Archive for September, 2009

A change in plans

Instead of piecing and binding — today’s tasks were quilting and piecing a backing but I will work on stitching down another binding tonight.

Do you remember my plans for a series of string log cabin quilts from the beginning of the year? Well I made all of two tops before going off in other directions (string tumblers, Quilt as you Go blocks for Australia, String diamonds) Now, a fellow Heartstrings member needs help with a project he’s doing to provide quilts for a nursing home with residents who had been homeless (I forget how many he needs in total but 40 something comes to mind). He’s close to his goal but needs a little help  so I’m going to send him a couple quilts.

I pulled one of the pieced backings sent to me by Tish and one of the string log cabin tops I pieced earlier this year and quilted it this afternoon.

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I chose to do a quick allover swirly version of Dwirling from the Pajama Quilter DVD.

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For the second quilt, I pulled a donation top from Cheryl, pieced a backing and I’ll quilt that in the next couple days or so.

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The elephants are done

I drafted this quilt  after seeing a baby quilt Mom made with appliqued elephants. She pieced and appliqued this one and I quilted it with the pantograph Happy Times.

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I love stripes for bindings and while I know most people use bias binding so they’re on the diagonal, I like them straight too.

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This is UFO finish 6 of 15 that I had at the beginning of the year (doesn’t count any HeartStrings quilts!)  Add to that 12 finished tops from this year yet to  be quilted and 2 in the piecing stage and my total UFO count is 18 tops and 5 quilts that are somewhere in the piecing process…..and again, these numbers don’t count any of the HeartStrings tops here.

I don’t know how you feel but the tops don’t bother me at all — I love having them here so I can pull one and finish it whenever I need a quilt but I do hate having UFO’s still in pieces, those are the ones I have a hard time finishing.

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I’m not giving in — yet

I was reading a post on Janet’s site about her Quilter’s ADD and while usually I manage to keep pretty focused by having projects in different stages so I can choose to piece, bind, or quilt what I usually struggle with is the desire to start new projects.

I’ve had those pink and brown stars and pinwheels up and off and up on the design wall way too long and although I’m very anxious to start a new project I’m going to make myself get that top assembled first.

Through the summer and into September I’d also been binding at a much slower rate and as a result, my stack of quilts needing binding was staying in that 8 – 12 range.  For now, I’m trying to get up each morning and trim a quilt, make a binding, and machine stitch it before I do anything else. That will ensure a steady stream of quilts waiting for hand stitching in the evening. I’ve also had offers of help from other HeartStrings members so if needed, I can take some to our October 31st sew-in.

So before I give in and start a new quilt — I’m going up to work on assembling those blocks.

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Another reason to blog

I used to have a great memory but I seem to be losing my mind….I’m sure it would be considered *normal* but it’s very frustrating for me.

Two recent things the blog has helped me *remember*

1. I bought a magazine for Mom but couldn’t find it anywhere, I was sure I’d bought it but it just wasn’t here at the house and I’d been considering buying it again and sending it to her….come to find out flipping through the blog that I’d bought it while I was visiting her this summer so of course I gave it to her before I left. No wonder I can’t find it here.

2. I was looking all over for the blue Happy Block quilt I’d quilted before leaving for Maine. I knew I’d done quilted it but couldn’t find it anywhere. Going through the blog I saw the post the the night before I left that said I’d gotten the binding machine stitched on and I’d put it in the suitcase to take with me to the sew-in.

I never used to forget things.

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He’s so cute

It’s a little cooler here today and when I came upstairs from quilting, I found Chesty exactly like this.  I’m not sure how he managed to get the quilt and the pillow just like he wanted them but doesn’t he look warm and cozy?

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Sometimes simple things make me smile

A few months ago LizA sent me 3 Happy Block tops pieced by her and 2 friends. Last night I finished the binding on Sally’s quilt, this morning I made and machine stitched the binding on Liz’s quilt, and when I went downstairs to pull a top to quilt today – I was looking for one that I could use the blue thread already on the machine – I pulled the 3rd top pieced by Ann and quilted it.

I didn’t plan on working on all 3 of the quilts in the same 24 hour period but it just happened that way and it made me smile.

So here’s a  Happy Block top pieced by Ann, with a backing pieced by Sheree, and quilted with the pantograph Happy Times.

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Piecing batting

I had a few questions the last time I posted I had pieced batting for a quilt so I took a few photos today as I pieced some for a Happy Block quilt.

First, let me say it’s much quicker to piece batting by machine using a wide zigzag stitch but I’ve been doing it by hand downstairs recently because I don’t want to run up 2 stories and change the thread on my sewing machine.

Starting with a fairly straight edge on both pieces, I like to slightly overlap the top edge over the bottom one. I use hand piecing thread because it’s strong, a large needle, and a Herringbone stitch.

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I usually do load my backing first on the longarm and then I just pull pieces of batting that are wide enough. You can use a table. (I lay a piece of cardboard between my batting and my backing so I don’t have to worry about stitching into the backing.)

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Here’s the stitched seam — the slight bump I get from overlapping the pieces is not noticeable in the quilt and I feel like it’s more secure. When I zigzag by machine I don’t overlap.

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As with everything we do in quilting there are lots of ways to do this — this just happens to be mine.

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Travel

Keith asked me while we were in Maine what my favorite trip we’d ever taken was and I couldn’t pick just one. In fact, I had a hard time picking my top 5.

These are not in any particular order:

Edit: How did I manage to forget the Ireland trip this past April — I need a top 25 list I think!

  • My first trip to New England — we went to Boston, Vermont, and Maine.
  • Copenhagen with a stop in London on the way home
  • Hawaii
  • Vancouver & our Alaskan cruise
  • This last trip to Maine or San Francisco/Napa Valley — I can’t choose

The Maine trip probably makes the list because it’s so fresh in my mind but the two highlights that will stay with me are participating in the HeartStrings Sew-in and visiting Acadia National Park.

I really would like to add at LEAST another 5 or 10 trips to the list above — there are so many things that make a trip special to me. Being with family, visiting National Parks and Monuments, being near the water, being somewhere historical or that I’ve read about, and exploring a new city. I’m very grateful that I’ve been able to travel as much as I have.

What’s the best trip you ever took and what made it special?

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Still binding

This Happy Block top was pieced by Sally and sent to me to finish and donate.

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Quilted with a simple wavy line grid using the piecing as a guide.

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Judy wants to see our stashes

She’s on a mission to organize and use hers. I wish her luck but mine seems to be pretty static — I use some fabric – I buy some fabric but at least it doesn’t seem to be growing.

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Unfortunately, my string stash continues to grow in spite of my best efforts.

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