Sunday, July 29, 2012

16-Patch progress and Fuchsia adventures

Buddy approves! He immediately claimed the partly sewn quilt top.

I put it on the bed to see if I had the size right before adding the inner border (red). Nope, I need one more row. After the inner border is added, I will add two more rows of 16-patches all the way around (the top may get three or four rows to allow for pillow tucking).

See how nice my over-wintered fuchsia has turned out? The variety is "Spider Red". I have both pots in almost total shade, so it hasn't hurt from the heat. But when I took the photos I spied nasty Japanese beetles all over one of my plants, so I had to do something drastic.

I put a little cooking oil in a container and knocked those beetles in. They don't survive long in the oil. I collected at least 40 of them over the afternoon. I may not win the war on beetles, but at least there are fewer chewing on my plants!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Playing with color

Just a sampling of blocks up on my small design wall.
Well, I knew I was the Queen of Overcutting, but really! In the beginning (last summer), I figured I needed to cut enough 2.5 strips to make 130 to 150 16-patch blocks for a queen-sized quilt (depending on borders), but I cut and cut and cut, and I still have unused strips left.

The blocks are done now; guess how many I made (using the clues above). Nope, not 150. Nope, not 175. How about 186! I think I have enough spares for another quilt...

The working title is Sourdough; I started with 6 or 7 key fabrics and kept adding to them as I found fabrics in my stash that went with the rest. It continues to be a sourdough, with a starter for another.

My daylillies seem to be enjoying all the 90-plus degree days!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Baby quilt top done

Here are some quick, very early morning photos of both the baby quilt top and the back (sorry they are fuzzy; will get some better pics once it's quilted.)
Back made with leftover blocks.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Famous last words ("Oh, it's easy")

I got the completed blocks from everyone last Friday, and said I would whip them together and have them back on Monday, sewn together and ready for the quilter.


A few oopses got in the way:

  • An oopsie block that needed to be resewn.

I wonder what someone was drinking when they sewed this one!

  • The discovery, when laying out the blocks on my "design floor" that something was terribly wrong. The zig zag was not going horizontal or vertical in a straight line; the zigging line was going diagonally.

Buddy with the uphill zigs.

  • After sketching the block out again and studying the quilt that inspired this one, I realized there are two distinct blocks in the Tennessee Lightning quilt. So, in order to get the zigs to zag correctly, I had to reconfigure half of the blocks. That took a good part of the weekend.

Two separate blocks in the properly zig zagging quilt. No, these do not flip around and become the other block. Ask me how I know.

I think I jinxed myself when I told everyone who was working on blocks (most of them less experienced than me) that this block was "easy". What could go wrong with simple half square triangles?

I finished sewing the Tennessee lightning baby quilt top together last night and handed it off to Deb P today, who will bring it to our quilter.

I'll show photos of the completed quilt top and quilt back tomorrow. Can I have a nap now?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Baby Quilt progress

Two of my completed Tennessee Lightning blocks. The multicolored batik really adds a glow.

Here are the leftover half square triangles to give you a hint of all the color combos used in the group baby quilt. The darks aren't quite as dark as they appear in the photo.

It will be fun to play with the finished blocks to make the top (hopefully everyone will turn their blocks in to me by the end of this week). Besides the baby due date (early August) we have vacations to work around to get this thing done!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Staying cool on the 4th, 5th and 6th

Click to see Rosie!

Rosie has the right idea; hide in the shade with your belly in the cool dirt, and watch the world go by.

For the 4th, we had family over for a picnic and to fish in the small lake behind our house. It was so hot (nearly 100 F) we were going through the iced tea, frozen lemonade push-ups, and anything cold we could think of.

We even ate our picnic indoors with the air conditioning to give everyone a chance to stabilize their body temps before going back out.  It was good food, but that's not normal! Usually the only time we would eat indoors is if it is raining or storming.

Tomorrow promises to be even hotter; I plan to stay indoors and sew (and listen to Rosie complain that I'm not letting her out in the heat).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

This saved me time (and sanity)

Earlier this week I was fretting over getting the squares trimmed quickly for the baby quilt project. After trimming about 50 of them I thought I was going to lose my mind. Well not really, but sheesh.

Then I had a light bulb moment. I had noticed rotating cutting mats in the past but never got one, and had never even tried one out. I decided to check Joann's online to see if they carried them, and by golly they did. And I had a coupon to use.

The Olfa Rotating Self-Healing Rotary Mat (12-inch size) arrived yesterday morning, which was none too soon. I put it to work immediately and now have my 400 squares cut and ready to distribute to the baby quilt sewers.

Why should a rotating make such a difference? Because you can get two or three sides trimmed, rotate the mat one turn counter-clockwise, and made the last cut without having to lift the ruler and realign the square.

And here's a by-the-way thing I learned. This little blue square is a 2 by 3.5 inch piece of rubbery shelf liner, which I use to stabilize my calculator so it doesn't scoot all over the counter when in use.  I repurposed it to be my mat cleaner to get those trimmed whiskers of fabric off the mat before trimming the next block. Worked slick!