Friday, January 31, 2014

Dark and gloomy outside but not inside

The gloomy weather is approaching so I got the bright fabrics out and started cutting. I was up early so I decided why not do something constructive. To qualify my waking up time you will understand that I get between 6-8 hours sleep every night. For years I had to get my son up early to be to work and also my husband. So the pattern is set up early and to bed early. I haven't seen New Years Eve come in for years. LOL 

Here are some of the bright fabrics I have had for while. Decided to cut them up and see where they took me today. Can't create sunlight so I made the bright colors be my sunlight today. 

These are 2 inch squares. They are all from the fabrics and are to be sewn up into 4 patches. I have been using
them as enders and leaders when sewing on my scrappy star. So twice the progress is being made.
Here is the ender and leaders 4 patches sewn onto 3.5 X 6.5 rectangles. This is  Bonnie Hunter patter called Bricks and Stepping Stones. and look under the free pattern tab. She has many free patterns for scrappy quilts. This will be twin size when complete. Autumn will probably be in  twin bed before the age of 2. 

This is the Scrappy star in progress. I'm making the sashing with  secondary star in it. Just a little more interest in the over all look. As I am sewing the points on the stars I'm using the 2 inch squares as my leaders and ending up after stitching the points in place with chain piecing I then use the ender of another 2 inch squares paired up for the 4 patches. 

Today we start another weekend of snow. They are saying, Notice I didn't say who, 4-6 inches. {weathermen} I want Spring. Chris   

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Weather related sewing

Can't go anywhere because of the cold so stayed home and did sewing. This is the finish on the baby quilt. I didn't have enough of the purple to do both ends of the binding so I did them in the hot pink. It is washed and ready for use. We haven't been anywhere and they haven't been anywhere. Hopefully in the next coupe days we will see them. 

Last night while the President was on TV I went into sew some more sashing strips and get another section sewn on this scrappy stars. I was brain storming and thought about doing a reverse scrappy star. Instead of the darker corners I would use neutral and make the star itself out of dark scrap. Have to look into making a sample, but I'm not sure I have enough low volume pieces to fall back on.    

Hopefully the temps get up to what they predict today. A whole 25 degrees. I need to go out and pick up some groceries. Also pay a bill. During the day as a shut in I have bounced between piecing and handwork. I have done dishes and laundry. I did cheat last night and we went and got sandwiches for supper.

I have two loads of laundry done already before 6:30 am this morning. I need to get my coat on and get out the door. Procrastinating though. Still cold out. Stay warm and safe today. Chris

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Secondary star in the sashing

I tried to keep busy today. My back has been giving me fits. I changed the chair I have been sitting in to hand sew and watch TV. I think it is molded to my backside and I'm not sitting level.

I found this solid brown and decided to start cutting sashing to see how far my scrappy stars went. I found a neutral background fabric with some color to make the secondary stars. Since I downloaded this picture I added another section onto this one. It is starting to look pretty good for an amateur. The brown was given to me and the rest of the fabric used is scraps leftover from making other quilts. 

I think I will continue to make these stars off and on so I can use up more scraps and make another quilt for a couch quilt for one of the adults for Christmas. The blocks are 6 inches square and 2 inch sashing finished. It doesn't go fast, but uses up a lot of smaller pieces fast. 

The worst of the cold is over with for now. Noticed I qualified that statement. Never know living in the Midwest. Looks like more snow is on it's way and it isn't February yet. March can be awful cold also. I will be plugging away on this for a couple days and then see where my journeys take me. Chris       

Will be done today

Today will be the day for the first completed quilt since 2012. I have done a lot of stitching, but no finishes. This is the quilt with all the rows sewn on. 

This some of the detail of the quilting. Nothing special, but it makes a statement for the simplicity of the blocks. I wanted the bright colors to speak to you when you look at this. I think it is bright. 

Quarter inch echo quilting, but I used pink thread. This is as I said simple,but effective as far as securing the sandwich together, but also giving texture.
This is a picture of the overall quilt look. It is ditch stitched around the printed fabric. So it is soft quilting and not overall stiff stitching. 

The binding is being stitched down. As you can see the thread nest in the lower left corner. This was unknotted and trimmed up. I guess I got to much in a hurry and didn't pull my threads up. 

We are still in the deep freeze. So sick of being cooped up in the house. Going out today and brave the weather. Stay warm and safe. Chris
Update: All stitched and in the washer. I had used Crayola washable markers to mark it and it needed to be washed out. Plus some of the fabric had been on the shelf for about 12 years. Now it will be fresh. First finish of 2014

Monday, January 27, 2014

Staying in place

We had horribly cold and windy night last night. No school again in our area. This is the 5th time for dangerously cold weather. Kids will be making up school til the 4th of July.

My son is a Fireman/EMT in the county that he lives in. He was suppose to work today, but the County Sheriff  has ordered no travel within the county. He has in the past gone up the night before and slept at the station, but not sure if he did last night.

They had 40 cars in the ditches and they had not been able to get to all the cars as of 5 am this morning. It was snowing sideways and the 45 MPH gusts of wind on top of it was horrible.

We have an appointment about 30 miles away today, but I think I'm going to reschedule it. We have to go out in the country to get there and we can't afford to be stranded. Good day to stay inside and finish the quilting on the baby quilt. Hope everyone is warm. Chris

UPDATE: Just heard from my son and he was out with the Fire Department half the night trying to locate people that were stranded in their cars. Our towns around here are saying stay home do not travel. Wind speeds of up to 53 MPH were gusting through here and you can imagine fresh snow is blown everywhere. Tonight to get even colder. Stay safe. Chris

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Up at 2:30 am

Bright and bold. These were sitting on my shelf and they spoke to me this morning. Well the middle of the night for others. My mind was on overtime and I couldn't lay in bed anymore. So Netflix and I had a quite morning slicing and dicing.

This is what I came up with.This has two more rows to be added. The color in this picture is off because I have lamp on. Still dark outside so natural light not available. It will be a good nap or crib size for Autumn. The center of the blocks is a print that I used to make summer outfits for Taylor when she was 2 years old. It is all cotton. I decided to use up some more of the leftovers to make some extra quilts because sooner than later potty training will start to happen and nap time is hard to get them to wake up to go to the bathroom. Laundry at that stage is forever on going. I have a lime green backing for this quilt. Not sure what I will use for binding. Maybe make and envelope seam and no binding. Cross hatch diagonal quilting will happen to hold it all together. Fun but quick and yet very useful. 

I wish I knew the gender of the new baby so I could start making some extra ones to have. Maybe I will make some neutral quilts just to use up pieces and yet have for gifts. I have pieces of batting I will piece together to use up so less of that is laying around also. 

Need to go back in there and get the last row sewn together and get the seams pressed the right direction. 

Not a good weather day today. High winds and freshly fallen snow and wind chills in to the -40 to -50 in the next 24 hours. Good day to stay in and get something done. Stay warm Chris  

Saturday, January 25, 2014

I have News !

Remember a couple months ago we were excited because we have this little girl in our lives. She has lifted our spirits and made such an impact on our lives. 

I found out yesterday she is going to have a sister or brother. My son called and they are pregnant. It will be a fall baby. I was so shocked. 

This old Grandma is not sure she is ready for two in diapers. I guess I will only have them once in a while and I can spoil and send them home. 

I didn't sleep a lot last night thinking I need to get some quilts done. Two babies and all the laundry. I started looking at what is started and what I need to start pulling all this together. 

My mind is on overload so I need to get started. Chris

Friday, January 24, 2014

Been busy the last couple days

I can't eat preservatives that are in prepared foods. Than means canned goods like pork and beans and store bought canned tomatoes. So I'm left with the options of fresh or home canned or prepared foods. We like pork and beans with a quick meal and I make my own and can them. Yes it is quite a process and takes hours to do, but when you have allergies you have to do this to eat correctly.   

In between process of canning I got another block stitched. My hands need to be busy. I looked for fabric to complete this block for 
contrasts and I found more pieces I had laid out for potential blocks in other projects which I think I forgot about making. So many more combos are ready to be stitched. I envy others who are more organized than I am. Things should be in one place and in neat little piles. Right!!!!! Not in my house. I get surprises this way.
I think I am going to set up the ironing board today and press the other appliqued blocks I rinsed out and try and get true measurements so I can assemble the top so I can see how many borders I need to add to be a quilt. I need to get to the grocery store also. Things like milk and some chicken stock and coffee need to be bought.

Suppose to get to 32 degrees today. Above Zero barely right now. More snow and cold bone chilling weather to come on the first of the week. I want Spring. Chris

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

More color

I got the second one done a little at a time. They have plenty of color for these gray days when we get all this snow. We were to get less than an inch last night, but it blew like crazy so we had drifts.    

Wasn't sure if I would like this one, but it is attractive I think. Will have to do some darker and lighter valued blocks to mix together. Today should run the vac, but that could sound like work. Stay warm only Zero here Yikes. Chris 

Canning and Baby watching

I make a hamburger vegetable soup my Mother and son love. The other day the ingredients were on sale so I bought enough to make a big batch. I cook it all together and then I can it. It has to be pressure canned because of the meat in it. I use frozen vegetables fresh potatoes and tomatoes I grew and canned this last Fall.  

As I said it makes quite a bit. 8 quarts and three pints of soup. So prep time and cooking and canning took up most of my day yesterday. We had the baby for about 6 hours and she was full of it. 

She is 10.5 months now and she is walking everywhere on her own. A couple more weeks and she will be running I'm afraid. She plays games now and hides and they panic because they can't find her and she sits and giggles. Going to be a stinker and tease I can see. 

She tried to say Grandma, but it came out as Namama. She said it more than once so that must be her way of saying Grandma. I answered her and she was satisfied I answered her so we will see if she uses it again. She has progressed in her learning skills so much more than the two older ones did it is amazing what she picks up. Poor baby had such a rough start, but she is sure growing up fast. 

Cold temps again so stay warm where you are. Chris 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Running in circles

Well not literally. But doing a lot of running stitches around circles to get my pieces all done for this block. As you can see I do a running or gathering stitch by hand then I place the Templar template in the center and draw up the gathering thread to make the seam allowance draw up around the template. I then spray starch it and dry it with the hot iron to form the circles for all the spots on the applique that need them.  

Here are the three sizes that are needed for the center of the applique block. Drying completely and when the Templar is taken out you just snug up the long thread and you are ready to layer an d stitch to the block. 

They can then be centered and stitched ahead of placing the larger circle in place. Less to stitch through it you do it a layer at a time. 

Here is a picture of the running stitch and the Templar laying in the center before I drew it up. 

Quickly the circles are ready to be pinned in place and stitched to the block. Trim the threads and you are ready to stitch away. I used thread that came from someones leftovers. I think this green thread was from WalMart and was 18 cents a spool. Great for basting, but never used to stitch something in place. I use a lot of old thread for basting pieces and also for basting quilt sandwiches together. I have so much thread ends I am trying to use it up wherever I can. 

This is a big debate that  quilters have about what kind of thread to use. Piecing has always been said to be all cotton. I have used poly/cotton thread to use up bobbins full of garment thread. I have used all cotton with poly bobbin thread. Yes I am not proud. We use cotton fabrics with polyester battings all the time. So who is right? I use quality of what ever I use. I'm not using cheap thread. Other than to baste. Stay warm Chris 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Not horribly busy

Another one was started last night. Didn't get real far on it and worked slowly on it today. We went into my Mother's for a bit and went grocery shopping. I used colors that are found in the prints to make the somewhat coordinated look.

This is a close up of the shape that takes so long to stitch around. Not sure I like it that well, but it is starting to come together. I think the center circles will make all the differences in the final look.

This is out my kitchen window to the west. The pile at the end of the drive is almost four foot high. When you hand shovel and have to lift it that far you feel the muscles rebelling. I think that is why I am slow today. 

Need to get supper started. 
Stay warm. Talking about the deep freeze again. Chris

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Lots of snow

We received the larges amount of snow recorded in our corner of Illinois. We watched the Quad Cities TV station and the recorded amount was 6 inches. 

We are to get lots of wind tonight so it will drift. So glad we don't have to go anywhere tomorrow. 

We went out twice to clean it off the drive and steps. I helped and sore tonight. Guess it will get better before next winter right. Chris

See what I have been doing

This is the first of many blocks to do. This is the hand work I have prepped. I wanted to make one to see how long it took and the overall look of the block. I made it a whole 2 inches wider all around. I like the design, but felt it was to crammed onto the 12.5 inch square block. This block is 14.5 inches square. This way we can do more quilting designs in the background areas.   

Here is the scrappy stars that I have been working on off and on. The total is 31 blocks so far. I think a sashing that is pieced with a secondary star could be interesting. 

We have another storm coming today so we will be doing snow removal again. They are predicting 3-5 inches before 6pm tonight. Hasn't started yet so it must be going to come down fairly heavy. Take it easy today. Chris

Friday, January 17, 2014

Been busy sewing

Yesterday I got up early and went to the sewing room and was at the machine for about 6 hours off and on during the day. Then this morning I got my Shout Color Guard sheets and washed out my appliqued blocks. The sad thing is the sheets worked, but it still bled a little. The background fabric is mottled so it blends in. I think when the quilt is finished it will release more after it is washed and the red shade will fade that soaked into the background. It is faint so I'm not to upset. That is the bad thing about red. Even though you wash it and use the right chemicals to set the color it still bleeds.   

I said several days ago I was going to get some handwork prepped. Well finally last night I got some of it done. Now  I can sit at night and work handwork while watching and listening to TV. I made this background fabric 2 inches wider all the way around to make a better sized block to quilt around. I like the openness of the applique then to fill it will quilting. Some designers make the block so filled up no quilting other than in the ditch or echo quilting can be done.

I have had the sneezes today. Not sick I think it is allergies. I'm on my second Benadryl today already. I ate bacon last night and also for lunch. That is probably what triggered it. I have trouble with preservatives. And bacon and prepared meets all have nitrates or preservatives in them. That is why I cook from scratch and with mostly fresh produce and unprepared meats. I have a hankering for fast food sometimes, but I pay the price for days later. This was from homemade pizza, but I used the bacon to give more of the taste of sausage that really sets me off. 

Up early and the sneezes I guess a nap will be in order. Chris  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Helped with snow removal.

I haven't done much snow removal in the last couple years. I did help when we had several inches at one time last year, but it was a mild winter.

I went in to take a nap and got up not feeling to bad, but oh my  as the rest of the afternoon wore on I ache. Sitting her in my pj's and trying to relax before time for bed.

I cut up three piles of fabric and sorted through several sandwich bags of scraps. My bins are filling up quickly. I cut more 2.5 inch squares from fabrics as I handled them. I started looking at fabric for applique shapes and stems. Greens and variety of greens are my weakness. I really don't have a good selection.

I also need shirting prints and stripes.There is a shop about 40 miles from here that has a whole wall of shirtings. May have to make a trip. After the weather breaks I do have some short trip travel plans.

This next month we need to start seeds for the garden. When I get them ready I try and clean the area good so I don't have to disturb them much before we take them outside. The seed catalogs are showing up in the mail.

Plan on bed early and up to sew some more. It has been a good distraction of late for me. Plus the creative thing and getting somethings almost done has helped also. Grocery shopping tomorrow so need to get my Shout color guard sheets while I'm out. Have a good evening. Chris  

First peanut butter sandwich

Normally I don't like my picture taken, but she wanted to feed herself and I don't have a highchair. So peanut butter and grape jelly were every where. On me, her and the table. She really liked what she was getting. She also tried Cheerios and that went over really good too. 

She has learned to move trucks, cars and tractors around and make the motor sound while she does it. I laughed because I had never heard her do it. At this age they change daily. 

Ok I am possessed, obsessed and crazy. I got a few more done this morning. I think while watching TV tonight I might do some more sorting and cutting. I need to set aside pieces for the applique I want to get ready. Kill two birds with one stone.    

My enabler Mother brought me this bag of scrapes. Not  large bag, but all usable pieces. More neutrals for the stars and yet strings for other projects. I think I'm going to move my table back into the living room shortly and collect my piles to deal with. Getting colder out and the wind is brisk. Stay warm Chris ps. I think for my birthday which is coming up soon I maybe will buy another table like the one I have. Very handy.  

Obsessed and not gaining ground

I think I have a disease. The smaller the scrap is the more determined I am to use it. Does it have a name? Well the only one I can think of is OCS. New disease. Obsessive Compulsive Sewer. Does that sound good? I started digging in my bins yesterday and the potential to have a gazillion quilts come out of this mess in there. 

See this tub, well it is full right now more has been added and yet I have more to sort through and cut. As Katie says the scraps are like rabbits and they multiply as you use them. I haven't in almost a year bought anything other than backing or border pieces. Then my Mother came yesterday because we had the baby and she brought me a zippered bag of pieces. My husband rolled his eyes. It will get added to the mess in the sewing room.

Now onto the bigger problem. I need to spend more time in there sorting, cutting and sewing. I feel guilty if I stop to cook a meal or do housework. Why is the hole thing taking over my life? Well maybe because I don't have a life. As a caregiver you have to have an escape to be able to cope. When your loved one has dementia and you are constantly repeating yourself and checking up on them it is hard to have "Me" time. 

Today I'm going to start prepping for another applique project. I know 
I have so many things in the works, but handwork is a way of coping for me in the evening when he is watching TV and he wants me to sit in the same room with him. 

Last night I sat in the room with him. The TV was blaring and I had my laptop and ear buds to watch quilting from YouTube. I didn't have any handwork ready. Yes I was enjoying the video I was watching, but not being productive. 

Is there  a cure for this disease? I think there is go sew. LOL Chris      

Monday, January 13, 2014

Took some time to sort

 I got up early and started digging in tubs for light neutrals. I found quite a few pieces and some are large enough they can be used several times. I really didn't think I had enough and yet I knew I kept a lot of scraps. My Mother asked me the other day where I got all these scraps. I wanted to say they  some of them came out of your garbage, but I left that alone.
Here is the blocks I have completed. As I said they are a little more mind boggling than just a mindless sewing project. 

You have to watch what side you sew your squares and pieced squares together to get the image of the star emerge from your placement of the squares. Even though they are not large blocks they do use up pieces that you maybe wouldn't have used in another quilt.

I need to spend another session cutting smaller pieces up to have variety in my blocks. I have several rusts and  reds that I can introduce so maybe as the TV lineup happens tonight I can get some of the prep work out of the way.

I need to do some laundry today. The housework never ends. I also need to do some cooking. Yuk. Nothing sounds good. Maybe eggs and bacon for supper. I think I just solved that.

After several of these are stitched I need to square them up and make groups of 10 so I know my count better. I have this thing about not counting right.

I haven't washed my applique blocks because I'm out of Color Guard sheets made by Shout. This has red fabric and I just hate it to bleed if I don't take the time to do it right. As soon as I get  to the store that process started. All good things take time right?  Chris

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I got 5 done another one in the process. They take a little more handling than what I thought only because I wasn't organized.

I have a whole tub of 2.5 inch squares cut, but the light scraps are mixed in with other scraps and it took time to sort them out. If I had thought ahead I would sort my light neutrals into a separate tub. Note to self think ahead.

I like the look and Jeff says to me well I don't like some of the fabrics you used. It isn't the individual piece it is the over all look. I have so many more piles to cut and sort so hopefully this makes a small dent in the scraps that are laying around. Chris

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Scrappy Star

This is a 6 inch finished block. 2.5 inch squares and scraps make up this block. This is using Bonnie Hunter's method of making scrappy stars.

I have so many small pieces and thought I would make one for a sample and see how motivated
I am. I've missed being at the machine so grabbed a handful of scraps and this is what I came up with. If I make a few every few days a quilt will show up eventually. 

I would like to get quilts made for this next year for Christmas presents. The adults have not had any for awhile and couch quilts maybe will be the choice. Small scrap blocks make a showy look when all put together so this maybe will be one of the choices. 

The weather has been above freezing during the day for the last two days and also for tomorrow.  Our piles of snow are shrinking. Our Kroger's store was almost totally wiped out. They hadn't received a shipment in almost 7 days because of the storm and their terminal is in Indiana and they were snowed in for days. I read an article that said Winter was half over. Is that the glass is half full or half empty? Chris

Applique all complete

All 15 of the appliqued blocks are done. The stitching is complete and the count is right. LOL I finally got that right. I adjusted the size of the center circle and I'm much more pleased with the over all look now. Next step is I need to soak them and wash out all the glue and any freezer paper pieces still left in the seam allowances. Today I will do a few at a time and try and add strips to the piece blocks so when all is ready I can stitch the top together. Then comes the borders. I have the green from the leaves and the tan from the background and the red from the flowers so hopefully can come up with a good combination to make it look pleasing. 

As you can see all the tiny stitches that were made. I cut the background fabric from behind the appliqued shapes because of the freezer paper method I use, but also to make the thickness not so bulk to quilt through. 

I am so happy this one is this far and the end is in sight. Not sure of batting I'm going to use and need to check out yardage for backing. I will look for that after the borders are on and 
I get a better handle on amount of fabric I need for the backing.

We had a down pouring of rain last night and as it hit it became ice. It is 36 degrees out at this time of the morning. We were to get snow on top of it, but the radar isn't looking that way. There were cars in the ditches all over our area. Not a good travel day today. Good day to stay in and soak my blocks and dig to see what the next finish up project  will be. Lots to choose from. Stay safe Chris  

Friday, January 10, 2014

Final hoorah

The final stage of the applique is going on. I chose a size for the center and started to get them prepped . I use a permanent marker so the ink or pencil doesn't bleed through. I use spray starch and an iron and shouldn't bleed through using this method to prepare the raw edge. 

This is the first block I made using the blind stitch method on the machine. I didn't care for the look so I thought I could use it for a pillow top. As you can see the center circle is small and I prefer something a little more balanced in size.

Here is the original size and the new size. I auditioned several sizes and even a different shape, but prefer the circle. 

When I traced these off I had to remember to add a seam allowance to the correct size of the circles. 

Start the running stitching around the circles. This will take a few minutes to do. So happy I am at this stage. 

Stitching about 1/8th of an inch from the edge to draw up the edge turning under the seam allowance when I use the Templar circle and the spray start and iron to get the perfect circle. Off to start laundry. Chris