Sunday, October 30, 2011

Modifying the Mystery

Today’s job is to complete the Mystery sponsored by Cindy Carter at Quilt Patterns from Seattle.

You can see lots of finished tops that used the suggested jellyroll at this link:

I especially liked the one there that used Hawaiian prints and the turquoise one that used a jellyroll (most there did use a jellyroll).  They turned out great.

But, since jellyrolls are 2 ½ inches wide - and I cut all of my quilt bindings 2 ½ inches wide – and I have lots of binding scraps - and I didn’t happen to have any jellyrolls on hand – whew! – I just used scraps to make up my Mystery quilt.  The instructions specified to use a single light or dark for the background, so I used all of my light binding scraps for that.  And then I used dark binding scraps where it specified to use the jellyroll.  This is what I have so far:
I don't think a little girl would mind having a scrappy Dora the Exporer peeking out at her.  You’ll notice that I am also going to use simple borders instead of the checkerboard called for.  I guess I’ll just have to claim poetic license!  I hope to be done with this one and one that is waiting to be quilted today … maybe ...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fabulous Friday

Well, we all know that Fridays are usually the Best Day ... but what's so special about this Friday?  My sewing machine came home all fixed, of course!  No better day to celebrate than a Friday.  I was amazed since I had been expecting them to keep it at least a week (and I was definitely going into withdrawal), and they had it fixed and back in three days.  Whoop, whoop.  I'll be finishing up my mystery top this weekend.

I did get this top quilted with a clamshell design - it looks ok even if some of the rounded clamshells look more like semi-rounded dunce caps!  It's still pinned, waiting for my tabletop machine to have the borders quilted - another weekend project.  Oh the possibilities - now that my Viking is home ...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Minor Sewing Crisis

Now my tune has changed … I’m glad that I have a few quilt tops stacked up waiting to be quilted and it’s all due to a minor crisis.

My poor baby Viking has to go to the repair shop.  She’s the machine that I use for piecing my quilt tops and she’s a real workhorse.  I’ve had her for about 15 years and I just love her.  She never gives me any trouble, but she started snapping off the thread.  It happened twice, which I thought was very odd, so I changed the needle thinking it might have been a burr in the eye.  Then I sewed really slowly so I could see what was happening.  It turns out that the shank had gotten out of alignment and the needle was actually so close to the edge of the plate that it was cutting the thread and was leaving a mark on the edge of that heavy metal plate. 

I might have caused it when I was sewing thru too many layers of heavy denim making handles on tote bags for kids earlier this year and I was stretching and tugging the fabric (bad idea).  But, if I had kept on sewing on the lightweight cotton quilting fabric, it could have caught completely on that plate and snapped the needle in two instead of just the thread.  That was a close call.  So off she goes to get realigned:
The workhorse with her hard-hat is in the car, ready for a ride
And now I’m left in the middle of working up a Mystery Quilt.  This was one of Cindy Carter’s mysteries from over the weekend.
I have printed off the final instructions, but I didn’t look at them so see what the final quilt looks like.  Mine will be mostly scrappy.  You can see the instructions here, but don’t let me know … LOL:
Meanwhile, I’m loading another finished top onto the frame and quilting it up with the Janome that just sews straight stitches so it’s dedicated to quilting.  Who knew I’d ever really need two machines?  I’m a lucky dog to have them!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday Night Sew-In Results

I made some progress on the quilt top that I’m going to call “Windows on the Serengeti”.  All of the fabric in this line has a wonderful hand and is so nice to work with.  I make my quilts for children in need and I’m betting a child somewhere is going to like all of the animals in this quilt!
Sure needs ironing!
I’m planning to put an internal border from the plainer golden tone-on-tone (on the left in the larger picture) – then the outside will be from the tone-on-tone green (in yesterday’s post).
I’m thinking I’ll like it and might even finish it up today.  Best laid plans, of course … the weather is great and the yard needs attention … we'll see.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I Wish I Could Knit!

Did you hear about the poor penguins?  The big oil spill in New Zealand has left the penguins needing sweaters – and, no, this is NOT a joke.  The darling little sweaters help to keep the critters from plucking at their oil covered feathers and it keeps them warm until they’re well enough to be tended and cleaned up.
A Kiwi yarn store has posted a pattern for the “penguin jumpers” and the site has been swamped.  I really wish I could knit and contribute to this project.  This apparently isn’t the first time there has been a call for these sweaters – the Tasmanian Conservation Trust stockpiled some of the little garments after a similar spill in 2001, but they need more.  And of course, they keep – so if they receive a lot now, they’ll save them for the next human mistake.

Do you knit?  Check out this site for the info on where to send them and a link to the yarn shop that has the pattern:

And in keeping with the "critter" theme ... Tonight I’ll be participating in the Friday Night Sew-In.  I have some cute jungle prints to whip up something special!  I should have another post tomorrow with what I've worked up from these:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quilting Again

Just a quick update so that it gets duly noted that I accomplished some more quilting … I just had too many tops stacked up and needed to get some of them moving!  The one I quilted today was made from the fabric that was distributed to members of the Sunshine On-line Quilt Guild from a dear member’s stash when she passed away.  Another member told me that the four-squares that I ended up with were probably part of a long-ago member’s challenge that Bev B. was working on.  I wasn’t a member then but I felt a real link with the group when I was able to put together this top – I liked knowing about the continuity, I guess.  When it is finished it will go to Wrap-a-Smile, a group that Bev was passionate about helping.  Bev put her signature heart quilting in the corner of her quilts, so I quilted hearts on the four patches in her memory and meandered on the rest.  It needs to have the binding put on and into the box it will go!

Detail - maybe the heart
 quilting shows

Here are two of the tops, sitting on their proposed backings, that are waiting in line to be put on the frame.  A “girl” quilt on the left with a red calico backing and a “boy” quilt on the right with the sports equipment (yeah, I stereotype sometimes). 
Gotta keep moving!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Quilting Today

I’m chipping away at the stack of tops to be quilted.  I quilted this one today and will add it to the stack that needs binding.  I have three more tops ready to be quilted, but at least the stacks are changing!
And I added another row onto the novelties top I was working on – of course, I had to move some blocks around to spread the colors our more evenly when I added these new block fabrics.  I’m going to have to give up on the layout soon, and get to sewing the pieces together.  I keep thinking that there is that perfect combination of colors, but if I persist in that thought, I’ll go crazy (ok – no laughing - might be almost there anyway!).
On Friday, Oct 21st, Heidi’s Friday Night Sew-In will be in session.  Hop on over to Bobbi’s  blog, Crafty Vegas Mom, to sign up.  Bobbi is Heidi’s co-host and cousin and she will be hosting the Sew-In this Friday.  There will be lots of prizes, so join in!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Works in Process

I bought a few more annuals yesterday to plant in my front yard – maybe to entice those trick-or-treaters so I won’t eat all of the candy myself!  I was going to plant them this morning, but it rained.  Then the yard man came and sprayed the yard and I couldn’t go out until it dried.  Meanwhile, they sit on the sidewalk – enticing nobody.  Maybe tomorrow …
So I sewed today instead.  I used a block from the Quilter’s Cache called Tam’s Patch so that I could use up lots of 2 ½ inch scraps of solids.  It looks a lot like a Disappearing 9-Patch, but since I didn’t make the 9-patches, I could use up smaller scraps.  The larger blocks are 4 ½ inches and a good size to use up some novelty fabrics I had left over.  The block finishes at 8 inches.  Here’s a link to the block:

Here it is unsewn on the floor – I’ll have to move a few of the colors around to suit me and finish up the top tomorrow.  I’m thinking a multi-color stripe for the borders, but I haven’t decided on that yet.

Detail of some novelties

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Columbus Day

Today is the second Monday in October and the day that we celebrate the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus.  But, was Columbus the first to really discover America on his voyage in 1492? 

Hawaii and South Dakota do not celebrate Columbus’ “discovery” today.  Hawaii celebrates what it has named “Discovery Day” instead as a commemoration of the Polynesian discovers of the islands.  And South Dakota has a State holiday today designated as “Native American  Day” to recognize the native Americans that were here before Columbus.

And yesterday, October 9th, was Leif Erikson Day.  A now familiar idea is that the Vikings were the true European explorers that “discovered” this New World.  Leif Erikson Day is an official day of observance in seven states (Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota, Illinois, Colorado, Washington and California).

Personally, I think the first people probably came across the Bering Land Bridge that once connected Alaska and Siberia – although that theory is now being challenged because some think it became flooded over much earlier than previously thought.
But no matter – today is a holiday from work for some and that’s always to be celebrated!  So let’s raise a toast to all of the Explorers that dare to travel to exotic lands – may their discoveries always be fruitful and may Man always stretch to find new Frontiers …

This is my nautical fabric to make up a quilt to honor Explorers who traveled by sea.  I'll work up something soon!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Second Sunday Sewing

Today (Sunday) is what my on-line quilt guild calls “Second Sunday Sewing”.  It’s just a designated day in the month when we might all pause and catch up on some charity sewing, especially if we haven’t had time to do any, and we chat on-line about what we’re working on.
On the Frame
I did some actual quilting today and yesterday.  My tops have been piling up (since I consider that the fun part) and I have needed to get some done for a long time.  I finished quilting these two, but don’t have the borders on yet.  I’m liking how they are turning out - simple meandering on both.

And on the nature front, I saw a Painted Bunting at our bird feeder!  I have seen these very colorful birds over on the east coast of Florida, but I don't remember having seen one here on the west coast.  The bird book actually has it on its cover since they are so cute.
Painted Bunting on the cover

The description says they are probably around here and will come to forested bird feeders like mine.  Maybe I finally hit on just the right birdseed that they like!  I usually have the kind of seed that cardinals like (and doves and squirrels and raccoons …), so I see lots of those, but this was special.
My photo is very bad since he was skittish and I had to shoot through the screen, but if you look closely, you can see his blue head and yellow back and red underbelly - very bright colors.  Too cool!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Quilt Books!

What was I thinking?!!  … Allowing myself to go out and look at the big sale last month at C&T Publishing’s warehouse.  Well, it turned out that what I paid was 75% off (including shipping) and I got a great haul of quilt books that I never would have paid full price for.  So I feel vindicated (no matter what looks the dear hubby gave me – at least it wasn’t a bucket of golf balls – to each his own, I always say).  This is what I got:
I’m going upstairs now to play with elements from the 150 Baby Blocks book – it has a very clever presentation that shows a block, then at the bottom of the page it shows that block mixed and matched with one or more other blocks from the book like this:
"150 blocks for baby quilts" by Susan Briscoe
Very cool ideas that are getting my quilting brain out of the rut it’s gotten into … sometimes we just need a new spark of an idea to get us back on the bandwagon.

I did get one paper-pieced block made up for a swap group member that was asking for one signed block.  She has a friend whose cancer has recurred after 5 yrs remission.  That news is so demoralizing but I hope that wrapping up in a quilt while she receives treatment will let her friend know that she is surrounded by prayer.
I have another friend that is volunteering to walk in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Pinellas County, FL on Oct 22, 2011.  I applaud people like my friend who are taking action to raise funds for cancer research.  Bless your heart, GJ.
Research has and will make a difference.  Click on this link to donate to the American Cancer Society:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sunday's Project

Just look at this fantastic weather!

This past weekend was supposed to be great – lower temperatures and considerably lower humidity than our usual 89%.  I was finally inspired to tackle that small job in the kitchen that has been bugging me since last April.

We had our appliances replaced after our dishwasher leaked and destroyed an end panel.  Since we are NOT handy-people, we hired a handyman to replace that panel.  He did a great job and while he was here I asked him to change out the middle piece in a cabinet.  It used to open like this:
That middle piece was attached to one side and was always flipping open the other side when I grabbed it.  The design was fine if you wanted to have a large opening for huge platters or pots, but I didn’t need both the high and low cabinets to have this design.  I wanted that piece to be free-standing in the lower cabinet – like this:
He did a great job on that, too, but I had to stain it to match the other cabinets – then the foot dragging started.  It’s usually so humid here that paint/stain takes much longer to dry.  I do have a dehumidifier, but I would have to drag it out and dust it off, etc, etc (the tiny violins start playing now).
I finally did that and it took all of 15 minutes to finish the project (including the finding and dragging out of the supplies that I bought back in April).  I think it looks just fine.

I also put a wooden crate that I had painted last fall in front of the dehumidifier … it never has dried correctly.
I had thought it would be great to store fat quarters and it really is.  It’s just that the drawers stick and you have to leave one extended a little in order to give it a whack to get it unstuck.  Now it’s nice and dry (finally!).  Two projects down … at least ten thousand to go …  Maybe later!

This is a small quilt that I had experimented on when I was trying out ways to machine quilt bindings.  It’s the Broken Dishes pattern.
Each side has a different stitch (blanket stitch, zig zag, & 2 decoratives) – I ended up not liking any of them.  I thought it was too weird to donate, but now I’m rethinking that. 

The comic bug print is for a younger child and I think it would be worn out before they would notice the different stitches!
So it’s going in the box to WTIL that is growing again.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Back in the Swing of Things

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that the leaves had not really begun to change much in NC when we visited, although I did pass this gorgeous tree on one of my walks (walk up the hill, down the hill, up the hill, down the hill, repeat until you drop!).
There was also this amazing twisted tree trunk:
It must have had a very tight vine growing around it for much of its life that has now died off and left the trunk unscathed.  Very architectural – what a survivor.

And there were a few wildflowers around the courses that I found very attractive … I’m going to break down and get that identification book on one of my book swap sites one of these days when I remember!  I really liked the orange flowers that looked sort of like lady slippers.
Today, I got back into the swing of sewing again.  One of the members of the Sunshine Quilt Guild (we quilt for children’s charities – see button on my sidebar) issued an “ugly fabric” challenge.  On request, she would send members a fat quarter of a certain “ugly fabric” …The challenge is to “beautify” this fabric by adding your own fabric and making any 12 ½ inch block(s) you desire.  Then you return the blocks to her and she will assemble them into quilts.  This is a close-up of the designated “ugly fabric”:
Personally, I liked the fabric and the muted colors in it, so I didn’t have any problem making up these blocks today.  I really like them!

PS  Happy Anniversary, Mr. Ed!
Oct 1st is the 50th Anniversary of the debut of the popular talking-horse show.  I’d sing the theme song, but it would probably be stuck in your mind for a week, so I won’t!