Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sleeve Stitching

My 1800s repro fabric quilt named Rhett & Scarlett is finished. Yay! Cable stitching and binding was completed this past week due to all the encouragement from dear fellow quilt bloggers!

During bits and pieces of free time today on Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching, I will begin to blind stitch the sleeve on quilt back which is required for hanging purposes at the shows.  I learned how to make and add a proper sleeve by watching an AQS video by Bobbie Browning.

Two fabrics were auditioned for the binding.

The matching fabric that was leftover from borders and alternate blocks was chosen.  I had barely enough to make a straight narrow binding.  Phew!  I like how it blends in and due to the print, the binding basically disappears thus creating a clean smooth edge.

Later this week, I hope to do a more detailed posting of binding along with a full photo/reveal of quilt.  R&S will hang better after full sleeve is added.  AQS quilt submissions require a full front view photograph.

There are several reasons why I personally choose to enter quilt shows.  It is not for competitive reasons as I am an average quilter.
  • It movitates me.
  • It gives me incentive to finish.
  • It challenges me.
  • It is a way to share.  I love to attend quilt shows and if no one enters their quilts, there wouldn't be be any quilt shows.
  • It is fun and rewarding to have a quilt displayed amongst award-winning quilts even though my quilt is a few aisles over. 
  • It gives me an excuse opportunity to attend and maybe travel to a quilt show.
Should you have a finished quilt or an almost-finished quilt, please consider showing your quilt.  Online applications take just a few minutes (once the quilt is photographed).

R&S has been accepted at the National Quilters Association 45th Annual Show held May 23-25, 2014.  The NQA has just extended the entry deadline to April 8, 2014.  It is a wonderful show with quality vendors.

It was also accepted at the Sauder Village Quilt Show held April 29 - May 4, 2014.  Only a month away.  I can hardly wait to attend this popular show.

Next, I look forward to working on other sewing and needlework projects that have been put on hold while I focused on completing Rhett & Scarlett.

Also, in a couple of weeks, my blog will be getting a new name.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Off the Frame

Finished all quilting including redo blocks on Tuesday.

After with diagonal rows in alternate blocks all going in the same direction.

Before with opposite slants:

I think it is more cohesive with double rows angling in the same direction. 

Quilt came out of the frame

and it was nice to see an empty frame.

Binding on Rhett & Scarlett is almost complete.  Will post those photos within a few days.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Almost Done

Cable stitching the outside border this past week was very enjoyable.  The binding should be the next step; however, it will have to wait a few days.  As there are eight days remaining prior to show deadline, I have decided to redo some of my alternate blocks.  Subconsciously, I must like to pressure myself or I am stalling my spring cleaning. 

There is nothing wrong with the blocks other than I am dissatisfied with my choice of how I angled the double row of stitching.  Initially, I thought it would be clever original to have one row of alternates stitched in one direction and the next row slanted in the opposite direction.  As the quilt progressed, the zig zaggy diagonals bothered me.  I kept telling myself that it would be okay, but it was not.

For the third time I got out the seam ripper (we are becoming buddies) and began to remove previous stitches. Six full blocks and four half blocks are affected.  I have timed myself per block; 12 minutes to remove previous stitches; approximately 90 minutes to requilt.

Therefore, I am still continuing sewing the same quilt.  It is okay as I am thoroughly enjoying the company of other stitchers on Slow Sunday Stitching hosted by Kathy.  It is my hope to have the redo blocks finished mid-week.

This Civil War era 1800s reproduction fabrics quilt finally has a name: "Rhett and Scarlett."  Rhett is for the dark browns and black; Scarlett represents the burgandy and flowery double pinks.

May you experience smooth needlework this week without having any redos!


Friday, March 21, 2014

I Think I Can

"I think I can.  I think I can." This week while hand quilting the outside border, I've been remembering the quote from a classic childrens' storybook, "The Little Engine that Could."

This quote and other encouraging words have kept me moving along with my time-sensitive stitching. It is my intent to have quilt completed by March 31 in order to meet two quilt show entry deadlines.  This weekend I have one final side to quilt and then attach the binding.

As is common with all of us, there have been several life interruptions that have consumed some stitching time.  It's okay as people do come first, and I did manage to quilt at least one hour per day.

Kathy of Kathy's Quilts was correct in commenting that the cable design goes quickly.  A glimmer of hope emerged when I turned my first corner and the design came out well. Sorry the white marking lines are still intact.

I used the Fons and Porter mechanical fabric pencil for marking.  It's been a life saver while working on the dark fabric.

Easily and quickly removed with a white eraser.

A name for the quilt made out of Civil War Era reproduction fabrics is simmering in my mind also.  Stay tuned.....  

Smooth stitches,

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Border Sunday

Finally, it's time to start stitching the outside quilt borders.  Today I will be timing my stitching progress on the cable border to determine if I am still able to meet my March 31st deadline without making myself too crabby.

Yesterday, on National Quilting Day (which is suppose to be fun) I had an unanticipated setback.  My stitching was moving along nicely on the bottom triangles and inside borders.  I was so pleased and was actually considering what I should post for Slow Sunday Stitching hosted by Kathy's Quilts.  With delight I came to the very last corner/block.  As I was drawing my diagonal line, the pencil chalk lead became stuck.  When I looked, there was an 1/8" inch hole.  I did not "&*%)@" as my heart had stopped.  I just gasped, "Oh no!"

I have no idea how it happened as I hadn't even worked on the block.  Maybe something caught during the basting process.  Maybe it was in the fabric before I pieced it.  Black print fabric can hide flaws.  Maybe I could stop feeling sorry for myself and just fix it.  My first thought was the product Fray Check.  However, that would only be a repair and not the solution.

The only thing that would satisfy me is to replace the block.  Ouch!  Out came the seam ripper and the corner was carefully extracted.  All loose threads removed and seams pressed open.  The old piece was a template for a new piece.  Fortunately, I had extra matching fabric.

The two straight sides were stitched by machine but not fully to the corners/ends.  Then I inset the diagonal side with 1/4" seam allowance turned under.  Pins were used to line it all up and to prevent any shifting.

Quality Control approved for Next Step

The corners and diagonal edge were blind stitched (similar to applique process).  I was pleasantly surprised that it turned out well.  Phew!  This process took two hours, but it was worthwhile.

It could have been worse.  There could have been previously sewn quilt stitches in the block or it could have happened on a larger block.  The hole was on top layer and not bottom, etc.  I was lucky that the mysterious flaw was on a corner piece.

Next was marking the border with a cable stencil.  Of course the cable design did not measure out equally with the quilt width.  I was off approximately 5/8's of an inch.  So I  fudged adjusted my chalk lines.  This was accomplished by spacing out pins to see how it would look prior to drawing the chalk lines.

When I was done with all thus fussy work, I rewarded myself with one of my stress relievers.

Please check out other hand stitchers this week on Slow Sunday Stitching.

Smooth Stitches,

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Niagara Falls

Thanks for the well wishes on my overnight trip to view partially frozen Niagara Falls in the winter.  The quilt-in-progress came along in hopes of getting some stitching accomplished..

The Falls were absolutely beautiful with all the ice formations.

American Falls viewed from Canadian side
Canadian Falls (Horseshoe Falls) viewed from Canadian side
We had a special treat when a rainbow appeared.  A blessing.

Niagara Falls, Ontario is only a 3-1/2 hour drive from the Metro Detroit area.  Weather and roads were clear for our two travel days.  Our Canadian neighbors were very welcoming.

Of course, I did not get as much stitching accomplished as I had dreamed hoped.  Maybe 45 minutes worth.  Half of that was in the car.  My eyes were needed to assist my sister who was driving, sign watching, etc.  Also, I was pleasantly distracted by viewing the scenic snow-covered fields which were especially pretty against the winter blue sky.  It is not easy to quilt in car.  Too much fabric to handle, the smaller frame did not keep good tension, movement of the car, etc.  Oh well.  I tried.

In lieu of missing two quilting days, I stitched most of Wednesday (more than five hours) in order to 'catch up' on my fast approaching deadline at the end of the month.  I also managed to make a pot of chili and shovel some snow.  All the churn dash blocks are completed.  Yay!

Next is hand quilting along the bottom border and around the perimeter black border.

Adding binding and a sleeve are next.  Hopefully, I may make my target date while juggling medical appointments, previous commitments and all the life stuff that comes along.  Spring cleaning and other sewing projects are on hold.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Traveling Sunday

The quilt is traveling this Slow Sunday Stitching day.  Actually it is going international.  I have the opportunity to see Niagara Falls in the winter which is something that I have always wanted to do.

I am still hopeful that I can meet my quilt show deadline (see previous post).  Therefore, the quilt must come with me so that I may accomplish more sewing.  A positive thing about hand quilting is that it is more portable than machine quilting.  Quilt is out of the large Q-Snap frame and into the portable Q-Snap frame so I can stitch while my sister drives.  :-)

We live in the Metro Detroit area and the drive to Niagara Falls, Ontario is approximately 3.5 hours.  We will spend one night there and return home on Monday. Two nieces are traveling with us.  One is home-schooled, and the trip to see the Falls will double as a science lesson.

Hopefully, you will be able to enjoy some slow stitching today with others on Kathy's blog.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Speed It Up

On this Slow Sunday Stitching I need to speed up to fast stitching.  Why?  Two large quilt show entry deadlines are quickly approaching.

It reminds me of the hilarious skit from a classic I Love Lucy episode when Lucy and Ethel get a job at a candy factory and the supervisor hollers, "Speed It Up."

The National Quilt Association moved up their annual show date by one month. It should have been obvious to me that this would also change the quilt entry deadline by one month.  However, my brain has been in hibernation this long bitter winter. This past week I was nudged awake while admiring the completion of a fellow blogger's appliqued quilt. Baltimore Rhapsody can be viewed at Fabric Therapy.

Upon coming out of my winter lull, I quickly checked quilt websites and calendars. Yikes! I have to complete my unnamed quilt by the end of March. The other show I would like to enter is the Sauder Village Quilt Show.

Instead of becoming discouraged with the amount of unfinished blocks, I decided to appreciate the finished blocks. Therefore, I rotated the quilt in my frame, so while I stitched I could see the completed blocks vs. the uncompleted blocks.

Stitching with Finished Blocks

Stitching with Unfinished Blocks

Quilting with the completed blocks is more of an encouragement to keep stitching.

During the past few days, I have been timing my stitching in order to estimate the doability of completion. It may be possible to finish it and still be able to eat, sleep, and do laundry.  Lol!

If you need a chuckle while stitching along with others at Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching, click here to watch a 1:45 second video of Lucy and Ethel at the candy factory video.

This week will determine if I can meet my deadlines.  Stay tuned.....