Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

I peeked in another box. Then I opened it and started pulling out blocks. Somewhere along the line I must have decided I wanted to use setting squares. I sure cut enough of them.....
a small sample of the pink and brown CW prints set on point with setting squares.
a few blocks straight set.  These are 3 1/2" finished blocks from a swap I did several times a few years ago. Maybe 5 years ago.  Goodness, time flies.
Set side by each.

So what do you think? I'm thinking I might pack these blocks up and let them marinate a little longer!

I really should be opening my JT2 box, our group will meet Saturday for any regrouping or help and our final wrap up will be the first Sat in March. I doubt I'll have my top together, but if I can have my blocks made and be on task with this top, I'll be very pleased.

Are you working on a UFO? I like to think mine are WIPS!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Quilters Math

UFO + (time & inspiration) = 1st finish of 2013

 Particulars - Pattern is Disappearing 9 Patch. Setting triangles were involved, but worth it. I over cut the triangles so there is an extra 1/4" between the corner block and the stop border. I like to think that gives the center a bit of breathing room.  Stop border finished at 1.5 "  Stripped border is labor intensive, uses a lot of thread, but was worth it as well. It will be trimmed to approx 6" after it's quilted.  78.5" x 85" Binding will be the purple I used for the stop border.
whoohhooo!  Time to make the binding and backing, and hang it in the closet for machine quilting.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

One Sided

I'm back at machine quilting. I wasn't sure how this was looking, so I finished the top row and had to step away from it. Now that it's the a.m. and I'm looking at it with fresh eyes, I really like how it's turning out. This will be a raffle quilt and I hope to have it in the mail by next weekend.

The star quilting isn't as pronounced, but I did not want to do all the background with ruler work.  The pieced stars are stitched in the ditch and template work in the centers, the quilted star outline is ruler work and the balance is freehand.  Quilt is 60x60.  A nice lap size.
Girlfriend quilt update: I've ran out of bobbin thread twice so far, these pieced borders take a lot of time!  One down and three more to go.
The setting triangles and stop border are purple, the colors look so blue in the photos.  I'm so glad I did not finish this quilt when I started it.  There wasn't an inkling of a pieced border at that time.  I guess some things really do need to rest before they get finished.
**Movie Review** 
Argo - Amazing.  If you haven't seen it and it's back in a theater, check it out.  Even though I knew how it would end, my palms were sweaty, I was on the edge of my seat and holding my breath at the end!

I'm off to brunch with my gal pals today, then back at the machine for some more quilting time in the afternoon.  Enjoy your Sunday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Love a Good Star(t)

I know, I know, nothing new gets started until something old gets finished. But I just love a good start. This has been rolling around in my brain for months now. I knew I wanted something string pieced as a center for my medallion class I'm taking with Gwen Marston in June. Something with cheddar or red with cream strings.  Red won out and here is my star(t). Center 4 patch is 8" finished and this block will finish at 24"

I had a few minutes while a backing got washed and dried. I'm finally in the mood to long arm quilt so I loaded up a liberated star quilt I am donating to a hospital foundation.  They are raising monies for a digital mammography machine, they only needed $2 mil, but my g.f. has less than $100,000 to go! Now the quilt has been loaded and I can get started on it tomorrow night after my massage therapy!

 I haven't been energized or motivated to machine quilt for the past few weeks, but I've been a piecing fool. I guess we can't do it all, all the time. Now that I've got my secret sewing ready for auditioning backgrounds,  I took the few minutes to play with strings tonight.

And just so you don't think I've abandoned my Girlfriends quilt, I've been diligent in using the strips for leaders/enders and I've got a few sewn together. I'm loving this quilt so much more than I imagined.

I'm poking along with my hand quilting and applique, a few stitches here and there, but each thread takes me that much closer to finished.
I hope your week has been good to you and you've got to stitch a bit!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shhhhh, It's a Secret

Doesn't this look like a fun stack of fabric. I can't share with you just yet, but stay tuned.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Stop Borders

It was mentioned in my comments that a stop border might look good with the piano key border. Here is one dark purple.
A slightly lighter purple......

and white. 

Here is the original with no stop border.

And since I had a few blocks left over, I whipped up a table runner. I'll bind this in the purple that the setting triangles are pieced with if there is enough left over from the quilt. This will make a pretty gift when someone needs a little cheering up.

So what do you think? Dark stop border, white stop border, no stop border? Come on, I know you're not shy about sharing an opinion! :-)

I'm heading on to the night shift tonight. 7 pm to 7 am. I've still got a few pieces left to applique on my Joy of Life, so I'll tuck that into my bag for the 2-5 a.m. grind. Thank goodness it's only for one night.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Joy of Life Update

Having all the pieces prepped in advance certainly makes it seem like I'm a speedy appliquer. Remember, I have been working on this all of Dec, getting it all prepped with all the pieced backgrounds and bias vines and leaves. Then I had a week's vacation with my 78 yr old Dad in AZ. Not a lot of socializing was going on while I was there. The center block is 1/2 done, and a few blocks still need circles at the end of the vines or in the center of some flowers.  The top center block is about 1/2 done so I'm thrilled with the progress I"m making on this piece.

I missed this one hiccup during the background piecing. Two 9 patches coming together that are exactly the same. Easy fix, I'll swap out from one side to the other. Give me a seam ripper and a few pins and it will be fixed in 1/2 an hour.

I belong to The Applique Society, aka TAS  We meet at our LQS, Fabric Etc in Bellingham, WA  the third Sat of each month. This is the best $25 I spend on quilting all year long.  The group I belong to is bursting with talent and sharing and ideas and laughter, and we can bake quite the selection at Christmas time too.

Tomorrow is the 3rd Sat, you know where you can find me!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Border Lines

Undecided about a piano key border, I thought I'd make a few strips to audition things. This is 3 sections of the same strip set and I was still on the edge about doing this.
Sewed a few more strips together, used a bit more variety and lightened them up. Now we're getting somewhere. This sealed the deal for a strip pieced border!
Used up a few more blocks, this will make a nice cheerful gift for someone.
Do you remember this project? It only saw the light of day for a short while, something to do with me sewing all the blocks together wrong. Goodness, that can derail a project in a heartbeat.
It's on my WIP's list and during the process of all the setting triangles, I got a few blocks made via Bonnie Hunter's leader/ender system. If you can organize something, it's amazing how much headway can be made while focusing on another project.
That's all for now. Still poking my finger on a nightly basis, trying to build up a good callous from hand quilting.
Tomorrow is my 4 year follow up with my cancer surgeon, it should be a routine check-up. At least, that's MY plan! Then I'm off to spend the evening with L, we will both be doing some hand applique and will get all caught up with each other. So looking forward to our visit, now that we've both gotten over our colds.
....and if you haven't been over to Jan's blog Be*Mused in a while, check it out, she's got an amazing project on the go. I'd love to spend an afternoon sewing with her!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Checking my List

I've had company this weekend so not much went on in the sewing room until Sunday afternoon. Brrr, it's cold outside, and that makes for a cold sewing room. I'm all dried out now, I will address the drainage and then look at having the floor redone. Until then, I'm going to find a nice, inexpensive rug and then move everything back into the longarm room. Thank goodness for Tupperware tubs and carts/shelving on wheels.
This is my "Girlfriends" quilt. We all got together a few years ago, each of us picked a pattern and we all made each other blocks. I loved these pansy fabrics and they have languished in a box for a few years, aging like fine wine. I got all the setting triangles in, the rows together and the top measures 64 x 72. I'm thinking of a piano key scrappy 6" border and then bind it with the same purple as the setting squares. I'll have to audition a section and see how I like it. If not, it will get quilted and bound, as is!  UFO list, Check!
My applique moved right along over Christmas when I  got 5 blocks done during my week of vacation, and now I've been home for 2 weeks and have only got one block finished. It just needs the circles sewn down and then I'll be onto the next block. 
Miss Molly was all stretched out on the floor in front of the fire, she just loves when it's toasty warm in the living room. I couldn't resist sharing a picture of her!
Hope you made some headway on a UFO this weekend, I'm loving the one I got together.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

I'm Bailing Out

No, I'm not quitting my JT2 or my BTCT, I'm bailing water. Grrrr. Tuesday night was guild night, but since it was pouring rain and pitch black, M and I decided to go for Mexican food in town instead of driving to the guild meeting. First we got her quilts all bagged up and put in her car, and looked at everything going on in my sewing room.
When I came home, I made sure all the drains outside the front of my house were clear of debris, then I came in and was looking forward to an hour or sew of hand quilting, wrapped under 'the tank' and catching up on some tv.
But I needed something, (I can't remember what it was) so I ran downstairs and started walking through water.
Needless to say, my plans changed in a heartbeat. I grabbed the first stack of towels, threw down a rag quilt that was handy, and headed back upstairs for the second stack of towels and throw rugs. Anything that would soak up the water hit the floor.
Once all the items on the floor got moved to the garage, the towels hit the washer on spin, and got reused until there was no water left to mop up. At this point, I realize that a drain out the back wasn't draining and the water was building up in a catch area. I called my Dad, he's in AZ, but all I got was moral support, (what did I expect??) He said to call the guys from my work, so I called T. Again, moral support and "call a plumber". I called the plumber, and yes, they can come....... the next morning at 8 a.m.
So I started bailing. Then I decided I needed sandbags as the water was coming into the drain area as fast as I was bailing and it was going to breach the concrete slab and just push through again into my downstairs. OK so here I am in a tiny border town driving around at 11 p.m. in a torrential downpour, going from gas station to grocery store to truck stop, looking for sandbags. No luck. But I did see Border Patrol so I drove over to where he was parked and asked if he knew where I could get some sandbags. He offered up a phone number so I hurried home and called. It was the county emergency number and after I was transferred three times, the last lady told me the fire dept had been dispatched to my house. Good grief, but maybe they could help me.

When the big red truck came around the corner into my driveway, I was out there, standing in the rain, waiting for them, and no, they weren't hot and single! :-) but I got some more moral support. He told me "keep bailing"! I guess they had already been to several houses that were far worse than mine. I must have hauled about 30 of these buckets of water out of here.
By midnight I was too exhausted and too wet and too cold to keep bailing so I went inside, rolled up a fresh batch of dried towels all around the walls of my room, went upstairs, got dried off and went to bed; but not before I set my alarm to wake me up at 4 a.m. No need for the alarm, I was wide awake at 3, and I laid there, listening for rain. When I finally convinced myself that I had to put on my big girl pants and go back down stairs to check things out, I was SO relieved to see the water had receded and the rain truly had stopped.

Short version, my floor is ruined, the upside, no quilts were damaged in the process. Of course my home owners insurance, which has me covered for EVERYTHING, along with an additional $1 million umbrella, doesn't cover this. Let's just say this insurance co will never see another penny from me.

I'm not sure if I was more upset about the flood or the fact that I didn't get to take a stitch in my quilt.
So that's how my week has been, that's my excuse for not showing anything quilt related, and thank goodness I had a massage appointment today, I think I earned it!


Header Picture

Although we don't know what the future holds, sometimes when we look back we see the clues that were right in front of us.  I used to cross stitch, same as many other quilters.  This header was my first project.  I had no idea about quilting at the time.  Hmmm, how could I miss that sign?  Then when I returned to school in my late 30's and learned how to write pc code, my final project was an online store that sold quilts. Well, not real quilts, they were bed spreads made "you know where". Sometimes I have to be hit over the head for something to sink in.

I have no info about this stitchery, other than it was a kit and I loved it. I remember someone telling me I could hang it in the laundry room.  It was my first x stitch so of course I considered it a masterpiece at the time and I couldn't imagine hiding this in a laundry room.  I wanted to show it off so I hung it, proudly, in my living room!  Now it hangs above my stairs down to the sewing studio. 
I have this big x stitch that is about 1/3 finished, maybe Santa will be done this year since I put this on my list of UFO's...........if Ijust dedicate one night a week to this, I know I'll make great headway.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hand Quilting BTCT

I thought I'd share how things are going with my BTCT. If you see me blogging about  "the Tank" please know I'm referring to my Beyond the Cherry Tree quilt.  Good grief, 100 x 100 is a lot of quilt to maneuver around on your lap.

I've figured out a few things.

Two needles are better than one.  I can quilt twice as much and only shift the quilt once.  I also leave a long tail on each thread so I can pick it up and go in the opposite direction and I'll have 1/2 the knots in my top.

I wore down my thumb nail pulling the needle through the quilt. I'd get little grooves in it, so I'd file them out and pretty soon I was filing my skin as my nail was getting so short. Then my nail split.  Pondering how I was going to continue this process for the next 18 months or so, I came up with an idea.  Now I have an acrylic nail on my thumb; I quilted for 2+ hours on Sat night and not a dent or a chip to be seen!  The $3 fix.  Manicures for the next year or so............are you feeling sorry for me? ;-)

I'm outlining all the applique about a 1/16 to an 1/8th of an inch away from the design, usually I stitch so close to the applique that you can't even see the stitches.  Lori and Humble Quilts works like this and I love how it looks. 
That's what I love about blogging, quilters across the world or across the street can all teach us something new.  The marking done by Bellwether Dry Goods is amazing.  If you click on the first picture of this post, you can see that the line just disappears once it's stitched.  When I was basting this, I saw places that still had eraser rubbings on the top, they made corrections that were 1/16th of an inch difference.  They strive for perfection and did an amazing job for me.

So far I have this much done and I've got 6-7 hours into it so far................


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Out of the Box

Once the list of UFO's got written, this was the first one to go on the design wall. Since the blocks were all made, it was the closest to finished, so I started there. In less than two hours, all the blocks were sewn in rows and I've picked out the setting triangle fabric.  I had collected these prints 6 or 7 years ago. This seems so far out of my box now that I've worked so much with the CW prints in the last few years.

I'll use the balance of this for the border. I have no idea what size this is, I just know I've used up all the blocks from "the box".  Using setting triangles posed a challenge for two sides of this quilt as the sashing needs to be around all sides of the print.  I've had to sew the sashing to the setting triangle and then using partial seams, I'm able to put the rows together.  I've made the setting triangles a little bigger so when I trim down the sides, I'll have a 1/2 " When I add the borders (in the same fabric), it will float by 1/4"
Seems like there is a lot of left over sections along with a stack of prints, I see a few table runners in the future.
The flag has all the quilting finished, the tabs have been machine sewn down and I just need to do a little bit of hand sewing on the bottom of the tabs, but I'll put this down as my first finish of the year.
I know it's only a week into the new year but do you have any finishes yet? Sometimes we are so close to finished, but we get sidetracked.

Hope you got in some sewing time this weekend.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Purpose Driven

It seems to be easier to finish a project when there is a deadline or a purpose for whatever task is at hand. The start of this year began with lists; lists of quilts in motion, tops that need backs and quilting, blocks in boxes that need to be transformed into a top and eventually into a quilt and kits that have never seen the light of day. If I can tag a purpose or a deadline to a project, I know my chances of a finish are a lot better. I realized a purpose for this project while I was away, and I'm starting the year with a finish.
They say that what you do today, you do for the year. I'm covering all my bases. After piecing this little project, I made the back, layered it and started the machine quilting. It's simple, but effective.
Since I love applique, I thought I better add it to the mix of things today, and I got the flower and a few leaves stitches down.
And true to my plan, I've organized and started the hand quilting on my BTCT. I was asked a few questions, so here are a few details.
The thread is YLI Natural, I use John James #10 Betweens needles, the batting is Quilters Dream Select. This top measures 100 x 100 so I'm sure I'll empty this spool and put a dent into a new one.
My goal for the hand quilting is the summer of 2014. Since hand quilting makes for a boring blogger, I will post my progress on this once a month.

I also realized how much I got done while being "unplugged" over Christmas. As much as I love reading and commenting and posting, I may be putting a self imposed limit on my computer time.

Happy New Years to all!