Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Design Wall--Tuesday September 25, 2012

What happened to Monday?  With therapy 3 times a week out of the house and 3 times a day at home, I guess I'm getting busy again.  Here's what I did this week:

The first four Grandmother's Choice blocks to celebrate the Suffragist movement.  That fourth one was a challenge--I machine pieced the center, after printing the templates on freezer paper and cutting them out with seam allowance in place.  Then I hand pieced the circle to the background and then hand applique'd the center circle in place.  Hopefully, next Saturday's block will be simpler.  Denise, I thought of you while doing this block!

I also finished binding and blocking this quilt from the Simple Symmetry classs with Paula Nadelstern:
It's called "Day" because of the light background.  "Night" is almost done.

Thursday night I went to our monthly guild meeting and heard Mary Lou Weideman talk about her story quilts--great fun!  They are bright, fun, and tell terrific stories.  I'm sure those who took her 2 days of workshops had a wonderful time!  I was prettty worn out after sitting for 3 hours--came home and iced the knee for a while. 

Tonight I start teaching my latest Quiltmaking 101 class to 7 new, eager students.  I love to teach this beginner class--just know I'll be very tired at the end of the night.  I'm still not driving so I have to make arrangements for my transport everywhere--thankfully, I have great friends who are willing to help out.  Here is the sample for my beginning class: it's not simple but most students are amazed at what they learn and are able to accomplish is 5 weeks.  My plan is to addict them to quilting!

 The pattern is Mix and Match Stars by Glad Creations. 

I'm currently hand stitching the binding on our guild raffle quilt for the October 2013 quilt show.  Photos of that baby later.

And if you need inspiration: Judy L's Design Wall Monday blog

Let's Quilt!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Design Wall Monday September 17, 2012

I'm four weeks post-op today and will see the surgeon this afternoon.  He'll release me from home therapy and I'll start 3 weeks of out-patient therapy.  So far, I'm doing very well and, thanks to Advil PM, sleeping better the last few nights.

Here's how I've spent my days, with the Just Takes 2 blocks: 
I was all caught up until now--the most recent set of blocks just posted--there are only 3 and they are easy so I'll have those done in the next day or two.  This quilt will be one I'll be glad to be done--but I do like it.  I'll have it machine quilted--I don't like it enough to hand quilt it!  In two weeks we should get the next set of instructions for joining these blocks into another section.  That will make 3 sections down, one more to go.  I've kept a spreadsheet--so far, 1725 pieces and 57 different fabrics.

Barbara Brackman has several blogs.  I love them because she provides so much history, about quilts, textiles,  historical events, etc.  She just started one called Grandmother's Choice which celebrates the Suffragist Movement that gave women in this country and other countries the right to vote almost 100 years ago.  Each Saturday for 49 weeks there will be an 8" block posted with historical information about the crusade for voting rights for women.  I am using the colors of the English Suffragists:  violet, green and a little red for rebellion.  She talks about the colors several groups used in their logos.  It was a long battle but ultimately successful--perhaps we now take that for granted.   There is a flickr group with photos, a reading list if you want more historical info and lots of ideas for colors and settings.  It began September 1, 2012 and here are the first 3 blocks I've made:

I'm not sure yet if I'll set them with sashing or block to block--time will tell.

 BTW, the blocks are all in Barbara Brackman's BlockBase computer program with thousands of blocks.  If you have EQ it is a great addition.  If you don't have BlockBase, Electric Quilt is doing a giveway:  go here to sign up for that--it would be terrific reference for any quilter.  EQ is also starting a BlockBase Sew-Along starting soon.  I've got a few things I need to finish so Grandmother's Choice is the last Sew-Along I'm going to start--please remind me of that the next time I get excited about something new that comes along.

To see what others are up to go to:  Judy L's Design Wall Monday blog.

Let's Quilt!


Saturday, September 15, 2012

X Block Swap

I've been working on my X Blocks for the Swap I put together with 6 other guild members.  They are fun and fairly fast to do.  Each set of 6 blocks that finish to 8" uses six 10" squares of fabric, that are cut and scrambled to create 6 different blocks.  The pattern is from Sharyn Craig's book Layer Em Up.   Here is a video of Sharyn showing the process.  We added one extra decision--what size X's did we want:  Fat, Normal or Skinny?  That decision determined how wide to make the cuts.  We also all agreed to make two sets of 6 blocks for each person.  So, we will all receive 72 blocks all together.

Each of us gave all the others a piece of "theme" fabric to show us what kind/colors of fabrics they wanted, along with their size decision.  About 6 weeks ago I hunted through my stash of fat quarters and selected all the fabrics for each person.  It was fun to find wonderful fabrics I hadn't seen in years as well as new stuff.  This used up 5 yards of fabric--a pittance in the grand scheme of things but still good to get that much gone.  Here are my results:

these are for Juli
these are for Mary
Juli and Mary did something interesting:  they gave each of us two 10" squares of their theme fabric for us to include in the two sets of fabrics we used for them.  This way, half of all the blocks they receive will include the theme fabric.  That makes for more continuity in the groups.  Easy!
these are for Melissa--30's was her "theme"
these are for Kathy
Rhonda's are similar to Kathy, but different size X's
These are mine from Rhonda, along with 6 I made as samples to demo with.  My theme was 1800's reproductions. 
This is great for a group project--fast and pretty easy AND each person will trim their own blocks when they receive them.  If the seam allowances vary, and don't they always in a group project?, we will just find the lowest common denominator and trim them all to that size. 
I have one more group to do--I've saved that for last since it's my favorite set of fabrics.  I've also started a new project and made a few more doll quilts this week.  More about that later.
Finally slept better last night--Advil PM to the rescue!  Even went out to dinner last night and wore long pants and real shoes--progress!
Let's Quilt! 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Creativity and Recovery

Today is 3 weeks post-op and I continue to do well with my knee replacement recovery.  I do my therapy exercises twice a day, and the therapist comes here 3 times a week to increase the exercises/weights, reps etc.  I am able to walk through my home with no cane or walker and feel stronger each day.  The  only annoying issue is I'm still not sleeping as well as I'd like.  My husband says it's because I'm sitting around all day, not being very active.  He hasn't seen me in the studio.

This past week I've gotten several things done.  Here are 3 more doll quilts:

 These are from the Temecula Quilt Company blog.  The blocks are their summer stars sew-a-long.  I've enjoyed their quick, easy patterns. 
This Bricks quilt is the larger version of Tiny Bricks I made in January. 
I saw this on one of the blogs I follow, Taryn at Repro Quilt Lover and thought it was sweet. It was also tiny. Those bricks were cut 7/8" x 1 1/4" and finish at .375" x .75".   Then I  cut out 61 more bricks, almost four times that size, cut 1.5" x 2.5".  Look how much larger the second one is!  The small one is 6" x 7", the large one 14" x 16".   
Then I started on the X Block Swap blocks for the group I put together.  There are 7 of us and each person will make 2 sets of 6 blocks for each person, using their preferred theme or colorway.  Each person decided if she wanted wide, narrow or middle-of-the-road X's--this determines how you cut the fabrics.  Each set of 6 starts with six 10" squares of fabrics, sorted light to dark more or less.  They are cut, then the pieces are scrambled--very fun to see what you get!  Here are Rhonda's blocks:
This pattern is from Sharyn Craig's book Layer 'Em Up and she has a great little video showing the process:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJ5tIj6g3tg    It takes me less than an hour to make a set of 6 blocks and we are doing 2 sets for each person.  My plan is to do one set a day for the next 10 days and I'll be through with this project--until I receive my 72 blocks and get to play with a new quilt design.
While I'm piecing, I work with Leaders/Enders--using pieces at the beginning/end of piecing to create other small blocks as I go.  For quite a while I've been making 2" finished four-patches and must have hundreds of them by now.  Here is the latest layout to use some of them up:
Don't know what this will become next, but it tames some of those four-patches. 
I'm linking up with Judy L's blog--check it out to see what others are up to. 
Time for therapy then I can quilt!  Have a great week, all.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Design Wall Monday September 3, 2012 and National Sewing Month

It's been two weeks since my knee replacement surgery and I'm doing better each day.  Just because knee and hip replacements have become so common, DO NOT think they are no big deal!  When hammers and saws are involved in surgery, you can bet recovery is most definitely a big deal.  I'm doing well, the staples come out tomorrow and I'll graduate to a cane from the walker, and then I can take a shower!  Progress is measured in the simple things.

Before surgery I prepared several of the Just Takes 2 blocks from August 15 for hand applique'--they are now complete and on the design wall:
They are not in their final position, just wherever I could reach on the wall.  October 1 will bring the instructions for joining this group, along with the 2 sets from September. 

Check out Judy L's blog to see what others are up to.

Bonnie Hunter told us that September is National Sewing Month and she is going to try to hand-quilt one hour a day each day she is home--setting such a manageable goal is the best way I've found to get something done.  I'm doing that too--of course, I have no excuse since I'm laid up--no driving for 6 weeks, just rest and recuperation.  But once I get busy again, it's hard to get the handwork in.  Bonnie asked us to show where we do our handwork.  Here is my "command central":
You can't see too well, but to the right of the chair on the small table is an open box with needles, thread, thimble, scissors, needle threader, all the stuff you need once you sit down.  I have lamps on my right and left--at first, I thought it made the room look "weird" but then a great teacher, Mary Sorensen, told me:  "It's your room, do what you need to make the best workspace!"  Done.  This little doll quilt won't take long to finish, this week, I hope, then I'll move on to another larger project that had taken a back seat. 

For inspiration, check out Bonnie Hunter's blog to see how other quilters set up their work areas.

That's it for now--time to quilt!