Saturday, July 22, 2017

More Fancy Forest

I made the second Bunny block and it went faster and the mouth didn't need any "fixing up" with a Pigma pen.  That is a black thread  on the pink Bunny's left cheek. When I saw it on the photo I thought it was a mark on the fabric. I'm happy to know I don't have to replace that strip.







This is how I spent most of the day yesterday. I took a long sanity break in the  afternoon. I started on the leaf section (on the right) about 8 AM. For starters I had cut the the background pieces a quarter inch short. I was looking at the section with the instructions for cutting the Colorful fabric for the leaves and stem,my fault, not the pattern.
I unsewed the seams and recut the background, marked the diagonal lines for the connector corners and sewed again. Most were OK but I had strayed from the marked line and I had to fix some of the sections (more than once).  When I measure each of the 6 leaf sections, they were not all the same size. So I fixed that, unsew, resew, stitch another line to take up a seam, whatever it took; this pattern requires accuracy.
When I sewed the leaf sections on either side of the stem they didn't line up, unsew, resew, repeat. I settled for not perfect.
I adjusted the width of the horizontal section at the bottom of the flower section to allow for some discrepancy in the length of the flower and leaf sections and sewed it together.

OH NO!! The six leaf sections were wrong. I unsewed the leaf section  and I went shopping for 3 hours and we stopped for dinner on the way home. Once home and back to work, I took out the leaf  pieces for the second thistle block, of course the background pieces had to be re cut because background fabric was cut wrong for 2 blocks at the same time. The block, on the left, from there on was easy. I will use a different green when I cut the left leaf section for the second block again. I really don't like the green I initially chose for the block.
So I guess after all I would have discarded that block section anyway. I just wish I had not spent the whole day leading up to that decision.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bunny Block

One Bunny block done and one to go. It is a good thing there are only 2 of these blocks instead of 4 like the Fox blocks. All the small or narrow pieces gave me problems. I had to unsew and resew too many times. When I was 3/4 of the way to being finished my sections didn't fit. They were all 1/4 inch too wide. I was sure my seams were accurate at 1/4 inch but with six seams across the ear section, even being of a few threads makes a difference.

Then there were the places were the points on the connector corners had to meet. I think all  of them are a little bit off.
The nose and the mouth caused me a lot of frustration. In the end, after 3 fixes I got out my black Pigma pen and fixed it up. After I got that strip done I sewed it to the eye strip, leaving out the strip in between. (It really was getting too late) My rule is if I have to rip something 3 times, I quit and come back later. This morning I unsewed the nose and mouth strip and finished the block.
From now on I am going to measure with each addition and fix the problems before proceeding.
I am going to start the second Bunny block and I hope taking extra care to be accurate as I go along will make it easier. I will make the owls next. I think after the owls the rest will be easier.

We'll see!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fancy Forest Foxes

Yesterday, I finished the 4 Fox blocks for the Fancy Forest baby quilt.  The first block didn't go very fast because my 1/4 inch seams were not so red hot accurate. I had to rip out some seams and I also had to re cut a few pieces. Accuracy really gets important when some of the pieces are 1 1/4 inches.  I think that the fact that I have done very little sewing or rotary cutting recently had made a difference. The last 3 blocks went quickly so I guess I sharpened my skills on the first block.


I did have a helper  observer while I was sewing. I wasn't aware that she had joined me until I looked up and there she was. I had hoped she would observe from a distance but she wanted to be right there where she could grab the thread or the pieces as they moved along.










This morning, I cut the pieces for the 2 Bunny blocks. Once again, Lucy paid me a visit and decided to take a nap on the pattern book from which I was working. There many pieces to cut;  different widths and lengths and different numbers of each one to cut. I moved her a couple of times and finally decided to take a break. When I got back to it later, I found that I had cut some of the pieces the wrong size and not enough of some pieces and more than enough of others. I had to sort it all out and get it organized. This is a pattern  that requires one's undivided attention when cutting. Taking a break in the middle of working on it didn't work so well.




The instructions said to cut all the sashing strips from the background fabric before cutting the pieces for the Thistle blocks. As soon as I started cutting the background, Lucy joined me again and settled down on my long cutting ruler. I gave her some chin scratches and a massage and ruffled her fur before I banished her from the sewing room while I cut all the background fabric pieces for the rest of the quilt.
Tomorrow I will sew the 2 Bunny blocks; there are a lot of little fiddly pieces. I will be sure to close the door to the sewing room,


Monday, July 10, 2017

Baby Quilts

We are expecting 2 more great grand children this fall so, of course I need to make 2 baby quilts.
I considered something simple that I could strip piece or maybe an I Spy disappearing 9 patch.



After a trip to the quilt shop I decided on an Elizabeth Hartman pattern. This is the pattern for a twin bed quilt but I will only be making a quadrant of this. She gives the instructions for cutting and for yardage for the smaller size. the shop owner at the "Quilted Thimble"  had made the shop sample and assured me the piecing would be easy as all of the measurements were spot on.

I seldom buy patterns because I always change how I want to use them. This pattern sample just looked to cute to pass up and I was ready to do something different.












This is one quadrant and probably the one I will be using.









This is what I purchased so far, the green background fabric and some of the fat quarters I need. I know I want some yellow and orange. I will also be using black for the features the way it is used in the pattern.


It was hard for me to pick ten fabrics I need for the motifs. I need to pull some from my stash and I need to make some of the blocks before I look for more fabric.




I know I will make one quilt for sure and I think I will make both of them from this pattern. We'll see how it goes. I am going to have to get busy as one baby shower is on August 12.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Still Here

I'm still alive and kicking moving  slowly but when there isn't much going on, I find it difficult to post anything.There is still not much going on except for a little flower gardening. I backed off of that a bit after Lucy found some snakes to play with. Thankfully,  she did not bring them in the house but my enthusiasm for gardening cooled off for a while.

I have not done much sewing of any kind lately but I enter 3 quilted wall hangings in a small quilt exhibit at the local library. None of them are new but they have not been in any quilt shows or exhibits and they live in my closet most of the time.


This one was part of a series using large scale print squares and Birds in the Air blocks and another block with half square triangles. I think it might be called Northwind.
 I was at the quilt shop for a meeting of something or other and spotted the Laurel Burch fabric and the multicolor spotted fabric side by side. When I said I was going to make something with them, I remember my friend saying "well, that's a no brainer". She was right I didn't have to think twice to know they just belonged together.













The background on this next one was an experiment in black and white ninepatch color wash . I made nine patch blocks starting with the darkest and the lightest 2 fabrics (in the upper right corner) and worked progressively through the values with the next lighter dark fabric  and the next darker light fabric. In the lower left corner the values were the same and the fabrics distinguished only by the pattern.
When I sewed all the blocks together it was clear that the piece need a focal point. I added the cat and the flowers.
That fabric in the upper left is part of the curtain  on the window next to my design wall.





This was a Zentangle inspired wall hanging I entered in the Bloggers Quilt Festival  in 2012. You can see that I used a similar background to the cat quilt above. In fact, I had some left over blocks and some of the fabric from the cat quilt. If you want to read more about this one you can click on the link above.

So, this is the extent of my quilt related activities lately. Well except for changing out my spring quilts or my patriotic quilts for the summer, nothing new there though.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Weeding, Raining, Birds, and not much Sewing

It was raining last weekend and Jack and I put my Christmas present together, it is a Tractor Scoot from Gardeners Supply.  It is basically a tractor seat on a 4 wheel base with a handle to pull it like a wagon. The seat swivels 360 degrees and there is a bucket on the back for weeds and a tray underneath for tools. I think I like it, it is much more comfortable that my kneeler/bench and I have been able to walk after working in the yard. I was able to do some weeding and cleanup in the flowers but then it started raining. It has rained for days and it is cold. Everything is growing; the many shades of green and all the trees blossoming and the spring flowers blooming are wonderful to look at.
Not much sewing going on here but I did get out  to the quilt shop one of the rainy days. I did a little bit of cutting ( and a lot of talking) when I got together with my friends on Wednesday.

These are the fabrics in the fat quarter bundle I bought. I had nothing in mind but they look so springy and cheerful that they called my name .








They called Lucy's name too when I layed them out to photograph them. She always has to curl up on anything that is new.










This is the bird feeder that we see from the window in the living room at the back of the house. The trees all around the sides of the yard and the hemlock trees near the house make it a very attractive place for the birds.    

I noticed 2 pairs of Rose-Breasted Grosbeaks a couple of weeks ago and then didn't see them for a while.

Yesterday they were back and I had eyes on 5 males at one time. One of them was probably immature as it had makings of its head that were more like the female. I'm not sure how many females we have because they were all moving around back and forth, from feeder to tree to bush and back again.

I got this shot of 4 of the males and one little brown sparrow.



We had Nuthatches all winter but this little guy is new to our feeder. When I spotted him I thought he was just another Nuthatch because of his actions. A closer look told me he was different.  I looked him up and identified him as a Red Breasted Nuthatch.

Jack and I and Lucy spend a lot of time watching the birds. I am always excited to see something new at the feeders. I spotted a lone turkey way out in back the past two days and I am pretty sure there were 2 Brown Thrashers just beyond the hemlocks but they moved out of sight before I got my binoculars and bird books.

We use safflower seeds in the feeders and  the squirrels leave them along.  We have a lot of different kinds of squirrels.  We also have many chipmunks who do eat safflower seeds but so far this year they have stayed off the feeders.  Maybe that is because of Lucy. We don't let her outside but she gets out sometimes and one day she left us a dead chipmunk.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Finish or 4 and Lucy


I just finished his group of wall hangings for my bathroom. Before we moved I had a large wall hanging in my bathroom with similar blocks. You can click on the link to see it. I gave that one away when we moved because I would have no space large enough to hang it. I also had a Flimsy the same size with the same kind of blocks, which I came across recently. I have no idea what I originally intend to do with it and it seemed like a good idea to take it apart and make something for my present (colorless) bathroom.
The six block piece is below some shelves that are over the toilet in  little alcove. I quilted in the ditch on all the seams. There was a spot on the light area of the center star in the bottom row, probably from goo on my iron. I found some tiny colored buttons in assorted colors and shapes and put 2 red buttons to cover the spot. It's seemed that the rest of the quilt should have some buttons as well so I added some tiny buttons in some of the larger patches that could have used some quilting.
These three pieces will go on the wall with double sinks. There are mirrors over each sink and the 3 block piece will hang between the mirrors and the 2 block pieces will go on the other side of each mirror. I did not add any buttons to these as my hands were not working well today, maybe later or maybe not. I did add some prairie points to the bottom edges for a little interest. That made it necessary to use a facing on the bottom edge instead of binding because of the bulk. All of the pieces have a mottled yellow binding to go with yellow hand towels on the two towel rings that are just below the two shorter pieces. I hung the 6 block piece with Velcro Command Strips and I will do the same with the rest.

I had a small furry companion while I was working. Sometimes I had to banish her from my sewing room. You see her laying on my machine table here and in my drawer where I keep my sewing machine accessories and seam rippers etc. She delights in burrowing under anything, clothes, paper, throws,blankets etc. We sometimes find a lump in the middle of the bed between the spead and the blanket. Here she decided to burrow under the piece of backing fabric from which I was cutting trying to cut the backing for the six block piece.

Yesterday I had moved my Ott light and had failed to shorted up the cord and tie it and put it out of sight, BIG mistake. I found it in two pieces. Fortunately Jack was able to repair it.
She likes to hang out with me and after she wears herself out she takes a nap in anything she can find to settle into. She likes the basket on my cutting table where I toss odds and ends. She is especially fond of my collapsable laundry basket.




It's a good thing I like her so much. 
It is even better that she likes me so much.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Still Alive and OK

I ran into some friends today in the quilt shop and one of them told me she checks my blog and hasn't seen any action for a while. She told me I should just post that I am still here and OK. With nothing much going on I just haven't had anything to write about but am still here and I'M OK.

After the waterproofing project in the basement things came to a halt and I still have all my Christmas storage boxes taking up space in my sewing room. I took me a while to get things moved around and sorted out before I had any room to sew.

I found several 5 inch charm packs and an overabundance of small pieces left over from the last few quilts. I decided to cut the charms into 2 1/2 inch pieces and make 4 patches and then I sewed the 4 patches together in groups of 6. I am going to put borders around them and make placemats. They are not very exciting but it is something to do until I hit on something that excites me.

I went fabric shopping today for the border fabric. Actually getting out to the quilt shop was pretty exciting for me, especially when I ran into 2 quilting friends.


This is one of the placemats laying on top of the border fabric that I already had. Most of these checkerboard fabrics are from the wedding quilt I made 2 years ago.










This is one of another bunch of placemat centers laying on top of one of the border fabrics I bought today. Most of the small squares are from charm packs with a few squares of leftovers from my leftover bin.










 There are 4 of these placemat rectangles that Have a lot of grey squares from the fabric I used in the wedding quilt. I bought 4 layer cakes of "Fresh Cut" by Moda and I used a small amount of the the gray but I really wasn't fond of it so I had a lot left.










I bought 2 Fat Quarter bundles as well as the placemat fabric today. They were both cheerful and spring like and I am ready for something cheerful and NEW.
This is one of the bundles; I was drawn to the little birds and the pretty colors of the solid looking companion fabrics.

So..... we'll see if I am motivated to finish my placemat project. So far I have no plans for my fat quarters but they are cheerful and they are nice to look at and I like to pet them as well.



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Small Accomplishments

Here it is more than a month after my last post and nothing to show for it. The waterproofing project in the basement is finished and all of the necessary equipment is back in place. The next stage of the basement project I think will be the flooring. After that there will be walls to build to separate the space for rooms. I have no idea how long this will all take, no one tells me anything.

In the meantime, my sewing room is not user friendly: it is not exactly a disaster but there is just too much stuff. However, I did a little bit of sewing even though is is not easy.  I have been going through everything that we bought along when we moved and I have been purging. I had some things that the great grand kids used to play with and many games went to someone who would enjoy them. I have a doll bed that I am giving away as it has been a long time since anyone played with it. I am keeping the little quilt I made for it because it has blocks from my great grand daughter's baby quilt. So I needed a quick quilt to go with the bed.











I cut a 9  motif square from a piece I bought at a quilt show and layered it up with some fabric I had left from another project.

I quilted around the kitties and around the "frames" and used some Kona Bone for the binding.



I sewed the binding to the front, turned it to the back and fused it before I stitched the binding on the machine. It doesn't show in the photo but I used the number 4 Bernina stitch using  turquoise thread. It is a bright little quilt that went fast and there is no more mess in my sewing room than there was before I started. That is not to say the room is in any kind of order but I feel better for the small accomplishment.

Tomorrow I plan to give the bed and bedding to my friend. After that, I will deliver 2 shopping bags of non quilting fabric to Goodwill. I have bagged everything up in large Ziplocks with fiber content and yardage. That will be another small accomplishment.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Starting out 2017

Well the trees are down and the ornaments packed up. the Christmas quilts are packed away and my design wall and bulletin boards are clear. However, I am not ready to start any sewing because my sewing room is, not really a mess, but full of stuff that should go to the basement.

Monday will see the start of a big basement waterproofing project. Though the basement has never
had a water/flood problem it is damp and they want to make it damp proof and that involves a very big waterproofing project. After that all the existing walls will be coming  down and everything will be changed. So for awhile I have extra stuff in  my sewing room.  I just can't see myself dealing with moving everything around in order to sew or cut.

I do have a finish, kind of. It really isn't my own project. My granddaughter in law started this tote bag close to 3 years ago. I think it was before they were even engaged.
We were having some quilting lessons and after piecing a few blocks she wanted to make something she would finish and actually use. I'm beleive the lime green batik was her own fabric; she chose the black batik and the cat print from my stash. I came across this when I was putting Christmas things away and it was all finished except for sewing on the straps and the binding around the top. I decided to finish it because we have not had another lesson in all that time and I don't see one in the near (or maybe even distant)future. 

Maybe this is the time to get out my BIG UFO that I started in 2000. I have not worked on it for a very long time because it is hand quilted.  My hands are not really good for hand quilting anymore but most of the quilting inside the borders is finished. If I can get that done I can do the borders on the machine as it is all in the ditch quilting.

There are overlapping circles in the sashings and concentric circles in the center of the blocks but there are not too many of those left to do. 
 It would be so nice to finish this. I am sure it will be slow going and my stitches won't be as small as the ones that are already there. That just doesn't seem so important anymore.

I am pretty sure I know where my Q-Snap frame is and I just now looked to see where the quilt is stashed. I am going to give it a try.








I am quite sure my friend Lucy will be keeping me company.






She likes to get right up on my sewing table and settle down where she can watch what I am doing.




I really don't continue to sew when she gets that close. I know what it feels like to put a machine needle through my  paw finger.





Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Scraps

When I was rummaging through boxes and Ziploc bags and baskets etc, I came across a Ziploc bag with inch these 6 1/2 blocks. They are left over blocks from this baby quilt and there was also a bag of unsorted scraps of the same fabrics
.

I was amazed at the amount of unsorted scraps I had shoved into bags or just shoved into the bottom of  my large laundry basket of scraps. I have decided that I need to tackle that basket by making improve squares. I pulled out an assortment of fabrics that are the same and similar and made a few blocks.

The larger piece on the bottom was intended to be  a larger piece from which I would cut 6 1/2 inch squares. After getting this far I remembered that I really would rather make squares approximately the size I want and trim them. I can use the smaller pieces or fabric (of which I have many many more) and I have more control over how the seams fall on the outside of the squares. I will probably cut a 6 1/2 inch square from this and use what I cut away as the start of another block.
I  am not sure if I will make another baby quilt similar to the one I made first or if I will use these as centers for wonky stars or some other kind of 9 patch block with a large center square. I am in no hurry to finish this so it will be an ongoing project. I need to control the mess in some way so I will probably sort the scraps by colors into shoe boxes. I can put the lids on  the boxes and stack them when I am not working on them.

I plan to take care of that before bedtime and then start tomorrow to put all the Christmas quilts and linens away. When that is done I will take care of taking down the Christmas tree. I know that Jack will call me Mrs. Scrooge, he really loves the Christmas tree and he always complains that I take it down too soon. He should be the one to deal with the cat and her shenanigans with the tree.