Monday, December 16, 2019

Deep Piles

It's that time of year when one takes inventory of accomplishments made in the past year or makes lists of what they hope to get done in the next year.  About a month ago I made a list of what  I hope to still get done this year. Let's see how I did.

I thought I might finish 2 more tops this year. This 16-patch quilt I'd just started. It'll get done if I can find a border for it.

I finished finished the applique quilt. That means it's bound too.

Three of the six quilts that needed borders are now done. I found the fourth, now there is no excuse.

I have reached the middle of the quilt I've got loaded downstairs. I'll still aim to finish that soon and maybe get another comfort quilt done before New Years. I thought I might be able to get 4 more quilted but I'm doing a custom job on it and the last and that slows me down. The next few are decided and the backs are ready.

 I opened a bag of scraps stuffed in a drawer and found these blocks. I remember them but didn't remember they were in the bag. The blocks all use Onlies units from my Thirtysomething Block book.  So I've cut more to make a small quilt. I was just using up the fabric and so will have a  pinwheel sampler. I haven't thought as far as sashing yet. It is small so there is a good chance I can get it done by New Years.
There are a few other assorted piles for new quilts from that bag. And a few piles of fabric pulled for a few other quilts stacked on my table or piled on the floor. I need to tweak those selections before I start cutting. I like revisiting them weeks later. Seeing them with fresh eyes always helps me decide. Sometimes I can look at a pile and it all goes back in the drawer. It's not always the fabrics I chose but sometimes I decide against doing the design I had in mind. No time now.

At Studio 3 I have several projects going, too. I bet you could have guessed. The one that has gotten the most attention lately is the homespun plaids. I thought I'd get this one done soon but it's taking longer than I thought. I'll be making it a little bigger than this, just enough to use up a small pile of scraps. I have a few ideas about using more of the plaids. I do like the plaid shoo-fly blocks, so I will be thinking of that as an option.
I am having a hard time remembering Christmas will be here soon and there are things I must do to be ready. Cause really, I'd rather quilt! Can you tell?

Friday, December 6, 2019


I've been dabbling at quite a few different quilts in the last week or two.
I added borders to a few of the tops waiting. I updated the picture of the pinwheels with the green border added. I still have 2 big quilts that are waiting for their borders. Maybe by the end of the year.

I think this is a radiant star variation. I finished this one earlier this fall. I left it at Studio 3 and finally remembered to bring it home. I didn't have a definite plan for this one and I am happy enough with how it turned out. My original plan was to make a summer quilt. But with all the piecing in the stars, I don't think it is a good candidate for that. So to find the thinnest batting I can find. That may just be a layer of cotton flannel. I might add a flat green piping before a muslin binding but that will be determined after quilting in the year 20??.

I finished the quilting on the qpplique quilt. I did a bunch of quilting in the ditch on my pfaff upstairs. I have a hard time doing a good job of that on the long arm and I do like what it adds to some quilts. I'll start work on the binding at Studio 3 this afternoon. I am going to plan to use this one. That is as opposed to just displaying it. It's nice to be able to say I actually hand appliqued a quilt. I think it's my first!

Lisa was over the other day to finish cutting the blocks needed to enlarge the Broken Dishes quilt she chose. She did a fabulous job cutting. She hasn't worked with me in the sewing room in 20 years. She never did very much back then either. It was nice to share that with her. I'll do most of the sewing now to finish it but she may be interested in doing some. She liked the idea that it was a quilt we worked on together.

At Studio 3 I started work on a quilt using plaids. I've collected them for a good long while and when a bag of plaid scraps was turned in at church I just could resist no longer. Yet I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with them. The homespuns are a little thicker so I didn't want to many bulky triangle points coming together. So I chose 4 patches with a few Shoo Fly blocks mixed in. Still wasn't sure I'd like it so I only cut some. Yesterday after playing on the wall I could see it would be fine as long as I didn't use the busy plaids. Those are the ones with lots of light and dark colors in it. It's busy enough. Next I need to decide how much bigger I want to go. I have a bag fulllll of plaids.I like to mix in a few regular prints too. Just to relieve the business of the plaids. I hope to return to the ufo's in the closet soon.

Upstairs here at home I opened a box on the shelf that I thought was part 2 of a 2 box kit. I was wrong. I think I simply put the fabrics together cause they didn't go with anything else in my stash. I had no plans for these but before you know it I settled on 16 patch block. Hmmmm. What next? I thought of using them in the center of stars, but since I cut 2 1/2" strips that would make pretty large stars so I decided to frame them with triangles in a light gray then sash them.We will see how they like that treatment soon.
Yeah, One quilt at a time is just not my style.

Monday, November 25, 2019

A New Mess

I've been working steadily in the sewing room. I was so pleased with how I got all my fabric to fit in place, but now I think I want to rearrange a bit more. I ended up with 2 big empty chest drawers. It shouldn't be hard to think of something that would be reasonable to store there.

When Lisa was here the other day she saw a quilt in my Documentation Binder and she asked if it was big enough. They liked the 96" square I made for them a few years ago.

Well, here it is and no, it is only 72" x 78". BUT it was made from scraps and it didn't have a border so we could easily make it bigger. She decided it would be cool to help me with that. So yesterday she came over and started cutting from the scrap drawer. Made quite a dent in it too. She did a great job cutting. Next I will have her cut the triangles and pair up lights and darks. IF she wants to do any actual piecing that's up to her. Otherwise I could do all the sewing. It was nice to spend the morning with her in the sewing room again.

While rummaging in the closet I came across some blue and gold squares I abandoned years ago. About 33 years ago. They were partially joined to make a checkerboard. I had plans to applique over the seams to make a Rob Peter to Pay Paul quilt. Years ago when I started it I wouldn't think of just fusing those curved patches over the seams. And satin stitch applique didn't interest me. Maybe it has to do with my hand applique skills at the time, but it was bad, so I ditched that effort but couldn't part with the fabric. I've been pushing it around in the closet a long time. I decided to shed a little natural light on it and brought it out to finally be finished.

2 Hours later I had fused some squares over the middle of each square and had it quilted! Now I just need to locate the blue to bind it. Some little kid will enjoy it. It sure feels good making room in the closet by finishing things.

I've been planning other new starts. I even cut out a quilt kit and put it on the shelf for piecing later at Studio 3. I have a few more I'm thinking of starting.When I run out of daylight then I head to the longarm. And sew it goes.

Monday, November 18, 2019

To Continue

Work continues here in the sewing room. I have all the fabric put away with the exception of the tabletop basket of scraps I keep there to collect scraps as I work. I will plan to sort that sometime this week.
All week I've been hoping to get the pieced border on the Ohio Star quilt. Finally Sunday I had time alone and got that done. The blocks are 6". The triangles in the border are trimmings from cutting equilateral triangles for a charm quilt. I thought they were too big to toss so I thought of 6"Ohio stars. I didn't even make the first one and changed my mind about each star being so scrappy. I made half a dozen blocks before I remembered the reason for making the stars was to use those little scrap triangles. SO by then I was in love with the little Ohio stars and decided they would look great with a pieced border with scrappy triangles. As usual when I started I was unsure of the setting, setting fabric or the pieced border and the quilt evolved as I worked on it.  I think it turned out pretty awesome. I love the classics.
As I cleaned and sorted things in here and the closet I came across 6 tops waiting for their borders. That will be high on the priority list this week. Some of those tops have been waiting a few years already. It'll feel good to put them upstairs with the other tops.
I chose 2 of my own quilt tops to quilt next. The first is one of the three applique quilt tops I ever made. It is red and green and gold Virginia Reel pattern I think with a swag border. I used  water soluble Solvy to applique the swag. I wanted to remove that before I quilt it so this morning I did that in the tub and immediately I saw that I didn't finish doing the applique on the swag pieces. After drying it till damp I pressed those areas and finished the applique this afternoon. Yes with a blind stitch by machine. I plan to load it on the machine to begin quilting tonight.

I'm trying to catch up with everything including my quilt documentation binder. I can't seem to get a happy combination of camera and printer so I have refrained from printing out pictures for the binder. I'm doing it anyway.  There are a few quilts that I never photographed though they are a few years old. Like this sampler made with batiks. A couple of other quilters at Studio 3 did these blocks.  Only I set them with triangles to frame them.  I showed at least part of this before the border was on.
Time to go sew.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Photo test

So a little searching goes a long way sometimes. Lets see if I have this figured out.

Damn. too easy.If only google could label things correctly . . .
So this star is finally quilted 30+ years later. Enuf said.

Stash assessment

I thought I better write before I forget everything I did. I've been pretty busy in my sewing rooms.
To finish where I left off in the last post, here is one more top that I put together this summer from a layer cake. I added a few more fabrics to the mix to reach this size. I like it. Even these huge 16" stars. I think I'll do it again someday but with smaller pieces.  I'm still trying to decide if I want to add a border.

Last Friday I brought home from Studio 3 a few empty project boxes. Finding room for them on the shelf in the closet was easy because there was a void where they had been before. This is a walk-in closet, 5' x 10' dedicated to my quilting. On one wall is fabric for church on  a book case  with a few novels for future reading. There's also a dresser still pretty full of fabric for garments. I open those drawers occasionally. And yes, promptly close them.  On the opposite wall is more of my stash, particularly scraps, project boxes filled with kits or ufos and backing fabric.

As I was putting away the boxes I noticed a few other boxes with leftovers from finished tops. I do not want to get in the habit of leaving scraps in individual boxes like that. So I emptied them and started straightening the shelves. In the process I was trying to decide which projects I would pull out next to take to Studio 3 where I piece. It's not like I needed another project there but I like to have options depending on my mood.
 In the end I emptied a few boxes I was through with, I condensed my other boxes of scraps, I found other bundles of coordinating fabric waiting its turn to become a quilt and placed those in the empty project boxes. That part was particularly fun. I'd vaguely recalled some of those purchases so it was like going shopping all over again but for free!

A few boxes from the top shelf labeled "Parts Department" came down. This is where I stash patches if I cut way too many of a patch. This is different from scraps because in the Parts Dept. there is a quantity of the same patch. Could be 12 could be 200 if I change my mind on a fabric after cutting! I made about 20 blocks from the boxes earlier this week. Some of the patches have been there almost 20 years, and I still love the fabric! I still have another dozen blocks planned from the parts Dept to sew together waiting in line at Studio 3. Stay tuned and you'll see the others.

As I'm rummaging in the closet I'm looking for some of my most recent fabric purchases. Couldn't find them anywhere. Did I mention yet that yes, I ran out of room to store my fabric in the usual places. I didn't feel good about that. Took quite a while looking for that fabric when I remembered that for the first time ever I put bundles of coordinating fabric in a few canvas totes and hung them back on the wall looking innocently like they had before I put fabric in them. Oops. So they came out of hiding so I can begin to plan to use them. It can take some time sometimes to decide on a pattern for a group of fabric. Yes, sometimes I choose the pattern first and have to hunt for fabric. It works both ways for me. I made a few plans for quilts from some other bundles I found in there. That might have meant scribbling a note or sketch of those plans to go in the box.

All of this led to reorganizing my main stash in the sewing room drawers. Boy does it need it. Not sure how I plan to arrange it yet. I went through all the drawers of fabric and found scraps and fat quarters out of place. Refolding alone opens up space. I found a few fabrics meant for backs. That led me to the backing stash and organizing that. When I found I still had too much to fit in the drawers its back into the closet into the other dresser where more fabric is stashed. So I sorted through 2 drawers and rearranged more. Like I said I'm not done yet but so pleased I am doing it. I can see I am going to have to plan lots more scrap quilts.

Also this week, I was able to get a few small tops quilted. Some are out of the house already. This brown star was started as a committee project for guild. We never could get it to lie flat. It was my fabric so I kept it when it was abandoned. This was about 33 years ago. Maybe 7 years ago I reworked the setting triangles to get it flat and finally quilted it the other day. Then after quilting the pastel Twin Peaks quilt for a baby I bound it.
 If I could figure out Google Photos I'd share more. Tips welcome.
And the weeks not over.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Still At It

I've been back in the sewing room for several weeks now that it is autumn and cooled off outside. This is the year that we had 7" of snow for Halloween. Not only have I been in the sewing room but down in the quilt cave too, quilting some tops for the church ladies charity quilting. The following quilt tops I finished this year, 2019.

I will start with the sampler I left off with in March. I finished it shortly after that post it just took a while to get a good picture and get me back at the computer. I still want to add a border of the background fabric. Why I stop at this point (so often) and don't get those borders on before the picture is beyond me. I'll try harder.But really I've been leaning more towards no border on the quilts. If you recall this was truly a "What's in the Box?" project. a planned project I abandoned along with directions. However many pieces were cut so I just got creative and designed blocks with what was  cut. Fun. Fun.

This star and chain pattern is a classic no  matter which star and which chain blocks you choose. I used scraps from a Civil War charm quilt I'm still working on for the star points. The rest was from the scrap box at Studio 3.

This leaf quilt didn't turn out as planned. I designed a quilt for Studio 3 where 3 shades of sky blue were used from light to dark across the quilt. I didn't really plan to do it myself as I have several leaf quilts but I made the attempt. I just didn't like any other prints for the leaves. All the leaves in this top are from the same fabric I've had in the stash for years. Mark suggested alternating the block backgrounds and I think he had a good idea. No border is planned.

I've been wanting to make some pinwheels lately, so I did!  I cut the kit for these next 2 kits last winter I think. I dug deep in the scrap archives for the green and jewel tones. I have to hunt down the green for the border. I hope I can find one/it. I stopped making blocks when I ran out of gray background. I like that approach to determining size. I just wish most people understood that every size  quilt is useful.
Edited to change photo with border added.

The pinwheels below right I made with some1930's prints back in 2014. I inspired myself this time and
used my Civil War prints to make the variation.

 I made more but they will be shown in the next post.

Just a little test

I would like to blog more but with software and hardware changes I have trouble keeping up. So I just wanted to load this little quilt for the record.Actually I'd like to do a big one with this pattern.
Did I ever show my tulip quilt table topper? Probably. But then maybe not cause I can't get a good picture with my phone. I'll have to try Marks phone.Oh he'll  love that. More soon. I'm working on it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

I have a plan

The more I played with the pieces without a plan in the mystery box, the more different blocks I came up with. So the plan is to make a sampler quilt. I guess I kinda just said that. I've got 10 blocks together already and most of it was cut years ago. When I get access to my wall I'll put them up. Ill want to do that before I go any further to be sure I have a good mix of fabrics and block designs. Here's  a peek.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Homemade Mystery

Some years ago I started a quilt. Early on I didnt like how it was looking,  so I gave up on it. Tbe thing is I'd cut enough for perhaps 8 or 10 blocks. Well I scrapped the plans  but left the pieces and matching fabric in a box on the shelf.  I conveniently forgot what I was going to make. A few years ago  I peaked in the box and labeled it a mystery and mystery it is.
Tonight I pulled it out and started playing with the pieces to see  what I could come up with.
These are the blocks I could make with he pieces I've already cut. The white table in the pictures would be the light pink fabric. I just didnt spread all he pieces out.  I'm sure I could come up with more block designs so maybe I'll do a sampler quilt. Your guess is as good as mine. Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Birds in the Birch

I knew when I wrote the last post that I was missing a photo. Only one that I can remember now. So here it is on the right. I finally took a picture. I loved the cardinal/chickadee fabric. Anyone that knows me knows that I don't like novelty prints. Most are too cutesy for me, but this is on the elegant side.  I plan to finish it up for my living room in the winter.

The pattern shown here, Midnight Express, is from my book, S is for Scraps. It's the pattern I used for the Birds in the Birch above. When I designed the quilt I thought the big gray squares would be a good place to showcase either pretty quilting design or a picture print like the birds above. I didn't like the idea of the birds with the scraps, but I'm sure the right cute fabric would still work with scraps. Ugh. So many ideas, so little time. Yes The book is still available from me for $15.00 plus $7 for postage. It's rare that I do the same pattern twice, but if I like it I will and good at lectures.

Next up is the Monkey Wrench quilt in browns and pinks. Recently I've been interested in reversing the position of the lights and darks in blocks. In other words, use a dark print in the area we usually call "the background". In this case I chose to mix up the prints of one color per block because I was cutting into a charm pack and couldn't get all the pieces for one block from the 5" squares. I made 6" blocks for this quilt. I want to throw this one on my dining room table and see how I feel about the size. I usually use square quilts on the table and sometimes I wish they covered the whole table top. I don't want them hanging over  the edge.  We'll see.

I have made the Monkey Wrench before. Maybe you know this block by the name Hole in the Barn Door. These are 5" blocks, made back in the day when I hand quilted. I bet this is over 30 years old.I see it's starting to sag and fade. Good excuse to make a replacement for that spot.

I'm going to plan to link up to a few linky parties. It's a good time for blog hopping.
Oh Scrap!
Design Wall Monday

Sunday, February 10, 2019

not giving up

    A friend asked me the other day about what's going on with my blog. Have I been writing or is there something going on at her end.  No, I haven't been writing. I told her I spent little time at the computer in favor of the smart phone and I didn't care to post blogs on my phone.  Well, that is only part of my excuse. As I sat here at the computer off and on the last 2 hours I recalled it was my frustration with software updates or perhaps obsolete software UGH! enough said.

    This is my attempt to catch up since my last post in August. I will rely on the photos on my phone to get things posted in chronological order. I'll separate the projects into categories of piecing, quilting and charity quilts. Okay, a quick check showed I wasn't too productive.

     Actually I kinda was when you consider how I spent tons of time planning about 32 quilts, both mine and comfort quilts. Some are cut completely because I was low on kits on the shelf. Some were for comfort quilts at church and still there are lots of piles of potential quilts sitting around the room. Those are not completely planned. I need to calculate yardage on those where I won't be using scraps. My boxes on the shelf are full. My stash drawers are too. Late last year Sawdust and Stitches Quilt Shop in Elkhorn closed. They were a favorite and the closest. Yes, I stopped shopped several times. Then don't you know, there were a few quilt tops I overlooked when getting backs. I don't really want to wait on those, so we'll see.  Dare I call Sharon?

     Starting with quilting I'm almost ashamed to say how little I did. I loaded a big quilt, did about half of it and walked away.  That was last June. I'd had a rough start to last year with my gal bladder and sewed little. I thought I would be eager to quilt last summer when it was hot, but no. I guess I simply prefer to be outside in the summer. I don't know what happened this last fall. I thought I would be quilting then. But no. Finally I got it done. November, I think. It's still waiting for the binding.  Then I did a couple quick comfort quilts. Next I made plans to do some of my own. And I did!

      First I finished my valentine tablerunner. Wanted that done for this year. Yay. Apparently I never took a picture of that and it is at Studio 3 now. And Oh look, It started to snow.

Next I quilted "Heading South" for my dining room table.

Yep, that's Bob. He can't seem to nap without a quilt. He never used to go on the table. Then again, I never used to put quilts on the table! This became a bad habit in a hurry.

     Then a few days later I quilted the tulip quilt. That too I wanted done for this spring. So often I say "I don't need another quilt" but a few I've wanted for me. The tulip blocks were really made for class samples at Studio 3. I so rarely do applique, I thought I better have a class on it before I start doing it on my own projects in front of them.  The 4 blocks were fused and stitched 4 different ways. There was a 5th block where I turned seam allowances and did an invisible blind stitch. Once the blocks were done was the first I gave thought to putting them into a useful quilt. The white setting triangle fabric  and light green sashing fabric sat in my drawers for YEARS. I was delighted how they worked so well to finish this. I'll use this on my square coffee table in the living room where Bob also naps.


    As for piecing, I did these two for me. The gray thing is supposed to be the background for some appliqued Purple Coneflowers. It stalled there; little wonder. Actually I was trying to locate the right pink. It wasn't in my stash. I really like it just fine the way it is. Maybe the gray for the border. I originally did the applique class so I could applique this.
     I want to finish up planning the kits and a few bindings and ?.  Who knows, maybe I'll get back to this rather than sticking it on a shelf the way it is. Stay tuned.

     And last is the feathered star. I planned this for a wallhanging in my living room. The quilting is all planned now too and I hope to get it on the frame tonight! When Sue saw it she thought it was good that I did something challenging again.  I don't know what she was talking about. The only thing challenging about this is deciding how I wanted to border the feathered star. There is no pattern for the quilt. I finally took the time in Electric Quilt to design it. As much as I like that software I am not sure if it or how it  can calculate the width of the spacer borders needed to get following borders to fit. Much easier for me to just do it but not if you don't even have a clue what you want it to look like. That's where EQ comes in. I wanted to do this thing for at least the last 5 years. I've thought it would be fun to do a round robin with my self. Umm. I forgot about that when had this in mind. Guess I can still put that on the agenda.

So that's what I've been up to. I really do hope to keep things current here, but this wasn't so bad.