Saturday, August 20, 2016

Two More HST Blocks

Almost all quilting and sewing has been on hold this past week. When I  wasn't picking produce from the garden or cooking I was shopping with my DIL(clothes) or Jack (chair) or dealing with vertigo.
I did have a nice relaxing time when we went out to lunch on Thursday with Jack's sister and her husband. so I am not feeling sorry for myself.

I still have this quilt up on the wall and it is 6 blocks by 6 blocks. I decided to make 6 more blocks for the bottom edge to complete the pattern. Idon't really care if the pattern is complete at the top as that part will be under the pillow which will have a cover to go with the quilt.

These are the 2 blocks I started and finished today. Only the blue one is sewn together in this photo.

Lucy likes hanging out with her people and I guess it was my turn this morning.
She has to inspect everything and she had a good time hiding behind my small design board and attacking various pieces of fabric, scissors, seam rippers and other objects; she can make a toy out of anything. She will also eat tiny shreds of fabric, causing me to become more careful to clean up small shreds of fabric and string.

Before we went to the sewing room this morning she managed to sneak out the door and she wore herself out tearing around the yard like a streak  of lightning. I caught her when she plopped down to rest.

So here she is ready for a nap. About two minutes after I shot this photo she was out like a light and I was able to sew the block behind her without interference.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Today is Wednesday and this is the post  that I thought I published on Monday. Not sure what happened; nothng much has changed except I decided on the red border and cut the strips in readiness to sew them on at our quilting get together today. I was all prepared to go but woke up late not feeling good. I will probably leave it all  packed up and ready for next week.

Monday, August 14, 2016
I made the rest of the blocks for the little piece I am making with the block of the month project with my small group  of quilting friends.  I finally got 9 blocks finished and sewed together. Making 6 inch blocks from this pattern was a lot  more fussy than fun.

This is the EQ  version that I had planned. After I made the center block I didn't like it. I  played with the layout in EQ using different color placement and combinations.

This is the fabric versions that I decided on. Most of my points are sharp but it wasn't easy and it isn't perfect, however it is acceptable. I will not be making anything again soon that is small and fussy.

I am ready to add 3 inch borders when I decide which fabric I like. Initially, I planned on the green print (on the left) but I am leaning toward the red print (on the right). With 3 inch borders this will be 24 inches.  I like it well enough to keep but I really don't need another table topper or small wall hanging and that is a good size for a gift.

I will put this off until tomorrow when the quilting friends get together. I can get my backing ready and get some feed back before I cut and add the borders. If I get the rest of my stuff together for tomorrow, for once I can be ready to go before the last minute.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Not Much Sewing Going On

There has not been much sewing going on here in the last two weeks.

This 6 inch block is my rather pathetic accomplishment. The small group of ladies I have been sewing with is working on  block of the month.  I am not going to make the BOM quilt but will use some of the blocks for small projects. I bought some red and green fabric and a light background and will make some Christmas things.

These next photos show some components ready to sew. they have bee sitting like this for almost a week.

I am surprised that Lucy has not knocked them on the floor or played with them. When I sew on the machine I have to shut her out of the room. She is very interested in the moving parts and she gets right up on the sewing table to have a close look.

One of the things keeping me busy is the garden. my daughter and SIL planted vegetables this year and everything is growing well. The cucumbers and zucchini are ready to pick, more EVERY DAY. would you believe that we have more cucumbers than zucchini. Daughter and SIL  are  in Montana hiking for 2 weeks and I have been busy, busy, busy keeping up with the garden. Now the peppers and eggplants are becoming ready to pick.
The 24 tomato plants are huge and heavy with tomatoes, that are mostly green yet, but every day there are more and more that are red. The weeds have also been doing well and I did have some help with pulling them. Some of the weeds in the Butternut squash patch are taller than me and not easy to reach. We were ahead of them for a while but we missed a few that were hiding and the squash just keeps growing all over the place and there is no place for me to step. Because I have a balance problem due to Meniere's Syndrome I use a hiking pole for stability on the rough ground when I go out to the garden; I am not the most agile person getting into the squash patch.

For 3 days I worked to clean up the 12 foot diameter flower garden. It was overgrown with weeds. My daughter in law was here over the weekend and she was a big help doing that.  She dug up some yucca plants that keep coming back and we moved some large rocks that outline the flower garden. We moved them in toward the center 1 to  2 feet to shrink the garden circle. We left the crab grass that was growing there, outside the rocks and it got mowed last evening by another grandson in law. We have had grandchildren stopping almost every day for some  reason or another and our son and DIL were here for 4 days over the weekend. I have come to the conclusion that there was some arrangement to keep an eye on us. Probably a good idea but I am not sure I like it.

My agenda for today is making pickled beets and pickled cucumbers. Oh, and doing the laundry; working in the garden has me wearing 2 or three sets of clothes a day.
Maybe some sewing tomorrow.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Two HST Quilts

Because I am already set up for quilting,  I decided to see what I have to layer up the HST quilt that is on my wall.  I have this 4 blocks wide by 6 blocks long section sewed together.  I am going to quilt it in sections.

I have 12 more blocks made that I will sew into 2 strips for either side to complete the pattern. I am going to add the borders to those 2 strips and quilt them in 2 sections for right and left sides. I am thinking about making 8 more blocks for the bottom of the quilt and adding a border to that and quilt that as a section, Can you tell I am making this up as I go along? I have a plan for using this quilt so It may not have borders on all 4 sides.

When I pulled out the basket with batting in it I found another HST flimsy that is in 3 sections all ready to be layered up and quilted in sections. It is a similar layout but the individual HST's are 4 inches finished instead of 3 1/2 inches.

These are  4 block sections showing the pattern of the 2 quilts.
The one on the top is what I came across yesterday. A 4 block section is larger by 4 inches; I am not sure what I will do about borderers for it. I will finish both of them and they can be used in the extra bedroom.

I need to decide on backs for these two so I am going to clean up the sewing room and look through some of the hiding places to see what other UFO's are lurking. I need to make a list of thing that need to be finished or given away and then get it done in some sort of organized way.

Maybe I should make a rule "NO NEW PROJECTS UNTIL ALL THE OLD ONES ARE DONE OR GONE.  I wonder if I could stick to it. Over 15 years ago  I finished all my UFO's when I wouldn't let myself start anything new until I had made/finished 7 Log cabin Christmas quilts for my family. It was a year long project and when I got bored with making log cabin blocks I worked on something that was waiting to be finished.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Finish

I finished the Disappearing Nine Patch today.

I spread it out on my bed for a photo shoot and Jack said, "This is our quilt for the bed for the rest of the summer".  Well......OK; it really does look  good in our bedroom. The white background print lightens up the room.

 I never thought about using it in our bedroom until I put it on the bed and saw how well it goes with the curtains. And, how could I not have thought about how well it would look with the "Red Flowers blog banner" quilt that hangs on the wall above the bed? I have a plain green coverlet on the bed and the quilt will go across the long way and just curve over the edges on the foot and sides. I have a little bit smaller spiral log cabin quilt across the foot of the bed now and I need something different to cover the pillows. I know Jack will say what I have on the pillows works fine. It does NOT so I am rolling it around in my mind.

 This is the back of the quilt. I had 6 blocks left over  and used them in 2 sets of 3 to make the backing longer.

No matter how I angled my camera I wasn't able to get a good photo of the quilting. Maybe it will show up if you click on the picture to enlarge it. It is pretty simple, quilting in the ditch around all the 6 inch blocks and then using the #4 Bernina serpentine stitch across all the squares

I did the binding on the machine; arthritis in my hands makes it a long drawn out and  painful process by hand.
I stitch the binding to the front and press it away from the quilt.  I then pull it around to the back to cover the stitching and press with steam. I use 1/4 inch Stitch Witchery to fuse the binding to hold it in place and stitch in the ditch on the front. When I come to the corner miter I stitch along the edge of the miter fold to the point and back and then continue on down the next side.
These next 3 photos show the binding and stitching. The true color is closer to the corner photos.

Binding - Corner front
Binding -  corner back

Binding - along the edge
I am minus Lucy's company today. She is at the vet's today getting spayed.  I can't say I will miss her "suspicious" behavior. We have had 2 separate weeks of her rolling on the floor making sounds that bordered on singing. Oh, and then there is her unusual posture. One of the 9 year old great grandsons asked his cousin what she was doing, the other 9 year old looked at her and said " She's catching mice". I'm glad he didn't ask Jack!

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Quilting the DNP

I rearranged my sewing room for machine quilting on Friday and started quilting the Disappearing Nine Patch. This is the first machine quilting I have done that needed a rearrangement since we relocated some of the furniture. I spent most of the afternoon and early evening fooling around with different configurations. My original plan would have blocked the 3 drawers on the left side of my desk.

This is the arrangement I settled on. I turned my sewing machine around in the table to give me 2 less inches on the left  so I can sit closer to the table and small chest that is supporting the quilt. It is a little more difficult changing the bobbin but all in all it is working well.

Lucy has turned out to be a very self possessed, independent, friendly little cat. Likes to hang out with her people and she seems to have a need to inspect EVERYTHING.

She was fascinated with the moving parts of the machine.

She crawled inside the folded over corner of the DNP quilt I am working on and thought she was going to settle down there. I had to banish her from the sewing room so I could move the quilt around.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Pinning and HST Blocks

 I am giving my back a break from pinning the Disappearing Ninepatch quilt.  It is about 1/3 of the way pinned and bending over the table isn't as easy as it used to be.
I  am going to have to do some cleaning up and rearrangement of  furniture to get set up for the quilting.
Wow! I just noticed that the angle  from which I shot  this photo distorted the squares that are flat on the table top. The are really square as in the forefront where they hang off the table.

I have this back up on the design wall again. The six blocks on the right are not sewn on to the rest of  the quilt yet. They are blocks I just made and I have 3 more to put together and then either 3 or 9 more to make. I am mulling it over in my mind; I am not sure how big I want to make this one.

Here's Lucy again. She had a big morning, watching the birds, chasing her shadow,  laying under the bed and grabbing toes as we walk past, tearing around the house like a streak of lightning and slipping out the door when I went out to the garden and I couldn't get the door closed fast enough. I caught her easily because she is more interested in inspecting everything than she is in running away.
I had to shut her in the bedroom while I  spread and layered up the quilt. She thought it was a game. I hope I can get it done before she wakes up and Jack opens the bedroom door.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Four Blocks

I have been cutting 4 inch squares and 3 1/2 inch squares and making 3 1/2 inch half square triangle units. This is what I have up on my design wall.

I have been tweaking these blocks all week as I make more HST's and cut more 3 1/2 inch squares. I have to sort through everything and organize my squares and HST's by color so I can finish the rest of the blocks.
I have part of one more block up on the wall; it is pink but it may not stay that way. I keep changing pieces as I look at these blocks for a  while. The quilt is a scrap quilt and really random; everything is mixed up as far as color goes on the 24 block section I have sewed previously. However, I do  fuss around trying to make each 12 inch block cohesive. I'll bet that in the end I am going to have enough HST rejects to make another "something".

I would be further along it it were not for distractions.

I have been planting flowers and weeding and watering. Some of the flowers have gone into pots on the edge of the patio.

Some  along the walk to the patio and front door.

And then there is Lucy. 
Here she is on the her footstool on which there is a 24 inch hand pieced hand quilted "Mariner's Compass" made before I knew about paper piecing.

She was the star of the show yesterday at the family picnic. Everyone made a fuss over her. Our son's dog is apparently enchanted with her and  won't leave her alone. She was afraid of him initially but soon got over it and now she only considers him a nuisance; he gets a hiss and a swat when she has had enough attention from him. He does get an occasional show of affection when she rubs her head on his chin or legs.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Switching Gears and someone new.

I finished up the border on my Disappearing Ninepatch; it is now a Flimsy. It is down from the design wall and ready to layer up when I get the backing.

Corner of the Piano Key border on DNP quilt
I don't have a way right now to get a photo of the whole Flimsy. So here are two shots of one of the corners.

Showing more of the piano key border

I pulled out the basket of stuff for this quilt that I put away in February 2015 when I started to work on the wedding gift quilt.   I wanted something to work on until I got the backing for the Disappearing Ninepatch. I need to make 12 more blocks, 6 each, for rows at the top and bottom as shown here, (photo is oriented 90 degrees) the rows will really be on the right and left sides. As I am typing this I am wondering if maybe I will then need more blocks so the quilt will not be square. Hmm, maybe not, would that require another 12 blocks in order to complete the pattern?  When I pulled this out to work on I thought it would be a quick finish because I have a lot of HST's. However, I don't have a lot that are both light and dark values and not many that I like very much. I cut a lot of squares and sewed a lot of HST's of which most of them need to be squared up to 3 1/2 inches.

So far, this is all I have up on my wall and I am not finished with either of these yet; they need tweaking.

I really don't want to set this aside again but I am not sure I want to make more than 12 more blocks. We'll see!

In the meantime I have another diversion. her name is Lucy.

 After Mona was gone my daughter said we wouldn't get another cat.  Well.......... on Thursday she said if I really wanted a cat to take care of, there was an abandoned kitten in the park that had been there for a week following her whenever she was there walking.

So here she is on her first day with us, not a little kitten but more like middle school age. She explored the whole house with 3 boys and a dog following her every step. She had something to eat, and chose a bed where the boys were playing with Lego's and fell asleep for hours. She ate again, drank some water used the litter box and slept some more.
She slept a lot for the first three days; I think she was exhausted from being out alone.  The short times she was awake, she became acquainted with the dog, who is very interested in her and very non threatening, played with her 4 jingle bell balls,

Today, she has been up and around and is interested in everything and  purrs all the time.

 She responds to NO! That leads me to believe she is an unusual amazing cat. I would have named her (amazing) Grace but we have a great granddaughter Grace so I went with Lucy which is what the boys thought we should name her.

She likes to look out the windows.  We have chipmunks and birds at the feeder to entertain her.

She also likes to lay on our bed and I think maybe she she thinks she has the mistaken idea she is going to sleep with us. So far there have only been brief visits. She is either testing us or checking up to see if we are still around.

She follows me around when she is awake and not looking out the window. Could it be because I made sure I was the first one to give her kitty treats?

She is a very nice, calm, friendly cat and I wonder if someone is missing her. I can;t imagine anyone dumping her in the woods. If no one claims her, I think maybe she is going to let me be her person.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Design Wall

I have been struggling with a 4 x 4 foot design "wall" for a while. There have been reasons why I never really got what I wanted. There are 2 walls that could be used but my furniture arrangement didn't leave any wall space to use.  When you have things that worked in one space they do not always fit into another same size space that has windows and doors in a different configuration. I had also brought some things in to my sewing room that were not in my previous sewing room. Those additions are things I need for storage for things that are not sewing related but the sewing room is the only place they can go. Over time, we moved furniture around and put up shelves  and hung some "design boards" and on a few occasions I improvised when I needed a larger design wall. Every time I made something that didn't fit on the wall I used our bed as a design space. We talked about what to do but it is hard to know what to do when you don't know what you want.

Yesterday we bought some insulation board and I covered it with flannel. Jack put them up beside and below my 4 x 4 feet "wall" and my design wall grew to 75 inches by 62 inches. Well, almost....... I still have one section that will go below the new part on the right.

I was able to put all my DNP blocks up on the wall (there are 4 blocks on the bottom right that are pinned to the ones above). This is probably as large a wall that I will ever need when I get the other board covered and up on the wall.
I think my space has evolved to where it will function well. I have everything I need in places that are easy for me to work in. I like it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Disappearing Ninepatch

The ladies I have been quilting with are working on Disappearing Ninepatches. I have made several DNP quilts over the past few years but it is new to the other ladies. It is a nice easy pattern and it works up fast and looks like a lot more work than it is. There are also so many variations that the quilts don't all look like the same pattern.

These are two of the original nine patch blocks. I made 19 of these. The red dots and the white background prints are the 2 "constants" in all the blocks. When I put the blocks together I mixed up the corners instead of making them all the same. I wanted to make sure I that I used some of all the fabrics. I knew I would not have enough of the light background if I miscalculated what I would need from each of the corner prints.

I had to make 6 half nine patch blocks because I didn't have enough of the light fabric to cut enough 5 inch squares. I thought I would have to get more fabric but from each 5" strip there was a leftover piece that was big enough to cut a 2 1/2 inch rectangle.

I bought a bundle of Moda fabrics ("Strawberry Fields" by Figtree) when I was shopping for a yellow fabric to use in place mats that I was making. When I decided to use the bundle in the DNP I went back and bought yardage of 2 of the fabrics in the bundle to use as the "constants" in all of the blocks. Anymore, it is a big deal for me to get out to the quilt shop so when I get there I always have to look around and make sure I do not miss something that I can't live without. I found another bundle of fabrics "Farmhouse" by Figtree that works perfectly with "Strawberry Fields". I had some leftovers of "Fresh Cut" from the wedding gift quilt that I made last year; they work well too. All together they make a nice variety.

These are blocks that that I have cut from the ninepatches. I am not sure yet how I will  lay them out. I have worked out a layout in EQ but I will make my decision when they are up on the wall.
Today when I get together with the other ladies I will cut the 9 patch blocks in quarters and square them all up to the same size.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Two Less Quilts

We had a very nice and very busy weekend. Yesterday we got together again with the out of town visitors and my grandsons fiance and her mother were subjected to a showing of most of the quilts living in my cedar chest, closet and storage cabinet. I'm pretty sure they didn't have an idea of how much time this was going to take. Last summer Jenna said she asked my grandson what she had to do to get one of my quilts and he said she would have to marry him; I told her that was right. So........ yesterday I got them all out and told her almost all of them were up for adoption.

She chose two.
She asked to borrow this one, to use on a table at their wedding. I told her she could keep it instead.

It was a Block of the Month quilt from a local fabric shop and the only time I ever made a quilt from fabric kits that were chosen by someone else. I chose the border fabric and designed the layout in EQ. The sashing and cornerstones were left over fabrics from the kits and they form a secondary pattern of stars. It has been one of my favorite quilts and I am happy that it will no longer be residing in the cedar chest.

This is the second quilt she chose after wavering back and forth between this and one or two others. She made this choice because she wanted something different in character from the other quilt. These Anvil blocks were made by the Friendship group when it was my month to request. I requested the centers to be made of  "made fabric" and the backgrounds be yellow or soft orange. I set them block to block. You can read more about it here.

Last evening I refolded all of the quilts that go in the cedar chest and put them away. I put the wall hangings and table toppers back on hangers and refolded the quilts that go back in the cabinet in the sewing room; then I ran out of steam.

Here is the table with those quilts still waiting to be put away. It is good to have a little more space in which to put them.

The pile on the left are the ones on hangers and they will be squeezed into this closet. The seasonal wall hangings and table toppers reside here and take up almost half of the closet. Some of these will soon be finding new homes.