buriedinscraps

Decide what to be and go be it.

Archive for the tag “piecing”

One more down!

Last year, my husband and I took a trip to Shipshewanna where I purchased this church window.  I liked the shape of it and I could see an old quilt behind it.

open_window I took it home and put it away for another day.  It was a good idea when we bought it but then I had to actually do something with it.  I’m not one to cut up old quilts…even if I had one.  So, I knew I would have to make something.  There it goes….up on the Later Tater pile!

Then I fell in love with hexies.  So I began to make hexies.  What to do with the hexies I was making?  The church window came to mind so I stitched enough hexies to fit behind the window.  I stitched all the way to Florida and back.  A long as I was stitching with the window in mind, my husband stopped asking me when I was going to do something with it.

hexiesThey were finally pieced.   I knew they needed to be quilted.  This was a perfect opportunity to practice free motion quilting.  It was a nice, big piece, it had a purpose and it would hang above the front door so no one would ever be close enough to see mistakes!  Win-win!

I quilted on this piece for about three hours and when it was done, I thought it looked pretty darn good!

quitingAs soon as the quilting was done, I wanted to staple it to the back of the window.  My sweet husband gave me the staple gun.  I actually thought he would staple it for me.  Ha! Who was I kidding!  He sat in the recliner and offered direction.  I was tempted to use the staple gun on his lips but thought better of it.

windowNow it’s finished…  At least my part is finished.  It’s up to him to figure out how to hang it on the wall.  Let’s see how long it takes him….

 

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I love a new beginning….

I love starting new projects.  I just have trouble finishing them.  When I go into my sewing room, I always intend to work on finishing something.  But then I get like that cat that sees a sun ray on the floor…bat, bat, batting at it.  So easily distracted.  Oh, don’ t those fabrics look good together.  What can I do with them?   And I’m off and running with a new shiny thing.

I know that I can never have the discipline to finish one thing before I start another.  I just have too much churning around in my brain and everyday I have less and less time and I just have to see how this might look.  The birth of a new project.  But I firmly believe it’s the birth of a new project that keeps my mind fresh.

Yesterday I saw that I had too many projects in various states of completion.  Something had to give.  And I know I can’t stop myself from starting something new.  I’m sweating just thinking about it!  I have convinced myself to finish one project every month.  So here is my Completion #1–my inner hippie quilt that I believe I’ll call Peace Out, Man.

quiltIn this post, I told you why I stepped out of my box and made this.   I finished the piecing and applique and hit the brick wall I always hit–how to quilt it.  Free motion quilting and I are not best buddies.  We try to be and we’re cordial but we aren’t friends.  I suppose it’s because I haven’t taken the time to really get to know him.  (It must be him because he’s so aggravating! 🙂 )  I love to piece but don’t really like to actually quilt.  So, I delay the inevitable until the very last possible minute.  I’m told the key to FMQ is practice, practice, practice.  But since I set aside completed tops in hopes that the quilting fairy comes in and quilts them at night while I’m sleeping (she doesn’t), I don’t practice much.  Each time I decide to FMQ, I’m starting over.  So, on this quit I decided to practice feathers…once again.  I have not given up on feathers!  I feel like the details and stippling in the center of the quilt look pretty good.

close_upI saw the improvement from first feathers to last.   Not my best work, but at least they look like feathers!

feathersThere’s hope for me after all!  But, most importantly, one down and who knows how many to go!

My last post was buried in the reader so I’ll ask this again.

threadSee the pretty notch?  When I’m FMQ-ing, the thread sometimes gets caught in there.  Usually it’s when I’m on a good roll.  I wish thread companies would do away with them.  But until they do, are there any remedies out there?

Darn you, Bonnie!

Darn Bonnie Hunter!

Why does she have to make such awesome scrap quilts?  And why does she have to be so darn organized?

I love my scrap boxes!

scrapsI love digging through them.  I pull out little reminders of quilts completed, waiting to be completed and those booted out of my life forever! The red, green and black quilt comes to mind…a challenge quilt that my sister and I were going to do.  Fabric looked great in the shop…not so much on the design wall.  No matter how I arranged those squares and triangles, nothing looked right.  I waited for my sister to throw in the towel.  She didn’t.  I blinked first and she happily agreed to trash the project.  So all of those squares and triangles went into the scrap box.  I still shudder when I pull one of them out remembering what almost was.  Then a little smile because I still like the darn fabric!  But, of course. I digress!

As much as I love pawing through the box when I have nothing else to do  (like when does that happen?), I hate digging through it in search of that one print/color for a scrap quilt.  What a time suck!

Enter Bonnie Hunter by way of my sister.  (I have to start ignoring her. 🙂 ) She purchased one of Bonnie’s books and bought into the whole organize your scraps theory.  I can see her now, feverishly cutting strips and squares in various sizes.  Well, maybe not feverishly–but cutting none the less.  What I can’t see is me doing the same thing.  If there’s one thing that anyone who knows me knows it’s that I do nothing-and I mean nothing-feverishly!  But my dear sister (the Enabler) convinced me to try.

OK…my turn.  On her recommendation, I purchased this book.

bookI discover that I love the quilts.  However, I’m pretty sure I’m not cutting up shirts to make scraps.  Here is what I would have to work with.  Obviously, my husband is neither flashy or flamboyant.

shirtsEven if I wanted to go that route (I don’t) I couldn’t.  He’d be a little upset if I did.  He’s still mad at me because I gave away his safari jacket.  Seriously, he still brings it up in the occasional argument.  Now, I have thought about cutting up his Cubs shirts…for that just right Cubbie blue triangle but I like living in this house. 🙂  Would probably be a deal breaker.

So I started slicing and dicing my scraps into usable squares and strips.  I was a human Vegomatic!  I’ll admit it will be very useful when I have enough.  (Do we ever have enough?)  But it will be a long road from this

scrapsto this.

organizedCuz I’d rather stitch ’em than cut ’em!  How about you?

Hippie

peaceEvery once in a while you have to step outside of your comfort zone.  Not saying you have to take a giant leap…but every once in a while you have to tip-toe away from what’s comfortable.  So, I walked away from my reproduction prints for a project.

Mickey Depre (of Pieced Hexie fame!) was at our guild meeting.  She shared some of her bright, fun quilts.  I thought…Hey! I could do that.  Yeah…but did I want to.  The next day at work, I kept doodling this little wall hanging idea.  Hmmm….it needed brights.  Civil War prints are anything but bright.  My considerable stash wasn’t going to be very helpful.  So I knew I had to beg, borrow and steal from my sister and MiniQuilter.  I knew if I asked MQ she’d let me shop in her stash.  But if she said no, I guess I’d just steal when  she wasn’t looking. 😉  Even though it wasn’t really my style, I drew up the design and started to cut shapes.  Here’s what I came up with:

hippieCan you tell I channelled my inner hippie with this one?  Definitely not my usual stuff.  Bright colors and applique no less!

Got it all pieced together and started to cut away some of the background and guess what!

hippie2I cut away a little bit too much!!  Enlarge the photo and see what I mean.

I laid the quilt on the floor to take these photos and something just doesn’t look right. Like a bolt out of the blue I see it!  The darn “a” is backwards.  My husband says “Change it.”  I say “Peace out, man.  It’s just doin’ it’s own thing.”

hippie3

I’m thinking about maybe adding some crystals in the upper left.

Now, here’s my question….do you think it needs another small border?  Maybe something a little less busy?

Catching up….

When last we spoke, I was bemoaning the fact that my creative muse up and hit the road!  I believe she has found her way back to me.  Welcome back, little muse!

It’s funny how things can make you think of quilts.  I was driving home from work a few weeks back and heard “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor on the radio.  It made me think of a quilt I made a while back.  It was back in the day when I (and many others) was enamoured by the Jane Stickell quilt.  I was determined that I was going to make one for myself…all 200 plus tiny blocks.  How hard could it be?  Pretty hard actually.   At least pretty time-consuming.  Then I saw where others were making smaller versions….Baby Janes.  I could do that!  And I did.  The song kept going through my head ….. “deep greens and blues are the colors you choose”.  So I chose deep greens and blues and made my own little Baby Jane.  Here’s my Sweet Baby Jane.

baby_jamesLast summer, my sister and I made another quilt for the veteran’s home.   It was my job to quilt it.  I was going to fmq on my Bernina but I was talked into using my Juki on the frame.  I’ve discussed my Juki/frame here before…when it works, it’s wonderful!  When it doesn’t, I make up swear words.  Let me tell you, I made up some doozies!  It began by lulling me into a false sense of security…things went rather smoothly for a while.  I was flying!  Then the thread started to break.  I’m OK with a little thread breakage…not every six inches.  Then the machine started to drag.  It was hanging up on the frame somehow.  Couldn’t figure it out.  The answer soon emerged when the crazy carriage fell off the rails.  Think that was what was dragging? 🙂  It took my husband and I a half an hour to get it back on track.  Started to stitch again and got the mother of all thread nests.  It was a nest for an ostrich!  Walked away from it for a week.  Came back and tried to remove the nest.  I had to cut it from the quilt and then take the  machine apart to remove all of the thread.  Cleaned it, oiled it and guess what!  It stitched really pretty after that.  We have a love/hate relationship!

charityHere’s the quilt.  I’m sure that all of my aggravation will be appreciated.

bookAnd last, but not least, I’ve jumped on the hexie bandwagon.  Given my aversion to hand sewing I was sure this parade would pass me by.  Then Mickey Depre came to our guild meeting.  If you haven’t seen her Pieced Hexie book click here and take a peek!  I stitched these all the way to Fort Lauderdale and back last week.  They really are fun….and addictive.  Begin at your own risk!!

hexiesAny other late-comers want to join me on the hexie bandwagon?

I feel crummy today…

My sister started it.  She started making crumb blocks.  And, like the lemming I am, I jumped right in after her.  I’ll admit that I was resistant at first.  Why would I want to sew little scraps together all willy-nilly?  I’m a symmetrical person fo cryin’ out loud!  I love need balance.  (my nine-year old grandson asked me Saturday if I knew what symmetry was.  Unfortunately, at times, I know all too well!)  So, the thought of grabbing a couple of scrap pieces out of a basket and making them fit gave me fits.  And what if one of the scraps was, say, a Christmas fabric…in a non-holiday themed quilt.  My quilting OCD wouldn’t let me do that.  Oh dear!  I told myself this would drive me batty(er) and I don’t need the stress.

And my sister kept talking about her crumb blocks.  How much fun they were.  How cool they were. How many quilt tops she made.  I tried to resist.  I really did.  But resistance was futile.  I jumped in.  At first I just sewed them as leaders and enders.  A snippet here….a square there.  A strip along the Flying Geese that didn’t fly right.  Uh oh….this was fun!

So I started to look forward to the crumb blocks more than the project blocks.  And then…(dramatic pause)…I put the project away and made crumb blocks.  Not a million, but quite a few.  I found myself going through my large scrap baskets and cutting smaller pieces and locating all of those orphan half square triangles.

crumb_pileI think this is what we all need at times…some mindless sewing.  The kind that’s very forgiving.  The kind that doesn’t count mistakes.  The kind where mistakes like my wonky Flying Geese can find a home.  We all need crumb blocks.

blocksWant to see how to make them?  Click here to visit Bonnie Hunter’s blog.

Alas Zippy…we knew you well.

This is all that remains of the second incarnation of Zippy the Monkey.

zippyYeah, I know…he scares me, too!  Zippy belongs to my boss (Hi, Beth!) who has had him for 59 years.  Over those 59 years, he’s lost an ear and a nose and a hand.  Apparently, as a child, whenever she was upset with her mother, she would chew on Zippy.  I suppose it was cheaper than therapy!  Zippy appeared on my desk last week.  In a moment of weakness or insanity, I said I would try to fix him.  I promise you that I do not partake of the grape before leaving for work…although it’s the only real reason I can think of for the offer. 🙂  So, I’m looking at poor, little Zippy and trying to figure out where to start.  Perhaps a match? 😉

origina;For those of you, who are too young to remember Zippy, this is what he should look like!  We’ll see what we end up with!

nybAnd for my friend and partner in crime, here’s the latest of my New York Beauty blocks.  I only have four completed and many more to go.  But now, with the holidays behind me, I can get back to my machine.  Oh how I wish I could train my husband to remove the paper from the back.  Suppose I could get someone who needs community service?

I’ve been working on the quilt for MarioFan.  I’m really enjoying this one.  I believe I need twenty blocks and I have four finished.  They go together nicely.  After the Grandma nightmare, it’s refreshing to enjoy piecing once again!  Now to get back to free motion quilting.  I’m afraid you’ve all left me in the dust!

UNCLE!!

That’s it!  I’m crying “Uncle!”.

hairI’m officially throwing in the towel on Grandmother’s Choice. I love my Grandma and I love all of the grandmas that fought so hard so I could vote and have equality.  But this grandmother is choosing to move on to another project.  I think I have sewn each block on this project at least twice.  And, no I’m not making two quilts.  I’m estimating that by the time I’ve cut and recut and sewn and “unsewn” that I’ve constructed each block at least twice….some of them more.  I don’t consider myself a quilting idiot but I just can’t get these blocks to turn out the correct size without stretching the bejesus out of them.  And then they’re all distorted.  I don’t know if it’s my measurements or if it’s her trying to fit a nine inch block into an eight inch square.  Don’t know.  I just know that I can’t be that bad every week.  I think I made the Capitol T block at least three times…literally.  The first one was not quite right so I tried it again.  The Flying Geese were flying out of formation!  Recut them…three times.  Resewed it and it was even smaller than the first.  I’m sooo tired of wasting good fabric.  So, I’m officially outta there!  Movin’ on up and all that good stuff…

If Barbara Brackman is reading this (and I’m pretty sure she isn’t. 🙂 ) I still love ya!  And I plan to sew along with the new Civil War block of the month tomorrow.  But quilting is supposed to be enjoyable and for me, this isn’t! 😦

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Yes, it’s that time again; where we look back and reflect on the good times as well as play woulda, coulda, shoulda.  Then we make our resolutions only to have them become a far away memory by February.  I don’t know about you but I’ve long since given up on New Year’s resolutions.  Who needs the pressure! 🙂 By the end of January I was beating myself up because I hadn’t done enough to change the world.  So I haven’t made one for many years.

But there’s something about this year that’s making me want to make a “strong suggestion” to myself this year.  You get to that point where you realize you have a whole lot more years behind you than you have in front of you.  And I want to spend those years healthier than I am now.  I have no real health issues and I want to keep it that way!  This is the year that I hope to lose those crummy 15 pounds I’ve been playing with the past few years, eat a healthier diet (bye-bye processed food…except wine :-)) and maybe actually exercise!   OMG…I said the “E” word!  I’m also looking into yoga.  Not promising anything.  Not “resolving” anything.  Just strongly suggesting to myself that this is the year I  take control of me.  Those in my house can come along for the ride if they dare!

We saw the movie “Lincoln” last night (short review–great movie..go see it!) and at one point toward the end, Abe turns to his wife and says “We need to try to be happier.”  And that will be my mantra this year…I need to try to be happier.  I’m not terribly unhappy, but I could be happier.  And it’s my goal to do just that!  Fortunately, quilting makes me happy!

I’ve been working on a quilt for MiniQuilter for over two years.  Took me forever because it was hand-embroidered.  The top is finally put together and it’s awaiting quilting.

basket_blockShe loves the 30s fabrics and this quilt pattern was perfect for them.  I was originally going to send the quilt out to be quilted, but I think Grandma should quilt it.  So that is my goal.  And I DO resolve to finish this quilt!

basket_quiltI can’t give her this quilt until I make one for her brother.  (Good thing I only have two grandchildren!)  I’ve been looking for a pattern for a quilt for MarioFan without much luck.  I was in the grocery store with my husband and thumbed through McCall’s American Loves Scrap Quilts and there it was! Paper Chain!

paper_chainI think it’s a perfect pattern for a boy’s quilt.  The picture of the finished quilt is a page from the magazine and the block is my test block.  It went together really well and pretty quickly.  I’m thinking I want to make it basically in blues and browns with a little bit of green and/or red.  I’m kind of excited!  The new year needs a new project!  And I resolve to finish this one also!

chain_blockWhat are your quilting resolutions….or “strong suggestions”?

Oh happy day!!

Oh happy day!  As much as I love the Christmas holidays, I’m always a little bit relieved when they are over.  It’s finally time to relax just a little bit…a time to do things that don’t involve food.  A time to emerge from the sugar coma that sometimes comes to represent the holiday season.  A time to do some things for ourselves.  Don’t misunderstand…I love to do things for others.  It makes me feel good…makes me smile.  But sometimes I need to selfishly claim some time for me…to do whatever I want to do.  And that’s what I did today.

I tried to do that yesterday but it didn’t work out so well.  I started down to the sewing palace numerous times and was side-tracked almost every time!  Woke up late…started to watch Rachael Ray…liked what she was cookin’ for dinner.  That required a trip to the store.  Which usually means a trip to two stores…no store has everything.  Yesterday was no exception.  Two stores later, I was home and set to sew.  My husband came home for lunch.  After lunch, I caught a glimpse of the People’s Court on television.  (Don’t judge me! 🙂 ).  I finally pulled myself away from the TV and went downstairs…two thirds of the day down the drain.

Since I hadn’t sewn a thing but Barbie clothes and a Christmas stocking for weeks, I knew I had to piece.  But what?  Before the holiday season, I decided that I was going to deep six the Grandmother’s Choice project.  I wasn’t crazy about the fabrics I chose and just generally wasn’t feeling the love for it.  So, with the attitude that life’s too short to make quilts I don’t like, I decided the heck with it!  But when I entered the palace, I thought maybe I’d give it another try.  Of course I only had ten blocks completed and they were already on block seventeen and it seemed a little bit overwhelming.  But I cut out the pieces for the schoolhouse block.  There was a time I loved house blocks.  That time has passed as of last night.  I have no idea why I had so much trouble with this block.  I’m just glad I’m not a contractor…wouldn’t be in business long I promise you!  It was pretty lopsided building.  I pressed the heck out of it and it was OK…except on the bottom.  I was not about to remake the block so I hacked off the bottom and planted grass.  Guess I’m a better landscaper!

block_11After the housing crisis, I decided to give it up for the night.  Today, I got a much earlier start.  And what I also got was something even better than that…time alone!  There was no one here except me,myself and Irene!  I was giddy with excitement!  Then I needed to decide if I truly wanted to catch up with Grandma.  Yeah…I think I did.  So I dove into Block 12.  It looked a little complicated…dang Y-seams again.  But it actually went together quite well!  OK…one success…we’ll try another.

block_12On to Block 13.  I thought the directions were a little bit vague.  I cut a rectangle that was at some point supposed to become a pentagon.  The directions neglected to tell me when that would happen.  There were triangles that didn’t look nearly large enough so I cut others.  Those didn’t work either.  (Of course, they didn’t…they were the wrong size!)  I sat and looked at the pieces for several minutes and the solution finally came to me.  It would have been nice if the directions had included that little bit of information.  I’m hoping that those of you who have made that block know what I’m talking about.  I don’t want to be the only dummy!

block_13Isn’t this fabric just perfect for Grandmother’s Choice?

close_upNext up is Block 14.  No issues at all with this one.  A nice, simple Churn Dash type block.  A nice break from Y-seams!

block_14And finally, Block 15.  This went together very easily!  (Looks a little Christmasy, doesn’t it?) In fact, I decided to quit while I was ahead.  There’s always tomorrow.  I hope to be caught up soon!

block_15I’ve had some issues with these blocks finishing up to 8.5 inches.  They are all just a little bit too small.  I have two quarter inch feet for my machine…one with a blade and one without.  I was frustrated that some of the blocks were a little too small so I started to troubleshoot.  I’ve been using the foot with the blade.  I looked closely at it and I saw that the blade is not right next to the edge of the foot…there’s probably 1/16 or less gap between the blade and the edge of the foot.  Now if the edge of the foot is the quarter inch mark and if I’m lining the edge of the fabric against the blade, my seam is a “smidge” too wide.  Multiply those smidges by every seam and I’m guessing that’s why my blocks are just a “smidge” too small.  The last block I made today was made with the foot without the blade and it was fine. Have any of you had an issue with a quarter inch foot with a blade?

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