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.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

No Sewing Today

Today was a no sewing day and I even missed the Basement Diva gathering. My youngest grandson and fiance were here from Missouri along with her parents from Colorado. There was a party for friends and family to meet Jenna and her parents not everyone will  be going to the wedding in Missouri.

This is Jenna and John taken last year.

I didn't take any photos myself today but there were a lot being taken by other people.

I do hope to see more but this is the only one given to me today. Here I am with the two brothers, my grandson (on the left) who was married last June, me in the middle (looking like a stereotypical little old lady with Q tip hair) and the grandson (wearing the vest) who is getting married in September.

It was a nice party and it was nice to spend time getting to know Jenna's parents. Jack didn't come today, he was home being uncomfortable with a case of Shingles. We saw everyone last night and they are going to church with us in the morning and then coming back here again afterward. It should be another fun visit.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A Finish

I finished the binding today on a set of placemats.  Although I don't usually sew down the binding on the back of anything by hand anymore, I sewed these by hand. It has become increasingly difficult to do any hand sewing but I took my Advil  and bit the bullet and did it.  I wanted them to look good on both sides as they are to be a gift.
It took an hour for each one and I did not do them all in one sitting.

I also made some Log Cabin Hexie hot pads or pot holders or what ever the recipient wants to use them for.
You can find the tutorial  here at Sewshecan blog. the 2 center ones here are finish and will go with the place mats. I used 2 fabrics for the logs and  I like the swirl effect.The other 2 on either end are not finished yet; the one in yellow and green  has 3 fabrics for the logs and the one on the right has six fabrics that set will go with the table runner that I showed in this post.

I will finish the other 2 sets soon but first I  am going  to clean up my sewing space and get ready for company and a trunk show for family.  I am hoping to give away some of my quilts. Once again,there are too  many living in closets and chests and cabinets. I gave away about 20 quilts and wall hangings to my daughter and daughter in law 3 or 4 years ago and now it is time again.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Spring blooms and a bit of sewing

The flowers are coming along and all the trees in the yard are blooming.

 I took this shot from the kitchen door, looking north. The crab apple tree is right in front of the dining area window and the far tree is a maple.

This is a closeup of the blossoms that are right outside the window.

Keeping it real .... this shot, right below the tree, is the mess from replacing the leach lines to the septic tank.  That was done right before our first big snow and it has involved a lot of work cleaning up where the ivy vines were dug up and the rock wall and brick steps from the lower part of the yard were "disturbed". It is a work in progress.

This is the tree round the corner on the east side of the house. I took these photos from inside the house looking out my bedroom window. While the crab apple tree buds took almost a week to all open; the buds this tree seemed open all at once overnight.

Two close up shots of the tree 

I have no idea what this tree is; it has small red berries in the fall and the birds love both trees. 
The dog wood trees are also blooming but no photos today.

 This is a bush on the west  side of the house and below that the photo shows the giant Lily of the Valley plants that are blooming next to the bush. This bush was more orange when the leaves first opened and now it is gold but starting to turn green. It will be green all summer and turn orange again in the fall. Of course, we don't know what it is.

This is the Hosta border around the flower bed where the Lily of the Valley is planted. The hostas all need to be divided. We could probably plant them around the whole yard and have some left over.

The sedum is doing well too in several locations.                                                                                      There are grape hyacinths and Brunnera and creeping phlox and some other things coming up too. Violets are everywhere and the vinca ground cover is growing in the wooded area. 

 I have been pulling weeds and raking up debris around the yard but I have had sometime for sewing.

I made some spring place mats. They have a light sea foam green border and will have a yellow binding. I pinned it around one place mat to make sure I like it and to make sure I would have enough fabric for all 4. I would have had enough but I cut one strip wrong and I am an inch short of cutting another strip. So now I have 3 fabrics of which  I have "almost enough". Unfortunately, they are from 3 different quilt shops. One is for a backing so I will replace it with something I can get when I go back for more yellow binding fabric. I am sure I can get another piece of the same yellow but just in case I can't it will be OK because it has not been sewed on to any of the place mats yet. As for the other fabric I need, I might get more of it and I might not and that will be OK too.

I also made some log cabin hexie hot pads and I will save those for another day when I finish them.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Table Runner

I am taking a break before moving along with my diamond nine patch Autumn Leaves quilt. I am not sure how I want to proceed.
The ladies I have been sewing with decided on another table runner. I took the pattern sheet home and put the basic block in EQ7 and started to play with the way I might color it.Then, I missed the next sewing day because I somehow did not load the information into my memory that the day was changed. After I bought the fabric for it, I couldn't find the pattern. So I played with the pattern in EQ.

This is the 6 inch block and below it is the pattern we were  everyone else was using. It is 2 blocks wide and a border of 3 inch squares on 2 sides that complete the pattern

This is my EQ version with the print fabric that I scanned into the program. I just used the solid looking fabrics in the EQ library that were similar to the fabrics I was using; no need to scan everything just to work out the design.

And this is the one that I made. It worked up really fast. I worked on it Friday when the ladies got together but I got hardly anything done because I wasted a lot of time getting my machine working right. I am unfamiliar with my traveling machine and I had a tension problem; it took me forever to figure out that I had something threaded wrong. I worked on it on Saturday for a couple of hours and  finished quilting it today after church. It is quiletd in the ditch with off white thread and across the squares with primary colored variagated thread using the #4 Bernina stitch.

 Anyone who knows me knows I am not fast; when I say something is fast, it is. It is 42 x 17, so maybe the reason it was fast is because it isn't very big and it was pretty simple and straight forward. A nice change from putting the diamond 9 patch rows together, which really caused a lot of frustration. There was one group of blocks that were similar and in every row, I sewed I had to keep putting them back up on the design board after I sewed the blocks in pairs to get the order right. I had to take a lot of breaks to prevent myself from tearing out my hair.

You might think that I would worry 
about getting the sewing day mixed up
 and losing the pattern
 and getting my diamond  9 patch blocks mixed up
 with each row that I sewed.
 I would worry if this was something new,
 I have been like this all my life.
We are always searching for something I have misplaced. 
Our most used expression around here is.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Step 1 finished

The first step of the Diamond nine patch color wash is finished. this is the background for an autumn leaves wall hanging. Right now it measures roughly 46 x 70. It will be trimmed because the setting triangles are oversize to make it easier to square it up in the end.

Here it is laying across my king size bed. It is now too big for the present design wall.

This is a close up of a section closer to the edge than to the center and  the color is more true than the other photos.
It is much warmer visually than the photo below which shows the half blocks on the sides.

 I am not sure how I will deal with some of the edge blocks that stretched  on the bias edges.  I made it much worse by stay stitching along the edge. Some of it will quilt  out but there are a couple of places that will have to be fixed or maybe the half blocks will need to be replaced.

Jack asked if it was going to have some color in the center. I got out a bunch of fabrics that are possibilities.

These are two views of some of the fabrics I am auditioning for the leaves. I will use fewer fabrics and multiple leaves of the same fabric.
I am aiming for a look of the wind sweeping along a pile of leaves.

I am thinking about how I am going to accomplish this and hoping for the best.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Once Again - My Big UFO

I was showing a friend the handquilted "QUILT THAT WILL NEVER BE FINISHED". I opened it on my bed to show it and I left it there to be put away later.  When I looked at it I realized, for the second or third time, that most of the blocks that are within the border are finished.

This is one block with  sashing on the left. Everything was quilted in the ditch and there are concentric circles in the center of the block and 3 overlapping circles in the sashing rectangle to the left of the block.

This narrow strip is one sashing strip and the 4 patch cornerstones on the right and left. This is one that has not been quilted.

This is a secondary pattern that emerged when 4 sashing strips  come together at the cornerstone.

Four blocks with one secondary block.

There are five blocks and 6 or 7 sashing strips with cornerstones still to be quilted. Even with my arthritic hands I think this is doable. If I get that much finished I will quilt the border by machine. I know, absolutely, it will not matter at all to the person to whom I promised this quilt in 2001.

This quilt is from the first year I was in the "Friendship" block exchange group and I requested 2 twelve inch blocks from everyone and asked that all of the pieces in the block be a different fabric.
There are 25 colored patches and I think 20 neutral prints. That was a pretty bold request for someone new to the group. I may have also added that I would be happy for any left over scraps for the sashings.  In my defense, I did ask the shop owner where we met if she thought it was OK to request that block. She said (direct quote) "Sure".

I knew I would not want to piece 25 blocks but I proceeded to start to hand quilt  every single seam in the ditch and the circles and X's  in the 4 patches. I started and stopped quilting a few times and each time I started again, it was for a shorter period with longer stretches between. Now, 15 years later, I find any kind of hand sewing to be "not much fun". However the end is in sight and I am going to give it another try.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Slow Progress

I am moving along slowly. My yard of the darkest fabric finally came in the mail and I finally got out to shop for one more (darker) fabric.

This is where I am now.
The blocks in some of the rows as sewed together. It is very easy to get mixed up when making a blended value quilt, especially when the design wall is too small. After the first 6 diagonal rows were sewed I ran out of design wall.  I put what I had sewed on the bed and sewed half of the next row and laid out the rest of the blocks for the row on my bed. And then..... confusion reigned. The fabrics in that area are so much alike that it is easy to get them out of order. I kept coming back to my sewing room to look at what was up on the wall and also my EQ version on my computer screen. I finally got out my Command Hooks and hung up a makeshift  piece of  flannel board. that isn't really good enough either but I think I can move on from here.

 This is the rest of that unfinished row, already to sew together. After I got organized last night I quit; I am all ready now to finish this row and
move along.

These are the rest of my finished blocks that won't fit on the design wall. I resorted them last night and laid them out in order. I also found one that had one strip sewed to the wrong side. It is there on the end of my ironing board.
These triangles are the end pieces for the rows. The light one is my cloth template with cutting instructions written on it. I cut a strip of fabric and lay the template triangle on it and use my ruler to cut; then I lay it on the other edge and cut the next one. It works but I wish I had a diamond shape ruler.
Next time I will have one!!!!

I will also have a large design wall!!!

This is the latest EQ7 version, rough, but it shows (I hope) my idea of windblown leafs.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A Flimsy

I finished the table runner top and I am ready to layer it up.

I trimmed back the side triangles so there would be 1/2 inch between the points of the squares and the border. I added narrow strips on the two ends which makes the whole pattern "float". This solution has accomplished the problems of making this the size that best fits the coffee table. It is a Hitchcock table and has decorative painting on the ends that I didn't want to cover. The table has a fine black line on the table top about an inch from the edge and black legs.  I needed to add the long borders to make it wide enough and I needed to add something on the ends so it didn't look like something was missing. I think the narrow strip accomplished that. Now I have to decide whether to turn it pillowcase style before I quilt it or quilt it and add a binding. Or....... I could layer it and quilt it and decide if I want a binding or a facing. Writing a post is like talking to myself which helps me think and gives me new ideas as I go along.

I finished the last set of blocks that I have been working on for the diamond background.

I am happy that I will not be replacing anything. I have to wait until I get more of the last fabric before making any more blocks. This is about the right size horizontally but I am probably going to add one more set of blocks on the top and bottom to make it the right size to fill the space where it will hang. I will finish the outside all around with half diamonds using the final fabric which  I still have to buy. I still need to buy fat quarters of several colors also, for fall leaves for the applique. I don't plan on adding a border as the darker diamonds on the outside will be enough of a frame.

This is my EQ7 version  from last October. I have changed the orientation of the blocks and I might omit the free form curvy stripes and there will be more leaves.
Last fall I gathered a bunch of leaves from the yard and scanned them. I will print them in different sizes and use them for applique patterns.

This EQ version makes the background from my actual blocks look very dull but in reality the background has a much warmer tone.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Table Runner

Last Tuesday I met with some new quilting friends to work on table runners. I came home and got mine put together as far as I could until I decide about the ends.

My original plan was to follow the pattern and leave the ends pointed. After adding the side triangles I had a change of thought. I made the triangles oversize as a cautionary
measure. Now I kind of like the way it makes the squares float. I wasn't sure I would have enough of the triangle fabric to make 4 corners. I used some of the fabric from my diamond quilt and I knew I could spare the fabric for the 4 patches and the side triangles but not sure if I had enough for the corners because I had not yet worked out how many strips I need to cut for the last 2 sets of diamond blocks..

Before I saw the table runner pattern I thought it had square corners and bought this fabric for borders. I may just use it for binding if I don't add the corner triangles. If I omit the corner triangles I will trim the side triangles back to the tip of the squares .........or maybe I will do something else. I am still thinking it over. I will have enough of the light fabric for the corner triangles but I am not sure yet about adding them.

I will have time to think about it and time to finish the top and layer it up after I finish the last diamond blocks I am working on now. I can't go any farther with that until I get another yard of fabric. The shop only had 1 precut half yard piece but more ordered. I took the half yard and she is sending the other yard when it comes in.

It feels good to get back into the swing of things quilting. It has been a while since I had more than one thing going that I was enthusiastic about. Since our move, not getting to meet very often with my quilting friends has taken it's toll. Maybe just finding some new quilting friends has put me back on track.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Background Progress

I have been working away at the background blocks and I have the strip segments for the last round of blocks cut and ready to sew together.
Well, I think this will be the last round of blocks, I may need to make it wider, vertically.  I will have to make that decision after I sew the blocks into diagonal rows and see how well it fills the space for which I am making it.

 Yesterday I took the quilts down from my design wall and put the blocks up. My little design board at my work table wasn't large enough anymore after I got the first 3 sets of blocks made.
I know it is looking pretty bland right now but when I look at the actual blocks I see the result I had in mind.

I am not able to put the whole quilt up on the design wall. The blocks on the left are hanging off the edge. That little spot is a flower head pin I put there to mark the center of the quilt.

This is a close up of that center. There is not much of a value from one fabric to the next until about the 4th set of blocks.   I thought at first that there was no yellow in the first 2 fabrics but not that I have more blocks made the whole thing has kind of a muted yellow glow. I think  that the lighter fabrics have a background that is more cream than it is white.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This is a close up showing the fabrics in the last 2 sets of blocks. So far there is only 1 block finished in the last set. I wanted to see if I like the last fabric but I am still not sure. I will have to finish more blocks and if I am still not sure I will add one more darker fabric. If I don't like it I will have to replace about 60 blocks.

It won't be the first time!

And probably not the last time!

Monday, April 4, 2016

A little Progress

Saturday was a bit of a disappointment for me; I had planned to go to the Basement Divas meeting but the weather report kept us home. The prediction was for afternoon snow and Jack doesn't like to drive when the weather conditions make visibility poor. As it turned out, we would have been coming home at the time it started coming down.

This is a bush on the edge of the patio taken when the first few large flakes started coming down.

This is about 30 minutes later.
So I guess we made the right choice although when the sun was shining brightly in the late morning I didn't think so.
I stayed home and worked on my diamond 9 patch blocks.
I am working on the 6th set of blocks (16 blocks).

This photo shows one block from each set. The bottom block is the center of the block setting (which is not the center of the quilt). The block above it is one of 4 blocks from the the blocks that will go around it and is the same 2 fabrics. The next block above (the point block  is one from the next round of blocks (8 blocks) and fabric #1 has been dropped and fabric  #3 has been added.
Each set of blocks has 2 fabrics; in each set the lighter fabric from the previous block has been dropped and the next fabric in the color run has been added. The block above the point block is from the next set and is one of 12 blocks. The top block is the next in the color progression and is one of 16 blocks. Each set of blocks has 4 more blocks than the previous set and I have been doing the math for the number of strips to cut from each fabric as I come to it. I am up to fabric #6 and I have 3 more fabrics before I need to shop again. I need the last 2 (darkest) background fabrics.
I am writing everything down after I work out what I need for each set of blocks in case this turns into a series. I did this for the square 9 patch colorwash quilts and I had a chart to work with when I did a series of quilts.

Working with neutral low contrast fabrics gets pretty boring (probably pretty boring reading about it too). I have to keep telling myself this is background.  

This is my companion who hangs out with me most of the time. He thinks it is his responsibility to keep me from being bored. He presents himself for petting on regular intervals and he brings me his ball to play with when he thinks I need to have some fun.

Tux is 8 or 9 years old and he  is a very nice dog with very good manners but he is very hard to photograph inside the house. Photos of him require a lot of photo manipulation.