Friday, May 28, 2010

Progress on the green blocks quilt

I started the process of pin basting the green blocks quilt last night. I had already washed the backing so here is the pressing. While I was working on this last night I watched "Shall We Dance" the Japanese version on Ovation. There were subtitles so it took longer to get the quilt work done because I kept stopping to read the subtitles that were in white and small text. The movie had some really corny parts and charaters - a little different from the Lopez/Richard Gere (?sp.) version.

Here is the backing all smoothed out and taped. I had to run some of the backing over the sides of the table and tape it to the bottom side of the table. I didn't do any back art - I just don't have the time right now. What I think I will do is use the same color thread in the bobbin as the top thread and that will add some interest to the back.

Here is the batting all smoothed out. I have my favorite smoothing tool - a worn yard stick - laying on the batting. The yardstick reaches to the middle part for me.

Here is the top all spread out, smoothed, and lightly pressed. As you can see the top is bigger than my 8' x 8' table. I will pinned as much as possible, untape the backing, then slid the top so I can pinned the rest.

Starting to pin baste

This is an Iris that was given to me two years ago by a co-worker and it finally bloomed. I have a couple more buds so I will have to spend some time out back and enjoy the color.

Tonight I will be spending time getting ready for my quilting buddy arrival tomorrow. I also need to finish pinning the green block quilt and get it off the table. Have a safe holiday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

As Popeye use to say...

"I've had all I can takes, and I can't takes it no more!" I need a break from the yardwork! Last night I relocated my neighbor's sweet peet pile off the street to beside their house. I moved 9 or 10 wheelbarrows of material. Now they will have more parking for company over Memorial Day. I moved the rest of my sweet peet pile to the back garden (see the pics below). I only had 5 or 6 loads. I needed to get the back straighten out so I could plant the Helleborus I received in the mail yesterday.

The trash pile is getting smaller. I didn't have time to clean up the rest of it las night. I worked from 5:45 to 9:30 and between the skitters and the darkness, I finally called it quits. The rest will be put in the bins over the weekend.

A reminder of what the back looked like before ...

Here is a shot of the back I took quickly this morning. SO much better!

Here is a closer shot of the 2 year old Helleborus I just received from Sky at The plants are wonderful! A big shout out to you Sky!

This is enough of the yard and landscaping talk. I am back to quilting and sewing! One of my quilting friends, P, is coming up for an overnight visit and sewing marathon over Memorial Day so I will have some progress reports on Tuesday on the Millennium quilt and the green squares. Tonight it will be some studio clean up to get ready for the weekend.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Neighbor's yard

Here are a couple of shots of what I have been doing at the neighbor's house. The beds were already there - there was just nothing planted in them. I transplanted the hosta from a real shady area so they were real leggy. In a few weeks when the new growth comes in they will look a lot better. The shrubs in the foreground were already in place.

This area I transplanted some day lillies, a hosta, some ornamental grass, and purple cora bells. When I looked last night I could tell everything is doing well.

I moved some of the sweet peet to the back and to an area for storing it until I have time to place it. It is slowly coming along.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Made some progress

I quilted for 10 hours on Sunday on the Millennium quilt. I turned it over so you could see the quilting on the back. I ran thru 25 bobbins and got approx. 26.5 square feet done. At that rate I figure I will need another 20 to 22 hours to finish quilting remaining 53 square feet. I got the backing washed and the batting cut for the green and turquoise squares quilt and now I have enought safety pins from the Millennium quilt, I can start getting the next quilt pinned and ready for quilting. I am going to have a quilting buddy come and visit for a couple of days over Memorial weekend. She wants to use my design wall for a project and I plan on machine quilting the whole time.

Last evening I decided to set up my miter saw and attack the pile shown in the next picture.

So this is the pile of trash left from the bathroom remodel project last summer/fall. I just had not gotten around to finish cleaning up this - too many other more important things to do. Much of this would not fit in the trash bins so I cut up enough to fill two 96 gallon trash bins last night. Much of the rest I will be hauling down to a neighbors house who is having a large trash pick up this week. I will be so glad to have this cleaned up. More good news - I still have all ten fingers!

Here is the after pile.

Look how the canna have sprouted up! With all the rain and finally warmer nights they have really taken off.

Congratulations to Michael Rogers for winning the tour of California! After the killer stage on Friday it is a wonder any of the bikers had the strength to even finish this race. Levi was third, but only 25 seconds behind the winner. Great job Levi!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Keeping busy

My future daughter-in-law loves the green, turquoise, purple, and white quilt. The wedding shower is June 13 so I want to have it done for that.

I was working over at the neighbors transplanting more material around their yard. It is looking pretty good. I will post some pictures after I spread the sweet peet which is coming this Saturday.

Every eveing at 5 p.m. Versus is broadcasing the Tour of California so I have been watching that. Here are a couple of pictures when they rode down the Pacific Highway to Santa Cruz. Gosh, the scenary was beautiful! Go Team Radio Shack!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another project

My son is getting married in July so of course one of the gifts will be a quilt. My future daughter-in-law is a lovely girl and she said she would like it to be peacock colors. I have this top already done so I am going to see if she would like this. I only have 6 weeks and with so many other things going on I am not sure I have enough time to make anything else. I do have to get the Millennium quilt quilted so I can take the safety pins out of it to pin this quilt.

Speaking of more quilts that need made, I just found out that a woman I work with is pregant. She said she would like a baby quilt out of my African fabrics. That will be fun to do. Thank goodness she is not due until November!

Monday, May 17, 2010

What a weekend!

I got the Millennium quilt all pinned this weekend - now to get it quilted. Here is a picture of my extra hands. I worked in a shop decades ago that made custom drapery and we used bricks covered with a layers of fabric to help hold down the fabric while you pulled it to the other end of the table. I when home and made these with a layer of batting, some old drapery fabric, and just whipped stitched them together. They are just a great free tool. I use a worn wooden yardstick to help me smooth the quilt out and reach the center. I tapped my backing down to the table, spread the batting - smoothing with the yardstick, then repeated with the top. I also lightly press the top on top of the batting just to smooth it down nice before pinning.

I had to piece together my batting because this quilt is so big. I have a nice stitch on my machine that goes in zig zag pattern, but it takes three stiches one way then three the other. Using this stick the batting doesn't bunch up and form a ridge where the two pieces are joined.

Ready to start pinning.

It's all pinned!

Can you believe I still have some safety pins left after putting over 1100 in this quilt? I was worried I wouldn't have enough.

My co-worker had lots of help moving Saturday so I really didn't have to do too much. I knew they were going to get pizza for lunch so I made a batch of my Gene Simmons best oatmeal raisin cookies he ever tasted cookies for dessert. They ended up being both a mid-morning snack and dessert. Everyone seemed to like them - even the fellow who perfers his oatmeal cookies without raisins could not leave them alone.

I ran into my neighbors on Friday night and they are loving my yard. Loving it so much Rev. J sweet talked me into helping them out with their yard. He is so busy with the church and his wife, who loves to putz around in the yard, works and is hightly involved in the church have not had the time to do much at all. The front is not too bad so I transplanted some hostas, planted some cora bells, and planted the containers with annuals. Their sweet peat is coming this Saturday and of course since I have a wheelbarrow I will be helping to spread that around - helping? no I will be doing it all. Wanda, I need to go back and read the e-mail you sent me about saying no! They are such nice people and have welcomed me into their family so I just broke down. Mrs. J, who started telling her mother-in-law (Mother J) all about what I was doing, said she wouldn't tell he anymore about the yard, because now Mother J wants me to come to her house! No way!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Stick a fork in me I'm done ...

Well at least I am finally done for now with that huge front round bed! I had to reset all the edging, dug out the grass and weeds, then I transplanted some day lillies and cora bells and spread the sweet peet topping. I only took my 3 and a half hours last night! Man, was I tired!

Unfortunely what spurred me to do the gardening last night was that when I went to check on the bunnies after work, the mother had moved all of them (I think they were getting too big for the nest) and I found one that had died. I took a picture of the sweet little thing, but decided against posting it. So I gave it a little funeral. I dug a deep hole, said a Buddhist mantra, and transplanted one of my day lillies over it. Yes, I did shed a few tears - how did I get so attached so quickly?! Eventually I expect to see the rest of them running thru the neighborhood and that will make me feel better.

So it is the weekend and I plan on getting a lot of stuff done. I have a pile of scrap wood from the bathroom remodeling at the side of the garage that needs to be cut up so I can put it in the garbage bins. The pieces are too long to fit in the bins so I will drag my chop saw out to the garage to cut it up. Then I want to get the flower bed in the back yard cleaned up and topped with some sweet peet and lastly start pinning the Millennium quilt. Hope you all have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Backing and bunnies

I got the backing dyed for the Millennium quilt. I used the low water immersion method and used the colors Tobacco and Lemon Yellow. Here it is folded in half all pressed and ready to go.

I had several comments about my big table. My dad built it for me. It weights a ton! The top was made with 2 sheets of birch plywood with sheet one split for the leaves. He made it so the leaves can be taken off and the top can be removed which was so helpful when I moved. I will have to take a couple of picture of the base so if someone knows a woodworker they could see how it was made and possibly duplicate it. I left my unfinished because when I lay out a backing fabric the texture of the plywood kind of grabs the fabric and hold it in place. I still tape my backing down when I pin baste, but the texture helps also.

I checked the bunnies after work yesterday and they have grown. When I pulled back the grass they started making noises. Maybe they thought I was mama and they were going to get dinner.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

"Clean up in aisle S!"

In order to layout my Millennium quilt for pin basting I needed to clean off my table. In the picture it is 6' x 8', but I will flip up the other leaf and it will be 8' x 8'. I pretty much live in my quilting studio and this table gets to be a dumping ground. So as part of my effort to get the Millennium quilt done for Jacquie's Spring to Finish, I had to clean off the table. The quilt will hang over the end by about 2 feet, but the majority will be pinned together before I have to slid it to pin those last 2 feet. I don't know how I would ever be able to pin baste this quilt together without this table. Crawing on the floor would not be my idea of a good time.

The after...

Tonight I have to get the backing dyed for the Millennium quilt so that I am ready to start pin basting it this weekend and maybe even get a little quilting done.

I did not go out and check the bunnies last night. It was cold and rainy and I did not to let any heat escape from the nest by pulling back the grass and fir that is keeping them warm. As soon as the sun shines again I will try and get a picture of their progress.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What is wrong with my iPod?

The before

The after/during


Sunday I spent 5 1/2 hours working on the center flower bed. What a mess. The grass went nuts over winter and I needed to reset the black rubber edging. I was listening to my iPod as I worked. As I was digging toward the back of the bed I heard EEE! EEE! EEE! as I dug. I thought "What the heck is wrong with my iPod?" The noise stopped and I kept on pulling weeds and grass. Then I heard it again EE! EEE! EEE! What the heck? I bent down to pull a bunch of debris from the base of some Maiden Grass and there was a nest of 5 newborn bunnies! I guess I was getting a little to close and they were trying to let me know. Thank goodness I didn't kill them with the shovel! So now I will have to work around them and get what I can done, then finish the rest once they leave the nest. The bunnies are located at the base of the Maiden grass in the after picture at the upper left hand corner of the oval center bed.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Back from Holmes County

Here is Miller's Dry Goods Friday morning at 7:15 am. Yes, there is someone waiting for the shop to open at 8 am. We were very busy Friday and Saturday morning and then the rest of the time the flow of customers was steady enough that I had to work hard at finding the time to do a little of my own shopping.

Inside the shop.

Here are a few of the fabrics I bought. I also bought a bolt of P & B white and found a great deal on a bolt of 116" wide backing - good quality stuff at 30% off $5.00 a yard! I bought the whole bolt which was 19 yards. That ought to be enough to last awhile.

Overall, I had a great time working and seeing all the women again. Lunch was furnished by the owner and many of the women brought killer desserts!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Quilting thread and flannel

When I am out at Miller's Dry Goods working this weekend, I need to get some flannel for making some receiveing blankets. I thought I would look thru my stash and see what I already have. Nothing to baby like. I do have a little cream and white which would work with a print for the other side. I may make one out of the Hawaiian print flannel and the Chinese food just for fun.

When I was deciding what color I was going to quilt my Millennium quilt, I decided to try and count how much quilting thread I have. Holy Cow! I figured that I have more than 120,000 yards of quilting thread! Last fall Connecting Threads had their Essential quilting thread on sale and if you bought $50 worth the shipping was free. So of course I wanted that free shipping and I think I ended up placing three orders. Is this quantity a little much? At least you would think I would not need to buy any for a long time unless I would not have a particular color.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Another Spring to Finish Project

I am still working on the Millennium quilt. I received a big package wonderful fabrics yesterday from Northville, Michigan. In the meantime, I got out the music quilt pictured below to finish quilting for the Jacquie's Spring to Finish Project. Yes, the binding is on it already, but it is not all quilted. I don't always follow the rules. I had all the outer blocks quilted, so I decided to go ahead and put on the binding. Now all I have to do is quilt the middle blocks. Please don't report me to the quilt police!

I had to spend a good part of last evening mowing the grass/weeds in the back yard. I hadn't mowed the back yard yet this year and it was getting out of control. That shot a hour and a half which included mowing the front and a little rest so I didn't get much quilting done.

Here is what showed up at work yesterday afternoon. They are drawings for a school project. My job is to review the drawings and come up with a quanity for windows, doors, cabinetry, roofing, operable partitions, furniture and many other items so that we can put a budget cost to them. I also have to review the drawings to make sure that they comply with the state regulations. I will be very busy for the next four weeks!

Only a couple more days and I will be headed to Charm, Ohio in Holmes County to work at Miller's Dry Goods (quilt shop). This year is their 45 anniversary of the store which was started by Mrs. Amanda Miller in her front room. Mrs. Miller passed several years ago and her daughters are now running the store. I have been shopping there for a very long time and I get to work at their anniversary sale, May 7 and 8th this year, and in October for Charm Days. I have a lot of fun working and seeing all the women who I have come to know over the years. I have been staying at Mrs. Mary Miller's house for the last 6 years so I don't have to drive 75 miles to my house then back again the next morning. I did that the first year I moved (I use to live only 35 minutes away from the shop) and it nearly killed me! Mary is Amish and lives next door the the quilt shop. She has a big house with lots of room and just the sweetest woman. Mary works at the quilt shop in the bargin basement. So if you are near Charm for the sale, pattens, books, fabric, and notions are 30% off. I will try and take a couple of pictures and post Monday all the fabric I bought and of the crowd that comes.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Productive weekend

Here is a reminder of what the bed looked like before I moved the great wall of Commonwealth (Commonwealth the is stree I live on). It only took me two hours on Saturday to move the stones. Thank goodness for the spud bar I borrowed! I would have never been able to move them without it. The plastic square thing is covering some lillies that the deer like to snack on. I keep them covered until they are about 10" tall then they don't touch them. Once I plant a few Hellebrous around them, I won't have to cover them anymore.

Since I had a trench already from where the stones were, I drugged the canna rhizomes out from storage and threw them in the ground. Since I needed to even the dirt back out anyway it worked out great. They are planted along the back wall so that is why the finish bed looks a bit empty. I also want to save some space to plant transplant some the Hellebrous into this bed in the future. It took me about four hours on Sunday to do this plus spread the Sweet Peet.

Here is the finished product! Gosh, I am tired! Now I just have to get some grass seed for in front of the bed.

I got my "homework" caught up for the Art Quilt Workbook project that I joined on upstatelisa's blog. The pieces are about 9 1/2" x 12 1/2". I made these with my hand dyed fabric.

Update on the Millennium quilt - Here is a picture of the bobbins that are wound. I washed the fabric for the back, but I think I am going to dye it. I am not planning to do any back art - the backing is so big and it is all one piece. I had a bolt of backing in my stash that is 120" wide. Since the quilt is going to be 96" x 123", I cut a hunk 11' long to account for shrinkage. I also spent some time cutting the wonderful fabrics everyone has sent me and they are ready to sew into those last three rows.