Archive for October, 2009

Back to work

Keith left this morning so it’s time to get back to work. It seemed like I had plenty of time before the next trip but here it is Monday and I leave on Friday.

Today’s goals are to get some laundry done, hand stitch this last binding so I can ship quilts to Jay for his nursing home project,  and get everything off my kitchen counters so they can install my tile backsplash in the kitchen tomorrow.

I also have a quilt of Mom’s that I’m going to try and get done so I can take it back with me but I’ve got to piece a backing first so we’ll see.

We had snow again today — it’s a wet, melty snow but I love seeing it come down.

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By the way, even though I haven’t had a chance to get something new started for the design wall – I’m thrilled that the Stars and Pinwheel top was finished this week and is no longer up there. My plan after these next two trips are to start one or maybe two new piecing projects.

Did you miss me yesterday?

Keith’s been traveling a lot so I’m working a bit less on the days he’s home. Yesterday we walked downtown for date night and them came home and watched the Twin’s game. We’re not big baseball fans but they’re in the playoffs so we’re catching a bit of the games here and there.

I did take off this morning to attend a meeting of the Upper Midwest Longarm Guild and to talk about HeartStrings. I was a little nervous to be in a room with so many talented longarm quilters but they were very nice.

And speaking of this morning, we had snow last night – our trees are just starting to change color and it’s already snowing!

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Getting out

Finally, blue skies after days of rain! Yesterday and today were beautiful, breezy fall days and I got out of the house for a while both afternoons.

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Ta da!

Yes, the Stars and Pinwheels are finally assembled into a finished top. It’s too big for my design wall and Keith isn’t home to hold it up for me but trust me — it’s done (at least the top)!

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I did quilt today

This is the 2nd quilt I’m finishing to send to Jay for his nursing home project. Pieced by Cheryl and quilted with Nouveau Scallops by Lorien Quilting.

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The colors are a little off because my intention is to show the quilting so I didn’t use flash — when it’s bound, I’ll take a photo in better light.

I’m not afraid to show my less successful efforts

Maybe I should be!

My idea for Vicki’s postcard challenge was a bike ride in autumn. So I went up to my sewing room this afternoon with a couple ideas.

First, I wanted an autumn background and found this leftover strip of coins from some other project. Looking at all the Joann’s fabrics in it, it must have been a really old project.

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And speaking of Joann’s, I’ve used some iron on crystal motifs in several cards before like this one and I had a bike but it was in pink and black — I thought it probably wouldn’t work but decided to try it anyway.

DSC_8763Nope, not so great. So I decided to try again and just quilt the bike in perle cotton. I don’t know where I found this paper but it comes on a roll and it’s like tissue paper — pretty easy to stitch through and pulls away easily.

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The effect is kind of lost in the background and I would like it better if the bike was more prominent but I’m done with the challenge for this month. Are you participating?

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Being nice has it’s rewards!

I’ve been helping Deb with her blog and website design and look what I got in the mail today! She had Vicki custom die some fabric for me and I love both sets! Aren’t they gorgeous?!

It wasn’t necessary but what a wonderful gift. Thanks Deb (& Vicki).

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A finish

This string top was pieced by San (Gypsy Quilter) and will donated to a wounded soldier through Quilts of Valor.

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It was quilted with Ebb and Flow, one of my favorite pantograph’s for patriotic quilts.

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I’m working

But since I don’t have  any quilt photos to show today — I thought I’d show Chesty begging for dinner. I ran all around the house trying to find him last night after being downstairs sewing — he was waiting for me by his food bowl.

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I’m a failure at design wall Monday

I’ve made progress but the pink and brown blocks are still on the design wall. I guess I’m just not able to get something new up every week — maybe I’ll shoot for once a month.

I did manage to sew a while today AND get a quilt loaded and started so I don’t feel like a complete slacker but the best part of my day was a long overdue massage!

Keith and I were able to attend an event yesterday for the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity — we got to see 4 Habitat homes and attend a reception. It’s a great organization that we’ve contributed to for years but this was the first time we’d seen homes in person. I hope to have some HeartStrings quilts to donate to them next month.

One more done AND a request for help.

The binding on the String Log Cabin quilt is finished — I just love a scrappy quilt! This is one of mine and it will be going to Jay for his Nursing Home project. Instructions for making the string log cabin blocks can be found at my MaryQuilts.com site.

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I showed the quilting the other day but I’ll show another close-up. This is a swirly version of Dwirling from Dawn’s Pajama Quilter DVD.

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So I have a favor to ask — I fell in love with tying HeartStrings quilts using blankets in place of the batting when I went to the Nebraska sew-in. In Maine last month, I did more tying and while batting is fine, the quilts are really just extra cozy with a blanket. I talked Keith into taking me to the Salvation Army store today but I only found one cotton blanket. Does anyone have a cotton blanket or heavy weight flannel sheet they want to get rid of and would be willing to send me to use in HeartStrings quilts? For now, I’m just looking for a handful and I’d appreciate it if anyone can help me out. My email is on the sidebar.

Do you use leftover binding?

The log cabin string quilt is perfect for using up some leftover binding strips so I dragged out the bin this afternoon.

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I don’t worry about them all being the exact size but I do cut the larger pieces down a little since I prefer not to have too long a strip of one fabric.

I open them up, sew them on the diagonal, and trim.DSCN7864Once I’ve sewn them all together, I iron the seams open and then fold the binding back in half.

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This one’s already sewn to the quilt and I’ve started hand stitching it down. It’s not any quicker than starting from scratch but like using my strings and piecing batting, it makes me feel frugal to use these up.

Quilting for Peace

It’s a new book and I’m excited because along with other charity quilting groups,  HeartStrings is included in this book.

I bought my copy at Amazon but they also have a website where you can take a look at the table of contents and the organizations included in the book at this link.quilting for peace

It’s cold and rainy

Last night I thought I might get up and take a bike ride this morning but the weather is not cooperating so I’ve been working and reading.

First, a finish. This Happy Block top was pieced by LizA during a HeartStrings project.

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I love the quilting on this (yes, I spend a lot of time admiring my work!)  it’s a pantograph called Bubbles by Lorien Quilting.

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I’m also still chugging away on the pink and brown top assembly. Thought I just had 2 rows left when I realized that I hadn’t added the last one because the top is too big for the design wall so I’m just halfway done but it’s looking good.

I’m going to allow myself a brief to do list just in case I forget what I’m supposed to be working on before I leave for a whirlwind trip to VA/PA/MD in 2 weeks.

  1. Trim and bind the String Log Cabin quilt
  2. Load and quilt the 2nd top for Jay’s nursing home project
  3. Bind the 2nd quilt for Jay’s project
  4. Finish assembling the pink & brown blocks
  5. Pack & mail 2 quilts when finished to Jay
  6. Pack & mail gifts to the boys from our Maine trip
  7. Other binding and quilting as time allows!

One final note – I’ve just finished reading Dan Brown’s new book The Lost Symbol and have a mixed review. As a mystery writer I think he’s very predictable and I don’t particularly enjoy his books as mysteries but there is a saving grace because he always has interesting, and somewhat obscure information in his books so I usually feel I’ve learned something new.

Vicki’s postcard challenge

I love making them but don’t want to devote too much time with all the piecing, quilting, and binding I always have waiting so I love my family exchange where we make one a month (and maybe an extra one for Mom) but I don’t join challenges because I don’t want to take the time to make a bunch of them.

So VickiW is going to have a challenge and all you have to do is make one to enter. Actually, if I understand her post you could even just describe how you’d interpret the theme but what’s the fun in that?

Here’s the link to Vicki’s post: Postcard Challenge. Does anyone else want to join in?

I have some instructions I worked up for my family when we started our exchange if you haven’t made one before and need somewhere to start and they can be found here: Postcard Instructions.

The theme is “If I woke tomorrow with absolutely no obligations I would _______________”

If I hadn’t done this card a few months ago when the theme for our family exchange was hobbies I might have considered something like this but I have another idea I’m going to try.

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Should have planned better

I managed to pick the one rainy day this week to be out doing my errands – I really should look at a weather report now and then.

First, I procrastinated assembling these blocks for about 2 months and now I’m getting this done in little chucks throughout the day rather than just sitting down and doing it all at once. Somehow it’s easier for me to sew a few seams every time I go upstairs.

I usually use a walking foot when I’m assembling HeartStrings blocks because of the extra layer from the muslin foundation and I’m finding it’s working well on these blocks too (the half square triangles are creating some thick seams) — it’s powering over them like a little tank and I just move my needle position over to get my 1/4 inch.


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I might actually have something new on the design wall by Monday but for now I’m going to sit and bind.

A summary of September’s progress

I haven’t gone back to my *to do* lists but since I am motivated by making progress and the organization of my blog makes it easy to track, I’ll sum up my results for September.

In my mind, my quilting has 3 milestones: a completed top, a quilted top, a completed quilt (bound & labeled).

September totals

  • Tops completed = 1
  • Tops quilted = 7
  • Quilts completed = 6

This month I also tied somewhere between 15 and 20 quilts at the HeartStrings Maine sew-in.

Walking
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