Monday, November 20, 2017

Friendship Blocks

For a number of years I belonged to the "Friendship" group at the local quilt shop. We met once a month and one or sometimes two of the members presented a block pattern with color preferences that they wanted the other members to make for them. Depending on the size we could request either 2 or 3 blocks. I asked for "Triple 4 Patch" blocks at least 3 times and made 3 quilts that I loved. I made quilts from almost all of my "Friendship" blocks.

So..... Saturday I was rattling around wondering what to do with myself and decided to have a look in my box of odd blocks.  I found a number of blocks that I made to try out a pattern or a colorway, some that lead to quilts and some that didn't. I did find a large size zip lock bag with 12 inch "Quails Nest" Friendship blocks. 

There are enough blocks for 2 quilts, one with lighter nearly pastel fabrics and these that are darker, richer colors. I am going to work with these first. 
I picked out 9 blocks and then made 3 more to make a more useful size quilt. I dragged out 3 flannel covered insulation panels that I didn't use on my wall and started arranging; I think I am finished moving them around.

I am considering sashing strips and border fabric from my stash or maybe I will shop for something.  I have time to think about it, there will probably be no more sewing till next week.


Monday, November 13, 2017

Autumn and Me


My grandson took this picture on Saturday when they came to visit so we could meet her. I am not biased when I say she is beautiful.

Our new little great grandson is holding his own. He was 1lb. 14 oz. at birth.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Babies and Drag Around Quilt

Yesterday my grandson and his wife came to see us so we could meet the new great granddaughter. She is beautiful and both parents are basking in the joys of new parenthood. I got to hold her for a little while but then Mom had to feed her and then our son (new grandpa) came and he held her the rest of the time.  She is his first grandchild and he is quite taken with her.


This is the only photo I got yesterday because my camera has been having some problems. It doesn't snap the picture every time I press the button. Maybe it is time for a new camera.






I finished the Drag around quilt and gave it to them yesterday. This collage shows the front and backing. I didn't use the backing for the binding after all but remembered that I saw some already made, leftover, yellow binding when I went through the scrap basket.  This little quilt is about 24 inches square.and there are a lot of scraps in it from the quilt I made for the parents wedding gift.











We also have another new great grandchild,  He was due in January but he was born early Friday at 27 weeks.  I have some photos but he is hard to see with all the paraphernalia attached and around him. We haven't had any updates since Friday afternoon; at that time, the outlook was cautiously optimistic. We are praying for him and all the family and trusting God.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Drag Around Quilt

This morning I got up and looked at the blocks that I found in my scrap basket.  I had stuck them up on my design wall with the thought that I would sew them together for a small quilt.  What better time to do that than right away?  So I did.


I used Kona cream  to calm it down and I am off to the quilt shop to find a backing which will also be the binding. It has been a while since I was moved to get something started and finished so quickly.
I think my new space is inspiring,  maybe!












Monday, November 6, 2017

Sewing Room

While my sewing room was functional it wasn't conducive to creativity.  I had been waiting for Jack to put up my design wall but, always, something else that came first.  To be honest, both of us have only so much energy and this has been a very big energy sapping move for us.  We had some help with some big projects but finding where things go is something that we've had to do ourselves. You can't tell people what you want to do with something if you don't know what you want.

Anyway, last Tuesday I got up early and felt energized and motivated and I hung my flannel covered insulation panels on the sewing room walls myself.  To be sure, Jack would have done a better job but it is done and I don't think I hurt his feelings.

I bought foam insulation boards and covered them with white flannel and I used them with 2 older flannel covered boards that I thought were white. Oh well, this is a working wall and when I am not using it it will be covered with a finished wall hanging.
The design boards cover the wall from the doorway to the corner (7 feet) and round the corner (31 inches). they are 48 inches long and start 13 inches down from the ceiling.





A day or so earlier I had hung some of my large square rulers on the wall. This is right next to where the design boards around the corner end.
I don't like to put the big square rulers in the ruler rack.
 You can see odds and ends just sitting around waiting to be put somewhere.









 I had made white muslin curtains for the window and hung them on a tension rod. White, to allow as much light as possible even with the curtains closed; just in case I start working before I get dressed.













Some color was definitely needed and I knew just what I wanted. As soon as I put up my design wall, I dug into my big laundry basket of unorganized scraps and cut at least 20 inches of various widths of colorful fabric. I put them up on the wall and started working.
















It wasn't fast but I finished up on Sunday after church and Jack and I put up the curtain rod for the piano key valence. Hanging that curtain rod is a whole story in itself but we did it! And hung the valence.

Then we moved my desk so I could get at the walls above and beside my desk where I hung a permanent wall hanging and a bulletin board, that I will change out from time to time.



So here is my room, from the doorway around 3 walls to the window.

This quilt will be on the wall when I don't need the design wall for something large.













This is my wall around the corner.
Atthe top of the design board is a little quilt my friend made using a pack of my 5 inch squares that I donated as a prize for the annual Basement Diva  first Jelly Roll Race. the pack was called "Notso Squares", for not so charming. Below that are some "made fabric" blocks that I found in my disaster of a scrap basket.
I rearranged the rulers so I could hang my scherenschnitte art that I purchased from an Ohio paper cutter artist long ago.
The "Flock of Geese " wall hanging is one I made when my friend Kathy taught me to paper piece.


This is above my desk and there will be some other things below it to fill in that space.


My bulletin board, around the corner right next to my desk.These things change from time to time.
The license plate above, which does not photograph well, will stay. There may be some additions there to balance the space.











Last is the window with the piano key valence.
Next to the window is a  narrow lingerie chest which we bought for Jack 20 some years ago to exactly fit that same space in our other apartment. It now holds seldom used rulers and other tools and templates, freezer and parchment paper, rolls of art paper and canvas. The fourth wall is around the corner and is just the closet doors and the book case.

In our other apartment I had shelves that went from wall to wall above my desk, one high and one lower to clear my monitor by a few inches. Though this apartment is the same, we just couldn't hang the shelf brackets. We hit concrete and though we tried many things we finally just gave up.


In the end I think I have the most workable space I've ever had. I can reach everything easily. Only one shelf in the closet is too high to reach without a ladder. It holds things I seldom use and I can get them down by standing on the lowest step of the ladder.

Today, I am content with my sewing room and I am inspired to do something with those colorful "made fabric" blocks. I think I will make a small drag around quilt for my brand new great granddaughter, Autumn Leah, who arrived yesterday morning.




Friday, October 20, 2017

Getting There

Every box and Rubbermaid tub is unpacked and most things have found their permanent place. The sewing room is getting there.

This morning I emptied the Rubbermaid tub of all my fabric scraps for improve piecing. Once upon a time I had all my scraps in 2 large popcorn tins. I could never find anything when I wanted something so I set about to organize everything by cutting the scraps into strips and squares of the sizes I used  most often. Then I started following Victoria Finlay Wolfe's Bumblebeans blog and I started saving uncut scraps again for "making fabric" and improv piecing. I sorted my scraps by color and put them in ziplock bags and stored them in that brown plastic laundry basket. When I wanted to work with the scraps I put them in shoe boxes on my work table, with a box for each color. That way I didn't have a big tangled pile of all colored scraps. When I was finished with the project I put the fabric back in the ziplocks and stacked the empty shoe boxes. That system worked very well.......until I put a bag of scraps in the basket without sorting them by color. I was cleaning up after a project and " I would sort them later". Multiply than scenario by at least ten times and it isn't organized anymore.  I now have my plastic basket filled with the sorted scraps and next to it are seven bags of unsorted scraps from many projects.  I plan to tackle this soon.

But Not Today!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Not Quite Ready to Sew

We got moved on September 29 and the move went OK; nothing of ours got broken but the moving truck backed up over our son in law's 40 foot extension ladder and damaged both ends. The time estimate for the move was 6 hours and it took 8. However I was at the receiving end telling them where everything went and this time we got the furniture in the sewing room against the walls where it was staying and the boxes in the middle of the room. That was a big plus instead of the boxes lining the walls and the furniture in the middle of the room; especially since all of the miscellaneous boxes (the ones to be unpacked after all the "important" stuff) always go in the sewing room.

We got all the important stuff taken care of and in place right away (the bed first, of course, TV's set up, internet, cable and phones connected and Jack's desk set up). From there it all slowed down but I can finally see the end in sight.

I received my prize from the Blogger's Quilt Festival and it is a very nice  " A Shout, A whisper A Text" quilt kit from Designs by Sarah J Max.

 Here is the stack of 26 fabrics and the pattern.















 Here are all the pieces spread out. There are various size pieces because it is a quilt kit.

I am eager to get started on this fabric; this may be the incentive I need to get my sewing room shaped up.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Almost There and A nice Surprise

I have been a busy getting ready to move but I took a small time out to look at the Bloggers Quilt Festival and to enter a quilt. The nice surprise is that I won a prize,  a Sarah J Max Designs  Shout, Whisper, Text quilt kit. I am looking forward to receiving it. The prizes were by drawing, not by vote this year; nice for me because I entered on the last day. Even though it is over the quilts are still up for viewing. Click and the link above.
I am almost finished packing. Tomorrow is moving day and I hope I get it all done before midnight tonight. I am down to all the odds and ends that don't fit nicely with other things. The movers are coming at 9AM so I will have to sleep fast and be up and dress and ready to go by 9.

Jack is waiting to pack up my computer so I will not be on my computer for a few days but I hope to be back before too long.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Fancy Forest is my entry for the Bloggers Quilt Festival. I made this quilt from Elizabeth Hartman's Fancy Foret pattern. I do not usually follow patterns exactly but I saw the sample baby quilt in The Quilted Thimble quilt shop and found it so charming I decided to make it for a great grandchild shower gift.

I chose what it consider a neutral green for the background.  This is the backing and binding fabric which had nearly all of the colors in the quilt top.











The pattern was well written and it should have been easy to follow but I am not a good follower of instructions.  I tend to jump ahead and start before reading all the instructions.That made problems for every block. However I hung in there and finished the quilt  and it was well received and it got a standing ovation at the shower. I am presently cutting fabric for another great grandchild quilt.

I did have one near disaster when my daughter called me away from putting the blocks together for the top, to have my eye brows dyed. Without giving any thought at all to what might happen I went right back to the sewing room and started working again. Of course, it had to happen; I got dye on one of the blocks. There was no way I was going to make it over again. I solved the problem with an appliqued leaf and now that is part of the
quilt story.

If you want to read more about the process as I worked on the quilt follow the Fancy Forest link below.






Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Moving

I am sitting here in the middle of chaos wondering if I will be able to make order out of it. I am packing to move again. In 3 1/2 weeks we will be moving back to the apartment complex where we lived before, only this time it will be on the first floor.  Jack needs to be where there are no stairs. As long as there is a handrail I can handle stairs but I too will be happy with no stairs.

My sewing room is the holding area for all the boxes; so there will be no no sewing going on here. When I get together with my friends I do some cutting for the second Fancy Forest baby quilt but sewing it will have to wait until my sewing room is set up again.

  I am doing most of the packing myself.  I want to be able to find things when we unpack. Jack tapes the moving boxes and can lift the boxes if he doesn't have to carry them  to another room.  He will be packing his stuff that isn't clothing, all 2 boxes of it. Somehow everything else is mine. I do have help companionship while I work; Lucy keeps busy inspecting everything. In between inspecting she takes naps and washes herself.

If there is something different she has to try it out. Here she is napping on a piece of fabric she pulled down from the ironing board, under the shelf, on my cutting table which is piled up with things I was sorting through to pack, in a box I had taped for packing and in a bag of plastic grocery bags I was using to wrap small non breakable objects.

Though she has been considered my cat,(that means I clean the litter box) she will be staying here. I am going to miss her, she is such a fun cat.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Sad News

Early in August our family dog got sick and though he appeared to get better at first, he continued to have some problems. He had some digestive problems and on and off he wouldn't eat his regular food. We started cooking chicken and rice for him which seemed to agree with him and he was more like his old self, wanting to go for walks and fetch with his ball but he was having some bad days. Last Saturday he didn't eat all his dinner and just laid around and wouldn't move but he wagged his tail when we spoke to him. Sunday morning after he stumbled and fell and couldn't get up; my daughter and son in law took him to the vet and they had him put down.
Tux was a 10 years old Black Lab and  a great dog. He had a wonderful disposition and very good manners, he liked everyone, and he was cheerfully obedient from the time he was a puppy . He was amiably tolerant of the cats and visiting and neighbor dogs. He delighted in walking around the yard with his human companions  and in the woods beyond the yard.









Jack and Tux - 2 old dogs
He was happy and content just being around his people.  Everyone is going to miss him.








Monday, August 7, 2017

Fancy Forest is Done

I am so happy to have finished this quilt with a few days to spare. It has been a challenge and sometimes frustrating but I am pleased with the results.

Quilt and backing
The pattern was well written  and step by step it was easy to follow.  The difficulties I had were not the fault of the pattern.  It is a pattern that requires attention to everything, cutting, stitching, drawing diagonal lines on squares for connector corners (otherwise know as flip triangles).

I learned a few lessons that I will use when I make a second baby quilt from this pattern. Yes, I will make the second quilt.

1. When I cut the pieces for the blocks I will have a scanned and printed page with the cutting sizes that I can fold so that I am only looking instructions for each fabric in the block as I am cutting it.

2. Before I start to sew it together, I will lay out all the pieces for a block on a small design board and be sure I have all the pieces and understand where they go.

3. I will keep my work area clutter free and cat free.

4. I will not multitask when I am making the blocks.

5. I will make sure that I will not be interrupted in the middle of a block.

6. I will not dye my eyebrows.

Every quilt has a story and part of this quilt's story is one of an almost disaster. When my daughter and her friend do their hair they sometimes dye my eyebrows. I was getting ready to quilt the quilt which was layered up and pin basted. There was a scrap of the background fabric pinned on the batting on the side of the quilt for testing my stitch length and thread colors and I was ready to start testing my thread colors  when I was called to the other room for my eyebrow dye. Without any thought at all about the dye I went back to my sewing room and sat down and stitched some thread test rows. I looked at my hands and I had dark dye on my fingers. I washed my hands and looked the quilt over and  didn't see anything except a little bit of dye on the edge of the batting. I thought I dodged that bullet until I had quilted several blocks when I found  dye on the owl. I looked for any other spots and only found one that would be covered by the binding. My daughter said that is part of the story (She also said "I can't believe you were sewing with dye on your eyebrows").


As I finished all the quilting I thought about how I would fix this. In the end I machine appliqued a leaf over the spot on the owl.









There was no part of this quilt that I didn't have something to re cut, re sew or fix in some way. However the length of the binding strips when sewed together was absolutely perfect. It came together at the end with the exact overlap needed to make the diagonal joining seam. How often does that happen?

Anyway, that's the story!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

It's a Flimsy

Fancy Forest is a flimsy. It went together without any problems. I guess fixing every little problem as I went along paid off in the end. All of the blocks ended up the correct size except for the Firefly blocks and I knew I would have to fudge something there.  It turned out that I just had to remove a strip from the top of the block, easiest fix of all for this quilt.
I changed one block from my original plan. I moved the red Fox from above the purple Thistle to below it.  When I studied everything on my design wall I thought the purple Thistle and the purple wings on the Owl were too close together. I had already sewed the 2 left side rows together and I liked them they way they were. Moving the red Fox was easy and it moved the purple Thistle up enough to balance the color distribution. The Fox/Thistle rows are 6  inches wide and the other rows are 8 inches, that limited the options but I think it was a good fix.

I don't have anything in my stash for the back so a trip to the quilt shop is in order. I am not going to piece a backing for this one because I want to get started on the quilting. I want this ready for a baby shower on August 12.

I think I will make another one from this pattern after all. It is a good pattern even though it is a bit fiddly for me and my habits. It certainly made me sharpen my skills and my concentration.The next great grand child is not due until January so I will have time to make it if that is what I decide. I will use some of the some fabrics and use a different background. I have a busy 2or 3 months coming up but even if I don't squeeze in any big block of sewing time I should have time to make it. After all, I have good experience. LOL, I might be kidding myself about how much that experience matters.

 I will probably draw all of the blocks in Electric Quilt so I can play with the colors.  I drew the Firefly block in EQ before I made the second block. I could see different color options it helped me to see the fabric in colors I was using when I cut pieces.  I  use my EQ program for every quilt I make. I helps decide on colors to use, and color placement and I like being able play with all the options. EQ helps me to understand how to sew the blocks and see a better way sometimes and to try out all the "what ifs".  I didn't put the blocks in EQ before I started because I thought It would be too time consuming and after all, I had the pattern to follow. In fact, It was very easy to draw the Firefly block using the cutting directions from the pattern. So... another lesson learned.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Blocks Done!!!

I finished the last  Forest block this morning. I had so many problems with the Firefly block 2 days ago that I took yesterday off from sewing. The second block went much faster, as I expected it would.
I did have some problems with the lower wing units.  The pattern referred to Figure  12 twice. I think one time it was supposed to be Figure 11 because there was a Figure 11 shown. I sewed the patch on that strip corner to corner in the wrong direction. Into the wastebasket it went and I redid the right and left strips.
There are small differences in the blocks due to missing something in the directions about the top strip in the orange block. When I did the second block I read the directions correctly.  No matter, one is at the top of the quilt and the other at the bottom.  One is also slightly longer (top to bottom)  and that will be fixed with a bit wider strip of sashing.



Here are all the blocks arranged in the order they will be sewn.
It should be easy from here on. But who knows, I thought the Firefly blocks would be easy.

One Block to Go


 15.5 x 6.5 raw edge to raw edge
On Thursday I spent the whole day making one Butterfly Firefly block. Getting the name of the block wrong was only the first mistake. Not getting the name right didn't make the block more difficult but it is a good indication of the way I read directions. From there on it was one mistake after another. starting with the first 3 pieces I sewed together. It was actually 6 because it was the right and left of the first row of the wings. I cut the center patch an inch too short and of course I sewed both right and left and cut away the excess on the connector corners. Three rows later I found my mistake when I tried to figure out why the rows were different lengths. They went right into the waste basket and I cut new pieces and started over.  It didn't get any better after that, it was one thing after another, but I finished the block about 8 PM. I started out around 7 AM but I took a number of sanity breaks so I wasn't at it continuously. I thought this would be an easy block and it really should have been. I took today off from sewing and straightened up my work area. I even did some reading and I took a nap.



So, I have one more to go and if it works out like all the other blocks the second one should be faster and easier.
Here it is, kind of arranged on a design board that is propped up on my cutting table. The green background strips at the bottom go on the ends of the bottom 3 rows. This really looks confusing but I understand it.  I plan on finishing this block tomorrow. I will ban Lucy from my sewing room and if the door is closed maybe no one else will interrupt my train of thought.





Thursday, July 27, 2017

Goodby To The Best Iron I Ever Owned

Today my Hamilton Beach iron bit the dust. About 2 weeks ago Lucy somehow knocked my ironing board over and my iron went down with a bang.  I picked it up and  turned it on and it seemed fine. The button that you push for a shot of steam had been knocked out and I found it and put it back in place. I couldn't push it for a shot of stream because I didn't get it in right. Today, I needed the shot of steam because the iron was not doing the job.  I pried the button out out and got it back in right. All good to go - - - - or not! The iron wouldn't heat up and it wouldn't turn off with the OFF button, then all the High, Medium and Low buttons started flashing. I bought this iron in February 2010 and I loved this iron. I loved it so much I went looking for another Hamilton Beach iron and I found one I think I am going to love just as much, the Hamilton Beach Durathon Digital iron with a retractable cord.


Now I can get back to the Fancy Forest blocks. I was halfway through the second Owl block when  my iron quilt. I had to wait till after dinner to go to iron shopping but I finished the block and fell in love with the iron, Jack likes it too; he ironed his shirts while I sewed.

I saved the Owls for almost last because they are the most fiddly. The eye section, just below the ear section and above the body and wings section, has 38 pieces. Ten of those pieces are connector corners. However, this block went together easier than the others. by the time I got around to the owls I had found my way to be organized. I got out a smallish design board and propped it up on my cutting table and I cut the pieces from each fabric I put them up on the board in the way I would be sewing them together. It was also easier because I had started using printed cutting charts that I could fold to only see the section I was cutting and I could mark all the pieces as I cut them.

 I plan on cutting and sewing the 2 Butterfly blocks tomorrow.  I don't  know if I will make this again for the second baby quilt I need. A few days ago I would have say "NO Way" but now I think I might. I have more than enough fabric from what I bought for this quilt and lots more in my stash.
I can take my time making the next one because the baby isn't due till the end of January.
We'll see!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Fancy Forest Again

I finished the second Thistle block Sunday. Saturday night I had  re cut the background for the leaf section that . I had not cut all of the background pieces ahead of time and I am happy that I didn't. After looking at the wrong chart for the leaf section, I am taking extra care as I cut the pieces. I am scanning and printing the cutting charts and then folding them so that I am only seeing the section for what I am cutting from each fabric. I do learn from my mistakes.

It hasn't been easy to decide on the fabrics for each block. I am not sure about the leaf section of the block on the right. I want to repeat every fabric that I use at least once. After I make the Owl and Butterfly blocks will see if I want to keep that section or change it.

With each new block that I make the first one is slow and second one goes much faster. I am also taking much more care with the quarter inch seams and measuring each time I sew something together.  I fix each problem on the spot and it has made everything easier.



 I started the Hedgehog blocks yesterday; I finished the first one yesterday and the second one this morning, I only had to do one thing over on the first one due to drawing my diagonal line in the wrong direction for the outside strips. I did the same thing on the second block but caught it before I stitched it,





I have only 2 Owl blocks and 2 Butterfly blocks to make before I can put it all together. I am going to put what I have up on the design wall with the layout that I will be using; then I will make decisions about what fabrics I need to use for the rest of the blocks.
I feel as though I am on schedule for finishing in time for the shower on August 12.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

More Fancy Forest

I made the second Bunny block and it went faster and the mouth didn't need any "fixing up" with a Pigma pen.  That is a black thread  on the pink Bunny's left cheek. When I saw it on the photo I thought it was a mark on the fabric. I'm happy to know I don't have to replace that strip.







This is how I spent most of the day yesterday. I took a long sanity break in the  afternoon. I started on the leaf section (on the right) about 8 AM. For starters I had cut the the background pieces a quarter inch short. I was looking at the section with the instructions for cutting the Colorful fabric for the leaves and stem,my fault, not the pattern.
I unsewed the seams and recut the background, marked the diagonal lines for the connector corners and sewed again. Most were OK but I had strayed from the marked line and I had to fix some of the sections (more than once).  When I measure each of the 6 leaf sections, they were not all the same size. So I fixed that, unsew, resew, stitch another line to take up a seam, whatever it took; this pattern requires accuracy.
When I sewed the leaf sections on either side of the stem they didn't line up, unsew, resew, repeat. I settled for not perfect.
I adjusted the width of the horizontal section at the bottom of the flower section to allow for some discrepancy in the length of the flower and leaf sections and sewed it together.

OH NO!! The six leaf sections were wrong. I unsewed the leaf section  and I went shopping for 3 hours and we stopped for dinner on the way home. Once home and back to work, I took out the leaf  pieces for the second thistle block, of course the background pieces had to be re cut because background fabric was cut wrong for 2 blocks at the same time. The block, on the left, from there on was easy. I will use a different green when I cut the left leaf section for the second block again. I really don't like the green I initially chose for the block.
So I guess after all I would have discarded that block section anyway. I just wish I had not spent the whole day leading up to that decision.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bunny Block

One Bunny block done and one to go. It is a good thing there are only 2 of these blocks instead of 4 like the Fox blocks. All the small or narrow pieces gave me problems. I had to unsew and resew too many times. When I was 3/4 of the way to being finished my sections didn't fit. They were all 1/4 inch too wide. I was sure my seams were accurate at 1/4 inch but with six seams across the ear section, even being of a few threads makes a difference.

Then there were the places were the points on the connector corners had to meet. I think all  of them are a little bit off.
The nose and the mouth caused me a lot of frustration. In the end, after 3 fixes I got out my black Pigma pen and fixed it up. After I got that strip done I sewed it to the eye strip, leaving out the strip in between. (It really was getting too late) My rule is if I have to rip something 3 times, I quit and come back later. This morning I unsewed the nose and mouth strip and finished the block.
From now on I am going to measure with each addition and fix the problems before proceeding.
I am going to start the second Bunny block and I hope taking extra care to be accurate as I go along will make it easier. I will make the owls next. I think after the owls the rest will be easier.

We'll see!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fancy Forest Foxes

Yesterday, I finished the 4 Fox blocks for the Fancy Forest baby quilt.  The first block didn't go very fast because my 1/4 inch seams were not so red hot accurate. I had to rip out some seams and I also had to re cut a few pieces. Accuracy really gets important when some of the pieces are 1 1/4 inches.  I think that the fact that I have done very little sewing or rotary cutting recently had made a difference. The last 3 blocks went quickly so I guess I sharpened my skills on the first block.


I did have a helper  observer while I was sewing. I wasn't aware that she had joined me until I looked up and there she was. I had hoped she would observe from a distance but she wanted to be right there where she could grab the thread or the pieces as they moved along.










This morning, I cut the pieces for the 2 Bunny blocks. Once again, Lucy paid me a visit and decided to take a nap on the pattern book from which I was working. There many pieces to cut;  different widths and lengths and different numbers of each one to cut. I moved her a couple of times and finally decided to take a break. When I got back to it later, I found that I had cut some of the pieces the wrong size and not enough of some pieces and more than enough of others. I had to sort it all out and get it organized. This is a pattern  that requires one's undivided attention when cutting. Taking a break in the middle of working on it didn't work so well.




The instructions said to cut all the sashing strips from the background fabric before cutting the pieces for the Thistle blocks. As soon as I started cutting the background, Lucy joined me again and settled down on my long cutting ruler. I gave her some chin scratches and a massage and ruffled her fur before I banished her from the sewing room while I cut all the background fabric pieces for the rest of the quilt.
Tomorrow I will sew the 2 Bunny blocks; there are a lot of little fiddly pieces. I will be sure to close the door to the sewing room,


Monday, July 10, 2017

Baby Quilts

We are expecting 2 more great grand children this fall so, of course I need to make 2 baby quilts.
I considered something simple that I could strip piece or maybe an I Spy disappearing 9 patch.



After a trip to the quilt shop I decided on an Elizabeth Hartman pattern. This is the pattern for a twin bed quilt but I will only be making a quadrant of this. She gives the instructions for cutting and for yardage for the smaller size. the shop owner at the "Quilted Thimble"  had made the shop sample and assured me the piecing would be easy as all of the measurements were spot on.

I seldom buy patterns because I always change how I want to use them. This pattern sample just looked to cute to pass up and I was ready to do something different.












This is one quadrant and probably the one I will be using.









This is what I purchased so far, the green background fabric and some of the fat quarters I need. I know I want some yellow and orange. I will also be using black for the features the way it is used in the pattern.


It was hard for me to pick ten fabrics I need for the motifs. I need to pull some from my stash and I need to make some of the blocks before I look for more fabric.




I know I will make one quilt for sure and I think I will make both of them from this pattern. We'll see how it goes. I am going to have to get busy as one baby shower is on August 12.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Still Here

I'm still alive and kicking moving  slowly but when there isn't much going on, I find it difficult to post anything.There is still not much going on except for a little flower gardening. I backed off of that a bit after Lucy found some snakes to play with. Thankfully,  she did not bring them in the house but my enthusiasm for gardening cooled off for a while.

I have not done much sewing of any kind lately but I enter 3 quilted wall hangings in a small quilt exhibit at the local library. None of them are new but they have not been in any quilt shows or exhibits and they live in my closet most of the time.


This one was part of a series using large scale print squares and Birds in the Air blocks and another block with half square triangles. I think it might be called Northwind.
 I was at the quilt shop for a meeting of something or other and spotted the Laurel Burch fabric and the multicolor spotted fabric side by side. When I said I was going to make something with them, I remember my friend saying "well, that's a no brainer". She was right I didn't have to think twice to know they just belonged together.













The background on this next one was an experiment in black and white ninepatch color wash . I made nine patch blocks starting with the darkest and the lightest 2 fabrics (in the upper right corner) and worked progressively through the values with the next lighter dark fabric  and the next darker light fabric. In the lower left corner the values were the same and the fabrics distinguished only by the pattern.
When I sewed all the blocks together it was clear that the piece need a focal point. I added the cat and the flowers.
That fabric in the upper left is part of the curtain  on the window next to my design wall.





This was a Zentangle inspired wall hanging I entered in the Bloggers Quilt Festival  in 2012. You can see that I used a similar background to the cat quilt above. In fact, I had some left over blocks and some of the fabric from the cat quilt. If you want to read more about this one you can click on the link above.

So, this is the extent of my quilt related activities lately. Well except for changing out my spring quilts or my patriotic quilts for the summer, nothing new there though.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Weeding, Raining, Birds, and not much Sewing

It was raining last weekend and Jack and I put my Christmas present together, it is a Tractor Scoot from Gardeners Supply.  It is basically a tractor seat on a 4 wheel base with a handle to pull it like a wagon. The seat swivels 360 degrees and there is a bucket on the back for weeds and a tray underneath for tools. I think I like it, it is much more comfortable that my kneeler/bench and I have been able to walk after working in the yard. I was able to do some weeding and cleanup in the flowers but then it started raining. It has rained for days and it is cold. Everything is growing; the many shades of green and all the trees blossoming and the spring flowers blooming are wonderful to look at.
Not much sewing going on here but I did get out  to the quilt shop one of the rainy days. I did a little bit of cutting ( and a lot of talking) when I got together with my friends on Wednesday.

These are the fabrics in the fat quarter bundle I bought. I had nothing in mind but they look so springy and cheerful that they called my name .








They called Lucy's name too when I layed them out to photograph them. She always has to curl up on anything that is new.










This is the bird feeder that we see from the window in the living room at the back of the house. The trees all around the sides of the yard and the hemlock trees near the house make it a very attractive place for the birds.    

I noticed 2 pairs of Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks a couple of weeks ago and then didn't see them for a while.

Yesterday they were back and I had eyes on 5 males at one time. One of them was probably immature as it had makings of its head that were more like the female. I'm not sure how many females we have because they were all moving around back and forth, from feeder to tree to bush and back again.

I got this shot of 4 of the males and one little brown sparrow.



We had Nuthatches all winter but this little guy is new to our feeder. When I spotted him I thought he was just another Nuthatch because of his actions. A closer look told me he was different.  I looked him up and identified him as a Red Breasted Nuthatch.

Jack and I and Lucy spend a lot of time watching the birds. I am always excited to see something new at the feeders. I spotted a lone turkey way out in back the past two days and I am pretty sure there were 2 Brown Thrashers just beyond the hemlocks but they moved out of sight before I got my binoculars and bird books.

We use safflower seeds in the feeders and  the squirrels leave them along.  We have a lot of different kinds of squirrels.  We also have many chipmunks who do eat safflower seeds but so far this year they have stayed off the feeders.  Maybe that is because of Lucy. We don't let her outside but she gets out sometimes and one day she left us a dead chipmunk.