Sunday, February 7, 2016

Selfish Sewing Week 1

Last week, I made the scary commitment of actually writing down goals for the 4x7 Sewing Challenge, hosted by berrybarndesigns.  Once it's written down, it has to happen!

I more than got my 7 hours of sewing in this week and most of it was selfish.

I started the week with this gem.  It's not my horse blanket, but it is my trainer's horse's blanket and since I've always thought it was so dumb to throw away torn blankets when they can be repaired, I was thrilled to finally be able to give in to my curiosity and fix one.

Plus, I'm sure the people over at Pessoa are ready to croak over seeing their name so ridiculously tacked onto another brand of blanket that doesn't even match.

Selfish sewing indeed :)

Then I had two quick hand sewing repairs: an old fleece vest that I wear for riding which was like a $10 buy at a discount store about a decade ago and has lasted me all this time, and k-ster's snow pants.  They are fairly old and look great, but one of the threads appears to have rotted and came undone.

Easy peasy, and no need for pictures.

K-ster's friend had some curtains for his bathroom that were too big and he wanted me to cut them down.  I am sad to say that I didn't do anywhere near my best work, so I didn't take a picture.  He's tickled, the windows are covered, and they are out of my hands.

Selfish because I wanted them done so I could get to the next thing.  Case closed.

I also finally got around to cutting out the paper pattern for Sloan leggings from Hey June.  I'm really skeptical that they will work without a fancy coverstitch  machine, but I cut them out and thought about fabric.  I took a trip to Joann to see what knits they  had and bought the most ridiculously expensive knit in the place, completely by accident.  By the time I got to the register and realized, I decided it was fine since it was slightly on sale and I usually get great bargains, so I was due to pay the price.

By then my sister suggested that it wasn't the best knit for leggings because it probably wouldn't have enough stretch all the way around, and stretch is my biggest worry for self made leggings.  I agree and now I have to restrategize that one.

And figure out what I'm going to do with that fabric now....

But, all the while in the background, the rainbow quilt was coming to life!

I've had this rainbow idea floating around in my head for a long time.  I thought if I sewed a bunch of strips together in a rainbow and then cut them up and arranged them, I'd have quite a quilt.

Construction, deconstruction, reconstruction.  NO idea what got into me.

So, I got out all kinds of strips that I have in my stash, as well as my stash itself, and got to work making 2 inch and 3 inch strips.  I decided to do a 3 inch, then 2 inch, then 3 then 2 of each color.

When I was done, I had about 48 inches by 60+ inches.  While Bo gave his kitty approval, I wasn't so thrilled.  I knew I wanted it to be wider than 48 inches, but I didn't know what to do.

So, I decided to take each color away from the others, so I had just a fat strip of red, orange, etc.  All that sewing only to under the rainbow.  My plan was to cut a bunch of 8 inch squares of each color because that's how wide each color was.

Just as I was about to cut, I had a brainstorm that I should make a log cabin out of the rainbow, with a white square in the center.

Because most of what I do when I'm not following a pattern (and sometimes even when I am) has very little forethought and never any measuring, all went really well until the second orange strip.  I ran out of strip, so I had to make more and then I had to make more red, all of which took a while because I had already used most of the red and orange strips in my stash.  Lots of repeats there.

All together, I liked the look.

I thought a white edge would really pull it together.

So far, the entire top was nothing but my stash and scraps and I was really pleased with that.  I debated what to do about the back when I found this piece folded away.

I'm not really sure why I had yards and yards of this stashed away but I think it might have had to do with a fish applique quilt that made a few times.  I was on a roll and thought this looked like bubbles so I bought a bunch.  It might even have been a remnant at the time so I snatched the whole thing.

I don't do much applique these days, so the fish quilt hasn't resurfaced in a while.

I don't worry too much about backs matching fronts or making sense with fronts because in my mind, they are two completely separate things.  But, with the blue in the rainbow, this would be fine.

I was on such a roll with using just what I had in my sewing room, I thought maybe I could finagle a batting.  Whenever I make a quilt, I always have left over batting but never enough to do much with.  It's usually long strips that are less than 12 inches wide.  Or nice wide pieces but not too long.

I fantasize that I will make bags and potholders, but who really does that?

I've heard about whipstitching or zigzagging batting pieces together to make "frankenbatting" but I remember someone tell me they thought it would fall apart inside the quilt, so I've only added a small strip here or there as needed.  I knew I'd quilt it pretty close, so I thought I'd give it a whirl with this.

I should call this challenge the "Give it a Whirl Challenge" because I think I've said it out loud and in print about a dozen times this week.

I was fairly pleased with the batting although there was a little curved issue that I didn't realize I'd done but no one will know except for me.

I needed to get some white thread, which was what I planned to quilt with, but while I was at Joann, it hit me that maybe rainbow thread would be fun.  I bought two of the smaller spools and actually ran completely out of both.  This about 60 x 60 so I was shocked to run out of one spool, let alone two.  I almost bought one bigger one, but figured I'd be stuck with rainbow forever.

I thought the rainbow would be neat on the white spaces and I think it is, but it's better in real life.  Or at least, in real light.

The only successful quilting I can do on anything over about 24 inches is my wavy quilt stitch.  My machine has this stitch as one of its few decorative stitches and I feel like it gives me a lot of leeway.  I am all about precision but when it comes to manhandling a quilt through my regular sewing machine (that means not a longarm!) precision goes out the window and I'm happy if I can make it through a row without breaking anything, including a body part.

This is how I roll, literally.  I don't pin baste.  I did that once and was furious at the mess I made.  It bunched and was just awful.  I lay it all out, smooth and smooth and smooth, hold my  breath and roll it up from one direction on the diagonal, smoothing as I go.

A woman at school who knows I sew walked into my room the other day with some things she didn't want anymore and in the bag were these!  I don't know what you'd call them, but they go around the rolled part of the quilt to keep it rolled.  I have been looking for these forever because I was sure I had seen them once, but didn't know what they were called.

At one point, I even asked k-ster if there was a tool that went around pipes like this because I thought maybe I could get them at the hardware store.  But, without a picture, the best he could come up with was something that wasn't open like this and the openness is what makes it work.

They aren't completely fool proof.  As you unwind one side, they start to  get too loose and then the other side isn't quite ready for them.  So, there is still a period where I'm holding, squeezing and praying that it won't all come undone.

But overall, they are a Godsend.

I finished the quilting but didn't take a pictures because it was too dark to do them justice.  Plus, now I can put the binding on and completely finish it for next week's reveal.

I had one of the most productive sewing weeks I've had in a while.  Probably since last year's 4x7 Sewing Challenge!

Can't wait to see what's up this week, and with a snowday already declared, I'll be Giving it a Whirl all week long!

Linking here:


  1. Whoa! That was some week! Your stories about how you make your quilts always make me smile. I follow a few engineer/quilters who measure and plan to the nth degree, and I follow you, and I'm somewhere in the middle : P But I do love the log cabin look, and it's awesome it was so much stash! As for the leggings, why didn't you have your garment sewing whiz of a sister pick the knit? lol But whatever you end up with, I hope it works out great! Oh - and as for the batting - really it will be fine. Some pretty high level quilters frankenbat all the time, and I've done it quite liberally with baby blankets and whatnot that get a lot of wear, and it's good. Use a nice zig zag and just make sure it's well quilted in the end : )

  2. What a productive sewing week! I love what you did with the rainbow quilt, the log cabin look really takes those strips to the next level! Love the rainbow waves, it fits it perfectly. Looking forward to your reveal next week. :)

  3. I really like how the log cabin design changed the whole look of your rainbow quilt. I think it makes the colors really pop!

  4. I really like how the log cabin design totally changed the look of your rainbow quilt. I think it really makes the colors pop!

  5. Your quilt is beautiful!!
    Thanks for joining and sharing this at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.

  6. WOW, you accomplished so much. Love all the bright fabric.

  7. Gorgeous! I love the more "stripey" rainbow quilt! Thanks for sharing at Merry Monday!

  8. Everything looks so great! :)

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!


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