Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Plan C

Years ago I made these blocks and even added a border, but it was never my vision for the quilt.  Later I removed the border to use on another quilt.  It was just perfect for another quilt, even the size.  This first bunch of blocks was called Plan A.

 Then I made another quilt that better fit my first idea and called it Plan B. I put the pattern for this one in Save the Scraps

Then I decided to make Plan A more to my liking and, of course, had to call it Plan C.  I had to separate the blocks, but that's no big deal. I just put the speaker phone on and let my friend entertain me.  I guess tv would work, too.  I had it all cut out and sewn - even the border was cut!  Then just before I was about to add the border I decided to add another row of blocks.  Can you tell I'm still in that "bigger is better" frame of mind?  Actually, Mark liked this one too, so I thought as long as it's a keeper it oughta be useful.

Life can be stressful at Christmas time so I want to be able to sit down to sew when I NEED to.  This is one top I hope to finish.  And I will probably start work on one of the kits I put together a few months ago.  Sure glad I did that.  Now is not the time to concentrate on sewing.  That mindless sewing will do tons to keep me relaxed.  I hope you can find some time to relax by quilting this season. Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Tis the Season

Yeah it's Christmas time. Don't you love it? I s'pose many quilters are scrambling to finish up some quilt projects for gifts. I don't make quilts for gifts, but occasionally I make a gift of a quilt I've made. Less stress that way.  I am not done with shopping yet,so I haven't started any wrapping yet. I don't do the cookie thing  but I do like to decorate.  Not doing as much of that this year either.  Christmas will be here and gone before you know it. Don't know if I like that or not.

I've not done much sewing, but I have made these blocks.  Not as colorful as I like. I started this one a little differently than I do most.  Usually I set out to find fabric for a pattern I designed.  This time I started with the gray tones in the quilt and looked for a pattern to use them in.  I had sorted my drawer of fat quarters and once again came across this pile of medium gray toned fabrics.  Much as I like them, I never found a use for them and they have been in that drawer for too many YEARS. I think this might be as big as this portion gets.  I might add a round or two of other blocks or a pieced border.

Instead of quilting I was working for one of my people doing some serious deeeeep cleaning. WOW! 27 hours later, I quit cause they came home. Kitty missed me and I am glad to be home.  Going down to the studio to finish up a lap quilt with a feathered border. Tomorrow is quilting at church. Here's hoping you get all your gifts done and under the tree in time for the big day.
Sew long,

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I decided to put an end to this PHD. There wasn't a pattern for this sampler, and I was tired of it sitting on the shelf so after these 12 blocks I decided it was time to finish it.  And as has been happening lately, I am almost sorry already that I didn't make it bigger. But I didn't want to add an elaborate pieced border and I am out of the print I used in the sashing, so that's as good a reason as any to finish it.

Now with so many tops finished, I feel like I can get on to starting something new. I just put 6 kits together in the last month. Yesterday I  pulled one off the shelf and saw that I  already forgot that I started a kit for it. I don't know what  anybody does with dozens of UFO's. With Christmas on the way, I think it will be a while before I can really put some time into piecing again.  I want to focus next on some quilting and before you know it I will be working on comfort quilt kits again.
I am convinced- Whoever figures out how to bottle time will become very rich. Sew long.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Retreat report

Welcome to all, especially my new followers.
My re-treat didn't go quite as planned because I was kind of called to work.  I still got a bunch done in spite of that.  I put the extra border of squares on this quilt top, bringing it to 92" square.

And I got the last border on this quilt top, too.  It fits a twin bed now and looks great when it's on the bed. I was thinking of adding blocks on point all the way around this one, but the math wasn't working in my favor. This pattern is called Quilter's Dream by Judy Martin from her book, Scraps Blocks and Quilts.

 I also got another UFO just about done.  It just needs the last 2 borders.  I hope to work on that tonight.
The comfort quilt  that was on the frame downstairs is finished, and I've got another one loaded and a quarter done.  I think if I had done anymore I'd be pretty sore from sitting at the machine sewing all day. This retreat didn't come with a masseuse.

I haven't said much about work, because I don't like to think of it as work.  I guess I'm what you might call a caregiver.  There's 4 people that we care for. I don't do it all alone. My husband is a big help with all 4 of them. One is my 82-year-old mother, 2 is my adult daughter with Asperger's, 3 is a mentally ill middle aged man, and 4 is my 89 year old neighbor lady. They don't all need the same help. Some days, they simply need company. Otherwise, depending on the person it's me/us that takes them to doctor appointments or  manages their meds or their money or helps with their house/work. I usually refer to them as "my people". You would be correct in assessing that it is a full-time job, and it would be if I did it alone.  You would also be correct if you guessed that I quilt to keep my sanity. Isn't it a wonderfully soothing past time?  Amazingly, my blood pressure is just fine. Well son of a gun, I hear my sewing machine calling again. Thanks for visiting.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Retreating at home

Hi everyone,
I've had a busy 10 days since the last time I wrote.  For starters, I finally put the additional borders on the Kings beauty quilt. So glad I did.

Then I cut more squares to add another border to another one of the quilts. I hope to get that done today.

Got another border ready to go on this quilt top.

I also assembled 3 kits for myself.

And I dug out 3 PHD's to see what they needed. And a lot of cutting is what they needed. So I rummage through my scraps to find what I needed and cut the pieces to finish those 2 quilts. I just made a little mess and another pile of scraps.

I've got the house to myself this weekend and plan to get a lot done. Not the same kind of fun as a retreat away with your friends, but I will be smiling. I gotta enjoy it while I can.  Mark is off of work the next 10 days and I never know when I will get a chance to quilt when he's around. Speaking of quilting, I think I should hide down stairs in the quilting studio when he is home. I am just about done with the comfort quilt on the frame.  I'll try to get that done this weekend and another one loaded before he gets back. Also on my list of things to do this weekend is finish the binding on 2 quilts.  It will be interesting to see how much I get done.  Well I'm going to go, I hear my sewing machine calling.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Orphan Block Tutorial - Part 2

Step 4 - My rows decided to be columns instead. Now, that they are the same width, it is time to make them the same length. This is where I incorporate spacer strips.  Personally, I figure it out mathematically, but I like math. They can be pieced (think rows of triangles or squares) or plain. Sometimes I like to use a busy print here. Finalize the position of the blocks in the row based on color. Insert the needed spacers randomly in the rows.  In other words, don’t add them all at the end of the row.

 On this quilt I determined that the two rows of 8" blocks would finish at 64". The center row needed an extra 4" so a row of flying geese was made. The first row needed an extra half inch so the pink frame has wider top and bottom strips than it has on its sides. I was lucky with the last row. I was able to make up the difference with the frame for the two 5" blocks.

Step 5 -   Now I need to decide how I want to sew the rows, together.   Do I want a light or medium sashing? I kind of like the darker gray sashing.  I'm not interested in making the pieced sashing for this so the only other option is to set  the blocks side-by-side. I like the blocks side-by-side the best but think I might prefer to add a border to the quilt with the dark sashing.

Step 6 -  Once the rows are together, it's time for the border.  And as usual, I don't know what I want to do about that, so I'll let it sit for a while.  Who knows, maybe in 5 years I'll add another row of blocks, and then a border. And why not?

To see photos of some of the other quilts I've made with orphan blocks for church, click the "orphan" link in the sidebar.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Orphan Block Tutorial - Part 1

I was really surprised at all the orphan blocks I've got. I shouldn't have been.  I remember making the decision to collect them.  They have accumulated rapidly from classes, leftovers, experimentation  and publishers requirements. I decided to use some in a quilt maybe because I enjoy the challenge of getting them to fit together. Here is how I do it.

Step 1.    The more blocks to choose from the better. That way you can choose blocks that coordinate.  The 1st thing I do is sort the blocks according to character.  I have a pile of 1800 reproduction blocks, and  one with 1930's. I also have a pile of scrappy blocks, a  small pile of brights and one of batiks.  And then there's the rest of them.  I sorted those into piles by color, basically, jewel tones or earth tones. So does this count as 5 PhD's?
Step 2.    Apparently I have enough jewel tone blocks to make a quilt. Next sort the blocks into piles by size.  Oh my goodness!  I came up with over 10 different size blocks.  I put the blocks on the wall grouping same size blocks in columns.

Try to arrange the blocks either into sections, in columns or in rows that will finish roughly the same length.  A few rows usually have blocks all the same size, perhaps one row will have 8" or 10" blocks and another row 12" blocks. In this collection, there are quite a few six-inch blocks that would fit in nicely next to each other in a row with 12 inch blocks so those shouldn't be a problem, except there is only one that is 12".

I found I had quite a few 8" blocks that could be used alone in a quilt, but decided to incorporate them into this quilt.  I was able to pick out some that blended in nicely - enough  for 2 rows.   All that remains is the odd sized blocks.

Step 3.    The next goal is to focus on building rows where each block in the row is the same width.  Don't worry about the exact length of the rows at this time. Each row in the quilt does not need to be the same width, just the same width from top to bottom of each row. The photo below shows some of the blocks I was considering and the rows I've started to form.

 To get the blocks the size I need I enlarge blocks to match the biggest block in the row.  There are several options.
  Option 1 - Enlarge a block by building the smaller blocks up to the size of the biggest block in the row. This option works great for turning 6" or 8" blocks into 12" blocks or 10" blocks into 14" blocks.  I don’t worry if I still have matching fabric. I enlarged the blue block on the left in this way in the bottom set of blocks. You don’t need to follow an actual pattern. Just play with same sized squares and triangles to come up with a plan.  In the teal block I found the same background fabric and added a round of triangles. Compare these blocks to the original in the first photo above.

Option 2 - Add a frame to all sides. Either matching or contrasting  fabric will work. I make the frame an extra ½" wide and only trim the block on two sides to match the width of the row. The extra length may come in handy when getting the rows to the same length in step 4.

Option 3 - Set a small block on point by framing it with setting triangles. They can be plain half-square triangles or pieced from smaller squares and triangles. I generally plan for oversized triangles then square the block down to size after sewing.

I never forget that I can make another block from scratch to get the color and fit I want. Also, on occasion I have been known to cut a block down to make it fit a row. Do Not sew the blocks in the rows together yet, just focus on making the blocks in the row the same width.

Stay tuned for part 2. Sew long.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

eventually it gets done

Formerly titled "Self-Diagnosed ADD". Lots of traffic to that site tells me that this isn't what they were looking for. I hope they enjoyed it anyway.
Lately it seems I have a very short attention span.  I can't seem to start and finish anything without moving onto something else 1st.  I still have a few of those borders to get back to. Here is one I finished a couple of weeks ago when I had lost my camera. Ain't it a beaut?  I'll tell you how I came up with this original design when I dig out the other pieces to illustrate the story.

Rather than work on the border project, I worked on those floral pinwheel blocks you saw a few posts back.  While getting ready for a class I started rummaging through my orphan blocks and scraps.   I pulled out a few boxes that I knew had odds and ends from a few quilts that I had made for the new book. I found the triangles  for the hourglass blocks I put together (see the last post).  Now that project is on hold. Yes, because it involves appliqué. I also found enough pieces for a few more Lemoyne stars.  Had to make those.

Then I dug out my orphan blocks with 1800 reproduction prints. It's a small but growing pile. All the orphan blocks are kept together. I decided maybe it's time I work with the orphan blocks because I have a pile at least 6 inches high. These are my orphan blocks.  I have almost as many in the pile for church.
I guess I am getting stuff done, but I don't feel very productive  because it is little bits here and little bits there. It's better for me and I am feeling pretty good. Hope you are too. Sew long.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Time Found and Time Lost

Well, October is always one of the busiest months of the year.  Usually the teaching and show schedule is quite full, and to top it off  I have another life outside of quilting. Imagine that.  It's times like these when I'm glad I have put some of my projects aside to pick up when I have a few minutes. This time I picked up scraps of 1800's reproduction prints.  I had a small pile of 1/4 square triangles and so I made these 3" hourglass blocks. Here we go. Another mystery.  My 1st thought was to set a pieced block in the center of 2 rounds of the hourglass blocks. Naturally. It is rare that I even think of applique.
Then I went to Electric Quilt and this is what I came up with. Seeing as this will only be a wall hanging, I won't mind using the cut-and-paste method of appliqué. Now I  need to decide if I want to have a strip of plain border fabric between the 2 borders of triangles.  And if I do, should it be a light medium or dark color. So far I'm loving it, and I think I will keep it small.

I did get another border on an old top, but didn't take the picture. My back was sore and I couldn't reach up and spread the quilt top on the wall.  Then when my back was feeling better, I'd lost the camera. That wasn't fun cause just the day before I'd lost my cell phone.  Of course, both were simply misplaced in the house. I don't like loosing hours to searching for misplaced items.  Sure hope that doesn't become a habit any time soon.  Picture taking is on the agenda for this afternoon so with any luck I'll show a picture or 2 tomorrow.

I could babble on and on, so I better go get some work done. Sew long.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

S is for Scraps

You almost wouldn’t know that I’m a dedicated quilter. We’ve had such a glorious autumn this year that I’ve spent little time at the sewing machine. It’s been a week already and I can’t believe that I haven’t announced this, but I have in hand an advanced copy of my latest book, S Is for Scraps. It will probably be in stores the 2nd week of November.  Click the green link below the cover photo in the side bar for a preview of all the projects in the book.

 I have not gotten back to the borders on the 6 quilt tops I want to enlarge.  But I have made a few more blocks for the quilt I started last week.  I can’t say I’m real excited about it. These prints are just too busy for me. I've been adding a few more blocks with the darker more solid background. Naturally that is what I'd add. I like high contrast. A few more blocks and I can call it done.

I wanted to show you how I cut them out.  In Kim Brackett’s book Scrap Basket Surprises she instructs you to place 2 rectangles at right angles to each other and sew them together on the diagonal to make the 2 trapezoid unit. I prefer to cut and sew trapezoids.

I already knew the strip width was 2 ½ inches.  Then I use a half-square triangle ruler like the Omnigrid 96. This ruler requires that I use the 3 inch line. The hardest thing about cutting trapezoids is to always remember to cut with the fabric right side up and not folded.  Otherwise you will get the mirror image, and with trapezoids pointing in both directions your pinwheels will spin in 2 different directions.  Usually when I cut boo-boos like that, I make the blocks anyways.  But then those blocks are donated to church.  I guess I’m really only concerned if I’m short on fabric.

Another session of Quilt As Desired is about ready to start, and I have room for one more.  If anybody local to me is interested or knows of anybody that would be interested in joining me in learning to quilt,  give me a call.  These classes are handled a lot like classes at quilt shops where you work on what you want, and the teacher helps you.  Sessions usually start with show and tell, then I give a demonstration of some technique or pieced block.  Then you are free to make that block and do a sampler quilt or work on your own project after that.
 It's back to the borders for me. Sew long.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A new project

Thank you to everyone that commented on my last post.  It was unanimous to go with the brown border.  It should be on soon.  
I hold classes here at home sometimes and while I was waiting for the last class to begin I began another quilt.  My fingers were itching to start something new. How I decided so quickly is beyond me. I've been wanting to do something with a few multicolored florals I have.  I must have gotten them in some bundles I bought, cause typically I don't buy them.

I like a simple 2 fabric block for those busy prints. So I chose the pattern Mocha Swirl from Kim Brackett's book, Scrap Basket Surprises. I think it will work out great. I haven't been happy with that one pink rose print. Can't seem to find the right green to go with it.  But now I see that maybe the way to go is to use it as the background.
 Typically when I start a quilt, I pick out just about all the fabric and have a cutting frenzy. I think I might approach this one a little more slowly.  Not sure how big it will get with the florals I have. And I am not sure if I want to be selective in which blocks are next to one another.  Once I have made  up the blocks with these fabrics  I just might add some with more blue in them. I can always audition them too I guess. Sometimes I have to remind myself that is what the flannel wall is for.

Just the same, I can see putting this one aside to work on with others around.  It won't take much concentration. See how that happens?
Thanks again and sew long.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Auditioning borders

So now I can't decide on which border to use on this Kings Beauty quilt top that I made about 25 years ago. I ran out of the light peach for the setting triangles.  OOOOps what a liar.  I just remembered that I cut them too small. That is why I added some of the last border fabric to each triangle and it appears that the green corners overlap the narrow rust border a bit. A mistake?? no. Let's call it a design opportunity.   I have other rusts, but narrowed it down to this top one.  I have plenty of matching light green, but won't use that very wide cause it doesn't work. I like the last one with light green middle border and plain dark green final border because the quilting would show up nice with it. I didn't get the proportions just right and that can make a difference, but this helps too.


This top is 82" already and I love it so I want to make it big enough for my bed (as opposed to my balcony).
I've had the quilting planned for years and just may move it from the dormant phd pile to the actively waiting pile. Okay, not a pile, a list. A list in my head AKA a fantasy.  I have lots and lots of those. Don't we all?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

3 down, 6 to go

 Sometimes I don't know where I find the time and other times I know I am addicted to the Internet. I need to try harder to balance my time better. At any rate, I put another quilt on the frame and started it.  I am finding that while it is nice out I like to work on my quilting after dark.  We live 2nd shift here, so I will often go to the studio after 9pm. I guess it rained or I wouldn't have gotten the new borders on these old tops. 

This first one is called Friendship Chain.  The blocks were from a block exchange in the Crazy Quilters guild I belonged to at the time.Each block has 12 set-ins. The girls didn't like me much for that, but they did a great job. At least it didn't have 50  pieces. Linda Bohling had the foresight to date her block 1989. Thanks, Linda.
 I'm not so sure I like the dark green, but it's not going anywhere.  I didn't audition the green on the wall first cause there was stuff in the way. It's sure hard to get nice pictures with the quilts on the flannel wall when flannel doesn't cover the whole wall. The big ones are hard to get up there as it is, especially when they are too big for the space. That pile of stuff is gone now, so I intend to audition several options for another top. I will be looking for input from all of you about that.

This next one was a sample for a magazine article I wrote years ago. I never named it, but I recall that I set 6 little arrow units in a 9-patch with 3 blue squares. Does that help?  I know how everyone tries to decipher how the pieced quilts go together. I've given plenty of lectures where everyone looks at my quilts kind of perplexed. Now this one I like better with the new brown border. And now it's a decent twin size. Sure beats a gazillion lap quilts.

 Well, it's 10pm, time to work in the studio for an hour. Sew long,

Saturday, September 18, 2010

If Only

If only I wasn't too lazy to add another pieced border to this quilt when I  first made it. Wouldn't that have been pretty? I mean, if only I hadn't run out of fabric when I was making this quilt, I could've made it bigger to begin with. I mean, if only  I had bought more fabric in the 1st place.  Really, let's get it right. That's the real problem.  I tend not to buy large enough pieces of fabric.  Lesson learned?  Probably not.

I'm pleased with the addition of these 2 plain borders in this quilt top.  At least now it's big enough for a twin or double sized bed. This is Alien Star Flower and was originally shown in my book, Infinite Stars.  I just checked the publication date and that was 1992.  That means this quilt top is  20 years old.  I'm still not in a real big hurry to get it quilted. I'm waiting for my doodle quilting to get better.

If only I got more of the borders done in that pile of 9 quilts I decided to enlarge - I could be starting another top. But I just got one done. And I did go shopping and find the fabric  I need for the border of one other quilt.  And it's washed, pressed and ready to go.  I also finished 2 bindings.

I think that's enough sewing upstairs for a little while.  Now I think I'll rummage around in that pile of tops and see if I can't find one that I have a back for and put something on the frame downstairs. I will save the other borders to work on when I am on the phone.  I use the speaker phone feature so I can chat without holding the phone and can get lots done at the same time. I find it helps to plan ahead,  and will probably have figured out how wide I can cut the strips from the fabric available before I even pick up the phone.
Sew on and sew on. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Staying Organized

I guess in order for me to get anything accomplished, I like to keep things organized.  My mother seems to think that I am very organized and could put my fingers on things in my sewing room rather quickly.  I wonder what she would've thought if she had seen me yesterday.  I spent nearly 5 hours organizing again. When my sister was here just  2 weeks ago, we spread out all the quilts on the extra twin beds upstairs.  My quilt tops were left  in a drawer and a pile and I knew I would get to them soon.  My thoughts were that I would go through  them to decide which ones I would want to quilt next.  But recently there was a discussion in the Yahoo group, Stashbusters, about what size quilts we make. The discussion made me realize something I've known for some time.  I have not been making many quilts big enough for beds.

 So yesterday I ended up pulling out 9 quilt tops that I decided I could still make larger.  I rummaged through all of my fabric, and I mean all,  looking for any remaining matching fabric or other fabric that I might want to add to these quilts to make them larger.  One of the great things is I think I will only need to buy border fabric for one of the quilt tops, and binding for one other.  I guess I'm glad I hadn't quilted them yet.

I also organized my binding bin. I was dismayed to find  many of the bindings were not labeled and there were perhaps 8 quilt tops that I had not set aside binding  fabric for.  So I'm glad I took care of that.


I don't particularly enjoy adding borders, but I want to take care of these soon.  Most of them will probably just get a plain border, but 3 of them will get pieced borders.  I've always wanted to participate in a round robin and now's my chance.   Here is one quilt top I'm thinking of setting on point, and making it larger with additional blocks and borders.  I only have one of the original fabrics left, but  I don't really think that matters. These fabrics look pretty good with it. I'm sure I can find more.

I got a few bindings done, and I have a few more ready to sew on.  Also, I really enjoyed getting acquainted with Karen at the quilt show in Madison.  It turns out we enjoy pretty much the same kind of quilts. And if that wasn't enough.  I went into the Whitewater shops today with Lucrecia.  There was a sale I just couldn't miss. Well, I'm glad it's never ending.  I hope your glad too. Sew long.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My sister's dirt and Congrats to Karen

Well, my sister has come and gone. I would never do this on my own, but she gave me permission. So here it is - her dirt! 27 years of it.

The Mothers Fancy Star quilt top I'd made her that long ago was on display in her home this whole time. There was some yellowing due to aging and possibly stains from wood. I asked her to send it to me as is. When I saw just how dirty it was, I knew it needed a cleaning before quilting it. I did not want it to agitate in the machine though, because I did not want the seams to fray. So in the bathtub it went with hot water and Borax and a little detergent. I gently squeezed the water through it. I couldn't believe the dirt and ran for the camera. Then I called Mark to see it and his 1st comment was "Did you take a picture?" It came fairly clean. And perhaps had I soaked it a while all the stains would've come out. Quilting it and binding it will be quite a chore and I don't intend to start for a while because I want to get some work done on other projects before the holidays.

While my sister was here, she helped me rearrange my quilts in storage. This was a very rare opportunity for someone to see my quilts here at the house, and I knew she'd be interested. It is recommended that once a year you refold your quilts, folding it in quarters in even years and in 3rds in odd years. Of course the best way to store quilts is flat, but most people don't have room for that. but I happen to have a spare twin bed up in the quilt storage room. So we spread out about 30 quilts on that bed. We left 2 big piles of quilts folded for trunk shows, and draped perhaps another 20 over a couple of simple quilt racks for wall hangings. I had also sorted out quilts and tops that I'm willing to part with. The quilt tops that I'm not using in lectures or classes will get stored in a huge dresser until I am ready to quilt them. It sure felt good to get those things organized. Now, I think I'll be able to set some goals for getting some of those tops quilted and perhaps sold.

Imagine how excited I was, when I went to our county fair and saw that a quilt made from one of my patterns was on full display. It is often a bit of a disappointment to see the quilts at our fair because unlike a quilt show, they do not have the space to hang every quilt open all the way. I knew right away that the quilt must have won something, and as it turned out it was won a blue and the grand champion. I was so excited for whoever had made it. As it turned out, a neighbor of mine, Karen Walters made it. It was a surprise to her as well because she had made it for her granddaughter,Megan and her daughter, Nikki entered it in the fair for her. I thought for sure, I had a picture of this quilt from the fair. I didn't think to bring my camera and never expected to need it, but golly gee, I have a new camera phone. I guess I need to read up on how to use it. Congratulations, Karen! Karen lives just 4 doors away, but here in the country, it's a good half a mile and with our busy lives, we never got to hanging out together.

I got a few lap quilts bound and got these 3 ready for binding. (that means I quilted them) I've made each of these two several times for church. Dorinda donated the tulip blocks
(below)to our efforts at church. Another gal put them together and I quilted it.

That's it for this week. Friday I will be going with Karen to the Madison Quilt Expo. Should be fun getting better acquainted with my neighbor that quilts.
Sew long,

Monday, August 30, 2010

Two too big

Yep, you read that right. I've got two quilt tops to show that are too too big for my flannel wall.
The first is the top I started at retreat last spring, inspired from the book "One Block Says It All". I didn't get any further because as usual I had to add the borders. I already had the pieced borders pieced, but I wanted to get a different tan fabric. Once I did, it still sat in the pile. I'm not too sorry it's too big for my flannel wall, because that means it'll be a good sized quilt for my bed. Someday. I think these are great stash busting quilts because it uses a lot of fabric quickly. I hope to make more but I think before I do that I ought to quilt one and see how I like doing that.

This other quilt top is called Mothers Fancy Star, I made it for my sister about 27 years ago . She was always going to send it off to get hand quilted and never quite got that far. It sat in the corner of her bedroom on display for who knows how long and gathered dust. Now with the long arm, I am happy to quilt it. So I washed it this morning in the bathtub, and hung it on a line to dry. This one measures 104" x 128"! I would like to convince her to remove a row and make a quilt 104 inches square. This would not only make it easier for her to handle and launder and me to quilt, but also, if it were square she could rotate it on the bed for even wear. It's her decision. And I would be happy to instruct her how to use the same ripper. She is lucky she has a choice, because if it were 128 inches square, it wouldn't fit on my frame!I'll probably quilt this one now as soon as I get the batting and backing for it. I've already planned the quilting for it and there will be a minimum of marking to do. Thank goodness!

I also sent a small box of small quilts and quilt tops to an Amish auction. I don't necessarily expect them to do very well but I am hopeful that I will still be satisfied. I think that's the same outfit will have another auction again in November. If I am pleased this time around I might very well send some more for the November auction. Sounds like a great time of year for a quilt auction - just before the cold and before Christmas.

Well I guess that's about all the Quilty stuff this week for me.
Sew long,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Since last week

Another busy quilty week has passed. Last Tuesday was comfort quilts at church. We didn't work too hard that day. This sampler Lois put together. It was her first effort at putting all those assorted sizes together. I wish she had called me. It might have been easier for her. I brought another top home. It is on the frame and already half quilted.

Wed. I went with Judy to the Milwaukee Art Museum and saw some someones collection of antique quilts. Who's collection it was doesn't matter to me cause they didn't make them. Oops, I guess I ought to try to remember so I won't accidentally see them again. There were some awesome quilts there and of course most were made completely by hand cause they were mostly pre-1850. The 240 hours that gals put in their quilts using machines doesn't seem so daunting now after seeing those quilts.

Friday and Saturday the GLMPQA met in Elgin, IL. I only went down on Friday for classes with Diana Phillips. Now I have a few more ideas for freehand quilting. It's been interesting to take all these classes and compare teaching styles. Again disappointed in the teachers lack of samples. She had some glorious quilts, but they didn't support her morning class. And as usual, I couldn't sleep for thinking about how I would have taught those classes. This is a corner of her single Irish Chain and my thumb.

It will be nice to have a few weeks at home before the busy fall quilting season starts. This week I see my cousin and uncle. I haven't seen her since I was 14. We were penpals after that for a few years. Should be fun. Next week my sister will be here from PA. In between I'll quilt when I can. Wouldn't you?
Sew long,

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another quilty week

Well, the inspiration from the Milwaukee Machine Quilting Show has lasted. It certainly has helped that I have had other Quilty events on my calendar. I did a bit of practice,as you can see here.
I'm also just about done with another comfort quilt. I took the quilt off the frame to turn to quilt the other borders, and then it'll be done. I believe Rita donated this quilt top. She won the pieced blocks in a block exchange or drawing or raffle and put them together with the Snowball blocks. I was fairly pleased with how these feathered circles turned out.I've been wanting this stencil for some time and I finally got it from Pam Clark at the show last week. Pam likes to use the blue chalk, and then uses some special spray solution that she wipes across the quilt top. Well, because I'm so cheap I didn't want to do that but how was I to see white chalk on a white fabric. Then I remembered what I'd heard quilters used a century ago. So I used their little trick, anybody want to guess? I know I should've been able to quilt this with the laser light, but I don't like to work from the back of the machine. And I have trouble using the laser light from the front of the machine. I guess that's just one more thing I ought to practice.

I also had a lecture and workshop scheduled up north. And went to the Lutherdale quiltfest quilt auction on Saturday. I was mighty disappointed in what most of the quilts were going for. I feel bad for the gals who made them. But funny thing, I think I still am going to send some off to auction for myself.

This'll be another Quilty week. Tomorrow is comfort quilting at church, Wednesday, I hope to go to the Milwaukee Art Museum to see some antique quilts. And I have the classes in Elgin on Friday, should be fun.

Poor mom. I was so busy with my quilting, that I never stopped to see her all week. She thought I was mad at her. When I finally saw her on Saturday after the auction, I explained what I'd been doing and reminded her that I'll be busy yet again this week. The following week should be kind of slow so I should be able to see her then and she'll be happy. The week after that we are starting to see company from out of town. I'll have to remind myself then that I can't quilt every week.I guess I'll have to be satisfied with dreaming about quilting.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


I took 3 classes at the Milwaukee Machine Quilting Show in the last 3 days and that is what all three of the excellent teachers emphasized. My experience tells me they are right. To get good, you gotta practice, both on paper and at the sewing machine. I know this and tell my students this as well. It applies to both the quilting and the piecing. And yes, appliK too. I guess anything.
My problem is I wanna do it all and I should really be focusing on just a thing or two.

I took a swag class with Mindy Wylie Caspersen. Love swags. She has developed a set of tools with Quilter's Rule to make some nice swags. What's nice about them is that the set makes a variety of sizes too. I have seen several other swag templates around and I like these best. So I'll probably get them at their next Warehouse Sale in November.

I also took a classs with Dawn Cavanaugh - on Git-R-Done type borders. Some were easier than others. Good thing I liked the easy ones the most.

Jammie Wallens class was Cottontracks2. Lots of great ideas I hadn't seen before. I am anxious to try some of them, particularly on my OLD Infinite Stars quilts still unquilted from 1992! Okay, I have made a few since and they would be perfect in those too. That big star in the last post was a fairly new Infinte Star. And for those of you that don't know, that was the title of my first book.
I will be back to see the rest of the show tomorrow and shop the vendors, of course! Sew long,

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Measure twice, cut once

I guess it's back to the drawing board for a quilt to hang on my balcony. One would think by now that I learned the lesson to measure the space where I want to display a quilt, and plan accordingly. I finally got the border on the log cabin quilt that I made last winter. It looks like the quilt was too big even before I added the border! I did make sure though that the quilt was big enough for my bed, so someday I'll use it there. Unless of course, I could convince my husband that with a little creative carpentry we could make it fit.

I also got the border on this Infinite Star quilt. I am undecided, about what I want to do in the background area of the star. I don't know if it'll just be the quilting or if I want to do some couching of some colored yarns or what.

We had comfort quilting at church today. I had so much to bring, I packed my big suitcase. It was heavier than when I travel on the plane to do lectures. I brought the raffle quilt back in and maybe eight kits I was returning after cuttings strips for them with the studio cutter. I also brought this big Sunshine and Shadow quilt that I had on the frame this last week. Someone had donated the quilt top to church.

I still have borders to add to 3 quilt tops that I listed three weeks ago. But I changed my mind about one of them. It's maybe 4 feet across. And rather than just border it I think that I'll add some smaller stars around and make a medallion quilt with it. So I've moved that quilt top to the PhD pile. Another top waiting for a border is a comfort quilt and I'll add the border When I prep the back before I quilt it. The 3rd is on this weeks schedule.

It is still amazing to me how motivating it has been to get my projects organized. I would like to reward myself for getting so much done, and start another quilt, but I think since I'm on a roll, I'll wait another week and see how much more I can get done. So that means I have to go now, sew long.