Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chunky Churndashes for the Grandtwins!

I finished the Chunky Churndash quilt tops for the grandtwins tonight. They will be getting other quilts later, but these are flannel and warm, and I should have them quilted by next week, so these will be ready when they arrive. This top one with the purple background is for Serenity.

Here is the one for Lucius. I was using these blocks I had already made on my flannel busting spree, but I tried to make them look a little alike by using the striped sashing and borders. Their next quilts will be in the samurai/geisha theme of the nursery, and they'll be a bit larger. These quilts are just a couple of warm ones to get them through winter. (As wintery as southern AZ gets, anyway) The pattern for the Chunky Churndashes can be found at www.quiltville.com. Bonnie K Hunter is very generous with her patterns.

I did get a few HST's done for step 2 of the RRCB mystery quilt. I finished maybe 1/4 of them, or a little more. I am so glad I used the Accuquilt cutter to cut the HST's. No dog ears to trim off, and they are going together so easily! I'm doing the mystery quilt as leaders and enders while I try to get some other projects together. Now that these two quilt tops are together, I'll go back to some others I left in some stage of assembly. I think I have three quilt tops in rows, and another that just needs borders. If I can get those to at least completed top stage, I'll be doing the happy dance for sure ;-)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll Step 1

I just cannot resist a Bonnie Hunter Mystery! I've only missed one since I started following her a few years ago. This newest mystery is called, as the title of this post indicates, Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll (which shall hereafter be referred to as RRCB which is much shorter to type ;-) I switched up all the colors, but I did get step one finished, and step 2 is cut. I am babysitting four full days this weeks, so not too much sewing time, but I'm figuring I will get step 2 done before step 3 comes out on Friday. Thankfully, I had the correct die for my Accuquilt cutter for step 2, so it didn't take long at all to get it all cut.

Since any of you who read this blog with any regularity know I never work on just one thing, I am also working on quilts for the grandtwins, these are the smaller flannel quilts they are getting. The center of Serenity's is almost done, and I have the rows of Lucius' assembled. I have a stack of stuff to make for the grandtwins, and the only thing I have made is some burp rags. I keep telling them to stay inside Mommy because Nana is not ready! Of course, I am also working on a couple of secret Christmas projects too.

I thought I would get quite a bit of time to sew over the weekend, since there were leftovers to eat, but as I was working on my Christmas surprise, my walking foot broke :-( I called all over town, and no one had one in stock. I even went to one place because they said they had one that might work. I told them I needed a high shank foot, and what they showed me was not a standard foot at all. My Juki can use Janome high shank feet, but this was something I've not seen before. It wouldn't have fit any of my machines, and they all take different feet. I ordered TWO new Janome walking feet online so I'd have a spare. My Christmas projects are on hold until the new walking feet get here. I did finish one project, with the guide duct taped to the original Juki walking foot. I really dislike the Juki walking foot. It is extremely noisy and cheap, and no place for a quilting guide to be attached. Of course, it was a Janome walking foot that broke, so I don't know what that says for it either. My Bernina walking foot is my favorite, and I have walking feet for all my machines, but of course, it only fits my Bernina, and I can't work on this project on the Bernina. Well, I could, but I'm not going to. It would be a nightmare! I paid for quick shipping, so the new feet should be here before I actually have a day off of babysitting.

Last week was CRAZY! The finishing touches were done to the remodeled bathroom. DD#3 and DSIL moved in on Wednesday. On Thursday I had 24? people here for Thanksgiving dinner. We found out that DS the Elder will probably be moving to Texas, and that will mean DD#2 will be moving back in temporarily (they share an apartment right now) It was a fun week, it was exciting, and it was nuts!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Autumn Strings Done

Here is my autumn string quilt. I hadn't planned on keeping it when I started it, but I like it too much to give it away. It's a good size to use when watching TV or reading. I did all the stitching-in-the-ditch yesterday, and the other quilting today.

I'm not sure how well you can see it, but I used a leaf stencil in the border. I used Dritz chalk to mark it, and had no problems getting it out in the wash.

In each block I traced a leaf cookie cutter, I had an oak leaf and a maple leaf. I've almost gotten rid of my cookie cutters multiple times, now I only keep them because of quilting.

I wanted to mark all 56 blocks at the same time, and I was afraid the chalk would rub off, so I tried using Crayola Washable Markers to mark the quilt. I have heard several quilters say they use them all the time, and they wash out fine. Since I was keeping this quilt, I figured I'd try it. I used a brown marker to trace the leaves, and I did that yesterday. I finished quilting the quilt today, got it bound and washed it, and the marker came out just fine, no traces of it at all. I wanted to be extra sure it would come out, so after the washer filled with water, I let it soak for 15 minutes before running the cycle. I figured the longer it sat, the water soluble ink should have more time to come out. I checked carefully when the washer was done to make sure the marks were out before I dried it. So, my personal experience was that the washable marker came out fine. I did try to finish ASAP, because I figured the longer it sat on the quilt, the more likely I was to have problems getting it out. I don't know if the soaking or the short time it was on the quilt had any effect on things or not, but that is what I did with good results. I won't hesitate to use the washable markers again.

This is my 12th finish since October 11th, and the last of my pile of quilt tops. I have a couple quilt tops almost done, but I've been on such a quilting spree I've done hardly any piecing. I have just over a month before Christmas, so maybe I can get those stockings done after all.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Swing Your Partner DONE!

I started this quilt in March 2009, but today, it is finished! I took the photos when it was all warm and crinkly from the dryer. DS the Younger is asleep, and DH is not home from work yet, so no quilt holders, therefore the couch had to step up.

I quilted fans in each block, and I used a stencil in the sashing. It was my first try using a stencil, and I liked it.

I meandered in the borders, because I wanted to use a pattern where I could avoid stitching the pockets in the borders closed. I wanted the pockets usable. Who knows what treasures may end up in those pockets, remote controls, little toys, only time will tell! All but the sashing and inner border are men's shirts recycled into a quilt.

I've already started quilting the next quilt, all the stitch in the ditch on that one is finished. I am going to trace some cookie cutters in each block, and use a stencil for the border. I think one full day of quilting will finish that one, but there is a lot going on so it is more likely to be two half days of quilting. I'll post a photo whenever I finish the next one.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Mystery Quilt

Bonnie Hunter is doing a new mystery quilt starting on Friday, November 19th. The mystery is called Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll, and it can be found at www.quiltville.com Yes, I still have several projects in the works, but I am at least going to start this mystery quilt. I am hoping to at least keep up on the cutting, and maybe sew up some units, but I really have no hope of keeping up, and I'm OK with that. If I can keep up with the cutting, I will at least have a nice kit to work on next year, when quilting time will be at a premium. I'm not using Bonnie's colors at all, from left to right there is a butter yellow, sage green, peach, lilac and blue. The blues will be my neutral, so this quilt will have a blue background.

I have used a lot of sage green and purples in the last year, so I bought a few small pieces of those, plus some peach since I had only a couple peach pieces at all in the stash. The largest piece of fabric I purchased was a 1/2 yard, but that was only because there was sale and half yards were the same price as fat quarters. I didn't buy any blue and I had the yellow. All in all, this quilt will probably be 70% from stash. I would imagine I will end up supplementing these piles with strips from my strip drawers, but until I know which colors need which sizes, I can't look in those. Bonnie said we'd need some neutral strings, and I have a lot of blue strings all set aside, so no problem there.

I have been wanting to use an unusual choice for a background color, and when I was thinking of who would likely end up with this quilt, I decided blue was a good choice. I think that no matter how many blue quilts I make, I will never run out of blue.

I can definitely tell I've done a lot of quilting lately. Piecing backings have made noticeable spaces on my fabric shelves. That's a very good thing as I have to move all the scrub fabrics into the sewing room. Some of those fabrics will end up under my bed in underbed storage containers, but I will fit more than I originally thought on the shelves in the sewing room.

As far as other things go, I am almost done quilting anther quilt. If I quit playing on the computer, I might be able to finish the quilting tonight. One more quilt is pin-basted, and it should take no more than two days to quilt.

We bought a new shed and DH got it up this weekend. We had a shed once upon a time, but it was falling apart and had no doors, so we tore it down a while back. We had actually gotten rid of so much stuff we didn't need a shed, but with DD#3, DSIL and twins moving in, we need storage space again. How I miss having a garage!

Work on the bathroom is coming along, slowly but surely. I have walls now! Looking at freshly installed drywall is much nicer than looking at studs. We're in the middle of a few days of taping and mudding the walls. Drying time wastes a lot of time at this point. I was told that the room will be ready for paint on Thursday, and DH will do that. After the room is painted, the other fixtures can be installed.

Ah, DD#2 just arrived and needs Mom time, so maybe that quilt will get finished tomorrow ;-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

A Finish Today

I finished this quilt today, and washed and dried it too. In case anyone is wondering, the design is Bali Sea Star and directions are in the book Scrap-Basket Surprises by Kim Brackett. I quilted it with an allover Baptist fan design (or Golden Arches as Patsy Thompson calls them) using variegated thread.

I've only been free motion quilting for a few months, but I am learning as I go along. I've read several places that beginners shouldn't use variegated thread. I LOVE variegated thread, and not using it is not an option. That said, I've learned the hard way, that if I am having thread breakage issues, if I just quilt more slowly, that issue pretty much goes away. I know that you should match the speed you move with quilt with the speed you are sewing, and with some threads I can quilt pretty quickly, but if I'm having thread breakage, slowing the rate I'm sewing and the rate I'm moving the quilt is essential. I quilt on my Juki and it is capable of stitching 1600 stitches a minute. I am learning not all threads can handle that. I know that is pretty basic information for most people, but I am new to free-motion, and maybe someone else out there is new to it too.

Since I've been on this quilt finishing spree, I've been trying new threads and a couple more designs. I started out matching the top thread to the bottom thread, but on this quilt, I used a C&C Star variegated in the top, and a solid Aurifil in the bottom. Oh my, what a difference using Aurifil in the bottom makes! I didn't have any tension issues, even though the threads were different weights, but the big plus was I could wind so much more Aurifil on the bobbin. The last quilt I quilted that was about this same size, where I matched the top and bottom threads with variegated, I went through about 9 bobbins. On this quilt I only used 6, which meant I spent half as much time changing bobbins! Since I am in such a time crunch, any time I can save is a bonus.

I finished DSIL's (DD#1's DH) quilt, but I don't want to post any pics of it on the blog until he gets it. Now I am down to two quilts pin basted, and amazingly enough, I am keeping both of them! One is a throw size, and the other is approximately twin, but a bit wide for a twin, maybe closer to full. My goal is to have these two quilts completely finished before Thanksgiving.

On days when I don't have much time to quilt, I am working on some other projects. Today I made a couple more burp rags, as I only finish them as I have batting scraps large enough to make them. The flannel has been cut for months, and I make a few at a time.

I am also working on some big square swaddling blankets. As much as I love quilts and afghans, my favorite baby blankets were some my MIL made made me. They were just big squares, as a big a square as she could make from the fabric, maybe 42-44 inches square. She made some with two layers of fabric, and others with a single layer just hemmed, as we lived in Texas when our first two were born and it was hot! I had one blanket she had made that was pink on one side, and blue on the other, and my babies always came home from the hospital in that one. I never asked about gender when I had my ultrasounds, so I never knew which to prepare for. That blanket was perfect! The big square shape is much easier to use for swaddling a baby than rectangular receiving blankets, not to mention I think receiving blankets are just too small! My last baby weighed 10 1/2 pounds, and a receiving blanket just wasn't big enough to stay around him.

I made some of the square swaddling blankets for DD#1 when DGS was on the way, and she loved them as much as I did. Now it's time to make a bunch for the twins. I'm just using fabric I already had for these, not worrying about the nursery theme or anything. I did buy fabric for curtains for the nursery though. I had to buy fabric when I found some with cartoon samurai and geishas done in purple and blue which are the nursery colors, and the nursery theme. It's perfect! I have a geisha panel and a samurai panel to use for the twins quilts, but I decided to make some smaller quilts first. At first they will be sleeping in the same crib, so I wanted smaller quilts for that, then their samurai and geisha quilts will be for when they are each in their own crib. I'm still hoping to make some crib sheets too, but we'll see what I get done. Swaddling blankets, four quilts, and curtains may be enough for the twins for now. I already have a big stack of burp cloths ready for them.

Bonnie Hunter is starting a new mystery on November 19th on www.quiltville.com, and I REALLY want to do it! I did pick colors, with a specific person in mind. I haven't pulled fabrics yet, and I'd really like to get a few more fat quarters of a couple of the colors. See how much better I've gotten? I don't want to go buy lots of yardage, just some fat quarters I will use right away. Well, sort of use right away. I know I won't be able to keep up with the mystery, I have too many other things going on right now. I'd like to be able to keep up with cutting, and sew at least a few units, so I have some blocks done. If I can get everything cut, I'll at least have a kit, which may work very well as a 2011 project when my sewing time will probably be 15 minutes at a time.

Whether or not I start the mystery depends on what I manage to get done between now and when it starts. If I do finish these other two quilts, and have made progress on things for the twins, I'll probably start it. If I can't get those things done, I probably won't. I think there will be about 30 people here for Thanksgiving dinner, so I won't have much time to sew that week, as I'll be cooking a couple days prior to Thanksgiving. I have to make all new stockings (nine of them) before Christmas, and so far all I've done is cut the batting. Just over two weeks until Thanksgiving, 47 days until Christmas, and an unknown amount of time before the twins come. What will get done, what won't get done, and will it really matter?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Two more scrub tops are finished for DH, so I am done scrub tops for now. This is the one I finished today. It SO reminds me of the Travelocity commercials with the traveling gnome. The other I can't show because it's to go under the Christmas tree ;-)

I got another quilt pin basted, and I have another layered on the kitchen table so I can baste it in the morning. The one on the table is the one I will quilt first. If I get the basting done quickly enough, I may start quilting it tomorrow. It is for my DSIL in South Africa, and it needs to be mailed soon to have any chance of getting there for Christmas. I won't be showing any pics of it until he gets it. I am going to meander on DSIL's quilt, but I have some other things planned for the other three quilts that are pin basted.

Tomorrow should be a busy day. DD#3 has an ultrasound scheduled and I get to go! I'll get to see the twins for myself, and I'm so excited. I've already heard their heartbeats a couple times. Tomorrow night I am supposed to make pumpkin pancakes for my boys. We were talking about them the other day, and decided on Wednesday night.

On the remodeling front, the tub is in, so it's starting to look like a bathroom again :-) The man doing the remodeling is out of town for the next week, so that's how it will look for a while. Everything is in now, we picked up the flooring and the vanity top, so hopefully things will go together quickly when M. gets back.

Oh, my no-buy challenge is over, and although I never went a quarter without buying any fabric, I did reduce my buying significantly. (I had to pay a penalty for that gnome fabric, and all the other fabrics I used for DH's scrub tops) I'm not joining any challenges for this coming year, because next year will probably be so crazy. I have no idea how much time I will have to sew with seven people in the house again, especially considering two of them will be twin babies. I should have plenty of incentive not to buy, since my sewing room is so crowded right now. Unless I will be using it immediately, I doubt I'll be tempted to buy that much. I still have to empty out the room that will be the nursery, and the cabinet with all my scrub fabric is in there. I am going to have to find room for all of that fabric in the sewing room, and that will be an adventure! At least DD#3 wants to keep the cabinet in the nursery, to use for the twins things, I would have hated to try to find room for that somewhere.

The baby I babysit for will be turning one on Friday! I can't believe he's already one. I will watch him Friday, then go to his birthday party that night. DH will be at scooter rally again, so he won't be going with me. Now, if I can just manage to pick up the baby a present between now and Friday...