Sunday, March 19, 2017

It is a top!

Well I spent my National Quilt day in the quilt room and finished my civil war top!

I added a plaid and blue border.  Of course the plaid was cut on the bias so the quilt was handled very gently and I had to get the blue outer border on quickly!

I'm happy with how it came out...doesn't look as dark now.


  Next on the design wall...ocean waves...this could take awhile as it is king-size!

The yard sale was a bit of a washout.  We were all set up by 0730...sales were ok until 0930 when it got cold and started to sprinkle...by 10:00 everything was back in the garage and my husband and I huddled in front of the fireplace!

Watson did not like having all these visitors in his yard...he was exhausted from guard-duty!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!



I'd like to say we are wildly celebrating our Irish heritage today but in reality we are getting ready for a yard sale tomorrow and caring for an ill cat.

We are however having cornbeef and cabbage for dinner and some homemade Irish bread...a little celebration!

I took down another "mystery UFO" box yesterday.

In it was about 34 8-inch blocks that I made during a Barbara Brackman year long block of the week.  It must have been at least 4 years ago!

Anyway, I put it up on the design wall and promised myself a quick finish...ya, right...like I do anything quick anymore.

So after an hour of auditioning sashing (a good part of that hour was unearthing my reproduction fabrics that I hadn't used for awhile.)

I decided to go with this blue stripe...which of course has to be fussy cut (back to that nothing quickly thing!)

The cornerstones were necessary since I only had a half yard of the stripe (again, why do it quickly...)  I ended up going with a butterscotch cornerstone to keep the attention on the blocks and to keep it from getting too dark.

I figure a couple days of sewing should get this at least to top stage.  I have two candidates for borders already.  Then it can join the tops hanging in the closet instead of hidden in a box!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Quilt Show countdown...

The guild I belong to has a quilt show every two years.  You would think I would be better prepared!
(A miniature quilt that I just need to quilt and bind...)

But most of the quilts I make/finish go almost immediately out the door!  So I looked around this week and realized if I'm going to have anything hanging in the show I'd better focus on it NOW!
(My "Almost Modern" top just needs to be quilted on my domestic machine)

I'm quite sure I'll be sewing binding or sleeves or labels the week before the show but if I start now I stand a good chance of having a quilt to sew them onto

The background is finished but my heart quilt needs a lot of embroidered hearts...I'll really have to focus...

And finally my "First a Path" quilt...this quilt used a lot of my stash which is a good thing.  When I was first diagnosed with MS a specialist on setting up your house and workspace visited.  He had lots of good suggestions (think of toddler-proofing your home.)  However when he entered by sewing room he was quiet for a moment then said, "first your need a path."


And if I can I'd like to finish up my two political pillows...one donkey and one elephant (fair and balanced quilting!)
Now...I've got to get back to work!

Thursday, March 09, 2017

On the design wall...

First I have to say one of the best things I've done for myself in a long time was putting up a design wall!  I love it...so much easier on my knees and so much easier to audition options.

Which is what I am doing today.  I'm trying to cut and pack the last bits for the retreat.  Today I have to decide on the sashing

Option one is above...a wide grey "striped" with four patch cornerstones.

Option two is slimmer sashing in white on white with single red cornerstones.

The pattern is from Pat Sloan's website.  The second option is closer to what she uses.  The quilt is going to be queen size.  I've made a lot of table runners, wallhangings and pillows in the past few months so I need to make some bed size projects!  I had an huge container of 2-1/2 squares and even a Queen size quilt hardly makes a dent...

Guess I'll let it set for a bit then make a decision.  I like them both so not too tough of a decision...worse when you have several options you don't like!

Did find a bit of another "favorite fabric"...this will go into the quilt.  The last tiny bit...

My MS thought for this week....






Monday, March 06, 2017

Retreat prep and MS awareness

I love going on quilt retreats however I have found them more challenging with my MS.

First, the noise!  I love being a room full of quilters but that is never quiet.  The constant talking, laughing, and occasional screams (a finish!) for a person with MS is exhausting!  It isn't just with quilters.  It takes a lot of energy to process constant stimulation like this and it happens when I go to other workshops.

So I try to keep my projects simple.  I know I'll have difficulty focusing and that I will tire quickly so I avoid projects that require a lot of thought.  For our next retreat I'm packing up this Pat Sloan project that pretty much uses two sizes of squares...and since it is scrappy no problem with putting a fabric in the wrong place!

Also, I don't start a new project from scratch.  When fatigue hits there are cognitive difficulties.  I remember one year when I was embroidering a witches hat...I must have spent an hour reading and rereading and rereading directions!  Sometimes there isn't enough coffee on earth to make things make sense...that is when a hand quilting project (already marked) is great...following lines with one type of stitch is sometimes all I can handle!  Also when hand quilting no getting up and down to go to the ironing stations!

Which leads to my second point...kit up as much as possible.  For the Traffic Jam  Quilt I have cut a quilter's bazillion 2-1/2 inch squares...made about 80 four patches and even made a few of the finished blocks.  This means as little thought and movements as possible (now if they could just set up a caffeine IV I'd be set!)

And just in case always have a backup project.  So say my leg is a but numb so even the walk to the ironing station is tough and my eye is wonky so I can't thread the needle to do hand quilting...go to project number 3.  For this retreat I have a stack of 10-inch squares (mostly from my stash with a few cake layer squares) that I will trace a huge hexagon onto.

So MS just requires a bit more planning...and coffee...




Sunday, March 05, 2017

Progress and MS awareness week

Well I've stuck with the heart project and made a lot of progress.  This pattern/method is not for the faint of heart!

It still needs a lot of time on the ironing board for a good press and some squaring up but I'm happy with it so far.  Also needs a row on the bottom as I made the quilt much wider than long and I'd like it to be square.  Also this will make the top and bottom rows not have bias on the edge.  I will be appliqueing many wool heats to this so having stable edges will be a bonus!

Some of my favorite fabrics saw the last bits go into this quilt...

I'll miss the Mary Englebreit teapot fabric!

This week is Multiple Sclerosis awareness week so I will be posting a bit about MS.  Can't believe it has been 14 years since I was diagnosed!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Pieces of my Heart lessons learned

I know I am supposed to be working on UFO's but a few weeks ago I saw a facebook post showing Wendy Williams's new quilt "Pieces of my Heart."
(Photo of finished quilt from Material Obsessions website)

I loved it so I ordered it from Austrailia and started working on it the week it arrived!  First, I still love this quilt and I am going to finish it.  I may even finish it this month!  I have however learned a lot...

Second - it is useful to check online to see if there are any videos.  I had only gone as far as pulling fabric and reading the direction when I found a 4 minute video by Wendy and Material Obsessions.  That made my life a lot easier!

Third - when you have enough fabric/scraps add a few more on each end of the value spectrum.  I started out with almost all reds and pinks.  After watching the video I added a lot more purples, oranges and yellows.  Also added more textures.  Really happy I did.  I have everything from Kaffee to Mary Engelbreight and everything in between!

Fourth - the technique is sort of a flip and sew log cabin...when trimming use a really long ruler.  My first half has a bit of ruler drift since I was only using a 15 inch ruler.  duh!

Fifth - pin often.  The heart can get a bit wobbley particularly as you get to the outer rows.

Sixth - press, press, press...hit it with a bit of best press or starch and press again.

I hope to get the last row onto the left side of the heart today and maybe even start the background piecing.  

This quilt also has a lot of wool embroidered hearts.  My friend Paula gave a bag of wool bits in lots of different shades of red, pink, orange and purple.  Can't wait to start playing with those!

On other projects...I had a finish!

This went to a fund raiser for a friend's sister's medical bills.

And this quilt top is for my sister!  It is Bonnie Hunter's Trip around the world pattern only put on point.  Yes, I took and fairly easy pattern and managed to make it complicated!  I have the backing ready to piece so should have this to the longarmer this month...phew.  Good thing for me they still need quilts in the summer up in Maine!