Thursday, June 30, 2016

2 more farm girl blocks.........

My 2 quilting friends came over yesterday and I decided I would work on some more of the Farm Girl Quilt blocks.  I made the 2 cherry blocks in the top center......3 hours.
I think I need to make the big tractor block next and some of the flower blocks.

Then I cut the leaf parts of a stem and leaf block and made enough for 5 blocks or maybe I will double stack two of these for a taller stem since they will be sunflowers......another hour.

Then in one hour last night I made all of these blocks.  You can probably guess which ones I enjoyed the most.  I really dislike all of those connector corner squares sewn on almost every part of the Farm Girl blocks.  They are so fiddly to do it right and it takes forever to cut all of the little pieces for each block out of several different fabrics.  As much as I like the quilt I don't have the patience to spend hours on one 6" block.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

More scrap fun.............

It was a beautiful day to mow the lawn with a nice cool breeze and below normal temperature.  I didn't get to the sewing machine until 10 p.m. while I watched the news and weather.  I added one more section onto the piece I showed yesterday and made a couple more blocks.  This is all scraps which are fairly straight but not perfectly straight.
I still had them packaged by approximate lengths from 2012.  See this post when I was sorting them.  I think I used those block for mug rugs.  I'm thinking about making a table runner this time.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Too tired to think.............

When my art quilters group comes to my house it is a high energy day.  I was wiped out by 6 p.m. yesterday.  All I had energy for was sewing some tiny Kaffe scraps together.  The one on the left is 4 small sections sewn together.  When my low bobbin light started blinking I decided it was time to give up and go to bed.

Today is supposed to be cooler so I plan on mowing the grass and starting to gather brush for free pickup next week.  Tomorrow my 2 friends are coming over to sew so I will leave the design walls that are in front of the washer and dryer for one more day.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Top sewn.............

The top is sewn.  There are a lot of pieces on the bias on the edge so I staystitched it to keep it from stretching.

A recap in case you haven't been following my progress on this quilt top:  all Keiko Goke Japanese fabrics, cut with Strips 'n Curves templates sets 1 and 2.
Here are 2 small pots that sit in front of the garage door.  I don't use this side of the garage for a car so the pots aren't in the way.  The pink flowers were on clearance so I had to rescue them.

The art quilters are coming today.  The cookies are baked, the basement is clean.  

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Almost done..........

I made two more blocks and played with the arrangement some more.  I thought I was done, did the photography and then looked at it again..........

and I exchanged two blocks with each other, near the center.  I need to made a decision and get this sewn so I can clean off the design walls and get the stray threads with a lint roller.  The art quilters are coming tomorrow and I need empty walls.  

I baked two batches of cookies last night.  It was hot yesterday but supposed to be hotter and more humid today.  Since I don't have central air, just 2 window A/C units I thought it was better to bake at night.  It was still 78 degrees at 11:30 p.m. with 88% humidity.
The balloon flowers are blooming.  I used to have two colors of them but I'll have to wait and see if I still do.

They used to be short plants, maybe 10" tall.  Now they are more like 18" or taller.

The porch pots are doing great.  

Saturday, June 25, 2016

2 more blocks............

I made two more blocks and then spent a half hour moving blocks.  I thought this looked good when I was standing in front of it but I can see2 blocks that need to be moved after seeing the photo.  I spent more time vacuuming yesterday than sewing.  I think I need to make several new blocks and then eliminate the ones that aren't working as well.
While cleaning off the cutting table I decided that the Marcia Derse scraps are big enough to cut Drunkard's Path blocks.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Quilting with light..........

I'm really enjoying the new lights on my machine while I'm ditch quilting.  To see more about the lights, click hereI finished all of the ditch quilting and now I need to decide what else to add.  First though I need to use the vacuum cleaner and clean off two tables.
It was a little hazy yesterday morning, foggy some places.  When I looked out the window I saw a squirrel (left side by the pole) birds at the feeder in the center and a bunny watching all of it.  I love my little wildlife preserve in the backyard.  If you enlarge the photo and look carefully you will see the cannas growing in the back by the trees.
I cut back the hydrangea bush last fall but it is still laying all over the seedum and hostas.  I don't know if they last as a bouquet in a vase but I think I need to cut a few of them.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Wicked storms, but all is OK..........

I made 11 blocks yesterday morning and early afternoon.  In the late afternoon storm watches were beginning.  The tornado siren went off twice but the tornado went south of me.  It was really scary to hear my town mentioned on the news as being in the path of the storm.  We got an inch of rain with that storm after getting almost 3/4" overnight and light rain all through the day.  

I went to the basement when the siren went off and put the new blocks up on the wall.  I have to decide now which fabrics need to be used for the last 4 blocks.  I'm not happy with the arrangement of colors and fabrics at this point.
I have a tiny little start to an elephant ear plant.  I'll have to take a photo once a week on this plant to document the growth.

This is the corner of the yard where the ditch lilies are with hostas along the front of the bed.  It has gotten way too shady for the lilies and they don't have many blooms. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Playing with blocks again...........

I took my Marcia Derse fabric quilt sections off my double design wall and moved the Keiko Goke fabric blocks over there (cut with Strips 'n Curves templates sets 1 and 2).  I thought maybe I needed to do the layout as all complete circles since the blocks are so busy.

I just turned 2 groups of 4 around to new positions and I think I like it better.

We have a new interim pastor at my church and she came to visit me yesterday morning.  In the afternoon I mowed my grass since the humidity level dropped dramatically from the day before.  Since I was busy all day I didn't make any new blocks.  I need to cut some more parts today for at least 15 more quarter circle blocks.  My art quilters group is coming next Monday so I also am cleaning up the basement a little each day.
This is one of my favorite hostas.  It is a sun lover and turns lighter colored as the summer progresses.

I have complementary colors in this garden.  The Campanula has planted itself all over.  The sundrops spread too so I need to do some thinning out in this area.

Last night I picked enough black raspberries to top a small dish of ice cream.  Yum!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

It was a hot one.......

This is what I had in mind for the interrupter strips in this Marcia Derse fabric quilt.

I wanted some interest close up when it is being used as a couch quilt.

A photo of the whole quilt just doesn't do justice.  It is so much more vibrant in person.  My camera wants to emphasize the turquoise and dull the rest of the fabrics.  I have cut the strips but this heat has sapped my energy so nothing is sewn.

Most of my coneflowers look like this.

One however decided to bloom.  I took the photo above in the early evening Sunday and I took this one yesterday morning.  There is such a difference in the greens in different times of the day.

I planted most of my cannas in the ground but I have 2 pots of them too.  I noticed the Japanese beetles are eating the leaves on one of the plants in the ground.

Monday, June 20, 2016


This project is still on my best double design wall.  I have been thinking about fabric for the insertions strips and top and bottom strip but haven't made a decision.  

All it is going to take is cutting a strip off each of the fabrics and putting it up on the design wall.  I just couldn't get started doing anything yesterday.  By the time I got home from church it was getting really hot.  I think my mind was set on a day of rest so I didn't do anything on this project.

I did go out and put in my half hour of weed pulling and I noticed my black raspberries were starting to ripen.  There was no sign of black yesterday.

This is the first day's yield.  The very first ones of the season taste so good!

The tomato plants are getting tall too and I have about 20 tomatoes on them not counting the grape tomatoes.

This is the largest of the tomatoes so far.  They are a smaller variety, the Early Girl.  I chose varieties that all produce a medium size tomato.

There are a couple bunches of Grape tomatoes on this plant.  I'm really hoping for tomatoes to eat by the 4th of July.  That might be a little ambitious but hopefully close.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

How much fabric do I buy?.........

Wow, so many of you want to know how much of each fabric I buy (yesterday's comments).  First a little background.  I started working in a quilt shop in 1979, owned my own shop in the early 1980s, continued working at quilt shops through 2000.  I was the buyer, or the owner's helper/buyer at most of the shops.  This means I know how to stock a quilt shop with a terrific variety of styles and colors of fabric.

Now, my own collection is something like that too.  I don't own just one plaid, or 3 flannels, or only medium tone floral fabrics.  I have a full selection of color and value in all types of quilting fabric so my buying may be a little different than yours.  I am not building a stash as much as I'm filling in gaps.
I bought my first Keiko Goke prints in 2010 and they were $15.50 a yard at that time.  Pretty pricey!  I bought 1 yard pieces of a couple of them.  As time went on I bought half yards of more of them (all of these from which is closing out the remainder of her fabrics at sale prices right now).  In the last few years I have picked up a few more on sale (40-45% off) at  I don't have every fabric in her many collections, just ones that appealed to me or were on sale at a good price.  I don't have any local quilt shops carrying her fabric so I had to go to the internet for it.  When buying on sale most locations have a 1 yard minimum cut so I have more of some than others.

If you are using a lot of different fabrics in a quilt, quarter yards are probably enough, but I still like half yards so I don't use it all up.  If you want it all gone when you are done cutting for a project, then buy quarter yards.  If I run out of a fabric I just look through my stash for a similar one to continue cutting.  I would rather use 5 reds than just 1 if the quilt calls for red.

Think of the kind of quilts you like to make.  I not only like a variety of color in my quilts, I also need a variety of values.  I don't just buy my favorite color in one value....but every color.....every value (from light to dark).

The main thing when shopping is to know the selection you already own.  Know what colors or values are  missing and be on a mission to fill in with them.  That means organizing your fabrics and having them where you can see them.  Don't keep fabric you have purchased in the bag from the store and toss it on the pile. (yes, some people do that!). 

Also, think about what type of quilts you like to make.  If you are always adding white (or any other light) as a contrast to every piece you sew you might not need as many values.  If you are doing a blend (colorwash, Trip Around the World) you need every step of value.  Know thyself is the key to having a good usable stash, a stash that you can shop at midnight and be ready to start a quilt the next day. 

I also addressed this subject back in 2007, the year I started my blog.  Here is one post and another.  The main thing that has changed since then is that my income is way down from what it was then so half yards and sale fabric are my 2 best choices now.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

15 more blocks, 33 total..................

It was another beautiful day to work outside yesterday.  I did more planting and weed control.

Last night I sewed 15 more blocks.  I was pretty tired when I finished them so I just plopped them up on the design wall in no particular order.  I'm ready to move them to a double design wall and get serious this weekend.  The humidity is supposed to creep back in to go along with the 90+ degree days.  That means staying inside and sewing for me. 

This group of fabrics is all by one designer, Keiko Goke, over several years.  Her designs look like they were drawn with chalk or crayons.  I like it when a designer stays with colors that work well together from year to year because it takes several years to have enough variety for an interesting quilt.  I'm sure some of you are thinking 3 to 5 different fabrics is enough variety to make a quilt but I'm always thinking 25 to 100 different fabrics (or more) in a quilt.  

Friday, June 17, 2016

10 more blocks, 18 so far....................

It was a beautiful day yesterday in the 70s with low humidity.  It was a good day to plant things and cut volunteer trees.  I planted the Dahlia bulbs in pots.  They are the strangest looking things and I hope I have them planted the right way.

I managed to get 10 more blocks sewn and put all 18 up on the design wall.  
Then I laid out 8 more blocks to sew today.  I need to cut some more of the skinny arc before I make any more blocks.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

First blocks.........

I did a lot of cutting yesterday (Strips 'n Curves templates set 1 and 2 and rotary cutter) and by last night I was ready to lay out some blocks.  I always start this way, making some random blocks and then go to the design wall when I have a bunch sewn.  At that time I decide what I need for the rest of the blocks and plan them.
This is all loose pieces laying on the table.  I did get these 8 sewn last night while I watched the news and weather.  The blocks look a little bumpy right after they are sewn but they will look fine when they are pressed.  Here is a post where I show sewing the curved seam.  I now clip a small V at the center of each piece and don't use any pins.

We got almost an inch of rain Tuesday night and yesterday was hot and steamy - 93 degrees.  I did my half hour of weed pulling when it got down to 82 just before dark.  Today is supposed to be cooler so I will be planting my 91cent begonia.  I love those clearance sales.  I got some Dahlia bulbs too (3 for $2) so I'll get them planted in pots. 
The Red Penstemon is in full bloom and leaning over the sidewalk after the rain.  The balloon flowers will be the next ones to bloom in this garden.

The Milkweed is starting to bloom.  I haven't seen any Monarch butterflies yet.