Monday, November 30, 2009

Red Journal

One of my art quilter friends (who is coming here with the group today) asked if I could make covers for her sketch books. I wrote down the measurements but didn't take good notes so I made one up in some of her favorite colors to try on her book today. If it doesn't fit hers I have a book that it will fit.Front above and back below.
Opened out flat.
I spent several hours cleaning up my clutter in the basement. I sometimes have as many as 8 projects laying out down there. Just think, if the art quilters didn't come to visit I would never keep the basement studio organized.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Finished crosshatch quilting

This was pretty much an experiment to see if I would like this kind of quilting on top of crazy piecing. I really didn't like this table runner very much so I figured if I didn't like the quilting it would be no loss. Click on the picture for a closer view. All of that brassy gold color thread kind of subdues the border fabric.And here is the close up picture. I won't make any final judgement on it until after I have washed it and dried it in the dryer.
Today is cookie baking day and final clean up in the basement. I mixed the peanut butter cookies last night since the dough is supposed to chill anyway.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A quilting day!

I spent most of the day sewing! My reward for cleaning the house earlier in the week. I showed this table runner top a few weeks ago but never got around to quilting it. I did parallel lines about 3/8" apart crosswise on it.Here is a closer view. The lines are not "perfect" because I am not a perfect person. I like things with their subtle imperfections that look they have been made by a human being. Actually I like wonky even better than that. It took and hour and 5 minutes to do the lines in one direction. Now I think I would like it to be crosshatched so I image I have at least another hour of quilting to go.
Earlier in the day I was sewing my H quilt together and I found this piece of fabric (on the left) wrong side up. I finished sewing all of the other rows together and then came back and picked out that piece and sewed it back in right side up.
I promise this is the last picture of "H- I give it 5 Stars". This is the top all sewn together. I did interchange 2 blocks this morning when I looked at and then said "Enough! Sew it".
I sewed a few rows on another quilt too so I feel like I have accomplished a lot. Now I have to start cleaning the basement for my art quilters' group that is coming on Monday.
It was great to have leftovers to reheat. I don't usually take time to cook myself a good meal in the middle of the day. My mother never liked to eat the same thing twice in one week. I on the other hand, will eat the same thing several days in a row, especially when I can just reheat it and be back to the sewing machine quickly.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Final blocks, final layout

After company left last evening I made the final star block and a few more light blocks for the back of the quilt. I have a couple more leftover light blocks so I may still play with the layout for this. As far as the front goes I'm pretty sure this is the final layout. After I put the last star in I moved several other blocks around trying to spread out the colors more evenly. I'll take one last look at it this morning before I sew them together.
I have to convince myself that it is Friday today since it feels like Monday. It is a good thing that I have a page a day calendar on my computer desk to keep me straight. This year I had the Old Farmer's Almanac page a day and it has been very interesting. Today it says "When cooking parsnips, add a pinch of nutmeg to bring out their best flavor".

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving !!!

I didn't do anything picture worth yesterday and I couldn't stand the idea of a post with no picture, so as I was getting everything ready last night I refilled the toothpick holder and thought AHA, my picture for my blog! In the 1970's we had a very active art league in our little town and one of the ladies made quirky and original pottery. This is one of my favorite pieces made by her. She moved away many years ago so I lost touch with her but I think of her every time I look at this. I hope you all have a wonderful day filled with family and/or friends and make new memories to cherish for years.

Our gathering although small went well today. It was great to have the family all together.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blooming on time

The last 2 years when I showed my Christmas cactus blooming it was in March or April. This year however my plant has gotten with the program and has about 20 buds and will be blooming shortly after Thanksgiving. This poor plant has had a hard time getting going having an attack by a cat or a squirrel one year and a hail storm another year when it was outside for the summer. I didn't sew one stitch yesterday. I did a lot of cutting on my purple batiks, strips and squares and that took several hours.
On my H quilt, I have one more star block to make. I thought of a title for it too.
"H- I give it 5 stars". If you go back to the picture yesterday there are 4 stars in it so far so when I finish the last one it will have 5. I always wanted a quilt with a 5 star rating.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Few more choices

I chose a few more fabrics for blocks and pieced them last night. I also made 2 more star blocks with a different fabric for the background.
It is now 60.5" wide and 75.5" long. All I have to decide now it if I want to make it one more row longer.
I could also still pull out the rest of the light blocks and change them out with more star blocks.
I'll think about it for awhile. I started sewing together another quilt that I had up on a design wall so I can sew and sneak glances at this one and decide if it is done.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Not much progress

I didn't get much accomplished at all yesterday. Maybe it is because I just did a little of a lot of things, like cleaning off the top of the dresser in my bedroom, pulling all of the plants that grow in the cracks of the sidewalk to be prepared for shoveling snow this winter, moving the furniture in my studio so I can reach one of the 8 ft. fluorescent bulbs that is flickering and dying. I did pair up a lot of yummy fabrics and got 8 more blocks sewn.Today I will shop for the last few things I need for Thanksgiving dinner, sort and remove the piles from the dining room table and kitchen table, and hopefully press some more fabrics and get the rest of my blocks cut out. I hope I can finish this top and quilt it on Friday or Saturday. After a family gathering the house will be clean, there will be plenty of leftovers, and my time should be my own for a couple days. At least I hope so.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A pieced back

I am going to use the light 'H' blocks on the back of the quilt, pieced into an 'H' shape. I will probably make more light blocks to make the 'H' larger.I had to move my blocks over to a double wall (8 ft. wide) so the new blocks have been mixed in with the old ones. I made another star block in the same fabrics as the first one and now I think I might make them all with the same star fabric and change the background of the next ones to fabrics similar to the first background. If I don't like that I will make all of the star blocks alike. I need to make about 25 more blocks for a 60" x 82" quilt. I could stop at 75" long and use it as a couch quilt. I'm not bored with it yet so we'll see.
I love my new vacuum cleaner. It is nothing fancy but it sure is better than my old one. I have the whole living room/dining room clean now for Thanksgiving. It is a huge L shaped room. Each section is 15' wide and the long parts of the L are 30'. When that room is done I feel like I have cleaned half of the house.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

All of the elements

I have now added stripes, batiks, and an alternate block. I still have many more blocks to sew. Every pair of 2" strips yields one light background block and one dark background block.I haven't decided if this alternate block is the one I will use. I'm still just playing. I don't design my quilts before I make them most of the time. I just make some blocks and start designing with them on my flannel covered design walls. I'm never sure if all of the color combinations are going to work and occasionally a few blocks get pulled and don't get used in the original quilt. I also rarely know how big I am making the quilt. I work on it until I'm bored with it and then I know the final size.

This is very multicolored right now. The really light fabrics might get pulled now that I see it in a photo. I think I want it more saturated and less contrasty. I'll make another pile of blocks and then play some more.

AND just in case you think I sew all day, I didn't even get into the studio until 7 p.m. I'm trying to tidy up the garage and put away the gardening stuff. I've also started moving furniture to do a really good vacuuming before Thanksgiving. I really do housework too. And take an afternoon nap. And read.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A little progress

Yesterday morning I went to the quilt shop classroom where a bunch of customers meet once a month to work on projects and talk. I just took cutting equipment and more strips for my "H" quilt. In the afternoon I went to embroidery club at the sewing machine store and learned about embossed designs in embroidery. Then last night I went to computer club to hear a program about photo finishing services offered on the Internet. All in all it was a fun and educational day. I sewed a few blocks while watching "The Mentalist" last night. I have 2 more groups of fabric to add in today, some Kaffe plaids and stripes and some batiks. I'm going to add a secondary block in now and then too. I haven't decided which one but I'll work on that today too.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Letter quilts

I know there is a "T" quilt in traditional patterns, and there is this "S" quilt in one of Kaffe Fassett's books. I'm sure there may be more letter quilts that I am unaware of. I have been drawn to this "S" quilt maybe because of the colors (which I love) rather than the fact it is the letter "S" forwards and backwards.I have always wanted to make an "H" quilt. That is my daughter's nickname for me. She and her girlfriend when they were about 9 years old came up with names for us mothers and mine was Mother H. Then it got shortened to "mache" and pretty soon it was just "H". Now I see I have to share that nickname with the head guy on CSI Miami. Every time they call him "H" I have to smile. It was my nickname first, mister!
I got out my graph paper and drafted the block and calculated the measurements of the pieces. The blocks will be 7.5" finished. Now that I have made a few blocks to see if I like it I need to zero in on a color scheme, or maybe it will just be multicolor. I might throw an alternate block in once in awhile. I will have to do a block with 5 divisions like the "H" block is. I love math and drafting patterns in case you didn't know that. I have friends who just start shaking their heads when I try to explain the math thing. They just tell me to give them the answer, the bottom line, no explanations needed.
Today is my dad's 96th birthday. I have 3 meetings to go to today so my brother and I celebrated with him last night.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wishful Thinking

All I did was some wishful dreaming last night. It was a cold, rainy, dreary day. All I got done was a load of laundry and straighting up all of the left over strips from the 2 Kaffe log cabins (1.5" and 2" strips). I sorted them by length and bagged them. In the afternoon I went to the visitation for an dear friend of mine. She was 98. In the 1960's I made almost all of her clothes because she was very short and had wide shoulders and was narrow through the hips. I also made clothes for her granddaughters and daughter-in-law since I had a custom seamstress business in my home. When she was going to have her 90th birthday party she asked me if I would mark a hem for her on the dress she was wearing to the party. This was while she was still living in her house. I marked the hem and she cut it off and hemmed it herself. She was sharp as a tack all the way up to her death on Saturday. A few years ago she moved into the same independent living building that my parents lived in. In fact she lived right next door to them so I saw her often. I will miss her smiling face and our conversations.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Finished projects

I finished the tiny little notebook cover. I left it laying on my cutting mat so you can count squares and see how little it is. It didn't come out perfect so I'll either have to keep it or give it to someone who knows I am not perfect and is OK with that.I got the last seams sewn and thought I would lay the pillowcases out full length so you can click on the picture and see the fabrics better. This is my first attempt at these so I hope my fabric combinations will make the kids happy.
It really felt like November today. It was in the high 40's and damp. It was a good day to stay inside and play with fabric.
Oh, yes, and a bit of advice about fabric: Use your favorite and most precious pieces of fabric. Don't leave it for your estate sale.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Finishing a project

I finally washed the remaining fabrics I needed to finish the 12 pillowcases for charity. I will be sending these to Jackie who tells about the worthy cause here. I just have 3 more seams to sew and they will be in the mail.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A terrific birthday thanks to my readers

How can I begin to thank all of you for your good wishes? That was like getting 60 birthday cards. Wonderful!

I didn't stick with the cleaning for very long. It seemed like a good plan but it didn't happen. First I had to assemble the vacuum cleaner. Remember when everything used to come fully assembled? Once I had it together I vacuumed 3 rooms and it works great, but with my short attention span, I was ready to do something else. I read for awhile, did some grocery shopping, worked on my Kaffe fabric index cards, played on the computer. All in all it was a very relaxing day.

I only did one tiny bit of sewing. I had this little paper pieced cat from years ago and I wanted to try a cover for a tiny notebook. I got this far and then decided to watch some missed TV shows on my computer and the next thing I knew it was bedtime.

Now back to reality on day one of the next year.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Special Day

OK, it's time to admit that I am one of the birthday girls from the lunch on Thursday. One sister-in-law and I share the same birthday (today). It is a little depressing that this year's birthday ends with a 9 which means both digits will change in 2010. The joyful part of it is that I have 365 days until that happens.

A store 30 miles from here was having their anniversary sale with 25% off so I went yesterday and bought myself a birthday present. I NEEDED some more batiks.Last night I did some more quilting on this piece. I finished piecing it May 29th, and started quilting it August 16th. I have all of the straight line quilting done so now I have to do some free motion in the outside border. I think I lost momentum on this one because I started it a week before my mother passed away and finished the top just before my family all arrived.
I don't have any plans for today other than cleaning my house. It is something I almost always do on my birthday. It is the beginning of a new year and I need to start it with a clean house. I bought myself a new vacuum cleaner yesterday too so I will try it out today. I'm sure I'll sneak a little quilting in there somewhere too.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Last layout, top sewn, playing with leftovers

One last layout with the small blocks. I call this one Kissing Seahorses. I haven't made any decision about which layout I will use, or whether it will have a border. I did sew the big blocks together. It always looks so much better sewn than just blocks on the design wall. I am putting a border on this one so that it fits a twin bed a little better. I haven't decided which color to emphasize with the border.
If you have been reading my blog for awhile you probably know that part of cleaning up the cutting table after making a project is gathering the little scraps and playing with them. I have 2 postcards started and a mini wallhanging.

I am at 965 posts right now so I may use these for part of a give away for my 1000th post. Unlike some of the other blog give aways, mine will just be for my regular readers and not to be advertised to everyone else. Sitemeter tells me I have about 550 people a day that check on my blog. That means that in about 12 days I should have my 260,000th reader. Maybe the give away will be then instead. I am just thinking out loud here right now. I missed the 250,000th reader by about 4 hours. I knew it was coming up and then I was gone for part of the day and the sitemeter only tells me the last 100 readers and it was about 226 back.
Susan Turney warmed my heart with her comment the other day that she enjoys going through my older posts by using the Label List which is on the right side of my page. I know so many people read through a reader or feed program and they never really come to the actual blog that way. I try to label each post so that the Label list will take you to all pages related to the subject. There are hundreds of pictures there to see as well as lots of info. Several people have mentioned I should write a book, but everything I could say is already here for you in the previous posts. Thank you Susan.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Playing with the small blocks

I finished the small blocks yesterday and tried a few layouts with them. This is only 42" square in comparison with the huge blocks that made a 64" square. Have fun looking at all of the layouts. There are 8 sets of 2 blocks alike, except possibly the center square might be different. I arranged them so the matched block is in a diagonal opposite from the first all the way through.
Today I am going to lunch with my 3 sisters-in-law and a friend to celebrate 2 birthdays which will occur on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What am I working on?

I had a bag of 1.5" strips of Kaffe fabric that I had cut about 2 years ago. I had the 3" flower squares that I cut out of the waste area on the Big Blooms fabric so I started making some smaller blocks. I laid one of the large blocks on the table so you can see the comparison of size. The large ones finish at 16" and the small ones will be 10.5".I decided to sort all of my Kaffe fabric into stacks of the same print in all the colors that I have. I also filled in a couple more index cards. That took all morning yesterday.

Then in the afternoon my dad had an eye appointment for a regular check up, 2 hours. Later in the afternoon some cousins were going to be nearby so they stopped to visit and asked us out to eat and we were joined by a couple more cousins at the restaurant. My dad's birthday is 8 days away so it was an early celebration for them to be with him. He is the last uncle they have left.

To unwind after I got home I started the small log cabin blocks. I need to cut some more light strips before I can finish them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Final layout?

I think this may be the final layout. I have a couple flowers that are alike near each other but I think that I wouldn't know the difference if I did any more changing so it probably isn't worth the effort. I worked some more on my card file. A couple people asked how I attached the fabric to the cards. I was ready to change the needle on my sewing machine, so I just went ahead and sewed the swatches onto the cards with the old needle. I bought the index cards at W*l-M*rt and they are really thin compared to others I have purchased so it wasn't hard to sew through.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Card file

The only sewing I did yesterday was on index cards. I decided to make a file of all of the Kaffe fabrics that I have. In his books he is always referencing the fabrics he used in the quilts by number only. I always like to see which ones he used even if I don't use the same ones when I make the quilts. I have a good start with all of the scraps that I had on my cutting table and in 2 small bags. I am going to do some more cutting for another quilt so I should be able to get most of them catalogued.
I did rearrange the blocks on the quilt but I'm still not done so I'll show the final arrangement soon. Today is the sewing circle at church again so I won't get much done until evening.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

24 blocks done

I finished sewing the blocks last night. I am stopping at 24 blocks because with a small border it will be perfect for the twin bed in my guest bedroom. I still need to rearrange the blocks because it is heavy with blue in some areas and heavy with red in others. My main objective is to not have 2 of the same flower next to each other.The cutting took 2 days and the sewing 4 days, but not all day every day. I rarely get in more than 4 hours quilting time in a day and sometimes only 2 hours.
The private lesson went well yesterday. The lady who owns the store and I are trading off teaching him, whichever one is free on a day he can come. He switched to a rotary cutter from scissors and he was pleased with the speedier cutting time.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Still making blocks

I finished 2 more blocks and the other 8 are still partial blocks. I need to cut some more dark strips before I can finish.For those who are wondering (and those who have asked), my daughter loved her birthday quilt and it looks great in her bedroom.
This morning I am doing a private class at the sewing machine store for a young gentleman who wants to learn to sew so he can make Civil War uniforms for the guys who do the re-enactments of the war. I gave him a lesson last Saturday and he is just getting used to a machine and seam allowances. He set in a 2 piece sleeve last week so he learned about easing. He was using felt for his first project and he has a new garment cut out for this week. I hope it is a woven fabric this time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

14 blocks finished

I had to put this up on a double design wall because it is 64" square already. The one in the book is 96" square. Since that isn't large enough for a king bed, but the wrong shape for a queen bed I may just make 24 blocks for a 64" x 96" top that I can add a border to and it will be perfect for a twin bed. I added the yellow/orange spools print into the light side for a little warmth amongst the cool greens.
I taught a finishing class yesterday with 6 students with a wide variety of projects. One lady brought the pieces below which we played with until we were happy with a design. She had started making 9 patches (top left and bottom right) but decided she didn't like them and changed to 4 patches. She had already cut some green rectangles to fill in but wasn't happy with any layout she tried. I think it turned out pretty neat and she was happy with it too.
I wasn't quick enough to get pictures of 3 others before they were taken off the design wall to sew together. They asked for a finishing class every month so we have set one up for the first week in Dec.
I rarely go to my blog to read the comments because I get them automatically in my email. When I posted this one I glanced at the number of comments yesterday I realized I had only received about half of them in my email. I usually try to reply to the ones with email addresses so I really missed a bunch today. I'm wondering if this is a Google problem or my email server.
Several people mentioned the fabric choices and how hard it is to throw things together in a block that don't seem to go together, but the one thing that is most important is not color or print but what value it is. If you have 2 distinct values you will have success with log cabin. That is one of the reasons that log cabin is such a good scrap quilt, dividing all of your fabrics into 2 values and throwing out the prints that are high constrast with both light and dark in them because they don't fit on either side.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wow they are big!!

These 4 blocks together measure 32.5" square. That's huge. I guess I should have known the size of the block when the longest strip was 16.5" but it still surprised me. 4 down 32 to go. These are a couple of the layouts in the whole quilt, the one above the center and this one below what the diagonal lines will look like in the barnraising.
I thought each block was rather ugly when I got them done, but once I saw them on the computer screen I didn't think they looked so bad.

I have a bunch more partial blocks made too but now I need to cut some more pieces before I can continue.