Monday, August 25, 2014

One Done, Two Too!

First pinwheel quilt is on its way north to the longarmers--feels good to have that accomplished! The second one is ready to go--just needs a little pressing to make the borders lie flat and then it's going to be matched with a back and queued for mailing.
Right now it's looking a little crumpled but it's spread out on the sofa to breathe. It's too dark in the house to get a good picture, so this will have to do for now.

The quilt supervisor got a good workout today. He's sleeping it off now.

Anne was here and working on one of her ongoing projects, making adult bibs for the Memory Care unit at her community. It's a good way for her to use up some of her novelty fabrics, especially the ones that don't look as good cut up into little pieces.

A couple of weeks ago we started tossing fabric trimmings and scraps into the punch bowl that seems to have taken up residence on my dining room table. I love the way it looks filled with colorful bits of fabric!

Earlier today, it was wearing a "whipped cream" topping as I'd been throwing the white trimmings from the pinwheels into it--but today gave it a new layer of color.

More white tomorrow, I hope, as there will definitely be more pinwheel trimming happening!

I also worked on a little organizing today, and now these threads are sorted by type and ready to use. I made some room on one of the shelves in the closet, and these all fit there. Clear boxes, so I can see at a glance what's there!

Hard to believe that next Monday is Labor Day already! The local little ones have gone back to school, and my oldest great-granddaughter, Paige, started kindergarten today. Hard to believe time has passed so quickly--but then, I guess it has!

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Friday, August 22, 2014

More Stuff!

The basket quilt top is done! Now to find it a back, and send it off to be quilted.

I opted for a 4" border of the same background fabric. The HST (half-square triangle) idea didn't work out: it pulled too much focus away from the baskets, so in this case plain is better!

The quilt is much larger than I originally thought it would be, but then it was also originally supposed to be 2 smaller quilts, so I guess I should be glad that it isn't big enough to upholster all of Glendora!

There are two more blocks that I've pieced into a strip for the back. Both of them are orange and red, different reds (one leans toward orange and the other is more of a blue-red) but they look fine side by side and they'll jazz up the back. Assuming I can find what I want to put on it! 

Wrapping u with a couple more pictures of the quilt top. These were taken when I was experimenting with layouts--you can see that if I'd gone with the large squares in between the rows, I'd definitely have had a much larger quilt!

This post is a bit of an experiment--I was trying to find a way to post pictures that I've taken with my phone that works well. So I used the iPad to load the pictures using BlogPress, but it only lets me upload 5 pictures to a post.

I haven't done much with the cats here, so here's a shot of Shyla being not-so-shy any more! She actively seeks out attention and affection, especially if I'm on the bed reasing or playing games on the iPad. There have even been a couple of times when both cats have been up on the bed with me at the same time. However, since I then have to be petting a cat with each hand, I can't get pictures.  Still, it's progress!

The last picture is of the 18 (!!) bags of templates and newsprint piecing papers sorted and prepped for my project for Asilomar next year. I kind of hate to have to wait that long to start sewing on it, but it may take me that long to round up and prep all 22 fabrics for the quilt.Yes, you heard that right--there are 22 different fabrics used in this pattern!

I supposed I could have bought the kit--but while I do like the colors in it, mostly, they're not my favorites. So I'm audtitioning fabrics from my stash to see how many I can find at home!

Back to "work" here--I'm hoping that my feet will be up to at least letting me get one of the pinwheel tops pressed and trimmed--I'd love to get those done too! Also need to do some spelunking to find backing for the baskets and one other little batik quilt, then I can box them up.  That would be so cool!

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Celebration Baskets, and More Projects

 The basket quilt is coming right along! The blocks have been joined, and the top now needs a press and to have the corners trimmed down. The first border is going to be orange--I think I have just enough to make a 1" border. Then I'll audition a couple of ideas I've been playing around with. Default is just to put about 3" or so of the ribbon fabric for the border--but I have a LOT of half-square triangles cut out of the print, so if I can get enough to match them out of the solids, that might be cute too.

 This project has been a lot of fun. Finding the pieces all cut and ready to assemble was a good break from the pinwheels, which have reached the stage where they need to be pressed and trimmed so the borders can go on. A big job made worse by a persistent nasty pain in my back (it's right at the base of the incision from my surgery so probably nerve damage, though the doctor says the muscles are really tight.) That makes it hard to stand for a long time, which pressing 6 queen-sized quilts with lots of seams involves.

Oh well. I had to take a break to wind another set of bobbins. I got a cone of white Aurifil 50 wt, a thread I really like for piecing, so that made the bobbin winding go really quickly. Now I'm ready to rock and roll knowing I have a good supply of bobbins!

 Some progress pictures of the assembly process.

I have two blocks left over, which I'm planning on putting on the back of the quilt. Somewhere.

The pattern is the Grape Basket from Judy Hopkins' Around the Block.  It gives cutting measurements for five or six sizes of blocks--these come to 10" before the sashings are added.

I really like the book. It's an oldie but a goodie! I've used it for other projects, too. Fun if you wanted to make a sampler quilt.

 I'm still working on organizing and categorizing all the tubs and boxes in the garage (and the storage unit, oops. You remember that--it was just for "staging" the move. Sadly, there isn't room here for everything so there's going to be some more culling going on. Just takes time and effort, and summer is my least favorite time for working outdoors.

It's been very humid the last few days. We've had some spectacular clouds, which is pretty, but no rain and little relief. Even in the house, with the a/c running, it still feels sticky.

 Anyway I found another tub of mysterious objects. A couple of panels--the kitties are for a doll quilt and matching pillow.

I think that could be a very quick little project--and Robin just brought me (along with a trunkful of projects, two big bags of yarn, and a huge tub of fabric) a small roll of batting--Mountain Mist poly. Perfect for a dolly quilt, and to help me get my machine quilting chops back up to snuff!

Because the baskets, along with a couple of other quilts and the pinwheels, are getting sent to the longarmers. I've got a dozen or so projects I want to quilt, so I need to send some of these out.

The weathevanes are an older project--really nicely done, back when I was doing a lot of machine applique and had great control of the machine. Helps that the 1230 has a nice satin stitch, too. There are 4 other blocks--not sure what happened to the picture! Originally they were supposed to go with some red-white-and-blue sampler type blocks, but I decided that I didn't want to do that. I think they will just get some kind of alternate blocks--maybe Log Cabins?--and borders, and keep it all in the navy and white. Should make a decent size wall hanging.
The flower fairies panel has a price tag in pounds sterling and a Peter Jones label. Guess I got it in England, huh?  Might be a good practice piece for my FMQ skills. I'm pretty sure that somewhere I have something that will work as a back and binding.

Then there's the assortment of black/white/color blocks. I'm pretty sure these were from a swap. They are different sizes so my thinking is maybe angled borders--that kind of wonky look.

Why not?

Anne thinks she has some of the Christmas blocks. If she does, she'll get these to go with them. If not, well, we know a lady in Fresno (waves to Gerry) who will do something with them!

Anne and I have been kind of using up some of our theme fabrics--the pictures I have of them are from my phone, so I'll need to do another post with those.  It started with Ethel and her fruits and veggies quilt. She had a bunch of leftover fabric, so we thought they could go into a Yellow Brick Road-type quilt.
Yeah. Anne had some of those fabrics too, so we spent a Monday cutting them up. She's made 6 quilts out of the pieces!

Then as she was finishing up the last one, she mentioned that she had some patriotic prints that might work too. If I had been a good friend, or a sensible person, I'd have told her to forget it--but no, I had some patriotic fabrics too. Another marathon cutting session, and she at last count had 317 blocks. That will make anywhere from 6 to 10 quilts depending on size...  But, they can go to Quilts of Valor.

Have I mentioned that Anne is a quilting fool? Her description! Between her dogs and her quilting, she's always busy! A good thing...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

What's Up? Lots!

Helpful A1 is very helpful!
It's been kind of quiet here on the blog, for which I apologize! The sad truth is that I used to mostly blog on my desktop computer, because the laptop had some quirks (like erasing whole blocks of text if I tried to do something exotic like use the shift key) that made it fairly unpleasant to blog on.

Then the desktop died, and it was either use the laptop or the iPad. Both have their quirks.

Plus it's been a little busy around here, or I just haven't felt up to doing much.
This is what I found when I unrolled the fabric.
Pattern and pieces all ready to go.

Plus, my daughter is getting married in--let's see, 10 days!  I've also made a quick trip back East to see my granddaughter graduate from Brown, and visit with family and friends back there.

Including finding a couple of new quilt shops, and a yarn shop or two, plus a meetup at Webs with a long-time online friend. 
 Plus sometimes there's a corrupted process that means my layout ideas go straight down the tubes. This seems to be one of those posts.

Anyway, enough kvetching! On to the quilting!

A slight inversion here as far as project continuity goes, due to (once again) the wonky way my pictures uI ploaded and have settled themselves. So first let's talk about the "new" project here.

I had been looking at a tub in the garage through which I could see this very celebratory-looking fabric, so I hauled it inside and checked it out. Oh my blueberries! Inside were all 6 or so of my Mary Ellen Hopkins quilting books, plus Judy Hopkins' Around the Block and a Trudie Hughes book.
One of the partially-done blocks in the tub.

Tucked into Judy's book were quite a few post-its with notes scribbled onto them. The piece of fabric turned out to be wrapped around a whole lot of cut pieces, plus two partially-completed blocks. I realized that I could easily put all these pieces together if I chose to-- I even found the page with the pattern. She calls it Grape Basket.

So I finished up the sewing on the borders for the pinwheel quilts (more on that below) and set all that aside for the massive pressing and trimming project entailed there.
Sailing along piecing triangles, not too bad!

And then I could play with the baskets. There are only 20 blocks, everything is cut out and they go together really quickly and smoothly. 

So now I have 20 half-baskets done, and I'm busy working on the other halves to get everything done. Still deciding on a layout--20 blocks might work if I do one layout, but another (with sashings and cornerstones, like the pinwheels) will only use 18.

The thing is, I'm nearly certain that this was going to be 2 quilts of 9 blocks each. I've been able to date the contents of the box to 1996, and I think it was part of an Asilomar class with Judy. I used to go to Asilomar with a "friend" who always wanted to do what she called "team sewing" where we'd both work on the same project and finish up with a quilt apiece. This would have been really cool if she had done much sewing, but well, she didn't really. Lots of naps and time spent away from class. It took me about three nanoseconds to realize what was going on, but I enjoy sewing and it really is just as easy to do twice the sewing when it's easy chain piecing, or twice the cutting. We stopped going to Asilomar together when I balked at bringing her breakfast in bed every morning, and decided that a certain project was too complicated to make two of, and she had to start her own.

But that's a digression. Now I have twice as many blocks as originally planned, and I think this will make a nice quilt. If I wind up using 18 blocks on the quilt top, I'll put the two extras on the back. Problem solved!

Backwards to the pinwheel quilts. As I said just above, I don't mind doing a whole lot of sewing or cutting or piecing at a time, which is a good thing with these 6 pinwheel quilts!

I decided that it might be fun to make a Flying Geese border for one of the quilts, since I had a whole lot of 2.5" squares of the white fabric already cut. I had cut a lot of 2.5" strips out of a "new" tub of 30s fabrics, so I cut a bunch of 4.5" rectangles and got to town on the sewing.

That's what Audrey is helping me with up top there. She and her sister just love my setup with the little travel iron--Abby was delighted when I brought out the mini pink applique iron, too! (They iron without heat.)

Now all the geese are done and assembled into 4 long strips, ready to be sewn on. Then I took all my random chunks of 2.5" wide pieces and sewed them into long long strips--these will be  borders for the last two quilts, and there's likely enough for binding for at least one quilt too.

So my rocking chair (the one next to the sewing machine) is piled with 6 quilt tops, and a whole lot of border pieces, waiting to be pressed and then trimmed down.
 Sadly I've been having a flareup of my foot/back problems, so standing up long enough to press a whole lot of giant quilt (they are going to be roughly king size) isn't happening today.

Thus my rationale for letting myself work on the baskets! Not that I need to justify my choices to anyone but myself, of course, but there's a bit of Yankee conscience buried deep in my soul and that little voice that says I should finish one project before starting another one.


So this is where I am, piecing basket blocks and contemplating the easiest way to get all those pinwheel quilts pressed and trimmed and bordered so they can be shipped off to the longarmers.

While simultaneously getting ready for a wedding, which will involve most of the family converging out here. It will be so good to see everyone!

Probably a little bittersweet for some of them, since the Old Family Homestead is no longer there!

But that's a blog post for another day. Right now, there are baskets calling my name!

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Visiting my old stomping grounds, and lo and behold, there is a quilt shop in Chicopee! It's called Bayberry Quilts, and it's located in a darling white Victorian house. The rooms are filled with sample quilts (they kit up all their samples), bolts and bolts of fabric in lots of different styles, and charming touches like lace curtains on the windows. They also do long arm quilting and have finished quilts and crafts for sale.

One visit may not be enough...

Because souvenir fabric doesn't count as stash, does it?

I know I didn't get to see it all... There's one whole room full of batiks!

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Monday, April 14, 2014

More Progress to Show

Why yes, I am still knitting! Now that all of my quilts that needed binding sewn down have been done, I've been able to pick up a knitting project or two. This is the Cedar Leaf Shawlette, in Araucania wool.

But I'm still plugging away on the pinwheels, though I have reached a milestone today. 

I think I left off on my last blog post with all of the second set of blocks having had their second round of sashing-and-cornerstone added. This put me in line for the next step, assembling the rows.

Ten rows per quilt, three quilts in this batch. I learned a few things assembling the first batch, so this one went a lot quicker.

First I picked out six blocks for the first row, which is one block with sashings and cornerstones on 3 sides. Those were quick to do, and made me feel as if I was off to a good start.

Then I counted out 24 blocks for the next 4 rows. Yes, I counted them three times. I do not trust myself with math where these quilts are concerned!

I took all the rest of the blocks and sewed them into pairs. I then divided them by the color of the leftmost sashing strip, since that's the side that would be sewn to the  row-in-progress.

Kind of a surprise to find that I had mostly purple and orange sashings on that side! I decided it would be a good idea to use those two and sew another color onto each one--if that makes sense to you. In other words, each pair of blocks had either an orange and another color sashing, or a purple and another color.

The quilting supervisor was not amused. However, I thought it was rather funny that the blocks had ended up that way, since I'd tried to be really random when sewing them.

It actually worked out really well. I had a lot of reds and those mostly looked best sewn to a purple, so the other colors--pinks, greens, yellows and blues--mostly wound up sewn to orange blocks.

After that it was a matter of sewing a pair of blocks to each of the 24 I'd reserved. Once that was done, 6 of them got a second sashing and row 2 was done.

Lather, rinse, repeat. The good thing is that each round meant 6 fewer blocks to sew, till I was down to the last set, which contains 9 blocks. 

HiHi was not very happy because this all involved a lot of blocks spread out everywhere. He'd get himself comfortable on a stack, and I'd need something from it. I was almost feeling guilty every time I made him move. He's been working on my sympathy anway because he's so thin under all that fur, and I alternate between worrying about him and then realizing that he's eating plenty, still able to jump up onto my (very high) bed, and has the lungpower of a mountain lion. He's also 17 years old.

So here's the last sashing strip getting attached to the last of the rows of blocks.


And here's the second set of 150 blocks, all ready to be assembled into 3 quilts. I need to find the white fabric I'm pretty sure I bought to do the setting triangles with--I've looked for it, but if it exists it's not readily accessible. Tomorrow I'll look again, and if I don't find it, I'm going to buy more. The shop has white-on-white 108" wide fabric and that would be a really efficient way to cut as many triangles as I need. Yes, I need 18 per quilt, plus 4 corner half-square triangles.

More math, but I'm pretty sure I can manage it this time.

This is my box of leftover sashing and leftover strips from cutying out the blocks. My next big task (other than putting on the setting triangles and assembling the rows) will be putting borders on all the quilts. I really would like to have some different styles and I've been playing with ideas on how to best use these pieces. I think it could be lots of good creative fun. Scrap happy rules!

I'll leave you with the view I finally had when Mr. Fuzzball had had enough of my shenanigans!

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Plugging Along!

 Kind of been a busy-ish week around here, but there's been time for sewing.

And of course, there is a sweet little grey girl cat who wants to be petted.

And petted.

And then maybe a little more petting?

Cause look how sweet...
Who could resist that face?  And all that soft grey fur?

Does make it a little difficult to do any work on the computer, though.

Sorry, dear IRS, I couldn't do my taxes. My cat was bogarting the keyboard and my hands!
 Meanwhile HiHi has rediscovered the little old kitty "condo" from his kittenhood. He's always loved this thing, and frankly it looks like it.

The moving crew (aka my offspring) tried to get me to toss this rather than moving it to the new place, but I thought it would be nice for them to have something familiar in the new place.

He's been curling up in it in the closet where it's been hidden, and really that closet is her "den" so I pulled this out into the sewing room. He's spending even more time in it. Pretzel Boy.

The pinwheels are coming along. At some point in the last day or so, all 150 of the second batch got their second sashing set.

Then I put sashings on the third side of 6 of them, making them Row 1 of the 6 rows needed. Then I sewed another 24 into pairs; then added a third block to them all.

Six of those now have sashings on the last side, so there are now 6 sets of Row 2.

Since my sewing space is a bit tight, I decided it might be better to sew all the remaining blocks into pairs, which could then be added to the "threesies" to make rows of 5, 7, and 9.

When I quit sewing for the night tonight, I had all 6 of the 5-piece rows ready for their last sashing strip. However, see my comment about tight space up there--there's really no place to put things so that I can reach the sashing strips right now! So I guess I'll keep sewing till all the strips have 5 blocks, and then I'll be able to access the pieces I need.
Hopefully the light tomorrow will be good and I can lay out the strips I have done for a preview. Then there's the little matter of locating the white fabric I had cut for setting triangles--oh, and of course, the other set of 150 blocks.

I'd emptied all the bobbins I'd wound to take to Asilomar. Since there's going to be a lot more sewing in the near future, I went ahead and wound up another set of 21 bobbins.

One 500 meter spool winds 7 bobbins. You can see the attrition in the number of spools from the before and after pictures.

And yes, that's the space I have next to the machine to sew on. Even moving the Ott light all the way to the edge (not wise with cats that like to visit my work area) it's not much.

Maybe I need to figure out how to hang the power strip on the wall... that would free up some space, though not much.

Or maybe just work on smaller projects.