Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Anvil Blocks

 I made one of these yesterday by making one larger piece of fabric and cutting 1 6 1/2 inch square and 5 - 4 inch squares and I ended up with many seams coming together where I didn't want them. I didn't notice that Victoria requested blue backgrounds and I missed the part of the tutorial where she said to press the seams open on the HST's.

Note to myself: When reading instructions, don't skim!

The block I made today was done by making smaller "made fabric " pieces that were close to the size I wanted. It is easier for me to avoid seams coming together at the corners. It also helped to press the HST seams open. I always press triangle seams open but because there were so many extra seams I thought it would be better to press to one side.

 I love this block I think I might make a bigger quilt for myself using dark background fabric.

Maybe I should start the T shirt quilt first. I have been side tracked several  times and I really want to get it done.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Another Flimsy

I came across these blocks a few days ago and stuck them up on the wall above my sewing machine. I had finished 3 of them and started a 4th but decided they were just too time consuming with too many decisions to make. For every round I had to choose the fabric and decide on the width. It was too much thinking at that time and I put them away. When I got them out again and put them up I knew I would finish that last block and make something with the 4 blocks.

After I got home from church today,I decided I would make some fabric and make 2 Anvil blocks to send to Victoria, Bumblebeans, for her stash of blocks for making quilts to give to people afflicted with cancer. I had some pieces stated and I was working from a shoe box of strips, many of them the colors of the blocks on my wall. Only one block there to finish; oh that shouldn't take more than 15 minutes. Wrong!! I worked for hours finishing the one block and then when I sized the blocks one of them was not right. It was a tiny bit too small so I decided to use some spay starch and see if it would make it come up to size. It did, but it was wonky and then I scorched the Kona bone fabric. I cut the center square out of the block and started over.
So here it is; the top right is the block I finished and the bottom right is the one I remade. I liked the quilt when I saw it at FilmintheFridge and if you are interested the tutorial is here. It is really just too much fussing around for me. In addition to all the decisions about fabric and strip width, I got too picky about my strips being perfect ( which they were not even close to).
Tomorrow I will get back to making fabric for Anvil blocks; I was having fun before I got side tracked.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Flimsy plus.....

If you make a quilt top and a quilt back do you have 2 flimsies or should you say a flimsy and a back? I know it really doesn't matter, I always get a lot of show and tell or blog posting mileage out of my projects; I guess I could claim I am showing my progress.

Baby quilt 37 x 37 front and back

I brought the striped bear fabric home from our last quilt group meeting at church. One of our members buys baby fabric when it is on sale and she brought a bunch of it to encourage us to get busy on some baby quilts. I thought I would have something to go with it but there was not enough of what was right. I don't have much in the way of soft pastels so I picked up some yellow, pink, green and blue fat quarters.

I  had started to clean up and put things in order after I finished quilting the other baby quilts. I dragged the vacuum in and clean the floor but then I got interrupted and when I got back to my sewing room I played with Electric Quilt and worked out what I wanted to do and I started cutting. I ran out of steam after I cut strips for the 9 patch blocks so I finished up today.
I am going to layer this one up and quilt it even though I bought home fabric for another baby quilt. I usually like to quilt more than one quilt while I have my room set up for quilting but I don't feel like making another baby quilt right now. I think we are caught up with baby quilts in our closet at church. If not those babies will just have to wait.
I really need to clear some walking and working space
 before I have an accident in the sewing room.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Two finishes

I am taking credit for 2 finishes but one was a baby quilt I finished up but didn't start.  Elaine, from our group at church made the flimsy and layered it up and pinned it. She brought it to me to quilt and after I quilted it I added the binding. Elaine hand quilts a lot of her things and doesn't do much machine quilting and asked if anyone would be willing to machine quilt a baby quit if she pieced it. She used fabric from our quilt closet at the church and pieced a Disappearing 9 Patch.

Binding front and back of baby quilt

I quilted it in the ditch around all the blocks  with off white thread using a straight stitch. Then I quilted a grid across all the blocks with blue thread and I used the #4 stitch on my Bernina. I used the same thread and stitch on the binding.

Birthday Party/Celebration tablecloth/quilt

I finished  the Birthday Party tablecloth too.  I used primary colored variegated thread using the #4 Bernina stitch and quilted a grid that crossed through each of the blocks in one direction only.

Binding and grid quilting from the back

close up of quilting

I used the blue for the binding because I didn't want this to look too girly. I plan to use it for birthday parties and maybe other celebrations. Maybe I will write on the back inside of the grid squares what the celebrations are as the quilt is used. At some point I will pass this on to my daughter; most of our family parties take place at her house.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Finish

I am finished with the baby quilt. It is really cute fabric that makes up for the quilting that could be better. I don't free motion quilt much anymore but I thought I really needed to fill  in the background around the dragons.
Here is a photo of the whole quilt and a close up of the quilting I wasn't sure about what to do yesterday.

I am  going to quilt another baby quilt this weekend for the closet that was made by another member from our church group. It will not be free motion quilting.
Today I am going to layer up the Birthday Party Tablecloth quilt and start to quilt it and get started ironing the interfacing on the T shirts. That should keep me out of trouble.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Baby quilt

I cut the panel for this apart and cut away all of the black between the motifs and repositioned the pieces. I didn't want to make a quilt by putting borders around the whole panel which would have  made it rather long and narrow. This is 36 x 40 and I think that this is about the size we decided on for our quilt closet baby quilts. I wonder if repositioning the pieces has made it look more like a wall hanging.
I decided that I would use some black background fabric for the inner border and the binding. I bought this another time for something else and noticed it is from the same line.
I am not finished with the quilting on this baby quilt and I am sorry that I didn't just quilt it with all  over straight or wavy lines. I don't care much for the look of meander quilting or and all over loopy patterns on a panel like this but maybe that would have been a better choice. It is slow going and there is much changing of thread colors. I am also at a loss about how to quilt the purple mountains and the path and the blue sky. I did echo quilting around the dinosaurs in the rectangles and something to resemble grass in the green areas in the bigger section. I am probably making a big  deal  over nothing; babies don't really care if all of the quilting is absolutely right for the quilt.

I am pleased with the 80/20 batting as it has not made the more densely quilted areas stiff. I will still use Warm and Natural for all my wall  hangings but I really like the 80/20 for bed quilts and baby quilts. I will be using it in the hand dyed 16 patch quilt, the backing has been washed and I am ready to layer it up.  It will not be a wall hanging or a bed quilt.
Maybe it will be a table cloth.
Maybe it will be a Birthday Party table cloth.
Maybe it will hang in my sewing room closet.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Checkerboard Flimsy

The borders are on and I can layer this up and quilt it. Or..... since I no plans at all for this, I can leave it up on my design wall for a while until I need to use the wall. It is nice and cheerful and I like looking at it.
I follow Wanda Hansen's blog Exuberant Color; she has been making 16 patch checkerboard quilts. They all look wonderful.  I didn't have a plan when I started this I just made strip sets and I was thinking 4 patches to start. I didn't consciously make a decision to copy her blocks but I can see it definitely influenced me. I was admiring all of her 16 patch garden quilts this morning and it dawned on me. Sometimes we know exactly where an idea  came from and sometimes we never know but I believe it always comes from something we've seen or heard. What we do with that spark of inspiration  may turn out completely different or maybe not so much. I am thankful for all of the inspiration from all the creative people where ever I find it.

It is 52 inches square and when I am looking at it on the wall it appears more cohesive than in the photo. I wonder why that is. I would think that in the photo, which is smaller one would be looking at the whole thing but when looking at the quilt on the wall the eyes would be moving around and seeing smaller areas. Hmmm, I believe that is the answer.
I put all the 2 inch strips and uncut pieces of hand dyed fabric in a bag and I don't know if I will keep it (for another 20 years, maybe). While I decide it can stay, it really doesn't take up much room. I think I am hopeless.

I have to make a baby quilt next and it has to be a fast one as there are 6 babies due soon from our church congregation and we only have 2 quilts in the closet. However I don't have to make more than one quilt.

 I found these 2 fabrics Wednesday at one of the quilt shop stops.
I am thinking of cutting away all the black and repositioning the smaller dinosaurs  as I don't really like the shape it would be if I just bordered it.  This is probably not going to go as fast as I thought it would, after all.

Next up after this is a T shirt quilt. I've had the shirts for a long time and I finally bought the interfacing a couple of weeks ago, only to find I already bought it the last time it was on sale. Oh well, it won't go to waste and it doesn't take up much space either.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Checkerboard Progress and an old biker's birthday.

I have been making progress on my hand dyed checkerboard quilt dong it "15 minutes of play". I usually work for longer periods but for the last few days it has been in short bursts. I am amazed at how much I get done that way. I was going to stop at a 6 x 6 block setting but I decided to make as many blocks as I could to use up all the yellow and orange strips.

This picture shows the body to the top sewed together and the border fabric auditioning at the left. I stopped at 2 quilt shops yesterday (on the way home from jack's follow up visit after his Tuesday cataract surgery) and did not find what I was looking for to use for border. I had this Kaffe fabric and it looks pretty good so I cut it this afternoon. I have a lot of purple and blue strips and a bit less of the reddish strips and I considered piecing a piano key border but decided not to as I didn't have anymore yellow or light orange or peachy strips. One thing I am not going to do is obtain more!!! I like this now that it is together but not enough to want to work with these fabrics again.

Jack's cataract surgery went well and he is happy with the results. today is his birthday and he decided that it was only right that he should get out for a short ride on his motorcycle for his 81st birthday. He is slowing down a bit and doesn't take the long rides that he used to; when he used to leave in the morning and meet up with another old man and they would ride all day. He didn't start riding until he was 52 ( we almost got a divorce when he came home with his first bike). He used to  say he would ride till he was 65, then till  he was 70. When he was 69 he rode from NEO down to the Smokey Mts. to meet up with some on line friends and he rode the Dragon at Deals Gap.

I think this pic of Jack in the red jacket is from the 2nd year he went down to the Smokies. The label on the photo says Rain Ride. 
 The next year he went to Americade motorcycle event at Lake George and down to the Smokies again. This second photo is another year and the one in the red jacket with Jack is our son John.
 It has been 11 years since he has gone that far but he rides most days during decent weather and in the winter if the temp is above 30 and the streets are clear he might get out for a ride. Here is a link to Jack's hero. I hope Jack lasts till he is this old but I am sure his bike will not. BTW I never ride with him and never wanted to. He is a good safe rider and the only accident he ever had was when he got rear ended by a kid in a pickup truck at a stop sign.
I'm glad I didn't divorce him
when he showed up with that first bike.

Monday, August 5, 2013

A few more hand dyed checkerboard blocks etc

I am up to 30 blocks and I think I will make about 8 more blocks for a total of 36. I  am going to replace 2 blocks that I don't like. I m removing the 3rd and down in the center vertical row 5th blocks. I believe the green and orange fabrics are both commercial solids and they just seem to look out of place; the dark purple and mottled pink seems too dark overall. I made this decision after Jack came in my sewing room to talk to me and I asked him what he thought, not mentioning that there was something bothering me. He didn't hesitate at all in telling me that he thought those 2 blocks looked out of place. I don't always think too much of his color sense but when I ask his opinion he usually comes up with a good suggestion. I think it is because he doesn't get hung up on the color so much as value and balance. If he zeros in on the thing that is bothering me his opinion usually carries some weight.

When I started making these blocks I didn't have any sort of plan at all so I didn't pay attention to pressing the seams other than to press to the dark. I usually have a pressing plan so I have opposing seams through out if at all possible. About halfway along I gave it some thought and my blocks from then on all have opposing seams and I will just deal  with the rest of them as I put the blocks together. I am making some notes to myself so I will make future blocks in the same way  as it really is quite simple. If I make all the blocks the same all  I have to do is turn alternate blocks 180 degrees and the seams nest together.

This is not going very fast because I wasn't all that into it in the beginning and then when I started getting more enthusiastic about it there were distractions.  Jack wanted to go to Walmart for something and I tagged along just to take a break  and get out. While he was looking for what he wanted I wandered down to the kitchen gadgets and then had a look at the microwaves. I have been looking at them from time to time because it is so difficult to get the turntable back in place after I wash it. When Jack found what he wanted he found me and had a look too. We found one that we liked and when they didn't have it in white we went down the street and got one at Home Depot. After we got it home I spent the rest of the day in my kitchen.
Our microwave has to sit on top of the refrigerator because there is no counter space in my kitchen except 26 inches on either side of my sink. (That is why has been so difficult to put the turntable back after I clean it.) In order to get at the plug we had to pull the refrigerator out. Well!!! the floor sure was dirty underneath so I cleaned that and then I moved the stove and cleaned under that and washed the sides of the stove and refrigerator that are not usually accessible. After cleaning the floor under the stove and refrigerator the rest of the floor looked really bad so I washed the floor. Before we put the new microwave up on the refrigerator I had to clean the top and, oh yes, I had to vacuum the coils on the back of the refrigerator. After we got everything back in place I cleaned the old microwave inside and out (it looks almost new). After cleaning the microwave and  cleaning up the counter top I decided that since everything else was so clean I would take the glass jars down from the shelf over the sink and wash the outsides and clean up the shelf.
This sounds like the long story 
"If You give a Mouse a Cookie".
A chunk of time tomorrow and Wednesday will be taken up with Jack's cataract surgery and the follow up visit the next day. Maybe by the end of the week I will have my checkerboard blocks sewed together and I can get out to the quilt shop to find something for the border that will pull all those colors together.

Friday, August 2, 2013

So So

I have been stitching up some checkerboard blocks with my old hand dyed fabric strips and while I don't hate them they are really just "so so". I really do prefer printed fabric to solid. About half of the fabrics are mottled and the other half is pretty much uniform and I think I would like it better if they were all mottled.

When I cut the strips I was thinking 2 inch squares and I cut the strips 2 inches wide. I went along thinking 8 inch blocks and when I got the first few sewed together I could see they were not 8 1/2 inches but 6 1/2 inch. Don't ask me why I  did that. Any question that begins with "why did you" is an unacceptable question and any question I can't answer makes me crabby.

I remember I did this once before when I made a queen size quilt for my daughter and cut my strips 1 1/2 inches instead of 2 inches and ended up with 3 inch instead of 4 1/2 inch 9 patch blocks. I had to make a lot more blocks than I had intended. I do not intend to make a lot more blocks than I  intended this time. As a matter of fact, I have no specific intentions for these blocks but I will make a few more before I move on to something else.

I think there is something wrong with me that I can't just throw these strips away or put them in the dog bed bag. when I thought they were gone I was perfectly content with that but when they turned up again in my closet I started thinking I should do something with them. I would not have the courage to pass them along as a prize in the next annual Jellyroll Race.  I might get banned from the Basement Divas.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fabric Rescue

I had a box of hand dyed fabric from 2 guild workshops about 20+ years ago. Once or twice I snipped off some pieces for hand applique but most of the fabric was still intact.  I put it in a bag to throw away because when I put it in the sink and ran hot water on it the color continued to run the whole time the water was running. I thought it was gone but it was just hiding in the closet among some other items in bags. When I found it I looked at it again and I remembered that after the workshop I bought it home and washed it all together  in hot water and it all came out looking no different than before I washed it.  So I washed it again for good measure and decided to keep it. None of the colors were deposited on any of the other fabrics the mottled appearance was done purposely as we were experimenting.

 I did not put it back in a bag or a box. I cut it all into 2 inch strips and I am going to sew pairs together and see where it goes. There were 40 some pieces of fabric many half yards and some fat quarters and a few smaller pieces. I guess I must have used some of it at some time after all.

So here are all the strips arranged ( big surprise) kind of by color on 4 trays.

I don't really have a plan and I do not expect to make a masterpiece or a "knock your socks off" quilt. I like most of the mottled colors and I like the way the fabric feels. It is soft and smooth and has a nice weight. I know I bought bleached white muslin at Joann's for the workshop and I believe the quality of the fabric is better than the muslin I see now in the store. I will probably have fun working with the colors combinations. Anyway, what have I got to lose? I thought I threw the bag of fabric away and if I don't like what is happening with it I can just put it in the "dog bed" bag. I am not afraid anymore that it will dye the dogs rainbow colors if it gets wet. I am not working on anything else right now so this will keep me occupied while some ideas I  have for another project are rolling around in my mind. I find that if I am working on something while I am thinking about a project or a problem I am more likely to come up with something I want to do. It will be a break from knitting dishcloths while I think.