Friday, August 18, 2017

Too Busy Sewing to Blog

I have been sewing a LOT, and not thinking much about blogging, so if this is disjointed, I'm sorry in advance. 

All of this is waiting to be pressed. I have an ironing station set up in my bedroom, but it heats up the room too much for me to want to do it in there, so I set up an ironing board in the kitchen. This ironing board is 30+ years old, and I think it's time for a replacement. It's not particularly stable anymore, and I think it may just be time to bite the bullet and replace it. I looked at some ironing boards online, and I saw really cheap ones that I'm not thinking will last long, and I also saw some REALLY expensive ones. Who knew you could spend $1,000 on an ironing board??? Any suggestions on a decent ironing board that doesn't cost a mortgage payment to buy?

Looking at all of that waiting to be pressed, you may think I haven't pressed anything this week, but that's not true either. To be fair, I have been waiting until I absolutely have to press things. Summer in Southern Arizona is no laughing matter, and heating up the house is less than desirable right now. 

All of these were pressed this week. I had so many blue 2" strips in the scrap user system, I cut out two blue quilts at once. One will be a wedding quilt.

Here's the layout I'm going to use. The quilt will be 108" square. The quilt idea came from a magazine last spring??? I think the quilt design was called Waterfall, but maybe not because a google search didn't find it. The magazine quilt was much smaller, and didn't use the same layout, but my design is based on someone else's. In the photo of pressed blocks, the blocks in the middle are for this quilt, but the other blocks for it are still on my ironing board board waiting to be pressed. No border for this quilt, I'm using borders less and less these days. The quilt in real life will be a lot more colorful than this, because I'm using up a LOT of novelty fabric scraps. 

So, if the framed blocks are pressed, and the blue strip blocks are on my ironing board, what's with the shoebox full of blue strips? Actually, the shoebox is filled with blue strips sewn in pairs, that will go for a Weed Whacker quilt. All of the corner pieces that need to be sewn onto the pairs of strips are also in the shoebox. I pieced a traditional piano key border for the Weed Whacker quilt, and it's pressed too. 

I wrapped the four long borders around a piece of pool noodle, so it will stay nicely pressed until I need it. Between the two quilts I'm busting a LOT of blue scraps, which is a really good thing.

So that only leaves one stack of pressed blocks unexplained. Remember I made a comfort quilt last month? Well I took all those bonus HST's, and made blocks for a Twisted Ribbon quilt. 

I think the Twisted Ribbon quilt will look pretty cool when it's done. 

So why am I jumping from project to project without finishing anything? I actually have a(n) excuse reason. DH will be out of town for a week, and I want to get as many quilts into blocks as I can before he leaves, because while he is gone is the perfect time to assemble quilts. If I lay out quilts on our bedroom floor, but don't manage to finish getting the top assembled before bedtime, better to only inconvenience myself than DH too. 

As for all the stripsets on the ironing board, I'll explain what those are going for next time. 

Friday, August 11, 2017


I've had a pretty productive week. I finished the blocks for the center of one wedding quilt. I also made 124 of 144 blocks for another wedding quilt, when I was rudely interrupted by a microburst! I shut my Bernina off as soon as the weather turned nasty. I'd hate to fry the motherboard with a power surge. Since I wasn't sewing, I watched out the window.

Crazy, right??? 

Here's the neighbor's house diagonal from me.

That tree wasn't on their house before this storm. Another house on our street ended up with a tree on it, and that one was far more damaged. We drove around the neighborhood today, and a couple of the houses lost their roofs, several lost carports. There are downed trees all over, and an apartment complex right by us had so many trees felled by the storm that people were trapped in their apartments and had to be rescued. We were without power for about nine hours, but I think that's a quick turnaround considering how much damage there is. 

We were blessed that we had almost no damage. I was home alone at the time, and I was surprisingly calm, even though I anticipated damage to our house. The house was shaking, and debris was flying, so I was figuring there was a good chance we'd have some serious damage. 

Today, after a look around the neighborhood and some errands done, I'm being serenaded by the sounds of chainsaws and hammers, as people go about repairing the damage. That's what people do, rebuild after storms, whether it's literal rebuilding after a physical storm, or emotional rebuilding after a traumatic event. Resilience is one of the more noble human traits.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Cutting? A Little. Sewing? A LOT!!!

In my last blog post I mentioned I couldn't find my 2.5" shirt strips. Well, technically, I still haven't, BUT, I remembered that when I first started using the Scrap User System, I didn't keep shirt parts separate. I looked in my regular 2.5" strips, and found a decent amount of shirt strips, so I cut those up into squares and kitted up that last project. 

I've cut enough to keep me going for a while, so I've been sewing away. My main project right now is the wedding quilt for DS the Elder and DDIL. They just celebrated their first anniversary, so that's a good indication of how far behind you fall when you don't quilt much for a year. My goal on all these wedding quilts I am behind on is to get it to the couple by their second anniversary. 

I love the pattern I chose for this first wedding quilt, BUT, it's an easy quilt to get mixed up on. There are only two types of blocks, but multiple colorways of each one.

I've got all the slanted blocks done, but I have a long way to go on the nine patches. You need differing amounts of each colorway too, so I have to pay really close attention to what I'm doing. Everyone has their own way of doing things, but for me, I need a completely different leader/ender project when my main project is complicated. I'm afraid if I just used another nine patch as my leader/ender, I'd end up with 20 of a colorway, when I only needed 8. 

While I was making the slanted blocks with all those flip and sew corners, I was using some Flying Geese as my leader/enders. Now that I'm working on nine patches, I made those Flying Geese units into quilt blocks.

I have more Flying Geese units to sew, and I will sew them, next project I have flip and sew corners. I really like how these blocks are coming out, and I may cut more when I run out and make this into a bed sized quilt. You never know, but for right now these are just being set aside. 

Now, on those slanted blocks with the flip and sew corners? I sewed a second line about 1/2 from the first, and then had a stack of bonus HST's. Because of the odd colorways of blocks I needed, the bonus HST's were in different amounts in each color, just like the main blocks. I trimmed all the HST's to size, and yesterday I sewed the bonus HST's into 12" blocks.

I didn't want any of the blocks the same, so I just played around with what I had. I've decided to piece the backing of this wedding quilt into what will basically be another quilt. I pieced these blocks as leaders/enders while making the nine patch blocks. I have a few different ideas in my head about how to add to these blocks for the backing. I am planning on a medallion style backing with the last border being very wide, knowing I won't be able to line the top and backing up exactly, so I'm planning for fudge room. 

Now that I've used up all the Flying Geese unit I had, and I used all the large bonus HST's, I'm back to using these blocks as my leader/enders.

 I get asked pretty frequently how I keep all my projects straight. Well, for one thing, I am actually only sewing two things at once. When I was using my bonus HST blocks as my leader/ender, I was working on those and nine patches. When I was sewing up the Flying Geese blocks as my leader/enders, I was working on those with nine patches. Once I've used up all of whatever units I have, I move those blocks off my sewing cabinet, so I don't have as much visual clutter. Every time I finish the correct number of blocks in each colorway, I move them off the sewing cabinet. 

I also have two areas that I use for laying out blocks. I like to have a table at 90 degrees to my sewing cabinet. Right now, that's where I'm laying out my leader/ender block since those are larger than my main project blocks.

To the right of my sewing machine, on my sewing cabinet, I'm laying out the next main project block.

I think it sounds like I'm working on more than I am, because I have so much kitted up right now. I will keep changing what I am working on, as I run out of units of certain things. I am hoping to get all the units made for more than one wedding quilt in August. DH will be away for a week in September, and that would be the perfect time to assemble some quilts. I'll likely have one quilt at a time spread out on the floor of our bedroom, so having some time where I don't have to clean up before he gets home from work would be good. It can take a while to get these huge quilts assembled. 

Oh, I wanted to tell you about something I heard this week, that I'm already putting into practice. I was reading through the posts in one of my sewing Facebook groups, and someone mentioned their hip was hurting after sewing for long hours. I've been having the same problem, so I anxiously read through the comments. One lady said her hip hurts if she doesn't put something under her left foot, to raise it to the same height as her right foot on the sewing pedal. She said she used a piece of 2x4 she had lying around. I looked around my sewing room, and found a plastic box about the right height, and I've been resting my left foot on it. What a difference it has made! 

I knew my set up wasn't the best ergonomically, because I have short legs and even with my adjustable chair at the lowest height, my legs are still not at a 90 degree angle, and they dangle down. Because of that positioning of my legs, my legs tend to fall asleep, my ankles swell, and I'm just basically not getting good circulation in my legs when I sew.  I try to get up and move around pretty often, but sometimes I just get "in the zone" and forget.

Anyway, now that I've raised my left foot, my legs are almost at 90 degrees, I'm realizing how twisted my body was before from having one foot up and one foot down. No back ache, no hip pain, less swelling, it's amazing! I think I may have DH build me something to put my feet on. I'm thinking of it being just a tad higher than what I'm using now, a place for my sewing foot pedal to keep it in place, and a rest for my right foot when I don't want it on the foot pedal at all. Any suggestions?

Thursday, July 27, 2017

More Cutting!

When I go on a cutting spree, I really go for it! I just spent most of the last week with DD#2, and I brought three projects with me. I brought one needlepoint project, a box of squares to draw lines on, and some strips to sub-cut. The only one I did was sub-cutting the strips.

After cutting up all those shirt backs, I ended up with smaller strips that wouldn't work for the quilts I was currently making. Instead of sticking them with stash, I decided to kit up another quilt, to use as leaders/enders in the future. I ended up with the most 2.5" strips, so I took those to my daughter's house. I have some rulers that are the exact size to use with 2.5" strips, which is great for when I'm talking and visiting and might use the wrong line if I had a multi-size ruler. I decided to cut as many HST's as I could, having no pattern in mind at the time, but knowing HST's are always a good option. While I was cutting I decided to use these in a split nine patch with a solid center square.

When I got home, I cut all the 6.5" strips into HST's for a couple twin sized quilts, then cut as many 2.5" squares as I could from those scraps to use in the split nine patch project. Here's what I've got now!

Do I know how many HST's I've got? No. When I'm improvising, I don't really care. I have more men's shirt parts, and I can always cut more. Cut too many, no such thing, they'll just go into another project. 

I don't have near enough squares cut for the split nine patch quilt, and I certainly have plenty to work on already. I did try to find my containers of 2.5" shirt strips. I found one of dark strips, but I thought I had two of dark strips, and one of light. I KNOW I had one of light strips, but I could have been wrong about two of dark, it could just be one. 

With no sewing room right now, my stuff is all over the house, and even though I looked all over the house, that shoebox full of light 2.5" shirt strips is hiding!!! When I have a sewing room, I keep everything organized, because not being able to find what I want drives me crazy! I have enough darks in the one box I found to make the quilt, but you can't make a split nine patch without lights. Hmmmmm... Guess I'll keep looking and hope I stumble onto it. With all the projects I have going on right now, I may not need to find them before I have a sewing room again. I'm thinking I'll have a sewing room next summer, if nothing unexpected comes up. I have plenty to keep me busy until then even if I can't find that box. 

This is Mr. LJ, kicking up a storm! I know it's blurry, but it's one of the only photos I managed to get where he was looking at me. A week of baby snuggles was just what I needed. 

We've had a bunch of errands to run, but the weekend should be prime sewing time! DH is working, and the only plans I've got are to sew, sew sew!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Blazing Rotary Cutter

I think my rotary cutter needs flames on it, because it's gotten so much use in the last week it deserves flames.

Here are five quilts, all ready for sewing. Some will need sub-cutting after I get the strip sets made, but they are all ready to sew. 

These stacks represent three quilts in the making. Well, it could be more, or I suppose less, if I guessed wrong and need to cut more. The baskets in the top photo have been cut with a specific pattern and size in mind. Those are all gifts, and I take that more seriously. The bottom photo, those fabrics are all from men's shirts I bought on that last big shopping spree. I need to make two twin sized quilts for the grandkids guest room, and while I was cutting up shirts, I decided to make a Scrappy Mountains Majesty quilt too. 

I need to sub-cut the 6 inch strips into HST's with my Easy Angle ruler, but, honestly, I'm sick of cutting and need a few days off. I have a couple ideas of how I want to set the HST's, but mostly, I plan on making as many HST's as I can with this stack, and then start playing with them. I don't know how many shirts I cut up, if I need more, I'll grab some from my shirt stash. If I end up with a lot more than I need, I'll just start another quilt. 

I have no idea how many squares I cut for the Scrappy Mountains Majesty quilt. Again, I'll make as many blocks as I can, then see what I can come up with. That quilt has no intended owner yet, but now that my house is almost empty of people, I realize how few quilts I own. I give them all away! Right now there is not one single quilt on any of the beds in the house. I own two quilt racks, but only enough quilts for one. It's time to start making some quilts for our house. I am swamped with wedding quilts to make, but I figured if I cut out some quilts for the grandkids guest room, I may be able to get those done in between the other quilts. 

I also think that, for the time being, I'm going to be keeping the UFO's I finish. I'd really like to see quilts all over the house, and right now there are hardly any. Once I have some, I can replace them with ones I like better, and pass some others on, but for now, I just really want some quilts that stay here. DH has been bugging me about this for a while, and I've just realized how few quilts we actually have. All of my kids have more of my quilts at their houses, than I have here. No wonder DH has been saying we should keep some. 

I think the goal of making some quilts for our house, is going to keep me motivated to finish the gift quilts I need to make. I hope so anyway, because I hate having a to-do list as long as mine is right now. I've never fallen so far behind on gift quilts before, but the last year has been really hard, and sewing just wasn't happening. I'm so glad things have changed for the better now!