Saturday, February 28, 2009

Row Robin

Is anybody interested?

I signed up for this. It runs through the fall, and sounds interesting. Take a look, I think signups end today. Would love to see some of you there!

Friday, February 27, 2009

A Glimpse at the Flimsy Pile

There are currently four flimsies (and another in the works as of this morning). This is the indiginous Australian animal quilt. It has a nice brick red/burnt orange plaid border that picks up the deep reds and oranges in each block. It's impossible I have concluded to get a suitable picture of this entire quilt top that is either completely clear or displays the colors appropriately. It's a great quilt for a little boy.
This next one has very bright dolphin and fish squares. It's basically the same idea - 4" blocks with borders.
This one uses some very bold Lakehouse Dry Goods stripe and dot fabrics that I have had for a while, but not really known what to use them on. There are also some froggy fabrics.
Here's a closer shot. And lastly, I pieced those scrappy red blocks that I made back a few months ago. They are pieced with a couple very cute purple novelty lady bug and gardening prints. This one still needs a border at the top & bottom to make it large enough. And I may just finish this one with some plush red fleece on the back rather than quilting it. My 40 yard roll of batting is depleting at a very quick pace.
...close up look. This weekend's agenda includes making a concerted effort to get some work done on my daughter's Easter dress. I started it a week or 2 ago, but have not been too motivated to work on it. I also may try to get a gouple of these finished off. This is probably over-ambitious since I have a nasty bronchial infection and have not slept in 3 days thanks to coughing all night.
This morning I pieced 12 of these blocks together. These are my mostly mis-fit blocks, as they range in size from barely 10" square to 10.5". They were supposed to be 10.5", but I think only five of these are. I am sashing them in hopes of salvaging the blocks despite their size anomalies.
Have a great weekend all!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Attention span of a Flea

Yes, that is me. Without a doubt, I have the attention span of a flea. In the last 2 days I have finished 1 quilt, nearly finished another (all but the binding). These are my feeble attempts to clear the pile of unquilted flimsies I have before cutting into some fabric that I really want to sew with. So, what have I really done??? Increased that flimsy pile!! Yesterday I discovered some bold fish & dolphin novelty fabric that I made into another flimsy (rationale is that I wanted it out of my sewing stash). It's terribly cute and if it weren't downstairs, I'd show a photo of it. This morning I discovered this fun indiginous fabric that Bernadette sent me last fall with a swap quilt. It is Australian animals. The boxes are about 4" square, and unfortunately are not exactly all the same or all square in their printing. This is why some of my boxes may look a tad wonky.
Here's a closeup of a few of the animals...

They are kind of fun, and definitely different. The colors did not translate well - the greens are rich and deep in color, not as grayish as the pictures indicate. I am auditioning various brick red prints for a 2" outer border. When the blocks are sewn together I will take it outside to photograph (atop a 3' pile of snow likely)
Perhaps if this flea does not get smashed, she will make another attempt tomorrow at cutting red and orange material :-)

Monday, February 23, 2009

A Weekend Finish

Any of you that live in the northeast already know that we got hammered yesterday. It started snowing about dinnertime. I awoke to at least a foot of new, and very wet/heavy snow. TGFH!! (Thank goodness for husbands). This would have been the first day back for both my son and I after a week of vacation, but it is yet another "snow day" for all. That poor kid is going to be in school until July at this rate. Me?...naw, college finals are May 8th even if I have another 12 snow days! These are wimpy pictures, taken through the windows from my toasty warm house. I'll probably venture outside later today for some better ones (if interested, check over at my family blog...aka "my alter ego" later). The trees are completely sagging from the weight of the heavy snow. There are allegedly many power outtages from snow on trees/power lines. Hopefully we won't become one of the statistics too. The picture on the right (double click to see better) shows how high the snow is up the light pole, and that fense we have, which is four and a half feet high. It's just ridiculous, I tell you, simple ridiculous. We haven't seen the ground in 3.5 months.
On to something more fascinating...
Despite having a REALLY bad itch to start a new project using the great pink, red & orange fabrics that Michele sent me, I have vowed to complete off a couple more of the Linus tops that I already have done first. I have three still to do, and countless blocks enroute to me for making tops with as well. Later this week, I promise I will cut fabric (do I hear yea?!!).

Over the weekend I quilted this top off. I love the way it turned out. The binding is on, and I even washed it. It just looks so old fashioned - like a scrap quilt my great-grandmother might have made from old shirts. It is Linus finish #10 (I think) for this year.

The back is just a pale pink polka dot, but really quilted up nicely.

Yesterday and this morning, I also quilted this top (scroll down to bottom of post) You'll have to wait to see finished pics though until I stitch down the binding.

Friday, February 20, 2009


It is Friday, and unlike most who long for Friday, I am feeling a little bittersweet. My boys have been at their Nana's the last 2 days, which has made my life shear bliss! They are returning tomorrow, and so is my chaos and noise. It should return to normal on Monday, as my older son's winter vacation is over, and he and I go back to school/work.

Here's a monthly update on the hand quilting of Sophie's quilt. At just about 5 weeks from starting, I am now working the quilt's borders. I am doing a somewhat wavy floral pattern in that green stripe. In retrospect, it might not have been the best choice, as because of the fabric's print, the quilting is not overly obvious. I have done 11 of the 15 sections with this quilt pattern. It takes about an hour, so I rarely do more than one section in an evening.
The corners have little flowers. I also tested a quilt pattern yesterday for which I made a few templates - for the inner area of these swags. It's overlapping 'leaves", intended to look somewhat like a half of a dahlia. And of course, both sides of that hot pink stripe are stitched as well.
Enough on that...
Here's my 9th Linus blanket for the year. I had a bunch of half pieced strips and squares leftover from a baby quilt I didn't actually make a few years ago. I pieced them into a number of blocks, and then added some other coordinating fabrics. It's kind of a piece-meal quilt. Has a couple rows of piano keys, a row of this, a row of that, etc.
The backing fabric was given to me a couple years ago, and I thought it coordinated nicely. I quilted diagonal rows of hearts and flowers into the solid squares, and stippled most everywhere else.

My sweetest little one really wanted it for her beloved naked baby (darndest girl just doesn't want that baby to be clothed!!). She did finally settle for holding the quilt for a picture.

I have a long awaited Valentine's date tomorrow. Can't remember when I last had a date. Romance is hard to come by when you live with my wild and time-demanding brewd. Hubby is taking me to a nice Italian restaurant in the Big City (AKA Portland), and if times coordinate we'll see a matinee movie beforehand (I can't stay awake for a movie after!!). Little does he know, since the movie is using some free passes he has, I plan to just have a nice 2-hour nap!!

I was busy the latter part of this week, despite having a cold. I have another Linus top quilted, learned a ton about needles (thanks, ya'll!), and thread breakage, learned a few new dirty words too that I like to use when this happens. I pieced the top for a spring table runner for myself. It's simple, and is a good example of when perception and reality don't entirely match up. More about this at another date. I made my label for my 4SQS5 piece, and hope to mail this in the near future. I also (phew, as if that's not enough for a sickly gal) cut out the upper part of an Easter dress for Sophie, and partly pieced it together. I didn't have the zipper until today so I couldn't get too far.
Have a great weekend-

Thursday, February 19, 2009

OK, another technical question

After yesterday's debaucle, and it was precisely that. I had a huge chunk to take out too that I discovered large loopy-loops on the back. I have done the following...
  • check thread load and bobbin direction
  • tried new needle (90/14)
  • rethreaded (sometimes alleviates all issues)
  • stuck voodoo doll a few dozen times

The frustrating thing here is that this is a thread I use regularly. I think I ditched the original needle that was replaced, and am not positive what size it was (but it worked!!!). It seems as though the thread was in fact breaking AT the needle eye. Incidently, earlier in the week I was doing a lot of string piecing and was also having some breaks (with old needle), but I disgarded it to string piecing. Yea, I know this is stupid. I string piece all the time w/o issues. I cleaned out fuzz from within machine that day, quilted another top, and assumed my problems were behind me.


I plan to order some today if I get a good concensus.

many thanks on all the very helpful comments yesterday.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Small quilt top (40"x50")...

machine quilt thread, new bobbin, new needle, machine cleaned 5 days ago, sewed another quilt top 3 days ago without incident

30 thread breaks today!!! This is more frustrating than a 4 year old (and this is my daily relief from said 4 year old)

What's a girl to do??

...any pointers from the gallery?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Valentine's Ice Sculpture & More

Sophie and I took Saturday & went to my mom's house. I needed a break from parenting the boys (middle kid is challenging my desire to be a mother these days). Upon my return, was this lizzard-like thing, sculpted from ice in the front yard (what you cannot see is the 3' high snow bunker off to the left of the lizzard!)! There was undoubtedly a little fabric shopping that day, but it's not all that scintillating!
Finishes for the last few days...
I have quilted and bound the "Love" quilt. It turned out well. It has just a simple large meander quilting pattern. This becomes number eight for my 2009 Project Linus donations. Not too bad...averaging right at one a week. At this pace (which will most certainly fall off soon), I'll nearly double last year's donation count.
I did another top solely from my strip box. The strips are all widths so this is not a traditional bento box pattern, but my adaptation. It is 48 6-1/2" blocks, and a three inch border. The border is bright pink check. It kind of reminds me of Peppermint Patty. Maybe that is what I will name this. Sadly, this barely made a dent in my strip box, and more than made a disaster of my sewing space. There are small scraps everywhere that need cleaning up.

Last week I also made this. It is a thank you gift for my son's speach therapist. Next week he will have his last session with her. He's seen her for 19 months now, and with his sister starting speech also, it is great to see him finish. She has a huge lilac bush in her yard, and Bryce used to comment about the scented lilacs well after they were blooming (when there was snow on the ground in fact!). She also likes purple about as much as I do. Her house is tiny, and since Bryce couldn't tell me well enough what size table she has (I'd planned a runner or center-piece), I opted for a small hanging. It's 19". The nine squares came from a piece of material I had - I just cut them out of it. They are odd shaped, not really square or rectangular, so I hope they don't look too wonky.
I did a little detail quilting on each square, some are outlined, others just have the leaves quilted. I think that JulieAnn will be pleased. It definitely looks like something to usher in spring (once the foot or more of snow we have melts!!)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Won't You join me?

I spent my free sewing time today on a different endeavor. Making Maverick stars ranks quite lowly on my list of desires, as I am really not a fan of the improvisational quilting. I much prefer my stars to be more symmetrical and orderly. But yesterday I came across the Bushfire Quilt Project (see link on sidebar), and knew I wanted to help out. You can too, if you have some scraps (oh, come on, we all know that quilters have scraps!!). The 12.5" quilt squares being made for this project are being made into quilts for those Australians that have lost homes and loved ones in the recent brush fires.
Mine aren't nearly as artistic as some that are shown on the flickr site, nor are they from great designer fabrics. But they all have a story to tell, and some child or individual will love the quilt that they are made into.

Here's my story (and you may have to double click on the 2nd picture for a better look)... Two years ago when I started making the Project Linus quilts, my sister-in-law donated some blue fabric with red bows to me. I told her I thought it was about the ugliest thing I had seen, but probably could use it anyways. She went on to tell me that it was bequeathed to her from her sister-in-law, some years after this woman had stopped trying to have babies. She lost a couple babies inutero on account of a birth defect, and also lost at least two babies after they were born to the same diaphraghm defect. The ugly blue fabric (as well as others she gave me then) were selected by this ever-hopeful mother when she was planning the 3rd or 4th baby's nursery. Because she had already lost two previously, she was apprehensive, and was waiting to decorate the nursery after the baby was born safely. This sadly never happened. So, you might think, this is a horrible reason to use a particular fabric. The first Linus quilt I made using it, made my sister-in-law cry. Each that I have done since, and there have been 3 or 4, have made me think how tremendously lucky I am to have wonderful living (though occasionally bratty), but loving kids. I had a few scraps of this fabric left and decided to use them as the centers of these blocks. The red bows symbolize hope, which these people desperately need now.
The very busy background was also donated to me, and seemed so apprioriate of this project. It reads "Earth Team" and "having a ball". This project is most definitely a worldwide effort. Besides, it looks fun and youthful. I think it is really an Arbor day fabric, but who needs material for Arbor day??? I made 6 of these in case Tia thinks it too busy or inappropriate to put just one block into a quilt. It shouldn't look so out of place if there are a number of blocks.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Out of My "Box"

Just as Kate was busy using up her strips of scraps (mind you, she was making 12" blocks for me with them!), so was I. My scrap box is not so organized though, as mine are all different widths. I tapped into the greens, reds, whites and blacks, making 16 scrappy log-cabin blocks that are 8.5" square. On Monday, I decided I needed 4 more blocks, and that is when I made up the "LOVE" letters. I ought to applique a red heart onto it somewhere too.
Now I am definitely NOT a fan of the improvisational quilting...never will I succumb to the wonky houses or free-form letters. They are sloppy and just as tedious as making them neatly. But, there is something fun and youthful about the colorful log blocks. And I find the black, red, white and green combination pleasing and happy.
Pictures done in my sewing hole/basement still lack sufficient lighting to be really clear, but here you can see the colors somewhat.

In a perfect world (AKA "if I didn't have to go buy it at a fabric store!"), I would have liked to sash these blocks with black, but I think that is OK. I will finish this off in the coming weeks as yet another Linus donation.

Monday, February 09, 2009

A weekend finish - Number 7 for this year

This past weekend, I finished the second Linus top made from the remaining 12 Jacob's Ladder blocks that Kate sent me. She sent 24 in all, and I finished one of them in mor boy-ish fabrics a couple weeks ago. This one has more purple, pink and yellow, and is sashed in plum - much more fitting of a little girl.
I've seen a pantograph pattern done lately that is similar to what I attempted - large loops/petals. I am quite pleased with how this one came out. Except for a number of thread breaks, which I do not typically have to deal with, it went rather quickly (for me!) - about 3.5 hours to sash, sandwich, quilt and bind. The binding is done on machine. I completely violates all of my own principles of "Never, but Never sew down a binding on machine". But, these are donation quilts that will be used and washed so I think that the machined bindings are OK for that purpose.
Here's a couple other views. The colors are very soft and pretty. I especially love that bright lime green with the purple sashing (and the salmon tones too).

Saturday, February 07, 2009

FSQS5 mono sneek peek

Here's a sneek peek at the quilt I am finishing for my 4SQS5 partner. I took it usung the sepia feature of my camera to mask the color that it really is (not what you will expect!!). You'll have to wait a few weeks until it is received later this month for a full reveal. I just completed the binding this morning, and have a few threads to knot and bury and I think it is mostly done. This was a deliciously fun & whimsical project! I hope the new owner will appreciate it (despite my many machine quilting anomalies...).

Friday, February 06, 2009

Peachy Sherbet

Quilty bloggers can be the nicest people. After my last post, Michelle left me a comment saying she had a set of fabric to send to me if I wanted it. Now, those of you that know me, know well enough that I never pass up fabric offers! It arrived today, three days later, and was eye candy to open. It's 6 fat quarters of reds, oranges & yellows, plus two and a half yards of fuscia and orange. She had bought enough to make fense rail quilt for which she also sent the pattern.
But as soon as I saw the colors (I am totally in love with orange & pink together!!), I knew I what design I wanted to do. I have been eyeing this pattern for a while, but after seeing Jeanne's 4SQS5 mini, I knew that this was next on my list of to-do's.
After a few minutes of playing with EQ6, here's what I came up with. It is about 44" x 50" - a good size for a child. It's naturally going to be a Project Linus donation quilt, as my house can only hold so many gorgeous quilts. Furthermore, I always try to make quilts to give away if I am bequethed the goods with which to make them.

Thanks so much Michelle; it is really a nice treat.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Alexander Henry Fabric Update

Here's a closeup...I found this at Joann's, and it is from the Everglades collection. It is just fabulous and is a nice heavy weight material.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Off the Wagon

I made myself a ridiculous new year's resolution that I would not buy any fabric before April 1. I excluded needing to buy thread or apparel fabric, as I plan to make my daughter an Easter dress. I was so good for an entire month. In case you are wondering, will power is not my strong suit. Fabric & ice cream are my absolute vises.

Now, I don't think that I have a super killer stash like the awesome 1km Emma, but then I don't have the time to measure mine. And part of me really worries how much is here. I am in the process of another round of organizing of the scraps into bins. There are 6 more bins awaiting my attention. There's one for each color, one for strips for log cabins, etc - mostly left overs from cutting borders and bindings. The fabric cubbies need some tidying as well, removing some of the smaller pieces.
This box is all 1-1.5 yard cuts that I was bequeathed at a Project Linus function in November. They are all nice fabrics, and there are 2-4 pieces of several fabrics, which is awesome for the backings. That said, many are not ones that I would personally select for my projects, but I am using them for my Linus quilts quite happily. The shelf off to the left has precut blocks, some extraneous blocks from all of my projects, unfinished flimsies, etc. The shelves to the right have a 6 yard section of fleece for backs and the Linus quilts made this month (6).I also acquired this box of fat quarters. Some are bold and very kid-like, some are flannel. Again not really my choices, but good for many uses.
As far as stashes go, it's not enormous, but it's pretty healthy. When I started making the linus quilts 2 years ago, it was partly to use up much of the scraps I had. In that process, many of my friends & family donated their scraps, and this never-ending vicious cycle began - I can never have less than I had when it comes to fabric; there are always more that I want/need!
And so this ridiculous resolution of mine is better stated, that I am trying hard not to buy rather than saying that I will not buy! I needed (yes, needed!!) 12" of black for an inner border on my Black & White challenge quilt. I will post progress on this very soon, as I just realized I have not in quite a while. The three quilt pannels are an afternoon from being ready to quilt. I did well at only buying the 12", but failed when I saw this next Alexander Henry is so awesome in real life. I can hardly wait to fall off the wagon again and order some Kona Solids to sew with it!! Maybe after the taxes are done...

And one last thing...I am tentatively hoping to enter a quilt in the Maine State Quilt Show this summer. I may enter Sophie's Little Dresses (assuming the hand quilting is done before the entry deadline) and another (which I need to design and sew). The second one will be a big fat orange cat, since that is after all, the quintecential cat to me! I beefed up my brown, orange & amber batik stash a little with 12 measly fat quarters. That one on the right is clearly the wrong color. Oops...
So I have also been trying to get a good picture of said fat orange cat (AKA Henry) to use for this quilt (in their special coon cat or cat display section). My model is not so cooperative though. Once I get the 4SQS5 piece wrapped up, I will think more about this endeavor. I may even do it fused raw edge applique (despite how much I loathe this process when it is done poorly!). It will facilite good detailing.

Monday, February 02, 2009

February Birthday Blocks

I thought last month was my least favorite set of blocks to make, but I think I have changed my opinion. Don't get me wrong, I love how these turned out; I just loathed the process of trying to come up with something creative.
This grandmother's fan is for Randi (group 3). I have not added any trim or lace, but still may before I send it across the big pond.

Amy (group 4) asked for things with a "circle" theme, in black, white, blue, green, and/or purple. I pulled lots of fabrics with dots or circles, as well as found the circular geese pattern. I have since thrown this pattern in the trash as I never want to make it again. It was so tedious! I hope the few lost triangle tips are not too obvious (a few out of ~100 tips is not bad!).
And lastly, this is for Wendi (group 3) for her "town" theme. Yes, another paper pieced pattern from Hell...far too many pieces. And do not even ask how I lobbod off the top of those topiary trees!... I may still embroider "City Hall" on it. The next pic shows the clock face embroidery, which is obviously not my forte. All in all, though, I think all three blocks look pretty good.