Friday, January 25, 2013


Happy to say that I managed to get this done this week.  This top went together like a charm!  I mentioned in this post last week that I was using Wanda's Cross Quilt tutorial from her Exuberant Color site.  If you do what she says (and you have a design wall), this goes quickly and is pain free. I will definitely do it again and am thinking this may be a great project for those 2.5" strips I keep planning to cut from the men's shirts that are calling my name.
I also had the opportunity to shop a guild member's stash and I have to say, it was a bit awkward (for me -- probably not for her).  This woman has had her home on the market for two years and her family is in Ohio - children and grandchildren.  I think she has been widowed about six years and she wants to get closer to her family.  Who can blame her for that!

To her credit, she is lowering the price of her house one more time, planning to downsize, and is leaving Kentucky.  I applaud her!  One of the things she had to do in order to make this work is get rid of a LOT of her fabric, her quilting books, some batting, thread, patterns....

So on Saturday, she opened up her studio to our guild and we responded!  All fabric was $3/yard and her "yards" were generous.  She sold in increments of half yards and rounded down.  Some of the 1 yard cuts I got were almost 1.5 yards.  Fat quarters were $1.00 and easily more than FQ in many cases.

But, it felt a bit uncomfortable to be digging through stacks of fabrics.  I almost felt like we should be saying "may she rest in peace".  She, on the other hand, showed no remorse, had cookies for us, and was moving the fabric that would get her "home."

I got this stack of peach/orange fabrics for $15 and the cuts range from scraps to half yard cuts.  I was trying to be deliberate in choosing fabrics in colors that I don't gravitate toward -- orange, purple, and pink.  I made progress!
Look at these!  These are neutral charms and were $2.00 -- along with some odd cuts.  Who could pass that up?  Or a bag stuffed full of 2.5" and 2.0" squares for $1.00.  Seriously -- I have lots of squares but these needed a home!

The good news is -- she was pleasantly surprised with how much she sold and is hoping to sell the rest tomorrow when she opens up her studio to a different guild!  I wish her luck.  And, lest any of us worry about her, she has three full cabinets of fabric, books, and kits that are moving with her -- not to mention her Innova.

As far as I'm concerned, this was a "win-win"!  I hope you have had a wonderful week full of fabric surprises!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

No Sew Week....

Sort of!

I decided to put up my machine this week and focus only on handwork: applique, cutting fabrics, organizing fabrics, and even knitting.  My primary goal was to finish the second block from Kim McLean's Lollypop pattern!  I'm thrilled to say that this block joins the first and I now have two of 16 complete.  That's a little overwhelming and makes me wonder what on earth I was thinking when I decided to appliqué this "wowser" of a quilt by hand.
In checking my pictures, I actually laid this block out last spring and had only stitched the trunk and two bottom leaves.  So, I was able to to complete it in about five days of on-and-off stitching.  The real question is do I want to put aside my piecing to focus on this quilt alone.  The answer is NO!  But I do need to pick up the pace.  Block #1 was also worked on during the Australian Open - last year.  One block a year is not a good plan when you are about to be 63!
Laying these blocks out is the hardest for me.  Fabric goes everywhere and decisions take forever.  I'm thinking I'll layout two blocks at a time to see if that provides more impetus somehow.  It will at least minimize the number of times I make such a mess.  Prepping blocks and making circles is an all day process once decisions are made.
So, no sew week was a success just because the block is done!

I was also able to repurpose the sub-cut batik jelly roll from my-niece-the-quilter.  I have been wanting to make a Cross Quilt and use Wanda's tutorial.  Check it out at Exuberant Color. (Thank you, Wanda.) It took me a minute (or two) to internalize the second row of crosses but I think I have it down.  Time will tell.  Since I have very few batiks and no consistent color palette, I am able to add a few crosses from my stash but most will be from the jelly roll.  I'm looking forward to getting the whole quilt laid out and starting to stitch it next week.  Lots of seams so I am very grateful for my larger design wall.
I was also sure that I would cut up a lot of the shirts that you see on this shelf.  These are all men's shirts --most of which are compliments of Log Cabin Quilter.  The smaller cuts are sleeves that we've shared when friends were cutting up shirts and they are stacked two deep.  My goal was to just cut them up into 2.5" strips (or smaller).  Ha!  I have cut a few but not made a dent in them.  Not a dent.  They may be like rabbits and multiply over night.  And I love them all.  I want to use them.  But I need to make them more usuable.  That didn't happen this week.
Finally - there was a little knitting.  I'm working on my first pair of socks on one needle.  This is a stay at home project.  Managing two skeins of yarn is a bit tricky for me right now.  So, I keep a single sock on needles for travel.
This sock has been to Toronto, among other places, and this week went with us to Lexington (about 2.5 hours away) when I took my machine in for a one day service.  Obviously, I am not a fast knitter!
There isn't time to sew today -- but there will be tomorrow (I hope).  I'm looking forward to turning on my machine, listening to her hum, and playing with fabric -- all the while enjoying both Lollypops on my design wall.

I hope you have had a great week and done all kinds of fun things!


Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Last Finish....

This was my final finish for last year!  It was a response to a really bad idea that looked really good in my head.  Ever had that happen?  I was sure I could make it work and cut a lot of floral fabrics...and then, as I assembled test blocks--it became clear I did not have the range of fabrics I need.  Too many mediums and darks.
So what does one do when she has blithely cut 3.0" squares and a lot of them?  Well, you can't just forget about them.  That's insult to injury in my book.  So I cut them some more and decided this would work for another one of Tonya Ricucci's lego quilts.  She talks about the process in this post.
And then I started pulling scraps and trimming them down.  There are a few batiks, a few vintage fabrics, some modern florals that came via my-niece-the-quilter, and lots of mid-range florals from my stash.
This quilt was assembled in the same way as It Takes a Village and I discussed that in this post.  I am happy to say I was able to use up most of those squares that I so optimistically cut.  A very good thing!
It has gone to live with my sister, tuthfairy, since she is our resident master gardener and all the fabrics are things that are grown - flowers, vegetables, and trees.I quilted leaves and flowers in it -- staying with the gardening theme.  I should have just done a's so wonderfully busy that the quilting isn't important and doesn't really show up.
There is lots of sewing in a lego quilt -- but it's easy and fast and a great use of scraps!  I highly recommend giving it a try and clearing out a tote or shopping bag or drawer of scraps!
I hope you are having a great week and have found time to do some fun piecing!  I am beginning a week of self-imposed "handwork" only in an effort to get me up from my machine and appliquéing.  We'll see if this works.

And very importantly, the Australian Open begins tomorrow.  Lots of afternoon and evening tennis.  I so love it!  Jan

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Starting Fresh!

Don't you just love the New Year and being able to put aside the "to do" list from the previous year and start fresh?  So, I didn't get my first Turning Twenty quilt top put together (already cut) and the homespun tumbler top still doesn't have borders -- and they have both been on the list for two years.  They are both back on the 2013 year, as well!

I don't know about you but I got about 60% of my goals accomplished and did a boatload of other things that didn't start out the year on the list -- but were finished and distributed by the end of 2013.  Once the Christmas quilts were completed and bound, I was free to do what I wanted.  But what was that?  As it turns out, I was a bit aimless in my sewing room for a few days.  I was like a moth bouncing from flame to flame -- or project to project.
Remember these precut scrap strips for my ongoing log cabin quilt blocks?  One of the things I did manage to do before heading to Toronto was sort them and put them in a tote.  How long they will be this organized remains to be seen but they are set up to be used counter clockwise.
You may have seen this link on other blogs -- but if you are a log cabin quilt lover as I am (as noted in this post), there is a great free log cabin booklet from Fons and Porter that you may want to download.  It's worth it for the easy-to-read charts on what the cutting requirements are for the various patterns.  Take a look and see what you think.  Free is good.  And "free and good at the same time" is even better.  I am in love with the Ricky Tims block that starts with a 7/8" strip.  I so want to do that in Cherrywoods -- but am not willing to put that much yummy fabric in the seam allowances.  Bigger is better with them, I think (and I forgot to put that on my 2013 goals -- but I must finally do something with my "scrap bags" that I have).  How nice to have the strips already calculated for me.

All in all -- I am a Fons and Porter fan.  They are generous with material on the internet (vs some sites that charge for almost everything and do so much self-promotion that it gets tiresome quickly).  I have bought lots of their fabric in the past, subscribed to their magazine for years before we moved, and believe they make one of the best seam rippers on the market.  I don't mind ripping -- I DO mind having sloppy work in my finished quilts -- so I use a seam ripper pretty often and can certainly dull one over a few years.  I am down to one F&P seam ripper after dulling one and then breaking the point off another (I have no idea how that happened).  In a perfect world, I'd have one on both floors of the house and in every project that I take when I travel.  I feel the same way about a few of their other tools and their 8" x 14" ruler is my favorite ruler when cutting strips.
I have a lot of seam rippers -- some were my mother's and are probably antiques!  Some are cheap ones that I picked up hoping they would do the trick.  They don't.  One is this incredibly generous gift from a friend. I'm pretty sure this Gingher seam ripper could be used for surgery. It's a little scary and stays in its case unless I have serious ripping to do.

Look at this thing!  I could defend myself with it -- successfully!
I will not be making one of my 2013 goals to rip less!  But maybe, I should have a January goal of getting another seam ripper! I hope you are making plans for 2013 and then letting inspiration lead you!