At Plum Loco Ranch, Door County, WI.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Stash report - week 9

Greetings!  How has the weather been changing in your area of the world?!

I ask because here it started off sunny with a trip to the park playground, the first such trip in months.  Then it rained, a cold, bone-chilling rain.  Then it snowed a teensy bit.  Today we are supposed to hit 60 degrees once a another front passes through this afternoon.

All this up-ping and down-ing in the weather makes me want to move to the west side of Maui where it is dry for Hawaii, with beautiful views of the sun setting over the ocean.

The good news for the week is that I was busy, and the weather mercurial enough, that I stayed out of the quilt shops, both online and in my area.  Sew, I added nothing to my stash this week!

Another bit of good news - I entered the pillow contest at Sew Mama Sew!  Entering the contest isn't the good news - finishing a satisfyingly scrappy project, however, is.  There are lots of details about the scraps and new techniques I used in this post from Wednesday.

I love trying new things, besides patchwork techniques. Now that I've made quilts for most everyone I know that would like one, I enjoy doing the small projects that use some artful techniques.  Plus, being one of those people who stresses out with too many UFOs, PhDs or WIPs, it is refreshing to work on a project that allows me to see the light at the end of the tunnel as soon as I begin - and one that doesn't have me wrestling a 67x75 quilt through my machine for quilting.  And, the small projects allow me try new things quickly.  I can see myself having not a closet full of quilts, but a closet full of wall-hangings.

Sew, here's my report for this week - I figure the pillow used about a 1/4 yd for backing, binding, and muslin pillow form:

Used this Week:    0.25
Used year to Date: 8.375 (7 3/8)
Added this Week:  0
Added Year to Date:  21.5
Net Used for 2011:   -13.6255

Today I hope to finish quilting one side of a border and bind a quilt to finally get my first BIG finish of the year. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Head on over to Patchwork Times to see how everyone else is progressing on busting their stashes.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I tried something new...

In the midst of being busy and bringing more fabric into my stash, I decided to try a new technique.  Last fall author Ann Fahl talked to our guild about her fmq and, more interesting to me personally, her free motion embroidery.  This is how she embellishes her fusbile applique before quilting. 

Those of you who have visited my blog have seen my Be Merry BOM blocks (this post).  Several of those have fusible applique details.  When I saw Ann Fahl's free motion embroidery, I knew I needed to try it and use it on that quilt.

First things first....must read the book (from the county library) and practice the technique. Very handy for discovering what bobbin thread I liked best.

Also for trying the free motion zigzag - that is the black square - not looking so good.  Ann tells you to adjust your bobbin tension, but that is one part of my machine I do not touch.  Good thing the straight stitch works fine for my needs, huh?

The Sew Mama Sew blog is having a pillow contest this month, today is the entry deadline actually, it snuck up on me.  I was inspired to do a little pillow with a word that speaks to me - "OM."  It reminds me to be mindful (i.e. stop multitasking) and to live in the present.

How was I to stitch down that odd shape with it's gentle points? Free motion embroidery, of course.  For this project I bought a cheap plastic hoop at Hancock's, some purple Superior thread from my LQS, and some nonwoven interfacing to use as stabilizer at Joann's at 75% off (b/c I used the tiny piece left on the bolt).

All the rest are scraps from my batik Yellow Brick Road quilt that I call my Yoga quilt.  I call it that b/c I spent a lot of time selecting the 12 fats to use - they had to speak to me.  It was also the first quilt that I entirely fmq'd.

I also quilted OM in each corner of the border.  Can you see it?  My fmq skills aren't what I would like them to be so I tend to use thread that blends.

I've already made one matching pillow from the scraps but I didn't envelope it due to it's odd shape.

For this new one I also decided to use Julie Herman's basic pillow tutorial and bind it, to make it look sharp, since it is so small (just under 11" square).  I like the look, good way to practice binding.  And, also a first, I quilted the top to make the OM pop (and b/c Julie recommended it for binding!).

So, here it is...

I made my own pillow form - grabbed some muslin, cut two 11.5" squares and FI-NAL-LY used the scraps I started saving years ago to put into a pillow.
before (sorry about the sideways angle)
There are teeny slivers and selvages and larger, bit not large to use, pieces in the bag in addition to batting scraps.  These two bags were in the bottom of my closet.  There's a smaller bag sitting by my sewing table.

Do you see any difference in the before and after?  Not much - guess I need to make more pillows! Or bigger ones!!

A big thanks to my son for giving me about an hour yesterday afternoon to finish this up.  He watched PBS's Dinosaur Train on streaming Netflix while I bound and stuffed.  Then he jumped for the pillow and helped take these pictures.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Stash report - week 8: lots o' blocks!

Springtime has hit..................for a while anyway.
Reflecting pool at Missouri Botanical Garden from
 We had especially lovely days Wednesday through Friday which means that I didn't sew much.  My son went to preschool 4 mornings instead of 3 to make up for the bad weather. On his day off we went to the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Not a real tree, but his favorite spot in the climatron rain forest.
 Nothing was really growing yet, although the witch hazels were blooming and the daffodils were just peaking through the ground.  The novelty of being outdoors was enough to keep a 4 year old entertained.  We walked all the way around and played with puppets in the education center and read Dr. Seuss-style books about seeds and butterflies and fed fish food to the ducks and geese (still too cold for the koi to come up for food).

On the sewing side, things were rather unproductive.  I quilted some but not enough to finish a project. Still trying to figure out how I want to quilt a border.  Last night was "sew down" at my LQS and I got 5 blocks finished. 

These Hard Candy blocks are for my guild's charity committee.  Members can always donate finished quilts but we can also pick up blocks, or tops ready to be pieced, at meetings and bring them back.  An easy way to contribute.

This 12.5" Underground Railroad is also for the guild, for the Civil War BOM block exchange.

My biggest accomplishment last night was completing the  last block for the "Be Merry" Christmas BOM.  This star is 15.5" unfinished.  Now to the finishing kit, my favorite finishing kit ever, comprised of 8.5" plain blocks and double four patches!  Gotta love an easy finish.

One morning I pieced the first of five sections of my Turkish Delight BOM and took it my LQS Marti & Me club for show and tell.  I will be using Marti's Machine Quilting in Sections book to complete this one. This is my first BOM, did it right after I learned to machine piece, particularly strip piecing. 
That tag in the upper left notes which section this is so I don't get them mixed up later.
 The big story on this quilt is that the setting kit was comprised of 68 10.5" log cabin blocks!  That is a daunting number and it took me about at least 6 months just to start cutting and sewing them.  Took me another year to get them done - not b/c they're hard - b/c it's so monotonous!  One of these days I'll devote a post to all my log cabins.

Here's my Civil War fabric order that came in.  Boy! do I love getting fabric in the mail.  There are 6 half yard cuts of Jo Morton and Judie Rothermel.  I ordered from Stitch-n-Frame's winter clearance and even with shipping I got a great prices for 3 total yards. are the numbers:
Used this Week:    0
Used year to Date: 8.125 (7 1/8)
Added this Week:  3
Added Year to Date:  21.5
Net Used for 2011:   -13.375

How did I add 21.5 yds to my stash in less than 2 months?! Aye, aye, aye!!

Head on over to Patchwork Times to see everyone else's stash busting progress.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stash Report #7

 I fell off the wagon this week.

First, I took my 4 yr old to the quilt shop with me to deliver the tulip purse sample.  The last few times he was there he hadn't wanted any fabric.  Well, he wanted a purse like the one I had made.  Sew, I asked him if he'd like a backpack (picturing Daddy's face in my mind during this conversation - LOL) - and he said "OK." 

Sew, my LQS owner hopped onto Moda Bakeshop and got the requirements for the backpack.  We needed 1.5 yds and he picked out Cat in the Hat, which has been in the shop for some time, surprised it took him so long.

He also picked a half yard of soccer fabric - no idea what this will be, but there was no talking him out of it!

For a 4 yr old boy I felt the coordinating red was a little girly...but maybe baby-ish?  Well, I have some black at home we can use for the straps, etc. I can put red pockets on the inside.  However, I did not have enough black and Hancock's had a 50% off coupon this weekend, sew, I bought 2 yds of black.

I've become very picky about buying fabric at the box stores but $3.49/yd for a Kona solid isn't bad.  That's the same price as Connecting Threads without the shipping charge.  Does anyone out there know - is this related to the Kaufmann Kona solids?  The bolts do not say "Robert Kaufmann."  Is it specially marketed to the box stores?  The box stores have a better selection of solids than almost any quilt shop I've been in, except, Hancock's of Paducah, and I find it difficult to choose a solid online - need to SEE it myself. Although, I did get charms of the Connecting Threads solids, mirages, and batiks to help in ordering colors.

You know how we all plan about 10 quilts while we work on one (or 17)?  Well, I've decided to make a quilt for my former boss's retirement in November.  He's a hippie from the '70's - and he tends to like modern and simple designs.  When he bought his first house he had all the walls painted gray.  Sew, I had to buy some solid gray. Online, I was leaning toward the Kona ash but in the store I saw grey, a little darker, a little more intense. So out came the 2nd coupon from Hancocks for 50% off a cut of fabric and home came 3 yds of grey.  I'm thinking about making this simple Spinning Coins top in batiks, greens and blues with a little brown or black thrown in.

What have I done this week?  Not much. This seemed to be a week of running errands in my free time.  I made it to the gym 3 days -- woo hoo!  In the evenings I cut a few scraps from the tulip purses into various sizes of squares following advice from blogland about cutting those scraps into usable pieces now that I can pull out later for  leader/ender projects.  I have been reusing some plastics for this.

Another evening I made the January block from our guild's BOM.  We are doing a Civil War theme this year which has me buying more fabric online as my close LQS's don't carry much, if any. I'd rather spend my time on other things than driving an hour to get to a shop that might have some fabric I like only to spend 15 minutes there and head home again. Yes, when I'm on a mission, I don't dilly dally, I know what I want and I know my budget and I'm not easily swayed for impulse buys. It's worth the shipping costs!

Back to the block, the directions are for 12" finished blocks.  I have enough big projects so I decided I'd make a wall hanging with 6" blocks, all seams pressed open.  We'll see how many patterns I may have to substitute to avoid working with 1/2" squares!  This one wasn't bad as it called for strip piecing the 1.5" squares in the four patches.  I may make another when I get some more fabric as I'm not satisfied with the contrast between the brown paisley and the background - I like a lot of contrast in my quilts.

Oh - and in working on this it was very handing using the Block Fab free app for my iPod.   It doesn't have tons of blocks in its library but for the ones it does have it allows the user to change the dimensions.  It then provides the yardage and piecing requirements.  Very handy.

I haven't quilted a stitch this week.  I like to use Warm & Natural b/c it gives me the option to quilt up to 10" apart.  The Hobbs 80/20 gives the option of 4" apart.  This is a difference that I forgot about when my LA'er asked me if Hobbs was ok with me. Well, usually I like close quilting but with 3 quilts in the queue, and a simple piecing design on the one currently "under the needle," I was hoping to do minimal quilting.  Next time I take my quilts to be basted, I will take some Warm & Natural.

I did get some silicone spray and some Sullivan's basting spray, also with a Hancocks coupon for $7 and change.  The June Tailor spray at Joann's does not work on batting that isn't 100% cotton and alot of my batt scraps that I want to use are 80/20 or poly.  I used the Sullivan's to help make a button - boy! is that stuff sticky!

I'm anxious to try the silicone to see if it eliminates the drag on the vinyl sheet that's over my sewing machine bed and cabinet. The cabinet is electronic put has a large opening to fit practically any machine.  To cover some of the space I placed a sheet of vinyl over the bed and cut a hole for the feed dogs.  It helped but there is still some drag during FMQ.

Here are my numbers this week....not counting the Civil War fabric order that shipped Thursday.

Used this Week:    0
Used year to Date: 8.125 (7 1/8)
Added this Week:  7
Added Year to Date:  18.5
Net Used for 2011:   -10.375

Head on over to Patchwork Times to see everyone else's stash busting progress.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stash Report - week 6

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!

 I am married to a NFL fanatic!  We have "the Ticket" and most Sunday afternoons around our house for 16 weeks are quite restful: TV, food on trays, even some sewing - all very low key.  Today it all ends - we have to fill that time.  Not too hard once the weather gets warm but it is tough for the month of February.  DH even goes through some withdrawal - I catch him watching arena football - LOL!

Are you heading off to a special day at your LQS?  Or, are you going to a party later?  I am going shopping at an LQS that I've not visited before to get some Civil War (CW) fabric.  Our guild is having a CW BOM with a kicker - we can put our block, done in CW fabrics, into the pool and we'll have a drawing to win all the blocks - cool. I think I might make two blocks - one 12.5" block for the pool and one 6.5" block for me.  I have enough bed size quilts to quilt (and not enough time). 

On to the stash....
I've not completed a project this week, well, one sample.  I've been working on quilting a lap quilt that my long armer basted for me back in November. I had SID'd it but need to finish it up.

This is the sample for my LQS.  It is a petite Tulip Purse, one size smaller than the two I completed last week at retreat (this post).  As you can see, I need to topstitch and it is done.  I took out one seam last night, the stitches were very irregular and it was 10PM - much too late for me after a long day.
My LQS owner wanted a purse to kit that would appeal to little girls.  'Tis the season for hearts!

This is the first time I've used the button cover kit.  Any tips for getting all that fabric inside the button.  See those little tips sticking out? Arggh!

With all the cold and snow, my son has been doing crafty projects.  My last two trips to Joann's have been for tacky glue and felt.  Here's a project from
Sorry he's sideways, but you get the idea.

It would be easier for me to sew this than to glue it but DS likes to use the glue and then he can say that HE did it.

My report increases and decreases by one yard, for the tulip purse sample, so the net remains the same.  A rather unexciting week for the numbers.  Just wait til I go shopping....

Used this Week: 3.375   (2 3/8 yds)
Used year to Date: 8.125 (7 1/8)
Added this Week: 1
Added Year to Date:  11.5
Net Used for 2011:  -3.375

Head on over to Patchwork Times to see everyone else's stash busting progress.

*Note: I changed the comment settings so anyone can drop me a line.  I apologize if you've tried to comment before - didn't realize it was set for "members."

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Snowed in

Actually, atm, we are sleeted in.  We are very near the line between ice/sleet and the prediction of 12-24 inches of snow.  Our morning news said there were over 1000 closings reported.

This was about 1PM - this is not snow.  It's all sleet with a little bit of ice under it.  Now after 5PM we are starting to get some snow.

Illinois's and Missouri's governors called out the National Guard for this storm.  So far, I don't think they've been utilized for any big rescues.  I-70 is closed from west of St. Louis through much of mid-Missouri.  WOW!  That's the path of heavy snowfall and white out conditions, a bit northwest of us.

Everyone had plenty of notice for this storm so we're all stocked up and haven't even ventured outside today.  Very happy that we still have electricity.  To celebrate I mixed up some hot chocolate from this recipe. Yum!