Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Friendship blocks

Next Tuesday our Friendship group meets and I decided  to get my blocks done before the last minute. This month we are making Chinese Coins blocks for our friend Laura. This is the block right after I took it apart. When I was pressing it I noticed that the 2 small triangles at the center top really blended together. It took me a minute to realize that I had some how sewed the wrong components together in the preceding step. The larger dark and light squares are supposed to be in opposite corners, not next to each other.

Here it is below (top left, after I fixed it) with the other 3 blocks. They measure 7 1/2 inches.
As I was selecting fabrics and cutting little squares for these blocks I decided that I didn't much like making this block. Every block has 16 -  1 3/4 inch squares for connector corners and they were all different within each block. Now that they are all done I like them and I am thinking they were not so bad after all to make. I am reminded of the Quilters Fortune block I asked for my first year in the group, with 49 patches each one a different fabric. What goes around comes around.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving etc.

We had a nice Thanksgiving; we went  to my daughters house so there was no big cooking worries for me. I made 2 pumpkin pies and bought a cherry pie. It was also a birthday party for our great granddaughter. This is some of the family wearing the sunglasses my daughter bought for all the kids. She didn't know that we would all want to wear them.  That is me on the right  with one of the great grandsons
I finished 3 place mats and they are all different sizes but that won't matter as they are not going to be used together. The one on the  right is the back of the place mat. I sew a  seam down the center with an opening in the middle for turning and stitch all around the outside. It is a better finish on the edge than trying to make it invisible when I  do the hand finishing on an edge after I turn it. If I put a narrow border around the outside it gives the appearance of binding and it is a lot less work.  
These are 2 mug mats I made from some small leftover pieces from past years projects; I  thought this was a good use for them. I have seen on other peoples  blogs. The one on the left is just the top. I made the other one for my husband  but he thinks it is too pretty to use where he  might spill coffee on it. I figure oh well........ so what, it is after all free as it is entirely made from scraps. I have a few more of these and that is about the extent of my Christmas sewing. My family and I have about all of the Christmas quilts and quilted  things that we  have room for.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Last year we made string pieced Christmas stockings for the  shut-ins and nursing home residents that our visitation pastor visits. He suggested that this year we make place mats that they can put on the over bed tables. These are two that I made yesterday; they are not finished as I need to get the backing fabric. One of the other ladies is going to put something bright on the back and that sounds like a good idea.

 I had a piece of that large scale print and I made the one on the bottom first and  then when I got to the borders on the second one I thought if I used something else I could have enough of the large print to make 2 more. I  think I like the one on the top best. I am one of those people thinks there is no such thing as too many fabrics in a quilt. I am not sure if this was something I bought or something one of my lovely friends gave me when I  asked for leftover pieces and  strings for our stockings last year. I seem to remember making place mats with it for a shower gift for one of my nephews and his wife. I like to include something  to use at Christmas in my wedding shower gifts.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


 Beth over at Laugh,Love Quilt is collecting blocks to build a friendly neighborhood. She is asking for one  12  inch block. After January 1 she will  pick some winners and  a few lucky persons will receive enough blocks to build a neighborhood. Check it out here . It sounded like fun to me so....... here is my house.

I needed a diversion and a break from hand quilting. The quilting was going OK for a few days but now my left thumb and wrist are painful, that is the hand under the quilt. I will go back to it in a day or two but I may take  my friends up on their offer to help me quilt it. They are fun to be around  and that will  be a good excuse to hang out. Of course I may have to wait a while with the holidays coming up and they are all busy people anyway.  That should be no problem with a quilt that has been a WIP for 10 years.

Friday, November 12, 2010

My big UFO project

This is my big UFO that has been hanging around since 2000. The first year  I was in the Friendship Group I saw this quilt at a local quilt shop. It was part of a trunk show and I wish I could tell you who the designer is but I can't find the pattern.

 I asked the shop owner if she thought I could ask the group to make this block for me when my month to present a block came up. (I knew I would never make all these blocks myself)
 She said "sure".  I  am surprised that they are still my friends. It is a 12 inch block  and I asked for 2 blocks, that is the limit for a 12 inch block. I asked for as many different  fabrics as possible in each block. I said would be happy to have any extra Hourglass blocks or small squares for the connector corners. This was  pretty labor intensive and I would not have asked for it  had I been in the group longer and realized the time it took to pick out the fabrics and make the block. They are all busy people but everyone came through and no one quit.
The finished top was 83 inches square and that is too  big for me to machine quilt so I started hand quilting. I have 15 of the wheel or fortune blocks done with the surrounding 3 inch sashing and the secondary pattern where the sashings come together with the 4 patch cornerstones.

There are 25 Wheel of Fortune Blocks and 20 secondary blocks. I am too far along to quit and not far enough to feel encouraged that the end is in sight. I remember that I always think I am almost done when I get to the border but the border always takes as long if not longer than the body of the quilt.
I am quilting in the ditch along most of the straight lines with concentric circles in the center of the WOF blocks and 3 overlapping circles in the rectangles in the center of the sashing. I realized a couple of years ago that it is like sewing every single seam a  second time and then some.
Oh well.......................................................

I started out quilting in my Q-Snap PVC pipe frame but that is not very accessible right now having been put in our locker with a bunch of things blocking it. I will get it out  when we take our Christmas things out next month. In the meantime I have set up my oval  floor frame which is smaller but it is working well; the quilt is all  over the floor at this point but that is not a big problem.

I told my daughter in law and son that they could have this quilt when it is done so I really would like to be able to give it to them.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Another finish

I got all the yo yos made 2 days ago and today I finished tying them on the quilt. I used #10 yellow crochet cotton to tie them on and it wasn't easy! I cut a long piece of the crochet thread and  doubled it and put the loop through the needle and then I pulled the loop down to the end so I had four strands to pull through. I had pulled the blue yo yos tighter in the center so sometimes I was coming up through a gather. The red ones were a little easier because I wasn't able to pull the gathers at the  center so tight , probably because the fabric was Kona Cotton and a little  heavier.
You can see the entire quilt on my October 28 post.

I was congratulating myself  on having finished everything and then I remembered that I have a whole boat load of stuff that is in various states of construction.  I don't know how I could forget them because they are everywhere cluttering up my space. I guess I was just so happy to have finished these 4 projects and to have some of them  hung that I forgot about what is left to do. Most of them can wait for a  while. I eventually finish almost everything that I actually intend to finish and I never feel any urgency to get things done or any guilt about not doing it. Every once in a while I decide that something doesn't appeal  to me enough to finish it; so I don't.
 I do have one big project hanging  around for years and I am not sure I will ever  finish it but I am going to get it out and set up and see how it goes. More on this  another time.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

QAWM All Done

My QAWM quilt "Garden Patch" is quilted and bound and all done. I even trimmed all the tail ends of the threads. Well, I think I trimmed them; every now and then I find untrimmed thread on a quilt long  years after I have finished it.
I learned some things as I was  doing the quilting  on this quilt. Because there were  so many stops  and starts I worked on quilting the little V's one block at a  time after I  quilted the whole quilt in the ditch around each block. I learned it really isn't so much about stopping and starting and as it is about turning the quilt again and again. Wrestling with the quilt and turning it and shoving it through the arm of the machine is HARD WORK. By making more stops and starts and thinking about where I  should go next I used more thread and had more ends to clip but I did not have to turn the quilt so many times. I also realized that when I am quilting across the  whole quilt I  do not have the same  appreciation for each block and the way the colors and patterns interact. I enjoy that aspect when I am piecing but I  enjoyed it again as I was quilting.
As I was quilting it I grew to like it more and  more with each block. By the time I finished I was sorry to think that my stash of floral fabrics is down to a not so full box. My goal  was to use them up and I have been using them to piece backs for several big quilts. I have been buying floral fabrics for all of the time I have been quilting and I realize the reason I am drawn to them is they usually have many colors and shades and  tones in each fabric.  I finished the binding this time by hand.  I was not happy with the last binding I did entirely by machine and I really like this one too much to mess up on the binding.

I forgot to take a photo of the back after it was quilted but here is the photo I took when I finished piecing it our retreat .this fall. 

This close up shows the  quilting in the setting triangles and the binding. I had a hard time choosing a binding but I found this orange and purple when i was looking for something else.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

New gadget

This is my new gadget.  It is a Clover Yo yo maker. I  resist buying every special tool that comes out. I have a few specialty rulers but I usually figure out what I need to do to use the basic tools I have. I think early on I bought several duds and that kind of soured me on special tools. I LOVE this tool. I recently made yo yo flowers for my Diva quilt and I came to the  conclusion they were miserable  little things that I would be crazy to make again. I had seen this and considered it and decided that it probably wasn't worthwhile.I  was wrong! In light what I thought about it, I'm not sure why I bought one this week but I am glad it did. It has made making yo yos so fast and  easy that I even considered it fun.  Actually I bought 2 Yo yo makers this week the first one  was  too small  for the size i wanted for the 6 inch square but after trying it out I knew I wanted  a bigger one. The smaller yo yos  are really cute too.

 I decided to put yoyos in the dark 6 inch squares in my Warm Wishes quilt. I was going to do some FMQ but decided on the Yo yos instead. I am going to tie them on with yellow #7  crochet cotton. I just could not decide what to quilt in the squares and just tying seemed wrong for a flat batting. I thought about big  buttons but ruled  that out because I didn't want something hard. You can see the 4 yoyos in this photo. They are just laying on the squares, not tied on yet. I am going to put the red ones in the squares with the blue frames and the blue ones with the red frame. I think they show up more that way. I only have one red one  made  so far but all the blue ones  are done.
I decided  to  go with just a row of straight stitching in the border instead of something free motion. The reason is my binding is not so hot and I didn't want to draw attention to it. I stitched it to the back and turned it to the front and machine stitched it and  though I have done this many times and thought I pretty much had the technique mastered, this time my stitching was all over the  place and not right on the edge.(what's that about pride going before a fall)  I don't think it had anything to do with putting the binding on before I quilted the  border I  think  it was because I did not have my machine and tables set up the way I need them. I did this one before I got my second table. I used to have one attached to the  wall  that folded down when it wasn't in use but anything that is attached to the wall  limits what you can change around so we did not put it back up after we moved. Anyhow..............I thought it would  be OK because the quilt was small but it wasn't small enough and I should have known better. I got the table set up for the QAWM quilt and that went well. I am almost finished with that one and I  just have the binding to  put on. I  have to have a good look at my choices in the daylight before I decide what to use. I'll save that for another post.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival

This is "Ethan's Houses" the quilt I am entering in the Bloggers Quilt Festival . This is a first for me but I am having so much fun checking out all the quilts that I want to join the fun.
I made it about 2 years ago for my great-grandson. He saw a quilt I had made for our community quilts project using leftover blocks someone else had made and he wanted a house quilt too. He chose the sashing and border fabric from my stash, I knew he  would choose this  one because his favorite color is green although  he likes all colors. We started baby sitting one day a week with Ethan and his sister when he was 2 and she was 1. He always wanted me  to draw houses and when he was old enough to draw he drew houses or used foam stickies cut in squares and triangles to make houses. He likes things to be lined up and orderly so this is not a wonky quilt. In the windows of the purple house in the second row are two people who Ethan recognized as representing himself and his sister. I think that made it special for him.