Feline Friday is hosted every friday and HELP for Hexie-aholics is hosted on the 17th of each month. We hope you'll join us!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Civil War Quilt Update

Yup - I'm even more behind and no longer doing these in any particular order. I am trying to assemble some of what I have done for a Civil War exhibit in the historical building at our county fair next month. The blocks are still fun for me so I will get them done eventually.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wazzit Wednesday Contest Solution

As you hopefully saw last week, I posted a photo id contest for Wazzit Wednesday. Only 4 people posted guesses but let me tell you that no one should have been shy about posting a guess because I don't know how many of them I would have known if I hadn't been the one taking the pictures. I never said they were (all) vegetables but the leading photo which included the veggie garden was a big hint.

I had asked contestants to be as specific with their guesses as possible and while most people at least got it close, no one was able to guess the specific vegetable/plant (ex: peas versus snow peas). Again, I wouldn't have known myself and if anyone HAD been able to guess, I would have fallen out of my chair in surprise. So, lets get to the results...

1. Spaghetti squash - I think they're technically a winter squash but I had 2 people guess it was a summer squash and my online research said it's a very fine line now a days between summer and winter squashes. That little 3-finger squash was not there a week ago when I took the first picture. I am hoping I get a decent number of squash given the number of blossoms and distance the vine seems to be expanding into.

2. Red Potatoes - I've never grown white potatoes so I have no idea if there is a way to tell the difference by the blossoms. I was late hilling these big boys so I have seen little starter potatoes and I'm looking forward to seeing how many there will be this year. I'm hoping each year that I work the garden and pull out more and more rocks they will get bigger because little bitty potatoes don't go far, even if it's just me to feed. One person guessed potato but don't they just look live overgrown weeds?

3. Snow Peas - I did have several guesses for peas but no one guessed snow peas. I'm thrilled to report that all peas photographed in preparation for this post were harmed (eaten) in the production of pictures. How's that for a healthy breakfast, straight off the vine!? And yes, those are sticks you see there. I stick forked branches into the dirt around the pea vines as a poor man's trellis. I think next year I need taller and sturdier branches - some of them are leaning over.

4. Purple Pepper - Yup, you read that right, PURPLE! Again, they are the only peppers that I have grown so I have no idea about differing flowers - I did have 3 votes for some kind of pepper. These will start out green and turn purple as they mature. The inside stays green which means they look great on a veggie platter.

5. Tomato - I can't honestly remember which plant I photographed so it could have been a standard type tomato or grape tomatoes. I took photos of both plants to show how they are doing. Everyone recognized tomato blossoms. Anyone have a recipe for fried green tomatoes? I'm game this year to try it since I seem to have a much bigger crop on my 3 tomato/2 grape tomato plants.

Bonus - Gilt Edge Toad Lily - hey, I didn't say they were (all) veggies. No winners here but again, this is the first time I have even seen this shade plant and I didn't know if anyone would guess what they tiny flowers are. The leaves directly under my finger tips are part of the Toad Lily which is more of an upright plant. The similar leaves behind my hand are part of a Solomon's Seal which has little white flowers that hang below the leaves on arching branches.

So, of the 4 contestants - two had four correct answers and two had two correct answers. Be sure to check your emails because I decided to send a little something to everyone and a bigger something to the contestants who each guessed 4 veggies. Congrats to all!

And, just because they are my fav - my lillies opened this weekend!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tutorial Tuesday - inside out non-binding

This won't be the best photodocumented tutorial that you have seen since I didn't know it could be useful until I had the project half done. Please let me know if you have any questions.

I also am not 100% sure of the name - some people call it envelope binding and some call it pillow case binding. How about I give it my own name to avoid that confusion and create some of my own?! Lets go with "I can't believe it's not bound binding"? Nah, too complicated to remember. How about "The easiest non-binding you have ever tried"? Oh forget it - cuz I can't think of anything clever so it's just the  "inside out non-binding."

This is the second time I have used this type of binding on a tumbler project but I think it would also work on that scalloped edge project I have as well as anything else with non-straight edges or something that you want to finish quickly like placemats. I have only used it on table runners and I'm not sure I want to use it on anything much bigger because I'm afraid the layers would shift for quilting without a lot of pinning and that totally negates the easieness of spray basting and this type of binding.

I began by cutting the backing and batting. I typically only add one-half to one inch to each side of the top to get my size. You might be more comfortable with larger pieces of backing and batting.

On a large enough work surface, lay out large pieces of paper to cover your surface and protect it from the spray. Then lay out the batting and cover it with the backing, smoothing out wrinkles. Fold back half of the backing and spray baste with 505 according to the can directions. Working quickly, I replace the backing and smooth out any wrinkles, lifting and resmoothing as needed. I turn my project and repeat for the other half. Again removing any wrinkles.

With the backing side up, I now place the quilt top on the sandwhich with right sides together and smooth any wrinkles. I also press lightly with an iron as it supposedly helps the fabrics to stick. Carefully move the sandwhich to your machine and sew a one-quarter inch seam around the top, pivoting at seams and leaving an opening in the middle of one end. The size of the opening will depend on the size of your project but aim for about one-third of the side. Backstitch at the beginning and end of this seam.

Now move the sandwhich to your cutting board and carefully trim around the quilt top, trimming corners and points as needed. Reach your arm into the opening you hopefully remembered to leave and grab one of the far corners of your project to pull gently back through the opening. Once the entire project is right side out reach your arm back in and using your fingers or a blunt object, push out any corners that need "sharpening."

At the ironing board, wet your fingers and roll the edge to make sure the seam is centered on the edge of the project. Give the seam a press as you work around your project and then press the entire project when you are done. You may wish to place a few pins in the center of your quilt to prevent any shifting but I haven't needed it so far.

Fold the edges of your opening inside about one-quarter inch and press. Pin the edge together, matching the folds as closely as possible.

I have yet to quilt this project but I would begin by taking my Bernina #10 Stitch in the Ditch foot, moving the needle to the far left position and stitching around the edge in a clockwise direction. This will anchor that opening closed and allow you to move on to the rest of your quilting. I just outline the tumblers so don't expect anything fancy when I show the finished project in the next couple of weeks.

While typing I had a great idea. What if you whipped up some piping and stitched that into the outer seam?! What a fun little addition that would make. And then I could play with my piping ruler. Next project...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Design Wall Monday - 7/25/11

Another Monday but finally it's raining!!! There are lots of severe thunderstorm warnings but the rain will do the grass and gardens good. Has it even rained since the end of June? Couldn't tell you because last week's heat wave has cooked my brain.

It was so hot this weekend that I only got a little of this and that done. I was able to make a quick trip to Dansville (mainly because the car has AC) for backing to my fireman quilt. I also picked up some RWB thread that I think will look great.

At the same store, I was able to get the sashing fabric shown above for my Civil War BOW. I'm pretty sure that I didn't post the last 2 blocks I did so lets just say the block on the right is a new block I did this weekend (ok so I'm still behind and this is an old block that I just got to but I promise to get the pictures (not the blocks!) updated this week). The blocks that have been posted are all together on the Civil War Quilt tab at the top of my blog. I have also drawn up the quilt in EQ (figured it was good practice for the LQS BOM we are creating) and while I haven't included the actual fabrics, I did try to pick the proper colors. Any one wanna see it so far?

I really like the brown with it's subtle stripe and swirls. My question for you, fair readers, is what to use for the cornerstones? a mix of neutrals? a mix of all my other fabrics? (to match the one border that is all squares of the fabrics used) or something else?

Also, don't forget to lend your voice to last week's Wazzit Wednesday...there are pressies for the winner that will be announced this Wednesday. Only 3 votes so far...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Arrowhead Block tutorial

I highly suggest you do at least one block completely my way before making the process your own for the following blocks. All seams are going to be 1/4" and I advise using "needle down" if your machine offers it.

I hate to waste my beloved & expensive Masterpiece thread so I work on 2 blocks at a time, always leaving something under the pressure foot or sewing something for my leaderEnder project which is what is shown in the red record bowl. Please don't ask what the other piles are. I will only fess that the green trug holds scraps that needs to be trimmed and the garbage bag is $10 worth of fabric bought at a yard sale.

Ok, so lets ask the quality control officers to finish their inspection and we can get started...

Start you arrowhead block by cutting out two 8" squares of fabric - I'll be using a neutral and red. Lay the neutral square on top of the red and GENTLY press with the iron. I like to iron with steam but you must be careful in this case not to distort the blocks.

We are now going to sew the two squares together. Do as I say and not as I forgot to do for the photos - use your walking foot so there is no distortion. We will start sewing 2" down from the top right corner. The easiest way to determine 2" is to place a 1.5" x 2" sticky on the corner and begin sewing at the edge of the sticky. Continue sewing down the right side and stop 1/4" from the bottom right corner. Lift the pressure foot and rotate the block 1/4 turn counter-clockwise. Sew to the end of what is now the right edge of the block. We are going to repeat this process for the remaining two sides by lifting the needle/pressure foot and pull the block/thread out about 1 to 1.5", place the sticky again and sew the two sides as before. The fabric will curl a little but as long as you start to sew at the edge of the sticky all is good after you snip the thread. All pictures are clickable but be sure to at least check this one sew you can check the seam pattern as the picture shows the 4th side being sewn.

I give the blocks a good iron press and move to the cutting board. Place the block in front of you so the "open" corners are top right and bottom left. Place your ruler as shown in the photo, so that it is going thru the sewn corners and cut the block into two half square triangles. Take the top right tri, rotate it 180 degrees and stack it onto the bottom left tri, matching seams.

Using your ruler you are going to cut a 2" strip from the left side of the tri - note that the 1.75" line is on your seam line. Be careful that you are not putting the 1.5" line on the seam - ask me how I know. Leave the pieces together but we now need a similar 2" strip from the bottom of the tri.

Gently move the stacks apart to make sure all the threads were cut and take the pieces back to the ironing board. All pieces save the one shown will be pressed towards the red. The exception is so that all the seams lock together when we begin piecing.

Arrange your pieces next to your sewing machine as shown. I always keep a finished block at my work area so I can arrange them the same every time and not have to really think about it. The piece with the seam pressed to the neutral is in the bottom left of this picture.

Do see that this is really a 9-patch?
What if you tilt your head to the left?

I start by stitching the center twosies into a 4 patch. Press the seam to one side and replace it in the layout so that the newest seam runs left to right when your head is tilted to the left and the seam is pressed towards you so the seams will lock with its neighbors.

Sew the top neutral tri to it's neighbor by flipping the tri to the left, right sides together. I suggest you start at the corner or "center" since the corner should be a perfect match and the points will be trimmed off later. Repeat for the other two rows by flipping the right piece to its left, matching seams as needed.

Return those twosies to the layout  - you'll notice the bottom row is partially missing because it's still under my presser foot to save thread. Now sew on the left most pieces. Press seams for the top and bottom rows out towards the points and seams for the middle row in towards the four patch. Sew the top and middle row together, matching seams before sewing and pressing towards the point. Add on the bottom row and again press towards the point.

Give your block a good press and back to the cutting board we go. Lay the block in front of you, hopefully on the corner of your table. Pull out your 9.5" square ruler. I have placed pink glow line tape to accentuate the 4.5" intersection point on my ruler and I always have the 1" marks on the bottom right side. 

Position the 4.5" point on the center of the 4-patch and try to place the 45 degree lines on the corners of the block. You can see that mine isn't perfectly lined up because my block is a little skewed - I just do the best I can to make all 4 corners as even as possible. I use my rotary cutter to trim the right side then swing my body around the corner (clockwise) to cut what currently shows as the bottom. You may need to change position depending on what corner of a table you are working on.

Now pick up your block and rotate 180 degrees. Place the 9" intersection of the square on the top left corner of your partially trimmed block, making sure the 4.5" point is still in the center and the top and left 9" lines are on the edges of the block. Trim the remaining two sides.

This shows how the back is pressed when it's done.

Wala - that was was quite wordy but I hope you learned how to make a neato block or at least a few sewing tips.

Please feel free to let me know this was as clear as mud or you need another picture of something...

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wazzit Wednesday Contest?!

We're gonna play a little game today...can you guess what plants these flowers come from? Please be as specific as possible. The person who gets the most answers correct will get a little prezzie in the mail. The person who gets the bonus question will get a different prezzie. The most comments I have ever had was 9 so you have a pretty good chance of winning. Winners will be announced next Wednesday! Please make sure I have your email address if you comment anonymously. Good Luck!

Here's part of my backyard...the red and green maple trees and hammock are mine. The pool, gazebo and garage are the neighbors.

Feel free to enlarge Wazzit pictures for a better view:






Bonus question:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Secret Sister Gift

Tonight is the big reveal for our quilt guild's secret sister program. The reveal will be made at our annual picnic & I'm just hoping it's not quite so hot by 6pm.

Since April we have been sneaking small gifts to our guild meetings to be distributed to our SS. This is our final month and each participating person was supposed to make potholders, placemats or a table runner as our final gift.

I was told that my SS likes green - I hope she likes this shade of green because I used my charm pack tumbler ruler to cut out greens and neutrals - a wonderful ruler that works with charms or strips. I backed it with a red and green butterfly print.

I used the envelope method instead of binding (saved binding all those crazy angles) and quilted 1/4" on both sides of every seam. A very easy finish to what I think is a great little runner.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Design Wall Monday - 7/18/11

Did you think I dropped out of DWM?  Nah, just holidays and a sick day keeping me away from the computer.

The fireman quilt is getting a little large and heavy for my actual design wall and I didn't feel like crawling on the floor this weekend so I commandeered the dining room table to finish the arrowhead blocks. The picture shows what I woke up to this morning! Did I brush against the blocks/table in the dark after the late night rescue call or did some naughty pussy cat decide to rearrange? We will never know...but I DO have my suspicions...

The table isn't quite big enough to lay out all the blocks but since I am repeating red/blue/neutrals for this last section I really need to make sure they aren't next to each other as well as value-balanced.

Does everyone know how to make these arrowhead blocks? The directions were in a magazine some months ago but I can do a tutorial if anyone is interested. It's pretty easy in my estimation - as in it packs a big punch for the amount of work involved.

This Friday's road trip plans got cancelled but that does give me another full day to sew which is a really good thing - only 25 more days until the Wyoming County Fair that I am trying to finish this for. I had planned on looking for backing material on my road trip but now it looks like I'll be looking locally. It's a little dissappointing because I was headed to a (cheap) Mennonite store but things will work out...Wish me luck and happy sewing!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Feline Friday

While pulling yesterday's picture off my cell phone card I came across the following:

Excuse my silly face as I was trying to take my own picture with a squirming cat but this was Tula who crossed the Rainbow Bridge over a year ago. She was a Maine Coon mix (which I once mis-pronounced as a Moon Mix) and unfortunatley, this photo doesn't show her beautiful long fur, especially what was around her face.

Miss you Tula-bird!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Ok, so it's really only Thursday but I have Fridays off in the summer so today is my Friday and it's perfect timing because, while the day started out ok, it went downhill fast when I had to deal with this:

Yup - I had a flat tire before work. Unfortunately the lug nuts were rusty and we had last put them on with the air hose so I had to call Daddy for a little extra muscle. Then the wheel was rusted on so we had to find something to hit the wheel repeatedly to loosen it. And then the donut was flat so he had to drive home to add some air. Guess what I'm buying tomorrow? Yup, 2 new front tires. I was hoping they would last until it was time to put the snow tires back on but I guess not...

I finally got to work 45 minutes late and the customers and projects didn't let up until part way into lunch. I need some time to destress cuz I have so much to do this afternoon at work and sew much to do this evening after Zumba and library stuff that I am going to crash hard when I get a chance to breath.

Like I said - TGIF!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Indecision help needed

Hey! You! Yessssss...you!

Cali, aka Squeaky, here and Mama needs your help - she can be pretty indecisive sometimes. She keeps covering pieces of paper with bigger pieces of fabric and putting them together. Then she puts them on that fuzzy stuff on the wall, then she just stands there and stares at them and then she rearranges them. Boring!

Any way...she just finished those pieces of red with the very pretty little blue BIRDS and now she needs to decide what color to use for the the middle point of the black pieces. See how she has all the diamond centers the same green? Cool, huh?  Sew...we could go with black, green or ???

My wussy brother, skinny sister and I think this is going to take her a verrrrrryyyyyy long time but if we get to sit and watch movies while she plays with her toys, it's ok with us! Thanks for your input!

Whoops...mama saw my post and asked me to make a couple clarifications. White is not a color choice for the "center" of the blacks and there is a riot of color used for the diamonds, only some of which are shown above. I have absolutely no idea what she means by riot.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Groovin' again!

Yihah! I think I'm back in the groove again... It was a busy, long weekend but I still got a lot done on a bunch of smaller projects. What I was really happy to get moving on again was my fireman quilt since I decided it will be my large entry at the Wyoming County Fair in August. It's been quite a while since I worked on this quilt and I have some new readers so let me recap...

I purchased a yard of half-dressed (or half-nekked!) fireman fabric at a quilt show last fall and decided I would surround it with arrowhead blocks in red, white cream and blue to coordinate with the firemen. I then decided the 4 corner blocks should be in yellow since my department (Castile Volunteer Fire & Rescue Department) has yellow trucks and bunker gear. Did you know yellow trucks are more visible than red trucks? I swear - they've done studies on it...

I had the top and bottom sections sewn onto the panel and had layed out a side section when I realized there was absolutley no contrast and the half-nekked men faded into the arrowhead blocks. I frogged out all my seams and then cut some 1.5" black strips to surround the firemen with. I then set everything aside until I could "find time" to trim the center so it would all still fit right. Oh please...I was just worried I would cut too much off and then it wouldn't fit at all. I'm proud to say that I trimmed it just fine and now have the top, bottom and one side section sewn back on. I have to make a few more arrowhead blocks but hope to have the top completed before the weekend is over.

Hmm...wonder what she spied out the front window instead of posing.
Anyway...I think the black sets it off nicely
I have a RWB stripe to make the binding but I still have to locate something for the back. I don't think I want to cobble anything from my stash since it's for the fair so I'll have to hit some sales. I also better get another can of spray baste...

Friday, July 08, 2011

Feline Friday - 7/8/11

What's a furball to do when it's HOT and there's no AC? Lounge and be lazy, of course!

This spot looks like it would be even hotter in the sun but it's Pepper's favorite spot and there was a breeze coming thru the windows - I know cuz I layed on the floor with him for some belly time :)

I really don't know how these crazy poses help with the heat but I have never seen them before this past weekend. And why in heaven's name Cali would want to be cuddled up in the fake fur cover but she likes it and she was definitely a lazy girl.

And little Midgie? She was curled up in her favorite corner of the couch - no funny poses, just the daily status quo with that grumpy little look cuz I didn't give her tons of snack kibbies.