Thursday, February 5, 2015

Quilting slumber party

Jan. 31, 2015
My friend, Bonnie, arrived at my house on Thursday evening and will be staying here until tomorrow when she has to return to her home in Duluth, MN.  Bonnie and I have known each other for nearly 40 years and our friendship just gets better and better!

Last fall, she asked if I could make a quilt to donate to her chapter of the AAUW for a silent auction fundraiser they were holding in early November and of course, I said yes.  A few days later, I learned that Don and I were going to Maine to bring Lily home to her mother so I told Bonnie I simply wouldn't have time to make the quilt but I promised her one for next year.

After thinking about it, I suggested that she spend a few days with me in my sewing room and we would make the quilt together--and this is the weekend!  She's done some sewing but has never quilted so it was a lot of fun showing her how to use the rotary cutter and seeing her delight when she sat down to sew at my new computerized "bells and whistles" sewing machine!  Her favorite thing was using the thread cutter!

Anyway, we had already picked out a pattern and she looked at my fabric stash and decided  she wanted to make the quilt in 30's fabrics, of which I have a huge variety (but have never used, for some reason).  This is the pattern--sideways--that we'd chosen:

and it's from this book:

Yesterday, we cut and sewed the ninety 4x8 inch flying geese units needed for the quilt!  I used the "no waste" method of making the geese and she was very skeptical about it until she made the final cut and saw the geese appear!  So much fun to see the look on her face!  She was so thrilled that we were able to get all of them done before evening when we sat down for a glass of wine and a delicious homemade vegan pizza. I realized how much faster everything goes when two of us were working on the project compared to doing it solo!  Definitely faster and lots more fun!

Look at how perfect she got those points!  Not a one was cut off or left floating!  just perfect!

Today, we are going shopping for fabric!  I'm taking her to the Busy Bobbin in Rice Lake to get some fabric for sashing and binding. And out for lunch as long as we're there.  After we get home, we'll begin assembling the top and see how much we can get done on it before she has to leave tomorrow.

I'm having so much fun with her here!  Amazingly, none of my friends are quilters so this is extra special for me. Bonnie's even mentioned that she would consider going on a quilting cruise with me! That would be soooo nice!

Feb. 5, 2015
Nearly a week has passed since I wrote the above post. I was saving it until Bonnie sent me the pix we'd taken on her phone to document our work on the quilt but so far they haven't arrived in the email.  So I decided to go ahead and finish up the post and go with a picture of the finished top.

Yes, we did get the top finished (almost) before Bonnie had to leave on Sunday the 1st.  All that was left were the final 4 strips of fabric to finish off the outside of the quilt.  And I did that after she left. And here is the finished top!

It measures 58.5" by 68.5"--perfect for a throw!

Let me tell you these FG units are perfectly sewn together.  Bonnie stitched the strips of geese and I did most of the sewing of the strips together. I confess I used the seam ripper a whole lot more than Bonnie did!   : p)   I think she's a natural quilter!

We had so much fun!  I think we should name it the "Quilt of Laughs."  We ran into trouble early on since we had deliberately made the flying geese units a bit smaller than the pattern called for.  This was because we were working with fat eighths of fabric for the geese bodies and they were not quite wide enough to make the squares we used in the no waste method.  BTW, click here for a great tutorial on how to make geese this way. It also includes a link to a chart you can use to make all sizes of flying geese.

Anyway, our geese were a bit smaller than the pattern called for so that meant that we had to cut the sashing strips (polka dots) a little bit smaller as well.  This pattern called for assembling strips of geese and sashing strips in a spiral fashion beginning in the center.  All was well when we assembled the center but when we got to the outer spirals, we realized that the strips of geese were too short. We'd either have to fudge the short strips to fit or add another goose and then fudge the longer strip to fit, both of which meant a ripple-y strip in the quilt.  What we decided was to add a few filler pieces to lengthen the geese strips to fit the quilt top. We rationalized by noting that when real geese are flying, they often have gaps and aren't always in a straight tight line!  So, that fixed the problem and I think it looks fine as well.  I took a hard look at the picture of the top above and had to really search to find the filler pieces so it's okay, I think.

At any rate, we did a lot of stitching and unstitching over three days, had lots of laughs, did some shopping at 2 of my favorite shops, and consumed more than one glass of wine and spirits!  I hope Bonnie may want to continue on her personal quilting journey.  All in all, it was a great weekend for two good friends!

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