Sunday, January 30, 2011

Caution, Curves Ahead

I've made Drunkards Path blocks before. Traced and cut out the template, marked my fabric, cut the pieces out with scissors, and hand pieced them together. I've always thought I'd like to have a small quilt made up in this block, oh, but the time!
And now, in 2011, I was able to cut these is less than 30 seconds.

Fabrics Etc has an industrial Accuquilt Studio, it's big, it looks expensive and it is simply amazing! Carol and Tracey had it out Sat afternoon for demos so I took some fabric down to try it out. No, I'm not starting something new this weekend, but I'm now prepared to prep for this future quilt.  Here's how it worked. The above pieces were cut from 12 1/2" squares so in less than a minute I had the working pieces for 24 blocks. 

I've heard there can be a lot of waste, not so with this block.  This is what remained and it's perfect for my log cabin basket.
Since I was working with reds, a nice glass of shiraz came into the sewing room. I like the stemless glass, less chance of spillage.  Oh, and I wanted to see really how much time it would take to make these blocks.
These are my first three blocks trying different methods.  Left to right, no pinning, pinning in 3 places, and one pin at the end.  I liked using one pin at the end to keep things lined up. I used my regular 1/4" foot and got some help from my stiletto.

44 1/2 minutes later, my wine was gone and I had 24 blocks pieced AND pressed. I'm sold on this. Carol is renting time on this machine, (super inexpensive);  if you plan and prep your fabrics in advance, in no time you can have a fabulous Drunkards Path (or other pattern).  I will be cutting and saving blocks for a future curved quilt.
Block 7 is finished for my 25 BOM.  There are some fantastic renditions of  this over at Beyond the Cherry Tree.  I'm prepping 8 - 10 at one time, so it will be a while before I have the next block completed.
This flannel quilt is so cozy and warm. I wish I could keep all the quilts I do for others.  It is so inspiring to see how others work with fabric. This one is Norma T's and I know she is gifting it out, but not to me. :-(
Baby quilts needed to be put together so once I got this big one off my machine, I loaded up two tops with one back and did them side by side.  Both tops were the same, but I quilted them differently.  This is the front with ribbons quilted.
and this is the back of the second one.  I played a little.  Wish I knew the names of the babies who will be gifted these, it's so fun to write their name and birth date into the quilting.
Bindings were attached, bolts of fabric have been put away, I can see the bottom of my cutting table. That's a great feeling. We finally got blue skies and sunshine, and I don't care how cold it gets, it's NOT raining!  So I must bundle up, get the leash and take myself and my dog for a nice long walk and soak up some Vitamin D!
Hope your weekend has been wonderful!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

Do you have so many things you want to do you that you go round in circles trying to get to all of them? That was me this weekend. I did accomplish a lot though, the biggest one was going to Fabric Etc for their big sale and left with NO fabric for my studio. Now that's not to say I didn't purchase fabric, when you call your friends and they ask you to shop for them, well, that satisfied the need to leave with fabrics in hand. I did leave with a pattern and a few other goodies. If you visit my area, don't miss Carol's shop. They always make you feel welcome and special when you walk through the door.
This has been a top for quite some time, and now it's a quilt. Once I trim it, I'll use the backing extras for the binding.
Another Bonnie Hunter pattern has been completed. There will be more of this pattern in my quilting future.
As much as I'm trying to resist starting any new projects, I did spend some time working on this.
It doesn't fall into the new project catagory because the blocks were all left over from Surrounded, a quilt pattern from Four Paws Quilting. Every so often I'd come across these and wonder what to do with them. After digging in my scrap bag of greens, I found a few of the original fabrics, made a few more blocks to finish it and I made Limonade out of them. I need to turn and hand stitch the binding, label it and then gift it.
In the process of digging in scrap bags, this came upstairs with me yesterday.
It's a bag of 1" strips. I sat and joined them all together and started working on a rag rug. Turning a pile of strips into this........
...well, it just feels good!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quilting out of Boxes

For those who think I've abandoned my blog, I'm still here! As much as I'd like to post every day, not enough is happening that is blog worthy on a daily basis. I'm at a stage of several projects where there is still a lot of work to be done before there will be finishes, so I thought I'd share a few things that are in progress.
Beyond the Cherry Tree is a 25 BOM. Here is the box that I am working from.
I started after 12 months had been posted. I've been able to do 2 per month and here are the first six blocks.
 I think January is going to get the best of me as block #7 still needs about 40  5/8" circles sewn on. I keep poking away at it.  I thought this was a lot of circles, then I saw the pattern posted this month.....100+ grapes. Yikes!
The second box I'm working from is the 9 Patch swap I did through a Yahoo group.  I have 72 block centers that are all civil war repro's and I'm working on the sashing. I'm using shirtings and black or navy for the star points.
I needed to cut something like 550+ 2 1/2 " dark squares for the corners.  I'll end up with this many bonus 1/2 sq triangles that will finish out at 1 1/4".  They are getting trimmed and tossed into another box.
I've got seven blocks done.  I'm loving this pattern, it's a Bonnie Hunter pattern, Sisters Choice
This last box is the fourth piece I've made from this pattern.  I have also quilted a few tops for customers from this pattern.
Yup, it's also a Bonnie Hunter pattern, Pineapple Blossoms
I want to make this for my bed so I need 100 blocks for a 90 x 90.  So far I have 10 finished, but I work this pattern in rounds.  Currently I have 5 stacks of 10 blocks all in various stages.  For some reason I feel like I make more progress doing it this way.  This box sits on my sewing table, so whenever I sit at the machine, something is done on this project. I use this for my "leaders and enders" when I'm working on anything else. Every strip brings me closer to a finished block. Working on this gets me excited about my trip to NYC! I have also just loaded a blue and cream version of this onto my longarm and will post some pictures when it's finished.
So even though my blog has been a bit quite lately, not to worry, I'm stitching away in my corner of the world. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just for Kicks

Here is Max. He's a barn cat.
Except we don't have a barn at work. OK so he's a warehouse cat. But there's no one to let him out if he lives in the warehouse.
OK, so he's an office cat. Along with his 3 siblings. They make great seat warmers. As for Max, he's guarding the stairs to Accounting!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Garden Make Over

Well, I'm not really gardening in the winter, but my garden did get a make over. When I moved into this house it had a huge garden, a family of five were fed from it.  Since it's just me, and I haven't been able to train my dog to pull weeds, I had to do something that was more manageable.  I built hired someone to build the garden boxes and then at the end of this summer, I added one more smaller one at the bottom. Nice fence, huh. I found out this weekend that my neighbors house is going into foreclosure, and it's going to take 9 - 12 months for the process, and that the owner has quit paying the mortgage. How much luck do you think I'm going to have getting him to split the cost of a new fence?

On the 27th of December, the landscaping fairies came and left and in one day did this.  Saturday was the first time I got to see it as I have been coming home in the dark and then it snowed the night this was done and then it froze.  So this has been covered with snow. I did know they filled the boxes with dirt, so now I'll be ready to plant.  No having to shovel hire people to shovel dirt into them in the spring.
There's been some quilting going on in the studio this weekend, but it's been for other people. I'm poking away at block 7 of Beyond the Cherry Tree and I did some more hand quilting on my Baptist Fans.
  Oh, and I booked a ticket to NYC to see the Red and White quilt exhibition. Whoohoo!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Vintage Delight

A very interesting quilt block
I have no idea what this block pattern is called, I've never seen it in any books.  I'm showing a lot of pictures to show all the different fabrics in this quilt.  Some are definitely more delicate than others, I don't really "use" this quilt. It is folded on the foot of the spare bed and I try to keep the cat and dog out of that room.  I refold it and fluff it out and lay it flat for stretches, just to keep from making permanent creases and to keep it's color.

Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

I purchased this quilt in 2005 from an elderly man from the Pendleton, OR area.  He had advertised quilts for sale in the Nickel Trader newspaper so I called and asked what he had.  These were his mom's quilts, and he was downsizing.  He called all his kids and the relatives and told them to come pick out a quilt.  There were two left over and he was selling them.  He told me he thought this one was the prettiest of all she made, but none of the kids thought so.
The backing is as bright and cheery as the front.  It's made with 36" wide fabric.  The binding it a turned border.
We drove to a meeting point, the parking lot of a truck stop on Hwy 84. I walked over to his van, he started to pull the quilts out of a big black garbage bag and when I saw how bright the colors were in this one, I told him I'd take them both, sight unseen.
  He did give me his mothers name and a bit of history, but I've lost it. I know....but from what I remember him telling me, he thought this quilt would have been made in the early 20's, based on his mothers age and when she passed away
   It also has little holes along the binding that are dirty.  When I took the quilt to a shop, they thought the holes could have come from the old fashioned bed springs.  The ladies said that some people put quilts/blankets under the mattress so the springs didn't make any noise.  I know this top hasn't seen the sunlight, the colors at truly this bright and clear and there is no fabric degeneration.
Notice the hodge podge of fabrics in the block below.
I also don't know how this was put together. It is almost like she appliqued the small pink patch overtop, but it's definitely machine pieced and hand quilted. See how the pink triangle below look like they were squares cut down?  See how the pink block is on the left of the pieced block? It doesn't meet at the corner of the blue & pink? If the pink was a 1/2 square triangle, there wouldn't be this extra room.  If you look at this block, you can see that she really didn't have a 1/2 sq triangle, but given that she has patched together so many pieces, I find it unlikely that she would have cut her blocks off to get this shape.
What bright and crisp colors!
The pencil lines are still visible from her quilt lines, there are many poverty patches throughout the quilt, and it's never been washed.
Poverty patches throughout the top.

Switching to the modern, here is a larger picture of this one that I finished quilting on the weekend, I just need to turn the binding.  You can make this pattern with any size 1/2 sq triangles, but I definitely needed to design wall.  I was working with 2 charm packs and nothing more and I wanted to use up all of them, so this one is 12 x 14 and it has a 3 x 3 design with the big diamond.

Hope this inspires others to play on their design wall. 1/2 squares will give you lots of options.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Bouncing Around

It's been a mixed bag of projects that have gotten some attention this New Years weekend. I've bounced  from machine quilting, hand quilting, piecing and hand applique.This one is for a special someone.
No kidding that quilting makes the quilt. Here is the before....
And after. I'm almost done, I have about another hour to finish, then add the binding. I turn the binding and finish  by hand, that's my favorite part of making a quilt.  This one already has a label, I remembered to add it to the back before I loaded it on the machine.
Speaking of hand work,

This prompted me to start the machine quilting yesterday afternoon. I am now on round two of the Baptist Fans, so I'm going to bind this today. I did a scrappy shirting binding, it will just make it more portable with the binding on.

And when I felt like sitting at my DSM, I have worked on a few of the sashing pieces for this block.  2 done, 70 more to go.  This project requires a LOT of cutting. 288 sashing pieces, 288 corner squares, and 576 dark corner squares! The upside is that I'll end up with 576 bonus 1/2 sq triangles that will finish at 1 1/4" for a later project.
This is Sisters Choice by Bonnie Hunter. The center 9 patches were from my Nov swap through this Yahoo group. It's called a Nickel swap group, but it's so much more than that. It's worth checking out if you are into swapping 30's and Civil War prints and blocks.
And my shadow all weekend. Because I her, I have to get dressed and move my feet. We did a 3+ mile walk yesterday, it was beautiful, cold and sunny. We'll be doing it again today!
Yes, she has her own quilt!
I love 3 day weekends!