Sunday, March 1, 2015

How to Quilt Multiple Placemats, and UFO Report

Here is a little tutorial on how to get a zillion placemats done for Meals on Wheels.

Start with a customer who gives you a large bag of remnants - mostly man-stuff like fishing & camping fabrics.

Add another customer who gives you a box of started scrappy quilt blocks.
Take those two items to your quilt guild, and guilt the members into taking some of that stuff home to make wee placemat tops that measure somewhere in the vicinity of 12-ish inches by 18-ish inches.  While they are groaning and rolling their eyes at you, remind them that they DO NOT NEED TO QUILT THEM.  If they are still giving you a hard time, let your eyes get a little watery as though you might be starting to cry, and tell them about how your mom used to get little gifts from Meals on Wheels and it really cheered her up.  That should work.

When they bring them back to you the next month, take 'em all  home and try to find one backing fabric that will look ok with ALL of the wee tops.  This is definitely a challenge!  Here, you can see that I found a nice neutral in my stash.
Pin those puppies on to a very large hunk of backing fabric which has been matched up with a very large hunk of batting.  Allow three inches of space all around each placemat.  And use a thinner batt - pouffy stuff tends to tip over wine glasses.  Not that seniors drink wine, of course.  :-)

Baste around the edges of each placemat.
Quilt them.  Stay INSIDE each placemat with the stitching - you'll see why in a second.
Cut them apart, leaving a generous one inch of backing all the way around.  Trim off the batting at the edge of the wee top. This way, you can simply turn the backing over to the top, folding over twice, and top stitch in place for binding. 
I have a very fancy name for this binding, calling it "Back To Front Self Binding".  Ahem.


Ta da...  Here is the Blooming 9-Patch all done.  Binding finished and everything.  Even labelled.  Now I'm waiting for Margaret to pull the number for months March & April.  I am going on a retreat this weekend so maybe I could do a little work on the next one.
Have I shown you my cutie-patootie lately?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

no-name quilt & stash report (along with some cursing around technology)

Yeah, I'm sorry.  I have no idea what the name of this quilt block is.

But I love the colours.  Especially that pretty rose print.

The corner bits are not symmetrical, so figuring out the quilting there was a challenge.

The roses that were quilted in the border triangles started out as a free-motion design that I recorded on the IQ, then saved as a pattern.
I have a stash report for you, but let me tell you:  it was a serious struggle.  We got our new computer last week so I'm learning WINDOWS 7.  First I had to FIND my spreadsheets (many of which are in Corel) and then figure out how to get them into Excel.  I also seem to have lost my photo program, so in the interim I am (using the term loosely) WORKING with whatever the hell picture program is installed with Windows 7.  However, our nice computer man emailed me today that he will be popping round in the next week, so I will ask all my dumb questions when he shows up.

Used this month      7.2 m
Used YTD             39 m
Added this month  25 m
Added YTD           25 m
Net 2015               (-14 m) 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Saturday activities

Saturday was a day out for the Beach Girls.  We went shopping, and then we went shopping.  Ha ha ha...  Where else would you want to go, besides COSTCO.  On a Saturday.

By the time we got back here, it was cocktail hour and stitching time.  And a little bit of painting:

I picked up four more paint pens and two of those are already empty.  Since I cleaned out the store shelves I may need to go to another location if I still have space that needs to be filled.

Friday, February 13, 2015


All four of my longarm buddies have made it here for a few days of Winterruption.  Yes!  It is the Beach Girls, in the flesh.

Here are a few of the WIP's.
This is my WIP.  It'll probably scare the hell out of my mail lady the first time she sees it.  Sadly, my paint pen has run dry (although thankfully, my martini glass has NOT).  Tomorrow will be a trip to Michaels for about six more pens.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What's the Deal About Stitch-In-The-Ditch, Anyways???

DISCLAIMER:  I am a self-professed zealot when it comes to stitch-in-the-ditch (sid for short).  I occasionally will do custom quilting without it, but honestly, I have to grit my teeth.

When you finish reading this post, if you click on one of the pics it will open up a photo strip where you can see the pics more clearly.

This is my half-hexagon quilt, which has happily turned out really well, considering how sick and tired I was of all the blue and beige. In this first pic I have not done the sid, simply dropped in the bubble motifs.  Yeah, it looks ok.  Fine, in fact.  It's a little hard to tell that those bubbles are a motif, though.  They just look like a bunch of bubbles.

In this second pic I have outlined the hexies and added in the ghosts that run into the large separator strips joining the patchwork.  When I compare this to the first pic, the patchwork that I worked so diligently on just looks more...crisp.  And now those bubbles LOOK like a motif inside the hexies.

Now - look at the back of the quilt. The sid has MADE the hexies. Without that sid this would just look like a mass of bubbles.  It would have been a total waste of time dropping in the motifs - I'd have achieved the same effect with an edge-to-edge design.  But now?  Nice...
Here's a pic of the whole thing.

A little closer.

The back.  Leftover hexies appliqued for a bit of interest.  And really, what else was I going to do with them?
I'm not the only one who loves s.i.d.  So does Anita Zobens of Cottonmill Threadworks.  See her blog post HERE.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Can the Universe REALLY help you to lose weight?

We will get to the Universe in a minute, but first I wanted to show you the freeloaders that spend the winter in our front flower bed.

OK.  Here is how the Universe can help you lose weight.

Oh sweet Jesus.

Uh huh.  The snow was up to the windows. I know I said I like to shovel, but this is ridiculous.

How do you eat an elephant?

One bite at a time.

Yeah.  Have another bite.

Hoo boy.  Nom, nom, nom...

Are you full yet?  Want more elephant?

Finally.  Ninety minutes later.  Now the freeloaders have moved back on to the front porch where they REALLY like to live.

Well.  Back to work.

Friday, January 30, 2015

And you wonder why I drink

Today's beverage of choice is a  Nutty Russian.  2 parts vodka, one part kahlua, one part frangelico.
This past week or two (really, it's hard to keep track):
1.  The clampy thing on the exercise bike quit working so we go a million miles per hour. Very easy to exercise this way. :-)
2.  The furnace quit. We had a new one installed on Tuesday, and by Wednesday it was blowing COLD air. Thankfully the furnace people saw my facebook plea and they came to the rescue toute suite!! (sp?)
3. The engine  light on my dashboard is lit up, AND I am due for a Drive Clean test in February. (ahem. That means my BIRTHDAY is coming up.) It also means that the car needs mechanical attention. Soon.
4. Today. Sigh. Computer virus. It seems that Great Britain has decided I'm into kiddie porn and they are FINING me £250. Oddly, the police have not yet bashed through my front door with an axe and led me away in handcuffs.  (50 Shades of Grey, anyone?) No. They just want CASH.  Well, that will go to Michael from OMSCOMPUTERS.COM  instead. 
5. Oh yeah. The can opener quit, too.