Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Finished Quilt Top



As most of my sewing projects go, this one was no different. Which means I started out with an idea and good intentions, but ended up with something else entirely.

My original plan was to sew my jelly roll (remember my jelly roll consists of 40 2 1/2 inch by 44 inch strips) into groups of 6, cut them into 12 inch blocks and then arrange them into a log cabin type of pattern.


Unfortunately, even though I was very careful and tried to keep my seam allowances the same, my strips did not come out exact. When I tried to arrange them into blocks it was obvious that some of them were off by as much as a quarter of an inch and more. I would have to stretch some blocks and scrunch others. Well, crap!

So I decided to whack the blocks into strips, stagger them, re-sew them, and cut the finished product into 12 1/2 by 10 inch rectangles. It was time consuming, the result is a bit crazy and needless to say nothing matches up.

Which for once was what I wanted.


How it started out. Simple strips of 6.

How it ended up (before I added the border). Crazy!

The jelly roll came with strips of polka dots in four different colors. I used 4 of them for the border. The length of the quilt was a bit too long so I had to piece the corners with a coordinating fabric.

It's difficult to see the whole thing (and yes, I know our cockpit cushions are on their last legs. The Florida sun has done them in).


My biggest challenge was finding a place big enough to spread it out so I could decide what to do about the border. Then I had a brilliant idea (something that doesn't happen very often) and took it to my Zumba class. It's a huge building so I showed up a half hour early and was able to lay it down and not have to step all over it while figuring things out. I'm glad I did because what I thought I might like; I didn't.

I kept it simple with my polka dot prints and was able to sew it together yesterday. Now all that's left is to buy some batting, quilt it, and bind it.

I'm still up in the air about the quilting. I should probably pay someone to do it, but it's a baby quilt! I mean It's gonna get puked and pooped on for crying out loud. I don't feel like hand quilting it and I don't want to tie yarn knots through it because those usually end up turning into holes. I guess I'll probably try to do free motion with my machine and just keep the stitches simple.


Wilbur the inspector asks, "What the hell happened?"

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hoppy Easter!!


This week I discovered I have the biggest refrigerator, the biggest oven, and apparently the biggest mouth here in our marina because for today's Easter get together I'm in charge of cooking the 12 pound ham.


Maybe I should have mentioned with that big mouth that I've never cooked a ham in my life.


That little heart sticker on Wilbur's head signifies he was a good boy and took his heart worm medicine.



Wilbur thinks I'm a fabulous cook and has volunteered to be the official taste tester. As long as it's covered in whipped creme, he says, life is good.





Sunday, April 13, 2014

The search for the ever elusive scant 1/4 inch continues



We pick up this story with my continued quest of trying to find out how to accurately sew quilt pieces together.

After sewing my pre-cut jelly roll strips together I was looking forward to cutting them into 12 inch squares. That is until I realized the new blade I'd put in my rotary cutter a couple of months ago was rusty. I would have had better luck running a dull butter knife up and down my fabric it was that bad. This is what comes from living on the water in Florida; if things don't get moldy they get rusty.

So off I ventured to my favorite fabric store, and for the first time they didn't have something I needed. I have a Fiskars Cutter and they don't carry them. I couldn't get to JoAnn's because I didn't have the vehicle that day so I had to wait until yesterday to drive there. Luckily I had a 40% off coupon and bought some titanium blades (I have no idea if they'll stay nice or not and I need to come up with a better storing solution). But then I remembered they sell Janome Sewing Machines at this store and I asked one of the employees who was sitting at a machine if they happened to carry a quarter inch quilting foot and by golly they do! I then asked her if she'd heard the term 'scant' quarter inch and she gave me a baffled look and shook her head. So I went into my long winded explanation of why I wanted one and she said she's made many quilts using a simple quarter inch seam allowance and never had a problem.

That's when I decided enough was enough and to quit making such a big deal out of this and just suck it up. I ended up buying the foot they had in stock and it also came with 2 guides; one for the 1/4 inch seam and one for sewing in the ditch (actually the guide runs in the ditch and allows you to sew very close to it).

This is the foot with the 1/4 inch guide attached. The other guide is off to the left.


I did not have my reading glasses with me and I didn't see this until I got home. Is that not just too funny?

So the search for the scant quarter inch foot and guide is now over.

The sad part about this is when my quilt ends up with wonky seams I won't have anyone to blame but myself.


No sewing this weekend as Hans and I cast off our dock lines yesterday and anchored in the bay for the night. This little racer zipped past our stern with about 6 'scant' inches to spare.

I crack myself up!



Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Some small steps on my baby quilt.

First of all, let me express my thanks to those who welcomed me back from my bloggy absence. It really surprised me and also made my day. Oh, you are so going to wish you'd never encouraged me!
So I started sewing the baby quilt I mentioned yesterday. I sorted out the strips and then sewed them together in groups of 6. Each group of strips will then be cut into three 12 inch squares.
But here's my dilemma; Is it just assumed that everyone knows the secret of the 'scant' quarter inch seam allowance? I'm not a quilter but I do have a couple of quilting books and I've also read and watched a lot of tutorials, yet not one of them mentioned this term. I can't remember when I first heard about it but I did know upon starting this quilt that I should follow the rule. I know you can buy a special foot for your machine but apparently it isn't always accurate. Then I heard that the line spacing on index cards is measured at pretty much a 'scant' quarter inch. So of course I bought a batch of them at my local Winn-Dixie.
It would appear that my teflon foot is the closest thing to what I need (yet still not quite right), so I measured as best I could from the needle and taped a hunk of memo pad to the bed of my machine as a guide. This much I know; 6 strips of sewn together fabric should measure 12 1/2 inches across. Mine are pretty close yet not necessarily exact and that pisses me off. And the individual strips after having been sewn should come in at 2 inches (except for the two outside pieces that still have unsewn seam allowances). I'm sewing as carefully as I can but I can't help but wonder if the fact that the quality of some of the fabrics is different from the others might be the problem. The lighter colored fabrics are much lighter in weight than the darker ones.
I swear, only I can find a way to make something so simple, so complicated. But regardless of these minuscule discrepancies, I'm going to continue to charge forth. After all, this is for a baby whom I expect will puke, poop, and do God knows what else to it, so who cares if it's not perfect.

One set of strips. Remember these came pre-cut and some of the prints aren't exactly centered.

Three sets hanging on my clothes line (Wilbur's retractable leash).

Now that Wilbur's an adolescent, I don't dare leave my camera lying around. Here he tweets yet one more selfie.


The weather these last few days has been wonderfully cool and perfect for sewing. Tomorrow I plan on cutting these strips into squares and then trying to come up with a good layout.

I also need to find a way to keep my iron from spitting rusty stains up all over everything.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I'm still living and sewing on our boat.


I can't believe how long it's been since I last posted. We're still down here on the Gulf Coast of Florida and while I've sewn a number of things, I don't have access to a lot of the pictures as my computer died and I'm slowly moving them from another hard drive to my iPad.

We've been in the same marina now for nearly three years.


This past weekend I took down our dodger (located toward the front of the boat, the dodger contains the plastic windshield) and reinforced the seams that were coming apart thanks to our brutal Florida sun. BTW, I forgot to put sunscreen on my upper exposed back neck area and, yes, I got a sun burn. Big surprise!

Since sewing (even with air conditioning) on our boat during the summer is nearly impossible, I had hoped to do some fun sewing this past winter. I did manage to get some projects completed but they leaned more toward functional boat stuff as opposed to fun creative stuff. And then we received news that the stork is due to make a delivery within the next few months to a cousin in the family and I got a bug up my butt and decided I really want to make a quilt. However, the only quilt I've ever made was for me and it was beyond amateurish and I wouldn't even gift it to a homeless person.
I then happened across a YouTube video from the Missouri Quilt Company that utilized a pre-cut jelly roll. Now, in the past I'd heard the term jelly roll, layer cake, blah blah blah, and actually, I found them to be kind of weird. But weird or not, pre-cut fabrics are just what the doctor ordered since I have very little cutting room here on the boat. I actually want to make two quilts so I order two jelly rolls for the tops and yardage for the backs. I can't tell you how excited I was yesterday when my fabric arrived and I was able to run my hands over 80 pre-cut 2 1/2 in wide strips. Yaaaay!

This print is called Bartholo-meow's reef. Too, too cute!

Look at all those bright prints.

It doesn't smell like a jelly roll!

Today is rainy and overcast which makes it perfect for me to get started.

If you have time you should check out the Missouri Quilt Company link I hi-lighted above and read about how they got started and what they've accomplished. What a great group of people.