Thursday, September 29, 2011

Progress Report

Wednesday started with work on the phonebook quilt.  This is taking a long time!  I have 24 of 48 blocks pieced now.  Four little blocks go together to make one big star block, so I'll try to have one of those together soon to show off.

Next, I switched gears and folded some fat quarters for bundles in the store.
Then I read for a little while (can you tell it was a quiet day at the store???)

Next was big stitch quilting on the star quilt.  Most of the center and border squares are quilted now.  Stopped when my fingers got sore.

Last, but not least, knitting in front of TV.  Only 20 more rows left on the knit baby blanket.  I'll have another finished project to show soon!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Where Has the Time Gone?

HELLO OUT THERE!  I don't usually go a whole week without a post ..... so I'd better let folks in on what I've been doing.

Last year, McCalls Quilting had an article and pattern about making tree ornaments from selvages.  I just took a peek, and you can see it all online.  Just do a google search for "selvage tree ornaments".  Anyway, I've been hard at work making some little Christmas stockings.  Here's one finished and about 25 in progress.
What else?  How about an OLD, OLD knitting project, just waiting for me in a nice big shopping bag.  Everything was there together, luckily.  I had to re-learn the pattern, but I'm going to finish it now.  In case you can't tell, it is a reversible baby blanket.  Once finished, I will add a crocheted shell border to dress it up a bit.  Sorry, I don't know the source of this pattern, it was given to me by a co-worker at a previous job.
I continue to work on the hand quilting on the star quilt and piecing on the telephone book quilt.  One excuse for why I haven't had too many recent posts is that I have 7 beginner quilters in class right now, so there has been planning and sample making going on. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Store is OPEN

Here it is!  The new "OPEN" sign is finished and up on the door this morning.  I backed it with another layer of Timtex (covered with fabric) and added six magnetic strips to the back.  Now I just hope that the sun doesn't fade it too fast.
In the "what have I gotten myself into?" category, I need to make some Christmas-type quilted objects, ornaments, wall hangings, etc. to be ready for a couple of craft shows in December.  I know that sounds a long way off, but I need to start now if I'm going to have enough items to sell to make it worthwhile.  I'm working on some ornaments currently and will give people a peek soon.

I'm also hand quilting on the star quilt ... probably about half done.  I do love the speed of big stitch.   

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Friday at the Quilt Shop

The time has come to retire the OLD SIGN.  It has blown off the door, cracked and split, one too many times.  I devised a plan and started in, fusing and stitching, using Timtex as a firm base.
What's wrong with this picture?  Things were moving right along until I was ready to cut out the letters.  I had forgotten to reverse them!  For the O and E it didn't make any difference.  For the P and N it DID make a difference.  Rookie mistake!  Back to the fusible. ...
Here's where I am so far.  The letters are finished with machine buttonhole stitch.  The colored backgrounds were connected with a wide zig-zag.  A little too wide as it turned out, because my machine skipped stitches.  I've masked these areas with freezer paper and will stencil over it to camouflage the flawed stitching.  That was it for the day, because in the afternoon, we got busy.

Here is my good friend, Sue, who stopped in to show me her selvage quilt top.  She took a class from me earlier in the year and ended up enjoying selvages as much as I do (well, maybe almost as much).  Looks great!  Now she has to figure out how to quilt it.  The top is heavy because the selvages were pieced to foundation blocks.
The rest of the afternoon was taken up (between customers) with helping Sharon thread baste this charming quilt, pieced from Aunt Grace and other 30's reproductions.  She'll be hand quilting and I look forward to seeing the finished product.  (Sharon on the left, another SUE on the right.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Start and Stop, Start and Stop

Here is the background that I created back in July (about the same time I started the star quilt).  I had to live with it for a while to decide what I wanted to do with it next.
The background is machine quilted, some with straight lines and other parts stippled.  In the silver-gray fabric I outlined some of the flowers with stitching.  Then I decided to add a bird swooping in.
I began to embellish by couching a silver trim haphazardly with white nymo thread and silver beads.  I followed that up by adding blue yarn with blue nymo thread and blue beads.  Then I was stuck again.

This weekend I decided to finish things.  The quilting around the flowers did not stand out at all, so I painted between lines of quilting (with ordinary acrylic paint).  I made flower centers by drawing up circles of fabric around  buttons.  I added a little more yarn, a row of blue buttons, and running stitches in embroidery thread on the bird.
My last step was to finish this wall quilt with a facing instead of a regular binding.  That's a requirement for a quilt challenge due next year, so it was time to learn.  Katherine gave me a big hint, a link to a blog called "Jeri Rigged".  Go to  She has a tutorial about quilt facings that was very helpful.

Tonight, the quilt is finished.  Here are some close-up shots to show detail.  Yea!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stars Meet Big Stitch

Here it is, basted and ready to go!  Isn't it interesting to see that at this angle it is readily apparent that the blue solid DID have a right and wrong side?  You don't notice it as much when viewing it straight on.  I don't mind ... it fits with the scrappy feel of the project.
One friend marveled that I still "thread basted".  Well, all I can say is that I have a TON of white cone thread and I don't mind doing it.  I'm not subjecting myself to toxic fumes from basting spray, either.  I've said before that if you are in it for speed, you're in the wrong sport!!!

I'm quilting with #12 pearl cotton.  To accentuate the stars, I am quilting 1/4" around them with natural.  All of the rest of the quilt will be quilted with a dusty blue #12 that is about the same color as the lighter blue in the border.
I continue to work on the strip quilt project.  I have about a dozen of the 48 small (8") squares pieced.  I mentioned earlier that I thought I should control the values more ... I had a little talk with myself over the weekend and told myself to GET OVER IT, IT'S A SCRAP QUILT.  One thing I considered is how much I like old, old quilts where the contrast really varies from block to block.  Anyway, I'll have more of that to show off soon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Starry Quilt Top is Finished

Ta da!!  The applique on the border is finished.  I'm happy with the way this little quilt top turned out.  AND, I even know how I want to quilt it!  Now all I need to do is find a suitable backing and get it layered and ready to go.

Look what I found in another drawer!  More strips (why was I saving them there?), many of which will work in the current strippy project.
Short post today.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Christmas in September

Here's the new string quilt book I mentioned earlier.  I worked on some of the blocks for my project yesterday, but I think I may need to fine tune the placement of darks and lights.  A star is formed when four small blocks are joined.  Here is what I have so far.  These need to be trimmed and will be getting a corner triangle, too.  Notice I changed from green to gold for the star shape.  I'll use the pretty green for the block corners.  I've cut 48 eight-inch foundation squares and a pile of strips ranging from 1 1/4" to 2".  I'm going to need to cut a lot more strips.
Being Sunday, it was sort of a goof-off day.  I finished another action-packed book by Lee Child titled The Hard Way.  I DID find time this afternoon to whip up a couple of Christmas Stockings(!) that will become holiday pattern samples for the quilt shop.

  Tomorrow I'm going to MAKE myself finish the applique border of the star quilt!  Promise. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Too Much Time on My Hands

Because of Hurricane Irene, who visited us last Saturday, business has been slow and I have had a LOT of sewing time.  I like to mix it up a bit and I've been working on two projects back and forth, the bird quilt and the stars quilt, plus my Dear Jane blocks.  I added a little more embellishment to the bird quilt last night, more couched yarn and beads:
There is no quilting or stitching of any kind on the bird and I am still figuring that out, plus I want to make some flowers to "scatter on  the ground".

The applique border of the star quilt is coming right along.

I mentioned earlier that I had a couple of ideas that I really wanted to try.  Actually, there are three different ones rattling around in my brain.  I have been very interested in a new book by Virginia Baker and Barbara Sanders called String Quilt Revival.  They have basically updated classic patterns with modern fabrics and colors.  Yesterday I started what I will call my phone book quilt.  I cut 8" squares from phone book pages and marked them for paper piecing.  Four paper squares will go together to make one 15" block.  That is as far as I intended to go for right now.  People who know me know that I LOVE to get things ready ....
Today I opened a drawer that I hadn't looked into for a while and, under my Stooges fabric ....
....... I found some wonderful, large scraps that were mostly color coordinated!  Wow!  Lots of greens, tans and rusts in darks and lights.  So, the phone book quilt will come next.  If I am really, really organized, I can be cutting pieces for a LEGO quilt at the same time.

Here's what I've got rounded up, ready to go.  I found yardage of a really nice green in my stash that will be the star points.  The fabrics lined up on the right were all in that drawer together.  It will be easy to add to them to get a good mix.
So, that's the story of how I went completely off the rails today.