Sunday, December 30, 2012

Start something new

I swore I was not going to start anything new.
Then I got an idea for something which has morphed into an idea for something else. Oh, what the heck, I started cutting Brannock and Patek (Moda) fabric.
Eighty-four 8" squares in a light print and 84 in dark print. I plan to make another top like the green one here (previous post ). My youngest son liked it, so one of the other boys will get one in this Brannock and Patek blue and butternut combination.
Mark a line from corner to corner on back of the light print.
Go ahead and mark all 84 light squares. Layer the dark and light together with the light on top so you can see to stitch both sides of the line.
I used my quarter inch foot lined up on the cutting line.
You will cut on this line after you stitch 1/4th inch away on both sides. Keep stitching; you don't have to stop after each set. This is chain piecing.
Cut them apart if you wish and start down the other side of the line.
You can cut on the line after stitching 1/4 inch away from both sides. Rotary cut or scissors; you choose.
Now you have two half-square triangles. You will need four of these to make a pinwheel (1 unit goes to pinwheel, 1 unit will be turned into a quarter-square triangle).  Press the seams open.
Before you sew together the pinwheel, you will need to square the 4 units to 6 1/2 inches. (Do not square the units that are going to be quarter-square triangles.)
For the unit that is going to be a quarter-square triangle, mark the center with a dot. 
Layer another half-square unit on top with the diagonal line already marked and find its center too. Stab a pin through it, matching it to the dot on the unit underneath.
Make sure your seams line up and put a couple of pins in.
 Looks good.  
Again, sew 1/4 inch away from both sides of the drawn line.
Check things lined up, then cut these apart like you did the half-square units above.
I had to piece together some of my fabric to get enough to make all the 8 inch squares. No big deal. In the end you won't notice.
 Here are the two blocks: the pinwheel (top) and the hour glass (or small pinwheel-below). All seams are pressed open as you go along.
I'm sticking it on the design wall and going to bed now.Wait! I forgot to put a kitty photo in.
Joe and I both love my "new" coffee table.
Okay, we can sleep now.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Where are the family pictures?

I finished this little quilt today. I chose orange bias stripe binding.
I have enjoyed spending time with family this holiday season, and I have not recorded a single photograph of the fun I've had with them. Sheesh.
 Naturally I have cat photos. I was not sure Joe would stay away from the tree. Fortunately he was chill about it.
This is cake the neighbor, Wanda, made and brought to us. I didn't cook; my oven is broken.
Since I eventually want to something with the pile of denim jeans taking up space in the closet, I set about de-constructing them. Here is a pile of denim "bones."
 And the resulting pile of usable denim parts. This work took all day, so I'll just let it sit for a while. I'm not sure what I want to do yet.
Joe has a favorite perch in my sewing room. He likes to be up high, snoozing away.
I've no doubt sewing machine noise puts cats straight to sleep.
 The quilt below is one I "finished" a couple of years ago and put in a charity auction. You know, one of those silent auctions where people write in bids. No one bid on it (small sigh), so I had to. I bought it for $60. (big sigh)
I felt like it needed something, and so today I decided to add more quilting.
Oh yes, much better. I used varigated thread on the front and clear bobbin thread, but the back looks better too.
You absolutely can add quilting to a quilt that's already been bound. This is the second time I've done it, and both quilts were better off for it. 
Sweet! Like Joe's little toes.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

This past week I've had vacation from work, so I got to stitch a little.

(for Andy and Chelsea)
Since I learned how to make pillowcases, all the boys are getting a set of cases (among other things) for Christmas.
(for Adam and Mary Elizabeth)
I top-stitched the accent strip down this time as I read on a blog that it will stay down after washing that way and not require ironing. I also used French seams on the inside to enclose the raw edges. I only had to unstitch and re-do twice (progress).
(for Eron and Meredith)
I showed this (blue and yellow) pair of cases to my neighbor, and offered to make her a pair. She needs king size so I had to adapt. Instead of 27" for the main portion, you upsize to 36" (see the Twiddletails pdf)
(for Wanda and James)
I mentioned I'd done a little shopping on E-bay. I never in a million years would have thought to order cowboy boots from online. Not in a million years. But I fell in love with a picture of one boot size 9 1/2,  so I made the purchase, and then spent 4 days worried I'd wasted the money my husband gave me for my Christmas present. The picture only had one boot in it. What if I hadn't read the information correctly and there really was only one boot? Or the second boot was too deformed to be in the picture?

It looked like they'd never been out of the box. And when I slipped them on, they felt like they were made for me. I got lucky. I love them.
Three hundred dollars less than retail price. I did good this time. I never need another pair of boots ever in this lifetime.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Polyester and Procrastination

During holiday parties you sometimes get to know people you see throughout the year a little better. As a way of sharing something about myself, I let these non-quilting acqaintances know I have a blog. I scroll through my photos to show them my cat, a quilt I am working on, or family members. Invariably someone will shreek "Oh, oh that one! Stop scrolling! Oh, that one is so beautiful!"
 And they don't mean a quilt I made, but the polyester double-knit beauty I purchased at a garage sale (this one) or the poufy one I bought my hubby (meant to be a joke, but now I sleep under it) at Goodwill. See it in my previous post.
 My parents have lived in the same house since 1963, and one day a neighbor (a son of the original owner) was having a garage sale. He said his mother made two of the double knit beauties, and what the heck did he need two of them for? Having thought a lot of his sweet mother, and knowing how much work was put into it, I purchased it.
Mrs. Massey made the postage stamp-style quilt top probably in the early 1970s. The country was was just beginning a time of quilting skill revival, and most of us were working in somewhat difficult to find 100% cotton calico prints and thought little of readily available double-knit polyester.
 Most of us were walking around in pants suits made of the stuff and cloth stores were full of it. Our piecing was done by hand, as tradition dictates, and double-knit was very difficult to hand-sew. (See her tiny stitches 2nd photo.)
 This quilt reminds me of just how many different prints and textures of double knit there were. Mrs. Massey was a rebel; using "new" fabrics for a traditional craft. The rest of us were busy being snobs and rejecting polyester. I am so happy she was independent, resourceful and creative. Those qualitites are what I believe quilting to be about.
Apparently this quilt will last forever. It certainly photographs well. I love it, but have to say I am a little jealous of the attention the two polyester quilts get over my own work.

Today I must, must, must get out some holiday decorations. I understand I will have some company Christmas Eve, so it is time to clean, clean, clean and at least decorate a little.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


So what kind of food do I like to eat now that my diet is aimed toward the Dr. Fuhrman Eat to Live program?

Sometimes I have spinach, mushrooms and avocado sprinkled with a flax seed mixture,
and sometimes it can be some stir-fried vegetables and the same avocado dish. I am crazy about avocados. You see the pattern by my plate? It is for that denim quilt with the fabric squares that you quilt as you go in a cathedral window type method. I cannot wait to try it.

Oh, I finished that bag I was working on.
 I love it but just cannot seem to put my stuff in it to carry it. The home dec fabric I used has Washington DC landmarks all over it. I fell in love with the fabric the moment I saw it, but I have never been to D.C. It would be like walking around with "Paris" emblazoned on my t-shirt when I've never been there either. 
Then I read the StellaBellaQuilts blog post. Gretchen just got back from D.C., so guess who's getting a wonderful new bag with lots of roomy storage pockets?
Enjoy Gretchen! It is totally meant for you.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Up, Down, All Around

The Hexagon Hip Hop quilt with Brannock & Patek's Audra's Iris Garden  (Moda) is a finished quilt top.
I struggled with the fancy border, so it doesn't exactly match the pattern in Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott, but that's what quilters do: improvise!(I like it well enough for all the pouting I did about my mistakes.) I was having a snit-fit over sewing, unsewing and screwing up when Joey knocked over my "design wall" and ironing board. Inspiration hit me as I was cleaning up the mess: unstitch the ends of the remaining two borders and add more triangle units and recut the corner pieces. Fine!
The board Joey knocked over is a heavy duty ironing board I found at an estate sale. A young man carried it to the car for me and asked "does it work?" Well heck. I never thought an ironing board wouldn't work, but I answered I would find out when I got home. Driving away I thought why wait, so I pulled over into a cul-de-sac, pulled the board out of the car and set it up. Good deal; works fine. Wait. OMG, I can not fold it back up! I jiggled, felt around, turned it over, banged on it; I was about to have a panic attack thinking I would just have to leave it there in the middle of the cul-de-sac when whomp! Down it went, and I didn't even know what I'd done. (How freaking embarrassing.)
Here's Joey down on the floor on the quilt top seeing if I resolved the problems I was having; it passed his inspection.

Joey went up on the top shelf to snooze on the fusible stuff I need to cut for the bag.
Looks peaceful. I hate to wake him up and move him.
'Cause now he is down on my cutting table thinking he'll give a hand at cutting out. Some help he is, too. I had to put him out in the hall and close the door so I could work.
While I was working and moving things around in the sewing room, I discovered one of my Goodwill purchases will make a wonderful back to my Bento Box quilt. (I love when that happens!)
I got all the outer and inner parts of the bag cut when I noticed it was 2:45 a.m. I lose track of time when I play in my sewing room.
Joe knew it was time to go to bed. I found him down on the floor in the cat crate all curled up on an old quilt. (The cat crate was out because I took Kitten in to the vet to have her eye looked at; I was not sure if it was infected or not, but all is well. I certainly don't want to take chances with the only eye she has!)