Sunday, August 31, 2014

Well, what do you know. I finished a quilt. I have been slowly plugging away at the binding, and now the quilt is finished. Our quilt guild is participating in a fund raiser for a local nursing home with low income residents. This quilt will be part of the silent auction.
And here's the reason the binding took so long. These I-spy blocks are addicting. Happily I cut a gazillion and three I-spy patches, so I will be able to enjoy this addiction for quite a while longer.

Friday, August 29, 2014

I have been working on the I-spy quilt in batches. Can you tell that its getting bigger?

After I finish sewing for the day, I iron the blocks and put them up on the design wall in no particular order. ( except for spelling names, of course.) I do notice that the batches reflect daily favorite color choices--for example teal and yellow. Another day might favor blue and orange. I'm going to make all of the blocks and wedges into blocks and then pick and choose particular blocks I think my grand nephew might like.

Here's a close-up of some of the blocks.

Tommy has taken over my sewing chair and I sometimes push him from one side of the room to the other so he can have a different point of view. Here he says "I spy neglect!"

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The I-spy quilt continues to grow and is still a lot of fun.

Tommy is not afraid of prints either.

Monday, August 25, 2014

This is fun to sew. And if I thought a little more about color placement I might be able to get some zig-zagging z's working their way down the quilt.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

As I mentioned in my last post, I am working on a tilted square I-spy quilt for my grand-nephew. I may have gotten carried away because I looked through all of my novelty fabric and fussy cut a few hundred squares with good images for a 3 inch square. Unfortunately I have now learned that three-year old boys don't have king sized beds, so I may have cut too many squares.

I did successfully edit and re-sort my novelty fabric. I even uncovered a significant area of floor space. And more to the point, I have decided that keeping the novelty fabric separate means that it is often left out of quilts. I have learned from the Sane, Crazy, Crumby Quilt blog that novelty prints can really add zest and fun to a scrappy quilt. And with that in mind, here is a kitten made of kittens on a bright green background. If you can't get enough of bright green, I suggest you check out what others are making during the month of August at the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I haven't been a big fan of I-spy quilts until I saw the blog banner of QuiltNCards. I just love that wonky tilt. There seems to be quite a few ways to construct a tilted block. This is how I did it...although I did experiment around with various sizes until I came up with this. First, the center block is a fussy cut 3.5 by 3.5 inch square.

Next I cut two rectangles 3 inches by 5.5 inches.  I then make a mark a half inch down on the left side and a half inch up on the right side and slice through at those points. And let me warn you. If you want the I-spy block to tilt to the left, the diagonal cut has to look like the one above. And trust me I have learned this lesson several times.
Last but not least, the construction requires partial seams. Extra fun!  First, sew on one of the lopped-off triangles but only sew about an inch or two down the I-spy square. Next, sew the triangle that is counterclockwise from the one you've just sewn. Sew this triangle all the way across the I-spy block and the edge of the partially sewn triangle. Continue to add the sides like a log cabin block, working counterclockwise. The final step is finishing the partially sewn seam. Then press. But be careful because the edges to the block are on the bias and will easily stretch out of shape.

Tommy is calculating how many blocks I would have to make to use up my novelty fabric but says he lost count when he reached 1,000,003.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Although you can't really tell from this photo, I have finished quilting the red, white and blue Placid Curves quilt (based on Amy Ellis' pattern in Modern Neutrals). Now I am sewing on the binding. The sewing machine that was acting up when I was piecing the Omigosh quilt behaved beautifully throughout the machine quilting.

The quilt will be donated for a silent auction in November. I expect I'll be able to finish the binding by then.

Tommy really didn't want his picture taken, but he thought this blog needed the gravitas that only a cat picture can provide.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

This is a follow up to the bear's visit yesterday. I had wanted to show an Amish-style bear's paw quilt I made, but I can't find it! I can only guess it walked out into the woods and hasn't returned. So instead I will show this bear paw variation that my grandmother made for my father. He supposedly had this with him at college which suggests my grandmother made it in the mid 1930's.

And here is some Teddy Roosevelt fabric that I bought back in the late 1970's. I found it in a NYC antique shop and it was dated late 1800's. Ahem. This looks to me like Teddy Roosevelt novelty fabric made after Teddy Roosevelt refused to kill a bear someone else had caught. That happened in 1902.  If anyone can suggest a more suitable home for this fabric, I'm open to suggestions.

Meanwhile, Tommy has spent the day singing "I left my heart in Sacramento." Not sure what that's all about except maybe he has a new friend he made on the Internet.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Despite glorious fall weather in the middle of August, I've decided not to work in the garden this morning. Anything for an excuse.

And even this hungry young black bear refused my zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes. (Note: These pictures were taken from a window upstairs. The bear did hear the camera clicks and ran back into the woods.)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Today I finished layering the red, white and blue Placid Curves quilt. I realize that there are many new ways to baste a quilt, but I am still using the "safety pin basting method on a table" I learned in the late 70s from Mary Ellen Hopkins. And I'm still using the same table! It's also my cutting table so the biggest challenge for using this method is cleaning off the table. That said, the main goal is to get each layer smooth and let the drape hold everything in place.

Each section is pinned first with an open pin, then in a second step the pins are closed. I started with the middle of the quilt, finished pinning that part and then shifted the quilt to work on the edges smoothing out the layers as I go.

My only innovation is the quilt back inspector. I have always been a bit too lenient with myself, so it helps to have someone else critique the back, regardless of how brutal they may be with their criticism.

After the layered quilt passes inspection, or in my case, the inspector gets bored and wanders off, I trim away the excess backing and batting, fold the layered quilt and wander off to do something else.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

This is the back to the red, white and blue Placid Curves quilt I'm making for a local silent auction. You'll have to use your imagination because trying to take a picture of this was almost impossible.

Also, voting for the Pets on Quilts began today. And the votes are tallied within the comments section so Tommy is keeping quite a close watch for those of you who are not voting for him. Which at this point is everyone. I have a feeling that life is not going to be all that pleasant until this all blows over.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Today I'm showing my progress, or lack thereof, on my weaving endeavor. It is a purple cotton chenille bath towel. I did finally get the pearl cotton warp on and have managed to get 2 feet woven. The final towel will be 3 feet by 6 feet, so I have 4 more feet to weave. However, my real progress for today was cleaning up the sewing room. In particular, I found the top of the cutting table that I use for pin basting.
Tommy felt sorry for me because I have nothing interesting to show from a design point of view. He suggested that the triangles on his ears would be endlessly fascinating. So enjoy.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Here are some bright green shoo fly blocks for my Omigosh quilt. I have been having problems piecing these blocks as precisely as this quilt would like. I switched to my Bernina 930--its feed dogs are closer together and I thought that might help feed pieces in evenly. Unfortunately the sewing machine started to act up--skipping stitches and sticking--which did not improve my precision at all. At least the churn dash blocks are bright green, so they fit in well over at the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge.

Friday, August 8, 2014

You may remember this cat from Mystic Quilter's blog post. When I saw it my heart almost stopped. Kaffe Fassett's red paper fans are a rare find and treasure.
Tommy begrudgingly decided to help me lure the cat over from New Zealand to the U.S.

And well, you may have heard the phrase "There is more than one way to skin a cat." I'm not sure exactly how I did it, but my approach yielded a half yard with the selvedges attached. How weird is that?

Oh...breaking news...Tommy says that Rowan/Westminster has reissued the red paper fans fabric and I needlessly skinned a cat. Oh dear. Apparently you can order the fabric here.  So do that instead.

And in other news...I finally finished this quilt top.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

 I belong to a small quilt guild chapter and we've just begun a series of projects where each person teaches two techniques and the members then go home and try it. At the last meeting we learned a folded patchwork technique that I must admit seems quite odd to me. By the time you have the folded layers assembled, you are sewing through many, many layers. And for what? I wasn't too sure what the point was.
And I did play around a bit to try out different patterns.
And so this is what I came up with. I'll reserve judgment on the technique until my great nephew can road test the prototype.

Monday, August 4, 2014

I was pushing and pushing to finish up this quilt top until I realized that I was not enjoying it anymore. Oops! Time to stop. This quilt top (Placid Curves from Amy Ellis' Modern Neutrals book) is 6 blocks by 7 blocks. However, I'm considering making it square. In any case, this shows the quilt top in three sections plus there is another section not shown. But now I'm going to put it (and myself) to bed so we can meet again on better terms.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Tommy was ecstatic to learn about the Pets on Quilts Show 2014. (He read about it on Cat Patches, one of the blogs he reads.) He had planned to be the guest blogger for today's post and had already compiled his Top 100 favorite photos of himself. That's when I stepped in. The photo above shows a nice mix of cat and quilt.
And this is the quilt before Tommy coated it with "Catguard," a special protective layer of white fur that repels stains and people.

Tommy prefers a photo with more cat and less quilt.

He also thinks that there may be too much emphasis placed on finished quilts, because he feels some of his best work features quilts he helps to make.

His brother, Jimmy, was a big fan of the fabric stash.

And even helped with fabric selection. Jimmy especially excelled at rearranging quilt blocks laid out on the floor.

Meanwhile, over at the Rainbow Scrappy Challenge, bright green is the new color for August. Tommy said that I already have enough green kittens and that I should pull these four out of the green collection and pretend they are a new litter. Meanwhile, if you would like to see more pets on quilts, go here.