Thursday, June 30, 2011

I'm Having a Bit of an Identity Crisis!

When I'm quilting, I can do two things fairly well on my home sewing machine.  I can use the walking foot and quilt in the ditch or I can free motion without following a pattern--sort of free style.  I'm trying to quilt this quilt that is quite stylized and doesn't lend itself to free form quilting.  The exact curves of the NYB blocks doesn't go well with my free style.  I'm not sure just what to do.  I had trouble with thread breaking yesterday and I've finally got that fixed, but after picking out umpteen hundred stitches yesterday, I'm not really ready to do that again, but I can say I'm not really crazy about how this is looking.
 When it's up on the wall, at a distance, I'm thinking it won't be that noticeable--but I'm not sure.  Maybe I'll just finish it and put it up in my sewing room.  Eeeek, I'm hating this project more and more.

Monday, June 27, 2011

No Brainer!

Choose this or this:

 Well, that certainly is a no brainer!  The bike ride today was exhilarating! 

On my to-do list today is 
  • Get my driver's license renewed!
  •  Work on my little NYB UFO 

Took these blocks and sewed them together and got this:
 Do I now just put a couple of borders on it or do I put some spikey things in the border too???  Still thinkin' on that one.  But I did find some stash that will work for the border fabric.  I may even try some hand quilting on this one!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Inspiration--How Does it Start?!!

Many things can lead to the inspiration of a quilt block, a quilt design, etc.  But, sometimes things just seem overwhelming.  Maybe it's too many ideas.  Too much fabric in the realm of ideas.

Yesterday was one of those days.  I was hopelessly neurotic about what to do.  I had too many ways to go with this uninspiring (for me anyhow) fabric.  It had been in a drawer for over 5 years.  I'd used it in string blocks, but I still had a hunk of it left!
 It came from a purchase on Ebay quite a few years ago, and it seemed like a great purchase.  But in it was I think 50 yards of various batiks.  When I got them, I thought I could use them.  As I've progressed as a quilter, I now know that these aren't the highest quality of batik--but I still have them.

So, I traveled around Blogs and found this one to be very helpful to my lack of inspiration.

I tried the first one on the list: astericks.  I'd made some before for Block Lotto, but I just hadn't made any for myself and decided now would be a great time to try something new.
These are some of the blocks from this fabric and some blending colors.

 I'll need 20 blocks to make a quilt for a teen that may show up this winter at the local family connections center.  Not sure yet how I'll set them.  But, I'm past my block

 Another link:

There's in I Phone app called "Spinspiration" that seems to be a help for some.  But, I have an android phone and nothing similar showed up there.  Oh well, Michele's blog listed above has more ideas than I can use for awhile...

Artist Robin Olsen offered a terrific list of prompts and advice on how to use them in the September/October 2009 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors. She prints up prompts on small pieces of paper, folds them, and tosses them in a basket. She then keeps drawing prompts from the basket and acting on them until the piece she's working on feels complete.

These prompts are not complex or mystical. They can be as simple as "add a new shape" or "make dots on the piece and connect them with wavy lines." But they can have a profound effect on your work.

Here is some of Robin's advice:

  • Try doing one small piece from start to finish using prompts. Don't give up too quickly. Some of my favorite elements came from prompts that seemed impossible at first.
  • A prompt does not have to be a dominant element in a piece. Think of ways it can be incorporated subtly, using soft colors, sheers, fine lines, or as small background details.
  • Customize your list of prompts for how you like to work. You might add mixed-media or embellishment techniques to your list. You can also customize how you use them such as just using one or two prompts to get started or only at the end of a piece to add final embellishments.

So, I'd love to hear from you.  Feel free to leave a comment and tell me how you get your inspiration--especially for donation quilts.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Flimsies in the Closet

With today's finish, (the lavendar/turquoise/black one), I've now got four flimsies in the closet ready to sandwich.  The white one on the right I'll be sending to the quilter and the other three, I'll do myself.  Not showing you the full pictures yet--need a bit of secrecy now don't we??!!!

These quilts will be donation quilts, and the three I'll be doing myself are about 40 x 60 inches.  The other is bigger.  I've got three more Strippie quilts cut out and with those, I use up quite a bit of stash.  Now that these are on hangers--I have a sneaky feeling they'll stay there awhile...  whoops, I just remembered that bright pink and black one--now wherever did I put that one?!!!  I'm anxiously awaiting a fabric order that I think will have a border fabric!

Around the World

Recently, I sent some vintage fabrics to LeKa Quilt

I got to know her through a mug rug swap recently.  As I followed her blog I noticed that she appeared to really like hand sewing.  I DON'T!!  I had these fabrics that were sent to me with some other quilt scraps.  I then finished the quilt for my sister from those scraps: 
I then called my sis to see where the bag of scraps came from.  She didn't know.  So I emailed LeKa Quilts and asked if she would be interested in this
 She was, and so I sent the package of vintage fabrics to her.  I know she'll make good use of them!  I knew if I kept them, they would stay in the bag for another 30 years!  Thanks Leka!  

A note!  The picture at the top of my blog is of the mug rug I sent her.  Isn't life a trip!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

2nd Border--squares

Finding some "squares" as I was mindless sewing a strippie, I came across an idea.  I had a 2.5 inch strip for the squares and the green I was working with was just perfect.  I didn't need to cut into anything new.
 It's been fun working with this challenge.  It's also been fun seeing what the other participants do with this challenge.  SEE

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Batik Slice of Lime Finished

I just finished my Slice of Lime Quilt!  
 I posted about this quilt and my getting it to this finish:

and HERE

I'm not sure what I'll do with this quilt.  It was going to be a donation quilt--but now I'm not so sure!  What should I do with it?  It is 52" square.  I quilted it with stitch in the ditch and then squigglies around the border and inner border.  I finally figure that if I back away a bit and put the lens on telescope a bit the quilting shows better.  Here are some photos.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Paper Piecing at Last--or Biting the Bullet!

I've tried paper piecing several times.  I've always been discouraged.  I couldn't seem to see how to place the fabric for the piecing which was backwards.  I think I'm a bit dyslexic and paper piecing seemed to aggravate that situation.  I took a class two or three years ago on New York Beauty blocks and made a couple of blocks at the class.  I came home and put them in a baggie and put them away.  

I've constantly come across that baggie.  This summer I even printed how to do pineapple blocks and thought that would be a way to use my precut pieces.

Well, yesterday, I decided when I came across the baggie, AGAIN, to just bite the bullet and give it another try.  I have enough for nine blocks, after giving one I'd done to a gal in Germany for a birthday block as she love NYB blocks.  I used the other in a mug rug trying to close that chapter in my quilt making.  But, after looking at all the precut pieces, I just hunkered down and started sewing.  At first it was more like "RIPPIT".  Finally, though, I began to see how to place the squares and make them into the spikes.

If I were chosing fabrics today, I'd pick much bolder colors.  I may still make one that looks more like rays of sunshine and really bright colors.  But, I'll make this into a wall hanging and get the burr out of my saddle--so to speak!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

This and That!

The drawer that I keep scraps was full to overflowing!
 It's a small drawer--one I like to use for pieces I cut from bindings.  If I used a bigger drawer, I would get overwhelmed by scraps and any quilter knows OVERWHELM is counter productive to quilting!

I keep things close at hand in a rolling cart that sits by my machine--and yes there's clutter--I seem to be able to work amidst the clutter!
So far I've made these wonky stars from the clutter in the drawer before I folded and put the rest away.
 I had a little outing yesterday and bought 3/4 yd of two pink fabrics and then put it together using this pattern--I looked it up on the internet and it is a project sheet no longer available.
 I had some 9 inch blocks and thought maybe I could use them in this quilt.  I've used this pattern before and liked that I could use 6.5, 9.5 and 12.5 inch blocks.

Now, I just need a border and I'll dig through my stash and see what I can find.  But, for now I'll let DH take me out for a bite to eat and then stop my DS's store for their grand opening.  He's a buyer and the company he works for opened a new store, so he's in town for the opening.
Do you see some definite liberation going on--at least colorwise!!! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

So What Exactly is Vintage?

I did a Google Search for Vintage Fabrics and I think this would be one!  I loved the colors, but the pattern of it didn't really do much for me, but it came from Bev in Alaska's stash and I thought I could make a small quilt from it.  I added a border to the top and the bottom and backed it with a soft light blue flannel.  I even quilted a heart in the corner.
The other quilt I finished from Bev's panel type fabrics in her stash completes the brights using blue.  They are a bit smaller than I usually make, but I had so much fun with the quilting!  I let my little child come out and play on these!

Here is an up close of the quilting:
 And the heart in the corner is wonky too!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Couple of Fun Quilts Added to the Stack

These quilts are from some stash--the multi-colored one is from Bev in Alaska's stash and I added the borders and the quilting.  Had lots of fun with that one!  The other one, I found in the closet--it just needed some binding.
I'm really liking the blue/lime green combination.  Having fun working with it!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Strippie Quilt Finished

Not much to say, but that I did freestyle quilting to finish it. Size is about 40 x 60".

OMG!  Does it look like an Easter Egg!  LOL!!!  ...that had to be the inspiration in my head don't ya think!???

Finally in Utah a Beautiful Summer Day!

Not a cloud in the sky!  Love it!!!

Letting the Love Flow!

I just had to try letting myself go and have some fun!  I had just one bobbin spool of lime green until my order gets here, but I decided to just quilt away til it was gone.  It was a blast.  Now, I can't wait until the other thread comes.

The back looks like this:
The front looks like this:
 Did I stay in the lines???   NO!!!!  Do kindergarten kids stay in the LINES?  NO!!! One of the kindergarten teachers in our building in one of the schools I taught, allowed her kids to create and the outcomes were so much fun!  The other teacher did boring coloring pages  :(  Okay, what did I learn from that--kids see things differently than we do, so if it is for kids, I might as well have fun too!!!

This quilt is from Bev's stash.  I bordered it and yesterday I got some lime green flannel for the backing.  So, I will have two like this, but for sure, the quilting won't be the same on them!

WhaaHooo!  Yippee for Liberation!!!!

Now for the Quilting!

 Got word that Michelle, a quilter on Sunshine Yahoo Groups, that was quilting a couple of my quilts for practice, finished them.  They will go to Wrap Them in Love Foundation.  The quilting has made all the difference in how they look.  Nice job, Michelle.

Yesterday I finished a strippie for quilting.  It doesn't look too great now, and hopefully the quilting helps, as it always does.  I used up smaller pieces of fabric that I just don't want to make into blocks, so the strippie works for that.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mindlessly Sewing

Yesterday I sewed string blocks.  Sometimes it is just a mindless activity that allows my mind to wander and sew at the same time.  Some days it is my therapy.  Yesterday was one of those days.

As I saw pieces of fabric, a quilt began to form in my mind.  An old habit of making shopping lists on envelopes emerged and I drew out what was in my head on the envelope.  The calculator helped make the measurements fit for a kid friendly quilt.

 My Workspace for Strings:

I made an order yesterday for some lime green Bottom Line thread for my quilt that is now sandwiched.  forgot to mention here that I found some wonderful Rebecca Carter flannel for the backing of my batik quilt, and now it is sandwiched and ready to quilt.  I think I'll try the lime green thread on the bottom and YLI invisible poly on the top.  I'll experiment first.  When I finish this string quilt, it will have big enough spaces to practice some free hand quilting.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Batik Slice of Lime

I've got the top done, so now it's time to find a backing!

 The lighting isn't the best, but it's done and ready for sandwiching soon!

Progress on Experiment in Color!

Didn't get as much done yesterday as I had planned, but I did get through one big, huge, stall.  The addition of some color was just what I needed to lighten it up and make it more fun.  I'll be adding more borders today.  Making more of the piano keys with an addition of a "slice of lime".   In fact, I think that is what I'll name this quilt.  I'm going to look for some fun flannel with which to back it, as the batik isn't too cuddly--IMHO!!
Sometimes it just helps to have a picture!  After Karen emailed me some suggestions, I placed the star with lime in the middle.  On a whim, I tried adding the lime green slices to the piano border and I think I like them.  I may even add a lime green corner square.  This should finish at about 42" square unless I decide to add another round of turquoise and then another piano border to add length, which would make it a kid's quilt.  I still have 9 squares of stars to make another quilt.  I'm thinking of a person I'd like to make the second one for and I may tailor that one a bit for my perceived notions of what she may like...we'll see.  Options right now are still open.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Making So Many Blocks Is Boring...

It seems to me that making the same block over and over is boring.  Months back, I cut out enough for 20 blocks of these batiks.
From this book:

I pulled out the progress on these yesterday and realized why I put them away.  They look catching to the eye because of the purple, but I'm really having a hard time making myself make any more.  I still have some cut out and I don't want to waste the fabric.  I don't really need another big quilt, so I'm toying with the idea of making maybe four rows and making it into a quilt for donation.  I need to finish up some more blocks to do that and then I'll know if I have enough for the piano keys border all around.  I know I have enough of the dark purple for an inside border.  This could be an ongoing project for awhile as I'm really dragging my feet on it.  Still not feeling all that well.  It could be a build up of inflammation due to  wheat as I've slowly gotten back into eating it--it is filling and I like it.  This week we'll wean ourselves off from it and see if that makes me feel better before I go to the doctor again.  It's about time for prescription renewal on Advair anyhow.  Yuck--would really like to quit coughing!!!

Add On at 10:00 a.m.
Nancie a quilting instructor in Texas got me over the stall.  She replied on Lib-Quilters Yahoo group and that's what I needed to just get something going.  After studying the photo, I realized I like turquoise and purple together.
Just adding an inside border of the turquoise with a bit of this next to the body of the quilt--in a thin slice maybe 1 inch which would sew to 1/2 inch of this
would take me away from the darkness of the purple and add a splash of color.  I could add the piano key border outside of that.  I also found a copy of an iguana which I could applique and boost my 18 blocks to maybe 36 which would make three quilts for donation of a size that would be a bit larger.  With the iguana appliqued on, I could find some other interesting things--maybe making 6.5 inch string blocks interspersed with the stars!  Then I wouldn't be bored!

Stay tuned.  I'm letting the ideas percolate a bit.

Friday, June 3, 2011

June Flowers in a Quilt

Quilts are happier after washing, but I think the pictures look better before washing.  Anyhow this is a quilt made from the scraps from a couple of other quilts.  The nine patch centers are 1.5 inch squares from the quilt in the last blog entry--from the Nostalgia line.  The pastel greens I had on hand seemed to blend well with it all and I had some neutral off white from the backing of another quilt.  

Judy's quilting is shown in a close up. 

Here is a previous post with close up pictures of the blocks: HERE

It's so soft and feminine after washing, it may be hard to give away.  I think the pictures just don't do it full justice.  I did machine bind the binding.  I love doing that as it speeds up the process a great deal! 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

UFO List from January '11 Now Completed!

I made a list in January of the quilts I wanted to complete this year.  I have now to add this quilt, which is #26.
With this completed, I've used up 121.8 for the ufo's and with all quilting and tops given away, I've used 167.1 yds of stash.  Wow!  That's a lot of stash! 

Here's another picture on a sunny day and after washing the quilt.

     Judy quilted this and one other quilt that I haven't yet bound--but for now I'm so tired of binding that I think I'll leave it for awhile!  I've got another top nearly complete and then I'm going to play with some ideas.

     On the weather front, it was nice yesterday and the winds came in today and dried up all the rain...Cold front in for the next two days.  I'm really hoping that summer will arrive soon!