Friday, February 27, 2009

Shocking Stashbusting Attempt

At a certain point in your quilting life you decide you have way more fabric than you will ever need.  I've been quilting about 26 years so you might rightly guess I have hit that point.  

There are three ways of dealing with this: 
1) Don't buy any more fabric.
2) Make more quilts.
3) Give away some fabric.  

I'm sure I've already reached the way more fabric situation.  So, I have adopted all three of these strategies for stash reduction.  (For those family members who don't know what stash is -- it's a quilter's hoard of fabrics.)  I have been holding off on buying new fabrics.   I've been making lots of quilts.  I share some fabric with Jenny and others on occasion.   

This year I decided to keep track of the flow of fabric in and out of my stash.  My rules are -- fabric doesn't get counted as "used" until the quilt is finished.  Anything purchased or received free is in-flow of fabric.  I've been diligent about keeping track of this.  Here's my report on ins and outs since the beginning of the year:

Fabric used by finished quilts or giving away:  8.4 yards
Fabric purchased or received free:      20.33 yards
Net fabric ADDED to stash:        11.93 yards

-oh no, where did I go wrong?

Hum, something tells me I've hit too many fabric stores recently.  Although most of them have been out of my general area. 

And, I think I'd better get off the computer and start finishing some more stuff!  

Happy quilting all! Bonnie 

Quilting with Domestic Sewing Machine

One of the classes I took this weekend was quilting feathers.  Surprisingly, they aren't all that hard.   Or perhaps it is because I've been quilting stuff for a while on my Bernina.  

Here is my sample of feathers and circles. No, don't panic, I didn't do this freehand, although I could now if I wanted to.  

Here's the sample with the markings.  And, yes, I followed the line.  Actually, because you can't see the stitching lines all that well on the sample it looks pretty good.  But, believe me I was off the lines enough to make it obvious. 

And, here's the quilt Jen and I worked on while we learned to use the long arm machine.  Oh, boy, did I like that.  I've often thought it would be a pain to set it up and get it loaded.

Maybe because the piece was so 
small it wasn't that big of a deal.  It is about 31" square and will be my monthly quilt for Project Linus after I bind it.  

I didn't quilt at all yesterday.  Actually, I didn't do much except read and veg.  Now, I need to transport all the supplies I took back up to the studio.  And, then I need to work on a block.  

Happy Quilting All.  Bonnie 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quilting with a Long Arm

Today Jen quilted a huge baby quilt.  (Remember this pic?) She used my machine to do free motion quilting.  I was working on a string pieced quilt on hers.  Then at 5 pm we took a lesson on using a APQS long arm machine, the Lenni Model.  Julia rents her machine through her business Special Occasion Quilts.  I brought down a small streak of lightening quilt top.  In a little over 2 hours we were able to learn how to use the machine, load our little quilt and practice quilting on it.  I will take it home, add the binding and it will be my project linus quilt for the month.  
We both seem to be very focused on what the machine is doing. 
We tried a bunch of different patterns.  So, from a quilting point of view it is a hodgepodge.  Surprisingly enough some of the quilting looks great.  I imagine it is because we both do free motion quilting on our domestic sewing machines.  I wish I could find someone up near me who rents a long arm. 

I am heading backing to PA tomorrow and may stop at one or two of the Amish fabric stores on the way home.  I've had a great time but I am definitely ready to get back to my own house and closet... I am tired of living out of a suitcase.  

Happy quilting all!  Bonnie 

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Saturday's Class

WooWee!  Saturday's class from Sharon Schamber was great.
   Lots of fun, an interesting technique.  Nothing like a good class to fire me up!  
Here's some eye candy from the class.
First you paste fabric samples.  After cutting out and ironing the fabric you do some gluing.  Basically all the pieces are glued before you sew.  Then sewing should be super easy and quick.  I had a gluing issue and will have to reglue parts of mine.  But, come Monday I will get my block glued again and sewn.  Here are several glued blocks. 
Time to have breakfast and get on to today's class.  Freehand feathers !  More eye candy in the next post.  

Happy Quilting All!  Bonnie 

Thursday, February 19, 2009

More Valentine Postcards

My buddy Polly in Maryland grab all three postcards I sent to my stamping buddies and took pictures.  Here are two of them. 

(Yes, I do rubber stamping also.  We -5 of us altogether - used to get together monthly to make cards, books, notepads, gift tags.  For several years we were all very creative.  And, finally we burned out or ran out of time.  Plus, it's hard to use all the things.  Of course, now I need to replenish my stock of cards. ) 

For some reason the other picture won't upload so I will hold on to that one for another day.  

Back to packing for the trip to Maryland tomorrow.  Hopefully the snowy weather will be minor cause I am going no matter what! 

Happy quilting all!   Bonnie 

Road Trip

Today I get ready to go on a quilting road trip.  I am heading to Maryland to take a couple of classes with  Sharon Schamber.   Saturday's class is New York Beauty.  I am hoping to get at least two blocks made in class.  Don't know how many I would like to get done at home... ie, is this a learning experience or a project experience.  (And, yes, it can be both.)  Sunday's class is quilting on a domestic sewing  machine.  

The biggest challenge is to make sure I have every thing needed.  There are some things I am just not getting or bringing.  For instance, I really don't need my iron.  Most class locations can't handle 20 irons turned on and 20 sewing machines. I am staying several more days to spend sewing time with Jenny.  Which quilt will I work on?  Do I start a new one or finish an old one?  

The last thing I am doing is taking a lesson on a long arm sewing machine.  (Jen is getting lessons too as she lives pretty close to the lady who rents out her long arm.)  Note to self. Put in a finished top that can be quilted by an inexperienced quilter. 

It is going to be a busy day and a fun-filled week.  I'm just happy that there isn't a big snow storm coming our way.  Knock on wood.  Darn, where's some wood when I need it?

Keep tuned for packing, traveling and sewing with Institches with Bonnie. 

Happy quilting all.  Bonnie

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Actual studio time has been limited so far this week.  But hand work is getting done.  Hopefully by the end of the week I'll be able to show you a block I am making for a group I call Faithful Circle Alumni.  We all moved from the Columbia, Maryland area where we were members of the Faithful Circle Quilters.  We are doing blocks for each other.  This time we received a white on white background fabric and a wonderful print of pansies.  Really springy looking. (now doesn't that sound weird...)  The concept is do what you can do in 4 to 5 hours.  Of course, I can't follow the concept because the fabrics scream floral applique.  So, I'm making a bunch of leaves with some 3 dimensional flowers (with beading).  I'm hoping it looks good when I finish because I am using way too many colors of green.  I'm more than half done and hope to finish it today at the Wednesday quilt group.  

No peeking until the block is done.  Snow is forecasted but not all that much.  

Happy quilting all.  Bonnie 

Monday, February 16, 2009

More Valentine's Day Doings

Pat and I were down in Maryland for a quick visit. (we were there for less than 24 hours.)  While there we attended this: (fourth down -- Jenny Lang - Horn!) Jenny has one more recital and her defense until she earns her Doctor of Musical Arts.  Hum, another Dr. J in the making.  Saturday's recital was all 20th century women composers for the French Horn. Wow some really avant guard stuff.  I particularly liked a piece with 2 horns and piano. Wonderful sounds, interesting timing... great energetic piece. (Jen, I tried to remember what you said that piece had...  not much memory except those two and the one thing you don't want me to remember!!!)  You really can't hum any of the tunes when she's done but the toes were really tapping with her pieces.  Ask me quilting questions -- no problem.  But doctoral level music responses -- it just ain't there folks!  But I do enjoy listening to the pieces. 

Last Wednesday I sent out 5 Valentine postcards.  As I drove away from the post office I was ready to
 smack myself!  I hadn't taken any pictures of them.  So, while visiting Jenny and Brian, I snapped this picture of theirs.

Then Friday I made sugar cookies and packaged them up to look special. (Hey, they were special!) 
Everyone had a package of sugar cookies -- except me!  Rats.  Pat shared some of his with me. What a sweetie! 

I've had a couple of phone calls, emails and finally at almost 2:00 pm I am ready to get things going today.  I have a block I need to finish so I can applique it.  And, I am designing a block based on a picture I took on vacation.  Tomorrow is car stuff and groceries.  Things are always hopping -- but not pressure filled which is really nice. 
Happy quilting all!  Bonnie 

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Fast Finish

Snoopy Dancing all over the house. I finished a quilt in less than 2 weeks. Woowee! This was a mystery quilt at Mysteries for Relay. I took the giant hint that it would look good in two main colors (such as red and white.) I had planned to use a red that I had used for the backing of another quilt but I found enough odd pieces of different reds to not really use much of the yardage. (Well, I did use if for the back!) I also used several different white on whites including some little vw bugs white on white.  I've had that fabric for a long time and have never figured out what quilt to put it.  But my thought process was, VW Bug, the Love Bug, Valentine's Day Quilt.  I only used a strip of it 2.5" but it is a start.  This entire quilt came from my stash.  Nothing was purchased for it.  Another accomplishment! 

I did this wall hanging completely by machine including both sides of the binding.  I stitched the binding on the back side and then turned it to the front. Stitching as close to the fold of the binding I carefully maneuvered it under the machine.  At the corners I sewed down the folds.  I was extremely pleased with how it turned out.  I probably wouldn't do this technique on a quilt I wanted to give away or enter in a show but for a fast little wall hanging that will probably only be hung during February -- machine stitching the binding down made sense.  And, you know I am tickled pink to have it done so fast! 

We have had 5 days of nice weather here -- that means above freezing temperatures both days and nights.  I was in for a surprise when I looked out over the back yard. (No, there is no "yard" there but what else do you call it? The back rocks?)  Anyway, I found ferns growing up in a profusion of green.  Moss (lichen?) was greening up.  It looked like spring was coming on fast. 
Don't get too excited.  For the last 2 days it's been back in the teens at night and barely over 30 in the day.  The green has died off completely and winter is back with us.  Sigh.  It was a nice thought. 

Happy Quilting All.  Bonnie 

Friday, February 13, 2009

No Posts??

No posts for how many days?  And, I have no excuses or reasons.  I have been working away in the studio for several hours a day -- just nothing finished to show off yet.  I will have my Valentine's Day quilt finished today ... (sans label probably...) so photos will be taken and posted.  

Now you might ask why no label when you know I support the concept a quilt isn't done until it is labeled?  I tend to make my labels on the computer.  I use Printed Treasure sheets and a program that allows me to put pictures or designs on the labels.  As most know, those sheets aren't cheap.  So I tend to do 4 on each sheet.  Right now I only have 2 quilts ready for labels.  One is coming close but who knows what the 4th one will be.  I do go into the software and actually design the label so the information is recorded but the actual printing will take place when I have filled the page. 

Happy Quilting All.  Bonnie

Monday, February 9, 2009

Weather --Bah Humbug

Saturday was a glorious day -- I think it hit the 50's in our travels.  Sunday it went downhill.  Temps were high enough in the morning to not wear winter coats. (YIPPEE!) But it started to drizzle, blow like crazy and the temperatures went down.  What, 40 was the high??? Luckily we didn't have any errands to do so I didn't freeze.  Today it's suppose to be slightly above freezing.  So, melt, snow, melt.  Of course melting snow looks awful!  Can't have everything can we! 
I got some quilt blocks made to send a friend who has lost her two kitties.  I was happy to make up a couple of blocks and send them to her as she is making a quilt for her DH who really is missing the cats.  The hardest part was finding some grid paper to draft a 9" block!  I used Encyclopedia of Quilts to get the block ideas and then drew them out on grid paper to figure out what size units I would need.  Nothing hard but I think they look cute. 
I need to get up to the studio to continue on my other projects.  And, heaven knows I have lots of them!  I am ready to quilt the borders of the blue, green and beige but haven't decided what I want to do except it needs to be easy!  

Happy Quilting All.  Bonnie 

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Carousel Horse

Here it is the completely finished Carousel Quilt.  It was given to Project Linus today at a Blanket Day.  I've never been to a BD before. Wow, lots of people and lots of different blankets. There were fleece, knit, crochet and quilted blankets.  This group donates 150 to 200 blankets a month.  The bad part for me is that the location of the BD was about an hour away in New York! Yikes. Pat drove me up and the usual weird directions spewed out of our gps. We got to see quite a bit of the countryside. I will probably not go very often although there were lots of stores up there and it is about 20 minutes from a quilt store I went to this fall.  Hum... maybe paired with a shopping trip.  

Here is a close up of the quilting on this one.  I used a polyester batt that was some what puffy. For speed of quilting I used a zigzag stitch that had several stitches in each of the zigzag. (I wish I knew the name of the stitch it would be so much easier!)  I also was able to lengthen the stitch which makes it work pretty well for quilting.  The other thing I did differently was sew the binding on the back by machine.  Then turned it and sewed it by machine.  Way faster than by hand.  

On our way home we took a different rural route.  We went through Milford, PA and had lunch at the Waterwheel Cafe. Yummy!  Also went to the county library and got cards.  I'm hoping they have different audio books online than the library we use in Wayne County.  Evidently we are as far west in Pike county as anyone can get! Figures.  I sure miss the Howard County Library!  

Happy Quilting All.  Bonnie 

Friday, February 6, 2009

Check Out the Cool Glass!

I admit it, I love Mexican food.  Enchilladas, burritos, tamales... I enjoy most of it.  I like fajitas but it seems to me that might have been made for American tastes.  So, last night after I picked up Pat from leaving the car to be serviced we went to a Mexican restaurant.  Chips and salsa were good.  Salsa was nicely spicey.  And, I succumbed to a margarita. 

Now it wasn't that the margarita was so great.  Honest, I wouldn't really know if it was or wasn't I haven't had one for years.  But how cool is this glass?  And, yes, boys and girls, it was glass.  Jen -- don't you (or Kevin) have some plastic glasses similar to this?  You need to make a pitcher of margaritas to enjoy the glasses!  

The food was ok.  Not half as good as what we had in Clearwater, Florida.  But definitely made us feel like we had Mexican.  (Can you say refried beans?? LOL) I brought my left over tamale home for lunch (with more rice and refried beans...) so I will have a bit more Mexican today. 

Good news, I vacuumed the stairs. Brian, you may have been the last to do that as in September.  I'm going to drag the big vacuum down to do the area rugs and then it is sewing. I'm going to finish the quilting on the Nickel Mystery and then look at the dogs for a bit. I think I need to do some more 6" blocks so I don't have to fill too much.  That's enough for today. We still have to pick up the other car.  And, try to find an open car wash to remove dirt and crud from my car.  If we didn't have a back windshield washer I wouldn't be able to see at all!  

Happy Quilting All!  Bonnie 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

A New UFO Project

Yesterday I said I should pull a UFO out to finish.  So as I was putzing around in the studio I noticed a dog block hanging around ... Ah Ha!  I had been in a dog block swap sometime ago.  Had to be '99 or later as someone had paper pieced something and it had a 99 copyright date.  So here are some of the blocks.  Doesn't he look cute?   The dog with the bone was done by Moira McSpadden. 

The little Scottie was paper pieced by Linda Becker. 

The dogs blocks are units of 3" finished. The above dog is 9" square while the two paper pieced dogs are 6".  And I have a 12" block too.  

The challenge will be to get them together.  I will have to put some sashing in and maybe I'll make some paw prints or other "dog" things.  

This guy was a paper pieced design by Moira but sewn by Joyce Corbin.  

I have no idea which group did this swap.  I guess I should write down some information when I start things so I can remember them later!  Will keep you posted on how these guys go together.  

Faithful Circle Quilters Alumnae is another group I am in.  We are all former residents of Maryland who were (and some are) members of FCQ.  We each have an assigned time period. (I'm Mar - April.)  We then tell the other members what we want them to make for us.  I'm still debating what I am going to want.  I write little notes to myself when I come up with an idea. Eventually I'll decide.  

The first package is for spring flowers.  I am going to do an applique wreath.  And, I'm making the flowers 3 dimensional with beading. (Am I crazy or what???)  I need 20 more flowers.  I figure it will be good hand work in the evenings.  (Do I need more hand work in the evenings!?)  Anyway I have 23 more days to get it done.  So I will work a bit each day on it and it will be done!  Quit laughing... it will be done, honest! 

Happy Quilting All.   Bonnie

2 Kind of Finishes

Here's a Valentine's Day Quilt I did a while ago.  I quilted it on my Bernina using Press n Seal -- it's actually a kitchen wrap but I traced the design on it and stuck it on the quilt and quilted it free hand.  Wasn't that bad, quilting wise.  I don't use Press n Seal all that much now.  I tend to draw the designs on lightweight tracing paper and then pin them in place.  Hum, this has a bad crease in the center.  I will need to fold it differently when I store it next.  

I still have two threads to tie off and bury on the Carousel Quilt.  I found out I hadn't done two short rows of quilting so got that finished.  Now to do the 10 minutes of work to finish the whole thing.  I keep my projects in plastic bins or boxes (depending on what is available.) I was happy to empty this quilt's bin.  I had quite a few fabrics to put away.  So, now can I start a new project?  NAW.  Maybe I'll take out an older project (UFO) and see if I can drum up some interest in it.  And, I'm still plugging away on the "million" piece quilt. There are lots of 1.5" x 1" finished pieces in this quilt.  Looks great when done.  So, again, I just keep adding to the sections.  Later I'll try to share pictures of what I've done so far.  

And, I finished the hand stitching on a quilt that's been done since Dec. except hand sewing the binding.  And, then I had only 1/4 of the binding to do yet it sat around.  It will eventually be a gift for a friend but not yet.  I'll get pictures after the label is put on.  Maybe I'll make the label today.  

I've spent some time recently on some knitting projects.  I was knitting at the Wed. quilting group and kept making mistakes on a very easy project.  I kept ripping out because I would figure out the mistake and go back to correct it.  Some of the mistakes stayed in.  Oh well.  Pictures when I finish.  

Time to get quilting.  -- I want to get the red hearts quilt quilted today along with some more motifs of the green, blue and beige quilt.  

Happy Quilting  -- Bonnie

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

It's Got to Be Better!

It's still early to tell if today is going to be a better day than yesterday.  I did get the quilting done on the Carousel quilt.  But I didn't tie off the threads as I had planned to.  Darn computer keeps sucking me in!  

So today it is back to finishing the Carousel Quilt.  And who knows what else. 

We had an inch or so of snow last night.  Today the trees and power lines are covered.  I assume the wind is blowing as every once in a while we appear to be having a snow storm -- some times light and sometimes heavy.  But if I look at the front of the house it isn't snowing.  It's suppose to get cold again today and have off and on snow.  Ain't winter grand! 

Happy Quilting All! Bonnie 
and Kevin... I'm glad you got a good laugh out of my last post.  I refuse to be locked out there again! LOL> 

Monday, February 2, 2009

Squirrel 1; Bonnie 0

It was a day to forget ... at least the middle of the day.  Take a look at the back of our house.  Notice the two lovely porches.  Notice on the left one there are no stairs down.  There is a french door going from the great room to the porch. The right side porch actually has steps down and it really isn't all that far down to the ground. Not so on the left side.  It's about 6' in the middle to the ground.  Now that I've set the scene let me tell you about MY day.  

I was in the kitchen reading stuff on the computer and heard a noise from the porch.  The squirrels have been visiting the porch and trying to get to the bird feeder.  So, I looked out the window and found this culprit.  I knocked on the window and he didn't flinch.  He jumped up on the bird feeder and proceeded to gnaw on the metal hoping to be able to get to the seeds.  

I was irritated.  I went flying out the door to the porch, slamming the door behind me. I yelled at the squirrel which finally convinced him he should exit the feeder, NOW.  I turned to go back in the house. OH MY GOODNESS!  I was locked out on the porch.  Pat and I had locked ourselves out in the summer.  He dropped down and went into the garage, got a key and was able to let me in.  I thought, I can do that.  So being smart, or so I thought, I dropped one of the porch chairs down thinking I could reach it if I hung off the porch.    

Um, no.  The chair fell over and away from the house.  Now what?  There were almost no cars going by the side street.  It was 40ยบ so I wasn't freezing but if I had to wait until Pat came home at 5:15 or so I'd be a popsicle.  We have a security guard that drives around the neighborhood. But I never saw him.  I did see Linda delivering the mail.  So, my plan was to try to flag her down.  Luckily she had her window down on her vehicle and heard me hollering and waving my hands.  It helped that I had on a red turtleneck!  Linda rescued me by getting the key out of the garage and opening the doors.  

All together I was probably outside for only 45 minutes to an hour.  And, I thank my wonderful postal employee!  My day did get better after that.  I finished quilting the carousel quilt.  I need the whole thing done before Saturday so I can take it to the Project Linus blanket day. 

So honey, that was my day, how was yours?  Pat laughed his head off.  We now have a way to get back in the house if we lock ourselves outside again.  

Happy quilting all!  Bonnie 

Heart Top Done

With Valentine's Day closing in, it is time to retire Mr. Snowman.  He was a round robin finished in 1998.  He was started in February, 1996 to commemorate the Blizzard of '96.  29" of snow fell beginning on January 7th. This round robin was organized on Prodigy -- if I remember correctly.  

Now a word from our sponsor -- labels.  "Yes, ma'am.  Don't you love that you remember all that snowy detail?  The only reason you do is that great label you made for Mr. Snowman.  And, everyone who worked on it added a comment  telling you what part they did.  And, smart you, you even mentioned it hung in the Faithful Circle Quilters' show.  So when doing labels think about adding more detail -- wasn't it nice to have all that info on this one!!"

Yes, yes.  It is better to have more details. 


I guess I will try to do better than name, date, maker and recipient in the future! 

Here is the finished top for the Mystery Hearts.  I LOVE it.  I have had the heart border for ages and haven't wanted to cut into it for anything.  But it just sings with this quilt.  And, remember this is a "free" quilt.  Everything came from stash.  And, I am hoping the batting will be a bit from used batts rather than cutting into a piece I have recently bought.  Now, do I want to add some beading to it??? 

I have goofed off on the computer way too long so will end now.  I'm thinking of the label I should make for this.  And, when Mr. Snowman comes down I'll try to add a pic of the label. The quilt was really called Baby It's Cold Out Here.  

Stay tuned for more quilting adventures! Bonnie 

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Do You Mystery?

Have you mysteried yet?  Hum, quilters do tend to make words fit what they want.  The proper way to say it would be have you participated in a mystery quilt yet?  I enjoy them so much I am a member of a yahoo group that raises funds for worth causes and gives you mystery quilts about 6 times a year.  Part of the reason I like them is, generally, I use just my stash fabric.  So, it's a free quilt. (Right, sure!) The other reason I like them is I often end up making a quilt I would never start.  This summer I made an Irish Chain.I wouldn't have chosen it but, it went together easily and I really like the top so far. (sorry, no pics of it as it still needs borders and the finishing thing.)  This weekend was no exception.  Marge at Mysteries for Relay hosted a small mystery she called a Folk Art Quilt.  I was so happy with it -- even before I got it all put together.  Here's what some of the pieces looked like.

Marge gave a giant hint that it might be a great two color quilt, say, red and white.  I'm no fool and I couldn't remember if I had a Valentine's Day quilt.  So, I thought what the heck. A red and white quilt would look like a Valentine's Day quilt.  I cut the pieces the night before and started following the directions around 9:30 Sat. morning.  I was slow, I couldn't keep up at first. But eventually, I was finish with a clue right before the next one was posted.   And, even as I said to myself, it's a heart I couldn't figure out how it would make up as a heart!  See all the funny rows above?  But, I kept pluggin away.  I petered out around 6 pm.  Here's what it looked like then. Plus I found that great red and white heart fabric to use as a border.  (remember it is free as all the fabric was already in my stash of fabrics!) 

The weather has been absolutely gorgeous today.  Lots of sunshine and high up in the 40's.  The ice is melting off the driveway, the roads are looking dry.  But rumor has it we'll be getting some more snow tomorrow.  Don't know if we'll get a lot of a little.  Time will tell.  

I'm on my way upstairs to put the last rows together and maybe even get the borders on.  I'll keep you posted.

Happy quilting all! Bonnie