Friday, December 30, 2011

Machine Quilting, and the Other Side of the Studio

While waiting for the next step in a Mystery Quilt, I pulled out this  "Rebuilt Log Cabin," my name for the design, and I started the machine quilting.  I call it "Steps" for a variety of personal reasons.   I had dreaded the quilting, as I KNEW there were several pleats in the backing, but planned to quilt TO that area and then rebaste, a job I was NOT looking forward to - ugh!.  Happy Day - I lost track of where I was stitching, and dang it if I didn't quilt those pleats right into the backing and honestly, you can hardly tell they are there unless the viewer KNOWS it, and other than all you bloggers, I'm not telling!  Am I lucky or am I lucky?  8-)))

My husband works on the other side of our "studio" which is only a small room about 10 x 11 feet.  If he rolls his chair back when I roll my chair back, we crash, that's how small our space is, but we still manage to do our things. 

He makes wood, model boats and frankly, between quilts and boats, we are running out of space.  This project is USS Constitution, "Old Ironsides", circa 1700, a war ship and this is a crosswise  cross section.  The mast goes up another 2 levels, but he decided this was tall enough.  DH is a big man, large hands and I truly do NOT know know he can fiddle with all the lines, tiny knots, drilling teeny things, etc.  In this case, he cannot even rest his hand on anything when his hands have to be 18 inches over the tablle.  There are a LOT of words that come out of his mouth at times -- then I have to leave the area!  Those clamps are helping to hold knots tight, or glue or something.  This is a cross wise section, and his detail is amazing!  There are several decks on this ship, which would hold all the supplies for the crew.  This one starts as a kit, with the basics, and instructions are frequently in another language and almost always, have serious errors, so all calculations and cutting have to be logically challenged - you just cannot dump the parts out on the table - you have to KNOW how boats/ships are built. He's really good at adding or inventing the details that bring it to life, as well as "making do" when something goes awry.

Below is a close-up. So far, he's put in 150 hours, and there are many more to go.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Another Notebook Folder

Here is yet another notebook folder, oroginal from Fons & Porter DVD -- thanks Pat D. (Chalk markings need to be removed.)   I wanted to try out my big machine stitches and circles.  I made the dash to my LQS to purchase the Circle Maker, or whatever it's called, only to find the shop in major disarray, due to preparations for carpeting.  But they gallantly found the gadget, buried in a storage box, and out came my credit card - yikes -- that $$ figure was a surprise.  Jeeesh - they are always helpful and this time I KNOW they climbed boxes, ladders to find what I asked for so I caught my breath, signed the receipt, and headed home, eager to try this new gadget -- and it's Christmas and this is a present for ME! 

Hmmmm, how on earth??? I must be stupid, or ??? does it fit??? kinda got it in the hole where it's supposed to go but it's wobbly ... and halfway through, the gadaget clunked out of where it's supposed to be seated.  Jeeesh - my circle is no longer round -- oh great - it's an incomplete mess -- this gadget will NOT fit.  It goes back to the shop and after all their kindness to find the dang thing.  Darn, another trip.  8-))

I took out all the stitches  -- gurgibratzofratzzz!   and then started over, this time simply following a chalk line.  Uhhhh, lets' see, mark around a coffee cup with chalk and it works just fine!  I've also seen the "tack" method which works well, and free. 

Fabrics are what was on hand, button was the "lost" button that had rolled under some "stuff" a while ago, wish I had some nice embroidery floss but found this string for the button, and I still have a number of Dollar Store notebooks.  The closure is Hook and Loop.  There is one FQ for front, and one for back. 
 The idea of "using all your threads with gay abandon" does not work.  You MUST practice on a separate piece each time you change threads.  Take my word for it!!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

38 Ohio Stars on the Board

38 Ohio Stars on the Board ....
38 Ohio Stars ....
These Orca Bay, Step 6 blocks (from Bonnie Hunter at ) sew up faster than expected.  The final pressing (seams pressed in or out) will be completed when we are given more instructions.  My star centers also include several purpley blues.  I thought the pink might add some spark - I'm loving them all!  The small units of strings are in the pinks and purpley ranges, and my larger string units are in the blues/purpley/turquoise range. 
I don't want to eat anything ever again ...8-(

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Reconsidering my Previous Pressing Suggestion...

My post yesterday suggested pressing tips for the Ohio Stars, for Orca Bay Step 6 of the Mystery Quilt from Bonnie Hunter.

I have reconsidered -- the blocks don't WANT to have 2 seams pressed out and 2 center seams pressed in.  It's much easier to press them both OUT.  I may regret my decision, but they can be re-pressed if that becomes necessary.  Also, it might be different depending on what fabrics you use.

Just a suggestion.  8-))

Friday, December 23, 2011

Orca Bay, Step 6, in Process - CUTE!

This is a scrappy Mystery Quilt from  We're at Step 6 and have cut and sewed a gazillion pieces!  Yikes - if I had known ahead of time how many, I would have opted out, but once a person gets going, and knows there are thousands of other participants, we all get enthusiastic and it's hard to slow down!

I used blue instead of Bonnie's red centers, and pink strings instead of ... oh great -- I don't remember!  LOL    However I am fortunate to have kept up with all the Steps!  Yeahhhh!

The 4 corners of each block are a consistant fabric, to keep things "under control."  None of us know if that's a good tip or not.  Also, on the back of the stars, I pressed 2 sides in and 2 sides out.  I hope that covers the possible options. 

Thanks Bonnie Hunter of!

I also want to thank Vic at who took pity on me and my whining about not having enough black fabric -- she kindly sent me a BUNCH!  And her fabric is in these blocks!   (mmmm, I'm going to have to remember that whining technique!)  LOL  BIG THANKS Victoria! -- 8-))

Merry Christmas everyone - stay safe and warm and unstressed, and may you all have a Blessed New Year. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Another Folder, Cats and Spool Button

I must have some kind of addictive condition - I can't stop making these folders.  Look closely at my amazing good luck in that the foldover part actually meets the pattern it folds to.  What are the chances of that?  Sometimes, good luck happens!

Do you see the decorative button?  DH didn't understand the concept of cutting that spool lengthwise - somehow when I said "button" he insisted is HAD to be cut across the spool!  It just goes to show how we all think differently.  I finally DREW it and he kindly offered to cut, sand, drilling holes.  It's perfect -- flat on the back!   And I have another one just like it for the next project.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Another Folder

I'm still making these folders with the notebook inside.  Since I cleaned out  all the 7 x 9 Spiral notebooks from the Dollar Store, I'd better use them all.

Here is my latest, and as happened with all the previous ones, I still could not find the "right" button.  Finally, I realized that I don't like buttons - too traditional.  Wish I had some clever "things".  I used emb. threads to make a bunch of fuzzies, instead of a button.  The required button doesn't really DO anything - it's just for detail,  so if I had anything else clever, that would do as well.  mmm leather, macrame, hardware, but nothing comes to mind.  The inside is black with white polka dots, and I quilted this on the diagonal, with straight lines about 2 inches apart.  Quilting it myself is MUCH better than any pre-quilted fabrics I could find, and MUCH less expensive as well.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Step 4 - DONE

These strings for the latest Quiltville Mystery Step almost started themselves - they are so addictive,! I'm using blues, purples, turquoises, instead of reds.  I sat down after supper Friday and planned to piddle around for a few minutes, but energy and enthusiasm got the better of me, and by midnight, they were almost finished.   My normal bedtime is early, 9:30 or so - what happened?? I felt like I'd had an overdose of caffeine, but nope.  Again this morning, I'm up early, sewing, pressing, -- the energy is still with me. Yowsa - whatever happened I want to bottle it!!!

The fabric is lightly starched before removing the paper (above)  - but it helped to stabilize the edges and I believe the starch helped soften the paper.  I've given up on ever maintaining a nice cover for the board, and now use a towel. 

OK, how long to remove paper? less than expected -- less than 2 hours, -- very easy.  The mess? uhhh!  LOL

Here they are, DONE.  I've been wanting to use strings for something - this takes care of that "want".   Almost ALL my strings in these comibinations are gone.  I wonder what Bonnie has in store for us next.  Hope she doesn't want blue strings!
I still have parts of #1 and #2, to finish.  My house is a mess!!! 

Friday, December 09, 2011

Fooling around some more - 6 strips

Yesterday I made one set of strata, consisting of 6, 1 1/2 in. (cut) strips and came up with the interesting block at the top of the photo, posted yesterday.

Today I cut the rest of the same strata and instead of sewing the blocks one at a time, I mixed up the pieces and look what happened?  Yikes -- this is interesting!  So, if you did ALL the strips the same, for the entire quilt, you could get this look.  I'm sure I haven't invented anything new, but it's new --a nd fun -- to me! 

However, I MUST clear the decks, and put this away, in order to get to sewing Step #4 of the Quiltville Mystery.  My strips are ready to go!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Fooling Around - Six Strips

I HAD to try this idea, seen on YouTube from Missouri Star.  Their sample was in girly pinks and yellows, with a lot of white in them.  

Start with strips - I used six,  1.5 inch strips - I'll bet you can use various widths for this  (that's another project!).    My strata was even crooked! 
 I sewed 6, 1.5 inch strips together into a strata, pressed up or down, then cut the strata to make a  6 1/2 inch square.  I think any size square will do, but decide on the length of your strata for the best use of fabric.  I got 6, 6 1/2 inch squares to my strata. 

Face two squares together, one vertical, the other horizontal.  Then, sew around the outside 4 sides of the 2 squares, with quarter inch seam.  Then make two (2) diagonal cuts, corner to corner.  Press open, and sew together in whatever pattern you like.  I really liked that spool-like pattern.  I was VERY casual, and didn't pay attention to the seams matching, but it would be better to be careful and exact, if you start with all same size strips.  And I think it would be wise to choose a pallette of similar scraps, where you had enough for the entire project.  Be sure you use lights and darks for contrast.
Not bad for 10 minutes of fooling around!

Friday, December 02, 2011

I've joined in the Orca Bay mystery.  Do you think this is too obsessive?  LOL  I'm halfway through Step #1, and finished Step #2. 

We had a few days of mid 50s, so I basted this last quilt outside in the garage, (below)  before winter temps interfere. But my fingers were getting cold, and the sun was going down, and I was feeling old, and my feet were hurting, and, and, and, ... so I hurried. Some of the quilt was hanging over the end of the table and when I pulled it to the top for basting, I was lazy and didn't clamp it tight. Soooo, on that part that hung over, the result was pleats and puckers -- dang it!!! The only thing worse than basting, is re-basting.

Below is a little Fons and Porte project that looked easy, do-able.  I couldn't find decent double faced pre-quilted fabric at any of the not-so-local quilt shops, nor fabric shops, and decided I'd forget it, but lo and behold, checked under my bed, and found this really-old, good-quality pre-quilted, fabric.  It's kinda homely, but it was my prototype. 
Inside I put a nice spiral bound tablet, about 6" x 9".  The tablet has a pocket, so it might be good for grocery list or ???.  There is also a pencil/pen pocket.  Do you have a huge jar of buttons?  I've been carting around my button jar for over 30 years and STILL, could not find a decent button.  This will have to do.

OK, I'll make another and this time, I'll quilt my own fabric.  Supplies?  -- a FQ on front and another on back with leftover batting - all easy to find those in this house.  The quilting was good practice and it took about 20 minutes.  Same project, and same issue with finding a decent button.  Finally, I found a wood looking button and left some embroidery floss tails showing, for details.  This looks better than my prototype!  When I was finished, there was only a small amount of waste.

Might want to give this to a quilting friend. 
Thursday nights was local Quilt Night with the gals, and I needed a project -  I'll just make another folder, and quilt it myself, and this time, I'll try out those stitches on my machine for quilting.  Come on gals, you KNOW you've been meaning to do this (if you haven't).  None of the other gals had their machines, and we all agreed we've wanted to try out the fancy stitches, but none of us have actually USED them, so this was the perfect opportunity.  I had several types of threads - a good way to use up small bits - and I started with #20 stitch, and planned to work through the last stitch, # 60.  I use a Janome 760, lightweight portable that I use for classes, and to my delight, found it stitched very well!!  In fact, within a few minutes,  we all got involved with checking out the threads, ooohing and aaahing at the various stitches, and by the time we were through, we had all agreed we'd go home and try our own machines!  What fun! 
 So, this is my double-sided, pre-quilted fabric for the next folder. 
I stitched on the 18 inch measurement (length of grain) and found that these stitches reduced my crosswise measurement by about 2.5 inches.  I stitched a line almost every inch, and some of the stitches were very dense.  Lesson - if you try this on an actual project, measure AFTERWARDS.