Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Crazy Runner

I took a long weekend away from the sewing machine, so all I have to show today is the table runner with binding on and cat off.
As so often happens, I have a few other ideas to explore with these blocks before moving on ... kind of like the string quilts I've made lately.  I'm giving a demo on this "method" in two weeks, so it wouldn't hurt to have a couple more samples.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Crazy Squares

This quilt top is made entirely from scraps on hand.  NO new yardage was cut.  I had to do a little figuring when it was time to add borders.  A plain border would be boring.  I didn't have enough left of anything to do that anyway.
I think that there IS enough left of the darkest purple for binding.

The same idea was applied to the blocks I made for the green and gold table runner.  It was machine quilted yesterday and when I came back to work on the binding, this is what I found.
When the hand work is finished on the binding I'll try to get a picture of it without a cat!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Simpler Idea

No, I haven't put the border on the purple quilt yet.  I had another idea!  I cut squares 3", 6" and 9", mixed them all around and began to make blocks for a runner.  Here they are, just as I am getting ready to sew the smallest squares in the centers.
My original plan was to find a variety of yellow and green scraps and make something that looked like "spring".  Then I found the multi-print that looks more fall/winter.  I shifted from yellow to gold in my search and that's how I arrived at this selection.  I just finished the slice and dice part of the operation and have sewed the new blocks together.
Here's a close up of one of the blocks.
I found yardage in the closet of a nice dark tone-on-tone green that will serve as borders, binding and backing.  With a little luck, I might finish it today.  

Monday, May 21, 2012

Distracted (again)

I'm here to tell you that cleaning only leads to trouble.  Yesterday, I was sorting through a box of very miscellaneous sewing items like magazines with patterns marked, sample blocks and more when I came across a paper pieced block that I originally made for a class.  I would have ignored it, but it was packed away with all the fabric for a fictional project, some of which was pre-cut.  I thought that if I would make three more blocks, I could make a little wall hanging or something.
If you like paper foundation piecing, be sure to check out www.paperpanache.com.  They have loads of great patterns including some free downloads.  That's where I went to print the extra patterns, and while I was there, I couldn't help doing a little browsing.  There is a nice eagle pattern and a cute turtle, but what caught my eye was this:
Everything came to a halt while I made my round "TUIT".  Everybody is always saying that they will get around-to-it and now I have one of my own.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Zippered Bags

Way last March (2011), I was playing around with some batik scraps left over from another project.  I made up a little pattern and put four blocks together.  The whole thing was only about 20" square.
I wasn't that excited about it so it stayed that way until this weekend, when I layered and machine quilted it. 
Here's what I made.
I like making the little zippered bags.  I also put one together to showcase one of my pull-tab flowers.
Thanks to Sally, Teresa and Pat C., who brought me more drink tabs.  No telling where the flowers will turn up next.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Look What Happened!

Oh, NO ... look what happened!  I guess it was inevitable, since I titled that post "Purple Haze" and I had all of these purple scraps piled everywhere.
Lately, I have been a lot better at starting things than finishing things and I had just said to myself "I wonder what I could finish today?"  I'm not doing very well with that thought.  Well, I might finish a book ... The Empty Chair by Jeffery Deaver.  It's a real page-turner.  I have an idea for the pull-tab flowers, too.  Must sew faster, must sew faster.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Six More Blocks

I went "back to the drawing board" to make 6 more purple blocks.  Here's my helper, hard at work.
Tonight, all of the blocks are done and the twelve sewn together.  They'll need some kind of border eventually.  I've got to give a big THANK YOU to Ruth, who made the quilt that inspired me.  
I really, really like scrap quilts.  Suddenly, variety is key instead of the beauty of individual pieces.  I found some "beauties" in the back closet.  They were abandoned by the store's previous owner and I can see why.  Who would design something like this?  Who would manufacture it?  Who would BUY it???
Here's one last thing - I haven't decided exactly what I am going to do with my crocheted pull-tab flowers, but I have found coordinating fabric to use with them!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Purple Haze

I'm back to work on the purple project.  The raw materials appeared in the last post.  For this sample, I only made 6 blocks to get started.  I cut 6 squares of each size:
12 1/2"

I used a wide zig-zag stitch throughout.  First, I sewed all of the 4 inch squares onto 6 inch squares.  I trimmed out the back, pressed each block, then repeated the procedure with the 10 inch and 12 1/2inch squares.  The placement of the squares was crooked on purpose - sometimes a little to the left, sometimes a little to the right.  Here are my blocks at this stage.  
Next, I cut all of the blocks in fourths and switched the pieces around.  The reason for all of the trimming was so that I didn't have 4 layers in the centers of the blocks.  That would have been awkward to put together!
Here are my new blocks, all sewn together.
Time for a break.  Maybe I'll put a border on it tomorrow.  
I couldn't resist including one pet picture.  This is my grand-dog, Ruby, who came to visit me for Mother's Day.  She is a big girl, weighing in at about 105 lbs. at 18 months.  (Her breed is Leonberger.)  I got a LOT of slurpy kisses.  She is a sweetheart.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Playing With My Scraps

The Tar River Piecemakers Quilters Guild (TRPQG) of Rocky Mount, NC, is very well organized in the area of charity quilts.  One of their projects is making and filling cloth bags that police officers carry to give to children in crisis situations.  Inside the bags are assorted items, one of which is a "comfort square", a little 12" quilt that just might provide some child something to hold onto.  That's what I set out to make last night with a giant bag of scraps.  I didn't do anything terribly complicated - in most cases I let the novelty fabrics do the work.  I just finished the binding on the last one, so thought I'd show them off before I turn them in.
HAVE YOU EVER AGREED TO DO A DEMO WITHOUT HAVING A SAMPLE MADE?  Oops, that's what I just did.  I thought that maybe I could start out with a coordinated group of fat quarters, so I got out a little bundle that I won at a guild meeting.
Pretty, but someone was sneaky, and they are not fat quarters!  I need more than that anyway, so I checked the cupboard of scraps ...
Getting better.  THEN, I went to the back closet and hit pay dirt with a couple of larger pieces!  Now I've got more than enough to get started.  That's the project for tonight.
I'm continuing to work on the recent challenge quilt, but decided that I had better not keep showing it on the blog because it is supposed to be a secret!  The wrong person just might check in and see it!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A New Craft

Need I say more?

Yes, I made this pull-tab flower.  My friend, Peggy, started it all when she came to visit wearing pull-tab earrings.  I passed that idea on to my daughter's friend, Michelle, who is a serious jewelry-maker.  Michelle, in turn, sent me a link on Facebook showing these flowers.  Fun!  There will probably be more.

On a more serious note, the local group of fiber artists met at the store on Saturday to explore some dye techniques, led by Dr. Katherine McNeese.  Katherine graciously gathered materials, pre-treated the fabric, and mixed the dyes for us.  The first thing that we tried was shibori dyeing of cotton fabric.  We rolled, tied and scrunched the cotton fabric on PVC pipe.  Darn, we didn't get pictures of the rolled up fabric, but here are the ends of the pipes sticking out of the buckets of dye.
While we were waiting for the required amount of time to elapse, we were in the classroom, folding silk chiffon scarves "flag style" into little triangle bundles and securing the corners with rubber bands.
The silk scarves were dyed in plastic bags with a different kind of dye.  Corners were dipped in contrasting colors.  When unfolded, we hung them on the porch railing and they were dry in a jiffy!
 Now, back to the buckets!  Here are the two pieces that I dyed.  One was rolled straight on the pipe, the other diagonally.  I love the effects.  
To see the group blog, go to http://artrageousfibreart.blogspot.com/

Friday, May 4, 2012

More Crooked Fun

In this latest episode of "Improv R Us" I'll show you all of the progress made so far on the challenge quilt.  Can you tell I'm having fun?  This is where things stood when I went to bed last night:
Here's what I added this morning:
I've left a few open spaces for later embellishments.  Included in the bag of "goodies" I received were some sewn and stuffed circles, two colors of metallic cording, the felted flower, and a little bit of red lace.  You can see that I added the lace to two of the orange strips today.  Now I have to fold everything up and hide it because the art quilt group holding this challenge is meeting here tomorrow.

When I originally opened the bag of fabric odds and ends, one of the first things I saw was an old panel of fabric with JOANN's printed prominently on the selvage.  After I recovered from my initial hostility (HA), I decided to embrace it and gave it a place of honor!
On the reading list this week has been Frankenstein.  The other day I told my daughter that I had recently seen the classic movie "Son of Frankenstein" and discovered that it is the basis of the plot for the Mel Brooks film "Young Frankenstein" (which actually borrowed bits from all three original horror films).  She made the statement "You know, Mom, that the movies are nothing like the book".  So, I had to see for myself and she is RIGHT.  It's not a quick read, although not a very long book, because of the old fashioned, formal language but I am enjoying it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Kind of (Sewing) Day

Yesterday was a great day for getting things done.  In the morning, I finished the crocheted baby blanket.

In the afternoon, I decided to tackle my latest challenge.  This one involved participants exchanging 2 gallon Ziploc bags of supplies.  I can make any kind of "art" quilt that I want.  So far, I have done a lot more THINKING than sewing.  At first glance, I hated some of the things I was given to work with.  Then, I realized that because I felt that way, it would be a great challenge.  Trusting my first impression, I went with a recycling theme, because the things I have to work with certainly don't go together.  I finished the "recycle" letters and put them together (I did make a larger R).  Then I made two asterisks.  Then I went back to THINKING.  The felted lavender flower was among the supplies I was given.  
In the evening, I played with selvages.  Here are my blocks, eighteen so far, arranged on the floor this morning.  I saw a strippy quilt recently that was set together with a chevron pattern, so that's one option that I'm considering.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Little Crochet

I have a good friend whose two daughters were married in the same year.  Now, here we are a couple of years later and wouldn't you know it - there are two babies due within a month of each other!  The grandma-to-be has made each of the expected babies (one girl and one boy) a special quilt, but she also has fond memories of little crocheted blankets the daughters once had.  I have known how to crochet forever.  It was one of the first needle crafts that I ever learned (right up there with loopy pot holders).  So, I volunteered to make two baby blankets.

The little boy blanket was finished and given to the grandma last week.  The little girl blanket was finished this morning.  I admit that I took the easy way out and made giant granny squares ( I do have a business to run, after all).  White yarn was alternated with the main color in the outer rows and the final border was a modified shell (3 dc, ch3, 3 dc in space) (ch 1, sc in next space, ch 1) repeat around.
So, that's what has been occupying a lot of my time in the past couple of weeks.  I'm glad to report that the cob web quilt has been basted and quilting in RED thread has begun.  Also, I'm beginning to work on another challenge.  Here is all I have so far:
I might have to make a bigger "R".

Baby was SACKED OUT on the rug right inside the door and I couldn't resist.  What a great guard cat.