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Saturday, January 30, 2010

I Just Realized that I Need 196 3-inch Blocks

I've been sewing all week in the little bits of time I have before work (10 - 15 minutes) and maybe an hour after work. So far I have 65 3-inch blocks finished.

Geez, it seems like 65 blocks should make more of an impact than that!

I am now wondering if I really want to make 131 more 3-inch blocks for a little 42-inch square quilt........Right now I am working on the blocks needed to finish this off as a table runner, which is about 30 more. I will see how fast they go and then decide if I want to continue.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Five Years of Quilts

After I showed you how many table runners I made in the past year, I started to think about how many quilts I made. I did not make any last year, but during the past five years or so, I have made all of these:
Two of the above are not yet quilted.
Oops, forgot this one.
It's still waiting to be quilted.
I also made this blue jean quilt a couple of years ago. I collected jeans for what seemed like forever before I had enough for a king-sized quilt.

I painstakingly hand quilted it. Yes, I was NUTS. It took forever.

I was thrilled to finally finish it and I immediately put it on my bed to sleep under. It did not take more than a few days for me to realize that it was just too heavy to sleep under.

I folded it up and took it to the basement where it still lives a lonely life in a big Rubbermaid tote.

I keep thinking I should cut it up and make something else from it. I just have not yet figured out what. It's a real shame to have wasted all that time quilting it, but if I don't cut it up, I won't ever use it. I thought it might make a nice picnic blanket, which it probably would, but I never go on picnics. Maybe that should be a goal for this summer -- one picnic with the big beast--before I take the scissors to it and turn it into shopping bags (that's about all I can think of to make from it).

Oh, by the way, I went back to Joanne's yesterday and they still had that second jelly roll. Now I am all set for the little pink, brown and orange baby quilt. I sewed another 9 of the 3-inch blocks last night. If I really put my mind to it, I could probably make all the star blocks by this weekend. I think 3-inch blocks are my favorite size to paper piece.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

How to See What Your Quilt Will Look Like Before You Finish It

Because I have never made that specific pink star block before, I am dying to know how it will look once I have a lot of blocks together. So far I have only one block made and I have a very limited amount of fabric -- just one jelly roll with 20 strips. I don't want to waste fabric making more if it's not something I will like.

So I took the picture from yesterday's post and imported it into Publisher -then I copied and pasted it until I had the number of blocks I would need.

Here is what it will look like when finished (which should be 42 x 42 inches):

It appeals to me. I really like how the corner stars form a block that looks like it was set on point.

Now I can begin sewing in earnest because I will like it when it's done. I won't have enough of the jelly roll fabric for all those stars. I am going to go back after work tonight to see if they have one more left. Last week there was just one left when I bought mine. If not, I will either scale down the size or add additional fabrics.

Monday, January 25, 2010

More Jelly Roll Fun

I tried another set of corner blocks for the jelly roll stars.
I like this one much better. The four corners will form another smaller star when I add more blocks. It will be fun to see how it turns out with all the different fabrics.

As if I don't have enough projects, I had a sudden urge to rip off some 3.5 inch strips of a fabric I spotted on my shelf and try it out as sashing strips for another stack of finished 9-inch stars.
I like this, too. I am not sure if I will leave it baby-size or add more to it. I think the corner blocks need a little more "oomph". I will try something else later this week,

Stacked and Ready to Sew

I am finally done piecing the tree skirt blocks. I must admit I am bored to death with these. I am not used to sewing the exact same fabrics in the exact positions in every block. Dullsville!

I decided to leave them stacked and experiment with the jelly roll. For a little pizazz, I added this very bold orange and pink fabric.
Whooo, that is bold!
I decided this big polka dot fabric needed to be in the center of the nine patch.

If I used it for anything else, I would have had to cut through the circles and it would have lost all its polka dot cuteness.
I tore a skinny strip of orange fabric to use in the center block as well as another solid brown I had in my stash.
I decided to use a very light pink polka dot for the background fabric. Here is the center block on top of the background fabric.

To carry on the circle theme, I tore another strip of the bold fabric to use as the connecting grid for all the blocks.
Here are all 9 3-inch blocks:

I am not yet sure how I will connect them. I need to make a few more and then I will begin playing with them all.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I Bought My First Jelly Roll

How long have they been around?

I don't usually go for gimmicks like this, but today I was at Joanne Fabrics and something about this little bundle of pink and brown jumped out at me....perhaps it was the 50% coupon I wanted to use??? LOL.

Anyway I am now the owner of this jelly roll.

I had no idea what a jelly roll was. This one had the price tag covering the amount of strips. After I removed it, I was surprised to learn that it was only 20 strips (2.5inches x 42 inches). It does not sound like there's enough fabric to make much of anything. Hmmmmmmmm....

I cut the ribbon to see what was inside. I must say that was quite exciting! Look at these lucious coordinating fabrics. I do love the harlequin print on the top.

I see the allure now. It's like buying a scratch off lottery ticket and finding that you have a $10 winner. Great fun! These strips will be great for paper piecing. I can't wait to make something from these fabrics.

Friday, January 22, 2010

My Valentine's Day Quilt

I made this quilt a number of years ago--I can't even remember when...time flies so fast. It's a big patchwork heart with log cabin borders.

I was inspired as I was reading this post at Chris' blog, Quilt Talk, and she had a picture of a patchwork heart that was the same one I used for this quilt.
Her post made me remember my quilt and how versatile it has been over the years.

Valentine's day in Michigan can be very, very COLD. This quilt is not the warmest one I have so some years I don't put it on the bed.

Instead I use it as a tablecloth for Valentine's Day dinner.

One year I used a different tablecloth and put the quilt on a ladder and put it in a corner of the dining room.

Some years I just drape it over the sofa for the month of February. You never know where you will find this quilt from year to year, but you can be pretty sure that you will find it gracing something.

I like making heart blocks. Here are two that I really love.

The last one is from Paper Panache's mystery blocks.

I used the first block to grace the back of two of my dining chairs for last year's Valentine dinner.

This weekend I plan to do a table for this year. I think I am going to do black, white and red so I can use this runner I made last year.
If it materializes this weekend, I will be sure to post a picture.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Quilting Calisthenics

I have nothing new to post so I thought I would repost something I posted on my main gardening blog in January of 2008. Since this is now my quilting blog, the post will mean more to those who make quilts.

So many people think of quilting as something wimpy old ladies do. Well, let's dispel that myth right now!

Sure older ladies can quilt, but they are far from wimpy. One has to be in pretty good shape to maneuver a quilt from the first block to the bed covering it will finally become.

Let's just take a little peek at a few of the muscles needed to "sandwich" a quilt. Sandwiching is the process of putting the backing fabric, the center batting, and top together so that it can be quilted. I use safety pins for this.

Most of us are not lucky enough to have a huge quilting studio with enough space to wrestle around with the 10-foot piece of fabric required by a king-sized quilt. For me to get a quilt sandwiched, I must crawl around the kitchen floor for over two hours.

Here are a few of the positions I was in and just a few of the muscles I used this morning:

quadriceps, Rectus Femoris
Vastus Lateralis (Externus)
Vastus Intermedius
Vastus Medialis (Internus)

raising arm to sew batting together:
deltoids, Flexors

Pushing body back to expose more batting surface:
deltoids, biceps, triceps, brachioradialis muscle, upper and lower leg muscles

Smoothing wrinkles from batting:triceps, biceps, thigh muscles

standing, bending to rearrange top: glutes, abdominal and thigh muscles
standing, bending, walking in same position to cut excess batting:

Reaching/Stretching to smooth corner:
glutes, abdominal and thigh muscles

So if your new year's resolution is to have stronger muscles, you might want to consider taking up quilting!

This is what I ended up with after two hours of work.

A quilt top with 260 pins holding all 3 layers in place so that I can begin hand quilting it.

I feel so good now that this is done (it's my least favorite part of the quilting process).

I am happy to report that this quilt has been finished since Sept. 9, 2008. I had it on my bed for most of 2009.

Monday, January 18, 2010

I Made a Lot of Table Runners in '09

Wow! After a quick file search, I came up with all of these:

I am pretty sure there are a few more that I missed.

Can you believe that I didn't even know how to make table runners until November of 2005? I read a post from another blogger, Calidore in Australia, and it lead me to a free pattern on the web. Click here if you want to read that post and see the runner. The free pattern is still there.

Calidore, look what you created with that post! LOL. I am now a table runner addict.
These are only the ones I made last year. I also made plenty in the four previous years. I love making them because I can start and finish the project in just a few days.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Quilts I Want to Make This Year

I have been eyeing up this quilt pattern throughout 2009. The simple squares really appeal to me.

This quilt was designed by Lynn Lister and appeared in the December/January 2009 issue of Cozy Quilts. The pic came from their web site.

This would be a pretty easy stash buster quilt to make. I have seen it done in bright solids, which gave a very contemporary air and was really quite stunning. Has anyone made it?

Another quilt I really love is the Pick-Up Sticks quilt.
This one is for sale here . It sells for $4,000 for a king size.

Last night I made my own patterns, using 1/4" sticks.
Unless I am missing something, this should be a snap to make. Right now my thought is to make a small one that I will hand quilt (because I am the worst machine quilter there ever was) with some fancy designs and then frame for wall art. I think I will try it this week. Yes, yes, I am still working on the other two, but I like to have a number of projects going at the same time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Still Experimenting with the Wacky Logs

I wanted to try red and to time the process.

It took two hours to make the four blocks. There are 21 pieces in each 7-inch block. That's 84 pieces in each 14 inch block. That's a lot of pieces! I was thinking that I could do all different colors of blocks in the same quilt to use up scraps.

But after trying just these two together, I have changed my mind.

YUCK! I don't like the mixture at all. It's back to the drawing board for just the right project for this pattern.
Update: I think if I stick to the same color family and use the exact same light color fabric throughout, that may work. I will try another blue next. I want to be able to use up some scraps rather than new fabrics, but I may have to rip into the new stuff if I decide to make anything of size.
I also worked on the tree skirt blocks and have this much done:

I had to change half of the centers with the gifts to a lighter color because I don't have enough of the dark fabric. I don't really care for the light centers, but I have no choice since there is no more of that fabric. I have decided not to sew all the blocks together until I am finished piecing because I may run out of other fabric, too. It will be much easier to change if I don't have it all sewn together.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

I Finished Four Wacky Log Blocks

I decided to use all blue with a brown center.

Remember what the foundation looked like? In case not, here it is:

I put played around with the placement and decided I liked it best with four put together like this:

I am not sure if I like these enough to continue. These may become 4 pot holders.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Slow Progress on the Tree Skirt and a New Project

I have not had much free time this week, so I am very glad the weekend is here. I have only spent a few 20-minute blocks of time on my tree skirt. I have pieced enough for 2 15-inch blocks. I need 10 more.

This will be a long project, but there is no hurry.

I still have 11 months before I need to use it.

I get bored piecing the same thing every day, so I decided to start another project. I want to use up scraps, so I picked this wacky log cabin block.
I have no idea what colors to use. I want sections of color, not just hodge podge. I colored in a couple of blocks with the markers I had in front of me to give me an idea for color placement.

I think I will make 4 blocks to what arrangements I can make with these blocks of color. I am thinking strong color contrasts. Maybe aqua, black and white? hmmmmmmm....has anyone ever made this pattern? I would love ideas on the color placement.

Friday, January 1, 2010

I've Spent the Past Two Days in Quilting Bliss

Since I've been off work, I have all the time in the world to putter in my sewing room. In addition to working on the tree skirt, I have been experimenting with different blocks.

I keep looking at tree blocks and thinking how much I like them. So I spent a little time printing out some patterns and sewing them.
The present was my first try before deciding on the tree skirt colors. I have no idea what these will become. I will just set them aside until a new project pops into mind. Kathy, from Kathy's Quilts, recently posted a cute runner she made using tree blocks and pinwheels. I thought that was a different combo. I might end up doing something similar.

I have also put the binding on the elf runner.
It's sitting patiently waiting in the family room until I decide to watch a movie and hand stitch it to the back.
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