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.

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.