Thursday, March 26, 2015

What Shall We Do Today?

Mom would wake up each morning, and ask of us kids, "What are we going to do today?  She wanted us to think about a project, of which there were many on a small farm.  We learned to NEVER say "I'm bored" because if we mentioned that statement, she'd find something really AWFUL for us to do, which might involve a shovel, manure, weeds, dead chickens or heavy lifting --- you get my drift. 
So, a few days ago,  feeling a bit bored, I asked myself, "What shall I do today?"  especially something that wouldn't use the word "Money" or "go to my favorite LQS" so this is what I started, using only what I had on hand, my lights and my darks.  I DID try to stay within certain colors.     

This is the THIRD of this type of quilt, called Strip and Slash, by Jackie Robinson.  I purchased her DVD years ago, from 9-Patch Media.  A few days ago, it was under $10.00. 
This starts with "a lot" of strips, both narrow and wider, sewn in two configurations, pressed appropriately, and then cut in more strips, and sewed back together, clipped, pressed, then cut diagonally!  Whew - a lot of steps, but they are easy .  I'm using up my scraps -- so it's FREE, right? 
Below is my basket of lights, all sewn together and cut diagonally, and now I'm working on collecting my darks, reddish browns, purples, etc.   I couldn't stand waiting to see how they would look together and made a few of the darks so far.  These little blocks will finish about 3.75 - small!  But holy smoke, do they make excellent use of scraps.  Chances are YOUR scraps will be in the colors you already like.   I am aiming for 12 x 14 blocks, plus borders. 
These blocks kinda match because I used the same strips.  They will be more mixed up when I have a few hundred!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Importance of Borders

A fairly simple border on this QOV made it even better!  It's approximately 65" x 75" .

This will be mailed to Alycia of, who does a fantastic job of getting these QOVs out to soldiers. 
I'm happy with this outcome.  Now, I need to quilt get busy quilting!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Turn on the Air Conditioner, and "Tumalo Trails" /"Cowboy Up" Sandwiching

Can you read that ???  It says 80 degrees, in western Nebraska, at 4000 ft. elevation, on March 15!  Note the dead brown grass in the yard.  I know it won't last but it's pretty nice while we have it.
I've been waiting for a warm day to sandwich this project, Tumalo Trails, ala, that I call "Cowboy Up".  I'll retell my story of how this quilt came to be.  One day I just started making little 9-patches - musta had a sewing bug or something, but I just HAD to sew something.  My sewing table is like an archeological dig, yes, I am embarrassed, but there are layers, including a blue plaid shirt a friend had given me, and I had planned on cutting it up but somehow it just stayed there, in the "pile".  After I had 50-60 9-patches, I began wondering what to do with them.  Suddenly, that plaid shirt fell off it's own pile, onto my 9-patches pile, and by gosh, they really looked handsome together!  voila, a quilt was born!  All the blue half squares were made of that plaid shirt - I couldn't have picked a better choice in a quilt shop, and used every bit of it!  Thanks again, Janet.  This quilt is 86" x 106". 
I machine quilt on a DSM, Janome MC 6500. 


Uh-oh -- one end is about 3 inches too short!  However, there is plenty of fabric left on the sides to add to the bottom.  I purchased wide, one-piece backing, with a pretty blue viney, leafy motif - not too feminine.  That dark blue narrow strip (above) is a dimensional flange.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Quilt of Valor, Pinwheels and 4-Patches

Most of the blocks are sewn together - I LOVE how the simplest of designs can turn into something so interesting!  I had too many green pinwheels and the quilt was looking a bit Christmas-y, so they were removed and a few more blues were added.  The white you see is the back of a flannel tablecloth.  Wow, what a nifty gadget!  I don't know why I resisted using one for so many years!"

This is from originally, and Bonnie calls is Pinwheels and 4-Patches.  The rows of pinwheels must alternate, as do the 4-patches alternate, in order to get this particular "look".  This is my 4th or 5th version I've made. 

If you choose to make this one - you might want to consider what I learned.   Originally I had some pinwheel blocks that were much darker and some much lighter and the graphic effect was not as pronounced as I had hoped.  Finally, I realized this graphic effect worked best when all the darker fabrics were a closer value, including the reds.

The dark blue shown is a choice for border but it's too dark - I have another lighter blue somewhere.    The border will be a band of white, then a wider band of blue, mitered at the corners.  Finished will be about 60" x 72".

Oh good, I might get this off my Design Floor this weekend!

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Signs of Spring 2015, and an Owl Pair are visiting

 These little jewels (above) have been visiting us, sporadically, choosing our evergreen tree.  They are not the least bit concerned with our presence.  One is larger than the other - we presume this is a male and female.  We have heard from neighbors that screech owls have been in this neighborhood for many years. 
These look like my tulips, planted in a sunny place.  It's somewhat early for spring here, but weather has been warm and balmy for the last 2 weeks.  We are in western Nebraska, at 4000 ft. elevation, so spring usually comes later than we would like. 

These are daffodils.  I was careful last year to NOT trim them back at all after flowering, as they were somewhat puny.  We'll see if that technique will improve them this year.. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Playing, visiting, and futzing around

I'm still here - not sure what I've been doing with myself!  Certainly, not posting anything!
Below are two unusual purses/totes I bought locally.  I've seen similar at quilt shows but never expected to find them in our local gift shop!  I kept one for myself. 

This is Mary, one of my dear sisters-in-law, retired art teacher, at their home near Denver.  Mountains in the background have only small amounts of snow, not a good thing.

This is me, my engineer brother, and my boatmaking husband during a recent visit, when weather was warm! 

This is my current project, "Lady of Shallotte"  on my Design Floor for tooo long, because I haven't figured how to deal with the corners and the flying geese do not fit properly - lack of planning on my part!  But, I WILL figure something!  This is a large quilt, folded to fit the Design Floor.   I am planning on hand quilting this one.

My Quilt Guild friend Sharon and I will be working on quilt show ribbons again this year.  The theme is SUN, so we are each playing in prep for a July quilt show.  My first effort did not work well - waaaay too fiddly, too many wedges, too fussy, too large, etc.  The ruler worked perfectly but not suitable for this project.  I tried inserting little white "rays" of foldy things, more of "tooooo fussy"! 

Than I tried a  45 degree ruler and cut wedges, but moved the ruler down a bit, still using a 2.5 inch strip.  OK, size is better, just 8 wedges (hard to see), has possibilities.  Of course, using a variety of yellow/gold fabrics would have been better.  Still needs something on the back though, but it's a beginning.  Yes, I dislike the center but ...

Sometimes you just have to play to find answers!