Sunday, August 30, 2009

Quilting Makes the Quilt

The feel of Autumn is in the air and I have several quilts that need basting. My set-up for sandwiching/basting is in the garage on tables, so with cool weather coming, I'd better get a'goin'!

This Furrows and 4-Patch was not calling to me - it's pretty humble and homely, with too much WHITE, not anything I wanted to write home about, but today was lovely and I wanted to get SOMETHING sandwiched. I learned how to make a ribbon border on this project and am amazed at it's simplicity! We've all heard the phrase, "Quilting Makes the Quilt". As soon as I started machine quilting, the quilt became alive. I'm using a pastel pink, blue, green yellow thread, 40 wt, that helped to blend the fabrics and toned down the WHITE. Also, I keep forgetting to drop the feed dogs on my machine and it makes no difference at all! LOL

I made this one day (OK, maybe 2 or 3) when I just needed to sew something!!! This is about as easy as a quilt can get. It's about 70" x 80", and I used what I had on hand, except for the 2 blues in the ribbon border - that needed to be consistant fabrics. If you've been afraid of this border, you will be amazed at it's simplicity! Give it a try!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jody's Quilts -- Relaxing -- New books

These two luscious items belong to my friend Jody. She comes into town for our local monthly quilt group meeting. The crooked log cabin is not yet quilted, but the Irish Chain is DONE! Jody is a ranching woman (among her other talents), and machine quilts beautifully on a frame.

This little quilt (below) was mailed today. I tried to drape it artfully on the table like a Country Living photo, but it ended up looking like a quilt, spread out on a table.
DH surprised me with this gift, a windmill, a symbol of Nebraska. I've often talked about having a 'real' decorative one for the garden, but our garden never does amount to much, so this metal WELCOME version is much better. I LOVE it! This was made by a guy who makes ranch metal gates with all the cutouts of horses, cowboys, cattle, that we see over the ranch driveways. His wife designs them on a computer.
And lastly, yes I DID overdo working and am paying for my exuberant painting efforts, and need to sit down and REST my old bod! Look what came in the mail today! The perfect excuse to sit and enjoy our beautiful afternoon, and a delicious hard lemonade! I LOVE Gwen Marston and Freddy Moran's free use of color, but I also love that it is 126 (correction - 192 pages!!!) pages full of color!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Well -- I'll be darned!

In preparation for graphic ideas so I can start on a snowball quilt (using my Fairy Fabric), I Googled "Snowball Quilt", and one of the results included "Images" only, among all the possibilities. I didn't have to click on each 'hit' and scroll around to FIND what I was looking for. Just page after page of snowball quilt images! Happy Day - exactly what I wanted!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Have Faith, and Progress

Look at all those lines! This part is painted, but you can't tell yet, from the angle. That's a wonderful, heavy duty roll-out awning over the doors. Because we have so much wind here, we can't have an umbrella, and have to roll this awning in and out. It gives us an entire additional living space in nice weather. THAT's why I insisted this deck get painted. I worked 3 hours after my OTHER WORK! yesterday, while our helper started earlier in the day. Whew, I am not tall enough to reach the top of those boards! Our helper John offered to do the fiddly parts with the brush if I did the larger roller areas. Sounded like a great plan to me!
I was getting a bit shakey, (Hey I've been a Senior Citizen for years!) and light headed at the end. This was around the corner of the house/deck, and if I kerplunked down to the ground due to fatigue or a heart attack or ???, no one would find me for a while, so I decided I'd better quit. At this point even taking a shower took too much effort. Sighhhh, one more afternoon and it will be DONE.
Due to excessive fatigue, and looking forward to finishing this painting job, and looking forward to actually sitting on the deck before winter comes, and then planning the next project, and, and and ... not a normal sleeping pattern for me but, I was awake most of the night, drinking, hot flashes, getting more water, too hot, too cold, where are the blankets, my hip hurts, DH was fidgeting, etc., so I finally got up and started sewing at 4:00 am! I am expecting to crash today or tomorrow! These blocks are going to need 'something' to help pull them together. Putting them on point will allow me to use side setting triangles in a PLAIN cream, that should calm it.

There are a couple prints that I cringe each time I see them, so have decided to "File 13" them. Out they go!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ya need to have faith!

Today, my body needs to rest, so I'm parking myself at my sewing machine, using my already-cut 2 1/2 in. strips (weeks ago) to make Bonnie's Star Struck. This is the second quilt I've made using her pattern and technique - the first one used carefully selected light shirtings and indigo type blues. For this one, I'm going totally scrappy - whatever I have in the dark and light range. Thank goodness for precutting strips - what a time saver. Once again, a huge THANK YOU to Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville!

Recently I found a saved pattern from Marcie at PatchalotMore. that looked mighty appealing and spurred me on start the second project, this time, totally scrappy. Thanks Marcie, for the eye candy!
Strips by themselves are pretty blah, boring, don't match, etc. Hey, ya gotta have faith they'll look good! And yes, I'm saving the 'waste' triangles for 1 inch HSTs.

I swear, I just pulled 4 units with absolutely NO rhyme or reason and sewed them together -- not bad already, is it? This project is all part of my effort to 'get control' of my stash and USE it, not just HAVE it!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What I did this weekend

The gutter was full of debris, and DH did NOT want to climb on the ladder. It was so full of crud that now we had dampness in the basement. OMGosh, what next! I promised DH that when I came home from work I would climb the ladder if he held it. But the rest of the morning I was praying REALLY HARD that some miracle would occur and I wouldn't have to climb.

My prayers were answered! That morning, DH called the Retired Senior Services and they found us a helper named John, who came immediately, and scampered up that ladder and cleaned out the gutter. He asked for $20.00. I would have happily paid him MUCH MORE if he had asked! We lined him up for the next job, painting the DECK!

I have never shown anyone our deck because for the past 2 years it looks so bad, we don't even sit outside any more. The fix required 1) power wash; 2) primer, 3) paint. (It really needs to be totally replaced, but ... remember the stock market thing!) And even when 'fixed' it's nothing to write home about!

The first power washer didn't touch the old paint, so we dragged it back to the hardware store, and ordered a heavier power washer which was more successful. Here's what part of the deck looks like after the power washing - lovely, huh?? -- flakes/chunks of paint everywhere, and we can't possibly get off all the loose paint due to that ridiculous deck/rail design, and years of old paint. And look how one has to paint that awful rail!!! I can barely squeeze a paintbrush in there! More scraping - Ugh! I did my part with the scraping, but John did most of the work.

OK, Elaine, buy 3 gallons of primer, 3 gallons of paint, various rollers and pans (I'm thinking how many yards of fabric would this be), and we're set to GO! John and I painted 3 hours Saturday afternoon and managed to prime about half the project. No painting Sunday (thank goodness as I will not be able to MOVE in the morning!). Yes, that's me, now needing to sit down and paint!, under my treasured Dad's paint hat and wearing dark after-cataract-surgery sunglasses I found somewhere. The primer is so bright it really CAN hurt eyes. (Lesson - Last time we did this job, I went to hospital thinking I had paint IN my eye, but no, just too much glare from the paint.)
John was a great worker and I'm definitely appreciating his assistance. After 3 hours, I was drained and couldn't work any longer. Monday, we'll start again.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mother Earth DONE, and Fairy Fabric

Lesson -- If a woman saves her buttons for 47 years, and carts them around for 47 years, and dusts around them for 47 years, and plays with them for 47 years, she will eventually find a use for $5.00 worth of buttons! It's truly amazing how many are NOT suitable! There are little button buds on this vine, and the centers of the red flowers have khaki colored buttons, highlighted with tufts of black embroidery thread, knotted and left about 1/2 inch long, looking very interesting, as I wanted to divert attention from my flower edges not done well, but done well enough.

The shadows of the morning light in contrast with the brightness of the quilt were too delicious so both photos are included. I was very thoughtful and did not insist DH walk in the wet grass in his bare feet to hold this recent treasure. I'm not gifted at applique, but better than I used to be! At least I'm no longer afraid to try - another one of those danged life-lessons! Thanks for the suggestions of crosshatching by many of you. It's exactly what was needed. This will look amazing, when washed and all crinkley! This is a gift for my SIL, also named Elaine, who has 5 children, many grandchildren, and a gift for gardening. She picked the pattern from a Mimi Dietrick book, Bed and Breakfast Quilts (out of print), but I made it smaller. Elaine is just 5 ft. tall, so it didn't have to be made large!

New subject - here is the fairy fabric for a 3-yr old great niece, that I 'found' in my own stash after unsuccessfully searching 4 quilt shops all over this section of Nebraska. THAT'S why we have 'stash'! And that's also why we need to keep a handle on those messy stashes! LOL I don't have a pattern yet in mind, but I DO have a good supply of pale blues and greens, corals, white, pinks and oranges. (yeahhhhh, I just cleaned out my stash drawer!)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Links and Organizing

I'm still crosshatching, and it's looking good, and my current "Mother Earth" (previous posts) should be done this weekend. I MQ'd in line with the diagonal squares. Now, after the fact, I wish I'd just measured from line to line, instead of using the diagonal squares to measure the crosshatching - there IS a difference, not greatly noticeable.

After adventurous efforts to update my page resulted in lost links, I am slowly restoring them. That was a painful lesson to copy those links somewhere! I must be the slowest person on earth, plugging away, getting them all back to 'normal.' So if your name is not there, and it previous WAS there, I'm working on it.

And these photos are of little interest to anyone except ME, who is thrilled she's gotten off her you-know-what and organized her fabric, so she can actually FIND something!
I cleaned fabric drawers! My "blues" are done, my "Neutrals", my "Yellows/Creams", my "reds", my "plaids", my greens.
I've pulled out the smaller bits and cut them into 2 1/2 inch strips. Those 2 drawers are filled up again, but my working table still has a pile of "Melons, oranges" with no place to go! Maybe I'd better make a HUGE "Melons, orange" quilt! LOL
I could not even plan anything because of the mess and disorder! My head was in a muddle, and concentrtion was nil, until I restored some order.

A great neice (age 3) wanted a fairy quilt. I hunted high and low, in town, at 2 other quiltshops - no luck, no fairies, except for Tinkerbelle - NOPE I want pretty fairies! E-Bay, E-Quilter, QIAD, no luck. Guess what I found in cleaning out my own stash. Yep, the perfect fairies. 8-))

BTW, I have a other places filled with fabric, this is some of the neatest piles.

Today, the thermometer is hugging the 100 degree mark. Whew!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Almost Unanimous - Crosshatch!

You all have the same excellent idea - I had avoided THAT crosshatching originally because the last time I used it (about 10 years ago), I was a messy quilter, didn't use rulers, didn't know much about accuracy, or style, or threads, but hey, I've picked up a thing or two and already made several lines -- they look good!

Thanks everyone! (and non-bloggers wonder why we love this method of communication!)

Painful Passion

I quilted almost 5 hours yesterday, yes, machine quilted on my domestic sewing machine (DSM), with all the tenseness in my arms, shoulders, neck, back, and .... oh my, not much sleep last night - PAIN, PAIN, PAIN, and yet this morning, I downed a few Ibuprofen and returned to this passionate hobby. We are all demented, me thinks!

Below is the quilting in the center of the quilt. Pattern, and inspiration, came from This one is called something like "Loosey-Goosey" something or other. I've used it before and so far, it's been easy for me, and pretty.

More of the same

Comments invited for a better idea in this wide border!!! However, my good fortune stopped when I came to the border. I tried this 'dwirling' but it's NOT what I am keeping. It's too large in scale, too casual, and just not right, so out it came. Now I have to decide something better. Come on quilt, talk to me!

FYI - On another subject, did you know that in Windows IE, you can enlarge any photos by doing Control +, and reduce it again with Control -. This did not work in Mozilla Firefox.

FYI - Also, when I include photos, I always have to reduce them by 25% - a little fiddly in my Kodak program, to get them to about 100 KB. This time I reduced them "best for web" and it made no difference from the 25% thing. It appears to be the same size.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

This Works for Me

This is my new set-up, in the garage, while weather is pleasant. My knees said, “No more groveling around on the floor when a quilt needs sandwiching/basting.”

Several of you wanted to see a photo of table legs and PVC pipe. The legs on each type of table may be different. These legs are slender with only a slight curve, and the brace is high up on the leg. We experimented with a paper towel roll to see how long the PVC pipe needed to be. Also, PVC pipe has standard sizes – these are 1 ½ inches. I can physically JAM the pipe on the leg when I’m setting it up, and it stays there. Also, I can do this job myself.

Happy Day! For me, sometimes a small change inspires improvements and creates energy. My table set-up in the garage resulted in a LOT of scraps being cut into 2 and 2 ½ in. strips – already, I feel less stressed, and more in control of my mess. I left the big door open, and could hear the birds outside, and I had a LOT of physical space. The radio was on, and I’m listening to Nebraska Public Radio, Car Guys.
DH became enthused and got to sweeping and tidying up the garage, better than usual. He WAS looking a little worried I had invaded his ‘private’ territory. We even moved 2 lawn chairs into the garage, just for sitting. We even have a wood stove in here. Not fancy but this arrangement does the job. (and ... no TV!!!)

(Alright now, I don't want any comments about Ma and Pa Kettle, happily sitting outside in the garage! LOL )

I use basting spray and pins, and yes, there is PLENTY of ventilation! Flies were not an issue but something to consider. I wouldn't leave the quilt here for any length of time.

This arrangement is a major improvement for my quiltmaking process.

(BTW, appliqueing those red flowers was NOT fun!)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A basting/sandwiching solution

Finally, I think I have found a solution to basting and sandwiching my larger quilts, which does not require the word "floor" nor "knees."

Since I took a nosedive several months ago, one knee was left damaged enough to make it impossible to kneel. My house is not large, and storage space is always at a premium.

Today I purchased these 2 folding tables at Walmart. One is still in the folded-up position.
Each is 30 x 72 inches, and I plan to use them next to one another. If you can find them longer in length, the price AND weight goes up dramatically. These each weighs about 25 lbs, folds to about 30 x 30, with a latch, and a carrying handle, and together, the cost was $114.00. The legs still require additional height, which will be 'fixed' with PVC pipe under each so I won't have to lean over too uncomfortably. I can manage them myself. When weather is nice I plan to do this in the garage - we'll see how that works. They are plastic coated on the top, and will wipe clean, and can also be used for other purposes. I got my incentive and idea from Luann at "May Your Bobbin Always Be Full", as SHE had the original idea and was basting a quilt on similar tables, in her porch. BTW, LOOK AT HER AMAZING QUILT!

The only negative part was getting them out of the box! We had to literally rip it apart - well, not 'we' .. more like DH, along with a box cutter! I'm showing the box so you can know what to look for. If you purchase tables for this purpose, and plan to raise it for your comfort, be sure the legs have a curve in them for the PVC trick.