Tuesday, October 10, 2017

"Prolific Pyramids" - a finish

This may be called "Thousand Pyramids" but 1000 is too many this time.  All from my stash, except the backing.  I practiced "ruler work" on this one and was marginally pleased with what I did.  The end result is much better than I expected.  These triangles/pyramids are using the triangle from Tri-Recs, a little more graceful than the 60 degree equilateral triangle.  I called it "Prolific" because every time I turned around, another triangle was needed, and then those baby ones started showing up!

I was surprised with how easy this was and how many different ways the triangles could be set together, resulting in a myriad of variations.  I grouped 4 light and 4 dark triangles in each unit, and always had the darks on the same side each time.  I pressed seams open and again was pleased with the ease of sewing them, with reasonable care, as 2 sides were on bias. 

DH was holding this up and sun was shining thru.  It's all quilted and DONE.  

 Lots of straight lines, lots of practice with rulers!  I reverted back to free-form quilting in the side triangles. 
 Backing - isn't it delightful?  ... giraffes, with little blue baby giraffes. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Something from Nothing - a String Quilt

mmm not bad, considering the bin of strings I started with!  Of course, the bin is still full.  The blocks are sewn on phone book pages.  These blocks are 7.25 in. unfinished.  I don't mind removing the paper at all - it's a pleasant, mindless project.

Some of the blocks were getting kinda murky and dull-looking so I started sewing in some skinny, jazzy bright colors on the dark side.  Problem solved.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Anniversary, and Ruler Work Practice

Our anniversary is same as Eclipse Day - flowers arrived early, because of all the activity planned tomorrow, big "E" day.  Our little town of 8900 is in the center of the pathway and good grief, so much planned, so many people expected, so many flights in and out and even rumors of a few big name "movie stars"!  We are not accustomed to "traffic" but already 1 day prior to the big "E" day, ... hey, it's a ZOO  out there!  
New subject -- I've been practicing ruler work - this quilt begged for straight lines.  

Originally I tried this ruler made especially for what I thought would be useful - mmmm - not sure it works well for this project, but perhaps on another design.  More practice me thinks! For this project, the straight edge is not long enough before hitting a stop point.  Re-adjusting the ruler each time means delays, and more possibility of a mis-stitch.  

Below is one of my quilting feet - notice the high edge around the foot, meant to keep a ruler  from sliding getting under the needle, but also it slides along the edge of the ruler, keeping the line straight.  However, note on the right of my foot, how the assembly is rubbing slightly against the ruler - it does not actually impede movement but it 's close and something to think about, if choosing a ruler.  Also, there is a lot of "stuff" in my view, hard to see behind the foot, but it can be done.  I did a lot of peeking, up, down, leaning left and right to be sure my ruler was lined up accurately. 
 I found this short, ruler in my stash, a freebee when visiting this Denver shop - it works great!  It is thin so be sure your ruler foot had high edges.  You need a little ruler that slides around easily, doesn't get caught up on seams, but slides over them but also stays put.  Tricky?  Yep! 
Some of my lines - turning corners and then readjusting was difficult without little crooked stitches.  I did used a dark Sharpie to fix some of my mis-stitches on dark fabrics as my thread showed light.  Thread buildup was my problem at the center of the triangles, but then I learned how to stop short before going back the other way and then I learned Jump Stitches when moving from one area to the next.  My first 2 or 3 blocks had to be redone several times -- practice helps a LOT.  
I marked everything, using a Frixion pen in purple along with a white ceramic pencil.  This is not a fast project for now but gets faster with practice.  Perhaps, in time,  I won't need to mark each block. 

DH and I both agreed we are liking the overall effect.  This is before sandwiching.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

"Critter Comfort" - DONE

The back is as attractive as the front - just goes to show - use that old fabric you've been saving and put it on the back.  I was concerned I'd have "wrong" fabrics next to other "wrong" fabrics.  Nope - it's all just fine and dandy!   The narrow "sashing" adds  appeal - again, I used a variety - makes things interesting!  The  quilt binding is black with a tiny lime green flange, sewn down on the front.  I found it impossible to keep my stitches from showing in a wrong place on the back. Half showed on the black binding, half on the backing - was unable to sew consistantly. Perhaps a slightly wider binding?  Sharpies can be used for many things.  8-)

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

"Critter Comfort" - progress

Above is the back of my kid-friendly Quilt As You Go.  I already had the squares of fabric, 77 of them, planning to use them as backing on an adult quilt.  That idea sorta lost it's luster, thinking of sewing them all together, then quilting them on my DSM.  But, when using them for QAYG on a kid  quilt, and sashing them with novelty fabrics, they looked less intimidating.  Also, I DID foolishly begin to plan the backing squares to be in a planned pattern ... uh, no, don't go there Elaine Adair!
Here are 3 rows together,  (to myself)  upper left corner is a Sturgis motorcycle.  There are 8 rows, 48 blocks in all.  I see the remnants of numerous kid quilts!

Putting the blocks together was easy.  There was a lot of non-traditional flopping back and forth, so some sort of labeling was needed.  There was some organization of fabrics and colors, not a lot.  The back sashing was cut just 1 inch, and front sashing cut 1 1/2 in. then folded in half.  The seams/batting nested together nicely.  It was not easy to get the back sashing seam threads in the right place so as not to show -- I was only partly successful.  A busy backing would help.  

This is not a quilt for a show - it's a quilt for a little kid - he/she won't care if seams show.  I will  simply bind it, not add borders.  Actually, making this little quilt was a delightful experience -- I had been wanting to do something different, and those cheerful critters made me happy! 

This gal has a lovely QAYG project with instructions on her video.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

QAYG, "Critter Comfort"

QAYG is a great technique to use up fabric bits (in case no one ever told you!).  It also eliminates the final quilting as it is machine quilted by sewing strings to the precut backing/batting pieces.  The backing pieces were already cut, cutting the batting pieces went fast, and sewing the kids prints/strings took 3 days - that's all.

Back in the '80s -- (that would be the previous century!!!!), I learned Quilt as you Go, from Georgia Bonesteel, the only quilt program  available on TV.  It was aired on the Public TV, coming from North Carolina.  She is responsible for this lovely addiction!

I'm trying this method, slightly modified from the original.  Many tutorials are available all over YouTube.  I've used strings, and the sewing goes to the edges of the block, and I will machine sew very narrow sashing to front and back, between the blocks.  That's the plan, but have NOT started that part yet.  Here are 49 blocks that are trimmed to 8 1/4 inch.  The only constant is the white diagonal.   I DID make a dent in my kids prints hoard as well as my batting scraps!  Blocks will be set 6 x 8 (one extra).  Some of the blocks look clever together, most are accidental - the white center strip gives the blocks continuity.  Bbacking squares are a variety of fabric.  

Here is kinda what they might look like when putting 4 together, without sashing for now.  Note, the cats and the cat food cans!  Toooooo cute!  
One fabric of green polka dots and monkeys was given to me by Kathy, a fellow resident and quilter, who passed away unexpectedly recently.  Thank you Kathy - I used it for good purpose.  

Monday, July 31, 2017

Plenty Plaids, almost a Flimsie Fence Rail

This was  Bonnie Hunter's/Quiltville Leaders and Enders project, a Fence Rail.  Thanks Bonnie!  I tend to sit down and SEW until it's DONE - prefer to NOT drag it out.  There is one more border to go, then I'll bind it in black.  There are parts of MANY shirts in that quilt, and a few strips that refuse to conform.   

It is astonishing how many varieties of Fence Rail Quilts people come up with!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Rail Fence, Quiltville Version, and Heat

I saw this scrappy Rail Fence on Bonnie Hunter's Quiltville page a few days ago, and thought I'd use my plaid scraps on this version.  So far, so good!  It's kinda "fiddly" but I AM using up bits.  I had to be careful to keep the strips pressed straight.  The black/white holds the design together, doesn't it?  Blocks are 6 inch.  Those black/white checks had me checking my sanity periodically!  LOL

Different subject - I am in western Nebraska - look at the outdoor temp, far right of the thermostat!  Admittedly, it is on the sunny side, but even under trees it's about 104 degrees.  We've lived here almost 20 years and I've never experienced such heat.  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Owls heard my computer

We've seen the screech owls on and off this spring, even thru July 4th bombs and explosions - nothing seems to faze them!  If we sit outside at dusk and listen to the robins screeching and hollering and dive bombing, we know the Eastern Screech Owls are somewhere nearby.  We live in western Nebraska, in town.

Tonight, I had the bright idea of taking the computer outside on the deck, and playing YouTube sounds of Screech Owls, wondering what might happen -  I kinda hoped one owl might land on my computer - however, we ALL remember "The Birds"! 

I heard the robins making a ruckus, so played an Eastern Screech owl's sounds and calls,  and in a matter of 5 minutes there was one little guy sitting on the deck rail, looking back at us.  DH  and I sat there mesmerized.  Soon the robins found this little owl and did their pestering and dive bombing, so he fluttered to a nearby spruce for safety.  I continued to replay the Youtube video and I could see him listening (I think) and also he replied with his little trill.  Soon a second owl arrived in the area, sitting on a cable.  Eventually both of them took off, without a sound.   

I didn't have my camera so will repost 2 photos from a few years back when they roosted in our backyard spruce.  We feel blessed they shared a few moments with us.


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Faux Flange

This pretty method to machine sew an attractive binding to the FRONT of a quilt has intrigued me so today, I tried it out.   I learned mine from Jordan Fabrics (link below), and hers was narrower than some of the other methods.  This was the first time I've tried this.


Here is my little quilt - of little importance, but I wanted to try out some ruler work, and also the Faux Flange in the binding.  Note the ripples due to stress of trying something new!   LOL  Ruler work?  uhhhh, I'm still on the fence with that technique.  However the Faux Flange worked well.  Neat and tidy and precise is the name of this technique!   Border was MQ'ed to the edge then trimmed carefully.  I used my 1/4 in. foot to sew the binding to the back of the quilt.  I then pressed that binding away from the back, to the front, and slowly sewed it down, using an open toe foot (no pins).  The open toe foot still wasn't quite the best -- next time I'll try another foot, but I'm pleased with the end result. 

Here is  binding with the faux flange on the front. 

A busy back helps to hide stitches which end up close to the binding. 

Many of you know how to do this - I kinda liked it, especially for donation quilts, or kids/baby quilts. 

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Thousand Pyramids - Almost a Flimsy

I'm preparing something for All Day Sew - looks like this project is ready for some routine sewing.  There are a bunch of little triangle leftovers waiting to be joined.  Even tho they were just leftovers, I think they "make" this quilt.  The reds were not used at all. 

If you've not followed this thread, I'll repeat - the triangles were made from Tri-Recs, as were the side triangles.  A 60 degree ruler would also work but I thought this taller triangle made from the Tri ruler was a bit more attractive.  At first I was wondering how to enlarge my smallish templates, but realized the sides could be easily elongated using a long ruler.  As usual, easy to do once one actually DID it.  

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Thousand Pyramids - more fun

I'm finished with the center - might rearrange some values.  Two extras.  This design worked up quickly - many inspirations are all over the internet.   Despite bias edges, I had NO issues with stretching.  Seams were pressed open, gently, and one must remember that one side is on grain, and shorter than the others - sometimes I wasn't thinking and had to unsew.  Adding the little triangles were just plain FUN!  Today, I need to determine values of the outside triangles that merge into a border - something sorta blah (light cream) will probably be best, then a narrow spark of something, then plaid border.  Hah, I THINK that will work - funny, we think things will be one way, but when we get there, something else is needed.  ... sounds like life...

... what happened to my plan of using extras in a border ... ???

I can't figure how to edit these photos any more - with Windows 10, they are so easy to import from the camera, but now editing has me totally discombobulated!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Thousand Pyramid Triangles - check those degrees!

A miracle occurred and I cleaned my house in preparation for company!  It looked good, and I felt so relaxed, that somehow, another quilt got started! 

My photo inspiration appeared to be a little more graceful than a 60 degree triangle and sure enough, it was NOT 60 degree!  Thank goodness I checked before cutting - it turned out to be the size of our Tri Recs ruler.  (The 60 degree triangle would also work - just a little chunkier. ) The Tri Recs has two sides that are longer than the base.  This is coming along very quickly and easily.  The large triangles are cut from a strip at 4 7/8 in.  The little ones are 2 7/8 in. strip.  One must be careful to keep the base along the straight of grain - won't work otherwise.  The 2 straight of grains are sewn together first.  Also, pressing the seams open works best on this design, and must be done gently.

I used stash, and decided to keep 4 of the same combos together.  Also note that all the darks are on top while the lights are on bottom.  Mixing them up? - I didn't try.  For fun, I included a few little ones, half size - they also went together very well and might be good in a border.    

Such a simple design, yet like all blocks, there are a myriad of combinations.  These colors are  subdued.   I had hoped to have less contrast but this is what I had.  It'll do! 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Monkey Wrench, Old UFO

These 9 blocks were string pieced on paper (phone books) about 8 years ago, and while I loved them, they never seemed to magically transform themselves into a quilt.  Yesterday in a fit of frustration, I made them into this little quilt, mostly from "stuff" that was piled on my cutting table.  Oh dear, why do we procrastinate?  It turned out pretty cute!  The corners of the 9 Monkey Wrench blocks made the secondary pattern of pale Monkey Wrenches.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Kaleidoscope - Losing Control?

Whew - this is a HUGE project for a DSM, MQ'ed, in free form designs.  I am putting on the last 2 borders using Quilt as you Go, technique (thank you Georgia Bonesteel), to reduce the bulk  - this  quilt is abut 88" x 107".

As I was working, I had the feeling it was "getting away from me".  I don't know what that means, perhaps self doubt?  The border quilting keeps it all straight and true, flat, but I think the center quilting might need more.  Kinda late now for more quilting in the blocks, but I've been considering MQ'ing invisible thread between the blocks.   Oh dear, more work?  Suggestions anyone?  Perhaps blocking will reduce the poofiness I'm not really loving in those blocks.  I like the quilting swirl designs I showed recently on the plexiglas.  You can't see any poofiness in these photos. 

Has anyone else experienced a quilt project "getting away from you" or the feeling that you are "losing control"? 

The dark border on 2 sides is DONE.  2 more sides to go, then DONE.  I LOVE the dog/shark teeth!  They turned out well and were not difficult at all.  

Sunday, May 07, 2017

A tool for MQ designing

I'm ready to start machine quilting my blue/purple/turquoise kaleidoscope, partially finished.  Long sweepy watery lines seemed to be called for, as it is supposed to appear ocean-y, or underwater fronds, not easy on a DSM due to limited hand space.  I needed to practice ... something ... so I bought a 12 inch piece of plexiglass, covered the edges with masking tape, indicated which side was "UP" on the tape, and put the detailing quarter inch tape on the back as quidelines, whethee they were used or not.  Then I placed the plexiglass over the quilt block, and used a dry erase pen to play with designs, and came up with below.  The masking tape on the edges keeps the plexiglass from scratching the quilt, and also serves as a STOP if I get wild with the dry-erase pen! 

My tape does not exactly match up with the wedges but since I usually MQ free-form designs, it's working for me.  My note says "Draw this Side".   
I MQ one block at a time - have not figured a way to continue the design to the next block without breaking thread.  My thread is variegated blues - kinda goes with the many fabrics in the kaleidoscopes.  It's a start!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Quilt Show Preps

Next weekend is the wonderful Chadron Festival of Quilts.  These two quilts have not been shown at that show, but have both been on my blog previously.  Today I am filling out paperwork, measuring, etc., and giving them a good airing. 

This "rebuilt" scrappy log cabin is one of my favorites.  I have instructions on my blog, and have made at least 6 so far.  The standard, traditional border was finished and on the quilt but was toooo ordinary.  I laid it out, measured the angle of the tilted blocks and WHACKED OFF the border, using the same angle, then exchanged sides of each of the 4 pieces and sewed them back on, all tilted.  I LOVE it --  that is after my heart started beating again.  Machine quilting is done in a variety of methods, which we are finding very popular these days, although I made this in 2012.  I call it "Step Lively". 
This is another Pineapple, made with 2 different blocks, made in 2016, called "Pineapple Parade".  I really loved making it, and it's similar to one of mine in a different coloration.  This design was inspired from a DVD lesson, by Gyleen Fitzgerald, purchased from Annies Craft Catalog.  


Again, I MQ'ed in a variety of designs, for the simple reason is that I have to keep practicing ALL the ones I've learned.
 Dig that neat backing!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Kaleidoscopes - watch those values!

Above - Some of these blocks are not playing well.  And corners are not on the block making the circles harder to see. 

Below is a lovely block with no corners, but made with dark and medium values. It's a perfectly lovely block but does not work with what I want.  I've made about 75 in the dark/medium values, but I've also made about 75 in the medium to dark and light.  Uh oh, which way shall I go? 
OK, now I'm cooking!  I'm planning for a quilt 11 x 13.  Adding the light corners makes a huge improvement as well as pulling out some that don't work.  Obviously I need to make lots more.  I have made so many of the  "wrong" blocks, I will try for another quilt and use the darker values.  I wanted those circles to be obvious!  I have 49 here - more out of the photo, some on my sewing machine, some on my cutting table - almost enough.   I used an unbleached muslin on the dark corners and a buttery yellow on the light corners.
The blocks are easy to make and finger pressing sped up the process, but getting the blocks, then rows together with those tricky angles, requires careful pin basting. Each block was pressed clockwise, with centers neatly "spun" but sewing blocks to rows, and then sewing rows together requires pressing seams open. 

Sunday, April 09, 2017

Kaleidoscopes, and Vintage Quilt Tops.

These are two vintage quilts given to me.  I foolishly thought I'd get them both hand quilted but ... a friend, who is wonderful at finding vintage quilts and getting them quilted, agreed to take this one above, and get it DONE.  Both are combos of hand and machine sewing.  One down, one to go.
Blue Kaleidoscope - the circles do not appear as clearly as I had hoped.  There will be yet another  6 in. border on each side.  Since I am quilting this on a DSM I decided to reduce some of the overall bulk and will quilt the last borders separately, and add them later, ala quilt-as-you-go.

Below - Apparently I'm on a Kaleidoscope kick so started another .  This design/pattern is so easy - no pins, I can make about 12-15 at one sitting.  I did ALL finger pressing except for the final press, which saves enormous time, and is perfectly effective.  All seams go clockwise, and the center is "spun" nicely.  I need about 220, 6 inch blocks  for queen size.  No color chosen for the corners of the blocks yet, and for now, I am just laying them on the floor - no arrangement of colors yet.  You can clearly see the circles will be more visible.  Fabrics on corners will be lights.   Most of my colors are kinda drab, soft, my plan.   No brights in this one, and no border planned at this point.  All fabrics are from stash.
BTW, if you have never learned the lesson, be sure to ALWAYS use the same ruler per project.  8-(   I started the project with a well-used, reliable 45 degree Marilyn Doheney ruler, then changed to a ruler meant for another type of 45 degree project - didn't double check, and sadly had to trim down the newly made 15 blocks made on the second ruler.   

Friday, March 10, 2017

Dogteeth Border

I LOVE making borders - even if the border overwhelms the center, I LIKE when viewers look at the border and make comments, "Look what she did!" - whether it be positive or negative, that's the reaction I'm hoping for.  My quilty friend's husband has frequently commented on my borders, so now, I have to carry on!  Here's my plan for recent Kaleidoscope Quilt (laying on beigey carpeting).

These dogteeth are not as difficult as I had imagined, but require accuracy with cutting and sewing - there is little room for easing.  Another border option was a quarter square,  but I chose dogteeth, ---  even that name, "dogteeth", adds to the fun, and repeats the shape in the kaleidoscope blocks!