Monday, November 30, 2015

Allietare Clue 1 Linkup

Let's see if I do this right. Trying to join the Allietare Linkup.

60 HSTs sewn and trimmed for Clue 1. What do you think about the rather dark tan on the upper left? Too close in value to the Gray? I will make extra in case this doesn't work.  I am going to make about 250-200 of these this week, as I don't need a bed sized quilt.

Progress has been slow, because I continue to work on the Sew Together bags.

Got three more in progress, and have the liners just about all done.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

I finished one!

Sew Together Bag, that is.  Of course, mine had to be made from cat fabric that has been stashed for more than a decade.

Tons of room in this. In addition to use as a craft bag, it would also make a great travel bag to hold laptop charger, phone charger, kindle charger, etc.and keep the cords from tangling...I should have made myself one while I was still working!

Clyde almost made me give up on finishing this today. He seemed very needy this afternoon, and kept prancing around on my sewing table.

I have three more of these bags in progress to give as gifts.  Hopefully I can finish them this week. It should be faster now that I've figured out the directions, which, as I said yesterday, could have used a lot more illustrations.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

I'm Sew Not Together (Yet)

Worked mostly on the Sew Together Bags today. I have four of them in progress. Was going to complete one first as a prototype, but it seems much more efficient to do some assembly line sewing.

  1. Cut all pattern pieces for 4 bags
  2. Make the side panels for all 4 bags (I should have topstitched them right after step 5, but I think I had to break to make dinner at this point and didn't have my Lean Process Consultant brain working well. I'm retired now, but old habits die hard.
  3. Fuse the interfacing for all four bags
  4. Put in all the zippers (12 9 zippers in all for 4 bags)
  5. Topstitch both sides of all the zippers (didn't lose time switching between zipper and topstitching foot this way)

And here is where I stopped for the day: Made one whole lining assembly

I have to agree with some of the reviews of this pattern here and here where the bloggers noted that more illustrations and photos would be helpful. The verbal instructions are ok, but numbered steps would have also made the process easier to follow, instead of block paragraph instructions.

Somehow, during this long, blissful afternoon of sewing, I managed to strain my back. I think my L-shaped sewing desk is too crowded with three machines set up (Babylock Evolution serger, Bernina 180 that I was using for bag assembly today, and my Singer 301 that I am using for piecing quilt blocks. So, it's off to bed to hunker down with my Kindle under this quilt (another free pattern from Bonnie Hunter) read more of the latest book in the Outlander Series.

A few fun facts about this quilt:

1. We use it as our extra quilt over a scrappy log cabin.
2. It was finished in 2014, but it contains actual Y2K fabric, as does the slightly older scrappy log cabin.
3. It was one of the first quilts I made without an inner and outer border.   I'm not sure they are always needed, especially for something that is more of a throw than a bed quilt.  I guess I am just getting lazier as I get older.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Getting back in the swing

Been away from my computer for a while, first to take a short road trip, and then to prepare for Thanksgiving, which involved cooking part of the meal (including the turkey) and taking it to mom's house. Traffic was awful and we arrived an hour later than planned.

In the Quiltorium, I had been working on some Sew Together Bags, but that got interrupted because I was out of fusible interfacing.  I have four of them cut out (one to keep and three to give away), and hope that I can make good progress on them tomorrow.

In the interim, if you are a scrappy quilter, you will know what Black Friday usually brings: the start of another Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt: Allietare. I haven't quilted my first BH mystery, Lazy Sunday, so I suppose I should get hoppin' on that, but I love piecing more than basting and quilting, unfortunately. And this new mystery is Italian, and two of my grandparents were born in Italy, so how could I not participate.

I will probably make this one lap sized, as I just don't do well quilting large quilts by machine.
I made a small dent in clue 1 today. The gray is a constant in this quilt. I found this small print that actually reminds me of a course aggregate concrete, which is right in line with the Italian theme, since the ancient Romans were expert creators of that material.

Since my fusible interfacing arrived this evening, it will be back to work on bags after a morning walk tomorrow. Hopefully I can share a picture of at least one of the bags tomorrow.

Another thing I did today was sit at the piano for about 15 minutes. It's another part of my life that had fallen away during my career. Good news: I can still read music. Bad news: My left hand's 3rd, 4th and 5th fingers will need a bit of retraining, and it's much harder for me to coordinate two lines of simple music. I am hoping that my brain is neuroplastic enough to revive this long-dormant skill.

I also moved my little spinning wheel to a different room where I can close the door and spin in a cat-free zone.  I'm multi-craftual, and haven't yet touched my wheel or my loom, although I have been crocheting and kntting a bit. Just trying to get it all back.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Got a little piecing done

Had to tidy up a bit in the quiltorium first, there is just too much clutter in there right now. But I started putting together these  blocks which were based on Bonnie Hunter's Pfefferneusse quilt, but laid out differently.
I am not sure I like the arrangement....or if I proceed, will it be too big for a table topper/too small for a lap I am going to step away from it for a while. If you have any ideas, leave a comment please.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A quick and easy Christmas Infinity Scarf

Just wanted to share a quick project I made up with my serger.

At Joann's sale last weekend, I picked up some cheap cotton T-shirts. The fabric used to be a lot beefier than what you could find in a fashion retail store, and at 4 for $10, if you buy the large sizes, you can get a lot of yardage for $2.50.

So, I started with a couple of men's 2XL white shirts.
1. Press them flat and cut off the hem.
2. Fold them in half lengthwise and cut them into six inch strips. You can get two full tubular strips from a men's 2XL.

These T-shirts have no side seams. 

3. Cut one side open.  

4. Give it a twist and pin it to make that moebius strip that every good infinity scarf needs. 

5. Set your serger up to flatlock.  I used a swatch from the T-shirt's sleeve to test the flatlock settings. If you don't have a serger, try a zig zag, press it to one side, and then stitch the seam flat with a straight stitch.   

6. Set your serger up for a lettuce edge rolled hem. I used a three thread, with red wooly nylon in the loopers, and red thread in the needle.  Stitch all the way around. Because of the twist, it's one continuous run of stitching. 
If you don't have a serger, you can do this with a narrow, short stitch length zig zag, as described here. 

7. Set your serger up for cover stitch and stitch away in loose curves all the way around.  The cover stitch will look different on the two sides of the twist, even though you are still sewing all the way around once. 

8.  Finished product.  

My self-critique and suggestions

1. The T-shirt fabric was thinner than I would like, I may go poking around Joann's today and see if I can find yardage that would work better. I might also try doubling the fabric, but I'm not sure what type of lettuce edge that would give me.  A good excuse to experiment some more. . . .
2. A two thread rolled hem might have given a better lettuce effect, I will definitely swatch some more.
3. the 2XL was perhaps too wide to start with so maybe an XL would be a better source of fabric if you go the T-shirt route.
4. Since I actually made four of these, I may try straight stitching two of them together, right down the middle, perhaps ruffling it up slightly with a ruffler attachment on one of my straight stitch machines, to give the whole thing a bit more body.
5. Red and Green wave stitch might be a lovely edging for something like this as well.....

I will update on this blog if any of these experiments work!

Drop me a comment if you try this and come up with any other suggestions. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Baby Quilts

Gave away this one when I met my cousin's new grandbaby this weekend.  I got the idea for the greens when having lunch outside on one of the first glorious days of spring, after the brutal winter of 2014-15. I was so overjoyed to see the green on the trees dancing in the light breeze of a sunny day.  Same leaves that you can see in the last post!

The pattern is called Arkansas crossroads. Trying to link this to a link party over at Quilting is More Fun than Housework.    

Quilting is more fun than Housework

 And for a baby boy on the way in December, I am working on this today. It's basted and marked and ready to get machine-quilted. I will use straight stitching with a walking foot, nothing fancy.  Found something similar via Pinterest on a blog called Whiskers and Wool. (must be a kindred spirit....) I like her softer colors better, but this one is turning out fine.  I've been making my baby quilts borderless and square lately, I figure you can always use one more quilt to lay on the floor for a play area.

You can follow my Quilting pinboard here  where I have this and other quilty pins saved.  

Monday, November 09, 2015

The harvest continues

Hard to believe that this is how it looks after the first 26 bags were picked up last week! Our trees are huge, and mostly bare except for the nastiest of the oaks. Looking forward to a few rainy days of rest....

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Took a Minor Tumble Today

A foggy morning and the light was bad for photography when we walked. Coming out of the greenbelt trail, I stepped into a small hole and went down sideways across the curb into the street.  I should have been more attentive, since I nearly fell into the same hole yesterday.  Was able to complete the rest of my walk, maybe another mile, but as the day wore on, I could feel the stiffness set in. I landed sideways, so my hip, shoulder and elbow took the worst of it, but my ribcage was jostled enough that there is a lot of ache on that side of my torso as well.

I managed to get a little quilt piecing and a little tidying up done in the quiltorium, but gave up after lunch and sat and crocheted for a while in front of the TV. Digging through the archives, here are a few more quilt photos. The first is a small wallhanging that I made with a specialty twist ruler. Can't remember the name of the technique, if you know, please leave a comment and clue me in.

Next up is Bonnie Hunter's Lazy Sunday mystery from a few years back. Yet to be quilted. 

 And this is a machine quilting sampler that I made using some old nine patch swap blocks from years ago.  From an online group called the Beehive and a group that preceded that one. We've been online quilting friends for a long time now. I worked on the Lazy Sunday top, above at one of our yearly get togethers, in Shipshewana. Can't remember if it was 2013 or 2014.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Working Hard

We are still trying to keep up with the leaf harvest here.  More raking and bagging was the key task for the afternoon.

We were very happy to see our old friend Lame Deer on our walk this morning. She's been around with that crippled foreleg for at least four years. Seems to have a fawn in tow come summer. We've seen her the past two mornings, with a big buck in pursuit. She can actually run for short distances. She is our local hero.

And there were other does who stood still long enough for a few photos. The close-ups show how unique their faces are. Those bucks are always on the run though and are hard to photograph this time of year. We had some good shots of them in the summer, before their hormones were raging.

And back into the quilt archives, here are a few finished objects-these first two are patterns from Bonnie Hunter. First a split nine patch, totally scrappy bed runner that was a great leader and ender project.

Next up is a Bonnie Hunter pattern called Scrappy Mountain Majesties

Next is a crazy scrappy mess that I call Stress Fracture Vertigo, in memory of my two ailments while on a long consulting project that involved lots of flying from NY to Dallas.  Crumb piecing and maverick stars, or wonky stars (again, techniques I learned from Bonnie Hunter's site and blog).

Well, that's enough digging through the photo archives for today. I'm hoping to actually do some sewing tomorrow, but I am sure there will be more yardwork on the agenda as well.

Monday, November 02, 2015

My first Monday of Retirement and a Mini Quilt show

Hit the trail before 7 am.  I had actually been up since before 5 to feed the cats. Went to Mass because it's All Souls Day today, then did some grocery shopping on the way home. Then we raked and bagged leaves for a few hours.  I'd really like to make a big dent in this while it's warm this week, even though it will probably be well into December before all the oak trees drop their leaves. 

Luckily, there were leftovers for dinner, so it's been an easy evening. I have had very little urge to check my computer or email during the day, which is great. I've been up and doing things most of the day, which is additional activity I sorely need to get my weight back under control. My fitbit says I've done almost 15000 steps today!

I spent a little time yesterday sorting things out in my sewing room. I had lost my 2015 Row by Row strips, but found them under a completed quilt. I have one more pattern to make, and then I need to put it all together. One of these days I will make a list of UFOs...and try to start finishing things. I even have a stack of wallhangings that need hanging sleeves. 

I recently finished this wallhanging, which had been sitting forgotten in a bin for many years.
And here is a quilt I finished this summer, while taking a vacation week. It's a Bonnie Hunter Pattern, but I forget which book it's from.
While I was off that week, I went to a class at Pieceful Quilting, and made this, I just love the way the batik made the perfect sky for this landscape. 

I have to say Blogger makes it easy to import photos from an android phone, even when I am writing a post on my computer.  Other than that, I am finding Blogger to be a little less friendly than Wordpress, where I was part of a corporate blogging team in the past. 

Sunday, November 01, 2015

My main quilt helper

This is Clyde, the more "helpful" if my two cats. I will post his bio some other time.  I am just testing the android blogger app right now.

I absolutely had to retire this time of year

Because I love it so.  I would gather all the colors and keep them with me every day if I could.  I am an autumn person.

Just back from a morning walk. The colors are still beautiful here and we laughed as the gold and red leaves showered down on us like snowflakes. I am trying to push all the work related clutter out of my brain by surfacing great memories from the past. I remembered learning this poem in high school, by Gerard Manley Hopkins as I took in all the colors of the day.

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Again the big buck remained elusive, we did not spot him at all, but a few does were kind enough to pose for me. I zoomed in, and they let me get within about 15 feet of them before they danced off. 

More later, I have to finish my exercises and then  get ready for Mass. After that, it's either raking leaves or cleaning up the quiltorium, which looks like this right now.