Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Nebraska State Quilt Guild 2015 Challenge–My Block

Three friends and I decided to participate in the Nebraska State Quilt Guild quilt challenge for 2015.  The rules go like this…..It is a round robin challenge with a team of 4-5 quilters of your choice.  Each quilt will start with a 9” finished center block.  You will build around the center block using borders with the following shapes—pinwheels, circles, diamonds, applique, and some embellishment.  The front of the quilt must have at least one of each shape listed but you may use more of these shapes if you wish.  Each quilt cannot exceed 120 total inches around.  It must be quilted, bound and a label sewn on the back.IMG_2201This is the block I chose to make of batik fabrics.  When I first pieced it I had not planned to add the half circles.  It was so plain looking that I decided to use the Bernina Circle Maker attachment to help make the circles and to do the embroidery stitches I chose from the machine’s menu. IMG_2205As you can see the circle is larger than just a half circle.  You can probably figure out that it had to be larger if I wanted it stitched into the next border and still be a half circle.  There is 1/4” seam allowed on the circle so I stitched out about 3/4 of a circle and trimmed it down to fit.  I first did a straight stitch on the circle fabric then removed it from the machine,  I cut a water dissolving paper like interfacing circle to the inside of that stitching and cut a seam allowance outside of that shape.  Edges were turned under and glued.  I glued it to the finished block with a glue stick.  It was easy to reposition the circle on the Bernina Circle maker as I made sure to preserve the center hole.  Three rows of stitching later and the half circles were all done.  To remove the paper interfacing I will wait and wash the block when I get it done and it will just dissipate into fibers and not be a problem anymore.

I sent it on it’s way to the next person and will be awaiting it’s return to see what my friends did with it.

Until later,

Monday, January 26, 2015

Treadmill Distraction

IMG_2888I am not one of those people who love to walk on the treadmill, I need some type of distraction or I go nuts trying to make myself walk.  I constantly am checking to see how far I have I’ve walked and how much time has elapsed, counting down so I can stop for the day.  I discovered  a year or so ago that my laptop computer sits very well on the ledge behind the controls and I could walk and watch videos. It helped to distract me from the actual walking time/distance as I would get focused on the video not realize how long or how far I had walked.IMG_2891I decided to subscribe to The Quilt Show a few weeks ago and that is a wonderful distraction for me now.  I am not letting myself watch it unless I am on the treadmill.  How is that for incentive to walk?  I had resisted subscribing for a long time but since I don’t subscribe to any quilt magazines anymore I decided it wouldn’t be anymore expensive than a regular magazine subscription so went for it.  I have learned lots and have thoroughly enjoyed the programs and extras I have watched so far.IMG_2893Here is my view as I walk the miles away.  You see I have more than The Quilt Show to watch.  This photo was taken a few weeks ago when we still had snow on the ground and our cows were in the field across the highway.  Love watching them as they graze. They take a bite, chew, walk a step, take a bite, chew and walk another step....back and forth across the field.  Once in a while one gets behind the others a ways and runs to catch up as if they might just miss something.IMG_2895The shows have been very interesting and I am really glad I subscribed.  There is so much information to be gleaned from from this website I am glad I am a Quilt Show member and recommend it as a good buy and worth the price.

Until Later,

Friday, January 23, 2015

Weekends...Filled to the Brim!

When a person thinks of weekends they usually think of the words “relaxing, hanging around at home, being lazy…words like those right?  You also may think along the terms of entertainment.  Now that the league teams for basketball and volleyball have started for our four grandchildren we are driving to watch them play in tournaments - our weekend entertainment.  Three are in basketball leagues and one in volleyball.  This past weekend we watched 5 different basketball games with 3 grandkids participating in 3 different towns.  Two of the towns were close together but still an hour from where we live and the other town is 2 1/2 hours from here.IMG_2953I won’t point out which children are my grandchildren to protect their privacy but the above photo is of the youngest and his team of 3rd graders  (age 8 and 9.)  They were so darned cute and when there was a loose ball you would have thought it was a football game the way they all piled on.  The hoop was lowered some from the standard height but it was still a lot taller than they were.IMG_2907This a photo of the little ones brother playing with his team.  The 5th and 6th grade (10-11 yr old) boys have a lot more skill to be sure than the little ones.  Watched two games from this team.IMG_2993This granddaughter’s games (8th grade 13 -14 yr olds) were 2 1/2 hours from our home and the last game started at 7.  We were so tired when we got home but really enjoyed watching two of her games.

Now if you have been counting you figured out we watched 5 basketball games in 2 days.  Two were on Saturday and 3 were on Sunday.  The Sunday games were interesting as we had to drive an hour to get to the first game and when it was over we got back in our car and drove about an hour and a half more to get to the last two games.  With going to church first on Sunday morning we were occupied all day and by the time we drove home we were pooped!  We both were having trouble staying awake on the drive and John was driving, yikes!.  I tried to be entertaining and think of things to talk about to help keep him going the last few miles but we both breathed a sigh of relief when we pulled into the driveway to our home.

We really enjoy watching them play in the games but getting to stay home all day the day after and not have any plans to drive anywhere was lovely!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Quilters Coffee or Tea Cup

2015-01-06-09.14I just had to show you the new cup that I got for Christmas.  It is a regular coffee/tea mug, you just can’t see the handle as the printing is on the opposite side of the handle.  Most cups have the designs on the sides so this one is a little different that way.  I can’t wait to take it to quilt guild to show it off.

In our quilt guild we encourage members to bring their own cup or glass to meetings for their drink as it sure saves on the use of Styrofoam or paper cups.  The hostesses bring a few disposable cups for guests but everyone else brings their own.2015-01-14-14.10I even have a little padded drawstring bag to carry my cup that a friend gave me many, many years ago. I use it every meeting too so it has gotten a lot of use and protects the cup a bit in the tote bag that I carry to guild and also protects the other things I carry in the tote from the cup or any left over drips.  If I were making one now I would make it just a tad deeper so I could pull the drawstrings to completely cover the cup handle but this works and I have no plans to get rid of it.  It has been laundered lots of times over the years and has held up well.

After I typed in the words “many, many years” indicating how long I have had the little drawstring bag, I decided to look it up as I was curious since I didn’t remember.  It was given to me by a retiring Nebraska State Quilt Guild President as a gift for serving on a committee during her year as president and I have all the old NSQG newsletters so it was just a matter of looking through the first few years of the guild until I found the date.  She served in 1990 so it really was many, many years ago…actually I could probably call it an antique by now and looking at the fabric she made it from you can date it a bit that way too.  All I know is I love it and use it monthly and think of Lois every time.

Until later,

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Sunrise January 17, 2015

IMG_3057This morning the sunrise was so beautiful and the temperature was even better.  It was 48°F around 7 am this morning which is very warm for January here in Nebraska.  The clouds really reflected the colors of the rising sun behind our barn as I stood on our porch snapping photos.  You can’t see the cattle in the lot to the left in the barn as it is still pretty dark out but I am sure they were all standing watching, in awe of the magnificent color too.

Until Later,

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Springtime Melody #2

IMG_1855Design process finished and transferred to the silk fabric with the cold water removable blue marker but before marking I ironed on a knit, very light wight interfacing to the backside of the silk.  I don't know the brand or type as I didn't write it down when I purchased it.  The fusing dots are very fine and like I said it is on a very light weight knit base so doesn't add much weight or stiffness to the silk fabric but just enough it quilts up easier than not using any interfacing.   The marked top will be layered with wool batting and another piece of the interfaced green silk for the backing.IMG_1857I chose a 50 wt. dark burnt orange silk thread for machine quilting the design areas and a 100 wt. spring green silk thread for the background quilting.  I wanted the background quilting to sink in and blend into the fabric and the 100 wt. silk thread worked good and the heavier thread worked for what I want it to do too, of course the differing colors helped as well.  I did machine baste the layers together so they wouldn’t shift during the quilting process before I started stitching.
Don't worry all these photos are of the same silk wholecloth miniature but different lighting on different days make it change colors.  The true color is very similar to the first photo below.  I was quilting this small piece, just whizzing along when I noticed……my spool of light green thread was almost gone and I had a lot of quilting to do.  IMG_1942IMG_1952I was working under a deadline as I had entered this quilt in the Nebraska State Fair and didn’t even start the design process until August 1st and I had to deliver it by 14th/15th.   I knew I didn’t have a local source for my silk thread so turned to the internet and ordered from and had the thread in about 3 days!!!!  Of course I had to select a few more colors of silk thread from them too….you know that old “need/want” syndrome. IMG_1941Back to work and finishing up the background quilting.  I do want you to know I use the BSR (Bernina Stitch Regulator) and the magnifier lens that hooks onto the front of my machine.  There is no way I could quilt so small without the magnifier lens.  FYI - I outlined my main design with at least 3 close lines of quilting with the pale green silk thread before I quilted the small spirals for the background quilting.  Click here to see how this spiral is quilted IMG_1954After I finished the quilting the first thing to do, even before stitching the binding, is to soak the quilt in cool water to remove the blue marker and then wash it in cool water with quilt soap.IMG_1958I lay a towel down and block the wet quilt to square, pinning to keep it that way until it is dry.  IMG_1961Bound and finished in time to deliver to the state fair.  I photographed it with a ruler so you could really see and understand how small this quilt really is.  Yes it is only slightly larger than 8” square.IMG_1969
IMG_1970OK, I have delayed showing you the completed quilt long enough….ta da, here it is!IMG_1833-cropI am just waiting for someone to ask me if this is a pot holder – NOT!  You may think that is a silly question but I have been asked that before about my miniatures, from non quilters of course!

Be sure to check out Part 1 - the designing of this miniature here.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Springtime Melody #1

I love making whole cloth miniature quilts from silk fabric.  The sheen on the silk when the design is quilted accentuates the designs and besides that the fabric is just so pretty.  Recently I found out that our local Joann fabric store had a few pieces of 100% silk so I purchased several 1/2 yard cuts and chose a spring green color for my next project but first needed to draft the design.  Since I knew that I wanted a central design surrounded by borders all stitched in a contrasting thread I started on the middle area.   I worked on designing 1/4 of the center and after drawing, erasing, and re-drawing I got something I liked.  I then scanned the design and used Photoshop Elements 11  on my computer to set the four quarters of the design to make it whole. IMG_1835I printed off the design and worked on drawing up border design ideas.  I know if I would have drawn this design on the computer in one of the computer aided drawing programs I could have had a more perfectly drawn design but I do love to work with pencil/pens and paper so opted to hand draw my design.  It doesn’t look like a design that can be embroidered with one of the fancy embroidery machines since it does have it’s irregularities and I certainly don't want viewers to think I just used an embroidery machine to stitch out my design after all the work I put into drawing and stitching it.
At this point I thought I was done with my design that measured about 8” square.IMG_1841The more I looked at it the more I thought it needed a bit more in the blank spaces so took half of the central design and snugged those designs up against the outside border.  Now I like it and there are still areas for background quilting to make the designs stand out.IMG_2662Next up – transferring the design and the most fun part, the machine quilting.

Until Later,
Please remember these are my photos and my design so do not “borrow” them for your own use.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Nebraska State Fair–Many Colored Ribbons

collage_photocatReaching back into September 2014....This year I had 5 quilts to enter in the Nebraska State Fair.  Yes, I said FIVE!  It has been a long time since I entered that many, although none of them were large I still am excited to have that many ready for the fair.  This year I also got ribbons of many different colors and was thrilled to get a ribbon on all 5 entries.IMG_2093The whole cloth silk miniature, Springtime Melody 8” square, was finished just in time for the fair won a first place ribbon for machine quilted miniatures.  It also got a special award certificate for $20 from a quilt shop – that is always fun.  I used the quilt shop award money to put towards a new foot for my Bernina machine.  I will be posting soon on the making of this quilt.IMG_2084This next quilt (One + One Challenge 27 1/2” square) also won a first place ribbon for group quilts.  This was the guild challenge from a year ago and I have searched and searched my blog and don’t think I ever posted about it.  I made the basket block with no flowers and then it was passed to 4 other guild members and they added borders.  When I got it back it had the large rick rack  seamed into the white border so added more rick rack to the other borders plus the flowers with rick rack on them.  Will take a few more photos later and post close ups for you to see more details.  (If you find where I posted about this quilt please let me know as I am going crazy thinking I did a blog post about it already and just can’t find it.)
I was really surprised at this award as I didn’t think it would place but found out later that there were not too many entries in this category.  I love it but didn’t think the judge would like some of the workmanship on the machine quilting, not my best.  Still thrilled and love the $25 award from another sewing/quilt shop. IMG_2090This next quilt, Friendship Wishes, Hopes and Prayers 24 1/2” square, was a two person quilt and won a second place award.  These small 3” stars were sent to me by my friend after each treatment I had for bladder cancer.  (Treatment worked and have had no new bladder tumors in 2 years) I love this quilt and it’s bright colors, a departure from my usual dull and drab colors.  To read about the making of this quilt you can click this link and for several blog posts after this one.IMG_2086This quilt I named You Are My Sunshine (14 1/2”x 21 1/2”) and it received a 3rd place ribbon.  It also got a $20 award from a sewing machine store.  This time I used the money to buy more bobbins, something I am always needing.  I had a lot of fun using the different decorative stitches on my machine and my circle making foot on my machine to make this quilt.  Read about it here and for several more posts.IMG_2112I entered this faux leather quilt Putting Down Roots (18” x 19”) in the original design category and it received a 5th place.  Do think I might have entered it in the wrong category but am happy it got a ribbon.  I so enjoyed the challenge of quilting on this faux leather and plan to do more.  You can read about the making of this quilt starting here.

I had better get busy if I want to have entries for next year.  Am working on finishing one miniature and have some ideas starting to form but it may be a while before I get started.  Most of the time I am a very slow designer, piecer and quilter.  I guess I like to savor the process and don’t like to rush.  Sometimes it takes a while before I have an idea I want to pursue.  I figure that any way you attack your quilting muse is how you should do it – everyone has their own style and speed.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015 - The Best Year Possible

Each new years day is always somewhat bittersweet, thinking of everything that happened in the last year….the good and the not so good things.  When you think about it, January 1st is just like any other day but we tend to give it special meaning.  A new calendar year gives use an excuse to evaluate our lives and where we are going, who we want to be, what we want to do.  With each new year we have an end point for the past and maybe that helps us let go of the negative and give ourselves permission to have a fresh start.   Untitled-1 I also like to plan (think about) what quilt projects I want to start or finish.  Have one miniature I started last summer that now only needs binding so that is first on my list but after that....I'm free to start something new.  Oh, the possibilities are endless!

My somewhat jumbled thoughts as I begin a brand new year.  Wishing you all the best year possible too!

Until later,


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