Archive for January, 2008

UFO # 9

I know, they just keep coming don’t they. I finished the binding and labeled the Dragonfly quilt tonight. You can’t see the quilting in this photo but I posted a photo of the back the other day – my Wonky Feathers show up really well.

This was a top I designed in EQ for Mom to use fabric given to her by Deb. Since I’m such a good daughter, I also cut it out, and then helped with the piecing when the sashing was not lining up for her. It will be donated as part of the HeartStrings Quilt Project.

Amazon’s Kindle Reader

I don’t know if you all realize that I love gadgets and electronics (computers, digital cameras, sewing machines, longarms, etc) but one thing I had doubts I’d ever purchase was an electronic book reader. I LOVE books and I couldn’t picture myself reading them on a computer type screen.

Well I changed my mind – after weighing the pros and cons I’m going to give the new Amazon Kindle Reader a try. I love the idea of carrying my library around with me in the space of a paperback book, downloading a new book instantly, and paying less per book = more books.

I made the decision to buy a few days after Christmas but they’ve been back ordered. I got an email last night saying it should arrive the week of February 8th – I can’t wait!

It certainly won’t replace all books for me but it will definitely be my “carry around” book. I’ll just warn you – they aren’t cheap but I figure for me the savings in purchasing the books will help offset the cost.

UFO #8

I finished up the binding on another UFO tonight. This was also a donated HeartStrings top sent to me from Barbara.

I made some new HeartStrings labels for 2008 and I’d printed a page yesterday to put on Deb’s strippie top that I finished last night – thought it was too big so I printed another page tonight using a smaller label for Barbara’s coins. Funny but seeing them side by side the larger one doesn’t seem as HUGE as it did last night so I’ll go ahead and use the other labels from that sheet rather than waste them. You know, those Printed Treasures sheets aren’t cheap!

The good thing is I’ve finished two more HeartStrings donation quilts and now I’m going to work some on the blocks for the Pieces of my Heart quilt (see, it has a name now).

Am I crazy?

I want to start another crazy quilt but I’m debating the color scheme. I only have cotton fabric so it won’t be a *true* crazy quilt with it’s mix of fabrics but I’m really tempted to make it in only blue and white. I’ve never seen a two color crazy quilt but I liked the look of my postcard and love blue and white quilts so I’m thinking why not. It’s not going to be huge – look how long the doll quilt took me and that’s without any beading which I definitely want to do on this one. Any thoughts?

I bought this book after seeing it on VickiW’s blog and I love it – it has lots of motifs for me to use for embroidery. I decided I’d start embroidering some on fabric patches while I decide my color scheme. On Allie’s blog I learned I could use paper to trace the design and stitch through – how cool is that?
I’ve finished the binding on this donation quilt tonight. It reinforced my belief that having a large stash isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I love that I can pull backings and bindings for a variety of donated tops and finish up these quilts with the fabric I have on hand. I love how this stripe looks.

I had several great suggestions about a name for my current piecing project, my favorite was from GypsyQuilter “Pieces of my Heart”. Of course, I’ll probably shorten it to “the heart quilt” and 6 months from now I won’t remember what I actually called it but for now it pleases me.

The week in review

Stashbusting

  • More progress made on my current project which is completely from stash and officially needs a name now – I started out calling them crumb blocks but they’re really more like log cabin blocks pieced with crumbs and strings….add some scattered hearts and what do you get? I don’t know – any suggestions for naming this quilt?
  • The backing and binding on this donated top quilted this week were from stash.
  • The backing and binding on this donated top finished this week were from stash.
  • The binding for this donated top was pulled from stash and has been stitched on – now it just needs to be hand-stitched down.
  • No fabric purchases either.

I got through my to do list this week – 3 tops quilted (4 if you count the dwirling panel quilt on Sunday) and 3 quilts bound.

Finally, two UFO’s were finished #6 my doll sized Crazy Quilt and #7 a donated HeartStrings top pieced by Annie.

I got lucky

I realized after starting to quilt this afternoon that this beautiful backing was going to SHOW every flaw and that maybe I should have saved it for something safe like a pantograph. I decided I wasn’t going to post photos of the back if it looked bad.

Not only does it look halfway decent but the tension was excellent and even though I used a variegated thread…no top thread dots on the back. You can enlarge both photos to see the quilting up close. Vicki, maybe I should quilt more often without any sleep!


Still awake

To keep myself awake, I started quilting the dragonfly quilt. I debated for 1/2 a second not doing an overall design and quilting each block separately but since I needed to practice my Wonky Feathers again, that’s what I went with.

Believe it or not, this is the first time I’ve used one of my variegated threads on this machine. The thread broke on me a couple times but once I turned the needle a little more to the right it’s been running fine.

I have a plan

I have to get back to a somewhat regular sleep schedule before leaving on Thursday to visit Deb so I decided I’d stay up all night and then NOT go to bed until tomorrow evening. Keith’s been told he has to keep me entertained today so I don’t sleep. Unfortunately, it’s MINUS 16 degrees right now so the idea of curling up in bed under a pile of quilts is really appealing.

I’ve had a wonderfully productive night.

  • I finished my applique hearts and sewed the skinny red strips on them
  • I made and then machine stitched 2 bindings (I still have to turn and hand stitch them to the backing)
  • I made another row of blocks
  • I squared up a backing and loaded a top to quilt later today.

I was having trouble finding a binding for this donated top I quilted the other day but then I found this stripe buried in the stash.

This is a terrible photo because the light is NOT good in my quilting room at 4AM. My design wall isn’t big enough for this quilt so the blocks are just pinned up to give me an idea of how it will look. I still have two rows of blocks to piece but this coming along nicely.

This is the top I loaded on the longarm. I *designed* this in EQ for Mom and then helped her get it pieced. The instruction sheet is posted on MaryQuilts.com

And finally, I wish I could get a better photo of this backing made for me by VickiW. I won a prize at her blog and she dyed this backing for me to go with the Dragonfly quilt. It’s just perfect for this quilt and she made a huge piece. I have enough leftover to use with a second fabric and make one of my Off Center 4 Patch backings for another quilt.


And before I forget to mention it, I was busy the night before redoing the HeartStrings website if you want to take a look.

If I was the jealous type

It would bother me that Deb is a lot better quilter than I am….but since it’s an area I can’t possibly complete – I’ll just be the proud sister. Deb didn’t piece this top but she did a wonderful job of quilting it.

She posted photos on her blog and I think even commented when this quilt won in Vermont but imagine my surprise when I was flipping through my Quilter’s Newsletter tonight and came upon this. Too bad she’s not a night owl like me or I would have called her!
By the way, JudyL’s book got a mention in this month’s issue too.

A bit of this….a little of that

I know you have heard it before but my sleep schedule is completely out of control again. I was up all last night and most of today but crashed this afternoon and had to have a nap before cooking dinner.

I did make good use of my time and fused my hearts and started to stitch them down (by hand)for my current quilt. There are only 9 of them and I’ve just got 3 left to blanket stitch. Here’s a photo of the blocks on the design wall….I need more red and then a purple and tan or goldish column.


I finished the Dwirling on this top sent by Deb in AZ too and I’m pretty happy with the results – it’s a fun pattern to stitch.

Most of the night was spent on categorizing my expenses in preparation for sending off my tax stuff. I use online banking and download statements into Microsoft Money but this year I’ve been REALLY bad about assigning categories so I spent HOURS last night and got through 3/4 of it although I still have to finish up categorizing on the credit card expenses. Then I’ll be able to print my summaries up and the hard part will be done.

Quilting and book expenses aren’t looking as bad as I expected BUT dining out – OMG, I’m surprised we’re not broke! I’ve actually been really good this week and have cooked every night but one and that night Keith just stopped by Panera for sandwiches and soup so it wasn’t too bad. That darn Condo in GA that we haven’t been able to sell has been a drain as well as the Marietta house BUT I also started the process to sell the house to Chris and Becky. They’ve been pre-approved for a mortgage and I’m working with an attorney to write up a contract.

Don’t you HATE this time of year? I’m always stressed until I see what we owe or will get back. Usually it’s just a little over or under but I still worry about unpleasant surprises!

In case I haven’t bored you completely…I’ve been cooped up in the house for two weeks because I’m still feeling the effects of this cold so now that I’m ready to get out some tomorrow and this weekend, they’re calling for low Temps of -13 to -15 with wind chills of 25 to 45 below zero. Luckily, I leave for Florida to visit Deb a week from today.

Oops, one more thing! Thanks to Deb and Ruthie for mentioning me on their blogs for the You Make My Day award. I already said I wasn’t going to list 10 blogs but again, I thank the entire community of bloggers that we belong to for continuing to inspire my quilting and being my virtual friends.

Choosing thread and more dwirling

Sometimes when I want to do an overall design and I’m worried how my thread is going to look, I’ll set it on the top and unwind a bit and see if it’s too distracting. This wasn’t the first thread I tried but it turned out to be my best choice for dwirling on this HeartStrings top pieced by Deb in AZ. This is another quilt for our January *project* for HeartStrings.

I’m trying to space this further apart than my panel quilt to keep it cuddly but I think on the next one I can leave even more space – what do you think?

Thanks for all the comments and emails – I worked off my irritation last night by making some red blocks for my current quilt in progress.

UFO # 7

You guys do realize that this time of year, pretty much everything I complete counts as a UFO finish right? According to the Stashbuster *rules*, any quilt in progress at the end of 2007 that at least needs a binding and label counts as a UFO.

There was a comment on Stashbuster that hit me wrong – I don’t judge anyone’s productivity (except mine). I’m not in a competition with anyone (but myself). I don’t work, my kids are grown and making and donating quilts is what I do and yes, I’m productive – I can’t imagine why that would be an issue for someone.

This was a donated top (yes they count since I’m quilting, binding, and labeling them) pieced by Annie and sent to me to finish and donate for HeartStrings. And since I’m so proud of myself, there’s another close-up of the Wonky Feather Quilting. To get a good view – click to enlarge the photo of the quilting close-up.


An early start

I hope you all aren’t tired of seeing Swirls!

I got a fairly early start this morning in spite of staying up until 4AM and quilted this top sent to me by Barbara. It will be donated as part of the HeartStrings Quilt Project.

Progress and UFO #6

This week’s list is simple I want to get 3 quilts bound and 3 tops quilted. If time allows, I’d also like to at least get one row of blocks for my crumb quilt pieced too.

Tonight I put my nose to the grindstone and made and machine stitched 2 of the 3 bindings on-they still need to be finished by hand, pieced a back, and loaded the next top on the longarm.

Instead of playing with postcards, I decided I’d work on my doll quilt and actually finished it up tonight. This makes my 6th UFO finish for 2008. I took these blocks made 4-5 years ago, pieced them into a doll quilt in September and have been working on the embroidery on and off since then- it feels good to check it off the list. I won’t bother to post a photo tonight since I just recently posted photos of it.

More grunt work!

With all this sitting out on my sewing table I bet you can guess what I WANT to work on today but there’s grunt work to be done first.

  • I have bindings to make and machine stitch on the quilts so I can stitch them down by hand in the evenings.
  • I need to make 2 backings
  • I need to load the next quilt on the longarm

I also have some personal, non quilt related things that need attention today including fixing something for dinner so I’ll have to resist the urge for now. Maybe if I hurry and get everything done, I’ll play some tonight after Keith goes to bed.

I also wanted to thank Mel and Solvi for choosing my blog for the You Make My Day Award. It’s wonderful knowing that the things I share here are inspiring to other bloggers and quilters.
My blog is the journal I always wanted to keep but couldn’t seem to stay with it and on a personal level, I love having a record that I can go back and look through but you guys make it FUN!

I don’t practice on muslin

Not that I think there’s anything wrong with practicing machine quilting on muslin but I just feel its wasteful of MY time. Sometimes I’ll practice on paper, then on a strip of leftover backing at the bottom of a quilt, and then jump right in on a *real* quilt. Other times I’ll pull out one of the panel quilts I keep on hand for this purpose. (When I first got my longarm I practiced a lot on panels.)

Haven’t those of you with the Pajama Quilter DVD been itching to give Dwirling a try? I have – so I pulled out a panel and had some fun this afternoon. Now all I have to do is bind it and it will make a nice little donation quilt.

UFO #5

Another one finished today. I just took the last stitch on the binding and label. This top was one of two from blocks donated by Stashbuster and pieced by Sandra. She also used some extra blocks on the back.


I can’t stop!

In case you didn’t know it, I have somewhat of an obsessive personality. I tend to immerse myself in things that catch my interest. This postcard obsession I’ll blame on VickiW and Deb.

Who needs to buy fabric anyway

Especially when I’m trying to build up my embellishment stash! I couldn’t resist these tropical fish buttons when I was in Joann’s today. My journal postcard is in anticipation of my upcoming visit to Deb in Florida.

The reason I was in Joann’s was to look for some embellishments I could use in some Valentine’s postcards. I saw this paper-punch on sale and wondered if it would cut through fabric. It does NOT! But…
I figured out at the store that even if it didn’t cut through fabric I could quickly cut out hearts from fusible web….
and these only took a few minutes to cut out.

So I’m not sure I’m accomplishing a whole lot by not buying fabric since I’m just diverting funds to books and embellishments but I’m having LOTS and LOTS of fun!

By the way, I got through my entire list EXCEPT I had hoped to quilt one more top this week but all in all I’m happy with what I accomplished.

Sunday Stashbusting report:
1. Blue and green crumb blocks from stash

2. Lizard quilt finished this week – a UFO top, finished with backing and binding from stash

3. Backing on the HeartStrings top that I quilted with Wonky Feathers was from stash

4. Chinese Coins UFO that was quilted this week – border, sashing, and binding were stash

5. My Pink HeartStrings – a UFO was finished this week, the blocks and binding were stash

Inspiration

I am overflowing with inspiration these days. I’ve got a bunch of new books (these are just a few) to inspire my postcards and crazy quilting and the Pajama Quilter DVD. I want to try it all! The Quilt Toppings book has lots of good ideas for embellishments.

Before unloading Annie’s pink HeartString top from the longarm, I used the extra backing to try some of Dawn’s echoed flowers. Keep in mind that I need to practice these but I watched the segment on the DVD and then stitched them.

Now, are you ready for the UGLY feathers.? The beauty of a busy top is that it hides a lot of flaws but sometimes it makes it difficult to see your previous stitching line. In this photo you can see the one place in this quilt that I sewed over another feather and would you look at that big ugly feather on the bottom of the photo!! And NO, I didn’t pick out these and redo them – I kept going.

This next section looks better overall. I wouldn’t recommend using a solid backing when you’re learning new quilting designs but it was what I had pieced for this quilt so I used it anyway (this was one of my off center 4 patch backings and one fabric was the print above with the echoed flowers and this was the other).
I only have a small whiteboard and I haven’t used it much. I’ll have to pull it out and do some more practice and maybe look around for a larger one.

Walking
Archives