Jan 28, 2010

what's up?

DJ just came in from an outdoor inspection and asked if I had my camera. Yes, of course! We have 7 yellow crocuses up, seemingly overnight! Someone forgot to tell them that we may be in for more nights in the 20's this weekend. Still, it does my heart good to see some outdoor color.

Jan 27, 2010

another edition of WIP Weds

Just to keep this from being a picture-less post, some of the scraps headed to the cutting basket for re-purposing. Some are in the FAB challenge (a tease for Cher, LOL) while others go in something else I whipped up. In between I worked on "Cheap Trick" but that doesn't look a whole lot differently that it did last week, LOL.

Since last week's edition of "WIP Weds", I have made and quilted two small pieces. Neither can be shown till after they have gone to their soon be be owners--blog readers, dontcha know. If I have to wait, then you do too!

Last night I stayed up till midnight working to finish that last little bit of binding on the challenge piece as it needs to get mailed ASAP. Woohoo! A finish to cross of my 10n10 list. The other piece is in a holding pattern till I get a bit of fabric I need for the binding but it will be complete soon enough. Almost another woohoo and cross off!

There were so few of us at the quilt meeting yesterday that I did a bit of the binding detail but then stopped to help Beverly pin a couple of her quilts. I had hoped to pin my "sisterhood of quilters" top but could not find it anywhere! I was just sure I had left it at the church and had not spotted it at home. In my search, I found some other things that I need at home and some fabric that I probably don't need but it should be used in some manner---maybe in that Trail Mix quilt since I am doing a donation sized version?? See what can be combined and made into a Snuggle Up? HERE is a shot of two I found hiding in the donation fabric last year so I may hit paydirt again. Once I got home and went on a "treasure hunt" it turned out Sisterhood was stuck under the quilt hoop and the piece I am hand quilting atop the armoire. It is so small and flat without any batting stuck in it and I completely missed it. It can wait. I can ask to use a nearby quilting pals pinning table if I want to quilt it bad enough.

When it looked like we would be finished in time for DJ and I to go out for our anniversary lunch, I headed home and picked him up. There is a fairly new restaurant called Effina's Italian Grille in Jacksonville near the JSU campus that we had not gone to yet so that was my choice, over our usual choice of the January catfish special at Top of the River. I know I reeked of garlic after eating a Caesar salad and a Tuscan Chicken sandwich but yum! Actually knowing that I had the quilt meeting, we had tried to go on Monday instead only to find out it was closed---who knew?--so this worked out much better. On the actual date, even.

I had to laugh at DJ though. The food, even the soup and salad, was a little slow coming out of the kitchen. DJ commented that he had gotten used to me calling him to the table and a plate of food or all the serving dishes were right there in front of him. LOL, it is true because if we have gone out to eat lately, it has been fast food or buffet style. In and out without the waiting to have the order taken, waiting for the food, waiting for the check..........color him spoiled.

So what is on tap for today? Need to get some bills made out and make the post office run in a bit but sewing wise, not sure. I am tempted to do something on my reward list since I did complete that deadline project---January block from Nancy Halvorsen's Calendar Quilts and Stitcheries. I am going to do the applique version, much like I did the "Be Attitudes" from last year. I could quilt though--there are two donation quilts (one is mine) in the closet, after all and a couple of my own things to address. Could get back to the "Cheap Trick" as well but the machine I need for the other two choices is already set up. Okay, following that sense of logic I KNOW I will do the applique block first as I KNOW I will turn around and quilt it after I finish it. Then quilt the other stuff. Yep, a plan is in place. The weather is probably going to be a bit iffy come the weekend so staying inside and quilting is the best bet.

Hope you get to work on something you want to do---------

Jan 20, 2010

WIP Wednesday

Well, DJ's golfing friend has come and gone and the house is back to normal. Production came to a screeching halt for a couple of days as I was either cleaning or trying to keep it clean. That lasted till Monday. Once the boys hit the golf course, I didn't care anymore and sewing commenced. I pulled out my Cheap Trick/Two of a Kind and started piecing from the other end. What you see hanging on the hanger is the first half of the quilt. I need 7 more ever increasing in size rows to get this half done.

I should be working on my FAB challenge but I can't. I am short fabric and had thought I had width of the fabric cuts on hand. Nope, 11 x 18 inch sample type pieces instead. Won't work but I can use it for something else down the line minus the challenge fabric.

Now what? I am on deadline here and this pushes things back several days! I started looking thru some books and patterns again Monday night. I was mulling things over long after I went to bed. Well, one thought was the Frames pattern from Maple Island you see hanging in front of the sewing machine but I ruled it out as I didn't think some of the go-with's would work. I actually came up with 3 legitimately good ideas but what I am going with just came to me in a flash. That's it!! The needed fabric is ordered and on its way. I'll be ready to roll as soon as I see it.

In the meantime, Norma is leaving me astray again. She has been reading blogs and finding inspiration and then passing it on to me. Here we were doing so well to have some finishes and things crossed of our 10n10 lists! You can read all about it on her post HERE . "Trail Mix" from June 2004 APQ magazine. The idea is that we can use our scrap bag stuff and piece the blocks over time. It fits right in to the "on-going" category with no great rush to join the pieces. Should work.

Cher is interested in joining in but on a smaller scale---WTIL donation size. I re-drew a section of it in EQ for a "road map". This way we can count up how many of what type of block we need for the body of the quilt. I have thought about re-sizing the blocks from 6 to 8 inch finished though I have a lot of 3 1/2 inch squares cut for bowtie blocks that would work. The stuff I left uncolored in the sketch can be any medium or dark fabric.

I wonder what she will talk me into next, LOL?

Well, back to the sewing machine for me......all too soon it will be time to fix supper. Hope you have a great day in whatever you chose to do.

Jan 14, 2010

a finish

I'm done---another finish. Turns out quilters DO buttons after all, LOL.

Fun little break for me. I plan on starting the FAB challenge tomorrow even though housecleaning will intervene for a day or so. Maybe some handquilting won't mess up the house in the interim.

(pattern source listed in previous post)

Jan 13, 2010

WIP Weds and meeting days

Yesterday marked the first quilt group meeting for the 2010 program year. Other than our going out to lunch in early December for our Christmas "party" we had not had a "work" session for two months. Some were expressing withdrawal symptoms, LOL. The cold weather cancelled another quilt group opportunity last week so probably did seem like a long time to see our buddies.

Several of us had tops to pin, a few are out for binding but the one at left is one that Jane had just finished. The top was made by Aline's granddaughter Leann. I can tell you that gma is busting her buttons that one of the girls is following in her foot steps. Leann is largely self taught in the quilting department but I think she is doing a wonderful job. I quilted this one for her and last week, a boy themed one she also made. Aline is almost done with the binding but the quilt will need to take a bath to remove some markings I made prior to picture taking.

I came home with two donation quilts to replace the ones that I just finished which I knew would happen. In this case, one is my own WTIL challenge quilt and the other, Aline's using the lunch box fabric. The girls were asking about this coming year's fabric choice. I had tried to describe it before but had it out in the car to show them. Since I had a goal to get borders on my Daisy Chain top, I was not prepared to cut it and parcel it out quite yet, LOL.

The fellowship hall tables were a great spot to spread out the top to get the border cutting measurements. By the time I left all I lacked was one long side border but that was primarily because, DUH, I neglected to cut it! Even long time piecers can have mental lapses. I guess I thought I was doing two at once or some such thing. Here I thought I was so smart because I had even cut the sleeve and binding but then forget to cut a 4th border, LOL. Though I had hope to have that outer border unseamed by cutting them on the length of grain, that obviously wasn't going to happen. All I basically had left of the yardage was a wide enough strip WOF to cut from and the two cutaways from top and bottom with only 6 inches leftover.

BUT first, I had to pick out the last row of stitching I had made at the meeting. When I switched thread color, I had some tension issues. I could get back on a different machine to deal home to deal with it. It still took me the better part of the evening to get the last side on. Turns out I cut it about 2 inches too long so no wonder it wouldn't fit, LOL in spite of my pinning and re-pinning trying to make it work. Then pin and re-pin to get it all eased in once it was re-cut took a bit of time as well. I wish the quilt was just a hair wider since I have one of those bulky pillow top mattresses but it will be fine for spring and summer when a blanket under it won't be needed. Other than that, I am very pleased with how this quilt turned out---and another finish to flimsy can be recorded!

To the left is my reward project in progress "Sleep Tight, Mr. Snowman" from Piecemaker's Something to Crow About. Years ago I had made one for a secret pal on a quilt list I help moderate. It was one of those things that I wish I had made for me as well. (Oh come on, we all do that!) Sunday I cut and fused it, filching some Wonder Under from another project in order to do so. The pattern called for using #8 perle cotton and a running stitch but I did it by machine this time. I recall what it was like to do that through fusible (windowed out this time) and warm and natural for inner batting plus the snow piles on the first go-round. No thank you! I quilted it Monday but needed for it to dry a bit from the chalk markings I had made for crosshatching the background. That's why it is hanging in that direction---it had been hanging over the bathroom vent on the pants hanger, LOL. Today I will add the buttons and other embellishments and work on the binding to get it finished up and hung.

Since I had a little time Monday evening and handwork was stalled out on the snowman, I did a couple of the short rows on the "Two of a Kind/Cheap Trick" that I had set aside this past summer. That is what you see peeking out from behind the snowman wallhanging. As much as I would like to keep going with it, the FAB challenge deadline is coming up so I best get cracking on that! The bed quilt waited this long, after all.

DJ's golfing friend from IL will be here sometime on Sunday. Provided the weather situation has warmed up and not warmed up to rain they will be off to the golf course Monday, maybe Tuesday. DJ didn't tell me how long a visit to expect so I guess I will get it from the horses mouth soon enough. Men never ask the "right questions" so I should just ask his wife if I want the straight story. Deeper house cleaning will happen on Saturday. Otherwise, not much going on around here---regular day to day stuff. Laundry is done and about time to get lunch together. Meanwhile DJ is messing with installing a new toilet seat and finding rusty bolts to deal with. Who do you thing is having more fun around here, LOL?

Jan 9, 2010

quilting goals 10 in 2010

For short, 10n10-- I will refer you back to a post I wrote in early November for what this means. This idea had come out of a couple weeks of online chat with my pal Norma concerning how we wanted to stay on track in the coming year. We both admire how our friend Pat stays on track with her lists of of goals and want to keep from straying off target TOO much, LOL.

In this post you will see some of the kits and starts of projects boxed up representing some of my UFOs and PIMs stacked in the closet and shelving that need attention. That is by no means all of them either, a whole hamper full of more, mostly donation quilt stuff and in the TV stand cabinet. I need some focus and this broken down into a more manageable format.

Here is what we basically came up with. We think that there are several areas in our quilting live and we should be able to pick at in any category depending on our mood at the time.

  • UFOs--something you have pretty much abandoned for some reason. The idea is to pull it out and work on it, re-purpose it or give it away/toss it but deal with it in some manner. Those things are like weights pulling you down and quilting should NOT make you feel guilty.
  • finish to flimsy --you may have started the blocks but set them aside and you want to get at least the top done. Maybe your top just needs the borders put on. That's easy enough!
  • quilt/bind--maybe it's pinned or you have to prep the backing and binding. It could be worked on and the quilt completed
  • cutting/kitting -- usually there is something that you need to cut out in order to keep rolling
  • Rewards--what are you "itchin' to stitch"? Finish a UFO or a deadline task then you can pick something from this "fun" list. Norma and I both know we need this to jump start our creativity and give ourselves permission to play.

We tried to pick two items for each category that to focus on thinking that 10 total should be a fairly manageable number for a year's time. Things should cycle through a bit and you can add another item in its place if you want.

On further consideration I decided I needed two more categories for my list writing:
  • donations and deadlines---I do some commissioned work on occasion and always have some quilt, mine or one of the groups' around for WTIL. This would include any challenge quilts I do.
  • ongoing---blocks I make till I have enough for a top, like my red work Santas, for example or my hand quilting on the FAB challenge.

Looks like I could revise my list to include 14 instead since I have 7 categories listed, LOL. Actually I implemented my plan a bit early so you will see some strike outs but that will show the cyclical nature of the plan.

UFOs AKA "dinosaurs" (thx, Pat!)
  • Galactic Twinkle BOM
  • Friendship Stars

Finish to flimsy
  • Strip Twist completed 12/7/09 and on the long arm quilters list for February
  • Two of a Kind/Cheap Trick
  • Daisy Chain---just needs borders applied

  • finish quilting the 30's sampler--6 blocks to go
  • 3 Friends Stack
  • Daisy Chain
  • Sisterhood of Quilter's
  • FAB challenge to gift to Cher (also listed in deadlines)

Rewards--itchin' to stitch:
  • Sisterhood of Quilters flimsy done January 3. 2010
  • Piecemaker Snowman wallhanging
  • Calendar Quilt block for January
Donation and deadline:
  • 4 WTIL tops to quilt (none of my making) 2 done in December, 2 this past week
  • my WTIL BB challenge quilt once pinned
  • FAB challenge to be mailed out by Feb 1
On going projects: no real fluctuation expected for awhile
  • Redwork Santas---5 are complete and working on #6
  • Hand quilting on FAB challenge quilt
  • Triple rail blocks till I have enough for one or more donation tops
There it is in writing. It is official now! Just have to make it happen and I know with Norma's encouragement we will hold each other accountable and also continue to lead each other astray since that is what we do, LOL. Already some links for future projects are being bandied about and "take a look at this one---good for a FAB sewing weekend?"

Because my FAB challenge choice will use a technique I have not used before I need to do some trial pieces on some scrap stuff first. Frankly I need a bit of a break from the machine after 4 days of machine quilting. I need to get some steam a seam 2 if I want to do either of my "rewards" projects, darn it. So I guess, for today and maybe tomorrow, hand work is my project of choice.

Hope you have a good day in whatever you chose to do. Stay warm!

Jan 5, 2010

Another finish

No, not a quilt top but part of one, LOL. Actually I had most of this Bird Brain redwork "Here Comes Santa" block done back in August but set it aside. I had been to the point where I wanted to drop back to one strand for the finer work and perle cotton for the heavier detail. At this point 5 of the 12 blocks are completed and a 6th is started---one of my ongoing projects. If you DO click on the link you will see that the pattern also calls for little redwork motifs in the quilts cornerstones.

If you like to do little handwork projects, you might enjoy the freebie on the Bird Brain site, click HERE. This month's motif is a cute little snowman. The previous ones are archived and could certainly be used on something other than tea towels.

It is doubtful that there will be much quilty content for a few days since I am machine quilting when I can keep Skyler from parking on the top, that is. I have two fairly good sized donation tops made by the quilt group to do. I made good progress yesterday and hope to get the first one finished up this afternoon/evening.

I am considering what "reward project" I want to work on once this quilting is done. At some point I will post my top 10 for 2010 in the focus categories I have set up. The object is to hold myself accountable and try to stay on track this year. Also the plan focuses on moving some UFOs forward and includes that "carrot on a stick" reward with something new or fun that I want to do. That is what keeps the creativity flowing, after all!

Lately I don't mind having a quilt on my lap. Cold outside and cold in the house with the furnace trying to keep up. Outside they could probably be talking wind chill. LOL, my mom called the other day from central IL to see what our weather was like as they were at or near zero that day at certain points. 20's, I said but teens and even single digits lows are forecast this week. Even that word "snow" has been bandied about for Thursday/Friday. I know we are not the only ones in the US feeling the artic blast but our average temperatures for this time of year is low 50's. BRRRR quite a drop.

Hope you have a good day--stay warm!

Jan 3, 2010

one flimsy, another near flimsy

Norma and began sewing on our Daisy Chain quilts a week ago Sunday and both of us got our tops up to border stage. She finished almost a full day ahead of me but there was no contest or race involved. I KNOW I sew slower than her so that race would have been lost from the get-go, LOL.

Since I knew I didn't want to tackle borders on the Daisy Chain last night, I put them on the Sisterhood quilt instead. I had pieced it a week ago Saturday and it was just hanging in the sewing room, waiting. I seamed the binding while I was at it but did not press it. It was late, I was tired. Luckily, I can get by with only one fabric width for the backing so it could be pinned.

Norma is auditioning fabrics from her stash for her DC borders and she will wait to proceed. She said she uses her long arm quilt frame to aid in measuring her tops for borders and it is currently occupied. My borders are cut so I could conceivably attach them today--even cut the sleeve fabric if I want to match the borders. (Who knows about backing fabric at this point??) Since my only measuring place for large tops is DJ's master bedroom floor I may wait till our first quilt meeting on the 12th to tackle mine. The floors in the fellowship hall are limitless but they also have rows of tables up to aid in measuring.

I DO need to move on to other projects though. There are still have two donation quilts to tackle and my FAB challenge has a deadline attached--it needs to be in the mail on or before Feb. 1st. After considering several options for a few months, I know what I want to do for Ms. Cher as I have her name this round. Just a matter of executing that decision!

So, I think just for today----hand quilting and avoid bending over the sewing machine.

Norma and I had been talking about making this quilt for some time---March at least but I would be willing to bet it was longer than that, LOL. We find that we work well together in this format----cheering each other on and being a bit accountable. Doesn't matter how many miles separate us between NE central Alabama and her Canadian province we are sewing together as long as we have IM and a digital camera! It looks like Terry Atkinson's Bridge Creek Blossoms will be our next choice unless something else strikes our fancy in between. Knowing the two of us and the limitless patterns in print or online, getting sidetracked is a very real option, LOL.

Thanks for hanging with us as our quilts grew-------