Sunday, February 20, 2011

Why do I have such a hard time naming quilts?

 I was hoping to have the borders on the blue and orange quilt this weekend.  I was successful!  I like the checkerboard border.  Now, what to name it?  I always have such a difficult time naming quilts.  I am very left-brained. 

The orange shapes in this quilt take on a different look depending on how I look at the quilt.  I'm still struggling with what to call the orange shapes - blazes?  diamonds?  reflected arcs? 

A trip to JoAnn this weekend was needed to purchase backing fabric.  It was very frustrating.  I didn't want to spend $40 on backing.  And I didn't want floral.  I looked at blues and oranges.  I found a things that were $7.99 and $9.99 a yard.  If I'm going to spend that kind of money, I'll go the the locally-owned quilt shop!  If I found something that fit the medium blue, non-floral requirement, it didn't have enough on the bolt.  I finally found one that fit the bill.  And it has a nice soft feel to it.  Not exciting at all, but it will make a nice backing for the ...  um, oh yea, I don't have a name for this quilt yet. 

After shopping Saturday, I just wasn't quite ready to sew the checkerboard border on the blue quilt.  Borders are not my favorite part of a making a quilt.  I needed some low-key work.  So I pieced some Friendship Star blocks.  And some Rail Fence blocks.  I cut these with my AccuQuilt Go! cutter a couple of weeks ago.  Most of the blue quilt was cut with my AccuQuilt too.  Today, I looked at how much piecing I had left to do on this baby quilt.  Not much.  I decided to finish the blocks.  They are not sewn together yet.  I put them on the design wall and thought about the layout and borders.  I considered sashing them, but decided to use a strong border to contain the pieces.  I quickly settled on two borders with the outside border being a dark purple.

I don't have enough of this purple and yellow, but I'm planning on getting something close to this.  Actually, I have a yellow just about this color that I can use.  I'll put the quilt together and bring it to the store to purchase the border.  I may change my mind, depending on what I find.  And, since this is to be a baby quilt, I have a darling baby nursery fabric for the back. 


And hand-dyed fabrics.  I have rinsed and washed all of my snow-dyed fabrics.  I haven't yet pressed them.  I had used some of the dye solution after it had been diluted with snow to get some light colors.  And I put some fabric in the sink under the dripping fabric.  It seems that I need light fabrics and don't have them.  I have several yards now!

I suppose I need to figure out what I need to do next.  I'm teaching several times in the next few weeks, so I will probably do some work on those classes.  And maybe get the hand-dyed fabrics pressed.  And I should go ahead and sew the baby quilt together.  Then it will be ready for borders whenever I get to the store.  I could quilt the blue one.  I've even decided how I'm going to quilt it!  And I have a couple of other quilts that I want to put together for the class I'm teaching at the retreat.  And clean the muddy dog paw prints from the dining room carpet.  Not sure what I'll work on next, but I'm sure I won't be bored.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Progress on the Intriguing Quilt

Not a lot of progress this week.  I've decided on the border for the blue and orange quilt.  It will be a checkerboard of dark and medium/light blues.  I thought about a couple of other borders, but I liked this one.  I'll bind it with a dark blue.  I think that will help tie it all together. 

I took a peek at the latest dyed fabrics.  I've rinsed them in the sink, but they haven't been washed and dried yet.  There's only so many hours in the evenings!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pillowcases, Quilt Shops and Fabric!

It's been a busy week!  On Superbowl Sunday, we enjoyed a vist from a bunch of deer.  Over the next several  nights, I was lucky enough to see the deer at 5:30 or so.  The guild meetings were both the same week this month.  That always makes for a busy week!  I had "Girls' Night" Thursday, so that left only Wednesday for free time.  I rinsed my latest batch of snow-dyed fabric and put some pieces in the watered down dye on Wednesday.  On Thursday, I shared my snow dyeing technique with friends.  I had four friends over, two who were quitters. I invited them to come to the studio and snow dye a few pieces for themselves. 

Today, the quilt guild had an event where they invited member to come and sew pillowcases for a charitable cause.  There was some donated fabric and some member brought fabrics.  I made seven pillowcases.  Each pillowcase takes three fabrics.  I had fun matching up pillowcase fabrics, cuffs and trims.  We ended up making 30+ pillowcases today.  The best part of the pillowcase making day?  The event was held at the community room of the library.  When I pulled in the parking lot this morning , I saw a car I recognized.  I got out my phone and typed a text message:  "Hi Dad!  I see your car".  A few minutes later, Dad stopped by the community room to say hello.

After pillowcase making, a friend and I went to the local quilt shop so we could do some quilt guild business and so I could by some fabric.  I needed some ROAD fabric.  And a friend had purchased it here a couple of months ago.  As you might expect, they were sold out.  This was for a baby boy quilt back, so I decided to just get a different fabric.  Cars!  I bought a fabric by South Sea Import from the Little Hot Rod line.  It was darling, but wasn't the roads that I wanted.  Still only mid-day Saturday, I decided to go to the next-closest quilt store.  The one where my machine is serviced.  I was still having trouble with it at the sew-in today. 

Looking around the store, I couldn't believe my luck - I found the Road fabric!  It was also from the Little Hot Rod line by South Sea Imports.  They had only about 3 yards, and I didn't need even half that amount!  while I was there, I picked up a couple of yards of Feelin' Groovy from Windham Fabrics which was really close to what I wanted for another project.  And a beautiful Robart Kaufman orange.  Mixmasters Fizz it's called.  And has a fantastic selvage with Japanese writing!   

I had a bit of time yet before dinner, so I finished piecing the rest of my 2 1/2" strips to make the blocks for my "Intriguing" quilt.  I have no idea what to call this quilt, but I've show the finished block to a couple of people and "Intriguing" is the first work they've used to describe it.  Next will be to set the orange blazes into the quilt, then to border it.  I have some good, solid border ideas (not solid borders, but ideas that I'm sure of).  I'll continue to true those up as I finish the quilt.  This will not be a huge quilt as its purpose is to learn the technique.  However, it will be big enough to use on the sofa or to snuggle with the dog.  Or if we don't like it at all, for the dog to snuggle with! 

And back to that Road fabric.  That's going to be the backing for an I Spy quilt.  I have an Eye Spy panel that a friend wants for her gandson.  The Road fabric was my idea.

Now that I have some time to sew again, I'm not sure what's next?  I think the quilts waiting in the wings are: 

Friendshp Star (with Rail Fence)
Selvage #3 (The Pink One)
I Spy (Eric)

Oh, said that way, that's not much.  I have a couple of other quilts that I want to put together and the new Hexagon that I want to cut, but we'll just put those on the back burner for now. 

We'll see what tomorrow brings.  Coffee with Mom and Dad after church.  If there is still some snow, I may spend some more time in the studio.  Then perhaps an intriguing project.


I love making scrap quilts.  The visual texture you get from a large variety of scraps is appealing to me.  I appreciate scraps and put them to use!  I'm lucky to have scraps gifted to me from some quilt friends.  It may be a few selvages or a leftover bit or even some odd pieces.  I regularly attend two quilt guild meetings.  At one of them, I usually get a bag of scraps.  One member saves her scraps for the month ang gives them to me at the meeting.  It's like Christmas!  (Thank you Marian!).  Since I'g getting ready to teach a scrap management class at the retreat, I was talking about my method of what I call Processing my scraps.  Since I had the Bag-o-Scraps, I used them as an example.  And got a sneak peak of this month's treasures.  I kept the thought of describing my process as I drove home.  I took a few pictures as I processed this bag of scraps.

Step 1:  Dump scraps onto table.  Paw through them and ohh and ahhh!

Divide into groups.  In this case, the top left is selvages.  Moving clockwise, pieced pieces, large pieces, strips at least 2" (this is the GOLD pile!), scraps, strings. 

Selvages are put away for selvage quilts, the pieced pieces will either be unpieced or put away as larger pieces.  I will probably put them away and use further process them as needed.  Large pieces can either be cut into smaller squares or "filed" in the appropriate color bin.  Strips - these will be cut to usealbe widths (1/2" increments) and then cut into squares or used as strips.  Most of what is here was cut to 2" squares.  Scraps are pieces that are less than 2" square or a string.  Strings are strips that are larger than a generous 3/4" and smaller than 2" and are at least 3 1/2" long.  The edges do not have to be parallel. 

Althought this sounds like a lot of "rules', pickingup these pieces an tossing them into the correct pile is quite easy.  The "rules" are flexible. 

So here's how I divided this group

I cut the short strips down to useable strips and squares.  That generated more scrap.  And trash.  I do throw away the trimmings that I don't use.  I left them in the bottom left bin to show you.  The bottom middle shows scraps and that large piece of purple that I wasn't ready to cut. 

Here are all of the bins stacked.  There are 228 squares in this top bin.  When I showed the bag of scraps, a member said "I throw away stuff that small".  I understand that.  But I use stuff like that! 

I'm looking forward to seeing the quilt that Marian made with those black, white and red fabrics.  And I will remember where the fabrics came from when I use them in a future quilt.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Super Bowl Bound

Well, everything went according to plan on Sunday.  We had a nice list of things to get done before Super Bowl time.  We got up and had a quiet morning, had coffee with Mom and Dad after church.  Went to the grocery store, machine sewed the binding on the selvage quilt, brought in some Christmas decorations.  We snow-dyed another batch of fabric (pictures to folow).  We fixed some Super Bowl food (pizza, wings, nachos) and had Mom and Dad over.  My plan was to get the selvage quilt binding ready for hand-sewing during the Super Bowl. 

Here's proof that I was successful!  I got almost half of the binding hand-sewn during the Super Bowl.  I know that I can machine sew the binding by machine, but for many reasons, I like the look of a hand sewn binding much better.  And this is part of the quilt making process that I particularly like.

Tonight was a quilt guild meeting.  Tomorrow is another.  They are usually on different weeks, but a couple of times a year they end up on the same week.  I'll work on the binding this week, if I have down time.  It's a busy week, so I'm not sure when that will happen.  And I have dyed fabric waiting to be rinsed.  Life is good!

One, Two, Three... Eight, Nine!

My yard backs up to a pond and a small wooded area.  Behind that is undeveloped land and farm land.  The pond is only about an acre or less, but it sure attracts wildlife.  While preparing Super Bowl food yesterday, I looked out over the pond - DEER!  I love to see the deer.  It was about 5:30.  Still daylight, but the daylight was starting to fade.  We watched the deer, took pictures and told Cooper that he couldn't go out and play with them.  They were running back and forth behind the pond.  Even an hour later, we could still see them if we let our eyes adjust to the dark.  Here are some pictures.  You may have to click on them to make them bigger.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

 Quilted!  The Selvage Quilt is Quilted!

Yesterday, I purchased thread, wound bobbins and got ready for a day of quilting.  I had decided on the quilting design, except for the borders.  I had an idea for the border and that idea worked.  And it lead to the rest of the border plan.  I am very happy to say that today, I quilted the Selvage Quilt! 

Bound and determined to utilize materials in my house, I've been carefully choosing batting for each project.  I've gone through many, many pieces.  I went searching for the perfect sized pieced for this quilt.  I found pieces that were too small and pieces that were better sized for a larger quilt.  I pulled out a bag with batting and found this piece.  It was a good size, by geez, was it thick!

3/4" thick!  Like I said, I was committed to using up stuff that had been sitting around and this piece was a good size for this quilt, so I layered and pin basted it.  While doing so, I caught a glimpse of this batting's prior life. 

I see old stitching lines!  Thinking about how thick this batting is, I think I figured this out.  This batting must have been salvaged from an old comforter!  It makes sense - it is thick and has old sewing lines (sorry, I can't bring myself to call them quilting lines).  Hmmmm, how much trouble is this comforter weight batting going to cause me?  Well, I was about to find out! 

I had just finished some part of the quilt and laid it on the floor in the media room.  The media room is just outside my quilt room and has just enough floor area to display a quilt (that is, as long as you don't want to walk around it).  Just then, the dinner call was made.  I went downstairs and enjoyed leftover lasagna for dinner.  Coming back up the stairs, I was greeted with this view:

It reminded me of that THICK batting.  I will admit that the back has some folds.  I don't normally have tucks or folds in my backing.  I am reasonably certain that this is due to that thick batting.  I decided to leave it as is and not to rip out and re-do.  This is partial because I intend on keeping this quilt for myself (at least until someone claims it) and mostly because I think I'll fight this problem throughout the quilt given the fact that it has a 3/4" batting.

I spent most of the day today quilting this quilt.  I'd bet that it would have taken significantly less time with a long arm.  And I bet it would look nicer.  I can't stitch a 9" curve on my machine without stopping and adjusting my hands.  When I do that, I don't get a smooth curve.  I'd love to be able to quilt a few quilts on a long arm just to see if my theories are true!

I decided to quilt the triple swirls in the X's.  I liked the was this work out.  When you look at this quilt, you see the selvage diamonds.  The triple swirls tied the areas between them together in an X shape.  I had to modify my plan for the selvages a bit.  I had thought about a few things, but decided on a wavy line following the selvages.  That was too fussy for the thick batt.  I ended up with something between a large meander and a wavy line.  And the border?  I just quilted it like the rest of the quilt!  I brought out the quilting as if there were selvages on those blocks.  The border quilting turned out fine, and I was able to baste the edge as I quilted the border. 

 Tomorrow should be the binding.  I'm thinking about a polka dot fabric to draw from the selvages.  I was concerned about getting that sewn onto the quilt with that thick batt, however, I feel a lot better about it since I've quilted the border.  I like to machine sew my bindings to the quilt, then hand sew them to the back.  If all goes well, I'll have a nice project to keep my lap warm an my hands busy during the Super Bowl tomorrow!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ready to Quilt!

I'm hoping that I can start quilting the Selvage Quilt tomorrow.  Actually, I'm hoping that I can FINISH quilting the Selvage quilt.  I really don't think it will take that long to do and the only other item on my agenda as of now is a bit more snow dyeing.  The studio is ready for the dyeing and I prepared some fabric the other night.  Tonight I went to Jo-Ann's and bought thread.  I was so glad that I thought about this the day before I was ready to quilt!  I bought two 250 yard spools and one 125 yard spool.  They only had two 250 yard spools.  I wound one spool onto bobbins.  Six bobbins.  Guess that means that the bobbins hold 41 yards of this thread.  Six bobbins doesn't seem like a whole lot, but it isn't a big quilt.  And only half of the top with have the turquiose thread.  I'll use white or off-white on the selvages. 

What else did I pick up while I was there?  These Snapware containers will be used for the Scrap Quilting class that I'm teaching at the guild's retreat in March.  I'm teaching the selvage quilt too.  I guess I'll be working on those classes for the next few weeks.  I also bought the backing for the RRCB Mystery quilt.  The fabric is pretty, but it has a muslin texture.  With the white printing on it.  I'll decide how much I do or don't like it once I use it.  As typical of Jo-Ann's, Snapware was 50% off, I used a 50% off coupon for the backing, thread was 50% off and I used a 50% off coupon for the needles. 

I've decided how I'm going to quilt the selvage quilt.  I used this design in the Christmas quilt that I sent to Massachusetts.  I figure that if I stitch it a zillion more times, I might get halfway decent at it.  It will be stitched in turquoise thread.  I think I'm doing a series of wavy lines parallel to the selvage strips in white or off-white thread on the selvages.

I haven't decided on the border yet.  I'll probably continue the swirls in the X shape into the border and then quilt something around the rest of the border.  I'll keep a watchful eye on the border as I'm quilting the quilt tomorrow.  Hopefully, it will talk to me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

RRCB - Repair

A 65 pound lab puppy full on energy should NOT run in the house, take a hard  right turn, putting on the brakes to jump on the couch while I'm working on a quilt on the floor!

I found a small hole in one of the green squares.  I'm glad I found it before I layered and quilted the quilt.  It didn't take long to remove the damaged fabric and replace it.

Here's the guilty party.  I gave him a scrap of batting to play with tonight.  He had lots of fun tearing it.

I'm not ready to quilt this one yet.  I need to buy backing fabric for it.  I did layer a lap quilt tonight.  I hope I will get a chance to start quilting it this weekend.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

RRCB Quilt Top is Finished!

Quilt top started:  November 19, 2010

Quilt top finished:  February 1, 2011

I still need to quilt it. 

It is a very heavy quilt.  Lots of seams, lots of fabric.  Something around 3,500 pieces.  I'm going to put it away for now and think about how I want to quilt it.  I sure wish I had a long-arm!  The photo shows the quilt on a queen sized bed.  It will work well with a full or queen bed.  Hmmm, which project is next?