Sunday, February 7, 2016

Unplanned Detours

Some days I just feel so unorganized and seem to wonder where the heck my day went.  Case in point.  Just an hour left before wrapping up for the day and I needed to make a back.  It all started off really good.  The top had a note pinned to it with measurements of what size I needed.  Why I didn't make the back when I did that, who knows?    Grabbed some yardage, cut it down the middle, added a strip inset. OK, back is made, simple enough.


Then I realized I used this cream star print on some liberated stars with homespun, so I dug out the bag to put the scraps together.  First mistake was to tip the bag out on to the cutting table. 



Then I started looking at what blocks I had already made from this bag of scraps.  I've made 2 quilts from this stack of homespun fabric, but both have been given away and this bag of scraps is my last chance to have one for myself. 


Once I realized I had big chunks of fabric in the bag, and the iron was hot from pressing the backing, well, I got to working on this.


There was a zip lock bag with parts and pieces already cut.  I couldn't resist whipping up one of these cute little 4 1/2" star blocks.



Along the way I was separating the bits of red.


Pressed them and cut up that remaining cream star print into squares.


Too frugal to cut into those big chunks that I just ironed so I pieced the center square.


All neatly pressed and threads cleaned out from the seams. 


And added this 12 1/2" block to my collage of stars. 


No wonder I didn't get the vacuuming done! 
Keep stitching ,
Sharon

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Doing it Right

Because I am a registered business with a license and I charge sales tax to my customers, I must do this once a year. Yup, I hand over every penny I collect to the state of WA. I'm not sure what happens to this money, just know it's what I have to do.


Because I have this business, I get the pleasure of working on quilts like this one. Can you say Fabulous? This is a Pam Bono pattern, Flowers in the Cabin.


Quilt measures 88 x 102. How many pieces are in each block?  Not even going to guess, I just know there are a lot of strips and squares of different widths and lengths and only the most organized quilter could keep this all straight.


That little pink square in the center is part of the sashing that just blends into the blocks.  The piecer, NT, did not want feathers, but liked the idea of wreaths of leaves.  Of course, stitch in the ditch was also a big part of the machine quilting.


I think this was a great choice and I just can't get enough of this quilt.  Leaves were quilted into the brown border as well.

French General for the back........ so nice.

This is such an fabulous pattern and one I have never seen made up.  If you have it, go for it, the results are beautiful.

It will be worth your time and effort, sorry for over posting pictures, but seriously, I L-O-V-E this piece and I'm so glad it's going on my friends bed so she will enjoy it for many nights.

Yup, this is the reason we don't by a 'bed in a bag' We make our own and this is why.

Keep stitching,
Sharon

Monday, February 1, 2016

Retreat Wrap Up

After putting away my Carolina Christmas, :-( I pulled out my next project. I had the 2 1/2" strips all precut and the mock up of the layout pre done. Strips were just in a pile, so I did the sorting and sewing of the strata's.  I stitched up the first blade of the star, and it went together so quickly, I realized I could get all the blades done before closing time. 

OK I have no idea why I see a little picture beside the big one????
Usually when making a lonestar, I baste along all the seams where they intersect, take it out from the machine and check every seam to see how far off I am and re adjust for the second sew.  This time I used my good judgment, pinned at each seam, told myself this was not for show, and stitched a permanent seam.  First blade looked good so I started the chain piecing!  Brave, I know, considering the last experience I had!


And here are all the blades together.  I put the top half in one direction and the bottom have the opposite direction.  I anticipated the top layout would be my final decision.  The reason for that is that the non batik teal green would be a bit dull as the full circle.  I thought the movement of the batik would be far more interesting as the ring.  Plus I thought the printed light was better in the center.  More interesting.


And here is the final layout.  Nope, I didn't even start to sew the blades together, that would be for another day.  Got it all packed up in a box and moved on.  Still time before we packed up.


Last under the needle, the pink and brown hourglass blocks.  These are from a long ago swap and I like the secondary pinwheel that shows up when I use the darker blown.  Again, I must pay attention to the orientation.  I stitched together a few locks, and laid them out on the bolt of fabric that was the same that I had cut for the alternating plain block.  I like this zigzag look and the 4 patch on point. 


I have a few more in this box to sew together........


And  few more piled by my machine.....



And since I felt I had a great plan for these blocks, and it was now 11:30 pm, I called it a day. A long one, a very productive one, and one that will stay with me for some time.

There is nothing better than sewing with another amazing woman. My gal pal, she just lets me ramble, we chatted about nothing and everything, we drank a lot of coffee and we planned a lot more quilts. We are already looking forward to our time together in the fall. But in the meantime, I committed to showing up at her studio and purge for her. It's always easier when someone else is there who has no attachment to your stuff.

Keep stitching, and can you believe it's February???
Sharon

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Empty Bobbins

It was retreat time with my gal pal. We've packed and talked about projects for a week in advance of going away for two glorious days with nothing but sewing, chatting, and snacking all day and into the evening. As we pulled up to our retreat room, we could see there were people in there, and after a gasp and confirmation that we had the right day, we found out the room had been double booked. But not to worry, those quilter's were busy at the cutting tables, and we couldn't get our blocks out and up on the design wall fast enough.

Here is the first project. I decided on the same setting as I've used before. Blocks are all stacked and pinned and ready to go together in my sewing room.

Next up was a few blocks of pink and brown. I've kicked around a few ideas for these and just left them up so I could see them and ponder.



I just soaked up the look of side by side,


Pondered using a setting square to break up the piecing,


And got busy on my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt, Carolina Christmas from 2009.  I got the 1/2 square triangles all put together, only 104 of them needed.


and had these blocks finished a few years ago,


and then got these little cream and red 4 patches all together.  They are SO cute.


Took a break from sewing and organized all the star blocks.  I wanted to make sure I didn't repeat any prints in the 4 patch that comes together in the center.


I put a few blocks up on the wall.  All the green sections were pieced in previous sewing sessions.  It's looking good!


I've kept all the instructions for every section.  It's all been contained in one box.  The reason for making this quilt was to become more proficient using the EA ruler.  I fell in love with it, and have used it so many more times since I cut for this project.


I got back at the machine, and started joining the green section to the red/cream sections.  See, sample sitting right beside my machine so I don't turn them wrong when piecing.  Look at that pile of chain piecing!


And then when pressing, I realized I HAD turned the block and got the wrong orientation.  All the left pile of blocks need to go to rehab...........


So I packed everything back into it's traveling suitcase, the bad blocks have their own special place; in a zip lock bag with a seam ripper for company. Then I closed it all up and called it finished................ for now.


To be continued.....

Hope you got to stitch this week, we are so blessed to be part of this amazing community of quilters.
Sharon

Monday, January 25, 2016

Sneak Peek

Here's what I'm working on right now.  The pattern is Flowers in the Cabins, an oldie, but a good one from the late Pam Bono.  There are a lot of seams in this one, and the strips not only vary in length, but in width, and some have little squares sewn to the ends before they are added to the block.


Wreaths of leaves.  I hope you can enlarge by clicking on this, I was having technical issues, any surprise?  It's Monday morning.  *I think I fixed photo issue*

Have a great week, I'm off to sew for two fabulous days.  My boxes of projects are all packed and ready to go.  Clothes and personal stuff, not so much!


Have a great week, keep stitching,
Sharon

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Hand Quilting BTCT

The past few months of hand quilting have been on projects that I 'had' to get done, and now it's time to pull out my Beyond The Cherry Tree (BTCT).  I saw Lori over at Humble Quilts got another block finished on hers, so this was the nudge I needed to keep mine moving towards finished.

This is all I need to work on this quilt, well, this and time; the elusive element for so many of us.  I use a Roxanne Thimble, the little blue rubber thimble for my pointer finger to help eliminate the stress on my wrist when pulling the needle through, some scissors and the lint brush.  There is always fluff or cat hair or threads that need to be removed.

 I like to load up my spool of thread with a group of needles.  I do this for a few reasons.  The biggest reason it that I can keep track of my needles.  I would hate to loose one on the carpet and then find it with my foot.  The other reason is that it helps me keep my rhythm when stitching. Finish one thread, and just pull off another one.  No need to stop and thread a needle.  I always make sure I end my sessions with the spool loaded up, makes for a fast start the next time I sit down to stitch and I count my needles.


Speaking of spools, my 'go to' hand quilting thread is YLI. It comes on wooden spools and the manufacturer still hasn't realized we need a place to dock or lock our thread.  No worries, a Sharpie and a sharp pocket knife will do the trick.  I just put a little notch in the edge of the spool, and mark it with a dot of Sharpie.  This makes it easy to find the notch when locking the thread.


Here's a picture of my quilt.  Clearly, I have not stayed on task with the quilting as the top was finished in 2012.  My original goal was June of 2015, then it moved to end of 2015 and now I'm thinking end of 2016 is a possibility.  All the blocks have been outlined, and about 2/3 of the border has been outlined.

The 9 center blocks have all the cross hatching completed, but the quilting in the appliqued pieces will wait to the end.  Changing colors will be the last part of the quilting. 


 However, most of the outside round of blocks, 18 in total,  look like this.  Random lines of cross hatching have been stitched, but most blocks are a few hours away from each being finished.  I got a bit done on the weekend.  It's the perfect break from my longarm machine.  Just getting this quilt out and back on the couch is enough to keep me motivated. 


This is definitely my 'best quilt' to date, and I hope I can keep focused on it in 2016 and find those few minutes here and there to keep rocking the needle on this treasure. 

Keep stitching,
Sharon

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Last Quilt

I know you all know this isn't the last quilt I will make. It is the last family quilt that I have left to do. My nephew has patiently waited, has never asked when his quilt will be done, and to be honest, he's a guy and has probably no memory or idea that I would be making him his own quilt. But it's almost done.

The only decision I let any of them make was color. Seriously, letting a non quilter pick out a pattern for their own quilt would be painful on it's own, but imagine if they picked a Cathedral Windows, or Double Wedding Ring, or, or, or.... You get my point. I love this pattern, Blooming Pineapples from Bonnie Hunter. I've made it a lot. It's the pattern on my bed, I've done table runners, it's been gifted to my friend, to my other nephew,  it's just a perfect block to use up fabrics in one color and it's a block you can pick up and work on without twisting your brain on how it goes together. And you get bonus 1/2 sq. triangles. This is what I now have,   240 + blocks  all trimmed up to 2 1/2".


And I have this; a stack of 64 finished blocks, all ready for the design wall. The great thing about this pattern is the lay out options.

I could do this, all the cream marching in one direction.


Or this, I love the 4 cream triangles coming together for a scrappy square.


Or I could set the blocks on pint and find a print for setting triangles, or used cream scrappy triangles.


Or a zig zag setting.  This one might look better with more blocks up on the wall. Squint :)


But for now, this is all in a box, waiting to go on retreat with me.  My goal is not to finish any one top, but to use the huge design wall for the layouts, pin my rows in stacks and mark them all for assembly back in my studio. 

And I even have a starter kit for the next green/cream mock pineapple quilt. 


Do you have a "go to" pattern when you are making quilts that will possibly end up on a camping trip?

Keep stitching,
Sharon