Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fabric Bins

 I got all my blocks sewn for the Mountain Majesties quilt in blue and orange. These really went together fast and easy. I have laid them all out and thought that I was happy with the arrangement so I picked them up in order. Then I was looking at quilts on Pinterest and found a different setting so now I need to lay them out in that setting and photograph both settings to see which one I like better.
 I have been seeing lots of fabric bins lately and decided to try to make one or a dozen. Actually the idea is to make a group of them for scraps. The bins will be the color of the scraps that will go into them. At least that is the plan.  I found a tutorial and decided to give it a try with a few changes of what goes inside. Well the instructions were flawed and there are some problems with the bin above. I decided that I knew what the dimensions should be and decided to change the way to sew it and made the bin in the bottom photo. They are exactly the same size but the one on the bottom came out much nicer. The one on the bottom is also made out of upholstery fabric as I knew what the kinks were in the instructions and I was petty sure I had it figured out................it came out just right!

These were the test bins so now I just need to change up the measurements and make larger ones for my scraps. I really do like these little ones though and will make a few more as they are just the right size (4X6 by 3 inches high) to hold a few things. I tossed some thread spools in them but they would work great for other notions, cell phone and keys, jewelry or whatever.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lots And Lots Of 8" Half Square Triangles

 I have decided to make my Majestic Mountains quilt lap size and think I will hang it on the wall when it is finished. Yesterday and today I spent some time combing the stash and pulling out blues and oranges. I did quite a bit of stash busting as I have many pieces that are fat eights or a handful even smaller. My calculations say that I used about 4 1/4 yards of my stash for this project. I have a lot more pieces in the scrap bin but then they are beautiful and colorful and will eventually be put to good use. Above is a photo of all of the squares sewn together. Each combination is in duplicate and I am not sure at this point if I will keep them together or mix them up. I do like the overall array of colors from deep and dark to light. The blues run form Navy to light turquoise and the orange from peach on the light end to almost a Burgundy on the dark end. My next step will be to trim all these 62 squares into 8 inches and begin cutting them up. My plan is to do one at a time so that there is no way they will get mixed up.........that would not be very fun. I am looking forward to seeing the finished blocks start to be grouped together.
A closer view of the fabrics.
Then my next UFO finish will be this little table runner. I made these blocks years ago. They were paper pieced. I had taught a class on this block and had 4 leftover papers so decided to make up enough blocks for a table runner. I had some very old Christmas fabrics from my original stash back in 1984. The background was a stark white which I did not like so I tea dyed them and added more fabrics that I had acquired more recently. I pieced the blocks and put them to the side. Every year I say that I will finish them up in time for a Christmas table runner. Well I think I pieced them around 2001 so it is time to finish this little project up. I am going to add the deep green all around for a border as the next step. I might make triangles on the two ends but am not sure yet. Once finished this will be my 7th UFO finish for this year and put me right on track to do one a month. What a good feeling that is.

I also need to work on the binding for the Walk In The Woods quilt and hope to have that sewn in the next few days so I have some handwork to do this coming week.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Test Block

I am working on my New Years goal to finish 12 UFOs in 12 months and am pretty close to being on track with that goal. I really started this in June and am finishing up my 6th quilt. I have decided that things I start need to be worked on at a steady rate and nothing new will be started till they are finished so in other words only one new project at a time (this excludes forever projects a my friend Shelley would call them...........handwork projects that are good for take along and can take years to finish). All that said I have started something new.

I have been cleaning out my sewing space and have lots of fabrics and decided that I needed a good stash buster project to clear out fabrics. I have been mulling over what to make and have decided on Bonnie Hunter's Mountain Majesty. It uses 8 1/2 inch squares of fabric and has lots of setting options. My latest color combo seems to be blue and orange. I have lots of orange fabrics and a good amount of blues in that can accommodate that size. I decided to try a test block to see how the block goes together................ok I like this. I made the two blocks above. I think I am good to go with this pattern. I am not sure what setting I am going to use. I love the colors and think of New Mexico sunsets outside my window. I have a view of Sandia Crest and watch some amazing sunsets. I am going to cut out squares for this project over the next week and sew these together. I really love this new project and hope to have it put together in the next few weeks. I do love quilting but after a day quilting on the longarm it is nice to go to my sewing room upstairs and do some piecing and if I make this project into a kit it will be a fun relaxing project to work on in the evenings.

 So what is on the longarm............well right now nothing! I just took this off yesterday. It was one of the improv projects I made last January. In fact I did a tutorial on how I put this together. I was jut calling it Improv II but I have renamed it A Walk In The Woods as that is what the colors and the design bring to mind. Below is the top before quilting.........one of my UFOs.

 Here is a closeup of some of the quilting. Looks simple...............WRONG! I have not tallied the hours of quilting yet but it is quite a few.
 People ask me where I find my designs. Well I like to come up with my own. I loaded this quilt on the longarm on Friday last week and did not start the quilting till the day before yesterday. I was stumped. I could just do lines like I see lots of modern improv quilts but that is too simple. I needed something more. I spent hours looking at quilts on the internet for inspiration and gave up. Well the other night I wanted some computer time but my daughter was using my computer for school so I decided to try out a drawing for my quilt and stumbled on this.............humm the more I drew the more I liked it. In fact I love the way it came out on the quilt above. It is just what I came up with when I broke down the parts of the quilt and I came up with it as I went along. I decided to just use one color thread on the entire quilt and really like how it adds another dimension to the quilt. I will reveal the finished quilt as soon as it has a binding and a hanging sleeve.

The last thing I have are a couple of 6 inch heart blocks for my friend Cathy. She is recovering from heart surgery and a group of us are showering her with heart blocks. This was a fun little block to make.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Over The Limit I

I have been slowly working on the finishing touches of this improv project. This one was actually the first in the series of Over The Limit. I liked the colorway of the second one so much that I finished it first. This one is bigger and measures at 40 X 40. I also like the quilting on this one much better. I knew when I put this one on the longarm that it required more than echos of the piecing like I had done with the orange and blue version. I began with what I knew in the upper right corner and that was to echo the fabric design. Then I moved to the middle right block (the light green one) and did my spiky swirls. I liked how things were going but I had run out of things to quilt and headed to the internet for multiple searches for ideas. I found lots of great art quilts and started doing a bit of doodling. I then changed the designs up a bit and made them my own. In the end I came up with a few things that I made up entirely.
Close up of some of the quilting designs that came up with.
 I think the swirls with the lines of wonkey parallel quilting in the two purple areas are my favorite designs, followed by the bubbles and the flowing parallel lines in the darker turquoise area.
 This quilt really spoke to me during the design process and I did do some sessions with Jack The Ripper but not too much.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Finished The Rug Mugs

 I finished the bindings on the last three mug rugs today. These are all orphan blocks from a Dear Jane Swap. I recently finished a quilt top using many of the blocks from the swap and these did not make it into the top. I like them and figured they would be perfect as little mug rugs. I had fun finding inspirational quotes to put on each one to make it a rectangle instead of a square. They finish at 9X12 inches. I think the one in the middle is my favorite.
 Quote reads: Don't wait for extraordinary opportunities. Sieze common occasions and make them great.
 Quote reads: Its not the years in your life that count. Its the life in your years.
Quote reads: You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Not Much Progress, But I Did Finish One Mug Rug

This is the view of Sandia Crest that I woke up to on Tuesday. Good thing I picked Monday for my hike. It was cold and rainy most of the morning and the trails would have been wet and slippery. It usually takes a few days for the ground to dry out so that hiking is good. This made Tuesday a good day for working on projects. I got the binding cut for my mug rugs and my improv quilt. The binding is now attached to the improv quilt and I will reveal that once it is finished.

I did manage to get one of the mug rugs finished and I am sending it to a friend.
The mug rugs are fun and quick to make and that is what I like about them. I hope to finish the other three soon as I just need to do the binding and they finish at 9x12 inches so that will not take long. I also need to finish the hand sewing of the binding on the improv quilt and am doing a really tiny stitch of 1/8 inch so that will take more time than a regular binding.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Hike In The Woods

Today I went hiking with my good friend Sadie. She is a great hiking buddy when she is not interested in birds, squirrels, or chipmunks on the trail. We hiked to the top of Sandia Crest. It was not a very long hike but one of my favorite. There was a profusion of wildflowers and lots of greenery.

Hiking is a great way to clear my head and to just think about nothing and everything. I love being in the great outdoors. Tomorrow will be here soon enough and I now know which quilt to load on the longarm. I am loading the Improv II. I am going to do very simple quilting and it will be on and off in one session I am sure. It is a very modern quilt and will just get straight line quilting...........at least that is the plan today.

I have the Over The Limit II off the machine and I just LOVE it. I really went overboard on the quilting. I also put 4 mug rugs at the bottom where there was extra batting. I just added a strip of fabric for them on my backing. I think this is a great way to use that extra batting.............little projects along the bottom, no extra loading and something fun and quick to do at the end of a project.

And.................yes the photo of me and Sadie is a selfie.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

More Progress on Over The Limit I

I am making progress on the Over The Limit I quilt. This one square took a couple of hours! I do like the design and now need to figure out some of the other blocks. This is my third block that has quilting in the background. I am in the process of trying to come up with more fill designs. They do not all need to be unique but I do want some variation from one block to the next. This one was fun to create. There are nine blocks so I am roughly 1/3 done with the quilting which is not as fast as I had hoped but it is a good amount finished.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Great Start

The way that a seam is pressed makes a huge difference when you are quilting inside of the lines (not doing an allover design). I looked at this yesterday in the above photo and realized that the direction that the seams were going was just helter skelter. I have envisioned a quilting plan and the seams were going to be an issue. For my last quilt in this series it was not and issue because of the design choice I made. Well it was time to have a session with Jack The Ripper and pick out just the places where the seams needed to be flipped and resew them. It actually did not take as long as I feared. You can see the before in the top and the after in the bottom photo. When I originally pieced this I had no real quilting plan so I did not even give it any thought.
 So fast forward to the quilt on the frame. I have done something new which is to baste the entire top before quilting. That way it will not shift as I go back and forth with different thread colors. This is just a sneak peek at this quilt. It is the same piecing method as the orange and blue Over The Limit II but I am doing something very different with the quilting on this one. So far I am liking what is happening on the surface and think I have a great start!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

You Can Never Have Enough Cats

 Another UFO finished and off the pile! This was started way back in around 1999. I joined my very first block swap on About.com Quilting Forum. We were swapping the MaCalls Quilting cat blocks made of what else but cat fabric. Humm .............. I love cats so I was in. The swapping went on for quite some time. In the end I was getting back more of my own block due to the dwindling number of swappers. In all I got hundreds of these little 5x9 cat blocks. I made a queen sized quilt for daughter number one and quilted it by the stuff and fluff method under my domestic sewing machine. That was years ago. I never got around to the second quilt for daughter number two until a few months ago. I was going thru my bins from my sewing room that had been packed away and came across this herd of cats. I told daughter number two that this would be the first UFO that I would finish. I had to sew more blocks and put the top together. I found the perfect fabrics in the stash for borders. There was just enough to piece the outer border but it worked just right.
The back of the quilt was pieced. It is almost a second quilt. I found some yardage of cat fabric inherited from an aunt. I also had some purple fabric left over from the last top and there was just enough to make a row with some giant cats and a few of the blocks that did not make the front. I found the green solid fabric in my stash and it was just right. I had enough to make two rows, along with more blocks and a couple more giant cats. My daughter gets to sleep under the finished quilt tonight.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

What the Heck is a Mug Rug?

I have been seeing everyone posting "mug rugs" on blogs lately. Seems like this is the new buzz word and I have missed out. I Googled it to see what all fuss was and what this new creature was. Turns out it was all started by someone named Amanda back in 2010. Her blog URL is msmcprrkchopquilts.com I went to her site and saw the original mug rug with a latte sitting on it next to her sewing machine but it was not her original post. I could not find the original post but it is a grey mini quilt with flying geese. So seems it caught on like wildfire and everyone is now making mug rugs. The closest thing to a definition is: Mug Rug: Larger than a coaster, smaller than a placemat, used for placing your beverage and maybe a pate containing a snack. It is a small quilt.

Seemed like a really cool idea to me so I decided it was time that I jumped aboard and made one. I have a friend that just had surgery and is recovering. I wanted to send her a little gift and this was the perfect thing. I went thru my orphan blocks and found this heart block from a swap that I did. Just the right thing. Hum.............don't want a square so put a message next to it............hum found this and it said just the right thing. I wrote out the sentiment on the fabric and sewed it on. I really liked how this looked. Ok now to quilt it.........my free motion on my domestic machine is rusty but I got the job done. I did a traditional binding, hand tuned to the wrong side. 

I just love how cute this turned out. I hope this is something that will make her smile when she has her cup of whatever sitting on it. I see a lot more mug rugs in my future!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Another tattered Denim Flower

Todays project is another tattered denim flower. This time used four circles for denim in different sizes. It is just a variation on the ones I made for the necklace and the tote bag. The difference is that I used two extra circles. I had the perfect hat to put this on. I will make it into a pin so that I can wear it on a lapel, a hat or put it on a bag.

I have the cat quilt and backing ready to load on the longarm and will do that this afternoon. My daughter did not want my swirl pattern so I chose one of my favorite pantographs called Popcorn which I will use instead.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sneak Peek Of the Backing for the Cat Quilt

Today I spent a good part of the day making a quilt back. This will be a bed quilt so the back will be seen and admired. I did not have enough fabric to just make a back so I pieced one. First I looked for big hunks of fabric and found some solid green the is really old, likely form the 80's. Of course there was not enough. But if I made some giant cat blocks I could get a pretty wide row. Then with the leftovers I was able to piece a thinner row using blocks that did not make it to the front of the quilt. Then I found a 2 1/2 hunk of cute cat fabric I inherited from my aunt's stash. It was perfect for the top and bottom. OK I was still short about 20 inches. I used the leftover from the Scrappy Trip Around The World I quilted a few weeks ago. With careful cutting, a couple more giant cats and some more random blocks that did not make it to the front I had just enough.

I am gonna get this on the longarm tomorrow and do an allover design on it! Hum maybe I should work on some binding tonight........I am going to use black as the final border is a black background and just might have enough black left from several other projects for binding.