Monday, April 20, 2009

I Admit It....

I've been stalling, or at least uninspired. I have 5 quilts that have to be done this year as gifts, and several more that I'd like to see at least started.

I picked patterns for a few of them, made templates for one, printed triangle paper for two more, but still, they sat. My desire to finish the ring quilt, and my lack of enthusiasm for the new projects, prevented me from starting them, and distractions have made the last border of the ring quilt take a lot longer than I'd have liked.'s done. Finally. And with the finishing of it Saturday night came a very welcome surge of energy for the new projects. The quilt is so big, I don't have anywhere in my house big enough to get far enough away to photograph the whole thing...and it's too wet to take pictures outside. Here is a stretched out view, such as it is.
Below is a view of the border motifs.

And here it is draped over my little couch by the window.
I spent my free time on Sunday pinning fabric to triangle paper for part of Marshall's quilt (I'm hoping to buy at least one more of the needed fabrics this week) and for one of my nieces' quilts. The pattern I said was Emma's quilt has changed as I didn't have enough of the background fabric I pulled for the whole thing. As I chose new fabrics, the new choices seemed to fit Katie more, so it has become hers and I have to choose a new pattern for Emma.

The triangle paper is pinned for Katie's quilt, and I've cut the larger 1/2 square triangles and pinned them together.

I had a nice stack of sewing waiting by machine this morning.
As Rachel and I decided to watch a movie after her Bible study, I really didn't want to start the machine work yesterday because I couldn't to it and watch the movie at the same time. Instead, I got the freezer paper templates all marked for Debbie's quilt (my sister-in-law) and I cut that out while we watched the movie. These are the stems and leaves that are cut from freezer paper, the green fabric is what they will be made of.
When my husband has to go to bed earlier than I can fall asleep, I make a late night out of it if I'm able. Last night, after watching "No Reservations" with Rachel, Lucas, and Ruthie, both Lucas and Rachel went to bed, but Miss Ruth was still raring to go. We settled in to watch "27 Dresses" and about midway I looked over to see this...
On today's agenda is the stack of sewing by my machine, then cutting apart the triangle paper pieces and maybe even pressing them and pinning them for the next step.

The quilt that weighs heaviest on my mind at the moment is Marshall's as I'd really like to have it finished by his party, which is on May 23rd. I'm hoping to get both the red and the border fabrics on Thursday, the batting next week and be basting the weekend of the first. That will give me 3 weeks to quilt it.

Once that one is done, I can breathe easier as the other 4 are all for Christmas. While I'd still like to work my way through them and be done by the end of September, only time will tell if that is a realistic goal.

I also really want to spend some time on the posy and celtic as I'd love to be basting that on hunting weekend, which is the weekend before Thanksgiving. I still have to secure the second side of several sections of the applique and need to get fabric to make more bias for the border design. It may be hard to find the combination of colors I'd like to see in one fabric, so that's an unknown at the moment.

Ruthie came downstairs a little while ago in this getup, she was in Rachel's room and got into some of her accessories.
While waiting for pictures to load, I've been able to get some of the sewing done, so the pieces for Marshall's quilt are sewn now. We have sports fever in our house these days, with both the Bulls and Blackhawks in the playoffs in addition to our baseball addiction. Tonight will be spent in some combination of machine sewing, unpinning, perhaps repinning, pressing fabric to freezer paper and cutting for yo-yos while watching first the Bulls, then the Blackhawks both go for wins in their games.
Time to get to it!
Happy Quilting,

Saturday, April 4, 2009

What Have I Done!

I will be quilting my fingers off this year. While the list is daunting, even for me, I'm really excited about it and feel really challenged.

The bad news is that the flying geese quilt will not be the next in the hoop. I'm disappointed about that, but with the addition of a graduation quilt to my list, the money for batting for the geese quilt needs to go towards fabric for Marshall's graduation quilt. Marshall is Rachel's boyfriend, they've been dating for nearly a year now and he has given her a beautiful emerald promise ring. He's very likely going to school only about an hour or so away, which will make weekend visits possible and I'm sure they'll be on the phone for at least a few minutes each day. It dawned on me just the other day that we will be invited to his graduation party. We really can't afford to give cash for a gift but a quilt for his dorm room should fit the bill. Rachel talked to his mom on the sly to make sure they didn't already have a plan for his bedding and I was given the go ahead. It is now about 2 months until the graduation and I don't even have the fabric, nor can I get it for a couple of weeks. It's an easy pattern, though, so still doable (except it will have to be set aside when he's here, LOL) and if all else fails I can wrap it undone and take it back to finish as he won't be needing it until August.
This pattern will actually be made twice this year, once for Marshall, in red, black and white and once for my niece, in mauve, peach, and aqua with a small print background. I have triangle paper printed for both quilts and plan to cut fabric for Emma's today. I was able to pull from my stash, so hers will be started first, though the piecing on this one will be set aside if it's not finished before getting fabric for Marshall's.

While thinking of the strip block shade for my sewing room, I decided to go ahead and print foundation blocks for the quilt to go on the couch by the window. I made the blocks a little smaller for this one to make better use of the scraps and it will take 256 blocks to make the size I want. This will most definitely be an "I need a break day" project or something to work on if I'm at an impasse on everything else...which isn't too likely. I can't help but keep one of these in progress, it helps to keep my scraps under control and allows me some mindless busy work if I need it.
This is the pattern piece for the shade for our bedroom. This, unfortunately, will be a back burner project. I was really hoping to have it done by the end of this year, that will depend very much on how everything else goes. If some of these projects that need to be done go more quickly than I anticipate, then there still might be time. With warmer weather coming and Ruthie loving the outdoors, that will eat into my sewing time, though I've thought about bringing my machine out to the picnic table, and of course I can hand quilt outside if it's not too hot or windy. This pattern was a pain to enlarge, I don't draw well freehand at all, so I used our business copier and enlarged it in small bits and then pieced it together like a puzzle. It was a challenge, but actually quite fun to do. At the end of each calyx is a folded 3D rosebud. I'm really looking forward to this one, and am still trying to figure out what to do for the cornice cover.

Here's the recap of work for this year.
Have to do:
Marshall's quilt, which I really hope will be done by the end of May
Brother in law's quilt, for Christmas
Sister in law's quilt, for Christmas
Quilts for 2 nieces, also for Christmas

Want to do:
Roman shade for sewing room
Roman shade for our bedroom
Cornice covers for both shades
Finish applique sashing and border on posy and celtic quilt

My tentative plan for hunting weekend this year is basting several quilts. The posy and celtic if it's ready, the flying geese quilt and at least 2 more tops in my pile.

Today, something very unusual is happening. For about 2 hours, I will be alone in my house. My husband is taking Lucas and Ruthie to a movie (Ruthie's first time to a movie theater), Rebekah is working and the other kids are at a youth conference. I plan to pop some popcorn, put on a movie and quilt the whole time they are gone.

I'm finally on the borders of this one. The one inch border just got a quilting line 1/4" from each side. The floral border has hearts in it, I'm just about to turn the corner and then one side of those is left. The outer border has the flower/leaf unit from the ring blocks and the flower worked into a feather motif going around the quilt. I can't wait to get to that outer border, which is being quilted in pink thread and as each is finished I know that I'm that much closer to being done with this quilt! The binding is made and waiting and my machine is set up and ready to go.

Speaking of my machine, I've switched for a while to the Featherweight, for a few reasons. One is that I was pretty discouraged when the reverse lever BROKE OFF of my regular machine. I don't use it very often as I mostly piece quilts with it, but it made me sad nonetheless. Another is that I have more bobbins for my Featherweight than for my White and the bobbins actually hold more thread. With all of the sewing I have to do this year, having to stop fewer times to change bobbins or thread them all up again will be nice. The fact that it's a smaller machine is also nice as I can sew and still chat with the kids, my husband, or friends without feeling like I'm hidden behind my machine. It also makes the table look less crowded so I don't mind it sitting there when not in use and it's really nice to be able to sit and sew a few seams if I find myself with unexpected spare minutes.

Ruthie's hair is nearly always in a pony tail, but last Sunday I left it down and curled it with a curling iron. It was adorable and she looked so much older in her tiny little body! Potty training is going well, she still has accidents but overall I'm very pleased with how well she's doing. We've graduated to pullups at night and when out, so no more diapers!
And here she is with the ever present ponytail. Her speech is also improving immensely, she's adding new words all the time and the "old words" are becoming clearer. She is walking faster and beginning to run, can walk (rather than scoot) down the stairs, and is taking in everything around her. I'm so glad the other kids are such good examples for her, because she mimics so much of what she sees.

I'm really hoping to have the hearts done before my moviegoers leave so I can spend the time they are gone working on that outer border. I'd better scoot! Have a great day and
Happy Quilting!