Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A little sewing, a little prep work.......

I finished trimming the blocks, decided on a layout and sewed the blocks together.  It ended up 22" x 44".  At first I thought I might quilt it with close parallel lines with a variegated thread from top to bottom.  Then I started questioning whether I really want the narrow lines to have stitching running through them.  Then I thought maybe I would quilt each block with matching thread in lines parallel to the narrow strip.  Next I thought maybe I would just ditch quilt between rows of blocks and on each side of the narrow band.  I will let this all percolate until I can make a decision.
I loaded this quilt on my longarm machine on Monday night but didn't start quilting it yet.  I also cut the binding for one quilt that was quilted  last week and will get it sewn on today.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Another new project..........

I got out one of my Grab bags for Crazies (click here to see photo)  and layered a bunch and sliced them, then did another group and sliced at a different spot.  Then I sewed in the skinny strip. 
I started cutting 6" squares out of them lining up the insert along a line of the ruler (pile on the right).
Then it was play time. I have 32 squares so I can make a wallhanging 4 across by 8 down, 23" x 44" approximately.
I'll play with layouts after I get home from Chicago for my appointment with the person who will schedule the surgical procedure for my eye.
This is a quilt top that my friend Rosemary brought to the art quilters gathering yesterday.  You might remember I helped her baste another one that was similar.  She makes the squares and her daugher who will get the quilt determines the layout.  We will be basting this one soon.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Meeting my goal.........

Two weeks ago I said I was going to try to get 3 quilts quilted each week, starting with the small ones.  I didn't quite make it but I was close.  I quilted 2 baby quilts, 1 lap size quilt, 1 wallhanging, and finished the border quilting on a second wallhanging in progress.  Two of them are waiting for binding, 3 are totally done.  The 6th project however was a start (surprised?) which I showed yesterday, one new completed top.  I started out with 53 quilt tops needing quilting, I quilted 4 of them and sold 14 of them.  That leaves 35 needing quilting plus one added-36 total.  I know when I get to the large ones I won't finish 3 a week but I think I have a good start.  I cut the batting for 3 more on Saturday before I put away the 30 yard roll to prepare for the art quilters today.
This is my blueprint for the quilt top I showed yesterday.  I am a visual person and even though I could have figured in my head how many pinwheel blocks I would need, I like to do a quick sketch to double check the number.  This way I can also jot down the measurements of all of the pieces so I don't make a mistake in cutting.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Quilt top done, triangles cut........

I decided I liked this fabric for the outer border and cut it and sewed it on.  The right side is a little dark because I didn't turn on the light on that side of it last night.  A hint when you are working with dotted fabrics: cut the longest edge of sashing strips on the lengthwise grain and it will look straighter.  In this case it was 4.5" x 8.5" so I cut a strip 8.5" and sliced it into 4.5" sections.  If I had cut a 4.5" strip on the crosswise grain you would have seen the dots running crooked across the sashing strips.
The art quilters group is coming on Monday so I am cleaning off the tables in the basement.  The strip sets for Prismatic Garden were laying there waiting to be cut so I finished them up, 104 triangles to go with the 88 left from previous quilts.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Center section sewn......

I liked the polka dots yesterday too and wanted to use all of the blocks in one quilt so I took layout 3 and substituted the dot for the gray print I had in there yesterday.  I have the center section sewn together and just have to decide if this is my final choice for the outer border.
It is going to get cold the next few nights so these remaining plants in the porch pots will probably be gone soon.

The low growing sumac bushes are changing color and dropping their leaves.
I have one solid rose color cactus blooming too.  I am seeing the first buds on one of the darker green plants and I'm hoping it is red. 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Relaxing sewing........

I wasn't ready to jump into a big project or machine quilting yet so I made some more blocks from the box of 2.5" triangles and squares.  I completed 6 of these 8" stars and started playing with layout.
I also made 17 pinwheel blocks of which 16 are shown here.  They are 4" finished.
I made a small quilt like this one as a sample for the store I used to work for and thought maybe I should make a small one for myself.
As long as I was playing with layouts I decided to use the 2 kinds of blocks together in the next one.  The gray print would be the sashing between all of the blocks and some larger print would be the border, not necessarily this print.  It's still in the play cycle, no decisions yet but this last one would end up 36" x 48" which would be nice.
The cacti are beautiful.   There are still lots of buds so I hope they keep blooming for a few weeks.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Long day..........

I felt the love from all of you yesterday, through comments and personal emails and prayers on my behalf.  I did get a diagnosis and even though it wasn't the one I was hoping for, there are great strides in treatments today and I have every confidence in the doctors I met yesterday.  I will be undergoing a radioactive seeding treatment for the mass in my eye sometime next month.  They say they have a good success rate for it.
The cookies above were a gift from a dear friend and are Mrs. Hanes' Sugar Crisps from Clemmons, NC.  They are sooooo good!!!  Thanks friend!!
Now back to quilting........

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A 'keep busy' day...........

Yesterday I just needed to keep busy so I wouldn't think about my appointment today.  I cut batting for this random plank (also known as jelly roll race) quilt top and the backing fabric is at the left.  It isn't a batik but looks great with the colors in the quilt. 
The crosses quilt is 48" square so I knew I needed to add a strip to the width for the backing. I had a long strip of the fabric at the left that was a leftover from another quilt and I also had a larger chunk of it to cut the main piece from.  I sewed it together and it is ready to baste.  I will do this one on my Pfaff because I want it ditch quilted and there is a continuous line diagram in one of Kaffe's books.
I went through 3 boxes of miscellany in the basement too and filled a garbage bag with useless stuff.  It feels good to see some empty boxes.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Streak of Lightning official portrait......

This zig zag quilt is officially done. I finished the binding last night while I watched the presidential debate.  I would like to wash it to soften the batting and thread before I get it to its recipient.  I used the heavy 12 wt. Blendables thread on top and 30 wt. Blendables in the bobbin.  I like the way it looks.   Yesterday I had to delete 29 spam comments by 9:30 p.m. because I still allow anonymous comments.  I may have to disable them so those who use anonymous might need to try one of the other options.
Tomorrow is my appointment with the eye specialist in Chicago.  I hope they diagnose it so I know what direction my life is taking.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Binding started.........more cacti.....

I started the binding last night on the streak of lightning zig zag.  I'm finishing it by hand on the back and I'm a little over half done with it.  I sold 2 more quilt tops on my Wandaful blog so I got them ready to mail.  I had a couple other packages to get ready to mail too so it was a taping and labeling day.
The cacti are so pretty.  I have 3 in bloom that are pink and white.  The second one in the red pot is a white one.  It should be opening today.
One of the plants I split was actually 3 plants in one pot.  This is 1/3 of it. The one in the yellow pot in the photo above is another third.  I think they look so much better not crammed in a pot without room to spread out.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stitching and blooms.......

I finished quilting this streak of lightning zig zag at 11 p.m. last night so it hasn't been trimmed yet.  I will choose a binding today.
When I opened the blinds yesterday morning I noticed 2 of my cacti are blooming.  Three more should be starting today.
This one is the 2 tone flower and at least one more of the plants is like this one.  I have a white one ready to bloom too.  I think the red ones must be the later ones that don't have buds yet.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Two projects...........

This small piece was a sample for a class that didn't get enough students.  It is only 31" x 43.5".  The quilting on it was really an experiment to see how it would work to do the meandering on the longarm and then go to the regular sewing machine for the ditch quilting where all of the color changes are.  It worked out pretty well.  I had to ease it in a little in a few places.  I don't think I would try this on a larger piece though unless I did some tack basting on the longarm before I removed it.
A closer view.  Now I need to cut the binding and finish it.
When I finished that one I started the quilting on the hand dyed zig zag quilt.  I'm using the 12 wt. thread that I got on sale last month in the top and the 30 wt. of a similar color variegated in the bobbin.  I'm almost 1/3 of the way across it.
A friend came over yesterday morning and helped me measure and figure prices on some more quilt tops so I'll be loading a few more photos to my Wandaful blogshop some time today and for a few days following.  She helped me make some decisions that I was struggling with and I am so grateful for the help. 
Thank you everyone again for the uplifting and positive comments yesterday.  I didn't answer every one of them but please know that I really appreciate them.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Not much progress.....

I didn't sew anything until evening.  I had an irritating low grade headache until about 3.  I think it was from the dye for the MRI.  I had to drive the CD of my test results to the eye clinic 25 miles away so it could be mailed with my other medical records to the specialist in Chicago.  I saw the report from the tests and there are 2 really good things on it but the right eye is still a major concern which will be addressed next week in Chicago.  I got the rest of the green quilted, all of the orange and red done and threaded the machine with yellow thread before I turned off the lights last night.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I survived an MRI/MRA............

I want to thank everyone who left me an uplifting comment yesterday.  I could feel the love and prayers as I went through my tests.  I know I haven't given many details about my health scare because I really don't have any answers yet.  Last evening's test were the MRI an MRA (which I had never heard of before).  Since I am extremely claustrophobic I stressed out a lot.  Actually it wasn't a bad experience.  Since it was of my head and eye, my whole body wasn't in the machine (which was a lot shorter and not as tight as I thought it would be).  Now I have a week to wait to see the specialist to hear if the news is good or bad. 
The photo is of a little dried fall garden by the sidewalk that I saw about a week ago.  I took the photo with my phone.
I have loaded 5 more quilt tops for sale on my Wandaful blogshop.
Elsie purchased one of my quilt tops a few years ago and she just finished a fantastic job of quilting on it.  Check it out here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Keeping busy

I finished the dozen Christmas pillowcases for our church project, made with donated fabric.  They still need pressing and then I can deliver them.
I worked on the ditch quilting on this piece.  I finished all of the blue and purple areas and started the green.  This is a small piece, almost too small for a baby quilt, or at least an odd shape for one.
The gold mound spirea bushes are starting to change color.  Their blooms are dried and delicate.
I'm undergoing 2 tests this evening.  I have been healthy all my life and have never had to have these tests before.  I know others have undergone them multiple times.  It's always a little scary the first time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Number 2 done........

I quilted and bound the frog quilt yesterday.  I did the binding all by machine.  It ended up about 41" x 54", perfect for a baby or small child.
On this wallhanging I trimmed the extra batting and backing then folded the outside edges to the middle and found that the borders were longer than the center.  I could tell the border needed more quilting so I went back and added lines between the ones I did a couple nights ago.  The border has to be as densely quilted as the center or the borders will be wavy.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A little quilting.......

This quilt has been laying on my sewing machine cabinet for about 6 weeks waiting for inspiration for the border quilting.  I had black thread on the machine from shortening a shirt so I tried random diagonal lines starting at the green/gold border and going to the edge.  I'll trim the (linty) batting and see if it lays flat.  If not I'll add a few more lines.
I have shown this quilt before but don't know any key words to search for it so I'll show it when it is done.  I loaded it on the long arm and only quilted the dark areas.  It has every color in the rainbow in the alternate areas and I want to ditch quilt them on my regular sewing machine.  I hope this works without any problems.
Before I left the basement I loaded the frog backing fabric for the frog Stack and Slash quilt that I started in May when I gave the workshop.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Rainy Day Projects........

I started the day out by going out in the rain to mail some packages.  I have sold 2 tops on my Wandaful blog and am waiting for payment on a third one.  I took some photos and posted a couple more in the blogshop yesterday.  I had 53 tops waiting to be quilted so now I'm down under 50 because I quilted this Bento Box baby quilt last night.  I had a piece of batting 25" x 98" so I cut the length in half and used the fusible tape to piece it and had a piece 50" x 49".  I needed 46" square so I trimmed one edge and was good to go.
I thought I was going to use the red dotted fabric that is in this block for the binding but when I laid it next to the quilt I didn't think it did any more for the quilt than the border fabric and I had plenty of that to use.  This was the first quilt I quilted on my Jewel long arm since May.  Now that I am reacquainted with it maybe I'll try for 3 a week starting with the smallest ones.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

QOV top...........

I was sewing in the basement last night because I was doing a load of laundry. I only had 3 blocks left to sew together for this QOV top so I did them a couple nights ago and last night got the top sewn together and pressed. It still needs a border to be big enough for their minimum size requirement. It is a Mary Johnson pattern but we made the blocks 12" instead of 9" because we cut it with the Accuquilt studio dies. That meant we would have less blocks in the quilt. One of the other ladies did the cutting and another one sewed the Churn Dash blocks. I sewed the star blocks and assembled the top.
Since I had the iron on, I finally pressed the 3 blocks I made earlier this week.