Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tumalo Trails/Cowboy Up top is done

Happy New Year 2015 everyone !!!  VERY cold in western Nebraska - we are at zero today, with 10-12 inches of snow on the ground. 

I'm fiddling through an unfamiliar method to add photos - always confusion --I accidently DID IT! 

Above is my finished top, Tumalo Trails, aka Cowboy Up, because those plaid look so ... country and western-like.    This design is from Quiltville.com - many thanks, Bonnie!  Not shown is another medium value 2-inch finished blue border around the last edge.  Dimensions now are approx. 86 x 105.  It will take up about 4 to 6 inches each way after quilting.  Binding will be dark blue, same as that narrow dark blue flange in the photo.  That wiggly looking fabric is really a tiny blue and white stripe.   
Here is a corrected corner - I was so engrossed in the border I did 3 of the corners wrong.  LOL

Another subject - a mystery -- below is my favorite cake pan that I love because it has the metal top that snaps into place. and the aluminum is heavier than other cake pans.  I don't do much cooking any more.   However, look at those holes!!!  Where did they come from????  I had just finished baking ribs and poured off the grease, then baked with BQ sauce.  I don't see any puddle of grease in the oven, I didn't smell any grease smoking or burning as I slow-cooked the ribs.  When I went to wash it - OMGOsh and there are even MORE, not seen in the photo!  I tried to stab a hole in the pan with a knife to see if the pan was actually worn thru, nope - I couldn't make a dent, much less a hole.  Dishwater just dribbled thru those holes.  This metal is not thin and wimpy.  Note the holes are not where one would cut bar cookies or a cake.  A mystery!  DRAT! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Uh-ohhhh! Drat!!!!

Drat that border - LOL

... it has to be right to make the corners turn correctly (oops, not shown!).  I didn't plan that spacing for hours to leave it with that error!!!

My solution was to add two more vertical strips (1 1/2 inches each, fin.) which then made the border 3 inches too long, so then I went over every vertical seam, sewing a hair deeper each time until finally, it fits.  This is border #3, and I have half of #4 yet to do ... uhhh ran out of fabric .... off to quilt shop...they had what I needed.  The corners turn beautifully!  8-)) 

BTW - I have used Judy Martin and Marsha McCloskey's wonderful book for almost 15 years, PIECED BORDERS, The Complete Resource - for border ideas.  I've never even copied the plans, just used them for inspiration. 

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Tumalo Trails (Cowboy Up), and Recycled Pet Food Tote #2

This is my Tumalo Trail, renamed "Cowboy Up" designed by Quiltville.com.  There are 6 x 8, nine inch blocks, with a 1 inch sashing.  I'm working on a 9-inch pieced border, no photos yet.
Below is my second effort at a pet food bag recycled into a usable, extremely durable tote bag.  I liked the black cotton straps, as opposed to making straps from the bag material. 
Here is the back - I was given this bag with the cute chihua?? chiwa???  uhhh, little dog.  The bag was too small to make a tote, so I used it as a pocket.   
This material is very tough - you cannot pin it - I used tape and strong clips.  I did French Seams - waaay not necessary - perhaps a zig-zag would have been OK as well.  It was difficult to turn the bag inside out, right side out.   I also cut out the lower corners, as opposed to just folding the triangles up to make square corners.  On the bottom, I offset where the black strap crosses - it was getting tough sewing!   This one is NOT lined - not necessary.  Before construction, I washed the bag material in the kitchen sink with a kitchen scrubber and warm water.  
Below is the front.  
Being inquisitive by nature always wondering "what would happen if?"

 I have several more bags and might do this again without French seams, but again, with the black braid. 

If you press this tough material with an iron, between waste fabric, it melts, crinkles up into an unusable glom.  (Someone will probably find a really good use for glom and make a million $$$.)

Friday, November 28, 2014

Spiderweb Quilt

Basting issues are DONE!
Camera issues are DONE!
Sewing machine issues are DONE!
Food preps are DONE! 
I quilted the borders differently, just for fun, since the quilt itself is almost humorous, and because it's good to keep practicing.  Two borders are very casual feathers or hearts.  Then I became bored with that design and changed the last two borders  LOL

This one is leafy, viney, curlyques with a red/brown variegated thread.

This quilt back needed rebasting a second time -- not fun but the extra effort ended up positive.  Here is the back - I wanted to make diagonal binding as well as use it for the backing. 
Below is on the deck, where I like to just look at it, knowing I had numerous issues, yet did not give up.  The yard is pretty drab, isn't it?

I'm using a new "system" for this post, on the laptop, and transferring the photos via disk.  That might not sound like much of an accomplishment, but it turned out to be waaaay more than simple!   I'm still working at it!     I thought this photo was cropped. 

Another border - simple paisley teardrops, following an implied, chalked line. Spiderweb quilting design in light areas. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

More lessons to learn

Oh boy, new photo system, new to this computer, new to this brain!!!  Old camera (2006) not functioning as I remembered it used to, and I had been using an old 2003 Windows XP desktop in the past, but for now, it is not cooperating.  The little camera disc is also not reading to this newer laptop, not sure what to do about that, but I was happy to find out the camera cable will connect to this gadget - I DO  have a brand new rechargeable battery in the camera and that part is now making the camera work properly.  Duhhh, I didn't realize I was supposed to purchase new rechargeable batteries.  My camera is a Kodak -- rechargeable batteries were not easy to find.  However, my friend Fern directed me to www.batteriesplus.com, I called the Ft. Collins franchise, and they mailed me what I needed. 

Does anyone have suggestions as to why my camera disc won't read on this new laptop?  It used to a year ago, when last I tried it.  The laptop recognizes it is "there" but I get an "error".  Perhaps because the previous battery was dead it damaged something to the disc?

Now, I just need to figure how to wander thru this new interface.  It was not as difficult as I had imagined. 
 I was asked to make a small quilt for an auction.  I called it "Gifts" meaning we all have gifts to offer not just the kinds that we wrap up.  It's about 38" x 40", and would be artfully positioned in a small antique sled.  I quilted winding ribbons all over it first in one thread, then another. 

Time was short so I started with a lovely Moda Charm Pack - I have never done that before.  What a time saver! 

The feathers on the outside border were easy.  My friend Jody calls them "fat ladies on a barstool"!  LOL

The backing was PERFECT. 

Below is my Scrappy Spider Web I've been working on between machine problems.  Did ya ever have whole months when NOTHING was working properly?  Ok, got that fixed, and improved my stitching issues with Sewers Aid liquid lubricant.  What a great improvement THAT made! 

The first spider webs were in a creamy tan thread - didn't look quite right, so I changed to a white shiny poly that had some silvery look to it - much better. 
I deserve a GOLD STAR after struggling with a variety of geekie issues.  I stuck with it, didn't cry, didn't curse and swear, and didn't give up!  8-))))  I am woman, hear me roar!!!!! 8-)))

Friday, November 07, 2014

Tumalo Trails, an Auction gift, and an Apron Idea

Last weekend was our Guild 3-day Retreat, and I was able to get these blocks together in rows. They were inspired by Bonnie Hunter's Tumalo Trails.  48 blocks, set 6 x 8, blocks finished 9 inches.  A while back, I had started making a gazillion small 9 patches, and someone gave me an extra large plaid shirt, knowing I used them in quilts.  The items were both piled on my sewing table, and suddenly it hit me, "Elaine, use that shirt with the 9-patches!"  I renamed my project "Cowboy Up".

Below is a small quilt made for an auction in about 10 days.  I machine quilted an overall ribbon, covering the quilt 2 times with 2 different threads.  Hint - if you do this with 2 different threads, be sure and quilt with the darkest one first - a light thread first (in this case) made it difficult to follow with the second stitches!  I'm pleased with the end result (not shown in the photo).  This was the first time I purchased a coordinated set of charms - oh my, that made fabric choices so easy!  I added a few charms of my own, given or won from other Guild members.  This little quilt is about 40 x 44 in.

Below is a clever apron idea by Tina, a friend and Guild member who was also at the Retreat.  Those light patches are family recipes, now printed on fabric - what a great idea.  The handwriting is clear, and even the fingerprint smudges from the recipe cards are included on the patches.  She's making several for family members, who might even recognize their own fingerprint smudges on family favorite recipes! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Totes -- one delicious, one dorky

This lovely little tote bag was a gift from Nancy and Gene, who are quilters and computer/embroidery people who faithfully arrange for the local sewing/quilting gals who meet each month.  I had admired this project during it creation and Nancy told me it was for her Mom.  Is that a lie?  8-))  Thank you so much, Nancy and Gene - I LOVE it.  

 I've wanted to make a few tote/utility recycled bags from the amazingly strong large pet foods bags we see.  They seem to be made of Tyvek or similar - hope I am using the right word.  If you haven't made one, you will re-learn the word "wrestle" as the stuff is strong.  You will need strong clips instead of pins.  I wanted the cat to show, not necessarily the "Kaboodle".  I stuffed a medium-sized quilt inside.  I wiped out the inside of the bag with a damp cloth and lined the bag - lining was not necessary but seemed like a good idea.   This can be used for my quilt basting supplies that currently hang in the garage.  How about a strong book bag?  Show and Tell? 

Here's the back.  I squared off the bottom so it could hold a lot of groceries.  Finished project is almost as large as a paper grocery bag.

I was given 7-8 more bags, with dogs, horses or cows on them.  My job would have been easier if I had used the free arm on my machine, instead of a flat surface.  Instructions and great photos were found at  blog.goodsmiths.com/.  What would you use it for?  Is it too dorky?

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Creative Grids, Pineapple Trim Tool - a Review

 I have enjoyed numerous How-to videos on You Tube, especially those that are quilting related.  I discovered Creative Grid rulers and demos of their products, and even though I don't need them, I want them all!!!  So, while I already HAVE a Pineapple Ruler that works well, I wanted to try this one, because I appreciate PROCESS and SYSTEMS. 

There are good instructions included for it's basic use, and my package also included a Cut Loose pattern.  I don't know if this page is included with all rulers.  Part of the reason I "bit" and purchased this ruler  is because I am so grateful for the nice videos, since our TV quilt programs are seldom available.   Jeanne Ann Wright does the one I've been watching.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVvHRq33s90

These instructions look overwhelming, but one step at a time.  I would recommend a practice block first, as the method itself is not the easiest, but the instructions and guides on the ruler make it accurate.  Mine finished at exactly 8.5 in., as planned.  The strips must be larger then 1.5 inches, and finish at 1 inch after trimming.

The nature of a pineapple block is that there IS waste, and it CAN get crooked.  Scrappy,  and care when lining up the ruler for trimming are good approaches.  If you have one of those small suction cups to stick to your ruler, that might be helpful because there is a lot of flipping back and forth, and looking for the guidelines on the ruler, in preparation for trimming.  One also needs to remember which "round" you are on.  The "rounds" relate to various lines and squares on the ruler -- you can't just throw one together without some concentration.  This one has 6 rounds and "ears" on the corners.  This scrappy block, my first one using this ruler, took about 40 minutes and I got lost a few times, but then decided to READ THE DIRECTIONS!

If you get lost, you can review the video on line.  Have fun!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tumalo Trails, "Cowboy Up"

Tumalo Trail

In a frenzy following too much really strong iced tea, I started making 9-patches from my 1.5 inch scrap box, continued for 2 day, wondering what I'd do with them, then remembered Tumalo Trail, a Quiltville.com design that has been tempting me.  My "pile" of "to-dos" is also on my sewing desk, and I'm to the point of being overwhelmed by the eternal clutter. Oh good grief, Elaine, you have GOT to cut that shirt up (left in photo) one of these days!  

Uhhh, that shirt cutting job ... that shirt kinda looks OK with those 9-patches. Wonder how it would look .....?  

Sometimes that MESS of accumulating fabric leads to delightful accidental discoveries!  Looks kinda "cowboy", doesn't it?   I'll call it "Cowboy Up"? 

I might include a narrow sashing to solve the problem of all those seams needing to match.  I never would have included that lavender, if it hadn't been accidental!  I will have enough of the blue plaid for most of the quilt top. 

Sausage Pillowcases  

Our last local gathering produced a LOT of pillowcases.  I had cut up a bunch of fabrics, both body, cuff, and accent and brought it all to our sewing group.  12-14 yards used!  Yeahhhh!  We mixed and matched the parts, and various pillowcases went home for final sewing.  These will be going to the DOVES, and the number we donate will count towards the "Million Pillowcase Project."   It's funny how our fabrics we've had for years look pretty spiffy when made into something else beside a quilt.   

Monday, September 22, 2014

We're supposed to clean these machines?

The bottom of my Janome 6500 can be easily opened up for occasional cleaning, by removing 5 screws.  The last time I cleaned it was ... uhhh, over 5 years!  (I DO clean the bobbin regularly.)  This job was necessary because my always reliable machine was not machine quilting well.  Despite all the internet help, friend help, manual help, etc., it still was skipping stitches.  Off to the sewing machine hospital.  

Is this not terrible???? I have probably quilted 15 or more quilts in the last 5 years.  

I vacuumed it with the big, household vacuum cleaner, then blew it with canned air and it dislodged several clumps, that were like felt pads.  Wow - who knew??? 

It normally sits IN a sewing desk - taking it out like this is not a small job.  I promise to do it more frequently.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Quilt Process, new awning, train ride

I have been working on this pineapple quilt, now called Hedgehogs in the Daisies.  Named because, I was noticing how "Prickly" it was looking, one of the results of paper piecing.  It began to look like pine cones, but then what would pine cones be doing in Daisies?  So, it became hedgehogs instead.  This project seems to never end!  My blocks are rectangles, I stretched them from squares, and I made the corners different, causing myself all sorts of confusion, eventually solved by drawing colors on the back of each paper.  You might notice, I have continued some of the quilt inside, into the border, so the quilt doesn't just END at the border.  I hope there is some continuity. 

I don't have a photo of the back - oh so cute Hedgehogs!!!!   

The brown triangles (below) are also now extended into the border.  The green/brown triangle is sewn in here, not pressed down (fusible).  It will overlap the double border.   I have used this technique before - this time it is tedious!!! The top and bottom shapes are not the same as the right and left shapes.  I realized that late into the process.  

Efforts to extend the corner triangles into the mitered corner were a failure.  I may revisit that option when the miter is all sewn in - not sure.  Sometimes it's better to stop making more work!

This is not a large quilt.  The little strips are about 3/4 in. finished.  I think the quilt is now about 60 x 70 with the border, maybe less.  

Something new - Our awning over the deck had seen better days.  Gears were seemingly stripped, so, "Call the Man!"  This is a Sunsetter, and was installed by a roofing contractor.  It took weeks, not days to get the finally adjustments made because of unusual rain, downpours, hail, etc.  When you live far from the larger town, contractors don't just run out and finish the job - they come when next they have another job.  

The awning gives us another space when weather is nice.  It's not easy to get a nice photo - perhaps I have to climb the tree!  We always roll it up (manual, not electric) when frequent wind picks up.  

Yesterday, we took a day trip, a train ride on an 1880 train, in Hill City, SD, 3 hours north of our home, through so much open country, then Custer State Park, and more.  There is NO traffic out in the open country!!!  The day was beautiful, scenery lovely, this was a Wine Express, with wines and lunch provided on the train by Prairie Winery.  Lovely!  I was unable to get a photo of the old engine, but what a machine it was, puffing out black smoke as it snaked through rocky spaces, past mountain homes.  We saw many deer and turkey. It was a beautiful fall day, warm and sunny.  Most of the recent snow was gone.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Quilt Backing - Positive Solution to Error

My previous post mentioned the error when measuring for the backing for a Linus Quilt, Scrappy Trip Around the World.  I was "shy" about 1.5 inches in width, and 4 inches in length.  I didn't have any more of any of the fabric in those squares.  Luckily, none of the 10 inch squares were sewn together, and I HAD this bright pink.  I was not thrilled with those pale, pastel fabrics.    

I was so pleased with this solution that both DH and I agreed it could be used as a "real" quilt top, but NO, it will be the backing.  The pink jazzed it up, and improved the entire coloring, as well as solved my measurement problems.  What a perfect example of errors turning out better than the original!  It actually IS a 2-sided quilt!   I tend to be not fearful of errors because of the great pleasure in getting out of trouble!  

Famous last words when finishing a quilt (or a backing), "It turned out better than I thought it would."

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Linus Quilt

Here's a Scrappy Trip Around the World, for a girl Linus Quilt, yet unquilted.  The SAME fabrics are used in each of the 48, 12-inch blocks.  This clever quilt originally came from Quiltville.com
- thank you bunches, Bonnie!  The finished top always looks so cool, no matter what fabrics are used.  Even if one uses a variety of fabrics in each block, I like to use one constant in all the blocks - pink in this case - to provide continuity.  

The backing will be 6 x 8, 10-inch squares, not yet put together.  Here is a closeup of the butterflies in the border.  I named this one "Blue Skies and Butter Flys".  8-)) It is a little large for a small child, but good for the older kids who sometimes get lost in the attention to little ones.  This quilt finishes at 59" x 83".  My backing squares finish at 60 x 80. mmm, do you see my problem?  This is called "Poor Planning"!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Handsome Log Cabin

I laughingly called this a "Handsome Log Cabin, and the name stuck!  It was destined for a donation quilt - now, I am not sure.  It started out so "humble-y" and my goodness, now I really LOVE it!  It's amazing how a setting can alter a design!

The border AND the columns are quilted in a variety designs.  I like ALL of them but discovered that longish straight lines in the light parts of the Log Cabin didn't work well.  (I quilt on a DSM, not easy to do straight lines!).  I removed them and re-quilted that area with shorter lines - much better - still not straight, but OK and more interesting.  

I used light thread in light half of Log Cabin, columns, dark in dark half of Log Cabin

Innies and outies, ala  www.PatsyThompsonDesigns.com  in a squarish design.  Because there was a large area, I chalked some gridlines as guides. 

Below are small paisley-type plumes. 

Here are some swirls in the dark  (complete with a thread hanging on!) 

Curly things in the light.

More curly things - some people call these "bananas".