Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The X Block Quilt

Here are a few pictures of another quilt i finished recently. i seem to be on a roll here on my tops....while customer tops fill the cabinet.

This is an X Block pattern. you need a ruler template to do it. you piece 9 patch blocks and then line up the X block template on your seam lines and cut off the edges. you will cut off long triangular pieces.  but there is no waste...you use the cut off parts for a border. it is really quick and easy to do. of course, i had to make a queen size quilt. i used up lots of stash...blues and whites, tans, beiges, and creams.

Here is a quarter of the top. i already had it at the house and didn't have anywhere to hang it for a full pic. and too lazy to take it back to the studio to do it. LOL

How about a close-up? i love those blocks...so easy. the only thing is once you start cutting with one side of the X block template....do NOT turn it over...your blocks will be cut in the opposite direction and won't fit together properly where the 2 different colors meet. i taped a piece of paper on the side i was using so i wouldn't get confused.

See that middle border there....the one with the same colors as the blocks. those are the parts that you cut off the edges of your 9 patch blocks. just sew 2 of them together into a rectangle...trim them down to the size you want and make a border. i should have made another border out of these. i had 80 blocks...so 320 pieces cut. and i only used about 1/4 of them for this one border. if i do this quilt again i will use multiple borders of the pieces with perhaps 1/2" dark borders between them. and i sewed the 2 pieces together that matched...you could certainly change it up and be more scrappy. yet another project to contemplate. hahahaha

And here is the back. i used the clamshell template from QZ...it sews 6 rows before you have to roll the quilt so it goes pretty quickly. and i have already washed the quilt so it is a tad wrinkly...just like i like them.

Go get you an X block template and give them a try. there is a book showing many patterns using this template. they are awesome. check it out.

Woodshed filling up

The woodshed is filling up nicely. even if we have a hard winter...we are ready. i am loving our wood furnace. last year we used less than half of the propane that we used in previous years for heating the house. so it is saving us a ton of money. but we won't talk about all the labor of getting that woodshed filled.

If you remember, a few months ago we had 3 trees taken down. we have now managed to take care of 2 of them...all but the thick trunks.

We cut off all the smaller branches and leaves and put them through the chipper/shredder. so far, i have gotten about 12 trash cans filled with mulch. i have 5 of them now waiting for me to distribute them. i have a plan but it won't get executed for a week or so.

Unless you cut up your trees yourself i don't think people realize what goes into getting the wood from the tree on the ground to the woodshed. we had to strip all the smaller branches for the chipper; cut the limbs into 20" segments for the furnace; cut the trunks into 20" segments; split the trunks into manageable chunks. the chainsaws have been busy for weeks.

Here's where we are now. this is a 5 foot tall pile of fencing and pieces of lumber no longer needed. the fencing came from my sister's house. do you notice how a lot of her stuff winds up over here? but she was just going to burn this...it was just half rotted wooden fencing from the beast...so i brought it home. it will make great fire starters. or when you just need a bit of a fire. it is stacked just outside the woodshed. we will cover it with a tarp for the winter.

Our 'woodshed' is 2 no longer used dog kennels covered with tarps. very redneck. LOL  the first 'room' is packed 4 rows deep and all the way to the ceiling. birds and bugs and snakes love it in there. me....not so much. but i stacked every piece of wood in there.

The second room is only half filled...still have room for 2 more rows. the shelving holds thicker branches picked up off the property...great fire starters. picture me driving around 40 acres in the pickup...stopping to throw branches in the back and then bringing them to the house to be cut up. such fun!  you should come help. hahahahahaha  see, if i had a helper it would be easier...you could sit on the tailgate and when i stop for a branch...you just hop down...throw the branch in the truck...and hop back on the tailgate and away we go to the next branch. my dog, Suzy, isn't much help...she just wants to ride shotgun in the truck.

This is what happens when you try to split wood that is not dry enough. it splits all funky and jim had to take the axe to break them apart. after doing one piece of trunk we decided they needed to dry out more.

So here are 18 trunk chunks (try saying that fast 5 times) that are drying out on the north side of the woodshed. hopefully next year we can split them up. jim got some logging tongs .... those things are awesome. these chunks weigh a ton. we put the tongs on the tractor pole and i hooked the tongs to the log and he lifted them onto the trailer and carted them home and unloaded them. it took 3 loads to get these here. and the trailer was not small...it was 12 foot...the trunk chunks are HEAVY.

We still have trunks from the tree by the house that we have to saw into sections and try to split and see if they are ready or have to dry out, too. Then there is the last tree laying out in the front yard that we haven't tackled yet. when i mow i have to go around it and the grass is about 18" tall in those tree branches now. at least there are no leaves on that tree to deal with. that won't be too much fun to get to......it may still be there for a while. we're waiting for cooler weather.

So, if it gets really cold this winter and your heat goes out and you don't have a wood furnace....come stay with us....we'll be toasty.

Monday, August 30, 2010


Ok, here's one more for you. i really don't remember where this pattern came from. it was pieced years ago and had been marinating in the cabinet...just waiting for me to pick it next. so it's time finally came.

I have been doing so many Quiltazoid patterns and overall designs and pantos that it is a wonder i haven't forgotten how to do custom work. (in fact, i had...i'll explain later).

This is about 52" square. the center and border have dragonflies on them.

Here's a closer look at the dragonflies. this middle part was done with the QZ. 4 large spirograph designs in the corners and a different design in the middle. probably can't see much from the front.

You can see the quilting on the back much better than the front. i did different feathers in the outside border than i did in the middle.

And here i think you can see my boo-boo. LOL  in the feathers around the pinwheels i did one side at a time...traveling around the quilt. but i didn't pay attention to what i was doing and after i had quilted one side of feathers i realized i had them going in opposite directions....insert bad words here.....but i was NOT frogging that. so i just proceeded along and did the rest of them in opposite directions. UNTIL i got to the 3rd side.....and then i did them in opposite directions but OPPOSITE of what i had done previously in the last 2 sides. sheesh....this was fast becoming one whole mess. so i just finished the 4th side and didn't worry about it. no 2 sides are alike...nothing matches. but, hey, it is quilted...dang it!

Now that i see it off the frame and all finished....i realize that i should have quilted 1/4" inside the pinwheels also to frame them out a bit better. all i did was SID around them and i think they needed a bit more. it's sure a good thing this wasn't a customer quilt....i'd still be froggin'.

Oh, and that yellow sashing around the middle block and the outside...is a freehand kind of thing. i just went all the way down the row twice and then came back and went up and down across the row...no marking...no measuring...winging it. i kind of like it. do you think i just like it because it was fast and easy? i don't know....but i like it.

Now i believe everything in my cabinet of mine that i need to quilt are larger...all the smaller sizes are gone. see...poor planning again....i should have STARTED with the larger ones and the downhill slide to finishing up would have seemed quicker with smaller ones to do. will i never learn?

Now, learn from my goofs and go and quilt....correctly. LOL

Star Dance

This quilt is called Star Dance and the pattern is in the book Dancing Quilts from Straight Pieces by Debbie Bowles. there are so, so many cool quilts in this book that you will want to make them all.

I am using up my stash so this would have looked much different...and probably better...had i bought specific fabric. but i am on a mission to bust that stash. LOL

The bits of rectangles going around the border were supposed to go all the way around but i ran out of that fabric, so i improvised. i think it still looks acceptable. the yellow fabric was given to me by my sister. she had made plain curtains for her classroom a couple years ago and at the end of the year she gifted the fabric to me. i have finally used the last of that yellow. in fact, i was piecing tiny pieces together to get the last of that border done. had i realized i was running out i would have spread the piecing around a bit...but my overall planning is poor so one corner is a hodgepodge of pieces.

Here is a bit of a closer view. the pieces in the border and the 'dancers' inside the stars are from fabric that was brightly painted Easter eggs. i really don't know why i bought that fabric but it seemed to work ok here. and it is now all gone. LOL

And the backing is another Aunt Sophie inheritance piece. it is a pale blue of unknown parentage. it is thicker than a normal cotton but it quilted up just fine. i used the Star Swirl panto on this one....one of my favorite pantos.

The whole quilt is about 52" x 58"....good snuggly size for a munchkin.

I have to make more quilts from this book. some of the other patterns are: Line Dance, Electric Slide, Jitterbug, Cha Cha Zigzag, and Rock & Roll. gotta love those titles. There are 13 different quilts in this book. You might want to check it out....it's great fun.

Filled Churn Dash

I've been a bit lax in showing you what i've done lately and i apologize for that. sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day. but i shall remedy that situation right now.

Here is a pretty neat quilt that i just finished quilting. at least, i think it is neat. it combines the churn dash pattern with a stack and whack type of design in the middle of the churn dash. i used the border fabric as the middle of the churn dash.

Here's a closer view for you. i love the designs that the 4 patches make in the middles.

Here you can see the border design a bit better. i had bought a bolt of this leave fabric several years ago because i just loved it. i am just now getting about done with all this leaf fabric.

Here is the back. i used my QZ baptist fan templates to quilt it. it is simple and goes quickly. even this queen size quilt can be quilted in a day.

And a little close up of the back. i almost hate to give this one away.

This pattern came from Marilea, our teacher at our quilting classes. Thank you, Marilea, for a great pattern that works up quickly and looks fabulous.

Give it a try yourself.....you can do it!

Stay tuned for more quilts.

An unwelcome nighttime visitor

Surprises are not always a good thing. i had an unwelcome nighttime visitor last night....of the 4-legged kind. yeck! i didn't take any pictures....i'll spare you that mess.

I went to get my checkbook this morning and when i opened the drawer i could hardly believe my eyes. mayhem!!  seems a little mouse had tried to set up housekeeping last night. i had just opened that drawer the day before and all was well then. this little dude (or dudette..whichever the case may be) had quite a party in a few nighttime hours.

I keep my 38 in that drawer, in a leather holster. there was a pair of wool gloves laying on top of it. the gloves were shredded....fingers decapitated....and the devil ate a circular pattern out of the leather gun holster. who knew mice like leather....must have been  a kinky little guy. LOL

Then he proceeded to chew through some papers and receipts that i had in a folder....knew i should have filed those. and there was a plastic bag with paper coin wrappers....my goodness...he REALLY liked those.  and a honey lemon cough drop had the paper mostly torn off of it and some little gnarly marks on it.....perhaps he just had a cough and was looking for medication.

Thank goodness he didn't get into lower underwear drawers or i might have had peek-a-boo bras and crotchless panties. LOL   So the first hour of my day was spent cleaning up his mess instead of writing out those checks for bills.

I hope he visits again tonight. i left him a little mouse poison buffet underneath the dresser. i sure hope he enjoys it and takes some home to share with his family, too.

Crossing my fingers for no more mousey parties at my place.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Today is Suck it UP Day!!

I know...i've been absent for a couple weeks. i've been busy...just not anything blog-worthy busy.....quilting up some of my UFOs...quilting some customer quilts....and cutting and stacking wood.

But, today i finished up a customer quilt about 11:30 this morning and thought....gee, i have the day to myself....what to do. it was too hot to work outside. well, in looking at my design wall....i see the same quilt that has been hanging there for about 4 months. in fact, this quilt was started about this time in 2008. which isn't all that old for UFOs...but still....it hung on the design wall in 2009 for about 4 months. i got sick of looking at it and took it down and hid it away. LOL

Some time back i came across it again and got it out. Finished piecing all the blocks and got 2 of the corners constructed. then it hung on the design wall in 2010 for about 4 months. all the blocks were done....i just needed to put them together. Procrastination was my first, middle and last name on this quilt.

Today i decided i had looked at it long enough. it was either finish it up or throw it in the trash.

So, today was Suck It Up Day.....just get the damn thing finished. i was thinking i could get it all constructed in an hour or so. good thing i didn't know better at that time or it probably would now be in the trash. but, 4 hours later....and the top is all finished. not quilted, mind you,....but pieced. i even mitered the outside border....LOL....and i never do that.

Now, who knows when it will get quilted....but i won't concern myself with that right now. the point is that it is pieced.....i have binding for it.....and it is off my design wall and in the cabinet with it's 20 other pieced top cousins.

And yes, i know it hasn't been ironed, either and looks all wonky. but trust me, it will be just fine. it just has to perculate in the cabinet for a while. here's what it looks like. also, as i was taking the pics, i realized i don't have the blocks all in the same place. oh well, it is staying that way. it's better than the trash. if i didn't have the borders on it already, i would probably take those two right hand corners off and switch them to make it right. but done is good here.....some of those blocks had a zillion pieces.

Hopefully in a few months (or years) i will love it again and it will get quilted. then it will most likely become a donation.

But now i can hang something else on the design wall....and that is good.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

It's all Marilea's fault!!

Today i bought fabric. that doesn't sound like such a BAD thing...does it?

Well, my quilt studio was overrun with fabric and this year's goal was to get rid of at least 100 yards of fabric....i intended to use it up to make quilts and donate them. well, once i got rid of 100 yards..you couldn't even tell a difference in the stash.

So i started GIVING it away.....i had 2 huge free giveaways and got rid of boxes and boxes of fabric that i no longer had an interest in. to date, i have busted 424 yards of fabric from my stash. now THAT.....i can notice. i am one happy camper.

I have not bought ANY new fabric this year.....at all......until TODAY.

Marilea had a yard sale ...... and sent me an email advising of same.......the email said older fabrics left on the bolt were going to be $1 a yard.  GASSSSPPP!!!   WHAT!!

Now what sane quilter would pass that up. actually i argued with myself overnight that i was supposed to be getting RID of fabric.....and that i had been good for 7 months and not bought any new fabric.     then that little devil on my shoulder said that i should be rewarded for being so good for that long. hahahahahahahaha

The sale started at 9am. i think i was there at 8:55. LOL    i didn't even  check out anything else...just went straight to the fabric table. i was looking for neutrals that would go with anything or something i really, really, really loved.

40 yards followed me home.  and then....a bit later in the day i even thought of going back.....but i thought that was just WRONG. LOL

I got 4 pieces on bolts...ranging from 4 yards (left) to 12 yards (right).

And then i picked up a few other pieces that were 2 - 3 yards each. and i found 2 different fat quarters (the blue ones) that had several the same so i got those, too.

Actually, i think i showed great restraint (for me)...i was prepared to spend twice that (or more). Now i better piece those tops faster and get back on track. i'm going to have to report my 40 yard purchase on the Stashbusters report on Monday and it is going to be embarassing.

But sometimes falling off the wagon is just plain fun.

Oh, and i got a quilt book, too.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I made a practice quilt

Have you ever made a 'practice' quilt? i got in a customer quilt that had an unbalanced setting and drawing it out to decide how to quilt it didn't work for me this time. so i decided to make a practice quilt just like it. it was just baby size so i figured it wouldn't take long. i got a piece of fabric and drew in the blocks and borders that she had...trying to be kind of accurate as far as size but i didn't worry too much about it.

I finished quilting it up last night and ran it through the washer to get out the marks i made. my first thought was to put a design in each block and crosshatch all the background. but i realized i would have to actually draw the crosshatch onto the quilt before i loaded it and i really didn't want to do that.

So i played with my practice quilt and figured it all out. here is how it turned out.....the good, the bad and the ugly.

It's just a pink floral fabric so it's a bit hard to see all the designs on the front. I got the bottom corner crosshatched and decided it needed to be smaller and contained in just that corner.

I tried different designs in the 12 log cabin blocks with the Quiltazoid to see which i liked best...these blocks are 8".  she wanted dense quilting so i wanted to fill the blocks as much as possible. i tried 3 different designs. i put freehand spirals in the space between the blocks and then decided that wouldn't work...too busy. so i will put straight lines there...like diamonds...2 or 3..about an inch apart ...with the smallest in the center till i fill the space up to the circular designs.

On the side and on the bottom are three 6 inch blocks. so i tried more circular designs there till i found one that worked well. i tried a different background design but didn't like it.

So then i decided to put radiating lines around them going out from the center....much better.

Here are a couple shots of the back that shows up better. i used a piece of felt for the back that i got at a yard sale somewhere. it quilted up fine and shows the stitches well but not sure how it will hold up in every day use.

So, for me, making a practice quilt really helped to decide how to quilt it. it's the first time i have done this. i have the real one on the frame now and have gotten the SID all done today plus the crosshatch in that bottom corner. still haven't decided if i should leave the feathers in the border or do something else but i have a couple days before i get there.

Sometimes you gotta step out of that box!

I got new Crocs

I NEEDED new Crocs...really, I did. the bottoms eventually wear out and they get slippery. i had to throw out 2 pair. so i decided to go online and see what they had.

I wound up with blue ones..

Orange ones....

Pink ones...

But the best by far....the coolest, brightest, most fun ones......are the YELLOW ones.....woohoo!!   i need rain and mud so i can go out and splash in the puddles like a 3 year old.

I wore them this morning when i was cutting poison oak from around the walnut tree. after all, i was in shorts and didn't want to get the vine on my legs right?  yeah, i know it was just an excuse to wear the cool yellow boots but i really do like them.

And, since i was gone for 4 or 5 days i missed doing my monthly Santa wallhanging for August. so i got that quilted up today. i already have September embroidered...just need to quilt him up.

I am embroidering alphabet blocks to make a quilt for a friend's little girl who will be 2 in October. today i got A through E finished. hopefully i will stay on task and finish them up.

Stay cool....have ice cream and ice tea.....works for me.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My weekend fun

I went to my sister's on wednesday and got home sunday. we had big fun.

We did thrift store shopping at our old haunts on wednesday. Horrors!!!!   our favorite St. Vincent de Paul thrift store is St. Louis was moving...waaay across town. bummer. we got there the last day but they were about all boxed up. in that same vicinity is also the Goodwill and Salvation Army. but St. Vincent had better furniture. sadly, we decided we would scratch that area from our thrift store map.

On thursday we went to a fabulous book sale at a school. i scored 9 quilt magazines and about 30 books. they had lots and lots of new hardback books. from $1 to $3.  i found about 6 of the Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb books...which i can never find anywhere. in these she writes in the future....like 2060. they are murder mysteries in the future...very cool.  and a couple dozen others that i liked. great sale...we spent 2.5 hours there.

On friday we decided to find other thrift stores in new areas. we went to St. Charles, Missouri and found the goodwill, salvation army and st. vincent de paul out there. the difference is like night and day. the stores were much cleaner and brighter and less 'junky'. no kids running around throwing stuff on the floors and a better class of merchandise. i came home with a few finds. my favorite from this trip was this vase.

Isn't it the greatest vase? it is very, very heavy. it didn't have a maker's mark or tag on it. i am thinking that someone made it themselves. it's about 14" tall. i like it a lot.

Here are a few other thrift store treasures i have found in the last few trips. i like to get unusual things to put in my studio. things that perhaps someone made and then got tired of or someone else threw out for whatever reason. i like the unusual.

Big Blue...also very heavy..

Someone's ceramic class vase..

And a very bright, colorful fish. i think this was probably manufactured somewhere but i like it. it is just so colorful and bright and makes me smile when i look at it.

On saturday we went out to the beast and did a few things...not much...it was hot. but we managed to put together a couple bookcases and put some books on them. measured for some tile and paint. and had lunch at our favorite mexican restaurant there. all in all a good day.

I took my sewing machine with me this weekend and finished piecing my selvage quilt top. it is 80"x100" and i am keeping it for me. hopefully it will get quilted before winter and go on my bed.  i have enough selvages to make dozens more.

and here's a closeup

Now that i'm back home i need to focus on my customer quilts that need to get done...there are 7 in line. and get more of mine done, too. will get started tomorrow.

Today was a total loss...i had to do the eye doctor thing and he dilated my eyes. that sort of ruins the whole day...can't do anything outside....couldn't do computer work...it hurt....a napped for a while and tried to read...that didn't work too well either. but i am almost back to normal (for me..LOL)...so tomorrow is back to work.

Have fun...stay cool...quilt on.

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