Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Kids Disappearing Nine Patch

     My good friends have committed to make 100 kids quilts for the Gold Star camp program for children of active servicemen and women by June. They are generously longarming them. I am trying to interest my guild in making and contributing some. I have a selection of children's fabric that I have cut into 5" squares. I thought if I used black and white prints, it would be a quick and attractive way to make I Spy type quilts for them. I labored through all the math and took process photos. 
     If there is enough interest, I will do a tutorial. For now, here is the quilt with the blocks on the wall, not yet sewn together. The wonderful thing about Disappearing Nine Patch is it can be self sashing, with only sashing to add at one edge and the bottom. The black and whites I think make it more interesting than all just one color sashing. I would like to think of other color/patterns to make the sashing. It is about 40 x 60". I will take this to my guild meeting on Monday to show and hopefully enlist enough of them to do a sewing Saturday for these.

More scrap processing

     I am really fortunate to know people who give me leftover fabric for the comfort quilts. Anything smaller than a fat quarter, I cut into the scrapsaver system and file away to be used by size and color. The bigger pieces are carefully folder and put in plastic baskets by color and stored in a cupboard. I cut these usually in the kitchen on a counter because it keeps the mess out of what project I am sewing and cutting at the moment. It gets me in a different room to give my mind a breather. I am blessed that my husband does not mind my fabric fragments all over. I do clean up and put away so that helps.

Scraps, fabrics, successfully processed, ready to file away

Bunches of Landscape Cards

     Since I finished the new treadle redo, I used the Singer 237 to make some cards. I used a 10 x 10" piece of heavy wt interfacing, layered it with a 10 x 10 batting, and layered scraps of batiks to make lots of landscape type areas. I put a watersoluble interfacing piece over the top and zig zagged the whole top with invisible monofilament thread (YLI) to hold it all in place. Then, I used black Gilde and added details in FMQ. After the sandwich was all quilted, I rinsed the interfacing away and cut the 10 x 10 into many smaller pieces, which I glued on cardstock. I was tempted to leave the piece whole, but I really needed some cards to send. I thought I took a photo of the fabric before I cut it up, but it was not on the camera. 
Watersoluble sandwich on treadle

Grand Illusions Shattered

    A couple of weeks ago, I took all my Grand Illusion blocks and put them up on my design wall, all except the whole border, just a couple of pieces on the the left, as my wall was not big enough. I turned my back and walked away 6 feet, turned and looked. I had to gasp for air. It was a total whirl of motion and I could feel a migraine would start if I kept looking. The wall looked like whirring food processor blades. Although I had seen photos of the quilt on the computer, almost 88" of it was overwhelming. 
   Don't get me wrong- I love Bonnie Hunter and her work. This is not any kind of slam. This was just a chaotic, whirlwind of pieces. I took off the green and neutral checkerboard and it helped somewhat. I tried a whole lot of colors in the sashing. I asked for advice from experience quilters. I put it away.
   Later on, I will take it out, probably use yellow sashing and make two comfort quilts out of it. The checkerboard blocks I will either use in a border or on a back. I have no idea what to do with the 80 border blocks yet. I am taking the no more mystery quilt vow right now.
   I did learn some precision piecing and assembly. If the quilt was smaller, I would feel better about not wasting fabric.
Yikes, it is coming to get me!
Maybe all yellow borders, leave/leave out the blue cornerstones?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Triumph! Celebrate!

     Yes! I finished the treadle resuscitation! October of 2013, I bought a treadle cabinet that was, um, rough. It had a Lotus in it which I am still trying to rejuvenate. The reason I bought it was to have a zig zag treadle. I bought a Singer 237 from Elizabeth in November of 2013 and serviced that. I loved hers when I visited her in September 2013.
      I could only refinish in warm type weather as I had to do all that work outdoors due to fumes. It was very time intensive and my husband was sanding the garage a good deal of the summer; then rebuilding the patio, limiting my space and depositing much dust. Irons were cleaned and painted. After all the old finish was taken care of (used Formby's Refinisher), I used Minwax Antique Oil finish. Did not like it. Then I used tung oil, glossy finish. Much better, but I learned something: Buy the treadle cabinet in the absolute best condition you can afford. Your time is more precious, especially when you would rather be quilting.
     Finally, my husband had time to screw it together and lug it upstairs. I plopped the machine in, put on the rubber belt, and sewed! I used the zig zag to stitch down many scraps of batik to make art cards with invisible thread, and then freemotioned on it with black Glide. It was flawless. Treadle triumph!! This treadle joins my parlor cabinet Singer 15 Tiffany. They are back to back in my sewing studio, aka old living room.
    Still have a few pieces of trim to glue back on.

With first project done!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Made fabric and Flowering Snowball block

    I love making made fabric from scraps. I usually do this on the treadle when I need something mindless. I also love curves and have been wanting to make a double wedding ring, but have held off for now. The other day when I was browsing the Modern Quilt block site on Flickr, I saw this beautiful quilt. I asked the poster what it was and she wrote that it is called the flowering snowball. I googled it and found a pattern. I tried two different colors for the curves- yellows and black and white prints. I think I will stick with these for now. I used template plastic, but may buy plexiglass ones.
   After doing all those curves in Circle Dance, this is a piece of cake. I don't even use a pin.

Cutting and cutting and have to stop!

      One of my goals is to tame the pile of fabric that is smaller than a fat quarter in the corner of my counter. It is sorted by batiks, childrens, and everything else. It makes me crazy. I use Bonnie Hunter's scrap saving system. The best thing is to cut the scraps right after you are done cutting out whatever. However, people give me a lot of scraps (Yay!) and they go into the piles. I hate taking the time from a project to cut. 

     For the past couple of days, I set up the ironing board in the kitchen and took my scrap strip bins that had random sizes and started to make set sizes. All of the 2 1/2" strips go in the flatter plastic boxes by color and stacked. The 3 1/2" strips go into a drawer in the Iris cabinet. The 2 1/2", 5", 3.5", and 2" squares each get a drawer in the cabinet. I started a bin for 1 1/2" and one for 2" strips, but not sorted by color. I actually filled 4 of those plastic bags from the grocery store with trimmings for this, so I must have done something. The pile looks a little smaller. I did not even get to the batiks. I think I can make scrap quilts now. Need more blades. I use the June Tailor shape cutter and the new Stripology ruter. I cut some on my counter and some in the kitchen. Anything to keep going.
All 2 1/2" strip boxes done by color
3 1/2" strips by light, medium and dark piles
Overflowing box of 5" squares by light, medium and dark.
Need a bigger box or more sewing.
The last cutting- leftovers from the backing of Circle Dance.
Hate cutting these, but it's fabric, right?
Blue, purple and green 2 1/2" strips
Neutrals, blacks, whites 2 1/2" strips
2" bin on left, 1 1/2" bin on right
     I was sewing Grand Illusion in between cutting to keep my sanity and I have all 25 blocks sewn and am working on connecting the green square strips now. I don't think I can cut scraps for a while joyfully.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Border makes it better!

     After dragging the top to the local quilt store, I chose a border fabric. After cutting and sewing it on, it makes a huge improvement to the overall look of the small Lemoyne star quilt. I think the yellow and the made fabric look stronger. Glad I persevered.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Grand Illusion in the Box!

    After considerable hours of sewing (on the Singer 15-91 and Featherweight) and cutting and mild curses, all of the Grand Illusion pieces are ready for assembling. This box represents so much time. As the clues went on, I did improve in the triangle piecing and cutting. The Easy Angle ruler really did help. I think it is so much more precise that sewing the diagonals on a square and cutting in half. It took some practice. Clue 4 looks a lot better than the earlier triangles. Unfortunately, they are all going in the same quilt.
    I assembled one block to see how the other 24 will look. The only cutting yet is the 2" yellow border. I can't yet preview how the border will look. I am amazed that I am this far. I do love the colors and use of scraps.
It is all in there, the whole top
The first block laid out

Friday, January 9, 2015

Small Lemoyne top done, hmmm?

Does it need more or not?
     I have had this on the design wall for a while. I have used leftover scraps for made fabric for the star and blocks that were given to me. If I try and add more around the edges, the star and checkerboard get lost. It is about 52 x 54.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

In with the new goals!

      New Year, New Goals here it goes:
1.   Comfort Quilts. Aim for one done per month and given away. Find a quicker way to get names of recipients. Get 2 more people involved in making them with me.
2.   Art quilts: Larger landscapes, denim landscapes, find good non-fusible methods to construct.
3.   Blog minimum three times per week. Get more readers, possibly linking to other bloggers.
4.   Watch Angela Walters Craftsy videos, other on line videos to improve my Free motion skills. Practice, practice.
5.   Paper piecing: finish Sea Urchin, buy fabric and make Art Deco pattern.
6.   Finish Mystery Quilts: from guild and Grand Illusion.
7.   Go to AQS Paducah in April. Bus trip booked. AQS Syracuse in July.
8.   Three quilt retreats. One booked in March, find 2 more.
9.   Find opportunities to teach others quilting, machine maintenance even as a freebie.
10. Equipment:
      Research, try and buy a long arm due to neck issues. Sell/trade Bailey.
      Continue to reorganize fabric/scraps. Look for better storage containers.
      New ironing board cover.
11. Fabric: fill out colors yellow, blues, greens, blacks, and reds.
12. Learn 2 new techniques.
13. Sew 4 purses.
14. Continue to make minimum 2 leader/ender, scrap quilts
15. Quilt all tops in closet.
16. Treadle Quilt challenges: Modern Twigs and Rectangle Island
17. Serve my Guild
18. Keep Machines serviced. Rescue/clean other people's machines.
19. Take 2 classes. I have found none yet.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Keeping track

    I have posted before how I try to document what I am doing. I do this, not because I love paperwork, but want to know where I am and what I have finished.
   All my info is kept in a three ring binder. I have a log I invented and just recently updated so it would be easier to keep and get info from. If anyone wants a log sheet, just let me know and I will send you the Word file. Why start from scratch? 
   Red dots mean the quilt is completed. Just a few sample pages are shown. After I do the log, I list particulars on notebook paper so I can figure out what needs doing at a glance. I like to do backing in groups as so much fabric has to be dragged out and auditioned. I also do bindings in group and cutting. When I get bright ideas of what I want to work on, I write them down, or they get lost in my mind. All of this is in one notebook, right on my shelf near my machines and cutting area.
Revised style

Blank log sheet

When these get too filled up and messy, I rewrite them on a fresh sheet

How about those goals?

     People thought I was nuts last year when I made 21 goals for 2014. My husband and I make goals every year together for ourselves, things together, financial and house projects. We take a couple of days to do this. My husband saves all the goals which we write on yellow paper and keep in separate file folders. This year, we did not accomplish what we decided was most important. I think because we were not specific enough and did not write down how we were going to do this and what strategies. We go away for a few days between Christmas and New Years and work on this over coffee. We usually go to Niagara on the Lake which is so peaceful and gorgeous. 

Just staring out at the Lake helps refocus and reflection

Great Skies

Shot through the window at Harbour House.
Knew I could not make it outside in time.

Past goals for 2014:
1.   Make more comfort quilts. I would like at least one complete with bag per
      month. Ideally, I would like to have others join me somehow.

     I continue to make and give quilts. I have a lot of unquilted tops. I buy the tote bags by the dozen. Only my mother is helping- she sews strips and all around squares that I cut and assemble into quilts. 
2.   Make a paper pieced quilt. 
     I started Sea Urchin by Judy Niemeyer. My friends, the twins, who are extradinary paper pieces taught me using the Charm Elements pack by Judy. I also helped with our guild's raffle quilt which is a paper pieced Karen Stone.
3.   Get a lot better at Free Motion Quilting. 
      I continue to get better. I use designs from Leah Day, the Inbox Jaunt, and am taking Craftsy classes with Angela Walters.
4.   Blog- regularly with information to help others along. Gain more readers.
     I would like to be consistent at least 3 times a week. I did get a lot of readers once based on a Giveaway link from Vicki Welsh. I have 15 followers which is up.
5.   Attend quilt retreats
     I went on retreats in February, May, and November.
6.   Take at least 4 classes.
     One block wonder with Cathy from my guild, Hudson Valley Art workshop with Rayna Gillman, QBL, Bonnie Hunter Crumbs class in September, and a Scraps class with Lynn Roddy Brown in Houston.
7.   Go to Houston for the International Quilt Festival in October.
    Done and totally overwhelmed. First time west of the Mississippi.
8.   Quilting by the Lake in July, class with Victoria Findlay Wolfe. Find a roomate.
     Was assigned a suite where I met Lynn Roddy Brown, Lisa Mason, and Encyclopedia Brown. Took 5 days of classs, met wonderful quilters and learned so much from Victoria.
9.   Teach people some quilt related skills, techniques.
     Did one workshop at my guild on the exploding squares. Was a guest blogger on Sarah Craig's blog. Want more opportunities 
10. Cut out, sew, quilt my daughter's choice of wedding quilt.
     All done, given on Christmas, at home on the bed in Meadville, PA
11. Equipment changes: one new large sewing table for machines, better lighting   (ceiling), better way to photo quilts, more fabric organization (did some scrap organization recently- photos to come), treadle cabinet refinish and machine installed, new large cutting mat.
      Bought a Bailey Home Quilter for the sewing table in May, new ceiling lighting. two Jansko lamps from Ikea, started using Bonnie Hunter's scrap saving system, refinished the treadle cabinet- just needs assembling as I can't figure out the spring mechanism, got a Martelli mat for my Christmas present, got a Featherweight for Christmas
12. More fabric- scraps, batiks, strips
    Did my share of shopping and lots of scraps and fabric donated to me for comfort quilts. Need to do more to keep on top of this and be better organized.
13. Serve my guild.
    Did a workshop, demo, worked on raffle quilt, worked on comfort quilts
14. Learn at least 3 new techniques.
     One block wonder, y seams, Lemoyne star, using Companion Angle, Easy Angle, Shape Plus cutter, paper piecing, made fabric
15. Sew purses/tote bags. I did a few, but want to expand.
     Only two
16. Do denim art quilts. One started on design wall.
     Need to cut the foam board to mount the backing and for pinning. Experimented with liquid thread instead of fusible. Learned some techniques from Grace Errea on the Quilt show. Got more denim. Pinned lots of denim ideas.
17. Make more scrap quilts.
    Lots more exploding squares, made fabric, Good Night Irene, strip quilts, Lemoyne Star, leader-enders
18. Do a challenge.
    Doing a guild mystery quilt, Bonnie Hunter's Grand Illusion, Vicki Welsh's HST challenge
19. Treadle more.
    Some, for made fabric, need to do more.
20. Do more art quilts- incorporate fibers, landscapes.
    Only managed a few small ones and ones for cards. Need to figure out how to make larger without fusible interfacing.
21. Keep my machines maintained and help others with vintage ones. 
   All machines are up to snuff. I cleaned/fixed two 66, a 401, a 301, an old Kenmore, two Whites, and my husband's grandmother's Red Eye treadle.

     Now, I need to list my goals for 2015. I think the more specific I am and try to say how I plan to do them, the better the odds at achieving them.