Friday, May 22, 2015

A Bit of Time to Sew - Finally!

Sewing is my therapy, my escape from everyday worries and woes, my sanity saver, and one of my greatest pleasures. I've had so little time to work in my sewing room the past couple of weeks that today was pure bliss.

The painters have gone, the sprinkler system is fixed, the carpenter has repaired the last little piece that needed doing, and the whole day was mine. I hurried through breakfast and morning chores, then raced downstairs to my play in my sewing room. (That last bit may be slightly exaggerated. My days of actually racing down the stairs are long gone, but I moved as fast as I could without tripping and taking a stumble.)  Bliss! I played and I played.  In fact, I had a frolicking good time with my new design in progress.

I'm making another table runner that could also hang on a wall. This one is all about summer and heading out on vacation. There will definitely be a car pulling a camper. Then I'll likely add such things as a fifth wheel with a truck, a hippie van, a jeep, and a sports car, plus odd and sundry other items pulled or piled on top of the vehicles. A canoe, a boat, boxes and tarps would be logical.  I don't know what else, but these are the ideas playing in my head right now. I'll stop when I run out of space on the runner, and I don't know how many traveling vehicles will fit. Would trees in the background be too much?

The car and camper were the easiest, so that's where I've begun . Here they are, laid out on a paper background.

Nothing can be fused to the fabric until I can see how they would look best. 

I have two background fabrics in mind, but I haven't been able to choose one over the other. What do you think? White on white or little gray circles on white? 

I wish the sun were shining so I could see the fabrics under sunlight. The way a fabric photographs is so important when making patterns. The photograph can make all the difference in whether people like the patten or not.  Cameras change colors in subtle ways, and sometimes a piece that looks beautiful in real life won't photograph well at all.  

I won't be sewing tomorrow, but other exciting things are in the works. My daughter's fundraiser for the NSEA children's fun takes place. I'll be over there with my raffle quilt and we'll draw for a winner.

The raffle quilt.
My granddaughter's high school graduation ceremony takes place later in the day. So much excitement in the air this weekend!

There will be more sewing when life calms down once again. 

Have a lovely weekend! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

"Windows on My Garden": Slice, Splice, Done.

Has it been forever since I posted a new pattern, or does it just seem that way to me? Spring and all that comes with that has interfered with my sewing and pattern making. After tomorrow's visit by the lawn sprinkler man, though, things may calm down a bit. It's high time, too, because I need to begin seriously thinking about fall and winter patterns.

This pattern is finally finished, though, and it was so worth the effort! I am absolutely crazy about this one.  I've titled it "Windows on My Garden".

Slice, splice, done really does describe the quilt! Perhaps I should have named it that. No, I really do see windows when I look at it. The pattern makes two different size quilts with nine duplicates of one block. The larger one has a border, the smaller one has none.

When each block is identical, the stage is set for assembly line sewing. With precise cutting and accurate 1/4" seams it all comes together easily.

I've made these two entirely different quilts, each with nine of the blocks, but I know I will soon be stitching up more items made with different numbers of the same block.

Three in a row would make a table runner 15" x 45'.
Four set in a square become a 30" x 30" table topper. Add a narrow border and you'd have a baby quilt.
Twenty blocks set in a 4 x 5 grid with an added border are needed for a twin bed quilt, and 42 blocks in a 6 x 7 rectangle are perfect for a queen size bed.

The block is made with slicing, splicing, and trimming. The pink and green quilt was the experiment that helped me figure out how to splice two strips going down the side of block and only one going across. If I'd used splices half an inch wide everything would have been fine. But, I didn't like the half inch strips. I wanted larger ones - three fourths of an inch wide. And that threw everything off. Each time I added a spliced strip into a row of patches, the row grew 1/4" wider. If I'd left it that way, seams wouldn't have lined up at all. Some rows of patches would have finished 5" wide, and others 5 1/4" wide. That last little trimming slice fixed the problem altogether.

When it's finished, each block is 15" x 15" - and the patches line up!

The first quilt, 49" x 49".
I made the second quilt to work up the pattern. I thought I might use photographs in the pattern, but I honestly didn't need them at all because I've finally figured out how to make a simple pattern like this on the computer.

Confession: I do love this pattern, and I had this lovely stack of low volume fat quarters begging to be made into a quilt.  That's the real reason I made the second quilt. And I am so happy I did!

Low volume quilt with a border, 56" x 56". 
I am so in love with this quiet quilt! Someday I may find another set of gorgeous fabrics like this and make a bed size quilt in this same pattern.  The fabrics are so subtle that nothing really pops out, so lots of quilting was needed to add texture and make it sparkle.

I like cotton batting for table toppers and wall hangings because it gives them stability and they keep their shape so well. This quilt, however, needed to be as soft and cuddly as possible, so I used Legacy 80/20 poly-cotton blend batting. No matter how densely you quilt it, the quilt remains soft and pliable. I was able to truly let myself go on the quilting without turning it into something stiff and unyielding. 

Oh gosh, I had so much fun!

Done is done, and now I need to focus on something new. There are at least 50 choices on my idea list. I'll go over them tomorrow and try to decide where to begin.

Have a lovely week!

And happy stitching!