Saturday, January 26, 2013

Finished my Easy Street Quilt Top

I just finished the Bonnie Hunter mystery called Easy Street.  I changed mine to Tropical Punch because the colors did not shout "Easy Street" to me.  I picked Tropical Punch because I could see all the oranges and key limes and grapefruit in my colors.  I used Bonnie's colors except for her gray, which I changed to an orange/yellow print.  Gray would have receded while the orange/yellow pops.  It took me a while to choose my borders.  I was going to make more orange/yellow four patches to set on point in the border but my husband didn't like that idea.  I wanted to make it bigger to fit my king size bed.  So I finally settld on a narrow purple border, a wider orange/yellow border, and then a piano key border using all the purple, turquoise, and green colors randomly sewn on.  The quilt top is now 104" square and looks beautiful on my bed.  It is hard to take pictures of a quilt on my bed because it is a platform bed with a tall headboard and footboard and has drawers and space under the mattress, so I have to tuck in my quilts.  I doubt I will get a better picture until it is quilted.  I still have to choose batting and backing.  I am thinking about using one of the white with black background prints for the backing.  I hope to find something terrific this week for it. 

Cornerstones carry the orange out to the edge

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have noticed on a lot of blogs lately that people are making their own laundry detergent and other stuff, sometimes to avoid having ingredients they don't want, like scent or something they are allergic to.  I have ignored most of all that because store bought detergent suits me fine.  Besides, I have an HE washer and I was unsure about whether I needed to buy the HE detergent.  Most of the recipes involve a bar of Fels Naptha soap, either chopped in a blender or hand grated.  Well, I am not going to grate anything by hand, I don't like getting my blood in stuff.  And I am not using my blender for soap either.  I don't know if you could ever use it for food again after that.  Then I saw a recipe that uses Dawn dishwashing liquid instead.  That sounded better to me.  Then they said that store bought detergent costs about 76 cents a load to use, and this new recipe costs about 4 cents a load.  Man, that got my attention!  I wash Richard's work clothes and all Adam's clothes and that means lots of loads every week.  Anyway, yesterday I made up a jug of laundry detergent and have now washed two loads with it, one jeans and Richard's work clothes and one of whites, towels and underwear.  The clothes were all perfectly clean and everything smelled just fine.  They say you can use different flavors of Dawn to get different smells in the clothes.  I use regular blue Dawn because I like that one the best.  The clothes had a barely there, fresh and clean scent.  This is the recipe I used:

3 tablespoons borax
3 tablespoons washing powder
2 tablespoons Dawn dishwashing liquid

Place the borax and washing powder (not baking powder) in a clean one-gallon jug.  Add the Dawn.  Add 4 cups of boiling water.  Swirl the mixture around and let it mix thoroughly.  I waited a while, then added cold water almost to the top of the jug.  Use 1/2 to 1 cup per load.  I found all these ingredients at WalMart.

Now here's the warning:  don't use a plastic milk jug.  The plastic is too thin and the boiling water is too much for it.  It worked - but next time I will use something else.  Also, I thought I would put the lid on in order to shake it up good.  WRONG!  The jug swelled up to the size of a basketball!  I just left the lid off and let the mixture cool down for a while before I added the cold water.  Bubble come out the top of the jug but I ignored them and poured the water in.  I thought I could put it in a big jug of detergent I bought at Sam's Club but I think the mixture is too thin and will leak out the dispenser.  I think I will look for a gallon jug and keep it just to hold my detergent.

Let me know if this works for you.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Valentine's Day Quilt

I have another finish!  I made this Valentine's Day quilt and will teach it at work in early February.  It is really an easy project start to finish.  I used 5" squares in red and scrappy light colors.  You can't see the quilting in the photo but I free motioned the heart and crosshatched the background.  It was a lot of fun to make, and I think people will want to take the class.  I love to finish something!  Now I guess I'll start on my piano key border for my Tropical Punch quilt.  I have decided to cut 2" X 6" rectangles of purple, turquoise and green and place them randomly.  There will be pictures when I get it done.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Two Borders Added to Tropical Punch, One More to Come

After much thought over borders for this quilt I finally decided to make plain borders, since the quilt is so complex.  I added a narrow stop border in one of the purples and then a yellow/orange border, the same fabric I used in the four-patches.  Now what do I do?  The quilt is 95" square, almost a king but not quite king-size.  I have in mind a piano-key border using the three main colors in the quilt, green, purple, and turquoise.  I am thinking of cutting each piece 2" X 6" and placing them randomly.  I think I will also add a yellow/orange square in each corner.  The binding will be purple, I think.  I am very pleased with this quilt, although I don't think I will ever do another.  I don't really enjoy setting blocks on point so I don't do that often.  Now, what do I do for backing?  Vonda Cochran will be quilting it for me on her longarm and I'll let her choose how she wants to quilt it.  As complex as this quilt is probably some simple quilting will be best.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

First Finish of 2013!

I started this quilt at the retreat last February.  I am tickled pink to have finished before the retreat this February!  I came up with this look while experimenting with my 3D bowtie blocks.  I quilted around the white squares only and that seemed to be enough.  At least it is quilted and bound and finished!  I call this one Blue 3D Bowtie Quilt.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Easy Street (my Tropical Punch) Top Put Together

Well, I got all the pieces put together, laid it out on the bed, and saw five blocks turned the wrong way.  This picture shows it nearly finished.  I have put it away for a few days.  I spent so much time on it the past few weeks that I have neglected many other things that really need doing.  I don't like fixing the tops nearly as much as I do making them, but I will get back to it very soon.  Someone on quiltvillechat has posted that there are 2377 pieces in this quilt, and I believe that!  I am letting the ideas for borders stew in my brain for a while.  Others are posting their ideas and I am watching and waiting.  I want to make mine big enough for my king-size bed.  As you can see in the picture, it hangs over the edges a couple of inches or so, but my bed is high and has drawers underneath so I need a quilt that will tuck under the mattress.  I like the idea of making more fourpatches and placing them on point in the border.  Maybe a narrow green border, the fourpatches, and then a wider turquoise border.  I'll let it percolate then decide what to do.
Meanwhile, Pat is home from Cleveland Clinic!  She has been in the hospital here or in Cleveland for a couple of months or so, and I am very happy she is home!  On the downside, they say there are two percent of the people that they can't find the cause of their illness, and Pat is one of them.  Here's hoping she feels better fast!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tropical Punch!

I changed the name of my Easy Street quilt, the new mystery by Bonnie Hunter, my favorite quilt designer.  My quilt screams tropical to me, so now I am calling it Tropical Punch.  The green looks like key lime, the yellow/orange makes me think of pineapple.  Even the touches of purple and turquoise make me think of beaches and shells and all the vivid colors of the tropics.  Also, Easy Street may not be the best name for this quilt design because I didn't think it was really so easy.  There are lots of small pieces and lots and lots of sewing!  It seems like every quilt by Bonnie Hunter that I make is my favorite at the time, and this one is no exception.  I do think I will make it again in other colors.  Someone else did it in pastels and showed a picture on her blog and I loved her version.  I have six blocks still to make and then I have to decide on borders.  I am thinking of making more yellow/orange and black-on-white fourpatches and putting them on point all the way around the quilt.  It is nearly king-size so a few borders will make it fit my bed.  There is no reason for me to make queen-size quilts because none of us in the family has a bed that size.  I usually make quilts as designed but I end up with quilts too small.  I hope to finish these blocks tomorrow.  I tried to upload a picture but this blog is not letting me do so.  Maybe once I get it finished I can show a picture.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Webbing Each Block

Bonnie Hunter released the final clue of her mystery quilt Easy Street yesterday and I jumped right in putting the blocks together.  I was telling my friend Debbie that I was "webbing" each block and I'm not sure she understood what I meant so I took pictures while making this block.  The first picture shows the components all laid out where they will go.  The second picture shows them sewn together in rows.  Each piece is connected with thread to the others.  I press one row up and the next down and so on.  Then I just fold each row against the one beside it and sew.  I press each row according to the block it will go beside, so that the seams will nest.   

I have now sewn an entire row from the top left corner to the bottom right corner.  I add each new block to the others as soon as I get it made.  I am afraid that if I made all of one block and all of the other that I will get mixed up.  This way I think I can keep myself straight.  When I get the next row made it will be added too.  It is also great to see it coming together so quickly.  It was too long to get the whole thing in the picture so I show it on my bed (snicker at my ugly blanket if you want to - it is very warm) and on the floor in the living room.  It is hard taking a picture of a quilt in this house because there is hardly room to show it.

I have set my Wild Child quilt aside until I get Easy Street together.  I am going to have my friend who owns a longarm to quilt Easy Street for me but I am intending to quilt Wild Child myself.  I thought I would make three rows and a middle section of four rows and the bottom section of three rows and quilt each part and then put each section together afterwards.  I have quilted many small quilts but never one this size.  If I don't enjoy putting it together then I won't do it again.  I actually have the top section and half of the middle section made.  I still have quite a few blocks to put together for this quilt.