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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Circle Play

In some ways this week has passed very quickly but in others it has passed slowly. We have both been sick this week...hubby with the flu and me with a cold. They say 7-10 days and today is day 8 so I guess by Tuesday we both should be back to normal. Yes? I'm not counting on it. I have to admit that I've let myself suck into being ill and have not gotten much done. Quilting or household tasks.

I did not get the flannel quilt layered and ready to quilt and I did not do the math on the border for Lime and Plums but I did work on scrappy Red, White and Blue blocks. It is comforting to go into the sewing room and work on something mindless and unchallenging and it is satisfying to see those blocks piling up. I will give you a peek of those sometime soon.

Today I am committed to working on the pieced border pieces for Lime and Plums and tomorrow, when I am home by myself, I need the kitchen table, I will get the flannel quilt layered.

But I am really excited about starting my circle quilt. I AM going to cut at least a few circles today. My photo does not do justice to the colors of the fabric I am going to use. As I've mentioned before I have wanted to do something with circles for years. See the tools/templates I've purchased towards that end? As if buying those made it happen! In the "old days" (this does seem to be a recurring theme in my posts!) people used cups or plates or anything that was circular, easy to draw around and the right size to make circles. Free stuff. Stuff you have around the house. But here I am looking to find the better mousetrap, spending more money without even trying the ones I've purchased. I don't know which tool/template I will use for my circles. Being so enamored with the rotary cutter I will probably use their version of the circle cutter. You can barely see it in the picture above. I've seen it demoed but haven't tried it myself. I'll let you know what I think.

Here is a link to the circle quilt that inspired me to finally start doing something with circles.
The funny thing is...for this I had to go out and buy a yo yo maker! I guess "had to" is an overstatement as again, our ancestors managed to make yo yo's without a tool. I admire those women. We are spoiled. We want everything now, instant gratification, and we want everything easy. I personally want things easier...not easy. Otherwise why not just go buy a blanket? We, who quilt, still like the comfort of our favorite quilts. Even with all the new gadgets making a quilt is not fast so like those women before us we find comfort in designing, making and using these wonderful "blankets" that we make with love.

So Love to you! Find some time to do something YOU love today.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Learning to Blog~Friends & Flowers

I have complained more than once about my inability to get the pictures where I want on the post. This morning, having read my posts like any new person would, I found that it is much more interesting if you have a pretty picture at the very beginning. So....even when I don't feel I have a picture that represents my current topic I will be including pictures of past quilts, or more likely flimseys (unquilted tops). Now that I am venturing into free motion quilting I WILL get those quilted.

This pattern is called Friends & Flowers. I finished the top earlier this year. This is the size of quilt I should do more often. Get away from those BIG ones.

One weekend, when I get brave and am ready to hold myself accountable, I will get into the armoire and plastic boxes and catalog all the unfinished quilts, quilt tops and cut fabric waiting to be made into quilt tops. I will bravely share those numbers with you.

Now look at this! This time I was able to get pictures in two different places in my post. Amazing!

For now...I'm going to go work on the Lime & Plum. Get those blocks squared and sewn together and do the math to begin the pieced triangle side borders. Wish me luck!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Flying Geese Quilt Top Finished!

At one point I was concerned that the burgandy and green were going to appear too "Christmasy". Now that it is on the wall I find the colors very rich. Again, the colors are much better in person...Maybe I should be taking some photography classes!

Tomorrow I will layer the quilt and then begin machine quilting. It will be easy at first. I am going to do crosshatching in line with the bottoms of the geese. I have machine quilted small quilts this way with the walking foot and while a little slow it does a good job of holding the layers together and adds a little texture. Then I am going to do free motion machine quilting in the dark green 6 inch borders. This will be new to me!I hope you like it!


As I was in my room pressing the flannel quilt I thought about the different attitudes each of us has about ironing.

My sister enjoys ironing. She may not say she "enjoys" it. Who would want to admit that? But she does find pleasure in how the clothes look and smell. We were brought up knowing how to iron. We we taught a particular way. Just as it was important to know how to hang clothes on the line correctly it was important to know how to iron correctly. It was a necessity as most of our clothes were cotton.

Back in the "old days" there were women that made a living, meager to be sure, but this simple skill allowed them to work from home and be "stay at home Mom's" (trust me, that term had not yet been invented!) by ironing clothes. It would be hard to project ourselves into their mind set. Were they pleased when their regulars showed up with a large basket of clean, wrinkled clothing? Were they pleased that they got the opportunity to make a little money and still be there for their kids? Did they enjoy the smell of hot, fresh, neatly ironed clothes and bedding? Did they find satifaction in a job well done? Or did they really wish they had better skills and opportunities to go out into the world and do something else? As a pre-school child I remember my Mom had a friend that did ironing. For Willimina, "Willie", it was only a way to survive. It was drudgery but made lighter by her childrens laughter and the visits of friends. While visiting she would continue ironing.

I'm into "touching up" my clothes. That used to mean a hot iron, maybe a towel over the bed quilt or counter, and a pressing of seams and bad wrinkles. Over the years that has mainly been given up to a quick spray with the water bottle and let it dry in the car....stretched over my body to give a smoother look. Thank goodness I wear casual clothes to work!

I have to say I love the smell of freshly ironed cotton. And I love that stores and catalogs offer "linen water" to add a light scent that instantly makes me nostalgic for some of the "old days".

I don't like to iron. I no longer pre-wash, although many do. In fact one of the local charities to which I was going to donate yards and yards of cotton fabric required that I pre-wash and iron it. Do you think they got my donation?. One benefit of not pre-washing is that you don't need to iron but only "touch up" the folds. We carefully press our cut quilt pieces to maintain correct size and to prevent distortion. We carefully press quilt seams in planned directions to prevent bulk and to more easily abutt the pieces for perfect matches of seams and corners. And when we are to the point where are are about to measure the for the final borders, we press again. Making certain everything is flat. Then we measure. My rule is measure top, bottom and center, come up with an average and cut your borders to that measurement. And the same is true for side borders. Measure each side and the middle and again, after the addition of the top and bottom borders, come up with an average and cut and fit your borders to that measurement.

The flannel quilt is to the pressing and measuring for borders part of the quilt. I've given you a peek of the quilt (see below, still working with picture placement) and later today will give you a view of the whole. It is a Thimbleberries quilt and the name is "Snow Geese" which did not fit Lynette Jensens example in her book (Geese? Yes. But there wasn't a single thing that represented snow) and with my colors and bears as a theme in the main fabric I'm going to have to come up with a suitable name. Who would have thought that this would become one of the most difficult aspects of quilting...naming a quilt.

Find time to sew, if not quilt!


Saturday, October 10, 2009


Not "My Space" the social website that competes with "Facebook" but "My" Space. Seeing this picture you may think you have stumbled upon a hunting website but you haven't. "Fred" shares my sewing room. (No offense to our personal, bluegrass playing Fred but Fred the elk was named before I met you).
Our house was originally built in 1926 on a dairy. It was the "milkers house." That is how they referred to it. The house is small with some rooms having higher ceilings than the others. My sewing room happens to have a high ceiling so Fred fits here. He is a benevolent presence but I find him to be a terrible dust collector. He certainly will not be my roomate when we build a new house.

Please notice I do call my space "the sewing room". I've tried to convince myself that as I am in there being creative that it is okay to call it a studio. Many people refer to their studio but it just doesn't work for my space Even when people ask "Do you sew" and my respose is "No, I quilt" I can't bring myself to say with a straight face "in my studio". So even tho' my DH brags to people that I am a "Master Quilter" I don't have a "studio".

I am lucky that my husband appreciates quilts and I love that in his eyes I am a Master Quilter. I do caution him that "Master Quilter" is a specific term and that it does not apply to me. I said I'm more of a "so so quilter". Of course I would be offended if he used that term to describe my abilities!
Back to My Space. I've included a few pix although they aren't positioned in the blog where I wanted them. I've not cleaned up....this is as it normally looks. My cutting table was built to the correct height for me and it has made a big difference in how I feel about cutting. No bending . Every surface in this room, the cutting table, the sewing table and the armoire could be less cluttered but what can I say? This is My Space and I'm comfortable.
I'll say goodbye for now. Have a terrific weekend. Take some time to quilt.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Trick Question...

What is this? Don't answer too quickly the obvious to you might not be what is obvious to me.
Having done some curved piecing earlier this year I've been thinking about doing a quilt with circles. I've always loved circles and even tho' Joanne got me a book a few years back, that I was dying to have, with all circle quilts, I've not yet made one.
What was obvious to me about these socks, is that these colors are perfect for my circle quilt. The background is rather a heatherish blue which doesn't show too well in the picture but I thought the colors would translate well into my circle quilt. But....I had also been thinking about doing a circle quilt that included some retro combinations. Combinations that I used when I used to make my own clothes in high school. Dare I say in the '60ies? Late '60ies. Okay, mid 60ies. Yes, I am that old! Anyway I had made one shirt that was lime with turquoise dots and one that was pink with orange dots. So shortly after deciding I would do a circle quilt in the colors of the socks I saw some sheets at Target that had my retro colors on a white background. Now what do I do? I love both! I did not buy the sheets, by the way. Then I remembered...I am supposed to be reducing my stash and I have lots of Kona White and Kona Snow for a background but no heatherish blue. So with that in mind I am going for the retro dots. Do I have to buy a few fat quarters to fill out the colors? Yes. But I won't be spending the money on the background....I will be using some of my stash!
Enjoy this fall weather. I am!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

:Photo Upload, Download? Any Load?

How could I so easily attach a picture to my first post? Beginners luck? I was unable to attach to my latest post and yet I said I would. I'm going to play around here and see if I can figure it out. Forgive my clumsiness on this new journey.

So this time I did the exact same thing I attempted to do on the previous post and this time it works. Oh My! Maybe I'm just too impatient and didn't wait for it to respond.
Remember, this will have a triangle pieced border around it when I get the math figured out!

Pretty October Days

Oh Fall, lovely fall. I've always said September was my favorite month but what I really meant was September when it had days like the last several days. I like colder nights, cooler days, falling leaves, fresher air and blue skies. So maybe due to global warming maybe just this year or maybe forever more, for the purpose of this post anyway, I'm saying "October is my favorite month".

I've been lucky to have had five days off and with Gene gone I've been very self indulgent. In the "old days" I set large household projects for myself when he was gone. I wanted him to be surprised by what I had gotten done when he came back but now....I just indulge me and I'm surprised how good this feels.

I've tried to spend half of today doing chores, things that need to be done. My definition of chores is little jobs that probably no one else would notice had been done. Such as washing and hanging clean, or even different, curtains, cleaning the bathroom, cleaning cupboards, sweeping the decks and porch and cleaning up flower beds. Small but satisfying in their completion.

Don't worry. I did sew. I did make significant progress on all those pesky flying geese blocks. I've gotten better at them. No big trick other than consistency in marking, cutting and pressing. Common requirements in all of quilting but more forgiving when you are dealing with squares or rectangles rather than triangles.

I've included pictures of the quilt I'm currently calling "Lime and Plums". I'm not really happy with that name. I think there needs to be the word "Pizzazzz" in there somewhere as there are the "Z"s formed by the lime lines going through the blocks. If you have a name suggestion please forward it to me.

By this weekend I should have the flannel quilt top done and my goal is to have it layered, basted and ready to quilt by Monday. I'll let you know how I do....complete with pictures.

Back to work tomorrow which probably means shorter posts. I'll be thinking of you tho' and thinking about what things I could be sharing with you.

Have a lovely evening, breathe the air.


Monday, October 5, 2009

A "Quilty" Conscience?

Obviously a play on words for "Guilty". What do I have to feel guilty about? I'm not sure but whatever it is I am sure it's by someone elses definition!

Could it be:

The large stash in my room?

The many unquilted tops also there? (I'll do an inventory soon and report it here)

How about the tops waiting for binding? (At least not too many of those!)

How about the fact that other than feeding the horses yesterday I didn't leave the house but sat around in sweats (they are like adult pajamas, aren't they?) and sewed and read and napped? Lazy self indulgence, but worthy of guilt? Oh, I don't think so!

Most of my quilts are not made for a purpose. I make them for me. (Another reason for guilt?) I like to try colors, I like to try new patterns and then at the end I'm attached to them and don't want to give them up. One of the best things that ever happened to me was after a couple glasses of wine (this part has happened more than once) I've offered people a finished quilt. The next day I have regrets but too late! But in this instance it was my Aunt Sandy and I let her pick a quilt. Months later she returned it....not because I whined but because she felt she wasn't using it enough and that it should return "home". What a lovely surprise to open that box from her and see my quilt returned. Maybe that is what I should do, after imbibing in a little alcohol, offer to lend a quilt or let someone "foster" a quilt then I could always look forward to getting it back.

Anyway, I am actively working on three quilts right now. One is on the design wall while I move the blocks around plus I am warming up to doing a border for this one that requires some planning. I made the quilt bigger than the pattern so the math on getting the border right will be challenging. Secondly I am working on a strippy scrap quilt in red, white and blue. This is my "easy" quilt. The one that I can go in there and sew without any planning. I can get blocks done quickly and feel like I've been productive. The last quilt is flannel with lots of flying geese. That's a type of triangle block for you none quilters. I'm hurrying to get this one done and will machine quilt it myself. It is getting to that time of year where we all need a snuggly quilt.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

First Day of the Rest of My Life..

and my first day blogging! My goal is to use this venue for all my quilting interests and use Facebook to keep my non-quilting friends up to date on the rest of my life. You ask, with a giggle, "You mean there is life beyond quilting?" I just discovered the passionate blogging quilters about 6 weeks ago. Who knew? I mean obviously I've read a blog here and there n(non quilting ones) but to find this network of smart, helpful, fun people who share this special interest...I feel so fortunate.

I, like many others, am trying to reduce my stash. I think I was really into over indulgence in the '90's and somewhat in the early 2000's. More money, less time. (My DH said there ware worse things to be addicted to) I told myself that the money I spent just meant that when I retire (now looking at two years of so) I would be all set with plenty of fabric, patterns and books. Unfortunately I've found, once I got my fabric organized (thanks to tips from other bloggers) that my tastes in fabric, colors and prints, have changed. There are lovely bright and fun colors and designs coming out each season....and I want some!!

The picture above is of my current stash. Flat folded but not yet divided into smaller stacks and colors. If you look closely you will see there are two stacks. The back one being taller than the front one. I wanted the picture down here but alas and alack my lack of blog experience is showing!

So my organization plan? I gave thought to what would suit me and this is what I defined as MY rules. Anything one yard or over was folded neatly into flat folds. I learned the technique from a blogger! All easy to see and get to. I define and store "scraps" in a different way. Pieces that are 12-18 inches are saved in one box for now. Anything that is a "fat quarter" yard...that does not mean officially that it measures 18x22 but 18x22 is 396 sq inches of fabric...sooooo any piece that is close to 396 sq inches is considered, in my lexicon, a "fat quarter" are stored in another box and anything less than 12 inches wide are cut into strips starting with biggest possible of 5", to a medium of 2 1/2 inches and to the smallest I would save, 1 1/2 inches. It works well for me. Keeping in mind that I have been saving 2 1/2 in strips and 1 1/2 inch strips since the 1980's...probably since 1984 when I took a class using a rotary cutter. What a wonderful invention!

So back to the line "I, like many others, am trying to reduce my stash." Now that I'm organized what are going to be the rules for reducing that stash? Okay...the parameters of this is still being defined. First I said...hmmm, you have to use fabric from your stash but you are allowed to buy any supporting fabric needed. Sounds good but a little too loose. I mean, I get to decide what the term "supporting fabric" means. LOL! This resulted in my buying 15 1/4 yards of fabric in the last 3 weeks. And only using up 3 yards of stash. Well, I did have some quilt tops started that I wanted to finish and I did need some backings and most of my pieces are like 1 1/2 yards to 2 1/2 yards which isn't big enough for backings, etc, etc, etc. Denial and definately not working towards my goal of REDUCING (get that word, REDUCING) the stash. So now I am working on more realistic rules. I don't yet know what the end result will be but I will share with you later.
I do not expect future posts to run this long...maybe a picture or two and some comments but who knows where this will really lead?
Love and Hugs!