Feb 26, 2009

I got nuthin'...........

Well, it has been one of those weeks where little is getting done here creatively. No finishes of any kind but then I didn't really expect to have any either. Do you count the following as creative or just part of the process?
  • made and applied a pompom to that golf head cover when DH said he might play golf today
  • wove in the ends on 5 dishcloths that I had knit
  • crocheted another dishcloth just for something different----I don't think I had crocheted any actual objects since the granny squares in the 70's! Had to google how to do a Half double crochet stitch, LOL. I am knitting one more to use up the yarn but I pretty well set for dishcloths right now
  • cut out the strip sets for my Twisted Sisters class this coming Saturday
  • applied the inner muslin border to my Cheese and Crackers top at our quilt meeting on Tuesday. I said I was not going to leave till I get that done. I was the first one there and the last to leave, LOL.
  • stapled the loose protective covering on the bottom of the couch and love seat yesterday when DJ helped me flip them over to get at it. 12 of Skyler's puff balls under the couch, 6 under the love seat---no surprise there!
Nothing much picture worthy in that list. I forgot to take my camera to the meeting as I had a whole trunkful of stuff to haul with me this time since I was sewing plus a thread order to deliver, etc. Pat had a sweet quilt for a little girl that I need to corral DJ to hold up.

I helped a few of the girls to make a hot iron cover like the one in my tutorial HERE. Linda C got hers done except for the fitting to her own iron. Woohoo! Since we didn't have ribbon to match and had extra bias strips for the finishing edge, we used the extra strips to make self ties. That plan worked out nicely once I remembered how you fold the fabric to make them. A good learning experience for Linda since she learned how to cut bias strips, how to offset her 1/4 inch seams, how to do a binding join and few other things along with it. Others just wanted the pattern to take along to try at home. (One girl is going to try to make a little teeny one for her Hobbs iron and we discussed how she might go about doing that. )

I swapped out machines because I have intended to start sewing the TwSis strip sets for several days now. I want the Janome Gem for this project since that is what I will haul to the workshop. I had a bunch of errands to run yesterday and still have some paperwork that needs tending. The days have been busy but as I said earlier, no real production and very little sewing.

My friend Judy called yesterday to see if I could get away and run up with her to Boaz as she had a couple quilts to deliver to the long arm quilter. I should have stayed home, I guess, but it was more fun to get out the house, LOL. Here is what followed me home---yeah, more 30's fabric. As much as purple tones are my fav color, I have little purple in the 30's prints and used half of it in the Cheese and Crackers. Just half yards. The buttons may work for the "Be Attitudes" quilt-let. I need something that looks like the cherry on top of the cupcake for the March block. I have a button collection so if they don't work, no biggie.

We had a good time and had a nice visit plus hit two fabric spots, went window shopping at the home dec outlet store and a delish lunch at the Mill Street Deli. (SW chicken wrap---yummy!) Spotted some Bradford Pear trees starting to bloom and some of the forsythia is coming out along the drive but it was pretty overcast today. We may have some storms coming in the next few days but I sure hope it is nothing like the hail and two tornadoes in the area we had recently. DJ has found that the shed screen needs replaced as does my bedroom window from the quarter sized hail we had.

I've been essentially busy in the kitchen ever since I got home and sat down to write this note. Threw a roast into marinate for tomorrow, made some spinach manicotti for supper. Is there any easier way to fill those things? I tried a stuffed ziploc bag with a little success. I re-loaded my munchie veggie tray and still need to put some pinto beans on for an overnight soak. I am craving chocolate so I would not be surprised to be whipping up a pan of brownies to get THAT out of my system, LOL.

Hope you have had a good day in whatever you chose to do----------

Feb 21, 2009

all in a day's "work"

The FABs virtual sew-in started around 10 CST at my house with time out for meals, meal prep and gabbing with whoever was in IM a the time. What fun!

I am done sewing for the day and my back, shoulders and knees will thank me to get my butt out of this chair! The pieced border/inner border is planned for tomorrow and Monday but I am getting closer to a flimsy. The lighting is not the best but look who had to test it out with some rolling around and marking it, kitty style.

Feb 20, 2009

Hot Iron Cover Tutorial

For several months now a couple of the Belles have been coveting the hot iron covers that we have on the irons at our meeting place. The ones we have and that I have at home were made by June Tailor products and called “Iron Cozy”. I know I purchased all of these at Hancock’s several years ago. We keep looking online and in the fabric stores but to no avail.

I found a pattern online from from Kay's Quilts recently. Pretty cool pattern as it is given for the standard size and for a travel iron size. Might make a good secret pal gift, door prize. I thought I would make one for my Black and Decker Classic iron as it is shorter than the standard size. Mom has the pattern too so we have been comparing notes a bit the past few days.

The more I studied the pattern and with talking with Mom, the more I didn’t want to do it her way. Isn’t that always the way? Look at a pattern and immediately start thinking of ways to change it? LOL I don’t think hers was lined with fabric and Mom said that two layers of insul-bright was just too stiff. Being such a visual learner, I didn’t quite “get” what I was supposed to be doing either. All the more reason to take off with what I am seeing in my head, right?

I looked at my existing cover and see that they had seams at the iron tip and two at the base to shape it and decided to make a prototype last night. Woohoo it worked but I didnt waste the insul-bright on my muslin prototype but I knew it would fit the iron quite nicely. Today I actually made my version with the insul-bright batting. I’ll share the instructions with you.

The pieces I was instructed to cut on Kay’s pattern looked huge! I narrowed down the oval shape considerably but checked to see that it would cover the metal part of the iron plus about an inch. I ended up drawing roughly an oval shape about 15 1/2 inches long and the widest part about 11 inches. I drew it on freezer paper but mainly because it was the widest plain paper I had around here. I folded it to find the middle and cut a notch out at the tip end and two notches at the base. Your iron may be taller so adjust that measurement as needed.

Oh almost forger the fabric requirements: Fat quarters would do it for the body of the piece but you will need more yardage of one of them for bias binding or self ties. Half yard on the insul-bright. Joann’s has it I am told and so does Hobby Lobby.

To cut I pressed the freezer paper down to the top layer of cloth but I did pin it to cut the outer fabric, lining fabric and the insul-bright batting but I used only one layer of it. Wrong side up on the outer fabric, then the insul-bright with the shiny metal looking side up (the instructions on the wrapper said to have that side be near the heat source) and the lining fabric with right side up. I did pin all three layers to cut it and then used some 505 spray to hold things in place but that might have been a little “bass-ackward”.

I had bought some coordinating ribbon to use as a tie to hold the cord of the iron for transporting. Really you could use anything---make matching fabric ties or that stuff like tote bag straps (webbing?) and a bit of Velcro to secure it like the commercially made product has. I folded the pieces in half, top to bottom to roughly find the middle for the ties and stay stitched all around the outside to baste it in place. I cut off about 24 inches of ribbon and halved it. The measurement might be a bit long but I’ll live with it for a while. Can’t stick it back on if you change your mind. I piled up the loose ends in the middle just to keep it out of the way.

In this step I was matching up the notched out edges and sewing a 1/4 inch seam from the lining side of the deal. The one on the left side of the base is already sewn. I was preparing to do the one on the right side of the base. I was using the regular machine foot at this point and would go on to overcast the three seams once they were all stitched in.

This picture shows that the cover is starting to take on the shape of the iron. It will need some way to hold the elastic to gather it in and mold around the iron.

I cut bias strips of the lining fabric 2 1/2 inches but way more than I needed for this little project. (Fold a big square into a triangle and then fold it half at the fold edge and start cutting strips---no need to do the continuous tube thing on something this small) I may make another or can use it for a quilt down the line so no biggie. I needed a piece about 50 inches long in order to do the join but you may need a bit more if your iron is taller than 9.5 inches like my classic.

I put on the walking foot and sewed the binding on inside of the cover. I pressed the binding to the outside with the seam right at the edge of the cover and stitched it close to the edge leaving an opening to put the elastic through. Yeah. there are a few puckers when I sewed the binding back but it won’t make any difference in the end as the thing draws up like a shower cap.

I used 24 inches of the 1/4 inch elastic that I had on hand but could have gone a bit wider. In the picture above, I had an old hemostat stuck on one end and safety pin on the other to thread through the track. Once you have the two ends of the elastic meeting, go over to your iron and pull the elastic up evenly. Mark the spot where the seam should be. I yanked it up a bit tighter and clamped the hemostat on it till I got to the machine. Sew the elastic together, cut off the excess, stuff the ends into the track you made and then sew the opening closed.

Here is the finished product. The ties hold the coiled up cord in a decorative manner.

I will tell you though—empty the water out of the iron if you are transporting it or if the iron is a bit top heavy and might tip over before you cover it. Ask me how I know, LOL. Just to be on the safe side, let the iron cool a tad and pack up the rest of your retreat stuff before you put the cover on.

So you know how I spent my morning! I would have done with it a little sooner but I broke one needle just as I hit the tip seam. NOTE to self: mash those down as much as you can with your finger, stiletto, whatever as you go around those thicknesses. The broken needle would not have been a big deal but when I tried to take the old one out, it feel down into the bobbin case. I got it out but it is hard to get those screws in and out of the plate on my Brother (Innovis NX-450) Third time was a charm on getting the bobbin case seated correctly too. After two failed attempts to sew, to be on the safe side I changed the needle again, changed the thread spool and bobbin since I needed thread to match the binding anyway as the top stitching would be seen.
I am waiting for a pan of cinnamon rolls to go through their 2nd rise right now. DJ was being a smartie pants about why I had to move almost everything off the counter to prepare to roll the dough out. I have so little work space in my kitchen. What else was I supposed to do? The exchange got even worse to the point where he suggested using my sewing table! I told him that he didn’t behave he would not get any rolls. He got me back by saying he would hide the coffee (which he makes, not me) so I couldn’t have a cup to enjoy with my rolls. Point taken. Hope they turn out. I should be thinking about making something for supper as well but the oven will be tied up for a bit. Soup from the freezer and grilled cheese it is! We went out to Captain D’s for lunch so lighter would be better anyway.

Tomorrow I plan on getting back to the sewing on the Cheese and Crackers quilt top with the participating FABs. (or Cheese Spread as Pam is calling it, LOL) I should have the rolls if someone will put the pot on!

Feb 18, 2009

50 blocks

The little king of all he surveys---pausing between birdwatching and puff ball chasing.

I finished up the 50 blocks that I need for Cheese and Crackers last evening after supper. Woo-hoo! Easy chain piecing--just keep feeding them in one right after the other. I had to a bit of color switching around at the end to try to keep 4 different colors in the blocks but that was easily accomplished.

I had thought about starting on the pieced border today and letting the top assembly wait till the virtual retreat on Saturday when the other FABs can join in. We are possibly in for some storms today so I don 't know that I will sew today. Not knowing when it might blow in, I unplugged the sewing machine when I quit for the night. It might be a better plan to pick up the sewing room a bit.

I'm thinking about redwork Santa stitching today. Maybe shop the stash for the "Twisted Sister" class later in the month? I'll find something to do, no worries there!

Feb 16, 2009


Boy, the weeks seem to be flying by! Middle of February already. Hope you all had a lovely Valentine's Day.

Pictured is Skyler seeing if the "kitty eating machine" is going to stay where it belongs before venturing from the safety of the sewing room. That, and he thought we should head to the kitchen for some reason. I was getting plenty of meowing just before the vacuum came out. I had just finished cleaning off the air exchange grate with q-tips and made a mess of the carpet which DJ took care of since I had done the hard part of the job. Of course, Skyler thought q-tips were toys-- like pencils, LOL. I am sure to find one under the kitchen bookcase along with his puff balls. He loses stuff and I retrieve it--the never ending game we play.

So what have I been up to? Some of the FABs were doing the Cheese and Crackers quilt. The "plan" was to start cutting this weekend and depending on how far we got, start on the strips sets shooting for a virtual retreat on the 21st. It was kind of a last minute thing anyway. Norma, Pam and I had been talking about doing this for months. Then it was narrowed down to when Norma got back from her bus trip and finally "are you busy this weekend?"

Pat had some things to finish up first (woohoo! t-shirt quilt is done!) but she will catch up this week going with blues and creams, she thought. Cher was not that nuts about the pattern so probably would have opted out but that cast on her right arm is presently a deterrent to sewing. Every team needs a cheerleader, right? Norma planned on working with 30's repros like me while Pam was going to satisfy an item on her bucket quilting list by making something scrappy.

I pieced the base for my March "Be Attitudes" block (Be Positive) before I started working on the strip sets for Cheese and Crackers. I sewed off and on all weekend watching a couple movies on DVD plus the bonus features for one that DJ and I watched recently. The picture shows where I left off last night, ready to sub-cut today, maybe start a few blocks too.

You see, the way I have the sewing room set up means taking the board off the table to cut as the mat is underneath it. It isn't all that heavy to lug it around but I tend to do as much sewing and pressing as I can before doing that. For smaller seams I can handle the 12 x 18 June Taylor mat on the right hand side of the table along the cutting mat. The width of a fat sort of exceeded the limits of space -- you don't need a hot iron too near the mat!

Anyway, I went ahead and pieced the border units even though the body of the quilt is NOT pieced. Terry Atkinson writes thorough directions with good pictorials so it was easy to jump ahead. The stacks on the top row are for the body of the quilt and the others below are for the pieced border. There is a fair amount of white space between the blocks. The whole deal you see gets cut into 3 inch strips.

Now I happen to know that Norma as getting bogged down with cutting background bits and moved ahead to piecing blocks---like 40 of them before she quit for the night! Me, I got piles of strip sets, LOL. Pam has her blocks done and units pieced for the borders. She went more lap quilt sized and resized the blocks a bit so she could use the bricks she had cut from the scrap bag---pretty smart! I expect the pictures to go flying back and forth next weekend as we gather around the machines and work on the assembly process--turn those blocks into rows and rows into tops.

Sometime this week I need to pick out some fabrics for the Twisted Sister class and track down some Insul-bright for an hot iron cover pattern some of the Belles want to try to make. I still need to make a back for the challenge top I finished recently. Add all that to the list! You know where to find me.

Thanks for stopping by............

Feb 13, 2009

this and that

Though I doubt that winter is done with us yet, I always think of daffodils of being a sign of spring. Milder temps overall with a little rain here and there.

Some health concerns and a toe injury put a kibosh on my walking this past fall. I had been very dedicated about my walking program and was routinely walking 3 miles 5-6 days out of the week. I feel like a slug when I didn't get out there but when you are not feeling quite up to snuff it is easy to blow it off. The weather turns cold and it is even easier to want to stay in your jammies and robe and forget about going outside. All excuses, that didn't stop me in the past. Then too, I had promised DJ that I would not drive if I was not feeling well and had to take medication for it. BUT that situation seems to be mostly behind me so I figured it was time to start back again. Wednesday I found out just how out of shape I had become. I did 6 laps or about 1.7 miles and my back and knees were begging me sit down and stay there. Not good! Yesterday my muscles along my shins were protesting "what! are you nuts, lady?" but I did 5 laps in spit of their screaming. Maybe I am pushing this too quickly? I stayed home today and will try 5 laps every other day for now. After all I worked up gradually from 5 laps up to 12 over time---when the lower numbers was getting too easy to do then I would add one more and do that level for a week or two and then increase it again. SIGH I'll get there but hate that I am starting over from scratch.

I try to run all my errands while I am out if possible. As background: one of the Belles had an unfortunate home flooding while they were out of state for the birth of their granddaughter. The house is in terrible shape with fallen ceilings and all the flooring on the first floor has to be replaced along with the drywall. Needless to say, my friend and her husband have had to move into temporary housing while these repairs are being made. All the sewing supplies that she has available to her now is what she had taken with them on their trip to her daughters. Lois and I had helped her earlier by washing some of her quilts that had gotten wet--Linda C did not trust that to the clean up crew since this was the initial washing. I just kept them here at the house till I knew they were in housing rather than a hotel. Since I was already on the road and she is now about 10 miles from me, I ran her quilts up to her along with my green stash. I found out at our meeting on Tuesday that she needed some greens for a BOM for one guild, some for a nickel swap for another and something for a project the Belles will be doing. Two of us had said to just "come over and raid our stash" at the time. Since I was headed up to her house anyway, I delivered it right to her door. When you only need little bits it was not worth the shopping trip--she could shop my stash, LOL.

After driving around with the stuff from the sewing room closet reoganization that was destined for the thrift store for several weeks, I finally got most of it delivered to one shop on Wednesday. I drug the last container back in the house though--the cut out patterns--to re-organize it a bit better by bagging up each pattern jacket with the cut fabric into ziplocs. I should have thought to put the size on it but they can do that. Then some of the papers in my "rolling office on wheels" were disposed of. One good thing was that I found some notes that my friend Marilyn had asked about on Y-seaming. I set those aside to run over to her on Round 2 of errands. DJ took the two portable file boxes I emptied off my hands or they would have gone with me to the next thrift store run.

The rest of the day I pulled out all the used rotary cutter blades that had piled up in three different locations. (My own stash in the sewing room closet, the ones that the Belles had turned in and the ones in the original packaging in my desk. My mom had sent a pile of them back with me last summer) We participate in the blade exchange program offered by L. P. Sharp so I collect the old ones and get new Olfa blades back for a very reasonable price. To my amazement, I had 37-45 mm blades and 45-60mm blades here! Who knew? I didn't send them ALL in but let's just say, we are set for blades for awhile once that order comes in. In addition I put in a thread order from Connecting Threads for us and will be ordering some bulk machine sewing needles once one of the girl's gets back to me about what she wants to add to it. (The needles works out to 32 cents a needle from Discount Embroidery Supply--good saving there too.)

I finished up the rest of the running after I walked on Thursday. Back to Walmart, the post office, back to the thrift store, Marilyn's house. Marilyn told me she was teaching a class on Twisted Sisters later in the month and I was invited to come along with any of the Belles who might be interested. She was going to put in the order for the book/template for us. Should be fun--not sure what fabric I want to use to make it yet but I'll shop the stash first. No doubt, raid the donation bin to move that stuff along!

Norma and I planned on cutting out our versions of Cheese and Crackers today. Yesterday afternoon was spent washing and pressing fabric. To keep Skyler from parking on it there is fabric back into that wire basket but only temporarily. The forefront shows the other WIPs I have been actively working on--the next Santa block and my dish cloths. Three done which too 2 skeins and a bit off a third. I finished #3 last night and then started another before it was lights out. I still need to work in the stops and starts on them.

I decided to go with the queen sized quilt (pattern doesn't come in full) so needed 23 fat quarters. As I was pulling them yesterday I found a duplicate--then another one and another one..........what? Turns out I had two duplicate fat quarter bundles. Liked them so much that I bought them twice?? Not sure. I believe that they are the Aunt Grace "Friends Around the World" line from 2005. I MAY have purchased one bundle myself at the quilt shop with a full punch card discount but I am thinking my mom gave me stack of them as well. Because they were stored in two different places I didn't even realize that I had pairs! It is always good to visit the stash to remind yourself of what you have. After pulling fats, I have a better idea of which 30's fabrics have already been cut into which makes them a better candidate for "Two of a Kind" or "Cheap Trick" since either one can be done as a scrap quilt.

Anyway, before I started this post I had the top out all cut and boxed up in a project box. I have a bolt of muslin on hand but it is 36 wide so I could not follow the directions necessarily for how many strips to cut. There was some waste the way I had to cut it but I already cut the overage into strips for the triple rails. While I had the cutter in hand I also cut out the March "Be Positive" block base and rough cut for the appliques. All in all, a very productive day around here. The sewing room floor looks like it too!

Well, Happy Valentine's Day to you all. Not a big deal around my house since our anniversary is in late January. We both would rather celebrate that date. I have a card stuck in my desk for him and will make some sort of dessert for us--maybe watch a movie together tomorrow night if he doesn't have a college basketball game to watch. He is off the hook for flowers, candy and all that.

Guess that's it for now----thanks for stopping by!

Feb 10, 2009


TADA--- a finish!

Here is the little quilt that has been keeping me out of mischief the past couple days! Sunday I cut and fused. I think I got the top wing set a little differently because my V is a bit higher than they show in the book. It doesn't bother me though---just sayin'. Yesterday, it was buttonhole applique followed by machine quilting. The machine was NOT happy by the time I got to SID around the letters. I cleaned and changed the needle and all that after I finished but I have a feeling it about ready for a trip for servicing. I use this one hard---and frequently. The Belles met today and I took the last stitch in the binding within a half hour of departure time.

Nice day today--we didn't get bogged down with pinning the greater part of the meeting. We had plenty of book, magazine looking and chatting.

This is one quilt that was turned into today, a heart memorial quilt for our friend Sarah. Actually the top is one that was made by Theramae who passed away as well. I quilted it and her daughter Jane did the hand finishing on the binding. I am in the process of gathering more heart blocks for HER quilt.

The dish cloth knitting continues in the evenings. I am half way through a 3rd cloth or as far as this skein of yarn will take me till I get one more. Tomorrow I plan on doing some preliminary cutting for Cheese and Crackers as Norma and I have talked about doing this one for quite some time. I'll pick something to sew on as well--- probably that string top I set aside last week to attack the scrap bag. For a bit tonight though, I think a few stitches in the next Santa redwork block.

Till next time---thanks for stopping by!

Feb 8, 2009

Sunday, its a fun day

…………..at beautiful US 30 drag strip. LOL an old radio ad slogan from my teen years in IL. Imagine the reverb.
But seriously what a gorgeous weekend we are having. What a blessing it is after the dreariness of winter days. It is downright balmy out as the warm weather pushes up from the Gulf instead of that Alberta Clipper and overnight temps in the teens a few days ago. We seem to have quite a bunch of crocuses up after a few appeared far, far too early last month. This is the time we expect them. The daffodils along the fence will be open soon as well. DJ made sure to point me to them when I was grilling up some brats for lunch. The camellia, as we feared, got zapped with the extreme cold with blackened blooms scattered on the ground.

Look who was surveying the scene as I was taking the flower pictures? Skyler loves it when the front door can be opened or even better, the windows. Currently he is up in the sewing room perch facing the front yard watching for birds and any of the neighborhood cats to come by. He has been chasing puff balls (pompoms) most of the morning and is a little worn out, thank you very much! He loses his ball, comes back meowing and hops up on the desk till I give him another from his container near the computer. In the mornings I go on Pom Patrol with the flashlight and yardstick to dig around under the bookcase, the couches and appliances for the ones that got away. No way is DJ going to do that for him!

I got the last of the scrap cutting tasks I mentioned in my last post finished up yesterday afternoon. 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 as well as some 3.5 and a few nickel squares. Some of the two’s are cut to size for the rail fence blocks and Grandmother’s Scrap Bag. Amazingly there was room for most of them in their designated size containers, but just barely. The 2.5 didn’t have a home till I put them up in the large foundation pieced Pineapple Log Cabin bin. I decided that the smaller block PLC needs it own container since I have so many strips in the project bag---another 20 qt container on my next trip to town.

Immediately after finishing the strips I headed off to the kitchen to pick pecan nut meats. My friend Marilyn had brought me a large paper grocery bag half full of cracked pecans from her mom’s trees. The mom has three trees which outdid themselves this year. I filled a 1 1/2 quart bowl twice for my efforts. Considering that I can buy a 6 oz. bag of pecans for about $2.50 at Dollar General FREE is better, LOL. Because I was so busy dealing with these, I somehow managed to convince DJ that he could fix the ravioli in the freezer and heat up some marinara from a jar just as easy as I could. He turned down the request to help me with the nuts so I figured it was the least he could do. I kept picking and I guess he thought if he wanted to eat last night, he best help me out. Trust me, that is progress! The man does NOT cook nor does he re-heat if I am home and not ill.

Other than cutting scraps for two days I finished up my 2nd redwork block as pictured. The golf club cover is finished but I still need to make the pompom for the top.

Also I got one dish cloth knitted and another started. My mom emailed me the directions but I just found the LINK for it. It looks pretty cool, like a square “on point”. It almost appears that you are knitting “sideways” in just two basic rows, increasing till you get it wide enough and then decreasing down on the other half. Little thinking involved which makes it a good project for TV viewing time. The yarn company wants you to use their product when providing the free pattern to make it but I am using Sugar and Cream (well make that Walmart’s Peaches and Cream) cotton. Mom says you can get three dish cloths out of 2 skeins of yarn. I made my first one a bit bigger and may knit a bit looser than her but I guess I will find out.

I think I will get out my “Be Attitudes” book and cut out the fusible shapes for the February block, Be Loving. MELINDA had read my post about working on this quilt and shared some pictures of one she had just beautifully quilted. It seems that Tiny Stitches where she works in Marietta, GA had done the quilt as a BOM last year. You can see the blocks “up close” on her blog. Thanks, Melinda! Naturally I will post my version when I am done with it but you can see where I am heading with it, LOL. I rarely try to duplicate a quilt exactly but I am as much as possible THIS time as I love the fabrics. My birthday/Christmas money made it possible too. I have already swapped out machines as I like the buttonhole applique better on my trusty Viking and prefer to quilt on it as well. DJ wants me to cut his hair tonight so I best get crackin’.

Hope that you have had a wonderful day where you are. Thanks for stopping by……..

Feb 5, 2009

Quilts Hiding The Scrap Bags

Yesterday after spending some time on my February Santa block, I could not decide what to work on after that. I just have a bit more to do with the heavier perle cotton and it will be done. Golf head cover is about done too but I would rather knit during TV viewing time so that would be a good project for tonight.
I ended up pulling a couple of projects out of the UFO hamper but nothing really excited me---too much cutting to be done, not thrilled about making pinwheels right now, don’t feel like doing HST’s either and other various excuses. How about those string blocks that Theramae had left behind? She had 31 made up so I would only need to make 4 more plus the sashing sections for a donation quilt. Ahhh, strings are just the ticket when you want to do some mindless sewing.
I got a good start on the top in the afternoon and evening. I always treat the sashing as part of the blocks as it is easier for me to NOT attach a long skinny string of sewn sections to a row of blocks. The sashing and cornerstone strip sets were counted up, cut, sewn and sub-cut. The bottom sashing piece is applied to all the blocks and two blocks for the top row are joined. Ugh on pulling the paper from the back of it but part of the process. BUT no sewing for a few more days as I’m setting it aside till I get some strip cutting done.
See that little wire basket? After I spent 4-5 days cutting my way my scraps several years ago I had promised myself that I would not let the scraps pile up. After all, it started rather benignly with that little basket once before. Over time it progressed to something like that shopping bag next to it. The bag was stuffed and ripping so it ended up in an even larger shopping basket. Finally the large hamper type basket shown HERE was stuffed to the gills. Push came to shove, LOL.
I was digging in both the bag and the basket yesterday to make those few string blocks. Problem is, that basket was again stuffed clear to the handle with scraps. Actually it also had some usable yardage that needed to go back with the remaining yardage in case I need it down the line in another project. The remaining contents are pressed and ready to be cut.
Now that bag is NOT “me” originated---it was Theramae’s stuff that we did not farm out to the other Belles. It has been riding around in my car since I thought we might use some of it at one of the meetings. We may still but it will be easier to just ask them to bring their machines and let’s sew some(Fill in the blank) blocks. I need the trunk space and the bag won’t fit anywhere in the house as it is. Not really anywhere in the closet at the meeting spot to just hold it either. Push came to shove again.
I’ve got plenty of ideas of what to do with the pieces. Theramae and I were making triple rail blocks and between us, I think I have enough blocks for about half of another donation quilt. (That link above shows you one such quilt in progress.) I want to make one like THIS down the line---Grandma’s Scrap Bag from Miss Rosie’s Quilt Company, my mom’s version. Come to think of it, I might have even cut strips for hers as well, LOL. Anyway, those quilts both take 2 inch strips. Railroad Crossing blocks like THIS would also make a dent in the strips and those can be any width. You know, I really should pull that quilt out and get back to the hand quilting!
2 1/2 inch---faux log cabin is one that would be fun to re-visit. We made a ton of those about 5 years ago but some of the new members haven’t used that pattern.
3 1/2 inch squares? My favorite 3-D bowties--the other ongoing project. That “Two of a Kind” quilt that intrigues me so much needs 3 inch strips— make that 3 x 5 1/2 rectangles and 3 inch squares but just as easy to just cut the strips out now.
Plenty of quilts hiding in those scrap bags, I would say! Back to pressing and planning. My back thanks me for the sit down job of posting, LOL.

Feb 3, 2009

Tuesday check-in

Last time I posted I was all excited about working on my Rosy Red St. Nicholas redwork piece. I had foundation pieced the borders and was all set to try the mitered seam to join them. It worked so well (NOT!) that I threw in the towel after I had three borders on. I ended up taking the seam ripper to the borders and removing them. There was no way that it was ever going to lay down flat. I folded up the whole deal and decided that I would work it into my re-designed Oxmoor House Christmas quilt. I tried and will try mitering again but much later down the line.

After that humbling experience, I opted for making the donation quilt shown below. It was next on my list anyway but how easy was it to just make a bunch of strip sets when you think you can’t do anything right? The pattern is from Quick Cozy Couch Quilts by Sandy Thompson, specifically her quilt number 2 from that book. (I ordered mine from Connecting Threads). Because we shoot for about a 40 x 60 quilt for WTIL I re-sized the block by using 2 1/2 inch strips rather than the 3 1/2 inch strips so it is about 42 x 54—close enough for me.

I left off last night with just the seam to join the top and bottom halves. I know that the yellow is a bit much but it a fabric challenge project. It would be worse if I had not used the flip side of the blue—all those veins on two fabrics would probably make your eyes bleed, LOL.

The Wrap Them in Love listers call this “THAT” fabric. There is a lovely cobble stone piece that goes with it. Ellen, the Wrap ‘Em founder had received a huge donation of the stuff, maybe on more than one occasion, if I remember correctly. There were two color ways---red and blue. At one point Ellen was kitting up the yardage and we could have the whole deal for $5 bucks in our choice of colorway. Needless to say, we have used a bunch of it over the year, often for backs to get rid of it. Pieces show up in various quilts in the gallery pages and you have to smile and say to yourself “there is some more of THAT kit fabric”. Now, I love the gold tone on tone piece to the point that Ellen sent me a large roll of it. Any guesses what I plan to back this top with, LOL?? The yellow with red or blue vein on it----ugh!

Anyway some time back I posted pics of three different quilts I used with this stuff. Actually I was working in series---the cut aways and overcut strips from the first one became the two that followed. I dug through my archives and will direct you HERE. You will spot the lovely cobblestone, LOL.

Today 4 friends and I were invited out to another friend’s home to do some handwork and visiting around the kitchen table. Our hostess is recuperating from surgery and is starting to get a little stir crazy with her activity restrictions. It was good to get out of the house for a while and sit and stitch with like minded friends. I met up with two of the girls at a local Fred’s to share a ride out to our friend’s home so took the opportunity to get a few more 20 qt hinged containers before I came home. I got a bit more of the under table stuff packed away a bit more neatly when I got home. Truth be told, I probably should have bought a couple more.

I got a bit more done on my February Bird Brain Designs “Here Comes Santa” redwork block at her house. It is shown HERE in my WIP Wednesday post from almost a week ago. Currently I’m working on the basket area where there is a lot of concentrated stitching and down to one strand of floss with the fine detail. Super Bowl Sunday was occupied with knitting so the golf head cover you see in that post has grown to starting on the required color bands. I don’t really feel like revving up the sewing machine tonight so may grab that to keep myself busy.

And, I almost forgot---on Sunday afternoon DJ handed me another mending job. I swear he thinks I can fix anything from pants pockets to trying to sew the zipper back down in his shag bag! This time the repair was replacing the no longer closing Velcro on a nighttime neck support band that we have rigged up for him. I was not sure which of the sections--the hook or the loop--was not working so I took off both. I only had industrial strength no sew variety on hand so I told him if he wanted it fixed than HE could go off to Walmart to pick up what I needed while I busied myself with the seam ripper. Armed with explicit directions as to just where the fabric department was located (between electronics and shoes on the back wall) so he would know which door to park near and the basic locale in the department (to the right of the cutting table on the hanging board) he still said "I don't suppose you would want to ride along?" Nope, said I, LOL and kept ripping. By the time he got home with the product I was ready to fix his product.

This is what I was working on yesterday. The quilt is called "Two of a Kind" and was featured in APQ April 08. They gave the number of blocks to make the quilt full/queen but I was having a hard time picturing the rows should I decide to make one bigger than the article showed. I drew a version up in EQ to play with and make a coloring sheet. See Below. No surprise, I love the 30's version since I don't have many batiks on hand as the cover article shows. The actual construction is different than what I drew it up to be so I would be back to referring to the magazine for piecing. Being a visual learner a picture helps!

What’s up next? Tomorrow, I will probably be on to the Be-Attitudes “Be Loving” block. With its Valentine’s theme, it would be nice to have the mini-quilt completed for the holiday. Piecing? Not sure yet—maybe get those string blocks that Theramae had made up turned into a top. I got a whole bag of strings she had leftover for more—might suggest that at our next quilt meeting.

And that’s how it goes around here---thanks for stopping by.