Coming back

It feels like a long time, but when I put in perspective 3 and a half months have gone really fast, and for most of it I was definitely not in my prime… Physically I can say I am 99% ok, and expect to be 100% in about a year or so. Emotionally, for my own surprise and dismay, I did not do so well. There are feelings that have been hard to shake/dismiss, and although I hate to dwell in the past I cannot deny myself the grief for what I went through.

On the other hand I’m ready to move on. I’ve been quilting a lot. First with my mom’s help, and just a few stitches a day. It took a while for me to be able to even carry my “sewing room”( as I call my sewing bag) to work. So I worked on little things, that brought instant gratification. Over the holidays I gave myself the deadline to finish the kid’s quilts (for many reasons), and I could not be happier. I not only finished the “Name Game” quilts, but I made my son a “Thomas & Friends” nap time quilt to stay at his daycare.

The Thomas quilt

I love making things for kids, and to see their reactions when they receive the gift. My son is very possessive of his blankies. One of his teachers told me that typically he does not go down for nap time too easily, but when he saw his new blankie he shouted “Kaiden’s blankie”, and happily laid down to sleep. I could not imagine a better incentive to make him many more…

On Friday I finished my “Calendar Quilt” quilt top, a pattern from Willowberry Lane. I was really behind on this BOM because of my illness, but eventually I did catch up, and now it feels like it went way too fast.  I will certainly be posting pictures, and a pattern review next week. I also have many other projects I’d love to share and review. I got a few machines up and running, and I got started on others that need TLC.

In the upcoming weeks I plan on developing the vintage sewing machine portion of the blog, and I’m planning that episode 4 will be dedicated on the subject of the basics when considering purchasing a vintage sewing machine. Podcast 3 is halfway done, and I’ll let everyone know when I have a date for release. Things have been hectic at work, and my little one has not been napping on the weekends, so recording time has been a challenge.

Soooo, slowly, but surely I’m trying to come back. Once again many thanks to those that stuck around, to the many good wishes and support. It means EVERYTHING!

PR (pattern review): The Name Game

51Y88Mp5QHL__SS400_The Name Game is one of the many patterns in the “Fat Quarter Fonts” book, by Atkinson Design. The book describe a method of machine applique that is a crossover with paper piecing, where no fusibles are used. The patterns are designed for fat quarters and charm squares. The accompanying CD has 2 alphabets in two sizes, drawn in reverse. You can print the letters on foundation paper, than you layer the fabric for the letter, the background and the letter template all with the wrong side up. After pinning in place you just run the “sandwich” on your machine, following the lines on the paper. I made two quilt tops so far, one for my son and one for my niece. I used two very different methods, which I will describe further down.

 

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I did the quilt top for my son’s quilt first.  I did not notice that the instructions tell you to cut 10″x10″ squares that will ultimately be cut to 9-1/2″ by 8-1/2″.  I can understand the background for the letters being cut larger to accommodate shifting while appliqueing but the other blocks generated a lot of waste pieces. Personally I stock my stash with 1/2 yard cuts so I got a lot of leftover fabric which I plan on turning into baby quilts to donate. I used all 100% cotton, and it’s an I Spy quilt.

For Kaiden’s letters I decided to use a satin stitch (basically a very tight zig-zag.) I used my Viking 6440 for the applique. For the piecing I used both the Viking and my black Singer 301. After you sating stitch you cut the letter as close as possible to the stitching. I have to say the final result is somewhat sloppy because there’s only so close one can cut to the letter before cutting into the stitches. I’m hoping that after the first wash the edges that are not stitched will fray off, and the finish will look better.

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Lana’s quilt is all flannel. For her letters I opted for straight stitching along the lines of the letter, than I cut around that line leaving about 1/4″ of fabric. With the right side up I used an open zig-zag as the decorative stitch, but also to prevent the fabric from unraveling past that point. Once the quilt is washed the edges of the letters will fray for a very “fluffy” look.

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Both quilts will have polyester batting since they will get washed a lot, and I did not want them to be too heavy. They will also have flannel backing for warmth in the New England winter. I bought flame resistant flannel for both, since that’s the part that will be in contact with the kid’s bodies.  I’m still deciding how I’m going to quilt them, but probably something very simple.

Because I chose to have a border of rectangles around Kaiden’s name, and he has a 6 letter name I think his quilt got to be a bit too big. If I were to make it again I’d let the name go from edge to edge. Lana’s quilt is a lot more manageable for a small child. I want them both to drag their quilts around, but I have a feeling my son will have a hard time once it’s done. Both absolutely love the top so far. When I brought my son’s top home (I took a full day class on a Saturday, so I was able to finish in about 6 hours), he would not let go of it. Thank goodness I zig-zagged all around, otherwise I would have no top left to quilt! He wrapped himself with it, and kept saying “Kaiden’s quilt, Kaiden’s quilt!”

Lana also loved her top, and I had a hard time getting it back from her. I will be buying the batting this week, so hopefully I can start quilting next weekend. My mother started one for my niece and she used variegated color thread and the result was stunning. I have to ask her for photos of it. I’m planning on making an alphabet quilt for my son, and I’ll probably use charm squares for this one. Overall a very nice and quick method to personalize not only a quilt, but also pillows, bags and anything fabric.