Thursday, February 26, 2015

Moving Along ...............Slowly

I am moving along with the HST quilt but not very fast.  There have been enough snow days that it would seem as though I would get a lot more sewing done.

This is what is up on my small design wall; I have only finished 11 blocks. I thought I had more than enough squares and HSt's but I needed more variety and more "'sparklers". That meant dragging out more fabric to cut squares and then making more HST's. This is probably the layout I am going with unless I decide to make a larger quilt and then I might change my mind.

I'm much happier with the new arrangement in my room. It is easier to work now; when the weather improves and we can get some more insulation board, I will probably have a larger design wall.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sometimes you have to stop and sew

It took me several days to get back to straightening up the sewing room. When I got around to it I decided it was time for a major cleanup and rearrangement. Jack and I moved a large cabinet from it's original place, a few feet from the door, to a corner where it should have been in the first place. It opens up the room and if that were the only change it would be worth the effort. I had to empty the cabinet in order to move it; while everything was out I went through all the contents and discarded a few things and set other things aside to go to storage in the basement. That gave me the incentive to go through everything in the room( I really mean everything)  desk drawers, bookcase, sewing chests, boxes, shelves, yes.... everything. When you put things away haphazardly just to get it put away, it gets to a place where it is impossible to find anything. I was there!

I am not finished yet; this is a table of stuff that has to be put away. There is also a bunch of stuff in the hallway that is not coming back in this room. When we moved I reached a point where I couldn't decide whether or not to get rid of some things; a lot of it came along with us. I am much more objective now about what I really want to keep.
However, sometimes you just have to stop, clear a bit of space, and sew.

 There were two finished blocks on the design wall (yep, I now have a design wall of sorts) and two blocks ready to be stitched together. I sewed the 2 blocks together and put the four blocks up on the wall in this arrangement. This is not what  I thought I wanted originally But the real life version looks a bit different than the EQ version. I am going to wait and see how it looks when I get all of the blocks made before I decide which I like better.

These are two mock ups using photos of the four blocks to see the pattern that would develop. I thought the pattern below would be too static but in actual fabric I see how much variety there is of color and pattern .   I will wait and see which I  like best.
Actually there are several other variations that I saw and eliminated when I was playing and manipulating the blocks in EQ. I might revisit those before I make up my mind.

Meanwhile it is back to making order out of chaos. It really has to be done! The way things have been, I have not been able to work in this room and sustain my interest in anything.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines Day

This year life got in the way of a lot of things I intended to do and one of those things was Valentines for my friends and family. However, I did do something for Valentines Day.

Two of the great grand children came yesterday and 11 year old Grace wanted to make a mini quilt for her mother. She picked out some fabric and we fused some hearts on a background and layered it up. At that point I was running out of steam and we put it aside to finish up today.  She stitched some quilting lines and along the edges and we trimmed the edges with a rotary pinking blade. She wanted to make something for her father too "so he wouldn't feel left out". We picked out something for a smaller Valentine mini quilt/card and fused a heart on it and finished it the same way as the one for her mother.

Grace at the sewing machine

 I suggested she make a card for her grandparents. Her grandmother (my daughter) came in the room as we were making her fathers card and admired the fabric we were using for the fused heart. She used what she cut away around the heart to fuse on a piece of card stock for a quick card. She was eager to finish and go out to play in the snow so we wanted something fast.These are her 3 projects on the right. She was all dressed to go out in the snow and didn't want to get undress to a photo shoot.

When she came back in she changed her clothes and I had to get a picture of her in her outfit with her penguin sweater, tutu style skirt and striped socks. A girl after my own heart!

On the right is a shot of the sewing room when we finished. It is a huge mess but so worth it for all the fun we had.

Friday, February 13, 2015

HST's and Squares

I got a slow start on the HST's because after I made a few and pressed them I really didn't like them. For one thing, I have not added anything much to my box of cut squares for a long time and what was left in the box was mostly rejects that didn't make it into quilts. I seriously thought about tossing the whole box of cut squares. I gave some thought to how I would use what is in the box and looked at the 3 1/2 inch cut squares and the 3 1/2 inch HST's that had been made here and there over a period of time. I have a lot of them from doing demos of making HST's

I made these 2 blocks and decided that I will continue. When I first laid out the squares and HST's  I was looking at colors and that was when I thought about tossing the whole thing. I went away and did something else and when I came back I played around with value. Oh well, this is much better.

Then I worked out what I want to do in Electric Quilt. On the left is the EQ version of the 4 block pattern and how I will probably lay out the whole quilt. I am probably going to cut more 4 1/2 inch squares of some more recently purchased fabrics to liven it up a bit.

I may be working on this for a while. I plan to work on 4 blocks at a time. I will be starting a wedding gift quilt when I can get out to the quilt shops and I will only work on this hit or miss until I finish the wedding gift.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Finish

Finally.....a finish! I think it is the first one this year. I decided to just quilt in the ditch over the whole thing. I was going to quilt with the #4 Bernina stitch across the blue/purple squares but decided that in the ditch was enough. About 1/3 of the way through I was not too happy with my decision to turn it instead of quilting first and binding it, Some blocks were not quite the same size as all the others and I had tucks in the quilting. When here are already some issues. turning the quilt pillow case style just exaggerates the problems. After some unsewing some of the quilting and repinning and sewing again, it all worked out.
After I put everything back in place after I finished quilting the tablecloth,  I went through some of the plastic boxes on the shelves. I have 3 boxes of scraps that are in ziplock bags, loosely sorted by color and one box of squares sorted by size. I decided to sew up the squares into HST"s, starting with the 4 inch squares. No photos of that yet and no plans as to what I will do with the HST's. I have a box of HST's in various sizes and a lot are made from 4 inch squares so I will do something with them or give them away.
I am really pinched for space so I need to do something with all the scraps too. Right now that seems overwhelming, tackling the squares seems enough for now.

Here is another photo of Miss Kitty. This is her latest ploy to get my attention. She jumps up on my desk and sits in front of me.

It's a good thing I like her!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Snow, Snow and More Snow

I really would be content to never see any snow again but I will admit it is pretty to look at when it is clean and fresh and when the sun makes it sparkle like diamonds. The sun was out yesterday but a photo does not capture the sparkle it does however show how deep it is when I show a shot of the picnic table and benches out in back, (on the left). The middle shot shows the icicles looking out at the bird feeder also in the back and the right photo is looking out toward the street, that one long icicle is almost down to the ground. In all the photos you can see that the sun is out and I love the way it makes shadows across the snow on the ground.

  We did go out for a short time yesterday just to get out of the house for a while. Today we are staying in again and I am working on quilting the tablecloth. Miss Kitty has been sleeping in a doll bed under the table and keeping me company while I sew.
 When I am sitting at the computer she gets up on my sewing chair  former sewing chair and gets my attention by tapping me on my arm or shoulder and saying "n-n-now". This face shot of her shows her looking at me to see how I am going to respond. She  will be 15 this May and she is showing her age but she still plays and is curious about anything new. She has trained me to be a proper companion and she is working on Jack. If I am busy doing something and not sitting in one place she takes over his footstool and watches the birds outside or just sleeps and he obliges her by keeping his feet on the floor. We are all getting along well together.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ready to Quilt

I am finally ready to quilt the "Scrappy Trips" summer tablecloth.  I thought I had a quilt batt that I had not opened but I found that I had opened it and used a large piece of it. A trip to Joanns or a quilt shop was not going to happen so I ordered batting on line and picked it up at the local Walmart store.

Here it is layered with just the batting. When I use a quilt for a tablecloth I like to turn it pillowcase style instead of binding the edges. I'm not sure why I like it better but I do. In the long run it is not really easier. First I layer the top and batting and pin it all around the edges with some pins across the whole top to keep it from shifting. Then I stitch a bit less than 1/4 inch from the edge all around and trim the batting even with the edge of the top.

Here is the same corner after I layered the top and the batting stitched at the edges, right sides together, with the backing and stitched it all around except for an opening for turning. After I turned it right sides out I smoothed it out and pin basted it, repositioning the pins that were just through the batting.
Because I am not sure how I am going to quilt this, I haven't started quilting it yet. After it snowed all day long today I am sure I will be staying in all day tomorrow so I will have plenty of time to work on it.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


The weather isn't really terrible and I think the roads are probably not bad but we are staying in. Jack hasn't been outside since he was in the hospital with pneumonia and he thought he would like to wait another day before going out. I am currently not driving so I am staying in until he goes out.
So what to do when I can't shop for fabric or quilting supplies. Well.........I have some UFO's and some flimsys and almost flimsys and a box of odd blocks and a box or HST's and a box of cut squares of various sizes. There should be something I can do!

I chose an almost flimsy to work on. This photo is from March 2013 when it was up on my design wall before I sewed the blocks together.  I sewed the blocks but that was as far as I got as it was long and narrow 48 x 72. I didn't have many strips of the same fabrics to make more blocks   so I stopped to think about it and it lived in my closet

Today I got it out and thought about what I could do with it.  Not good for a twin bed, not really a good size for a throw, not good for a wall hanging, hmmm maybe a table cloth. I put it on the table and it almost fit, just a bit short on the overhang. Could this be what I was rolling around in my mind before I put it away? I think it was. I added a 3 inch border; you can see a section of it on the right. I had used that fabric in some of the blocks and I had a pretty good size piece of it so it was a natural choice.

Here is the flimsy on the table and it fits perfectly with the 3 inch border which doesn't show in this shot.

Below is a twin size vintage sheet that I will use on the back. I bought this years ago for a table cloth  for a large plywood party table my husband made for a Polynesian party. It is in perfect condition with no wear or stains. I have  packaged batting that I bought not long ago, maybe to use for this, but I got side tracked and I don't remember if it was for this or not. (it's that senior thing, you know).

Now I can get his layered up and quilted and who cares it I am house bound for a few more days.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Life gets in the way

Some times  life gets in the way of what we plan to do. I had intended to move things around in my sewing room and get things arranged (and found) so I could do some quilting. Jack had recovered from the flu but we had other things to do first and then He got sick again.
He got very sick, very fast and has been in the hospital with pneumonia since last Thursday. He is well enough to go home and we will be on our way to get him in a few minutes. 

Since I haven't any new projects to show I will show you what I have on my walls. After we took all the Christmas stuff down it was looking rather dull in here.
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This is what I hung above my sewing machine. The snowman is my 8 x  10 little winter picture that I used to slip on to one of those plastic display stands. I have one for every month. I started making them for my mother in law when she was in the nursing home.On the left are three 5 x 7 colorwash "cards" made with 1 1/4 inch squares.

This is on the design board on the opposite wall. It is 35 x 36 and I made it what the Basement Divas were working on bargello pieces. I wanted something smaller that I big quilt and I wanted to use the "All that Jazz" fabric. My daughter came in the sewing room the other day and saw it and said it would look nice in the family room. I think I have a lot of things she has never seen.

There is an abundance of art work in the hospital hall and lobbies and I have some ideas from seeing it.
 First things first, after we get Jack home we'll see where it leads.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone. We did nothing exciting but we managed to stay up until midnight. Jack and I have both been sick so not up to doing much. Jack had his usual winter cough for couple of weeks and then came down with the flu on Christmas day. After a trip to the ED he spent the next 3 days being miserable. He is much better now but still has his cough. I did not get the flu but have a sinus infection that is resolving.

Yesterday I felt restless after being house bound and not feeling up to doing much. I dragged out the "made fabric" kitty blocks I started in November.  I finished 9 blocks and put them together and finished a little wall hanging. This is not going to be for the cat to sit on. I am going to hang it on the sewing room wall above my sewing machine. Kitty has enough quilts to sit on and I need the color and whimsy on my sewing room wall.

Since our move I have not done a lot of quilting and have had occasional thoughts of packing up all my quilting paraphernalia and putting my sewing room to better use.

However....... I think I need to get things organized better so that I do not get discouraged before I even start. I had done a good job of packing for the move in order to get things set up easily. But my stuff took a back seat to getting other things done and I brought out things that I needed and then put them away in temporary places. Well you can guess how well that has worked out. I can't find a lot of things.
After the Christmas decorations are packed up again and put away, I will be going through everything and purging and rearranging. I have a Diva challenge to think about and a memory quilt and a wedding quilt to make. There is a retreat coming up with the group from church and the annual Jelly Roll Race in February. I really need to connect with real live quilting friends. In the meantime I will continue check out all the blogs I have found inspirational and when the obstacles are gone I hope I will be back to feeling creative again..

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Big Birthday

Today was another one of those milestone birthdays, the big 8 - 0. It was a family day and my kids, grand kids, and great grand kids were all here with the exception of one grandson who lives out of town.  It was a nice day and though I have been unseated as the family Scrabble champion I had a great time.
We got a four generation picture of women in the family me, my daughter and her daughter, and my grandsons daughter. We missed my daughters other daughter who had to leave early and we didn't get my daughter in law in the photo. We  didn't get  photos of any of the men. Maybe we will do better Christmas Eve.

W e did get a shot of me with the great grand kids and the birthday cake; their ages are from 8 -12. It is not easy to get a picture with everyone looking good but this one turned out pretty good.
That is the celebration tablecloth on the table. I had dyed fabric at a guild workshop 20 + years ago and I was going to throw it away recently because it ran when I washed it. However, I fished it out of the waste basket and made 16 patch checkerboard blocks and added a  bright border. I thought if the colors  ran "so what". Some of them did run when it was washed and you can see it on the solid yellow back but the front looks OK and it think it makes a nice family tradition to put it on the cake table.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Christmas Decorating

Two days ago Jack set up the tree and today we bought the decorations up from the basement and I decorated the tree, He helped by getting some of the ornaments unwrapped and he put new hooks on the ones that needed it. It took a few hours to get the tree done and right after I arranged the tree skirt Miss Mona, the princess cat, settled herself on the tree skirt for a nap.
She really has very pretty green eyes but I think this glowing kind of demon look is the feline equivalent of "red eye".
No amount of coaxing or gentle prodding would convince her to leave her new napping quilt. I might as well give in because she will do whatever she wants as soon as I leave the room.

Over the last few days I also hung Christmas quilts in my sewing room. I replaced the quilts from my last post with Christmas quilts. I don't have the places to hang them that I used to have so I am working out new arrangements. I do believe that the gray flannel I use on my bulletin boards has made the colors in my photos come out true to life.

The quilt on the lower right is hung sideways and I will have to change that and I need to clean up the shelf under the wreath quilt. I found that I have 20 mug mats so I hung some of them with my 12 days of Christmas cheater smart panel.

I have some larger quilts and I am not sure what to do with them. Well..... one is on my bed and two are one the backs of chairs but I have 3 that have no place to go yet. Maybe they will find a new home.