Monday, March 26, 2007

Busy, busy busy

I haven't posted in so long, but here goes with the news from my life:

Had a Family Activity Night at my library, featuring Australia, and with Tazzie's kind help, everyone got an authentic Australian nickel and teeny flag to take home. We also made koala bear puppets, played bingo, heard stories about marsupials, tasted Marmite, etc. Great fun!

Also went to a Sit and Sew last weekend, with my guild, and got a lot done, sewed the last row of blocks on a string heart design quilt, and gave all three of the tops for Heartstrings to guild members who'll quilt them. And I still have about 16 red-centered string blocks and 2 blue-centered string blocks to combine with the blocks I'll get at tomorrow night's guild meeting.

I got the backing finished for my pink and brown quilt. That one's been sitting at my longarm quilter's in Missouri since our guild retreat last November. This was a quilt I didn't have a particular person in mind to gift it to, so there's been no rush to finish it. I'm ashamed to admit that it didn't take me long at all to get the backing sewn - considering the amount of time I've procrastinated on it!

I meant to quickly put together another back for this floral quilt, remember this one? I bordered it in the deep purple you see down the middle:

I had one long strip of pieced chunks, and 6 leftover blocks I wanted to use on the back, plus some assorted biggish hunks of fabric left over from the front - but somehow, the other folks at the Sit and Sew talked me into using the baggie of strips I had left to make some 'new fabric'for the backing. I spent the rest of the afternoon making the inside of the star shape:

That's the floral top draped off to the lower right there. I've never spent that much time making a backing for a quilt, and... well, don't know if I will again. I did get all the scraps used, but I think a string quilt would have been a better use for them, even if I did have to buy some 'whole' fabric for the backing.

Let's see, what else have I done besides sew? I had a root canal on Thursday... ow, ow, ow... *whines* and it hurt worse afterward than before I went to the dentist. But in all fairness, it's fine now... :) I'll have to get the root filled up then fitted for a crown next. And I detest going to the dentist, too.

When I got home from the dentist, both my neighbor and I had citations from the health department on our doors. Apparently, a woodpile stacked on the concrete of my carport (a very small woodpile less than a yard long and just over a foot high) was in violation. Our woodpiles have to be 18 inches above the ground, for rodent control. Never mind that neither of us has ever seen any rodents - apparently the HD was getting everyone. It wasn't worth it for me to go buy blocks, or figure out some other way to elevate the wood, so since I was off work Friday, I just went outside and pitched all but 7 of the best logs in the trash bin. Those 7 I moved in my little storage room.

They also cited us both for 'junk and appliances.' Here's the list of what I had out in my carport: one blue ice chest, upside down to drain, with lid; two concrete blocks, three clay flowerpots; a green garden hose; the one gallon plastic gas container for the weed whacker; a shovel; one windchime that had fallen from my porch; and about 8 cedar boards, all about 6 inches by 2 feet. Oh, and a rudolph lawn ornament, leaning against the back wall. Definitely no appliances. Isn't this pretty much normal carport stuff? Oh, well, it's all cleaned up now. Everything but the gas can is moved in my storage room, and I CAN'T put that in there, I have a gas water heater, and don't want to mix the two flammables.

My neighbors had rather more than that, but as far as I'm concerned, what they have in their backyard is their own business, especially since it's behind a fence. Any of you ever had health dept. visits like this? Geesh. So THAT'S why I haven't been posting here!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Another Heartstrings Quilt Top

Here's yet another Heartstrings quilt top made from the blocks my guild did for their block of the month:

This one's just a tad over 44 x 44 inches square. I picked out 8 of the blocks that had a slightly maverick interpretation of the heartstrings guidelines... you'll see some that have no red stripe at all, no centered red stripe, or too small or too large of a red or blue stripe. In this layout, with the red not forming a lattice, the variations don't matter at all.

I didn't chop one up to make the cornerstones, but instead made 4 new little blocks the size of my inner navy border that 'floats' the star.

Now that I look at it, if I were to do it again, I'd rotate those cornerstones so that the strips go diagonally the other way, but I'm certainly not going to rip them out and rotate them now... :)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

It's Daffodils!

Well, for all of you in snowy parts of the country, with below freezing temperatures, here's a few pictures of MY front yard to give you heart:

And if it doesn't give you heart to brave the cold, at least it'll make you jealous and want to move to Tennessee! :)

Monday, March 05, 2007

First 24 Blocks Used

Well, I pulled out twenty-four of the heartstrings blocks my guild made for Feb. block of the month. I was looking for the darker red center strings this time, to go with my darkish red sashings. I saw this layout on someone's blog, (my apologies for not remembering your name to give you credit) and it looked like just what I wanted for using less blocks and making not quite as big of a quilt:

With 1½ inch skinny sashing and 2½ inch borders and thicker sashings, this one measures 47 x 69 ish. It took less than a fat quarter for the cornerstones, and I have a bit left to make a border for a little label with.

It was really fascinating to see the variety of fabrics people used. You could almost tell something about their life and personality by their material choices. There's the people who just couldn't bring themselves to be completely scrappy and carefully picked strips that looked good next to each other, or kept a color scheme within their blocks. There's the Thimbleberries-loving person, whose blocks were full of moose prints, pine trees, burgundies, forest green and brown. The person with several grandbabies, whose blocks have kiddie brights and character prints. The one who uses mostly tiny florals and tone-on-tones.

It makes me wonder what the fabric I used in my blocks tells about me! :D

Friday, March 02, 2007

More Heartstrings Designs

They were talking about the busy-ness of the heartstrings blocks over on the Heartstrings Yahoo group pages, and someone mentioned that you could take a completed heartstrings block, match it to a square of plain fabric, stitch it down the middle, and make two blocks - like a half square triangle.

Then they were wondering what kinds of designs you could make with half of a heartstrings block. I couldn't resist. Off to EQ! First I tried a simple little star:

Then rotated the hsts and changed all the blocks to hsts, and changed the color of the triangles to springy green:

You could actually do any block that has half square triangles and/or whole squares for this. The depression block layout looks great too!

Because you lose some of the size when you cut your heartstrings block in half diagonally and re-sew it, it'd make sense to trim your NEW blocks to 8½ inches. If you're mixing whole heartstrings blocks with them, of course they'd have to be trimmed to the same size. This would be a good thing to do with blocks that somehow became too small or got lopsided. Then I added some blocks to my layout and played with making this one in pink:

But all of those blue whole heartstrings blocks I've used around the edges would have to be trimmed, you'd be wasting a lot, trimming an inch off them, unless you made some smaller ones on purpose. Better not use many whole blocks, I thought. Then I came up with these designs that don't use as many whole heartstrings blocks, just 4 in the center. First one with a denim colored half block:

Then my favorite, some turquoise:

And finally, one in navy blue:

Which layout should I try first?
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