Friday, November 20, 2009

A Happy Place Somewhere in Wisconsin

I'ts been a quilty few weeks. I'll take a few days to post about it. For starters I had a great time Friday and Saturday at the retreat in Waupon or wherever I was. I know it wasn't Wausaw, Wanakee or Walmart, but I'm not sure it was Waupon either. Judy and I arrived Friday around 3pm and worked on our quilts till 11pm. Back at it at 7:30 Saturday till 11 pm again. Stopping of course for meals, a walk on a gorgeous November afternoon and a bonfire at night!
This is project 2 of 2 that I worked on. I want to rework the the first one a bit and still need to add a border so that will have to wait. I did get all 13 of those blocks done though. But then I went to work on these log cabin blocks. I was quite pleased to get 39 blocks made. Not sure how many I need yet. Anywhere between 100 anc 144! At least they are fast and easy and I can make them all from my stash!
We were back at it again by 7:30 Sunday. Things ended tooo early though when after a short service where the pastor brought out his accordion and led us in song, we had brunch and most everyone left. We were invited to stay as long as we wanted and the 4 diehard quilters at our table didn't want to arrive home in time to have to cook for our families. So we were the only ones that stayed and didn't leave till 4pm.
How we got so much accomplished is beyond me. At one point our table was accused of having "too much fun". But then again we were all "quilting professionals", with one being a quilt teacher, another a shop manager, another a longarm quilter (that would be Judy) and myself, the author. So at times we were quite serious about getting something done.
That evening I wasn't very tired and surprisingly I slept well. But it caught up with me. Monday I napped for 6 hours! and 2 more hours each Tues and Wed. Good thing I didn't have other commitments. A recent discussion with other quilters was about our recovery time after a trip. I was sure glad to hear I wasn't the only one that was wiped out. I heard Judy was dragging too. No doubt, come March I will be looking forward to the spring retreat. More soon. Sew long.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

On the Road again

Hi everyone.
I really enjoyed the challenge of working on this quilt. I call it "Make Momma Happy". I was just given the fabric. It had belonged to a friend who had died. Mom was over a couple weeks ago and saw it sitting in a pile and just loved it so I had to use it in a hurry for her lest I loose interest. Mark thinks it is too bright for anyone. I got a kick out of working with these prints. There is still a little leftover. Something will come of the scraps when I get more similar stuff to go with it.

Had quilting at church and we are making good progress on our Delectable Mountains raffle quilt. Had a meeting with the Great Lakes Professional Longarm Quilters. Usually inspiring but this time was more like just comparing notes. still good tho. Had a few classes on the road and as usual, I brought the camera but forgot to use it! Getting ready to go out again. So I was just humming to myself that song, "On the Road Again". I ought to look that one up and get the words so I can really sing it. I do that when I am feeling pretty good. I sang a girl scout song to my last class that I remembered from 40 years ago. Not so sure if you should consider yourself lucky for not having heard it or sorry you weren't there for the fun.
Well, I gotta pack, again; going up to Waupun for the weekend. Sew long.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Marking quilting

So finally a minute to catch up here. Fall is always a really busy time for me. And this year especially busy with a new computer and software to learn. The constant upgrading and learning is fun but time consuming.

I thought I would show you my fall leaf quilt. I hope you see leaves. It looks like the wind is blowing them across the sky. I usually show the quilt with them dropping down from the tree. I made this back in 1994 for my book, Trouble Free Triangles. Autumn is my favorite season (In fall anyways) and the trees are pretty colorful around here this year, in spite of the cloudy rainy month we've had.

I have been pretty busy quilting on the longarm. My favorite kind of quilting is continuous line. I do like the way it looks and you don't have to mark anything. Of course I am not too good at it on the longarm yet. Often I draw out my quilting plan on a piece of vinyl first. I learned the hard way one time that it is important to tape off the edges of the vinyl. I used a permanent marker and stained the quilt. The tape is a works to stop you before you make a mess.

Some quilts have areas without much piecing and I like the classic look of the traditional designs there. I still prefer to mark the fancy quilting on some kind of paper. I tried the chalk, and don't want to use some of those other markers cause I don't want to have to wash the quilt right away, etc.
First I have to find a design to quilt. You'd think with the library of quilting designs I have that I could find the perfect one. but NO, I have to use a pair of mirror tiles and play with them on some of those designs in my library to come up with something perfect!

Then sometimes its not the right size and I have to size it up or down. Soooo glad I have a copy machine at home that will resize.

Then depending on the design I will use either Sulky tear easy and /or Golden Threads tissue paper or the Quilt and Tear on a roll shown. I prefer the Sulky because it isn't as crisp and doesn't come apart when I choose a design with crossed lines. It is a little harder to come off though so it helps to use a small stitch. To mark the papers I stack the papers and stitch on he lines without any thread. The marking pen doesn't transfer to the quilt this way, and it helps to save time marking and ripping. If you can look closely you will see the paper is perforated on the stitching line.

To see all the quilting I've been doing you'll have to wait another year for the next book. That's all I have time for. More soon! Sew long.

Monday, September 28, 2009

You Tube

I had a notion to do a YouTube video about my new book, Twin Peaks so I took care of that and had to update my website as well. My sister was in town over Labor Day weekend and helped with the video. It was great fun and hard at the same time. Thanks, Carol. I am a bit disappointed in the lighting, but pleased with it otherwise. You can check it out at my website or Youtube.
Also I am going to start posting more free quilt patterns on my website. Shattered Squares, shown above, is the next free pattern and features the Twin Peaks technique.The first free pattern, All Wound Up, features the Thirtysomething technique. Some patterns may not be up indefinetly. I have thought about a video for Thirtysomething, but because that whole concept includes 7 different units it needs to be longer - and for sale. I may put an introductory video up though. Check for that next spring.
Also new on the website is a Show &Tell page featuring quilts others have made from my classes and books. So many gals are nice to send pictures after the quilt/top is near completion, that I'd rather show that than works in progress at workshops. But we will see. The challenge is always remembering to bring the camera. I know, I know, not a problem if you have a camera phone.
And how do you like the green on this page? Not sure what I wanted here so I'd like feed back. I was thinking of putting a collage of my quilts in the header of my blog, but this was quicker.
And besides all the above, I have been busy with a new laptop. I don't really mind the break from quilting, but I didn't have much to share till now. Maybe Wednesday I can sew.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fair/Show Season

I can't believe it has been 3 weeks since I have written. It's been a good 3 weeks. My sister came for a visit. We made it to the County Fair to see the chickens and the quilts. Well, that is why I went. I just love the chicken barn. Unfortunately the quilts are not on display as in a quilt show. I do not enter, but I like to support my students that do enter. Still, I had a vivid dream that I entered and forgot to pick up my entry when the fair was over. That cracks me up.

I got a bit of quilting done in the last month. Just a little bit. This four block sampler is a class sample for a new Thirtysomething class I am calling "Fancy That". Also quilted only 1 comfort quilt.
Last Friday I went to Quilt Expo in Madison. I haven't been there in a few years. I don't really care for the way the show is set up, but everything else about it is good. I managed to rest my feet and sit in on a few afternoon lectures. I won't tell you how much I spent. Not much to look at; I ordered a bunch of batting. It's a pretty big show. I went with Judy and we didn't run into each other ALL day. It was very enjoyable to attend a big show like Quilt Expo and not have to work while I was there. I won't share photos because I didn't get permission from any of the quilters. I hope I get to another show or two for fun this fall.
Also, I have been busy working on the next raffle quilt for church. The ladies will be surprised tomorrow to see all the prep I have done. We are making the Delectable Mountains quilt shown here. I did this with Electric Quilt. With quilting at church tomorrow, I will close now. Let's hope I remember my camera and have more to post later this week. Thanks for stopping. Sew long.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Busy Week

I have had a pretty busy week. Lots of it quilty. I dug out this applique quilt I started a year or two ago. I put it away cause I wasn't sure how I wanted to applique the swag border. Then as it sat on the shelf, I kept dreading it because I was thinking it was a vine border. Remember how I put off doing borders. Well, combine that with little interest in applique and you have a probable long-term PHD on your hands. Then I remembered that I planned a swag border, and not a vine. So I dug it out and searched my patterns for a swag I could adapt and made up a sample- just to be sure I knew what I was doing. Now I am excited about it again, so the top will be done before long.

 Also this week, or was it last week already, my sister-in-law and good friend, Sue, brought over her childhood best friend/cousin to meet me and see some quilts. We had a great time. Marybeth brought along an antique quilt for some advice. As she was leaving she commented that she felt like she was on vacation somewhere and just took the "Gayle Bong tour".

A friend came to sew and brought along her 5 year old for an hour long quilting lesson. She actually did a great job and didn't even loose interest. By then it was her bed time.

I made a few blocks for this sampler quilt started in a block exchange when I was a member of a guild about 8 years ago. The block in the upper left hand corner is featured in a quilt in my book, Save the Scraps. Two of the other blocks will be in quilts in my next book on scraps. It is due to the publisher after Christmas. They require that a sample block be sent for all the quilts in the book. I thought I might as well make a block or two I can really use.

I also bound two little quilts. And we had quilting at church this week. Here Lucrecia Pawlak is excited to show off her quilting. She has a new Voyager longarm.

Next week I hope to focus on some longarm quilting and updating my website.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another finish

Okay, maybe I ought to mention that my idea for years of a finished quilt is when the top is done. That opinion is changing a bit now, thanks to my Lenni longarm. Little did I know that it is Quilting that makes the Quilt! I never counted alllll my tops as PHD's (UFO's) I only counted a quilt top as a PHD if it were basted and quilting started. This particular top I call "Improved Irish Chain" because I don't like the way most Irish Chain patterns are unbalanced with corners that aren't symmetrical. It was sitting in pieces for several years. First because I ran short of the light background fabric. I did find more years later, finished the blocks and then stuck it back in the cabinet. Sometimes it seems that sitting in the cabinet is a requirement before the borders go on. One time I had 17 quilt tops in a stack waiting for borders. I have no plans for this one so I won't get around to quilting it for a while, but at least I can say the border is on. That light pink doesn't show the pretty leaves in the print. But the quilting on the light pink will show up nicely.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Frozen Fabric

Today I am showing a picture of my cat, Lily, because I don't have a pretty quilty picture to show. Lily likes to pose for pictures. Maybe someday I will get a good picture of her buddy, Pepper.

I'm getting a little quilting done. In preparation for quilting, I preshrink my backs. I prepared several backs at one time cause I have a pile of tops that need quilting. I don't know what I was thinking when on the hottest day this summer I decided to wash the fabric. Then I figured it was hot enough in the house so instead of throwing it in the dryer, I put it outside to dry. Only I don't have a clothesline.

Well, I don't know if it was cause I didn't use softener or because it wasn't flapping in the wind, but the fabric was drying with tons of wrinkles. Nuts! I thought it would make it worse if I put it in the dryer at that point, and I certainly didn't want to iron in that heat (mid 90's, I think), so I folded it up damp and stuck it in the freezer. All the while it was there I kept hoping my hubby wouldn't find it. I finally pulled it out to iron it. More on the ironing in a minute.

I wanted to interrupt this post with a comment/question for you a bit off topic. This frozen fabric reminded me of a contest I just heard about at one of the local bars. Maybe someone can fill in the details. I imagine you have all heard of a wet t-shirt contest. But did you ever hear of a frozen t-shirt contest? Apparently the wet t-shirt is knotted up in a ball and frozen. The first girl to put it on wins. It's even fun just imagining that. I thought that it would be hard as rock. Do any of you know? When I took my damp fabric from the freezer I thought it would be hard too, but it was fairly flexible with fewer wrinkles. Then I ironed it. This is how.

I don't have room for a bigboard ironing board, just the standard size and I don't want to press a crease in the fabric. So what I do first is fold the fabric lengthwise but off-center about 5". Place the narrower section down against the ironing board and press the top layer barely up to the fold.

After the first side is ironed, I refold matching selvages and put the other side up as shown below. It may look like I pressed a crease, but I didn't. Now when I iron, I again can stay away from the fold cause that area was previously ironed. Did I say I don't press any creases into the fabric this way? Not that it helps much cause if it sits folded in the drawer for 5 years before I use it, I get creases anyways. Good thing I like to iron. Also the second side is easier to press, cause it got the benefit of being under the first side. And FYI the best for getting tough wrinkles out is Magic Sizing, not starch or plain steam.

Well, like I said, nothing quilty pretty, but maybe this will help someone. Time to get back to work. Thanks for stopping. Sew long.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gotta get a quilting fix

Since I have been busy with mother at the hospital and a bit of traveling, I haven't had much time for quilting. I am pleased with the progress on my Gayle's (Grandmothers) Flower Garden quilt. Everyone asks what it is and I have to say I don't really know because I don't know how big it will be when I have decided I have had enough. I've made 11 flowers so far and am still really surprisingly enjoying it. But I am working with 1930's reproductions and they don't really excite me. So I am thinking of keeping this one small and starting another hexagon design in different colors. Only time will tell.
Going back 2 weeks I still have this photo of a church quilt. I assembled the kit and Mary pieced and will quilt it. I sure would like to see these bigger, but they do go to kids and most of the ladies can't comfortably handle a bigger quilt on their home machines.

This second quilt is another one I put together with OLD orphan blocks. It was gratifying when my niece saw it in progress and said she loved it. Besides adjusting the blocks to fit together, and joining the blocks in rows, the only part I pieced for this quilt is the red flying geese at the bottom. It just needed more red and the space was perfect. The basket of red carolina lilies is a cheater block and the rest of the blocks have been donated over the last 2 years. Well, it was another challenge I enjoyed and that's all that matters to me!
I can literally feel the tension melt away when I start to work on my quilts. So I think I am going to go do that.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hi everyone,
We had a great meeting at church the other day. They loved Judy's quilting on the raffle quilt. I think she is even getting a new customer as a result. For show and tell I had those 15 kits I put together. I took out one bag at a time and described what needed to be done and they snapped up all but two of them. I guess that is what I have to do in the future. In the past I just put them in the plastic tub and mentioned that I brought more. Not too much show and tell from the meeting. Here's a few.

Lois Clark likes flannel and this quilt took just 3 fabrics, one checked, one plaid and solid pink. Easy, pretty and cuddly.

No one knows where this fabric came from. I know I didn't put this kit together.

This project also came to us partially assembled. Perhaps it was supposed to be the Chinese Coin design.
There was another one or two I will show next time. When I got home I started to put together some of the orphan blocks. That will be ready to show you in a day or two, also.
Till then, sew long

Monday, July 20, 2009

That time of month

That time of month - for quilting at church! I picked up the Christmas raffle quilt from Judy our longarm quilter. You can check out her quilting on her website - if I was successful linking to her. She did a great job on the quilt, as usual. It still needs a binding and I am only showing half of it cause it is so big to handle. But it looks pretty good compared to the last time I posted a pic. Raffle tickets anyone???

In preparation for our meeting tomorrow, I spent 6 hours today putting together 15 more kits for our comfort quilts. It always feels good to put these together and get that fabric out of my closet. It was getting crowded in there.

After assembling the kits, I spent another 2 hours sorting the rest of their fabric at my house. That includes the scraps that we cut at last months meeting. They were quite the mess too.  I will put all those precut scraps into kits some other time. I will let the ladies sew up some of these kits I just put together first.

Next time I sit to work on comfort quilts I will put together a bunch of orphan blocks into sampler quilts. I think I have enough blocks to make 5 or 6 quilts.
And if I remember my camera tomorrow, I'll have show and tell for another day.
Wish me luck.
Sew long

Friday, July 10, 2009

Finally a Border!

So I have been busy, what else is new? With DH home, my time is not my own, but I did get a few things done with him home. For one, I finally added a border to "Oops, I Did It Again". I was a bit stumped with this one, but here is what I decided. I chose this border because except for the corners, all the pieces came from my box of 3 1/2" squares that was getting a bit full.

Before I decided on this border I toyed with other ideas. I didn't want to take this one to Electric Quilt so instead I pulled out other Thirtysomething quilts that had pieced borders and layed OOPS over the corner of the other quilt to just show what that pieced border would look like. Take a look.

This first one did nothing for me. Nor did the second one.

Granted this border is the wrong scale, but the idea would work. Perhaps reversing lights and darks. While I was looking at all these ideas, I remembered I had 3 1/2" squares I wanted to use. Yes, they are hard to see in the border in the quilt at the top of this page. I trimmed off one 30-60-90° triangle from each square before sewing them together.

Well, it feels good to get this piece off the to-do pile. I was afraid it would become a longtime PHD.
Sew long,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Quilting is supposed to be fun.

I always thought quilting was fun. A bit of frustration here as I practice following a line. Who knew that quilting with a longarm could be so difficult. Actually, it was probably more difficult on this piece because I used blue chalk with my new pounce pad and the chalk kept bouncing off! Now my limited experience with this tells me that if I had swiped over a stencil, I wouldn't have had that problem. But I made my own stencil from used x-ray film and stitching without a needle to mark the line with holes for the chalk. The chalk had no trouble passing through the needle holes. But it just sat on top of the fabric, so it bounced off when the hopping foot approached. Without a clear line my quilting looks like a little kid did it. So I guess I made the right choice with the batting. Or rather with drying it in the dryer. I used a scrap of cotton batting that was obviously not preshrunk. I say I made the right choice because all them puckers hide the poor stitching pretty well. ;-)

Typically I don't wash a quilt right after quilting it, but I couldn't get the blue chalk out. First I used a mini vacuum to suck out the loose chalk. ThenI took it outside to my hubbys dirty garage and used the aircompresser. Glad it was just a small practice piece. The blue was still pretty dark. No regrets here. Shrinking it was a great reminder to expect the same thing to happen if I don't preshrink my batts or if I dry the quilt in the dryer. Oh, and FYI the 36" x 46" quilt is now 33" x 42".
I'd like to hear from you about your experiences with cotton batting. Have you found one that doesn't shrink much in the dryer?
May all your quilting be beautiful. Sew long.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

challenge quilts

Hi everyone.
As a member of the Great Lakes Professional Machine Quilters Association, I participated in the guild challenge. We were pretty much all to piece the same quilt top and then quilt as desired. I tend to have difficulty leaving someone else's pattern alone so I didn't follow the rules explicitly. But I saw that I wasn't the only one that had that problem. The border was supposed to be a lighter beige and I added the flat red piping between the setting triangles and the border. I am sure glad there are no worries about doing right or wrong. When I get a good look at the other challenge quilts, I will be anxious to see how well everyone else followed directions. I actually finished this almost a month ago, so I don't know Y it has taken me this long to post it, but here it is.

I am sorry that I quilted it before I took Sally Terry's Hooked on Feather's class. But I wanted to turn it in that day. I didn't realize that it is an ongoing challenge. They hope to display them at area quilt shows to promote longarm quilting I guess. I don't intend to quilt for hire, but thought I ought to particpate for the sake of practice. Maybe more of the quilters would join in then. Many of our members do not do custom quilting and just quilt edge to edge. I think many of them haven't participated. Great that they have that option. Who needs another obligation. Overall, I don't think I did too badly considering I have only had my machine since Christmas time.

I have issued design challenges in the past at quilt shops that were actually held as mystery classes. That's how I got a bunch of samples using my Thirtysomething technique for the first book. I ought to put more challenges together for the next Thirtysomething book. Anyone interested? Well, maybe next winter? I'd love to hear how well you follow challenge "rules". Do tell.
Sew long,

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hooked on Feathers

I took a great drawing class with Sally Terry. The class was on her Hooked on Feathers technique. I imagine that was the name of the class, but I am not sure. Sorry. I wasn't convinced that just cause we could draw them that we could stitch them. But I practiced a bit on paper when I got home - must have been during breakfast.Well, sure enough I could stitch them. I recognize that I need to slow down a bit so that I can stitch more detail. That is the hardest thing for me with the long arm. Or maybe it's following a line. OH, I do need the practice. And I need to practice my starts and stop - for any line of stitching as well as the feather design, obvioulsly. Anyway, this little piece was made just for practicing on the longarm, so I may not bind it. Do you think a 5 year old would like it for her dolls?

I suppose it seems silly to make a piece just for practicing the quilting. Well, for someone with over 100 quilt tops it does. Maybe I should have the attitude that if the quilting doesn't turn out I can always make another one. It's not like I am making them for competition, so I don't know why I think I need all the practice. One thing is for sure, I do my best practicing on a legitimate quilt and not just scraps of batting and muslin.
Either way its the most fun I have had quilting in a while. I hope the quilting shows up so you can see it. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

First Granny's Garden blocks

Does it count if I am thinking of blogging? I didn't know I could be so busy. And yet I found time to make these flowers. They sure are great portable projects. I am surprised how much I am enjoying it. It also helps to relax me while I am away from home. Otherwise I feel antsy that I am not getting to do any sewing. I try not to think about the sewing I need to get done - Like the quilting on another 8 quilts for my next book. Oh well, the quilting is definitely going faster with the longarm, so it shouldn't be a problem.
More soon. Sew long

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sew many quilts, Sew little time

Wow, I can't believe it has been two weeks since I have written! I wonder what I have forgotten about blogging. I wish I could report that I have been busy quilting, but there has been very little of that. My 90 year old neighbor died last week and we have been busy with his widow. I also had a trip out of town last week and I found a few hours to work in the garden.
The church ladies have just about finished the Christmas/raffle quilt. They decided to add another row. So that means we put off cutting the scraps for another month. Here is another picture of a scrap quilt one of our gals made from squares someone else had cut out and donated.

The only quilting I can report that I have done is that I finally started a grandmothers flower garden. I can't believe I have because I have seen very few of them that I like. I hope I will be pleased with mine. As it progresses I will show a picture or two.
I haven't put any time on my longarm either. Every time I am away from it for a few weeks I fear I will need to Practice all over again. Then I hear very experienced longarm quilters still practice before starting an important project or when they try new techniques or designs, or maybe just warm up a little before beginning work on a "real" quilt. I have even heard that hand quilters "warm up" on a practice piece before they move to the "real" quilt - each time they sit down to quilt! I t must be the competitive award winning quilters that do that. Sometimes all I have time for in a day is the time some people take to practice.
I hope to be quilting a bit more soon so I will have something to blog about. Otherwise I may have to continue to show more charity quilts or some of my old pieces. Or maybe I will give you a sneak peek at one of the quilts I am working on for a future book. Till then, sew long.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Scrap Central

So I got out all the scraps that belongs to church to organize them for the ladies. I keep them sorted pretty much like I have my own sorted, except I don't cut or keep triangles for our comfort quilts. Actually we can use any strip width and I just adjust all the pieces in the quilt accordingly. To keep cutting at a minimum, I use widths in 1/2" or full inch increments 2 1/2" through 6 1/2". I have a collection of patterns that I can use with all these widths. After the ladies cut the scraps into strips, I assemble kits. The quilter is responsible for the rest of the cutting. Occasionally I do some fussy cutting. Anything under 2 1/2" can be used for string piecing. This picture shows one variation of our simple scrap comfort quilts.

We inherited quite a bit of fabric this year. Our scraps alone fill two 18 gallon tubs. And they are all kept flat and stacked! It would have been nice if we were given yardage for backs. We usually end up piecing them.
What did I have to do to organize them? Well, first I had to gather them. I had to sort through 4 other tubs of fabric. Generally as I acquire it I toss it into a tub. If we are given sleazy thin fabric I only use it for backs, if at all. The stuff just frays too much to be cut into small pieces. I also collect orphan blocks for samplers. Sometimes I sort the scraps by character. I usually call it by "generation", because it is not uncommon for us to get some older stuff. But I will separate the stuff by style for more pleasing quits. Good light background fabric is a rarity so I keep that separate and choose for quilts carefully. Under 1/2 yard is usually considered a scrap, unless it coordinates really well with a difficult fabric.
I sort, organize and kit our fabric about every 8 months. Then I am at it for a week straight. At one time I belonged to a guild that had a committee that made charity quilts. I don't know that they ever organized their scraps. They just collected fabric and had a pile of patterns. It was up to each quilter to choose pattern and fabric. That seemed to take more time. I organize most of the quilts. The ladies love it, particularly when it's mostly cut out. Occasionally I also bag up coordinating fabric with no pattern. Some of the fabric is difficult to find complementary fabrics for so when I find them, I bag them. This way the gals that want to be creative and choose their own design can do so. I do keep most of the fabric at my house.
I will call a few of the gals to be sure we have enough equipment at the meeting. Some of the gals will be finishing up the raffle quilt. There are always 2 or 3 basting quilts. Maybe 4 or 5 will cut.
If anyone is looking for suggestions on how to organize their scraps or ladies I'd say start with gathering fabric and patterns. For patterns we generally use designs with just squares and rectangles. If triangles are needed we usually use the folded corner technique. There are lots of common designs that can use the standard 2 1/2", 4 1/2" & 6 1/2" strips. It might be best to start there. Then sort the fabric, lights and darks. Mediums will depend on the design. AS for getting the gals to volunteer to get involved making comfort quilts, well, good luck. It isn't for everyone. I do it because I love every aspect of it : the fabric, cutting, kitting etc. Can you tell?
Here is another one using 2 1/2" strips and 4 1/2" squares.
That's it for now. Sew long.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Sorting Scraps

I finally got my basket of scraps sorted. The scraps have been slowly piling up for several months now. I usually get around to it sooner but this was an unusual winter. I've never been happier with my organized scraps than this winter when I had surgery and couldn't cut fabric for months. But I could still sew. All I had to do was pick a couple of boxes off the shelf, choose a pattern and start sewing. Actually, choosing the pattern is the hard part, but that hardly required the use of my arm.

My scraps are now all sorted and stored in boxes in the closet. I have boxes for 6 widths of strips and 3 sizes of squares and 3 sizes of triangles. And a few more besides, like 1930's. The boxes on the upper shelf are mostly PHD's (Projects Half Done).

I still have a bag of little scraps I was given at a retreat this spring. What a mess. Mom is willing to sort, iron and organize them all. And I am going to take her up on the offer. What fun to use someone else's scraps. I am going to plan another odd width log cabin. This time I will use smaller pieces, though not miniatures! I fear that would drive me over the edge.
I think I will pull out all the church's scrap fabric and get it ready for the ladies to cut next week. That should be a project.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wedding quilt plans

I helped a student plan a medallion quilt today using my Thirtysomething technique. The pattern for the central portion is in my book, Thirtysomething. I suggested in the book that I thought it would make a great center for a medallion. I guess Rita thought so too.  It turned out pretty good. This is an Electric Quilt drawing. What a great piece of software. It saved me at least a full week of work on the book I am working on compared to the software I used before.

Our church Raffle quilt is coming along slowly. It happens every year when four of our members fly south for the winter. That is okay. There is plenty of time to finish it. I have it all spread out on the flannel wall so A: I can show you the progress and B: so it is easier to organize it to get finished later.

My scraps are piling up, so I'll plan to work on them next.  I will have to show you how I organize them and get back to you on that.

Thanks for stopping by. Sew Long.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Document it!

It seems you can tell spring is here. many of the blogs are quiet. I imagine everyone is out in their gardens, like me. We finally have had some pleasant weather and I feel "caught up" with my gardening. My mind never wanders far from quilting. I have gotten a little quilting done too. In fact, I started a new PHD. Then I realized I don't really know enough about applique to start this project. So just for the sake of documenting when I started this project, here is a picture of what I have so far. Kinda silly I know, but things like this blog can be quite motivating and I thought it would help me if I showed you that I finally had an idea how to use this fabric I got probably 12 or more years ago. So I have some strips cut, I have an idea and now I have to plan to learn how to applique.
I want to do the cut and past type of applique for this project. I can do needleturn, but don't want that. I have a few books on the subject, so thought I would experiment with technique and make a few small pieces - sorta like the journal pages. I don't know when I will fit this in the schedule. I have a pile of quilting that needs to get done for the next book and of course, I have to write the patterns for it. I know I prefer WonderUnder and I want to do raw edge for this, not the zigzaggy finish. There, now that I put it out there for the world to see, it will be interesting to see how long these items are on the long list. I am tryng to tell myself that those little journal pages take no time at all. Is that true?

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Seeing Stars

Well, I have been busy as always. I have been spending alot of time quilting on a Lemoyne Star quilt in 1800 Reproduction prints. I'm just loving it. It will be a little while before this one is done. Good thing I enjoy it.

This is the start of the next raffle quilt for my church the ladies are working on. We have quite a collection of Christmas prints. I think most of the blocks are done. Sashing is next. I think I will plan an extra meeting at my house with 1 or 2 other ladies to get the blocks and sash put together. I will pass it on to someone else at next months meeting to add the pieced border.
We had a full house at the meeting last week. Several of our members have returned from their winter residences and 2 new gals joined us. This is great. We have so much fabric to sew into quilts. Next month everyone will have returned and I like to get things organized so we can get lots done in those 3 hours. Probably only 3 will work on the raffle quilt.

Well, I am going to go check out a few new blogs and then quilt some more. Sew long. Thanks for visiting.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Williams Bay Workshop

There is a good chance that if I haven't been blogging, I have been quilting - or in the garden. I had a workshop with the Scrappers Quilt guild in Williams Bay on Saturday. They sure were a fun group. I was looking forward to this class because I taught a workshop for them before and new what to expect. Or so I thought. There were lots of new faces there! I did get one picture of some of the blocks the class worked on. They were learning lots of new techniques that day and did a great job. Probably my favorite comment of the day was "It will be fun to see all the quilts with these stars at the County Fair this summer." This was the first time I used a window for my flannel design wall. They have a great meeting room with lots of windows and natural light- even when it's raining.

Jeanette Gillespie took my class again. She has a clever way of keeping her precut strips organized for class. She uses clothespins to label and separate the strips. She writes with a pencil that can be erased later and reused. I wonder if I even have clothespins anymore.

I also had quilting with my friends at church this week. I will share more on that later. Sew long for now.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

oops, I did it again

The lecture went pretty well last night. It was well attended by the guild of over 220 members. I have been to this guild several times in the past so it was great to see so many friendly, familiar faces. I was reminded that the very first time I taught a quilting class was for this guild at their retreat 15 years ago. There were 32 in that class and it was not an easy project. Boy was I nervous. I knew my material, but didn't know if I could teach. Well, that was then, this is now and I wasn't nervous at all last night- till I realized I forgot my notes! But apparently I don't need them. Guess what? I know the material. It was a fun group with lots of show and tell and as usual I forgot to use the camera. They have a show coming up May 16 & 17 at Rock County Fairgrounds. If I am around I will plan to attend. Maybe I'll think to use the camera then.

Forgetting to use the camera isn't the only thing I did again. I have this tendency to make a quilt and then rearrange the values and/or colors and make it again. Okay, I do it deliberately - usually, but not this time. You saw the start of this a week or two ago. This blog may be just the motivation I need to get that pieced border done sooner rather than later. Oops. I see that I have a quarter block in the wrong orientation. Aren't photos great for showing mistakes?

The black with hand-dyes I call "Wish on a Rainbow". Look closely and you will see that both of these use the same piecing. I must have 15 pairs of quilts where I have made a second version. That sounds like the start of a new program for a guild.
Well, I better get sewing. Sew long.