Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bad awful problems over here.

I had the day off today.  I spent most of it fighting with my camera.  I do NOT know what happened but it's gone nuts.  To get it to take a picture I have to take out the battery and the memory card and then put them back in.  Then it will work for about two minutes before going on the fritz again.  Some people would think the timing is good, she can ask for a new camera for xmas.  Not me, I'm too annoyed because the camera is young.  Maybe it will straighten up if I give it a little time.
Meanwhile, I got one lousy shot of my latest finish.  Here is 'Mai Tai', Bonnie Hunter's design from our quilt cruise.  My quilting wasn't half bad.  Too bad I'm having camera problems and can't show you.  grrrrrr
So I've been thinking that maybe I was a little deceptive in my last post.  I didn't tell any fibs but, well, I acted like I was some kind of quilter superstar bragging about my HUNDREDS of half square triangles.  My guilty conscience got to me and I just want to tell you I had a little help.  I used my Accuquilt Go to cut the triangles.  It's like magic.  I loaded the fabrics on the die with the right sides together and after you run it through the machine, they are ready for sewing.  It's an unbelievable time saver and I surely wouldn't be making this quilt without it.  

Before you know it, you have stacks of triangles all ready for sewing.

I spread out the triangle pairs on the sewing table and then just slid them into place as I chain pieced them together.
They just slide right under the needle and I felt like a high volume factory. 
In no time at all this morning I had yards and yards of this. 

I pulled out this little tool that was a gift from my friend, Diane.  It's called a Shark's tooth and it just hangs around my neck.  I just went 'swipe, slash, and chop' and the HST's piled up.
 Then the most tedious part of the whole process started.....the ironing.  Bleh.

Actually, putting all of these little suckers up on the design wall was kind of tedious too.  But look at them!  Right now you are looking at 484 half square triangles.  They will finish at 2 inches.  I have enough yellow to make about 56 more.  The finished product will be 23 by 23 units, about 46 inches square before borders. 
So.......should I use this setting?  or maybe move the middle a little off center?  I can tell you that I don't really feel like moving 484 of these here and there trying out different settings.  I'll let this 'cure' for a while then maybe try something else and take a picture.  It's nice to be able to flip back and forth between pictures to decide what's the best setting. 

Wish me luck with the dopey camera.  Adios!

Starting something New!!

I had a little finish last week.  I finally finished the quilt from the cruise with Pat Sloan and Bonnie Hunter that I went on a year ago.  And shame on me, you're going to have to wait for a picture.  I promise to get one tomorrow and post it ASAP.  Meanwhile, check this out!  I started playing.
I have been absolutely itching to make something with HST's and this seemed like a good time to do it.  Do I have xmas gifts to make?  yes  Do I have laundry to do?  yes   Should I be out getting some exercise?  yes
But seriously people, when the urge strikes, a quilter just has to go with it.  A few weeks ago I bought some lovely Kona yardage.  I am pretty sure it is called Citrus.  I pulled it out and then starting piling up some fabrics to go with it.
I know this doesn't look like a whole lot but, guess what, it's TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY TWO half square triangles!!!
Yesiree!  I cranked these babies out and, according to my mathematical calculations, I have enough yellow yardage left to end up with a total of 535 HST's.  They are 2 inches finished so even that many won't be a huge quilt.
It's always fun to get out the old graph paper notebook isn't it?  I felt so smart jotting things down on my graph paper and using my calculator to get the square root of 535.
I kept stacking my little babies up hoping they would look like a million units.  No luck.
But isn't this fun?!  I swear it's so much brighter in real life.
Then the design wall playing got silly.  What if it looked like the yellow just dribbled off the bottom?  Uh, not so good.
Notice a little difference here?  Now it's a spiral.
How about now?  That hot pink in the center was distracting to me so I got rid of it.  Much better in my opinion. 
Apparently I didn't get the dribbling yellow out of my system because I was still messing around with it.  Truth be told, it now has two silly dribbles off the bottom but I didn't get a photo of that.  Tomorrow I'm going to buckle down and churn out a few hundred more with a bigger variety of fabrics.  Right now it's getting late so I'm going to make a to-do list for tomorrow and then hit the sack.  The first thing on the list will be to take pictures of my newest finished quilt.  Come back soon.  Nighty night!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Marathon Sewing and my Quilty Albatross.

We had a great time last weekend at the Wild Threads sewing marathon.  We have access to a fantastic space in a local church.  They don't charge us a specific rate but we pitch in $5 each.  I really think we need to do something nice for the church.  Like make and donate a raffle quilt.  This space has so much gorgeous natural light.  Honestly my dream studio would be a lot like this.
We have all day to sew if we want so it's nice for some of the gals to be able to pop in and visit if they can't stay too long.  Annette on the left is recuperating from back surgery.  SO nice to see you out and about Annette!  Kathy is always on the go on the weekends with three boys playing sports, but she came to visit a while.
 Shirley on the left is giving Chris a quick tutorial on using her new rolled hem foot.  Chris is a new grandma!  Her first grandbaby is a beautiful little girl.  Thanks for bringing pictures Chris.  I'm pretty sure Chris will be using that new rolled hem foot for some cute pink outfits.
Hi Debbie!  Debbie came with a quilt she had pieced to send off for Hurricane Sandy victims.  She got it quilted and the binding sewn on and ready for the handwork.  It is such a pretty quilt with the cutest pink and brown doggie fabric.
Kathleen came with a few things to work on.  Poor gal, she didn't know what she was in for.  I hounded, badgered, and practically beat her with a stick to get her to make Row 2 of the WTMRQ.  I badgered Chris too but she knows me better and I think she tunes me out.  This row really is fiddly with a bunch a different sized pieces.  Sorry ladies  :(   I love Kathleen's fabrics and I'm sure she's glad she got the row done. 
Unsuspecting Kathleen also brought this delicious pile of fabrics so she could work on her...........................................
Snoopy quilt!!  Aren't these Snoopy blocks awesome?  She traced the designs onto the fabric and then free-motion 'thread painted' with black thread.  I love this and MUST try it!  Sadly, she didn't get near this quilt on Saturday. 
Diane (behind the quilt) had jet lag so she just met us for lunch and showed off her finished Granny Square quilt.  Great job Diane, I love the setting.
I didn't get a picture of Pat but here is her background fabric for the row quilt.  I love Kaffe.  She brought those solids to go with it but decided it needed some punch.  Guess what?  I live 3 minutes away so we zipped around the corner to 'shop' my stash.  I'm so sorry I didn't get a picture of the finished row (dang it!) but we came back with a purple, blue, and red that had just the zing needed.  Stay tuned because I will share everybody's rows soon.
The top row is Kathleen's and the picture doesn't do it justice.  The solids show up nicely in person, trust me.  The blocks in the middle are Chris'.  She just needs to trim and sew them together.  And the bottom is one of my colorways.  I hope the ladies stick it out with this quilt because I love seeing everyone's versions.
And what did ol' 9patchnurse work on ALL day?
See that pouty face?  I deliberately brought just this quilt to work on.  See, I didn't just badger other sewers, I picked on myself too.  I have been working on this quilt for EVER!  At least 3 years, probably more.  It feels like 10 years.  It's been basted and in the quilting stage for well over a year if not two.  Four retreats ago, I started quilting feathers in the blocks.  I made a very very bad thread choice with a variegated thread.  It had some black in it and so some of the feathers were black and looked like ***t.  Instead of stopping when I first started wondering about my choice, I kept going in hopes that it would grow on me.  Ugh, no such luck.  So the quilt went into a gigando ziplock bag and into the closet.  Now and then I would take a seam ripper to some of the quilting but what a misery to pick out the areas where the quilting overlapped.  I started to hate the quilt.  And I began to love brighter colors so I lost even more interest.  I dragged this quilt to every retreat in hopes of ripping out the quilting and, finally, the Wild Threads jumped in and put me out of my misery.  In September at the Double O retreat, they got er done!!  
So guess what needed to be done?  9patchnurse needed to quilt it again, lol.  Drastic measures needed, you can't work on anything else until you finish this quilt!  Well, surprise surprise, it is in the washing machine as I write this!! Praise be! 
Yup, I spent all day Saturday pouting and whining and quilting feathers.  I gave the quilt lots of names.  Piece of Crap.  Heap of garbage.  Pain in My Ass.  And some others I won't mention.  I cursed feathers too.   I was doing some serious hating on this poor lil quilt. 
But some good things happened.  I used a Pilot Frixion pen for the first time to mark a quilt.  It's like magic!  Just drawn your lines and when you're done, put a hot iron on them and they disappear!  See the black pen marks?

Seriously, they are gone.  Not one hint of marker left.
This morning I got this baby finished and into the wash after a quickie photo shoot in the front yard. 
Can you guess who is loving this quilt now?  Me.  While I was fussing about it on Saturday and struggling to stuff it this way and that way on my home machine (it's 90 by 80 inches), I got a close up view of all the fabrics.  Aren't they pretty?  It's made from a few charm packs and a jelly roll and I think the fabric lines were called Poetry and Sanctuary.  Maybe.  I'm really not sure since it's been so dang long.  Anyway, I love the red check with that floral.
And how about this beautiful yellow and red floral with the plaid?
Although I am in a serious love affair with bright fabrics, I just love the sweetness of this pale yellow with the little posies on it. I wish I had yards of it to put on the back of a little girl's quilt.
Holy moly!  I put purple in this quilt.  I hardly every buy or use purple.  I don't have much in my stash.  I don't really know why except maybe I think it's limiting. 
And a quick view of the back.  I have had this patchwork 'cheater' fabric in my stash for a while.  It seemed to work here and I filled in with some sweet polka dots I've had forever. 
I know I said that I like this quilt now but this baby is getting wrapped up for Christmas.  I think I know just the home for it.  Can't tell though, shhhhh.
Have a nice day friends.  I am going to turn up the music and do a touchdown dance, then go get a manicure.  Bye.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Two rows done and my special friend!

I just finished the second row of my WTMRQ in my two chosen colorways. 
 For the first, I shuffled up the small squares of the focus fabric.
For the second, I kept the focus squares together in each block.  I almost didn't do this because I really liked the shuffled look of the red, black, and white colorway.  But golly gosh wow I am glad I did.  I really like the looks of this row too. 
I was very ambivalent about this block for the quilt and I held off deciding if I was going to include it until I got one block done.  Now I am really sold on it though.  Quite pleased am I!

Check out who I saw last weekend.  Jay McCarroll!  I love this guy. He came to speak to the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild and it was fantastic.  Jay told his story from going to school in rural Pennsylvania to fabric designing with many stops in between.  Jay is incredibly entertaining, funny, and humble. 

I've been a fan of Jay's since the first ever episode of Project Runway aired and I was thrilled when he won the first season.  He told us all about it and we got to hear lots of insider tales.  More than ever, I admire the first group of designers that went on that show.  They really went into the unknown with nothing to compare to.  Check out Jay's website here.  He designs more than fabric so go get started on some holiday shopping.   Last year I bought some of his t-shirts before the holidays.  Check out my shirt below, it has one of the crazy big-eyed deer from his first fabric line.  That's why he wrote what he did on the postcard above. 
We got to see Jay's new fabric line AND a sneaky peak of the next.  No pictures allowed of that though.  I will tell you that I love love love it and can't wait until January to get some. 
The fabric design world is very interesting and I really enjoyed hearing Jay talk about his hits and misses.  Thank goodness Free Spirit is working with him.  Our gain for sure.
Last year Jay was interviewed at Quilters take Manhattan and I met him at Victoria's loft.  I couldn't wait to see him again.   Does this make me a stalker?  I think he's really just my special friend.
Tomorrow I am getting together to sew all day with the Wild Threads (who else, lol).  I can't wait to see some of their rows for the WTMRQ.  I will try to remember to take my camera.  Now I have to go clean and oil my machine and pack up some projects.  Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wild Thread Mystery Row Quiltalong Row 2 !!

Are you a Wild Thread?  Do you have any wild threads?  Have your threads gone wild?  Join in if you want.  My mini group (called the Wild Threads if you haven't guessed already),  is having a low stress, simple quilt along. It's a row quilt.   It's supposed to be a mystery but I have a big mouth, loose lips, and a hard time keeping secrets.  I have shared some of my ideas for blocks, but I have also come up with new ideas.  There may still be a surprise or two for those I have blabbed to.
  You can find Row One of the WTMRQ here.
And now,  a tutorial for the block for Row Two!
The cutting instructions are for the entire six blocks for the row.
From your background fabric, cut 6 each of  the following pieces:
1 and 1/2 inches by 2 and 1/2 inches
1 and 1/2 inches by 3 inches
1 and 1/2 inches by 3 and 1/2 inches
1 and 1/2 inches by 6 and 1/2 inches
1 inch by 2 inches
2 inches by 2 and 1/2 inches
3 inches by 2 and 1/2 inches
3 inches by 4 and 1/2 inches
2 inches square
3 inches square
3 and 1/2 inches square
Also, cut 12 of 1 and 1/2 inches by 2 inches
From your focus fabrics, cut 30 two inch squares.  There are 5 of these in each block.   You can make them the same in each block or assorted in each block.  I am making mine assorted for this first block, BUT I reserve the right to change my mind. 
The picture above shows you my little scribbly diagram that I made using graph paper.  I used my colored pencils so I could get an inkling of how the block might look.
 I put the block together in 9 segments.  Starting in the top left is segment 1.  Sew a 1 inch by 2 inch background piece to one side of a focus square.  To the left  long side, attach  a 1 and 1/2 by 2 and 1/2 inch piece of background.   Along the bottom edge, sew  a 1 and 1/2 inch by 3 inch piece of background.  You will almost circle the focus square.
 Segment 3 is the top right corner of the block.  Sew a 2 inch background square to a focus square.   Add a 1 and 1/2 inch by 3 and 1/2 inch background piece to the right side. 
Using the above picture as a guide, and a 3 and 1/2 inch background square as segment 2 in the middle, put together the above row. 
Segment 4 is a 3 inch background square on the  left.  Segment 5 is created by sewing a 1 and 1/2 inch by 2 inch background piece to the bottom of a focus square.  Segement 6 is a 3 inch by 4 and 1/2 inch background piece.  Sew these 3 segments together as above.
The last row of the block  is shown above.  Segment 7 is made by sewing together, in this order, a 1 and 1/2 inch by 2 inch  background piece, a focus square, a 2 inch by 2 and 1/2 inch background, and last a focus square.   Segment 8 is a 1 and 1/2 inch by 6 and 1/2 inch background piece sewn to the bottom of segment 7.   Segment 9 is a 2 and 1/2 inch by 3 inch background piece to complete the row. 
Put the 3 rows together and .....................wah lah!  The block for row 2. 
Hopefully,on Friday I will finish the blocks for this row as well as the row for my alternate fabrics.  I couldn't make a fabric decision for this quilt so I seem to be making two at the same time.
I know this row is a little 'fiddly' with lots of pieces but I plan to chain piece the rest of the blocks and I don't think it will take long.
Get busy quilters!