Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking Back at 2013

I have been looking back over my photos to make a collage of all my 203 finishes and it seems as though I did not have a very productive year. the T shirt quilt was the only sizable thing I finished this year; it was one of 4 things I listed as my goals for 2013 and it is the only one the I accomplished,

I might have a few more finishes but I can't find the photos in my computer and I can't figure out how to get them out of Picassa web albums to add them to the collage.

I did find these runners that I made for the hutches to use in the summer when I had all the red, white and blue quilts out.

I found a photo of this table topper I made from a Honeycomb hexie pack by Moda.

I made  a lot of blocks for the Friendship group and I made some to send to Victoria (Bumblebeans) for the quilts she makes for cancer patients. I made and sent some house blocks to Beth (Love, Laugh, Quilt) for her annual Neighborhood Block Party

I finished this apron from "made fabric". I cut triangles for the top of the apron and adapted a pattern I had.

I also did some knitting. I made about 25 to30 dishcloths and finally graduated to a scarf which I am working on now.

 I made some "to  Boston with Love" flags and sent them along with some I collected from my friends.

I made a bunch of small things that I don't remember and can't find.

I cant forget that we had a week of Quilt Camp for the teens at church.

I spent a lot of time sorting and reorganizing and none of that shows and some of it is a mess again. I spent more time on the computer than I really need to. 

In light of my non productivity
am I going to make some resolutions
 set some goals for next year.
I am going to think that over and maybe save it for tomorrows post. 

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bouquets and Blocks

About 2 times a year I get flowers, Sweetest Day and my birthday. Last week ,Dec. 20)I got 2 bouquets for my birthday. This is the last of them.

The one on the left was from my son and DIL and it is on the dining room table; the one on the right was from Jack and is in the bedroom. They both had red roses and the one from Jack also had 2 white roses. When the roses started to hang their heads I took them out and hung them up to dry and rearranged the rest of the flowers. The baby's breath will dry nicely too and maybe the red berries in the one on the left will dry nicely too. In a few days I will put the dried flowers on my dresser for awhile. The real surprise was the lilies. The first one opened after 3 or 4 days and the other one opened after I rearranged the bouquets. They are huge, nearly 10 inches across and very fragrant.

This is a shot of the roses drying. I couldn't get a good picture and had to lighten it up; the red and green are both a little brighter and  will stay that way for quite a long time.

Today I made my Friendship bocks. I started with 3 inch strips and right now they measure 5 1/2 inches square. There are 5 of each colorway; 10 total. I had trouble with my 1/4 inch again and did what Beth, the owner of Cottonpickers  LQS, told me. I removed the guide on the side of the presser foot and voila my 1/4 inch is right on.

The weather today in Willoughby, Ohio according to Accuweather.com (on my desktop) is 51 degrees. It would be a good day to take my Bernina to the sewing machine doctor but it is also a rare winter day here in NE Ohio and a good day for Jack to be out on his motorcycle. He is considering having total hip surgery and that will be the end of his riding days.
The Bernina can wait!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Some Knitting and one anvil block

I am not much of a knitter. I started knitting again about a year ago after many, many years ( my first attempts were not stellar). I made a stack of dish cloths, like 25 +, I considered them practice. My daughter recently told me that my dishcloth knitting looked pretty good and that I should try knitting something else. I  bought and downloaded this "Hitchhiker" scarf pattern on Ravelry and I went out to buy yard and needles. This is really the same stitch as the dishcloths but a different gauge.  I know nothing about yarn types and I had no idea what fingering yarn is. Another shopper gave me some advice and I bought the yarn for the color. I am about 1/3 of the way finished now. There is an increase of 4 stitches in width for every notch
and there are 42 notches. I think there are 2 mistakes but because of the variegated yarn it is really hard to tell.

I made one Anvil block yesterday. I thought it would be quick as I had all the background squares cut and the "made fabric" squares ready. I am almost never quick. Here it is with the other 12 yellow/orange background blocks in back on my design wall.

I think I had a problem because I was using a different machine and the quarter inch foot has an attached guide on the side;  my light was not positioned to light up that edge. My seams were not straight and not 1/4 inch so there was a lot of unsewing going on. I finally realized what the problem was and moved my lamp.

Here is a close up of the finished block. At our Basement Diva meeting in October Fran gave me some made fabric blocks and that is what I used for this block.
I have more yellow and orange background squares cut so maybe the next blocks will be quicker.
I really have to get my Bernina in soon for service; yesterday I kept moving my right leg to lift the presser foot. Once you get used to the knee lift it is hard to get along without it.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Real Studio Tour -Week 3 - The Sewing Room

This is week 3 of the Real Studio Tour where we show our studios. Just as they are without cleaning and sprucing them up. 
Is my sewing room a STUDIO? Well................ sure, why not!
I have to be honest; I did a little bit of cleaning up the other day when I finished up some pillowcase gifts for my 3 youngest great grandsons. I needed  space to work.
 This is a layout of my 10 x 11.5 room that I worked out in Electric Quilt. Next to it is a shot from my doorway looking toward the window. Using EQ has certainly saved me a lot of work moving furniture only to find it doesn't fit.

Moving around the room to the right this first shot is what is behind my door. I keep some flannel covered design boards there with cutting mats clipped to them. It works well for keeping them safe. The next view  shows  the open door with my bookcase next to it and my Lifetime adjustable height folding table  next to it. The table  blocks the lower shelves on the bookcase but the table is light and easy to move. On top or the table there is a roll of bubble wrap from a package I just received. Under the table is a box of gifts I have to wrap and a rolling chair with a quilt on it that I have been hand quilting for years  (which I am ignoring at present).  Right next to the bookcase is my closet with metal shelves on one side and wall hangings and small quilts hanging on the half of the closet rod that I had to leave in the closet. Plastic see through boxes hold my fabric stash which doesn't amount to much any more. I do not have many large pieces of yardage, mostly smaller pieces and lots of scraps. My goal a few years ago was to whittle my stash down to nothing and only buy what I needed for each project. I have  modified that goal but I was still able to whittle  down the  amount of fabric to about half or what it was.
Moving around the corner to the next wall is a tall narrow chest that we bought at an estate sale when we were looking for a chest that would fit in our bedroom next to the window and still  leave space for the closet door to open.  I ended up with this chest recently when Jack took one of my folding tables for his desk (in the bedroom).
 I have a bulletin board above the tall chest and some of my little quilted pieces.Next is the little  blanket chest in front of the window. It is full of odds and ends  and is always piled up with stuff; today it holds pillows that I made from some excess pieces of fluffy poly batting that we were going to throw out from our  quilt closet at church. There is also a box of Christmas boxes and bags, none of them the sizes that I need now. The last shot is the other side of the window with my other bulletin board. It has a license plate that belonged to a friend and was given to me on a birthday. The little  Twister quilt was made by a friend from a zip lock bag of squares that I got rid of put together as a prize for last years annual Diva Jellyroll Race.

Once again moving around the corner, this is my computer desk and the wall above it. When we moved into this apartment from the one down the hall I stuck those quilted  pieces up on the wall with thumbtacks as a temporary solution. I intended to have Jack put Homasote or insulation boards on that whole wall so I could pin things to it and change them. That never happened and those two things are tacked up are there just as they were. Next to my computer desk is another countertop that I use for cutting, ironing, sorting etc. I have shelves above them that I original planned for placing my scissors, cutters, etc. while I was using them so they would stay easy to find. It is usually stacked up with other stuff. You can see where I hang my rulers. I just put  finishing nails right in the wall and it works well. I worked out the placement for the rulers in EQ

These lower two shots show my desk from below. You can see the little chests that my counter tops rest on and the plastic drawer units below. When Jack took my other table we replaced it with the second counter top and now I can fit things underneath that couldn't go under the table because of the corner folding braces. In back of my overflowing waste basket is one of my sewing machine totes. It is packed with zip lock bags of scraps sorted by color.. Under the shelf above the counter top, Jack put on of those under cabinet florescent stick lights and it is lights up that area well.

Below is my last wall with my design wall  that is covered with queen size Warm and Natural batting. It is stapled to a wooden lath strip that is secured with 3 nails at the top and thumbtacks at the sides and bottom to hold it taut. This wall was supposed to have insulation board on the wall covered with batting but that didn't happen either.

Whatever I am working on goes up on the wall;  between times I keep up an assortment of things that I am thinking about or just want to look at. On the wall right now are my Anvil blocks from the Friendship group and the red work Santa I just finished. In the center picture you see my Janome Gem lightweight traveling machine sitting in place of my Bernina. The Bernina which just seized up 2 days ago. I packed it up and it is ready to go to the Bernina doctor but not probably not till after Christmas. It is not too close by and the weather will  have to be good as well before we take it.

So........ that takes us around the room and back to the door. You can see by the assortment of old lamps every where that I do not have really good lighting. There is no overhead light and there are only 3 outlets; I use some heavy duty power strips. One of the down sides to this apartment is that we do not have any really good way to remedy my lighting problems.
Even though it is small
and it is not perfect 
and I have to move things around
 for different quilting tasks; 
  I feel fortunate to have a designated space for sewing. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Finish -Kind of

Last evening I finished this red work piece that I started over 20 years ago.
I guess it really isn't a finish because only the embroidery is done.

I saw this done in red work at a local quilt shop. It was adapted from a Curtis Boehringer applique pattern. The embroidered part of the old fashioned Santa is about 13 x 30. I believe it was framed and not quilted but it has been so long I am not sure I remember how it was finished. The lady who did it did really beautiful red work. I was so impressed that I thought I would make it for our annual quilt guild auction. I didn't get very far before I knew that I was not going to put this in any auction.  This looked like it would be a quick project. Maybe it would have been fast for someone else but it was not fast for me.
At the time I started it tea dyed fabric was in. I didn't tea dye this myself but bought it at the quilt shop probably because that is how the original was done. I am not quite so enchanted with it now as I was then. It does look a little more  stained in the photo than it really is. The dark places are a lot lighter in reality. When I was working on it I read somewhere that if you traced the pattern with a red Pigma pen the lines would be easier to see and they wouldn't show; I found that to be true.
I would get this out every once in a while and do a little work on it and then put it away again. When I got it out last month to take along as a hand work project I saw how close I was to finally finishing. I have been working on it for the past 3 weeks and finally finished.

Now What? I don't know what to do with it. I don't think I want to quilt it.  I am pretty sure the one I saw was professionally framed. I think it might have had batting behind it to pad it. I know if I just put it away now that it will stay in this state until someone goes through my stuff after I'm gone.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Real Studio Tour - Storage

The Real Studio Tour week 2 is about our favorite storage systems. Mine is see through plastic; I use shoe boxes, the next size which is about 16L x 11Wx 6 or 7H, and the larger size 17 x 28 x  I like that size because it will fit under my bed or on the metal shelf unit. I have one large box to hold to hold the whole assortment of  my black and white fabrics and one for my odd leftover blocks.(I should probably make a quilt or two or something useful with those blocks). I like the older Sterilite boxes because they do not have so much taper and they are the ones that my metal shelves were adjusted to fit.
I have more of these with the white tops than I do the older Sterilite boxes which I really like better because they do not have that wide lip on the top to snap on the lid. These take up a little more space and are a little taller so they are a tight fit on my metal shelves, which were adjusted to fit three of the older boxes side by side. I hate to stack things on top of each other as I am less likely to put them back on the shelves.
 I like to organize smaller things in zip lock bags inside the boxes. Here  I have rolled  "Layer cake" size squares around a cardboard tube to keep them organized in this box of cut squares. You can see the wide lip on  this box compared to the small lip on the box on the right.

I recently acquired two 9 inch wide 4 drawer units from a friend who didn't need them and I use them to store all my tools. I liked them so well I added another wider one with wheels for all my thread and things that I use when I am sewing on the  machine.

I found some stackable boxes for thread that so far work out very well and fit nicely in the drawers. The center row is higher which makes a grove in the bottom and the lid is higher above it so that they stack without sliding around. I have pushed it to the left  a few inches for the photo to show how they fit together. I would buy more of these to replace some of my other thread containers but I am putting all purchases on hold. I plan on changing some things in a few months and it is my hope that I will be able to have all of the same kinds of boxes and shelves for the things that are stored together. I have a lot of stuff that would not be missed if it was gone. I believe that everything should have a place (even if I don't always have everything in it's place) and I find I no longer have a place for everything.

Check out the other storage ideas here. I already have a good idea about storage boxes from Lynn Taylor at the Patchery Menagerie and an idea from Vickie Walsh for a top to my drawer unit for my thread.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Christmas tree

After dinner today I decorated the Christmas tree. Jack got it out yesterday and set it up. It took me 4 hours to hang all the ornaments and I am feeling my age plus about 5 more years. Last year we bought a smaller prelit tree;  I think it has more branch tips so it still holds everything.

I took all these shots with the room lights off and no flash.  That is the tree skirt I made last year using Annie's (Freezeframe) tutorial. The tree looks encrusted with ornaments but they all have  sentimental value for me.
Jack thought maybe I could leave some off this year but it would be hard to decide what to leave off. Now that we have a pre lit tree he helps by unpacking the things in boxes and wrappings. and then he packed up all the boxes and tissue paper etc. and put it away.
Many of the shiny round balls are from my family tree before I was married (those are very old) or sets that Jack and I bought at different times, all of which I can remember why and where.

That Santa below was made by a quilting friend and I remember the day she stopped by at work to give it to me. The scrub nurse ornament in the right was made by a co worker the first Christmas I worked in surgery. She had my name in our ornament exchange. These two always have a prominent place on the tree. We exchanged handmade ornaments for several years but finally quilt when all the non crafty/artistic people started to complain.

The  Reindeer made from clothespins and felt was made by my oldest grandson when he was pretty young. My friend  showed me how to make them and when my grand kids came over we all made them. I only have 3 that Ian made I think the others took theirs home. In the photo on the right are candy cane ornaments made from tribeads strung on bendable stiff  wire. I have about 2 dozen of these. All the grand kids made them and anyone else who happen to be around always wanted to make a few. We made these for many years. I have so many handmade ornaments from family and friends that you would think it would be hard to remember who they came from. So far I can remember who gave them to me and maybe not the year but I remember the occasion. I will probably keep putting them all on the tree as long as I can remember because they bring back such nice memories.
For years when we had a real tree we put the tree up on my birthday, December 20, but now with an artificial tree it can be put up early and enjoyed for a long time. I know that when I get up tomorrow Jack will be sitting in the living room with the tree lit having his coffee. When it is time to take it down he will call me scrooge and want to leave it up "just another day".

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Real Studio tour

No, you are not going to get a tour of my "studio"; I am linking up at The Real Studio Tour to show my favorite non quilting tool. It is one that I  borrowed for use in marking my quilts.
It is my old, very dull pizza cutter. I was marking lines with my hera marker one day and it kind of dragged the fabric even though I was holding the ruler down tight to the fabric. I thought how nice it would be it the marker rolled along. Hmmm I wonder if I have something like that I wonder if my old pizza cutter would work.  I did test it before I ever tried it on a quilt. It worked!! It worked very well and the marks stayed there for enough time for me to mark the work section I was working on and quilt it. I am not good at quilting straight lines without marking and sometimes using the bar gauge on my walking foot doesn't quite do the trick.

 The quilt needs to be on a hard surface for marking. It doesn't work if you have the quilt in a frame; I found that out with using the Hera marker, If you want an indentation you have to have a hard surface under the quilt. I use a ruler and mark by rolling the blade along the edge.

These photos on the right and below show some of the marking and some of the quilting that is already done.

I have heard that there is a rolling Hera marker but have looked and looked on the internet and have not found one. If anyone knows where I can get one I would love to hear  from you.

Now go and check out the rest of the good ideas.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Another house

I made one more house on
Friday. Still not wonky, maybe because I had the roof made and needed to fit everything to the roof. Maybe because some of Mr. Picky and Precise  has rubbed off on me.  I was  going to use made fabric but I have been trying in vain to clean up my sewing room and I didn't want to drag out the made fabric and scraps to make it worse. As it was, I dragged out enough stuff from my boxes of  fabrics sorted by color.

I usually get out all the Christmas quilts and dishes on the weekend after Thanksgiving. I got all  the quilted things out but have not tackled the dishes; that requires putting away the hand painted china that my mother painted nearly100  years ago. I  like to have a clear space to work so  there are no mishaps.

Last year I decided I need one more Christmas quilt; this year I can't imagine where I would put it.