Thursday, February 28, 2013

NewFO over at Cat Patches

Well now, I started this post this morning around 9am and here it is 7pm,  What happened to this day?  Time flies when you are having fun.  I headed over to Cat Patches and she has such fun posts that I had to read for while.  Then I had to think about what I had started this month.  I've been sewing, but came up with only one project, my Primitive Gatherings BOM from my LQS.  The BOM started in November but I started last week...
No need to get in a big hurry....right?  They are on the design wall with 4 more blocks to go, yes it is 13 blocks, maybe I will keep caught up now, so I am going to start selecting a setting design and auditioning fabric for the setting blocks.
I know you are saying, "that shouldn't take all day", you're right, I got drawn in by my Log Cabin quilt for Angelyn and her husband's 33rd wedding anniversary, and now the quilt is together, adorned with it's first border.  So I will be posting about the finished top tomorrow.  And hopefully I will have more projects started next month.  I think one a week sounds like a good goal especially since I don't have to finish them!  Hope your journey was fun today.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Look Back

I was on a blog the other day and saw a button for NewFO's, well now I thought that was a good idea because I wouldn't want to get my sewing room out of balance by finishing too many things without starting new ones so I clicked the button and was taken to the blog of Cat Patches.
I almost forgot to grab the button because I saw a quilt she was posting about, her "Two Grandmother's Quilt."  Always intrigued about the finishing of a quilt started years earlier, I browsed through the posts and knew her quilt to be "The Rhymeland Quilt" by Ruby S. McKim.  Ruby McKim was a designer who had many, many patterns in newspapers throughout the country. I will be posting about her in future posts.
While going through my research materials in an attempt to find information for Barbara at Cat Patches....
I came across my copy of the Modern Priscilla from September 1918, which combined Home Needlework Magazine and Everyday Household.  The publication had a woman Managing Editor but the editor was male.  A subscription cost $1.25 a year and was published monthly. The gentleman you see on this page is the Head of the Home Service Department of the American Red Cross.  The article in the upper left corner commends a lady for knitting 419 pairs of socks in the last two years for the war effort.

Of course the most interesting to me was the page on quilt making, the title "Calling The Quilts Into Service For Our Country"  encouraging the use of scraps and declaring that the other fibers are as warm as wool.  Further in the magazine you have the opportunity to purchase the embroidery pattern for 75 cents. I considered that a bit pricey when the magazine was $1.25 a year.  I have a pattern magazine from the 30's that sold for 10 cents and has several quilts with templates.  More about that later, I'm rambling again.
There were a couple of color page ads in The Modern Priscilla, one of the other ads was selling Bon Ami the rest are of course just black and white, but still fun to read.
.How about a silk dress for $7.98, The dress photos are illustrating how to conserve fabric when making garments.  There were lots of other very interesting information but these were a few of my favorites.  I have several old publications that contain quilt making, but  I believe this is my oldest.
In future posts I will talk about some of the others plus my collection of the Kansas City Star patterns, to whom Ruby McKim worked for and made many contributions.
Well, this has been my day, watching the big snowstorm outside, finishing only one block, and browsing through some wonderful quilt history....I better go sew something.  Enjoy your journey.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes February Buzzsaw

Thanks to the motivation of A Lovely Year of Finishes, and the Oscars I completed my Buzzsaw quilt last night.
  I broke out of my comfort zone with these colors, but decided to add a little color to my life,  and bright color at that. Hubby and I had lots of hmmmm's during the construction but upon completion hubby declared he liked it, I think it is growing on me, the jury is still out.  I think it was such a contrast from my usual color choices that we were both startled.  I guess it doesn't matter how many years you have been can always learn something new.  I always tell my students to work outside of the box, these colors were definitely new for me.  I would love to hear what you think of the quilt, constructive criticism is always good, and I would like to know what you really think.
Well, today's journey takes me to a visit with my oncologist two and half years since my breast cancer.  On this anniversary I would like to remind all of you to get your mammogram and to practice monthly self exams, sometimes I think that we think it only happens to someone else, early detection is so important.  But I'm a survivor, and ready for today's journey, Life is a journey, ENJOY your day!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Yummy Surprise

I received a phone call this morning from a dear friend and she asked if I was going to be home for awhile because she had a birthday cake for me.
Isn't this beautiful!! and it tastes even better than it looks.  I am on a restricted diet but my doctor said I could splurge on rare occasions and this was it.
The bottom layer is a meringue then half of a yellow layer cake, the next layer is to die for.... of whipped cream and strawberries and I'm not sure what else, then the other half of the layer cake topped again with meringue and sliced almonds and three chocolate dipped strawberries.
I will see if I can get the recipe from her sometime to share.
Hope you have a good day, today my journey was yummy.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Loving the Snow Days

Well, It's A Saturday Sharing Day over at Pigtales and Quilts Blog,
 so I thought I would share my accomplishments in the last two days, it has really helped to not be eager to get out due to our foot of snow, we can get out now but we are sure the side streets may still be a problem so I am content to get a lot of sewing accomplished.
I believe I mentioned in yesterdays post that I have been working on a BOM from my LQS and that I had 3 blocks completed.  Well now there are five done and four more to go until I will be caught up.  I do hope to get the other four completed by Monday.

I've also completed a number of my Leader-Ender Bow Tie 3" blocks.  They are going to be such fun to put together, I have many more completed.  these are just the one's accomplished in the last two days....happy me.  I need tons more to achieve the end product I am designing so I just need to spend a lot more time piecing.
In the evening after dinner I have been binding my latest UFO for about an hour and I am about three quarters of the way finished.  How fun it will be to have something done!  Well, that is what I have been up to.  Hope all of you are having as much fun as I have been having the last couple of days!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Room For One More

Oh my goodness! I went through the family room where I teach my classes after getting dressed this morning and what did I find in my student sewing table?
This is MJ (mini Janome) a Janome Jem Platinum 760 and she is wonderful, almost a mini version of her big sister Jan (Janome 6600P).  She has needle up and down, reverse , start and stop button, needle positions and 60 stitches.
After ohhhs and ahhhhs and hugs and kisses for my wonderful hubby who thought this machine looked neat and thought I had to have it for my birthday, I forgot whatever it was I was heading to do and set to work to see just how MJ was going to perform.
She did not come with many feet especially the feet we quilters like, so I ran to the studio and borrowed Jan's 1/4" foot and her F2 open toe foot and proceeded to check the 1/4".  I like a scant quarter when I am piecing so I check for accuracy even when I have a 1/4" foot.  And I found that the seam was going to be too large for my liking so I moved needle position 2 points to the right and success I had just the perfect scant quarter inch seam allowance I prefer.
So I grabbed the blocks I cut yesterday and began to sew and the next thing I know its 11:30 am and we hadn't even had breakfast, but I was having fun and hubby was working with some snow after a kind friend had bladed the drive so given the time, I prepared a little lunch, sewed another block and completed 3 perfect 12 1/2" blocks and since these are sampler blocks that makes me smile really big.  MJ is not temperamental at all, she is quiet, and smooth with a great balanced stitch that is straight as an arrow.
I had expected to complete more than three blocks today but found I needed to spend a little time with the manual and getting accustomed to the feel and performance level of my new machine.  So its probably a good thing the roads were not that good today for us to go out because I'm afraid hubby might have had a difficult time tearing me away from the new machine.  Hope you all had a wonderful day,  remember life is a journey and there is always room for one more machine!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snowy Day Ramblings

Well, they had been talking about the worst snow storm in two years for about a week and major schools closings for today were posted yesterday without a flake of snow.  And it was a good thing, about 6:30 this morning the snow started falling and paralyzed the metro Kansas City area within an hour or so with 3" of snow falling an hour.  We have almost a foot of snow and now it is snowing again, with about 2 to 4 inches expected.  Hubby and I had shopped yesterday and the day before so we were ready to stay tucked inside.  And how did I spend my snowy day?
I cut out the nine blocks I had received from my LQS's latest block of the month program.  Yes, I know I'm to do them each month, but that rarely happens.  Even though, I LOVE block of the month programs.  Nice little packages each month all ready to cut and sew, just like unwrapping a Christmas gift.
And I have a bonus, look at the left over fabric I have,  being a scrap quilt lover I see lots of possibilities with this leftover fabric.  Naturally I will wait to use it in other projects until the quilt is finished.  I am fussy when I cut, and figure out how to best to cut my fabrics for leftovers and it generally pays off.
What else did I do?  Well I designed a pattern on graph paper, fixed a meal hubby enjoyed, took a nap (that is something that rarely happens) and did a little cutting for the log cabin quilt I am in the process of constructing.
There was method to my madness with the cutting marathon, you see tomorrow is my birthday and hubby had planned to take me out for the day, but the weather is not conducive to that adventure Sooo, I plan to get up early and sew, sew, sew.  I have several things prepared besides the BOM so we shall see how much I accomplish.  What better way to spend my day than with hubby and sewing all day.  Perhaps tomorrow evening I can show some of my results.
Life is a journey and an adventure.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Matter of Pressing

Often you hear, "if it was just cut out" or other similar statements of a certain step in getting the quilt completed.  Generally I love all the steps except ONE.  I have always found pressing the binding in preparation to applying it to the quilt to be the one thing I wish the quilting fairy would do for me.  But since she is never around when that task arrives, I have to accomplish it on my own.
It's a known fact, I love notions and gravitate to anything new I see.  Of course, I have some that I have not found to be successful for me, but I have found one that is my buddy when it comes to pressing all those yards of quilt binding.
This is a Quilt Binding Express, I have found I really enjoy using this tool when pressing quilt binding together.  You are able to press 2", 2 1/4", and 2 1/2" binding strips with this tool.
I always have a concern when pressing binding that it may become distorted and with bias binding I feel stretching to be a concern.  With the Quilt Binding Express I find these issues to be eliminated.  And it is easy to use.
Since I use a very low loft batting I generally use a 2" strip for my binding.  I press about an inch of my binding in half and then start feeding it into my Quilt Binding Express.  I feed the binding into the appropriate slot and with raw edges toward me, I start pulling the binding through.  The blue lines on the tool are the exact size of your folded binding strip.  As I am pulling with my left hand, I am cupping the binding to be fed in my right hand and find when the binding to be pressed is on the board, it is generally accurate.

Then pressing with the iron gives a nice sharp edge to my binding.  And with the binding centered on the blue line, I also know I am not distorting my binding allowing it to be sewn to my quilt smoothly.
Now the Quilt Binding Express makes pressing all those yards of binding a little less painful.  Life is a journey...enjoy each day!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

UFO Busting Update

Well, it is mid-February and time for the Lovely Year of Finishes update.  My project for the month is my Buzzsaw quilt.  It had been on the quilter since mid December and not any stitching had occurred until a few days into February and I am sooo happy to say the quilt is now OFF the quilter and trimmed.
Since this photo, the binding has been machine sewn and is ready to be hand sewn down.
When I first saw this blog post for the Lovely Year of Finishes, I was really excited to think this might give me the discipline to actually finish some things.  I had made a list of ALL my UFO's and it is NOT a pretty sight.  Still some things from the early 80's.  I had also thought that it might put a little added stress to think I HAD to finish something, but that was short lived as I decided it was no big deal if I didn't finish. I was confident the quilt police would not come after me.
And now mid way through my first month of Lovely Year of Finishes I am sooo happy I have decided to participate, because I am confident the February quilt will be completed by the given time and I am already planning what the March project will be on the agenda for completion.  I think since I missed January I will try to put two smaller project in one of the months, so I really will have twelve finished pieces by the end of the year.  Hope you all have a great and productive day.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Heart Table Topper Surprise

You will never know my surprise when my student Shirley came to class this morning with a completed top of the Heart Table Topper she made using the free pattern tutorial I posted yesterday on my blog.
For me that is what this is all about.  I receive so much joy seeing what others do with something I come up with, or that I help them create.  I thought her piece turned out great and next week she will learn how to machine quilt it on her sewing machine.  She told me it was quick and easy and she will be making several to give to the hospice families.
If any of you reading my blog make any of the items I post, please send me a photo, I would love to post them on my blog.  You may contact me through my blog.  Hope you all have a great day!!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Free Pattern for Valentine's Day

One of my students is a volunteer for hospice, and is wanting to make table toppers to be given to families that lose a loved one.  Her idea was to make some sort of heart design and she brought a photo of a runner and asked if something similar could be made into a single heart table topper.
Monday of this week, my first student of the morning had been on a three day quilting retreat and was on sewing overload, so that left me two hours to my own devices.  What ever would I was the perfect time to see what I could develop for the table topper.  After a little drafting I starting cutting and sewing and I came up with this design.
Shirley, my student came to class Tuesday and liked the design, so I thought I would give it to all of you in a pattern today.
You will need 1/2 yd of each of the fabrics, a light, a medium, and a dark.  A great stash buster.
For the Heart, cut 1 - 7" square and 4 - 4" squares of the light fabric.
Of the medium, cut 1 - 7" x 11" rectangle and 4 - 4" squares
Of the dark, cut 1 - 7" x 11" rectangle and 5 - 4" squares
Cut 2 - 4" strips for the light fabric and subcut into 17 1/4" pieces for the border and cut 4 - 4" squares of the dark fabric for the corners.
Draw a diagonal line from corner to corner on the light 4" squares and place them in the two upper corners of the two 7" x 11"  rectangles and sew on the lines.
Trim the corners 1/4" past the sewing line and press open and set aside.
Make a Nine Patch of the dark and medium 4" squares following the above photo for arrangement.
Sew the two prepared rectangles and the 7" square to the Nine Patch as pictured above. 
To this piece sew a 17 1/4" border to opposite sides.  To the other two 17 1/4" pieces sew a 4" dark square to each end. 
Sew the other two border pieces to your top and you are finished.

This is a really quick and easy table topper and will only take you a couple of hours from start to finish.  Hope you have a great Valentine's Day.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fabric Cutting Time

I have had a busy, busy week, can't believe I didn't have time to post to my blog.  Each day went by so quickly.  Do hope this week is a little slower and I get a little more accomplished.  I did work on the Log Cabin blocks, helped to put the Pineapple quilt together, and even started quilting my buzzsaw quilt.  I always plan on doing so much, but rarely get it accomplished. My full teaching schedule keeps me from getting quite so much done, but it is so fun and rewarding to see what my students accomplish, that I guess my projects can be postponed.
I keep a small container of leaders and enders next to my machine to use when I finish my regular piecing.  I learned this method from a great book by Bonnie K. Hunter called "Adventures with Leaders and Enders".  Since I love scrap quilts the method is perfect for me.  This year Bonnie is doing spool blocks, and she put the pattern up on her blog Quiltville.  If this is of interest to you be sure to check it out on her site (just Google Quiltville), there are lots of fun things to do there.  In a nutshell you have a small container of cut pieces next to your machine and every time you finish what you are stitching for another project you pick up an Ender and sew it through the machine and clip off your patchwork but leave the Ender which becomes the Leader for your next set of patchwork.  Having a Leader even keeps Jan from wanting to eat my fabric.
I generally sew on Jan, my Janome 6600P and yes she has a thread cutter, but I figure if I cut enough it will malfunction, and Jan will have to go to the hospital, so I save use of my cutter for applique and other things where I do not do chain piecing.
So I did get a little cutting in this week, seems like my little container is always empty.  That means I'm getting a lot of little 3 1/2" spool  blocks finished to use in a fun project that is starting to develop in my head.
I had about an hour before a student, so I got my drawer of 1 1/2" strips out, a ruler and my cutter and proceeded to cut about 40 Spool blocks in my hour.  It's like getting a free quilt since it uses scraps from other projects.
So another week is about to begin.  Popcorn and Downton Abbey tonight and then another week of fun.  Hope your week was enjoyable too....Don't forget to enjoy your journey.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Paper Pieced Pineapple Blocks

Last Tuesday the members of the Opportunity Quilt committee met at my home and we had a fun day piecing a paper pieced Pineapple block, a refresher on the technique, and then we cut the rest of the fabric to complete all 63 blocks.  As we made our block, I measured each piece for the block and added 3/4" so we could cut the pieces in squares and rectangles, thus saving lots of fabric and cutting.
As I stated previously, I printed the 7" blocks from Quilter's Cache, and we will met again this Wednesday to set the quilt together.  Since there were three of us, we each had 21 blocks to make.
I worked a few hours each day and completed the last of my blocks yesterday evening.  Looking forward to seeing the completed top.  We are hoping to have the top completed enough to tell the committee member doing the applique how long the borders need to be made to apply to the quilt.
Now a fun day of teaching and a little sewing in between.  Hope you have a great day!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

New Member of My Sewing Machine Family

This is Fancy, the newest member of my sewing machine family.  She is an electronic featherweight about the same weight of her sister from the '50, but she has lots of stitches, needle up and down and push button start and stop among other features.
She by no means takes the place of her sister Marvina, first generation of  featherweights.  (Marvina got her name from a family  member that made most of her clothing on a 50's Featherweight) machine that she purchased new. Featherweights are a favorite of mine to carry to sew-ins and retreats, but there are times when I may be wanting to applique and Marvina just can't carry out that task.
I love the look, feel and sound of the older machines, but tend to gravitate toward the newer models because medical issues makes it difficult for me to use a foot pedal which means I use the foot pedal with my hand, kind of like a hand crank with electricity.  But one handed sewing is not conducive to intricate piecing so I seek other alternatives, but still love and appreciate my older machines, of which there are many....all with a story and a memory.
Make some memories today and enjoy the journey.

Friday, February 1, 2013

UFO Busting BuzzSaw

Okay!  I'm trying to follow the guidelines from Pat Sloan to organize and finish my many, many UFOs.  And I also signed up for A Lovely Year of Finishes.  Surely between the two of those helpful activities I can get something finished.  I'm already a month behind on the Lovely Year of Finishes, finding them only a couple of weeks ago but, if I can finish eleven projects, that would be a dent in the overflowing pile of projects to be finished.

My BuzzSaw has been on the quilter since a week before Christmas, silly me I thought I could have it done as a Christmas gift.  Every time I pass the quilter I can imagine my quilt saying "HELLO, remember me",  But this is the month to get it done, not today, but soon, so I can get it bound and be on to another.  It doesn't take long once I put in that first stitch.
Another day to be happy, enjoy your journey!