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.