Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Take a look at this wonderful quilt top!

You all know I just don't work with brights.  I love to see quilts made from brights, but don't choose to work with them myself.  I leave all those beautiful fabrics in the quilt shop for someone else to buy.

I came across this quilt in my morning blog reading, however, and fell madly in love.  I must make this "Hat Trick" variation!  I have so many scraps and fat quarters left from Emily's quilt, and this is a perfect way to use them.  I think what draws me to this quilt is the bright colors next to the crisp white.  And I certainly have lots of crisp white in my stash!

It is a good thing my machine is gone - otherwise I'd drop everything to start this.

Goals - mostly success!

See that April list on my left sidebar?  I'm thrilled to see all but one crossed off.  So much better than I did last month.  That's what happens when one sets realistic (but still stretch) goals.  Two more quilts finished, making a total of 6 for the year.  Fabric reorganization completed - hooray!  That turned into a much bigger undertaking than I thought it would.  Quilt backing made - 5 "bolts"!  That will be enough for some time, and cleared a LOT of space off my shelves.  Four new small quilt tops and a pair of socks completed.  I love looking at the list and realizing I accomplished quite a bit in the time I had.

I am bothered by the one goal I didn't complete.  The quilt books are organized but upstairs is a mess.  Sacks of romance novels cover the floor, and there are still two shelves to be emptied.  Stacks of knitting books cover the window seat and the floor in front of it, waiting for the shelves to be cleared.  I spend little time in the family room - I guess it is out of sight, out of mind.  Fred spends a lot of time there watching television but he doesn't seem to mind.  I know it would be done if I had to look at it all day.  I will make this goal #1 for May - I should be able to finish it while my machine is gone, right?

Time now to set goals for May.  I've been thinking on that for a few days, but haven't made any decisions.  I need to work on that today - while I'm cleaning LOL!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Hat Trick

In most places it is already April 30th, so I can post my finished "Hat Trick" quilt top.  I like it so much better now that the final two borders are in place.  It really needed that dark "frame" at the top and bottom.  I'm really eager to see the "parade" of all the finished tops.  On Wednesday you can see half of them on Sinta's blog, and half on Sherri's blog.

So what did I do today without my machine?  I confess - I spent a bit of time on my Scrap Basket Sunday project.  I pulled many pairs of fabric from the scrap basket, pressed them, and cut out some blocks.  I managed to stop myself after a dozen or so blocks, but I still have a large stack of pressed fabric.  Next Sunday I can sew all the half-square triangles together on my Pfaff  since I trim them to size.

I also pulled a bunch of little quilt tops - ten or twelve I think - from the upstairs closet.  I cleared off my cutting table - including the cutting mats - so I can start basting little quilts tomorrow.  I will do some on the Pfaff - the ones involving mainly straight stitch-in-the ditch seams, but most are for hand quilting.  Once basted I can start quilting and then binding them.  I wonder how many I can finish while my machine is in hospital?

I did do some cleaning today - several rooms look much better.  I still have several to clean tomorrow however, so that will be my first priority.

I just left my child with strangers!

At least it feels that way.  My featherweight is now in the shop and will most likely be there for two weeks!  And they really aren't strangers - I've left my Pfaff there before.  I'm sure you all understand how I feel, right?  I will be uneasy until she is back home.

I thought I could look at the new Pfaff Passport 2.0 while I was there.  Unfortunately they don't yet have them in stock.  There has been much discussion on the Jo Morton Yahoo Group about this machine.  I love my big Praff but it is showing its age.  It was one of the first with a blanket stitch, and the stitch isn't very attractive.  I've not used it for applique for this reason.  Right now I use it to sew on bindings, and that's about it.  Do I need another machine?  Probably not, but I'd LOVE to have a good blanket stitch.  And now and then I take a class for which I need more than a straight stitch machine - and my other Pfaff is so much heavier!

I think all quilters are gadget people, right?  I know I am.  Some I still have but never use.  Some I tried and then passed along to others.  Some I love and use a lot.  These fall into the last category.  (I learned about these on the Jo Morton group also.)  If you are a piecer who values precision even if it takes a little extra time you will love these.  I make all my half-square and quarter-square triangle squares, plus my flying geese, a little bit oversized so I can trim them precisely.  If you do that too, you know how the ruler can rock a little on the seam no matter how tightly you hold it.  These rulers have grooves on the back of them that fit over the seam so they CAN'T move or rock.  I've had mine about 10 days and love them madly.  I used them when piecing my Shoe Fly blocks yesterday.  If this sounds like you, follow the link to the video and watch them in action.  The are somewhat spendy, but in my mind worth every penny.  Mine are the two small sets as I love to make little blocks.  I'm sure I'll add more eventually.  

So what am I going to do without the distraction of my featherweight for two weeks?   Maybe now I'll get the longarm running, prep more applique, baste some quilt tops and do more hand quilting.  Or maybe I'll clean - which is what I'm supposed to be doing today LOL!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Scrap Basket Sunday Wrap-up

I sewed most of the day, with breaks for short bursts of house cleaning.  I finished 16 blocks, and I'm pleased with the way they look on the design wall.  These are so different from the fabrics I love to work with these days, but I'm enjoying the process nevertheless.

These are 6" blocks.
I might have gotten more done, but this evening after dinner my featherweight hit a pin dead on, breaking the needle and totally messing up the timing of the machine.  So off to the repair shop it must go tomorrow, and I imagine I'll be without it for a week or so.  I could piece on my Pfaff, but I'd rather not.  It's upstairs in the longarm room which still needs much cleaning, and all my fabric, tools, cutting table, etc. are downstairs.  So this coming week I will be doing something besides piecing.  Time will tell what that will be.  This will be a perfect time to get the longarm running so I can baste a bunch of quilts for hand quilting.  I can also choose fabrics and cut for May's projects.

But first I think it is time I really cleaned the house.  I've been procrastinating for some time.  And while my baby is in the hospital is a perfect time to do it.

The decision has been made

I've always loved the simple "Shoe Fly" block, and have seen pictures of beautiful quilts made from it.  For whatever reason, I've never made one myself.  I'm sure I must have pieced this block once or twice in the past 30 years, but I don't remember doing so.  Therefore, I'm starting a new scrappy project - who knows what it will eventually turn into? - using this block in a "positive" and "negative" value arrangement.  I'm going to piece these on Scrap Basket Sunday only.  That will give me plenty of time to work on other projects during the week.

I'm also going to cut triangles, squares, bricks and strips for my scrap boxes while I work.  Each piece I pull from the basket will thus be completely used with nothing going back into the basket.  This should - I hope - slowly empty the basket.  Then I can focus on my scraps that I truly love.

I'm showing the back of the blocks also so you can see how I'm pressing these.  I clip the seams so intersections can be pressed open.  If you do this you will be amazed at how much better your project looks without thick seam allowances.  (It makes hand quilting lots easier to, if you happen to be one of the quilty "dinosaurs" who hand quilt - like me.)  Because my plan (right now, anyway!) is to set the blocks next to each other, I'm sticking with the "press to the dark" rule so they will sew together better.  This adds a bit more bulk in the "negative" blocks, but if you flatten them well with steam the quilt top will still lay flat.

My plans for Scrap Basket Sunday

I tussled with this problem all day yesterday - what should I do today for Scrap Basket Sunday?  I could start another little quilt.  I could pick a block to make scrappy and start a new larger quilt.  I could just cut shapes.  So why  is this a problem?

Take a look at that list of finished flimsies on my left sidebar.  Then take a look at my 2013 goals.  This year I want to focus on shrinking that list.  I've completed 6 quilts this year - which I'm very happy about - but I've already added 9 new tops to the list, 8 of which are little quilts.  Goal #3 says "Quilt and bind all small quilts".  As of now that total is 14.  I have several more little quilts planned for next month, the month after that, etc.  So do I want to add another scrappy small quilt now?  I don't think so!

I like the idea of picking a block and making a bunch of them from the basket.  Can I get away without saying I'm "starting a new large ongoing project", since I didn't want to do that until I finish one already on the list?  I did manage to shrink the list by 3 projects by making some decisions, and I could just think of them as more "orphan blocks" until I decide what I'm going to do with them.  (Never mind that my "orphan block drawer" is full to overflowing. 

I don't feel like spending the day cutting shapes - which helps empty the basket but doesn't result in anything interesting to show.  I really don't want to choose this one.

So . . . I guess it is choice number two.  Now to pick a block.  Should it be very simple like "Shoe Fly" or something more complex.  I'm not sure.  Come back this evening to see what I decided.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

I finished it!

Yesterday I finished hand quilting "Emma's Quilt" designed by Jo Morton.  I started this in a class with Jo in 2002!.  I'm not sure when I finished the top and started the quilting but it has been a LONG time.  The batting is "Cotton Classic" by Fairfield, which I split in half for this quilt.  It's been years and years since Fairfield made that batting - or at least since I've seen anyone sell it.

(Quick pause for research - I see they still make it!  I've not seen any Fairfield batting around here for a LONG time.)

I think this has been in my quilting hoop for 10 years or so.  There were quite a few years when arthritis pain prevented me from hand quilting at all.  Right now that doesn't seem to be a problem - knock on wood! - so I'm looking forward to choosing another top to hand quilt.  Many of the fabrics in this quilt are REALLY old - I think the pin dot (border) is from the 80's.  So is the burgundy with tiny rosebuds used in the pinwheels and some of the applique.  The light background is from one of Jo's earliest lines (if I remember correctly).

It feels SO good to have this finished!

After two very rainy, cold springs - March weather lasted almost through June - we are now having an amazing spring.  Flowers have been blooming everywhere for some time.  Our fruit trees are already dropping their blossoms.  When I was outside photographing the quilt I had to take a couple other pictures to share.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What's up with this?

I've not written a blog post for two days!  I guess I've not been doing much to post about.  Yesterday was spent with our daughter-in-law and granddaughters.  Emily loved her quilt.  When Fred was sitting on the floor in the play room playing Chutes and Ladders with four-year-old Lily, Emily drug her quilt into the room, wrapped it around her and sat down by "Papa".  It made my heart sing to see that.  All three of the girls' quilts were stretched out on the floor - it was great fun seeing them together.  (Lily's quilt is here, and Sophie's quilt is here.)  Now that Emily has hers, I guess it is time to start working on twin size quilts for the others.  Joseph, Sophie and Lily all have twin beds of their own now, and their baby quilts don't come close to covering them any more.

I had a great time last weekend at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival.  I'm sticking to my "no buy" pledge as closely as I can (I've cheated only a couple times!), but I had to treat myself to some beautiful fiber.  It is pastel colored - very hard to find - Shetland from Spor Farm in Oregon.  Their fiber is fabulously luscious and priced really well.  These braids - 4 oz. each - I bought 3! - were marked down.  I'm making a 3-ply yarn which will probably be a shawl.  If there is enough I will probably make socks too.  I love how this is looking on the bobbin!
I also bought a very tiny beaded purse - really a piece of jewelry.  I wanted to buy one at our quilt show, but she didn't have any colors that spoke to me.  I was so surprised to find her at a fiber festival - with some new necklaces!  I zeroed in on this color right away.  I will wear it around my neck whenever I'm doing hand sewing, as my thimble fits nicely inside.  I have a very nasty habit of losing thimbles.  I use inexpensive Dritz thimbles for applique but my hand quilting thimbles are sterling, expensive, and hard to replace.  I tested this at quilt group tonight when dessert was served, and my thimble fit nicely inside when it wasn't on my thumb.  Isn't this pretty?!  I love how the blue beads sparkle and shine.  You can see the little flap that closes the top of the purse.  I feel quite elegant wearing this!
I don't know why I keep getting that shadow in the bottom left of my flash pictures.  I wonder if I need a new camera?

My class on Saturday - Knitting Ergonomics - was really great.  A tremendous amount of valuable information was fit into 3 hours by Carson Demers.  If you are a knitter and/or spinner I highly recommend you take a class from him if you have the chance.

My class on Sunday was not, unfortunately, a valuable one.  At least I got in some spinning time, which I always enjoy.  That's when I started spinning the newly purchased combed top you see above.  I spun some this afternoon also - it is so relaxing and meditative!

* * * * * * * *

1.  A lovely weekend spent with friends and luscious fiber.
2.  Another magnificent sunny, warm day.
3.  The beautiful pink blossoms covering the dogwood tree in our front yard.
4.  Every one of our beautiful family members - I love you all!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Emily's quilt is finished!

I picked up Emily's quilt from the quilter last Thursday.  Today I found time to bind and label it.  I'm so glad she will finally have it! 

I'm going to see all my granddaughters tomorrow, so I wanted to be able to deliver it then.  I will get a picture of her with her quilt - if she is in the mood.  You can never tell with an almost three-year old!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

It is finished!

My Contrary Wife quilt top is finished.  I love the setting I chose.  I made each border as wide as I could with the fabric I had left.  This was all scrap fabric except for the orange - that was a fat quarter I bought for Emily's quilt that I didn't use.  All the scrap fabrics are gone except for the brown. I'm loving this way of emptying the scrap basket!  The oldest fabric in this quilt is the brown and orange acorn print, which I imagine is a VIP from the 1980's.  The border and a few triangles are a Hoffman woodblock print, which is from the early 1990's.  The brown was part of the first fabric collection designed by Connie and Mary of Country Threads (it may have been their only fabric collection) which they called "Wear Warm Clothes".  All the other fabrics - except for the orange - are from the 1990's (I think).  I love the fact that I had to do a couple fabric substitutions in four of the blocks - I think that adds some "zing" to the quilt!

This will be a great table topper for fall.  It will also be a great practice piece to quilt while getting my longarm quilting mojo back.

I've read many times that serious quilt designers do quilts in "series".  I've never done this, and I don't think of myself as a quilt designer.  But I had so much fun playing with this block that I see a series of  little "Contrary Wife" quilts made from scraps in my future.  Maybe I'll start another tomorrow!

Thank you to all who voted!

I really was curious to see your opinions.  Here are the results (if I counted correctly!)

#1 - 2     #2 - 3     #3 - 8     #4 - 6     #5 - 2

I'm 99% positive I'm going to use arrangement #4 because I like to be a maverick at times, and I've not seen anyone else use this arrangement for their April quilt.  I did learn one thing interesting doing this exercise.  The setting I liked the very best used only 4 blocks!  If I'd known that to start with I would have stopped after 4 blocks.  I think I need to make another little quilt using this block! 

I had a great time at spinning class today, but don't have anything to show for it.  Now I'm heading into the sewing room and will (hopefully!) get this sewn together tonight!

I did do a little shopping at the yarn shop today, so I can leave you with a couple pictures.

Kauni yarn has LONG color yarns.  Many of the colorways change drastically from one color to an entirely different color.  These two balls are actually two different colorways, though one can't tell without reading the label.

The last picture shows what the inside of the ball on the left looks like. You can see it goes from red purple to blue purple to a brighter purple-y pink.  Each ball is wound individually and varies in weight (and thus price).  The ball on the left is 140 grams and the one on the right is 160 grams.  My plan is to make a shawl using both of them together.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Scraps, we love scraps! But I need your help . . .

Because I have this laundry basket of fabric pieces not big enough to fold and put on the shelf - my definition of scraps - I decided to start participating in Kim's Scrap Basket Sundays.   I know if I don't commit myself to something like this I will always pull from the shelf rather than the scrap basket.

Because I spent all day today at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival,  and will be there most of the day tomorrow, I spent last night and tonight cutting and sewing scraps.

Because I'm part of Kathleen Tracy's yahoo group Small Quilt Talk, I decided to use April's block for my first Scrappy Sunday project.  Tomorrow night I hope to sew the blocks together and finish the quilt top.

The block is called "Contrary Wife", though many may know it by another name.  (Don't you love how block names changed from state to state and era to era?  I do!)  I originally planned to do only four blocks plus borders.  Last night I discovered what a tiny quilt that would be so I decided to make 16 blocks instead - I wanted a square quilt.

Of course, my chosen scraps didn't go that far - I was able to make only 12 blocks.  I thought about stopping then, but realized there was only one blocks arrangement (that I liked) suitable for 12 blocks.  So I did what our foremothers often did when fabric was scarce.  I dug through the basket for fabrics of similar color and value to the fabrics I'd used up.  I made four more blocks tonight substituting two new fabrics for those I'd used up.  I thought I'd use them in the center of the quilt.  Or in the four corners.  I played with both arrangements and didn't really care for either.  So I scattered those four blocks randomly though the block arrangement.  That looked MUCH better!  (IMHO)

I thought I knew which block setting I wanted.  But once I started playing with the blocks I realized there were many different settings I liked.  So I'd love your input.

Which setting do you like best?  Please vote for your favorite, either 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5.  Thanks!

Friday, April 19, 2013

A taste of my next project . . . .

Decisions, decisions . . . so not my usual colors.

We have a quilt top - minus the outside borders

I did persevere and I'm happy I did.  I made still another block, which resulted in two more nine patches in the orphan block drawer.  I took all the blocks off the wall and started from scratch with the arrangement.  I made a slight mistake when sewing them together - one row got turned around - which resulted in two identical outside triangles being next to each other.  And that is the way it will stay.

I will finish the piecing today, but won't show the results until the end of the month, as that is the "reveal day" for the people participating in "Another Year of Schnibbles".  It wasn't until I saw this picture that I realized that many of my fabrics are similar colors to those in the pattern.  It certainly wasn't intentional - and that quilt has no plaids.

* * * * * * * *
1. A glimpse of blue sky after an all-day downpour
2.  Real and "virtual" quilty friends to share projects with
3.  Leftovers for dinner.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I persevered . . . and was reminded of a "suggested quilting principle" I'd forgotten.

I hesitate to say "a quilting principle", as that sounds like a rule.  And as we all know there are no rules and no quilt police.  I guess it would be better to say a "quilting guideline".  This guideline has always worked well for me in the past, but it has been so long since I thought about it that I completely forgot about it.

"In a scrappy pieced quilt, one should have about 20% maverick blocks, and no more than 25%.  A maverick block is one where the color arrangement is different, or pieces are turned differently, or a non-theme color is included, or low contrast fabrics are used.  Maverick blocks bring interest to a quilt and cause the viewer to look more closely at what is going on".  

If I remember rightly I learned this from Darra Duffy Williamson when I took a scrap quilting class from her in Houston in the fall of 1992.  After class I spent a lot of time examining photos of scrappy quilts I loved, and the best always included about 20% maverick blocks. 

That explains what bothered me about "Hat Trick".  I'd made 11 blocks, and 5 qualified as low-contrast maverick blocks.  That was WAY TOO MANY for the number of blocks I had and the pattern was getting "lost".  So this evening I made 10 more blocks, all with high contrast.  I made sure to balance the number of brown, green, and red blocks.  The greens were all mediums, so I used the lightest contrasting fabrics I had with the greens. 

Once I finished I started playing with them on the design wall.  What a difference it made!  20 blocks, with either 4 or 5 "mavericks".   I've still not settled on a final block arrangement, including which block to leave out, as I still haven't found an arrangement that says "this is it".  So I'm going to play with them through the weekend, taking pictures of each arrangement.  I've no arrangement has "spoken" to me by Monday I'm just going to pick one and sew it together. 

A huge thank you for all of you who gave me suggestions - they really helped me not give up.  As it turned out I didn't add any fabrics - I just made better use of the ones I had.  I know I'll be happy with the quilt, no matter what arrangement I eventually choose.

Each picture is different from the others, with a change or one or more blocks and/or alternate squares.  If I'd not changed the placement myself I, too, would think at least two or more of them must be the same.  And I'm not ruling out the idea of making a couple more blocks either, so I have more to choose from.

I think I will start over . . . maybe . . .

Please help me decide!

I am not happy with the way my Hat Trick is progressing.  As before, I find using just one line of fabric in a quilt results in "too much sameness" for my comfort.  The only darks in the collection are brown.  I need a darker green and a darker red.  Neither exist in this collection.  I will probably see what I can pull from my stash to solve the problem, but I just might start over completely using 30's fabrics instead of these.

Interesting - wait a minute - now that I've taken the picture I think I will persevere longer.  Obviously these blocks need rearranging - even though I've done that at least a few times already - but there is more contrast than I thought there was.

What do you readers think?  Are you liking this so far?  Should I keep going or start over?

Rearranged again.  This is better but not great.  Why didn't I take a picture of each arrangement before I changed things?  Live and learn . . . .  Maybe this is worth rescuing.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Works in slow progress

I've been thinking a lot about the projects I have listed on the left sidebar under this category.  These have been weighing on my mind.  I'm uncomfortable with the number I have.  My goal has been to finish all of these; they have felt like a burden on my shoulders.

How many of you feel this way about some of your projects?   How many are drawn to large projects, find yourself starting one after another, and then becoming overwhelmed?  I'm sure I'm not the only quilter who does this.

My mind is still in the "we need to clear things out" state.  So this morning I decided to do something about this list.

1.  Dear Jane - I've completed only 12 blocks for this quilt.  So many people have completed the quilt.  I realize that I no longer feel a need to do so.  I love the blocks I've finished, so I've decided to put them into a small quilt.  I'm moving this to a short-term project list as ideas are now percolating in my brain.

2.  Times Remembered by Pat Sloan - I've finished 3 of the 9 blocks of this quilt.  I really lost interest after the first two blocks.  I no longer care for the pattern, and life isd too short to make something I'm not going to love.  I'm moving these to the short-term project list also, and will make a tall, narrow wall hanging from the blocks I have done.

3.  Golden Age Random Sampler - I have 11 blocks done for this large quilt.  I love the quilt, but I'm no longer certain I want to make it as originally planned - which was to copy this quilt closely.

I find it telling that I can't find the blocks.  I wanted to take their picture, but will make do with this photo of 10 blocks, stolen off a much earlier blog post.  It looks like the 11th block fell off before I took the picture.

I know right where they were before I started the "big fabric reorganization", but I don't remember where I put them.  When I look through the class materials now, I realize there are other quilts I'd rather make from this time period.  So when I find these blocks they will either go into the orphan blocks drawer. or become a table mat.  Right now they aren't doing anything for me.

That leaves five projects - still too many - but much better than eight.  I'm going to list them in order of expected finishes, and will keep reminding myself that I'm not on any timeline with these.  Of course, the key will be to work on them.  Once I finish Hat Trick I need to get back to the first project on the list.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A pause to remember

To the people of Boston, and participants, families and friends of runners in the marathon:  I send my positive thoughts and prayers for healing of bodies, minds and spirits.  At times like this I try to focus on all the good things happening in the world, refusing to give the terriorist(s) any of the focus and attention they crave.  Thank you to each of the helpers who rushed to the aid to those injured, you represent the best of our country.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

1.  For each person who gave help during this crisis
2.  For the life of each person who survived
3.  For a country that is still a safe, free place to live in spite of what others try to do


The yellow single is spun, and the pair of socks I was working on at the knitting retreat is finished.

You might notice that the toes look different from each other - they are.  Remember that I had to completely redo the second sock because I knit the wrong size?  I also followed instructions for the wrong size when I decreased for the toe on the first sock.  I thought it fit a bit oddly compared to the other pair from this pattern, but since it was comfortable I didn't worry about it.  Now I know why!

I must spend part of tomorrow cleaning, doing laundry and running errands.  I got a call today from the machine quilter - Emily's quilt is ready for me to pick up, so that is one of the errands.  I should be able to spend half the day sewing.  I'll doing the machine stitching on Emily's quilt's binding so I can do the hand stitching at quilt group in the evening.  The rest of the day will be spent cutting out "Hat Trick", this month's Vintage Schnibbles pattern. 

 I'm using  charms from Chelsea Boutique by Blackbird Designs (I love all their stuff!).  I have both the print pack and the plaids and stripes pack, as well as a print pack of large rectangles.  I know I'm going to love this quilt!

5" squares

My spinning is going well - I've only the yellow to finish.  Aren't the colors pretty?

I know - I said I would make more Civil War Diary blocks when I finished my class spinning.  I've changed my mind - again!  I'm not ready to move away from little quilts I guess!

So many wonderful patterns and books are available for using 5" squares.  I've collected so many charm packs, and have cut so many 5" squares from my own fabrics, that it is time I used some of them.  I've seen so many blog posts about "Another Year of Schnibbles" with wonderful little quilts, and wondered what was going on.  When I read this post I understood, and decided immediately that I needed to play along.  I sent Sinta a request to have my blog added to the list and bought the pattern.  So this will be my next project.

I have no fear that I will run out of fabrics.  My 5" square drawer is filled to overflowing, and none of the packets I've purchased in the last 3 months are in there!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Jury duty done for today

I left home at what seemed like the crack of dawn - 7:15 - this morning.  I've been staying up later and later these days because I just don't want to stop what I'm doing.  Whether it is spinning, knitting, or working on a quilt, it is just hard for me to stop to go to bed.  So what that alarm rang at 6:30 am it seemed like the middle of the night.

I was sure I would serve on a jury today, as I was #10 in the group.  I was excused, however, from what was expected to be a three day trial.  Hooray!  I still have to call in every evening, but shouldn't need to report again this week.  Happy dancing - I'm much happier in my sewing room than I'd be in a courtroom, especially for three days!

This coming weekend is the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival in Hood River, Oregon.  This is its third year, and I've gone every year to shop.  I'm taking classes this year, and I'm very excited about that.  The first class - Saturday afternoon - is Knitting Ergonomics.  I'm having no trouble knitting since being given the doctor's OK at the end of February, but tips will still be most valuable.

Sunday morning I'm taking a class called "Spinning for Colorwork".  Here is the class description:

"Colorwork projects are very popular right now. In this class we will look at how you can use your handspun yarns in some of the gorgeous patterns available right now. We will be spinning and looking at the difference between 2 and 3 ply yarns, thick yarns versus thin, flat versus round. We will also look at how to spin a multi-colored roving to achieve the end result you want for knitting color work patterns. There will be swatches to look through and there will be a swatch pattern available for you to knit samples with the yarns you spin. This is a great exercise to add to your spinner's project book."

I need to have at least one ounce each of three or more colors spun into singles for class work.  So today I'm spinning away, and will probably be doing so tomorrow and Wednesday also.  I have so many pretty colors of dyed roving it will be hard to pick just three.  Here are the colors I'm starting with.

Once these are spun I'll get back to quilting - definitely Civil War Diary blocks this time. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Another little quilt

My plan was to continue cutting strips, squares and bricks tonight.  As I looked at the basket of fabrics pictured in yesterday's post, I realized I could do something different instead.  I could make another little quilt!  These weren't the reproduction fabrics I love, but there was nothing wrong with them.  I decided to make a little quilt that could serve as a table mat, and use it for longarm practice.

17 3/4" x 17 3/4"
This is a free pattern posted on Kathleen Tracy's website.  I love Kathleen's designs - I have all of her books.  Once quilted I will use this on one of the end tables in our living room.  I will bind it in one of the fabrics used in the quilt - I have enough.  I'm so glad I thought of this!

A new little quilt

It felt so good to be doing REAL sewing again.  I can't believe it's been 16 days since I cut out the pieces for this quilt.  The detour I took before getting here took much longer than I thought it would!

26 1/2" x 30 1/8"
This is the small double 4-patch quilt from this year's Little Women's Club, designed by Jo Morton.  All the fabrics are Jo's, except for the border, which is a 3 Sisters print.  I didn't have a single Jo Morton piece I liked for the border, so I made do.  The alternate squares are a beautiful light print by Jo that I'd not seen before.  I bought it at the first quilt shop we visited on our way home from Death Valley.  I've always wanted to make a pink and brown quilt, and this seemed to be the appropriate time.  I love how it turned out! 

Now I think it is time I got back to some Civil War Diary blocks, as I didn't finish any last month.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Yes, I'm still here

I've not posted for several days as I've not had much to show for the time in my sewing room.  I've been sewing more "backing fabric" - yards and yards of it - and it seemed silly to post again about that.  I finally finished it all last night, adding another 3 "bolts" to the stack on top of the fabric shelves. 

Today I started working on the laundry basket full of smaller pieces that didn't go back onto the shelves.  These are older pieces than aren't full fat quarters or are odd sized.  I'm cutting them up into usable size pieces using Bonnie Hunter's system.  This is a work in progress as I'm eager to get back

real sewing.  I'll work on these for an hour or two at a time until I'm finished.  This time I will use them in a timely manner, unlike all the scraps I cut a few years ago which finally went to charity.


Last week was an interesting one to say the least - a perfect example of the "rule of threes".  The computer desk chair became hazardous to sit in, followed the next day by the vacuum giving up the ghost.  About that same time we decided our backs could no longer stand sleeping on our old mattress.  These things happened the day after I did our taxes and discovered we needed to pay after all.  Much money was spent, so it is a very good thing I've taken a "no buy" pledge.

This coming week should be interesting also, as I've been called for jury duty.  I need to report to the courthouse at 8:15 Monday morning, which means I need to leave home by 7:15 to be assured of a parking space.  No needles or scissors of any kind may be brought into the courthouse, including knitting needles.  I will need to find a very good book to read.  I hope to be called the first day, whether or not I actually serve on a jury, because then I'd be done for the week. 

Tomorrow I'm going to work on the little quilt I cut out before all this cleaning and organizing started.  I figure I deserve to reward myself.  Hopefully I'll have a finished top to show tomorrow night!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

1.  Leftovers for an easy dinner
2.  Rain, which held off until just after Joseph's t-ball game
3.  Morning coffee with a friend

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Now I have fabric for quilt backs

The fabrics I turned into "backing fabric" are beautiful fabrics.  It was fun "getting reacquainted" with them as I sewed them together.  They aren't what I'm using in quilts any more.  Many are florals, many are Asian prints, and the rest are "modern looking" prints.  I will love having these on the back of all the large quilts I make until they are gone.  I have no idea how many yards total I have, but I'm sure there is enough for at least 8-10 quilt backs.

I rolled these using the 8 1/2" creative grids ruler.  I know many of you fold your fabrics with the aid of a ruler - this is a first for me.  It certainly worked beautifully!  It was just like having a bolt core to wrap them around, without having an empty bolt core to recycle when the fabric is gone.  They are now sitting on the top of the bookshelves on top of other bolts of fabric.  They seem to take up so much less space than they did when they were on my shelves!