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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stand Up to Sew

I find that I have more problems with my back when I sit and sew as opposed to using the sewing machine on my quilt frame while standing. Following the advice of a fellow quilter, I put my sewing machine on my breakfast bar and completed a small sewing project while standing up. I was concerned about the ease of using the foot pedal, but it was no problem.

One drawback about using my breakfast bar is that it takes away from my pressing and cutting surface.

However, sewing while standing is definitely do-able.

The jury is still out whether or not sewing while standing will become my preferred method.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mug Rug Gift Idea

For a recent wedding, the bride and groom already had their household together. I chose to make them something whimsical that reflected their interests -- MUG RUGS!

Mug rugs, from what I have seen, are sized between a potholder and a place mat. I love to use mug rugs not only as coasters for my hot chocolate or herb tea, but also to insulate my hands while I eat from a dish hot from the microwave.

I started with the nurse design and built around that to end up with a finished size of 10" by 7-1/2".

The second mug rug to reflect an interest in reading I made approximately the same size so they would somewhat match.

I added a box of hot chocolate packets and a gift card so they can buy their own mugs. Or, if they are like me and have far more mugs than they need, they can use the gift card to buy whatever!
I used fabric and craft ribbon to create a quick gift bag.

One thing good thing about fabric gift bags is that they are reusable.

Another good thing about fabric gift bags is, if the gift is for a quilter, s/he can pick apart the seams and add the fabric to her/his stash!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Design Evolution....Oh, Oh! Recalculate!

Lesson learned.....I hope! Once I decided on a different design to tie my six large blocks together, I basically did some quick measuring and figuring on the calculator, then I started cutting. I got partway through cutting my border sections from my remnant of tonal orange when I realized that for what I had in mind, I was going to be about one and a half strips short.

Oh, oh! Recalculate!

I did a quick adjustment to my design. Unfortunately, to get enough long strips to go across horizontally, I had to sew back together some of the sections I had cut. It doesn't look too bad since it was assembled and pressed, but doing it this way did create extra work.

It is so much safer to either use a pattern where someone else has done all the work to figure everything out or where I have graphed a design out on paper and double-checked all the measurements and math on both piece sizes and available fabric. But, some quilts don't work that way for me. I think next time I "evolve" a quilt design as I sew, I would do better to cut as I go.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Some Days Are Nuthin' 'Cept Try, Try Again

I broke away from my current quilt project--a big one--to try to complete a quilt for the VA hospital in Fresno as part of the "Quilters' Embrace" program of the GATEWAY QUILT GUILD. Being an "orange" person, I have this pattern that caught my eye almost a year ago. I was trying for the K.I.S.S. (Keep it simple, stupid) method by choosing a latticework of multi-color two inch squares (actually, two inch strips sewn in pairs and then cut in two inch wide sections) combining the olive drab and orange colors in the quilt and mixing them with the traditional patriotic colors.

By the time I finished sewing the three pairs of big blocks together, I (a) decided this was not K.I.S.S., and (b) wasn't sure if the two design elements were going to look right together. I put it away for a few nights and slept on it.

Monday I sewed together the horizontal row connecting four blocks together and stitched it to one row. Then I laid everything out to view what it would look like finished.


I ripped out the the latticework and went back to square one to choose how to connect these big blocks depicting today's Army in action. I came up with this:

I had to make two attempts to sew this design together. The first time, I got the stars upside down. I did more ripping out than stitching yesterday. Some days are like that.

I'm further behind than I was last week, but I think the end result will be more pleasing. The question is, will I get this finished by Veteran's Day?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

So, What's With the Name?

I have other blogs, but decided to start one just for quilting.

You may ask, "What is with the name? Where did you come up with QUILT GATEWAY?"

I am a member of Gateway Quilters' Guild in Merced, California. I merely turned a couple of words around and --  wallah! -- Quilt Gateway.

"Gateway" in Merced's guild name comes from Merced being known as the "Gateway to Yosemite." However, as I learn more about the craft and art of quilting, I hope this blog proves to be a gateway of sharing.
"Rock Star" -- Made for one of my sons.