Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Almost Done!

I worked hard in the sewing room yesterday and got almost all the rest of the quilting done on Harry Potter. I still have the border to do but I haven't decided if I am going to write something in the border or not so I will hold off on that. It can be done after the binding is on so I packed up the quilt and it is ready for the drive to the quilt retreat. 

I am mostly packed (the important stuff) and just need to add a suitcase and clothes to the pile and I got the kitchen cleaned up and all the laundry done so I should be able to head out fairly early this morning, especially since I woke up at 5 thinking it was 6!

Yesterday afternoon hubby and I were there to hang out and measure things as the inspection was done on the house that our niece is hoping to buy. Everything looked pretty good, no big problems. Brought the quilt along to show her and the realtor and looks like I might be selling some tickets to the realtor and maybe some of her co-workers and I will probably hang out for lunch one day at the school my niece teaches at and see if any of her co-workers are interested in buying tickets.

Well, it is time to get moving and get the rest of my packing done. See you on Monday!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Some roofing, landscaping, glazing and stonework

I started my day doing a little cuddling with one of my favorite little babies. Mommy had a Dr. appointment so I tried to keep my buddy happy. Not an easy task, shall we say!

I had a quick lunch and then got started with the quilt. I started with the roofs making lots of little clamshells.
 Moved to the windows next
 Put in a few stones on the steps
Then I tidied up the grassy area and added some breezes in the sky.

The center is done except for a couple of spots so there is a good chance I can finish the quilting tomorrow and maybe even get the binding on. There were a few tension issues so I had to take out a bit so I will definitely have to wash this one when it is done to help close up the needle holes.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I got the Harry Potter quilt basted today and started with the quilting. I started with the castle because I had a plan for it. I wanted to try making bricks/stones and it worked perfectly with the batik I chose for the castle.

It's really quite easy and looks great! Well, it is easy to make it happen but my shoulders and arms were very tensed up when I was done with all those bricks.

I can't wait to see what I do with the rest of the quilt!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shopping and Dropping

Dropping off quilt show posters, that is. I decided today would be a great day to get some errands taken care of. 

I got the date changes made for the quilt show signs and took them to get them laminated. I was pleasantly surprised that I could get them done while I waited!

Then I headed to the first LQS to look for back fabric and to drop off quilt show information. The person working today was so helpful and friendly. She even offered to take a copy of the information to her quilt guild and gave me her email address so I could send the information to her in an email so she could pass it on to the newsletter editor. She also suggested I take the drawing quilt to the local farmer's markets to sell tickets. I think I might just try to do that as well as maybe spending a day at each of the local quilt shops. 

I didn't find a back there so headed to the next shop and found a nice black tonal that will work. I even had a full punch card so got almost 40% off the cost! The owner there is also willing to have me spend a day selling tickets at her shop.

After dropping a bag of discards at the thrift shop I headed to the next shop. They were not as friendly - I have found that shop to be rather hit and miss in the customer service department - but they did take a quilt show flyer to post. That shop wasn't far from a sewing machine place so I dropped a flyer off there also. 

The sewing machine place was right by the Amish furniture place and I stopped in and bought a nice sturdy drying rack which will be great for hanging quilts for sale at the quilt show and other events.

Headed off to the next shop where the ladies were very friendly and, as I perused the clearance fabrics, I came upon this piece of Christmas fabric (the scissors and seam ripper are for scale).
I saw it and thought how great it would be for a back for this quilt...
...which I would love to have done before the quilt show. If things go well with the HP quilt and I get a lot done at the retreat next week I think I should be able to quilt this one and the last of the 5 other Christmas quilts I made last fall. 

Anyway, after I got home I got my new fabrics in the washer and got busy finishing the cutting of the girl baby quilt so it is all kitted up and ready for the retreat. 

Right now, I am ready to relax for the rest of the evening but I am hoping tomorrow I will have it in me to get the HP quilt basted and ready for quilting.

So what do you think?

Yep, the top is done and waiting for backing. Though I haven't gotten an email saying the backing has shipped so I might just have to go do some shopping to get a different backing fabric so I can get this thing quilted and finished! I am planning to make another Harry Potter quilt so when the backing does come I will just use it for that.

I ended up with a black tonal for a border. I had enough of the fabric to cut 4" strips to go around so that is what it got!

Yesterday I also did another coat of mud on the drywall so it is looking better though still not great - definitely not one of my favorite jobs. 

Other jobs for yesterday included folding the 3 loads of laundry that have been languishing in the laundry room while I sewed, going to my neighbors to cut numbers on her Cricut to put a new date on the quilt show sandwich boards so they can get put out today or tomorrow, and doing a little cuddling with an adorable little baby boy. The little guy is almost 3 months old and was not impressed with my skills - he wanted Mommy! When his daddy came home he said that it is the same way for him so I shouldn't feel too bad! I didn't because we did have a little while when he was happy!

Oh, and I also had a little time to get started with cutting the pieces for the girl baby quilt. I would love to have the cutting done today so it is ready to take to the quilt retreat but my first job is to get the sign amendments done so they can be laminated so they last for 2 weeks in our lovely wet February/March weather!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blocks Around

I was on a roll today! I headed to the sewing room to work on the Harry Potter quilt but glanced over at the quilting machine and saw the last comfort quilt waiting to be quilted and decided that was the first order of business. Got the quilting done and set it aside to take to the quilt retreat to get the binding on (unless I get to it before I leave).

Then after a phone call from my son, I decided I had better get started on taping and texturing the drywall in the bathroom or it will never get done. We really want that project done before the beginning of April when our second daughter comes home for a few months to work on her tiny house. So I did the first coat. Not sure I did a great job but it is what it is. I am sure it will all turn out okay.

After I got those two jobs done I laid out the blocks around the quilt and started to add the frames around them. I had taken a picture of where the blocks went around the quilt and planned for the red, green, yellow and blue frames to repeat around the quilt. When I laid them out again according to my picture I realized I had picked up some incorrectly and the colors weren't in the right order. I resigned myself to them being in the wrong order and then suddenly realized I could just rearrange them so the colors were right - the order of the blocks wasn't that important. So funny how we get hung up on something like that and almost end up being disappointed in the finished product. Once I got over that, I got the blocks all attached to the center of the quilt by about 5 this evening and had it hanging up to admire!
After a quick trip to the grocery store I made breakfast for dinner and then took the quilt down to audition an option for borders. A narrow border of black and then a wider border of the castle fabric. What do you think?
Not sure I like this, it is kind of drab. I am kind of wondering if I would have enough of the backing fabric to use it as a border and if that would look nice. I guess I will just have to wait and see!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Done with the blocks

Yesterday evening was craft night next door. I was so tired from getting the center of the quilt done but just can't miss craft night. I brought the quilt center and all the blocks so I could put it on the design wall. I was so happy to discover that I only needed 6 blocks to finish the border!
It is coming together! So today, I sat down and made those 6 blocks. 

Somehow, even after all these blocks I still manage to mess up at least once per block!

So the goal tomorrow is to get the blocks added to the center and maybe get the top totally finished! In the event that doesn't actually happen there is still Friday! I ordered backing fabric today so I hope it comes on Saturday at the latest so I can get this thing finished.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

This Just In!

Here is the center panel of the Harry Potter quilt! I worked hard on it all day and just finished the grass area. Pretty happy with the results though when I make the next one I will make some changes. Now I need to make a few more blocks for around the edges. If I am counting right I should need 5 more blocks so that is my goal for tomorrow! Then maybe Thursday I can get the blocks around the edge and add a border and I am done with the top!


Just wanted to take a moment to post the last two blocks I've made for the quilt. I am working on some blocks that will be incorporated in the sky over the castle. The first is Baby Norbert and the second is a golden snitch flying over Harry's initials.
I managed to get Norbert done on Sunday after making all the roofs for the castle and towers. Yesterday, however, was full of obstacles to productivity! I only got the one block done and started one more. I need to finish that one and make one more and I should be able to get the sky and castle connected and maybe even move onto the grounds. Hopefully, I will have more tomorrow!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Leather all the way

Today over at Quiltville, Bonnie Hunter is talking about hand quilting and thimbles. If you don't follow her blog you might want to check it out. She travels all over the country speaking to quilt guilds, doing trunk shows and doing quilt workshops. She is also the author of several quilting books. She has asked her readers to share their preferences for thimbles on their blogs and then link up so that is what I am doing.

I have tried several different thimbles over the years for hand quilting and other hand sewing. I just don't like the feel of metal thimbles or at least I haven't found one that I like. Many years ago I tried the thin leather thimbles with a little disk of metal at the finger tip and liked them well enough but they wear out rather quickly. As I was browsing around a fabric store one day I found a leather thimble that was heavier and sold by Dritz. I found I really liked it and used it for several projects.

Then I went through about 5 years of not having time to quilt much of anything so I kind of forgot about thimbles. When I got back into quilting and wanted to do some hand quilting I could no longer find those thimbles. Luckily, the internet had arrived and I did some searching online and found Finger's Friend! I ordered one and was so happy to find that they were just like the one I got from Dritz. I got busy quilting but because I am left-handed, my ring finger kept hitting the velcro and got sore and also caused the velcro to start coming away from the leather. I emailed  the folks at Finger's Friend asking if they could sew the velcro to the leather and also asked if they could make a left-handed one. They now sew the velcro on and make a left-handed thimble (not sure if it was because of me but glad they made the changes!).

I love this thimble because it adjusts to my finger (I don't know about you but some days my fingers are thinner than others). They do wear out over time (I actually wear holes through the metal inside the thimble) but I use the worn ones for sewing bindings and other hand- sewing and use newer ones for hand quilting.

These pictures show a new one in the package, a slightly used one for hand quilting and the well-used one for other hand sewing.

When I was at my sister's recently, I brought some bindings for hand-sewing but forgot my thimble. I tried using one of my sister's metal thimbles but it just wasn't comfortable so I had to limit my hand sewing to one binding per day. 

One funny thimble story: My little poodle, Lucy, loves leather. So much so that we can't get her rawhide toys because she gets downright nasty if you get too close. She can smell my leather thimbles a mile away and used to keep an eye on me when I was using one and if I got up to answer the phone or get a snack or whatever and didn't put the thimble where she couldn't get it, she would be up in a flash and steal it! When I went back to my hand work I would look for my thimble and then have to go find the dog. Usually, she would take them into the bedroom and hide them under a pillow for later but sometimes she would have them all soggy from chewing on them. She only ruined one so it couldn't be used. If she had stolen one I would ask her where it was and she would sheepishly lead me to the hiding place. She also likes the little leather sheaths for my Gingher embroidery scissors and one time took one with the scissors in it! The funny thing is we found the sheath but I still haven't found the scissors! Miss Lucy turned 12 a few days ago and she still sniffs my finger when I am using the thimble but isn't as likely to try to steal it! She looks so innocent here, doesn't she?

Saturday, February 18, 2012


My castle fabric arrived today! As soon as my husband brought it in I got busy prewashing so I could get started on Hogwarts! While it was in the washer and dryer I got 3 more blocks done.

They go much faster when they don't have so many parts! When these were done I pressed the new fabric and got started. First up was finishing the 4 house crests. Got those done fairly quickly though not without some minor mistakes. Then came the Hogwarts crest. And then I started building me a castle!
Here is what we have so far. There are a few other small pieces made up but they didn't make it in this shot. I picked out my roof fabric but discovered I didn't have enough for what I have planned so either I need to go shopping or use two different fabrics. I am leaning toward the two different fabrics because I really want to try to use up more of the fabric I have on hand. I also picked out my grass and sky fabrics from my stash. I think next I will make a few blocks using the sky fabric, you know, the Flying Ford Anglia, a Dragon and maybe Hedwig and then I can look at getting the sky added to the castle. When the sky and castle are put together I will move on to the grass and then the lake. When that is all done I can add the other blocks around the outside and make some borders.

Friday, February 17, 2012

It is a good thing I got another comfort quilt quilted on Wednesday and got the binding finished that evening because it has already been delivered to a church member who is in rehab following a stroke. The last comfort quilt we had on hand from before was also delivered to someone in the hospital with kidney problems. I finished the binding on one more comfort quilt last night and have one more to be quilted - maybe tomorrow, we'll see.

I got 4 more Harry Potter blocks done yesterday. I now have all four of the house crests done except for the lower corners which are waiting for that castle fabric. I am hoping to get it tomorrow.

Then today I got 4 more done! Which makes a total of 28 blocks so far! 

As I said before, I am hoping to get the castle fabric tomorrow because I would really love to get started putting the center of the quilt together so I know how many blocks I need for around the outside.

Hubby got home early this afternoon and got the drywall up in the shower stall so I guess I will need to get on with the taping and texturing soon!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Two blocks and a hat

Last night was a captain's rally for Relay for Life and I brought along some crocheting to keep my hands busy. I continued after I got home and finished all the parts for a hat and today while I had coffee with friends I got the hat all put together. That makes 5 hats on hand for sale. This evening an order came in for another hat. The little girls likes red, royal blue and teal and also really likes peacocks. I think I am going to try to make a 'peacock-y' owl hat. We will see what happens with that!

Today I only got two blocks for the HP quilt done. I think one has 65 pieces and the other 70-some which explains why I only got 2 done!
Most of the blocks are somewhere between 5 and 6 inches finished but the Harry Potter block will finish up at about 4.5" X 9". I think this quilt will inspire a lot of ticket sales! Raising money to find the cure for cancer is what Relay for Life is all about! I am hoping to raise $1000 this year myself and would love for you to go to my personal page and help me make my goal. 

A new quilting friend of mine mentioned recently that she was interested in learning more about free motion quilting and I said when I had a quilt ready to go I would let her know. I remembered that today and realized that I have two quilts ready to quilt so I called her up and she will be over tomorrow morning so maybe both of the basted quilts will be ready for bindings tomorrow.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Busy weekend!

Lots of stuff happening around this house.

Hubby continued working on the shower stall replacement. A little more drywall came out and we went shopping for a shower door (something I have wanted for that bathroom since we first put the shower in) and other materials for the project. As of this evening the new shower stall is in and is waiting for the drywall, after which my work begins with taping, texturing and painting.

While he was doing that my niece, Katie, was quilting the 4 quilt sandwiches that she brought over. Then since she had more time she also quilted 3 quilts for me and helped me get two more basted and ready for quilting.
And while she was busy at the quilting machine, I was busy at the sewing machine making 6 more Harry Potter blocks. The reason the Gryffindor Crest isn't finished is because it will be 'hanging' on the castle and I need the castle fabric to finish this off. 

The blocks are lots of fun but paper-piecing can be very confusing! Not something to do when one is tired at all!

Friday, February 10, 2012

More Harry Potter

I finished up my last owl hat order on Tuesday so I am putting away the yarn and crochet hook for a while while I finish up the baby quilts and the Harry Potter quilt.

The last binding is finished on the baby quilts so now it is time to get those eyes done. I am sure it is one of those things where once I get started it won't take any time at all but I dread it so put it off. I am sure no one else has this problem!

I have made a total of 20 blocks for the Harry Potter quilt. You can see them all on Flickr. I started out making two of each block and got 8 sets made: brooms, time turners, Harry's beds, The Burrows, Knight's Bus, crystal balls, butter beer and deathly hallow's symbol. I have a deadline to get the quilt finished so I decided I had better just make one of each for now and go back later and make the second quilt. Here are the 4 blocks I made today: Fawkes, Tom Riddle's diary, a dementor and Harry's glasses. 

I have ordered some fabric for the quilt and hope to get started on the center panel design. It is going to be Hogwarts Castle with the lake in front.