Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Testing the space limits

I am still sewing away in our little borrowed RV, but boy am I ready to move back onto the boat. This week I had to stop several projects due to space limitations--I just couldn't wrap my head around how to proceed.

First semi-finish is this hexagon quilt. I started it in the fall of 2015 in a class that I took at the big Houston quilt show. For reasons I won't go into here, I didn't enjoy the class and the mostly cut out pieces of this quilt have been languishing in a plastic ziplock baggie. In a fit of purge quilting (sewing just to get the fabric out of one's stash and one's life), I finished piecing the center, happily using the blue polka dots to fill in the edges. After all, those hexies and triangles have to stop somewhere. 

The dots were a great match with the wild, mostly Kaffe fabrics, so I was excited to stitch up a nice border with it, too. First problem: I don't have any surfaces long enough to accurately cut pieces that long. My cutting mat/ironing pad here on the RV is only 12"x18" and you can see in this photo that it only fits on top of the stove. Oh well, I muddled through the first two sides. Second problem: I miscalculated the size of the dang borders anyway, and ran out of polka dots! ARGH!!

Fortunately, the boatyard's ladies' room is a pleasant two-minute walk from the RV, and a stroll through the crisp evening air was enough to clear my head and provide a solution. I decided to cut some more triangles and have them poke up into the polka dots, leaving just barely enough to finish the top and bottom. It's a little odd to have the triangles cut off flat on the left and right, and fully pointed on the top and bottom, but we'll call it a Deliberate Design Decision! Much better than Completely Clueless Cutting! Now it needs another border, but that will have to wait until I'm back at my big 24"x36" cutting mat in the boat. No name for this quilt yet.

Speaking of the boat, the yard has finished most of the painting and moved her out of the painting shed and out into the open. In this photo, she is hanging from the mobile blue frame, called a travel lift. She's also swaying gently two feet above the hard ground, always a bit alarming. Still lots of work to be done, but we're hoping to move back aboard this week.

Which is good, because we're both sick of this view. This is taken from the back bedroom, looking forward. My Juki is on the dining table, and all my bins of fabric fill the bunk bed space above the driving compartment. Poor Sean has been relegated to the loveseat. Even his "coffee table" is one of my fabric bins! He's been a pretty good sport, and we're so grateful to our friend who loaned us the RV, but it's time to move on...

Back to quilting subjects, ahem. My next project was inspired by my stash of vegetable fat quarters. Along with the corn, cabbage, asparagus and zucchinis above, I also have Brussels sprouts, peppers, basil, and carrots.

I looked at several white and off white fabrics to use as a background. But then this bright yellow-green fabric with water drops/bubbles leapt out of my stash. I think it looks like the veggies are being rinsed before chopping. Perfect! So perfect that I had exactly 2.5" of it left over.

Even the fabric trimmings look like julienned vegetables!

Here's the top. The pattern is Majestic Mountains, also called Scrappy Mountain Majesties. This one will also get a couple more borders to bring it up to twin sized, and it will be my donation to the International Institute of St. Louis for the Hands2Help challenge. I think I'll do a thin orange inner border and a dark green outer border. This quilt is named Veggie Mountain.

After wrangling Veggie Mountain through the Juki for the last couple of days, I wanted to take a break and sew up something small. Time to work on the March/April block drive for Covered in Love. This block is called "Grandad's Shirts," and it required me to learn two brand-new techniques. 

The first technique is pleats in the center square of each block. This photo shows all four of the blocks I made, and you can see the pleats in the lighter blue squares. You can also see the vintage-themed fabrics I used, with old fashioned telephones, trains and VW buses. There are also some dictionary pages, with some appropriate words like "memory" and "forgive." The second technique is partial seams, which aren't very hard but I just had never done them before. I'm happy to have new tools in my kit! Thanks for the inspiration, Kat.

Linking up with Sew Some Love.


  1. Thank you for making those!!

  2. wow I'm impressed with what you do in a smaller space.... love your vegie mountain...

  3. You continue to inspire. I think the points in the border make the quilt. A great inspiration. Love your Scrappy Mountain Majesty. It's a great use of your veggie fabrics. I have made the same pattern. Top finished. It's waiting on borders. Know you will be glad to be home soon. 😊

  4. I didn't even notice, great design decision! Love greens in the scrappy mountains! Boat is looking good!

  5. Veggie Mountain is wonderful - and I love your "CCC" and "DDD" definitions. You are getting a LOT done despite the small space.

  6. What great texture the pleats would be for a baby quilt!! Your veggie mtn, is awesome, great work my friend!

  7. OH MY!!! Your space is getting cramped huh! But look how productive you have been with your time off the boat...good for you to fill it with such quilty fun!

  8. Well, even though you didn't enjoy the class, the quilt that resulted is really fun! I like it a lot. And Veggie Mountain. HA! I LOVE that name. You have a way with words and names, Louise!

  9. I'll bet you will be happy to get back to your sewing space. I love the veggie quilt - one of my favorite patterns too. The design alternative on the Kaffe fabrics turned out well too.

  10. I don't know how you do it. Even on the boat you get so much done, but in the small RV space I'd probably have given up. I love the Kaffe quilt as I love those fabrics. Wouldn't have really noticed the deliberate design decision if you hadn't pointed it out. Good call. Curious about the class though. While I love Kaffe fabrics I've never taken a class by him.

  11. Oh, I love that Veggie Mountain!

    Despite all the setbacks with the Hexies you sure turned out an awesome quilt. I know what you mean about purge sewing!! I'm there with you.

    Hope you are back to the boat soon!

  12. Hi Louise, you've done really well with your hexies and polka dots. Enjoy getting back in the boat!

  13. So much quilty goodness in this post. I really like how you stretched your fabric with those unique borders in the hexagon quilt. And the Veggie Mountain quilt. It's so striking from afar--and then to see all those veggies up close. It's a wonderful symbol of hope for a refugee family who I can picture adjusting to their new country by gathering fresh produce at the farmer's market. Thanks for sharing your temporary sewing space. I'm not sure what impresses me more--how much sewing paraphernatia you could cram in or what a good sport your husband is about the little slice of space left for him. And finally, those pleats!! Oh my. What a neat addition to a quilt square!


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