Wednesday, July 31, 2013

NewFO in July

  Whew!  For some reason July has seemed like a long month to me....all the rainy days, and I think I'm ready to start a new month!  I can't believe I am saying that, since August is the really hot one, but that only means cooler weather will be here soon.

 July NewFO:     I started the string pieced geese last month.  Sorry to say I lost interest in them.    I turned part of them into 2 place mats.  Maybe the remaining ones will end up in something.  But these 2 are fine by me and just need to get quilted and finished.    Remember it is okay to give yourself permission to change your mind, alter the plans, and do something different.  Otherwise, give it away!  

  So the Scrappy Trip Around the World became my for real New FO for July.  The pattern is from Bonnie Hunter.  Five blocks done  and a few more strip sets sewn.  I am working on these at night as I feel like it.   I was really surprised how quickly they go together.  So far I have just thrown things in with no thought as to placement....except for the dark value running on the diagonal.  For right now anything goes.  Later I may play around with the value placement and see what happens.  

Confession Time:
   When I was re-arranging the sewing room for the new machine and cutting table, I uncovered a real UFO.  A forgotten project that was started last year sometime before I broke my shoulder.  I don't even remember exactly what I had in mind with it, as it was only a partial piece....a watercolor project.    I plan on adding to this one and coming up with a finished piece.

   So that means NewFOs are on the horizon for August.
I have a plan for that.....2 baby quilts and bibs made from the leftovers!    Maria is expecting twins in early October and finally let us know it is boys on the way.  I decided on a modern style chevron / zig zag pattern.  I got the large blocks cut and ready to pair and stitch.  Then this morning I saw the cutest bibs---scrappy bibs---on Pinterest.  So I tracked down a pattern to use.  I don't plan on using batting in the bibs, just a bit of top stitching to hold all in place.  

      Plans for August:

  •   Finish the 2 place mats.....those stringy geese.
  •   Add to the watercolor and get a vision for it.
  •   Get the baby quilts pieced and make 2 bibs.  An almost finish would be good here!
  •   Continue making Scrappy TAW blocks.
  • Buzz Saw quilt.....get those borders on!

Linking to Cat Patches for the July NewFO linky.    By the way,  Mrs. CatPatches put out a strong hint about something special coming up on's about covering outbuildings.  I am fairly certain I know what it is, I am very interested, and thought about not even mentioning/sharing/letting anyone else know.........but here I go opening up my mouth.  Be sure to check it out.
  Happy stitching.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

All done!

The string quilt of colors is Faceted Jewels II, and the applique quilt is my challenge quilt, Hiding in the Garden.    These two have been hanging around for a while, as both started as NewFOs  at the beginning of the year.  

   This is a small version of the first.....only 42" by 56".   The blocks were string pieced onto a muslin foundation that was 7 1/2".  The binding is the same dark green used in each block.  I love the concentration of colors and the mix of values done this way.  This is probably the easiest quilt ever.
   The challenge, from Lemons to Lemonade, involved picking an ugly fabric out of the bag.  Luckily mine was not that ugly, merely dated.....a small calico from the later 80s!  I "hid" the ugly among the flowers, in the 9-patch trellis, and the border strip.  
   I mixed up the background fabrics.... white on white, and tans, and creams, for a shadowing effect.  The  stems are fusible bias, and all the applique was fused before stitching.
   Using lots of fabrics, I hoped to dilute out the ugly one.  If  I put enough in to keep you looking, maybe you would overlook that calico.

   I  went overboard with the quilting.....but it was fun to fill in all the open space with swirls, leaves and feathery things!    Note:  What's a feathery thing?  Not a traditional feather, but has lots of plumes and it often turns into something else like a leaf or swirl.   And I filled the border with feathers all the way around.
  Insight:  Take a chance.....with fabric or the FMQ.  If you put enough on it, the mistakes are less noticeable!  And after all that FMQ, you will be a lot more confident.

     Nice to finish up, because I need to get those 2 baby quilts started.  I have decided to go with a chevron quilt/modern zig-zag pattern.  So maybe I can get to cutting up some fabric today.
  Happy stitching.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Small Quilts with a message

   From Mrs. Claus in Michigan............with the help of her Granddaughter!   FayeJean from the HGTV Message Board sent 2 doll quilts for the Mrs. Claus project.  Her note said that she had the help of her Granddaughter in making these precious little doll quilts.
    I was touched by that.  This little project has crossed generational lines to teach giving and quilting.  Thank you, FayeJean and big hugs to your Granddaughter.
  I enjoy knowing the story behind the quilt and the quiltmakers.  Because I believe, that what we make with our hands is a  gift of our heart.  Sharing what we love to do with younger generations ensures that our art will continue.  That's important to me.  This is one of the best examples of why  I  quilt.   Thank you again, Mrs. Claus for all you do.
Happy stitching.

Monday, July 22, 2013


When my mind is cluttered,  I catch myself talking out loud.  Not to anyone....just to verbalize what I am trying to figure out.     It drives Sir Old Man crazy and he tries to answer or participate in the conversation.  So this post is to de-clutter my is really blocking my creative instinct.

   String geese.....some things work and some things don't.  I  added the background to a few those I had made.  Once I got them onto the design wall, I realized I did not want to make a large quilt this way.  I like them....but all those different sizes mean a lot of fussy piecing to make them fit together.   It is not something I want to spend time doing.   I have been looking at them for a couple of days.... I think I will play around with what I have completed, and maybe do a runner and some place mats, or just a small quilt.  .
   Insight:  Admit it when you don't like a project.   Don't let it  be a UFO.  Turn it into something small and useful.

  I needed to feel like I was making headway on projects, so I turned to some quilting.    Nothing like hands on fabric and going fast to make you feel better.  I  used the "Jester Hat" quilting motif from Wendy at Ivory Spring on the string quilt that was ready to go.    She taught this during our 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge....and I finally got the hang of doing it all over, edge to edge style.
   Insight:  See practice is good!

Maybe  a NewFO.......I still have a lot of strips....but then who doesn't?  What I need  to start is  an on-going/ kitchen sink/waste nothing project.  A project I am not compelled to finish in a season, but that can grow a lot or a little and still be something.  The best place to look for an idea was at Quiltville.

   My choice is the Scrappy Trip Around the World.  From my 2 1/2" bin, I pulled  strips that were long enough  for 6 blocks.   I will tackle the unsorted box for more long  strips later.  These blocks are 12 1/2" a couple of dozen could make a small lap quilt.

Insight:  Don't be compelled to finish this in a month.  Let it grow.  

   OK, now that I got all this out,  I feel so much better.   I think I am ready to move on and find that creative mojo.
 Happy stitching.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Wonderful doll quilts

   A wonderful assortment of doll quilts came in the mail this week.  I am always amazed each time I open one of the packages.  The vibrant colors, beautiful fabrics, and fun prints are a treat.....but the sense of love and giving from special quilters that I call Mrs. Claus just fill me to over-flowing.

    Two arrived from Mrs. Claus in Maine, aka Quiltbea at the HGTV Message Board.    My mouth dropped open when I saw beautiful!  Quiltbea used the 4-patch posey technique to create these fabulous little blocks with sashing.   It's an easy technique, but time consuming, using just one fabric that is  fussy cut into squares  and develops  that wonderful swirled effect.  Thank you, Mrs. Claus, these are so special.

From  Mrs. Claus in NY.....
Vroomans Quilts came 4 doll quilts!  The first 2 satisfy the cat lover in me.....she always has the cutest fabric to share.  I admit to loving that swirly tail in the center of the right hand quilt!

  The second pair from her....teddy bears and patches galore.  This Mrs. Claus is proclaimed the most prolific doll quilt maker I know!  I follow her blog, so I know she participates in doll quilt swaps and love seeing her creations.
  Big hugs and thank yous to you both for sharing your love through your doll quilts.

  I am finishing up an old fashion Peach Cobbler........with fresh Carolina beauties.  A neighbor made the trek to the peach farm and shared a bushel with all the neighbors.   So you can guess what Sir Old Man will be eating tonight with his ice cream!  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A blue sky day

    Finally, the sun was shinning when I woke up this morning.  We actually were blessed with blue gray in sight.  It has been weeks since that happened.  Of course, that means the heat  has set in....we just need the soggy, boggy ground to dry out a bit.  So we will take the heat for a while.

  I finished up the last 4 blocks needed for the Buzz Saw quilt border.......I have to keep my part of the bargain, don't I?   Actually, this part is the easy is just so dang big and awkward to work with right now.   That is why I am dragging my feet on it.

   Over the weekend, I messed around with the tension on the Tiara.....a lot of trial and error and not a lot of improvement.  I just wasn't getting the good stitch I wanted with certain threads.  All I did was make myself frustrated, until  I came to the conclusion I was a complete idiot and did not know what I was doing. Almost 40 years of sewing experience and I could not get the tension set.   So, I went on-line and began to hunt down some help.
    I ran across an excellent video by Handi-quilter called TNT---as in thread, needles, tension.
   Aha!   I proved my point.....I was attempting to solve my problem backwards!   The correct way to set the tension on these things is to start with the bobbin tension.  Get it right and you are half way to home base.  Then you set the top tension to it.    I watched the video a second time and then to the machine.  Within 10 minutes, I was pleased/ happy / smiling----balanced stitches, at last.

 A tip I also ran across.....this helps prevent "drag" when machine quilting that happens when the quilt sandwich does not slide over the table edge smoothly.  It is perfect for the Tiara but should/could help even when using a domestic machine that is recessed into a table with a lip edge.
   Use the Q-snap quilting (hand quilting) frame cover on the edge of the table top to create a nice rounded edge.  I slipped 2 of the 4  pieces onto my table front edge.   Perfect!   A good re-cycle and I am glad  I never threw that set up away.....pack rat that I am.

Happy stitching.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Mid-month report...

Doll Quilts-----

  These arrived from Mrs. Claus in Maine.  Lots of 30s prints, with the addition of the little bows on the one on the right.......just too cute.  They were made by Kathleen, aka KC1930 on the HGTV Message Board.  those gals are so committed and I really appreciate all their help.   Great job, Mrs. Claus.

Pinning a quilt---- new tool and tip!

   It was so easy to get the small strings quilt pinned.....using the new cutting table top area.  Sir Old Man made another contribution to my "tools" for quilting.  He gave me a small assortment of spring clamps for holding the backing and batting in place while pinning a top.   These are the really inexpensive kind----he upgraded to the kind for "real men".

   The 3/4" table top plus spring clamps plus a few pins equals a pinned top and no back pain from bending over a too low table.  It was easy to pin one-half of the top, remove the clamps to slide everything over.  Re-clamp on all 4 sides---and get the backing taut again--- and pin away to finish.


A found UFO.....
 With all the re-arranging, I discovered or uncovered  a watercolor UFO from last year.
  I added appliqued/fused butterflies to it.  Just the binding to finish up now.  This will be donated to the guild for the quilt show auction.


    I have hit the mark on all items on my list for July...happy dance!....thanks to all the wet, rainy weather that keeps us inside.  And there is more on the way according to the latest reports.....not so happy face  :(
I might just have to clean the house to stay out of trouble......on second thought, maybe not!  Have a great weekend and happy stitching.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Totally finished

  The cutting area is completely done....the large top is beautifully finished and installed!  I have already tried it out and the height is perfect.  Sir Old Man did good....real good.  It has a nice 3 " overhang on each side and is the right  thickness for clamps (for holding the backing in place)  when I am pinning projects.
   Guess this means I have to...oops, get to...return to working on the Buzz Saw quilt for him  :)
  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

From class and a doll quilt

    I wasn't sure I would make it home last night after quilt guild.  A torrential storm and downpour of almost 4 inches of rain occurred during the meeting.  My usual path home was impassable.....two different areas were underwater and blocked off.   I had to circle back  and come in another route.  Thankfully, home was high and dry.  More rain to come, and things are so water logged right now.... making the humidity almost unbearable.    

 Ann brought the pattern she used for the Christmas tree skirt to class today.   It is from the December 2008 issue of Quiltmaker magazine.   So you might need to check your back issues...or find someone who saved them for this pattern.  Looking at the photo, I would not have thought twice about it.....but her interpretation turned out so pretty. Click here  to see that post.   And she was delighted with the feathers!    She did so well in class, I fully expect her to be quilting feathers soon, too.

From  a  Mrs. Claus in Texas.....
   Jill, aka Will Quilt for Chocolate, is a member of the HGTV Message board and she sent along this little cutie for the Mrs. Claus doll quilt project.  Fun colors and cute pattern layout,  and I love her loop and curl quilting.  Thank you, Mrs. Claus.

   I'm heading to the sewing room to work on binding.  I really want to start something new, but
 the list ----you know that plan for the month I am trying to follow---says I need to do binding.   Staying on track.....happy stitching.  

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A quilting weekend

   Sometimes I find myself saying things and then I wonder, "Where did that come from?".  I don't just mean the "putting foot in mouth" behavior, but the jumping in and saying "let me" variety.  At this age/stage of life, I have developed the ability to just say no to a lot of things.  So, when a friend showed me a photo of a project she was finishing and asked if a few straight lines of quilting would be okay, guess what popped out of my mouth?
  A few days later, Ann was gracious and tried to talk me out of my offer.  I insisted that I needed the practice.

This is a beautiful Christmas tree skirt she is making for her newly wed Granddaughter.  She will be finishing off the edges and adding the center hole, so that part was left unquilted.  

  When I saw the photo, I had instant visions of wonderful streams of feathers in the green and red areas.  The areas of the holly print are done in a medium scale meandering stitch.  

The back side......with lots of stitches!

 The cream area was just perfect for a triangular spray of feathers.  This is the first time I really tried fitting free motion stitching into a given area.  

    By the time I got to the larger areas, I was really feeling brave.  I mixed in some individuals plumes with the attached and bump-back plumes. 
   And I am really glad for our rainy weather this weekend.....I had no guilt about investing time on this.  

    I will be delivering this to Ann on Tuesday at class, and I am crossing my fingers that she will be delighted with it.  

   It was a magical feeling to see that first vision in my head come to life.   All the time spent in practice last year through the Free Motion Challenge at SewCalGal, and all the doodle pad pages I  filled with drawing those plumes over and over  paid off in the confidence to do this one.   I do think the drawing is the key to developing the skill level grab your paper and pencils, practice, then quilt!
Happy stitching.   

Friday, July 5, 2013

Happy stitcher

   I'm still celebrating my new space, and cutting table!  After all my whining, I realize I never properly thanked and raved on  Sir Old Man.  
  Being able to consolidate all those bins and containers has made a huge difference.  I use mainly plastic shoe boxes that I scored at a yard sale years ago for a quarter each.  Different sizes, and  I can label each one on the end with a Sharpie marker.  Hint---alcohol swab will remove the marker when I need to relabel.    This side has all the scrap boxes, and current project bins, bindings bin,  and watercolor strips.  Note the open spaces!!!

   On the opposite side, I have containers of strings sorted by color family, all the threads, a bin for fusibles, extra iron,  buttons, bin for safety pins and such, and interfacing supplies.
   By all this consolidation, I cleared a shelf off in the stash closet and the stack of fabric on mini-bolts was moved from the floor to the closet. I also cleared off a shelf in the is still unfilled!  And made room on the baker's rack for the radio and new bobbin winder for the Tiara.  All in all a lot of breathing room now and not so confining.  I love it!

  You can see a bit of the detail that Sir Old Man included in the cabinet.  He faced the shelves with a band and the vertical bands are routed with a groove.  The entire unit is on swivel casters that make it very easy to shift and move if needed.  The height is 36".....when the full top is added it will be close to 37" high. No more bending over to cut!   The top will extend slightly over the edges for a full space of 44" by 33".
So, yes, I am now a happy stitcher!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

More things to share

  This little doll quilt arrived a couple of days ago.....from Nancy of the HGTV Message Board.   so cute and colorful....thank you, Nancy for your help and being a wonderful Mrs. Claus representing Alaska.

  The Garden Braid table runner is quilted and bound.  This is not up for grabs....but it has been spoken for.  I had some tension issues near the I think it is time for a new needle.

More patterns and blocks to share...

Item 1:   Two patterns.....a needlecase pattern, and a purse.


Item 2:  Here are three patterns by Eleanor Burns.
 Anything by her is great.  Take your pick or take all three.

All are Taken

Item 3:   The pattern is for Cathedral Windows. And a lot of squares for the insets squares you will need.
This just involves more hand work than I can do anymore.


Item 4:   Four blocks....Friendship Stars and more squares.


Item 5:  Patriotic fabrics.....2 are fat quarters, and the other 2 are large chunks of about 1/4 yard.


I'm hoping someone will put these to good use.....leave a comment and be sure you can be contacted by email.  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013


   I am finally back to stitching again.....And I can get to the design wall, the cutting table is loaded with project bins, threads, scrap boxes, and watercolor strip bins.  I can find things---mostly---so this is a celebration  post!!!
  I quilted some feathers on the braid table runner this morning. Now I need to trim and bind.

  Those string pieced blocks are being joined too.  This is a smaller size overall than the first one.  It should end up about 40" by 50".  I just love eyeing the colors  in this style  scrap quilt.

Now I need some takers....for the items I am clearing out.   This is the first batch of items.

   Item 1:    There are 23 of these blocks left.  They are about 7" ---square in a square pattern, with a "conversational " print in the center.


Item 2:
  2 patterns for Autumn  mini wall hangings.  Instructions for fusible applique and some embroidery.


  Item 3:   Two patterns.  One is for a table runner, and the other is a braid style quilt.  
  I never used either one....note that the braid pattern is for construction only.  It does not explain how to select fabrics combos or provide info on blending.  The person who passed it on to me was discouraged by that.


  If you are a follower and are interested in one of these,  leave  a comment and be sure you can be contacted by email.    Thanks.
  I will post more items later today.....check back.  :)
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