Thursday, June 20, 2019

Three More Blocks

I sewed 3  Framed 9 Patch blocks even though I am still cutting for them. I just want to sew and see how they look. So far I have completed 13 blocks and I realized that I need to see them all together in order to make color choices for the solid fabrics.

These are the 3 blocks I sewed today. I think from now on I will  use different solid colors for each block when I make 2 or more of the same print.

These are the 13 blocks I've completed.

Wow! Lots of green prints so far.  I consider green a neutral and I apparently like it but I am not aiming for a predominantly green (or blue) quilt, I see a lot of blue too. I have a lot of both in my scrap and leftover bins. However, it is early in the process and now that I have this up on the wall I will be  better able to make those visual decisions.

I am also noticing that the smaller scale prints look better, for the most part, that the medium scale prints,  I know that for overall interest I need to use different scale prints in my fabric choices so I will not be eliminating the blocks that look a little chunky.  I am, after all, working mostly from my scrap supply and my objective is to pare it down to something manageable.

 I am having fun doing it

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Fussy Cut or Not?

I have bee busy going through my scraps and left overs and cutting for 3 different blocks.  Every so often I have to just sew something.  The Framed 9 patch blocks are the easiest to "just sew" because  fabric choices have already been decided, I don't have to put them up on the design wall and play with them, they go together pretty fast even when I am only doing one at a time. Once I get the cutting finished I will not be working on one at a time but when I need to sew and see something finished "one or two at a time" works.

I found some sizable left overs from these 2 fabrics and decided first to fussy cut the green.

 I wanted the roses to show up more but after I sewed the block I didn't like it so much. I didn't fussy cut the pieces  for the one on the right and I like it better.

I had 4 fabric sections of the blue cut 3 stripes wide in lengths that must have been for borders. I don't remember what I cut it for or why I didn't use them.  I had enough to cut up any way I  might need. The stripes were not quite 2 inches wide so I cut about an eighth of an inch into the opposite shade stripe.
This time I was happy with the results.

I believe  the reason the fussy cutting worked better for the blue is the scale of the pattern in relation to the  size of the block. The block will be 7 1/2 inches in the quilt and the roses fill a 1 1/2 inch patch I think the fussy cut green looks kind of clunky.

I will probably use them all because I think overall when everything is put together in the overall look it will be the solid fabrics that draws the viewers eye.

We'll see!

Thursday, June 13, 2019


Our quilt group at church met last Saturday and I brought home some odd sized/shaped pieces of fabric to cut into squares and strips. This time I am concentrating mostly on 6 inch squares trying for multiples of 4 or more  that will coordinate for large 9 patch blocks for quilts that will go to Jamaica. I was able to use some of the small scraps from cutting for the Donna Poster blocks and 8 inch Framed 9 patch  blocks.

Today, I made these 2 blocks with smaller odd pieces of one purple print and some of my own solids.

I made the one on the right first and I didn't like it as well as I thought I would. I had enough small scraps to make another with a different color solid; when I compared them I saw my mistake. I hesitated to fix it because it meant unsewing 5 seams and moreover the block had measured a perfect 8 inches.  I had lunch and did the dishes and came back to my sewing room and picked up my seam ripper and I did it!

I was bothered enough to know that if I waited to do it and forgot and sewed it into the quilt I would end up taking it out and it would be more work in the end. It went together almost as perfectly with about 1/16 of and inch space where  the side strip was sewn on. Because it is not on the corner it will not be a problem.

The background purple is really dark but it comes across as purple and not navy.  I was happy to  be able to use the small scraps because my own stash is not heavy on purple.

These are some of the 6 inch squares I cut. The unicorns were pretty far apart as were the bunnies and birds so I only got 2 unicorns and the bunny square is only 4 1/2 inches but it can go into Donna Poster scrap blocks that is kind of an ongoing project..
I think the purple shows up a little better in this photo because I found some dark gray fabric to put beside them.

I will be making more of the Framed 9 patch blocks. I love the way they look in the quilts on Lynn Dykstra's blog. The solid fabrics in the blocks add cohesiveness even though the solids and prints as all different.
After I cut the rest of the 6 inch squares for our church group I will  get back to some sewing of my own again. 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Inspiration or Obsession

Yesterday while visiting  Wanda (Exuberant Color) on my usual morning list of blogs, I was led to Lynn Dykstra's  blog, klein keisje quilts.  Oh my goodness; I am enchanted by her use of solids with prints.  My sewing room is in total chaos with piles of scraps to be cut and organized and piles of squares and strips that I had cut and sorted.  In the midst of all that, I cleared a space to work and put together 3 - 7 1/2 inch  blocks. I think I have a new obsession. 

I started out thinking I had to pull multicolored prints and these were close at hand. When I took another look at Wanda's blocks I saw that I could use monochromatic or 2 color prints. That will give me a lot more choices.

I started with the Framed Nine Patch blocks because I have had a love affair with nine patches since I learned strip piecing but there are so many more blocks to explore. I like simple traditional blocks and I am addicted to scrappy quilts so who knows where this will take me.

If you visit Lynn's blog you will find "solids on prints" on her labels list.  Be prepared to spend some time as there is so much to see.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Not Much Sewing

There hasn't been much sewing going on in my sewing room. I finished some things for church up to getting the top and backing made and passed them on to someone else to finish. Arthritis in my hands has been a problem lately and I have concluded that large quilts are more than I want or am able to quilt.  I am still thinking about how I might quilt some larger quilts in sections if I plan hem right. I am probably going to stick to smaller things.

I have been going through all of my scraps and odd blocks and leftover components. I am sorting and  and purging and cutting strips and squares and rectangles. I started putting together pieces to make Triple Four Patch blocks and blocks that Donna Poster demoed on Simply Quilts. They are both good blocks for scraps and I have made some of my favorite quilts using them.

I can only cut and sort for so long before I start thinking about how what I am cutting will look in a block. I made these 4 Donna Poster blocks over several days time. I cut some pieces and put some up on the wall and cut some more and went away and did other things and changed some squares or rectangles when I came back. I finally sat down and sewed them together.
This is an easy block because there are no matching seams within the block and not too many when the blocks are sewed together.

4 Donna Poster inspired blocks

I like to use a light fabric in a specific place in each block so they a scattered throughout the quilt. I put most of the blocks together in the same format but sometimes I change the components in one half or the other.

After I looked at these on the design wall I wasn't sure I liked them. I left them on the wall and went back to my cutting marathon. This morning I took a break and visited some of the blogs I follow. Julie Sefton, quiltdivajulie , is working on scraps and she has narrow pieced strips separating sections. I put some pieces together for narrow strips and stuck them up on the wall between my blocks and I think I like it.  I think it will breakup the predictability and help to unify the sections. The plus is that I will be using some of the scraps that were not big enough for the squares or rectangles.

My goal has been to get all of my various odds and ends organized and have some sort plan the either use them or give them away (or dispose of them). This is probably going to keep me busy for a while.  I still have a lot of cutting to do but now I can have have some playtime as I go along.

My time lately just seems to get sucked up in the other things going on in my life. If I can have short periods of playtime here and there I might just keep on quilting instead of getting rid of everything and turning my sewing room into another bedroom or TV room.  I have entertained that thought.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Baby Quilt

I am trying to finish up quilts that I have committed to make. I gathered up the fabrics for this little baby from our donated fabric at church. I finally got around to working on it almost 2 weeks ago. It has taken longer that I thought it  would but I finally finished it today.

It measures 36 x 36; this is my new favorite size for a baby quilt made for our Caring Closet at church.  It is not too big to cover a baby in a car seat or stroller and big enough to lay on any surface for the baby to lay on. It is also a good size for a toddler to drag around should it become a favorite "blankey".

The fabric is definitely girly fabric there are pink things and girly words on the fabric.
The pinwheels and the motif squares are 4 inches. I meant for the large center square o finish at 12 inches but I cut one side wrong, hence the frame around the center square.

A closeup of the center square and some of the 4 inch motif squares.
I quilted in the ditch around all the pinwheels and 4 inch squares and across the diagonal in two directions.
All the little motifs in the center block had dotted lines around them and I quilted just out side those lines to outline them. I used my walking foot with white thread for all the quilting. White thread seemed like the best choice for this quilt. 
Using the walking foot was the best choice for me because my arthritic hands make free motion quilting more punishment than I want to deal with.

This is the back of the quilt. After using some of the pink fabric on the front  for  the corner pinwheels and the frame around the center square, I came up just short of having enough for a whole cloth back.
I had cut too many fabric squares for all the other pinwheels so that worked out well for pinwheels on either side of a large  fabric square on the back. I was able to cut a piece with some of the words that were too large to get for the pieces on the front.

This is a closeup of the pieced strip on the pack. I was able to get one square with all of the words and images in the fabric. 

I am sometimes a little cautious about using colored quilting thread when I have a pieced back. This was one of those times and I think white was the right choice.

I usually prefer more vibrant colors for my quilts and I wasn't so sure I would like this pale pink. I wasn't sure about using the light blue Grunge for the background in the pinwheels,  White or Kona Bone might have bee more contrast but I decided on the blue because of the blue background in the focus fabric.  All in all, I think it turned out to be a rather sweet little quilt.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Sometimes ...........

Sometimes you miss the mark and wonder why you thought something was a good idea and why you wasted your time.

I made these Sunday after I went out to get the red Kona cotton. As soon as I cut the red strips to go around the chicken squares I knew I was going down the wrong path. But I kept going and it didn't get any better.  I thought the hanger wouldn't look right  in the middle of the square so I added a triangle and  thought "Oh it looks like a barn".  I kept going and layered them with batting and quilted them and I added batting to the backing and layered everything right sides together and turned them right side out and finished them with more stitching    around them.  What was I thinking?
I decided that I didn't even like the rooster fabric all that much and I would scrap the potholder idea.
I was going to cut the rest of the fabric into I spy squares and add them to the several stacks of I spy squares that are all different singles or pairs.

So.... when I was cleaning up and putting boxes away I saw this black and gray plaid through the side of a clear plastic box.
I've had his for a long time and I think I used it for backing.  Once, in an attempt to rid myself of fabric I was never gong to use for a quilt I made some (ugly) reusable grocery shopping bags.
 I had some chicken squares already cut and I cut 4 1/4 inch red squares to cut on the diagonal and some strips of the black and gray plaid.  That's a little better; I don't hate them. I will make pot holders with the rest of the squares I have already cut. I will use up all that black and gray plaid; that's a plus.

I'm not sure why I thought this fabric would make great pot holders for my kitchen. The Squares are not printed square and they are small (5 inches) and close together. The chicken images are not crisp and distinct, they blend right into the background.
The bright side is I don't hate the new design, I am using up the gray and black plaid, I needed the red Kona cotton anyway, I have some new additions to my I Spy packs  and I can use some new pot holders and I will have some potholders to give away to people who like chickens.

I also have a new resolve  to resist buying fabric that is not something I need in order to  finish something on which I am actually working. I mean it!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Back Again to the Scraps

Tuesday, I started on another box of leftovers and scraps and finished going through it Wednesday between loads of laundry.  This was another box that I had somewhat sorted earlier. I made some good  progress this time around. I stated with the box marked Parts Department (from Collaborative Quilts book by Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran). I found some things that should be combined with the same thing in other boxes. I ended up working with three boxes.
I found zip lock bags with Laurel Burch leftover HST's  and a zip lock with 4 1/2 inch Laurel Burch fabric squares and a sizable piece of fabric from which I had fussy cut squares for this quilt.

This is from several years ago and was the last of a series of my original layout quilts using pictorial fabric and Birds in the Air blocks and this quilt also had some "North Wind" blocks. I loved the fabric I used and I had a lot of fun figuring out the on point setting and putting everything together.

These below are some of the pieces I found Wednesday in different boxes. The HST's are 2 1/2 inches. There are some improv blocks, a bag of 4 1/2 inch squares, and that large piece with 3 jungle cats that someone gave me. I found  pieces of the black dotty fabric and the fuchsia fabric as well as odds and ends of partial blocks. Now that they are all together in one place I see that I have enough there to make something. I am looking forward to making something. I found even more Laurel Burch cat fabric Thursday when I looked for something else. I am pretty happy about all of the Laurel Burch fabric I found.

I stuck this panel up on the wall over the yellow and orange blocks and I remember doing this another time. I have something in mind to make using the panel and orange,yellow, blue and green. It will be small and I think it will be soon.

I came across a lot of good things that I can use, zip lock bags with twenty or more of the same or coordinating fabric some are HST's, some are 4 patches both kinds are a variety of sizes. There are also filler or border strips of small blocks in usable sizes, and there is even a lightning bolt strip.

Almost everything is put away now in a way that will be easy to find and use. Next I might tackle the HST box. After that I think I will actually work on one of the projects the has piqued my interest.

I went to the Farmpark Quilt show today and it is vendors weekend. I told myself I could not buy anything unless it is something I need to finish something from one of the things I found these past few days. Well...... I have never liked being told what I can't do. I bought 2 pieces of fabric but I can justify my purchase because I planned to come right home and make potholders with some chicken fabric. I have some metal roosters above my kitchen doorway and I wanted some chicken potholders. I haven't started them yet,,,,,,, but maybe Monday.

The Farmpark quilt show was very nice.  The Best of Show was a wonderful quilt with amazing workman ship. The quilter's statement said it was a ten year project.
Click here to see small sample of the quilts, including Best of Show.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Back to the Scraps

Due to high wind advisories yesterday we stayed in all day. That gave me time to get back to my project of cleaning up/organizing/getting rid of my overwhelming collection of scraps.  After I put away the Christmas things, I had them all out and all over every flat surface in my sewing room. I just could not stay focused; I ended up sorting things in some vague sort of organization and putting it all  away.

Today I pulled out one storage cube to work on. I decided that I would do some sewing and trimming and discarding, whatever it took to make some progress and some sense out of all the stuff in that cube.
 These are some larger pieces of "made fabric" from which I have already cut, and used, some 4 1/2 inch or slightly larger blocks. I folded these and set them aside in a zip lock bag. I will probably keep adding on to them for cutting smaller blocks.

This is a pile of  smaller pieces that are "made fabric" starter or in progress blocks.

These are some of the blocks from that pile. I trimmed the edges so they are straight and ready to have additions on any side. I set these aside in zip lock bags as well.  Most likely, these will be trimmed when they are close to the size I want to use for something. A few of them may grow to be  bigger pieces to cut into several blocks.

Most of these 8 1/2 inch blocks look  like yellow blocks even though here are small amounts of other colors. Most of them were finished and trimmed to size. The 4 blocks on the left in the top row were incomplete and I decided that I would finish them. They asked me for orange strips and I obliged.
It was after I finished them and put them on my design wall that I saw that they were orange and the other blocks were yellow. I had formerly thought of them all as "citrus".  These are still on my design wall and I am thinking about what I want to do with them and what I will need to make to go with them.

Everything else is put away again in the storage cube. It is sorted in away that I know I can work with. There is one bag that didn't make it back to the cube. For now it will go into the laundry basket under my cutting table "to be addressed".  I  still have a long way to go in order to make my space more workable.  I have one project that is near completion but has been set on hold until I can decide on borders and backing; it is a need to finish project with a deadline.

Only things that are needed will  be worked on for the time being, All large goals are being put off or abandoned.  I need to make changes in my sewing room that will result in not having to move furniture in order accomplish ordinary tasks, like cutting and pressing.  I need to have most of my supplies where I can reach them without standing on a ladder or digging them out of a closet in another room.
Who knows where this will lead? 
I might end up with a more usable sewing space 
or even a guest room or TV room.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Heartbeat Done Binding and All

 My sewing space got cleaned up enough to work in it. I had to do something in order to finish this quilt but I am not really satisfied with it. I got so discouraged that I put everything away with only a little reorganization.

This is my first finished quilt for 2019. I had been waiting to get out and buy the binding and I  finally went shopping last Friday. I was sure I would find what I wanted at the quilt shop but I didn't. I bought something anyway but by the time I got to my car I was having second thoughts. I stopped at Joann's on the way home and found something but by the time I got home I wondered if I might have something better in my  stash, and I did. I didn't consider it before I shopped because I had something specific in mind.

This is a closeup of the binding on the front of the quilt. I had stitched it on the font and turned it to the back and fused it down and then stitched by machine in the ditch on the front.

This is a corner on the back. The binding is a little wider in some spots, probably because my seam allowance was a bit narrower in places. However, it is all stitched down and it isn't going anywhere.

 These are two shots of the whole 42 inches square quilt.

I shot the photo below from the side to show up the quilting a little better. The color in this one is a little more true; it really isa little more turquoise .

Now I need to give some serious thought to what I can do to make my space more user friendly.  I am not ready yet to give up on quilting but I find myself doing less and less.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Not Quite Back to Normal

Well, I wasn't quilt back to normal, at least I hope this is not the new normal for me. After I put all the Christmas things away, I decided to work on some organization in my sewing room and it has been increasingly chaotic. My scraps and leftover blocks and block components are simply out of control.  I keep trying to make order out of chaos and there is just too much of too many things that don't really make any sense to keep. I will not show any photos or go into detail but it borders on lunacy, yes really! I am shelving ALL plans and goals until I am out from under the burden of  all the "stuff".

That doesn't mean I am not going to do any sewing but I am keeping it simple and limited to whatever needs to be done NOW.
So..... the first thing was to catch up on blocks for the Friendship group. I got these two sets done yesterday and this morning. In the middle of all the mess it wasn't easy or fun but it was satisfying. I hope I will be caught up, I missed some meetings so I am not sure.

The request  for these  8 inch variable star blocks was for colorful fun fabrics with pieced centers. I think I hit the mark on the one on the right. I might have used a center with too many colors for the one on the left.

The "candy cane"  are also 8 inch blocks. These were easy to do once I found suitable fabrics in the mess I had created with my "organizing.

 I need to get out and buy something for binding for the heartbeat quilt. Then I can get started (or finished) with making my sewing space workable again.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Back To "Normal"

Maybe "normal" isn't exactly right, maybe we are just back to every day life. Finally all of the Christmas things are put away; I found 2 more things yesterday that were out in plain sight but got missed. This year I did not get all my snowmen out for January, I just didn't want to go through all the trouble of putting them away again. Everything takes me much longer to accomplish than it used to and that dampens my enthusiasm.
This weekend we had our first big snowstorm and we planned ahead so we would not need to go out until it was over.  I read a lot, cooked a lot, cleaned up the kitchen a lot, and sewed a little. I started quilting the "heartbeat" quilt and  ran out of  the one color thread I need to finish.

This little quilt measures about 42 inches square. I decided to use the colorful children's print on the back only and went with the subtle dotted blue/green on the rest of the top.

I really wanted a "whole cloth" backing even though the fabric is only about an inch wider than the top.  I am always into overkill with pin basting so I took the chance that it would work out OK. I can see that it will.

I quilted in the ditch to outline all of the white chains.

I used the running zigzag (Bernina no. 4) across the diagonal of the larger squares. Sometimes the curves in this stitch get either bunched up or stretched out if there is too much drag on the quilt moving it through the machine. This is not perfect but it looks pretty good. I am not going to rip anything out as I did in the last baby quilt from this pattern.

I used thread to match the yellow, white and orange on the front and I matched the blue green on the back in the bobbin.  I thought I would have enough of the blue/green to use on the top and in the bobbin for the rest of the quilting but I am pretty sure I will run out.  I am waiting to get started on that until I can get out to buy some thread.

After I finish this I have some small  must do projects and I am thinking over my 2019 goals. I need to organize my plans and gather what I need. Maybe I need to pare down my goals to what is compatible with my slower reality.