Monday, September 26, 2011

Another finish

Today was kind of a busy day. First off was my yearly torture mammogram where I got a  good report.  Then a stop to return a book that I bought which was not what I had intended to buy. (sometimes you just have to quit looking and go back another time.) After that I stopped at Joann's for some Fairfield 80/20 batting so I will have enough  for the  borders of my scrappy DNP that I am quilting in sections. The body of the quilt is quilted and I am ready to layer up and quilt the borders. I also got some Warm and Natural for a table topper, some Insulbrite and some needles. It was a good day to shop  every thing was either 40% off or I used a coupon. When I came home I layered up the table topper and quilted it in the ditch. Not very imaginative but it works for this one. I just have to add the binding as soon as I find it. I am going to use that same gold?tan? background fabric for binding.
I seem to remember that I was not going to make anymore table toppers or runners. Hmmmm, could that be true? Or was it bed quilts? I and my family have more than enough of both. What I could really use are some fall place mats and my daughter told me she needs  some and I still  have to make some for my granddaughter. It seems like there is no end to all the  things I want to start. I  am also finding that there doesn't seem to be an end to the things I am  finding to finish. I am going to look at the bright side, I am making progress.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A finish and some Gnomes

I finished my table runner using my Turnstile demo blocks from our block of the month. I can't believe how long it took to quilt the straight lines. I have been working on it for 2 days. Well, on and off for 2 days. I have a new respect for people who can quilt straight lines over a whole large quilt and keep them even and straight.

This afternoon while I was quilting Jack went out for a while  on his motorcycle. the weather is iffy for next week and he wanted to make the most of a nice riding day. When he came back we went to Holden Arboretum to take some pictures of the Gnomes. They will be gone after tomorrow. I took some early in the summer when the 2 older great grand kids were here but the weather was so hot we didn't stay to finish seeing all of them. I thought we would go back another day but they did not come to visit me again all summer.

This is Gnome Improvement (the one on the left). I thought he was pretty impressive. I got Jack to stand next to him to show how tall  he is. Jack doesn't like this picture of him but at lest he doesn't look crabby like the other 2 I snapped.

This is SGT. Gnome Lennon and he is the size that all of the (unimproved)  gnomes are. I couldn't get Jack to stand next to him because he didn't want to fall  in the Lily pond on the right.

This last Gnome is Artemus Virbius. After we took his photo we went back to the car and drove to the visitor center and walked around the Butterfly pond. This week there are a lot of new flowers blooming and the foliage is changing everyday. I took lots of pictures (124) and I could have taken that many more. We visit the arboretum at least 3 times a week during the summer, less often once the weather is not so nice but even in the winter there is always something to see.                  

One last photo, this large hydrangea is near the entrance and though it is a little blurred but you can still see that it was pretty nice.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Finally....A day to sew

I finally got a day to sew. It isn't often that I have so many non sewing days in a row by. I had a great grandson birthday present to shop for and then a birthday party to go to. Monday we spent the day getting a mattress board for my side of the bed. When I changed the sheets Jack thought it was a good time to turn the mattress then he decided that we should get a board for my side of the bed because I have been having some back problems that keep me awake at night. Tuesday I washed things that get done once in a while, quilts, shower curtains and that sort of thing. 

Tuesday night I crawled around on the floor and layered up the quilt that I thought the backs didn't fit. It was close but when I pinned it to the carpet I could see that it would work. I got the body of it quilted this morning and I will quilt the borders and add them. Here it is spread out on my bed so I could remove all the pins. It is a completely scrappy Disappearing Ninepatch. 

Close up
I quilted in the ditch around the blocks and then across the blocks with the serpentine stitch in primary colored variegated thread.
I need to get some more Fairfield 80/20 batting for the Picket fence borders. I want it to be the same as the inner part of the quilt. I couldn't remember what I used because it was different from what I usually use but I found the bag it came in. I like Warm and Natural for wall hangings and table  runners but I really like this 80/20 batting because it is so drapable and soft. I may use this for bed quilts from now on. I think it was easier to push it through the arm of my machine too; anything that makes that easier is a winner.

Wednesday morning I went to Bible Study and Wednesdy afternoon I took a nap and I was good for nothing the rest of the day. Crawling around on the floor pinning my quilt Tuesday night was not the smartest thing I have done. I have been walking like an old woman for 2 days now.

I  played some more with this stuff and I think it is becoming an addiction. the one on the left is on cloth and I have it layered and ready to quilt. the one on the right is the original sketch and I like it better but when I copied it on fabric I drew  some of the dividing lines a little off so some of the sections were not sized to draw the same elements in them.

These circles are about 5 1/2 inches. I think I would like to make a cluster of 3 slightly larger circles so that some of the elements would be easier to stitch;those small curves drive me crazy.

I  hope we can set up another date for a play day soon. I want to see what other people have been doing with their doodling.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Not on the list

I though my list would help me to focus on finishing some things but I have been playing with the Zentangle inspired stuff.
When we were at our retreat I started a heart that I fused with black and white fabric patches on a doodle looking background. I put the border on it at the retreat and I quilted it when I got home. Then I doodled another heart the same size and shape and I am ready to put the borders on it and quilt it.

But..... first I drew some circles on paper then I copied one on cloth. This one is just on paper and has a lot of pencil lines that I redrew in ink. I think I will redo this on cloth and cut around it and fuse it to a black background. I find that when I do a practice piece on paper, if I try to copy it exactly, I get something too large or too small or out of balance. From now on I am going to work  mostly on cloth and just do rough sketches or practice new motifs on paper.
I took some more photos of the other circles I did but my computer balked at downloading the pictures and my camera told me that my memory card is defective. This is no surprise as ever since I started using it I have been having problems. I will try again with a different memory card. What I am surprised about it how much I like working in black and white because color is really important to me. On the other hand I have made a lot of black and white quilts and a lot of quilts with black backgrounds. They usually live in my closet or cedar chest because they don't really work well with everything else in the house. However I have to really like them or I would not put myself through the frustration of working on black with my old eyes.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


This weekend our small quilting group at church had a retreat at Camp Fitch, a YMCA camp in Pennsylvania. The 7 of us arrived Friday around dinner time. After we brought  in all our quilting stuff we had a potluck supper and spent a short time visiting and then we got busy. Everyone brought their own projects to work  on and some of us accomplished A LOT, others (me) not so much. I couldn't decide what I wanted to bring after finding that my quilt top that I wanted to layer up and machine quilt was too big for the backing I had pieced. I will work something out but it was not something I wanted to deal with this week end. I ended up bringing my Q Snap frame and my BIG UFO to hand quilt, along with some smaller projects to work on.
This is the corner where I was working. Through the windows behind my quilt frame you can see the lodge where we slept. We had very nice accommodations but spent very little  time there except to sleep. The room where we sewed and spent most of our time was right across the hall from the dining hall. We were served 3 meals on Saturday and Sunday breakfast. We shared meal times with the  father and son Indian Guides from various YMCAs. The food was plain, wholesome and served family style or buffet and one person from each table picked up family style serving dishes for their own table and everyone cleaned up their own table afterward. It was all done very efficiently. It was great not to have to cook or worry about what or where we were going to eat.
Our  sewing area was spacious with good lighting and great scenery. This photo was taken from about the center of the room lengthwise. We could have as many tables as we needed and they were large and sturdy.

Debbie Was working on a Ribbon Star quilt, a variation of the Friendship star. she got all of her HSTs done and finished some of the blocks.
Here is Debbie standing on the table in order to be far enough away to get a good  shot of Kim's quilt which is on the floor below.  
Above is Kim working on the border and the sleeve of another quilt that she was finishing up. She was very industrious, putting the finishing touches on 2 large quilts, started and finished 2 table toppers, embellished a sweatshirt and started a HST quilt from 2 charm packs.

Diane is a new quilter and was given a lovely little Featherweight in wonderful almost like brand new condition by a cousin. 

Darlene pieced a back for a signature wedding quilt and it was a very big project. By the end of our retreat she had the quilt layered up and pin basted.

Betty machine quilted this Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt and she got the quilting finished and the binding on by the end of the day.Betty had a slight disaster mishap she put a 3 - 4 inch gash in her border through all 3 layers. Wonder Under came to the rescue and she is going to put a label over it on the back and an applique something on the front. It will be a design decision.

Dorine finished quiting 2 baby quilts and here she is looking over her Jellyroll strips and Eleanor Burns' Whirligig pattern. She finished all the components and had 2 finished blocks  by the time she was ready to pack everything up and head for home. 

You can see pictures of our 2010 retreat here with some shots of the lake. I took a picture of the lake this year but it was overcast and gray and the sky and lake blended in a mass of gray.
It was a fun weekend and we are going to do it again in March and then again in September 2012. 

Monday, September 5, 2011

The pencils won

The pencils won out over the table runner in my decision of what to do next.
I didn't have enough Warm and Natural batting to do the table runner and the pencils were right there waiting for me to play with them.

Back of the front section

Fish  5 x 7

I used the watercolor pencils to color the background so it would look like water and then drew my fish with a Pigma pen. I layered the fish and the batting and quilted it. I put borders around it to frame the fish then layered it right sides together and turned it. The second picture shows what is inside never to be seen. I make my back in 2 pieces and leave an opening for turning because I find it easier to close that opening than trying to make it look right on the edge. On something this small I use a piece of fusible web to close the opening. 
Below is the inside and the front of the other little piece I made. It is not really a Zentangle but I wanted to experiment with the pencils and also quilting on the fine lines. I learned that if I am going over my quilting lines a second time rayon thread is likely to break so I switched to Trilobal polyester and there was no more breakage.
Flowers 5 x 6 1/2

Inside of flowers
  I learned also that if I am going around a tight curve I need to shorten my stitches by about half of what I usually use for a smoother line.
When I finished these I went out to Joann's and got the batting I need to finish the table runners.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A List

Yesterday I realised that it is September and I usually change out all my wall quilts, table runners, place mats etc. around Labor Day.  I started looking in my little blanket chest at my small 8 x 10 seasonal quilts that I use on one of those little plastic picture/sign holders. O my, I found several things that I had forgotten. I used to keep a list of all my UFOs but after I started blogging I stopped using the list everything was on my blog posts. Well, that's not true I decided it was time for a new list because I don't put everything on my blog. I need to make a list so I remember this stuff. Here is my list of flimsies; I am not going to show pictures of all of them but as I finished them I will post a picture.

Flimsies September 2011
1. 50x 50 25 patch from Connecting threads block swap ( 8-10 years old)
2. 26 x 26  Convergence top
3. 48 x 48 Wonky crazy pieced stars
4. 48 x 48 Round Robin from Quilt guild ( very nice and deserves to be finished)
5. Red and green pinwheel table runner (next to be quilted)
6. 28 x28  Quails nest  autumn table topper (next after the table runner)
7. Twin size Scrappy Hst  for quilting in sections ( maybe 3 or 4 years old)
8. Twin size DNP (has pieced backing and batting with it but not layered up)
9. Twin size  Spiral Log cabin
10.   Hunters Star (pillow?  table topper? ???)

     I decided that I need to get these things out of the blanket chest and into the open where they will be seen and remind me that they are waiting. I hung them on a command hook behind my door, not exactly out in the open but they can bee seen from my desk.  There are 3 things here but only 2 that I will do next.

This is the one I am going to finish first. I made the blocks in May  as demo blocks for our BOM. I think I put it away at the time because I didn't think I needed to finish it  just then because it looked Christmasy even though the fabrics are not Christmas fabrics.
     On another note...
     my package came yesterday but I did not hear the postman knock on my door and I missed it.  I had to wait till today to pick it up. Along with the Derwent Inktense pencils I ordered the book "Totally Tangled" by Sandy Steen Bartholomew.  I have looked at a lot of websites and there is a lot of information and inspiration to be found but it is nice to have a real book with real pages. Sometimes when I know that I want to pursue something that is open to ones own interpretation I don't want to look at too many books because I do not want to be influenced to the point where I imitate instead of explore. However I felt  I needed more direction and I had looked at my friend's books before I decided what I wanted and I like this one.
Now I have to decide what I really want to do next.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Zen Doodle Fish

After I finished my BOM sampler I played a little more with the Zen tangle  inspired doodling. My friend Kim asked me why I scanned my sketches (my hands) and then printed it on fabric instead of drawing on the fabric. My reason was that all of my sketches were so messy from erasing that I thought I would have a big mess if I drew on the fabric. Well....I am out of printer fabric so I decided to go ahead and draw directly on the fabric. If it turned out to be  a mess, so what? It is only 10 x 12 not much to lose.
I like it.
 All of the long outline lines are quilted. I stitched very slowly so I could stay right on the lines. For the seaweed I used a rayon thread that is one strand each of black and white  twisted together and I like the effect very much.  I left the Timtex out of this one and I fused the fabric to the batting with Wonder Under. I think next time with will just use fusible batting or get some basting spray. I was not enchanted with fusing to the batting with Wonder Under. The whole thing kind of rippled in one area,  I think I pressed it too much. It did quilt out however. * big sigh of relief*  I am learning a few things as I go  along. I wonder what tomorrow will  bring.    I hope it brings my Derwent Inktense pencils that I ordered. Then I can play with them and learn something else.