Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Remember this picture?

Here is what my scrap fabrics looked like on June 8th (see the last picture on this post).  Here is what they look like today.

Don't bother looking for a change - there isn't any, except for the large scrap of Schnibble border fabric I added to the top.  I am so ready to have this pile of ironed fabrics gone and my cutting table back.  There is only one way to achieve that.

It is time to put my applique paraphernalia back into the basket and start cutting pieces for more of these.

I'm more than ready to start creating something myself rather than following someone else's pattern.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Murphy's Law

Yesterday I decided to finish "Jack at the Gate".  I'd given up on the missing border fabric ever arriving, so I searched my stash for something that would work.  I figured there must be something on those shelves full of plaids.  I found several yards of the orange and off-white fabric you see in the picture, which looked very similar to the picture of the original.  Even though the color was more

 orange than the red-orange pumpkins on the quilt I decided it would tie in beautifully with the rest of the fabrics in the quilt.  I cut strips, sewed half square triangles, and had the top almost finished before I went to bed.  All that was needed was to applique the five stars across the top, which I finished today. 

And what do you suppose showed up in today's mail?

I should have been patient a little bit longer.  Notice the original red plaid is very similar to what I used except for the color.  The red piece will go on my plaid shelves to be used eventually in a different quilt.  I'm certainly not going to change borders now, especially as the stars overlap the top border.

I will chance something though - something I didn't see until I looked at the picture after inserting it in this post.  Two triangles on the bottom right are turned incorrectly!  That I can't tolerate!  So I guess the top isn't quite finished after all!

Another finished quilt top

"Summer in a Basket", designed by Jan Patek, 26" square

Sunday, July 28, 2013

I am caught up!

My blog reader says I have "10 posts" to read.  One is a recipe I'm labeling as "unread" until I can copy it.  Nine are on the Electric Quilt blog that I'm saving until I have time to play with the program.

I promise to start commenting again now that I'm caught up.

What is wrong with this picture?

UPDATE:  I cut single-fold binding instead of double-fold.  This left enough fabric to make new corners of the right size.  Hooray!

The applique on this little quilt is all basted.  When I want an applique project fast - i.e. a last minute grab before going camping - all I need to do is pull this out of the "prepared tub.  I can do the stitching, sew it together, and have a finished top in no time.

Or so the theory goes.  If you look closely, you can see there is something very wrong with this picture.

Can you see it?  Look closely at the corner half square triangles.  Now do you see it?

The side and bottom borders are cut to size with a 1/4" seam allowance all around each one.  The corner half square triangles were made from squares cut 1/4" wider in both directions than what the pattern called for so I could trim them to size.  They have not yet been trimmed.

And they are too small.  The pattern is incorrect.  I've done enough quilts by this designer that I know I should always double check her math.  Several of her patterns have given incorrect sizes to cut a border or an applique block background.  This is the the first time I've found an incorrect measurement for a part of a pieced block.  Why didn't I realize that if the borders are 4 1/2" wide, then the squares cut for half square triangles should be cut at 4 7/8 instead of 4 3/8".  Mine were cut at 4 5/8" and are still too small - they should have been cut at 5 1/8" to allow for trimming.

Right now I don't know what I'm going to do about this.  As this was a kit, my remaining fabric is limited.  I think there is enough to cut new squares, but I'm not at all sure that will leave enough for the binding.

I am definitely done with buying kits for many reasons, and this is one of them.  So far one kit is missing the border fabric completely, another is missing the small wooden "button" for an eye, and another was missing something else (I can't remember what).  I love this designer's patterns, and don't understand why she can't have someone else double check her math.  I emailed her office about the missing border fabric, and was told it would be sent right away.  That was on July 2nd.  It hasn't arrived.  I sent a follow-up email last week and received no answer.  I call and all I get is a ringing phone - no voice mail so I can leave a message, and no one to answer a phone.  I've called at least 10 times on different days and at different times, and all I get is ringing.

So no more kits for me.  By anyone!  I need to use the fabric on my shelves.  If I can't get a pattern without getting a kit then I don't need to make the quilt.

OK - rant over.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Changing and rearranging

I like to be organized, as my regular readers know.  I'm always aiming for the perfect organizational system.  I will make changes that please me, and will feel that I'm finally "there".  Then time passes, my mind goes off in a different direction, and the organization no longer feels "right".  So I make changes and do some rearranging, until things feel "right with the world" again.

And so I've been reorganizing my left side bar AGAIN.  Putting projects in hibernation has never felt quite right.  It made me feel like I was "forbidden" to work on those projects.  I know - I can be very silly at times.  So I put returned the list to its former arrangement, and feel much better about it.

As many of you know, for years I was addicted to buying "kits".  Thus the list of 65 "Golden Hussies" on the sidebar, which really should be longer as I know there are some that never got added.  This list has been bothering me more and more.  I rarely buy "kits" any more - they defeat my goal to reduce the amount of fabric on my shelves.  And I have no place to store them.  Currently there are four large totes full of "kits" upstairs under the longarm, with more piled on top and to the sides of the bins.  I need this space to store yarn and fiber!  So one of the goals I've set for this year is to drastically reduce that number.

The majority of those "quilt kits" include applique.  So I've pulled many of the kits and prepared them so they are ready to be stitched whenever I pick one up.  I've already reduced the list by 23 kits!  Thirteen are currently sitting on the dining room table ready for tracing.  Since we rarely use that table any more - except as a junk mail catcher - I've set up a production station.  I'm thoroughly enjoying tracing and cutting out each pattern while I listen to audio books. 

So far, as soon as I prep half a dozen patterns, I've completed the applique and then the quilt top.  I will finish those currently in the sewing room, and then I plan to switch to quilting and piecing when I'm not preparing applique.  I've spent the last month doing little but applique, and I'm beginning to feel the pull of the machine.  I want to get back to my "shoofly" blocks, as well as my 30's baskets and my Civil War Diary.  I need to make blocks for another 30's swap.  Not to mention binding the five quilts that are currently waiting for their finishing touches.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Applique . . . . and a new "family member"

Most of my quilting the past couple weeks has been applique.  Here are the projects at the "show" stage.
"Where Liberty Dwells" - still needs embroidered words and borders

"Jack at the Gate" - still needs borders and stars appliqued
"Summer in a Basket" center block
"Summer in a Basket" four corners blocks

I've also started hand quilting another top, but it isn't close to being ready for "show".

And last but not least, I'd like to introduce the newest member of my quilting family -

my Pfaff Passport 2.0.  As soon as I heard about this new machine I decided I needed one, so started saving right away.  I brought her home last week.  She sews like a dream!  I will still piece on Miss Feather (my featherweight) but now I have a machine that will do a beautiful blanket stitch for machine applique.  My workhorse Pfaff is over 20 years old, and its blanket stitch isn't very pretty.  It also lives upstairs where it is currently very hot, which is why I have six quilts waiting for binding.  This beauty is currently sitting on our dining room table where it is much cooler.  With a walking foot downstairs the quilts should get bound this coming week.  It is very lightweight - much lighter than my other Pfaff - so will be much easier to carry to classes.  All the feet and accessories for the other machine fit on this one too, so I don't need to purchase any duplicates. 

If you haven't tried this machine, and are in the market for a new one,  I highly recommend you try this.  You will be glad you did.  (Oh boy - that really sounds like a commercial LOL!  Not affiliated in any way, just a happy, loyal Pfaff customer.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

We are back - again

This time we returned from four days of taking care of our three granddaughters - ages almost 3, almost 5 and 6.  We had a very lovely time with them, and especially with the two who weren't able to come camping the weekend before.  Our son and his wife are on a six-day backpacking trip in the Washington Cascade Mountains, so we turned the three over to their other grandma this morning.  It will be so nice to spend tonight in our own bed!  We have gotten so spoiled since we bought the Temperapedic mattress in April. 

I took much handwork with me, but was able to do very little.  Just a bit of applique, of which I'll post pictures later.  And a little bit of hand quilting, which I nearly forgot to mention.  With three lively girls in the house there was very little time to sit down much less do handwork!

I'm still catching up on blog reading.  I thought I could finish that in the evenings after the girls went to bed.  Unfortunately my new reader had a bit of a crisis and will be offline until later this week.  Rats!  At times like this I really miss Google Reader.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

We had a lot of fun . . .

but really missed our DIL Chelsea and our oldest and youngest granddaughters.  Lily had gotten over the virus that caused her to miss our daughter's birthday celebration the Saturday before.  Both of the other girls had gotten it, however, and of course Mom stayed home with them.  All were disappointed - those staying home and those camping.

Our weather was good - cooling off at night and mid-80's during the day.  I'm sure it felt great to wade in the creek water!  (My balance isn't good enough to do it anymore I'm sorry to say.)

We played lots of games, ate good food, and enjoyed visiting with family who came.  Here are a few pictures from the weekend.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

We are back from camping.

More or less unpacked and showered.  It was a great weekend but I'm really tired.  I need to eat something then take it easy for the rest of the evening.  Once again it is hotter than I like - 87 today.  Our weekend campsite location gets every bit as hot as it does here at home, and packing up the trailer and getting it hooked to the car is hot work that saps my energy.  I'll write a much better post tomorrow.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Claiming my blog with Bloglovin

I've seen a post about this on many blogs lately.  I investigated to see what it was all about.  On my right sidebar you can now find a button allowing you to follow my blog using this reader.  I still don't know what it means to "claim my blog".  I think the button works fine.  I followed the instructions on Bloglovin.  Nowhere did I find instructions telling me to write a post to "claim" my blog.  So it is still a mystery to me, but that's OK as long as the button works.

If you have any insight on this, or if clicking on the button doesn't work, please let me know in a comment.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Calling it "Good Enough"

Doing this was giving me all kinds of trouble until I decided to bite the bullet and release the elastic for 20" or so at the top and bottom.  When I wasn't fighting with elastic it went fairly quickly.  I took a good 10" out of the width of the sheets.  The pockets are still too deep, but I'm just going to tuck the extra under the mattresses when I make the beds.  I won't get to the top sheets before we leave, but I can work with the extra when it doesn't have elastic stretched around the edges!  And once I cut out all the extra material, sewing the elastic back in place on each end was a snap.

The length could be adjusted a bit also, but that doesn't have to happen before this camping trip.  The weather is going to be in the mid to high 80's, so two quilts apiece will probably be plenty.  We may find that we sleep on top of most of the bedding, as it isn't supposed to get very cold at night.  We won't be much above sea level this time, and that makes a big difference. 

I'm really looking forward to this time with the kids and grandkids!

No quilting time today

I've been procrastinating too long.  I MUST devote today to non-quilty things.  Currently I'm finishing the alterations on the camper sheets.

I can show you what I got  done yesterday while watching the tour.  Not a lot, but still progress.  Here are the applique blocks and quilts that are now prepped.  Except for the last one, which is pinned but not thread basted.  (I've tried using basting glue for this, but find I prefer thread.  I don't care for the stiff glue feeling - even when it is just little dots.  And it is easier to make slight adjustments while stitching by snipping threads instead of pulling away glue.)  The blocks were done earlier in the week but never photographed until now.

These are the first four applique blocks from "Afternoon Delight" by Sue Garmin, one of the three BOM programs that I've started in the last couple months.  I learned a good lesson with these.  When doing complicated shapes that have been created by folding and cutting (like making snowflakes) I need to stick to needle turn rather than my newer prep method.  It was a huge nuisance pressing under all the edges on the top block, and the bottom block was pure H***.  So the gold block, and all future such blocks, are prepped for basic needle turn applique.

The applique on "Where Liberty Dwells", designed by Jan Patek, will go very quickly.  The blank space at top and bottom are filled an embroidered quote:  "Where Liberty dwells there is my country".  Hand dyed floss for the stitching and a tiny wooden star for the eagle's eye are included in the kit.

"Jack at the Gate" was also designed by Jan Patek.  It looks a bit unfinished at the moment as I've not yet cut the pieces for the two Jack o'Lantern faces from black Ultrasuede.  It is also missing two borders so it looks like the stars are floating off the piece when they actually spill over onto the borders.  These pieces are just pinned into place.

The Tour de France is a time trial today, which I find much less interesting to watch.  I can postpone seeing it until tonight after the picnic.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Some quilting during the tour

I still have so much to do this week, but none of it can be done while I watch each day's Tour de France.  So I'm allowing myself to sit in the sewing room working while I watch.  Still completing applique prep.

Notice that very long list of Brazen HSY's on my left sidebar?  For several years all I've done is add to that list  Now you see something you've never seen before - 7 of  those have been started thanks to prepping applique for hot summer hand sewing.  I'm thrilled to be able to cross things off that list.  I chose to cross them off rather than eliminate them entirely as I don't feel like renumbering them all LOL!

Tonight I'll post pictures of what I accomplish today.

(FYI - a "HSY" is a project for which I have all the materials but I "haven't started yet".  A "Brazen HSY" is a HSY that is more than a year old.  Almost every HSY I have is Brazen!)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ready to go

I like to take applique with me when we go camping.  Hand quilting works too, though sometimes it is hard to keep the project being quilted from touching the ground.  When focused on one spot of the quilt a corner can slip down without my noticing it - not a good thing.  So I want to take lots of prepped applique projects with me when we head into the "wilderness".

In case anyone is interested, I took a picture of my worktable.  I did needleturn applique for years and was happy with the process.  Then shortly before my quilting hiatus I was introduced to a different method, which I've been using ever since.  The prep takes a bit longer, but the stitching goes twice as fast, and is easier to do in poor light than needleturn.  I know many of you use this method with starch, but I prefer using water.  It works just as well, is less expensive and less messy, and I don't have to worry about bugs being attracted to the starch in my fabrics.  This set up works well, except for the few times I've been so focused on the television or an audio book that I dip the paintbrush into my coffee instead of the water cup!

Here are pictures of the three quilt preparations I've finished so far.

"Donder and Blitzen" designed by Jan Patek
The antlers on the reindeer are VERY skinny pieces, so I didn't try to press them under while prepping.  I will do regular needleturn when I do them.  Currently they have fairly wide seam allowances so I have something to hang onto when stitching.  The pattern shows each part of each antler as a separate piece - I cut each as one piece to make the stitching much easier.

"Frosty and Friends" designed by Jan Patek
"Summer in a Basket" designed by Jan Patek
This last one still needs to have the pieces basted to the background as well as the applique flower and berry pieces on the other three corners.  I really love the applique center on this quilt!

The four corner designs are perfect accents in that then enhance the look of the quilt but are simple enough not to distract from the center applique.

I will finish the basting on this quilt this morning while watching the Tour.  Then that will be it for quilt for a few days.  I'll spend the rest of today altering the camper sheets, and will spend tomorrow deep cleaning the kitchen, making a shopping list and restocking the larder.  The Tour de France riders have a rest day tomorrow, so I don't need to focus on "fibre" that day.  When the race resumes on Tuesday I'll focus on getting the three sundresses made.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Tour de Fibre - days 7 and 8

I'm not sure why I didn't post yesterday - I certainly had plenty of time to do so.  In the morning we took our trailer to the dealer to have a few little things taken care of before our next camping trip, which is coming up very quickly.  This one will be lots of fun, as it is with all our kids and grandkids.  It is also just over 90 minutes away, so doesn't involve a lot of driving for a change.

With the cooler temperatures I was able to have the irons turned on all day.  I continued my applique prep - this time turning under the edges of  pieces for two different quilts and getting all the pieces basted into place.  I took some pictures but can't post them at the moment, so I'll do that later this evening.  I'm feeling very virtuous getting this done, and will have plenty of handwork ready for the next heat wave, which looks like it will be fairly soon (unfortunately!) None of these quilts will take that long to finish after they are prepared, so I am all set for lots more finishes in 2013.

Today we are celebrating our daughter Rebecca's 39th birthday.  I can't possibly have a child that is 39!!!!  Where have the years gone?  Her birthday was actually June 24th, but this was the first day everyone could get together.  Turns out it won't be everyone, however, as our DIL Chelsea will be staying home with our middle granddaughter Lily, who has had a virus all week.  I sure hope everyone is healthy by camping time!  I know Rebecca will choose to go to Vancouver Pizza for dinner, so at least I don't have too cook.  That is a good thing!

After today I need to focus on sewing other than quilting.  The king-size sheets I bought for the tent trailer are too big, as the mattresses are somewhat smaller than king size, but too big for queen size sheets.  Fred brought one of the mattresses into the house, which is currently laying in the middle of the living room floor.  I have two sets of sheets to alter so they fit well before the next camping trip.  I also have three sun dresses to make for our granddaughters - I need to get those done before the summer is over LOL!  I will shoot to have them done this next week so they can wear them during the camping trip.

I also need to clean out both the refrigerator and freezer.  And do a bunch of meal planning and grocery shopping.  I've been putting both off for WAY to long, as handwork is so much more pleasant.

We need to head out to the party now.  I'll post pictures tonight.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Tour de Fibre - Day 5 - Correcting a possible misconception

If I sounded cranky and tired in my post yesterday it was caused by the heat - not by the idea of setting quilting goals.  Today was quite a bit cooler, with a high of 84.  Tomorrow we are supposed to be back to the high 70's, with no rain in sight.  Perfect weather in my humble opinion.  Those of us who live west of the mountains in the great Pacific Northwest are just not used to high temperatures, especially as they almost always come with high humidity.

I have never had any trouble setting quilting goals.  I usually always know what I want to work on for the month.  If I change my mind mid-month, that's OK.  I never allow myself to be a slave to the goals I've set.  However, the beginning of this month was different.  I looked at what I've been doing in previous months, what is out in my sewing room currently being worked on, and the many things I could start.  I loved every single thing I was looking at, and just didn't feel like making any decisions.  (I can never made decisions when I'm too hot.)

I didn't know what my goal was going to be when I started my post, I just typed "on faith", figuring I'd come up with something.  And I did - a perfect goal for this lazy summer month that is likely to be hotter than normal.  The goal appeared as I typed, and I love it.  So we will all be in suspense over what quilty things I'll be doing - me included!

(And now you know the rest of the story . . . .)

Today I prepped two more small applique quilts and have just started a third.  I've decided I need to prepare a great deal of applique to hold in reserve for days when it is too hot to turn on the iron.  I can alternate between hand quilting and hand applique, as I use different muscles for each process.  This will be much better for my hands.  These two are also small quilts from the time I subscribed to Jan Patek's small quilt club.  Once prepped this simple applique goes very quickly, and big stitch quilting is very appropriate for finishing them.  Some of them need to have the quilt top sewn together before doing any applique, so I'll spend Friday this week doing that.

My goal at the moment is to have many "applique kits" ready for me to start at a moment's notice.  A perfect result that fits right into my July goal LOL!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


I accomplished a lot quilt-wise in June.  I am very happy with all I got done.  Nevertheless, I didn't accomplish 5 of my 9 goals, and only half accomplished another.  Obviously I grossly overestimated what I could get done this month.

When I think about setting July goals I just feel tired.  For once I have no idea what I want to work on.  I think it is probably the heat making me feel like this, as it really isn't like me at all.  Today is to be another hot one, and then temperatures are supposed to start dropping back to normal.  I'm looking forward to that.  So I'm setting one broad goal for the month and calling it good.

"By the end of July I will see progress made on many new and ongoing fiber projects."

How's that for vague?  Just what I feel I need this month.  I know I will be sewing, quilting, knitting and possibly spinning.  I just don't know what yet.  And that is good enough for me.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Tour de Fibre - Day 3

Another hot, muggy day.  I finished quilting the center and one short border of the Jo Morton four-patch.  By then my hands were hurting, telling me it was time to stop quilting and give them a rest.  I marked the other short border, then set it aside for later, not wanting to do the math required to fit the stencil to the long sides.

I spent some time catching up on blog reading the rest of the morning, but I still have a LONG way to go to get caught up.

I  brought the plastic bag containing many small Jan Patek quilt kits down from upstairs, and started tracing applique pieces.  When I finished each packet I cut out the freezer paper templates then turned on the iron just long enough to press the templates to their respective fabrics.  When finished I turned off the iron and cut out each piece.  The pieces were carefully folded inside the pattern pages, the fabric scraps behind, and everything tucked back into the kit envelope.  I completed two, and have the paper templates for a third kit ready to iron onto the fabrics tomorrow.

Here are pictures of the two that are ready to go, and the third that is almost ready.  The first picture doesn't show the entire quilt, just the center.

I realize it is now July, and I've not yet done a "goals" post.  I'll do that tomorrow.