Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Distraction and the Mundane

I try to post weekly to DL2Q but sometimes life intervenes. Last week, I was unexpectedly away from my San Francisco Bay Area home for five days when my son in southern California needed an emergency appendectomy. His wife and daughter were visiting her family in Ohio. I was closer. My last minute airfares would be cheaper. There'd be no complications of child care for a 3½ year old and a 1½ year old. And although I would not wish the pain and unexpected surgery on him, I enjoyed the rare one-on-one time with my son. I was quite willing to be a mom again. I have no regrets whatsoever about the time lost; I rather viewed it as time gained. But, my quilting progress did take a hit. To keep my presence in the blogging world, though, I will report on the trivial tasks I did complete.

Not much creativity or artistic expression was happening here this week upon my return. I am entering three quilts in my guild's quilt show September 16th-17th. I judiciously chose to enter only quilts I had completed. I am so glad now I did not pressure myself to enter a fourth that still needed to be backed, quilted, and bound.  Yet "completed" is a relative term. All three needed quilt sleeves, two of the three needed labels, one needed to be bound, one needed to be washed and fluffed. I am reminded that all these mundane tasks usually take much more time than I estimate.

First up is my youngest son's Monkey Quilt, posted May 26, 2014, needed a sleeve. I like my sleeves to somewhat match or at least coordinate with the backing. This quilt was finished over three years ago but of course I still had the scraps. In the sewing equivalent of dumpster diving I was on a mission to find those scraps and see if I had enough that could be used for the sleeve. I had to go through only three plastic bins. Fortunately, I had been in the phase where I put all the scraps from a project in a zip-loc bag. I'd read a tip somewhere that doing so was useful because the colors already went together since they'd been used together in a project. Most scrap organization recommendations advise sorting by color, which I do not do.

I found strips long enough but not wide enough for a sleeve. I chose the lollipop fabric found in some of the rectangles of the border and the red dots used in the binding, each of a different width. Of course I wanted the sleeve to look like it belonged on the back of the quilt. Lengthwise piecing to the rescue. Then I had to decide how much of each fabric I wanted to show. I know this is just a sleeve folks but hey it counts. Decisions like these to take time and futzing. I came up with placing the red dotted fabric away from the matching binding. I think I would have preferred to show a narrower width of red dots, but I was limited by the my available width of the lollipop fabric. 

I found a couple arcs of the orange peel quilting lines that I had missed originally. Apparently the quilt had been without those for months, even with multiple uses. Once noticed, though, I needed to change to orange thread on my Pfaff and add them. However, a label was already on this Monkey Quilt.

Next up for sleeving was my Storybook Charm quilt, displayed in my July 5, 2017 post. I noted and inwardly groaned that I had not made my grosgrain labels for the corners. I dutifully made those labels. The inward groan was because I had to un-sew portions of the binding to slip the corners of the labels underneath and then re-sew. It was after doing this that I re-read my blog post. It stated that my intention had been to skip the labels and just write name and date information on the binding. Oh, well. Now it has grosgrain labels.

I did not have quite enough of the backing fabric for a full width sleeve. I pieced it in the center and sewed down the seam allowances so they would not catch when threading through the support pole for hanging. 

I used only a ¼" central seam and let the sleeve fall a ¼" short from reaching the binding on each end. I thought that was preferable to another seam for just another ½" of width.

Finally I had to label and bind my Out of the Blue quilt before adding a sleeve. Here are the corner labels, neatly tucked under the sporty striped binding.

I had a long strip of the backing leftover to use for the sleeve. It ran lengthwise though, so I could not line up the grid of flowers. In 20/20 hindsight, it is a square quilt, so had I rotated the quilt 90°, making one side the top, I could have aligned them. I was not about to remove labels and do that. Even I could acknowledge it was only a sleeve.

Here are my three quilt entries for the show: Monkey Quilt, Storybook Charm, and Out of the Blue. They are quite an eclectic mix. I am sure there will be an even greater variety at Let's Bee Social #193 so I will link up there.


  1. Even if you felt it was kinda mundane, I enjoyed this post! The little details and how another quilter deals with them or thinks about them is always interesting to me.

  2. Mmm, sleeves and labels... that portion of the quilt always drives me nuts because it's a big timesink, and it happens after the quilt is "done" but before you can give it. at least you got a bunch done in short order! I think just adding the dedication and sleeve took about a month on Isaiahsaurus for me.