All but binding……

I am nearly finished with Mittens, my pet mosaic project I started in May of 2016.  (If you click on that link you can go back to my FLICKR album and browse through all the photo’s).  I’ve written many times about Mittens on this blog, and wanted you to know I have FINALLY reached the end!

Mittens will be completed in the next day or two with a week to spare.  I entered him into the  Ocean Waves Quilt Guild Quilt Show  which takes place on July 21 & 22, 2017 in Lewes Delaware.

I did a LOT of thread work on this project trying to give the idea of his fur, especially in his ear you see below-

Thread painting

All that heavy thread work caused the sides of the quilt to pull in and make a “bow” in the sides of the quilt near the ears.

I needed to block the quilt.  I went to the internet and read lots of posts on how to block the project, and compiled info from many sources for “my method”.

Can you see how wavy the sides are???

Quilting finished

I ended up on the floor with 2 of those old fashioned cardboard cutting mats, a carpenter’s square with a yardstick attached and about 500 pins, and two tape measures.  I just kept working and working until it was as square as I could get it. The pins went through the project, into the cardboard mats and then into the floor!  (Industrial carpeting!!!)  This took me nearly 3 hours as I worked to get rid of as much of the “curve” the heavy quilting caused.  If you have a tip on how to keep that from happening, let me know! The project & borders were straight before quilting!

I got the water bottle out and started spraying.  I let it “soak” in and waiting an hour or so, and plugged in the iron, and steamed and pressed the whole quilt.  After I was finished with the iron, I set a floor fan near it and walked away.

Blocking Mittens

I let him dry for about 18 hours and then I pulled out the pins, put him on the table and trimmed him up.

While he was drying I got busy with making the binding and the label and the hanging sleeve.

I did my label on my embroidery machine and edged it in some cute cat fabric.  There are pieces of this fabric scattered out in the project.

Label for my Pet Mosaic project

I stitched down 2 sides of the label in the edges of the binding, and fused to the back of the quilt. I still have to hand stitch around 2 sides of the label, and the bottom and ends of the hanging sleeve.  Since Mittens is a wall hanging, the top of the sleeve is stitched in the edge of the binding.  Which binding?  Well….Susie’s Magic Binding of course. It is stitched to the back of the quilt and READY for me to roll to the front and take those final stitches in the area of the flange.

That is my project for this summer afternoon!  What are you working on??

 

NOTE – Cheryl Lynch taught the class where I began the project – check out her website Cheryl Lynch Quilts  .  If your guild is looking for a great teacher & speaker, she comes with my recommendation!

Pet Mosaic piecing completed

It only took me 7.5 months to “finish” the piecing of this project.  You might remember I went to a retreat at Cheryl Lynch’s cottage at the end of May  ( where we started our mosaic projects.  My sister in law (www.oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com ) worked on her Rotti while I worked on my cat.  (She finished her’s and has already had it in a show —     https://oneblockwonderwoman.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/creating-a-dog-from-scratch-can-be-ruff/     )

This was the look of my project when I packed up to leave the retreat.

Mittens Mosaic

I came home from the trip, was faced with out “deadlines” and left everything in the bin until August.  During August and September I got the project “out of the box” and back up on the design wall.  One 2″ square at a time, plus lots of additional angle piecing to “make the curves” work out.

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I got busy sewing once all the design work was done; but toward the end of September, the deadlines snuck up on me again!

Layout is complete

So, by October 8th, Poor little Mittens was stuck again! Mittens spent all of October, November and December stuck on the wall…..  I don’t know what is worse….being stuck in a box or stuck on the wall?  (see those blue blocks? I took 2 classes from Bonnie Hunter, and I claim distraction!)

When I started thinking about UFO’s that I want to complete in 2017 I decided that MITTENS the Mosaic Cat would have to be  # 1. A few days after I recovered from New Years, I got busy.   Seriously, the hard part was done, it was just 5 or 6 days of sewing.

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In between model rail road club weekends, and a snow storm that dumped 8.5″, and 44 degree temps in my “over the garage” sewing room, I did some work.

Yesterday I was able to join up all the sections .

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and   I would like to report that he is “constructed” to include a 3″  border !

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Now, he will hang on the wall until I can come up with a quilting plan!  There are lots of photo’s in my album – https://www.flickr.com/photos/92296158@N02/albums/72157668596534501

Thanks to Cheryl Lynch Quilts – http://cheryllynchquilts.blogspot.com/   for the great project and guidence.  If you can take a class from her, you would certainly enjoy any project she will teach.  This is my 2nd  “Cheryl” project.  My first was in June 2014, when she came to Ocean Waves Quilt guild and taught a class with Dupioni Silk.  The class was called “Sensational Silk” and I LOVED that project. I made a wall hanging and I just love the way the silk catches the light. It hangs in my living room.

Barn Raising in Silk  27 x 39"

Barn Raising in Silk
27 x 39″

I now have a  Janome 1600p quilting machine and frame, so I want to get busy practicing before I tackle this kitty!   This set up has been “sitting” since early September, waiting for me to find time to use it.

Janome 1600 mid arm

I now have a collection of needles and bobbins for this machine, and was “gifted a set” of leaders for the 12′ width; so I must  load up a practice quilt and “get busy”.

I am “anxious” to use these wonderful tools that I have and see if I can make good use of them.

What is on your 2017 UFO list?

MITTENS has 2 eyes!

Pet Mosaic Update — Mittens really does have 2 eyes!  My quilting sister-in-law asked at some point if he did, and now, I can show evidence!  I have worked on this project off and on this week; primarily on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I fed my dear hubby dinner at 9 pm tonight because I was on such a roll!  Here is a look at him over the last few days.

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August 25 2016

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Aug 27 2016  Spent some time building in the right ear and side of his head

Mittens Aug 28, 2016

Aug 28 2016 – head taking shape

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Aug 31 2016 – Working on the left side of his face and the bridge of his nose.

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Sept 2, 2016 – And now he has a nose and I am starting on his left cheek!

Kind of like watching paint dry, but it is fairly exciting to see him coming together.  There are areas that I will probably rework a little bit around his nose, nostrils etc before I move on to his lips.  My next goal is to finish that left side of his face.

Hope you enjoy the project process.  Thanks to Cheryl Lynch  ( Cheryl Lynch Quilts )for her wonderful instruction and to Carolyn Lingor (  One Block Wonder Woman) for her great advice too.      (My hubby has been kindly giving his artistic point of view on some of the pieces with transitions and it has really been helpful…right up to the point where he said “I never thought you would stick with this”; at which point I threw him out of my sewing space….)  (I did let him come back in to look at it today!)

This soft fuzzy thing is Smokey, the brother of Mittens.  He has much softer fur, and very soft stripes.  He looks dejected because he is not the star of my Pet Mosaic Project.  He claims ownership of me, as “HIS” human.  If I sit in a chair, he will instantly be in my lap!

Smokey

Mittens

Mittens was selected for the project because of his highly defined markings.  He looks a lot like his mother – Momma Cat; but she doesn’t have the pretty white above the sweet pink nose.

Momma Cat

Momma Cat is a cat with attitude.  She does like to talk alot, and is in mid conversation when I took this picture.  She lives “outside”; and likes to share her food with every stray that wanders in the yard.  (This is how we acquired these 3 cats…they moved in and took over).   She is all settled in to her nice little igloo, waiting on the coming storm.

As the Tropical Storm Hermine heads up the East Coast of the USA, I hope you are safe and sound where ever you are. Looks like we are going to get a big hit from the storm beginning Saturday morning, with 3 days of Tropical rains and winds as the storm is predicted to settle just off the coast of Delaware.  As my sewing room is “out over the garage” I may not be able to venture out to play with this project, so I will have to settle  and play with the real cats in the house!

 

Pet Mosaic and Paper crafting

I have spent 2 months trying to “clear the backlog” of projects so I could get my pet mosaic “back up on the design wall”.  Back story in case you are new —  My sister-in-law, Carolyn (aka – One Block Wonder Woman ) flew in from California in May, and she and I went to a retreat hosted by Cheryl Lynch  ( Cheryl’s blog ) . We signed up in JUNE 2015 for the May 2016 retreat. The project was a Pet Mosaic; finishing around 54″ x 54″.   (What a great retreat by the way, in the Pocono Mountains, on a lake, with wonderful food and great instruction and inspiration.)  (After you read my post, go check out Carolyn’s post about her project –Creating a dog from scratch can be Ruff .  If this type of project interests you, Cheryl Lynch is a GREAT teacher.

Flash forward to July and Carolyn’s project is finished! Quilted and bound, and making the circuit to quilt guild meetings, hanging at her local quilt show next month etc.

Meanwhile….mine has been languishing in a plastic bin on the shelf….waiting……waiting….waiting….so patiently (unlike the real live pet)….

When I packed up to leave the retreat, this is how far I had gotten – two sections “stitched together”, and two more ready to stitch, plus 2 transition rows.

the ear

              MAY 2016

Well, now that my many projects from the spring & summer are complete – I had a clear design wall and Mittens the cat is back up on my wall at home.  Since my last post 9 days ago, I have been working at a turtle pace on this project.  I keep telling myself I am moving forward.  Carolyn worked on hers from Memorial Day until the end of July, so I am pacing myself!  (She reports dreaming about her project….)

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August 17, 2016

So, here we are back on the wall at home, and I have joined the blocks for the first 9 rows.  We are working in 9×9 sections for stitching, and much bigger area for design purpose.  I’ve been thankful for the extra grey and black fabric that Carolyn mailed to me; which helps give more variety and texture.  (did you notice all those pins on the right side…..convenience factor…they are all used….no wonder Cheryl said 500 pins on the supply list!)  Even though I am working on a felt board, with the air conditioner, and the ceiling fan, I want my pieces “secure”.

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August 18, 2016

These are 2 ” squares, and in order to make the shape transitions, I am doing some minor “piecing” within the 2″ square.  Sometimes I make a piece 2-3-4-5 times before I feel like I have caught the shape.  And of course, I have to remember what will happen when the seam allowance comes into play.

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I am headed towards his eye and am trying to capture the shape and the changes of color in his eye, along with the light sparkle.

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August 20, 2016

So, you can see, I am using lots of methods to keep track of where I am.  On the board I used row marking pins, then slips of paper to mark the columns and rows; and then I went with blue painters tape to define my field, numbering along the side and bottom.  The photo I am working with is on the right in this picture, and I have blocked off (with post-it notes) everything except my area of focus. That helps.  I was only going to work down 11 rows in this section, but I really needed to capture the shape of his eye, so I moved my tape down and will continue that area.  And you can see those blocks that are just “hanging around” on the side of the board near the photo…well those are my “OOPS…not quite what I intended” pieces.  Who knows, I may find a way for them to fit elsewhere.

I feel pretty good about how Mittens the Cat is progressing in this project. Below is what he really looks like….hanging out. In this picture the lighting isn’t great and he looks like he has a brown cast; but he is grey, black and white.  It is his pink nose that I love. And those little tufts at the top of his ears!  He has such great markings, and I am hoping once I move on to the right side of the project, that they will start to show better in the fabric placement.

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So, this will be a long process; and I am going to work at it as much as I am able.  I have my little interruptions – quilt bees, quilt show meetings; more quilt bees, more quilt guild meetings; etc.  I am not going to rush it.  I have been “standing back and looking” and find pieces I want to change, so I do.

I wanted to share with you the fun stuff I made for one of the grandchildren’s birthdays in August.  She wanted a “HORSE” birthday party…and Grandma got commissioned to use her Brother Scan’N’Cut machine again…..  I cut out 2 different sized silhouettes that my daughter used for various purposes on the day of the party.

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Then I cut out some BOWS for the “pin the bow on the pony” game.

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And finally – I decided I would make her a “custom” card to fit the theme.  (I am a novice card maker, so be kind!)

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The fence and the grass were built into the machine designs, the horse head I found on-line and imported.

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I invested last spring in “birthday stamps” so I used them on the inside….and I added the horse & grass inside too.  I still need to work on placement and “order” as I do these things, but I had fun making the card.  It is a learning process too.  (I have been watching video’s from Dawn’s Stamping Thoughts .net , and have determined that the card making hobby is “very extensive” and I have a lot to learn about the tools, punches, stamps, etc…..)

I’m not sure that I will do a lot of “stamping” and “card making” , but the little bit I have done I have enjoyed, and my ScanNCut machine makes it fun! I have to report that I finally learned about the “pressure” setting after destroying one mat this spring.  I have purchased a new mat and when I did this cutting, I had no problem.  At a recent quilt show, I talked to the Brother dealer who was doing demo’s on the machine, and she gave me a worksheet that had listings of settings for different materials. That was very helpful too.    I do need to get a bit more variety of papers, as PINK was a requested color and I used it all up this spring with the BARBIE stuff I cut for a 6 year old’s party.  I invested in envelopes (50 pack); so now I need to focus on cards that are the “right” size for the envelopes I have. Last spring at the card making class I went to, we saw a demo on how to make our own, but I didn’t “LEARN” well enough…….  I will keep watching the video’s and try to learn a bit more.  It is dangerous now for me to go into Michael’s  Craft Store or Hobby Lobby or A.C. Moore.  Good thing there is not one in town!

Hope your sewing & crafting adventures are bringing you joy!