Friday, February 28, 2014


I did a lot of cooking for a birthday party for tomorrow. This evening I'm doing handwork. Hexies are the handwork of choice at the moment. This is 3/4 inch on a side hexagons. 

Here are the three sizes I have made so far. The top one is 1/2 inch on a side the pink and green one is the 3/4 of an inch. The big one is a full 1 inch on a side. You can't imagine how much bigger the whole thing will be until you get them stitched together. I plan on trying to make several of each size and buying a whole cloth neutral background and appliqueing them on it for a quilt top. 

Here are some colors to make the 1/2 inch on a side star pattern. After I get the green hexies sewn on and complete the 3/4 inch one. Snow is coming and maybe a lot of drifting.  Here we are at the weekend again and it is bad weather. Everyone stay safe and warm. Chris

Weekend and SNOW again

When is this Winter going to be over with? Now they are saying anywhere from 2-5 to 3-6 inches of snow. It depends on which channel you watch on TV.

This weekend I'm having a birthday party for three family members. My son's was last month,His girlfriend is tomorrow and the baby is Sunday.

 Menu :
Italian Beef sandwiches, Potato Salad, 7 layer salad, pork and beans and apple cobbler, Texas sheet cake and fudge brownie. Some like one dessert and other can't eat a dessert. I will divide up and send home extras.

So today after an appointment and in between fixing a leaky toilet I plan on doing the baking. The meat will get started in the slow cooker this evening. I need to clean also. Anyone want to come and help I'll feed you. LOL

I've been handwork and I really need to get back to my quilting. So many appointments and things I have to do I haven't  taken the time to get in there and get started. I have pulled out a bunch and need to clear surfaces also. I wanted to show someone some things and I just laid it down and didn't return to put away. Shame on me. I need to break that bad habit.

Well stay warm this week and also safe. The reason I say that is a gentleman we knew slipped and fell on ice yesterday and he died instantly after hitting his head. You just never know what will happen. Take care Chris  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Try this again

Picasa and me are not friends. I couldn't get it to upload pictures to my blog this morning. Must be cold like we are.  I went shopping and found this antique high chair. It needs a little repair, but my husband loves doing that kind of things so it will be a challenge for him. Yes I know I cut off the top of the picture, but I don't have a lot of space in that room to take pictures.

This has a machine carved back. The design is a not a deep relief, but it adds character to the whole look of it. The label on the price tag at the flea market said 1962, but it is more 1942. So not sure of the real age of the chair. It just looks neat to me.

For now she sits good in the high chair and not trying to get down by herself. Things will change in a few months I'm sure, but this way I have a high chair when the next baby comes in Sept. 

I have been keeping appointments with my Mother and also doing grocery shopping and paying bills. Today I have to go buy my license sticker for my car. That hurts the wallet. It is the Polar Vortex again here. Below zero and up to 7 inches of snow over the next 4 days again. We are over 60 inches of snow and the average for this area is 35 inches. The piles are melting some, but when it snows it adds it all back again. Now there is worry that the perennials in your gardens will die off because of the horrible cold. 32 days below zero this Winter. Normally less than 20 days that cold. They reported the snowiest Winter on record for our area and the third coldest on record. Stay warm Chris

Tuesday, February 25, 2014


I got the rest of the posses today. So here is a couple more. She hated the cake and wouldn't try and eat it, but she did cry as you can see.  

 She must have thought this was cute. 

Lots going on today

We are getting the granddaughter for a couple hours this morning. We need to shovel snow before they get here also.

This afternoon I have to take my Mother to amend her will. Not something I want to do, but it is for her own protection. Something that needs to be done as we get older. We think we know what we want only to realize we made a bad choice later on. Situations change and updates need to happen to save all the argument in a stressful time.

I have been making auditions of border fabrics for three tops that are ready to be quilted. I then need to measure for battings. When I scrap quilt I try and make as many blocks as I can with the scraps I have cut. Then as I need a few more to make a better size I can cut and stitch the right amount to finish. The next few days I will have a couple more tops ready to get quilted. Feels good to get them this far.

The last couple years the finishes haven't happened, but I hope several will be accomplished this year. Need to pick up hand work so little hands won't get pins, needles, and scissors when she gets here.

She went for an appointment yesterday and she will be 1 year old Sunday. They said her development skills are of an 18 month old. With the start she had as newborn that is really a miracle. So miracles do happen. Chris  

Monday, February 24, 2014

I've been busy, but not finishing anything

The color in this picture isn't great, but here is a kalidiscope quilt top all pieced together. I had it done in rows for over a year, but not stitched together. Some of the fabric that is in this top was gifted to me by Wanda Hansen. Thank you Wanda.

This is laying on a queen size bed. It is the size of the deck of the bed. Trying to decide if I want borders or a couple more rows to go edge to edge on this top. Always have scraps to make more. The strips in this block are 2 inch strips raw cut so 1.5 inches sewn.    

The last couple days I have not felt on top of the World. So handwork was attempted. I have all these tubs of small pieces so I decided I would try and use up a few. Surfing Pinterest I found a picture of this star configuration. But knowing me I went a step farther and made them really small. Then my husband made a suggestion to make a bunch of these in all different sizes and scatter them on a whole cloth background like a flower garden. That will take time.  

Don't know if you can see the quarter and dime laying on the star. The size of the hexie is somewhere between. I think I attempted to print out a 1/2 inch on a side hexagon. I don't think my scaling was quite right. Hey it works for what this old gal is trying to do. 

I had always when making EPP pieces had sewn through the paper to baste the edges around the template. Well this time I tacked the edges and at the corners and it went faster and is easier to remove the templates to be reused.

I want to finish the larger star today and get another in between size started. It will take some time to get all of the different sizes and the quantity made to complete what we have visioned to do. This will be my to-go handwork. I can do this will waiting on appointments. 

Temps are to fall again and some light snow coming today. I  keep thinking it won't be much longer. I want to get out and walk, but the wind goes right through you. I could go to the mall to walk, but have to drive 4 miles to get there. So I walk when I'm at WalMart and just keep looking. Stay warm today. I'm going to hand sew and watch Netflix for another hour. Chris   

Sunday, February 23, 2014

1st birthday pictures

Today is the day for pictures and boy did we get pictures. Daddy is a Fireman so we had to have pictures with the turnout coat and helmet. She has a helmet on her headband.  

She squatted down on her own in this picture. This is a pretty picture of her. She has red in her hair. 

One year old. Where did the time go! 

Most of the time a big smile on her face. 7 teeth and dimples. We are in for a wild ride with this little girl. She will break hearts and
keep everyone on their toes. Chris.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Opinions Please

Well I need to figure out which to use. Sashing for these Star in A Square blocks.

This is the mustard gold color and it makes it look more antique. Not sure all the blocks will fill this look.

This teal blue looks more modern. Maybe more would fit with this fabric. The other thing maybe I should sort and divide and make more blocks to coordinate and make two quilts. Any thoughts on this. I have 25 blocks made. Chris

Oh My.......

No me time this morning. I know others don't understand that, but as a caregiver even if it is your husband you need time to unwind and regroup.

This morning already it is snowing. We had rain all day yesterday and snow today. I know it won't last much longer, but I will never complain about 90 degree weather again.

I need to focus today on getting more quilting done on the borders. I have some short term goals to get done and then I need to make some efforts to get Christmas quilts done. Not Christmas prints I mean as gifts. I know long way away, but I have several to make them for. A new baby will be here and all the rest of them will not want to be left out.

Well I'm going to go hide in the sewing room for a bit this morning and wind my bobbins. Have a great day. Chris

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Whoooa back up

We have fifty mile per hour winds. It is getting windy here. Gusts at 52 MPH just west of us.

Ok I have a major issue going on in my head. I've been going through old quilting magazines and my drawers and see all the blocks I have made but not finished. Plus Pinterest and web blogs I read all the time.

I have all these ideas and now I want to not sleep and just sew. Then I keep thinking I'm not doing enough. My hands will only work so fast. I need to get this string quilt done and move on. The second border is in the process of getting quilted. I need to stop and wind bobbins again. Hopefully by the beginning of next week I hope I am real close to being done with it. If sooner then great.

In the next couple weeks I need to assess the sizes of battings I need to buy. When I quilt a queen size in sections I use two twin sized batts. They seem to cut with the sections I quilt and then the left overs on the side make the borders. That is the only problem with quilting in sections then assemble you use up more batting. But it is more manageable for me to handle. I think tonight I will trying to work on getting some backings ready for the next quilt. Never enough hours in the day. Chris  

Not a pretty day outside.

Woke up to rain, lightening and thunder. Three days ago it was 6 inches of snow. Who knows what is next. Well I guess I do more snow. Rain this morning and snow this afternoon. Doesn't seem right.

Got another border sewn on and started the quilting process. Maybe today in between other things I can get it sewn. I need to wind bobbins again. I'm starting to get low on my Dove Gray thread. Enough to finish this quilt. I will have to order more when it goes on sale. I get 5000 yards on a cone and use them for piecing and quilting.

Jeff is working on a headboard in the garage. I found one at the dumpster and he is re-staining and varnishing it.  When the owners of the park get someone evicted from some apartments he has he bring the leftover stuff here and gets rid of it. Sometimes you find neat things someone else has left. This is a queen sized maple headboard. I don't have one for my bed and I thought it would go with the refinished furniture we have in my bedroom. Free is good sometimes.

I made two pans of chocolate chip bars yesterday. Every winter I take some to the guys who do all the street plowing. They are pretty good about not plowing us in so we can't get out. Thank you's with a treat now and again are appreciated.

Sewing and trying to figure out meals is my game plan today. Stay warm and dry. Chris  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lots and lots of thread and not done yet

Yes lots and lots of thread. I think I counted 5 bobbins of thread just for the cross hatch quilting on one side. One side is done now so onto the opposite side later this morning. 

Last night I wanted a bowl of cereal and got it all ready and went to sit on the couch I had shampooed a couple weeks. Well the bowl ended upside down on the cushion and all over me. So today I have to shampoo the cushion again. I was really upset with myself.  

I got up this morning and decided I would watch Netflix. Which I found a new to me series from the BBC. It is call "Land Girls" based on WWII women that were put to work working in the fields. If you were unemployed and no children or single you had to support your country. This is set in England and is a good series. I recommend it if you like history, romance and strife type TV. 

This is one side of this border all done and trimmed.   

It looks pretty good for an amateur. Now just to get the rest of it done.

Last night we had Autumn. She was so funny because she is learning to form words. Also you should see her shake her head yes. She signs several things also. She tells you when she is hungry and wants more and also when she has enough. Not even a year old and signing to let you know what she wants. She is amazing and wants to soak up everything she sees. 

In the 40's today and melting going on, but standing water is freezing over so can be very slick. Spring is 28 days away. Chris

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

On to borders

This is the first string quilt. I started this one about 5 months ago. I made two sections and quilted each then seamed them together and did the quilting in the middle. Now I'm adding the borders. I pieced the borders for the long sides . Place the border section on top of the quilt top. The backing and the back and then the quilt batting behind it. I stitched my seam the length of the border for that side and turn the pieces into a sandwich. Then laid it out to be pinned to do the quilting.   

As you can see the gray is the fabric in the cornerstones of the quilt top. I wanted a stopping off point to encompass the center of the sashing borders so that is why I used a narrow white tone-on-tone white fabric. It makes a statement by saying this is the end of the sashing and this is the beginning of the borders. Yes I heard it talking to me. Don't you talk to your quilts? HAHA....

I stitched in the ditch around the white border and then I stitched in the ditch between the blue and gray border strips. Now is when I over think the quilting. Do I do something simple because this is the part that drops off the edge of the bed. Or do I get crazy, but this is a utility quilt. So common sense won out and grid stitching is what it ended up being. I didn't mark it because I eyeballed it between the rows of the design on the blue fabric. Hey it works for me.   

I carried it through the gray so all is going to lay down the same way and hopefully will shrink all the same when washed. Yes I wash my fabrics, but this is a 80/20 Hobbs batt. They do shrink some. 

This is 30 minutes of stitching so far and only quilted 1/3 of one side. Need to assemble the other sides to be sewn in place one at a time. Doing the quilting in sections it is less bulk under the arm of the machine. Less wear and tear on my shoulders and back also. With borders you can work just on the outside of the quilt edges and it makes the table around your machine do all the work for you. I stopped for lunch and then need to clean my machine new needle and oil it good. Batting makes a lot of fuzz. 

I picked up a lot of stuff today in the sewing room and getting ready to pull out another partially quilted quilt to get completed after this one is done. I'm going to try and figure out how to finish the borders on that one as I finish this one. Can't have an idol mind even though it is mush most days. 

36 degrees snow starting to melt, but almost 60 inches of snow isn't going to go away in a day. This is the second day above 32 degrees since last Oct.  Chris   

enough is enough

I think I have enough. No not angry just done with strings for awhile. This is an extra long twin bed and I wanted to make enough to make sure I had length. I will be adding a sashing between the blocks because of all the seams.

There are 115 blocks made. Not saying I won't add a few more to balance things. I will start with the quantity  I have and see how far it goes. I need to get some of the mess cleaned up because I can't stand the mess any longer. 

Today after a little cleaning I plan on getting borders cut and attached to the other string quilt and get it started on the final finish. Quilting needs to happen and I can't wait to get another one finished.

I think I have 5 tops that need to be quilted or finished. One at a time, but pick the ones that can be done in a day or two and work through the pile. Hopefully your day is productive. Chris   

No sewing to speak of, but 5 inches of snow to shovel

Yes the dreaded 4 letter word happened again yesterday. Along with rain and sleet. We can't seem to get a break. Tomorrow we get rain and snow mix. They are saying with the warmer temps flooding is going to be a big threat this year. We live in NW Illinois and all the snow from Wisconsin melts into the Mississippi River and the Rock River we live on and it all ends up here.

Grandkids were here for a 3 day weekend and were to return home yesterday, but the weather was to bad to travel. The police were demanding people to stay put and not travel. So they need to get back to their Mother's today.

So today I need to get some more cleaning done. If I do a chore everyday then sew I feel better about it.I have a catch-all counter that is overflowing. Stupid that things get set there, but it is my fault. I also have a drawer with paid receipts and bills in it that needs going through. The other thing is a cabinet that storage containers are in . You know the leftover containers that when you open the door they fall out. That is becoming an real sore subject between my husband and myself. I think we need them and he says we don't.

Little things like that take 5-10 minutes to do, but get put off. Today maybe one of them will be tackled. Because when the weather is nice I will be outside and that kind of stuff will be forgotten. Have a Great Day. Chris  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Some progress is happening

My sewing is happening, but I've been running on fumes. Not a lot of sleep for several days. Last night I got 6 hours which is better than 3-4 hours.

This is an ender and leaders project. Stitching a few each day. The good thing about it is they make 16X16 inch blocks when completed. I am not rushing to get it done, but as it progresses into a few more blocks it is getting more attractive to me. I can see this with a light weight batt and a light colored backing on it for a Summer weight quilt. Reminds me of an English Flower Garden with wandering paths.

This looks so traditional a quilt pattern. Many times they were finished without borders. All the pieces leftover from making clothes for the family. Then it was just a quilt to keep the beds covered. To me a utility quilt means lots of work and yet it was busy work between cooking and cleaning.

Traditional patterns took some thinking to produce. Many were geometric designs, but they didn't have 3 or 5 fabrics to make a whole quilt. They had pieces. Small pieces of their lives.

Do you remember a quilt on your bed or your grandmother's bed with pieces of their lives all sewn together for a collage of their history? I do and wish they had survived, but sadly they didn't.

More snow, sleet and rain today. As little as 5 inches and as much as 7 inches. I know everyone has cabin fever and yet we have no control over Mother Nature. Stay safe and warm. Keep sewing. Chris  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Been cutting

First off I took some pics of the presser feet and how wide they are. This is not a true 1/4 inch foot . It is a straight stitch foot and there is a difference. This is the foot that came with the machine. It covers the feed dogs and it tracks fine when stitching, but it is 3/8 of and inch if you measure from the needle hole to the outside edge.  

This is the generic foot and it measures 1/4 inch from needle to the outside of the presser foot. So this is a true 1/4 inch presser foot. Hopefully this explains more.  

This is some of the stash I'm slicing up. It is from 2006. Large print and kinda ugly compared to what we see in fabric today. If I cut it up you see that it is a print, but not the big picture of a tropical tone-on-tone fabric. 

This is a 2.5 inch strip from the 44 inch width. It is looking better already.

This is a 2.5 inch cut off of this large print. Looks even different now

This is the 2.5 inch strip turned and ready to be cut into 1 inch and 1.5 inch strips.

Now when it will be cut and sewn into what ever pattern it will still look even more like it wasn't that big ugly print. Look at your large prints differently can increase your ability to make a different look ion your blocks. Chris

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Do you have a stash plan?

This stack has been gone through. No it is not set back on the shelf yet in color coordinated stacks. That is coming soon. As I handle it I'm cutting up my squares, strips and decide if it needs to go to an applique bin. Sometimes things just get to small and end up in the waste basket. But it has to be pretty small.  

This is one wall that has shelves on them and the fabric all needs to be gone through refolded and stacked according to color families. 

This is one of about 18 tubs that has scraps shoved in them. All shapes sizes and prints. This was a way my granddaughter helped me clean up some of it. Now one by one I go back and try to clean up what is in them and manage some of this mess.  

Here is an example of another tub that needs attention. So little by little I am getting this handled. I need maybe another couple months, but as we speak it is snowing out again and we will not be going anywhere for awhile. Frost usually goes down about 10-14 inches in the ground under the snow. This year it is 45 inches down in the ground and March can be really cold. Many towns have underground frozen water pipes and it is really hard on families not to have water. Some heating systems use fresh water to heat with and there isn't water to help keep the houses warm. So this means that I will be slicing and dicing and watching the snow fly. 

In the earlier post I showed this picture. The foot on the left is the generic foot. It is the truer foot than the 1/4 inch foot sold with the machine. They are both made for the brand of machine I have. The correct foot for the 1/4 inch seam has a tendency to not track well with the wider feed dogs. This is why I decided to use the other foot and it made the block to small because it wasn't a true 1/4 inch foot. Measure you might be surprised what you come up with. Use the same markings either on your machine or remeasure every time you change machines. It will save a lot of headaches after hours of sewing and nothing matches up with previously sewn parts.  Stay warm. Chris  

My Valentine's Day

Last night the little Stinker came. She wanted Grandpa's juice so she had her sippy and walked over to him to rock.

She knows a sucker for little girls and cuddling.

After awhile she decide I was ok too. Grandpa got the camera out and she decided to wavy to him.

Grandpa was calling her nick name and she got to smiling. "Punky Pie"

Strings everywhere. Yes almost to my goal. I'm sure until later today I won't get to anymore. Dad has to go and get the older kids so Stinker will be here until they get back.

Neat looking block. It is square and all ready to be placed in a quilt Right?  No!

The blue block behind is one of the first ones I made. I cut them all out the right size. Remember I told you I  needed to address my seam allowance. Well I did. But it backfired. 

The block on the left I changed the presser foot. I used the foot for straight stitching that came with the machine. The needle position wasn't changed. Look at the difference in sizes. An eighth of an inch over each seam can change the size of the block real fast.  

Here is the presser feet I've used. The one on the left is a generic I bought for my machine for my brand of machines. The one on the right is the one that came with the machine. Look at the difference in the width of the feet. The one on the right is the one I tried to use with the red block and it is to wide. I remeasured and it is a different size. It does make the pieces track better, but I can't rely on the seam allowance at the edge of the presser foot. Lesson learned make sure you make a sample and also measure.

Comments in the past have surprised me that this hasn't come up before. You have a travel machine and a machine you use at home. Well as you can see how  same machine, but different 1/4 inch feet are different. Measure from the center of the hole on your throat plate and over a 1/4 of an inch and see where it takes you. I will take some pictures. If your blocks are not as large or to big maybe it is your 1/4 inch seam. Lesson learned. Measure........ Chris