Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pay it Forward...

Each morning, I spend about 30 minutes reading blogs and drinking my coffee.  This morning, I stumbled upon this idea... So, I am participating.  I saw this on Joan's blog Moose Stash Quilting.

Here are the details:

1.  I will make a little something for the first 3 people who comment on this post. It will be a surprise and it will arrive when you least expect it.

2.  I will have 365 days to do it in. What's the catch? To get a handmade present from me, you have to play too! This means YOU pledge to send a little handmade something for 3 readers of your blog. It doesn't have to be quilty - just handmade.

3.  You must have a blog.

4.  Once you comment here, you must post about your Pay It Forward on your blog to keep the fun going - with the Pay It Forward badge. Also, feel free to join the Flickr group to see what else is being sent!

I am going to make a slight change for my followers...  The first three to comment will receive something from me regardless of whether or not you have a blog.  If you don't have a blog, agree to make something for 3 charities.  Or 3 things for one charity.  (Project Linus Quilts, Quilts for Kids, Your local homeless shelter, etc.)  In order to adhere to the rules set forth by those who started this, I will make something for 3 bloggers.  So, if the first three are bloggers, then I've met the obligation.  I just don't want any non-blogging followers to feel like they can't participate.  So, will I make 3, 4, 5, or 6 items?  That depends on who responds to this post!

SO... Who wants to Play?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Thursday's Sewing Night # 5

(This was supposed to post on Friday.  I am not sure why it didn't....)

Well last night's quilt night just wasn't too much to write about... Primarily because normally Wednesday is laundry night, but this week I spent Wednesday evening at a Church Leadership meeting, so last night's quilt night was more like "Quilt when you can between laundry loads night" and my productivity suffered.

I am much more productive when I can focus on one task.  I am not a good multi-tasker.  I can have many things going at once, but I need to focus on them one at a time to really be productive.

So, last night I cut and sewed ~100 more HSTs for the big "Stars and Stripes" Quilt.  One more night of sewing and cutting HSTs, another day ironing them open, and one more afternoon trimming them up and weeding out the "not-so-square" ones and I'll be ready to really begin assembling this quilt.

First, it wouldn't be quilt night without my son's ever vigiliant 
"Supervisor" watching over everything I do...

 Chain Sewing HSTs...  I think I can do these in my sleep right now!

With only 3 sets to go, my machine went crazy...  Turns out the thread
had come off of the lifter arm, but it took me a few minutes to figure it out!

Finally!! The LAST rectangle to be cut...

The final cuts... (I don't know how I took this upside down...)

The final HST on Betsy...

My PILE of HSTs  Half of what I sewed tonight.


And here they are, all 576 of them...

 On another note, I happened across a FANTASTIC FQ sale, and I filled my FQ bin to the max.  I purchased about 1/3 of these this past week for $1.20 each!!  (I know the white with polka dots in the bottom left of the photo is not a FQ, but I have it in here with the other polka dot fabric right next to it. Those will become a project soon...)

Until Next Time,

Monday, March 21, 2011

Weekend Quilting Update...

Do you ever work your tail off on something and then wonder how you have worked so hard and gotten so little accomplished?!

That has been the theme of my quilting this past week. 

About 6 weeks ago, my boss announced that he was going to retire at the end of June.  So I volunteered to make a quilt for him as a “Happy Retirement” present.  Everyone else contributed cash, I am contributing time… I am glad I am not keeping track of how much time vs. what my contribution would have been, because I’ll be averaging less than $0.50 per hour by the time I am done!

And then Last week, he gathered us all to tell us that he has decided to move the date up to the end of April…  Everyone looked at me almost in unison the second he said it.  I could see it on their faces, “Are you going to be ready?”  Within 20 minutes of leaving the meeting all of the other managers had contacted me to get their answer!

Of course I’ll be ready!  Although I am now realizing that while I may be ready in time, I am going to get VERY LITTLE accomplished on anything else between now and then!  However, I have also learned that if I work on only one project, I get lazy and start taking short cuts which is something I obviously do not want to do on such an important quilt.

So forgive me as the next few weeks I think my posts and photos will get a little boring.  This past weekend I cut and sewed about 700 of the 1,024 3” HST (Half Square Triangles) I will need for this project.  (I am actually cutting about 1,100 and I will weed out the worst of them when I start laying it all out).
With so many HSTs to do, I tried to find a quick way to get them done... I started by using “Thangles” thinking it would make quicker work of the task… What a silly idea that was.  Note to self:  Good old math and a ruler is always a better bet!  I ultimately abandoned the Thangles and I am now using my “Easy Angle” ruler and while slightly more time consuming, the results are simply MUCH better.

THIS happened with almost every Thangle.  It is a result of my machine pushing the paper with every stitch ever so slightly, but it wrinkled almost every set.  The second I pull them off the paper they flatten out and they are "ok", but the wrinkles frustrated me tremendously, so I stopped using them.

So, photos of cut and yet to be cut HSTs are not a lot of fun, but here they are none the less…

Neat stacks of Cut "Thangles" on the right, Easy Angles over on the left.

 Chaining HSTs on Betsy...

Dog Ear Pile... Wish I had actually kept the whole day's ears in one place, maybe next time.

Packing up for the day... About 2/3 of the HSTs have been cut..

So next time, I'll probably complete the cutting and sewing of the HSTs... Then I get to iron them all open!  That will be an entire day's project in and of itself.  Even if I can average 20 seconds each, that is still 6 HOURS of ironing!!

Until next time,

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A few hours here and there...

Over the past few days, I have had a few hours here and there and I have used them to prepare work for Thursday's quilting night. 

I cut the rest of the fabric for "Stars and Stripes" and started matching up pieces for HSTs via Thangles...

I squared up the blocks for my son's quilt

and wound up with a pile of threads and teeny scraps

So tonight, I can assemble my third BOM, and start sewing my 576 HSTs for "Stars and Stripes".

But the real reason I am posting on Thursday morning is I completed my Mug Rug, and I would be giving it to Erin tonight at the Columbus Modern Quilt Guild's monthly meeting, except she won't be there... She's going to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  So, Here it is Erin.  Hope you like what I did with your fabrics...

 And then at the end of the night, I went to clean up and found a Frappacino in one of my storage boxes...

Anyway, I'll be posting again tomorrow, as tonight I will be quilting after the CMQG Meeting...

Until Then,

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Thursday's Sewing Night # 4

Thursday Night is QUILT NIGHT in my house and this week I got a lot “finished”… That is until I bent a needle at 12:30 AM and then immediately remembered what it was I forgot to get the last time I was at the craft store!  So my night was cut short, but it was probably for the better, as I did get some much needed organization done since I couldn’t sew anymore…

So, here’s what I did last night:

FIRST – I finished my QFK (Quilts For Kids) Quilt.  I started this one around the first of the year, and I finally got it done.  I tried a new binding technique called “wrap around binding” because that is exactly what you do.  You leave 1” extra backing material all around the quilt.  Then you fold that 1” in half and iron it well, then you fold that over the front and you have thus “Wrapped” the backing around to the  the front.   Pin it in place and quilt down the Binding.  It worked.  The corners were a little tricky, but I got it done and I don’t think it looks that bad.  I don’t know if I’ll do it again, but hey, if you don’t try it, you can’t knock it…
Finished QFK Quilt (can you see my error??)
Close up of the binding front and back
Binding process

SECOND – I wanted to finish my Mug Rug for the Columbus Modern Quilt Guild Swap… and I almost did, but I did not finish the binding.  I need to do the final part which is to hand stitch down the binding on the front of the quilt.  It was a week for new binding techniques for me.  On this Mug Rug, I decided to add a little flange to the back of the quilt to set off that yellow binding.   Here is the completed Mug Rug (notice the binding still needs to be stitched down)…

The Flanged Binding on the back

I also used a new trick to get my lines straight in my quilting… Frog Tape!
Tape in place and follow the edge of the tape. 
The tape does not leave a residue on the fabric.
And you get nice STRAIGHT lines!!

The Flange Binding went on after the quilting was done…

Then the regular binding… I did not think of the additional layers caused by the Flange or I would have added an 1/8th of an inch… There are two spots where I am going to be lucky to completely cover the stitching from attaching the Binding.  Next time I will definitely add at least 1/8th of an inch, maybe a whole 1/4 of an inch.

Then literally as I was stiching the last half inch of binding, my machine made a funny “CLANK” noise, then it rattled, and then it made and even louder clunk.  My needle came up bent big time!  Thank goodness I managed to finish getting the binding on, but it’s also kind of frustrating…  I just cleaned it last week when I was done using it…


Hopefully this isn’t indicative of a bigger problem…

Next week is Guild Meeting night, but I plan to get some quilting in when I get back!

Until Next Week, or maybe sooner,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thinking of Others Today...

As I was cleaning up from my night of quilting last night (around 1 AM) I heard my PC beep indicating that a FB friend had posted.  I looked over and saw a prayer request for the people of Japan.  I spent the next half hour watching live video of fires and buildings in ruins.  Then the waves started coming in and helicopters were sending video of waves washing dozens of cars off of roads as if they were toys and crushing buildings like they were matchbooks.  It really boggled my mind as I watched the devastation take place right in front of me.

It really bothered me to think that inside of each of those cars was at least one person, likely more.  Inside those buildings there were people thinking they were safe, thinking they had escaped injury from the violent shaking when suddenly the walls came crashing in around them.

My prayers and well wishes go out to everyone touched by this natural disaster, and especially to those who are missing family members, searching in hopes that they will find those they love who are missing.  And even more so to those who will never find their loved ones.

I will post my activities from last night tomorrow.   Right now, I just feel like it is the right thing to do…


Monday, March 7, 2011

I was Nominated!!

This little quilt blog has gotten some attention in the past few days...

First, I won the drawing from Bonnie Hunt's blog and she linked to my blog on her blog, and I got a bunch of visitors... One of them suggested I be profiled for March Man-ness on Stitchen' Heaven Howdy's site and I got a bunch more visitors.  Now I have more followers than I do posts!  I will work on changing that...

I had a unique "Quilt Week".  I have been very busy at work, but I have managed to do some Quilty things this past week.

Thursday Night I quilted my QFK quilt.  I did a straight line quilt with a spiked stitch pattern.  I will use a new binding technique called "Wrap Around Binding"... I'll post photos when I do it.

That was the only sewing I did, but I did a bunch of cutting... I am preparing to do a very large (92x92) quilt that will require 300 9x3.5 strips.  So I cut a bunch of 3.5 inch strips...

That was my Thursday Night... A little bit o' cutting, and a little bit o' sewing...  Both very simple and not too exciting, but critical to the art nonetheless...

Saturday I did some shopping.  I needed some more blues and reds for the big quilt mentioned above.  I went to one of my favorite little shops Good Wives in Marion Ohio.  It's about an hour away, so I don't get up there very often, but I do stop by when possible.  I made a special trip because they have a LOT of civil war era colors and fabric patterns, perfect for the big quilt project.

These are the reds and blues for the quilt pattern shown below.  I am going to modify this slightly by adding a 1.5" gold stop border around the stars before the blue outer border.  I think the blue border kind of blends into the rest of the quilt and a 1.5" inch strip of gold should do the trick.

Then I stopped at Sew To Speak, a cute little shop filled with modern fabric and BRIGHT colors...  I had my daughter and her sister with me and of course we had to buy some fabric.

I will be using the White with Black Polka Dots as a foundation fabric for a future quilt.  The pink will go nicely with some pinks I have in my stash, and the Kitty Cat will be in Maryaha's quilt very soon.  I also found this Japanese Fabric in a sale bin that I could not resist.  I have no idea what I will do with my yard of this fabric, but I am sure I will figure something out.

And Lastly... I don't know what I got all over my iron, but something red and sticky got on my iron.  I asked around and I was told the best thing to clean an iron is Dritz Hot Iron Cleaner.  As you can see, it worked like a charm!

The Magic Eraser....

Until next time... Or maybe sooner.

And THANK YOU to my new followers.  I welcome your feedback and comments...