Archive for January, 2012

TAST – week 5

Herringbone – a favorite stitch of mine although I didn’t do anything very exciting with it.

On my Dresden Plate


And a look at the block so far – I still haven’t made any decisions about whether to continue on with more blocks or not. I’m debating how practical this quilt would be especially since its not in colors that I would keep for myself.


And since it took no time at all to stitch the seam I made another postcard.


HeartStrings 2012

Usually we have a couple projects during the year in addition to working on our standard blue and red centered blocks but this year rather than choosing just one color combination we’re going to run a 6 month project and let people chose their own combinations — the catch is they need to make a full set of blocks (24 for a child, 48 for an adult). The blocks can be assembled and sent in as a top to be finished, the block sets can be sent in, or participants can finish their own quilts and donate them locally.

So while the start date isn’t until Feb 1st, I got an early start. I’m starting with my Strips and Strings Log Cabin blocks rather than our standard HeartStrings since I’m going to make my quilt from start to finish.

Do you save crumbs? I don’t make crumb quilts but they make the perfect starters for my Log Cabin blocks so I keep a bin under my sewing machine table and toss small scraps there rather than the trash. All my blocks will have a red center so I separated the reds out first.


And in a few hours … I have 20 blocks (I need 48 for a quilt) done and my string/strip bins all ready to make more blocks next Monday.


On my design wall

The number of half square triangle blocks are growing.


I was lightening up the above photo in a photo app when I noticed the pencil drawing of it. Kind of cool.


There are no more!

All 9 HeartStrings tops that were here on January 1st have now been quilt ( or tied ) I love it when I meet one of my goals.

I thought this one was pieced by Sue or her Mom from group blocks but the blocks are oversized at almost 15 inches so I need to go back through my email to see if it came from someone else.

I was in a meandering kind of mood but never do just plain meandering so I quilted some loopy leaves.


These leaves aren’t just pretty, they’re easy to quilt too.


Another close up.


I’ve got 7 of the 9 left to bind so that’s what I’ll be doing in February.

Brand spanking new!

Keith ran off and left me again this morning so I’m in my sewing room and the first thing I did was put my new ironing board cover on.


Here’s the old scorched one in the trash — when was the last time you changed yours?


Could this day get any worse?

We just spent $$$$ to have someone come out and replace our hot water heater and still don’t have hot water. Keith will call in the AM but he’d better hope it’s fixed before he heads out of town again or I will NOT be happy.

8 done 1 to go

My goal this month was to get the remaining 9 HeartStrings tops quilted or tied before the end of the month and #8 is finished.

Quilted with what Dawn calls Fern Ziggle (I call it blob quilting) from the Pajama Quilter DVD, the top was pieced by Sue or her Mom from HeartStrings blocks sent in for group quilts.

More fun than plain meandering but basically just as easy. My version tends to be a bit linear because of my smaller throat space but it still works well.

Simple quilts

Simple quilts are my favorites, not only because they’re easy to make but they just visually appeal to me the most. When I started looking through my design journal yesterday to decide what I’d work on next, I wanted something simple that I could work on in little blocks of time because the next weeks are going to be very busy.

The block is called Little Cedar Tree’s although you usually see it rotated with the darks in the top corner – I like it best like this. Nothing could be easier either, I can layer 3 lights and darks right sides together on my GO 3.5 inch half square triangle die and have enough triangles for 3 blocks.


I don’t usually use this trick of fanning out the center seam of a block but in this case it has two benefits, one, it decreases bulk and two, it allows me to not worry about pressing half the seams up and half down since each block will automatically nestle with the next.


I’ll need 80 blocks plus borders to get a nice size sofa quilt and I’m contemplating borders already. I have a chisel die I’ve been wanting to use which is one possibility and I’m still flipping through Judy’s border book too.

I almost didn’t get downstairs

I should have made myself quilt first and THEN start the new quilt but I started piecing first. It was hard to make myself come downstairs, load and quilt a top but I’m determined to finish quilting all 9 of the HeartStrings tops I had here as of Jan 1st before the end of the month. Just 2 left but you know what I’ll be doing in February right? — Yep, I’ll be binding!

This photo doesn’t do this one justice at all – it’s too dark down here at night. The homespun HeartStrings are one of my favorite variations and this one was pieced by Tish. It’s such a pleasure to quilt a top that is well pieced, pressed, and without a bunch of loose threads needing to be picked off. Tish does a lovely job with hers.

The pantograph is seaweed.

TAST – week 3 & 4

I was out of town last week so I’m catching up. First, week 3 was a feather stitch

Week 4 is the Cretan stitch

There’s nothing very exciting about those two photos — and they were fairly quick to do so I finished a couple postcards while I had my embroidery things out. The perle cotton I used on the postcards was a variegated one dyed by Deb. I know I said we were done with our family postcard exchange but they make nice little projects for me to embroider so you’ll continue to see them here on the blog.

I Spy Tumblers

The top is done! This makes the 2nd UFO that I’ve gotten to the finished top stage this month which means I’m going to allow myself to start a new quilt … I just have to decide what I want to make. I’ve got several on my website and a couple in the design journal that I want to piece this year so it will be one of them.

I’ve realized that I’ve been bad about keeping up with backings for these finished tops so I need to start piecing one per week until I’m caught up. It’s so much easier when I can pull a top and backing from the closet downstairs and load them on the longarm. This top will wait awhile for quilting but will be a donation quilt when it’s finished.

Someone else was happy

And he needs a GOOD brushing after a week at the doggie daycare/kennel. Now that I’ve spent the bulk of the day being productive — it’s time to cuddle!

It feels good to be working

After a trip I always have so much catching up to do but I’m also eager to get back to work. So a little piecing this morning and this afternoon, I loaded and quilted this group HeartStrings top — blocks were sent to Sue and the top assembled either by her or her mother and passed along for me to quilt and bind.

Quilted with my freehand Baptist Fans (check the How To tab at the top of the blog if interested in how I do these freehand).

A view of the back — if you decide to try these — don’t worry that they’re a bit wonky. On a string or scrappy quilt it won’t be noticeable or if it is, it just adds to the charm.

60 Pieced Quilt Borders

It was a thrill to come home and find a new quilt book waiting!

While I rarely make a quilt according to a published pattern, I love books that inspire my own creative efforts. Judy’s new book is perfect for me. I can flip through and get ideas for borders that I can then apply to my own quilts. While I use EQ to draft all my quilts – for those of you that don’t — Judy does most of  the math for you.

You can purchase the book directly from her like I did and she’ll even write a nice note inside!

Happy to be home

There are some that wouldn’t have wanted to come home from a tropical island to Minnesota but we were ready. We feel very fortunate that we are able to travel and that we love coming home too.

From sand to snow…they’re not calling for much but it’s a nice welcome home.

My main goal between now and the next trip is to quilt 4 HeartStrings tops but the best view in the house for watching the snow fall is my sewing room. This time of year I’m so happy I moved my machine in front of the window.

So a little progress was made on the assembly of this “I Spy” tumbler UFO of mine seen here on my design wall. I expect that this top will be done before I leave for San Francisco too.

I just love how cute these novelties are cut into tumblers.

On my way home

One last lunch on the veranda and then on my way home and back to winter.


I was nervous

But it decided to go jet skiing with Keith anyway …lots of fun but harder than I expected. Then we sat out by the pool again.


With lots of these visitors!


Another sunset

We had our last group activity yesterday – a sunset cruise followed by a reception and now a couple days to ourselves.


It’s a bit rainy

We try not to let the weather bother us so we’ve been in and out today in between the showers. I managed to finish one book and start another.


And Keith managed to snap a fairly decent photo of me.


URL to PDF generator

It’s not an app but I thought I’d share this find with you. I occasionally come across a blog post or a website that I want to save to refer back to. I can do this with an offline reader on the iPad but for knitting, quilting or crafting projects, I like to stick a PDF file in iBooks.

I found a free URL to PDF generator online when I was looking for a way to save this little crochet blanket.

The PDF format was perfect because I wanted to make sure I save the link to the random stripe generator along with the blog post.

In iBooks I sort my PDF’s by category. I have one for knitting, one for Genealogy, one for quilting, etc.