Saturday, May 31, 2014

Almost a Flimsy

The body of the Mary Ellen Hopkins challenge is finished. I finished all the blocks and sewed them together but the border is not on yet. This where I am stopping for now. I have other things that need to be done and I probably shouldn't have taken a week to play with this but I needed to see how it would develop.
This is a side view, the pattern (3 rows) on the left are a change from what I intended.

When  I was starting to make
  the blocks with the small square in the center I thought that having what I intended interrupted the pattern. These 2 EQ shots show my original intention on top and the change on the bottom.

I changed a quite a few things as I went along. This fabric on the right was my inspiration and I chose all the fabrics to go with it. The two test blocks I made next to it quickly changed my mind about using it. No matter which way I turned the blocks they were not going to work. The fabric would have worked for a border but there was only a 2/3 yard piece.

This is the border fabric I will use; although it is a smaller scale it looks good. 

This last shot is all my  parts that are left over due to my mistakes. I had  many interruptions that stopped me in the middle of something. When I returned to what I was doing, I either cut more strips or made more of something I already had.
I think that when there are many changes in colors as there was with this project it would be best to figure it all out ahead of time and then do all the cutting at once. I was well on my way to doing exactly that until I changed the colors completely and I just didn't want to do it all over again switching back and forth between EQ and Word, copying and pasting and resizing etc.
Well anyway.... it all worked out. I didn't run out of any fabric and I will use all the leftover pieces on the back of the quilt. I plan on using my inspiration fabric on the back as well. For now it is all going to be put away while I tend to other things.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Another Sewing Break

I went shopping for fabric last Friday and I decided I needed another break  from organizing and purging so I have been taking a week long break for sewing.

This is my EQ version of  "Metamorphosis" a Mary Ellen Hopkins design. The Basement Divas are having a Mary Ellen challenge. I got a late start so I am sure it will  not be finished for the deadline....... OH Well.

After I went shopping for fabric I added a few more rows to the design and I made some changes in the coloring. The light bright, fresh colors called my name so I went with a different palette.

This is my EQ version with the fabric that I am using. I scanned all of the fabric but the green showed up as yellow so I colored those fabrics with a green that is close in color to the fabric I am using.

I am on row 12 now; I would be further along but there were a lot of interruptions over the holiday weekend and then laundry and cooking and running errands. The photo below shows rows 7 - 12. I have to make the blocks with the blue connector corners for row 12 and then I will have 3 more rows to make.
I have only some of the rows on my design wall because it is easier to reach the blocks and take them down to sew them together. This is an easy quilt for getting things out of order or upside down. So far there have been only a few stitching mistakes because I am taking it one row at a time. I made some cutting errors in the first few rows and cut more strips and made more blocks than I needed (I blame my errors on all the interruptions). I had to be a bit more careful after that to make sure I had enough of the yellow and green. I plan to use the extra blocks on the back; I do not need any more odd blocks for the odd block box.

I have been working in the middle of semi chaos. There are boxes sitting around everywhere but I cleaned off my 2 cutting surfaces and I have been cutting, stitching and pressing in the more organized areas.
When I get to the flimsy stage I might stop or I might layer it up and quilt it and the Anvil quilt when I need to take mental health breaks.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

More finishes and a repair

I haven't accomplished much organizing and purging in the last few days. For one thing, we were pet sitting from early Tuesday afternoon until late Wednesday afternoon. We stayed with my daughter's dog and cat at their house while they took a short get away trip. My son dropped off his dog too as they will be away until Sunday. The dogs are well behaved and the cat is no trouble; we all enjoyed being outside while I raked a ton of Oak leaves out of the flower beds.
Before we went out to pet sit I finished another 2 things that I came across as I was sorting through my boxes. I had cut out a Grab Bag purse (click on link for tutorial from All People Quilt) about 3 years ago and never finished it so I whipped that together in a short time.

 I made one for myself about 3 years ago for a summer purse and it was great to have something that I didn't have to fuss with to keep the strap on my shoulder. I don't load it down with anything really heavy because it is small so it just hangs on my wrist and I can use my hands without having to hold on to it. I put pockets inside this one with a little button flap to keep a phone and billfold from falling out. I'm not sure what I will do with this one, maybe give it to one of my granddaughters.

The other thing I finished was a pair of  Square Oven Mitts  from a Bolt Neighborhood blog tutorial. I made these for all the ladies in the family 2 years ago and I had some extra ones that I had started but never finished. My granddaughter said she set hers down on what she thought was a cold burner and burned holes in hers; these will go to her. I also set one of mine down on the stove so I will finish the other extra pair I have for myself.

The only thing I accomplished today was to repair some worn areas on this quilt. That plaid square next to the red patch on the bottom row is appliqued over a worn patch. there were only a few places that needed repair this time but I repaired a lot of the squares 2 years ago. They were all plaid fabric that I won at a Roberta Horton lecture about 20 years ago. All of the worn squares were in the corners of the quilt where Jack  puts his foot on the outside of the bed covers. He has rough dry feet that have been hard on the corners of the quilt. This photo below is the only one that I can find of the quilt. It is hand quilted, 108 inches square and  symmetrical; the blocks are 12 inches. That light area is just glare from the flash and the color in the photo above is closer to the true color. It is not so light and bright; this was made in 1996 and the fabric at that time was kind of gray and dull. I named this Jack's quilt because, with some prompting from me, he said it was wonderful so I told him it was his quilt. It is the only large quilt we sleep under as it has poly batting and it is light weight. Now that it had been repaired again it will go back on our bed in the cold weather. I think that will make Jack happy and it will make me happy because he uses Gold Bond foot cream at night and wears socks to bed in the winter. (That was his own decision not something I told him to do Honest!)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sometimes you just have to sew something

I have been working in my sewing room since Monday, consolidating, purging and organizing. When you realize that there are 3 boxes with pretty much the same items, it necessitates taking all 3 boxes off the shelf and emptying the contents in order to get them organized in one place. That means while I sort through all of it everything gets chaotic.
 Sometimes in the middle of chaos you come across something that insists on giving you a break from all the madness around you.
You clear a tiny little workspace
 And sew something

As I was sorting through odd blocks and odd parts I came across this. It was in pieces and only partly finished because it was a demo for three piece triangle units. It was either throw it away or put it together. It is only one 8 inch block and there is nothing to go with it so I am not compelled to do any more. If I put it in the odd block box and never do anything with it again, it will still  have served a purpose. I took a break from chaos and it gave me a sense of accomplishment. It is no big accomplishment but it is up on my wall to look at, it is cheerful and it might be inspiration. Who knows?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bloggers Quilt Festival 2014

It is time again for the Bloggers Quilt Festival. I thought I didn't have anything for the Bloggers Quilt Festival this year but I looked through my 2013 finishes and decided I did have something after all. This is my Giraffes Quilt; it is 34 x 37 inches and is entered in the small quilt category.

I bought the giraffe panel a few years ago at the NQA show in Columbus, Ohio. It lived in a plastic box for a long time. This was one of those things that I knew I would use but I never came up with any ideas that were right. I purchased that multicolor batik at the same time but there were only 2 fat quarters available. Everywhere I went I always looked for something to go with it but never found anything.

When I finally got started I  used fabrics that I had in my stash and only purchased the black and gold spotted fabric. The rectangles separated by zigzag fabric spacers was from a vest I made more than 15 years ago. I did not have large pieces so I had to know what I wanted to do before I cut anything.
My seam ripper got a real workout with this quilt. With each border I added I found something I needed to change. Once I started quilting it I thought I was finished using the seam ripper; but I was wrong. I did echo quilting around the giraffes and at one point I felt that there was too much echo quilting. I got some input from the Basement Diva's and I ripped out some of the echo quilting an, and as a friend suggested, I used the #4 Bernina stitch for the rest of the background in the center panel. It seemed like for every single step it was make a decision, stitch, analyze, rip, then stitch again.
When I finished I was satisfied and I can say that I enjoyed the process.
If you want to see the process as I agonized over each addition, look for giraffes in the side bar and you can follow all my steps.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Piecing a back etc.

I found a nice yellow DS fabric for the back of the anvil quilt and I did not buy enough. I was going to go back and buy more but I needed Jack to take me and he was busy. I am not patient by nature and I decided I would use what I have rather than wait. I pieced the center panel by inserting some left over made fabric; the 2 side panels are the yellow fabric, not pieced

I put together an Anvil block with pieces I had left over; all  of the HST's have different backgrounds. I had a piece of the print that is around the anvil block and I used all of it to surround the block. When I sewed the yellow print on the ends the center looked lonesome so I pieced together 2 strips of 4 inch made  fabric blocks and inserted them in the center of the end pieces.

Close up of made fabric sections - the color on right is true
20 inch wide center panel - the color on the left is true

The whole back is together now and it looks balanced with 20 inch side panels of plain yellow print. I can't get a decent photo of the whole back with my flash or without it. I think maybe yellow is hard to photograph and the poor light inside today doesn't help. I will get a good photo (outside) when I finish the quilt.

It will be a while before I get this quilt finished. I need a better place to layer it up and I am getting pressed for time. Quilt Camp is coming up June 9 -13 and I have some work to do for that. I am putting almost every quilting project on hold so I can get started on organizing for our move in July or August. We moved 2 years ago from one identical space 20 some feet down the hall. That was an easy organizing  and purging move. This will not be so easy; everything will be different and my sewing space is going to be a lot different.

 I start telling everyone in January
 that it is "almost Christmas"
because to me that seems to be true.
Well... July comes before Christmas
and it is really almost here.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Jellyroll Finish

I finished my 2014 Jellyroll quilt a few days ago. the top shot has it on the floor and below is over the back of the couch where it will live from Memorial Day until Labor day. Well at least until sometime in July or August when we will be moving and then I'm not sure where it will live for the summer months when I usually put out all my red, white and blue quilts because all the summer holidays are patriotic.

These next 4 photos show some of the steps for attaching my binding by machine. Not shown are the first 2 steps where I press from the front first, pressing away from the body of the quilt and then I turn it over and fold the binding down to cover the stitches and press again. Shown below, I trim away the ravelings on the edge and clean it up with a lint roller , then I insert a 1/4 inch strip of Wonder-under or  Stitch Witchery and press the binding over the fusible strip making sure the stitches are covered. I either stitch in the ditch from the front with a straight stitch or use the Bernina #4 stitch right on the inside edge of the binding; that is what I did here. I quilted with red, white and blue thread using the wavy lines in both directions.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A Finish

I finished the "Take Four" placemats and I really like them. I like the nice soft colors and the pretty floral prints and enjoyed working with them.
I used to work with floral prints all the time and  then I  decided that I wanted to do  something different and made up my mind to use up all my floral prints. I even gave away my whole collection of mostly floral colorwash 2 inch squares. I am not sorry about the 2 inch squares but I miss  floral fabrics in my stash.
Actually I don't have much of a stash anymore. I have been trying to use it all up and I am making progress.  I have been fairly successful at sticking to my resolution to only buy what I am going to use for something I am working on or plan to start as soon as I get home with my fabric.
Lately, I have been feeling as though I am in a rut 
 and I think I am ready to switch gears.
I wonder where this will lead,
 if anywhere.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Something a little softer

 After the bold bright Anvil project I needed something soft and pretty and more traditional. It is not that I don't like the anvil flimsy. it is growing on me, especially after Jack said he likes it and doesn't see what I am fussing about.  After I make something artsy or wild or modern I always have a need to do something traditional.
Last September I purchased a fat quarter bundle of Moda "Mimi" By Chez Moi with nothing in mind but the colors and patterns were calling my name.
When I decided that I wanted to make "Take Four" placemats, designed by Cary Flanagan  I went back a bought a yard of something for the backing. After Christmas I split the fat quarter bundle with my daughter ( I am hoping she will be bitten by the quilting bug). the bundle had 7 fat quarters so I needed one more and I was fortunate to find a small selection of half yard cuts at the same quilt shop. I chose the kind of quiet blue and green print.

This is the front of one of the placemats, it is the one I thought I was not going to like when I had only the horizontal strips sewed together. Now that the vertical strips are stitched in place I like it a lot. I will stitch in the ditch and then something else but I am not sure yet what it will  be.

This is the back of all of the placemats. I considered  using that pink/red fabric for binding but decided to just turn the placemats pillowcase style so I didn't have to go back and look for more of that fabric.  When I turn something pillowcase style I don't want to deal with closing an opening on the edge; I am never really pleased with the way it looks.  I always piece the back and leave an opening in the seam for turning and either close it by hand or a strip of fusible web. Well...If I have one seam, why not two seams and why not use the left over quarter yard of the blue and green leafy print.
  Voila, reversible place mats.
I seldom use patterns or make anything according to instructions but I followed this pattern to the letter. I like the design, it is easy to follow, it is fast, I didn't have to figure out how much yardage I needed and I knew it would turn out the way I expected as I have used the pattern before.