Wednesday, July 1, 2015

This Week's Work in Progress:  Ironing and Organizing

It doesn't look like much now, but it was a stack of fabric -- several dozen washed and cut-apart upcycled shirts -- folded loosely in quarters.  (Most of the fabrics on the top of each stack were the ones I worked on this week.)

I spent two days ironing those shirts.  Ironing takes a lot of time!  I hope I've learned my lesson to keep up with it as the shirts are washed and dried instead of letting them pile up.

I cleaned out and rearranged the closet a few months ago and hadn't gotten around to moving fabric into it.  It's a wide closest -- 10 or 11', but the shelves are only 11" deep.  One side has paper supplies, family history notebooks, and some other things.  This side I will devote to fabric.

But that's not all of my fabric, of course.  I have a bookshelf with mostly fat quarters in it.  (My least favorite color is yellow.  Knowing that you must wonder about that yellow box, and the tall stack of yellow fabric.  I think I ignore that box.  The yellow fabric is the result of a search for cream fabric.  At the store it looks cream, at home it looks yellow.  Sigh.)

For the most part it's neat, but there are a few messy stacks.

When I don't know what to do with a piece of fabric I just put it on the stack.  There are some odd-sized pieces that I can't bring myself to cut but I don't know how I'll use them.  I sometimes have a hard time just passing fabric along.  Do you?

I have more fabric upstairs in an armoire in our bedroom:  some long pieces for backs, more shirt and clothing fabrics, and some short yardage.  They are organized by color in large boxes.  I have so much fabric and I'm such a slow worker.  I'll die before I use half of it! 

As I worked at ironing the fabric I kept thinking about the possibilities of quilts to make.  The more I thought, the more undecided I became.  I think Indecision is the thief of creativity.

I've also been quilting my Sunday Morning.  The more I work on it the less I like it.  I think that's the cycle of my quilting life:  love it, not sure about it, don't like it, think it's okay, love it.  I also laid out the string snowball to think about a border.  As I near the end of quilting Sunday Morning I'll want to have another quilt ready for quilting.

That's been most of my week.  I'm eager to begin another quilt or two but for me it's better if I finish at least one I have in progress.  (Or maybe not.)

I'm linking this post to WOW at Esther's Blog.  Thanks for hosting, Esther.

Happy quilting (or organizing) to you!

--Nancy.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Gone So Long

It seems like I've been gone for years, though in reality it's only been a few months since a real post.  I actually wasn't gone I was just away from quilting while I took a full-time job to earn social security credits.  I'm a night owl and those 6 a.m. mornings did me in pretty quickly.  I came home too tired to do much other than hand quilt for a little while each evening.  I finished work a few weeks ago, my daughter came for a week's visit, and then I promptly got sick.  I'm feeling a little more energetic now and am ready to get back to quilting.

After two months of hand quilting on Sunday Morning (you can see more of it here) you'd think I'd have finished it by now but no, it's still in progress.  I finished all of the diagonal lines across the whole quilt and then realized that I definitely needed smaller squares inside the larger ones.  I'm bordering the larger 4" squares with 1" masking tape to make 2" squares inside the 4" squares.  I'm about half finished.

If I'd planned more carefully I could have used wider tape and would not have needed to do the smaller squares inside the larger ones.  I think this is the first time I've used masking tape to mark a quilt.  It's effective enough but it does shift a little and needs to be repositioned.

On a different topic....  The room where I have my fabrics and sewing machine is getting piled high with fabric despite the fact that I haven't done any sewing.  How does that happen?  Sometimes I get used to what I see and don't notice what a mess it may look like to objective eyes.  I do notice that it's hard to focus and feel creative when I have a mess around me with too little space to work.  (I have photographs but I don't want to show them.  It would be too embarrassing.)

I have so many scraps and I'm itching to start another quilt -- or two or three -- but I really need to finish some of the other ones I've started.  One needs a border or two.  One needs a few more blocks.  Another needs many more blocks.  Others....  Too many others (aside from the tops that need quilted).  Not to mention the strings and scraps that are calling my name.  When I have too many works in progress I either lose interest or lose momentum.

How about you?  Does a mess in your your sewing impede your creativity or ability to work?  Do you lose momentum or interest on a quilts? 

I'm linking this post to WOW at Esther's Blog and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Thanks for hosting, ladies.

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Changing a Block Pattern to a Setting Triangle

If I decide to piece this quilt on the diagonal and
if I decide to use half-square blocks like the blocks in the quilt,

then I need to know how to cut the pieces of the half-block so the edges (on the diagonal now) will be on the straight grain when finished.


I think I can leave most of the block the way it is.
I think I can cut the center square (which will be a triangle) with the straight grain along the long edge, and cut the two light squares (which will be triangles) on either end and the two red squares (which will be triangles) near the center on straight grain.

I'm just beginning to investigate this change but are there any experienced quilters who want to weigh in on this idea?  I would be ever so grateful.  Thanks in advance!

I'm linking this post to WOW at Esther's Blog and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Thank you, Esther and Lee.

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Current Works in Progress

I'm sewing more of these

to make more of these.
I have 41 of these 9½" blocks.  Depending on whether I choose sashing or not, choose alternating blocks or not, straight or diagonal placement, I may need more.  I haven't laid them all out together yet.  Looking at this photo, maybe sashing would be a good choice.

On the hand quilting front, when I finally reach an edge, even for only one section, I feel like I'm making progress.

Those are my works in progress at the moment.

I'm linking this post to
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
> Let's Bee Social #63 at Sew Fresh Quilts.
 Thank you, Esther, LeAnn, and Lorna.

--Nancy.
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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Staying Indoors

by Jean Edouard VuillardWe're having more snow today--enough that church was cancelled.  Sundays (and the rest of the week) just aren't the same when I can't go to church.

I think the colors in this painting  are beautiful.  Some of the pieces of linen I've collected are in this color range.  A linen quilt is in mental progress, pondering quilt patterns, colors, and color placement.  One of these days....

I hope you having a great day despite the lionishness of this March 1.  Since it's come in like a lion, I hope March goes out like a lamb.

--Nancy.
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Monday, February 16, 2015

Square and Triangles = Circle?

When I first saw this quilt block I couldn't get it out of my mind.  (For copyright reasons I'm not posting a photo but sending you to a pinterest image with the link to the blog post where the image appears.)  I'm not keen on appliqueing and kept thinking about how I could make a similar block using only squares, triangles, and rectangles.  I doodled some sketches.


Then I saw this block and wondered if little triangles around the center square would trick the eye into seeing circles, at least at first glance or from a distance.  I'm fascinated by angular shapes that sometimes give the impression of circles.

So I laid out some possibilities in fabric creating 12" squares.  Forget the colors and just look at the shapes.  I could go with one color in a range of fabrics, or more colors in a variety of fabrics.  So forget the colors.  Also look at the backgrounds.  From a distance do the center shapes look like circles?

With a center figure.

With a plain center.

With a second "circle" around the center and a printed background.
Those little rectangles would need triangles at the corners to truly give the impression of a circle.

With a muted background.

If I were to make blocks like these I ask myself if I would like all the "blank space" filling the four "corners."   Either the fabric would have to be interesting or the the quilting would need to fill and enhance the spaces.

Is this a real block, already created by someone else?  If so, does it have a name?  Anyone know?

So, that's what's on my design wall this week.  It's all play right now.

What are you playing with?

I'm linking this post to Design Wall at Patchwork Times.  Thanks, Judy.

--Nancy.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Hand Quilting Sunday Morning and Two Bibs

I thought I was making good progress on this quilt.  Then I took the hoop off to look at the back and, well, I have a long, long way to go.  Winter is a great time to quilt -- and it looks like we'll be having another 6 weeks of it.

I'm quilting diagonals across each block using masking tape for a guide.  With so many seams I knew I didn't want an intricate pattern to hand quilt.  The parallel lines are 1 1/2" apart and create a 4" square between two blocks.  I'll probably quilt another square inside that one using 1" masking tape.  I sure hope the masking tape doesn't hurt the fabric.  I've seen other quilters use it and they haven't mentioned any problems because of it.  

Looking through my fabric cupboard I happened upon this delightful fabric with vintage Valentine cards on it.  I've had it for years, probably bought on sale after Valentine's Day, and I've never used it.  Click on the image to see it larger or follow on Feedly and look at it there.  (Feedly makes the photos large enough to see details.)  Oh, and I took a few photos of some of the "cards" which you can see below.


I decided to use it for bibs for my grandbabies.  It's great fabric to camouflage all the food that doesn't quite make it to the mouth.  Can you tell which is his and which is hers?


I made scrappy backs.  I'll put the snaps on the backs tomorrow and then I can send them off.



I'm linking this post to
> WOW at Esther's Blog
> WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced and
> Let's Be Social #58 at Sew Fresh Quilts.
Thanks, Esther, Lee, and Lorna.

I hope you're staying warm (in you're in the northern hemisphere) and working on something fun.


--Nancy.
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Monday, February 2, 2015

Quilts from a Sale at the Fairgrounds

The sale was one of those affairs where lots of dealers set up for a day or two to sell their wares.   

I love the vintage prints in this Double Wedding Ring but I'm not keen on the green and orange corner blocks.
Vintage Double Wedding Ring with Green and Orange Corners
The quilting in the "eyes" looks very Mary Engelbriet-y to me.
Vintage Double Wedding Ring with Green and Orange Corners


The colors of these wool hexagons delighted me.  This was not a quilt but several blocks.  They were not in very good condition.
Wool Hexagon blocks


These double nine-patches were blocks but not a quilt.
Double Nine-Patch Block


This huge tulip caught my eye, not just because of its size and color but also because of the handwork.  I think it was at least 12 inches long.  See a close-up of the handwork below.
Tulip Applique Quilt


Tulip Applique Quilt


This was a whole quilt but I could only get a photo of a part of it.  I just now realized that it's quilted with Baptist Fans.  (It's hard to spend too much time when others aren't interested in quilts, so I miss a lot of details until I see them in photos.)
Large applique flower quilt


I don't know the name of this block....


I've noticed that one needs to be very aware of the odor of old quilts.  Sometimes the smell won't come out.  Still, I love to look at and photograph them.

--Nancy.
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