Saturday, September 30, 2017

A cool, rainy, indoor kind of day

It's cool and kind of drizzling outside today.  Indoors I'm working on the binding on my BIG Saturday Sampler quilt called New Age, while watching President's Cup golf on TV.  And watching the wildlife wander through the yard.  We have a flock of wild turkeys that come through every day. They eat the seed that the little birds drop out of the 2 bird feeders hanging in the trees. You can just barely see the green feeder in the upper right.  Life is good!

Friday, September 29, 2017

I had an hour

And in an hour I made a pair of pillowcases, and pressed the bindings I made yesterday.  The burgundy roll of binding is about 450" long.  The brown one is only about 150".

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Midnight inspiration

Just before midnight last night I had a sudden idea. I was sitting in bed with my iPad, looking at "quilty" pictures online when it suddenly hit me - I can quilt this pinwheel quilt using a decorative stitch in the ditch. I've used this technique on a couple of wall hanging/table runner sized pieces, but it suddenly dawned on me that it could work very well for this design. 
So at midnight I was downstairs in my basement sewing room, looking at backing options. Keep in mind that the lighting in my sewing room is pathetic in the daytime and at night it's even worse.  I really need to do something about that soon!  Anyway, I found a possible backing that is a leftover from another project, and it seemed to be a good option even in the bad lighting. And I had a perfectly sized piece of leftover batting on the top of the stack of leftover batting in the closet.
This photo doesn't do any of the colors justice, but I hung the backing and the flimsy over my front porch railing this morning to see if the color worked in real daylight.  I like it. This backing is a "dusty" version of a couple of the greens in the pinwheels.  Now that I have a plan I'm quite excited to get to work on it.
And here lies my next problem . . .
My husband and I both work from home.  I now have the upstairs home office with the great windows.  He has a perfectly good office space in the basement with a big desk, expensive ergonomic chair for his bad back, good lighting, storage, double computer monitors, big screen TV, pool table, sofa, etc.  But periodically he comes back upstairs and works at the dining room table. With the hard wooden chair.  And, since I used that basement space for years as my office - before the extra comforts - I know EXACTLY why he is upstairs. It's because it's a dungeon with almost no natural light.  And it gets really chilly in spring and fall when the heating/cooling system hardly runs at all.
And my problem is that I usually use my dining room table to lay out a quilt for sandwiching and pin basting. Guess that's not happening this morning.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Sewing room closet

My sewing room is actually just a large basement bedroom and it has a nice big closet.  I have several plastic storage drawer units in it for storing fabric.  But the hanging rod comes in very handy for hanging up flimsies waiting to be quilted and sets of blocks waiting to become something. There are now 6 quilt tops hanging there that need to be quilted.  Two of them have backs hanging with them.

This has always been one of my problems with the whole quilting process.  I just don't have the skills or the patience to hand or machine quilt anything very large. And I don't have the cash to hire all of my quilting done. So the tops tend to hang around, pun intended. At least all of these are either kid sized or lap sized. Maybe I can choose one per month to quilt, either hired or attempting one myself. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Design Wall Monday - Polka Dot Pinwheels

Design Wall Monday - and I finally have something accomplished. Check out what others are working on at:
I used a charm pack of Blueberry Park (Robert Kaufman) fabric, plus a background fabric to make these pinwheels.  The colors are very fresh and overall I like the result.  It's about 40" by 50", so a nice sized baby quilt.
However, this is not one of my better examples of technique.  In spite of constant measuring and squaring up, I have ripples.  My borders are not laying flat.  I measured every row in this quilt before cutting those borders and cut them 1/4" smaller.  And they still appear to have stretched.  I'm hoping the ripples will "quilt out". Or maybe once it's been washed (after quilting) it will be OK.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Plugging along

Slowly but surely . . .

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

One down, three to go

I have 3 more of these blocks left to finish with the cream/green borders. And then there are pieced outer borders that go around all 4 of the blocks.  This Kim Diehl project has been slow going for me. Not particularly difficult, but slow going. 
But since our class is this coming Saturday afternoon, I plan to have the top done by then. Plus it's one of my monthly goals.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Lots of binding needed

This morning I picked up my New Age Saturday Sampler from The Pin Cushion, where Bonnie worked her magic on it.  This is a BIG - almost king sized - quilt, so I'm going to need about 430 inches of binding. 
I'm not sure I have that much of the original binding fabric left, so we'll see what I end up using. Maybe the binding on this one will be scrappy and use leftovers from several of the colors in this one.

Monday, September 18, 2017

No sewing happening around here.

I have not stepped foot in my sewing room for over a week and I'm going through withdrawal. I'm also at work now - and procrastinating getting some invoicing done.  Shame on me!
Between work last week, having our 5 year old granddaughter staying with us all week, and then heading back to my home state over the weekend for my 45th (gulp!) class reunion - there was no time for sewing.
But my sister-in-law stopped over last night and brought me some fun Row By Row license plates. She spent 3 weeks in Connecticut, and New York, and Boston on a recent visit to see her great granddaughter.  Wasn't that nice that she thought of me?  I just can't decide which is my favorite.
So they are now in the stack of quilty things waiting in the kitchen to be taken downstairs to my sewing space.  And hopefully that, and some sewing, will happen this afternoon.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My sidekick . . .

My sidekick this week is 5 year old granddaughter Sophia.  She had her tonsils out last Thursday and the doctor says she can't go back to school until Friday. So she is staying with grandma and grandpa for now because mom and dad need to go to work.  Since I work from home it's no problem to have her here - especially since she is one of those kids who entertains herself for hours on end with Legos or coloring books or crafts.  And she has an iPad with PBS Kids animal shows that she listens to while she plays. Over, and over, and over again.  We've done FaceTime with mom, dad, and little brother Jack each evening and she doesn't seem homesick.  I'll take her home on Thursday around supper time once mommy gets home from work. I think she will be glad to go back to kindergarten and see her friends. 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Grand Adventure begun

I know I have no business starting one more project until I finish something, but I just couldn't resist trying this out.  And it gave me a break from seemingly endless pinwheels.
Jennie Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company calls this quilt Grand Adventure. This was one of her recent online tutorials.  It's also known as Delectable Mountains, and I'm sure there are other names for these blocks as well.  There are even alternate setting options with the mountain peaks off set with each other, like below.
Her tutorial shows this block made using 10" layer cake squares and I just happened to have a Christmas layer cake.  A print 10" square is matched up with a background square and sewn on both sides of a diagonal line - creating 2 big half square triangles.  They are then cut into 4 even strips, making sure the diagonals run opposite directions.  Then the strips are rearranged to make the peaks.
Check out her tutorial here:

Monday, September 11, 2017

Pinwheel progress

There are only 12 pinwheel blocks left to finish and then I can put them together into a quilt top.  I'm toying with placing a narrow sashing between these blocks, but haven't decided yet for sure.  It doesn't have to be very wide and I have enough of the background to do the sashing. 
Check out what other quilters are up to at Design Wall Monday:

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Sunday "piece and quiet"

That is a bad pun, I know.  But I did have plenty of uninterrupted sewing time today because my husband is playing in a golf tournament with both sons-in-law.  So, other than doing a little laundry, I had the day to myself to do what I want. 
I started out with a bit Halloween fun.  A friend in our Sew Vintage group gave everyone a 10" square of a vintage-looking Halloween fabric. Then I dug into the stash to find something to go with it.  I'm not sure yet whether this will end up a pillow cover or wall hanging. 
And with leftovers I made this mug rug. This is sandwiched and ready for a little quilting. In the meantime I can keep thinking about what I want the bigger project to become.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Little red convertible

Granddaughter Sophia had her tonsils out this morning.  She was a trooper according to mom and dad.  I'm very impressed by the process these days - including the patient driving herself into surgery in a little red convertible. How fun is that!  And she has her favorite quilt with her, which is the one I made for her just over 5 years ago when she was born.  Obviously there is a focus on keeping the kids relaxed and less frightened before surgery. That sure is different from when I had my tonsils out back in the dark ages - 1963.
I'll be babysitting tomorrow so mom and dad can go back to work. And since she can't go back to school until the end of next week, she may come stay with us for a few days next week, so mom and dad don't have to miss too much work.  I feel bad that she has to miss so much school right away, so hopefully her kindergarten teacher can give us some things to work on while she's out.  

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Polka Dots

I've managed to get one step further in making these pinwheel blocks from a charm pack and some white and black yardage.  There are now 23 pinwheel blocks complete and they are 6" unfinished.  And the rest of the blocks are in progress.  There will be 42 finished blocks, using a whole charm pack of Blueberry Park fabric. All are shades of blue and aqua, with bold white patterns.
My process for these is to sew all the way around the outside of the paired up charm square and background square.  Then I cut diagonally twice.
Next step is to press these new half square triangles, trim off the dog ears, and sew them together.  I always "spin" that center seam with this type of block to reduce the bulk.  This is a really quick way to make pinwheels and works with any size square of course. I'm not sure how I'll lay these out yet, but there are lots of options.  I think these will make a great kid's quilt, no matter how I end up putting them together.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

End of summer fun

We spent Saturday enjoying our grandchildren.  First was a morning at the zoo with 3 of the kids, and their parents.  Olivia kept telling her mom and dad that she wanted to ride the camel, from the time they got there. But mom and dad kept saying no.  As we approached the camel area, she told her mom and I:  "see - those kids are riding the camel, but the other one looks really lonely".  How could grandma resist buying tickets to ride the lonely camel after that logic. 
After the zoo we picked up Sophia and went to the Kirby Science Center at The Washington Pavilion.  Little brother Jack was sick, so that is why they didn't join us at the zoo in the morning.   

On Sunday we went to a family potluck to visit with some of my husband's cousins who were visiting from out of state. It was a typical Midwestern potluck with lots of great food and lots of people.
Monday involved golf with my husband, some laundry for me and some home improvement projects for him.  Can't say that my golf game has improved at all this summer. And halfway through the round I got stung by a wasp - in my hair, just behind my ear. OUCH!!!!
Now, it's time to get back to work and hopefully my sewing room too.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

September goals

Notice the wording on the wall hanging behind my project stack?  It says I'm buried under an "Avalanche" of fabric. Yup!!
On my cutting table are the pillowcase kits, ready to work on as I find time. But stacked on top of that little drawer unit are several UFO/WIP types of projects. I haven't wanted to put them away because then I know I won't get back to them for awhile.  But Friday afternoon I did get some of that organized.  It helped me identify some new priorities for September.
September goals . . .
  1. Simple Whatnots project - Abiding Faith
  2. bind the 2016 Saturday Sampler (at the quilter's now)
  3. make 5 more pillowcases from the kits
  4. quilt and bind the cycling wall hanging
  5. make a big floor pillow for grandson Jack
  6. finish blocks for APQ 2017 UFO Challenge (batik stars)
  7. make 10 more polka dot pinwheel blocks
The cycling wall hanging and some of the pillowcases are for Christmas gifts, so those need to be a priority.  The Saturday Sampler quilt from 2016 is going on my bed, so I definitely want to finish that up so we can enjoy it. Binding it will take some time however because it's huge.
My youngest grandson Jack needs his very own BIG floor pillow so he'll stop fighting over his sister's pillow.  I'm sure I have something in the stash that I can use for that.  Maybe even some orphan blocks that I can use.  We'll see.
And the UFO Challenge project for September is #7, which is my Batik Stars quilt. This was a Saturday Sampler from a few years ago that I just didn't finish at the time. There are a few blocks left to make and I already have the sashing fabric in the box with it. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Goals & stash

At the beginning of August I set some goals for the month. Looking back at those goals I must say I didn't get close to achieving them, but I did work on other projects not on my list. So it's OK.  It's about enjoying the process, right? 

I need to take a couple of days to think about goals for September because these were obviously a bit too ambitious. LOL!  What do I WANT to work on or finish? - that should be my focus.

August goals were . . .
  • finish my Saturday Sampler quilt top - DONE
  • bind my Canning Jars table runner - DONE
  • quilt and bind the Cocktails table runner - DONE
  • finish organizing my scraps - partially DONE
  • quilt and bind the cycling row by row wall hanging
  • make a signature block for my Sew Vintage group to sign - DONE (Furrow block from Farm Girl Vintage book)
  • work on my UFO Challenge #5 project - Temecula Circa 2016 quilt  (hope to finish the blocks)
Optional projects to choose from . . . for when I can't stick to the plan:
  1. "Kit Up" 2 new projects - cut and organize so they are ready to work on when I'm ready - Kitted up 17 pillowcase kits, but no other projects
  2. make a set of 24 string blocks - only made 2 string blocks
  3. make 3 more blocks for En Provence quilt
  4. make 10 more polka dot pinwheel blocks
I've been keeping track of fabric in and out all year, but haven't been posting about it much.  In spite of making a couple of big purchases in July and August, I'm still ahead of my stash by 17 yards. 

That will be 19 yards as soon as I finish these 2 Bambi pillowcases.  I have the top cuffs sewn on, using the "sausage roll" method so no raw seams are exposed.  Sometime this weekend I'll add the French seams across the bottom and sides to finish these.