Monday, June 17, 2019

5th Quilt from Box of Scraps

DONE!  Yes, I'm still finishing that "box of scraps".  Our Guild is preparing for our Quilt Show and suddenly we needed a few more quilts.  This was close to completed, so I got off my you-know-what and finished it in several hours.  (Why do we wait so long?)  

It's not large, and looks a lot like a previous quilt.  This one is about 53" x 63".  I deliberately chose that busy backing.    

This project taught me about using a formula for cutting variable width floating borders.  Thank you Gyleen Fitzgerald!

I also learned (second effort) about making a faux flange.  My strips were 1 5/8 and 1 3/8 in., narrower than most of the instructions and next time I'll reduce them more, to 1 1/2 in. and 1 1/4 inches.  The binding is sewn to the back, then machine stitched to the front.  

If this is new to you, hints.  Be very neat and precise.  Quilt the top all the way to the edge, then trim exactly.  Be exact with those binding strips and don't stretch them when pressing.  When sewing down the binding,  I wanted to use my regular quarter inch foot as it's more precise than my walking foot - that is why I quilted to the edge and chose very narrow strips.  The last seam is on the front, with Smoke, invisible thread, very slowly and carefully.  Those stitches on front are extremely difficult to see.  Yeahhhhh!  

The busy backing was intentional because despite precision efforts, stitches were going to show where I didn't want them.  It's OK and it's DONE!

I have 4 quilts in the show, with no expectations for ribbons but ya always hope, don't ya?  Putting quilts in the Quilt Show takes effort, doesn't it?  Our show is local, with ribbons awarded by visitor ballots. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

The X Block

I've had this ruler for years, but never actually USED it.  After seeing several tutorials on YouTube, I decided to give it a try.  It's on the right, with the packaging and it says 6 1/2".  That's just one of several sizes available.  (Packaging may be different now due to new owners.)

First I had to FIND the ruler in my "collection" -- miraculously, the  Instruction/Pattern book was with the ruler.  This book has wonderful ideas, options, and patterns for various sized rulers - I'm glad I have it.  I chose a simple baby quilt.  I had 1 yd. pieces of 3 fabrics and they are stripped together (NOT 2 1/2" strips).  Here is my finished project, about 44" x 60"  My "cutsie is the bright blue with frogs  (the star), so I learned that the middle of the strip set should have been the "cutsie" as my cute frogs are all chopped up.  My strip set, from Left to right was 1)light with little green things, 2)plain light blue, and 3)bright blue frog pattern.  Each block is the same.   There is a good amount of waste but it's reused in a border.

From start to finish,  2 sewing days.  This was the easiest design but some of the design suggestions are  downright stunning!  The ruler is used either right side up or flipped over for an entirely different project. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

NQR - Traveling to Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP)

DH and I spent a few days traveling NORTH in mid-May, to Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  Our timing was good, no tourists, no traffic, but it was drizzly the entire time.  We were not hiking, just mainly doing a driving tour .  One item on my bucket list was to see "wild horses" and yes, we saw them. This park has two units, North and South with 60 miles between.  The landscape and geology are amazing.  Many bison were everywhere,  We saw several herds of horses in the South Unit.  We stayed in Medora, at the entrance to the South Unit.  This attractive town is very small, and they were preparing for influx of tourists.  There is an amazing Rough Riders Hotel, looking First Class, where you might "dress for dinner."  We chose the Badland Motel, and could not have asked for anything more - clean, modern, and looking quite new.  I think we were one of two guests in a place prepared for several hundred during summer season.

We chose this location because it was remote and rugged with a history of fewer visitors than other National Parks.  There were numerous, almost empty camping areas.   I had packed most of our food, but we had one good meal at the Little Missouri Saloon and Dining Room, where we left our signed dollar bill tacked to the wall with thousands of other bills with names and dates.

The drive to our destination took us thru northwestern Nebraska, all of South Dakota, and much of North Dakota.  We experienced NO traffic except for a wrong turn in Rapid City.  We saw huge expanses of Grasslands, oil wells, and herds of Black Angus.  One silly highlight was when passing  and slowing down to a crawl on the major highway thru a tiny town, was a police car with a "dummy" officer sitting in the front seat.

Those huge round balls are rocks, called "cannonball concretions'.  They are found in abundance in this particular ridge. 
 I LOVE seeing the geology.  Amazing views were everywhere.

 I could almost touch this big guy - didn't want to try.

The wild horses are NOT running thru the grasslands, usually NOT fighting, no music in the background, but mostly interested in quiet grazing.  One stallion was definitely managing his herd, keeping order with various horse signals.  We didn't bother them, but kept our distance.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Scrap Quilt #5, Pineapple with Floating Borders

I redid the corners.  While all ended correctly, I DID have to futz and fiddle those squares on point, unsewing numerous seams and scanting them up on top and bottom.  Finally, I am near the "bottom of the barrel" from the original box of scraps, and I had to purchase the green border squares on point fabric.


This is an example of a floating border (if you have never floundered through calculations) .  I.e., you have the quilt center DONE and you have the pieced BORDERs done and now have to figure that inner white border which frequently ends up a different width on top/bottom, different from width on sides.  I followed instructions from Gyleen Fitzgerald, and the FIRST things she says is "put your brain on the shelf and just do what the instructions say".  That is easier said than done!  after I second guessed, third guessed , ..... 12 guessed, and finally rechecked my own WRONG figures,  yes, if I had just followed her instructions, I would have saved a lot of anxiety.  Yes, get pencil/paper, measuring tape and calculator and do what she says!  This is the second floating border I've done using her technique, and it does work.

It needs another plain border, then binding, then DONE.  Notice there are 2 different blocks.

Friday, May 10, 2019

The Dreaded Inner Border Calculations

Here is another of the 6 projects from the gift box of scraps.  It looks a lot like another Pineapple Quilt I already have - probably because the fabrics came from the same LQS, just via different avenues.  Border is next - I had to use my own stash for the green border squares, and have run out but have another close match.   Hey, it IS a scrap quilt.  

I taught a class once about blocks on point and diagonal measurements and the 1.414 multiplication factor, and a couple of the gals asked "why do we need to know that"?  These squares on point is why you need to know that.  I kept the size of the border square same size and value of the block center.  A neighbor's husband was looking at quilt of mine that had a clever border and I heard him say to his wife, "Look what she did!" and ever since then, his kind comment has encouraged me to try a little harder on borders.    

Now I am facing forgetfulness for calculating the size of inner border when one has the center quilt top done and the outer border done, and how does one figure size of inner border(s) between them.   Ya can't jes go chopping off those squares on point, ya know!  The best instruction for me was from Gyleen X. Fitzgerald - but I don't remember them - must dig around my DVDs and relearn it.  She says, "Take out your brain and put it on the shelf, then follow these instructions, and don't think about it."   8-))) 

You can kinda see what the corner SHOULD look like.  The existing white border needs widening or removal. 

Monday, May 06, 2019

"Slim Pickin's", aka "Daybreak"

This is quilt # 4, from the second Box of Scraps given to me some months ago.  I have 2 other quilts  started, not shown yet, so the box is getting picked over, and by now, I'm having to add bits from my own stash.  The inspiration was Bonnie Hunter, from her latest book, and she calls hers "Daybreak".  Since my fabric choices from that box are now limited, I named mine "Slim Pickin's".   I used scraps in my border where Ms. Hunter used strings.  Both ideas served the same purpose.  This has been the most fun I've had in years - don't know why, perhaps because I'm feeling very "connected" to those frugal ladies of years ago. 

Most of the 4 patches are laid out same direction - a few didn't play the game.  8-))   They are 1 inch square, and the cornerstones are less.   I added fabric for the green/tan sashing and the last 2 cream borders.

Monday, April 15, 2019

"Slim Pickin's" - from that box of scraps

These blocks were started about 2 months ago, and are from Bonnie Hunter's latest book, she calls hers "Daybreak".  They went fast, and yes, I pulled much of the fabric from that never-ending gift box of scraps I keep mentioning.  This is 1 project of 6 from that gift box.  (3 others in process)  

Yesterday I spent hours struggling with "the perfect" border, rummaging thru books, Youtube and my brain, all to no avail.  In the end, best solution was, "Keep it simple Stupid"!  The supply of scraps was nearly totally picked over so that's why I named this quilt "Slim Pickin's".  Off to the LQS to match some of the border fabrics!    These border squares are 1 inch finished and I strip pieced them with 4 strips at a time, sometimes piecing the strips to get the needed lengths.  Important - press to the dark on each strata and they go together fast.  

The blocks are set 6 x 7 , and are 9 in. finished.  Here it's folded up on itself - too large for my Design Floor!

Friday, April 12, 2019

"Scraps Rule"

(I MQ on a DSM).  This is the 3rd, finished project from the gifted, never ending box of scraps.  Projects 4, 5, and 6, are in process!!!  

DONE - I used my "stuck-in-the-house" time well (2 blizzards), finishing up this quilt, called "Scraps Rule".  I used rulers on the lights and free-motion quilting on the dark.  Opinion on ruler work ... ??? this is new to me, and it did slow my progress considerably, altho I got faster.  I bought one thick ruler just for this project, but used a traditional 2.5 x 6 in. ruler for the most part.  The MQ foot that I use glides, does not hop, so my traditional quilting ruler (thin) worked well.  I actually broke my expensive MQ ruler somehow, didn't break the needle, just the ruler!  ARGH !  I glued it back together and still wonder how it happened.  The machine quilting foot apparatus somehow came into contact with that thick ruler and WHAM BAM!!! so I'm guessing I put the thick ruler in the wrong place at the wrong time.  

The large triangles are 60 degrees, and the smaller triangles are made with the Tri-Recs ruler.  The quilt measures approx. 70" x 80".

The finished product is visually pleasing, altho my ruler work leaves much to be desired - no quilt show winner here, yet I consider it's completion an accomplishment, considering the lengthy practicing, rethreading, unsewing, sighs of frustration.  I also learned my machine does NOT like to sew in a backward direction when machine quilting.

Here's the back, again making use of stash fabric.  It's "almost" perfectly square. 

This was inspired by, a free pattern, altho I always end up going in my own direction, once I get "the bug".  Thank you Bonnie Hunter for her fabulous, never-ending ideas. 

Tip on making a backing like this.  I used MSWord to make a graph with the required visual dimensions, then print it out, color in what squares I have to verify I have enuf of each value.  It's worthwhile to consider half squares around the borders. Of course you can just lay them out where they fall but I wanted a defined pattern.  Alternating lights and darks would also be cool, or a kind of Trip Around the World or .... and remember you can piece those backing squares as well, or use leftover blocks or ...

Monday, March 25, 2019

Takes 2, Learning Techniques, I just noticed ...

I've been tempted to make each of these "Disappearing Pinwheel" quilts for some time but making ONE quilt with many of the options is better.  Easy, Peasy, right!  These started from Jenny Doan, of Missouri Star Quilt Co., that many of us watch on Youtube.  She makes it look so fast and simple.  


Got too ambitious!  ... When trying to remake the 2 miscut units, I was overwhelmed with "hey, what are the measurements"?  Well, that's the beauty but also the beast of this method!  Little time is spent measuring.  These start as a package of 10 in. squares, plus 10 in squares of yardage. 

One block later, I was still mentally stalled with unknown measurements, inaccurate cutting,  and adjusting to this new-to-me method.  So this is what I did to get closer to accuracy.
1.  I used more starch than normal.
2.  I restuck the blue tape on the back of my ruler, with much more accuracy.
3.  I affixed sandpaper bits on the back of my ruler.
4.  I changed to a larger mat that I could turn around on the table instead of ME turning around the table.
5.  I adjusted to Quick and Fast method instead of perfect points and exact measurements.  Hey, Elaine, it's not a Baltimore Album quilt - it's a fast quilt!

These blocks make up fast, I did 3 in about 20 minutes.  Here's all the blocks I'm making.  Some are nearly duplicates.  Large prints don't look great.  I don't know what's next as far as sashing or border - I need to get back to another almost finished quilting/ruler project.

Another subject:  I just noticed I'd already shown this Pineapple Quilt with the top part all traditional pineapple blocks and then how interesting it looked when I added the 2 alternate blocks. 

It's waiting for border in that stack of quilts that's accumulating across the living room.   

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Blizzard over, time for quilting!

These photos are for my own journey - everyone else in this part of the country has similar photos.  It's been a doozey but thankfully no downed lines, no outages, and temps remained tolerable.  I couldn't get off the deck or anywhere else to take better photos - waaay too much snow, but we all agreed, we were fortunate.  Conditions were NOT fortunate toward the other (eastern) end of the state, where  sadly, floods caused terrible damage.  

Quilting photos are at the end of this post.  

 There is a garden gnome under that 4 ft. drift.  
 My neighbors back door, with a huge drift OVER the fence and right against her back door!
Huge drift (can't even see).  Getting into garage is impossible for now.   Homes are close together - finding somewhere to put snow is an issue.  

To self -- Remember to send a Thank You to the Bulldozer angel who wouldn't accept pay for clearing out the back driveway, and another Thank You to the family who cleared off the snow several days earlier, from the previous snow.  We have wonderful friends and neighbors, even if we don't know them.  

OK, Quilt-y stuff now.  I am working on a light/dark zig zag, 60 degree  triangle quilt  inspired  by Bonnie Hunter (free pattern on her site).  This is one of 5 projects, made from the box of scraps given to me.  I am proud of ME for using the gift.  And there is still more left over - perhaps a 6th project?  

Here is how I'm quilting the sides and the light triangles.  The lights are ruler work, the darks are more traditional (free-form) quilting.  It's taking a LONG time, even with this minimal quilting.
 Below - a proper ruler (left one) for Machine Quilting on a DSM, and my standard quilting ruler.  Since my quilting foot does not hop, and because of some interference with machine hardware, the slimmer  "wrong" ruler works well, while the "proper" ruler is less used.  I also replaced the larger, easier to handle screw that holds the foot on.  The replacement is very small, making ruler usage visually easier but I'd better not drop it while screwing that tiny thing in place.  

Below - The mess under the needle.  I have 3-4 rows MQ'ed.  Slow going with that ruler work, but I'm still a beginner. I've succumbed to frequent unstitching.  Solution seems to be where I position the ruler - on the seam or off the seam.  

Triangles seem to invite these wedge lines.  I am drawing the lines with a Frixion pen. They come out with the iron.  Seems like double work to draw them, then use the ruler to stitch them.  Stitching them without the ruler ALMOST produces the same line.  mmmm gotta work on that.  

Thursday, March 07, 2019

A "Thank You"

Oh dear, more snow predicted overnight - weatherman said 1-3 inches but by morning, there was MUCH more.  We live in town, so need to get the walk cleared, a big job for two Seniors, but we've usually managed. 

However, I shoveled a few days ago, but my body firmly said, "NO MORE" so  today was forced to call the Chiropractor to get my parts back where they belong.  Then .....who is that big guy clearing snow off my front steps?  And there on the sidewalk was his wife, and alongside her was their teenage boy, all shoveling our sidewalk AND even the front walk.  They were so bundled up, I didn't recognize them.  My heart was overwhelmed with their kindness.  Not only did they clear the front of our home, but then they proceeded to the back yard and cleared off the deck and  a pathway to the garage!   All this was done with shovels and muscles.  What kindness!  After these dear people left, we headed to the garage for my chiropractor appt. and when we opened the garage door, were MORE amazed to find the entire back driveway also cleared off. 

This is not the first time we've been the benefit of loving, caring neighbors.  Our days of helping others with this snow removal job is past, and we're now the beneficiary.  Sometimes kindnesses are found right in our own back yard.

"Thank you" to kind people who give to others, and never ask anything in return.  8-)))  Some days, life is so good, we cannot express enough appreciation.  

Monday, February 25, 2019

BASTING and puckers and pleats, OH MY. Pineapple project will calm my soul!

Basting a quilt top is my least favorite job.  I dragged one table from the garage to the house, across the snow -- it's heavier than I remember.  My top and backing are pressed nicely, batting was in the dryer with a damp towel, all is ready for the job.  This time I decided to use basting spray AND pins.  I did everything else just the same as previous jobs but for some reason, by the time I reached the bottom of the quilt, my carefully measured backing is no longer long enough - uh oh, how can that be?? 

Well, when I thought I was finished but short, I took it off the table and turned it over, oh my gosh, not just a few puckers, but now I had pleats!  Careless, ??? not concentrating ????  Disaster!  The top and batting are all OK (flat), sooooo, gathering my patience, taking a deep breath,  I removed all the pins  from the front, laid the mess backing/puckered side up on the table and pulled off the well-stuck basting spray, a little at a time, starting at the top and slowly smooshing out the puckers.  A yardstick stuck between layers helped to unstick a few inches at a time - laborious! Then I found my long needle and thread and thimble, and hand basted it all over again.  No wonder my backing seemed short, I had INCHES of fabric puckered in the back.  LIVE AND LEARN.  Never again will I use both basting spray and pins.  It didn't help when my last thimble dropped to the floor and rolled somewhere under DH's Lazy Boy and found it's forever home wedged within the under structure of the chair.

Ok, basting is done by hand sewing and this was successful.  Here's the back - you see I had already spent a lot of effort making the backing.  Hey, that's 6 yards of stash!

I am hoping to try some ruler work on this Bonnie Hunter inspiration.  BTW, this top front was made from the same "gift of scraps" from my LQS.  There are 5 projects made from that box. 

And here is another project from that box of scraps.  8-)))   I may make an alternate block, ala Hugs and Kisses, Gyleen X. Fitzgerald.  16 regular pineapple blocks made today.  I added the white fabric. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

MORE, from the FREE box of Scraps

That is a LOT of PINK!  There are various "cutsie" strips a child will enjoy.  This is the 4th! project from the same box of scraps given to me from my LQS, and there are still a LOT left over.  This is about 40" x 40". 

BTW, I was planning on practicing "ruler work" , but it looked just terrible and I took it out, replacing the pitiful "ruler work" with large meandering!  IMHO, ruler work looks best on plain areas - it also looks best by people who know how to do it!  8-)))

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Covered Bridge Quilt Blocks, and a String Quilt for Kids

DH didn't have any more boats to make so he made a covered bridge.  During the process he totally surprised me by asking me to make 2 Bridge Quilt Blocks (one on each side).  I don't know where he learned to build a bridge -- he didn't have any drawings or plans.  The "Bridge Quilt block" is 1 inch.  Try painting one of those!  Those are lightning rods on the top, and each end  of the bridge are built in hitching posts.  It's right out of "Bridges of Madison County"!  

Here is my wild finished string quilt (for kids)   I did use fabric from a scrap box gift from my local LQS. This is the 3rd project I've made from that scrap box, and there is still MORE in it!  The dotty light fabric is left over backing.  It's about 40" square.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Too much stringy fun!

I am still using a gift box of string and scrappy bits from my LQS.  Every year I try to made several donation quilts thru them for Hugs and Stitches, but fell behind this year.  However, I think these will be an excellent candidate.  I started sewing strips yesterday noon time, and next thing I noticed was that it was DARK outside!  Yikes, I couldn't stop.  My studio looks like a tornado hit! 

So today, I'm putting the strips-on-phone-book-paper together, and found this polka dot left-over backing .  Isn't is somethin? 

I'm using the tube method to sew the polka dot and strings together, which does lead to bias edges.  I do need to square up.  These blocks are 5 in. raw  I tried to use strings within pinks, purples, light blues, greens and added a few "cutsies" including some hedgehogs, teddy bears, rabbit. No decision yet on the setting.  My brain is on overdrive - feel like someone sneaked something into my iced tea.  What fun this is!  (still have paper to remove but ...)

Below are the paper/strings in chunks about 12 inches long.  I need to sew them end-to-end before adding the polka strips.  There are more than I need which means another option for setting the m together.  

Saturday, January 12, 2019

New projects: "Daybreak" and "Staying Grounded"

This project is from Bonnie Hunter's newest book, String Frenzy (the one with cheddar and strings on the cover).  I LOVE it but chose not to use strings in the sashings.   She calls the quilt "Daybreak".  I still need to come up with border ideas.  These blocks are  9 in. finished.  Despite the many small pieces, it went together quickly. 

Most of the fabrics in both these quilts were from a gift scrap box from my LQS .  I added a few here and there, but FORCING (almost) myself to use the box contents actually kept me more focused than if I had started rummaging for the "perfect" matching fabrics . 

There are still enough remaining fabric bits for another quilt, probably using bright strings.  Can't wait!  

The triangles in the center of the below quilt are 60 degree and by the time I reached the borders, I couldn't find that ruler again, so I used my Tri-Recs which always seems to turn out well.  Bonnie Hunter used 2 1/2 in. triangles for her center, mine are 4 in., and border triangles are smaller.  And I DID have to purchase the purple border fabric, some is not yet in the photo.  This is another quilt that both my DH and I really LOVE.

(BTW, I did find the lost ruler, exactly where I put it so as NOT to lose it!)