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Thursday, April 16, 2015

mini-challenge

I was glad to go to Studio 3 for quilting this morning. I took the last quilt I did that needed binding. I got  3 sides done, but I ran short of what I cut, so set it aside to finish tonight maybe. Rather than run home for the rest of the fabric to finish the binding, I made this little Lemoyne Star block.  It finishes just 3".
I made the block just to see if I could. I think it turned out pretty good considering I switched machines half way through making it. I used a generous 1/8" seam allowance. I switched machines cause the second machine had a foot that gave me a better view of the needle and where it was going.

I didn't really doubt that I could make the 3" block with set-ins. But the other day at the Crazy Quilters show in Mukwonago I was talking with author Marie Bostwick of the Cobbled Court Series. I met her in Nebraska when we were both guests there for a quilt conference. She said the thing she remembered about me was that I said I would have no problems doing a 3" star with set-ins.  I guess I remember that conversation a little differently than she did. So when I found I had a few minutes this morning with a tiny bit of scraps I thought I'd give it  a go. And guess what? No problem. Imagine that.

I've got no plans to make more though I do think those little blocks are darn cute. It took such little bits of fabric the size I often toss in the trash. Ouch. Just think of all the little blocks I could make with the trash. Do I dare see how frugal I can be and . . .


Monday, April 13, 2015

In between

I finished the quilting on this quilt. Still have the binding to do. Hoping for a rainy day to do that.

I gave up praying for a cleaning lady and right now I'd rather be outside working so it's hard to get much sewing done.  I appreciate the break from some of the work when it rains, but not if it means I have to do housework instead. It's still to cold and dark to be outside in the evenings but by then I am usually too tired or sore from work outside to be of much use inside. I can manage paperwork at least.

And for a peak at what I've been doing outside, check out these pictures of burns I've  been helping at. This  pciture was at Jacki's. Again about an acre. She had a garden hose and 8 volunteers or more, some with backpack sprayers. The wind couldn't decide which way to blow making it a bit smoky.




The last picture was yesterday's fire on about 3 acres. The wind was strong coming up this steep hill off the marsh. My job was mostly to watch for the fire jumping across the  road. It didn't.

Sew much to do, so little time.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring Fever

It's that time of year again. My work outside is keeping me from producing much in the way of quilts. I was able to make some of the edge blocks for my autumn colors quilt though. And I am still planning to make a simple pieced border for  it. Two rows of blocks aren't showing because they don't fit on the smaller flannel wall at Studio 3.  I expect I will get it done by the end of April.
We had  beautiful weather yesterday (Easter Sunday) and I finally got my open woodland area burned. Brother and sister-in-law and nephew and his wife helped us burn the oak leaves on the ground. There are maybe 15 giant oak trees on this acre on a steep hill. We did a slow burn down hill against the wind. I don't imagine it was hot enough to really kill off any except the littlest tree seedlings that have sprouted up everywhere over the last 40 years or so. They aren't little oaks either, but ash, cherry, buckthorn and every other woodland species we have here. It's best to keep all those nasty little seedlings out of the woods by  burning it every year but that isn't likely to happen. If we keep them out the wildflowers are gorgeous, provided the deer don't eat them all. But more importantly we can get in there! And unless we get some buffalo or goats or cows to graze in the woods then the invasive buckthorn, multiflora rose and prickly ash take over. I could go on.  Better quit while I can.
Today was another perfect weather day for burning. We helped a few friends burn a few more acres of prairie.
Tomorrow it's supposed to be cold again with some rain. Good day to quilt at church. When I get home I may even get back to the longarm project I started downstairs last week.





Saturday, March 28, 2015

Penny's Single Irish Chain

I must be done with this top. I can't decide what else to do with it. Since I haven't much fabric for a decent border or more blocks it will stay like this.  I have more muslin, but available muslin doesn't mean I have to use it. I like it well enough the way it is and was thinking of just backing it for a summer quilt, though it wouldn't quite fit the bed at 66" x 72". Perhaps if it could have talked it would have told me to make it bigger. I'm so glad my things don't tell me what to do though it is nice when they make suggestions. Now if only I would pay attention. . .






As I look at this I am almost sorry I didn't arrange the colors to blend. I was so undecided, but decided to just get on with it and start sewing. As I began to stitch the blocks together I felt I was doing something wrong. It was hard to keep myself from rearranging them but eventually I had so many together that I wasn't about to undo all that work. Like the rest of you, I'm still waiting for someone to come up with that gadget that you can program to remove stitches for you that were made in error or just cause you  changed your mind.

The 1930's fabric I have left for the Bin Bust will make one or two more small quilts. It's pieces already cut in 2 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangles and assorted strips. I have plans for the rectangles and one of the quilters at Studio 3 is interested in the strips.  I kept out a few pieces for binding a few quilts. And then I can declare the Bin's Been Busted. That will motivate me to get on with the next one! Cool!

Monday, March 23, 2015

27 Seams

I've done little sewing all week. Even at Studio 3 I was busy helping the others so I did little of my own sewing. Just a few minutes ago I finished up these 9 little blocks.



The quarter-blocks were turned in to me at church. They only needed squaring up before I put them together. They are arranged on the wall next to each other but if that's all I do with them then it's a pretty small quilt. So I will dig through my stash to see if there is anything I have that goes with them and make them the center of a star or come up with some other alternate block.

Before I do that though I want to get back to finishing up my Penny's Single Irish Chain. We had snow last night and the forecast is for more cold, so hopefully this will be together by tomorrow night. Then I want to get another top loaded to quilt.

And before I do that I'm going to do some blog hopping starting with Judy's Design Wall Monday.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Hasty Decisions

I was rummaging in my closet the other day and found I had a bunch of 3" squares, triangles and strips in autumn hues. So I decided to quickly choose a pattern and start sewing. This is what I chose.
I have 16 blocks on the flannel wall with 20 more waiting to get sewn up this week at Studio 3.

Then I will decide on another block or pieced border to surround these blocks and then put the top on a pile upstairs in the warehouse. Probably anyway.

Our snow has melted and it's been beautiful outside though still a little cool. We have a few prairie type areas to burn in the next few weeks. It is probably to soon to burn the wetland where we had the brush mowed down, though there is a bunch of deadwood in the mix. We'll have a professional out for an opinion/quote later this week. Weeks ago I started 6 pots of flower seeds and today I transplanted 2 flats of them this afternoon after quilting at church. I'm not sure yet if I will bother to put them under lights downstairs or leave them in the sunny window. So far they are doing fine in the window.

 There were only 6 of us at the meeting today. I wouldn't have thought to call the others snowbirds, but one is in Panama, one in Florida, 2 in Arizona and the other two have been known to spend some of their winter in Florida. I wonder if I will ever be interested in a warmer climate in winter. Right now I like the excuse (cold weather) to stay in and quilt. We planned and began a few simple quilts using novelty prints with farm scenes on 'em. I need to start thinking of getting the raffle quilt quilted. With a few road trips planned this spring I don't want to be stressed about it later. That means shopping for fabric. That's always fun even if it's only for the back.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Union Square

Yes you may have seen this before, but not with the border. I can't check anything else off the list.


I have planned a few more quilts and began sorting scraps. I misplaced my favorite ruler, so I am using my smaller rulers for 3" finished squares and triangles and cutting the scraps instead of the
1 1/2" diamonds I wanted to cut.

I sorted through a tub of fabric and comfort quilt kits and picked out a bag with 13 log cabins. So I  made 7 more blocks to finish a set. Set aside a couple of bags with pieces for a few more done with random strip widths. Maybe I will play with those till I find my ruler. 

Our snow is melting this week. We will be lucky that it should all be gone soon. I hope the snow doesn't melt too quickly causing flooding where you are.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cracker Box

I feel a little behind on my quilting cause I didn't get much done this week, but I don't know why. It doesn't matter, as I have no deadlines. I finished putting together the Cracker Box quilt last night at Studio 3. It's a bit small - only 46". It was a spur of the moment quilt and I used all the yellow background I had, actually two different yellow pieces. I guess I could think about a border for this, or maybe a round of a different block. This one will stay "as is" till inspiration moves me to either quilt it or add something for a border.


I went to quilting at church on a sloppy snowy morning. The forecast was for freezing rain but we never got that. Of course we didn't know that so only a few of us showed up and then we left a bit early without going for lunch. The ladies got another 9-patch quilt together and a few others worked out the sashing for a sampler kit I bagged up. That means I gathered a bunch of orphan blocks the same size and they had to cut sashing and cornerstones. Our newest quilter needed a lesson on how those go together.

The oak tree block is done. I don't think I want to put a border on it. Just this brown for a binding. I don't have much wall space for it. So next I need to decide how to quilt it. I don't want it to look modern or artsy so I hesitate to quilt it to look too modern.  Mark suggested simply straight diagonal lines to simulate rain drops or sun rays. Talk about traditional.

This morning back at Studio 3, I prepped the binding for my star quilt. I will attach it here at home though. Earlier this week I cleaned out my drawer of Civil War prints. I'm trying to keep that in a certain order till I have all the charms cut for the Thousand Pyramids charm quilt I am working on. So I gathered all the smaller pieces  for that and cut those this morning. From the same scraps I cut a few bow tie blocks for that ongoing project and a few miscellaneous pieces - mostly strips for another log cabin. I counted the charms and I have just over 500. I've got a lead on a source for more prints for that quilt. It sure is putsy cutting one patch from all those prints, the cutting alone is a bit like an ongoing project. I found I need to plan another few quilts to cut  as I cut the next 500 charms. I am keeping the charms sorted by color for now to make it easier to check for duplicates. The other ladies are working independently right now and need only a little help with their projects. Tomorrow we are finally having the free-motion quilting class. Should be fun.

Friday, February 27, 2015

All I Ever Do

I'm feeling pretty good tonight. I haven't written, but not because I wasn't quilting. I just didn't take any pictures.  When last I wrote  I  just wasn't in the mood for quilting. That feeling passed pretty quickly. Since then I finished 3 of the 5 tasks on the list and started two other small quilts. The piecing was done at Studio 3 and I didn't have my camera along. But tonight I finished quilting the 9-patch stars  and took it off the frame. I tried to get a photo that showed the quilting.  I wanted mostly simple straight lines reminiscent of the way antique quilts are quilted. Now for the binding.


I finished the border on the Union Square quilt. It's still at Studio 3 waiting to show the Friday class which has been cancelled 2 weeks in a row. Snow last week and family matters this week. Not my family but most of theirs.

I also finished the binding on A Good Bet. As soon as the flannel wall is avialable I will shoot a picture of that.

While I was at Studio 3 Wednesday night I came across some little diamonds I'd wanted to use to make an Oak Tree block to frame and hang on the wall behind my Boyd's Bears sitting on a park bench. It's only been 2 years since I thought of that. The diamonds are together but I stilll have to finish the block. The little applique the tree trunk will require won't hold me up for long.

I also made some Cracker Box blocks you will probably see next time I write.

So now the short list looks something like this:
1.   Bind 9-patch Stars
2.   Join blocks in Penny's Irish Chain
3.   Finish Oak Tree Block
4.   Quilt another top
5.   Finish Cracker Box top
6.   Plan a few more to make.


Sunday, February 15, 2015

6 Hours of Therapy

I understand it is pretty normal behavior to start another quilt before finishing a quilt that was started earlier. That is just what I did on Thursday when I got together with the gals at Studio 3. We packed our lunches and worked on our quilts for 6 hours. Almost a mini retreat! I cut and pieced a bunch of Cracker blocks.  I think the reason for starting so many quilts is cause we are excited to see our latest idea of fabric and pattern, come together. And perhaps there are not so many finishes  because at some point we know what the quilt will look like and in my case anyways, I don't need another quilt.

 My list of current projects is something like this:
1. Pieced border on Union Square
2. Join blocks in Penny's Irish Chain
3. Bind A Good Bet
4. Put my 9-patch stars on the frame
5. Always a few comfort quilts waiting for the frame
 I hesitate to call these PHD's. I think I reserve that name for if they get put on the shelf in pieces.



 Notice I never did quilt my 9-patch stars. Instead I loaded these 2 little comfort quilts. I put them together from leftovers of other quilts that are waiting to get quilted.These each took only
1 1/2 hours to quilt, after I decided how to quilt them. I sure liked that they went on and off so quickly.  I'm thinking maybe I will do a few more little ones soon. For years I have been saying that a little quilt would be perfect project to try a new technique, but I haven't been motivated to even figure out what techniques is that  I might want to try.  I am too busy enjoying what I am already doing. 




Yesterday I spent the day at Sew Many Pieces quilt shop in Richfield, WI celebrating the shops 1st Anniversary. Mickey asked if I would come and demonstrate from The Thirtysomething Block Book. I was glad for a reason to visit the shop. I liked it more than I expected! I guess I thought she said she had lots of modern, but she had a real nice mix. I wish she were closer.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Waste Triangles No More

It seems there are lots of quilters that use  a method to add a triangle on corners of patches that yield waste triangles. The method goes by many names, I call it folded corners.

You are likely familiar with the method where you'd cut a 2 1/2" square, place it over the corner of the patch where you want the little triangle, sew diagonally across the little square, flip, press and trim the underside waste triangle(s).

If you don't like the little waste triangle there's a way to avoid making them. You need to cut the two patches of course, but you will cut them exactly how you see them plus seam allowances. It's easy enough if you can sew a quilter's 1/4" seam.

Instead of cutting the little squares to sew and flip ( usually 2 1/2" squares")  you will cut triangles.Pick your favorite way. 2 7/8" squares cut once diagonally or an Eazy Angle Type ruler on a 2 1/2" strip.

Then to cut your larger patch, cut the base shape the measurement given in the pattern. Then trim the corner (where that square would have been stitched) before sewing on the triangle. In this example, trim a triangle 2 1/8" tall, measured on the short edge. I don't have all the triangle rules so I am not sure what line you'd use, so measure your tool. My Easy Angle ruler and the Omnigrid ruler are at Studio 3. I can measure them tonight and edit this.
 On Judy Martin's Ultimate S45 ruler,use the 2 1/8" line.

And I can tell you on this Creative Grids 45 triangle ruler,  use the 1 3/4" line.

I am editing this to clarify that doing it this way you are just trimming the little triangles off the larger square and there aren't two layers of fabric being trimmed off here. This picture is showing position of ruler on larger square. I had already sewn loose triangles on in the corners. And yes there is a bit of waste with the little triangles from the big square but none from a small square! Just saying, some gals don't like all the waste and this is another way. And some of us don't mind the waste but don't find folded corners to be an especially accurate way to do it.


There is a ruler that has these trimming templates printed on it in various sizes. It's the Rotary Mate ruler by Trudie Hughes. Contact PatchedWorks.com. 
Hope this helps.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What I've Done

I've been playing on my wall. It's sure more fun than climbing the walls! I've made a bunch of the Penny's Irish Chain blocks and now I need to decide how I want to arrange them.  I thought I might like them placed in a Rainbow fashion rather than Randomly. It really helps me to decide when I see a photograph of them. I'm sharing the photos here but for kicks, I used the "auto contrast" setting in Picasa on the one photo. That feature doesn't usually deepen the tones so much. Which do you like rainbow, or random? I thought I was done piecing the blocks but when I put the blocks on the wall I found I still have plenty of 6.5" squares cut and since I have the scraps I may as well make more blocks.
 



I've also finished the quilting on "A Good Bet". I still have threads to tie-off and need to trim and bind it.


I've also planned the quilting for the next quilt to be finished. I wanted some simple diagonal lines similar to the way most antique quilts were finished. I also wanted to plan them to be as continuous as possible. Then I thought the diagonal lines alone are kinda boring. So I added a classic design.  I think the motif with four petals is called the teacup flower. What do you call it?


Monday, February 2, 2015

Feeling Moody

We have about 6" of snow on the ground. Hard to measure since so much of it was blown around and drifted so much. At any rate, it is enough to keep us out of the woods.That is fine with me cause I'd rather quilt when it is so cold outside.
I've made some progress on my Irish Chain blocks at Studio 3. I hope to finish them by the end of the week.

 I finished these1930's blocks and arranged them on the wall. I still need to cut the muslin for the sashing and setting triangles but I am kinda bored with it now so I think I will pack it away for another day. I think the Bin Bust challenge from the Stashbusters group should have included an incentive to bust the bin. I typically get tired of these fabrics before the top is done. It would be nice to find someone to take them off my hands.

 I am in the mood for quilting on the longarm but the sun is finally shining so I won't go do that till the sun goes down. I hope the mood lasts all week! I've got half a dozen quilt tops lined up ready to quilt, a few for church and a few of my own.

I have waaaaaay too much church fabric here and I find it overwhelming. I picked through it again and pulled out a big boxful to take  back to church. I'll ask the ladies there for suggestions - other than pillow cases. I'm leaving here 2 tubs of novelty prints. 1 tub with extra big backs and tops ready to quilt. 2 tubs of scraps already cut to size- including random strips for string quilts and log cabins etc. And another tub of coordinating fabrics for future kits. Somewhere in the mix is quite a pile of orphan blocks too. It seems I plan and organize and push that stuff into piles more than do any sewing with it. And we have 5 tubs of fabric at church too. They hold flannels, homespuns and pieces for quilt backs. My goal for the rest of winter is to ignore all those tubs and focus on using my own fabric. I could use a good challenge. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Stalled on the Wall

Everything has pretty much stalled on the wall, both here and at Studio 3. I did cut more last night and this morning so I am ready to sew, but that will be between hanging out online and outside.

We haven't had much of the snow this winter that others have. Actually only about 1" out there today that promises to be gone by tomorrow night. That allows us to work outside. Monday we had about 4 acres of brush chopped out of our wetland. It was mostly red twig dogwood and the invasive buckthorn.  I am not sure why they don't call the red twig dogwood invasive. They ought to. I'm very excited about how it opened it up. Didn't know there is a bit of a ridge through the middle of it. Perfect place to make a path. Now we have to wait another year before we can burn all that dead vegetation. Meanwhile we will work at using poison to kill some of those bushes and make a path. There are already tons of wildflowers there and now I will be able to see them and they have room to spread.

 


                                                   Here's a before.             And an after.

It's not our property in the distance. And the forestry mower can't do anything over 4" diameter. So there is still some work for us to do out there cutting the stuff that was too big or too close to a tree or water. My idea of gardening.

Quilting at Studio 3 tonight.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Sitting Pretty

I've finished the Sitting Pretty quilt made as part of my 1930's Bin Bust. I don't find the green sashing and cornerstones completely offensive. I am still not really keen on the quilt though. Someday I hope to quilt it up and be surprised at how lovely a quilt it is and how the quilting really enhances the image.


But first I am on to other things I am sure to enjoy more. The sashing and  Union Square blocks are all together. I used 4 1/2" strips for the sashing without cornerstones. I thought it would be a very fitting treatment for blocks made with my 1800's scraps since blocks were frequently sashed that way back then.


 Now I am auditioning triangles for a pieced border. The triangles I am showing are from my scrap box. I am only using them to see if I want to use this size. They work for me so I will plan to work on the pieced border at Studio 3. I think I will be able to get all the triangles I need from the same box of scraps I  took over there a few months ago.The same fabrics used in the blocks. Sometimes it seems it doesn't take much fabric to make a quilt.

Tonight I am prepping another quilt of mine for the longarm. That means choosing the quilting design and any preliminary marking and then pinning and rolling it on the poles. Actually I just have the border left to decide on. Before I am done with that one I hope to have the quilting for the next one planned and ready to go.

We have had some nice winter weather this week so I took a few hikes. I'm glad for the wintertime cause to me it means quilting time. In warm weather I have a hard time balancing my quilting time with my outside time. Sometimes the days seem so short. Does that mean in the end I will feel like life is too short?





Thursday, January 15, 2015

Shuffling projects

I've been merrily chiseling away at my stash of 1930's reproduction fabrics. Cutting a little here, sewing some there.  I even put aside the Civil War bin bust at Studio 3. For a while. Now I am in the middle of several projects. 

Today I worked on these blocks at Studio 3. Then when I got home I dug around for more fabric to make even more blocks.  I couldn't find all I was looking for till I remembered the small collection of authentic 30's scraps I have. I found 6 pieces that I can use. No pink in this project.



Yesterday the gals I quilt with were stressing out over life so we didn't get together. We  expect things to be back to normal next week. Tuesday Lucrecia wanted to get together before she leaves for the rest of winter. So together we worked on some blocks for a Square-in-a-Square comfort quilt.

Monday I went to the Burlington Quilt guild meeting to here a program by Carol Butzke on the use of Cheddar Orange in antique quilts. She brought some fabulous old examples. I am not sure that I am "flamboyant" enough to use that vivid orange as a background color in a quilt, but those quilts are sure goregous. A bonus to the evening was running into an old friend there. She has recently retired and joined the group. We are going to have to get together to do some sewing or maybe even some quilting.

I've been shuffling projects back and forth between home and studio 3. There are some steps I'd just rather do without distraction and sometimes I want my bigger flannel wall. I still have a picture or two more to take of stuff I've done recently, but the wall is still busy! So you can see, I survived the holidays and I am too busy quilting to even notice that it is winter.