Sunday, April 29, 2012

How things evolve

I woke up really early this morning and decided to look at some old magazines. I haven't done much lately and my creative juices have run kinda flat of late. I revisited a couple patterns in some of the magazines that struck my fancy when the magazines were new. Some potential quilts may emerge from this effort. Have you ever sat back and looked at your work over time? I noticed a trend and yet subtle changes in mine. Still a scrappy person. Must be my nature. My family says I won't walk away from a fight. Have learned to control some of my frustrations as I age. LOL I like the overall look a quilt gives you. Not a real matchy matchy person. My shoes never were the same color as my clothing.

This is leftover pieces from a quilt top used for a cover for my small freezer. It gets things set on it in my kitchen and I didn't want the top of the freezer all scratched up. The leftovers are to be a table topper for my coffee table that my husband uses all the time. Another project that needs finishing pronto. Note to self practice machine quilting on this topper.

Here is one of my first large efforts with scraps. Yes I have made many others, but this was my stubborn side saying I can do this and the free motion quilting in the snowball block section.
There is a feathered wreath in the off white blocks. Not great but everyone has to start someplace.
The challenge was the first I made to myself after I quit work. You see I was a garment sewer and I made quilts with squares and quilted them by machine for years. Also did some hand applique. This was a first of making something as scrappy as it turned out.

My choices in fabrics have changed. I am in the process of changing my way of thinking into stepping outside the box and making things work together. I never was one to buy fabric just to go together to make a quilt. My Grandmother pieced these blocks together in the late 40's and early 50's by hand. I finished it a couple years back and then machine quilted it. See these are not my colors of choice, but they are pleasing to the eye with it all finished.

So many times I feel like we get stuck in a trend at the time. Batiks, blenders, calico, or solids can all work together. I looked at my stash this morning and yes I need to straighten it up, but what do I expect out of it? Well my expectations have changed since I got all this. My choices take on another role at this time. They are there to support each other until they are all used up. I can see a few new additions need to be added as far as color and texture choices. I also see a trend of color choices I need to expand on. More lighter colors and tone on tones need to be added. Have you looked at your stash. Is it outdated? Can you add to it to make it all work together?

Evolution is a big word. It has a lot of good and bad connotations. Something maybe as a whole doesn't appeal to you now, but in the big scheme of things maybe that ho-hum fabric you bought in the 90's can work as a stepping off point in your next quilt. Challenge yourself to look at your stash and previous purchases as a new way to look at the bigger scheme of things and maybe your outlook will evolve with you. Chris

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Got my camera back

My son finally got my camera back to me today. We have been working outside to get handrails on the back porch.  

We started out thinking it was going to be somewhat affordable and holy moley it cost way more than we thought. But it is up and now no one will fall off the sides of the porch. The step ladder in this picture has been at my son's for three years. I finally got it back today.
We are suppose to get frost again tonight or first thing in the morning. We will never get the garden planted at this rate.
Haven't done much sewing today so need to get on it this evening. Chris

Monday, April 23, 2012

Four more seams and Monday tip

I am up and no ambition to sew. I did a few seams and I need to get back in there and get the last 4 seams done. This is bright and cheerful in my book, but not to gaudy to be wild.
Today for the tip I have been thinking about what to write about. I think I figured it out. Tip for Monday is go with your gut feelings. I thought this through with using the bias cut triangles and then I thought better of it. I questioned the designer of the ruler and then I even emailed a friend and asked what she thought. Her opinion was about the same as mine and I decided that I would go with the designers way of doing the pattern. Not sure that was the right thing to do.  I now have a top that is somewhat wonky. I am sure once it is quilted it will be fine. I thought steam or spraying it would help when pressing. Well guess what the red bled into the white corner triangles. No ones fault the luck of the draw. This has happened before and yet I like to use red in my sewing of these scrappy blocks. I know I will use the Color Guard Sheets when I do wash this quilt. Learn from your experience and take away the better choice for your application. There is not one way only to do things. Do what works the best for you. I can say in making this one I at least did it once. Some things we don't mind repeating and sometimes others are left to only do once. 
After this is completed I am going to walk away and do some machine quilting. I need a break from all the piecing. I have a quilt that needs to be done and yet I keep putting it off. So my next goal is to complete the 9 patch in the square quilt. Hopefully before Mother's Day. Yes that is coming up quick. Chris  

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Creating rows and friendly bias's

I really thought I had made a mistake and even conferred with another quilter. I read the instruction card for the directions to making this block and it called for making a larger square and cutting it into 1/4 square triangles to make the connecting pieces for these blocks. Well when cutting them you end up with bias edges on the outside of the triangles. So they looked wonky to me. I asked Wanda if this was right. She agreed that the straight of the grain maybe would make them a more sturdy block. Well I had then cut out so I decided I would sew 5 blocks together in a row and I was surprised that the bias behaved as well as it did. With all the bias edges on these wedges you need a bias edge to make the block pull into place.  
 So many variables are coming together in one spot and the bias edge in the hourglass section make it ease into place without pulling against it's neighbor. Bias edges can be your friend. Thank you Wanda for making the suggestion to use them and steam the seams when completed.
Sometimes asking another quilter and sounding off on your concerns helps. The designer of this ruler must have had lots of experience working with this design. Hence that is why she has a ruler and written the directions. Remember the rule if all else fails read the directions. The designer is Marilyn Doheny and the name of the ruler is 45* Kaleidoscope Wedge Ruler. She gives you all the directions on the back of the ruler to make this quilt block. I changed the pattern by making it all scrappy. I have three rows sewn together out of 7 and I will take more pictures when I get the top completed. Chris  

Friday, April 20, 2012

The connecting blocks

Here is what the union looks like.

I think the black and white look will pull all of the quilt together nad make it look sharp. I got my mess cleaned up and got several of the 1/4 square trianlges cut to add to the spider web blocks. I think I will be in all day and sew a few triangles on off and on and see it I then can get them layed out to make sure of the over all look. My allergies are screaming at me today and I need to focus  and my mind is wandering with the Bendryl. Hope you have a great day. Chris

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Well getting closer to a finish

Please trust me. I still don't have my camera, but I have all 35 of these blocks made. Finished them this morning while it was raining.

Tonight while I am waiting for a TV show to come on I will go in and put all the scraps away and get the pressing done on the fabric I am going to use for the connecting corners. I have a white on white print and a black and white polka dot with the background black. I think it will pull all the crazy combinations together and make a sharp quilt.

Tomorrow I will try and take another picture with the cellphone and show you my progress. I sure used a ton of scraps for this quilt top. I would drag myself in there and before I knew it I had one done and went onto the the next one. I remember saying it would take three years. I think it was about a month. A few days off and yet I would find myself wanting to keep going. My Mom stood and just was so surprised at the work and what it looked like.

She made a statement that I used a lot of fabric in making this one. They were 2 inch strips and I just kept sewing and cutting. I think I have a different fabric for every wedge. I am not saying I didn't use the fabric over, but in another block.

Many people have fabric pieces leftover from other quilts and they just don't know what to do with them. If you don't plan on using them pass them onto another quilter and maybe they can put them to use. I have told the story awhile back about my Mom throwing away fabric and she caught me in her garage going through her trash and I mixed the scraps with fabrics I had and made a quilt. She couldn't believe I used up her trash and how nice the quilt looked when I was done with it. Use your imagination and see how hooked you get on using scraps to make quilts. There is no right or wrong. I just try and not use the same fabric side by side or in the same block unless it is designed that way. Oh yes don't forget the back side of the fabric. You paid for it so use both sides. Turn it over and see how it changes the look of the block. Turn a stripe the wrong way and cut a plaid on the bias if all sides are secure in the internal part of the block. Amazing new looks can happen.

Take a bag and place all you pieces you cut in the bag and as you pull it out use it unless it like the previous one. Look outside the box for a challenge and yet you will love the look. To pull them all together use a darker border or several borders and you will have a lovely quilt. Things don't have to match to be appealing. I dare you to try it. Chris

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Not a stitch sewn today

I got up to a phone ringing and a horrible leg cramp this morning. I did a lot yesterday and sure I am about three quarts low on fluids. I don't want to stop to visit the necessary room so I don't drink when I am busy. I was up in the night and just couldn't go back to sleep. When I finally did relax and was sleeping good my son called before 6am and he is out of state so I really feel I need to answer the phone. I moved funny getting out of bed and I about fell to the floor with pain. After about two hours and lots of fluids it relaxed. Today I went and transplanted some hostas and help my husband move some dirt around.
Then I came in and got dizzy. He says I am dizzy all the time. I finally stopped and ate something and felt better. A little low blood sugar I am sure.
I wanted a nap today because of not sleeping last night, but I have stayed up. I am sure it will be an early night and then an early morning.
My sewing is something that I should have done today, but the weather is coming in and we wanted to get the transplanting done before it rained. We really need rain. We are still behind from the dry winter.
Tomorrow I will get the stitching bug again and get something more done. Still don't have my camera back yet. I plan on doing a tutorial about how I quilt in sections and posting the progress after I get the camera again.
Hope you have a nice evening Chris

Monday, April 16, 2012

Picture from cellphone and Monday tip all in one

I got this taken from my cellphone. It is almost there. I have 6 more blocks to make and then the connecting blocks need to be added. I added another row in length and then I am making it one row wider. The tip for today is this. Don't let you ambitions get ahead of you. I talked about this quilt I had pieced before Christmas. 9 patch in a square. It measures 103X103 inches. Large is not always better. I have ripped off the borders and started ripping seams apart. Yes I will stitch it all back together, but I am going to quilt it in sections. I use a domestic machine to do my quilting and the open area of the machine is just not large enough to wrestle with this large of quilt.
The best practice is have some idea of the easiest size to handle with your domestic machine and only make section that size. So I had pieced the back and now I have to cut into it to make the backing smaller for each section.
I guess the lesson learned think big but plan on the size and what you can handle. Chris

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Making the best of things

I got up this morning thinking I would sew. Well the day isn't quite making itself out to be the best of days. You will have that now and again.
I tried taking a nap and tried getting into TV and yet it all fell flat. So here I am on the computer. Yes I have a ton of other things I should be doing and yes I need to be doing then, but I just can't make myself do anything today. Bad excuse. Not sick, not depressed just blah.
Is this what the "Golden Years" are suppose to be????

We have an insurance person coming tomorrow and I should be cleaning. I will get up tomorrow and get it done before noon when she is to show up. I am going to go in and dig through some of my quilting magazines and try and get inspired.

I guess I am burned out. I get to almost the end of a quilt project and I want to get onto something else. If I would only finish something I think I would feel better about it. I am close to getting these spider web blocks done and I am forcing myself to finish. May not get the thing quilted, but at least all the piecing done.
Goals, should we have them? Well I like to think I have some, but as resolutions go at the first of the year mine go by the wayside real fast. I wanted to start and etsy shop and yet I am dragging my feet. Still on the fence. I think it is a fleeting thought at this point. The issues of copyright and all the sue happy people out there has scared me off. I guess I will be content to just do my own thing and deal with making a few dollars here and there by word of mouth.
The dedication isn't there right now and family issues take front stage for me at this minute. Dreams are forever and reality is current. Maybe it just isn't my time to step up and be present to do this. I know you never know until you try, but isn't life sometimes more of a challenge than we ever thought we would get involved in.

Some days the lessons we learned as a youngster come back and do tell a tale. Things I wanted as a young adult I have accomplished and done fairly well. Some took a couple tries to get it right, but if you are comfortable with things let it flow. My days as a mother are still working. As a wife I am still here for him and as a grandmother I am still working at being the best grandma I can be. My priorities are in place and if I don't get the bed made or sew or cook supper until late I guess it will all work out in the end.
Off to dig out some quilting books and magazines. Hope you have a full filled day. Chris

This is going to be a boring week

Well not really. I don't have a camera. My son needed it for a training session he has in Indiana. He gifted it to me so he feels he can use it for Fire School training. so no pictures this week.

Katie M. has awarded me The Liebster Award. I am very humbled by this award. I really was blissful to what the award meant and had to get online and figure it out. Thank you Katie.


Katie's blog is go and visit her blogs and read of her adventures in the Southwest.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Bleeding Hearts

This is probably the last chance I will get to take this picture because the weather is changing here today. We are to expect storms and some slight risk of severe storms. I figure the wind will beat it up badly.

This was a start my step son and his wife gave me two years ago on Mother's day. I forget about it when it dies back each Summer and then I am pleasantly surprised when it comes up in the Spring.

I thought about making and applique block for a pillow with the Bleeding Heart as the applique. Will have to test that out on paper.

Staying in today the allergy count is really high and I am suffering greatly. Never use to bug me, but it sure does now. Chris

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Do you think this is enough color??????

Here is the layout so far. The sun was coming in the window so it washed some of the color out. This is a queen sized bed so it doesn't cover the top. Maybe another row would fill it out more. I might even make it one row longer. I have tall guys in the family. I tried to get a better view and my room isn't big enough with the big bed in there to take a good picture.

I closed the blind and maybe this is better.

In the white sections I am going to use black and white in an hour glass shape. Hopefully that will make it all come together and look good. Not that the plain white wouldn't look good.

Remember I fixed 5 quilts before Christmas that my son's dog chewed well one of them that was fixed is chewed again. Some of these efforts I am making now will stay here until the dog is gone or the kids are on their own. I am so frustrated with this that I am almost wanting to quit quilting. Off to make some more blocks. Chris

Sun is out today

This is looking out into our back yard. Jeff had been making a vermin fence. We have a ton of rabbits and stray cats here. They have used the freshly turned dirt for a liter box and also they love eating off the tender plants. He made the fence rails yesterday and today we are going to put up the chicken wire to keep everything out but humans. I plant green beans and beets and they seem to love eating them to the ground if available.
If you look close there is a big fat Robin in there looking for his breakfast. I have potatoes in there and yet some of the rest of the plantings it is to early yet even though we have had 80 degree weather this morning it is about 30 degrees out. We had frost yesterday and this morning.
I got the last of the 24 blocks made yesterday and now to lay them out to see if I like the lay out. Also to see if 6 more need to be made to make a twin sized quilt. Hope to get the lay out today and pictures tomorrow. Later Chris

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

An age old question

Well here it goes. "Does size Matter?" Now get your mind out of the gutter. LOL Does the size of the pieces and the finished block make a difference when you want to make a quilt block? If the pieces are to small do you overlook the block? My Mom likes larger pieces and yet I find her doing smaller blocks. This block is only measured at 5 inches. The challenge of the small block intrigues me. I like the look and yet I like to get it done quickly. So many times the scraps I have dictate the size of the finished block.

The Spider web block is a larger pieced block. It measures 11 inches raw. So twice the size of the smaller one. But the challenge of it is getting all the different pieces in the individual blocks.

With the larger blocks the quilt top gets put together faster.
Are the challenges worth the effort? Only you can say. I think they are for me because I get lost in the process and the outside world fades away. Sometime the silence is so peaceful and yet the colors are laughing at you to keep going.

I now have 22 of the blocks done and I have the fabric for the corners. So I plan on trying to lay it out soon and see how many more I want to do. I have cleaned up two containers of scraps and used the majority of the contents.
The progress is rewarding and yet I can't wait to get this one done.

So does size matter? Chris

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Couple days late

The potato planting should have been done on Good Friday. Well it got done on Easter. They went out with Grandpa and dug the holes and got the seed potatoes all planted.

Derek didn't have enough muscle to use the auger so Taylor did it. He went and got the little shovel I bought when he was little and dug holes for the tubers.
Mind you it was only about 63*F and Taylor was out running around with no shoes and socks. See she is in the garden with her bare feet. She is Taylor. Never did like shoes on.

The soles of her feet are like leather. She is out without shoes as soon as she can in the Spring and way into the Fall. I guess the dirt makes them grow. The hills of potatoes will sprout through before we know it. Hope everyone had a Nice Easter. Chris

Friday, April 6, 2012

15 done

A seam or two here and there and I am up to 15 completed blocks. Lots of cutting and pressing with this block. The only good thing is I am using up a lot of small scraps and yet I am still finding more to use up. Maybe in the next century I will have all the fabric used. LOL It got down to almost freezing temps today. After 80 degree plus days and back to using the furnace. I haven't put my snow shovel away yet. I am trying to get it to not snow by leaving it out.
I am still using up odds and ends of neutral threads on this piecing. I think I have emptied almost 13 spools of thread for my bobbin threads. Utility quilts are meant to be odds and ends. But if the over all look is great and it is all nicely done some of the best looking quilts in my opinion are scrappy. But who am I. Chris

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stressed and a little sewing

This is the only sewing other than some clothing mending I have done all week long. I got up this morning and made this block while it was quiet. My son's car took a bad turn a few weeks ago and he borrow a car and that had to be returned. So this week mom has been taxi. Sad to say he lives 32 miles away and work 50 miles away from my house. So I had a lot of windshield time this week. Early in the morning like 4:30am and out until after 9 pm at night. I am stressed and wore out. Not physically , but mentally.
The car trouble was solved today he bought a different car. Now to get rid of the old one at the bone yard. He might get $300 to salvage it. We drove through 8 car lots before 8:30am this morning.

We went that early to beat the sale people from bugging us. Funny but it was the first one we looked at that he bought. So now I don't have to worry about him breaking down for quite awhile. Found a used car with some warranty left on it and brand new tires.

Tomorrow I plan on sewing and getting some picking up done. I haven't been home for quite awhile and it shows. Chris

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spring has Sprung around here

These are the full blooming Crab apple trees. They look so light and frilly when you look up into the trees. The fragrance is light and delightful also. But my allergies are screaming at me for being outside yesterday. The wind was blowing and it was a beautiful day to work out in the yard.

The neighbor came over and asked to use the rototiller and he tilled our garden also. He was use to an older style and this one was like cutting butter in the dirt. The soil was dry also.

I plan on planting potatoes today and getting them started. Yes before Good Friday as the Farmers Almanac says to do.

Jeff couldn't keep his hands off of it so he did a little more. Which he shouldn't have done, but men what do you do. The bush has a flower bed beside it in the picture and it is over grown with volunteers so I think we are going to rip it out and leave the bushes but plant more veggies. With the cost of everything going up I might as well have food as all the flowers.

Here is the look back behind my garage. We had just mowed and the flowering Crab apples were in full bloom.
We mow the neighbors yards on either side of us and it looks like a park scene when you drive down the block. If you look our direction. We live in a manufactured home park and the owner tells everyone to keep their yards up like we do. Well that doesn't happen, but my corner of the World is maintained.

This it the bush on the other side of the flowerbed we are going to take out.
We cut back the lilac last year and so no buds this year. It was getting over powering and we want to keep it in control.

I think this fall the hostas are going to have to be divided. These are only partially open and they are huge already.

So no sewing got done yesterday and my face can honestly say I was outside. My nose is sunburned slightly. Might even be from the wind too.

I plan on trying to get some sewing done today because I need some down time to get a few things in the house done. The only bad thing is the Spring weather turned to hot Summer real quick so outside work has to get done fairly quickly. The weather pattern is so odd this year the more we get done the better it will be. Well off to get the dishwasher started and check laundry. Chris

Monday, April 2, 2012

No tip today

Monday and I have to be on the road. My son's vehicle bit the dust and he is at work over night. So I have to travel 50 miles to pick him up by 6 am and then get him to his day job. So I will leave in a little while and get some windshield time this morning. I should be back by 7:30am. We need to mow today so I may come home and take a nap first.
Yesterday was my Mom's birthday so we had her out and grilled out. It all tasted good. I did make a couple blocks in the last few days but I haven't got to spend as much time as I would like to. 30 minutes here and there is better than nothing.
Hope you all have a good day. Chris