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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.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Just not a Favorite

I have made 9 Sitting Pretty blocks and even though I think they are pretty, I just don't like the blocks in these fabrics enough to make anymore. This size works for me. I think I will add a 3-piece sashing and call it done.

I've been cutting away at my 30's fabrics for over a week. I have planned 5 quits in all. I may not have enough fabric to border things the way I might like but I will worry about that later. I haven't cut into all of it yet so I can tweak my selection as I actually piece the top. I thought I might be tired of these fabrics by now but I am not. Maybe it really depends on the pattern cause I like all the others I started, especially the one I showed last. I will plan to sew a few of them right away the others will
just be kits waiting for next fall I guess.

I took a break from all that cutting last night and got another comfort quilt quilted. We are expecting a light snowfall overnight and already I got a call from a few of the gals cancelling. That is only disappointing cause that means we aren't using up that old stash. In a dream the other night I won the lottery and one of the first things I did was toss that old stuff and replace with new. Kinda surprised that I didn't dream that I hired gals to get the old fabric sewn into some warm comfort quilts. I know a few ladies in particular that would join us if we had a better selection.  Oh well. I can dream, can't I?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Continuing a Tradition

No doubt about it. 2014 was a good year for me. At first I wasn't too impressed when I reviewed my quilting accomplishments till I remembered I also self-published a new book. As you can imagine, a book is a major undertaking, but the work doesn't stop once it is published. Work continues with promoting it.  I am pleased with the response it has received in some areas and as usual I am baffled by how different it can be from one area to the next. In other words, some shops won't even look at it cause they can't figure it out by looking at the quilts (Or so they have told me) and others have sold several dozen. Go Figure. I'd be happy to entertain your suggestions for promoting it.

I am still plugging away at cutting up my 1930's bin. I decided on the pattern I will do using the
2 1/2" strips. Since my design wall is busy at the moment, I arranged a few pieces on my ironing board in half a dozen different ways and decided on this pattern.  I am sure I saw it somewhere before. It is actually 2 blocks and 2 blocks in reverse. It will be easier to see once I cut and sew some background, but this is enough to remind me what I am planning on.

 In between all that cutting I quilted a few comfort quilts with a lazy meander and finally added the border to my first Studio 3 Sampler. I didn't find anything suitable for an inner border and if I had I would have had to add cornerstones to the borders cause It was a tight fit. As it was I had to redo two seams in the borders cause the 1/2" seams used up the extra 3/4" I needed in length.

I hope everyone is looking forward to this new year. I hope to continue quilting and blogging and working on the brush in the woods and planting more native wildflowers and  everything else I enjoy. It would be great if we met at your guild or a quilt show. Sharing our quilting with each other is important no matter how we do it.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Tiny Bits

Years ago I made this baby quilt with some leftover bits from other projects. I always thought I'd make it again only bigger. So then why when I began sorting through my bin of 1930's did I toss a handful of 1 1/2" wide strips in the trash????

 I dug those strips out of the wastebasket when I hit on the idea to make this Single Irish Chain variation.

 After the pinwheel quilt that used so much muslin, I was looking for something that would use more and larger pieces of the prints.  I just might like this one well enough to keep. And I will still have
1 1/2" bits left to make the 9-patch.   I am also planning on a Courthouse Steps with the pile of 1 3/4" strips that were there. I also need to decide on what to make with the 2 1/2" pieces. Then I went hunting for a pattern to use that will include the solids. I will put that away for a comfort quilt project at church. If I get these others done soon I will be satisfied with what I have "used up" and also be sick of the 30's prints till next winter.

I've not just been making plans. I have begun cutting and sewing too. I am kinda down to the bottom of the box so want to proceed with cutting carefully so I don't have more crumbs leftover and not enough of what I need.

 I'd like to get downstairs and get some quilting done, but my arms are a bit sore. We've been working a few hours here and there in the woods cutting and stacking brush. I guess the quilting will have to wait till we have snow.

I finally got the Scrappy Crazy 8's quilt on the wall to photograph. Let me know if you want the pattern.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Parading Pinwheels

My first top for the 30's Bin Bust Challenge is done. I went with the double wide sashing cause it is faster and I am not keeping this one. Yes that means I don't really care about it. I'm happy to use up what I did, though I'd rather use more of the 30's prints than the muslin.

This will be one of the next 30's quilts I work on. I want to plan several, so as I cut, I can handle a fabric fewer times.  In other words If I cut a 3 3/4" strip from a piece and have just a bit left over, then I will cut the leftovers into what I need for a second or third quilt like a 2 1/2" strip. I will do the same with the strips. When I cut the 8 triangles I need from the strip, I hope to have something planned for the rest of the strip and cut it right away. My way of staying on top of the scraps.

I've got a bunch of vintage Christmas cards and love this Santa. Happy Holidays everyone!