Friday, July 24, 2009

A Finish Again

Dishrag Soup -- My Version

For the 2005 fall retreat of New Friends Quilt Circle the commercial design called Dishrag Soup was selected for the group project. Necia Doty had previously completed two colorway variations of the design which were very appealing to the group. Although patterns were ordered from the California designer for the retreat participants, New Friends were preparing for our annual quilt fair in the following month of March and had just completed an exchange of fabrics for nine-patch units. Since the size of these unts was already determined, I decided that I would use what I had and designed the rest of the quilt to fit them.

I selected fabrics that "read" as red for the churn dash part of the design, and fabrics that read as blue for the quarter-square triangle units. I selected nine-patch unts that had light corners for the centers. A single background fabric was used. Most of the print fabrics were sample fabrics purchased or donated to me. Everything, including the back, were stash fabrics. I turned the backing fabric inside out as it was a white on navy print with too-high contrast for my taste.

My 12-block set made a nice large lap-size quilt with 4-ounce polyester batting being used as the filler. The quilting was done with mono-filament nylon thread on my Juki machine and red solid fabric was used for the binding.
The quilt was on exhibit at our 2009 Steel Days quilt show, and following the show was ready for donation in our quilt group ongoing community service.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Progress on Old Project

In December I got out a very old project, started years ago while teaching at a quilt shop and rescuing fabric scraps from the waste basket for scrap quilts. This Joseph's Coat began with the templates from an Oxmoor House series publication which included the plastic templates with the instructions. I used these scraps for the ovals, and began on the journey to hand-piece a quilt top. When I got my pieces out I found I had about 3 circles pieced together, and a pile of cut out shapes.

I cut many more pieces in December and January, and then began to make units of 3 ovals with a center, mixing all of the old pieces I had cut in with the new ones so they could be scattered throughout the quilt top. It's interesting how fabric styles and colors change and how ones collection of scrap fabric differs through the years.

This week I was finally able to finish one row of the quilt (of seven) and got it pressed. Through the years I have learned much more about seam allowance and how to get my points more sharp. I was amazed that the row lies quite flat (so far) and that I just might be able to make a success of this quilt.
I have it flat so far, and for the most part the colors are working together. I have more work to do in getting sharp points, and I will gain plenty of practice as the quilt progresses. I'm very slow at the stitching, but only one can be taken at a time, so stitch by stitch, I'll continue on.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St. Pats Day

I called my family in NH tonight to check on healing from surgery on my Son. My little Sofia told me that I had forgotten to mail them something. I asked what, and she replied I had forgotten their pillowcases. Mom. Joanna, said that nothing had been said to her. I'm glad that the children are looking forward to my pillowcase gifts, and that is the good news. My injury prevented me from stitching out the designs I had created, and that is the bad news. However, there will be a St. Pat's day next year, and that, too, is good news! Meanwhle, another holiday is coming, and I purchased the "perfect" fabric for new sets of pillowcases. They'll be welcome when mailed to NH a coming spring day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

March-ing Along

My granny square odyssey is continuing, and I completed my 6th afghan last week. With a huge plastic storage tote full of completed squares, I have plenty to keep my busy as I stitch afghans together. I have purchased all the black yarn in one JoAnn Fabrics and two WalMart stores now, and it's almost time to make the rounds again.

Winter is slowly changing to spring, but we can never tell what season it is. Just as I have been getting anxious to start digging in the dirt again I had a fall (not that unusual), but pain has kept me confined. I've been happy to have those squares near by to work on.

A quilt celebration project has been my main focus for the last few months, and I have five new quilt tops ready to be basted and quilted. I designed a sampler with large scale blocks to feature novelty prints. A day-long public invited sew-in was successful and pictures can be seen at

The fabrics shown in the corner will soon be used to create similar quilts. The baby to lap-size quilts are all to be donated along with others made by our quilt group.

A quilt group associate commented that she likes my idea of "cookies and milk" and is starting to cut multiples of blocks while she has the fabrics out. She has decided that two blocks made alike at the same time makes for more quilts much more quickly. She's adopting my "use it up" theory, and in the pictures (link above) she has a stack of her quilts made with sampler blocks to show the results of her work.

I look forward to warmer weather and the ability to sit at the machine again. There are quilts waiting for me!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Is Winter Almost Over?

This time of year is hard with re-occurring winter depression and nasty weather that keeps me confined, neither condition that I have any control of. Daylight lights and plenty of projects to work on keep me marginally functional during the winter months.

My piles of pieced blocks are growing, and I have quilted 4 quilts with two more in process. A couple of days binding and I will have something to photograph.

I pulled out a box of granny squares I had set aside some time ago, and found that I had several variations in progress. A friend had volunteered at a thrift shop several years ago, and when incompleted crochet projects came in she would purchase them and bring them to me. Needing some hand-work to keep my hands busy in spite of my mood disorder, I started to count, and arrange.

I hate, I mean HATE to weave in ends, and most of these squares had starting and ending yarns not worked in. That was depressing on its own! However, I spent two days and got all those ends woven in with a needle, and clipped neatly. I made 4-patches of the small blocks and bordered them. I accidently turned the top twice as I was doing the assembly, but the accidental placement looks better than how I had planned it. This oversize afghan would have been made smaller, but when I tried to take some rows out my stitching (in the black) was so good I couldn't see it well enough to take it out, so there it stays. This cuddle-couch cover-afthan is ready for donation.

I finished one slightly smaller afghan, not yet photographed, and am in process of the 3rd, with squares ready for assembly for the 4th.

My grandchildren received their Valentine pillowcases in time to use them before the holiday.
Embroidery on both sides of the pillowcase cuff challenged me for a couple of days. I'm still struggling with placement and correct stabilization and tension, but I guess little kids don't notice that so much. Another season is in the planning as spring should be here before too long!
Although these projects are not scrap "quilts" they are start of the C&M theme--there is more yarn and squares to be used, and there are scraps of the bright print fabric waiting to be used!

Friday, January 9, 2009

2009 Quiltmaking

I have not posted for a bit, but I have been sewing. The 2009 Project Linus block from Quiltmaker magazine has kept me quite occupied, and I have approximately 150 blocks done. I have to do more cutting of background fabric to continue on. Pictures of my progress will be coming at a later date

I have been concentrating on stitching up pinwheels from that huge pile of trapezoids in my stash. Pictured here is the pile upon which I stitched triangles to the end. It took 5-1/2 hours to clip them all apart and press the seams, and to stack them up into sets of four pieces.
I recently was asked to teach some beginner quilters, so I nade some stiletto tools from bamboo skewers for them. I used polmer clay to make a topper, and used a wooden spool wrapped with thread for decoration. It gives just enough weight to the top for it to handle well, and keeps it from getting hidden under my fabric as I sew. Two of my favorite uses is to help me separate fabrics from a pile of cut pieces, and to help me keep my seams aligned and facing the correct direction while I sew. There is no scratching of my machine bed or damage to the machine if a needle should accidently hit it.

I have stitched up 55 blocks now, but have barely started on the pile, so there will be many more to go. Pictured below are the steps to creating a block:

A final pressing and the block is done. All seams were pressed to the dark. Sorry about the colors which in the last pictures got reversed--I turned the block when I stitched it and got the seam on the wrong side. It didn't matter--the block finished up the same. My blocks finish at 8-inches. I've done some sample sets with my EQ software, and believe that an on-point set looks the best. Hopefully I will soon have some nice quilt tops to share.