October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Me and the Spooks!
Have a Happy Halloween!

October 27, 2010


Once upon a time I purchased one of those easy to make pillowcase kits at a quilt show. The fabric was so cute, and it was fun to make! Every once in awhile I get into a mood of wanting to make pillowcases because it uses up some of those fabrics I'm not sure I will use for a quilt, or that I just have enough to make a pillowcase, plus they are such a useful thing to make for anyone.

I made these last night. They take about 30 mins. each. I sent these off to our grand kids .

This quick method is also such a clever way to make a pillowcase! The fan folding of the body of the pillowcase into the cuff, and the way the fabric flips out with the cuff and the trim all attached, and all you have to do is even up the side, and seam them. Neat-0!

Mary Johnson has a very good pillowcase tutorial using this quick method.

(click pic.)

October 23, 2010

Linda's Basket Quilt

I just finished sewing on the last few inches of binding on my friend Linda's cute basket quilt she asked me to quilt. It's raining, and it's a perfect day for quilting & sewing!

October 17, 2010

New & Old

When I left for the quilt retreat I took the new 18" "Edge" ruler with me so my quilting friends could try it out. For the week I used the new Sullivan ruler here at home, I was ready to order more of them. So, I did. When I returned home the new rulers had arrived. I'm impressed with the "Edge" rulers not only because they keep your rotary cutter blades sharpened, but because they grip the fabric better than any other rulers I've used. Many of the quilters at retreat enjoyed using the "Edge" ruler.

There was one quilter who didn't care for the concept. She had bought along her own new small "Edge". The smaller 4.5" x 8.5" ruler. She said it didn't sharpen her blade.

However, I suggested that perhaps with short runs of the rotary cutter ( only 8.5" inches)---there was not enough friction on the rotary cutter blade against the edge of the ruler to produce the sharpening effect that one would have running it the entire length of an 18" or 24" inch "Edge" ruler. Something to consider.

I've tried a dull rotary cutter blade on the 18" "Edge" ruler and after 5 cutting passes the dull rotary cutter blade was sharper! More cuts--- and it was totally sharp. Even if your not impressed with the sharpening effect of the these new rulers, the fact that they stay put and don't slip and slide around on the fabric is well worth the purchase for me.

I started one new project at retreat, and worked on one UFO that has been lingering and that I want to finish. That's Judy's Patchwork Times "Memorial Day" challenge quilt. If you recall, it's the project I cut the 105 half square triangles the wrong size. Well, I re-cut & re-stitched & resized new half square triangles --and I'm making progress once again. Yeah!
The new project is pattern I found on the Quilts of Valor Chat. A Yahoo group I belong to. I found the pattern appealing and versatile. Recalling my dig through the "cubbie stash" fabrics?---and finding the Corvette panels, and wondering what to do with them?
This pattern works great for pillow panel type fabrics---like the Corvettes. Or any other large fabric panels you don't know quite what to do with.
I'm auditioning some ideas for the borders now. What's more American in our automobile building history than the Corvette? The first ever American built sports car.

October 16, 2010

Quilt Retreat

You know you've been gone too long, or not posted on your blog for awhile when Blogger asks you to please "sign in"! :o)

I've been quilt-retreating with the Ranch Hands. One of our semi annual treks to Bishop's Ranch that we all enjoy so much. We had a blast as usual! The weather was wonderful---if not a tad warmer than expected, but gorgeous evenings. Seeing quilting friends I don't see except at the retreat is the best. Catching up on what is going on, and making new friends as well.

Now to sort and put away--laundry. Pictures to label, and Bill has started the bathroom remodel since I went on retreat. I'm off to buy paint and wall paper remover---ugh!

The reality of leaving the ranch and getting back in the groove at home is always a challenge! I did make progress on some UFO's at retreat. When I wasn't spending time talking!---more later!

October 05, 2010

Another Workspace

I've had, "Polly" my Prodigy Quilter for about a year now---and when we had it installed we decided to have the front handles of the machine facing towards the large window in the living room, rear handles to the back near the window and wall. This way I could look outside when I'm quilting from the front of the machine. Also I probably chose that angle because my old long arm was set up that way as well. Old habits ya know.---- I now remember when Richard from Prodigy was here last year to install the frame , he asked me which way I wanted the machine and frame facing, and also reminded me "you know you can use the surface of the frame as a table for other projects, are you sure you want it facing the window?" I told him I probably wouldn't use it for anything else, just angle it up close to the window and let it go at that.

The Prodigy Quilter frame has these nice large caster wheels
and when I want to quilt from the back of the machine, I just let the hydraulics release the frame downwards, and push it out a bit from the window towards the middle of the room. When I'm finished I push it back near the window. It's heavy, but with some "hip action", it moves pretty easy. :o)

Yesterday as I was doing some cleaning and vacuuming under the frame, I decided to turn the entire system completely around. Just an idea I had. That maybe facing the room would be better. If I didn't like it, I could turn it back around. Well----
Loving it! Why I have I been facing the window this whole time? Beats me! All this time I've been missing out on having this wonderful long flat surface to work on because it wasn't that easy to get to as the back frame edge was so close to the window most of the time. Setting up anything back there to work on was just not that convenient , except for a pantograph or using the circle lord.

But now, I have full access to this large usable table surface, and at any height because of the hydraulics. I also have the wonderful natural light from the large window as well. The other plus---- I will no longer need to move the frame in any direction. It's just perfect the way it sits now.

After the "turnaround" I decided to spread the vintage quilt I've been tying with yarn across the table surface. What a nice place to work on some larger projects! :o) Just pull up a chair, raise or lower the table, get comfortable and I can see a whole new use for my frame/table happening. A new work space has appeared!
The quilt is turning out ---cute. I want to do some topstitching on the edges and it's done. I'm glad I followed the suggestions some of you emailed to "tye" it, rather than machine quilt it. Thank you!

Now, I only wish I had listened to Richard's suggestion about which way to face the frame. (sigh) Live and Learn applies once again.

October 02, 2010

Finished & New

I finished this quilt yesterday. It's a variation on the log cabin pattern by Sandy Turner. I started this quilt in one of Sandy's classes at our guild years ago. The pattern is named "Pumpkin Patch"------as it's supposed to have an assortment of pumpkins, vines, leaves, chickens and more leaves appliqued all around the center of the quilt. I did one pumpkin and said to myself, not going there! :o) It's approx. 62" x 84" inches. I used the "Lush Leaves" pantograph with some new thread I've been wanting to try out.

Here is a more detailed view of the thread and the pantograph design.
(click to enlarge pic.)

Connecting Thread introduced a new long arm thread last week. Essential Thread PRO. Being an official "thread collector", I had to order just a few cones to see how it stitched out. It's 70 wt. 3 ply polyester thread. I controlled myself and ordered two 3,315 yard cones.
"Ocean Mist" & "Lilac"
The thread has nice matte finish, and if you didn't know it was polyester, you would think it's cotton. No splitting cut ends like some polyester threads have a habit of doing. It ran smoothly on the long arm. No tweeking or glitches at all.

The only thing I noticed about it is ---well, you don't notice it! I know that sounds odd in a way, but I used "Lilac" on the log cabin quilt. You can't see that the thread is any particular color. Even though the stitching is on some very dark brown and rust colored fabrics. It is also on some very light colored fabrics in the quilt, and still you see no discernible Lilac color.

This can be a positive thing---or a negative. On the cone the color is obvious, but due to the fine 70 wt., the color simply disappears and blends into the fabric.

I may reserve this thread for more detailed stippling, feather stems & backtracking, trapunto and pebbling. Wherever "fine" thread is more suitable. This thread would also be lovely used with whole cloth type quilting.

My other new tool is quite the marvel, and you wonder why some one didn't think of it before now. The new Sullivan "Edge" rotary cutter/sharpener rulers. I ordered just one---but, I'm considering ditching my old rulers for a whole new set of these. How novel an idea! And best of all---it works! Cut fabric and sharpen your rotary cutter blade all at the same time! The rulers have a non-slip frosted backing ---another plus.