Sunday, August 31, 2014

Borders and binding.......

I pressed the quilt top and started auditioning borders.  I wasn't sure if I wanted a dark one or medium color so I chose 2 and tried them.  Neither of them did anything for me.

Next I chose a Brandon Mably large dot.  I tried the one on the left first and liked it.  I went back to the stash to see what other colors I had in it.  I guess you would call the one on the right ochre and it has charcoal gray dots.  I like that one too.  No decision yet.  I may try a few more fabrics today.

I went out to mow the front yard next.  It was hot but the humidity level wasn't bad.

When I came back in it was time to get busy on the binding on the two wallhangings.  I got one all done and have started the hand sewing on the second one.  I am determined to have them in my finishes for this month.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Closer to finishing......

I finished the quilting on the second spin wallhanging and got both of them trimmed.  Now I'm looking for binding choices.  The centers are a fabric with red metallic woven in one direction and green cotton in the other and they are fairly dark.  I think the binding should be almost as dark as they are.
Here are 2 that I looked at last night next to the backing fabric.  The one on the left picks up the color tone of the center circle fabric.

I finished sewing the seams on the stripe/Kaffe quilt top but it was too late to press it and photograph it.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A little sewing time............

It is time for the free monthly brush pick up again next week so I spent time outside yesterday.  My burning bush has needed cutting back for several years so now it is done.  My neighbor mowed my front yard on Sunday when it was steamy hot so I mowed the back and side yards yesterday while it was less humid.

Last night I finished the vertical seams and started the cross row seams on this quilt.  I also spent a half hour quilting on the spin wallhanging.
I tried a couple multicolor fabrics as possible border choices.  I'm wondering if I will need a print that is mostly one color instead.  As soon as I get the rest of the cross rows sewn I'll be able to put it up on a design wall and do the auditions.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Working on more than one thing.......

It was a little less humid yesterday so I pulled tall weeds in the back garden.  There are a few so large I'll have to cut them off.  

I only spent a half hour on quilting a wallhanging and then I got 4 out of 7 columns sewn on this quilt last night.  I think I can finish sewing it together today.
I had fun looking through all of my Kaffe stripes to see if i have enough to make this quilt in the new Kaffe book.  I am adding in a little red and purple.  The quilt in the book is square and I want the quilt to be rectangular so I'll need to do some adjustments.

Sunday night I started pulling fabrics for this quilt "Cayenne", my favorite in the new Kaffe book.  I don't have all of the fabrics he used but I have found some good substitutions in my collection.  I can't start on these new quilts until after the first of the month because I want a couple more finishes for this month.  I have one wallhanging quilted and ready to trim and the second one partially quilted.

In case you missed the book in a previous post, here it is.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Final layout............

I put the blocks up on a double design wall, thought I had the final layout 3 times and each time found either a stripe next to the same stripe or a duplicate square near the other one.  After moving a few blocks I made the decision that I'm done designing and took the rows off the wall stacked and clipped together.  I need to get back to quilting a wallhanging today and may find time to sew this together too.  I have the wild idea that maybe a 6" border of a large print would look good around this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Blue and green

It's time to reveal the blue/green quilt top now that the art quilters have seen it.  It ended up about 60" x 78" which is a nice size couch quilt.

I finished sewing all of the rest of the blocks for the quilt in progress that I showed yesterday.  They need to pressed and then I'll move all of the blocks to a double design wall.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Starting a layout........

I have more than half of the blocks made so I thought I would put them up on the design wall and see if there is anything I would change.  I think I might cut a couple more stripe fabrics as I'm getting bored with this same variety being used over and over.  This is not the final layout.....I need to move it to a double design wall after my art quilters group leaves this afternoon and I will need to mix in any new stripes that I add.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Starting to sew...........

I start sewing the 6.5" squares and a 2" x 6.5" sashing strip together.  I sewed 12 blocks in the first group last night.

Then I sew 2" cornerstones onto 2" x 6.5" sashing strips.

Then I sewed the cornerstone/sashing strip combination to the top edge of a sashing strip/6.5" square combination.  Now I can play with layouts since when they come together the sashing is complete except at ends of rows and on the bottom edge.  As soon as I confirm a layout I'll add the end of row sashing and cornerstones to the last block in each row.  I'll do the same for the bottom edge of the blocks in the bottom row.  

As I look at it I'm thinking the gold makes it pretty bright.  Maybe I should have done lots of colors for cornerstones.  

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Working in the basement...........

Work a little, play a little, or maybe this was really work and I thought it was play.  I did some cutting for kits a couple years ago and had 2 shelves of batiks not in any kind of order.  I needed them sorted by color, just for my sanity, and yesterday was the day.   Another shelf has the browns, multicolors, light, and reds.  It was fun so I'll call it play.
Also while down there I finished cutting my striped sashing pieces and chose a cornerstone color for another quilt.

This has been up on a small design wall for 4 months and it is time to actually finish designing it and sew it.  I think it will be about 54" x 69" and maybe I'll add a border instead of making more blocks.  It all depends on how much fun it is.  If it is lots of fun, I could certainly add a couple more rows of blocks in both directions.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Continuing on........

I'm still sewing cross seams on this quilt.  I get about 2 a day done and there are 12 seams.

Quilting continues on the first spin wallhanging.  I'm about a third done with it.

Meanwhile the vacuuming is done in the basement and 2 tables are cleaned off.

We got a little rain overnight into yesterday morning.  I went out to check the rain gauge, a little less than a tenth of an inch, and checked the tomatoes at the same time.  This is my second big Brandywine Pink tomato.  I gave the first one to a friend so I don't know if they taste any different than the others.  We got another shower, again a little less than a tenth of an inch.  Areas around us got 2-4".

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A couple side-tracks...........

 I got a new book, so I had to take time to glance through it.  Then it was time to go to lunch with friends and then to stop at an antique and collectibles store.
When we came back to my house we looked for more Monarch caterpillars and there weren't any but later in the evening I went out and there was a new one.  It is smaller than the ones I saw in previous days.

The stems near the top of the Swamp Milkweed were covered with little orange wiggly things.  I looked it up on the Internet and they are Aphids.  One article said they will suck the life out of the plant and that guy just hoses them off with water.  I'll take another look this morning and decide what to do about them.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Prep work...........

It is time to start cleaning the basement for the art quilters' visit next week.  While I was down there I wound the bobbins for the two spin wallhangings.  I will alternate between quilting and cleaning the next 5 days.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Petting my stash........

I designed the quilt with my night sewing blocks, took them down immediately in rows and clipped the numbers on them.  I have started sewing it together.....about a third done.

My Kaffe fabrics have been needing a good straightening.  I keep them in numerical order. This post shows 2 of the boxes.  This group is duplicate pieces so I kept them out to play with.

I also pulled out a bunch of the light fabrics as I was sorting and straightening.  I have already made 2 quilts with an assortment similar to this here and here.  I think I may need to do another one.
I needed the shelf the blue assortment has been sitting on for a few years so I either need to find another location for them or file them back in to the boxes in numerical order.  There are a few Phil Jacobs fabrics here too. 

Yesterday my daughter and her husband celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary.  My son and his wife will celebrate their 30th in October.  30 years, 5 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.  I am truly blessed.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hand basting with needle and thread............

I had been hand basting, and had taught it to hundreds of students for almost 20 years when I read in a new book about machine quilting that you must never, ever hand baste for machine quilting.  Huh!!  What is more natural than using a needle and thread.  The thought of opening and closing 500 safety pins is just not appealing.  The first thing I do is tape my backing to my banquet tables.  I am lucky to have the older, really sturdy tables that don't dip in the middle like the new white lightweight ones do.  Note: I did the basting on my hands and knees on a cement floor for many, many years before getting the tables.
Next I smooth the batting out on the backing.

Now the top is smoothed out and checked many times with rulers to be sure corners are not distorted and edges are straight.  Note that the backing and batting are always larger than the quilt top by at least 1".  That is insurance in case the top grows a little in basting or quilting.

Most people who don't like hand basting have simply used too short of a needle.  These needles are 2.25" long.  The size 7 is sturdy but not too fat.  I tried size 9 but snapped them in half all the time.  I also use a lightweight thread, 60 weight, 2 ply so it will break when pulling it out (and it won't break a quilting stitch). Your basting thread should always be weaker than your quilting thread.  Some people use a grapefruit spoon with the little teeth to slide the needle onto as it comes out of the fabric (and to raise it up).  With these long needles there is plenty of needle to get hold of to pull the stitch through the layers.
You will have to click on this photo to enlarge it see the stitching.  I use a padding stitch instead of a running stitch.  The running stitch allows the fabric to move back and forth on the stitch whereas the padding stitch holds it very securely.  Each stitch is taken parallel to the last creating a diagonal thread on the surface.  If you take your stitch diagonally the surface thread will be straight.

I have some people asking if my stitching doesn't puncture the basting thread and my answer is that I would rather stitch through a thread than a safety pin. 

I have to admit that a free motion quilting foot gets caught on the threads, but stop and take out your safety pins in the area you will free motion, so do the same thing with the thread.
You can see the basting lines better in this photo from last year.

My basting rows are approximately 6-7" apart, about the length from my thumb to little finger, so that is my measuring stick. If the pattern is 6" blocks, then it is along the edge of every block, so sometimes I am able to just use the quilt pattern to gauge the distance. I never baste over the top of a seam where 2 blocks join, always to one side of it when I do a row of basting.
You always baste from the center out so find the center of the quilt and do one row to the top, one to the bottom, and one to each side. These are your center lines which all other basting will start from. When I am finished I have rows going both directions all over the quilt, in other words it looks like squares, or a plaid. Your basting rows are your guide when quilting to see whether the top is moving. If, as you approach a basting row, the top starts humping up, you know you have to ease it in before you reach the basting row. 

This post probably didn't interest about 75% of you, those who send out all of your quilts to be quilted by others, and those who use a longarm, since you don't have to baste for that.  I do a lot of ditch quilting, which I love to do, and I do it on my regular machines.  See this post for all of my machines that I quilt with.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

30 blocks and flower pots.............

I sewed 30 blocks last night so now I have 119 done and I can start playing on the design wall later today.

I have some favorite plants in my pots this year that I want to remember for next year.  I love this spotted leaf plant and the double petunias.

Of course I'll want to repeat the lime green sweet potato plant.  I will put it in a taller planter next year though.

This is 3 small wintered over Coleus plants.  I thought maybe I wouldn't winter over so much this year, but after seeing this pot, I know I will.

I was a little disappointed that the wave petunias didn't do better in this 3 tier planter.  The plant to the lower left though is a winner.  I need to go out and read the tags and make notes of the ones I like best.

 Sharon W, if you are reading are a 'no reply'.  You can fix that by going to your profile and putting a check mark in front of "show my email address" and then scroll down and SAVE.  I took photos to show the basting set up and procedure and will post them tomorrow.  I label each post and there is a label on the Label List (right side bar) for basting.  I realize there are lots of posts tied to it and you have to scroll back many pages to see where I have shown this before.  By updating it tomorrow it will be at the top of the list and easier to find.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

89 blocks..........

This is the set up on my table as I'm sewing these blocks.

I did some with mostly blue with blue strips.

Then I did a batch of green with green strips.

This batch is mixed, green with green and green with blue.

I have 89 blocks finished and need to cut some more 1" strips today.

Also the last 2 days I have been working on basting.  I finished the first one and have un-taped it.  I just need to press the backing for the second one and then I'll baste it.

I was happy to read in the comments yesterday that so many of you are counters too.  I cut 117 Goldenrod and weeds last night.  That is 217 total, 90% of it Goldenrod.  Can you imagine how many seeds would have spread if I had let it bloom?  I didn't dig the roots out though so it will be back next year.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Blue with green...........

I cut green strips yesterday morning and last night sewed a bunch of blue with green strips.  Now I'll do some blue with blue and green with green.

I finished mowing the lawn and then because I count as I'm doing a task, I cut 100 goldenrod and tall weeds and carried them to my yard waste pile at the back of the lot.  There are at least 100 more to do and then that side of my house will look a lot better.  If you wonder why I count, it makes the task go faster and is much more interesting to do that way.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Project started........

I cut the 1" blue and turquoise strips and sewed 25 blocks last night.  I won't go to the design wall until I have at least 100 sewn and probably more than that.  Today I will cut green 1" strips from my scraps to use in the blue blocks.

Yesterday it was hot and I only got the front yard mowed.  Today is supposed to be cooler so I'll finish it and start cutting more tall weeds along the side of my house.  I saw 2 Monarch caterpillars again yesterday.  They are roaming around to different milkweed plants each day.