Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Finally A 2011 Finish!

The scooter rally quilt is finished, and I can't believe it took me until the end of March to finish a quilt in 2011. I echo quilted the medallion, which was the first time I tried that. It came out better than I expected, not as good as I had hoped. Doesn't everyone hope their first time doing a new skill is almost perfect? I knew the likelihood of perfection was practically non-existent, and once the center was finished being quilted, my mistakes were not so obvious. I meandered on the rest of the quilt, and it mimics the ropes on the backing fabric. I debated on binding colors, but I'm happy with the black, it needed a bit more black. The quilt is now hanging at a local scooter shop, Scoot Over, and the raffle it will be given away at, will support Ben's Bells, a local charity.

I haven't had a chance to quilt for months, and I really enjoyed getting to do it again. Funny how intimidating I initially found free motion quilting, and now I so enjoyed getting to do it again.

I need to figure out something else for the next time I quilt. Quilting in the living room just doesn't work with so many of us living here. It was disruptive to all of us. I'm trying to figure out how to fit the cabinet with the Juki in my sewing room. I figured out how to fit the bigger cabinet in, but to have it all the way open, I'd have to store the cabinet with the Bernina in the shed. My other option is to put the cabinets back to back, but not be able to use the back leaf of the quilting cabinet. It's going to make for one crowded sewing room, but at least I could get some of the quilt tops I have ready quilted that way. I would hate to not have access to the Bernina, as it's my main piecing machine, although I can piece on the Juki. Either way, the table with the Brother is going to be packed away for while. I'll try to figure that out after I finish the rally bags and the cool ties. I doubt I'll be rearranging until May. I have time to think about it, and what would work best.

No sewing tomorrow, it's our wedding anniversary (27 years) and I'm taking the day off!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Not a Great Picture, But....

This isn't the best picture, the lighting is awful, but here is the scooter rally quilt to top stage. I am babysitting for a little while tomorrow, but I'm hoping to get the back pieced too, and laid out so I can pin-baste on Saturday morning, while I talk to my mom on the phone. This quilt needs to get finished, and I hate to say it, but this will be my first finish of the year. I can't believe I haven't finished any quilts this year, but trying to quilt when the machine I use for quilting is packed up, and the sewing table is the changing table for the twins.... It's just been hard to get anything all the way finished. This quilt MUST be quilted ASAP though, it has to be hung in a local scooter store and be more advertisement for the scooter rally.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

End of the Flannel

Here it is, finally, the last of the flannel stash into a quilt top. I have a huge pile of tops to be quilted now. I like to quilt in the dead of summer, because with my quilting set-up, it's cooler to quilt than to piece, especially if I'm assembling a quilt. If I can spend all of August quilting, I'll have a bunch of finishes. For now, I'm still piecing.

This is going to be the center of the scooter rally quilt. Everything is fused on, but I haven't done any of the stitching for the applique. I'll be adding some details on the scooter as I do the applique. I debated using a plain background, or this sepia ranch scene fabric. I thought the sepia background was more interesting, and the plain background too plain. Did you notice the scooter handlebars are really cow horns? I tried to mimic Hereford coloring on the scooter. I think once it's all outlined with satin stitching it will show up well enough.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Cutting, Cutting

I wish I could say I made great progress on the rally quilt this weekend, but I didn't sew a stitch. I dug out the fusible webbing and drew the shapes on it, so it's ready to be ironed onto fabric and cut out, but I got no farther than that.

I did, however, get the rally bags cut out. The bags will be the bandanna fabric and the shredded denim on the outside, and the white muslin will be the lining. Seventy-two bags ready to be sewn, as soon as I have the chance. This pile represents about 24 yards of muslin, 10 yards of bandanna fabric, and 9 yards of shredded denim. It took several hours of my weekend to get all of this cut to size, and my kitchen looked like a denim dog shed all over it when I was done cutting the shredded denim.

The muslin is not the best quality, and I'll be happy to see it go. The bandanna fabric I like, but I have some more of it (I bought two bolts and have half of one bolt left), and the shredded denim I only paid $1.50 per yard for, and I can get more for the same price should I decide I want more. All in all, making things for the rally is making room on my shelves. I bought most of the fabric for the rally quilt, but the backing is from stash. The rally bags and cool ties are all from stash. I've bought some fabric recently, but not near as much as is leaving the sewing room, so I'm feeling no guilt for the purchases I have made.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My Husband, Crash

My husband has earned a new nickname, I'm calling him Crash now. He had his third scooter accident yesterday, this time earning a broken elbow and maybe wrist. We're going to a specialist today and they will reevaluate the x rays. I'm thankful he wasn't hurt more severely, and since it's his right arm and he's left handed it's not so bad.

I finished the small stars for the scooter rally quilt while Mr. S was napping yesterday and DH was having his x rays taken. I needed to stay busy so I wouldn't worry.

I finished the last quilt top I'm making with 4" flannel squares, in fact, this quilt is far more denim than flannel.

Here are my last 10 flannel squares. SHHH, don't tell the scrap police but I am throwing them away. My creativity has run dry on what to do with these.

What flannel do I have left? I have 22 5" squares. I am pairing 21 of those with 21 denim squares and making one more small quilt top. The last square goes in the trash guilt-free. I have a few orphan blocks made with flannel, but I've already pieced them together to use in the backs of these quilts. My flannel container is now EMPTY!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Progress on the Flannel Front and a Sneak Peek...

Here is another flannel/denim top. In this top one only the white and floral squares are flannel. Using denim in these has really stretched the flannel into a lot of tops. This quilt top reminds of of my mother's blue and white china dishes we used on holidays.

In this next one every other square is flannel, mostly purples and yellows. I couldn't find a purple or yellow fabric I liked for the border, so I started just looking for any fabric I had that had purple and yellow in it. I settled on the butterflies.

Here is a sneak peek at the quilt for the scooter rally. These blocks are for the outer border. I have all the blocks for the outer border done, and now I'm working on different star blocks for an inner border. The fussy cut centers of these blocks are from the fabric I'll be using to back the quilt.

Look what I found in the pumpkin patch! My mom made these cute pumpkin hats, so here are the twins modeling them. In the top photo Mr. L is on the left, with Miss S on the right. In the bottom photo they are opposite. They certainly don't look like skinny little preemies anymore!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Adventures in Paper Piecing

Paper Piecing.

The words just put fear and confusion in my head. No matter how many times I read the directions, it just made no sense to me. I finally went to youtube in search of a tutorial that made it click for me. I found one too!


Finally, something I could see that made sense to me. It's not that I've never foundation pieced, I do that for string blocks and I've used Thangles, so the paper didn't bother me. It was the how do I figure out how to cut the pieces for paper piecing to work. The first block I tried, I did wrong and had to start over. I ran short in one pointy section. Now I've made a couple of paper pieced blocks, and I'm doing better. It feels good to finally be developing a skill I found intimidating. Last year my goal was to do some free motion quilting, and I did quite a bit of it, and this year I learned to paper piece.

See this carnage? It is the remnants of ONE 12" paper pieced block. It was a pretty complicated block, at least to me. I can't show you the finished block yet. In a few months I will. I'm doing some testing for something not published, so I can't show anything until it is published and available.

I have been working on a couple more flannel quilts. I'm so glad I'm coming to the end of that flannel! I'm hoping by the end of the weekend, I'll have a good bit of the rally quilt sewed, and the flannel quilt tops finished. My goal is rally quilt first, then the bags and cool ties. I'll be finishing the flannel quilts as leaders/enders. One needs borders, and the other two are in rows.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

So Much Fabric, So Much Fun!

This store is just a few miles from my house. It's not in a pretty building, things are not all lined up and organized, but goodness, do they have some good deals! The store is SAS Fabrics, and if you can sew with it, they probably have it. DH and I went there on Saturday, looking for some snake fabric for DGS#1 new I Spy quilt. I've already checked a few other stores in town and hadn't had any luck. Well, I still didn't get any snake fabric, but I bet they had some, I just didn't find it.

I have been very conservative about buying fabric since my year of no-buy, and I've pretty much only gotten things I was going to use immediately, but Saturday, DH and I dug through stacks of fabric, and I bought some great remnants for no other reason than I liked them.

These are all one yard and under pieces, some as little as 8 inches.

These pieces I haven't folded yet, because I need to cut some squares for DGS quilt. Nothing here more than about 14 inches.

These four pieces I bought at least 2 yards each. The pirate parrots and the dragon fabric I bought 5 yards each. After a scrub top for DH, I'll have either enough left for pajama pants or to put in a quilt as a focus fabric.

Only the pirate and dragon fabrics were more than $3.99 a yard. They are incredibly generous when measuring, so I actually got much more fabric than I paid for. Everyone that works there is so nice, and this store is just a blast. I haven't been in there for quite a while, because the easiest way to avoid buying fabric is to avoid fabric stores. DH had as much fun searching for novelty fabrics as I did. He has a vested interest in anything I get yardage of, since it may end up as new scrub top for him.

I had something I really need to get sewed this weekend, but it didn't happen. I did finally get the curtains made for the nursery, so something got done. I'll have to really lock myself in the sewing room on Tuesday morning and all day Thursday to have a chance to finish things on schedule. I'm babysitting tomorrow, and I have to watch the twins on Tuesday afternoon so DD#3 can go to her doctor appointment. Today my sister came down to visit, and on Wednesday, DH's sister will be here. With all of that going on, plus normal upkeep of a household of eight, and I'm going to be a busy lady this week.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Will the Flannel Never End?

When I decided to bust all my flannel last year, I had no idea how long that would take. After all, I didn't have that much flannel, so I thought. Also, most of these are just baby quilts, since the colors I had were mostly baby or juvenile. Baby quilts don't use that much fabric, and since none of flannel pieces were big, I am using regular cotton for the borders, and later for the backs. For the top quilt, I used all of the 4 1/2" (unfinished) blocks I had, mixing four patches with paddle wheel blocks. I only have a 2 1/2" strip left of the border fabric :-)

Now I am down to 4" squares, and I am making real progress on those, but the more quilts I make, the more creative I am having to be to combine them. These fabrics weren't bought to go together, and I only ever bought flannels from thrift stores or remnant bins, so I didn't usually have very large pieces to start with. I like the Trip Around the World pattern with the pinks and greens, but I had a horrible time finding a border fabric. I finally decided the Easter egg fabric had all the colors I wanted, and nothing else in my stash did, so I went for it!

This quilt top I finished this evening. It will be the last of just flannel squares. I'm going to go back to mixing flannel and denim for the rest. On this diagonal set quilt I was laying it out based on how many squares of each fabric I had, only two, it goes there, seven squares so it can go here. It's a crazy way to lay out quilts. If I had a bigger variety of flannels I would have tried for an anything goes quilt, but I just don't have the variety I'd need to be happy with that approach.

This has been a crazy year for quilting for me. It is March already and I don't have a quilt finish for the year :-( I really need to spend some time cutting this week. I have to make a quilt, 72 rally bags, and 40 cool ties for DH's scooter rally in eight weeks. Nothing like sewing under pressure, huh? I have my cutting plan for the quilt written out, and once I get everything cut, piecing it shouldn't be bad. I didn't pick anything very complicated. I'm going for a medallion quilt this time, and I've never made one of those so it should be fun. I was hoping to get some cutting done today, but I ended up babysitting instead.

My flannel is slowly but surely coming to an end. I think that mixed with denim squares, I'll end up with three more baby quilts, but then it should be gone. I know I'll end up with more flannel scraps later on, I do have people request flannel quilts, but for now, I'm close to finishing.

One thing I really have noticed? I am noticing dents in my my one yard and under sections. I've been looking through those first when deciding on borders for these baby quilts. I only need 4 WOF strips to border the quilts the size I'm making them, so on several of these, I'm just measuring the fabric and dividing by four to pick border size. I'm completely used up several fabrics making these little quilts. Maybe when I have my grand quilting spree later in the year, I'll notice some dents in yardage as I back all of these quilt tops I've been making!