Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Candyshop Update: Treadling Away

Treadling, treadling, treadling.
I am having so much fun free motion quilting on one of my treadles.
I just tossed the quilt over the loveseat and snapped a few photos of some more of the blocks I completed.
 So they are not the greatest photos, but they do show the fun I'm having.

 Sweet Teen did a great job of choosing fabrics for this quilt over the last several years.

 The green dotty background in this block is the fabric scraps left from that dress I made back in the 80s.

 I have quite a few of these little four-inch strips, both flying geese and four patches, yet to quilt.

I think I have only one eight-inch block left to quilt.
So I will soon be moving on to the borders.

Esther Aliu shares some wonderful applique patterns with her readers.  So please hop over and take a look at her blog and the work her readers are sharing today. (She's sharing what could also be categorized as a quick sewing misadventure today too--the kind of thing of interesting, unexpected results many of us have encountered in our decades of sewing.)
Also linking to Lee's WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Happy quiltmaking...

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Candyshop: Quilting the Blocks

Treadling along on the quilting....
 I'm using a variety of Glide threads...

 and fairly consistent quilting designs with subtle variations in similar blocks.

 I like to make quilts that have differences in piecing or quilting because I think it makes them more interesting.

 So far I've quilted with gold, turquoise, antique brass, peony, violet, lavender, and probably a few other shades.

I'm using a Hobbs 80/20 batting and did have to change to a 100/18 Jeans needle.  A regular 100/18 needle would probably have worked, but I found the package of Jeans needles first.
Also, I switched the stitch plate on my Necchi BU to the one without the feed dog openings since the feed dogs are down and it's cutting down on the amount of lint I need to clean out with each bobbin change.

This is so much fun to quilt.  Sweet Teen wanted me to enter it in the upcoming county fair, but since her departure for college conflicts with the fair, I think it's more important for her to have the quilt with her in her dormitory.  If I couldn't get back to the fairgrounds on time, I'd lose the quilt since fair officials have the right to dispose of things not picked up as they see fit. That would not be cool.
Since my school year begins next week, I'm really working to get this done.  (Remember when schools used to start the day after Labor Day and end before Memorial Day?  Oh, yes, that was before Sputnik and Diane Ravitch, and politicians deciding they'd be in charge, although they decline to attempt to pass the 3rd grade tests they mandate.--Sorry, just a teeny tiny vent right there.)

Time to go look at what some other quilters are working on:
Judy's Design Wall Party
Connie's Free Motion By the River
Happy quiltmaking....

Friday, July 26, 2013

Candyshop Ready for Quilting

I've spent a lot of hours on this quilt this week.

 This was either the end of the day Wednesday or the beginning of the day Thursday.

 I just love the exuberance of all these different fabrics and the combination of different block patterns.  It reminds me of those wonderful mid-twentieth century scrap quilts made from all the leftovers from making clothes--except these have more updated colors and the polka-dots and stripes theme, of course.

 Since I was sewing at church during VBS to save many, many miles and much time commuting, it was a perfect opportunity to use the wonderful silver spoon pincushion made by my friend Harriet--and can give Sweet Teen a little bit of Aunt Harriet in her quilt too.

I spent Thursday making the backing.  I added a row of 18-inch piecing between the two widths of the backing fabric to make it long enough for the 79 x 96 inch quilt.  I thought I'd taken photographs of that, but guess I must have forgotten--so will get shots of the back later.

 I need to remind myself that it takes at least an hour to cut the batting to the quilt size and get the three layers stacked.  I had to go buy a batt because I did not have one of the proper size.  I bought a Hobbs 80/20, so we'll see how that works.  I had stopped using Hobbs 100% cotton a few years ago because I had to clean one too many batts of too many pieces of trash.  This 80/20 batt looks like a big improvement.

Quilt tips:
Use a large ruler to smooth hard-to-reach portions of the top to keep it absolutely flat and aligned.

Many quilters use painter's tape to tape the backing down so it will stay absolutely flat.  I was working on the tables at church and quickly realized that if I didn't want to deal with tape popping up, a second piece crossing the first at a right angle would prove invaluable.  I didn't have a single instance of "popping" tape.
My fingers are still tired from all those stitches, but it is sooooooo much faster than inserting and closing safety pines.  It took a little over two hours to do all that basting all by myself.

Now I get to do the fun part:  quilting!

One couple attending one of the meetings at church came in to tell me the story of the prayer quilt they recently took to his brother who has been diagnosed with lung cancer. He really liked it (meaning they chose well), but after they'd been home a while they received a phone call from him saying how much it makes him think of their now-deceased mother and the quilts she used to make.

In other news, we received another half-inch of rain last night.  (Of course, that means I'll need to spend part of tomorrow taking care of weeds!)  Nice to have the monsoons back, even if we're not getting the amount of rain that's falling in a lot of other places.

Am linking to Sarah's Whoop, Whoop and Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts where you can see what other quilters have been up to.

Happy quiltmaking.....

Monday, July 22, 2013

Candyshop: Dots and Stripes Update

Just a quick shot:
Here is most of the body of the quilt tossed over the sofa.  [No, I don't have a "real" design wall."
This part is all together and after a bit of pressing will be ready for borders.  I need to check my EQ file and see what size I decided on.

I did drag Sweet Teen to a shop yesterday so we could choose a backing--which will still need some more pieces added.  Since I get to spend some time waiting for her this week (she's one of the teen leaders at vacation Bible School), and since yesterday we got the cabinet for the Necchi Leila moved to the church (of course it was one inch too big in every direction for my car), and the machine re-installed in it, I hope to get a lot more piecing done while waiting for her. It would be lovely if I could get the borders on, get the backing pieced, get it layered and basted, and start the quilting this week.  After all, the quilting is the fun part!  Of course, that now means it won't be made 100% on a treadle, but at this point, that's not important to me anyway. After all, Sweet Teen's mama sews on all kinds of machines, so that may be even more important to her.

She also wants to  get some portraits of us together this week.  Isn't that sweet?  There is not one picture of my parents, siblings, and me together unless somewhere on earth there is someone who kept a snapshot.  No way were my parents going to pay for professional photography.  That seems kind of unusual to me since I have dozens and dozens of professional photos of my grandpa and his generation and the one before, although most of them are from before the depression.

Okay, back to quiltmaking and then, some lovely summer reading.

Happy quiltmaking.....

Linking to:
Judy's Design Wall Monday
Connie's Free Motion by the River

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Another Update for Dots and Stripes

I love to quilt.  While I like to piece, quilting is a lot more fun, and I'm getting impatient to get to that point.

Here are the next blocks, although it's possible that I did miss some of the most recent finishes:
Those purple and turquoise/gold triangles and squares were cut from the same batik--just a small piece I'd picked up somewhere.  The lovely purplish hand-dyed fabric used for the background on the two squares in the center row was a "clean up and see what happens" with what was left of a dyeing exercise probably close to twenty years ago.  Of course, I have lots of beautiful hand-dyed fabrics; I always told myself to clean up and dye some more--usually by blotting up different colors or by dumping some of the colors together to see what happened.  But I should have done yards of that to be sure I ended up with a lot of neutrals--and I never did enough.

I thought I'd do some more dyeing this summer, but I haven't.  My rash decision to buy an HE washer makes rinsing out dye a major production.  I'd love to have one of those old wringer washers like my grandma's generation had!

I also pieced a lot of checkerboard squares but forgot to take photos.

I did decide I have to have a printable plan so I designed this custom set in EQ7.
I used gray tones for the plan.  I have more than enough blocks but may need to piece some more four-patches or more flying geese.  At least now I can print, count, and finish piecing. (I need more practice using custom set; it's really hard to get everything perfectly aligned even with the grid; but it's only a plan, and I can see where each block and strip goes.)

Happy quiltmaking.....

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday Piecing Update...Dots and Stripes

Still piecing the college quilt....

 Here are the new ones.  I added strips to the outside of the little Lincoln's Platform in the lower right hand corner to bring it up to the eight-inch size of the other blocks.  Originally, I'd thought I'd have both six and eight inch blocks, but I've changed my mind.

 Since I still have stacks of flying geese, I'm thinking I'll use some of them for single windmill blocks.  That won't happen to all of them because I don't have enough of some of the backgrounds since I used them in multiple blocks.

I'm working in a very different way than is usual for me.  I cut most of the fabrics into two and a half inch strips and am using triangle rulers to cut into triangles and squares as I go.  My rulers are Omnigrid rulers that I've had for a couple of decades that they don't make anymore, although I know other manufacturers makde similar ones.

Even when I've worked in this fashion before, I've worked in EQ to plan layout, how many blocks of each pattern, etc., and I'm not doing that this time.

So many of these are starting to look like candy.  I'm thinking that's appropriate since as a child Sweet Teen loved to collect candy although she liked eating it a lot less.  Every approaching holiday was preceded by cleaning out a drawer or shelf in preparation for the next collection!  I'm thinking this quilt will last longer than those bags of candy.

We've had three days of amazingly low temperatures and enough clouds to make me homesick for the Smoky Mountains,  Lots of moisture in the air; not so much reaching the ground.

Joining some linky parties:
Lee at Freshly Pieced
Esther's Blog
(These links are in my side bar.)
A lot of pretty things have been posted ahead of me.  Enjoy.

Happy quiltmaking,

Monday, July 15, 2013

Quilting Progress....Dots and Stripes

Only 16 blocks complete....feels like there should be a lot more.

I do have this great pile of flying geese completed.
 I have not yet decided if they will become strips of flying geese or if they will go into blocks.

I was so excited to receive a call from a friend in my prayer quilt group who offered to help with Sweet Teen's quilt.  I rarely get the opportunity to work with a partner or group except on prayer quilts.  So when we tried to tie down a time to work together, she learned that she has to leave town.  Oh, well, I still like the idea of making this a group quilt, even if I don't see a way it can happen now.

I'm linking to Judy at Patchwork Times 
and Free-Motion By the River.
You'll find some beautiful quilts to visit at these blogs.

Happy quiltmaking.....

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Swish, Sew, Snip....the College Quilt

A few Lots of fat-quarters

Some yardage...

Swish goes the rotary cutter...
See that green on white dots with crosses above?  That is yardage left over from a dress I made back in the early 80's.  Although I no longer have the dress, I enjoyed wearing it for several years because I'd hand appliqued wonderful morning glories across the bodice.  (A few weeks later I took of the dress at the end of the day and thought one of the morning glories had faded onto my skin!  Then I realized my baby niece had kicked my chest when I was playing with her--so it was a bruise rather than purple dye!)

Sew, sew...

Snip, snip...

Sew, sew

 Stuff the trimmings and tiniest leftovers into a Kleenex box,
because even if it gets bumped off the table,
the snips will stay inside...

 Stop by Busy Bee and pick up more white polka-dots...
I especially like the second from the top, because although it doesn't show in the photograph, the dots are different sizes.

(Busy Bee Quilts is located 1.5 miles north of I-40 at exit 187 in Edgewood, New Mexico
just 20 miles east of Albuquerque.)

Health note: Since adding the daily dose of meclizine for my head-injury-induced vertigo, the vertigo is minimal *and* so are the headaches that plagued me, that failed to respond to any other medication, and that the doctors attributed to stress and anxiety (although they didn't treat me for stress and anxiety).  Life became immeasurably better.  However, I also began having symptoms of low-blood pressure; rehab specialist ignored that concern.  Today I saw my own medical practitioner and we lowered the dosage of the blood pressure medication I've been taking for a couple of decades--since she measured my blood pressure at 102/?? ["couldn't hear it"].  So, now I'm expecting life to get even better--and trying to decide if I should or should not count the days until I return to school.  (August 7 is rushing toward me.)

In the meantime, I'm treasuring every moment of piecing Sweet Teen's College quilt and quilting another project--and throwing in some tatting too, just because it's beautiful and I haven't had much chance to tat since last summer.

Oooh!  Still at only .25 inches of rain for July, although every afternoon thunderstorms spring up all around us.  I *am* grateful for the .25 inches of rain! (I do think some great minds should find a way to create and build a system to economically transport water from flooding areas to where it is needed!)

Happy quiltmaking.....

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Collection Complete?....Perhaps not...

 Several years ago, we began collecting polka dots and stripes for a quilt for Sweet Teen.
I'm not sure we're done collecting yet; it's certainly possible a few more could be added.
Along the way we did expand the collection to include a plaid and some checks.  And we had to include the fat quarters that didn't make it into her music quilt. In fact, I think she started collecting these before the music quilt was finished.

Update:  Within hours of this post, we'd added three more fabrics.  At this rate, piecing a backing from leftovers should be very do-able.

With her going off to the university in a few weeks, I need to get going on this.  Since she's running off to one of New Mexico's lakes with her boyfriend's family later today, I hope to get some cutting and piecing accomplished.

Weather report:  Over the course of three days we received 2/10 of an inch of rain.  Very, very welcome--and most of us are hoping for more.  One of my [now somewhat envied] friends said it rained for over an hour at her house (about ten miles from mine).
Normally we have hours of fireworks in our town; we have a couple of fireworks factories.  This year the city has said they will strictly enforce fireworks bans.  We'll see.  I may still need to fall asleep with ear plugs this evening.

Happy quiltmaking,...
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