Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Another block, more design wall fun....

I got three more blocks finished.  The green is a little brighter than it looks in this picture.  This is probably the busiest block that I have made with batiks, and I like busy.

I have finally gotten back to the Quilt of Valor that I started over a month ago.  The center portion was designed earlier and the individual rows are sewn.  Now I have added on enough rows to get it up to the size needed.  If I added another row on each side it would be too wide for our 60" wide batting so a border will be best.  The triangles that are sticking out on the top and bottom row will be trimmed in half (plus seam allowance) after the squares are sewn.

Monday, August 30, 2010

No sewing, just rest.............

This fellow has his mouth full of coneflower seeds.  The flowers are right outside my kitchen window so I have been able to get some decent pictures.

His mate joined him and had a good meal too.

And what kind of bird is this?  How did he get up there?  He was a regular visitor to my garage when I had the bird seed bags sitting on a table.  He even chewed the corner of the garage door off so he can get in and out without the door being opened.  Now I have the birdseed stowed in a cabinet that closes tightly and I haven't seen him in there lately.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Triangles again.........

Here are the next 2 combinations in the ongoing triangle quilt blocks.  I made 3 of each of these and also finished the other 2 like the one I showed yesterday.

This is one of each of all the combinations so far.  There are 3 blocks of each so I'm up to 42 blocks and they will finish at 8".  I think I'm about half way done.  I'm trying to decide whether to add orange and gold.  I guess I can always make a block and see.

I got a catalog in the mail that has quilts quilted with wavy lines. That has been one of my favorite ways to quilt for several years.  A lot of people call them organic quilting lines, I just call them wavy or crookedy.

Here is another quilt from the same catalog.  I guess the designers for the manufacturers are watching the trends of real live quilters.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Only one block..........

When I sewed one seam wrong last night I decided I should stop after one block.

In this picture you can see the birds.  In the block above they are pretty chopped up.

The weather was beautiful for the graveside service yesterday, not too hot and a nice breeze.  We went to a restaurant afterward that is located in my friend's grandpa's old house.  It is so nice to see that it didn't get torn down.  On the way home I drove through the old neighborhood where we lived as children.  I was really wiped out last night; emotional overload.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A few Winding Ways, a few triangles

The Winding Ways blocks are getting easier but they are still a little crooked on the edges.  As long as they all come out the same size, they will work together.

I did sew the other 2 triangle blocks too.  I have several other pairs of fabrics ready to cut for this quilt so I won't put the blocks back up on the wall until I get more sewn.

I have a funeral to go to today.  My best friend from 5th grade through high school called me a week ago to say her son was found dead in his apartment.  He lived a few states away to complicate matters.  She had called me the end of May to tell me she has cancer but is doing well on the chemo.  We were both at the classmates birthday party last month so we have some good times memories to mix with this heartbreaking event.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

One day, one block............

You can probably tell from that title that yesterday was errand day, not a sewing day.  I won't bore you with the list of errands I needed to do.  I cut 3 blocks from these 2 fabrics for my ongoing project but only got one sewn.  I was down to 4 chapters in the book I was reading so I finished it instead of sewing the other 2.

We are having the most beautiful cool, low humidity weather right now.  It feels like fall.  We will still get some hot days but this is a pleasant relief from all of the heat.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A night off..............

Most people love the medium range fun prints and tend to buy them most often for their stash.

The very light and very dark fabrics are there in the stores too but they aren't as interesting to look at and therefore don't get purchased as often. 
I had 2 last minute cancellations for my class yesterday so we had a very small class.
I put some trouble type fabrics into the kits for the class on purpose to show why they don't work as well when you want a blend of values.

I usually sew at night but I took the evening off last night and went to the see "Eat Pray Love".  Did anyone read the book and see the movie?  I'm curious how closely it followed the story in the book.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Art quilters update

Several months ago I showed this quilt in progress which was made by one of the art quilters.  He requested that I put together a kit of fabrics for him for our meeting.  We had determined that we would be using the Strips 'n Curves acrylic templates that day.  I helped with the cutting and getting him started designing.  Then he was on a roll and he finished the design.  Now it is all quilted and bound and it remains one of the group's favorite quilts.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Block 1, 143 to go.............

My art quilters are coming today so I wanted to have one block of Winding Ways sewn together.  My assessment?  The block is a little wavy, not very square, and the center is off by a smidge (after ripping and trying again).  I may regret having the blocks cut in batik.  Of course I didn't make this block until 10 p.m. so I'll blame it on being tired.

I appreciate all of the comments on yesterday's post.  I realize not everyone is working with strips so my second suggestion is to cut a strip 5" or 8" or whatever size will accomodate the largest piece you need to cut for your chosen block.  I have cut a 9" strip off most of my Kaffe fabrics instead of dragging out yardage every time I want to cut for a quilt.  I keep the 9" strips in a storage box separate from the yardage.  I can easily cut triangles or diamonds or whatever shape I need from that strip.

I'll do a post on values later this week.  I want to pull some fabrics to illustrate my point about value.  I have a scrap quilt class to teach tomorrow so I'll need a couple days to prepare.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cut 150 fabrics and then we'll sew..................

I have had some questions asked about my method of making a quilt like the log cabin I showed yesterday.  If I told you that you needed to get out 150 fabrics and cut two 1.5" strips off of each, you probably wouldn't sign up for my class.  First you need to press the fold marks out of each fabric (and if you don't you won't have straight strips) and then stack them 3 or 4 fabrics deep and cut and then fold the fabric and put it back on the shelf (about 50 times). 

If that is what I had to go through I wouldn't be making a quilt with 150 or more fabrics in it.  In the first picture I have cut a 4.5" strip, two 2.5" strips, a 2" strip and a 1.5" strip.  I know that these are sizes I will use.  You have to decide what sizes you will cut.
Then I store them in boxes clearly marked with the sizes and when I'm ready to do a log cabin quilt, I just take the box off the shelf and pull out 150-300 different fabrics and cut them to length.  I store those like this.  I can be ready to sew the log cabin blocks in about an hour.  I get bored easily if I don't have a good variety of fabrics in my quilts.  Planning ahead and being organized is the best way to do a scrap/multifabric quilt.

I have days where I will do a lot of cutting and I may not sew at all.  If you cut your fabrics as you purchase them, then it is not a big production to have to cut for a quilt all in one day.  I buy for stash, rarely for a project, so some of you are probably shaking your heads, because you don't have a stash.  You probably don't make quilts with over a hundred different fabrics in them. 

A lot of you comment about the color in my quilts, but with a scrap type quilt, value is more important than color.  What I am saying is that you will probably have every color in the quilt because it is a scrap/multifabric quilt, so I make the pattern show up by having contrasting values.  Every color is in the dark group and every color is in the light group.  The most effective method is NOT matching blue with blue when pairing fabrics.  Put 2 different colors together. 

Any questions, to continue this discussion?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ta Da!!!!

Oh I am so happy to be loading a picture of this quilt top ALL SEWN TOGETHER!!!

I left the longest seams for last so I was dreading sewing them.  It finished at 79" x 103".  I am really pleased with it and really like those quirky triangles that I mentioned yesterday.  Somehow they help to showcase the center radiating squares made from shimmering triangles.  I needed this one done before Monday so my design walls will be clear for the art quilters.

I was playing with some piles of batiks and realized I had lined up (on the left) last summer, cool and pleasant, and this summer (right) hot and unrelenting.  I always seem to be putting my fabric in runs of value changes.

Friday, August 20, 2010

See what I picked up yesterday!

Yesterday was the day to pick up the Winding Ways pieces that my friend cut on her Accuquilt Studio cutter.

I shifted some pieces to see what a block will look like.  Notice the little notches that are cut at the center of each curve?  That is why I wanted them cut from the die instead of me cutting with templates and a rotary cutter.

I shifted pieces again for the opposite coloration.  I won't make any big progress on this one right away because I have to clean the basement for the art quilters who are coming Monday.

The squirrels are eating the walnuts that fall from the neighbor's trees into my flower garden.  They are burying as many as they are eating though.  I just wish they remembered where they were and would dig them up before they turn into trees.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Corners solved..........

After I published the post yesterday I realized the corner triangle can just be 2 of the setting triangles sewn together.  Two of them will be like this where the rows join and corners are formed.  I will have to sew 2 triangles together for the others.
This is one of the corners that they will be sewn onto. 

Did anybody question that block at the top that looks like it is going the wrong way?  It is the beginning of the next round of shimmering triangles and it doesn't look right turned the other way either.  I could have made 4 blocks that were 3/4 dark and 1/4 light and it would have been a perfect fit, but I like the quirkiness of it the way it is.  Check yesterday's post for the whole picture.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New fabric and triangles cut...........

Yesterday morning I joined a group of ladies who all have mid-arm or longarm quilting machines at a fabric shop in Morris, IL.  The store doesn't carry Kaffe Fassett fabric but they do have Martha Negley.  I picked up these 2 new ones.
Last night I finally cut some triangles to see if I really liked that fabric.  Like I mentioned in a previous post this fabric will resemble a border as it blends into the dark half of the edge squares.
I will have to figure out how large the corner triangle is.  Luckily I have 2 yards of the batik fabric.
This view shows three sides almost filled in with triangles.  I considered making the triangles light so they would continue the shimmering design, but I really prefer a dark edge.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I think I found it..........

The search was on for setting triangle fabric.  First I looked through my greens but didn't have a big enough piece of any that I thought would work.  The blue shelf is right above the greens so I started looking there next.  I like this fabric because it isn't too dark or plain.  I'll cut a strip and cut some triangles and try it today.

Yesterday was such a beautiful day I mowed the entire lawn.  Since I just use a push mower I did it in 4 sessions.  I had to wait for the dew in the morning to dry up before I could start.  I mowed the last section last night around 8 and the dew was already forming for the night. 

I mixed a batch of peanut butter cookie dough last night to bake this morning early.  I love it when it is cool in the morning.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nothing to show............

Here is another view of the green Penstemon.  Beardtongue is the other name for it.  It is pretty at this stage with the tall spires above the blooms.  As it continues blooming up the spire, the bottom blooms start fading.

Our weather changed to lower humidity but it was still pretty warm yesterday.  Last night was a good night to open the windows.  I didn't do any sewing yesterday but did read about a third of a book.  I intended to mow part of my lawn but I was having a lazy day.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Lost and found.......

It really does pay to sort through things now and then.  I decided to see what was in the bins below my cutting table because I'm always tossing strips into them when I'm cutting.  I found a ziploc bag with piles of 6.5" squares of purple batiks in one of the bins.  I remember now that I cut them when I was cutting the 2.5" batik strips to sell last year.  I can add some of these to the batch I just cut when cutting for the Winding Ways quilt.  I got all of the strips sorted that were tossed in there too. 

I'm still sewing the rows on the log cabin quilt, 1 to go.  I haven't auditioned anything for the setting triangles yet.  I can't decide what color to try.  I'll have to figure out my yardage for the triangles first so I don't waste my time looking at pieces that are too small.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Moving furniture

I spent a large portion of the day straightening the studio and moving the furniture around.  It is still a mess so no pictures.
Here are the rest of the fabrics that I cut for the Winding Ways quilt.  They are all cut and ready for me to pick up next Thursday.
The Penstemon flower stalks are tall this year too.  I guess all of the plants are reaching for the sun.  Rose of Sharon is growing in the same flower bed.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sewing rows

I have sewn the upper right and lower left rows and am now working on the 4 longest rows.  Next I need to choose the setting triangle fabric.  That will probably be the hardest part of the whole quilt.

I have to show you the monster size plants in my porch pots.  I have never had them grow to 3 feet tall before.  You can see how much taller they are than the table sitting next to them.  They have had plenty of fresh rain water all summer and of course plenty of sunshine.  I'm surprised they aren't sunburned like the ones in front of my garage.

A lot of them are taller than the railing.  I'll have to look at the tags and see what the dark red plant is.  The coleus in the previous picture is one of the tall ones too.  The 2 little hostas were planted in the pots last year and I have offered them to several people but no one has taken them yet.

This is one of the viney plants in the lowest pot.  They are such a pretty color of soft red.  The sun is shining on them here and they look pink but they really are more of a red.

It was really hot today and there are supposed to be 2 more hot days before we get relief.  Then next week they are predicting a couple days in the high 70's.  That sounds too good to be true.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A whole lot of cutting........

If you have been reading my blog for a long time you hear me talking about my clean up cuts, the ones done to straighten the fabric before I cut my pieces.  I always cut them generous and they are used in some of my favorite quilts (my current favorite and second favorite on the right side bar to name a couple).
For the fabrics I am cutting for Winding Ways, I have cut a 12" strip off 72 different batiks, then cut a 12" square from that strip.  Out of what is left I cut a 6.5" square, a 5.5" square and a 2.5" strip (fabric is folded so there are 2 of everything).  The little strips are the 1" strip left over (5" long).  I already have a box of squares cut in the 2 sizes above so I'll add these to them.
My anemones are blooming but I didn't want to get eaten by the mosquitoes so I took this picture from my kitchen window.  If you want to see a better picture, click here and scroll down to the second and third pictures for last year's shots.

This picture was taken from inside also.  It isn't really clear because it was taken through the window screen.  It is hard to get a finch to sit still long enough to get its picture.  I took 7 shots to get this one fairly good one.
My dad's Lifeline equipment is set up.  The lady installer (drove 65 miles) said she had covered for the other installer (25 miles away) several times.  She was so apologetic over all the trouble I had.  One bad employee can give a company a bad name so you wonder why they keep them on the payroll.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I was grounded for 2 days..............

First let me show you what I got done and then I'll tell you the story about my post title.

This is the final layout for the log cabin blocks.  I will fill in with a medium or dark batik at the edges so it will simulate a border.
I made 3 more blocks for this ongoing project.  They are the beige and soft rust ones.  I wasn't sure if they would look good with the rest but I like them in there.  They are restful in the background while others show their colors.

Here are the first 20 fabrics of the 72 that I am cutting for the Winding Ways quilt.  I am cutting 2 squares of each fabric so that will make 4 blocks for each pair of fabrics.  I went on the hunt for pictures of Winding Way quilts on Flickr and found one done scrappy within each block.  Now I think I will just pair them as shown for the first 2 blocks and use the second set of pieces for a scrappy version.  I got 8 more cut after I took this picture.  I'll have more pictures of my cutting tomorrow.

Now for my story:  First I need to tell you that my cell phone is with a carrier that is updating its towers to 4G and for the last 3 weeks I have had roaming or no bars most of the time, with one bar part of the time so I couldn't leave home and depend on a call getting through. 

So on with the story.  I called Lifeline last Fri. for my dad and was told someone would call within 1-2 business days with the installation time.  Somehow that meant to me that he would probably have it installed by late Tuesday.  Wrong!  First of all I had to stay home (grounded) to wait for the call all day Monday.  No call.  By 1:30 yesterday (Tues) I was convinced they might not have my correct phone # so I called them.  The lady said she would check, came back on and said an installer would be calling me shortly.  By 4:30 I still hadn't heard and I was afraid their office would close at 5 so I called back.  Each person I talked to said "stay on the line" and I'll check.  Each time it kicked me back to the "Welcome to Life......" and a different agent answered.  By the time the 5th one answered I was becoming unglued (and that's not a pretty sight!) and I was trying hard not to cry as I told the story for the 5th time.  That last nice guy found out my dad's installer wasn't answering her phone and he lined up another one who called me at 8:30 last night and said she will be there between 9 and 1 today.  Whew!!!

So now you can see how much I can get done if I'm grounded.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sewn together!!

It is sewn!  In less than a week!  I took this picture with a flash but the top half is lighter because of the overhead light.  It is MUCH prettier in person, not so spotty looking.  The largest squares are all different except for one repeat.  The medium size squares are mostly different with only about 3-4 fabrics used more than once.  The smallest squares are repeated a lot.  It is an awkward size at 54" x 87".  It really doesn't need to be much longer if it is a lap quilt but could use a little more width.  I will think on this one for a couple days and see if I want to invent my own 4th column to add to it.  In the book it has borders equaling 8" all around.

My next project: a friend purchased the Winding Ways die for her Accuquilt Studio cutter.  I gave her some money towards the cost of it if she would cut my fabrics.  I have 72 batiks chosen that I have to press and cut into 12" squares in stacks of 8 to deliver to her Thursday.  I'll take pictures of my selection in the next couple days.