Tuesday, April 30, 2013

24 blocks on the wall .......

The paper is still on the back of the blocks so I had to use pins to hold the blocks on the design wall.  I think I need to add more busy prints in the rest of the blocks.  This will look a lot different when the dark strips get added.
I sewed these 3 before I saw the photo on the computer of the 24 on the wall.  I think they will all work well in the combination.  I will probably pull all of the rest of the batik strips that I had chosen and substitute in more Kaffe prints.
I haven't quilted any large pieces in the whole month so just in case I don't get one done today, I'll have to consider my 8 little preemie quilts as my finishing accomplishment for the month.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Two thirds done............

This block goes with the two I showed yesterday and......
here are the 3 I finished last night.  I now have 24 of 36 blocks made.  It will be time to put them up on the design wall soon and decide if I want to change any of the fabrics for the last 12.  I have chosen the strip fabric and it will be here later this week so stay tuned.
I also finished 3 more preemie quilt tops and I don't know if I can finish them in time to take to sewing circle today but I'll try.  I still have the pillowcases to press too.  Time to sew....

Sunday, April 28, 2013

2 more blocks, gettting there slowly....

I chose the fabric combinations for 6 blocks but only got two of them sewn.  It was a beautiful day so I went out to the back garden and dug out about 40 garlic mustard plants.  They have a long root that looks like a white carrot.  Some plants had a bunch of big roots. They are a noxious weed in this area and totally take over the garden space. I didn't get them dug out last year because of the heat and drought. The hostas are not up yet so I had to take my chances on not cutting into any of them while digging.
I finished the Old Maid's Puzzle dishcloth.  I have one mistake on the right side border.  I'm sure the dishes won't mind that I didn't rip back and fix it.
I'm still working on the Grandmother's Dream/Boston Commons tutorial.  I need to keep working on preemie things for a couple days so maybe by Wednesday I will be ready to post it.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Preparing for Monday......

It is time to get organized for church sewing circle again.  Since there are 5 Mondays this month we changed from the 4th to the 5th Monday.  It was nice to have 3 weeks instead of 2 between dates.  I finished 5 little quilts.  The tops were done so I just had to layer and quilt them and then serge around the edges.
We are going to discontinue making pillowcases for the domestic abuse shelter after the next delivery.  Our circle is very small, 5-7 people most Mondays.  Actually the church membership is small too, about 95.  We are a little country church.  There are only 2-3 of us that sew, the rest knit and hand sew labels.  I think we will have about 50 pillowcases to deliver.  I matched up pieces and parts for 11 and we have a big pile at the church waiting to be finished.  I will press these today so they are ready to go.
I finished the other 2 blocks to go with the one I showed last night.  I counted finished blocks and I have 18 so I'm at the half way point.  I checked the pattern and I need 1-3/4 yards of the black fabric so I need to keep looking through my stash.  I may have to end up with solid black.  I usually only have a yard of most fabrics, sometimes only a half yard but I have a bolt of solid black.
I just finished watching "Murder in Suburbia" on Netflix.  It is a British show with the same actress that played Louisa on Doc Martin as one of the detectives.  There were just 2 seasons of it.  There are quite a few more British series to watch so I'll choose a new one tonight.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Busy day.......

Yesterday was a busy day, a social day, and errand day.  I ran errands early in the morning, then went to the former quilt shop classroom for a gathering of quilters.  They meet 2 Thursdays a month.  I took my yo-yo makers both times this month because I don't take the time to make them at home.  We had good greasy pizza with double cheese for lunch.  Then I headed home for a visit from the interim pastor from my church.  He wants to chat with each of us one on one to really get to know the congregation.
Next I went to visit my dad and pay his next month's room and board.  He is in fantasy land in his conversations but he remembered he comes from a family of 5 kids and when I mentioned his sister that passed away in her 20s he told me her name.  He has some memories still intact.  Last night I pieced 4 more blocks.  I'm not sure these 3 belong together in one group.  I thought I needed to plan out the colors for the whole quilt but I realize now I still can shuffle the blocks around after they are all pieced.
I sewed one section in the next group of 3 and chose fabrics for the other 2.  I think I have less than a third of the blocks done so far.  I'm enjoying the process on this one and there is very little waste of fabric when trimming after each piece is sewn in place.
I also finished one more of the diagonal dish cloths.  My plan is to machine embroider a dish towel to go with each dish cloth for the service project.  I need to find out how many apartments there are at the mission so I can plan ahead and have it all done by Christmas.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

0 blocks.......

I don't know whether you will be able to see the difference in these 2 dark fabrics if you click to enlarge the photos.  The one on the left is a patterned black batik and the one on the right is a dark purple mottled batik.  I'm still looking for my black mottled batik.  I didn't get any new blocks sewn.  I worked in the basement while I did laundry and did some knitting.  Then my friends from Montana stopped by.  They are in town for their nephew's wedding this weekend.  It was so good to see them.  I gifted them the second quilt in this post.  I knew I was giving it to them as I finished it and was glad I didn't have to mail it.  It is more fun to gift them in person.
I finished this dishcloth.  I used the end of one ball of yarn and was disappointed when the next ball that I tied on was going to repeat the green stripe.  But then I have to keep this in perspective, this is for washing dishes and the dishes won't care.
I started another new one too.  It is the Old Maid's Puzzle as shown in orange in the book.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

6 blocks.......

I had a goal of 6 blocks while I watched 3 TV shows and then the news last night.

I haven't looked for a strip fabric yet.  I finished reading my book and worked awhile in the basement instead.
This cactus has produced a bud back at a joint instead of at the end where all of the others have had their blooms.  This plant is a piece from my mother-in-law's plant given to me by my sister in law.  My other one got root rot one of those wet summers and it died before I could get a cutting off of it so I was really happy to have it replaced with this one.
A couple of 'no reply' bloggers have asked about patterns for the dishcloths.  I'm not intending to put them on my blog.  Some are purchased patterns, some shared by friends.  I have an email link in my profile and another on my right side bar so if you don't have a link for me to reply to you in your comment, please email me if you want an answer.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A 3 block day.....

These 3 blocks went together smoothly.  I still haven't decided on the black fabric for the strips.  I think I will make a bunch more blocks first and then lay them on several choices to see what works best.
I finished this double knit dishcloth.  That is sunshine coming across it, a beautiful day yesterday in the high 60s.
When you look at the back of the dishcloth you can look through the back knit and see the front knit.  The back is flat, the front is ribbed.  This one is really thick.  The designer says forks won't go poking through this one while you are washing them.

Monday, April 22, 2013

First 3 sections.......

Here are the 3 blocks that make one larger block in the Stepping Stones pattern.  I haven't decided if I will use solid black or a 2 tone black print so there is one piece left to sew on.  I will probably not sew the 3 parts together until I have all of the blocks made since I could still so a little rearranging then. 
I took a day off from the basement and read about half of my library book that needs to be returned by Wednesday.  Also I started a new dishcloth since the tweed one only has about 4 more rows to go.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

More planning needed.......

I didn't realize until I started trimming the papers that there are 3 different shaped blocks in this pattern.  That means I will have to plan where all of the fabrics are going to go before I piece any more.  I didn't notice that the black strip was slanted between the 2 side by side blocks when I first looked at this.  Block one is done so now I'm familiar with the method in this pattern.

My son came by yesterday and picked up the rugs that I couldn't salvage.  I decided to throw away one more than I originally planned.  The basement smells a lot better now.  Since I had to move all of my design walls I have exposed several boxes of 'miscellaneous' that I need to go through.  It is time to get tough and throw out useless things that I have saved for years.  Not. a. fun. chore.....

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Spitting snowflakes.......

The first blooms in my garden - Lungwort or Pulmonaria.  We went from 60 degrees on Thursday to 37 degrees with spitting snow yesterday.  One of the airports in Chicago reported measurable snow last night.  Of course it was only a couple tenths of an inch, nothing like some of the northern states got.  It was really cold and very windy so I took this photo from my kitchen window with the zoom lens.
I didn't get any sewing done yesterday but I did finish one of the 4 dishcloths that I am knitting.  I wasn't sure I would like the striped yarn on the diagonal but it looks OK.  I flipped the 5' x 8' area rugs a few times to finish drying them in the basement.  After hearing about all of the standing water in other basements I know how lucky I was to only have big puddles in my basement.  In the 40 years I have lived here I have never had more than trickling in rainwater along some of the walls if we had 6" or more of rain in a 2 day period.  This time the window wells filled and leaked in.  It would have been worse if my area rugs hadn't acted like wicks and absorbed a lot of the water.  I only had 3 cardboard boxes down there and everything else was in plastic bins so the fabric was safe.  Today I'm hoping to sew.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Drying out......

I spent the bulk of the day yesterday mopping up the water and doing laundry.  I have 2 dehumidifiers and 3 fans running down there hoping to speed up the drying process.  3 area rugs were soaked and one will get pitched.  I think the other 2 will be OK.  Last night I decided to pull some Kaffe prints to add to the batik strips for the Stepping Stones pattern.  Once I start making them I'll probably know if I want to substitute any fabrics.  I have a lot of boxes to put back in place today so I don't know if I'll get around to any sewing.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rain, rain, go away............

Looking to the north from my kitchen window, the corner of my yard and the neighbor's garage.
Looking at my south neighbor's back yard.  They are comparing this to the 100 year rain we got in 1996.  I am nowhere near any creek or river and I live on the high end of town.  There was 4-6" of rain in the last 24 hours on top of the several days of rain we had already had.  AND....it isn't over, still raining but gentle rain at the moment.
I had water in my basement from the window wells. Because of my medical problems last fall I didn't have the gutters cleaned out so the rain comes straight off the roof like a waterfall and filled the window wells which then leak into the basement.  I am sopping up, spinning out, drying, and then repeat, repeat.  I'm sure the people on the south end of town might have more problems than I have.  Mine is just large puddles, not standing water.  Lots of soaked up area rugs that I will have to decide if I can salvage.

Working on many things........

When I was at the quilt shop for our QOV sew in I picked up another pattern similar to Waterfalls.  I started choosing pairs of batiks to use.  Then one of my readers sent me a photo of hers made out of Kaffe fabrics and now I want to make 2.  I could just make 2 small quilts with 6 blocks each and make the borders a little wider.  I'll have to think about it.
I'm still knitting dishcloths, 4 of them simultaneously.  (Does this surprise anyone?)  The diagonal ones are so easy and I can't wait to see how some of the colors of variegated and striped yarn look.  The tweed one is a doubleknit and I just do a few rows a day on it. The orange and white will have a heart in the center so there is a lot of counting stitches and concentrating on that one.
I have started the next book in the series of PI V.I. Warshawski.
And....I'm still working on the tutorial for the Grandmother's Dream and Boston Commons 2 for 1 method.  I'm making a couple small pieces for the tutorial since it is hard to photograph pieces and parts of large quilts.
I just finished sewing the quarters last night and haven't pressed any of this yet.  We had thunderstorms off and on all day yesterday and more predicted today.  We should be getting caught up on our moisture deficit in the soil soon.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Reading directions.....

I was really too tired by the time I got home yesterday to do any more than read directions and trim some paper piecing patterns.   I was too tired to even choose fabrics.  My two busy days of the week are over and I now I will load a quilt on the longarm and finish something this week.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


It was a fun day yesterday with the art quilters here.  The rain held off until after they left although they may have gotten caught in it on the way back home to Chicago.  Last evening I started cutting 2.5" squares for our QOV project for the sew in at the quilt shop in Yorkville (IL) today.  I got 909 squares cut with my die cutter.  I was quite tired after standing on the cement floor all day and then again in the evening.  I need to make a cushioned pathway between my ironing table and the die cutter for my marathon cutting.  Speaking of marathons, what a horrible event that was at the Boston marathon.  I can't even imagine the terror the people witnessing it experienced.

Monday, April 15, 2013

First signs of spring.......

This is a pretty sad spring photo but it is the first sign of blooms around here.  It is the forsythia bush outside my kitchen window.  There aren't many buds and I wonder if the birds have been eating them.  This is their favorite roosting spot after they have been to the feeder and on windy days for shelter.  Last year at this time I was already picking bouquets of violets.
Yesterday I finished cleaning the basement and baking cookies for the art quilters who are coming today.  Later in the day I sewed 2 small stratas to use for demonstration purposes. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A group of fabrics......

I wore myself out yesterday.  It was a miscellaneous day ending with mixing 2 batches of cookies for Monday.  I will bake them today.  The only fiber therapy I had was choosing fabrics for the next Boston Commons duo.  I removed 2 fabrics after I took the photo because I wanted to end with 23 fabrics.  I took out the middle one of the 3 medium pinks and the darkest of the blues. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Which photo?........

To represent yesterdays activities I didn't know whether I should take a photo of the vacuum cleaner or the tax return.  I didn't think either would be very interesting so instead I'll show what I took along to sew when I got together with friends on Thursday.  I started these before my mother passed away almost 4 years ago.  Maybe in another 4 years I'll have enough of them to make something.  I think I got about 10 of them done in 2 hours so it is bound to be a small project whenever I get around to it.

Friday, April 12, 2013

new batiks.....

I forgot to show the new batiks I bought on Wednesday when I was out with friends.  All of these have a lot of movement in the patterns.  I had another social morning and lunch with more friends yesterday.  Now I MUST start cleaning the basement.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

One sewn together........

I was out with friends yesterday until 2 so I didn't get around to sewing until late in the day.  I pieced the extra rows together to elongate this Boston Commons version into a nice rectangle.  It will measure about 49.5" x 66" once the points are trimmed off.  I have to do my income tax forms and clean the basement for the art quilters before Monday but I am working on the tutorial for this quilt.  It may be about a week before I get it all sorted out.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Kansas dugout.......

This is a modified Kansas Dugout block where the intersection of the strip and the triangles does not meet at the center of a side of the block.  It is about a 3:1 ratio or a 4" finished block with a 3" finished triangle at the corners.  I used the signature die on my Studio die cutter but you can get this by using a 4.5" square with 3.5" squares as the connector corners.  The photo shows 4 Kansas Dugout blocks.  Now one unit of the block is commonly called Kansas Dugout.
I had a lot of people ask about this photo I posted yesterday.  It is the same block that is in the corners on my X and + quilt, in fact these are leftover pieces.  They are 4" finished squares with 2" finished triangles or a 2:1 ratio.  This means you would cut 4.5" squares and 2.5" squares to do connector corners.
When I was showing the construction on the X and + quilt I showed that I used triangles instead of squares to create the connector corners. I used the ruler to be sure I had it square on the corner before sewing.  I hope this answers all of the questions that were asked.  Some were no reply commenters so I couldn't reply to them directly.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Super sale.............

One of my errands yesterday was to stop at Michael's and see if they had any different colors of yarn for the knitted dish cloths.  Wow, was I surprised when it was on sale for 97 cents a ball.  It is usually $1.99 there.  The lady that worked there said it is the lowest price they have ever offered it for.  The sale goes on through Saturday so you all have a chance at it too. 
This is why dye lot matters.  Both of these were from balls marked as Gumdrop.  The one on the right is my favorite.  I sure hope they make that coloration again in the future.
Did you know you can make a funky zig zag with Kansas Dugout blocks? 
When I looked out in the backyard last night I saw 3 bunnies.  Now that means trouble = more baby bunnies.  One of them was chasing another one and the third was more interested in the bird seed under the feeder.