Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fun with Shellie

Well, we had such a nice visit today! Unfortunately, we had it at my house, so that means constant interruptions so no where near enough sewing got done. I got the Christmas tree skirt cut and the binding machine stitched and will hand stitch it down tonight. I also made a little Christmas table topper that couldn't be any easier.

It starts with these:

Which became snowballs and then this:

They met up with some friends and became this:

Add some little hats and hooks and you get:

Ugh...I HATE when it goes sideways!!!!!!
A nice little Christmas tree ornament table topper.

Here is Shellie hard at work:

She worked on these green log cabin blocks for her Christmas tree skirt:

So, it was a great visit..any time with Shellie is great..but again, I feel bad there were so many interruptions. Well, 3 weeks from now, we will be on a retreat and hopefully getting some projects worked on!!

Sunday Sew in with Shellie

Yeah..try saying that 5 times fast! lol Shellie is coming over this morning and we are going to work on some projects. Not sure what I am going to work on yet, though. Would like to get a few things finished off, but knowing me I will be starting something new. Will update on our progress as the day goes on!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Aha! moment

Tonight while watching some tv with the family, I went back to hand quilting my Giant New York Sunflower quilt. I really haven't gotten very far on it and I needed the peace that I get from hand quilting. Don't get me wrong, I love machine quilting. Especially for utility quilts that I know are going to be lugged around, cuddled in and washed often. I don't have as much faith in my hand stitching to withstand all that. With machine quilting, though, I love the challenge of it and the speed of it (working on the intricacy and accuracy of it lol). Hand quilting is tranquil and calming to me. Much more so than machine quilting.

Anywho, as I was stitching, I was thinking about how every time I have tried to use a hoop, it just doesn't work for me. I do much better with just letting the quilt lie in my lap and all over while stitching and then it dawned on me WHY it doesn't work for me....AHA! I don't move the needle when I am hand stitching..I move the FABRIC on to the needle! Honest..the needle stays fairly steady in my right hand (and I am right handed) and my left hand moves the fabric up and down on the needle. Hmmm..why is that? Then I realized I also knit that way! My right hand holds the needle steady and my left hand moves the other needle and yarn ON to the right needle. I really have no idea how or when I started doing it that way, but if I try to move the needle up and down into the fabric, it just feels wrong and I can't do it. Hence, the hoop tightens up the fabric too much for me to move it around onto the needle.

Well, I know this wasn't an exciting post, but it was kind of cool for me to learn something new about myself. Now..does anyone else stitch this way or is it just me? Or have you, like me, never even noticed how you do it?? lol

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Stars in Plain Sight

I finished the top with the 4 patches that I started the other night. It is from a pattern called Hidden Stars in the Layer Cake, Jelly Roll and Charm quilts book by Pam and Nicky Lintott. It measures 59" x 72". They have it bound with no borders and I think I might do the same. Not sure yet, though. I have renamed mine Stars in Plain Sight because, as you can see, there is no hiding these stars! lol

(ugh..I hate when blogger turns my pics sideways!!)

I hit paydirt!

After work today I stopped by a little shop called Craft Bits and Pieces. It takes donations of craft items and fabrics and resells them. The prices are always ridiculously low and the profits go to the senior center in town. I have been on a buying moratorium, so have avoided the shop. Today, on a whim, I stopped in and look what I got:

Here is a breakdown:

Hmm..not sure why that came out sideways. Anywho..these kits are 5 inch squares..they say enough to make a full size quilt. I opened up one and counted 1 corner of them....60 pieces..and there are 4 sets on top and 4 on 480 5 inch squares in each pack. Heaven for a scrap quilter like me! These were each $5.95.

Two dresden fan kits. The one is all the same green fabrics and cost $4.95 and the other is scrappy earth colors and cost $3.95. Both make either twin or full size quilts.

All the pieces for these stars are the same black and white. Not sure how many are in there, but I am assuming since it is he same type kit as the others, it will make a twin or full size quilt. This cost $3.95.

Here we have a bag of 2 1/2 inch strips in reds and greens..$3.95, 2 smaller bags of 4 inch squares... 95 cents each and a bag of 8 inch squares $2.95.

Total was $49.00. For me that is a LOT of money to spend, but when I think of all the projects I can get out of this, it works out great. Well...definitely back to the buying moratorium. I think I am set for quite a while! (As if I wasn't set BEFORE I bought all this! lol)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back in blogland

Wow..hard to believe it has been a week and a half since I posted last. Unfortunately, my absence wasn't do to anything good. A friend of ours had brain cancer and we were helping out. He passed away last Thursday and we are now done with the funeral. 54 years old is too young to pass away. My only comfort is that he believed that Jesus died for his sins and is now sitting in heaven...probably asking God to let the Buffalo Bills have at least ONE win this season!!

The only sewing I had been doing was a little bit of the applique on the Trees of Life wallhanging. Last night I finally HAD to do some piecing or I would go crazy, so I picked a simple pattern that I could mindlessly stitch up. Here are the pieces:

Some nice, big 4 patches and these:

Some nice big connecting blocks.

What would we do without our stitching to keep us sane and centered in a crazy world? I sure don't want to find out.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fear of Bright colors

I wonder if there is some professional name for people like me who have a fear of quilting with bright colors. In my stash, I have accumulated bright fabrics. I have received a lot of them as gifts and the rest I believe my cats have snuck in while I was out of the house. I don't buy them..but there they are. I love looking around blogland and seeing quilts that people have made that are bright. I just can't do it myself! I seem to lean towards darker, warmer colors. When choosing fabrics from my stash for a project, when I come across the brights, I finger them lovingly..and put them right back.
Then..a quilt I saw on Stash Manicure that I KNEW was just perfect for my brights. It was a snowball quilt and I knew it would be perfect for a friend of mine who had just had surgery. You might remember this quilt:

It turned out to be one of my favorites. So cheery and happy!! So, if you have some fabric..or color..or design that you seem to avoid using in your stash, I challenge you to find a pattern and to give it a just might be your new favorite!!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Christmas sew along

Update part 5:

Yay! Quilting is all done on the tree skirt! That sure took a lot longer than I thought it would. Granted, I did have to stop quite a bit to take care of stuff, but still. Well, now is time to cut it to put it around the tree. YIKES! Scaring the kaka out of me, but I WILL do it! lol After that, just the binding and this will be done. Not sure how much more I will get done on it tonight. I have to wait up as one of the kiddos is out and about. Maybe I will get it to the point of the hand sewing of the binding and then I will put this to bed for the night. I like saving the handsewing for tv time at night with the family.

By the end of the day, I have spent so much time with this skirt that it was becoming a good friend...I swear it grew a head and legs!!!!

Well, all in all, it was a very successful day for me. I didn't get to the table runner, but that is okay..there is always next month!! lol

Update part 4:

Okay..I drove Hannah and a friend to go shopping, picked Hannah and friend back up...drove them to a party and squeezed quilting in between. I now have the brown/red and star border quilted. More meandering in the stars and the brown, and little holly berries and leaves in the red. Only two more borders to go, but sheesh..this feels like it is taking forever! No way will I get to the table runner today. For those that asked, the table runner is not my pattern. The pic on the blog is a pic I took of one I liked, so I am going to see if I can figure out how to make one just like it. Doesn't look too hard. Here are some pics of the new progress. Then off to check out the other blogs and back to quilting this darn thing!

Update part 3:

I got the center of the skirt and the first border quilted. For some reason it took forever..must be all the little straight lines in the green border. Now, off to check out everyone else's progress, then back to quilting this baby. At this rate, I will never get the table runner made.

Update part 2:

Skirt is all sandwiched up and ready to quilt. I put my favorite Christmas song on and we are ready to go. Thought I would share the music with you. This is John Berry singing "O Holy Night". I tell you, this man's voice singing this will bring shivers up your spine. This video doesn't come close to doing it justice, so if you have the chance to see him, do it..or buy his won't be sorry!!

Update part 1:

Nothing that exciting. Just finished piecing the back for the skirt. Now off to feed Patrick his breakfast and then will sandwich the quilt and get quilting. Here is a pic of the table topper that will be the next project:

Yay! Today is the day! My hope for the day is to get my Christmas tree skirt finished and to make a table topper I saw. Here is the tree skirt that I pieced last month during the sew along:

While I can't wait to get going on these projects, it is going to be hard to stay inside! It is a GLORIOUS day here in western NY..low 70's, slght breeze, tree colors just astounding...God is certainly blessing us today!

Will update as I go along. Can't wait to see what everyone else is working on!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Playing with my Go!...FINALLY!! Picture heavy

Okay..finally got to play with my Accuquilt Go! tonight. I decided to start off with hst's...of course! For the quilt I am planning on making, I need 566 hst's or 1132 halves. Since the Go! cuts out 4 at a time..and you can layer up to 6 layers, that means I should only have to make 48 passes through the Go! to get what I need. practice ones. Here we go:

First, open up the Go! (how easy is this..just pull open!) and place on a steady, flat surface

The green thing with the grey foam on it is the die. You can't see it in a picture, and it can be hard to see in real life, but you can see the lines of where the cuts will be through the grey foam. Place my scraps over those. This is an area where paying attention will save you aggravation..and money. As long as you can see where the cuts will be, you can line up your fabric and have minimum waste.

Next you place a cutting board on top and you are ready to cut!

Now, you start cranking it through the roller. As a little extra note here..when it is all the way through to the other side and you have put new fabric on, you don't have to move it back to the left just turn the handle the other way and it goes through back to the left! Nice!

Yay! All done! Can't wait to look under and see what I have!

Cool! With my two layers of fabric, I got 8 halves for my hst's! on to the real test. Like I said in the beginning..I need LOTS of hst's for this project and according to the Go! paperwork, it can handle up to 6 layers at a time. That's what I'm talking about!! I tried a couple widths of fabric and decided to use my precut 3 inch strips (they were overflowing!). Seemed like those would work the best with the least amount of waste. Checked my time and off I went. Approximately 53 minutes later, I had 1200 halves of my hst's, or 600 hst's cut out:

I did find it much harder than I expected turning the handle to get 6 layers through than I thought. I didn't realize it would be that much work. However, my arms and hands weren't killing me when I was done. If I had used the rotary cutter, my arms and hands would have been aching and tired from all that cutting!!

So, I would have to say, with my one test today, the Go! is a definite winner..if you are planning on cutting out a LOT of something. I don't think I would bother if I were only needing a few of any shape but it definitely worked wonderfully for this. In all honesty, I am not sure if 53 minutes is a good time or not. I can't imagine I could have done all this with a rotary cutter in that time, and this accurately, but I have never timed myself!! The bad news is that I didn't read my pattern well enough. I cut 1200 2" finished hst's and the pattern calls for 2 1/2" hst's! LOL Guess I will be using the Go! tomorrow to make a lot more hst's to make up the difference!! Fortunately the pattern will work with the smaller hst's...I will just need a lot more!

3 more days until Christmas..

...quilt along, that is!! I can't wait. I pieced my Christmas tree skirt last month during the quilt along and plan on finishing it up this Saturday. I also have a table runner planned that I would like to start if time allows. Hub will be gone all day at a "guy" picnic, so looks like it should be a good day to sew. Want to join us? It is always so much fun checking in and seeing the progress the others are making through the day..very motivating! If you do, just click on the link to the left and find out how to join us!

Planning on playing with the Go! tonight. I canNOT believe that I have had it this long and not played with it yet!! Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mystery #10 B is on the agenda today

Mystery #10 B, aka PinWheel Chain, is all sandwiched up and ready to quilt. I don't know why it took me so long to get to this one. There is so much more I want to do today, I don't know what to do next! I think I might play with the Go! finally. Probably won't start sewing what I cut as I am really motivated right now to get some of these old ufo's done, but hey..kitting it up will be an accomplishment, too!
Will update later!

Yay..Pinwheel Chain B is all done other than handsewing the binding. That will happen tonight while watching tv. This one will be gifted out. Here is a pic:

While I wasn't thrilled with the color choices I made, this was another wonderful design by Marge at Mysteries for Relay. Click on the button on the left to join this amazing group!! The proceeds Marge makes from her mysteries goes to cancer research.

I am very happy with what I got done this weekend and I am not sure if this is it for me or if I still have some energy left to work on anything else tonight. Hope you all had a productive, restful weekend!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Autumn Star table topper done

I finished up the table topper today..well, other than the hand sewing of the binding which will get done tonight while I watch tv. I had fun quilting this one. I quilted in the ditch around all the components, meandered in the open tan parts and I even made my first free motion feathers on this! LOL..I can't see them...all part of my plan. I knew they would turn out horribly, being the first, so I made them in the black borders with dark brown thread. Up close and personal you can see them, but they don't pop out at you or ruin the entire look. Definitely a fun trial! I will definitely be making more feathers..and maybe some day where you can actually see them!

I didn't get as much sewing done as I would have liked (housework did get in the way), but I am happy with this. We are going out to supper tonight with some good friends and then maybe some sewing later on. Hope you all had a restful, blessed Saturday!

Sunny Saturday Sew in

I am having my own private sew in today. It is a glorious, sunny, chilly day here in western NY, but I am very content to spend it inside. I have a pot of turkey meatball soup started, will get some bread baking in a bit and the day is all mine. Sure, I will throw some laundry in and do some odds and ends around the house, but sewing is the main agenda. I REALLY want to play with my new Go! today, so that is on my list. I also want to get my fall table topper quilted, and pick at least one other UFO to work on. Unfortunately, I have an idea niggling away in my head for a new quilt and I am trying to push that idea wayyyyyyyyy back so I can get some of this other stuff finished! Wish me luck..I will update as the day goes along!