Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Weekend in the studio

All work and no play makes Suzie cranky so I did bust out of the house this weekend.  I went fabric shopping and thrifting with my quilty sister on Saturday.  On Sunday our sewing circle, S4, gathered together at a members house for sharing, sewing and eating.  Emphasis with our group is always sharing first closely followed by eating!

I still had plenty of time to work in the studio.  I decided to use up some left over charm squares and made these

I figured out something that all of you probably already know.  I made the pattern for burp cloths using freezer paper.  For the longest time, I just pinned it to the fabric and cut.  This time I ironed it on and then simply cut around the fabric.  Hello?  How easy is that?!  I also used to cut out the backing fabric as a separate pattern piece.  No more.  I cut a rectangle of the backing about 1/2 an inch larger than the cover fabric, placed the fabric right side down on the backing, sewed a 1/4" seam on the "good" fabric and THEN cut away the balance of the backing fabric.  Worked like a charm and so much easier!

I also worked on quilting this baby quilt using my walking foot.

Free motion is so much faster than line quilting but I wanted the quilting to highlight the graphics.  I still have to do the border and that will be a simple meandering loop.  About another 2 hours to finish quilting and binding and I can add this to my "finished!" pile.

I have a Fiskars cutting board that I have been using for a long time.  One side is pink and the other side is sort of a florescent green.  I have banged up the pink side pretty well so I recently flipped over to the green side.  After using it for about a week, I noticed this

The cuts from my rotary cutter are cutting away the laminated color finish on the board revealing the standard Fiskar grey cutting mat below.  I don't care about the color.  What I care about is the fact that this is peeling apart!  It did not do that on the other side.  Looks like I will be going back to using an Olfa cutting mat.  I hate it when my mother is right - you get what you paid for!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Finally - I found a camera WITH a card!

Actually, I found 2 cameras with cards but not until this morning.  What really kills me is that the one camera was in the coat closet, hanging up exactly where it should have been.  I just didn't look there!

So here's what I made on Friday night...

First up is a holder for the CDs in my car.  I am probably one of the last people left in America that does not own any kind of MP3 player so I still drag around CDs.  I used some left over fabrics and a pattern that I found at Puking Pastilles.

Then I loaded up a bobbin with black elastic thread and had a big time!  I love making scarves! 

I rummaged through the remnants at Joann's a week or so ago and found fabrics I thought would be pretty in scarves.  The black and white is a piece of silky polyester and the blue print is voile. 

The fushia is poly silk and very long.  I love it.  All fabrics were slippery so the walking foot was a necessity.  I will be making more especially since there are a bunch of birthdays in my family that are coming up soon and I think these will make really sweet gifts.

OK, that's it for my Friday night.  I worked on a couple of other projects on Saturday and Sunday but didn't finish anything.  Saturday I mostly did laundry and housecleaning stuff.  Sunday I cooked and watched basketball.  (I love the ACC and was so happy to see UNC and Duke advance.)

I may live in Pennsylvania but I do believe I am a North Carolina girl in my heart!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Quick post - more later

I spent last night sewing and made a couple of things.  I would love to show them to you except I cannot find a camera.  I have 3 - you think I would find at least one!  I know I left one at the office yesterday.  I have two here at home somewhere.  Well, that isn't accurate - I do know where one is and it is charging at the moment.  It is an antique from about 5 years ago.  Now...if I can just find a memory card that will work in it!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Night Sew In AGAIN!!

I nearly forgot that the Friday Night Sew In is tonight!  If you want to join in, click on the button on my sidebar and follow the directions to participate.  Think of it as a virtual pajama party with sewing machines!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I went fabric shopping on Saturday and came home with these

They are for one project.  Any guesses?  I am stepping WAY outside my comfort zone.  I am using fabric markers.  I am doing applique'.  Still guessing?

OK - here is my inspiration fabric

Bet you figured it out now!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thank you!!

Just a quick "thank you" for everyone's sweet and supportive comments yesterday on my rainwater dilemma.  When I got home yesterday evening I grabbed 4 bricks and a black trash bag (oh, why didn't I do that yesterday morning?!), opened up the window in the guest room, leaned out and secured the trash bag to the roof just below the window.  At first there wasn't any change downstairs and then I wiped the wall and only one little bead of water returned and within just about 35 minutes, no more water dropping.  The water had to finish coming out of the stud because it had to have been thoroughly soaked but after that no additional water was running in.

What this means is that I know for sure that the window is not the problem and that I have narrowed down the location of the problem to within a 36" x 12" area.  I will be on the roof on Saturday.  Please don't be fearful for me.  I have someone coming over to watch me (just in case) and I really have been out there twice before so I am very, very cautious.

Now, back to the sewing/quilting portion of this blog!  Last night I added the chocolate and white polka dot border to this baby quilt top

I have been dragging this thing around forever trying to find the perfect border fabric.  I think the big polka dots are fabulous on this!

This weekend (other than roofing excitement) I am going shopping for fabric to make another baby quilt gift.  One of my favorite women in the world became a grandmother last night.  The baby's room is decorated with a fish motif.  I think fabric shopping for this one is going to be great fun!

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Crying in the rain

It started raining last night and has been coming down fairly hard since then.  I woke up at 5 this morning and went down to make coffee.  As I was coming down the stairs I could smell wet wood.  I looked up and there is water dripping from the top of the "pass through" from the kitchen to the dining room.

The leak is in the upper left side of the opening

Bad photography but you can see the little beads of rain water

I discovered this problem last year, spent time on the roof with black roofing cement stuff and the there was no more leaking.  I don't know if this was caused by ice and snow over the past few months but all I could do was stand in my kitchen and cry.  The kitchen was added to the back of the house 50 or more years ago.  When you go from the dining room into the kitchen, the doorway is about 10" thick and trimmed out.  The pass through window is the same.  Both of the roofs on the house are new.  There isn't any rain coming from the peak of the vaulted ceiling in the kitchen, it is just leaking out of the joints at the top of the pass through.  It is as if the water from the second story is somehow leaking down inside where the walls join, maybe running along an inside stud or something until it gets to the top of the pass through.  There is a window on the second floor directly above the pass through but there is no dampness in the wall upstairs.  Nothing makes sense about the leak.

I have absolutely no idea what to do now.  Crying isn't helping the situation but it is just a little overwhelming right now.  Whatever the problem, I can't fix it while it raining and it is supposed to rain for another 2 days.  Maybe it wouldn't be as bad if the wind wasn't blowing from that direction!   As I sit upstairs in the studio, I can hear the rain pouring on the roof and can only imagine what I will find two days from now.

It is times like these when it is the most difficult being single.  It would be so nice to have a man here and I could say "Honey, what do you think?  Please go fix it!"  I think I will have a pity party for another couple of minutes, wait for daylight and then try to assess the situation to the best of my ability.  I am thinking duct tape and a big blue tarp are going to the be the order of the day...

Hoping you have a better day than mine!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Another finish

I cannot say enough good things about this pattern.  I made this as a gift for the son and daughter in law of a dear friend in Seattle.  I purchased two charm packs of Tula Pink's Flutterby.  I have actually used this same fabric before in another baby quilt.  I love the bug motifs in the fabric.  I pulled the more masculine colors for this baby boy quilt and the other charm squares are going to be made into a quilt for a baby girl.  I used wool batting (which I love) and did a modern, straight line quilting.  This quilt was also spray basted as y'all know I hate safety pinning! 

I have noticed lately that a lot of quilters are taking their quilts outside to photograph them.  The photo above was taken with the quilt thrown over the holly bushes outside my office.  They were the "most green" I could find outside.  I desperately need some spring and soon!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The downside of organizing my studio

I decided a little studio clean up was in order.  I started with trying to organize my scraps.  In doing that, I started opening project boxes and digging around in a couple of large Rubbermaid storage tubs that I use for all sorts of fabric odds and ends.  Inside one of the Rubbermaid containers I found  black and white fabric squares.  Remember my black and white quilt, "Desolation"?  I found enough pre-cut blocks that if combined with the others, I would have a queen size quilt top.  Why I had two ziplock bags of the same blocks in two different locations I will never know.  Now what?  Any suggestions?

I may never clean up again...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's about time

I am finally writing a blog post!  Last week was a crazy one for me.  I had two quilts to get ready for my trip to Virginia. I was having trouble sleeping so I was finding it difficult to fit sewing into my schedule.  I think my body is trying to tell me that getting up at 3am to sew before getting ready for work is a bad idea!

The first quilt was for the daughter of dear friends.  Her little boy was born in October around the time of my "Christmas rush" so this was the first opportunity I had to make a quilt for her son, Jackson.  I used fabrics that I had used to make a commissioned quilt last month.  I think the fabric choice was perfect - especially for a Christening gift.

I also had to finish the quilt for Andrew's birthday.  I may never quilt with flannel again!  I washed all the flannel at least once and washed the red three times to get rid of extra dye.  I had pre-washed all my chenille months ago when I washed as I bought about 5 yards and have been  using it in different projects.  (I love it on the back of burp cloths!)  This time I decided to use it as the focal fabric and used "Four on the Floor" for the quilting pattern.  Because the flannel seemed to stretch (and goodness knows it frays like crazy) I finished every single seam of every block, of every row.  It added hours to the construction but I know this quilt is not going to fray and come apart with repeated washing!  Originally I was going to mount it on the long arm and use a minkee-type fabric for the backing.  When I finished assembling the quilt top, I discovered that I was over zealous in sizing and did not have enough minkee for the backing.  I ran to Joann's and picked up a couple of yards of their Soft and Cuddly line of fabric that was half price.  I brought that home and washed it though I was pretty sure that because of the poly in the fabric it wasn't going to shrink.

I love the chenille squares against the flannel pieced squares!
I totally chickened out on quilting it.  I quilted the top with a layer of really inexpensive cotton batting using a piece of (pre-washed) muslin for the backing.  I used the walking foot for everything except the outside border where I free-motioned a large meander.  With all the quilting completed, I sewed the quilt right sides together to the fluffy fabric, flipped it right side out and sewed the small opening closed.

I  turned the back up so you could see the backing.  There is a diamond shaped pattern across fabric which gives it some nice additional texture.
I made the mistake of then trying to top stitch around the edge and about midway through I realized I didn't like it so I ripped out the top stitching.  The finished quilt is soft, cuddly and has lots of body.  Drew likes it (and I received several requests for something similar for grown ups)!

Drew shares a room with his big brother, Alex.  Alex is crazy about trains so their room is decorated with a train theme.  The quilt ended up big enough to move from the crib to a youth bed when the time comes.  The most  important thing I learned in making this particular quilt is that sometimes you just have to change your plans and go with the flow!  I also learned that if you are going to work with minkee or something similar, you will need your walking foot.

Basically, making two baby quilts was my ENTIRE sewing for last week.  This week I am making a table runner for a hostess gift (no way I could get to it last week) that I need to send to Virginia.  Since I have a little over a yard of the minkee fabric I was originally planning to use for Drew's quilt, I think I may make a small baby quilt to add to my "for sale" pile.  I don't know what I am going to piece for the quilt top but I am pretty sure it won't be flannel!

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