Thursday, July 20, 2017

Rail Fence, Quiltville Version, and Heat

I saw this scrappy Rail Fence on Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville page a few days ago, and thought I'd use my plaid scraps on this version.  So far, so good!  It's kinda "fiddly" but I AM using up bits.  I had to be careful to keep the strips pressed straight.  The black/white holds the design together, doesn't it?  Blocks are 6 inch.  Those black/white checks had me checking my sanity periodically!  LOL

Different subject - I am in western Nebraska - look at the outdoor temp, far right of the thermostat!  Admittedly, it is on the sunny side, but even under trees it's about 104 degrees.  We've lived here almost 20 years and I've never experienced such heat.  



Sunday, July 16, 2017

Owls heard my computer

We've seen the screech owls on and off this spring, even thru July 4th bombs and explosions - nothing seems to faze them!  If we sit outside at dusk and listen to the robins screeching and hollering and dive bombing, we know the Eastern Screech Owls are somewhere nearby.  We live in western Nebraska, in town.

Tonight, I had the bright idea of taking the computer outside on the deck, and playing YouTube sounds of Screech Owls, wondering what might happen -  I kinda hoped one owl might land on my computer - however, we ALL remember "The Birds"! 

I heard the robins making a ruckus, so played an Eastern Screech owl's sounds and calls,  and in a matter of 5 minutes there was one little guy sitting on the deck rail, looking back at us.  DH  and I sat there mesmerized.  Soon the robins found this little owl and did their pestering and dive bombing, so he fluttered to a nearby spruce for safety.  I continued to replay the Youtube video and I could see him listening (I think) and also he replied with his little trill.  Soon a second owl arrived in the area, sitting on a cable.  Eventually both of them took off, without a sound.   

I didn't have my camera so will repost 2 photos from a few years back when they roosted in our backyard spruce.  We feel blessed they shared a few moments with us.





 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Faux Flange

This pretty method to machine sew an attractive binding to the FRONT of a quilt has intrigued me so today, I tried it out.   I learned mine from Jordan Fabrics (link below), and hers was narrower than some of the other methods.  This was the first time I've tried this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EB0rc76kVV4

Here is my little quilt - of little importance, but I wanted to try out some ruler work, and also the Faux Flange in the binding.  Note the ripples due to stress of trying something new!   LOL  Ruler work?  uhhhh, I'm still on the fence with that technique.  However the Faux Flange worked well.  Neat and tidy and precise is the name of this technique!   Border was MQ'ed to the edge then trimmed carefully.  I used my 1/4 in. foot to sew the binding to the back of the quilt.  I then pressed that binding away from the back, to the front, and slowly sewed it down, using an open toe foot (no pins).  The open toe foot still wasn't quite the best -- next time I'll try another foot, but I'm pleased with the end result. 



Here is  binding with the faux flange on the front. 

A busy back helps to hide stitches which end up close to the binding. 

Many of you know how to do this - I kinda liked it, especially for donation quilts, or kids/baby quilts. 






Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Thousand Pyramids - Almost a Flimsy

I'm preparing something for All Day Sew - looks like this project is ready for some routine sewing.  There are a bunch of little triangle leftovers waiting to be joined.  Even tho they were just leftovers, I think they "make" this quilt.  The reds were not used at all. 

If you've not followed this thread, I'll repeat - the triangles were made from Tri-Recs, as were the side triangles.  A 60 degree ruler would also work but I thought this taller triangle made from the Tri ruler was a bit more attractive.  At first I was wondering how to enlarge my smallish templates, but realized the sides could be easily elongated using a long ruler.  As usual, easy to do once one actually DID it.  

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Thousand Pyramids - more fun

I'm finished with the center - might rearrange some values.  Two extras.  This design worked up quickly - many inspirations are all over the internet.   Despite bias edges, I had NO issues with stretching.  Seams were pressed open, gently, and one must remember that one side is on grain, and shorter than the others - sometimes I wasn't thinking and had to unsew.  Adding the little triangles were just plain FUN!  Today, I need to determine values of the outside triangles that merge into a border - something sorta blah (light cream) will probably be best, then a narrow spark of something, then plaid border.  Hah, I THINK that will work - funny, we think things will be one way, but when we get there, something else is needed.  ... sounds like life...

... what happened to my plan of using extras in a border ... ???

I can't figure how to edit these photos any more - with Windows 10, they are so easy to import from the camera, but now editing has me totally discombobulated!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Thousand Pyramid Triangles - check those degrees!


A miracle occurred and I cleaned my house in preparation for company!  It looked good, and I felt so relaxed, that somehow, another quilt got started! 

My photo inspiration appeared to be a little more graceful than a 60 degree triangle and sure enough, it was NOT 60 degree!  Thank goodness I checked before cutting - it turned out to be the size of our Tri Recs ruler.  (The 60 degree triangle would also work - just a little chunkier. ) The Tri Recs has two sides that are longer than the base.  This is coming along very quickly and easily.  The large triangles are cut from a strip at 4 7/8 in.  The little ones are 2 7/8 in. strip.  One must be careful to keep the base along the straight of grain - won't work otherwise.  The 2 straight of grains are sewn together first.  Also, pressing the seams open works best on this design, and must be done gently.

I used stash, and decided to keep 4 of the same combos together.  Also note that all the darks are on top while the lights are on bottom.  Mixing them up? - I didn't try.  For fun, I included a few little ones, half size - they also went together very well and might be good in a border.    

Such a simple design, yet like all blocks, there are a myriad of combinations.  These colors are  subdued.   I had hoped to have less contrast but this is what I had.  It'll do! 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Monkey Wrench, Old UFO

These 9 blocks were string pieced on paper (phone books) about 8 years ago, and while I loved them, they never seemed to magically transform themselves into a quilt.  Yesterday in a fit of frustration, I made them into this little quilt, mostly from "stuff" that was piled on my cutting table.  Oh dear, why do we procrastinate?  It turned out pretty cute!  The corners of the 9 Monkey Wrench blocks made the secondary pattern of pale Monkey Wrenches.


Thursday, June 01, 2017

Kaleidoscope - Losing Control?

Whew - this is a HUGE project for a DSM, MQ'ed, in free form designs.  I am putting on the last 2 borders using Quilt as you Go, technique (thank you Georgia Bonesteel), to reduce the bulk  - this  quilt is abut 88" x 107".

As I was working, I had the feeling it was "getting away from me".  I don't know what that means, perhaps self doubt?  The border quilting keeps it all straight and true, flat, but I think the center quilting might need more.  Kinda late now for more quilting in the blocks, but I've been considering MQ'ing invisible thread between the blocks.   Oh dear, more work?  Suggestions anyone?  Perhaps blocking will reduce the poofiness I'm not really loving in those blocks.  I like the quilting swirl designs I showed recently on the plexiglas.  You can't see any poofiness in these photos. 

Has anyone else experienced a quilt project "getting away from you" or the feeling that you are "losing control"? 

The dark border on 2 sides is DONE.  2 more sides to go, then DONE.  I LOVE the dog/shark teeth!  They turned out well and were not difficult at all.  


Sunday, May 07, 2017

A tool for MQ designing

I'm ready to start machine quilting my blue/purple/turquoise kaleidoscope, partially finished.  Long sweepy watery lines seemed to be called for, as it is supposed to appear ocean-y, or underwater fronds, not easy on a DSM due to limited hand space.  I needed to practice ... something ... so I bought a 12 inch piece of plexiglass, covered the edges with masking tape, indicated which side was "UP" on the tape, and put the detailing quarter inch tape on the back as quidelines, whethee they were used or not.  Then I placed the plexiglass over the quilt block, and used a dry erase pen to play with designs, and came up with below.  The masking tape on the edges keeps the plexiglass from scratching the quilt, and also serves as a STOP if I get wild with the dry-erase pen! 

My tape does not exactly match up with the wedges but since I usually MQ free-form designs, it's working for me.  My note says "Draw this Side".   
I MQ one block at a time - have not figured a way to continue the design to the next block without breaking thread.  My thread is variegated blues - kinda goes with the many fabrics in the kaleidoscopes.  It's a start!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Quilt Show Preps

Next weekend is the wonderful Chadron Festival of Quilts.  These two quilts have not been shown at that show, but have both been on my blog previously.  Today I am filling out paperwork, measuring, etc., and giving them a good airing. 

This "rebuilt" scrappy log cabin is one of my favorites.  I have instructions on my blog, and have made at least 6 so far.  The standard, traditional border was finished and on the quilt but was toooo ordinary.  I laid it out, measured the angle of the tilted blocks and WHACKED OFF the border, using the same angle, then exchanged sides of each of the 4 pieces and sewed them back on, all tilted.  I LOVE it --  that is after my heart started beating again.  Machine quilting is done in a variety of methods, which we are finding very popular these days, although I made this in 2012.  I call it "Step Lively". 
This is another Pineapple, made with 2 different blocks, made in 2016, called "Pineapple Parade".  I really loved making it, and it's similar to one of mine in a different coloration.  This design was inspired from a DVD lesson, by Gyleen Fitzgerald, purchased from Annies Craft Catalog.  

 

Again, I MQ'ed in a variety of designs, for the simple reason is that I have to keep practicing ALL the ones I've learned.
 Dig that neat backing!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Kaleidoscopes - watch those values!

Above - Some of these blocks are not playing well.  And corners are not on the block making the circles harder to see. 

Below is a lovely block with no corners, but made with dark and medium values. It's a perfectly lovely block but does not work with what I want.  I've made about 75 in the dark/medium values, but I've also made about 75 in the medium to dark and light.  Uh oh, which way shall I go? 
OK, now I'm cooking!  I'm planning for a quilt 11 x 13.  Adding the light corners makes a huge improvement as well as pulling out some that don't work.  Obviously I need to make lots more.  I have made so many of the  "wrong" blocks, I will try for another quilt and use the darker values.  I wanted those circles to be obvious!  I have 49 here - more out of the photo, some on my sewing machine, some on my cutting table - almost enough.   I used an unbleached muslin on the dark corners and a buttery yellow on the light corners.
The blocks are easy to make and finger pressing sped up the process, but getting the blocks, then rows together with those tricky angles, requires careful pin basting. Each block was pressed clockwise, with centers neatly "spun" but sewing blocks to rows, and then sewing rows together requires pressing seams open. 

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Kaleidoscopes, and Vintage Quilt Tops.

These are two vintage quilts given to me.  I foolishly thought I'd get them both hand quilted but ... a friend, who is wonderful at finding vintage quilts and getting them quilted, agreed to take this one above, and get it DONE.  Both are combos of hand and machine sewing.  One down, one to go.
Blue Kaleidoscope - the circles do not appear as clearly as I had hoped.  There will be yet another  6 in. border on each side.  Since I am quilting this on a DSM I decided to reduce some of the overall bulk and will quilt the last borders separately, and add them later, ala quilt-as-you-go.

Below - Apparently I'm on a Kaleidoscope kick so started another .  This design/pattern is so easy - no pins, I can make about 12-15 at one sitting.  I did ALL finger pressing except for the final press, which saves enormous time, and is perfectly effective.  All seams go clockwise, and the center is "spun" nicely.  I need about 220, 6 inch blocks  for queen size.  No color chosen for the corners of the blocks yet, and for now, I am just laying them on the floor - no arrangement of colors yet.  You can clearly see the circles will be more visible.  Fabrics on corners will be lights.   Most of my colors are kinda drab, soft, my plan.   No brights in this one, and no border planned at this point.  All fabrics are from stash.
BTW, if you have never learned the lesson, be sure to ALWAYS use the same ruler per project.  8-(   I started the project with a well-used, reliable 45 degree Marilyn Doheney ruler, then changed to a ruler meant for another type of 45 degree project - didn't double check, and sadly had to trim down the newly made 15 blocks made on the second ruler.   

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dogteeth Border

I LOVE making borders - even if the border overwhelms the center, I LIKE when viewers look at the border and make comments, "Look what she did!" - whether it be positive or negative, that's the reaction I'm hoping for.  My quilty friend's husband has frequently commented on my borders, so now, I have to carry on!  Here's my plan for recent Kaleidoscope Quilt (laying on beigey carpeting).

These dogteeth are not as difficult as I had imagined, but require accuracy with cutting and sewing - there is little room for easing.  Another border option was a quarter square,  but I chose dogteeth, ---  even that name, "dogteeth", adds to the fun, and repeats the shape in the kaleidoscope blocks!

 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Kaleidoscope, 3 rows, and 22 inches of snow!


The optical illusion of circles begins to appear when corners are added.  I am short on both the medium blue and the pale turquoise blue fabrics for corners, so used both.  They are both a bit darker than the pale lavendar in the light corners.   I have three rows done with blocks sewn together, but not yet rows.  It's beginning to look like I had envisioned!  I complicated things with the many colors, and each wedge was 4 colors.  I believe it would be MUCH easier if each wedge was just LIGHT or just DARK.  (Another project...).  The blocks finish as about 11 inches, and all are surprisingly accurate.  8-)))

This last week we had 3 heavy snowfalls within "Quid", 22 inches is the "official".  It looks like ice cream cake!  In my entire life, living south of Chicago, then Tennessee, then Iowa, then Nebraska, I have never experienced this amount of snow!  Thank goodness it was not cold.  8-))  It's almost  higher than my neighbor's fence, and definitely higher than my snowshovel!  Some areas had to be redone 3 times due to blizzardy conditions.  The basement stayed dark, due to windows being buried!  Thank you Sean, for your kindness with your snowblower! 

 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Kaleidoscope Beginnings, and New Kitchen Floor

I have always loved the Kaleidoscope design, especially the optical illusions that appear when corners are added.  Some friends were at the quilt shop when I  bought fabric to blend with what I had, and they were teasing me, wanting to know if I would have it done by next week.  Well, this is a week later, and this is what I have.  While the blocks look complex, they really are not.   I'm aiming for 35 blocks, 5 x 7.   Kaleidoscopes need an uneven number of blocks for best optical illusion.  These strips are cut 2 inches and blocks are unfinished at about 11.5 inches.  Note, the corners are not added yet - they will likely be a pastel blue, turquoise, lavendar.   

Note in the below photo, the pale block in lower left does NOT work.  For me, the best blocks have the darkest and lightest in the same block.  I used a 45 degree ruler.  If I made it again, I'd reduce the size of block because when cutting the wedges I only could get 14 from each strata.  It would be more efficient to get 16, and not have so many leftovers.  Since I am using bits of many colors, I'm only getting 3 -5 of each color combination, even though they all are "blendy".  I'm aiming for balance. 

Most of the fabric is what I already have, so there is a wide variety in my pallette.  So far, so good!

New subject: - kitchen floor

My kitchen is small - that's OK, there are just the two of us.  What a production, but I'm including the subject so I don't forget what a great improvement this made.  The worst part was thinking about how awful the sides of the stove would be where things dribble down between the stove and cabinets.  Of course, I wanted to clean before the floor guys came, but what a job us two oldsters had pulling it out over a variety of boards, different levels, carpeting (!!!) - dust, debris, greasy "stuff", Cheerios and pieces of mail WERE terrible.  Thankfully, no bugs, or dead mice!  LOL.   We've been here 20 years - it was apparent that job had not been tackled by previous owners either.  Both the stove and the refrigerator without it's door had to be moved out of the kitchen.  The floor under the stove and the frigerator are now new and smooth, allowing appliances to be moved for cleaning.   8-)  (This job, when over, gave me a boost of energy, attitude, etc., I believe this led to my ability to sew for hours on the Kaleidoscope project. )

Thursday, February 02, 2017

"I Spy" quilt, and Oveload of On-Line Classes

(Sideways) .. Current project, an I Spy Quilt.  There is one duplicate that I added.   I didn't care for a few of them (waaaay toooo commercial) and subbed my own.  Half are sorta lights, half sorta darks so I bordered darks in a white polka dot, and lights in grass green.  The layout was still kinda frenetic, until I noticed I could make diagonal "lines" in "sorta" darks and lights.  By the time I got them together, it became less wild.  I had that stripe border, hoping it might calm it all down and  surprisingly ... it did.




Here is the backing.  Not exactly soft and calm, is it?  8-))

Below is another Spider Web type quilt.   I've wanted to improve my repertoire of machine quilting ideas, so I signed up for an on-line Craftsy class by Christine Camelli.  I liked her style, and had never done the on-line thing and was very pleased with the entire procedure.  As soon as I clicked on the class, it was available, any time, they say "forever".  The class was well organized, easy to navigate.  Of course, then I was inundated by ads from Craftsy, and the BOGO for MORE MQ'ing classes was awfully tempting, so .... yes, I clicked on that option!  So, now I had machine quilting ideas from Ms. Camelli, and added MQ from Angela Walter class, and another MQ by Lori Kennedy, each different in their own way.  Wow, what fun! ... so in my MQ'ing frenzy, I used numerous motifs in this one Spiderweb quilt.  While the MQ is NOT cohesive, it IS helpful to review what works and what doesn't - like a sampler.  I was trying to learn to blend a variety of designs, flowing, curvaceous as the motifs changed.  Some was successful, others not so much, but I LIKE the end product. 

 I was thinking about scale, blending them, curves vs. straight lines, with a few "showstoppers" in the corners.  The webs are quilted all the same, but backgrounds are varied.



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

What is that?


This is "Little Bit" - a garden gnome, who, under all that snow, carries a lantern that lights the deck.  I was awake at 3:00 am,  pooh-poohing the weather people because there was barely a dusting of snow on the trees, but a few hours later, --  oh my !!!  10-12 inches.    We will be staying home and indoors today. 


A BIG "thank you" to neighbors, especially Sean, for his serious snowblowing.     


Monday, January 02, 2017

The LAST of Farm Girl Vintage Blocks, and my Favorites!

I made the L A S T block, and here are some of my favorites!  I didn't want to make them - too tedious and cutesy, so saved them for last.   I am not a "cutsie" kind of gal, but I must admit ...

THESE ARE TOOOOOO CUTE!!!!

 

These are all 6 inch finished blocks.   Remember, there are also the same instructions for 12 in. blocks, plus additional suggestions and instructions for numerous other beautiful and cheerful projects.   Now, on to the sashing, then the 112 flying geese border. 
So ... if I chose just one block and made 12 of the same block  and made them in 12 in. size, they would go much faster..... mmmm