Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Strip Quilts

I was having a hard time getting back to sewing after the quilt show.  I tried to make a wallet for my sister, got about half done and ran into a problem.  I set it aside to think about.  I had/have a container of strings that I have been saving for a while.  I usually cut any scraps up into squares, nothing smaller that 2 inches, and then the smaller strips went in the container.  Some years ago, I had started the blocks for a string quilt, got about 4 done and then put it away.  Since I already had a bunch of the paper piecing patterns copied, I decided it would be a good place to start.  Nothing to think about except that the strip not match the one before it.  So I got out my strings and started on the ones with black center stars.  Talk about a mess!  I started out with a bit of organization the devolved into a chaos on my table.  This picture is at the start, I didn't take any of the total chaos. The pile of strings seamed to grow with each day.

Before I was done, this waste basket was almost full of trimmings from the blocks.

Here are some of the finished blocks.  I made enough to do the center of a smallish throw quilt.

Onward.  I also had some squares that I had put red paisley points in. They needed strips.  I decided to add a white strip next to the red points.  I think it looks good that way.  No process pictures.  I have a bad  habit of not taking pictures until after I'm done.  Here is the finished top with the red stars.

I used the leftover scraps to piece the border.  I use printer paper that has something printed on it but that I decide I don't need to keep, for my paper piecing.  I put it aside and used a stack for the border stripes, cutting it into 2 1/2 inch strips.  I left plenty of extra fabric so that I could cut it with 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I used blue and black from my stash for the borders.  

I also took down my "Winter Geese" quilt and put the the "Umbrella" quilt.  This is not applique, it is curved piecing for each block

This is my sewing companion: Walker.  He is double rescue.  A friend adopted him from the street.  He was so skinny and frightened.  She had him for a couple of weeks and had an accident in her home.  She was in the hospital and asked another friend to take care of him.  That friend's husband put him in the pound!  So after a frantic call from her we rescued him a second time.  When she finally got able to take care of him, she decided to leave him with me, because we live in the country and she lives in a small apartment.  So she has visiting privileges any time she wants to see him.  My work table is next to the couch, and he lays on the back of the couch and watches everything I do.  He is pictured on my bed in the photo.  He weighed less than 5 pounds when we got him.  He's at about 8 1/2 pounds now. Looking good buddy!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Quilt Show and other stuff

Hi all.

I was finally working on my quilts for the quilt show, making some progress in early February.  I went to a new doctor and he put me on some fancy new medicine, a once a week injection.  It helped my blood sugar alright. I was so sick the first week, but since I was also taking antibiotics for an infection, I thought they might be interacting, so at the end of the first week, I took the next dose. Oh boy, the new meds took care of the high blood sugar alright, I was so sick I couldn't eat for three days.  Because it is a slow release, I couldn't stop taking it until it worked out of my system.  I went back to the doctor, and he put me on a different med, pills this time.  I hope we find the right one soon, since this new one is not up to snuff, either.

Back to quilting, having lost 2 weeks almost, I was feeling stressed about getting the work done.  I also had committed to a booth at the bazaar.  I didn't get many things done, so I took a bunch of specialty embroidery threads left over from a stitching store I had many years ago.  I had about 8 pincushions, and 3 baby quilts.  Didn't sell much, but I tried.

Here are my entries in the March 23 - 25 Snake River Valley Quilt Show 2017:

Here is my major quilt.  It is "My Tweets" by Erin Russek.  It was a free BOM a few years back. I finally got all the blocks done and set it together and quilted it.  In a previous post, I showed that I do most of the large quilts in sections, because I just have a domestic machine.  I then  put the sections together in a modified quilt as you go.  I finally got a good picture of it at the quilt show.

I was stunned to win the blue ribbon, a purple ribbon for best hand applique, and a special certificate from a local organisation, in this case the Snake River Valley Animal Shelter.

This is one of my designs "Fantasy Vines"   I got a red ribbon and a special award for best machine applique.  Also a special certificate from a member of the City Counsel. 

This is my North Wind quilt.  I didn't win any prizes, but got a lot of questions about the pattern and how I made it.  I got good reviews on the judging paper, also. It doesn't show well but the "wind" and "snow flakes" are a white fabric with silver sparkles and I used a silver metallic thread for all the applique. 

The week of the show was so busy.  I had to deliver the quilts to be judged on Monday, I helped setup the displays on Wednesday, (about 7 hours).  On Friday, I worked my shift at the Bazaar.  And I went back Saturday afternoon to help take everything down.  I don't know how the ladies of the guild did it, but everything seemed to go very smoothly.  At least on the part I helped with.

Since then I haven't sewn a thing!  I did sort out my sewing area.  I have to do a major clean out every 2 years.  I cull out things I know I won't use, refold all the fabric that I have stuffed in anywhere it would fit, clean up the thread and embellishments and throw out the junk.  I'm about ready to start creating again.  I got so far behind on my UFO list, I may have to complete at least one small quilt soon, to get back in the swing of things.  

Happy Creating!! 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Hi everyone.

I have been sick since just after Newyear's Day.  It was like a major sinus infection plus a nasty cough.  I haven't felt like doing  much.  I kind of burned out in November and December, with 3 quilts and a stack of mugrugs and bowl cozies.

I have had the blocks done for about 2 years for Erin Russik's "My Tweets".  I want to show it in the Snake River Valley Quilt Guild's Quilt Show in March, so I decided I had to get up off my duff and get to work.  Instead of trying to push a large quilt through my domestic machine, my newer quilts are done in a modified Quilt As You Go style.  I usually try to make them in two or three strips. After they sections are sewn together, I quilt the borders.

Here is the quilt on my design wall (I hang my design wall on the bookcases).

I have it set up as 3 lengthwise strips, the outside borders and 4 blocks on the left and right. the center square and 2 blocks on top andbottom.  The last two borders will be added and quilted after the three sections are joined.  

Here is how I put them together:  First I lay the backing down wrong side up.  I use T-pins to hold it in place, usually 3 on a side.

I then lay the battiing down and get it where I want it.  I then fold back about a third of the batting, spray the backing with spray baste, then fold the batting back and smooth it down.

I continue in this manner until the batting is all basted down.  It is hard to see, but because of the spray baste, I have the door open about 5 inches for ventilation ( at 16 degrees F).

I then do the same for the top.  I find I can get it smoothed out better this way.

Here are the three pieces, ready for quilting.  I will move my sewing machine to the larger table and get started.

I hope this information was helpful to someone.

Happy quilting.


Sunday, January 15, 2017

What Happened?   I Miss Global Warming!

How did your holidays go?  Most of my plans were upset by the biggest storm since 1992.  I pushed to get some little things done by Christmas after the two big quilts I finished.  A small quilt (35 inches or so), a bunch of microwave bowl holders, a bunch of mug rugs.  I haven't got a picture of the quilt, yet.

My oldest sister and her husband, surprised us by moving back to Idaho from Virginia in October 2016.  For the first time in too many years we were going to all be together for Christmas.  Best laid plans and all that.  Since we are all getting up there in years, the youngest of us is 55, just getting around in good weather is a chore for most of  us.

 My younger sister and I live together on an acre in the country.  Most years we have been meeting here for Christmas.  We got a big storm just after Thanksgiving, and it took us a couple of hours to shovel out to the road.  We had our parking cleared out pretty good.  We were going to have a group of 10 people for Christmas dinner so we needed good parking.  It started to snow again on Christmas Eve.  On Christmas morning this is what we had outside.

You can't see where we had cleaned the driveway earlier.

My brother David was coming about 35 miles from where he lives up the valley.  He was supposed to be here by 10am to help start the prime rib roast.  He called and let us know that the roads were terrible, and he would be late, so we put the roast in.   He got here about 11am.  By the afternoon we had heard from most of the family members and friends and they couldn't get out to us, so we had a grand total of 3 people for dinner.  David stayed here that night. It snowed all day and he was snowed in, in our driveway.   Next morning, we were really snowed in.  The three of us spent about 2 hours digging out to the road.  About noon the snow plow came down our road, so we could get out if we needed to.  David loaded up his presents and some of the leftovers from yesterdays meal and set out for home.  It was slow going, but he called us when he reached his home.  The only good thing about this storm was that we didn't get our customary 20 mph winds.  Thank God. And I mean that sincerely.

A couple of days later, we loaded up all our gifts and started delivering them.
Here are the mug rugs I made.  I had a stack of hexi flowers from another project that I had made into mug rugs.

I had made a small bag for one sister to put her phone in earlier, and made this one for another sister.
 Here are some of the bowl cozies for use in the microwave.

Each of my sisters, and a couple of our friends, got two of the mug rugs and two of the cozies. 

My sister decided to not put up a tree this year.  Instead, she got out her Santas that she had painted, one each year for several years.  We can't get them anymore since Zim's in Salt Lake City closed.

Well we will have to try again next year.  Maybe we will have better luck!!

I have had a cold since just before New Year's, and have not wanted to do anything, but sleep and lay around.  I'm feeling better and have 2 applique quilts I need to get put together and quilted by March if I want to have them in the Guild Quilt Show.  

I did a list of my UFO's and have.... wait for it.... 27!!!!  I am going to try to complete at least 2, big or small, each month this year.  I need to get going, January is already half gone!!! EEK!!

Keep quilting, and keep warm.  


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Are you ready for Christmas??

I just finished the second quilt I am giving this Christmas.  Several years ago I put together a quilt from the Jewel Box traditional pattern.  Here is a picture of it then.  I had about 2 yards of the watercolor native american yardage.  I used thea prominent colors of that to choose other pieces to go with it.  One piece was used for all the diagonal squares.  It was a tie die pattern that contained the red/orange, green/aqua colors.  I used a grey for the background and orange for the borders and center squares. I used what was left of the squares for the added top and bottom border of squares.   I had a small handful of scraps left over when I was done.  I even had to piece the outer border from what was left over from the 9 fussy cut centers.

Here are some pictures of what it is like to push this quilt through my domestic machine.  It is 72 inches by 80 inches.  After several days of quilting (I think I am kind of slow) my hands, arms and shoulders are very tired and sore.  But I got it done in time for Christmas.  

I used some red fabric from my stash for the backing and bound it with a flange binding combining the red and some grey.  I think it turned out pretty good.  I don't do free motion very good and used only a walking foot for this quilt.

Because my sewing space takes up about 1/3 of our living room, my sister always uses my big work table to put up her Christmas tree and village display, so I have cleaned up the space for her now.  I have other Christmas related sewing to do, but it is all very small compared to the two quilts I did for this year.

Merry Christmas.  I may not post again until after the first of the year, so Happy New Year also.


Monday, November 28, 2016

First Christmas Quilt Finished!!

I usually cut up any fabric scraps that are smaller than an eighth of a yard into squares.  I have a box of squares that I pick from when I am doing a scrappy quilt.  They range in size from 2 inches to 5 inches.  A couple of year ago, I started making half square triangles from some of the 3 inch squares, half light and half dark.  I would make a few when I had a little time, then trim them to make 2 1/2 inch squares.  I'd stack them up until I had a hundred, then bundle then together with string.  When I had what I figured were enough to make an ocean waves quilt, I started making the blocks, again just a few at a time.  Last summer I counted the blocks and I finally had enough for a double size quilt.  Since these were quite literally scraps, I am afraid I was not as accurate as I usually  try to be.  It was going to be a utility quilt for picnics and such.  Or an extra quilt if someone stayed over night.

For the last few years I have been making quilts for family members, I had planned on making a dragonfly quilt for my sister that I live with, but she wanted the ocean waves quilt when I got the top done.  I usually try to make the larger quilts in 2 or three pieces, because I only have a home machine, and I don't have a very big space to push a quilt through.

Here is the start of laying out the blocks.

I did the quilt in two parts with a seam across the middle.  I quilt within about 1 1/2 inches of the seam line.  After the quilting is done, I seam the two haves together.  First the top is seamed together, then I cut the batting to meet, and whip stitch it together.  Then cut the backing so that it overlaps just off center from the previous seams, to reduce the bulk.  Then that seam is hand stitched down.  Then the hard part is finishing the quilting that was left unquilted.  I quilted the borders last.  Then  binding and it is done.  It is also cat approved. I gave it to her last week.  She loves it.  When I get some other projects done, I may do that special dragonfly quilt for her anyway.

Scamp (on the pillows) and Kali say it is just right.

That's all for now. Happy quilting!!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Fantasy Road Signs
A couple of years ago, my quilt guild had a challenge to create a Road Sign quilt.  I got the top done for the show and tell, but didn't get the quilting finished until October 31, Halloween, of this year.  Here are some photos of my finished quilt.   I wanted to do something a little different from regular road signs.

Here are the individual blocks:

I loved searching the internet for silhouettes to use for the crossing signs. I used fusible to apply all but the letters, they were painted on.  I then used satin stitch to secure the silhouettes and the black edges down. 

These are the information signs.  I came up with 4 signs that went with the crossing signs. 

 I used an interesting fabric of swirls and stars for the road.  The white lines of the road is a white and silver sparkle fabric.  I was puzzled what to use for a background fabric.  I didn't want to use a solid, too boring.  I finally found the country fabric that looks pretty good and is not boring.  For the green signs, I tried printing out the designs on the fabric.  It didn't look very good.  So I got some fabric paint and painted over the printed signs to make it show up.  I used a fusible to attach the white edges on the information signs and then used a satin stitch to secure it permanently.

I didn't have any of the black road fabric when I got around to the back, but I did have another patterned black fabric.  The back is a dark green solid, with a 9 inch wide version of the road running from top to bottom.   

I tried to outline the individual words in free motion quilting, but after 3 tries that I hated, I just outlined the lines of  words instead.  the rest was quilted in simple lines.  I think it turned out pretty good.