Jul 30, 2012

cutting and kitting

I am going to go nuts if I know I have to quilt for two more weeks----the "squirrel........oh, shiny object" syndrome will surface.  I will need to stick some other short tasks or design work in there along the way.  Since I tend to save the quilting till after lunch (the a/c is on) that leaves mornings for other things.  Can I keep on track and still have a little fun.  I certainly hope so!

As I said yesterday, I am trying to use some of the donation fabrics from various sources that I have collected along the way.  I have printed off a possible pattern that will use a pile of it called Chantal from Debby Kratovil.  Only problem:  it is square.  Kids aren't square and I want it rectangular.   I can deal with not having the featured Blank Quilting fabric.

She used a blob of the big floral, 5 squares of it, at center and then used it to border it as well.   It will have to have some white space in there for me.  Too, too busy otherwise. I don't have enough of the floral to border this thing too but I could work it into the 4 patches instead of an alternate blue.  I plan on float the design with over-sized setting triangles and then bind it with same stripe as the blocks cut on the bias.

At first I had thought I would use 6 inch completed blocks, rather than 7.5 but with no outer border I am back to the 7.5 inchers.  I cannot duplicate the actual fabrics I will use in EQ without doing a bunch of scanning and re-sizing.  Like I know that bright blue I show in the sketch is actually a green Makower print and the stripe is a mix of green and pinks but I can't draw it up that way.

I basically ignore the yardage printouts, other than how many I need to cut of the patches.  I use my own calculations---how many strips to I need to cut from what.  Here again, my quick reference sheets hanging on the pegboard come in very handy.  I can expect to get 9 cuts 4.25 across the width of a fabric strip so that helps in  how  many strips I need for the 4 patches.  You know I do have one of those fabric calculators around here somewhere that belonged to my mom.  Not sure where it is but I guess I am more used to figuring these things out myself anyway, LOL.

For the setting triangles I use a chart I copied out of my Fons and Porter Quilters Complete Guide.  I don't want to actually sew on a border of the background stuff.  Instead of cutting the quarter square triangles to fit a 7.5 inch finished square, I'll follow the size square to cut for say, a 10 inch finished square instead--almost a 16 inch and the corner square half square triangles are 8.

I have given my selections the pressing they need---ugh it is too hot in the house to stand over a steam iron.  Air is not on yet but it will be soon.   I am ready to cut and kit.   I am going to have a fun time sewing when the donation quilting is done!!  If I don't visit that block of the month deal I had pulled out, there is some duck fabric that is "quacking" at me too, LOL.  Maybe that is task for tomorrow?

And sew it goes-----stashbusting and a little change in direction if only for a little while.  BQ1 awaits after lunch.

Jul 29, 2012

Still quilting---and will be for a while yet!

 Here is the view similar to what I have been looking at for a week!    It is paying off.

Puss in the Corner that was half done----finished and out for binding.

Pineapple Blossom----quilting finished and stacked

Scrappy Bowtie---quilting finished and stacked.

All three of those tops can be seen HERE

My yesterday's quilting to finish the challenge strings I had started the day before----yep, done except for the hand finishing on the binding.  I found a nice 5 pointed star in EQ and then printed off the block to a size that would fit in the actual block.  I rubber cemented the paper to some heavy weight template plastic so I could mark the top.  Where the marking lines would be too hard to see I traced the shape onto template plastic and then quilted around that.  I'll point it out when the quilt is posed for its glamour shot.

And then there is today's project.  That Jelly Roll 1600 scrappy version from back in 2011--well most of my tops were done in 2011 for the scrappy challenge so no surprise there, LOL.  I call this Hot Mess for a reason---not my style at all.  BUT it too is quilted and hand finishing on the binding awaits.

Both of these last two are in the 2012 finishes tab even if they are not quite there.  Close enough for me!

I had thought about doing some cutting tonight.  I still might but most likely will kick back and relax the rest of the evening.  My upper back and shoulders would thank me to do so.

I have a pile of 5 different colors (on the far left atop the sewing table tray) that might work for pattern I have downloaded on the computer by Debby Kratovil for Blank Quilting called Chantal.  I don't see it on the Blank Quilting free patterns but they have a ton of pattern on site.  Worth your while to go look.   The link above is on Debby's free pattern page.  I would need to re-size and make rectangular quilt so the pattern wil need some review and tweaking for Wrap Them in Love size needs.  I have been looking at most of this pile for months now and I think some pink fabric I pulled the other day may work for this-------I'll find out soon enough.

The middle pile----a BOM that a long time WTIL list mate passed on to me.  It makes up into a large bed sized quilt but I figure I can make two smaller ones instead.  One of these days I would like to get HB Judy's gift stuff started.

And of course, another quilt at the ready.   This one happens to be Picnic BQ1 from back in Sept. 2011 and the picnic fabric came from Over the Rainbow Quilt Shop as a "pay it forward".

I had kind of, sort of told myself when I got to the half way point on the pro bono quilting that I would quilt my own August Button Up project in between.  Picnic BQ gets done and I am there.  4 down and 6 to go provided I don't pin the other 4 in the closet and mess up my numbers again, LOL.   No chance of that happening as I am going to piece for several weeks after this onslaught of quilting is done.  Just so the ones in the closet get pinned before we get to the holiday months and essentially don't meet.

And sew it goes-------not much to show but hey, I have been a busy, busy girl!

Jul 26, 2012

keeping on track

Two posts in one day.  I promise to behave myself on this one. LOL.

I had a pile of things on my Wednesday "to-do" list and stayed on track. Laundry was done.  The paperwork was done and the necessary errands were run. Husband got fed and he even got the haircut he had requested!

Just before supper DJ helped me with the recovering the pressing board project.  He told me to put on some safety glasses and fetched another screw driver and pair of plier to help me pry the two layers of batting and iron quick cloth OFF.  Man, that thing looked bad and long past replacement!  After supper, I got back to actually recovering it.  Here it is as I worked on stapling the new batting back on it.

And TADA!  Here it is back in a nice clean pristine state and ready to roll for today's little "jobs"

 Here is what it normally looks like though I do try to keep things off the table so I can function.  While watching the Cardinal-Dodger game last evening (muted) and listening to the KMOX announcers on the computer, I stitched up some binding and labeled the quilt that was lacking its identifier.  Both of my list.  Cross that off.

That mauve-y pink should go with the toile backing on the 3rd quilt in the pile.  The more I got to looking at the burgundy binding, the more I thought that it might actually belong with a kitted up pinwheel project.  Better not use it.  I dug around in the cubicle tower this morning and located it, just in case.

This was NOT on the list but I got it done anyway-----last strip added to the top of all 48 Prairie Stroll blocks.

This morning was the grocery run .  DJ had invited me to go along with him to an appointment down in Oxford and then over to Cici's for pizza.  I pressed and rolled the binding as well as the pile of blocks once we got home from lunch.  

DJ was kind enough to take care of the vacuuming on our return including my sewing room.  Brave man!  Normally he acts like a thread or a pin might jump up on him if he just steps on the door threshhold, LOL.

Clean floor, clean pressing table---I'm ready to make more of a mess.  And it will be back to quilting once I swivel the sewing table around and untangle the cords I put up for Mr. Clean.  I'll back to this quilt in a minute.    I just about got 6 of the diagonal rows of ties (11 lines of quilting) done on Monday.    I count 10 more diagonal rows of ties to go.  Of course the shorter rows go a lot faster.  I'll be flipping the quilt and working from the other end after I complete the spot where I left off.  

And sew it goes--------goal is to get this one done or at least to the point of adding the binding by day's end, keeping on track as best I can.

a BOB post

What is a BOB post?   See quilter bob Quilter Bob or QB-BFF.  Good old BOB has some opinions, some that I happen to agree with and others that don't bother me near as much as BOB. Still, BOB always has interesting point of view. I see things that I may not have considered.

If you prefer not to read a bit of a rant, then skip over this one.  I'm getting older, things annoy me.  I am far less likely to "suffer fools gladly" at this point in my life.  That might be part of the reason why I got out of nursing as it is hard to feel compassion for idiotic behavior but I digress.

What set me off?   I was reading these comments on a quilt list this morning.  It is a huge list, far too much mail to keep up with and I scan the topics, reading if something catches my eye.  I read this on the subject of mystery quilts and who should do them.   I did not see the original question that was posed so it definitely taken out of context.

........... Mystery quilts are not for everyone. I think it takes a sense of adventure to enjoy them, since the fun is in the challenge. Mysteries are definitely *not* for perfectionists and/or worriers. ;-) If you feel compelled to see the completed mystery before you attempt to make it, just skip the suspense and make one of the many patterns you've already collected, lol. There's no reason to invite stress into your quilting life!
another one said "I love mystery quilts..that way I use fabric out of my usual themes...and I agree with _______, if you like perfect, matchie, etc..don't do these!!  I have a friend who has now pulled apart 2 mysteries!!!    But she is one hard cookie to please.

I do NOT like doing mysteries but it is NOT because I am a perfectionist or a worrier.  By "worrier" I assume she means someone who agonizes about color and its placement?   I DO like knowing what a quilt looks like before I invest my time and my resources into a project.  What, pray tell, is wrong with that??

I  know myself---I cannot resist the impulse to look ahead to see what happens as to me, it is about the process----how does a quilt come together,  how did the author get us from point A to point B.  To me, that is the fascinating part.  It does not ruin it for me.

I have plenty of patterns, even some mysteries projects saved on my computer because I liked the finished quilt.  Heck, most of the time I do not need the stinkin' instructions as I have been at this long enough to figure some things out for myself.  

But wait---the 2nd post bothered me more.  What is wrong with having perfectionist tendencies anyway?  "If you like perfect and matchie"?  Stop acting like that is a bad thing.  Lady, money doesn't grow on trees around here, living on a fixed income.  I better be making good use of what I have and try to make something that is pleasing to the eye, something that I can be proud of.

Her friend is hard to please??   I too have dismantled a mystery quilt I was making and re-purposed the blocks in another manner for a donation quilt.  What is wrong with that??  The time and effort and materials did not go to waste.  Another child has a quilt.   I just dismantled a pile of abandoned blocks last week to re-purpose the fabrics and re-size the blocks or substitute in another block of my choosing.   I do NOT read my action as being hard to please--that is being thrifty.

And finally----
Aren't we supposed to try to do our best-- not chop off our points and have wobbly joins, act like we know a little bit about our craft?   My work is not perfect but I DO think that we should at least try, for Pete's sake.  You want to be sloppy and call that mess "modern" quilting then go right ahead but I will not be joining you.

But as BOB says----"but then again, it is probably just me."  Now back to our regular programming.

Jul 25, 2012

meeting date

Bama Belles met yesterday---a few folks had other plans, appointments and one, I know, is traveling with her husband.    The 7 of us that were there still enjoyed some time together.  Teresa's sister Judy came with her and they were doing some cutting on a project Judy is working on, or will be working on soon.   Bev was labeling the quilt she was ready to turn in and had some binding going on another recently pinned and quilted top.  Brenda was labeling and completing the binding on her donation quilt as well.  You'll see all of those below in a minute.

Janet had a quilt to trim up and was binding with two color binding----really a neat technique and something I had not tried.  Brenda and Janet are members of a Wednesday evening group and said that a fellow member, relatively new quilter too, had shared the method with them.  If I can find a link for this, I will share it.  I know my pal Norma had used this on some placemats or table toppers at one point---maybe she can direct me?

Beverly also had a quilt to deliver and was working on a quilt for a little person in her life.  She was using panel pieces, those ones you can sew up for a cloth book for kids, but joining them together, quilt as you go style.  It is going to be cute!!  It already IS cute, LOL.  Pretty green on the back of it.  I'll get a picture when she is further along with her project.

Let me brag on the girls a bit before I tell you how I spent my day--------it being MY blog and all, you would expect that.

First up, Teresa's Toy Story Jewel Box----we had some cut 5 inch squares at the last sew-in.  I showed Teresa, Judy and Judy's guest how you can make 4 patches and half square triangles with 5 inch cut squares and shared this block with her.  She ran with it----pieced and quilted it.  Woohoo!

This is Bev's quilt----the fabric panel was an ebay or flea market find, I believe she said?  Doesn't it look soft and feminine?  Good piece to practice quilting on.  Bev would probably tell you that she is getting more comfortable with her quilting these days. 

This next one is Beverly's String quilt.  I am not sure but this could have been the blocks she was working on at the sew-in earlier this spring as the strips look to be the same size in width.   She used a small star motif to quilt and anchor the strips in the block.  Trust me, I am borrowing this idea as I have one of my own to quilt---either a large heart or 5 pointed star,  I am thinking.

Brenda was working right up to 2 p.m. to get this one finished up.  It will go in the group to be donated to the Red Cross as her husband is the person who works between them and the fire and police departments.   You will recognize the pattern as Bonnie Hunter's Scrappy Trips Around the World.  I like to think of this as being a block version of Snuggle Up---the technique is the same but on a smaller scale.   These blocks were begun at the spring sew-in as well.   

And me?  I did manage to get some sewing done though I was the last one out the door---first in, last out since I have the keys but I was not about to go till I had another strip added to my pile of 48 Prairie Stroll blocks.  That just leaves adding the top strip of teal fabric.  Picture taken right before I packed it up.  I DID get them pressed up last evening though before I set the project bag aside.

I also showed Teresa how I do a binding join since she had me to do so ahead of the meeting.  I was not sure if she would have a quilt to do it on but I sure did----the pineapple blossom I had just finished quilting the night before.  My method isn't like the books say with all that folding stuff and lining up the fold lines, blah, blah   I lay it out, line it up, mark where the edges touch and then measure a little bit wider than a quarter inch away from my tic marks with my small easy angle ruler so I get the angled cut that will match up with the angled cut I had already made on the other end of the binding.  I still need to sew on the label but that won't take long. 

I pinned up two tops with the help of the gals, two extra wide ones so again, I am grateful that Judy J and I had sewn together batting scraps for this purpose.  We had marked the size of the batting rolls so it made it easier to match things up top size wise.  One was just a hair short on the top left and lower right corner---I flagged the trouble spots. Once I got home I patched it up with some of that heat press tape using the overage of batting on the two opposite corner trim-aways.  One of the pinned tops was my Faux Log Cabin from back in October 11 and part of the scrappy challenge.  The other, one of Linda C's that I had made binding for some time back.  Yep, they go in the quilting pile but I said I was going to do this.  I planned for it, LOL.  Two finished up and two more take its place.  No wonder I am never "done" but quilting is cylical.

Brenda and I were talking about a top she had seen in Fons and Porter magazine that used a Crossed Canoes quilt block, mostly about the coloration though.  That link is for a foundation pieced block which would make piecing it a little easier, but I like to foundation piece while others are not so fond of  it.   Anyway, I said if she did not want to make a blocks with as many pieces as that one called for she might consider using the Album Cross block.  A few years back the Belles and I had explored a technique from Fons and Porter magazine--Sept/Oct. 1998 that had you piece the crossing stuff  longer than needed and the sections of quarter square triangles slightly oversized.  You then put a template shape on the ruler which lined up over the blocks center square, centered it and then trimmed down the block.   Brenda and I looked through all the printouts, clippings and patterns we had at the church and I could not find the magazine clipping---dang it but I did find a picture I could share with her that showed what an Album Cross was!  We have several photo albums (5) of our completed quilts to look through too.  Always fun to go back and visit those.   I finally found it after going through several of my notebooks here at home---that one sorta defies the categories I have my notebooks organized in, LOL and could send it off to Brenda if she wants to try the block. 

I spent some time logging in the donation quilts and updating my document as I unpacked my haul around cart after the  meeting.  Today's list contains some paper work stuff and a couple errands so I am not apt to get much done in the quilting or sewing department.  When I was looking for binding for the Pineapple Blossom in the two containers I have set up for that, I found two "somethings" that might work for the one we just pinned---strips that I had cut and then not seamed for previous quilt projects.  Seaming and pressing that along with applying that label might be all I will aspire to in the sewing department.  Also my warm and natural order just came in which means my pressing board can be recovered since I have the iron quick fabric on hand already.  I already warned DJ that the plywood board may need replacing and he might have to accompany me to Lowe's should the wood be staple worn out on both sides.  That might get tended to as well.

Okay, see how it goes.  Laundry was finished up hours ago.  Balance the checking account(s), pay the bills, bank and post office await.  Meanwhile DJ completes the kitchen cabinet project---the frame is built and he is working on the trim board.  Eventually I will get to put the stuff the is stored in there back in its place.  I believe he mentioned min-wax  or painting it yet.  Guess I better not run the newspapers to the recycle bin just yet. 

Stay cool and thanks for stopping by--------

Jul 23, 2012

sticking to my action plan

Since my Friday "kick myself in the rear" post, I have managed to complete the remaining hand work on the August watermelon Button Up AKA Paint Chip Challenge and I pinned it that evening.  I also through my ancient Country Thread inspired aCQB row quilt on the table and pinned it up as well.

Both went to the stack and my current plan is to do a couple more donation quilts and then squeeze a personal project in the mix.  Still a bit of a reward even though it is STILL quilting.

Moving on to Saturday:
I had about half of the vertical lines to go on this Positive-Negative Puss in the Corner last seen in early June.   The quilting is finished and the binding/label applied.  One of the Belles had volunteered to do some of the binding and she will get Judy's two quilts along with this one.

No sooner did I finish the PIC when I grabbed another one.  Well, I had to admit that I had to look through the pile to find t he one I wanted to work on.  Since I told them with the backing OUT to keep the cat hair from sticking to the interior. I needed to review what was pinned.

I stared the horizontal and vertical locking lines on a group project Pineapple Blossom (one of the sew-in's last year) while I watched the Cardinal-Cub game.  Wow, 12 runs in one inning and 4 of those came with two outs.  That has not happened since clear back in 1926, for Pete's sake.  They also tied a record that dated back to 1936 with 7 or 8 doubles that inning.  It may have also been the game where Matt Holiday hit the longest home run in Busch III history at a estimated 469 feet.  If not, that was the night before.  Yesterday he hit another and Beltran had one right after that as part of a 7-0 Cardinal victory!   Go Cards.  They need this after a horrible road trip recently.

Sunday arrived and I had gotten as far as only two vertical locking lines to go.  By the time I closed up shop last night I had 14 of the 24 blocks done, leaving 10 for today.  Actually the blocks are going fairly quickly since I am just stitching in the ditch around the center square and flippy triangles.  It takes a bit of zig zagging and pivoting but I'm used to that.  One corner requires some double stitching but that is okay too.

Tomorrow is Bama Belles again.  I know that one of the girls wants me to show her how you do the join on the binding to close it off on the quilt itself.  The Pineapple Blossom can be the example one.  Beyond that, I am going to take one top from the 6 in the closet (Faux Log Cabin I am thinking) to pin. I can use one of those larger batts that Judy and I had pieced  together from the batting leftovers she donated.  I will also pin one of Linda C's that is in the church closet.  That will leave 4 personal projects and 4 pro bono projects to go in my OWN closet.

I am taking my machine though so I can piece a bit on the Prairie Stroll  I started at the sew-in.  The link shows what half the blocks would look like when sewn. You reverse the position of the not strip pieced sections for half the blocks.   I need to add the light strip to all 48 blocks and then the larger strip across the top and they will be done.  Easy chain piecing, really.

I think I'll go load up the car with most of what I will need.  Soon enough it will be lunch time. Good leftovers on hand too.   Yesterday was "spoil your husband day" as DJ got his all time favorite meal of turkey and trimmings though the only thing I used the oven for was heating up some Sister Shubert IQF yeast rolls.  Stop top, microwave and crockpot to the rescue.  Even the pumpkin pie was no-bake though my recipe calls for one egg, not two. Of course, now DJ thinks spoil your husband days should occur more often.  He can take it, LOL but I told him he does all right for himself.  I got two meal compliments two nights in a row----he doesn't tell me that often!   I think I'll go track down some ciabatta rolls though so we can have a turkey sandwich for one of today's meals.  No cooking tonight!

Lastly, here is Skyler keeping me company this morning and looking out the recently mowed yard.  DJ had discovered the fire ants making a mound under the splash pad by the downspout and had treated them to some ant stuff.  That is why it is sitting out in the middle of no where.  Well, I had some ants in here too on the pressing table.  Maybe after the scent of the homemade pressing spray--one recipe has a bit of liquid starch in it.  I have also seen them in the iron in years past.  Man, I hate those things!  With that dark green carpet in here, Skyler usually spots them moving long before we do.  I was whopping them pretty good with the checkbook when I saw them.

And sew it goes 'round here----hope you have a great day in whatever you chose to do.

Jul 20, 2012

What's next? need some motivation or an action plan

Well, I am still at the hand applique stitching but almost done.  That leads me to the "what's next?"  question.  One plan has me cutting the first 10 Farmers' Wife Sampler blocks out----they would ready for sewing when I am ready, even at a Bama Belles meeting.

2nd plan:  pin this one so I can quilt it up and actually display it in the coming month.  If it is done then I have binding to do at the quilt meeting.  If I am going to pin, then I would pin the ancient Country Thread inspired Row Robin piece as well though quilting it would go lower down on the stack.

3rd idea----tackle this stuff first.  That is not all of them as the mostly done one is on the pressing/cutting table.  Skyler is starting to use it for a nap spot the past few days and thinks it is "his" at this point.  I don't "feel" like quilting but seriously, when I examine my goals and motivations, when do I ever really feel like quilting??  It is a means to an end and piecing is my true love with embroidery right behind that.  That is why it has been relaxing to do the hand button hole on this button up.

This pile, as I have said before, is the first thing I see every morning.  It truly needs to be dealt with.  6 are my donation tops, 2 belong to other group members.  One I volunteered for and the other, I did not but it still needs to be completed for the kids.   Some would be a little faster finishes than others----let's be optimistic and say if I quilt some every day, I could be done in a week and half, maybe???  What good are they doing a child just sitting there?  Suck it up and just quilt the darned things. I was on a roll with them before I went back to Illinois in June, got side tracked and never got back on the rails.  Just do it, Linda.

If I am so much into what I "feel" like doing, if I could make anything I wanted to make?  I would finish up the Prairie Stroll top that I started at the sew-in----also something I could do at Bama Belles on Tuesday.  If I am into the throes of quilting, it would be a nice break for a day or so.  What else?  Finish up the Popsicle Sticks quilt top last seen in February HERE packed up for another day and  HERE as blocks in progress.  I think it is a going to be a nice bed sized quilt in my favorite colors and I want it on the bed eventually.   I also know that the leftovers in the container, some of them at least, will be going into the Farmers' Wife Sampler.  BUT I really cannot start taking fabrics out of there until I know, for sure, that they will not be needed in PopStix.  (It is a mix of stash and a Me and My Sister Amelia jelly roll that I got with my Christmas money last year and fabric I found on markdown sale at the quilt shop.  Some of the selections can be seen HERE ).  Any over-cuts can be used for some of the 6 inch blocks that  make up the FWS---not all of them but some of the fabrics should go with the Vintage Modern selections I have made.

Okay, have I kicked myself in the butt enough to make me want to get the ball rolling?  Maybe but I may need the nudge of quilting friends.  You have my permission to nag, LOL.  I do well with short term goals so I will say "just for today, I will finish THIS top and pin it.  Any time leftover?  Finish quilting the one I am almost done with and maybe start another".  There, was that so hard??  LOL.

Meanwhile, this one wants to play!  Anything to keep him from sleeping his day way on the kitchen chair pushed up under the table.  "His" chair pad got soooo badly covered with cat hair (dark forest green solid---bad choice of color!) that we recently tried an experiment.  I got one of the least cat haired cushions out of the storage room---mine since I don't use one.  That one is DJ's now, Skyler got DJ's and the two worst ones were sent thru the washer.  If this experiment did not work, then nothing lost.  If it did, we have some to fall back on when company comes.  Actually what cat hair remained seemed to brush right off and they don't look too bad.  Shed away, Skyler but I will snap you up for some window perch time.

And sew it goes------

Jul 18, 2012

WIP Weds

Today finds me button hole appliqueing by hand on all these watermelon seeds.  At this writing 16 are done so that leaves 13 1/2 to go.  How do I have a half seed?  That one is under the crow.  I am liking how it looks so may continue to just hand button hole the lettering and the crow as well.

Since I last posted, I completed the Lil Twister Christmas wall hanging as well as the vintage spoon.  Both are shown below.

I have also gotten some batting joined, labels on two quilts that were turned in with them and re-did up the binding since I sewed two sides into the quilt.  Quilt document is updated and quilts put up in the closet in a holding pattern.  Lots of hand work as you can tell.  Oh, and spent a big chunk of the day un-sewing a pile or abandoned blocks so I can re-purpose the sections and fabrics.

Jane had asked me to make a run over to Ashville House Quilt Shop today as she had missed the Block of the Month this past Saturday due to the Friendship Quilters sew-in.  Also the owner Pat had ordered something for her that she needed to pick up.  Jane had gotten a new sewing machine for her birthday and this was an ancillary piece.  We also ran into a husband and wife quilting team for her guild in Gadsden.  I know the couple as well from helping to set up for the quilt show.  They had wonderful quilt that was similar to Lady of the Lake with a lot of Civil War fabrics in it.  Kathy said they had used other pieces in their stash to make the top.  Howard reported that he had learned how to do log cabin blocks recently.

The shop was having 20% off everything and 25% off Christmas related items and will till the end of the month.  What did I get?  Boring old white Moda solid, LOL for the Farmer's Wife Sampler.  Not sure if it is block backgrounds or sashing bits yet but I believe I got plenty enough to at least get started----one of these days!

Since it was lunch time we shot over to Gadsden and a Mexican restaurant that Jane had  been to before.  I was home by 1:30 and back to watermelon seeds while I try to back up my computer files.  I do it monthly and today is the day, even though I had to leave in the middle of it.  Woohoo!  It is finally done. just now and had started at 8 a.m.

A quilter acquaintance from the Jacksonville quilt group had called and left a message about my possibly piecing two quilt tops for someone using her two daughter's clothing.  I do not know why this person was calling other than she does know me nor do I know how Carolyn had gotten my cell phone number.  Few people use it including me, LOL.  I don't know what sizes of tops or any details other than the woman is ill (can't do it herself?) and is willing to pay to have the work done.  I begged off.  Even if  I were caught up, which I am not, she wants them in time for Christmas.  Don't they always?

It will take me a month to get done what I need/want to do at the very least.  Should I get the 8 pinned donation tops on the armoire quilted as well as the two summer Button Ups done, there are still 8 more donation  tops to be pinned along with 3 other personal project.   This is starting to sound like work, not fun!  I am all about the fun, right?   Some of the long armers will set a September deadline for when they will take tops in order to have them done by the holidays.  It is a losing proposition as well---no one is ever willing to pay what you should ask for something like this.  I am also a little curious as to why no one in their actual quilt group is willing to do it when I have not been a member of that group for some time.  One of the last t-shirt tops I did for Out of the Box, the woman actually wanted the actual shirts fastened to the top, I guess.  Last I heard Joan and Susan were going to tack baby socks on to it after it was quilted.    You can't win.   I pass.  Ask someone else.

Elsewhere around the house,  DJ and I discovered that we have a real mess under the kitchen sink.  I was getting out something the other day and noticed that the bottom of the cabinet had completely buckled up.  Also we got a mold/mildew thing going on.  When we were going thru the 3 different dishwashers saga a few months back, we would take everything out from under the sink plus take one of the cabinet doors off the hinges to allow for access to the dishwasher hook ups.  We had applied new contact paper and noted no such mold/mildew situation.  At some point I noticed an odor but because we didn't see anything, I thought it must be the drains or something.  We don't use one side of the sink much and I needed to keep it flushed out better, I thought.   There was no standing water, no dripping from the hose, it is dry under the dishwasher itself.  I had visions of water having seeped under the laminate flooring or something and growing a bunch of mold.  DJ pooh poohed that notion.  Who knew about this mess though?

For now he has tried to clean out the area and of course, is working on removing the bottom board and spraying it again this morning.  What a mess!!!  I feel bad that DJ is having to deal with it.  He has watched enough of "Holmes on Homes" to know what NOT to do.  He tried calling a mold remediation guy but they charge 150 bucks to just come out and consult, before they even do anything----he said forget that!  My main job was to find some place to put the kitchen towels and dish cloths as well as the cleaning supplies and storage bags plus keep Skyler out of the way.   The joys of home ownership.

And sew it goes-----back to the watermelon seeds for me.

Jul 16, 2012

Monday check-in

Friday morning came and it was time to be off to the Christmas in July 3 day sew-in with the Friendship Quilters Guild in Pell City.  The Calhoun County contingent had signed up for Friday and Saturday only.  Hubby, at left, gets a little bent out of shape when I am gone "too much".  I always tell him it could be far worse as I COULD be gone just about every day of the week, somewhere at some quilt group IF I wanted to.

But really I do not get anything done on my home projects if I am gone like that.  After all, my Belles had just met a few days before.  Thursday was shot as well with errands to run. I needed to be sure DJ had something here at home he could for lunch if he did not want to go out and better yet, leftovers so I would not need to cook Friday evening if I was too tired.  Of course, I had Tex-Mex cake to bake to share with the gang too.

The other thing, Skyler just sleeps all day apparently when I am not  home to roust him.  DJ was adding that guilt trip on me too-----"YOU were not home to play with him. He won't run and play with me"  Just look at those poor neglected fellows.  Feel sorry for them?  Naw, me neither, LOL.  They'll get over it.

The theme of the sew-in programs was things that we could make for Christmas gift giving.  We had to sign up if we wanted to participate in the sections as some were preparing kits and some had a supply list ; they needed a head count. Some of the things offered----pitter patter slippers, chenille scrarf, a scarf made from various yarns, e-reader cover, vintage pin cushion and needle case, a foundation pieced needle case and a collegiate folded star ornament---pick Auburn or Alabama.   The program committee could keep you in 2 hour class sessions all 3 days if you wanted.  Some sessions were repeated by arrangement with the instructors as well.   Of course, you could work on your own projects if you preferred.  I got a good start on the Prairie Stroll top that I cut out and showed you in a recent post.

I am showing the three things I made and/or am in the process of completing.  On Friday Carole walked us through making this little twister wall hanging.   She had provided the fabric kits and Christmas squares for this.  I quilted it up yesterday but had elected to use a darker colored binding than was provided in the kit.   Finishing up the binding is on today's list of "to do's"  I made a little hanging tab so I can affix it to the holly and pear hanger from Ackfeld Wire.  One of the guild members has a business license and sells out of her home and at quilt shows so she had some hangers for sale.  I have other Ackfeld hangers in my home and snapped this little cutie up!  I knew that this type would have to be sewn onto the hanger as I did with the Be Attitude quiltlets so I'll add a small snap to the tab and back of the piece.  Mark this down as a "getting there" project.

Sarah does the most gorgeous Victorian themed projects as well as felts wool and explores the folk art, primitive aspect of quilting. Wonderful stuff!  I am not quite done with the Vintage spoon as I need to hand stitch the bowl of the spoon yo-yo to the doily.  The fabric is vintage handkerchiefs but lined with a dark huck cloth and then stuffed.  Sarah found me some peachy-pink ribbon that I will lace through the doily holes and then I will embellish with the little leafs and a button.  These girls were hitting the thrift stores and yard sales for some of the supplies though Sarah was sharing from her ribbon collection for her sessions.  Oh, I should also tell you, when they could not find the small doilies that they needed one of the girls in the guild did a bunch of them up for the kits.  I do not crochet with thread and barely do with yarn so I admire that Dixye was able to provide them for us.

After the spoon project was near enough to completion, we moved on to the iron caddy pad with Shelia's assistance.  I had most of this done by the time I left on Saturday.  The binding had to be hand finished and the button sewn on----picture was taken yesterday afternoon when that part was completed.   Ironing pad surface up of course and ready for the next sew-in, come October??  Or is that the retreat?

Shelia had completed 3 of these as examples.  Not only did she have the full sized one like I made up but the junior travel iron sized and even a mini version not included in the pattern for an itty bitty iron she had purchased at a quilt shop.  Too cute!

Here it is all folded up with the iron inside.  I think those bubble gum ball buttons came from my friend Cindy.  I know the fabric is from way back in 1993 so about time it found a use, right??

I do love the time away at the sew-in's.   Fun, fellowship, good food, sharing with like minded people.  I might get more done at home but I didn't do too badly.  It takes some time to put all the stuff you drug with you away but that is part of it.  I am always grateful that I finally found some quilters and spending time with them is such a blessing to me.  After all, that took two long years to happen, way back when!

DJ and I just passed the 15 year mark of living here in Alabama, yesterday--- July 15, 1997.  That might be way I was commenting about the two long years part.  Yeah I can sew without others and did.  I didn't get my first computer until the following year November of 98.  Then the whole world opened up to me and guess what?  I finally met a local quilter named Joy online in August of 99.  Through her, because she knew "everybody", I found a few of my local quilting friends.  Others came along in the years that followed, groups evolving.   I had to laugh recently when a quilting friend I met maybe 10 years ago met one of my pals from a year ago in my presence.  It was like "how do you know Linda?"  No one would have met if not for me---or it would have taken a little longer to have it happen, more like.  LOL

Okay, other things on the "to-do" list after I finish my little wall hanging  Start the hand button hole on those watermelon seeds.  The proper machine is still set up to do the machine button hole applique.  After that, I have a couple labels to sew on some donation quilts---and they need the same machine.  Finish quilting #4 pro bono quilt, same thing.  

Okay, now that the a/c was turned on, I am heading to the shower and get dressed.  Hope you have a great day and thanks for stopping by my little spot in bloggerland.

Jul 11, 2012

WIP Weds

Sounds good anyway, LOL.  Posted by a Facebook and Guild friend

Last night, and into today, I had some things on the mental list that needed tending.  This was the contents of a box Mom and I had packed up when I was back home.  My sister had offered to UPS it to me since she often visits the mailing spot to help her husband in his job.  DJ had to haul it back to the sewing room and said "I wish you would tell your friends and family not to be mailing such heavy boxes!"  14 lbs worth, LOL.

The fact that it had not come so soon after my arrival back from Illinois gave me time to find some room for this shipment. The pile on the left is abandoned blocks.  I pulled out the blue-y pastels one thinking they might work in with the stuff on my design wall---the abandoned project pro bono quilt I spoke of yesterday.  There is another stack of more fall toned blocks that I set aside for now.  And then, there are some that I will pull apart for the fabric as I like the fabrics but not what they were used for.

The basket fabric was put with the other basket fabrics that Maggie, Sheila and Mom had sent me.  I love basket blocks so I would like to use that for a  basket sampler project.  I will use some of it in the Farmer's Wife Sampler (FWS) though since there are several basket blocks included in it.  I had even located that missing piece of my own in one of the fabric bins the other day.  Since I had emptied out the temporary project box for the August button returning all the greens, etc to their starting off point, that freed up a spot.

The 30's charm pack---I've got bits of that in four different places along with a larger snap tote of feed sack fabric.  I found a spot, LOL.  I may work some of it into my Two of Kind/Cheap Trick shown HERE.  I have not worked on that one for a while and forgot what size things needed to be cut. 

The blacks and grays?  I had made room recently switching a couple bins etc around where I could get at the basket a bit more easily.  That was easy enough.  I love that pink with tan dots---kids quilt or it may work into the Popsicle Sticks project, FWS blocks, if I ever get around to replicating the Indiana Puzzle I made for my niece Beth shown HERE.

Also last night I was on the hunt for something to use for iron caddy pad that I will be making at the Christmas in July sew-in this weekend.   I knew I had several pieces of sewing themed fabric but where were they?  I was digging in all the appropriate totes on the sewing room shelves in that hunt.  Finally I found this pink and blue button print-----oh, is this piece old!  But then so is the red and green spool print that I dug out at the same time, LOL.  Then my eye went to this pink and white stripe that I will cut on the bias for the binding pieces.  It calls for one inch buttons, preferably shank type.  I found these in my button box and think I WILL try to use them rather than make a store run for others.  Look like a wad of chewing gum, don't they?  The caddy pattern looks cute enough to be a purse! In fact, Jane thought she might want hers to BE a purse.  The fabric she had gotten would have looked cute if she lined it with her alternating piece.   I still need to cut out the section I need and the binding, obviously.

Since I was already deep into head sweating with ironing fabric, I decided I better get this pile of binding pressed and rolled.   (The a/c was not on at the time and the two fans I had on were not keeping up with the humidity outside)



Now the table is cleared off and I can cut the caddy sections.

The a/c is on now and I believe that I will sew the two on the left onto the appropriate donation quilts.   Jane has dibs on two of the quilts in the stack that I have quilted but one of the Belles that lives near me has volunteered to take a couple more off my hand.  I had set aside one of the pro bono quilts when I went on vacation and never got back to it.  I should finish it up.  I don't think that will be happening today but you never know!

Tomorrow I will need to do the grocery run, pack up my stuff for the sew-in and I am signed up to bring a dessert.   I'm thinking Tex-Mex sheet cake might be just the ticket.   DJ said to just get something from Wal-mart's bakery but I won't do that.  A lot of the girls do but I like to bake and store bought stuff does not cut it for me.  That sheet cake does not have to be in the oven long since you bake it on a jelly roll pan plus it satisfies that taste for chocolate and it is GOOD!  Yep, got a plan.

Now I best get back to it----- 

EDIT---I was asked about a recipe link for my Tex-Mex Cake.  Try this one  

Jul 9, 2012

woohoo--almost finished to flimsy!

Can you tell what was keeping me busy this weekend?

Yep, watermelon blocks for the August Joined at the Hip Button Up.  By last evening, the top was together minus the borders.  Borders and the applique elements were fused down today.  Of course, I will need to do some button hole applique to stick this all down.  I also will need to make the hanging tabs.  It is prepped but just not sewn yet so that is why I am going with the "almost" finished moniker.  I prefer my trusty Viking for the BHA but I am considering doing all those watermelon seeds by hand as it might be a bit of a pain in the neck stitching something that small down by machine.  That will mean swapping out machines since I was foundation piecing those watermelons with the Brother.

The preview is pinned in place.  I think it turned out pretty cute though my version is much lighter in tone with the backgrounds and the pale green at the top.  Got that green peridot, August birthstone thing going on, I guess. Oh, I could have gone with mixed tans like the cover photo but white on white went better with my border choice of fabric and tans did with their choice.  The tabs and binding will both be the same red as the cornerstones and lettering.

As I was working on this today I flashed to an old pass-around row quilt from a quilt list I used to moderate, aCozyQuiltBee. Parts of this were inspired by a pattern in Country Threads Quilt Shop Series from that patchwork place.   This would date back to the early 2000's though the book is old and copyright 1992.  The gals added their own touches though some of the motifs are in the book.   Back in February 2010 I had added the loose bird house block at the button and had pieced the flying geese sections for fill and then it went in the bedroom closet with the rest of the tops.  SIGH.

 The thought had occurred to me that this was about the width of one of the Button Up pieces.  I had already considered taking that button section off and adding it to another project.   So I did just that!  I'll plan on adding it to the Button Up collections even though it is NOT one.  It still says "Summer" to me!

So what do I  have planned for that bottom piece??  I figure that I can take those foundation pieced sections of flowers that I showed you on the design wall  HERE .  Add the mis-cut watermelon blocks and crow from last Friday's post and work that up into something for the kids.  Toss in a butterfly block or two and add some other fill block to bump up the width.  More abandoned blocks are on their way to me.  I even have a Pam Bono cat block around here that could be added.  I think it would be cute and a bit of a challenge too.  It measures about 23 inches across at the moment and normally we shoot for 40 wide x 60 long. I'll figure it out.

The only other thing that I did on the quilty front was do up a chart for the Farmer's Wife Sampler---mostly which blocks from the book I plan on using and which one were my substitutions.  I was having problems spotting them in the printout and many of them I can use the Marti Michell sets.  Thing is those were not done in order but rather by which template set was predominantly used meaning each grouping of about 10-11 blocks has some similarities in their grids.  All are components really of a 3 x 3, 4 x 4 and even a 5 x 5 grid which is not easy in a 6 inch completed block.  There are about 10 that did not have conversion to MM's templates but half of them I would not have made anyway. With the table I formulated I now have a better handle on whether I hand piece some, foundation piece some, conventionally piece or use the template sets and conventionally piece---less flipping through the book, my notebook etc to locate what I am looking for. 

As I said last week, this will be a busy week with a good bit of time away from home on quilty endeavors.  I am not even decided what I want to take to Belles tomorrow and still need to pick our some fabric, etc for the iron caddy deal for Friday or Saturday.  I can find fabric easily enough around here but need coordinated binding and shank buttons for the job.  I barely looked at the supply list and should since I will be out near Hobby Lobby tomorrow if there is something needed that I don't have----like elastic!!  "The Closer" final six episodes are starting back tonight so I have a feeling that some of my sewing plans for this evening will wait.   Oh, and the Home Run Derby is tonight too if I want to see how my Cardinal representative Carlos Beltran fares.

Must go feed the husband------

Jul 6, 2012

Friday check in

Well, I got ONE watermelon pieced anyway to go with the backwards cut crow.  Too bad I accidentally cut off the seam allowance on one side of it.  I cut out replacement sections, prepared another foundation base and didn't touch it at all yesterday.  Probably a smart move when things are not going so well.  I want to love this project, after all.

It's 2:30 Friday afternoon and I STILL haven't touched it but today was laundry and errands to run.  At one point it was far cooler in the car than the house so I did not mind running all over the Calhoun County countryside so much.

I am still getting myself organized to start cutting on the Farmers Wife Sampler.  I have the Marti Michell template sets that I want to use for the job though there is one more thing I plan to order with my birthday money from DJ next month.   Make that two things as I want the smaller sized log cabin ruler she has.  I really like the larger one and was using it with good result on "My Sunshine" last seen HERE.  

To help with the organization deal I ran to the thrift store yesterday.  Some of my grocery errands were right next door so that was a plus.  I knew that I wanted to use some plasti-dip on the back of all the templates.  It would be easier to keep them on a cookie sheet or something to carry them outside to spray them.  No luck finding a cookie sheet but I DID find an old cafeteria tray.  Perfect!  I see traces of glitter on it so I am thinking someone else had used it for a craft project at some point.  When the picture was taken I were all sprayed along with a few of my fav rulers and 4 trips outside.

 That was a nice morning project!  One of these days I will actually put these to use.  Right after I am done with the Button Up top, I  keep telling myself.  The initial 9 blocks I will cut almost exclusively use set B since they concentrate on a 3 x 3 grid and a 6 inch finished block.
...... here is what it looks like now.  The package inserts with pattern suggestions are filed in the Farmers Wife Sampler notebook I have set up.  I am not saying that this is how it is going to remain but until I can get another small container with a snap lid similar to what I keep my thread in, this will do.  I'll be going near a store that carries those next Tuesday or if I go north, next Friday.  Combine your  trips when possible.

And here is what the latest tweaking of the blocks looks like.  I just cannot resist playing with the designs---adding some, dropping others that I decided I liked more.  By now I would have to call this "inspired by Farmer's Wife Sampler" since half is original and the other half, my choices.

It is another hot summer day, of course.  At one point there were some thunderstorm warnings out but I think that has passed over.  Hot and hazy with sun blazing right now with high 90's predicted.  Just like most of the country, in other words.  It might be safe to try to re-make a watermelon until any pop up thunder rolls in as it has been doing.

And sew it sort of goes 'round here--------

Jul 4, 2012

Happy 4th and other stuff

 First of all, no, that is NOT my quilt but I know where you can find the pattern as this was posted on Facebook by Fons and Porter Love of Quilting.  I just borrowed the graphic, etc to wish you a Happy Independence Day as well.  

They said "Happy 4th of July from the Fons & Porter Staff. We are proud to present a Quilt of Valor design in each Love of Quilting magazine. This quilt is Unfurled Glory, which is featured in the July/August issue. To find out more about the Quilts of Valor Foundation, please click the link to visit their website. http://www.qovf.org/"

Pretty quilt, huh?

I have been busy getting ready to piece the August Button Up.  Actually, there were a few minutes yesterday where I thought I could start piecing.  Instead I prepped the applique elements as once the pieced elements are done, I would not want to wait to finish up.  I messed  up though.  Normally the designers have NOT reversed the applique elements so imagine my surprise when I realized I had wasted some of the black Belles challenge fabric on a crow that faces the wrong direction.   GRRRR  I usually turn the applique motif page over and trace the design off on the BACK side as I prefer to use either Pellon Wonder Under or Steam a Seam regular stuff.  I never have any luck with the paper staying where it is supposed to when I use Steam a Seam 2.   Stuff like the water melon seeds don't matter but it sure does matter on letters and apparently, crows, LOL.   I did not cut out the 30 watermelon seeds as I was sure those would get lost in the shuffle but they are marked.

Then after I had cut out all the pieces as directed I took a closer look at the design.  Why were they breaking up the darker green rind into three smaller pieces??  Well, I kind of knew why as they had you cut a larger triangle of lighter green to do flippy triangles instead of having you cut the larger water melon piece down and cutting a bias strip for the lighter rind.  This could be foundation pieced!

You guessed it----off to EQ to draw it up.  I knew the blocks were to finish 10 x 8.    I knew what they told me to cut the other sections.  Easy enough to draw up.  Only "bad" thing was having to tape 4 pieces of pattern together for 6 blocks.  By the time I got all that done, no sewing.

I re-cut the green and background pieces as today's task just to be on the safe side.  It helps to have a bit more fabric for trimming and folding back in foundation piecing work.  I had to seam a few of the pieces to make it happen but I don't think it will be too noticeable.  The girl that I have been giving the Button Up patterns to once I am done with them will get a little extra when I hand it off provided she likes my green choices, that is.  My friend Pat was so good to send me some darker greens recently to augment some I had on hand. While I did not use all the selections, I appreciate her sharing from her bounty.  I'll pay that forward especially since they are already cut to size.  

So other than seaming some of the darker green stuff together so I could cut a larger half square triangle, this is all the sewing that I got done so far today.  Three quilts worth of binding.  The red is for the button up while the other two go on Judy's pro bono quilts that she recently turned in.  

There have been some more thunder bumpers this afternoon so I am waiting to see if anything more comes of it before turning the machine back on.  Lord knows, I do NOT want to stand over the steam iron anymore today.

Other than that, I spent some time last night looking at the Marti Michell instructions for cutting out the Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks.  Just a reminder these are all 6 inch finished blocks.)  She has them broken down into groups that use her Perfect Patchwork Template system, according to which set.  The first bunch are are made from the 4 inch set (B) since it includes templates for 2 inch finished half square triangle, squares and quarter square triangles.  Turns out I am actually using most of the blocks on the first lesson or replaced with others that could use them.   She has also incorporated some of the line eliminating I had done when I drew the blocks up in EQ so that is a plus.  9 blocks to start with.  As soon as I finish up this Button Up top, I am cutting chart #1 out! 

Next week I will be gone a good bit since I have Bama Belles on Tuesday and the guild "Christmas in July" sew-in is coming up on Friday and Saturday (13th and 14th).  It starts on Thursday but we are only going the two days.  They are going to have some cool workshop sessions with an eye for making Christmas gifts etc.  Two I plan on taking are an iron caddy similar to the one in the link and a Christmas door pull/mug rug using a Lil Twister ruler.  Should be fun!  I'll take whatever project I am working on here at home as well.  

Busy, busy---most always something going on 'round here and more that probably SHOULD be worked on.  And sew it goes----------

Jul 2, 2012

drafting, cutting on a Monday

Ah, Monday.  I seem to have slipped into the sewing/quilting doldrums last week.  I wake up and see that pile of pinned quilts or ones that need labels sewn on and binding done and at times that can be overwhelming.  Normally what gets me revved up is to give myself permission to play with something else---new fabric, new pattern, new technique, anything but what needs attention.  That other stuff will get done eventually but I wanna have some fun!

Norma and I were chatting this weekend and she had the perfect description for "wanna have fun".  It goes ".....squirrel......shiny object".  While this was actually talking about a dog named Dug in the movie "Up",  it does describe how easily she and I can be distracted from the task at hand.  Someone at her work had used this analogy for a co-worker's behavior and the phrase stuck.  Apparently others have been watching their dogs as well as there is something called "shiny object syndrome".    Well, that can be me once Norma and I start surfing.  I did download a bunch of patterns from Blue Hill Fabrics but that was because I was looking for their line of Little Stars.   BUT I make no apologies for that.  I think you HAVE to allow for distractions to spark your creativity and keep things fresh.  Yeah, you can go overboard and all ADHD about it but surely there is middle ground!

It has been so unbelievably hot this last week that no way do I want a quilt on my lap to machine quilt it.  The a/c was barely keeping up with 100 degree temps outside.   I wanted to sew and that means cutting first if the project was going to be something fun and/or new.  Saturday I pressed out the folds (not fun in the over-warm house even with the a/c on---he has been a little better about turning it on this year, I'll give him that) for the combo of fabrics above.   I cut out two Prairie Stroll tops for pro-bono quilts----one is going to my mom with blocks cut according to the pattern of 9 inches.  Mine is re-sized down to 7.5 inch blocks so I'll need 48 of them instead of 35 for quilt that I will likely donate to Friendship Quilters for their comfort quilt program once it is done.  By the time I was done cutting I didn't feel like sewing.  Oh, I also cut binding for Judy's two pro-bono quilts that she turned in the other day.

Yesterday I started to cut out the August Button Up---image borrowed from the Joined at the Hip website.  This will also be my green paint chip (WM062) challenge for Friendship Quilters, due in time for our Christmas party.  I got the rosy reds/pinks rough cut for the watermelon.  Then Skyler decided to park himself right on the cutting/pressing table.  I dug out the small mat and June Taylor board and cut them to size but clearly, he was telling me to forget about cutting the backgrounds or the greens.  That would require the iron and a cat that still would not move.  Now, you might say "He's portable---move him.  Whose the boss here?"  Well, he does bite. Those little teeth are sharp!  Find something else to do---like sew!  Sew some Prairie Stroll blocks.  By the time I got the machine out the thunderstorms hit.  I am NOT going to blow out another motherboard on my sewing machine so I did not even plug the thing in.  It was almost time to start supper anyway.  It pays to have other things on the agenda, LOL.  I do plan on getting back to this after lunch today though.

I am not complaining about the rain as we are in the moderate drought range. With most of the state under drought conditions I would not have been surprised if they had cancelled 4th of July fireworks and discouraged people from shooting off their own.  Too much risk of grass fires and wild fires, you would think.  Anyway, DJ said we had about an inch fall and in a very short time. Flash flood warnings even went out.   Some parts of Anniston had hail and strong enough winds to topple trees and down power lines.  In this heat and then humidity I feel bad for anyone without power.  Of course, the temps dropped with the rain which is a blessing. This morning there is lots of cloud cover and we thought more rain would come too but the thunder bumpers remained off in the distance.   Our thermometer currently reads 75 so that is about a 20-25 degree drop in the highs we have been dealing with.  Again, a blessing,  I hope other parts of the country that have been roasting will get some relief.  
Okay on to the drafting thing-------
I belong to the stashbuster list on yahoo group, a large group of about 2000 and  lots of mail group that I normally just scan for topics.  I delete a lot of it but every once in a while something will pique my interest.  Someone needed help in drafting a block as she planned on re-doing an antique top she had bought but with more accurately cut pieces.  To get the pieces out she needed to make smaller blocks for a Texas Star quilt.  The commercial templates from the site I just gave you were too big at 8 and 12 inches.  She stated "I've searched for two days for a predrafted pattern at 5 inches".  This is the block below in EQ.  

Okay, a 5 inch finished is a rather odd sized block to find so I am not surprised that she was having trouble in her search.  Also she said Google was pointing her towards Lone Star blocks instead of Texas Stars---similar in name maybe but not the same thing in design.  I wrote in and asked if she would not like to try to draw it up herself.  It is not hard, really it is isn't.

A small rant coming.   I honestly feel like quilt teachers do their students a disservice when they don't teach their students how to draft.  And even if they don't want to ever adjust a blocks they see to fit their own needs, quilters still need to think in terms of grids, for Pete's sake.  That is how you approach a block to sew it together.  Most blocks DO fit a grid pattern--well, this one may not since it is a hexagon but if you look carefully you generally can see a symmetrical pattern.  3 x 3, 4 x 4 and usually with some pieced elements---4 patches, half square triangles, quarters square triangles, whatever.

I tell you, the whole world opens up and you are not locked in to using a commercial pattern.   But you, dear quilter, are NOT at their mercy.  The magazines and books do not have to have you locked in if you just stop and analyze the block(s) and learn how to adjust things.   No more do you have to think "it is a full sized quilt and I want a crib instead so how can I adjust the block size".  Or " it is square and I want a rectangular quilt.  Guess that one is out."   

NOTHING is ever truly brand new in quilting---oh, that is a rant for another day for sure.  Those ladies who designed these blocks all those years ago are the real innovators.  They did not have all the fancy toys and still made some amazing quilts.  Oh we might be able to cut them more accurately---the tools changed with rotary cutters and now accu-quilt.   Or  we can turn them out more quickly with strip piecing or a quick quilt trick  but that just streamlined the process.  Most of it is pretty tried and true.   ( Ask me what I think about so called Modern Quilting some time, LOL) .  Even our fabrics are mostly inspired by preceding decades in color and/or style.  Case in point---turns out 4 of the 6 fabrics I recently purchased based on color alone from thousandsofbolts are all Civil War Repros!  A 5th was already in my stash and is also a civil war repro.  Go figure!  

For drafting two books that helped me were---

  • Jinny Beyer's The Quilter's Album of Patchwork Patterns.  This book had not only a ton of blocks in it but she had an acetate grid thing done up that you could lay over the thumbnails in the book to actually see the sectioning of the block.
  • Joen Wolfrom's Make Any Block Any Size.  This uses a formula for drawing up blocks/block divisions by tick marks on a ruler.  I believe a drafters or carpenter's methodology.

So what did  I post to try and help that list person?   Here is my sketch below but without all the extra lines erased yet.

And here is how you do it---------

  • Draw a box the size you want.  In my case, 6 inch---my block, my size, LOL.  Draw a line at the halfway point both horizontally and vertically. 2 x 2 grid.  You don't necessarily need 1/4 inch graph paper but I had some on hand.
  • Next visit a tutorial that tells you how to draw a hexagon using a circle.  Try this one  http://www.craftpassion.com/2010/04/tutorial-how-to-draw-hexagon-for-quilt-block.html  but essentially stick your compass at the center of the block which in my case was 3 inches,  Draw a circle.   
  • Where the horizontal line crosses the circle, place the compass tip and maintaining the 3 inches you set on the compass make a tick mark.  Keep moving the compass from tick mark and mark that same distance all around the periphery of the circle.    
  • Mark from tick mark to tick mark and you have a 6 sided figure and that hexagon that will hold the star inside it.
  • Next find the midline mark of each side of the hexagon.  The top and bottom is already marked by your initial 2 x 2 grid.  In my case that was at 1.5 inches.  
  • Look carefully at the EQ block above---can you see that the white star tips are essentially formed like a large triangle?  One is upside down but there are two of them.  From the top line midline mark draw a line to the each lower side lines on the bottom half of the hexagon.  Then draw a line from the bottom midline mark to each of the side line on the top half of the hexagon. 
  • For the center hexagon, repeat the process only smaller,  I drew mine so it would finish about 3/4 inch on each side but I could have drawn it at one inch had I wanted.  
  • Erase the extra lines till you get something that looks like the EQ picture. Texas Star!
To actually USE the template  you would still need to add a quarter inch to the sections you just drew.  Normally I rubber cement this stuff down to template plastic and then cut them both out at the same time.  If you are hand piecing then you don't need the quarter inch added---you mark the line and sew on it and eyeball the seam allowances.

You might ask "you have EQ---can you not print a block any size you want?"  Uh, yes I can but did you see the space at the top and bottom of that block.  It read that peach color as a template actually and an odd shaped one at that!  But looking at my sketch I also have a space at the top and bottom so maybe what templates I printed out from there are accurate.  If that person wants to take a chance on using them, I would consider mailing them out if she asks.  

BUT I still am capable of drawing it up myself---any old size I want. So is she.  Heck, I even have a pad of quadrille paper cut 17 x 22 so if it fits on that paper, I can do it the old fashioned way.   A regular pad of graph paper is cheap, drawing paper is not pricey---lots less than EQ is!  Yeah, it might be easier to Google a block in the size you want.  You might get lucky and Quilter's Cache has something you want.   Let someone else do the work and thinking for you.  I repeat---it is NOT hard and it should be one of your quilting skills.  You could have it drawn up yourself before you wasted 2 days of fun sewing time looking for a needle in a haystack..  Something to consider

And while I am on my soap box here is something else to ponder.   NOTHING is ever truly brand new in quilting.   Those ladies who designed these blocks all those years ago are the real innovators.  They did not have all the fancy toys and still made some amazing quilts.  Oh we might be able to cut them more accurately---the tools changed with rotary cutters, mats and rulers and now accu-quilt.   Or we can turn them out more quickly with strip piecing or a quick quilt trick like flippy corners instead of actually cutting a triangle. All that just streamlined the process.  Admit it, most designs are tried and true and could be done without quilt toys if we wanted to.  They are just geometric shapes, after all.  Even our fabrics are mostly inspired by preceding decades in color and/or style.  Case in point---turns out 4 of the 6 fabrics I recently purchased based on color alone from thousandsofbolts are all Civil War Repros!  A 5th was already in my stash and is also a civil war repro.  Go figureAsk me what I think about so called Modern Quilting some time--that is a rant for another day, LOL)

Okay off my soap box and my husband will be asking where lunch is any second.    And I have a date with a watermelon pattern once that is done, LOL. 

Thanks for stopping by------