Thursday, September 25, 2014

Plugging Along

It seems like I've been really busy, but not sure it looks like I've done much. I did get one project finished, that's been on my mind for months!
DH and I did make it to Ikea to buy these bookshelves, and I've moved almost all the books in the house onto them. The twin's books are still on the low shelves in the lower left corner of this pic, my quilting books are still in the sewing room where they'll stay, and there are still some in DH's office. Obviously, I took this pic before I put the books on them ;-) I just moved DH's books, but all of my books and general household books I went through, and got rid of a bunch. I've been whittling down our book collection for a few years now, and eventually it will be even smaller than it is now. I think once DH goes through his books, he won't have to have any in his office unless he wants them there.

After I moved all the books, I repurposed the bookshelves our books were originally on. Things are SO much neater in that area of the house now! I whittled down some stuff there too, and we had a big drop off for charity yesterday. My house feels a little lighter now!

Now that I know my newest grandchild is a girl, I need to finish her girly quilt.

I've got the sashing pieces done now, and I'm working on appliqueing the Dresden Plates. Once the Dresden Plates are done, I have a bit more applique to do before I can assemble the quilt. I'm hoping to have the quilt finished, before the wedding at our house October 11.

I am still working on the HST trimming project, but I really got into the trimming this week, and here are all the rest of the HST's trimmed to size! My Ziploc bags are empty!!!! I still need to press all of these, and trim dog ears, but I really feel a sense of accomplishment just having them trimmed. I really hope I never let leftover pieces get that built up again. Two gallon sized Ziploc bags hold a LOT of HST's!

In the next week I plan on working on Miss A's girly quilt, as well as doing some sewing for the wedding. Of course there will also be all of the normal stuff to do, plus going through the twins clothes and figuring out what they'll need for winter. It's still hot here, but I know eventually, cooler weather will prevail, and they'll need long pants and long sleeves.

Friday, September 19, 2014

It's a Girl!!!!!!

Here she is, my latest granddaughter, Anneke Joy! She was born this morning South African time, but actually just before midnight last night my time. She weighed 3.54 kilos or 7 lbs 13 oz. She was 51 cm long or 20 inches. Her daddy was all excited she was born on Talk Like a Pirate Day, can you tell by the hat?

 Here are pics of her being greeted by her big brothers, and with her Mama, DD#1. Not that I'm biased or anything, but I think she's one gorgeous baby!

One of my nieces had her baby girl yesterday too, so in my time zone, I got a great niece and a granddaughter in the same day! I wish I could see both babies, but they are both far away (in different directions). Both have quilts from me to wrap them in my love, which is better than nothing.

Hmmm...I guess I better get going on that "If the baby is a girl quilt"! I sent a gender neutral quilt to South Africa already, but after 2 boys, I know DD#1 is ready for some prissy girly stuff. I'm almost done piecing the sashing, then I need to get all the applique done. I had two different ideas for the border, and I think I'm going to go with the easier one to get it finished faster. The center of the quilt has a lot going on, so simpler may be better anyway.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Dr. Who Bordered Quilt

DD#2 and I hosted a bridal shower this weekend for one of her best friends, whom I consider one of my "adopted" kids. Now that she's been given her quilt, I can show it here.

It may seem to be an odd color combination, but the bride's favorite color is blue, and the groom's favorite colors are orange and green, and those colors worked with the Dr. Who themed fabric I found for the border. The wedding will be Dr. Who themed (and in my backyard).

This photo gives you a better view of the Tardis fabric border. If you ever are looking for a very specific novelty fabric, try . This company prints fabrics, wrapping paper, and wallpaper on demand. You can design your own, or use someone else's design. A lot of people who have specific interests have designed images available for purchase as fabrics. It's not inexpensive, but sometimes you don't need a lot of novelty fabric to make a statement. I had ordered 3.5 yards of fabric to make the border for this quilt, and the only other fabrics I purchased for it were 2 fat quarters. All other fabrics were from stash, including the backing, which considering it is 110" square, buying 4 yards of fabric wasn't much.
I've had no time for sewing, nor even any time for trimming those HST's. I hope to get back to both of those this week. I'm not really sure how that will go, because I am starting a reorganizing of our book collection this week too, if we actually manage to make it to Ikea to buy the bookshelves I want. I'd like to have that project finished within the next two weeks, well before the wedding next month. I'm still waiting on the latest grandbaby, wondering if I need to finish that girly quilt, or if this one's another boy...I'll know Friday at the latest...can't wait!!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

How to Eat an Elephant bite at a time, of course. One my my latest projects feels a lot like eating an elephant, really overwhelming at first.

Before I tell you what my latest project is, I want to give a little backstory. If you've been reading my blog, you know that my 3 1/2 year old grandtwins live with me, along with DD#3, their mom. I watch the twins while my daughter is working, or at the doctor, or whatever she has to do. I love the twins infinitely, but I'd be lying if I said they haven't seriously curtailed my quilting. Now that they are a little older, I'm trying to find ways to get something quilty done while I'm watching them. When my five kids were little, I was into cross-stitch and needlepoint, which really lend themselves to being done while watching the kids, but I rarely do any hand sewing these days, so I'm having to learn how to do quilty things around little ones. Mr. L has a real affinity for anything sharp, loves scissors, pins, etc... and he also loves anything that writes, which he normally uses on everything we don't want him to write on. Miss S loves to copy whatever she sees anyone doing, so if she sees me cutting, and I leave things where she can get to them, she's going to try that. If I'm marking a quilt top, she's going to try that too, even if she finds a permanent marker and not my washable one. It's pretty tricky to find things to work on around them, that won't have them hurt or me angry.

That said, I've been working on a lot of my latest quilts late at night, when I'm already exhausted, and that's getting old. I had to figure out some things to do while they were up. What actually helped me think of something, was that spontaneous getaway with DH a couple weeks ago. I always like to work on something in the car, and I needed something to work on in the hotel. I had no time to kit anything up, so I looked through my old projects that have been languishing.

I brought a string project for my sewing project, mostly because it was already in my sewing trolley. The other two things I brought were a bag of bonus HST's that needed to be trimmed, and squares I needed to draw lines on. Those two projects have really helped my attitude while watching the twins.

I had hundreds of 3.5" squares I needed to draw diagonal lines on. I don't mind drawing diagonal lines, and I find it's a good car project. I've started drawing two lines on all my sew and flip corners, so I have a bonus HST in the size I need from the start. I got that idea here. When I'm drawing lines in the car, I use a clipboard, and before I do another car trip where I do drawing lines as my car project, I plan on buying this, so I can store my pieces, rulers and pencil all in the clipboard. I got a lot of my lines drawn on my trip, but I realized that was something I could easily do while watching the twins, using a TV table. Now I've finished drawing lines on squares for four different quilts I have planned. That's some great prep work done!

My other project, which is where the elephant comes in, was trimming HST's down to consistent sizes. I saved these years ago, before I learned the two sewing line trick. Most of these HST's were a little too small to be cut at 2", but I wanted them as large as possible, so I'm cutting them at 1.75". I plan on using all of them in 16 patches, so I'll end up with 5" blocks. I already made one quilt with some of these I had already cut down. Well, the thing is, sliver trimming in not my favorite thing to do. In fact, sliver trimming is on my "don't like to do" list which is why I strive for sewing accuracy so I don't have to do it. Not wanting to sliver trim, is why my bonus HST collection kept on growing, and growing! I love playing with bonus HST's, and I've made a LOT of projects using them over the years. When I had extras, I just threw them in a Ziploc bag, gallon sized. Well, one Ziploc bag turned into two, which was my elephant. Do you know how many bonus HST's fit in a gallon sized Ziploc bag? Neither do I ;-) I just know it's a LOT. I trimmed some HST's on my trip in the hotel, and I decided this was one thing that needed to be tamed, and if I was smart, I could do it while watching the twins.

Step one of sliver trimming HST's- using the rotary cutter and doing the actual sliver trimming. I trim the HST's before pressing open, using this ruler. If I put a small cutting mat on a TV table, and I have my HST's and my ruler, the only thing that can hurt the twins is my rotary cutter. So, I've been trimming the HST's in the room with them, but my rotary cutter stays with me, everywhere I go. If I have it in my hand, I know they don't have it. So far so good.

Step 2- pressing. I have a small ironing board I picked up at a thrift store. It fits on my TV table, hanging off a bit. I've been using my travel iron and pressing my HST's while watching the twins. If I have to leave the room, guess what goes with me? Yup, nothing like dragging an iron around. Honestly, I tend to just stick it on top of the refrigerator so they can't reach it, rather than dragging a hot iron around. I'm finding my travel iron actually works better for pressing these small HST's than my regular iron. I use this travel iron that I've had for years, and it's fits in my hand quite nicely.

Step 3- trimming dog ears. I use a small set of scissors to do this, again, keeping the scissors with me at all times, or putting them high up like on the refrigerator. One of the twins asked what I was doing, and I told them snipping dog ears. They looked at our dogs and back to me, and I could tell they were quite confused. I reassured them that I wasn't harming the dogs, and showed them what I was actually snipping off, and that it was shaped kind of like a dog's ear.

So how am I doing on my elephant? From two gallon sized Ziploc bags full, I'm down to this

And I now have this to show for my time.

Plus I have this sample block I'm looking forward to making into a quilt.

I'm not done, but I'm certainly making progress. I'm grabbing a handful a day, and try to do all three steps to each day's portion. I'm feeling good about getting these usable, and very thankful I learned the trick about drawing two lines to sew on so I won't have to do this again.

I had some sewing time this afternoon, while the twins were with their other grandmother. I was working on the sashing for that baby quilt I talked about last blog post. I'm making progress on the sashing, but not done yet. Today is my only sewing day for this week. There is a bridal shower at my house on Saturday, and I have lots to do before that happens. I doubt I'll get many more HST's trimmed until next week either, but at least I'm getting there!


Friday, September 5, 2014

More Complicated Than It Has To Be

I have a new grandbaby on the way, due to come via C-section on September 19. DD#1 and her DH already have two boys, and just like during the pregnancies of the last two, they did not find out the gender of this one. So, a grandbaby on the way, but I don't know if it's a boy or girl.

DD#1 lives in South Africa, and I am not going for the birth, though I'd love to be there. I still haven't seen the second little guy in person. I am thankful for facebook and Skype, so I at least get to see them that way.

^I already sent a gender neutral baby quilt, elephant themed like DD#1 requested.
If the new grandbaby is a girl, I'd really like the baby to have something really girly, since DD#1 has only been able to do boy stuff up until now. I designed a quilt with the coral and teal DD#1 was partial to if it's a girl, but because it's me, it will have lots more color than that. 

This is the sashing I decided on for the "Just in case it's a girl quilt". You know what's really funny? Normally I make baby quilts pretty simple. I figure they'll be washed over and over, and something simple is best. Well, yesterday, while cutting the sashing, I realized just how simple complicated this quilt is going to be. The sashing and cornerstones alone have 840 pieces. 840 pieces? For sashing? On a baby quilt? Hmmm...add in the Dresden plates, and applique I'm planning on doing, and this NOT simple baby quilt will have over 1,000 pieces.
I will be working on this quilt until the 19th, when I find out if I need this quilt, or if I have another grandson instead. I'm hoping to at least have the quilt top done by then, because knowing me, if the baby is a boy, I'm going to set it aside, and work on something more pressing. At least if the top is done I'll have a quick finish for later. If the baby is a girl, I'm going shopping, can't have the newest princess in the family wearing all her brothers' clothes ;-)
I've got the cornerstones all sewn, and I'm working on the sashing pieces. If I get this quilt top done before the 19th, I'll be doing great, because I've got a lot of other stuff going on. DD#2 and I are throwing a bridal shower for one of my "adopted kids" here next weekend, and I've got lots to do before that happens. Right now, I'll settle for just getting dinner made!