Monday, May 27, 2013

Triangle Strings and Quilts from the Quilter

I finished my string triangles.  The above picture is of the block top and the below picture is of the quilted, finished pillow cover.  It's about 18 1/2" square.  The one on top is a bit dark since it was really cloudy that night and we were supposed to be getting a bunch of rain.  It didn't happen that night, but it did a couple of nights later.  We still need more and we may be lucky enough to get some this week. 

You can see my strip boxes on top of this cabinet.  I have a 1 1/2" box and a 1 3/4" box.  I also have a 2 1/2" box, but it's higher up on this cabinet.  They are all full of strips for future projects.  These triangles didn't come out of those boxes.  I used strings - strips of fabric in an undetermined width.  (that's my definition of strings) I keep my strings in a separate tub. 
There are a couple of triangles in there that were cut out with the strips running up and down.  I think they add some fun and character to everything.  They were also too narrow to cut out the other way, but I didn't want all that sewing to go to waste, so I cut the triangle out any way I could.  The border fabric was stuck in the string box, also.  I am not sure if I had intended to cut it up into strips or if I was working on a project and this just happened to get in there.  Either way, it ended up in a string project. : )
Last week I got back the quilts that I had sent off to be quilted by Abby at Latimer Lane Quilts.  They are beautiful! 
The one above is a flannel quilt I made many, many years ago.  It was hanging in my closet with the backing - also flannel - and the binding just waiting to be quilted.  It will be going to my cousin's daughter as a late graduation present once I get the binding and label done.  With the wonderful quilting it now feels like suede!!!!  It is amazing.  I just love touching it.  

This one is a pattern I got off of Moda Bake Shop and was designed by Quilt Dad.  It's made with a honeybun and a charm pack (all of the same line).  It's really sweet and girly, but really small. (about 50" square)   I am not sure where this one will end up - I have a couple of ideas - but I really like it even though it's pastel so I may keep it.  The quilting is awesome on this one, as well.  I didn't take a close-up of the quilting.  Sorry


This quilt you may recall seeing here on the blog.  It's the Jelly Roll quilt along from the Moose on the Porch blog.  It was a lot of fun and turned out really great.  I can't believe it was in 2010 that I made this top and I hate to say it, but it's one of the newest quilts from this collection of quilts.  I think the pastel one is probably the last one finished because it even has it's own matching bag and I recently started doing that.   

I had originally said I wanted it to be quilted in orange or red or pink, but Abby suggested a pale yellow and it works great.  I just knew I didn't want white thread. The yellow is so pale, that the quilting fades into the background - which is what Abby said it would do. - so, listen to your quilter on things like this. 

These next two were made to show case some fabric I had in my online quilt store.  I still have a bit of some of these fabrics and they are the best feeling batiks that I have ever worked with.  They have an almost suede like texture, but are not flannel or even brushed cotton.  I don't know what they are exactly (other than 100% cotton batik fabric)  They have a completely different feel from the  other commercial batiks you find out there today.  

Yellow Brick Road

showcasing the quilting on this quilt.

And another section of the quilting on this quilt.

Lucky Star

the quilting on this quilt. 
Those were the first 5 that I have sent off to Abby to quilt, but won't be the last ones.  They were the only ones that had backs already made and ready to go.  I have since finished the back to another late graduation quilt and am working on putting together a second back - yes, to yet another graduation quilt.  I do believe I am behind on giving out 7 graduation quilts to family members - they are the only ones that get them.  I think they all know that I run late on these after seeing the first two great grandchildren get their quilts late.  Maybe I can get caught up on all these quilts - the tops are all made - it's just the backs and getting them quilted that is the problem - now that I have found Abby and her wonderful quilting I hope to get back on track and might just have the quilt finished the next time a family member walks the stage.  (I think I have a couple of years before the next one graduates! It doesn't help when you have 6 graduate in a two year period!!)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Scrappy Triangles

I am thankful for all the great publicity my culinary program has gotten this year.  My friend Liz, just e-mailed me that we were on the front page of the ECISD website again.  That link will take you right to the story - which is what you really want to see - and not the front page of our school website.  I have also had someone from the newspaper call about this story and we had a TV photographer come and video all morning while Roy was presenting and speaking with my class. It was a truly awesome experience.  I plan on using my resources better next year and bring in more chefs and restaurateurs in the area next school year.  Even though I would love to win the lottery, I really enjoy teaching this class and think that I would stay here until I can't do the work anymore or am old enough to retire.  (It's a lot of hard work - like tomorrow night's event for 200 people - and the students don't always help out like they should or I wish they would, but it's really truly a lot of fun. 

Speaking of fun, my mother sent me a link to another string project that she is working on.  I was not smart enough to look through the quilt tutorial tab so I just searched the entire blog for the scrappy triangle blocks.  I found a picture of a pillow and thought - hum, I can do that.  I pulled out my string box and sewed several together in rows.  Then I went to my rulers and found my equilateral triangle and cut me some triangles, sewed a few together and this is just the start.  Then, a couple of days later when I called my mom and told her I was working on the triangles, she said she was using phone book pages to piece hers on.  HUH??  I went back to the website and searched a little better - still not seeing the tutorial tab - and found that, yes, she did use paper to piece her triangles.  OH, well.  I am still going to do these like I have been and will probably only do enough to be a part of a pillow cover.  This time I have taken pictures along the way - not totally along the way - forgot to take pictures of the strips all sewn together so now, there are a few in-progress shots.  Yea, me!! Now to download them from my camera and get them on here.  Just a sec.  whew - my batteries held and I got them downloaded.  I thought I had a picture of the strips and was so excited.  I had it on here at first and then realized it was scraps from my scrap exchange - working on a second project from those scraps - and that it wasn't a part of the triangles so I deleted it off here for another blog posting.

Okay, I can not get these two pictures - the one above and the one below in the correct order.  Every time I move it the right way, I stays for two seconds and then goes back to this.  I don't know what is in the air with this one.   
The triangles are sewn into two rows and they are then laid out here just to see how they look.  I have made a few more triangles with other fabrics to break it all up just a touch more.  These are probably larger than the ones on the blog.  I am cutting them at the 4 1/2 line on my ruler.  I will try and get a picture of the ruler next time.  wait - you can see the edge of it in the picture below. It's that purple thing with the point almost touching my rotary cutter.  I picked it up at Tuesday Morning along with an orange ruler that is a different shape - can you tell I have no clue what shape it is?  I think it may be hexagonal, but I don't know right now.  I have never used them, but since they were on clearance at Tuesday Morning (= cheap and worth the splurge even if I didn't know if I would ever use them or not - If nothing else, I could gift them to someone else)  The major problem with this purple ruler is that it is so dark it's hard to see the lines.  The next pictures I take, I will include both of the rules so you can see.  For now, it's late and time for me to go to bed - busy day tomorrow.  Hope this inspires you. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

String Bag Finish

I finished my latest project from the string box.  I pulled out a lot of green strings and began sewing them together. When I got a piece I thought was going to be big enough, I pulled out a bunch of pink strings and sewed them together.  Then I combined the two sections into one large piece of fabric.  I used up little bits and just had a great time seeing what I could combine.  I had no plan on what I was going to do with it until I had a piece of fabric about 18 X 65 inches.  I then knew it had to be a large bag.  I sewed a final strip across both ends to unify it at the top when it would become a bag and began quilting.

I sewed some wavy lines along the length of the fabric and then I began filling in each section with some different quilting.  I really need more practice on my free motion quilting so I took this time to create and have fun.  Below is a combination of pebble and ??? kind of a flowery/paisley creation.  There was no plan and I just let the needle take me on that journey.  It was a lot of fun and it took a bit of time to quilt.  I was surprised at how long it took, but I like the result and am glad that I took my time with it.  Believe it or not, this section is a close up of the above picture.  The color distortion is amazing.  There is no peach in this bag and yet, here the pale pink takes on an orangey hue. The above picture and every other picture is more a true color than the picture below.  I don't know why this picture turned out this way, none of the others did.  It's a conundrum for sure. 

Below is where I practiced making swirls.  I really need more work on going slower on parts of the swirls.  I don't have a stitch regulator and have only my speed to control the stitch length.  I did one more section where I stitched flowers with stems and leaves.  I don't have picture of it, but it turned out quite nicely.  The flowers kind of go in a line up and down the bag. 
I adhered fusible batting to the made fabric (outside of the bag) before I started quilting  - since it was handy on the night I decided to begin quilting.  Then after all the quilting was done and I sewed it in bag form with boxed corners. I knew it needed something a lot sturdier.  I didn't want to use Timtex since that can be a bit too stiff and that wasn't what I wanted.   Light bulb!!  I have some canvas I purchased for another purse project that I have yet to make.  I will use that for stability.  I then found some fabric for the lining and added some pockets from fabric laying around - but in the pink vein - and added one large one across the bottom inside of the bag - sorry no pictures - and divided it into three sections.  Then one more smaller one toward the top for keys or things I need to keep handy and quickly get to made out of the lining fabric and the lining is ready to go. What next?
Handles of course.  I cut long strips and using the fusible batting scraps, I made nice thick sturdy handles to go with my bag.  Even though the two fabrics are different in the handles, they are from the same fabric line and coordinate with each other and go nicely with the fabrics in the bag.   This is just another string project I can use to show in my strips and strings class.  I can't wait to use this bag.  I may have to pack it up for school tomorrow.  Maybe not, I will keep using one of my "grocery" bags that I made and have been using all year. (again, no picture - I am going to have to get better at taking pictures along the journey of the project and not all at the end)  Maybe this will inspire you to get out your strings and start sewing them together.  

After I finished this bag tonight, I got out the scraps I received from Chris and began sewing them together for some made fabric.  Don't know where this one is headed, but I am ready for that journey.  I will try and get some pictures along the way so you can see where I am going on this next one. 
By the way, still no disposal at school, but we do have running water, so we are having to do our best on washing dishes, but good note,  the dishwasher doesn't leak anymore  - had to put up with stinky glue smell for a few hours, but so worth it - so we may just rinse the small stuff and run it through the dishwasher if we can.  We are in cooking mode.  Not a whole lot done today just made and froze 4 cakes and boiled a ton of chicken breasts and diced up about a dozen large onions.  I also saved all the chicken broth from the pots to use in making the casserole and rice dishes.  (about 40 quarts I can freeze what we don't use and save the canned stuff)  Also made 4 quarts of ranch dressing.  I am thinking that is not near enough.  It was a great job for my first years to make and introduce them to our recipe.  We are busy, busy, busy and depending on the day, I may or may not have a full class of students due to testing and late buses.  Fun times in the school!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Rant, Rant, Rant

There is nothing worse than having a culinary kitchen and having no water.  Today the guys from maintenance and plumbing came and took my disposal out from under my sink - we got a piece of a measuring spoon broken off in there and they couldn't fix it in my classroom/kitchen so they took it.  No big deal - just can't use one part of my three compartment sink - we will adjust, however, they cut off all my water!!!!  I can't use any part of my sink!!!  Which means, we can't cook.  Thank goodness my student failed to get her act together and we don't have restaurant, however, I have to make teas for a party tomorrow afternoon - may have R. O. water in reserve and it might work.  I do have 4 major things coming up and they don't know when they can get the parts in to fix my disposal.  So, I don't know when we can get back in the kitchen.  It is sooooo frustrating!!  Thank goodness - one of the 4 (1 plumber, 1 electrician and 2 others that just stood around as far as I could tell)  guys told me that they were leaving for the day.  (and taking my disposal with them)  That was only after I questioned them.  The other three couldn't even say bye.  This system we have in our schools is totally frustrating!!!!  The plumber used to could go to the shop/warehouse and get the parts needed to fix whatever whenever, but now, we have to wait - who knows how long - could be weeks!!!!  on paperwork, purchase orders, downtown (the biggest problem) and then finally we may get the right part and can begin looking at fixing the disposal.  I don't know if I whined on here last year and at the first of this school year about how long it was taking to even get a replacement disposal in the first place.  Oh, well, guess we will be watching some cooking videos since we can't actually cook. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Scrappy Trip and Strings

I finally completed my scrappy trip around the world quilt.  I am sorry to include a picture of one of my students in this one, I couldn't get it to crop out.  I guess I don't have the right programs to do that on my laptop.  So, just ignore him and the arm of the other student on the other side.  I don't know what the deal is with the two blocks in the second row.  I think they may have been too light or something, but since I didn't put the blocks up on a design wall, but rather just picked them up and sewed them together, I guess that is what I get.  It's kind of interesting and once you get past that, you can see that a few more blocks stand out also.   This was a lot of fun and the majority of the blocks were made while my students were elsewhere taking their state mandated tests.  I probably made half of the blocks at school.  So, I need to come up with a name for this quilt that reflects it's origins. 

I think if I do it again, I will make a concentrated effort to make that diagonal line more pronounced.  Instead, I let it be the fabric I liked the most or that stood out the most in that set of 6 fabrics.  So,  it could be a very pale fabric, a bright fabric or a dark one.  Then, I think I would make the two fabrics on either side be a major contrast to the main diagonal fabric.  That would make it stand out even more.  It was a lot of fun, but this quilt is HUGE!!  about 72 X 96.  Okay, not so huge, but still quite a large quilt.  I love seeing all the greens in there along with the pinks and reds.  Fun, fun, fun.  If you haven't tried making a block I highly suggest you make at least one.  The pattern comes from and I blogged about making the block way back here.
I just finished this pillow cover.  This is made from the scraps I received from Chris.  I am working on samples using strips and in the scrap bag were some wonderful strips already cut in various sizes so I just pulled a few out and started sewing them together.  Once I had them sewn up, I had to determine the shortest length and what size I could cut them into squares.  Then I decided I wanted something else, so I sewed on corner triangles.  Well, I sewed one on the wrong corner so I just made those two blocks have double corners so I could get the middle the way I wanted.  With the leftover sewn strips, I cut them into 1 1/2" strips to use around the outside.  I dug through the bag again and found the black and white print and just had enough to go around the outside of my four squares.  However, I wasn't going to have enough of the strips to go all the way around the block so I dug through the bag again and found a large piece in some of the same colors and VOILA!!  I have an almost 16" square (15 3/4" or so) I added some batting and quilted the top in straight line stitching - don't look too close in the center - that was the last little bit I did and I went too fast and it's not straight, but I am not taking it out.  Then, I dug through some of the fabric I took with me to Quilt Con and found enough to use for the backing to make an envelope opening for this pillow.  I can't wait to put a pillow form in there and see what it looks like all "blown-up".  This was a lot of fun and went together really, really fast with very little thinking on my part.  Which makes it so relaxing, I think.  Anyway, now I have one for two - a project from the scrap bag and a strip project for a class on strips I will be teaching in a few weeks.   Now, I need to post this over on 15 minutes Play blog so everyone can see it. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bee Balm Blocks done

Yesterday I really thought I would have to e-mail someone and grovel and beg for their forgiveness.  Then, late last night, I found it!!!  Don't you just hate that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you have misplaced, "lost", something - especially when the majority of what you lost doesn't belong to you?  yuck, yuck, yuck. 

Okay, let me start over so it makes more sense.  I am a part of a swap group and every month we are to make blocks for someone else in our group.  So far, each person in this group has mailed out fabric to use in making our blocks.  Some have mailed the entire amount of fabric we are to use and others have just mailed bits that we are to add on to and this last one mailed the majority of her fabric and we were only to add 8 or 9 - 2 1/2" squares in her colors.  Easy, Peasy.  When I received her fabrics and pattern, I pulled out my 2 1/2" box and selected squares that were in her color range to complete the fabrics for her block.  Then I wrapped all the fabric I was taking up to school last week so I could work on it and get it put back in the mail since it has to fly all the way to Australia, but when I cleaned all of that out yesterday and put everything away, it wasn't there.  I searched all over for it because I knew I had intended to work on it this past weekend at the Quilt-In or even at school, but no go.  I couldn't find it.  I also looked in my book bag, my dining table and my purse, hoping I could find that before today.  Then, late last night, on the way to bed, I go into my studio and happen to look down on the new sewing table and there it was.  YEA!!!   I was never more happy - okay, there were probably several times when I was happier, but I couldn't remember them right then and there.  I could then go on to bed and rest easier - I had found the fabric and directions for making these two quilt blocks.

I put them together this evening and I hope to have them winging their way back to Australia in the morning.  (tomorrow evening if I can't make it to the post office in the morning)

When I was setting my sewing machine back up in my studio, I realized that it could stay in that spot for at least one entire month.  I don't have anywhere to go or things to do that I will be needing my sewing machine.  Now, if we have another major testing day and they don't need me, I will set up my machine again either in my classroom

sewing the morning away in my classroom while my Juniors are testing and my Seniors have the day off.   I got so many blocks done and by the time my Sophomores came to class they were impressed with all I had done.
Or in the fashion design class room - where I was this last time- as a result of all this classroom sewing - along with sewing here at home- I have finally finished my "scrappy trip around the world" quilt top.  (Although the blocks are not set in the traditional trip around the world.)  You will have to wait on that picture since it is late, I have the hiccups and I don't have a picture of the top.  Hopefully for my next posting I can post a picture of it.