Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On a Roll with Duck and Cover

I finished FMQ on Strawberries and Chocolate.  All that is left is to wash it and it is all ready for the baby. I took some photos tonight but they are really dark and dingy looking.  The pinks are really more lively and crisp that the photos would leave you to believe. I will need to take some daylight photos and post in another blog entry.

When my kids were born 26-32 years ago there was no pretense of knowing the sex so most items were gender neutral.   I would not have sewn a pink quilt- blue maybe, but certainly not pink-  until after the baby's arrival.  Someone in my chorus group told me how her grandson was supposed to be a girl and there was a surprise in the delivery room.   If that is the case for my daughter, this baby is going to have a lot of wrong-gender-specific handmade items!  I bought into this girl thing hook, line, and sinker.  The little witch girl quilt that is in line for quilting is pretty girlish, too.

But at least the strip quilt, Duck and Cover, my latest FMQ in progress, can be for either sex.  So far I have done my stitch in the ditch between the strips.

I have also decided and quilted an echo pattern around each large bird in the dark-blue-with-ducks-and-geese strips...

 a channel type straight line pattern in the yellow-with-words strips...

and a saw tooth triangular pattern in the orange-with-egg-yolks strips.

Quilting around each of the  tiny-sized ducks and geese was a challenge. They sure are not perfect but they certainly helped to develop my FMQ fabric manipulations and steering skills. You can still see a fabric markings in the orange strips since I have not washed the quilt yet. I learned my lesson with Strawberries and Chocolate. Even if the fabric has a set pattern, in the heat of the quilting moment, going forwards and backwards and sideways, you can't always tell or remember which line you were following. This time I marked them!  More and more often I managed to sew right on them, too.

Yet to do are the turquoise strips with polka dots and the white strips with diagonal ducks. I think dots will get meandering and ducks will get honeycomb pattern- not around every duck, goodness knows, but perhaps around every grouping of four or nine.

Here are my stats for this week.  After that I will link up to WIP Wednesday so I can "gander" at everybody else's work and leave comments.

Completed projects:  
  1. Strawberries and Chocolate Quilt! (picture to follow)
Ongoing projects:  
  1. "Duck and Cover" - have about half FMQ'd
  2. Autumn Baby Quilt - make binding and spray baste this weekend 
  3. Doll quilt - still awaiting binding after baby projects reach a lull
  4. Seventh pair of baby socks- I want a week's worth
This week's stats:
     Completed  projects - Strawberries and Chocolate
     New projects - baby socks 
     Currently in progress - still 4
     Those in closet - many enumerated in earlier posts and not repeated here 

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Expectations vs. Reality

You know the feeling.  You go to a movie touted as being really great and come out saying "What was all the fuss about? That wasn't so hot". You begrudgingly go to an outdoor concert in a neighborhood park played by a local, supposedly mediocre, community band and return really pumped because, not only were the musicians really good, but they played a lot of your favorite songs.  It is not how good something really is that pleases you.  It is how good it is relative to how good you expected it to be.  Well, that is true of my FMQ.

You have been hearing me moan and groan about my fear of FMQ. I finally broke through my log jam of trepidation this weekend, quit stalling, and quilted that little pink and brown baby quilt, dubbed Strawberries and Chocolate.  I was expecting awful results.  I comforted myself with the thoughts that it was a learning experience and all that I was sacrificing was a charm pack of 30 squares (that resurfaced just by chance during a sewing room cleaning) and only a portion (not all) of some backing/sashing fabric I really liked.  I cushioned my anticipated disappointment with the knowledge that the quilt top was not intricately pieced and so was not a huge time investment, either.

Surprise! I am really happy with how it turned out.  I had very low expectations and the reality of it was, it did not come out so bad after all. Sure, it is not perfect but I did not expect it to be. I expected it to be awful. Take a peek.

I did "stitch in the ditch" between the squares first.  Then I did the straight lines along the brown tree trunks in the sashing, practicing little jut outs and loop-like bubbles out around each twiggy branch.  I tried meandering among the stars using them as a spacing guide.  I did straight lines in striped and plaid squares. I did not do any marking. On the striped fabrics and diagonal plaids this worked fine.

I was not as successful on the pin dots in the far left corner, above.  Without marking, going forward and backward, I lost track of which "line" of dots I was connecting and strayed. It is just coincidence, and not intentional on my part, that the rather shabby, or should I say "quirky" square is not fully in the photo. As I said, it was a learning experience. It really was a good first project since each 5 x 5 square gave a limited area to focus on and to try out different quilting patterns.  I following Mary Ann's advice and did not take out my mistakes.  Rather I will wait and see if I can find them again in a few days.  That pin dot square is a potential candidate for re-doing. I did miss a few diagonals on the dark pink honeycomb that I will need to go back and complete.  Can you find them?

I am adding my binding.  I was very glad I had made that earlier. I usually do, and am so grateful that my binding is ready when it is time to put it on. I had it ironed and clipped in place so that today, during my lunchtime at work, I could start the hand sewing. I was surprised I completed the hand-stitching on two of the four sides in about 50 minutes. I was expecting it to be much more time consuming. Why, completing it will be just another lunchtime or two shows of Jeopardy! Again, reality was better than my expectations and so I am a happy camper.  I will post a picture soon of the completed project, without label.  The label will need to wait until my grand-daughter is born and her name is decided.

This weekend I spray basted the quilt sewn from the Duck, Duck, Goose fabric line. I am liking the quilt name Duck and Cover since it seems quite clever. But, since I do live in California where the weather is "sunny with a chance of earthquakes", perhaps I have become desensitized to the disastrous seismic implications and the name is inappropriate. My daughter does say, though, that there are mini-seismic events in her belly right now so maybe the quilt name under consideration is cute and OK.

I also completed this week the second half of a pair of baby socks.  I do not know if my various color combinations will go with any outfits but they sure are fun to experiment and knit with.  The yarn is a bamboo blend called Baby Boo and really has a nice soft hand to it.

I am linking up to WIP Wednesday and here is my list of projects to keep me honest.

Completed projects:  
  1. One pair poppy and orchid baby socks
Ongoing projects:  
  1. "Strawberries and Chocolate"-  FMQ'd and binding 2nd half on Thursday
  2. "Duck and Cover" - spray basted, will start FMQ this weekend
  3. Autumn Baby Quilt - make binding and spray baste this weekend 
  4. Doll quilt - still awaiting binding after baby projects reach a lull
This week's stats:
     Completed  projects - 1 pair of socks
     New projects - none- how about that! 
     Currently in progress - still 4
     Those in closet - many enumerated in earlier posts and not repeated here

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced