Tuesday, July 30, 2013

hand quilting like a tortoise - I'll get there eventually...

Do any of you hand quilters have trouble with your hands? Its distressing. I'm now plagued with tendon issues in my fingers, which means (among other things) I have to dole out my hand quilting more sparingly these days.

However I'm still moving slowly along on my Civil War Sampler. I'll do one or two blocks a week, only quilting for 30 minutes or so at one time. I'm quilting these pretty sparsely and really, I think that's all they need anyway.

This is one of the setting blocks:

Simple quilting around the flag:

 Remember, I already machine quilted in the ditch between the blocks, so that makes it much easier, and hugely faster!

 Some ditch quilting above, and a little where it shows, 
and a peek of the border

This one, above, needed a little more detail.

Here's Lincoln, also demanding a bit more detail.

Back to sparse. There's a tiny bit of detail in the center, if you have a nice big screen with good resolution, you might see it.

These have been a lot of fun to quilt, as for the exception of the setting blocks, each one is different. I'm about 2/3 or 3/4 (?) of the way through it. My goal is to have it ready to hang at our guild quilt show in Feb.

Other news:  I just discovered I've been pinned! Check out The Quilt Cupboard for some very cool quilts, including a couple of mine!

Meanwhile, I should have a finished top to show in a few days, so stay tuned!


Monday, July 22, 2013


I promise you this is the LAST time I will post a picture of this quilt until its DONE (by that I mean quilted and bound) which will be a LONG time from now because, frankly, I'm sick of looking at it and I'm sure you are, too.

You'd think sewing this together would have been easy. But of course I had to make it difficult by splitting/fanning all 168 intersections, and smashing ironing them down with a squirt of spray starch so they'll stay put until I get around to quilting it. All of which took at least twice as long as the sewing.

Unfortunately, I can no longer stand having big lumps all over my quilts, especially so many of them! Most of these intersections look like a mangled mess, rather than cute little pinwheels they're supposed to be.

Meanwhile, now that its at least sewn together, I just had to audition the top behind the bed with the quilt its intended to go with:

Hmm. What do you think about the brown quilts against the purple walls? Will I have to re-paint? Another reason to put off finishing it.

While I had the brown star quilt out, I thought I'd snap a couple detail pix with the intent to show off the hand quilting. Too bad it didn't work so well...

Unfortunately, I don't know how to turn off the flash on my husband's camera, which washed out the shadows that would have accentuated the quilting. As it is, you can barely see it. Dang it, I need camera lessons!

Anyway, I'm very happy to have that thing off my wall and out of my sight for awhile.


PS - this is really funny.... little did I know, I accidentally took a movie of my quilt!  Really, I don't know how I did that, except I guess I pressed some button to shut the flash off which unbeknownst to me, started the video recorder?!? HA ha!! Anyway, then I thought well what the heck, I'll put it the blog! Interesting, as the quilting shows up better.

Remember.. this video was a mistake!
(I really DO need camera lessons! LOL!)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Feed Sacks

These things really fluffed up when I washed them!

I'm used to having fabric shrink when I wash it. But these pieces actually grew! They really softened up nicely, too. I was a little worried about that as they were pretty rough feeling when I got them.


At first I was wondering about these red ones, as they felt more smooth than the others. Are they in fact feed sacks, or yardage. I'm not that familiar with feed sacks, so its hard for me to tell.

But then... can you see the stitching line along the cut edge? That says "feed sack" to me.  Am I right? I encourage any/all opinions, as others of you are certainly more knowledgeable on this topic than I am.

This one definitely is, as its still a "sack" complete with original stitching.

Still no definite plans for these. Any suggestions?


Friday, July 12, 2013

Slow Progress

I had to chuckle at what came in the mail today. Can you read it?

Of course that's easy to explain:  Anke's suitcase was on the wicker trunk below the design wall. This little triangle square decided it wanted to go on an adventure, so it jumped right in! I didn't miss it tho, as there were plenty of extras.

Meanwhile, I started sewing the units together last week, decided to start with the middle - boy is it shrinking! Its lost a full four inches in width, and will probably lose more like six on the length.

I got this Indian print at the flea market Monday night. I thought I might use it for the back. What do you think?

Now its back into "guest room" mode for the weekend, my best friend (or should I say BFF?) is coming to visit!


Monday, July 8, 2013

Easy Come, Easy Go

Tonight our quilt guild is having a flea market, whereas any guild member can set up a table and sell his/her unloved fabric and notions or other quilt related stuff, then go about buying other people's unloved stuff.

I love the flea market. Mostly I end up buying a bunch of stuff I don't need, but I usually end up with a few gems at a great price.

Anyway, I'm splitting a table this year, to get rid of offer up my selections.

 This is what I culled out of my stash today:

This is how my fabric cabinet looks now that its "lighter" and more organized. Yes I know, I should have taken a "before" shot. Well remember my messy room from a few posts ago? Just extrapolate.

Still not a lot of extra room. Actually, this is only the top half. The bottom is still a mess as it took me so long to sort through the top half, I didn't have time to do the bottom.

I had already filled some boxes previously, here it all is ready to go:

There are some nice pieces of fabric in there. Some big enough for backings (which is what I bought them for ... ahem) Also plenty of junk - but you know what they say about one person's junk. Also some UFO's, old magazines and books. The beauty is, whatever is left over will be donated to our Bargain Garden, so I don't have to bring any of it home!

While sorting through stuff, I found these:

which were given to me by my Mom-in-law recently, after someone gave them to her. I haven't counted, but I think there must be around 40 in there. I haven't decided if I should keep them - therefore relegating them to the bottom of the ever expanding list of  projects I'll probably never get to in my lifetime - or if I should let them go to someone who might actually make them into something.

What do you think? If you had these, what would you do with them?


addendum (later tonight) 

I did good! When all was said and done I netted roughly $50, and came home with these lovely gems:
yep, they're feed sacks, and I got them for a song!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th and a Tutorial

The end of June was bearing down on me, and I still hadn't made the June blocks for my Farmer's Wife exchange. You know, you think "oh big deal, I only have to make six of these - I should be able to whip them out in a couple hours" but it never seems to work out that way.  The other thing bearing down was the eminent arrival of house guests, which would be taking over my sewing room for a week. So I knew I had to get on this, and get it done.

For June's block, I chose the Evening Star, mostly because its easy and April's block was a pain in the butt. Its also a really pretty block, imo.  And I'm in love with that blue fabric. To expedite things, I decided to employ a method for making flying geese I learned about ten or so years ago, from Linda Ballard at one of her Mystery Quilt retreats. I'll give instructions for a 2" x 3" finished flying goose unit. I'm new at this, so hopefully, it will make sense! Here goes:

From your background fabric, cut a square 1 1/4" larger than the finished width of your goose unit. So in this case, cut a  4 1/4" square of the blue fabric.

From your "goose" fabric, cut four squares, each 3/8" larger than the height of the goose unit. So in this case, cut four 2  3/8" squares from the light fabric.

Lay two of the "goose" squares on top of the background square, right sides together, lining up the corners like so:

 Now draw a line down the center of the two Geese squares:

Next, sew 1/4" from each side of the line:

As you can see, I'm doing more than one at a time. Remember, I'm trying to get these done fast!

Now cut them apart, on the drawn line,

and press them out toward the geese:

Now place another "goose" square on top of the unit, right sides together as shown, and draw a line down the center of that square:

Sew 1/4" from both sides of the line, and cut apart as shown:

Press out, and trim:

Perfect! There's no waste, and minimal trimming, which basically amounts to cutting the dog ears off.

What do you think? Does my tutorial make sense? Would you try this method? I encourage any and all comments and/or feedback - as I said, I'm new at this! And please let me know if you have any photography tips, particularly how to eliminate shadows and that annoying flash glare!