Saturday, May 28, 2011

Not so easy!

I ironed all  my fabric from the freezer today and applied the Wonder Under to some of it. I did a lot of reading from  Melody's helpful stuff about fusing and Laura Wasilowski's article in quilting arts and some other things I had in a notebook. Eventually you just have to start.
This is a lot more work than I thought it would be, starting with removing the release paper in one piece. I finally got the  hang of it about half way through. I found out it works best if I pull the fabric off of the paper instead of the paper off the fabric. This is not the first time I have done any fusing and I  am sure that information is in all of the stuff I have been looking at but for some reason I never knew that.
This is my little pile of fused fabric. Not very impressive but I worked hard at getting it ready. This is the only neat place in my sewing room everything outside of this cropped photo is disaster.


No name yet zen doodle

 Melody said in her helpful  notes that she  uses an  overlay  for placement when working from her patterns. I traced mine off on tracing paper and I can pin it to my background. It is helpful when placing all of the pieces. This  is what I have so far. At this  point I like the black and white tracing better. I am undecided about what colors I want to use in the next part and not even sure what I will  work on next. I know the flowers and all the little circles/dots will be last as cutting them will  be tedious. I'm happy I decided to make a smaller piece first because it took me all day to  get just this far. Of course there were times for coffee breaks and iced tea breaks and computer breaks and fixing dinner. 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Catching Up

I started out the day catching up on some block of the month projects. I had these blocks partially finished so I could  use them for demos. I had decided that I would not  make a quilt from the BOM blocks as I am still not finished with the last one. I had 2 of these blocks one was finished and the other was in 4 sections I added the narrow Kona off white strips and the larger floral strips  and it is just laying on the plaid  fabric I plan to use for the binding. The back will be the larger floral print. I  have one more 6 inch Bowtie section and I think I will  put it in my odd blocks box .
This was another BOM block project. This time I had one finished block  and 2 that were in various stages in order to demo the steps. I had  planned to make 2 that were mostly the green print but I realised that if I did that I would not have enough of the green print for the border. I  frequently decide to use fabric to make  demo blocks that I am  not really enchanted with When I  decide I like it after  all I have to decide  how I am going to make the project work with the fabric I have. I have enough to put a 3 inch border all around and I will  worry about the binding when I get there. Both of these projects are going to be family gifties. I like the term "gifties".  It sounds spontaneous and not so important as a serious gift.

The reason I started working on these today is because I wanted something to occupy my mind and  my hands while I was  impatiently waiting for fabric to arrive. I wanted something  that would not require making a big mess that  I would  have to clean up to make room to work on my next project. I am eager to start my zen doodle piece. I am going to make a smaller piece first to see how it goes. This  drawing on the right is on 11 x 14 paper and that is the size it will be . While I was thinking about starting dinner my fabric package arrived. I washed it in preparation for fusing it and I put it in the dryer for about 4 minutes and right now it is folded up in a nice neat little bundle in a plastic bag in my freezer. Freezing it makes it  perfect for ironing out the  wrinkles. I am to going iron it and apply the Wonder Under and then it will be PLAYTIME.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Playing and doodling

small drawing

Large drawing
I may have given myself a new obsession. I have been playing with the zen doodles I made the other day. I redrew my doodle from the small drawing on a larger piece of paper (actually 4 pieces taped together) it is about 27 x 32 inches. I changed some things in order to interpret them in fabric.  I have tracing  paper overlays pinned to the large drawing and I will  use those as patterns (kind of)to cut the large sections and guides to make and place the elements in each section. I  started to color in some of the elements with colored pencils but I realized that as I have no idea yet what my color palette will  be using colored  pencils was not such a good idea. I know I probably will not use black but I am so up in the air about what colors I want. I will use solids or "reads  like solids" and I am leaning toward purple, lime green and magenta but I will have to see what I find to use. Most of the time my inspiration comes from the fabric and it just draws me into the process but this is different and I have to give it some thought. I really have to buy fabric for this as I have nothing that is clamoring to get into this quilt.

This is the other thing  that I really should be giving my attention to. It is the quilt we will be using for Quilt Camp next month at our church. Click here and  here  and here to see our pics from last year.For the past several years we have had a week long class for the teens and this is the pattern we chose this year. I didn't make this sample myself; Beth, one of the ladies from the quilt group, made this one and suggested it as our quilt to make this year. It is from a book on precuts and I do not have the book and do not know the name of the book. It  uses a Jelly Roll or Roll-up and maybe some added yardage. We will let the kids buy their own fabric again this year but we are also cutting 2 1/2 inch strips for anyone who would rather use our (free) fabric. We have a lot of donated fabric and we decided that we  would cut it up and let the teens use some of it and the rest we will make into  kits that are more likely to be used than when it is all  in boxes that are sometimes mislabeled because we have moved some of it from one box to another. Sounds just like home.

Monday, May 16, 2011


After looking at Laura Wasilowski's article in my Quilting Arts magazine and Lorraine Torrence's book and all the zen tangle stuff on the web I am reved up to do something new. Well, it is kind of new but there are some familiar aspects.
 There were some video exercises here After watching them I doodled around and did this. I was just playing and it was kind of fun. This is probably a lot busier than what I would interpret in fabric  I would definetly  make it a more squared off shape.
Two of my great grand  kids were over and one of them wanted to make something too. She made a picture with flowers all over.She copied the flowers from my sketch and she colored it to take home to her mother. and it kept her busy for a while. I left the sketch on my desk on purpose hoping to entice them to try making something. I wish I had taken a picture of it before they left  but when it was time to go they left in a whirlwind.  You know how it goes, find their shoes, gather up their stuff , go to the bathroom, hugs all around and then they are gone.

Today I played some more and I worked on a drawing pad that was 11 by 14 so I had to scan the sketch in 2 parts and put the 2 pictures together and over lap them in Paint. I guess I should have just used my camera instead.
I tried to keep in mind making enclosed  shapes that could be cut from fabric and there are some sections in the middle that probably would not work  out well in fabric. I am mulling this over in my mind trying to decide if I want to go ahead and start fusing fabric or if I want to get fabric that will work better for fusing. Maybe I should use colored pencils and see how it looks in color. Maybe I should print some pages to cut up and paste on large sheets of paper Maybe I should cut up colored paper and paste on large sheets of paper. Maybe I shoud just improvise. I don't know what to do next and I am impatient. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Banner quilt

Eileen asked about my banner quilt  and I looked back over my old posts and I don't see where I posted anything about it. I named this Summertime in the Land of Oz because of the yellow checkerboard section down the center of  the quilt.

 I took a class from Lorraine Torrence at a local quilt show a few years ago. I had seen her on Simply quilts and she caught my interest so when she was  scheduled for classes at the Lake Farmpark I signed up. This technique is called collage curves in her book "Design Essentials" which she has for sale on her website. If I remember correctly we drew our patterns full size on  paper we had taped together for get a large piece of paper to draw on. Then we traced off elements of the design to use as patterns. My quilt is 33 x41.  I constructed the elements and basted them to a foundation and then covered all of the raw edges with bias binding that I made from appropriate fabric.

This was a fun project and I always intended to go back and do it again but never got around to it, although I have used some of the techniques in other quilts. I was just looking through her book again and the exercise for making a collage curves quilt is a little bit like the Zen Doodle quilts in an article by Laura Wasilowski  in the April/May issue of Quilting Arts Magazine except the zen doodle quilts are fused and feature Laura's hand dyed fabrics. I think I  know what my next project is going to be.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bloggers Quilt Festival

 This is the quilt I am submitting to the Bloggers Quilt Festival  at Amys Creative Side. Be sure to check out all of the  great quilts, either click the link here of the button on the sidebar  It was made entirely from squares cut from scraps in my stash. It is 60 x 72 inches and I quilted it in 5 sections, a center section that was 3 blocks by 4 blocks with pieced sashing and cornerstones between the blocks. I sewed the sections together by stitching the  seams on the top of the quilt, trimming out the batting and hand stitching the seams on the backing.  Almost all of the fabric is  floral. I had a  very large assortment of floral fabric from the time I made colorwash/watercolor  quilts.
Front of quilt

Top Front Section

Center Front Section

Back of Quilt.

When I got the center section of the top sewed together I decided that it was a  little too busy for the whole quilt. Because the sashing and cornerstones were pieced, the block itself got lost. For the rest of the quilt I used one of my favorite pink and yellow floral fabrics for the sashing.The non pieced sashing around the outside  blocks formed a built in border. The block itself was a secondary pattern that showed up in another quilt (my big UFO) and I added connector corner triangles to the  block.  I can't claim that I designed the block but I used what I  saw and tweaked what was there
A few years  ago I made my first attempt at organizing my scraps. I had them all stuffed into large popcorn cans and whenever I wanted to use something from  them  it was  almost impossible to find what I wanted.  I spent about 2 weeks cutting everything in those cans as well as some smallish pieces  in my stash, into strips and squares. When  I could cut strips at least 12 inches long, I cut 1 1/2 or 2 inch strips and the rest I cut into squares from 2 inches to 6 inches in increments of 1/2 inch. I cut whatever I could get from any piece of fabric in the assortment and organized them in boxes by size.  I worked with those scraps for a while and determined all the different things I could do with the different sizes and what sizes were the most useful to cut. Eventually I taught a class on using scrappy squares of fabric and  I used the block from this quilt for a table runner class.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Machine quilting

I am working on the binding for my Half Log Cabin quilt and since I am still set up for machine quilting I decided to take a break from the binding and do some machine quilting. I have  2 more besides this layered up and then a few more that are not layered or ready yet to quilt.
This quilt (click to  see the whole quilt) has been ready to go since December but I have not been in a hurry to finish it as I consider it a Christmas quilt (kind of). I am quilting in the ditch around the blocks and across the 9 patch cornerstones in both directions. I am also gong to some ditch quilting in the blocks but I have decided that I am  going to do some big stitch quilting with either embroidery floss or perle cotton in the large open areas in the blocks. If that goes well I maybe do some big stitch quilting in the sashing with white or cream. We'll see if I still want to do that when the time comes. I might do free motion quilting and I will probably do free motion in the border. Going around the border on the outside of the quilt usually goes pretty well as there is no bulk under the arm of the machine.
I am still working on this quilt and it is going along slowly. I move it around from my sewing room to the living room and back again. I think if I do a little handwork every day or so it doesn't bother me too much.
I am fighting against losing the skills I worked hard to attain just because I am getting old. It makes me cranky when I have to settle for what I can do instead of what I  really want to do. I really don't want to be cranky and I am not ready to give up yet on quilting my own things.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I have a Quilt

My flimsy is no more; it is a quilt.

I have been busy working on this all week. It was too big to layer up on one table and very cumbersome to move everything and set up 2 tables so I did what I used to do and pinned the backing to the carpeting in the living room and layered it up there. It has been 2 years since the last time I crawled around on the floor pinning a quilt but I thought it was worth a try. I thought I would not be able to move the next day but all that working out at the Y has paid off.  I was stiff and rather uncomfortable in pain after I finished but the next day I didn't feel  it at all.

I did not quilt this the way I intended. I planned some rather fancy (for me) free motion quilting but after spending a whole day picking out little  tiny piled up stitches on one small area I adjusted my thinking. It is all done with the walking foot. some of it is in the ditch and other places across the  blocks or along masking tape to mark straight lines. I am not up to free motion quilting on a large piece. I convinced myself I could do it after quilting some small pieces but I was kidding myself. My thinking about this has always been to stick with what I can do well but I have seen what some of my friends have been doing and I thought that I could do it too if I was patient and careful and took my time. Not so!
Anyway....... I like it; it is bright and cheerful and I used up a lot of scraps and learned a few things  along the way.
I needed to buy a backing fabric and I stopped at Joann's (with my coupon) on my way to the quilt shop. This is what I found. The pattern is just right for this quilt and it has a nice hand. It is not  flimsy or coarse and washed and ironed nicely. I think it will play well with other bright fabrics. I have a nice 86 x 22 piece left over to play with.

This is the corner block  I used to replace the one I cut off. After I removed the other block I couldn't find the wide strip of the  dotty fabric I need to fix it so I just made a new block. Of course, I found the fabric just as soon as I finished the new block.

I still need to sew the binding down on the back and I will do it by hand because I like the way it looks and I am not in any hurry. Maybe I will have some girlfriends over to do some handwork and visit. Sounds good?