Hey. She’s Posted Again…

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Flying in Formation is too big to photograph on my floor.

Flying in Formation is too big to photograph on my floor.

Today you actually get two posts, because the one I wrote 2 weeks ago was posted as a page and didn’t get publicized. I have reformatted it, and now you can see it.

This was just supposed to be a quick note to say that I’ve stalled.  I finished piecing Flying in Formation (using a cool border idea I saw on a quilt at the Bennington QuiltFest and the airship propeller blocks I made a billion years ago.)  I now no longer have any groups of blocks needing to be put into a quilt so I have to start a new one… from scratch (so to speak.)

And I’m stalled.

The only question I have about Teal There Was You  is should I buy fabric for the binding or use something I already own... that I don't like as much.

The only question I have about Teal There Was You is should I buy fabric for the binding or use something I already own… that I don’t like as much.

Yesterday I finished the quilting on  Teal There Was You.  The only thing left is the binding, so I need to come up with another quilt to put on the long arm next week.  One that is smaller than a twin since that’s the only batt I have left.

I have no idea what to do next (although I do have 17 options but none that are calling my name and saying “quilt me, quilt me.”) Ergo, Stalled.

I am still making Meezer Teaser Balls, but that’s pretty much all the quilting I’m doing at the moment.

I am, however, being creative.  I am prepping for NaNoWriMo by actually doing a rough outline for the book I will be working on. We’ll see how well that works.

Photo Finishes

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I’m overdue for an update, so I gathered photos of my most recent finishes to show what I’ve been up to.  Thanks to Jeff Lomicka (of Jeff & Cricket quilts) for the photos that I did not take (mostly the long shots of everything but Susan’s Quilt and the close up of the quilting on The Wrong Shade of Red.)

Susan’s Quilt:  I got this quilt top in my Guild’s Auction and decided to use it to practice hand guiding the long arm… to mixed results.  Eventually, some of the blocks were freehand, and some were programmed block by block.

I called this quilt Susan's Quilt because I gave it to my friend Susan. Yeah, not the most original name...

I called this quilt Susan’s Quilt because I gave it to my friend Susan. Yeah, not the most inspired name…

Detail of Susan's Quilt on the long arm.

Detail of Susan’s Quilt on the long arm.

Teal There Was You: I am well on the way to finishing this quilt for my brother. I might just be able to finish the quilting next week and then work on the binding (which, since it’s a queen-sized quilt, will take forever…)

Teal There was You was a

Teal There was You was a “commission” quilt from my Mom to my brother David.

Teal There Was You on the long arm.

Teal There Was You on the long arm.

The Wrong Shade of Red: Finished and bound and on my bed in time for the falling temperatures in New England. For such a simple quilt, I really like the way it turned out, but I didn’t use all my black & white fabrics…

The Wrong Shade of Red was made up of blocks I took away from another quilt and turned into this one.

The Wrong Shade of Red was made up of blocks I took away from another quilt and turned into this one.

You can actually see the quilting in this photo. Some how apples seemed appropriate.

You can actually see the quilting in this photo. Some how apples seemed appropriate for a red quilt.

Comfort Quilts: My Guild has a committee that takes in quilts for various charities.  This year, in addition to making the Meezer Teaser Balls, I was able to finish three quilts for them.

Didn't love the way the quilting came out on V is for Victory, but the quilt is quite festival and, as a comfort quilt, I'm sure someone will be happy to receive it.

Didn’t love the way the quilting came out on V is for Victory, but the quilt is quite festive and, as a comfort quilt, I’m sure someone will be happy to receive it. (And, yes, it’s being held upside down… doesn’t matter, I think.)

V is for Victory Ii, came out a little more satisfactory. I like the brighter colors in the original, but I'm sure someone will like this more muted version.

V is for Victory II, came out a little more satisfactory. I like the brighter colors in the original, but I’m sure someone will like this more muted version.

I called this quilt April Showers Bring May Flowers, and the quilting motif is big 1960s-like flower-power flowers. Made with the 10

I called this quilt April Showers Bring May Flowers, and the quilting motif is big 1960s-like flower-power flowers. Made with the 10″ squares I won in my Guild’s layer cake raffle, the pattern can be found on the Moda BakeShop site.

Back from the Black…

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Spring in New England... yeah, I didn't update you. If you didn't have spring where you were, just wait a bit. You're probably on a different schedule

Spring in New England… yeah, I didn’t update you. If you didn’t have Spring where you were, just wait a bit. You’re probably on a different schedule

Here’s what happened:  I got tired of talking about myself, so I stopped updating my blog for a couple of weeks.

Then, I was feeling guilty about not updating my blog and I couldn’t find a way past that so I avoided thinking about adding to my blog. That lasted a couple of weeks.

Then, I got tired of feeling guilty, and I started resenting the blog.  How dare it tell me what to do? Yeah, lost a couple of weeks there, too.

I finished V is for Victory. I even quilted V is for Victory... as soon as I bind it, I'll take another picture.

I finished V is for Victory. I even quilted V is for Victory… as soon as I bind it, I’ll take another picture.

Then I realized that this was all very silly, and no one resented me for not updating my blog.  No one’s life came to a standstill because I couldn’t bring myself to blog about what I was up to.

I didn’t stop sewing, just blogging.

I hope this means I will be more regularly updating my blog… but you never know.

Long story short: still alive, still quilting, may even go back to weekly blogging, but I’m not sure yet.

Hope you all are well.

 


A second version of V is for Victory made with some orphan blocks I got somewhere.

A second version of V is for Victory made with some orphan blocks I got somewhere.

I won a bunch of floral 10" square which were really not the kind of thing I usually use, even though most of them were really pretty. This was a pattern on the Moda site for using layer cakes.

I won a bunch of floral 10″ square which were really not the kind of thing I usually use, even though most of them were really pretty. This was a pattern on the Moda site for using layer cakes. April Shows Bring May Flowers

My first Barbara Brackman Block of the Week project (the Civil War Sequi-whowhatsit) finally got a border.

My first Barbara Brackman Block of the Week project (the Civil War Sequi-whowhatsit) finally got a border.

My current project is for my brother. I love the block, but I'm kind of dying of boredom since the quilt is so monchromatic.

My current project is for my brother (tentatively named Teal There Was You). I love the block, but I’m kind of dying of boredom since the quilt is so monochromatic.  Work on the border goes on apace…

Three Questions on Quilting

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Last week I went to a quilt show: MQX.  It stand for Machine Quilters Exposition, which, obviously, means that it’s focused on machine quilting.

Now, this isn’t a local Guild show, or even a small regional one. This show features quilts from people all over the U.S. and other countries (I think I saw ones from Germany and New Zealand.)

Going to a show of this caliber means, of course, that one could come away from it feeling that any effort you make as a quilter must be labelled as so much dross. It’s just as easy to feel “in the shade” while looking at some of these quilts as it is to feel inspired (sometimes at the same time!)

I would like to say that this fabulous whole cloth quilt is The Paisley Peacock by Bethanne Nemesh, but I focused on the quilt and not the label, so I'm not entirely sure.

I would like to say that this fabulous whole cloth quilt is The Paisley Peacock by Bethanne Nemesh, but I focused on the quilt and not the label, so I’m not entirely sure.

One of the reasons I go to shows like these is that I have a really hard time figuring how to quilt my tops.  I try to forget comparing myself to the quilters in the show and just try to figure out what I like about the quilts, and what I don’t want to do with my own quilts.

Then I try to apply what I’ve figured out to my own projects.

This show, I came up with three questions to ask myself when I decide what to do about the quilting of a specific top.

1. How much time have I got?

This is actually a two-fold question. The first “fold” is that the quilters at MQX have thousands of hours (probably tens of thousands of hours) experience in their craft. They know their machine. They know their fabric.  They know their thread.

 Way Too Many Circles by Debbi Treusch & Linda Arndt

Way Too Many Circles by Debbi Treusch & Linda Arndt

I don’t have thousands of hours of experience. Well, at least not in the actual quilting part of it since for years I’ve been stopping just shy of that. I’m still just learning to use a long arm, to choose which patterns and which thread.

The second “fold” is just how much time to I want to spend on this particular project.

The truth is that the quilts I make are mostly intended to be used on a bed. Spending a year planning, programming and quilting just one quilt is not my idea of a fine ol’ time. It turns out that I don’t want to spend that much time on my quilts.

While I love the look of very dense quilting when it’s used to enhance the block design (as shown in Way Too Many Circles), it’s something I usually decide against when I realize how long it would take to do and how much practice I would need to get ready to do something like that.

La Passion by Grit Kovacs, quilted by Laurena McDermott

La Passion by Grit Kovacs, quilted by Laurena McDermott is like my Spiro.  Sometimes, no matter how you quilt it, the piecing design will be the standout element.

2. How much will it show?

A whole cloth quilt (like The Paisley Peacock, above) shows the design of the quilting and allows it to shine.  Ditto the quilting in the “space” between the appliqué in Way Too Many Circles. However, to make that sort of effort really wasn’t necessary in a quilt like Spirographology. It would simply have been lost, overlooked.

I could have tried something a bit more , but, as I learned on the border of Got Dots, sometimes the effort just isn’t worth it.

DnA1 is next up.  I'm going to try something a little different inspired by Too Many Circles

DnA1 is next up. I think I’m going to try something a little different inspired by Too Many Circles

3. Do I want to do “something different?”

Yes, there are times I want to experiment, to learn more and gain more experience, but prepping for a quilt talk was not the time for me. I wanted to show some nice quilts.  I really wanted to feature the piecing designs. I wanted to finish as many quilts as I could so I wouldn’t be just showing tops.

Now that that is over, I can look at my projects with new eyes and decide if I want to be a little more experimental. Maybe some hand-guided quilting for DnA1. Maybe change-up the thread color or weight in another quilt.

Who knows what else I’ll learn in the next year now that I feel like I’ve got the time and the motivation.

A Few Hints For Setting Triangles

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Still snow out on the porch, so this is as much fit as I could photograph.

Still snow out on the porch, so this is as much fit as I could photograph.

Wow.  How did that happen? I was going to post again “in a few days” and almost 2 weeks flew by?

I’m still coughing, but more in a general “let’s get this illness over with” kind of way. I feel fine, though, and I doubt I’m contagious.

And, yes, I did finish the Tribute to MaryEllen Hopkins quilt top. I only was able to take a picture of half of it, though.

I have been using some of my string piecing scraps to make blocks for V is for Victory.

I have been using some of my string piecing scraps to make blocks for V is for Victory.

That, of course, means that I have finished my current piecing project and I need to start another one. In this case, I had to decide between one of three. The first one is V is for Victory.

I just couldn’t help myself. I’ve been trying to give my friends hints on how to make this quilt for a while now meaning to pull them all together in one file and publish it on the Chelmsford Quilters’ Guild web site, but things keep getting in my way.

Anyway, I won’t be making the entire big quilt.  Mine will only be 80 blocks… a lap size (unless I run amok with the borders…)

But, in case you have been wondering, here is one last piece to the puzzle of how to make that quilt.

There are plenty of places to learn how to put together a quilt with the blocks on point (I rather like this one by McCall’s) so I’m not going to go over the details in this post.

The corner triangles for V is for Victory are made from two 4″ triangles cut on the diagonal (this will keep the on-grain edges on the corners.) Yes, no matter how big you plan on making this quilt, you only need 4 of these.

(Truthfully, I usually cut mine a tiny bit bigger.  I cut my corners at 5″ and line up the center of them with the center of the block when I sew.)

Cut a 45 degree triangle off the edge of the strip to start.

Cut a 45 degree triangle off the edge of the strip to start.

For the edges, you can cut a 7″ square and cut both diagonals, leaving one side on the grain and two (smaller) sides on the bias.

I. however,  cut strips of 3.5″ and cut my QSTs that way.

First, cut off one corner at 45 degrees (this one won’t be used in this project so put it somewhere you won’t confuse yourself with it.)

DSC04077

The 45 degree angle on your ruler aligns with the top of your strip, and the “horizontal”lines of your ruler align with the cut edge.

Then cut your first QST out of the strip by using the 45 degree line on your ruler placed on one edge of the strip.

Slide the 45 degree line until the edge you use to cut with is exactly a 90 degree angle with the previously cut edge.

For this example, the point under the ruler will be at the 5″ line. (This will not always be the case!)

Keep alternating 45 degree angles (I usually just flip the fabric), until the strip has been cut (or you have enough.)

This 4.5" block will match the corner triangle if I trim one of the bias sides to 4.5" as well.

This 4.5″ block will match the corner triangle if I trim one of the bias sides to 4.5″ as well.

Another trick I use when I start sewing on the setting triangles, is to clip off one of the corners so the sides you are sewing together match exactly.

You really only need to trim one corner because when you sew the rows together you are matching something else entirely.

When you sew the corners on, you can also trim them, but I only do that on two of them. (The ones you are sewing into rows.)

To do that, fold the corner triangle in half, and trim TWO corners off at the same time by using half the size of the UNFINISHED block. This will make it easy to align the corner triangle to the block.

The corners you sew on last will be easier to align without trimming at all. Just fold them in half and align the center of the triangle with the center of the square.

If you have any questions, just put them in the comments or send me email. I know I sped through the process, but that’s because it’s covered in depth and very well elsewhere.

Quilting Assistance

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The second shipment is away!  Check the Siamese Store or the SCRC Facebook Page for when they go on sale.

The second shipment is away! Check the Siamese Store or the SCRC Facebook Page for when they go on sale.

I know I’ve talked about my Meezer Teaser project quite a bit on this blog, but I’d like to give a nod of thanks for all the support, fabric and batting scraps, and other help from my friends (both in CQG and otherwise) and my family.

I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks, so I’m way behind on this blog, but I have been collecting snapshots of my special Meezer assistant on this project and thought I’d share them with you.

Yes, each Meezer Teaser Ball has been rigorously supervised for quality control by one of my crack Snooze-r-visors.

Yes, each Meezer Teaser Ball has been rigorously supervised for quality control by one of my crack Snooze-r-visors.

Much care goes into selecting. cutting and readying our fabric donations for use in our balls...

Much care goes into selecting. cutting and readying our fabric donations for use in our projects…

Rumi4

In fact, everyone here is very “paws on” for all aspects of the projects, including telling the labor force just when it is time to quit for the night.

And of course, the testing phase is intensive and requires much time and focus.

And of course, the testing phase is intensive and requires much time and focus.

I hope to be back blogging on quilting in a few days.  I can even see the light at the end of the tunnel on the Tribute to MaryEllen Hopkins quilt, so more design is in sight!

Thanks all for sticking with me.

 

Show and Tell

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Probably the oldest of my surviving quilts. Made in the 80s.

Probably the oldest of my surviving quilts. Made in the 80s.

I gave my “speech” at my Guild on Monday.  Actually, I decided to hold it as more of a Show & Tell than have a theme, etc. It was less nerve wracking that way.

I had set the quilts up in sort of a timeline from oldest to newest, but basically just talked about what was going on and what I learned from making each quilt.

What everyone doesn’t know is that this was my sly way of getting my friend Jeff from JnCQuilts to photograph a bunch of my quilts. (For the record, I always use their long arm and he leant me the Bubble Jet Set stuff to make the labels for my quilts.)

So, here are the quilts that I have finished this past year that I hadn’t be able to take full size photos of (and special thanks to members of my quilt guild for holding them up:

CQGFeb2014-1170268

Brimfield Star (on it’s side). The binding is made from strips of the black and white fabric I used in the stars.

CQGFeb2014-1170282

Crossed Puposes. You’d never know it by this picture, but this quilt fought me the whole way through, and though there are some color choices in the blocks that I would rethink, on the whole, I’m happy with the result.

CQGFeb2014-1170293

In Memory of Rumor (DnA3). Another quilt I sweated over the color of thread and the border only to find out, looking at it from the audience point of view that it just doesn’t matter.

CQGFeb2014-1170296

In Memory of Edison (DnA4). Half the DnA quilts are now done. My sister has located DnA2, so I hope to finish this project by the end of the year.

 

 

 

Spirographology. Dedicated to my Dad, whose block I am a chip off of...

Spirographology. Dedicated to my Dad, whose block I am a chip off of…

So now that I’m done with sweating over getting something showable, what’s on my to-do list?

1. Meezer Teaser Balls.  I’ve got 20, I need 25 for the next shipment, so I should be mailing them to the Siamese Cat Rescue Center next week.  If you want one (or more), keep checking their Facebook page.

2. Keeping up with quilting my quilts. The Wrong Shade of Red is on the long arm now, mostly because I found the perfect backing rather than any particular scheduling reason. Next, I will baste Starina for hand quilting, and THEN DnA1 and (hopefully) DnA2.

3. Borderpalooza continues with A Tribute to MaryEllen Hopkins.  I hope to finish in a week or so, since I have most of the border pieced.  There is only one more BorderPalooza quilt, Barbara Brackman’s Civil War Sampler.

5. Yes, I am going to make V is for Victory, but first I am going to write the instructions and sizes on the setting triangles. (Or maybe I’ll do that simultaneously.

 

Ten More Days…

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crosslabel

Only 2 labels are left to be sewn on: Topsy Turvy Nine Patches (which also needs to be laundered) and DnA3 (which needs the binding and some other finishing work.)

I just noticed a couple of days ago that I had only a dozen more days to prep for my member showcase at my Guild.

As luck (and total obsession) would have it, I am well on the way to completing what I need to finish before then. At least the snow has been good for keeping me inside and chipping away at the list.

As long as there is some day in the next ten that I can get to the laundromat, I should be okay.

The binding is sewn on DnA3 and I am doing the hand-stitching.  I know I should be burying the threads before doing the binding, but at least progress is being made.

This Meezer Teaser ball has bells inside it.

This Meezer Teaser ball has bells inside it.

I only need 9 more Meezer Teaser balls for the next shipment to The Siamese Cat Rescue Center’s store. These are turning out really nicely, and I have figured out a way to get bells and rattles inside some of them.

My Mom has decided to contribute some pre-cuts to the cause.  Not sure what she’s sending, but I love fabric, and even random old calicoes look great in 3D!

I would like to think that I’m more than half-way done with the border to A Tribute to Mary Ellen Hopkins.

I would like to, but I really don’t know if I am… still plodding along there. Will I ever be done?  Stay tuned!

Rumi is helping with quilt organization...

Rumi is helping with quilt organization…

This weekend, my plan is to line my quilts up in order for the speech and make index cards with what I want to talk about for each one.  No doubt when I get up in front of people I will totally forget that I have these cards (or how to read) and I will just wing it (or babble), but I want to give myself a fighting chance.

Since they’re calling for another foot of snow, there’s not much else for me to do anyway… except for playing Fetch with the cats.

 

To Do List

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DnA3

DnA3 (or is it 4) is ready for binding. The trick was finding something that looked good on front, but didn’t cause the pieced back to look bad.

Just a short post this week as I clear the decks for… well, I don’t know what since we’re supposed to have another multi-day snowstorm.

1. Binding for DnA3.  Thanks to Cricket, I now have enough purply-pink wisteria fabric to bind this quilt.  It took a long time to decide what to do with it since the original plan was to use black.

I still have to bury the threads in the center of this quilt.  It’s a good thing we’ll be snowed in for the weekend, I guess.  I think I’ll cue up Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth…

deflategate

My own version of “Deflate-Gate.” The original Meezer Teaser Balls sold out at The Siamese Store. These are waiting for catnip and filling so they can be shipped off. (Yes, I’m accepting scraps for this project.)

2. Binding for Spirographology. Freshly ripped off the long arm (no, not literally) I have a couple of options for this one.  I bought a multi-color batik with a black background, or I could use the black binding I previously cut out for DnA3.

I loved the Dream Puff batting for this quilt. It gave some dimension to the quilting that the cotton batting I had been using on the other quilts didn’t.

The big problem, though, was that Spiro is a hexagon quilt and I ended up having to shepherd some of the extra puffiness towards the center to keep it square. In a hand-quilted quilt this is not a problem, but I didn’t notice until the end, so I ended up more fullness toward the bottom and with some tucks on the quilt top.  I’m contemplating requilting those areas, but not until much later.

I think I may be more than half-way done with the border for the Tribute to Mary Ellen Hopkins quilt.

I think I may be more than half-way done with the border for the Tribute to Mary Ellen Hopkins quilt.

3. Meezer Teaser Balls.  Thanks to the kitty moms who follow the Siamese Cat Rescue Center on Facebook, the original shipment of the balls sold out in less than a week. I’m hard at work making more, but might not get them done and out until the end of the month.

4. Labels.  I now have all the quilts finished so I need to set and wash the labels, and, of course, sew them on.

5. Still plodding along on the paper-pieced border for my Tribute to Mary Ellen Hopkins.  I know I was trying to use up fabric from my stash with this project, but I ended up having to buy more of the top red fabric… and what do you know, some other pieces of fabric also jumped into my bag.

That’s my top 5 projects for now. What are you up to?

Hmm. This post is a bit longer than I had originally planned!

Spinning My Wheels

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My car was here...

My car was here…

We had a mighty snow this past week.  Our town got 31″, but it was light and fluffy.  Instead of shoveling, I just cleared off my car and drove out of it.

I wish I could do that with other areas of my life, but dry snow has so much more traction than some of the other things I’m up to.

First off, Drop and Give Me 20 starts tomorrow. Yes, tomorrow is a whole new month, and you can re-dedicate yourself to spending a little time with your quilting projects… as I am going to.

I have been spinning my wheels trying to get my head around this quilt talk thing when I really should be looking at it as just a show-and-tell. I guess I’ve been making additional work for myself because of it.

I don’t usually put labels on my quilts unless they are going out of my apartment so for this talk I had to make at least 12-15 labels, which was daunting. Instead of hand printing the labels, I borrowed a friend’s Bubble Jet Set and grabbed some free clip art from the web, added my information in Photoshop and ta-da… all I have left to do is sew them on.

It was so easy and fun, I may make up a tutorial (but don’t hold your breath!)

Speaking of tutorials… I was supposed to discuss using pre-cut fabrics to make V is for Victory.

How many and which pre-cuts you use depends on how scrappy you want the quilt. This chart is JUST for the color Vs, and for the size shown in my last post.

Pre-Cut Number (per pre-cut) How Many For Quilt fabric leftover (each)
5″ square (charm) 1 270 2.5″ square plus 0.5” x 2.5”
2.5″ strip 6 (cut 2.5″x7″ per block) 45 2.5×2″ (assuming 44″ WOF)
10″ square (layer cake) 5 3″ square plus 0.5” x 7” 114
18″x 22″ (Fat Quarter) 21 0.5” x 22” x 18 x 1” 13
Yardage 3.125yds x 44″ 270  1

If you go with some of the larger pre-cuts like fat quarters, or layer cakes, perhaps you can get a group together to make the quilt and trade fabric.

I’ll reserve discussion about the background and “on-point” triangles for another post.

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