Monday, September 27, 2010

Judy at Patchwork Times has Design Wall Monday. An opportunity to share with others what is on your design wall or design floor or where ever you check your blocks for placement.

Today I can show that I have finally finished the 'Road Less Traveled' quilt I began in 2008. I am trying to complete the projects that were already begun before starting others. Of course people like Judy at Patchwork Times and Kaaren at the Painted Quilt make it difficult by sharing such lovely things with others to make so I do stray from time to time but basically I am completing the items that are in my studio at the moment and believe me there are LOTS of them.

I took two pictures and could not decide which one I liked best so I decided to show them both.

The back was an issue this weekend so I did not get as much done as I wanted to but I did get one quilt all pressed and ready to baste.

And now it is all set up for me to baste. I can take as long as I need to work on this but I do want to finish soon because I need one of those tables back in the studio. It is my cutting table. I have two spectrum lights because I found them on a clearance table for $5.00 each. I could not pass up that sale and they have been quite useful.

I did not get as much hand quilting done as I had hoped this weekend but maybe this week will be better. I sure do hope so. I really don't like lying there looking at the ceiling unable to move. I did get a book loaded on my MP3 player so it wasn't a total loss.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


and I am already making list of things to get done........

Several weeks ago I sent an email to the salesman for the office supply company we use asking for his best price on another table for my studio. He was kind enough to offer a used one for FREE....
and he delivered it this week. It is a really nice heavy one and doesn't have a scratch anywhere on it. That means I will have two 5 foot tables to put together for basting. That is so much better. I put them in the upstairs bedroom and this weekend I plan to begin basting two more quilts. I hope to baste one of the green quilts and to finish adding the sashing to "The Road Less Traveled" and get it basted. I will have used up all of the batting I have on hand and since I can't get more right now I will be forced to stop putting off learning to machine quilt. All of my excuses are gone. I have a good machine and now I have a table big enough to handle the quilt top.

As soon as those quilts are basted I can put my cutting table back in place. I am planning to remove a few more projects from the studio. Some are still in the planning stage and some are already begun but there is no place for the eye to rest. I will be making a list of them and I can get them out as soon as I clear the ones I have already begun.

Having spent 2008 and part of 2009 minimizing the items in the living area it is time to begin the same in the studio. It is so easy to keep the house in order and I enjoy that it always looks nice if anyone should stop by. I know that the studio will be a more pleasant place to work if there is little clutter there also. I will not be adding the list of projects to my side bar. It is too long and I refuse to embarrass myself........VBG.....

Easy meals are planned for the weekend and I am going to tackle making baguettes..... This is looking like it will be a fun filled weekend.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Let's start off by understanding that I am a TOPPER. All of my friends know this.............. I have finished a few quilts but you should see the tops I have. It seems that when I get the top finished I get to the paralyzing part of WHAT DO I DO NEXT................ It is not feasible to hand quilt all the tops and besides there is not enough time to do that. Most of them are utility quilts and I would not spend my time hand quilting utility quilts. But even before you get that far there is the LAYERING................ Yes, I do have friends and yes they have all offered to help me at any time but that is not always convenient for everyone.........

Sharon Schamber has a video on Basting Your Quilt. I saw it some time ago. Several of my friends have used this method and I myself have tried it on small projects. It works well.

Well, today is the day that I am going to actually do this with a larger project.

Since I am facing unemployment funding for my projects has come to a screeching halt so I am having to make do with what I have. This is my cutting table. The legs are in PVC pipe that has been cut to bring the table up to the perfect height for me to cut fabric. Under the table is the drawers holding the leftover pieces of fabric based on the Bonnie Hunter system of scraps. That will have to be moved away from the wall and lowered to normal height........

First I spread the backing right side down to be cut.

Then I placed the batting on top of it so that I could cut them at the same time.

Next came the pieced top and I trimmed off the excess backing and batting.

Here it is all cut and ready to layer.

It is recommended that the backing and the top be pressed and starched three times. That took the entire morning.

To help pass the time I downloaded a talking book on my laptop from the library. I might as well enjoy a good book while I am pressing.

Lem helped me move the table from the corner and now it is filling the center of the studio. All of the things that were on the cutting table are stashed just anywhere I could find a place.

The backing and the top are being rolled up on the boards.

Then turn them around and start the layering process. First the backing with the wrong side up.

Then the batting on top of that.

And now to begin unrolling the top.

Needles, thread, scissors and we can begin to baste.

It did take the rest of the weekend because there were interruptions. A break for meals... then to get the house in order because someone wanted to see it on Sunday...... Lem did the vacuuming and I did the other things. Two loaves of bread were made and a dozen muffins.

By Sunday evening I managed to get one part marked so that I could begin the quilting. This morning I went back upstairs to finish marking one section all the way across.

I can see that I will be working on this exclusively for some time to come.

The studio is a disaster but there are several other quilts that I would like to layer before I move the table back to the corner. After they are layered I can get the studio back to normal....... And then perhaps I will practice my machine quilting skill.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The last block was finished this morning. Now to add the sashing and it is ready to quilt. There is some fabric at Murray's that would be perfect for the backing and it is on sale. Now is it is still there in a few weeks when I am ready to quilt this one.

When the seasons change I get the urge to pull out some different tchatchokes. I found this quilt packed away and thought it would make a good table covering. Being a bit off center myself I thought I would put it on the table that way too.

Then I decided I needed some pillows for the chairs that were seasonal. I have been getting blocks ready to applique for the Autumn Blessings pattern that Kaaren put on her blog the first Friday of this month.

I also had a piece of BRIGHT ORANGE fabric that I wanted to use up. There is exactly enough for two pillows and a bit of the black I am using for the Raggedy Ann quilt will fill the bill for the piping. I traced some of Kaaren's designs and stitched them on the orange fabric. Just the center of one flower and one top will be ready to become a pillow.

After finishing the last block I put all of the rows on the design wall and started cutting the sashing strips.

I have been trying to decide exactly how to finish the baby quilt. I just don't have the skill yet to do a decent job on machine quilting so I will have to hand quilt it. I talked it over with Vickie and we decided that if I dedicated ALL of my sewing time to that project I could get it done in a reasonable amount of time. The batting and backing has been purchased which leads to the basting part. Peg has graciously offered to help me baste it but that requires some planning and getting permission to use the space at Murray's. I have been intrigued for some time with the basting method that Sharon Schamber uses. Tomorrow I will rearrange the studio and get started on basting that quilt and getting it quilted.

Peter's family was kind enough to bring a vase of flowers to me. How thoughtful.....

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville first introduced me to Leaders and Enders.............. She now has a book out on the subject with ideas of quilts you can make. It seemed like such a good idea that I found a pattern and cut out the fabric I needed and made my first Leander quilt. You can see it and read about it here. That went so well that I made another one. You can read about that one here.

I have also sewn together countless HST from pieces cut from Flying Geese and even made one quilt border that way. It does take some time to get the quilt complete but after all you do get a quilt in the end instead of spending those few minutes snipping the long thread off of each block. Not to mention that you are using all of the thread on the spool instead of putting part of it in the wastebasket.

In April 2008, Judy Laquidara at Patchwork Times encouraged us to join her in making a log cabin quilt. I cut out my strips and got all ready and then had to dismantle my studio. I am now getting it set up again and found the quilt all cut out and ready to go.

I put it beside my sewing machine and began. You can see from the stack on the left that I am making good progress with this quilt already.

There is ALWAYS something in my machine. (please do not write the date in the dust on top of the machine)

When I sit down to sew I can chain piece to my hearts content making sure that I always end with my Leader Ender project.

I do hope someone else out there will give this a try.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Judy at Patchwork times host Design Wall Monday. Follow this link to see what others are working on....................

As for me I have my two Raggedy Ann blocks from the BOM that Kaaren is offering at The Painted Quilt. These blocks go together so much faster than I thought they would and the embroideries are quick to finish too. This is going to be a great addition to my stack of Tops...

I am also working on the last row of The Road Less Traveled by Lori at From My Heart to Your Hands. There are six blocks in this row and each block takes me two hours. Remember, I work slowly and enjoy moment.

And Block two

and block three

and four.................

and block five. No they are not perfect. But I am not perfect to that works rather well for me.

I might even get this one put together this week.

I am still opening the office every day and handling the day to day business but I have no idea how long that will last.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sometime ago there was a Hallmark movie titled "The Magic of Ordinary Days". That phrase seemed to resonate with me. The things we consider ordinary have a soothing continuity. We get into a rhythm and time seems to just go along.

Wednesday night things were just flowing along. Lem and I had enjoyed a pleasant evening watching television. We don't really watch much... I stitch or knit and he computes or 'rests his eye' by closing them. When he 'rests his eyes' he sometimes exercises his nasal passages and makes alarming noises so I an not sure it is just his eyes that are resting.

Ten o'clock came along and we headed to bed. I was finishing a few things in the kitchen when the phone rang. We all know that a phone call that late is usually not a good thing. This call was no exception. I was being called with the news that my employer had passed. I have been in this job for 14 years. He was a perfectionist and I am not that detail oriented so it was not the best fit but we have had a working relationship for a long time.

I have been asked to keep the office going for the next few weeks and after that I will join the ranks of the unemployed.

Then our days will develop a new rhythm and once again we will enjoy for a time "The Magic of Ordinary Days".

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Saturday I finally finished the baby quilt. It is now ready for quilting. I am not removing it from the list until it is in the mail to the new mother.

Then in spite of saying earlier that I would finish the last embroidery in the basket first I decided to fill it up again for evenings of stitching pleasure. There were a few gifts I wanted to make and some other UFO's that needed moving along toward the finish line.

The first one in the basket is the Country Cousin blocks that I want to add a few embroidery stitches to.

A pincushion with a matching wee cup that is months waiting for completion.

A couple more dishcloths that I uncovered needing the ends run..........

I am taking this apart and doing it again. It is not sewn straight and is annoying to look at. I want to hang it this fall so I am having another go at finishing it correctly.

Six placemats that need to be appliqued..................

And four dishtowels to be stitched.

Not to forget that I have knitted up the loose yarn and now can tuck this pair of socks into the sock sack that Peg made for me.

Several nights of pleasure all packed up in my basket.

Friday, September 03, 2010

In the morning I can usually get some machine sewing done upstairs. Or prep a few things to go into the handwork basket to work on in the evenings.

Last night I finished the last few rows of the last sock. Now I have another pair complete.

I finished running the ends of this dishcloth that was completed who knows when all but that.

Now there is one lone embroidery item left in the basket. It was left in the basket the last time so I do not plan to stock the basket until this embroidery is completed.

There was a pair of socks that I had begun and had about 4 inches complete on one of them but I did not like the way it was looking so I pulled it out and now I am going to make a pair of Just Plain Socks with this yarn. I think the pattern would show more on a more solid color sock yarn so I will use that pattern later. Tonight I will have to knit quickly to get the yarn knitted up so that it doesn't become tangled.

This morning I finished Block Two of the Raggedy Ann Quilt..........

And cut out the borders for the baby quilt..............

I hope to get the baby quilt all ready for quilting this weekend.... We shall see.........

The Thread and I

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, Do it with thy might.

Ecclesiastes 9:10