Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A diva meeting and packing.

Saturday was our Basement Diva meeting and there was over the top show and tell. It was reveal time for the Mary Ellen Hopkins Challenge.
I admired Lynn's "Hidden Wells" flimsy and she gave it to me. I love the colors and the floral fabrics. At first, I hesitated to take it but I was easily persuaded. I was never drawn to make this  pattern myself when it was presented at "Quilt Sitters Circle" some years ago. At the time I was not interested in anything that required making one kind of block and cutting it up and making something else that was a kind of a surprise. I have long since gotten over the need to control all the results of what I am making and I like the surprises.

Meeting with this group of quilters has been fun and irrational inspirational(aren't typos fun or maybe revealing).  As I look back over the quilts I have made since I became part of the group a few years back I realize the importance of having a group of quilting friends. I have gained so much as we have shared ideas and expertise. We help each other with quilting tasks and our challenges and mini workshops have helped me to  enlarge the range of my quilting skills.  We offer encouragement about quilting and family situations and we solve the problems of the world. Most valuable of all are the friendships that have developed over time. 

Yesterday, I took my Bernina out of the sewing table and put it in the case and folded up the sewing table. I have been packing and I need the space to get the boxes out of the way. If I need to do any emergency sewing I will be able to put one of my machines on the dining room table. I do have a couple of small things I might sew.  I want to have something small ready for the next Basement Divas meeting when Jan is going to show me how to add piping hot binding. Yes, it is a real mess right now but I'm working on it and soon it will at least be safe to enter the room.

Just in case I need some mental  health time, I have the backing handy to sew together for the Mary Ellen quilt; it is there, on the chair, in a large Ziploc bag.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Change of Plan - Again

I finished adding the zigzag print to the border and I decided to stop.
Maybe I am being lazy but I think that it doesn't look unbalanced.

Yesterday I thought the float border is too wide for the size of the print border and I thought another 2 inch border on the outside of the print would fix it. Today I think it is OK. Maybe a slightly narrower float border would have been better but at this point I am happy with it.

The mitered corners turned out good. I really hate fiddly things like matching those corners but even the final corner matched. I will use the background fabric for the binding and those little brown triangles will not show when the binding is on.
I am not going to use any of the leftovers for the backing as I usually do. This time I think it will look better with just one fabric. I might get the backing pieced before Saturday when the Basement Divas meet and then I can layer it up.  Or maybe this is all the sewing I should do for a while.
July 23 is moving day  and it is coming fast.  I still have a lot of sorting and purging and organizing to do.  I should have been further along but deciding how to finish these borders had me immobilized. Usually; when I can't decide how to proceed, I take a break and clean or organize something.  I have been at that point with packing and organizing where I am not sure what to do next and the mess in the sewing room needs to be sorted out before I can get anything done.
Wish me Luck!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Sometimes you just have to stop and give it a rest before proceeding. I thought I knew what I wanted to do for the borders in my Mary Ellen Hopkins challenge.

I cut the background fabric for the inner float border and sewed it on. then I cut the zigzag pattern fabric  and tried it out for size and that brown strip just jumped out and looked wrong.

I thought about it for a while and carefully trimmed away the brown.
that left 31/2 inches and when I sewed it to the float border it didn't look balanced. It was too narrow and the float border was too wide. At that point I put it away. But it was there at the back of my mind and I wasn't getting anything else done. Sorting and packing were also on hold.

 This morning I spread it out on my bed and auditioned the fabric I bought for the backing. Not bad, but I asked Jack's opinion. He didn't like either the zigzag stripe or the big dots. I was ready to take off the zigzag strip (it is only sewn on one side) and go borderless. I thought maybe a wider border of the background fabric would work. Well that was not good!
This is what I think I will do. I will add the rest of the zigzag strips and then another border of the background fabric the same width as the float border. I  won't need to rip anything. I bought enough backing fabric so adding a a few more inches won't make a difference. I'm not sure yet about the binding but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Quilt Camp 2014

Quilt Camp at our church has been going on this week. I think this may be our 8th year; in a post from 2010 I stated that it was our 4th year. Time sure flies when you are having fun and Quilt Camp has always been fun. This year there were 9 participants, 7 girls and 2 boys. Most of the young people this year were first timers with only one returnee.

This collage shows 8 of the quilters with their quilts. I missed one of them because she was quilting her quilt and I didn't get a shot of her holding it up.

I did get a shot of her working.

Here is the whole group with their quilts. I am really amazed at how much they have accomplished in 4 days. Some of the quilts are finished, some of them are nearly finished and will be finished by tomorrow when quilt Camp ends. Three of the quilts will be sent to a long arm quilter and then if help is needed with the bindings we will do it one of our monthly meetings. 

These were comments the young people wrote on the white board about what they learned.

I didn't really work with the quilters this year. I did some work ahead of time behind the scenes and I was there on Monday morning for  a while. I came back today for the photo shoot and pizza party. I have always loved working with the kids at quilt camp and I really missed it this year. There were a great bunch of adult helpers and I kept hearing about what a nice group of kids we had this year and how calm and focused they were. We have always had a nice group of kids, maybe not always focused and maybe not always calm.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Finish

I wasn't sure I would get this finished this month but I kept the room set up to quilt and did it a little at a time. It should have gone faster but I had other things taking up my time.

I can't get near my design wall to hang this up to get a full picture but you can see the way it is quilted. I have used the #4 stitch on the Bernina for years to quilt across a plain square or rectangle, sometimes with variegated thread to add a little interest. I have also used it for the binding on juvenile or whimsical  quilts. I never thought of using it for parallel lines until I saw Amy Smart from Diary of a Quilter use it that way on a Churn dash quilt. I was really at a loss over how to quilt this. I did not want to free motion quilt it or quilt in the ditch. I thought free motion would be too busy and in the ditch would be physically intensive. For several reasons, I wasn't sure I wanted to quilt parallel rows of straight lines either. When I saw Amy's quilt I thought "why not". At about 1/3 of the way I was sure I hated it but I kept going and now that it is finished I like it. My rows could be straighter but this is a very forgiving technique.

This is the back and there really is no hint of green in the backing fabric. It is a nice cheerful  yellow with orange lines. I had to improvise when I pieced the back because I did not buy enough fabric (Same old story, different quilt). Now I am happy that I didn't have enough fabric. Necessity is the mother of more interesting quilts.
Below are a couple of close up shots. I thought at first that the quilting was too scribbly and overshadowed the blocks but I don't think so after all. You can see in the close up on the right how I quilted the HST border.

 I have to mention one of the best tools I have found in a long time.
Saturday I went to a NEORQC (North East Ohio Regional Quilt Council)  meeting. I won a small bucket of goodies. I can always use more basting pins and another little snipping scissors. I have wanted to try piping hot binding and now I have a tool and an instruction booklet and some cord. There is fabric with instructions for a 10 minute table runner that I am sure the little great grandsons will like. Best of all is the "Seam Fix" Seam ripper. The instructions say to use the seam ripper to cut the threads and then with the tip on the cap rub over the seam and it will pick up all the stray thread. IT WORKS! I am not a gadget person but this is one that I am in love with. Picking out all those threads is the worst part of ripping a seam.