Saturday, March 24, 2012

Less and Less Triangles

I am getting close to the end of the triangles. In the last 4 days I have made close to 120 broken dishes blocks! Those 120 blocks started out as 960 individual triangles! They are now all pressed and sorted into bags according to size - 
it is so much easier if they are sorted as they are made instead of when you want to use them!

I only have really big triangles left and I think I will cut them up into a square and 2 smaller triangles as I am not as excited about the look of bigger broken dishes blocks! That will probably happen today.

On Wednesday when I was done with my batch of triangles the weather wasn't too bad so I went out and started pruning the last two apple trees. I got as much done as I could without hauling the ladder out. Thursday was even nicer out so after some morning sewing I hauled the ladder out to the trees and finished the pruning! Yesterday after triangles I went out and pruned the grapes and after hubby got home and got the lawn tractor started (dead battery) we got all the apple branches and grape vines on the burn pile and disposed of them. So our big purchase on date night last night was a new battery! Such exciting times!

The shower door is now installed and today I will do the touch up painting and then hubby will caulk around the shower stall and we can call that project done! We still have trim in there to do but why should that room be any more complete than all the rest of the house?

I am plugging away on the frog eyes and now have 3 quilts finished. I would love to have the last one done this weekend but not sure that is happening. I want to get the labels on and get the quilts delivered!

Monday, March 19, 2012

More and more triangles!

Work continues on the shower stall. This morning I got the final coat of paint on some of the walls and the whole ceiling. It looks pretty great! Except where the blue painter's tape pulled off the paint! I gave my husband permission to smack me if I ever say I want to use that stuff when I paint again! It never works out for me!

I have decided the touching up will happen after we get the shower door installed so I don't have to do it twice.

Meanwhile, I have been working on turning these (thousands of leftover triangles)...
into these...
or these.
If I got these done I could cross at least half of a project off my list. I would really like to turn them all into a quilt top so it is all the way off the list. I have promised myself I will sew triangles together for at least 15 minutes every day and then press them, trim them and turn them into broken dishes blocks. 

Yesterday I think I made about 50 little broken dishes blocks and today there were 23 little BD blocks and 3 of the 12" BD blocks. At this rate I might be done with them by the end of the year. 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sand and Prime

The new shower stall project is moving along a little. I sanded the mudding yesterday and got a coat of primer on it. I am hoping it will look okay.
When I went out to get the primer, we also looked for the leftover paint for the bathroom and discovered that it had dried up. I was worried we might have to paint the whole room which would involve moving the washer and dryer but I managed to find a piece of the drywall that was torn out in the demolition and took it to Home Depot and they matched it awfully close to perfectly! I am hoping that if it isn't quite perfect, it will at least be good enough that we can just paint up to the washer and dryer and you won't be able to tell! I would much rather just paint where the patching was done, though.
Today I did the texturing (turns out I should have picked up another can yesterday so I wouldn't have had to make another trip to the store today) and another coat of primer and, in just one hour, I can do the first coat of color. Then I will have the final coat to do tomorrow and I will be done with my part of this project (except for helping to install the new shower door and maybe some other finishing touches).

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Some Improvement

I have continued with my tidying in the sewing room. On Thursday I finished pressing and sorting scraps other than neutrals and batiks. Then yesterday, I did the drawer of neutrals. It was a larger drawer and was stuffed! When those were all pressed and sorted this is what the cutting table looked like when I was done for the day. Can you see any improvement?
Today I tackled the batiks. I loved pressing the batiks and thinking about projects to do with them. In with the various scraps were some triangles in a couple different sizes that I think might just turn into a quilt top. Here is what things look like in the sewing room this afternoon. Okay, can you see the improvement now? 

As I was sorting through things, I also found some partially made blocks so I took a few small breaks and did a little sewing. Some of these Drunkard's Path blocks were sewn and some weren't. There were 11 full blocks and there were some extra pieces that I was able to turn into two more blocks so I put 4 together like this
 and 9 together like this.
There were 10 of these paper pieced blocks. At first I put 9 of them together like so but I just wasn't pleased with it.
I liked the chevrons on the left side of the blocks so I decided to add the other little block and make a strip of chevrons instead.
In another spot I found 16 HSTs that were all the same size and all had whites for one side. So I turned them into this block.
Then I found this group of pieces and made up 5 4-patch blocks and have one set of two squares left over. This might also end up as a strip.
I sorted out all of my orphan blocks and have some plans for some of them and others will probably end up on the backs of scrap quilts as I finish them.

I am pleased with progress but I am starting to get itchy to start sewing. Hopefully, I can finish the cleaning up in the next day or so and then I will start on some of the projects I need to have finished before the end of summer.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Time to Clean

It's time to get busy around here. There was laundry that needed addressing. I got two more loads done today and even got three of yesterday's folded! One of today's was the sheets for our bed so at least I don't have to fold that!

When I was putting the first load in I was reminded that I need to work on the mudding in the shower stall so that was my next job. I was feeling a little discouraged when I stopped for the retreat and quilt show but when I got going again I realized it wasn't quite as bad as I thought. I might be getting close to being done with the mudding and ready to start getting the painting and texturing done.

After a shower I headed into the sewing room and started shoveling. This is the cutting table area before...
...and after.

This is the quilting machine area before...
...and after.
I know, it really doesn't look that much better but I can tell. I got all the finished quilts moved out of the room or put away. I am working on my scrap drawers that were all left out after the paper piecing on the Harry Potter quilt. It is just time to get them more organized again. I plan to continue with the cleaning, sorting and organizing until I can use the whole top of the cutting table (or at least most of it). 

Stay tuned for updates.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Great Show!

Well, I think I am about recovered from the show and its aftermath. 

My niece, Katie, and I managed, with the help of several others, to get the show set up in less than 2 hours on Friday evening and then headed home to get the labels made up and last minute items ready for the show. My daughter, Chelsea, and the grandkids, along with my other niece, Brita, arrived a bit later and we stayed up a little later than would have been smart!

Katie and I woke up early and along with the grandson we were at the church before 8 to do the finishing touches. GS counted the quilts and we had 70 quilts in the show! And of those 70, 18 were from other quilters in the community. After the flood and remodel at the church we had to rethink our set-up for the show and I think it was our best so far. Here is one picture from the show and if you want to see more you can head on over to Flickr.
We had a good turn-out and lots of positive feedback from those who came. 

After the show we got things tidied up and left a few quilts up for church and headed home and had our pizza dinner (no one had the energy to cook something!) and we were all ready for bed by 8! Luckily we had to spring ahead so we can say we went to bed at a more respectable 9!

Sunday was a day filled with much activity and I was so tired. I so wanted to take a snooze while the kids watched a movie but it is so hard to sleep when one child is squirming next to you on the couch and the other is squirming on top of you! I was happy to talk Brita out her Lumberjack Barbie birthday cake and into a chocolate cake (her birthday was Saturday) with chocolate cream cheese frosting!

Yesterday morning everyone was packed in the car and on their way and then after I had started washing sheets and towels, I got a call that they were coming back - too much snow on the pass - so we got an extra afternoon and evening with the crowd.

I did get all the quilts returned to their owners yesterday and got to the bank to deposit the proceeds from the show.

Today I am again doing the washing and getting caught up on some things and generally being lazy! Tomorrow maybe I will tackle getting the sewing room cleaned up some!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The quilt show is getting closer and I am amazed that I am feeling pretty good about things coming together. 

Yesterday I quilted the Christmas quilt, finished the binding on this one
and got started on the binding on the carnation quilt. 

I did the binding work at two separate quilt guild meetings. In the afternoon, I went to a neighboring guild to talk about and invite people to the show. I had one person offer a quilt for display and sold a few tickets for the drawing. 

Got some take-out for dinner and then headed to the second guild meeting. This was my usual guild meeting. The funny thing is we had the same speaker at both meetings so she had to hear my spiel twice while I got to enjoy two different talks! The speaker was Mary Lou Weidman and talked about her story quilts and shared many of them with us. Just amazing! After talking about the quilts I had one person hand me a quilt to put in the show and several say they would be at the show. 

Today I will be quilting the baby quilt, taking the dog to the groomer, picking up a quilt and doing some grocery shopping - our daughter, grandkids and two nieces will be here over the weekend for the show and a visit so we need food in this house!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Retreat Review, part 2

The quilt retreat I go to is at a Lutheran camp on Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho. A beautiful setting that often is ignored as we focus on our sewing. The rooms used for the retreat all have views of the lake though. For the second time we were up in the chapel instead of the room underneath. This is a great space with lots of natural light during the day and lots of space for laying out quilts. The one downside is that we didn't have the sitting area with couches handy for hand sewing so since I had a good bit of hand sewing to do I didn't get as much of that done as I would have liked.

I did get a lot of machine sewing done! Besides the little folded fabric bags! I had quite a few projects packed in my bins and baskets. Probably the one I most wanted to complete was the girl baby quilt for my niece's baby that was born in December! I had everything I needed to get the top done, or so I thought. I had the main part of the top done and then realized I didn't have something for the narrow inner border and knowing I had to have something I could use at home I wasn't going to drive into town to find something that would work. 

So, that was set aside and I pulled out the fabrics left over from this quilt. 
I happened to notice the bin with them in as I was packing to leave and figured this was a great time to make a beach wall hanging and get the rest of the fabric put away when I got home. I love these type of quilts. Once you have the fabrics chosen it goes together so quickly. I had the wall hanging top finished in about 2 hours. I even had enough fabric for the back!
I moved on to my carnation quilt (fabrics show above on left). I received some of the fabrics from my sister for my 50th birthday over 3 years ago and then another piece from my husband for the same birthday and then I found a few more pieces still in shops. Last March at quilt retreat I got the center of the quilt finished (and didn't take pictures) but wasn't sure about the borders. I had lots of leftover half-square triangles I thought I might use for the border but I just wasn't up to pressing and trimming all of them so it was put away until I saw it as I was packing up and decided to bring it along. I got all those triangles trimmed but when I laid out the quilt, I realized I didn't want to use them for the border, it would just be too busy so I went with first a narrow tonal and then a print for the borders. I decided I would use all the triangles as part of the back along with the leftover fabrics. I got most of the back together but just didn't have enough fabric with me so that got put aside also.

I also brought along most of my leftover triangles and did a bit of sewing on those when I just wasn't with it enough to make major decisions. 

Yesterday I got the baby quilt top finished and the back ready, finished the carnation back and then got both of those pin basted along with the last frog quilt, the beach wall hanging and the Christmas crazy quilt. It was still too early to call it a day in the sewing room so I quilted the beach quilt and the carnations and got their bindings ready for hand sewing.

Today I should be able to get the Christmas quilt and the baby quilt to the hand sewing point also. I would love to have them done for the quilt show along with at least one of the frog quilts.

Maybe tomorrow I will have some pictures of finished quilts.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Retreat Recap, part 1

Home again! What a great weekend! Not rested, but happy. 

My drive across the state to the retreat was uneventful, though I did get to have lunch with my sister, Karla, and our friend, Teena, as they were returning home from some meetings. Great meal and fun conversation. I had been worried about snow on my drive but I didn't have to drive in any until I turned down the drive to my daughter, Becky's, house. Had to climb into the back of the car to find my boots so I could even get out of the car. We had a fun visit talking a lot about their upcoming move back to our house so she can work on finishing their tiny house on wheels while her hubby is out on the road. 

Headed over to the retreat in the morning and got set up and started sewing. My first project was getting all the quilting threads on the HP quilt taken care of. As I was working on it I realized that the last 4 or 5 blocks I had quilted had poor tension so I ripped those out and will redo them today. Everyone loved the quilt and I was able to sell quite a few drawing tickets at the retreat. I also ended up selling one owl hat and getting an order for 5 more so I will be working on those in the coming weeks.

I saw a tutorial last week online for a folded bag and just had to try it so that was one of my early projects. (Lynn T, if you are reading this I am supposed to tell you that you are not allowed to try this yourself, Jill is making you one!) It is made from 2 squares of fabric, sewn together and turned right sides out, top-stitched and then folded and turned and fluffed and you get these. 
Mine is the second from the left on the bottom row. I really liked it as a thread catcher while sewing. Karla and I were going to make some scrap catchers like this but these folded bags are so much easier and practical that we went with these. Karla made 4 of the bags in the above picture and a couple of other quilters in our group each made one for themselves. These were all made from 17-18" squares.

Others came up and saw the bags and wanted to make some for themselves so I said I would do a little 'thing' downstairs and teach them too so they all started getting their squares cut in preparation for the next morning. I wanted to have some samples of a couple of the steps ready for the morning so I started a couple bags to give to my grandkids when they arrived the next day. I only had 10" squares of fabrics they would like so I went for it. I was so tempted to finish them to see how they would turn out but instead I cut another couple of fabrics up and made two little bags out of 8" and 9" squares. They are the cute little strawberry bags in the front of this next picture.
When I got up the next morning I dug out all the extra fabric I had in my piles and cut out whatever I could for bags and made the above baskets. We had much discussion about all their uses and determined that the 8" would make adorable little egg holders for Easter and the 9" could hold sugar packets at your table. The 18" ones are great for small potted plants and a 20-21" will hold a square box of tissues as you can see in the above picture. The biggest one there is a 20" and has a tissue box in it. One of the best  things about these bags is that they fold flat so are easy to store when not in use. I am hoping these will be a big seller at the quilt show and at Relay for Life. I have lots more fabrics I can use for them.

When I headed downstairs to the other quilting room there were at least 10 people who learned to make the bags. One person used corduroy which I think could be great for a larger bag made from maybe a 36-45" square to be used for dog toys or baby toys on the floor. Someone else used flannel which is so nice and soft and would be great in a baby's room for holding socks in a drawer or cotton balls or pacifiers or almost anything!

One of the ladies is an amazing quilter and embellisher and she had fun with her bag. You can see the front and back here:
I think that many of the bags will be made in the coming weeks by a lot of the quilters for selling at bazaars, using in their own homes, giving as gifts, etc. I know I am going to get more done in the coming days and weeks.

Well, I have much to do before Saturday's quilt show so I had better save the rest of the retreat recap for later!