Monday, February 28, 2011

This morning.......

Lots of rain last night, freezing temperatures overnight.  Results: frozen drips.

More prep work.......

Today is sewing circle at church and we hope to finish up the final pillowcases for the 100 we are donating the domestic abuse shelter.  Most of this last 15 are made from donated fabric and I chose contrasting trim or cuffs from my stash.  I donated over 40 yards when we started on them too.  I do the cutting at my house where I have the large cutting mats because it is hard to cut large yardage at the church.  I also baste the trim strip to the cuff on all of them before I take them.  I really wanted to play with my batiks yesterday, but after spending 5 hours on this project, I was done for the day. 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Class fun!!

I have to show you the results from my class yesterday.  Here is the front of the zippered bags.  Note that you can make them any shape you want, they don't have to follow pattern directions.

Here is the other side of the bags.

They made bottle cozies.  My tutorial will be ready in a day or two.

Two of the ladies brought their finished Trip Around the World tops to have me help them audition borders.

This one is going to have a wide red border, the larger print in the quilt.  She will add a dark narrow border first.

This one was inspired by one I did with all Kaffe Fassett fabric last year.  I really like her light fabrics.  She has a mix of batiks and Kaffe fabric. 

It was a fun day!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

2011 Journal quilt 8

After teaching classes 2 days in a row, I needed to do something loose and spontaneous.  I save strips that are too narrow to sew together for a lady who uses them for stuffing.  I decided to raid the bag and sew the strips onto batting and backing, overlapping about a quarter inch.  Then I went into my tiny scraps bin and pulled the little plastic bag with triangular shapes.  I overlapped them so they are like a mobile with each connecting to another all the way from top to bottom.  Everything is raw edge, no fusible, and topstitched with rayon thread.

Triangles, and more triangles......

I taught a finishing class yesterday and there were some last minute cancellations because of sickness so I had time to do some sewing too during the class.  I took along my Thangles and strips and got all of these done.  They are for these blocks
Now I am scurrying to have all my samples finished for today's class.  When I started making mistakes last night I quit and left some to finish this morning.

Friday, February 25, 2011

more class prep, last 13 rows......

Here it is!  Final 13 rows pressed and sewn on, staystitching done around the entire top.  Now I can start looking for border fabric.  It is sideways on my design wall, 2 - 48" panels so the length right now is 96".  I didn't measure the width but it should be around 78".
This is my favorite part of the top, the busy prints.  I really like the Trip Around the World done with all busy prints, but for this one I wanted to use up some of my plainer fabrics too, a stash reduction necessity.

I'm also teaching how to make the bottle cozies and my journal covers at the class Saturday so I had to do a run through again to refresh my mind on the bottle cozy.

I knew earlier this week that my 600,000th visitor was going to read my blog this week, but I forgot about it yesterday because I went to a sister in law birthday lunch.  I checked last night and it happened while I was gone.  Thank you one and all for reading my blog and for taking time to email me or leave a comment.  You are my quilting family.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More info for seam matching

The method I talked about yesterday works best if you have an extension table like this acrylic one I show here or have your machine down in a cabinet with an insert around it.  You need to keep this flat as you ride it to the machine and without an extended flat surface it may not work for you.  A lot of machines today only have 2" or less of flat surface in front of the needle.

I finished sewing the last third of the Trip Around the World but was too tired to press it and attach it to the other 2/3 last night.  Maybe I'll have a photo tomorrow.

I was searching in another drawer last night and found this bag of 1" wide plaid strips.  I know I had cut them for paper piecing over 15 years ago.  Now I may have to make some teeny tiny log cabin blocks out of them.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Reorganizing and sewing.....

After Sue and I played with my Kaffe fabrics on Monday I had a plan, to reorganize them and label the boxes this time.  Here are 2 of them with the labels done.  I do have a lot of his fabric...

In the evening I continued working on the green Trip Around the World.  I have 2/3 of it sewn together now.  I had to hang it sideways on my design wall and then rotate the photo.  This quilt has a lot of sewing; I think I have said that before.......

I take a lot of care to match corners.  I don't use any pins.  I match a seam, sew just past it and then match the next one are ride my finger on top of it all the way to the presser foot, cross that seam and match the next, etc.

Here are 2 more shots of the fabrics and the matching corners.

After I get home from my hair cut and shower, I want to finish it.  I think I will put a border on this one so the next process begins.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Sharing my design walls.......

My friend who lives a couple blocks from me missed the meeting at my house a couple weeks ago so she came over yesterday with her hexagons that have been cut on an Accuquilt studio cutter.  They are about 5" across I think.  I didn't measure them.  She also loves Kaffe Fassett fabric like I do so she got to see my whole collection.  It was so much fun to talk to someone who also knows the names of most of the prints like I do.
Already at 8 a.m. lot of questions about sewing the hexagons.  They aren't mine, they are my friend's.  They can be machine sewn with care.
While she was here I finished unpicking seams on all of the loops that I had sewn for the green Trip Around the World.  Last night I sewed the last strata, pressed it and sewed the last seam to make it into a tube.

Then I sliced it while I watched the 10 o'clock news.

Now I can unpick the last 15 strips and finish sewing the quilt top together.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Class prep work

I'm going to be teaching a class that includes this zippered bag so I thought I should run through the process so it will be fresh in my mind.  I just finished the one on the left and the other one is ready for quilting.

I flipped the bag over so you can see the patchwork that is on the other side.  If you want to see more of these that I have made, go to my Label list on the right sidebar and click on Tote bags.  Scroll down and you will see all of the entries with them.  My next one after these will be a crazy pieced one.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Another drawer, another treasure.......

I was looking through the drawer that has all of my acrylic templates in it and I found these blocks.  I only had one small strata to cut from and I had added other fabrics to the mix.  I knew I needed to add more fabrics because I only had enough strata left to cut about 4 more pieces.  These are little 6" blocks.

I tried adding more green but decided what it really needed was a nice golden brown.  I also had the little New York Beauty pieces that are cut from a batik fabric.  I would never have taken the time to piece anything that tiny. This was a good project to work on with a migraine.  My dad called me at 3:23 a.m. Fri. morning and breaking the sleep pattern almost always brings on a migraine.  Oh, and he had something that could wait until morning but he thought he should tell me about it.  I told him I would be there at 6 a.m.
Here is the finished 24" piece.  I could put borders on but to me it looks like someone with a migraine designed it so maybe yesterday wasn't a good day to work on it.

This is the acrylic template set I used.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I have a confession....

This comment was left a couple days ago:
My first thought was that these are too beautiful to use as placemats...then I thought...'what a great way to use up scraps'...and 'what a great idea to make beautiful things to use and enjoy'!

I have to admit that the things I made were always too precious to use.  They were pieces of art, show pieces, not to ever leave their pristine state of newness.  Then when my good friend visited overnight she asked me "where is the quilt for my bed?" and I had a hard time deciding that any of them could actually be used.  After all you wouldn't use a painting to eat on or as a tray to carry the teapot.  How could anyone sit on my piece of art on the bed?

I got over that finally and now I do use my quilts, placemats, etc.  Finally I have enough time to make more quilts, more wallhangings, more placemats, and even though I still consider them my artwork, I want to use them and enjoy them. 

It took me awhile to figure out where the change came.  I finally decided that it was when I stopped giving trunk shows on a regular schedule that I could finally use the pieces.  I still have at least 50 pieces that are in new condition to use for an occasional trunk show, but I have 8 quilts for my bed and 4 for the guest bed now.  I gave away over 50 quilts in the last 2 years and 2 so far this year.  I want to gift them while I'm still here instead of leaving the burden to some one else.  I want other people to use them too.
End of confession.

Friday, February 18, 2011

2011 Journal Quilt 7

You may recognize this one from a few days ago, a found item in the bottom of a drawer.  It is a Cindy Losekamp design and I used her instructions to do the sewing machine fancy stitches to resemble branches and flowers.  I taught the class several times for our local sewing machine store.  It was about 10" x 12" so I trimmed it to 8.5" x 11" to match my other Journal Quilts.

Playing with turquoise batiks.....

If the fabric isn't blue enough for the blue shelf or green enough for the green shelf, it goes on the turquoise shelf.  I pulled all of the fabrics off the shelf and sorted through them.  I cut some of them into 6.5" squares and others went into runs of light to dark.  Just playing....... Yesterday was a busy day with embroidery club in the afternoon where we learned about the textured fabric that shrinks up and in the evening computer club where we learned a variety of things.

Today one of my grandsons turns 21.  The other one turns 21 in March.  My 23 year old granddaughter just got engaged............. lots of changes in the family, more adults, less kids.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I was looking for something.......

I thought it was in the bottom drawer of the chest by my sewing cabinet. 

I found all of this stuff........

Back before embroidery machines were really popular Cindy Losekamp came up with ways to use the fancy stitches in the machine in combinations saved in the memory.  I made at least 2 more of these as samples for the store.

I taught the class for this too so I always had at least one in progress to show the steps.  This is my little fabric sample with my notes written on it.

Here is another partially assembled, with fusible on the backs of all of the fabrics.  This one may hit the waste basket because I'm sure not going to finish it.

I had an embroidery card with all kinds of desserts.  I started embroidering them and then put it away.  There are some possibilities with this piece.

Now, what was it that I was looking for.............I don't have a clue!!  I know it will come to me at 2 a.m.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A good day............

Last night I sewed the second placemat.  I ironed them onto fusible batting and trimmed them to square them up.  The little squares finished at 1".  Now I need to choose a backing fabric.  I think I will just bring the backing around to the front instead of a separate binding.  They are for me to use so I can do it any way I want.

I found someone who would take a lot of fabrics that I no longer want to own, quilted, velour, heavier cottons, etc. and they came yesterday morning and went through it and took most of it.  I feel 100 pounds lighter with the weight off my shoulders of having to store things I don't need.  I have an empty shelf in my little fruit cellar a/k/a fiber related store room.  It was a lot of work getting it all out but I am so happy I did it.

Heidi in the north of Norway, you asked when I started washing my fabrics.  I wash the fabric we use to make the pillowcases for donation, not my own fabric.  We wash it first so there won't be any twisting after laundering like some purchased pillowcases.  Also we feel it will be softer and cleaner smelling for the recipients.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mindless fun.........

After I got  home from church sewing circle (42 miles round trip) I had a lot of things to  move around in my basement.  I was exhausted afterwards so I just did some mindless sewing with the clean up cuts* that have been accumulating.
*For the explanation of clean up cuts, click here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Only a little sewing.........

Yesterday was time to wash fabric and cut more pillowcases for the church sewing circle which meets today.  I stole enough time to sew this little piece together.  I showed the strips a couple weeks ago and there is enough to make 2 placemats.
The snow is melting!  It got up to the mid 40's yesterday.  Now we need a whole week like that.

Happy Valentine's day!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Students' quilts............

L got her quilt top all sewn together at the class.  She chose borders so she will have it done soon.

D made a lot of progress on her quilt since last week.  It is a king size so the pieces are overlapped on the wall.  I love the multicolor Trip Around the Worlds so I will have to do another of them soon.  Let's see, that will mean I have 3 of them going at once.  I have a lot of fabric to use up so that is a good thing.  I bought the fabric to use, not to have in my estate sale.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A little sewing........

Yesterday I was with cousins for a large part of the day and we had so much fun catching up on each others' lives.  Last night I sewed 5 rows of my green quilt so I will have something to show my class today.  I may get a couple more rows sewn on this morning before I leave for class.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Week 6 journal quilt

I have realized that to keep up with a journal quilt each week, some of them are going to have to be simple spontaneous pieces.  This week I am making a Valentine using 2 pieces of my collection of Valentine and heart fabrics.
The back is strip pieced instead of just one fabric so I had a chance to introduce one more of the heart fabrics.

A lot ot things...........

The photos aren't in order for the hours of the day yesterday so I'll be jumping around the time frame as I explain them.   Last night I unpicked some more seams for the green Trip Around the World.  I have to sew the last seam in a strata before I can do any more.

I really like this section.

From my finishing class yesterday, C was using up her left over blocks and making baby quilts.  She had this sewn together after I took the photo.

J was using the same pattern and a kit she purchased from me.  She made the blocks in a previous class and got them sewn together in this class.  She also got the binding on one quilt and cut for another one.

S was making a batik tumbler quilt.  All of the tumbler pieces were precut for her.  This measures 72 x 94.5" right now.

She made the blocks for the one below at home and I arranged them on the design wall while she sewed the tumblers.  This was from a kit purchased at a quilt show.

SG worked on this purse for her Irish sister.

Everyone accomplished so much yesterday.  It must have been because the day started out at -17 degrees and we all had to keep moving to stay warm. 
A lot of my readers are knitters and I used to be one too.  Back in the 1950s and '60s the most popular needlework magazine was McCall's Needlework and Crafts.  My mother had a subscription to it because she liked to do crafts.  I got my own subscription after I was married and got a lot of my patterns and advice for quilting and knitting in them.  A few other crafty magazines started up in the early '60s and the little sweater above was in one of them.  It may have been in a Workbasket magazine.  I knitted it for my son in 1961 or 1962.  4 ply knitting worsted was the most popular yarn of that time period.  This is the only sweater I kept.  I passed the rest on to other little ones as my kids out grew them.