Sunday, November 29, 2009

QOV Done, and the next Kaleidoscope Quilt

This is ready for it's new home It's approximately 62 x 78 inches. Below is a closer look at the quilting - from, called Loosey-Goosey Revolving Axis patterns. (I'm still not sure of the difference between Revolving Axis and Rotating Axis but ... )

This pattern works well for me, given the space I have on my machine, and my own hand movements - oh yeah, and one I can do reasonably well. I had no negative issues with the Dritz basting gun tabs at this point (crud to my earlier experience learning that basting technique!) and will try that method of basting yet another time.

Here's the start of my Fairy Quilt (above, a little dull in this photo). See that melon strip, with the orange-y blotches - those blotches are fairies (directional fabric), and for the last several months, I've NOT been able to figure what blends nicely with it. I HAD 2 yards of it, but it just didn't 'do' for a border. So I bowed to temptation and bought the 2 1/2 yards of fairies (laying in the center of the photo) from Keepsake Quilting. I've NEVER spent that much $ on fabric, but it IS gorgeous, and now, can pull fabrics using the newest Fairy Fabric.

I'm trying a different technique, and will make 2 strip sets of the SAME fabrics, sizes, order etc. One set will be pressed UP and the next set will be pressed down. This way, my K. blocks will look more like Rosettes. And the wedges will butt up neatly next to one another, with seams closely aligned. This is not much more work than earlier methods, but the optic illusion will not be visible. I'm already starting to like it!


Friday, November 27, 2009

QOV, Quilting Along

Between trips to the feed trough (aka leftover goodies - thanks to our Thanksgiving hosts) I was able to quilt a lot on this Quilt of Valor. This afternoon I've started on the side setting triangles and the corners. I wanted something open, woodsy, kinda light and airy. So far, my little tabs from the basting gun have worked OK. I cut them off CAREFULLY before the needle hits them, but even when they get accidently sewed IN, I can use a tweezers to pull them out from under a stitch. The top flies off ... uhhh somewhere, and the bottom slides to the floor. So far, so good. None have dropped INTO my machine via the feed dogs - something I was warned about -- knock on wood. Can't wait to get this finished and spritz it, to see it all pucker up evenly!
The last 3 borders will be done in a loopy viney, leaf/heart, across all three borders. That should go fast.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quilt Basting, and a Product Review

Today I'm preparing to baste my QOV (Quilt of Valor) quilt. It's cool outside so we tried a set-up in the family room, which works, if I'm not planning any other activity for the next few hours. See this clamp? from DH woodworking tools? It works well, depending on the underneath table configuration. See the little C clamp in the next photo? T'ain't work a tinker's darn! Too small, too tedious, the flat area is too small. The orange clips work well, but one needes muscles, and they only work in corners of my table - again, this all depends on how your table is built underneath.

This is the product I've been wanting to try - a Dritz Basting Gun. As I am allowing myself the pleasure of an occasional manicure in my Senior years, I find the safety pin method is very hard on store-enhanced nails -- maybe this gadget is gentler and will do the job.

First, it comes with 500 little red tabs, and one needle. I used almost all of them on a 60 x 80 inch quilt, so I would recommend having a few extra packs of the tabs. Cost of the gun at JoAnns with 40% coupon was about $23.00.

It is suggested one purchases the grid that goes under the quilt, on the table, so you have something to press the gun against. Or you could reach under the quilt and press the fabric against the gun (ugh). JoAnns did NOT have the grid, and I couldn't find who had one. I THINK it may resemble honeycomb grid, about 1 inch tall, and maybe 12 inches square, that will slide around the table under the quilt -- think lighting accessories?.

We had started with a single cooling rack,
but eventually found it was NOT high enough. (Dorky Elaine, you have to have the rack TALLER than the length of the needle!! )

We discovered that 2 gridded cookie cooling racks, when stacked, were about 1 inch tall, that worked reasonably well.
We glued a little block of wood to the center of the cooling rack to keep the center from smooshing down when I pressed the gun against the quilt.

Some people are afraid the little tags will make holes in the quilt. (below) However, the tags are very slender, and much less 'catchy' than safety pins. I've run over then with the sewing machine with no notice at all. But the needle IN the basting gun is larger and therefore leaves a hole which I am sure will disappear with a bit of mist. I would NOT use it on tightly woven fabric, like batik. I presume you would carefully snip them off as you quilted along, merely brushing the little pieces to the floor.

We each had a good 2 hours of frustration, getting the 'hang' of this gun, so my expected time of 2 hours for basting, took about 4. When it worked it worked great, and I could just shoot, shoot, shoot, scooting the rack along under the quilt. Not sure what happened, but we both met our level of frustration. (And we did NOT study the instructions - kinda glossed over them.) DH had better luck with it than I, which I eventually learned was muscle! It was hard to tell when it was time to pull the trigger HARD. Kinda sloppy feeling.

We are hoping this was another one of those learning experiences, and I AM planning to use it again on the next quilt, when I get more tabs.

I had the BEST luck around the quilt edges when I just held the fabric in my hand and pressed the gun against the fabric. Click, click, click, about 20 times in a row, all perfect!

A bunch of the plastic tabs ended up on the floor, and this might be dangerous if one had pets. Would cats eat them? They vacuumed up well.

What I/we did NOT like was the fiddling when the gun jammed, taking the needle out, and setting it back in, dropping it, the little button that held the needle IN would fall OUT of the gun. Was this our learning time? Maybe it was our fault? I came from a family where good tools were important. I felt this gun was a little clunky - it would be really great if it was made better, you know, with more heft, better "feel." I might make that suggestion to Dritz. I wonder what the stores use for marking garments, etc.?

So, all this explanation is what kinda works/doesn't work for me for my basting system! I wonder if each of you who baste their quilts at home, go through a similar trial and error system! 8-)) I have not tried Sharon Schamber method with the 2 x 4 -- another time maybe. This project wore me out.

Hope you all have lovely family Thanksgiving. I am so thankful for all of YOU and thankful to Blogger for giving us this wonderful opportunity to share our pleasures.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Courage or foolishness?

It was during the Charles Manson days, the late 60s, -- he had caused great fear across the country, and there had also been recent stories of murders along an Illinois Interstate south of Chicago, where my husband and I lived, at the end of a quiet country road.

The road ended a bit beyond my/our 2 acres and you had to turn around to get out – forward, back, forward, back on the narrow road. We had a modest little Sears house, no neighbors, and beyond our property, beyond the dead-end road, was open country, cornfields, space.

I was at least 12 months pregnant – yes, HUGE, and could barely walk, not entirely cheerful with my increased girth and its limitations. Really, I was 8 ¾ months pregnant, and home alone, awaiting this baby’s arrival. We were in the process of building a garage to add to our humble little house. It was taking a long time -- I was not of much assistance because of my amazing size. DH was at work.

During the last few weeks, I had noticed a disreputable , dirty car driving up and down the road, looking around, making a U-turn at the end, and driving away – very shady and suspicious. I was barely able to walk, but also thinking about the Manson murders. This guy drove by several times every week and I was feeling very unsettled. It never occurred to me to call the Law.

Our car stayed in the driveway, pointing out, you know, in case it became time to get to the hospital. Now, back in the 60s, some cars (ours) were ginormous, huge fins, and could go like the devil. It had well over 300 HP, boo-koos of cubic something or other. This car was BIG and BLACK and FAST and impressive!

There was that guy again, checking the neighborhood, obviously up to no good -- probably ready to murder someone, and I was NOT going to let that happen. I grabbed a baseball bat, waddled out to my big car, started the engine and raced after him. I chased that man to the end of the road, and I kid you not, slammed on the brakes, did a 180 like nobody’s business, screeching, dust flying, gravel shooting everywhere, blocking his escape, not only on the road, but from his car! Yes, just like the movies! I opened my car door, grabbed my bat and waddled over to that man’s car, (he was pinned in by my big car) ready to attack him, hollering "Who the Hxxx are you!!!”. He got pale, white and 45 years later, I can still hear him stammering in total fear, “NNNNNow MMMMMa’am, cccccalm down, I’m the bbbbbuilding inspector and am wwwwwatching your ggggggarage ccccconstruction!!!"

Quilt of Valor - Progress

3 corners done - It's straight and square in person.

I have 3 sides on - they all behaved, but side 4 decided to mess up - couldn't have been me! The printing on the selvage extends into the side-setting triangle. Dang it. I'll have to trim that out and piece in another.

The colors are so much prettier than this photo taken in a gloomy room. I'm liking it! Today I purchased batting and a soft gray/blue quilting thread.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

DOING IT is the art!

Our Ardis Wannabe Guild Challenge (artist want to be) pulled from the bag last month was a Sheriff's 6 pointed Star. I've never made a 60-degree star, so armed with TWO $20.00 rulers, and no pattern I cobbled along, and managed to make this honker of a star! Finished project is about 24 inches square. I DO love the colors. Whew - big, bold, DONE! The ART will have to be in the process this time.

Wouldn't this make the center of a little boy's quilt? We sure see a lot of cowboy fabric!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

From Linda in Ontario

These 4 photos are from "Linda" in Ontario, Canada. She has no blog, but I know she surfs many quilty blogs. I will encourage her to read the comments you leave as her quilting and piecing style is unique, as well as her clever backs. I believe the first two photos go together (backs and front) as well as the last two photos.


Aren't they just fun, happy, cheerful, and full of pleasure and joy?

Thank you, Linda, for these photos. I just love them, and am sure others will be inspired from your lovely quilts. If I'm remembering correctly, they are hand quilted.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Some of these things are not like the others

I am unfocused, not concentrating due to ... life.

Those new QSTs are not what I expected. So, I remade them, all 12 of these QSTs (that I even wrote a tutorial for!), and guess what? -- I made all 12 of again, exactly WRONG, a second time!

But I'm nearing completion on this Quilt of Valor top, despite stupid mistakes. Thanks, Marcie for the inspiration!
The last photo (below) is the side setting triangle - those are large pieces! For audition purposes, I added one quick corner to the inside corner of the triangle to blend with that quarter square. I like it. It's more contrasting than I expected - wish I had toned it down somewhat. Quilting will help, I'm sure.

I've been up and wide awake, for one week, since 4:30 am. Almost noon time now -- is it nap time yet?

Friday, November 06, 2009

THIS mystery solved

OK, somehow my options were changed - HEY, I DIDN't DO IT! It's fixed now, which does NOT agree at all with what the Help Forum was saying.

Thanks everyone - now I can get back to sewing.

huh? an explanation regarding "no reply"

Occasionally one of you tells me I am "No Reply" when you want to respond to my comment, which probably shows up in your e-mail, if your settings are set up like mine. I certainly am NOT set up as "No Reply" , although I cannot remember where that option is.

Today I asked this question of Blogger Help forum, and this is what was replied. I don't really know WHO it is who sent it, but here it is:

No, that's not how it works. The email to the other person is just a confirmation alert that a new comment has been posted. They are not meant to reply to it. This is the same for all blogs.

hmmmm, interesting. I know less than before. If the above is true, then maybe different e-mail programs may allow most of the ability to Reply to those comments???? My settings request an email be sent to me when you leave a comment, and I ALWAYS REPLY to those emails, unless occasionally is says "No Reply."

Comments anyone? What am I missing here .... wahhhh, I am going back to sewing and quilting - I know how to do that! (most of the time)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Another Rebuilt Log Cabin, and a Fairy Quilt

This is one of my next projects, (72 x 92 inches), a scrappy top several years old -- it's time for quilting! Are ya gasping at that quirky border? Look how the border meets at each center - each in a different way! I love it's oddness and can't wait to get it quilted.

While this border is a bit - uhhhh, odd with this quilt, it really is one great border. Look how it can fit around the corners if you plan it right. This border is 8 inches wide, but I'm sure the quirky log cabin blocks are larger. If you are wanting to expand your plain borders into a pieced border, this may be a useful pattern. I have dark values as the HSTs, and medium values are the diagonal squares. And wouldn't the border blocks by themself make one great quilt? This pattern is called Jewel Box, and has other names (Buckeye Beauty?) but it's an easy peasy pattern using 2 inch squares and 4 inch HSTs (finished).
Meggie, a 3 year-old niece wants a "Fairy Quilt" ... despite stern instructions to myself, "DO NOT BUY MORE FABRIC", I could NOT resist the Keepsake Catalog featuring several versions of fairy fabric. Oh my, it was delivered today and it's gorgeous! The wings are all silvery, and just demand some metallic quilt thread! I'm not decided on the pattern but am tempted to make yet another Kaleidoscope Quilt, this time all soft and fluffy, a place where fairies would live. I planned the fairy fabric for the back! I even HAVE fairy fabric that I had planned to use but like we frequently do, needed MORE!

My projects are backing up ....