Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday, Quilts, Kids, and Chaos

It's Monday again and although I did make my rainbow quilt and posted about it last week, I've done very little sewing or computer work the past two weeks. I have not responded to people who commented on my recent posts and I apologize for that.

It was pretty chaotic here, as I had at least three grand kids here much of the past two weeks. My husband and I watched Nikki's three oldest kids while she and Zach dealt with some serious family medical issues. Usually when we watch the kids, I can do some sewing in the evening when they go to sleep, but this time it was different. They needed a bit more attention and quite honestly, I was emotionally and physically drained.

The kids all knew and that Bill, Zach's dad was very sick and that really upset them. They also missed their mom and dad and were all out of sorts because of the chaotic schedule they were following. The girls were excited about the new school year starting soon, but since they are going to a new school, they were also apprehensive. We had lots of laughter, but moments of sadness and tears as well.   

Bill was under hospice care when Bonnie (Zach's mom) was taken to the hospital for an emergency. She was in for a little over a week and because Bill's condition, she was released earlier than she really should have been. Bill passed away Wednesday and Bonnie will be returning to the hospital soon so she can have the surgery she needs.   

See what I mean? Crazy chaos!

Sewing always helps me relax and today I took some time to sew.

I was gifted a Koala sewing cabinet a couple of weeks ago and I had not had the opportunity to get it completely set up and ready to use. I needed a new acrylic insert because the one I had did not fit into this cabinet. Also, this cabinet is quite tall and my chair did not raise high enough to allow me to sew comfortably.

With the new insert ready and a new chair purchased, I was set to go. It felt soooooo good!



While doing some rearranging for the new cabinet, I opened up a tub of works in progress and pulled out 24 Friendship Star blocks. I have no idea when they were made, but I know it was a long time ago. I remember looking at these about a year ago and thinking that I needed to do something with them. The problem was that I had the 24 blocks and no coordinating fabrics. I had to think about what I was going to do, and obviously I didn't come up with anything because they went right back in the tub. I pulled them out again this past July 4th and thought I knew what I was going to do, but I didn't have enough of the fabric I wanted to use. So...back to the tub they went.

Today was going to be different. I pulled some fabrics that I thought would work, started some sketching and was excited to sit down and actually sew.


The rows are complete (not all pressed yet) and I'm ready to sew them together. I'm adding a couple of borders and this quilt top will be ready for quilting. My plan is to make it fit the requirements for a Quilt of Valor; and if I did my math correctly (I'm pretty sure I did), once the borders are added, it will be the perfect size. I love the fact that I'll be able to finish this UFO and that it will be used for a wonderful cause.  



Despite all of the stuff going on with Nikki and Zach's family, we did have some good times this past week. On Saturday we celebrated Avery's third birthday. Although Nikki and Zach weren't there, Jack and I took the kids to the party. (The kids wanted to go and Nikki and Zach really needed a day to rest and simply take a deep breath.) 

It was a small gathering, but it was a lot of fun. After eating and opening gifts, the kids were all playing in the back yard and were getting pretty darn hot and sweaty. Ty suggested that perhaps he should get out the sprinkler and let them run through it. It was a wonderful idea and the kids had a blast until they decided that they were not getting wet enough. Ty resolved that problem by getting a plastic tub, filling it with water and giving the kids buckets.


It was hilarious watching them dump water on themselves.


Of course they also chased each other.


They must have played outside for well over an hour before it started to rain. They were already wet and there was no lightening or thunder so we moved the party to the front of the house.


The kids played in the rain while the adults stayed nice and dry in the garage.

Oh the simple pleasures in life!

Schools starts today for Lynn, Ty, and the kids and I hope to get some sewing work done. I have some patterns to write up, but I think I'll run the sewing machine a while longer. I've missed it and it really does make life and its chaos a little easier for me.

What projects are on your design wall?

See what other quilters are working on today

Go to Judy L's Patchwork Times

and

Monday, August 15, 2016

Design Wall Monday

We had a couple of stormy day over the weekend and it was kind of gloomy. We are fortunate that we don't have flooding, but I also didn't see a rainbow after the storms. Feeling the need for some color and brightness, I created my own rainbow.



Quick and easy! This puppy is ready to be quilted!

I have somewhat of a problem, in that I like to start new projects. Whether the project is one that I need to make for a class sample or one that I just really like and feel the need to start it (see the rainbow quilt above), I sometimes get sidetracked and end up with a bunch of unfinished projects or have multiple projects out at the same time. That may not sound like an issue or problem, but it can be for me. I tend to leave the works in progress out and then my sewing area looks like a disaster area. 

I am in "finish it up" mode and am happy to have spent some time this weekend organizing projects. Now I am not saying that I am only going to work on UFOs. Oh no! I plan to be working on a UFO while I am working on another project. I'll use the UFO as a leader/ender project or as a "I need a break and want to work on something different" project. Either way, I'm happy with my organization and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works and I don't drop the ball.

Even though I am working on UFOs, I'm also trying to challenge myself to try new techniques. I tried some curved piecing when I worked on the Desire to Inspire Challenge projects and really enjoyed the technique; plus I was very happy with the outcome.



I decided to try it again; but this time I am adding some other piecing to the mix. This is a much more modern piece and I am struggling a bit with it. I'm not going to give up, I'm just not totally happy with it yet.  


My idea was to have this piece be like I was in a tree and the background (green) is all the leaves. The brown pieces are the tree branches. I was trying to portray the branches poking through a bunch of leaves, hence the green strips interspersed with the brown. I plan to do a fair amount of thread work to blend the branches better and to make the background look like leaves. Wish me luck!

The piece isn't quite as square as the picture above shows, but it's not quite this rectangular either. Either way, I think you can see what I'm doing.


I just realized that I didn't take a picture after I added a bit of sky to parts of the top of this. Oh well, I'll post that later. I've got this layered and I'm contemplating how I'm going to do the quilting.

What are you working on today?

Check out the quilting eye candy over at

Judy L's Patchwork Times

and


Thursday, August 11, 2016

Stash!

Tomorrow is the last class for my latest Beginner's class and that got me thinking about the questions that I hear most often from beginner quilters. 

Of course there are always the questions about how to get an accurate 1/4" seam allowance, how to get rulers to stop slipping while cutting, how much fabric should be purchased when you simply like the fabric and have no specific project in mind, etc.

But lately I've also been asked about building a stash.

I remember when I started quilted, I didn't have much stash because I didn't know what to buy that wasn't for a specific project. What I did do though, was to buy extra for every project I made. I did that for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, I was worried about making a mistake and wanted to have extra on hand in case I needed it. Another reason I bought extra was because I loved all of the fabric I bought and I just knew that I would use it in another project.

Well, I think we can all relate to that last statement. Not only did that fabric get set aside and not used (usually because although I still loved it, I didn't have enough for the project I wanted to make and I couldn't find it again so I bought a whole new bunch of fabrics). I justified my continual buying by telling myself that I could use the extra in a scrappy quilt. I have always been intrigued by scrappy quilts, but I was never confident enough to actually make a scrappy quilt. Without even realizing it, I was building my stash. And oh what a stash it is!

I have all kinds of fabric and although I have pretty much rectified that fear of scrappy quilts, I still have a very large stash. (I was going to insert a picture here of the stash but decided that I was a bit too lazy to actually take the picture.)

Here are some pictures of various quilts I've used that are from scraps. They are all made from scraps with some background yardage used for some of them. Although many of these are pictures of quilt tops only, I do have most of them quilted and already gifts.

Lots of strippy triangles were pieced for this quilt.


 Left over jelly roll strips were used for these two quilts.


I had some large chunks of solids just begging to be used. I have always liked this quilt!


This quilt is one in which I look at some of fabrics and wonder why I bought it. Seriously, there are some very strange fabrics in this quilt.)


This was my first Four Patch Galore quilt using scraps. I have always liked this quilt and had to think long and hard about giving it away.


I liked the other one so much that I made a new one and it's much larger than the last one. This was pieced entirely on my Featherweight and was perfect for me because it was new and I was just learning how to use it.


Another quilt that was made from left over jelly roll strips.


And this fun quilt used up a bunch of my bright and cheery fabric scraps.


I even made to many blocks and ended up with them on the back.


So, I am in the process of re-organizing my sewing room because I was gifted a Koala sewing cabinet and it just seemed like the right time to do it. This is giving me a wonderful opportunity to not only see what I have, but also to thin it down a bit. I have decided that if I don't love a particular fabric any longer and I've had it for a while (time frame is yet to be determined), I am going to find a project for it or find someone who does love it and give it to them. I just started this and so far I've kit up four or five projects AND given away fabric. That sure does feel good!
  
Because I certainly do not feel that I am an expert on fabric stashes, I started to look around on line and see what I could find. I am happy to report that I found Sherri at A Quilting Life and she is in the middle of a series about building your stash. So far, everything has been good and I'm learning as we go along.

In the first post, Sherri talked about Background and Low Volume Fabrics, while in the next post it was about all kinds of prints, including polka dots, gingham, checks, plaids, floral, small geometrical, and stripes.

The latest post is about Novelty Prints and I really enjoyed that.

Hop on over to Sherri's and spend some time reading. Afterwards, come on back here and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tip Tuesday! Batting

"Tip Tuesday!" - Batting
I love learning new things and then sharing that knowledge with my quilting friends. So, every Tuesday (or most Tuesdays!) I'll provide some tips, hints, tricks, tutorials, shortcuts, etc. that I've learned over the years and share them here on the blog.

"Tip Tuesday" will be a collection of information about a wide variety of subjects garnered from a large variety of sources. I am not an expert by any means and do not take credit for being the great wizard behind all of these hints and tips. I will gladly give due credit whenever possible.

These tips will be archived and accessible to you just by clicking on the "Tip Tuesday!" tab above.

Read, enjoy, and be inspired!

***************************************** 
 
Are you a creature of habit when it comes to your quilting?
I am, although I am trying to break out of my comfort zone and try new things.

When I started quilting, I used nothing but Warm and Natural cotton batting. I was afraid to try anything with polyester because I had this misinformed notion that polyester meant that the final project would be about 3" thick!

I don't remember when or why I tried a blend (80% cotton, 20% poly), but I did and I like how it quilted up and how it looked after it was washed. I now had options and I was thrilled.

It took me a while longer to try a high loft batting; but again, when I did I was happy with the results. Eventually, I learned that depending on the look or feel I wanted in the final quilt, I could choose from a variety of batting types. I was in heaven!

I always find it interesting to read or hear what other quilters feel about batting. Rob Appell of Man Sewing, has just published a video tutorial on quilting with 9 different types of batting.


Take a look and see what you think!


Monday, August 8, 2016

A "Must Read" for all Quilters!

What is happening to the quilting world?

Established shops like City Quilter are closing their doors.


AQS (American Quilters' Society) has ceased publishing new books.

Quilting magazines that had been available on the stands for what seems like forever are gone. Some are available on-line only, while others are gone completely.

What can YOU do?

Here is a "must read" for quilters of all ages and styles!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Friday Finishes - Sort of...

July was a VERY busy month!

I'm sure you saw that I was the July Desire to Inspire participant and that I was part of the Christmas in July Blog Hop. You can check out lots of pictures HERE, HERE, and HERE

What I did not share earlier, is that I made 8 lap quilts for the nurses who helped my best friend Kare during her 18 long weeks of chemo. (Side note here- I hope you all have an awesome friend like Kare. She really is special!)

Kare's husband Fernando asked me about making quilts for Kare's chemo nurses and I thought it was a great idea. The problem was that there were only four weeks until her last treatment and I had a couple of other projects with deadlines so I wouldn't be able to start them for a week. That meant I had three weeks to finish eight quilts. Oh dear! Nevertheless, I said yes with the condition that the quilts could be small (all are about 45" x 55") and that they could all be very simple in design.

Even before Kare started her treatments, our friend Denise and I made a quilt for Kare. Since Denise lives in TN and Kare and I live in OH, this was kind of like a long distance quilting bee. Denise and I each made 10 scrappy log cabin blocks out of a variety of pinks and cream. We each started with the same light green center so as to keep some consistency; but other than that, we used whatever we wanted. When Denise completed her blocks, she mailed them to me and I finished the quilt. We were thrilled that Kare liked the quilt, used it often, and even took it to chemo with her.


I love the heart shape that shows up with this log cabin layout. I decided that I wanted to quilt hearts and I know you can't see it in the picture above, so here's a close up picture.


And just because I thought it would be fun, I used some bra fabric on the back. Kare and Denise like it too, as I knew they would.  :-)


Here's Kare at home with the quilt after one of her treatments.


So let's fast forward to the last day of her chemo - July 11, 2016.

I love this picture! Kare looks pretty darn happy to be done with this portion of her journey back to health.


Fernando looks happy too.


I snapped a picture of the stack of quilts before I left my house. This is a stack of "thank you" hugs to eight wonderful nurses. They have no idea how special they are to so many people!


This is another of my favorite pictures. The nurses were all surprised and they all liked their quilts. Fernando had been asking them about their favorite colors and they had no idea that it was to personalize quilts for them.


I was honored to be with Kare and Fernando that day and even though there were tears shed, they were tears of joy and thanks.

Now that Kare has started her 6-8 weeks of radiation (5 days a week!), I feel like I have to think of something fun to do when that is over. We'll need to do some serious celebrating!

I snapped pictures of the individual quilts. You know, just because I could.

I really like this chevron quit. It reminds me of a Charlie Brown shirt. Jenny's favorite colors are purple and pink,


Suzanne likes coral and reddish orange. I really like how this turned out too.


Purple was a favorite for a few of the nurses. Melissa said she likes all shades of purple and I think this fit the bill.


Betty likes dark green. Simple, but effective!


Lisa was another purple gal and I really like the airiness that is created from sashing these rail fence blocks.


I was a little concerned when Fernando told me that Sue likes grey. I decided on this pattern and am very surprised that it turned out to be one of my favorite quilts. Fernando likes it too, as does my husband Jack. I may have to make a few more of these in the near future.


Sandy likes purple too and I like the distribution of the purples in this quilt.


Vickie likes shades of green. This traditional rail fence looks quite different than the purple sashed one, doesn't it?


I am very happy with how these all look. It was a labor or love that I would certainly do again if needed.

I'm linking to Sarah's - Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. I love seeing other people's projects. It is such eye candy and inspiration.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday Finishes and MORE

As I posted yesterday,
the July Desire to Inspire
post is up from Henry Glass & Co.
I'd love for you to check it out
I was thrilled, honored, and a little scared to take on the challenge but I'm so glad I did. I had a wonderful time and am please with the results.

I also want to thank everyone who supported and encouraged me while I was crazy concentrating on this project.

I was blown away by the kindness of people I have never met other than through blog reading and commenting who sent me extra fabric so I could "work some magic."

I am truly blessed and promise to pay it forward.

*********************
Warning!!
This post is going to be picture heavy. I am going to show a bunch of pictures I took for the Challenge, including the ones not used by Henry Glass & Co.

As soon as I saw the fabric, I knew I wanted to find a truck to use and thanks to Ethel at M&E Quilt Shoppe, I did. She put me in contact with a couple in Sandusky and we arranged to meet at their house this past Sunday morning. I was thrilled that all but one of the projects was complete so most of them would be included in the pictures. The Klein's were very gracious and accommodating, especially after they saw the fabric and figured out why Ethel was so excited. (They confessed to me that they thought she was really cute being so excited about something they just didn't quite get.)

I took a bunch of pictures, hoping for a handful of good ones that I could send to Henry Glass & Co. and I was pretty happy with the results. It helps that I have a daughter who is familiar with Photoshop and could fix my mistakes - you know, off-centered pictures, etc. I really like how she blurred the background so the truck is in focus and is what's featured.


I think this is just a fun picture! It's a little blurry, but it's fun.


This truck was really waxed well and we had a challenge to figure out how to drape the quilts on it so they didn't slide off.



I like how both quilts are hanging on the truck in this picture.


It was hard to figure out a way to have all the projects (minus the tree wall hanging) on the truck for one picture. I like how the tree skirt is wrapped in the window to make it stay in place.  :-) 


Close up of one of the star blocks


Of course I took a bunch of pictures on the wood pile. We all know how much I like to do that and I am thrilled that we have wood here for picture backdrops.


Again, it was challenging to try and get all of the projects in one picture


 I am really glad no one was around when I was taking this picture. I was holding limbs out of the way with my left leg and feet so I was standing on one leg, bending sideways. I'm just lucky I didn't fall.  :-)


Close up of the truck quilt


And then we found the barn! I am so lucky to have a friend from school who has these two treasures at her house and she was so generous to allow me to use them for these pictures. Thanks Jen!

This one is blurry, but I'm posting it anyway. 


I LOVE this picture!!


This piece will fit perfectly in the bay window in our kitchen.


Here's a closer view of the quilting


I love log cabin blocks and hexagons so I married the two things in these placemats and table runner. You can see the table runner peaking in from the rights. I have a picture of the whole thing below.


The table runner


And just because I love the shapes of these windows I had to snap some pictures here.




This wall hanging is kind of like an oil painting. There is a lot of thread work in those trees and up close it just plain looks like a hot mess. But, when you stand back, it is amazing how different it looks. I LOVE this piece.


Jack was a very important part of this entire Challenge process. Can you see the practice road I sewed on the left? I needed to practice the free-form curve cutting and piecing before I cut into the "real" fabric." Jack is helping me to decide the layout of the road and he's using chalk to sketch it for me.


I am truly blessed to have had this opportunity and loved every minute of it.