Sunday, January 27, 2013

What I did this week.

Yup, I put this whole thing together.  Last Saturday at my sewing marathon, I put together one block because I wanted to try out Bonnie Hunter's cool technique.  It was Eeeeeeeeee Zeeeeeeeeee!  When I got home,  I couldn't resist  dumping out my basket of 2 1/2 inch strips and putting together strip sets for more blocks.  Flickr is so handy for getting ideas.  I went to the Scrappy Trip Along group to see how the blocks went together.  I really liked the look of the quilts when the center diagonal of the block had a stand out color.  I had lots of reds.  Yesterday I got 24 blocks all sewn together into this top.  I can't believe how quick it went.  Sadly, it did not put enough of a dent in my basket of strips.  I think I will need to make another one or two.  A great way to stash some gift quilts in the closet don't you think?  I think I have the Wild Threads talked into making one for the church that lets us have our marathons there. 
Have a lovely week and stay warm in you live in my neck of the woods!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sewing Marathons are 'Da Bomb'

We all know this.  Sewing with friends is better than therapy.  The Wild Threads get together every couple of months for a day of play.  Right before one of our marathon sewing days, emails usually start circulating asking, "what are you bringing, what are you gonna work on?".   Lately I like to take a project that needs to be finished.  Last time I finished quilting a quilt that I had been working on for years.  This weekend I got TWO projects finished.....sort of.  I quilted my yellow HST wallhanging with close straight lines.  After I finished, I remembered that I had thought about parallel lines in the yellow from the center out like a spiral.  Oh well, maybe I'll make another.  I do like the way this kind of quilting looks. 
I decided against a border or a visible binding.  I have never done this kind of binding before.  I pulled it all the way to the back before sewing it down.  This picture doesn't show the trouble I had with the corners.  I like this nice clean look and I am sure I'll try it again and hopefully get better at the corners.  I looked around the web for a tutorial but couldn't find one.  If anyone knows of one, lemme know.  Thanks.

Wah lah!

 I got the binding all ready for hand sewing before the Ravens/Patriots game on Sunday.  I got all comfy with my feet up and everything within reach........and look who came along.  Rosie! 
She kept my lap warm.  And the best part?
Here comes Festivus Maximus people.  Not only are we going to the Super Bowl, but this year it's Harbowl.  How cool is it that the Harbaugh brothers are both going to the Super Bowl?

Okay, back to some quilting.  The other finish this weekend was the borders on this quilt.  Finally.  It's huge too, 100 by 114 inches.  I am going to let my friend, Shirley, quilt this one for me on her longarm. 
 I raided my stash for light colored scrappy fabrics to make the borders.  I chose to put them together on a diagonal for just a teensy bit of interest.
This is going to be a great quilt for everyday use on my bed.
I know I've shown some of these blocks up close before but I just can't help more little peeks.
 Made fabric' for the center.
And a tiny little pinwheel block snuck in there.
Fabrics with words, yippee.
When I put the border fabrics together, I ended up with a bunch of large HST's so I put them together for the back. 
More stash busting for the back.  Yeesh it's big.  So so glad I'm not going to quilt this one.
Here they are, top and back, all folded and ready for Shirley to get home from vacation. 
  Hmm, what is that to the right in the picture?
 Ugh, I gotta keep it real here.  My work table is messy again.   I did say trying to keep it clean was a fail before it even started.  Let's just delete that resolution shall we?
But this is why it's messy.  I spent last evening playing with my 2 1/2 inch strips.  See this little pile of strips?  All ready to whip up 19 blocks.   For a while now I have seen the Scrappy Trip Along  blocks on the web.  I wasn't too interested at first because of all the 2 inch squares.  I'm still in recovery after the Great Granny Quiltalong.  Then I saw this tutorial
Pretty sneaky little technique.  I had to try it so I whipped this block up on Saturday.  Nineteen more are coming and I'll have another scrappy stash quilt made.  It will be interesting to see how it looks because I am working mostly with strips that I have had for years.  They aren't very bright which is what I like now.   

And I'll leave you with this shot of my friend, Pat.    She has a crazy headband  on with flickering purple lights.  This was Saturday, the day before we won the championship.   In Baltimore we love our Ravens' purple.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

3rd Resolve

Do you remember this quilt?  I made it when I participated in a Scrappy Quilt-along.  I loved making these blocks using my scraps one color at a time.  Just before I finished this, a nurse friend of mine who I have known for at least thirty years became ill.  Lucky timing for me, I finished it up real quick and gave it to her in November.  Terry was feeling so badly the day that I took it to her that I just popped it out of the bag and put it on her bed then left.   
Since then my Terry has  apparently barely let the quilt leave her sight.  All of my friends and co-workers who have been to see her have told me how much she loves it.  It's been only 2 months since her diagnosis and Terry is now in a hospice care center.  I spent a few hours visiting her last week.  She is not able to talk but she did smile at me.  Her family raved about the quilt (which was right there on her bed) and how happy it made her.  I'm so glad I was able to brighten some of her days.
As I left the hospice center, I saw this down some stairs in the lobby and had to get a picture. 
So Resolution #3:
I have lots of scraps, more every week it seems.  I am going to make more scrap quilts this year.  I loved working one color at a time so I will certainly do another like that.  I have this book by Victoria Findlay Wolfe.  I can't wait to try some of the challenges she has in it and use my scraps.  And while I'm at it, I will be able to stash away some gift quilts.
I spent the day yesterday with two friends.  We went to Pennsylvania.  First we went to the Hinkletown Sewing Machine Shop where I dropped off my machine for servicing.  We got a little lunch to fortify us then headed to my favorite fabric shop EVER.  Burkholder's Fabrics is beyond description .  Thousands of bolts of fabric, lots and lots and current design lines, and great prices.  It's a good thing I had a VISA gift card from Christmas, and an even better thing that I had additional funds since I went over budget.  I promise to show you pictures of my loot very soon. 
 This Saturday the Wild Threads are  spending all day sewing.  I need to figure out what to work on.  I will be helping some of my pals with Row 3 of our Evolutionary Row quilt (formerly the Mystery Row quilt).   I promise to take my camera.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Sorry for the photo problem with the last post.   I think it was a blogger problem.  I fixed it so go peek and check it out.  Thanks!

Resolution (or suggestion?) #2

I'm wondering if it's even worth it to try to make this a resolution. " Keep my workspace uncluttered."
I'm pretty sure that's a Fail before it starts.  This is what it looks like today.  The fabrics to the left are from what I was working on last night.  Wanna know some of what is between the fabric and the computer? 

-2 date books, 2 things of lotion, a clip for my cell phone, full pencil holder, bag of pretzels, JoAnn's flyers, camera, netflix dvd, rotary cutters, scissors, $100 VISA gift card (woot woot!), TicTacs, 2 glasses cases, bar-b-q lighter, xmas card from a family whose son I used to take care of and a pack of cards so I can write them a note, an Emmylou Harris CD,2 lip glosses,2 hand sanitizers, 3 little notebooks, 2 remotes for the TV and cable box, pins, wallet, and last of all the container that is supposed to hold all the junk that accumulates.  It's mostly full and obviously isn't up to the task. Maybe I should just make a point to clear it up once a week.  Designate Friday nites or Saturday mornings.  Maybe.
  By the way, do you see the 3 pairs of shoes, 1 pair of slippers, and 1 pair of socks under the table?  I coulda cropped that out but I'm keeping it real here.  And there is another pair of shoes by the door.  I always sit Indian style in my chair so the shoes come off the minute I sit.  When I run out of shoes, I take them all back to my closet.
I've been working on the next row for the Wild Thread Mystery Row Quiltalong.  I'm no good at the mystery part though.  I think I'll change it to the WT Evolutionary Row QA, because the whole quilt is evolving as we go.  I thought I had all the rows decided but I keep changing them. 
There are a couple choices for the next row. Paper pieced or pieced.
Two styles of paper pieced.  An outline house and a solid house.  It is such a simple design that I was able to sketch it into a foundation pattern.  My first time!

Disclaimer alert!!  In no way am I representing any of these blocks as my own design.  I see things all over blogland and Pinterest and in books.  The only thing I have done is drawn out my version of an idea I have gotten somewhere.  If I were to look at someone else's design and try to copy it, I would be sure to give credit and a link.  I know I saw an outline house like this somewhere and I really liked the idea.  When I wanted to do a row of houses, I decided to sketch up the idea. I'm sorry but I have no idea where I first saw it or if it was just like this.  I think that's ok but feel free to share (nicely) if you have another viewpoint on this. 

I tried a pieced version first in the other colorway and wasn't sure I liked it.  You can see both versions here.  The first colorway I made five 9 inch blocks.  The second is back to six 8 inch blocks.

  The roofs actually have a little 'overhang' that I didn't intend. Quilter's math can be really challenging for me when it comes to angles. And I really liked geometry in high school. Go figure

Although the overhangs are kinda cute, getting the intersections to line up correctly etc was a real pain.
Here are the first three rows.
Has anybody been wondering how my lil pinkie is doing?  It's been 2 and a half weeks and there is just a little bit of a raw and tender spot left.  It was a third degree burn so it's just taking a while to get closed up.  I can bend it now so I'm happy.   

I do have a couple more resolutions for 2013 that I will share  this month.  And February should be fun.  It's my birthday month so I think I will have a few 'Get to know me' posts.  And a giveaway at the end of the month.  Yippee!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bye Bye Christmas and Hello 2013 !

I had a nice little work break over Christmas.  It was crazy busy and relaxing, if you can make sense of that.  I went with my two kids to New York City for the day on the 21st.  We walked and shopped, and shopped and walked.  I love that city!.  We got home late and the very next day almost 60 family members came to our house for the annual 'Cuzzin Christmas'.  Hosting that party every year gets me to decorate.  We kept it simple this year, at least I thought so.  It looked like plenty, though, when I piled everything on the dining room table before packing it away. 
When I was a teenager, my mom started giving me a Wallace silver bell each year.  I have 38 of them now.  Some years I just pile them all in a basket and some times they go on the tree.  This year I hung a bunch of them from the banister that you see when you come through our front door. 
 I added a simple glass garland and several bows. The rest of the bells went on our tree. The tree was covered with white lights and had a smattering of the bells. That's it. Very serene and relaxing to look at.
We have an antique hutch in the kitchen and for the last two years, it has been the setting for a funny collection of plastic vintage nativities.  You can read about why and how I got them here.
I haven't gotten any more since that wild ebay escapade but there will certainly be more.  They REALLY make me happy, and I have no idea why.  And I'm starting to believe that plastic doesn't  get the respect that it deserves. 
Here's my big Christmas wallhanging.  It's a Mackenna Ryan pattern.  You can see some closeups here.  I know there's another post with more pics but darned if I could find it.  I have a little confession to tell.  I put this quilt up last Christmas and never took it down.  Hey!  No judging.  Who says holiday art can't hang all year.  It is coming down this year though.  I think I'm going to finish my yellow spiral half square triangle piece into a wallhanging and put it there.

And now for 2013.
A resolution is a 'formal expression of intention.'
I would hereby like to put into writing a resolution or two.
As always, I will start with UFO's.  Yeah yeah and blah blah.  I have too many UFO's sitting around.  Seriously, who cares?  It's a rare quilter who doesn't have some.  However, I have a few that I would like to see finished.  Let's start with the 'Orb'.  Boy was I stoked when I started this quilt.  It was going to be one of my Masterpieces.  Then I took a wrong turn or two.  First, the black doesn't do it for me.  Not much I can do about that now.  Second, the center circles are appliqued.......with satin stitch.  Ack!  What was I thinking?  I don't even like satin stitch.  Anyway,  I stalled when I tried to figure out a border.  I want to use lots of the colored fabrics but many are almost gone.  I just know for sure that I want to tone down the black.
Next, this is a fun wonky churndash that started with the 15 Minutes of Play blog.  The centers of the blocks are 4 inch blocks of 'made' fabric and some small orphan pieces.  The top is actually twice this size as it is folded in half.  I was undecided on whether or not to add a border so it languished.   I like it the way it is and may just get going with the finishing.
And the last of the UFO's is my 'Citrus' quilt..  Get it?  Huh?  Yellow, orange, and green are citrus colors.  And these blocks kinda look like orange slices don't they?   Anyway, I started this at the end of 2009 when I joined the Don't Look Now Quiltalong.  The wedges are all hand appliqued, there are twelve per block, and I have 36 blocks done.  That's 432 wedges.  For a while, I couldn't stop working on this and I had some mighty sore fingers.  I have a lot more wedges in a box which is good because I'll need them when I put these circles together.  The BIG question is............whether to join them by hand or machine?  Sigh, I know it should be hand done, and I know that if I do it by machine, it will bug me.  Bigger sigh. 

So resolution number 1 is to finish those three UFO's by the end of 2013.
I have more resolutions to come. 
So stay tuned.  I feel the urge to be productive.