Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Yellow Scrap Blocks

After I finished the Dresden Rings and cleaned up,  I guess I just couldn't stand a clean room so I tackled the yellow scrap bag. I saved it for last because I have more yellow scraps than anything else. I went through everything in the bag and sorted it so all the large pieces and the smaller scraps of the same fabric were together. I then made a pile of usable pieces that were either loners or just 2 or three smallish pieces and  I sent a bunch of small pieces to the dog bed bag. I did  this over 2 days, taking breaks when I got bored . Then I cleaned it all up again.

Before I put it all away I thought I might as well make a few blocks, that clean room syndrome again I guess. I only made 3 - 8 1/2 inch blocks.

I intended to make the blocks all yellow. but I always seem to get off track when I try to work with one color. The closest I came is the one on the left. I thought of fixing the one on the right by cutting through the wide green strip on the right side and adding a yellow strip but I am leaving the blocks as they are. I didn't make these to use at this time so who knows what I will want to do when I get around to using them or even if I will ever get around to using them. For now they will stay on my wall so I can look at them, when I need the space maybe they will go into the odd blocks box and maybe someday..............
We'll see!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Dresden rings EtC.

I finished Dresden rings yesterday It measures 24 x 43, it is nice and straight, hangs, flat and it  ready to hang on the wall. I copied Melissa Cory's quilting although I thought about doing some free motion quilting. The truth is, I really hate marking the quilting lines but in the end I bit the bullet and did the marking with my pizza cutter and tiny dots using a Sewline marking pen. I am happy to say all of the marks a gone and did not reappear when I used a hot iron. I did not use the multi color binding I thought I would, the quilt told me to use the orange fabric that I had purchased on Friday for something else. Good thing I bought enough extra.

Here is a link to Melissa Cory's tutorial. She has many free tutorials and also patterns for sale and there is always something new and fun to see on her blog. It is worth a look around.

This is not one of the UFO's that I listed to finish but when I came across the rings by chance they said SPRING to me and I sure am ready for spring. When I pinned them on the background and showed it to Jack he told me to finish it and hang it by the front door where I had that black thing.

Here are three shots of the "black thing" (I guess Jack doesn't care for this a lot).  BTW it is navy blue, not black.

On the left is a shot showing all three sections. I had to stand outside my door to shoot this so this is the best I could do. The center shot shows a closeup of the Japanese Ikat. I quilted around the flowers and did some sashiko quilting and filled in the background with free motion echo quilting in navy thread.  The end panels are "made Fabric" made with woven strips of fabric, which I fused to a base fabric after I wove it. The narrow fuchsia and yellow strips are faux piping. The piece is 14 x 52. I made this a long time ago and it has resided in a cedar chest all those years. I like it but it never really fit in with anything else. I have a lot of things like that. I am inspired to try a technique or use a particular fabric or group of colors and it has no place to go when it is finished.  So.......every so often I give things to my family, other times I put quilts from the closet or cedar chest up on my design wall for a time.
It is probably time to give some things away again. My cedar chest is full, there are quilts on 2 shelves of a large cabinet and taking up space in two closets.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Design Wall and Dresden Progress

I have been lamenting the lack of access to my design wall. I was so pleased to get all the panels up   on the wall and to be able to put something up on them but it has not worked out well for a working wall. I have my sewing machine in front of it and a 4 foot Lifetime table beside my machine. I have been using large flannel covered foam core poster boards, which are not great except for a few blocks and small pieces. I just didn't see any good wall space because of furniture lining the perimeter of the room.  When I wanted  to take a photograph of my Dresden Rings I put a foam panel flat on top of my bookcase and pinned the quilt to the edge. I started thinking about how I might fashion a way to put my design boards up on the front of the bookcase (which would not have been any better than using them the way I have been).  Oh wait, what if I move the bookcase?  Yes! It fits! I moved it to the opposite wall next to my sewing machine and I used the flannel covered panels I already had taking up space in my closet. I now have a 7 ft. high by 4 ft. wide design wall and there is another 25 inches behind the door to put up more flannel covered panels.

Here is the new design wall. I put my Klimt panel and my "Happy Days" panel up for inspiration. If I am looking  at something often, it will tell me what to do. The other things are 2 blocks my great granddaughter in law  made for a Disappearing 9 Patch  quilt, one little seasonal March quilt and some fabric squares that make me happy when I look at them . In the lower right corner is the table that is about 3 feet away and next to my sewing machine.

Here is the bookcase around the corner from my not so usable for a working design wall.  I still have access to the two bottom shelves  which hold notebooks and magazine holders that I seldom use. My plastic drawers with my thread fit nicely there right next to my machine and move easily on wheels.

I am making progress quilting  the Dresden Rings. I have done echo quilting around the rings and partial rings and now I am working on the spaces where the echo quilting form one intersects with one or two other lines of echo quilting. I marked the points, where I change directions, with a "Sewline" marker. I just use a tiny faint dot and when I get one area finished I spray it with water and remove the marks. I use a bath towel to soak up some of the water and wait for it to dry before moving on. I was apprehensive about using the marker but it is working out OK. I did some testing before I used it on the quilt. I made sure my marks would not reappear if I pressed with a hot iron. Yes, I do block and steam press wallhangings after they are quilted.  I hope I can get this finished and hung this weekend, Spring will be here Tuesday and I want to be ready.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Dresden Rings

Dresden Rings is layered and pinned and ready to quilt. I wasn't sure how I wanted to attach the rings, hand applique was out and I thought of fusing but discarded that idea. Fusing isn't easily fixed if something goes wrong and fusing a round  ring seemed like the perfect opportunity to foul it up. So I smoothed and pinned the living daylights out of the rings and stitched them with bobbin thread right next to the edge and I am very happy with the results. I plan on quilting in the ditch between each blade so I am not concerned about the strength of the fine bobbin thread.

You can see I also pin basted the living daylights out of this layered piece. I should be able to remove some of the pins after I get the rings all quilted. I am prepared to deal with the hassle of working with the pins.

I will be trimming the edges after quilting to leave the half and quarter rings right up to the edge under the binding. I don't want a border but I plan on a bright multi color binding.

I put one extra blade in the lower "quarter" ring. I wanted it to be a little larger that the five blades When the edge is trimmed and bound it will be OK.  Who is going to check my plane geometry or my drafting?

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Lake Farmpark Quilt Show

I went to the local quilt show with quilting friends yesterday. The weather looked iffy the night before with a big winter storm but the sun was shining when I got up in the morning and we were able to get to the show. I have only seen these friends once since we moved in October so it was good to see them and see the quilt show with them.

It was a nice show with a lot of interesting quilts with a wide variety of styles. Some years there have been many quilts using the same techniques or patterns. While they were beautiful and well done the wider variety makes a more interesting show. Sorry, no photos, I was too busy looking and talking.

This is vendors week end and though I restrained myself to only a few purchases I think the vendors were outstanding this year.

I did  buy a Robert Kaufman panel from  the Gustav Klimt line. The Polka Dot Pincushion quilt shop had a quilt sample with the panel that spoke my language. It is from Klimt's "Tree of Life" painting. I didn't take a photo of the quilt because I didn't want to be overly influenced and end up making a copy.
I came home and put it up where I can look at it and the ideas are swirling around in my head. I'm not in a  hurry because I want to put this on a wall just inside my front door and I need to give it some thought.

So, while my creative juices were starting to flow, I spotted something I came across when I was putting things away after my scrap sorting project. I found these Dresden Rings in my "Odd Blocks" box.  I think they were leftovers from the Basement Diva's circle challenge. I saw something on Melissa Corey's Happy Quilting blog and started this but never got around to doing anything more. The 2 complete rings and the half ring were sewed together and there were more wedges and I made 2 quarter wedges.  My yellow scraps came in handy to make one more wedge to replace one that was way too skinny to use but just the right fabric. This is similar to the layout I will use but I need to cut the background base and arrange things so they are balanced better than this.

I feel as though my creative self has been absent for a while. Too much time spent at home because of bad weather and short daylight hours. After getting out to the quilt show and visiting all the vendors and spending time with friends I feel revitalized. I hope it lasts.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


When I got started yesterday I thought I would be forever getting everything sorted into colors.  I soon realized that I would get nowhere going through all the bags and pulling out one color and then go through them again and pull out a different color. I am not sure why I even thought to do it that way. I guess I didn't realize just how many mixed up bags I had and how badly they were mixed up. I switched gears after I did that once. I made piles of different colors on my tables and floor and I am amazed that I have all the colors sorted.

This is where I am now. There are 4 - 2.5 gallon bags, 13 - 1 gallon bags, and 2 pint bags. That pile of empty bags that held all of the mixed up colors has 11 zip lock bags, either gallon or pint size, 2 quilt batting bags, 5 plastic grocery bags and a couple of quilt shop bags.

Beside the scraps sorted by colors there is one bag of fusible pieces. I also found many 2.5 inch squares in a small bag (I might throw those away), some scraps that are sewed together (they look like starters for "made fabric"), lots of 4 patches, many half square triangles, pieces of strip sets, and a bunch of folded prairie points.

My next step will be to go through each color bag or bags and sort out smaller pieces from larger pieces and of course there will be scraps for the  dog bed donation.

I won't say that this is never going to happen again but I hope that I have learned my lesson from this mess. I will remember how easy it was to forget to go back and sort the scraps, at the end of a project,
once everything was out of sight. At least I hope I will remember, my memory is not what it used to be.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Taming the Scraps

I have decided to tackle my laundry basket of scraps. At one time it was well organized and easy for me to get everything out and organized for sewing. Not too long ago I was looking through what I have and realized that it is a mess. Over time I cleaned up in a hurry and shoved what I had left over for the scrap bags into a plastic bag. I meant to go back and sort it all out into colors when I had time. Right now I have more unsorted bags (10 bags) than bags that are sorted by color.  So I am taking time out from sewing and I am going to put this in order.

The laundry basket is 16 inches across at the top and 17 inches high. Here is oneshot  from the side and one from the top. You can see that the basket is over stuffed.

 This next photo is a few of the bags opened to show what is inside, all colors, unsorted. I have started by making piles of scraps by colors as I go through the unsorted bags. I will probable do some sorting by size after I get the color sorting finished.

This is a reason that I have decided to get this  done now. My grandson's wife wants to learn to quilt and she wants to use my scraps. She is going to make a Disappearing Nine Patch.  She is a very accomplished busy young woman, working full time as an ER nurse and going to school. This quilt will take some time but little by little I am pretty sure she will see it through. 
Jenna working on and showing off her first block.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!

February is a pretty easy month for decorating my sewing room. I seem to have a lot of hearts.
This is the narrow design board on the wall adjacent to my bigger design wall. 
The red heart "log cabin in the round" quilt is about 15 inches square and has, at the center, a little house square that Beth Shibley sent to everyone the first time I participated in her Neighborhood Block Party.

The 2 black and white "broken hearts" are my 2 different ways to interpret Zentangle inspired hearts. One in patterned fabric and the other drawn on cloth with a Pigma pen and quilted with black thread. I used the same heart shape for both.
The pink square was drawn with a red pen and quilted on the lines with red thread. I'm not sure why I used pink fabric; all I can say is that it was when I was experimenting. 
The 3 improv patchwork hearts were left over Valentines that "didn't make the cut"when I sent  them to my friends one year.
The Black and white square with the red heart is a participant's square from one of the Basement Divas Annual Jelly Roll Races. It has the signatures from all participants on the back.

 This little 12 inch square is another zentangle inspired heart that I drew and then copied  on my all in one  HP printer/scanner and changed the color in my photo program and then printed on fabric and stitched with blue thread. I'm not sure if I made it blue to use with the yellow and blue fabric or if  used the yellow and blue fabric  to go with the blue heart.

I made this 36 inch square color wash heart along time ago when I made a lot of color wash quilts. I used to hang it in the living room from January until Memorial Day when I changed out all my quilts for red, white and blue until Labor Day. For 3 years, I didn't have an available wall to hang it. Since our last move it hangs over our bed, where it  compliments the colors in the bedspread and quilt on the bed and the curtains.
I didn't plan it that way and it was only after I hung the quilt that I realized how good it all looked together.

I took all  these photos with my new camera that arrived on Monday. It is  supposed to have an image stabilization feature for people with shaky hands. I'm not sure how well that works or it it is something for which I have a setting. I will have to spend some time with the manual. I am just happy to have a camera that takes a picture when I push the button.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A Flimsy and Some Hearts

 I finished adding the borders for this quilt early this week but my camera was not cooperating and then I moved all my furniture back to it's non quilting position and I can't get to my design wall. However, I found a way by pinning along the top of the flimsy to the edge of a foam panel and then laid the panel flat on top of my bookcase.  For some reason my camera has been working most of the time again so I did get a shot of the flimsy. (I think my camera is working now because I ordered a new one yesterday from Amazon.) The sashing and border fabric was given to me for the back of a quilt that I was given by my friend Lynn. I admired a flimsy she was showing at the Basement Diva meeting and she gave it to me. I had already layered the top with something else when she gave me the border fabric so I hung on to the fabric for this one. Thank you Lynn, that is two quilts now that I love.

After I moved all my furniture and put all the things away from the fancy Forest quilt I got out my box of Valentine fabric. I made these 4 hearts yesterday and today. I may use them for a new February table runner. I pieced them on a paper foundation just so I would get them all close to the same size. This is not like paper piecing for precision for a specific pattern. Although I did finally learn to do that after my friend Kathy taught me how to paper piece.  She gave me a lesson so I could make a migrating geese wall hanging  you can read about it here.

I have good friends. I need to see them more often.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Another January Finish

So my big list for January has 2 sets of finished Hexie potholders. I found the 4 pieced fronts when I was putting things away after finishing the Fancy Forest and Drag Around quilts. The colorful stripe from the back and borders from those 2 quilts was still laying on my cutting table and I decided to use it for the potholder backs. The one showing the back is like the purple and yellow one next to it. I have been using my Christmas potholders so I was  ready for something new.

The Fancy forest shown here did get a binding; I used the colorful stripe. I had just finished the binding and clipped off any hanging threads and had gone over it with a lint roller when  my daughter called and wanted to pick it up on her way home from work. My camera would not cooperate so no pic with the binding.

Fancy Forest

Drag around

Monday, January 29, 2018

First Finish for 2018

I have a first finish for this year and it is not the one I thought it would be. I finished quilting the Fancy Forest but it still needs the binding.

Here it is folded in half on my table; the quilting is all in the ditch.

My camera will not take any more photos so this is the best I can do for today. I tried to use my old camera but all I can see on the viewing screen is a blur. I guess it is time for a new camera.
This is the one I finished, it is a 27 inch square "drag around" quilt. This is for our preemie great grandson; he went home from the hospital 3 days ago. I think it is about the right size for a 5 Lb. baby.  I want to send both of these with my daughter when she goes to see him this week.

I had planned to use the scraps from the Fancy Forest quilt to make crazy improv blocks but though that is easy, it is not fast. I looked around for something I could put together fast and found these wonky blocks in my "Parts Department" box. I have a bunch of colorful small blocks that I made when the Basement Divas group was planning on making Collaborative Quilts in the style of Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston. We did make one quilt but then the group took another direction, I had forgotten about these blocks and it was really by chance I opened that box. There were 8 blocks and I made the purple block using fabric from the Fancy Forest owl block. I used left over fabric from the FF backing for the border and the purple for the binding.

I sewed the binding to the front and turned it and fused it to the back. I was careful to cover the line of stitching on the back so that the stitching in the ditch on the front would catch the binding.  It takes me forever anymore to do hand stitching with my crooked arthritic fingers.
This photo shows one corner of the back folded up to show the stitching on the binding and the stitching in the ditch on the front. When I get to the corners I stitch out to the point and back to the ditch. I works well and I find it a little easier each time I gain a little more experience.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Fancy Forest Flimsy

Finally, a flimsy. I finished the second Owl block on Wednesday and thought I would get the top put together later that day or the next day. I had a really hard time deciding on the colors.I didn't want the same fabrics too close to each other and though I had some flexibility  the different  block widths dictated the rows where they would fit. I think the reason for my indecision about the fabric choices is that my design wall is not easily accessible because my sewing machine is in front of it with a table beside the machine forming an L shape. So, I can't reach the design board to layout the whole quilt without moving the machine.

I did finally move my machine and put all the blocks up on the wall in the order I thought I would use them. I decided to replace the yellow Bunny because he looked out of place with the richer colors in the other blocks. Some of the other blocks ended up being moved around and in the end I think I came up with a better balance of color and value.

I think maybe the turquoise Bunny is a bit on the pastel side also but after dealing with other issues I would have chucked the whole thing if I had to remake over another block.

I had to fiddle with the Firefly blocks and ended up taking the orange and purple one apart and re doing the body and the feelers. I should have done it as soon as I realized I messed up the order of the construction steps.

So here's the flimsy, it is 35 x 47 and looks pretty large for a 5 pound baby.

I went to the quilt shop Friday with my granddaughter in law (who wants to learn to quilt BTW) and found a colorful backing. I bought enough of the backing fabric to use for a small  drag around quilt and I think I will use the yellow bunny with some scrappy blocks from the rest of the left over fabric from the big quilt. The bunny is 8 x 13 and laying on top of the backing shows the scale.

I am going to layer up the Fancy Forest today and I hope I can get the quilting started,  Nothing has really gone as planned as far as my time management goes so as the saying goes "We'll see".