Monday, March 30, 2015

Design Wall Monday 3-30-2015

A quick blog post this morning.  I have several things I want to get done this week and I need to stay focused -- none of that raccoon stuff for me.  Oooh -- new fabric I could.... or look at this interesting quilt I bet I could find the pattern on the Internet.  You know what distracts you.  Sometimes I think everything distracts me.  

So here are two things I've been working on.  First is 5 of what I hope will end up being 10 or so disappearing 4 patch blocks.  I'm glad to see they look bright because they are suppose to be.  I got to thinking about whether it made sense to make these by cutting up the four patches or just cutting the fabric the sizes used in each location. Well, duh, of course these are way faster -- you cut way less pieces that way than need to be sewn.  Hum, wait, I still cut things apart.  Maybe it isn't... ack, here I am distracted again.  Someone else let me know if this is a faster way to make these blocks.  I really like how they've turned out.  

Next up is a quilt I finished this week.  It will be going to St. Francis NICU.  I love these blocks. It was my turn to have blocks made and sent to me by the FCQEquilters.  Since it was January and I was listing all my UFOs I decided to ask everyone to make one of two different blocks but to not go wild and make tons of them.  I wanted to use up what I had left of these happy blocks and mark something off of my UFO list.  This was the first one I finished.  I've got enough blocks for two more and then I'll be marking this as done and off the UFO list. 

I couldn't resist showing a little bit of the forsythias blooming in the foreground. It has taken so long for spring to come and heck, it still is hitting freezing overnight here. These quilts make up quickly and are so easy.  You can see directions by visiting Mary Quilts for full directions.  Check around Mary Quilts as she has directions for many other quilts too. 

On to my weekly goals. I did really well on the goals this past week.  I've been staying somewhat focused so that has helped. 
Week of March 23, 2015
Seriously work on Secret Project√ it’s further along
Finish quilting Christmas Embroidery top that will be raffled at the Women’s Club spring luncheon.
Finish 2 more log cabin blocks and put them away for later finishing… √ away they went, sadly
Begin organizing scraps for Bonnie Hunter classes!

And, here's what's coming up this week.
Week of March 30, 2015
Finish Secret Project if possible…
Bind Christmas Embroidery top that will be raffled at the Women’s Club spring luncheon
Put borders on the antique quilt
Finish getting all fabric and supplies ready to go to Maryland

That's it for me.  Don't forget to stop by Patchwork Times and Monday Makes at Love Laugh Quilt to visit other blogs that are sharing quilting successes this week. 

Happy Quilting All! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

15 Minute Studio Spiff Up #12

This week's assignment -- 

Time to look at your magazines -- keep them and organize them or dump them and use the space for more fabric or?  The choice is yours.  

I'm keeping what I have as I enjoy rereading/looking at them.  I'm down to one subscription and I actually thought I had canceled it.  Evidently not as it is coming to the house on a regular basis. I also have room for them.  When we moved to Virginia 5 years ago I went through a lot of magazines and dumped what I didn't want then. 

Do you make quilts from magazines?  I find I seldom do but every once and a while I find a terrific quilt to make and actually make it! I do enjoy the tips and even the ads give me new ideas. 

This is short since I'm so late posting it.   One other suggestion.  Check your cutting tables and your sewing space.  Are they still clean?  Is stuff creeping back to those surfaces?  If so, do a quick spiff up of those two areas.   I can tell you right now that my sewing area is fine -- doesn't look too much different from the finished pictures post on the blog.  But the ironing board and both cutting areas are looking like a couple of bags full of scraps exploded all over them!  

Why, you might want to know, have scraps spread themselves far and wide on my flat surfaces? Part of the reason is I'm gathering scraps to take on a road trip.  In less than 2 weeks I will be taking a couple of Bonnie Hunter classes in Maryland at Faithful Circle Quilters.  Both will be using strings.  I'm doing some prep work on one of them.  So I'll have a mess until I get a bunch of little 4 patches done.  Once that is done (and I am close) I'll only have to bag some strings and bits and pieces so I can make the blocks.  

No pictures of the studio this week so I thought I'd share my old spools.  I have a basket where I store used spools and prewound bobbins.  Each year I try to share my thread usage.  I took a picture in mid January but never posted it.  What have I been thinking about?  I enjoy my yearly thread usage report.  Looks pretty good to me! Several older poly threads got used up.  A lot of the rewound bobbins are gone.  (But I have several colors with lots of bobbins in the containers!) Several Gutterman spools and Mettler spools are also in the mix.  You can compare this to last year by clicking here.  Wow, I did substantially better this year than last year.  So far, no big long arm cones have been used up but I am getting close on some colors. 

That's it from here.  Happy Quilting All!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Design Wall Monday 3-23-15

Not much to show. I've been half-heartedly working on quilting this cute embroidered quilt.  The top and embroidery were made by my friend Kay.  I'm quilting and binding it.  We will be donating it to the local Woman's Club, of which we are both members.  It will be raffled off during the spring luncheon with all proceeds going to the favorite charity of the president.  

When I started to quilt this I thought I would use white thread and stitch in the ditch in the white around each of the embroideries and tree blocks.  Except, it dawned on me that the back of the quilt is red and I didn't want to use white on the backing.  Hum... the issue with that is often the backing thread actually is pulled up and shows through the front.  Not what I want for this quilt.  So alternate plan is to stitch a quarter inch around the outside of each design with red thread.   

That's been working quite well.  It's amazing how much better you get when you practice or use a skill! I am doing this by hand guiding Ruthie and using a ruler.  Except, I find it boring.  So, I've been doing one row a day for a couple of days.  Yes, I could get it done in half a day but ... I'm not all that motivated and it isn't due for a month. You can't really see the quilting but it's there.  Even the top red border has a nifty little design.  When I'm all done I'll take the quilt off Ruthie and turn it to do the side borders.  With only an 18" throat I find turning the quilt an easy way to handle side borders.  Thank goodness for Red Snappers as it is really quick to turn a quilt! 

Here's what happened on the goals front last week. 
Week of March 16, 2015
Finish Wild Dog backing
Finish the extra blocks for the log cabin quilt, then retire them while I finish other projects √ continue to make progress.
Start secret project, sorry can’t divulge info on this one yet√ a bit is cut out
Quilt Christmas Embroidery top that will be raffled at the Women’s Club spring luncheon. √ started
Antique quilt working toward bordering and finishing

And this week's goals: 
Week of March 23, 2015
Seriously work on Secret Project
Finish quilting Christmas Embroidery top that will be raffled at the Women’s Club spring luncheon.
Finish 2 more log cabin blocks and put them away for later finishing…
Begin organizing scraps for Bonnie Hunter classes!

Take a look at Patchwork Times to jump to design walls across the internet.  Also linking up with Love Laugh Quilt. 

Happy Quilting All! 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

15 Minute Studio Spiff Up #11

Who would have thought I'd still be leading an intrepid group spiffing up their studios after 10 weeks of cleaning and organizing?  Yep, you are still hanging in there.  This week I've got something I forgot all about.  Here's your assignment this week: 

Time to organize and clean up your thread collection! 

When I first started the 15 Minute Spiff Up I wrote some notes about areas that might need work on.  I'd forgotten all about the notes as the weeks went by.  Heaven knows I've still got a couple of areas I need to work on but I don't really want to start them.  I'm not spending 15 minutes a week, much less 15 minutes a day times 7 days or any part of a week on some of the areas I've assigned! 

But I know some of you are still working hard on the weekly assignments.  I'm really enjoying your efforts that you share in your comments.  

Here's what my thread collections (yep, collections.... more than one....) look like. 

First the long arm thread. I know I've shown this before as I am SO proud of repurposing an older piece of furniture.  This was a media shelf.  Pat made wooden "risers" for these shelves so I can easily see my threads stored in the front and the back of each shelf.  It's really brilliant if I do say so myself!  I can easily see and grab what I need.  Surprisingly enough, this small number of colors works well for me.  I've recently bought duplicate spools as I have been using up some of my cones. The threads aren't in perfect shape but they are neat enough for me. 

Next up, basic sewing thread and quilting thread. I used to use Mettler cotton thread a lot.  As many of you know, Mettler is no longer the thread of choice at quilt shops.  My collection of colored cotton thread, used mostly for piecing is dwindling.  I'm happy that Gutterman is readily available and comes in the same size so this plastic container still works for me for the small spools.  I also have some Mettler hand quilting thread on the far left that isn't in the picture. 

Next up embroidery thread. Most of my embroidery thread is Mettler Polysheen that comes on spools just like the above. So I have another container just like the one above completely full of embroidery thread.  I'm generally happy with the smaller spools as I don't do a whole lot of embroidery.  But I also popped for this great storage holder with trays to snap the mini cones in shown below.  I didn't realize until I got home that there is only one brand of thread that will fit on the trays.  (That explains why I have a box of Marathon thread still in the box and others jammed on top.)  I don't buy the mini cones as I don't get over to the store that carries them very often.  I wasn't happy having spent a goodly amount of money on this case.  Bummer.  

On to my basic everything else thread. I have big slide out shelves in my sewing cabinet.  Pat added the sliders when I moved into my new studio.  Heaven!  I can access everything on the shelf with the sliders. On this shelf is my collection of older thread.  One box is full of rayon, metallic and other odd thread. The front right container had mostly DMC cotton embroidery thread that I used for machine embroidery (not to be confused with using an embroidery module...which the above threads were used for!)  

The left front container is polyester threads -- some of it old. Lots of Dual Duty thread and some newer spools of various poly threads.  I'm trying to use up the older poly thread but I won't use it for piecing unless I use a cotton thread in the bobbin.  One of the first quilts I made was heavily used and tied 12" apart.  Heck, that's what we thought would work in the old days!  I learned that poly threads will cut through fabric so I tend not to use poly on the top and in the bobbin.  Someday I'll make a real dent in that collection.  You might not be able to tell but there are NO threads that come on a wooden spool.  Those threads (and yes I own many of them) are on display in my hallway.  They are antiques and the sheen is beautiful on them  But they aren't very reliable now.  I would rather enjoy looking at them then watch them fall apart in a quilt. On the other hand, I don't think the poly threads will ever wear out! 

Here's my last tub of thread. Hum, I think I've been rooting around in it.  There are several spools of Dual Duty Cotton quilting threads.  There are some Sulky threads of various types. There are some hand dyed threads.  And even one spool of really heavy carpet thread on a wooden spool.  I don't use most of the threads in here even though some are beautiful.  I've used some in my embroidery machine and the variegated look wonderful. 

The last place I store thread is on a rack. No pictures of that because I don't have very much thread on it.  It is covered with a plastic cover I bought specifically for it.  It does keep the dust out but it looks and fits awkwardly.  My  cotton piecing thread is stored there.  It's my go to thread for general piecing. My favorite color is a light silver.  But I also have big spools of white and cream.  I have a huge cone of black that I may never use up because it is so hard for me to see the stitches made with black thread.  

Although none of these areas have actually been spiffed up for the pictures, for the most part they are all functional and because most are stored away are not eye sores.  I may try to neaten up some of the plastic containers since it's hard to see what I have when all the spools are all jumbled together.  

There's your assignment.  Let me know how you store your thread.  I've been getting great ideas from every one.  Some I'm incorporating into my clean up. Some are stored in the brain for possible later use.  

Happy Quilting All!