Monday, November 30, 2009

Thirty Scrapaholic Blocks

Finished making the last block for this Scrapaholic quilt and boy am I tired of stitching these blocks. Each block has 48 pieces so this part of the quilt has 1440 pieces! Whew, that is a lot for a gal that mostly makes miniatures! I do like the sense of accomplishment of getting this part done though.

Plan to sew it in chunks instead of long rows. So far all the seams are coming together without many adjustments. Most of the stars show at this point even though there are a few muddy areas.

Stay tuned....


Tall, Tall Corn

I wanted you to all see how tall our corn was this year. I think it grew taller this year than in the past although it is usually 7-8" tall. As you can see from the photo below that this year it is probably over 10" tall. (This photo was taken a week ago.) I am 5'6" and as you can see the ear of corn grew out from the stalk at the height of my ear. My husband John says you almost need a hard hat to walk through the corn this year.

We ran out of bin space for the still wet corn so will finish the last 20 acres of harvest on Mon. or Tue.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Scrapaholic Blocks

A view of my flannel board with a few of the Scrapaholic blocks. These are the 12" blocks pieced from the 6" units. Doesn't the design look great with the dark and light fabrics. Love the look of scrappy quilts using value to get the design.

Since I am somewhat a perfectionist I want to pin the sections before I stitch them. I don't think anything is more boring.....snooze! I have found a solution that works for me.

I piece the 6" units together into pairs then stack the two units that go together to make one 12" block. I do a bunch of them then when I am watching TV at night I will sit and pin the sections together for that last seam to make the 12" block. The photo below shows a pile of pinned blocks ready for that last row of stitching. It doesn't seem like so much work if I am sitting in my chair watching TV while doing the pinning of the long seam and when I sit down to sew I can whiz through several and feel like I really accomplished something.

Happy Quilting,

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Half Square Triangles Using Bias Strips

We used a different method to make our half square triangles for the Scrapaholic blocks. We had two strips of fabric that were cut on the bias and stitched on either side of the long bias sided then cut our half square triangle units. Here is a good tutorial on how the triangle square units were made using this method. Our bias strips were long enough to cut 5 units from each pair of strips and we cut them 2 1/4" wide.

I really liked this method as the units are cut before they are pressed open. With the traditional method you have to square up the units and a lot of times have to turn and cut both sides. Try it - it might work in some of your quilts too.

Happy Quilting,

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Frost on the Spiderweb

Didn't even know this spiderweb was here next to my glider until we had frost last week. Isn't it pretty? By the size of it and the shape and strength of the web I think it is another of those common garden spiders. Sure didn't see any spiders there this fall before it got cold. After the frost melted it disappeared at least from the vantage point of the house.

Slowly I have been working on the Scrapaholic blocks. With harvest still not completed I just don't have blocks of time to sew. Have had company twice too so the house needed my attention as well. I will eventually get them done - slow but steady wins the race right?

We only have about 80 acres left but had rain again last night and it was foggy and damp all day yesterday so won't be in the field today. Don't think we will get it done before Thanksgiving now :-(

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sewing with Catalogs

Look closely at the photo below - it is the same one I posted a few days ago. Notice a couple of JC Penny catalogs? I suppose you are wondering why they are there, is that where I store them.....why, why, why does she have those catalogs on the floor under her sewing machine?

There is a pretty good reason I have them there and that is to rest my left foot on when I have my right foot on the sewing pedal. Before I used the catalogs the circulation would get cut off my left leg as the chair pressed against the back of my knee. I am not a short person but not tall enough to sit comfortably with the chair raised as high as I want it to be able to have my elbows the right height when I sew.

I have taken the rolling wheels off of the sewing table, put them on, took them off a second time and put them back on trying to get the height right but it was just too short without the wheels so I gave up for a while when this idea popped into my head. By the way, John had to help me with the wheels each time as the table is too heavy and awkward to do it myself. I didn't change the wheels right away each time but made myself try to get used to the new way and he didn't even grumble when I changed my mind over and over.

I do think I am going to wrap the catalogs with packing tape to keep the pages from folding and getting ripped off and to keep the two of them from slipping apart as I sew. I don't use them for what they were intended, besides they are probably outdated anyway.

When my 9 yr old granddaughter came I put the foot pedal on the catalogs and she said she really liked that as she didn't have to reach so far with her foot to sew. Another good use of the catalogs the way I see it.

Until Later,

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It's A Small, Small World

You know one of the parts I like best about blogging is to see where everyone that reads my blog is from. I attached two Widgets to the sidebar of my blog when I started blogging and check them about every day.

It is so interesting to see what countries or states people are from. The Feejit Live Traffic Feed is very interesting. Besides the information that is posted on the sidebar you can click on the words at the bottom that say "Watch in Real Time" to get more information.

I get a screen like the one below when I click to watch in real time. I can see where the person is from but no specifics so don't worry I can't track you down and don't know who you are either. I can see if visitors came to my site from another site, I can tell what time they arrived and sometimes when they leave. I also like the little flags - if I hover my mouse over the flag it tells me the country where the visitor is from as sometimes I don't know the particular city/country that is printed . Guess it is like a little history lesson and so exciting.

The other Widget I attached to my blog is NeoCounter. By the way both of these widgets are free and you can get them on your blog by clicking on the links on each and following the instructions. The NeoCounter widget I have set up to count how many visitors I have had and what countries. This keeps a continuous count so I can tell right away if I am checking it everyday if I am getting lots of visitors or not too many. I have been blogging a little over a year and a half and have almost 6000 visitors. Not a large number compared to some bloggers but enough that I am happy at least someone is looking at my blog.

It was kind of strange when I first started blogging I didn't tell anyone I was doing it for several months and still have not let all my family know I blog. Guess I have been kind of reserved and wondering if they think what I blog about is boring, badly written or braggy.

I joined QuilterBlogs and they post all the updates that members post and I get a lot of visitors through them. I check out the site too when I have time and scroll down and click on blog entries that I want to read. Follow several now that I have learned about through that site. This is a free site too and costs nothing to join.

I also joined another free site called Quilting Bloggers a site where you can look up quilters by country or by state. Nice to see who blogs in the same area as you and also fun to check out bloggers from another country.

The last quilt blog listing I check out periodically is Quilt Qua but it is just an alphabetical listing. I was thinking I joined this list but sure don't see Nebraska Views on the list so either I got taken off or it was never a list to join. It is a good list to browse and find interesting blogs to read though.

Was thinking this morning about how much our world has shrunk since the advent of the Internet. I wouldn't be corresponding with quilters from foreign countries let alone quilters from other states here in America without the Internet and blogging in particular.

Have to tell you a little story about my late father in law concerning this very thing since it was a memory about him that triggered my thoughts. The reason I was thinking about him this morning is that Saturday was the opening of rifle season for deer here in Nebraska and a young neighbor stopped in to show us the deer he had got early this morning. It reminded me of the early Sunday morning years ago when my father in law got a nice buck and was so tickled because it was also his 79th birthday. He got the deer early and he even made it to church on time. I came over right after noon to see his deer and to take a digital photo of him with it....he was just like a little kid at Christmas he was so excited. Anyway I took my camera home and sent the photo to his sisters on the west coast, nieces and nephews around the USA and also to his niece and family that live in Germany. This was not too long after we just got Internet and it was really new idea to him and my in-laws didn't even have a computer at that time. Around 4 pm I got a message back from the German relatives and a lot of the others so I printed them off and brought them over for him. He was amazed and kept repeating over and over and would bring it up for several years..."I shot my deer in the morning and relatives saw a photo and sent me messages in the afternoon and some all the way from Germany. "

I kind of feel the same way, a little amazed at what I write here on a farm in Nebraska is read in places far from where I will ever be able to travel or see. Will probably never get a chance to meet many of you face to face but you are as dear to me as my friends that live close by. I love to hear about other places far and near and get to know you so leave a comment and I will write you back.

Happy, happy quilting where ever you are.

Have to make a correction - just went back to the Quilt Qua site and found my blog listed on page 6. The alphabetical listing starts over on page 9 so I was on the first listing and didn't see it. You can send her an email if you want to be listed on this list - you can find the address on the home page.

Friday, November 13, 2009

120 Blocks Done

I finished making the 120 6 inch blocks for the Scrapaholic quilt this afternoon. I was determined to get them done. Next step is to start sewing sets of 4 together to make the 12" blocks.

This is how I had my sewing/cutting/pressing space set up to make these blocks. I have an adjustable 19" x 30" table that I set up beside my sewing machine. I cover half the table with my cutting board and the other half with my small pressing board. My chair can swivel so it is easy to move from the machine to the table and back again.

The nice thing about this table is that I can adjust the height and did set it up lower than my machine to make it easier to use the cutting board.

Here is what it looks like by itself without all my junk on it.

I flipped the table over so you could see the underside. There are several different places to put the leg bars to adjust the height. I got the table at Home Depot a year or so ago in case any of you were wondering. It is light weight and easy to handle too.

Happy Quilting,

Still Stitching

I have spent the last two days working on stitching up more these scrappy blocks for the Scrapaholic quilt I started in the workshop our guild had about a month ago. I know I am not very fast getting these blocks done but that is just me, I pin my fabrics together and I rip and re-stitch mistakes. I try to leave tiny goofs and just hold the pieces together without pins when I sew but it just isn't in my nature I guess. I will leave a mistake for a while but in the end I go back and rip and re-stitch as it bothers me too much. Besides those things to slow me down I take a lot of breaks to do other things as I have a tendency to hunch over my machine and end up with a back ache if I don't get up and walk around or do another task once in a while.

Here is what I have done so far. Each of the piles has 6 of the 6" blocks using the same 12 fabrics. When I get ready to put them together I will make sure I only have one of each set in a block to really mix up the fabrics. This is a huge project for me as I have mostly just made miniatures and small wall hangings for several years.

When I get the last 4 sets made I will start putting the 12" blocks together. As I was sitting at the computer this morning getting these photos ready to post I got to wondering how many different fabrics will be in the 30 12" blocks when I get done. If my calculations are correct I will have used 240 different fabrics.

OK you math whizzes you can check my calculations. Each set of 6 blocks is made with 12 different fabrics, 6 dark and 6 light. I will have 20 sets of blocks after I finish the last 4 sets today, so if my calculations are correct that makes a total of 240 fabrics right? Wonder if I would have started this if I knew I would be using that many different fabrics!

Bonnie Kucera, our teacher for this quilt, had us cut 9" squares of fabric to start with then cut them in half on the diagonal. We then kept one half of our fabric triangles and traded the other half with other class members so we would have all different fabrics. Of course we only got a good start on making the blocks in class and I am making many more so cut more squares and traded with two friends who were also needing more variety. I did dip into my stash more to get the final number I needed but the last ones I cut were just triangles as I didn't need anymore to trade as my friends are making a little smaller quilt that I am. You know it is scary to think how much fabric I have - it doesn't look like I even touched it with the exception that it is a jumbled mess right now.

To refresh your memory this is what 4 of the smaller 6" blocks look like laid out to make the larger 12" block.

I will want to put borders on the top when I get the blocks together but will have to purchase some fabric I am sure as I don't think I have any large pieces of fabric in my stash. (I am a fat quarter girl!) Will see what the quilt looks like when I get the blocks together to decided on borders.

Another day at home for me - guys are still harvesting but they don't need me. They are not started yet this morning as it is damp and misty out but looks like it might be getting brighter so there is hope it will dry off soon. John is estimating that if we don't get any major delays we should be done with harvest maybe by the end of next week. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Happy Quilting,

Monday, November 9, 2009

College Football - Go Huskers!

What fun we had on Saturday night! We got a chance to attend the University of Nebraska football game against rival University of Oklahoma in Lincoln. The weather was just beautiful for a November evening with the temperature at the end of the game still in the low 50s. Nebraska won 10 to 3 so that was an added bonus.

It had been years since we had been to a game so it was a treat to sit in the stadium and soak up the atmosphere. Nebraska fans all dressed in red kept up enthusiasm by cheering throughout the game. Was really fun to see the band perform as my niece plays a clarinet and was out there on the field during half time and before the game started. We did see her as we had a pair of binoculars but with all the hats on the band members it was hard to tell which one was here until I spotted a very tall girl, then I new it was her.

Of course since the game started at 7:00 pm it was late when it got over. We had a long drive home and I am still trying to recover my sleep.

Today was a day at home for me again. John had to haul dry corn to the elevator most of the day and didn't get started harvesting until 6 this evening. It will be a late night for the guys.

No sewing today but catching up on things around the house. Still working on the 6 block sets for the Scrapaholic quilt when I do sew. I know, I know.....I am slow. I just have a hard time sitting and sewing for hours without a break but like the saying goes, slow and steady does win the race, right?


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Harvest Views

The other day we were combining on a hill above the river. It was nice to be able to look over the tiny town below the field and the river beyond.

We were combining dry land corn, which is planted a more thinly than irrigated corn. Some years these fields are planted to soy beans, some years milo and some years dry land corn. Since it is dry land corn it is not very tall but did yield pretty well.

The photo below shows the corn piling up in the bin in the combine. I will be driving along side John soon to have him auger the corn into my grain cart.

When I took this photo of John auguring the corn into my grain cart I just held the camera behind me and snapped a few photos. I couldn't look back as I was driving along beside the combine with my tractor but did capture the shot.

Another shot of John in the combine.

Here is a photo of the corn as it is feeding into the head - again the corn is thin and the tops were broken off in this part of the field too. The wind will sometimes break the top of the plant off with little trouble but the important part, the ear, is still on an upright stalk.

John approaching my tractor - you can see one of the lights sticking out from the side of the tractor. We did have a nice surprise that day as we were harvesting though. We saw a buck deer run in and out of the standing corn a couple of times before he escaped and ran across the road to the river. As many deer that live around here you would think we would get blas'e about seeing them but it is still a thrill to spot them so long as they don't dart out in front of the car on the road.

A little while later we saw a doe. In this photo she had just run out of the un-harvested corn and was looking back at John in the combine and didn't even see me sitting there pretty close to her. She too ran off to the river after that quick check of the combine.

Here's hoping for more sunshine as the weather is cooperating now. I have gotten a couple of days off as they had enough help without me so I have been sewing more of the Scrapaholic blocks. Felt so good to work at the sewing machine.


Friday, November 6, 2009

Bead Weaving Tools and Supplies

It doesn't take too many tools to do beading like I have been doing with the tiny size 11 Delica beads. I did buy one book "Beaded Favors" by Jennie Might and it is the book where I found the pattern for the dogwood needle case I made. Am now working on beading another dogwood needle case but am making this one with pink flowers and a brown background. Will post a photo when I get it finished.

This book has a lot of different patterns for the beaded needle cases and also the little beaded neck pouches. There are several patterns I want to make on my list yet.

The first thing I do is scan my pattern into the computer, enlarge it and then flip it left to right. The reason I flip the pattern is that I am left handed and the diagonal line drawn onto the pattern to help to move up the pattern and keep your place is for a right handed person. (Beading for right handed people goes from right to left, the opposite for left handed people.) By flipping the pattern and printing it the design can be worked left handed and I can follow the "step ups" to the next row. I know this is confusing for those non-beaders - sorry.

I put the pattern on a metal sheet with a magnetized ruler and magnet strip. The ruler helps to keep my place on the pattern. The rows are numbered along the side every other row on the pattern. Of course the numbers are backwards since the pattern is flipped but still readable.

Another thing I do to my printed out pattern is mark each row of beads with either a (o) or (-). When working the pattern I lay a magnetized ruler along the line I am beading but can loose track of where I am but the little circles or dashes on the pattern make quick work of counting how many beads to use on that row and what colors. It is easy for my eyes to jump a line up and weave in the incorrect bead without these marks. This may be just a trait of this pattern since is seems to be a photograph of a piece of beaded work. I think if the pattern were just colored rectangles without all the shadows and highlights it would be easier to follow.

When beading while sitting my my easy chair I use an old lap board that was my daughter's when they were young. It has a foam bead filled pillow on the backside so it lays evenly on my lap and my beading pattern and other stuff don't fall or roll off.

Below are the rest of my supplies. I have beeswax to condition the thread, Silimide beading thread in natural and gray, small sharp scissors, needle threader and hemostat for breaking beads that are woven in the wrong place. I break the bead out and then weave the thread down to the missing bead and weave in the correct bead. I use a size 11 Sharp John James needle instead of a beading needle and so far it works just fine. The last thing on the table is a pair of Mag Glasses - more about them later.

The hooped fabric is a suede type fabric. As I am beading I pour a few beads out on it at a time and the fabric nap keeps the beads from rolling all around. After I finish beading with a certain color of beads I scoop them back up with a baby spoon I still had in my silverware drawer. There is a special tool you can buy to pick up beads but this works fine for me and it is small enough I can pour the beads back into the tube without spilling any.

OK, back to the clip on magnifying lenses. I purchased them a couple of years ago when I was in Paducah for the AQS show. I have used them for applique and for hand quilting my miniatures and now they are really handy for seeing what I am doing when I do the bead weaving. They are pretty nifty in that they clip over my regular glasses and I can look down through the magnifying part to bead and look over the top of them to take a look at the TV program I might be watching.

When I want full vision I can just flip them up and out of the way as they are hinged. Like I said they are very handy. These are 2x strength but want to find some that are 3x to make a little bigger holes on those beads.

Boy, these photos sure show my freckles - used to have more as a kid and also used to have bright red hair but time has faded the hair and most of the freckles over the years and most people now call me a blond. Of course there is some white hair around my temples too.
Well that does it - told you I didn't have too many special tools. Maybe I will find more things that are indispensable for beading as I do more beading projects. I know I am always a sucker for a new tool so that is a big possibility .

I have found that I can find lots of free patterns and finished projects to look at on the internet. Great inspiration! My friend has loaned me a few bead books and can see that my quilt book library might have to slide over a little to include some of these books too.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Devil Made Me Do It!

We ate out at a local restaurant with a group of hunters and families on Saturday night which was Halloween. During the day I remembered I still had pieces and parts of costumes the girls wore when they were young so I found the box in the bowels of our basement. Dug out a pair of Devil horns I had made and attached to a headband plus a red Devil tail to go with it. I attempted to spike out my hair but wasn't too successful with that. I did apply heavy eye makeup which you can't really see behind my glasses either. Oh, well....I had a good time and it was fun. If I would have thought of it sooner I would have figured out something for John to wear but he was probably relieved I didn't.

I did get a new pair of glasses this last week too. The lenses are more square than the last ones I had and it only took a day to get used to the new prescription. My old glasses were really getting scratched so the new ones have been wonderful.


Beading Tutorial

I was asked to do a beading tutorial but I am such a novice at beading I will refrain from showing my inexperience that way. I do have a solution for those wanting to learn though.

I typed in "peyote beading tutorials" on YouTube and found a few excellent ones. Check out the ones I list below if you are wanting to learn as they are pretty good.
Peyote Beading Stitch Tutorial Part 1
Peyote Beading Stitch Tutorial Part 2
How to Video tubular Peyote Stitch Needle Case Snowman Pattern
How to Video Flat Circular Peyote Stitch Add a Lid Snowman Needle Case

The only stitch I know how to do is the peyote stitch and use size 11 Delica tubular beads. There are several different stitches you can use to do bead weaving that I have yet to learn. I am taking a beading class next Sat. Nov. 14th but don't remember what it is we are being taught. Will have to let you know when I know I guess.

Have not done any sewing for about a week now. We are still in the process of harvesting yet and when we got rain again at the middle of the week it kept us out for a few days. We were having company over the weekend so spent my free time cleaning house and just relaxing between times. Had to clean up the sewing room and have not even messed it up yet.

After being in a tractor all day on harvest days I just want to sit so have been working on another beaded needle case while sitting in my chair in front of the TV. I just don't have the energy to sit at the sewing machine when I am tired. Will be nice when I do get back to stitching though.



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