Food for thought.

Memory is a wonderful treasure chest for those who know how to pack it.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Planning and prepping for retreat

What to take on retreat?
Oh, if I could only just live in pjs the whole time then I wouldn't have to worry about what to pack for clothing. It's hard enough to plan what to work on.

There is the never ending Hearts and Hands.  

I have about 50 or more of these prepped and ready to paper piece.

I pulled out a bunch of 9-patches that were from an exchange years ago and my goal is to find fabric for the alternating blocks and get a quilt top done in these.  

I have 133 of them.  So do you think I have enough?!!!

The rules of the game at the time were to make the 9-patches at 6" finished using Robin Pandolph fabrics.  

I think what has been holding me back on this one (other than the fact that I have way too many UFOs) is that I wanted to make a custom designed quilt.  

I even made a center, basket block.

This block was going to be the center to something "similar" to this quilt in a McCall's Quilting magazine that I have had rolled up in a bag with all the blocks.  The pattern is called Baskets Galore.  I didn't plan on making all those baskets since I had so many 9-patches, but something like this.  

I think I am changing my mind many years later.  I just want to use up what I have.  

I even have a dozen blocks where some of the sewers did not follow the rules.

I think these gals just wanted to use up their fabric.  I think these will end up in a charity quilt or an NICU quilt.  Hmmmm....maybe I can do that really quick.  There are a dozen of these.  

So, anyways, I am now thinking of just adding a variety of floral alternating blocks.  I will make it a queen-sized quilt and need to figure out how many blocks I will need and then how much fabric I will have to purchase.  

Then there is the commissioned quilt I have taken on.  "I" don't need any "new" projects, but a co-worker asked for a baby quilt and I said as long as I had freedom to pick the pattern and the fabric, then I would go for it.  So.......

...I purchased this pattern on-line; and today picked up these fabrics for it.  

The first fabric is the binding, the letters are the focus fabric for the front AND the backing, the array of colors is for the little borders around the focus fabric, then there is the bone colored fabric to outline each block and the background is the soft green.  I am going to get this cut out and ready to go for retreat.  

I think that is plenty to be working on for a four-day retreat.  What do you think?  I can already see my Hearts and Hands being set to the side since making one of them takes so long and then  I feel like I have accomplished nothing.  Maybe I will have to make a pact with myself and set aside so much time each day to work on them or maybe one whole day dedicated to just them.  

In the meantime here at home, I have picked up the thimbles quilt again and have stitched on two borders. 

These were straight borders and easy peasy. (Just a reminder, I am doing this quilt by hand) 

The next two borders I am thinking I will have to applique the thimbles onto the borders because there is that zigzag effect.  

I still have to work out just how I am going to do this.  But two borders away from being done has motivated me to get it completed.  

Ok, so I think I am almost ready for retreat.  Now...I just need to cut out the baby quilt and figure out how much fabric I will need for the 9-patches alternating blocks and I will be ready to go.  

Better get packing,  Oh's still 3 1/2 weeks away.  That's ok....I need to be prepared.  

Happy quilting!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On a roll this week.

Within less than a week, I have completed three quilts.  The first one was the retirement quilt that you can see here

Two days ago I put the binding on the Snowflakes from Heaven quilt.

This was a guild challenge using this particular pinwheel block.  I got it quilted on the long arm and bound it on Monday night. 

It's on the done list.

Then Tuesday night I bound the saw tooth quilt. 

Quilted this one with a swirly blade and a double  row of stitching in each of the piano keys 

Here's a peek at the backing. 

I did have trouble with this one where it came to the tension on the stitching, but I do like the design that I chose to use on this quilt.  So I learned that King Tut thread is a very temperamental thread to work with, but I am still happy with my quilting.

So....that is three quilts on the "done list" in one week.....less than one week.   That list is getting shorter and shorter all the time.  If I can get this many done in a week, I should be ahead of the game.  Of course,.....I am always starting something new.

Two steps forward, and one back. 

Oh well.  

On to the next one.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ready for Retirement.....

That title has a double meaning because I sure feel ready for retirement.....just not yet, but the Habitat quilt that I was making for my boss for his retirement party this coming week is done.....with time to spare...yeah!

100 percent done with binding and label.

You can see the corner label in the upper right (DH was holding the quilt upside down).

This is a close up of the quilting, binding and backing.  

Here's a couple more close ups of the quilting while on the long arm.  I used a panto called Bauhaus.  

Sure feels good to be done early on this one AND to just have another one done so that I can move onto something else.  

Sure hope he likes it.  

Before I end this post, I would like to share MY Habitat that I made several years ago. 

Actually the colors are much dustier, but the top is done in a sueded cotton and the back was the batik.  I quilted it in a straight stitch (rented time on a long arm at the time) in a teal colored thread.  This is one of my favorite contemporary quilts.

Happy quilting everyone!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Another one bites the dust......

This is Habitat and it has a deadline.  It has to be 100% done by the end of this month. 

I picked a simple that was gifted to me by Nancy.  It's called Bauhaus.  

I figured this would work out great for the contemporary look that I was going for.  

Here are a couple close ups of the quilting.  

I chose a backing that match 90 percent of the fabrics on top. 


I used a gray So Fine thread on this one and it blended really well I think.  

Now to get busy on the binding and the label. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Good, bad and ugly.

or the pros and cons?

Should I rip out or not?

I took this one off the longarm Sunday afternoon, but not without some stressing over thread of all things.  

I wanted to do the navy sawtooth in navy and the cream in a light gold thread, but the navy that I had was a King Tut thread and I hadn't used that yet.  From what I hear that can be a bear of a thread to get the tension right.  What I heard was true.  If I had to order thread, it would take a minimum of a week to get here so I thought I would give it a try since I needed to get another quilt on the longarm that had a deadline.  

Before doing anything though, I had to draw up the quilt pattern that I wanted to put on the block.  In my mind's eye, I was seeing straight lines and I had it suggested to me to do this particular design with curves and I was having a hard time getting it to wrap around my brain.  So I drew it up on my erasable board and put it in front of me while I was quilting.  

This helped a lot. 

So...on to my tension. I think I had it "pretty good" so I did my piano keys and bottom and then did the navy sawtooth.  I was using the navy King Tut on top and the gold So Fine in the bobbin.   For some reason, halfway through quilting these areas, I decided I needed to tweak my bobbin tension. Don't ask me why! I continued to quilt and the top looked fine, but lo and behold, when I saw my back, I had an occasional navy loop.  Darn!

I took the quilt off the frame and turned it to do the other two sides of piano keys.  

This picture shows the backing after the navy sections were done.  

Then I did all the cream areas with the golden So Fine thread.  I had no problem with this thread at all.  

I really like how this is quilted.  It kind of gives it movement.  

So, I struggled and fretted with thread, went through the whole quilt with one color and then re-wound the quilt to do the other color thread (this alone could cause puckers in the back if not careful), took the quilt OFF the frame and turned it to do the other two sides of the piano keys (another potential for problems).  All this to show that I went to a lot of trouble and to have little navy loops on the back makes me crazy.  

Do I hold off on trimming and binding so that I can do some ripping and re-quilting?

or do I use this as a very big learning experience and leave it at that.  The top looks good and maybe washing it will make some of those little mistakes disappear in all that lovely "crinkling" that cotton quilts tend to do.  

It's mine.  It's not like it is a customers. 

We will see.   

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Jelly Roll Race Day!!!

Sharon hosted a "jelly roll race" today at the farm.  There were five of us, but I just went for the fellowship and to sew on my own projects while the rest of them did their jelly rolls.  I did mine a couple weeks prior to Sharon suggesting this and I felt that I didn't "need" another quilt, so I worked on a UFO. 

This is Claudette's (the winner).

I just love her red/white/blue quilt.  She is thinking of adding some borders to make it a little bigger.  

Second place was Sue. She had these beautiful brights. 

Third place was our host, Sharon. 

Love the silhouette!

Then there was Nancy's.   This was a Bunny Hill jelly roll. 

Sharon had music going that made you feel like you wanted to "race", there were prizes for different steps in the race, good food and good conversation.  

You can see my completed one here. 

They all had about an hour head start on me.  I was late because of some family issue this morning, but in comparison, I felt like I got "nothing done".  

I got two and a half done from scratch and the other two were in halves and I sewed them together.  These will go to my Hearts and Hands quilt.  No wonder it is taking me so long to get this one done.  
All-in-all, it was a fun day at Sharon's.  They got quilt tops and I at least got to sew a little on a UFO.  All is good in the world.  

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Snowflakes in March......

Here it is March 28 and it snowed again today.  Oh please, Spring, will you finally come and just stay?

Anyways, I had a quilt top done for a very long time.  It was a guild challenge.
I don't remember the name of the block, 

but the block consists of a half square triangle and two quarter square triangles.  

I don't even remember how I came up with this design other than the fact that I had this fabric in my stash and with the medium shade blue looking  like snowflakes with a blue sky background,  I came up with "Snowflakes from Heaven".  

My stars seemed celestial, then there was blue sky  with snowfall that gave me the inspiration to make  the  "made snowflakes" falling from the sky. 

So, it's been loaded on the machine for a week and today with the snow outside, it seemed like a good day to get it done. 

I did swirls on most of the quilt in a light gray.  When I came to a "white snowflake", I did that in white feathers. 

The top is done. 

Here's a peek at the backing.  Perfect, huh?

I found that fabric a few weeks ago for 60% off.  Couldn't go wrong there. 

Well, this is one of four UFO's that have been sitting there waiting for me to get to them.  Hopefully, I am going to get this trimmed up and bound soon and then on to the next one.  

Spring can come and stay  anytime now.