Tuesday, January 27, 2009

One flannel center done

   Here is the center of one of the flannel quilts. I thought the layout was cute when I saw it. I like the connecting shapes. With this color combination, primaries connect only with other primaries, and secondaries connect to other secondaries. It should be a good quilt for teaching a baby their colors. It's still needs a border, but that will have to wait until tomorrow.

   I haven't got near as much sewing accomplished today as I thought I would. I have been surfing the net looking up info for my quilting machine and frame. So much to learn, so many projects in the works: it's all good. I did decide to just quilt the flannel quilts on my regular machine. The flannel has so much play in it, I'm afraid it wouldn't be a good beginner project for my frame.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Snowballs, anyone?

     Here are my snowball flannel blocks. They are definitely the only snowballs I'm going to get here in Tucson. They will be combined with the nine patches I posted a couple of days ago. I am hoping to get the centers  of all three quilts done tomorrow, and maybe cut the borders if I have time.
     What I am stuck on is the quilting part. I can stitch-in-the-ditch and get them all quilted in a week, or I can wait, and quilt them on my new quilting machine! I just bought a Juki 98QE with a Little Gracie 2 frame. It's a smaller set-up than I wanted, but much more affordable. I have NO experience with frame quilting, and I don't know exactly how long it will take for me to get the hang of it. From what I've read, it takes 400 hours of practice to become proficient, but most people don't wait that long and start quilting real quilts before that. I really just want to do pantographs (all over designs) or maybe some meandering at this point, and since a couple of templates came with my machine, I'm hoping that after a couple practice quilt sandwiches, I can at least be good enough to try using the templates or following a pantograph on a real quilt. I am impatient, I know. Since I have no drawing talent at all, I don't know that I'll ever attempt anything fancy. A copy of QuiltCAD came with the package deal too, so I can use the computer to print out pantographs, and even design my own. Of course, I don't know how to do that yet either. My machine has been shipped, and will be here soon. I need to get these three quilt tops finished, and hopefully start a couple more before my new toy gets here.

Celtic blocks done

     I've been piecing the Celtic blocks in between the flannel blocks, and I was pretty sure I'd run out of the Celtic blocks first. I was right! Here they are; stacks of the two blocks needed for the pattern.

Here they are laid out on the table. I'll probably get them sewn together tomorrow. Now if I can just sew them together without getting them all turned around! Direction is everything in this quilt to make the knots work. I usually make my quilts rectangles, but I'm going to leave this one a square. I'll be adding two borders to this, and it should end up about 50 inches square.

    It's amazing what designs you can create with just two blocks, or even one on some quilts. The flannel quilts are two blocks quilts, and one of those is a nine patch just like on this one. The second block is not the same, and it will have a completely different look.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Scrap sorting and grandbaby quilt start

    I haven't blogged in a week, because I really had nothing to show. I've been working on taming the scrap basket, cutting all the odds and ends into usable size squares or strips. I spent days doing that, and didn't sew a thing. While I was cutting, I cut out four complete quilts, and one of those is scrappy from my new batch of scraps. I have two piles started for two other scrap quilts, but not enough pieces cut for either of those quilts. My drawers for specific sized scraps are filling up nicely now, but that basket I keep scrap fabric in does NOT seem to be going down much! I started saving a few new sizes for me, like 2 inch and  3 1/2 inch strips. I had to go buy more plastic drawers to store the new sizes in. I keep tweaking my scrap system, trying to find which sizes I actually use the most. I am cutting more strips now than when I started to organize my scraps, and fewer squares, but still some.  I looked through some quilt books and picked out some patterns I want to try, and some I have already used that are quick, and kept those in mind while I cut.
     The four quilts I managed to get completely cut out are: grandbaby flannel quilt, and an extra just like it, the Celtic knot quilt I have to make for my SIL to raffle off, and a quilt to go on the guest bed all cut from men's shirts. I love plaids, and Bonnie Hunter's book Scraps and Shirttails is right up my alley. 
    Anyway, the flannel quilts are the ones I'm working on. Well, I'm starting to piece the Celtic quilt as leaders and enders, but I'm mostly working on the flannel quilts. That is what the picture is at the top of this post. I finished the nine patches for both baby quilts. Why am I making two? I keep needing baby quilts as gifts, and I donate a lot of them, so an extra one always comes in handy. While I was cutting, I realized I had enough flannel for two, so I decided to just make two at once. The borders and backings will be different, so they will not be identical anyway. I took two pictures of my nine patches tonight. One picture was too light, and you couldn't tell the difference between blue and purple. The other was too dark, and the white isn't white. Obviously, I chose to post the one that was too dark. Trust me, the white flannel is white. I don't know if you can tell in the picture, but each stack of nine patches has a different amount of blocks in it. It looks rather haphazard, like I have no plan. I have a plan and, yes, there is a reason that one block is all purple when all the rest have two colors. I did have to do some frogging today (unsewing, you know, rippit, rippit), when I realized I had mistakenly made red/yellow blocks and there shouldn't be any of that combination. It's all fixed now, so tomorrow I'll start on the other blocks for these quilts.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Double Delight status

Here is my Double Delight laid out on the kitchen table. I have all the blocks done for the original setting, but the more I look at it, the less I want it put on point and the more I like it straight set. That means, even though the back corner of my table has a pile of blocks that wouldn't fit on the table, there are not enough blocks to straight set it for my bed. So, I need to make more blocks. Not a problem, I still have more of all the fabric. I also want a pieced maple leaf border, so I'll need to make all of those blocks too. I'm looking forward to making all of those, but I have a few projects that should be finished first. Double Delight is going on the back burner for a while. I still plan on finishing it this year, but not right now. This quilt is going to be gorgeous, and it deserves to not be rushed.
My next projects will be a Celtic knot quilt for my SIL to raffle off at her St. Patrick's Day gymnastics meet, and my first grandbaby quilts which I am so excited to make. I've finally chosen patterns for all of those, and I'm going to start cutting them all out tomorrow. I'm going to try to spend some time cutting scraps too, my scrap basket has not been tamed, and it's overflowing into the room. If I can at least get it down enough to stay in the basket, I'll be happy. I'll probably spend the rest of the week cutting, giving me a break from sewing, and getting me all ready few the next few projects.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Steps 4 and 5 of Double Delight

Here are my first 2 blocks of step 4. I am finding it amazing that once this block is together, you completely lose the square in a square block look, in favor of the larger design. Too cool!

Here are my first two blocks of Step 5. It's my first time making double nine-patches. I will have to make more, these are looking good to me.

Here the are together. Do they play well together?

     My progress as a whole is this- step 1 complete, step 2 complete (all done the trimming-YEAH!), step 3 about halfway done, and this is all I have done for steps 4 and 5. I really wanted to see how my colors were going to come together, so I did a couple blocks early. I will probably alternate on step 3 and steps 4 and 5 as I can. Somehow it makes me feel like I have more accomplished that way.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Step 3 of Double Delight

    For step 3 I started with lots of 1 1/2 inch strips.

Sew them into groups of 3 and cut those at 1 1/2 inches.

Here are my first 15 nine patches. Only 115 more to go!

       I have half of my step 2 blocks trimmed. I'm going to just keep alternating trimming those and sewing my nine patches. All of my units of 3--- dark-light-dark, and light-dark-light are done, so it shouldn't take me too long to get all the nine patches finished. 
    This mystery is taking me much longer to do than I had planned, but I am really enjoying it. I've been reading the posts from other ladies doing the same mystery quilt, and looking at their progress and color choices, and it is a lot of fun to see how different they are all coming out. I'll definitely be interested in doing another mystery quilt one of these days. Too much fun!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Double Delight progress

    I have step one finished. Here they are... 120 square in a square blocks. They are all trimmed to size and ready to go.

Here is what I have done on step 2. All 120 square in a square blocks are sewn, but not all ironed or trimmed.

     I have everything cut for step 3 and I've started sewing. All the trimming of the square in a square blocks get tiresome for me, so I figure I will work on the step 3 in between trimming the step 2 blocks. I looked at the other steps this morning, and I may assemble bigger blocks as I have enough of the smaller blocks done. Between my big dogs and me, we keep knocking all the small blocks on the floor, and I don't feel like pinning them together to prevent that, so I think I'll just sew them together as I go. Bigger blocks are harder to knock on the floor, and easier to keep together.
     Now that I know where this quilt is going, I am very excited and so glad I decided to keep this one. I know I'm not going to want to give it away. I don't know what Bonnie has planned for the borders, but since I've used fall colors, I may decide to use the maple leaf border that is in one of my new quilting books. I just love anything with leaves or vines, even though I shy away from florals. Bonnie's original color scheme is looking great, but definitely wouldn't match my room. With a few changes, this is definitely my quilt, and I'm loving it! Thanks for the design, Bonnie!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Double Delight

   The Double Delight mystery quilt started yesterday on Quiltville. I am a late starter, but today I should be able to get started on Step 1. Abigail helped me pull my fabrics last night. The bolt in the back row is what I want to use for the backing, and I chose my fabrics mostly based on that. Not the way most people go about it, I know, but we'll see how this works out. I wanted to work from stash for this quilt, and was really stuck on my last color. Abigail and I decided on that rust/orange, but I was originally leaning towards a gold instead. If I had had a celery green, I might have gone with that instead, but that would have required shopping, which I am determined not to do for this quilt. The brown I chose has rust and burgundy, so I think this will work. I have some shirtings and precut strips that will probably make it into this quilt as well, but these are my main fabrics.
    So why did I go a week without posting? I was trying to get that scrub order for 8 tops done. I finished the last one this morning. I have never been a UFO type of person when it comes to crafts. I am a start-to-finish person. If something else comes along I want to do, I just hurry up and get what I'm working on done, so I can start the new project. These 8 tops gave me an appreciation of how UFO's happen. I got the order during a family crisis. I was too upset to work on them, so I offered the fabric back to the person and said I couldn't do it right then. She said there was no hurry and not to worry about it. Well, with the holidays and all the projects I had going for them, plus all the extra cooking, and activities, the fabric for those scrubs was forgotten. I came across it just before Christmas, and thought I really should get those done. I had done nothing for them, no cutting out, nothing. I have made hundreds of scrubs over the years, and I can make them on auto-pilot. I do not have to pay much attention to what I am doing, because I have made so many.  Making these scrub tops was a battle for me. I simply could not get myself motivated to do them. I would make excuses to do other things so I didn't have to work on them. I did get them done, but it took me a week, and it should have taken no longer than 4 days, tops. When motivated, I have gotten that many tops done in two days. I think the very fact I had put them off, made it soooo hard to go back to it.
     I guess there is a UFO personality lurking around in me, and I need to guard against it. I have a whole new appreciation of how that can happen, and it seems once you've left one thing undone, it would be easier for that to snowball. Several unfinished projects would be overwhelming, and would make getting anything finished a challenge. I need to stick with my start-to-finish mentality, and be thankful that is my first instinct.
     My DH got the pegboard up in my sewing center, so now I am much more organized in there, even all the gadgets I got for Christmas have a place to live. I am all ready for a big sewing year in 2009!