Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Practice, Practice, Practice

I'm beginning to think about preparing to start to commence studying a possible plan for quilting this recent Rocky Road to Kansas.  Yes, my brain is NOT focused, and every time I get on a direction, some diddly nothing changes my direction - what's with that???

Here are some samples, and disappointments, or I should say, "not yet successful designs."  I was thrilled with the first McTavishing  (diamond on the right) but by the time I got to the bottom, hypnosis seems to have taken over and I totally became "lost" in the design!  Yes, I remember about half-way finished, "perhaps I need to stop for a few seconds" but I didn't.

The diamond on the left is OK and I might use it, but in softer threads.  The wonky triangles in the top middle look interesting and not as difficult as I thought.

The wiggly lines in bottom center have the right "feel" for my scrappy stars, if I use a soft blue/gray thread.

I've not machine quilted since ??? spring -- hey, a person gets rusty!  It's amazing how much improved a design becomes with a little practice.

This second practice piece is almost a total loss!  The "wormy" thing on the bottom left has possibilities.  I was using my own imagination which has a mind of it's own every 2-3 seconds! Even poor practice results are better then no results at all.  If you are not appreciating my dark thread, remember that a thread that blends will alter your surface dramatically.
My practice pieces are saved in a 3-ring binder in page protectors, just like PatsyThompson suggests.  Many times I can't think of any design, but that practice binder always has reminders.

I am also practicing designs from, by Leah Day.  I own her big beautiful book, and added a spiral binding to it.  Free tutorials of all her designs from her book are on her site. These two generous machine quilters have given so freely.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A new block, prairie grass, and quilt basting

 This is the design for a new donated project our monthly Thursday night  quilters want to make.  This is the first batik fabric I've purchased - yes I love it, but there is so much standard cotton to use!  It's called Eli's Wheel and is a free pattern at Moda Bake Shop.  

 Note the prairie grass against the bricks, now taller than the house - it grows from nothing in the spring to over the roof in places.  I really wanted a tree in that place, but trees take so long.  Those plumes will last until spring when I cut them down, ready to start over.
Rocky  Road to Kansas.  My last Hurrah of fall - basting in the garage, where I set up the 2 tables, and put legs on legs, to keep from bending over for pinning. This job from beginning to end (assuming all is pressed) takes about 45-60 minutes, from set-up to take down.  Now to get to the quilting, my favorite part, although I haven't a clue as to quilting design.

Here's what I decided for the border.  More stash use-up.  

Today is lovely, but icy, snow, drizzle coming our way.  

Happy Quilting!

Monday, October 21, 2013

"Shirttails" Bonnie Hunter Class

Saturday was our Bonnie Hunter class in Englewood, CO, about 5 hours from my home in western Nebraska.  My travel mate was (above, left) Jody (I usually call her Goddess) who was waaaay more familiar with Denver than I ever hope to be, and her sister Janice who lives in Denver, and Bonnie, then Diane (far right), our table mate from Washington state who was visiting relatives in Denver, but they weren't home so we know which activity took priority!   Our project was from Bonnie's book Shirttails.  Janice and her husband went out of their way to make ME feel welcome - what a lovely visit we had in the evenings and at an incredible breakfast Sunday morning!

This class was sponsored by Wooden Spools, and amazing shop that buys quality cotton fabric from regular quilt folks and resells it at a generous discount to other regular quilt folks!  Bargains galore for first-quality fabric - what a concept!  They also have a Bonnie Hunter ... not sure it's called a fan club, but they all make more of Bonnie's quilts.  What an amazing shop - they gave us breakfast Saturday morning with leftover yummies for Saturday lunch!!!  They are in Englewood, south of Denver.

Because of the distance, we made a weekend of the class - I am exhausted.  It was a VERY good - and humbling experience to be traveling with younger, strong women!  

Many photos are on Bonnie Hunter's site.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bonnie Hunter class preparations

My preparations are almost completed for a class with Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville, in south Denver.  The all-day class is sponsored by Wooden Spools quilt shop.  I remember how disorganized I am at a class so I cut pieces ahead of time.  Well, then I was tempted to sew "just one" but ended up with 2 Jacob's Ladder, and one Rosebud.   Jacob's Ladder had always been a favorite.  I have a 3rd set of blocks cut for Union Square but not shown here -- better save something for the class!.  Believe me, I have a LOT of plaids!  I LOVE this Rosebud -- normally it ends up looking feminine, but wowser, plaids make a big difference! We're making the quilt Bonnie calls "Shirttails."  I'm planning to set the blocks in a Row format, and each row will using the same fabrics.

I am traveling with a friend who knows how to navigate Denver traffic.  Denver is about 4 1/2 hours from my home in western Nebraska, but we'll have a lovely visit during the drive.

Thanks Jody, for that lovely soft blue plaid in the Rosebud block - it sings!

My Show and Tell will be my favorite Pineapple Blossom that I started in Casper, WY, also taught by Bonnie 3-4 years ago.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Goodbye Sue

One gal in our local sewing group, Sue, was planning a move from our area, and among her many tasks was destashing a LOT of stuff she's saved for YEARS!  She brought numerous bags and boxes of free loot to our sewing group, and we swarmed over it like vultures.  I grabbed a bag suitable for strings, and Lois grabbed that center embroidery, Garden Sue.  I wonder if friend Sue knew where that particular piece came from??? Garden Sue had a dirty dress, and the muslin was quite yellow.  Someone said, "Hey, let's use this stash and make her a memento gift" and off we went, all in secret.  Carol made a new dress for Garden Sue, another chose "30" pieces for strings, a number of gals learned how to make string blocks, and someone else quilted it.  The rick-rack around the embroidery was used to help transition the yellowed muslin to the white string blocks.  Simple outline quilting around Garden Sue, and a sun in the upper corner was all that embroidery block needed and the rest of the quilt was done in viney swirls and hearts in a variegated pastel thread.  It's large enough for an grandbaby girl if one shows up (!), but mostly, it's a gift to our friend Sue, who lived here many years.  She will be missed. 

We all really LOVED using HER scraps to make this small gift.  She probably figured she'd never see those scraps again!  WRONG!!!   We decided to send it to her NEW home in order to avoid the complexities of packing in the OLD home.    I will mail it and then post this a few days later.

Above is a close up of the vintage Garden Sue embroidery, and below is an over-the-top label made by Nancy on her embroidery machine.  I put a white facing under the label to keep the bright turquoise backing from showing through.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Hourglass -- watch which ruler

Dear Elaine Adair:

Please remember that when you first wake in the morning, you are full of enthusiasm, but your brain is not yet in gear.  If you had just waited 20 minutes or so, you would not have wasted so much fabric cutting all those side-setting triangles too small by choosing the wrong ruler -- the much -loved Companion Angle -- when you should have used the much-loved Easy Diagonal Set Ruler. But you also deserve a pat on the back because seeing all those miscuts gave you an idea for the border.  

I am sure others can use either ruler with better-functioning brain cells, but in this case, you did not. 


Here, the side setting triangles are now correct.  Now, on to the border.  I LIKE it!  I felt that using fabrics of similar value, for this setting, worked well, even with a few "clunkers" for interest and education.  

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Hourglass, or Spools

[ Late edition -- The general consensus for this block name is Hourglass, and some call it Spools.  Thanks everyone!]

Here is my current project - blocks are made from my box of 2 1/2 inch strips.  Several of the blocks were too light - they will be labels.  As is my style, I just started sewing the strips together, very light and whatever dark was in the box, not knowing where I was heading.  In the end I put the darker blocks near the edge, lighter in the middle.  It goes fast.  They are set diagonally, and I used a Side Setting ruler to cut the corner and SS triangles.  I actually have enough of one fabric to do all the side setting and corner triangles.  I've seen other examples where all the values are similar and they seem most appealing to me.  The first 3 upper left diagonal rows are sewn together.  Wouldn't this be great in Crayon colors?

Do you know the name of the block?

If you are not sure how this goes together, sew a Width of Fabric light (2.5 inch) and a dark strip (2.5 inch) together, press to dark.  Use your Companion Angle and lay the 2 1/4 line on that seam and cut.  I put a bit of blue tape on the 2 1/4 in. line.  Then reverse the ruler and cut the next, ALWAYS keeping that 2 1/4 line on the seam.  This will guarantee a good match when you sew them together.  Sew gently, as the units have bias edges.  I pieced a few of the blocks from shorter strips.  You can get 8 triangles per strip to make 2 blocks.   You cannot get enough for a block from a half strip - you need 42-44 inches.

Never wanting to leave things alone, I really want to see the results if all the triangles were mixed up with other, non-matching triangles?

It appears that this is our last week of lovely weather.  This view of 2 weeks ago
was so astonishing I gasped at it's beauty!

Time to get out the snow shovel and have it ready!