Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Farewell August and a To-Do List

Agh! Time is just flying by too, too fast! Four months from today we will be preparing to bring in a new year for crying out loud. Good grief.

As I wrap up August from my little corner of the world, I find myself looking ahead to some really fun sewing. All of these projects await me after I get Elisa's quilt finished and delivered.

Today's post will serve to itemize (in no particular order) my plans for what remains of the current calendar year.

1. Lorraine/Savonnerie is still hanging on my design wall; I intend to finish this quilt top.

2. Bind Eventide.
3. Bind Scrappy 16-Patch.
4. and 5. Two t-shirt quilts for customers.

6. Make a KF Trip Around the World like the one above that Sharon is making.

7. Finish the UFO - Meadow Lily.

8. Prepare the backing and put Erin's Diamonds in the old quilt frame that Grandma gave me. I plan to "big stitch" quilt, so I hope to make quick work of it. Erin helped me select the fabrics for the backing, so it is ready for action.

9. Sharon and I have made a plan to use our Roman Holiday scraps; I will be going for a sampler quilt, but would be willing to alter that plan once I get into the scraps to see what looks feasible.

10. Emma has asked for a wall hanging for her apartment; she wants green as the predominant color and prefers that it be rather abstract in its composition as opposed to a star or something traditional. My brain is working on that; perhaps my hands will get to it before too long. At this point it is all rather nebulous.

Don't I sound industrious? Whoa. I can only hope to accomplish all of this!

A girl's gotta' dream, I guess.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Wedding Quilt Progresses

Sharon was here yesterday and we have Liz's wedding quilt ready to send to the quilter. The only job left was to press the top and prepare the back. If I do say so myself, I think the back looks pretty darn spectacular.
Is this not awesome?? We had extra blocks and decided to piece the back with them. We found the chevron fabric on sale at JoAnn's and together this is one fantastic quilt back.

 I sure hope Liz and Brian have a king size bed - this quilt measures approximately 102" square.

Even though I've shown the quilt top before, I will include a picture here just to have the two in the same post.

It is ready to be delivered to the quilter. Hopefully we can have a quick turn-around time.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Back to Elisa's Quilt

My commission work on Elisa's quilt has been sporadic over the last month. As I reflect on my minimal attention to it, I think I am learning that sewing for others on a commission-type basis is not really my cup of tea. When I sew for myself, I can put projects off for long periods of time and not feel any real rush to get back to them. If I get an urge to work on something different, I do.

With commission projects, I really ought not to work this way. I need to be more disciplined and devote myself to the job until it is finished. It then becomes obligatory, and I find that I just don't enjoy feeling obligated. On the one hand, I am excited to see this quilt finished, and I think it is going to look fantastic, yet on the other hand, this long stretch of actual work is not thrilling me much.

Conflicted. That describes me. 

Well, with that grumbling out of the way, I will show you briefly what I am doing. It is not all that different from what I showed the last time; but I will focus this time on the process.

The long bar of the kitchen counter becomes my work space. I clear as much off as possible, then stretch the backing on it and use painter's tape to hold it taut.

I rolled the backing (the black fabric) up on a tube and pulled it taut; so that took care of positioning the backing. Next, after pressing the top and the batting together with starch, I aligned these two layers as one single layer onto the backing. I've got the bottom end of it rolled on a different tube. Then starting at the top, I begin pinning. I pull the tube with the batting/top to an acceptably taut position and pin my way down the strip.

When I get this section done, I get my long ruler and mark vertical quilting lines on the quilt top. I have tried a couple of different methods of handling those tubes. I am still experimenting with what works best. But it does do a good job of keeping the three layers taut and flat. The tubes? They are the legs from my Q-Snap quilt frame.

From here, I pull off the tape and head back upstairs to the sewing room and begin quilting.

I hope to knock this commissioned quilt off my list in the coming week or so. That will feel so, so good.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Quilting With Friends

A significantly reduced group met here at my house on Friday morning for the Frankfort Girls sew-along. Terry had to work and Jan and JoAnn are each on exotic vacations. That left Sharon, Sheryll and myself to make the best of the situation, and we held together just fine. The talk, the fellowship and the sharing was perfectly wonderful, even with fewer in attendance. Let's take a look at what we worked on.

Sharon was binding this nifty table runner. She plans to use this on a bar-like ledge off her kitchen counter. Perfect.

Sheryll was stitching the various components on this wool applique. Beautiful, as her work always is.

I made some Cherry Danish yummies - they made the house smell good, and they sure tasted good with a steaming cup of coffee.

I cut these flowers from a bush in our side yard. They might have been a day past their prime, but still they made a pretty centerpiece for the table.

A backup centerpiece was available if the snowballs didn't suit me; these zinnias ended up as the centerpiece on the porch table.

What did I work on? I brought out that tub of Meadow Lily again, and figured out what needed to be done next. (Read about my first foray into this old UFO here.) I never did find any mistakes; what I did find, however, was that I'd made about 20 too many of the flower bud units; it might have been the trigger for me to halt further work on it. Crazy, I know. Next step will be to press the green strips needed to make the flower block, shown in the lower picture, and then recommence construction.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Progress Made on Liz's Quilt

Sharon was here on Wednesday, and we made fantastic progress on the wedding quilt we are making for our friend Dee's daughter Liz. I will dispense with the yakkity-yak, and get straight to the pictures.

These blocks are gi-normous! I think they measure in the vicinity of 20-21" square. Last week when we worked on this, we got all the blocks made and mostly pressed. This week we laid out all the blocks and sewed the top together.

This quilt will be a king-size creation. The bed above is a double bed so you can see the enormity of the quilt. We actually have extra blocks (too many is better than not enough!), so we are thinking of incorporating the extras into a nifty pieced backing.

These pictures are of the blocks just laid out on the bed. Trust me - they are now all sewn together and the top is done. It needs an overall pressing and it's off to the quilter.

I'm off for now. Be back with more tomorrow.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Molly's Baby Quilt

How I managed to forget to post anything about this recent finish and delivery, I will never know. In the general hubbub of recent days, I guess I just overlooked it. I will rectify this oversight now.

About a week and a half ago, I was finally able to get the baby quilt Molly had requested into her hands. Molly, a high school classmate of my DS, is a second-time mom, and while she was pregnant with #2 she contacted me about a baby quilt. I'd made one for her firstborn, and so now I'd be making one for her second.

Baby Ella was born in July, and about 6 weeks later, she finally took ownership of her quilt.

Good grief.

I've bemoaned here on the blog before about what a great procrastinator I am. This is just further proof. This was the easiest quilt ever, and yet I manage to make a major job of it. Well, let's get to the good stuff - the pictures!

Part of the reason for my slow progress on the quilt was prepping a backing (which was a stripe) and gearing up the nerve to test my machine-quilting skills. I do okay on small quilts, but larger ones still intimidate me. And, yeah, it is a baby quilt size, but it's still bigger than I'm comfortable with at this stage of my machine quilting development. I knew I wanted to do straight-line quilting. Finally, I just sat down and made myself do it.

Can you see the quilting at all? I stitched a quarter-inch on either side of the seam lines. I like the geometric look this provides, and it was just enough for me to make myself comfortable with doing it.

After Molly knew her baby would be a little girl, she informed me that her nursery's color scheme would be peach and gray. Even thought the color in these pictures is a bit off, the orange is closer to peach than what you see. I shopped for fabric on our outing during the Canter's Cave Retreat. It was fun looking for these colors. The picture below shows more accurately the peach color.

The backing fabric is the same as the binding that you see above. I like the stripe for the binding; it continues that geometric motif I was going for.

If I can get Molly to take a picture of her sweet baby girl with her quilt, I will be sure to share it here.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Orphan Box

Orphan blocks - those lonely blocks that for one reason or another get put to the side, unused and/or unwanted. I have a box full of them, and if memory serves, I found a box of orphans in my grandmother's sewing things, as well.

I came across my orphan box one day last week when I was digging for something else, and I thought it might be fun to share some of what I have stashed away there. Most of the blocks are quite pretty, yet for whatever reason, I have chosen to hide them away. I might have to get busy on a sampler quilt and use these blocks for it.

Let's take a look at what I've got.

The box is a flat-ish puzzle box, large, but still some of the blocks have to be folded over to fit. I've just opened up the contents to a random spot and pulled out two. The top block is a leftover from the scrappy 16-patch stars I recently had quilted. The lower block is just a random 9-patch waiting to find its purpose.

There are more 9-patch blocks - many more, in fact - and they come in a variety of sizes. Here is just a sampling of them.

Some are made with KF fabrics.

Looks like 3-4 alike of this one in primitive fabrics.

This one is rather small.

Another made with KF fabric and white-on-white.

It appears I have a goodly number of miscellaneous stars in the oprhan box, also. A couple of these go way back, and I fear I don't even remember making others. 

And then we have the wildly random blocks that just seem to be stuff made for the sake of making them. Why? Just because, I guess! A quilter doesn't need to have a reason, right?

I remember thinking that this Churn Dash did not have enough contrast to suit me.
I remember 'unsewing' this block numerous times trying to make the points match.

Some aren't wildly random at all; this 4-patch is about as simple as they come.
There you have it - respresentative blocks from my orphan box. Maybe a goal for next year will be to use them. We shall see; we shall see.

I've been MIA these last few days. DH and I took a nice day-trip on Friday to eastern Ohio. Our original goal was to drive across the state on Old Rt. 40, the historic National Road. We ended up being sidetracked by genealogy-related stuff in Belmont County, where we traipsed around 4 cemeteries looking for surnames in my mother's branch of the family tree. We had a wonderful day and are already planning to go back.

Then over the weekend DD Erin and her husband Jeff were here with their cat. We watched a movie that the kids recommended: Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds starring Brad Pitt. My first Tarantino movie; good story line, but lots of gruesome bits, too.

Overall, we had a relaxing and laid back weekend, and I just didn't have the 'umph' to do even a simple blog post. My mother joined us on Sunday, and with the big cool-down in the weather, we had a beautiful day to sit on the screened porch and visit. I helped her finish a valance for her kitchen and attempted to fix an old sewing machine she'd brought with her (no luck with any fixes!).

Monday was devoted to syllabus writing and copying. With classes beginning for me today (8am and 12:30pm), I needed to be ready to go. And I was; the hardest part of the new semester will be getting up for that early class--it's been a long time since I've needed to keep those hours!

Happy Quilting, Friends!