Friday, January 29, 2016

Out of the cupboard at last

Way back in the early to mid 1980s, I came across a quilt pattern in McCall's magazine and decided to make it. It wasn't difficult and was made entirely with solids - using a mix of all cottons and polyester cotton broadcloth. I think it was the use of solids that appealed to me. Twelve inch squares divided diagonally but positioned in a set pattern.

Once I put it together, I sandwiched it and basted it. I'm pretty sure I put it in a hoop but maybe I just started quilting it without one. Anyway, the very middle has some quilting lines on it in white. I didn't know if I wanted to quilt it all in white or if I should get some coloured quilting threads and quilt it in the colour of the background.

In those days, quilting thread was limited to a few colours. I put the quilt away because I was undecided. It was moved to a couple of different locations and last year I knew that I would just dig it out and start quilting it. It will be next up on the frame but since it has been folded up for so long, I thought I would lay it out and give it a rest before I stretch it onto a frame. I also have to trim it. I think initially I was going to use the backing as binding and that's why there is so much along the edges OR I left so much backing so it would fit OK while using a quilting hoop. It is definitely an old UFO.

I did make another quilt using exactly the same pattern but I used a limited palette and moved the segments around. I called it Mid Night. You can see a photo of it here (please excuse the grammar errors.) Oddly enough, with all of the black in that quilt, I chose to use white thread for all the quilting.

I'll get better photos of this once it's in the frame and I start quilting it. I have yet to decide if I will use white or coloured quilting thread.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Using up the stash - part 2

When I started quilting, way back in 1980, I was one of the few people working in solids. The prints of the time were, to my mind, atrocious. Calico - cottons in various qualities with little flowers. I couldn't use them. Quilting cottons at the time, in solids, didn't have the colours I wanted and what there was available was very expensive. My friends and I were not cotton snobs and so we used what was readily available and that was polyester cotton broadcloth. I remember that, at times, orange and purple were a bit harder to find (if at all) but if you wanted to do an applique quilt with lots of flowers, there was an abundance of reds, pinks and greens. I preferred making pictorial wall hangings using needle turn applique.

All this preamble is to let you know that I have shelves full of poly cotton broadcloth. I also have scraps of poly cotton and I'm slowly trying to use up what I have accumulated. Since my little grandsons are visiting, I wanted to do a craft with them. I searched the internet and after looking over a list of 50 crafts for 2 year-olds, I came upon an idea. My idea would only work successfully with fabric that was the same on both sides such as batiks - or broadcloth.

I gathered up some scraps. There was no need to iron anything.

Any shape of scrap would do. My cutting board, any ruler that came to hand and a rotary cutter were my tools.

Folding up the fabric helped.

I then started slicing up the fabric. No need to measure anything. Just eyeball it. Anything between 1/8th to 1/2 an inch would do in both ways. 

Since I wanted confetti fabric, I decided to slice in just one more direction - diagonally.

I found a bunch of small containers to hold my little bits.

Patric, the two year-old, my little helper.

I have pads of construction paper and both Luc, who's four, and Patric chose the colour they wanted. I limited the fabric palette to four colours and both the green and blue have two different shades. This is a little table and two chairs that we bought just for little people to use. I wanted to control the mess that was made. I had the boys squeeze some glue onto the paper first and then smoosh it around.

Then they took little pinches of whatever fabric they wanted and sprinkled it onto the glue.

More glue...

means more smoosh.

Here they are drying. Patric's picture is on the left and Luc's is on the right. Luc made four and Patric ended up making two.

Not too much fabric was used but little by little, the stash is getting used up.
In the last post of 2015, you will see a baby quilt where I used some of the poly cottons that I have. My friend Marg and I make baby quilts for a charity and we are trying to use up whatever we have on hand. 
The only fabric I plan on purchasing this year will be for my daughter's wedding in May. I will be making little boy shirts, pants and lots of bow ties, little girl dresses and my own, of course.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Using up the stash

I have been sewing for years and in that time, I have accumulated a lot of different fabrics. I started sewing doll clothes and then made most of my own clothes in high school and beyond. My children  grew up with handmade clothing and then, in 1980, I began quilting.

Trying to use up my stash means getting creative. Having grandchildren means I can use up the smaller pieces of fabric. Since I sewed quite a bit for my own children, I have quite a few patterns so there isn't any need to buy much to make anything. Most of my purchases lately have been for thread, velcro and elastic.

These flannel pajamas were Christmas gifts to my 4 year old grandson, Luc. I wanted to use up the navy blue plaid because there wasn't much there and the lines weren't all that straight on one end of the piece. Luckily, I had a solid navy flannel that worked well. The balloon flannel was around last year when I was making pajamas but I never used it. All that was left of these fabrics was a small piece of the plaid flannel and I will use it up as 'batting' for a bib for my littlest grandson.

I did have enough yellow buttons but I decided to alternate them with light blue ones.