Thursday, February 26, 2015

Moving Along ...............Slowly

I am moving along with the HST quilt but not very fast.  There have been enough snow days that it would seem as though I would get a lot more sewing done.

This is what is up on my small design wall; I have only finished 11 blocks. I thought I had more than enough squares and HSt's but I needed more variety and more "'sparklers". That meant dragging out more fabric to cut squares and then making more HST's. This is probably the layout I am going with unless I decide to make a larger quilt and then I might change my mind.

I'm much happier with the new arrangement in my room. It is easier to work now; when the weather improves and we can get some more insulation board, I will probably have a larger design wall.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sometimes you have to stop and sew

It took me several days to get back to straightening up the sewing room. When I got around to it I decided it was time for a major cleanup and rearrangement. Jack and I moved a large cabinet from it's original place, a few feet from the door, to a corner where it should have been in the first place. It opens up the room and if that were the only change it would be worth the effort. I had to empty the cabinet in order to move it; while everything was out I went through all the contents and discarded a few things and set other things aside to go to storage in the basement. That gave me the incentive to go through everything in the room( I really mean everything)  desk drawers, bookcase, sewing chests, boxes, shelves, yes.... everything. When you put things away haphazardly just to get it put away, it gets to a place where it is impossible to find anything. I was there!

I am not finished yet; this is a table of stuff that has to be put away. There is also a bunch of stuff in the hallway that is not coming back in this room. When we moved I reached a point where I couldn't decide whether or not to get rid of some things; a lot of it came along with us. I am much more objective now about what I really want to keep.
However, sometimes you just have to stop, clear a bit of space, and sew.

 There were two finished blocks on the design wall (yep, I now have a design wall of sorts) and two blocks ready to be stitched together. I sewed the 2 blocks together and put the four blocks up on the wall in this arrangement. This is not what  I thought I wanted originally But the real life version looks a bit different than the EQ version. I am going to wait and see how it looks when I get all of the blocks made before I decide which I like better.

These are two mock ups using photos of the four blocks to see the pattern that would develop. I thought the pattern below would be too static but in actual fabric I see how much variety there is of color and pattern .   I will wait and see which I  like best.
Actually there are several other variations that I saw and eliminated when I was playing and manipulating the blocks in EQ. I might revisit those before I make up my mind.

Meanwhile it is back to making order out of chaos. It really has to be done! The way things have been, I have not been able to work in this room and sustain my interest in anything.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentines Day

This year life got in the way of a lot of things I intended to do and one of those things was Valentines for my friends and family. However, I did do something for Valentines Day.

Two of the great grand children came yesterday and 11 year old Grace wanted to make a mini quilt for her mother. She picked out some fabric and we fused some hearts on a background and layered it up. At that point I was running out of steam and we put it aside to finish up today.  She stitched some quilting lines and along the edges and we trimmed the edges with a rotary pinking blade. She wanted to make something for her father too "so he wouldn't feel left out". We picked out something for a smaller Valentine mini quilt/card and fused a heart on it and finished it the same way as the one for her mother.

Grace at the sewing machine

 I suggested she make a card for her grandparents. Her grandmother (my daughter) came in the room as we were making her fathers card and admired the fabric we were using for the fused heart. She used what she cut away around the heart to fuse on a piece of card stock for a quick card. She was eager to finish and go out to play in the snow so we wanted something fast.These are her 3 projects on the right. She was all dressed to go out in the snow and didn't want to get undress to a photo shoot.

When she came back in she changed her clothes and I had to get a picture of her in her outfit with her penguin sweater, tutu style skirt and striped socks. A girl after my own heart!

On the right is a shot of the sewing room when we finished. It is a huge mess but so worth it for all the fun we had.

Friday, February 13, 2015

HST's and Squares

I got a slow start on the HST's because after I made a few and pressed them I really didn't like them. For one thing, I have not added anything much to my box of cut squares for a long time and what was left in the box was mostly rejects that didn't make it into quilts. I seriously thought about tossing the whole box of cut squares. I gave some thought to how I would use what is in the box and looked at the 3 1/2 inch cut squares and the 3 1/2 inch HST's that had been made here and there over a period of time. I have a lot of them from doing demos of making HST's

I made these 2 blocks and decided that I will continue. When I first laid out the squares and HST's  I was looking at colors and that was when I thought about tossing the whole thing. I went away and did something else and when I came back I played around with value. Oh well, this is much better.

Then I worked out what I want to do in Electric Quilt. On the left is the EQ version of the 4 block pattern and how I will probably lay out the whole quilt. I am probably going to cut more 4 1/2 inch squares of some more recently purchased fabrics to liven it up a bit.

I may be working on this for a while. I plan to work on 4 blocks at a time. I will be starting a wedding gift quilt when I can get out to the quilt shops and I will only work on this hit or miss until I finish the wedding gift.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Finish

Finally.....a finish! I think it is the first one this year. I decided to just quilt in the ditch over the whole thing. I was going to quilt with the #4 Bernina stitch across the blue/purple squares but decided that in the ditch was enough. About 1/3 of the way through I was not too happy with my decision to turn it instead of quilting first and binding it, Some blocks were not quite the same size as all the others and I had tucks in the quilting. When here are already some issues. turning the quilt pillow case style just exaggerates the problems. After some unsewing some of the quilting and repinning and sewing again, it all worked out.
After I put everything back in place after I finished quilting the tablecloth,  I went through some of the plastic boxes on the shelves. I have 3 boxes of scraps that are in ziplock bags, loosely sorted by color and one box of squares sorted by size. I decided to sew up the squares into HST"s, starting with the 4 inch squares. No photos of that yet and no plans as to what I will do with the HST's. I have a box of HST's in various sizes and a lot are made from 4 inch squares so I will do something with them or give them away.
I am really pinched for space so I need to do something with all the scraps too. Right now that seems overwhelming, tackling the squares seems enough for now.

Here is another photo of Miss Kitty. This is her latest ploy to get my attention. She jumps up on my desk and sits in front of me.

It's a good thing I like her!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Snow, Snow and More Snow

I really would be content to never see any snow again but I will admit it is pretty to look at when it is clean and fresh and when the sun makes it sparkle like diamonds. The sun was out yesterday but a photo does not capture the sparkle it does however show how deep it is when I show a shot of the picnic table and benches out in back, (on the left). The middle shot shows the icicles looking out at the bird feeder also in the back and the right photo is looking out toward the street, that one long icicle is almost down to the ground. In all the photos you can see that the sun is out and I love the way it makes shadows across the snow on the ground.

  We did go out for a short time yesterday just to get out of the house for a while. Today we are staying in again and I am working on quilting the tablecloth. Miss Kitty has been sleeping in a doll bed under the table and keeping me company while I sew.
 When I am sitting at the computer she gets up on my sewing chair  former sewing chair and gets my attention by tapping me on my arm or shoulder and saying "n-n-now". This face shot of her shows her looking at me to see how I am going to respond. She  will be 15 this May and she is showing her age but she still plays and is curious about anything new. She has trained me to be a proper companion and she is working on Jack. If I am busy doing something and not sitting in one place she takes over his footstool and watches the birds outside or just sleeps and he obliges her by keeping his feet on the floor. We are all getting along well together.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ready to Quilt

I am finally ready to quilt the "Scrappy Trips" summer tablecloth.  I thought I had a quilt batt that I had not opened but I found that I had opened it and used a large piece of it. A trip to Joanns or a quilt shop was not going to happen so I ordered batting on line and picked it up at the local Walmart store.

Here it is layered with just the batting. When I use a quilt for a tablecloth I like to turn it pillowcase style instead of binding the edges. I'm not sure why I like it better but I do. In the long run it is not really easier. First I layer the top and batting and pin it all around the edges with some pins across the whole top to keep it from shifting. Then I stitch a bit less than 1/4 inch from the edge all around and trim the batting even with the edge of the top.

Here is the same corner after I layered the top and the batting stitched at the edges, right sides together, with the backing and stitched it all around except for an opening for turning. After I turned it right sides out I smoothed it out and pin basted it, repositioning the pins that were just through the batting.
Because I am not sure how I am going to quilt this, I haven't started quilting it yet. After it snowed all day long today I am sure I will be staying in all day tomorrow so I will have plenty of time to work on it.