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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.

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.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sew Many Piles

No, I didn't fall off the face of the earth, or fall into a black hole. I've been deep in the woods. It's just been so awesome since we cleaned out the prickly ash and buckthorn. And the deer did not eat the flowers this year! I just love being out there and sometimes think of taking some sewing with me. Handwork, of course. Pack a lunch and enjoy. We don't have any benches or chairs out there, but a big old oak laid down right along side the path at the very top of the hill. We always take a break from our hike or work there, but not for long. A cushion is in order if I intend to stay and sew. This time of year we are pulling garlic mustard. Most areas are looking pretty good. We just might get it under control yet.

The work is piling up at home. No reason to count. It might motivate or inspire you, but not me. I don't want to know the number. A list would be more useful to me, but I'm not even doing that these days.  High on the to do list is quilting the next church raffle quilt and samples for class at Studio 3.  Attendance has been a little spotty, by myself as well, as many of us are always on the go.

I have one trip out of the way and that was to Quilt Market in Minneapolis. If you saw my facebook post, you saw that on the way home we stopped at the guys hunting property midway between here and Mpls and went for a 1 1/2 hours walk in the woods picking up nearly 50 mostly wood ticks on the way! Anybody want to buy some hunting land in the middle of Wisconsin???

Quilt Market was great. I didn't think I would like being in the first of 24 aisles, but it didn't seem to matter. Lots of interest in my Thirtysomething technique and new Block Book. I sold out of my stock of Square Up tools and have more on order. Lots of the shops were interested in taking it for demos at their shop hops this summer. There has been lots of orders too on my website since I added  Paypal Buy It Now buttons. Who has time to quilt? And did I mention that I have a special going on now when you buy both the Block Book and Square Up you save $4.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Busy May

April was busy and May will be busier.  I've been working outside tending the wildflowers.  The flowers and grasses are continuing to sprout in the savanah we burned a month ago The first flowers to bloom after the burn are the wood anemones and violets.  They are scattered all over the place.

 They aren't very showy, but hardly show up at all if you don't burn cause they are lost in the leaf litter otherwise. Right in the center of this bitty patch is a shooting star sending up it's flower stalk. I sure hope the dear don't devour them this year like they did last year. The state flower of Wisconsin is the violets and we have a bunch. 5 different colors actually. I tried to get a picture of them, but it's pretty blurry. I'll try again. We have white, red-violet, blue-violet and another shade of blue-violet and even yellow. Too bad they are so small; even smaller than the anemones.

I've done a bit of sewing, mostly in preparation for Quilt Market. I quilted another top and have another on the frame now. Two bindings also were done with one to go. That's the one on the frame now. Market has been on my mind lots and my sewing room looks like it. Some of the quilts are heaped in a pile on the floor. You will notice they aren't folded. I try to avoid folding cause I really don't like those permanent creases that can develop on the fold lines.

Things have also been busy at Studio 3. Five new gals have joined the rest of us. Only one of them is a real novice. The others just want to "Learn the right way". They are all real nice and I am looking forward to getting to know them and teaching them things like how to turn the rotary cutter on and off. If I don't write again this month you will know what I am doing.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


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.