Sunday, August 29, 2010

More State Blocks

I finished a few blocks this weekend.  This is "Southern Belle".  The red/gold fabric was sent by Anne at Film and Thread.  I am so thankful that she was one of the first who answered my request for fabrics.  I contemplated about a dozen different designs for Alabama, then took the easy way out.

Lynne at Quilting in the Pines sent this fabric from Montana.     I just found out that she also bought some Minnesota and North Dakota fabric while she was on vacation.  THANKS!  This is "Delectable Mountains".   I'm hoping that we can meet in person in a few weeks when Harley Dude and I have weekend get-away planned not far from where she lives.

The most amazing fabric I received was from Debbie's cousin Marti who lives in Alaska.  I tried a couple variations of "Bear Paw" before I  opted for this size to show off the bear motif.

About a week ago, I started begging individuals for fabric rather than sending out general requests.  Family and friends have really jumped to help, and I received several care packages including ones from California, New Mexico & Maryland.  Promises have been made from Washington and Vermont.  I am thinking that I need to think of a project to make with all my scraps and then enter all the donors into a drawing for someone to win...ahh...whatever it is I make.  Maybe something along the lines of a 9-patch? States Still Needed:  AR, CT, GA, MA, MS, NC, RI, SC, SD, VA

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I have either made amazing progress, or squandered an entire day of quilting...depending on your perspective.

I live in a small house.  That means that I don't have the luxury of a "studio" or craft room.  This is the East wall of Skater Girl's room, taken earlier this spring.   (As a point of disclosure, there are 15 more large tubs of fabric and 7 of notions in the garage.)

Rewind 6 years....the girls shared a bedroom and the 3rd bedroom was used as a playroom/studio.  We had the toys, musical instruments, crafts, dress up, sewing, fabric stash, scrap books, etc in one room.  Then Guitar Girl hit 6th grade and insisted that they needed separate rooms. 

(Hmmm...the bass is missing in this pic...need to talk to the boyfriend.)  

The compromise was that all sewing materials would go to Skater Girl's room.  Painting, Music and Misc Crafts to Guitar Girl's.  

Shhhh! She doesn't know this photo was taken.  But this is the "clean room" version.  This is the "simple quilt, mom" that usually is black&white polka-dot backing up. 

I was watching an Oprah re-run this week with organizers and designers who said ...keep it simple and celebrate what you love. 

I realized that I had been using this corner of the living room for scrap book materials that I hadn't been working on...and I'd been piling quilting projects around it. 

I was up this morning at 6:30 am...shuffling stuff.  Then headed to the store shortly after to buy bins & bookshelves to replace the history storage (bankers boxes) and to swap out the scrapbook supplies to Skater Girl's room.  

That's a drop leaf table (with an ironing board you can access by flipping the center panel) that we bought on a trip to Louisiana when we were newlyweds and had shipped to Idaho.  Oh...but wait?  What is that big wooden box with the handle sitting on it?

Grandma Maple's sewing machine.  The one I learned to sew on.  I suspect it's circa 1930's.  I've owned it since I was a teen but haven't used it since it was replaced with a 1970's Kenmore.  Single, forward stitch only (no reverse).  I was hoping I could plug it in and rock...but there's an alignment issue with the bobbin.  Totally worth the maintenance fee to keep this lovely set up in my living room.

This is where I'm at now.  I've moved the thread and the small yardage quilt fabric to the right tower drawers.  Two of the baskets on top are from a regional weaver Marianne of Brigham City, UT - gifts from my BFF Anna.  I used the much acclaimed 6" ruler method of folding the large yardages on the bottom shelf.  Those are the fabrics for projects that I'm planning...and I'm hoping that seeing the will spur me on.  The center pile is preferred background fabric.  The 10 bins to the right and left are specific  projects.  USA quilt, Chris & Monte's quilt, Scraps, Dragonfly, Hillary's Quilt, Popsicles/Momsicles, Monet, Seashells, plus one of all background...and a box with random fabrics I want to use in a specific quilt rather than keeping in the stash.  
I haven't sewn a stitch today. Drat.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Busy Week

It has been a busy week with Guitar Girl's finals, Skater Girl's first day of  8th grade, my start of a new semester, and our 20th wedding anniversary.
I managed to get a few stitches into the JC.  I'm very pleased with the additional row of stitching on the petals.  I was worried that the teal thread would be too much contrast on the pink or green petals, but the stitches are small enough that it isn't a problem.  And as busy as the front side is, the back will be teal with white striped triangles.  It's very important to me that this quilt be completely reversable with a much different feel on each side.

I noticed yesterday, that I had started to get a good sized stack of the HST blocks in my purse project bag, so this morning I ironed and trimmed them.  I'm up to 32 blocks now.

My weekend plans have changed....I managed to get out of going to Harley Dude's class reunion by planning a camping trip with the daughters.  But now it's going to storm all weekend and there are forest fires where we were going to go.  I may get to quilt after all :)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Summer Slow-Down

The summer quilting binge is nearly at an end.  I spent this week getting ready for the fall semester, and preparing a graduation BBQ for Guitar Girl.

Admittedly, I did spend more money than usual on the flour for the cakes, just so I could have this genuine flour sack fabric.

I fixed the quilt that's on the quilt frame and have been stitching "in the ditch" around each of the petals. Last night I was trying to convince myself to stop there.  But as you can see, I was unsuccessful.  The white fabric is a cotton sheet, and I know from past experience that it has a lot of wrinkle to more quilting will add a wonderful texture.  My plan is to keep all the lines heading the same direction - and they are all on the diagonal to the overall quilt.  I'm still trying to talk myself out of stitching 1/2" inside the petals, blue thread (that matches the back) for all.

I finished the Florida block (Orange Peel) with fabric sent by my high school friend Melani, that she and her daughter Brie picked out.

Also, early in the project I was inspired by the leaders & enders approach and decided I could do something similar with hand work.  As I cut out the pieces for each block, I use some of the leftovers to make 3 7/8 squares.  Then marked the 1/4" sewing lines.   Cut them apart, pressed them to the red side and trimmed them up.

So when I'm done with the State quilt, I'll have a second quilt that will look something like this.

Well, back to BBQ prep for me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This and That

Somehow I managed to stay busy all weekend quilting without really having much to show for it.

I hand pieced a few more of these blocks from the fabric that Nadine sent while watching Saturday morning cooking shows.  I'm up to 16 and will be making 25.

When my fingers got tired from sewing, I cut out a few more hexies from fabric I bought on the Epic Road Trip, and glue basted this stack.

But that got boring, so I drafted more state blocks on the computer.

And hand pieced North Wind for Illinois.

Farmer's Daughter for Nebraska.

( I finally got brave and used a red Pigma pen to write the block name and state on all the finished blocks. )

And Cowboy Star for Wyoming.

(I'm quite proud of the fussy cutting on this one. The fabric says "Ranch Raised"  "Hey Cowboy" "Ropes" and "Boots". )

But then Guitar Girl took over my computer for her on-line class so I decided to move on to another project.

Which involved sewing the back for the Joseph's Coat quilt out of these fabrics.

And pulling the quilt frame out of its hiding place and setting it up.  Unfortunately, I didn't find the directions along with the pieces and parts. Although I managed to get the frame together correctly, I knew at the time that I hadn't put the quilt on the frame quite right...and the solution didn't come to me until I was in the shower the next morning.   I need to swap the location of the back and middle bars, which will be fairly easy to do w/o removing the fabric as long as there are 4 people involved in the process.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Trash to Treasure?

Nadine at Quilted Bliss, recently had a give away of her bits and pieces, with the goal of clearing out her stash so she could move on to new projects.  Apparently, my I-never-win-anything-good streak has ended and I received a delightful packet of fabric scraps this weekend.  There were actually 3 packets, but 2 were in colors similar to the first pic.  Much to my delight there were some batiks, which quickly moved in with the rest of my gang.   I was feeling quite guilty that she had spent a small fortune mailing these goodies to me from the UK.  So I decided that I needed to immediately jump into action.
I started by estimating that this set could be cut into 25 small blocks that range in the size of 1.5"-4.5".  I just happen to have some Kona cottons in theses colors that I bought for the Colored Columbine project.  My vision is to "mat" each of the blocks with a color, then "frame" them each with black.  Then sash between the frames & bind with red for a 60x60 finished quilt (5x5 blocks).  Of course...that may change as it all goes together.  And since Nadine is a hand-piecer, I too am doing this all by hand.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Broken Glass/ Melting Ice

Saturday night, I finished the 3rd panel, which turned out to be wider than the previous two, but the same length.  Too narrow for a quilt.  After some contemplation, I decided I kind-of liked the rugged edge and that gave me an idea.

Sunday morning, I tried a different technique.  Instead of thinking of making a strip, I set about making several centers then making them fit together.  On my left leg are the sections that are already pieced.  On the right, the bits with short strips of fabric.

On the floor, I sorted the piles into medium length strips and long strips.  This seemed to make piecing go more quickly.  When it got bigger than the long strips, it was declared "done".

After adding a couple strips, I'd iron then trim the fabric.  (These steps were in a different room...according to my pedometer I walked nearly 2 miles yesterday.)
And this is the result.  I sewed the strips together, then onto a piece of white fabric.  At the recommendation of my daughter, I may add a few random blocks breaking away from the others on the white.

The blue scraps are nearly used up, but there's still a big pile of the white, JC remnants.  Need to think of another project.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

East Meets West

Ta-Da!  Here's my finished sashiko experiment.
At this distance it's quite lovely.  Up close, you can see the irregularity of the stitches caused by the gigantic needle and rope really thick thread it was pulling.  I enjoy seeing this kind of work, but I don't anticipate ever doing it again.  I do, however, love the  quilt patterns and will try reproducing them with quilt thread and tiny needles.

The fabric on the inside is actually a flour sack.  Really.  I was at the grocery store and saw flour in a fabric sack.  I justified the higher price of the flour because of the yard of fabric that came with it.  I won't show you close ups of the won't win any awards on the inside corners.  As a quilter, I rock at outside corners...but what is the secret to inside corners?  And there wasn't quite enough of the of the white-on-white fabric 2" there's a different fabric for the top flap.

And now you can see the purpose of the project.  It's a quilt block holder for my 6.5" USA state blocks.  I only have 4 done, but have fabric from many of the states thanks to friends...and a long road trip.  I'm using the blue dragon-fly pin to hold the packet together.

Keep and eye on my USA quilt page, and let me know if you can send me fabric from my "missing" states.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Mid-day progress

Here was my first round of additions.  It was at this point, I put them on the floor at the junction of Skater Girl's bedroom (where the sewing machine is), the living room (where the iron is set up) and the dining room (where the cutting mat is).  And I realized that if I kept adding strips on the left and the right, it would look different than the section where I was building a block in rounds.  Yea, yea.  I know that no one else would notice, but it was bugging me.
So I set about to build a block then figure out how to put them together.  I happened to be walking by with a section and realized it was the perfect angle for the left side of the top strip, and the next block serendiptously matched the angle of the right side AND left me with a right angle edge on the right.  How cool is that?
By lunch time, I'd put together this much.  And had Annie Lennox singing "Broken Glass" going through my head.  (If I was really techo-cool, I'd have figure out how to get it to play when you open the'll have to settle on clicking on the link.)  {hey..isn't that Hugh Laurie from "House" in the video?}
I have a couple other challenges to sort through this afternoon.  Time to go buy beer and spray starch.

And now for something completely different...

The downside to the Joseph's Coat technique that I used, is that you end up with a huge pile of cut away scraps.  (This is about 1/2 of the total)
The biggest pieces are 3" wide and 9" on the long end. Smaller ones as narrow as 1.5.  I spent a lot of time last summer trying to come up with a plan for using them up.

And I came up with a crazy quilt variation that I wanted to try.  My vision was of  Spring Thaw on a frozen lake.  Chunks of ice floating on the water...just before it all sinks and disappears.

 I started by sewing the leftovers from the Double Irish Casserole to one side of the white scraps.  It was at this point that I'd read an article on Leaders & Enders, and sewed a bunch of these while I was finishing up the Pinwheel quilt.

Then yesterday, feeling inspired by posts by Quilhexle's improv project and Root Connection's Gee's Bend inspired quilt, I decided to start sewing pieces together and see what happened.

Being as how I'm no good at random, I sorted the sets into 5 piles with the intention to divide the prints up a little all over the finished quilt.  I put a pile under my chair with the goal of pulling pieces randomly & blindly, and finding a way to make it work.

So I'd test drive a piece, then cut a straight edge so I'd know where they went together.

I ended up starting a second set so I could leave one on the sewing machine while I messed with the other.

I allowed myself one do-over if the piece I grabbed didn't really work.  And as the piece got larger, decided I needed to have the option of working in a scrap or two of the blue or the white that wasn't paired up.

So this is what it is starting to look like.  I've added the pins to remind me what my top and bottom sides are (a random decision).
The goal is Crazy Strips, 12.5" high.  The width will be dictated by the pile of scraps that I'm pulling from.
It's not at all what I imagined it to look like.  But I like it.

I've taken over Skater Girl's bedroom for this project, so I better hurry and finish before she gets home Wed.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Day Old Jelly Rolls

Took this photo while on vacation because it made me giggle.  I think it was at Miller's Dry Goods in Charm, Ohio. (If you had grown up there, you really would have gone to Charm School....)

Monday, August 2, 2010


Lis insisted " give sashiko a try, it's so relaxing to do".  So I did.  And I find it to be like peeling a pear with a meat cleaver.  

I'm so used to using size 11 and 12 quilting and applique needles...the type that are so small that you have to use silk thread because regular thread is so fat.  Then I get a wild hair and decide to buy #5 pearl cotton.  After 5 attempts, I find an embroidery needle that allows me to stitch more than 3inches at at time without saying bad words and putting my hand on ice to recover from the fatigue.  

Odds are reasonable that I'll finish this attempt.  But I don't think that I am destined to be a Sashiko Master. .

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hexi Progress

Since the JC is finally done, I can turn my attention back to other handwork projects.  I added another 84 hexies to Rita's quilt over the past couple days.  This will be the upper right corner of the quilt with green/pink resuming under the blue section.  I may add a little more green to the right side as well.

To see what this may look like when it's done, check out the Antique Inspiration  that's posted on The Quilt Index.