Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wonky Log Cabin

I just have to share this great quilt I just finished quilting.  Heidi, the queen bee of a group of 12 quilters who are making blocks for each other started our group with these large, wonky log cabins.  She finished the top within a month or two of getting all of her blocks back.  Many of these gals are not quilters (yet) but all like the idea of quilting.  Some have been sewing clothes and household items for years.  We've gone through three months and I just love working with the fabrics the gals are picking.  (Anything new is a great joy to me!) 

Here is Heidi's quilt on my bed so that I can show it off.  
 I used a spiral groovy board.  Makes nearly perfect spirals one large, one small.  I now know that the table of my long arm is not flat.  It also doesn't have the same amount of space from the rails to table on the front of the machine.
 This close up shows off the quilting quite well.  
Is it a good thing or a bad thing that you can't see the quilting on the back very well?  

Thanks Heidi for letting me quilt this one.  I really enjoyed it! 

Happy Quilting All! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Design Wall Monday 5.28.12

Another week zoomed by and I didn't get a lot of quilting/piecing done.  We are about to embark on a kitchen remodel (starts Wednesday) and everything has to be out of cabinets in the kitchen, hallway, and laundry room and a bathroom.  

The piecing I got done or at least a start on is a set of batik rail fence blocks.  These will be swapped at the FCQ Retreat I am going on starting this Friday.  We are to make blocks that have only cool colors in them or only warm colors in them.  I've finished more of the cool colors than the warm colors at this point. I did buy fabric for this swap as I have some batiks but not a whole lot of them.

I've gotten some things done on Ruthie also.  I finished one baby quilt that I will be donating to Country Piecemaker's charity.  No pictures to show you of that.  Then I loaded Heidi's quilt made by the Bee Quilters.  She went first and had us make big wacky log cabin blocks.  With 12 people in the group and large blocks she ended up with a nearly queen size quilt.  I am hoping to finish it and take it up when I leave Thursday. I'm using my spiral groovy boards and it is looking great with that pattern.  This is going to be a fun, colorful quilt.  

Week of May 21, 2012
Finish quilting twin charity quilt for FCQ
Start quilting Heidi’s quilt
Pick up old Bernina from spa week… not happening for a couple of weeks.
Take dogs in for check ups
Cut out projects for retreat at beginning of June √some done
Cut Scrap Squad #3… not started at all…
Get baby quilts done on Ruthie if possible√ one done, one to go
Not too bad especially since I didn't mention empty kitchen... 
Week of May 28
Finish Heidi’s quilt
Remove everything from kitchen cabinets
Pack up 3 projects for FCQ retreat
Make block for 1800 block of the month
Trim twin charity quilt and bind
Trim baby charity quilt and bind
Travel north safely
Finish one of the stars tops, hopefully both 

I will be up in Maryland a few days beyond the retreat helping Jenny.  Brian will be down in Virginia most weeks for about 4 weeks for work.  Bummer.

I'm off to take some more things out of the kitchen and stash somewhere else.  I'll be posting pictures during the remodel but not a lot at the first.  And, just to add to the chaos around here we are having our floors redone while we are on vacation in mid June.  FUN! 
Don't forget to stop by Patchwork Times to see what is showing up on design walls around the internet.
Happy Quilting All! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My Second Scrap Squad Quilt

Here it is ... the big secret quilt I've been working on for quite a while.  This is from the May/June issue of Quiltmaker.  And, if you don't have it run right over to Quilty Pleasure blog for a chance to win the issue and some of the Dritz Quilting Row Marking Safety Pins that I show in the blog.  Well, perhaps you should finish my blog, make a comment and then run over to Quilty Pleasure and read the blog and sign up for the giveaway. 

Ladder of Success was designed by Judy Martin who just happened to be editor of Quiltmaker magazine at one time.  We receive the quilt design about 2 months before the magazine comes out.  We don't always get all the pictures or I just didn't pay attention when I printed out the instructions.  I always print them in black and white and put in a sheet protector so I can keep all the pages together.  Can you guess that I am prone to misplacing things? 
This is one quilt where you really need to pay attention to the layout and the blocks.  Here's a mistake in the sashing block. RIP!  Notice the sticky note there?  Yep, I make copious notes about things.  Originally I was going to make it as a baby quilt or lap quilt. Once I decided to go for the twin size I had to go back and figure out how many of each of the pieces I needed to make.
I chain pieced a lot of units -- it goes so much faster.  And, I try to keep just little dabs of thread between each unit so all I have to do is snip the units apart.  Have I mentioned I am a loose thread freak?  Yep, if there is a 1/2" or more thread hanging off of a seam, I trim it.  No wonder I am a fairly slow sewer!  But, I have learned to bring the chain to the ironing board, position, iron and then quickly clip.  It does save time for me. 

Did I mention this was a fairly big quilt?  Yea, it went right off the design wall.  My design bed option is downstairs which I try hard not to use unless absolutely forced to.  Hum, would that count for aerobic exercise?  

Here I am auditioning some alternate ideas for the 2nd border.  I wanted to repeat the colors of the 9 patches in that border but they just didn't look right to me.  I finally settled on the small four patches that were in the sashing.  (Yes, what was I thinking to use the small four patches??) 

After a field trip to Sharon's house I was able to decide on the borders which are a bit different from the pattern.  The wonderful swirly print is very old and I had a limited amount so my measurements really took that into account and what looked balanced. All I have left of it partial strips.  

Once the top was done I had to evaluate the stash for backing.  I honestly thought I would have more than enough of the purple to use for the back. NOT.  I decided to use a wide back.  It turns out it is cheaper than buying yards and yards of regular width quilt fabric and much easier to not have to seam. 

Next up was loading it on Ruthie, the long arm, and quilting.  I used the Baptist fan groovy boards.  I think it adds a nice curve to counteract all the squares.

While I was at Sharon's she was working on binding a quilt.  She mentioned she uses up her bits of leftover bobbins while sewing the binding on.  I tried it and it works.  The thread colors don't seem to show to me.  Of course, I did sew it down to a colorful print.  I also roll my finished binding on a cardboard tube to keep the end from getting tangled in my rolly quilting chair. This time I cut my binding 2 1/4" like it called for in the pattern.  Normally I use 2 1/2" for my binding width.  I really like the slightly smaller size.  It made the binding a nice, full binding with approximately the same amount of fabric on both sides of the quilt.  Excellent! 

It took me a few days before I could get a picture of the finished quilt -- too cloudy and rainy.  Finally on a bright sunny morning I took the quilt outside to photograph.  Hum, it wouldn't stay on the fence so I could show all of it.  So after the fence pictures I took pics on the ground from the deck which was slightly higher.  Kona is guarding it from squirrels. 

I'm excited to start on the next Scrap Squad quilt.  I've even bought fabric for it.  It shouldn't take long and I am already in love with it.  Hopefully it will make up as quickly as I think it will. Stay tuned! 

Happy Quilting All! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Design Wall Monday 5-21-2012

Here's a finished top to share today. This was a Pooh fabric book panel.  I wanted to make a baby quilt out of it so I picked yellow, green, blue and purples to frame the blocks.  Yes, I think the purple (actually 2 different fabrics) are all wrong for it. Once I get it quilted it will go to a charity and someone will be pleased to have it. 

Now that that is done one of my design walls is (was) empty.  This morning I pulled out the FCQ Equilter's Komen quilt to finally finish off.  As I've made blocks for the 1800's Quilt I've also made some of the blocks for this quilt.  I only need one more block to start to put this together.  I sure hope I have my math right and everything actually goes together nicely. This is NOT the true color.  This looks - yucko! But it will look great once done. I've put in the golden  coping fabric that I will need a small bit of to make all the 9" blocks go together.  Anyone have some opinions on how (what order)  I should put this together?  I'm thinking sew the side blocks together and then figure out how big the coping strip needs to be and do both sides the same.  Then sew the top and bottom rows into strips and see what size strip would then be needed? 

Here's what I got done on my weekly goals last week.  Not bad considering my motivation was, um, zero! 
Week of May 13, 2012

Finish stitching binding on SS #2
Photograph and write blog entry for both Quilty Pleasures and my blog√ need to upload one or two pictures and still write my own blog about it... 
Sew Winnie the Pooh rows together
Start quilting twin charity quilt for FCQ√ at least the backing was on the frame yesterday.
Back up EQ projects from the restored netbook.  Phew! Computer guru came through like a champ. 
Start Scrap Squad #3... I'm so excited about this one!!!  I can't wait to get going on it... 
Figure out backing for my flamingo quilt
Clean up the cutting table...well, it'll be a start at least No way did this happen. 
Week of May 21, 2012
Finish quilting twin charity quilt for FCQ
Start quilting Heidi’s quilt
Pick up old Bernina from spa week…
Take dogs in for check ups
Cut out projects for retreat at beginning of June
Cut Scrap Squad #3…
Get baby quilts done on Ruthie if possible
This is actually a short list or so it seems to me but I need to focus on finishing the quilting on a few things.  Will see how I do.  
My computer is giving me a little grief trying to get on the internet so I wasn't able to post this earlier today.  One of these days I'll figure out if I need to replace something or other on it. 
Don't forget to visit Patchwork Times to visit blogs across the internet. 
Happy Quilting All! 


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Semi Quiet Sunday

I have been taking it easy quilting-wise this past week.  I finished a block for a Bee group I'm in.  I shortened a long sleeve shirt to short sleeves for Pat.  I've read a couple of novels.  Nothing too strenuous.  Until today. It was dog morning around here. Raggs has thick, soft, and baby fine hair.   Generally we pay to keep him groomed. We generally have him shaved down for the most part but it has been too long since he was groomed. Pat decided to give it a try today.  Let me say that the fur was flying!  Between me with the scissors and Pat with clippers Raggs has been some what shaved down. 
 We were at it for several hours. Pat thinks there was another dog-worth of hair in the plastic bag we were trying to keep the loose hair corraled in.  We ended with a bath for him outside.  By the time we did it it was pretty darn warm in the sun so hopefully it felt good.  
And, if Raggs was clean, Kona would be too.  She was Furminated and then had a quick wash. During spring she sheds her undercoat which surprisingly enough is light-colored.  We've been keeping her brushed so there wasn't that much coming off but it was nice to hopefully get all the loose hair off her.  She wasn't really sure about having water sprayed at her but she was good about it.  Both dogs got chewies to work on inside after air drying.  

Do you know what these are?  Yep, solar panels.  In mid March we had these panels installed to take advantage of all the sun we get here in central Virginia. We didn't put them on the roof because we have some plans for the attic someday and would like to put shed dormers in it.  Unfortunately this side faces away from the house and we (and our next door neighbor Jennie) sees the metal poles holding the panels up.  Not so attractive.  Pat has planted holly bushes to hide the sight.  He's also put up some green screening so it looks much better. 
Here's the great part.  We are making energy like crazy, at least on sunny days.  Any energy we don't use ourselves goes straight to the grid so we have quite a credit with the electric company.  We are saving the earth from the C02 that is normally a by-product of electricity production.  We're hoping to not pay any more electric bills but there is a slight chance we'll have to during the summer with the air conditioning running all the time.  I'll keep you posted. 

It's time I got back to either piecing or quilting.  I have two quilts ready to load on Ruthie both of which I want to take up to Maryland in a couple of weeks.  So time to get going after my post dog grooming break.  

Happy Quilting All! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Block of the Month 1800s Quilt May

Unfinished Blocks are 9.5”

I have not been able to find a name for May’s block.  I first found this block in the  Benoni Pearce Quilt, part of the quilt collection at the National Museum of American History. The Benoni Pearce quilt was made in 1850 in New York.  There are 81 different blocks in the quilt made and signed by various family members and friends. This block is 8 rows down on the far right side.  The blocks are pieced, appliqued and embroidered. Mimi Dietrich featured it in her book Quilts an American Legacy.   After noticing it in the Pearce quilt I then found nearly the same block in an album quilt made in Wisconsin circa 1840. Nann Hilyard sent me this site as a possible similar block.  She recognized it as Brown Goose.  She suggests, "Maybe you could call it “Brown Goose in a Nest” to take into account the floated setting."

One of the major sources for quilt blocks and their various names is Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.  Although this is an even 9 patch block I could not find it in the book.  Does anyone know the name of this block? I'm going to have to go back and look for Brown Goose block.  Marge Gordon also offered up a block from the collection of blocks on her web site. The design is close but not exactly the same and the coloring is different.  If you've paid attention to any quilt blocks and names you've learned that by changing coloring you change the name and often times, the complete look of a block. 

Have you visited the quilt collection of the Museum of the Confederacy?  Check this web page out for a fabulous look at every quilt in their collection.   This is a very large file and may take a long time to load expecially if you have dial up internet service.  I thought it well worth  your time to see these wonderful historic quilts.  It also has “Zoomify” so you can zoom in to see details.  Many quilts have additional photos.  I wish other museums could share their collections on the internet this way. 

The block is made in two colors.  I think it is best if you do not use directional fabric.  I chose dark for the triangles and light for the squares.
Cut 8 - 3 ½” square of background fabric (medium print in photo above).
Cut 12 – 2” squares of dark fabric.  Mark a line diagonally on each of the blocks

Cut 1 – 4 1/4” square of both dark and background fabric.

Cut each square in diagonally two times giving you four triangles from each block.  Put two triangles of each color aside as we won’t be using them. 


Sew a 2” block on the corner of all 8 3 ½” blocks.  Trim the extra and iron it out.  On four of the blocks sew another 2” block on the corner, trim and iron.  Remeasure block to make sure it is still 3 ½” square.  Trim the block to that size if necessary.

Using the 4 triangles make a broken dishes block for the center of the block. To trim it to 3 ½” place one of the  diagonal lines on your ruler on the diagonal of the block.  Where the 4 fabrics meet in the center should be at the 1 ¾” mark on your ruler. 

Now it’s time to put the pieces together.  I use a piece of cardboard to lay out my pieces  to take them to the sewing machine.   Sew the units into rows and then sew the rows together. 

Ironing:  I tend to iron to the dark generally.  As much as possible I try to iron seams in opposite directions for easy "nesting".

 Block two for May

This is basically another variation on a 9 patch.

Pick two fabrics  that contrast with each other.  This does work with directional fabrics but you might want to plan how you cut the directional fabric.  Additionally you can switch the light for the dark. I have listed cutting instructions as I show it above.

Cut 4 --2 ¾” squares  light fabric
Cut 4 – 2 ¾” x 5” rectangles dark fabric
Cut 1 – 5 x 5 square light fabric

Lay out the block as shown in the picture above.   Sew light  2 ¾” squares to each side of the dark rectangles.  Sew 2 rectangles on opposite sides of the 5” square. Iron seams to the dark.  Sew rows together as shown above. 

Because there will be 13 blocks in this quilt and we will only be working on the blocks for 11 months I’ll be doing two blocks this time and one other month. 
*** You might have noticed that this month’s block has not been added to the top picture.  SIGH – my windows based computer has lost its mind. (Well, that is what I call it.)  I’m hoping to get it back up and running in a week or so.  But the big if is whether my computer guru can rescue the files before the whole computer is reformatted.   UPDATE:  the wonderful computer guru was able to rescue the computer but I haven't gotten time to add the new pictures.  I should have put that on my weekly goals! 

Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions about these blocks.  

Happy quilting all!