Archive for January, 2012

This year at the beginning of the year/month, I hung a dry erase board near the entry to my sewing room.  I wrote the immediate list of projects I wanted to accomplish first.

And as I finished writing I thought that maybe I could finish all this list in January.

Here I am at the end of January so I thought I’d post an update.

  • Two items on the list are completely finished: the Bargello and K’s tshirt quilt.
  • The President’s quilt is ALL pieced. Tonight I made the label so I’ll put that on in the morning and load it onto my quilting frame.
  • I worked on the SL quilt on Saturday.  All the blocks are done now and just need assembled.  I planned an interesting and challenging layout so that won’t happen very fast.

However, I’m pleased with what I’ve finished so far.  And I hadn’t planned to stumble on the basement steps either.  I’m feeling much better this week!

And my thanks to you for reading along… here is a peak at the president’s quilt top…. finished tonight… ready to quilt tomorrow!!  WooHoo!!!

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Finished Bargello

I told you about my friends & I gathering to work on our Bargello quilts back in August.  I finished mine and have it all quilted so wanted to show you here.

Here are some upclose shots of the quilting, both on the frame and once it was done.

A few other photos are on my business site.

This quilt will head to K’s after I have it for an example at the guild workshop I’m teaching in June.


Our sewing day has turned into a once a month gathering and it is SO much fun!!  We just met Saturday but only 2 of us and we really missed our #3!  We keep asking others to come but it hasn’t worked out for them yet.

I worked on my quilt blocks from the Sonlight quilters exchange!  It was good to have them out and I’m excited to get that quilt finished!  I’m adding borders tomorrow to my current project so once that is quilted, I’ll get back to the SL quilt.  The current project was just too much to pack and haul to Sue’s on Saturday.  It is pieced on point and at the time I had all the blocks arranged on my studio floor for piecing. Not something I wanted to move!  Good thing I have lots of UFOs!!

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Last week I started assembling a quilt where the blocks were made my many others and given to me.   The blocks are to be 10 1/2″ now so that when the quilt top is assembled they are 10″ blocks.  However, only a few of the blocks were EXACTLY 10 1/2″ including the blocks that I had made!  🙂

Even though most quilters have a myriad of “easing” tricks up their sleeves, I did not want to be playing that game with 40 blocks and having a not-so-flat quilt top to work with.

So my favorite place to ask quilt questions is The Quilt Show forum.  So I did.  One gave me links to these YouTube videos that just SAVED THE DAY!! One video shows how to stretch blocks to the intended size and that is what I did.  Only a few of my blocks were too big and I used this same technique to shrink them down a tad.

I think that every block from now on will go through this sizing & starching treatment.

I started with drawing 3 blocks on muslin that are 10 1/2″… my intended finished size for each block.  I used a fine sharpie marker and my 12 1/2″ square for this.   I started with using my regular sewing/glass head pins but then bought these 3/4″ applique pins with not much head to them.  (And I had the sore red fingertip to prove they don’t have much head!)  The muslin is secured to my ironing surface with strips of freezer paper — a brilliant idea from the videos.    Because I have a long ironing surface, I loved the idea K gave me of having 3 templates to work on at a time!  🙂

Here is one block centered on the drawn line.  It is just a bit shy of the intended size.

This block is lined up at the opposite corner with the drawn line.  The photo above shows how short it is of the intended size.  Wahhh!!!

And then I guess I quit taking photos!! 😦   I wet the block w/ a mister of water to help the fibers stretch.  Then I pinned one side along the intended line.  LOTS of pins!!

A bit more mist of water and then I worked to get the block to reach the opposite side.  I tended to work top and then bottom.  If needed, a bit more mist of water to get the sides pinned down.   I had to return to each side and repin to make sure the block stayed in place as I worked the other sides.  Once it was all stretched, I sprayed it well with starch.

I dried the block with my iron, sometimes just having the iron hover over a very wet block until it was a bit more dry and I could touch the iron to the block.  I dried it the best I could as the edges were hard to reach covered in pins.  I let the block sit like that to cool as I moved to work on another block.

When I went back to the first block, I could dry it more with the iron and then I took out one side of pins at a time and ironed the free side to complete the drying.  After all the pins were removed, I pressed it one more time.  I let it cool in place while I tended to other blocks in the process.  When the block was dry and cool, I removed it from the pressing table.

By this point the block was like cardstock.  Stiff as a board!!  🙂

I’ve assembled most of the quilt top now and it was so much easier to add sashing to all the blocks that were perfectly sized.  I love this!!

Here are the youtube links.  I’m not a big  fan of Sharon’s but this was great information!



Here is a photo of the blocks all laid out and some sashing sewn in.   Currently, I just have 3 rows to finish joining together and then I can add the 2 borders.   Excited!!  Maybe today.

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My Paphiopedilum

Do you know that word?  I’m trying to say it so this title is my practice and reminder of what variety I’m talking about.

It is pronounced: Paff-ee-oh-ped-di-lum.  And that is also posted here for practice.

Orchids.  🙂   This one is also known as Lady Slipper.   My plant has 4 HUGE blooms this year.  The book says they’ll last about 3 months.  They are as fresh & shiny as day 1.  They bloomed just after New Year’s.   The leaves are about 1″ wide… these blooms are about 4″ across.

This is one of the 3 plants that Phil’s uncle gave me for Christmas 2010.  I feel a tad “accomplished” that I got this one to bloom all by myself.  However, I do admit to two non-blooming plants.  :\

Paff-ee-oh-ped-di-lum.  Practice.  I need more.

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Birthday Buddies

My FIL and his best friend have shared a lot throughout their lives.  Their birthdays are only 6 weeks apart and right now we are just between them both turning 80 years old.

So… I talked with the other local daughter-in-law (Kris) and we planned a joint birthday party for them.  Both wives had told me that neither one wanted a party! Well, Kris & I figured we didn’t always have to listen to them anymore.  🙂    I had a wrong number for her so the planning had a late start.

But once I called the center back for rental space, the date that was open worked well for another sibling coming from a few hours away so all was fine.   Phil’s sister wasn’t able to make the long trip and neither was one of the sons from the other family.   We missed them and others asked about them but we totally understood!

I put this in the local paper for advertising.  We also sent invites to their churches.

It is times like this I really wish there were digital cameras back 80 years ago and we had photos of them playing together!

They attended the one-room school near here together.  Their family farms are just 1 mile apart, the way a crow flies.  As adults, they helped each other with farming back & forth.  They were in each other’s weddings.  And then they even had their heart surgeries 6 months apart!  They each needed different help but the buddy was a great chauffeur in those first few weeks of lots of check-ups and therapies.   Now they are walking buddies keeping each other in good health.  They live on the same road so have a system of meeting up and walking together.   Their friendship is quite cute and we thought it fitting that they commiserate over their birthdays together as well!

(We all think it helped the other swallow the party idea, knowing the buddy would be there too!)

I don’t have a number of how many showed up midst cold wind & drizzle but it had the men greeting visitors constantly for the whole 2 hours.  They loved it!!  🙂

(I was busy keeping the food table stocked but got in a bit of visiting as well.   But only this one photo during the party!)

Of course, I’m always happy for another photo of my kids!  K was just home for a bit that day but we all were so thrilled she had come.  And then I was glad to get a family photo by Phil’s cousin.

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Shoo Fly, Oh My!

After Christmas, I finished my quilt from Farm Fest and got it quilted.  It visited with my neighbor for a bit to get the binding hand sewn down.  I love having it near the couch on these cold winter nights as the flannel backing is sooo cozy!!

I’m excited to have this done!  The piecing got a bit tedious and boring so I took this to our sewing days in October, November, and December!  Whew!!  Now if we get a non-snowy weekend yet this month, I can start a new project!!  😉

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January Guild

I’ll try to catch you up a bit…. I’m surprised at how bothered I continue to be with my back.  It was a week on Wednesday and I’ve been to the chiropractor 3 times and today had my massage.  Tomorrow must be better!! 🙂

Monday night I helped with the guild program on how to take your quilt to your long-arm quilter.   I didn’t have anyone there to be my photographer but I do have some photos from show & tell.  (The guts of the program will be in my brochure and on my business site…. later.  🙂   Those were my thoughts to include there but I just hadn’t stopped to write it out!)  I feel like I made some good contacts as well.

I missed the whole story to this 1930’s quilt but somehow (easily) she got the top and then finished it.

Lynda had finished her Round Robin and I had helped on this one so it was great to see!

Ann completed these lovely trees!

The committee showed the group the completed raffle quilt so now the ticket committee can get to work!  Yeah – they loved it!!  🙂

IRL, I finished a customer quilt and the tshirt quilt is loaded.  I hope to get a lot of the quilting done on that this weekend.  We are forecast to get a LOAD of snow tomorrow so at least one day (probably Saturday too) will be good days at home.

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In between the stuff of life around here, I’m trying to get the tshirt quilt done.  My initial goal was to have the top all pieced by yesterday when my long-arm returned from a cleaning & oiling appointment.

I’m only this far —

I have this bottom corner to go yet and so far only have one partial seam!  🙂

In between Christmas & New Year’s we had new bedroom windows put in.  During part of that cleaning process (yes, Mom there IS carpet in my room!!  I found it!   😉  ), I found some of those 3′ sparklers hiding.   With our mild January days, JP lit them outside a few nights.  They’ve lost some umpf but are OK on a boring night.  Especially if you are a fire-bug.

Yesterday I brought home my machine from its spa days.  I was helping Phil carry it down to the studio and missed a step or stumbled or something.  😦   The machine is just fine as it was packed in the 3′ box with 6″ of molded styrofoam on every side.   Me, not so packed.

My right ankle turned and I sort of just crumbled with the machine in the middle and steps on the bottom.    Even my ears hurt last night.

I’m just home from the chiropractor this morning and even though it is only 18′ F outside, I have an ice pack on my back.  :\   Rest & ice and a return appointment on Saturday were the instructions.

So much for getting that quilt finished and loaded.  I’ll probably get in some more piecing later.

However, “Phil’s dog” (aka Nina) puked on the basement landing just before I headed to the chiro and he is not here to clean it up RIGHT. NOW.  This means the trip to the basement has lost a bit of appeal for the time being.   There is a newspaper cover in place.

Snow started about 6:30 a.m. (according to JP; I was still in bed!).  It is fine and light.  It is only sticking to the roads from the rest area on to the east.  How odd is that?  I’m staying in!

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After starching my myriad of fat quarters, yesterday I cut about 3 strips each (some only 2) and cut them into 2 1/2″ squares.  I had already numbered my diagram and counted that I need 522 squares.  🙂   I think I cut over 560 but didn’t count them as I went.  I have enough.

Today I pieced squares into strips and attached to the tshirts.  This is starting at the upper left corner.  There is another section that goes right below this of 4 shirts that I’m going to do next.  After a nap.  😉

See the small x fabric across the top, 3rd from the left?  That will be the outer border fabric.  And there is extra pink fabric if a narrow border is needed first.

Don’t forget to NOT let your iron touch these gooey designs.  😀



A 1/2 hr nap + 45 mins of sewing =

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I’ve been wanting to make a tshirt quilt for K for years and now need it for an example.  I’m not even sure it will end up at K’s anytime soon!  LOL!!  😉

Last week I sorted, interfaced, and trimmed shirts.  I found fabric I wanted to use online in lieu of an hour each way trip to peruse 4 “local” quilt shops.

Now I wish I would have taken a photo of the around 30 shirts in a BIG pile just taking up space and not being enjoyed.  You imagine that in your mind.

This collage shows some of the steps I take in getting the design to a size I can work with.

I make a master list of shirt designs (on some shirts I can use front and back and/or sleeve designs) with a color reference, the size and orientation of the final design, and a number.    I cut little templates and then glue them to a new page for how I’ll lay them out in the quilt.

Even tho I check my templates twice, I still laid the shirts out on the floor in about the same layout and checked that everything was oriented the correct way.

My favorite shirt of hers in this is the white VBS shirt.  It is signed by a lot of church friends, including JP.  So fun to save those memories!

The fill-in fabrics arrived on Tuesday instead of the estimated Thursday!  🙂  When does that ever happen?!

I HIGHLY recommend the pattern by Yellow Creek Quilt Designs if you want to make your own quilt.  Or if you don’t, you know you can contact me getting the quilt made.  🙂

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