Monday, August 18, 2014

The Finish Line

Yesterday for Slow Sunday Stitching, I stitched on the binding for the baby quilt that I made during Friday Night Sew-In. The photo does not show the true color of the backing and binding, but you get the idea. The pink is printed with tiny white butterflies. It is such a sweet, baby girl pink.
Here is the finished quilt. I love the bright fabrics. Just need to label it, wash it, and send it to California.
Last Thursday Sharon and I surprised Cheryl with her Lap Kitties quilt. She swears she never smiles in a photo, but check out this happy face!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Friday Night Sew-In

Last night I participated in my first FNSI. Wendy at Sugarlane Designs is hosting right now. You can click on the badge on the sidebar for more info. I'm a little late posting because I went to a quilt show today. But, now I'm home and can show you what I worked on last night. I've been trying to decide how to make a baby quilt for my great-granddaughter #2. She is 3 months old already!

I knew it had to have butterflies. I had collected some fabrics and finally decided I wanted to go simple and showcase the fabrics. Here are some of the fabrics I chose. 

I picked out Streak of Sunshine from Bonnie Hunter's free patterns. I made an extra row so the the quilt was 9 rows across and 10 down. I only put on a narrow border instead of 2 borders that the pattern called for. Then, I decided to try a decorative stitch that was on my new sewing machine. If I had it to do over, I would not do it. It's a row of cute little butterflies.
Here is the quilt, all trimmed and ready for a binding. 

This quilt went very quickly from cutting to quilting. I will attach the binding tonight. For Slow Sunday Stitching I will be hand-stitching the binding.

Check out what others sewed at FNSI here.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Pressing Business

Yes, I admit it! I am one of those people who hated the idea of pressing every seam as I pieced a quilt. I would try to stitch as much as possible before I would go to the ironing board. Okay, so once the quilt was together, who was to know about all those "flippy" seams? It's not like I was going to enter it into a contest. This is what I would tell myself.

And, then, one day Sharon was pressing a top for me while I did other sewing. Busted!!! She really got on my case. Luckily, I had won a small ironing table at my quilt guild. The base of the table is a wooden TV tray with padding and a beautiful fabric cover stapled on. Isn't this cute? It sits right next to my sewing center.
Several years ago I began to cut background pieces for a Sister's Choice scrap quilt using a Bonnie Hunter pattern. Then, I misplaced them. I found them recently and decided to drag out my bag of 2 ½" strips. I began making 9-patch blocks. This was so much fun. And, *drum roll* I pressed every seam. I have gotten 30 of 9-patch blocks stitched. I clipped them together in lots of 10.
 I just had to see what a completed block would look like. See, here is the back without a single flippy seam. 
Here is the finished star block.
All my blocks will be scrappy. To bring it together, I found a bunch of fabrics in my stash that are a funny green. It's sort of a sea green...difficult to describe. All the star points will be one of these green prints. It gives the eye a place to rest. Hopefully, this bed-sized quilt will be mine to keep. We will see.
Happy pressing!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

No "real" Pets on Quilts

I've noticed the Pets On Quilts blog hop is under way. I love quilts and I love (some) pets and kids. But, I just can not imagine allowing them on my quilts. Don't all you pet-lovers get upset with me. Once I give away a quilt, I really don't care. I give quilts for people to enjoy. I make baby quilts that will probably get drug around. Or, could end up with who knows what on it. 
This is my granddaughter #2. She is 19 years old and in college now. This is probably one of my first completed quilts. The reason she is looking "sheepish" is she is sitting on a rather large magic marker stain (her handiwork). But, she still has this quilt and still loves it. 
Today I will be stitching down the binding on the quilt Sharon and I made for our friend Cheryl. We decided on a black binding. The batik backing is blue with some purple, pink, and turquoise. 
Not only did we applique cats on this quilt, but Cheryl owns 2 black cats.When it's Cheryl's quilt, I'm sure Peanut and Pepper will be spending a lot of time on it.

I am linking up to Kathy's Slow Sunday Stitching

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

End of Summer Break

Have you ever just needed a break? That was me this month. I just needed to step away from projects and blogging for a few weeks. I still read other blogs and occasionally commented. I watched some YouTube quilting videos. But, there was no sewing or blogging going on. I did begin reading the "Outlander"
series by Diana Gabaldon. Just needed a change of pace.

On Saturday, the Tennessee Valley Quilter's Association had our annual Assembly Day. One day a year, all the 24 or so guilds in the association come together for a day. There were over 500 quilters assembled. This year's main speaker was Jenny Doan of the Missouri Star Company. Oh, my, she is an awesome speaker! There is no way to see her presentation and not be inspired! Now, I am raring to go.

 A few months ago Sharon and I decided we wanted to make lap quilt for our non-quilter friend, Cheryl. We knew we wanted to make something colorful and cheery. She owns 2 black cats. So, I found the perfect pattern. This is what we came up with. 
I had some trouble getting a good photo because the wind was blowing. So, the cats at the bottom look smaller than they actually are. We each had a batik jelly roll, so I cut and Sharon sewed. Then, we cut out and fused the cats. We had reduced them by 25% because our blocks were not as large as called for. Sharon machine appliqued around each cat with decorative stitches and different, colorful threads. That was mostly because the black Kona easily ravels.
Yesterday I went to Sharon's for what she calls "stitching and bitching." She had started on the piano key border, but couldn't decide on the corners. That's when I remembered a small piece of fabric sent to me by a fellow blogger (sorry, don't recall who). I brought the quilt top home with me. I finished and attached the piano key border. I had just enough of that gifted fabric to cut into the 4 cornerstones. Not a smidgen left. Here is one of the corner stones. Isn't that the perfect print?
In the next few days, I will get this quilted and labeled. Sharon will put on the binding. We plan to give it to Cheryl on Thursday of next week.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Where Did June Go?

Wow! June went by so quickly! As someone at my guilt said, " You just wake up and it's a new month." But, though the month of June seemed to whiz by, I actually finished 2 quilts. That's quite an accomplishment for me. I sometimes feel like the queen of unfinished quilts. UFO's galore!
My first finish of the month was this queen-sized quilt for my son. He loves the blues, browns, and tans in this quilt. That was what I did not like about the quilt. Different strokes for different folks as they say.
Excuse the fold wrinkles. I had taken it to show at my guild.
 Then, on the last day of June, I finished stitching the binding on the semi-quilt-as-you go scrappy herringbone quilt. Every fabric in this quilt came from my stash or my friend Sharon's stash. She provided the batting strips. Last year someone donated a lot of fabric to my guild and we had a special sale. I bought the backing for about $2-$3.
The binding looks crooked in this photo. Trust me, it a fault of my photo taking abilities rather than my quilting ability. LOL
The herringbone quilt is the perfect size for a sofa quilt. It's plenty long enough. I had planned to keep this one for myself. My other nap-sized quilt is a little short. But, my granddaughter #1 (age 20) claimed it before it was finished. I took it to her yesterday when she had surgery for a kidney problem. She is doing great and will go home today. She loves that quilt!

I am going to use the fabric my sister gifted me with last week to make a special quilt for myself.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Slow Stitching and More Slow Stitching

The last few days I have been visiting my mother and sister. They live about 200 miles away. It's a nice little drive in good weather. My main purpose in going at this time was to attend a Parkinson's Disease seminar with my sister. She is 10½ years younger than I, but was diagnosed with PD a couple years ago. They finally have regulated her medications well. If you met her, you would not see the tremors she once had. Sadly, this disease has more in store for her in the future. 

My sister sews, but is not a quilt maker. While on a vacation to Hot Springs, AR last month, she visited a quilt shop. She surprised me with 2 beautiful Henry Glass fabrics (1 yd. each). Aren't they cute?
She also asked me to take a walk with her Friday afternoon and she introduced me to one of her neighbors. This neighbor is also a quilter and has a short arm quilting machine. She had a Quilt of Valor for her nephew on the machine and ready to quilt. 

I have been working on the quilt-as-you-go scrappy herringbone quilt. Every evening at my sister's, we would sit and chat while I stitched down the binding. It seems like this binding is taking me longer than usual to finish, though it's not a super large quilt. 
I tried something different this time. I sewed on the binding before I trimmed the backing and batting. I liked the result because I seemed to be able to control my fabric better. How do you do it?

Today I drove back home in a hard rain and then took a much needed nap. Now I am ready for some more slow stitching. Hopefully, I will finish up this binding tonight. Check out what  others are slow stitching today on Kathy's blog.

Friday, June 20, 2014

The Bane of My Existence?

So, a few months ago, Sharon and I decided we were going to make Maureen Cracknell's Herringbone quilt. The tutorial is here. In Sharon's sewing room we cut 2½ inch strips of our scraps for several get-together sessions. I cut my panels a little wider than Maureen's. I also, only intended to make 6 panels instead of eight. Then, we began to sew. The strips are supposed sewn onto a panel of cotton batting at a 45° angle. Easy-peasy. The first couple of panels went well. Then, for some reason I began to find it difficult to maintain that angle. I ripped out and ripped out. Then, I set it aside. 

Meantime, Sharon finished hers and her daughter-in-law claimed it. I brought mine home, unfinished. Yesterday I stitched the final panels. Looks great, doesn't it?
But, look at the far, upper right side. And, this close-up.

Oops! Totally put those strips on going in the WRONG direction. No matter how I turn them I have the same result. I'm going to make another panel. Do I replace a panel or add a panel? What to do? What to do? 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Finished, Labeled, and Delivered

I finished my son's quilt this afternoon. It was too large for my hubby to hold it up for photos. He has shoulder problems. Too much shade at my son's place. So, we did the best we could to take photos.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Almost A Finish

This week I have been quilting on the Disappearing Nine Patch quilt. This is the quilt I did not care much for and my son claimed. I put borders on it to make it fit his queen-sized bed. As I machine quilted it and began attaching the binding, it has started to grow on me. But, my son is adamant that it will be perfect in his apartment...and he is right. But, this is the last of my quilts he will get for a while. Others are waiting for quilts, too.

I tried something a little different on the machine quilting. I have never gotten the hang of free-motion quilting. On this quilt I used a walking foot and choose a wavy decorative stitch on my machine. I hope you can see some of the quilting in the photo below. 
I didn't quilt it very heavily. The wavy lines are about 2" apart and go from top to bottom. I used straight lines on the inner border and straight and wavy quilting on the outer border. I began hand stitching the binding yesterday while my friend Sharon machine quilted. It is so fun to quilt and chat at the same time. This is the largest quilt I have ever made and the binding seems to go on forever! Today I will listen to an audio book on my Ipod as I sew.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

New Products

On my last post I showed a new applique block I am working on. Eventually, I will make all the blocks for Mim's Bloomers. Because I do not know if it is okay to post Erin's photo on my blog, here is a link to what the finished quilt will look like. I am using purples in place of the blues. 

Kathy, who blogs at Empty Nest but Full Heart asked how I got my applique pieces so nice and crisp. So, I will share with all of you about the new products I am using for this project. At my last guild meeting, I purchased a product from our guest speaker. It is called Wash-Away Applique Sheets by C&T Publications. There are 25 sheets in a package. The sheets are thin enough to see the pattern underneath. Or, the sheets will fit into your inkjet printer. 
I traced my patterns onto the sheet and cut them out. I just used a pencil to trace. The block design below looked simple until I realized there were 80 petals to trace and prepare. I'll save this one until later.
There is a fusible side to the sheets and I ironed the pieces on to the wrong side of my fabric. I left a scant 1/4" seam around the pieces when I cut them out. I applied Elmer's Washable Glue Stick (the one that goes on purple) to the edges to be turned under and finger pressed into place. Another product I had not used before was Roxanne's Glue Baste. I glue basted the pieces into place on the background fabric with tiny dots of the glue baste.
I also used bias pressing bars for the first time. I cut my stem fabric on the bias. For this project I cut them 1" wide. I put the long edges wrong sides together and stitched 1/4" seam, making a tube. I found the correct size bar and inserted into the tube and turned the seamline to the backside. Then, I pressed with the iron. When I removed the bar I did have to trim the seam down some.

Now, here is what I have learned. The Wash-Away Sheets are supposed to dissolve when washed or soften up over time. As I am stitching, the pieces are beginning to soften. But, on future blocks I will probably not glue baste all the pieces on at once. My thread was constantly getting hooked around the loose pieces. The pieces were very stiff at first and made it difficult to maneuver. But, for a take-along project, glue basting all into place might be good. Also, I glue basted the basket a little too close to the edges. It makes it a little more difficult to stitch down.

Now back to stitching.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

My Quilt Vacation

It's been 2 weeks since I posted here. Time flies when you're having fun, as they say. Last week I took a vacation of sorts. My sister and her husband, who live a few miles from my mother's memory care facility, were going on vacation. I live 200 miles away so, I drove down and stayed in their beautiful house alone. I went to see my mother everyday and babysat my precious little grand niece for a few hours one day. The rest of the time was my own. Luckily, I enjoy my own company. LOL My own house is small. But, there was plenty of room at Karen's to lay out and baste a queen sized quilt (disappearing 9 patch). I wandered in her garden, too. Look at these beautiful clematis.
Each day I would go visit Mother, then I would go to a fabric store or quilt shop. On the first day, I went to the Hancock Fabrics in Collierville. One purchase was a 10 yard bolt of white Kona cotton fabric with a 40% off coupon. I bought several nice pinks, purples, and greens for a new project. 

The next afternoon, I drove to the Cordova area to a small quilt shop called Quiltsmiths. It was a lovely store and the staff was so helpful. I found some nice fat quarters of baby gingham checks. And, they cut me some more. Aren't they great?

On my third day, after I went to see Mother, I headed to Arlington, TN, to the Quilting Barn. This was a slightly larger shop and I went polka dot crazy! This was a nice shop, too. 

Pinks, greens, and purples are for a new applique project that I started at Karen's. It's a BOM from 2012 called Mimi's Bloomers. You can find it on designer Erin Russek's blog called One Piece At A Time. The small blocks and corner block patterns are free on her site. I purchased the large center block pattern called Miss Mimi from her store. I have the pieces of one corner block prepared and glue basted to the background fabric. Just need to place one more piece on bottom of the basket and it will be ready for some slow hand-stitching.

 Linking to Kathy's Quilts.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you wonderful mothers out there. Thought I'd share a photo of me and my mother, circa 1945. I was the first born. My parents had 3 more daughters later.
I got my love of sewing and doing creative things from my mother. She began to teach me to sew when she got her first electric sewing machine when I was about 8 or 9 years old. My most treasured quilt is this one that my mother embroidered and I hand quilted.

I am continuing to hand quilt my applique wall hanging. I began a new hand piecing project this past week. I am leading a group of quilters in a Sampler Bee. Our guild bees (sewing groups) are held after our guild meeting each month. I am beginning to hand piece The Farmer's Wife Sampler blocks. These will be 6" finished. Doesn't take long to hand piece a block. Here are the first two.

Linking to Kathy's Quilts for Slow Sunday Stitching.