Monday, June 22, 2009

New Year's Mystery Quilt

I made my first mystery quilt in the early days of the new year. This mystery was designed by Ann Smith over at the Yahoo group Fabricaholicsanonymous. It was a fun project to make. The blocks could be arranged in a variety of patterns. After playing with several different settings, I decided on this one. I really like it!
To add to the fun of this project, I took it along to my sister's house a couple of weeks ago and had my first experience of using her longarm quilting system. I quilted the entire 76"X76" quilt in about 3 hours using a meandering pattern. It sure was a lot of fun and very rewarding to finish in such a short period of time. I love doing the piecing for quilts, but am less enthusiastic about the quilting of them. Quilting a large quilt on my shortarm Elna is arduous for me.
Today I will finish sewing on the binding and the quilt will be ready to give to my mother-in-law for her 93rd birthday in August.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Quilted Purse

This morning I went to the quilt discussion group meeting at our local public library. It was an enjoyable time. Everyone brought something to show and talk about - either a work in progress or a completed project or a favorite quilt book.
One of the ladies had a quilted purse that I admired. I knew that I had a purse pattern which I bought about a month ago and hadn't started, yet.
Our discussions also included talk about invisible thread. Since I have never used it in a machine quilting project, I decided to try it this afternoon on a quilted purse.
Here is a picture of one of the purse panels that I quilted onto cotton batting. I really like the quilted effect that is given by the invisible thread without the thread showing. Since there is a variation of dark, medium and light fabric, the invisible thread was perfect for this project.
I have probably already mentioned on this blog that I do not have a digital camera, so I often use my scanner to take pictures of sections of my projects. One of these days, I'll get a digital camera so I can take proper pics of works in progress.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Jacob's Train Quilt

Back in December our son and daughter-in-law told us to expect a new grandson in early May. I immediately found this Fons and Porter quilt pattern and ordered the kit. In January, I received an email message saying the kit was back-ordered. In February, March, and April, I received the same message. I was getting frustrated with waiting, but I really wanted those fabrics for this quilt. Well, on the night that my daughter-in-law went into the hospital to deliver Jacob, I received the email message saying that the kit had been sent. While I would have liked to have finished the quilt before Jacob's birth, I did finish it in time for his baptism. Tracy thought it was worth waiting for, since it came out so beautiful.

I really am pleased with the final result. I have enough leftover fabric to almost make another one. I think all I'll need to get is fabric for the background panels. Maybe I'll make another one and donate it to our church dinner auction.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Tea Dye Fabric

I've been collecting 100% cotton shirts to make some scrap quilts ala Bonnie Hunter. I find that many of the white shirts are just too white, so I've been reading about tea dying and decided to give it a try. I dyed 3 shirts by letting each one rest in the tea for a different amount of time. You can see the results in the picture to the left. The shirt that I left in the tea for 3 hours turned out a dark tan. The middle fabric was in the tea for about a half hour, and it is a nice off white. The 3rd shirt was in the tea for about an hour, and it is a nice light tan. I am very happy with the results of my first experience with tea dying.

To make the dye, I boiled 2 quarts of water and put in 10 tea bags. I put one of the shirts in a dish pan and poured the hot tea solution, including the tea bags, over the shirt. I added a bit more water to make enough solution to completely cover the shirt. When the water cooled, I gently massaged the fabric to be sure that the solution was completely saturating the fabric. Then I just left the fabric in the solution until I liked the color.
When all three shirts were dyed, I put them in my washing machine and ran a small warm cycle to wash out any excess tea dye. Then I dried them in my electric clothes dryer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

5K Training

When I was in my 30's, I was an avid runner. I faithfully ran every other day for about 8 years. In order to keep myself motivated, I kept a mileage journal. I found that I was running about 2000 miles a year. No wonder I kept wearing out my running shoes!
Then in the spring of 1989, I slipped on some ice and injured my back. This injury kept me out of commission for about 2 months. After my back healed, I simply couldn't get motivated to get back into my running routine. I tried off and on, but just wasn't consistent.
Last year I found myself becoming quite overweight, so I made up my mind to do something about it. I started by changing my eating habits. I cut out the between meal snacks and started eating half portions of my meals. At the gym I began working out much harder. I started pushing myself to increase my strength and endurance. Slowly the weight came off - about a pound a week. By the first of January, I had lost 35 lbs.
My goal for this year was to get back into shape so that I could run the Popeye 5K in September. At age 60 this is not so easily done. I've been running on the treadmill, and about once a week, I run through the neighborhood about 3 miles. My endurance has increased, but my speed is still not so good. Currently I can run 3 miles in about 34 minutes. My goal is to run the Popeye race in about 30 minutes. At this point I don't know if that is possible, but it remains as my goal.