Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Slow progress

I have been a little lax in my posting. I haven't had much to say (well, not much of interest!).

I have been doing computer work for our business and not much sewing though I get a little in each day. This picture shows the progress I have made on my grandson's big boy quilt this past week. The fabric got washed and ironed. I have the big tool blocks cut and bordered and the 9-patch blocks cut (yes, I know I could strip piece 9-patch blocks but I like the results better the old fashioned way). I think my Halloween 'treat' will be giving myself permission to get the 9-patches done today. Who knows, I might even get the whole top done this week.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Almost forgot...

... that on Tuesday at craft night at my neighbor's I put the Out of the Darkness top on her design wall and got a better picture than the one of it on my bed. I finally remembered to make sure it got posted for all to see.

The more I look at it, the more I like it. I think part of the draw is that the vivid colors against the black remind me of old fashioned granny square afghans.

In the midst of working on the computer I have gotten some pieces cut for Layden's quilt. I am being good and doing the books and just allowing myself a little quilting time each day to keep my sanity!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Keeping the feet up

I have been having some problems with my feet and legs recently and the best thing for them beside stretching is staying off of them. This tends to be difficult when you really want to be making quilts! I did get some quilting done by doing the machine quilting sitting down instead of in my usual standing position at the sewing table. They were small quilts so it worked ok. Then doing the hand-sewing on the bindings also keeps me off my feet.

I have now shifted to working on getting my husband's appliance repair business information into the computer so tax time is easier for our accountant. That should take a couple of weeks to get finished and I can do it all on the laptop while seated in my recliner. I know that I need to get that project done so I am not frantically doing it in January, February or March! This year Christmas is here at home and then January will be busy with a visit from our Alaska daughter and getting ready for my little boy to head to New Zealand for a year as an exchange student. So I really want to have everything but December's work done before mid-December so I don't have that hanging over my head too.

I am sure I will do some work on quilting projects, especially the quilt for the grandson's big boy bed. I got the fabric yesterday and it is all prewashed and ironed so I have done a little cutting when I get tired of the computer work. I guess I will have to get my quilting fix by looking at and reading about everybody else's work!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Three more waiting for hand sewing

I got three more crazy quilts quilted yesterday and today and the bindings are on so I need to get my hands busy! I finished the bindings on the last three quilts I got quilted so three more finished products on the list! I have two more to quilt but one needs the batting cut and the other needs a back I believe.

Did I mention I ordered fabric to make a quilt for my grandson's 'big boy bed'? He isn't ready to move into it yet but I want to be ready when he is. I saw a couple of quilts made from this fabric that is covered with tools so I got the name of the company that makes it to see if I could find out where I too could have some of the perfect fabric for my little guy. I checked out the website and I was even able to download the pattern. Now I normally don't buy a pattern and then make a quilt from it using the exact fabrics the pattern calls for because I usually don't like something about the pattern or the fabrics but this one is just perfect except I am making it twin size. The only thing I might change is that I might do a wacky nine-patch instead of the traditional. The fabric is supposed to arrive tomorrow so I am excited about that. My sister figures I will have the top done in the next few days and the quilt will be ready for either his birthday in December or Christmas but we will see.

I am pretty sure I am heading next door for craft night tonight so I will try to get at least one of the bindings done, but I might talk too much to get anything done!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

An ugly little problem

Several months ago, my husband, dropped this 'beauty' in my lap. I did what any self-respecting woman would do - I jumped! Then I looked at it and realized that it was just little threads all crammed together. It came out of one of his customer's washer's drain hoses. She had just completed a rag quilt and did the necessary washing to make it fuzz up. She called us to come out because for some reason her washer wasn't draining. After much checking of washer parts and finding no problem, Larry found this clog in her drain hose.

Most of the directions for rag quilts include the admonishment to check your dryer lint screen several times during the drying process but they don't warn you that larger pieces of thread can get into your washer and clog the drain hose, or worse yet, get knotted in your drain pump.

Now most of us don't admit to our spouses the actual amount we spend on fabric but it is really hard to hide the bill from the appliance repairman! So this is just a friendly warning to anyone making a rag quilt - GO TO THE LAUNDROMAT!!!!

Not what I planned...

...but still ok. I didn't get that binding finished yesterday, but I did get another top quilted and got the binding on. This one was the third bug jar baby quilt top that I have had finished since fall of 2005. One of the three went to my niece's second son and the second went to my first grandson. I made three at once so I would have a baby quilt top made - just in case.

This morning I also got another crazy quilt top quilted and the binding is on. I usually end up with extra binding when I am done with a quilt so, since I always use the same width of binding I just put it in one of my little plastic drawers to be used sometime. Crazy quilts and scrappy quilts are great times to use them so that is what I am using for the binding on as many of the crazy quilts as I can.

I have decided that for the rest of the day I will work on the hand sewing of the bindings to give my feet and legs some time off and I can add three finished products to my tally!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Wall quilts done

It is very interesting how a power outage changes our attitudes. We got candles and oil lamps lit and spent time just talking. My son even read to me for a while. I was able to get my hand sewing done before it got dark so the two wall quilts are done and ready to take the the church.

About 11:40 the power came back on and since I was awake because Lucy needed to go out, I got up and turned off all those lights that were left on. I tried, but couldn't sleep so I got up again and surfed the net for an hour or so. So my night was not long enough, especially since my son's alarm didn't go off this morning and I had to take him to school. There were a couple of trees down on power lines on our way. A crew was working on one of those when we went past. The lights flickered again today once but I am hoping that doesn't mean we will lose power again.

Today I did the quilting on one of my crazy quilts for Project Linus and hope to finish off the binding today also. I have 6 more to get quilted and finished off soon and maybe the one baby quilt that needs quilting too. That would feel good to have 8 more items completed in the next couple of weeks!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Wall Quilt #1 done, #2 quilted

Here is the first of the two wall quilts for the preschool room all finished! I decided to use white as the binding for contrast. I thought black was too boring. I like the effect. All in all I am very pleased with both of them and hope that the daycare director and the kids appreciate them also. As I quilted them I marveled at how well I matched up the outside of the squares with the inside square. As I recall I did it mostly randomly just making sure they didn't clash horribly and contrasted nicely.

The second quilt got quilted today and the binding is on ready for hand stitching during Survivor and CSI tonight. That is, as long as we have power so we can watch TV. The Pacific Northwest is getting a bit of a windstorm today (it has already started blowing) and one never can tell when the power will go out! I love the trees here but the wind blows them down onto power lines and causes problems!

I think while my sewing table is pretty empty I will get some more quilt pinned and quilted to get some more items onto the finished pile! Because of foot problems though I can only get one quilted per day so I am not on my feet too much. Today I am going over to my good friend's house to have a massage that hopefully will help my feet and legs a bunch!

(As I was pushing the publish post button the power started flickering!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Wall Quilt I

I got the first of the two wall quilts I am making for our church's preschool quilted and the binding on ready for me to put my feet up and finish the hand stitching! Tomorrow I should be able to get the second one quilted and bound also. I also did some mundane chores like making bread and brownies, taking care of some laundry and ironing so all it all a productive day.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The top is done!

I worked hard today between phone calls and finally finished off the Out of the Darkness quilt top!

I downloaded the pattern at the end of August 2006, made sure I had all the fabrics on a trip to Fabric Depot a week later, cut all the pieces and started sewing blocks at the fall quilt retreat that year. I got 4 or 5 of the blocks done at the retreat and finished the rest of the 10 after getting back home.

Other projects with more pressing deadlines came up so the project got put on hold until I pulled it out again for the quilt retreat a couple of weeks ago. I got a bit more done at the retreat and decided that I just needed to do a big push and finish it off so it could be marked off the list of unfinished tops so here it is! It will again be put away for awhile so I can get some other things totally finished and also get some things done around the house that are more pressing.

One of our more pressing needs is a freestanding gas stove as an alternate source of heat in case the power goes out here like it did last winter. Our need was underscored last night when the lights flickering a bit during a bit of wind. With all electric heat it gets pretty cold pretty fast! Do any of you have a direct vent propane or natural gas stove? I would love to hear from you about that.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The secret is out

Here is that project I couldn't talk about. It is a redo swap quilt because the first one I sent in September never made it to my swap partner. I was not obligated to make another but I felt bad for her to not receive one so I made this. It is one of the blocks from my Out of the Darkness quilt pattern made in fall colors. I think it turned out pretty well and I am glad that Darlene got it in just a few days!

I am continuing to work on the outer borders of the OOTD quilt. I am getting close to having all the blocks done for them and I hope to get the put together in the next day or two so I have the top done and can move on to getting the wall quilts quilted and finished so they can be put up at the daycare/preschool.

In the midst of my sewing I am answering pages for our appliance repair business, doing research on freestanding gas stoves, looking into getting our piano appraised so we can sell it, finding someone who will reupholster our antique couch, getting the business books into the computer so we can have taxes done this year and getting Jakob ready for his time in New Zealand.

Well, I guess I should stop typing and get to work on something on that list!

Friday, October 12, 2007

A little more progress

Here is my progress on the Out of the Darkness quilt. (I know this picture looks a little strange - it is because I hung the quilt upside down so the picture has to be upside down to make the butterfly right side up. Confusing, I know!) I realized as I looked at the center panel hanging in my sewing room that the purple buds should have come to a point so I ended up ripping it just enough to fix those before I added the wreath blocks around it.

This quilt uses a different process for piecing than any I have used before which makes me actually read the directions but the nice thing is that all the measurements come out right all the time if you do read the directions. The green and black strips around the center panel that I had cut in advance of any piecing actually were the right lengths to add on each time. Kind of a novel experience.

I am very pleased with the quilt so far but I am not sure I will ever use the pattern again other than maybe making the individual blocks for table toppers or wall hangings.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Smells like fall

Yesterday I made progress on my Out of the Darkness quilt top. I now have the center panel put together as you can see. I had to stop work on that to work on a different project that I cannot post about yet but needs to get done soon!

I also needed to go out and harvest some of our grapes. Our grape vines were planted years ago by my great-uncle who owned our house before us. We go to the effort to prune them each year and some years we get a few and some years we get a lot - depending on the weather. This year is one of the bountiful years. These grapes are not the greatest for eating because of the seeds and the fact that the skins are kind of tough and sour. As kids we learned that you could squeeze the grape out of its skin and swallow it and suck the rest of the good flavor out of the skin. Then they were delicious! What wasn't eaten fresh off the vine my mother made into jelly and juice that lasted through the winter.

So back to my story...I picked grapes yesterday afternoon and this afternoon I pulled them all off the stems and cooked them up for juice. The boys and I won't drink all 22 quarts of juice so I will hand most of it off to my daughter and my sister's family.These are the 11 jars of juice from the first kettle of grapes and this is just a fun picture of the foam at the top of one of the jars.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Ooops! I almost forgot...

When I got home from the retreat I had a happy little package waiting for me! It was my quilt from the Four Seasons Fall Quilt Swap from Meghan. Thanks so much Meghan! It looks very nice on my dining table.

I'm Baaaaaack!

I'm sure everyone thought (or maybe hoped!) I had just given up on the blog thing, but no, I was just out of town. Last Wednesday I drove to Sandpoint ID to my sister's home to spend some time with her family, my brother and his wife, and my daughter and grandson. We had a great time together playing with little Layden, playing pinochle, visiting and eating good food (my sister fed us a couple of family favorites). On Friday, Karla and I packed up the minivans to head to our quilt retreat on Lake Coeur d' Alene. Chelsea and Layden also started heading south and we met at JoAnn's to look for Halloween costume fabric. Chelsea got taffeta for $2 for Oli's vampire cape and muslin for her costume. You can see the cape here.

Karla and I had a good time at the quilt retreat. I worked on my 'Out of the Darkness' quilt but I ran into a snag when I discovered I was missing a few pieces of one of the green fabrics and I didn't have any extra fabric with me. So, instead of finishing that I moved on to put the borders on the two wall quilts and then worked on this year's shop hop blocks. Because the shop hop focus fabric is a Washington print, I may use that quilt as a gift for Jakob's host family in New Zealand (our 17-year-old is going to NZ as an exchange student for a year beginning in Jan/Feb 2008).

On the way home from the retreat yesterday I stopped at my daughter's house to drop off a rug (my sister had a new braided wool rug for my living room at her house so Chelsea and Oli got the old one) and a 60" X 80" folding plywood table topper to use for a work surface for quilting. I also dropped off some smaller pieces of batting from my sister that she can use for her Project Linus quilts. Layden was very pleased to help unload the batting and a few spools of thread - very cute!

I was very pleased last night when I got home that I found more of the missing green fabric in my stash since I am hoping to finish the OOTD quilt top while my sewing table is still fairly well cleaned off! Here is what I have done so far - maybe tomorrow I will have this part finished with the 10 blocks I did a year ago attached?

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Postage Stamps

Sometime in the 1980's my mother's sister, Lou, made this postage stamp quilt for my mother. It was the 'Nappy Quilt' that she shared with most of her grandchildren when they needed a nap with Oma. It has been well loved and has been mended many times over the years. When we sorted through my mother's house I was blessed with this quilt.

Sometime in the late 80's or early 90's, when my aunt was cleaning out some of her leftovers, she sent a shoe box full of the leftover pieces from this and several other quilts like it that she made at that time. I took up that challenge and decided to make a quilt for my sister. When I got started putting those little pieces together I discovered that they were not all the same size so I first had to trim them all down.Here is a picture of that quilt that I finished in time for her birthday in 1992.
There were lots of little pieces leftover still and I put them back into that shoe box and tucked them away for some other day. The other day I saw that shoe box and decided it was high time I do something with those little squares. I discovered that I had added more squares to the box back in the early 90's and that I had not trimmed all the squares down so That will be a project for this evening.

I have started hand sewing the 1 1/2" squares together into strips of 4. My plan is to make them into 16-patch blocks and then either just put them together or add some sashing. Whatever I decide, I will do this project all by hand, so don't look for a finished product anytime soon!