Monday, July 30, 2012

A small finish

6 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches
I finally finished this little piece. It  was all done except the binding. I really have to find a better way to do the binding on a piece this small. Joining the ends is just too fussy and time consuming. I ended up  sewing a straight seam where the ends meet; which for this turned out to be just exactly where the pattern comes together. I couldn't have done this in a million years if I planned it. I did it because I couldn't get it done the usual way. Later I found this tutorial for postcard binding on Annie's Musings. On today's post she showed a bunch of postcards and I love the bindings. I am also in love with her Christmas tree skirt. I am looking at Christmas fabric for that and plan to settle on something and purchase it this week.
Now it is back to work to get started on another finish.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Since I got my space cleaned up and have some room to work I decided to finish up the curtains I was remaking. Here they are folded and laying over my work table and you can see the valance in the back hanging on a hanger on the closet door. I made them for a room at my daughters house when my granddaughter and her son were staying there. They now live across the street from me and the curtains needed to be fixed.
The other room had a short window across the width of the wall and now there is a longer window about 35 inches wide. There were 2 wide panels that were about  6-7 inches too short in the new room. I made two longer panels from one of the two wide panels and with what was left after taking some of the fabric from the other panel to make them longer, I used the bottom with the contrasting hem for a valance. I had given my daughter a bunch of quilts 2 years ago and she hung this giraffe quilt in that room. With an accent rug with zebras and other jungle animals, it was a cute room.

So... one more thing out of the way. I plan on cutting the leftover curtain fabric into 5 inch squares to add to my box of cut squares. I am going to iron 3 yards of Kona Bone that is taking up space in my freezer and use it to finish up one more project.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

All cleaned up

I've spent the better part of the last 6 days going through all the boxes in my sewing room closet and the drawers in  the little chest next to my sewing machine.

It all started when I moved 2 little stacking sets of drawers to the bathroom from my sewing room. I needed to clean up the clutter in the one and only drawer in the vanity. I got along without these in my sewing room before I bought them and everything I had in them I had kept in another place before I got them. I wouldn't miss them. Oh really?????

One thing lead to another and before I knew it my room was total chaos. I thought I would go though things at a leisurely pace and put each thing back after I put it in order and I would maintain control over things.
Well, that didn't happen! Why did I think this time would be any different?  This is what I have done ever since  I was a kid and my mother made me clean up my room. I get started and then there are things in the wrong drawers or boxes and I have to get out the right box and that leads to another box to put something else away and so it goes.

Eventually, there was no place to sit and almost nowhere to walk. Of course all that dragging things out and the resulting disorder wore me out and I would have to go and rest. I even took some naps. This morning I could stand it no longer I made up my mind to keep at it until I had ORDER.

That was then

This is now
I can sit down on any one of 3 chairs, I have a neat stack of things that I can get to and finish, my closet shelves have neat and orderly boxes that only have in them what they are supposed to have, I have one box that holds interfacing instead of bits and pieces in several  places, the same for stabilizers, and fusible web. I have a stack of things that I will never, ever use again (some of them I never used even once) and a box of books that I won't look at again; they are going, going, soon to be gone. There are 4 bags of rubbish waiting to be taken down to the trash room. I have one overflowing box of scraps to be sorted and made ready to use. They were in several small containers here and there because ???  I'm not sure why they were all over the place.
This is a good beginning.

I found so much stuff that made no sense to hold on to and as I began to start putting things away I got more and more ruthless about hanging on to something I might use in some weird circumstance. ( Let me tell you it is hard to be ruthless when your name is Ruth). I am going to go through my desk and my bookcase  and purge old papers and junk. I have a row of magazine holders on the bottom shelf of my bookcase that has so much stuff that I don't remember anyway when I need it and whole shelf of notebooks that was once an orderly way to keep things but has mostly become a useless redundant mess. I am going to go slowly this time, really, and get it all done.
But first.................
I am going to sew!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Zentangle Inspired

I didn't feel like cleaning up my sewing space yesterday so I decided to work on something that didn't require cleaning off my cutting tables. Actually in the end I needed to cut and just pushed stuff out of the way.


I wanted to do something more with the ZT bird that I had drawn on yellow fabric.  I had spent a lot of time getting the shape of the bird the way I wanted so I think maybe after I drew it on paper I scanned it and printed it on yellow fabric and then filled in the details.  It is about 11 x 15 and I want to put something more  in the two lower corners and somewhere at the top. It has been a while since I have drawn anything and I do not want to mess this up because I had layered it up with batting and quilted it. On the back you can see how much stitching I've done. 

I decided that I  needed to practice on paper a little first but soon realized that practice on paper wouldn't cut it.  I got out my fabric to draw on and cut some small pieces and ironed them to freezer paper. After I finished the drawing, I layered it up with a layer of batting and quilted it on all of the long lines. This is about 6 x 7 1/2 inches so I didn't stitch over the stripes or those little tiny circles in the 3 big leaves.

 I should have taken a picture before I layered it with the backing and did some minimal quilting again over the long lines leaving out the Curly Q's. All I need to do is add some triangle corners to the back for hanging and add the binding. It took me about 2 hours for the drawing and 2 1/2 for the first layer of quilting. Hmmm..... that is a  lot of time for something that small. I am going to make a few  more small pieces with different elements before I make up my mind about what I want to put on the bird piece.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Dresden Pillow and Basement Saturday

I decided that I need to finish up some of my circle projects. I layered up my Dresden plate and quilted it and made a pillow. I fussed around with the corners and I am not sure if I did the best job. I used a fusible batting and I wasn't really happy with it . It didn't stay fused,  even though I followed the directions, (really) and it was kind of stiff which may have contributed to the problem corners. 
 Anyway it is finished and I will  give it to my granddaughter as it will go with the rail fence quilt camp sample that I gave her.

Today the Basement Divas met for our monthly meeting. It is always a good day. I didn't bring anything to work on but I took pictures and moved around added my 2 cents to everything.
As usual lunch was wonderful with lots of spectacular looking salads. I didn't try everything but there were many recipe requests.  I am really watching my sodium intake and it is hard to have to make choices but I guess I have to learn to live with (hopefully with out complaint).

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Quilt Camp finish

Today one of the girls from Quilt Camp brought her quilt to  finish the binding at the monthly meeting of our church quilt group. She had quilting long arm done at a local quilt shop. One of the other members helped her to cut and piece the binding but she had to leave early so I helped her finish.   She did a very nice job on the binding.
 I gave her some options about how she could finish and I think she made a good choice. She paled at the thought of finishing the back by hand and decided that she would do it all on the machine. She stitched it first to the back then turned it to the front. She opted for the running zigzag or serpentine stitch to finish on the front as it is more forgiving than trying to do a straight line right along the edge.She did a really good job of mitering the corners.

It looks good front and back.

Ther is one more girl who needs to finish her binding. She was not able to come today but we will be sure she gets it finished. 

Jack and I went out to the arboretum yesterday and had a walk around the pond and garden. It is plain to see that the garden is suffering from the lack of rain. the blossoms are smaller and a little sparse but there were plenty of things to see.

 One of my favorites a large bed of mop head white hydrangeas was looking good but the heads a much smaller this year; last year they were enormous. The cone flowers were doing better than a lot of the other plants and there were many varieties. I only saw one of the "Sunrise" (pale yellow) and one of the "Sunset" (deep red orange) varieties. There were a lot of the purple, a couple of them much brighter than the rest.  There is a new walkway very close to the building with some new planting and a few bright red cone flowers. One vraiety of cone flower is named "Razzmatazz". Can you guess which one it its?

Friday, July 13, 2012


 I thought I would find a nice easy 12 inch block on line for the block of the month for our group at church. I found a  Bear's Paw variation and sent everyone the link.

I stated that I hadn't made it yet but I was sure it was OK.  Well, it is!  However.....I took a good look at the directions today and made the block. I would never give directions that called for 5/16 of and inch. I don't even use 3/8 or 7/8 measurements when making HST's but round up to the nearest 1/2 inch and trim to the exact size I want. I made it according to the instructions but made the HST's my way and used my measurements to float the center square. I also press triangle seams open. I decided after doing this block I would also trim connector corners and press those seams open if they are going to meet another seam with connector corners center seams meeting. It came out OK  if  you don't mind the center square floating, I don't. I think it is better than struggling with a square in a square center that isn't big enough.  I will make another one for step by step demo and I will also do it my way but  will let everyone decide for themselves if they want to use my measurements or the ones on line. The ones online do work after all. My way might not be the best way for everyone even though it is best for me.
This red fabric is one I used on the back or the Christmas sampler quilt I finished last year and I aso have some leftover wide strips of the border fabric. I will make something with the 2 blocks that I can use at Christmas time.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Pillowcase and a Birthday

Today was a quiet day (compared to yesterday) After church I took a nap and then we went out for a ride and got something to eat. When we came home I made a pillowcase to go with the T Shirt quilt. It can either be used for a pillowcase or to store the quilt, whatever.

Not very exciting but I used up the 3/4 yard I had left after I cut the bias binding. No accent strip on this one. the quilt is going to Missouri on Friday so I only get to share it here. No show and tell for the quilt at our church group or the Basement group or my guild. Oh well.........
Now yesterday was not quiet!! Yesterday was great grandson David's 7th birthday. It is always a fun time. All 5 of the great grand kids are usually there and the weather has always been hot; only one year, did it rain. Yesterday was especially hot but there are huge trees in their backyard so there was plenty of shade and a nice breeze. The kids had a great time playing in a small pool, riding around on the various battery powers ATVs, and during the annual water balloon mayhem; there were 1000 balloons filler with water.
 Everyone got water balloon fight, including me (that is why there are no pictures of the balloon throwing). I am a terrible shot and only hit what I was very close to but I didn't even have to get out of my chair. My daughter had grabbed a bucket of balloons and set it behind my chair so all I had to do was reach back. No one really threw any at Jack and I because the parents warned them not to hit Gigi because of my stitches and black eye and Jack was sitting next to me.  After the presents were opened there were plenty of water guns and other fun things for the kids to play with. David didn't seem reluctant to share his new stuff so everyone was happy. No one minded getting wet yesterday because it felt good to cool off a little. I told the kids they could spray me with the water guns and spray bottles.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

T Shirt Quilt Finished

Finally! I put this quilt aside in February never thinking I wouldn't get back to it in a few days. It is good to be finished and it will soon be on it's way to my grandson. My son and daughter in law will be going to see him in 10 days and they are taking it with them. He picked out the T shirts he wanted in the quilt two years ago,  I hope he is still interested in having it.

It was hard getting a shot of the whole thing. I can't put it up on my design wall because it is blocked off with my tables and sewing machine set up for machine quilting. Maybe if I stood on a ladder I could have gotten a better shot but after my mishap on Tuesday I am not courting trouble by standing on a ladder.

The second photo shows the top edge of the quilt. My intention was for the top border sections of the 4 columns to alternate narrow, wide, narrow, wide but that got messed up when mixed up the 2 center sections I sewed the 3rd section to the first (left) section.  The distribution of light and dark shirts got messed up a little as well.  However I still  think I made the right decision to leave it where it is and just move the sashing.

I gave away my Rail Fence sample quilt from Quilt Camp. It will look much better as a throw at my granddaughter's than it did here. I am going to finish the Dresden Plate pillow and give it to her too. I think before I tackle any more UFO's I will make 6 placemats for my other granddaughter. She asked for them last year and I never found any more of the fabric that she wanted. I finally found a good substitute so I should get it done.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July
I always bring out all my red white and blue quilts and wall hangings Memorial Day and leave them up till Labor Day because all the summer holidays are patriotic. I have a small shelf just opposite my front door  and this is what I have there this year. I made the angels years ago when I used to make cloth dolls; I copied the wings and arms from a Country Threads pattern and made up the body so they would stand instead of hang by their arms. The original pattern was "Oh Suzanna" and had long dangly legs with knots  for feet. My friend gave me a piece fabric that was  just flags printed all over it and I hand quilted it. I bought the shelf at a craft show at about the same time (when "country" was in)  and it has always filled a blank space just inside our front door wherever we live.

I had planned on making one more wall hanging for the living room but this on my design board is as far as I got. I was going to fuse some stars from the border fabric that I have (somewhere) but I got sidetracked with Quilt Camp.

You can see my pictures from 2010 here or go to June 2010 on the sidebar and look for the red, white and blue quilts. Today Blogger will only allow me one link. some of my quilts I gave away
Some of those quilts I have given away and that is the reason I am making one more. 

Second Thoughts on my Big Mistake

It pays to quit for the day and start over after weighing all the options. I thought some for about ripping 4 layers of seams and decided that my first idea about moving the sashing on the third section to the other side was a better idea. It was not easy ripping out the one seam I might have pitched the whole thing if I had to take out 4 layers. What I did worked out well; I just had to trim off the batting and backing after I took out the sashing seam and I moved the batting and backing to the other side as well. I worried about the batting not being wide enough as it was already trimmed but because it was trimmed it was perfect I just join it with a wide zigzag stitch to the other edge. I always leave a generous amount to fold under on the backing so there was more than enough.
After I sew the sashing to the next section on the front I turn the whole thing over and I whip stitch the two batting edges together. Then I turn the backing under so it overlaps the seam enough that it will be caught when I stitch in the ditch along the sashing on the front.
I got all the hand sewing done today. I would have finished the whole thing but I had a little mishap and spent the afternoon in the emergency room  getting my forehead stitched up. I also have a black eye and a sore elbow. I didn't feel like sewing when I got home

Tomorrow being the Fourth of July and a family picnic I probably won't get back to stitching that last seam in the ditch and the binding until Thursday.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A BIG Mistake

Quilt Camp is over and there is nothing pressing that I have to work on this week. I have some UFO's that need to be finished because they are taking up space so I set up my room for machine quilting. I decided that the first thing I would finish is my grandson's T shirt quilt. I made it in 4 vertical sections and they have been all quilted for a while. I laid they all out side by side they way they would go together and picked them up and folded them one by one in order and stacked them up with the one on the far right on the bottom. Today I sewed the first two sections together and hand stiched the batting together where it was trimmed to butt together and hand stitched the seam on the back and stitched in the ditch along the sashing to finish the quilting. Then I picked up the next section............ Oh no, no, NO..........  
There should not be 2 sashing strips next to each other and there should not be a space with no sashing strip between 2 sections.  I mixed up the two middle sections.  How could I have done that?
At first I thought I could just move the sashing strip to the right edge but I have trimmed both of those edges through all 3 layers but I would have to add a narrow batting strip and piece a narrow strip on the backing. I think I will take out the stitches between the two sections that I just finished putting together. That is 4 layers of stitches, 2 by machine and 2 by hand. I think in the long run it is a better solution.
However..........I am going to put it away till tomorrow and