Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It's a Girl...Quilted......

I got Quilt #48, "It's a Girl", back from the quilter. (original post)

I could not be happier with it.

I went with pink dot minkee for the backing.

And striped fabric for the binding.

When this quilt was at the quilter's several people asked about the pattern. I had picked this pattern up in Napa, California this summer while vacationing with my daughter. The quilter contacted the designer, who lives in California, and now this is a very popular pattern available in Illinois. Up until now the pattern had only traveled as far as Nebraska. Isn't it funny how things work out! These patterns are also featured on the Jolly Jabber today! What a small world!

Cooper got to visit his sister Sophie this weekend. Sophie lives with my brother and his family 100 mile south of us. That's Cooper taking the lead. They are 11 month old labradoodles.

I think Sophie has more doodle in her and Cooper more labra. They were the only blonde dogs in the litter, don't they look exactly alike in the face?

Cooper (on the left) has 20 pounds on his sister.

This is Cooper after we got home from his weekend visit.....and he didn't even have to unload the car!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Northern Lights .......

Last Thursday morning I got up with no sewing plan for the day, or until October 1st for that matter. That's very unusual for me, I'm a "one project at a timer" but usually have my next project out, pattern reviewed and To Do list all ready to go before I finish what I'm currently working on. I finished my September Schnibbles on Wednesday, leaving just a week to either start something new or do nothing until the next Schnibbles is announced.

I have to admit I was surprised by how much time I spent on my September Schnibbles. It wasn't that the pattern was hard to follow or piece, I was just very indecisive on my fabric choices, then the size, then the borders. The whole project threw me off my normal routine. I hope that changes with my second Schnibbles project.

Anyway, I was catching up on some things around the house that I let slide while I was obsessing over my Schnibbles, trying to decide what to start on next. I didn't really want to get into something complex then stop to start the next Schnibbles. But I also didn't want to look back on my last 12 months of sewing only to have 12 finished Schnibbles projects to show for my time and effort.

What to do , what to do....the quilting fairies must have been looking out for me because after spending the morning getting caught up around the house, I went to get the mail, and there, in my mailbox, that very day that I was looking for something to do, was the first block of a block of a month that I signed up for in July, but was not starting until September!! WOO HOO!!

Here it is, "Northern Lights". This is my first block of the month, so I was a little unsure what to expect or how it would work.

This pattern is a real change of pace for me....all those neutrals! I'm a color girl. But there was just something about the simplicity of the tones of the fabric that really appealed to me.

I got everything out of the envelope and read the directions. The third sentence in the introduction from the quilt shop worried me right off the bat, "Great care and time has been used to choose fabrics that closely match those shown in the pattern." "Closely match", what does that mean, I don't want a close match, I thought I was signing up for this quilt, not a close facsmile. hmmmm.
I like all the fabric except for 2 pieces. That's not so bad, I'm always changing up fabric that I get in a kit. The fabric on the left is too gray and the fabric on the right has a shimmer to it that does not appeal to me at all or go with the look of this quilt. Oh well, these pieces are super small, I should be able to swap those pieces out with something from my stash. Then I notice that these 2 pieces are what the pattern calls, "theme fabric". Although there is no explanation for what that means, I take it to mean that I will be seeing these two fabrics every month in every kit. I called the quilt shop to find out how much of these 2 fabrics are required to finish the whole quilt. They were not sure. I'm still waiting to hear. I swapped out their fabric with fabric from my stash, I hope I have enough for the whole project.

This is a Marti Michell pattern. You use her templates to piece the blocks. I've used her templates before and like them. The cutting is tedious but the piecing is so precise it is worth the time.

See the little flat edges on each corner of this template, that's what makes the piecing so easy.

Here's all the assembled parts.

And here is the the first block, it is called Wheeler Star. The blocks are 16 1/2 inches, pretty big for me. I'm really happy with it. When I first started working with the fabric there was little difference in the fabric tones to my color obsessed eyes, but when I was finished I could really see the difference. It was just something I needed to adjust to.

All done! I think I'm going to keep that first block up on my design wall, so I can look at it while I wait for the next block. It was all very easy, I finished the block on Thursday, the same day it came in the mail....now what, the October Schnibble announcement is days away.....

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quilt #50 - Eat More Pie.....

Also known as....September Schnibbles! (A Year of Schnibbles)

Yes really, this is "Winter White". Don't recognize it? Look real close. I just added one more block to the width, three blocks to the length, and used 6 1/2 inch blocks in place of the 3 1/2 inch corner blocks. Plus I went heavy on dark toned fabrics, used no medium toned fabrics and just barely added any light toned fabrics. See it now? I know, it does have quite a bit going on.

Each time I finish a quilt I write down the lessons learned in a little journal. Before I start a new project I review my list. Like the time when I finished a quilt and noticed for the first time that it was 91" x 118". I wrote this in my journal, "Pay attention to finished size before starting". (ya think!!) Well let me tell you, I wrote several things down in my Lessons Learned Journal for this top.

Like, "mull fabric choices over before cutting and sewing". Before I even saw the Schnibbles pattern I knew I was using Gobble, Gobble by Sandy Gervais for Moda. I had bought the fabric without a pattern in mind and was really eager to use it. I love this family of fabric but it is made up of light and dark fabrics. Not much in the way of mediums. I think "Winter White" really needs darks, lights and mediums. Also, Gobble Gobble has large designs, fabric with a smaller pattern may have been better.

There's also this, "Be Open Minded" I must have worked on 10 different color combinations (see Schnibbles N Bits Post) and while I did come up with some good combos, I didn't like the one that looked the best, the one that was the best use of fabric, instead I went with what I liked best. I'm not sure that was the way go, I was just not open to the better combination.

Also wrote, "Don't Be Inflexible". I was making this top to go over the back of this love seat. I chose the size based on this love seat, the colors based on this love seat.

This is the view from my kitchen sink. While I do really like the quilt (another blog for another day) that is currently on the love seat, I was really wanting something with more of a fall flair for a change of pace.

Here's "Eat More Pie" on the back of the love seat, the quilt I made just for this love seat. I don't think the love seat loves it. Is it the orange, the red...the size, I just don't know.
Doesn't it look happy here? Yeah!! At least it has a home! But I made it for the love seat!! That's OK, it's my first Schnibbles, I'll always love it.

This is the back

And this is why it is named "Eat More Pie".

Pie is my favorite food, chicken pot pie, coconut cream pie, cherry pie, pizza pie...I love pie.

This is the leftover fabric. Look at all those flying geese, 6 1/2 inch cut squares, 3 1/2 inch cut squares....all waiting for something. I think they may be waiting for awhile.

All put away for another day........ like maybe October 1, when I get the new Schnibble Pattern. Maybe I'll do "A Year of Schnibble Gobble Gobble" !

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Officially Fall ......

I had a very busy weekend. I didn't make it up to my sewing room all weekend long.

Imagine my surprise when this mess greeted me yesterday morning.

Someone had time to hang out in the sewing room this weekend.

It's officially fall, can't think of a better day to introduce you to quilt #18.

Here's a close-up of the center, my favorite part.

This quilt was quilted by hand by a very talented friend in my quilt club. It's the only quilt that I've made that has been hand quilted. I just love to admire the quilting from the back.

This is how she quilted the borders.

The pattern is called "Twisted Bargello" by Chris Timmins.

This is one of those patterns that looks complex but is a breeze to piece. If you can cut and sew straight lines you can make this quilt.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Quilt #31 - Pat's Quilt

This is Pat's quilt.

This quilt was sewn by a member of my quilt guild, Pat. When Pat brought it to a meeting for Show and Tell I just fell in love with the look. It is made entirely of half square triangles. The stunning design comes from the proper placement of the half square triangles and the correct combination of light, medium, and dark toned fabric.

Pat had been working on this quilt on and off for several years. She did not have the pattern but very generously loaned me the quilt to study so I could create one of my own.

As best I could tell, each block is comprised of the following fabric combinations; 44 dark and light half square triangles, 12 dark and dark half square triangles, and 8 dark and medium half square triangles.

I figured out pretty quickly that having just one triangle positioned the wrong way threw off the look of the block, so I drew the pattern on a piece of poster board.

I marked which
direction on the line on the half square triangle should lay in red ink. The "D"s, "L"s and "M"s represent which tone should go in that area.

This allowed me to play around with the half square triangles without constantly worry about their proper placement.

Here's how the board looks half filled.

It also helped when I started sewing the half square triangles together. I just carried the board to my sewing machine and sewed a row at a time.

My daughter was home when I was working on this quilt so I even talked her into putting together a block. So even a non-quilter was able to follow the logic of this template.

Here's a close-up of a complete block, after it was quilted.

Each block contains 64 half square triangles.

And here's my finished quilt, which I named "Pat's Quilt"

Did you notice how the corners of the block create a secondary block? It's these blocks that I'm not happy with, I don't think I got it just right. If you know the name of this pattern could you please send it my way? I would like to compare the pattern with what I came up with.

This is where the quilt lives at my house.

Schnibbles Update: I'm ready to start on the borders. I did not get to sew a stitch this weekend but hope to finish it up this week!

What's up with the spacing on this blog...it just has a mind of its own today!!! I'm so sorry!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Dog In Training.......

Like most dog owners, we think our dog Cooper is  special...., and cute......and smart.  Pretty much perfect!  It's the "pretty much" that we needed to work on.

At 10 months Cooper is 75 pounds. A dog this size really needs basic manners to live indoors and be around people.   A little 20 pound dog can jump on company all it wants, who cares, it only comes up to your knees.  Cooper, on the other hand, can look company eye to eye with his paws on their shoulders.

Wanting to keep our friends,  we started looking into dog training, so Cooper could learn things like, heal, sit, down, place, and not to nap on the good furniture.

We've always attempted to train our dogs.   Books, DVDs, classes, you name it we tried it.  We had one dog that would do anything for a treat, but if you didn't have a treat in your hand you were out of luck to make that dog obey the most simple command.

When I started researching dog training in our area I ran across a young man with an interesting approach to dog training.  He thinks it's hard to train people and dogs at the same time, but once you get the dog trained, the people can then be trained to work with the dog. Turns out he was right.  He trained Cooper 3 days a week for 6 weeks.  Cooper stayed with the trainer from 9 am to 4 pm.  After 6 weeks Cooper was trained and the trainer started working with Cooper and I together.  Now we just meet the trainer twice a week for an hour.  It has been a huge time commitment but it has really paid off, we are all so much happier.  I think Cooper and I are just about ready to graduate.

Today, when the trainer came to meet us for our training, he was wearing a purse, a gray fleece purse.  Now our trainer is a tattoo, biker kind of guy, not a metrosexual purse kind of guy, so me being me I naturally said, "Hey, what' s in the purse?" kind of on the snarky side.  The trainer says, "a Kangaroo". I say, "no really, what's in your bag".  I thought maybe treats for Cooper or a leash or something and he said, "No really, a kangaroo".    He wasn't kidding, he DID have a kangaroo in his purse!!!

Meet Gabriella, the newest member of my trainer's family!  

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Something New To Me........

First...And the Winner IS .....Kahuna24/Donna!!

Thanks to all for leaving the wonderful comments. Donna,  if you will email me your address I will send the pattern your way! (cupcakesndaisies@gmail.com)  I was happy to learn there are other quilters who like paper piecing too!

Second.....I have received a couple of emails from people who have wanted to leave a comment but were not able to do so.  I have updated my comment settings so I think it should be easier to leave a comment from this point forward.  Please try again, I enjoy hearing from you.  This whole blog world is new to me, I amaze myself every time one of my posts actually shows up!!

Now, for today's post!

When I'm waiting someplace away from home, like an airport or dentist office, I'm always just a little bit jealous of the folks who are able to take their hobbies with them.  Knitting an afghan, no problem, it's portable.  Embroidery or cross stitch, you are good to go, companies even make cute purses to tote those projects.  Quilting is another matter.  Or it is for me, since I don't hand stitch or quilt.  Even trying to accomplish a little sewing at home when I'm watching TV with my husband is difficult.  Oh I'll read my quilting magazines, or make To Do lists, but unless I'm in my sewing room I just don't get any "sewing" done.

With football starting I was really wanting to find something to satisfy my sewing fix and spend time with my husband.  Then I came across this!

Peeled-Back Patchwork, have you ever tried this?  Annette Ornelas has created a very clever way of converting straight lines into curves.  Her website is Southwind Designs,  she calls these quilts Dimensionals, take a look, you'll be amazed.

Basically, you create a unit sandwich by placing a folded rectangle between two larger rectangles, sewing, then  opening to create a "Y-shaped unit".  

Then you fold back the bias edge and stitch.

Ta Da...a curve is born.

I  liked the looks her her quilts and thought it would be worth trying, at least once.  (that's my philosophy you know)

But here comes the best part for me.....

After I made my first block, I decided I wanted to hand baste the curves back, so that when I sewed them I would not have to deal with pins.   

Here is the first block I pieced.  ( the block without sashing is 12 1/2 inches square)

And here is the same block after I basted down the bias curves.....while watching football Sunday afternoon with my husband!!

Isn't it amazing what a difference it makes in the block's appearance by rounding out those edges!

I think I'm going to name this quilt "My Sunday Sampler"!

Another plus, since I'm going to be working on this project off and on throughout the football season, I now have a UFO, my first!!  I'm definitely growing as a quilter!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Come on in.........

Welcome to what I think is the happiest place on earth, my sewing room.  (Sorry Disneyland, but you're second)

I was waiting to take pictures when my room was neat and tidy, but then I figured after 17 posts that we were friends, and who cleans for friends?  Also, it would be a long wait for neat and tidy.

I always enjoy the articles in magazines where a designer's studio is pictured.  I guess I just like peeking into someone else's life.  Well here's my life....or at least my sewing life.

As you enter the room this wall is to your left, or the east wall.  As you can see this cabinet holds my quilt books and patterns.  I file my patterns in the binders so I can organize them by type.  Two binders for the "sometime in the future" patterns, one binder for the "sooner rather than later" patterns and one binder for the "been there done that" patterns.

The basket top left is storing my Morris Workshop Fabric.  I like it close by where I can look at it anytime I want.

The middle two shelves I use for storing anything relating to the project I am currently working on.  If you look real close you can see my Schnibbles directions and my legal pad where I double checked the math.  I just love double checking math, it's the accountant in me.

The flowered hat box on the bottom shelf was a Mothers Day present, that thing must be over 15 years old, but I love it.  I store my thread in there so it doesn't get damaged by the sun.  I've never read where setting out thread is a bad thing, I just imagine that it is, so I hide it.  The pink bag hanging on the wall to the left of the cabinet is also a gift from my daughter.  I like to carry it when I go to quilt shops.

These rods next to the cabinet hold fabric that I'm working with for my current project.  Once I press a fabric I store it on the rods so I don't have to press it again.  They are also handy when you are working on a pattern that uses strips.  The strips just hang there all pretty while they wait their turn.

This is where the action is...this is the Horn hydraulic sewing table.  It deserves its own post but I will say this, I would give up every other sewing item I own before I would give up this table.  It makes my sewing life so much easier.  I raise and lower it all day long, cutting - it goes up, sewing - it goes down.  It even has a drink holder, see the water bottle in the bottom of the picture!

I parked my table in front of this window for light,  but I sure enjoy watching it snow from this window in the winter.  It faces south.
This is my design wall. I hang gray fleece fabric that I got from Walmart over my first quilt.  As a design wall it works perfect and I like to think having it cover my quilt keeps it from fading.  It's on the west wall.

My ironing board is in front of the closet on the north wall.  (We're going to have to get to know each other a whole lot better before I let you peek in my closet.  That closet probably holds a weeks worth of posts! I think I'm the only one who has ever seen the inside of this closet.  Right now, I would post a picture of me in a bathing suit before I would post pictures of the inside of this closet)  I use the "Big Board" for my ironing board.  Santa brought it a couple of years ago, I must have been a very good girl that year.

Well that's it, I hope you enjoyed your tour.  If you've posted pictures of your sewing room send me a link, I would love to see it!

Housekeeping items:
1.  My September Schibbles has 12 rows, today I finished five more so I'm up to seven finished rows.  The more rows I finish the better I like it.
2.  Leave a comment on yesterday's post if you would like the opportunity to own the Judy Niemeyer pattern, "The Feathered Goose".