An Exciting Friday Finish!!!

It has been excessively hot and humid here; we’ve had days and days of over 90 degree heat. The gardens are growing away and though it’s time to re-plant some veggies, they don’t need my attention. And of course the weeds are growing too, but oh well. So I’ve been indoors more, working on the Double Nine Patch quilt top. Sewing the squares together on the diagonal means that they get quite large and unwieldy and do not fit on the design board anymore.

Double nine patch sewing

This middle strip is 104″ long and if you are good at geometry, you get that!

Too big for design wall!

Those of you who follow my blog know that I don’t often finish projects, so this is A Red Letter Day. The Double Nine Patch top is nearly done! In looking through my blog posts, I found that I started it last July, so this isn’t a bad finish for me…

Triple Nines!

To complete the top, I need to decide how long the border strips will be, so that the quilt will tuck under our thick new mattress. The color inspiration was the scrap of fabric on the headboard. Though the windows have shutters and don’t need curtains, I plan to make some to break up all the wall space. {And re-paint the walls…}

Triple Nines color inspiration

I actually finished on Thursday and was all set to photograph the quilt on our bed – but – His Nibs was napping and I didn’t want to bother him. ;-D

Gizmo's nap

I’m doing a little happy dance now…

Fiddling with Color

I promised myself that when I started making the extra 5 wheels for the enlarged quilt design, that I wouldn’t be too fussy. As I said in the last post about this – my plan was to quickly pick colors and sew them. Ha! With the wheels done, I thought I should assemble everything on the design wall and give it a look. Ha again!

Double Nine Patch mock-up

The wheel in the bottom row, middle, bothers me. Even Peter noticed it when he eyed my progress the other day. It’s not that I need them to match or I would have used the same fabrics for each wheel. But that one sticks out! Why? I finally decided that it was the yellow that offended me and made the wheel way colder than the others. Truth be told, most of the wheels are not in my “color comfort zone”. I have been purposely trying to make them cool and not as ferociously bright as I usually make my quilts.

Wrong colors...

One of these oranges looks like it will help that wheel be friendlier with the others…

Better color...

The topic of being too fussy and re-doing projects is often kicked around by those of us who make things. I have learned over the years, that if it bothers me, it bothers me and it had better come out! The last thing Peter wants to hear before we get into bed is “Why didn’t I change that wheel? I do not like the colors!”.

Once I sew this wheel, I am going to stop being overly critical of the others and get the double nine patches done.

What are you ripping out today???

Blue & White Quilts

O my! I was digging through a box yesterday and came across three quilt tops. I dragged everything out and took them downstairs to the great room, where we have a new (blue) rug. Of course I knew they would look good with it – blue and white is a no-brainer. The question is – how many blue & white quilts does one woman need???

This pattern is called Delectable Stars and is from QNM January/February 2000 and was designed by Brenda Henning. I began these two quilts when we were living in an apartment in Chicago as I house hunted. That was 2005. I sewed on our little diningroom table during the day and cleared everything away before Peter got home. I called them “Chicago Blues”, after the jazz scene, not the way I was feeling. This is the baby version and the squares are 11.5″ . I just love the woven feel of this setting. The little rows of triangles are paper pieced and I do remember drafting them and then asking Peter to print out the papers for me at work.

Tiny Delectable Stars

What I do not recall is why I felt the need to make two sizes of them… The big squares are 18″. Perhaps if I continue to piece both sizes, I will do a different layout for each one. (Several other ideas for settings are shown in the article and they are all interesting.) We’ll see. It’s not as though I don’t have a million WIP’s!

Blue & white quilts

The spinning stars is a later UFO and in searching my blog, I see I started it in 2011. I was making another colorway of this design and I lost it – probably left in the trunk of a rental car. Here is a template you can buy from Pat Yamin. I just ordered another as the original must have been with the lost quilt.

Spinning stars

It is clear need to catalog my WIPs and decide which of them I may actually want to complete… I downloaded this quilt organizer from Stately Type – it might help. (They also have some very fun t-shirts for us creative types.) So little time, so many interesting things to do and so much yard work! ;-D

The Last Runner/Mat…

… was annoying to weave! I carefully calculated the length of the warp allowing plenty of room to make three mats. I decided to knot the fringe after weaving, which was where things went wrong. I feel as though I allowed too much space for the fringe and ate up too much of the warp. By the time I got to the third runner, I knew it was not going to be long enough for the kitchen table. It is not fun to keep weaving, and advancing the warp, and weaving and wondering how long the &%^%^# thing is going to be!

Here you can see the cardboard I put between the mats and how much space is left for knotting. {It was too much!} I should have done hemstitching on the loom, which I much prefer to do, or perhaps I should have hemmed them, as Karen at Warped for Good did.

Fringe for the mats

It is barely long enough to be usable on the diningroom table, but it does work.

Navy rag runner/mats

Ah well. On to the next project!

More About the Woven Runner/mats

When I first wove rag runners many, many years ago, I would sit at the sewing machine and sew the strips together on the diagonal, as I would for a quilt binding. When I had a fat ball, I’d wind it on a shuttle and weave. At some point I realized though it wasn’t as tidy-looking, it was much faster to cut and overlap the fabric pieces as I go. It’s also more fun to weave because I can place the colors where I want them.

Splicing rag strips

Look at that fat roll of runners on the beam! And look at the floor around the loom! I usually don’t tidy up until the project is finished.

Woven runners, scraps

This second runner wasn’t as much fun to weave as the first one. I loved these sunny Summer colors when I picked them out of my fabric bags, but the weaving of it was boring. Luckily it looks happy on the table. This is the kitchen table and Peter and I sit across from each other the long way. With the shrinkage, this one is just long enough so the fringe hangs down…

Kitchen table runner/may

The strips are cut 2″ wide which is what I use on the floor as well. It’s a good thickness for sturdy runner/mats, but I really like to use 1″ strips for a more “elegant” feel. A good width to make these mats is 17″ – 18″ wide so that the plate and napkin and silverware are on the mat. And the fringe should hang over the edge but not be so long that it sits in your lap and you pull the runner off when you stand up. ;-D

 

The First Runner/Mat Design

Did you notice that I am weaving again???

Peter took the loom apart more than usual for the move and so I needed his help to get her together again. While gathering her pieces, he decided that she needed to be oiled and cleaned. Wasn’t that nice of him? Doesn’t every girl like to be fussed over? While he was working on her over several days, I got cold feet about what I might weave on her first. What did I want to weave and would I remember how to do everything? I feel this way after every move. So of course I decided to start simply and making my usual rag runner/mats seemed safe. My first idea came from a quilt on a Modern Quilt website that I thought it was a bit dull for a quilt, but seemed like it might make an interesting rag runner/mat. I found some leftover muslin fabric from Santa making for the center section and I have lots of  bits of hand dyed cotton samples which I stripped into 2″ pieces to add at either end. It was a bit fussy to weave, but I am very pleased with the result.

Fussy striped woven runner/mats

I meant to measure the runners before washing them, but I was too excited! Shrinkage after washing is a fact of weaving and it annoys me when weavers sell pieces (which will eventually need to be washed) and don’t wash them! When it looks entirely different after washing, the customer thinks something is wrong or that it was poorly constructed…

These mats are much “messier” than I usually weave with rags. Adding colored strips on either selvedge is a bit tricky and then the spliced overlap of the natural and colored fabrics really shows. After working on it for awhile, I decided not to fret. I like the nubbly texture and the selvedges are pretty darn even given what I was weaving. I don’t usually do anything special where the center of the runner/mat will be. That area usually has candles, or a bowl of fruit or things like salt and pepper or pickles or jam!

I was planning to use this runner on the kitchen table, but decided I would prefer it in the diningroom. I put the runners across the table, so we can use them as placemats, hence the term runner/mat. I bought these multi colored plates many years ago at Tang’s Department store in Singapore. I have always loved them and I think they look very special on this runner/mat.

It feels good to have finally woven something!

{Should you need tips on Macomber looms:  http://macomberloomsandme.blogspot.com }

 

 

 

 

Dresden Star Designing

I am anxious to make something with the Dresden Star pattern, by Edyta Sitar of Laundry Basket Quilts. It is an interesting pattern with an unusual construction technique. In Edyta’s class, we bought a kit, which included fabrics, the pattern and templates. At first look, I was fairly sure I didn’t like the fabrics but I figured I could work with them…

Dresden Star pieces

During lunch, I went to her booth and bought a few of her (lovely) batiks to add in. Even adding more fabrics didn’t do it…these ain’t my colors.

Dresden Star layout idea

I understand why teachers supply kits. With a kit, they know that you have everything you need to make the pattern with little fuss and bother. Many years ago, I was in a class where we needed a lot of fabrics for a very scrappy quilt pattern. A local woman showed up with a suitcase of fabric! She proudly laid the fabric pieces out on a table for the teacher to see and admire. The teacher was appalled as the woman had bought the whole Fall and Winter collections of Hoffman fabrics. It was 100 plus fat quarters! The upshot of this was that the woman spent the whole class fiddling with her stash and never got to sewing. She couldn’t make up her mind or perhaps couldn’t bear to cut into the fabric. I am certainly guilty of fretting over fabric choices so I have come to terms with kits. When I got home and looked at the class project, I knew that the colors were not going to work for me. So I finished up the Dresden Star that I started in class to practise more of the technique and think where I wanted to go next, color-wise.

In class, Edyta recommended a large, medium and a small print as well as a stripe and a dot. I really didn’t like the large prints, so I looked for  teeny, tiny and medium prints. And I think one of the many reasons I like her quilts is that she mixes batiks in as well. I cannot understand why quilters can’t just see batiks as fabrics! I thought it would be fun to use a batik flower fabric for the middle and dark purples for the stars.

Debbie's dresden star fabrics

Here is the final cutting. Much as I love those batiks, I decided that the flower-y middle was too busy!

Debbie's dresden star cutting

After sewing the star, I had a lot of trouble deciding on a background for it. I won’t show you all the fabrics I pulled out and auditioned! I wanted a background to blur or tone down the colors, because I think that’s what I like about Edyta’s quilt. This water-y batik seemed to do what I wanted. But I don’t love it…it doesn’t sing to me. I’m not sure what I will try next.

Debbie's Dresden Star

 

 

Procrastination – Sometimes A Good Thing!

There are UFO’s in several closets and I rummaged around last week to find this quilt for our bedroom which I was calling the double nine patch. Sometime ago, I picked out the background fabric and then tucked it away a closet.

Double nine patch background

Procrastination was a good thing in the case of this quilt, because a few weeks ago, Peter and I bought a new mattress. The old one was 25 years old!!! The sales lady kept explaining the features of all the mattresses on sale and we just looked at her, because ours was so basic. The men who came to bring the new one and take away the old one had been doing that job for 20 years. “I’ve never seen a mattress like this one!” they told us. (Needless to say, we are very much enjoying our comfortable new mattress.)

The point of all this is that the new box springs are much smaller, but the mattress is much, much thicker; so much so that the quilt we’re using does not tuck in at the bottom. It’s annoying because it means that every morning the bed needs to be completely re-made. Thus new quilt needs to be a good bit larger.

I put the pieces I’d already sewn on the mattress and moved them around and determined that the best thing to do is to make 9 wheels, instead of 4. Using the original design, there would have too much border. So back to the machine I go…

Nine wheels

 

Ongoing Quilt Projects

I have been less than diligent about working with my wonderful Sweet 16 machine… I started Tommie Lee Turkey in November nad quickly abandoned the project due to Santa making and indecision about what to quilt where. And so the machine sat. The other day I was re-organizing a studio closet and came across my quilt-tops-to-be-quilted pile. I’m not sure if I ever wrote about finishing up the Orphan Blocks Mash-Up quilt. I decided that this was the quilt I needed to practise on and quickly got it layered and pinned.

Ready to quilt Orphans Block Mash-Up

Years ago I was teaching a friend to hand quilt. She was really frustrated with her stitches. I said it took lots of practise and the choice she had was to find some patterned fabric and practise quilting on that until she was happy with her work or to continue quilting her beginning sampler quilt. She chose to work on her project. I have been working on bits of fabric for practise but I finally decided the other day that I needed to take my own advice. I like the mash-up quilt, but I don’t feel precious about it, so it’s perfect for my needs; it has lots of areas for free motion and lots of places for ruler work (straight lines). I am quilting with white thread and so it’s virtually invisible on much of the top, so I don’t find myself constantly saying “that looks crappy, that’s okay…” I also know that when I wash the quilt, it will look even better as the stitches will sink into the quilt. So I am working a little each day and feeling better.

The Halloween Hexie quilt made the trip to AQS Phoenix and I’ve continued working on it at night. It’s so fun to put together.

Halloween Hexies

And I have to share this hilarious picture of Gizmo with you. A week or so ago we had the cats’ teeth cleaned and this vet shaved both ankles for the I.V. drip. With Gizmo’s long hair, we think he looks like a poodle ready for the Westminster Dog Show. We laugh every time we see him, poor guy!

Gizmo's shaved legs

 

Seasonal Projects – Finished!

I began a set of four seasonal cross stitch samplers by the very wonderful  Birds of a Feather some time ago, I’m not sure when! I got this one out in January and finished it up, and then continued throughout this year. I’m very proud of myself.

Birds of a Feather Holiday Seasons

As you may remember, I just love these quirky patterns and the brown background is fun to work on, though a bit hard to see. This pattern is still available – buy here. All of them are now framed and I tried all over the house but could not find a place or a way to photograph them without reflection, so here is the pattern so you can see them all!

Birds of a Feather Pattern

I enjoy changing pictures and artwork on the walls. I began doing seasonal projects when we lived in Singapore in 1993 and 1994. Singapore is about 50 miles from the Equator and the weather there is hot and humid most of the time. The “locals” say “same-same. It is a bit depressing for those of us used to four seasons. I started a Prairie Schooler cross stitch pattern and then sewed it in the middle of a quilt square. And I did more and more. The squares are not finished; I staple them on to a stretcher frame and hang them up at the proper time.

Turkey cross stitch quilt square

Before I began quilting, I was an avid cross stitcher and thought it would be fun to combine both crafts.

Watermelon cross stitch quilt square

I was a very new quilter then, and it was fun to leaf through my pattern books and find and draft a quilt square that enhanced the cross stitch.

Rabbit cross stitch quilt square

There are a few “holes” – – – I haven’t made any new squares for quite awhile. I need February and May and July, I think.

Santa cross stitch quilt square

Perhaps when I have some spare time and no other projects to work on, I’ll get out my box of cross stitch patterns and do a new one!  ;-D