Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Maverick Stars, WIP

How do I expect to deplete my fabric stash when I'm playing with little squares of 2 1/2 inches? ... and triangles at half that size? But it's so cute ... many thanks to http://www.joscountryjunction.com/ for her photo June 18, of her quilt (and her beagle) that I just plain copied! Yes, I am guilty, but how could I make one better than hers?

There are rows of stars, in my case the star rows are made of one fabric, but the sashing stars are made of anything from medium to dark that was in the bin. Very clever! I'll make it larger and might put some free form words in the border. This is just a plain ole old-timey quilt -- absolutely NO sophistication to it.

By the way, Jo has some amazing purse ideas, made with very unusual materials, and despite what she uses for their construction, they are CUTE!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Before and After

Ok, I'm ready to show the Before and After of my room improvements. This room is barely 12' x 12', and in the basement. It's dark, dreary, horrible.

Crummy photo of 2 of the 3 windows. They are high, hard to open, as they have been painted shut! The windows pivot open into the room, presenting another decorating challenge. The walls are painted dingy yellow.
Before - Nice huh?

Below - is part of the closet (under demolition) that had been built INTO the room - it had absolutely NO finesse - UGLY!!! -- out it came! We condemned the carpet, but look at the floor tile -- pretty snazzy in it's hey-day!

Below are the walls after the closet was out. The walls had to be texturized to 'match' the other walls. And we had to scrape, claw off old surface that had been water damaged because of a gutter pointing the wrong way! There was evidence of mildew - black stuff. Then all was painted with KILLS, then primered twice, before painted 2 coats. That green color was old paint from years ago.

After the ceiling was removed. We also added more insulation to the outside walls.
And AFTER!!! New ceiling, brighter light fixture, and the furnace vents are enclosed. Next, the corner where that closet had been -- I had looked and looked for months for a 1)white dresser, 2) with curves, and 3) low. I'd almost givin up, and one day after work the neighbor next to the parking lot was having a garage sale and here it was! $75.00, and they delivered it! Happy Day! This recently-finished Pineapple Blossoms is PERFECT in this room, with pillowcases to match. The headboard is in the garage, still undergoing upgrades (brass curved, old, need paint removed and repainted). I could have plumped up the pillows to make it look better! 8-))) And my best part, a home for my lovely rocking chair that had NEVER found the 'right' place for 20 years. Windows now actually open, the new carpet is wonderful, bright and light. I am so pleased with the end result. I still have a bedskirt being made by a friend and will order a lamp for the bedside. The walls are painted a spring green, light and airy. Behind the chair is a quilt ladder DH made for some of my projects. (The Jacob's Ladder is made with 6 in. blocks, and hand quilted.)

Thank you so much for your work, John S. I am so pleased. We couldn't have done it without you.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Desert Log Cabin

Done! I purchased these fabrics specifically because they were NOT my style but decided I had to try something new and different. The jury is still out on whether I like it or not. I DO love the border.
The backing was a piece of totally not-me fabric found at a rummage sale, and wow - do I love it!!! All bright, light and airy - nothing I would ever purchase, much to my loss! There wasn't enough and another remnant was added.

I quilted each outside border differently, for the fun of it. The narrow inner border again was practice and if you guage your distance by the outside squares, the end result is spaced fairly well. I definitely DO like the free-form look.

The border was really inspired from Quiltville.com -- scrappy bargello blocks. If you made a few of the samples at her site, your brain would explode with ideas - !!!

This is another version of my "Rebuilt Log Cabin", and made with 2 inch (cut) strips, with 5 rounds. Quilted on my DSM.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Graduated, and suggestions

I have sort-of "graduated". Last December I ran into difficulty with shoulder/arm and neck issues - painful and frightening! It was bad enough that when I saw my own x-ray, I was just plain shocked at how crooked my neck was. And it was especially frightening when I went to the ortho Dr., and ended up on the money train towards neurosurgery! Yikes! HELP! MORE bad things can happen with surgery!!!

I grew up in a family where we didn't usually visit a Dr, unless there was a broken bone. Fortunately, nobody was ever really needing much medical assistance, so as I got older and had occasional painful back issues, and shoulder aches, I just waited until it went away. Well, it DOES 'go away' but not exactly the way a person wants relief - your spine adjusts as much as possible until, OOPS, all is messed up and needs major attention -- that was me, needing major attention, but please, no surgery!!!

My husband FORCED me (thank you, dear DH!) to seek chiropractic as an alternative to surgery, last December, and after months of 3x a week adjustment, then 2x week adjustment, then 1x /week adjustment, I have happily GRADUATED and reached "Maintenance." needing only occasional adjustments -- Happy Day!!! My chiro Dr. said I was in bad shape and he doubted if my neck/spine could be salvaged. I was doubtful as weeks turned into months, but here I am, so much better, back to dressing myself, no more electric shock sensations, sleeping most of the night without pain meds, and almost entire range of motion returned. My latest scan is no longer full of nasty colored areas that indicate damage. It showed only a few areas that are likely going to be permanent damage but quite acceptable. I am never going to be 35 again, but soooo much better than I was!

The reason I am writing is that if you have some vague, or not vague back ache, back injury, shoulder issues, or neck aches, consider checking with chiropractor, before too much damage is done. Most insurance covers chiropractic, I believe. Your spine is your lifeforce and if it starts pressing on nerves due to vertebrae deterioration or damage, than OTHER functions go wrong. Your body will adjust to things going wrong for a while, until it cannot any longer and then you end up in trouble.

IMHO, 'regular' physicians deal with the pain, and are taught surgery! Chiropractic solves the source of disease.

OK, that's my spiel today-- back to quilting.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Graphing the border

I am pushing the limits with this version of Log Cabin. Wow - talk about busy! Some of my fabrics are Kaffe Fassett, which I've wanted to try, but I'm ending up with a very strong quilt. Not sure I like it but no matter what quilt I'm making, I tend not to like it until it's done so ... here's to "getting it done!"

Since the quilt center is so strong, I thought the border needed to be equally strong. I chose this Bargello-type design. This design is very effective when you want to use up your fabric used in the quilt, when you want the design to wrap around the quilt, when you want your corners to be kinda clever. Only one of the fabrics needs to be repeated -- all the rest CAN be softer left-overs. I chose the brown to be the "marker." My pattern remains constant in this case.

Get our your graph paper! You MUST start at one end - leave the corner block undone for now - and work towards the center. No matter what side you are working on, work from the edge of the quilt towards the center, and modify in the center.

While this looks complicated, it is NOT, but you MUST plan it on graph paper. The strip widths are sewn together in a strata, pressed every other way, then the edges are sewn together and you have a tube. Then they are cut apart (these are cut at 2 inches), then carefully unsewn one at a time, so the pattern is repeated the way it is designed. A few mistakes were made, but altogether, it's strong enough to stand next to the busy Kaffe Fassett fabric. I'll show the whole project when completed.

You might be able to see my Flower Pin marking the last strip made, and there is an arrow marking the center in my graph plan. It's easy to get mixed up, but again, the sewing is NOT difficult - it's so darned neat! Your design on one side of the corner block may be different on the other side of the corner block. Keep your graph paper in front of you. Now it's time for me to start at the other end of that border.

(Note to myself - Elaine Adair, you dorky non-mathematician quilter! You drew your graph plans to one inch, but your squares finish to 1.5 inches! I'm glad I realized it now instead of at 3:00 am! The 'idea' is still accurate -- my own calculations are not!)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

P-51 Mustang, and another quilt

My post today has two totally different subjects - above is an alphabet quilt for Linus Quilts. This was made several years ago. If I make it again, I'll use softer, more gentler colors but it's still cute and some little person will love it! It's quilted sparsley -- echoed around the letters and block in white, and ditch stitched between borders, with large loopy loops in the wide borders. The motifs are fused and blanket stitched in dark blue.

Below is a P-51 Mustang brought to our town (Alliance) for the dedication of Nebraska's First official Veteran Cemetery. We bought raffle tickets to try and win a ride but weren't chosen. Several locals actually paid the price ($1200.00) for a ride and could choose sensible flight or loopy loos, unside down, diving, climbing, etc. OMG, at one point, the pilot and passenger did a flyover the airport right over our head - what a thrill, especially for the Vets who still remember the original events. There were tears in the old-timers eyes.

Our town once supported a large Army base in the 40s, and still has an excellent, small airport with a generous long runway of 9000 ft. Most of the Army base is gone now, but not forgotten among the old folks. There were many other events and activities but we wanted to spend time watching the P-51. It was all very moving, and a good day.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Self Esteem Destroyed

With teeth clenched, I reluctantly forced myself to go clothing shopping over the weekend, and this is what I felt like ... I am well aware that 'shopping' out here, where there aren't a lot of shoppers, is a challenge, and 'we' are probably last on the list for where the suppliers want to park their line of clothing but ... I am not this size, but from the clothing I tried on, I felt like it.

I'm not asking for much - a few nice pair of slacks and a few blouses. Why are all the slacks made with Lycra??? blackkkgkgkh!, it feels awful! And why are all the blouses see-through polyester with fringes, ruffles, and flouncy sashes. While polyester has it's place, I don't want it, and Lycra feels awful, and polyester never washes with a nice freshness. And why are the racks full of sleeveless little spaghetti strap tops, in the Women's area, where many of us suffer from 'bat wings?' I gave up early. Doesn't anyone know about quality cotton t-shirts any more?

I started my diet after walking out of the dressing room, hands empty. 15 lbs. have GOT to go away!

Even the quilt shop jaunt afterwards, did not lift my spirits.

On a positive note - the store DID have 2 slightly rounded mannequins, probably all of a "huge" size 12, -- gotta tell ya, whoever dressed them had no idea of how to dress a size 12 in anything flattering.

That's my gripe for today. I'm going upstairs to find some carrots.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Dorky, but interesting

I made this little experimentation quilt years ago, a Sew and Flip Crazy Log Cabin, and enjoyed it so much, I decided it needed to be hand quilted. A few weeks later, Valorie Wells came out with HER Sew and Flip quilt book, featuring the same technique. Mine is really all scraps, and nothing 'matches.' It looks like I 'aimed' for a yellow center on most of the blocks.

Don't be afraid to experiment - you never know what will develop, or what you might learn, or how it will turn out. What's the worst that can happen? I KNOW you have fabric! You might end up with an interesting throw for your pet. 8-))) Hey, it's still comfy, and fun to remember the fabrics.

While it's kinda ... uhhhh unique, I DID enjoy the process, and even now, wrap up in it, or throw it on hard lawn chairs to soften the seat. I still like it - the photo makes it look like a tile collage.

One of THESE blocks is NOT like the other, DRAT! I did exactly what I would caution other quilters, "be careful which direction you tilt your cutaway template."

...back to the drawing board ...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Pineapple Blossom - Done

My Pineapple Blossom quilts is DONE! My favorite part is the picket fence border added at the top and bottom.

This was started in January when Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville.com came to Casper Wyoming, and I finally met her. The quilt, as you can tell, is truly scrappy, and the more I worked on it, the better it got. To fit a double bed I had to improvise on making it larger, hence the picket fence on the top and bottom. The sides also needed additional width with the only thing I could come up with at the time! This brought it up to 84" x 98".

Quilting in the wide borders was pointless as no one can see the thread and finally, I just did some large meandering, after wasting time quilting pretty feathers and hearts that cannot be seen.

The corners are nice and square - photo doesn't look like it. I haven't blocked it yet, which makes it more neat and tidy.

My quilting thread is a soft pastel variegated which blends a bit, but is also visible in the lightest area. I've used it before and on light value floral quilts and it works well. The quilting pattern is from PatsyThompsonDesigns.com, a loosey-goosey revolving thing that works for me every time. I think there is just the right amount of room for that design and my machine bed.
You see, there is a LOT of quilting. For the first time, I used Hobbs Natural Cotton, a very lightweight batting. It was harder to baste without wrinkles, and I have a few small pleats on the back, but it IS softer, less dense than Hobbs Premium, what I usually use. This is less dense, and has a lighter consistency that I do like. It WAS easier to push through my machine during quilting. I already have made matching pillowcases. The back is limey green with white polka dots -- bright and cheerful.

Monday, August 02, 2010

SEARCH feature in Blogger

Sometimes you remember a fantastic post on a particular blog and want to find it again, but cannot remember when you saw it. If you use the Blog SEARCH feature on that blog page, (upper left hand of the Blogger's page) and type in the tag or "label" as Blogger calls it, hit SEARCH and voila! You get an entire page where that word may be featured. Keep scrolling down. Of course, the writer of the blog needs to use that term as a "Label."

Someone, who wrote me with a "No Reply," asked for diretions to make the Rebuilt Log Cabin. Go to my blog page, do a search for Log Cabin and like magic, it should show up along with pretty decent directions. There are a few pages that refuse to cooperate with another subject, but all-in-all, it's a handy feature.

I call it a Rebuilt LC, because you make the blocks, then chop them apart, and rebuild them. 8-))) I will be teaching this technique in the spring, and am making another one, new and improved, but must get some other have-to's out of the way, like this stupid VIRUS thing!

Thanks for all the tips or my computer recovery - I will try and fix it myself, if ...