Thursday, December 29, 2011

Love triangle

Apologies for photo, which does not capture awesomeness of fabric.
This will not be the first new UFO of 2012! I will finish it easily, but early in the next year. Since this picture, I have pieced all the whole triangle-shaped blocks. I have to figure out the setting blocks as I am morally opposed to piecing a whole block, however simple -- and these are! -- just so I can cut it in half (plus quarter-inch seam allowance) and toss the other half (less quarter-inch seam allowance) away.

Photos do NOT do justice to this Marcia Derse fabric. You really must see it in person. I might frame my scaps it's so gorgeous! But in this picture it kinda looks like a leopard shed on my design wall. Even my husband likes it. He walked past the quilt room the other night and said, "Wow. I like those colors!" Usually he only offers an opinion if I specifically ask so that was a good sign.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cover up

I bought myself a Kindle Touch awhile back, but didn't get a cover because of course I should make one. I used the pattern in Quilter's Home magazine that I used before, but I had to adapt it to the size of my device, which is smaller. It's a snug fit. Should have made the straps a bit slack. I'll have to keep that in mind if I make another.
Fabric is Cosmo Cricket's Circa 1934 for the cover and Sweetwater Authentic for the inside. Both are Moda fabrics. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Saw this in the neighborhood the other day. Looks like Christmas came before the Halloween decorations had been taken down. Some scarfs and Santa hats and these ghosts are ready for the season!

In quilting news, the border is on the top, the backing is made and the whole lot has been shipped off to the longarmer. I've got the binding ready to go when I get it back.

I cut the border so the same pattern is in all the strips and they move around the center. Of course, the top is so large no one else is likely to notice.

And this is what I'm working on next. I fell in love with this gold fabric by Marcia Derse and found a pattern right away that I think will highlight it perfectly.

Wishing everyone a lovely holiday however you celebrate it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

On the border

The colors are a bit off, and it is wider than my design wall, but you get the idea. My original border choice didn't work. Neither did two other options from the stash. All too busy, but the right colors. So I was forced -- forced I tell you -- to go to the quilt shop today and find a border.

I was not forced, however, to buy other fabrics and a pattern, which will probably be my next quilt. (UFOs are so passe.) If I can just keep my focus on this one until I get the borders on, then I can ship it off to the longarmer. Those new fabrics are like a siren song though. "Cut me. Cut me," they whisper ever louder. Sigh. Maybe a test block or two.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Getting My Points Across

Another block done. Takes a couple days of sewing per block, but with two blocks nearly done, I've got almost half the quilt finished!

One thing the pattern doesn't mention is how to match the points. Here's what I'm doing:
Marking a quarter inch at each intersection in the strip sets with a permanent pen.

On the wrong side, of course!

Insert a pin straight into the seam at the quarter-inch mark on the top piece.

And straight out the other piece in the seam at the quarter-inch mark.

Keep the pin straight up and down and pin the two pieces of fabric together. I pinned this one parallel to the edge. Remove the straight up and down pin.

You can also pin perpendicular on either side of the straight up and down pin. That is probably the better way to go so you can sew with either piece on top. If I see that there is more fabric between the pins on one side than the other, I sew with that piece on the bottom so that the feed dogs help gather up the excess fabric without creating a pleat in my seam.

Press seams open.

Points match!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Start of Something New

First block (almost) from "Shades of Grey" by Sarah Fielke from Quilters Newsletter August/September 2011. Blocks are huge -- 36 inches -- so only need four! Unlike the original, I'm making each square in different fabrics. My stash pieces don't usually go beyond a half yard unless I think they might be potential borders or sashings, so I'm having to mix it up. (Also, it would be too boring to make two the same.) I'm even using fat quarters for the two inner most diamonds, which means some diamonds are pieced together. Starching the fabrics before cutting helps control the bias. Pressing the seams open.

Monday, November 14, 2011

UFO's run in the family

My mom likes to applique and doesn't care much for piecing so she mailed me some blocks to put together for her. I squared them up as best I could.

This is a Piecemakers pattern from 1996 called "Times and Seasons." I think it's a block of the month that can then be put together into this quilt. Mom's been working on it for years.

I found the perfect backing fabric in my stash: Alexander Henry from 1999. I have just enough for the back. I knew some day I would find the right quilt for this fabric, which has all the same colors as the front.

I think there's enough border fabric for the binding. I'll put that and the back together and mail it all back to mom. There needs to be some applique finihsed that crosses over the block seams (and maybe a little extra to hide where I couldn't quite match the hills across blocks). It will go back to Mom for that. I'd rather piece than applique.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Get one while you can

Barbara Brackman announced this week that her book "Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns" is now out of print. How sad. I've used that book countless times.

The book was invaluable in planning my Florida quilt. How else would I have found so many Florida-themed blocks such as Tallahassee, Key West, Sunshine, Orange Peel, Storm at Sea, etc.?

I took over my guild's block of the month program right after September 11. I used this book to find blocks that seemed relevant to the events (Birds in the Air, New York, White House Steps, etc.) and then drafted them all to the same size. Each month in 2002 members could make the blocks for the drawing in that month's colors and/or for themselves in red, white and blue for a sampler quilt.

Several other quilts have been planned and countless block names confirmed with her book. Not to mention all the blocks I've discovered when looking for something else.

This book has been around for years. Before computers. You can only imagine the dedication required to gather all that information and then put it together and index it with drawings of each block. And to think she did it with a typewriter and graph paper!

Read her funny post about the book here

Sunday, November 6, 2011

It's done whatever it is

Piped windmills, 30.75 inches square.
Finished the blocks and added a border yesterday. Not enough piping fabric left to add some between the blocks and border. Oh well. I took the class to learn a technique and didn't really have a plan for a quilt. Now I have a 30.75-inch square top that is a complete composition. Not sure what to do with something that size. Table topper maybe. There's no piping in the middle so you could put a vase there and not have it wobble.  
Piped binding sample from class.
I don't see myself making another top with piped blocks, but I am planning to try piped binding in the future. I've already made the top. Just need to get it quilted so I can bind it. Ah, another UFO awaits.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

From the archives

Henry's quilt.
I finished the baby quilt and delivered it.
I'm all about the straight-line quilting!

Then I dug out another one of my UFOs.
Only plan for this right now is to have it done.
Not as old as the flag quilt. This one can't be more than four years old. Four blocks done in a class based on the book "Piping Hot Curves" by Susan K. Cleveland. Eight more finished this week.
Tools of the trade.
The book's instructions are clear, and I was able to pick up where I left off in class all those years ago. I like learning new techniques. You never know when you might need them, and they can be a source of inspiration. Not that I need more ideas. Time. That's what I need. Any ideas for getting more of that?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ooops! Missed September

I'll have to recap that month later. Lots of travel, not a lot of quilting.
I did finish the flag top. Ta da!

My version of the flag quilt.
Picture of the original old quilt.
Only eight years in the making. Of the top anyway. We'll see how long it takes to get it quilted as I seem to have quite a pile of those.

I'm quilting the star baby quilt now. Actually, that's done. Working on the binding. Used the star scraps from that to make this little number.

Twelve inches total with half-square triangles finishing at one inch. Not sure what I'll do with it. Pillow? Mini quilt? Add to the pile of similar bits?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

August (and July) roundup

Can't believe August is nearly over. It's been a busy one with barely any hands-on quilting. One reason I started a blog was to keep track of when I did things so I could look it up later. I'm just terrible remembering dates and years!

So here are the highlights of the last few weeks for tracking purposes. Feel free to skip down to the bottom for the quilt related bits.
My mother taught me that pointing was rude.
This has been outside my window at work the last several weeks. Every time I stand up and look out, people are looking up her skirt. The statue created quite a stir because you can see her underwear, but I don't think it's the statue so much that bothers me as the behaviour of some of the tourists.

One of the many air shows at Oshkosh.
Again this year my husband and I went to Oshkosh, WI, for the annual EAA fly-in. We drove. But camped there and spent two days watching air shows, looking at planes, plane parts, plane accessories, etc. Two days is about as long as a non-pilot like me can handle. But I do enjoy myself. The air shows are great, and I got to tour a Blackhawk helicopter, which doesn't happen every day. Some of the exhibits are pretty interesting. This year there was a display of air mail planes. This one was my favorite.

The sign in front of it reads: "Sept. 23, 1911: With a sack of mail on his lap, Earle Ovington piloted a Bleriot XI on he first official U.S. Air Mail flight, taking off from Garden City Estates on Long island, New York. He flew 6 miles to Mineola, where he tossed the mail bag containing 650 letters and 1,280 postcards overboard for retrieval by postal employees. Ovington continued to fly a round trip a day for the rest of the air meet that month."

Galt Airport Flour Drop.
I wonder how successful he was in dropping the mail sacks where the postal employees could retrieve them. It's not as easy as it looks to hit a target from the air. I know this from experience. Every year our local airport hosts a flour drop, where you drop 1-pound bags of flour from a minimum of 300 feet onto a target drawn at the end of the runway. The target has various rings with different points and the highest scores win a trophy. I estimate about half the contestants don't even hit the target!

World's Largest Corn Maze. In a suburb near me.
While we were waiting our turn to drop our flour, we flew over the Richardson Farms corn maze. The maze is open now, and we'll be going again this year. It's so much fun wandering around in the corn! This year's theme is "Salute to our Military."

Pappajohn Sculpture Garden in Des Moines.
I spent two weekends in Des Moines visiting a friend. Des Moines is a nice city, although the downtown is a little dead on Sundays. One weekend we went to the huge Farmers Market, the East Village, the Pappajohn Sculpture garden and ate really well at some good restaurants. Fried brussels sprouts are amazing! Who knew.

Yes, 100 years of the Butter Cow at the Iowa State Fair!
Last weekend, we went to the Iowa State Fair. It seemed safe by then with the Straw Poll over and all the politicians having left the state. I'd never been to a state fair before. It was a lot of fun. I particularly liked the Iowa Craft Beer tent. We saw the deep-fried butter on a stick being made and talked to some people who were eating it, but it was just too gross to try ourselves. We did manage a pork chop on a stick, which was really good! Actually, we had no fried food at the fair. Hmmmm. Didn't think that was possible.

I made my first spin art piece. Apparently this is a staple of many a fair. I'm thinking I need to go to more fairs just to do this again. I don't care if I was by far the oldest participant. This was my favorite part of the fair. You know, except for the quilts.

One corner of the large quilt exhibition space.
And there were a lot of quilts! Unfortunately, because of the number of quilts and limited exhibition space, they were not displayed in the most ideal way. Only the blue ribbon winners were displayed so you could see the whole quilt, and for some reason I didn't get pictures of those. Maybe because we found the room they were in as we were planning to leave, and we kind of zipped through the space.

I love this quilt. My photo doesn't do it justice.
And maybe because seeing only a small part of the quilts made them more intriguing so I took more pictures of those. I wanted to see so many of these folded quilts opened up.  

And that is just some of my pictures of some of the quilts at the fair! Kind of overwhelming, isn't it?
Yesterday was our block's annual party. The kids love riding bikes in the street. The grownups love catching up. This year's topic: How much sewage in your basement? (Our village is trying for some FEMA disaster funds after recent storm waters caused sewer backups in hundreds of homes.) Everyone loves the potluck dinner and games.
Things should be settling back into a more regular routine now so probably more sewing and attempts at better blogging to come.

Monday, August 15, 2011

No end in sight

Lots going on, but not much of it sewing related. I'm still plugging away at the flag blocks, sewing four flags together and then sashing with white strips and red cornerstones, which finish at a half inch.

Finished sections of the flag quilt are pinned to the design wall.
I'm determined not to pack up this project until I have the top together at least, but it's slow going and tough to be accurate with such narrow sashing. I don't want to sew too long a seam with that sashing so I'm sashing on two sides and will sew those groupings in sets like four-patches. Eventually, I'll have to sew a long seam, but I'm putting it off as long as I can.

I've been meaning to share the monthly email from the International Quilt Study Museum, but keep forgetting. Barbara Brackman mentioned it on her blog a long time ago, and I signed up. Every month a different quilt, and lots to see on their site too.

This month's is in memory of Ardis James who passed away early last month. According to the New York Times, she and her husband "established what is now the largest collection of quilts in the world". They began the Quilt Study Museum in 1997 with their donation of almost 1,000 quilts.

Here's the link to the August quilt:

Off to sash some more flags while watching a George Clooney movie. I suspect I won't get all that much done tonight.