Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Moving ahead on small projects

This week I finished two small tasks on my plate. The first was to sew up a canvas cover for the outside part of our new air conditioner unit. This "mini-split" a/c is not rated for marine use, so we figured it would last longer if it had a cover. I learned how to make the boxed corners on the top from a tutorial on quilted tote bags. 

There's a hose and some wiring that sticks out the back of the box, so I made a curved cut out to slip around that.

The bottom is secured with a simple Velcro tab, to keep it from blowing off in  the wind. The whole cover fits pretty tightly, so those would have to be high winds, indeed. I don't really like doing canvas work like this. The material is actually Sunbrella and it is so thick and unwieldy, like sewing together a cardboard box! However, this is part of my resposibility to keep the boat in ship-shape. I have the proper tools to do the job and just have to grit my teeth and git 'er done. The new Juki sewing machine handled the bulky canvas layers and the thick UV-resistant thread like a champ, though, so that's good.

On a more quilty note, I sewed up five blocks for the October block drive for Covered in Love. Kat asked for foundation pieced string blocks in no particular color scheme, so I pulled out a random assortment of my narrow scraps. I decided to try for a truly scrappy look, and only sorted the fabrics into darks and lights. I paid no attention to whether the next string looked "good" next to the previous, just alternated dark light dark light, avoiding only truly juvenile prints. For a linear thinking, matchy matchy person like me, that was a real challenge!

Half way through the process, I was pretty discouraged. I thought my blocks looked like, um, dog barf.  Turquoise polka dots next to rust stripes?! Bright fishes and pastel iridescent lavender? Yuck-o. You can see in the photo above that the strings look pretty ugly at the pre-trimming stage. I honestly thought that I just didn't have a "scrappy eye." 

But here's how they look after trimming to the final square shape. Hey, wow, those are kinda neat! The stripes look parallel and have good contrast.

And here are four of them together, forming a diamond pattern. This has movement and interest, just like Kat said it would. Cool! Trust the process, that's today's Lesson Learned. I'll pop these in the mail to Kat tomorrow.

Finally, you might remember this little quilt. It's an Attic Windows block featuring some sweet feathered friends from the Birds In Branches line. 

When I made it months ago, I didn't have a particular recipient in mind. I just liked the little birds and wanted some more FMQ practice. It is sized to be a wheelchair quilt, only 36" square. Such a small piece is less likely to get caught in a rolling chair's big wheels, but would work equally well used in a conventional chair without being too bulky.

I was very sad to learn this week that my sister-in-law's mother is quite ill. "Birds in the Window" will be winging it's way to Canada to offer a little warmth and love to D's Mom. I hope it give her some comfort and cheer.


  1. Good job on the a/c cover! Sometimes we amaze even ourselves! I have those odd little jobs every once in awhile that I dread....but turn out a-ok. That's the thing with scrappy! Once you get past that fear of putting random fabrics together, the sky's the limit! Your SIL's mom will be tickled to receive her new little lap quilt! Such an uplifting gift, and very considerate and kind. Enjoy your day! XO, ~karen

  2. Really cute string blocks. So I really looked close at your boat...yacht...houseboat and see a giant pretzel! Is it a flotation toy? My husband loves pretzels. I gotta find one of these.

    1. I was too busy looking at your quilts strung along the boat and missed the pretzel! Good eye, Karen!

  3. What a cleaver idea for your AC. Your boat looks like Nordhaven. What a fun place to live and quilt. The boat makes a perfect backdrop for your quilts.

  4. Sorry it took me so long to comment! I read your post right after you posted but things got away from me this week. Didn't you feel proud when your hard work turned out so well with the A/C cover? And I bet Sean appreciates it also.

    Love your scrappy quilt. I love how the colors came together.

    I am sure that your SIL's mother will love the quilt and enjoy the birds!

  5. I'm sure you feel better getting that 'have to' sewing behind you and on to the fun things like the string blocks!


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