Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Totes -- one delicious, one dorky

This lovely little tote bag was a gift from Nancy and Gene, who are quilters and computer/embroidery people who faithfully arrange for the local sewing/quilting gals who meet each month.  I had admired this project during it creation and Nancy told me it was for her Mom.  Is that a lie?  8-))  Thank you so much, Nancy and Gene - I LOVE it.  

 I've wanted to make a few tote/utility recycled bags from the amazingly strong large pet foods bags we see.  They seem to be made of Tyvek or similar - hope I am using the right word.  If you haven't made one, you will re-learn the word "wrestle" as the stuff is strong.  You will need strong clips instead of pins.  I wanted the cat to show, not necessarily the "Kaboodle".  I stuffed a medium-sized quilt inside.  I wiped out the inside of the bag with a damp cloth and lined the bag - lining was not necessary but seemed like a good idea.   This can be used for my quilt basting supplies that currently hang in the garage.  How about a strong book bag?  Show and Tell? 

Here's the back.  I squared off the bottom so it could hold a lot of groceries.  Finished project is almost as large as a paper grocery bag.

I was given 7-8 more bags, with dogs, horses or cows on them.  My job would have been easier if I had used the free arm on my machine, instead of a flat surface.  Instructions and great photos were found at  What would you use it for?  Is it too dorky?

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Creative Grids, Pineapple Trim Tool - a Review

 I have enjoyed numerous How-to videos on You Tube, especially those that are quilting related.  I discovered Creative Grid rulers and demos of their products, and even though I don't need them, I want them all!!!  So, while I already HAVE a Pineapple Ruler that works well, I wanted to try this one, because I appreciate PROCESS and SYSTEMS. 

There are good instructions included for it's basic use, and my package also included a Cut Loose pattern.  I don't know if this page is included with all rulers.  Part of the reason I "bit" and purchased this ruler  is because I am so grateful for the nice videos, since our TV quilt programs are seldom available.   Jeanne Ann Wright does the one I've been watching.

These instructions look overwhelming, but one step at a time.  I would recommend a practice block first, as the method itself is not the easiest, but the instructions and guides on the ruler make it accurate.  Mine finished at exactly 8.5 in., as planned.  The strips must be larger then 1.5 inches, and finish at 1 inch after trimming.

The nature of a pineapple block is that there IS waste, and it CAN get crooked.  Scrappy,  and care when lining up the ruler for trimming are good approaches.  If you have one of those small suction cups to stick to your ruler, that might be helpful because there is a lot of flipping back and forth, and looking for the guidelines on the ruler, in preparation for trimming.  One also needs to remember which "round" you are on.  The "rounds" relate to various lines and squares on the ruler -- you can't just throw one together without some concentration.  This one has 6 rounds and "ears" on the corners.  This scrappy block, my first one using this ruler, took about 40 minutes and I got lost a few times, but then decided to READ THE DIRECTIONS!

If you get lost, you can review the video on line.  Have fun!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Tumalo Trails, "Cowboy Up"

Tumalo Trail

In a frenzy following too much really strong iced tea, I started making 9-patches from my 1.5 inch scrap box, continued for 2 day, wondering what I'd do with them, then remembered Tumalo Trail, a design that has been tempting me.  My "pile" of "to-dos" is also on my sewing desk, and I'm to the point of being overwhelmed by the eternal clutter. Oh good grief, Elaine, you have GOT to cut that shirt up (left in photo) one of these days!  

Uhhh, that shirt cutting job ... that shirt kinda looks OK with those 9-patches. Wonder how it would look .....?  

Sometimes that MESS of accumulating fabric leads to delightful accidental discoveries!  Looks kinda "cowboy", doesn't it?   I'll call it "Cowboy Up"? 

I might include a narrow sashing to solve the problem of all those seams needing to match.  I never would have included that lavender, if it hadn't been accidental!  I will have enough of the blue plaid for most of the quilt top. 

Sausage Pillowcases  

Our last local gathering produced a LOT of pillowcases.  I had cut up a bunch of fabrics, both body, cuff, and accent and brought it all to our sewing group.  12-14 yards used!  Yeahhhh!  We mixed and matched the parts, and various pillowcases went home for final sewing.  These will be going to the DOVES, and the number we donate will count towards the "Million Pillowcase Project."   It's funny how our fabrics we've had for years look pretty spiffy when made into something else beside a quilt.   

Monday, September 22, 2014

We're supposed to clean these machines?

The bottom of my Janome 6500 can be easily opened up for occasional cleaning, by removing 5 screws.  The last time I cleaned it was ... uhhh, over 5 years!  (I DO clean the bobbin regularly.)  This job was necessary because my always reliable machine was not machine quilting well.  Despite all the internet help, friend help, manual help, etc., it still was skipping stitches.  Off to the sewing machine hospital.  

Is this not terrible???? I have probably quilted 15 or more quilts in the last 5 years.  

I vacuumed it with the big, household vacuum cleaner, then blew it with canned air and it dislodged several clumps, that were like felt pads.  Wow - who knew??? 

It normally sits IN a sewing desk - taking it out like this is not a small job.  I promise to do it more frequently.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Quilt Process, new awning, train ride

I have been working on this pineapple quilt, now called Hedgehogs in the Daisies.  Named because, I was noticing how "Prickly" it was looking, one of the results of paper piecing.  It began to look like pine cones, but then what would pine cones be doing in Daisies?  So, it became hedgehogs instead.  This project seems to never end!  My blocks are rectangles, I stretched them from squares, and I made the corners different, causing myself all sorts of confusion, eventually solved by drawing colors on the back of each paper.  You might notice, I have continued some of the quilt inside, into the border, so the quilt doesn't just END at the border.  I hope there is some continuity. 

I don't have a photo of the back - oh so cute Hedgehogs!!!!   

The brown triangles (below) are also now extended into the border.  The green/brown triangle is sewn in here, not pressed down (fusible).  It will overlap the double border.   I have used this technique before - this time it is tedious!!! The top and bottom shapes are not the same as the right and left shapes.  I realized that late into the process.  

Efforts to extend the corner triangles into the mitered corner were a failure.  I may revisit that option when the miter is all sewn in - not sure.  Sometimes it's better to stop making more work!

This is not a large quilt.  The little strips are about 3/4 in. finished.  I think the quilt is now about 60 x 70 with the border, maybe less.  

Something new - Our awning over the deck had seen better days.  Gears were seemingly stripped, so, "Call the Man!"  This is a Sunsetter, and was installed by a roofing contractor.  It took weeks, not days to get the finally adjustments made because of unusual rain, downpours, hail, etc.  When you live far from the larger town, contractors don't just run out and finish the job - they come when next they have another job.  

The awning gives us another space when weather is nice.  It's not easy to get a nice photo - perhaps I have to climb the tree!  We always roll it up (manual, not electric) when frequent wind picks up.  

Yesterday, we took a day trip, a train ride on an 1880 train, in Hill City, SD, 3 hours north of our home, through so much open country, then Custer State Park, and more.  There is NO traffic out in the open country!!!  The day was beautiful, scenery lovely, this was a Wine Express, with wines and lunch provided on the train by Prairie Winery.  Lovely!  I was unable to get a photo of the old engine, but what a machine it was, puffing out black smoke as it snaked through rocky spaces, past mountain homes.  We saw many deer and turkey. It was a beautiful fall day, warm and sunny.  Most of the recent snow was gone.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Quilt Backing - Positive Solution to Error

My previous post mentioned the error when measuring for the backing for a Linus Quilt, Scrappy Trip Around the World.  I was "shy" about 1.5 inches in width, and 4 inches in length.  I didn't have any more of any of the fabric in those squares.  Luckily, none of the 10 inch squares were sewn together, and I HAD this bright pink.  I was not thrilled with those pale, pastel fabrics.    

I was so pleased with this solution that both DH and I agreed it could be used as a "real" quilt top, but NO, it will be the backing.  The pink jazzed it up, and improved the entire coloring, as well as solved my measurement problems.  What a perfect example of errors turning out better than the original!  It actually IS a 2-sided quilt!   I tend to be not fearful of errors because of the great pleasure in getting out of trouble!  

Famous last words when finishing a quilt (or a backing), "It turned out better than I thought it would."