Aug 30, 2007

The great emancipator

Gwen Marston has set quilters free. I recommend her book "Liberated Quiltmaking." It allows ordinary quilters (not just those art quilter types) to go for it! Sew, sew, sew. Make crooked seams, use queer color combinations, everything doesn't have to match. If someone points out a wonky quilt block to you, just say "Thanks for noticing. I meant it to come out that way."
I'm going to refer to her book for ideas for my next couple of quilts.

Aug 28, 2007

Squaring up

I first saw Eleanor Burns on TV umpteen years ago. She was on a channel that was really out of our area, and came in snowy. But I recorded her on the VCR and watched her religiously. I learned a lot about quilting from her. One thing was how to square-up finished blocks. And my blocks really need it. I'm not one of those people whose quilts get ribbons at the fair! So what I do is take my finished blocks and trim the edges carefully. It makes them a lot easier to sew together, if they are all the same size. I'm getting those blocks put together. It'll take me a couple of days, I guess. I plan to sew the blocks together with the border in three horizontal sections. I'll put the whole thing together after quilting.
Meanwhile I'm hemming and hawing to myself about the next project. And I still have to make the puff quilt.
I was once talking to a friend at the library. (Our library has a knitting and crocheting group that makes things for charity.) I explained to her that I don't like to have a lot of unfinished projects. I figure that if I die, I'll be leaving behind a pile of rags. But if the project is completed--well, everyone appreciates inheriting a quilt.

Aug 26, 2007

Strange Day

Strange day today. It's raining a bit. It rarely rains this time of year here in Southern California. Luckily, I had returned from shopping before the downpour. I went out early. I guess that I'm a so-called morning person. Last weekend my grandson visited and I found out that his bed is a double size, not a twin. So today I'm making another row of blocks on the quilt. I'm planning to use up any left-over strips from the quilt for part of the border, but I may have to change that, because there may not be many strips left!

Aug 23, 2007

A Quilter is Someone Who

By Rosalyn F. Manesse

Saves ten boxes of scraps,
Has one corner of the house an eternal mess,
Buys half a yard of calico,
When on vacation, goes to the fabric store in every town,
Loves flea markets,
Is always looking for new ideas,
Spends sleepless nights thinking about color combinations,
Has a tottering pile of books and magazines in her room,
Visits every five-and-dime,
Is always picking up pins and bits of thread from the floor,
Has a callous on her left index finger,
Is always looking for more quilt patterns,
Begs her friends for remnants,
Works for a year on a quilt, then gives it away,
Watches TV with a needle in her hand,
Is forever ironing,
Is never bored,
Knows one hundred patterns by heart,
Forgets to water the lawn,
Can get it all together,
Finds treasures at a garage sale,
Always has time to help a friend.

This poem is copyrighted.

Aug 22, 2007

Baby Toes does its thing

It just bloomed today. This is my succulent plant called Baby Toes. fenestraria rhopalophylla

Aug 20, 2007

Satisfaction--I get some

I'm so happy about the quilt blocks I'm making. They're really easy to make, as I can do a lot of sewing before I have to press any seams. I make 2 or 3 blocks at a time. I moved a small cutting mat right next to my left side, and I put my ironing mat next to the sewing machine. I have a calculation of 35 blocks being needed, if I add a nice border.
I went to see that movie "Bourne Ultimatum." Those explosions and gunshots kept me awake, I'll tell you. Well, I really don't want to nap at a movie that I paid admission to see--I can nap for free at home. Superman and car chases--that's about it. Matt Damon is a good actor.
Meanwhile, those quilt puffs keep staring at me from the side, where I shoved them.
Once in a while I bring home one of those cut-down cardboard boxes from the beverage aisle of the supermarket. Handy for parking quilt patches in. And they can be tossed in the recycling bin whenever I don't need them anymore. You know, if I have to bring a cake or some food someplace, I put the pan inside of one of those boxes(lined with a paper towel). Handy.

Aug 17, 2007

Cut, cut, cut

A lady goes into a New York deli. She tells the counter man that she wants to buy a slice of lox. The man takes out the lox, and he slices a paper-thin slice. "How's this lady?"
"Cut," she says.
He cuts another slice. "OK?"
"Cut," she says.
"You're having the family over?" he asks.
"Cut," she says.
"It's going to be a party?"
"A Bar Mitzvah?"
"I"ll buy the next slice."

I took out that big box of fabric I keep on the closet floor, and pulled out assorted fabrics in dark or light colors. And I sliced a big bunch (that's a quilter's scientific term) of 2 1/2 inch strips. Yep, the decision has been made. White House Steps quilt coming up!
And good news, I hunted around and I do have a bunch of 4 1/2 inch squares left over from the Four-patch Quilt I made in 2004. Someday I'll post a photo of it, but let me tell you that the teapot applique on my blog is from the Four-patch Quilt.
And I managed to cut a few squares for my puff quilt, too. I'm still huffing and puffing on the puff quilt. It seems to be taking a long time, but remember, the quilting and piecing are being done at the same time. That puff quilt will only need a lining sewn to the back to be done. I'll just make a pillowcase type of lining, and tack it down in a few places.

Aug 16, 2007

Old New ideas

I keep a couple of notebooks with quilt notes. There's photos and information about quilts that I have made, and ideas for future reference. I looked through my books. So this sketch was made some years ago, actually. I was thinking of making some sort of log cabin quilt, and this "White House Steps" pattern is about right, I believe. I have a lot of long strips left over from making borders on quilts, sashes, and just plain scraps. So I decided to make a sample block. And it turned out to be a very quick and easy block, too.
The center of the block is a 4 1/2 inch square (including 1/4 inch seams.) The surrounding strips are cut 2 1/2 inches wide. That produces a 12 inch quilt block.
There are two blocks in the quilt, alternating light and dark colors.
I like to sew the 2 1/2 inch strips to the side of the center block, and then I trim them for the length. I keep a cutting mat and an ironing mat next to my sewing machine. I hope that my explanation makes sense--

Aug 14, 2007

Rancho Santa Margarita

Here's a glimpse of where I live in California. The fountain with the statues, where toddlers love to play, and a distant view of Saddleback Mountain.

Aug 12, 2007

On the street where I live

This is where I live. I have a condominium in Southern California. That's my street, courtyard and my patio. It's been a lovely summer so far, but we have some hot weather coming during the end of August and the month of September. I'm still sewing on the puff quilt every day. I'm thinking about a log cabin quilt of some sort. I made one last year and I enjoyed it so much.

Aug 9, 2007

The puff quilt--progress report

I've made a lot of strips of puffs. I guess I've made about a third of the puffs that I need for a twin size.

Aug 7, 2007

It's that time again

It's the beginning of August, and it's time to start my knitting (and crochet and quilting) for Chanukah and Christmas (we have both varieties of people in our family.) I don't shop for presents. I'm the Grandma who gives checks for college funds instead. And I make comfy sweaters for kids. Not much call for hats, scarves and mitts out our way (California and Nevada.) Just maybe a scarf for my grandson who goes to college in Davis, CA. I've already got one sweater started, and I mail ordered yarn for the next one. I used up all the yarn that I bought at a yard sale a year or two ago. I had enough of that yarn left over to make an afghan for charity, last spring. Gosh I'm writing a lot of run-on-sentences today--teachers, get out your red pencils!
That's how it goes when you are lucky enough to have six wonderful grandchildren.

Aug 6, 2007

Not denim

Alicia asked about the use of denim in my crazy quilt. Nope, it's not denim. It's just cotton that's printed to look like denim. I like to quilt with fabric like that.

Aug 5, 2007

How to quilt in sections

When I make a big quilt, I make it in sections--could be anywhere from 2 to 6 sections--depending on the size. I join the sections together after quilting. Anyhow--what I do is cut a generous backing. Then I put the backing, batt and quilt on the dining room table. I make sure the quilt is centered on the batt and backing. Next I put a bandaid on my left index finger--that way, I don't have to put one on later on a sore finger--aha! I have a long wooden slat that I keep concealed in a closet corner. I use it to schmush the quilt flat by running it firmly over the surface. And I slip my largest cutting mat under the quilt. Then I safety pin the surface, about 3 or 4 inches apart. I shift the quilt around until it is all pinned nicely. I peek at the back to be sure that I didn't get any big creases. Sometimes just removing a pin or two is necessary. And I'm off to the races (as they say.) I'm too arthritic to do any stuff on the floor, anyhow. Also, I can do one section at a time, so it is not as exhausting for me. When quilting, leave room at the edges where it will be seamed together later.
To join the sections--never pin them together--it's too easy to loose a pin in the batt. Well, maybe a safety pin or two. I used to baste the front seams together, but I realized that since I was sewing with a needle and thread, why not just hand sew the fronts together? It's just using smaller stitches than the basting. So that's what I do. And then I turn the quilt over and trim excess batting. I use my tiny craft iron to iron down that seam. And I hand hem the back together. Lastly, I quilt over the seam.

Aug 3, 2007

A full view of crazy qult

Here's a pretty good photo of the finished quilt. Yep, it's on its way to a new and happy home.