Friday, July 29, 2011

Batik Stars – wish this one was mine

made by Ilsa Johnson

click on photo for a closer view

I told you I’d milk these Quilters Unlimited Show quilts! These batiks were first used as clothing. Note the blue thread with which Ilsa hand quilted this beauty.

I’m slowly making progress on my projects. The heat really slowed me down earlier in the week. Yes, we have AC, but spend a lot of time outside with our son’s swim team. Tomorrow is the last meet; followed by awards night. It hit 103 degrees this afternoon (same temp as last Friday) and tomorrow is forecasted to be in the cool lower 90’s. Seriously, we had 3-4 days of 100 or close to and when the temps dropped to 93 it felt pleasant.

Quilty wise, here is what I’ve been up to-

This is the last of the hexagon flowers. I have about a third of the 63 flowers appliquéd to their background, another third pinned to the background and a third are waiting for me to cut more background squares. I think I said in a previous post the end of this project is in sight – well… I’m not so sure about that, but I have made a lot of progress in the past couple of months. It helps having it sitting on the dining room table – all ready for me to stitch when I have a few minutes.

Here is the start of the backing for my Half Square Triangle (hst) quilt. The zigzag measures about 12” across. I swear I thought the background of those two light fabrics were the same color. I knew the vines were blue on one and green on the other. It wasn’t until I stitched them together and was pressing that I realized the blue has a lighter background than the green. Oh, well! It does feel good to use these two fabrics. I've had them for over 10 years and have been waiting for the right project. I used the pink version in this quilt. I love this delicate print, but there isn't a name on the selvage - must be really old! I typically don’t name my quilts, but I think this one will be “Concord, Cranston and Peter Pan” – named after the companies that produced much of the fabric in the quilt. Are those companies still in existence?

August is almost here. Where does the time go? Hope your weekend includes a little stitching!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pressing Seams

Thanks for all your comments on my previous post. Here is the back of a block where I used 3 different seam treatments – toward the darker fabric, open, and collapsed. Looks like I couldn’t make up my mind what method to use with this block so I used them all.

Here is a closeup showing what I thought was a collapsible seam. I'm not sure how to describe how to do it, but you kinda just work a bit of the seam loose until it lies flat.

Liz and I did some searching on collapsible seams and she discovered that some quilters will also clip a seam – GASP!!! Okay, I won’t say I will NEVER clip a seam when quilting, maybe I just haven’t stitched a seam that requires this, but I know I will hesitate before doing it. In my searching, I found an interesting article on the merits of pressing seams open here.

My triangle quilt is almost finished – just a few long seams to do. I could have finished it last night, but I was so tired. I’m not sure now if I want to have it quilted by a longarmer or do it myself. I’m thinking all it needs is wavy lines and I can do that myself. Years ago I took a class called “Quilt as Desired”. The instructor talked about what you should consider when deciding on a quilting design. I think the most useful tip I learned was sometimes straight (or wavy) lines is all a quilt needs.

That dreadfully hot weather is on its way here. We will be in the low 90's today, but the following three days will be close to or at 100 degrees. I can escape it tomorrow, but we have three pool related activities scheduled Friday and Saturday. It doesn't matter how much water I drink or shade I seek - I know I'll feel a bit wilted on Sunday. It will be a good day for me to stay inside and stitch ; o )

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Half Way to a Top

Here is half of the Triangle top. I’m determined to finish it before switching to or starting another project. I’ve been very tempted to make some basket blocks, but I’m resisting. They can wait. I already have most of the hst made for the rest of the quilt so I’m hoping to have it done by the end of next week. I like to set target dates, but I’m very flexible about meeting them!

I’m pressing the seams open and have been doing this for the past year or two. Do you ever do this? I remember they used to say to press toward the dark fabric. Has that been ignored for a while and I’m just catching on? I like the way my blocks look when the seams are pressed open – they lay flatter and go together much easier.

I’m looking forward to the last Harry Potter movie. I’m not one to see it right away – will wait until the crowds thin out a bit. I just love these books and movies – read and watched them all more than once. I think J.K. Rowling was just so creative with this series; especially with her characters – love their names! I can’t wait to see Mrs. Weasley get her revenge! One of my favorite lines is toward the end when Dumbledore says to Harry “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” This won’t make sense to you if you haven’t read the books, but it is so Dumbledore!

Can you believe it is already mid-July? My daughter has been in Japan for over a month – she returns early in August and will have just a few days at home before returning to school. Last week we Skyped with her and her host family. She had to translate and it was neat to hear her speak Japanese. She has been studying the language for 8 years.

See Penny behind the chair - keeping out of the way. She and Duke were just groomed.

I hope you are finding time to stitch! Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Spoon Quilting

Gayle Ropp of spoon quilting fame made this quilt. It was in the Quilters Unlimited show back in June. Was that only a month ago? Gayle is a member of the McLean chapter and though I don’t know her well I can tell from our brief chats and chapter meeting exchanges that she is a sweet, generous person. Check out her website TJS Quick Quilter and be sure to click on the demo video.

One of these days I’ll make an Amish inspired quilt, too. The solid fabrics intimidate me.

Look at these tiny, even stitches. What a master!

 Still plugging away on the calico triangles. Last night I started sewing hsts together – Yay!

I’m reading The Count of Monte Cristo. Not a quick summer read, but I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th

Pattern from Little Quilts All Through The House by Alice Berg, Mary Ellen Von Holt and Sylvia Johnson.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Summer’s Here

I always think things will slow down with the summer, but it never does until August. My youngest son still swims for the community pools’ team. Running a swim meet requires many adult volunteers so you can’t help but get to know people and it becomes a social event. I was just thinking that this is our 13th summer with this team. We have 2-3 meets a week and I’m helping with the pep rallies on Friday evenings. Seems we are always headed to the pool!

I don’t have any photos of the 22 lbs. of blueberries my husband and I picked last Sunday. We like picking the blueberries much better than strawberries because you do it standing up! It was easy picking this year and while the weather was warm it wasn’t too hot. It took about an hour and a half, but it didn’t feel that long. I made my grandmother’s blueberry crumb cake. I had one piece and sent the rest to work with my husband. My sons don’t care for it and I just couldn’t eat all that cake. Well, I could, but you know what I mean! I saved a few berries to eat on my cereal and froze the rest. They will be good for future cakes and in my oatmeal when cold weather returns.

Mmmmm - cherry pie – we will ALL eat this! I picked up some tart cherries at the farmers market and made this pie. It’s a good thing I’m back to swimming laps. I try to swim 2-3 times a week, but there were a few months this spring when I didn’t swim and I can tell. Turning 50 hasn’t been good for my midsection – seems like all my fat is migrating there! : o (

My sewing really has been just doing a little here and there. I completed the DJ block for the raffle quilt. Here it is beside my practice block.

I think the practice block looks better for two reasons. The printed fabric is more forgiving and, in hindsight, I should have taken the starch out of the raffle block fabric before trying to appliqué with it.

Here’s what’s on my design wall.

The triangle quilt is coming along – it will be larger than this, but I was tired of picking 3” hst’s off the floor.

I can see the end of this hexagon project and I am so glad. This has been in the works for over 10 years. I will have 63 hexagon flowers when I finish stitching them together – almost there. I’m appliquéing them onto 7” squares and the sashing is 2” finished.

Here is my first attempt at a collage. These hydrangeas and day lilies are blooming in our backyard. We see them through the sliding glass door in the eating area of our kitchen. I love the green, orange and purple/pink/blue combination.

To all who celebrate July 4th- have a great holiday weekend! For everyone else, hope you have a grand weekend, too!