Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September is a wrap

   September felt very busy, but looking back I did not have finishes.   We were gone for the first couple of weeks, so......progress counts, doesn't it?

Two scrap projects underway are still in progress.    The scrappy project for Let's Book it from August has grown and looks so much better because of the extra variety of fabrics.  I assembled the completed blocks into 4 patches, using 2 dark paired with 2 light or medium blocks.   That will keep the values scattered and running on the diagonal line.  I probably need about 24 more blocks before putting this one together.

  A stack of 62 blocks for the Carolina Chain.  These are only 6" blocks, so I will need to keep on adding scraps to get the 120 blocks I think that I need.


  The small watercolor is off the wall, fused and under the needle.  I have had a very hard time locating gridded interfacing locally.....and on line the price has jumped dramatically.  So who needs those lines, anyway.  I purchased regular interfacing---lightweight---and drew a couple of reference lines on it myself.  Then just fused away.

 The blended Many Trips is pinned and ready to quilt....progress at least.   This will be my main focus for October....get this one finished as I want to use it in the trunk show in November.  And then there are all the quilts to pull out and get ready for that program.....and a class to teach.  So light plans, will give me time to breathe, relax, and plan.   Happy stitching.    

Monday, September 29, 2014

Quilt Show inspirations

  Sometimes Sir Old Man has a good idea.....yesterday, was one of those times.  He was insistent we go on to the quilt show in Asheville.  He knew I was tired of the gloomy weather and thought I needed a day away.  Or maybe he was afraid I would discover some chore that he needed to do.  Anyway, he was right...this time.
  It turned out to be a beautiful sunny day in the mountains.   And the Asheville show is always a good one.  I enjoy all the quilts, but look for those of original design or ones with that special twist that appeals to me.
This quilt caught both of our eyes....colorful and full of scraps.  The center section is filled with slabs and blocks of crumbs and string pieces. A black strip separates the borders made in colorways.  I liked the fun of it.

  This was a very large traditional basket quilt done in bright colorful fabrics.  The border set it off so nicely.....large log cabin blocks set on point.   And beautiful feather  quilting  in all the light areas.


   This was my favorite in the show.  A Trip Around the World with applique was made as a wedding quilt.

  This small wall hanging was so lovely.  I liked the offset border with the leaves flowing into it.  The pieced  background for the flowers was heavily quilted and had a wonderful texture.

 I love poppies.....and this one was striking.  I liked the unusual shape for the border too.  The quilting was beautiful.  And thread painted accents finished off the flowers.

  This pictorial quilt was outstanding.    The detail from the thread painting was fabulous too......legs, and  arms.
But the background was just fabulous.  She used tiny....I mean tiny...pieces fused to create the background.  See the detail shot below.

  And one wonderful floral colorwash quilt!  I found inspiration for a future project.   The block used is a quarter log cabin block....easy and fun to do.   The trellis is formed by the last 2 sides of the block......no sashing strips needed.

         After viewing the quilts, we shared a lunch outside and meet some local quilters.  And then I dropped the bombshell....could we stay for the last demo?   The last demo of the day was worth the ride....it was a short talk and viewing of small quilts made by Patsy Thompson.  She was showing some hyper-quilting.  She and her husband are dividing their time between NC and Ohio, it seems.  Her latest quilt took Best of Show for Machine work.

 It combines applique, machine embroidery, and of course her hyper-quilting designs.  

   And yes, I stayed to grab a couple of minutes to talk with her.  I got to thank her for all her inspiration and generous sharing of designs.  Nothing like meeting a mentor that has inspired you!
   A little shopping at the room full of vendors and we called it a day.  Thanks, Sir Old Man, for a great day.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Windows or wings?

    This one was just for fun, to use up some fabric, and stimulate a bit of creativity.   I am not sure if I see windows or wings.....and it will need a border when sewn.    I will get it fused to interfacing next, and then sew up my rows. I see a spot or two to tweak and then I will fuse.

And before any one asks.....no pattern for this.  But I did convert the photo to black and white for you.  Click on the photo to enlarge and print....or save to your computer for later.  It will give you a guide for the fabric value for blending  to create a graphic design like this.

 As for using fabric up.....that did not really happen because a soft squishy package arrived in the mail.   Floral fabrics ordered from Exuberant Color were delivered and I foresee projects in the future.   That is after  I get one quilted and another one sewn.  It will give me time to make some plans for these lovelies.
Happy stitching.   

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Treasure journals

  About 7 years ago, I won a Quilter's Journal as a door prize at a local quilt show.  At first I thought I would never use it, but I have.  It is about half filled with ideas for quilts I wanted to make,  pictures torn from magazines that I found inspiration in, and lots of quilting motifs I wanted to try.  I also clip in handy info that I use often, like measurements for tote bags and things I found on blogs and printed off.
   Then 2 years ago, Sir Old Man bought me another journal made of totally re-cycled paper.  The cover is made from a Scrabble game board and the pages are office letterhead stock that was never used.  I decided to fill it with free motion  quilting motifs as I accomplished them.  It is not a sketchbook, but rather a reference diary that is easy to refer to when I am looking for a design to stitch.

  The sewing room was re-organized when Hot Legs arrived, and I went thru a big clean out and ended up with a  stack of "items" that I just did not want to toss, yet what to do with them.  I had paper gift tags from all the items my daughter had knitted for me, bookmarks, napkins, cards, and such.  That kind of stuff.....that for some reason I needed to hang onto.  I had them stuffed into a folder.  So journal number 3 was born.  I glued items into a smaller journal, made  pockets of the notecards and glued them in.  They are great to hold the bookmarks, and items I might use someday!  I recently discovered this is called a "junk journal".   Maybe so, I think it is a treasure journal of tokens I find inspiration in.

  The treasure/junk journal is the small one in the left corner.  I used a bit of thread painting when I made the cover.  And I have had to add a cord to wrap around it as a closure.
  Anyway, I treasure all three because they hold a wealth of past experiences, and inspiration for the future.
  Got any treasures?   You might need a journal.  :-)
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

First Fall Day

    The first day of fall is the start of my official baking time, and the time to change out wall hangings.  So between the batches of banana muffins, I switched out the table top mini for the autumn tones of this pineapple, and the pumpkin and apple banner found its way to the pantry door.


I am also peeling some delicious apples we brought back from Michigan for a side dish for tonight's dinner.  That Farmer's Market  is a delight to visit.  So many goodies to enjoy.  We even brought back some local Maple Syrup.

  And wonderful news on the computer front.....Wonder Geek  found my files and photos, got them restored to the proper place and solved a few other "operator" challenges.  And yes, he benefits from all my baking!

  And just a little "therapy time" in the sewing room.......I am not really sure where this is going.  It sort of looks like a butterfly :-)   We will just have to see, as I  felt the need to play with some watercolor design.  
   This is more graphic in appearance than I usually do.   I will see how it evolves and decide then if it is a keeper.   That is the fun of a little play time on the design wall.  I can let my hands work and my mind wander, and if I don't like the results......just start over.   Nothing is lost, just sort the squares for another time or project.  It is part of the creative process of how I work through things.  And the therapy always soothes my soul......happy stitching. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Big Finish for Mrs. Claus

   The doll quilt project, Get Your Mrs. Claus On, finishes big this year.  Over the top, really.  To say I lost count is an understatement, but a close guess is 150 doll quilts.

    Mrs. Claus in Ohio, aka Mcpatches on the HGTV Message Board, is the doll quilt maker extraordinaire today.  Mary Ann included a note with her treasure trove.
  "I started making doll quilts last October.  I said for every big quilt, I'd make a doll quilt with the leftovers.  And then there were the pillow panels that were sitting around.  And the half square triangles from trimmings of other projects.  My goal was one per week--52.  I did not quite make it."
   Just strings......no matter how many string blocks I see, they are never the same, yet always a feast for the eyes to wander over and enjoy.

  Just squares.....really compare the design of these three.  4 patch blocks turned into a quarter trip, and  a scrap setting.  And the all time favorite classic Trip Around the World completes this trio.
  The quarter trip version has a tiny brown filet strip added before the border.  That is so effective in this one.

   Just strips.....combine some with 4 patch units and make a scrap quilt.  Lots of strips, make another classic pattern, The Rail Fence.

Still more strips.....turn them into a lattice, or a maze with the addition of a solid.  Both of these are so striking.

  A precious trio of soft flannels include a coin strip quilt, one of squares, and a braid quilt.  Mrs. Claus, these are so cute!

  So let's see what I overlooked....just triangles!     Tiny flying geese to make pinwheels, oh my!  Half square triangles turned into butterflies....double oh my!!  I love this one :-)  Both of these are fun!

   Got more triangles?  Make a zig-zag chevron quilt.  Make more pinwheels, another classic that never fails to please.  Got an orphan block you need to dress up.....add a border of pinwheels to make a statement.   Tired of pinwheels, then just make a scrap quilt of half square triangles.

With this many leftovers, can you imagine the big quilts this Mrs. Claus has made?   More pinwheels, and half square triangles set in a barn raising layout.   With the variety shown in the last couple of photos, I should never be without inspirations.

Mrs. Claus mentioned panels, too.  I love how the same panel turned into 3 very different quilts.  Lots of design creativity here.

 Holiday panels make great doll quilts.  The addition of different fabrics to complete the panel gives each a personal touch.

More panels of bunnies.....frame them with other fabrics, or make a row by row quilt.

 A holiday bunny....jumping jack rabbit, I say!  He is appliqued and bounding over cute Easter eggs!  All bordered with the prettiest fabric.  Simply cute.

Let's add some stars into the mix.....nothing like comfortable homespun fabrics with a border print to make cute quilts.

 A whole collection of stars.....don't you love those wonky ones?  And if you are short one star, add an applique block to finish it up.

  Simply red, all over, and finish it off with a little lace trim.   The dotted binding is such a fun twist on this quilt.

  Oops....I should have grouped these 2 into the 4 patch photos.  I loved the featured fabric.  It is old post marks.  I love fabrics like that.

  A few flowers to brighten any day.  One is a panel print, and the other is an appliqued  basket of fussy cut flowers.  So pretty.

 Ending up with hearts appliqued onto a zig zag background.  This just says it all for me......gifts of love from the heart.

 A lot of love, design, and inspiration from a 10 pound box containing a whopping 42 doll quilts.  42!!!!
  Mrs. Mcpatches Claus of Ohio, thank you.  You have finished off our year with a wonderful plethora of quilts.
  To all the wonderful Mrs. Claus participants  I thank you from the deepest part of my heart.  Each quilt is dear and appreciated greatly.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Catching up

  Here is hoping I am back on the roll again.  I have done a few things, in between fighting a stomach bug that just put me down a bit.  And I am hoping my Wonder Geek is available this weekend to recover my "lost/disappeared/vanished" photos and files!   I sure do want them back.

    I set the scrap project for Let's Book It aside.....I have depleted my 5" square stash.   And got to work on what I thought would be a demo project for the quilt show coming up in a couple of weeks.  These are blocks using the Disappearing hourglass technique from Missouri Quilt Company.   After 6 blocks, I made an executive decision.....this one is not for me.  Working with all that bias is tedious.  The more you touch it, the more it grows.  And the secondary cut needs to be exact or everything is off.....ask me how I know!  Let's say I love it, but don't want to do it for a demo.

   What has been successful is the  Carolina Chain block from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.  It is easy to cut and sew.  And it ends up with that diagonal chain that I find so appealing lately. I have 2 or 3 baggies full of cut pieces and have been stitching a few at a time to soothe my spinning head.  Nothing like simple to relax with.

   Time to wind down the year for Mrs. Claus that is.   The last quilts are in....and amazingly the first for 2015 arrived yesterday!  But I will save those for later.  So let's view a few doll quilts.
  From Mrs. Claus in Iowa, aka as Jacky of the HGTV Message Board comes this sweet pastel and pink string quilt.    I am a sucker for string quilts, and this one is great.

Birdhouses!  What a cute idea and then the added detail of those buttons.....this one came from Mrs. Claus in Maryland, aka Patricia.   I love the cheerful fabrics, too.

  From Mrs. Claus in MA, aka Nancy, Catwmn27, on the HGTV Message board.  I'm sorry for the no so great photo....the sun came out when I least expected it.  Those are little dresses all dolled up with lace trim.  What a creative idea for a doll quilt.

  Janice is Mrs. Claus from Texas, aka Cookie Quilts on the HGTV Message board.  She is representing NC in honor of her cousin this year.  Note those beautiful Kaffe Fassett scraps she used.....so beautiful!

  Thank you all.....Mrs. Claus from around the country.  Our year has come to a close....wait, excuse me there is someone banging on the door.
 HO, HO, HO.......the UPS guy just had to get into the act.  He just delivered a 10 pound box from Mrs. Claus in Ohio!!!!  Now you won't believe what I am finding inside.  I have work to do before you get to peek.......let's just say you want to come back when I get things opened.  It is a design delight and inspiration for all.
Happy stitching.
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