Thursday, December 31, 2015

All Day Sew Participants, others as well!

 Our local quilt group is meeting soon and some of us wanted to make a donation type quilt, Linus or kids quilt, etc.  This demo is totally for those who wish to participate and use this particular design (Hourglass?).  While it is beautiful made in "adult" fabric, it is not difficult and really cute in kids fabrics.  Some of our gals are not familiar with this technique so I thought I'd post it here.   My project is made with cuts from width of fabric, (WOF) coordinated lights and darks kids prints.       

First, cut your strips ahead of time, before we meet, if possible,  at 2 1/2 inches.  Each strip set makes 2 blocks, each block is approx. 8 inches unfinished.  Cut your strips from WOF,  or you can piece shorter strips.   
I used this Companion Angle ruler, by Darlene Zimmerman - it is perfect for the job.  If you have one for "side setting triangles" (Fons and Porter) that will also work.   I am not familiar with other rulers but I'm sure there are many.

Sew one light and one dark strip together, using 1/4 in. seam allowance, press to the dark.
Good tip!  See that orange bit of tape?  I placed it on the back of my ruler with the tape's top edge at the 2 1/4 in. line.  It is thick and kinda catches at the right place.  Be careful - there are a lot of numbers, lines, but the one I am interested in is the 2 1/4 line -- it is in the center of this ruler, and that will be the matching point so it should be exact. The line on the ruler indicates 2 1/2 and shows the arrow down -- you want to pay attention to the mark above the orange tape.  Very important.  (The tape is a quarter inch in width. )
Above is the ruler position for the first cut, and below, flip your ruler around, for  the second cut.  Use your rotary cutter.  Be sure the seam line (where the stitches are) is always at the 2 1/4 in. line.  As you move along the strip set you might need to "clean up" your cutting line just a tad, now and then.  Don't get mixed up with the 2 1/4 in. line when you flip your ruler around. 
 You should get 8 wedges from each WOF. 
 Lay the block out -  I'm using a variety of combinations.  I found it best to make/sew one block at a time.  Lay the 2 quarters together, and run it through machine, starting at large dark end first, so that the seam that was pressed to the dark, goes into the machine facing away from you.   Use care as these edges now are all bias.  Note that (below) both halves are in the same configuration - be consistent. 
 Sew the 2 halves together, matching intersections.  I finger pressed these - you might want to put a pin at intersections.   The seams all abut each other neatly.  You may have to stretch a tiny bit here and there, to ensure good intersection, but since they are bias, matching is easy.  Be gentle. 

 Be consistent with how you feed the blocks into the machine.  Can you see where I removed the last 2-3 stitches on that last seam with my seam ripper (below)?  Pull them out on one side (seam ripper), then flip the block over and remove them out on the other side - don't trim the threads.  Open the tiny center seam up, and press all seams in a clockwise direction, press all flat.  The center will press neatly as well.  If you have been consistent with your sewing, pressing and sending them thru your machine consistently, as above, they will ALL line up with each other as you put all your rows and blocks together, and all seams will abut and lie flat.  If they don't, relax and have fun anyway! 
At this point I am using a variety of fabrics, anything that a child will enjoy - I am not concentrating on one color or a "perfect" quilt - I just want it to bring pleasure to a child.  I will spread my various blocks around.  I may set them on point.  You might aim for a quilt that is 5 x 6, about 37" x 44" or so, or 30 blocks, then plus border.  That would be a generous size quilt.  Perhaps 4 x 5, plus border?  Your decision.  The blocks finish at 7.5 in. 

For the group, if you wish to participate, bring your supplies, pre-cut strips, and if you don't have enough fabric, feel free to use some of my pre-cut strips or fabric - I have plenty.  You may also borrow my rulers for our time together, if needed.  My fabrics tends to be mostly young boyish fabrics.  That Companion Angle ruler is one of the less expensive and I use mine a lot - it was a good purchase many years ago.

See ya soon!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Snowblowing for Seniors, and Quilt of Many Pieces, ("Bank One")

Yeahhhhhh - I can still do this job!  What IS it about a heavy snowfall, and feeling closed in?  We have enough food to last until May!
The day was cold, blustery, but I WAS having fun, even when I forgot to turn the chute away from my face!  DH decided I wasn't going to have all the fun!   
Below is my current project on my living room "design floor."  There are 3648 pieces, blocks are 3.75 in.  This is a SYSTEM, Strip and Slash, inspired by Jackie Robinson.  Blocks are now sewn to each other and I am getting rows together.  I opted for a less complex layout, hoping the quilting design would not present problems. 

I chose many purple and orange fabrics.  I LOVE that blue glow!  Thank you for your shirt, Sean. (Sean once worked for Bank One and had a company shirt.)  Scrappy quilts NEED one fabric that does not quite "go".   
Here is a closeup.  12 to a block, and 304 blocks, 16 across and 19 rows = 3648. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Pineapple scraps, ruler, and siblings

I had a bunch of leftover strips on my sewing desk and also have been hankering to play with my seldom-used Creative Grids Pineapple ruler, so I made this.  It was going FAST!  It came with instructions, (still unread) and there are also several You Tube videos making the block construction  fast, easy and mistake-proof.  Too bad I didn't notice the errors until too late. There is some flipping back and forth, and a person needs to actually READ and understand.  Really?  LOL

OK, effort #2, below.  I unsewed back to the row with the blue/gold checks, and this time was more careful.  The ruler helps with efficiency and keeps it square and true.  I didn't like flipping it back and forth, rechecking each time before cutting, but with practice it would be fool proof and easier.

The strips finish at 1 inch, and the ruler is made  only for one inch finished strips.
Here is the Creative Grids ruler.  It was a little pricey, but these days, many are. 

However, I have found another lady, Gyleen Fitzgerald, who made a lovely pineapple DVD, available from Annies Crafts, or Annies Catalog.  I always enjoy my sewing/quilting DVDs.  She has her own version of a pineapple ruler.   There was also another ruler available from Annies for a higher cost.   

What a great scrap quilt!  If you have not made a Pineapple Quilt, and don't want to use paper piecing, I would strongly suggest a good pineapple ruler to keep it all square and true.  Gyleen also has several other books and DVDs.  She has an appealing soft and gentle easy-going way of speaking and sewing.

Family stuff - Lastly, below is a photo of my siblings taken in October when I enjoyed a delicious drive from western Nebraska, across Iowa, up to Wisconsin.  (Almost 2500 miles by the time I returned home!  Pretty good for this old gal!).  My brothers are both retired Engineers, my OLDER sister is still beautiful!  I had just broken my tooth - note food still in hand.  Notice array of pens in brother on left.  LOL   We all live far from each other, and the fact that we could get together, was an amazing miracle. 

We were blessed with this loveliness recently - no wind, not cold, and we didn't even have to shovel.  8-)))

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, Happy and safe Holidays.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Another Split 9-Patch,

Oh dear I have fallen behind in my posts!

Here are 3 rows for yet another Strip and Slash (Jackie Robinson), Split 9-Patch.  it will be 16 blocks across by 20 down, but the blocks are small, finishing at about 3.75. in.  My previous similar project was in yellows and browns.   I aimed for oranges and purples in this one.   See that purpley blue?  Another shirt from a friend's son.  8-)))

The macrame Christmas tree has been with be for a very long time - I treasure it for the good memories  when it was made. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tumalo Trails aka "Cowboy Up", DONE

I call this "Cowboy Up" because it looks so  ... blue sky, outdoors and I'm here in western Nebraska, where there are a LOT of blue skies, and real cowboys!    It's about 86"x 106", all MQ'ed on my Janome MC6500.  Whew!  In case anyone wonders, I have 8 7/8 inches from the needle to the machine housing. 

Thank you to Bonnie Hunter at for the inspiration.  The border is my own idea. The darker blue corners took a little fidding on graph paper.

This is the quilt that started one day when I just HAD to sew something, and made about 100 little 9-patches, wondering what I could do with them.  At the same time, my PILE of accumulated stuff on my sewing table was out of control.  Suddenly a blue plaid shirt that I had not yet cut up, fell on top of the 9-patches.  My gosh, it was the PERFECT fabric!  It had been given to me by my friend Janet, who knew I liked cotton shirts.   I used every bit of that large shirt, with NOTHING left over. 

I learned the border quilted swirls using the clear Janome foot that glides, doesn't hop, with red guide lines that help to keep the arches approximately even.   Thanks to videos from talented Angela Walters.  This design uses a backtracking method.  It really helped to have thread matching closely to the background.  I quilted each side in about one hour.  That narrow dark blue in one of the borders is a dimensional flange - just for touching.

This clever design is called pea pods.  To avoid boredom, I used a number of quilting designs on different rows.  

Oh yes, about 3600 pieces!  

Monday, November 02, 2015

Something in the Middle, Wonky Log Cabin.

A friend and I are promoting the BOM at this year's Guild meetings.  This year we based our blocks on Log Cabins, but used a variety of methods, trying out some of the varieties.  Here are 3 blocks I made today, just for fun.    The first 2 are just fine.  Third? not so much.  The centers are NOT square, and the logs are all cut and/or sewn on angles.  When finished, the block is then trimmed to size.

This is 9 1/2 in. unfinished.  That's a flying cow in the center, complete with angel halo.  I likes this one - scale of the fabrics was small.  (Green is cutting mat, not fabric.)

The shoe below worked out pretty nice also.  The stripe in the shoe was repeated in one of the borders.  I had to add the dark brown because the block wasn't quite large enough.  That meant I had to trim down the white with yellow dots.

This cowboy boot was not good.  Too many fabrics and perhaps just one fabric per round would have been better.  Could have used some green, or red or ????  Errors are part of our learning process.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2015 - My birthday tree planted about 5 years ago.  Fortunately, it grows faster than I do!  LOL

In case you don't remember - I MQ on a DSM, currently a Janome MC 6500.

Below is one border edge on my huge "Cowboy Up", aka Tumalo Trails, from  I am practicing these swirls, and I think the end result is quite passable!  8-)) .  I had originally thought this design would be very time consuming, but NO, I did about 60 inches in one sitting.  I was careful to match the light blue thread to the border color, so hopefully, the texture will show, not the thread. 
 OK, I keep showing it - but hey, I LOVE it! 

I'm getting ready to take a driving trip and frequently dig in my quilting stash for gifts that might be suitable.  I love ALL of my quilts but they don't do anyone any good in the closet.  The Rocky Road to Kansas (blue string) that I call "Stringing my Blues" is one of my favorites. The quilting in the white area was done in a variegated white and pastels - turned out really nice, but kinda feminine.  Next time I will quilt something more masculine in style. 

The hourglass turned out nice as well.  This is an easy quilt with strip piecing.

Below (left) is my "Handsome Log Cabin" - I had a man in mind but then remembered he is from Canada!  Uh ohhhh, WRONG colors!!!  

Saturday, October 03, 2015

LOTS of Machine Quilting on Tumalo Trails/Cowboy Up

I have been machine quilting on my Janome MC6500 every day, for 20 minutes or so each time, several times a day for the past month or so.  I change positions, so as not to strain shoulders and neck.  There are 48 blocks in this quilt, by Bonnie Hunter/  She calls hers Tumalo Trails, and I call mine Cowboy Up, because I think it looks like cowboys, big skies, plaid shirts, etc.  It is HUGE, over 86 x 106 or so.

I MQ'ed each block separately in the entire row with the same motif.  Sashing will be quilted simply and separately.  This first photo below was done using the Janome Convertible clear plastic foot, with the red guidelines.  This is the first time I've been successful - it helped tremendously to have my machine cooperating again.  Since I am also in love with scrappy multicolor quilts, my "backtracking" shows in many places.  The thread is a soft muted cotton medium blue/grey.  There is NO thread in the world that would blend with all the lights and darks.  However, I am reasonably happy with the end result. 

This one (below) has a charming floral posey-like motif.  It can be resized, reformed, pulled pushed to whatever space available.  This idea is from Christina Cameli, author of one of my new best favorite books. 
 I used 3 or 4 of her ideas in this quilt.  She also has several other ideas on YouTube, a web site called A Few Scraps  Her designs are fresh, casual, and the ones I liked best are friendly, outdoorsy, and informal, especially suitable for this project. 

I LOVED this motif - so versatile!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

It's my Birthday!, Visit with Colorado Family, Snake Skins, Machine Quilting

 I had a birthday - I'm still alive and kicking!

I made a quick trip to Denver area to visit my brother David, and his wife Mary.  What a delightful pair they are!  This is a quilt I made for them some time ago.  Mary wanted it in the photo!  8-)

 My brother, the engineer - note the pocket!  Me, having a good visit, looking like my mother.
Their backyard, all full of trees, soil, plants, berms, a hole that was going to be a lake, green things (usually green, if not too dry) and his Solar System that provides INCOME, not a bill!  Rocky Mountains in background, a stunning view.  This used to be out in the boonies, not now.
 That's Mary, retired art teacher.  I wish they lived closer to us. 
 Yes, that's Birthday me, Elaine Adair.
 Bull Snake skins - yikes, I kept watching for the LIVE snakes, maybe in the trees?

Back home again in Nebraska, and I can concentrate on machine quilting my long-delayed project, a Quiltville design called Tumalo Trails.  I renamed it "Cowboy Up" because it looks so "outdoors, friendly, western".  I saw this free MQ design on the Internet by Christina Cameli, called Bear Claws.  Works for me, on this very busy, big quilt.  Only two blocks a day is the goal  -- my shoulders and neck feel it!

 The back.