Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's been a busy week, but it doesn't feel like I've accomplished much

Yesterday I managed to put the Heartstrings top together, make the backing and they are waiting to be pinned to the longarm. I also put most of the Depression block quilt together and finished the second block of the QFAH quilt. Today I finished the Depression block quilt, made a backing and it is waiting to be quilted. I also started putting together the QFAH top. And yesterday I made the second star for the Midnight Silhouette quilt. Today I did cut out the pieces for another, but haven't put it together yet. And I picked up a baby quilt top and backing a friend made for charity that I'm going to quilt for her also. So, nothing finished, but I have moved a few things further on towards the end.
Mostly today, we met Steph and the boys in Rockford at the mall so AJ could play in the little play area, we could talk and Will could be held by Grandma and Grandpa. Then we had lunch at the Granite City Brewery - which is relatively new at the mall, and Steph went back home and so did we. Didn't do much of anything, but boy are Grandma and Grandpa tired tonight! vbg

Healthy grandchildren.
Nice lunch today -- lots of food, so dinner was a bowl of soup.
JR napping at my feet.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Today I accepted the challenge on one of my lists to work on an ufo or wip this weekend and hopefully, finish one. But first, I've been envious of Jeanne this week because she's started a number of new projects and I'm stuck here in finishing old stuff. So, I pulled this pattern off the bulletin board where I posted it at least a year ago intending to start it way back then. Obviously, never got to it, so today I made one block. I hope to make one every time I sit down to piece anything, but no promises. This quilt has a lot of applique on it, which I love, but I'm not holding my breath in getting to that part any time soon. I hope to finish by next Halloween, or the one after that. vbg I love the designs of Blackbird Designs, but I truly dislike their instructions. And, I'm glad I remembered that and read through them before I started cutting this block. Their instructions called for cutting the black and orange squares 2½" and then sewing on the diagonal line, making 1 hst, and tossing the rest. A lot of waste, and I don't care to make tiny hst's from the waste. So, I cut my squares 2-7/8, stitched on either side of the diagonal, making 2 hst's with virtually no waste. I'm happy with the result, and managed to enjoy making just one block today!

So, on to the next project, which was the QFAH. I spent at least an hour squaring up a gillion 2-3/4" hst's, then put four together to make these pinwheels. I have all 18 pinwheels finished and that's where I stopped for the day.

Then I sewed the Heartstrings top into 7 vertical rows. Next time I'll sew the rows together to finish the top. While I was working on the string blocks, I was also finishing up the blocks for my leader/ender project, which is another Depression Block quilt. I squared up 20 blocks, layed them on the floor to see how they looked and picked them up in rows and pinned them together. When I sew the rows together for the string top, I'll sew these blocks into rows and then it'll only need borders to become another top. (No pics).

And finally, I stitched the binding down on the Floral Double Four Patch quilt (even remembering to add a label). (I took this pic in the late afternoon so it's a bit shady on the porch).

So, all in all, I worked on 5 different quilts today and finished one. And, I may do some more applique work on my Primitive Garden bom this evening -- ya just never know -- I'm on a roll today!

Simple grilled corned beef and swiss cheese sandwiches for dinner.
Starting the new project even though it will quickly become a ufo -- it's fun to start something new now and then. And I usually do finish the things I start -- eventually.
Baby Will weighs 10 lbs. 10 oz and is 22-1/4" tall! Little porker!
AJ is doing really well in pre-school and both AJ and Briana are taking swimming lessons now.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

QFAH Progress

I've had a wonderful quilty day. I squared up yesterday's QFAH blocks and then made these 72 flying geese blocks.
Then I finished the one string block I had started awhile ago and added it to the mix, put the batting back up on my fall quilt and started arranging blocks. My design wall isn't big enough, but I sorted the rest ready to add as I piece it together (7 x 9 blocks). I'm just going with the usual design -- I like it better than last month's and it'll be fine.
Then, I went down to the longarm and started playing. I'm doing a leafy meander in the blocks that don't have a diagonal line on them, and the borders. This is the first time I've ever gotten up the nerve to actually do this on a quilt and although my leaves aren't professional by a long shot, I'm having fun doing it, learning a lot, and so far have been able to get myself out of the corners just fine! This is just my scrappy double four patch quilt and I'm using polyester batting with it.
Stephanie's allergies to ragweed, weeds and cats was confirmed today. And she's not allergic to dogs, just the fact that our dogs run in the woods so probably have been brushing against weeds is the reason she sometimes reacts to them. She's glad she went to an allergist finally.

There was a sale on corned beef the other day, so we're having corned beef and cabbage for dinner -- and yes, I know it's not March, and I'm not Irish anyway! vbg It's great that I could just put the brisket on the stove and let it cook itself all afternoon while I played with my quilting.

Being motivated to exercise.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

QFAH or two

Haven't done any stitching since Saturday, so needed to get back at it. These are the string blocks I picked up from guild on Monday night. There were 57 and I added the last 5 leftover from last month so I just need to make one block (well, actually finish the one block I have started). First thing today I squared up all these blocks. I'll finish the last block and then put these on the design wall tomorrow probably.
Then I worked on my QFAH. I have all of the first block finished. I still need to square them all up, but I'll do that tomorrow before I start stitching the next section.
I was hoping to get some longarm time in today -- but it didn't happen. Maybe tomorrow...I've been thinking about what I want to quilt anyway, so it'll give me time to make up my mind.

Going out for dinner tonight (I definitely don't feel like cooking!)
Taking time to make up menus -- when I don't do this I have to wing it and I much prefer making the decision ahead of time and just putting it together.
DSIL Anne is still in the nursing home, but doing well with her therapy.
JR seems to be much better -- no limp or pain, so the pain pills are working.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

QFAH and Block #4

I finished Block #4 of the Primitive Garden bom from Primitive Gatherings last night. The tails on the crows are left unstitched until the quilt is put together so they will be stitched onto the sashing blocks. The picture is rather dark -- but it's a trumpet vine wrapped around a shovel.

So today it took me two hours to prep Block #5 -- there's a lot more pieces. vbg
And then I spent an hour and a half on Judy's QFAH. I wanted to finish the 68 flying geese blocks, so it took a bit longer. It was nice to sit and piece a bit today.

I also planted 3 new mum plants this afternoon (after we had frost last night, it is supposed to warm up into the 80's next week!). And I pinned my double four patch quilt back on the machine. I'm going to do some freehand leaves, flowers, peacock feathers, whatever in the larger squares. This quilt will be a kind of practice quilt for me. We'll see how it turns out.

The first fire of the season in the kitchen fireplace this morning. Wonderfully toasty.
A lazy Saturday to spend in the sewing room.
My longarm machine.

Friday, September 14, 2007

On the Cutting Edge, or how I spent my day.....

First things first: I finished sewing the binding down on the latest Heartstrings quilt. I tried a different design this time and I'm not all that excited about it. Next time I'll go back to the other way -- I liked it better!

Next is QFAH: These are the fabrics I bought (yes, bought -- it's for a specific person and I don't have enough of the right colors of fabrics in my stash) for the Quilt For An Hour project for September/October.
And here they are all cut up and ready to be pieced together:
And then I tackled the bag of scraps I pressed and had ready to go. This pile is the tumbler blocks (that's the tumbler template in pink on top of the pile). These were cut from the pieces of fabric that were at least 4½" wide. I have enough to start sewing them together as a leader/ender project when my latest l/e is finished, but I plan on cutting a whole lot more of these to make a really scrappy quilt. I didn't take a picture of the final results of my cutting day, but I managed to cut all the bag of scraps I had started with. I have a stack of 3½" squares to go into the drawers for that size; I have a stack of 2-7/8" squares that are now in the large bag with the directions for the broken dishes quilt I want to do (I will be cutting more of these in the future also); I have a stack of 2½" squares and strips to use in making four patches or maybe nine-patches - this quilt is not defined yet, but I put all the pieces in a separate Hefty zippered bag when I do decided; I have a stack of 2" squares and strips which will be used for a four-patch (or 16 patch or maybe 25 patch) quilt -- this one is definitely going to be dark/medium squares alternating with light squares for the 16- or 25- patch. And what was left was strips of less than 2" in width and they are waiting to be added to the basket weave string quilt blocks to see if I like the blocks enough to make the quilt.

All in all -- a very productive day. And the mess has been cleaned up (mostly!).

Yesterday I went up to visit Steph and the boys. AJ seems to have gotten over his jealousy of Will and he's back to being the angel that he normally is. What a sweetheart he was yesterday. And he loves his pre-school. He's also taking swimming lessons on Saturday with Daddy. So, he's busy and loving it. Will is still a cuddler -- loves to be held, hates to be put down, so Grandma spoiled him rotten!

We have the most beautiful grandchildren in the world!
Getting the fabrics sorted and cut -- putting it off for so long is why I have so many different containers of scraps and not a clear idea of what I have available for use.
Midwest weather -- we're supposed to get frost tonight and it'll be 87 degrees on Tuesday!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Okay, now I can show a pic of the baby quilt!

This is a double Irish chain quilt made specifically for a young online friend and her baby to be. They are Irish, btw and DK always loved turquoise. The backing is a light turquoise flannel. I am not at all happy with the quilting in the blocks -- I did a "Sleepy Time" stencil with a man in the moon face and a star and I was really wobbly on the moon -- and the harder I tried not to be, the worse it was! Then I decided that I make utility quilts -- not heirlooms, and baby quilts are meant to be thrown on the floor -- they wash just fine! I did make it a bit larger just for that purpose, too.

Today I finished quilting the latest Heartstrings. I'm in the process of hand stitching the binding down, so maybe Friday I'll have a pic of it. Tomorrow I'm going up to see the grandkids -- AJ started preschool today and I can't wait to hear all about it. This is just a two hours a day, two days a week preschool at their church -- but he gets to be a big boy and go to school and he was really looking forward to it. Mommy said she waited til she got back in the car before she teared up!

I have the 2 gal bag of scraps all pressed and partially sorted. I also made up two bags so far. One with the pattern and sizes to cut the squares and half-squares to make a Broken Dishes quilt -- I'm going to use 2-7/8" squares to make 2½" hst's -- so the blocks will be 4" finished. The other is the bag with the tumbler template in it and some fabric already cut with the template. I think I'm going to make another for 16-patch blocks, all alternating light/dark squares, using 2"strips/squares. I've started a couple of Bonnie's Basketweave String blocks, but will wait til I've made a few before I decide for sure if I want to commit to that quilt. After making all these Heartstrings quilts this summer, I'm feeling a little "strung out" (pun intended!). LOL And, I think I start one with just darks/mediums of squares/strips that I'll make into 4-patches to start with and decide later what I'm going to do with them -- I have a lot of pre-cut squares and strips. When I finish sorting all the scraps from this bag, I have another bag, and at least 4 baskets of scraps -- and that doesn't even come close to the end of them -- I have two sets of plastic drawers and a couple of Rubbermaid containers full to overflowing. Which is why I started with the smallest bag first -- scraps breed overnight and it does get to be overwhelming trying to contain the little devils!

Bill's other sister, Anne, is okay after falling in her apartment.
Making progress, in baby steps, on the scraps.
Looking forward to seeing the babies tomorrow.

Friday, September 07, 2007

One finished project

This is the baby quilt for the baby girl to be. It will be the shower gift the end of this month. I showed the back with the Hearts a Flutter pantograph a couple of posts ago. It is finished -- bound, labeled, washed and dried. Just need to wrap it! I also finished the second baby quilt, but can't post a picture of it until after I send it on its way.
Then I worked on the Heartstrings quilt. I have all the blocks sewn into rows and four of the rows sewn together and that's where I stopped for the day. I can tell you I'm a bit tired of working with these string blocks -- getting a bit boring, or else I'm just itching to finish the quilt so I can work on something else! I'm thinking of doing Bonnie's Basketweave quilt, which is actually another string quilt, but a different version. The big plastic bag of scraps is calling my name. I'd like to pull out the strings in the bag for the Basketweave, sort the squares into two inch squares for a four-patch variation, cut the tumbler blocks out of the larger pieces, and then maybe start a broken dishes quilt with the rest. That would be four quilts started that I can add to each time I empty another bag or basket of scraps. That's the plan that is forming in my head anyway -- we'll see how we do after I finish the Heartstrings quilt!
I never did get a chance to practice on the longarm today -- but for sure tomorrow!

A long, "catching up" phone call with Kevin today.
A relatively short "catching up" phone call with Jackie today.
Making some sewing progress today.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


We got the Edge Rider Wheels on yesterday (took us 2 hours!). I played with the longarm for a little bit afterwards and thought that it was hard to move -- wasn't really used to it without any play in the movement. Or, I was feeling really weak yesterday because I had no problems with it today -- I love the new wheels! I have so much more control. I set aside an hour this afternoon to practice (I've used a variety of colors of thread and finally settled on white on top and whatever color bobbin I'm trying to use up, which now is red. I need to practice, practice, practice, which I haven't done in a long time. I tried Mary's hearts and certainly don't have them down yet, and then decided to concentrate on what is called peacock feathers because I really like that fill. I need to work on going in different directions (without having to cut across something I've already stitched, vbg), and leaving enough space -- the spacing is as important as the stitching on these fills. I'm just using muslin and some leftover Hobbs 80/20 batting for my sandwich.

I did get one baby quilt bound and labeled today and am working on the second. I need to get these finished and get the Heartstrings quilt pieced, quilted and bound by next week. I'm going to start on Judy's QFAH quilt when these other projects are finished and I'm also going to work on some scrappy things just for fun. I need to work without a deadline and I want to spend some time every day practicing my longarm stitching.

Edge Rider Wheels
The real estate taxes are paid for another year.
Long phone conversation with Steph yesterday.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Look what came in the mail today

That's Block #9 of the Primitive Garden bom (I'm working on block #4). That's the Fall issue of the Kansas Troubles Quarterly with 4 fqs of KT fabric. There's a neat quilt in the KT Quarterly that I'll probably have to make!
And - my Edgerider Wheels have arrived! YAY (Those are for my Gammill longarm!). We're going to attempt to put them on it tomorrow as it is going to be in the 90's and quite humid again and I don't want Bill working outside anyway.
Plus, my arthritis meds finally arrived by UPS late this afternoon. This is the second shipment because the first still hasn't arrived (I ordered them on the 9th and they were supposedly mailed on Aug. 10). Mind you, Express Scripts kept the second order in their pharmacy until the first -- to guarantee that I wouldn't get them before Labor Day. You can bet that I am not happy with their company. Oh, and I forgot to report that last Friday I received a brand new Cuisinart Breadmaker by UPS delivery. I had just called them mid afternoon of Monday and they managed to get it to me by Friday -- 4½ days -- Express Scripts should take a lesson in customer service from Cuisinart.

My arthritis meds should be kicking in any moment now!
Kingsmen Quilting Supply also has wonderful customer service.
Hugs. I came home from a busy errand day, tired and cranky and Bill gave me a hug -- just what I needed.
I donated platelets and plasma at the blood bank today -- it's nice to be needed.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day!

In honor of Labor Day, I labored. vbg We don't normally do much on holidays like this -- don't like the crowds or the traffic tie-ups. The kids usually all have something planned with neighbors or friends and that's fine with us. We're retired, so every day is a holiday! So, this being Monday, I cleaned house and did laundry. And felt the urge to get out my fall quilts -- even though it is in the high 80's and the humidity is starting to build again, and summer isn't officially over for another 3 weeks. I also lemon oiled the new treadle and put one of my favorite fall table toppers on her. The one on the treadle is a paper pieced pineapple -- the first paper piecing I ever did and it was done in a class I took probably 10 or 12 years ago. The quilt on the wall is one of my very favorite little quilts. I love the small blocks, the very scrappy color scheme and of course the fall colors. The pattern was just a free pattern given to the members of my guild after a program by Kay Steinmetz, a local teacher. I immediately went home and made the quilt the next day I think, and have loved it ever since! The clock, btw, was embroidered by me many moons before I quilted, actually before I even did counted cross-stitch, I used to do crewel embroidery. This was the second clock I made -- the other is in our living room. (This is in our kitchen). Just to the left of the treadle is one of the side cabinets of my Hoosier cabinet -- these side cabinets have fabric in them -- just part of the stash.

I have been quilting this weekend. I really wanted to try Mary's heart meander, but haven't had a chance to really practice much, so bought a pantograph called Hearts A Flutter by Lisa Calle from Willow Leaf Studios.
This is the back of a baby quilt for a baby girl. I'll get a picture of the front after I get the binding sewn down and the label on. I have two bindings to get sewn down and labels put on. I also have a Heartstrings quilt in process -- most of it is on the design wall yet, but will be putting it together later this week.

Our friend and neighbor was released from the hospital today (he was treated for pneumonia and had a defibrillator put in and very nearly waited too long before he finally went to the doctor in the first place).
Having brats for Labor Day supper.
Fresh tomatoes (boy am I going to miss them when the season ends).
Washing machines -- I'm doing 3 loads of just quilts that I've taken down today.