Dec 28, 2014

rummoli ... from my brain to yours

Okay, this is a pattern, of sorts, but I'm not super-specific with measurements, so it's more like a suggestion. It is enough info to get you started, and is a photographic diarization of the steps I took to make a quilted rummoli board for family members who love to play. Merry Christmas, family!

I looked at pictures of rummoli boards online and saw that there were 8 sections (triangles, really, with their points in a smaller, centre octagon). Half of 360 degrees is 180 (for 4 sections) and half of that is 90. So, I thought, after joining 2 sections, I'd have a 90 degree corner to square up on. Excellent. Also, I figured, each section had to be 45 degrees. That worked well.

Leaving that math aside for a minute, I wandered around the fabric store and found some cheap seasonal things like hearts and clovers that would do for two of the suits. I found some blue/green shapes that could pass for spades, and red diamonds.

I wanted a wee sashing in between each section to separate them, so I used a black-and-white checker pattern. I also wanted the smaller octagon in the centre to be a different colour since it is used as the pot, separately from the other sections. I also decided to use the checker fabric for backing and binding.

I needed one different fabric for the 7-8-9 section, and another different one for the poker section. Since the reds formed a nice cross, I decided to make the poker spot red. I stuck with green for the 7-8-9 section.

On with the cutting then:

1. For the centre, I started by cutting 45 degree triangles that are not a right triangle, and which would have a 3-inch-wide top after sewing. (I measured the lengths of the sides in order to get the top properly flat.) I have a 45 degree line on my ruler that I lined up as below:

2. I cut one-inch widths of the sashing fabric, keeping in mind that I had a triangle in the go, so it had to be wide enough to be trimmed to match the triangle. They are a bit wider than the 3.5 inches of the top of the triangle.

3. Then I sewed them together.

4. And trimmed them.

5. Now it's time to cut the eight sections. I measured the bottom, keeping in mind where the seam would be, and what width the triangle would be at that point. Then I cut 45 degrees from there.

6. Getting the top and bottom square to the 45-degree angled sides is where you need to measure sides and do the fold-in-half test. Be fussy on this.
I then used my 7-inch tall trapezoidal section as a template for the next one, but a paper pattern would probably have been better from the start.

7. I sewed the trapezoid to the triangle, making sure that it was centred, with a bit of the sashing hanging out beyond the trapezoid on each side so that afterwards, I maintained the straight side, on the 45 degree angle, with just a little trimming.

8. I pressed that bad-boy and trimmed it up. Then I did that 7 more times. I did all my pressing toward the sashing. Since it was a quarter inch on either side and the finished size of the sashing is a half-inch, it tucked nicely. It also caused the sashing to 'pop' a little, which was okay, but not exactly what I wanted. (I later sewed them down.)

9. It's time to pay attention, as if you weren't before. The sections go in a particular order, so I was careful not to join them incorrectly. I used a one-inch piece for this sashing as well, so that it would all be consistent and small. It isn't sewn in the photo below, so it looks bigger.

10. With 2 joined, I squared up to 90 degrees, but left the tops for now. We will square those up later.

11. After a half was together, I squared it to a straight edge on the bottom (180).

12. Almost there! Let's see how the 2 halves line up together. The reds make a nice cross and the two spade fabrics are across from each other. Nice.

 13. Let's get the long single piece of sashing on with no pulling or weirdness.

14. Then we line up the other half on the sashing and sew it so that the centres line up.

15. Now we can trim up the top of each section. I measured the length of each side of each section and used a washable marker to mark the spot. Then I cut across. When cutting, I made sure to have a centre peak in the sashing. That's the true centre between two sections.

16. It needs a border because I got some iron-on letters to indicate what each section is for. 'Poker' was going to be my longest word, so I started the border on the not-red sections. I cut these 2 inches longer than the top of the section. Then I pressed them back. (The letters are 2 inches tall, so I'm doing a 2.5 inch border.)

17. The red sections needed to be longer than the first borders because they had to cover all of the already-sewn borders.


18. Then I trimmed them up.

19. I ironed on the letters and numbers for each section so I could do it with just the one thickness of fabric.

20. Top done! I laid down the backing fabric, the batting, and then pinned the top on top. It's time to quilt. I did some free-motion dollar signs in the middle, went around some hearts, did a free-motion path through the clovers and the spades, and did a bigger diamond over the smaller ones. I did plain grid lines in the poker section and random meandering in the 7-8-9 section. I started it all with quilting down the middle of every inch of sashing. That was good for stabilizing.

21. With the quilting done, it's just the binding left. I sewed it on the front and then pressed it. After that, I got on the couch with a good netflix show and hand-stitched the binding to the back.

And here it is, all done, about 24" across, with each section about as tall as the centre is wide.

Thanks for reading!


Nov 30, 2014

and still there is learning

1. Threading a needle. Basic. Tying a knot in the thread - there's a hack for that. It blew my mind, I tell you!

It goes like this ... you hold the end of the thread against the needle and then wrap it (from the non-end) around the needle 5 times. Then you slide the whole thing down the needle and down all the thread, to the end, where you'll have a beautiful knot ready for hand stitching. There's a YouTube video if you search "knotting thread needle".

2. When you're burying quilting thread ends, you can pull up any threads left on the bottom so that you're doing all the burying on the top. If you're bringing up your bobbin thread at the start on a quilt line, you may just have threads on the bottom where you ended a line. Just pull on the top thread and watch for a hint of the bottom one, poke it with a pin and pull it up. Bam.

3. When you're burying those ends, you can do more than one at a time when they're right next to each other.

4. When you're quilting, you don't need to alternate direction on parallel lines unless you like the slight herringbone look.

And here's the front of this 29x37 inch stroller quilt - my second quilt.  :-D 

I hope the wee baby likes it when he's born.


Nov 15, 2014

more learnings...

1. When quilting, easing is necessary or you get weird foldy bits from excess fabric in one spot or another. Kind of like gathers. If you follow the three-foot rule and don't look too closely, you won't see that sort of thing.

2. One regular and one extended episode of Sons of Anarchy are not enough to bind a 55inch square quilt by hand.

3. Corners are really tricky. It's best to watch a person in person or on video because verbal instructions are difficult.

4. Modern quilting, as a concept, is not an easy thing to grasp. I'm catching on, though. It's a little bit of turning the traditional askew.

5. Whereas I had no second quilt ideas when I was initially sewing this one up, I now have cut and/or planned a Christmas table runner, a baby quilt, a Christmas swap item and a quilt for my niece. And so it begins.

6. I had no real stash to speak of, but I've started picking up odds and ends that appeal to me. And so it begins.


Nov 2, 2014

a sandwich

Yeah, so the delicious sandwich has been safety-pinned together and all is right with the world. It's about 55 inches square, so a good snuggle size, and it has four groups of four green sea turtles (honu in Hawaiian) who will forever stare at each other playfully. When we swam with them on Maui, we saw one smack another with his flipper, but these guys aren't close enough to each other to fight. They also have happy looks frozen on their faces because they aren't real. Duh.

I also have all of the binding pieced together and ready to roll. Aside from about 20 squares of 2.5", there is hardly any fabric left. It was a good calculation on a clean budget with no stash enhancement. I have fabric lined up for two more projects, so don't worry about me.

Now I have to do some practice with quilting. I've never done that before, whereas I have sewn a fair bit in my life. The difficulty I see is getting used to a walking foot, being super-precise in the ditch, and warming up to the idea of free-hand wandering.

Practice, practice, practice is what they say, so we will give it a whirl and see how it goes.


Oct 30, 2014

multicraft adventure

My fabric came from Etsy and the baby quilt is taking shape in my head ... about 4 shapes, but I have an appointment with Mum and Nanna on Saturday and a decision will be made. I picked up super cute brown and white striped fabric for the binding today. It was on sale. Don't give me grief. I can hold my fabric stash easily with one arm at this point. Yarn is a different story....

I'm still waiting for the buttons from France, so no update on the cardigan.

The socks ... I like to knit until the yarn runs out, but that doesn't work with an afterthought heel. So I decided, with one inch of leg knit, to go back and build the heel from the other end of the ball.

Sorry, Mrs. Ohhh, no fancy nails at the moment.

That yarn, by the way, is Two Tigers Yarns' Sock Attack in the Papa Smurf colourway. And yes, I do two socks at a time. One more heel to go and then onto the legs!

The turtle quilt top will be ready tomorrow. I'm going to fuel myself with candy (and not hand any out), and make that top come together with everything lined up. You'll see.


Oct 27, 2014

freaking out

So here's a wee recap of the goings-on since the blocks were all built:

1. I went to A Great Notion and got a new blade for my ancient rotary cutter. I also got a walking foot, a foot with a guide in the middle for stitching in the ditch, and an arm/guide thing for quilting evenly-spaced lines. I had sold my spinning wheel, so I had a bit of a spree. That same day, I picked up a 12.5 inch square ruler and a smaller square ruler. The larger square let me properly square up my blocks. I wasn't about to sash them before I did that.

2. I owned the new rulers for over a week before I could muster up the nerve to do the sashing. The more pieces you put together, the more chances you have of things not aligning. The turtles are in 4 rows of 4 now. I have to do the longer, freakier horizontal sashing yet. I have to get it done before Saturday.

3. I finished all the knitting on my greatly modified cardigan. I ordered buttons on Etsy. They're coming from France. I've sold a fair number of my brioche cowl knitting pattern (cowl, not bread), so I had enough in my PayPal account for buttons plus 4 fat quarters in cute baby boy prints.

4. Was in Portland this past weekend and went to the Fabric Depot. Wowza! I was overwhelmed. There were a trillion fabrics. I ended up finding a 13-stack of Robert Kaufman fat quarters in some pleasing basics at 40 percent off. Woohoo! I also got some Halloween costume supplies for the kid and some iron-on patching for the fave jeans with holes just starting.

5. I cast on a really cool tank top in linen.

6. I decided on afterthought heels on the socks-long-in-progress for hubby. The only downside I see with that heel is the kitchener stitch, but I can live with that.

7. I cast on a second Bad Oyster pattern for Auntie Inflammatory that will be just a bit bigger than the first one to sit around her neck better.

8. Once the turtles are sashed, I'll hope that the baby boy fat quarters have arrived and see what pattern they want to be. Can't wait!

The beginnings of the bad oyster.


Oct 11, 2014

what i learned today

First, the title on my blog posts doesn't automatically do sentence case.

Second, when you are piecing and want to be efficient, you make your pieces extra tall, and then you plan to cut across them to get the correct heights afterwards.

Like that.

However, what this newbie can't do is cut the total height to match the sum of heights needed and expect that the last guy is actually going to be the right height.

So where I expected to have 12.5 inches give me five heights of 2.5 inches, things were a little wonky. In the photo you see 9 inches of height for three 2.5 inch beasties. That actually works out to 7.5, but I'm planning to strip off the likely 1.25 piece and save it for later like a little squirrel. That's the three heights that I need to make up for the earlier boo-boo.

Third, I need a cover for my ironing boards. There's really no excuse for that.


Oct 10, 2014

door prize

I forgot to type that I'd won a door prize at the Guild meeting. So. Rad.

Four fat quarters! Crazy lucky, right? They're folded up all pretty and I'm scared to open them up. I have a feeling new knitters feel like this the first time their yarn comes in a skein rather than a ball.

Getting my hair cut tonight. THANK GOODNESS! Goodbye, curls. Sorry we couldn't make a better go of that.


Oct 9, 2014

2 guilds

But I'm only on the executive of one guild, so it's not too much.

Guild number 2 is a modern quilt guild. So. Fun.

It's a pretty large group, and they are very well run. So. Fun.

There was a very impressive show-and-tell - a lot of talent in the room!

I'm going to sew all weekend (more photos to follow). I'm also going to finish the dastardly sleeves on this darned sweater. Then I can get to the steeking and button band. And collar. Then it will be DONE! Fingering-weight sweaters take a while......


Oct 2, 2014

Moving back

I have decided to start quilting and there's no place for that on a yarn site, so I'm reviving this blog to encompass all crafts. (I really do like them all.)

We were in Maui recently. At the Queen K... mall, there's a shop called Sew Special. Of course they have Hawaiian themed fabrics there, and they totally caught my eye. We had just swum with turtles and I really wanted a turtle fabric. I wanted one coordinated fabric as well, and found it.

When I got home, I got four more fabrics, plus one for sashing and the back (thanks for your help with colour selection, Mum!). Tonight was my first chance to take a crack at my design and see how it hangs together. Yes, this is my design. It's really basic, and I wanted to focus on the turtle, so out of a 12 inch square, 5 of the inches are turtle. The only tricky piece is the mitred corners. I thought I could sew the diagonal to get those corners, but that was a bad idea. Enter Mum, with "Smoke and Mirrors 101" - the pieces overlap completely, and then you fold one and iron a crease into it so it looks mitred. I'll tack them down with a stitch or two. Do you know, she actually used the word "glue"? Gasp! I had a flashback to that rad Knitting 101 video on YouTube where the guy "knits" a scarf. Go look that up if you haven't seen it.

I learned from my Mum to have that square lying around for a while, to make sure I like it. I'll mull it over for a few days. (By the way, the sashing is brown.) I'm currently wondering if I can just change the position of the turtle or if I should also change the arrangement of the fabrics around it. I might have to do more samples. Any that don't make it into the quilt can become cushions or something.

Now back to some knitting...... There's still a big sale going on over at, in case you were wondering.