Friday, December 30, 2011

Charlotte's Basket Center complete!

Pinning, pinning, pinning, sew.

Press, press, press, starch, press.

Pinning, pinning, pinning, sew!

I wish I took a picture of how many pins were in each row as I ran it through the machine.  LOTS!  I am so happy with how this came out.  It is a lot bigger than I had thought.  All the better, really.  I love bed sized quilts!


As of right now, it measures about 70 x 83.  I could use some suggestions for borders.  In the red and gold/cheddar sashes, there is a deep brown color.  I am thinking about bringing that color out into the border.  I also need to bring something from inside the quilt to the outside...either something scrappy (putting basket blocks as corner stones in a 6" outer border or something with HSTs or 9 patches or something) or bringing a strip of red or gold out.  

Looks like some of my short term projects may involve more Wooden Bear patterns!  My MIL saw the snowman mini quilt when she visited my grandmother and said she had to have it!  She ordered two more patterns for me to make and I look forward to digging in my stash!

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tiny Turning 20

My niece isn't due for a little while yet, but it sure feels good to get this one done!  I have 5 nephews and just one niece at the moment, so a girl is nice to even things out a bit more.



It is about 42x 54 or so.  I used a piece of leftover wool batting and did some simple quilting using a lilac colored thread.  I just love the loft (and breathability) that wool provides!


I have been on a kick of wanting flannel on the back of my quilts.  This is a mini polka dot fabric in pink.


Happy Quilting!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas!  I had about 15 people over for dinner and made prime rib.  Yum.  I turned some of the leftovers into a soup base, using the rib bones for some yummy flavor.  Any of you use a pressure cooker?  It makes soups so easy!  After dinner, I took the ends of the roast that were well done, some onion and celery and other spices, the bones, and the juice left in the pan, putting it all in my pressure cooker while we all opened presents.  Not much more than 30 minutes later, it was done and full of flavor!  I also have some great cuts of prime rib left to make some yummy sammies this week!  Today, my family (13 of us) went to an Aquarium and had a good time.  Now?  Laundry, cleaning, and getting the house together.

Over the last few days I have been working on assembling the Charlotte's baskets.  I have one row done and am working on row 2.  These seem to go together slowly because of the need for so many seams to line up.  I pin, pin, pin.



I also made some new ornaments with my sister!  She is a skilled knitter.  Perhaps I can send her over to the dark side, lol!  Nah...I doubt it.  There are three of these ornaments done now.  Perhaps I will get a few more done before I lose interest until next year!


Hopefully in a day or two I will have the Tiny Turning 20 done.  I literally am down to the last hour or two.  I just need a good movie!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sip and Sew

My local quilt shop has a "Sip and Sew Wednesday."  They invite quilters to come in, plug in their machines, and sew the evening away.  I don't get there often, but when I do it is a special treat.  I brought my camera to take pictures of the beautiful sample quilts and even wanted to take a picture of the lovely antique machine being used next to me, but I was so wrapped up in chain piecing that I forgot!  Here is what I DID take.

The pile on my left will end up being the triple sash for the basket quilt.  The owner did not feel like sewing tonight so she pressed everything for me!  Wahoo!



Am I the only one who doesn't like to sew while wearing shoes?



Here is what I accomplished.  All of the triple sash pieces are complete.  I have about 15 9-patches complete for the cornerstones, and need to finish about 45 or so.  Not too shabby!


I also bought a small amount of fabric for Christmas ornaments.  Good news?  It doesn't count for my Stash Reports!

Happy Quilting!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Stash Reports

Every week, Judy at the Patchwork Times reports the amount of fabric purchased vs. the amount of fabric used.  I enjoy seeing how she and other quilters approach the subject of fabric buying.  Me?  I like to use, use, use.  I don't keep a large stash, but often adopt unwanted scraps to use in quilting.

My goal in 2012 is simple.  Have the number of stash used vs. stash purchased as close to zero as possible.  My ultimate goal is to have a negative number...any negative number will suffice, even if it is just by a lonely little fat quarter!  This may be a challenge.  I have virtually no yardage.  I cannot complete a quilt top (usually borders) without purchasing something.  I love scrappiness, but I also prefer to have something consistent in the quilt.  That is the part I have to buy with each quilt.  I will also likely report the number of UFOs or works in progress with the report.  I rarely have many UFO's but sometimes am working on many things at once.  I hope to keep my WIP numbers low too!  Right now, I have 3:  The binding needs to be sewn down on the Tiny Turning 20, I am still quilting the GFG and am approaching the one year mark in February, and have just picked up Charlotte's Baskets to work on tomorrow. 

I probably will not post every week, but I will post as I work on things or purchase things.  I have a busy year coming with an internship and possible acceptance into a full time doctoral program.  My chances are somewhat slim for acceptance, but one can hope!  Clinical Psychology programs are very competitive generally so being a competent person is not always enough.

Can't wait to show more Charlotte's Baskets photos after tomorrow!

Happy Quilting!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Revisiting the blades

After two comments from quilters who have successfully used the Harbor Freight blades, I decided to try it again.

I took out a new blade after cleaning my rotary cutter.


I oiled my blade with a bit of WD40.



I then gave it another shot!  Unfortunately, it was still like running a knife through cardboard.  Oh well, I tried!  What could also be an issue is my rotary cutter.  Is it possible that it works in some rotary cutters and not in others?  Regardless, I am very thankful for the suggestions!!!  I have learned a lot through blogging and so grateful that I have gotten to know other wonderful bloggers out there!


I was able to cut my strips out for the Charlotte's Baskets Quilt (with a different blade).  On Wednesday, I may be able to sew for an evening with the ladies at my local quilt shop!  I am very excited!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Harbor Freight 45mm blades

Although I cannot remember the original source, I read that the carpet cutting 45mm blades you can find at Harbor Freight are a great replacement for the 45mm blades you buy at a quilting or craft store.  At about 75 cents a blade vs. 3 dollars or more a blade, I was so excited to give it a shot.  So excited, in fact, that I bought 20 blades!

Today, I popped a brand new blade in the cutter, all excited to begin cutting the sashing strips for the Charlotte's Basket quilt.  AWFUL!  A brand new blade felt as good as putting a box cutter through cardboard.  Not smooth at all.  I hated it so much I took the old blade out of the garbage and put it back on!  I drove about 30 minutes later to return my blades and purchase some at Joann's.

Moral of the story?  The savings was surely not worth the poor cutting.  Certainly if you are interested, give it a try.  Don't buy 20 blades, lol!

Do any of you have any experiences with using a Harbor Freight blade?  Any suggestions of a good place to buy 45mm blades online for a good price?

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Quilted Finish!

Last night, I put the last stitch in the binding, and am so happy to show it off!  Notice the furry paws.  The quilt was a quilt kit made for a woman who passed before she could make it.   I am not aware if there was a particular pattern used.  The thread used was a connecting threads "natural" and the back of the quilt was also a clearance connecting threads fabric.  I used Hobbes Heirloom batting.  I love it for the slight loft which allows quilting detail to show.



Here is a closeup of the quilting design.  Notice the small, running feet!  Here I used a plastic template in a heart shape and a water soluble marker.  I quilted around the design and then stippled to make the heart stand out.  In the alternate block, I made little loopies.



I was very pleased with the hearts and feathers.  I love feathers in quilts and will keep working with them to build my skills!  To make the feathers, I drew the spine with a water soluble marker and the rest was freehand.  My stitches are getting more uniform and fewer areas where the tension is off.  I tend to speed around curves which will make spots on the back of the quilt where the tension isn't quite right.  Perhaps after a few more quilts I will have this skill mastered!  Also, there were no needle breakages and NO PUCKERS OR FOLDS!



Angus surprisingly did not make this picture, but these are my helpers.  It is their custom to run on a brand new quilt.  They actually get excited when I let them play on a new quilt!  My older son will say "Can I walk on it yet?" throughout the quilting process.


What is next?  Time to "interview" some thread colors for the Tiny Turning 20!  I want to have it done before the New Year! 

To share some personal news, I also am putting together an application for a doctoral program in Clinical Psychology!  It all is last-minute, but I am hoping I can  have this dream come true!  I will know around spring-time.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Simple finish for today

Last year, using Crafter without a Cat's wonderful tutorial, I was able to make a few Christmas ornaments.  For some strange reason, I left two of the ornaments unfinished at the very last step.  I just had to add the trim around the center of the ornament to cover the pins.  I took the 10 minutes today to have them finished and on my tree.

Don't mind my tree.  It is fairly barren.  I have a two year old.  'nuf said!  The ornaments are clustered on the top 25% of the tree.  What was within reach was already hurled across the room and then put away.



I also made two that looked like this last year.


I am half tempted to make more.  Perhaps I can leave them out on my desk for a year like I did the others!  We shall see.

In other craftiness, I am halfway done with the binding on the 30's repro quilt.  Can't wait!  After that is done, I can begin to quilt the Tiny Turning 20.  The baby may be born early, so I need to get working on it!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Progress being made

I am pretty happy with how the border in the 30's quilt kit is going.  I had to stop because I got the fabric wet to remove the water soluble ink mark and then the thread broke.  After removing some stitches, I figured it was a good spot for a break!  I feel so motivated to get more done this evening too!

Below is a closer look.  I think I am getting better and better at feathers!  I think if I were to do this design again, I would work harder to keep the scale of the feathers the same in the heart area as in the rest, but I can't complain!


I also was able to pin the Tiny Turning 20 quilt this week. 


These two quilts are probably going to be my last finishes for the year.  I am hoping to have a busy Christmas break and am especially hoping I will be able to apply for a doctoral program soon.  Still waiting on some information from a person in the department.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Feathers and hearts?

I have been doing some drawing, trying to figure out a cool design that incorporates feathers and hearts.  Not sure...what do you think?  Any suggestions?  I am getting better at feathers, but they are still very challenging.  I have already used nearly 1200 yards of thread already in my 1930's repro quilt.




My Turning 20 baby quilt is also coming along.  The center is complete and I have the fabric cut out for the inner and outer border.  The back will be a cute polka dot pink flannel.


More soon!  Happy quilting!


Friday, December 2, 2011

Feels good to sew

My semester is winding down and I was finally able to sew quite a bit yesterday.  Because I did not have much time to dedicate to quilting, first I started by cutting out fabric for a baby quilt.  I went with a fun Turning 20 pattern.


I picked out my fabrics, sticking to purples, mint greens, and pinks.  Some of the fabric here is from the Hope Chest line at Connecting Threads.  I added to it from stash fabric.


I laid everything out on my dining room table and did my best to distribute the colors.  I had only 15 fat eights to work with rather than 20 (hence the turning 20 name), but I am happy with it.  I was able to start sewing a few blocks before my youngest woke from his nap.

Later, I was able to quilt more on the 30's repro quilt.  All of the hearts are done now, and I am now working in the alternate blocks, filling in with loops.  After last evening, I was able to finish half of that.  I think I have about 7-8 hours of quilting in it thus far.  I have grand plans for the border, but I def. need to practice a bit first!  I am thinking feathers and hearts.


Finally, while watching Bones I was able to quilt some more on my GFG quilt.  I would LOVE to have it finished by Spring, so I need to do as much as I can on winter break.  Starting in January, I have an internship and second job which will eat into any quilting time I have.  I suppose I need to spend SOME time with the family!

Happy quilting!