Thursday, April 28, 2011

Almost gone!

I call this my "circle quilt" and it's from my archives :-)  I was actually playing with the block design and I have the fans stitched out and thought it worked together. 
Here's a close up of the block:

These 'cirlces' are made with a set of  rulers from Elisa's Back Porch that I borrowed from a friend.  I suppose any drunkard's path templates/rulers would work!
Can you believe that April is almost gone, done, over with?!  I look back at this month and wonder if I really got much accomplished, and the truth is, I really didn't.  I think I'm going to have to start making a list at the beginning of the month of the things I want to accomplish that month, then break it down by the week and then at the beginning of the week, by the day.  Would that work?  Well, not for me.  I'm not a list maker and simply not that organized.  Wish I was. At work (when I was working), things were organized and done in a timely manner.  But at home - I was organized confusion and still am (probably worst!)  Today is my "granddaughter day" so will have to straighten up the sewing room - won't be hard as I haven't been in it all week!  Early in the day, though, I have a friend bringing me a few pair of slacks that she needs some elastic put in - so will work on that before I go pick up my granddaughter from school.  Anyway..... why haven't I got anything done this week?  Monday was recovery and clean up from Easter as well as my grandson's ball game.  Tuesday was laundry, getting a quilt on the frame, an internet chat with QFC then another ball game.  Wed was spent in Tucson with DH while he had a test for his eye pressures that required 3 trips into the doctor 2 hours apart.  I'm really hoping that nothing gets planned for Friday - I really want to get some quilting done!  I have at least 7 quilts waiting to get quilted.  They are all QFC quilts and all due in July so no really big rush.  It's simply the fact that they are there and I want to get them done and then I know if something comes up I won't worry about it.  I do have niece who's baby is due July 9 and I want to get a quilt done for her by the middle of June (you never know when those babies are really going to make their entrance!)  Her nursery is Noah's Ark done in shades of blue and green.  Guess it'll be a fabric shopping trip soon.  I've been pretty good about only using what I have on hand - but I do want to put a Minky backing and a satin binding on this quilt - stuff I don't keep around.  Other than that, no new projects in the works. 


Monday, April 25, 2011

Basket and Tiffani

This is the basket that I made my youngest Granddaughter. 

And here she is discovering Easter Eggs.

I hope everyone had as enjoyable an Easter as I did. 


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Easter

Just a short post to wish everyone a Happy Easter.  I will spend Sunday with family and love every minute of it and count my blessings.  It will be (hopefully) be a nice, warm, sunny day and we'll spend most of it outside.  I've decided to bar-b-q instead of the tradional ham.  We'll have way too much to eat, but it won't go to waste :-)
Made my youngest GD an Easter Basket and I think it's really cute.  Haven't taken a picture of it yet, I'll post pictures later :-) 
Off to watch my GS play baseball!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

no borders

This was originally planned to be a 70 X 80" quilt.  Then I was told that the quilt sizes for May/June QFC quilts were to be 60 X 70.  Well, darn, I already had all the designs stitched out and the fabric for the quilt blocks cut - so I went ahead with it.  But.... If I don't add the borders it's much closer to the requested size - and I'm okay with no borders!
Here's a bit of a close up:
Now to come up with a quiting design - something other than my usual meander :-)

A friend sent me a nice yellow fabric and I decided on this quilt for it:

These are the blocks laid out and will get sewn tomorrow.  Not sure what I'll do for a border, but I'm leaning toward the yellow.  You can't really tell from the picture but the yellow has vases of daisies.  Once I get this put together, I'll give you a better close up :-)
I have 3 quilt tops draped over the frame, ready to be quilted - guess after I get this yellow and blue quilt assembled, I'll be spending some time at the quilter!  One of the quilts waiting to be quilted was sent to me for QFC, It's an odd color quilt and I needed to add two strips to the sides to make it wide enough for the Shelter that is the recipient for May/June - I will really need to be creative in my quilting to bring that quilt alive
It's going to be a busy week this next week.  Little League games, doctor's appointment, sewing with my granddaughter and of course Easter Sunday.  I look forward to spending time with my family on Sunday.  I've decided that instead of our traditional baked ham, I'm going easy and firing up the grill.  I'll throw some steaks, chicken, some shrimp and who-knows-what else on and call it good.  It will be a very casual day just taking it easy and Thanking God for my blessings.
Wish you a happy, productive week.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

just a post

This is my fur baby, Scruffy.  She is a silver Schnauzer and owns me completely!  She has a long history of being rescued.  I rescued her from the people who rescued her from a lady who had Alzheimer's and had over 25 dogs - only 5 that were able to be saved  (My baby being one of them) 
My friend was living in CO when she called and asked me if I wanted another Schnauzer (I'd lost my first one a few years before) I told her to wait while I asked my DH.  She heard him say "No way".  So I asked her where she wanted to meet (remember I'm in AZ!)  She says "I heard him say you couldn't get another dog"  I told her, "I said I'd ask him, I didn't say I'd listen."  Obviously I have the dog :-)  Now I have to tell you, when I first saw her I wanted to cry.  Her fur was matted, her eyes were dull and sad.  I took her into the bathroom of the hotel room, took out a pair of scissors and proceeded to try and see what was underneath.  It took me two weeks of patience to get her groomed and all the snarls and knots out of her fur.  It took a good 6 months for her to look what I would consider really healthy.  Now my friend told me that the people I got Scruffy from said that she was stupid and destructive....  She has never destroyed anything in my home and has been the most loving, tender pet ever.  About 2 years after she came to live with us, I took her to visit my friend in CO and she wanted to go show Scruffy off to the previous owners.  When we walked in, Scruffy backed up, crouched down and proceeded to growl - that told me more than any words ever could.  Scruffy is a real people dog.  She loves everyone but she would not go near her previous owner.
Okay, enough of my baby - I could go on and on about her almost as much as about my grandchildren.  Speaking of.... Spent the afternoon with my granddaughter as she worked a bit more on her quilt.  I showed her the Featherweight and she decided she wanted to sew with it today.  She liked sewing with it, but likes some of the options of my Kenmore better.  I offered to set up the Kenmore for her, but she said no she'd finish sewing with the Featherweight for today.  I'm enjoying spending the time with my Granddaughter.  She's a wonderful young lady (if I do say so myself)
Okay, back to the sewing room tomorrow and maybe some pictures :-)


Sunday, April 10, 2011

snow and what-have-you

Yes, yesterday was rainy, cold and snowy!  We got snow flurries several times yesterday.  My grandson's first game was canceled and I was disappointed (as was he), so now Wed. evening will be his first game.  Today it's bright sunshine but still only in the high 50's which is too cold for me. 
I managed to get all the black & white pieces for the red, black & white quilt finished yesterday while the Kenmore was busy stitching some cute redwork (done in blue) floral baskets.  After the 9th design in the set, I turn over the piece and OH NO, big loopies.  I've cleaned the bobbin area, wound a new bobbin, tried different thread, put in a new needle - still have loopies, not as big, but the tension is definitely off.  So I've taken a break from sewing today and done some knitting.  My granddaughter likes the fingerless gloves - but longer than a glove, more like a gauntlet, so I'm playing with a set of 'gauntlets' for her.  It's been years since I did any cabling, but think I'll do that with these - now to find my cable needles......
And as promised a picture:
I quilted this on my regular machine as it has a flannel backing as well as flannel for the batting.  I used starch to 'glue' all the layers together with a few pins to keep a bit more secure. ( Once this was washed, it really looked better! ).   I did a fagot stitch around all the embroidered blocks and stitch-in-the-ditch in the 4 patch squares and border.  Then to secure the embroidered blocks a bit more, I just used a straight stitch to stitch a diamond shape around the designs.  Surprisingly, this little quilt is as 'heavy' as one with regular cotton batting! 
Well, I have pretty much done a whole lot of nothing today, so think I'll go find those cable needles and pretend to know what I'm doing :-)


Saturday, April 9, 2011

moving along

these might actually end up being a quilt!  I have a big tub of strips/scraps and when I just don't feel like working on anything structured, this is what I do.  Now my scraps are not organized in any way.  I don't have a bin that is all 2" squares or 2½" strips, etc.... I used to throw all the 'little stuff' away.  And actually the reason I started saving strips/scraps was because of paper piecing.  Some paper pieced patterns have some small pieces!  Then I started seeing strip quilts.  The most common being the Spider Web block.  Well, I have a tremendous fear of spiders so just the name Spider Web was a "no way" for me.  But I saw other patterns and thought I might give them a try.  I'm using fabric softner sheets (previously used) as my base for the strips and then trimming these units to 6 X 9".  So we'll see what I end up -eventually :-)
On the creative front > I received a set of embroidered little cowboy blocks that I've put into a quilt - pictures later.  I embroidered (machine done!) a set of birds that will go into a red,black & white quilt for a women's shelter.  I have designed the quilt in EQ:
I have some other sets of embroidery to stitch out, so while I've got the machine working, I'll be cutting the units to piece these blocks.  Unfortunately, the Babylock is not playing nice (again) so will have to stitch smaller designs using the very dependable Kenmore.  I think the Babylock is a case of timing - wish I knew how to time it without taking it to the dealer - probably something easy to do, but will have to pay an exorbitant amount for someone's knowledge!
And.....My granddaughter spent an evening with me learning to sew.  She's 16 and has decided she wants to learn to sew/quilt.  She picked out a simple pattern to learn to quilt and she made her first block (a 16").  I've told her I'd cut out some strips and make her up some 'kits' so next time she came she could just sew.  I demonstrated the use of a rotary cutter/ mat and went over safety cautions, went over the machine and the different parts of it.  But because she is truly 'green', I think just getting comfortable with the actual sewing will be priority #1.  Right now she's planning a quilt.  We'll see  - it might end up a table topper :-)
I'm hoping everyone has a great weekend.  Here in AZ we have a cold front moving through with rain and temps in the 50's, but today is my grandson's first Little League game and rain or not, Grandma will be there!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

getting stuff done!

 Finished up the 4 quilts for QFC:
This one I did just simple meander quilting.

This one was floral and loopy meander

This one was outline the applique, ribbon swirls and just a wavy line around the blocks.
This one I did some straight stitching around the blocks.  Some meander in the borders and a bit of stippling around embroidery.

A bit of a close up of the quilting!

I am far from ready to 'quilt for profit' but as time goes on I'm getting better - at least I hope so!  I know I should practice more and I do practice but just not enough.  I have worked on feathers and feel pretty confident in them on the practice piece but the minute I think about doing them on a quilt - I simply freeze up.  I have never used a pantograph - if I'm going to meander style quilt - I'd rather just do it myself than try and follow a design with a little laser light.  I have used a pattern to stitch individual blocks using the laser and that was okay- definitely got better as I got to the end of the quilt - gee wonder why :-)  I bought a couple stencils and a pounce pad with the iron off pounce - need to practice with that too - I need to get some darker fabric or darker pounce so I can see my marks!
okay, enough about my so so quilting. 
A while back I posted pictures of the fabric my granddaughter chose for her quilt along with a piece of funky fabric she wanted me to make her 'something' with.  Well the quilt has long been done and delivered.  We went to a 'street fair' over the weekend and was looking at some tote bags.  I asked her if she'd like one made out of the funky fabric and she said yes.  So today this was what I made:

I added the batik to the bottom as that was the way the totes were at the street fair.  I didn't make it square - the bag is about 2" larger at the top.  I used a magnetic snap at the top center as a closure.  I put a few pockets inside:

If you look, you'll see the top has side to side pockets with just a single pocket opposite.  For stability on the bottom, I made a sleeve the width and length of the bottom and lined the sleeve with fusible fleece.  Then I slid a piece of plastic canvas (used for needle point) just a tad bit smaller than the sleeve into the sleeve and stitched the end.  To secure it to the bottom I used some permanent fabric glue.  I'd thought about hand stitching it down, then remembered DIL gave me some of that fabric glue and thought I'd give it a try.  Seems pretty secure - guess time will tell.
So that's my creativity update ;-)  I've been looking through my embroidery files to find a set of toile birds that I want to stitch out and do a black, red and white quilt with.  Can I find them?  oh noooooo, everything but.... Of course the minute I decide to stitch a different set and get it done, I'll find what I was originally looking for.  Just a note here:  Most of my designs are on an external hard drive that holds files from 2 different computers.  My old lap top was getting ready to crash, so moved all those files.  My old desktop is almost out of memory so moved those files before it got to the point I wouldn't be able to use the desktop - so now I have a mess that I probably should clean up but it would also probably take me half the year to do it - so guess it probably won't happen!
Hope spring is starting to spring whereever you're at - except for a bit of hay fever - this is my second favorite time of year.  My most favorite?  Autumn - love the colors, the smell, the expectations of holidays spent with family.
til next time,


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Naps and more

Do you nap?  Do you feel guilty when you nap?  Sometimes I just feel like I need to lay down and sleep!  And yes, sometimes I feel guilty about it.  I have a small bookcase type fabric storage unit in my quilting room.  I was sitting on the floor looking for a backing for a quilt and I really wanted to just lay down and sleep.  I stretched out on the floor and closed my eyes and no, I did not take a nap right there on the floor - but I could have!  What I did do was find the fabric I was looking for and proceeded to get the quilt on the frame and quilted :-)  I finished quilting 3 quilts, got the binding for 4 quilts pieced and ready to put on the quilts.  I have 6 quilts in 'almost done' stages!  My goal for next week is to get those 6 quilts DONE!
I also did up a tutorial for a very nice lady learning to quilt and I'm hoping it helps her.  I really enjoy sharing what knowledge I do possess and have done a few 'beginner' tutorials on how to make different simple quilt blocks.  I keep saying I'm going to make up an entire booklet of beginner tips and techniques - maybe someday :-)
Life is getting busy as it gets warm here in AZ.  My 7 year old grandson has his opening ceremonies for Little League today.  I am so looking forward to watching him play baseball.  I don't go to pro baseball games, I don't watch baseball on TV - but I love to watch the kids play.  When my son played in Little League, I was president of our local Little League and I loved every minute of it!  My son still plays ball and if it wasn't 50 miles from me, I'd probably still be attending his games!  So... attending games for next couple months will keep me on the go.  And I've started working on my small garden.  And...My 16 year old granddaughter is wanting to learn to quilt - Life is good!!
So keep me busy - might keep me out of trouble :-)
Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend.