Monday, August 29, 2011

Done with one

I am finished with the BOM sampler quilt, well, almost finished. I have the binding on and I have a little  bit of hand quilting left to do in a few  blocks. They need a little bit of quilting in areas I think are too large to leave unquilted so  I am dong some big stitch with embroidery floss. 
 I got the stitching done in the center of the Bridal Wreath block and I have  3 more leaves to do in the corners. I am going to do something in the center of the other lock but I haven't decided yet what it will be.
Maybe if the picture is enlarged the straight line quilting will show up in the sashing.

I decided on the border fabric for the Spiral Log Cabin quilt. The blue is  a little more aqua and the red is a little more rose in real life. I am not sure if I will use an inner border since the outer strips on every set of four blocks kind of forms a frame. I will think about it as I still  have some other things to do before I get to this one.

I decided that I will use those Picket Fence borders from my baskets for this all scrappy Disappearing Nine patch quilt. I am going to add  the borders after the body of the quilt and the borders are quilted which will  make it easier to wrestle through the machine. I think I will do the same with the Spiral Log cabin.
 I think that these few  things will keep me busy for a while. I don't anticipate finishing any other large things this year. I do have some smaller things to finish and maybe I will get to them. I have some more Zentangle ideas that I want to work on and I  will probably get some of those done started. Maybe one day I will get to  the Triple 4 patch blocks and the Quails Nest blocks and the 6 placemats I promised my granddaughter. Thinking about it all make me tired and I think I am ready for a nice nap.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Making progress

I have not been idle. I am making progress even though I don't have pictures to prove it. I am almost finished with my sampler quilt from out BOM from our group at church.  I was thinking that we started this 2 years ago but when I looked at my files for the blocks I see the date for the first block is October 2007. I finished the top last December.

Yesterday I finished the quilting on the border and then went to Joann's to get red Kona cotton for the binding. I had enough of the red fabric for the binding but used it for something. I should have made the binding and and set it aside when I finished the top but the nice thing about Kona cotton is that it is pretty nearly the exact color all the  time. For the binding it looks exact. I quilted feathers in the border. It has been a long time since I quilted feathers and it took some practice  before I felt confident to start on the  real  thing. It went pretty well but I don't think I will be doing this anytime soon ever in a contrasting color thread where the glitches  stand out.
I will get another picture after I  get the binding on.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A little guilt trip

A few years ago I bought 7 of these baskets to but on a shelf in my sewing room. They are about 6 1/2 inches deep and  the size of a magazine. I thought they would be good to hold current projects. In reality they were up too high for me to reach if I had my room set up for machine quilting and they were too high for me to see what was in them without getting them down. They did look pretty good on the shelf and gave the illusion of organization. Eventually I started using them for other things like video tapes, DVDs  and magazines in the living room where they are actually useful. I still have 4  of them in my sewing room. The shelf did not make it back up on the wall after our move last year so they are on the top of my bookcase where they still give the illusion of organization.

I'm not sure why I decided to look in the baskets but what I found was guilt, not what I was looking for. This was in the first basket. There are 50 Triple 4 patch blocks that I got  2 different times from my Friendship group, 25 Quails Nest blocks from last year from my Friendship Group, 20 blocks made from a Kaffe jelly roll and charm pack and a roll of border blocks made from Friendship blocks a few years ago.

Borders from Friendship HSTs
 I made these border blocks from 7 1/2 inch, half square triangle blocks that the Friendship group made for me.  I cut each block into 3  strips  which I mixed up and rearranged. I didn't use the border on the quilt I made it for because it looked like it belonged on a different quilt. Not a specific different quilt just not that quilt. I think I waited till it was my month to request blocks the next year and had them make me something different to use in the border.
We start making Friendship blocks again in September and I feel a little guilty having 4 years worth of blocks that I have not used. I will have to think  of something that won't add to the baskets.

This is from another basket It is an assortment of blocks that I used for a scrap class on using squares of scrap fabric in several specific sizes to make different block components. the rolled up fabric is several  sections of fabric the width of that  border roll so I think it was the backing for the border. I was adding the borders in the quilt as you go method so that must be what it is.
There is a basket of recent scraps and odds and end that I stuffed right back in the basket after I saw what it was. I was not ready to start going through it last night. There is another basket full of Ziploc bags that made sense when I put them in there and at a glance I can see that some still make sense and I hope they all make sense. I  am not getting into that one right now either. Neither of these really make me feel  guilty. They do make me question whether it is worth the trouble of saving them and moving them around every so often.

Then there is this pile of T shirt sections that I have cut out from about 25 or so of my grandson's T shirts. I have had them for over a year (maybe 2 years)and I really need to get this one done. I should figure out how much fusible interfacing I need,  go to Joann's and get it and get it done.  This one makes me feel more than a little guilt

This one makes me laugh. No guilt here. 

This box is sitting up on my closet shelf; I put that label on it 2 years ago. I am not going to look in this one right now either. I am trying to remember if I have ever gone back to old blocks and strip sets and made something with them. I know when I look at these I am going to think that I will use them for something and then I won't.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

I spy quilt

I got things put away  and moved furniture around to set up my room for machine quilting and I finished this I Spy quilt today.There is a better picture of the flimsy and the back  here. I picked up the batting last week when our church group met and I layered this up 2 days ago. 

 I never noticed that the blue I spy Squares seemed to stand out until I looked at these photos. I guess maybe lime green for the inner border wasn't the best choice. It does look bright and cheerful in person. After I quilted in the ditch around all the blocks  I thought those light squares (they are pale yellow with white dots) needed something to perk them up. I used the serpentine stitch to crisscross all the squares with variegated thread in primary colors . I repeated it in the borders and on the binding.
The 4 patch  blocks were in with I Spy squares and I decided to use them with this pattern from Moda Bake Shop.
I have another pack of I Spy squares and I will do something different with them.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Spider Iris Finished!

I took 2 + hours to finish a 30 minute job of binding. I had a purple binding all ready to go and I decided it was too dark and then I couldn't decide how wide to cut the binding. I decided to use a single layer binding and I had to allow a little extra to go around the layer of Timtex.  In the end I went with  the same lavender as the iris and I made the binding too wide but it just makes a wider binding on the back. I stitched on the front right next to the binding to sew the binding on the back but it is also fused on the back. I almost forgot the triangles in the corner to hold whatever I am going to use to hang it or hold it up. I am happy with it and it is not going anywhere and not going to be judged so what if it isn't according to "the rules". Right?

This picture shows the back. This is one of those plastic sign holders and not what I will actually use though with the Timtex inside it stands up and just needs someting to lean against soI could use it if I put it in a corner or on a shelf where the back wouldn't show. I like the idea of not having everything hanging on the wall so I may look for one of these plastic holders in a little bit larger size. Of course, everyone always wants to look at the back so I don't want to use something that looks cobbled up.
The color in these two pictures is much more like what it really looks like. I turned off my flash and the green shows up.

After I finished the binding we took off for the day and went to Pymatuning Lake in Pennsylvania to the  Pymatuning Wildlife Learning Center. There are 6 Bald Eagle nests there and we like to go every so often to see if we can spot the eagles. There are only 2 pairs of nesting eagles using the nests right now but the are some immature eagles that hang around and sometimes use the empty nests.
Today we hung around a while and were rewarded with a spotting of 2 immature eagles flying around. It is not like we are seeing them up close and personal but we can make them out with our binoculars.  Every now and then they will surprise us and come a lot closer but no luck with that today. After we left there we drove a little further to a hamburger stand (established in 1952) where we ate hamburgers and wavy cut french fries at a picnic table in the garden and watched the hummingbirds. A fun day for us old folks.

Spider Iris Doodle

This is what I have been working on while I think about the borders for my spiral log cabin quilt. It is one of my doodles that I think looks like an iris, a spider iris (like a spider mum). Never heard of a spider iris, well here it is! 

Spider Iris ready for binding

 I enhanced the color a little to show the correct color of the iris but the background shows up with too much yellow; it is  more like a soft chartreuse. It is 12 x 12 and has a layer of batting and a layer of Timtex. I was winging it experimenting all the way with this one. I  I fused the flower and then layered the top with a layer of Warm and white batting and did the satin stitching and the French knots.
I didn't know if I liked it or not so I let it rest a few days. I decided that I liked it well enough to keep working on it and then I was afraid to mess it up with machine quilting. It is small so I decided I could do a little hand quilting with embroidery floss and "big stitch". I used 2 strands of purple and 1 strand of lavender to add a little something to the flower. I thought about switching to machine quilting at that point but decided to keep going with the hand stitching. For the first round of echo quilting I used 1 stand of darker green and 2 stands of chartreuse and then switched to 2 stands of chartreuse for the rest of the quilting. 
The back of the batting layer.

When I finished the echo quilting I layered it up with the Timtex and the chartreuse fabric for the backing and machine quilted to outline each petal. I used the same  thread as the satin stitching and stitched very very close to the satin stitching.  It took a long time; I was going v e r r r y slow but I think it looks good. Now it is all squared up and ready for the binding. I love that all the mess on the back of the batting layer is inside and will never show.
 Now that I like it I am once again worried that I will mess it up. We''ll see what  tomorrow brings.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Disappearing? Hunter's Star and more SLC

I decided to go ahead and put the borders on my Hunter's Star block even though I am not sure if I will make a table topper or a pillow or maybe something else.
It sure doesn't look like a Hunter's Star anymore. Maybe it never did; the pattern shows up better when there are more blocks. I still like it because I like the fabrics in it.

I got up this morning and took a shower and got dressed before I started working. I often start working in my pajamas but I  wanted to put all my Spiral Log Cabin blocks up on the wall and I had to stand on a ladder to reach the top row. I figured if I fell and hurt myself I wanted at least to be clean and dressed.
I finished putting the  blocks together for the body of the quilt. Now I have to decide on a border. Maybe piano keys or maybe just a plain floral fabric. I have 2 fabrics that I could use or maybe I could (gasp) buy something for the border. I put it together in 4 block sections alternating dark strips on the outside with light strips on the outside for each 4 block section.  Jack asked if it is a Gigi quilt. He sees G's in the spiral blocks.

BTW I didn't fall and I was only on the second step which is about  20 inches from the floor. I did get back up on the ladder so I could put the top up on the wall again after I sewed it together. It is the only way I can get a picture. I didn't fall then either.
I am going to think about it for a while and work on finishing some other things. It looks nice on the wall and it will help me decide what to do.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hunter's Star

I have 4 more Spiral Log Cabin blocks to make and then I can start putting them together. I got sidetracked for a few days with other things.
Our group at church met on Saturday and one of the ladies did a lesson on the Hunter's Star block using a  special  ruler; (I forgot the name of it) there were 3 people who had rulers so we shared. I finished mine today.
I am not sure whether this is a traditional coloring or not. I will put borders around this 12 inch block and do something with it. I am not going to make a sampler quilt with my BOMs and I am not going to make a whole quilt with this block. The ruler made it fairly easy to do.  I hardly ever buy special rulers though I might buy this one if I was going to make a whole quilt.
Now I can get back to my SLC blocks. With the last few sets of blocks I made I tried to get a little more variety in the darker colors, more green, brown purple and red.  

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Still more SLC

I have 16 more finished blocks since my last post. I had to do a lot of ripping and re sewing  because I put some strips in on the wrong side and didn't notice it right away. That happened when I decided that I could work on 8 blocks at a time in groups of 4 working with different size strips in each set of 4, do the laundry and start dinner. I really do know better than to take multitasking to that level. Now I am back to 4 blocks at a time and nothing else! I need to remember that when things are going along well it is because I am doing things in the way that I know works best for me.
I have 8 more blocks to go and I am focusing on getting a good balance of color. I seemed to be  getting a little  heavy on blue.

Option 2

I have been playing a little with the layout too. I wondered how it would look with 4 blocks that are dark on 3 outside strips next to 4 blocks that are light on 3 outside strips so that the dark and light strips would frame the sets of four blocks and make a subtle secondary  checkerboard patternbackground in the background, (option 2). Then I thought about how it might look if I made the sets of 4 blocks from blocks of the same color family,( option 3). Option 3 doesn't show up exactly how it would look because I do not have enough of the right kind of blocks  in any of the color families to do it this way. I think I like option 3 best but, this time. I  think I will go with option 2.  

Option 3

However....since I pulled a bunch of my carefully placed and oriented blocks off the wall to experiment I might as well go ahead and experiment with an on point setting too.
I think this is how a series is born. I can't make up my mind so I might as well make them all. Right??

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More Spiral LC

I spent a lot of time today trying to get  my computer to boot up. This has been an on and off problem since I bought it last fall, starting when it was a month from the purchase date. I fiddled around with it before we went to church and again when we came back. It is up and running again but I never feel confident when I shut it down that it will start again. I have everything I care about backed up just in case. 
So.. I only finished 4 blocks again today even though I had a head start by adding the first set of 2 1/2 inch logs to all the starters. I did add 3 1/2 inch logs to 4 more but then we  went  to the computer store and then out to Chagrin Falls for one of "Dave's Atomic Subs" which we ate outside sitting in the park by the Chagrin Falls. It was nice and breezy and it was good to get out for a while. When we came back  home I finished a book I  was reading and then finished just the 4 blocks. I will have a head start again tomorrow. 
After I made the first few blocks I decided that the ones I like the best a the ones that are pretty much in one color family or at least every dark log having some relationship to the  other dark logs. Most of these strips are from the color wash scraps and so there are a lot of multicolor fabrics.

  Here are the 24 blocks I have finished, that is halfway there. As I put them up on the wall I am taking care to arrange them in the correct orientation and putting each block where I think it looks best color wise. If I go with this setting I won't have to arrange them when I am finished with the blocks. This is the easy setting. I have been playing with a couple of different settings in EQ7 and they would require a bit more thinking, not to mention that I would have to take these all off the wall the put them  back up and make setting triangles as well. Right now I am tired and sleepy and that seems like a lot of work. At 4 blocks a day I won't have  to worry about the setting for at least 6 more days. Maybe after I think about it in my sleep for a day or six I will know exactly what to do.  That does happen!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

More spiral log cabin

Yesterday I made 4 more Spiral Log Cabin blocks. Last night I cut some more strips so I would have more variety. I said I would not agonize over every log that I add but I do make some choices.

This morning I started out to make 4 more blocks and ended up adding a 2 1/2 inch log to all the rest of the starters (32). This is the most boring part for me so I decided to get it over with. Here they are, still all strung together from chain piecing. You can probably see that there is a little overhang on the ends. I confess that when I cut the logs the size I need, I cut 1/8 to 1/4 inch longer to allow for error. I square up after every addition anyway so why not make it easy for me. I know there are people who cut everything exact and it works out perfectly for them. That is not me. I decided long ago that always leaving a little room for squaring up makes my work easier in the end. This way I never have to figure out how I have to "fudge it" to make it fit. I like wonky but only when I want it to be wonky. Even with wonky eventually the blocks have to be squared up and sized to fit together.

So..... here they are, all 32 of them, all squared up to 2 1/2 inches and ready for the next log. I think I will go back to working on 4 at a time because I like to finish a few as I go along and put them up on the wall. 

My tray of strips is still nice and neat and my space is set up for sewing, cutting and pressing without everything piled up on my tables; Maybe for a change I can keep it reasonable clear of clutter till I finish these blocks. We'll see!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cutting strips

I spent hours yesterday cutting my 1/12 inch strips to the correct length. I took a few breaks, to fix dinner, answer email, a trip to the store, a trip to the arboretum, but it seemed like I was working at it all day and evening. I am glad that I did it because I can put the boxes away and clean up a little before I start sewing the blocks. Having the strips cut to size certainly beats working with the long strips and then trimming the excess. After I cut all  the strips I put them on a tray and this is what I have to work from.
I know I can keep it neat because I will only work on 4 blocks at a time and I will take the top 4 strips for the round on which I am working. If you walked into my sewing room you would wonder "what is all this talk about neatness" but every once in a while I hit on a plan that works and I know this worked for the chevron braid so I am sure it will work for this.

I needed to make a bunch of Log Cabin  starters and I wanted them to be all  mostly different. That is kind of a pain in the neck........ but the box that had 1 1/2 inch  strips I had a bunch of strips with 1 1/2 inch squares sewed on the ends. I was going to cut the squares off and use the strips but I set them aside with the thought that I maybe I would use them again. When I was cleaning off the table it dawned on me that I could cut my starter pieces from the strips.  No matter that I did not  immediately see that I could use these strips in this way as  soon as I saw them. In the end who will know it was not brilliant planning?


Sometimes things work out just right!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Spiral Log Cabin Blocks

 The Block of the Month was the log cabin block for our group at church in July. I never did make
mine and then I saw a tutorial for a Spiral Log cabin block on Love Laugh Quilt.  I made 4 blocks yesterday and 4 more today. I might as well make a few while I have the 11/2 inch strip boxes down from the closet shelf. Right?  Hmmm I really have a lot of old strips cut and I would like to use them up. So...... I think I have the start of a quilt, not what I expected to be doing but I like to be spontaneous. The truth is that when I don't know what I want to do about something I am working on I start to straighten things up in my sewing room and that frequently leads to doing something with what I have on my shelves.

Here are my 8 blocks set 2 ways. I am not sure which setting I will use but I won't have to worry about that for a while. Not matter how you make them, Log Cabin blocks take time. I was a little quicker today because I took the time to cut my long strips to the sizes I need. It is a pretty easy block and Beth's tutorial is good but I can see that there is a lot of opportunity for me to get strips in the wrong place and blocks in the wrong rotation when I lay it all out.
 I will work on 4 blocks at a  time and I will not agonize over what strip to use for every log. The emphasis here is for me because I tend to get caught up in the need to make it perfect. I never achieve perfect but when it is all done I often think I got it just right.