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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Handmade Christmas Challenge - October

This month, I have been working on my Red and White Challenge quilt. I finally finished it! Hooray! Because it has a Christmas theme, I am also using it as my October entry for Sew Cal Gal's  "A Handmade Christmas Challenge".
I took a pledge in January on Sew Cal Gal's web site to make handmade gifts and decorations for Christmas. Those of us who took the pledge post them then link them up and get a chance to win a prize via a random drawing at the end of the year. I didn't enter for the prizes, but because I really like the idea of making some nice things for Christmas, either as decorations or for giving. I usually don't think of doing something like this until Thanksgiving, and then it's too late and I'm too busy. So I decided to take the challenge! (The prizes are really pretty cool, though, so you might want to take the pledge as well. It's time to get started, if you haven't already, if you really want to make those Christmas gifts!)

Well, here it is! 
Holiday Happiness

I had so many problems with this, as you will remember from my Red and White Challenge posts. But I'm really happy with the final quilt. I plan to hang it in my house for the holiday season.

I struggled with the tension on my machine quite a bit and had to rip some quilting lines (I really dread doing this, but it was necessary). I did like the resulting quilting, though. I can't believe the freehand free motion feathers turned out so well.
Feathers at top corner.

Feathers at bottom corner.
The other problem that plagued me was that a couple of the fabrics bled when I spritzed the top with water to remove the grid markings  in the middle of the quilt. (I used a water soluble blue pen,and had prewashed the fabrics, but the color still ran.) I was able to get the pink halo stains out, though. I tried mild soap and gentle cycle to almost no effect. Then, figuring I had not much more to lose, I pretreated with  Clorox 2, and washed the quilt in Tide with cold water and the regular permanent press cycle. Voila! Stains gone! I did a real happy dance!

Don't forget to check out Sew Cal Gal's site and view both the Red and White and Handmade Christmas Challenges. Lots of great things there!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Show It! Red and White Challenge

Today I'm posting my work for Sew Cal Gal's Red and White Challenge: Show It Part 2: You made it! You designed it!.

The quilt is still in progress. Life is busy as usual, and I've had a few set backs as you'll see, but I'm determined to finish this thing. My current plan is to finish it by October 25th and enter it in the Handmade Christmas Challenge as well, since it has a Christmas theme. Here's the quilt I designed and made myself for the challenge. It's a variation on the Drunkard's Path block, inspired by a class with Pepper Cory. You can read about the design and making of the quilt here.

I've named the quilt Holiday Happiness. I'm hoping that's not just wishful thinking.

Holiday Happiness

I still have more quilting planned for this, but I'm a slow quilter and just couldn't finish in time. I plan to bind it in the red and white stripe fabric I used for the ribbons, cut on the bias. I just started quilting the border, and I have embellishments planned for the center, so please do come back to see the completed product.

I mentioned a few set backs... The tension on my machine seems to be going out about every thirty minutes. It's an old machine and I need to take it in, but I've just been too busy, so that's slowing me down. I have had to unsew some sections of quilting because of this. Then, today I wanted to remove the water soluble blue pen marks so that I could get a better picture of the quilting. I spritzed the quilt with water and... you guessed it, two of the fabrics bled. Now mind you, I had prewashed the reds with a color catcher, and I had used these same fabrics in other quilts before without a problem. (I was using up some scraps.) But today, this is what happened.
Red bled ornament :^(
I don't know if you can see it well in the picture, but there's a pink halo around the center star and around the ornament. So, once the quilt is bound, I will attempt to wash and remove the halo. I'll let you know how it goes! More to come...

But for now, I'm entering this quilt in the Sew Cal Gal's virtual show. Be sure you check out all the quilts there - there are some really great ones - and vote for your favorite by October 24!