Monday, March 28, 2011

My tame tailless squirrel, Stubbie.

 This is "Stubbie". I did not name her, the neighbor girls did. But the name has stuck to her for three years now. When she first appeared there were two squirrel babies that had no tails. I thought a critter had bitten them off. Sadly, her brother did not survive the first winter. But my Stubbie has made it through three winters! She must have some genetic defect because she and her other babies have each given birth to fluffy tailed and deformed tailed youngin's. Stubbie is tame...real tame. And so is one of last Spring's litter (a fluffy tailed one who had two deformed babies and one normal). Stubbie and Fluffy each take peanuts from our hands. But the fluffy one actually climbs the front door as if she is asking and has tried to climb my leg! NOT ALLOWED!!!!!! Their nails are so sharp. Fluffy has two "rat tailed" babies that made it through the winter (one did not). Honest, their tails are rat skinny with little tiny hairs on them. They are NOT tamed yet. They are both males and have been "mating" each other for the last few weeks. SO funny to watch...they take turns. HONEST!
I have read that squirrels live 3 years or so. I am so glad that Stubbie made it through the winter. I am determined to help her make it through another season. She looks like a little rabbit when she is on the ground.
 I mixed some cotton yarn and some nylon tulle and made a small scrubbie in my kitchen colors.

Really hard to keep under control when cutting. I started using flower head pins to stablize the tulle to cut the remaider. That worked best. Then I made two regular scrubbies out of only tulle. Much better but boy! is that stuff hard on your hands!

 I am designing my own quilt for Daughter #2. She loves Oriental fabric and had decorated her bedroom with this theme. And since she has a new King size bed she deserves a new quilt.
The above photo was last week's side panels on yet.
 Side panels added and the flimsy is now 84X88. Now to decide on some borders.

I bought more fabric. This has Kois on it and she loves fish!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blessings from the Hollow completed

My Blessings from the Hollow is complete. I did alter the pattern a bit to make it my own. And with my TALL Hubby's help I have an outside picture of the quilt.

I love these colors.
I bought the border fabric at a LQS.
It matches in color and theme perfectly.
But the sad part is this newer LQS is closing in April.
One of our rare sunny and warm March days. The daylight shows the colors so precisely! But there was a bit of a breeze! But then it is March!

 My big board that was made by a great guy in the Tool Room at work. He was making his wife and another Millwright's wife one of these boards and surprized me with one too! I sure do miss those great Millwrights. But I do not miss work! I have been lazy and had left two layers of old covers on the board. This time I patiently removed all the old layers and added:
 ....Navy Pintuck heavy duty material. I had bought an entire bolt when I first was setting up my quilt frame. I used this to make my leaders for the poles. Now I have some nice straight lines for pressing. And I hope this material holds up better than the sheets I had been using. The sheets worked fine but after a few months of heavy pressing the fabric started to get brittle.

And this was my own creation. Now granted it is not exactly precise. But when "rough" measuring a length of fabric, it works great! I just lay a ruler down and make the marks. My big board variation is larger than the Big Board that came out years ago. Mine is 24" X 66".

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blessings and Chipmunks are awake!

Hubby suggested and I totally agreed that we wanted sashings bewteen the blocks.
Now all we/I need to do is select a border fabric to call this quilt done. I really enjoyed making these blocks. The quilt is called Blessings from the Hollow by Mary Flynn.
It is in a newest book from Kim Brackett called Scrap Basket Sensations.
The instructions were clear and consise. I am ready to tackle another pattern in the book.

Organization is the key to success to piecing. Being a control freak this helps me keep things straight. I went through all the steps at the same time for each fabric set. I double sewed all the folded corners and have a nice little basket full of 2" half square triangles. Before I knew it I was ready to assemble all the blocks.  The pattern was really a pleasure to piece.

I added this GREEN pincushion to my newest sewing machine.
The cushion hangs on the extra thread spool pin.
Sheila ( the machine's name) sewed all 26 of my guild's block swap blocks.
We went through 3 bobbins and she did not have a problem at all.
The sewing machine store owner finally called me and they are ordering the new part anyway.

I bought myself a new purse. I also bought a Laurel Burch tote bag.
I cannot believe that I forgot to snap a picture of it!

Hubby took me shopping to a new quilt store (Quilts and Friends in Roanoke, Indiana) on my BD.
The store has a "Man Cave" for the hubbies.
I spent a blissful couple hours shopping without worring about him being bored!
And the store was to die for! Even I was on sensory overload!
I ended up spending all my BD monies on fabric for daughter #2's BD quilt.
Her BD is in May and she loves Oriental.
I bought some great Oriental fabrics. I am going to do some abstract piecing with big hunks of the fabric. Then will added pieced blocks around the larger hunks. It will be like working with panels.

This is the first chipmunk I have seen this Spring.
The cats are on "high alert". They are used to the birds and the squirrels.
But these chipmunks bring out the hunting urge in even the most laid back of my kitties!

The chipmunk is there but I wanted to show you the kitties watching.
All five of them were there but I was not able ( or fast enough ) to get them in the picture.
We have had rainy weather but it is warming up.

I hate the time change.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Yo-Yo's for a quilter friend

A fellow guild member is in the hospital after emergency back surgery. One of our clever members asked all of us to bring in yo-yo's to tonight's meeting to donate. They will then be made in to a garland to decorate her hospital room. She does not wish for company. Oh how I can relate to that request. I need quiet to heal also! I made 28 yo-yo's. The problem is all my scraps are real small. And the best size for me uses 4 1/2" hunks of fabric. I tried a couple smaller ones but I was not happy with them.
My first block from Scrap Basket Sensations by Kim Brackett.
I loved the process and decided to cut in to some reproduction fabric for this quilt!

Here is a slightly blury picture of the quilt.
The quilt was made by Mary Flynn of Quilt Hollow.
The name of the pattern is "Blessings From the Hollow".
Too cute!

Sample block again....where did that come from? HA!
Only need to make 4 more blocks.
The sample block is up there but it seems to be playing nicely with the others.
I will take the extra block and slap it on the backside as a label!
Hubby does not like the middle block in the top row.
He says it is too busy.
That may be the block for the back side.
But I like it!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Paper Piecing planning

 I love to paper piece. The results are so precise. But it does take some planning.

I remember when I first started paper piecing. The instructions were so vague and we were told to use "hunks" of fabric. That way is too wasteful and at times when you would fold the fabric, parts of the pattern would not be covered completely.

I have developed my own way to insure the right results. I lay a ruler over the pattern area and measure generously. The minimum you need around an area is 1/4". Live on the edge and use that measurement if you wish. But that also means there is no room for any misalignment or postioning errors. I use a 1/2" allowance. I still do not use much extra fabric and I am always sure that my pattern area is covered perfectly. And since I use squares to cut my pattern pieces the straight of grain is right where it needs to be. Pre-cutting is a time saver too!
But before I cut any fabric I cut the piece from a piece of paper. I write the measurement on the paper piece and lay that over the pattern area to double check. If I am happy I then begin to cut my fabric.

I stack all my cut pieces, like with like as you can see in the picture. I also check them off the master pattern piece. This little bit of planning gives me the edge and I get perfect blocks everytime! If the pattern is really complicated I glue a piece of the correct fabric to the master pattern. I call this my "road map". This was also the term I used during my 31 years of working in the shipping department in a factory. It kept me from retracing my steps and I was always aware of where I was on my orders no matter how complicated they were. I kept advancing in that area until I was the "lead person". I trained all new people coming into the shipping department. I could tell from the first week what part of the area the new person was suited for or NOT AT ALL!
 Isn't this a beautiful block? I used my new Janome DCQ 3160 to do the sewing. She works really good for paper piecing as she has the thread cutter button. I love that button! The only thing I miss on this machine is the knee lift bar that is on the Janome6600P.
I spent the entire day yesterday back in the cutting room sewing on this machine. Hubby keeps complaining that he misses me when I am back there. He is so sweet to want my company even though he is in the other part of the house when I am sewing in my main sewing area in the living room.
I do feel as if I am in a sardine can back in that little room. But I also have a feeling of comimg back home as I used to sew in this room from the beginning. (that was before my fabric collection, sewing machine collection and supplies took over two spare rooms and the entire living room.) I still have my eye on the family room for a longarm machine but Hubby says "NO WAY"!

I know I had posted I was ready to return this machine. I still have not heard back from the sewing machine store about the recall on this machine. Yet I cannot get the machine to foul up again. I worked her hard yesterday. I am a marathon sewer...hours on end. The machine was an angel. And I feel that after 8 solid hours sewing , the machine would have messed up. The machine is powerful and quiet. I can no longer complain about her. And I want to name her. That means she is staying!

 My new Topstitch needles came yesterday. I ordered them through Needlecoop, a Yahoo group. WHOOOHOOO! 200 new needles. These are titanium coated. That adds major time to their use before they get dull. It does add cost to them too. But I am VERY happy with these needles.

Thank you Organ needle company for making these needles!

 My first sighting of a Robin in our front yard. Hubby and I have been hearing them but as of yesterday had not seen one to be sure. The males arrive first. This one is fat and healthy. I offered him some bread and he was not afraid of me.
Today I put some more bread out and he flew down and started enjoying the bread before I was back in the house. I know that they are wild animals. But I really feel an afinity with creatures. I have squirrels that take peanuts from my hand and I am almost positive this bird remembers that "food" comes from this house and he returned from his migration to find it.
 Isn't he a nice chubby Robin?
And the grass almost looks green!
I love my Janomes!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tumbling in March

Until I complete the binding handwork I will not post a picture of the Pineapple quilt.
But........Here is the label I made.

This was a leftover block. I bordered it in the backing material.
And I gave credit to the Designer
"Bonnie Hunter"
the quilter "Mary Flynn"

I couldn't resit posting this picture of my Macy.
The basket is close behind my sewing area.
She and all the other cats love this basket.
 I do not care...they are my constant companions.

 Why have I been saving this box of 2000 4" squares. I bought this in 1999. So I must have felt a urge to buy it. But have never used any of the squares. I occasionally open it and fondle the squares. Keepsake Quilting is where I bought the collection. They were even in the box in color groups. The box was numbered also. #28 of 50...guess that was how many collections they had for sale.
 Another view of my cutting area near the front door. Can you see in the upper left the green street sign? my Hubby made that for me when he was working for the County Highway. It says Subee Street.
WHOO HOOO! That is me!
 At first I was going to make three sizes of tumbler blocks. 1 1/2", 2" and 4". But after cutting and sewing the 1 1/2" tumblers, I did not like them and it was scary cutting the blocks. The 2" size is great! And of course I have complete happiness with the 4" size.
 Here are the results of a day spent cutting tumblers. I have to remove the thread from my machine whenever I stop sewing. I have a cat that watches for the thread NOT being guarded and begins to eat it off the spool. So I remove it from the spool holder. Better safe than sorry.
Some sewing has been done today. I am also boiling a chicken to make chicken and noodles. Even though it is a sunny day for a change it is still cool outside. But I did wash the front windows yesterday. Now I can see better from my chair at the sewing machine.

And about the DCQ3160 sewing machine...I have waited three days since calling the sewing machine store. They promised to call back on Monday. Today is Wednesday. Should I return the machine and get my money back?

 Aren't they cute together? 4" and 2" being assembled at the same time. I know I should be using these as Leaders and Enders. I have a couple (well a million) new quilt patterns I want to sew on. I need to be more than just one person!!!!!!
 Sewing area...sun shining in...chicken cooking and making the house smell so COZY!
I need a new little ironing board cover. I made this one and it is not looking so good.
I expected it to last longer. I have wool batting underneath. It is perfect for ironing I think.
I have this usually further away.
But today I am suffering from lower back and front hip pain.
It's a bummer getting old!

I can stop worrying...
Our Bonnie is safe and back home!