Sunday, November 17, 2019

Another Week, Another Weekly Post

Time to check in for my weekly recap of stitching for 15 minutes a day.  I did well this week, actually stitching every day, sometimes for more than 15 minutes. I stitched more rounds to the courthouse square blocks, aiming for the 8" size.

After watching the impeachment hearings, I am thinking about changing the name of the quilt to "Not as Outlandish as It Could Be."    Some of my centers start out as triangles instead of squares or rectangles, so they are even more wonky than the crooked blocks shown here.  If I am up to it, I might add some wonky lettering to this.

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 46

This week,  I added more rounds of more Courthouse Steps. I had to steal some fabric from another container of scraps, mostly because I thought I was using the same scraps too many times. It's like clothes. When I was working on the lights, I thought I had plenty of scraps but didn't have enough lights, yet when I was working on the darks, I thought I had plenty of scraps but didn't have enough darks. I think I should organize the scraps again like I did last week. That worked out better.

  • 15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
  • 15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 282 out of 321sessions
  • Success Rate: 88%
Linked with:
Kate's Life in Pieces 15 Minutes to Stitch 
Oh Scrap!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Incoming Goodies

I hope this post doesn't feel like an advertisement, because nobody is paying me to say anything, but I wanted to share these with you.

First up is some fabric my sister found at Aldi's. Thanks Sis!  I think these would look great in the Sawtooth Star quiltalong or the Little Miss Sawtooth quiltalong both of which are held by Melanie Traylor at Southern Charm quilts. I really like the soft colors she uses in her quilts.

Next up is some beautiful dyed fabric I received from Katy from KatyQuilts. Thanks, Katy! These are so soft and beautiful. These are nice and bright. I find that I use bright fabrics most often. Remember that photo I showed of the artwork I saw at the library in October? I think these fabrics would look great in a quilt recreation of that artwork.

There is also an applique quilt I want to start, an applique pattern by Tamsin Harvey. I have purchased fabric for it, so just need to decide which one I want to do, and give myself permission to start it.

Lastly, I wanted to share Today's Quilter magazine.  It is a magazine that comes from the UK and when I received an offer to subscribe, I didn't hesitate.  I really like this magazine since the quilts in the magazine are different from the ones we see in the states - usually more complex, and they always provide a free gift with the magazine.  This time, the magazine didn't wow me, although there are some cute things in there, but that free gift with the nutcracker quilt did. It reminds me of a scrappy Christmas quilt that was one of the first buy by the block quilts I had seen way back when I first started quilting.

I try not to share my purchases, etc. because I don't want to encourage acquisition for those who are trying to cut down their stashes, but I couldn't help myself this time. This post is mostly to remind me of new quilts I want to start, but won't because I want to stay focused on finishing some things.  I started lots of new things at the start of this year, so maybe if these are still on my mind next year, I might start them then.

Linked with:
Scrap Happy Saturday

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Courthouse Steps

The courthouses are being built one step at a time. Bonnie had recommended making a few blocks at a time, but it is easier for me to make them in an assembly line process. 

I sorted my scraps by size - first round is about 2 inches and less than 4 inches in length, second round is between 4 and 6 inches, third round is between 6 and 8 inches and the final round is longer than 8 inches. This kept me from using up the longer lengths when smaller ones were available. It also made it convenient to find the right size scraps.

When I am done with that round of the blocks, all the trimmings and any leftover scraps are thrown away. Remember when I was personifying my quilts by making generations quilts? I am thinking of these blocks as Day of the Dead quilt. These fabrics won't be able to make any more children since the leftovers are being thrown away. They are the last of the line. Yet they are a joyful bunch and showcase a great history of other quilts that have been made with these fabrics.

Then I realized that I had more scraps in the shoe box. Apparently I hadn't sorted all my scraps by sizes so maybe there will be another generation quilt after all, if I have too many blocks to fit into one quilt!

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 44

This week, I finished binding the Drunkard's Garden. If you haven't seen it yet, please do!

 I also started the first couple of rounds of more Courthouse Steps.

  • 15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
  • 15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 275 out of 314 sessions
  • Success Rate: 88%
Linked with:
Kate's Life in Pieces 15 Minutes to Stitch

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Quilt Reveal: Drunkard's Path

It's not called Drunkard's Path for nothing. The drunk took a long time to find his way home. Year's in fact. This quilt was started sometime in August of 2003. I don't know the exact date, but counting from August 1, it would be 5,960 days.  I was using low volume backgrounds before the term "low volume" was coined.

I called it Drunkard's Garden then. It is a rectangular lap quilt, but not as rectangular as this picture shows.. It is rainy out so not a good day for a photo shoot, although it is better than yesterday when there were lots of shadows everywhere.  The backing is blue, similar to, but not exactly the same as, the binding fabric.

I'll have to take it out for a walk and get more photos but I wanted to share this finish with you.  It changes the quilt stats significantly.  Before I enter the finish date on this quilt, I have finished 77.37% of my quilts, taking an average of 229 days to make a quilt.  After I enter the finish date of this quilt, I have finished 78.10% of my quilts, taking an average of 282 days to make a quilt. The average number of days to make a quilt didn't increase as much as I thought it would. My small quick quilts this year and throughout the years helped a lot with this average.

I'm not sure what is next on the quilt list.  I would love to work on quilting another top, but there are lots of scraps that need taming.  I might do a little bit of both until one or the other takes over.

Linked with:
Off the Wall Friday 
Finished or Not Friday 
Oh Scrap!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Binding Drunkard's Path

Another week has gone by so it is time for another weekly recap.  This week, I have been focusing on sewing the binding on the Drunkard's Path quilt. I am more than halfway done of the hand stitching part.

While there is no big profusion of flowers in the garden, there are a few flowers that make it worth the effort to look. I have a new retaining wall by the front porch which really helps spruce up the place too.

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 44

This week, I've been binding the Drunkard's Path quilt while listening to Radium Girls book on tape.  It is a disturbing book because radium poisoning has awful symptoms, and because it is hard for me to know that people can be so cruel.

I've also started writing my Yearly Recap post. It involves me having to read my own blog to see what I have been up to all year. It looks good so far. I want to make sure November and December also have some good showings. Having the Drunkard's Path quilt finished will help a lot with that.

  • 15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
  • 15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 268 out of 307 sessions
  • Success Rate: 87%
Linked with:
Kate's Life in Pieces 15 Minutes to Stitch

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Daily Index Cards

I just wanted to let you know that I am still doing the "daily" index cards. Just don't look up the definition of "daily" in the dictionary if you still want to be my friend.

Yes, I do realize that the index card in the photo above is made with markers and not the watercolor paints or the marker shown in the picture. I'd show you my artistic license if I had one.

I bought some colored index cards at the back to school sale. The blank ones are in the front and the daily cards are in the back of the box. I've added more tabs because I like the way they look in the box.

I've kept collaging [apparently this word is not in the dictionary either] more things to the outside of the box. These colorful flowers cut out of a magazine make me happy.

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 43

This week, I spent my time turning my living room / dining room back to a sewing room. I also cut down some more scraps for the courthouse steps.  It doesn't seem very productive overall but it will help in the future.  I realized that these supplies that are being moved back downstairs need a more permanent space in the Cave of Wonders upstairs. More like a vacation home and less begging for a space on the floor. I've done a lot of work in the upstairs bedrooms this summer, but that process will continue for the rest of the year.

  • 15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 14 out of 14 
  • 15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 261 out of 300 sessions
  • Success Rate: 87%
Linked to:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Courthouse Steps

I am cleaning up for a family gathering and still cleaning my sewing room as a part of 15 minutes to stitch.

This means that the room where I sew has to be returned to living room / dining room status. The dining table had some fabric strings on it, and instead of finding an appropriate box and an appropriate place to put the box, I thought it might be better to just turn them into blocks.    Bonnie Hunter's  crooked courthouse steps quilt tutorial came at exactly the right time. Cleaning by sewing. That's my story and I am sticking to it!

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 41

This week, I cut and prepared the binding for the drunkard's path quilt. I cleaned the dining table as well as sewed seven string blocks. These are the same blocks shown different ways. The seventh one is under the needle.

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 247 out of 286 sessions
Success Rate: 86%

Linked with:
15 Minutes to Stitch 
Finished or Not Friday

Monday, October 7, 2019

Another Weekly Recap

I went to the main library for Family History Day and this artwork was in their rotating collection in their gallery. It looks like it would make a great quilt.  I've often thought about a quilt like this, based on a painting I have at home or log cabins, but this piece makes me think of making it with fusible instead of piecing. It is made in layers.

All of the books pictured here are quilting books. It was hard for me to tear myself away to get back to the genealogy lecture. I did gather a stack to take home with me, as many as I could reasonably carry to my car without tripping.

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 40

 I don't have anything picture worthy to show you, but I did press the charity quilts and add the borders.

As part of my cleaning process, most of my time has been spent cutting up some shirts that will be used for a quilt.  They take up too much space in their current state. I figured if I could at least cut them down and throw away all those extra bulky bits like collars, buttons, plackets, hems, seams, cuffs and yokes, they will be easier to store. I have a batch where the bulky things are cut out, but this week, I cut the remaining shirts into squares.  10" finished and the smaller pieces are cut into squares that can be combined to make into 10" finished squares.

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 241 out of 279 sessions
Success Rate: 86%

Linked with:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Monday, September 30, 2019

Seiring Family Genealogy Scrapbook

[picture heavy post - I made the photos smaller for easier loading. You can click to enlarge them.]

In May, I had shown you my progress on my Seiring family genealogy book, but just realized I had never shown you the completed book.  For such a book, "completed" is misleading because I always reserve the right to add some other embellishment, quote, or document.

The cover is the stitchery kit that I found at the thrift store and took as handwork during several out of state trips. I added a batting in the back and it makes for a nice soft cover. There is also cardboard in the layers, so it is also sturdy. I used a cardboard box as the base, so I didn't have to join the cardboard together.

This book features one ancestral couple, John and Anna Hahn Seiring. The name is also spelled Siering. Like the Priest family book, I took 12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper and folded them in fourths and sewed up sides to form pockets. There are four signatures, two scrapbook sheets per signature. It is very important to have a very big spine to accommodate all the bulk in the pockets.

Each of the pockets has documents about the couple - birth records, immigration record, census printouts, marriage records, plat map of the property, tombstone photos, etc. This way, the viewer can uncover the facts one at a time, just like the genealogist does.

In the Priest book, I added the year on the back of each record in the pocket.  This time, I added a tab that had the year of the record to make it easier to pull out of the pocket and keep track of the passage of time.  I really like these tabs and plan to do that on all the future books.

In the photo above, the back of the front cover has a fabric pocket embellished with trim at the opening. A tag with a bead dangle is inside the pocket.There is also an ancestor chart in that pocket so that the viewer can figure out their relationship to the couple.

For this book, I did not include a lot of genealogy information on the pages themselves, although there are maps and information about the town and their occupation. This makes the pages more flexible in what documents are put in each pocket. There is generally a pocket for each 10 year period, but they can be rearranged if there too many or too few documents in a particular 10 year period.

On the rest of the pages, I included pictures about the occupation (farmer), location of the couple  (Deerfield, Michigan), quotes about family or family history, and random bits of fabric and whatever else I felt would add some interest to the pages.

I did not worry about trying to make the decorations period specific.  Although that would be nice, since all of the couples are of the same generation (great-great grandparents), I wanted to have some variety in my choices of embellishments.

I started making the book before March of 2019. 
The tab on the left is made out of a scrap of jeans and trimmings of a latch-hook project.The butterfly on the bottom right is a dimensional sticker. I used a wooden button in the Priest book.

I didn't record the finish, but I stopped adding to it more than two months ago.

The map above is glued on three sides to make an additional pocket.

I put washi tape at the edge of each sheet where the pocket is. It helps reinforce the edge as well as give a clue about where the pocket is on that page.

I didn't have any family pictures. I have thought about adding period photographs to a future book, if there is one, so that the viewer would be better able to place the couple in the correct historical context.

The "frame" on the right side is fabric scraps.

I didn't add a lot of other pockets or folds to this book, but there are a few. That charm square on the right is a pocket. I sewed it on before putting the book together.

I glued the thing on the right on the left and bottom so it serves as a tuck spot for the quote. It came from some junk mail and I glued some fabric on part of it.

Most of the pictures came from the internet. The one on the left is cut with the special scissors. They are pretty inexpensive when you buy a pack or get them on a back-to school sale.

The back cover is plain green plaid, and the spine is the same as the Priest book. I think it is a nice way to preserve the history in an accessible format.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Weekly Recap

I spent this week combining quilting and cleaning.  I had a couple of containers of really small scraps of fabric that are good to make the collage quilts like I showed you, but they really are fabric trash. There is no point in me saving them for collage quilts because there's always more fabric trash that can be used. I cut out these little postage stamp pieces and threw away the rest. I could have used the rest in a pillow or whatever, but decided for cleaning purposes that the trash was the best place for it.

The bigger scraps will stay in their containers as they are for now, but I will be working on scrap quilts to reduce the size and number of containers that store scraps.

I am speeding things up a bit to finally put an end to the sewing room cleanup. It is motivating to see the progress I have already made and I want to check this room off my list. Work is going to be gearing up soon and the days are getting shorter.

I decided to not make a small quilt this month so I can get the cleaning finished. I did sew the rows together on the charity quilt. Just need to do a press and add the borders to both the charity quilts.

15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 39

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 234 out of 272 sessions
Success Rate: 86%

This was one of the scrap containers that got emptied. I got the idea a long time ago to put scraps in a glass jar as a decoration. It does add nice color to the room, but it is another way to collect dust and there is plenty of color with finished quilts, WIPs and supplies. I did throw away scraps once this container got full, but then recently started storing scraps again once I was making quilts that used small scraps. There were two shoe boxes of those. Now I have three empty containers and that makes me happy.

Linked with:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Monday, September 23, 2019

Weekly Recap


15 Minutes to Stitch: Week 38

I spent this week making the collage menagerie and writing a tutorial on how to make one. The plan was to just make a camel and have it be my small quilt of the month, but now that I have so many animals, it makes more sense for me to put them all in one quilt.

Because I have been cleaning the sewing room, I have been resisting the temptation to start any new quilts or to even pick up and work on any projects I find in there.  There are lots and lots of temptations and I am afraid if I resist even once, that will be it for the cleaning.

So we will have to see if I can eek out a small and simple quilt of the month or if I have to skip it this month.

I've still been cleaning my sewing room a bit at a time.  I am still looking at each item to decide whether it deserves a place in my home, and if it does, the proper size of the container that will best fit the things I want to keep, and the best place to put it.  It is slow but it is coming along well. Right now I am working on fabric scraps.

15 Minute sessions of stitching this week: 7 out of 7
15 Minute sessions of stitching this year: 227 out of 265 sessions - Only 100 days left before the end of the year
Success Rate: 86%

I thought I wasn't doing too well this year.  After all, even if I have a perfect record for the rest of the year, I still won't be able to get to 90%,.  But it looks like I was at about 83% last year, so there has been an improvement. I will be happy about the improvement.

Linked with:
15 Minutes to Stitch

Thursday, September 19, 2019

How to Make a Fabric Collage Quilt

In my last post, I told you that I was making another fabric collage quilt, like the llama I had made a while back. Tanya asked for step by step directions, so I will happily show you the steps I followed. I think it will show you how flexible this process can be.

What you will need:
  • Some kind of small scraps. Since I need really small pieces, I like using the fabric that is in my fabric trash can.  I used strips I had created when I trimmed up some blocks.
  • Some kind of adhesive. I used a fusible steam-a-seam2 sheet, which then requires an iron, and a glue stick.
  • Needle and thread to sew things down. With so many little pieces, you will want to do a lot of sewing, so a sewing machine will make it much easier. If you want to hand stitch, you could add a layer of tulle to help hold all those little pieces down.


Step One: Choose the Design

 I decided I wanted a camel to go with my llama.  I drew the camel on the side of the side of the fusible that stays on the piece until it is ready to be fused down to the base.  When you are drawing on that side, make sure that you reverse the position so that the piece will be facing the right way. The camel drawing is facing the left, and as you will see later on the post, the camel will face right on the quilt.

This photo is obviously a recreation. The actual fusible sheet is bigger than a sheet of copier paper. If you want to save fusible, you may want to place the shape in a corner of the sheet instead of the middle.


Step Two: Place the Fabric Scraps on the Fusible

I didn't take a picture of the whole sheet, but I think it will be easy enough to figure out with the words. Take the paper off from one side of the fusible and set it aside. This is the paper that does not have the drawing on it. Lay the paper on a table fusible side up as you want the fabric to stick to the glue side. If possible, working on the ironing board would be best since you won't then have to move it to the ironing board.   You may want to tape the fusible sheet down to keep it secure, but I did not do that.

Place the fabric strips face up on the fusible. It is better to slightly overlap the fabric strips. If you have a piece that does not stick to the fusible where you want it, like places where there is too much of an overlap, you can a glue stick to add glue to the back of the fabric to stick it down. I just placed the strips down randomly, but of course, if you wanted a particular color in a particular part of the shape, you can do that as well.

Make sure there is fabric that covers the entire perimeter of the drawn area.  It is better to go slightly over so you can make a clean cut. Instead of just putting fabric on the camel shape, I covered the entire sheet of fusible.  The picture above shows the pieces I had left after the camel was cut out.


Step Three: Cut Out the Shape and Place it on the Background

I actually cut out the camel and placed it on the background next, but I don't have a picture of that, so I will move on to the other shapes because they show the process better. I looked at the shape of the leftover fabric and tried to imagine what animal would fit on that shape.

In this case, I placed the drawing on top of the fabric and cut out the perimeter. Since these drawings were on top of the fabric, I did not have to reverse the drawing. If I had wanted the animals to face the other way, I could have placed the drawing on the back of the fabric and then cut out the shape.

I used a pin to hold the drawing to the fabric and was able to pinch the shapes with my thumb and forefinger to hold them down and did not have any trouble. I was able to fix any fabric shifting before cutting.

 No actual cats were harmed in this process.

You can also combine pieces to make your shapes.  I made the fins with separate fabric because I wanted the fins to go in different directions.

Now it is time to bring out the iron. You now want to press the shape onto the background fabric.  Take the paper off of the fusible and position your object onto the background where you want it. You can move it if you aren't happy with the position. Once you are happy with the position, make a pressing sandwich.  Use that wax-like paper you set aside. Or if you have a pressing sheet, you can use that. Place it over the shape to protect your iron from getting any fusible glue on it. Your piece is sandwiched between the pressing sheet and the background. Press the shape with the iron according to the directions on the fusible to secure it to the background.

This tutorial is written by Shasta Matova and published at High Road Quilter on Blogspot.

Step Four: Stitch Down the Strips


At long last, I present a picture of the camel. It does exist!  The next step is to stitch it down. Some quilters would have insisted on pressing the background fabric until the folds were ironed out before adding and stitching the shape.

You can, of course, make a fabric collage as a background, but I decided to keep my backgrounds plain since I will be adding words.

You can add additional strips at this point if you see places where the fusible is peeking through and places where you prefer a different fabric. Also glue down any pieces that still seem loose. For the camel, there was a large piece of scrap that seemed to be too solid and I didn't think it went well with all the skinny pieces, so I added more strips on top of the original strips.  I glued them down with a glue stick to make sure they stayed in place. Make sure to maintain the integrity of the shape by keeping or trimming the new strips inside the perimeter.

I placed the batting underneath the background to do the stitching. I left off the backing which will later be secured with quilting. If you want to prevent lint, you can use felt instead of batting, or add another layer which you will cover with the backing, or if you don't mind a lot of stitching in the backing, you can just consider all the stitching to also be quilting.

I used wavy lines to stitch down the shapes because my free motion foot broke and I was too lazy to get the other one.  For my llama and elephant, I also used a combination of free motion and embroidery stitches to stitch down the fabric. If you are sewing them by hand, placing a piece of  tulle over the shape will help you secure all the pieces.

The key is to secure these little pieces so they don't fly away so the more stitching, the better.

I plan to quilt around the shape with dark thread to make them more prominent, but you can also use a zig zag or buttonhole stitch or otherwise show the outline of the shape onto the background.


Step Five: Add Words


Yes of course this step is required. Why were you expecting me to say it is optional?

The cornier the words, the better. I wrote the words on a sheet of typing paper and pinned it to the background fabric, and then sewed through the paper to trace the words using a short stitch length.  Then rip off the paper. Tweezers will help remove the rest of the paper.

You can also use a disappearing marking pen to mark the words you can stitch. If your free motion foot is not broken, it is easier to use that to trace the words instead of turning the fabric using a straight stitch.

 You can also avoid the stitching completely by using a permanent fabric pen to write the words on the fabric. Or if your machine has an alphabet, you can get the words on the quilt that way. Or embroider by hand.

I think I will hand stitch or quilt over these letters to make them more prominent.


Step Six: Add Other Embellishments


You probably figured out you can add the embellishments before the words. You can add the eyes and other details either with fused strips, quilting, embroidery, or fabric markers or fabric crayons.  You can also add other things like beads, ribbons, or other quilting scraps.

The original plan was to make a separate camel quilt, but now that I have so many figures, I am thinking about putting all of them on the same quilt. So for now, I will leave you here with "quilt as desired, finish your project your way."

Other tutorials on this blog:
Scalloped Border Tips and Tricks
 Matchstick Mansion Quilt Tutorial
11Suggestions on How to Avoid Unfinished Quilts (UFOs)

Binding Fixes
How to Make Fold Over Binding

Linked with:
ScrapHappy Saturday
What I Made On Monday