Monday, January 31, 2011

The best laid plans ...

I had a friend come over on Saturday to help me with sorting my scraps and maybe do a little sewing. She can sew, but has not made a quilt by herself. Two years ago we made a quilt for her daughter's wedding present and last year I helped her make a quilt for her first grandchild. Before she came I had to do some cleaning - vacuumed and steam mopped the kitchen floor, put stuff away, cleaned up the bathroom, and took out the trash. Once she arrived and we got talking the plans for the day were changed. She wanted to make a quilt for her other daughter for her new bedroom suite. We hashed around a bunch of ideas - I won't go into detail, but it was hard to figure out what she really wanted - I collect pictures of quilts and inspirations so I got out the computer and found something she like. Next we went "shopping" in my fabric storage room. We ended up using that blue fabric I bought a couple of weeks ago down in New Philadelphia for the background - she didn't know there were witches on the fabric until I told her - and then found almost everything else we needed. I didn't have enought of the red fabric we needed to she is going to go shopping for something similar. She was just amazed we found enough fabric to make a queen quilt. Please!!!! That didn't even put a dent in the stash! So here is what we have so far. I have been doing all the cutting and sewing since it is improvisationaly pieced - she needs straight lines so this is very foreign to her. She is making all the decisions about the colors and their placement and will help with the pin basting and hand sewing the binding on. I will end up doing the rest including the machine quilting.

So Sunday I decided to work on the scraps instead of machine quilting those baby quilts. This pile doesn't look like much, but this is a day's worth of pressing trimming, and sorting scraps. This is not all the scrap sorting I have to do either. This will be a process that will take some time. I did toss out some real junkie scraps with no regrets. You have to draw the line somewhere. I feel pretty good about what I have accomplished so far. I even feel good about the kitchen floor being a heck of a lot cleaner than it was. I cleaned off a small shelf unit and now have the boxes set up for easy access - there is the patches box, selvelge box, and pieced off cuts box. If the scrap doesn't fit in one of these catagories it will probably be tossed out.

Now mentally I am prepping for the snow we are suppose to get - somewhere between 2" and 2'. Well, I guess that is a big enough range the weathermen will be right no matter what happens! Freezing rain for Wednesday so let the games begin!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Plans for the weekend

My pans for the weekend are to work on quilting one or two of these baby quilts. I have a friend who is coming Saturday afternoon for some sewing girl time so that means I needs to do a little cleaning tonight.

Have your been watching American Idol? I have not watched the show in years, but since Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are two of the judges I am watching. The expressions on their faces are hysterical! I was watching Wednesday's show last night that I had taped and I was laughing so hard tears were rolling down my face. They are a breath of fresh air!

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The scrap project

I spent some time last evening working on my scrap project. I sewed up all the binding scraps that were in the pile I showed yesterday and I also got them pressed. Tonight I will cut them into patches. It is kind of fun to think of all the quilts that were made with these bindings.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My lightbulb moment

Do you remember this quilt? I call it Zig Zag Mountains. I must of cut up all the fabric I bought for this quilt because I had lots of left over strips. I decided to change it up a bit and with inspiration from a quilt that Wanda over at Exuberant Color posted on Sept.8, 2010, I started piecing what I am calling Zig Zag Steps.

Wanda's QOV inspiration

I had enough patches to make two of these periwinkle zig zag steps this past weekend. I laid out the patches on the design wall and then it took me one hour and ten minutes to sew each top together.

So where is the lightbulb moment? I cut 3" strips when I make my zig zag quilts and when I cut my binding, so I have a lot of 3" pieces left. While I was putting together the zig zag steps the lightbulb came on and I thought to myself that I could take the leftover binding pieces and make these 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" patches throw them in a box and eventually have enought to make another baby quilt. Now that I think about it this is not rocket science, but it never occurred to me to do this.

I laid the folded binding on a strip of the Kona snow. I roughly cut the binding strips into a length that is a multiple of 6". This is because I will be trimming the patches to 5 1/2".

I opened the binding strips up and sewed the strips together. Next I pressed the seam toward the dark fabric.

Patches cut to size.

Here is my box that I will be using for my patches and the precut Kona snow 3" strips. No excuses now!

So I started looking around for some binding ends I know I kept and I found a pile of stuff. I sorted it and clockwise left to right: larger pieces and narrow strips, selveges, pieces of white Kona, a patchwork section of linen and scraps of pink, and on the right is leftover binding pieces. Tonight I will turn that pile of binding pieces into my little 5 1/2" x 5 1/2" zig zag steps patches.

While I was digging around I found more patches already the correct size of the periwinkle patches I used in both of the zig zag quilts! That will be four quilts that will be done with periwinkle patches. The only mistake I made was that I didn't keep fabric for the binding for these quilts - oops! I will have to come up with something. I am looking forward to cleaning up all the scraps I have around and making these patches and turning them into quilts. I had a 15 3/4 yard pieces of Kona snow in my stash that will be used in making this scrap quilts. I have a feeling when I work at the quilt shop in Charm, Ohio in May the first thing on my shopping list will be a bolt of Kona snow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fifth finish of 2011

Quilting this quilt was a struggle. The thread would shred and it would break. I fiddled with the tension, I re-threaded the machine, messed with the bobbin, and I changed the needle. The problem continued. I finally was just sitting there frustrated and looked at the spool and noticed that the thread leading to the where your start to thread the machine looked irregular - thin and thicker. AH! Let's change the spool of thread! That worked. I was finally able to get this quilt finished.

I had taken Monday off so I spent 3 solid days in the studio. Saturday was somewhat of a bust quilting the above mentioned quilt, but Sunday and Monday I got a lot of work done. I pieced four baby quilts and they are all pin basted. One of the strip sets I showed last Friday had a soccer print, an olive stripe, and a blue strip. I decided to change this from a baby quilt to a twin size and give it to my nephew for his birthday in July. I dug around and found plenty of same fabric. I may still put a border on it, but the blocks are all sewn together.

Tommorrow I will post about my light bulb moment I had this weekend and how I am dealing with some of my scraps.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Organizing pieces and parts

Here is how I organize my strips for the zigzag what-to-be quilts I have been posting lately. This weekend these will be turned in tops.

I woke up to about 3" of snow this morning so I was out shoveling at 6 am. The city streets were in good shape until I got to the main drag thru town and it was a mess - icy, slush covered, and slippery. Thank goodness I only have to drive on it for about 3 blocks. It is a state route so I don't understand why it is always a mess. Maybe they think it will slow the cars down.

Have a safe and productive weekend!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Working on the next batch

I machine quilted a bit on this piece. It looks a lot like the one I posted yesterday. I liked the dotted fabric so I bought some in the red and orange colorways. I am quilting this one in blue.

I put the sizes that I cut the strips for the last few baby quilts I have posted. This is a strip set already sewn together, but the measurements are the cut sizes. After I sew the strip sets then I cut the blocks to 9 1/2". I sure you all can take it from there putting it together. A simple quilt, but very cute. I call it ZigZag What-to-be.

I was digging thru the closet and found strips sew together for two more of these quilts. I usually have a cutting day where I cut the strips and binding, then drape each quilt's strips over a hanger. I always mark which strips are the binding since the size I cut is very close to the size of the strips and I have gotten them mixed up in the past. Let me know if you have any questions about this quilt.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fourth finish of 2011

I wasn't expecting to get this one finished last evening, but I did. Another baby quilt to add to the giveaway stash. I used Essentials Orange Spice for the quilting on the top and back. Again I forgot to measure, but it is appox. 36" x 45".

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Third finish for 2011

Is this quilt orange enough? The color in the close up picture is truer to what this piece looks like in person. I used Essentials' Orange Spice thread for the front and in the bobbin. Orange Spice was the only color of orange Connecting Threads had at the time I was buying and it is a softer brownish orange. They now have a brighter clear orange, but I like the way the quilting turned out with this color.

I have one more baby quilt to stitch the binding on by hand then it is back to machine quilting the last quilt I have pin basted.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Second finish of 2011

I spent the majority of the weekend machine quilting. I managed to get three baby quilts quilted, I got the binidng machined sewn on all three, and I got the binding hand stitched on this quilt. I used Essentials quilting thread in the bobbin and as the top threads in Natural. I used warm and natural for the batting and Kona snow for the back.

Right now this is just to have in the giveaway stash unless someone out there in blogland would like to purchase it. One of this days I need to put together an esty shop. I have gone on esty and wonder how a shop would even be found. If you do a search for patchwork baby quilts, my goodness, there are 251 pages or over 10,000 items. How on earth would anybody find you? How much could anyone sell?

Anyway, I will be having several finishes this week to show as I get the hand stitching done on the binding for the other two quilts.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Thank goodness it is Friday. The plan for the weekend is to finish this funky monkey quilt and try to get another one or two done.

I will need to drive to the other side of town to pick up my brother's mail and hit the grocery store, but other than that I plan on staying at the house and sewing. I have another brother who is going to help me install new drywall in the utility/laundry/dyeing room in the next week or so. I had to rip out the drywall when I did the bathroom remodel - the utility room and the bathroom share a wall. So that means I need to get that room cleaned up so I had better at least start this weekend.

Have a great and productive weekend!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Still shoveling

Here is was is on top of the garbage can this morning - 6". Not much compared to the east coast. I shoveled three times at work yesterday and did the driveway again when I got home after work. I also cleared the snow away from the fire hydrant and shoveled two neighbor's steps. I finally walked in the house at a quarter to six, got something to eat, washed a load of clothes, watched Southland and the end of the Biggest Loser then went to bed.

I think the major snow is over for awhile in my area, so maybe I will get to sit down and do some sewing tonight.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


My driveway this morning 6:30 a.m.

Believe I am not complaining - the amount of snow we have received over the last 12 hours is nothing compared to some parts of the country and I am grateful. I shoveled about 1 1/2" off the sidewalks and some of the parking lot at work about 4 pm before people started to leave yesterday. I shoveled my driveway and a neighbor's steps and driveway last evening. This morning I had another 1 1/2" so I did my driveway before I left for work. I was so tired last night and my head hurt so no sewing occured. My head hurt on and off all night so I finally decided to take a couple of Excedrin and I feel much better now. I have been slammed at work which is sucking up a lot of my energy too. We are suppose to get more snow today, but I am not sure how much. I did watch the weather last night and they said between 1 - 3 inches, but you know how that could change! Let's hope it is only that much.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

No sewing but ...

I did some odds and ends last evening. One of those was sealing up the fireplace opening. I have not had the fireplace inspected since I bought this house and with the way the former owners did not believe in taking care of anything I can imagine the fireplace was never cleaned. At least the warm air won't be sucked out the chimney now.

I cut these hook and loop strips. For what you might ask?

The strips are to make these cord holders. I think I have posted about these before. My brother uses them for all the electrical cords and mic cords for his son's band.

See how they contain a cord? Cool hun? The drummer's father takes care of the sound equipment at his church and wanted some of these for their cords. I didn't want to forget about this, so I will have them made for the next time I see my brother and he can pass them along. Besides I found the rolls of hook and loop tape when I removed all the stuff I had stored in the fireplace and that reminded me about this task.

We are suppose to get pounded with snow this afternoon, but I am taking the wait and see attitude. A weatherperson is the only job where you can be wrong all the time and still have a job!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Addition to the stash

Saturday I picked up my new glasses and stopped at the Material Girls quilt shop since they were having another inventory reduction/moving sale. I found this four pieces for 40% off the lowest price on the bolt. They are Northcott prints and I paid $3.29 a yard. I bought what was left on the bolt. I thought they would work geat as borders and backs. One of the ladies at the store told me they were Holloween prints. I finally looked really close and there is a witch on a broom, but it is so mixed in with all the other printing you wouldn't even notice. I ended up with 39 yards! Oops! I know I will use it all - just think how much it would have cost if I would have paid full price.

I pin based four baby quilts on Saturday. Here one I started quilting. It is about 1/3 done. I was just plain tired Saturday and did not get as much done as my mind wanted.

I spent some time yesterday straighting up some of my stash. I keep most of my commerical prints, dutch wax prints, batiks, solids, and backing in this area. See Ricky Junior up on top watching over everything? He is looking fly in his REM t-shirt and leather pants.

Friday, January 7, 2011

First finish of 2011

I finished this quilt last evening and I love it. I forgot to measure it, but it is about 66' X 84".

There was about 1 1/2" of snow on the ground this morning. I was up at 5 a.m. to shovel. The snow was fluffy so it was easy shoveling.

I have been trying to figure out what I should accomplish this weekend. I need to go to the optical clinic an hour away and pick up my new glasses. I may hook up with a friend and have a late breakfast or early lunch while I am in Dover. I think I need to get cracka lackin' on those baby quilts this weekend - you never know when you might need one.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Working on that UFO

I worked on this UFO last night and made some nice progress. I am so close to having it done. I only have two blocks with their centers to quilt and five more centers to quilt. I quilted five centers last evening. Some of the fabric for the centers came from Vicki of Field Trips in Fiber She had made a music themed quilt for her nephew several years ago and I was the lucky recipient of the leftover pieces. I have volunteered to make a music themed quilt as a donation to a silent auction for the local public radio station, so you will be seeing more music quilts in the future.

Here is the back which quilting can be seen easier. The blocks are quilted with 1/4" lines and the rectangles in the blocks are 1/8" lines - all free motion. I am using Sulky on the front in different colors and Essentials white on the back. Yes, the binding is already done, but I am still quilting. I had a habit of not following the rules and executing the steps out of sequence that most books say on how to make a quilt.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Looking back and looking forward

Sometimes when I don't think I have accomplished anything I like to look back at a milestone and compare where I am today. My stash of quilting thread was my milestone for the year. I reported back in May with an estimate of how much I thought I had. As of Dec. 31, 2010 I figure I used approximately 19,000 yards of quilting thread since May. Here are the May and December pictures. I know I used 5,000 yards just on the Millennium quilt.
May 5, 2010

Dec. 31, 2010

May 5, 2010

Dec. 31, 2010

Looking foward I updated my dry erase board with projects going forward. One of those projects was to make a quilt for a young couple - I work with the man. He was a great help to me re-laminating my kitchen countertops and installing the sink and faucet. He also hauled away some scrap metals and a beer keg that I found on the property. He did this for no pay. For payback I helped them move, but I really didn't have to work very hard - they had a lot of help. When we were putting together the bedroom, they did not have a bedspread. I found the gray and black fabric below for a fantastic price and thought I would like to try it using the first picture below as the inspiration. I don't remember the name of the book I took the picture from. I was halfway thru the quilt top when I thought I should have done some fabric painting first to put some more color in the piece, but we will see what it looks like after it is quilted. I plan on using a different color than black or gray for the quilting.

I did spend some time yesterday (it was a holiday for us from work) quilting another UFO. I am almost done and will post pictures as soon as it is finished. My pile of UFO is slowing coming down, but then I do have about 8 baby quilt tops that need sandwiched and moved on to the quilting process. There is always something to do!