Friday, July 31, 2009

Pillowcases

I've been making pillowcases this week, six in all. The two pale purple ones with the dark purple bands go with my Springtime Stars quilt. The rest will be donated to ConKerr Cancer and will go to locations here in Maine. My deadline for this project is Friday, August 7, so I might have time for a couple more.

These are a nice little stashbuster too--each pillowcases uses about one yard and goes together in less than an hour. On the selvage of one of these fabrics was a copyright date of 1994. Does that tell you anything? I probably bought that fabric intending to make quillows or something for my kids.

My favorite is the one with the racing cars and the checkerboard border. I'm going to make one like this for my son's girlfriend's little boy. He turned two a few months ago and is now sleeping in a regular bed, so I think he needs a big boy pillowcase.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Latte Block

Today three of us got together at Carolee's for our little embroidery group. We all have Bernina sewing machines with embroidery modules, and we want to learn more about them, so we get together once or twice a month to play. Carolee has a basement sewing room, which was the place to be today because it was warm and muggy outside. From left to right in the photo is Carolee, Pauline, and me. I tried to look busy because I don't like to have my picture taken.

Pauline took a bunch of classes after she bought her Bernina a while back, so she is the brains of the group. We try to choose something specific to work on at our get togethers, and today our focus was multihooping. When a design is too large for the selected hoop size, it becomes necessary to rehoop the fabric at some point during the stitch out in order to complete the whole design. Getting the design lined back up correctly is not an easy task for a novice, and I'm not too sure that I grasped exactly how to do this, but I'll play around with it some more.

The block we worked with today was one of the blocks from the Latte Quilt, a sampler of a dozen or so embroidered quilt blocks, and so named, I suppose, because it is all stitched in neutral colors on a neutral background. I've seen the complete sampler stitched out and quilted, and it's gorgeous.

What you see in the photo is two thirds of the design, which required two hoopings. The most obvious problem I had was puckering in the fabric, which is something that has frustrated me quite often. There must be about a dozen reasons why this might happen, and I never seem to get any of them right. (Teresa, are you reading this? Help!)

The second problem was that we actually loaded the wrong design into memory when we rehooped it for the right side of the embroidery. Some of the stitching crossed over parts of the center design, which wasn't right. Neither of these things bothered me, however, because it was a practice piece, and I had fun watching it stitch out. I was pleased with the quality of the stitch out today, which I haven't always been able to say in the past.

Next time we get together, we will play with machine embroidered applique.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Correction to "Quilt Show" Post

Thank you, Wanda, for letting me know that the link to Margo's website, where you can see more photos from the Maine state PTQG quilt show, was not working properly. Sorry about that--I should have checked my links before I posted. I've fixed it now, and the correct url is http://heartinhishandquilting.blogspot.com/

Enjoy.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday Stash Report

Well, I bought 7 yards of fabric at the quilt show. I thought I showed great restraint. I would have preferred to have bought 70 yards.

I finished another little strippy and crossed it off my Power of Ten list. The yardage for it was calculated a while back. I added Pillowcases to the list to replace the strippies. I'm planning to make 4 or 5 of them, some of which will be donated in the name of ConKerr Cancer. It's a project one of my quilt groups is working on. Today I cut the fabric for 2 pillowcases, so I'm counting it out of my stash.

Here's the Stash Manager's Report:

Fabric used this week: 2-3/4 yards
Fabric used year to date: 67-3/4 yards
Fabric added this week: 7 yards
Fabric added year to date: 178-1/4 yards
Net used year to date: -110-1/2 yards

Quilt Show

This weekend was the 32nd Annual show of the Maine state quilt guild, Pine Tree Quilters Guild. The show ran for three days, and I spent all day Friday at the quilt show, sitting in Raffle Alley, shopping, looking at the quilts, taking pictures, and socializing.

This is the raffle quilt for our chapter. I really like this quilt, and I should start making triangles now because I'm not going to win it.

Shopping the vendors is nearly always the first order of business for me at quilt show--got to get your priorities right, right? I bought some yardage of this magnificent Christmas stripe, which is going into the Christmas quilt I'm working on; several patterns; and two packages of Sweet Treats from Pincushion Boutique. I think these people must work every major show from here to the West Coast. I can't remember any big shows that I haven't seen them in a booth. I don't usually use black in my quilts, but after I went back to look at these two packs for the fourth time, I decided they'd better come home with me.





There was the usual assortment of art quilts and heavily quilted prize winners at the quilt show. What appeals to me, however, varies from one year to the next; and this year I was more interested in traditional quilts and miniature quilts. In fact I was fascinated with the miniature quilts, and there were lots of them this year. They're all shown here, along with some other quilts I liked. Both Margo and Beth have loads of pictures of all the prizewinners, and you can have a look there as well. I think, between the three of us, we took pictures of darn near every quilt in the show. I'd have posted more of my pictures, except that Blogger is taking FOREVER this evening to get pictures posted.

Four of us, including the white glove hostess, had quite a discussion about this interesting quilt. At first I thought it was a Cathedral Windows, but I'm not sure if it was made that same way or not.

This was another
interesting quilt. On closer inspection, I realized that the cutouts were raised from the surface of the quilt. The quilter used small pieces of velcro to achieve that effect, and I remember thinking how much fun a little girl might have rearranging the dolls and clothing if this quilt were hanging in her room.























Take a look at the closeups of the miniature quilts--they're so cute! Someone made a miniature blooming nine patch that has squares that look like they finished to a teensy weensy 1/4 inch. And one of them looks like a miniature Heartstrings quilt. Cute, cute!







Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Stash Report

No photos and nothing exciting in today's post, just the stash report. I feel like I haven't been home for five minutes this week, and I'm behind with just about everything there is to be behind with, including blogging. Seems like it's been a really busy summer for everybody. Sometime in the next few days I'll get some pictures posted of my adventures last week. I do want to thank everyone who left a comment about my Springtime Stars quilt--you're very kind, and I appreciate it.

In the meantime, I've made more progress with my Power of Ten list but no other finishes yet. Mostly I've been very absorbed with my Christmas in July project, the one called It's A Wrap; and I've worked a lot longer than just three hours on it. Of course all the fabric for it has now been cut, as well as all the rest of the fabric for the September Sun. I also have a strippie on the quilt frame, so I used up some stash for the quilt back. I'm practicing a pantograph called Bubbles on it, and it's really hard to keep those circles round!

I missed a stash report last Sunday and did buy a bit more fabric that week for my September Sun project and some extra background fabric. Here's the Stash Manager's Report:

Fabric used this week: 9-1/2 yards
Fabric used year to date: 65 yards
Fabric added this week: 10-1/4 yards
Fabric added year to date: 171-1/4 yards
Net used year to date: -109 yards

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

First Finish for July

Oh happy day! Springtime Stars is finally finished! It's been quilted for a month or so and just waiting for the binding. I put the last few stitches into the binding this morning. There really isn't anything nicer than a hand stitched binding, is there?

Springtime Stars was Number 2 on my Power of Ten list, and I've replaced it with a new project called It's a Wrap! I have a couple of all day Christmas in July workshops coming up next week, and that's what I'll be working on. It was a project featured in Quiltmaker last December, and I wanted to make it, but I already had two other big quilts to get finished before Christmas.

Credit where credit is due: quilt design by Judy Laquidara

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday Stash Report

At last, a stash report I can be proud of. This week I cut and attached the binding for my Springtime Stars quilt and have sewn down two sides. Two or three more hours and I should have that quilt finished.

Last night I finished this little Stars and Stripes tablerunner. I still have to quilt it. Some of the local girls have gotten interested in doing minis, which rekindled my interest as well. The little log cabin blocks finish at 4 inches, and I liked making them so much that I decided to make a little log cabin quilt. If I make 36 blocks, I'll have a small wallhanging measuring 24 inches, plus borders. I can't imagine I used more than a yard, front and back, for this little tablerunner, so I'm just counting a yard out.

I also cut the green and black fabrics for Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, as well as quite a bit of the fabric for the September Sun quilt.

Here's the Stash Manager's Report:

Fabric used this week: 10 yards
Fabric used year to date: 55-1/2 yards
Fabric added this week: 0 yards--nothing, nada, zip!
Fabric added year to date: 161 yards
Net used year to date: -105-1/2 yards

Birdbrained


According to Webster, birdbrained is a word that can be used to describe a stupid or silly person. There's a good reason why someone coined this word, and here are a couple of examples.

Last week my son noticed a bunch of straw and branches on the ground in front of the back door to my garage and discovered we had a new neighbor. A robin thought it was a grand idea to build her nest atop the light fixture over the door. Undeterred by the half of the nest that fell to the ground, she patched it up and moved in.

The mother is very skittish and flies away at the slightest movement, so I'm sure I drove her nuts today while I was doing yard work. I think she finally gave up sitting on the nest and sat up in the tree and watched me. Course I can't use the door or the light now either for fear of disturbing her further. How long does it take robin eggs to hatch? How long before they fly away? Well, I guess it won't kill me to use the main garage door for a few weeks.

I mowed the lawn this afternoon and finished about 2:30. When I put the lawn mower away I discovered that a hummingbird had flown into the garage and was flying around the ceiling. I have a two-car garage, so I opened both doors and went elsewhere in the yard to pull weeds. Three or four hours later, after I'd put my tools away, took a shower, and got some supper, the hummingbird was still flying around in the garage.

I watched him for a while, trying to think how I could get him out. I really didn't want to shut him in there for the night because I feared he would be dead by morning. While I was thinking about it, I brought the feeder into the garage and hung it up. After all it takes a lot of energy to fly around like that, and he needed a place to sit still for a minute.

The opening of my garage is about a foot from the ceiling, and that poor little bird just couldn't put together that he needed to stop flying around the ceiling to go back out the door. He flew in that way, didn't he? Wouldn't you think he'd remember how to get back out?

It finally occurred to me that if he was too birdbrained to fly down one foot, he certainly wouldn't think to fly under a curtain, so I constructed a curtain of sorts from landscaping fabric, a sheet of plastic, and some trash bags held up with thumbtacks, and corraled him in a small area in front of the garage door. It took me quite a while to do this, and about the time I was trying to figure out how to redirect him further, I realized he'd flown under the top of the door.

My garage door is built in sections, and each 2 x 4 foot section has a raised bar surrounding it. That hummingbird got into one of those sections, and wouldn't you think he might have figured out that all he had to do was fly down about an inch and a half to get out the door? No! I finally had to take a flattened cardboard box and angle it up into the door section to create sort of a little ramp to edge him out.

Six hours after that stupid bird flew into my garage, he finally flew back out. I just can't tell you how happy I was. I stepped outside and watched him fly way up high until he was just a little dot in the sky, and then he was gone.

About two weeks ago, I had to disassemble one of my downspouts because a chipmunk got stuck in it. I sure hope this is the last animal rescue for the summer.

The Power of Ten

I know perfectly well that lots of you out there have multiple UFOs, WIPs, WISPs, and PIGs stashed away in your closets and under your beds. We've all talked about it before on our blogs, and lots of us are currently participating in the One Project a Month challenge created by Kris from Tag Along Teddies and May Britt from Abyquilt. Although I have managed to meet the challenge every month except one, it hasn't really solved my main problem, which is the stack of UFOs in MY closet and my penchant for creating new ones. I simply love starting new projects.

I read about The Power of Ten a month ago on Barb's blog over at Pleasant Pond Studio. Barb evidently got it from a friend of a friend from somebody in Texas. I suppose this concept has been around in some form for years, but none of them has really worked very well for me.

You can see Barb's post and the complete list of "rules" here, but essentially The Power of Ten is nothing more than a methodical approach to completing quilt projects. You choose 10 (and no more than 10) projects you'd like to complete. According to the author, a quilter's interest is usually spent after 3 hours on the same project; so begin working on one of the projects, spend 3 hours working on it, then move on to a different project, and so on. As one project gets completed, find another and add it to the list, so you always have a rotating list of 10 projects.

This is precisely the way I like to work. So I found 10 plastic baskets, one for each project, and after 3 hours it will easy to scoop up the project parts, throw them back in their basket, and bring out the next basket.

The author recommends that you keep a list of the projects and the hours you worked on each project. I also added columns on my chart for start and finish dates. For me, the start date will be the date I added it to the list, and I'll be able to easily recognize which projects have been on the list the longest so I can redirect my focus to complete them.

I suppose the original intent of The Power of Ten was targeted towards UFOs, but I'll be adding some new projects to my list as well. After giving it some thought, here's what I came up with for my list of 10 projects:

1. Strippies x 2--two that have been hanging around for a while. The Butterfly strippie I mentioned a couple weeks ago is now complete, and the second is waiting for quilting.

2. Springtime Stars (Star BOM)--needs binding, two sides done.

3. Under the Stars (the Snowman quilt)-- still needs quilting and binding.

4. Stars and Stripes Forever mini tablerunner--the one we worked on at the Tacoma Lakes group. I finished the top last night, needs quilting and binding.

5. Log Cabin mini--an offshoot of the mini tablerunner, only scrappy. I have exactly one block made.

6. Neapolitan--my brown and pink quilt I started at the end of May.

7. Rag quilt--I mentioned this one about three weeks ago too. I finally got my Bernina back from the repair man and can get back to this again.

8. Bonnie Hunter's Mystery Quilt--it's in the latest issue of Quiltmaker. Anyone else doing this? I'd love to share progress reports. I've cut out the green and black pieces and started working on the four-patch units.

9. Pinwheel Party--not my oldest UFO, but one of the oldest from 2008. Way past time to finish it.

10. September Sun--the new quilt I just started with the reds and blues. I've done more than half the cutting for the quilt and have started working on the star blocks.

We'll see how it goes!

Mother Nature has finally decided to grace us with some sunshine, and it is a lovely, breezy, sunny day. Rain is back in the forecast again for the next three days, so I'm off to get some yard work done!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

And a special tribute to all the sons and daughters, husbands and wives, serving in the Armed Forces overseas--stay safe. We miss you, we love you, and we hope to see you soon.