Friday, May 29, 2015

Shibori linen and how I pin baste

Vicki of Field Trips in Fiber shibori hand dyed a yard of natural linen for me. She split the 52" wide yard of fabric in half and dyed one half with dark blue and the other has browns and oranges. They are FANTASTIC! Many thanks Vicki! I will be using these in my linen series quilts.

I finished sewing together the backing for the teal/purple quilt at lunch yesterday. As soon as I got home after work I pressed the top so I could start pin basting the quilt. My regular readers know I am very lucky to have an 8' x 8' table in my studio. The table has two leafs so I can make the table 4' x 8', 6' x 8', or 8' x 8'. I usually keep it 6' x 8'. No crawling on the floor to pin baste for me! For this quilt I have the table opened to 8' x 8'. Here I taped the backing down and have the batting laid out on top of the backing. To smooth out the batting I use my wooden yard stick.

The quilt top

I straighten out and line up one corner and hold it down with a batting and fabric wrapped brick.

Next I gently get a bit of air under the top and line up another corner anchoring it down with another brick.

I head down to the opposite end and with a bit of air under the top, I gently move the top into position.

I then again take my softly worn wooden yardstick and from the center out, smooth the quilt. Since this quilt is improv pieces there is a lot of non-straight of the grain seams. The idea it to smooth the quilt without stretching the blocks.

The last step before pin basting is to press the layers together. Take note - press not iron - pressing with an up and down motion not ironing with a back and forth motion. I find that pressing the layers helps to keep the layers from shifting and yes I do use steam.

Here is one of the blocks before and after pressing. To me the pressing sets the quilt top into the batting.

Now I am ready to pin baste. By the time I got to this point I had to stop to go for my walk so I didn't get started pin basting until this morning. I was up at 5:10 am so I had about 35 minutes to pin. I have a little over a third pin basted. I will work on it again at lunch today and finish after work. I should be able to start machine quilting it tonight or at least by tomorrow morning. I do have to mow the grass so depending on how hot it is tonight whether I mow tonight or wait until tomorrow morning.

The design wall is so empty!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bowls, backing, and more rain

Remember the new freestyle plates/bowls I purchased several months ago? They are the same as what is used by PF Chang restaurants. Well, had a sale over Memorial Day so I bought two freestyle 14 oz. bowls and another 11" freestyle plate/bowl. The 11" is on backorder, but here are the 14 oz. bowls. Aren't they cute! I ordered them on Thursday and received them on Friday! Since my order was over $50.00 the FedEx shipping was free.

I worked on the backing for the teal/purple quilt. I had to wash the African print fabric so I went for a short walk while that was going on. I didn't get all my steps in since the sky looked like this

There is not quite enough fabric to make the entire back out of the print so I decided to sew together the left over blocks and will insert them into the back. Here are the two lengths of fabric pressed and the blocks laid out. I still need to add a bit of length to the strip of blocks so that is what I will be working on this evening.

I then dug into my quilting thread to see if I have enough of the right colors to quilt this piece. Here is what I found. I am trying to use what I have and not buy anything else. I believe I can make this work.

I checked last evening to see if I had enough upholstery weight fabric to cover the newly acquired chair and foot stool. I believe I may have enough. One piece is 6 3/4 yards and the other piece is 3/4 of a yard. had sent me a coupon for an extra 20% off so I bought the 108" wide navy flannel I needed for the t-shirt quilt I am making my niece. My order arrive yesterday.

I also bought a yard of each color of these Alexander Henry prints. I have no idea what I will use them for, but I had to have them.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Top done, rain, and fabric

The top of the anniversary quilt is done. I like the boldness of the piece.

Here is the fabric I think I will use for the backing. My brother bought this in NY on one of his many trips to the big apple. These are 6 yard pieces. Or I could put on a boring white back?

Here is a better picture of the chair and footstool that came home with me.

It was starting to finally cool down a bit so I gathered what I needed to go on my walk last evening. Mother Nature had other ideas. The gray clouds started rolling in

The wind was howling. The thunder and lighting appeared then shortly the rain fell. We needed the rain so I am not complaining, but walking did not happen.

I did get two pieces of fabric in the mail yesterday. I have not been buying much even with all the Memorial Day sales, but I wanted to get a piece of this purple unicorn fabric to make a dress for the same little girl whom I had made the other unicorn dress for at xmas. The other fabric is the Boo Crew in black which I had never seen before and did not know it even existed. I bought 2 yards and it will make a fun binding.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Quilting, cleaning, and weeding - oh my!

I vowed not to waste any time this weekend. I finished quilting the t-shirt quilt. I will work on the hand quilting and embroidery before I bind it so this won't be counted as a finish for awhile.

I decided to clean up my pile of flannel. I had made a bunch of nine patch blocks for last year's family xmas quilt.

The leftover bits were in a pile so I decided just to clean it up to see what I had left. I cleaned up the scraps and cut them into 3" wide strips which I can use to make more blocks and I think I will have enough to also make a log cabin flannel quilt.

And then I have these odd and end units that can be made into blocks for a real scrappy look. I tossed some really small scraps and now the flannels parts are neatly stacked and ready for sewing. I still have some flannel yardage, but I will cut it as I need it.

Next it was onto the anniversary quilt. I spent all day Saturday sewing together blocks then cutting more fabric, and making more blocks. Then digging into my stash to try and find more fabric to make more blocks. Part of my issue was getting the blocks arranged into some kind of visually interesting look. This is what I had at first and it did not seem to be going anywhere.

After searching for a bit of inspiration, I came up with this. Much better contrast - a big nine patch! I did have to go and make more blocks then as some of blocks did not have enough contrast.

So Sunday and Monday I spent time trimming the blocks to 16" and started sewing the rows together. Right now I have the bottom three rows sewn together and two of the top three rows sewn together.

The blocks for the top row are trimmed and ready to be sew into a row so I almost have this top done!

Here are the blocks that did not make the cut.

I would have finished this top on Monday if 1. I hadn't of spend 3+ hours cleaning up the front flower beds, 2. vacuuming out the car, and 3. going to an acquaintance's house to pick up some sewing supplies she was getting rid of. Here is the main flower bed before Phase 1 of the clean up. Phase 1 was to get the weeds and grass pulled, and rake up leaves and debris left from last year's plants. I also sprayed weed and grass killer along the edges after I removed the bulk of the weeds. We have not had rain in quite a while and the ground was like concrete. After this I vacuumed the car. I was hot and tired. I had to get cleaned up so I could head out to pick up the sewing supplies.

Here is the after. Phase 2 will be going back and pulling any weeds I missed in the first go around, planting zinnia and lavender seeds, and then spreading mulch. I will wait to do this this coming weekend after hopefully we get some rain this afternoon and tomorrow. I did fill two wheelbarrows full of weeds, etc.

I also got slowed down sewing as there was a Top Gear marathon on BBC on Monday. I saw a couple episodes I hadn't seen.

When I came back from picking up the sewing supplies I also brought back this chair and footstool. She was going to put it out to the curb. I plan on recovering them and using this in my studio. Yes, it just fit in my car.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ready for a three day weekend!

I plan on hunkering down in the studio and sew till I can't sew no more! I do need to work on that front flower bed and get in my walking too.

I finished up the Aerosmith t-shirt and then worked on The Ramones. The Ramones will needs some hand stitching. So all I have left to machine quilt is the Guns and Roses t-shirt.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Solid progress

I am still plugging away on the t-shirt quilt and made some excellent progress last evening. I finished the U2 block

The small Bon Jovi block

And the Led Zeppelin

I have almost the Aerosmith block done too.

So the only shirts left to quilt are The Ramones and Guns and Roses

After I get all the machine quilting done I will be adding some stitching with pearl cotton.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Back to the t-shirt quilt and still straightening up

I wasted part of my evening watching a really bad movie "Pompeii". While the movie was on I did a couple of loads of laundry.

I worked on cleaning up the area by my second sewing machine. Remember what it looked like?

And now it looks like this. I am thinking about what area I am going to attack next. The studio is pretty much straightened up, but the laundry/utility/dye studio needs a bit of attention as well as the fabric storage room and the guest room so there is plenty to choose from. It is amazing how it can all get away from me. It is not a disaster, but just needs a bit of straightening up.

I did managed to finish quilting the Kiss t-shirt and got part of the U2 block quilted. I cannot get these pictures to show right side up - sorry.

Mostly I am meander stitching the backgrounds and outlining the lettering, but for the Hendrix block that wasn't going to work. I ended up loosely tracing the flowing colors in the background and did detailed tracing in the hair and around the face.