Saturday, March 1, 2008

I Spy "IT"!!

I was sitting at the school table yesterday correcting a math lesson (which is in the center of the sewing room) and said to my oldest daughter (sitting across from me), "There IT is!" You see, the chair I was in faced my overstock/seasonal/flannel fabric bookshelf. I've already shown you my main shelf, but this holds those that don't play nicely with the others. There IT is, on the far right.
Maybe I can sneak over and persuade it to come a little farther out of hiding...

On the far right--that's IT! "it" is my backing fabric for the Mennonite Mosaic quilt. The top is nearly boring with it's almost solid fabrics (none are true solids, but they sure read that way from a little distance). I wanted something for the back that was a little surprise compared to the front. I bought that bolt of Thimbleberries back when it was on clearance. I intended to use it for jumpers for my girls, but only one liked it enough to wear it. It's sort of a periwinkle/light blue/denim-colored background. it has tiny red dots and the little daisies (which are my favorite flower). PERFECT! Now I need to incorporate all my little scraps into the back. 1. to get rid of them 2. to make the backing slightly larger than 2 widths of this fabric.

A plan is in place. Since I finished the top, a "what fabric am I going to use for backing" track has been running through my mind (albeit on the back burner) constantly. On the outside it might look like I'm giving a math lesson or cooking or hand sewing, but I was really in search of that fabric. Now I can play another sound track.


My Friend's Name in Print!

Someone sent me a box of their elderly quilt magazine discards. As I was leafing through a few of them this AM, I came across the applique border that I put on my last-year's-started Christmas quilt. The quilt had a different border that I did not like, and so I borrowed the one above. It was on a quilt called Nine and Vines, which is a neat pattern in itself. I happened to glance at the quilt designer, and it's my new b-friend, Kathie! Imagine, a celebrity corresponding with little ole me! Visit her blog, you'll love seeing her quilts.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Apple Core Slightly Larger

This is my Apple Core quilt after today's addition. The vertical row on the far right is not sewn to the quilt, but the pieces are sewn to each other except the top two.

It now measures 18" x 15". Quite a step forward, especially considering that I'm ill, this is hand cut and hand-pieced. It would make a nice wall hanging, huh? Instead of a full-sized quilt, that is!

In search of more tissues...


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sassy Blooms Top Finished

Here is the top for the runner. I don't think the dark purple strip shows up as much in person, but I've been wrong before. This finishes at 14" x 42-1/2". The colors are a little different, so I think I'll keep searching for a Pay It Forward gift. This will be on eBay in a few minutes!

Potential Pay It Forward Gift

This is a little bit of a new project I started today. I will be participating in the Pay It Forward deal after I receive a gift from Tazzie. Most of you have probably heard of the program. You receive a gift from someone, and then you "gift" 3 other people who have promised to "gift" 3 others...

This is the beginning of a runner called "Sassy Blooms". There are 3 blooms in the runner. The colors are purples, reds, greens, and a gold print for the bloom centers and squares around the outside.

It's in the Spring 2008 issue of Fons & Porter's Easy Quilts. Easy, but I didn't spend much time on it...yet.

I found a neat place in our little downtown today. I stopped at the Bernina store for some Mettler quilting thread (this is the infamous store that I posted about earlier when I found THE magazine). As I was leaving, I thought I should stay out for health reasons. I got my hair cut moments before, and my husband was likely to have a heart attack when he saw how short it is. I was cutting through an alley in my little 5-speed when I saw a sign that said "Alley Quilts". So I zipped over the the curb and parked.

This business is ME. They piece and quilt customer's quilts, kits, etc. I wanted to ask so badly how much they charge. Instead I just eyeballed the many samples they had on the walls. They have a longarm machine that 2 of the 3 ladies that work there use. Ahhhh...did I have to leave? One invited me to their guild meeting tonight.

Marcie tagged me to share 7 weird or random things about myself a while ago, and I've been ignoring it. I don't think *I'm* weird at all! OK--one weird thing about me is that I am a loner. I don't even want to go to the guild meeting mentioned above. I don't belong to a mother's morning out, home school support group, or anything like that. I'm quite content being alone. I do enjoy being with people, but I'd rather be alone. Maybe because we have 10 people in our house, and being alone is a treat??

Last night I asked my family to tell me 7 weird things about me. You understand that to ME they are not weird, but entirely normal, because they are ME. One daughter said, "Only 7?" My DH said to share that although we nearly always eat home-cooked meals made from scratch, I have only recently (after nearly 20 years of marriage and a bazillion home-cooked meals) found a recipe worth buying an onion for, and I have made it 3 times in the last year. So the onion farmers of America would be in dire straits if depending on my onion consumption. I'll share others as I think of them, but truly, they are not weird things.

Off to sew a few more strips for the Sassy Blooms. Be ready to jump in there when I ask for recipients!


Mennonite Mosaic Top is Finished

Good morning from a very chilly NC! 30 degrees...brrrrr...

Here is my Mennonite Mosaic top finished. It measures 88" square. I took these pictures outside, so they are a little over bright from the sunshine. I am now trying to decide what to use for backing. I'd like a small shirting print, but I really don't want to BUY anything because I have a whole bookshelf of bolts of fabric. I'm sure something will strike me (thud!).

Off to do some school with the children.

Just a reminder that if you comment, make sure your email address is in the text if you have your account set at NO REPLY. I can't answer you otherwise.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Leaner and Meaner

One of my two sons above gave me the title for this post. Leaner and meaner. Which is which? LOL! I'll never tell. They had their Civil Air Patrol pictures taken in their dress blues tonight, so I had to get a shot to share and remember.

Above is the center of my Mennonite Mosaic. It probably has a lot to do with all the extra stuff going on in our house the past few days, but I'm burned out on piecing. What? You're not surprised? I haven't ironed the seams between the 16 blocks in this picture...maybe tomorrow. This part measures 66-1/2" square.

One of my daughters (who was very inactive yesterday and most of today because of the illness that's overtaken my family, except for me and one other) came down to the sewing room tonight and saw the top nearly complete. She commented that it's no wonder my blog readers are amazed at the number of tops I can piece in such a short time...she can't keep up and she LIVES here! Too funny.

I was planning to hand quilt this, but now I'm thinking that with the right shades of variegated thread, peacock quilting would look really neat. I'll have to think about it for a while.

Good night!


Monday, February 25, 2008

My World Today

Only one person has actually taken the above medicine, but we are all (except for 2 of us) sick with the crud that's been going around...high fever, cough, sore throat, sinus congestion, and all other manner of fun.

I am not feeling all the effects (yet), but I don't think it will be long for me either.

I finished up all the "A" blocks for the Mennonite Mosaic quilt this morning. There are 8 A and 8 B. I ran out of steam (physically, not in the ironing sense) after blocks A were complete. I took a 2-1/2 hour nap, and feel like having another. Hard to believe that this entire quilt can be broken down into such simple sewing. Sewing the strips made it go really quickly and look so good. I think sewing all the little squares together is less neat from a sewing standpoint. My design wall is only big enough for 3 of these blocks at a time (well, 6 if you count the invisible ones).

I had the camera in hand when I went out to check the mail. Saw these beauties coming up...tulips we planted 2 falls ago. Last year they were pretty. Seems like they have multiplied a lot already just after a year. I think Emily planted them. I can't even remember what colors are where. Our front yard is mostly 2 huge natural areas. We planted several groups of these. Once in bloom they won't last long, but they are spectacular when they show up.

My only non-ill daughter in the middle, playing hula hoops with 2 of the neighbor's children.

Time for a good, brisk SIT. Hope you're all doing well.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Beginning of Something BIG

I wasn't the kid in the back seat asking "are we there yet?", but I've always wanted to know, "How much farther?" What you see below is 18% of the 16 eleven-row blocks needed for the center of the Mennonite Mosaic. All cut and stitched up today.

If you compare this to my earlier post of color selections, you will see that I substituted a different red and green. These are the lighter side of Thimbleberries. I just can't put my trust in another fabric name brand. These wash up so well and rarely fade.

I'm already looking forward to putting some hand-quilting stitches in the finished top. How's that for VISION??

These worked up quickly. I'm taking a half of a width of fabric and piecing one row, then cutting it into 2" wide strips and piecing the strips together. Much easier than laying out all 2,025 two-inch squares (the original pattern actually calls for 1-3/4" squares, but I'm making mine a bit larger). I plan to use brown quilting thread and doing diagonal lines through all of it, but seeing someone else's might change my mind.

I cut out all my Apple Core quilt pieces. That will be my car project for the next few weeks of violin/piano lesson time (2 hours of car time per week). Maybe I'll make some progress on it in spite of not making the van trip this weekend.

Good night!

The End of The End

This will probably be the last time you see a new blog entry about this quilt (for a while, snicker, snicker). I've been asked to see the back. I picked this fabric because I like the pattern on it. I tend to be pickier about my backings if they are on a throw or bed quilt because they will be seen a lot. On a wall hanging, however, anything goes. I know if any of you visit, I can expect to see you pulling the wall hanging out from the wall to see what is on the back. Don't expect it to match!!

The slightly busy design hides the quilt starts and stops and any tiny mistakes (I know--you don't make any, but I do).

I've also had questions about how I get things done so fast. I always think I could be doing things more efficiently or faster. But here's some things I do when making a scrap quilt like Plan B, which is my current leader/ender project.

I have a shallow plastic basket that I always keep beside my sewing machine. Right now it has nothing but 2" squares in it, creams and colors.

I have a separate box for finished units. It's a shoe-box sized plastic box with a lid. Beside my sewing machine I keep small pieces in the basket (not units, which are at least 2 pieces sewn together). When I'm sewing something else, I end with a leader/ender from that instead of the scrap of trash fabric I used to sew on until it was thread-filled and then throw it away. This way I'm "sewing" all these units without actually spending time on them. Occasionally, I'll sew lots and lots of the units together if I'm not working on another project.

The units go into the box loose. After I iron and trim them to size, I safety pin them together in groups of ten so I can count them easily. I usually iron and trim a lot of them at once. They go into the box unironed and untrimmed. I count how many of each unit I need ahead of time so I can slow down on that one once I get close to my goal. Sometimes, the actual numbers can be ovewhelming. For example, for Plan B, I will need 204 four-patches made from 4 dark/colored 2" squares. That's a lot (816 squares!), but I'm over halfway there. I am cutting all my scraps into 2" squares and putting them in a shallow basket for leader/enders. Same with creams, but that's another unit.