Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Kinda, sorta quilty

    I have made some non quilt things for presents. I forgot to take photos of some of them before they got wrapped. I will have to catch them when they get opened. Three dimensional projects are not my strong suit. I did make some. However, today I finished pot holders (think mini quilt- they were free motioned) from some remnants someone gave me. Perfect for the pastry/goodies chef daughter. Never made them before, so there is probably something not right. I bought insulbright from Joann's so they would be more than decorative. However, I had to free motion each side separately because the design on one side would mess up the other. So, there are two layers of insulbright that make a crinkling noise. 
   Two people had birthdays this week, so I made two paperpieced teacups and sewed them to timtex  and glued on cardstock. I tried to make birthday cards that in no way reflected the holiday, but birthdays. Both people are tea drinkers. Hope they got it. My mother did not recognize it was a teacup.
  So, not really quilts but in the same family.
One side

 The other side

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Scraps and trouble

     I received a chock full envelope of scraps and fat quarters from Chris Hudson and her blog. Perfect for comfort quilts. I sorted all through them and divided by size, color, and type. All batiks get grouped together. Anything bigger than 2 inches, but less than fat quarter get the Stripology ruler treatment. Thank you, Chris! The more scraps, the better the quilts look. Variety is the spice!

Small pieces on the top of my scrap basket I use for strings and made fabric
    As usual, Tugger the terrible has to get right in on the sewing and make it difficult to navigate. If I don't pay attention to him, he starts knocking the seam ripper, scissors, etc off the sewing table.

"Are you sure you are doing a 1/4"?"

Friday, December 18, 2015

Binding's on! Two down

     I finished sewing the bindings on (all by machine) the pink Disappearing Nine Patch and Little Boxes. They came out real well. Just waiting for a home. In the washer right now.

Pieced! RWB mystery

     On Saturday, the last clue was posted. I could not wait to put this together. I had sewn the top half into a web earlier. When the layout in the last clue was revealed, I put up the pieces under the web and sewed those also into a web. Then, I sewed the last long seam across the middle. I definitely will make this again. I will try blue scrappy next time. Thank you, Alycia!  The pattern is now available on Craftsy and Alycia says she will do another mystery. Yay!
Top web
Bottom layout 
All Pieced!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Red white and blue mystery Clue 4

    I finished Clue 4 from the Military Mystery Quilt from Alycia and need to sew the blocks together, but I wonder if I should wait for Clue 5 to sew if there are more blocks that I could web.

     I also have sewn 100 fabric compositions for my Christmas cards. I need some toner (on route from Amazon) to print the message inside and glue all these sewn pieces down on cardstock. 
Card Progress

Piecing along progress

     I think it is no secret that I have a lot of projects going on at the same time. I track them and have them in separate bags with notes. Depending on my time and head condition, I choose different quilts to work on. The Calico Rose from Wedding Dress Blues is a quiltalong that I use as a leader and ender quilt, so its progress is slow, but moving. Here are the two alternate blocks from the quilt. I am making the pieces for them a bit at a time. 2" scraps, the smallest I have ever used.
    Also, I have sewn all the blocks together for the diagonal tube quilt and it is ready for backing and quilting (join the line).

Modern 16 patch done!

     Because of Sarah's post during her Sweet Sixteen series, I pieced this quilt and used recycled denim jeans for some of the blocks. I want to sew more with denim. The denim was used in places where it did not create a lot of heavy seams. The large empty space let me practice my rather sparse longarm skills. This was a very fun quilt to make. The only purchased fabric was the Kona White. The backing pieces were donated to me and I thought they went together well here.


Thursday, December 3, 2015


     Not sure if the title is a word, but it describes what I had to do. I had received a boatload of fabric from a woman, but it all had that basement musty smell. I usually do not wash fabric until the quilt is made, and then wash the whole quilt. Like the way that looks. However, I was afraid if I washed it then and the smell did not come out, I could not give the quilt.
     I did a test run with some fabric and washed it, but after the dryer it still smelled. I googled musty smell in fabric and took some suggestions there. I laid the fabric in my yard in the sun. It took 4 rounds to get it all done. My neighbors were puzzled by this crazy display four different times. I tried to explain. The sunshine did a lot to remove the smell. Then I put the fabric in the wash, filled with hot water and detergent. I let the machine agitate for a while and then put a cup of white vinegar and let it sit for about half an hour and then resumed the machine. After drying the fabric, absolutely no smell. The extra work was well worth it because now I have backing for a lot of comfort quilts. Yay!

Not high tech, but 4 times later, it was smelling sweet

One block wonder sans borders

     At the retreat, all the rows were sewn together. I highly recommend webbing the pieces like I did from the columns as I did not mix one thing up. I did not use pins. I stopped at every intersection, matched up and nested, held it down with my Purple Thang (can't live without it) and sewed through. Slow, but accurate. You really need to press all the seams open- tedious, but the intersections lay real nice after sewing down. I tried the same fabric as a border with a light green I had, but doesn't do much. My LQS is going out of business, so today I bought some brighter green and a Kaffe print that may work. The light was too crummy today to  tell if it will work.
With the original fabric yardage and light green
All sewn
With Kaffe print and brighter green

Quilt retreat progress

      The usual weekend after Thanksgiving quilt retreat almost derailed because 2 weeks ago, the venue doubled its rates even though we had scheduled 6 months ago. One of the woman in the group found a closed church convent and it was very reasonable. It had a serviceable kitchen and we brought our own food. The twins set up the food ideas- like make your own pizza from premade Naan bread, premade soups, deli platter meats and cheeses, breakfast breads, hardboiled eggs and lots of desserts. There was a separate room where we could eat and eat whenever we took a break from what we were working on. What is better? And for so cheap, I can do it soon again. ($50 for the first night, 30 for the next and the cost of our food) I can easily put up with a spartan 60s facility that was clean, but bare bones if I can sew unrestricted and have my own bed. No one tripped any circuits.
     I sewed together the one block wonder, but am saving it for another post. I worked on the mothballed Sea Urchin and did the right half of the outside border blocks, sewed another Tuckaway Tote, and made a group project- a portable ironing board with pocket for 24" rulers made from an empty fabric bolt. If only I could sew like this regularly, I might be able to finish all the ideas in my head.
All folds into the orange pocket 

Untrimmed blocks

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Better in bunches

     Certain tasks are better when grouped as it takes time to get in the groove and be proficient. I like to make backings in groups because I have to pull out so much fabric and put up multiple tables. I also wait until I have at least 3 quilts needing binding before I make and attach it. I did 4 sets of bindings and the first one is glued on waiting to be sewn on the trusty Singer 15-91. 
Top, back, batting quilts-to-be on hangers waiting for the slow long armer (me) 
3 done quilts with their bindings to be glued on and sewn

Clean 221 = More fabric!

     One thing I do, that I love to do, is clean old sewing machines. Someone referred a woman to me who was given a Featherweight, Singer 221. It was in fantastic shape, but dirty and unused with a very bad cord and connections. I ordered a new belt, new power cord, a LED light bulb (people burn themselves on the 221 bulb), some Tri-flow oil and used a lot of cotton rags, wooden picks, TR3 polish, etc and the machine looks awesome. Runs wonderfully. It had all the attachments and a case that just needed cleaning. Can you believe I was so enamored that I forgot to take a photo of the gleaming machine when I was done and now it is back to its owner? Errr!
Before cleaning 
Cord and plug issues- all replaced!
    One reason, besides loving to gawk and clean machines, I do this, is to help me continue to make comfort quilts for people undergoing treatments or serious medical issues. I use fabric, batting, thread, bags, books and blank cards to make them a reality. I make them lap size, labels printed by Spoonflower, put them in a tote bag with a book on hope and a hand made card. I rely a lot on donations. Someone recently gave me 25 awesome new totes that have a logo on from a company that no longer exists that I easily cover up with patchwork pockets. I was able to buy a humongous roll of batting at wholesale price, and receive fabric scraps and larger pieces from people who hear what I do. Vicki and Gwen sent me beautiful fat quarters.
   When I give the cleaned machine back, people sometimes give me a check so I can buy more books, thread, fabric (especially backings) or postage. Sometimes they give fabric. This has helped the process keep moving forward. 
     I am so grateful to all who have helped me!
     I continue to cut scraps into set sizes, look for patterns that are simple but beautiful, and try to master my longarm. I don't keep making the same quilt pattern as I am a nutcase artist and hate production work. I hope you enjoying seeing the quilts made on my blog. I amazed at the power a quilt makes in someone's life. I constantly see it happen. If for no reason than that, I quilt. But I also quilt because I have to or my head would blow off.
    Today's Featherweight owner gave me luscious big pieces of fabric, even a whole layer cake that I can use for a veteran quilt. Thanksgiving even earlier!
More fabric to make more!! 

Inching along progress on OBW

     Even though the One Block Wonder uses just one fabric, the detail and sewing, pressing, etc make slow progress. I am not complaining- it is just that kind of quilt. I do enjoy it, but I take my time as this is not the thing you want to rip out seams.
     After I took it off the wall in columns that I numbered with painters tape at the top and bottom, I took the piles and sewed them together, 1 to 2, 2 to 3, all the the way to 9. As a result I had a web of all the rows so I would not be able to mix them up. The web on the wall looked like some fabric installation in a funky gallery. 
     Then I had to press all the seams open as six will meet in one spot. That was slow. I started to sew the rows slowly. I do not pin, I go from one intersection to the other, meeting up the seams and using the Purple Thang to hold the layers together under the needle and foot, one intersection at a time. The last photo is a teaser of how the quilt will look. 
     Since it will be Thanksgiving and I have to cook and prep, I think this will sit undone for a while. I don't want to rush it and have to rip. Everything is lining up so nice now.
Blocks stacked by column
Being sewn, column by column

Webbed blocks on the wall
Teaser, some rows sewn, not pressed yet

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

One block wonder number 2

     A while ago, a woman from my guild, Cathy, held a workshop where I made a one block wonder from fabric I had bought years earlier on clearance (Still waiting for me to quilt it- keep hoping I get better before I try it). I wanted to make another and found some fabric on clearance at Quilters Corners in Ithaca. Cathy helped me to refresh my memory and instructed me again (took pictures this time) on how to layout the repeats for cutting and how to cut the strips and then the triangles.
      I sewed all the triangles into half hexies (pinned the two halves) ready for the wall, but this time it was more difficult because there were a lot of white or very light areas. I spent off and on time moving and moving around the pieces and I think the last photo is pretty close to what I am going with. Then, I will take the pin out of the hexies to sew the pieces in rows. I am going to try the webbing method to sew it together so I don't mess up the order.
The original whole piece fabric being cut for repeats
The lights and mediums
The full color ones
Really light ones, the problems, at the bottom
One of the many layouts
Close to the end, maybe?