Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Let There Be Light

     Anyone who has read this blog over the years probably knows what is my least favorite thing to do in quilting--borders! Hate em!  Well, today I actually sewed 2 different sets of borders on a quilt. Uck.
No flash.  Colors are somewhere
in between
Photo with flash
      The story starts Monday when I reached into the UFO bucket and pulled out the first ziploc my hand hit. Turned out to be a bag full of  2 1/2" strip scraps that I inherited in a giant bag of scraps a couple years ago. They obviously were from a jelly roll that someone finished up. They were lovely red, white, and beige pieces. My first and only idea was to do a deconstructed 9 patch. I had all patches done and layed out Tuesday before work and today (Weds.) I put it together. It's kinda small and needed borders so I went to my stash in the sewing room. I found a good red on white that looked nice with it, and a piece of red that was the right shade. Yay me. I cut the white border, sewed it on in the current sewing room. (Yes, I have 2 sewing rooms at the moment, but no bedroom. Such is my life). Anyway I then took it into the kitchen where my ironing board is (yes, the kitchen. Long story involving, light, heat, and exercise) and as I was sewing it on I realized the border was too white. Like "galloping horses" too white. I didn't see it in the light of the sewing rooms, but in the kitchen it was glaringly obvious. So, back to the sewing room to rip it out, back to the stash for a light beige, and I had to sew it on again. Highlight of my only day off in 10 days.  
       So I guess the moral of this story is..check your colors in different lights. They really do change!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

It's All About the Blues

      After my dad passed away in August I just have not been able to get enthused about much of anything. I didn't do any Christmas projects, the kiddos didn't get ornaments, I didn't do my usual "January Project". I did layer a couple projects, quilted a couple small quilts (so I'd have enough pins for a big quilt, but really didn't do much. I have a pile of 6 quilts that need bindings and darn it the binding fairy still has not shown up! I was just forcing myself to work on things in my piles but not really enjoying myself. And here's the big one. I haven't bought any fabric since my birthday in July! I know I was depressed but just wasn't enthused.The Lonequilter was really alone.
This tote used to be stuffed to the top.
      Finally I came up with an idea for a project which I thought might be fun for me. I pulled out the tote of blues and greens, pulled out every piece that was smaller than 1/4 yard and started cutting strips of various sizes. I started with the X Marks the Spot quilt. Then I decided to make my favorite crazy log cabin. Then I went with the strippy block. The floor is covered with strips, there are scraps everywhere and I have 3 projects going on. The other night I sewed until 1:45 and forced myself to go to bed. Then the other day I realized something was different.. I was on my way to work, It was a nice day and I had been so busy sewing and cutting I had completely forgotten to take my Pokemon Go walk, which I do almost every day. I looked around and said to myself "You've turned the corner".
Oh Lordy, what a mess I have
to sort through!

Crazy log cabin

X marks the spot

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Words Escape me on this one!

     Words escape me, really they do! Last year at our retreat we had a swap of fabrics, patterns, UFO's, stuff we didn't want any more. OMG I took home  a UFO project that is indescribable. All I can say is I hope the quilter has improved since then! My plan is/was to make a charity quilt from it but this may be beyond me! Two blocks were assembled and I took one partially apart to match up the center seam which was a full 1/4" off! The two blocks are not the same size and check out the sewing and pressing! I started taking apart pieces that had been started and none of the 1/2 square triangles are the same size. That was when I discovered that the quilter had backstitched 1/4" to 1/2" in from the edge! Taking apart is tough! Not to mention that the fabric is directional and going every which way! Still shaking my head on this one!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

I say any time you learn something new, it's a good day!

      This is not really quilt related, just crafty me at it again. I always say if you learn something new it is a good day. Well, this is what I learned the other day.
If you try to paint on a glass Christmas ball it may end in disaster! 
I was painting half of the red ball white to make it into a Pokeball ornament. Seemed like a good idea at the time. As I painted, the white paint turned pink. Well, it took 5 coats of paint to get it white, but I have to say, the end result, is pretty cute.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Going Crazy in the Fabric Room

     My favorite blocks are very scrappy ones, I particularly love to do crazy quilt blocks. I've done them in a large variety of colors and just pastels. Right now I am doing a more controlled collection of grays, blacks, red and blue. Usually I put them together as an "I Spy" because I use so many novelties. My friend asked for a mini tutorial and I thought I had already done one but I hadn't so here it is, Susie.
       I often start with a cute fabric for the center, cut into a wacky 4 or 5 sided shape. Then I sew a fabric onto one side. I do have a couple rules for doing these blocks. Rule #1  Sew onto the longest edge. If you don't, the block will grow lengthwise and not square. You can sew scraps onto the pieces or chain piece onto a long strip. (Obviously if you are trying to use up scraps, go with those first, then save strips for when it gets bigger)
       If I am working with strips (like the gray project), I start by sewing a couple strips together and then cut that into a trapezoid or 5-sided shape.
       Next step: Press to the added piece.   Next step: Trim
       You will repeat this process just like a log cabin, going around and around, trimming after each pressing. This brings me to my Rule #2  Avoid parallel lines   If you are sewing onto a strip like the gray ones, the edges are parallel. So when you trim, cut the outside edge to be wacky. The straight strips really catch the eye so it is a good idea to wacky them up a bit!
       Rule #3  Try to have a bit of each color you are using in each block. If I'm doing brights I make sure there is at least one yellow and one orange in each block, for example. This will make the whole quilt blend together better.
       You are going to keep going log cabin style until you have a square the size you want. I recommend using a square ruler the size of your finished blocks. I have a 6 1/2" and an 8 1/2" square so those are my block sizes, usually. It helps you to better see the block building up and helps you decide where the corners are. I've been known to put a pin in a corner as I'm going along, so I don't accidentally add onto the wrong side.
        Save all the odd pieces left over. You can put them in another block! If you cut all your strips the same width (2 to 2 1/2" is good) you can join them together and use them as one piece.
         My last rule is Try to not have large pieces that stand out.  As you get to the end the pieces get bigger. I like to save really busy fabrics for those places because they will blend in better and not stand out. Solids and blenders stand out more, and are better on the insides.
         Another hint: if you need to make 40 blocks, start with 20. As you go along, you'll have lots of scraps cut off that are too small for these big blocks but perfect for new blocks. So when I do these I have blocks in a variety of stages at the same time.
         You don't have to think of these finished blocks as just squares. I admit it had never occurred to me to cut them up. I learned this at a Runamok meeting where we learned how to do this technique. I obviously didn't need the tutorial, I had been doing this for 20 years or more! But a modern quilter somewhere came up with the idea of using these blocks like a piece of fabric. The two pastels quilts at the end have cut up squares as triangle units. My gray project will be a cut-up also, I can't wait to finish it!
       Good luck! (Especially you, Susie)
Center block cut 4-sided

Center block cut  sided
Adding a scrap for the next round
Strip piecing onto a long strip

Crazy medalion style with
blocks cut into triangles on
the borders.

Bright "I Spy"

Crazy blocks in controlled palette. Each one has a
nice center block.
Crazy blocks cut into triangles
to make a star.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sometimes You Have to Take a Break

    Sometimes I just need to take a break from quilting. As much as I love it, I like other crafts too! Before Christmas this year I got inspired to knit again. The Christmas before, I made my daughter a Doctor Who scarf. For the uninitiated, one of the doctors wore a scarf like this.
Image result for doctor who scarf

Check out that map! A friend decided not to make hers and gave me the beautiful yarn! Thanks Julie!
Believe it or not I knit it between Thanksgiving and the week before Christmas! Here's Emma in hers! By the way, it's 12 feet long!
No automatic alt text available.

       Anyway.....This Christmas I decided I wanted to knit again. I started with cowl scarves which I gave for Christmas gifts (and didn't take pictures of). I also made several dishcloths which are fun to play around with. These are a couple extra scarves and cloths which will be gifted in the future.

Now I am knitting lots and lots of hats for cancer patients. I started with my leftover yarns, then bought  a couple skeins to stretch them out and then Mom gave me a couple skeins of her leftover yarn for Christmas and then just yesterday I was given 2 HUGE bags of Mom's leftover yarn. Good grief! I'll be at this forever! I enjoy playing with the colors and making up designs as I go along. 
These are just a few that have already been donated.

      My latest project was inspired by my friend Susie Long. She showed me the rug she crocheted and I thought about that for over a year before  decided which fabrics to use. All of a sudden it hit me that it would be a great way to use up all those panel fabrics which I had inherited from my friend Rochelle Ash (she never met a panel she didn't love). I hated to waste them and have no intention of ever using them so they got cut up into strips and crocheted into a new rug for my bathroom. I love it!
I've also prepped for another one in darker colors, but can't decide between oval and rectangle. It's a really quick project--just a couple hours!
     I'm rejuvenated!

Scrap Happy 3 Triangle Time!

      Well, I covered the strips and squares in my stash. Now it's time to tackle my personal favorite, the half-square triangle. I'm fully aware that most people don't really enjoy the triangles with all that cutting and squaring up. There are all sorts of "shortcut" techniques but I've tried them and as far as I'm concerned if you have to draw on the fabric, sew, cut apart, press, and probably STILL have to square up it is just as much work. That's just my opinion, for what it's worth.
       My stash boxes are 2 sizes of triangles, 2 1/2" and 3". They certainly don't have to be cut perfectly since they end up being squared up anyway.
       When I sew 2 triangles together, I always chain piece with the dark consistently on either the bottom or top. That makes it easy for pressing. When pressing I put the long chain down with the dark on top, press to set, then flip and press one after another, usually using sizing. THEN I cut apart. \
       Next is the squaring up. I dearly love my square-up rulers. I love the Quilter's Rule one because the markings are raised in the back and the diagonal nests right in the seam. In fact I have gone through several because after time, the markings wear off and the corner shaves off.
I have this square ruler also in blue for dark fabric and love my 12 1/2 " also.
       I honestly don't mind squaring up. I'd do that for an hour gladly compared to sewing on borders for an hour! It is absolutely essential that all pieces are squared up, by the way! Here are a few examples of quilts I've done using triangles. As you can see, I've done a LOT of triangles!

Churn Dash is a fun square/triangle block

Jacob's Ladder
Jewel Box--Good for squares and triangles
Ocean Waves

Ocean Waves
Mom and Dad's Anniversary quilt

Wedding memory quilt

Gosh I love stars!

I love stars!

Spinning Stars