Monday, December 30, 2013

Quilting Update

I finally found the right lighting to show off the quilting on the back of the USA quilt. 
I am currently on block #15 of 50.  I will go back afterwards and add some fill stitching between the blocks.

My other accomplishment of the weekend was indexing the past 3 years of blog entries and updating my  Finished Project Page 

I also updated the Works in Progress Page.
While it is true that I have more than the 19 UFO's that I have posted there, these are the only ones that have photographic proof and providence that they exist.  I will admit to others as needed.  

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Progress Report Dec 28

Amy's quilt, aka Bonus Quilt 2 is pieced.

Interestingly, I hung this upside down from the way that I designed it.  I kind of like it better.  In fact, I was planning to do machine stitched lines from top to bottom as it hangs in this photo.  But now I think I might quilt it left to right.  The flimsy finished 74" x 85".  It'll shrink a fair bit as I plan on a cotton batting and fairly close stitching.  That will have to wait, however, as I only have 1 set of basting pins and I'll have to make more progress on the USA quilt to free them up.

Speaking of which, I am extremely pleased with my progress.  I'm working on the outline and first echo quilting on each block.  This is #10 (from the back).  That seems really fast to me.  But all things are relative.

I have added a sidebar to my blog to track my progress on UFO's.  It is my goal for 2014 to clear off 10 of these before I start a couple applique projects that I really, really, really want to do.  I am embarrassed to admit that I have at least 30 quilting UFOs, so I may end up finishing things not on the original list first.   But I am trying really, really, hard to stay focused.

As I saw on a Face Book Poster: " Ask me about my attention deficit disorder or pie or my cat. A dog. I have a bike. Do you like TV? I saw a rock.  Hi! "

Monday, December 23, 2013

USA Quilting 1

I got my least favorite part of the quilt process done yesterday - the sandwiching of the layers.

I was going to use a white backing, but the fabric I had available was white-on-white one of which was too thin and the other to painty. I opted for a red Ikea cotton sheet that I had already pre-washed, but needed ironing.

While I was wishing that I had some really white batting in the stash, it occurred to me that easy stitching was priority because of all the piecing.  I decided to use another piece of the wool I've been saving.  Interestingly, I think that the patterning of the white-on-white backgrounds stands up more with that cream colored layer.

I also discovered at this point that despite my careful stitching, the outer border has a little bit of a wave to it.  It's the result of having a bias edge of triangles all around the outside.  That problem should quilt out with this somewhat lofty batting.

I pin basted and started with a block near the center.

Windblown Square for North Dakota

Algonquin Square for Rhode Island.

After the outline stitching, I plan to do some echoing like this but in a way that merges with or flows to the stitching of the next block.
Third finished block for Sunday was Salt Lake City, for Utah (obviously).

 You may remember from a previous post on this quilt, that there are several rows that got off-grid from the others.  I can see now that there's going to be some clever stitching to camouflage the problem.

This block, for example is about 1/4" smaller than the one below it, but lined up on the right side. It's only noticeable when you try to line up the center points of each block.   A little "fool the eye" quilting and no one will notice.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bonus Quilt 1

I have been plugging away on sewing up the red scraps from the USA quilt donations.  I had imagined this quite differently, with 12x16  rectangles.  However, I started running low on fabrics and decided to try to organize them in rows of similar widths, 12-13" wide.  I swear that I started this process with 25 blocks...but somewhere in the process I think 2 of the smaller blocks got sewn together.

My new plan is to arrange the blocks into rows of similar widths as I did with the Blue Damn Rube quilt.  I'll be using white sashing.

And I picked a winner.

Amy, this quilt is for you. (If you want it.)
Amy sent heart fabric from Virginia for this quilt, and has been a long time blog follower who always leaves encouraging comments that keep me motivated!


Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas!

FMQ Feathers

I have issues with feathers.

My issue is that I don't like traditional feathers.

So I don't make them.

Therefore, when I think I might want to make some, I have no experience and they look like $#@&.

I spent some time trying to work out the flow.

There was A LOT  of erasing while I tried to sort out how to shift directions.

I did the first practice pass with an orange pen, trying to get into a rhythm.  I figured out that my groove is top to bottom and left to right.

It helps me to identify the spot on the inside curve where I need a "circle" to wrap the opposite direction feathers around.

For the next pass, I used a green pen and tried to focus only on the "spine" and focused on where things connected, letting the outer part flow on it's own.

I tried marking the spine of my practice block with a wash away marker but it wasn't noticeable on the dark green, so I used a yellow pencil on that side.

My final outcome was this.

When I was stitching it, everything felt smooth and amazing.  I tried to focus on ending the feathers in the same location to make heart shapes.

On close inspection, 30% of those feathers are still a little wonky.  And my effort to make a "stem" spine on the right just simply looks bad.

Oh well.


Monday, December 16, 2013

USA Pieced!

At long last, the USA quilt is finally pieced.  Every block, every sashing, every border stitched by hand. Most of the reds came from the state the block represents (I fudged a little to get it finished.) The blocks are in alphabetical order from the upper left.  I picked blocks that represented the state to me either symbolically or by name. (i.e. Card Trick for Nevada, Cowboy Star for Wyoming.)
Of course it was dark last night when I finished, and this morning was freezing fog.  At last, there's a picture, though I wish the lighting was better.

Even though it wasn't on my "official" I-Will-Finish UFO list, I spent last night's football game hand piecing a stack of HST for the 1st bonus quilt from the leftover reds.  I added 28 to the pile.

There are about 200 already joined into 12" finished blocks like these 4.

I think I concluded at one point that I'd need close to 2000 squares.  This  used to be my waiting room /  staff meeting project.  But now my daughter drives her self to appointments and I quit the job with eternal staff meetings.  I may have to make it a goal to stitch a few squares every day until it's finished.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Little Bits

Yesterday I hand stitched the corner blocks on the USA quilt.  Today's goal is to finish adding on these outer borders.

The new white-on-white fabric that I bought at Hancock Fabric this fall is shockingly thin.

I need to buy a new Red Pigma to darken the info I wrote on each block before I sandwich this top together to quilt it.

I also pulled out a panel of the Fall FMQ quilt.

I freehand drew a few flowers and a leaf from the Ojibwe quilt to try some fill ideas.

My first attempt didn't go very well, so in the sober light of day, I re-stitched the leaf outline.

I used a variegated thread that is yellow/gold/brown for the flowers and leaf, then changed to a yellow/pale yellow variegated when I did the pebbling.

I don't think that I like variegated thread.  I think that I say this every time that I use it.  And yet, I keep trying it and trying to convince myself to like it.

It is better with dense quilting like this though.

Back to whittling away at my UFO pile, little bits at a time.

Monday, December 9, 2013


At long last, the Mayan Heron quilt is finished and delivered to my dear friend Barb.  I hope she uses it literally as a hug every time she needs one as she sorts out life without Dan.

It was my first quilt using wool batting, and I posted the details of what I thought about that as well as more pictures at Celebrate Hand Quilting.

I have been cooking a lot.  Not hot, sexy gourmet meals though.  I've been using my Nutrition Blog to post a series of recipe of Cheap, Fast, Healthy foods as well as ideas for batch cooking to save money.

I am sick and tired of people telling me it is too expensive to eat healthy.  These ideas are my rebuttal.

The most recent posts are breakfast ideas that are under 30g carbohydrate, a challenge for my clients who have Gestational Diabetes. (Hormones make them very resistant to their own insulin in the morning and most traditional breakfast foods skyrocket blood glucose.)

Take a peek and follow if you're interested.
  Although fabric is a line item in the budget, in 2014 I have pledged to stop all recreational fabric buying.  That means no shop hops.  No bike runs for fabric. (Which is really a shame since I duped a half dozen hard core bikers into stopping in front of the quilt shop in Joseph OR last year on the ruse we should stop at the brew pub across the street.)

In my quilt project binder, I have hand written lists of UFO, WIP and planned projects.  This series was dated 10-27-10 and have been updated a couple times.  There's also a list dated 8-2-2009 with 15 items. 3 of the existing UFOs are on that list and 4 have been abandoned.

Records have helped me to realize that I only finish 1-2 hand work quilts for every 6 machine projects. Which explains why my UFO list is so long.
 I am going public on my goal list in hopes it keeps me focused.

USA quilt.
* Needs corners and a border hand pieced on.
* Sandwich batting & baste
* Hand quilt.

Time frame: NOW -it's cold outside, perfect for hand quilting.  Still American Football playoffs then Winter Olympics.

Goal finish date: March

Bonus Quilt.

These are the leftover reds that people sent to help with the USA quilt.  I already picked the winner, then lost momentum.   This is a good evenings project since it is easy to work on an hour or 2 at a time without losing where I'm at.

Time frame: Nowish.  Putter away at it when there isn't anything interesting on TV
Goal finish date: March also.

Fall Strips.

This is a Quilt As You Go project that I planned to practice FMQ as well as use up some scraps.  I actually have an intended recipient.  Now that I have the Singer set up as a designated FMQ machine, I think I can work on this alternating with the Bonus Quilt over the next few months.   I mostly want to work out designs for the Ojibwe Applique.

Betty Jeanne

This quilt I started at the same time I started the USA quilt using the same size blocks, but a collection of blue and white blocks machine pieced to represent topics of my mom's life.  It was supposed to be a gift for her 80th b-day.  I missed it.

Time frame: as soon as bonus quilt is finished.  Blocks have to be designed as well as pieced so this will take some time.

Dewberry Star

I made this from some gifted Joel Dewberry fabrics.  Backing is also prepped.  Just needs to be sandwich based and FMQ.  Intended as a gift for a niece.

Jessica Rabbit

OK, by this point I will be going absolutely batty because I haven't gotten a chance to do any applique.  My reward will be starting my self portrait quilt for my hubby.  In case you missed that post, Jessica says "I'm not really bad, I'm just drawn that way." 

Puce Treuse Goose, on Spruce

There will come a point around here where I will need some straight, walking foot quilting and I will finish the Puce and Chartreuse, Flying Goose which has a Spruce backing.  (Technically it's a pine branch fabric but I dare you to call my bluff to my face.)

And to really drag one out of the archives, I might actually finish the QR code quilt.  Which I started years before I had a "smart phone" cuz I just thought it looked cool.

If I am still alive at this point, all efforts go into finishing Monet.

No wait, I need to finish the Terrece Beasley Popsicles Momsicles that I was granted executive permission to reproduce as a quilt. (or I could give up and just buy the $2000 original watercolor.)  Nope.  I'm moving the Terrece before Monet.

Interestingly, one of the most re-pinned and attributed to my blog is this Ojibwe inspired applique that I started in 2005 and finished in 2011.  I really wanted to highlight this with bold quilting and I'm glad that I waited as long as I did.  I think that my FMQ skill are improving to the point I would really do this justice.

Perhaps Alex Veronelli will be skulking the blogs and offer me some thick Aurifill thread to quilt this with.  Based on what I've seen on Google+, he's a total stalker and will show up if I post #Aurifil,  "I love Alex Veronelli"  #VeronelliRocksMyWorld #AurifilMakesMeBreatheHeavy #WindMeUpWithAurifil

Sunday, December 1, 2013


I had an unexpected detour in my November plans.  Brother #2 was scheduled for a routine pacemaker placement Nov 11th. Didn't go as well as planned and we made the 280 mile trek to visit him the weekend of the 16th.  Heart looked OK then, but had severe pain.  The next week was a cascade of organ failures and on the 19th, mom got the "time to gather the family" directive.  By noon the 21st, sibs and kids had gathered from throughout the country.  Which sufficiently freaked him out.   By the 27th, he was finally out of ICU.

I spent the week cooking.

There was a "bread stuffing" vs "cornbread stuffing" smack down with Brother #1.

A complete clearing and gutting of Bro #2's house to make it safe for his return.

And the scheduled delivery of several quilts.    After the planned delivery for 2 nephews, Bro #3 claimed this one for himself.

Not the Thanksgiving we had planned. But not bad overall.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Wine Tote

I was thinking it would be nice to make a bag to deliver a "get well" bottle of wine for a friend.

Clearly that spiraled out of control when I found a tutorial at Needle and Spatula.

I was going to do some cute free motion quilting, but the walking foot was on the machine, so straight lines it is.

It's pretty straight forward, though the double layer of batting did cause quite a lot of shrinkage, so my final cut out was 6.25 - a bit smaller than the directions.  I also ignored the step of cutting out the oval on each piece before stitching.  It makes more sense to sew the front to back at the oval and keep the lining loose per the directions.

The whole thing went together in about an hour.  Only negative about the directions is that I'd like to know what the final dimensions were supposed to be after quilting and before assembly.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fooled Ya!

I continue to work on quilting the diamond border on the Heron quilt.  I decided on a larger version of the Sashiko style diamond that I used on the quilt that's on my blog header.  I increased my normal stitching length from about 15 to 12 stitches per inch in the hopes that the stitching would be more noticeable.  Unfortunately, when I'm not paying attention, I revert back so the stitches are sometimes less pronounced than I'd planned.
There are places where the diamond grid got skewed as I was trying to match bottom to sides.  This didn't worry me though since I learned the last time I did this fill that you can fool the brain into thinking it's all the same.  This is one of the most wonky diamonds.  Instead of the sides being equidistant at 2.5" it is 2" one way and 3" the other.  By having that end diamond finish the same size as the others, you don't notice the difference unless you are really, really looking for it.    After I finish this corner (where the difference is mostly) I'll take some better pictures (better light and with my camera instead of phone) to prove the point.