Wednesday, September 23, 2015

And So It Goes


It seems that when I'm teaching a quilting class and that class takes four hours a week of my time (prep, set-up, teaching, and take-down), I manage to make more time for my own projects. Perhaps it's a case of "the more you do, the more you get done." 

Saturday and Sunday saw me making quilt sandwiches. Anticipating that I'd need backings, I had recently bought several wide backs. This is another time when I really appreciate having a cordless iron. It's so nice to press without the cord dangling and hanging up on all that yardage.
 

After using all my safety pins to pin-baste Triangle Tango (65" X 73"), and most of Scrap Vortex (89" X 91") I finished basting the latter with 505 Basting Spray. Guess I need to buy more safety pins.

Last week my Pfaff Grand Quilter was serviced, trying to determine why the upper thread has been snapping. My tech-friend, Al, decided the Pfaff needs a new throat plate. Though he was able to buff out most of the nicks in the small opening of the throat plate I have, there is still a problem spot. So a new one has been ordered. I couldn't wait to start quilting though, wanting to do some ruler work. I wondered whether I could quilt circles with one of the 1/8-inch thick circle ruler in the set of 12 rings I already have. Well, it takes nimble fingers to hold the ring down while quilting around the circle! Though it worked, I don't know how often I'll do this. At least the machine thread didn't break even once.

However, when I got to this all-over design (such a refreshing quilting design change after the detail in my Prism quilt), there was thread breakage. While quilting about a fourth of this quilt, threads broke four times. Ergh. 

This Hook and Swirl design is from Angela Walters' book Free Motion Quilting. The pattern isn't intuitive for me, so I practiced it first, and found myself pausing often to think about where to go next.

A couple days ago, Hogan started barking frantically at the front sewing room window. Typically he barks when someone walks past the house, but this particular bark was more urgent. "Walking" past our house was this not-so-handsome Florida Softshell Turtle. He abruptly stopped moving and drew his head in when I took this picture...

... continuing down the street, near the curb, after I walked away. We're pretty sure he reached his destination - a pond further down and across the street.

And speaking of Florida, this lovely bed of coleus was a delight to see on a morning walk. There are many such beds of color throughout this area, and we appreciate every one of them. 

On Monday I completed this 60" X 72" scrappy quilt top. I've been piecing a couple 12-1/2" x 12-1/2" (unfinished) block each week at Big Cypress Quilters using my pretty aqua Janome Derby sewing machine that I carry in a shoulder tote. Yes, it's that lightweight and portable.

The quilt design is based on a quilt I saw on Instagram and recreated with EQ7. Because I learned long ago, from my friend Carla (Lollyquiltz) to habitually cut fabric scraps into 2-1/2" squares, this quilt was ready to make, except for background fabric. This project uses 1,080 2-1/2" squares!

If you like this scrappiness, I'm happy to share the block with you, just because you're my blog follower. It makes me terribly happy when you comment once in a while, and I always respond... if your email address isn't blocked.

Here's the link to download a color JPG of the block. Note that each Nine Patch variation block is repeated four times to make a 12" X 12" finished block. Cut patches 2-1/2" X 2-1/2". Cut 3" X 3" squares to make half-square triangles. To make a 60" X 72" quilt like mine you need 30 12" blocks.

At my weekly Happy Stitchers group I started this embroidery. I've got a set of four stitcheries, and all of them are about Iowa. They came from Stitch, a shop in the East Village near downtown Des Moines where I also bought Cosmo embroidery thread and Valdani pearl cotton. It was a lovely shop to do mail-order business with. My very small start is on the Iowa sampler.

Gosh, this makes me miss living in Iowa. Mostly I miss my friends, my church, and the church quilt group, Hope Quilters. And then there's the state fair, the sweet corn, Iowa chops, Hy-Vee popcorn, UNI football games...  But Florida is a good place to live too. Linda

16 comments:

  1. The things you learn....I have never seen, or even heard of a soft shell turtle! And you have the coolest tools- a no-cord iron and circle rulers! Your scrappy zigzag quilt is gorgeous! And thanks for the link. Just wish I was organised enough to cut scraps into 2.5" squares! Maybe it could be something I start thinking about....

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  2. For some reason I couldn't download the quilt block. I will try again or get my husband to help me. I love this quilt so thank you so much for the design. :)

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  3. How frustrating for the thread breakage to still be there on the free-form work. Hopefully that will be resolved when the new throat plate arrives since getting all the other spots out improved things for the more meticulous work! I love that you're doing a stitchery. :) And I may just have to consider buying a cordless iron with all the yardage pressing I have to do.

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  4. Love the scrappy quilt, thanks for the pattern.

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  5. You are being productive!!! Thread breakage is so frustrating! Hope you get your main quilting machine back soon.

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  6. Oh, I hope a new throat plate solves your problem! Love your scrap quilt and sure appreciate that you shared the pattern. Thanks a zillion. Having a basketful of precut scraps and strips is the handiest thing. What an odd looking turtle with that snout nose! He was a big boy. A little touch of the natural world, and you didn't even have to leave your house!

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  7. You are such a productive person! Hope your Pfaff is better than new. And maybe come February you won't miss Iowa ๐Ÿ˜œ.

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  8. So it goes..... you have a lot going..... I am trying to finish a quilt a long time in the making. I have been good about "staying on task", it is sure getting old. With all your projects I don't think you are ever bored.

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  9. I love that quilt back you're ironing--it looks like just the thing we need to complete our Central Jersey Modern Quilt Guild QuiltCon charity quilt. What is the fabric?
    secretcityranch at gmail dot com

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  10. Your machine quilting is so good Linda. I recently purchased two Berninas and sold my pfaff. I absolutely love them both. Large one stays at home in my sewezi table and the smaller one goes to classes.I got tired of the problems with my Pfaff. I purchased recently a foot to machine quilt using rulers. As yet I've to purchase the thicker rulers and hope to when I get to USA in October. :-)

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  11. Love the scrappy quilt. I have been trying to cut my scraps to usable sizes too. Your work is so remarkable, hope the new throat plate fixes all your problems. Thanks for sharing the pattern. Oh how I would love to live in Florida or Arizona come February! *smile*

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  12. i need to channel some of your energy at getting more done when you're busy. Always so many fun things going on in your studio.

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  13. The pattern your quilt is based on is Ups and Downs by Sarah Fielke. Even though it's easy to recreate on your own, I don't think it's cool to give it away for free.

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    1. I have updated the post and link to share only the block which is a Nine Patch Variation in the public domain. Users may assemble their patches however they wish.

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  14. You have been busy. I really like your Scrappy 2.5" blocks quilt and have lots of 2.5" squares in my scrap cutting system. I just spent 2 days with the Queen of Scrap quilts (Bonnie Hunter) and know too well about cutting your left overs into useable sizes of strips and squares. I've been doing scrap quilts since the beginning of my quilting journey and love it.

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  15. Oh, a cordless iron just went on my must have one day list. The more you do the more you get done. :-) You are a busy and getting those quilts quilted! I love the scrap quilt.

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