Monday, December 17, 2012

Scrappy Split 9-Patch, Christmas 2012

Current project on my Design Floor - LOL

I am working on yet another Split 9-Patch.  That red in the HSTs was the only fabric I purchased for this project.  55 blocks done so far - the goal is 80.  It was looking somewhat blah, until I added those light "sparkles" of lavender, pink and a few yellows.  I realized too late the dark area could have been arranged in a better pattern.  That's OK. 

No pattern - blocks are 6 inches, finished.  It's looking good to me.

My crazy knitted blingy scarves have found homes for Christmas, and several Christmas Banners have also found homes.  I still have a few surprises hidden from DH, who has a birthday on the dreaded 12/21, end-of-Mayan-Calendar-date.  Perhaps I should give them 12/20???  He  asks only for my Lasagna each Birthday - it always turns out delicious.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Projects

 What is that???  I actually knitted these - I am hearing they are "the latest thing" - scarves knitted with a ribbon yarn.  I'm not even a knitter and first efforts turned out really nice.  Then, they were like potato chips - couldn't stop!  They are soft around the neck, add some bling, and they squish nicely under a coat collar, etc.

Below is one of my Christmas Banners.  I just like looking at it.  I don't have wall space left, so it's hanging over my favorite rocking chair.

Here is another Christmas Banner - no, you can't simply copy this one - you NEED the instruction - so easy to misplace pieces - I know!  This is a Terry Adkinson design from many years ago.  I have 2 or 3 more in the planning stage.  The back has those vintage Santas posted on an earlier post.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Working, concentrating, fixing, considering, focusing

My To-Do list included: 

     Spend one hour (only) on blog, and try to figure out this photo truncated in Google Reader

So, after one hour, I made unrelated changes to my blog: 
  1. Comment moderation is turned ON,
  2. Verification is turned OFF - we'll see if that makes it easier to comment and less likely to receive the dratted SPAM. 
But, when using Internet Explorer, I am still working on including photos in my Google Reader, in IE.  There is a line I've just seen on my Reader, called of all things, "READER - What's new in Reader"   Then I click on that, I finally see all the truncated photos of new posts.  Ah hah, just what I was wanting, but there is no option to SAVE that visual appearance.  Perhaps it's something I need to sign up for - oh yes, there is MORE to Google, than I ever dreamed of - "just sign up"!!!  

No, not yet, my hour of contrating is almost UP.  I am  NOT going to sign up for anything more at this time, but there is great temptation! 

Surprisingly, when using Mozilla Firefox, there are all your truncated photos in Google Reader, just like I wanted.  So, that's what I need to use.  Duhhhh ... and I didn't have to do a thing! 

Success for now.  All this thinking has worn me out! 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Where are ?

I seem to have been living under a cabbage leaf during these last few months!  In Google Reader, why are all the blog photos no longer seen?  Is there a trick to turn somethng back "on" so I don't have to click on each person's blog to see the photos?  Or do I have to subscribe to a higher level of Google Reader or ????

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Projects, Holiday Banner/Table Runner

 I recently visited my sister - she is NOT a sewist.  I don't see her often as she lives in Florida and Canada.  She started pulling out some Christmas decorations and my first impression was "those are stunning - they look hand made!" and then I realized it was ME who made them over the years!  I'm sure when I sent them, I was cringing, feeling apologetic, knowing each miss-stitch, etc., but now, looking at them, I am amazed at how lovely they are.  This was a good lesson - I never considered myself skilled or talented, yet when I saw these items, I WAS impressed -- I'll bet each of you would feel the same when you see those gifts made long ago for loved ones.

The first banner of "trees" was just as she asked, black and white, with bits of that blue.  I had forgotten how cheerful it is and how it fits with her decor.

Below was a tasselated holiday banner/runner originally made for my Mother. 

And this was another Holiday banner, in different colors, made for my sister..

Soooo, being near the amazing Rainbow Quilt Shop, near New Port Richey, Florida, I got all enthused, bought a bunch of Christmas FQs,  and decided to make a few banners for gifts. Here is the pattern, and below is the banner I made for me years ago.  I especially like how some of the pinwheels blend into the background.

Now, don't go bonkers with this example, but while this pattern is easy sewing, a person MUST be organized.  I have notes in the pattern written in different colored pens, a different color for each time I made the item, and the steps that are checked off each time I've used the pattern.  I do NOT suggest making it without the pattern.  One must stay disciplined and focused.  Surprisingly, I managed!   
I don't have a design wall and learned to lay it out on the batting.  Brilliant idea! 

Below is the top, about half-way sewn.  Only one seam  needed redoing.  8-))  I have enough fabric for several more of the same project.  And there is my backing - is that not cute???  And it was $3.00/yd!   The binding is green. This is a 2-3 day project, with a lot of getting up and down.  The size is about 18 x 44. 


Monday, November 26, 2012

"1448", Machine Quilting Stitches on a DSM

Over Thanksgiving moments, I was able to finish my recent small quilt, (see previous post of whole quilt on fence) "1448" so named because that is how many pieces are in it.  It was made using only gifted fabrics and stash, and I pieced the batting - my gosh, Mom and Grandma, (I am thinking of you with love AND respect)  I hope you notice that your lessons of frugality, have "taken!!"

When I was new at DSM quilting, a number of bloggers asked me for "help" with stitches, ideas, designs, or suggestions, etc., so here are a few closeups of various quilting I did on this quilt.  Since it's a very straightforward "sensible" little quilt, I kept my stitches "sensible". 

The "jaggedy" stitching in the dark area was fun, as I had lively music playing, helping to keep the rhythm.  It works well for me to always do an extra stitch before I change directions - that keeps the stitches neat and sharp at corners.  I did loops and hearts/leaves in the lights and short jaggedy lines in the dark.  Around the edges in the triangle areas I did a feathery-viney thingy.

These squares finish at 1 1/4 inch.  I had purchased a DVD from Jackie Robinson, demonstrating her technique called Strip and Slash and watched it numerous times for both inspiration and relaxation. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanks, New Fence, 1448

Thank you all for your kind messages, note, and conversations following my Mother's death.  She had a good life, almost 97, which was full of adventures, travels, and experiences, and each of us 4 kids all turned out OK  8-)) .

You may remember that a wind storm a while ago, blew down our fence that shielded us from the alley and the handy, but ugly dumpster.  Well, we are back to enjoying the view out our back door.  DH and I had some  heated discussions conversations about wood or vinyl, and he won the argument differences of opinion -- it turned out OK.  If there wasn't a tree overhead with many birds roosting overhead, this might make a good sitting area.  We are lucky cold weather did not occur to delay the process.  It looks like a small job but involved hoists, chains, a jackhammer to remove old posts and concrete.  Thanks Mike!

However, there is an unexpected benefit to that fence.  I am happy!!! Ta tahhhhhh!

This is a small piece I've been working on, Jackie Robinson, Strip and Slash technique.  The finished size is about 50 x 57, and there are 120 blocks, so you see, the blocks are small.  It's basicly a Split 9-Patch.  It's only pin basted in this photo. 

I didn't know how to fasten it to the fence for photos.  These heavy, humongous clamps on the end of the quilt and thrown over the top of the fence, did the trick simply by their weightiness.

I will give myself a "C" for Accuracy in completion, but an "A+" for Perseverance.  Yes, there are 1448 pieces, including the border, and all fabrics were from my stash, although many were gifted. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Alyce Adair - March 4, 1915 - November 6, 2012 - What a gal!  I am so lucky to have been her child.  She was artistic, energetic, creative, had a can-do attitude, willing to try anything, a good sport, beautiful, musical, well-read, worldly, driven, outspoken, and intelligent.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wind and Fences

Thursday, the wind was horrific - gusts to 65 mph.  In some cases, it blew trucks over!! I stayed home most of the day, safe and sound.  The skies were brown with field dirt and grit -- when I went outside, that grit was in my teeth in no time.

From my kitchen window, I can see my neighbor's 8 ft. fence swaying back and forth, back and forth. It wasn't too strong BEFORE this wind, so DH ventured out to brace it best he could from our side. If it fell, it would have knocked out our Utility Box.  This is the same fence the little owls used as an occasional perch earlier this year. We notified the neighbor and felt bad she would have to repair the wind-related damage to her fence. 

Later, look what I found on OUR property.  Oh great! 8-((  This fence has nicely hid the dumpster from view over the years.  Now it is US who are feeling bad about wind-related damage.   Groannnnnn.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Strip and Slash

This is a Split 9-Patch project from Jackie Robinson, called Strip and Slash.  This finished block is small, about 3.75 finished.  But it sure uses up ANY fabric, lights and darks.  I would do it again, but with larger strips, even though I know the larger strips would not blend so nicely. All the lights are sewn together into a rectangle and then cut diagonally, then the darks are sewn together into a rectangle and cut diagonally, then the two halves are sewn together, and all the seams match butt up perfectly.

There are 120 blocks in the above (unsewn!) project, with one left over.  8-)  I sure hope I can get some of those seams together nicely!  Despite all the various colors, it turned out a lovely steel gray-blue. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Good Binding Gadget, and "Jody Blue" Finished

  I LIKE these little binding clips.  They are easy to use, if you drop them, you can FIND them, and no more sticking myself with pins.  They hold the binding well.  (My binding is always the same size - a cut strip 2 1/4 inch, folded.  If you use really narrow or really wide binding, I don't know if they would work. )  I remove them as needed and clip or unclip them to my shirt or cuff - no reaching for the pin cushion.  There are 10 in the package - that's enough.

Below I'm getting ready to sandwich Jody Blue, on one of the last days of summer, in the garage.   Jody gave me many of the blue scraps, and it's almost exactly like a recent copy, RED, finished about May.
Here it is, DONE.  I LOVE the tree shadows. and I also LOVE the perky reds and some lavendars from  my stash.  The large dark HSTs that make up into a square? - I had originally planned them to be one/same color, but they ended up looking like BLOBs, so I made them scrappy as well. 

I also used chunks for the border - supposedly I'm using up scraps.  Yeah, right!  The quilting in each of the border chunks are of various designs - some look great, some less desireable, but the quilt is a a good sample item.  My binding is a dull red. 

Below is the back - again, trying to use up what I have - I LIKE it.  Despite carefully measuring, I ended up with narrow bits of fabric on each side of the backing - exactly what I thought I would avoid!  Jeeeeesh, Elaine, focus!  But the squares at the top and bottom ended up straight and half-blocks - no slivers.  I enjoy using 10 inch squares of fabric, but on the back, a person has to be careful to keep it all straight and true - like using stripes, you must keep it straight, or it looks amateurish.
 A little closer shot on the fence.  IMHO, the reds, and creams and brighter blues give it twinkle and depth.

(Below) I am starting to think more about "modern quilts" and really like this kind of straight line quilting.  It's easy and good for filling large areas. 

I quilt on my DSM, a Janome MC6500 - it NEVER fails me.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Retirement Laziness

I have been retired for one month and feel like I've turned into Ms. Lazy Butt.  My inner clock must be "off", I am awake in the middle of the night, remain unfocused, undriven, lazy, impatient, etc.  This new chapter is going to take some getting used to.  If you have suggestions, I would welcome advice on how to "settle in." 

My Retirement Reception was absolutely wonderful, more than I could have imagined, with many well-wishes, expressions of love and respect, many gifts and cards - including a LOT of gift cards to my LQS, two beautiful cakes - one with a quilty design, and a lot of folks saying really lovely things about me.  I was hoping DH was listening closely!  LOL

Above is a Diana Phalen signed painting that used to hang in my office, and which was given to me for keeps.  I don't have the best place for it yet, but it certainly looks good with that quilt, doesn't it?   

Below is a corner of MY quilt that looks a lot like another one I did, called "RED," and a lot like one from a German lady that I've recently shown.  This one is  called "Jody Blue."  My quilting friend Jody visited me weeks ago, and behind her back she hid a giganto bag of blue scraps. She said she was totally TIRED of making blue quilts, and I was gifted what was left (which was considerable!).  So a gal just HAS to make a blue quilt, doesn't she?  There are bits of lavendar and red, from 4-patches I already had.  The border is chunks of parts.  The blocks are 6 inches, and this quilt measures about 67" x 74".  If you haven't seen "RED", they are almost twins. These blocks are Jewel Box, or Buckeye Beauty and are no more than 4 patches and HSTs.  This is an easy quilt, and setting possibilities are plentiful.  

The colors are more lively, in person.
 I made so many errors with this simple quilt, I KNOW I'm not concentrating.  Jeeesh!  Embarrassing!!! 

For the backing I opted to use what I already had from stash , and made a bunch of 10 1/2 inch squares.  This is a stack of about 100.  I will need 80 for the back of "Jody Blue."   I'll show that backing another day.

We have a warm day coming up so I'm hoping to baste it soon, outside in the garage.

100 ten and one half inch squares, more lively in person.

Below is a new book, recently out, by Judy Woodworth.  She is a member of our Guild and an amazing long-arm machine quilter.  Her long list of long-arm machine quilting awards is incredible.  Many of her quilts are made with her friend Mary Sue Suit, also a quilt book author and member of our Guild, and some of Judy's assistance is provided by her talented husband. Judy does complex and intricate machine quilting, and has the most amazing "spirit"!  She's a quiet little woman, with a gigantic talent.  This is her second book and this one is about designing your OWN patterns and motifs.  If you want to expand on your machine quilting (especially long-arm) this is an excellent resource.   (The lack of color on this photo is totally MY fault!)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Badlands National Park

My retirement “fun” was delayed by a painful ankle ailment, related to uhhhhh, “age.” Activities for 2 weeks were limited to what can be accomplished while occasionally on crutches – and that wasn’t much because I was pretty busy with “poor me”! Repairs were very necessary!  After a 3-hr. drive north, through Custer State Park, past Crazy Horse monument, past Mt. Rushmore, we found the the Orthopedic Center, where my Dr. used words like “arthritis”, “impingement”, “collapse” “deterioration”, but he also said “cortizone” which quickly brightened up my  horizons.  Hey, THAT was a great birthday gift! Bless his heart, when I asked if it was finally time for me to “lose 20 lbs.” he responded, “my dear, we ALL need to lose 20 lbs.” What a bedside manner he had -- I think I may have hugged him!

After the Orthopedic Center in South Dakota, and it WAS my birthday, and that cortizone shot had perked up my spirits, we decided to head east for a 2-day road trip, about 70 miles, to Badlands National Park, in SD in the southwestern part of the state, near/in/through Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I was shocked to  learn it was there all this time, and I'd never heard of it - MY loss.

The drive north to the Ortho Center included this view of Crazy Horse, taken from the moving car.

Crazy Horse, a work in progress, taken from the car.
 And finally the Badlands!!!  Oh my gosh!

View from our Lodge porch

South Unit
My photos fall far short of showing the drama, ruggedness, and desolation of these amazing crags, mountains, hills, remnants of millions of years of volcano remains. This area must be full of archeological treasures. There was a 30 mile route in one direction, and we stayed at a very nice motel, Cedar Pass Lodge in the Park, with lovely quilts on the beds, with a good view of more incredible landscapes, and also with a nice restaurant and Visitors Center. This is part of the Oglala Sioux Reservation – I will risk scarcasm as in no way can anyone grow crops in most of this particular Badland area. Returning home we went another direction, yet still in/near the National Park, across flatlands and tables where it’s nice to imagine days of bison traversing this land.

I would definitely recommend this trip, although it’s NOT plush. Climate is semi-arid, not much snow, but a lot of wind, and I presume very HOT in summer. Fill up your gas tank before you get in the Park.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A quilting friend in Frankfurt, Germany

I received a lovely e-mail with photos from Heike, in Frankfurt, who had seen my recent quilt "RED" and made a similar one for her husband, in blues and grays  Heike says she is a new quilter, does not even use measurements!  However, she sure managed to make one stunning quilt.  She said she also recently learned to hand quilt.   I offered to show it off for her.  Heike, your quilt is stunning!  8-))  

Coincidentally, I am making the same one as RED, only in BLUE, still unfinished.

Monday, September 03, 2012

I tried out a new technique!

I  LOVE to see new methods  - the creativity intriques me.  And while I enjoy seeing the methods, I don't always practice the technique, but today I DID.  (Patting myself on the back!)

This DVD, Strip & Slash, by Jackie Robinson, is from 9-Patch Media.  They offer several quilting DVDs and I own several of them.  They have all been enjoyable, and run over 2 hours long.  Good entertainment and I watch them many, many times.  Occasionally they are on sale as well.  Like many instructional DVDs, they have to include a lot of extra material for those who are not familiar with all the quilting methods.  That's OK with me.

Back to this method to make split 9-patches - these pieces are small,  - strips are cut 1 3/4, and 2 1/2 inches - kinda tedious, even though they are strip pieced, but the benefit of "small" is that almost any fabrics can be used - just use lights and darks.  Jackie seems to like unusual "methods" -- I admire that! She also talks about how to use "twinkle" in your quilt, and the DVD includes a number of her samples (both good AND not-so-good) and also many EQ samples.  I enjoy seeing samples that did NOT work - that's always a good lesson.

I'm still not sure I LIKE this method over the tradional method, but it's another option, especially if your scraps are totally uncoordinated.  This is NOT a good technique to make one or two blocks - it's a GREAT technique to use your little scraps up.  As in many techniques, if you start with an organized "system" it gets fast. 

... and I know you will ask, will I finish this?  Not sure, as there is another WIP on the floor, just beyond the camera!  8-))

I am now officially RETIRED.  Not sure I like it but ... for everything there is a season. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

An "I SPY" quilt for Jennie's 2nd boy

I started this "I SPY" quilt about one week ago.  The top went together in one day, while visiting with friends, and the quilting took about another day, and binding about 2-3 hours. 

This is for dh's dear grandaughter, expecting her 2nd boy.  Older brother is 6, so he can "teach" the baby.  The prints are from Keepsake Quilting - "Kids Prints" and are so bright, cheerful, current, and quality fabrics, and have characters from kids books.  You might want to check them out, for your next baby quilt.  There are 50 squares for $13.99 - a bargain, given how cute they all are.  I used 48 for this and I believe they are 5 inches square. 

My quilting in the center is free-form loops and double loops (balloons), a few hearts, and several scrolls.  In the border I just did 3 rows of straight lines, in different widths.  The red fabric is full of alphabet letters and doo-dads.  CUTE!