Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Blow The Trumpets, Clash the Cymbals - Nine Patch Friends Is Finished

Finished putting the last stitch into the hanging sleeve so can officially call this quilt finished.  I do like the way it turned out and am looking around my house to see where would be the best place to hang it. 

Here is the back of the quilt.  As you see I had to add a strip of fabric diagonally to make it large enough for the backing.  I described this process of adding a diagonal piece of fabric to widen or lengthen backing on this blog post.
Am glad I am done with the hand work on this quilt as stitching on black fabric is not much fun.  The black just sucks up the light and even with an extra light it can be hard to see at times.  I think tacking the binding down on a quilt is my least favorite part of quilting so am glad to have it done, done, done!

Well - now I can say I used my 25 yards of fabric since August to meet the guild challenge for this year.  Thank goodness that is done!  Already have an idea for what to do next but first I must get the rest of the things ready to take to the guild meeting.  We are having a kind of auction where we all bring an item we no longer want and donate it - everyone buys tickets and drops them into the bag of the item they want to win.  The tickets are cheap - 10 for $1 and everyone gets into the spirit of it.  We also are having a pot luck supper and playing a dice game called Right, Left Center and the items we are trying to win are 2 1/2" strips of fabric.  Our May meeting is always so much fun so am looking forward to it.

Until Later,

Machine Quilting Nine Patch Friends

Here is what the quilting looks like on the Nine Patch Friends quilt.  I finished the quilting so now am getting the binding ready to put on.  Will I make my Thursday night deadline?  I am working hard to get it done so check back and find out.

I quilted a spiral in the center of the light squares and petal like shapes around it to make it look somewhat like a flower. 

With the black fabrics, using black thread and the other dark fabrics in the quilt you really can't see the leaf and vine quilting between the flower shapes.  I know it is there though and if you get your nose really, really close you can see it too!

I told you I changed the design I planned for the small border...well here is what I used instead.  The design I had thought I would quilt in this area just didn't work so ripped out what I had started to quilt and then stitched this design instead.

For the outside border I again quilted a flower shape with a spiral in the center of the 9 patch blocks and a leafy vine in the black area.  I think I am quilting pretty good then Whoops, I get a zig or a zag or a jiggle.  I am such a perfectionist that most of the time I would rip those spots out but this time I am trying to ignore them.  In the overall picture of the quilt you don't really see those little oops so maybe I am making progress on my perfectionism (don't even know if that is a word.)

Until Later,

Just looked for more black fabric to bind this and wouldn't you know, not enough solid black in the house.  Good thing I have to go to Hastings for physical therapy this morning and can buy some.  I keep telling myself, "I will get this finished," " I will get this finished."


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Prepping for Quilting

I prepared my quilt sandwich for quilting by basting the layers together and this time I decided to use my safety pins and get it done more quickly.  I did roll the backing and top on boards like I do when I baste quilts with thread.  Almost ran out of pins before I got it done though - not sure where all my pins have gone as I used to have lots more.  Oh, well it is pinned and being quilting as I post this.

Happy Quilting,

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Quilting Designs For Nine Patch Friends

I wanted to share how I figured out what to quilting designs to use on my Nine Patch Friends quilt.  It was not an original idea but something I learned by reading  Carla's Feathered Fibers blog and picked up the idea from her.   Here is a page on her blog where you can see and read how she plans her quilting designs plus she has a Yahoo Group called quiltwisperer that is about quilt design and machine quilting.  She has taught this as an online class and it sounds like a good class to take as we all can use help planning what and where to quilt.

The main gist of it is to use Photoshop Elements to draw the design possibilities on the top of a photo of the quilt.  Of course I didn't spend much time drawing since I am under the gun to get it finished but did like using this idea.  I am sure Carla has lots of other tips and tricks she teaches in her classes but my crude attempt helped me in this case.

I did change the design in the small border and revised the flower like shape I quilted in the light squares, but I am quilting a vine with leaves and tendrils in the other area though.  Like I said I was in a hurry to get started quilting on this piece.

Happy Quilting

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Nine Patch Friends

A few years ago, 3 friends and I went to visit another friend in Denver.  While there we went to see an exhibit of Amish quilts from the collection of Faith and Stephen Brown at the Denver Art Museum.  We were all fascinated by the "Nine Patch Crib Quilt" so decided to do an exchange of 9 patch blocks and see what we all could come up with.  Our only rules, if I remember them right were to make 5 blocks of 6 different solids for each person in the group.  There were 5 of us so that was a lot of blocks.  We were to use solid black in the same position and the finished blocks were to be 3".  A couple of the gals threw in a zinger or two which was fun.  I made extra blocks and remember I didn't use all the blocks I had - have no idea how many 9 patch blocks ended up in the quilt.

I finally got my top pieced together a couple years ago then ended up putting it my stack of UFOs as I didn't know how I was going to quilt it.  I did have fun arranging the blocks and love the light squares floating in the middle of the quilt. Three of the gals got their's pieced and quilted right away, don't know about the last gal but here I am getting mine finished now.

I pulled it out this last week and am working on machine quilting it now.  Have to get it finished by Thursday so it can count towards my 25 yards used for our guild challenge this year.

Happy Quilting,

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Split Nine Patch - Hippo Trails

Here is the finished Split 9 Patch quilt I have been working on since last fall.  It is all machine stitched except the back of the binding which I finished hand stitching down on Saturday night.  It's name is "Hippo Trails" and is 53" x 64" - a lap quilt size for covering up on the couch.

I did do a feather design in the outside border - guess I have a one track mind and I can do feathers pretty easily so went with what works.

Now I know you are all are wondering how I got that name but if you look at the backing you might figure it out.  Look carefully at one of the fabrics on the left side towards the top - yes it has hippopotamus on it, thus the name.  As you can see I pieced the backing from several different fabrics, wanted to use up some of what I had on hand and these all worked well together I thought.

Got to get busy on another quilt today.  Our guild challenge this year is to use 25 yards of fabric from our stash and that means finished projects.  I am up to 20 yards so pulled another wallhanging top from my UFO box and will try to get it quilted and bound by next Thursday so I can meet the challenge.  You might not hear much from me before then since I will be busy quilting besides the other things that life throws at me.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Tiny Teddy Bear has a Boo Boo

When we attended the music program of our older grandson the other night the younger brother pulled this tiny teddy bear out of his mom's purse.  It is about 3" tall so it pretty small.  It is one we gave him for Christmas but now the teddy had a problem.  He was about to loose his head.

M. asked me if I could please fix it for him because he really liked it a lot.  I was very serious and told him I could fix his teddy bear by doing surgery on it.  The teddy bear has a magnet in it's tummy and one on each of the legs so is fun to play with and he also takes it to bed with him.  We zipped him into my purse pocket so it wouldn't get lost and I brought it home with me.

Today I performed the surgery and gave him a little more stuffing in the tummy as well as sewing the head on again.  As soon as I was done with it I put it back into the zippered pocket in my purse so I won't forget to take it next week when we go up to watch him play T-Ball and can give it back to him.  I can't wait as 4 yr. olds just make me smile.  M. loves to play T-Ball and told me he was really good so don't want to miss his game for sure.

He has played 4 games already but we have not been able to go up to see them.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Spring in Nebraska

That is a pretty broad title - Spring in Nebraska.  It could include many calves, track meets, rain storms, flowers, home grown vegetables, fresh air and many more things.
I have been picking asparagus for about a month now and love each and everyone I eat.  As a kid I hated it, just hated it.  Of course I was a picky eater then and "hated" a lot of foods.  My mother had a huge garden which included a large asparagus bed and it produced and produced each year.  I am not sure when I decided I liked it but now I can say I love it.  I like to roast it in a hot oven with a little olive oil sprinkled on it plus maybe some thyme or other herb.  I can just taste it now...mmmm.  I have to go out and cut it about every other day so have had lots of meals of it.  I am sorry John doesn't like it but then again there is more for me to eat. 
My iris are starting to bloom too.  This one is such a dark orange color.  Isn't it beautiful?  I have quite a few colors of iris most of which were given to me by my mother, again the fantastic gardener - veg. and flowers.  At one time I had over 30 different colors but over the years some have died or didn't survive the move here.  I love them but wish the blooms lasted longer.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Whoops...Time to Rip

I left the extra backing  when I layered my split 9 patch quilt instead of trimming it off.  In hindsight I probably should not have left such a wide piece of fabric just loose.  I am sure you all can see where this is leading....yes it got folded back when I started quilting after a break and I quilted two feathers before I realized I had been stitching it too.  I hate ripping out quilting, well I hate ripping anything to be honest.  I am just glad I figured it out before I stitched any more.

It didn't take me too long to get it ripped and started on my way again.  Paid closer attention to make sure I was just quilting sandwich after that.  I did get the quilting finished and will show you the last border and finished quilt soon. 

Happy Quilting,

Thursday, May 6, 2010

One Step At A Time

Thomas A. Edison
I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward. 
 Peter A. Cohen
There is no one giant step that does it. It's a lot of little steps. 
Jack Penn
One of the secrets of life is to make stepping stones out of stumbling blocks. 
 Barbara Bush
You don't just luck into things as much as you would like to think you do. You build step by step, whether it is friendships or opportunities. 

I am getting my split 9 patch done little by little, step by step.  The small one inch border is finished now and next is the last wider border that is 5".  You can see the chalk marks still on the border where I quilted these nested teardrop shapes.  I marked an X at every inch and tried to make them all that size.  The X is marked in the center so it gives me a place to aim for and did work pretty well.  As you can see everything is not all exactly the same but over all when you look at the entire border you don't see those inconsistencies. 

I had a comment on how well I quilt .... well, I hate to admit it but that is because I take photos of the best parts.  What you don't see are the wobbles and places that could be better.  For instance this photo shows what I cropped out of the first photo.  Will I take this out?  Probably not, as you really can't see it and this is a "for fun" quilting project, not a show quilt.

I use the BSR  (Bernina Stitch Regulator) on my Bernina 730 machine so that keeps the stitches even, now if I can just keep my driving smooth.  Sometimes it works well and other times I am all over the place.  Any of you that have the BSR, what stitch length do you use?  Do you change stitch length for different weights of thread, different projects?  On this quilt I am quilting with Sulky 30 wt. thread, using a 90 topstitch needle and stitch length of 2.

Have been doing my PT exercises pretty regular until yesterday when I had a Dr. apt. and then went plant/flower shopping and didn't get home until 3 pm.  I got lazy and only did the exercises a couple of times and today I am paying for it.  My shoulder is aching and the exercises didn't go as well first thing this morning so guess I had better be more diligent.  Am trying to keep from having surgery so had better put my best effort into the PT - right?

Will keep plugging away, step by step, whether it is quilting or physical therapy!


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Machine Quilting the Split 9 Patch

I have been working slowly at getting my split 9 patch quilt machine quilted.  I can't spend too much time all at once doing the machine quilting as I have trying to deal with the physical therapy and not stressing my shoulder.  I am doing physical therapy here at home 6 to 7 times a day and going twice a week to PT so far anyway.  I did wait to go to PT until after I got back from Paducah and my therapist wanted to know why I waited a week to come in after I saw the Dr.  Of course he just didn't understand the importance of the Paducah trip but I filled him in of course.  Even though the exercises only take about 15 minutes each time it adds up to a lot of time at the end of the day.
I am feeling much better after I do the PT and am feeling better each day.  I can move my arm so much better and farther without pain and the pain has gone down tremendously.  I sure am praying that I don't have to have surgery on this shoulder as I have been through that before on my left shoulder and don't want to do it again if I can help it.

Ok, back to the quilt - this has been fun to machine quilt so far.  I am quilting feathers on each of the light and dark diagonal strips across the quilt. The feathers on the light go towards one end and the dark towards the other.   I thought I was being so smart to quilt the light strips with light thread and the dark with a dark thread but will think twice if I do that again.
Can you think what the problem might be?  Well, to keep everything flat I have to change thread after each strip instead of skipping over and continuing.  Thank goodness I have a needle threader on the machine as it takes no time to thread the needle.  I am using the titanium size 14/90 topstitch needle and it is working really well, I am impressed with it so far.

Working on the small green first border right now then need to get an idea for the outside purple border.  Am thinking I will just do another feather design as I can do those pretty well now.  Sometimes my stitching is a little wobbly but am not thinking I will enter this piece in any shows so am just going with the flow and leaving those wobbles.

On to bed now for me.  I have been nurse maid to John today - hubby has some sort of flu bug and has run a temp. all day and stayed in bed sleeping most of the time until 3 this afternoon.  He never sleeps or stays in bed past early morning so knew he felt bad today.  I think he was sick yesterday too but would not admit it until last night.  He was pushing to get the last of the corn planted which he did and was not going to stop even though he felt lousy.  I do have to qualify that as the sweet corn isn't planted yet but know it will be soon.  Of course he has to prep. the fields and plant the soybeans yet soon.

Happy Quilting,


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