Friday, February 27, 2015

Can't Sleep!!!

I often have issues with sleeping, and when I am concerned, worried or generally unsettled about something, it is worst.  I am at that "place"--some personal family worry's going on and of course there is not one single thing I can do about it.  Let me just say, for those of you with small children, enjoy your parenting challenges---the worst thing in the world is to be a parent of adult children.  Given the fact that although they are old, you are older and still know more than they (although they don't think so), but no one listens to you and you have NO control---but that is for another discussion.

At any rate, what I do when I can't sleep is go to my quilting space.  I really liked the last quilt I made and wanted to make it larger for a toddler and so------

It is 59 inches square...Super Sized.  I figured it out on a piece of paper and went for it, measuring as I went.  The solids are some Moda 5 inch charm packs I had (remember I am trying to use what I have).  The background is a fabric called "Hidden Letters" (if you click on the picture it will enlarge).  I think it is prefect for a boy or girl child.  I am not going to put on a border since the material is directional and I would waste a lot trying to get it to go the right way.  I am debating whether to put a minky back on.  Since a toddler would use this, it might be better to put a cotton backing on.  I have some really cute baby blue polka-dot fabric I may use.

I get such a sense of happiness with making quilts anyway, and when it is as a "gift" it makes me feel good to share a talent (I think it is anyway) to make someone else happy.  Just think if others enjoyed "passing it on", how much better this world would be.  Thanks Sandra for your comment on my last posts!  I really want to thank YOU for giving me this opportunity!!

Anyway, one toddler/older child quilt down, five more to go!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Hug Project

I tried to link the YouTube, but couldn't figure out how to do it.  I will refer you to "That Man Quilts" (see my sidebar) latest blog entry.  Go to the very end and click on the Link!  Viewing it will give you pause for thought!

Thanks Lane for sharing!

Yep---It Quilted Out!!

The borders are pretty straight----No wave!

"Close" up of the pattern.  I worked the fullness in my misting the fabric, patting it into shape, and leaving it to dry.  It almost always works!  Note:  make sure the fabric is colorfast and MIST don't WET.

The backing!  I love the polka dots.  This is for a baby boy!  I was really lucky to find this perfect backing for the quilt.  The batting is 100% rayon and doesn't allow the fabric to shadow through.  

I was correct---my "wavy" borders did in fact quilt out!!!!  I used what is now one of my "most"- favorite CL boards---it is called "Egyptian Eye", but I think I am going to rename it "God's Eye" since it reminds me of the quilt pattern and hanging weaved objects I often see in my home state and the Southwest.  This will still be a "gift" quilt, but rather than given as a donation in connection with my guild, I am going to give it as a shower gift for a very sweet nurse I work with.  Her baby may be born early and so this little quilt will cuddle this little one will still be used for it's original purpose.  The backing is a thinner minky that I found at a great price at Joanne's.  It quilted up wonderfully and I really think I like it better than the more traditional thicker type of minky.  Lesson learned:
  • use a smaller gauge needle.  This minky had a tendency to pull through to the front and the smaller needle decreased this.
  • be sure and put the "stretchy" portion perpendicular to the leaders.  I had to roll it a little tighter than usual and this prevented the back from stretching out.  
I will bind it all by machine since baby quilts are washed a lot!  I also plan on enlarging this pattern and making a larger quilt.  Most of the quilts I have made for our guild "gifting" program have been baby quilts, but older kids don't feel well either.  My goal is to give Sandra at least six quilts for toddlers and older kids so I am going to start on those next week.  I have until June to officially finish but I think I will personally continue to make quilts for this group.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

New Gift Quilt--

As I cut out strips for The Trip, I cut the leftovers  into 2.5 inch squares, and ended up with quite a pile to add to others I had already accumulated.  I was "surfing" Pinterest last night and saw this really cute quilt.  It was made from strips and 2.5 inch squares so I decided I would make it today.  A quick quilt to clear the creative focus after an intense process, almost like what happens when you are purchasing perfume---smell coffee beans  between sniffing scents so you can clear one scent out before smelling another.  At any rate, this quilt wasn't difficult to make.

I have to admit though that the size is much smaller than I anticipated or the photos appeared.  It must have been a really little person holding the quilt up for the picture since I thought it was a throw size at least.  The pattern can be found on the "Cluck Cluck Sew" blog.  It is called the Chippewa Scrap Quilt.

I finished it and then started to wonder if it was sensible to give a white quilt to a sick baby (the quilts are make are for babies/children who are ill).  I will think more about this since when I make quilts I really want them to be used.  This is also going to be my last "baby" size quilt.  I think I will make the next one using 5 inch squares (since I have a lot of charm packs).  They way I figure, that quilt should be the size of a good size twin or at least a throw.  I have some really cute alphabet fabric to use as the background and some charm packs in primary colors.  My goal is to use as much of my "stash" as possible----and then replenish at AQS in Paducah :)!

The borders are a little wavy to me, but I am going to quilt a simple stipple so I should be able to "quilt" it out---or maybe I will go ahead and remove the borders as my blog friend Lane would do.  I'll think on it.  I have to admit, although I want my work to be the best possible, I absolutely HATE to keep taking things out when from experience I know I really can "quilt" some things out.  What I must do however is to remember the difference between "ironing" and "pressing".

Saturday, February 21, 2015


I am completely done!!!!  There are a couple of seams that are off and some tucks, but once I put it together I had a hard time picking the "oops" out.  This is the largest quilt I have ever made!

  • Approximately 93 x 105 (un-quilted)
  • 80 blocks
  • 2,880 squares 
It completely fills our small living room and the ends are up on the step down.  All in all, I really like it and I am proud of myself.  I see a couple of places where I could have mixed it up a little, but the only perfect quilts are made by machine so I can handle the imperfection.

I am going to use a poly for the batting since I do not want a lot of shrinkage with so many seams and different fabrics.  I am also not going to use a really fancy quilting pattern.  Too much going on I think.  I have the perfect pattern in mind.

One UFO down, many more to go!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Almost Done@!!!####!!!!!!!

Eleven more blocks to go!!!  This is the lower half of the quilt.  I am pushing on!!!  My goal is to have this done by the week-end!!!!  It is going to be big----approximately 93 x 102!!!  It is for our bed.  My husband was instructed to go to the store and purchase a mattress last year.  He came back with (what I call) a modified hospital bed!  It has a massage fixture (actually it is a "shake" fixture---that motion is not relaxing to me).  The head and foot adjusts---great for his back, but I wake up stiff and sore every morning---but then since he swears his back feels so much better, I suffer in silence (sorta).  The bed is really high, so I want a quilt that will at least cover half of the bed stand (or whatever it is called).  This quilt should do it!  I am not working on anything else determined to finish!!!! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

All Snowed In!!!

School was cancelled again today so I was "forced" to work on some quilts a little!!!  It is absolutely beautiful outside---sunny--but oh so cold!!!  We lost electricity for a little while this morning and it sent the hubby out to buy gasoline for the generator.  Me---I called my daughter to see if her electricity was out (it wasn't) so I alerted her she may have company tonight if ours didn't come back on. IT DID!!!!  At any rate, we are ready, but hopefully will not have to put emergency plans into action.

Now on the quilty front---I worked on the "Trip" today.  I really do want to complete it and not put it away as I did last year.  My commitment is even if I start a new quilt, I MUST work on a UFO as well.   Since I always work on multiple projects at the same time, that isn't a hard commitment to keep.  I now have only 3 more rows or 24 more blocks to go.  It is really coming along nicely I think.  I am going to stop by Joanne's with one of my coupons and buy some extra wide muslin for the back.  I think unbleached will go nicely with the busy front.  There are little areas of color concentration, but I like the spontaneity of it.  Even with those areas, the triangles are very visible.  As I move toward the end I must confess, I am not spending a lot of thought into the color orders, concentrating more on contrast and not having a strata with the same fabrics.  Seems to be working out okay.  I am also pressing my seams open making it easier to quilt with so many seams.  To keep the edges from fraying when I cut the sections, I have shortened my stitch and make sure I sew off the seam at the beginning and end so the threads sorta twist and lock themselves.  After each section, I also "stay stitch" the sides to cut down on the edges stretching.  The quilt is in two sections in the picture.  When I add the three rows to the bottom section, then I will sew the two together for the completed top.  Just how I work since it is easier to handle two sections rather than one large sections as I add rows.  Cuts down on stretching as well.

Well keep warm.  I will probably go back to work tomorrow (I have an early clinical) since my hubby says although the roads are really bad in the neighborhood, they aren't bad once you get on the main ones.  It is just I have to leave so darn early---I have to be at the hospital at 6:30!!!!  and that is when it is the coldest!!!!  Oh well---spring will be here soon!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Piecing Continues!

I read a post that said once started, this quilt may be hard to put down.  I tend to agree.  I have actually completed one section!  The little red heart is not really in the quilt, I didn't really like one of the small blocks and this will be a substitution.  The navy/green block is actually a block I made for another BOM, but may use it as a sub for one of the 12 inch blocks.  At any rate---this is a "piecers" dream!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Update to the Update!!

So okay---normally I try to not really stress about my quilting.  I have found that if a point is cut off a little, or if I have to ease a little, it will all work out in the end.   Unfortunately, dI didn't feel this way about my block being 2 inches off.   Since the Moda Building Block quilt is comprised of 48 blocks of varying sizes, each one MUST be the correct size if it is going to fit together.  I got on the internet and started searching, looking for blog owners who had made the quilt and blogged about it---remember there are NO directions and the pictures are not true pictures but art ones.  I finally found a blog owner who said that the inner square would "float"---ah-ah!  I thought it was oversized and so had trimmed it down.  Out came the fabrics again and I remade the block.  I didn't have enough of the dusty rose fabric, but I found red, which I actually like better.  This is a 36 1/2 inch block!

The block looks wrinkly, but it isn't.  I normally take pictures on my wood floor and I think the carpet has static---it is cold outside and very dry inside.  At any rate I am NOT remaking it.   Whatever it is, it will "quilt out".  My points are pretty good---again, once quilted you will not be able to really tell that 1/100th of an inch that is off.  


The "Trip" is coming right along.  I make it two rows at a time and I have 50% of the next two rows done.  After I finish them, I will have just 3 more rows and then it will be finished!!!!

Of course, my short "quilting attention span" and Pintrest has gotten me in trouble.  I have been seeing all these Moda Modern Quilt's.  Really interesting!  so (of course) I ordered the pattern.  I am determined to NOT buy any fabric, but use what I have.  I got the pattern--interesting format and began making the blocks today.

The pattern is on individual cards with the block pattern on them (front and back).  This pattern is for a quilter with some experience, certainly not for the beginner.  There are no real directions, just measurements for cutting the fabric and a diagram of how to put the block together.  I was very careful in cutting the fabric, but because there were not even measurements of what each component should measure, instead of a 36" unfinished block, I ended up with a 34.5".  When I started to put it together, the parts were over sized and had to be cut down.

Although the pattern uses all solids, I am mixing polka dots in mine and not really following the color combinations, using what I have instead.  I am not really going to worry much about the size, if necessary I can add some fillers in if it is a problem in putting it together.  At any rate, this is going to be a long-term project.  I will make a block a week (or so).  I have to lug all those fabrics back upstairs to my fabric closet and only bring down the colors for each block.   The pale blue around the center is a polka dot.  I like it.  Not all blocks will have dots in them, but it I still think this is going to be a nice quilt.

I also ordered a couple of new patterns, and for my valentine gift, I ordered a base extender for my longarm.  I think I am ready to start doing ruler work.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Lessons Learned!

I don't sleep well.  Not sure why, but as I have gotten older, it is an occasional problem.  I wake up really early---around 4:30 AM and cannot go back to sleep.  What does a quilter do, they get up and quilt.

So I loaded and finished quilting the minky baby quilt, and learned a couple of things that I thought I would share (hopefully it will make for an interesting post):

  1. I washed my backing.   I originally was going to use minky on the back as well and decided after all the stretching with the top, that wouldn't be a good idea---at least not for me.  I decided to use flannel but realizing there might be an issue with shrinkage (minky doesn't shrink), I did what I NEVER do, I washed the backing last night.  In warm water and a hot dryer.  From this lesson, what I learned had nothing to do with the minky---Joann's flannel is pretty good.  What I used was purchased as a "door buster" a couple of years ago (less than $2.00 per yard).  When washed, the shrinkage was probably less than  3% if that (I didn't measure before washing).  It really beefed up and had the same hand as the expensive "quilters flannel".  So, if you purchase flannel at Joanne's, it is pretty good!
  2. As you can see from the picture of the dark blue square, there was some stretching issues.  This was the part of the quilt that I didn't sew with my walking foot on.  Lesson---use a walking foot and "GENTLY" maneuver the edges together as you sew.  If you click on the picture it will enlarge and you can see how the squares do not line up---that is what happens when you do not have a walking foot that keeps your edges even.
  3. Pay attention to the nap grain.  I didn't do that and so there are some squares that are against the grain...when you smooth your hand over them they nap up instead of smoothing out.  I don't think the little baby that gets this quilt will mind, but for some people that would be an issue.
  4. Use a large meander/stipple.  It really helps to "quilt some of the fullness out".  
  5. The top thread color doesn't matter.  I used a very light poly thread on top.  You can't even see the color.  The thread sinks into the nap of the minky.
  6. Be careful of batting purchased from Tuesday Morning (TW).  I purchased a bolt of 100% rayon batting from TW.  It was a good price (although with my 50% off coupon from Joanne's it probably wasn't that much of a deal) and I was interested in trying it since it is lightweight.  My plan was to use it for my "gifting" baby quilts (I had the word "charity"and prefer "gifting"), since it is 45 inches wide and I will not have to piece or waste a larger piece of batting.  Anyway, the batting has these black spots inside the folds.  I am not sure if it is oil (rayon is made from oil I think), or some type of other stain, but it looks like it is dispersed everywhere throughout the entire bolt.  It doesn't rub off so I think it will be okay---but I am NOT going to purchase anything like this from TW again unless I can unroll it and inspect.  I am gong to cut off a piece and wash it and see what happens to the spots.
I am going to bind it in a purple cotton fabric.  Picture will follow once I truly complete it.

In the last post I discouraged anyone from using the minky charms---I am going to amend that suggestion by saying, if you tend to lean toward impatience, think twice then.  You can do it but you have to be patient and be willing to take out stitching if needed.  It does make a rich, vibrate quilt though.  I am going to use up the other squares I have, I have 49 left so the next quilt will be smaller, and although I like how the minky quilt looks, I don't think I will make another using small squares, maybe for backing, but not where you have to piece.

Just my "humble opinion.

Friday, February 6, 2015

I KNOW, but-----

I know I said I was NOT going to start another quilt while I was working on one---but....
the "Trip" quilt, is a "trip", or maybe it is just that I have a short "quilt attention span".

I had purchased some charm packs of minky, I think last year.  It was a very good buy and I got about 6 packs of 20 five inch squares.   I thought they would make a really couple of nice baby "rag" quilts but never got around to beginning them.  I was straightening up the area and found them and thought, simple sewing, why not break up the "trip" and make it.  Since it is a baby quilt it really shouldn't take a lot of time.

WRONG----if you ever thought about making a minky quilt out of 5 inch squares---just say "no".  The stuff stretches--there are some plain squares and some with dimples.  The dimples are actually larger than the plain squares.  As I was struggling trying to match seams, etc. I remembered I have a walking foot!  Once I put it on, it was better, but still lots of work.  At any rate---I finished it and now I am going to quilt it tomorrow.  I have decided to use a flannel backing since I really think the quilt needs some stabilizing (I originally was going to use minky on the back as well).  Hopefully, when it is washed, everything will be okay, since the flannel will shrink while the minky will not  ( I am going to use a poly batting)---but at any rate, it should make a really nice soft "blankey"...hopefully to stay that way even after washing.  It does look cheerful doesn't it?!?