Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Houses are blocked

Can we say 'y a y'!  My school houses or houses are now blocks and I'm so glad that they are done .... and they look awesome!!!!!  These photos just don't do the colours and the blocks any justice at all.

Now, I'm in the process of sewing on sashings (see bottom 2 rows).  Wanting something subtle, the sky fabric was chosen and I do think it will work nicely.
Once the sashings are done, then the outer borders can get put on.

I have been getting requests where this pattern can be purchased.  You can't .... you have to make your own.  There is a tutorial on how to draft your own house block by going here.

Yep, I'm doing the happy dance!!!!

I'm trying my best to stay away from starting new projects.   My stack of UFO boxes is slowly starting to dwindle and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (mind you, it is only a flicker).  There is way too much temptation out there in blogland and I have to keep reminding myself to say 'no' and be content to just work on my UFO's ..... for now.  :o)

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

DIY Quilt Ladder

Lately, I've noticed that my quilt ladder has been pinned onto Pinterest quite a lot and I have had some requests on how my DH made mine.  I thought I had given instructions, but apparently not.  So, here goes ...

Quilt Ladder instructions
This ladder will hold 5+ quilts.  Make it sturdy.
Lumber:  For the sides, you will need two 7’ long x 2-1/2” wide x ¾” thick – we used pine.  Our ceilings are higher, so I used the whole 7’ length of wood.  (If you are going to have a shorter length ladder, you will have to made adjustments to the spacing of the dowels.)
Dowels:  5 pieces x 1” diameter - cut them down to 36-1/2" (or whatever width you want your quilt ladder to be).  Quilts are heavy and overtime they will bow the dowels if you purchase a smaller diameter size.
You will need an electric drill with a 1” bit to drill holes in the lumber to slide the dowels into.
Find the middle of your lumber pieces (1-1/4" in from one side) and measure from the top down 11" and drill out 5 holes spaced evenly (mine are spaced out 15" from the bottom of each hole that was drilled to the top of the next hole).  The last rung measures approx. 23" from the floor.
Width wide, my dowels measure: 30” in the middle and 2-1/2” on the outsides, plus 3/4" twice where they go through the lumber = 36-1/2".

You may have to drill out a bit more of the wood so that your dowel can fit into and through the hole.  You don’t want a big space because then you will need a lot of glue/primer to hold your dowel securely in place.  Drill once and check to see if your dowel slides through the holes and make adjustments.
The top of the ladder will be rounded (DH used a jig saw on our ladder to round), sand the rough edges.  You don't have to do this step if you don't want to.

At the top (after ladder is painted), where the ladder will lean into the wall (see arrow above), place some felt chair tabs so that the felt tabs will be against the wall and not the painted wood. On my wall, when I moved the ladder, a bit of paint came away where the ladder had leaned.
With a hand saw or jig saw, cut the bottom of the ladder on an angle to sit on the floor – sand the rough edges.  The angle cut will depend on how far you want your ladder to sit away from your wall at the bottom.  Because I had a big basket on the floor just behind my ladder, my angle cut is greater and my ladder sits further away from the wall at the bottom on the floor.  DH can't remember what angle he cut ours .... you will have to play around with it yourself.
I used primer to act as glue to hold the dowels in place (or you can glue them in place). Why go and buy some carpenter's glue when primer will do the job (that is, if you will be painting your ladder)?  Give a coat of primer, first in the grooves where the dowels sit, slide your dowels into place on both of the vertical pieces of lumber.  Measure the 2-1/2" that stick out on the two sides and make any adjustments with your dowels to ensure they are even.  Measure and measure again.  After the first coat of primer is dried, put more primer around where the dowels sit in the holes and then prime the rest of the ladder. 

When we assembled our ladder, all the dowels on one side were put in place and then they were slid into the other side.  This was where I measured and adjusted and measured and adjusted again and again and again.  I can't stress the importance of measuring because if the inside is not even throughout, your ladder will not be straight.
I gave another coat of primer for the whole ladder and then 2 coats of latex enamel paint.
After the one coat of enamel paint, check the dowels to make sure they are smooth.  Any rough areas, sand them smooth, wipe the dust off and then give another coat of paint.
For your quilts, you do not want to put them on the dowels on top of any area that is rough as those areas will actually harm your quilts after time.  You know, friction can do damage.

Note:  for those that want to stain their ladder, then use glue that will dry clear to hold dowels in place.

So, now you all know how we did our quilt ladder.  It gets used all the time and it is so easy to switch quilts around.  It has been 3 years since we made the ladder with one major move and the ladder is still holding strong.

I wanted my ladder to look rustic and cottagey .... and my wish came true.

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

School houses

It is so good to read on other blogs about quilters and their UFO's and how so many are tackling that problem.  Not wanting to be left behind .... me too, I'm digging into my UFO's.

This time around, it is my school houses.  Up on my design wall went my three blocks that were made so long ago.  All of the sampler blocks (they are in the bottom right hand corner of each house) have been made, but nothing else. 

 After re-acquainting myself with the templates and pieces, another two blocks got made.
My original idea was to go with just one navy blue fabric for the houses, but I didn't have enough of just one fabric.  So, another three navy blue fabrics were found and lo and behold, another four blocks got made:
All my pieces have now been cut out just waiting to be assembled.  To keep me motivated, my 'window' sections get done first and then the roof and chimneys.  This is the layout for my sampler blocks and fabric colours.  Can you see my window sections on the bottom row?  
Today, another four blocks got made in the top, second and bottom rows:
Not bad for one week of work!  I already know what the borders are going to be like, so I will keep plugging away on this project.  The going has been a bit tricky, especially doing the roof sections and I will be so glad to see the end of all those pieces.  Please, give me hand piecing any time!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Just a few hours ....

... is all it took to get borders onto my Pressed Flowers top.

This photo shows the inner border:

Now that the outer border is on, I can get busy and add applique to it.  This is a large queen size top (99" x 99") and I needed my step ladder to pin it onto my design wall.  DH took my other step ladder away and gave me this one instead.  He was afraid of me falling off the green one (as seen in previous post), but this one has something for me to hold onto as I'm pinning things onto my design wall.
Below, you can see the fabrics for the inner and outer borders:
Miss Hank just had to get in on the action.  She was sitting on the stairs leading to an upper level, but as soon as she saw DH and I laying the top out to measure for the borders, she came running to help us.  She is doing OK, but her kidneys have been damaged and we will have to watch her carefully.  In the spring, we will be removing all lily plants in the backyard.  That was a hard-learned lesson. 
I am on a mission to get more tops done.  Darn those borders!  On the bright side, I have become a pro at getting them on fairly quickly!  :o)

Have a great day!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Playing around with borders

While working away on my Ozard Cobble Stone project (only 4 more rows to be sewn together), the time has come to think about borders for this top.

So, here we go ....

Wanting to do something different with the borders, my EQ7 software came to the rescue.  I found this pattern for the borders and kept playing around with it.

I decided to work with just 3 pieces of the pattern and am happy with the look.  Finding the poison green for the border was my lucky day.  Should have bought more!  Darn!
After adding some more of the pieces to the border, oh yes, I love this.
But wait ... what about adding some circles in the space between each group?  Oh YES ... THIS WORKS!
Guess what I will be doing for the next month or so!  :o)

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tops, Take 2

I always find it amazing, after all the festivities are done and a new year started, that my mojo returns full force.  So, here are two projects that got to the top stage. 

First up, is my Angles and Squares.  All that was needed was the final navy blue border.  I just love this layout and those stars!  :o) 
Then, this top got finished from an old UFO project.  It didn't start out like this, but in the end I did not like the way the project was progressing .... so it got shelved for many years.  I so want to do something .... well, anything with my UFO's, so my original idea got dumped and the fabric squares just got pinned onto my design wall and switched around and around until .... viola .... this was the outcome.  Nothing original, but that is one UFO off the shelf and a finished top is now ready for some machine quilting.
Have any of you noticed that I seem to like red and navy blue borders?  This was a surprise to me when I was pinning this second top onto my design wall to take a photo and noticed those colours again for the borders.

So, that is two tops done so far for 2013.  I wonder how many more will get done as the months roll by? 

Now, if only those tops got actually finished .... well that would be just perfect!

There was another photo that I did want to add to this post, but was having a hard time to upload. Apparently, other bloggers have been having a hard time to upload photos as well. Go here and read this post about how to get around this problem. I will have to go back and figure out how these two photos got added and try again another day.

Have a great day!