Monday, December 30, 2013

Design Floor Monday

My design wall is occupied with a project for the book, so here's  a photo of my grandma's flower garden quilt on the floor. I picked it up a week ago and declared that I was anxious to get it done and my hubby couldn't understand why. I'm hoping you understand and I won't have to explain.  Considering I don't plan to add any more flowers, I'm getting pretty close. I do plan to arrange in hexagon layout like I am showing, that way it will fit as a tabletop in the living room. I have it on two different pieces of green  fabric. Looks like too much green to me, so I will have to consider my options again once the blocks are all joined. It should be good for spring - some year.

 Work is going well on the book, but it will still be a while before it is in hand.  Perhaps an explanation is due. Earlier I said that I hope to be close to done with it about now. And I am. But next it needs to be laid out in some desktop publishing program and then sent to the printer. Still have a few quilts to tweak and two samples to finish before photography, too. This could easily take a few months. But I am right on schedule and pleased with how it's going. Hopefully soon my time will be free to work on something I can show here.

 It's been a year now since Mark has retired. I guess were about as adjusted as we will ever be. Lately, all he's had to do is clear snow. And except for running errands,  I like knowing he is home, safe and sound. I've really enjoyed all the snow this month. With no place much to go but the sewing room, I couldn't be happier cause from here, it's just pretty.

It's Monday, that mean's it's time to check out the pretties linked up to Judy's.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Real Studio Tour

So I've been too busy to do any sewing, but I thought I could participate in the linky party  that Vicki Welsh is hosting of  real studio tours. 

This is the room that I can spend 10 hours a day in. I hardly ever sit in the living room. I watch little tv though I have one in here. This is where I sit to write  the books and blog posts, pay bills and of course make quilts. Note this is is the sewing studio. The quilting studio is in the basement where the long arm is. I sure could spend more time down there.

Looking to the left as you enter the room. The doorway is to my bedroom. I like books, but I don't collect a ton of them. I will move 'em out to make room for new. I have them categorized by publisher on one shelf. The end of the top left shelf has  quilt history books. On the right on the bottom shelf is books that are just saddle-stitched (stapled). That works for me. The shelf has two small quilts covering messy piles of tops and such. I just straightend them looking for a Christmas present or two I may have stuck up there last July. No, didn't find it.
Next to the book case is the office area. Not only do I take care of family finances, and all my quilt related stuff but I also take care of finances for two people on disability. Their stuff fills one file drawer.
In front of the bookcase is one of four quilt racks that I use to drape stuff over. Up in the quilt warehouse I have two next to each other and I flip quilts back and forth like pages in a book. Easy access and no folds in the small quilts I use them for. 

 I'm sitting at the desk as I take this picture.  The ironing board is in  a bit of a tight squeeze. Good thing I don't have to get into storage on the back side of the cutting table too often.  I use the drawers on the other side for my main stash.  The table is so clean cause 1. I have been working on the book at the computer. and 2. this is Christmas present wrapping station.

Here I am standing at the cutting table looking across to the flannel wall. The room is 13' x 17".
Behind the flannel wall  is a 5' x 10' closet. My usual sewing machine is out of view to the left. The table moves around the room a bunch.

This is  to my right as I enter the room. I sew in front of the windows. The sewing machine to the right is an extra my friends use.  When they come to sew it gets moved to the table.

When I see all my stuff like this it sure makes me feel blessed. There is little I want.
This also makes me think I need to clean things up a bit, but really things are pretty organized already. It's really a matter of too much stuff. Maybe next time I will show the quilting studio.

To see other studios in the tour, stop by Vicki's.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Time Taker

Boy! this new computer is really taking up my time. I spose I can afford it and I am enjoying it. But that means I haven't been sewing sew much. Friday quilting here I made another block for my Civil War sampler from orphans. and some more Bow Ties for that ongoing project.  I wasn't very prepared for when the girls showed up and the unexpected visitor threw me off. The people in my life were having issues too that required my time. Can you tell it's the holday season?

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Done Diddly

Well, I've done diddly since Thanksgiving. Unless work on a book counts. All I've done re: quilting is one of the bindings on my list. Glad to check it off.

What I have been busy with, is a new computer and some Christmas shopping. Mark sure makes the shopping enjoyable for me and when the shopping is for me that's all the more enjoyable. Most gifts are bought now. That's a bit early for us. The computer I surprised myself with. I didn't really plan the purchase and it will take a while to get it up and running. I had to order an upgrade my phone service and internet connection. I've meant to for a while but it falls under the category of shopping and I really don't like that. My nephew, the walking computer will come by to finish setting it up then.  It's snowing today so I put out my 
4small treeees that I keep decorated. That's the most Christmas spirit I've seen around here since I got this.  I think my sister sent it because she heard me grumble "Bah- humbug" a few too many times in recent years. I'm on the right track now.
Thanks, Carol. And now the Packers won. Gotta celebrate.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Better on the Bed

As expected I finished my quilt top, Ladies in Waiting. I'd like  a good flat shot of it on the wall, but it is a bit too big to fit there and I didn't feel like climbing to put it up either. Maybe when the light in the room is better I can do that. That is usually in winter when the sun is shining on the snow and the room is brighter. The flash on my camera is not as effective when I get clear across the room to take the photo.

Meanwhile I continue to work on projects scattered about the room. I guess I don't need to go into the closet looking for work afterall.   As I look about my room I see finished blocks waiting for some setting fabric. Borders waiting for me to purchase more black thread. Borders to go on another quilt top that Sue had removed before she decided to give it to the Comfort Quilt group. And at least 3 quilts waiting for binding. No doubt there is more if I look. But my focus right now is really my next book. I am hoping to finish up the text and illustrations by New Years. The quilting is almost done. In between I have to do some piecing. It's my therapy. And then I squeeze in some blogging; especially on Mondays.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Getting Close

       I hope all of you had a good week like me. Just a little quilting though.All the stars are done for the border and I got them together. I should have time tomorrow to finish that quilt top. I sure hope I am going to like this when it is done. Man, these big quilts are lots of work.
      Tuesday was quilting at church. We've been staying an extra hour or two so we are getting a little more done. 5 of us had machines working on our comfort quilts. The others usually work on choosing backs, or baste. I worked on one of the kits I put together months ago. I don't bring kits home to work on though. If I don't finish it there, someone else will take it to finish it.
       Yesterday I went with a friend to check out the new shop, Buttons and Bolts, in Salem. She has a nice but small selection with room to grow. I easily found a few pieces I had to have. I hope she has luck with the shop. There are few shops in that corner of the state.
      This morning it was off to the new JoAnn's for batting with Lucrecia. They were having their grand opening sale. I got 2 rolls of 60" wide batting for our comfort quilts. It sure is nice soft stuff. I have a house full of  batting already so I didn't need any for myself, but I talked Lucrecia into buying 2 rolls. It was kinda hard getting 100 yards of the stuff  in the car. Downtown Lake Geneva was a madhouse so a parking spot for lunch  wasn't so easy till we reached the Lake Geneva Pie Company. Yum! I'll be back there soon. Off to quilt now. Have a good one.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ladies in Waiting block

 I decided on using the same star block in the corners of the quilt, but colored differently than in the body of the quilt. Look at your options. My quilt used the first coloring. The corner blocks will use the 4th coloring.

 Here is the cutting for one 12" finished block.

Cut for star center,  1 square 4 1/2"
for inner star points, cut  
4 squares 2 7/8" cut once diagonally.
for inner star background, cut
4 squares 2 1/2" and
1 square 5 1/4" cut twice diagonally.

Four outer round, cut
4 squares 2 1/2" and
4 rectangles, 2 1/2" x 8 1/2"
for outer star points, cut
8 squares 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" for folded corners on the ends of the rectangles.

Make center star then add the rectangle star point units and corner squares, joining the pieces in rows.

I finished the stars for the border - except the corners. I oly needed 32 blocks, not 36. I guess it pays to work with an accurate diagram.And I am sure the extra 4 had nothing to do with the corner blocks. cause at one time I considered using other sizes of stars and hadn't made a decision.  I still have 3 more to make like the one above, then I can add the borders. Busy week with a few appointments, quilting at church and a date to check out the new shop in Salem. Now off to Judy's.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pluggin' Away

There are 9 more stars to finish before I can assemble the border. It gets exciting when the end is in sight. As I ponder loading this on the quilt frame, I dream of a bigger machine. Especially since it's felt crowded more and more often lately. There is time for investigating that later.

The last 9 blocks are stacked and ready to feed into the machine the same way I explained for putting the quilt top together. But here I will sew unit 1 (a square) to 2, then 4 to 5 then 7 to 8. and repeat until those 6 piles are gone. Then I will add unit 3 (a square) to row 1 (units 1 +2), then unit 6 to row 2 and unit (square) 9 to row 3 and repeat till there gone. I know. Clear as mud. 

I still have 4 corner blocks to make too. Not sure how I want to handle that. We will know soon. And I didn't forget that I offered the pattern for the block  I am using in "Ladies in Waiting" So I will share that next. Till then.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Sewing Block to Block

Sorting through my closet is still high on my list, but I am finding plenty to work on without having to go in there. With quilters coming here for lessons, I thought it would be a good idea to clean up the cutting table. The pieces for my Ladies in Waiting quilt have been sitting in a box on the table for months. I wanted to work on it only at retreats, but I don't have plans to go to any so thought I would finish it up. These pictures show how I join the blocks. Any other way slows me down.

When sashing is used, I start with it sewn to two edges of each block. Pressing is always toward the sashing - both seams - the block and the cornerstone. Then I arrange them on the wall.

Next I stack them off the wall in columns, from the top down leaving each column in order. Use a pin in the top edge of the top pile. Then from left to right I stack them in one pile. The upper left block ends up on top.

This next picture shows how I start to sew them together, they are only on the wall for you to see what is happening.  I take the first column (stack)  and sew them to the second column (stack) with chain piecing. 

Then I start at the top again and add column (stack) three. Now the rows forming are more obvious. At the end of column three, I break thread and start again at the top chain piecing the next column in place.

When all the blocks are sewn in place, it is time to sew the rows together. I always leave them joined with the twisted threads between the rows. But sometimes I stop and press before joining the rows. I find doing it this way the blocks stay in order and it is more efficient than just making one row at a time because there are fewer starts and stops cause I am chain piecing. BTW This is the same way blocks I sew blocks together.

 I still have to add the last outer row of sashing to the right side and bottom. This one gets a pieced border of stars so I am still far from calling it done.

 Last Wednesday I visited the Lake County Quilters guild and met fellow blogger Nan of . It was so nice to meet her after visiting her blog all the time. And fun to see her latest creations in person.  I first found her blog after linking up to Judy's. And it's that time again to check out the other Design Walls that other quilters have linked there. Good day for blogging. It's raining here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Hidden Stars Finished

My Hidden Stars top is done. How many stars can you count?  Yeah, I didn't count either. Some of the pieces are out of order from my original plan, but you wouldn't know which. I kinda want a bit of randomness about it. I'm happy with it, so will stack it on the pile of keepers. I can't believe I'm going with No borders on this one too. I've been seeing alot of that lately.

Tonight I am quilting with Patti and Joy. Well, I am cutting anyway. I spent a few hours planning a new project. Seems no one else has trouble starting another project. But after quilting 30 years, I sometimes feel that I have already done all the quilts I am interested in. But that just isn't true. I just have to dig a little to figure out what I want to work on. I guess I need to keep a file of pictures to remind me. A list just doesn't cut it for this.

Time to check out everyone's Design Wall linked up to Judy's.   Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Pretty nine-patch

Rita came and picked up her quilt. Glad I got a picture of it before she left with it. She made it from the blocks from the block exchange we did at church.
You would think that would inspire me to finish mine. But no. I have other plans. I'm still writing a quilt book.  It just might be the last one. Then again,  I can't seem to stop. Then, if and when I do stop with the books, I could post to this blog more. I'd sure miss the good times with all the quilters I meet when I travel to teach. Cause with books comes the teaching. Gotta love that.

I still want to take some time to go through my closet and plan some projects. Wish me luck there. And luck to you in getting some quilting time in.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Still Collecting

You can see here, I've got three columns left to sew to the Square in a Square quilt. What you don't see is that I goofed up rows one and two and had to stop and rip and rearrange them again. Maybe tonight.
 The purple and green block is a 'just cause I wanted to check the math'. It will join the other orphans.

I did take a few minutes to try a few different border ideas for this quilt. Didn't like any of them.  I'm going with its telling me to leave it without a border. We'll see who wins, me or the quilt.

I realize now I didn't get much quilting done all summer because I was busy collecting wildflower seeds.  I checked a seed catalog and apparently I saved over $700.00 by collecting my own seed for the half acre we want to change from lawn to wildflower/prairie. I collected over 32 different varieties. I will only need to purchase the prairie grass seeds. Some of the seeds will be started indoors in spring for plants closer to the house. I was having a good time and I sure didn't know I was saving that much money. No wonder my sister asked me how much I budgeted for that half acre.

And being Monday, it's time to check the Design Walls posted at Judy's. You can too.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hidden Stars

I had a few minutes to play with my Square-in-a-Square blocks. I don't want to be getting very creative with these blocks, but I couldn't resist the idea of adding a few plain squares to make the stars more obvious. I really like the classic look of simply alternating the blocks. Now I need to decide if I like it enough to leave this way and maybe play a little more, and if or how I want to border it. I'd appreciate your feedback.

I've got the bottom border to quilt on Rita's quilt and then I need to turn it for the other two borders and also quilt the corner blocks.  This is the largest I put on my 10 foot poles and the only reason I agreed to do it was because of the separate corner blocks. I didn't have to quilt close to the edges at all while it's been on the frame. The corner blocks I will handle separately. Oops, no picture. I'll take it when I'm done with it.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with my sister in Ryerson Park or is it a Forest Preserve. 500 acres of mostly maple woods with trails winding through it. The color hadn't peaked yet but it was still absolutely delightful. It threatened rain but didn't start till I was on my way home. The difference between that place and the places I hike around here is that here there are hills everywhere. I was only 1 1/2 hours from home, so most all the plants are the same, but I did see a few new-to-me. My favorite was the maple leaved viburnum bush.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Autumn days

I finally had a chance to do some personal sewing. I've made a few more of the Square-in-a-square blocks like I made over a month ago and arranged them differently for the fun of it. Between enjoying the autumn days and  programs for quilt guilds, I haven't done any sewing all month till this morning while it was still cold out. We had a pretty hard frost last night, but have no flowers to cover.

A few weeks ago one of the gals from church called me to join her at a fabric sale she found on craigslist. The fabrics were practically all bright cutesy novelty prints.  My least favorite, but perfect for our comfort quilts.  I got  an overflowing tub FULL. We got lots of it bagged into kits and tomorrow it goes to church with the other kits I made 3 weeks ago. Show and tell will be fun tomorrow.

Our church had their fall festival and again we sold some of our quilts. I didn't keep track of how many we sold though, but the others were pleased with how we did.So I am sure we will discuss that tomorrow. We are planning to stay through lunch and get some more serious sewing done. I can't wait. Every time I do a workshop with a guild I get a strange burning desire to do some sewing too.

I've been outside more than usual this year, checking out the woods and marsh in all seasons. We sure see it differently now that it is ours. We just got back from a ride on the ATV to the back field. With the crops picked we were able to see tracks for all kinds of wildlife, including  beaver and coyote. The deer tracks look mighty big in the mud. We were also surveying the amount of buckthorn we want to tackle. No doubt that will be a never-ending job, but very satisfying. The woods looks so nice when it is cleaned out. Lots of that will be done in winter when the leaves are off the branches. I sure hope the weather continues to cooperate.

I'm thinking of putting a few more kits together for this winter. I think I want to do something in blue and orange.And something in batiks, And I bought a roll of Kaffe's prints while I was in Nebraska this summer and I have a bunch of solids. So I might find somewhere I can use those together.Notice I am thinking along the lines of which fabrics I want to use and not which patterns I want to use. I have plans for a few two-block quilts that I think I will work on and then I ought to check out my closet for PHD's. I can think of only one off hand that I want to get done.

Our guest has moved out to his own place now. I am not sure how much he interfered with my quilting time.
Maybe it was that he and Mark were both around so much. Then again maybe it was cause I was outside so much this summer.  And I am still adjusting to Mark's retirement. I still find it easier to work on quilt plans when I am alone and that doesn't happen that often anymore. So when I get the chance and what  with winter approaching I need to have some projects lined up waiting to work on. I will work on those kits/plans when I get a few minutes to myself. Once they are planned then I can work on them with Mark's interference or evenings when he is watching tv I don't like. Or when the snow is blowing. And any time I get a few minutes. Are you thinking ahead to projects for the winter too?
Right now I am thinking of doing a little blogging then maybe some more sewing. So first it is off to Judy's for Design Wall Mondays.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Crowded at the Orphanage

Quilting at church was last week Tuesday. Since then I've been working off and on with their scraps. I brought home the leftovers from the string blocks we made and combined those strings with the leftovers from the odd width log cabin blocks I just made and other odd bits. I was thinking next we might work on some crumb quilts but I don't think we have enough crumbs for that. That led me to digging to see what else we might work on next. I pulled out the pile of orphan blocks. It had grown since I last sorted through them.  I put 9 different quilt kits of blocks together. I also bagged up more string blocks I made with sashing fabric for a total of 12 new kits.

                  This is my favorite collection of blocks. These are 12".


And this one with 9" blocks. Most kits needed a few more blocks to round it out to a workable number so I took smaller blocks and will have to add frames or something to make them work. It is a good opportunity to add a bit more of the right color to tie the blocks together.With a bit of luck, sashing, cornerstones and borders can do that too.

Of all the blocks donated to us, it is rare that I trash a block. I did that with just one block this time. It was not just that it was so poorly made AND ugly, but it also used real sleazy fabric. It just wasn't a keeper. Then sometimes when I have a block that doesn't work out I cut it into pieces for crumb quilts. 

And that brings me back to the topic of willy-nilly quilting. As a rule, I just cut up the blocks that don't lie flat or  square. It really doesn't matter to me if the points are missing. In my own quilts, I strive for perfect points. I don't find it difficult and that is what I was taught 30 years ago and for every reason you can think of in  between. On the other hand, I know there is a number of quilters that rather enjoy quilts that break the rules. They are even encouraged to do so by the likes of Gwen Marston and her books, Liberated Quiltmaking and Liberated Quiltmaking II.
Believe it or not, there aren't any quilt police. You might think otherwise if you overhear a conversation about the workmanship of a quilt. Some people don't understand that quilting isn't the same thing to everyone. Some find pure joy in combining fabrics at random in a willy-nilly, carefree fashion without regard to any rules.After all, quilting should be fun, relaxing and stress-free.  Others are uncomfortable at the thought of quilting with such wild abandon and consider the work sloppy or lazy. When I first started teaching quilting, I had to learn that we all quilt for different reasons and there are lots of reasons to take a class. I also  learned that quilts don't have to be perfect. I'm glad I know how to make a quilt near perfect and know when and how to work nilly-willy. Sew, what about you? How do you feel about quilts with attitude? Is it okay to "miss the points" deliberately, or not?  I think they are fun, I sure have a hard time doing it deliberately though. Just thinking about all those scraps and the wonky wild quilts they could make.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Quilting Willy-nilly

My design wall has been busy. We had quilting here Friday night and not having anything current to work on, I grabbed a box off the shelf. Inside was a bunch of scraps and this one block. I thought it was funny how it was the same block as the black and red ones I worked on last. I guess I had thoughts at one time to make a quilt of them in Civil War prints.

So I made 4 more and not liking them, decided to add them to the Civil War orphan home. Then I grabbed another box and it was nearly empty. All it had were the makings for two blocks. One I could figure out as it was almost done. The other, I don't know so make a white and rust Anvil block. Here are the new additions to the home. I already had the Monkey Wrench blocks.

And here is the gang so far. A few more and I will be ready to put them together. Not in any hurry though. So I put them away and called it a night.

I'm glad I wasn't out of town this weekend cause on Saturday the neighbors had their annual barn party.
Wasn't actually in a barn, but at the farm. Great to catch up with some of the neighbors. Then on Sunday I was in the mood to start something new. I thought straightening out my one drawer of Civil War fabrics would be inspiring and sure enough I came up with a pile of fabric I'd like to get used. I probably had some of them nearly 20 years. Later while browsing through a few quilt books I came upon a technique I wanted to try, and started these Square-in-a-square blocks.

The technique for the Square-in-a-square blocks comes from Anita Grossman Solomon's book Rotary Cutting Revolution. I really like the technique, but the method makes pairs of blocks with positions of colors reversed. I could be more creative but for now I think I will whittle away the overflow from that drawer and see what happens.The two star blocks I left out cause I liked them. Who knows? They may be the inspiration for my yet another quilt.

Another box on the shelf had leftovers from a quilt made last spring. I think I need to put some time in the closet organizing the PHD's and maybe putting a few kits together.
And now for browsing blogs linked up to Judy's blog.

And as for quilting willy-nilly, well that will be the topic next time.

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Challenge Announced

Quilter's Rule needs this quilt before their office closes today. Good thing I finished it yesterday. They will be displaying it in their booth at several shows out west. I hope people find it inspiring and participate in the QOV tool challenge. Thousands of people already have the tool, so maybe they will dig it out and join the fun. If you don't have the tool yet and enjoy making quilts for QOV then please, order a Thirtysomething Square Up. You don't have to make a quilt with these blocks. Any design will do, so long as you use the tool. For more ideas, check out past posts about Thirtysomething in the sidebar to the right. If you have my book, S is for Scraps, two designs use the tool. For challenge details, check out this link.

And if that isn't enough links, I'm also linking up to Judy's Patchwork Times for her Design Wall Mondays.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Another Top Done

My sister and her husband were on their way through the area on  a long road trip and while I was waiting to meet up with them for lunch I got the borders on my version of Kim Brackett's "Pinwheels on Parade". I am really happy with the yellow for the border. Everything else I tried was distracting to the other colors in the blocks. 

Today it is supposed to be in the 90's again so I think I will work down in the studio and get some more quilting done on my Quilts of Valor challenge quilt.

I had a great time at lunch with my sisters. The one from Illinois joined us. With mom and dad both gone now it will be interesting to see just how often we get together. Of course once everyone is retired and next to no grandchildren in the picture, perhaps we will see each other occasionally.

I am off to do some blogging at Judy's Patchwork Times. I  haven't linked up all summer but as long as it is Monday.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Home Alone

My plans for the day changed so instead of going to Quilt Expo in Madison I stayed home and got these blocks and sashing put together. I have enough fabric that matches the sashing for the back so I will get it quilted soon and take it in to church for a comfort quilt. I wouldn't normally use such a busy print for the sashing, but this works for me. Probably cause none of the other fabrics really have much going on.

I also put some time on the longarm. I found the perfect time to work downstairs. When the sun is coming in the window at just the right angle I can see the quilting so much more easily than when all the bright lights are on overhead.  Now I have plans to rig up a light so it shines at the same angle as the sun. I think that means Mark will first have to add another outlet for me downstairs. Oh goody.

We are slowly adjusting to Mark's retirement. He was gone today and I did indeed relish my time alone. I still have a few hours so I am going to see if I can find something else to sew. It is either that, or paperwork. Uck!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Play Time

Working on the log cabin blocks put me in the mood for some piecing. I didn't want to put too much time into planning a project so I picked up these pieces that I brought out a week ago and started cutting. I already had enough of these  3-piece triangle units to make 16 blocks, but which block? Only11 of them had the dark rust triangles sewn to them.

My first thought was to make this block. After making 3 of them, I decided I didn't want the whole quilt of those. Though on second thought, had I changed the colors of the large triangles in each block, I might have liked the idea more. I just may have to redo this in my favorite 1800 prints.

I had already pulled some more dark reds to use and not wanting to consider any other options, I kept cutting. I also limited myself to the 1 1/2 strips of the white I had left. So next I came up with these blocks. Now I was having fun coming up with simple variations just by changing the color or position of the little squares.

And you just know I had to turn those black squares to the corners too, just to see what else could be done. And don't you know it. My favorite block of the whole bunch is the last one.  I have about 15 square inches left of the white and the gray.  Perfect!

This time-out was just what I needed. Things have been a bit stressful around here with our house guest. And now that Labor Day is past the  fall quilting season has official begun and I have to get busy. I hope to find the time to blog about it.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Seed Collector

While I was preparing for quilting at church last week, I came across two bags of quilt seeds.  I'd rather work on these  log cabin blocks with our random widths and lenghts of scraps. Most of the other gals would rather work on string quilts. Quilting has resumed here on "Friday nights so I decided to work on the odd-width log cabin blocks then.  I got a good start on 50 blocks. I'll work on the string blocks with the others at church. I don't have to be different all the time.

 I don't remember ever using these pieces in a quilt. I think I used them for a demo of the technique years ago. I'll leave these out and think about what I will want to make with them.

I brought  3 quilts to church that I did on the longarm and are ready for binding. I have another one on the frame now and I am ready to load yet another. I guess I forgot to take pictures. I AM a bit rusty at this.

I really am a seed collector. If you think that those quilt seeds don't qualify me how's this sound. This year I planted wild flowers from wild seed I collected last year and saved in pill bottles.  I also collected a bit already this year. It's what I do. And possibly on Tuesday I will go to the Kettle Moraine State Forest and help some volunteers collect there. Or around there with somebody.  I'll have to ask my friend, Sue. She has the details.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

A Bit Rusty

The weeds are petty much under control so I spent a little time sewing the other day. I wanted to organize this project that I'd started at the Machine Quilting show in Oconomowoc. I put together this kit a year or two ago when the church ladies did this pattern for their raffle quilt. Really glad I did. I was able to just grab and go. When I got home I wanted to make sure it was organized for the next time I grab it to work on. Of course, then I started thinking about what else I could do with it. So far, I think I am electing to go with sashing and just the four light blocks. I decided to challenge my self with sashing for a while.
I think this works okay, but I am out of muslin. I like to use muslin with 1930's and 1800 reproduction prints. I am fussy about my muslin too. I will have to look into ordering another bolt before I head into town ( the big city) tomorrow to see Joy and Patty. I use enough of it that I'd prefer to get a bolt so all the scraps match.  I have seen several quilts made with scraps of muslin from different bolts and I don't like the way they look different - particularly as they age. I'm planning to sew with Patty and Joy so I;ll grab another kit off the shelf. It will be fun to see what I planned last year.

 I really enjoyed the show. I always find them inspiring. I think I need to go to more of them for fun, not to work. Taking classes and the time to study the quilts and shop the vendors is easier when you aren't busy inspiring others in a classroom. Still fun, but in such a different way. Which shows would you recommend?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A tool challenge for QOV

I just have a few minutes between shows and found a picture for you. I probably showed it earlier, but read on.
I just got back from teaching at Nebraska State quilt conference. What a bunch of great friendly quilters. I enjoyed the other teachers too. Again I taught my Thirtysomething and Infinite Stars workshops.  They are probably my two most requested classes and I enjoy them immensely. I rarely teach a class where everyone is making the same project and the girls are always "wowed" by all the options and how easy they are to make. If your guild is looking for a program and or workshop that teaches technique not just a project, then give me a call. I'd love to visit with you.
Next I am on my way to the Machine Quilting  show in Oconomowoc WI  Quilter's Rule asked to use my tool for next year's Quilts of Valor challenge. That means I had to come up with a quilt pattern to sell that uses the tool. See the details   Keep in mind these are this year's rules, but next years will likely be the same with the exception of using my tool.
 This is the quilt I chose, but I had to add a row to bring it up to the required size for QOV.  And though this quilt is not Red, White and Blue, they can still use it. What colores will yours be?  You need not use the pattern for your challenge quilt, - just the tool. Be creative. The gals in my class in Nebraska could show you how. I could too for that matter.

Monday, July 15, 2013

2013 raffle quilt

I did it, I did it! I finished all the quilting I am going to do on the raffle quilt. My deadline is tomorrow morning when the quilt is scheduled to arrive at our church meeting for someone to bind. OOOhhhh, maybe that was supposed to be done by tomorrow. I guess I will find out soon enough. Well, I hope they like it.

The weather has cooperated nicely this summer. It rained plenty in June and now we have heat and humidity just like you would expect for July. But along with that we have the mosquitoes from June's rain. They haven't been this bad in a long time. As a result. you can figure that I have retreated to my sewing room.
After neglecting it for the last several months it needed a good cleaning. It doubles as my office and the desk and cutting table were buried under piles of paper. So I caught up with that now and am looking forward to spending more time at the sewing machine. And yes, that means more blogging.

I am planning on spending a few extra hours at church tomorrow to do some serious sewing. With any luck I will have something to share.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Back at it

Almost three weeks ago I brought this top home from church with just the borders to add. It has taken two weeks to do that much. I had the backing and batting already. I'm actually glad I didn't have to stop to go shopping for it.

I like deadlines and I have about 4 weeks to do the quilting on this Dresden Plate quilt for this year's church raffle. Four weeks is plenty of time and it is supposed to be hot, muggy and stormy for the next week so it's the perfect time to get 'r done.

I have been busy in either the garden or the woods across the street. I've been helping Mark cut a trail through the thick brush. Was I delighted to find so many wildflowers there.

Mark and I are still adjusting to his retirement. He is very helpful for sure, but it would be nice to see him relax. I keep looking for his off button and can't find it. It doesn't help that our house guest is still here - maybe just another week of that.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Just cause it rained

For those of you wondering if everything is okay with me here, I thank you for asking and YES everything is wonderful. It is spring after all and I love spring. And have I been doing any quilting? Yes,if piecing counts,
but only cause we had rain today.
 I picked up this project where I left off and got the blocks together. Now I am considering these hourglass blocks for a border. I'm not sure I feel this is worth the effort of a pieced border. So it will stay on the wall so I can think about it. Since it has been a while since I worked on it, I wouldn't be opposed to considering a flying geese border. Time will tell.

Tuesday at church we worked on the 9-patch sashing for the dresden plate raffle quilt. That is ready to go together now. I think it will be too big for my machine. I better line somebody else up in a hurry.

And now what is blooming out in the wild? Garlic mustard, UGH! Now that it is flowering they say you can't just pull this invasive weed and drop it cause it will still set seeds by using the energy in the plant. You are supposed to bag them and dispose of them in the trash.  I'm experimenting with ripping off the flower heads before pulling them from the roots. I can't imagine they will be able to set seeds if there is no stem or leaves attached. We'll see.

We have had a house guest and it has taken a bigger effort on my part to prepare meals, etc. It's only temporary.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Feels Like Hookey

Maybe I'm semi-retired. I sure haven't been working hard at my quilting. Not even 100 feet out my back door are lots of wildflowers at the edge of the woods. Distant shots don't show them very well, so here are some shown at closer range of what lures me outside every day.

First up is Hepatica.There leaves come out after they bloom. There are big patches of these. They are mostly white, but some pastel lavender and lilac. The fern-like leaves belong to the Dutchmen's britches that look like bloomers hanging upside down to me. That's the second picture. They are growing along the little brook at the east edge of our property.

 Not shown is the pale pink Spring Beauty. Lots of these in the neighbor's yard. I've moved a few over to this side of the brook.  Below is Blood Root. Their leaves fully develop after blooming too. Not so many of those.

 Also not shown is the big patches of white Cutleaf Toothwort and masses of Skunk's Cabbage. They are mostly in the woods across the street with hundreds of Marsh Marigold's (shown below).

 Now do you understand why it is so hard to stay in and quilt, especially when I have more quilts than I will ever need?  Can you guess what will be blooming next?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Best Ever

What can I say? Spring finally arrived here in Skunk's Misery. I am outside as much as possible. There are lots of weed seedlings demanding my attention. When I am in the house I'm either too tired to quilt or I'm filling orders for my Thirtysomething Square Up tool. Stephanie Prescott of A Quilter's Dream designed a Block of the Month quilt using my Square Up tool. Perhaps you are participating or have seen it at your LQS. Her pattern is called Sample This!

Last night I joined Joy and Patty to do a little sewing. "Little" is an accurate description of what we did. More talking than usual. Must see them more often so that won't happen. It was difficult to focus on cutting and figuring out someone's pattern.

My trip to Santa Rosa was the best ever. Everything about it was Perfect. I'm still talking about it. All flights were on time. The weather was gorgeous. The meeting was well attended, everyone was friendly, sales were good, nice compliments, a fun, full workshop, and good food. To top it off, my hostess took me on a hike in the Foothills park near her home. I couldn't have asked for a better time. I noticed how much cleaner the area is than my area which is always a mess coming out of winter. Lots blooming, and the only bugs I saw were bees on the beautiful, blooming wisteria vines. I saw few birds maybe cause there weren't any bugs for them.

It's in the 80's today. Too hot for me to work outside so I am catching up on paperwork... Cooling off to normal for the rest of the week. So I will be back in the garden again. Wish me luck eliminating the weeds so I have more time to quilt. I sure hope you don't have the same problem.