Sunday, October 31, 2010

What are they?

You would not believe how many people thought they were Stormtroopers when we went trick or treating downtown Friday. I'm not even sure exactly what Stormtroopers look like, but I'm pretty sure they don't look like this!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Grandma's Donuts

Scrappy antique quilts make my heart go pitty pat, especially the ones with circles. Until I started quilting myself, if I heard the word "quilt," my brain went instantly to great grandma's hand pieced double wedding rings.

One of my quilty weaknesses is old quilt magazines with vague patterns. No careful instructions and illustrations for each step, just a template and a brief bit of instruction to piece the circles and then applique them.

I bookmark hundreds of patterns, promising myself I'll make them someday. This would've been one of those probably-never-to-be-made patterns, except the wedge template looked so small I thought it'd be a great way to use up some strings that were a bit wider than I wanted.

Tracing and cutting the six hundred and forty wedges was not a quick and easy project. Neither was turning under the edges of the circles and pinning themselves into place before appliqueing them down. I thoroughly melted the no-melt mylar template I made to keep them round (and singed my fingertips) before deciding to just eyeball it.

If any of my quilts survive to wind up in an antique shop someday, I kinda hope this is one of them!

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Thursday, October 28, 2010

what I want

I really want to sew. I really don't really want to fight my machine. I definitely don't want to take the machine into the dealer for the third time in seven months.

I don't think I'm going to get what I want, at least not as far as my sewing machine is concerned. Other things, thank goodness, are going much more smoothly.

No quilting yesterday because we had a bunch to get done, but I did finish these two on Tuesday night.

It surprises me how much I love the first one, since it started out as an attempt to use up a couple of star fabrics from one of the scrap bags. Actually it started with the princess print, but that one isn't ready to show off yet.

I adjusted the measurements to make a smaller version of the Quick Strippie and added another star print I'd picked up at that guild sale last weekend. Alex told me the princess top needed some applique and since I had to cut up some yellow fabric for that, the star quilt got a moon. Which was so soft and wonderful I used the same yellow flannel for the binding.

Did I mention that I really like this little quilt?

Finish #6 is actually one of the first baby tops I made. The fabric I wanted to use as a backing was a couple of inches too small, so it sat forever, waiting for me to find some blue fabric and piece the back. I wound up using a different flannel print that was actually big enough.

Blogger's Quilt Festival starts tomorrow and I know exactly which quilt I want to gush about. Picked yours yet?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

don't tell my Janome!

I've been thinking of trying the ten baby quilts in ten days thing again -- and I'm actually on day three with four quilts finished already -- but the Janome seems to know that I'm trying to accomplish something and I have to wind four or five bobbins for every one that will give me decent tension. Not to mention that I've only got two spools of white thread left and all of this winding and rewinding and stopping and ripping is wasting a ton of thread.

I'm determined not to let me sewing machine dictate when I can and can't quilt, not when there are so many other things doing that already.

#3 is one of the tops that was left over from my last attempt at ten in ten days.

and #4 is a totally new quilt, made from some pre-cut squares I found in one of the scrap bags. I thought I had a big stack of little two inch squares, but they'd been carefully folded down and pressed into shape from these bigger ones. I still can't figure out what they were supposed to be, but they make a cute little quilt, especially backed with a blue and white flannel I got at a yard sale a few weeks back.

It's not the kind of quilt I usually make, but it'll do the job.

And I've got a start on a couple of new ones --

Monday, October 25, 2010

Oh, I don't know!

All week long, I've been composing posts in my head, then not having the chance to type them out before something else happens and I've got something else to blog about.

The local quilt guild (which I haven't managed to join yet because there's the noisy horde of boys to dump on someone first) had their yard sale on Saturday. I wanted desperately to go, but wasn't sure I'd be able to slip out of the house since it was my husband's day off, or even if it was worth trying to go.

I've read all about these great bargains quilters find at those sales, but it didn't make any sense. If there really was such cheap and wonderful fabric to be had, wouldn't it all be gone the second the first two quilters walked by?

Saturday morning dawned and no one seemed to have any plans, so I whispered to my sleeping husband that I was taking off with the kids and would be back soon.

It was so completely worth taking four kids with me. The oldest boy spent his money on scrap bags for his grandma's Christmas present. The two littlest boys asked if they could sit on a chair by the wall and stayed there while I browsed to my heart's content. And the girl found a bunch of old screw back earrings for twenty-five cents a pair.

There really was great stuff to be had --- I spent ten bucks and got a plastic grocery bag bulging with fabric (and nine pairs of vintage earrings for the girl.) And I think I might understand a bit better how that's possible. Most of what I was drooling over were older prints, and most of it wasn't "quilt shop quality," a phrase which grates on my nerves, but some other people seem to think is really really important.

Some of the fabric is for my current projects and some is for the baby quilts and some is just because it was red or blue and there are never enough red or blue scraps for all of the controlled scrappy quilts I want to make. If there'd been green and yellow, that would've come home with me too.

---- please pretend there's an intelligent sounding transition here ----

There haven't been any new baby quilts since I emptied the ladder a few weeks back and took them all to the group I make the quilts for. Until the last batch, I always kept a couple here at the house in case I had a sudden unexpected need for a baby quilt.

Should've known that as soon as I got rid of them all I'd need one! And then the power would go out so I couldn't get one done quickly enough.

I need a new batch of baby quilts. I'd hoped to finish fifty this year (once I convinced myself that a hundred was a ridiculous goal), but things happened....and the sewing machine broke...and I got frustrated and maybe a bit lazy....

It would only take eighteen more quilts by the end of the year to reach my goal...and some of the tops are already done, left over from my ten baby quilts in ten days attempt.

So yesterday I bound new baby quilts #1 and #2. And tonight I'm hoping to finish quilting and binding #3.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I'm getting tense

A few weeks back, I was consoling myself with promises of how much easier it'd be once I got the Janome back and it was working right. I'd be able to finish my big quilts and catch up on my goals for the baby quilts...

And now I'm having tension problems. Hopefully I can sort them out without sending the machine off for another couple of weeks.

What do you do when the machine starts acting up in the middle of a quilt? I know there are some glitches in Grandma's Donuts due to the stopping and ripping out bad patches and starting again. Just like there are problems with the baby quilt I was doing the last time the machine threw a tantrum.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let's combine the impossibilities!

Pickle Dish is one of my favorite old quilt patterns. I started out loving Double Wedding Rings, but that was before I'd seen Pickle Dish, which has spikes and points and looks so much more challenging.

It's on my list of quilts to make when I develop the necessary set of skills. So is a clamshell quilt, although what I think what I'm going to need for that one is patience and faith. Both quilts are far in my future.

Then I saw Barbara Brackman's post about Clamshell Pickles, which combine two blocks I'm incapable of piecing but suddenly really desperately want. Check out the scrappy 30's quilt -- that's the one I need in my own life. There's a pattern, but I'm resisting temptation and not buying new things. And I've got enough trouble with the printer without asking it to print on fabric.

I'd already been tempted by the Pickle Dish QAL at Comfort Stitching. The little arcs are cut free hand, so I'm thinking I could use up some strings and little scraps.

Getting closer to reality, this post at Crazy Mom Quilts led me to Scrap Vomit, which is absolutely my next new project. I've been wanting to make a postage stamp quilt, but wanted some kind of neat pattern to go with it. This is my answer to that problem, now the next question is whether to use the 2 1/2" blocks the QAL calls for or the smaller ones, which were my original plan.

She says the original pattern that inspired hers called for 1 3/4" blocks. Not a size I use, so I'm debating between 1 1/2" and 2"...

Sunday, October 17, 2010


If things could just stop happening for a few minutes, I'd be a very happy lady. I expected to slip happily back into our normal routine after this last trip (yes, another one!)

Not a chance.

It has been one thing, after another, after another. And while none of the things are permanent or as horrible as they could have been, it's enough to keep me constantly on edge.

I was almost afraid to set a goal for last week, since I only had a day and a half to accomplish it in, but I did manage to get a baby top quilted and the binding almost done. Would've had it finished in time for my niece's Christening, but the power went out and I lost my window of opportunity. Not to mention the half cooked dinner I'd been anticipating all day long.

I also got Grandma's Donuts pin basted. This week's goal is to get it quilted. I'm not sure I'll be able to carve out enough time, since my plan is a very tight meander, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Found it!

I do know where some of my stuff is! Despite my fears that I (or my sometimes over helpful teenager) might've moved it, that Bento Box backing was still exactly where I left it when I brought it home from Joann's last summer. Under a lot of other things that had been deposited in the sewing room since then, but at least I knew exactly where to look.

Now I've just got to find the 30s top and my copy of Scrap Basket Surprises. And I have no clue where either of those has gotten to.

For the past couple of months, I've been curling up in my corner of the couch and knitting baby hats. I started with some partial skeins from my own stash and a bag of partial skeins I picked up at the thrift store for seventy five cents and I've kept at it until most of the softest fuzziest stuff is gone.

Somewhere along the line it occurred to me that instead of whipping through two or three hats an evening, I should maybe work up a gauge swatch and cast on something just slightly more ambitious. So I brought a skein of pretty yarn in from the sewing room and started looking for a pattern.

There aren't a lot of choices for 95 yards of hand wash only worsted weight cotton/wool blend. I don't have an Ipod that needs a cozy, don't drink coffee from a cup that would need a cozy, and I don't want a cozy for my camera.... So I wound up making a pair of Easy Waffle Stitch Fingerless Gloves. I left out a couple of stockinette rows and only had about eighteen inches of yarn left when I finished the pair.

Please excuse the less than wonderful picture -- it's hard to get a good shot of your own hand!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I am going to work on this. All of it. Soon.

Bit by bit, I'm working on my lists.

Five big tops need quilting. I'd like to have them all quilted by the end of the year, which I think works out to one every eighteen days. Do-able. At least until I add the other to-do lists.

There's the Irish Chain, which I had all pin basted before I veered off course.

There's Grandma's Donuts, which I should be able to get pin based once I settle on backing and batting and find some time.

There's the scrappy cat quilt, which needs the long arm and actual scheduling.

And then there are the two problem quilts.

The 30s repro top has been tucked away in a safe place since I finished it and decided that I hated it. Now that I've figured out how to finish the jagged edge, I think I'm ready to meander it. And even though I've looked, I can't figure out where that safe place was.

And there's my Bento Box, which has spent months folded neatly on my quilt ladder, waiting for me to work up the nerve to quilt it. I've finally got the nerve, and I'm hoping the backing is still where I remember leaving it.

I've got baby tops, five I think, that piled up while my Janome and shoulders were out of commission. And I've got a list of eight new baby tops I want to start.

The are three UFOs I'd like to make some progress on -- By the Lake, the scrappy one with 2" squares, and North Pacific. Either I'm forgetting several, or I've really been behaving myself when it comes to starting new quilts!

And I've got quilts I want to start. The green one for Quinn, which I'm thinking will be a Bargello. And a pink and green one for me that I've been collecting fabric for. The spiraly one from Scrap Basket Surprises. And Ric Rac Nines from Bonnie's new book.

I am going to work on this. All of it. Soon.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

this week's goals

The weekly goals are still working for me. I got the last of the Courthouse Steps binding sewn down Friday night, but only because I'd posted the goal here and really didn't want to admit that I'd been too lazy to actually do it.

Now my goal is to organize my projects and figure out what I was doing before things fell apart on me. It would be nice if I could actually find the projects, but I'm not making that part of the actual goal.

Among the definitely missing are my 30s quilt top, the backing for my Bento Box, a bag of green scraps, and my copy of Scrap Basket Surprises. Which have been missing since long before the whole car/Janome/knee catastrophe. I don't know what all I've manged to misplace over the past four months.


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