Friday, January 28, 2011

Winter but not Christmas

So there are a few decorations that go out with the Christmas things that stay around because they are winter, not Christmas. This for example. They sit in the corner of the vanity in the bathroom next to the flag room until March or April or so. That works, right? We used to move around very very frequently. Like every year or two. A good way to keep the pack rat tendencies under control. But we have been in this house 7.5 years and 13 in the one before that. That means too much stuff! Our neighbourhood has 2 garage sales every year and we have decided to participate in the one that is coming in April so I was in the flag room hunting garage sale items and look what I found. Oops, never got put away.
But that's not the worst thing. A week or two ago my eye just caught this candle. That is not where it belongs but other than noticing it I did nothing further.
Then a day or two ago I noticed this Christmas tree hiding in plain sight! It has managed to escape me for an entire month! It is sitting in the holder where that misplaced candle belongs!
That's better, this is how it is supposed to look. I am not much of a candle person but my daughter gave me these a few years ago and I love the candle holders and the candles are okay, too. Since I don't burn candles they should look just like this forever. Ahem, except for the occasional errant Christmas tree...
On the quilting front I finally got these pinwheels made properly and I really like them. I must say though that the gremlins were still with me for a while as I sewed many of the right angles together with the solid on the wrong side! Must remember to always keep the same fabric on top! So these are really hard fought pinwheels.
And then I managed to get the rest of the top together. Here is the way the kit was supposed to look.
And here is mine. I substituted another row of the big house print fabric for the appliqued row and then did some extra rows of the hour glass blocks. I still don't like alot of these individual fabrics but the top is nice now that it is all together. I am even dealing with the blue border as it has alot of grey tone to it. It's a little too tall for my design floor but you get the idea.
So now I am off to use up my last package of precuts -- the Deb Strain fall set. Soon I will have to make myself do another backing and borders day and get to pinning some of these together so I can get them quilted. The tops are starting to get out of control!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Some days nothing goes right

Or some weeks, or even some months. One month into retirement and let me tell you it has not gone well. Both Mr THQ and I have been sick. Now I must tell you that in all the years I was surrounded by people who were sick or had sick kids, I maybe caught something once every 5 or 6 years. Now that I am not surrounded by them, poof, a cold like thing that will not go away. What's up with that?

I have been sewing some though, and even taking pictures, just not getting them to the blog. So let's start with my most recent mess up in the sewing department. I had decided to clean up some pre-cuts and kits that were sitting around and this experience has made me appreciate just plain stash even more. You know I am not a big fan of pre-cuts and kits and recent experiences have not changed my mind.

When I saw the picture of this quilt in a magazine I fell in love. Finally found the kit at a price I could handle and ordered it. There is always a little pressure with kits, isn't there, about not making any mistakes because you don't have enough fabric to fix it. So what do I do right off? Sew the triangles togethter WRONG! If you look closely at the picture you can see I should have sewn the straight sides together, not the long sides. Grrr.
So the options are to take all of those apart, which will be very time consuming plus I will stretch the bias all out of whack. But since I had already decided that I was going to do something other than those applique blocks in the center row I had enough fabric to just recut and start again. Now I have some nice triangles for something else. Right?
Despite how much I love this quilt I just don't like the fabric that goes into it very much. I hope I like it better when it is finished. Oh, and the directions tell you to cut the two house fabrics lengthwise! But the pattern goes crosswise. I promise you I am not reading that wrong. Honest! Of course, I did it crosswise and had plenty to replace that middle with another of the large house sections if that is what I decide to do.
So in my quest to clean out kits I found this one that I bought many years ago at a quilt show to make this runner. I don't think that is what I am going to do, now, though. I think I have enough Christmas runners. I am busily trying to convince myself to just add these nice Thimbleberries fabric to my stash. There's nothing wrong with that, now is there? Why does it seem wrong?
Here is another kit from the ancient past. A bunch of friends and I went on a "shop hop" in the SW Idaho, eastern Oregon region and this kit for the border of this pattern came home with me. I just dug through all my scraps to find big enough pieces for the leaves. Time to get this one put together, too. It has 64 leaves and I want them to all be different so it will take some stash digging too for sure.
Away from th kits for a minute -- here is a fabric audition. I have had this Thimbleblossoms pattern for a while and at first had auditioned many fabrics with kind of a solid or light print in the middle like in the picture but was never happy. I realized when putting together the blocks from work that this flower fabric makes me really happy so I am thinking of using it as the center. What do you think? I have to contemplate it for a while,
Here is a quickie I did from a layer cake. It is Bliss. I bought it as a deal of the day from the Missouri Quilt Co. One thing about layer cakes, is they do go together quickly.
The biggest problem with pre-cuts is I usually only like some of the fabrics. For example, I love the two pieces here. Red and green are favourites of mine.
And I love this green floral. I might have bought these fabrics on their own. But I do not really like the aqua and white dot above or the aqua and green dot below. And I really am not fond of the red and aqua combination at all. I know it is popular now and even appears in Christmas fabrics. It does remind me of the '50's, but not in a good way!
Here is one I did with a charm pack of French General fabric, again a deal of the day. I am not sure why I even bought this one -- okay, yes, price, but other than that I am not sure. I really don't like the colours at all. This is the same pattern as the layer cake, just to scale. The shades of blue, red, and brown are really a little different in this fabric and I don't know if I like anything from my stash as borders. This really needs borders. I don't want to buy anything to go with though. I have one more charm pack of a Deb Strain fall collection and then I am swearing off pre-cuts forever!
Okay, let's move on to fabric I love. And back to the Buggy Barn Quilter's Village pattern. I did finish the top. This little flower is one of the fabrics in it and I decided I love, love, love it. Of course I used virtually all of it up. The selvedge said it was a Maywood Studios fabric, but of course, no collection information. So I went out to to search. You have used that, haven't you? Of course, the big issue then is how to look. So I entered in "Maywood Studio". 54 pages came up. I carefully scrutinized each one and along about page 45 I found it! Little Lulu it is called so I ordered some from the only shop that listed it. It's in Bozeman so it should show up pretty soon. Don't you just love it? The red is a little odd but in a good way. Kind of a happy little flower.

So, as I said, I did finish the village top. Here is the funky churndash set of blocks.
And here is the set of pinwheels. For some reason these all came out short on the quilt block side. So I had to dig through my scraps and luckily found some of all of them. I just added a strip on the bottom of each of the quilt block sides. I didn't want to have to cut all the blocks this short. I don't know how this happened but if you don't tell no one will know.
Here is the last set, the heart blocks. They were easy and fun.
So the pattern called for black sashing between the rows. I didn't think the colours I had chosen for blocks would look very good with plain black so had to do some auditioning.
I think the blue was too close to the blue in some of the houses.
Look at me testing out two, count them, two, solids!
I really do like this black with the brown stars as it is a happy print. But I was afraid that cut into narrow strips the stars would be totally lost.
So I went with the tan. Here it is, although it is a little too big for my design floor. I really do like how it came out and oonce it is quilted I have the perfect place in mind to hang it.
Well, I think I have made up for missing a few posts with this one. Now that I can load pictures on my new computer and am not sick anymore (well, almost not sick) I should be able to get back to my regular posting schedule. Or even more often now that I am not working everyday. Let's see how that goes, shall we?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas, come and gone

So much preparation and anticipation and suddenly it has come and gone and here we are at a brand new year. We had a white Christmas -- it was leftover snow, not fresh, but still white. My daughter called from South Carolina Christmas night and they were getting snowed on and expected 5 inches! That east coast storm reached way down the coast.

Today seems like Sunday so it must be time for a blog post. Come to think of it, since I am now officially retired, every day is going to seem like Sunday.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and that this will be a good year. Mr THQ helped me take down all the decorations since my booted broken foot won't climb a ladder. So the house looks a little bare. But not too bare. My house would never be described as minimalist. Oh, no, never!

I did work on the quilt blocks from my retirement party. I wasn't really satisfied with anything from my stash so I ended up hobbling into JoAnn's. This is what I found. I just love the happy floral print.
And here is how the top came out.
Then I moved on to the Buggy Barn Quilter's Village houses. I had made the trees long ago and pulled the fabric. I don't know why I didn't get to the houses sooner. They have been lots of fun. Here is the first six.
And the next six. My productivity is down a bit since I have to push the sewing machine pedal with my right foot. When I first got my Bernina I took the classes and one of the suggestions was to use the pedal with your left foot because that frees up your right knee for the knee lift. I switched right away and have sewn that way ever since. It has been hard to change back. Then it will probably be hard to switch back again!
Here are the trees that have been waiting for their houses for such a long time.
I have a hard time pulling fabric for these cut and stack swap around quilts. It's hard for me to envision how the blocks will look and I end up with combinations I am not fond of. So then I mess around with the swapping the stacks part and end up with two of the same fabrics in one block. I need to quit fussing because once all the blocks are together I always like it.
Happy New Year!