Friday, January 30, 2015

A Little Walking, A Little Quilting

Today was one of those days where I didn't sit down except for lunch. I don't know how I ever had time to work before. The day started with cutting out blocks for The Disappearing Pinwheel quilt with my neighbor, who is also in my quilt group. We cut out the big blocks and then put one pinwheel together and cut it up so we can show everyone what to do at the next meeting. Then we'll divide up into pairs and make the quilt in an assembly line. We broke for lunch and I made a template so we can check the completed 12 inch block before cutting it into thirds. When we made our block, we cut it with a 12 inch ruler, which of course is really 12-1/2 inch. We caught it after cutting the block into thirds and then had to re-cut some of the pieces.

After lunch we walked the neighborhood and handed out letters to encourage each neighbor to go to the next city council meeting. Our roads are terrible and all they do is fill potholes when what we need is to have the road replaced. The cul-de-sac at the end of our block is nothing but filled potholes. So maybe if the neighbors unite, the council will listen.

Buddy the cat was waiting when I got home again, with a still-twitching trophy in his mouth. He was meowing (sounds more like mwarr than meow with his mouth full) to get into the garage to eat his prey but I just told him that he was a good boy and left him outside. I don't know why he feels he has to eat varmits in the garage and leave their parts for me to clean up. I guess so it can't get away if it can still run when he puts it down. And it may have gotten away because I looked outside when he quit meowing and he was sitting alone by the back door.

Then I had to make yet another trip to WallyMart for fabric to finish this lap quilt. I made these four blocks for the quilt as you go demonstration yesterday, but I liked the way they turned out so I decided to use them in a lap quilt instead of practicing more free motion quilting. Since it was just going to be a practice quilt, I used fabric from my stash and WallyMart. I couldn't find anything to match the fabrics from my stash so decided to make a border from one of the WallyMart fabrics. I needed to go to the bigger nearby town anyway. But that store didn't have the fabric, so I'll have to go to the store in the smaller town tomorrow. You'd think all WallyMarts would have the same fabrics, but they don't.

This block is from the book Lap Quilting with Georgia Bonesteel 1982.

I'll be linking to these blog parties: WIPS Be Gone at A Quilting Reader's Garden #10, Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? at Confessions of a Fabric Addict #79, and Let's Book It at Vroomans Quilts #10

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Disappearing Quilt Blocks, Have You Made Them?

You've probably heard of the Disappearing Nine Patch, and Stack and Whack, but have you heard of the Disappearing Hourglass or any of the others at Missouri Star Quilt Company? This isn't a review or endorsement of Missouri Star Quilt Company by the way. Monday night at Quilt Guild, we had member led demonstrations of several different quilts that could be made quickly and easily by making one block and then either putting it into a quilt top before cutting it up, or just cutting the completed blocks. These were so neat!

After my demonstration of quilt as you go techniques today at Quilt Group, I wonder if any of these disappearing blocks could be done as a quilt as you go. It would be such a good way to make some quick quilts when we need to give out more quilts than we have made. That happens in winter when so many of our elderly end up in the hospital or nursing home. And the great thing about these quilts is that they look like they are really complicated when really, they are so easy.

Oh, and I have another quilting question for you. What rotary blades and cutter do you prefer? I have mainly used Olfa and Fiskar blades and never really paid attention to how long they each last. But I changed the blades before I started cutting the butterflies and quilt as you go samples, using a new Fiskars blade. It was getting dull after two days of cutting, but I kept it in for another three days of less intense cutting, but using a lot more pressure on it. After the third day, I found it wasn't cutting through in places and I had to either go back and hit those places again, or cut with scissors. I don't have a new Olfa blade to try right now, but I just bought a Gingher blade that the LQS owner assured me would outlast every other blade. I hope so, one blade was $13. Oh, and I'm also giving up on Fiskars rotary cutters. The screw won't stay tight. I like the Olfa with the automatic blade retraction handle.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Design Wall Monday

I've got all the wing pieces done and my goal now is to complete 2 butterflies every day.  Meanwhile, I am still researching the various ways of doing quilt-as-you-go and making demo blocks for that.

Linking to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Stash Report Week 4

I really hoped to end this week with a loss, but I ran out of fabric and had to buy just a little more, and, well, you know how that goes. Five yards later and I have fabric added to my stash that has no particular purpose, other than it's pretty and will work well with other colors.

I also bought some yarn and realized that I seem to be building a yarn stash.  And since I absolutely refuse to build and keep up with another stash, I'd better start using this.  Don't get excited knitters, I am only making hats on a round loom.  Baby steps.

I'll link up with Patchwork Times tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Trying Out Color Combinations

I agreed to demonstrate quilt as you go at our group next week, and that gave me an opportunity to try out some color combinations on test blocks I've been making today. For my next lap quilt for the group, I think I'll use the brown combination. It will make a good quilt for a man I think.

Along with these card trick blocks, the butterflies are still on the design board too. Thanks to leaders and enders, I think I have more than enough wing sections done. Now I need to come up with another leader and ender quilt.

Linking this to Freshly Pieced.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Something on the Design Wall

Granted, it's not much of a design wall and not much on it.  I wanted to start a new leaders and enders quilt and thought I found one with this quilt pattern I found in an older book (1979).

I made the plastic templates, cut out a lot of pieces, and then tried it out.  That's when I found out it isn't a good pattern for the fairly mindless task of leaders and enders.  Piece A and B went together with no problem, but piece C had to be added just right or it didn't line up with the curve.  And that curve on piece D was too much work for leaders and enders.  Even paying close attention, my pieces A through D didn't fit the curve right.

That's when I decided this would be better suited to English paper piecing.  So I copied all the pieces over and over until I had enough to make a sheet of each, and then cut them out, sorted them into bags and then started stitching while we watched a movie Friday evening.  It worked, but there was a fold at the corner of point A that would make it hard to applique onto a block, but most of all, I just didn't want another paper piecing project.

So I did some slight redrafting of the pattern making just one template piece for A through D, and longer than actually needed, and one template piece for the combined A through D.  When the four pieces were put together, it was a simple matter to cut the right curve.  The only line that absolutely has to match up is D.

Then curved pieces D and F can go on later.

I still haven't decided how I am going to applique it to the block.  The pattern says to turn the edges but their photo looks like they did a tight zigzag around the edges and I don't care for that look.

I linked to Patchwork Times, Quilting is more than than housework, and A Quilting Chick.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Slow Stitching Sunday

I have fiddled away most of my afternoon trying to get blogspot to accept an email comment, and almost forgot to get in some stitching.  Kathy at Kathy's Quilts challenged everyone in her Slow Stitching Sunday post  to take a picture of their hands while they were stitching.  Eeek!  I've got like the world's ugliest hands, but they are better than my face, so I did it.  I hope it doesn't break your monitor.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Stash Report, Week 3

Finally, finally, finally, I have 0 in and something out.  It's been awhile since I could say that.  I'm still behind for the month and year though.

I intended to make a sheet facing today that would have used quite a bit, but I just didn't get around to it.  Maybe tomorrow.  At least I got all the Christmas decorations into the attic.  I've also been going through past stash buster reports and have made a spreadsheet that plugs in all my totals, so maybe this year I can see what kind of progress, or lack of, I've made.

I'll link up to Patchwork Times whenever she makes her post. How did you do this week?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Christmas Swap

I've been cleaning and organizing and realized I never posted about our quilt group Christmas swap.  We decided to exchange fabric instead of useless gifts, since we are quilters after all.  Not everyone wanted to participate, but those who did had a fun pizza lunch and a nice assortment of fabrics.  It's always interesting to see what fabrics other people like.

On another note, I'm hanging in there with the diet again. I didn't do so well over the weekend though. On Saturday, I didn't just fall off, I flung myself off the wagon. I never intended to, but when I tried to move a cookie tin, I found that Hubby had closed the lid on a a package of bread. When I opened the lid to release the plastic bag, I saw it contained one piece of mom's English toffee. I didn't even think about it before popping it in my mouth, and didn't regret it afterward either. Mom always makes us a batch of toffee for Christmas every year. One year she burned the toffee, but she gave it to us anyway because it is so expensive to make. But this year it was perfect and that was the last piece.

Later that evening, I had the munchies and ate a whole sleeve of Ritz crackers. By the time I went to bed, I was itching so bad I couldn't sleep. I finally got up at 3 a.m. to take a Benedryl. And will this teach me a lesson? I doubt it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Stash Report Week 2

Without the internet reminder, I completely forgot about the stash report.  I don't know why as that is what I was working on when the internet went down.

I bought fabric last week, but didn't really use any.  I know that sounds vague, but i bought the interfacing to use for my design wall, and so it is hung, and therefore used, but it's not working well, so it won't be used long.  That's why I didn't add it as being used.

Linking this to Patchwork Times.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sometimes Quilting Makes Me Laugh

Vicki from Field Trips in Fiber challenged us to post about our oldest UFO.  I knew which one it was; I just didn't know where it was. I was afraid it was in the attic, but first I searched every closet and under every bed. It is cold outside and I really didn't want to climb up in the cold and breezy attic, but by the time I had searched all over the house, I was determined to find it. And I did.

When I pulled it out the bag, I nearly died laughing.

It is a Jacob's Ladder pattern, and I actually used a pattern for it.   I checked out the same book again (why I kept checking out that book, I have no idea) that said the Courthouse Steps pattern was the easiest pattern for a beginner. I wanted to see how to put the blocks together. By then, I thought I knew everything I needed to know to make a quilt top. I was so very, very wrong. The second quilt they recommended for beginners was Jacob's Ladder. I think the one in the book was for a twin size, and I bought the amount of fabric based on their instructions. The instructions in the book didn't go into detail about how to join blocks together, such as matching seams. I know, I know, that should be obvious even to a non-quilter, but it wasn't to me. So not only were the blocks not square, they were often offset by a quarter inch. Still, I put a few rows together and pressed the seams open (no instructions on which way to press either). At that point, I either thought it looked fantastic, or I was just overly ambitious, but I decided to make it a king size. So I made more blocks, formed them into rows, and sewed these rows perpendicular to the previously completed rows to make it wider. I think it was then that I realized my rows weren't that straight, or flat, and the blocks had some serious overlap, and I bagged it until I knew more about quilting. And then I forgot about it.  I began it in February 2004, so that makes it my oldest UFO.

Eventually, I took a few quilting classes and learned the basics - things I thought I already knew and much, much more. And I continued to ignore the green and white mess in a bag in the closet. Until this year, that is when the desire to finish ALL my UFO's overcame my desire to forget about that quilt.

Obviously, it needs a major overhaul. No way am I going to put enough effort into this to complete a king size quilt. Plus, the fact that I only bought enough fabric to make a twin size and couldn't get any more now. I just hope I can salvage enough of it to make it a lap quilt for the Quilts for the Elderly project.

So here it is, the sad looking Jacob's Ladder. Contain yourself.


There was also a bag of four patch blocks, but not enough fabric to make any of the half square triangles. I must have lost count while I was making them. Maybe I can make something else out of them.


Creating a Convertible Sewing Room

One of my goals this year is to create a sewing room.  The problem is that none of our bedrooms are really big enough.  I used to have a desk and bookcase in a bedroom but not only was the space cramped, there was no place to put everything when a daughter came for a visit.  The desk was against a wall so working with a large quilt was difficult.  Still, I decided I would make that 7x10 foot space work.  It did annoy me that there was so little space for my sewing when the living room was unused and practically empty.  Hubby said to make the living room into my sewing room, but I didn't want that to be the first thing visitors see when they walk in the front door.  I suggested moving the dining table back in there and using the dining room as my sewing room.  He didn't like that idea at all.

Then, inspiration struck.  What if I could build a sewing table, cutting table, and side work table that folded up, nested inside each other, and could be moved out of the way when we needed a living room?

When it is a living room:

And when it is sewing room:

I already had the cabinets on the back wall.  They have housed everything from stereo and tv to china, and now they'll hold my stash, sewing machines, and office stuff.  I  had neatly folded fabric and lined it up on a couple of the shelves, in order by color.  It looked great.  Then, everyone decided to come here for Christmas and I stuffed every loose item, sewing related or not, into every crevice so now it looks like a hoarder's closet.  And in a way, that's exactly what it is, I don't why I have half that stuff.  Luckily, Institches with Bonnie is having a 15 minute organization challenge so I plan on getting that straightened out just as soon as I have a place to put it.

I also had the corner chair already.  It's a recliner that got kicked out of the family room due to lack of space.  Saturday, I bought the wood to make the sewing table; Sunday, we found the other two chairs on craigslist.  So it's finally beginning to come together.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Stash Report, Week 1

It's been over a year since I joined the stash report at Patchwork Times.  I didn't think I was getting anything out of posting a report there, but I've noticed in the last year, and last six months especially, that I've gotten really sloppy with my stash.  So maybe posting there really did help me even if no one ever looked at my post.

I hadn't thought of posting a stash report until the last couple of days, and had to look back to see when I last bought fabric.  December 31, 2014.  I almost had to report fabric in on the very first report.  Whew!  That was close.

I measured and inventoried most of my fabric last year.  Listed on the report are all the fabrics which are folded on my shelves.  My goal this year is to use an average of five yards per month, so my stash is reduced by 60 yards by the end of the year.  But since I'm starting with a stash total of 265.09, what I'd really like to see by the end of December is a total under 260.

So here  we go, a fresh start for 2015.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

My UFOs and a Plan to Finish Them

Originally posted on Wordpress.

Melissa from Sew BitterSweet Designs and Shanna from Fiber of All Sorts host a monthly, or rather bi-monthly, linky party for the sole purpose of naming a UFO to finish and then showing the finish.  Just the thing I need to help me finish these long-neglected UFOs.

The UFO I plan to finish for January is one I call Showtime!  It is a tee-shirt quilt from my eldest daughter's tee-shirts.  Due to it's size and bulk, I sent it out to be quilted and now all I have left is the binding and label.

Here are the UFO Quilts I want to complete this year.

1.  Showtime!
I last showed it when the top, or flimsy, was completed. (When did quilters start calling them flimsies anyway?) I'd like to have it finished by next Thursday so I can take it to quilt group.

2. Baby Bow
I think it is ready to be quilted.

3. Gairdin Walk
It is also ready to be quilted.

4.  Trip Around the World
Still just a finished top at this point.

5.  FriendsWhoHaven'tMet

6. Depression Block
I think I still have to finish putting blocks together.

7. Christmas Among Friends
I can't believe these swap blocks date back to 2007. And they are still just blocks.

8. Denim Cathedral Window
I have a long way to go on this one, but all the denim circles are cut and it's a quilt as you go type quilt at least.

9. Star Travel
This one may not get done this year. It's in my travel kit.

10. Second Saturday Sampler
This was a block of the month from the local quilt store, with one block still unfinished.

11. Jacob's Ladder
So old that it predates my first blog post.