29 March 2019

West Point Cabin Progress

I've made great progress on the West Point quilt.
All the blocks and sashing are sewn together--
quite a feat really when you consider the sashing had
its own amount of piecing that may have taken almost
as long to put together as all the blocks.

Lots of stray threads to deal with on this one; I gave up trying to keep
them under control.  I'll take care of them as I put it on the frame.

You know math is not my thing so I prefer to let others
come up with instructions but this one was all on me.
It's nothing complicated at all but it does make this project
just that much more "mine".  I did plan/size the blocks
on my new EQ8--really just to play around--but I couldn't
find anywhere on the program to work out that sashing.
Again, nothing complicated but I'd like to know if there
is a way to do it on there.  (So much to learn!)

A further complication was that there was a direction to the tiny
print of the sashing fabric.  It just required a little more thought
in cutting and sewing...yep, out came the seam ripper a couple
times but every piece faces "down" as in the above pic.

This section is 69 x 80 so I will be adding two more
borders on today to make this a queen-sized quilt.
I'll also be piecing the backing and hopefully getting it
loaded onto the frame.

I knew I was pushing myself to complete it this week but in
light of the extra work, and a few extra things in my schedule,
I'm really happy with how far along it is.  If all goes well,
I'll start quilting Saturday so not too far off schedule anyway.
Would love to squeeze it in as a March finish but I also
don't want to rush the quilting so...we'll just see.

Happy quilting!

22 March 2019

Quilts and Plants Are Growing

Trying to balance and plan my time is always a little tricky
in the spring.  This year I have a lot of added obligations
but somehow it will all get done...because it always does.

Knowing a little rain was on the way, I put in a lot
of hard hours outdoors early this week.  I tilled, planted,
raked, cut, mowed and burned until the rain forced me in.
That perfect spring rain is all the onions needed--
they started poking through already yesterday.

I've been doing a little sewing here and there, and
now--voila!  All 42 blocks are now complete.  
I wanted an idea of the gold stars and sashing
so I scribbled a little on my phone...

The keyword there being scribbled!

Another busy weekend ahead but I'm hoping to at least
get the sashing and star pieces cut out and just maybe
start on some piecing?  I would like for my son to be able
to use this quilt before he heads off to West Point so,
though it might be a little crazy, I'm pushing to have it
completely finished by next weekend.
(I'm still unclear if he'll be able to take it with him.)

Happy quilting!

16 March 2019

A Little Charity Quilting

Happy National Quilting Day.

A couple weeks ago, I was asked to do the quilting on
an auction project.  I hesitated.  Do I have time?  Do I want
to start this quilting-for-others thing?  I guess charity
will always be a soft spot for me.  Of course, I said yes.

It turned out to be just a lap quilt and, as it was made by a
4-H youth group, they insisted that it did not need to be perfect.
The busy fabrics also made me more comfortable.  I had a great
pantograph pattern for it.  It looked easy and I have been
wanting to try it out anyway, especially since I'll be using
it on my own charity project here in a couple months.

I was right--I picked it up immediately.  In fact,
I'm ranking this the easiest pattern of my collection.
Perfect for a beginner.

The quilting-time difference between a lap and a queen quilt
 seems more like that of a baby quilt and a king size so I think
that will probably be one of those things I keep in mind for
doing any work for others in the future:  lap quilts only??

I have always struggled with telling others "no."  I am glad I took
this on; it was fun. But it does bring to mind that I probably need
to set some personal rules.  Currently, I allow a sister and one friend
to use my machine but I need to ask:  where do I draw the line?
I really want to encourage quilting with friends but I think
there's always a chance for that to get out of control.

I don't feel comfortable charging for the use of my LA but in the
end, wear and tear, needles, thread...they can add up. I recently
had to tell another friend no because the machine just wasn't
available but I do think I will let her use it occasionally in the
future.  Maybe the best thing to do will be to have a teaching
session when I have another quilt on it...and more time.

The sun is shining and the lure of the outdoors might be
strong but I do still want to work on those log cabin blocks.
I have also promised my son authentic gumbo for his birthday
dinner.  I've never made it but it's always looked fun.  I
 struggled to find some ingredients but I figure that's what I get
for raising my kids to have adventurous palates!  Tomorrow
of course I'll be making Irish food--something I do throughout
the month of March anyway but definitely on St. Pat's!
Happy quilting!

12 March 2019

Where I'm At, And Planning Ahead

One should probably be careful to not say this
too loudly but, it's looking like spring is on it's way.

There has been a definite warmth in the air.
Yesterday, I got a great start on the outdoor work,
cutting down ornamental grasses and old herbs and clearing
out dead growth and leaves to make way for the new.
Sometimes I shred it all straight into the garden for mulch.
This time, I just burned it all in the firepit.  There is something very
satisfying about removing all of the debris from the previous year
and burning it off to start again with the new.  If the weather would
only allow, this would make great New Year's activity.

I was also able to till a section of the garden to get 350 onions in.
I may be cutting back on everything else but not onions.
I have 50 more to plant but I'm saving them to be deterrents
around cabbages and other plants high on an insect's menu.
Yes, I pushed it a little but I knew the rain would be here today.
And it is.  Dark and rainy, it's a perfect day to recoup and
just perhaps get some sewing done.

Hopefully soon I can cut into the cheery spring fabrics
of the fat quarter bundle I won.  I was so excited when that
arrived in the mail and I love seeing it sit on my shelf...
but no touching it till I get my next two quilts made.  

The log cabin blocks are piecing up very quickly.  Depending
on if/when the garden dries up, I should still have the top
if not the whole thing done by the first official day of spring.

Organizing the pieces hasn't been as hard as I thought.
Considering I first made 14 and now am working on the
remaining 28 blocks all in assembly line fashion, I'm really
only dealing with one set/bin of pieces at a time.  After that,
it's cleared away and the amount to deal with just becomes
less and less.  Would love to get them all finished today even.
Tomorrow, I'll be working on a quilt made by a 4-H group 
for charity.  Hoping my quilting skills will be in good form
for trying out a new pattern.  It's one thing to quilt your own
projects; quite another to work on someone else's!

My next quilt will also be for a charity.  As much as
I'd love to move out some fall fabrics, the event is in June 
so an American theme would probably go over well.

Right now I'm getting kind of excited about this one.  
It's likely I have everything I need for it right in my
sewing room and it's a very do-able 60 x 60.
I don't have the time to make anything bigger...
unless we end up with a very rainy spring!

Happy quilting!

08 March 2019

Cutting, Cutting...

Time to build the log cabin.
I made a couple more trials but with smaller center blocks.
I still wish I could have found a single gold star fabric for it
but it doesn't seem to exist.  It looks like the best I can
do to make the center block show better is to keep the
darker gray (rather than black) fabrics around it.

Changing tactics a little, I've been going through scraps and
pulling anything and everything that might work which has felt
a little like spring cleaning.  love "controlled scrappy."  

I have no idea how many 1 1/2" strips I've cut but I'm
pretty sure I can do it in my sleep.  
They're separated out in these but there are so many
containers that it's hard keep them all within reach.
Just hoping I can figure out a different system.

Spring break begins this weekend so not sure how
much assembling I'll get done but at least all that cutting
is behind me.   It should go much faster from here!

Happy quilting!

02 March 2019

March Banner & Hexa-done

It sure doesn't feel like it but
here we are:  happy March.

Friday morning was just a really damp cold kinda morning so
I spent it finishing up the last bits of the hexie quilt.  If only
I had realized that it actually warmed up in the afternoon...

Instead I went right on into working on the banner when
I probably should've been enjoying the sun and "warmth."
Warm has really become a relative term lately.

So anyway, once I realized this was going on, I was
 I was able to grab a quick shot of Hexagon Phenomenon.

*Triangle Hexies quilt pattern by Quilty Love (Etsy)
More info on 2019 projects tab

 I currently have curtain rings (with clips) on a cotton rope that
I use for displaying my quilts for their pictures.  This hangs on
three hooks that I've placed above our front steps.
I'd like to find a way to get the quilts to hang a little straighter
at the top but this way is quick--right now, that's a priority!

 I can arrange the clips on the quilt in the house where it's
warm and in just a minute or two have it hung up outside.
If I keep making such big quilts, I'm going to have to move
the hooks up higher, requiring a ladder to hang every quilt.
(rather than the front porch furniture!)

For the quilting, I pulled this swirl pattern from my collection.
It's modern enough and blends with the geometric hexies
without taking away from them.  A fun pattern but it is
sometimes hard to keep track of which line to follow when
they overlap and change directions--but that might be
something only other pantograph users understand.
It just takes steady focus and concentration.
Which means long, uninterrupted quilting sessions.
And eventually you have a well-trained, quick eye that can rival
that of your cat's at the little "follow the lazer light" game.

Wrapping this up, it's been a pretty good week.
My relief at finishing up the hexie quilt surprised me;
it had almost become work and in with the satisfying sense of
accomplishment upon its completion was also a sense of...
dare I say it...freedom.
Projects just don't always go the way they should.
There are always times when they aren't exactly fun.
But if they were all easy and fun, they sure wouldn't
be as special now, would they?

Still, I highly recommend a light project between the big ones!

Frigid temps and snow return tomorrow which means
there's also more quilting forecasted.

Happy quilting!

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