Monday, November 20, 2017

Friendship Blocks

For a number of years I belonged to the "Friendship" group at the local quilt shop. We met once a month and one or sometimes two of the members presented a block pattern with color preferences that they wanted the other members to make for them. Depending on the size we could request either 2 or 3 blocks. I asked for "Triple 4 Patch" blocks at least 3 times and made 3 quilts that I loved. I made quilts from almost all of my "Friendship" blocks.

So..... Saturday I was rattling around wondering what to do with myself and decided to have a look in my box of odd blocks.  I found a number of blocks that I made to try out a pattern or a colorway, some that lead to quilts and some that didn't. I did find a large size zip lock bag with 12 inch "Quails Nest" Friendship blocks. 

There are enough blocks for 2 quilts, one with lighter nearly pastel fabrics and these that are darker, richer colors. I am going to work with these first. 
I picked out 9 blocks and then made 3 more to make a more useful size quilt. I dragged out 3 flannel covered insulation panels that I didn't use on my wall and started arranging; I think I am finished moving them around.

I am considering sashing strips and border fabric from my stash or maybe I will shop for something.  I have time to think about it, there will probably be no more sewing till next week.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Autumn and Me

My grandson took this picture on Saturday when they came to visit so we could meet her. I am not biased when I say she is beautiful.

Our new little great grandson is holding his own. He was 1lb. 14 oz. at birth.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Babies and Drag Around Quilt

Yesterday my grandson and his wife came to see us so we could meet the new great granddaughter. She is beautiful and both parents are basking in the joys of new parenthood. I got to hold her for a little while but then Mom had to feed her and then our son (new grandpa) came and he held her the rest of the time.  She is his first grandchild and he is quite taken with her.

This is the only photo I got yesterday because my camera has been having some problems. It doesn't snap the picture every time I press the button. Maybe it is time for a new camera.

I finished the Drag around quilt and gave it to them yesterday. This collage shows the front and backing. I didn't use the backing for the binding after all but remembered that I saw some already made, leftover, yellow binding when I went through the scrap basket.  This little quilt is about 24 inches square.and there are a lot of scraps in it from the quilt I made for the parents wedding gift.

We also have another new great grandchild,  He was due in January but he was born early Friday at 27 weeks.  I have some photos but he is hard to see with all the paraphernalia attached and around him. We haven't had any updates since Friday afternoon; at that time, the outlook was cautiously optimistic. We are praying for him and all the family and trusting God.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Drag Around Quilt

This morning I got up and looked at the blocks that I found in my scrap basket.  I had stuck them up on my design wall with the thought that I would sew them together for a small quilt.  What better time to do that than right away?  So I did.

I used Kona cream  to calm it down and I am off to the quilt shop to find a backing which will also be the binding. It has been a while since I was moved to get something started and finished so quickly.
I think my new space is inspiring,  maybe!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Sewing Room

While my sewing room was functional it wasn't conducive to creativity.  I had been waiting for Jack to put up my design wall but, always, something else that came first.  To be honest, both of us have only so much energy and this has been a very big energy sapping move for us.  We had some help with some big projects but finding where things go is something that we've had to do ourselves. You can't tell people what you want to do with something if you don't know what you want.

Anyway, last Tuesday I got up early and felt energized and motivated and I hung my flannel covered insulation panels on the sewing room walls myself.  To be sure, Jack would have done a better job but it is done and I don't think I hurt his feelings.

I bought foam insulation boards and covered them with white flannel and I used them with 2 older flannel covered boards that I thought were white. Oh well, this is a working wall and when I am not using it it will be covered with a finished wall hanging.
The design boards cover the wall from the doorway to the corner (7 feet) and round the corner (31 inches). they are 48 inches long and start 13 inches down from the ceiling.

A day or so earlier I had hung some of my large square rulers on the wall. This is right next to where the design boards around the corner end.
I don't like to put the big square rulers in the ruler rack.
 You can see odds and ends just sitting around waiting to be put somewhere.

 I had made white muslin curtains for the window and hung them on a tension rod. White, to allow as much light as possible even with the curtains closed; just in case I start working before I get dressed.

Some color was definitely needed and I knew just what I wanted. As soon as I put up my design wall, I dug into my big laundry basket of unorganized scraps and cut at least 20 inches of various widths of colorful fabric. I put them up on the wall and started working.

It wasn't fast but I finished up on Sunday after church and Jack and I put up the curtain rod for the piano key valence. Hanging that curtain rod is a whole story in itself but we did it! And hung the valence.

Then we moved my desk so I could get at the walls above and beside my desk where I hung a permanent wall hanging and a bulletin board, that I will change out from time to time.

So here is my room, from the doorway around 3 walls to the window.

This quilt will be on the wall when I don't need the design wall for something large.

This is my wall around the corner.
Atthe top of the design board is a little quilt my friend made using a pack of my 5 inch squares that I donated as a prize for the annual Basement Diva  first Jelly Roll Race. the pack was called "Notso Squares", for not so charming. Below that are some "made fabric" blocks that I found in my disaster of a scrap basket.
I rearranged the rulers so I could hang my scherenschnitte art that I purchased from an Ohio paper cutter artist long ago.
The "Flock of Geese " wall hanging is one I made when my friend Kathy taught me to paper piece.

This is above my desk and there will be some other things below it to fill in that space.

My bulletin board, around the corner right next to my desk.These things change from time to time.
The license plate above, which does not photograph well, will stay. There may be some additions there to balance the space.

Last is the window with the piano key valence.
Next to the window is a  narrow lingerie chest which we bought for Jack 20 some years ago to exactly fit that same space in our other apartment. It now holds seldom used rulers and other tools and templates, freezer and parchment paper, rolls of art paper and canvas. The fourth wall is around the corner and is just the closet doors and the book case.

In our other apartment I had shelves that went from wall to wall above my desk, one high and one lower to clear my monitor by a few inches. Though this apartment is the same, we just couldn't hang the shelf brackets. We hit concrete and though we tried many things we finally just gave up.

In the end I think I have the most workable space I've ever had. I can reach everything easily. Only one shelf in the closet is too high to reach without a ladder. It holds things I seldom use and I can get them down by standing on the lowest step of the ladder.

Today, I am content with my sewing room and I am inspired to do something with those colorful "made fabric" blocks. I think I will make a small drag around quilt for my brand new great granddaughter, Autumn Leah, who arrived yesterday morning.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Getting There

Every box and Rubbermaid tub is unpacked and most things have found their permanent place. The sewing room is getting there.

This morning I emptied the Rubbermaid tub of all my fabric scraps for improve piecing. Once upon a time I had all my scraps in 2 large popcorn tins. I could never find anything when I wanted something so I set about to organize everything by cutting the scraps into strips and squares of the sizes I used  most often. Then I started following Victoria Finlay Wolfe's Bumblebeans blog and I started saving uncut scraps again for "making fabric" and improv piecing. I sorted my scraps by color and put them in ziplock bags and stored them in that brown plastic laundry basket. When I wanted to work with the scraps I put them in shoe boxes on my work table, with a box for each color. That way I didn't have a big tangled pile of all colored scraps. When I was finished with the project I put the fabric back in the ziplocks and stacked the empty shoe boxes. That system worked very well.......until I put a bag of scraps in the basket without sorting them by color. I was cleaning up after a project and " I would sort them later". Multiply than scenario by at least ten times and it isn't organized anymore.  I now have my plastic basket filled with the sorted scraps and next to it are seven bags of unsorted scraps from many projects.  I plan to tackle this soon.

But Not Today!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Not Quite Ready to Sew

We got moved on September 29 and the move went OK; nothing of ours got broken but the moving truck backed up over our son in law's 40 foot extension ladder and damaged both ends. The time estimate for the move was 6 hours and it took 8. However I was at the receiving end telling them where everything went and this time we got the furniture in the sewing room against the walls where it was staying and the boxes in the middle of the room. That was a big plus instead of the boxes lining the walls and the furniture in the middle of the room; especially since all of the miscellaneous boxes (the ones to be unpacked after all the "important" stuff) always go in the sewing room.

We got all the important stuff taken care of and in place right away (the bed first, of course, TV's set up, internet, cable and phones connected and Jack's desk set up). From there it all slowed down but I can finally see the end in sight.

I received my prize from the Blogger's Quilt Festival and it is a very nice  " A Shout, A whisper A Text" quilt kit from Designs by Sarah J Max.

 Here is the stack of 26 fabrics and the pattern.

 Here are all the pieces spread out. There are various size pieces because it is a quilt kit.

I am eager to get started on this fabric; this may be the incentive I need to get my sewing room shaped up.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Almost There and A nice Surprise

I have been a busy getting ready to move but I took a small time out to look at the Bloggers Quilt Festival and to enter a quilt. The nice surprise is that I won a prize,  a Sarah J Max Designs  Shout, Whisper, Text quilt kit. I am looking forward to receiving it. The prizes were by drawing, not by vote this year; nice for me because I entered on the last day. Even though it is over the quilts are still up for viewing. Click and the link above.
I am almost finished packing. Tomorrow is moving day and I hope I get it all done before midnight tonight. I am down to all the odds and ends that don't fit nicely with other things. The movers are coming at 9AM so I will have to sleep fast and be up and dress and ready to go by 9.

Jack is waiting to pack up my computer so I will not be on my computer for a few days but I hope to be back before too long.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Fancy Forest is my entry for the Bloggers Quilt Festival. I made this quilt from Elizabeth Hartman's Fancy Foret pattern. I do not usually follow patterns exactly but I saw the sample baby quilt in The Quilted Thimble quilt shop and found it so charming I decided to make it for a great grandchild shower gift.

I chose what it consider a neutral green for the background.  This is the backing and binding fabric which had nearly all of the colors in the quilt top.

The pattern was well written and it should have been easy to follow but I am not a good follower of instructions.  I tend to jump ahead and start before reading all the instructions.That made problems for every block. However I hung in there and finished the quilt  and it was well received and it got a standing ovation at the shower. I am presently cutting fabric for another great grandchild quilt.

I did have one near disaster when my daughter called me away from putting the blocks together for the top, to have my eye brows dyed. Without giving any thought at all to what might happen I went right back to the sewing room and started working again. Of course, it had to happen; I got dye on one of the blocks. There was no way I was going to make it over again. I solved the problem with an appliqued leaf and now that is part of the
quilt story.

If you want to read more about the process as I worked on the quilt follow the Fancy Forest link below.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


I am sitting here in the middle of chaos wondering if I will be able to make order out of it. I am packing to move again. In 3 1/2 weeks we will be moving back to the apartment complex where we lived before, only this time it will be on the first floor.  Jack needs to be where there are no stairs. As long as there is a handrail I can handle stairs but I too will be happy with no stairs.

My sewing room is the holding area for all the boxes; so there will be no no sewing going on here. When I get together with my friends I do some cutting for the second Fancy Forest baby quilt but sewing it will have to wait until my sewing room is set up again.

  I am doing most of the packing myself.  I want to be able to find things when we unpack. Jack tapes the moving boxes and can lift the boxes if he doesn't have to carry them  to another room.  He will be packing his stuff that isn't clothing, all 2 boxes of it. Somehow everything else is mine. I do have help companionship while I work; Lucy keeps busy inspecting everything. In between inspecting she takes naps and washes herself.

If there is something different she has to try it out. Here she is napping on a piece of fabric she pulled down from the ironing board, under the shelf, on my cutting table which is piled up with things I was sorting through to pack, in a box I had taped for packing and in a bag of plastic grocery bags I was using to wrap small non breakable objects.

Though she has been considered my cat,(that means I clean the litter box) she will be staying here. I am going to miss her, she is such a fun cat.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sad News

Early in August our family dog got sick and though he appeared to get better at first, he continued to have some problems. He had some digestive problems and on and off he wouldn't eat his regular food. We started cooking chicken and rice for him which seemed to agree with him and he was more like his old self, wanting to go for walks and fetch with his ball but he was having some bad days. Last Saturday he didn't eat all his dinner and just laid around and wouldn't move but he wagged his tail when we spoke to him. Sunday morning after he stumbled and fell and couldn't get up; my daughter and son in law took him to the vet and they had him put down.
Tux was a 10 years old Black Lab and  a great dog. He had a wonderful disposition and very good manners, he liked everyone, and he was cheerfully obedient from the time he was a puppy . He was amiably tolerant of the cats and visiting and neighbor dogs. He delighted in walking around the yard with his human companions  and in the woods beyond the yard.

Jack and Tux - 2 old dogs
He was happy and content just being around his people.  Everyone is going to miss him.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Fancy Forest is Done

I am so happy to have finished this quilt with a few days to spare. It has been a challenge and sometimes frustrating but I am pleased with the results.

Quilt and backing
The pattern was well written  and step by step it was easy to follow.  The difficulties I had were not the fault of the pattern.  It is a pattern that requires attention to everything, cutting, stitching, drawing diagonal lines on squares for connector corners (otherwise know as flip triangles).

I learned a few lessons that I will use when I make a second baby quilt from this pattern. Yes, I will make the second quilt.

1. When I cut the pieces for the blocks I will have a scanned and printed page with the cutting sizes that I can fold so that I am only looking instructions for each fabric in the block as I am cutting it.

2. Before I start to sew it together, I will lay out all the pieces for a block on a small design board and be sure I have all the pieces and understand where they go.

3. I will keep my work area clutter free and cat free.

4. I will not multitask when I am making the blocks.

5. I will make sure that I will not be interrupted in the middle of a block.

6. I will not dye my eyebrows.

Every quilt has a story and part of this quilt's story is one of an almost disaster. When my daughter and her friend do their hair they sometimes dye my eyebrows. I was getting ready to quilt the quilt which was layered up and pin basted. There was a scrap of the background fabric pinned on the batting on the side of the quilt for testing my stitch length and thread colors and I was ready to start testing my thread colors  when I was called to the other room for my eyebrow dye. Without any thought at all about the dye I went back to my sewing room and sat down and stitched some thread test rows. I looked at my hands and I had dark dye on my fingers. I washed my hands and looked the quilt over and  didn't see anything except a little bit of dye on the edge of the batting. I thought I dodged that bullet until I had quilted several blocks when I found  dye on the owl. I looked for any other spots and only found one that would be covered by the binding. My daughter said that is part of the story (She also said "I can't believe you were sewing with dye on your eyebrows").

As I finished all the quilting I thought about how I would fix this. In the end I machine appliqued a leaf over the spot on the owl.

There was no part of this quilt that I didn't have something to re cut, re sew or fix in some way. However the length of the binding strips when sewed together was absolutely perfect. It came together at the end with the exact overlap needed to make the diagonal joining seam. How often does that happen?

Anyway, that's the story!