Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Busy week!

We found it! The true generation gap!!! How can kids take this type of picture and have it come out???? LOL! Last Thursday L from southern California stopped by on her way to Portland for a family wedding. L and I met in the Yahoo Stashbusters group and she invited me to join one of her postcard groups too. We've 'known' each other for a few years. Her children were aghast that she was going to stay with me AND she was going to allow me to ride with her up to Portland! But we had no problems - except for the above photo! That's me on the right!!!

Friday we headed up the coast - despite the weather NOT cooperating. We saw a bald eagle fishing/hunting by the lighthouse. Shopped alittle in McMinnville and visited nonstop and in-person for hours. Fun! Thanks for the ride! Friday afternoon, she dropped me at my daughter's house and went her merry way - I babysat Friday night while the kids went out for dinner. I babysat saturday while my daughter went shopping with a friend and her DH worked. I pretty much had Sunday off - DD ran to IKEA while the kids were napping - and I babysat! Monday and Tuesday I babysat during the day while everyone was at work - and made supper most nights too! Did absolutely no quilting! Today I rested!! 2 1/2 yr-olds are always busy!!

However, my daughter and her husband held a 'soup intervention'! They seem to think that soup season is officially over [in March??] - at least at their house! My husband was surprised to hear that - and reassured me there was no such soup problems at the coast! Good thing - cause that's one of my favorite meals - ever!

The next three weeks are going to be a blur - alot of quilting including a retreat for 3 days and then a visit back to Nebraska for my mom's 91st birthday. During that 10 day trip I'm going to squeeze in lots of time with mom and my family; a night with my ScrapHappens small quilting group; a guild meeting; lunch with the office bunch; the water aerobics-social club 5:15 class AND a quilt til you wilt quilting session at a friend's house! I'm sure I'll need a vacation after this vacation! So- if I don't blog for awhile - you'll know I'm having fun!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Yet another finished project!!

This is one of the wall quilts I'm giving my mom for her birthday in April. It's a panel, I had to narrow it to fit in the space - so cut off the outer border. I also had to shorten her - so I took a little pleat right above her head. I free-motioned most of the quilting. I radiated the lines out from the heart on the necklace and I'm really happy how it came out. If you blow the photo up - you might be able to see those lines ... the flash flattened it out - have to work on the old photography skills!

Any powerpoint experts out there? I'm making a pps photo album. Is there any way to have the file names automatically print under the pictures? I know I can type them into the text box but with over 500 of them - I don't want to! I appreciate any tips! Thanks!

Happy St Paddy's day to all. A little Irish joke: "It's okay to pretend you're Irish on St Patrick's Day. After all, we pretend we're good on Christmas!"

Here's one of the little Leprechauns I was babysitting today! Mr M will be 4 months old tomorrow. Maybe that's why he was up most of the night last night - worried about his fleeting youth! His sister Miss P was much too busy to pose for pictures today - anything I took ended up a blur!

Last picture was the moon set last week - I just happened to raise the shade and caught it - by the time I ran to get the camera it was setting behind the clouds - still pretty cool!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wedding Quilt finished

I got busy today and bound and labeled it. Have I told you lately I'm really tired of pink??? I'm tempted to burn the extra! But I'll just hide it away in my pink stash drawer. Someday I picture a pink crazy quilt - I'll name it "Not crazy about Pink!" An idea for the next fool who requests pink from me! Hopefully not any time soon.

When I took it to the LAer I said, "It's a wedding quilt so I'm thinking something with hearts." She assured me that was no problem - and then quilted 20 hearts in each block. It has 720 hearts quilted on it - so I named it "720 Warm Wedding Wishes for J & S" Glad to see it done. Next on the list is the 2 wall quilts for my mom. Need them done before April 4 - when I take off for Nebraska to visit her.

Oh, and a few spring postcards ... narrowing down the pattern this week.

Keeping my eye on the sunset here. Very interesting so far! Oh pooh! DH was right, the sunset just greyed out - but it was a good day anyway!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Presenting "Sesquicentennial-ISH"

Could I pick a harder name to say?? This is the top - it's not finished but I wanted to share. The challenge is for the Oregon Sesquicentennial. To make a pattern that was around in 1859 and use the same methods to make it. So this top was hand pieced - including the sashings! There are 13 blocks. I wrote in names of quilters I sewed with in Nebraska.

The block name is Album Patch and I found it in the "Remember Me: Women and their Friendship Quilts" by Linda Otto Lipsett. The two Album Patch quilts shown in the book are from 1849 and 1854. I love this book - excellent photos and excerpts from diaries of the era included in the text.

That is not my handwriting! I did what any pioneer woman on the wagon train would - I found a font on the computer, typed out the names and used a lightbox to transfer it to the blocks! But women back then had other people sign their names for them or even made a tin name stamp ... so they would have done the computer thing; if they had them! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Besides why do you think I type so much? Sometimes I can't even read my own handwriting!!!

It's called SQ-ish because there are at least 5 fabrics in there that aren't era-correct! I looked up 1850's on but forgot to check back in with fabrics in hand. The purples back then were more 'eggplant' colors. And there is one background fabric that has squiggles on it - definitely not old - though it is the correct color! Next up to quilt it. Hoping to finish it by the time I get back from Nebraska in April. I dread binding BOTH sides by hand!

Friends in Nebraska were at the Spring Retreat this weekend. I'm jealous but I loved 'talking' to them on the phone. Whether in person or messages relayed thru whoever had the phone. Retreats are a wonderful invention, I miss the Nebraska ones - but I get to participate in my first Oregon one at the end of the month. I'm really looking forward to it.

I got the pink wedding quilt back from the long-armer this weekend. I have the binding cut and ready to put on. Hope to have it finished by the quilt guild meeting this Thursday. I think I'm still hoping we'll get to go to the NY reception at the end of April ... but DH says not this year. I'll post a picture after binding - hope it's just one of the finishes for March!!! Optimistic, I am!

No babysitting this week, so hoping I'll be in the mood to sew like crazy!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Successful Week!

Whoohoo! I finished a charity UFO yesterday that counts for February. Don't you hate it when you make a resolution to do something and then break it the second month of the year!?! But I got it done with hours to spare - who says I wait til the last minute!

I had Yellow Brick Road [YBR] blocks leftover from Mr M's baby quilt last fall. My DD got picky about what colors she wanted in his quilt! But not enough blocks to make the next quilt - when does that ever happen?? I made YBR blocks and then wanted to make it a little bigger - so I made up my own blocks using the fabric units I had left. I'm always wandering off into my own variation of a design - just ask any of my friends!!!

I played with the machine quilting - made large 'rick-rack' with the quilting lines. After I did the first set of lines I decided to see how a triple line would work - don't you just love working on charity quilts where you can experiment??? It looked good but left a large space between that became very noticeable! So did the zig-zaggy decorative stitch between the channels and that looked finished! A friend in Nebraska showed me how wonderful that stitch looked on kids quilts and the stitch width fit the slot of my walking foot - so away I went with it! If you enlarge the picture - you should be able to see the stitch - especially on the borders.

I have also found I can do a good binding with machine finishing both sides with that stitch. I think the secret is that it doesn't make a straight line that is really noticeable. A fellow stashbuster asked me how I did it - so - since I wrote it up for her, I'll share it with you.

Okay ... I'll explain and you can ask questions about anything that I don't explain right or leave out! [LOL!] - I have a Janome and it has a stitch that makes little two stitch triangles in both directions from the 'line' of stitches. The same stitch that I quilted in the borders with.It might be a blind hem stitch. My walking foot has a slot big enough to handle the stitch width, but you'll want to check that before starting!

I cut my binding 2 1/2 inches. Prepare like normal - I use continuous binding; I fold it around the corners. I sew the binding on with my walking foot using a straight stitch. I even sew it from the front side of the quilt as usual. The walking foot lines up with a slightly bigger quarter inch - that's why I cut 2 1/2 inch wide.

Now comes the fun part!!! Trim the extra batting/backing as needed - but not too close. I find it easier to 'stuff' the binding rather than have it too thin. Change to your decorative stitch. Work from the back - just as if you are binding by hand. Start around the start/finish of the binding - you can slip stitch by hand the join before you start if you want. Go the same direction you put the binding on - it lines up the corners to just fold and not get in your way! Fold the binding over the edge and line up with the seam line - just as you do by hand. Start stitching with the decorative stitch, making sure to keep the straight part right by the edge of the binding. Sew with 'needle down' to keep your place when you stop.

I don't use pins - I just line up 6" or so of the binding and sew it down slowly. Stop sewing while you line up the next part of the binding. When you get to the corner, fold it up into that little miter, sew forward until your needle is holding down the next side's binding, pivot! Continue around the quilt to where you started!

The first time I tried this I sewed right off the edge at the corners and then restarted on the next side. You don't really need to. In fact - it's prettier if you don't.

The whole secret is that the stitch doesn't leave a straight line - so it's not noticeable when you wander off slightly. It's very sturdy and you don't really notice it when finished and washed. As long as you have the back fold lined up with the stitch line you made when you sewed the binding onto the quilt - you're going to be in the right area from the front!

Years ago I learned to make a sample binding square with a new technique. Mine is about potholder size and I write notes to myself about what I should do. You might try it on that - see how it lines up on your machine. Good Luck!

I've also really been working on the sesquicentennial project [Album Patch] and I can see the end of the piecing. I'd been dreading sewing the sashings on my hand - but actually, it's easy and relaxing after doing the blocks. Of course, I have fabrics that aren't from the 1850s period in it. One I can't believe I picked!!! Oh, well - it's a fact - I can be a ditz!!! Maybe nobody will notice! LOL! I'm hoping to have a picture of the top for you next week. I'm actually thinking of having a hand-piecing project going at all times. It won't be a bed quilt ... but it works well to hand piece in the condo. Sometimes DH needs the table!

Heading up to Portland today for our babysitting gig tomorrow and Tuesday - I'm taking the Album Patch up with me - just in case I have the energy to sew while we're there. Hey - it COULD happen!!! LOL!