Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Swap banners

One of the things you make, swap and collect when you are a Girl Scout is S.W.A.P.S which stands for Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.  It's a long standing Girl Scout tradition and pretty much always swapped at encampments, jamborees, summer day and sleep over camp and our council's annual cookie camp. In addition they are always given out by hosting troops at our service unit's annual World Thinking Day event in February.
After 2 years of these events Sunshine and her fellow troop mates have amassed a significant quantity of swaps and with this year's World Thinking Day approaching I decided to make each of the 12 girls in my troop a swap banner to have a place to display them.

With a coupon in hand I was able to purchase the yardage of green felt needed relatively inexpensively for this project. I cut the rectangles in 18" x 36" pieces and proceeded in completing them with some quick finish techniques.

First up was the sleeve for the dowel rod.  I folded over and pinned the correct width....
 ....and then some simple straight line stitching to secure it was all that was needed.
 One hanging sleeve completed.  Then there were 11 more to do.
 Next up was trimming the bottom into a banner shape.  I decided on the angle and length that looked good to me with my trusty ruler and....
 .....made the first cut.  A little mark on the other side to get it to meet up with the first side and another cut was done.
 Viola!  A basic banner.  Now it just needed a few more touches to be complete.
I decided that after all the stitching down work it took to make the troop t-shirts and since these wouldn't be worn and therefore wouldn't be getting the same abuse I wasn't going to spend the time to sew down the letters.  Just fusing them to the fleece was all that I planned to do.  I purchased iron on fabric transfer paper and printed the letters out.  Then it was just a matter of cutting them out and ironing them in place.
The addition of a dowel, a couple of round dowel ends and a string to hang it with and this project was complete.

Sunshine and I then had some fun pinning all the swaps she has collected so far onto it.  It hangs in her room were she loves to look at it and remember the fun times she had at the various events where she received them.  
We know more S.W.A.P.S. are in her future.  In fact she's already picked out the idea for the swap she will make to take to camps this summer.  She has a lot of years of Girl Scouting ahead of her and I'm sure there will be another banner needed eventually.  But for now she's happy to work on filling this one up.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Cuddle size 100 Good Wishes Quilt for Isabella

I've had this post in draft for way too long but our Girl Scout cookie season, which is thankfully almost over, has kept me super busy and away from all things quilty. Not it's time to get back to normal life.

Kim found me through Facebook when my friend Lisa posted pictures of the 100 Good Wishes Quilt that I made for her daughter Alex and asked me if I could make a quilt for her too. Actually she wanted 2 quilts, a smaller cuddle size quilt and a bigger one too.

This is the cuddle size quilt all completed.
But the story isn't that simple.  While talking to Kim to learn what her vision was for the quilts I learned that someone else actually started making the quilts for her many years ago.  Kim tried to describe what was already done but I just couldn't visualize it so I had her just send me everything so that I can assess the situation better and formulate a plan and a budget for her.

This is what I found when I opened the box.
A load "Agggg" coming from me doesn't fully describe this "quilt" top.  The person who did this cut pieces approximately 2" x 3" from each of the fabrics, obviously not using a ruler to do so, pinned them onto the black background fabric not in straight lines, and then zig zag stitched some of them in place.  Who knows why she didn't finish this but I'm really glad she didn't.  Unfortunately it took Kim a really long time to get everything back from that person and she's just held onto it for years, hoping one day to find someone who could really create the quilts she envisioned.

After unsewing all the pieces that were sewn down I proceeded to recut them using the proper tools.  I cut them as big as I could which turned out to be 1 3/4" x 2 3/4".   I sorted the pieced by color so that I could get a good sense of how to balance them throughout the entire quilt.
Included in the box was also a black tone on tone dragonfly fabric that Kim had used when she sent out squares and wishes to other waiting adoptive parents and there was just barely enough to use for the sashing so that's what I went with.  Here's the quilt in process with the vertical sashing between the pieces and those rows completed.
Once the horizontal sashing rows were added this was the finished top. Can you see the dragonflies on the black fabric?
Kim had included in the box also a package of batting and a piece of pink minky fabric for the backing so it was quick work to spray baste the quilt sandwich together.
After auditioning a bunch of different quilting design ideas that were all either too big a motif or too detailed for the small quilt I tested some basic straight line quilting and immediately knew that it was the right choice.  The simplicity of that suited the tiny piecing well and didn't overpower.
I've heard tons of issues quilters have had using minky on the back, mostly when quilting with it on a frame, but since I was quilting this on my domestic machine Lucy, I had no issues at all.  A couple of embroidered pieces were also included in Kim's box so I centered the one with the name on the back as it would have been too large for the overall feel of the front.  This quilt finished at 29" x 43".
It took a few days of nasty overcast weather before I got a decent window to get outside for the glamor shots and then it was shipped off to Kim who was thrilled with the result.  As expected, she cried, to finally have a quilt that she's dreamed about for the last 10 years.
It has meant a lot to me to be able to turn Kim's dream into a reality.  100 Good Wishes Quilts are more than just fabric and thread.  They encompass so many hopes and dreams of the adoptive parents and kids who they are made for and truly wrap a child in the love and good wishes of all those who's fabrics are included.

The bigger version quilt for Kim is in the works.  I was making good progress on it until CA day = cookie arrival but since that season is almost over, I can finally get back to finishing it and getting it on it's way to it's new home.  Stay tuned for that reveal soon.