Friday, July 27, 2018

Stabilized by a border

    On my list for the week was to join the string blocks for the Spider Web, and to add the first border to stabilize the top.
  I cut a 3 1/2'' strip of the various black and white prints for that first border.  I just wanted to mix them up like I did for the "star" parts.

  Once the rows were joined I measured--twice--both top and bottom to check the width.  37''---right as it should be.  That was easy, so I cut the correct measurement for top and bottom and got them attached.  I held my breath as I stitched.....strings are notorious for growing  every minute they are free.

  Then I measured sides.....sure enough one side was expanding as I looked at it.  That side was gaining weight faster than I can eat chocolate.  It was 3/4'' larger on the second measurement.  So I took the average of both sides and cut the borders at  57''.   Quick to the machine and tame those bias edges.  Deep sigh of relief when all came out evenly.
    For some people bias may behave nicely, and just lie there all sleepy and relaxed, but I have never had such good fortune land on my sewing table.  So I generally have to work harder to get even sides/borders etc. when working with bias.

   Now, I can finish up the stringy piano keys style border.  One tip here that I learned the hard way when making coin strips.
  Work in short sections of about 12'' - 15''.   Trim and even up the sides, top and bottom of strip section.  Then move on to joining the sections together for the needed length.  This tip will keep your border straighter instead of curving or listing to one side like a drunken sailor!
    I have enough sections for 3 sides, just a few more to stitch.

      But first, I need to match up some more leader/enders!   I almost emptied  what I had prepared, just 4 triangles left to stitch together.     The blue bin was full of  parts to sew as L/E while making the border and joining the blocks of the Spider Web. 

So I will add to the list to press the 4 patches and HSTs, and match up some more.

  Here is one quarter section for the Jewel Box Star that is the new L/E.  I couldn't resist trying at least one section to see how it would look.   Should be a surprise!

Happy stitching. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

One more to go

 I still can't count.  I thought I made enough  I am 4 short or enough for 1 full block. 

  This is 11 blocks and it will be large enough.  I am adding a black and white strip for an inner border and then string border  of leftovers for an outer border. 

  I found I got a more accurate block by removing at least part of the paper before joining the 4 sections into a block.  Mainly I removed the ends and the portion behind the black and white kite piece.  The purchased foundation tears nicely and comes off easily.....but there is still the mess of it all.  The price you pay for using the papers, I guess. 

  My plan for the week to end the month is to make one more block, and get the rows joined as I stitch together the leftover border.

  On the quilting front....machine cleaned and progress is being made.  Only 1 side left to quilt for the border on the the floral log cabin.   So I will end the month with this one quilted.  Binding to follow. 



Saturday, July 21, 2018

Spider web on my wall

   I began to assemble the blocks for the string spider web project.     This is where it began with large triangle sections with a center kite shape piece--the black and white print, and strings on the sides.    It is hard to get the full picture of how it will come together from this, so hang on. 

   I elected to go easy on myself and ordered pre-cut foundation papers from Missouri Star.  A big life saver for me.  The sections are large....13'' on the long side.   Four of the triangle units are joined to create the center "star" and the web appears as the blocks are joined. 

  What a difference on the design wall to see things come together!  So far I have 5 blocks on the wall.  And the webs are beginning to appear.  One thing I am seeing are the ends....tiny points are going to disappear when I sew the blocks together.  So that's a tip....don't go too small on the ends of the string section. 

   I am going for 12 at this point,  but I think 15 will be the end.  With borders it would be a twin size and probably very heavy with all those seams. 

  For some variety, I am quilting a little each day on the log cabin floral quilt.  The center sections are done in swirls and I am adding feathers and loops in the border.  I thought I would use a green thread for the border.....but it matched so well I couldn't see where I was stitching.  A switch to a medium gray was a sight saver on this one.  All was going well until.....I ran out of bobbin.  That means a good cleaning is due as well. 

  So I will be tearing papers and cleaning Hot Legs for my weekend workings. 
Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

New leader and ender

   New leader and ender project was announced by the Scrap Queen, a la Bonnie Hunter.  She based it on an antique quilt she discovered .  It is called Jewel Box Stars.     Link is to her PDF.

   I have made a couple of jewel box quilts, and like the block a lot, so I have begun setting up a basket for  my leader and enders.  A small basket that can sit by my machine for the pieces, and a larger basket for finished units.
   Guess  you can fabric selections are not  just anything, but floral scraps.  I saw a version someone shared on FB on the forum  that was done in florals.  I was hooked from that point on.

  The whole point of a leader/ender project  is to work on it between other things.  By breaking down the block into units---like HSTs and 4 patches---- you can stitch one or two up at the end of a row of blocks that you are joining  for a top.  The aim to keep a unit under the needle at all times rather than cut thread and move on to the next row, etc. 
Example would be between my string blocks I would join 2 strips that will be cut into 2 patches for my 4 patch units.  Do another string block, stitch a pair of HSTs to make a unit, then another string block, and so on.   It does require some planning and matching of fabrics for pairs.....go busy work while watching TV.  Or just as a change of pace when you have a few minutes before dinner. 

 This is one of my favorite leader and ender projects.   Charming Bricks, the larger wall hanging, was done as a leader and ender in 2015.  It is based on a pattern published in 2007 in McCall's Quilting.  Here's the post with details

  I also did a full size gifted quilt, and a door banner using the same technique/idea of the bricks. 
  So periodically, you can expect me to rave on about the L/E units as they begin to accumulate.  I won't be over-achieving on this one but rather electing to enjoy the progress. 
Happy stitching.

Monday, July 16, 2018

More string things

  String blocks of course are a project to use leftovers strips and strings on.    I did 4 more sections for a spider web block.   I really like the black and white print for the center star shape.
 But I am drowning in strings here.

  So coiled baskets are a way to use some strings.  And it gives me a project to work on when I am sitting outside,  or watching TV, etc.  I am sorting strings into color families  to add to the clothesline.  Glue stick and  those mighty clips sure make it  easy to control the ends.
   I am thinking ahead to gifts for the neighbors this year.  A nice basket of cookies will work :)

 A tip I learned: 
   I set up the Featherweight in the living room and have been eating up the strings making spider web blocks.    I began to have some issues with the began gathering the fabric and then the thread would snap.  I cleaned it, I re-threaded, found an extra thread or two....on and on.  Still something was not right.  On one of the FW forums I asked a question about it  and was told to try a different thread.   That was it.....the FWs were built  well before our newer, very thin, lightweight threads.  They  often slip thru the tension disks throwing the tension off ---making the machine think there is no thread? maybe.  I had been using an end of a spool of Aurifil and also some Soft Touch thread. A little heavier thread solved the problem.  At least this time.....
    And with that, I will get some laundry done and sew a bit between loads.
Happy stitching. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Returning to regular programming....

  Sorry for the absence of a few weeks, although I have been reading and following most blogs.
    I have been dealing with blood pressure drops that leave me completely wiped out and exhausted.   My system is very sensitive to any change, and nerve pathways to the brain and organs do not always function as they should.  This is just part of the Pernicious Anemia condition.   The medication adjustment made by the doctor last month we thought would take care of it, but  the condition quickly returned.  Cutting pills in half just doesn't work because nothing is consistent.  So finally the wonderful pharmacist joined in and we hope her suggestion will work. 

  With that said, the sewing room has been visited very sporadically.   I would go in there and stare at the garlic knot top and knew it needed more.  A border or edge to finish it off.  Why work on blocks and then just stop with nothing to frame it.  Finally over the weekend, I decided on adding a flange band and then a simple border. 

  I really like how this ended up.....and it will move on to the "needs to be pinned" stack for now.

  About a month ago I talked about doing a spider web string quilt after a guild program presented one.  I had the big idea of making my own foundation papers from newsprint....etc.  Well, I am working on it, but got some help from  Missouri Star  and the Wacky Web set.   Thanks, Vicki, for commenting about this last time.  It has made life easier.   Plus I caught it on special :)

We have finally figured out what has been making a mess on our deck.....leaving deposits too.  Coyotes have moved into the wooded area nearby making nightly raids  in our yard.  They are way too close to the house and we have started leaving the lights on out back.  Also we have sprayed bleach mixture around the steps and by the workshop.   I believe they caught the nesting birds, Flickers, by the side walk.  The bunnies have disappeared, and so have the chipmunks. 
  We got lax for a few days and thought they were gone.  This morning Sir Old Man found the remains of a squirrel by the side door, and other remains near the shop.   So back to protecting our space.   They can have the woods, just avoid my house. 
   It will probably only get worse as more development is moving out our way.  The golf course has closed and big developers are sniffing around.  I may need to move to a mountain, then I would have to face bears too.  LOL.
Happy stitching. 
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