Friday, July 28, 2017

Four Patch Charm Quilt

You know how your looking around on the internet and you might be on Pinterest, a magazine website or a blog post and you see a particular quilt pattern that you really love and you bookmark that webpage and tell yourself, "one day I will do that quilt, it's awesome!" and within a week or so you forget all about it?

Yeah, we've all done it, don't lie. Anyway, I was going back through my bookmarked webpages basically cleaning out what I don't want anymore and I found this Four Patch Charm Quilt from Tamarack Shack. I bookmarked this quilt years ago and I since I re-discovered it, I decided to get my backside in gear and get it done. It's a simple quilt yet very interesting, which I think is it's appeal. Tamarack Shack was also kind enough to put up a PDF file with instructions on how to make the quilt.

This quilt uses 96, 5" squares. So look for some charm packs or get your scrap fabric out and get sewing! I couldn't find any charm packs that I liked so I bought some fat quarters to cut up. Yes, this will make more cutting for me but cutting 96 squares isn't that bad. I decided to go with Gemstone Stonehenge gradation fabrics because of their rich color. I also bought 7.5 yards of bali batiks handpaints sunflower oyster fabric for the top, binding and backing from Fabric.com. If you've never shopped on Fabric.com, I urge you to check it out. I love saving the fabrics to the design wall and when I have enough for whatever project I'm making, they're all saved in one place. I just hope they're all still available when I do want to buy them.



This quilt is a bunch of half square triangles which I didn't realize just looking at the photo of the quilt but the instructions on the PDF are very clear on how to go about making this quilt so I won't reiterate what's on the PDF.

I washed all the fabric, iron everything and got cutting my fat quarters into 5" squares. Next, I cut up my background fabric according to the instructions and once I had all my pieces together I started sewing.

I didn't have any trouble sewing the blocks together or cutting them on the diagonal but I did find I had a lot more trouble with the squares being stretchy after cutting everything on the bias. I had more trouble than what I'd of liked to have had anyway so if your a beginner sewer try to have a more experienced sewer around to help out. Another area I had some issues with was the bulk at some meeting points. Some were super thick to try to sew through so I trimmed out the bulk a few times but some were still really thick to have to deal with.



I laid out my squares according to the diagram and got sewing. I was very pleased with how everything was coming together but I will say making sure your seams lined up correctly was a bit difficult. I consider my sewing skills to be intermediate and I had some trouble and some of them look pretty "off" in some places but I can't help it. I'll rack that up to learning experience and I'm sure I'll do better the second time around. I also noticed after I got borders sewn on that I have 2 blocks out of position. Needless to say it's a glaring mistake in the quilt top and I'm going to have to fix it. It's really frustrating because I checked each row after sewing them together if everything looked okay but even checking it, I still messed up.

Anyway, I completed this quilt top working on it for a few hours each day and got it done in about 6 days. I'm sure if you really wanted to get it done quickly you can do it in a long weekend. I'm hoping to get it quilted soon and I'll post a photo of the quilt completely done in the coming months. My quilt top measured 63x69" when finished to give you an idea of size.

All an all a really nice quilt and the instructions were clear.














Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Art Quilt - 4 Horses Part 1

Yes! I've started my 4 horses art quilt. I've made some additional decisions since my last post so here they are.

I bought 4.5 yards of PFD (prepared for dyeing) fabric. This fabric hasn't been treated with any stabilizers and I've not washed it. The fabric is supposed to hold onto paints/dyes really well. I didn't wash it but I did throw it into the dryer on the refresh cycle so a little steam was added but that was it.

I created my own image of four horses and projected it onto the fabric and made an outline of the horses. I decided to make the horses realistic in coloring and decorate each one with seasonal themes. So for example, I decided the Spring horse will be a palomino color with white mane/tail and then I'll decorate the horse with flowers, leaves, ribbons and whatever else I can come up with. I might applique them on or just quilt them. I'm not sure about that yet.

I'll probably take some scrap fabric and do some experimenting and see which one my art brain likes the best. There's no right or wrong way to do anything, it's just a matter of which way you prefer to do it. If you're really good at applique that way might be your preferred method if you're better at quilting and painting images then go with that. So I'll have to decided what to do. Might be a combo of both in the end. I'm also kicking around the idea of painting some kind of theme related scenes on the horses. For example, I've been thinking about Summer. How you draw summer? What reminds you that time of year? I think hot, dry weather. So I'm thinking about drawing a hot sun and desert scene on the rump or belly of the horse. I want the viewer to see "hot" when they look at the horse and trying to convey that is going to be a bit tricky. But you get the idea. Not sure if I'll do it or not but I want that to be subtle too so no applique. It would have to be painted image on the horse. But it's just an idea so I have to kick it around a bit.

If I do paint, I've decided on using Jacquard Textile paints. They're opaque, blend well and you can get the paint in bigger quantities than what I used the last time. So I better get to it!

Here's a few pictures of my horse sketches.


Monday, July 10, 2017

Tracking Classes

River and I have been taking a tracking class at SkyDogs in Columbus over the last several weeks. She does a lot with scent work and barn hunting and seems to like to use her nose but tracking classes are not really popular and hard to find. However, one of the owners of SkyDogs lost their dog who is both blind and deaf a few months back and she thought a tracking dog might have been able to find her but there wasn't any available. Thankfully, she did find her dog about a mile away from her house, but this experience gave her the idea to start a tracking class in the hopes that some dogs could be trained enough that if someone has lost their pet, a group of tracking dogs could try to find them.

The group of people who are currently in the tracking class, already has some good experience with scent. Now, we just have to teach the dog to track a certain scent over a distance and outside.

Over the last few weeks, we started slowly. We did simple easy finds with lots of rewards and treats. Every dog in our group did well once they figured out the game. After several classes, we finally moved outside where the challenge increased significantly. The heat, wind, varying surfaces (pavement, grass etc) and other scents from dumpsters, people, animals all make tracking one scent very difficult.

The person who is hiding, drops a scent article and then walks a large distance and hides behind  the corner of a building, dumpster or large shrub or car in the parking lot. The handler and dog team then have to find the person hiding. River has done really well so far.

I also decided to do a bit of practicing on our own. We did two searches for my husband. One morning he walked .3 miles to our local elementary school and sat next to a light post behind the building. Our normal walk never takes us near the school but River seemed to know exactly where he was.  Although she didn't follow in his exact footsteps, which is technically the goal, she didn't have any trouble finding him.

Our second search took my husband .5 miles from the house and ended at one of the ponds in the neighborhood. He was hiding behind a really big pine tree. I noted all the places River seemed really interested in and on our way back home, my husband mentioned places he touched. Sure enough, those locations were the same.

We'll keep working on tracking longer and longer distances and with each time she'll learn more and soon we'll start tracking other dogs.