Sunday, July 31, 2011

Little of This, Little of That

Well, I certainly haven't been posting, so what have I been doing? I did get RRCB and the Star Log Cabin off to the LAQ. Did I remember to take a photo of the Star Log Cabin before I sent it off? Of course not!

I have been trying to get rid of my pre-cut six inch squares. I made most of them into Indian Hatchet blocks. I didn't count them as I was going, I just sewed the corners on. When they were finished, I started out dividing them into four categories; darks, pastels, brights, and dull mediums. The dull colors had too much gray to be dark or bright, and they weren't pastel. As I started counted each category to see if it would work for a quilt. I decided to break up the dull category and add to each of other piles. I ended up with 80 blocks each for the brights and pastels, so I'll set those 8 x 10. I had 134 darks, so I made 10 more, and I'll set it 12 x 12. I only have a few 6" squares left, mostly light neutrals, so I will cut those into 2" squares, which I use all the time, and it will all be good :-) Now I am out of all the sizes I stopped saving! I'll have to get the three quilts assembled sometime soon.

This was my leader/ender project while I was assembling the Star Log Cabin. I needed to add all the corners on these 80 blocks, so I did that while making all the Indian Hatchet blocks. These blocks are now ready to assemble too.

Today I worked on making baby bibs. I thought I had purchased a dozen towels for bibs, but it turns out I had 14. So far 7 are done, but I only took a photo of these four. The sea horses and the whale applique I had prepared when I was making a sea quilt last year, but they didn't make the final cut for the quilt. I decided I may as well use them now, and thought they'd be cute on the bibs. I'm using some old trims on some of the bibs, and the really colorful one on the end, came in a three pack of printed towels, all the same design. Tomorrow I hope to finish the rest of the bibs, though not all of them will go to the twins. My mother had sent the twins some bibs she had made a while back, and that's what we've been using. I can't remember how many she sent, 6 or 8 I think. I do laundry almost every day, but it's still hard to keep up with the bibs. Two babies, right now eating two meals a day, and they go through four bibs a day, plus I use bibs on the little guy I babysit. Once the twins are up to three meals per day, it will be six bibs per day, so I'm thing at least a dozen bibs total is reasonable. It's amazing how fast things add up using the two at a time.

Let's see, anything else of note? Miss S cut her first tooth! I think she'll have more shortly. Mr. L is a little behind her, and I think she'll have a second tooth before he has his first.

DS the Younger went to Texas with DS the Elder. He's checking things out, trying to decide if he'd like to relocate. If he decides to stay here, we may end up signing him up last minute for classes at the community college this semester, or he may take this semester off. I'm not sure what he will decide. Kids have so many choices nowadays, it's no wonder they have such a hard time deciding. It used to be, people stayed in the town they grew up in, and college was out of reach for most. Now it is what do I want to do, and where do I want to do it? Even with the lousy economy, kids are still faced with far more choices than our parents ever had.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Down to the Wire

I had two weeks with no babysitting, and I made some big goals. I wanted to cut up all the shirts I bought in Flagstaff (not cut into certain shapes, just cut off the seams and leave only usable fabric. I finished that two nights ago.

I also wanted to have the six quilt tops I was working on to finished top stage. I finished the sixth top tonight, and I babysit in the morning, so I just squeaked this top in before my self-imposed deadline.

I'll try to take a better photo in the next couple of days, but I have no place inside the house to lay it out to photograph the whole quilt. This one is about 104" square. At least by taking a photo of 1/4 of it, you can see the stars going into the inner border. I'm anxious to see the whole quilt laid out myself.

I chose binding fabrics for the log cabin quilt and RRCB today. I need to iron the backings this weekend, then I can pack them up to send to the LAQ. I try to at least get rid of the fold lines in the backings, even though I know it will get a bit wrinkled on the way.

Tomorrow I babysit, as well as Monday and Tuesday. I might sew this weekend, but I may not. I feel like I've done quite a bit of sewing lately, and a few days off would not be a bad thing. If I do sew, maybe I will piece some backings and pin baste a quilt or two.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Loving It So Far

Since the RRCB quilt top is finished, it's time to put the log cabin together. I've had the blocks done for a month or so. I've known since I started this quilt that it was going to be one I really liked. I was right, and I may have to make another one since this one is being given away.

Here is the center done. That's as far as I've gotten. I need to piece the inner border next. The white stars will go into the inner border, so I have lots of star points to piece. The outer border will be a plain border, so really, once the inner border is done, I'm home free. I bought an extra wide backing for this quilt too, so by the end of the week, this quilt and RRCB should be on the way to the LAQ.

I realized I hadn't posted pics of the twins on my blog lately. Here is Mr. L during his first encounter with banana baby food.

Here is Miss S the same day. They are pretty funny babies. So far they are not impressed with fruit at all, but they like all the vegetables. Maybe that trend to not like sweets will continue and they'll always eat healthy? Doubtful, but at least for now they eat their vegetables.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

RRCB is a Top!

I am doing the happy dance tonight! I was moving pretty slow today, but I got the last two borders on RRCB and the top is done! I fussy cut the outside border this morning. I was trying to center those purple medallions in it. I think I did OK, especially considering I had never fussy cut something so long before.

Here is the top spread out on my driveway. We tried putting it on a blanket, but it was bigger than the blanket!

I took a close up of the borders. I really like the double yellow borders. Everyone in this house agreed on the light fabric for the outside border. Now I just have to decide on a binding fabric. This quilt is being sent out for quilting and binding, so I'm finished with it. I was originally going to piece a backing for it, but since the top has so many seams, I decided to buy an extra wide backing.

Tomorrow I start assembling the log cabin quilt. It needs to go out for quilting too, and I want to send them both at once. I'm very anxious to see the log cabin quilt together. Although the quilt is for someone else, the colors are very "me" colors, and I think I'm going to love it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

First Two Borders

This isn't a great picture, but I just wanted to show that I did get the first two borders on RRCB. If I were to stick with Bonnie's plan, I would be finished the top, but I am going to add two more borders. After seeing the quilt center on my bed, I did decide to make the outside border a little narrower than my first plan. The pieced border really does lay pretty flat, it's just hanging kind of weird.

The pieced border took me a lot longer to put on than I had anticipated. I knew I hadn't finished ironing the border pieces, but I thought I had ironed more than I had. I also wanted to cut all those dog ears off before I sewed it on, and that took a while. I wasn't feeling well today, so I was moving pretty slow too.

The next border is another narrow yellow border. It is all cut and pieced, ready to put on. The outer border still needs to be cut.

I finally did all the math for the inner border on the log cabin quilt. I cut all the pieces for it today, so when the RRCB quilt top is finished, I'll be ready to assemble the log cabin quilt and get it finished too. My goal has been to have all six quilt tops completed before I babysit again next Friday. Four tops are done, and RRCB is almost there. I think I can do it, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

RRCB Center

Today was the day I had set aside to get the center of RRCB together. This morning I laid it out on my bed, and I spent most of the day sewing it together. It still needs borders, but that can wait for another day. I am very happy with how it's coming out. I will really be thrilled when the top is done and I can send it off to be quilted! When the quilt top is done, I'll try to take a photo outside and get a good picture of it. Nighttime inside pics don't show the colors very well.

It took me longer than I expected to get the quilt center together, so I didn't get much of anything else done today. I didn't even do any laundry. Tomorrow I am hoping to get RRCB trimmed and at least the first border on if not the first two. It is fitting on my bed better than I expected, so I could probably get away with not adding the extra two borders I had planned. I think you'd have to use a bedskirt with it on queen sized bed, but it would work. I may go ahead and add the extra borders anyway. I know I'll lose a few inches once it's quilted, and I'd rather have it too big than too small.

My leader/ender project is coming together quickly. I have over 20 blocks together. They are just 6" blocks, so they will be 80 blocks in that quilt, but still, as a bonus project that I am only doing as leaders/enders, it is going fast.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Borders On

^Here is the transportation I Spy quilt top, with it's borders on! Now of the six quilts I need to get finished, four are quilt tops, so I'm getting closer.

I knew I was cutting it close on the border fabric for this one. At first I thought I'd have just enough, then I thought I might run short. As it turned out, I had to add the top and bottom borders first, then the sides, and I had enough. These scraps are all that's left of that fabric. Using directional fabric for borders can be tricky, and more so in this case, because I bought all that was left, not the amount I wanted. I wanted 2 yards, but they only had about a yard and a half. I'm glad it worked out as well as it did. I was prepared to use cornerstones in the border if I had been just a bit short.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Spiraling INTO Control!

I learn so much from my online quilting groups. People always have such a great ideas for organizing, or patterns, or using things you have in a new, better way. In one of my online quilt groups, someone was talking about having their quilt or other craft books spiral bound instead of the regular binding on them. At any office store, they can cut off the current binding, and put spiral bindings on your books. Several of the ladies chimed in that had done the same thing, and they quoted different prices, the lowest being $2, the highest $12 per book. I had no idea what they charged for such a service around here, but since DH and I were running errands today, I decided to make an extra stop and find out.

See these six quilting books? They are some of my favorites. I picked these out because I've either made several quilts from each one, or have plans to make several quilts from each. These are some of my frequent go to books when I'm looking for ideas. I took these six books into an office supply store and got all six spiral bound for $24 total. I am thrilled with this!

Now my books can lay flat, which is perfect for assembly directions or cutting requirements.

I can also flip the book so that only one page shows, which is great when I only need to look at the layout. The books are much more easily used this way, and I think it's a great idea. The only down side I can see, is that there is now no spine on the book with the title on it. I had the person at the office store color code the bindings for me, one color per author. It will help me keep the books straight, and the spiral bindings come in several colors.

I wouldn't want to do this to all of my books, but I will probably do a few more eventually. I would only spiral bind a book I intend to use multiple times.

In case anyone is curious about what I'm using for my leader/ender project, here it is on my design door. I should get the borders on that fourth quilt tomorrow. Some workman are coming to the house and I can't go anywhere anyway.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Three Out of Four

Come to find out, my goal for today was too optimistic. If I had had the borders already cut out, then I probably could have bordered all four quilts. By the time I finished cutting borders, and I actually got to start sewing, it was already noon. I did get borders on three of the quilts, and I'm pretty happy with that. I also cut up six of my thrift store shirts, along with doing a couple loads of laundry and making dinner, so I think I did pretty well.

^Here is the animal themed I Spy quilt. I noticed the name of the border fabric is Untamed Melody, which is funny to me since my name is Melodie. I will just quilt a meander on this, but I haven't decided on thread color, maybe gold.

I finished the twins quilt tops. ^This is Mr. L's samurai quilt top. I let DD#3 go through my Asian fabrics and choose which squares she wanted for the extra blocks around the panels. I can't decide how to quilt this, any suggestions? Remember I am new to FMQ, so don't tell me something too hard.

^Here is Miss S's geisha quilt top. The geisha and samurai panels started out completely different sizes, and different shapes as well. I cut them down to be the same size. It took me a while to be able to figure out how to plan out a quilt like this in EQ. I am going to quilt fans on this quilt, and I'm considering using peach colored thread, but I may change my mind on that.

I didn't have a leader/ender project going, and it was making me crazy to keep cutting the thread while adding the borders. I started looking around for something to use as leader/enders, I used up most of my small squares so I couldn't just make four patches. I finally remembered that I had cut out a couple of quilts a while back that I had put aside, one of them was perfect to use as a leader/ender project, at least for a while. I took the time to lay out a few blocks on the design wall, and now I'm using it as my leader/ender project. I am a much happier quilter now. I think those first few stitches are much nicer if it is a more continuous stitching with leaders/enders than if I am cutting thread and restarting. The best part is I'm getting some work done on yet another quilt, without stopping what I need to work on! I love leaders/enders!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Quiet Night

I haven't blogged in over a week! Why not? No photos. I hate making a blog post with no photos, and really, what I've been doing hasn't been a great photo opportunity.

So what have I been doing? Let's see, I finished piecing the borders for RRCB. I really want a full day to sew when I assemble RRCB, because I need to get the center together in a day. I have a much harder time keeping track of on point quilts than straight set, so I want to lay the quilt center out on my bed, take a row, sew it together, put it back on the bed, and repeat until it's done. Once the center is together, I'm not worried about putting on the borders. I won't have a long enough chunk of time to do that until next Thursday, so RRCB is put aside for right now.

Today I finished assembling the centers of four different quilts! I've been working on them a little at a time for the last week. The twins samurai/geisha quilts, and the other two I Spy quilts are now ready for borders. My goal is to get them all bordered tomorrow, which is pretty ambitious since they are all getting two borders. We'll see if I can do it.

As soon as those quilt tops get assembled, they will be put aside, and I will work on assembling the two queen sized quilts, RRCB and the log cabin. I kept warring with myself over whether or not I should quilt them myself. It's certainly less expensive to quilt them myself, but I was really stressing over it. DH and I talked it over, and I'm going to send them out for quilting. In fact, I'm really taking the easy way out, and I'm going to have my LAQ bind them too. She charges very little to do the binding, and the quilts will come back finished. I feel a huge sense of relief now that I've decided to do that. I'll quilt the other four quilts myself, and I'm looking forward to that, but these two are pretty big to handle myself, and my deadlines are rapidly approaching.

DH is at work, dinner is done and cleaned up, dishwasher running. I finished giving the twins a bath and they are in bed. DD#2 & 3 are home but keeping themselves busy. This is my evening plan. Put that DVD Calendar Girls on, grab my seam ripper and take all the buttons off of those shirts I bought at the thrift store in Flagstaff. I've already done some of them, if I get these finished, I'll be ready to start cutting up the shirts. I'm trying to give myself some down time every day, so I don't get burned out. It's pretty crazy around here!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Decisions, decisions...

Today was a long day, the little guy I babysit for was a grumpy bear today. I did mange to get one side of the pieced border sewn while he was napping. I wanted to lay it out so I could see how it would look, and audition some borders. The pale color that may look cream to you is actually a butter yellow.

I am going to use the butter yellow for the inner border, and I am really liking it as a narrow border on the other side of the pieced border too. I need to add more borders to make it the size I need. This first outer border possibility is the piece I bought with this quilt in mind. The blue background of this fabric isn't quite blending in with the string blocks. The greens in it are close to my sages, the oranges are wrong, and there is no yellow in it at all. There is a little purple, darker than my purples. I'm not convinced this is right. It is reading too dark to me.

This is a piece from my stash. The blue is better, the peaches are great. The green is all wrong, and again there is no yellow. There is some purple in this, and it is OK.

Here is another piece from my stash. The blue is lighter than most of the strings in my string blocks, but the greens, peach/oranges, and purple are good, and there is yellow. I have looked all over for fabric with these colors in them, and I'm just not finding anything else. Right now this piece is winning. I don't usually do lighter borders, but I have been stuck on finding fabric for this. I entertained the idea of doing a piano key border with the same fabrics from the quilt, but I think two pieced borders would clash a bit and take away from each other instead of complimenting each other.

I know it's hard to tell colors on a computer, but if you'd like to put in your two cents feel free to post a comment. I still have time to decide, and sometimes I keep looking at the photos to help me decide. I am definitely going with the two yellow borders, I really like the look of that. I am just undecided on the outer border.