Thursday, January 31, 2008

Quilter, problem solver!

Remember the donated coins quilt I finished recently? I washed it the day before yesterday to get it ready for donating and several fabrics ran. (I don't prewash my fabrics either so it could have easily been one of my quilts) I washed in cold water, with a dye catcher - twice, ran out to the quilt store and bought Synthropol which still didn't help although there was no more running. I spent yesterday wondering what I was going to do - I couldn't donate the quilt with these big splotches but today the answer came to me....I fused circles across the quilt to cover the larger obvious spots.

Keith came in when I was taking the photo and said it looked whimsical! Now I just have to finish stitching the circles down - I'm appliqueing them by hand with perle cotton.

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On being productive

I loaded and quilted a donated top from Barbara today - this one will also go to Project Linus along with the other ones I've been working on for HeartStrings.

I frequently get comments on how productive I am. When trying to finish as many donated tops as I can, I find that if I set up a pantograph or template and thread color on the longarm that I save time if I quilt more than one top before changing them. I just knew that of all the tops I have here waiting I could find another one that I could use the Double Rose pantograph and cream thread with and look what I found in the box of 7 tops sent by Nancy in CT!

The quilt on the left is Barbara's top, finished and ready for binding and the one on the right is Nancy's ready to load. Both of these tops came with backings ready to load on the longarm.

Don't you love the change in the lighting from the first picture? I love the afternoon sun that we get in our apartment. I know we won't find the same light when we get ready to move.

Now it's time to work on bindings.

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I'm so excited!

My Kindle is supposed to come tomorrow. Last night I shopped for a couple books so I'll be ready to read when it arrives. One of the coolest features is that I can download the first chapter of a book and before I decide if I want to buy it....if I do, it's there in seconds with the touch of a button!

On my trip home from Deb's I had a book with me that I realized I'd finish reading before getting home so I bought another one in the airport....unfortunately I finished that one too and ran out of reading material before getting home. The Kindle will solve that problem for me - I'll never run out of read material.

On today's list:
Load and quilt a donated HeartStrings top
Get a binding on the Coins quilt and start to stitch it down.

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UFO # 10

Not much going on today. I bound and labeled the strippie quilt which will be donated to Project Linus as part of HeartString's January project. That makes 10 UFO's completed so far. I don't know how I can get so much done and yet feel so far behind already. (I did take time to play with postcards tonight.) The close up shows just how cute this simple quilt is.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

HeartStrings Anniversary Quilt

I'm celebrating the first year anniversary of the HeartStrings Quilt Project by making myself an anniversary quilt and quilters from the HeartStrings Yahoo group have been sending me blocks to be a part of it. I think it's so neat how these string blocks from different quilters all work together. These 4 blocks came from Texas, Australia, Massachusetts, and Colorado.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I did it

The body of this stuffed dragonfly was too thick for the longarm so I stitched the wings down on the longarm - close to the body - I went back and forth several times.

Then, after taking it off the longarm I decided that I wanted the legs stitched down so I appliqued them by hand. The wings, head, and tail are left free.

And because Dawn cautions about not leaving anything unstitched that little fingers might get caught under - I stitched the body at the head and tail where the wings ended by hand, from the back of the quilt with a strong, waxed hand quilting thread. This dragonfly is going NO WHERE! Isn't it cute? You can click any of the photos to see a larger view - the photo below shows the back after I'm done.

For those of you with Dawn's Pajama Quilter DVD, she demonstrates this in the Bonus Extras section and it's lots of fun!

I'm so easily distracted

I went searching for a panel quilt to try a cute thing from the Pajama Quilter DVD, Dawn attaches small beanie babies or stuffed animals onto the quilt top with the longarm (she even sent me some to try).

Instead of a panel I found this old UFO, a strippie top that Mom had pieced but didn't really like so she gave it to me to finish - a long time ago. I decided it would be perfect for this dragonfly. So I loaded the top and quilted it and after watching the section on the DVD on attaching them, I'm going to give it a shot.

And isn't this little lizard just perfect for the fabric I already had pulled for another one of my quick donation quilts.

I love this quilt!

I had an email from Susie in MD that she'd pieced the Spiderweb quilt from my site. When it's finished she is going to donate it to Quilts of Valor. I love this quilt in RWB maybe even more than that one I made!

What happened to the warmer weather?

It was really cold the day I left to visit Deb (-12 that morning) and it's cold today (-1) but yesterday it was 42, here in Minneapolis!! Luckily I like the cold, now if it will just snow today like they're calling for, I'll be completely happy.

Having been gone for days I should jump right back in and start quilting and assemble my heart quilt but I'm going to take it easy today.

I've got some packages to go through - stuffed animals from Dawn and a box with more donated quilts from Barbara along with lots of mail.

I think I'll set simple goals for today - load a quilt on the longarm for tomorrow, unpacking the embellishment goodies I bought at Deb's, and play with postcards.

Since I missed my Sunday stashbusting report for last week, I'll add it here:
  • I finished the blocks for the Heart quilt - all the fabric is from stash
  • I finished the Dragonfly quilt (UFO #9) - only the binding was from my stash (the top was pieced with Mom from her fabric and VickiW made me the hand dyed backing)
  • I finished the Coins (UFO #8) quilt donated by Barbara - only the binding from that one was from my stash.
  • I did purchase a backing for my HeartStrings Anniversary quilt from Pam at Real Women Quilt which arrived while I was gone.
  • Technically, this goes against me this week not last, but I did purchase a backing yesterday at one of Deb's quilt shops that will be used for my Irish Chain quilt.
  • I bought LOTS and LOTS of embellishment *stuff* while I was at Deb's....perle cotton, beads, fibers, etc along with books.

I can safely say that I can embellish postcards and start my blue/white crazy quilt and count on having all the supplies I might want on-hand. Now I just have to find a way to store them in a way that I can easily find what I'm looking for.

Thank you all who commented or emailed and introduced yourself - it was great getting to know my readers a little better.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

A new postcard, heading home

Deb has a couple of beaded purses and I decided I wanted to try a postcard that is completely beaded. I looked through a motif book she has and I found a butterfly and started beading it. It's not going all that well but I'm learning as I go along. She's been a really bad influence on me - I've ordered 9 books from since I've been here(I'm a sucker for books anyway). I can't wait to get home and absorb all the content!

I'll head home tomorrow around noon - I have a long travel day ahead but hopefully my flights will go as well as the ones coming down.

Thanks for all the emails and comments - it's been fun reading them and getting to know those of you who stop by my blog.

Blog stats

OK, I admit it - I watch my blog stats to see how many visitors I'm getting. Most people don't comment although I get random emails from people who say they read my blog all the time. I really like to hear from you - so if you read my blog please introduce yourself either by commenting or emailing me directly.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Postcard fun!

Deb and I made this postcard tonight - isn't it cute? We used her wool and then used heart brads we bought at Joann's this afternoon. Isn't this cute?

While I was attaching all the brads, Deb was filling up a big box that she's going to ship to me with hand dyed fabric, wool, trims, yarns - TONS of stuff for me to use when I get home.

I took close-ups too

I had a comment that I should have taken photos of Deb's know I did. I should have known you'd want to see the quilting detail. Here is a closeup of each of the quilts - again, Deb did the quilting not piecing on all of these. Click the photos to enlarge. (For those of you who don't know, Deb is my sister)

Quilt Show

Deb and I went to Port Charlotte to one of the local guild shows and although she didn't enter any of her quilts - there were 3 she had quilted for customers and all 3 had ribbons. I made her stand by all the quilts so I could take her photo. Again, she didn't piece any of these but this first one won Best Machine Quilting.

This one won first place.

This one won 2nd place. This guild doesn't give out double ribbons so she won't get two of these but she will get the machine quilting ribbon to add to her collection. I bought some beads, ribbons, perle cotton and a book for inspiration at the show.

Quilt Show

Deb and I are heading for a local quilt show and then going bead shopping today. Here's her wall of ribbons - pretty impressive considering she's also had customer quilts win in shows that don't give ribbons to the quilter. Wonder if she'll add more today?

Last night I *consulted* with her on her next show quilt....I wonder how much of my advice she'll take? You know I'll take credit if she listens to me and the quilt does well. I don't enter quilts into shows but I'm good at telling other people what to do!

See the photo on the far left? That's the last portrait we have of Mom and Dad together - I should find mine and hang it up but I think I might have left it in Marietta. We tried to talk Mom into coming with me on this visit but she didn't feel up to making the trip.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Folk Art Quilts

I mentioned it in an earlier post but just to give credit where due, my heart quilt is a variation of Sandy Bonsib's cover quilt on her book Folk Art Quilts.

My travel day was long considering I never went to bed last night! I left for the airport at 5:30Am and can anyone tell me why I'm still awake? I told Deb to come knocking on the door by 8:30AM (she's an early riser).

We should have some photos to share tomorrow - we're going to a local quilt show and Deb heard that at least a couple quilts she quilted got ribbons in the show. We'll also stop by a bead shop - I think I need more since I'm just starting to establish my embellishment stash.

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Blocks done

Not the best photo since the quilt is too big for the design wall and the lighting in my studio is not very good at 3AM but I finished all the blocks for this quilt and it's ready to be assembled when I get back from Florida!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Heading to Florida!

With an anticipated low of MINUS 19 tonight, I'm pretty pleased to be jumping on a plane tomorrow morning to visit Deb in Florida. I do enjoy the winter weather but a long weekend in the FL sunshine will be nice.

My goal was to finish all the blocks for my heart quilt before leaving so I'm going to head to the sewing room now - I just have one more row of blocks to do so I should easily be able to finish them tonight.

I'm taking my laptop and camera so I plan to continue to post while I'm gone - I just won't be checking email as frequently.

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I posted several times last night testing the signature and link so you might have gotten some that worked or didn't work. I added my name but then decided only to put the email link...then decided again to put my name. This is the final version (for now). Hopefully the signature shows up AND the email link should work!

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Email link

Judy added a signature and email link to each of her blog posts a little while back and since I thought it was a good idea, I went looking for the *spot* in blogger to add the link to each of my posts without having to type it in each time.

So, now you can either comment or email me directly.

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

UFO # 9

I know, they just keep coming don't they. I finished the binding and labeled the Dragonfly quilt tonight. You can't see the quilting in this photo but I posted a photo of the back the other day - my Wonky Feathers show up really well.

This was a top I designed in EQ for Mom to use fabric given to her by Deb. Since I'm such a good daughter, I also cut it out, and then helped with the piecing when the sashing was not lining up for her. It will be donated as part of the HeartStrings Quilt Project.

Amazon's Kindle Reader

I don't know if you all realize that I love gadgets and electronics (computers, digital cameras, sewing machines, longarms, etc) but one thing I had doubts I'd ever purchase was an electronic book reader. I LOVE books and I couldn't picture myself reading them on a computer type screen.

Well I changed my mind - after weighing the pros and cons I'm going to give the new Amazon Kindle Reader a try. I love the idea of carrying my library around with me in the space of a paperback book, downloading a new book instantly, and paying less per book = more books.

I made the decision to buy a few days after Christmas but they've been back ordered. I got an email last night saying it should arrive the week of February 8th - I can't wait!

It certainly won't replace all books for me but it will definitely be my "carry around" book. I'll just warn you - they aren't cheap but I figure for me the savings in purchasing the books will help offset the cost.

Monday, January 21, 2008

UFO #8

I finished up the binding on another UFO tonight. This was also a donated HeartStrings top sent to me from Barbara.

I made some new HeartStrings labels for 2008 and I'd printed a page yesterday to put on Deb's strippie top that I finished last night - thought it was too big so I printed another page tonight using a smaller label for Barbara's coins. Funny but seeing them side by side the larger one doesn't seem as HUGE as it did last night so I'll go ahead and use the other labels from that sheet rather than waste them. You know, those Printed Treasures sheets aren't cheap!

The good thing is I've finished two more HeartStrings donation quilts and now I'm going to work some on the blocks for the Pieces of my Heart quilt (see, it has a name now).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Am I crazy?

I want to start another crazy quilt but I'm debating the color scheme. I only have cotton fabric so it won't be a *true* crazy quilt with it's mix of fabrics but I'm really tempted to make it in only blue and white. I've never seen a two color crazy quilt but I liked the look of my postcard and love blue and white quilts so I'm thinking why not. It's not going to be huge - look how long the doll quilt took me and that's without any beading which I definitely want to do on this one. Any thoughts?

I bought this book after seeing it on VickiW's blog and I love it - it has lots of motifs for me to use for embroidery. I decided I'd start embroidering some on fabric patches while I decide my color scheme. On Allie's blog I learned I could use paper to trace the design and stitch through - how cool is that?
I've finished the binding on this donation quilt tonight. It reinforced my belief that having a large stash isn't necessarily a bad thing. I love that I can pull backings and bindings for a variety of donated tops and finish up these quilts with the fabric I have on hand. I love how this stripe looks.

I had several great suggestions about a name for my current piecing project, my favorite was from GypsyQuilter "Pieces of my Heart". Of course, I'll probably shorten it to "the heart quilt" and 6 months from now I won't remember what I actually called it but for now it pleases me.

The week in review

  • More progress made on my current project which is completely from stash and officially needs a name now - I started out calling them crumb blocks but they're really more like log cabin blocks pieced with crumbs and strings....add some scattered hearts and what do you get? I don't know - any suggestions for naming this quilt?
  • The backing and binding on this donated top quilted this week were from stash.
  • The backing and binding on this donated top finished this week were from stash.
  • The binding for this donated top was pulled from stash and has been stitched on - now it just needs to be hand-stitched down.
  • No fabric purchases either.

I got through my to do list this week - 3 tops quilted (4 if you count the dwirling panel quilt on Sunday) and 3 quilts bound.

Finally, two UFO's were finished #6 my doll sized Crazy Quilt and #7 a donated HeartStrings top pieced by Annie.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

I got lucky

I realized after starting to quilt this afternoon that this beautiful backing was going to SHOW every flaw and that maybe I should have saved it for something safe like a pantograph. I decided I wasn't going to post photos of the back if it looked bad.

Not only does it look halfway decent but the tension was excellent and even though I used a variegated top thread dots on the back. You can enlarge both photos to see the quilting up close. Vicki, maybe I should quilt more often without any sleep!