Friday, November 30, 2012

Random plank #4

Random plank #4 measures 64" x 96" at this point.  I used 70 strips of Kaffe collective fabrics and 118 spacer squares (which = 5.5 strips).  Around 20 of the strips were left full length (42-44") and the rest were cut into half, quarters, or thirds/two-thirds.  This (plus straight joining seams vs. angles on the original) is what makes it into random plank instead of jelly roll race which is all full length (width of fabric) strips.

This quilt is almost twice the size of the jelly roll quilt and took me 6 hours and 5 minutes to sew it.  That doesn't count the time of pulling out 70 different fabrics and cutting 1 strip off each of them. 

I have a chart on this post which gives you an idea of how many strips makes what size quilt.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Random plank progress.......

I learned the hard way on the last one of these that I made that I need to stack the long strip so it doesn't get a twist at the end.
Then I turn the stack on its side and pull the beginning from each side and start sewing them together.
When I get to the end I slip my scissors in and cut the fold.
I restacked it neatly back and forth and once again pulled the 2 ends around and lined them up and started sewing them together.  At the end I clip the fold again.  Do this 3 more times and you are done.
I was too tired to press it last night but you can get an idea what it will look like.  There were a few places where the dotted spacers lined up with the previous row.  When I show the whole top tomorrow you will see where 3 lined up in one spot.
I took another photo of the arrangement on my wall while the sun was coming in the east window.  You can see the texture on the mirror frame better as well as the colors in the little art pieces.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2 more and a new project......

I made 2 more red mug rugs and then packaged them all for mailing to NC.  I drove to the post office and no double vision problems.  I hope that is an indication that the eye muscles have recovered totally.
Last night I started sewing the spacer squares onto all of the strips for my next Random Plank quilt.  I cut the Kaffe fabric strips into half or thirds and left about a third of them full length.  I sewed on 122 spacer squares so there are 123 individual strips/partial strips.  It took over 2 1/2 hours to get the spacer squares sewn on and the whole thing sewn into one big long strip.  Now I will proceed as in a Jelly Roll Race quilt and there will be 5 seams to finish it into a top.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And more red......

When I am making mug rugs to sell I try to have 2 similar of each group of fabric to encourage the purchase of 2.  I never make them alike or even the same exact size, just similar.
The only thing these 2 have in common is that they are both batik fabrics, have the same backing and same binding.
One of these Christmas mug rugs has batiks added and the other doesn't.  I was running low on scraps on the sewing table and didn't want to look for any more.  I think the bottom one will go well with one that I sent home with my daughter.  Now I need to get these in the mail so she will have all of them for the Gallery Crawl on the first Friday of Dec.  I think my double vision is under control enough to drive 7 blocks to the post office and grocery store.  It mostly bothers me when I'm tired or in a large open space.  At home in smaller rooms I'm fine. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

More red.......

My company left at 6 a.m. yesterday morning.  I did 3 loads of laundry and then started working on more mug rugs.  I didn't feel like doing binding so I'll tackle that today.
One of the things I wanted help with was hanging some wall decor on my freshly painted walls.  My son in law did the hammering and my daughter and I worked on the arrangement.  My daughter made the mosaic mirror frame and she gave me the layered glass art by Pat Mitchell for Mother's Day.  The hydrangeas are from a friend's hydrangea tree a year ago.  The bouquets usually stay nice for a couple years.  They look so  much better against the lavender than they did against taupe. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Long day, lots of fun and family....

I don't get home made pie very often because  I don't like to make pie crust.  My daughter makes pies as good as my mother's were so it was a treat to have the cherry pie this year.  It was so wonderful to have my whole family together, good conversation, great food, memories shared.  I have so much to be thankful for.
Check out Debbie's colorwash quilt made from the kit I sold plus lots of her own fabrics.  It is gorgeous!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Sneaking in a little sewing time.............

Family left to go visit my dad so I used the time to start some red mug rugs.  The next show at Ciel Gallery in Charlotte NC is called "Red" and my daughter said they would like some mug rugs for it.  I have the light from the window coming in from the right and it shows the quilting on the top 2 really nicely but the prints don't show up.  I pieced the bottom 2 on the batting and backing so they were quilted as I pieced.
While my daughter made 2 pies and I was listening for the dryer to stop I pieced 2 mug rugs with Christmas fabrics, again mostly red. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Relaxing day.......

Four out of five grandchildren were here last night.  It is fun to have the midwest and east coast cousins together.  Our Thanksgiving meal will be on Saturday so I'll have all five grandchildren together then.
Here is a better photo of the edible centerpiece.  The fruit is so fresh and delicious.  I've never had chocolate on pineapple before and it is good.  Friends and a niece stopped by in the afternoon.  It was a good relaxing day.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I saw a brightly colored truck pulling into my driveway and couldn't tell where it was from.  The man got out and brought this edible centerpiece to the door.  It is from one of my daughter's life long friends.  She spent many hours here playing as a child and is a real sweetheart.  I can't wait to unwrap it and start munching.
My double vision wasn't as bad yesterday so I decided to make a batch of Chex mix.  It is always a big hit with the family.
Then I decided I needed to bake a double batch of my favorite shortbread cookies (recipe here).  Since it was a double batch I used my mixer to mix them instead of cutting the butter in with a pastry blender.  Now I'm done in the kitchen and the kids can take over for the weekend.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I didn't sew.....

No sewing yesterday but I finally turned on the iron and pressed the last 3 blocks that I had made.  I'm making these from the box of triangles that I cut with my studio die cutter.  I'm trying to cut up all of the scraps that I can't see any immediate use for.  I need to cut more light color triangles before I can go any farther.  This is an ongoing project with no plan or deadline.  The blocks are 8" finished.
I didn't think I was tired yesterday after lunch but decided I probably should take a nap anyway.  I slept for 2 3/4 hours!  I guess I was making up for the hours after 3:15 a.m. that I usually sleep.  My daughter's family should be here from NC tonight.  They are bringing back the quilts from my show there in June.  I'm planning on hanging at least one of them in my newly painted grayed lavender living room.
Thanks everyone for your uplifting comments yesterday.  I should be back to 2 eyes working together soon.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Home again........

My son and I got up at 3:15 and got to the surgery center in Chicago in record time with very little traffic on the tollway.  The surgery only took about 15 minutes and we were back home again by 10.  I feel like a new person without the radioactive plaque in my eye, almost normal except for the unwashed hair for 5 days (and another 2 before I can remedy that).  What a relief that this part is over and the next trip for a check up is 2 weeks away.  I really felt like an invalid for 5 days with that bulky bandage around my head with the lead shield.  I will be able to uncover my eye tomorrow and be back to my regular glasses.  One of the drs. said the double vision should correct itself fairly quickly.  I hope he is right.
As you can see in the photo, one of my 4 dark leaf cacti has a bloom just opening and another bud.  One other plant has one bud and the other 2 have nothing yet.  My orange plant doesn't have buds yet either.  I hope some of them are actually blooming for Christmas.

A fun block.........

The scraps of Cherrywood fabrics from this top have been laying on my cutting table teasing me.  Since I didn't want to do much one eyed cutting, I figured a wonky block was the perfect thing to make. 
I hope to be able to answer comments in a couple days.  Removal of the radioactive thing in my eye is this morning and no more heavy lead patch slipping down my face after that.  I will still probably have a shield over the bruised eye for awhile so I'll take what will happen one day at a time.  Thank you for continuing to leave comments even though I couldn't continue the conversation with you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Blooms and spacers..........

This cactus has 3 blooms on it now. A lot of the buds have dried up and fallen off of several of the plants but this one decided to bloom.  I have 2 buds on a red one too.
I asked my sister-in-law if she would get some bananas for me and while she was at the store she got me a poinsettia too.  I love the red flowers and they always last a long time. 
Here are the spacer squares I will use between the strips on this quilt.  It is a really dark green, almost black.  I cut them with my studio die cutter.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sorting strips

I decided to pull green and blue strips from the box of Kaffe fabrics for another Random Plank quilt.  I have 86 strips which according to my directions to figure the size would make a quilt 64" x 113".  Since that is way too long for the width I'll eliminate half the length of several of the fabrics.  I like random lengths so some will be left full length, some will be cut in half, and some will be cut into thirds.
Here are both groups that will make the quilts.  I have 72 strips in the warm colors.  I have cut a polka dot square spacer to use between those strips so I may eliminate some partial strips from that group too so it won't end up too long.
I have double vision right now from the surgical procedure.  They have to stretch the muscles holding the eye in place to turn the eye to implant the radioactive seeding (and will be doing it all over again on Tues to remove the seeding) and it takes awhile for the muscles to recover.  According to reliable sources on the internet that could take up to a few months for the worse case scenario.  I am praying that mine will recover sooner.  Since my eye is covered with the lead patch right now it won't be a problem until next week.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Determined to sew something.......

I should have remembered that in recovery mode, every other day seems good, the ones between, not so good.  I had more pain because of the pressure of the lead patch against the bruised eye plus learning to put drops in my eyes. When I got the bandage off I look like I have just been in a boxing match and I was the loser.  By late afternoon I was determined to try to sew something with the sewn triangles squares that I made before I had the procedure done.  The blocks aren't pressed yet and I need to redo the center of the blue/green block.  They are blocks 9 and 10 made from triangles cut from scraps with my studio die cutter.
Thanks everyone for your comments.  You are keeping me going with your words of support.  I won't be answering the comments while I have the patch over my eye and limited vision.  I really appreciate the comments though.
I know you are all picturing a nice face fitting eye patch but here is the reality.  It is 4" x 4.25" of lead covered with white tape and a stretchy head band attached.  It either has to overlap my nose or bump into it with a sharp corner that keeps me from breathing out of that nostril.  I am using an old pair of glasses that I don't mind getting stretched out to let my uncovered eye see where I'm going and the other side of the glasses are taped to this patch which keeps sagging because it is heavy.  Like I say, it was not such a good day yesterday.
My dad is in the hospital with the early stages of pneumonia and of course I can't visit him with the radioactive disc in my eye.  My brother said Dad wasn't eating much and weak and barely talking.  He has popped back the last 2 times with pneumonia after antibiotics but he will be 99 next Monday so I'm not sure how he will do this time.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Another day........

A journey, one day at a time, taking care of that day and not worrying about the next day.  The surgical procedure yesterday took place a half hour before the scheduled time.  My glasses didn't fit over the double shield over the eye so I couldn't do much more than just choose fabric strips in warm tones.  Today I can take off one dressing and start putting drops in my eye and will only have the lead shield to balance my glasses over.  Pain is minimal so far.  Thank you for all of the prayers and good wishes yesterday.
Here are all of the cool colors plus a few duplicate warm color strips, plenty for another quilt or 2.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

It's traditional.......

I'm going with a traditional layout for my flannel star quilt.  I have 3 more blocks to make but I probably won't work on them for a few days.  Several people asked me if I had made a Random Plank quilt with Kaffe Fassett fabric and I said I hadn't.  I brought the box of 2.5" strips up to my main floor studio and I'm going to sort through them and make one now.  I think I will make one of all red, pink, orange and purple first and then see if there are enough strips left to do a multicolor one.  I think maybe I should do a spacer between strips from one of the polka dots.  I'll also split the strips into several different lengths because I think all 45" strips gets kind of boring.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The house is clean......

I sewed one more flannel block, plum and rust.  I haven't pressed it yet.  I spent the day yesterday finishing up the house cleaning.  I want it all done before my surgical procedure because I have company coming next week.
Last night I sewed some blocks into tablerunners.  I showed them here before.  Maybe I can get some backings cut for them today.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


A month ago I decided to try to quilt 3 quilts a week.  I was trying to reduce the 53 quilt tops needing finishing down to around 20.  I sold 15 tops and quilted 10 in 30 days, but I started 3 new ones.  Let's see, that means I have 31 that still need finishing.  I didn't quite meet my goal of 3 a week but I'm pretty happy with my progress.  I finished the binding on this Kaffe crosses quilt last night. It is 47" square. 
Yesterday I went to church sewing circle in the afternoon and delivered 12 travel pillow size pillowcases for one of our service projects.  On the way home I had a few stops and at one of them I found the limited edition Lindor truffles.  You have to really read the package because they have a blue package they carry year round but it is a different variety, not nearly as good.  I also discovered this peppermint bark on milk chocolate last year on sale after Christmas.  It was priced the same as last year's sale price so I had to get some of it too.  I know it freezes well since I tested that last year.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Finally finished..........

I finally finished the binding!  It is so hard to get an accurate photo of this one.  I took 12 photos and this is the closest for color.  The beiges are more of a gold tone.  After I finished this one I started the hand stitching on the Kaffe crosses wallhanging. 

Our warm weather is over for a few days.  It is supposed to only be in the high 30s or low 40s today after 67 degrees yesterday.  It sounds like good weather for driving to Chicago later this week though so one prayer has been answered.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

An outside day.......

Yesterday was an unusually warm day, mid 60s so I got the wheelbarrow out and took 4 trips with my porch and garage pots to the back garden and dumped them.  I have the pots drying out in the garage and I'll stack them today for storage for the winter.  Then I took off 2 screens and put on the storm windows.  I haven't brought the hose reels in yet though.  Last night I changed these flannel blocks over to the on point setting like the diagram I showed a couple days ago.  I need to choose a fabric for setting triangles and I think it will get at least one border.  I see a couple squares I want to move to a different position now that I see it on the computer.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

This and that........

I cut 4 more star blocks but I didn't feel like sewing them yesterday.
I worked on the hand sewn binding a few times, finished the 2nd side and am about 1/4 of the way on the next long side.
I got a delivery on Thursday.  I didn't show it right away because they came in a box and it took a few hours for the flowers to recover from their ride.  I have never seen sunflowers and roses together in a bouquet before.  Isn't it pretty?
Thursday night at 11:45 p.m. I saw something out of the corner of my eye and turned my head to see a mouse running under the guest bed.  Yesterday I went to the hardware store and got mouse traps.  I have probably seen less than 20 mice in this house in the 40 years I have lived here.  I set the trap on the other side of the guest bed but didn't see the mouse all day.  Last night around 10 I walked into the kitchen and he was on my counter and he ran behind my counter top oven.  I got the trap from the bedroom and set it up on the counter and went back to my computer.  In less than 2 minutes I heard the snap and I had him.  I took a photo and then decided it was way too gross to put on my blog!

Friday, November 9, 2012

And now there are 8.....

I sewed the last 3 blocks that I cut on Wednesday so I'm now 2/3 of the way there.  I also got the hand sewing done on the binding on one and a third sides of the pastel wonky log cabin quilt.
I finally found my purple flannel fabrics.  The middle one is probably the best  but I think maybe I want to use the plaid on the bottom.  The top one isn't the right shade of purple.  I need it to be more of a plum.  Maybe I'll use the middle one as a replacement for the black print in a couple blocks and the plaid with the black print in the other 2.
While I was looking for the purples I found a bag with these leftovers from a quilt I made about 10 years ago.  They are 6.5" squares.  I will cut some more and make it into a lap size quilt.
I used a diagonal layout the last time.  It will take less squares that way.  I'll be cutting for several days for it so I can make the decision as I work.  I have a week until the surgical procedure on my eye so I'm going to keep busy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

And then there were 5........

I cut 6 more flannel star blocks but only got 3 of them sewn.  I think I remember now why I stopped making 8 point stars.  They are boring to assemble!  I have 3 different background fabrics in there now.  I really wanted to use up the snowman print so it will be in more blocks.
The dark print here is purple and black.  I'm trying to find another purple flannel in my collection to add too.  There are purple and a rose color in the black flannel prints and I thought those colors would give the quilt a little life. I haven't found a rose color flannel yet that isn't just too pink to work.  I have to go back down to the boxes and look again.  I think I will have 12 blocks in the quilt so I have 4 more to cut.
Last night I sewed on bindings while I watched TV.  On this one I used the same black background print as the partial cross in the photo.
On the pastel wonky log cabin I chose a beige print.  It isn't one of the ones in the quilt but it looks nice on there.  I'll start the hand sewing on one of them today.