Sunday, September 8, 2013

Jordyn's Road to California is underway!

Friday afternoon I got to spend some time with my daughter Jeni. At the last minute, it turned out her son/my grandson Joe was going to St. Louis with a friend for the weekend, leaving her daughter/my granddaughter Jordyn home alone while Jeni and her husband worked the weekend. Jeni asked if I was busy and if I'd like Jordyn to visit for the weekend. Grandchild? Here for the weekend? YES YES YES!!! So, after her acro class (some combo of acrobatics & gymnastics), Jeni brought her down to me on Friday evening.

I know I've mentioned our trip before, and even showed our routes when I talked about taking one car load out and bringing another back in the form of Cindy's 30-40 UFOs. This is a little more of the story about how Jordyn and I planned our days at the computer, finding quilt shops to stop in along the way. I was SOOOOOO excited to have her SOOOOOO excited about stopping at shops for fat quarters!

The last time Jordyn & Jeni visited, we pulled out the bags of fat quarters we had purchased on our cross-country trip from Kansas to California this summer. Jordyn's were in a separate bag from what I collected on my solo trip back home. Her "instructions" were to look around at what she saw each day and then see if she could find a piece of fabric that matched the local sights or landscape. She came up with lots of fun finds including the ice cream cone fabric representing the cones we got and ate BEFORE lunch on several occasions along the way.
My collection was more of the same, plus a few extras for specific projects like QOV materials, a piece to put with some fun beach fabrics (the umbrellas are so bright & fun and shared with me by a quilting friend in CA!), and other fun stuff for my own trip memory quilt.
Jordyn stayed in CA for 2 months after I dropped her off, so this was to be her first weekend visit since our returns to start on her project--a Road to California memory quilt. Friday night we talked about the design, which I drafted in EQ7 for her to follow.
Then it was fun time eating pizza & watching movies. Saturday morning started with picking out the fabrics and getting them all pressed and ready to cut. They had all been folded up snug in the bag during and since our early June trip.
While Mormor handled the rotary cutting, Jordyn pulled out the old favorite for a play break--the Brio trains that her mommy, uncle, and auntie all played with when they were little, along with a little snack--watermelon chunks and Goldfish.  
Back on task, Jordyn helped as I cut out some of the squares because we wanted to fussy cut a fabric postcard from some Route 66 fabric for each of the states we drove through, plus she found the state birds and flowers for most of the states on another piece we had purchased. She put a pin on the image she wanted cut out to help me find them. Another look through the bag indicated we hadn't purchased any fabric for sashing, so we took quick break and drove the six blocks to our local quilt shop to pick out another piece of fabric to add to her quilt. After all of the pieces were cut out, she started organizing them on the design board.
I had seen a pattern like this before. The alternating sashing gives it a fun zig-zag look and only has seams to match up when sewing the rows together. I figured a pattern with few seams or corners to match would be good for a beginner. (On the pic above, the top row of blocks is already at the machine getting side sashing strips attached. Oh, and the design board was too short for all the rows, so the bottom row is laying on the floor. LOL!)
After helping her pin the sashing to the blocks, she got started strip piecing. As usual I had the machine threaded with Aurifil 50 in both top and bobbin--this time a neutral ivory that played well with all the colors. I figure I may as well start her early with all the time-saving techniques and best supplies! More than once, as she strip pieced blocks together, she proclaimed, "This is going so fast!"
Another trick to help her keep her seams at 1/4" was to add a Sewing Edge strip to the deck of the machine. I took one strip, cut it in half and stacked them to give her enough edge to work against, and set her loose. I had seen these used at a retreat workshop last year and thought they would be a great tool to help her keep her seams straight. And it worked!!!
After sewing the side sashings on, she pressed all of the seams toward the dark sash and then put the blocks back up on the design wall so we could pin the top and bottom sashings on the correct edges to make the alternating row pattern.
Again, I helped with the pinning to keep the blocks straight and she went back to the sewing machine.
 Back to the ironing board where she pressed the next seam toward the blue sash, thus framing each block on two sides with the blue marbled sashings. All done! Ta-da!!!
She put the blocks back up on the board one more time and we decided it was time to quit for the day. We relaxed with a yummy supper and she crawled into the hide-a-bed for movie night.
Sunday morning we were back up and at it, this time sewing the blocks into rows and then sewing the rows together to make the top.

After a singed knuckle, I agreed to finish pressing the completed top. After she had sewn rows together, we found only one seam that had not stayed straight and had to be redone. Not bad for an almost-10-year-old! Plus, there were a few spots where she had not checked and had allowed the seam on the bottom to flip over, creating that nasty seam twist we all hate so much. Being a learning experience, I insisted that we take out those few stitches, pin the seams back into nesting fashion, and resew them (Mean Mormor!). There were a few moments of grumpy over having to redo these spots, but they didn't last long. Over all, she did a fantastic job! And before we knew it, she had a completed top!
Next visit she will be adding borders--a bright strip around the whole thing and then a 4 or 5" border of Route 66 signs to tie it all together. We also have fabric for a pieced back--a beautiful desert landscape border print and a printed bandana from the Petrified Forest will be incorporated.
We wrapped up our weekend together by sharing her requested celebratory lunch at DQ for doing such a great job, followed by a visit to Auntie Ali's to play with her little cousin Jacob. It was so much fun watching them play and to have story time together before driving Jordyn back home to get ready for her school week.

This is one happy Mormor reading stories with two of the best grandkids ever! Maybe next visit Joe (now 13 and 5'10"!!!) will come too. How do we get 13-year-old boys interested in quilting? Star Wars fabric? Maybe...

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

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