Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Little Sewing etc.

I  did a little sewing today, the key word here is little. I finally got round to piecing the back for the Diva MEH challenge.  I should say I started it; I sewed 2 short seams before we took off on another shopping trip. I had to piece a 20 inch wide strip of the big dot fabric that will
 go down the center with  4 inch strips  of the zigzag on each side. If I had purchased 6 1/2 yards of the dots instead of whatever it was that I did purchase, I would have been able to get by with one long seam. I don't remember my logic if there was any logic for buying that amount but it will be OK. Quilts usually turns out to be more interesting when I run short and have to improvise.

I didn't get any further today because Mr Spontaneous was ready to go and shop for another 4 foot Lifetime table. We didn't find it so I will have to order it to pick up at the store. I am finding that out here everything is far away. When we decide to shop for something it is not a few blocks away as it was in our apartment. We have lived a short distance from everything for the past 40 years and this is a big change. Walmart is close and Walgreen's and Rite Aid and Giant Eagle are close. The Mall and Joann's and the quilt shops are no longer 10 to 20 minutes away. I will have to plan my shopping trips a little better and that is probably a good thing.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Not there yet!

We are still settling in. As always the sewing room gets all of the things that need to be dealt with, either unpacked,  disposed of, put away to a yet to be determined space or decided upon.
I am trying to make a decision about whether I want shelves or a design wall on the one open wall. I am leaning toward shelves and thinking over the options for a  portable design wall. I have  several design boards that I use that I can stow away when they are not in use.

I have some things in the sewing room that were not there before. the blue chair ended up there when the movers brought it in and it will not be staying, it may go to another room or it may go out the door. The narrow chest in the corner was in the sewing room before and holds odds and ends of sewing supplies like freezer paper and fusible web and other general supplies.  The green cabinet is 30" W x 23" D x 80" tall; Jack built it for me a long time ago before I started quilting,for craft supplies. Over the years it has held various things, most recently, it was in the living room and had season and occasionally used table ware, vases, seasonal decorations etc.  It is staying in the sewing room and holds Christmas dishes, quilts and things waiting for shelves. The Christmas dishes will stay, I think I will keep the quilts that are not wall hangings where they are. I plan to use one shelf for kids games. The closet in the room where the grand kids sleep when they visit is completely full of toys and games. the games that I have that are not duplicates can stay in the cabinet, along with kids craft items that they always used, when they visited. I am sure I will be seeing more of them from now on.
So.... no sewing yet, but soon. I don't want to start working on anything until I find a permanent place for most things. In the mean time I have not abandoned my blog but I have no quilting photos to post.
We are making progress, a little every day.

Sunday, August 3, 2014


I wasn't really ready to sew on Friday; I don't have the room set up and there are still things that need to be unpacked and the boxes are taking up space and blocking access to things I need.  

The great grandkids arrived and wanted to sew. I don't like to discourage them by making them wait just in case they lose interest altogether in sewing. I dragged out my cutting table and my Janome Gem (that I am going to give to Grace) and she made a pillowcase.

 Her brother wants to make one too but I have to get more organized. It is just too much trouble cutting with a scissors, the light on the machine is not working since the move, and there are some other issues with trying to sew in a makeshift setup.

We'll get there........ but not today,
maybe not tomorrow either.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


We are moved and it went pretty well with nothing broken or damaged. Last Tuesday we ran out of steam and time when we were packing and that wasn't too bad after all. We went back to our old apartment on Monday this week to finish up taking down the window coverings and getting all the stuff in the bathroom vanity. Jack patched nail  and screw holes while I cleaned the stove and refrigerator. We left more stuff to gather up than I thought and when we once again ran out of steam I called for help and our DIL and her friend came and helped us.
At this end we could have paid a little more attention to the unloading as some things went to the basement because they were not marked and in the sewing room the boxes ended up in the corners and along the walls and the furniture and more boxes in the center of the room. By the time I paid attention it was too late and it took 2 days to get it sorted out. It is still not finished but I can move around but there will be no sewing for a while.
My computer has been acting up for a while and I thought it was my mouse and we replaced it and my keyboard with a new wireless mouse and keyboard, however........... everything worked fine but I started having the same problems again and Jack went on line and ordered me a new Dell. It came yesterday and I am in the process of sorting out what I want to transfer. I have a lot of stuff that I don't want to transfer and a lot that I had previously but on a flash drive.  No pictures today! With all my computer issues I am not even going to try.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A little lesson

The Basement Divas met today I took a break from packing. I won a basket at a meeting recently and one of the items in the basket was Susan Cleveland's Piping Hot Binding tool and booklet. Jan had taken a class with Susan when she taught locally a year or so ago and today she gave me a lesson.

Here is my little 9 1/2 inch square with piping and binding. It is always so much easier to have someone who knows how to do something demonstrate than to go through the directions myself and bumble through. Jan was very nice and patient, as she always is.
Almost all my fabric has been packed up as well as all of the  various feet from all 3 of my machines.  I found this little square already quilted along with 4 strips that I has used to demo faux piping a long time ago. I had one box of black fabric still not packed up where I found something to use for binding.  Jan set up her own machine for me to use for my lesson. I now have a new technique to use. Even though it is an easy technique, I might have given up at the first thing that went wrong if I had done this on my own. Thanks Jan.
It was good to get away from the mess for a few hours and it is always good to get together with my friends. There are packed boxes everywhere and the end is in sight. Jack says anything not packed up by Wednesday he will just throw in whatever boxes are empty; that will be just fine with me.

Friday, July 11, 2014


We are making progress but it sure is a mess around here. After Jack got all his stuff sorted out he attacked turned his thoughts to the hall closet and my sewing room. We tend to have different ideas about how things should be done and we were both pretty cranky for a while. It's a good thing we really like each other and we can laugh at ourselves or it might have been ugly.
He moved all of my boxes of fabric into the living room and started packing them in boxes. I wasn't too pleased with the way he packed the plastic boxes in the moving boxes but all of those boxes below are now packed up. The sofa is no longer visible with boxes stacked 3 high in front of it.
The pile of boxes in my sewing room is getting higher than the top of my head and my shelves are now empty; and only about 3 quilts and a tree skirt hang in the closet. The quilts are pieces that I don't want to fold up because they have fused and interfaced applique that would probably be permanently creased. That pile of hangers on my chair is from all the quilts in one half of the closet.
I spent a couple of hours yesterday folding quilts on the bias and then I put them in drawers that I had emptied of  things that the movers want out of the drawers. I assume that if we can leave clothing in drawers quilts are OK too.

I don't have quilt photos to post, only a stack of 6 flimsies. I think that is a pretty respectable number of UFOs, unless you count the big King size hand quilted UFO that is more than 10 years old.

Almost all of my sewing tools and supplies are packed. I only have one thing available to work on. I am  going to use this 12 inch block as a learning piece for piping hot piping when the Basement Divas meet on the 19th. Fellow Diva Jan is going to teach how to use the piping tool and add piping. I don't know that this was the best thing to use but it was right on top in my box of blocks and now it is the only thing I have that is not packed and sealed. Our group at church  meets tomorrow and I hope I can get it layered and quilted then as there are no horizontal surfaces available for my sewing machine.
I am starting to pack the contents of the kitchen cabinets. From no on if we eat at home it will be on disposable dishes, except maybe for our coffee mugs. I don't like my coffee in a disposable cup and get cranky when I can't have a mug at the coffee shop because it is close to closing time.
There are only 10 more days before our moving date so I may not post again before then. In case I don't post do not think I have fallen off the face of the earth.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Packing and an old project

Well the packing is coming along. My sewing room is really just a packing and holding area right now. After I folded up the sewing machine table and packed up my machine I got a lot more done. I emptied all of the various drawers in my sewing room and packed up most of the contents. It seems there is always something that really needs to be packed with something from somewhere else and then I have to drag that into the sewing room and get it sorted out.

You can see my progress in these 2 photos. I have a couple of items to put in one of the boxes and then that can be sealed up. There are more boxes to pack and more that are packed in the other room but it is coming along.

This  morning I took everything but the clock down from the walls. I got all horizontal surfaces cleaned off and started gathering all the photographs from all over. I am going to take most of the photographs out of the frames and put them in albums. Of course, as I am going through all of the photos from numerous boxes, I have to look at them. Oh my goodness, Jack and I sure have changed.
When we lived in a large house I never had to store things in boxes under my bed but I had been slowly adding boxes one at a time to the under - bed storage area. Today I  dragged them all out. There were 7 - 32 quart plastic  Rubbermaid boxes and 3 - 16 quart boxes. I guess it is good that we have a king size bed. I am going to need more than one large photo album. Not all the boxes were photos there are some Christmas and season decorations too.
I found one box full of summer pants and wonder of wonders..... they all fit. I think that when I put away dark and heavy clothes, I hung up the long pants to wear but it was still too cool for shorts or Capri's.  I put them in a box under the bed rather than back up on the top closet shelf; then I forgot them. I did kind of wonder why I didn't have more summer clothes but I thought maybe they were too tight and I got rid of them. I feels like I've had and very successful shopping trip.

I didn't want  to write a post with only pictures of bare wall and packing boxes and I have nothing new to show.  I decided to show something that I made a few years ago before I started blogging.
 These 3 piece were made when the basement ladies were working our way through Ruth McDowell's piecing workbook  (we were not yet the Basement Divas). the two larger pieces are about 21 inches square and the smaller piece is about 12 inches. The one on the top left is the one from the book. There were 5 or six different piecing exercises that went into piecing the 3 leaves and piecing them together into one piece with the circle and the square. I don't remember if the curved piecing was an exercise from her book or if it was from somewhere else. I had the orange floral fabric in my stash; I had purchased the large and small scale fabric sometime earlier for something that I never  made. After I used it for the border on the first piece I wanted to use the curved piecing to surround the one large motif in the second piece but I wanted it to be different so I reversed  the placement  to put the black fabric on the outside. I had "musical chairs" block left over from and earlier basement project from the "Quilters Playtime" book project and I used the smaller scale orange fabric for a narrow 1/4 inch inner border and kind if mimicked  the curves of the borders to make an asymmetrical border. I faced the last piece instead of using binding. I tried something new with each of these pieces and I made them to all be hung together. And hang together they do, in the closet. As with so many things, I make what the fabric or the technique leads me to do and while I may like it very much, it doesn't really fit in with everything else in my home.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A diva meeting and packing.

Saturday was our Basement Diva meeting and there was over the top show and tell. It was reveal time for the Mary Ellen Hopkins Challenge.
I admired Lynn's "Hidden Wells" flimsy and she gave it to me. I love the colors and the floral fabrics. At first, I hesitated to take it but I was easily persuaded. I was never drawn to make this  pattern myself when it was presented at "Quilt Sitters Circle" some years ago. At the time I was not interested in anything that required making one kind of block and cutting it up and making something else that was a kind of a surprise. I have long since gotten over the need to control all the results of what I am making and I like the surprises.

Meeting with this group of quilters has been fun and irrational inspirational(aren't typos fun or maybe revealing).  As I look back over the quilts I have made since I became part of the group a few years back I realize the importance of having a group of quilting friends. I have gained so much as we have shared ideas and expertise. We help each other with quilting tasks and our challenges and mini workshops have helped me to  enlarge the range of my quilting skills.  We offer encouragement about quilting and family situations and we solve the problems of the world. Most valuable of all are the friendships that have developed over time. 

Yesterday, I took my Bernina out of the sewing table and put it in the case and folded up the sewing table. I have been packing and I need the space to get the boxes out of the way. If I need to do any emergency sewing I will be able to put one of my machines on the dining room table. I do have a couple of small things I might sew.  I want to have something small ready for the next Basement Divas meeting when Jan is going to show me how to add piping hot binding. Yes, it is a real mess right now but I'm working on it and soon it will at least be safe to enter the room.

Just in case I need some mental  health time, I have the backing handy to sew together for the Mary Ellen quilt; it is there, on the chair, in a large Ziploc bag.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Change of Plan - Again

I finished adding the zigzag print to the border and I decided to stop.
Maybe I am being lazy but I think that it doesn't look unbalanced.

Yesterday I thought the float border is too wide for the size of the print border and I thought another 2 inch border on the outside of the print would fix it. Today I think it is OK. Maybe a slightly narrower float border would have been better but at this point I am happy with it.

The mitered corners turned out good. I really hate fiddly things like matching those corners but even the final corner matched. I will use the background fabric for the binding and those little brown triangles will not show when the binding is on.
I am not going to use any of the leftovers for the backing as I usually do. This time I think it will look better with just one fabric. I might get the backing pieced before Saturday when the Basement Divas meet and then I can layer it up.  Or maybe this is all the sewing I should do for a while.
July 23 is moving day  and it is coming fast.  I still have a lot of sorting and purging and organizing to do.  I should have been further along but deciding how to finish these borders had me immobilized. Usually; when I can't decide how to proceed, I take a break and clean or organize something.  I have been at that point with packing and organizing where I am not sure what to do next and the mess in the sewing room needs to be sorted out before I can get anything done.
Wish me Luck!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Sometimes you just have to stop and give it a rest before proceeding. I thought I knew what I wanted to do for the borders in my Mary Ellen Hopkins challenge.

I cut the background fabric for the inner float border and sewed it on. then I cut the zigzag pattern fabric  and tried it out for size and that brown strip just jumped out and looked wrong.

I thought about it for a while and carefully trimmed away the brown.
that left 31/2 inches and when I sewed it to the float border it didn't look balanced. It was too narrow and the float border was too wide. At that point I put it away. But it was there at the back of my mind and I wasn't getting anything else done. Sorting and packing were also on hold.

 This morning I spread it out on my bed and auditioned the fabric I bought for the backing. Not bad, but I asked Jack's opinion. He didn't like either the zigzag stripe or the big dots. I was ready to take off the zigzag strip (it is only sewn on one side) and go borderless. I thought maybe a wider border of the background fabric would work. Well that was not good!
This is what I think I will do. I will add the rest of the zigzag strips and then another border of the background fabric the same width as the float border. I  won't need to rip anything. I bought enough backing fabric so adding a a few more inches won't make a difference. I'm not sure yet about the binding but I will cross that bridge when I come to it.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Quilt Camp 2014

Quilt Camp at our church has been going on this week. I think this may be our 8th year; in a post from 2010 I stated that it was our 4th year. Time sure flies when you are having fun and Quilt Camp has always been fun. This year there were 9 participants, 7 girls and 2 boys. Most of the young people this year were first timers with only one returnee.

This collage shows 8 of the quilters with their quilts. I missed one of them because she was quilting her quilt and I didn't get a shot of her holding it up.

I did get a shot of her working.

Here is the whole group with their quilts. I am really amazed at how much they have accomplished in 4 days. Some of the quilts are finished, some of them are nearly finished and will be finished by tomorrow when quilt Camp ends. Three of the quilts will be sent to a long arm quilter and then if help is needed with the bindings we will do it one of our monthly meetings. 

These were comments the young people wrote on the white board about what they learned.

I didn't really work with the quilters this year. I did some work ahead of time behind the scenes and I was there on Monday morning for  a while. I came back today for the photo shoot and pizza party. I have always loved working with the kids at quilt camp and I really missed it this year. There were a great bunch of adult helpers and I kept hearing about what a nice group of kids we had this year and how calm and focused they were. We have always had a nice group of kids, maybe not always focused and maybe not always calm.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Finish

I wasn't sure I would get this finished this month but I kept the room set up to quilt and did it a little at a time. It should have gone faster but I had other things taking up my time.

I can't get near my design wall to hang this up to get a full picture but you can see the way it is quilted. I have used the #4 stitch on the Bernina for years to quilt across a plain square or rectangle, sometimes with variegated thread to add a little interest. I have also used it for the binding on juvenile or whimsical  quilts. I never thought of using it for parallel lines until I saw Amy Smart from Diary of a Quilter use it that way on a Churn dash quilt. I was really at a loss over how to quilt this. I did not want to free motion quilt it or quilt in the ditch. I thought free motion would be too busy and in the ditch would be physically intensive. For several reasons, I wasn't sure I wanted to quilt parallel rows of straight lines either. When I saw Amy's quilt I thought "why not". At about 1/3 of the way I was sure I hated it but I kept going and now that it is finished I like it. My rows could be straighter but this is a very forgiving technique.

This is the back and there really is no hint of green in the backing fabric. It is a nice cheerful  yellow with orange lines. I had to improvise when I pieced the back because I did not buy enough fabric (Same old story, different quilt). Now I am happy that I didn't have enough fabric. Necessity is the mother of more interesting quilts.
Below are a couple of close up shots. I thought at first that the quilting was too scribbly and overshadowed the blocks but I don't think so after all. You can see in the close up on the right how I quilted the HST border.

 I have to mention one of the best tools I have found in a long time.
Saturday I went to a NEORQC (North East Ohio Regional Quilt Council)  meeting. I won a small bucket of goodies. I can always use more basting pins and another little snipping scissors. I have wanted to try piping hot binding and now I have a tool and an instruction booklet and some cord. There is fabric with instructions for a 10 minute table runner that I am sure the little great grandsons will like. Best of all is the "Seam Fix" Seam ripper. The instructions say to use the seam ripper to cut the threads and then with the tip on the cap rub over the seam and it will pick up all the stray thread. IT WORKS! I am not a gadget person but this is one that I am in love with. Picking out all those threads is the worst part of ripping a seam.