Friday, October 31, 2008

More progress

I have the water quilting done, now I have the green area to go and I will be done. I think it will be leaves since they are easy to do. A few more baskets and double 4 patches. I'm not sure I like the green with the directional print. That may have to go into a different quilt.
I cut down most of the peonies yesterday. It is supposed to be even warmer today, maybe get close to 70 degrees so I will go out and do a little more clean up. My neighbors have raspberry bushes so I always have a couple volunteer shoots coming up under a tree in my garden. I dug them out yesterday too.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Working on 2 at a time

I have been trying to finish the quilting on this one. I did the ditch quilting about a month and a half ago so it was just waiting for the free motion addition. I decided to quilt rocks of many sizes in the black and white areas on this quilt that reminds me of water, green vegetation and rocks. the blue parts will have gentle water ripples, and the green, either grass or leaves.

It was too noisy to machine quilt while watching TV last night so I cut some more pieces and made 7 more blocks for this one. I need to add some more double 4 patch blocks with light chains and dark backgrounds.
It is frosty again this morning but we have promises of high 60's today, so I have to get out and do the flower bed clean up today.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

They fixed it!

I forgot, Blogger is placing the pictures in reverse order. That's OK, I can deal with it.

I made more basket blocks and double 4 patches last night. I wasn't sure about the light blue with dots as a background, but I like it in there now. I have a lot more cutting to do before I will have a good variety to work with. may become 2 separate quilts by the time I am done making blocks.
Here are the fixers. When the guy from the gas company came to mark where their line is on my property I was telling him I was glad the cable company was going to take care of burying the cable right away. He then proceeded to tell me about the houses he has marked 3 or 4 times, over several seasons that didn't get taken care of.
I was so happy yesterday when the doorbell rang and they were here. They even listened to me when I said I thought the line should be buried near the driveway instead of right up the center of my lawn.

So now I am ready for winter without a cable laying across my sidewalk.
Another note about the selvages yesterday: I never remove the selvages right away when I buy fabric. A lot of strip pieced projects need the whole width of the fabric and the strata selvages will be trimmed with the clean up cut. If I trimmed ahead of time, I would have to piece another whole strata for the 1-2 cuts that I couldn't get out of the first set. I also like to leave the information there for a later time when I will be using the fabric.
When I sew a seam in backings, I always make sure the printed selvage edge is at the outside edge where it will be trimmed off after quilting.
Removing the selvages from fabrics back before 45" fabric was made was a common practice because the selvages would shrink more than the rest of the fabric and it was hard to layout a clothing pattern with a puckered edge on the fabric. There are very few fabrics that have that type of problem any more so it is almost like an old wives' tale that has been passed down through the generations, that you would need to remove them before you can use the fabric.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Have you visited here yet?

I have started saving the selvages from backing fabrics after visiting here.

There are so many ideas of what to do with them.

Will it ever be finished?

This is one of the pieces that I started in some down time during a week long workshop at QSDS in Columbus, Ohio in 2002. I ran across it again this morning while moving some things. The quarter inch wide strips are just pinned onto the surface and I hope they were rustproof pins. You can see the strips are bending from so many foldings and being put back into the UFO box many times. I think I will leave it up on the design wall and see if inspiration hits.

By the time the art quilters left yesterday we had a few snow pellets in the air. This morning it was 26 degrees at 7 a.m. That is the hardest frost we have had so far but the hostas are still standing, even though they are all yellow now. By Thurs. we are supposed to have 60 degree weather again, a second chance to get out and clean up the yard, since last week was spent on cleaning the house for 2 sets of company.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Here is my design wall display as my art quilters will see it this morning. It is a representation of what I have done since I saw them last. I have some vintage fabrics that I need to sell. I can see vintage aprons made from them.
They are all 36" wide and I think they date from the 40's and 50's.

I have seen places on the Internet where this vintage sells for $20 a yard or more but I would be willing to sell for less than that.

The largest piece has 6 yards and several have 2 1/2 yards. If anyone is interested email me.

The sun is shining but we are having our coldest day so far this fall, in the 40's. (30's this morning)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

New quilt started

Thanks for all of the great comments yesterday on "Orderly Chaos". I looked up the definitions yesterday: orderly = well arranged, chaos = complete confusion. I think I will stay with that title, well arranged complete confusion. I will play with a few border options, but I am leaning toward no border.

I have been cutting 2.5" and 4.5" strips in anticipation of doing another double 4 patch quilt. Then I realized I could do my little baskets from the same strips by using the Easy Angle and Easy Angle II and have blocks the same size. My backgrounds will be various cream and batiks and I think this quilt will be more subdued. I will just keep making blocks in between other projects and someday have enough for a quilt.
It is sunny today, but windy. I need to trim my spirea bushes but I think I will wait for a warmer day. The art quilters are coming tomorrow, so I have 2 batches of cookies to bake. That will warm up the house a little.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Inset seams all done

Here it is before sewing the last panel. The inset seams in the lower right were "lots of fun". It is like a jig saw puzzle, trying to figure it out. Here it is all sewn together and trimmed. It ended up about 29.25" x 30.5".
And here it is with one that I made over a year ago. The older one is more orderly with all of the strip sets in a vertical position. The new one is more chaos. A lot of people told me the first one reminded them of books on a shelf.

Now I have to decide if I want to border this one. I could do it in the same fabric as the first since I still have more of those fabrics. I think the title of the new one should be "Orderly Chaos" since all of the seams of the sections are cut at right angles to each other. The chaos is the little bits that aren't necessarily straight.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Well I'll be darned

Blogger just loaded my pictures in reverse order! How dare they! I won't move them because then they aren't clickable. Oh well. Here is the scene in my back yard at lunch time yesterday. So now I have to type the process in the reverse order. Here is what I am working on, with partial seams.

And here it is with the upper left sewn together, upper right sewn together, and lower right partially sewn.

And here it is before the upper left was completely sewn.

And this should have been the first picture, pieces up on my design wall just overlapped and waiting for me to need the design wall for my art quilters on Monday next week. I was forced to either dismantle it or sew it. I chose to sew it. Now if just scroll up the screen, you will see the progress.
I haven't decided how to handle the last partial seams yet. I need to make the decision soon though because I do need the design wall to be empty.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

2 kinds of printer fabric

I have purchased a few different brands of fabric sheets for bubble jet printers. There is a difference in the feel and the look of the printed images with the different brands. The one in the center is June Tailor colorfast white sheets. They are a little stiffer after printing than the feel of regular quilting fabric. The pictures are very vivid, just as if they were printed on photo paper. The ones on the left and the right are Printed Treasures by Milliken. The pictures are much duller, the edges of the fabric had yellowed from shelf life at the store, but they were soft with the same feel as quilting fabric. A friend told me that they do fade with washing. I would probably use them in a wallhanging that wouldn't necessarily be washed.

I have also used a fabric sheet that was marketed with the Viking name on it and was very happy with them too. I don't think a project that will be washed often is the place to use these pictures. Does anyone else have anything to add to this?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How tiny is too tiny?

The question came up in the comments yesterday about how small does a piece have to be to be rejected, and do I save them. Yes, I save them in a little plastic bag. Another point I need to make here is that these are all batik fabrics. They are a pima cotton and the seams press very flat, unlike regular quilting cottons. Hoffman is my favorite brand and the finest weave. Here are some of the too small pieces, narrower than 3/4". Here are a few I rescued back out of that bag while I was looking for ones that contrasted with the green cutting mat (so they would show up in the photo).
OK, you encouraged me to "never mind" cleaning and have fun. I did hold off sewing though until evening while watching TV and made all of these groups. For those of you who think I agonize over color choices and placement, I have to say I only have one thing in mind when I pick up the next piece, contrast. It is either a light to dark contrast, or a color to color contrast. I am using whatever is in the bag of scraps, not cutting anything special. This is total relaxation making these little bits into something bigger.
What do I do with the little bits? This is one of the projects I have made. I took an 8" square of Wonder Under and put it glue side up on my press cloth. I place little bits until they totally covered the surface and extended off the edge a little. I pressed the pieces lightly to the Wonder Under.
Then I peeled off the paper and placed the square on top of another piece of fabric which would become its border and pressed with steam. Now everything is firmly held in place with raw edges here and there that might raise up a little as you are stitching. I then layer it with batting and backing and stitch, stitch, stitch, like in the book "On the Surface".
I will use this piece as a pocket on a tote bag.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


I have company coming tomorrow, the girls I used to work with at the quilt shop, and my art quilters are coming Monday. I should be cleaning. I am avoiding it. I want to have fun.

I changed the blocks from yesterday and the day before into a different arrangement before I picked them up.
And last night, kidding myself that I was cleaning off my sewing cabinet, I started piecing little bits together.
I don't know if you use little scraps, but when you think you are using up all of the little pieces, you end up creating more of them with the pieces you cut off. SO........I still have a mess on the sewing cabinet.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Uneven strips

One of the disadvantages of using the clean up cuts is the fact that they only have one straight edge, the other edge is however it was cut at the store. I could straighten that edge too, but I like the mystery of leaving it and seeing what happens. You can see that the strip set doesn't lay flat even after pressing. I cut the first square out of the part that is buckling. You can easily smooth out the area to cut one square.
The second cut is made in the next area that is pulling.
Now the rest of the strip set is laying flat enough to cut the rest of the squares out edge to edge.

I'm off to the car dealer's service department for an oil change this morning. Hopefully that is all my car needs.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Connecting with the past

This last 4 weeks has been full of reunions with people from my past. Yesterday I went to the memorial service for the mother (97 yrs old) of a boy I went to school with in grades 1-8. We didn't have kindergarten back then, and we went to one room schoolhouses until 5th grade. Our new school had 3 rooms and 50 students. The reason I went to the memorial was of course to see the boy I had gone to school with and 3 of his siblings that also went to the schools. It was so wonderful to see him after 54 years. On a sad note, he told me the other boy in our 8th grade graduating class of 4 had passed away earlier this year. The other girl went to my high school and I saw her on Sept. 27th. I will have a lot of good memories from these reunions to look back at in future days.

I cut up another strip set I had made several months ago that was mostly light and medium values with only a few darks in it. I thought the first squares I cut needed a little more light with them.
Now I am trying to decide whether to cut up some of the blue and green sets I have made. Maybe the answer will come to me later today.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cut 'em up

I couldn't help myself, I cut up 2 of the strip sets I showed yesterday, sewed together the leftovers and cut more. I have no idea how far I'll go with this one but I do like it. Phyllis, you asked me yesterday in your comment how wide I cut the strips for these sets. If you look closely you will see that they are wonky strips. They are the clean up cuts when I start cutting my batiks. Some of them may seem like an even width from one end to the other, but most aren't.
I like most of them to be less than 2" wide at the widest end, but now and then I will throw in a little wider one.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A peek from the past

In the mid 1970's I was making patchwork pillows, selling them at craft shows and selling wholesale to an antique shop in a suburb of Chicago. This was one of the favorite styles, Holly Hobbie and crazy piecing with a feather stitch (machine sewn) for trim. One of our local freecyclers was requesting 1970's clothing for a high school play, and while I looked through the attic I found this pillow that decorated my daughter's bedroom in that time period. After I got home from computer club last night I watched a show that I had taped and made some multicolor strip sets. I am thinking about an August Journal quilt page.
Today I have someone coming to check on a roof leak by my chimney. I think the flashing just needs to be fixed. There is so much to do before winter.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cable guys temp fix

A friend emailed me and said she was picturing a cable from a pole laying on my grass. Well she was right on. The main box is across the street so the line goes up the pole on that side, across the road and down the pole on my side, then across the grass
and across my sidewalk. I have put a door mat over the cable on the sidewalk so I hope nobody trips over it. AND I haven't had an interruption in my internet service since they ran this cable.

The sun is shining but it is cold out. My heat came on this morning before I left to get my hair cut at 8 a.m.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cable guys

My problem with the cable was bad enough that they sent 2 guys. They ran a temporary line from across the street until the under street boring crew can come and run a new line to my house. They said I may still have sporadic service, so if I don't blog for a few days you will know I don't have internet service.

Having fun again

I'm back to working on my 2 ongoing projects. The strip piecing will be a never ending project because I keep getting more ideas how to use it. Some day in the winter I will have a play day on my many design walls in the basement. The other project is another in the series of "My current favorite". I'm going to have to come up with a name for the series pretty soon.
The honeysuckle bush has berries on it now. I'm glad my readers helped me identify the bush last spring.
My cable guy is coming this morning to see if he can solve my Internet problems. I have been having trouble all summer mostly between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. It doesn't sound like an equipment problem to me since it happens at the same time each day but they want to check it anyway. On Sunday I got home around 1 p.m and had no connection and it didn't come back on until 9:45 p.m. That was the longest outage and it has me furious that I am paying for something that is out during the prime day time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A finish, finally

Last night I finished my September Journal Quilt. This series of little quilts are all about simplicity and clean lines. I have a couple more series in mind, techniques that is, subject matter to be decided. I either have to go back and do August or start thinking ahead to November now for this series. Here is one of the redbud trees in all of it's fall glory. The leaves will fall quickly so I took a photo yesterday so I could remember it.
One little section of the viburnum bush has red leaves. This has only happened about 3 times in the 13 years since I planted the bush. Usually the green leaves just drop off.
I don't know how many of you read the comments that people leave on the blogs, but yesterday one comment really touched me. I showed the preemie layette items that I work on for my church and Jina left me a comment that made it all so real. We are all about numbers at the church circle, how many extra small, small, medium and large layettes that we have ready to deliver to the hospital. We work in a little production line, each with our own task. But Jina made it real for me that these are treasures for the parents. And she was right, we get a generic "Thanks for all you are doing" from the hospital but rarely if ever hear from a parent. Now I will be able to picture those tiny little babies as I work on the pieces and know that I have made a difference.
I am the only quilter in our church circle so I get all of the scraps from cutting the little jackets and I make them into patchwork quilts for the preemie ward.