Friday, March 30, 2012

Maggie Mae's new summer haircut!

Here she is in all her glory. She always turns into a "kitten" after a good haircut. She is no longer matted under her front legs and I am sure she can move much more freely now.
The post lady yesterday laughed out loud at her on her stool at the front door. She said she had never seen a cat like her before! Maggie Mae does not care.
She is able to actually lick her skin. I feel so sorry for her with all that fur. I would never have deliberately bought a cat like her. But she was a gift to me. And it did rescue her from a breeding house that had 50 cats running around. Full of hairballs and poop hanging off their furry rears. She was actually having her bottom shaved when I was there to rescue her. PHEW!!!
She is so sweet. She never holds a grudge. That is what makes a Himalayan such a great pet for households with children.

The t-shirt quilt came back this morning. I have the binding and label all sewn on.

I accordion fold my binding after pressing. And use fabric strings to tie them up under use. Then they just sit on the bed of my machine and feed off beautifully.

I have way too much quilting stuff. It is all good stuff. I just have way too much of it. I buy things ahead of time knowing someday I will need it. I have never tried applique'. But I do have bias bars (found them right off). And I remembered buy a package of 200 sheets of heavy weight pre-cut freezer paper from C.J. Jenkins. Think I could find it?  NOT!!!!!
After two hours of searching and a major paper cut I did find it. GEEZZZ!

By then I no longer felt like trying this "new to me" technique. Maybe tomorrow...but at least I did find it.
And I also threw away many old catalogs no longer needed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

4000 pages for paper piecing!!!

What do you give to a manic paper piecing queen?
A catalog with very thin paper pages that number 4000!!!
Yes, you read that right. There are 4000 pages in this Granger catalog!

 A solid 3 inches of paper pages. I am in heaven! I cannot thank my fellow guild member, Gladys Mumma, enough for her generosity. She even made a special trip to my home to drop off this book. She has also gifted me with her old phone books in the past. But I have used them all up. I cannot thank her enough!
THANKS GLADYS!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I was able to sew on all types of Girl Scout emblems for Grand daughter Zoey. My daughter, Laura, had let them pile up and they are going on a trip this Friday and Zoey needed the emblems sewn on. A couple hours later I had them all done. I did manage to look up the proper positioning on the internet. I am hoping she and her Girl Scout leader are happy with my sewing. I also asked Laura to bring me the patches as they come. It will only take me a couple minutes to sew on just one patch. I had to change the upper thread colors 10 times! You all know how anal I can be about thread colors....

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Civil War quilt has reached the flimsy stage

WOW! I am so very pleased with this quilt. I think I have had a taste of the satisfaction Our Bonnie Hunter ( has when she designs a quilt.
This is not a very complicated design.
It is a traditional setting and layout.
But it is all mine for now!!!!
Setting out just loving the process of making the 3 1/2" 9-patches. No goal in mind except I wanted to make the quilt larger than the pattern called for. Then I totally discarded the pattern and the quilt took on a life of it's own.

It is only 42" X 46". It seems small for the amount of sewing time it took to assemble the rows. That process used to be the least favorite part of quilt making for me. But this project has kept my focus and I also managed to make 5 more Cheddar 3 1/2" Bow Tie blocks as the Leaders & Enders.

I really like how even though I did not use all Civil War fabrics, they still play well together. I was picking the colors not the fabric type.

See the pink and blue block in the center?
The fabric scraps were gifted to me by a fellow guild member.
I cut out her Mystery quilt for her and she gifted me with the fabric scraps!!!
She understands my scrappy heart.
Thanks Ellen!!!!!

And here are five (5) more Cheddar Bow Tie blocks. So far the basket seems endless and it will remain my L&E basket for some time to come.

Monday, March 26, 2012

I was only along for the ride!

I bought this quilt kit at the Gathering of Quilters two weekends ago. I knew I was going to add my own Civil War reproduction fabrics to it. As you can see by the pattern cover photo I only needed 24 blocks. I made 114...I could not stop. So suddenly the quilt took on a life of it's own and made it's own design decisions.

I was only along for the ride.

 And what a fine ride it is turning out to be. I am loving how the blocks I made are playing so nice with each other. I made a few negative (LDL) blocks for sparkle. But the majority were all positive (DLD) blocks. And a few of the fabrics were not Civil War reproductions. But their color was right so they came to play too.

 I had to stop to make dinner for DH but this is what I got done with today.

 And I had only two blocks left over. Spooky right? I love how "fate" or "serendipity" plays here at my home. It is like having an angel on my shoulder.

 I did have to do a little sliver trimming on the 9-patch blocks. Some of my 1 1/2" squares were a thread or two too large. That is fine with me. I just had to trim a few. It makes for a much nicer assembly when the units are the same exact size!

 This was my careful beginning this morning...I was not sure if I would like it.

 All the rows need sewn together but I am in love with this quilt. I can see some applique' on a wider type border. I am determined to learn to do applique'. I love the look but have never tried it. As I said I am determined. And after watching that DVD on Needle Turn I think that is the type of applique for me. There seems less prep work involved.

 And as I was sewing the rows together I was using Our Bonnie Hunter's Leaders & Enders technique at the end of each row. I worked from my Cheddar Bowtie box since I sewed all the Kona Snow L&E's last week. And I did get over my OCD obsession to only use that Cheddar thread to sew the Cheddar Bowties with. Otherwise it can NOT be a L&E project!!!!

ALL you Janome users: have any of you bought and used the newer pink Cherry Blossom bobbins? They are soooo pretty.
(I do not like the box they came in...too fragile.)  And two boxes arrived cracked in the mail! I did get credit for that but I am not using them. Too cheap...
The Cherry Blossom bobbins seem to be much quieter in the machine. They also feel a bit heavier than the clear bobbins.

And since quilting has taken over every aspect of my life I now put my pats of butter on my toast "on point". I just had to share that with you.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturday rainy but productive day.

Finally it has cooled down to some normal Spring weather. I do not do warm humid weather very well. In fact I avoid it as much as possible. It will become a bone of contention this Summer between DH and I. The heat and humidity do not affect him the way they affect me.
Below are some precious fabric scraps I found in a bottom of a container. I remember buying these as a fabric sample card. And what I used the fabric for I have no idea. I do not remember. This is all that is left. And I could not even bear to cut into this bit. So I bagged them up again and set them aside to be found another year or so down the road.

 But I did have a productive day in the cutting room. Just look at that cute little basket brimming with 1 1/2" squares. They are just asking begging to be sewn.

 This picture was taken on Thursday. There are 36 little 3 1/2" blocks on the wall.
But as of today there are 84 blocks done.

 Sometimes random fabric combinations just make my heart sing. Below are two that really caught my eye and my heart. It sure does not take much to make me happy. I know you all understand...

  Great Grand Son #2, Logan, will be 2 next week. Below is his birthday quilt. Just a simple 9 patch alternated with a frog fabric square. Easy piecing and easy quilting. All done and washed so it is fresh for his chubby little cheeks!

 And of course a pillowcase to go with it! I am really learning to love cheddar!!!

 My DH keeps the yard so nice. I wish I kept the house as nice. But then I would not get very much sewing done. Guess that is the trade off.
(Unless I can get him to do the housework and cooking too)


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Finishing the t-shirt quilt had me drooling to just sew on some regular quilt fabric.
Yet with the coming Summer season I NEEDED to rotate my sewing area 45 degrees to the north. This way the sun doesn't bounce off cars in the driveway and hit me in the eyes. Or bounce off the wood floor at the doorway and hit my eyes. This sensitivity to light really has me wondering what is going on. I even have issues with the white screen from the computer monitor! What it seems to trigger in my eyes are weird black and white splashes of images that block me from reading or even focusing on anything small. They go away after 5 minutes or so. And I have not had an event since I went totally off Lyrica. (a med for Fybromyalsia) I still have the sensitivity but thankfully those flashing images have not reappeared.

Anyway, today I cleaned and moved my sewing area. And since DH was home I was able to try a different configuration. I was not strong enough to move this one desk that I wanted to try to the right of my sewing machine cabinet.
                                                    IT WORKS GREAT!

 Here is the new layout North view. You may see some large, heavy ashtrays. I use them to hold thread snips and sliver trimmings. The cats cannot knock them around. I have had these heavy ashtrays since the 70's. I seem to remember some type of home party like Tupperware or Pampered Chef.
I now have cutting areas on both sides of my sewing chair. WHOOHOO!

 West view: I am now quite close to a window and can feel the breezes. And that is a Pampered Chef utensil holder that I have sitting on a Brooklyn round spinning cutting mat. It holds all the tools I need at an arm's reach. I have another one of those in the cutting room too!
You know me by now. If I like something I buy lots of that something.
Well...I have only one large pink velvet pincushion...

 South view: I need to tackle that mess on top of the cabinet. Those notebooks are full of Our Bonnie's patterns and tips. And a few I have printed out from the internet. So just don't look there until I tell you it is clean.

 My little cheap iron took a dump died a dignified death. I went out to my storage area in the garage and opened a new box to another cheap iron. These work so nice and there are not shut off's to deal with. I am going to try Our Bonnie's system of not putting any water in this one. I do have a great spray bottle for water. So my little basket has spray starch and a bottle of water handy to me.
After all that cleaning I simply had to clean my sewing machine too. All lint free and a fresh sharp needle 80/12 Organ Titanium needle.

 One of my Leaders & Enders baskets was getting near the bottom so I finished it up and have a bevy of little 3 1/2" Bow-tie blocks made from a charm set of Moda Gatherings that I have had for eons. But even though that basket was full there are not very many blocks to show for the work. Not to fear I have the entire collection of Fat Quarters of this line of fabric. And I know right where that plastic container is too! HA! No searching will be needed. (Just some pressing and cutting)

 See??? Not too much here. So I put them away with labels and all the scraps that they generated. Their little basket is now waiting in the cutting room for another Leaders & Enders project. I still have my Cheddar Bow-tie's to sew on.

 OK...the day is still young so I started on one of those Saturday purchases. All Civil War fabrics...1 1/2" squares...right up my mini alley! So I got my brown fix today too. It felt so good to sew and cut on fine quilting cotton!!!!

Just 13 blocks made but I am so satisfied...

Monday, March 19, 2012

T-Shirt Quilt is done!!!!!!!

This labor (tons of labor) of love is all done!!! It took me two days of pressing and only a few hours sewing the rows together.
Craig is sorely missed and I hope this quilt will wrap my Grand daughter, Arika, in his old t-shirts and tons of love.
It measures 75" X 90". It is very heavy! I am thinking it is too heavy for me to wrestle the quilt through my DSM. I love doing straight line quilting on my Janome 6600P. Yet I may contact my favorite long arm quilter, Lisa Olinger, and have her work some magic on this monster. It needs to be made a bit more feminine. Maybe some girlie quilting will make it more soft looking.

 We set another high temperature record today. 83 degrees!!! See the daffodils? They are lush, plush and beautiful. All the wildlife around here are either mating or making nests.
And when I woke up this morning my Hubby was washing the ceiling in the kitchen. Then he went and bought and replaced our front doorbell button that has been broken for 20+ years! Then went back to the store and bought new outside lights. between the mammoth task of sewing this quilt I made him a great fried chicken supper. I am really thinking he is so close to being completely recovered from his kidney cancer.

 You can see the colors a bit better here in the kitchen. I was concerned about a couple of the t-shirts that represented death. But Arika assured me that she remembers her Dad wearing those t-shirts and they are "him". So they are included.

I cannot wait to clean my machine, insert a new needle and do some quality sewing. I want to sew on some good old quilting cotton.
I am done with t-shirt quilts! Perhaps this was my first and last one. HA!

 This is the wooden sign I bought last Saturday. It fits perfectly on the picture frame of a kitty on a quilt. Back in the old days I was a cross stitch addict. But I ran out of wall space! HA!!!!

And here is our Macy Gray trying to ignore me taking her picture. She just looked so beautiful on that quilt. She almost looks as if she is hugging it!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

T-Shirt Quilt & how do I clean my iron????????

There was an unexpected result from all the ironing on of interfacing. I used three pressing cloths. The interfacing NEVER touched the iron. The t-shirts and their respective designs were never touched by the iron.

Is this iron/minerals from my water????? I have never had this happen before. I have been ironing since I was a child and I am now 62. Guess there is a first time for everything. This is a $$$ Rowenta Iron. It has a stainless steel plate. So what happened????
Maybe the more important question is: How do I remove this?
I tried running the iron over a dryer sheet. It smelled good but nothing happened.

Sarah Martin had the tip that worked for me and my poor iron!! See below!!

I wrote back to her:
It came off with the white vinegar!
You are fantastic!
I am thinking there must have been starch on the muslin pieces I was using as pressing cloths. They were cut offs from backings. I did not use any starch today but it must have been on the pressing cloths.
You are one fantastic lady!
Thanks so very much.
I owe you something for that great tip.

 I bought a 40 yard bolt of Pellon 911FF interfacing. I used a 50% off coupon and with free shipping the entire bolt cost less than buying 20 yards at retail price at Joann' I am so glad I did buy the whole bolt because I used gobs of it making these t-shirt squares stable. And the bolt end said no pre-shrinking needed. And it was right. I did do some research on the internet and some have had wrinkle issues with using this technique'. I did a sample and it does not ripple, shrink or distort. WHOOHOOO!! So I pressed away and have a great size stack of t-shirt squares.

 I stabilized some blank squares to add some embroidery if I need more units to make whatever quilt size this is going to end up being. Right now I do not know.

These shirts belonged to my former son-in-law who passed away last year. He was a Police Detective and a  great father to my Grand daughter Arika. It was very hard to cut in to his shirts. But it was also a labor of love and respect. This quilt will be much loved no matter how it turns out.

 Yesterday I had some retail therapy. I attended a Gathering of Quilters. The speaker was Edyta Sitar owner and co-founder of Laundry Basket Quilts. All I can say about her is WOW! She uses all the colors I love. And has some great books and fabric for sale.
I can feel the urges of becoming a fan of hers as I am of Our Bonnie Hunter. But I do not know if I can afford to be in love with two quilt designers at the same time. HA!

 I bought this quilt kit for GD Zoey. She loves purple and loves cats. Her BD is late in November so I have plenty of time. And she also has this LOVE of Minkee. I found a pre-cut hunk of purple Minkee and bought that too! And the wooden sign that says "Quilting Queen".

 I did not need but had to have this group of fabrics. Brownish/pinkish gorgeous fabrics with a pattern called Radiant.
I left the quilt show after I could no comfortably longer carry everything I had bought.
HA! Time to go home!

 And some more pink and gray fabrics that I did not own...what can I say?
And some Civil War fabrics. After Edyta's lecture I was on a tan/brown high and had to get some fabrics. She mixes batiks with regular cottons. The same as I do. They do play well together.

I also bought this quilt kit for newest GG child due in September. BUT...the panel was NOT in the kit! ARGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!! I did call the seller after I got home and was touching all my purchases but had to leave a voice mail. Darn it! I guess I should have looked through the sealed bag before I left. But who woulda' thunk???? It may be a blessing in design. But dog gone it!!!!!


Friday, March 16, 2012

Using things up...

I use things up. Like small amounts of thread on bobbins, same thing with almost used up spools of thread (I save the empty spools haven't found a use for those yet), the small pieces from trimming the phone books for the Orca Bay quilt (they were 3 1/2"), batting and tons of strings from my trimming up of fabric edges.

Look at how many strings I have!!!!! Sorted by color now per Bonnie Hunter...

 What more could I want? Sunshine, a new phone book, a almost dull needle (need to use that up) and tons of strings.

 But after sewing the whole pages of strings I ended up with some short strings.

 And I had those short pages I saved...

 And here is the result of just a few minutes of sewing. Some pinks and grays for a "piano key" border for my two quilts that are still just in unit forms. More to come of course. I was just wanting to sew on something after three days of solid machine quilting. My needle needed to be used up. It was not too dull for paper piecing!!!

 I received a surprise present from one of the swappers on the quiltville swap Yahoo group. Jeanne A. sent me 44, yes 44! pink 2 1/2" strips. My goodness I am so very happy with these strips!

Yes, I am tickled pink! Thanks Jeanne!!!!!

 There are times when it is a miracle that I get any sewing done. I finished quilting the mystery quilt and then pinned up my leftover quilt. All the kitties left the mystery quilt alone. But Bess plopped down on the leftover quilt and refused to move. You know how they get! I say her name and she closes her eyes more and moans. I say her name again and she rolls over into cute position #1. I say her name the third time and she finally opens her eyes and looks as if I am asking for so very much of her. I give in and go do something else for a while. Then we go through the same routine all over again. Poor me. I have to get strict and move the quilt from underneath her. Then she tries to lay in my sewing machine chair. Good grief! took me two days but the straight line quilting is all done and it looks great if I do say so myself. But this is a quilt for the work of art.

Here is a closeup. Love those long legged stars!