Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Finished project

I spent way too much time on this. I thought it  would be quick and easy as I had used the apron pattern before. Well... when I used it the first time I followed the pattern; this time I had to adapt the pattern to fit that top.
I used up a bunch of little bitty scraps for the equilateral triangles.  I had to cut t some of the long strips for the bottom. I was happy to use up some  odd Kona Bone strips and some Kona white pieces for the lining. How odd is that, lining for an apron. It's what the pattern calls for and this apron will probably never fall apart.

Now I am really going to put the scraps away
 for a while as I am all scrapped out.
And that's the truth!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


I can't quit making fabric from scraps. I think my favorite way is to make squares about 5 to 6 inches but I sometimes trim one out at 4 inches because it tells me it is finished. I can always add something more if I decide it needs more when I actually use it in a project. I keep trying to put all this stuff away so I can go through all my note books and piles of paper in my letter trays and that I have stuffed everywhere in my book case. Every time I almost "get there", I spot a couple little scraps that happen to be laying together in one of the several scrap receptacles sitting on my cutting table. I think that I should sew them together before they get separated. As I said before one thing leads to another. the upper left, this is my design wall with stuff all over it. There are some strips that I dug out of boxes of log cabin strips, some starters, some finished blocks, a strip set of green fabrics that I picked up last Saturday from the fabric pool table. Below is a closeup  of the finished 6 1/2 inch square in which I used 3 of those green fabrics and to the right is a closeup of the green strip set. I hesitated to pick up that 7 inch wide strip set because I didn't want to be greedy but someone talked me into it and I'm glad I took it.

 I decided that I would use some triangle paper foundations to make a specific size of equilateral triangles because I want to explore all the possibilities and not get stuck on just making squares.  I cut the papers with my small Clearview triangle ruler that I used recently for my Reticent Stars quilt. The top two shots were auditions as I was deciding if I wanted to separate the triangles with strips of Kona Bone. The bottom shot is the 8 triangles sewn together. I have a plan and I have spent my day working on it.
If you check back tomorrow
maybe you will see my finished project.
Maybe not!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hutch mat #2

I finished the second hutch mat and this will be it. I decided that the coffee table will remain bare and I will dust it more often.

The reds show up here as brighter than they are; these fabrics are all darker and antique looking. The top mat is the second one I made. I decided to finish out the ends with strips instead of triangle corners.
I didn't want them to be the exactly alike; the center 2 inch square and the red binding are the same in both of them and many of the strips are used in both. Most of them are from the same box of strips left over from a quilt in made either 1990 or 1996. I wrote on the back with a Pigma pen but I can't read the last digit. That quilt was a pineapple log cabin and you can see it at the bottom of this post here.

When I opened this box of scraps I really opened a can or worms. I could probably make another RW&B quilt with what I have.  I had everything sorted by size and color and each wrapped with a piece of muslin with the length of the strips. Much of that is not longer nice and tidy as I combed through everything looking for strips that I wanted to use. I don't think I want to make another quilt with these RW&B 1 1/2 inch strips but I don't want to throw them away and I don't think I can get away with giving them to my friends as prizes again. As it stands now I am contemplating what to do with all of the other scraps I have  recently discovered hiding in various places.
I  am going to start  by putting away all my rulers etc. and clean up a little. then I will do a bit of hand quilting that I have committed to on my big UFO.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer is Coming

I know that summer officially arrives later in June but, I believe like most people, I think of Memorial Day as the beginning of summer and Labor Day as the end. All the summer holidays are patriotic and so I display all my red, white and blue quilts from Memorial day until Labor Day.

Last year in the spring I made some hutch mats in spring fabrics and made some for fall but I used red, white and blue regular sized place mats on the hutches in the summer. They were OK but after I used the ones I made specifically for the hutch I found they were much more useful as they cover the entire surface where I set things at meal times.

Hutch mat 14 x 28
Yesterday I looked through my red, white and blue scraps and it was a meager bunch. I bought a fat quarter bundle to augment my scraps and I set to work. In the end I didn't use anything from my FQ bundle. I looked through my 1 1/2 inch and 2 inch log cabin strips and found some I could use and I opened up a shoe box of long ago left overs from a RW&B Pineapple quilt. I had all the little strips sorted by size and color and wrapped in muslin strips waiting for the day when I would make another Pineapple quilt. Not only am I using these strips but what is left will go into the general pool and I will have an extra empty box. I plan to make one more hutch mat like this and I am thinking about if I want to make one to cover the top of the coffee table with it's always dusty glass top. If I do it will need 3 pineapple blocs along the length and then the chevron strips. I am thinking it might be overkill with the runner/mats and after I make one more hutch mat that might be enough RW&B sewing for me.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Quilt Festival Reticent Stars

This is my entry in the Bloggers Quilt Festival in the wall hanging category. I have posted about it as I was working on it and when it was finished. In this post, I put it all together for the Bloggers Quilt Festival.
I named this "Reticent Stars"; although I wanted the stars to show up, I did not want them to be the main attraction. For that reason I quilted them with black thread and not metallic thread as I had intended. My original choice for a binding was solid black but when I was ready for the binding I changed my mind and went with the black and white stripe cut on the bias.
Reticent Stars 33 x 49

Here are some close up views of the quilting. The straight line quilting is about 1/2 inch apart and follows the overall shape of each diamond.
I belong to a group of fun and creative ladies who have been meeting for a few years to explore new techniques and avenues of creativity. We have always been rather loosely organized meeting as friends and not as an organized "group".
About 2 years ago we got together after a rather lengthy hiatus and  set a definite date each month to meet. We settled on a name "The Basement Diva's" and set some goals and challenges.
Here are the rules for our challenge.
The challenge shall be black and white and, if wanted, one other color. Color being defined as a color family. Quilters are to do something they have not done before using a book, pattern or tool that the quilter already has. No, that doesn't mean finish the thing, Yes, a book that has been used before can be used but not the same pattern in said book. No, it does not mean you can make "that pink quilt you made before, in black and white".
There is no size limitation or finish date established yet.
Quilter's should be ready to start, or have started at our next meeting in October.

We try to have as few rules as possible for our challenges so there were not many. Later we added an April meeting deadline to finish. You can see the Basement Diva's Challenge quilts here and here
I had the book "Quilts from a Different Angle" by Sarah Nephew and the smaller Clear view Triangle ruler to go with it. The publish date in the book is 1986 so I had it a long time (26 years can that be?).
I designed my quilt in EQ7 and I had many versions before I settled on one. the quilt I made evolved as I went along and I would go back and audition my revisions in EQ before proceeding. All final decisions were made on the design wall.

This was my start and I used most but not all of the fabrics that I cut, I  have a stack of leftovers and discards eliminations.

Sewing the diagonal rows together was a learning experience and sometimes a challenge as it was hard to tell at times if I had everything where it should be. As the rows were sewn they shrunk and when up on the design wall next to the unsewn rows I sometimes lost sight of where the pieces were in the overall pattern.

 Here is the back view of the top. I really did press all those seams open. When I work with triangles I have better results when I press the seams open; it  really is worth the extra effort.
 When I finally got it all together I made the changes in EQ to reflect the actual quilt and colored the EQ version with lighter values to save my ink and it be able to see quilting lines that I would draw on the printed quilt to experiment and as a guide when I started to sew.

I don't know why I never used my triangle rule until this challenge. I remember I was very enthusiastic to make something when I bought the book and ruler. I am probably going to do something again soon with the ruler and pair  up the triangles with hexagons and diamonds as I bought those rulers recently to go with the triangle ruler. I better not wait 26 years to start; I may not be sewing when I am 104.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Finish

I finished the little quilt made from the Missouri Star Falling Charms quilt pattern. It was a nice easy pattern to follow using 5 inch squares of "made fabric" instead of charms. I made my squares about 5 inches and trimmed them to size. I did make anther bunch from a larger piece of made fabric and cut ome squares fro it. I liked doing it that way. I think I prefer making each block to a predetermined size and shape and trimming it. I can see that with some patterns making fabric to cut more pieces from will be an advantage. Though I have done this for years there is a lot more exploring to do. This could be a series, I could even clean out my scrap boxes, bags and bundles and all  the hidden accumulations. That is probably a pipe dream.
The quilt is 43 x 60 which makes it a generous baby quilt size I guess.

 I quilted in the ditch along the staggered  rows and then went back and quilted along the lines in the blocks so they don't poof out. I ditch  quilted with off white thread in the seams where the white strips on the blocks came together with the next blocks white strips. I knew it needed more and I thought about some free motion quilting, maybe feathers or vines moving down the stair step pattern but in the end I marked straight lines with my trusty old (dull) pizza cutter and used it as a guide for the Bernina #4 stitch.

  This shot above shows the quilting a little better. I  was not too crazy about the seams between the white patches but in "person" the are not really so much of a distraction.

In these top two shots You can see the binding that is the same white (Kona Bone) as the background patches in the body of the quilt.
The top two photos are border shots and you can see where I have used a little left over end of a strata from the piano key piecing . I just turned it sideways to fit. After all, you can't waste precious fabric.
The bottom two were made using left over pieced units as starters. I've  used several Half Square Triangle starters and 4 Patch starters.
I am looking forward to Saturday when the Diva group will get together to play with "making fabric". It is always eye opening and inspiring to see what someone else has decided to do.
I think we have the best kind of challenge rules, loose, few and not designed to shut down individual inspiration. If this works out to be a challenge probably the only rules with be in the way of size and a finish date.

Yesterday, after dinner, Jack convinced me we should get out for a while and we went to the Arboretum. He should have convinced me to dress warmer too. We were  going to walk around among the lilac plantings and take some pictures. We only walked a short way before I was freezing so we went back to the car and I got a few picts from the car window. The top photo here is a small weeping (something ) tree. I couldn't read the sign without walking up to it. The bottom photo is  own of hundreds of lilacs, each more beautiful than the last and the fragrance is wonderful.
Maybe by Thursday it will have warmed up and hopefully the lilac display will still be spectacular.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A few more to Boston With Love

I acquired a few more flags for To Boston with Love.  I probably won't get anymore tomorrow but I will wait till Tuesday morning to mail them as that is what I originally said I would do.

Four of these are from my group at church. There were only a few of us there this month but those of us who came made a flag. The two little hearts on the lower left are from one of the Basement Divas and she dropped it off today. I think these are all so cute that we should  definitely plan to use this kind of banner in another way.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

To Boston with Love

So far I have seven little flags to send to Boston with Love. I will be sending them on Tuesday May 14 so I am hoping to have collected a  few more by then. I am meeting with our group at church on Saturday and hope to get a few there. Maybe some of the people in some of the other groups I belong to will drop them off or let me know and I can arrange to get them. I know the Priority mail envelopes or flat rate boxes will hold more than 7.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Scrap Obsession

I think if I am ever going to get my shoe box ready for our meeting to "make fabric" I am going to have to put my sewing machine away. I keep picking something up and putting it with something else and then I sit down and sew the two pieces together and then I pick up another piece and sew it on and then etc. I am not even doing it efficiently by working on 4 or 5 and chain piecing. This is addictive.
 Those 7 blocks up in the top right corner were cut from a piece of "made fabric" and because it was oddly shapes I had a couple of incomplete blocks and I spent some time fixing them. It doesn't help that I was already playing with my scraps before I started to get my shoebox of stuff together. I really want to quilt my little quilt that I made using the Falling Charms pattern from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. I used 5 inch "made fabric" squares instead of charms and I am eager to finish it. That requires a rearrangement of my machine and tables and I can't do that until I get all this stuff put away.

We had to run some errands today and took the long way around. We drove through Headlands Park, hoping to see some Bald Eagles or some migrating birds as they stop to rest before they fly across Lake Erie. All we saw were baby geese.
 It looked like gosling day care. there were 2 sets of adults and about 30 babies. I couldn't get a good shot of them as the sun was behind me and shining right on my camera viewing screen. It was really point and shoot and hope for the best.
On the way home we passed the fabric store and I stopped and bought some fat quarters to cut up to fill in the scanty places in my color families. I can't believe I am buying fabric to make scraps.
I bet I am not alone in doing this!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Final Tree Update of the Season, Etc

 The maple tree has filled out in the last two days and the Oak tree now has tiny little Oak leaves. From now on until autumn there will not be much of a change in the maple tree. Am I obsessed with these trees? I guess I am, the maple tree is so close that it is almost like being in the tree branches. When it is heavy with rain drops some of the branches touch the living room
 window and when it is windy they kind of tap against the glass.

The top two photos are taken from my sewing room window. The Oak tree , on the left is near our bedroom window and the top right is a shot of the maple.
The lower left photo is from our living room and I was standing about 5 feet back from the window, on the right is a close up of a branch that touches our window and I took the shot with my camera right up on the glass.

When I have not been admiring the trees I have been getting fabric bits and pieces ready for the  next Basement Diva meeting in two weeks. We got the guidelines for what we should bring and we have a loose outline of what we will be doing for the next meeting or next few meetings. We make the rules change the focus as we go along. Being the compulsive organized person that I am I have been separating small bits and pieces,  medium size strips, chunks and long strips. I was sorting by color as well but I probably don't need to worry about color. I think the plan is to put it all together, not sorted, into one (fabric) gene pool from which we will all select, either blindly or intentionally, a bunch to work with and just get started "making fabric". In keeping with our loosely organized tradition, what we will do with this made fabric and or blocks is yet to be determined.

Everyone is to bring a 1/2 yard of a favorite fabric that we will each be using  for continuity in our "made fabric". My 1/2 yard is in the top left in this photo group. On the right are some starters I made with small pieces that were not much good for anything else and below are medium and small pieces and longer strips and chunks. My organization has gotten looser and looser as I have been going through all my scraps. We are each to bring a shoe box full of fabric to put in the group pool and I think I am going to have to pack mine pretty tight and  probably everyone else will too.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another Tree Report etc.

I just can't resist documenting the changes in the maple tree. It has really been filling out these last two days. It will get more dense as the leaves get bigger and we will benefit from the shade in the afternoon when the days get hot. Today the sky is clear and blue and as the sun comes over our building the tree is casting a shadow over the yard to the west that reaches to the next building. No pics of the oak tree it is not catching up fast but when you look at the whole tree there is a green blush over the whole tree though not anything in the way of individual leaves.   I love spring.

I made another "To Boston with Love" flag. I missed the instructions for the width to cut the ties and cut it 2 1/2 inches instead of 1 1/2, rather typical of me. So that is a good excuse to make one that is more appropriate. A few of my friends have said they are making them to send with mine and I can't wait to see them.

As I was looking for my blue and white star fabric I found  more scraps in Ziplocs. I think when I am organizing from time to time I have an idea for a group of fabrics that are left over from something recent so I put them together in a Ziploc. When I come across them later I have lost the idea changed my mind so they need to go in with the general population of scraps. I should put the bags there in the first place instead of here and there so they would be available to use and at least a visible reminder of something I had intended.
I think I border on
being compulsive about order and neatness,
 not that you would know that
 from the disorder I create when I work.