Monday, January 31, 2011

Just playing............

No sewing yesterday.  Last week I took all of the batik orphan blocks I have been finding and put them up on my design wall.  I know there are still some more hidden in boxes and piles so I'll wait until I find all of them before I make anything out of them.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Volunteer work, charity work, whatever you call it.........

I'm really not sure what to call this service, making things with the church sewing circle.  We donate the finished layettes to a nearby hospital.  I make the little quilts at home and deliver them on sewing day.
I still have to use my serger to finish the edges on the 2 pictured above.  This next one is laid out in rows and ready to sew.

The other current project is the pillowcases for the domestic abuse shelter.  I have 3 pictured but did another one afterwards so there are 4 partially sewn to take on Monday.
I guess the official title would be service projects rather than charity.

I got the first strata sewn for the green Trip Around the World.  I will need 3 stratas sewn before next Saturday to demo with.  One will be totally sewn and cut, and 2 sewn but not made into a tube yet.  I will show pressing on one and how to line up the last seam so there isn't a twist with the third one.

The weathermen are talking about the next big storm.  They can't decide if it will hit us or just clip us.  The talk is that if it hits us it will be a big one.  I guess we'll have to wait to see.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

I had a plan......

My plan was to come home from the 4 hour class yesterday afternoon, fix something to eat and then sew.
But I was exhausted so I read 2 magazines and stared at my fabric piles.
So, enjoy the work of 3 of my students.  I forgot to take a photo of the fourth one.  The fifth student was sick and couldn't come.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cutting, playing with micro handles...

For a short time back in the 1990's one company put a border along one selvage edge of their prints.  This is one that I will be using in my next Trip Around the World quilt.  I needed to trim this off before I cut my strips.
I like the hand written selvage info.

I got the strips all cut and my color card made.  This will be my demo sample for the Saturday class that starts next week.

I finally took time to play with the new micro handles on my mid arm quilting machine.  I put the penny on there so you can see the scale of the stitching.  I have a long way to go to create good 'tiny' quilting.  I can see it might cause some eye strain staring so hard at it while stitching too.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Color palette challenge.........

In addition to the Journal Quilt a week, the 3 Creative Studios also has a color palette challenge.  Click here to see the inspiration photo and palette.  My first idea was to do random length strips to create a fractured landscape.  I chose batiks with foliage and flowers.

I wished I had made the strips narrower, but it was done, so I took the left over strips and put all of the dark pieces at the bottom, again similating an abstract landscape.

Then I took the cut away strips, the ones you cut to straighten the fabric, and did crazy piecing.  I ended up with 4 blocks and was able to make 3 of them fit together.

Third try is a charm!  I like this one best.  They are all 8.5" x 11", the Journal Quilt size so this one qualifies as my Journal Quilt of the week (and a day early of my self imposed Friday deadline).  I don't know what I will do with the left over crazy pieced block.  It will probably reside in the 'parts' bin.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Crazy Piecing

A no reply-comment yesterday asked
The cover on the right, pseudo log cabin, is gorgeous. Have you made a quilt using this motif?

She was referring to the crazy pieced block on the quilted journal cover on this post.  Here is my answer.

Crazy piecing: something I have been doing since the early 1970’s.  It didn’t get any respect made with cotton fabrics until it got renamed ‘wonky’ and ‘liberated’.  I would try to share my passion for it with others in the 1970's and 1980's but the reaction was that…….well……I was crazy, just like my crazy piecing.  It was depressing to think I had to hide all of my crazy piecing and only show my ‘regular’ stuff.  During the early 1990’s when it seemed the art quilt movement was gaining speed, it was accepted more as a free way of working and was adopted by the newly inspired, previously non-sewers as more fun than traditional blocks. 

Even though some of these date back to 1974, I still own several of them so I was able to take digital photos of them.  Some of them are more recent, one is still a top waiting to be quilted.  If you want to see larger photos of any of them they are in the crazy piecing 'page' at the top of my right side bar.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Green inside, white outside.......

I pulled out all of my green regular quilting fabrics (no batiks) and put one group together to make another Trip Around the World.  I took several photos of the rest of the green fabrics in piles and they looked gray and blue and anything but green.  I know red is hard to photograph because it is so saturated, but I thought green was easy, until yesterday.
As I started putting the fabrics back on the shelves, I pulled all of the pieces that were at least 6.5" wide but a quarter yard or less. I will cut these into 6.5" squares and the remainder into strips.

The mailman was kind to me yesterday.......

My critter of the day: an opossum.  He was moving so fast I only got one photo that wasn't totally blurry.  He was on a mission and didn't even stop to eat under the bird feeder.

I played with my embroidery machine and made a few of the mola type designs on a black patterned batik (embroidery library design).

A couple of you asked about the cookies (that I baked for the group who cancelled because of the weather).  They were really good..............but most of them went into the freezer.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cleaning, baking, sewing........

I think the art quilters are coming today.  The weather is still the boss so we'll see.  I finished cleaning up the tables, baked the chocolate chip cookies and made 2 quilted journal covers that fit composition notebooks.
Added 6:54 a.m.- Mother Nature won again, freezing rain company!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ditch quilting continued......

A number of you asked me to explain myself after yesterday's post so I'll try.  First, ditch quilting enhances the pieced pattern.  I love piecing and I want to emphasize the pattern I spent so much time making.  If you look at the dark triangle at the left you can see how rippled it is.  The all over meandering gives an even distribution of quilting but the piecing doesn't look so great.
On this block all of the ditch quilting has been completed and the piecing becomes very crisp looking.  I have never seen a good job of ditch quilting done on a frame quilting machine so I would rather do all of the meandering on my mid arm machine, (which holds the layers together just like basting would) and then go to my straight stitch machine and do the ditch quilting.
Let me clarify here that this is the order for frame quilting first and then home sewing machine.  If you are basting and using a home sewing machine for the whole thing, you still ditch quilt first so you don't distort the straight lines of the piecing with your free motion quilting.

Here is another shot of the bubbling and rippling before the ditch quilting is done.  I have never been a fan of quilting that disguises the pieced pattern.  Why bother piecing if the quilting takes center stage; just make a whole cloth quilt to show off the quilting. (Just my own opinion of course.  You are welcome to disagree with me.)  I set the standard for my own quilts, and you can do the same for yours.
We got another inch and a half of light fluffy show early yesterday morning so I spent an hour cleaning off my driveway again.  I was running out of steam after that so I found 3 smaller bins and divided all of my spare parts into 5 categories, all batik strip piecing, all regular fabric strip piecing, crazy piecing, partial blocks and machine embroideries.  

I couldn't resist taking a photo of all of my journal quilts (not journal covers).  I made the top 3 in the fall of 2009 and the bottom 3 this year.  I hope to have enough of these to cover a double design wall by the end of this year.  Why?  Just because!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ditch quilting..

I quilted this quilt on my mid arm machine in Dec. and now I am ditch quilting it on my Babylock Professional Quilter.  I wasn't sure if that would work well but it is and it's really worth the time to do it.  I know I will go back and do a couple others now too.

One of my students stopped by and we put her fabrics in order for her Trip Around the World quilt.  She is going to be in the Saturday class.

Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 Journal quilt 3

I took several photos and none show the vibrancy of the hand dyed fabric in the border.
The center was made about 15 years ago to promote a class, and quilted about 8 years ago.  I layered it on batting and added the borders and channel quilted them.

Check out the other journal quilts here.

a few blocks, good program

Yesterday was errand day but I did get some more blocks made.  I chipped away at more of the ice on the driveway and have it about 2/3 cleared now.  That ice is heavy!  And of course they are predicting more snow. 

I thought I should address this comment left yesterday.
Good Morning - do you cut the 6", 4.5" and 2.5" for a particular reason. Do you find these sizes easier to work with for the type of quilts you make - I was surprised you didn't have any 3 or 3/12".

The answer to why I cut the sizes I do: Know thyself.  I know what I use most often, what I can cut down into other sizes without having to take the same 92 blue fabrics off the shelf again to cut one piece.  As far as why I didn't cut 3 or 3.5"?  It is a simple math solution.  6.5" + 4.5" + 2.5" = 13.5" or 3/8 of a yard.  There simply wasn't enough of most of the fabrics to cut 2 more sizes of strips.  I have a lot of half yard cuts.  By the time I do a clean up cut and then cut 13.5" there is about 4" left.
I can easily cut a 4.5" strip into a 3" strip and have a 1.5" strip left over.  Also 2.5" and 4.5" work with each other in many patterns.  If you want to do a lot of cutting, you just have to know yourself and your most used sizes.
As far as questions on other methods of triangles, I have discussed that before here which has links to previous posts about Thangles also.  I have also shown rulers here which give the same end product.
Last night we had an excellent program at computer club.  This is a site you may want to check out if you want to know which over the counter medicines are rated the best for each ailment.  Mr. Georgis is very ethical and did lots of research for 3 years for the information on his site.  He told us that there are very few medicines that you need prescriptions for any more because most of them have become available OTC.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

triangles and squares.....

I didn't sew the star blocks I showed a few days ago and decided that if I added squares in that they would go farther (more blocks).  I sewed these 3 last night.

If you have never understood the advantage of Thangles I thought this might explain it.  You can use the same size strip to sew the triangle squares and cut the plain squares.  No more 7/8" added, just sew on the dotted lines, cut on the solid lines and cut matching squares for your blocks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Second post today.........

I had several emails asking if I press/iron my fabrics before cutting.
There is nothing worse than an inaccurate cut, which really means cutting twice.  Once to cut the shape from wrinkled fabric, and once to trim it to the size it should be.  I never cut wrinkled fabric which includes fabric with fold marks.  I am always after my students to press before cutting.  The group of fabrics above is from my 'quarter yard or less' box of blues, purples and greens.  I will now go press all of it and then cut as many squares as I can.
Every year I intend to make a quilt from these fabrics, and I never get around to it.  I think this is the year it might get done.

I am a sucker for prints with hearts.  In this box are mostly the red and white ones.  A lot of multicolor ones are sprinkled through my stash.

I have a few prints that really say 'Valentine' and not just hearts

As I was walking through the kitchen I noticed one of the bigger brown squirrels on the 'squirrel resistant' feeder.

No I phrased that wrong, not on the feeder, IN the feeder!
I watched one of the little gray squirrels open the top a couple days ago and they easily fit inside the tube.  I had no idea the big brown squirrel would fit too!

Icy mess.........

We had about 2" of snow on Monday and it turned to sleet and finally to rain by late afternoon.  Then it froze overnight.  My snowplow guy came yesterday morning and plowed the mess but there is always a coating that he can't clear away.  I went out for about 10 minutes every hour and chipped away at it.  I spread ice melter over about a 6' area each hour and then that was the next area I shoveled, and then spread more.  I have about half of the driveway clear and now it is going to get colder each day until Sat.  I don't know if I ever mentioned it but my driveway is 3 cars wide, that's why it takes so long to clear it.
Each time I came in I went back to the cutting table and cut the fabric in the photo.  The bottom row is regular quilting fabric and the top row is batiks.  They all work well together.  I have enough to make a 54" x 72" quilt now with only one piece of each fabric, a charm quilt if you are into historical information.  I cut 14.5 more yards of fabric.  So, in reality I have enough cut to make 6 quilts 54" x 72".

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Snow day.........

I felt like I had a snow day, a free day, to do whatever I wanted to do yesterday.  Even though I really had to leave the house once, I treated the rest of the day as free without guilt.
So what did I do?  I have wanted to cut my blue fabrics for quite awhile but never could find the length of time I needed to accomplish it.  Another thing cancelled for Wednesday so I knew I had 3 free days to tackle this.  I started with my batiks and cut 6.5" squares, 2.5" strips and 4.5" strips.
This is the variety I have cut so far.  I have cut up 19.5 yards.

This is the group I will start with tomorrow morning.
I had previously cut 68 purple batiks into squares and I will work on turquoise and green next.  Then I will start with the non-batiks.
I want to make several quilts out of just 6.5" squares, or maybe I will add a few 9 patches or sawtooth stars in for a little interest.

I made this yellow quilt in 2009 and intended to make more like it in lots of other individual colors so I'm finally getting around to doing it.
It is a celebration of the fabrics more than anything else; no intricate pattern, just relaxing and fun.