1 Down, 3 To Go

And, here’s the finished quilt, wonky seams, wobbly top stitching, uneven binding, and all.

Finished Quilt

The binding is not perfect.  I tried really  hard, but somehow it never seems to come out even for me.  But hey, it’s done.  I didn’t do much actual quilting.  Just followed the blue strips lengthwise down the quilt.  That’s all that is “needed” to keep the batting in place.  I asked Lois if she wanted anything more elaborate, and she said no.  So I just left it simple.  It does look pretty cool, though.  And, it’s queen sized!  I used a queen size sheet I had kicking around my house (I hate flat sheets!) and only had to trim a couple inches off to fit it.  Actually, the binding itself is another old sheet!  One from Lois.  The blues don’t match exactly (the twin was a bit lighter than my queen), but hey… you can’t beat free!

I have learnt loads from this quilt, and the next one will be improved.  It was just back luck on Lois’ part that she got stuck with my first attempt!

In the previous post, I had a comment requesting some detail shots (see, I do pay attention!) So, here you go.

Square with shirt buttons.

Square with shirt buttons and corner of pocket.

That gives you an idea of what I did to show that these were real shirts, not just pretty fabric.

Some of you have heard the story of my sewing machine.  It’s an old Kenmore machine.  It’s my grandmother’s machine, from around the time of her marriage, in 1949.  I don’t know if it was really that early, but it’s at least 50 years old, for sure, probably closer to 60.  Anyway, I had to have the electrical cord replaced the other week because the insulation was literally disintegrating in my hands.  It’s a fabulous machine, and sews like a dream.  I had it serviced at the time of the cord replacement, and when I got it back and started sewing again, I seriously had to check twice to be sure that it was actually stitching, because it was so smooth!  I didn’t originally inherit it when my grandmother died.  My sister has a couple of degrees in fashion and costume design, and does a load of sewing, so she inherited it.  I was living in England at that time, anyway, so it wasn’t a conflict of interest!  But this last year, since moving back to the US, Lois offered to let me have it, since she has another machine.  So, I’m very grateful to my sister for sharing the wealth!

Anyway, here’s a photo of the quilt on the machine.  It sits in this awesome cupboard that lets the machine drop down, and fold away.  Seriously, every machine should come with that feature!  It makes storing/using the machine so much more practical.


Wish I’d Known Then . . .

I know, you probably think I’ve fallen off the edge of the world.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  It’s not actually true.  I just got swamped with PhD work.  But, I’m back on top of things, more or less.  I’ll be dropping out again in a couple weeks due to lecturing duties (Midterm essays are due.  I hate marking essays.  It’s shocking how often I say something to them, and they still get it wrong.  *sigh*)  But, for the moment, I’ve managed to finish the mini album for Grandma!  I’m really excited about it.

I made quite a lot of mistakes on this album.  For example, all the pages are the same orientation, ‘up’ is always where the holes are for the ribbon.  Now, if I’d been smart (or experienced) I’d have done every other page with the holes at the  ‘bottom‘.  That’s because as it stands, you have to flip the book around.  If I’d done it with alternating ‘up’, you could have seen both pages at the same time.  Oh, well . . . never mind.  I know for the next time!

One of the other things I learned was an accidental discovery.  About halfway through the process I inked the edge of my paper.  What I noticed was the punch that had.  Really gave a ‘finished’ feel to the page.  So, I went back and inked the edge of every page.  Love it.  Not only does it leave the page looking complete, but also, it adds to the thematic nature of the entire album.

That’s one of the other things I learned, though that was more or less planned.  When doing a mini, if you choose a colour pallet, stick with it.  For this particular album, I used the DCWV Latte Stack.  On one page, quite early in the album, I didn’t use that colour scheme.  And it stuck out like a sore thumb.  So, I had to go back and pull the page apart and start over.  NOT EASY when you’re using a permanent liquid glue.  Ended up having to use a craft knife/exacto blade to cut the top level of the chipboard off as well.  And managed to slice my finger open.  No fun.  So, I learned that if you’ve got a theme, don’t drop it.  Random colours work fine if the whole album is random.  But if you’re going for a theme, stick to it.   And, I quite like the thematic idea for a mini.  After all, you’re choosing a very small number of photos for a very specific reason.  They’ve got a theme, so you might as well augment that.

Something else I learned, though I haven’t had a chance to do anything about it, is that if you print the photos off in wallet size, that can help.  I’m not sure that it’s completely necessary, though.  But, it might be fun to have a play with.  I quite liked off centering the photos and letting them run off the edge of the page.  I also think that it will work with some photos better than others.  But, it’s something to keep in mind for the next mini.

So, that’s what I wish I’d known when I started.  Now on to the bits that you’re really interested in.  Photos!!


A bit of additional progress on the mini-album of the road trip with my Gran.  I’ve done the front and back.  The album is now officially called ‘Road Trip’.  The papers are all from the DCWV Late stack.  Really like that stack.  Great papers in fabulous colours.  They’re all good patterns that are pretty easy to use.  All the shapes/words are off ‘Going Places’ Cricut cart.  The squiggly arrow has been stretched from the one on the cart (Design Software.  LOVE that thing!)  It goes from Florida to Michigan, as we did, though we went via Canada.  Yeah.  Long story.  Watch this space!

Anyway, still waiting for the photos to arrive.  Don’t think I’m brave enough to cover the pages before handling the photos.  I totally admire those ladies who can.  Not me.  Just don’t have it in me.Road Trip Cover

Progress for Christmas

I’ve been practicing on the chipboard cutting thing. I think I’ve just about got it sorted. Some of them are actually looking pretty good. Others, a little shaky. However, because I’m going to cover them, I figure that it doesn’t matter if they’re a bit scared in the preliminary steps.  Basically, what I’ve learnt was, start off with the blade length on 3.  Cut.  Unload mat.  Reload mat.  Increase blade length to 4.  Cut.  Unload mat.  Reload mat.  Increase blade length to 5.  Cut.  I’ve not had success in cutting on either 5.5 or 6, but that might be just me.  After I finished cutting with the Cricut, I had to go in with a straight blade (Stanly/Exacto Knife) and finish the cut.  That was hard work, but because the Cricut did the first 1/2, I was able to follow the line, and the cut was (mostly) smooth.  It needs some sanding, though I’ve taken the worst of the edges off already.  When I cover them, they’ll need to be sanded, anyway.  So.  That’s how things stand on the Technique end.

For this particular project, they’re shaped like the US Rout Shield (like, Rout 66). It was a road trip with my Gran, from Florida to Michigan. I could have used the Interstate Shield, but the US Rout has that cool swoop, whereas the Interstate ones are just rounded. I cut them with the Cricut ‘Going Places’ Cart. They’re 6×6. I’ve currently got 16, but I’ve got 4 more sheets of chipboard, so if I need to, I can double them. But 16 sheets = 32 sides, which really means 30 pages, because the front and back won’t be normal.

Anyway, this is what it looks like so far:

Grandma Sheild SingleGrandma Sheild Multiple

Trial and Error

So, the chipboard for the mini-albums I’m working on for my gran has arrived.  And the deep cut blade.  And today the Cricut Cart ‘Going Places’, which is what I’m hoping to use for the chipboard shape arrived, despite the best efforts of the Royal Mail (they’ve been on strike for weeks now!)  So, I thought, great!  I’ll have a go at this.  And . . .  completely failed.  I only tried cutting one shape on the chipboard, but so far, it’s been defeating me.  I’ve got to do some more research on how to cut chipboard with an original Cricut.  Suggestions welcomed!

Christmas Is Coming!

I love doing Christmas presents 🙂  This year I’ve got 3 going.  Two for my gran and one for my mother.  The two for my gran are mini-albums from our trips this year:  May road trip from Florida (her winter home) to Michigan (her summer home), and September Russian Cruise.  Mom’s is an 8×8 album of our April Arches camping trip (Mom, Dad and me!)

At the moment, I’m working on gathering the supplies.  The chipboard and Cricut deepcut blade for the mini-albums arrived today.  And I’m weeding through the photos from all the trips.  I’ll order the photos in the next couple days.  I’m really anxious to get started!