Archive for May, 2009

Balls of string?

Couldn’t sleep so I quilted a Twisted Happy Block top pieced by Deborah. I thought the double loopy meander kind of looked like balls of string which would be appropriate for this top where all the centers are different cat fabrics.

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Alone again….

Keith’s tied up on my birthday again, in fact he’ll be busy and not home all week for dinner even though he’s in town….rather than feel sorry for myself for being alone, I booked the afternoon on Tuesday at the Ivy Spa.

Doesn’t it sound like a great way to spend a birthday when no one else is available to help you celebrate?

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Carolina Lily

My Carolina Lily quilt came home to me today. Pieced several years ago by Mom, I kept waiting until my quilting was *good* enough — this top has a LOT of white space and filling white space just isn’t one of my strengths!

Deb agreed to quilt it for me and as usual did a beautiful job. Sorry for not having a better photo but both photos should enlarge if you click on them.

Keith kept saying WOW when I opened the box…first just looking at the overall quilt, pattern, and colors and then looking at the quilting. I finally had to tell him to shut up or he’d hurt my feelings 🙂

Thanks Mom and Deb, I’ll treasure it always!

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Did you want to see some brown?

Puttering along here. Not sleeping at night so I’ve been reading and then sleeping late in the morning but I thought you might want to see some of the browns. Note that the pink blocks all have different pinwheel centers ….I’m looking at my options while I wait for pink fabric from Vicki. By the way, the blocks are NOT on the design wall in the order they’ll go in the quilt — the brown and pink blocks will alternate.

Keith chose the pink pinwheels — or the monochromatic version as he called it (he’s picked up a thing or two about quilting over the last 9 years).

I tend to ask opinions and then do what I want anyway so anyone else want to chime in? Pink, Red, or Brown pinwheel centers — if YOU were doing the quilt which would you use? I know what my choice is!

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RWB anyone?

A RWB version would make a nice Quilt of Valor wouldn’t it? All the designs are done in solids for quickness but I’d make them all scrappy.

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a test block

Being adaptable is important when you’re working from stash. Originally my design was to have the pink as block 1 but if I use the red pinwheel centers, the pink needs to be block 2. A quick rearranging of one of the block on the design wall, add some red centers…and it looks pretty good I think.

Vicki has offered to send me some pink so I think I’ll just keep making the half square triangles (I need 480 of them) and hold off on any final decisions until I see how her pinks look with mine.

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I did the math after I started (typical for me) and I don’t have enough pink….unfortunately the pink is a shade that I don’t have much of in my stash so I’m thinking about adding some red to the pink blocks rather than changing the size of the quilt.

I like this first version best I think — the only difference is where the two blocks come together — I like the pink in this one versus the red in the next one so the only red in # 1 would be the pinwheels.

By the way, red pink and brown is not a combination I’d have come up with on my own ….remember this happy block top I made from a charm pack a few months ago??

Edit: Cbear suggested brown pinwheels — another good choice I think. I’ll be writing instructions for this quilt and will post all the different color options regardless of which I end up with. I hope someone will make it in pink & green.

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Brown & Pink it is….

I just don’t have the greens in stash and Keith agreed that I should use what I have 🙂 So brown and pink it is….
Are you SICK of hearing about my GO? I’m even more in love with it after just a few minutes tonight….this quilt is ALL half square triangles and usually I use Thangles.

With the GO, I layer my two fabrics right sides together (6 – 8 layers total)
Take them over to my sewing machine…
run them through…..
There aren’t even any dog ears to trim! By the way…this isn’t how the block is laid out but I was just looking at them after piecing…very quick, very easy! I’ve got to get the 3 inch finished Die too!

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On the Vine

I finished piecing the rows last night and today added the borders — I’m calling this one *On the Vine* since so many comments mentioned vines (tomatoes, flowers, etc!)

It’s bigger than the design wall as you can see, a generous 58 x 79 and I went with plain borders since I had the pretty floral print.

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From one pile to another

Sometimes it seems that all I do is move quilts from one pile to the other….this afternoon – I moved these 5 quilts from the waiting to be trimmed pile to the waiting for binding pile. I also have piles for waiting for backing, waiting for quilting, waiting for hand stitching bindings & labels, waiting for washing, and waiting for donating !

As much as I love my work with HeartStrings, I put a lot of pressure on myself to keep things moving from one pile to the other and feel guilty if I’m not getting enough done. Silly I know but I tend to be very goal oriented.

I’ve decided that there will be NO goals for June, July, or August. I’m taking the summer off — I’ll still be quilting along with traveling but I plan to read, go out for lunch, walk, bike and generally do whatever I feel like each day — guilt free!

What are your plans for the summer?

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Lazy, lazy day

We’ve had an extremely quiet weekend and I’ve done more reading than anything else but I’ve been slowly sewing the *On the vine* blocks and rows together and playing a little more in EQ. I’ve still got lots of novelty fabrics left and decided I’ll do a rail fence type quilt with them. First I thought about brights and using the brick die to cut the centers from the novelties ….

but then I wondered if a woven setting would be more interesting.

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Tomatoes, Poppies, Apples?

Interesting to read all the comments on the rectangle quilt….Keith came up with the apple grove one when I asked how he liked it.

Several people have commented on Bonnie’s pattern — I know she has a rectangle/4 patch quilt on her site but I’m not using her instructions.

Vicki and I saw a quilt in a shop in VA and both bought fabric last year — Vicki finished hers in November and it uses larger rectangles than my quilt. When I bought my rectangle die for the GO cutter — I used those dimensions (3.5 x 6.5) to modify the one Vicki and I originally saw.

I love Bonnie’s quilts but if I was doing this one without my cutter — I would have definitely used the larger rectangles like Vicki used.

Wherever you find your inspiration — it’s a fun quilt to make.

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Pink & Green

All I want to do is cut and piece! In addition to the 2 inch strip cutter, I also ordered the 4 inch half square triangle die for my GO. I’ve wanted to make a pink and green quilt for a while so I played some in EQ and I’m liking this one…I’d make it scrappy but I’m not sure I have the right shades of green in my stash.

Of course, I have a BUNCH of brown and pink fat quarters I bought at the quilt show in VA this past February….

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Losing focus

I’m not feeling like working off the *to do* list the last couple days and and have been working on my bricks quilt. The 2 inch strip cutter for the GO came on Thursday and I used it to cut the strips for the 4 patches.

The quilt taking shape on the design wall — I was a little worried about those reds but…
as I continued, they look fine as long as I distributed them throughout the quilt. There will also be one or two red borders to tie them all together.
I’ll stew over the final placement of these blocks for a little while, move them around a bit if needed and then get them sewn into a top.

As a general rule, Chesty prefers to be in the living room looking out the windows rather than in either of the sewing rooms but he did come up to visit me for a while this afternoon.

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I quilted another HeartStrings top today #8 of the 10 I’m trying to complete by the end of the month. Quilted with freehand flowers from the Pajama Quilter DVD.

Another backing pieced by Sheree from donated fabric — a big help!
Unfortunately these blocks had a lot of places along the seams where the fabric wasn’t stitched. At first, I thought there were just a couple and placed appliqued hearts over them but I quickly realized there were too many for that solution.

Typically, I’d try to turn a seam allowance under and hand stitch the seam but there was not an option here (and I’m really not sure I would have taken the time due to the number of seams) so I decided I’d just quilt a zig zag back and forth with the quilt on the longarm (remember there’s a muslin foundation here too so there’s a layer between the block and batting).

It’s a very *visible* repair when you’re just looking at it like this but once the top was quilted not nearly so noticeable. It’s a good reminder for all of us making HeartStrings blocks to be diligent about our seam allowances and to check the blocks as we’re pressing for any issues.

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It’s SO hard to resist cutting out quilts with the GO Cutter. I should be loading another top on the longarm or piecing Adam’s Boxed Squares or making String Log Cabin blocks but I bought a rectangle die when I was in Nebraska the beginning of the month and with my 2 inch strip cutter coming in the mail today, I decided to cut out another quilt.

Vicki and I were shopping together in VA last year and saw a quilt with rectangles and 4 patches — both of us bought fabric but Vicki finished her quilt last November and of course, the fabric I bought has sat on the shelf.

Rather than use the larger rectangles like Vicki, I’m going to use my Brick die which is 3.5 x 6.5 inches. So I have 10 fat quarters for the bricks and by folding them into 5ths and trimming to 7.5 inches (that leftover strip will get tossed in my strings)…..
I can lay it on my die and cut 10 bricks at a time. Technically they say the GO should cut through 6 layers but I don’t have any problems cutting through this.
So in minutes all the bricks are cut and once the 2 inch strip die arrives, I’ll cut the green polka dot and the cream for the 4 patches.

I LOVE this cutter!! I’ve been anxiously waiting for new dies to be released and purchased 2 the other day but the NEXT ones I’m really anxious for — a 1.75 inch strip cutter, a drunkard’s path, and a fan still haven’t been released for the GO.

Now while I’m waiting for UPS, I’m going to go load another top.

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Big wonky swirls – #7

Here’s a blue HeartStrings top pieced by Karen A. that I quilted with swirls — they got a little wild on me but I don’t mind some wonkiness in a string quilt.

A view of the back

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I briefly thought about piecing today rather than quilting but after looking at the date (how did it get to be the 18?) I decided I needed to quilt.

This top for HeartStrings was pieced by Barbara in Florida — I have instructions for a quilt using this block call Boxed Squares on my site but you’ll also find it called Cobblestones. Quilted with an allover wavy grid using the piecing lines of the block, this was a perfect one to follow the one from Saturday that I stitched in the ditch!

When quilting this grid I do all my horizontal lines first, and then reload the quilt in the other direction and do the crossing lines. Even with loading it twice, this is quick to quilt.

Do you see the cute backing? Thanks to Sheree from HeartStrings, who keeps me stocked with backings from donated fabric about 60% of all the backings for HeartStrings quilts are already pieced and ready to load.

While I love my stitch regulator, this was another one that was actually easier to quilt in manual mode.

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How to?

Betty asked how to make Melva’s quilt and it’s really pretty easy.

The basic instructions for making a HeartStrings quilt are at this link:
Red HeartStrings Quilt

Melva added a 1/2 inch finished (cut 1 inch) solid black strip on either side of her center strip and then pieced the blocks as usual.

When the blocks are assembled – it looks like an on point setting with sashing…meaning it looks harder than it is!

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Deck Weather

Last night after finishing up quilt #6 and cooking dinner, I took a glass of wine and my Kindle out onto the deck to wait for Keith to get home….this is a beautiful time of year here in Minneapolis and I love sitting out here in the late afternoon.

And here’s my view of Downtown….

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