Thursday, February 26, 2015

AND ANOTHER

Today I went to the country quilting group and had a very good day there.  They meet every Thursday from 9 a.m. to around 3:30 p.m.  One of the group brings lunch for everyone, and today there were nine of us.

I had made the blocks for the split 9 patch last August when I visited our daughter in Ontario.  She had to go to work each day, and I amused myself by making these blocks.  Two weeks ago I sewed them all together at our town group meeting.  This week I did the machine quilting while at the town group, and today I finished it off with the binding.

I really like this quilt, and find it amazing that it looks so good with just odds 'n ends of scraps.  The red border was the finalist, and it looks good and rich.

So nice to come to the end of a project and like how it turned out!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A FINISH

 Over the past weekend I finished knitting the second scarf, the one for Helen.  This morning I put on the fringe.  Here it is just trimmed with the rotary cutter and the scraps picked up with the lint roller.

This one is 90" long, rather than 100" as Tom's was.  I took a second picture to give an idea about how long it is.  It's wrapped completely around two times, with ends hanging down.  I think it will be really cozy.

I will mail it this afternoon, and hope it reaches Helen on time to be useful this winter.  That's not saying I hope their winter weather hangs on much longer!

We had a nice break with rising temperatures for a few days, warm enough for Jim to spend a few afternoons trimming shrubs in the landscape.  Now we're back down to -15ºC, about +5ºF, with light snowfall.  Oh well, it makes the old snow that was looking dirty and discouraged all fresh and white again!

At quilt club yesterday Sharon showed us a different approach to pinwheels that she learned from a pattern.  I so very impressed, because her points were
meeting so precisely in the middle.  That
quilt I made last year that was half pinwheels pretty much decided me to never, ever do pinwheels again.

In this method you begin with two contrasting 10" squares.  Lay them down right sides facing.  Sew the outside edges together, all four of them.  Now cut across the squares diagonally from corner to corner, turn and do the same cut from the remaining two corners.  You then have the four parts of the pinwheel block.  Sew these four together in the traditional manner .

The pattern she's using is called a "Disappearing Pinwheel," because the next step is to make four more cuts, 2 1/4" from each center seam.  That gives you a smaller pinwheel and some rectangles that can be arranged in various ways around the pinwheel to give an interesting block.

I was kind of excited about trying this new method, so when I got up just before 5 a.m. I cut two 10" contrasting squares and made the large pinwheel.  It did come together very nicely, but what I discovered in doing this is that the outside edges are all on the bias.  That makes it a little tricky to handle.  You would have to be quite careful when you sewed the blocks together, but, for sure, it's an interesting alternative to your regular method for pinwheels.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

PAW PRINTS

Fresh snow overnight revealed these delicate pawprints leading up to our backdoor.  A little too far apart for a cat, but possibly made by a fox.  They led here and there around the house, out to the greenhouse, back from the greenhouse, out the driveway and across the road.

Coming the other way were bigger paw prints.  They could have been made by a dog, but were more likely made by a coyote.

One of the really interesting things about living in a rural area is the interaction with wildlife.  We've seen foxes, coyotes, deer, a moose, muskrats, weasels, gophers, mice, skunks!  Surprisingly few deer have visited our yard this winter.  I hope that stays true through spring, when all the tender new growth is so enticing!

That's not to mention the incredible number of bird species we see and listen to here, especially during the long days and short nights of June.  We wake to birdsong, accompanied by frog chatter.  The frogs begin courting as soon as the ice is off the pond.

What do you see and hear around your home?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

ON THE OTHER HAND....

When the Dear One and I were "young marrieds" I soon learned that I would drive him quickly "batty" if I said, "On the other hand...."  He wanted my "Yes" to be "Yes" and my "No" to be "No" and nothing in between.

Today I came into the sewing room and saw the backing of one of last summer's quilts--a deep, rich purple, just as I had been thinking of using for the Split Nine Patch.

 I put it underneath the Split Nine Patch quilt top and took a picture.  Often a picture shows up flaws or good choices quicker than examining something visually.  Then I put both pictures up on my "desktop" of my computer.

When I look at them this way, I think there's just no contest as to which is the better colour choice.

What do you think?

Friday, February 13, 2015

SURPRISING CHOICE

I had thought that a deep purple or a glowing blue would be a good border for this quilt.  There was a good purple at the LQS, but somehow, this rusty red seemed a better choice.

That meant I also had to buy a different backing, because this rusty red looked pretty bad with the nice purple flannel that was already in my stash.  The new flannel backing is a deep orange with small cheddar polka dots.  Another surprising choice.

I've been spending the evenings watching t.v. with Jim and knitting on Helen's scarf.  It's growing nicely.  Now up to 72" on the way to 90".  If you click on the picture to make it bigger, you can see the double point needle marking 90" on the tape.

That's a quilter's measuring tape, a full 120" to enable you to measure a large quilt all at once, no guessing if the tape moved, etc.  Very handy!  This one came in a neat little tin that looked as if it couldn't possibly hold such a long tape, and cost just a few dollars.  A good investment for a quilter.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

TWO SURPRISES

One surprise, quite nice: the quilt top is complete, I don't have to add any blocks to it.

The other surprise: I had thought that this finished top measured 40" x 50" but it's just 36" x 47", which means I need to add some borders.  Not a big deal, and I think the right border will do a lot for it.  So I'm off to town to see what fabric I can find for this.  I have some purple flannel that will make a nice backing and is the right size, so I just need a meter for some borders and binding.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT...

when I can't sleep, I don't fight it.  I get up and act like it's the middle of the day.  I put on a pot of coffee.  I check my email and answer any new messages.  I knit.  I read.  And sometimes, like today, I go to my cutting table and catch up on processing scraps.  Here's my setup:

In the center is the basket of scraps.  Not too full at this point!  On the right is the iron, the pressing pad and the water spray bottle, so the scraps can all be nice and smooth under the quilter's ruler.  The ruler and the rotary cutter are in the middle.  To the left is a lint roller for picking up tiny scraps.  In the upper left are the growing piles of trimmed scraps, sorted by size, 1+1/2", 2", 2+1/2", 3 etc.  There is also a wastebasket on the floor handy for dumping pieces too small to use.

As you can see, I keep scraps right down to 1+1/2" square.  When I finish a project still on the go with the blocks made from the 1+1/2" bin, I'm going to up the smallest size to 2".

The trimmed scraps then go into scrap boxes labeled from 1+1/2" up to 4"+.  Ready to use at a moment's notice.

This is not my own idea; I got it from Bonnie Hunter.  If you google her, you'll find quilting ideas galore.  

Because I use her system of organizing scraps I was able to grab a bag of 2+1/2" squares and a bag of 3" squares just before leaving to visit #1Daughter last August.  She had to go to work each day, the week I was there, so I used the daytime hours to sew.  By the time I came home I had enough blocks made to put this up on my design board:

These blocks are called "Split Nine Patch."  I got the instructions, again, from Bonnie Hunter's blog.

Yesterday our local quilting club met.  I had been looking forward to spending the afternoon and evening there.  I really enjoy the fellowship of that group of women.  And I spent that time sewing these blocks together into a quilt top.

But now that I look at this picture, I realize I need to make another six blocks to fill in the right side of the quilt and make it a mirror image of the left.  Often a picture of a work in progress will tell you something that just looking at it will not show you.  That's what happened here all right!  Glad I have more ready-cut scraps to quickly make another six blocks.  Glad I noticed that before I "sandwiched" and quilted this top!