Aug 31, 2011

WIP no more

Another finish to flimsy. Not the best picture perhaps as I had to turn on the overhead light and then I got a nice shadow from the entertainment center but no is done. The backing will be the same as the cornerstones as I have plenty of it, thanks to my mom.

I am going to seam the binding, press and roll it and then vacuum up the paper bits off the floor. Actually considering that most of these blocks were pieced to pages from an old phone book you would think it would be more of a mess in here. I was fortunate enough to get most of it removed intact and dumped into the trash collector hanging from the sewing table. BUT I have a box fan at floor level trying to disperse the cooled a/c air and probably fluttered a bit of paper around. It has looked far worse in the past.

Probably broke 4 needles on this project which probably a record for me considering it is a small quilt. This machine definitely does not like pins or I just had a knack for hitting them dead on. Now I need to change it again just because I was stitching paper with it. Way it goes.

Tomorrow, Prairie Stroll and see how far I get on those blocks.

Aug 30, 2011

a start

I reached my short term goals yesterday plus a bit of a start on another project to follow. When I quit last night (time to watch "The Closer" and "Rizzoli and Isles", after all) I had two blocks of first row dealt with. I did the other two this morning first thing. 5 more rows to go. I will have finished another Belles Scrappy Challenge top when I'm done.

I had a little light snafu in the sewing area this morning in that the light bulb in the halogen lamp I use on the left hand side of my machine table seemed to have blown. Well, I use the thing a lot and the original equipment had never been replaced. Nothing lasts forever. I had purchased a couple of replacement bulbs along with the lamp just to be sure that I had one on hand when I needed it.

You would think you should be able to just pop another one, right? The screws holding the lens on were factory tightened so DJ had to help me get it off as we didn't want to crack the glass. I would have felt better about using some sort of holder for the bulb like you do with my sewing machine--rubber thing to hold the bulb so you don't have to directly handle the glass. But it seemed to seat and the light worked, if temporarily. As soon as we put the lens back on, off it went. We tried the other replacement bulb---same thing. Phooey on that I said, I'll get another lamp. I had seen some desk lamps recently at Walmart that might work or I'll go see if Lowe's has another like this one in stock.

I got two desk lamps. As I recall, two of these were equal to what I paid for the halogen one. You see, the swing arm one I use on the right hand side would not stay up no matter how much I tightened the screws near the spring. I had to clamp it to my cone thread holder which worked but looked a little goofy and not very adjustable. That and the lamp shade kept dropping off. Well, naturally the halogen lamp is now working. Threaten it with replacement and it straightened up. Good! ...... I am keeping the back up just in case, LOL. Since the new one has a shorter extension I elected to keep it in the weighted base so it can be moved around on the machine table rather than clamped in like my old one.

While I was out I finally ran the Brother into town to the service place. Yeah, I was going to do that last week but I got busy sewing. The shop is not open on the weekend or Monday either. Hopefully it won't be gone for a couple weeks, not that I don't have others to use in the meantime. I really should be quilting but I don't feel like it---I use my Viking for that and buttonhole applique. Not bad for foundation piecing either since tends to sew a tighter stitch no matter where I set the stitch length. The Singer works fine for what I need it to do at the moment which is a straight stitch, forward and backwards. It has cams for some decorative stitches but I think I missed something in the instructions when I was playing with that in the past. I'll re-visit that or see if Lois can help me figure it out.

When I was doing the strip set piecing for the sashing and cornerstones unit, I also pieced the half four patch units for my next project, Prairie Stroll. I had kitted it up earlier this year and it is one of the many projects in the tower pull out bins next to the sewing table. The colors will not look a thing like this sketch! I am using browns, reds, greens and cream donation fabric mostly. When my mom sees it, she will recognize some of it as "Alice" fabrics. The pattern is from Quiltmaker magazine #81 September-October 01. They show it as a 9 inch block but mine is re-sized to a 6 inch finished block to better use my available fabric. Actually there are TWO blocks which alternate if you look at it closely and isolate the blocks. Yes, every other block is rotated a quarter turn to the right but the short strips are flip flopped too.

Part of the reason for drawing it up in EQ was to play with colors but also to verify what size to cut the strips since I was re-sizing it. Also I have discovered over the years that it is a good idea to leave a picture/directions/ notes in the kit so I would remember what the heck I was doing, LOL. I can't always find the magazine but I can print it off from my EQ files. Ask me (or my mom, LOL) why this step is important.

We have been blessed some with cooler nights lately and less humidity. The day time highs are still up there---high 80's, mid 90's by our thermometer and still no rain on the horizon. DJ was commenting that he was sort of surprised that we were not under a burning ban again. The yard gets more brown by the day and the bushes all have droopy leaves. I think the humidity was creeping back up today though as it just seemed hotter when I was out running my errands. More brow wiping on my part.

And sew it goes------I may have a t-shirt quilt to make for a friend on the horizon so I should buckle down here with this other stuff. Or not, LOL. Hear my husband saying "who give you all these jobs??" Me, that's who.

Short term goal: get a couple more rows of Scrappy Strings together. Half a top would be nice for a day's sewing. More, even better.

Aug 29, 2011

"Design Area" Monday, wk 36

Yeah, it doesn't look like much, does it? I should have included my pile of string blocks perhaps. I arranged them in rows yesterday but didn't take the project any further. Instead, I downloaded a pile of recipes from into my cooking software and worked on my green work baskets. (The combo of recipe fox, firefox browser and Mastercook makes this process very easy---click, click, click)

My goals for today include pressing and winding up these two piles of binding, mostly because they are in my way for cutting into that pile of fabric on the left end. The cutting mat is under the pressing board, meaning you do all the pressing tasks before you remove said board to use the mat and rotary cutter jobs. Small jobs cutting jobs I tend to use my 12 x 20 June Taylor press/cut board with the small Olfa mat over cutting surface. June Taylor stuff is too hard and will dull up your rotary blade in no time flat. That's how I roll, LOL.

I have done my calculations about how many strips to cut for the sashing and cornerstone bits for the string quilt. A quick press of the fabrics and I'll be ready to deal with it---and cut more binding, LOL. I may have another top done soon but I will have to pull off the phone book paper after I add the sashing on all four sides of each block to stabilize those bias edges. DJ better be at the ready with the vacuum.

And here is how the honey and biscuit block is coming----slowly. There is a lot of stitching detail in these blocks! Link to Bee Tree Designs line drawings on Flickr HERE . You will have to click on ea image thumbnail and then click on the "view all sizes" button up in the upper right of the page to download them. I can't remember if I downloaded and printed the medium or large image but whatever it is fits on the fabric with plenty of trim room.

And sew it goes----better get busy on today's plans and think about what comes next as I finish up THIS top. (Machine quilting, probably)

Aug 27, 2011

blocks done

Today's goal: 11 string blocks to go with the 13 I already have done.

I used what strings remained in the Belles scrap box, raided my scrap basket and grabbed a handful to 1 1/2 and 2 inch strips from their respective containers and went to work on pages from the old phone book for foundation. I see a lot of previous projects in these blocks, LOL.

And here is where I am headed with it. I use the print out to figure out how many strips of sashing I need to cut but it probably won't be this pretty aqua/turquoise color. Try muslin and a neutral for the cornerstones, LOL. I wish I DID have something that color but I don't, nor am I purchasing any.

I do NOT do the sashing they way they often show you in the quilting mags and books. They will often instruct you to make a long skinny string of sashing and apply that whole little thing to a row of blocks with sashing in between the blocks. Nope, I do what I call "pre-sashing" the blocks.

Let me see if I can explain this. Are you familiar with a block called Children's Delight? (Horrid coloring on the quilter's cache site but you can see the picture anyway.) Basically it is a Puss in the Corner block with the sashing and cornerstone added to two sides of the block. When I first saw that block, the light bulb went off and it changed the way I do sashing forever. Put a sashing strip on the bottom of every block. Then you can strip piece the cornerstone color to however many strips of sashing you need to cut. (Count it out from the picture) Sub-cut the strip sets whatever width you wish across the WOF. I prefer it cut 2.5---you should get 16 cuts across 40 inches of usable fabric. Usually I add the strips to the right hand side of each block. Whichever block I deem to be the first one in the row I add the sashing/stone unit to the left side. When I piece the top row, I put the sashing/stone unit on the top of it as well. Then just join the blocks to form rows. BUT you will need one cornerstone all by its self, no sashing to complete this. Treat them the sashing and cornerstone units just like part of the block---which they are. Way easier to get it all to match up across the long row, less worrying about the seams nesting across the width of the quilt.

I got a call from a reader (hi, Mom!) last night. She told me that she had thought about doing that Staggered Brick quilt in the past but she was sure that the rows were done horizontally. Maybe because there appears to be one long continuous strip of the same color across the quilt top for each band. She had it all drawn up but the piecing was a bit complicated so she had never tried it. I think HER lightbulb went off when I was trying to explain how I did the vertical rows, just staggering over other strip up a half step. I may need to edit those instructions I gave you to say "vertical" We both were giggling about it---laughing with her, not AT her. Here she is my mentor and the one I ask---how do you think "................(Fill in the blank)" was pieced. Easier than you thought.

And sew it goes------

Aug 26, 2011

another finish to flimsy

Hot off the press---whatever you want to call this. Let's go with "Staggered Bricks"

I sort of wish that I had put a flap of something dark between the body of the quilt and the outside border but I am NOT taking it off to make that happen. It would have provided just a bit of separation between the elements and taken the dark out one more level. IIWII.

The binding will be the reddish looking print and I still need to seam it. Backing is in the washer.

I am not sure which project I want to work on next---too many choices, LOL. Maybe just some simple strings. I was packing up some abandoned blocks to send to a friend in another guild for their donation quilts and found a few blocks that could be trimmed down to match a pile I have started. That gives me 13 blocks that are done and some are from the Belles scrappy challenge strips/strings. With sashing I would need 24 blocks so looks like I am half way there. I love it when a plan comes together.

Aug 25, 2011

WIP Thursday

I never did get around to sewing anything yesterday. Paperwork, a few errands and the next thing I knew it was time to fix supper---almost. By then I was out of the notion. I looked at quilt magazines last night instead.

I had intended to take my Brother machine in for servicing but when it came right down to it, I didn't feel much like leaving the house. Maybe tomorrow. I set up the older model Singer that I got from Lois' mom estate. Though it is a mechanical machine it has a nice stitch on it. I did have to pull out the manual to remind myself how to thread it though. Had I needed to wind bobbins, I would need a refresher on that part too.

So, I am sewing 6 1/2 inch strips together. Thus far I have changed my mind about the inclusion of one fabric and then later the color sequencing too. Read: more unsewing perhaps than sewing??

This is a case of using what you have on hand. In this case I had only one strip of a lighter olive-y green and needed more but found something in my stash that will work. Not my first choice but it shoujld work. It is a hodge podge anyway. IIWII. Some is Linda C's that she put in the bin for anyone to use, some is from Theramae's estate and other yardage that Ellen sent from Wrap Them In Love headquarters, possibly from her mother's estate. The point is, it is being put to use in something I hope someone will enjoy.

This is where I am headed with it----I am not sure if I ever knew what this is called but it is one I made some time ago. Staggered Bricks? I think Joy and I named it "Basketweave" for our records but it was just something we saw in one of her quilt stuff---House of White Birches or Quilt magazine maybe???? Really the colors went with the border fabrics better than the picture shows.

I have cut the strips 6 1/2 inches and then will do 3 1/2 inch sub cuts when I have all 10 strips joined. ED NOTE: vertical seams, not horizontal. It helps if you sew the thing in pairs and when you join them to the next pair, start you seam on the OTHER end. The feed dogs will help keep the sets from bowing. To sew the body of the quilt, you fold the top color brick in half to find the midway mark and that's where you start your strips. No intersections to match. Trim off the jagged edge on the top and bottom when you are done. Border it, if you want.

One of my readers commented "How many quilts do you finish in a year and what do you do with them all?" I could not answer her personally since she is set to "no-reply blogger". One part I can answer pretty easily---the "where do they go part". We donate our quilts under the auspices of Wrap Them In Love based in Mt. Vernon, WA though Ellen does allow us to donated them locally if we know of a need. Last year they went to the Salvation Army and to WTIL headquarters for distribution around the globe. I have been at this since the fall of 1999 and the group, since 2000. The last time I totalled it up we had donated about 1300 quilts since that time. We have fewer members now and making donation quilts is not a mandatory activity for membership. Everyone does not make tops but help in other ways, such as finishing binding and helping to pin the tops.

The answer to my yearly quilt counts are more complex. To be truthful I don't really count them unless it is on my lists for the various challenges I am doing. That stuff is in the blog in the left sidebar. I will say, that I used to make more donation quilts than have the last two years but I am finally doing some things for myself for a change. There have also been some years where I have quilted more of them than I have generated myself. More than a few of those if I were to bother to add things up.

I can also give you a count from the tops hanging in my closet.

  • I have 16 tops in my closet waiting to be pinned---both personal and donation projects.
  • 2 more waiting to be spray basted
  • 2 donation tops that are pinned, one mine and one I volunteered to do for a group member.
LOL, draw your own conclusions. We won't get into a count of how many kits are cut waiting for me or all the embroidery projects I have going either. Suffice it to say, I keep busy with this. Not bragging, just stating fact. I have a husband who helps with the laundry, vacuuming and unloading the dishwasher and I do not work outside the home. It also helps that these are usually in the 40 x 60 range as opposed to those 60 x 90 QOVs I just did that are huge in comparison.

Moving on-----

It is hotter than a pistol outside, still no rain on the horizon. The yard is turning brown and crunchy again. The kudzu is flowering so DJ knows that it a sign that the growth will slow and he won't have to keep trimming it back weekly. The trees between our house and the neighbors are losing their leaves already. Other bushes just look plain stressed with drooping leaves. I hope Irene behaves herself as she passes the eastern seaboard. Weird week from them with Tuesday earthquake and a hurricane coming in at a Cat. 3, all in the same week. Some claim to have felt the quake clear down here but not me, or my quilting buddies.

Other sad news, an Anniston police officer was shot in the head by a fleeing individual. There was a big manhunt from several different law enforcement agencies and they have made an arrest. Unfortunately the officer is essentially brain dead and on life support so his organs can be donated. Senseless, just plain senseless. Remember Justin Sollohub and his family in your prayers if you would.

And sew it goes--till next time.

Aug 23, 2011

Meeting day

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, my quilt group met today. I had taken my hand quilting along with me but it was left untouched. I helped pin and sewed together batting bits mostly---and a lot of yakking, LOL.

Shown at left is an adorable top that Lois made. We all fell in love with the embroidered butterflies that Lois did up on her fancy dancy machine. Of course two of the grandmas in the group would love to have some of the blocks for their granddaughters. Got to pay her something for the deal so she can keep herself in thread, right? By the time we left Lois and Marilyn were working on a barter---butterfly blocks for a decorated cake Lois needs for a club function in about 10 days, LOL.

(I should have taken the picture BEFORE the pins went in and made sure I had the butterflies flying right side up when I handed it to Marilyn to hold it up.)

I told the girls I wouldn't need to have them sign a release form as all I took was their hands on this one, LOL. The top is another of Lois' creations. I recognized it right away as Terry Atkinson's "Fire Escape". This one is fairly long and wider than our usual ones so Jane and Lois teamed up on sewing binding widths together while I sewed the other half and some scraps together. Unless it gets narrower than 6 inches, it gets used. Kids come in all sizes so it doesn't matter if it is larger than the suggested 40 x 60 range that we usually make for Wrap Them in Love.

We took off for lunch at the Olive Garden to celebrate the summer birthdays. Actually the date was right on one of the girls actual days and another has one coming up this weekend. Soup, salad and bread sticks all around, basically.

When we were just about to leave, Brenda had a question for the manager. She has spotted a patron she thought looked very familiar----yep, it was our former two term governor of the state, Bob Riley dining with his wife and another couple off in the room beyond where we all were seated. He is from a nearby county but you just don't expect to see him in Oxford, AL at the Olive Garden. I did used to run into our District 3 Congressmen at Winn Dixie on occasion---in fact, he almost backed into me when we were both leaving our respective parking spots. Still......

Marilyn had made us a cake for the occasion so we tore into that when we got back to the meeting spot. Again, I should have taken the picture BEFORE. Pretty tasty. We divided up the leftovers to bring home so Marilyn could get her tray back. DJ said I am supposed to tell her she has not "lost her touch", LOL.

I wanted to share my FAB birthday gifts with the girls for "show and tell" as well as show them what I had gotten with the birthday money they had given me recently.

First the explanation. Cher had gone to Sister's Outdoor Quilt Show again this year and had picked up the panel piece (shown at right) for each of the FABS along with some of the companion prints.

We did not sew on her birthday as we did for Pam and I; instead, Cher is issuing a challenge for us to use the panel piece in some manner. We can get ready by pre-washing, cutting whatever but we are not to sew on it till after October 1st with a reveal several months later. I am assuming that we are supposed to keep the work in progress a secret until that time. Cher says we can use our own fabric from stash or order more of the product line---but we must use the main piece of fabric. The fabric is from "In the Beginning" designed by Kathy Deggendorfer. As I understand it, the picture is based on a poster art called "Nature's Symphony". I believe it was the design used for the official 2011 poster---each year there is a different piece of art used.

SOOOO here is how I spent my birthday money. And no, I am not going to tell you what I have planned. I imagine that I may change my mind about 4 or 5 times by the time October rolls around. I always do when it comes to challenges. The keeping it secret part is a problem since I am so used to bouncing ideas off my FAB pals, Norma in particular. It is bright, happy fabric... and I do love sunflowers.

I had missed the Friendship Quilter's guild meeting this month as that was my FAB-ulous birthday party. Turns out Peggy the club president sent my birthday gift from the guild back with Jane. I certainly was not expecting this at all! I knew the girls present at the meetings got to pull something from the gift bag in their bday month but figured I just missed out. There were two pretty fat quarters and a pair of stork embroidery scissors. Can never have too many pairs of those!

And so it goes around here. Tomorrow I have some paper work to do and a few errands to run but I have hopes I can start the strip sets for the "Bricks" project---that is the plan anyway.

Thanks for stopping by------

Aug 22, 2011

another finish to flimsy

Finished the top after supper tonight---woohoo! Note Skyler in string chewing position next to quilt holder's feet?

A good many of the blocks that I needed for the last 6 rows were already joined in pairs. I DID need to make the equivalent of the last row in triple rail blocks, probably because I couldn't decide if I needed 12 or 13 rows.

But, it's done except for selecting/prepping backing fabric and binding. I noticed that I have quite a selection of binding bits so it is possible I will go with scrappy binding on this one. Again, I am not planning on bordering but should I change my mind it would be a narrow one.

Off to watch "The Closer" and "Rizzoli and Isles"

Finished to Flimsy

I hesitated to call this a "Design Wall Monday"post since I have only gotten as far as setting up the machine to sew. I don't even have it threaded up yet.

Just plain busy day so far! Today was laundry day. I also needed to vacuum up the sewing room as I was tracking thread everywhere in the house. DJ did the hallways but I know I was the source, LOL. I had about 90 minutes of kitchen time this morning with about 30 minutes off before I had to start up the grill to finish up the noon meal preparations. (DJ wanted brats so I was making some Hot German Potato salad and braised red cabbage and apples to go with it. ) Thankfully, last night leftovers will be a fast re-heat.

The picture at left is my weekend sewing project, another WTIL donation top finished to flimsy last evening. This one counts under the "Belles Scrappy Challenge" banner for the year. I do not know the name of it or the designer and call it "Diagonal 4 patch chain". I first saw it in the chatter on stashbuster list and have no clue as to its source other than that. I think the name I gave it is fitting.

I only had 2 rows of it assembled clear back in April of this year and plucked it down from the hanging spot off my bookshelf. The 4 patches WERE completed using Billie Lauder's two at once with nickel squares, way back then but I still needed to make 5 rows of blocks (25). Most of the prints were some charm squares that Linda C had just sewn together randomly but I pulled them all apart to do this and added more cut fabrics from the scrap bags. The blocks finish at 8 inches, 5 x 7 set. I am not going to border it as it is big enough for my purposes.

I will say that I intended to do the last block differently. The last block in row 7 design wise should have just one four patch in the upper left corner and then background color for the remaining part of the block to complete that last chain. Apparently I did not cut the rectangle 4 1/2 x 8 1/2 that I needed. I had to go on a treasure hunt looking for any of the leftovers. No luck, though I have wheat, mushroom, parchment moda marble and another fabric line of a coppery colored neutral that is a similar but not whatever color this is---natural, I think. Rather than order more and/or ask webfabrics to do a color match (again!) I just stuck in an extra 4 patch to "no-where".

Here is what I will work on next. WTIL donation/Belles scrappy challenge Triple Rail last seen in May at the sew-in---shown in THIS POST . Come to think of it, I haven't done any more on it since, LOL. It looks the same as it did but the picture was probably taken from a different angle. I need 6 more rows or the lower half of the top. The rail blocks ARE done---I think. I'll find out soon enough!

I started this on the Jem so will continue on with the same machine retrieving the blocks and the machine from the car trunk. The Brother really should go in for servicing, just on general principles plus the auto needle threader is hanging up, skipping stitches even with a new needle put in, etc.

While searching for the 4 patch background I left one of the kits out. This uses some yardage that Ellen sent from WTIL headquarters and is one of two I have cut with a fall-ish theme. One is probably going to be a Snuggle Up but I cut this one to be like staggered bricks. I told Norma the other day that after all the seam matching I have done lately with D4P and now the diagonal 4 patch chain. I was ready for something a little less fussy. This one might fill the bill and will be next up after the triple rail is done. Short term goals are now set for the week.

Tomorrow is the Belles quilt meeting and I'll probably take my hand quilting. We plan on going out for lunch to Olive Garden for the summer birthdays---should be fun. Marilyn told me she had baked another cake for our dessert. Yum! The fabric I ordered with my bday money they gifted me with arrived today so I know they will want to see that. I will share my FAB bday gifts with them for "show and tell"---some do read my blog, some don't or just aren't on the computer much and haven't seen what my pals made for me. I'll load the car up in a bit as I am always in a rush to get out the door in the morning.

And sew it goes-----off to the machine and see how far I get.

Aug 18, 2011

Yesterday's output

A little bit of sewing done yesterday and-a few more things to cross off the "list".

Yesterday morning I did a bit of little bit of recipe transfers to my cooking software, enough to clean out some of my email boxes. So I didn't settle down to the sewing tasks till afternoon.

First up, binding for the Skinny Strips---and maybe those 3D bowties if I do them as a QOV. I cut up a 36 inch square for bias binding cut 2 1/4 so that should net me about 544 inches of binding. One quilt will take about 480 plus so not quite enough for two quilts but I have more yardage. Knowing my aversion to pressing this stuff right away, you can rightly assume that it is still piled up on the ironing surface, LOL.

Next up, the hanging loops for "My Cat" wallhanging. Pat had sent the fabric yardage she had leftover for me to use my own method for creating them. I also cut out a giant 4 patch so I can show Teresa how you do the d4p blocks when I see her later today but I put the rest in with the blue 3-D bowtie project.

So what is my preferred method? It is royal pain to turn a narrow tube and that is what the pattern calls for. I do it like you do purse straps. I cut it the 1- 3/4 inch the pattern calls for but press the strip in half, wrong sides together to find the middle. Then you fold and press each half to the center line so you have 4 thicknesses of fabric. Top stitch close to the edge on both sides. My loops take 15 inches in length but I always cut it a bit longer so I have some wiggle room. I lined it up the tabs with the buttons on the Button Up base unit but had to un-do a bit of Pat's binding stitches to get at the seam line of the quilts to stitch the things on to the top of the quilt so the raw edges would be encased with the binding. So, the picture shows it to that point.

Next I slip covered the acrylic bag bottom. They, of course, sell these in various sizes at the queen of bags and totes site, Lazy Girl Designs---called Bag-E-Bottoms---but Pam had someone cut them to her specs some time back. Your fav quilt shop may stock them too. I had some yardage in my stash (Mama's Cottons from Connecting Threads) that matched one of the purple that Pam used so that was my choice. I am ready to move into my new purse but will wait till after I show the quilt group my bday gifts. I would feel funny going thru someone's purse once it was loaded so I'll wait, LOL.

Somewhere in the middle of this productivity DJ had set up an "appointment" time for me to get his hair cut. I was also chatting with my friend Teresa while I "worked", both on IM and on the phone when we were having some connectivity problems. I think we may have stumbled on a alternative messenger on her end that will make things easier to keep gabbing, LOL. I am going to help her get set up with some redwork blocks later this morning-----after I get MY hair cut. NO, DJ is NOT going to return the favor. My across the lane neighbor Glynda does that for me!

Last thing up for the day, was to complete the binding on "My Cat" so I could hang it and get its glamour shot for Pat and my blog. Too, too cute and personalized for Skyler and I. Thanks again, Pat.

So what's up next? I should machine quilt but I don't know that I am quite in the frame of mind for that yet. There are two donation quilts pinned atop my dressser. "Summer" and "July" need quilted and I never did get the last blocks finished on my 30's sampler as I had hoped. The prospect of a quilt across the lap does not appeal to me in the dog days of summer even if we were blessed with lower overnight temps and lower dew points for a few days there.

I am leaning towards finishing up that diagonal 4 patch chain top I started earlier this year; it was last seen back in April in this post. Sheila and I had started on these about the same time and at least in the picture in the post, she has way more done than me. You will see that hers is a lot more scrappy than mine is too. I have plain background squares were she has used another print square. Mine is one of the Belles Scrappy challenge pieces----and I have about what, 4 of those going and more kitted up?? I may end of taking examples with me to the December "reveal". Scraps are one of those things that keep showing up over time, in this project and that, till that last little bit is finally used up. Long after I'll remember just where they came from, LOL.

Maybe just a bit of redwork today. Showing Teresa how to do it will probably make me want to keep going. I'll think on my sewing goals for the weekend, next week then. I'm rarely bored!

And sew it goes-----thanks for stopping by

ED. NOTE: I did not intend to change my blog template but the blue sky thing just plain disappeared on me---faded to black. More tweaking ahead, I can tell.

Ed. ed. note: Not quite back where I had it but what the heck is going on???

Aug 16, 2011

quiet day

Well, here it is after supper and I have yet to break out the rotary cutter or mat but that's okay. After sewing like crazy for 3 days, a day off is good. It is as my husband says too often to me "who gave you all these jobs?"

This morning I watched him---and our neighbor--- work instead, LOL. DJ has been slowly and surely getting rid of the overgrown bushes out in front. We want to replace all the black plastic stuff and plant something low maintenance that will stay small. Whatever that might be. He recently tore out the boards that were out there as edging when he discovered some insect infestation. It was on!!! For the last week he has been out there for a bit while the sun is on the back of the house pulling up roots, torn black paper and getting the wood chips out of there.

There were two huge "not a foundation" shrubs flanked by two "growing far too big" needle point holly bushes. I don't what the heck those things were/are but we have more on the side of the house. I took a picture of those so you can see what happens when they are unattended. In the picture above, you can see part of the latest holly bush that he severely cut back on the left. There WAS another just as bad down there by the down spout at the end of the patio. Three more holly bushes remain and really the largest one on the end of the house is indicative of just how badly overgrown they can get.

Anyway---DJ has, over time, gotten rid of two of them---stumps and all. It wasn't easy for him cutting it manually, using some heavy duty loppers, a pry bar. Two stumps remained that would have to dealt with if we are going to do the job we want to do. The neighbor came over with the backhoe/end loader and ripped those out in no time. There will be a few spots in the yard to patch up with some grass seed later but it was SO worth it. Robert does concrete work professionally and has a big pile of dirt from his recent driveway expansion and other work on their acreage. He brought back a couple loads of dirt to help fill the stump holes along with a low spot we had in the yard by the back gate. He even hauled off the stumps for DJ.

And here are the "whatever they are" bushes. Does that look like it should be a foundation planting?? The leaves are a little thick, glossy and smell a little lemony. Any ideas what they are? See the little one off to the right? That is one that DJ had to cut back a ton because it was getting into the down spout in the back. I hate these things! There is another little one on the other side of these two, not in the shot.

So what did I today instead of sewing? Last night I decided to clear a little space in my quilting/sewing book library. By the time I was done (or near done) I had two good sized stacks of books to donate and another pile that I thought my friend Teresa might be interested in. I also organized and moved some of my quilting magazines to another book shelf. I am not quite ready to go thru some of them and keep just the most interesting bits yet. Some did though so I had some filing to do back into the clipping notebooks.

Teresa is recuperating from some recent surgery and talked to me about doing some redwork while she is recovering. You are talking to the right girl there! I printed off some of the patterns from my files that she might be interested in. Later this week I will help her get a few traced off and get her stitchin'.

I have been asked to give a program on "finishing quilts". I probably will do it but could that topic be any more broad, LOL? Ada thought I could show how to pin a quilt---and I could but there is so much more to it than that. I wonder if they wouldn't be better served by talking about what you need to do to prepare a quilt top to be quilted---whether you are doing it the quilting or taking it to a long armer. I had read an excellent article in some magazine, not all that long ago on this very subject. But which one??? Had I already clipped it and filed it? Don't think so---and I looked thru several of my notebooks. I did google for some online materials which probably cover much the same territory.

In my search I found something "interesting". I knew there was something very familar about my Disappearing 4 patch (d4P). Well, the end block called "Knots" and I had it printed off as a block of the month when the Belles and I were exploring all manner of 9 patches. HERE is a strip pieced, scrappy colored one on quilting arts forum. Also there are a ton of blocks in their archive that will keep you busy clicking for awhile, LOL.

I also was reminded that I wanted to try a floating eight pointed star I had spotted at delaware quilts--try this link if you want to give it a whirl. (Another printout--can you tell?) My friend Jane had lent me her Jody Barrows book Advancing on with the square in a square technique and she has one on her cover quilt---not floating. You can see the cover quilt HERE. I think Jane needs me to figure out how it works so I can show her. Do it both ways, LOL and then show her! Floating is always good so you don't have to worry about cutting off points especially 54-40 or fight type pointy ones.

I may have this particular block on the brain because I saw a gorgeous version in Quick and Easy Quiltmaking last night as I was looking at some of the books trying decide to keep or not. Mary Hickey designed it for use with her bi-rangle ruler but it could be done by other methods and eliminate some extra seams. It used the same block but with placements of HSTs in some corners and the chaining 4 patches of the 54-40 or fight block it formed a circular shape around a plain Sun Ray Star. I doubt I can find an image to share with you, short of scanning the page in the book. It is on the back cover of the book even if I could find that image, LOL. Maybe it is one in your quilt library or your guilds. Oh wait, I found a baby quilt version of one HERE that will give you a vague idea of what I am talking about.

So I guess even if I don't sew I keep quilts and quilting on the brain. Hey, I don't necessarily need anyone to lead me astray ( do I, Norma?) "I can do bad all by myself", LOL.

And sew it goes-------thanks for stopping by.

Aug 15, 2011

Finished to Flimsy

......x2 finished to flimsy. Woo hoo!

I left off Sunday evening with just three section joining rows to go. Norma was keeping me company and finishing up hers at the same time . I have seen a photo of hers but it is not posted on her blog yet. After lunch today, I finished up my top as well.

Almost immediately after I took the picture of Skinny Strips, I moved on to the bottom half of D4P The top half was done as was the 5th row and half of the 6th when I picked it up.

At 4:30 and two movies later I had the last 2 1/2 rows assembled and the sections joined. Another flimsy finish! Woo hoo again!

Not sure what I will work on next but I am thinking I will finish up the hanging tabs and the binding on my birthday giftie tomorrow. Maybe slip cover the insert for my new bday purse as well. That should not be too taxing after two days of heavy duty sewing--- a nice break. Mid-week maybe I should concentrate on quilting up July Button Up and "Summer". LOL, looks like I may have just figured out my week's goals just by talking it through.

And sew it goes--------

Aug 14, 2011

FAB--ulous Bday

I tell you, I have some FAB-ulous friends, local ones and long distant ones. Truly a blessing to me in more ways than you will ever know.

This year we 5 FAB friends are taking turns celebrating our birthdays with one another in a virtual format. Probably the hardest part is gathering 5 busy women in one spot long enough. Since we also planned to sew, Saturday was best. But first I got to open those presents that had been arriving at my house all week. Wanna see what these talented pals made for me? These did not post in the order that I opened them but that's okay, I guess.

Here we have a bag made by Pam out of my (our) beloved 30's prints. The pattern is in a past issue of "Quilts and More". I know this because I had plans to make one and have the magazine. I had admired one that she made one before---she called it a diaper bag, LOL. This is the back side. Tons of interior pockets in there!

Pam suggested that I put something in the bottom to stiffen it up a bit. I have just the thing----a piece of acrylic she had cut for us some time back for another purse project. It is the perfect width. It is cut about a half inch short but once a slip cover is made for it, it will be fine! I have some of the Connecting Threads "Mama's Cotton" yardage so I can probably even match the flavor of the purse.

And look at this cutie front! Itty bitty prairie points, dimensional yo-yo's and cool buttons! She made a matching wonder wallet as well.

Cher sent the cute kitty card with some "seed money" for a trip back to the PNW. Sister's maybe and/or we all go up to BC to see our pal Norma?? Life happenings got in the way of a homemade gift and time ran out but she sent something for me to open anyway. What a sweetie!

Look what Pat made for me! She had told me earlier this summer that she was considering making me a button-up wall hanging to go with the ones I am making and asked which ones I liked. I forget what I said other than maybe August's and I liked the "My Cat" one. Source: Joined at the Hip and then scroll down to BU #25. I love that she personalized it to make the cat look like my tuxedo kitty Skyler. The groups of 5 fish is significant too along with some of the fabrics.

You might be wondering "what's with those clips at the top?" I had suggested if she made a button up to just leave the top edge open and let me put in the loops so they would match up with my button placement. I just pinned it on the base so I could see how it was going to look.

That explains the little bag of goodies in this next shot. Unfortunately I didn't see the note to open it last of the three wrapped packages but it all made sense once I did what I was told. Open the long skinny one instead, LOL

Pat sent the yardage to make the loops for the Skyler hanging as she was not sure if I preferred them to be turned loops or how you do purse straps. I got the leftover thread and buttons along with the leftover cutie blue 30's print that she made to cover the thermos bottle she sent. Going green with a thermos bottle instead of more plastic for the landfill. Notice the lovely hand made cards as well.

And here are my goodies from Norma! She made me a mug pinafore to organize the sewing tools---from 30's prints. Designed by a Canadian designer and I think she said a pattern distributed at a shop hop.

Next to it, you see a mug carrier, also in 30's blue. Again, a "go-green" idea for quilt guild meetings where you use your own mugs instead of plastic or stryofoam cups. There are pockets all around it too so I put some single serving drink mix packets in there along with stirring spoon, a packet of gum. Norma said she also sticks her guild name tag in hers so she is never without it at the meeting. Good idea! She found the pattern in a Australian quilting magazine.

The other goodies----yummo, coffee crisp bites. Love 'em and as far as I know you cannot get them in the States. The birthday card also contains a violet applique wall hanging pattern. She sent me a few novelties for my long term "I-Spy" project along with a Quiltmaker CD with some quilting patterns. The yardage has three kinds of candy on it---jelly beans, dots and another Canadian favorite candy Allsorts. Basically it is black licorice with other flavors added to it-----that I can find at one of the local Rite Aids, surprisingly.

From there we moved on to the sewing portion of the party. . Pam was also working in a patriotic theme for hers alternating red and blue strips---her top is completely done as of last evening and I saw the picture of it. Norma was working in a fall theme and has told me she is close to done. Pop on over to her spot and she may have it posted. Cher was working with yellow strips we sent her for her granddaughter's "yellow quilt " but making it more her quilt than the pattern shown. Pat had tried the pattern once and didn't care for it so I told her she didn't have to make one like this. She re-purposed her strips into an Amish Stripe instead. She shows her starts of the blocks on her blog a couple posts back---see link above.

Pictured of course is mine. At that point I had all but the last 8 strips at last joined in pairs and laid out on the bed. I have since finished up the pairs and some of them are joined---"twosies to foursies". The lower 1/3 of the quilt is sitting on my pressing/cutting table. It shouldn't take too long to finish up as those seams only took me about 30 minutes including pressing.

We have some lightning rolling in so I may need to wait to power up the machine. First rain we have had around here for a while. Unfortunately DJ was doing a little raking out in the spare lot while there was some cloud cover and burning the stuff on the burn pile----yard waste, the old mail box post, the boards DJ just removed from the shrub area out front that we want to re-do. I think he got a little wet on the way back to the house.

And sew it goes around here-----thanks for stopping by!

Aug 12, 2011

stitching away

A little update on D4P. Top half is done, all the blocks are now sewn. Row 5 is done along with half of row six. It should together a little more quickly now since all I have to do is join blocks, not piece them. Woohoo!

When I took this picture, I still had 4 more blocks to finish up.

I took time out to clean out the machine, change the needle and do up a pile of bobbins. I had noticed that the machine was skipping stitches especially when it came to the joins-----grrrr. It may need to go in for servicing yet but got to try the simple fixes first, right?

I've been busy today but not necessarily at the sewing machine. DJ and I teamed up to clean up our two box fans and a small one that I use in the bathroom. While I had the vacuum out, I did the floors too. The other big project was cleaning some of the stuff out of my car trunk or what DJ affectionately calls my "office on wheels". I decided that I no longer needed to haul around the file box of old handouts and got it down to one file box instead of 2. Then took all the paper stuff to the recycle bins. It opened up some space in the trunk which is good. (Got some things for you, Teresa next time I see you, LOL) I also backed up a bunch of my files to disc as I do periodically.

Other than the usual stuff around here----Thursday I was goofing around with the "new to me" TV set up and needed some help with getting the DVD player to work. I tried all the menus and look at both manuals to see if I could figure out what to do, mulling things over for a good chunk of the afternoon. Finally I gave in and called DISH. Turned out it was not really DISH's area so they suggested I call tech support at Philips for some assistance. I think I finally figured out where to turn the TV but he affirmed said my assumption was correct. The setup button worked and I am in business. Woohoo again! I have never figured out how to go about recording on that thing, ever and still don't know BUT with the present DISH DVR set up I don't need the Philips to work for anything but playback and setting the clock. Hopefully that is the end of electronic muddling on my part.

So tomorrow I get to open my packages with the FABS--the birthday partying continues! Two of them arrived today so I am set.

I plan on starting to sew the background bits on my Skinny Strips shortly after I get up and wait for the others to come online and we can gather on IM chat. Looking forward to it..........

And sew it goes. Thanks for stopping by!

Aug 10, 2011

Happy Birthday

Yep, another one has rolled around but I feel like I have been celebrating for a week, with more to come.

The quilting group met yesterday back in our usual location. My pal Marilyn was able to come to the meeting and I had offered to pick her up. She made me a birthday cake! It is easy for her to remember what day as her son and I share it but Ronnie was getting a cheesecake. I got chocolate cake with yummy icing and purple flowers! You will just have to imagine what it might have looked like since we cut into at the meeting and I told the girls to take some home if they wished.

The girls were also so sweet to give me some bday spending money. I feel funny being singled out this way since we don't celebrate every one else's bdays in the same manner even if I am the group leader. Still, it is kind of them to do this for me. I will have to give some thought to how I will use this gift.

I thought my friend Teresa might be joining us for lunch so we did a sandwich run and went back to eat at the church in case she made it. There are 8 of us with bdays spanning from May to September so next time, we will be off to Olive Garden to celebrate those summer bdays for sure! Not that we need much of an excuse to go to Olive Garden, LOL.

Monday, I had taken some small appliances over to the thrift store. You may remember my saying that I subscribe to the theory of "something in, something out"? 4 in 1 grill in so electric fry pan, etc out. I had to drive around to the back of the building for the guys to unload my car and I spotted their exercise equipment back there. DJ's exercise bike is missing a few teeth in the gears and is probably not long for this world so I told him I would check and see if they had some at the thrift store while there. Nothing, at this time that looked like a possibility.

BUT they had a little TV for $25 bucks that had a far better picture than mine. As you can see above, we didn't come home empty handed. Part of my bday on the "spend down" bday money plan. I can't have too big of a set in here as space is limited so this is perfect. We totally forgot to ask where its remote was but any universal remote would work if you can get a code to enter according to brand. Don't really have to have a remote for the set in any case but for set color, brightness, etc.

Bless the tech support at DISH for walking me through the set up! You just can't plop in another TV and expect it to run--- silly me! They needed to have me pull up an on screen menu, scroll left and right, up and down manually with the channel and volume buttons to auto program in some channels plus give me a code for the remote. I am back in business with a nice sharp clear picture. I am pretty sure now that the DVD player is what is causing the intermittent picture cut out, not the rest of the set up. I don't need the closed captioning but I cannot figure out how to shut it off. That option is grayed out on the DISH programming menus and I don't see it listed on the Magnavox menu screen options. Oh well! The old TV? To the thrift store or there is a chance Marilyn's mom might want it.

Saturday the FABs and I will have my virtual bday party gathering on IM so I can open the quilty gifts they have made me. Pam and Cher have had their turn. I'm in the middle. Pat and Norma both have fall birthdays. One tantalizing package is already here, waiting and the others are on their way. I should give the mail person a "heads up" as she is going to be pulling in the drive and honking a lot this week, LOL. THEN we are going to sew together! Project: Skinny Strips that I recently finished kitting up. Should be fun!

Now you can see why I said in the opening statement that I have been partying all week with more to come? DJ and I will go out for lunch in a bit at a place of my choosing---and eat more of that yummy chocolate cake.

I plan to sew a bit on my Disappearing 4 patch today. I made enough blocks last evening to finish out the 4th row--24 blocks, in other words and joined into rows. I am currently 1 block short of two rows (11 blocks) for the bottom two rows---the duplicate blocks that are pieced. LOL, if I had not been recording one program and wanting to watch the season finale of "White Collar" I would have kept sewing and might joined rows 3 and 4 and then joined them to rows 1-2. Neal and Peter won out!

And sew it goes around here---------

Aug 7, 2011

Lazy Sunday afternoon

I think that I will take a cue from my Skyler and take it easy this afternoon now that I have the tenative menu planned and the groceries laid in.

With yesterday's sewing I have 32 of the 48 blocks I need for the QOV completed. I think I will take the day off from machine work though. The hand work on the Overall Bill blocks that I recently button hole appliqued is on today's "list" and maybe some embroidery or hand quilting on my Bird Brain Santas if I feel like it.

After we ate lunch, I mixed up a packaged mix of pound cake. It smells pretty yummy at my house! Even though I do have a birthday coming up this is by no means, "birthday cake". Everyone knows I do NOT make my own cake, LOL. I couldn't find any already made in the store bakery so made a pound cake in a loaf pan. I wanted to try the chocolate panini recipe in my 4 in 1 grill manual which calls for sliced pound cake (with Nutella and sliced strawberries on the inside) I WILL track down a from scratch recipe that doesn't require a tube pan---just not today in the interest of time.

The Bread flour is out because I promised DJ homemade pizza tonight. I like the crust recipe from the Prepared Pantry the best. Trust me, I tried about 7 different recipes in my quest to learn how to do yeast bread type stuff last year. I, more or less, follow their recipe for Veggie and Sausage Pizza subbing my own topping choices. Sometimes I let the crust go thru a little bit of a rise once it is rolled out. If you prefer a whole wheat crust, I can heartily recommend Perfect Pizza Crust from Taste of Home. I probably will just get the kitchen cooled down when I will have to heat it up again baking pizza, LOL.

And sew it goes------thanks for stopping by!

Aug 5, 2011

a little progress

At this point I have 20 blocks done of the Disappearing 4 patch (D4P). Most of this was completed on Wednesday as we had a lot of thunder rumbles going on yesterday. I don't sew if it is storming or lightning near by.

Shown are the twelve non--duplicating blocks that I joined into the upper 2 rows or 1/4th of the quilt. The blocks go together fairly quickly considering that there is a fair amount of seam matching. So far I am liking it. Seam matching doesn't scare me, LOL--that is a basic quilting skill learned long ago.

I will admit to pulling two centers apart just so I could keep a few of the directional fabrics going the same way. LOL, it may come up again. Block placement is purely random in that what comes up next in the block stack. My plan is to sew thru the box till I hit the bottom and setting any duplicates aside (those in the box lid) and then repeat the color sequence in the bottom rows.

Actually, I am never one to want to agonize about color/block placement much. I am not fond of the move one and then have to move 6 more----ugh. It is what it is, scrap bag yardage sewn into blocks that will make a quilt top will eventually be on a bed at the Veteran's Home. You think anyone will really notice that two brighter blues are in the same vicinity??

I have a birthday coming up next week and DJ got me the 4 in 1 grill that I had requested. In a way it reminds me of the griddle that my mom used to have that you could open up all the way and lay it down flat to make pancakes. With 6 kids in the family by the time one batch was done, you were ready for a 2nd one. The poor cook couldn't keep up with demand. That still happens around here. DJ gets started on some menu items---pancakes, omelets, quesadillas, etc, etc---and I catch up, LOL.

But anyway, you can contact grill, panini press, open grill and switch out the plates to the griddle ones. The top of the appliance tips to accomodate larger items. I ordered a used cookbook on Amazon for recipe ideas though I suspect that the George Foreman grill would be similar in say, cooking chicken. Spend down plan for the birthday money, dontcha know? There is also a blog called Panini Happy that will probably be a great go-to source. I haven't fired it up yet, mostly because I am waiting for some chicken to thaw for a Saturday meal. I already know that I want to try it on a Cuban Sandwich next week since I have some leftover pork tenderloin slices up in the freezer.

And sew/so it goes around here..............thanks for stopping by! Skyler want me to play with him and I will oblige, happily.

Aug 3, 2011

WIP Weds

Wednesday finds me in day two of cutting. Mainly I am still kitting up the components of Skinny Strips but I need to do the same for the bowtie medallion I drew up yesterday. Both tops will be part of my QOV donations for the veteran's home due to open up next spring/summer in Pell City.

I had cut thru the blue basket recently and cut strips and squares for both projects. The pattern calls for 32 1/2 inches lengths of the colored fabric and jelly roll width. Since the quilts are to finish in the 60 x 90 I cut mine 3 inches instead and surprisingly with the changes, I need one strip less than the pattern calls for. Yesterday I trimmed those down to size and cut bias binding from a RWB striped fabric. Today's goal: trim the white background down to the 21 inches I need.

For the bowties: yesterday I cut the red I want to use for the bowtie 3-D knot. I originally found this pattern years ago on Debby Kratovil site but here is a good tutorial from Bear Creek quilters blog, thanks to a Google search. I can't begin to tell you how many I have made since 1) I finally figured out how to do them since the original graphics had me stumped 2) started making donation quilts. But anyway, I cut a pile of 3 1/2 inch strips of the white that need to be sub-cut. Goal two for today. (I had a pile of creamy white cut already but those won't go to waste. See number 2 above, LOL)

The July button up applique is finished as of Monday evening but since I used matching thread, it doesn't look appreciably different. I'll get its glamour shot when it is finished and hanging. I don't feel much like prepping to quilt or quilting either my two wall hangings today, I think I will swap out machines and pull down my Disappearing 4 patch blocks to get that project moved forward. QOV projects on my mind, I guess.

There is today's plans in the quilting department. No pressing home tasks need tending or outside errands so I am staying inside and away from the heat and humidity as much as possible.

Aug 1, 2011

Design Wall Monday

Wow, how did it get to be August 1st so quickly!

I got "Summer's" buttonhole applique done yesterday afternoon so back it goes on the design wall till I am ready to baste and quilt it. Check one thing off the quilt "to-do" list.

I started on another project right after that but Skyler was insisting on sitting on it. I took the hint, LOL.

And here he is, being helpful with the kitchen floor mopping detail. Mostly, I think he just curious about why the stuff is sitting in the living room. Why is the food by the couch?

He picked out one of his two favorite chairs. You know which ones right away since I have tried, with little success, to de-hair the chair pads. Normally one sits right under the window so he can sit and sun himself. The other is a guest chair that NO guest would ever want to be seated on unless they like their rump covered with kitty fur. It is pushed up under the table and he thinks we don't see him there. I threw the towel over DJ's chair pad to keep Skyler from starting a hair collection on it. I don't have to worry about my chair---I provide the padding there, LOL.
Last night I got the stars appliqued on the July Button Up before Skyler appropriated the area behind the machine. This morning I did one of the 5 flower stems and 3 leaves before heading in to mop. Slowly but surely I am getting the job done.

Since I still need to cut the background pieces for the FAB birthday party this month, I may start pressing that. I need a stand up job between the sit-down sewing. Goodness knows, I don't want another whole day of ironing fabric. Maybe if I spread it out a bit, it will help---or prolong the "agony"

It is going to be a hot week according to the weather dude. 100 for a high one day and no chance of rain on the horizon. YIKES! Good time to stay in and sew, right?