Friday, August 31, 2007

Home Again, Home Again

Whew - back home again. Why does one week away from home equal 3 weeks of catching up? DH and I spent 8 days in Florida, north of Tampa, and visited my Mom, 92. Mom is about as we expected her to be.

I will never catch up on all your blogs!!!

I took a small sewing machine with me, as carry-on luggage, and managed to piece another quilt for my niece's adopted-to-be twin girls, who are about 9 months old now.

Incidentally, my little Janome Platinum sewing machine weighs 12 lbs, but if you take one with you as Carry-On, by all means put it on wheels. Twelve pounds starts to get very heavy very quickly. I kept it in a small wheeled cart purchased from K-Mart, (under $20.00) with a little extra room for my camera. I stored needles and sharp things in my checked luggage. The Security people had a laugh when they figured out what the thing was - I had the feeling they had not seen a sewing machine in their X-Ray (or whatever) machines.

This is Quilt #1, all finished and quilted. The gold stars barely show, compared to the bright red chain. The characters are Noah-like, each character cuter than the next. I DID use a creamy yellow rayon to quilt it, as many of you suggested. The red border was quilted with red thread, and I managed to leave pokies galore on the light backing. There was NO solution despite numerous tension adjustments, so I just gave up and figured a baby will not care. I made the blue plaid side borders wider to give it more size.

Here is Quilt #2, an entirely different color scheme, complete with one humility block that is going to stay as is! These characters are from "There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly" nursery rhyme. It needs to be sandwiched and quilted. Actually, the quilting only takes several hours. I expect to do it in loopy loops, just to keep it simple, and GET IT DONE!

And here is the Old Woman, with angel wings as she must be dead, after swallowing the horse, of course, and she has on little bunny slippers! LOL In another version of her, she has bunny slippers on, and the bunny slippers are wearing sunglasses! LOL

I will take these both to Show and Tell and next Guild Meeting, then mail them off. Can't wait to show you my NEXT project, partially started!

I have not forgotten obligations to several bloggers who have kindly mentioned me in their blog - be patient -- I've been busy! And a special THANK YOU to May Britt, who sent me something that is unfindable in the U.S. Now, if I could just figure how to actually retire, and still keep that income, I'd have time for MORE sewing!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

#1 Twin Quilt

OK, top is DONE - and holy cow, it's BRIGHT! The blue inner border actually toned it down a bit. Maybe using a colored variegated quilting thread will tone down the overall quilt, but I'm not sure the quilt is asking for that. ???? Suggestions would be appreciated. What about using a creamy thread in an all-over meandering pattern? Somehow I'm wanting to blend the colors to soften the affect, just a little. But the animals are simply darling, and I'm guessing a baby will love it.

The size is about 48 x 68, and since the babies are now almost 9 months old, I thought the quilt should be a larger than baby size. And since I dislike pink so much, I just couldn't make it pink! Now, on to Quilt #2.

Now, I'm away from blogging for a while to attend to family business out of state. And my Janome Platinum, and associated stuff, is coming with me. I'll have a LOT to catch up on upon my return. And maybe it will be cooler! Expected to be 105 here Monday.

Happy quilting, everyone!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Caution - check your degrees!

Some of the e-mails and comments I've received regarding this little star quilt, below, mentioned the "Tri-Recs ruler" and "60 degree ruler" in the same sentence.

The Tri-Recs ruler is NOT the same angle as a 60 degree ruler. Do NOT use them interchangeably!

I'm off to finish putting this top together. The sashing is also the same white, and goodness, it's turning out really bright white! Hmmmm - I've had this problem before and solved it by using a variegated colored quilting thread to tone it down. Hope that works again.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Cuteness Galore!

How is a person supposed to reduce their stash when fabrics like this come on the market? It's still a bit wrinkly, from pre-washing -- I'm fussy cutting pieces for the center of the star, and then using the majority of it as a border for one quilt. It was supposed to be for one of each of 6 month old twin girls, but I've been doing other things and now they are getting close to one year old. I'm having to make it larger than expected, as those little girls are growing fast. I probably will not make the second quilt the same, just similar.

I was so anxious to show off this darling block, I didn't notice the wrinkles - they'll press out. This time, I'm using the Tri-Recs Ruler, another clever ruler, that almost guarantees success. Be sure, if you use this ruler for the first time, you pay attention to the teeny corner part that you trim off - it's trimmed so these angles meet correctly. Also, the triangle of the pair, is NOT a 60 degree diamond - it only works when you use these two together! I know (now!).

This is a 9 inch block, kinda small with small pieces, but that's how my design worked out.

Happy quilting!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Scallops - DONE

This pretty book, and scallop tool are both by Darlene Zimmerman. The book helps in designing scallop borders - there are more kinds than I would have thought! There are no quilt patterns, but many quilt border pictures and excellent instructions for the scallops. You don't NEED the book -- instructions come with the tool -- I just WANTED the book - it's delightful! I believe the tool was less than $10.00. EZ Quilt, Wrights are brand name, I found the scallop tool easy to use. There are 2 different sizes of tools in the packet, and each size is totally adjustable, for any size border. It's hard to see them in this photo as they are nearly clear plastic.

I have never made scallops before - and I never did hand blanket stitch either. I used the fusible applique method, where you face the applique with fusible interfacing, turn it right side out and fuse down. The blanket stitch added a little more thickness than wanted for this particular project, but it's quite passable. Also, the white machine quilting is good - I used a 50 wt. thread. But on the chain, I used a heavier thread on one of the chains, and decided it also was too heavy for this project. I DID leave it in, since this is a sample, but the other 3 chains were done in a lighter weight thread. I used bobbin thread on the back. Live and learn. This project is for a friend's class sample. It's small, about 42 inches.

I first drew the scallops on freezer paper, because I wasn't sure what I was doing, but they turned out just fine first time 'round, so next time I'll probably draw them right on the fabric.

We don't see scallops on many quilts - pity, as they are not that difficult. They certainly add charm to a quilt.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A "Staying-In-the-House" Day

No new creation to show today, but yesterday I spent the morning with other quilters for a presentation of 9-patch block/quilts. Gosh, that lady, Judy Gasseling, was wonderful! The things she came up with for all the hundreds of her 9-patches! Such a variety of examples! Her joy and wit, along with her many king-size 9-patch quilts, was so inspiring! I came home fired up to sew.

This is a small quilt I made many years ago. The border fabric with the little flowers is still one of my favorites. This is an early machine quilting project and the first off-center log cabin I made. The dark strips finish at one inch and the narrow yellow strips finish at 1/2 inch. It is machine quilted between the yellow strips with invisible thread, probably a new experience for me at the time, and stitched 1/4 inch to each side of the seam on the dark pieces - not too original, but hey, it works!

Those narrow yellow strips really pucker up! Look how the stripe near the center looks like a flag (quite by accident).

Good Morning, Sunshine!

When you're a "morning person' you see things like this! No amount of photo skill, of which I have little, can do justice to this field of sunflowers, facing the sunrise at 6:00 in the AM. The sky is not yet 'cornflower' blue.