Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Prismatic Star--A New Project!

Because the first thing you want to do when you finish one big project is start another one, right? Actually, I started prepping this one a little while ago. Judy Niemeyer had the sample and pattern at Asilomar and did a demo of the cutting and piecing involved. Well... I bit. 

I tried several different combinations of fabrics, but these were the final choice. The lime green with pink Queen Anne's Lace flowers will be the background--the rose-colored part you see on the pattern. I hope this will work out the way I'm visualizing it! 

And...back to wonky editing/uploading features! Guess this post is going to be text on top, pictures below. Not much to explain, really--the two bottom pictues show the cutting and prepping involved and the bottom picture is the first four diamond sets. Each set of 8 fabrics will make 4 "star segments." I've made Lone Star quilts before and, although they're a bit finicky, I really love the look  

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hosta Progress--Oh Yeah!!

Well--it's done. The top of my Fire Island Hosta has been finished. A few "minor details" like getting it quilted, and then it will really truly be a quilt. 

Here she is having a photo session on the grass--we had to weight the corners down with rocks, because it was breezy today! Anne came over to sew--and she was really productive, too, maybe she'll revive her blog and post a few pictures? It's always fun to have a friend to sew with. She's much more encouraging to sew with than Shyla!

The next series of pictures are in-progress shots. Because I'm still wrangling with the various Blogger programs, I think I'll just caption them instead of writing a whole lot. Besides, the top is done now, so it's not that thrilling to see how it got there. Is it?

Testing out the layout
After sewing all the curves, these sectioins need to be joined

Testing the way the corners will line up. Surprise--they match!

Curves sewn to curves sewn to curves!

I don't usually use this many pins to sew a curve, but I was nervous!

Stacking them up as they're sewn in.

Laying out all the components, ready to start sewing the-gulp!-curves!

Some lefts, some rights, and I don't want to mix them up!
Well, that's it for now! Of course I have something else in the pipeline--I'm afraid I suffer from ADOS* when it comes to quilts!
*ADOS--Attention Deficit Oooh Shiny! 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Jumping Jax Flash

Finished the top of the Jumping Jax Flash quilt! This was started at Asilomar in an Empty Spools seminar with Judy Niemeyer in February of 2014. That was an intense week of sewing, and when I came back I paused to work on the Pinwheels for a little while as a change of pace. Suuuure. As you may have read elsewhere on the blog, I did manage to finish all 6 of the Pinwheel tops and sent them all off for quilting.

That would have been fine except that I sent them in batches, so the first ones were home before the others had even left--meaning it was time to bind them and start sending them off to their new homes! In the meantime I also managed to herniate another disk--or maybe two--a very unpleasant pastime and one I do not recommend. Spinal surgery is never fun and do you know, when they say don't lift anything heavier than 5 lbs, well, a big quilt weighs more than that. Makes it hard to sew binding when you can't lift the quilt!

Now that I'm 4 months post-surgery and on into PT, I'm able to do a little more all the time. Standing up is still an issue so sewing sitting down is a good thing. I did fine at Asilomar this year, thanks to frequent rest breaks and their efficient jitney service. 

Ironing while sitting on a stool isn't the easiest thing, but it does save the back!

So here are a few more views. This quilt was all done with stash fabrics. The turquoise background is all the same even though there's quite a few areas that are purple! Cutting it up emphazies different parts of the whole fabric.

Next step will be quilting it. I have a print fabric for the back that has echoes of the same stars, and the batting as well. I do plan to quilt this one myself. With all the seams and centers, I think it could be a longarmer's nightmare, and I enjoy machine quilting so it will be fun.

I'm looking forward to making the stars pop and minimizing some of the seam lines. You can see in the shot on the ironing board how the border spikes are joined to the body, and in the photos where the border is sewn on, there's almost a line. The border, by the way, is the same fabric as the border spikes--again, a lot of different colored areas in the one piece of batik. One of the things I love about batiks is all the variation in color!

Took the quilt top out onto the lawn for a final "beauty shot" since I don't really have a big enough space inside!

Yes, the grass is brown. We're in a severe drought situation here so there's not much lawn watering going on.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Fire Island Hosta at Asilomar

Second installment of the great blogging experiment! Here are a few pictures I took while I was at Asilomar this year for Empty Spools Seminars' Sessions I and II. 

Looking out of the window of the classroom, there are usually a few friends coming by for breakfast or their afternoon snack. 
And the views on the walk down to meals is spectacular.

Oh, did you want to see progress on the quilt? Okay!  This picture was taken after I got home, but the basic setup is the same as I had at Asilomar. Louise and I worked at adjacent tables with this folding mat/pressing surface between us. She'd set up her mat on the other side, so we each had our own cutting mat and we could share the iron and ironing board. Note that I keep all my cut-off pieces in a bag. Both in our class and at home, we "know people" who use these trimmings as stuffing for pet mats for shelter animals. I also use a big glass punchbowl on my dining room table to catch trimmings when I'm cutting out a project.

Have I mentioned how much I love my fabrics? Well, I'm really in love with the colors and patterns of these batiks.  The butterflies don't really show up but I like the effect anyway. These colors are hard to photograph accurately--on real life they are closer in color than they seem here.

The reddish purples only appear in this set of borders;  the second set of swag borders is dark green and pale pale blue. This photo shows the front and back of one of the swag units. The finished piece looks much less complicated than the foundation paper!

And here's the center of the top, laid out on my bed at home. It's a queen size quilt (duh, yes, it's the Fire Island Hosta Queen!) and this is a preview of how it will fit on the bed.

Next step will be to attach the swags and border pieces. Lots and lots of curved piecing involved. Look for another installment of this quilt soon--I'm really motivated to work on it!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Pinwheel Progress--Another One Goes Home!

Things are a bit discombobulated over here in Trying-To-Blog Land. Since I don't like presenting you with a wall o' text, I do like to include pictures! However, I've kind of changed my picture-taking habits, and that's the problem.

You see, taking pictures on my camera is a several-step process--take picture, upload to computer (or iPad), insert in blog.  That also includes finding the right cable connection for that particular camera, and assumes the computer is feeling up to making the effort. Which, it must be said, it isn't often.

Easier by far to take the pictures with the phone--but so far I haven't found an app that works very well for writing the text.

So I'm experimenting with uploading the pictures from the phone to one of the apps, then finishing up by adding the text on the computer.

So here's the latest installment/update on the saga of the multiple Pinwheels.

Number Four has gone home. Had a nice ride in the back of the minivan!

Here's a closer look at it. This is the one with the green backing.

The blue-backed one is now being bound. Lots of help from Shyla on this one!

Okay, going to hit publish on this installment and let's see how it looks!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mysteries Revealed

Catching up on the last few weeks of quilting activity! I believe when I last left off I was working on the Quiltville Mystery Quilt, Grand Illusion.

Shyla supervises
Well, some of my quilting friends decided against doing that one because it had 280 half-square triangles in the first clue.

So they picked out another one--whose first clue included over 1000 squares cut at 1.5'. Oh yes, much much better.

Not. And I wasn't going to do that one, no way. By the way, you can find Flowers in My Windows over here.

But then I got caught up on the Grand Illusion clues, and (erroneously as it turned out) thought that, since clues were released on Friday, the last clue would come out on the day after New Year's Day.

Under those circumstances, of course it made sense to join in the New Year's Eve Mystery Quilt too.


I mean, I had some great fabrics in a tub--a wonderful deep red, with a Hoffman floral and some white that all went together. A little math (danger, danger...)  and I strip-pieced the little 9 and 4 patches called for. So technically I avoided those 1000 little squares, right?

Jumping ahead a bit, here's our fraternal triplets. All the same pattern, but what a different effect from the  colors we chose!

Anne picked a white background and  used scrappy purples and greens for hers.

It's light and bright and very springtime. She decided--through a series of choices that almost rivals my pinwheel saga--to make 12 blocks instead of 9. This would have been a good choice except for one thing:

she forgot that she'd need an extra row of sashing. That meant a whole lot more itty bitty 4- and 9-patches.

Fortunately, she doesn't curse. Much, anyway.

Here's a closeup of my red one. The print matches better in "real life" and the red isn't quite as burgundy as this photo.

Red is notoriously hard to photograph, especially in artifical light.

I just need to put a border around the edge and it will be ready to send off for quilting as soon as its backing gets here. I had something that would "do" but the quilt is too pretty to just slap any old back onto.

Ethel really likes orange and the brown/warm side of the color wheel. So she also raided her stash and came up with this great orange-coral-salmon color.

Her "windows" have a cute print of little dresses.

Anyway, I was glad I was able to get all three of these quilts together for a "family portrait" before they go their separate ways!

So what about the Grand Illusion, you may ask.
Well, as a matter of fact, it's coming right along.

Here's the first block (of 25) pieced and pressed.

The last clue was released early, so I got to see lots of pictures of the finished blocks and even some quilts long before I expected to. I have to admit that my first reaction was to be a little disappointed. Some of the versions have a very strong buzz-saw look to them, and I'm not fond of buzz-saw looking paterns. I have the same problem with the Pineapple quilts--some of them look very angry and have lots of vicious teeth!

But, just as color choices can soften a pineapple, so can they soften this pattern.

While working on the red quilt, I had time to see lots more Grand Illusions, and I began to warm up to the pattern. Now that I'm assembling it, I am even happier with my choice of colors and fabrics. The 30s prints are much softer and I like having the same white and only 2 different blacks--which are really similar anyway.

The pattern is meticulously drafted and goes together like a dream, so I would highly recommend it if you're looking for a great scrappy pattern. Bonnie Hunter is a wonderful designer and teacher!

Grand Illusion will be available on her website till June, when it will be "retired" until it comes out in a book or as a separate pattern.

I'm hoping to be able to post more progress pictures soon! However as the next two photos show, I do have something else to do sometimes.

Listening to Audrey read, and having Abby tell me about her favorite books!

Pinwheels to bind

Last but certainly not least, the final four Pinwheels have come home from the quilters and are ready for their binding. The first two are headed out shortly for their new homes in Connecticut and Colorado, two places that can probably use a nice warm springy-looking quilt!
I can't believe these have gotten this far... I'm not even remembering when I started them, though I know I could look it up.
And in the meantime, Anna has found a wonderful pattern and I'm almost convinced that I need to do it too...

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A finish! Two Pinwheel Stars Done

One thing about getting quilts done in groups is that when the finish line approaches, it's very satisfying to knock out a couple of finishes very quickly!

That's the story with the first two of the Pinwheel Stars. If you've been following this saga for the last couple of years, you'll know that my desire to make one--ONE!--of these sent me down the slippery slope that eventually ended with a total of SIX quilts.

Moving put quite a crimp into my production on these. Hard to sew when everything is packed up so the house looks pristine to show and, hopefully, sell.

That was an adventure I'm not eager to repeat any time soon. Yes, the outcome was great, but it required a Iot of work especially from my kids. But I've told that story before, too.

Slowly over the last year, I've been able to get my sewing room up and functioning (with a LOT of help!) and I did get all six tops done.

Took me a while longer to get them all bordered so when these two were done, I sent them off to the longarmers.

More delays due to back issues, but before my surgery was scheduled I was able to get borders on the last four and get them sent off as well.
The first two came back before surgery, so I was able to get the first step of the binding done on them. Now that I'm home and convalescing, I've been able to finish the hand stitching on both of these.

One has blue backing fabric and is quilted with flowers and leaves, a design I think looks good with the 30s prints in the front.
This one has a piano-key border, which seemed like a really good idea for using up scraps. It's a lot of sewing!

The second one has a border of Flying Geese units. This was inspired by a quilt I had on my bed at the time, a Storm at Sea with geese around the edge.

The quilting on this one is a stylized lily, which I like well enough to have requested it for the other 4.

So now I'm just waiting for the other 4 to come home. In the meantime, of course I've continued working on a couple of other projects and started a new one. You can read my posts about the Mystery Quilt to see more of that--it's using up some more of my 30s fabrics.

I think I have enough to make a couple more quilts.. Oh dear.

At least my roster of finishes for the year has grown by two more. Not too bad considering that this year was a super busy one!