Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Another Shop Sample

Here it is - hot off the sewing machine!
This quilt pattern is called "Rick Rack Out of Whack" and was designed by Susan Fuquay.  I'll be teaching a class on it in July in the shop.

Remember all of those triangles I cut off in the process of piecing the large blocks?  
They have all been sewn together and are waiting to become the next little free-form project! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Playing Around (or It Was a Pink Weekend)

I found myself alone on Sunday afternoon and evening and I completely ran amok!  First, I started a new knitting project (remember, I've finished two projects lately).  Just taking baby steps - learning to use double pointed needles.  This will be a drawstring bag. 
The next thing I did was finish a BOOK.  I highly recommend the series of books written by Laurie R. King, beginning with The Beekeeper's Apprentice.  In a nutshell, she has picked up the Sherlock Holmes story where Doyle left off, giving him a young, talented protege named Mary Russell.  I've lost count, but I think that there are nine books in the series to date, with another expected in the fall.  Read them in order.

After the reading interlude, I went back to the crafting frenzy.  I put together another "Rag Bag".  I don't think much of charm packs, but one had come into my possession recently, so that's what I used.
While the bag was in the washer/dryer, I had one more thing to tackle.  My little recycling project was hanging on the wall and wouldn't take long to machine quilt (only approx. 20" square).  I'm thinking about adding a heart in the position shown.  Might need to be bigger?  Probably.
So, I had some fun on Sunday.  After all, it was my day off.  I have NO idea why all of these projects are PINK.  Now, back to that new quilt top .....

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Step by Step

The new shop sample is coming right along.  I cut out all of the pieces on Thursday and made myself sew on all of the (72) triangles.
The next day, it was actually a bit of a chore to trim and press them all!
Now, all of the ingredients are ready.  This top will go together quickly, with four small pinwheel blocks, nine larger blocks and twelve large rectangles.
I told myself that I couldn't start any more knitting projects until I finished some.  A week ago, I finished a second "waterfall" scarf (see March post titled "The Scarf") and last night I finished this neck warmer.  There is an opening where one end is pulled through.  Ironic, since we are currently having some 90 degree temperatures...... 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Back to "For the Birds"

The last time we saw "For the Birds", I had machine quilted the background and added felt birds.
Tonight was the night to finish it up.  I had already added the binding.  Now it was time for the finishing touches!  I added some felt leaves, attached by embroidery stitches and found a few beads, for eyes, some kind of berries(?) and a red bug.
Here's a close-up to show some detail:
Before I played with my birdie project, I did some "real" quilt shop work, starting with selecting fabric for a new quilt.
I cut out everything I needed for the quilt top, except the borders.  The floral will be the border eventually. 
Then, I MADE myself sit still and sew all 72 triangles needed for the first step. 
I used the same method that I showed in a much earlier post and wanted to finish this step so I could remove the tape.
Tomorrow looks like a busy day, but I should make some good progress over the weekend.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rag Bag

One of my quilting friends had the CUTEST bag along with her the other day (at a quilters' get-together, of course).  Her son bought it for her out-of-state at a craft fair.  It wasn't long before the purse was dumped and all of the quilters in attendance were examining it.  A day later I put together one for myself:
I cut 4 inch squares of coordinated scraps for the outside and 4 inch squares of muslin for the inside.  Squares of cotton batting were cut slightly smaller, then each layered square was sewn with an X across it to keep things together.  All of the squares are sewn together seams side out and the seams are clipped.  Handles were added last, just before stitching lines around the top of the bag to strengthen it.  Then into the washer and dryer.

I was looking for ways to streamline the process, so layered a fat quarter of print fabric, batting, and a fat quarter of muslin, pressed them together and marked a 4 inch grid.  I marked all of the diagonal sewing lines and sewed it as one big piece before cutting up the individual squares.  I just used straight pins at intersections and removed them as I went.
Here's one of the side panels and one of the individual sewn squares.
When I made today's bag, I remembered to add a loop for a button closure.  Here it is finished.
Last, but not least, since it is Wednesday, we had our usual meeting of our Dear Jane sewing group.  It took me over TWO HOURS to make this little block.  It is number 21.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Orphan Block

A week ago, in my "Buried Treasure" post, I told about a block I had adopted to remodel.  The block itself was just strips and a couple of squares, no real design.  What I liked about it was the colors.  I took a couple of the strips off, straightened them out, re-sewed and squared the block:
Next, I found a nice pink texture and added a 2 inch border.
With my largest square ruler, I trimmed it again, WONKY.  A long string of smaller pieced squares was also in Mary's bin and that provided a border.
I'm thinking about adding an appliqued heart, BUT, this morning I came across some novelty yarn that is just the right color, so we'll have to wait and see what happens!

Monday, June 13, 2011

For the Birds

Back at the end of May, some in our Non-Traditional group took the challenge of making a non-traditional block without the use of rulers.  This is what I came up with.
I planned from the start to add some birdies.  I'd add some embellishments, too, maybe some beads.  I had chosen a gold print fabric for the birds, but then decided to use wool felt.  I just got back to this little project yesterday.
First I machine quilted the background.  Stipple for most, up and down squiggles in the two light patches, and pebbles in the tree.  I have a new, open toe quilting foot and it made it a lot easier to see where I was going (except for the tree where my thread matched too closely).

I added a little foliage at the top of the tree, one big bird in the foreground and two little ones on the branch.  Big stitches with 3 strands of embroidery thread hold everything down.
Not quite finished, but I will probably bind it before I add the 3-D embellishments (eyes and more).  Look closely and you can see the chalk lines where I'll square it up.  Here is a close-up:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Enough Strips and Strings!

It all started innocently enough, with a picture in a quilt magazine that caught my attention.  It was a quilt made of diagonally strip pieced blocks.  What made it special was that little prairie points had been added in, between a few of the rows.  Also, the strips were all widths and crooked which appealed to me.  So ..... I made a little four block wall hanging (and made it fit with the theme of a challenge I had entered!)
When Gayle, VP of the Tar River Piecemakers Quilters Guild in Rocky Mount, NC, asked if I had something I'd be willing to demonstrate to the guild, I told her "string piecing".  Then I proceeded to make some other samples and to try to get my thoughts together for a hand-out.

I made the fall colored blocks, pieced using phone book pages for foundations:
They became a table runner and I gave all of the measurements on my hand-out so everyone would have a "pattern" to take home.
Last, but not least, I had a little fun with triangles.  Included in this part of the lesson was how to use the 60 degree line on a regular ruler to draw out a pattern for an equilateral triangle if you don't have a triangle ruler.  Here's where I started out.
And here's what I ended up with.
The demonstration was part of the guild meeting on Saturday.  One of my other visual aids was a full size quilt top made of string pieced blocks that was sashed and bordered.  Sorry, I don't have a picture.  It was donated to the guild's charity committee after the demo because HONESTLY, I had pieced it 15 to 20 years ago and if I hadn't finished it by now, I never would!!!

None of these ideas were new or earth shattering, but I wanted to show people ways to relax and play with their scraps.  The guild has members there of all different ability levels, so some had done strip or string piecing before and some had not.  I'd like to free people from the idea that they always have to have a pattern or a kit before they can get started.  Just have fun!

Enough of strips and strings for a while.  On to something new.

Friday, June 10, 2011


I had the nicest visit from Judy the other day.  She brought me a present.....

When I meet people here at the quilt shop, I know them first as quilters.  Later on as I get to know them better, I learn about their other talents and interests. 

Judy was in the Mystery Quilt class that I taught back in March.  One day while she was here, Baby, our youngest cat, was auditing the class.

Judy asked if I would take her picture and forward it to her.  It turns out that Judy also paints.  What she seems to specialize in is cats she knows.  She has her paintings printed up as notecards.  My present, was a framed copy of the BABY notecard.
I love it!  Thank you, Judy!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Buried Treasure

Non-Traditional Quilters met today.  My good friend Mary brought over a gigantic plastic bin filled with "orphan" blocks, left-over strip sets and just plain miscellaneous.  That's Pat in the background, fascinated.

We had a grand time going through everything, sorting and hearing their stories.  Some of us took a few things (Mary is very generous) that appealed to us and we will try to turn them into something.  Here's a view of a few more of the goodies.
Do we all have collections like this at home?  Of course.  Mine aren't all rounded up in one place, though.  I didn't even take a picture of what I took to work on - a pink and brown block and a long row of pink and brown squares that will probably turn into borders.  Wait and see.  We'll work on these new/old projects and see what develops.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"Spiral I" Completed!

I checked back and discovered that I started the first spiral on April 20.  Here are a couple of pictures of the preliminary stages.
I hand quilted with pearl cotton and "big stitch".  That's what took so long, with several other projects coming in between, including "Spiral II", which was smaller and machine quilted.
This afternoon, I finished the quilting and embellishing, which consisted of BUTTONS.  Tonight I finished the binding and removed the last of the basting thread.  I do like the way the "Spiral I" turned out.  Finished size is 24" x 26". 
I've got unfinished projects piling up around here!  I even have about four different knitting projects in progress.  Can't start any more until I finish a few.  We'll see how long that lasts.