Thursday, March 31, 2011

More quilting....

Still working away on the Red Strings Quilt. I'm just four blocks away from being 3/4 done with the quilting. Sound confusing??? Not for me, it keeps me motivated. Once I finish quilting the last four blocks on this row I'm working on, I'll have the last 1/4 of the quilt left to quilt! Woo hoo!

I did slow down yesterday and let my hand rest. Who knew I had a thumb muscle?? It's the muscle right between your wrist and your thumb. Yep. It hurts. But I'm still quilting a bit here and there.

And, I've decided on the next quilt to start quilting. It's one of the ones in my side bar, there on the right, toward the bottom. I'm not telling which one, yet. I looked in my stash yesterday for some backing fabric and realized I didn't have enough fabric for an appropriate backing. Lots of yard cuts or half yard cuts, but I don't want to completely piece the back of this one too. I wanted either one piece of fabric or maybe two.

I drove to a local quilt shop and looked around for a bit. Didn't find anything I loved for the backing. Silly me. But, since I was there, and she had been so nice to let me wander her lovely shop, I HAD to purchase something. Right?? I picked up these three 1/2 yard cuts of fabric, from the clearance room. Love little bits and pieces to add to my scrap containers. Oh. Wait. I have an entire bucket of fabric that needs to be cut up!! What have I done??? LOL

Neither picture looks "just right" but you get the idea. Oh, and I got 1 1/2 yards of fabric for $9. Pretty happy about that. :)

As for the backing for my next quilt, I decided I would look online. Since I make mostly scrap quilts, I don't have to "match" anything perfectly. So shopping online is really pretty easy for me. I found just what I needed and it was on sale. Woo hoo! And, it's already shipped, so it should be here soon.

Happy Quilting!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I'm feeling like a quilter!!

I'm having such a wonderful time quilting away on my Red Strings Quilt. I'm halfway done with the quilting. I can't believe how quickly it has gotten done. I haven't spent as much time playing Tetris or Zuma.....but I think I've got something to show for my time, don't you??

Yesterday, I got out for an hour or so, and made a quick trip to JoAnn's. I found some Olfa blades 40% off. Love it when something I went to purchase ends up being on sale, and I don't have to "waste" and coupon for it. Now, I can continue cutting up those strips and squares. It's a slow process. Just when I think I'm getting lots of fabric cut up, I turn around and see that the container is still full. How can that be????

And, I found a lovely piece of good quality fabric for the binding. It's a rich red color, like most of the quilt.

I'm not really happy with the pics I've taken of the quilt. The red looks really bright, but it's not.

I did have to take a break today from quilting because my hand is cramping up. Kind of like starting an exercise program by running a marathon. Not smart. I should have worked into it slowly, but no. I'm kind of obsessive in that once I start something I run head long into it and tend to over do.

Need. More. Balance.

So this afternoon, instead of sewing, I organized my quilt pics. Lovely folders, nicely labeled, (all on the computer, of course) and ready to post as I begin working on the quilts again.

This evening I may take a few minutes to change out the blade on my rotary cutter and cut a few pieces of fabric. I'm setting a goal of cutting all of those pesky scraps up, before I resume piecing. I want my sewing room clean before I pull out more stuff.

And, I'm already thinking of which top I want to start quilting next.

Looks like I'm back to quilting and I've got it pretty bad. HOORAY!!!

Happy Quilting!!!!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Red Strings Progress

I have made quite a bit of progress on the Red Strings Quilt. Since Saturday morning, I've quilted just a tad over 1/4 of the quilt. Yes, hand quilting. And, it's been fun.

I thought perhaps I should share the story of the Red Strings Quilt. This is how lots of my quilts get made, just random things happen and before I know it, I have a quilt. :)

I was browsing through my Google Reader about 4 years ago. I ran across a blog post by someone in my area. She was actually about 20 miles from me. Considering the Greater Houston area is comprised of about 10,000 sq. miles, we were practically neighbors.

Anyway, on her blog she mentioned that she had LOTS of red strings that she wanted to get rid of, if anyone was interested. I was infatuated with strings at that time and contacted her. I drove out to her house and picked up the strings. There really were LOTS of them.

I brought them home, looked through them and put them away. I was too busy to start yet another quilt. Sigh.

So in December 2008, I pulled out those strings and started playing with them. I made a few blocks and put them away. Pulled them out again a while later and made more. I got the blocks put together sometime in Feb/March 2009 and stored the top.

Now, if you've read my blog for very long, you know I'm a fan of Bonnie's Scrap User System. I've shared the link dozens of times here. I loved her idea of cutting up fabrics you no longer love and using them in a pieced back. So that's what I Jan. 2010.

At some point I pin basted the quilt and got some feedback on how to quilt it. Many people encouraged me to machine quilt it. It really did make sense. The top is string pieced onto muslin. And the back is pieced, so there were lots of seams everywhere. I never machine quilt. I don't know how, I don't like it, it's not me, but I decided to listen to the advice. I started machine quilting it.

ICK. It looked horrid. I don't know what I'm doing. It wasn't fun. I hated it.

Now, understand. I'm not saying machine quilting is bad, it's just not for me. And, yes, if I wanted to, I could take some classes and practice and become proficient at it, but I don't want to. I ENJOY hand quilting and get carried away with it. It's peaceful and comforting to me.

I took that nasty mess of a quilt with 6 blocks machine quilted and stuffed it in a cabinet. This week, while looking through my cabinet, I discovered my Red Strings Quilt again. I pulled it out and began the process of ripping out the stitches. And, I began hand quilting it.

I'll be honest, I was afraid I would regret it, but it hasn't been difficult at all. I am quilting through the center of the strings, avoiding the seams on the front of the quilt. And, I was smart and started using a new quilting needle. That made a huge difference. And, the backing fabric is 10 inch squares so I don't run into those seams very often.

It's been fun working on this quilt and I'm getting excited about quilting again. And, you know that's been worth the long process that it's taken to get this quilt quilted.

Happy Quilting!!!!!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hand Quilting

My paternal grandmother is my quilting hero. She had dozens and dozens of finished quilts in her little back room. Long story, and quite sad, but another family member ended up keeping them all for herself and her children.

I have two things my grandmother made and hand quilted. And, I am very proud of them.

I will never be the quilter my grandmother was. She took such tiny, even stitches. Since I will never be her, I've decided to focus instead on making even stitches. Perhaps in another forty years, my stitches will be tiny??? :)

Current project: Red Strings Quilt, see side bar for a picture of the top.

Happy Quilting!!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Working my way back into the sewing room....

one step at a time.

Dear Younger Son and Dear Older Daughter spent a Saturday this month helping me clean out and organize our garage. In the process, I found a Rubbermaid container full of scraps that I hadn't seen since we moved here a 1 1/2 years ago.

I refused to keep it out there in the garage, because I know that's not good for fabric, so I had them take into the sewing room. I walked by it several times and thought I need to get back in the sewing room. I could start with cutting up those scraps for the strip bins.

It took me almost three weeks to get in there and start playing with that fabric. But this week, I began. Here is what I got cut today in between cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, and caregiving. It felt pretty good to have my hands back in fabric.

Maybe this is the beginning of a renewed love of quilting.......

Happy Quilting!!!!!