Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A plan for those 4" squares?

I was reading the Heartstrings Quilt Project blog a few moments ago.  One of the ladies mentioned making and giving placemats to the people who deliver for Meals on Wheels.  She went on to say that one of the men who delivered Meals gave the placemats to people whom he noticed did not have many visitors or family. 

I got to thinking about those 4" squares that are sitting idle waiting to be called up for a purpose, and I do believe that I have found a mission for them in placemats for the home-bound. 

I'm not sure how many I can whip up in time for distribution, but I am going to look into it.

Today however, I have customer needs to attend to, appointments and quilting to get done, and yes, a sewing room to put back together after cleaning the carpet.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Awhh! Look...




  1. I was able to get the rest of the sewing room de-cluttered to the point that I decided to clean the carpet. 
  2. While it was drying I went to work on my Morning Frost quilt that has been sitting idle for oh so long!  At this point the top is half finished.
  3. Remember the silliness half square triangles that were leftover from my ohio star exchange blocks??...well I put those together and have decided it will be a mug rug.  Maybe I can get it quilted and bound tomorrow.  It's cute...

Not quite done yet..

I really thought I'd have my sewing room all done and spanky clean by now, but it turned out to be more than I could handle yesterday.  I got into the closets and those were a bigger challenge that I'd anticipated.  Needless to say, I want to spend some time today finishing up.  But I've got to say, I ache from head to toe.  Note to self;, don't wait so long to tidy up, the more it goes unattended the worse it is to declutter.  Maybe my new years resolution will be to spend 10 minutes at the end of each day to put away and tidy up.

I'm also going to list my UFO's on Stashbuster and send in my fat quarters for the upcoming year.  That and the No buy challenge are what kept me out of big trouble this year, and I must do it all again for 2011. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Micro-organizing: newly found 4" squares, hummm?

A while back I tried to organize my sewing room.  A year or so ago it was ship-shape.  My longarm machine is in my little longarm studio in another area of the house, but my personal sewing room is in a bedroom.  Truth be told, it mainly holds fabric, but has work areas for cutting and sewing.  I'm trying to get there once again.  I spent most of yesterday putting items back where they belong.

My fabric is on shelving arranged by color.  When I pull fabric out to audition it for a project, I can't seem to train my brain to put it back, nope it piles up until my workspace is covered.  Then there is scrap control.  You all know my passion is scrappy quilts, but it can be a time consuming task taming the scrap bin.  When I'm cutting fabric for a quilt I usually am on the lookout for an opportunity to cut 2.5" strips, and if a leftover piece of fabric isn't that wide I'll cut a 2", but most of the time it goes in the string bin.  I have more strings than I know what to do with, as a result I've have to bin them according to color families.  Beyond the strips, I have what I call chunks, which are pieces of fabric that can be trimmed to 5" charms.  If I can get a 10" square out of it, that's really a plus.  I try to work with 2.5" squares, strips, 5" charms, 10" squares and I like to cut bricks which are 3.5" by 6.5".  Have you seen Bonnie Hunter's Bricks and Stepping Stones pattern?  At times if I'm in a hurry, I'll just leave it at a 3.5" strip and trim it later.  I also use 4.5" strips for her Streak of Sunshine pattern.  The only time that I will cut 1.5" strips is if I absolutely HAVE to for a quilt project.  But I'll try and avoid those at all cost, I'm just not into anything that small.  It's this chunk bin that usually begins to overflow while waiting to be attended to, so I've switched to a smaller one which means I have to deal with it sooner more than later.

Some of my yardage

I find that over the years I don't use other size squares, but at one time I did cut scraps into whatever size the piece could yield.  So I have a bunch of 4", 4.5", 6.5" and some 8.5" squares.  Unfortunately they were all swimming together in a large drawer.  Last night, I was fighting the sleepies, I knew I couldn't go to bed at 7:30pm, so I pulled out the drawer of mixed squares and sorted them, micro-organizing!!!  I was surprised at how many 4" squares I had, and scratched my head wondering what on earth I was planning to do with them?  So they finish at 3.5", which doesn't go with much of anything other than just sewing blocks together row upon row until they get to a nice quilt size, maybe throw on a border and done? 

My other problem area is batting scraps.  The small pieces I use for cleaning my longarm tracks.  The more respectable pieces I zig zag together for donation quilts or my personal quilts.  Just as long as I keep same batting with same batting, ie, I don't sew a blend together with 100% cotton.  I try not to have more than 1 or 2 seams in my pieced batting.  When I've got a size that I like sewn together I'll mark the measurements on a small piece of paper and pin it on before I put it in a big plastic tub.  On the outside of the tub I keep a list of the sizes I have available in the tub.  That way when I need a batting, I just check the label on the outside of the tub and i can see at a glance what sizes I have.  Whenever I have batting pieces I try to get those taken care of ASAP because it can get out of hand.

List of pieced batting

Then there's the book scene, one of these days I will have to get some software to document what I all have, but for now the books are on shelves and off the floor, that's a good thing, right? 

The binders on the upper right hand shelf contain patterns I've printed off the computer, or patterns that could otherwise get lost

The red and green containers at the very top are magazines, I try not to keep more than what these can hold.  The rest is more books
 Today I hope to tackle the work area and other half of the room.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A finish!!

It's a lazy day today, I'm actually taking a day for just me.  I finished this quilt last week, but never got around to posting it.  This quilt was made in the spirit of the Heartstrings Quilt Project and uses the standard 9" finished block with a red center (the other is a blue center).  This one will be donated.

I'm a fan of just about any quilt, but my favorites are scrappy quilts, the more scrappy the better.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Yummy Thanksgiving

It was just hubby and I for dinner, since we just recently bought an electric smoker we were anxious to try it out.  No we didn't do turkey, we actually bought a small prime rib roast and smoked it.  I was not real sure about whether I'd like it, but I have to say it was absolutely delicious.  2 hours in the smoker and 20 minutes in the regular oven to get a nice crust.  Yum, Yum! 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lizzards everywhere

I just finished a quilt for a customer and I thought I'd share the back of the quilt with you.  It's black and the flash makes it look gray, but check out the geckos.

My placemats are finished!

These started out as a leader/ender project for piecing on the machine.  I then decided to hand quilt these, just because I wanted the practice.  They are 2" finished squares and each placemat measures 12" by 18".

Monday, November 22, 2010

New cookware

I'm not the gourmet chef by any means, so I never really had a gourmet set of cookware, but mine have always gotten a good workout.  I've gone through several sets, mainly because I've always chosen the non-stick type.  It doesn't seem to matter how expensive the set has been, after a time the coating starts to break down.  So I decided to try the stainless.  So starts another exciting adventure!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

This and that

Friday was kind of a playing hookey day.  My goal was to get a customer quilt on the longarm machine, but the backing needed to be de-wrinkled.  Rather than ironing the backing which is huge, I layed it across my machine rollers and spritz it with water.  It releases the wrinkles but the drawback is that I have to wait for it to dry before I proceed.  So what to do?

I played with those silly triangle units from the quilt block exchange and found a layout for this teeney tiny "quilt"

Each of these squares measures 1.25" so .75" finished, but this is what I've come up with so far.  I guess I might have to add more red to create anything of usable size and at this point the only thing that comes to mind is a potholder. 

Next I worked on some hand quilting.  I am quilting my last placemat, there is an end in sight.  I am not a great hand quilter by any means, but done sounds good to me.  And it's been great practice on a very humble project.

I also went to one of our local churches for an alternative gift show.  The products featured are from SERRV where artists from impoverished countries are able to sell their crafts to better their futures.

I got 2 lovely baskets, this first one is a basket from Ghana

And the next one is a basket from Vietnam, near Ho Chi Minh City and this one is made from PAPER!

Friday, November 19, 2010


Yesterday I spent a good part of the day finishing up a customer's quilt.  Today I got back from water aerobics and got to work on blocks for our December block exchange at our Guild meeting.  The Ohio Star block is always a winner, and those flying geese units...that triangle part that gets trimmed, well I couldn't just throw those away.  Now I really don't have time for messing with those, but I did anyway, so that is just silliness!  And besides what am I going to do with these little guys?  I only have 24 of these and they are little.

The last time I did something crazy like this I made a tablerunner, but those blocks were much bigger to trim from and there were many of them. 

Time to load another quilt on the machine.  I guess while I'm doing that I can ponder on my teeny weeny blocks.

My evenings have been spent trying to finish the set of 4 placemats that I am in the process of hand quilting...still.  

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back Home

Our trip was wonderful and now it's back to the routine again.  I finished two of the 4 placemats (hand quilting) that I took with me, but that's about all that got done.  We had lots of time to visit so that's what matters.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pineapple tablerunner

It's finished!  All labeled and ready to go.  The colors are that of the USMA Black Knights of West Point.  The tablerunner is a hostess gift for a couple who's husband attended the military academy and was commissioned there.  Hence the black, gold and gray.  In the spirit of the approaching football game in early december between the Army Cadets and the Navy Midshipmen...Go Army!!!  Beat Navy!!!

I did the design in EQ6, found a pineapple block that I liked and set them on point.  EQ6 filled in the side blocks very nicely for me.  I decided to paper piece this one, though it had options for rotary cutting and templates. 

I did get my daughter's t-shirt quilt finished...but she may read this blog, so I'd best show it to her first.  I get to see her Thursday, I can't wait.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Time change wreaks havoc

Every time we do the Daylight Savings I am messed up for about 2 weeks.  As I write this it is 3:01 AM and I've already been up, taken the dogs out, made coffee and checked all of my Yahoo and AOL mail.  Don't know why it does me in, but it does!

Goals today:

  1. Mail 2 quilts back to Minnesota.  These are donations that came from Heartstrings Quilt Project, the quilts were pieced by some fantastic ladies, I quilted them and they are going back to be finished and donated for a very special project there.
  2. I finished the table runner top that I was working on.  It needs to be quilted today.  This one I"m going to do on the domestic machine because I want to stitch in the ditch, did you know that quilting stitch in the ditch on the longarm is one of the most difficult things to do?  Since this project is small my domestic machine will be just fine.  Besides I need to load a customer quilt on the machine to do.
  3. I'm still working on kitting up the rest of the hand sewing work that we are taking on our trip.
There should be a 4 & 5 but I may need a nap after 1, 2 and 3.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Getting ready for a trip

DH and I are heading up to Missouri soon for a yearly fall family gathering.  I don't know about you, but when I hear Road Trip I think of what sewing project to take.  Never mind about the clothes, I just throw a few things together...but I do put some thought into what quilty things I can take along to work on.

So the first item/s I am packing is a set of 4 scrappy placemats that I decided to hand quilt some time ago.  This is definitely a UFO, all 4 placemats are on one backing because that's how I basted it on my longarm.  I have one placemat almost done, only 3 more to go.

The next item is another UFO, an orphan block which I also decided to hand quilt back in 2001-2002? 

And to mix things up a bit I decided to kit up some hand piecing from a book called 101 Patchwork Potholders by Linda Causee. 

The blocks in this book are made from templates and the block finishes at 8".  I think a few of these will be fun and different to work on, nice and small and quick to stitch.  First thought was to really make some potholders, but a quilt made from all kinds of different blocks would be fun.  The blocks are either a 4 patch or a 9 patch base so all of the blocks based on a 4 patch would go together and the same with the 9 patch.

Now then, we are only going away for a long weekend, but it would be awful to run out of things to do, so I always pack more than I need, especially if I keep the projects small. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Coming up for air...

I've been trying to get some customer quilts finished up so that I could clear a block of time to work on some charity quilts, I've got several from Heartstrings, and a couple from our own Linus Project with the Azalea City Quilt Guild in Mobile, AL. 

Yesterday I did a binding marathon to prepare bindings for 4 quilts.  I hope to get those sewn on today and get one of the Heartstring quilts on the longarm.  I love to work on donation quilts, my mind always drifts away, imagining who might get the quilt...

But at this very moment, I need to get ready for water aerobics.  Off I go...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Productive weekend

The dogs got me up at 4am, thank you very much...just as well, I have plenty to do.  But I got a bunch done as well. 
  1. I got the customer quilt finished on Friday, just a stipple as she wanted.
  2. I worked until I got all of the t-shirt blocks finished for my daughter

Now I'm ready to put it all together!

3.  I started working on a tablerunner for a hostess gift.  I did the design on EQ 6 ( I haven't bought 7 yet)  This tablerunner is the colors of the United States Military Academy Black Knights GO ARMY, BEAT NAVY!! 

This pineapple pattern could have been done with templates, rotary cutting, or my choice on this one, foundation piecing.  This is a good start.  I have one more main block to finish which would be the third center block on point, and then I have to fill in with 3 more side halves.  I need to have it finished by mid Nov, we will be headed up to Northern Missouri for a family reunion.

I was a bad girl yesterday and pigged out on pizza, not that pizza is bad, it isn't in moderation, but I wasn't moderate...so my tummy is a bit off today, serves me right.