Tuesday, January 31, 2012

My own forest of Log Cabins

I have never cared for assembling the blocks into a quilt top. I do love making blocks though. As a result I have oodles of blocks needing to be assembled.

I have been using Bonnie Hunter's Leaders & Enders technique when sewing blocks. It works. So I tried it for assembling quilt tops. MAN OH MAN! Am I ever pleased! My pile of 3" Bowtie blocks is growing and I have three log cabin flimsies to show for a few days' of work!

I posted about the blue/white Log Cabin already. I made it into a spiral.

 I love the diagonal look of this quilt top. Nice and clean and neat. These blocks are 10" finished.

 And here is a zig zag setting. These blocks are 12" finished. I cannot tell you which setting I like better. The only decision I need to make now is to decide which GD gets which quilt. There are three birthdays of GD for the month of March.

I used EQ7 to design the settings for the Log Cabin blocks. It is a great and powerful quilt designing program. How many of you have EQ?

My newest Quiltmaker came today. And as always Our Bonnie Hunter has another great block that uses our bonus triangles of course! And here is my basket (that is overflowing) of new 3" Bowtie blocks made from a 5" charm collection of Gatherings by Moda. (old fabric)
 Even though we live withing the city limits we get all kinds of wildlife visiting our home. I totally understand the food chain. And do not begrudge the hawk's dinner of my sparrows. The picture above is one of the younger hawks that visit my feeders. Since it is on the ground and looking right back at me you can see the hunt was not successful.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Blue and white Spiral Log Cabin

I cannot thank Elaine Adair (elaineadairpieces.blogspot.com) enough for her fantastic instructions to make Log Cabin blocks. I have been going crazy making blocks.
I stepped away from my usual color pallet to make this birthday quilt for Granddaughter Arika. I have always wanted to set one of these Log Cabins in a spiral. Then of course I ended up making two more rows of blocks thinking I needed the design to wind out a bit further. And of course now I think I need more blocks. But enough is enough. This would be a never ending spiral if I continued.

I have a bit of a manic type of collection of plastic containers for storing my fabrics and projects.
The urge does not stop in the sewing room. This is just one cupboard of staples that I store in pink Tupperware. There are a couple other colors in here but mostly the pink containers. Some are real deep/long and some are squatty to fit boxes behind them. As I said this is just one cupboard. The smaller empty containers for leftovers are in a large cabinet. And they are to the point of all falling out when the door gets opened. It is time for a purge in that cupboard.

 I keep my pans on the wall for connivance. And that is also a good way to make sure they are clean when they get washed. I cannot bear to see a dirty pan on the wall.

My lucky kitties got a new drinking fountain today. The old one was years old and the pump was just not able to keep the water moving anymore. And besides, it was a lavender plastic thing and I was at my wit's end trying to keep it clean. This one is stainless steel. It can go in the dishwasher too! The kitties are not too sure of it yet. DH says the water is too vigorous. But I would have to disassemble it to move the pump setting. I am going to just leave it for now. They will eventually get thirsty enough to try it. There is no splashing of the water. This one holds a gallon of water too!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

For every shape there is a plastic container made for them...

I should have bought stock in plastic containers years ago. Sadly I am now retired and $$$ is tight. Yet I continue to find the PERFECT containers for cut units.
Below are 1 1/2" Companion Angle triangles. They fit so perfectly in these smaller bins. Then these little bins can be carried and/or stored in larger project containers.

I was on a 1 1/2" cutting binge and quickly filled this smallish container with neutrals and some grays.

This container size has been a staple in my cutting room. It is the same size as the one with the 1 1/2" strips. These are 2 1/2" squares. Some are really golden oldies. This size used to be my favorite size unit. Then I decided I really prefer smaller blocks and moved on. Yet these 2 1/2" squares are still handy to have and to use. I did have to add more neutrals as that section was sadly depleted over time. The only complaint I have with this container is that if it falls the latch WILL come open.

 I always label the container. These are removable stickers if I need to repurpose the container.

Aren't they cute?????

 There is a method to my madness. I get so much sewing done because I try to not make a move that is not efficient. For example, pressing should be done in "lots" to make the best use of my time.

I do not move the iron across the units. I lift it and move to the next area. Up and down, up and down and soon my little pieces are all crisp and straight.

I love scrappy but my eye wanted a little more control in my pink stars. So before assembling I did a bit of sorting. And since I had kept like with like it was a simple step to do.

Not all the stars are pictured here. I finished them up this morning but this picture was taken yesterday.
I really like the subtle ones but DH says they should not be used as they are too subtle. We will wait until there is more of the quilt on the wall before I decide if they stay or go.

I could not resist making ONE little gray star.

Here is my first cabinet (I have two of these). I really like to use magnets and magnetic baskets on these cabinets. I have scissors hanging on the sides and more baskets to catch stray fabric pieces.

Here is the top drawer. All neutrals...all stuffed to the gills. But all of them are in my Scrap User System in one size or another. I do try to be fair and when I get them out to cut I will cut some of all the sizes I use. I will come in here on a cold snowy day and fire up the iron and go through the entire drawer. Such satisfaction. Life is good!

 Drawer #2 has blues on the left and greens on the right. But somehow they seem to migrate together at times. It depends on what I am searching for. A bluish green or a greenish blue??????

Drawer #3 is a special drawer. It has the CHOCOLATE there on the left and some special cat fabric. I have TWO huge containers of cat fabric. I cannot get to them because they are on the bottom of a stack of containers. This was the first type of fabric I ever started collecting. And I am ashamed to say that the last time I was in the attic I found a medium sized container full of more quilting fabric. Why was it up there? There is cat fabric in it too. I left it up there. I have enough to play with down here thank you!

And here is the bottom drawer. Bolts of fabric fit in these drawers as if they were designed for them. Precious old fabric in here.  See the neutral with the deep pink stripe?? I have had that forever! I am slowly using up my stash. I sure cannot take it with me when I go.
And a whole bolt of that clear stuff for embroidery machines. It is all sealed up but I do wonder if it has a shelf life. It dissolves away in water. Oh! I think it is called Solvy!

I swapped out the washed batik swap this last week. It only took me a couple hours to count, sort, swap, package and then put them in tote bags for the trip to the PO. They love me there. Job Security!

I bought 4 of these totes in the clearance aisle at Walmart one year. Only a $1 each! They are beach totes but work great for lugging parcels or groceries.

I hope you are all having a great day!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Birds in the Air units. Pinks VS Neutrals?

Dilema...do I like the pink ones better than the neutral ones? I made 100 of each and still have not made a dent in my bonus triangle collection.

I am thinking I like the pink ones better. But I will never know until I get some of those little Ohio stars made. I had some sliver trimming to do last night and now am ready to make some gray stars.

 I received my newest book from Judy Laquidara.
Talk about Border Options!
Great book Judy!

My MaggieMae just loves Nat Geo and Nat Geo Wild TV channels. And last night Macy was watching Bug Wars with fascination. I just wonder what goes through their furry little minds. And I also wonder what they dream about. Their little feet twitch and their mouths move. Eating birdies?

My newest collection start. Stripes! I think they will make great binding options.

And yes, I have fabric stacked EVERYWHERE!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Freehand Baptist Fans by Bonnie Hunter

Below is a full view of my quilt I just finished.
 Below is Hubby's quilt that started the whole thing!

EDIT: And he now sets a $$$ amount before we get inside the LQS! Guess he learned!
You all know I am a faithful fan of the illustrious Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame. This quilt has taken me over a year to hand quilt using Bonnie Hunter's technique.
You can see it here:

This quilt has some history. Both have threads tied to my husband. The fabrics were a gift from my DH as a birthday present a few years ago. Little did he know that when he offered to cover any purchase I wanted to make at my LQS (Quilt of Many Colors in Leo, Indiana) as a birthday present that he was going to suffer sticker shock at the cash register. And oh the clerk was clever. She gave him a tour of the old converted home to LQS with a scrapbook album to look at too. All the while I was picking FQ's. I ended up with 37 drop dead gorgeous golds and light browns in Civil War fabrics. He then said he should get a quilt from his investment. So I made him a great Shaded 9-patch and gifted him with it. Everytime I saw him with it I had quilt envy. So...I made myself one too. And decided afterwards that is deserved to be hand quilted with Bonnie Hunter's Freehand Baptist Fans.
That was over a year ago. I finally finished it this last weekend. I LOVE IT! But then I loved it before it was born too!

So, I need another hand quilting project. Nevermind that I have three different Hexie projects going. And a container of Yo-yos that need to become something. My hand sewing time is very limited. I used to be able to sit in my great recliner for hours on end and quilt, quilt, crochet, and quilt the day away. But anymore my back has issues sitting that way anymore. I can handle maybe an hour now. And I am miserable long before that hour goes by. Sigh! But I can sit at the sewing machine for hours. Go figure!

 So here is my Kona Snow BowTie with the corner triangles added finally. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. one morning and decided to mark and thread baste this little quilt. It is 36" square. This is my first time marking a quilting design with a small lead pencil. By the time I had finished marking all 4 quadrants I was getting pretty good at tracing.
And saying a prayer that the marks will be covered by the quilting thread. And it is! Totally covered! I am so pleased. So today after helping out a fellow quilt friend by cutting out her entire quilt for her, I gave myself an hour in the "chair" and started quilting away. I am loving the results. The Kona fabric is also the back. And the ease that thread goes through Kona fabric is great. And I am sampling one of the Quilters' Dream Orient batting. It is silk and bamboo. It seems to have a lovely drape to it. It feels silky yet strong and the needle glides through it like hot butter. When I figure out a better way to get a photo of the quilting I will post about it again.
To my faithful followers, thanks so very much. I really appreciate your comments. I feel such positive vibes from all of you. I could not live without my blog now. Who 'wuda thunk?


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Help choosing colors

Some of my quilting buddies have a mental block when it comes to deciding on colors for their quilts.
One simple way, I have explained to them, is to look at yarns with multiple colors. The decisions have already been made for you. All you have to do is match your fabrics to the yarn colors.
See below:

 This is my third batch of Log Cabin blocks I have made. The last two batches were in black/white.

 This quilt will be for one of my Grand daughters. I have two with March birthdays. One of them is on my birthday and the other is on my brother's birthday. March is a busy month here in our family.

I keep detailed notes. But then I have to re-read the notes and seem to not understand what I have written. What I am attempting to do is to quantify the amount of fabric needed. Be it strips or yardage.

 Here are two rounds done. I am loving the blue and white combination. It looks so fresh and clean and so totally different from my preferred color pallet.

On the wall and obviously the last round fabric has not been pressed yet.

 And when I tire of sewing in the living room I can move to the cutting room and make some more gray paper string blocks. The grays that are out now are soooo beautiful! I want them all!!

 Once again, cutting for scrappy can also be controlled by keeping like cuts together.

 I made 100 Birds in the Air units with pink wings. These are the same units but using neutral wings.

 They are much more subtle in color but I am sure they will look great in whatever I end up piecing.
I have decided to just make lots of pink units and then see what comes of them. No plans just units.

Snow and I am keeping my critters fed well. The green feeder on the right is squirrel proof. So I add the really expensive seed to that one. The other feeders are easy for the squirrels to rob. I also give them raw peanuts and peanut butter sandwiches. No they are not spoiled at all!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Snow for Indiana!!

Yea! Finally some snow is forecast for us here in Indiana. I am a winter lover. I am positive that my love for cold weather came about because I spent 31 years in a HOT, dirty and noisy factory. I do not like to sweat. And doing a man's job made me sweat like a man and then the grit just sticks to you. Yuck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
So after my interview. Yes I said interview...with a newspaper here in Fort Wayne Indiana. All about me! Quilting and songwriting. I was so worried about the interview but that was not necessary. The journalist was pleasant and a music lover. James and I played and sang her a song and she was won over.
So as I said, after the interview I made a quick stop at the Co-Op and bought 40 lbs. of birdseed and 25 lbs. of black oil sunflower seeds. Then a stop at the drugstore to fill my perscription. And another stop at the grocery to "top off" our food supplies here in Subeesews' Land.
I love being snowbound. I do not mind cooking if we are home alone together. The grocery was swamped. That always happens when the forecast calls for snow. Hubby moved his truck all the way behind the garage and I parked way over at the side of our driveway so he will have a clear shot at the driveway with the snow blower. The snow blower has not been needed yet this year. The only time it was on was when DH brought it out of the back shed to the front of the garage before Thanksgiving.
Come on snow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Quilt Guild's Mystery

I am also working on another Mystery quilt being run by a member of my quilt guild.
The designer is Marti Mitchell who also has all those blunt cornered templates. I happened to have the "Peaky and Spike" templates and those were needed for another part of this mystery. I know I bought them many many years ago because of a TV quilt show I had watched.

 I was so reluctant to even start this mystery because it did look very complicated. And also I wanted to devote all my sewing time to Our Bonnie's Orca Bay Mystery. But that one is done now so.....

 The best way to overcome reluctance is to use fabric you LOVE! I have been saving these salmon pink and brown fabrics for my next life I guess. So I dived in and I am loving the piecing experience.

 But these blocks are so big...15 1/2"!!! Compared to what I usually sew on these feel like tanks. But what was really neat (and I do not have a separate picture of them) is that there are "Birds in the Air" units in this block.
My mind is thinking...ok I have the 100 border units done in pinks for my second Orca Bay quilt. And I still have a bagillion more HST in pinks. I could make some of these larger blocks in my more favorite size! And maybe the Orca Bay in pink/gray will actually become a different quilt but using Our Bonnie's units. I was also thinking that I could do two borders of those cute units. I am thinking this is how Our Bonnie Hunter works. She makes lots of units and when she gets a decent amount she designs a quilt with them. There is a method to her madness!!!

So this is clue#3 that I received last night. Fun little units and the block is a variation of a Corn and Beans block. Marti Mitchell calls it a Bean Counter Star. OK...cute name.

Still saving my dog ears...took a container full of sewn units last night to the meeting and got all the ears trimmed with plenty of time leftover for visiting. And of course laughed at for saving them.

None of these pinks made it into my Scrap User System. I do not want to not have enough for this quilt if I go harvesting. I still have lots of variety going on. And when this one gets done I will then work them into my Scrap User System.