Thursday, March 29, 2012

Robert B. Parker

Today was my day off, so I read Night and Day by Robert B. Parker.  It was a quick read and I enjoyed it very much.  I have read a lot of Parker's books with the Spenser character, but this was my first with Jesse Stone.

In the quilting department, I have another small finished project to share (22" x 22").  This selvage table-topper was pieced about a year ago.  Yesterday I machine quilted it and last night I finished the binding.
I started piecing the green/yellow/brown "Windmills" quilt top too.  First, there were a lot of strips to sew together ....

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cobweb Progress

The blocks are together!  I didn't have enough feed sack scraps to make any more than this.  So, here it is, hanging up on the wall.

Here is the back ...
And here is a close-up of one of those 12 seam intersections that I was whining about earlier.
After I finish pulling the rest of the paper off, I have a solid red that I am thinking about using as a border and also a WHOLE feed sack that is a white, blue, and red print that would be nice for an outer border.

I'm continuing to hand quilt the four-patch kaleidoscope quilt.  I'm using masking tape to mark the straight lines criss-crossing each four-patch block.  The little yellow blocks each have a simple four petal stencil design that will barely show up in the long run.
What else?  I sold my store sample of the Windmills quilt (Cotton Fields original pattern), so this week I cut out another one.  This is the original sample, the new one is bright yellow, green and brown.
It's a simple design, so I can probably get it put together over the weekend.  I also just machine quilted a selvage table topper (another something-or-other that had been waiting around for a while).  As soon as it's binding is finished, it will be ready to show off, too.   

Friday, March 23, 2012

Feed Sack Cobwebs

Here's what things looked like when I was finished with the string piecing on the feed sack parts of the cobweb blocks .  Cassie was exhausted by the process!  Next I added the solid side pieces.  After the solid fabric auditions the other day, I ended up choosing a green just because I had enough of it.  

BUT ... as it turned out, I didn't have enough.  I was six strips short!  And I didn't discover it until I was almost finished with the blocks.  I was determined to use solids from my stash and decided that I could add one different strip to each block and arrange them symmetrically when I put the top together.  I told myself that that's what our pioneering grandmothers would do!

Anyway, I've put together the first block and it has too many seams!  It's lumpy and thick in the center and I'm not very happy with it.  I'm already thinking about using some vintage buttons to hide the intersections when I am finishing.  I am glad I'm only making six blocks and it is a small project.  Maybe we can't hit a home run every time?  
And, maybe things will all work out in the end.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy Birthday, MOM!

Today is my mother's birthday.  I don't know if she wants me to tell how old she is or not, so I'd better not.  Here is what I sent to her as a gift.  
She has some OLD, OLD, OLD place mats that I made at least 10 years ago.  Hope she likes the replacements.  (I used an instruction sheet by Karen Montgomery of The Quilt Company to make these.)

In other news, the DEAR JANE quilt top is finished, the final borders sewn on yesterday.  Hooray!!!  I'll get to work hand quilting it, right after I finish the current hand quilting project.

Monday, March 19, 2012


It's not unusual for me to work on two or three projects in one day.  This will be one of those days!

The first thing this morning, I was working on my mother's birthday gift.  No pictures of that, because it's going to be a surprise.  

Next, I've got to think about the fabric that will go with my "Cobweb" quilt blocks.  They are all strip pieced, using authentic feed sack fabric.  Only a solid will do.  Here's what I'm considering ...
I do have an old flour sack, but I think that would be too blah.  I have lots of other solids, but these are large enough that I'll have enough to make all of the side triangle pieces the same color.  I think that's in the spririt of the quilt - using the fabric that I know I have enough of!  I'll probably make my decision and finish these blocks today.

Hand quilting has begun on the "Kaleidoscopes" quilt top ... about 1/4 of the blocks are quilted, so I'll be showing that off soon.

Last, but not least, it's a progress report on DEAR JANE!  The rows are together and all that remains to be done is sewing on the final borders.  I'm planning a 1/2" inner red border and a 3" green outer border.  

Friday, March 16, 2012

Change of Pace

Still working on DEAR JANE ... just a few rows left to attach, then borders.  This part of the job is kind of tedious, so I had to take time out to ....
This is my "Four-Patch Kaleidoscopes" quilt top.  I have patterns printed and some kits put together, so it just might be nice to have a finished sample, right?  Cassie is keeping a close eye on the process. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

So Many Little Pieces!

I'm back to working on Dear Jane.  While I really, really enjoyed working on the little blocks, putting it all together is not so much fun.  Sashing strips are cut 1" x 5" and cornerstones are cut 1" x 1" and there are a million of them (seems like).  I've got to be careful!  Here's what it looks like so far.  The three middle rows are sewn together.
After spending all morning on Jane, I switched gears and sewed the binding on a little strip pieced table topper.  I made the top way back in July while doing a demo for a class and was tired of it laying around.  Another quick machine quilting job and another UFO is finished.  Yay!!
Here's a close-up.
The blocks for the cobweb quilt are just about finished.  The strips are sewn; I just need to figure out what I want for the contrast.  I have some real flour sacks, if I want to keep it all vintage, or I might just choose a solid.  More on that soon.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Finish One, Start Another

I really, really wanted to start the cobweb pattern that I showed in the last post.

So, I made myself machine quilt the "Star Crossed Table Runner" on Sunday and by Monday afternoon the binding was finished.  Here's a little peek at the backing, too.
Whew!  With that done, I deserved to start something new, didn't I?  I've started the cobweb blocks, using the feed sack scraps as planned.  It doesn't look like much yet, but here's where I'm at.
Each block has 14 pieces and I'm making 24 blocks which will form 6 stars.  I don't have enough scraps for more than that ... I have supplemented just a bit with strips cut off a couple of whole feed sacks.

And now for something completely different!  I'm not quite finished exploring the four-square kaleidoscope pattern that I made recently, so today I chose another busy print to work with.  Preview of coming attractions.
  From Kona Bay Fabrics

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The New Idea

The very day that I finished the Phone Book Quilt, I found another strippy quilt to try!  This idea was in a sweet little book I bought from the guild table at a quilt show.
The "Cobweb" pattern was the one that caught my eye.  I went to my EQ program to draw out the foundation pattern and printed about a dozen blocks.  Then I decided to use old scraps for this old pattern.  I have a plastic bin of feed sack scraps that I bought at another quilt show.  I'll limit myself to the fabric in the box, so that will dictate how large the project gets.  I have a few whole feed sacks, so may pull out one or two of them when it is time for border and/or binding.
Starting another project made me feel more than a little guilty.  I can start projects a lot faster than I can finish them!  I decided that, before I played with my feed sack scraps, I would quilt the table runner that has been floating around here for a while.  It was basted and I had made one feeble attempt at machine quilting.  Straight lines didn't work, it made the fabric pull and pucker badly.  Today I added a few more lines of basting and then quilted with a large stipple pattern.  I was very happy with the results.
I think that the quilting took about 2 hours.  Now all that's left to do is the binding and I can check another project off my list.  I am NOT the world's best machine quilter, but I'm getting better and this is quite acceptable to me.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Fun Stuff

The Phone Book Quilt is finished, the last of the binding stitched on this afternoon.  It is cozy and soft, since it is not densely quilted.  Here's Cassie, giving it a final inspection.  45" x 60", a nice lap quilt size.  Guess what?  Today I found another neat strippy quilt pattern to try.
Next up, I had time to iron the latest crayon batik experiment.  This time, I cut narrow strips of freezer paper and ironed them on, forming a quilt block pattern, before the crayon was applied.  Here is what it looked like after the black dye was sprayed on ...
And here is what it looked like as I began the ironing process ...
I would say that it opens up all sorts of "stained glass" possibilities!

Last, but not least, once in a while we all try to make sense of our piles of stuff.  I was sorting and going through BIG stacks of quilting books and magazines and I found a special treasure.
Pepper, do you think I could sell it online, make a fortune and retire?  It is a first printing, first edition of this 1991 gem.  (Just kidding about selling, I'm keeping it forever!)