Monday, September 15, 2014

Design Wall Monday--Sept 15, 2014

On my design surface today is a commissioned quilt in progress.  I'm making a Winding Ways quilt for a friend's sister and brother in law's 50th wedding anniversary. 

It's going to be mostly a two color quilt like this one on the APQ magazine cover (February 2013).  This pattern and article covers use of the Accuquilt GO! Cutter Winding Ways die and using Layer Cake precuts.  Maybe that is why the directions for this 80" square quilt give a mind-boggling yardage amount for the front of the quilt--6 1/4 years EACH of assorted cream and blue prints.  Excuse me, but I think 12 1/2 yards of fabric is a bit much for the front of a quilt! 

Using the die cutter, I got enough pieces for 30 block centers for the positive blocks, and 30 block pieces for the negative blocks.  This was from six cuts of fabric 5/8 of a yard, which is less than four yards total, even with cutting a 2 1/2" binding strip from each print, and fabric waste from the die cutter.  I did underestimate how many blocks I need to make for the 9x10 layout I plan (8" blocks), so need about two more 5/8 yard cuts.  That is still over a yard less than 6 1/4 yards estimated just for the blocks and not including the binding.  I realize they give an overage but it seems way over!  Next I'll cut all the cream fabric with the same die.  Sure does shorten by many hours the work to get these shapes for the blocks.

See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mid September Report

This month is racing by even faster than last month, at least for me--tell me I'm not alone in feeling that way!  First, my sister in law Laura received her quilt in the mail and called me right away to thank me.  She had seen it person in flimsy stage, and only in pictures after, since I entered in the County Fair.   I love to have the new owners of my quilts smiling with their gift!  So pleased she loves it.

I'm still working on the 40 bags in 40 days idea and have gotten a few areas straightened away.  At least 12 bags went out the door to the charity shop one day, I've sorted a lot of mail, recycled magazines, folded and reorganized linens, and made lists of areas to tackle next with specific plans.  I've bought bins and slide out shelves and cleaned out the fridge.  If you like organizing, or need ideas, a fave blog of mine is IHeart Organizing.  Lots of DIY and simple wish-I'd-thought-of-that budget-easy ideas.  One of her ideas I lifted was bins for the fridge to hold like items.  I found some very inexpensive plastic bins with handles at Big Lots and have now corralled the yogurt/cottage cheese snacks into one, and put small leftovers in another--you know, those orts in plastic sandwich bags that get lost behind the eggs and go bad.  Isn't it great the ideas you can get from others? I'll share an idea my sister found novel, and one my mother introduced.

My sister said she had never thought of doing this, which I have done for years.  I cut through the packaged ground beef in the tray before browning for tacos, etc, just to help break it up more easily in the pan.

I often forget to, but my mom always does this to chip bags when the contents are low--cut the top the bag down.  A simple thing but one my brain had not thought of.  Another kitchen hint: I buy a stack or two of plain white, very cheap washcloths every year and keep them in my dishtowel drawer. When cleaning messes that are truly grimy and/or disgusting (cat gack, anyone?), I simply throw out the washcloth with the mess.  Having on hand a box of cheap disposable gloves for such messes is handy too.  And now, back to sewing.

This morning I finished up this set of placemats for my daughter's friend who is moving away for her senior year of college.  Simple wavy line quilting and machine binding.  I've had this poppy fabric for about 10 years but the green mottled fabric is from JoAnn's.

They are two-sided.  I used a green bottom thread when sewing down the binding.  Meanwhile, the Winding Ways project is continuing.  Some quilt MATH blew up in my face and I underestimated how much fabric I needed.  But it isn't a hardship for me to pick out more at the quilt shop :)

Lucy the cat has been keeping me company while I sew.  Her favorite spot is next to my floor lamp.  The addition of a plastic bag has made her heart go pitter pat.
She's been either in or on the sack for the past week!

Friday, September 5, 2014

August Leftovers

I haven't quite adjusted to the fact that it is now September, thereby the title of this post.   The sewing time has been slim around here, but there has been some fabric passing through my hands.  Sarah and I met at the fabric store last Saturday to pick out fabrics for a quilt she's commissioned for a 50th wedding anniversary gift for her sister.  My favorite part is always picking out the fabrics!  It will be a three color quilt, but it is against my scrappy nature to have it be three fabrics.  Thus, the hunt was on for coppery prints and a turquoise accent.

The color is a bit off in this photo, but the general idea is cream and copper with one contrasting turquoise circle.  I've got the fabrics washed and hope to get some cutting done this weekend with the GO! die cutter.

Meanwhile, I finally got the label on the ombre quilt for my sister in law Laura's birthday, who has been patiently waiting for a month for me to get it in gear.  

With my daughter Erica and Google's help, I gave the quilt a fancy French name (I blurred out part of this photo).  I hope Laura enjoys it for years to come.

There were a lot of leftover squares and strips of batiks in the bin when I hunted for a remnant of the cream batik to make the label for Laura's quilt.  I remembered an inspiration photo I'd pinned a few months back and started laying out my version of the tablerunner. 

 It will finish about 16x54".  My dad is already asking about buying it from me!

I'll have to wait and see if I can part with it once it is quilted. I love these batiks.  Also in the works are a set of placemats for a friend of my daughter's who is about to start her senior year at university.  Coming up right after the Winding Ways quilt is a baby quilt for a friend of my other daughter's.  Seems my machine time is scheduled for the next couple of months!  But tomorrow it is Mimi and Papa time again.  We get to babysit Cove all day while his mama is at work.  Here's a recent photo of our barely 6 month old grandson, who is crawling everywhere and has sprouted two teeth: 

Sporting some skinny jeans--note the perfectly cuffed pant legs, courtesy of his dada :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Another Catchup--NQR*

*Not Quilt Related
So, I've been away from the blog again.  Seems to be an unfortunate pattern!   No sewing has been happening either, for a number of reasons.

Last week I left work midday on Wednesday to meet my husband at the ER where my 95 year old mother in law, Frances, had been taken.  She apparently had another episode of vertigo/dizziness/weakness walking in the hallway of her apartment at the retirement home, but did manage to make it to her bed, where she called out fruitlessly for help, then apparently passed out or fell asleep for a couple of hours. She telephoned for help when she awoke and an ambulance was called by the nursing staff.  No stroke, no abnormalities they could find at the ER, and after a couple of hours she was released home.  We were advised she probably needed more nutrition and more hydration.  While Grant went back to work, I spent the rest of the day taking her to get something to eat since she had missed both breakfast and lunch, and taking her home, where I found her missing hearing aid hidden.  Then I went to the store for snacks and water, Ensure, a prescription for Antivert, and back to her apartment.  Anyway, she seems recovered but is getting very forgetful these days.  She did not remember that we took her to the ER for this same problem several months ago, when they ruled out a stroke.  She sleeps a lot and eats less.  She often says, "I'm ready to go, the good Lord can take me any time". We're checking on her more often now. 
Frances on her 90th birthday, five years ago

And now I've gotten a summer cold, causing me to spend the weekend mostly on the couch or in bed.  Yesterday was the worst, but I didn't think a coughing, nose-blowing medical staff member is quite appreciated, so I stayed home today.  Maybe by tonight my ears will pop so I can hear again!

Meanwhile, I've been making lists of quilting projects and their needs, and also home organizing projects.  Have you heard of the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge?  Well, I hadn't either until I stumbled across it while on Bloglovin.  The idea is related to Spring cleaning, but spread out over essentially the period of Lent.  That challenge period having passed months ago, it is still a good way to systematically go through your house/garage/attic/basement, etc., in a less overwhelming way.  I decided to start in our bedroom, since it has turned into a dumping ground.  Picture frames, magazines, books, linens, blankets, clothes, and things that didn't have a home.  My husband also liked the idea and together we purged a number of bags, for a good start on the 40 bags.  Today I called for the donation truck and hope to have a number of additional bags to add to the constant accumulation of donation items hiding behind a quilt thrown over the upstairs railing :)    Next room is our office (shudder) and then the music room closet (a true catchall). 

My hardest thing to get rid of is family heirloom-type items.  But we have TOO MUCH STUFF, unused and just taking up storage space.  Some tough decisions will have to be made regarding certain items...many of which came to us from my MIL when she sold her home 10 years ago and moved to the retirement home, like these:

Hand painted gold-rimmed bowl, made in Germany, treasured and displayed for many years by my MIL in her home. This may have belonged to her mother before her, as it is quite old.

Gold rimmed and decorated plate, another vintage piece from my MIL.  Lucy the cat is much newer, only two years old :)

Or, especially, several of these:

This mink stole was handed down to my MIL by HER MIL, who was my husband's paternal grandmother.
 Purchased no doubt at the fancy Downtown Los Angeles Bullocks Wilshire many decades ago.

Her name is embroidered in several of the furs we now have.  Grandma Rose was of French blood.  She passed away sometime in the early 1970's so I never met her, though Grant's grandfather lived to be in his mid 90's and met two of our three children.  What do we do with this and several other real furs?  Hard to decide, so there they hang, unused.  I'd appreciate some ideas, should anyone have some!  And now, back to blowing my nose :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

Design Wall Monday--Aug 18, 2014

On my design surface today is a new project, and off the design wall is a finished one. 

A friend has commissioned a quilt for an anniversary gift and I've tentatively suggested a Winding Ways quilt.  A key to that suggestion is the fact that I own a Winding Ways die for my Accuquilt GO! cutter.  We'll choose fabrics together but I pulled a couple from stash to try out the cutter and make some test blocks.

I did look at a couple of posts on Accuquilt for some tips on cutting the shapes.  They suggested cutting strips of fabric 10.5" wide, and making sure the selvage edge was placed toward the die label for the grain to turn out correctly.  My fabrics are thin cotton so I layered four thicknesses to get two complete blocks. Easy enough to roll through the GO cutter and peel off the shapes.  The 10.5" width was unnecessarily oversized, I think.  The die itself is only 10 inches, and the blades even short of that.  That left a fair bit of waste that really cannot be used for much. But it was sure quick to cut two blocks!

I'm going to look at a few more tutorials on the block construction.  My test block came out  nearly square and even, but a bit of a miss in the center.  By the time I sew a half dozen blocks, they should all look better than this one :)

Off the design wall are the placemats I started a couple of weeks ago. 

They are about 13x18--I like big placemats.  The quilting with the three-step zig zag took a while, but a pleasing texture emerged.  Four are finished, two more are needed to complete a set.  How do you think I did coordinating with the table runner?  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Speaking of tablerunners, my husband picked up my entries from the County Fair while I was at work last Monday.  He and the person who was helping him traipsed up and down looking for the patchwork tablerunner, finally finding it just the same way I did, by looking in every display case until I found it in the furthest end of the hall!  He brought me a check for my first prize as well--$4.00.  My sister, however, having gotten first prize for her block entry for the Fair Theme Quilt Contest, received a check for $25.00!  I guess I'm entering that contest next year too!

Our grandson came for a visit over the weekend while his mama used the computer here.  He sat in his Papa's desk chair, ready to work. Too cute!