Sunday, February 28, 2010

Count down, 3 more rows...............

I only have 3 more rows of blocks to sew and then I can sew the whole thing together.  I am going to have the dark in the center (see both ways on yesterday's post).  By rotating every block 1/2 turn, each fabric got 2 new neighbor fabrics by them.  I had to switch a few to new locations because of that.

I have decided that the next 2 triangle quilts will be charm quilts, which means that each fabric is used only once.  I cut triangles from 27 more Kaffe fabrics and I have more to do.  I hadn't previously cut from any of my pieces that were 1/4 yard of less.  Right now I have about 150 different fabrics cut.  I cut each print/style number in all of the different colorways that I have so the print is repeated but not in the same color. 

I started collecting Kaffe fabrics about 15 years ago.  About 6 years ago several online stores started discontinuing the older lines and I was able to get them at great prices so I could afford every color of every print.  When they got down to $4 or less I would buy enough of some of them for backings.  I have 4" or less left of some of them so I am using them, not just collecting them.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

One quilted, three to go

One quilt, of the 4 in my February quota is quilted.  I went with my wavy cross hatching again. I know I won't get any bindings done this month.  Full view of this quilt top is here.

Anonymous said...

did i miss this earlier?... how do you prevent stretching the bias diagonal as you sew?

This comment (above) was left yesterday.  I never have trouble with the bias on trianges.  This picture shows the incorrect way to sew triangles.
This picture shows the correct way, with the triangle supported on a flat surface all the way through the machine.  I sewed for many years with my machine on the kitchen table.  I have not always had the set up I have now.  I have the clear acrylic table around the arm of my machine in this picture.  Full view of it was on yesterday's post.  I also have a cabinet with a machine down in it so I have a level surface.  My work improved dramatically with the flat surface, vs. the work draped over the machine.  My suggestion is that if you are serious about the accuracy of your piecing, invest in an acrylic extension table or one of the tables or cabinets that your machine fits into, flush with the surface.  Another option is to pile hard cover books in front and behind your machine to create a flat surface.
I have over half of the triangles sewn into the squares now.  I have also turned all of the sewn ones so that it has a dark center, which also makes the point on the left side dark (which is what I wanted).
Here it is again with the light center.  Now I have to decide which way to go by the time I get the rest of the squares sewn.
A friend I used to work with came to my house to see the quilts I am working on and then we went out for lunch.  She said the same thing my art quilters always tell me, that the quilts are even more beautiful in person than they are on the computer monitor.  That is a little plug for always going to quilt shows and guild meetings to see the real thing if you are able to.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Kaffe triangle quilt

This is where I am on the triangle quilt.  I have the blocks in the first 4 rows sewn together.  I wonder if I might want the dark in the center instead of light.  All I have to do is turn each block 1/2 turn and the center will be dark.  I may try that when all of the blocks are sewn.

I put my machine up on my cutting table so I could stand and sew since I need to be walking back and forth between the machine, design wall, and ironing board with each 2 triangles I take down.

 I take 2 triangles down, go the the machine and sew them, walk back and take the next 2 triangles down, etc.

 I am chain piecing them.

Then I pile them in order on the machine table until I have all of the blocks in the row sewn, then take them one at a time to the ironing board and then straight over to the design wall.

I started sewing the blocks before I went to teach my class and did the rest while I watched the Olympics in the evening.  Class went well but nobody had any blocks done to take pictures of.  We meet again next Thurs. so I'll take pictures then.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cutting strip kits

I forgot to put kits on my to-do list yesterday.  I am teaching a class today and a student wanted me to cut her a kit.  I did a kid kit and an adult kit because I wasn't sure what she wanted.

Below are the clean up cuts from all my cutting this week.  I will use them for another quilt like this one.

Can you see the cardinal looking at the squirrels?  He is questioning when it will be his turn, since they are bird feeders.  There were 8 squirrels out there at noon.

I made some final adjustments on my triangle layout and will start sewing it today when I get home from class.  I think I made too ambitious of a list yesterday, and since Feb. is a short month I think I'll give myself a break and use the first 3 days in March to finish up February's quota.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Silly me...........

I kept thinking I should already have enough pieces cut.  Then it hit me, I put 14 rows across instead of the 12 that I had planned so now I needed 42 fabrics not 22 to finish up.  By the time I realized that I didn't want to take 2 rows down so I just cut more until I had enough.  It will be about 56" x 78".

Here are the triangles that are left over for the second quilt that I have planned.

When I was cutting, I cut a 6.5" strip across the width of the fabric.  I could get 3-6.5" cuts out of that and the fabric was folded so that means 6 squares for every strip I cut.  Here are the piles of 4 sets of129 fabrics that are left over.  I want to make one quilt of all squares so I will have 3 sets left for other projects

Here is another by-product of my cutting, lots of selvages.  I must get started making something out of them soon.  Behind the selvages are stacks of 1.5" and 2.5" strips that were cut from the larger pieces of fabric.

February is almost over and I haven't finished 4 quilts like I planned for each month.  Today I will look over my tops and see which ones I will quilt to try to meet my quota.  I also need to make my 4 donation preemie quilts and I just got some more scraps of flannel Monday so I can start cutting them.  I will probably start sewing triangles together on this latest quilt in between the other projects.  My goal there will be 2 rows a day.  Wish me luck, 5 days of concentrated work.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

More trianges..............

I was afraid that it might be boring showing the same quilt every day but I was assured by many readers that they enjoyed watching my progress on it.  I placed all of the duplicate triangles on the wall and then cut 9 more fabrics.  I went to our sewing circle at church in the afternoon so I didn't get as much done on it as I thought I would.
Here is the view in the backyard yesterday morning.  The snow was almost melted the day before.  We only got about 3" of heavy wet snow and it was above freezing all day so the roads are clear and almost dry.  The cold air is coming in tonight so the rest of this snow isn't going away yet.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lots more triangles

You can probably see that I got more fabric cut and I started placing some of the duplicates up on the wall for the outer rows.  I still have 21 fabrics to cut but I think I will cut 30 and maybe replace some of the pieces that are too plain looking.  I like a busy quilt so I want a lot of busy prints in it.  When choosing the duplicates so that the repeats don't end up near each other, they have to be on the other side of the center line the first time.  All of the loose pieces on the left side of the board were used on the right half of the quilt.  I was hoping I would be done cutting yesterday because I'm itching to sew this one.

The snow started at 4:30 yesterday and it is very wet and heavy.  We only had about an inch at 11:30 p.m. but it was still snowing tiny little flakes when I went to bed.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Back to the cutting table........

It may not look like I have made any progress but I have cut a lot more fabrics.  Right now there is just one triangle of each fabric, 78 of them.  I have the other 78 to add but I want to cut 42 more fabrics first.  If I make it 10 squares across by 12 squares down, I need 120 different fabrics, each used 2 times.  Is that too much math for you?  LOL, I'm a math person.  After seeing this picture on my monitor I think I can change a couple of the light fabrics to the dark pile.  This should finish at 56" x 67" for a lap size quilt.  I haven't ruled out just making a square wallhanging either, 56" square.  Then I would only need 22 more fabrics.  I intend to add some Philip Jacobs fabrics in with the Kaffe's.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A lost day...............

We have 2 storm fronts approaching in the next 3 days so I had a migraine today.  Even though I can dull the pain, I am wiped out afterwards.  All I was good for was sorting scraps.
The snowstorm Sunday night into Monday is predicted to be 10-12"  at this point.  I'm sure they will change the prediction several times over the next 3 days, hopefully to less snow.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Workmen gone, life back to normal

My daughter emailed me pictures of a quilt I gave her about 15 years ago.  I didn't have any digital photos of it.  The background fabric was dyed by Laura Wasilowski and the applique fabric was dyed by Melody Johnson.  It is hard to capture the true look of the dyed fabric so the pictures are a little brighter than the actual wallhanging.

I free hand cut stylized heart shapes and started playing with the fabric in a hoop, the feed dogs dropped, and black thread on the machine.  I started making flowers first and then the butterfly.
The narrow border is fabric by Mickey Lawler/Skydyes.
After I decided I needed 9 blocks I made the 2 leaves.  This is one of my favorite quilts that I have ever made.  It was one of those playtime, in a zone, losing track of time days.

The gas company guys came and dug a big hole to get down to the shut off at the edge of my property.

This picture below is when he hit the paver blocks that surround my little flowerbed with his trench digger, Ooops!  Well what did they expect when they come with snow covering up everything, LOL.  If I had known they were going to do that I could have warned him.
While they were working I took some good pictures of a lot of my small wallhangings.  The sun was shining so the light coming in my east picture window was perfect lighting for photos.  I created a couple more "pages" listed at the top of the sidebar on the right side of my blog.

I started over with the triangles on my double wall, now back in place after they got the gas meter out.  I did some more cutting but I have a long way to go.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I hope it all goes well......

Today is the day the gas meter goes outside.  I don't like workmen in my house so I can't wait until this is over and I can set my design walls back in place and play.  Maybe tomorrow I will have some more interesting pictures to share.

I was sorting through things last night again.... my spare parts left from so many projects.  I have 37 double 4 patch blocks.  I have 11 light ones and 26 dark ones.  If I use them in a pieced back it won't matter that there isn't an even number of both.  I may want to use them as alternate blocks again like I did in my basket quilt.  Decisions, decisions!

I figured out how to make "left align" text work in the new post editor.  You have to just start typing and then click on the left align icon.  I was trying to make the cursor go to the left and it wouldn't do anything until there was a letter there first. 

I have added 2 new pages (top of right side column) and added some more pictures on the crazy piecing page.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A family day

Yesterday was a family day, a birthday lunch for one of my sisters-in-law and then back to another SIL's house to chat with the family.  That was 5 hours of sitting which I'm not used to.  It was fun to catch up on all of the family because we don't see each other as often in the winter.

My friend Mel/Fibermania walked me through some changes for my blog.  I'm using a new layout that stretches out into more of the area to the left.  I like a nice clean white page so nothing competes with my pictures.  Mel is also the one that alerted me to the Pages up on the top of the right sidebar.  I added another page last night and added 2 more pictures to the first page.  Thanks Mel, I couldn't have done it without you. 

I sorted my bin of 2.5" strips while I watched the figure skating last night.  I wanted to separate all of the full length strips from the partial lengths.  The bin above is the partial lengths, divided by batik and non-batik. Now when I need a full length strip I will know not to choose these.

I haven't made much progress on the one above except for cutting some more pieces.  I have to wait until I can set my double design wall back in place after the gas company removes the meter on Thursday. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sorting into piles

To make the quilts I have started in the last 2 posts, I just have to divide my fabric into 2 groups, lighter and darker.  As I cut the triangles I lay them on the table staggered so I can see all of the choices.

I have made the pattern in yesterday's quilt many times before.  Someone without an email address yesterday asked what pattern I am using.  It is simply a layout that can be used with log cabin blocks or any other half dark/half light block.  There isn't a pattern anywhere.  This is how most of my quilts get started, a few pieces up on the design wall until I get a feel for what I am doing.  Here is one of the other quilts I made using this layout.

Instead of continuing the design out into a square I used large triangles to fill in the corners so it is similar to an Amish quilt design.

I have switched to the new post editor for the blog, and boy is there a learning curve.  I can't figure out how to make the text start from the left instead of the center.  Clicking on the align left icon didn't work after I added the second picture.  I can see there are some new useful things here but it will take me awhile to figure this all out.  It is like starting all over again with a blog.  I can't see spellcheck up there either.  Now I will really have to proofread each entry carefully.

With this new editor we can add up to 10 pages to be listed under the word "home" at the top right of my page.  I will be grouping pictures of quilts made from similar methods onto each of the pages.  All of these quilts have been published before but you had to go back through a zillion blog pages to find them.  I will try to add a new page every few days.  You can just click on the title of the page and get to it and return to the main page by clicking on Home.

Monday, February 15, 2010

More cutting, new project

I did some more cutting and a lot of relaxing yesterday. Elaine mentioned in her comment that it would take so long to choose the fabric for a quilt like this. Actually for this one it is easy. I'm using all Kaffe fabrics and will add Philip Jacobs and Martha Negley fabrics too. But, it can be made with any random group of fabric that is all the same flavor (no kid prints in with Civil War repros, etc). All is takes is a pile of lighter and a pile of darker fabrics. It is all about value and not about color or print. It can be made with plaids, Civil War repros, floral fabrics, just anything as long as there are 2 groups of value.I was itching to sew something too so I got out the box of 2" strips (not batik) and cut 2 groups for Sharyn Craig's half log cabin blocks. I took her class back in the late 1980's and have made several quilts with her method. She has just published an updated book on the method and I found it on sale so I purchased it. I will try to keep the fabrics neutral enough that this could be a man quilt.
This is basically the same block that I just made with all of my scraps (the zig zag quilt) and I call it quarter log cabin and she calls it half log cabin. Her method places each fabric in a different position in the blocks as you assemble it so none of the blocks look alike. This one is precision sewing compared to my loose liberated scrap one. I like to do both kinds of sewing.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A lot of cutting

I started cutting for the next few quilts and for my boxes of strips. I'm cutting Kaffes and batiks.One of the new quilts will be dark diamonds/light diamonds, which are simple blocks made of 2 triangles, but all of the designing has to be done first.

The other one using the same pieces will be rings of dark and light. It has to be designed first and then 2 triangles sewn together too. I will have at least a week of cutting to be ready to design these. I am cutting the squares 6.5" and then in half diagonally so they will finish around 5.5" I wanted them fairly big to show off the Kaffe prints.
Holly M left a comment yesterday that she loved the energy of the zig zag layout on yesterday's quilt. I couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was that drew me to it but that was it, energy. Thanks Holly.
I didn't make anything new with hearts this year for February/Valentine's Day. If you want to see my previous heart quilts, click here for all of the posts.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Decision made, I'm a zig zag..

There were a lot of layouts that would work with these blocks (see Tuesday's posts) and I was tempted to use a couple of them, but what it boils down to is it would have just been A quilt and I wanted it to be MY quilt. I knew this layout was ME from the minute I got it up on the wall. It is 60" square and it won't have a border, just a binding. I'm thinking red for the binding right now but I will need to audition some choices before I make a final decision. (I think I have it upside down in this picture. I think I had the black square in the upper left corner.)I needed to get this one down off the design walls because it was in the corner I have to clean out so they can remove my gas meter on Thursday. I hope I can make a decision on the other wonky blocks' layout today.

For the photography experts out there: all of my quilt pictures are clear at the top and blurry at the bottom. I am using the Auto setting. I wonder if I use the program setting instead if they will be clear all the way to the bottom. Maybe there is something else I need to know. Anybody?

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's a bouquet......

11 of the 14 buds on 2 plants have opened. I have never had so many in bloom at one time. I can forget about how cold it is outside and how much snow we have on the ground every time I pass by this bouquet.I didn't sew at all yesterday. It was one of those days of sorting through things and enjoying all of the "stuff". A couple people mentioned some things I could make with those narrow strips so I thought I would put some links here and here and here (scroll down past the yo-yos) for previous things I have made with them. 2 of my readers are taking this batch off my hands and I will be creating more bags full before we know it. I had a huge scrapbag in the basement from about 3 years ago. I went through it and pulled some more that were at least 3/4" and also found a bunch of selvages in there. Three years ago the selvage quilt trend hadn't started yet.

Now I hope to make some decisions today on the last 3 pieces I have been working on.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tiny bits

I cut sashing and borders for the little bits strips after I trimmed them as straight as I could. The narrow ones were hard to keep straight and ended up a little crooked in the final piece. It is 14.5" x 17.25".
If it becomes a wall piece, I don't know which way it should be, vertical or horizontal.Since it is the size of a placemat, I could just lay it on the table and not worry about it. I would use it as a table centerpiece, not a placemat. That was the last of one of my favorite purple batiks that I bordered it with. I had to hold my self back from searching the Internet to see if I can get any more of it. Surely I should use some of the fabric I have first. Fabric collectors anonymous, do you have any meetings in my area? My name is Wanda and I have a problem...............

We had a little earthquake here in northern IL yesterday morning at 4. I woke up and looked at the clock but didn't know what had awakened me. I heard a noise that I thought was a loud truck with the engine running and I wondered who was in my driveway or in the street out front. I went back to sleep and when the radio came on at 6:30 they were talking about it. My brother was awake and heard his house shaking and rattling.
Several people yesterday suggested using the narrow strips to stuff dog cushions. All of the dogs in my extended family are chewers and would have a great time ripping open the cushion and shaking the contents all over their house. We had a dog once that tore open a pillow and it was stuffed with the foam crumbles. He was closed in a bedroom while we were gone. When we opened the door, there was foam everywhere and all you could do is laugh at how far he could fling the foam while he shook the pillow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The post is dedicated to Suzy Homemaker.......

If you read my blog every day you might remember the humongous pile of scraps on my sewing table as I was creating the string pieced blocks that I have shown the last few days. I mentioned that Suzy Homemaker would have a fit if she saw the mess but I wasn't related to her so it didn't matter. Well.........she called me last night (Hi Sue!) and let me know I was right, she had a fit! I decided to show her I really can clean up. Last night I took most of the little bits that were left after all of that piecing and sewed them into strips. They haven't been trimmed straight yet.Here they are on the cutting mat so you can see how tiny the pieces are. The whole strip is a little over 11" long. Below them at the left are some tiny squares less than 1" that will probably get tossed. The rest of the usable ones are stacked there too.
I piled all of the leftover strips together...............
and bagged all of the strips 1" wide and narrower in one bag and the 1/8 yard and other chunks in another bag. All of the Kaffe scraps now fit in one of those zippered bags that you buy twin sheet sets in. They were previously in a huge blanket zippered bag but I used most of them in the last project.
And so you see Suzy, I can clean up my mess and I dusted off the table and oiled my machine, so there!!!I may toss the bag of strips 1" wide or narrower because most of them are about 3/4" wide which ends up being a 1/4" strip in a project. I really need to draw the line somewhere since I have all of that yardage sitting on the shelves waiting to be used.