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Archive for September 2008

Dr. Suess I am not, but look at what I got!

After a title like that, how do I start, or even better, where?

Okay, let us start with the baskets, as that is what I made first. I belong to a couple of different quilting online community groups, and one of the members posted a photo of a project she made, and the blog post of her inspiration. I thought it was a neat idea, but I wasn’t ready to tackle it. Oh my… that has changed, and Rachel is right… they are addictive.

These are my renditions of the little baskets.

This is my first attempt at the basket. The finished size is approximately 6″ x 4″ x 4″ (15cm x 10cm x 10cm). As I was making this, I thought… what a great way to use up scraps… either the 2″ squares, or 2″ strips. I bet you have lots of those?

My DS#1 is an upholsterer, and sometime ago he gave me some discarded upholstery samples. I thought they would be a good thing to add to my quilting, but haven’t really decided what. The “Ah-Ha” moment hit me, and I chose 4 samples to make a basket. It was a little more difficult to turn, and I did add the batting too, but it sure turned out great, I think!

I really don’t know what I’ll do with them… but I am thinking of hitting the scrap bins, that is for sure! Wouldn’t they make great gift basket ideas? I’ve even been thinking of experimenting with different size squares, and adding more squares to make different size baskets. Oh, the possibilities are endless!

On Wednesday, DH and I had to head out of town. On our way to lunch we passed a shop, which had a tremendous pile of jeans in their front window. The jeans had nothing to do per se, with the shop, but the display caught my eye. They were promoting and encouraging people to re-purpose jeans into shopping bags. The idea stuck in my head… I thought… and I thought.

I made my own. I’m thinking of perhaps making some cell phone cases (similar to the one attached to the bag). I left the pockets intact. My DS#2 suggested it looked more like a purse than a shopping bag, I guess someone could use it as both. *Grin* My DD#1 really likes the shopping bag. Maybe I should give her this one.

Are you reducing your use of plastic bags? I am! One pair of discarded jeans at a time.

-Alice

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I took the plunge today. I decided to work on my Landscape Quilt. I had emailed Ionne during the summer for some assistance on how to finish it. She was a great help. This lady truly inspires me.

I had written about the Landscape Quilt in March, just after taking two of Ionne’s classes that our guild hosted.

I had kept all the pieces I needed together… but somehow I misplaced the black tulle. I couldn’t believe this… after finally getting up the gumption to do this quilt, I was going to be waylaid by not having the importance piece. I opened a tote box, wondering if I had put it in there (I don’t remember, or could think of why I would), as it was, it wasn’t in there – BUT! there was an extra piece… oh my luck! Away we go.

I used the grey Invisifil thread on the top, and a clear monofilament nylon thread on the bottom. I used this combination on my “Beading Experiment”, and thought it worked well. I then dropped the feed dogs, put on the darning foot, and off I went. The rhythm of free-motion quilting is very therapeutic.

In my first post about this project, I had decided on a border treatment. I since have changed my mind. I started to feel that adding a border to this piece would take away from it. So instead, I will be binding it, with a black marbled/mottled fabric. I think the small edge that the binding adds, will be a nice finish to it. But then of course, my hubby suggested maybe I should just frame it. Hmmm… Perhaps a visit to the local frame shop to find out the cost may be in order.

Here is my Fabric Collage – Landscape quilt… another step closer to be completed.

Winter sunrise, looking south from Comox over Baynes Sound, with Hernando Island and Denman Island.

Winter sunrise, looking south from Comox over Baynes Sound, with Hernando Island and Denman Island.

I am very proud to announce the completion of the quilt for my Mom.  I have named it “Gotta Love Cats”.  My mom is a fanatic cat lover!

There is a little story behind this quilt.  In April 2006, I attended my first Guild Demo night – Redwork.  I was a little anxious at first, because I didn’t know very much, actually very little about quilting, and didn’t think I would ever use this technique… well, at least not in the near future at that time.  But I thought, it is a new skill, and even if I never use it, or don’t use it for several years, I’ll know how to do it.  It was a fun evening.

Or so I thought!  HAH!

I believe as I was driving home that evening, an idea struck me for a quilt for my Mom.  I would make her a quilt with cats, and do the cats in redwork.  But what would I use for an alternating block.  I had read about those, although didn’t really know much about them either.   I looked on the internet, and found a block that would be appropriate… “Puss in the Corner”.   I started buying 1/2 yard pieces of red fabrics.  My Mom likes the colour red… this worked out well, I think, as it is Redwork.

Where do I find “Cats”.   Okay, one of the suggestions from the demo night was colouring books.  So after a hunt high and low, I found a few old colouring books.  My kids are pretty much out of that stage.   And try and find “traditional” colouring books… oh no… they are all “themed” – Spiderman, Barbie, Dora, etc etc etc.  Then I thought, I would check the internet.   Found quite a few there too.  In order to trace some of them, I had to “remove” the colour from the image… which I did using MS Paint.  I’m thinking now, I would have been smarter just to print them, and go over the areas I wanted to trace/stitch with a heavier marker.  Ah well… it’s all a learning experience.   It took me two years to complete this quilt.   I am pleased with the way it turned out.

Each Puss-in-the-corner block is quilted differently.  I was “learning” how to machine quilt, and wanted to work on free motion.  A few blocks have “kitty” type words in them – Meow, and such.  As well as the names written in free motion, of my Mom’s current cats – Bugsy, Opie, Smoky.   And there are hearts galore over the quilt.

This block is the first one I quilted… I drew a design then used Press-n-Seal to “mark” the quilt.  I wrote about my adventures with this technique/tool in this blog – Glad Press’n’seal – the new quilting tool.

I had purchased a couple of Patsy Thompson’s quilting DVDs, and had watched them, trying to decide how to quilt this quilt.   The blocks were “easy” enough, I suppose, but the borders intimidated me.  I haven’t marked a quilt, especially a big one, to be quilted, the thought scares me.  I know… eventually I’ll get over it.  With a little inspiration, well, actually a lot of inspiration from Patsy’s DVD’s I just went for it on the borders.  I combined a “lazy” vine, with some hearts, instead of doing a feather motif.  I used a variegated cream to brown thread.  I had a lot of fun doing this.  In the corner 4-patch blocks I did a double square on point.

See… more cats in the border too!

Then there’s the label.   Usually I find the label the hardest thing to do for a quilt.   In fact, I had this label done before I finished the quilting.  I had an extra block left over, and I decided to Machine Stitch the information on a piece of muslin, and use the decorative heart stitch to attach it to the extra block.

Check it out… kitties on the backing too!  I had been told that when making a “Cat” quilt, one must also always include a mouse.  While trying to figure out, how I was going to quilt it, I played with the idea of mice chasing each other around the border, but, the marking of it all, intimidated me.   So, I red-worked the cat and mouse on the label.

Although the quilt is 3 months past my deadline, I am very happy how it turned out.  (I have mentioned that).   Now to get it packaged up, and shipped to my Mom.  Do you think she’d mind if I kept it until next Spring… our quilt show is in March.

Now, for the part to get you pondering.   Is there a skill/technique that you didn’t think you would want to do.  If you can, take a class, or a workshop, or attend a demonstration, or find a book, and learn it.  You’ll be surprised with where it may lead you.

Have you ever wondered where some names for blocks come from?  You probably are aware that some blocks have several names, dependent on where they originated or even where they were made.

The Puss-in-the-corner block does have a bit of history.   It is actually based on a children’s game, a version of tag.  There is a player in each corner, and the puss is in the center of a room. On an agreed signal the players attempt to move to the next corner. The puss tries to beat them to the corner. If the puss is successful, the player now becomes the puss.

Until our next quilting adventure.  -Alice


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