Thursday, March 31, 2011

I finally made a video!

I've written before about how quickly the Go! cutter can turn a couple of thrifted cotton sheets into pieces for a two color quilt, and now I've made a video to show you how it works. Tear the sheets into strips, run them through the cutter, and you're ready to start piecing a quilt.

If you've read my blog before, you can probably tell that that's not my sewing room in the video. It's my mother's. She was nice enough to let me use her room (and her sewing machine) and hold my camera. And my father was nice enough to keep the boys downstairs with him.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mercy House

I've mentioned the baby hats, but I haven't posted any pictures of them because they're not all that exciting. I've come up with some color combinations that I love, but I'm not sure anyone else wants to see baby hats day after day after day.

This is what I've been up to since about mid-December --

Ninety little hats, all on their way to Mercy House, along with a couple of baby quilts because there was extra room in the box. This is the post that made me want to do something for Mercy House. And that's most of what I know about Mercy House, along wih the other posts I've read at We are THAT family. I stumbled across it by accident and it hasn't left my mind for long since.

There were supposed to be a hundred little hats if I met my goal. At one point, I counted and there were a hundred and six. I don't know where the others are. I really thought they'd turn up yesterday as soon as I got home from the post office, but they're still hiding.

I've been up to more than washing and boxing baby hats. Everyone's been talking about the Jelly Roll Races, so I cut some 2 1/2" strips from my birthday fabric and made a little jelly roll quilt.

It was easier than my last little attempt, since someone told me you don't have to worry about the strips twisting, but the measurements aren't quite what I wanted.

And I got a second little top done, but that one deserves its own post.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

the numbers

Weekly Stash Report for week starting 3/20/11

Fabric Used this Week: 0 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 31 yards
Added this Week: 90 1/2 yards
Added Year to Date: 299 yards
Net Used for 2011: - 268 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 100 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 3600 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 6400 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 11000 yards
Net Used for 2011: -7400 yards

The explanation for this week's yarn and fabric is in yesterday's post. The only thing I bought myself was the yarn. And if you add up what I spent on the yarn, what Grandma spent on my birthday fabric, and what Mom spent on my share of the estate sale stuff, the grand total is only around $30. For almost a hundred yards of great fabric, and a huge bag of yarn. Did I mention that the fabric is mostly one yard cuts and that most of it is the old small scale prints I love so much?

I think the fabric numbers are fairly accurate, but the yarn is a wild guess. I weighed the bag, figured out how many skeins of worsted weight acrylic would be in eight pounds, and guessed at the total yardage from there.

The numbers sound insane, but at the rate I've been going, that yarn is only five months worth of baby hat knitting. And the price was definitely right. And the fabric was a birthday gift, which means I don't have to worry about it at all.

To see how everyone else is doing, click over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

birthday stash

I might've been a little spoiled this week....

It stated with the four books and Joann's gift card Mom gave me for my birthday, early because I wasn't going to see her today.

Then Grandma showed up with this...

By weight, I'm estimating that it's sixty-eight yards or so....but there's some metal in the bag, so maybe my numbers are a bit high... And she got it all for $13.50. Have I mentioned how good at this sort of thing that woman is?

Friday morning, I saw the ad for the estate sale --

    Quilters (tons of everything you have ever wished for), sewing, knitting, crocheting, pretty-punch, unimaginable amount of material, yarn, crochet thread, silk flowers, styrofoam, so much more!

The kids had an activity that afternoon, I had commitments that morning... there was no way for me to make it up there before they closed. So I called Mom and read her the ad. She called me from the sale a bit later and said it was all too expensive. I've seen garage sale fabric priced higher than the clearance rack at the nice quilt shops, so I assumed that was what she meant and got on with my morning.

Then the kids' activity got cancelled and the barber shop was closed and I had time to drive up myself. By the time I got to the sale at three, there was nothing even vaguely resembling cotton left. The people running it were taking down the signs -- an hour early.

I did get a largish box of partial yarn skeins for $4.50, which was plainly labeled "Do Not Stir." Seriously? I understand that you don't want people dumping it all over the garage floor, but is it that unreasonable to want to know what's under the top layer? I gambled that what I could see was worth the money. I thought about moths, but we've got a freezer and I promised myself I'd look at it all closely before it got close to anything edible. Because I knew I'd have doubts whether I bought it or left it.

Then I went over to Mom's and saw what she'd bought. Forty-five yards of really nice fabric, that she bought for $2 a pound. Unlike me, who weighs or measures roughly with my arm or just makes wild guesses, she took her tape measure to this fabric and measured it to the inch.

So I know I've got 22 1/2 yards in this pile.

And after seeing how nice and clean this fabric is, I'm not worried about bugs anymore.

Does adding 90 yards of fabric to my stash in three days count if it was all birthday gifts?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm locked out!

I don't really want to clean the sewing room, but today is my chance. My husband's at work, I don't have anyplace I've got to go, or anything else I've absolutely GOT to do, and the temperature's actually above freezing...

And the keys aren't on the hook. I'm hoping they're in my husband's pocket at work, but I'm afraid that I was the last one out there and maybe I'm the one who didn't put them back on the hook. I've already checked all of my pockets, and the floor under the hook, and the other places the keys have turned up when I've been the one who forgot to put them back.

I'm not happy.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weekly Stash Report #12

I slacked off last night and, instead of quilting the two new lap quilts, I read a book and went to bed early. Would have been earlier, but I had to wait for the boys to fall asleep so I could play tooth fairy for Quinn, who lost his first two teeth yesterday and spent the whole day showing me how he was going to sleep with his hand held out so the tooth fairy could put his money in it.

Who came up with this tooth fairy idea, anyway? And who told my kids about it? Quinn told me yesterday that the tooth fairy comes every night and checks all of your teeth... I'm pretty sure he came up with that theory on his own.

But a little more sleep deprivation was worth it to hear him screaming this morning when he found his money under his pillow.

I didn't quite meet my goal for this week, but 3 yards isn't bad. The "new" fabric is a set of two red and white checked sheets that will be so perfect for backing baby quilts I couldn't leave them behind -- and then it turned out they were half off and only cost me $2.50 for the set.

Fabric Used this Week: 3 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 31 yards
Added this Week: 7 yards
Added Year to Date: 208.5 yards
Net Used for 2011: - 177.5 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 200 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 3500 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 450 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 4600 yards
Net Used for 2011: -1100 yards

Katrina at Sunshower Quilts is giving away a baby Go! with your choice of three dies. Wouldn't that be fun to win?

I've saved up enough Amazon gift certificates for my next die purchase -- triangle in a square. Yippee!

And I think I know which die I'm saving for next. Since I got my cutter, I've been wishing there was a die that cut multiple 2 1/2" squares. Now they've got one. And one that does multiple triangles, but I can probably make do with the strip of triangles on the value die.

I know, I could cut the 2 1/2" squares by hand too, but I wind up with some very oddly shaped scraps and I could turn them into squares quicker with the die. More squares means more little quilts.

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's warmer in here today.

The alligator says it's 70 in the house, which is about what it should be. I picked him up for a dollar at a junky yard sale last summer, because he just looks like he belongs in our house.

I can't figure out when he came from (where is easy), but while I was Googling, I found some fun blogs to drool over --

Retro Roadmap
Eccentric Roadside
Roadside Architecture

Lots of great old signs and buildings and places that probably won't be around for much longer....

It's been far too long since I participated in Show and tell Friday! I'd forgotten how much neat stuff there is to drool over every week.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

new ways to have fun

Last week, someone told me that her family used to describe coping with bad luck as "finding new ways to have fun." I think I kind of like that description.

We've been having lots of fun.

There was the windstorm on Sunday, which hit out of nowhere and knocked out the power just as we were leaving the house for a drive. I totally wimped out on that one, and instead of cooking dinner on the gas stove and winding up with a pile of dishes that couldn't be washed until we had power (and running water) again, we headed a couple of towns north and got dinner at a drive through, then wandered around the Dollar Tree and Target and Fred Meyer until it was late enough to plunk the kids straight into bed when we got home. Just as I got the oil lamps burning properly, the power came back on.

Monday morning, it was a computer virus on the laptop that wouldn't let me open any other programs. I cried, I called around to see how much it would cost to have someone fix it, I cried a bit more, then I tried to be patient until evening when I could call my cousin the computer god. By the time he called me back, I'd convinced myself that it made more sense to reinstall windows and lose my data than spend the hundred something to get it fixed. (The money that I'd otherwise be using to get the Janome serviced -- I've got my priorities!) But he gave me some easy directions to follow and it's all better now.

Last night, a part on the furnace broke. One of those important parts that makes it make heat... So I spent my morning tracking down a replacement, and my afternoon driving to get it. If all goes well, we'll have heat back tonight.

And there's the usual chaos. But really, I think that's enough fun for the first half of the week, don't you? None of it is all that serious, but it's wearing me out.

There've also been a coupe of new ways to have real fun. I finished the drunkard's path blocks and made myself try a couple of different layouts before deciding how to put them together.

I'm going with the traditional drunkard's path layout, but will probably do the circles later with a different fabric choice.

And I got the other two color quilt meandered and bound. Those extra seams are there if you look for them, but they're not at all distracting.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

It's the backing!

I wasn't happy with these two little tops. I didn't love the way the fabric scraps played together. Probably because I'm nearing the bottom of this particular scrap box and have used these same prints over and over and over again.

I'd gone up to the sewing room to dig out something else. Because I thought I had the backing for these quilts already. And to get to what I wanted (which I never did find) I had to move a pile of yardage from that wonderful Craigs List find earlier this year.

The two yard cuts of bright and cheerful what-was-I-thinking that I had second thoughts about as soon as I got it home? (But only because I decided I should've got some more traditional prints instead)

It makes these two quilts work. And now I really do love them! Not to mention that I'm happy I used up that hunk of fabric.

Weekly Stash Report for week starting 3/6/11

Fabric Used this Week: 6 1/2 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 28 yards
Added this Week: 6 yards
Added Year to Date: 201.5 yards
Net Used for 2011: - 173.5 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 50 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 3300 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 00 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 4150 yards
Net Used for 2011: -850 yards

Friday, March 11, 2011

Two Colors!

I've been seeing a lot of scrappy quilts with this block (including one tutorial that I'd link to if I could remember where I saw it) and wondering if I could make one with my isosceles triangle die. I knew how to do it, but wasn't sure how that extra seam in each corner would look. And I wasn't sure I wanted to sacrifice some large scraps to find out.

Then I saw the red and white quilt show and got two color quilts on the brain. I went up to the sewing room yesterday to see if I could find that red sheet to try some drunkard's path blocks, even though I have definite plans for that sheet when/if I ever do find it.

I knew I had yellow sheets...and pumpkin sheets...and dark brown....

I didn't know I had this color! (And can be forgiven for not remembering, because this king size flat sheet came in an estate sale box that Grandma picked up for a couple of dollars.)

Even with the extra seams, which I think will be much less obvious once it's quilted and not hanging in a window, I really like this little quilt.

What I really love is how fast the Accuquilt cuts pieces for two colors quilts! It took literally a few minutes to cut my triangles, not counting the corner pieces, which I cut with my rotary cutter and ruler -- and even those didn't take long.

I figured out how wide I needed my strips to be, tore my sheets into loooong strips, then layered them two of each color. I cut pieces for this quilt, and for enough pink and white Drunkard's Path blocks to make a baby quilt.

This is exactly the sort of thing I was hoping to use my AccuQuilt for.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Red and White Quilt Show!

Okay, this is worth a second post for the day. Repro Quilt Lover is having an online red and white quilt show. Do you have a red and white quilt of your own to blog about? She's giving away the neatest set of red and white quilt fridge magnets to one of the participants, so if you have something red and white, you really should add it.

I love old two color quilts, enough that my birthday quilt for myself last year was a reproduction of one. Too bad "38" is blue and white, or I could enter it!

But Red Sparks definitely qualifies.

My red quilt probably has too much blue in it to count, and it definitely doesn't have that sharp, wonderful red/white contrast that I love so much.

How about this one? Does it count? It shares a lot of the same fabrics as that first quilt, but I don't think it's got that snappy white/red contrast either.

Red and white quilts make my heart go pitty pat. I was thinking of using a red sheet that's buried out in the sewing room to try out my drunkard's path die, but wasn't sure if I wanted a solid red/white quilt.

This may be making up my mind for me!

a little bit of a binge

I knew I'd have some quilting time yesterday and thought I might be able to piece the blocks for two lap quilts. Everything was cut except for the white background pieces and they go together pretty quickly once I've got a chance to sit down at the sewing machine.

There was an Indiana Jones marathon on USA and my boys watched all four movies back to back. I could go a very long time without hearing the music again.

By early evening, all seventy blocks were pieced. I'm hoping to assemble the tops before the kids get out of bed tomorrow morning.

And while I was piecing the blocks, which are everything-but-the-kitchen-sink scrappy, I wasn't happy with the way the fabrics were playing together. It's not a problem with the fabrics and the quilts will look fine when they're done. It's just that I've used some of these same prints in dozens of little quilts now and I'm tired of seeing them. Once I stick some new-to-me prints in my box of 2 1/2" squares, I'll be inspired by them all over again.

What I wanted to try yesterday was the same quilt, but controlled scrappy with only dark traditional prints. So I cut a new batch of squares. And while I was at it, I cut 1 1/2" strips for that bin (which is going to be a pineapple quilt when I work up the nerve) and 2x5" pieces for a rail fence quilt like the one I gave away. I miss that one now and then, so I thought doing a similar lap quilt would get it out of my system for a while. Either that, or convince me to make another big one for me.

I cut dark fabrics from a thrift store scrap bag I found a few weeks back and was very good about cutting what I grabbed instead of saving it for a future special project. Most of them will wind up in the pineapple quilt anyway.

It was all going great until I picked up my copy of Adventures with Leaders & Enders to see what size squires I'd need to cut for Rick Rack Nines and saw that Texas Braid (which was my whole justification for buying the book) uses 2x5" strips.

Guess I won't be doing that easy rail fence after all. And that I've got a whole heck of a lot more pieces to cut!

This morning, I'm drooling over the cute little girl knits at Aesthetic Nest. Especially this one, which there's a free pattern for. I think I want to knit it for my sister's little one.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Can I claim credit for these?

In one of my recent scrap bags was a stack of half square triangle units. Some unknown quilter went to a lot of trouble cutting those squares, marking diagonal lines, sewing then and cutting then and pressing them open.... So why didn't she put them together into a finished project? Or were all of these squares left over from something she did finish?

My scrap bags are full of these intriguing little mysteries, which is why they're so much more fun than buying new fabric straight off the bolt.

Last week, when I was determined to use up some stash so I'd have decent numbers in my weekly stash report, I decided to put them together into a lap quilt.

There were enough left over to add a border and make a second one. (The border and matching backing are another inexpensive thrift store find.)

I love these little lap quilts enough that I'm thinking of cutting a bunch of triangles on my own and making more like them.

Weekly Stash Report for week starting 2/27/11

Fabric Used this Week: 4 1/4 yards
Fabric Used year to Date: 21 1/2 yards
Added this Week: 0 yards
Added Year to Date: 195.5 yards
Net Used for 2011: - 178.25 yards

Yarn Used this Week: 100 yards
Yarn Used year to Date: 3250 yards
Yarn Added this Week: 900 yards
Yarn Added Year to Date: 4150 yards
Net Used for 2011: -900 yards

To see how everyone else did this week, click over to Patchwork Times.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

I'm still sewing down binding

These two were both partially cut with my Go! cutter. I'm sticking with my strategy of using the die cutter for the shapes that would require templates or be a hassle with the rotary cutter. Or the shapes I've got the dies for -- that's actually most of it.

I did all of the triangles for my bear paw quilt with the cutter and the handful of squares by hand. I think I could have cut them with the same die I used for the triangles, but I didn't.

I don't have the die that would cut the corner triangles to go with the isosceles triangle to make a kaleidoscope (and it's low on my list of must-have dies), but it was the isosceles triangles I didn't want to cut on my own.

I've got two more lap quilts almost done with the binding, then I'm all caught up until I piece something new. Which I hope will be soon!

Do your kids play Webkinz? There's a Hopping Bunny giveaway going on right now -- log onto your account and click on the ad for the movie Hop, and you'll win a virtual hopping bunny pet. It comes with all of the same perks you'd get with a regular Webkinz pet, and it's absolutely adorable. Which probably makes no sense at all if you're not on Webkinz, but is a great treat for your kids if they're into Webkinz.

I'm only posting about this one here because my kids are always entering Webkinz contests, hoping to win one of the neat virtual pets. This one seems to be awarding a pet to everyone who enters, and we would have missed it if my son hadn't clicked on one of the ads yesterday.

Thursday, March 03, 2011


I've been letting the binding pile up. Mostly because life has been too exciting to allow for much quilting, and partially because it makes sense.

There are days when I can spread out the fabric and spend some time and make a mess. Those are kind of hard to come by. Opportunities to sit in front of the television and hand stitch binding are a lot easier to come by. Some days there's not time or energy for much else. So why would it make sense to spend a day when I have the time and energy to cut fabric sewing binding down just so I can get a picture on the blog quickly?

Last night, I should have had time to quilt. Instead, I was curled up in the corner of the couch, sulking about my sore jaw, and glad to have a slew of quilts to finish binding.

These two lap quilts have been done since January, the most recent of my 2 1/2" postage-stampy experiments...

And this is the finished bee quilt, assembled from some nine patch blocks and parts of blocks that came from a thrift store scrap bag.


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