Sunday, March 29, 2009

Another top finished

I spent yesterday and this afternoon working on the quilt that I mentioned in the last post and am very pleased with the result. Since we have recently purchased a queen size mattress and the only quilts that I have are for a full size, I think that I will use it on our bed.

The next step is to get the backing fabric ready to go so that I can baste it. Since I dont have tons of really big pieces of fabric, I think that I am going to try a tip that I learned at and cut the backing fabrics into 10.5 inch squares and piece the back from a lot of different fabrics.

I am VERY excited that I have used my stash and my scrap basket to make both of the last two quilts!!!

Well, so much for a weekend of quilting it is back to my desk and computer. I know that I will be through soon, but right now I feel like I am trying to empty a big barrel that keeps filling from the bottom!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Simple and Mindless!!!

During tax season I really enjoy working on simple and mindless quilts....they are a wonderful way for me to relax for a few minutes each day. Once I have them planned, I can just sit down at the machine and get something done quickly.

The next quilt that I am starting is from the book "Successful Scrap Quilts from Simple Rectangles". I am making a quilt that uses eighteen 1-1/2 by 3 inch (finished) rectangles for each block. AND, it takes 63 blocks to make a 60x80 quilt. So, today I spent my time cutting out dark and light rectangles.

However, I have made a very interesting discovery.....I DONT HAVE MANY LIGHT FABRICS!!! Obviously I lean toward brights and darks. I found this a bit worrying since I was trying to make this entirely from my scrap box. However, I then remembered all of those 5 and 6 inch charm squares that I have been given over the years so I am pulling all of the light fabrics out of those as well. I have already cut about 120 of the needed 570 rectangles, and hopefully I can get the rest of them without having to go into my actual stash.

One of the thoughts that has been at the back of my head for a few years is that I dont make good use of all of the scraps that I have. About a year ago, I pulled them all out, ironed them and placed them neatly in a plastic box. I then promptly forgot about them!!!!

While working on these past two scrap quilts, I realized that I dont use them because I forget that they are there, so I found an old unused basket and simply dumped them in. I am hoping that if I see these bits and pieces sitting in my sewing room, I will be more likely to use them when I am looking for "just the right" bit for some pattern.

We will see how this plan goes, but, if nothing else, I am enjoying having a bit more color out in the open.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Ready for quilting

Over the last few days, I have given myself permission to sew each afternoon, assuming that I have worked hard during the day and not wasted too much time with other things. During that time, I was able to finish the scrap quilt that I showed a few days ago.

I finished the top and now have it basted and ready to quilt....I even cut the binding. I think that this design will be a good one to practice my machine quilting on. Now, I just have to figure out which design to try.

This quilt came from the book "Loose Change" and was so easy to make. You start with a 5 inch square and cut it into a 3 by 5 inch rectangle, which leaves a 2 by 5 inch rectangle for the final border. The dark strips are cut into 1-1/2 by 5 inch rectangles. The pattern actually called for a black fabric, but I didn't have one that would work and I didn't want to buy any fabric for the quilt, so I used dark blue instead. I think that I like it better!!!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Ok, I know this is just a picture of my front porch light, but to me, it means that it is time to work and not to quilt!!! This light normally stays off unless we are expecting visitors, but during tax season it stays on so that my clients can drop their stuff off morning, noon and night.

This past week, I have spent EVERY day working endlessly to get my corporate tax returns finished by today, and I came close to getting them all done.....only 3 extensions!!!! Now it is time to move on to the personal returns that are due in a month.

I did, however, give myself a few hours on Saturday and Sunday to work on a project. This is a quilt that I started a couple of months ago and uses only scraps and fabrics from my stash. I originally cut the pieces and sewed them together in-between chain piecing a couple of other quilts. I was amazed that I was able to finish over half of the blocks without really noticing it!!

SO, when I just wanted to work on something mindless, I picked up these blocks again. I would probably have finished it on Sunday afternoon, but as my husband plugged in his computer, it blew the lights in his office and my studio. I thought "OK, I will go do the dishes instead", so I went in the kitchen, loaded the dishwasher and reached down to start it. As I pushed the door closed, the lights in the kitchen blew out!!!!

So today, after 6 hours of searching, the electrician found two places where the wires had burned in a plug that is only ever used for the Christmas tree and one in the switch for the outside light. At least we are back in the light and know that our house is safe again.

Hopefully I can find a couple of hours later on this week to finish this fun quilt.

Bye for now.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Machine Quilting Practice

When I teach classes in Machine Quilting, I always tell my students that the biggest trick is to Practice, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!!

After hearing the awarding of the ribbons at our quilt show this past week, I have decided that I have coveted the "Best Machine Quilting" award for too many years and so I am going to try to do something about it this year.

To that end, I came home on Saturday evening and spent about 2 hours watching a DVD that I had purchased and simply playing. It was such fun.

The DVD came from Sharon Schamber's website and is full of good tips and tricks. I spent the evening with the DVD called "Domestic Basic Freeform Feathers" and I had a great time watching her technique and then trying to replicate it.

To get started, I grabbed a piece of older (not very good) beige fabric and used my fusible batting to make a large sandwich. Then I just started sewing and two hours later, this is what I had.
I am encouraged and excited about continuing to practice!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

The results are in

Last night we had the preview party for our guild (Cotton Patch Quilters) show and I won FOUR ribbons....

First place for "Seasonal Stroll"......

Second place for "Mother - Daughter Flower Garden"......

Third place for "Peacock Pavillion"........

Honorable Mention for "Paint Can Flowers"........

I was very excited about all of those. The two quilts that did not win were:

"Ten Around Penhill"

and "Marley"

The show is wonderful and hanging yesterday was a breeze. We used a new system that I had seen at the Houston Quilt Festival and it worked so well. We were thru hanging at all time record. Normally, we have been hanging at 5:30 as the preview party was starting.

Enough for today.....I am out the door to spend a wonderful day among my three favorite things.... quilts, quilters and quilt vendors!!!!

Monday, March 2, 2009


Like every other blogger on the East Coast, the big news for me is the SNOW and LOTS of it. As this photo shows, we had over 6-1/2 inches....and this photo was taken about 2 hours before the snow stopped!!!!

Unfortunately, we lost our electricity for about 19 hours and our house got REALLY cold, but, the fun thing was that it caused my husband and I to both slow down and spend some time talking and planning. We started out talking about some of our past and upcoming travel and then moved on to talking about writing books (Michael has already written three scientific books). As we talked, we decided that it would be fun to try to write a book full of the anecdotes and travel tips...maybe even working together on it. Ask us in a year how it is going!!! While talking about this idea, we started reading our travel journals from our Bahamas trip and our Italy trip back in the 90's. It was such fun to re-live these wonderful times.

Anyway, back to the snow...... here are a few photos of our yard.

Fortunately, we did not lose any big trees....just a few branches here and there.

Quilting has been put on hold for the last few weeks, although I did teach a 2-part machine quilting class at my local shop. This week I am busy getting ready for our guild show coming up this next weekend. I am in charge of setting up the civic center on Thursday...always a fun day!!!

More later.....
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