Friday, January 22, 2016

Selvage and Beyond

Last week I had to prepare for a demo at guild.  We were having a Whistle Stop where the group is divided into four smaller groups (probably thirty people in each) and they travel to four different demos going on simultaneously, moving station to station.

My demo was on using selvages in quilts or other projects.  I had a two-page hand-out, put together waaaay ahead of time, cuz you know how things creep up!  I had samples in various stages and some finished items.  I made 4 prizes & drew a name from each group.  They were so darn cute, I almost had trouble giving them away.  Can you believe I FORGOT to get pictures?  Two pincushions, 4x6, with a selvage pocket on the front to tuck in your scissors, filled with crushed walnut shells, and two wide open pouches by Noodlehead that I improvised with a pieced outer shell & some selvage strips.

The Sunday after the demo, the perfect can finally made itself available after breakfast (thank you, imported Irish Steel Cut Oats!) , so out came the selvage strips & the modge podge!

The perfect tool can, now sitting on my cutting table!

Very simple and quick, the Modge Podge both attaches the fabric to the can, and then adds a shiny protective coat when done!

While that was drying, I got out some yarn to see if I remembered how to cast on.  Miracle of miracles, it all came back to me!  Before I knew it, I was knitting some socks that will be gifted.

Then, I wanted to make myself an insulated fabric lunch bag that I had seen posted.  The Crafty Gemini's video  was terrific.  Some friends had recommended her & use her tutorials all the time.  She has many on You Tube.  Maybe I'll try some others too!  This project uses two fabrics, one for the outside, one for the lining.  three one-inch pieces of velcro, some Insul Bright, and you are good to go. If you haven't used it before, it's what you want to put in hot pads, oven mitts or something like this, where you want to retain temperature OR protect yourself from it.  Here it is:

If you'd like to make one, follow the link above or google Crafty Gemini.  Here's my lunch bag---much better than taking paper to a quilty event, and at least 5 or 6 times a year, I am packing a lunch to take along with me.  Not fancy, but I  now pack with a little more style.  Oh--and since I was all SELVAGE, I added some selvage strips to the front and back of the bag.

So far, I'm doing pretty good with sticking to my FINISH UFO'S resolution for the year, but as it is only the 22nd of January, guess I can't brag just yet.  But when you are always CHASING SQUIRRELS, it can be difficult to put the blinders on to new quilts!

Next up was this top, maybe completed in late 2014, possibly early 2015, I'm not really sure.  More on this later, but for now, just wanted to share my machine quilting efforts on it.  I just started quilting it last night, it's probably 2/3 quilted. 

The top is 48" by 60".  I had long wanted (but not yet dared) to do one huge spiral on a top, and decided this would be the ONE.  I started with the most perfect spiral tracing on thin paper, pin that to where I want to start (in this case, off center) and reduce my stitch length for the center area.  You are doing tight turning at first, so having those stitches smaller makes it easier, and your curves more smooth.

The top was packaged up, into a compact square, for easy turning.   Stitch length first at 1.5, start stitching, slowly, with those tiny stitches, following the traced design, which is about 4" square.  Once out of that first 4" area, gradually increase stitch length, up to 2.0.  Once I am outside of the paper tracing, I am ESTIMATING the width of my spacing, using my foot as a guide.   My lines are approximately a half inch apart, probably a tad more. (Very scientific!).  By the time my spiral got about 12" square, I went ahead and lengthened my stitch to about 2.75 or 3.0, because I like the way that looks.

This is what I have so far.  I am loving it, even if not perfect.  Because FINISHED is better than perfect!  The cloudy morning shows the stitching pretty nicely.  Once the quilt is done, I will post pictures of it.  For now, that's where I'm at!

Once that quilt is done, I have blocks that date back to maybe 2008 that must be joined and quilted by the end of February, in a mutual challenge with Mary Elizabeth Kinch.  When I dug these out in December, she saw my Instagram post & said she also had some.  We had each taken workshops with Gwen Marston to make these wonky baskets.   Mary Elizabeth thought we should get those done, and I agree!

For now, all you get is a tantalizing glimpse of a few blocks.  There are 42 altogether.  Sorry---the morning light is a little pale today, so not the best quality picture.  Some blocks were not quite the needed size, so rather than cutting the rest down, those had fabric added and are mixed in.  I am ready to sew the top together, and will have it completed by the end of February.  Thank God it's Leap Year, right?  One extra day!

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