Thursday, August 30, 2012

Some days it's just right

Sometimes I think something is not going well and it is not going to be what I envisioned but I finish it anyway just to have it done and out of my mind. 
Tangle bird 11 x 14.25
Last night I thought this was not going to lay flat and the yellow background quilting was really bad. Today I finished it, I didn't take out any of the quilting because I couldn't find what I thought I might take out (not perfect, mind you, but I am OK with it). It is nice and flat and square and even the seam in the binding is invisible.

This afternoon I went over to see my great grandson get off the bus on his first day of school. I even got a picture. He had a big smile after he spotted his mom.

Later Jack and I went out to get something to eat. We stopped at the arboretum  and counted dozens of frogs in our frog spotting stops as we walked around the pond. At one spot, as we watched, seven different frogs hopped up on the lily pads or went skipping across the water, that was big excitement for us old folks.

It has been a just right day!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I have things in my sewing room back in order and there is a lot less to make a mess with. I not only purged my sewing room(closet, drawers, boxes, bookcase, etc), I did the same to my hall closet, my linen closet and our coat closet and our storage locker. Every time we went out we took a bunch of stuff down to the trash room. Jack has been busy in his garage cleaning and getting rid of junk since he took my other metal shelf unit out there.

I did some machine quilting today on this little Zentangle inspired piece. It will be about 11 x 14 after I trim it down a little. I had layered it with batting and quilted the bird with black thread over most of the lines a few weeks ago. I wanted to add some vegetation and I was hesitant to draw anything and chance messing it up after all the work stitching it. This piece has a few problems due to the interfacing I fused to the yellow fabric, not the best idea I ever had. This is not going to be a master piece by any stretch of the imagination so I threw caution to the winds and drew 2 plants and quilted them. Them I layered the piece with the backing and went around the outline of the bird and the plants again with black thread to anchor the whole thing together and then I added some free motion grass. I am  quilting the background with a matching yellow thread with a kind of echo quilting. I quit for the day while I contemplate whether or not to take out some of the yellow stitching that is not so red hot; I think I might make it worse if I do. Whatever I do I should finish this tomorrow.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Same old story

 Yesterday we cleaned up the quilting closet at church and  put everything back in place. We consolidated and purged and hung some things with command hooks. Everything we use often should be easy to get out and more important easy to put away.  
  So......Here I am again organizing my own sewing space. It seems like I just did this last month. Oh wait, I did do this last month. Actually this time it is different; Jack took one of my shelf units out to the garage. That means I have to be serious about deciding what I can realistically keep and what has to go. This picture shows my one shelf unit loaded with what I am keeping. I was able to hang 11 quilts (no bed quilts) in the closet using some skirt/pants hangers that hold them securely and are not bulky so the hangers themselves do not take up a lot of space. I am going to buy some more like it for my clothes closet and to hang a few more quilts in this closet. It is also time to let go of a few more quilts.  I am not going to post a picture of the rest of the room right now because it is a mess and who wants to look at another mess. There are a lot of things that need to go in other places and that means I will finally have to tackle the hall closet and do some purging there. I will not be posting any photos about that either.

I had a lot of wall hangings rolled up together around batting covered cardboard tubes. That worked pretty well but I ran out of space to store them conveniently. The last time I cleaned my sewing closet I took out 3 large rolls of quilts and I have been moving them around from the living room sofa to my bed, depending on whether we expected company or not. They are almost all hanging in the closet now. I unrolled them on my bed to put them on the hangers and Jack was sitting at his computer watching me. I likes this cat quilt and said I should hang it. He jokingly suggested the ceiling as there is really no more available wall space. It is 24 inches square and I am going to hang it in my sewing room. I have some things on my bulletin boards that I can change out.
This is a quilt I made for a guild challenge. We blindly chose a crayon from a paper bag and that was the predominate color we were to use. Tan is not my favorite color; it is a color I would never, ever choose. Guess what, I really came to like this quilt and the way the colors came together. I guess we all need to stretch a bit now and again.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Another finish

I finished another one of my circle projects. This was what I started out to do when we embarked on the circle challenge. My inspiration was the "Rosies" from Diana Hire's book "Quilter's Playtime". Mine didn't look so much like the Rosies in the book, maybe because I didn't read all the instructions. There were some other people who  started out making Rosies but they didn't bring them to our final circle show and tell so maybe they didn't finish them either.
I consider this finished even though I have to finish stitch half of one sleeve down on the back. My left hand thumb and wrist were so painful that I gave it up for the day. When I am done I will block it to make it nice and square. I think I will  also put some beads or something around the center as I did not cover my edges as well  as I thought. I  wanted the center irregular and the background showing through but I didn't do a really good job with my satin stitching. This is about 24 inches square and the background is more pink than yellow. I quilted with purple and metallic gold thread with lines radiating out from the wedges.  Best thing I can say about it is that it is done (well almost).
Today I am meeting a friend from our church quilting group and we are cleaning out the quilting closet at church. It is a mess. We are not the only group who uses that closet but we have the largest area and it needs to be organized.

I have also been organizing some more at home. This is a picture of my closet right now. I have had, as my goal reclaiming some space and getting rid of one shelf unit so I can hang things in the other half of the closet. This is as far as I got. Jack is going to take the  one shelf unit out today and then I will put everything back. I consolidated and purged and maybe this time I will be able to keep it under control. 

We'll see! 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Another finish

My previous post was really Friday but I didn't actually publish it and found it in my drafts after midnight so this is not really 2 posts in one day. (as if anyone cares) 

I did manage one more finish yesterday. This is another project for the circle challenge from the Basement Divas. I got the binding on with some faux piping for a little accent. I didn't stitch the hanging sleeves down (in the photoyou can see the little safety pins that are holding the bottom flap). I thought I would add some embellishments but I think sometimes that simple is just right and I am going to leave it as it is. However, I may change my mind, who knows. I won't be hanging this till next summer as it is almost time for the fall quilts to go  back up. Where or where did summer go?
Today was our Basement Divas meeting and the end of our circle challenge. As usual a few people finished, a few had not finished and a few didn't have anything today. There were no posts when i looked about today's meeting but I expect some soon. I will be adding my pictures.
I wasn't able to stay for the whole meeting as today was Jack's 80th birthday party. A little late but it takes some doing to get everyone together for anything. Four family members work in hospitals and one in a restaurant. It is not like everyone works Monday through Friday. Most of the family was there for the party and it was a fun time.

Everyone got a big laugh out of this card after someone asked if that was a picture of Jack and I and he said "yes and that is the woman on the right".
That's my man! he is so predictable.
Jack's sister was choosing tomatoes to take home from the garden. She is completely oblivious to all the laser tag artillery on the table which the great grand kids had abandoned in favor of riding around the driveway in an assortment of cars, bikes and trikes. Many of which had been outgrown by some of them so they were all the more fun.
Grace is the only girl among the 5 great grand children; she and her cousin Evan are helping to take the candles off the cake and licking the frosting off of each one.
This is what I took home. Fresh, ripe, right from the garden tomatoes are my very favorite food. I brought 4 of them home and one of them became a tomato sandwich soon after I got home. I didn't even miss the salt.

A Finish

It seemed like it was taking F O R E V E R to quilt all the wedges but I finally finished my tree skirt. I gave up for the day at 9 PM yesterday. Today, at 9 Am I though I might finish by noon, at 12:20 I thought I might finish by 1:00, at 12:40 I counted the seams still to be  quilted and thought maybe 2:00, and at 1:05 I was done. I guess I am not good at estimating how long it takes to do things.
Now it is time to find fault critique my work.
After agonizing for 2 minutes I went with very light gray for the ditch quilting; that worked out OK. I had red Kona cotton for the binding around the center edge but went with white because I thought it looked better, now I am not so sure.
I see an area on the lower right where I would like to see a few more of the wider red pieces. I also realized after I got it all quilted that I left off one of the narrow wedges at the end.  This really is a great pattern because it is very forgiving. I am still wondering if I should top stitch around the edge with red just above the Prairie Points and maybe on the white binding. It looks good as it is and doesn't need any more stitching to hold it together or to stabilize the edge.

There are come things I might do differently next time. I don't think I will  stitch around the edges and turn it. It makes it harder to get it smoothed out for quilting after it is turned. I would add the prairie points, along with the binding, after the quilting is done and turn the binding to the back like a facing. Oh, and add a few more red squares.
I like it and I will make the second one but I will finish some other things first.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I may not finish this today but I am making progress. As I expected, I didn't get back to my tree skirt after dinner but I got back to it first thing this morning. 

I  wasn't sure how I wanted to proceed. I  thought that maybe I should not have stitched the Prairie Points on until after I layered it and quilted it. I knew I did not want to unsew them but I couldn't decide  what to do next.
I woke up early and dozed off a few times and each time I woke up I  was thinking about a different solution.

In the end I layered the backing and the top and pinned all around the edges and stitched it and then cut away the excess backing. Next, I layered it with the batting on the bottom, then backing and finally top on the top ( makes sense, top on top, right) so I could stitch exactly 3/8 inch along the edge. I stitched  the straight sides where they meet, leaving one open in the center for turning. Finally, I stitched around the center circle even though I will trim it and bind it after the quilting. The Prairie Points made it easy to work out the edge and press it, all I had to do was pull on the points.
As I was working this morning I was telling myself that the next time I will put the whole thing together differently. I hate not knowing if something is going to work. If I found that it looked really bad after I turned it and pressed it I wasn't sure I would ever finish it. It looks good and I think after I quilt it and trim the center hole and bind it that it will look even better.
Now lets see,
Maybe I can start agonizing over what thread to use to quilt it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tree Skirt

I got the backing for my tree skirt yesterday and I started working on the Prairie Points.  I had almost a full Blitzen charm pack left over after sorting them for the second tree skirt. I cut a bunch of them into quarters and made my Prairie Points with 2 1/2 inch squares. I usually make them with 3 or 3 1/2 inch squares but I wanted to use the charm squares that I had.

Here they are, start to finish. They are now sewed around the bottom of the tree skirt and this is probably as far as I will get today, at least until later this evening. I have family coming to dinner today and I have to go to the store (even though we got everything we need on Monday). By request, I am making deep dish pizza, not having made it in a long time, I did not remember everything I  need.
I just realized that we are halfway through August, Christmas will be here before we know it. Hopefully this year I will have a finished tree skirt; I am planning on it, and maybe even one to give as a gift. However, I am not going to count my chickens (quilts) before they are hatched(finished); after my fizzled finishing frenzy I am going to be more realistic. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

August BOM

Tomorrow is our church quilt group meeting so today I worked on the BOM to demo. The block is from a pattern called Ruby's Ribbon Box available  to download at the Fat Quarter Shop. I saw it first here at Quilting on Main Street and love the Christmas colors she used. 

Mine is a 12 inch block and I used scraps;  I intend to make more blocks, using Kona Bone for my light fabric in all the blocks and for sashng. It will probably be a throw quilt. I have one  size bed, king size, and I have 2 quilts for it already and smaller quilts are easier to store in my limited space.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Flimsy

My tree skirt is a flimsy and I really like it. I made it according to the instructions in the tutorial , though I was holding my breath until the last seam. All of my wide wedges were the same size but my narrow wedges were not all the same size and it came out right anyway.  Maybe if I were to applique this down it wouldn't come out flat but that is not what I am going to do anyway. 

When I bought the Moda Blitzen charm packs I really liked them in the quilt shop but, you know, it is hard to tell what they are really like when the have a paper strip  around them. When I got them home and opened them up I wasn't so sure I liked them after all; I didn't care so much for all the brown and blue green. I still  wasn't so sure when I sewed them into strips. After I started cutting I started to like it a lot and once I started  sewing the wedges together I began to love it. I think the colors make it contemporary and the busyness of the patchwork makes it look traditional. I had kept the wide wedges in order per the instructions and put the narrow wedges in where they seem to fit. Once I started sewing everything together I kept getting my pieces mixed up so this is even more random than random (is that really possible?). I used to worry about things like that and try to devise a method (for myself) to keep everything straight but after the second or third scrap quilt I gave up. If I can't tell what is "right" then who can say it's wrong.

I like it so much I bought another 4 Charm packs to make one for a Christmas gift and I bought a Blitzen Jelly Roll to make a Jelly Roll Race quilt. There was some talk of the Basement Divas doing an annual Jelly Roll Race in January. When I got an email that one my favorite local quilt shops, JEllen's, was having a half price sale on Layer Cakes, Jelly Rolls and  charm packs, I went shopping. If the Divas decide not to have the race or if there are new rules and my Jelly Roll doesn't qualify I will make it anyway and either keep it or give it away.
I am thinking about how to finish this.
Would Prairie Points be over the top?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Frenzy fizzle

 It was not a true finishing frenzy. I am still working on finishing and I have finished the quilting on the red, white and blue piece but I am giving it a rest while I contemplate what to do next.
 I had opted for no borders just a binding with faux piping. Now I am thinking about adding a 2 inch border. there is enough space to sew that all around. I am also thinking about embellishments so I will work on something else while I have it up on the wall to look at.

Our Friendship  group met last night and I picked up the ruler I am borrowing and I was really eager to get started cutting. I am not very good at following directions, even when they are very good, however I looked at the tutorial  and cut one wedge and then i read the instructions again and cut another wedge and then I put the rows of sewn squares from one charm pack in order on a foam core design board and cleaned up my space and put things away that I am not using right now. I made a nice clean space to work; then I called it a night.

This is what I have so far. I thought I would get more cutting done today but I had other things to do.
Today is Jack's birthday; his big birthday party  is in 2 weeks but Wednesday is the day our grandson comes to dinner and today one of our granddaughter's and her 5 year old son and our son were also coming.  I had to shop for groceries and of course a cake among a bunch of other things  to get ready. I finally got the dishes done and everything put away about 9PM so no more sewing today. Tomorrow looks good for sewing.
By the way the Birthday Boy celebrated his 80th birthday with a nice afternoon motorcycle ride.  

Monday, August 6, 2012

Finishing Frenzy??

I wonder if I am setting up for a finishing frenzy? I got all the charm squares sewed into rows all ready to cut into  wedges. Not exactly a finish but it could be by this time next week. I bought the thread to quilt the background of the zentangle bird; that should be finished this week.  

I stitched these circles on the background today and then layered it up and I have half of the quilting finished. I plan on finishing the edges of the circles with satin stitching after all the quilting is done. I am trying to remember if I have ever done it that way. I had a reason for doing it but now I am wondering it it is a good idea. I guess it is too late now to worry about it.
I got the idea for the circles from Amy Smart at Diary of  a Quilter; she called her quilt Peppermint Pinwheels and used the Easy Dresden ruler.  I thought it was a very clever use of the stripes; when  I found some similar striped fabric my mind was made up as to what my red, white and blue quilt would be.  I want this to be a summer wall hanging in patriotic colors and I am thinking of mine as fireworks. I wanted some smaller circles and I cut my wedges for them by centering the ruler lengthwise on the light stripes. I should finish this tomorrow. Maybe I will  finish my "Rosie" it is all layered and ready to quilt. 
We'll see how long this frenzy will last.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Tree Skirt start

I picked up 4 Moda charm packs of Blitzen by Basic Gray. I thought maybe I would use fat quarters and some greens and reds from my own stash but in the end I decided to go with the charm packs. I almost bought a Layer Cake but why not use charm packs and skip that cutting step.

Sorted charms

Working with one pack at a time, I arranged them on my table  in 8 rows of 5 charms each. The packs were all nicely separated more or less into 5 colorways; what I called white for my purposes was light with white background. A few of those I slipped into another color category for arranging. 

Sewed in rows

This isn't exactly random but I wanted one each of red, green, brown,white and blue green in every row. I just picked up the top charm in each pile and put in the next space. I have not yet decided if I will follow Annie's tutorial using the narrow wedge cuts or if I will add one more fabric for all alternate wedges.

I like hers just the way it is but I am concerned over my own accuracy and whether or not I will get the same results.

If I add one more fabric for alternate wedges I will have enough wedges for 2 tree skirts. One could be a gift.............. hmmm; this required more thought. If I make one as a gift, will I have to make 5 more? If I don't use the narrow wedges that would be a lot of waste. I know myself and how I think about waste; I would likely decide to use those strips somehow anyway. I have time to decide; I still have two more packs all sorted and ready to sew into rows. I am borrowing a long wedge ruler and I won't get it until Tuesday.
We'll see!