Tuesday, May 26, 2015

REALLY BUMBLING AROUND

I had some fun this afternoon at the local quilt shop picking out several pieces of fabric to finish some of the quilt tops I've been working on.  I bought this nice brown cotton for the borders of the Pinwheel quilt.  It was only $9.99 a meter, so I bought enough to cut the long borders on the lengthwise grain without needing to piece them.  It's a very useable brown!

I cut the long borders at 85" as the quilt had measured 84 1/2". That would give me just a little margin.  I marked the halfway point on the border and pinned it to the halfway point on the quilt.  I smoothed out the rest and pinned it at intervals.  Then I sat down to sew the border to the quilt, with the border underneath and the quilt top on top.  That way I could see just where the points were.

I sewed the whole seam and, to my dismay, found it was 3/8" too short!  It seemed like an awful lot of stitch ripping, so I loosened the first block and a half, and then I took hold of both sides and RIPPED THE SEAM OUT!!!  Scary, but fast.  It worked fairly well, except that several of the cross seams also ripped open about a 1/4".

I cut another border section of 4 1/2" width and this time 86" long.  The strip was actually 105" long before I cut off the end.

I sat down at the machine and sewed this new border strip on.  AND THE SAME THING HAPPENED!!!  The blooming border was 3/8" short.

I should have given up at that point, but wasn't smart enough to do that.  So I tried to work around it by taking out the last 15" of seam, cutting off the end piece of the border and sewing on a new, long piece.  Most borders are pieced, eh?  There finally was enough material to reach the end and then some.

But when I turned it over the truth of the "shrinking border fabric" became evident.  THE WHOLE BORDER WRINKLES ALONG THE EDGE OF THE QUILT.  The sad truth is that I now need to take my stitch ripper, sit down and take the whole seam out, stitch by stitch.  OUCH!!!

I think I need to do a little repair on that stressed out edge of the quilt, and then carefully pin the border in place and attach it, but this time let the border be on top and the quilt underneath.

I think I'll leave that for tomorrow.  I've had enough for today!  The good part: I have oodles and oodles of border fabric.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

TRYING OUT SOME BLOCKS

That photo in the last post is quilt #12 for this summer.  I bought some more strips to finish it, but couldn't resist trying out that pattern in some other fabrics--the ones the pattern was actually meant for.  I'm really, really liking this combination.

There was hardly any time to sew last week, with all that cleaning, which included the   garage.  But yesterday afternoon I did find time to get into the new fabric.

Around 6 p.m. I made a stupid mistake and decided it was time to quit.  Here are some of the strip sets and you'll see the one on the right has one of the seams facing the wrong way.

This morning I spent time picking out all of those stitches, 42 inches worth, pressed the strip flat and resewed.  Well, sometimes it's possible to be just too stupid!  I sewed it on the wrong way again!  There's some pickin' out ahead!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

WHOLE WHACK O' CLEANIN' GOING ON

Yesterday I didn't sew at all, which is pretty unusual, especially considering I'm trying to finish a dozen quilts before summer.  But on Monday, having finished the Boxy Stars top I had to try out the next pattern, "Tradewinds" by Cozy Quilt Designs.  This is a super easy pattern and goes together very fast.  You make strip sets of 3 strips and of 2 strips, cut them into triangles and put them together with a triangle of background.  Four of these blocks make a complete big block.  I made all of these in one day.  These were made using a bought strip set.  Looks kind of 70's, doesn't it?  Then I ran out of strips and had to wait until I was in town again to get another set.

In the meantime, it was a lovely sunny day on Tuesday and I was inspired to do some heavy duty cleaning.  Got out the power washer and attacked the garden shed which was direly dirty!  Mouse droppings and dirt and grease, all gone!  Well, there are a few soaked-in greasy spots on the floor, but the shed is transformed!  AAAAH, satisfaction.  
But the weather was still nice and I was still inspired, so I carried the deck furniture that had been stored in the shed out to the deck, sprayed them with Fantastik with bleach and power washed them.  Doesn't this look inviting?  Just needs a pitcher of lemonade and a plate of cookies on the little table.
 Still felt ambitious so I did the same with the furniture on the back patio.  By that time it was 6:30 and time to quit and enjoy a well deserved rest with some diet coke and lots of ice!




I just wonder how I could still feel ambitious about cleaning this morning, but when you're on a roll, go for it!  So I filled a bucket with some hot water, dishwashing liquid and ammonia and attacked the linoleum with a stiff scrubbing brush.  Fortunately I have one with a long handle and am able to scrub standing up.  Then down on hands and knees to mop up with hot water and dry with an old terry cloth towel.  OH BOY!  Do I love a clean house!



In the meantime I will share a few comments that came through my email.

Sharon wrote: "...more or less keep up the good quilting work and stamina...ha, ha and also show us your completed work!!  I also enjoy seeing the nature comments and cooking, green house, etc. etc."  

Betty wrote: "My opinion of the boxy stars is that it should be shown somewhere - it is so clever, the colors seem perfect to me."

Shirley wrote: "The Boxy Star top is really pretty.  Maybe I will try that one day because it is paper piecing.  I do lean toward the blue border but the purple does look good too."
(I happen to know that blue is Shirley's favourite colour.)

Thanks, Friends, for sharing your encouragement and comments!

Monday, May 18, 2015

BOXY STARS TOP

I did find time now and then over the weekend to do some sewing on the Boxy Stars quilt, and the top is finished.  This is a very easy pattern that you can find on Bonnie Hunter's Free Patterns tab.  I made paper piece foundations for it, and the points are very precise.  I'm hoping that the machine quilting will bring out the "stars," the darker fabrics at the centre of each block.  If not, well, it's nice the way it is.

There's the usual decision making involved: a purple binding or a blue one.  I'm leaning toward the purple, mainly because there's been a lot of blue around lately.

There were lots of scraps from these blocks, and I had been throwing them all into the waste basket.

 As I was looking through my looseleaf binder of patterns I came across a paper foundation for a Pineapple block and realized that these little scraps, ordinarily too small too save, were just right for the little triangular spots on that block.

I upended the wastebasket on the dining room table and started sorting.  It proved worthwhile, as I now have two bags of scraps toward a pineapple block.  Some are already cut into triangles and others are an appropriate size also.  My general rule is a scrap must be 2" square to be saved.

A few friends here have let me know that they do have a problem posting a comment.  The permissions are set for anyone to post, even as anonymous, so I don't know how to fix this problem.  You can always email me at either of my two email addresses.  One is given on my blog information, and the other one my friends and family know.


Friday, May 15, 2015

TOO MUCH SEWING!!!

Yesterday I sewed all day--well, apart from cooking meals, running errands for the Garden Centre, going into town for the mail, etc.  I wanted to finish sewing all twelve blocks for the Boxy Stars quilt.  It wasn't fun!  I got way too involved!  In the middle of the afternoon I had to take a break, breathe a little, read a little, just "unhook."

But I DID finish all twelve blocks.

Today I'm taking a more relaxed approach.  I sewed some of the individual blocks together (the four parts), and they look really good!  Just two blocks are finished, all put together.  But I also did a good whack of weekend housecleaning, served a great dinner, planted onions and helped out at the sales building.

Maybe I can finish them this weekend!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

PROGRESS and PUZZLES

There's been progress over the weekend on the Boxy Stars quilt top.  At first I had the blocks right up against each other, but that gave a puzzling appearance.  It was hard to distinguish the stars, the dark fabrics from the rest of the block.  Separated by a planned 2" sashing with cornerstones, that becomes a little easier.  Perhaps with the right sort of machine quilting they will stand out more.

In the meantime I started  machine quilting the Colour Block top (with the teal sashing in a lattice-like pattern.)  I'm doing a simple stitch-in-the-ditch on either side of the sashing.  This morning I was continuing that work when I noticed the stitching was pulling.  Have no idea what was causing that.  Perhaps the machine needs to be rethreaded.

The variegated blue for the backing was almost empty, so I took out the bobbin to refresh it, and can't find that blue thread ANYWHERE!  Where could it have disappeared to?  I have no idea.

I'm also looking for an apron pattern that I bought from a friend recently, since I now have the perfect combination of fabrics to make one.  Can't find that pattern anywhere either.  Have there been some gremlins in the sewing room lately?

The past two days I have seen this sight twice: on Monday a robin was in the garden picking up pieces of straw in his beak.  Yesterday this chickadee was perched on the balcony railing for a while.  What a mouthful!

I'm always impressed with birds.  Such hard workers!  Such devoted parents!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

ANOTHER BEGINNING

The colour block quilt top is finished.  It just needs borders, quilting and binding.  The pinwheels quilt top is also finished, completely sewed together.  That might get some borders added to make it big enough for a single bed.

The new project got started yesterday: a Boxy Stars by Bonnie Hunter, although I've made a paper pieced pattern from it, rather than just using strips.  I bought a pack of 24 - 2 1/2" strips in the lighter colours, as there were not many light coloured fabrics in my stash.  I'm choosing the darks to go with the lights from my stash.  It'll be a nice, bright and cheerful quilt.  The blocks are large (consisting of four smaller blocks.)  I'm thinking of doing a four block by five block setting, which would give somewhere around 48" x 60".  We'll see as we go along what seems to work.

The white fabric was on sale at $8.49 a meter, so I bought altogether 5 meters, thinking it's a good background fabric.  There are little white flowers on the white background.

There have been no comments on the blog for a long time.  I'm wondering if there's a problem getting a comment published.  That happens to me sometimes on other blogs, the comment just disappears when I click on "publish."  I do have the comments set to accept anyone, even anonymous.  Let me know if there's a problem.