Sunday, March 28, 2010

Weighted Blanket for Christina

I spent a good part of Saturday working on a weighted blanket for a young friend. Her mom asked me to make it a few weeks ago, and sent me to the directions above. It was right after I had signed up for Weeks Ringle's Kaliedescope class, so when I saw the website, it looked really familiar.

I suggested that Christina help in this endeavor, so she spent the bulk of her time weighing out 1.6 ounces of beanie baby beads into 150 little baggies. She did it! What a trooper!

I spent a lot of time preparing to sew--squaring up the material, and marking the channels. I used a sliver of soap and my quilting rulers for this task.

Lori and Christina are pouring the 1.6 oz of beads (pre-measured) into the channels with the help of a canning jar funnel.

It took us a while to figure out that we needed to pin a channel away from the sewing line. This kept the beads out of the seam. If they got in the way, they caused problems by breaking needles and thread. Things when much smoother when we figured out how to keep them at bay, so to speak. Lori helped with the pinning--or I'd still be there. Thanks!

It was also a good idea to keep the weight of the growing blanket on the table. I was working on Lori's kitchen table, so I had plenty of room (more than in my own sewing studio!) I also decided to use my old sewing machine, The Rikkar. With all metal parts, it's a real work-horse, and I wouldn't worry about hurting it with this "industrial" project. This blanket wound up weighing 15 pounds. Here you can also see the pockets full of the beads--just like little bean bags.

Along with keeping the weight on the table, my left hand in under the blanket to keep the weighted pockets from getting stuck and caught on the corner of the sewing machine platform (Took a while for us to figure that one out, too!) In other words, my arm sort of acted like an extension table to keep the work surface relatively flat.

The last row!

It's done!

Christina trying out her new weighted blanket. Her mother reports that she slept well last night with it. Hurray!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Creative Cue : Clip

This is a piece of "composed" fabric made from the clippings after squaring up the blocks in this quilt.

More about this experiment in recycling here.

See other Creative Cue Interpretations for Clip.

Creative Cue : Tip

The Tips of my daffodils poking through the sunflower seeds the birds threw on the ground--makes a nice mulch!

I was thinking also of Skunk Cabbage, one of the first plants to come alive in early spring--It generates enough heat in wetlands to melt the snow around it! It was also one of the favorite plants of my naturalist friend, Sandy. But I didn't have a good picture of my own. I actually found a set of antique salt and pepper shakers in the shape of skunk cabbages and gave them to her many years ago ... Alas, she's gone, and I assume the shakers are too.

See other Creative Cue Interpretations for Tip.

Weeks RIngle's Kaleidescopes in a Flash

Kaleidescope Number 1

Last Friday, I took a day off of work to attend the Fox Valley Tech's Annual Sewing Expo. Weeks Ringle taught a day-long workshop called Kaleidescopes in a Flash. It uses a technique of using a template to fussy cut the same wedge out of the fabric. For a brief moment, I thought I had made a mistake and signed up for a very complicated "1 block in 1 month class." Then I thought it might be similar to Bethany Reynolds' stack-and-whack, but this is a very different technique--probably more akin to Paula Nadelstern's method of creating kaleidescopes (but not as many seams and you can finish 2 blocks in 2 days, not weeks!)

Here's a chunk of what's left if the "cheese cloth" after fussy-cutting out the wedges.

Kaleidescope Number 2

The corresponding cheese-cloth.
I think this fabric was a Carol Bryer Fallert border fabric.

The directions for making these fussy-cut kaleidescopes are in the book, The Modern Quilt Workshop by Weeks Ringle and her husband, Bill Kerr. Look for "The Gamelon Quilt" on page 62. Each block requires 8 wedges. Once you know what to look for, the cutting goes faster than you might expect.

The secret (besides the templates) is in picking the right fabric. Before the class, Weeks told us we needed to get fabric with that was bilaterally symmetrical. At the time, I wasn't at all sure what she meant by that, so I expected to buy a kit at the class. She did bring several bolts that fit the bill. As luck and timing would have it, my blogging friend Vicki Welsh recently posted an excellent explanation on purchasing bilaterally symmetrical fabrics on her blog, Field Trips in Fiber. (While you're there, take a look around--she's remarkably prolific!)

During the workshop, I cut out enough wedges for about 8 blocks out of 3 yards of fabric. On Sunday, I was able to finish 2 blocks pictured. I don't expect this to be a full quilt. I'll be happy with a couple of wall hangings!

Weeks is a really interesting person. If you have the chance, take a class with her. You won't be sorry!

Here is one of Oliver's latest art works : Spatter Paintings of a 3rd Grader.
He made an effort to sign his name more like a scribble than he usually does.
I hung this one up in my sewing studio. ;-)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Everyday Inspiration : Look Down

What do you think this is? Scroll down to find out ...

It's an oil / gasoline spot on black asphalt in a wet parking lot.
Toxic, but pretty none-the-less.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Creative Cue : Stem

The Echoes of the Past people were here in Oshkosh last weekend for their annual historical trade fair. They set the convention center up like an 1800s fur trading post. You can get all kinds of things there you don't see anyplace else--like furs, and knives with deer antlers for handles, antique beads, wool, leather, furs, and beeswax candles ...

The candlelabra made from deer antlers got me thinking of stems for this Creative Cue. Being a Northern Girl, I love this kind of rustic decor.

Here's a picture of a wrack of beads one seller set up at Echoes of the Past. Many of these are antique beads, and very expensive! Lovely rainbow of colors!

See the rest of the Creative Cue Stem interpretations.

Creative Cue : Cookie

A while back, I took an online class with Terri Stegmiller called Faces on Fabric. This is the face I was stuck on before I took Terri's class. This is where it is now :

Let's just say she's making cookie dough with her mumma. ;-)

"Mama Let You Lick the Spoon" is a line from a John Hiatt song called Angel, one of my all-time favorites. That is what inspired this piece, which is yet to be completely finished.

See the other Creative Cues for Cookie.