Quilting 101: Fabric found

I’m grateful. The fabric was found in a shoe box at the far end of my shelves — not labeled, of course.

Fabric Auntie Grace 002

So the trip I so wanted to take to the not so local quilt shop to buy more fabric will be postponed until tomorrow. These fabrics are very workable and I’m sure I could finish a quilt with what is here but there is something in the hunting and gathering that makes me salivate.

Also in the box with the fabric were already started blocks and templates for quilt blocks I made years ago in the hope that someday I would have a granddaughter. In need of a Christmas present before her 5th Christmas I remembered these blocks. I didn’t have much time to make the quilt with only a month before the holiday. I had to think quickly and made this quilt:

Abi's Big girl quilt copy 2

Little girls go through the pink and purple phase so combining the blocks with pink and purple bands worked out well since I made only 16 blocks but they were big.

Now back to my Nine-Patches.


Quilting: try to stay organized

Oh yes, what is it? Is it a flaw, is it too many things on my plate. Too many projects? Heaven forbid. I feel I am getting more organized — but am I getting too organized? I know I just saw that — but where is it now? I know I have a considerable amount of Auntie Grace fabric but I can’t find it and I know I just saw it.

I have decided it may be time to make a page in one of my notebooks, preferably the notebook labeled 2016 and it will say:

where did I put it 013

Quilting 101 (time lapse)

As all good plans are made, they aren’t always achieved.

Now on to DAY TWO:quilt day two 001

Adding a different set of two colored strips. This time pink and green. You’ll need three of each color strip. You can do this using fat quarter strips 1 1/2″ wide by 22″. Five strips of each color, as shown using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Be sure to press as you sew. Press DO NOT IRON, pressing is an up and down motion with the iron. I do not use steam because I like to get my fingers in there and steam and my fingers do not like each other.

quilt day two 002

Lay the sewn strips right side to right side as you would sew them together being careful to line up the edges carefully. I like to trim the front edge first to even it up. Then resting my grid cutter on the 1.5″ marker I make my first cut. Without moving the fabric I carefully line up the edge on the 3″ mark on my ruler and make the second cut, again I carefully move my ruler without disturbing the fabric to the 4.5″ mark and cut again. The my final cut will be on the 6″ mark before I move any of the fabric. Then repeat to the end. You can also do this following the grid by matching your ruler with the cutting board grid to get an accurate cut.  Keep your fingers clear of the cutter. I have trimmed my nails but have been lucky enough to not draw blood. I can’t say the same for my use of a French knife. I almost lost a finger tip when I got distracted using one of those.

quilt day two blocks 002

I press the sewn seam down first to set them, then I press the seam to one side usually the darker fabric. In this case you would have to be the judge of which is darker. You can press from the back side of the fabric or the top side. I use a small spray mister and prefer to press from the top side of the fabric, but not always. It is a judgment call.

quilt day two blocks 001

The finished squares will measure 4.5″ This is not always true. Measure and see if your blocks all measure the same. If they all measure the same and it isn’t 4.5″ then that is your personal measurement. If most of them measure 4.5″ and some are a tad off carefully trim the excess. Be careful when trimming, you will be gratetful that you do because just being a 1/16″ of an inch off on several blocks can throw you off by half an inch overall. When I started quilting it didn’t matter to me, when I sewed them together at the end it did matter and I have to tell you — I hate ripping out.

(to be continued)

Happy quilting,  Joanne



Quilting 101

I have been spinning my wheels for some time now. I’ve been sorting and wondering why I am stuck in this rut. Then it dawned on me. Although for most I may not appear to be organized — but an organized person is one who can find what they need when they need it. That was me until we emptied my studio to put down new flooring — which I do love.

Fabric was brought back into the workspace and just put helter-skelter on the shelves. It would make for interesting work if that were the way I worked. I have been lost and instead of making new work I am looking at UFOs  (unfinished work) and trying to get my head around finishing them. That just isn’t possible when I can’t find what I need.

There was a time when I put all my WIP (works in progress) in shiny silver boxes supplied by a lovely local department store and labeled them. Even then when I open the box I find I am one fabric short, the dye-lots don’t even come close to the colors created today, which is a hazard of having projects that date back into the last century. Wow that sounds old and it is. But they are still worth finishing when I find the fabric in my many piles.

So I asked a trusted art buddy, Kim Burke, in Los Angeles to give me her opinion. She suggested putting the old projects aside and “MOVE ON.” I knawed on it for all of about 15 minutes and decided that was a worthy opinion and advice.

I put what I was working on into a shoe box and pulled out a different shoe box of 1 1/2 inch cut strips. This is not what I had in mind, it isn’t arty nor is it flamboyant, it is sweet. So this is March 11, 2016 and I am looking at my breakfast smoothie of banana, mandarin oranges and mango —

DAY ONE: Aunty Grace fabric and it looks like I will be making a baby quilt, smoothie in hand.


Tree Trimming

As I was working in the yard yesterday I kept brushing the top of my head with the branches of the Pepper Tree. I loved when we had bird feeders and so many birds in the back yard. I thought I needed to add more feeders again to attract more birds. As I was trimming the low branches about 18″ I looked above my head. I was either looking at a small bee hive or a bird nest. It looked like a nest of my indoor Finch nests. So I stopped trimming and waited. Sure enough within a few minutes two tiny birds came to the branches with some red-orange food in their beaks. It made me happy that they were comfortable enough with me standing so close to go directly to their nest.

It made me happy to know that these little guys who are smaller than my house finch are making my yard their home.

March 5 – Rain soon?

I am placing my faith in the weather person’s prediction that we will have rain this weekend. This week I received 7 bare root roses I ordered in the mail. What was I thinking — roses — you have to plant them. I am so beyond wanting to dig holes is this clay and rock wasteland. I do love roses though and my hope springs eternal that El Nino will come through with more rain after all it is only March and this is when we have rain and winds.

I also bought a Fruit Salad tree this week —

garden fruit salad tree  003

I decided to take a picture before our rains. In the past my fruit trees have set buds and then it rains and the winds blow and at the end of it, the poor tree which looked so abundant would now be naked and fruitless. It is called a Fruit Salad tree because four different variety of fruits are grafter on to one base, in this case they are all oranges. It was my intention when I went to the nursery to look for a Cara Cara Orange which is native to New Zealand. The fruit is a dark red-orange and very sweet. I saw one last year at the end of the season but I didn’t buy it, happy I didn’t for lack of rain. This year I thought I would look again. When I walked up the nursery walkway a beautiful 30 gallon tree was right in front of me. I reached over to look at the tag and to my surprise it read Cara Cara, but wait, it had more tags on it.  The other tags were Washington Navel, a Late Navel and a Blood Orange.

I have had multi-grafted fruit trees in the past and have been disappointed when only one of the grafts survives. In that particular case it was a Nectarine, Apricot, Plum tree. The Plum Tree survived. One thought was there were no other fruit trees in the neighborhood.  I also have a Pomegranate Tree which looked like it was dead. It came back after the last rain. It has only had two pomegranates that were about the size of ping pong balls, I could have framed them. I took a picture of the little fruit buds on it now — there are five all together. garden pomagranante 005This is a picture of one.

I removed all the obstacles in the garden vegetable patch this morning. I struggled for years with raised beds, trying to containerize them: strawberries in one, tomatoes in another, kale in still another. All I was managing to do was give myself obstacles to fall over or into. I decided to take all the wooded forms out and just build up the whole area which is already surrounded by Railway ties. I also removed all the Blackberry bushes. They need to be relocated elsewhere. I put those in container pots. I had bags of soil left over from planting a Lemon and a Tangerine tree last month. I mixed them with soil that was taken from the holes for the fruit trees.  I was stressing myself with thoughts of going early to the nursery on a Saturday to find pots big enough to put the roses in, their base roots are easily 12″ across. That’s when it dawned on me — I have all that planting area in the back forty that as yet had no plants and I have all this soil.

garden 7 roses 002

So I did what they do at the nursery with bare roots, I put them into the soft soil from the bags of compost and soil I just dumped in. Wha-la!

I remember my father planting roses in our yard when I was little — he planted them — not my mother. I remember he and my uncles putting in the fences and pouring the concrete. My mother didn’t help. She did benefit from the roses though. Beside it making a beautiful yard with probably fifty rose bushes, when he came in from working in the yard he would always bring her roses.