Wanda Gene's Musings on Life, Love and Loving the Quilting Life!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Windows by the Hundreds is My New Quilt


This is Windows by the Hundreds, although you cannot see the whole quilt.  It is 81.5" by 96.5" and 10 blocks by 12 blocks.  Does it look a little  complicated to piece?  It's NOT!....not even a little bit!

This is my original design, at least I hope it is.  I did design this quilt all by myself, but I make no guarantees that someone, somewhere has not done something similar.  (Did you hear the one about the new quilter who proudly told her friends that she made her own original block?  Turns out it was a 9-patch.)

This quilt is so easy because it is made up of 2 blocks that alternate.  In Block A, on top, the two burgundy fabric strips are oriented vertically.  In Block B, below, the three burgundy fabric strips are oriented horizontally.  Both blocks are 7.5" finished.

For the burgundy strips, cut 300 - 2" x 8" strips.  That takes about 3 1/2 yards.  It looks nice if the border is burgundy also.  That's another yard.  I am allowing some extra  for shrinkage and boo-boo's.  I cut out the borders first, the long way so they did not have to be pieced.  I made made them a little longer than was needed, about 95" x 3 1/4" to allow for contingencies (a fancy word for more boo-boos!)  Then I cut my 2" strips out of the remaining fabric.

If you use your scraps for the 2" squares, it would require the equivalent of 3 1/2 yards in assorted scraps.  I hope you use your scraps, because I think they make the most fun and interesting quilts!

The pieced strips are made up of five 2" squares, starting with a dark square, adding a light neutral square, and alternating until you have five.  The pieced strips should measure 8" by 2".  They need to be accurate because they are going to be sewn to burgundy (or whatever color you choose) strips that are also 8" x 2."

If you aren't getting your pieced strips to be 8" by 2," then adjust your seam allowance or check that you are cutting accurately.

For the size of my quilt, I made 60 of Block A and 60 of Block B.

Now you have your 120 blocks and they must be assembled into rows.  You need to know that half of the rows start with an A Block and half start with a B Block.  You can call them A rows and B rows and they alternate.  If you have used lots of different scraps so far then it really does not matter which A Block goes next to a B Block.  You can make two piles of blocks and just randomly piece them as long as they....drum-roll....alternate!

When you get the body of your quilt pieced (10 blocks across by 12 blocks down), press it all very carefully to get the true size of it.  Place two border strips together and then place them down the ***CENTER*** of the quilt body vertically.  If you trim the borders to fit the center, your borders will fit and your quilt will be square.  After sewing on the right and left borders and pressing them, then do the same process with your top and bottom borders.  The only difference is that the top and bottom borders must go across the center and cover the two side borders. Trim and sew.

I made a scrappy back for Windows by the Hundreds that incorporates a few extra blocks that I had.

Quilt, bind and label and you're ready for show 'n tell with your quilting friends!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Now I'm Momma to Two Dogs! (For a Time, Anyway)

Well, the bad news first....but not real bad news...just that I had a relapse of strep throat after being sick all through April and then getting my strength back in the last couple of weeks.  Then I got that humongously sore throat back and the doc said another ten days of even stronger strep killer.  This time I have not been sick enough to stay in bed all day, but I have been taking a little nap in the afternoon just to assure my body that I really am taking good care of it.

I have been puppy-sitting with a really nice dog, Teddy, who belongs to my son Jeff and Family.  They are on vacation in the Pacific Northwest for two weeks. 

Look at those cute faces!  Teddy, on the left, is a Chow-Lab mix, I think.  My Ondie, on the right, is a German Shepherd Dog.  These dogs are just BFF's!!!!  It has been a joy to have Teddy here to play with Ondie and run all over the yard with him.  But, I'll tell you, it is about 100 x's harder to get a good photo of two dogs together, than just one alone.

The German Shepherd alone is especially easy to photograph because these dogs are natural hams and like to pose for the camera.  I don't know much they understand about this, but I learned over many years that it is IMPOSSIBLE to overestimate the intelligence of a German Shepherd.

We are doing some fixing-up in our kitchen, which lately has been a new range top and exhaust hood for me.  My very talented  and hard-working DH did all the work and has now moved on to installing some pull-out drawers for the cabinets.


He took some time out the other day to make a playhouse for the little grandsons out of the big box that the range hood came in.

He said, "You know, this is going to be very wonky and the duct tape is not pretty."  I said that I loved it anyway and that the little ones are all boys..... what will they care about duct tape?   I told him that it reminded me of some wonky house blocks that I've made.

What do you think?

See any resemblance?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Today I Am Tackling my Disorganized Batty Scraps!


I know.  It is really batting scraps that is the subject of this post.  I must have made a Freudian slip when I typed that.  And then, just because I felt like it and it does sort of fit how I'm feeling, I left it that way.

I decided to finally do something about the boxes in my closet labeled "Batting Scraps".

Does any one else have boxes like of those?   You know who you are.  If you are into using all your scrappy fabric like me, you know that you are not going to throw away perfectly good batting that you paid a lot of money for, just because it is in a lot small to medium pieces.

But how do you use it?

Well, I needed a batting for a full size quilt (about 80x92).  And I pieced it.  Went just fine.  I used a loose whip stitch and pieced it by hand.  You could also piece it by machine if you prefer using a really long and wide zigzag.  If your pieces really aren't straight, you can overlap them an inch or two, then cut down the center of the overlap.  Remove the trimmed edges, and, Voila!....your edges are a perfect match.

One thing that I kept in mind is to only piece together batting scraps of the same manufacturer and type.  Don't mix up battings that don't go together.  And throw away anything that you just cannot imagine ever using.

Okay, some batting used up.  Then I tackled the remaining pieces.  There were still lots of them.
I wanted to make it easier and more user-friendly to actually keep on using them up.  So I measured the pieces and labeled them so I could just grab the right size batting for the next small quilts that I make.  Same goes for long pieces of usable width that are a candidates for piecing into a big batt.

Do you see how I stuck the pin in the label the opposite way that we usually do.  This is so that no pins stick into another piece of batting and tear a hole in it.

I am so looking forward to using up more of my now measured and organized batting pieces!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gadget Tuesday

Hi Ya,

Several gadgets that I have been enjoying lately have been on my mind and I thought I would share them with you.  Oddly, only one of them has anything to do with quilting, but all are fun! 

I will start with the most unusual and finish with the funniest.

My new watering can!

I have been working on my spring garden and it is the biggest one I have ever had!  I expect to have somewhere in the neighborhood  of 50-60 tomato, chile and tomatillo plants.  Since I like to start them from seed, this is proving to be very useful.

The winner in the most unusual category is this long-necked watering can/spray bottle combo that I bedazzled me in Lowe's Home Improvement for just under $10.  At the top of the handle is an opening that can be used for filling without taking the sprayer off.   Yes, I could not live without it.

Moving on, the winner of the most utilitarian award is this:

This is a lint remover that I bought at WalMart in the ironing board and accessories aisle.  It cost maybe about $5, maybe a little less.  I use it for removing loose threads from quilts that I'm working on.  I like to remove them as I go along, a few at a time.  You know how your dog or cat has fur that grows one way and not the other?  Well, this has bristles that slant one way.  You pick up the threads by moving this tool against the grain and then you run it with the grain on your palm and the threads end up in your palm.  Oh,  and it's the same on both sides.  Is that not both simple and clever?

Ready for a funny one?

Woo-hoo... how about chopsticks with TRAINING WHEELS!!   These cost 99 cents at (where else) the 99 Cent Store. 

Well, what gadgets have found a place in your heart and home lately?