Monday, March 24, 2014

Design Wall Monday

 Its Monday!  Its cold, 28 degrees and the dogs have already settled in for their morning naps.  Above Skye, Rascal and Harry usually follow the sunshine path to sleep in.

Indy prefers to be tucked into a corner of the deck.  The cold doesn't effect him.
I am head downstairs to get rid of some of the clutter in the sewing studio.  I am trying to take 15-30 minutes each to clean, organize and label.  Slowly I am making progress on "Spring cleaning".  Who knows, I maybe "Spring cleaning all year!
I did take some time this weekend to pick out the fabrics from my stash to make the Country Threads 2014 BOM blocks.  This month's blocks are 9" and 18".
Last night I finished the 9" block.
Here are my fabric choices for the 18" block.  The pieces are all cut out and ready to sew.
I am loading the final memory quilt on the longarm.  Its number #10 and the final one.  Below is #9.
This morning two customers brought me their quilts.  One is a "challenge quilt" for our May Guild Challenge Night.  Looking forward to designing the quilting for this quilt. The other is a T-shirt quilt.  We picked out threads and measured for the backing and batting.  The customer needs to go shop for the backing and then will bring the T-shirt quilt back for quilting.
I feel like its been a productive day so far!
Today I am linking up with Anything Goes Stitch by Stitch and Judy at Patchwork Times.
Yours in quilting,

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Saturday with the Hubbie

Most Saturdays our routine is to have breakfast with the neighbors, do jobs around the house and run errands.  Today will be basically the same except its my turn to support my hubbie at his hobby.  He will be bowling in the Senior Master's Bowling Tournament.  This means a lot of sitting around.  So on Friday I prepared by sewing on two bindings. 
This small quilt made by Libby Smith for the Washington Tornado Relief.
This full size wedding quilt.
I know the hubbie will roll his eyes when he seeing my bag of handwork going to the bowling alley.  But can't waste that precious sitting around time.  I am a "get'er done type of gal"!
Have a great weekend and do something special!
Yours in quilting,

Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday Finishes

Another productive week!  I finished my March block for the Quilt Doodle Designs BOM.

Next I moved on to this full size black and cream modern quilt.
 The wonderful back is pieced with all the leftovers.  I likey!
 Here's a picture of the quilt folded.  You can see the texture of the quilting pattern.  I used Omni Black thread and the pattern is Fantastic E2E by Anne
Here is #9 of the memory quilts I have been quilting.  Most of these quilts have been about 52" x 56". One more to go.
 This one has a pieced back made of the leftovers of the shirts used to make the fronts.
 Close-up of the back.  Notice the quiltmaker also left a label on one strip.
Quilting thread is Navy Omni with Ocean Froth pattern by Anne
Look who passed out last night while I was watching Scandal.  Rascal sleeps with his tongue out!
Today I feel like getting out of the basement and enjoying the predicted sunshine.  Its suppose to be almost 60 degrees. I am going to head to the Peoria area today and attend a longarm support group and hopefully pick up some new ideas.
Yours in quilting,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Tips - Pressing

Today's tip is talking about pressing.   Today I was over at Linked In following some of the conversations going on.  There was one discussion on pressing and one discussion on whether to use starch, sizing or Best Press.

First:   I press the seam to set it before pressing it over.

Second:  I press to the dark, unless you need to press it the opposite direction to make the seams nest.
On pinwheel and four patch blocks, I spin the center intersection to make it lay flat.

Third:  I use Best Press or a bottle of water for pressing.  I have had an occasional problem with Best Press leaving a yellow mark because my iron it too hot.  So when in doubt, I use a little spray of just water.  I also use steam in my iron.  I like sharp, crisp seams.

Fourth:  I experimented with pressing seams open below in my pictures.  I maybe more of a believer in pressing more seams open to distribute bulk.  The blocks I am going to show in the pictures are extremely flat. 

In February our guild had a speaker who was very vocal about pressing seams open.  My sewing sister, also has begun pressing her seams open.  She made her king size Celtic Solstice (Bonnie Hunter's 2013 Holiday Mystery) pressing all seams open.  So I have decided to try it.
So here is the block I have been working on for BOM Quilt Doodle
Here is the back.  On each row I pressed the seams so they would nest with the next row.  But when I sewed the rows together, I pressed the seams open.  I had used Best Press on all the fabrics when pressing the fabric before cutting each block.  Therefore, as I piecing all the blocks held their shape and the seams were crisp.
Here are my blocks for the 2014 Country Threads BOM Feb.

I pressed every seam open.  This block is 12 1/2"
 This is the small block for Feb. 2014 BOM for Country Threads.
This block is 6 1/2".  Both the large block and the small block lay extremely flat.  This will make quilting on these blocks a dream.
I have had several quilts on my longarm machine lately that had big bumps from the intersections of seams.  This is hard on the needle, thread and the hopping foot can get caught and do damage.  So I decided that I would start experimenting on my own quilt blocks so I can make suggestions when I teach and to my quilting customers.
I also am very pleased with the result of pressing my fabrics with Best Press before cutting.  Then the Best Press works to hold the shapes of pieces, makes for sharp folds and blocks turn out the correct size along with staying square.
Today I am linking up with Connie at Freemotion by the River.
Yours in quilting,

Monday, March 17, 2014

Design Wall Monday

I forgot got to post this sunrise picture the other day.  I believe it was taken Friday.  It looks like we are headed towards Spring.  We have "snirt" (dirty snow) and mud left in our back yard.  Looking forward to the ground firming up after the frost gets out.  With four dogs and four humans tracking through the house, it is a constant cleaning problem or piles of shoes by the door.  At least when we go outside its not so cold that it takes your breath away.

We did have snow late Saturday night into Sunday.  I was up in the middle of the night, sleepless and watched it swirl and blow around for a while.  Then I went done to my sewing area and sewed on my tree block for Quilt Doodle March block of the month. 
This is what it looked like on Friday.

This is what it looks like today.  I still have the bottom three rows to go but need to start quilting on customer quilts.  So many quilts, so little time.....

I have not been piecing except the above block, for about a week, only quilting for others.  Oh, I did some mending Friday.  I mended a hole in Aaron's sweatpants and a hole in Nora's camisole.  I don't find mending therapeutic like I do piecing.

I had previously been working on cleaning and organizing my sewing studio so that I could take pictures to share.  The cold weather and illness kept me from finishing, so its time to start working at it again.  I washed up storage tubs in several sizes and they are ready to go.  It was nice out Saturday and I layed the wet tubs out on the deck to dry in the sun.
Friday night we had one of our favorite meals, Chicken and Dumplings.  I follow the recipe on the Bisquick box BUT you have to make a double batch.  If I made a single batch, the dumplings are heavy and doughy.  If you make a double batch, the dumplings are light and fluffy.  Just don't over eat or you will be miserable.  They swell in your tummy!  Four of us ate dinner that night and there was no leftovers.

Saturday night we bowled for the last time for the season.  I did better than average with 155, 125 and 155 scores for my games.  Woohoo!  Will miss being with our friends, but I sure we will just change over to grilling out and playing bags when the weather warms up.

Today I am linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times.

Yours in quilting,

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Finishes along with Washington Tornado Recovery Update

Have you ever gotten up in the morning, ready to get at it and things just don't roll the way you planned?  That's my day today.  Nothing awful has happened but nothing has gone smoothly or easy.
So, I roll with the punches.  I have been trying to finish my father and step-mother's 11 year old wedding quilt.  I got the top put together at one retreat.  Next bought the backing at Quilter's Garden sale and pieced it at the retreat in Fulton.  The binding is made with just the quilting to be finished.  I loaded the quilt yesterday and had a few issues while getting started but continued on.  This morning I jumped out of bed, let the dogs out and headed down to the longarm to finish the final three rows....
now for the rest of the story.

I went to advance the quilt to line up the final row and discovered this.  Not enough backing fabric to finish quilting the quilt. 
You ask, " how do you fix this?"  For me I take the quilt off the longarm leaving the leaders attached.  Trim off the excess fabric on one side and add it to the bottom of the quilt.  Reloaded the quilt back on the longarm and quilt the last row.  I have been humbled by the quilt.  I didn't double check the backing and the quilt top when I loaded them.  So I had loaded the back the wrong direction.  Haste makes waste.  Its like that saying, "measure twice, cut once".  I should have measured twice and loaded the quilt once. 
Did I tell you I have a Ph.D. from the School of Hard Knocks!  Each quilt teaches you something.
The wedding quilt is quilted.  Next the binding and label before shipping it to its home.
The center of the blocks were signed by guests at the wedding with good wishes!
This beautiful quilt sent to me by Libby Smith is about 38" x 38".  Libby sent this to me for the Washington Tornado Revcovery.  I finished quilting it yesterday and will square it up and add the binding.
I used Omni Natural White thread and Drop Paisley pattern by Anne

 Its lovely and certainly will give comfort to someone.
I also quilted a Jelly Roll Race type quilt in country colors for Beth Mathew but forgot to take pictures.  Beth gave me the quilt for Washington Tornado Recovery but she took it home Tuesday to add the binding for me.  I will post a picture when I get it back.
Below are the pillows cases and small quilt sent to me by Donna Jez.
I had quilted this quilt this winter but then the bad weather hit and I was never able to get down to Washington to drop off items I had collected and made.

Below is the pretty back.

Monday, I was finally able to drive to Peoria and participate in our Handi Quilter Support Group.  I then traveled over to Washington with the above quilt and pillow cases from Donna.  I had also made four pillow cases with cats on them.  Judy Bence had given me a large bag of crocheted afghans.  All these items were dropped off at Peddler's Way Quilt Shop in Washington.  The gals were very thankful for the fresh load of goodies.  All the items they were holding had been picked and so this is the start of a new load.  From there I took a drive through the area hit by the tornado.  I wrote several blogs on my work after the tornado HERE.
 There is little improvement.  In fact, is just plain dreary.  When I worked in the area in November, the grass was at least green.  Now from the hard winter and heavy snow fall, its just mud and yuck.
I didn't get a picture of the one house that was framed and they were adding plywood to it as I drove by.  To the right of where I was driving were farm fields.  The fields have large piles of debris that have to be moved before the farmers can plant a crop.  The debris in fields go for miles.
Thank you to all of you who have sent me items to quilt and donate to the people in Washington.  The hard winter has prevented most of them from moving forward with any plans.  It means so much when the people receive your gifts and they know some cares.
Hope you are enjoying some nice weather where you are.  Today is sunny and almost 50 degrees.  I shut the furnace off and open the back door and let some fresh air in while fixing the wedding quilt.
Yours in quilting,

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday

Today my house is a Spring Cleaning Zone!  I just couldn't stand it any longer.  Vacuuming dust bunnies, dusting furniture, cleaning the bathroom and kitchen. 

Good news!  There are counter tops in my kitchen.  Hahaha!  I got a Kitchen Aid mixer for Christmas which takes up a lot of space.  I cleaned off the counter tops and re-arranged everything.  Boy, is my family going to be happy.  (Just don't open the cupboards or SURPRISE!)  Rome wasn't built in a day, cupboards will have to come later.

Dishes are done. 
Dinner is made.
Salad is made.
Laundry started.
Haircut at 4pm.  I will put the chicken in the oven when I leave for haircut.

I think all is under control for now. 

Today we woke up to an inch of snow along with a few flurries throughout the day.  My mud is covered for now but I am sure it will re-appear tomorrow.

I plan to head to the basement tonight to load a quilt on the longarm unless I poop out after all the cleaning.  I tend to melt after a full tummy at dinner.

Yours in quilting,

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday Tip

So excited, today is suppose to be fairly warm out.  Yesterday it was almost 60 degrees and sunny.  I enjoyed changing to a lighter weight coat and getting outside.  The issue that is created by these warmer days is MUD!  Yesterday my customer stopped by to pick up her two quilts and I felt bad that she had to pick her way through the mud out front.  She loved her quilts, the flower and pinwheel quilt and the covered bridge quilt, pictured HERE.

Also, having 4 dogs tracking mud in and out.   Mmmm..... constant cleaning.

My Tuesday Tip for the week is have your favorite books re-bound at your local office supply store.  You can take you books into Staples and PIP Printing in our area and they shave off the binding, punch holes and add the spiral binding.  It is awesome to have the book stay open on its own.  They also add plastic covers to the front and back and this helps to proctect the outside of your book.
For the Free Motion Quilting, it allows me to lay the pattern I want to try in the copier and make a clean copy to practice on.  I either lay a plastic sheet over the copy and use a dryer ease marker, or use a little 505 spray on the copy and use it on the longarm on top of my practice fabric.
 This book is really popular at our local area quilt stores.  It is a great way to use up scraps.  You can use any type of fabrics, i.e. batiks, 30's repro prints, civil war repros, Kansas Troubles, Mode, etc.  I really like the blocks where you mix all types of fabrics in an "Edyta Sitar" style.
Using the spiral binder allows you to lay the book open flat or prop it up on an easel while working on each block.  The approximate price of having a book spiral bond is $3 to $5 per book.
Hope this gives you the motivation to get out your favorite book and get to work!
Yours in quilting,

Monday, March 10, 2014

Monday Design Wall

Woo Hoo! Its Monday and last week was so productive.  Five quilts finished last week HERE.

This morning I am writing my blog, picking up the house, meeting with a customer at 11am and then headed to a longarm class.  This class only meets every other month.  Looking forward to seeing what the others have been doing on their snow days.

I have the blocks cut for the next block in the 2014 BOM Quilt Doodle Designs.  It is a large pine tree block.  Using stash fabric, yippee!
I have my barn block ready for Quilter's Garden Barn Quilt BOM tomorrow night. Along with the two previous month's blocks, Illinois Block.
There is one problem.  In the bottom block I flipped the flying geese blocks in assembly so I have Ohio Star block instead of the Illinois block.  I will wait to see if it will really make a difference.  If its a sampler quilt I will just have more variety.
Friday night our guild had a great time with speaker, Chris Lynn Kirsch.  We followed her journey of making Mariner's Compass quilts and thinking outside-the-box on stretching our compasses.  I felt like I had jumped off into the sea of creativity and I swimming with loads of  ideas for quilts.
From left to right:  Kate H, myself, Mary W and Barb A.
I believe all of us chose not to do a round compass.  We borrowed a large oval serving platter from the church kitchen as a template.  Following Chris' step-by-step instructions from her Compass Capers book and personal instructions in class, look how much we were able to complete.  I have three more sections to paper piece before sewing my compass together.  (I had to order and run to pick up lunch so I had a little less sewing time than the others.)
I am a convert!!! I have done little paper piecing and this was so much fun.  Can't wait to do another one!  Chris self-published her own book, therefore she was able to include step-by-step pictures.  So I know when I go to do this at home, I will be successful!  This is the third time we have had Chris teach for our guild and I highly recommend her classes.  We said we would like to be the guinea pigs for the next class she is developing. (hint, hint)
Today I am linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times
Enjoy the day, as we are suppose to have near 60 degrees and sunny today!
Yours in quilting,

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Stash Report

I have done well on not buying fabric only for a few weeks and then I fall off the wagon.  I have a few "legal" purchases.  I purchased 2 yds of background for my Smith Mountain Morning so that I can make it king size (legal purchase).  I purchased 1 fat quarter to finish a the cabin block on the 2014 BOM by Quilt Doodle Designs (legal purchase).  My New Years Resolution was not to purchase fabric unless it was to finish a quilt which I call legal purchases.

My illegal purchases were 2 yds of graduated shades for a Mariner's Compass class with Chris Lynn Kirsch yesterday.  It was so worth falling off the "no buy" wagon to take this class.  This got the creativity juices flowing.  Visit the blog tomorrow for more pictures from the class.

I hope you were able to enjoy the nice weather and sunshine today!

New fabric bought this week:  4.25 yds.
New fabrics bought:  27.75 yds year-to-date
New fabrics used to finish UFO's: 2.25 yds.
Fabrics used out of stash:  4 yds, year-to-date
New fabric used to start new quilt:  2 yds.
Yours in quilting,

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Finishes

Hello everyone!  I haven't written for you since Feb.25th due to being sick with a nasty virus.  I finally had to give into being sick.  I went back to bed several days, talked to the doctor again, took additional medicine and just slowed down.  It was a bummer because I am not good at slowly down and each day I couldn't do my daily activities I continued to fall far behind. This is my fourth week with the virus and finally can say I am getting well.

I have been working a queen size quilt for about three weeks.  It took so long because it was bitterly cold in the studio some days, my illness and the size of the quilt.  Its hard to get it all in the picture because its so long.
 Close up of the borders.
Spinning pinwheel quilting in each pinwheel block and stippling in the background of each flower block.
 There are feathers in each triangle block.
 Swags and piano keys in outer border, feathers and curls in in off-white border.
Cone flowers in filler blocks along with double curls in sashings.  All this was accomplished with my Pro-stitcher computer on my Handi Quilter Avante.  I did do free motion stippling in the flower blocks and a small amount of ruler work in the corners of the blue large borders. This is only the second quilt I have custom quilted.  This quilt was a block of the month at Quilter's Garden.
Next I loaded a wall quilt that was also a short term block of the month designed by Quilter's Garden.
 Here is a close up of several of the blocks.
 This was my third custom quilt.  In the green borders there are leaves, but they blend so well you can't get it to show up in the picture.
Next I loaded this quilt called Somerset.
Here's a close-up of a block.
 I used  Glide thread and an edge to edge pattern called Feathered Paisley.
I have been working on quilting 8 memory quilts since before Christmas.  Here is #7
 The challenge with these quilts have been the pockets or snaps left on the strips.
All quilts have been quilted in navy Omni thread and the pattern is called Ocean Froth. 
#8 Memory Quilt had no pockets or snaps.  It quilted up like a dream.
I have a Washington Tornado quilt donation on my longarm right now.  I didn't get it finished so will have to save it for next Friday.  Finishing five quilts this week is nothing to sneeze at.  So glad to feel better and able to be productive this week.  The weatherman just said 52 degrees by Monday!  Hopefully, Spring is just around the corner.
Today I will be meeting with Chris Lynn Kirsch from Wisconsin.  She will be our guest speaker at Covered Bridge Quilt Guild tonight.  She will be giving a trunk show of all her Mariner Compass quilts and tomorrow's class will be drafting your own Mariner's Compass and then paper piecing it!
Today, we are hooking up with……Confessions of a Fabric AddictLink a Finish FridayFreedom Fridays, and Crazy Mom Quilts.  Have a great weekend.
Yours in quilting,