top of the sleeve.  (The cuff end will be attached to the apron, the angled end will have the weights.)

step 4: cut off cuffs

step 4: 5-inch strip and angled edge cut
Step five:
Sew the long side and the angled side of the 5-inch strips to make the shoulder straps.  Turn right side out.  Place your weights along the angled side and mark with chalk to make three little pockets.  This helps keep the weight distributed during use, and they don't all fall to one corner.

step 5: sew and turn straps. note the angled edge

Step six:  
Stitch the three pockets by sewing lines about 2-1/2 inches long or so up from the bottom.  Drop in your weights.  Then stitch across just above the weights to keep them in the pockets.
steps 5 & 6: marking pockets for the weights

  Step seven:
With the shirt still inside out, slip the shoulder straps between the front and back.  Place the strap at the very outside edge on both sides.  The longer point of the angled, weighted edge should be toward the center, and slid down between the front and back shirt pieces.  Stitch across the top edge, catching the front, the raw edge of the straps, and the back all together.  Turn right side out.  All done!

step 7: slide straps down into the shirt,
points toward the center
straps all the way to the outside edges

step 7: stitch top edges
Turn right side out.  All done!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Little Dresses for BIZAA

Last spring our Church was asked to participate in a sewing project making little girls dresses for a mission trip to Nigeria.  We took up the challenge and made over 100 pillowcase-style sundresses from the Little Dresses for Africa pattern.

The mission group we are working with is called BIZAA.  They specifically work to get children off the Streets and out of Child Labor and into the Classrooms in southeastern Nigeria.  They sponsor children in elementary and secondary schools and now have a vocational school for them as they get older to learn nursing and computer technology. 

The founder of the organization is originally from that area, and now works for a church in the Twin Cities.  When he travels back to Nigeria he brings the dresses and other needed items.  But, he mentioned that the pillowcase-style of dress isn't really appropriate for the girls to wear to Church.  So, I'm working on a design for a simple dress that has a drop shoulder sleeve.

Here's what I came up with today.  I think it will work.  No zippers or buttons, will pack flat, reasonably easy to cut and sew.  Now I have to draft up patterns in a whole bunch of sizes.  And how about that 1960's fabric that was in the donation box?  Back in style again!

Of course, now that I've done all this, I see that there is a new raglan sleeve pattern available from Nancy's Notions.  But I think I like my version better.  No elastic or draw-strings.  Well, I can give our sewing crew a couple of options when we have our sewing day in March.

Sunset On Smith Lake

After quilting up a queen size Charlotte's Baskets, it was time to do a bunch of piecing - just to break things up a bit.  I'm so happy to report that my version of Bonnie Hunter's On Ringo Lake Mystery Quilt is all pieced together!

It's surprising how many corners needed to meet, and that they actually matched pretty well.  I didn't try to pin anything, just held nesting corners together where they happened.  The quilt top is about 75x90 inches right now.  Usually I like square 90 inch or larger quilts for our queen beds.  Then no one can steal all the covers!  Since it will be a while before it's quilted, I'll have to decide whether to add a border on two sides to square it up, or leave it as is and use it on the full size bed at the Lake.

Here's a couple sunset photos from our Lake.

Not a bad color match!

I think I can get in on the last link-up. Check out all the beautiful quilts!  https://quiltville.blogspot.com/2018/02/one-final-on-ringo-lake-link-up.html

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Charlotte's Baskets

Sew excited to share this finished quilt!  My sewing machine really gets humming in January and February here in the Bold North - or Cold North depending on your point of view. 

Charlotte's Baskets is queen size and a Bonnie Hunter pattern from her book String Fling.  I had made up quite a few scrappy string blocks just for fun, and found this pattern was the perfect way to use them all up. 

Originally, I started quilting in a Baptist Fan pattern, but after using up one bobbin I set it aside.   My shoulders were so tense from manipulating it through the machine.  Weeks went past, and the Holidays too.  Resolving in the new year to get going on some UFO's, I decided to rip out the fans and go with a more straight-stitch grid pattern with the walking foot.  Triple Zig-zag on the widest and longest setting looks great on the navy sashing and border.  The only free-motion quilting is some loops and stars on the string block corners and in the string border.

A new marking method worked okay.  I used a gray ultra washable Crayola marker on the orange border.  The markings were sharp and did not fade or brush off like chalk markings have.  The marks don't come off with just a damp towel.  I had to wash the whole quilt, but they all came out. 

The next unquilted top has been layered and pinned.  All set to go!