Saturday, November 30, 2013

Back home.....

Can you believe it is the last day of November already?  I was gone Thursday and part of the day Friday, with my son's family visiting my granddaughter and her husband in Wisconsin.  It is a little more than 2 hours away and the traffic wasn't too bad.  Last night I didn't have any more stars cut out so I decided to rearrange my main floor studio so I won't be sitting next to the window in winter.  I love these little stack and lock containers to keep all of the pieces together for one project.
This is little square type scraps in the divided section and strips in the other layer.  They are the smallest leftovers from the quarter log cabin quilts.  I'm not sure how they will be used yet but I want to keep them together.  This little container is less than 6" square so you can see the scraps really are little.

I didn't get much more done than moving all of the furniture around (which is all on wheels) so there is a lot of sorting and returning some boxes of strips to the basement.  I was exhausted by 10 p.m. so I'll start in again today  and hopefully be to a sewing stage by late afternoon.

Friday, November 29, 2013

One more plus the whole group............

This is my new favorite block.  This background fabric and the dark burgundy are both from the 1990s.  That is why a stash is so important.  You need the variety over the years, not just what is available today at a store.

The blocks aren't in any particular order because there are a lot more that need to be made yet.  I think I need a minimum of 20 blocks unless I make them into a wallhanging.  I hope I can decide on a sashing fabric today or tomorrow.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!.......

One more block....I do love the purple and green combinations.  The background batik is from the 1990s.

Happy Thanksgiving to my US readers.  I won't be answering any comments today.  I'll be too busy eating and having fun with my family.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Only one more.......

One more Blazing Star finished and two more cut out.  They are 12" finished blocks.  It might be difficult to sew them edge to edge because of all of the bulk at the ends of the points so I have been thinking about a narrow sashing between them.  I'll try that after Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

One star and log cabin progress.......

I managed to get one star done last night adding two ingredients that I needed, green and a busy background fabric.

I went to lunch with an old friend and white eating we watched the snow flurries that didn't amount to much.

I have been working on the log cabin blocks off and on during the last 4 days.  They are now up to 11". 

In a traditional log cabin block there is a red center which in this case is a dark fabric.  That means the first two strips that are added should be light, then 2 darks, 2 lights, etc. until you have the same number of logs on all sizes.  If I continue with one more round with the pieces cut by the die, I will be missing the last strip, 13.5" long in a dark value.  The designer of the die evidently wanted to end with an extra set of light strips.  Having made about 30 log cabin quilts over the years and teaching it many times I know that you get the best layouts with the last 2 strips being dark.  When I checked out the photo with the die on the Accuquilt website the block is shown as an 11" block even though they advertise it as 12".  Now my decision has to be made; will I add another round?  I can always cut the extra 11 and 12" strips into shorter lengths and use them.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Three more.........

I sewed the bottom one late Saturday night and the other two last night.  I didn't get any extra cutting done yet.  Below is the photo of all eight blocks so far.  I need a couple more with busy background fabrics.  Also I think I need more green.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


One more block, my favorite so far.  I used two different fabrics for the background and I like that too.

I want to cut some more blocks today so I can keep working on this every night.  I have started 4 new quilts since I finished my wonky quarter log cabin quilt. One of them will only be worked on at the twice monthly sewing group.  I have to focus on finishing something soon.  I want one more finish by the end of the month, maybe two.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Another Blazing Star......

Star number four.  They are getting a little easier with each one I make.  They are cut with the Blazing Star die which is available for the studio cutter and the GO! cutter.

I have to look at the directions every time to get the pieces in the right order.  Batiks are so similar on both sides so I have to be sure I have the stacks going in the right direction.

Now you can see it isn't a difficult block but it takes a little practice to get the ends of the triangles lined up since each of the three triangles is a different shape.

So far I'm just using leftover fabrics from other projects.  I haven't actually chosen any of these to go together before I started cutting.  I just cut a bunch of pieces in the right value (light, medium and dark) and then picked the ones I thought would work together.  I have 3 more cut and ready to sew.  Now it is time to get some yardage out and cut specific combinations for the blocks.

Yesterday I went to 3 Goodwill shops with 2 friends, then lunch at Steak 'n Shake and last stop at a quilt shop near the last Goodwill store.  This is what I purchased.  A fun day!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Blazing Stars........

I made another Blazing Star block after I came up from the basement.  I had taken one down and took photos of the first 2 together but I just didn't want to go back down there at 11 p.m. to do another photo shoot.
The top one in this photo is a new block I made 2 days ago with the original block on the bottom.  One block each night will probably be my speed on this quilt.  I did the second and third block the way they are supposed to be, with the darkest star in the center.  Since I cut 2 blocks when I did the first one I will have 2 with the medium star in the center.  When I get a bunch of blocks made I'll decide if they get to be in the quilt or be used for something else.

I wondered what they would look like on point.  I think I like them straight better.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Backing and border fabric.......

I had chosen this red print fabric for the backing of this quilt earlier this year.  I also knew there would be a big piece leftover on the lengthwise grain.

I knew it was going to be the perfect border for this quilt.  I wanted a fabric that would melt right into the piecing without really jumping out as a border.  I got it sewn on yesterday afternoon.

I love these twin blooms right next to each other.  They opened at the same time and are so pretty.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Large design batiks.......

I found a couple of the large design batiks yesterday.  I know there are a few more, one with frogs and one with dragons.  I'll keep looking.  Meanwhile I sewed together a bunch of the sets of strips that are between the 2 fabrics.  For some reason the rust fabrics became orange in this photo. 

I finished basting the other quilt so I'll get the straight stitch machine set up with the walking foot again.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Ready to baste........

The art quilters came for the last time in 2013 yesterday.  After they left (and after my nap) I got this quilt ready to baste.  I made this in 2011.  Here it is when I finished sewing it together.  I am going to use the left over piece from the backing on this one for the border on another quilt.  It is Red Jungle Paisley by Kaffe Fassett.  You can see the other quilt tossed on the chair in the background, the stars and 16 patches.
I needed a project to work on in the main floor studio so I pulled a bunch of 2.5" strips in browns/rust/gold and sewed them together in pairs while I watched Castle.  I can't tell you what the project is because I haven't decided if it is going to be a 16 patch quilt, a double 4 patch quilt, or maybe one with alternate squares of a batik with a large design in it.  I have one with large giraffes and a couple other interesting ones.

I made a collage of the 3 quilts made from the quarter log cabins.  The one on the left is 60" square and is a finished wallhanging.  The one in the center is approximately 60" x 75".  I sold it so I don't have it to measure.  The one on the right is the largest so they aren't to scale.  It is 72" x 87".  The one on the left has a lot of dotted fabric scraps left from a quilt that was made of 170 different dotted fabrics.  It also has some stripes and some Kaffe prints.  The other 2 used the same bins of strips so are very similar.

Monday, November 18, 2013


The top is done, sewn together and stay stitched around the edges. I'm happy to be done with this one and the series is done--no more!

It was 62 degrees when I got up yesterday, rare for a November day in IL.  I drove through blinding rain for 15 miles on the way home from church and was happy to get home safely.  Violent tornadoes hit some towns south of us, just devastating.  Now we are back to cold weather again.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

30 blocks........

Thirty blocks are done.  I had to build this sideways on the design wall so this is the first time I have seen in vertical when I rotated the photo.  I have to take the blocks off the wall by tonight so I have to make the decision soon if it is ready to sew together.
I glanced out the kitchen window as I was walking through the room and saw a spot of red.  My first reaction is that it is probably the cardinal and then I took a better look.  He is helping to clean up under the feeder.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Stash enhancement..........

 A birthday treat to myself, a neat multicolor zebra batik for a backing and it was on sale.
I couldn't resist some of the new Kaffe Fassett stripe fabrics.  Most of my other Kaffe stripes tend to be blue and rose  variations so this will add some neat variety.

I just have a few strips left to sew on the last 8 blocks of the quarter log cabins and then I can complete the layout.  Today I must start cleaning the basement for my art quilters group that is coming on Monday.  It is mostly tabletop cleaning and putting away stuff.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A finish............

"Peony Garden" is finished.  I put the last of the hand stitching on the binding last night.  It ended up 62" x 78".  This one I will keep since it is my favorite of the 16 patch series.

Here are the 5 half yard pieces I bought on Wednesday.  They are just fill in for the stash, no purpose in mind.

On a more serious year ago today I went to Chicago to have radiation seeding placed in my eye and 5 days later had it removed.  That is (implanting) one day after my birthday and (removal) one day after my dad's birthday.  I tend to link events with dates in my memory bank so my birthday is a bittersweet event, forever linked to the discovery of the tumor in my eye and the surgery on the 15th.  There is good news: the tumor is shrinking, my eyesight has not changed, and I still feel as healthy as I did before they gave me the diagnosis.  The bad news?  The 2 people I know who had this same thing passed away 6 years after diagnosis.  The good news outweighs the bad since dying is inevitable at some point anyway.  So.....I will continue to make quilt tops, finish some of them into quilts, and photograph everything colorful that I cross paths with.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

22 blocks, 8 to go.........

I finished piecing 6 more blocks last night while I watched TV.  I think I'll reach my goal of having all of the blocks done by the end of the week.  Most blocks have 13-15 strips on each side but one block has 19 strips, lots of skinny ones.

Yesterday was the longarm group's meeting date at a fabric store with lunch out afterwards.  It was a cold windy day but lots of fun.  I forgot to take a photo of the 5 half yards of batik that I bought.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Same old.......

As usual I was hopping from one project to another.  I cut some more pieces for the log cabins and sewed one more round on each block.  They will have 2 more rounds when they are finished.  The die says 12" blocks but that doesn't end up with even darks and lights so I think they are going to be 11" blocks with 2 extra strips left over.  I added more strips to the quarter log cabin blocks while I watched TV last night too.
The medium rose cacti is one of my smaller plants.  I didn't mark this one last year when it bloomed and I have 2 pots like this so I didn't know which one had the rose color blooms.  The other one has a bud so I'll know soon what color it is.  I marked all of the rest of the plants.

I was moving this pot around to get better photos a couple days ago and 3 buds fell off.  They really don't like to be moved once they are ready to bloom.  This is the white blooms with a hot pink center.

The red one is almost ready......this one didn't bloom until after Thanksgiving last year.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I sewed 4 more strips on each of these blocks last night.  I have half of the blocks done for this last quilt in the series.  These are about 13" now and have to be a little over 15" to trim and be done.  Another batch is just 9".  Hopefully I'll have them all done at the end of the week.
A friend and I went to a Goodwill store yesterday.  They had 20% off all purchases so this pot was $1.60.  In the photo the lower half looks like a different color but that is just the reflection from the lights.  It is all the same shade of gray with swipes of white.  I also got an assortment of planters for 80 cents to $1.60 so I can start planting the coleus cuttings.
I don't know whether this person made the pot or just did the finishing color.  It has a really nice glaze inside and out.

It was snowing on the way home from church sewing circle in the afternoon.  We might have a half inch on the ground. 

The leaves on the forsythia bush are still green but the overnight cold may take care of that.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Starting new blocks...........

I started cutting the Roberta Horton plaids and stripes from the 1990s with my log cabin die.  I had a bunch of the plaids and stripes that I hadn't washed so I did a load yesterday and got most of them pressed.  We were advised to wash them back when they first came out because they would probably shrink more than other quilting cottons. They are really soft, about the same weight as the Kaffe shot cottons.  I thought I might have to starch them but they cut just fine with the die cutter without it.  The strips are 1" finished and the block will be 12" finished. I have a lot more cutting to do.  I think I have at least 80 different fabrics.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Binding started............

Since the backing and binding aren't batiks I decided to had stitch the binding.  The day started out with my electrician coming to fix a faulty switch on one of my basement lights.  Then I worked outside emptying all of the porch pots.  I hit my hand into the outlet box on the front of the garage when I picked up one pot so now I have a scrape and a bruise.  I got my birdbath emptied and moved up by the house for the winter.  I still need to bring the 2 hoses in and should have done it while it was in the high 50s because a cold front is coming today.  When I came in I cut 7 more Blazing Star blocks but didn't feel like sewing them yet.

What is the deal with chocolate chips not melting?  I knew I couldn't use milk chocolate chips because I tried them once and they didn't melt.  The semi-sweet chips have always melted before but these?  Not so great.  So much for my dish to pass.  It will still taste good but I don't think I want to explain what is on top............

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Fractured block quilts.............

Side borders are added and now I think either they need to be trimmed a little narrower or the top and bottom need a narrow strip added.  I think I'll trim the sides down a little.  I'm contemplating another border on this one.

The pinwheel top is sewn together and is big enough for a baby quilt without adding a border.  Just a bright binding is all it needs to finish it.

My two friends and I had a fun day yesterday.  I got the two tops above sewn together and pulled all of the basting threads out of this quilt.  Last night I chose the binding fabric and cut the strips and then crashed.  It must have been all of the sugar we had yesterday, yummy cupcakes with the best frosting, and cookies.
The white cactus has three blooms and lots of buds.  You can see the sun was shining too, the shadow of my front bush on the blinds.