Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Speed is improving, but.........

I am getting faster at making these blocks but it took a full hour to make 4.  That means I still have 62 left for this quiltt, but I do have 10 blocks ready to sew..  Actually, the longest part is making all the hst.  I chain them and then trim down to size, (Guess that time should be accounted for as well, but I made 14 sets of 8 hst earlier this evening and did not focus on the time.)  Once those are made, it is a matter of laying the the pieces out in order and then picking them up correctly.  Sounds like I might be learning from experience.  I had to unsew at least one seam on the first 3 of the blocks.  Decided that it must be time to stop.  Plan to complete at least the 10 blocks that are ready tomorrow, but would like to prepare another 12 before shutting down operations tomorrow.  This is really going to be a scrappy quilt, but that seems to be the kind I like the best.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What could I do but drop everything to remedy the situation?

My poor little Henry!  He seems to be distraught over the fact that he does not have a soft flannel pillowcase like his sister Zoe.  Apparently, according to his mother, he started talking in complete sentences last night and conversation needed to shared with me.  Seems he commented on the fact that he knew Grandma H loved him, but he could not understand why she had not made him a soft pillowcase for his pillow that he will be getting soon. 

Well, being that special kind of grandma, I had to drop everything and go to the store and find fish fabric to go with the quilts and stuffed toys I had made him earlier.  (He is, after all, 18 months+ now.)  I came home and immediately set to work making him two special pillowcases, just for him.  The light fabric reminded me of fishing nets.  The sharks are self-explanatory.  These treasures will be in the mail tomorrow.  Hope that will make it all better, Henry.

Henry's Pillowcases
***Okay I did a little fabricating with that story.  His mom did send a different photo and several emails today on the subject, but this one spoke to the heart of his problem.  He lovesthe pillowcase I made for his sister   The one I shared shows how distressed he was about having to leave Burger King after spending an hour climbing on the indoor play equipment.  The following picture is the one my daughter actually sent.  She had just told him to say "cheese" for Grandma.  It did touch my heart but I love telling stories.

Friday, March 25, 2011

24 of 90

I have not been working on these blocks as diligently as I had planned for the week, but I do have 24 blocks done.  Lynn and I both gathered fabrics for this quilt using a pillow with all the colors she likes.  I do not think the photo does the colors justice.  I am not certain if all of these locks will work, but each time I put up another block I change my thoughts on what works and what doesn't.  I will just keep making them and start adding in sashing and cornerstones.  The sashing and cornerstones are also from these fabrics.  Obviously this will be a very scrappy quilt.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Weather is one of those things, but having time for my visitor was wonderful!

I had some plans today that were not achieved because of the "FUN" snow and ice.  I had to take time to shovel and will have to do it again, but that is nothing new this year.  The challenge was that we have not really had ice all winter, but we did this time.  As I drove to chapel, I was almost hit several times, but my appointment with God was not to be denied.  Guess that will be counted as one of today's small miracles.  Even so, I was a little nervous about all the swerving vehicles.  I certainly was glad that it gave me more time to be home and enjoy the events of the afternoon.

When I got home I did the shoveling and salted the steps to deal with the ice.  Felt great to work out that way, but the focus was that I wanted to be ready for my visitor. .He is a retired Navy corpsman who has lived in this area for more than 50 years.  I spent a few hours talking about sails and sailing ships with my visitor.  He is making  special gift for my husband to say thank you for his help with several different projects and events. It was so interesting.  As we talked I found that we could easily relate because of my quilting and sewing experiences.  There was a lot of history shared, as well.  It was a delightful way to pass the day on this cold, wintry day.

Now I am going to go do some sewing.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

32 Pieces in Each Block

I am working on a customer quilt.  I need to make a total of 90 of these blocks.  At the moment I only have these 12 made, but I have discovered an assembly line idea that made the last two go more quickly.  None of the fabric selections are solids but some appear that way in the photo.  My goal is to make 6 to 8 blocks a day and then put it all together the first week of April.  I will update the blocks next week so that you can see how the look will change as more fabrics are added.  Once all the blocks are may, a few may be banished, but no judgements will be past until they are all made.

NOTE:  I actually like making half-square triangles.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Two More Quilt-As-You Go

I just finished binding these little quilts.  They are made from the short strips left over from making Heart String quilts for kids.  I like the way they turned out, but might add a solid border around the next few.  YES ther are still strings left and this project is a quick one  There are lots of different objects in the various strips so these will be entertaining for little ones.  They will be donated to a group that does many different things for children and families in need.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Experiment Underway

My friend gave me directions for how to make printed quilt labels.  I am trying it out even as I type and eat dinner.  If it works I will give everyone the recipe because it will make labeling donation quilts ever so easy.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So Many Choices on How to Spend the Day

I have been working in the studio all day, but I am not sewing, I am cutting and making kits for our time in Vermont.  I am going to be without my HQ for 9-12 months, so I am going to spend a LOT of time getting to know my Bernina 44QE much better.  I am going to do a lot of free motion using the BSR, play with all the stitches, and do more SID.  I am also going to do more hand and machine applique.  The kits I am making today are fairly simple so that the focus can be on the quilting.  I am not making anything larger than a lap size but each kit will have the back and binding as well.  Batting will probably stay on the roll or be cut to size.  I am not planning to buy much of anything fabric-wise while there, but I will see all the quilt shops I can.

I have already made 3 simple kits that will include embroidered blocks stitched by my FIL, but I will probably go onto EQ and create a few more complex ones to use a few of the more detailed bird sketch design blocks.  I will also make another quilt similar to the Four Seasons one that I finally quilted two weeks ago.  However, it will probably be a lap size.

 Many of these quilts will be given to family members in the future, but  I have also designated some for donations and as comfort quilts for friends.  It feels good to give a tangible hug!

I am also taking along a number of unfinished, but not UFO status, quilts.  I am going to do lots of piecing so that I will be able to hit the ground running when I get back to my HQ.  (My sweet daughter has already offered to babysit the machine.)

How many quilts will I complete?  Well if I think in terms of tops, I figure that I will accomplish 4-6 a month (probably only 4-6 large quilts during the whole stay) with at least 3-4 being quilted during the month. I am also going to work at hand quilting my Christmas applique quilt that has been waiting for just the time. (Long cold winter nights seem to be just the ticket for quilting and snuggling under it while I do.  The big quilt kits that I have will see the tops finished but then they will be packed away for long arming until we get settled in back in South Dakota.

Kevin is going to be busy at his woodworking/furniture building school, but we plan to see New England while we are there.  We lived in Maine, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island during his military career, so we thought it would be fun to revisit some of the sites.  Fall foliage will also bring out the camera and the sketch pad (quilt designs).  We will be living near Burlington and the lake resorts, so we will have to take in those sites and sounds as well.  This our transition time and we are going to take full advantage of it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

First Quilt-As-You-Go

Actually, it is not the first QAYG that I have made, but it is the first of the weekend.  These are all width-of-fabric  strips that are between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches wide that are from my kid fabric stash.  I laid out the center strip and then added strips just like when I make Heart String blocks.  As I went along, I learned to check for straightness of the strip.  Just lined it up with a yardstick and then pinned it down and stitched using my walking foot.  Then I trimmed and added the binding.  Took longer to stitch down the binding than to make the quilt, but I love the look of double fold binding, so I do it every time.  This is a donation quilt and measures 40x45.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Opinions, Please

The short kid strips did not multiply last night, but after 9 hours of sewing, I still have about 3 more hours before I think I will be done making sections.  I am simply sewing and squaring the sections into the largest pieces I can at the time.  The final sizes will be cut later today.

I am almost ready to put my creations together but need to chose some backgrounds.  Of the solid Kona color choices laid out which three are your favorites.  Each quilt will have only one color as the background.  Let me know by Saturday because I want to put these tops together over the weekend. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

All Quilters Know Strings Multiply Overnight

I woke up thinking I just had about 8 sections to sew.  Then I cleaned up all the bags of kits and found enough short strings to make another 8 sections, so I am anticipating making 16 or more sections today.  Guess I have my work cut out or stitched up for the next umpteen hours.  I am going to finish this portion of my project today.

Sneak Peek

What do you do with all your short strings?  I am plotting and planning.  These will be used for some donation kid quilts.  I have enough more strips for another 8 sections or so.  Then my short kid strips will be used up.  This moving stuff helps me get my stash into better shape.  I have a number of plans for other short strings, as well.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Okay, Okay, Okay

The past week has been a joyous roller coaster ride as we set about making plans for our next huge adventure, but now it is time to live in the moment again.  I have donation quilts to quilt, customer quilts that are calling, and a messy quilt donation room that need my immediate attention, and a great desire to get my body moving, again.  So, I decided that I would use my blog to help me get motivated.  (Having lived in New Orleans for 2 years, I am really feeling the "Fat Tuesday" vibes ---- or maybe I would be just a thrilled with my mom's chocolate-cherry brownie dessert. --- Have to settle with a cup of Suisse Mocha and a daydream!) I find that if I post what I plan for just one day at a time, I feel that I can obtain the desired results.  So here goes...........................(Red text is my update at 2:30 - had to check what I was promising myself) ( Comments as of 10:15 PM are in green.)
  • POOL: Already went to the pool and worked out (Have been missing that because of so many other things)
  • BUY BINDING FABRIC: purchased four fabrics for donation quilt bindings and an adorable dinosaur fabric for my stash
  • GET READY FOR GUILD: loaded the container with Heart Strings kits, several quilts to be bound, handout for a challenge, packed up my two show-and-tell UFOs, loaded 4 boxes of pillowcases, and gathered my two receipts -- just need to fit it all into the car (in the car ready to go) (Brought far too much of what I had hope to share plus finished blocks for 9more Heart Strings - the Heart Strings group can work on assembling all of those next Tuesday.)
  • QUILT GUMBALL DONATION QUILT: load, quilt, make binding, and attach binding (in the frame but may not get quilting until tomorrow morning)
  • CLEANING: straight up quilt donation room (neat, tidy, and even vacuumed and dusted)  (Most of what I brought back will need to go back into this room, but I am promising myself it will be done neatly and stay bagged until the HS group meets on Tuesday.)
OKAY.................READY, SET, GO!  (I am going to have that cup of suisse mocha at 3:30.  I will see just how much I can accomplish before that.) (Never got to the cup of suisse mocha because I had 3 fun phone calls and also decided that I needed to cut more bindings while the fabrics were out.  I will try to have better follow through tomorrow.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

What A Difference A Week Makes

We spent a week going through transition classes to prepare for Kevin's retirement from the military.  He was preparing to begin his search for a new position and all the stresses of job hunting.  While we were there we came across a fabulous idea and have spent lots of hours talking, praying, researching and doing some real soul searching.  However, this decision has been years in the making.  We have great confidence that we will be able to pull it all together. In August, Kevin is going to go back to school to further develop his woodworking and furniture building skills.  He is already a good woodworker with many pieces of furniture to his credit, but this coursework will make him an even better one.  IT IS HIS DREAM!

I am going with him.  We will store most of our household goods and rent a small apartment.  Our daughter was very quick to volunteer to take care of my HQ for the year.  I will take both my Berninas, my laptop, and a number of kits that will keep me occupied.  I plan to really learn how to do all kinds of things with my machines and also learn EQ forward and backwards.  Of course, it also means that I will be able to visit lots of new and different quilt shops and maybe even take a few classes.  There is always something positive about change.

Eventually we will settle into the area where we grew up, but that is at least a year off.  More updates as I see how the pieces fit.

Actually, we have decided to embrace this adventure with out whole hearts.  It should be worth tons of new memories!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What's Next?

Yesterday I quilted 2 Heart Strings donation quilts and sorted out 5 more backs for the other 5 I have.  Then I made certain all the bindings are ready to go.  I will try to quilt two of the quilts each day, so I can pass them off for binding on Tuesday night.  There will be more turned in then, so the cycle will start again.

I am also making a customer quilt from start to finish.  She bought the pattern and most of the fabrics on her own, but I needed to add in some to round it out.  I washed all the fabrics before we left for our last trip, and ironed most of them last night.  I have a few left for today and then I will piece the first few just to be certain that I understand the directions.  There are 90 blocks of the same design but many different pieces of fabric, so it should be fun and scrappy(my favorite kind).  Each block is 2 colors and then there is a scrappy sashing with cornerstones.  No border.  I plan to pace myself so that I do a very accurate job and so I can take care of all the quilting on the donation quilts, as well.

I have until June 15th and then my HQ will be put into storage for some time while my husband transitions out of the Navy and we relocate again.  We have some exciting and challenging days ahead, but we are both very enthusiastic about what we are planning.  More on that in the near future.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Two UFOs Completed

 I will not reach my goal of finishing all of my listed UFOs by the end of May for the guild challenge, but it feels good to be finishing up so many.  I will continue to piece the few that are just kits at the moment,  I will not get them machine quilted unless I get them finished before my Handiquilter get packed for the move because it may be a while before I can get it set up and running again.  Maybe it will be time for me to really practice my free motion on my Bernina???
The first quilt is a product of my FIL and I working together.  He made 3/4 of the squares and left the rest to me.  It hangs down about 6" on sides and foot of a queen sized bed, but I am going to make pillow cases for the head.  The Christmas strings quilt will be used on my bed at Christmas and then flipped over to the snowpeople side for January.  There were two seams that did not get stitched closed and they went undetected as I started quilting and I could not really do a great repair because there was no seam allowance to play with.  Therefore, I decided to add 5 ornaments that are somewhat blended into the quilt.  I figured that we have 5 grandchildren so there is one for each of them.  I am calling this quilt "Christmas Surprise."
This quilt is called "Four Seasons.  It was another collaborative effort.  My FIL used his embroidery machine to make the centers for each block.  I am not certain what company created the designs but believe the software designs were package as "Four Seasons." We used EQ6 to create the quilt layout.  The points are not perfect and my SID is more like SSCTDAT (Stitch somewhat close to the ditch at times).  I had not done anything larger than a small lap quilt on my domestic before (and only 3 at that) and will think hard before doing another.  Although the borders seem to hang loosely in the photo, that does not seem to be true when it is laying on the bed.  While I was doing the hand sewing on the binding, I fell asleep several times.  It is definitely a cozy quilt!