Thursday, January 31, 2013

Guilty pleasure...........

After all of the finishing and deadlines earlier this month I'm feeling a little guilty spending a whole day cutting and sewing on this quilt.  It is guilty pleasure though.........  Here are the 4 new completed blocks, 3 of them new background fabrics.
There are 6 more blocks paired and ready to sew.
I made 3 more of the 7" blocks. They are all scrappy, cut out of the leftovers after I die cut the rest of the pieces.
So far I have 12 large and 4 small blocks made.  I need to concentrate on the 10.5" blocks today.  I haven't made a whole block yet, just the trial corner to make sure my measurements were right.  I can see I need to make a couple more blocks with that lightest background fabric so it doesn't stand out so much.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Paw prints.........

Here is the new batch of blocks I made yesterday.  I finally got one of the 7" blocks made to see if I would want to make very many of them.  It really wasn't too bad and it came out to the right size.
I have more fabrics cut so this won't be the whole variety of fabrics.  I pieced one 'paw' for the 10.5" finished size block which will also play well with the 14" and 7" blocks.  I was testing the measurements that I came up with to be sure I had them right.
I drew the block and then figured the cut size measurements of all of the pieces for 2 sizes of blocks.  I made notations of how many of each piece and which ones I had dies for and the rest will be rotary cut.
I will cut more background fabrics today.  I'm sure there are still more I can pull but I might be happy with just repeating the ones already chosen.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Two more blocks.......

I only got 2 more Bear Paw blocks made last night.  I sewed all morning to finish the 28 preemie gowns and then left for the meeting right after lunch.  The other ladies had enough knitted and crocheted afghans done so we could package 15 layettes with 2 gowns in each (if you are counting, I had 2 gowns already sewn so they totalled 30).  I have strips cut off of 8 more Philip Jacobs prints to cut into pieces today.  The Bear Paw die is very useful.  I used the cuts for this quilt in July 2011.

Monday, January 28, 2013

New blocks.......

I managed to get 3 of the Bear Paw blocks pieced yesterday.  They are a whopping big 14" finished.  I'm thinking about making some 7" blocks too.
I thought I would show the tiniest of the preemie gowns that we make.  They are just 7" from top to bottom.  It is hard to imagine a baby that small but this is the size they use the most and the layette that they want 2 gowns in.  They will still get ribbon run through the neckband so the neckline can be gathered up tighter.
That is frozen drops on this branch and if you look closely you can see that the branch is totally covered with ice.  Luckily our temperature is headed up already so it will be melted sometime soon.  We have 60 predicted for a high Tuesday and then 0 early Friday morning.  How's that for a strange winter?
The advertising is out for the show at the Ciel gallery in Charlotte NC.  I hope my quilts get there tomorrow as predicted by the USPS.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Cutting triangles..........

I had a lot of things to do yesterday that were time stealers so I only ended up cutting some fabrics, no sewing.  I cut a strip of fabric 8.25" wide and cut the triangles first, then the Bear Paw pieces at the top of the photo, and then more triangles out of the remainder of the fabric.  I need to cut light fabric next for the Bear Paw block.  I think I will use the same light fabric all through a block but each block might be a different light fabric.  I'll have to see how many light fabrics I can come up with in the Kaffe/Philip/Brandon/Martha fabrics. Today I need to sew a bunch of the preemie items for sewing circle tomorrow.  We will do the packaging of complete layettes at the meeting.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

January snapshots............

This is my collage of January 2013 finishes.  Right now I am so burnt out on finishing and deadlines that I can't imagine that I'll finish any more this month.  However, that could possibly change which would mean making a new collage to post on Feb. 1.  As for today....I'm going to play....

Friday, January 25, 2013

Bright Colorwash 2.....portrait....

I finished the binding and label on Bright Colorwash 2 yesterday morning.  I ditch quilted this one in both directions.  I had meandered the last one and wanted to see how it looked with ditch quilting.  Both ways worked well.
I had 2 other labels to sew on and 1 hanging sleeve to sew down on the bottom edge.  Then I worked on rolling the quilts and putting them in boxes to ship.  When I got to the last box of the small stuff and hanging rods, I remembered I still had 3 mug rugs to quilt and bind.  I needed to wait until today to mail the packages so they will arrive on the right day when someone is home to take them in.
This morning I am doing a private computer class and then I will go to the post office and run my errands.  Then I can go down to the basement and cut the triangles from the Philip Jacobs fabrics that I pressed on Tuesday.  I might even sit down and read for awhile. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

African colorwash.....portrait...

I'm down to the final 2 quilts.  This one, African Colorwash is 20" x 23.75".  I will also be sending a couple of the small Crooked Cobblestone pieces so there will be a variety of size and price.
I sewed a dark purple binding on the larger colorwash piece which I finished quilting yesterday morning.  I have about 1/4 of the hand sewing done.  I need to ship the quilts today.  I usually do a dry run on the packing so I know how many I can get into a box but this time I'm just down to the wire on all of it.  I'll find out how many fit when I get this binding and the final 2 labels sewn on.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Another social sewing day.....

As long as the basement was clean I invited 2 friends over to sew all day yesterday.  The first thing I did was sew the binding onto the little African colorwash piece.  I have part of the hand sewing done.
The second project was sewing the pieces for this zig zag quilt that has been on one of the design walls for months.  I realized I could sew two squares together to prepare the mirror image units and it will be easier to lay out on the design wall now.
I was bored with that project because I was repeating the same Kaffe fabrics over and over with the gray dots, so I pulled a bunch of Philip Jacobs prints and pressed them to prepare for cutting triangles from them.
Last night I got all of the ditch quilting in one direction done on the large colorwash quilt.  Then I did a little more hand stitching on the African colorwash.  I need to sew the hanging sleeve on before I finish the hand sewing though. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lunar Revolution...portrait......

I finished the binding on "Lunar Revolution" last night.  I did minimal quilting on it, just ditch quilting on every seam in the background and a line of stitching down the center seam in the dumbbell shapes.  I didn't want anything to distract from the design.  You might be surprised how I chose the fabrics for this quilt.  I sent the fabrics away to be die cut and I chose a lot of batiks that I really don't like that well, several that were fat quarters because I like full width fabric and didn't want them in my stash.  Then to get up to the number I wanted to send I chose a few that I had larger yardage of that were more like favorites.  In reality it was just a strange assortment not really chosen to go together.  I was really surprised how well they worked out. That is how most of my quilts happen, very little planning on the full fabric range at the beginning.

Yesterday my blog was featured on the blog Quilt Inspiration.  They did a fantastic job of choosing pieces and parts of my blog and I am honored that they chose my blog for their post.  If you have never visited them, you are in for a treat.  Some posts feature quilts that have been at quilt shows recently, some are featuring a person, a theme or a blog.  They have days with links to free patterns.  Every post is colorful and inspiring.  I hope you will visit them today.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I finished the top edge of "Framed" and the hanging sleeve.  I still need to make a label.  It is about 34" x 33".

I baked 2 batches of cookies first thing in the morning yesterday for the art quilters today.  I got a lot accomplished in the afternoon.  I finished picking up the miscellany in the basement and then worked on the quilts.

I basted the bright colorwash quilt.  I will start the quilting later this afternoon.  Then I finished the quilting on "Lunar Revolution" and cut the binding and sewed it on and started the hand stitching.  I have labels made for both of these quilts.
 I have been invited to have quilts on exhibit (and for sale) at Ciel Gallery during February and March.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


"Skewed" is officially done, hanging sleeve and label included.  It ended up approximately 39" x 44".  The bottom edge bows out a little as it is pinned to the design wall.  I'll hang it on a rod today to see how it does.

I also got the facings on 3 sides of "Framed" and have cut the hanging sleeve.  I just need to choose a binding for the top edge and make a label. 3 out of 6 are totally done, 2 more are almost done and the 6th one needs to be quilted.  I think I will make my shipping deadline.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Facing on......

I laid the straight piece of facing fabric on the table and then laid the quilt on top of it and pinned it in place.  I stitched 1/4" from the edge of the quilt and then trimmed away the extra facing fabric.  Then I clipped the quilt on all inward curves.
I turned the facing to the back of the quilt and pressed the edge.  Next was the hand sewing of the edge of the facing to the quilt back.
I put facings on both sides and the bottom edge and finished the hand sewing last night.
I will finish the top edge which is straight with a normal binding.  Then I can attach the hanging sleeve in the seam like I usually do.  I am auditioning this black with dots fabric for the binding.  I thought I had some more of the firefly batik but haven't found it yet.
I also ditch quilting on a small wallhanging last night.  I will bind it with a black print batik.  I need to finish the vacuuming in the basement today so I have tomorrow free for baking and last minute things.  It looks like the art quilters won't be kept away because of snow but it is going to be really cold, like 11 degrees on Monday.  My house is very warm though.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Lost my momentum......

I have lost the momentum from earlier in the week for my finishing.  I got this one trimmed yesterday and have it hanging from pants hangers to see how straight it will hang.  There is a little wobble at the bottom edge but I haven't steam pressed it from the back yet.  I thought if it didn't hang well it would have to have straight of grain facings.  It may still be the best way to go.
Meanwhile I switched to cleaning up the basement for Monday.  I had a pile of batiks waiting for some cuts.  First I do clean up cuts.  Then I cut off a strip wide enough for my 2.5" square die and a 2.5" strip and a 1.5" strip.  Then I folded the remainder and put them away.  One more table cleaned off.
On one of the sewing machine tables I had some triangles and another block for the flannel quilt waiting to be sewn so I sewed them.  I vacuumed part of the basement and then gave up for the night.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

An interesting day.......

I had promised a friend to let her use my embroidery machine at my house and since I had to stay home waiting for the plumbing and heating guys, it was a perfect day for it yesterday.  She got here about 15 minutes ahead of the guys.  Her embroidery machine is about 18 years old and it isn't easy to do lettering with it.  The guys bled the air out of the line and then discovered that the bleeder was leaking.  That meant draining the boiler and the whole line, replacing the bleeder, filling the boiler and the line with water and then opening every bleeder in the whole house.  This meant moving every room......again.....third time in 14 months.  They were finally done at 1 p.m.
Meanwhile mid morning my friend had to leave and pick up grandchildren and babysit for 4 hours so she came back in the middle of the afternoon to finish the names on the sweatshirt.  By evening I wasn't ready to dive into a big project so I finished 3 bottle/can cozies that I found partially made in a pile I was cleaning up in the basement earlier while the guys were here.  (Click on tutorials on right side bar and cozy tutorial is the second one). Today I have to get serious about some edge finishes on the 2 wonky quilts.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

One more quilted.......

I was watching TV last night and quilting.  I watched NCIS, NCIS Los Angeles, and another episode of Doc Martin on Netflix and then the news.  It was just enough time to get the ditch quilting done on Wonky 4.  I need to come up with a better name for this one.  I have been thinking about calling it "Framed".  I think one word titles are good.  Now I need to get serious about the edge finishes on this one and the one I finished quilting last week.  I will be home all day today waiting for the plumbing and heating guy again.  There is still air in the line and one section in the dining room isn't getting water circulation. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

What I do when I am tired......

It was a busy day yesterday, grocery shopping, then packing my bag for church sewing circle, driving 23 miles to get there, shopping at 3 stores on the way home and getting home at 5:30 p.m.  I was beat so I just grabbed the pile of red batiks off the shelf and brought them to my clean sewing table and turned on Doc Martin on Netflix and played with the fabrics.  I pulled some that look nice with each other and the rest went back on the shelf.  Hopefully I will be full of energy today and get back on the finishing path.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Some finishes.........

"Circling Around" is finished.  I did use the border fabric for the binding since I didn't want any distraction at the edge of the quilt.

I also finished the binding on "Fractured Star".  All that was holding me up on these two was the printing of the labels.  I could fit 6 on a sheet of printer fabric and I only had 5 typed into a document.  I finally figured out the 6th one and got it done yesterday afternoon.  Two are completely finished out of the 6 I need to finish.  Two more are quilted however I may add a little more quilting to one of them.

I cut out 46 little gowns and 23 blankets for the preemie project at church.  We meet today for the first time this year.  It is easier to cut them at home on my large cutting table than on the smaller surface at the church.  The hospital said they would like 2 gowns in each layette now.  With double the work for each layette I'm afraid we will produce less total layettes now.  We only have 3 ladies who do the sewing.  The rest of them knit the hats and afghans that go into the layette.

We don't get very many pretty sunrises or sunsets and being in town it is hard to capture them in a photo.  You can see we didn't get the snow that was predicted.  Chicago has gone 324 days in a row without a day of 1" or more of snow.  We haven't even had an inch total out here in the boonies with all of the storms so far this season.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A productive day.....

I got these blocks sewn together into a top too while I was in the basement.  I washed a load of flannel for our church preemie project so I was down there babysitting my 38 year old washing machine and kept busy with fabric fun.  I also cut fabric for 2 friends and will be able to mail it out on Monday.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

A little fun, 1970s finds..........

I got all 20 blocks sewn yesterday.  They don't excite me as much as red, orange, pink and yellow does.  It will be an 'OK' quilt though.
I was cleaning off a shelf in the basement and I found this 1975 booklet.  It has you cut 6" squares, sew them right sides together with a half inch seam, turn and insert a double layer of batting cut 7" with the extra fullness in the center.  Then hand sew the opening closed.  Then they are all whip stitched together by hand to make the quilt.  We have come a long way since then!!

Here is another quilt from the booklet with corduroy used where it is red.  There is another one in the booklet that is made of all velveteen, and still hand whip stitching all of those squares together.

This is a piece of fabric from the 1970s and I have a yard and five eighths of it.  It is by Thompson of California which I think was a swimsuit company back then. 

I laid my 45 mm rotary cutter on it so you can see the scale of the print.

This is the weave of the fabric.  There was a name for this fabric but I don't remember what it was.  The threads lay across the surface kind of like a sateen but a little more space between them.  Maybe someone who reads will remember the name of the type of fabric.   Added later: this is not bark cloth which has a slub and is bumpy.  This weave is smooth and a little silky.

Friday, January 11, 2013

More boring cleaning...........

I need to start getting the basement cleaned up for the next art quilters day (Jan. 21).   That means moving piles and cleaning off many tables.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Progress report.......

I have decided I will leave the edges curved which was my original intention when I started this series of 5 quilts.  I am going to cut bias strips and use them as facings, so they will be sewn on the front like binding and then fully turned to the back of the quilt.  I think I need to cut it 1.5" and it will be a half inch wide on the back.  I may cut a piece and test it before I cut the whole length that I need.  If I decide it isn't going to work then I will do regular facings.

Then I brought the Strips 'n Curves back into the room to do the binding.  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

More quilting........

I did the ditch quilting on Wonky 3 (must come up with a better name) yesterday.  That is all it needs so a decision on trimming the edges is next.  If I trim the edges straight I can use straight of grain binding.  If I leave it crooked I'll have to use bias binding.  I'm going out socializing this morning so I won't make the decision until afternoon.  This is number 3 of the 6 that I need done by the 22nd.  I need to start getting the bindings sewn on so I don't have all 6 to do at once.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Border done, next up.........

I finished the quilting in the red areas and then did the border.  I loosely outlined each leaf and center vein.  I got it trimmed and now need to make a decision on binding. It might be the border fabric because I'm not sure it needs a contrasting edge.

I spray basted the next 2 quilts.  I have posted about that in the past and you can see those 2 posts by clicking on Spray Basting on my Label list on the right side bar.  I also did a few lines of hand basting for extra security on it.  I got about 2/3 of the ditch quilting done on this one last night.  I'm not sure what I'll do next on it.  I may just start the ditch quilting on the next one while I decide.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Machine quilting again....

I worked on quilting this quilt off and on yesterday.  I'm doing it on my Pfaff.  I have only a few red patches left to quilt and then the border.  I ditch quilted the whole thing first before I did any free motion quilting.  I'm using Invisifil thread on top so the thread is barely visible.  Invisifil is like a monofilament polyester but it comes in colors instead of being clear or smoky.  It is not quite as shiny either.
Friday I met my friend at the new quilt shop in Yorkville.