Sunday, May 27, 2012

It was a long week

It has been a long week. Our son was admitted to the hospital 4 hours away from home with Legionnaire's disease. He was very sick when he was admitted and it was a worrisome time waiting for some real improvement. He is much better now and will most likely be on his way home tomorrow.
We did not drive down to see him but his wife and his sister were there all week and kept us updated.
I did a lot of cleaning and cooking and laundry and other busy things this week. I find it hard to concentrate on anything creative when I am troubled or worried. Once John's condition started to improve I began to sew a few things that have been waiting to be done.
 I  had made curtains for my great grandson's room last year and I had just enough left over to make a pillowcase for a small pillow; I finally got around to it yesterday.  This giraffe quilt below is on the wall of that room and there is a jungle animal rug on the floor so this was perfect for the curtains. I had just enough monkey fabric left over after the pillowcase to  make a little drawstring bag big enough to carry a few small cars or transformers.

I got the spiderweb wall  hanging quilted and bound also late in the week. I really like this quilt very much. I love the colors and the pattern; the quilting turned out pretty well also. I first quilted in the ditch around the "stars" and  the wedges. I didn't intend to quilt in the ditch over every single seam  but that is what I did. After I quilted all of the seams in the border I had to go back and quilt the rest of the seams on the body of the quilt. I am glad I did because it is nice and flat and spot on square.                    
I have more foundations prepared and I like this palette and pattern so much I am going to make more blocks and make a larger quilt. I am hooked on the citrus colors right now and I am going to keep on working in these colors until I am tired of it. My favorite color has always been red but I think that yellow is taking over the number 1 spot. I also find I have more yellow shirts than red and choose to wear them rather than red. That in itself was a big surprise to me when I realized it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


When I was cleaning up after the Spiderweb quilt I sorted the strips and strings by color and anything that was too short to use as a strip I tossed in a box. I put the strips away and looked at the box of short scraps and decided to sit down and make some 4 1/2 inch blocks. I was up early today and I finished up a few more this morning. I am not sure what I will do with them. I think I will make a few here and there, maybe use them as leaders and enders. Or maybe not, if I have to many things going at once something suffers. 

I would probably keep going and make a few more but today is the day the Basement Divas meet and I will be off soon to play with my friends.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival

This is my entry in the Bloggers Quilt Festival  over at Amy's Creative Side. During last years quilt festival I came across a reference to Zentangle®  and I looked it up and started  playing. I had some ideas about what I wanted to do and how I wanted to use them in a quilt and changed my mind several times along the way. I did a lot of doodling on paper and I made several smaller pieces that were for practice. This was the first one that I decided was going to be the real deal and not for practice.  It is 24 by 24 inches square.
I traced the circles on fabric using a small bowl and some pot lids; the rest of the drawing was done free hand. I used a very smooth tight weave fabric and Pigma pens for most of the drawing and did some filling in of dark areas with Faber-Castell brush tip pens. It is appliqued to a black and white nine patch color wash type of background similar to one I had used before.  
The quilting was done first with just two layers, the top and batting. I quilted with black thread over almost all of the drawn lines that connected. It was slow going as I had to stop and rest my eyes and often I had to determine what I was going to do in some areas. I needed to do a little bit of hand work in areas that were too large to leave unquilted but had no connecting lines to quilt on.
When I finished all of the detail quilting I layered it up with the backing and  quilted around the circles and in the circles on some of the long lines to hold it more securely to the backing. I quilted the background with wavy lines using the seams as my guide.
If you are interested in seeing more of my Zentangle®  inspired pieces you can click  on Zentangle inspired quilts on the sidebar.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dresden Plate

 Our group at church met today where are working on a block of the month project; this month it is the Dresden plate. As usual, I did not sew while I was there even though I had my machine with me and set up to sew. I wish I had taken my camera so I could get some pictures. Four of the ladies were working on their blocks and they all looked really good; there were 2 batik  blocks and 2 black and white, one with hot pink and one with red. When I got home Jack  was out so I cut my blades and put them together. Citrus colors again. At least all this stuff I have been working on will go together. I am going to put it on a Kona bone background; I am still  auditioning the  center.
I was looking at some of my favorite blog after dinner and I found these 2 posts. May 12 is a table mat made using the EZ Dresden ruler and it is so creative. The post on May 6 is just as creative. All  I can say is WOW. These two really stand out to me because they are circles and we are working  on circles for the Basement Diva's group. We have some pretty creative ladies in that group too and I am looking forward to next week to see what everyone  is doing.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ready to Quilt

I am ready to quilt the small spider web piece.I worked on the piano key borders yesterday on and off and finished them up and sewed them on about 11PM. I layered it up this morning and as soon as I put away all of the strings and things from my scrap stuff I will start to quilt. That could take a while as I want to put them away in some sort of order so they will be ready to use again soon. I want to get back to the converging corners quilt.

I had intended to use solid yellow for the inner border but I thought it just washed out. I tried a strip of the orange print to see how orange looked and I liked the print. I decided not to go with a strip of the same size for another narrow border. I will just use the orange print for the binding.

In between working on the borders I took a 6 hour break and we went to the arboretum and then a long ride to see the herons. I didn't get any pictures of the herons because I didn't think there would be anything that was worth seeing that would show up on a snapshot. There was a lot going on but nothing I could have caught on camera. There are babies in most of the nests and with binoculars you can see them sticking their heads up when the parents come with food. There was always one parent standing on the branch where the nest is. 
We did get these shots of one little goose family at the arboretum. We saw them in the same spot a week ago and the babies were half this size. While we were watching them the babies all decided to lay down an take a little  nap.

We really made the stop at the arboretum to get pictures of the rhododendrons. We have been watching them for a few weeks and they started opening a few days ago.


Monday, May 7, 2012

One more spiderweb block

I made one more spider web block today.  I was going to make one every other day; by now I would have 6 but that didn't happen. I had a few other things I had to do. I finished the second block today and squared it up and there were some problems. First, I could see that some of my points were going to get cut off and second, the blocks were not the same size. I suspected that this would happen with all those bias edges. I trimmed the second block to fit the first one and sewed them together to see how bad they were going to look.
Well, I like the colors and I like the pattern. I think I know why my points are cut off so I will keep going. I think I will make 2 more today. I thought I had to go out tonight but I had the dates mixed up; so I have a bonus evening and nothing I want to watch on TV.  Maybe I will do better with the next few  blocks. I am eager to see if I have the problem figured out.
I have found a paper for foundations piecing that works very well. I bought a package of plain old
manila drawing paper and it tears away so easily it practically falls off.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Rail Fence

I quilted a Rail Fence quilt for my friend Debbie; it is a sample quilt for quilt camp and she didn't have time to get it quilted. I just did a simple grid of curvy lines with variegated thread. She bought Superior King Tut thread; this is the first time I have used it and it is very nice thread.
Now that my space is cleaned up and set up for machine quilting I will get started on the Spiral Log cabin quilt and maybe put together the T shirt Quilt. That one is all quilted in four sections. I tell myself there is no hurry to get that one finished because John won't be home for at least a month (and it has been 2 years since I was given the T shirts). However..... time goes by quickly and when I have a lot of time I usually end up rushing at the last minute. Maybe I should do the T shirt quilt next. 

Friday, May 4, 2012


I spent my day finishing the place mats for my granddaughter. I hope they work out OK. She has a round table and I should have thought about having a look at the table and trying out some of my place mats on it for size. I guess it is too late now. I did cut an inch off the top edge and 1 3/4 inches from the bottom edge to make them smaller. This is the front of one of the place mats. It is the  only shot I got that is fairly true to color. An earlier post has all 4 place mats.

The photo on the right is the back of the place mats. I did not have enough of anything that looked right for binding so I turned these pillowcase style and quilted them. When I use that method I always split the back and leave an opening which I close later.  If I am going to have a seam on the back I might as well put in a couple of stripes.
I don't leave the seam open that I will use for turning; I stitch the whole seam but use big basting stitches for a few inches in the middle of the seam. I press the seam to one side and insert a narrow strip of fusible web and leave the paper on. I stitch around the entire edge and open up the seam and turn the place mat inside out. After all the edges are evened out and pressed I remove the paper from the fusible web andpress to fuse the seam closed. I have a nice neat closed seam that looks just like it was stitched the entire length. I find this much easier than trying to close the seam on the edge by hand so that my opening is invisible. If I do close the seam on the back by hand it is much easier to make it invisible. Sometimes I cheat and sew narrow strips to the front that looks like binding. I do think binding is a nicer finish but in some instances this is a better choice.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Reading directions

I am not good at reading directions. My husband and daughter can read through directions and then do whatever it is they are directed to do. I read the directions and if I don't find out what I need in the first paragraph I start skimming through to find what I want (even when I don't know what it is I am looking for.) Eventually I come back and follow the directions step by step. However...... sometimes I miss the first  line.

This time I missed the line that said  "Colors: Teal, Black and Purple" and skipped right to the next line that said " Values: Two lights, one medium and three darks ( use any color for each value.) The any color was what I zeroed in on.  I spent a lot of time agonizing over colors, then over fabrics and I sewed strips together for the top one in the wrong order and cut the slices so I did it from scratch a second time. As you can see I got the last two rows sewed to the wrong side.
these are blocks for Friendship group tonight. The moral of this story is don't wait till the last day to do something because when it goes wrong there is no time to fix it. I am so far off the mark there is not way the would work out so I will do them over and get them right only, not today!