Friday, June 6, 2014

Kantha(ish) for Mayhem

Remember the flag banner I made for Mayhem's birthday party?  You can see part of it behind our heads.


I made it out of one of his ripped bed sheets that I couldn't bear to throw away and some fabric from Meme's supply.  Several different fabrics of different shades and tones of orange, white, and green.  You know, to match our fox theme.

I didn't post about it because I was too busy making it to even think about taking pictures.  

I started with a cardboard triangle cut out the size I wanted my flags (some people call them pennants) to be and used it to trace out triangles on all the fabrics with a marker.  I cut approximately a bajillion and still had to cut more before I was done to get the colors to alternate properly.  I cut the long sides with pinking shears and ironed (I hate to iron!) every last one before folding the top down and stitching a pocket for a string hole, kinda like a curtain.  This part wasn't too brain-intensive so I had a lot of time to catch up on listening to podcasts.

I dug through my supply of crap I can't get rid of because I might need it one day and found the perfect ball of jute-y, hemp-y twine that in its former life was probably used to make bracelets.  Then I just set to stringin'.  I got about ten feet before things started getting tangled up and Boots felt sorry for me and jumped in to help.  He tied a small loop in one end of my mile long string and hung it on a nail in the living room that we'd used to hold a blanket over a window three years ago.  (Not long after this project was complete did I rectify the nail situation.  There wound up being seven in various places they shouldn't have been.)

It was a fairly simple project that just took a little time so after the birthday party I was sad to pack it away in a drawer since I hadn't thought of another good way to still enjoy it without the inside of my house looking like a circus tent.

Until I discovered kantha!  Ya'll, look that stuff up because I became mildly obsessed with it.  Basically it's just bits of old, worn-out fabric (usually old saris) sewn together and then stitched in very simple lines across the top. I knew that a kantha quilt would be the perfect way to use Mayhem's flags and so I set about (two months ago!) to make it.

Lemme tell you, it was intense.  

After I finally got them unstrung, it took an hour (at least!) of me futzing with the flags to get them in a pattern I was fairly happy with, because the pattern I'd had them in before apparently wasn't good enough.  Then I figured out how many rows I wanted and was excited to get busy sewing them together.  

The sewing part hummed along fine until I got almost two rows finished and I pretty much killed my sewing machine.  Lots of wailing, gnashing of teeth, hair pulling, and frantic texts/phone calls to my mother, my not really in-house, in-house crafting expert consultant.  

Several days and attempts later I had to admit defeat and give up.  Even my mama couldn't fix it and must have felt so bad about my whining she lent me her machine to kill, I mean, use and I was finally able to get my flag strips sewn.  My broken sewing machine is still waiting for me to put it in the shop, btw.

Then came the agony of arranging my strips because in all the angry chaos I got them all out of order and couldn't get my pattern just so.  After that drama was resolved sewing the strips together to make a top was a piece of cake.  Finished!

The top sat and waited for a week or two while I figured out what to do about the back and bought different colors of embroidery floss for the quilt stitching.


I finally settled on a piece of white, diamond-backed batting and bought a can of spray glue.  That stuff is an aerosol fit!  I'm pretty sure I cussed more inside my head spraying that crap and trying to get the top stuck to the batting straight than I did in the four days I fooled with my broken machine trying to unsuccessfully bring it back to life.

Seriously, I won't be using it again and I've got nearly a full can left.  Anybody want it?  

It just made me feel so out of control!  Spray, smooth, wait there's a wrinkle!, pull up, stick again, my hand stuck to the table, spray another section and repeat!  >:[

I finally decided enough is enough and good enough will have to do.  (I seem to be repeating "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful," to myself a lot these days.)  A wrinkly top is better than an unfinished quilt, right?

When that was over I was finally ready for the fun part.  I just cut a length of embroidery floss and tied a knot in the end and set out "quilting" the top to the batting in groups of three different colored lines with plenty of space in between then knotted again when I reached the end.

My lines are straight in the way that ants' lines are straight.  In fact, I may patent my "Ants on Picnic" stitch!  ;)

Three solid days of stitching later and I was practically finished, I just had to bind the edges.  I knew I wanted the back to have a colored edge rather than the front have a white edge (you might have done it differently) so I folded and pinned the top over a few times (foreshadowing!) to get it fairly straight and sewed myself a binding of some sorts.

I had finished two sides and was just about to finish the third side when I broke a needle! ...  Not.  Happy.  At.  All.

I was three feet from being completely done, thisclose!, and I couldn't finish because I had broken the only needle I had on this borrowed machine with my seriously too thick binding!  Ay yi yi!

When my fit was over, I drove to the store and bought a pack of replacement needles, thought about my project all night, and finally FINALLY finished this sucker at 5:30 the next morning!


So it's not exactly square...


And my lines aren't straight.


Ants on Picnic, anyone?


But I am in love, love, love with it!


It ain't fancy...


You won't find this in a store...


Or magazine...


Maybe it could be used as an example of what not to do...


But I made it...


Crazy stitching that runs off the edge and all...


(Sidenote: my favorite polka dotted bed sheet fabric was the toughest of the bunch to stitch through!  Bed sheets don't play!)


I hope Mayhem loves it as much as I do.  I want to see this thing raggedy and worn out!


Look!  The white piece on the left is even wrong side out!


"It really doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." -- Myquillyn Smith of www.thenester.com

4 comments:

Mel Howton said...

"It really doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." I feel a sermon coming on...

Rachel said...

I can't take credit for that! www.thenester.com

Brenda said...

It looks pretty cool! You did way better than I would have haha :)

Travel & Dive Girl said...

Very nice job! I punished myself one year by sewing a t-shirt quilt for The Boy for Christmas. Let me tell you, there is not peach on Earth, goodwill towards men, etc. when a sewing machine is involved. It looks great though - congrats!