Thursday, June 30, 2011

Moving Right Along!

I didn't sew much this week, but today was my big hope for getting something done. I am pretty happy with what I got done today. I did get the twins other two summer blankets done, but I didn't take a picture, they are just hemmed fabric, not too exciting.

While I was working on making the string blocks, I worked on a few blue crumb blocks. I finished these three today. I find crumb blocks slow going, but someday, if I keep making them, I'll have enough for a quilt. Crumb blocks are good leader/enders for string blocks. I like to use my seam guide when doing precise sewing, so crumb blocks and string blocks work well together since I don't use my seam guide for either.

The triangles from my last post are now sewn into these squares. I got these all sewn and trimmed today. Some of the triangles are just in pairs for use as setting triangles, and I had to put four aside for corners.

I laid a few blocks out on my bed to get an idea of how the quilt will look when together. The blocks will be on point, and I just laid them out straight, but I just wanted to make sure everything was playing nicely. Using a blue background really changed the look of the quilt! Using Bonnie's color placement, I would be using purple as my inner border, but I think I will use yellow instead. Next step for this quilt is to make the pieced border, then I can start assembly on it.

I did a couple other miscellaneous things today. I started the twins Samurai/Geisha quilts. The pattern is so simple, I actually got all the blocks for both quilts done. I'll post a pic when I get one of them up on the design wall. I knew these quilts would go fast once I actually got started.

Tomorrow is my birthday, and everyone is working, including me. I am babysitting tomorrow, probably a 10 hour day. DH is off on Saturday, but he has plans, so my birthday is kind of a non-issue this year. I will just have to count my trip to Sedona as my birthday present ;-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

RRCB Progress

I've finally got all the string blocks done for RRCB, and I trimmed them all today, as well as cutting them in half. I might have a little time to sew tomorrow, and if not, Thursday should be free for lots of sewing. I'd really like to have the new blocks together and trimmed by the end of the weekend.

I did get all the addresses I needed for the blog giveaway winners, so I mailed three packages this morning. I have been averaging 100 posts every 11 months, so probably some time next May, I'll be doing another giveaway.

My sewing to-do list is fairly overwhelming right now. Two queen-sized quilts, two twin-sized quilts, and two crib quilts, all needed ASAP. I'm hoping to get them all done this summer. They are rapidly approaching assembly stage, so I'm feeling good about my progress. If I can get these six quilts completed, I'll spend the rest of the year finishing up other projects. I have way too many UFO's piling up. Two years ago I had no UFO's and now I have a bunch. That is not a good change, and I'd love to get back on track.

I am really anxious to go on a quilting spree, for several reasons. I can get some finishes once I'm quilting, and I can work on my free-motion skills, both valid reasons to go on a quilting spree. My main reason for wanting to go on a quilting spree has to do with the weather. It is SOOOO hot in my sewing room with the iron on, I want to quilt so it doesn't have to be on!

I read something Pat Sloan said the other day, and she mentioned all her UFO's are things for her. I am similar in that, I always put things for myself on the back burner to get things for others finished. The comforter on my bed is literally falling apart, with holes and everything. I started a quilt for our bed 2 1/2 years ago and it's not even close to being done. I'd like to get caught up on the projects that need to be done, and actually work on my quilt.

I'm also trying to figure out a way to work in the projects I found when I rearranged my sewing room. The twins are starting to eat food now, and I'm so glad my mom made them some bibs. It buys me some time to get the ones I was planning to make done. I think I need to buy some more ribbing, but I'll have to look through my garments fabric to see if I have some stuck in there.

I made the twins four summer blankets, but DD#3 said she needs two more. I found just enough of that crinkly cotton in my stash to make the last two. They will be of the same fabric, but that is much cheaper than going to buy more fabric. I trimmed off the selvages and cut them to size today, while I was trimming all the string blocks. If I find time to sew tomorrow, I'll hem them up and those will be done ;-)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Calling edakid and quiltalicious...

I just tried to send the winners their emails, but only Sandra has an email address connected to her identity. I need edakid and quiltalicious to contact me with their snail mail adresses. If I don't hear from you by Wednesday, I will choose other winners.

...and the winners are....

I used a random number generator to pick the blog winners this time. I did it a little earlier than I usually do because I'm having company this afternoon.

The winner of the Quiltmaker 100 blocks is edakid, or Edna.

The winner of the the I Spy templates is quiltalicious.

Finally, the winner of the quilting clamps is Sandra.

I'll be sending emails to get snail mail addresses. Congratulations to the winners and thank you all for playing.

Here is a photo of Sedona. It was overcast in this pic, but the color of those great red rocks shows up well.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Blog Giveaway #1

In honor of my 300th post, I am having 3 different giveaways. This post has the first, and the next two posts have the other two. Leave me a comment on whichever post you'd like to win the item. You can enter comments on all three, or just one, depends on what you want. Make sure you leave me some way to get in touch with you if your identity doesn't link me to your email address. I will pull the winners on Sunday, which is 3 days from now, sticking with the theme of threes!

Here is the first item. Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks, Volume 3. I tested blocks for this issue and there are some great ones in here!

Giveaway #2

Two sets of acrylic templates for I Spy quilts. One has a 5" diameter hexagon, the other a 3 1/2" diameter hexagon. The correct size triangle templates are in each package.

Giveaway #3

2 packages of Dritz Soft Grip Oval Quilt Clips. Good product for any of you that like to have your quilt rolled under your DSM while you are quilting.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Two Weeks?

I can't believe I've gone two weeks without posting! That is not like me at all. So much has happened in the last two weeks, I'm not sure where to start.

I finished Mr. Z's quilt and it is on its way to South Africa. I'm hoping it's gets there for his 2nd birthday, but we'll see.

DH and I went to Sedona, AZ on our getaway. We just got back yesterday. It was a lovely time, so relaxing and just so sweet spending time together. We had one of those incredibly rare perks happen on this trip, one of the things we had heard happens to other people, but never to us. When we got to the resort we were staying at (which we had gotten an amazing rate on in the first place), and we were checking in, they told us they were giving us a free room upgrade! I was in shock.

We went to our room, now a one bedroom suite, and I was amazed. We had a living/dining/kitchen area which was a very nice size. The living area had a couch and chair, and a TV with a DVD/VCR. The dining area had a dinette set with four chairs. The kitchen was complete with full sized fridge, microwave, stove top, plates, pans, silverware, a blender, toaster oven, and even a dishwasher. They had everything you needed in the kitchen including dish soap and towels.

The bedroom was larger than our bedroom at home by almost double. It had a king sized bed, another television, and a pretty large bathroom. There were plenty of towels, including separate pool towels. (Not enough towels is one of my pet peeves at hotels, but this time I was one happy gal) We have some pics of the resort and Sedona, but DH loaded them on his computer, so maybe I'll post some later.

While we were in Sedona, we went up to Flagstaff a couple times. There is a Goodwill Weigh and Pay there, so you pay for clothes by the pound. Here is my stack of 100% cotton finds, I think the grand total is 30 shirts and 1 skirt, but I also got a couple things for my girls. The grand total for everything was $31.

Every time I go to Sedona I say I'm going to make a quilt with Sedona colors in it. This time I actually put my money where my mouth is, and bought some batiks at the LQS in Sedona. The fabric on the bottom was on clearance, and close enough in the color scheme to be good for the backing. I bought the rest of the bolt, but I'll still have to piece something else in if I make the quilt as large as I'm planning. This isn't enough fabric for the quilt I'd like to make, but I ordered some more online.

On the way home, we stopped at several quilt shops, and these two fabrics had to come with me. I'm wondering about the blue for a possible outer border for RRCB. I need it to be bigger than the pieced border, so I have been looking everywhere for possible outer border fabrics. I need to finish the center and then I can audition some possibilities. The orange I have no specific plans for, but it is such a "me" fabric, DH told me to get some.

And how did my sewing on vacation go? I got two dozen blue string blocks made for RRCB. Obviously I haven't trimmed them yet. I was hoping to get all the rest of the string blocks done, but DH was having scooter problems, so he didn't get to ride as much as planned, and I didn't sew as much as planned.

I also got the strings sewn onto two more Christmas stockings. I've got 5 stockings ready to go now, but I'll wait to assemble them until I have them all ready. That means six more to do before I assemble them all.

I learned a lot about sewing away from home. One thing I should have brought but didn't was a lint roller. I have one next to my sewing machine, and had thought to bring it, but decided against it. That was a big mistake and I was forever picking threads off of my clothes. Not exactly the look I was going for on vacation. DH and I decided a vacation with his scooter and my sewing machine is a good fit for us. I wish he hadn't broken down for his sake, but we had fun together anyway.

Now that I'm back home I need to come up with a plan. I have several quilts that need assembly, lots that need to be quilted, plus I need to finish the string blocks and the pieced border for RRCB. I also managed to cut out the grandtwins samurai/geisha quilts, so those need to get done too. I'm thinking I will work on getting the string blocks done first. I'm already in string piecing mode, so I might as well get the last two dozen knocked out. I'm using some thread I don't particularly care for on the string blocks. I've already used up two spools, and by the time I'm done, I should be out of it. I will be glad to see it used, instead of wasting it, or having it lying around. Then I can go back to threads I like for piecing. String blocks are great place to use up unwanted threads though, since the pieces don't have to be just so. When you are trimming blocks to size, there is more fudge room along the way.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

It's a Top!

My DGS's quilt is at top stage. DS the Elder flies into town tonight, to spend just a couple of days. I am thinking if I spend time with him, I can pin-baste the quilt Saturday morning, quilt all weekend, babysit Monday, finish quilting and bind on Tuesday, and mail this off on Wednesday before we leave for vacation on Thursday! It will be tight, but I think I can get it done. I pieced the backing today, so it's all ready to go.

My favorite suitcase just fits my sewing machine, so I am already packing it with sewing supplies for our trip. I am so anxious for some down time, both for sewing and just relaxing with DH. It's been crazy lately, and we can really use the break.

I just realized my next post is my 300th! I try to do a blog giveaway every 1oo posts, and I am planning one, but I won't do it until after my vacation. I may blog before or during vacation (got to love having a laptop) so it won't be right at my 300th post. Please forgive me for not being timely on this. I really will do the giveaway, just a little late. Maybe I can find something really great to add to the giveaway on our trip! Make sure to come back and check out the giveaway, probably in about two weeks :-)

Friday, June 3, 2011


Yesterday was the day I set aside to rearrange my sewing room. I'm not finished, but I got done more than I thought I would. My first attempt at placing the Juki cabinet didn't work out, but this way is acceptable.

Here is my Bernina, in it's cabinet, right as you walk in the room. I don't have a lot of room, but I can sit down, and once I'm sitting, I have enough room to function.

Here is my Juki in it's cabinet. I had been hoping I could put it in a corner and have the back leaf up, but this will work. If I clean off the Bernina cabinet before I start quilting a quilt, I can have the Bernina cabinet hold the overhang. When I'm not quilting, I plan on flipping up the smaller leaf closest to you in the photo. With it down it doesn't leave a lot of room to move around. For the same reason, when I am not quilting I will probably leave the right hand door closed like it is in the photo.

Behind the left hand door of the Juki cabinet, underneath the left leaf, is this microwave stand. I had to take the wheels off to get it to fit under here, then it was a little too short to hold up the leaf. I couldn't put the leaf support out and put the microwave stand here. I found a big book the right thickness, and voila, leaf is supported and I have storage.

This is the view behind my Juki cabinet. It's not perfect, but for now it's functional.

The other wall looks essentially the same as it did. The only place I have to set up an ironing board will be right in front of my fabric shelves. You can see the Juki leaf flipped up in this pic as well. While I am quilting, I'll take the ironing board down. This arrangement means I have to stay up on things a bit better, but since getting to my Juki has been so hard, this is easier than it was. You can barely see the edge of my workbench in the lefthand corner of this photo. I didn't even want to take a photo of that, because that is where I piled everything to rearrange, and you can't even begin to see the surface. I told you I wasn't finished yet ;-)

Rearranging the sewing room was very enlightening, much more so than I thought it would be. I had completely redone the sewing room last year, and I moved things around a bit more in the fall when the kids moved back home. I thought I was aware of what I had and what was where. I was wrong.

The photo of the microwave stand... what is on that thing anyway? Well, the bottom shelf is almost all heavy fabric to make reusable shopping bags. DH has wanted me to make them for some time. If I made them, that shelf would basically be empty. The only other thing on that shelf is some fleece scraps I was going to piece together and back a quilt top that is finished. Again, if I just go ahead and finish the quilt, that fabric is out of here.

What about the top shelf? Some fabric for scooter seat covers is on there. If I made those up, they'd be gone. There are also a bunch of hand towels I bought for making bibs. I could probably finish those in a couple of days. What about the other fabric? It is for the twins geisha/samurai quilts, which I am overdo on making. It would take a while to make up all those projects, but if those were all I worked on, I could probably empty those shelves in a couple months. If those shelves were empty, I could store other things on those out-of-the-way shelves, and have a bit more room to move around.

The pile of fabrics piled up in the corner of the room, next to my mini-bolt shelves, what are those there for? They are for backing quilt tops that are finished. I'm sure I will have scraps left after finishing those quilts, but most of that pile would be gone.

I found some other things like that as I moved things around. Four pieces of fabric I bought to make summer blankets for the twins. It is that light crinkly cotton, and all I have to do is hem it. I found things that need to be mended. I could get all of that finished in a day. I found some fat eighths I had bought for the transportation I Spy, that I couldn't find when I cut up all that fabric. I'm going to cut it now, and switch out some of the squares I had put aside for it. I found some fabric I bought to make DH scrubs. I always make him scrubs for Christmas, so there is no hurry on that, but really, did the fabrics all have to be in different places?

I was really amazed to realize, that if I worked some of those planned projects into the queue, I would gain so much space so quickly. Quilts take a long time to make, so the fabric doesn't go down very fast, but these projects, most of them are not huge time commitments, yet I put them off. I think maybe I should have to rearrange my sewing room every six months or so to give me a new perspective.

I'm not upset about the unfinished projects. I haven't had a lot of time to sew lately, and when you are just sewing for a few minutes here and there, it is easy to lose sight of things. I do hope I can get some of these projects finished up this year, emptying that microwave cart so I can use it for other things sounds mighty tempting. I still have five quilts with due dates, as well as the geisha/samurai quilts for the twins, and I need to get those finished. Maybe, just maybe, I can squeeze a few other projects in too.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Spy I Spy Quilts...almost...

I finished all the alternating blocks for the I Spy Quilts. Here are pics of each one next to the border fabric. This top one is for my oldest grandson.

This is the border for the animal themed I Spy quilt, and I picked the colors for the alternating blocks from the border fabric.

This is the border fabric for the travel/transportation themed quilt. I picked traffic light colors for the alternate blocks on this one.

I really need to get this one for my grandson finished first, so I laid it out on our bed today. This is just part of the quilt, but the best picture of the three I took. I managed to get the rows assembled, and all the rows are marked, so no getting things confused now.

I have all the main blocks (not the string blocks) for RRCB done now, I finished those yesterday. I am working on the pieced borders as my leader/ender project. I already have the corner pieces to the border done, so it's coming along well. The blocks for the log cabin quilt are all finished too. I see lots of assembly in my future :-)

Tomorrow is the day I am hoping to rearrange my sewing room. I need to somehow fit the Juki in its cabinet in there, so a couple things are going to have to move out to make room. I "think" I have it figured out.

I do have some news I am really excited about! DH and I are going to take a vacation in a couple weeks. We haven't had any time alone in ever so long (unless grocery shopping counts, and I don't think it does), and we are both exhausted and stressed out. We're going to go to Sedona for a few days. I told him he could bring his scooter and I'll bring my sewing machine. I'll sew while he rides, then we'll spend the rest of each day together. I think it sounds like so much fun and very relaxing. He is always good to stop at quilt stores for me, and there is some great antiquing to be done around there, especially in Cottonwood.

I have never sewn away from home, on one of my machines anyway. I have mended for a friend on her machine. I've never taken a class or taken my machine on vacation before, so I am trying to figure out what to bring. I want to take my Brother cs6000i because it is so much lighter than the Bernina 1080. I don't like switching machines mid-quilt because of slight variations in the 1/4" foot. I still have most of the string blocks to do for RRCB, and I think that is a great thing to take. The exact 1/4 isn't as important in string blocks, and I will be trimming them to size anyway.

I should probably take something else to work on too, just in case I finish the string blocks, and that I can't decide. I have some garments cut out, (honestly they've been cut out for a while) but I don't think that I will consider garment sewing relaxing, and I'd have to bring a lot more stuff, interfacing, zippers, etc... I could bring more strings and work on my Christmas stockings. I really find string blocks stress relieving. I could also bring my crumbs with me, and see if I can get some crumb blocks made. I am going to see if we have a suitcase that will fit my sewing machine, and if we do I'll just take as many projects as will fit in the extra space. I looked at sewing trolleys, and boy, are those expensive! Unless we started doing this regularly, I couldn't justify the cost of one.

Our hotel room has a kitchen with pans, plates and utensils, so we will probably cook some meals in, and only eat a few out. The room has an iron and ironing board, so I needn't worry about that either. I might bring my adjustable craft table, so I can sew at the right height, and maybe a folding chair. I could always leave them in the van if the hotel has suitable furniture for sewing. I sewed at the kitchen table for years, but now I am spoiled with the two machines I use most often being in cabinets. I can hardly wait for our adventure!