Monday, June 30, 2014

Another option

The Shoo-Fly blocks are stacking up. I still have a ways to go to get through the stack of squares in the layer cake.  So for fun I arranged them in this setting. I have 8 more cut and ready to sew.  I am finding I like this where I cut only a few and sew them up when I find a few minutes. Most of my projects in the past were mostly cut out and then sewn all within a few days. Since I am dabbling in other things right now I find this is  better. I am thinking of doing another sampler after this because I can do that the same way.

My beginners sampler class is going very well. I am always pleased when we first gather and everyone shares their show and tell since the last week. Most of the ladies make a few more of the blocks they learned the week before. Jean has already made 41 blocks and made a quilt top for a grandaughters wedding this fall. Lucrecia is just using up scraps and cutting and sewing as much as she can.  Laura makes a few extra blocks for the comfort quilts at church.  Irene makes a second block at home for a second quilt.  I still haven't seen any of them. Sue makes more of the same, though I am not sure why and Nancy wishes she had time to sew like the others. The other gal leaves me wondering. They are all learning the importance of an accurate quilters seam allowance and how to use their rotary cutting tools. The Wednesday night group has a new quilter too I think, though she intends to start with a simple block repeated throughout.

Heat and humidity are up so I intend to work in Studio 2a bit more. The quilt tops for church are stacking up and I would like to quilt them.
Design Wall Monday. lets go check out what other quilters are working on this week.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Monkey Wrench variation

The other night while lying in bed trying to fall asleep, it occurred to me that we could make a Monkey Wrench variation of the Shoo-fly block by simply dividing the 2" x4" rectangles in half. Then there wouldn't be an extra 1/2" on the rectangles to trim later.  Duh.

If I'd thought of this earlier I might have made the dark blocks as Shoo-Fly blocks and the light blocks as Monkey Wrench blocks. But since I've started I will continue with Shoo Fly- except for this sample block, well,  two. Unless I get tired of the Shoo-Flies. I always liked the Monkey Wrench block. I guess I could do it again in different fabrics.

I'm starting to get tired of shooing flies in the garden. July isn't even here yet and that is typically horse-fly month here. There the worst. Next to wasps and bees.  Everything is growing over-time here. We have had a rainy June than average.  Many weeds too. Imagine that.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Shoo-Fly So Far

Have you tried the Shoo-Fly block from layer cakes yet? I've only made 16 so far. I am happy with how it is going, I've just been busy with Festival to do anymore. I hope to make more Wed. night. I'm liking them, but now I have another idea.What else is new?
I am mostly unpacked from Festival. I had a perfect time. Mark really impressed me. What? Wait  a minute. Did I say that? Yep, he was great to have along. He's even ready to do a few more shows - and during hunting season! It was wonderful for so many of you to come by my booth and say hi. It was especially sweet if you bought my new book to complete your collection of Gayle Bong books. Thank you. Mark and I agreed the worst thing about the trip was all the traffic. We are quite used to a forest of trees not a jungle of cars! We never got lost, though we took a few wrong turns. It doesn't help that IL never seems to have road signs where I want them. Silly me. I never thought to use the gps on the phone. But then, I hear they aren't all that accurate.

After cleaning up everything from Festival I was inspired to dig out all the fabric for comfort quilts cause I want to take it over to Studio 3. What a mess! I've done an initial sorting, but it looks like it may be a while before I take it over there. I have many potential kits bagged up that I would like to finalize before I move them. On the table are all of our "pre-cuts" that "we" cut. Under the table are only some of our orphan blocks. And the piles on the floor?  Who knows.   The small cardboard box has bigger scraps waiting for a destination. The green tub has strips for string quilts and log cabins. The shelves in the closet are still loaded with  40 more kits waiting to be finalized. UGH! There sure is some ugly fabric out there. I'd love a sneak peek into the homes and closets of the designers of those uglies. I love the organizing and planning. I will dabble with sorting the mess while it rains this week. And probably pull some weeds.
It's Monday. That means it's time for heading over to Judy's for Design Wall Monday.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Another Raffle Quilt

I can't believe I nearly forgot to show our next church raffle quilt. The quilting is finally done and tomorrow I take it in to the meeting for everyone to see. I am quite happy with how this turned out. It looks kinda 1980's, not surprising, considering we used so many old scraps. Someone there will volunteer to bind it and it will be on display in another month. I'm always glad to see the latest raffle quilt finished. I wonder what they will do for next year. It's never too soon to start thinking about it. Probably something with our scraps again. Yippee. Actually it doesn't bother me that the scraps are ripe. I think scrap quilts always look good. Some of us in the church group don't think we would sell many more tickets if we used new fabric so we don't. Too bad the quilt is too big for my wall.
It's starting to heat up outside so I worked in the sewing room today. Studio 1 as it's been called lately. Things are getting a bit messy since I have spent so many hours outside and/or getting ready for Quilt Festival later this week. It looks like my scrap basket is overflowing and needs attention. I will see to that after Festival.

I also got things together for church quilting tomorrow. I think now is the time to start the girls on making scrappy 9-patches. Once those are made we can use them in a bunch of quilt designs. The strips have all been cut. Hopefully everyone will sew a nice quilter's 1/4" seam and were all set.

Also after Festival I think I will clean out my closet of church fabric and haul it across the street to Studio 3. Some of the gals coming to class there are learning/making their blocks for church comfort quilts. With the fabric there they will be able to use church stash for their quilts. There is more room there to spread out and make kits, too.  I will still keep backings and church battings here for quilting downstairs in - you guessed it, Studio 2.

I am actually looking forward to it heating up outside so I will stay in and do some quilting. We have put in many hours in the woods trying to get the Prickly Ash and Garlic Mustard under control. There is still plenty to do, but I will limit my time to work in the mornings before it heats up. For the most part I plan to poison the brush threatening to take over the 3 acres of oak savannah. Since I in instructed Mark to stop cutting it down several times every summer, the wildflowers have gone bonkers. Just beautiful if the deer wouldn't eat them. The young tree and bush seedlings have always been mowed down up till last year and now they are seriously threatening. So we will poison them and then hopefully burn it all off next spring. Come to think of it, Mark didn't even go work there this afternoon cause at noon we watched mama deer walk across the road towards the woods with 3 bitty babies. That was a real shocker considering how harsh the winter was. Perhaps she adopted a fawn or two.

Oh yes, off to Judy's Design Wall Monday.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Quilting Related

I'm in the mood to do some piecing. It's been a while since I put in more than a few hours making a quilt. I have been busy with quilting though, just not doing much sewing.  Yesterday afternoon Patricia came over from Quilter's Rule to take a video  of me showing what  my Thirtysomething Block Book is about for youtube. That won't be uploaded till the editing is done...

Patricia  Simons is one busy lady and I am grateful that she took the time out to come over and help me out. Besides vending all over the country with the company and doing some teaching besides, she's been busy getting ready for the Machine Quilting Today show in Oconomowoc next month.

 I used these blue and orange pieces in my demo. Yummy. Now what do I make with a single little  star?

Yes I am looking forward to the Machine Quilting Show too, but first I'm all excited about vending at Quilt Festival at Rosemont (Chicago). I took a small booth since I don't have a shop, so besides my books, I decided I have room for a rack of quilt tops I can do without. So if you are interested in a Gayle Bong quilt top, stop by and browse my tops. I thought 20 were enough, so I stopped pulling out more. Yes, most of them are a bit older, but beautiful just the same. I've had lots of luck selling tops at shows in the past, so I am hoping I will be lucky again.

I've been enjoying a beautiful June here in Wisconsin.  I am outside more than I should be. That means laundry and bills are piling up. but I love it. Gee, I guess I could hang wash outside and pay bills out on the deck. Hmmm. Nah, I'd really rather weed the garden!  I guess I will get back to my Shoo-Fly quilt when it rains again or maybe some night if I can't sleep.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Shoo-Fly Tutorial

Here's a brief tutorial on making Shoo Fly blocks from a pair of 10" squares. The blocks finish 7 1/2".

Start with a light square and a dark square Right Sides Together.  Cut across the square 4" from each edge. This should leave a 2" square in the center with 2" x 4" rectangles on the sides.

Cut the pairs of squares in the corners once on the diagonal for half-square triangles ready to sew.

Sew the triangles together. Press. Trim the half-square triangle units to 3 1/2".

Arrange the pieces to make two blocks. Sew the pieces into rows then sew the rows together. Note that the rectangles are 1/2" longer than needed.

Press the seam allowances toward the dark fabric.

Square up the blocks to 8" by trimming the rectangles.

Sweet.  Simple.   Fun.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A few possibilities

I know some of you can't visualize the Shoo-fly quilt I've invited you to make with me, so I thought I would do a few EQ quilts for you to ponder.
The one at the left is the design I had first thought of doing. It just requires 10" squares. Then I thought about framing each block. Kinda liked that too. The frames could be cut from 2" or 2 1/2" strips.  Then I tried with a dark sashing (not shown), then a light one. I think I will do mine with the light sashing. It is shown at 64.5" x 73.5". The recipe I gave the other day would yield 80 blocks and only 42 are shown here. I have a few sashing ideas to quilt and I need a top to quilt them on. Because I am using 5 different light prints with my Bali Crackers, I am going to use the same 5 fabrics for my sashing placed randomly. Between the 5 prints I probably have 6 yards or more, so I am sure I have plenT.

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Moody Quilter

I'm in the mood for some blogging. As you can see it has been a long time. And if you guessed I am here cause it is raining, you guessed right. I've spent many hours outside in the last 2 months. The prairie I planted 2 years ago is showing some promise. As gardens go, they tend to be slow starters so you want to stay ahead of the weeds. I've also spent lots of time in the woods. It's unbelievable how many wildflowers there are blooming. And how many more there would be if the critters wouldn't eat the blooms! I suspect it is the deer eating the Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Wild Geranium, Shooting Stars and Solomon's Seal, including the leaves. In spite of that, there are enough flowers for me to enjoy as I go about getting my exercise.

I've had the same blocks on my wall for too long, so I decided to start another quilt. You are welcome to join me as I make these ShooFly blocks. Not sure what I am going to do with them, as usual, but the process results in positive and negative blocks and you can set them like this. Likely I will do something else with them. Call it a Quilt-Along or a Shoo-Fly Mystery if you want. I will give cutting and sewing details as I go.
These are my sample blocks and will go to the orphanage for a comfort quilt at church. I will be making my quilt with these luscious Bali Batiks. So this is my MATERIALS LIST to start with.

One pack of 40 Crackers that are 10" square.
Add another 40 squares of light colored fabrics.

I chose 5 different lights from my stash and from each I cut 2 strips 10" and cut 4 squares from each. Any combination of light fabrics can be used. And you don't need to use 40 squares of darks and 40 lights, either. I may not use all the prints in this pack. I rarely do. The blocks finish 7 1/2". 81 blocks set 9 x 9 = a 67.5" square quilt. That little bit of math is just to give an idea of the possibilities. Hmmmm. Maybe I will make 2 different quilts with all those blocks. Or maybe I will be making more blocks. What are your first thoughts???

One more thing I've been busy with. I am taking a booth with my new book at Quilt Festival in Chicago in 2 weeks.  Look for me in booth 2011 if you go. Then be sure to say "HI". And if you're still wondering what the heck Thirtysomething is all about, check out my updated website - particularly the "tool" page. I hope to be adding a youtube video sometime after Festival. Yikes, I hope I find some time to sew.