Friday, November 28, 2008

5 more Fleece Lap Quilts

Lessons learned:
If you are thinking about doing something with fleece, you should use a serger.

I purchased some fleece at Joanne, but it was only about half as thick as my bags of scraps.

Be flexible! This stuff is really difficult to work with on a regular sewing machine. If you just want something colorful and warm [as these lap quilts] AND do not have to have perfection [these quilts have lots of imperfections], then go for it. Of course I still do not know how the recipients will like these. That will come some time later. Really rather stressful for me since they have been a LOT of work. I have one more in process. But then I'll do something more usual.

I would really appreciate feedback on both the quilts and the puzzle cuts.

Hope you enjoy, ann

Lap Quilt #4 and the puzzle

Click to Mix and Solve

Lap quilt #5 and the puzzle

Click to Mix and Solve

Lap Quilt #6 and the puzzle

Click to Mix and Solve

Lap Quilt #7 and the puzzle

Click to Mix and Solve

Lap Quilt #8 and the puzzle

Click to Mix and Solve

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lap Quilt #3 = fleece

I actually started this fleece construction process last year. I tried putting the pieces together like one would put cotton or other quilting fabric. The fleece is much too thick. I got so so frustrated last year that I just put the fleece back into bags. Below are a couple of examples of my first attempts.

This year I decided I needed to get those bags of fleece out of the way. Fleece takes up a lot of room. I would have to overlap the pieces. Someone suggested I try to lap the stretch grain with the non-stretch grain. That was a good suggestion which I tried to follow. After quilt #2, I decided to just use the fleece alone.

Cutting this stuff straight is a BIG challenge on the stretch grain. The fleece ruffles and wiggles and seems to have a mind of its own. The blade will often bounce, catch, and jump. Cutting with the non-stretch grain is a lot easier; only have to deal with the curling. I cut rectangles and squares from all of the rest of the fleece in the pile. Then I sewed the pieces into strips 36" long. That length will become the width. It is easier to work with that length than longer because I just laid the pieces out on my cutting board. I have actually finished that process with the rest of the pieces, so the quilts should be coming in a bunch very soon.

Although I am happy with this result. I would not ever recommend anyone work with this stuff on a regular sewing machine. Someone said a serger would be easier. Not sure it would solve the stretching problems.

For all of us puzzle addicts, I picked a challenging cut because the quilt is so simple. ENJOY!

Click to Mix and Solve

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lap Quilt #2 + puzzle

I got these bags of polar fleece leftover pieces [from some manufacturing company I think]. I paid about $5 for the whole lot. I had NEVER used polar fleece, so I thought this was a bargain. Very few large pieces, quite a few too small to use, and most of the rest were medium sized odd shapes. Knowing I didn't have to worry abut raveling, I did NOT realize the bulk of the fabric would cause many problems in sewing.

Comparison of fleece sizes. Most are about the size of the light blue one, but not that regular in shape.

I first tried to make 'regular' seams. After much fighting and frustration, I realized that would not work for these small pieces because the many seams were pretty ugly and stiff.

I then tried overlapping seams. That worked better. Trying to loosen myself out of my square corner rut, I ironed back the edges on a nice piece of fabric to use as my backing. As you can see, I used a lot of uncut pieces. Not very happy with the results. Hopefully someone will pick it for their choice. It will be very warm. The size is 42" x 48".

In the middle of finishing this quilt, I decided for the next one I would square cut up the rest and piece it together by itself. I'm working on that. The cutting seems endless. I'm already bored, but too stubborn to give up. This stuff is very light weight, soft and very warm. Hopefully I will have something to post very soon.

TA DAH. . . now for the puzzle.

Click to Mix and Solve

Monday, November 17, 2008

First Lap Quilt as a Puzzle

Click to Mix and Solve

Live with Intention

Live with intention.
Walk to the edge.
Listen hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Choose with no regret.
Appreciate your friends.
Continue to learn.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.
-- Mary Anne Radmacher

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lap Quilt number 1

I finished the top of this simple lap quilt before I started the window quilts. I was going to wait to post until after I got a bunch done. Well, as usual it is taking me a lot longer than I thought. After I finished the kitchen insulated window quilts, I decided to quilt this one. I used a extra thick batting for warmth. The backing is a wonderful group of children singing. I love the bright colors.
I didn't have a clue about sizes so I went on-line and looked at lap quilts. The sizes that are wanted by the 'quilts for veterans' are either 36" x 42" or 42" x 48". I thought these seemed rather small, so I added a larger size 42" x 60". Really hard to know what people will like and-or appreciate. My plan is to make different kinds and sizes, then wait for feed back. People will get to choose their quilt. All sorts of ages, so I'm thinking all sorts of sizes of quilts and different for the different tastes.
Although, I aim for a size, I am not expecting to be exact. I got a bunch of fabric off E-bay, sales at Joanne, and some from On Board Fabrics in Edgecomb, Maine. I will work with what I have and see where that takes me.
This quilts finished size is 37" x 53". I have never made anything but wall quilts, so this is a learning experience. I've already started a really experimental quilt using fleece pieces I got cheaply as they were left overs from some manufacturer. I also got a 10 yard bolt of black fleece on sale. After washing [and shrinkage], I was able to cut out 5 quilts + a blanket for my bed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thought for the day = love

"The greatest science in the world;
in heaven and on earth;

is love."

Mother Teresa

Saturday, November 8, 2008

top down Roman Shades insulated and quilted

I just finished making insulated Roman shades. I used the existing professionally made Roman shades as a pattern. There are many different types of Roman shades. Because my original shades have the center sway and the side end flips, my insulated shades follow that style.

Original decorative shades in original location.

Original decorative shades moved forward to make room for the insulated shades behind.

Layers of fabric= ironing board fabric with metallic side facing the window, Warm company Insul-Bright, 100% cotton batting, muslin on the room side.

I quilted straight lines where I would put the rings; wavy lines in between. Straight lines down. Rings go where the straight lines intersect. Muslin wrapped around edges. Top shows Velcro fastening. Other half of Velcro is stapled onto the board.

Rings sewn at crossing straight lines.

The original decorative shades had gathers in the Velcro using string woven through. I simplified that process my simply easing the excess fabric to Velcro cut to the correct width.

Pocket made in the bottom of the shade in case I want to insert a weight later.

I used recycled 1x2 to make the shade attachment. Covered the 'show' side with double layers of muslin. Stapled on Velcro to the 'front' to hold the shade.

I used a staple gun and tack hammer to wrap wood with clothe and staple the Velcro to the 'front' of the wood. I hammered in the staples tighter with a tack hammer. I only used the 3 eye-screws shown because of the style I chose. I screwed the wood inside the window framing with 2 long screws.

I used all Warm products: Insul-Bright, cotton batting, metal rings, pull cord and screw eyes. Other brands could be used. These seemed the best available to me.

Photo shows the cording going through the rings [tied off at the bottom ring] and then up through the pulling screw eyes.

Both shades down = very warm

Decorative shade up; insulated shade down.

Both shades up.

Sizing the shade: my window measures 31" x 43"; I cut the insulation fabric 33" x 45"; finished shade measures 32" x 43.5" >>>>>conclusion: width is fine, however, next time I would add more length. Quilting naturally shrinks the size. Extra length would be nice.
Check out this link for a good diagram of rings and stringing method

Friday, November 7, 2008

peace quote

"Peace is not won by those
who fiercely guard their differences,
but by those
with open minds and hearts
seek out connections. "

-Katherine Paterson

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Changing Face of Alzheimer's

Ami Simms' mother is one of 5.2 million Americans with Alzheimer's disease. Ami began the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative because she thinks it is possible to make a difference, one quilt at a time. This is an all volunteer organization. Ami and her staff volunteer their time and energy and quilts. Quilts are donated from people all over the world; although most are from the USA. If you would like more information about donating and\or buying a quilt, please click on the link below.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI)
Raising Awareness & Funding Research Through Art

Diane Petersmarck organized a 'Stay At Home Challenge' for those of us in quiltart who are not traveling to Houston to see the biggest quilt show of the year. I decided to join this challenge and see how many quilts I could make by the posting deadline. It is fun.

The only rule is that all quilts have to be 9" x 12" or less because of mailing.
I decided this might be a good time to learn a little more about Alzheimer's. My first 4 quilts are trying to express visually how Alzheimer's may affect a person.

The Changing Face of Alzheimer's 1
Number 1 is expressing how a person's perspective is breaking apart into pieces that become unrecognizable.
Width: 7" Length: 9 3\4"

The Changing Face of Alzheimer's 2
Number 2 is expressing how a person may find their mind divided into compartments which have difficulty communicating with each other.
Width: 9" Length: 11 1\4"

The Changing Face of Alzheimer's 3
Number 3 is expressing how a person's mind may just become split up into garbled pieces that can't connect with each other.
Width: 9" Length: 12"

The Changing Face of Alzheimer's 4
Number 4 is expressing how a person's mind may just fade away.
Width: 9" Length: 12"

Thursday, October 30, 2008

thought for the day

Our mental and emotional diets
determine our overall energy levels,
health and well-being more than we realize.

Every thought and feeling,
no matter how big or small,
impacts our inner energy reserves.
--Doc Childre

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Changing Face of Alzheimer's in Blue

Once again I'm trying to do 2 things at once. The FFFC [Fast Friday Fabric Challenge] this month is Color Concept: Monochromatic + perspective. My theme for the year is people, so this is a BIG challenge for me. We were to pick our favorite color [purple for me] and then develop a perspective using our theme.
The first photo shows the paper print of my face; the second shows the fabric print. Quite a color shift. Therefore, instead of purples, I worked with blues in creating my challenge piece. Not yet quilted or finished. Now it is just up for comments. I will quilt and finish it to send to the Alzheimer's quilt sale. I'll post again when it is finished. Just wanted to show the difference in color between paper prints and fabric prints.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

thought for the day

"There is only one way to happiness
and that is to cease worrying about things
which are beyond the power of our will. "

Sunday, October 19, 2008

thought for the day

...............Every man's work,
whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else,

. always a portrait of himself.

--Samuel Butler

Friday, October 17, 2008

Turkey in my Driveway

I was tired when I drove in my driveway. Actually it is a shared drive between 2 two families. This is in the historic district, 1.5 blocks from the center of town. As I parked my truck I could NOT believe my eyes. A wild turkey was pecking at stuff on the black top drive. I got out quietly [didn't even close the door], went the long way around to go in my house and get my camera. The turkey seemed undisturbed. After he tired of pecking at the driveway, he went under a small tree beside my car. He pecked around there for a while. His head was in constant motion, bobbing and jerking as if looking for something. Then he went onto the side walk and started pecking between the stones of my dry wall that keeps back my garden.

Now if I lived in the country, this might not seem so unusual. However this district is tight with houses on lots between 44' and 66' wide. The usual pattern is drive, house, drive, house, etc. So the idea that I had a turkey, who didn't seem to mind my taking photos, really amazed me. Hope you enjoy these photos.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An Ancient Sanscript Poem

Look to this day for it is Life.
..........The very Life of Life.

In its brief course lie all the realities and truths of existence

The joy of growth
..........The splendor of action
....................The glory of power.

For yesterday is but a memory
..........And tomorrow is only a vision

But today well lived, makes every
..........yesterday a memory of happiness
....................and every tomorrow a vision of hope.

Look well, therefore, to this day!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My First Year of Quilting

Fall 07 though September 08

Before I could quilt I needed a place to do it. I built a table into this planned balcony-workspace a few years ago. The dining room skylight becomes my balcony window. Only problem is when something goes over the edge and lands on the floor below. The balcony is a tight space, but I also use my bed in the nearby alcove to lay out fabrics and pile other stuff when the table is too too over flowing.

I really think I started my first quilt project, a cover for my mixer, in the summer of 2007. I was still quite ill so things went very slowly. I made some pillows and a throne cover to try and learn some of the steps. My first BIG quilt was a memory quilt for my Mom. Didn't have a clue how to sew it together. I just had an idea and the determination to get it done while she could still enjoy it. I made a LOT of mistakes. I learn a LOT about what not to do again and some real no nos of quilting. I also learn one can't dye after the fact when a small purse I made for my daughter got charred in the micro-wave when I tried to set the dye on the rope handle.

Sometime in late fall of 2007, after a lot of encouragement, I started a blog. The first one didn't work out. I loved the format, but after a month or so they wanted me to pay. With so many free blogs available, paying was not an option. I continually tweak the format.

As the year started, my health was still very fragile. It took me 6 months to complete my next BIG quilt, 'The Retrospective Theater'. It traveled to California for the 'Silver Screen' exhibit which was part of the International Quilt Festival-Long Beach. It is now featured in 'Quilting Arts Magazine' page 53. WOW! What a thrill for me.

I worked on 2 different quilts that finally became UFOs. Other projects were part of quilt group activities, for Mom or for gifts. I also have to quilts that are going into gallery shows. They can't be exhibited until I'm given the OK.

I felt this was a good month to do a review for 2 reasons: my birthday and also it is almost a year since I started a blog. Hope you enjoy the reminiscence.

Balcony work area seen from the dining room

one side of mixer cover

other side of mixer cover

throne cover

green pillow

basket pillow

pink star pillow

water color 'strips that sizzle' pillow

pillows on my built-in day bed

Mom's Memory quilt

Mom's memory quilt pillow with explanations

Mom's memory quilt pillow front

burned purse for my daughter

'Angels don't have wings' for an on-line show

'angels don't have wings' for green postcard challenge

'The Retrospective Theater'

'The Retrospective Theater' close up

'art from the heart' for a thank you

aluminum butterfly for a positive-negative challenge

positive butterfly half in situ

negative butterfly half in situ

frog for "It's the year of the frog"

frog side view to show dimemsion

Angel for Mom standing

hanging angel showing 2 of 3 bells

leaf square for a 'Lovie'