Saturday, December 16, 2017

Trying the stars in Inklingo

     I came across Inklingo a couple of times over the years, but did not have the focus to go through all the webpages to figure it out. Motivated by possibly making Passacaglia by not using English Paper Piecing (I can hardly look at the words), I found Inklingo again. It tried the free shapes and made the two stars. I was able to machine piece them. The yellow fabric was sent to me by Linda from Inklingo printed. I then printed on the white with black. Easy to print. I bought the Handbook. Now I have to decide whether to buy some more diamonds to make stars or take the plunge with Passacaglia and the Millifiori book. Will I be able to handsew (so I can have some portable sewing) or do I stick to machine sewing only?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Straightening it out

     I am helping a woman get back on track with quilt blocks that have been in a bag for years. When I put them up on my design wall, it took a while to figure out it was two quilts set on point. Don't ask how long that took me. I am patient when I am working on my own quilts, otherwise, not so much. Character flaw. One of many.
     Then, to make sure no one would have to go through that again, I sewed one up and put numbers on every block and row on the the sewn one and laid out the other, numbered it correspondingly for her to sew. Then, I packed up the whole shebang and gave it back. I told her a border would be in order. Another one out the door.
Back months and months ago without sashing. I had cut the sashing for her and she attached it.
2nd one laid out, keyed numbers
Quilt No. 1 sewn. Oh, figuring those corner triangles!
All labeled to act as a key for the other quilt

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Winter Wonderland- Enjoy!

     I know it is cold. I know it is gray a lot and sloppy sometimes. I know driving is iffy at times. So what. What could be better than going to cut down the family Christmas tree at a tree farm in the hills south of Buffalo with 2 grandkids who love to throw themselves around in the snow? Hmm, nothing. So, I will let you in on it.
Ahh, fresh powder snow!
My snow angel is the best!
Finally one that Grandma approves of
Papa, I don't think you two are cutting it straight
Can you say "Timber"?
Making the long trek back to the car!
One more flop in the snow to make sure we are totally soaked and frozen.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Painted Quilt Tribute

     Ever since I saw the photo of Wanda on her blog, I knew I needed to paint it as a tribute. I knew it needed some of her quilts in it. It took a lot of time, thought, and "piecing", but I am very pleased with the tribute to Wanda- one of the greatest influences and star of my quilting life.  It is watercolor about 11 x 14. I hope I don't have to watermark it to keep it from being pirated.
     Thanks for looking at my "quilts". I notice a thread on the painting after it was all cropped and all. I will have to reshoot it when the sun comes out.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Kevin's Mystery sewn up

     I finally finished Kevin's mystery quilt, Sapphire Stars.  I made some changes to the original. I did not use the gray lattice, but opted for light blue. I changed the border so the piano keys ran all the way across and top to bottom. I was surprised how large it was. 
     I waited for a sunny day (Friday) and hauled my photo stand outdoors and set the quilt up. First, the bar had to go so high, it got tangled in the oak tree. Next, the breeze came up and knocked it over in different directions. I am sure the worker guys finishing up my husband's garage addition were laughing it up inside the garage. Hope they did not video it and put it on youtube. 
     Parts of the quilt were challenging, especially the yellow and blue triangles that had the blue strip in it. I think I would make them solid next time so the star where the blocks meet would be more prominent. I am so glad I finished. Thanks, Kevin for the experience!

Pineapple Blossom has bloomed!

     In October, I took 2 days of classes with Bonnie Hunter in Rochester, NY. One of the quilts was Pineapple Blossom, a free one on her blog. Even though it was the smaller quilt in her directions, I decided to add the "waste" HSTs for the border. I had to make a couple more. I did not realize until too late, that the quilt is not symmetrical top to bottom, so I did not sew the HST border in the right direction and ended up with yucky corners. Sigh. So, I ripped out the corner ones and replaced it with a whole neutral square- 4 corners worth. Fiddly stuff. 
Bad HST corners
Corners with squares auditioned, yes, ripping commence
     After straightening that out, I tried a whole chorus of border fabric- blues, greens, purples- and settled on a fabric I had just bought last week on clearance at a Black Friday Sale at a LQS. It says meow all over on it, kind of funny. I made all the meow words face up looking from the center. Once it was on the wall, I really, really like it- everything was scraps. Then I wished I would have made it larger, so maybe I will make another one. Very fun quilt!
Some border choices

Finished top

Friday, December 1, 2017

Painting Memories

     Besides being a quilter, I am also a watercolor painter. I keep going to classes to push myself further, and hopefully, improve. I love to paint flowers, landscapes and people in just the right pose and mood. I persuaded (bribed) my granddaughter, Jolene, to sit for this photo. I wanted to contrast her youth with the vintage machine and quilting melding them with a sense of creative joy. Watercolor paintings are hard to photo because of all the subtleness, but here she is- Jolene and the Singer 15 Tiffany decal parlor cabinet treadle.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

No scrap is safe!

     I have always loved the Scrappy Trips from Bonnie Hunter, a free pattern on her blog. I combed (ransacked) through all my strip bins for 18" x 2.5" strips. Six are needed per block and I need 30 blocks. I did not cut up WOF 2.5" strips, but used partial ones and I had to process more scraps that are in bags under my longarm just waiting to be liberated. This quilt certainly chews through lots of fabric scraps.
     I arranged the 6 strips and pinned them at the top in order of left to right. I made 2 extra sets (things happen). I stacked them in a plastic bin for safety from the cat, who likes to ransack strips. Finally, I was able to make 2 blocks to see how it looks. Only a bit of ripping, ironing seam direction is real important.

Trimming up, stacking up, go!

     When I first started quilting, I did not know (care) about trimming blocks when putting them together. The patterns I used did not mention it. However, after wrestling fabric into a top and losing, I started trimming. For HSTs, the Bloc Locs were wonderful. For squares, the Stripology Ruler makes it work. I am on the last round for another exploding squares quilt. I started with 4" squares. The last squares is 8".  I trimmed every sewn square before I put on another square. 
     My mom can sew the 4 edges, but I cut them open and trim and layer. I use washable Elmers glue in the 4 corners to hold the layers so there are no pins and so my speed demon mother cannot get them out of whack in the corners (I keep saying they are FEED dogs, not PUSH dogs to no avail).
     Anyways, I gave her the last round on Thanksgiving and you can see the slight slivers of fabric left which make a huge difference when I sew the blocks together (will need another last trim).

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Some finishes

     I completed my Christmas present pillowcases at the retreat and this week made significant progress on Sapphire Stars. I have to put a 2.5" navy border around the body and then attach the piano keys that are already sewn. I made some changes to the pattern so the piano keys attach to all sides instead of an awkward navy blue rectangle at the corners. You will see what I mean later.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Always keep learning

     Our guild sponsored a 2 days of classes with Karen Kay Buckley, We split her time with other guilds so we could split her expenses. The two other guilds had lectures and classes. I am not much into applique, mostly because my hand sewing is, um, lacking skill and I hate fusibles. Karen does not use fusible. She taught a machine applique class, Kansas Rose, and a hand one, Modern Dahlia. If you ever get a chance to see her, she is an excellent, superb, teacher. I did not finish either project and I will finish the hand one by machine.
   She taught us by using a heat resistant plastic called Templar and Magic Sizing painted on the seam allowance, to turn under the edges so the piece can be sewn on. In the machine applique class, we used clear YLI thread and a blindstitch at 8 stitch bites per inch to secure and I think it looks great. I laughed and laughed at the size of the needle and eye. In my wildest dreams, I don't think I could hand sew an entire block at 8 hand stitches an inch with this needle. 
   I have some other projects to finish before I get to these.
Leaves, stems and flower machine appliqued down with YLI clear

Ha, ha, tiny needle. My attempt at hand applique.

Both projects in process with fabric selection. I have excellent directions from Karen to finish.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Work, work, work retreat

     Our guild has two retreats per year from Thursday to Sunday. Last weekend was one and I spent a lot of time packing quilts that just needed assembly. I also cut 8 pillowcases and sewed all. I had a little project I called Phony Dresdens for the participants, another woman did hanger covers out of fleece and another did zipper pouches. So, lots to do. Someone cooks the food and cleans it up. It is of cafeteria quality, but I am not there to eat. There is always our snack table...
     I have been having issues getting photos off my camera card in the laptop. I have to keep taking it in and out many times before it registers- doesn't matter the camera card. I also miss Picmonkey since it went the pay monthly route and have been using Pixlr which does not have a white balance. I need to find a good editor with just the basics. So, doing the blog has become frustration. I was not able to get the pillowcases or projects off, so another time.
    First, the exploding squares. One quilt started with 6" center squares, the other with 4". When I got the 6" one home on the wall, I thought it needed a border and put one on. I think the 4" one may need another row although I have no more right now.
4" center square start
6" center square start
With 3" cut border

     I had some leftover squares from a MSQC pattern, Disappearing Hour glass, so I added some sashing and a border for another comfort quilt. I brought border fabric which did not work, but a visiting quilt store brought some yardage with a demo and I found the right one.

     The diagonal variations also was sewn and I decided to stay stitch 1/8" around the perimeter to help it stay truer when I put it on the long arm. Hope it helps.

     Alas, I could not assemble Sapphire Stars because I was short two blocks with yellow triangles. I know I made enough as I recounted them, but nowhere to be found. I made the two blocks last night and sewed the large large block so I can start sewing on the sashing.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Wild diagonals

     I have made this pattern before, but this time I used a black jelly roll I got on sale a while ago and a batik strip jelly roll sitting around. It is Diagonal Variations that I found at
My mom sewed the long strips- two sets- black color black, and color black color and then into a tube (sewn on the sides of the sets). I cut them into triangles that open up into squares. They sat for a while because I trimmed the last squares 1/4" smaller than the rest of them and could not make the decision to either make the quilt smaller or trim all the other squares. Finally, I trimmed them all and laid it out. It looks a bit wild.
    For the next 4 days I will be at a quilt retreat and hope to get this sewn together as well as other tops. They feed us, we sew and sleep- what is not to like about that?

All the trims

Friday, November 3, 2017

Mired in odd and ends

     I feel like I am slogging in slow motion. I am attempting to finish a whole bunch of languishing projects. I finished sewing our guild's mystery quilt and so the top is done. The reveal is not until January, so I am only showing the center block on the off chance someone from the guild looks at my blog. I am trying to cut and kit together about 9 other projects to take to our guild retreat next week so I all I will have to do is sew a lot of these UFOs together. So, math is involved and scrounging fabric and wondering what the heck I was doing the last time I worked on it. 

      Someone from the guild asked me to quilt her veterans quilt for our deadline on Monday. I sort of forced it in and for the life of me, I can not just quilt long lines all over. I chalk them in, and just can't do it- I have to add other things in each area. I used Military Gold glide. I did not trim it as she was going to trim and bind it. Hard to quilt someone else's quilt.

Sorry, not enough light to take a good photo of the back

Monday, October 30, 2017

Red White Blue Lightning

     I made this string quilt a while ago, but it has been sitting on a hanger waiting to be quilted. My grandson asked me for a quilt for his uncle Greg who is a veteran and coming to a Veteran Day Assembly at his grade school. Ethan chose this one and I quilted it in sort of a no nonsense, not fussy patterns. 
     The backing needed piecing because I wanted to stay with the RWB theme. I tried a bunch of layouts on my kitchen floor and sewed it up. I could not get any glamour shots because of the weather, so I will try for one outside when it improves. Sorry for the blurry front.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Love the indigo, but...

      I have a good friend who is a quilter and a former art teacher, like me. We are program co-chairs for our quilt guild. She has been wanting to indigo dye some fabric. Me, I would rather buy it from a dyer like Vicki. She bought a kit and white fabric and told me I needed to do it so we could share our experience with our guild. I stalled all summer and, finally, acquiesced last week. We bundled, clamped, rubber banded, etc. yards of Kona white ppd. We followed the directions and it is quite a miracle how yellow green water makes indigo when you pull the fabric out. 
     I am sharing some of the photos here as I tried to document what we did, but wet gloves and hurrying got them out of order. I did not include the too much white ones. Our biggest issue: folded fabric doesn't let the dye penetrate enough. We did not want much white fabric left. We wanted more indigo color. Elizabeth also stitched some designs, and they did not show up well. I loved the wine bottle shiboris. One I wrapped horizontally and scrunched down and the other, on a diagonal.
     So, okay, here is the rub: How do I cut these up for quilting without losing the designs? I am not making a quilt out of these as panels. Big HSTs? Just squares. I don't know. I do love the indigo color but I am wondering if using indigo color fiber reactive dye might work better. I think if I can get past the how do I use it, I might make- or rather buy- more indigo dyed fabric.

Diagonal wrap on bottle
Horizontal wrap on bottle