Wednesday, October 7, 2015

surrounded, in progess

Backwards, I know.

I mean,
and here I am blathering on
about while it was a work in progress...

Thing is,
most of the work on this was done in secret.

Some was done in secret,
but right out in the open.
Because it's kinda hard to make a secret quilt for someone who isn't gone very much!
I realize I would have had plenty of time with Brandon gone during the summer,
only I hadn't realized how badly he needed a quilt then.

Mostly what I wanted to talk about 
was the method I used for piecing the top.

I forget where I read about it,
and didn't bother to bookmark it,
because once I read the post, I didn't need it any more.
Except it would have been nice of me to link to it,
I'm sorry.

(I'm also sorry for the horrible pictures!)

I used the method where you join the first 2 fabrics in each row,
without snipping threads,
add the next fabric to the first row,
then the next piece to the second,
and so on and so forth until you have an entire 'curtain' of pieced squares.

I think the method is better suited to baby quilts or smaller throws,
as I found for my 72x88 quilt that there was quite a bit of fraying of the fabrics
after so much handling.
But I do think it was faster than my usual method
of sewing pairs together
and sewing those together
'til I have complete rows.
And bonus - I didn't have to label my pieces.
(I was very careful taking them off my 'design wall' so I wouldn't knock any off,
and made sure to identify the beginning of each column and which direction was up
just to be extra safe)

Even though I prefer the looked of pressed open seams,
I'm still on the fence regarding what is really and truly the best way to press
in terms of strength and durability.
or to the side?
(Weigh in - please!)

This quilt, I pressed to the side,
but had Tyler get me a long board to press on,
and several smaller boards to put on my seams once I'd pressed them
(so I sorta had a clapper on both sides)
so that my seams would be as flat as possible.
but slow....

That got me to thinking
about why couldn't you just use a big piece of well-sanded plywood
as your ironing board??

After joining the rows,
I did press the seams open
(using my dowel rod trick - which I love and use regularly now!)

I basted the layers together
while the kids were at TKD the day after Brandon's birthday,
being very careful to line up the centers
(I taped toothpicks to the outside of the backing (aka second top)
before taping it to the floor
so when I added the top,
I could feel where my center seam needed to be)
and we gave it to him that evening.
It would have taken me soo long to quilt and bind if I was still keeping it secret....

Thankfully, he was totally surprised :-)

Let's see,
what else?
I used bamboo batting for the first time.
It's nice.
Not as nice as wool, mind you ;-)
but more pleasant to work with (and hand-quilt) than Warm and White.

I quilted straight-ish lines with my walking foot
anywhere from 1/4" - 5/8" apart in grey aurfil
(which took 7 bobbins and 9 hours)
hand-quilted random pluses
and partial pluses
until Brandon and I both thought it was done.
making sure that the stitches showed almost as much on the 'back' as they did on the front.

hand-quilting was kinda lost on that fabric...

The binding was sewn onto the back by hand on the way to Alabama :-)

An hour after arriving home,
I tossed it in the washer.
(right after I pulled out the load of beach towels)
Not long after that,
I pulled it out of the dryer
and tossed it on Brandon,
in all of its crinkly goodness :-)

linking up again with Lee, and all the other inspiring gals :-)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

evenings at the beach

It's feast or famine around here these days, 
isn't it?

Sorry about that!

I have all those pictures, though...
(These were all taken after 6)

We have our beach routine down pat.

It's simple

and it works for us.

We spend a few hours on the beach in the morning
and head in around noon
when the chance for getting sunburned is the greatest.

We eat lunch
(salad, sandwich, or wrap - your choice)
and then rest or read or play games
or any combination of the three.

I read.
Usually on the balcony.
Sometimes in the tub.
Often the tub, then the balcony...

Around 4 or so,
I take care of any necessary dinner prep

then we go back out and stay out until dark.

Maybe even longer.

Since there was an indoor pool this trip, 
most nights we utilized it
after our walk on the beach.

The last 2 nights, Brandon stayed with the kids in the pool 
while Tyler and I roasted in the sauna,
then we all went in the hot tub for 15 minutes or so
before heading back to our unit.

Dinner is 8(ish)

is whenever you want it to be.

Like I said, 

And perfect for us.

kites and castles (well. sort of)

We took close to 500 pictures last week.
I've deleted about 150 of them,
but that still leaves me with over 300...

Tyler's and Lily's favorite thing about the beach is playing in the sand.
(that would be my least favorite.
Sandy hands? yuck!)

Tyler also enjoys flying kites.
Which I find incredibly boring.
Of course, 
he thinks cutting up fabric and sewing it back together would be torturous.
To each his own...

Here are some of those 300+ pics...
Of kite-flying and sand sculpting.

Monday, October 5, 2015


May I present,
Surrounded, the quilt.

Made (mostly) in secret,

and finished 9/28/2015,
one week after Brandon's 17th birthday.
At the beach :-)

because the orange pluses are surrounded by gray,
and the gray pluses are surrounded by orange.

Because the blocks that are outlined in hand-quilting with black perle cotton
are surrounded by those that are not.

because the back,
which really could be the front,
surrounds him with things that say 'Brandon'.

The arrows
(made by sorta following this tute) because he likes to shoot them,
and because he builds amazing bows out of pvc.

I was so tickled to find a scrap of this letter fabric from Matt and Marin's quilt with a 'B'! Perfect!!

as a nod to his awesome black belt ninja skills.

Dapper foxes,
because he is of the generation that wonders 
what does the fox say?
And he is such a fine dresser.
(when he wants to dress up...)
And really, because I just thought he would like the fabric ;-)

Did you see the seam there?

because this handsome boy is surrounded with love.

surrounded by balconies.....

I love you to the moon, Bran!!