SEW I SEE!

quilts, treadle sewing machines, crochet, watercolor, dogs, & other fun stuff

Springtime, Sniffles, and a Change of Plans

Last week, Donald came down with a cold, and a few days later, I came stumbling after.  As colds go, it hasn’t been a particularly bad one, and it’s been a long, long time since I’ve had an actual cold (as opposed to a few sniffles or sneezes from allergies). 

The timing’s not great, though, since it means we can’t go to the family Easter lunch.  At this point in the cold, we’re much better than we were, but we’re still not 100%—and we might be contagious.  

Oh well!  At least we both have plenty of hobbies to occupy the time!  A relaxing day at home isn’t anything to complain about, as far as I’m concerned, and Luna and Frodo will be happy we aren’t leaving them alone for the afternoon.  

Everything feels like spring, here.  Even the slow-to-bud trees (like our bald cypress) are mostly showing green, now—many flowers have come and gone already—and the world is alive with insects again.  Honey bees flocking to the crossvine, butterflies and moths flickering lazily by, and (on a less positive note) carpenter bees on the hunt for the perfect nesting spot. 

With highs in the 70s, we’ve been having the windows open sometimes.  Yesterday evening, a peaceful mingling of birdsong and crickets drifted in through the kitchen window, and it felt pretty much perfect for spring.  Now if it would just stay this way… 

Summer is coming.  ~shudder~

Selvage Quilt Project Update

I’ve been working on the selvage quilt since last time.  Progress was coming along nicely.  Relatively simple 8″ blocks will do that for you!  

I snapped a few photos along the way…

reds, oranges, and yellows done!
...the sewin' of the green...
well, this is aqua-rd... (sorry)
all done except for trimming the dog ears
rainbowy stack of finished blocks

Roadblock!

All was going well.  The stack of white squares I’d cut for the background fabric was getting short, however.  I’d cut all I could from one piece of fabric, at the project’s beginning.  Bored with that, I decided to leave cutting the remaining 11 squares until later.  There was another big multi-yard piece of fabric all ready for that.

…And then when I pulled out the white fabric to cut those last squares, I was surprised to find that the two whites were not a perfect match. 

Anyone who’s ever bought paint or seen the Wall of Paint Chips at a home improvement store knows that “white” can mean many different things.  But I could have sworn I’d compared these two cuts of fabric and deemed them matching.  They’re the same brand and were bought at the same place (albeit at different times); I thought they were the same shade.  I have some in the same brand in a definite cream shade, so… I don’t know if they are “white” and “off-white” or if it’s variation between batches/dye lots. 

old white on left, new white on right

In any case, the difference, while subtle, was definitely there.  Ordinarily, I might just have mixed the new fabric in with the original one and figured it wouldn’t really matter, but because this quilt will be constructed in diagonal color rows and I’ve worked one color at a time, all my pink and purple blocks would be in the “new white”, making a solid stripe of the different shade that I was afraid might be noticeable enough to bother me.  

Time for a change of plans!

I got out the page where I’d sketched ideas for color placement when planning this quilt, looking at a couple of different alternative layouts.  

What I settled on is this:  Because I hadn’t started the purple or pink blocks, I’d leave those colors out of the quilt.  Instead, I’d just use what I already had and make a smaller quilt.  

I have exactly one square of the old white left, and for the new layout, I need 1 HST each in both green and blue.  That means I’ll have to switch to a different construction method, but that’s not a problem.  

If I’d known this would be the final layout, I’d probably have made purple instead of the aqua, but maybe this will actually be better.  On the plus side, this means I have nearly all my blocks ready!  I’ve been putting off making those last two blocks until I was feeling fully “with it” (not sick and sleepy), because I need to think and make sure I get it right.  

Everything in Its Place

In a recent blog entry, I wrote about working on organizing the craft room.  I’ve since added a couple more things to help clear off surfaces and give everything a place for convenient and easy access. 

It’s a work in progress, but better than it was. 

tabletop organizer with drawers

This little rolling cart is a bit flimsy, but the price was right, and it doesn’t need to move far.  I pulled it out in front of the window to get a better photo, but normally it stays under my painting and papercraft table, where I can easily move it just enough to get to what I need. 

It’s the perfect height to fit under my table, and the shelves are great for things I don’t need every day, but still want to be able to grab without much effort.  

Tracing on Watercolor Paper

As mentioned in a recent post, I used an LED light pad to trace images onto watercolor paper.  I had a couple more tracings to color in, from that first batch of experiments, so I did that… 

It can be a lot of fun!  Highly recommended if you like coloring books, but want to try a different medium, or if you like the idea of watercolors but don’t want to do your own sketching.  

Printing: Second Try; Second Flop

Remember how the thicker watercolor paper didn’t really work in our printer?  It tended to jam.

I got some thinner paper, which went through the printer without issue, but unfortunately, when I tried tinting the test print with some watercolor, I noticed that the toner was still coming off on the brush (though not to the same degree as last time).  And that wasn’t all:  It was also rubbing off on my hand, from the raised bits of the textured paper.  Messy, and left little white spots in the print.  Disappointing!

I did a little more reading, and it seems I was mistaken in thinking that toner and laser printers worked well for this kind of thing.  Maybe it can work in some circumstances, but apparently it’s generally not recommended.  Instead, you’re more likely to have good results if you use an ink jet printer with good quality pigment ink (not dye-based ink).  

At this point, I guess I’m moving on to other ideas.  (It’s not as though there’s a shortage of things to try!)  I might give it another try with a different printer, at some point.  We’ll see!

I do think it could be fun to print and paint things this way, from time to time.  The image above is something I made using AI, in just a few minutes of prompting and tweaking.  I know there’s a lot of uncertainty around AI, but looking at it objectively, this type of thing is simply amazing!

Cheap Paper Means No Worries...

Remember that thin paper I bought to try with the printer?  It’s pretty cheap stuff, thinner than I really like to use.  Which means it’s like the paper version of fabric crumbs.

With crumbs (small scraps of fabric, including the tiniest pieces you can sew together and still see something between the seam allowances), you can do whatever you want with absolutely no worries or hesitation.  I mean, you can do that with yardage and pricy fat quarters, too, of course, but it’s so much easier to just play with abandon when you’re using the stuff that rational most people typically throw away.

Now I have this cheap-o paper that really isn’t worth worrying over, because it’s not nice enough to use for anything special.  It’s an opportunity to just have fun and not stress about your results.  Whatever you do, however “meh” it might be, it’s still better than this terrible paper deserves. 😅 I like to imagine that this paper is eternally grateful that you gave it a purpose… Like Eeyore, if Eeyore was sincerely and profusely thankful that you noticed him.

starting with some simplified tree shapes
outlining roughly with pen—better already!
adding more texture to the trees with random doodles

I saw some fun, carefree birds and took my cue from that…

It can be a real challenge to not make disclaimers, excuse your lack of skill, point out things you’d change—but no.  I gave the paper purpose (you’re welcome, cheap-o paper!) and am sharing it just because it’s fun and I like doing it!

No excuses necessary.

I hope everyone’s having a happy Easter!  Frodo and Luna will probably be enjoying another springtime digging session…

Welcome!

I’m Michael (a female Michael, to remove any doubt).  I live on the Alabama Gulf Coast with my husband, Donald, and our crazy American Eskimo Dogs. 

I love to fill my spare time with various crafts and other hobbies, and this blog is where I share photos, record my progress, and ramble endlessly.

Recent Posts

Categories
Archives