Saturday, June 16, 2018

Two Finishes and a Purchase

Yesterday, I finished 2 more quilts for the church youth group to take to Jamaica.  The blocks for this one on the right were made by someone else and I put the top together with the sashing and border and quilted it. all of the fabrics, including the backing came from our donated fabric in our
quilting closet at church.

The red, white and blue quilt is one I made completely from donated fabrics as well.

 Here is a close-up of the folded quilt with the corner turned back to show the back; you can see the orange binding.
Close-up of the folded quilt with the corner turned back to show one of the backing fabrics.

This shows the center panel fabric on the back; it is the same as the sashing and border fabric.
I had to use two fabrics for the backing on this one.
This is my latest purchase. An adhesive strip of LED lights fort he arm of my sewing machine.
I love it! I had a very nice LED light on my machine but it was damaged when we moved 3 years ago. The movers put the machine on a dolly and bounced it down the stairs and  I discovered the light shattered too late to claim it as damaged. I didn't replace the light at the time but struggled along with other lighting. I got this from Amazon and I think it is even better that my original light and it cost $22 instead of $100 plus from Bernina.

I can even see black on black with my old eyes.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Baby Quilt

I finished  this 36 inch square baby quilt flimsy  today.  It is a " Caring Quilt" to add to the stack in the closet at church. We were pretty low on baby quilts so I pulled the cat print fabric from our stash of donated fabric. I added the colorful monochromatic prints and Kona bone background from my own fabric.
The color in this photo is not true but the other photos are good.

I am having a terrible time with Picasa and Google in general. After an big update from Microsoft I am having problems with other things as well.

This  closeup of the center blocks shows the orientation of the directional print. I cut the squares  without thinking that they were going to end up "on point" after I added the background triangles. I think if works OK.

This is a secondary pattern that develops, it would be oriented on point, but I am no sure it will show up,  My fabric choices definitely makes a difference in what draws attention.

This is another secondary pattern that I see some of the time. I suppose If I wanted to emphasize a secondary design I could do that with the way I quilt it.  However, I am not going to do anything
fancy. I think something simple will work just fine.
What I see first every time I look at it, is the cat print and diagonal chains of pinwheels.

I am not so sure a print that says "I 💗 cats" will appeal to everyone. Not everyone loves cats (though I find that hard to understand). I guess the person who gives the closet quilts away will just have to figure out who gets this quilt.

I am going to make another baby quilt like this. I will use the same fabrics for the background and pinwheels and a different focus print in the squares, I think a larger scale print with no black.

Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Been A While

It's been a while since my last post but I haven't been sitting around doing nothing. I didn't have any photos to post and now I am having issues with Picasa. I have been happy with Picasa up ill now but
not so much anymore.

I have been working on some quilts that will be going to Jamaica in July with the youth group mission team  from our church. Our church quilt group has committed to 68 quilts and everyone has been working on them. They are all made from the same pattern 16 inch nine patch blocks set in 3 rows of 3 blocks with 2 inch sashing between and 2 inch borders. Most of the fabric is from donated fabric in our quilt group closet. We are fortunate to have been the recipient of a large amount of quilt shop quality fabric.

This photo shows 2 rows of one of two quilts I have been working on. Someone else made the blocks and I picked out the sashing fabric and finished the quilt. I  have another almost finished that is almost the same. I just need to finish the binding.

These are blocks I made from fabric I picked out at our last meeting.  I chose the fabric in the center squares first and then the other fabric to go with it.

I didn't consciously decide to make a red, white and blue quilt but that is how it turned out. There are orange, green, turquoise,  and purple in the fabric but that doesn't really show up as the overall color scheme.

This is the sashing and border fabric; it is directional and I will be cutting it accordingly.
There will be enough for the backing as well.

Here are the nine blocks that are up on my design wall.
It can be challenging to work with fabrics that has been purchased by someone else but I am pretty happy with how things turned out.

When I was almost finished pairing the two fabrics to go with the center squares, I realized that all the reds and blues were monochromatic. That eliminated some of the other fabrics I brought home to use. I had already given those other fabrics to someone else to use, hence, there is one block with 2 different red fabrics. I also replaced the red in the center block: it was a dense red and black pattern and didn't look right with everything else. I made the upper right and lower left blocks to have the stripes in different directions and now I am not so sure that was best but I will probably leave it.

We'll see!

Monday, April 2, 2018

A Finish

The Friendship Churn Dash is the second quilt I listed to finish for this quarter for the 2018 Finish Along. did simple in the ditch quilting in the blocks and sashing. In the borders, I did feathers; I used black thread on the front and variegated thread on the back and it doesn't really show up at all. All I can say about that is it flattens the border and gives texture and doesn't add any more straight lines. I used black thread top and bobbin when I stitched the sashings and I didn't like the way the straight black stitching looked on the back so I changed to a variegated thread in the bobbin when I quilted the blocks and it blended in much better.

I used a mottled green for the binding and sewed the binding completely by machine. I stitch it to the front in the usual way and then press it toward the binding and then again over the edge to the back. Instead of pinning, I use narrow strips of fusible web to hold it in place making sure I have covered the stitching line. I stitch from the front in the ditch with thread that matches the binding.
Below is a close up of the binding on the back of the quilt. (The pin in the corner is holding up the back of the quilt which is on my design wall for the photo shoot.) Some of my feather quilting shows up so this must be before I changed to the variegated thread again.  Once it was stitched there was no going back and taking it out; black on black is more than. my old eyes are up for.

This  section is across the end of the back back. I think the green binding was a  good choice for the front and back, better than the black I thought I would use.

Be sure you check out the other quilts in the Finish along

Fancy Forest 2018 Finish Along

This is the first quilt I finished for the 2018 Finish Along. I didn't have a photo of the finished quilt because my camera was not working that day. My daughter took one with her phone the day she picked it up; she forgot to send it to me until I reminded her. I finally got it 2 days ago.

This was one of 2 quilts I listed to finish for the first quarter of  the 2018 Finish Along.  You can read a little more about it here. I really love the Elizabeth Hartman pattern and and the finished quilt but I had construction issues with almost all the blocks. This was not the fault of the pattern but my own inclination to not follow the instructions in the order they are written. I also made some cutting errors. Nevertheless, I think it is a great pattern and the quilt was well received.

I did a little more outlining of the bunny ears because or the low contrast with the white fabric and the icy blue "Grunge" background.

I took the easy way out and stitched in the ditch. My arthritic hands are not up to the challenge of free motion quilting.

Be sure you check out all the quilts in the first quarter Finish Along

Friday, March 23, 2018

Backing and Ready to Quilt

I'm ready to quilt my Friendship Churn dash. I sewed the borders on early in February and then went on to finish other things. This is one of the UFOs I listed as a first quarter finish for the 2018 Finish Along. Last week, when I was working on the Dresden Rings, I thought I wouldn't get around to finishing this after all. I didn't even have the backing for it.
Yesterday I finally got out to shop and after making a quick stop at Joann's, where I found nothing, I went to the quilt shop and found several choices.  Yes, I know..... I should have gone to the quilt shop first but I had a coupon and I was going to get batting (I didn't get that either).

I  decided in this large floral print and I am so happy to have decided on this instead of  one of the others I considered. The quilt top is 48 inches wide and the fabric is 43 inches wide without the selvages. I bought enough to piece the back but I didn't want to fuss around matching the print  so I looked through my fabric stash to see what I might use to insert  2 long strips. I was not having any luck until I looked in my recently sorted scraps and found 5 inch wide strips of the border fabric and YES!!! I had enough. I pieced the backing and layered and pin basted the quilt and I am ready to get it finished.

 I have about 1 1/4 yard of the floral print left; maybe I will start rebuilding my stash of floral prints. In 2010 when Melody Johnson had a "Quilt Along with Melody" I joined and my goal was to use up all the floral prints that I had collected when I was making  "colorwash " quilts. I've made a lot of quilts with the floral prints since that time and really pared down my floral stash to almost nothing (nothing that I like much, I should say). I like all of the quilts I made using those fabrics and I realize that I miss them in my stash. On the other hand, I am not so sure I want to accumulate a large stash of fabric again; maybe I will just start buying floral fabric for what I am going to make. I guess we'll see how that goes.
 For now, I am going to move some furniture and set up to quilt.

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.