Friday, April 30, 2010

Playing with Lines and Stitches 1

I was so busy sewing, cleaning and out to lunch with friends yesterday that I didn't have time to take photos to post or even get online and read the blogs I follow. This is one of the things I was working on yesterday. I added the beads and the binding. I'm not sure I like the charcoal binding though. It's not bad, but I may have something that would be better. I am also working on another piece using the same teal wool, pink/red variegated thread and beads. I think I will bind it with the other fabric and then decide if I need to remove this binding and replace it with the other.

When we bought this house several years ago there were lots of tulips planted in both the front and back. I removed them from the back because they were in odd places and I wanted the back yard to be a play space for our son. I didn't want him to have to be careful of the flowers - that's no fun. I removed them from the front yard because the deer love tulips. I was trying to remove all plants that they like to discourage them from stopping by our yard. However, every year new tulips come up in random places. Usually the deer get them before the even bloom, but this year I managed to rescue a few. I guess I have a few more to dig up later.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wonky Log Cabin Blocks

I've been wanting to try "free piecing" or "wonky piecing" or "improvisational piecing" for a while. Recently I was checking out Bonnie Hunter's Scrap System and she mentioned that you payed as much per yard for your scraps as you did for the yardage. I got to thinking about that, and she's right! So I sorted my scraps. My system is no where near as organized as Bonnie's. I just sorted everything into lights and darks (or not lights) and then have a separate little bag for small pieces (anything between 1" and 2" squarish pieces) that I can use as a starting piece for my log cabin blocks.

Above are the six blocks I've made so far. My method has been to just pick a small center to start and then sew strips around until it is bigger than my 9.5" square ruler. Then I cut off the excess and end up with a 9.5" block. I'm not measuring anything, just lay it down against the block to see if it's long enough. If it is too long, I cut off the extra before sewing. I'm not sure if I want to make more log cabin blocks or if I want to try some wonky nine patches or stars or something else. I saw some cool wonky crosses recently here.

I may take the practice blocks and sew them into a charity quilt at some point. Right now I am just playing with the technique. It is harder than it seems like it should be to piece this way. I find myself trying to square things up as I go, then I stop myself and refocus.

My ultimate plan is to make a quilt using the this piecing technique with solids or mostly solids and a couple fun prints for zing. My inspiration comes from the Oh, Fransson! blog. Here is her quilt.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Yet Another Charity Quilt

I finished another charity quilt, the Scrappy Disappearing Nine Patch quilt. I made eleven of the large (14" square) nine patch blocks. This quilt used ten and a half of the eleven blocks and is baby size (39" by 45.5"). For the quilting I just stippled. This is a "get 'er done" project.

I've also been working on my Cub Scout Disappearing Nine Patch quilt that I am making for Parker. It is going to be twin size. The current quilt on his bed is about 5 years old. I thought he might like a new one. He has a birthday coming up at the end of May. I'm hoping to have it finished by then. The center is already put together. I am just trying to decide what kind of border(s) I will do. Here is a photo of a section of the quilt, before the blocks were sewn together.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Crisis Over

Thank you to everyone who commented with sympathy and suggestions. My solution: I stitched up the whole then carefully folded it into the miter and sewed up the corner a bit more securely than I usually do. I think it will be fine and anyone who hasn't read this blog (so most of world) will never be able to tell the drama that little corner caused.

The finished quilt turned out quite well. I really like this pattern in solids.

It looks really cute in black and white with brights too. I saw this pattern in Quilter's Newsletter a few years ago. The article said it had been originally printed in Easy Quilts Magazine. The basic block idea is to pick two contrasting fabrics. You need two strips of each, a wide strip and a narrow strip. The length of the strips should be about a 2 or 3 inches longer than the width of the strip set, when sewn together. You sew your strips together alternating colors and put the wider strips on the outside. Then cut the strip set again, perpendicular to your sewn lines, using the same measurements as your original strips were cut. You may have a little sliver left over if you cut your strips a bit longer than necessary. Now for the magic: flip the first wide strip and the second narrow strip and sew them all back together. You could also just cut squares and rectangles to make the block. It's just a nine patch with solid corners, a four-patch center and bar blocks.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Now what? Help!

This morning I quilted one of the charity tops I spray basted yesterday. I found some binding in my binding scrap bag that I thinks matches well enough. I attached the binding to the front of the quilt then cut off the excess batting and backing. Usually I square up the quilt before attaching the binding, but for some reason I did the reverse today. Above you can see what happened! *&%$^)* I really don't want to rip that corner of binding off, cut out the boo-boo, piece in a new section of binding, then resew it to the quilt. Any other suggestions? Keep in mind, this is a charity quilt, not an heirloom, show quilt. I still like my charity quilts to be well constructed, but I don't want to spend a lot of extra time or expense on them.

Still Playing

I finished stitching on this last night. Using variegated thread can be challenging but I love the effect. It can be difficult to control where the color changes occur, but I'm pretty happy with this so far. This photo is even better than the first ones I posted. The wool is a teal or turquoise color, not really the blue it looked like in these photos. I have some pink seed beads and bugle beads that I purchased on my recent trip to Pueblo. I want to do something more on the pink circle and I'm thinking beads might be it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tote Bag Swap

I have done a little rearranging on the blog. On the top right there is a new button for a tote bag swap being coordinated by Brye Lynn from Sew, Stitch, Create. If you click on the image it will take you to Brye's blog with the details of the swap. I am participating. Why don't you join me? You've got over about a month to make one and get it in the mail to Brye. They don't take very long to make and you can use one of the patterns Brye suggestions or a similar one of your own. You know you need another tote bag!

I'll also do a plug for Brye's podcast, also called Sew, Stitch, Create. Search for it on iTunes or you can get to it from Brye's blog. Warning: These quilty podcasts are addicting! And really fun to listen to while sewing or commuting or doing housework.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Art Group Day

Today my art group met. We have been floundering for a bit, just dabbling in various techniques but without a real plan. Today we decided that we are going to start the exercises in Jean Wells' book Intuitive Color and Design in Art Quilting. I have recently purchased some solids with the idea that I would try some free piecing ala Gwen Marston or Jean Wells, so this plan suits me perfectly.

Needing to actually sew something, today I started this.

Why? Just because. I'm using some of the wool I was gifted 3 years ago and this variegated pink to red thread I bought at my LQS. I just cut a piece of wool about 8 1/2" by 9", sprayed my batting with Sullivan's Spray Baste and started stitching. Here is a photo without the thread on top.

I'm not sure I like the circle applique so I tried another fabric.

I like this one a bit better, but maybe I don't want an applique at all. I'm just playing so we'll see how it goes. I have already sewn the first circle down and don't feel like taking it off yet. There is still plenty of time for that.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mom's Tree Skirt Finished

I finished quilting my mom's tree skirt today. Here is photo of the completed quilt.

In this photo it doesn't look much different than it did on Saturday when I posted on it. But today I quilted the border. I did holly leaves with berries in the center in the border and some kind of flower with berries or lollipops (the same shapes that are in the background of the center portion) coming out of the flower. Here are some detail shots.

I used variegated thread for the border so it is hard to see the holly shapes in the photo. I took several pictures and this is the best one.

I hope my mom likes it. I'll put it in the mail to her later this week.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Quilting Mom's Tree Skirt

I've been working on the quilting for my mom's tree skirt this past week. I just need to finish up the border but haven't decided what I want to do in the border yet. For the star, I thought of it like a flower and quilted what I would call "echo petals" in each section.

On the background of the star I used a pattern from Leah Day's blog 365 days of free motion quilting filler designs. I think she called this one lollipop chains.

If you haven't checked out Leah's blog you need to do so! I may pick another of her designs for the border.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Basting Spray Review

Earlier this week I basted a charity quilt with Sullivan's Basting Spray. Despite the chunks of glue that dropped out of the very old (I bought it at least 10 years ago) and almost empty can, the results were great. My LQS recommended removing and washing out the sprayer part on the old can to see if that corrected my problem with the chunks dropping out. I haven't tried that yet. I decided that I should invest in a new can since my old one is almost empty anyway and purchased one on Wednesday, but I haven't had a chance do any more basting yet. However, I have three more charity tops ready to be basted and I will use the spray for them all. Here is a photo of the finished quilt I basted with the spray.

And here is a photo showing the back so you can see the quilting a bit better. I quilted in the ditch around the blocks and then did alternating serpentine quilting over the blocks. It's fast, simple and different than just stippling.

Black binding would have been a better choice, but I like to use my binding scraps for charity quilts and I had enough yellow, so yellow it is.

I think this spray is a great option for basting things quickly. I believe that the problems I had before with it were because I was a new quilter and had not yet learned to properly baste a quilt with pins or thread. You can't just spray the batting and slap down the backing, flip it over, spray the batting and slap down the top. You need to understand proper basting techniques and how to employ them with a new basting method. It is much faster than pin or thread basting, but can't be done properly in two minutes. I think it took me about 10 or 15 minutes for this small baby quilt to get everything laid out, sprayed and smoothed properly. I may get faster with practice.

One last comment about the basting spray: It is very sticky. Be careful where you spray this stuff. The over-spray can make unintended things sticky. If you get some on your hands, soap and water will not get it all off. It will wear off after a day or so and can be picked off like dried glue, but Goo Gone or D-Solve-It worked great for me at getting it off my fingers.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Basting Tables

I've had a couple of comments on my basting tables so I thought I would take photos of them and tell you a bit about them. They are basically two hollow core doors with legs that fold up for storage. My husband made them for me for Christmas one year. I haven't measured, I told him to get the biggest ones they had, but I think the doors are 36" by 72". This gives me a 6' by 6' basting surface! It's fabulous! So here is top shot of both tables set up. (I didn't get the tree skirt quilted today but did get the charity quilt quilted. It even has a label and the binding is ready to be hand sewn to the back!)

Here is a shot of the legs. They are very simple, but do the job.

Here is a close-up of the leg folding mechanism. I think he got these at a wood working supply place. Probably Wood Workers Supply.

There are two of these little locks that hold the tables together when I am using them both. One table is about 1/8" shorter than the other. This was not by design but it works out well because I can feel the center easily when I'm layering and trying to line up the back with the front along the center.

My husband did a really great job with these! I love them.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I've been basting some things together today in preparation for quilting them. This top was made by my mom. It is going to be a tree skirt for underneath a Christmas tree. I think she plans to give it as a wedding gift. It's not a great photo, but the best I can do today. I'll take a better one after it is quilted.

Then I decided I'd baste another top as long as I have my basting tables out. This top was also made by my mom. She gave it to me to quilt and then turn in to my guild as a charity quilt. I basted it using spray baste.

I've used this spray baste before unsuccessfully. I thought that I would give it another try on the charity quilt now that I have more experience quilting and using this spray on smaller projects. I'll let you know how it turns out. My confidence is already a little shaken and I haven't even gotten it down to the sewing machine yet. The spray started dropping chunks of glue onto the batting as I was spraying the back. I am hoping that this means the can is getting empty? I've had it a pretty long time, but we'll see ...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trip to Pueblo

I had a great time in Pueblo. I spent a couple of hours wondering around the Quilt and Stitch Expo looking at all the vendor booths and purchasing goodies. Then I went to Hobby Lobby, Target and Office Max.

What did I buy? For starters, this bundle of Kona Solids Fat 1/8's.

Lots of Fat Quarters

Some socks for Parker. His school does "Crazy Sock Day" at least once per year.

Some goodies for embellishing. I plan to carve the erasers to make stamps. I've already ordered the carving tools.

And some new flip flops for myself for this summer. Yes, the flowery ones are Liberty of London.

Wow! I bought a lot of stuff! Good thing I don't go to Pueblo very often.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Quilt and Stitch Expo

I'm off to Pueblo, CO to the Quilt and Stitch Expo today. It's about a two hour drive from here to Pueblo. I'm going by myself but I have my iPod loaded with podcasts and music. I've also got my camera, my purse with cash and credit cards and a nice tote bag to carry my purchases.

Hope you have a good day - I plan to!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Give-Away

I'm working today - no sewing - boo hiss. While taking a grading break I happened upon a great give-away. Head over to Jandi In Stitches and leave her a comment to enter. Who knows, you just might be the winner! I've recently become a believer because I was a winner on Pat Sloan's Creative Talk Radio show and blog. (The link is for the blog. You can get to her show from the blog). I received my book on Monday but have been too busy with "life stuff" to have time to read my new book or blog about it. Stay tuned ... I'll do my first book review after I've had a chance to actually look at the book.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Laundry room floor - aaaaahhh!

Not a very quilty post today, but I am so excited to finally have a laundry floor I can be proud of. The house is a bit stinky from the silicone caulking used around the edges and the adhesive, but doesn't it look nice? Scroll down to the last photo to see ugly green "before" floor. It was painted linoleum and the paint came off a little bit every time I mopped it. I'm probably going to just go sit in there for a little while tomorrow (after the smell dissipates). We still need to put the cabinets back in along with a few other things and the ceiling still needs some work, but it feels so nice to have this project proceeding so nicely.

The ugly green went into this little half bath too, so it also got a face lift this morning!

Here is the before shot. This was taken before I painted too.

I have been busy making thread catchers this morning while the floor was being installed. My husband just got back from Walmart with more fish tank airline (used to make the bag hang open nicely) so I can finish these up. Photos to follow in a few days.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Groovy Baby and Funky Buttons Patterns

It has taken me a while, but I finally have the patterns written up for the Groovy Baby (photo above) and Funky Buttons quilts. I had to do them together because the Funky Buttons quilt (see photo below) was a bonus project using left overs from the Groovy Baby pattern. Of course, you don't have to make them both in order to do one. If you just want to make the Funky Buttons quilt, you can just follow the applique directions for the Groovy Baby quilt only reversing the colors. That is, cut the applique shape out of your white "background" fabric and apply it to a colored square.

If you have any questions, please just ask. I am not a professional pattern writer. While my directions make sense to me, I understand that they may not to clear to anyone else.

Here are the patterns. I am not sure how this works (or if it will work). Supposedly, you can upload files to Google Docs and then link to them in your blog. We'll see if I can do this. Please let me know whether or not the link works for you. If you really want the pattern and I can't get the link to work, I will just email it to you.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

Check out this cute crocheted water bottle cover one of my quilt guild friends made for Parker. It was so sweet and unexpected! This just arrived in our mailbox last weekend addressed to Parker. He has enjoyed using it.

Tony went skiing again today. The last two weeks he has said that this is the last weekend of skiing for the season, then gone the next weekend. He didn't say that this evening. I am going to the Quilt and Stitch Expo in Pueblo next Saturday by myself. If he wants to go skiing next Saturday he can take Parker with him or make other arrangements for Parker. Let me say again - I am going to the Expo alone!!

In between entertaining Parker today, I've been cutting out more thread catchers. I think I have about 16 cut out and partially sewn. I don't think I mentioned that someone else called me and wants to buy 4 more! That's in addition to the two already ordered by the lady who bought one at the guild demo day. So 6 of these are already sold! I could have never predicted that these would be so popular. Does anybody else want one? They are $10 plus shipping if you don't live locally. I'll only charge you what it actually costs to ship it. I hate it when sellers try to make additional money off the shipping. Stay tuned ... later in the week I'll post photos of the finished thread catchers I started today.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Disappearing 9 Patch for charity

This is the finish quilt top using the disappearing nine patch blocks that I am making for charity and as a sample for our next guild block swap. This top used 10 1/2 nine patch blocks, cut into quarters. I made the nine patch blocks from 5" squares. So the nine patch blocks measured 14" before cutting them into quarters. The top measures about 40" by 47" - a perfect size for a kids charity quilt in my opinion. My guild buys batting for the members to use in charity quilts. I picked up some batting yesterday to use for this quilt and a few others that I have ready to be quilted. Quilting these tops will be my main project for the next week or so.

My son has today and Monday off from school so I'm not sure how much quilting I'll get done before Tuesday - not much is my guess. In addition, my husband is going skiing AGAIN tomorrow. I thought ski season would be over by now, but not at Wolf Creek Ski Area. They got more snow yesterday.

I will soon be getting a new floor for my laundry room! Yesterday I pick out some nice vinyl and a guy came out to measure. I hope to hear from them today with an estimate for the installation and then schedule the job. I'm really motivated to get the ceiling finished up and have this room DONE, finally!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cub Scout Disappearing 9 Patch

Here are some in progress photos of the quilt I am making for Parker using the Cub Scout and Boy Scout fabric I bought recently. I'm still trying out block placement patterns, but so far this (above photo) is my favorite. Below is a photo of the two nine patch blocks I started with, then quartered to make the blocks above.

p.s. i quilt did a really nice tutorial for making the disappearing nine patch block. I've also heard it called tossed nine patch. Here I found a nice one page downloadable pdf instruction page for the block. Tomorrow I'll show you the scrappy version that I am making for charity and a sample for my upcoming guild block swap.