Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Last day of the year, working on last finish........

This quilt has been in progress since October 2010.  It was too narrow for me so I added more pieces as borders in April this year.  I added in a few star blocks too.
Just so I have a record of the backing too I took this photo.  The flowers don't look like they run in rows when you are looking at it close up so I was surprised when I saw this photo.

I'm on the home stretch on the hand dyed fabric quilt.  This is the back before I was done stitching lines.  (Backing dyed by Melody Johnson about 15-20 years ago).

I finished the quilting late in the afternoon and sewed on the binding.  It is from a gradation piece that went from turquoise to blue to purple, a Vicki Welsh hand dye like the other fabrics that are in the quilt top.  The quilt isn't quite this vivid.  The lights in my main floor studio aren't perfect.  

I should be able to finish the binding today early enough to get a full shot of this one and to do my end of year recap to post tomorrow morning.


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

One done, still quilting...........

The hand stitching on the binding is done.  I'll hang it on the design walls today and get a full shot of it.

I did lots more rows of quilting and now I need to make a decision how many more are needed so I can call it done.  I want it to stay soft so probably 2 more rows in both directions in every row, 26 lines of quilting. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Progress on two............

I looked at about 15 choices for binding for this quilt.  This seemed the most unlikely one but it worked the best.

I have the hand sewing almost done on three sides, one long side to go.

I'm quilting a little each day on this one, randomly spaced "straight" line rows of quilting.  My straight is pretty wiggly.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Quilting on two.......

I took the photo on the right first and the colors looked washed out.  I put the blue/gray fabric in the second photo and the yellows and pinks are truer colors.  This quilt is quite bright but you wouldn't know it by the photo on the right.  What I was taking the photo for was to show how pretty the backing fabric looks with the front.  This one is quilted and trimmed now so I need to look for binding.
Next I chose the Superior King Tut colors for the hand dyed quilt.  I wound bobbins of the dark pink.

I put in a few rows of stitching.  Notice the colors difference in the 2 photos of this one?  In the top photo I laid a gray plastic on the edge of the quilt to focus on.  Those colors are true.  The second photo is dull in comparison.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Preparing another..........

A few days ago I found the perfect fabric in my stash for the back of this quilt.  I was going to use a Kaffe print but I like this one so well with the fabrics in the top.  Unfortunately my camera won't show you the pretty yellows.  It insists on dulling them into a beige.  I also found a piece of batting the right size, a Hobbs organic cotton with scrim.  It is the only piece of that type that I have on hand and it is exactly the right length.  I have the backing loaded on the longarm already but the top is just laying there folded.

Friday, December 26, 2014


Yesterday afternoon I got the backing taped to my double table.

I spread out the top and thread basted it.  I can start quilting it today on my straight stitch machine.

The paper whites started blooming.

I have one bloom and a few tiny buds on the cactus started from my mother in law's plant.  This one is a coral/red.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas.....

This is the reason for the season for me.  Merry CHRISTmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

40" Trip Around the World sewn.........

I wasn't sure I would get it all sewn together.  I found a lot of other things to do yesterday but I worked on it last night until it was done.  I love the black "strings" dancing between the red and white fabrics.  I have several more red/black/white prints that could be used for borders so I'll play with that next.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Very little progress.......

I had out of town company yesterday and we went out to lunch in the rain.  Luckily she didn't have to travel in snow to visit me.  I was near the end of a book so I read for a couple hours in the late afternoon.  I didn't get to the basement to work on this until evening.  I sewed the 9 rows on the left together.  You can see they are squares now, 1.5" squares.  This will come out 40" square and my kitchen table is about 42" square.  I will add a border to make it fit like a tablecloth and then put a backing on and probably use Thermore batting.  It is really thin flat polyester batting and can be quilted as far apart as 10".  I will probably quilt closer than that but not put a lot of quilting in it.

Monday, December 22, 2014

After the party......

The gifts have been given, the party is over.  I needed something to sew on last night to unwind so I was happy I had sewn the stratas already for this Trip Around the World.  This will end up around 40" square.  I ran out of room on this single design wall so I'll sew about a third of it together and then move it to the left and unpick the rest of the loops.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Presents wrapped, baking done...

It was a busy day yesterday getting everything done for the party which is this morning.  I had the presents already in the bag when I decided I should have taken a photo.  Instead I just made a collage of some of the cactus photos that I have shown previously.  Right now I have a red/orange and a pale pink in bloom.  There are buds on a few more.  I'm sure to have some blooms on Christmas.

Saturday, December 20, 2014


I finished my great grandson's stocking at 10:30 last night.  His name is a little too high on the cuff but I doubt it will make any difference to him.

Finally I'm using some of this cute kid's Christmas print.

I got my gifts mailed to out of state family and baked a batch of Spritz cookies yesterday.  Today I need to wrap gifts for the party tomorrow and bake some requested goodies.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Decision made............

We had our second monthly sewing day yesterday since the 4th Thursday falls on Christmas.  My new project is a flannel quilt with 4.5" squares that I cut when I made the 4 flannel quilts at the beginning of this year.  I cut a few more squares on Wednesday so I could make it a little larger.  I will save this to work on in January at our next sewing day.
I finally made the decision that the Christmas stocking for my great grandson would be denim and  machine embroidered.  This design took over 2 hours to sew out.  It had 22 thread changes so I was "on call" for a long time.  I made 2 batches of Chex mix while it sewed.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Top and bottom borders.........

I chose a fabric for the top and bottom borders of this quilt, cut them and sewed them on and also cut the binding strips from the same fabric.  I chose the backing, a 60" wide fabric hand dyed by Melody Johnson about 15-20 years ago.  Since my only Christmas party is on the 21st I hope to do some finishing of quilts in the last 10 days of the year.  I think this will be one of them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Another project..........

I only have 3 days to come up with an idea for a Christmas stocking for the newest member of the family.  The party is on Sunday.  My two friends are coming over to sew today so I will play around with some ideas while they are here.  I have a tutorial for making a Christmas stocking here.  The one I was building in the tutorial was for this little guy's dad when he joined the family party.
One of my friends stopped by yesterday with this gift for me.  We have had many discussions about brown sugar and storage and she has had good luck with this one.  There is a terra cotta ring that you soak in water that goes in there to keep the sugar soft.  This squarish shape will fit nicely on the shelf too.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Things I love...........

12 pairs plus 2 singles, flannel pillowcases done and pressed, ready to gift.

My collection of Christmas postcards in the mail from Vicki Welsh, 3 from previous years and the Zentangle with crystals this year. 

A Christmas gift from a friend who knew I would love these Charley Harper drinking glasses.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Red thread...........

I cut seven more pairs of pillowcases yesterday.  I only sewed the ones that needed red thread.  The fabric on the left is from 1994 and I have always loved it.  It was time to use it.

My tutorial for this style of pillowcase is here.  Since a sliver needs to be trimmed from the fold edge and no more than 1/2" from the selvage edge, I had to press out the fold line on all of the fabrics.  Then I lined up the selvedges perfectly and repressed in a fold line before taking the 2 yard pieces to the cutting table.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Four pairs..........

I didn't start working on the pillowcases until late afternoon so I didn't finish as many as planned.  I decided to make pairs of pillowcases since the grandchildren are adults now and have large beds and probably at least 2 pillows.  I finished these 8 and one extra from the remainder of the blue zebra flannel.  I used my tutorial here for the kind of pillowcase where the pillow is tucked into an inside panel and can't fall out of the case.  Since I was making 2 from the same fabric I cut most of these as one long piece folded at the places where there would have been a seam.  I have a pile of flannels chosen for the rest of the pillowcases I need to make.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Pretty flower......

I have more blooms on the orange cactus.  Also I have 2 red and a pink in bloom.

I sewed the hand dyed blocks from yesterday together but didn't get a fabric chosen for the top and bottom border.  Instead I started pulling some flannel for pillowcases for Christmas gifts.  I should be able to get them all made in one day.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A break from borders.........

No borders yesterday.  It was the twice monthly sewing day and I made 22 more blocks to go with the 20 I showed on Nov. 23rd.  The blocks are 8.5" and each insert being a 1" cut strip does not change the size of the block when it is sewn in with an accurate 1/4" seam.  It would end up 48" x 56" if I don't make any more blocks.  I'm thinking about stopping here with blocks and adding a 4" wide strip of hand dyed fabric on the top and bottom so it will be 64" long.

Almost all of the hand dyed fabric in this quilt was purchased from Vicki Welsh and a lot of it is from her stash packs.  I also cut one of the gradient half yards into the 8.5" squares.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Borders #6 this month..........

I finished sewing this TAW quilt top together in November 2007 and it was started several years before that to use for a demo in classes.  I think I cut the border strips almost a year ago and now finally they are sewn on.  It is too huge to hang on the design wall, about 89" x 107" so you will have to click on this link to go back to 2007 when I had just finished sewing it together.  I have made TAW quilts in bright prints, soft prints, floral prints, kid prints, one color, and many color.  I have never done one with 30s reproduction fabrics and I think I need to do that.  I might even put some solids in it like they did in the 30s.

I have an amaryllis blooming already.  It had 2 flower stalks already started when I opened the box.  I have 2 more planted (thanks Ace Hdwe. for $5 bulbs) and I also planted some paperwhites.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Borders #5 this month...........

I pulled out four more quilts that need borders.  This Stack and Slash top had the border and backing fabric hanging with it so it was a no brainer which one to do.  The border is navy blue even though it looks like black or charcoal gray.  I thought this quilt really needed a border to contain all of the color and also to make it a little larger.  It is 62" x 76" now and will shrink a couple inches with quilting.  Here is a link to a post that talks about the Stack and Slash quilt.  There is a link on it to another blogger's tutorial for it.

I had a leisurely lunch out with three friends yesterday, a perfect day!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Another project.......

I didn't pick the next border project yesterday.  I had lots of errands that filled the morning and in the afternoon I helped a friend baste a quilt on my tables.  Last night I decided to unpick the hanging sleeve on this quilt.  Here is the blog post that shows the whole quilt and some closeups.   I had this quilt hanging in a show either later that year (1990) or the next year and maybe once or twice since then.  Since the quilt is almost 25 years old and will never hang again it was time to remove the sleeve.  I can't believe I used such small machine stitches to sew it on.  I was able to sew in a border seam from the front and catch the bottom edge of the split sleeve.  I had already removed one half when I took this photo.

Monday, December 8, 2014

I did it......#4 top has its borders.....

I worked on the borders for several hours yesterday afternoon and got them all sewn on.  I removed the prints that looked like solids and cut a few new pieces.  On the top and bottom there is a strip of just one print 2" wide.  The borders increased the width of the quilt by 9" and the length by 4".
Here are the 2 side borders for one last audition before I sewed them on.  You can see the fabrics easier here than when they are blending into and extending the dark value area when they are sewn on.  A couple people thought I shouldn't put a border on but it needed extra width.  As far as it looking like a border, I wanted it to look like an extension of value not a distinct border when finished.
This shot gives you more of a perspective of the size.  The length was already 96" but the width was only 62".  Now it is 100" x 71.5".  I had to work with it horizontally when designing the border and rotated the photos for the 2 shots above.

So.......I have put borders on 4 quilt tops already this month.  I have several more that need them.....can I keep going?

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Two borders audition.........

I chose colors matching the half diamonds for the chunks of border and am auditioning them.  I'll look at it a couple times today and decide if it is ready to sew.  I need to decide if any of the spacer strips between the chunks need to be changed too.

I sewed the mini stratas for a TAW while I watched 3 episodes of Bones on Netflix last night.  They haven't been pressed yet.  There is no hurry on this project, just good TV watching sewing.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Auditioning a border......

This is the next quilt that needs its border, waiting since April 2011.  In the Kaffe book "Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts" Kaffe used one fabric for the border, a red chevron stripe.  I made my quilt one row longer which ended up being tall and not very wide.  I need a wide border on the 2 sides and just a 2" strip of one fabric across the top and bottom of mine.  I'm auditioning chunks of dark Kaffe prints with some of the left over strips between them, sometimes two together, sometimes just one.  I think I like this so now I have to decide if I want to match the color of the partial diamond on the side or contrast with it.

Friday, December 5, 2014

More borders....

I hope I can stay on the border express and do more of them this month.  I have so many tops waiting for border decisions.

I have been waiting to put the border on this one since Sept. 2011.  I wasn't sure I liked the way the points were cut off of the dark sashing  around the diamonds when I first tried this border.  My 2 friends and I decided it did look OK though so I sewed it on.
This one in Kaffe's book, "Simple Shapes, Spectacular Quilts" didn't have a border.
He also used different fabrics in all of the outside half diamonds and I used all the same fabric.  My photo of this page in the book doesn't show the beauty of his quilt.  It is really brighter than this photo.

Thursday, December 4, 2014


My two friends came over yesterday and I worked on borders.  This is the Liberty Lawn colorwash with its border.  It is layered on its backing and batting in this photo.  It is going to fly across the country and will be hand quilted by the friend who shared most of the 2" squares with me.  Then she is sending it back to me.  Is that a win/win?  I think so!
 Next I cut the borders for the Keiko Goke fabric TAW and got them sewn on.  That is sunlight showing through the border on the left edge.  We had 100% of possible sunshine yesterday according to the weatherman.  It was a cold day so the sunshine was a treat.

My friends helped me decide on borders for two more quilts too so I hope to work on at least one of them today.