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Monday, January 11, 2016

Digging Deeper

The orphan blocks have waited long enough.  Poor things. They weren't exciting me very much till after working with them a little longer. Then I wished I had more blocks to make it bigger cause I was liking how it was going. So I dug a little deeper.  I knew I had more orphan blocks but had set them aside to use in a different quilt. I wanted primarily scrappy blocks in this one. Hmmmm. Maybe that would be tooooo many scraps.  Gotta think on that. 

Then after we sorted through all the fabric at church that was recently donated I thought I needed to sort through the fabric in storage here that belongs to the group. I knew I'd find some more pieces and units mixed in with the scraps.    Hmmm. Maybe. This is partially sewn together already. I found that plain strips (like the frame around the bears paw) offers a little relief from all the busy blocks. I'll let it sit for a while. The sun is down now and I want to get downstairs and quilt.

Tuesday I took 10 comfort quilts in for the girls to bind. The pile of quilt tops waiting  here continues to grow. They are not all mine. I brought a few more home to add to my pile. I haven't counted mine in a while. It's not easy cause they aren't all in one pile but scattered around 2 rooms and a closet and suitcases. Many bloggers keep lists  but I'd rather quilt. Usually anyway. So I'm hoping I can get another dozen quilted in the next month or two.

Here's another comfort quilt top that uses my Thirtysomething Onlies units I made when I demonstrated the technique. Does that count as multi-tasking?  As good as I am at that I never did a good job of planning to put my demonstration pieces into  something really useful.

I'm linking with Judy at Patchwork Times and her Linky Party she calls Design Wall Monday and I will see if there is more time to link with any other parties.  They CAN be very inspiring.

Monday, December 28, 2015

My Quilting Marathon

This has been the best quilting marathon I've ever participated in. I should do this more often. The pile is 7 quilts deep. I thought I only had 2 or 3 more comfort quilts here but I forgot about the half dozen of my own tops I decided to contribute. I am sincerely hoping  this trend will continue for the next few months. Perhaps as long as I have everything I need then it will. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.  I'm glad the church basement ladies will do the bindings even though I don't mind that step.

I musta made this blue one over 20 years ago. It is next in line to get quilted, then I will donate it too. I will do a casual custom quilting job it. That means it will be simply and lightly custom/freehand quilted as opposed to the overall meander I might for some of the other comfort quilts.
And this one I just finished. All of the blocks except two I made to go together. Want to guess which two?  I framed them each with a different fabric cause we don't have the yardage to make sashing  all the same. And really I don't like sashing anyway. I made them all so they all came in the same size. But if you are working with blocks from different sources like a block lottery or exchange through a guild it would work to add wider sashing to the smaller blocks then trim them all down to the same size. It would also be an opportunity to repeat or introduce some new colors to make the colors  work together better.  I've had just about enough of the sampler quilts for a while After demonstrating twice a week for over a year I still have a mountain of blocks left. In fact, the blocks I arranged on the wall a few weeks ago are still there though I did make a few additions.

I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with the donation of fabric left for us at church last week. I haven't gone through it all but feel better about it now. Especially since I found backs for several of my tops. Perhaps when the roads clear after this storm I will go back and go through the remaining 6 boxes. It was fun even though it feels a bit overwhelming. Sure hope there are no orphan blocks in the mix.

Linking up to Judy's Design Wall Monday. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Quilting Cause Its Dark

I pushed the blocks around a little  on the flannel wall.  Wasn't I clever to add corners to those boring nine-patch blocks to make blocks like in the last quilt I made. They started with 3" cut squares. I wish I'd done my quilt in that size. They made 10 1/2" blocks where I made 12" blocks in my quilt.  What am I going to do with a king size quilt. I don't even want a king size bed. Comparing this weeks and last weeks photo you would notice I found some more triangle units laying around. I may end up incorporating them as well.

I haven't put lots of thought into the quilt on the wall cause it has been so nice here for Dec. We've been cutting and stacking brush in the woods to burn later when we get some snow. It's cleaning up so nice. And once again I can't wait to enjoy the woods next year. And since it's been so nice we made this pair from a birch tree we cut down a few months ago.


It does get dark early. It's the only reason I can think as to how I actually quilted a comfort quilt this week. Tonight I will get another one loaded and begin quilting.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Sample, Reject and Surplus Blocks

It's been a quilty couple of days. Tuesday we met at church to start the next raffle quilt. It went well. Some more fabric was donated. A few nice big pieces for backs and I think Nancy donated a handful of orphan blocks.  We like that. Thank you. Some of the blocks went well with one of the piles that didn't have enough to go with them when I sorted 2 days earlier.  I'd say now they do, wouldn't you agree? Especially since I was rummaging in another box here the other day and came across another assorted dozen blocks I overlooked last weekend.

After planning so many more sampler quilts over the weekend I thought I better plan to work on one next. I will need to use spacers with all the odd sizes in this collection of blocks. I think the upper four 9-patch blocks will need to be separated, enlarged or trimmed or something else; can't leave them like that. Also not sure I will leave the group of same pattern blocks together. Maybe some but not all. Any suggestions???

Yesterday at Studio 3 I worked some more on my blue and taupe quilt. I'd misplaced one of the fabrics, but finally found it. I was there this morning too but didn't have a chance to work on it except to square up some Square-in-a-square units. Mark went out tonight and I spent an hour putting out a few Christmas decorations.  Rudy got pretty excited when he heard the BIG jingle bells. His favorite toy has a little ribbon and jingle bell tied on the end of a string on the end of a stick.

Tomorrow after Studio 3 I WILL start quilting the Pine Tree tabletopper. Unless something better comes up. Happy December everyone.

Monday, November 30, 2015

New Nine-Patch

Our 10" of snow melted within 4 days and now it is just cold and rainy. Still good weather for quilting. The cats are getting along fine and rather enjoy chasing each other around a bit every morning. They aren't as much of a distraction now so I was able to get my new 9-patch quilt done. Okay, the top anyway. I still go with "The quilt is finished when the top is done".

  It's about 100" square. A bit generous for my queen bed so I don't plan on adding any borders.  I admit I kinda jumped into this project with out thinking too much about it. I mighta made smaller blocks otherwise. Maybe with the next one.
Actually I have been thinking about what I want to work on this winter and more and more often I think I'd like to work on something with smaller pieces.

Dear daughter was over the other day. I rounded up all the orphan blocks between here and Studio 3 and we spent the afternoon sorting them again into piles for potential comfort quilts. We made 8 piles with at least a dozen blocks each.at least. Some piles had less - those we filed away till we collect or make more so we have enough. As it is those 8 piles won't likely be finished quilts real soon. We have a shortage of fabric for sashing or borders and especially backs. But we had a good time.

I also have my tree table topper top done. Unless or except for any stars I may decide to add. I am thinking little ones just at the top of the trees in the corners. I didn't want it to scream Christmas so no red.  Center is intentionally left bare figuring there may well be a centerpiece placed there. I plan to quilt it this week. Wish me luck. 

Speaking of Christmas, we don't plan on putting up a tree this year cause Rudy would have a field day with it and the ornaments. I can't seem to find someplace to put a small one up high out of his reach. One morning I woke up to find him munching on the end of a spool of thread. He had at least a foot of the thread end in his mouth. Another morning he chewed the end off my husbands hearing aid. It was under warranty. Another morning he'd knocked my glasses to the floor and the patches for my next block into the trash. And people couldn't believe that I didn't want a kitten. Imagine that. Like I said, a bit of a distraction- but fun.

I think I will check out the linky party at Judys and postpone bills till tomorrow. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Little Distraction

I wanted to get a second cat after I felt Buster had adjusted to living here. It took him a while, but about 2 weeks ago, after more than 3 months here he finally started sleeping on the bed during the day without us. I thought that said something. So about 10 days ago we brought another cat home so now Buster has a brother. We're calling him Rudy. He's supposedly 2 years old but plays like he's only 6 months. Buster got bent out of shape for a while but he's pretty much accepted him now.
I wasn't really looking for a distraction from a new cat. I was looking forward to some serious sewing time. This weekend's storm dropped about 10" of snow, a little more than the guys wanted to see for opening weekend of the gun deer hunt. Usually when we expect snow I plan to do a bunch of sewing. I know I will have long stretches of time alone when Mark goes out to clear the 5 driveways he always does.  And it used to be the guys would head to the north woods for a weekend of deer hunting. I was looking forward to that when he retired. It hasn't happened yet cause they don't go north anymore. All this means is that I haven't been able to sew like I expected. But maybe that's a good thing, since I got a bit of a sore back with all the sewing that I did do.

I am actively working on 3 different projects. The blue and gray 2 block quilt I plan to finish putting together at Studio 3 so I didn't work on that one. I'm also working on a Christmas Tree table topper. That was a Studio 3 project I can finish there as well. At home this weekend I decided to work on a quilt with using the Album block.

  If you recall, I made a sample block about 2 years ago and decided against doing a whole quilt with the block. I couldn't stand constructing
the thing with those weird diagonal rows of patches. Silly me. That is not the easy way to construct it. One day it came to me that it would be far easier to make the 9 patch in the center and then construct 4 identical corner units to surround the 9 patch. So much better.

I made 25 blocks and  didn't want to stop. Considered making 2 quilts. Whoa. What would I do with a second quilt using the same blocks???  So I stopped to consider how I was going to set the blocks.  Here's a few.
 It's Design Wall Monday at Judy's.
See me there.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Float Your Star Points

The next raffle quilt for church will use this 8 pointed star variation.
 I call Catchfly.  I've modified it a bit so the star points float. This will allow us to trim all the blocks to the same size before joining them together. We won't lose our points and there is an added bonus of less bulk in the seam allowance. We all like that. Make yours either 9" or 12".

             Block finishes 9" x 9"

      From the light star fabric, cut:

1 center square
3 1/2" and
4 rectangles, 2 1/2" x 4 1/4".
Place pairs of rectangles Wrong Sides Together,
and cut once diagonally to make 8 triangles.

  From the medium or dark background fabric, cut:

4 equilateral triangles 4" tall (see below)
and 4 corner squares 3 1/2"

      You can use any 60 degree triangle ruler or your usual ruler with a 60 degree line on it.  Place the 60 degree line of your ruler on the long edge of your fabric strip and make the first cut.

   Rotate the ruler and place the 60 degree line of your ruler on the angled cut. You will see an equilateral triangle under the ruler. Cut your first triangle.  Rotate your ruler between these two positions to cut the 4 triangles.

Sew the star point triangles to the background triangles, matching the angles at the top center of the unit. It doesn't matter which side you sew on first, which piece is on top or which end you start sewing from. You will need to press the first one back before you add the second triangle.

Square up these units next. Center the unit in the square by placing the 1 3/4" line on your ruler at the points where the two seams meet. Trim away the excess. Be sure not to trim off the seam allowance at the top.

 Rotate the unit and measure a 3 1/2" square. Trim away the excess.

 The units are ready to go in the blocks. Join with the squares in rows, pressing seams toward the squares. Sew the rows together and press.

For a 12" finished block, cut
background equilateral triangles 5" tall and  corner squares 4 1/2"
star center 4 1/2" and star points from 3" x 5 1/4" rectangles cut once diagonally WST.
Trim the units to 4 1/2" square.

 Here you can see how the points of the star meet at the edge of the block when using the Tri/Recs tools. The floating points in the star made with this method will finish 1/2" from the raw edge of the block.

 I call the units in this block Sixtysomething units, since there are three 60 degree angles that come together at the top of the unit. Check out my Thirtysomething Block Book to see more quilt designs using 30 and 60 degree angles in square patchwork blocks.

It's cold outside. Time to join some linky blog parties and quilt. Let's check out Judy's first.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Amy's hosting her semi-annual online quilt festival again. I've participated in the past but since I've gone to Quilt Market a few times in recent years I was too busy to join in the fun. I like this kind of show - where you don't have to ship or haul your quilts anywhere. There's prizes too, though they don't interest me! Not quite as good as a real show of course but still fun. The rules state the quilt must be completed in the last year. At least that is what I am going  with.

 I pieced Grape Salad a while ago, put it in my last book but didn't quilt it till this spring.

This one's in the original design category.  I could probably put near all mine in that category. I've combined two kinda traditional blocks but adapted them to my Thirtysomething technique. I love two block quilt designs.

Quilted on my longarm. I don't like heavy quilting, gorgeous as it is. I think the quilts are softer with less quilting. That's my excuse for not doing it anyway.

You are invited to browse my blog more of course. And likewise, I will browse yours.Thanks for visiting.

Monday, October 19, 2015

In the Groove

It's been feeling real good to do some sewing. I don't feel like I am getting very far though. But since there is no hurry that's ok. I have about half the blocks done for my latest. I'm only showing what fits on the wall at Studio 3 here. I'm going to need a name for this thing. Any suggestions?

I also dug into my drawer of Civil War prints. OOhhhh that felt good. No concrete plans yet but they're formulating.

I've also finalized plans for our next raffle quilt. I will share the plans later but for now I'll just say it will be blue and cream and use this star pattern. I had the gals at Studio 3 try out my directions. I've chosen this star cause the way I make 'em the points float so we can trim the blocks to all the same size if needed. And since as many as a dozen ladies may make the stars there's a good chance we will need to do some trimming

Tomorrow is quilting at church. Our local nursing home has asked us for muffs for the residents hands. We love the idea. Basically all we need to do is make a little quilt lined with fleece and sew it into a tube. Okay, just not in that order.  I wouldn't be surprised if we make a few extra for ourselves!

Time to join the linky party at Judy's. Guess I will be blogging for a while.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Done enough

Once again I have a quilt top done except for the final border. I started this last spring but since the colors suggest autumn I lost interest in working on it. I finally attached the pieced border about 3 weeks ago. I left it at Studio 3 and since I don't have a big flannel wall there I haven't taken the picture till I brought it home. It was a struggle for me to use the big prints in these blocks. I am still uncomfortable with it. Anyone want to buy a quilt top? it's 78" square right now. Make me an offer.

The project I posted about last time is now at Studio 3 so I will work on that occasionally when I am there.  I have a pile of them there so when the mood strikes I can take my pick. That means there is nothing in progress here at home. Lots of ideas spin through my head and where it will stop no one knows. I want to put something on the frame downstairs too.

 Our church fall festival was this last weekend. We put out most of our quilts and managed to sell about a dozen for a pittance. Better than for nothing I am told. I have half a dozen tops here for church that I will consider quilting before I do more of mine. Once it gets good and cold outside .  .  .
Hmmm. Monday. Let's go check out the quilts at Judy's Linky Party.

Monday, September 28, 2015

No Excuses

I suppose summer is officially over. We've had a beautiful fall so far and I am outside enjoying it as much as I can. We are supposed to get rain this week so maybe I will have a chance to catch up in the sewing room. Does that sound like an excuse?

I've been working on a new tool/ruler I'm calling the 3 in 1 Tool. With it you can cut triangles, trapezoids and squares like you see in this block. It should be ready for Market next month.  I won't be doing a book to go with it. It's really a pretty basic tool and I think an improvement over what is currently available. You should be able to get it from me or through QuiltersRule.com the manufacturer.

Occasionally I sew at home. A few weeks ago I started a new 2 block quilt. I've only got 9 of the 49 blocks done. Yes it will be bed size.

And this just hints at the effect I will get when I add the second block. All design decisions have not been made yet. I may have to adjust my plans if I don't have all the fabric I need. I don't want to be buying more if I don't need to.

I am getting anxious to sew in the cellar a.k.a. quilting in Studio 2. I don't really enjoy the basement when I can be outside. It's not like I am looking forward to snow but that is when I enjoy using the longarm down there the most. Ever feel like life is too short?

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Good Intentions

Hi everyone, This last month we've had a few hot days and a few unseasonably cool days and some rainy days. Those days were ideal for quilting. And yes I've done a little so I imagine I didn't post about it here because I am out of practice.

I started this last winter if you don't count making up the kit. I did that last year. I don't know what it is called, Stack and Slash or something like that.  I wanted one of those no-brainers to work on when socializing. It stalled when I cut a piece wrong. It would take some thought to decide how to fix my error. I needed to rummage through my scraps because I didn't want to introduce a new piece. I don't intend to border it.

I've realized that going back between here and Studio 3 slows me down a bit. I don't have the big flannel wall over there. Nor do I have my stash. So any time I need either one, work ceases till I get a chance to work here. Good thing it really doesn't matter.

 Since fall is right around the corner the sun will be setting earlier in the evening so I intend to do more quilting in the evenings. I am hoping to get caught up on the comfort quilts I volunteered to quilt. I've also got another big quilt planned. I can share those plans in the next few weeks.

I have been doing a little blogging again lately so I will link this to Judy's linky party on Monday.
And Quilting is More Fun than Houswork.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Quilting in August

Since Mother Nature turned up the heat I went to Studio 2 and did a bit of quilting. Finally. The quilt tops are piling up. Not just mine but comfort quilts from the church ladies.  I've been making sampler blocks at Studio 3 for a while now and finally have SOME of them together in quilt tops. I am not even sure who put them together. I made about half of these blocks and I likely won't do all the quilting.

I still have as many blocks to put into tops. Some are already in specific piles and waiting for my attention and others don't play as well together. So I will focus on making sampler blocks to go with those. Then I am about ready to say "enough" with the sampler blocks and start something that requires more thought and planning.

A discussion we had at quilting last week was about what size quilts we should make. Apparently it doesn't matter. We've gotten measurements from the different charities and though each one has their preference, all sizes were requested. Good to know. Many of the ladies find it difficult to quilt anything bigger than a lap quilt on their own machine.

So yes, I am still quilting and looking forward to cooler "indoor" days when I know I will be back at the machine even more than I have been.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just Do it

So I'm thinking about what I gotta do and what I wanna do. Then I stall and nothing gets done. I've been back since Sunday from a wonderful trip to Quilt Nebraska in Norfolk and can now make the time to organize and prioritize my quilting. It's not really a "got to" kinda thing but I do think I should. I've got piles of this, that, there, his, mine, theirs and miscellaneous and who knows what else.  So I straightened some piles and pretty soon I am going to get something done. Perhaps tomorrow at Studio3. I've uncovered these 3 recent projects. It is not like me to abandon them the way I did. I do have PHD's but they usually become that way because I don't know what I want to do about them next. Two of these I simply lost interest in. The third I've recently begun and just haven't gotten back to.

I don't wonder where my mojo's gone. I've been gone on several trips this summer and when I am home I'd rather be outside. Now that it is too hot I am back indoors so with any luck I should be back in the groove in no time. Besides I want to get a few of the comfort quilts from church quilted up before our festival. It helps me to have a reason.

Sunday on the way home from the airport we detoured by my sister-in-law's place to say goodbye to a nephew and his family leaving for a job in Texas. They were thrilled when I said I would take their cat. No need to think about it. It has been almost 2 years since we've had a cat leaving it's fur all over my quilts. So Buster is ours now. He is a bit neurotic. I can only hope with time he will relax and be happy here. He comes from a home with one dog and two young children. Quite a contrast to our place. Isn't he handsome?

Monday, July 6, 2015

One month later

   Wow, it's been a whole month. I didn't think I'd write much this last month since I was gone to California for 10 days and otherwise across the street.
Quilting has definitely been put on the back burner temporarily. I have even missed meetings at church. I am hoping to get things back on track re: my quilting starting with the comfort quilts. We have a meeting tomorrow so I will prepare for that later today.

  It is supposed to be hot and humid today so I will retreat to my sewing room later but only after I finish the three passes left with the long arm on the raffle quilt.  Only a few classes at Studio 3 have been cancelled cause I was gone and the holiday was in there.  So see, I have been doing some quilting.
  Re: quilting, the rest of this summer I want to focus on making comfort tops with the ever-growing pile of orphan blocks. Here is just a few more from the stack that I am auditioning. I will collect the rest from Studio 3 and sort through them. Perhaps even preparing a kit and passing it on to the gals at church.

    Our trip to California was fantastic. After flying overhead all these years I decided to take a slower route to see the scenery. I'd wanted to see the giant Sequoias since I first learned about them as a girl and never had the opportunity when I'd gone west to teach. I told Mark we could wait till he retired, so finally we went. I didn't want to drive there (we are in SE Wisconsin) and I didn't want to fly so we took the train. I really enjoyed it.  We took the train as far as Reno then rented a car and drove down the East side of the Sierra's to Yosemite Park. Then we drove through Yosemite and south to Kings Canyon  and Sequoia Parks. I never thought to fly back from there so we reversed the route and took the train back home. It is indeed a beautiful country and the trees are really awesome.  So glad we went. I won't share pictures cause really all you need to do is google images of the trees or parks.

     And as it is summer I've been outside. I've taken to calling my restoration project across the street my 18 acre garden. We are not doing a complete restoration but the removal of all the invasives still  qualifies it as a restoration. Between 11 acres of woods and 7 acres of the wetland we have our work cut out for ourselves. Some days we do nothing and others finds us "weeding" as we cut and/or poison the most invasive non-native species. I am continually amazed at all the wildflowers I keep finding. Though I am sure they have been there all along, because of our work we now have access to them and they can thrive and be enjoyed. This patch of Canadian Anemone was actually found growing along side the road a few miles from here. A huge patch that would fill my house, that we'd never noticed before.

Monday, June 1, 2015

One Less Pile

We had some rain over the weekend and I got a chance to sit down to sew. This has been cut out since the end of March. It felt good to sew again. Tomorrow I will turn it in to quilting at church and show the gal that made the centers of the blocks. It would be nice if the colors were better in the photo. Try double clicking the photo to see a close-up.b The top of the photo is closer to true color.

I missed the last meeting at church cause I was busy filling orders from quilt  market. I wonder what the ladies did without me. We always have lots of stuff in progress. I think we are about done with our 9-patch project where we made a bunch of scrappy 9-patches and then set them various ways in about 8 different quilts that didn't require triangles.  I am sure we used the same pattern a few times - like the snowball. We all like that one.  I think with the 9-patch project done we will move on to crumb quilts next.

I've also been wondering what I ought to work on next at home. Usually if I clean out the closet something turns me on. But there are lot of piles that should go in the closet so I will just clean the sewing room and see what I find. Probably not till next time it rains as I am still digging and pulling weeds. It's like a habit. I go through lots of garden gloves.