Thursday, April 30, 2009

16.67 yards later........
I started cutting 2.5" strips from my batiks yesterday. If you have not seen my batik stash, go the the Labels list on the right side of my blog and click on Stash. Keep scrolling down until you have seen all of the shelves of batiks. I started collecting them in 1991 so this is an 18 year collection. I made it through the purples and the turquoise/blue shelf so far. I have one more pile not pictured that is missing a couple of the fabrics. So far I have 48 pieces in each stack shown. Obviously I am only cutting off of the fabrics that I am willing to part with. Some of them still fall into that "too precious to cut" category.
I take each piece to the ironing board and press out the creases and then stack and cut 4 fabrics at a time. Then I had to restack the fabric back on the shelves. I was really wiped out by 10 p.m. I guess I sound like a wimp.

I went out and played in the mud too yesterday. I dug up the huge hosta and wiggled it and pulled a big chunk off of it. I am going to wait for the dirt around the roots to dry up a little before I separate it into several plants. My shoes were muddy, my gardening gloves were muddy, and we're supposed to have more rain. They have already said we have about double the normal rain since the first of the year. I wish we could send some of it to the dry areas of the country.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Multi-tasking day.
I delivered the kits to the store and they all sold so that is about 9.5 yards out of my stash. J~MT asked if I would have any kits like the bright one for sale in my blog shop. I have been contemplated cutting 2.5" strips from my older batiks which will never be available again and selling them as kits, like the bali pops groups. I hope somebody will be interested in purchasing them.
I had a wide variety of things that needed to be done yesterday. One of them was choosing backs for the pile of quilts and batting that I showed in the middle of my nature blog the other day. Two of them are the above fabrics and I cut the selvages off while cutting the right shape backing.

I mowed part of my lawn with my reel mower (no motor, just my power). I think I will get some more mowed today. My neighbor mows my grass for me but he hadn't gotten to it yet and I really need the exercise. I have a hard time getting motivated to just walk around town so this way I have a purpose for the walk while mowing the grass. I hope I can stay motivated to keep it up after it gets hot in the summer.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Spring really is here!!
The redbuds were barely showing any pink 4 days ago and now they are starting to bloom. It will be a few days before they are all the way open.
The rose breasted grosbeaks are here again this year. This guy just wouldn't turn around for a photo. He was facing the window until I got the camera in my hand. They are about a week earlier than last year.
I spent part of the day yesterday cutting kits. The store owner is giving a class on this purse that I made a sample of last year. A couple of the students wanted kits exactly like it so I did my best and only had to substitute two fabrics.

I was cutting another kit in brighter colors too.
The strips won't necessarily be in this order. This is just the order that I cut them.
I have to make a decision on the basket quilt. If I decide to sell the quilt or give it as a gift I know I will use the blue for the setting triangles. However if I decide I am going to keep it, then it will be the rosy fabric. I just have to decide if I want to make another even more beautiful one for myself instead of keeping this one.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Voting results, and scanned pictures
I was looking through an old notebook with lots of pictures of colorwash pieces that I made. This one says 2002 on the back. I sold it through the IL Artisan's Gallery that year. I am disappointed in the scans, but then the more I look at them, I remember red is one of the hardest colors to photograph.
I will admit that this next photo is not great quality to start out with. I always liked this piece and was sad to see it go.
Now, the results from the voting for my setting triangles. Blue was an overwhelming favorite with 45 votes, rose got 7 votes, and 7 people also liked them both together like they were in the first photo. 5 people were non-committal but helpful in their comments.

The reason I chose the rosy fabric in the first place (which has gold and green in it) was so that it would blend into the edge blocks which were mostly warm beige, yellow or gold. I tend to want to blend things automatically and have to tell myself to back off sometimes. I tend to like warm colors better than cool ones also.

I knew I would try blue or green because they were both used in the blocks but I didn't expect to like the blue and was surprised. I really enjoyed the comments when you told me what you saw when you looked at the choices. I think the blue looks more like a border than the rose. I'm not sure if I want it to look like a border, or just a smooth transition to the outside edge of the quilt.

Some said my choices were too dark, one said they were too light. I'm glad we aren't all alike and that I got many different opinions. It is fun to look at the choices with new eyes.

Did you know that blue is THE most popular color? When I was first a fabric buyer for a store the salesmen all told me if you don't know which color to pick, always choose blue because it is the best seller. I wear a lot of blue because it makes me look healthy but I don't have any blue rooms in my house, nor any blue furniture. I've never had a blue car either.

I'll look at it some more today, and maybe I'll go ahead and cut some triangles. Thanks everyone for all of your help.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nature walk.
I took this picture from the kitchen window. The ring neck doves have been here for over a week. Last year they didn't come until May 4th. They are so hard to get a decent picture of because their heads are bobbing up and down eating most of the time.
This is the biggest rabbit I have ever seen in my yard. I think he must be the daddy. Usually the rabbits come after dark to clean up under the bird feeders.
This is our state flower even though a lot of people try to convince me they are weeds.
While it rained heavily in the afternoon I went down to the basement and cut batting for all of these small quilts. I was able to use a bunch of odd shaped pieces of batting and didn't need to cut any out of a new batt.
The brunnera is still blooming.
My other violets.
When I was a child we would go down to the creek and pick violets and buttercups. They are still 2 of my favorite flowers.
My limey green hosta, just coming up.
This clump of hosta will be divided this year. I divided the other 2 clumps near it last year.
I took my winter coat down to the laundry yesterday. I am declaring the end of winter even though we are supposed to go down to 39 degrees tonight.........and back up to 79 degrees tomorrow.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Voting time!
I opened up the 2 final contenders and put them under the edges of the blocks. I like them both.
Here it is with just the blue.
and here it is with just the rosy one.
Which one do you prefer?


It's done!!!
I finished the quilting and then did the binding while I watched TV. There were new episodes of the 3 shows I watch on Friday nights.
The color is more correct on the picture above. It is hard to get this one to look just right. It is more of a coral pink and the camera and software in the computer want to give it a lavender tone.
The backing is a print I bought while I worked in Batavia, and I left that job in 2000. That's just more proof why we need stashes. I didn't have quite enough so I pieced in 4 leftover blocks.
A close up of the pieced section of the back.
Here is another close shot of the quilting and the binding.
I took some nature photos that I will post tomorrow. I'm still working on arranging the furniture in the studio. I want both leaves up on the cutting table and I'm having trouble configuring the space. I think I just need to move the serger and its table out of there since I use it mostly for the layettes for the preemies when I sew at church. That will give me room to shuffle things around.
Down to two.
I tried about 15 different fabrics and the only thing that seems to work is a mottled batik.
Now I just need to decide between warm and cool colors.
I will be posting again in a few minutes since I forgot to load all of the pictures in this one. I don't like to move them because then they aren't clickable for a closer view.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Only 8 more lines to stitch
and I'll be done with the quilting. I took this picture in low light to show the texture.
I was busy all morning giving a private computer class and then last night I decided it was time to change my studio around for my summer set up where I will be sitting next to the double window while I sew. I took a few minutes last night to try 3 fabrics for the setting triangles. If you click on the pictures for a closer view you will be able to see the fabrics better.
I'm not sure how dark I want them to be but I am leaning toward the one on top in this picture. I will try some other color ranges yet though.
I think this next one is too dark.
Here is another close up shot of the pulmonaria flowers.
I don't know how many of you read Kornelia's comment
when I mentioned that the flowers were 2 different colors on the same stem. She is a molecular biologist and she said that the color of the flower changes after pollination. She said that once it changes color that is an signal for the pollinator that it doesn't need to visit the flower any more. Isn't that neat? Thanks Kornelia.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Productive Day

I was so tired Tuesday that I didn't do much. Yesterday though I had my pep back and I decided to get some more quilting done on this one. You can see I have tables for support behind the main table as well as to the left side. This supports the quilt so it can't ever fall over an edge while I am quilting.
A couple weeks ago I mentioned that my ditch quilting along the parts of the blocks wasn't straight as it traveled through the next block where there wasn't a seam to follow.
I decided to do the wavy lines that I have been using for years between the rows of stitching. The 2 rows are kind of parallel and sometimes even cross over to the other side. Here are the rows just sewn in one direction.
I got a few rows done in the other direction. Now I have to decide if I am going to put a row down the center between the 2 ditch lines.
I finished the last 2 blocks for the basket quilt. I was going to pick a fabric just a little darker than the outside blocks for the setting triangles but now I am considering one even darker.
I like the block patterns in this quilt but I'm not happy with the colors. They just aren't MY colors. I will probably have to make another one that is in all creams, yellows, golds, pinks, reds, and purples. It won't be anytime soon though. I have a couple other ideas brewing first.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Baby 4 patch quilt
The center and border pieces of this little quilt have been up on my design wall in my studio for over a year. I couldn't decide what color I wanted that inner border to be. Then I realized I like the white from the design wall so I chose a batik that has a very faint pastel pattern on white and sewed it together last night. It is only about 28" x 32". I could add another border and make it bigger but I think it would be a cradle size quilt right now, or a nice quilt to carry in a diaper bag to use when visiting others.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Resorting, restacking, finding new storage places.
This first pile is baby quilts awaiting family and friends' babies.
This next stack is quilts I have decided to give away waiting for recipients to come and choose.

This pile on the guest bed is "recently finished and not ready to part with" quilts.
I don't like to get a lot of fold marks in the small wallhangings and table runner type pieces so they are in another stack on the guest bed.
And finally, the last few quilts that haven't gone back to the storage closet yet and suitcases to put away.
I hope you have enjoyed my stacks.
Unpacking and putting quilts away

The program at the quilt guild last night went very well. A couple old friends from the years I worked in Batavia drove 30 miles to hear me speak. It was so good to see them again. The meeting was very well attended with several of the guests joining the guild before the evening was over. It takes 2 days to pull all of the quilts and pack them for a program and now I need to put them all away. It is good for them to be aired out now and then.

While I was cleaning the basement over the weekend, these fabrics all found their way into the same pile. It's a happy pile but I don't know what I'm going to make yet.

I'm off to get my hair cut this morning. Today's fun: I need to finish the last 2 blocks for my basket quilt and then I can pick the setting triangle fabric. Life is good.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunday Progress
I decided to sew some more on this piece so I could get it down off the design wall. I just stacked the pieces for the bottom 2 rows and clipped them together with binder clips. I printed a picture of my layout so I know which angle to place each block when they are sewn.
This was the scene outside my kitchen window while I was baking cookies yesterday.
It rained almost all day yesterday so the forsythia flowers are on the ground now.
I have a busy day today. I have to get my parents' groceries and order a prescription for Mother and then my art quilters group will be here all day. I will have a couple free hours to rest and then give my program at the quilters' guild meeting tonight. I won't have time to get nervous!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I was cleaning the basement today in preparation for the art quilters' group on Monday. That means I have to get all of my own pieces off the design walls too. This piece was just waiting for its border so now the top is done. I really like this simple little quilt. My brunnera is blooming in the back yard. The flowers are a deeper blue than the picture shows.
Some more flowers opened on the pulmonaria. I was surprised to see 2 different color flowers on the same stem. The hosta plant behind it is just coming up.
I have been watching the Billy Graham Classic Crusades on Saturday night. It is amazing how timeless his messages are. The things he mentions sound like today's world when he was saying them in 1959 and 1985 on 2 of the shows. I think the world has changed so much but I guess I was not aware of some of the problems of the world when I was younger. Maybe it is because the news programs on TV have changed so much over the years. Now we hear about every little thing that happens and it wasn't like that in the 1950's through the 70's.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring, inside and out

This may not look any different than yesterday's picture but it is all sewn and on the pile for my program Monday night. The program is titled "It's all about fabric choices, or what flavor is your quilt?". I will be showing the same pattern made in several different fabric groups to show how different they look. I have 13 different patterns (or block designs) and 41 quilts to show. Outside, the forsythia is just starting to drop flowers and leaves are sprouting. I showed this when it was first blooming on Mar. 29th with snow on it. I think the cooler weather helped the flowers to last longer this year.
This close up shot is a new little shoot of gold mound spirea growing amongst the periwinkle vinca.
In the back yard the pulmonaria is blooming. It is a lonely little plant with lots of bare dirt around it right now. This is one of the early peonies. It is one of the few that have bright colored stems. I didn't cut down last year's stalks so they are still hanging on. I have only done a little clean up in the flower beds so far. We have one more warm day promised before the rain and a 20 degree drop in temperature.