Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Walking Again

Since I’m back attending Weight Watchers meetings regularly, I am also trying to get back into walking daily.  I have a serious case of inertia right now.  But I did get out for a little while yesterday and today both, so I guess that’s pretty good progress.  We had a little rain here last week and are expecting a little more this weekend, but I’ve noticed that our ponds are precariously low.  This guy has pretty long legs, but he shouldn’t be able to walk across the whole pond!
And I snapped this shot of a little shelf fungus because St Patrick’s Day is coming soon and I thought these would make nice condos for leprechauns – or at least shelters!
Here’s a before and after of a few begonias.  They were planted and then there was a brief cold spell and they were taking it hard.  Now some of them are actually recovering nicely.  I thought they were goners.
After cold spell

Bounding back!
But back to the quilty side … I have now laid out both the positive and negative 9-patch tops.  I’m pretty happy with the darker one and ready to sew the rows, but the lighter one still needs work.  Maybe more scrappy 9-patches.  I think I’m just trying to be too matchy-matchy.  I’ll work on that!
Ready to sew rows

Needs something ...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hex N More Ruler Class

I love trying new things and nothing’s better than a new gadget to work with.  Rulers are my all-time favorite tools and I must admit I get hooked on new ones.  This new ruler from Jaybird Quilts, the Hex n More, is really fun to work with and there are many projects that look so totally different that you will be surprised that they are made with the same ruler.  I took a class to learn how to maximize use from the ruler.  This class was to make the Tasty Little Table Runner and it worked up really quickly. 

Of course, I had to change horses in midstream, so to speak, and changed the color and fabric of my outside borders to make the table runner more green than blue, so I didn’t finish in the class like others did.   Here’s my work in process:
I used part of a Bali Pop batik roll called Tiramisu
These are some of the other fabrics that class members used.  I liked them all, but the picture doesn’t do the one with animal prints justice.  It was stunning!

Country French

Spring Garden

Modern Collection

Purple and Lime - finished top

Another Bali Pop with animal
print colors - finished top

Two classes in one week was a bit much for me, but that’s when the shop had them scheduled and that’s what I wanted to take! 

This week will be a little more leisurely with time for my donation quilting (I hope!).  I am working with some donated 9-patches and experimenting with inverse-colored strips.
This isn’t the final layout – I think I’ll make them all with the light in the middle and use the negatives on another top.  We’ll see how I feel tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fun Class Today!

But first, we interrupt our regular blog posts to warn you to take care of your equipment.  I cracked up when I saw this sign in a quilt shop and it just had to come home with me:
That having been said, I very seldom forget to put the presser foot down on my mid-arm machine on the frame, but you know what happens if, heaven forbid, you do forget – you get the dreaded mess of threads with no tension on the backside of the quilt called the “bird’s nest”.  And of course, I was in the middle of quilting this bright little beauty when it happened:
So I got out my trusty seam ripper and got rid of the mess on the back of the quilt, and then proceeded to take care of all of the thread wound around the bobbin case:
Holy smackarolees!  When was the last time somebody took the little brush and cleaned out all of the lint, Batman?  I think somebody-who-shall-remain-nameless has fallen down on the job!  It took a little long while and some delicate tweezer work to clean this area up.  I can’t believe  I , I mean “somebody” let it get this bad.  Shame on me, I mean them.  Like I said, Take Care of Your Equipment!

Now, back to our regular programming:

I took a really fun class today on how to make the popular Bow Tucks Tote designed by Penny Sturges:

Class Sample
I actually made the Mini-Bow Tuck because I usually don’t carry a large purse and I think it turned out to be just the right size:
It was a small class with just four people so we had lots of personal attention (a plus for me – I’m slow learning new techniques!).  Annabelle brought her darling baby Singer to sew with and she used this cute fabric with old-fashioned timepieces (she didn’t quite finish her tote so I don’t have a photo of hers).

Cathy and Debbie did finish theirs – Debbie’s is the larger size and Cathy’s is the Mini.
Cathy's Mini

Debbie's regular size
 Don’t they look grand together?!  What fun …

Monday, February 18, 2013

Math or Quilting?

When was the last time you spent time wondering about the Pythagorean Theorem? 
a)     High School?
b)     College?
c)     Never in this lifetime?!!

Well, I accidentally read a pretty good book last week.  Our library is expanding and the new construction has caused some disruptions inside the building, including rearrangement of shelving units.  When I thought I was continuing to browse in the fiction section, I actually had moved into non-fiction and I picked up a book about Sir Isaac Newton and the Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge.
Newton was the genius physicist and mathematician in the 1600s that we all remember from the apple falling from the tree and gravity discovery story.  The book discusses other noted discoverers of the time (before the work “scientist” was invented) and the advancement of modern science.   

The book had some intriguing illustrations describing the mathematicians’ search for patterns and eternal truths:
Do you see math or a quilt pattern in this page from the book?  I instantly saw the sawtooth border and the square-in-a-square pattern.  I guess it all depends on your perspective.  And they told us in school that we would use math in our futures … whoever thought they would be right?  Of course, these illustrations were intended to prove that pesky Pythagorean Theorem, but who cares?

Isaac Newton was also fascinated by the rainbow colors that are seen when light passes through a prism.  Well, I think it’s remarkable that I have something in common with Sir Newton - I love rainbow colors in quilts - LOL!

But now, onto what’s in the works here at Chez Olde Quilting Studio.  I finished up sewing the rows together of the Nautical top using the Warm Wishes pattern.

And I loaded up the frame to finally quilt the top that I used the Lazy Angle Ruler to make.  I found a cute orange swirl fabric for the backing and it’s ready to be whipped up tomorrow.
 That’s it for now.  I’m going upstairs to get a little more done.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Packing Up a Box is Fun

One of the rewarding moments of quilting for children’s charities is the time eventually arrives when you have a box-full and you're ready to send them off.  You know that these quilts will be a comfort to a child having just gone through surgery and you get that warm and fuzzy feeling.  And besides – they look nice all in a row!
One of the last things I do is go over each quilt with a lint brush to remove all of the little threads that cling and make sure there aren’t any uncaught parts of the binding, etc.  Can’t say they don’t need the lint brush - LOL!
This was the last quilt bound and put into the box of six.  It’s the Posts and Rails design by Judy Martin.  Easy-peasy to put together.  See this link for some color variations of this (and other) quilts made by others ... scroll down to the section called "from previous BOMs".  Very versatile pattern.
My box of quilts is destined for Wrap-a-Smile this time - for children needing cleft lip and cleft palate surgery around the world.

Bye, bye quilts – live long and help a kid prosper!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Quilted on SBS

We had a great time with my on-line group that quilts for children’s charities on Super Bowl Sunday.  Well, actually, it was all of last weekend since some of us were able to dive right in on Friday night.  I had lots of finished tops ready to go and I finished two of them on Sunday and have one on the frame now.  The group finished 23 tops that are being sent off to quilting angels and more that are being quilted by the piecers!  Amazing work for one weekend.  All of these will be sent to Wrap-a-Smile to help comfort children having cleft lip and/or cleft palate surgery around the world.  Way to go team!

These are mine:

Called "On the Farm" since it has cute barnyard animals

Has little racecars in the focus fabric

Saturday, February 2, 2013

SuperBowl Weekend

As an alternative to all of the SuperBowl hype, we of the Sunshine on-line quilt guild are having a great virtual retreat sewing weekend.  We're having quilters volunteer to quilt tops for those that need it, and we're having prizes!  All of our quilts will go to Wrap-a-Smile.

This is the top I finished Friday night:
I love those jungle animals peeking out everywhere!
And this is the top I hope to finish tonight:
And this one has a nautical fabric!
Tomorrow is my quilting blitz!