Thursday, March 31, 2011

More test pieces..........

I loved all of the suggestions yesterday.  Here are some for the people who thought the alternate squares should be plainer.

This next group is for the suggestions to make pieced blocks at the alternate blocks.

The rest of these were fabrics that I still wanted to try.

I have an all day class to teach today, so I hope there are some comments to read when I get home. 
I will post my favorites from all 3 days tomorrow.  I know that is April Fools Day, but I'm a pretty serious person and I don't play jokes on anyone.  And yes I've been told I'm no fun!  I just have a different kind of fun, color fun.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ok, here are some more......

First I want to say thank you for all of the comments and insights into the choice of my alternate squares.  They were eye openers that showed me what I didn't see.  However, those who suggested solid colors, well that just isn't me.  As far as the blocks being beautiful, I thought they were pretty boring and hoped that an alternate fabric would spice them up.  So you see, we all see something different.  Here are 5 more fabrics that I tried, and I know I probably still haven't found the right one yet.

Sorry about the shadow on the last one.  While I had the black and white fabrics out I had to try a blend of values with them to see if I had enough pieces with large enough yardage to do a Trip Around the World with them.

One photo has the lights in the center and the other the darks in the center.  I like to view it both ways to see if the blend is good.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Some tests for alternating blocks......

The batteries died in my camera and I had to come back upstairs to put in new ones so I decided to post some of the choices I have tried for the alternating blocks.
I decided to come back and add to this post.  The dilemma in choosing an alternating block color is that I have used every color in the rainbow in my 30+ blocks plus some have dark background, some have light backgrounds.  So, choosing any one color, or any one value (light - dark) is difficult.  Therefore my first choice was to try my vast collection of black and white batiks.  I appreciate the comments.

A few more batik blocks...

Last night I just sewed some more batik blocks from an ongoing project started in January.  I cut the squares for the blocks as part of my clean up session last week.  The strips were laying there waiting for me.  I was too lazy to go down to the basement and take a photo of the rest of the blocks on a design wall.  I was thinking of just putting in an alternating plain block with them so I may look for a fabric that will work for that today.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Sewing circle day

Last night I cut some blankets and shirts for the preemies for our church sewing circle which meets today. 

Here is a link (scroll down on that post) to another piece I did with tiny bits of batik like the ones I used in yesterday's journal quilt.

I have had a lot of questions in the comments lately.  I have NO way to respond to several of you.  Please use my email link on the right sidebar if you don't have a Google account with your email enabled.  I am happy to answer any questions you might have. 
I will answer a couple here: the question about I wind bobbins of neutral thread, would I show the backs of my quilts.  I don't quilt with neutral thread, I always use a print, usually very busy on the back, and I use thread in a color to match the backing. 
Another, what kind of machine do I have because she is in the market for one:  my machines are 12-18 years old and I have several, and a couple different brands.  My Pfaffs are old and reliable, I'm not sure if the new ones are as good.  My Babylock straight stitch machine is wonderful, model is still available.  I would trust anything that Babylock makes.

Also there is a search box in the upper left corner of the blog.  If you type in what you are looking for, it will bring up every post with the words in it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2011 Journal Quilt 12

After using all of the skinny strips on the #11 Journal Quilt, I then picked up all of the squarish pieces and started in the center with light ones and progressed out in values to dark at the edges.  The base is fusible batting so every piece is partially attached and the rest is floating free.  I started at the outside edge with the quilting and made a square cornered spiral hoping it would still be fairly straight when I got to the center.
You can see the loose edges in this photo.  So now I am caught up with one a week for the Journal Quilts.  I was afraid my creative well had run dry but I shouldn't have doubted myself.  I made both #11 and # 12 late in the day yesterday after rearranging my studio.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I met my deadline..........

The piece I showed yesterday (on left) is my inspiration for this Journal Quilt # 11.  I rounded up some more of the skinny strips and made 'fabric' with them.

It may remind you of my 'second favorite' quilt on my right sidebar.
I made sure I won't continue with this madness of using teeny strips when I have so much yardage to use.  I sent all of the rest of the strips to a friend in California.

Moving things around.....

While cleaning off the top of my sewing cabinet, I decided to sew some of the really skinny pieces together.  I got up with a headache yesterday so this was all I accomplished other than moving things from one place to another.

This will give you a little perspective on how narrow some of the strips were.  Some finished at less than a quarter inch.

My son came over and replaced one of my 8 ft. fluorescent bulbs in my studio.  I just can't get up there and do them any more.  It makes me feel like a wimp, but I'm more concerned with my safety.  With age comes wisdom.

This is the drawer in my sewing cabinet.  I moved a bunch of bobbins here from the drawer unit that was by my old cabinet.  Now I can wind about a dozen bobbins with neutral color thread.  I am moving all of my studio furniture around for a different arrangement for the summer.  Luckily it is all on wheels except the 3 tall bookcases which aren't going to be moved anyway.

I hope I get a great idea for a journal quilt today, because if I don't that will be 2 weeks I missed.  The momentum will be lost so I need to be creative today.........

Friday, March 25, 2011


I sewed together the trimmings from the rectangles for the diamond quilt.  There are 4 sections, 3 of which are the right width to make into journal covers for the spiral notebooks.

I laid 3 of the groups together on the left and contemplated making them into a background for some raw edge applique.  I couldn't decide whether I want to do that so I walked away.

There are a lot of light fabrics in the Westminster fabrics, but the bright colored ones get everyone's attention.  I buy the light ones though.  There are 2 Brandon Mabley, 4 Philip Jacobs and 1 Martha Negley in there with the Kaffe Fassett fabrics.

I put one black and white print in there too, wild animals.  I made sure the zebra was visible.

I spent a lot of time going through drawers and boxes and found a lot of notions that I will never use.  I need to get everything out of there that I don't use so I have room for the stuff I do use.  I was looking at my "Studios" magazines yesterday so that got me in the mood to organize.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Just a fun day.......

I finished the log cabin blocks so this one is ready to sew together.  It will be approximately 45" x 63" before borders.

A couple days ago a "noreply comment blogger" (this means you have a Google account but have not enabled your email address) asked if I used a foundation to piece my blocks.  I don't because I like to chain piece at least 4 - 6 at a time.

I do it the old fashioned  way, just sewing seams to piece the blocks, not following a printed grid.  I add 4 strips around the center and then take it to the iron to press.  If you have ever worked with batiks you know you can fingernail press the seams as you go.  After each round of 4 strips it goes to the ironing board.  I have precut my strips to needed lengths for this quilt.

I am still playing with the bag of cutaway strips.  I have 5 groups sorted here, narrow 3/4" - 1" strips, strips less than the full width of the fabric, purple strips, and a group I like together.

I'll give them another day and maybe they will tell me what they want to be, LOL!!

Below is the pile of 'less than full width' strips.

All of this is just procrastination time.  There isn't any reason for the sorting, really.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Diamonds again..........

I am anxious to get this one off the design wall and sewn together.  I finished sewing all of the rectangles, trimmed them and cut into triangles.  Then I rearranged some of the triangles on the design wall and started sewing them.  One of my students alerted me to a seam allowance problem because the angle is so steep.
The seam allowance is closer to 1/2" at the tops of the triangles when sewn together.
  At the sides where they join to make diamonds, the seam allowance is less than 1/4" unless that seam is sewn at 1/2".
We pressed all seams open to reduce bulk.  I used 1/4" seams to sew the diagonal seam and to sew 2 rectangles together.  Then I changed to 1/2" seam for the center seam on the diamond.
Here is one that has the center seam sewn at 1/2" flipped over so you can see right and wrong sides of it.  Now it has a quarter in seam allowance at the sides.
I usually sew everything in rows but I think I am going to sew each diamond separately on this one and then sew them together in rows.

As a reminder, the inspiration quilt came from Kaffe Fassett's book "Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts".  None of his books give very detailed instructions but if you have been quilting awhile you can figure out most of it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Errand day...........again.......

It would be nice to be able to dole out the errands to a bunch of other people, but in the end it is just me doing them.  I spent part of the afternoon reading and didn't go near fabric until I was watching "Castle".  I have been working on these log cabin blocks in between other things for the last couple months.  Four of the blocks were left over from the 2 batik log cabin quilts I made last year.  I still have one more round to do on 8 blocks.  Then I think I will make a few more blocks so it will be 5 blocks across and 7 down.  Then I will put 2 borders on it and finish it as a summer lap quilt.  Batik is so lightweight that it will be good for that.  I have used Hobbs Thermore batting in one other quilt and may get some for this quilt.  It is a very thin polyester batting that was originally made years ago for quilted garments and was only 45" wide.  Then the quilters asked for it for quilts too and they started making it 90" wide.

Monday, March 21, 2011

No sew zone.........

Yesterday was a day to crash and rejuvenate.  I had a busy week last week and I needed to catch up on my rest.  I did tackle sorting a few scraps out of my batik cut aways.  This bag is the size a bedspread comes in.

The pile grew as it relaxed and was shuffled around.  A friend shared some leftover triangle squares with me so I am sharing some batik scraps with her.  Now I will choose some out of this pile to create something too.