Friday, August 22, 2014

Small topper for Fall

  I don't know how the heat is where you live, but it is awful here.  Right now the heat index is 108 degrees.....that means the humidity is very high.  Too hot to get outside for photos, which I need to do.  High humidity equals foggy lens equals bad photos.  Maybe tomorrow......

   Instead I finished up a small project.  I made 3 acorn blocks for guild for next month.  Since I had fabric out, I  cut the pieces out to do one for me.     Then I added a couple more acorns, and a couple of leaves.....and corners, too!
  Perfect colors for Sir Old Man's new table!
  The corners are just a folded  4 inch square.  Once attached, I turned  back the folded diagonal edge and stitched it in place to create a curve.  Nothing like a little  satisfaction from  a quick finish project.

   I have a flimsy now of the scrappy is so heavy with all those seams.  I am glad I decided to stop and not add another row.  Photo to come next week...
   We decided to switch our travel plans and head to Michigan in about 10 days......the daughter asked for Dad's help in painting.  Giggle, giggle.....more projects!   Wonder what she has in store for me?   Have a  happy weekend....happy stitching.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The latest from the Woodworker's shop

   Time for a little show and tell from the woodworker, Sir Old Man.  This was the "practice project" he began to learn the techniques required for the new bed.
Hold to to your pins and needles.....this is good!

   This is made of  quarter sawn  white oak---expensive and harder to get---and curly maple for the drawer inside.    Once the pieces were cut and fitted, Sir Old Man built a fuming tent.  All the pieces were fumed with ammonia to give them the aged look he wanted.  The light stripe area, which is sap wood,  did not darken.....he was a little disappointed about this at first.   

   From the side you can see more sap wood that was used for the spindles.  The spindles are not glued in.  He used/learned the mortise and tendon technique for them.  Note the slightly taper took  a while to figure that part out and then to make a "jig" to get just the right cut.

   The drawer......he found a special knob that he liked.  And now there is a spot for the remote control devices!  But there is more.....

   He added a secret compartment to the drawer.  He thought I could not/would not be able to discover the latch.  Aha!  Found it.   

   The sides of the drawer are curly maple.  And check out those dove tails.  Aren't they beautiful?   The little details bespeak his attention to detail and perfection.  So why does he put up with me, I wonder.

   The drawer face is another little detail he worked hard on. He wanted the grain lines to match the drawer front and the stretcher piece underneath it had to be cut from the same board.  He got it perfect, I think.  
   The finished top is really that reflective.  It feels smooth as glass.   He spent at least a week  on the hand rubbed finish with a special concoction/recipe from one of the master woodworker's at his guild.  

   So I say practice is over,Sir Old Man,  time to get to the real stuff!!  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Doll Quilt Time

Once again, it's doll quilt time.  The packages/boxes are rolling in as September quickly nears.  In September, the toy maker elves begin sorting and organizing their deliveries of toys, including the doll quilts.  I sometimes think I have run out of descriptive words and words of praise for these darling quilts.... so bear with me.

Did I say bear?  Yep,  bears!  Dancing bears on purple.....just adorable.  Rainbow is a member of the HGTV Message Board and she is Mrs. Claus in Arkansas.    Rainbow included her state on the label on the back. 
From Wiley also of the HGTV Message Board comes three doll quilts.  This year Wiley chose to represent South Carolina, Delaware, and Rhode Island.
Thank you, Wiley, for being a faithful participant and Mrs. Claus.

Mrs. Claus of Texas sent 3 bright quilts this year.  Jill, aka Will Quilt for Chocolate, is a member of the HGTV Message Board, too.  She is in the middle of moving and still found time to add these to our collection this year.  I love the bright modern fabrics she used.

Mary Ann, aka Handie Ann, is Mrs. Claus of Washington. She sent a box full of cute quilts.  This group includes a small braid it! She also  used decorative stitching for the quilting.....great idea.

  And 3 more from Handie Ann....a disappearing 9 patch, and that beautiful star pattern in green!  So perfectly tiny and delightful.
Thank you, Mrs. Claus, Mary Ann.

From Mrs. Claus of California, Sue, comes 4 little quilts.  Tractors and farm animals.....lots of fun to view.   But sometimes, Mrs. Claus has a little trick up her always, always need to check the back of each quilt.  

  When I was taking photos, I was gathering these up, and felt something on the back.  A quick peek, and I knew I needed another photo.   Sue added a little hexagon for a label on the back and.....a small lady bug embellishment.  Imagine the delight in a little girl's eye when she makes this discovery.   Very cute!

From Mrs. Claus in Michigan comes 2 very sweet little quilts.  TCMay is a member of the HGTV Message Board, too.  The rail fence quilt uses reproduction fabrics bound with dancing tea cup fabric.  And the HST quilt is bordered with bugs on lime green fabric.

  There are always interesting things to find on each little quilt, from the fabric, to the pattern, to the quilting, to the back.  Each creation offers something different....a feast for the eye, and a smile for the face.    Mrs. Claus has a special touch and a wonderful sense of humor.  Thank you all.
Happy stitching.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Stash busting

  I decided to start this next project as a "leader/ender" while I am finishing off the Scrappy Trips blocks.  Originally, I thought it would be my Let's Book It project for next I am jumping ahead I guess.
   I am sure you have seen or made this one.....published in McCall's Quilting in 2007 by the Gingham Girls.   I waded through my bin of pre-cuts and decided to make a few adjustments to their original pattern.

   I chose to use 5" squares with a 1 1/2" inset strip.  My unfinished square when trimmed is 5".  I am including sink method...on this one.  Rather than concentrate on color, I wanted to play around with value when adding the inset strips.  So some blocks with be high contrast and others will be less distinct with low contrast.
   I sliced the 5" squares from corner to corner on one diagonal.  Note I am working in batches of 4 or 5 at a time, so the bias edges don't grow to much and get away from me.  So as I am sewing the Scrappy Trips rows together, I pick up one triangle and add the inset strip to one side.   By the time I get a block together, I have at least 4 of these units ready to press.  

   Time to match up and add the second side.  I discovered by taking a couple of seconds to align the corners to match up  before I sewed that my block units stayed squared up.  Once pressed then the trimming was quick and easy.  I trimmed to 5" square.

   I got 5 more Scrappy Trip blocks done and a stack of about 20 of these done too.

  Then as I was reading blogs this morning, I saw that  Wanda at Exuberant Color was doing a different inset project.    She is working with color---of course---on her project.  Check it out as it will be beautiful as always.    Either style block is a great stash busting /de-stashing idea.  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Caught Up!

    So what was Sir Old Man's reaction when I showed him this quilt today?  An approving    A critical   He simply asked, "You are not giving this one away, are you?"   I think he likes it, and it will make a nice throw to cover those cute knees of his!

  You saw the vine that fills the light area.  I put feathers in the corner sections of the border, and then used swirls to fill in the other sections of the border.  A simple wavy line anchors the batik portion of the braid....that helps it to really pop.   Who says you have to use the same motif everywhere?  :)

    I really love this Faux Braid pattern. I used 20 blocks with a 5 inch border. The  finished size is 50" by 60".
 Click here for the tutorial that I did.
Click here for the original tutorial from Sharon at Vroomans Quilts.  
Once again, thank you, Sharon for sharing this.

   So I am caught up!   No stack of quilts to quilt, only one project on the design wall (see the photo), and I have working plans for the trunk show in the fall.   I have 20 blocks completed for the Scrappy Trips, and about 20 more cut.
    And plans in the works.......I am pulling out 5 inch squares and 1 1/2" strips.  Anything goes in and I am hoping to make a dent in the pre-cut bins on my shelf.   But we all know....those scraps/accumulations tend to multiply faster than we can sew.
Happy stitching.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Free Motion Stylized Vine Tutorial

  The Faux Braid pattern provides a nice area of light to feature free motion quilting motifs.  I have filled this area on other quilts with feathers, so I thought something a little more open would be different this time around.  
   I ran across a pin on Pinterest for open ended leaves.  They have a neater appearance because there is no over stitching.  It is really a small thing.....but that over stitching really does appear messy, and it gives a lot of my students the shakes!  They panic because they are unable to stitch exactly over the prior stitches.  Viola!  This idea will improve on that.
   So a little tutorial is called a response to Dana at Stormy  Days.


   So doodling a few leaves, lead to another and another, and a vine emerged, and then a curl or two.....I put together what I called a "stylized vine".  It has no drawn or actual stem, rather the leaves and curls flow along one to another to develop into an "implied" stem.  The eye just sort of fills in the gaps and you think it is a complete stem line.  

  This is a photo of part of the back side that shows the vine.  My leaves are about 3 inches long from the base to the tip. 

  This is easy once you get the leaf shape into muscle memory.  I did find a couple of things that you need to watch out for to avoid the cross over stitching.  
  Draw the leaf shape by beginning to the left to the tip, and back down to the base.  The vein goes up about half way and back down beyond the base.   This brings you to the center "stem area" and you now add a leaf to the opposite side.....only this time you begin the leaf to the right side and up to the tip, and back down to the base.  Add the vein and you are again in the center.     

   You will alternate sides as you add each leaf or curl as you build the vine.  I learn better from pictures and doing, so I drew off an example for you to see.  Some of my leaves are being lazy and lying down, and others are standing tall.....what kind of leaves do you draw?

For a PDF of the leaf and vine, click here.  I apologize for the upside down scan....I could not get it upright for some reason.  Just print it out and all should be fine!   
Final words.....practice drawing before you stitch. Then...happy stitching.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Vintage Friday

   Not mine, but DD's find!  She has been searching for an older machine that has a good straight stitch and that would sew through multiple layers of heavier fabrics like denim.  She was over the top when she ran across this older New Home---with the running greyhound logo---in almost like new condition.  It also does a zig-zag stitch, and we think it is from the early 1950's.  I believe it is a 3/4 size machine.  Hopefully, she will get a chance to stitch on it and give me a full report.
   I went to lunch yesterday with a friend, who is jumping back into quilting and having a lot of fun discovering our wonderful world.  Jennifer brought along a couple of vintage quilts to show me.  These belong to a friend who asked her to attach hanging sleeves to them.

  A wonderful/ delightful/greatly loved feedsack quilt is such a joy to see.   A quick photo of some of the fabrics.....dots, stripes, prints, flowers, birds....just the whole array of those wonderful vintage prints.
   Now look at the pattern the maker used.....just a larger square surrounded by a single row of logs.  Simple, yet so effective to use every bit and piece of fabric.  Looking closer I see the effect created by using high contrast in some blocks, and low contrast fabrics in others.  It gives the quilt movement, and lets the eye  dance around the quilt to find a resting spot.

   Number 2 vintage!  This is just one of those rare beauties.  Hand-quilted with the tiniest of stitches, and beautiful applique now faded to that delicious tomato soup color, finished off with the triangle border that has a scalloped edge.  I was in awe.  
   Both quilts have been greatly used, laundered, and loved.  The batting is almost non existent, the binding are frayed.  Some people might say "that old thing", yet as a quilt maker I see the lavish of time and love that went into both of these.  I appreciate the history they represent.....covering a bed on a cold winter night,  wrapping a sick child, used as a table cloth for a family picnic, or draped over chairs and becoming a boy's fort.    Used and loved.....that is why I quilt.

Back to the present and what I quilt.  This is the last Faux Braid done in batiks.   I am quilting a stylized vine of leaves through the diagonal areas along with some feathers in part of the border area.  I should be able to finish this up over the weekend.

Happy stitching.    
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