Monday, May 22, 2017

Hands2Help 2017

The Hands2Help Charity Challenge is ending this week, and Sarah has asked us to write up our summaries. I finished two of the three quilts I planned to make. In the photo above, the top quilt, Fernville Seasons, will be donated to Happy Chemo. The bottom quilt, Veggie Mountain, is going to the refugee support group International Institute of St. Louis.

This post has more photos about Fernville Seasons. 

This post  has more about Veggie Mountain.

I started a third quilt for the third charity, Camp Hobe. It is a finished flimsy, but I still need to baste, quilt and bind it. Sarah says that all three charities accept donations all year, so I'll keep working toward finishing that one as soon as possible and will share photos and details here then.

It has been a busy couple of weeks here. We had overnight guests, which meant that my quilt studio in the guest stateroom had to be completely put away. All the pieces are still squirreled away in various parts of the boat and I haven't actually done any sewing in about two weeks. But today I managed to at least get all my charity donations boxed up and ready to ship out.

In addition to the H2H quilts, I boxed up the Project Linus quilts I wrote about in this post. The six blocks in the photo above are for the Covered In Love block drive. This time the quilts are being assembled by Cynthia of Quilting is More Fun Than Housework. Thanks, Cynthia!

As part of clearing out the guest room, I wanted to corral all my tiny cutting scraps. I use them to stuff pet beds that I donate to the closest local animal shelter. This batch of six will go to the Port Aransas, TX shelter. They aren't large, sized to fit cats or small dogs, but they are quite heavy and dense! I used this tutorial to make the beds this time, and I really like how they turned out. The channeling should keep the scrap bits inside from clumping up in one end.

Here are all the boxes of quilts, ready to ship. It will be a challenge to fit them all on a motor scooter, but the trip to the post office is fairly short. I'm glad to have this big stack of boxes and the pile of pet beds off the boat and released into the wild!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Waterloo on a galloping horse

Veggie Mountain is finished. This twin sized quilt, about 66" x 88", is the biggest single quilt I've ever made.* It will be a long time before I tackle another one as large, as this one proved to be my Waterloo. I know there are people who can push much larger quilts through their domestic sewing machines, but the weight and bulk of this one really tired me out!

*I did make a queen size for our own bed, but it was four separate quilt as you go pieces, each section about the size of a lap quilt. Much more manageable.

Just finding a place on the boat to take a photo was a challenge. Our ceilings are only about 80" tall and the quilt dragged on the floor. It's been very, very windy this week in Galveston, TX, so outside shots were tricky. This one was taken at the Moody Gardens Hotel's dock, which was spectacularly coated with bird poop. In addition to worrying about the quilt blowing away into the water, I worried about it falling in the guano!

The pattern for this quilt is Majestic Mountains, or Scrappy Mountains Majesty. I used twenty fat quarters of vegetable themed fabrics and a bright green background yardage. The charity requested quilts of at least twin size, so to fatten it up, I added a thin orange inner border and a wide, dark green tonal outer border. The binding is another, slightly different bright green with tiny hearts.

The background fabric is a cream and yellow rooster print, which is thicker than regular quilting cotton and made the quilt heavier. It has a nice heft to it, but boy was it a struggle to quilt! However, I had enough of the chickens to cover the entire back with just a single seam. And I think chickens and veggies go nicely together.

I had grand visions of elaborate free motion quilting in the background "mountains," but in the end I did simple straight lines with my walking foot. As I was quilting, it seemed like there were a lot of puckers, and several lines needed to be ripped out. Quite a few cranky words were spoken. Not all of my times in the sewing studio were joyful.

That wide green border also seemed sort of plain and boring with just straight lines that intersected in the corners. I decided to stitch a message in a contrasting thread color. Since this quilt is destined for a refugee family via one of the Hands2Help charities, "Welcome" was the message I wanted to send. Actually, I wanted to say, "Welcome to America! We're so glad you are here. May your family find peace, joy, and prosperity in the land of the free." However, my handwriting is not up to the task. It's a little known fact about me that I never learned how to do cursive writing. My family moved between my second and third grade school years, and I somehow managed to be in the wrong state each year and missed cursive lessons altogether. I can struggle through a word or two, but that's it.

Oh well, "Welcome" is a good word. It gets the message across. And both my handwriting and my slightly puckered quilting look fine from a galloping horse. In fact, after a good wash and dry and crinkle, I'm pretty happy with it. And the most important thing is that this bright quilt with a universal theme of fresh vegetables will comfort a family who may have arrived in the United States with very little. 

Linking up with Can I Get a Whoop Whoop, because I'm pleased to be finished!