Saturday, May 28, 2016

A Deadline and a Setback

Usually, I don’t talk about my Mom. Because I feel sad, helpless and depressed when I do.

She is unwell and seems to have little zest for life.  I do call her once a week and try to cheer her up. Mostly, I fail.  She talks about her ailments, and all things that are not right.  If I make any suggestions (mom, try this; have you considered…; may be you could) they are met with stiff resistance.  I don’t understand, I am told.

10" squares - stacked & whacked
We are very different from each other. Sometimes, that works great – when I tell her a joke and she laughs.  Mostly, we are just so different that I am guilty of not understanding her perspective.
She just underwent major surgery, which was sudden and my sister (who is a doctor) dropped everything to be with her. 
Block Construction

I felt extreme gratitude towards my sister that she could do for our mother, what I could not.  I also felt relief that I didn’t have to put my life on hold and go to take care of her.

Ready to chain piece

She is scheduled for another surgery in June. This time, I will accompany my sister. 
Clip Corners

I love my Mom.  I tell her that every time I call her. But words are not enough.  And sometimes they can do more harm than help.  

Assembly Line
I think it is time to make a quilt for my mother.  It has to be the most uplifting, cheerful and happy quilt. A quilt that is rich and luxurious and "shows" just how much I love her.
Organization is Key

Sometimes I make a quilt with no one in mind.  Just because I have to make that pattern or use up those scraps etc.  But when I making a quilt that I know will go to a particular person, then something happens.  
One Block

All throughout the process, I am thinking about that person.
Seams Well

What they like what they may not.  So many things go through my mind - times spent together, disagreements, laughter shared, lessons learned etc.  

Half of the Blocks

I believe that all those emotions get captured in the fabric of the quilt.

And here is what I fear/hope/expect - that they will know the sum total of my feelings (good or bad) when they receive/use the quilt.
Will the Block come together?
As I cut and sew the fabrics, a million thoughts raced back and forth through my brain.

The other half of the blocks
We have a past and there were some difficult times in there. 
If I blame her for the unhappiness (arranged marriage and associated complications)of my past, I have to also give her credit for the person I am today. 

If I take the credit - my courage, my perseverance - for my current blissful state, then may be I should also take responsibility for the difficult times in the past. 

Layout Process

But I was a different person in my twenties.  Not as evolved. 

In the Dark - Value Assessment
And finally, if the past was different, the present would be different too.  I had to go that route in the past to come to the current destination. Did I not?
Difficult Seams
Since I love my present, I have to accept my past - however that came about.

Purple Border and Striped Binding
So much internal dialogue for just one quilt!!! It is exhausting. 

And it was detrimental.  Very much so. 
There was not enough basting spray left in the can.  The layers did not stick well, resulting in bunching.


Discovered after quilting 25 straight lines.  Had to take it apart.

It took several hours over two days.  I picked apart the quilting just like I took apart our relationship.

Tweezers to remove little threads
It was a slow, painstaking process.

Lint Roller Sheets

Eventually the layers are separated but the backing is destroyed. 

Ripped Backing

Must find another suitable backing.  Baste, Quilt and Bind. And we leave for India in three days.
Can it be done?  Will I be able to finish it?

Can this quilt (and our relationship) be made whole again?  Time is running out...
Hope your relationships (and quilts) are less tumultuous.  As usual, I'd love to hear from you, even if it is disturbing and painful.  
If you don't hear back from me till mid-June, you know it is because I am away.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Unnamed but Not Unloved

I made a quilt with no name...

Yes, it is unlike me.

The focus fabric - pink and brown floral - was in random pieces, left abandoned at the free table on the guild meeting.
I knew it had potential.

I picked them up and brought them home.

Trying to make the best of the random pieces, I cut them into 6.5" squares.  Some squares had to be pieced.

Found some pinks, yellows and browns to match.
Decided on  large Disappearing Nine Patch.

Felt unsure about the green border but admonished myself - Do not overthink. Finish it.

But I did not have to think too hard about the backing.  This lovely pink fabric just jumped out at me.

Quilted simply with a decorative stitch, using my walking foot, this was a quick and a gratifying finish.

This will go to charity.  I won't put my formal label on it.  I will put a simple handmade label.

I hope that the recipient will choose a name.

At this time, I am busy working on a quilt for my Mom.  Cannot share it with you. Not yet.

But I can share with you this fabulous sale from Craftsy.

Craftsy is continuing its birthday festivities with 50% off member-favorite classes. Grab a class before the deal expires on Saturday!

There are over one hundred classes on sale right now.  It is difficult to pick one.
Here are my recommendations

Debbie Caffrey's class is a must for all quilters.  Learn her efficient techniques for using a rotary cutter and streamlining your cutting process.  And it is half off right now!!!

There are two reasons that I recommend this class.
1. Jacquie is an excellent teacher.  2. There are very few good classes that teach you Modern Quilting. That it is one sale is just an added benefit.

Elizabeth Hartmann is a an accomplished quilter and designer.  I like her because she is very methodical.  Her techniques are precise. That is very valuable to me because it simplifies Modern Quilt Making.  

If you are unsure of this class, I HIGHLY recommend you try her free class - Creative Quilt Backs.

What is your favorite class on Craftsy? And why?  As usual, your comments brighten my day.

I will be linking with all my favorite linky parties.
This blogpost contains affiliate links.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Tutorial - Simplest Zippered Pouch

Meg sent me an email, asking me how I made my zippered pouches.  Here is to you, Meg.
My simple instructions for the simplest zippered pouch.

Lots of pictures with captions explaining the step-by-step process.

Simple Zippered Pouch
Starting Panel - 11" by 6.5"

Matching Strips - 2.5" wide, placed on the sides

Stitched using a 1/4" seam
Trim the completed top - panel + side strips to 12.5" by 11".
Switch to a walking foot.

Layer the top panel, with batting and backing.  Use basting spray to keep them from shifting.


Now, you can quilt it to heart's desire.  I quilted zig zag lines over the two seams and then some gentle curves.  See picture below.


Zipper Time.
Find a matching (or contrasting) zipper. Change to a Zipper Foot.

Wow, perfect match!

Quilted Sandwich - Folded in half
 Just wanted to see, how the finished pouch will look.  I like it.  Ok, moving along.

Place the zipper, face down and the zipper pull to the left.  Zipper pull to the left. 
Make sure that the Zipper pull is to the left.

Zipper, face down and Zipper Pull to the left.
 Pin in place.  This step is optional.  If you are comfortable with attaching zippers, then you may skip it.  I want to make sure that I am showing all the steps.
Pin in place
 Do you have your zipper foot?

Look at the picture below.  The zipper foot is attached on the left side, so that the bulk of the foot is to the right.  When we are attaching the zipper first time, this is the position we want.

First Stitch - Attach to the left.

Zipper Foot - Attached on the left
 Go slow, making sure that the stitch line is as straight as possible.
Attaching Zipper
 This is how it should look. See picture below.
Zipper - First Stitch Done
 Now, fold the zipper portion and iron it down.  It should look like the picture below.

Zipper attached - Folded and Ironed
Now, we will top stitch the zipper.  Change the zipper foot from the left to the right side.  See picture below.  Can you see that the zipper foot is now attached on the right side and the bulk of the zipper foot is to the left?  That is what we want for top stitching.

Top Stitch - Attach to the right.
Increase the stitch length to 2.4 or 2.6 for top stitching.

Zipper Foot - Attached to the Right for top stitching
Since the zipper is to the right side of the needle, we want the bulk of the zipper foot to the left of the needle.  That is why we change the zipper foot from the left side to the right side.

Top Stitching in Process
 Top Stitched. Yay!!!
Top Stitching Complete  :-)

Are you ready to attach the zipper to the other side of the quilted sandwich?
Yes? Ok, then switch the zipper foot again to the left side.

Fold the quilt sandwich in half, right sides together, so that the zipper pull is now towards you. See picture below.

Attaching zipper on the second side
You can pin, if you wish.  This time, I will skip the pinning.

Quilted Sandwich - Folded, RST
Change stitch length to original 2.2 (or whatever you are comfortable with).  Make sure that the zipper is attached on the left side so that the bulk of the zipper is to the right.  See picture below.

Attaching Zipper to second side
 Once again, proceed slowly, trying to keep the stitch line as straight as possible.

Zipper attached to the second side!
Open the zipper fully now.
Zipper Opened fully. Before ironing
 Once again, fold and iron the just attached portion.
Folded and Ironed
Ready to top stitch one last time.  Increase stitch length to 2.4 or 2.6. Make sure it is the same stitch length as used for top stitching earlier.

Top Stitching the second side
There is a lot of bulk under the foot. So proceed slowly, trying to keep the stitch line as straight as possible.

Top Stitched

This is the time to do a short happy dance, because you have completed the most difficult part of this process. YAY!!!

Zipper Attached and Top Stitched

Close the zipper and position it on the top of the pouch.  See picture below.

Zipper on Top

Now, move the closed zipper down from the top to about one inch towards you.  See picture below.

Why, you ask.  Well, if you make the pouch with the zipper on the top, it creates a lot of bulk on the corners where zipper ends going the seams.   If you move the zipper a bit to the inside, like in the picture below, that bulk is then avoided.

Zipper offset to the inside
Pinch the fold on the top of the pouch and place a pin on the inside, along the pinched crease.  See picture below.

Place a pin at that crease
Half close the zipper and turn the pouch inside out.  Place another pin on the other side of the zipper.

Zipper half Open, Pinned in two places

Now, we are ready to finish the pouch.  Put on the walking foot once again. Leave the stitch length at 2.4 or 2.6.  Once again, there will be a significant amount of bulk under the walking foot.

Walking Foot - Once again

Stitch, using the walking foot, and 1/2" seam on other sides of the pouch. See picture below.

1/2" seam
 Whip it around and stitch again.

Stitched twice

One side done
 Repeat on the other side.

Stitched both sides!!!
 Trim the excess zipper ends from both sides.

Trimming excess zipper

Almost done.  Just one more step.  To avoid bulky corners, clip away tiny triangles from the seams. See picture below.

Trimmed Corners to reduce bulk

Now, turn your finished pouch right sides out, press  and admire.
Needs to be Ironed

Zipper Closed
Do you see how beautifully the print above the zipper matches with the print below the zipper?
I am doing a happy dance right now :-D

Dainty & Useful 

The finished pouch measures 5.25" by 10.5" and it can neatly fit this set of combs.  You have a simple zippered pouch!!!

If one is good, two must be better. Right?
Here is a bonus zippered pouch for you.

QAYG Zippered Pouch

I started with batting 10" by 12" and backing 10.5" by 12.5"
Batting - 10" by 12" 
 Layer the batting and backing.  Spray baste to keep the layers from shifting.
Batting and Backing
Now, comes the fun part.  Dive into your strips scraps bag and pull out a few skinny strips - 1.5" wide.  We need one strip 2.5" wide by 10" long.

Place the wide strip in the center of the batting+backing.

Add the skinny strips on both sides. Stitch using a 1/4" seam.  Flip and iron.
Repeat till the entire batting/backing are covered.

Gorgeous colors!!!
Trim the quilted sandwich and follow the same process of attaching zipper as in the Simple Zippered Pouch.

In this case, I left the zipper on the top.  See the bulky corners?
Keeping this one
So, the process (and size) of the quilted sandwich is different.  But the steps of attaching the zipper are identical. If you wish, you can use just one piece of top fabric to make your quilted sandwich.

Mine Mine Mine!!!
 The bright purple zipper makes it pop :-)
Pop of Purple

Do you like it?  Are the steps/instructions/pictures clear?  Meg? Are you there, Meg?
Tell me all your thoughts.  Your comments make me happy :-)

How happy?  Like this design wall below.

Work in Progress - Color Splash on my Design Wall
Peach, Pink, Orange, Coral, Fuchsia, Blush & Tangerine!!!

These are the colors in my new quilt - a work in progress. Furiously in Progress.
Must finish by May 30th.  Details when complete.

I will be linking with all my favorite linky parties.
June 23, 2016 UPDATE
Diana of Little Penguin Quilts used this tutorial to make a perfect little zippered pouch for her sewing supplies.  Do check it out!!!