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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Socks?

I've caught the bug to make socks. Don't ask me why. And I'm frustrated as Hell.

So far I've bought one very expensive size 1 40 inch long circular needle along with a book and an equally expensive ball of yarn. The book was about knitting both socks at the same time toe up. Boy was that a mistake. Since I've never knit a sock, trying to do two of them at the same time using something called a Magic Loop was not a bright idea. Doing it with that very expensive ball of yarn was equally a mistake.

So I ordered another very expensive 40 inch long circular needle in a larger size figuring I would make one sample sized sock to learn the technique. That needle will arrive some time tomorrow probably in the early evening.

I also ordered a Craftsy class on toe up socks. Donna Druchunas is a great teacher, by the way, but it is probably too advanced a class for a total beginner. What I really needed was a pattern I think.

Today I checked what kinds of needles I have. I've got several sets of double pointed needles. But none of the sets have 5 needles. They are all 4 needle sets. And in that toe up class, if I'm going to use double pointed needles I need 5 in the set.

I went to Walmart today and picked up two balls of Lion Brand yarn, probably in a "sport" weight size. Tonight I decided I'd take one of those balls of yarn and a size 2 circular needle (probably not long enough for the Magic Loop technique, and try to follow one of the toe styles taught by Donna Druchunas.

 Here it is after 6 rows.

The second photo shows the process further along. I've actually done one increase row at this point.

I am succeeding in doing the process. It would be easier with either the right kind of double pointed needles or a longer circular needle. But I have already figured out several things just from having gone this far.

 I knit very loose. That is true with flat knitting too. Any sock I make is supposed to be tighter than what I would normally use for a sweater or a shawl. Even though this is a sport yarn, a #2 needle is at least one size too big.

I would be better off with a smoother yarn. This one is somewhat fuzzy and it has gotten in the way. I do have smooth sport weight yarn in my stash. Sport weight yarn isn't the best for socks, but it is already obvious that if I was using sock yarn I'd need a needle than any of the ones I've got. I need to go one or two sizes smaller than most people.


I probably would have been better off with a cuff down class at Craftsy. The toe and heel would still have been the hardest part, but I still think a more traditional method is what I really need.

I need to try 5 double pointed needles in a size that matches the yarn I'm trying to use. And I probably need to also try a really long (40 inch) circular needle in that size too. 

I'm not going to consider this a UFO. It is really more of a learning experience. And I need to spend some time figuring out what to do next.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Something Old, Something New

Nothing bridal here, but I really am working on both the old and the new.

Two more finishes.

I decided to do the easy finishes first. The little mug rug yesterday was pretty typical.

Last night I did the hand sewing on the small braid quilt I mad last year. I can now consider it finished.
I didn't list the knitting UFOs, but they do exist. This shawl was also finished last year. All it needed was to darn in the yarn ends.

This is a great pattern for someone who wants to try lace knitting, or who wants a project you can do while watching TV. Only one pattern row, and then one purl, one knit and another purl, before the next pattern row. Basically cast on, do a few rows of garter stitch (knit every row) and then begin the pattern. Knit for 75 inches and do some more garter stitch and bind off.

I finally figured out where this shawl is going. I always knew I was going to give it away, and I will do that tonight.

And something new. I have never knit a sock in my life. I've been knitting for 60 years. Sweaters, lace shawls, you name it, and I've done it. But no socks.

I'd heard of 2 at a time socks, and since I've always knit cardigan fronts and sleeves in pairs at the same time, it seems sensible to just do that with the socks too.

Since this is a totally new technique for me, I'll be reading the book a bit before I cast on.

I got the yarn, book and needles at Conversational Threads in Emmaus, PA. A very interesting store. It was only one store when I went there last a few months ago. It has now doubled in size, and has a handicapped friendly entrance. But what pleased me the most was that the place was full of people. They run a UFO class on Tuesday mornings. And there had to have been 10 people still there when I walked in about half an hour after the class should have closed.

This is an old fashioned yarn store in some ways. If I get stuck and only need a little help, they will give me that for free. If I need more there are two of those classes a week. And if I need a lot of one on one, I can purchase that by the hour.

This kind of place has not existed in my adult lifetime. There have been yarn stores, but mostly hanging on by a thread. There was one in California before I moved from there, but I didn't have the time or energy to do much of anything except work and come home then. This is going to be fun.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sewing on Monday

I decided to finish the really easy finishing from the UFO list. So I started with the little pink mug rug.


All it needed was to be cut down to mug rug size and zig zagged all around. I think it came out pretty well. But there were some glitches. I wanted to use a specialty thread I haven't been able to find a use for, but because it is variable I couldn't also use it in the bottom. I decided to try a solid color thread in the bobbin. I chose a bobbin thread on the first try, but that just didn't work, so I tried a solid pink and that also didn't work. The differences in weight were what I thought the problem was. So I put the same thread in top and bottom. But when I zig zagged on my tiny sample piece you can see what happened in the upper zig zag sample. It turned out to be the bobbin itself. It wasn't threaded right. I fixed that and got the bottom sample.

The zig zagging turned out pretty well. The thread is normal Coats Dual Duty, which is heavier than most of the thread I've been using lately for both piecing and for free motion quilting.

The two pieces of fabric are exactly the same. The color change happened in the camera. 

I also started on the Bamboo pattern on the extra blocks from my table scarf. 


I had tried to sew Bamboo on my sample piece. It did not turn out looking like anything I would want on a quilt. So I drew it out until I had gotten the hang of it. I do find that drawing it out helps a lot. All the teachers say to draw it out and they are right.

I've quilted the first of the extra blocks. I'll do the second one and then the ones in the table scarf. And when those are done, I'll start working on the other blocks in the scarf. I've got a pattern for those too. 

But one thing at a time!

Take care all.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

UFO Sunday

I've linked to UFO Sunday at Leah Day's blog, but I've never actually done a list of mine. I don't think I got them all this time either. But I'm going to start out with one that dates back to the mid-70s when I made my first quilt. I also made three pillows and this was one of the pillow tops. The pieces were made by cutting out cardboard templates, drawing around them with a pencil on the sewing line, cutting out with a seam allowance and then doing running stitches along the lines. We did not press the pieces until the block was done. The pillow top is also hand quilted.

What we have got here is a UFO that might be older than some of the bloggers who will read this post. I have the fabric for the pillow back. I just need to actually make a pillow out of it.

This cross stitch picture is almost as bad. I made this at some point in the 90s while I was living in California. Or it might be even earlier than that when I lived in New Jersey in the 80s. It has a backing on it and just needs to become a picture of some kind. Probably not in a frame.
This definitely dates to the 90s. I literally can't do this kind of cross stitch anymore. My eyes won't let me. It ought to be framed. But it is so fine that it probably wouldn't look like much on a wall.
 It was done on 18 count Aida because there weren't many half stitches on it. Just a huge number of colors and lots of thread changes every few stitches.









I've got a Mug Rug that just needs to be cut out and bound in some way. Zig Zags would probably be enough.
A small quilt that just needs its hanging sleeve hand stitched on one end.
And the class project quilt from a Craftsy Class that needs binding, and probably a hanging sleeve.

I have no idea where I would hang either of these. That is probably why they haven't been finished.








And then there are the orphan blocks. Some of them look like they would go together, some not. There are several more that are cut out but not sewn.







And the pillow tops. The white ones were hand quilted 4 or 5 years ago. The pieced braid tops are waiting for machine quilting. When I made them they turned out so good I was afraid to machine quilt them with the skills I had at that time.





And everything else. Including two projects where I've got supplies but haven't even made a start.

The Gift Bag Ornaments have been lost for months. I finally found them by emptying a drawer and there the package was at the bottom of the pile. I'll probably do that as my next hand stitching project.



Yes, this was worth doing. If nothing else I learned how to use Picassa to make photo collages. Turned out using Photoshop was overkill.





Odds and ends




I was going to quilt first thing today, but first I needed to sew down the edges of my practice pieces and the table runner. But something was wrong with the sewing machine.

The machine is less than a year old, and I know that some time in the next few months I will need to take it in for a checkup. I'll take my lessons on the machine when it is ready to come home again. But not now! Maybe in April or May.

The machine wasn't advancing the fabric. I tried it out on just two pieces of fabric. I tried it out on a practice sandwich. No luck. The stitch formation was fine. But they were way too close together. I tried making the stitches longer in the machine. I tried a different stitch. Twice!

When something is wrong the first thing to do is to rethread the machine. Nope.

I was using a new thread from a company I had never tried before. I changed out the thread to one that I knew the machine had no problem with. Nope.

Maybe it was the walking foot. Maybe it didn't like the kinds of fabric it was stitching on. The stitches did look better on the plain fabric sandwich with no batting. Oh.....

It was the walking foot. It had not been installed correctly on the machine. I pulled it off and put it on again correctly. Everything worked.

There is more than just sewing going on in my life. I've had physical issues for years with my back and with walking. Last year I asked my family doctor for a chiropractor. She sent me to someone she trusted. She has other patients going to him. Things got better.

I'd done physical therapy a year earlier, but my asthma got bad and that affected my heart so I had to stop. The heart turned out to be OK. When the asthma got under control the heart stopped doing weird things. I decided to try to do the earliest and easiest chair exercises that the physical therapist had started me on. Things got better, and I ended up upgrading a few of the exercises to the standing versions.

I asked the chiropractor about massage therapy and the next thing I knew I was having massages once a week. She added in some additional physical therapy type exercises to the ones I was already doing to help deal with my very swollen feet. The feet are no longer that swollen. Things got better.

I could walk to my mailbox, but just barely right after Christmas. I decided to take my walker with me because I knew there was a heavy box in the mailbox. I went, got the mail, came back and realized that my back did not hurt. The next day I walked just a bit further in addition to getting the mail. I continued just a bit further every day and suddenly, two weeks ago, realized I'd made a breakthrough. I could walk about 5 or 6 blocks total (round trip) and come home out of breath, but my back did not hurt because the walker was supporting me.

Then came the freezing weather we have had for a week. I got to go out and walk a little bit yesterday and it was heaven. I'll do more today as it warms up. I need to be careful not to push too much, but being able to go out for a walk is wonderful. Maybe I'll take my camera with me.

Take care all.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What am I working on?

I'm working on Bloom. I got the stippling done around "Bloom Where You Are." I totally forgot that the word "Planted" needed to be on the phrase. There is no room for it, so it won't be there. Maybe just implied.

I've been thinking through the free motion quilting for the table scarf. I saw Bamboo on a quilt on Leah Day's blog. I've done Bamboo before and it will be perfect for the larger rectangle in rectangle blocks. And her Sunflower for the small square in square 4 patch blocks. I need to find the Bamboo video and watch it, and I need to draw out both of the patterns a few times.

I've located a good piece of fabric for the back of the extras from the table scarf. I've done the spray basting and put them together. I found a couple of small pieces of batting, so I'm using them up too.

They extra blocks will be practice pieces and if they come out OK, I'll end up with two square and two rectangular Mug Rugs. I've discovered I love Mug Rugs.

This is my basting area in my garage. I do the basting with the garage door open, so it is the same as being outside which considering that the ground is covered with a couple of inches of snow around here this morning, wasn't happening.

The hexagons continue to add up. I've put the finished ones into a box out of the way. I don't want to even look at them until there are enough to try to figure out the layout I'm going to use. Then I'll know if I need to make more or not. This hand project is going way faster than I expected. If I pick up the needle I make 15 to 20 of them in an evening while watching TV. It is the perfect TV project.

I've signed up for 3 new free Craftsy mini-classes. At this point I've signed up for a lot of these minis. Some of them have been very useful. Some not. They aren't the same as the paid classes. The teachers mostly aren't involved. They are samples both of the class platform and the teachers in many cases. In one case, Creative Quilt Backs with Elizabeth Hartman, I ended up buying the paid for class as well. The free one was that good.

I found a tutorial for small portable design boards here:  http://beeinmybonnetco.blogspot.com/2011/07/mini-design-board-tutorial.html

I'm going to try to make one. At this point I don't really have a good place to put a whole design wall, but maybe one this size would be a good thing.

I've bought the foam core board. It is black on the other side. I've got the batting and probably enough left over binding from other projects to cover the edges. Lori Holt used a hot glue gun. I think I'm going to try fabric glue instead.

Take care all.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Stippling


 I've managed to learn some free motion quilting. And I've gotten good enough that I've allowed myself to quilt one major project that I see every day. But Stippling is not something I do well. Mostly I've avoided it like the plague, but there are times when Stippling is what is needed, so the time has come to actually do some.

The Blue Quilt now has a name of its own. I'm calling it Bloom. And that fits because it is what I am trying to do with my life. I am trying to bloom where I am.

I am hoping you can see the texture in the area where the Stippling is, but in the two smaller photos you can see the actual Stippling. And it is pretty awful. But one thing I have learned is that the only way to go from awful to not too bad is practice and I'm not going to get that on practice sandwiches.

I started the Stippling where the single words are. I'll do more in the space where the phrase is. Not sure what I will do next. Leah Day is teaching patterns that will work in long, somewhat narrow, areas. And I know that I will want to do some of those. But I've made a beginning. And that is something I was worried I wouldn't do. My pattern is to let UFOs sit, and sit, and sit and then suddenly feel ready to move on them again. Looks like it is Bloom's turn.

Take care all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hexagons

I didn't expect this project to move as fast as it has. I enjoy basting the hexagons while I am watching TV. In fact I need to stop because my arm is beginning to hurt more than I stop because I'm bored. I know I'm not making a Grandmother's Flower Garden, but wasn't sure what I wanted to do. I've seen some small quilts made out of squares that are actually value or color studies, and I wondered if I could do that with the hexagons.

So at first I had this. A few basted hexagons and a few more that had been cut out, but not basted.

A few days later I had what is in the second photo. And yes, it looked like I could do that color and value study with them. At the point the photo was taken I had a lot of yellow and some blue ad a few green and brown hexagons And a total of 3 that were orange.

I've cut out a lot more. More dark colors. I've found a few more orange scraps in the stash. I've started cutting the red fabrics. So this second photo is not what the project is going to look like once it is finished. In fact, I've pulled the hexagons that are finished out of the configuration in the photo.

I'll try this again once more of the hexagons are done. What I am hoping for is a group of very light fabrics from several color ways, not just yellow, in the center and a rainbow for the middle ranges with the dark fabrics on the outside. I have some very dark blue and at least one, possibly two, blacks. It is very likely that the outer ring will be those two fabrics with maybe a very dark green and/or brown to fill in.

I'm not sure how big this will be. I'm not sure if I will try to finish it with the hexagons as the outer edge or if I will applique it to a large piece of solid neutral fabric. Or just borders. I've already pulled one hexagon out because it won't work, and I'll probably be doing that with a second. But that white and red hexagon just might find itself back once the red fabrics show up. 

Take care all.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Free Motion Quilting Today

I'm back on free motion quilting today. I decided to try putting words on a blue art quilt that I had started several months ago. Before Christmas I thought I'd put some crochet doilies on it. But after Christmas that didn't seem to be what I wanted to do. I'd spray based the top because I knew it needed to be quilted before the doilies when on.


When Leah Day started her new teaching project in January I knew I wanted to do at least some of what she was teaching, but I didn't want to do her quilt. So this week I drew two words and a phrase on sections of the blue art quilt top.

I chose to use script letters, and I don't think I sewed over them as often as she did on hers. I'm not sure how I feel about this, but it certainly will take care of my fear of my stitches showing, if nothing else.

The phrase Bloom Where You Are spoke to me. It is what I am trying to do with my life. I also use two words in another section of the piece: Joy and Peace.

I'm going to be breaking down another barrier with this piece. I'm going to stipple around the letters. I have avoided stippling like the plague, but there are places where nothing else will do.

I've been auditioning some quilting ideas for another project. But you can see the word Joy and two kinds of quilting around it on this paper too. I liked how the stippling, even my miserable version of it, looked much better than the echoing.

I've ordered some blue thread and I will be waiting for it before I start that part of the quilting.
 
Meanwhile I'm auditioning quilting designs for the table scarf. I'm pretty sure I'm going to use Leah Day's Sunflower on the group of four square in square blocks. One sunflower to each group of blocks. The "problem" is the larger square in square block. I still have not figured out what to do with that.

Progress continues on the hexagon project. Turns out I can baste the hexagon papers while I am watching TV. I've cut out a bunch of additional ones.

I'm going to be doing some kind of color study or value study with these. I'm not totally sure what. I think I'm going to need more very light colored hexagons for this project. But mostly I'm just making them. I keep thinking about how to organize the kind of thing I want to do with them, but mostly, I'm just making them.









Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Bed Scarf Finished

I took the last stitch. The bed scarf is finished and on the bed. Considering that the RIME Quilt and the Bed Scarf were made a couple of decades apart, they go pretty well together.

This was a long road. It is the first major piece that I machine quilted. I used skills I learned at Carftsy classes with 3 different teachers including Leah Day, and also from Leah Day's videos on her web site.

I don't think I could have done it without both of those sources because there isn't any place local that I could have found a teacher.

The Internet truly does change everything.











Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Macungie Winter


We are having an ice storm. There was a bit of snow at some point and a lot of rain, but there has been ice on and off. And this is what the small trees in my area look like. This tree was just outside my door, so I went out and took a close up of it.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

One project almost done, one not quite started

I am feeling excited over my quilting. One project is almost done. I'm doing the hand sewing on my bed scarf and I'll be able to use it before the week is out.

This photo is just a mock up of how it will look. When this photo was taken back in may, the blocks were finished, the white sashing and first border were on, but the second border had not even been cut.

I learned a lot making this project. Looking back it is amazing just how much I did learn.

I made the blocks with a ruler I bought at the Lancaster AQS quilt show. This is one of those rulers where you make the unit a bit bigger and cut it down. This should have made the points perfect. That might work with other rulers but it did not work perfectly with this one. And I discovered I hated all of the finicky "squaring up" I had to do. I've spent the last 8 months learning precise piecing instead. And I like that much more. Still, that is a complicated star block and I don't know if I would have even tried it without the ruler.

I basted this project with pins. It is probably the last project I will do that way. All of the newer ones have been spray based. The setup I have in the garage has been big enough for the smaller projects. I'm not sure if a bigger one would work out there or not. But it was almost impossible for me to baste this one with pins because I can't stand up long enough to work on a project this large. It is the size of a bed quilt in one direction and the size of a 12 inch block with borders in the other.

This project sat for a long time while I developed the machine quilting skills to work on something I was going to be looking at close up for a long time. It is almost certainly the last project where I will be using a walking foot to stitch in the ditch with invisible thread. I hated the way invisible thread, with a bobbin thread in the bobbin, looked on the quilt. If I was working on this project now I'd probably free motion quilt in the ditch around the star and quilt something inside it.

Even the binding was a learning experience. I had watched a bunch of YouTube videos and found one that I thought would work. Marci Baker from Alicia's Attic has a method that worked for me on the first try. I also bought her laminated lesson on the method. And it turned out I needed the drawing on that lesson. On the other hand after doing mitered corners on bindings perfectly over and over again over the last year, this time I got them totally messed up and had to pull out the stitching and restitch. The result isn't a mitered corner, but it will just have to do. I'm about 1/3 of the way through the binding right now.

The new project is going to be hexagons. I've looked at a lot of projects out there and mostly I don't want to do a Grandmother's Flower Garden. But I might end up with a version of that in the end. I've seen about three, very different, takes on hexagons that are not typical, but which are interesting.

I did English paper piecing back in the late 1980s when I lived in New Jersey. I made a small pink and blue tumbling blocks quilt. When I was working on it I did not realize I was making a small baby quilt. There was no baby on the horizon. I made it up, machine quilted it, and put it away. My grandson was born about 15 years later and was wrapped in the quilt during the very cold winter that was his first winter at home. He was so tiny that a smaller than usual baby quilt was just right.

Take care all.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

UFOs Everywhere

I haven't quilted for two days. Yesterday I was just feeling lazy. I've decided if you are as old a dirt, you are entitled to feel lazy once in a while. Today the travel committee of my community had a trip planed. Bethlehem, PA has a Grand Hotel and they do a very nice Sunday Brunch, with music. A group of more than 40 car pooled from our homes to the hotel. And it was a very nice Sunday Brunch indeed. Both the town and the hotel still had their Christmas decorations up for one more weekend. They come down during the week.

 But this is UFO Sunday over at Leah's Blog. And I had to show what is actually going on at my house.

The Bed Scarf is FINALLY at the binding stage. I've zig zagged the edges together and I'm going to sew the binding to the front. I'm going to do a traditional binding with the back sewed down by hand. Most of the bindings I did in 2012 were all done by machine.

The table scarf has batting and backing cut. They are ready to be taken out to the garage and spray basted. That is not something I do in the house. I'll pin the backing and the top to cardboard and do the spraying in the garage with the door up. I'll do that in daylight because the light in the garage isn't that great. I also want to wait for the rain to stop.

The blue art quilt has been sitting around waiting for me to decide what to do with it. It was basted a couple of months ago. I've put words on the spaces in between the couched and machine embroidery lines. Mine are in cursive. Don't know if that was the right thing to do or not. I need to put some words on one of the practice sandwiches and just try out the ideas.

So here I am. One binding project. One free motion project and one that will follow some of what Leah is doing during her current teaching project.

One more thing. I read Leah's blog today and I need to say something about what she talked about. I've been on the Internet almost as long as it has existed. I watched while Usenet fell apart because of SPAM and unmoderated forums. I've seen some very nasty stuff. I was on the receiving end once or twice. Most of the nasty stuff was, and is, the result of small minded people. It says so much more about them, then it does about the person it is directed towards. Most of the quilting community is warm and kind and loving. I'm going to focus on those people. Which is why you have to have moderation when a web site or conference is popular.

Take care all.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Just Life

I started my day as I normally do. The first round of pills followed by the simple exercises a physical therapist gave me several years ago. I do toe ups, heel ups and stand on one leg at a time for a count of 5 until I've done them all at least 15 times. I do this while I refill the humidifier during the months the humidifier is running. Then turn on the Keurig so the water will get hot. 15 leg ups with each leg, some arm circles and arm lifts and the water is usually hot. So I pick out which coffee I want this morning and let the pot make me a cup. Back to the chair to sit down and stand up 5 times.

I take my coffee into the sun parlor. This morning it was still dark so I turned on a light. I began a series of activities the massage therapist has me doing twice a day to keep the fluids moving in my body and then picked up my journal and started writing. I'm one of those people who does Morning Pages. I've worked my way through three of Julia Cameron's books including THE ARTIST'S WAY. It was the Morning Pages that got me quilting again, started me doing some photography and pushed me to start this blog.

About the only thing I photograph these days is quilting projects. 

I did take one picture out my back door of a snowstorm in progress during the last week of 2012.
And a couple of the new ornaments on the tree. I do cross stitch, but the snowman was given to me. I didn't make it. You can see my work, rather blurred on the angel picture dated 1983.

I did some quilting. Cut binding for the bed scarf and cut the excess backing and binding off it so I can bind it. It has been sitting around waiting for that for a couple of months. And then I went out.

I decided to go to Allentown Sewing where I got my two machines. That was were the scrap bags I made the table scarf came from and I wanted to see if I could find a good choice for the back and binding. I got very lucky. I found one of the fabrics in the top still on the bolt and bought a yard which will more than cover what I need.

Off to Giant to food shop. I was rather late going and the handicapped spaces were all full except one, but there was a scooter available so I was able to do my shopping. I can't stand up long enough to shop without the scooter.

I had points for gas, so I went and gassed up my car. I was down to about 1/3 a tank, so I needed more than I normally do. I generally get gas at 1/2 tank. It has been unusually warm around here for January, so it was safe enough to wait until after I shopped today.

I got gas for $1.159. I had been working the extra point coupons at Giant extremely well. I needed to restock a bunch of stuff this month. Paper stuff. Cleaning stuff. Even some stuff in the freezer. But $1.15!! How did I ever get that many points. I'm glad that the tank was mostly empty.

So everything was going great. Lots of productivity. Lots of good luck with shopping. I came home. Put all the food away. And sat down to rest a bit after a late lunch. And I fell asleep. I hate naps. They mess up the whole day.

Take care all.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The top is finished

I've finished the top of the table scarf I've been working on. I really like how it looks. I'm pretty sure I need to go and buy some fabric for the back and possibly the binding. It is thinking time. And maybe shopping time.


It is going into my dining room where there is a red tablecloth. Right now I've got enough of the red fabric to make the binding, but I'm not sure that would be the best idea. The entire piece was made out of scraps I bought from my local quilt shop. They put enough of each of the fabrics that you can make things out of what you buy. Because I got rid of my entire stash when I left California, I needed to rebuilt a new one, so when I saw the scrap bags I started buying them. But it also means I don't have enough fabric for the backing unless I do some wild piecing and I'm not sure I want to do that.

My intention is to free motion quilt this piece. I don't think I want a bunch of extra seams on the back which might make that difficult.

Monday, January 7, 2013

More Piecing

I've put the small square in a square blocks together. With this done, I'm almost finished with the piecing. It has gone remarkably well. I'm getting better and better at quarter inch seams. But I'm also longing to do some wild and crazy improvisational piecing, and I just might let myself do that when this project is finished.

I'm going to have a lot of leftovers from the scraps I made this project from. It might be fun to just see what I can put together that looks like an improvisational painting.
I follow some blogs by Modern Quilters and Art Quilters who are doing the kind of thing I am thinking about. I find that I'd like to play too.

I also intend to cut the bindings for my bed scarf in the next day or two. I'm going to do one new project and one UFO until I get more of the UFOs done. There are a bunch of hidden UFOs in closets and drawers. In some cases I've forgotten they even exist. I probably ought to do some inventory.

That is it for today. Take care all.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Table Scarf

I've been working on the table scarf this morning.  The pattern came from EASY QUILTS, Spring 2013, Page 90-94. I've made some changes to it. My color scheme is totally different. I chose not to piece certain sections but used a single piece of cloth instead.

I've also learned a lot doing this project. Last year one of the Craftsy classes I took was one on Civil War Quilts. I did some of the blocks but not others. But I paid attention to HOW Kaye England pieced. Some of what the she did was standard stuff. Some was not. She used a precise quarter inch seam, not a scant quarter inch. But she also uses her rulers a slight bit differently than some instructors do. And with this project I noticed that I got into a lot less trouble doing things her way.

She also doesn't iron the block until the block is finished. She does iron her seams to one side. With this project I'm experimenting with ironing them open.

Kaye England doesn't iron her seams until the block is finished because you can't know which way to iron them until the block is finished. And she has a point there.

 One of the things I discovered today was that if I did things EXACTLY the way she taught that the little blocks came out perfectly. I can see the difference between the early blocks and the late ones.

I've laid everything out in the upper photo so you can see how they look. The lower photo shows how the small blocks will be put together and then be put between the larger ones. The four groups of little blocks are different on outside. One of the "pink" fabrics is actually a light beige.

The next step is to square off all the blocks, and possibly remake any that are too small. I will simply cut off any extra sashing because with this project it won't matter. I'm following Leah Day's suggestion that you not rip things out unless you really have to so you can spend your time practicing skills and not practicing ripping out.

There was something that kept me from my sewing machine this morning and it was my desk. ...[sigh]... And there is even more stuff to do there today.

I was working on a lunch for the "singles" in my community this morning. Mostly we are widows and we get together once every 3 months.

There is my checkbook. I need to add in all the things I've bought with the debit card and make sure I'm balanced. Haven't gotten to that yet. I also need to check to see if there are bills that need paying.

But right now what I need is LUNCH.

Take care all.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Leah Day Free Motion Project 2013

Leah Day has started a new Free Motion Project for 2013. This time around I'm experienced enough to join in. But I really am not interested in making a Goddess Quilt. I am interested in learning how to do a lot of the things she will do on that quilt. Quite a quandary.

Last night I figured out what I would do. I've got a couple of white practice sandwiches already made up. One of them isn't even square, but I decided that didn't matter. I'm going to draw some of the shapes and lines from the quilt Leah Day is teaching and I'm going to start by free motioning on those lines, just as she did on her black whole cloth quilt, and then I'm going to write the words I want in the spaces.

I've got a drawer full of pretty colored threads I'd love to get some use out of, so this is going to be my next "class project."