Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Star Quilt, center out

     Making baby quilt can be a lot of pressure when it is for your own grandchild. My daughter is having her first in June. I had a hard time picking a pattern but settled on Blue Carolina Starburst from Fort Worth Studio. I liked the simple star. I found fabric I liked from Hawthorne Threads (digitally printed). I read the pattern over multiple times and I changed how it was put together. 
     I decided to start from the inside to outside assembly. I also did not cut squares and draw lines on the diagonal. I find that I cannot reliably sew 1/4" on either side of a diagonal line. I end up with lots of trimming. Using what I learned from Bonnie Hunter, I use the EZ Angle ruler, strips 1/2" wider than the finished size, and cut the triangles. I can line up the cut edge against my sewing guide and get the seams I need. I did not have to trim up any of the triangles, they were all perfect sewn this way. 
First cut, at 5 1/2", right sides together of strips
Flip the ruler like a hinge, and second cut

First round
Second Round
Third Round
     Another technique I used to be more accurate, is use the fork pins I bought at Lancaster. If I put the pins on either side of the seams, they come out perfect, right on. If I try to nest them and hold them, they nudge. If I try and use regular pins, they shift. I wanted these star points perfect and the fork pins work like a charm. I have another round of triangles to go!
Fork pins at either side of seam intersections on a tiny wonky star block

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Tiny Finish

     Every year friends of mine, the Twins, quilt all the quilts for Camp Gold Star and Camp Purple- free camps for kids whose parent is serving in the military or made the supreme sacrifice. Each child chooses a quilt. My guild makes a bunch for them. The Twins quilt our tops and we put the bindings on our own quilts. 
     I did the Disappearing Nine Patch Lattice for a workshop I taught our guild last fall on quick scrappy quilts. After the Twins quilted it, I did the binding. The backing is from Ikea. I have another quilt to put the binding on yet as I am still slow getting things done.


Thursday, May 3, 2018

Where I have been

     For about 10 years, my husband and I planned to visit a few national parks in the Southwest. He did a raft trip in the Grand Canyon nine years ago. Four years ago we cancelled due to stuff going on at my husband's job. In February, due to the heart attack, it looked like I would never get to go. However, after a year of planning and budgeting, last week I made it to Zion, Bryce and the Grand Canyon. I came home with about 500 photos which I am going through and labeling. I have never been out west- I live in Buffalo, NY. We flew into Las Vegas (not a fan), picked up a rental car, drove to Zion, drove through Zion (white knuckle ride over the Mount Carmel road and tunnel- what,  they don't believe in guardrails?), spent two days at Bryce Canyon, drove a long way to the Grand Canyon for three days, another long drive through Sedona and flew home on the red eye from Phoenix.
    I have never seem so much land- arid, rocky, empty, vast. Everything is hours drives. I loved the Parks- the driving and distances, not so much. When we got to Bryce, it was late afternoon, and when I made the short hike to the rim, I was absolutely struck. I fell to my knees and just sobbed. I could not believe I was given the opportunity to live and see this:
 Once I get the pictures labeled and sorted I will post some. No matter what, you can't capture the vast gorgeousness in a photo. I did have problems with the altitude at Bryce (8,000 to 9,200'- I live at 560') resulting in breathing difficulties and heart pain. From the plane rides and driving, I managed to  pinch a nerve in my hip which meant limping for the entire trip. So, in addition to cardio rehab 3 times a week, now I am in PT. Yikes.
  The only quilty thing I could manage was to buy some printed fabric to make a memory quilt. The company, has them for all the parks, although they only sold them at Bryce. I will buy some others online.
     Unfortunately, we passed through Sedona on a Sunday and the two quilt stores were closed.
     I think I have recovered from the time difference and planes, and can hopefully get sewing. Very grateful for this chance to see something that can't even be adequately described. How in the world could I make any quilts that could capture the colors, majesty and scale of these magnificent creations?

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Floral quarter squares

     Because of Debbie, I am on a quest to make a quilt of floral quarter square log cabin blocks of 2" strips. I have been collecting and cutting 2" floral strips. I have tried to keep them organized, but as soon as I start pulling them out, they make a huge mess. Instead of designing one a time and sewing them, I am using the freezer paper method to cut out and arrange the strips on a freezer paper square, press, and then stack them for sewing later. Last night at our guild circle time, I took the strip box and squares and laid out eight of them. Today, I had a couple of minutes in between things and sewed them. I added them to ones already sewn. Some slow progress.
Each block adhered to freezer paper square
I realize the bottom row middle is oriented wrong. Next picture will be better.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The next step

     I have sewn the whole OBW. Now, I have to decide what to do about the edges. I have hacked them off in previous quilts straight. I am wondering if I could sew in triangles and save the points.
     Would it be the same fabric as a border? What would the border be? Some kind of green to showcase the other colors? I think a solid would die against a busy inside. Not having a LQS to drag the quilt to and try things out is hard. Online, it is hard to decide because of color and scale issues. I would like to finish the whole thing and be done. Finishing a quilt has ground to a halt since the heart attack, and I want to chalk up a win real bad.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Inch by inch

     Slow progress on the OBW. Sewing it together is not a quick process. I am careful to match seams and press everything open to reduce the bulk of seams intersecting. I have to say my life is changed after finding the fork pins at Lancaster. One pin holds the seam intersection totally in place, goes in easily as they are very thin and sharp, and are a dream to use. Too soon to think what in the world will be the border.
What is left to sew
Pressing open all the seams, the lengthwise ones are next

Top part all sewn, bottom to go!

Inspiration in the cold, snow and gray

     Sometimes you just have to seek out some colors and life to keep your spirit up when it snows in April. Even if it means going to a foreign country. Fortunately, we live close to Canada and the wonderful Butterfly Conservancy. The Botanical Gardens that surround it are quite dead looking now, but the glass domed building was warm (hot), humid, and colorful with thousands of brightly painted creatures flitting around.
    We took the grandkids there and soon all of us were smiling. The butterflies landed on us, buzzed us and generally lifted our heads up. I tried to photo groups flying around, but the photos would blur with motion.
    I really want to make a grand butterfly quilt to capture the feeling of wonder.

Atop my husband's head!

Totally camo
And just as we were leaving, one came and said goodbye to Jolene.