Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ending the month with circles

I am ending the month with circles....and jumping up and down for hitting the 6th month point for me with 150 circles done.

I missed a few goals this month that I had set....I never got the Let's Book It project started, so next month I will try for a smaller project, I hope.
I taught classes the a the LQS.
 I have things prepared for the watercolor workshop---which is full!--- and lecture at guild.
I did not get to the Habitat still needs to be pinned for quilting.
The Bow Ties got assembled and I have a plan for the promises that that will happen soon.  But a plan sure helps:)
Circles I did make----Yoda speak for doing those round things.  If you are not participating in the Quilty 365 challenge, indulge us who can't get enough of them.  You can find details and view other quilters circles at Quiltyfolk blog.

  After being gone for a week, I had some catching up to do.    I have a stack of precut background squares, and a stack of fabrics for making the circles, all set aside.  So it is a matter of sewing round and round, turning them inside out and pressing onto the background.  Then to chose threads of many colors....some blend and some accent.....colorful threads make it fun.   So the above photo is  all the circles for the month of April....some I showed earlier in the month.

I ended the month with swirling thoughts---see the one on the right----and some hope in the form of a cardinal of fabric from  Wanda at Exuberant Color.  

And I have an idea for a layout for some of the circles from the first 6 months......I need to do a little playing  around with things on the design wall before I share it.  It could be fun, or a total flop......either way, I will share it.

Finally, the plumes.....
   I have a few last ones to stitch down before this runner/banner can be finished.  I thought it would be for Spring, but summer weather has arrived.   So bring on May and let the circle sewing begin.

Happy stitching.  

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Fabrics from friends

  Less progress made yesterday than expected.  It was slow moving from the stiffness and back pain......I went for a deep tissue massage to see if that would help.  Believe me, she found multiple spots that were so tight.  I'll be sore today I know but I sure slept better :)

Wanda at Exuberant Color sent me some very special fabrics to include in the circle quilt.  Three scraps of Charley Harper cardinals.....just perfect for me.  And the one on the left we refer to as "the man" fabric is so cute.  Rows of gents in hat and tails remind me of Charlie Chaplin.  And if you haven't seen Wanda's latest triangle quilt....go see.  It is spectacular.

  A wonderful mix of Finnish fabrics arrived last week from Marja.  I plan on doing a yin-yang style circle out of a couple of them.  Be sure to check out her latest tote bag on her blog.

The most beautiful card arrived stuffed with exciting brights for me to use.  These came from Mary at Hill Country.     The card is going up on my inspiration wall.  Soon I hope to translate it into a fabric creation  of some sort!

Thank you all.....fabric circle friends :))

The Bow Tie blocks finally got assembled. This is the layout I ended up liking and using.  I re-arranged these blocks multiple times in an attempt to find a different layout.  Nothing satisfied me except for a little colorwash effect.   It is on the back burner for now until I decide on borders.....multiple, simple, or not!

  I plan on stitching down some plumes and circles today.  Lots of catching up to do.
  Happy stitching.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Home with lots of loot!

   The only good thing about that time change was the extra daylight for the long drive home........and it is always good to return home to your own bed :)
We got the van unloaded this morning and the mountain of laundry done.  In between loads, I sorted through the fabric.
   What's on the table is from one very large shopping bag......fat quarters, pieces, and yardage, a few books and magazines.   Two more smaller bags remain to be sorted.  There are lots of wild and uglies in my daughter says it is her mission now to get all the "ugly fabrics" she  can find during her estate sale excursions.  Turn around is fair play.....wait till she sees what I put on the back of her next quilt :)

Actually, there were some nice fabrics in the bunch, and even a couple of older floral fabrics that will be perfect to share for the upcoming workshop.  And a few prints that I will turn into circles.....the cutest owl print for one.   I would estimate this tonnage at about 30 yards!  I have a lot of work to do, don't I.

  The Singer 99 K came home with me!!!  We found this at an estate sale last fall, and it has just been sitting.  As I have more room ---and stitching  projects----we loaded it into the van.  So one day soon, I intend to devote to cleaning and getting this one ready to sew.  Bet it will be perfect for sewing circles for appliqueing.

   Then I got a really beautiful present.....hand made by my daughter who has developed into a very fine metal smith.  A corded necklace with a button pendant and toggle closure.  The pendent and closure are made of silver.  Using an old button, she did a cast and mold to create the design, which I love.

    See those paisley swirls.....yep, exactly what I love.  She hammers in the texture, and solders it together....somehow.    I can't explain the details, but take my word for it, it is lovely.  All of her pieces are so very unique.  sorry.....just being a proud mama.

Build this pipe bench in a few easy steps!  For more detaied instructions, go to  The "daddy-do" project list went well, and Sir Old Man was kept busy with a new one.  Of course, it involved a trip to the big-box store for all the required pieces.  A pipe bench with wood seat for the front porch has been on her bucket list for a while.
    I sat and watched the two of them twist pipe and  figure out the instructions/pictures.  Then there was a lesson on how to use the chop saw......power miter saw, and some nail gun usage with the small compressor.  So as my daughter covered in man glitter/saw dust is doing the happy dance for "I can use power tools",  and her Dad is beaming,  I had an epiphany.....a very clear vision of how important that time was.   It was a completed bucket list day and they did not even know it.
   When she was born, Sir Old Man is known to have remarked to the nurse...."A girl?  What am I suppose to do with a girl?"   I know the answer......teach her to use power tools!  

   Tomorrow for sure, I am making circles, and triangles, and squares.
Happy stitching.  

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Finds April

   Do you have a recessed table for your machine?  Or at least a large extension table to support your work?  I sure hope so, as it makes a big difference on the back/shoulder/arm strain that sewing and free motion quilting makes.   At every class I teach, I strongly encourage students to consider getting a recessed/drop in table for their machines.   They have spent many $$$$  on machines but ignore their work areas.  I saw  a few things that might help....if you are handy or have a handyman nearby.

From Blue Dinosaurs......a tutorial on building a recessed worktable.   She used a fairly inexpensive IKEA table for this project.  I have also seen dining tables from the thrift store that were converted.  So even if you can't afford a custom sewing table, this solution could be what you need.

  Note----table height is important.  The legs might need to be shortened to achieve the correct/best table height for you.

A great you tube video shows an alternate idea.  It is by Rose Lewis and she shows a large extension table that can be built custom for your machine.

Proper sewing table measurements- no slouching so good vision helps.  Time to fight the stoop!:
Ergonomic posture......found at Elizabeth Chandler Designs.     This shows the correct table height and angle to the body for arms and knees.   I know my control improved when I got the correct table for my machine.

Creating my way to Success: Luggage Tags from Jeans Pockets - an Upcycle Tutorial:

    A fun recycle project from Creating My Way blog.   Luggage tags from blue jean pockets are meant to be used on luggage.  Since I am a "non flying" person,  I make tags for my tote bags that I carry to classes and road trips.    And how cute would they be for the kids backpacks for school or camp!

tea bag lavender sachets: One last sewing project......cute sachets in the shape of tea bags!  A friend of mine is pinning tea party ideas like crazy for our next quilt show  and she found these.

 I make lavender sachets and tuck into drawers and in my quilt storage cabinet.  The photo and idea is from Gingermelon on no instructions, just inspiration.   simple scrap of fabric pinked to size (use a real tea bag as a pattern?).  Fill with lavender and stitch the edges.  Add a string  or bit of ribbon to hang.

As always, please visit the original sources for pinning and details if available.
See you on our return.....happy stitching. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Finds....block patterns

Quilt in a Day / Autumn at the White House:   A free pattern from Eleanor here to download.    I know it is simple and easy to figure out, but I find it hard to resist  Eleanor's designs.    She always has full measurement charts and good cutting instructions, too.   Be sure to check out the full selection of free patterns offered.

Trifle Dish: Butterflies and 4-Patches « Moda Bake Shop:
From the Moda Bakeshop a good tutorial on making this block using scraps or layer cake pre-cuts.  This is a perfect pattern for my leader/ender 4 patches!

tutorial - when you have to make flock of geese: Moda Bake Shop: Flying in Squares Quilt:

   While you are at the Bakeshop, check out this block pattern too.  It is called Flying in Squares.      I like the variation of the flying is on my list of future projects.
I started a new Pinterest board for Flying    Lots of pins for various tutorials on geese and  layouts.

As always, please visit the links for pinning and details.
And just a is tax day.....did you file your return?  My girlfriend from high school who lives in Florida did her usual "wait till the last few days" to do her return, and then be sure to call Debbie with questions!'s our annual phone visit and life would not be complete without it.    Some things you can just count on.

Happy stitching.  

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fusing only today

   I was inspired to do a repeat of sorts.  So today was  just cutting and fusing time.    I had been piecing bricks to make a long banner or table runner.  I had planned a flying geese band for the border.  But I tossed that idea to the wind and decided to just add fused plumes.

   That's a quarter on the purple plume for size reference.  I traced off a few from leftover plumes from the large quilt.  I quickly gave that up and just winged it by cutting free hand.....faster and more quirky since sizes vary greatly.

  It's about 60'' long.  I will begin to stitch down the plumes and decide if I want more or not.  I do enjoy a good

I need to finish up the bread I am stitching tomorrow.

Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ideas from old magazines

  I brought home a big stack of older magazines from our guild meeting.  As they were destined to be recycled,  I thought I would look through a few.  Many were over 10 years old.....and in the quilting world that seems like a long time.
    Imagine my surprise when I saw this ad....splashes of colored plumes!  Very similar to the border I did for Plume Crazy.


 Yep, I kept finding quilts with circles!
Sorry for the glare on the bottom is actually appliqued yo-yos....The top one was very artistic with the contrasting bands in the circles.


     This was a variation in a table runner size.  All the fabrics are Oriental prints giving it a very zen-like quality.  Various sizes of circles ---whole and partial---are mixed together over the center section.

  It just goes to show that there is a good reason to keep old magazines....if you have the space.  Ideas get recycled and revived depending on your interest.  Over time my interest do seem to expand and change, as these discoveries prove.  Unfortunately, I don't have space to save magazines......just the pages of interest.  But the next time you get offered a stack of older magazines, grab them for inspiration.

   The free motion class for beginners went well.  At the end of class a former student who works at the shop  came in.  I asked if she had continued to practice. Dee simply grabbed my pencil and pad and began to sketch here favorite motifs!  She is now doing her own quilts on a long arm.......I was so impressed :)   Of course, she had an ulterior motive......more classes scheduled and the intermediate Endless Feathers will be added to the shop calendar.   So I need a shop sample and supply list.  
Happy stitching.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

You must remember this fabric

  Every quilter that has been around for a few years has this in the stash.  I have seen it in various colorways, like blues, greens, and pink.  I know I bought it as a flat fold at a discount store eons of course it had to become a circle.

   The high heel for my Mom.  She was a dresser.....always in heels with matching handbag.

  And the mis-matched scrap of ruler fabric is for the other men that I love, my brother and older nephew.  My brother built our house and the nephew is a super-duper project manager of high end homes.  I could not resist the tease of this scrap of tape measure fabric that had to be pieced to be large enough.

  I am now at 130 circles....I really need to decide on layouts.
I played around with a ''modern'' arrangement by placing light background circles onto a solid piece of mottled fabric.  Of course this would be a piecing nightmare.  And for sure, it is not my style.  I think I will pass on this design for now.

  Then I tried grouping some circles with colored backgrounds.  This has some possibilities....if I add a lot more variety in the background fabrics.  I am not feeling the love of this one either.
And that will return me to the original staggered layout with mixed up background fabrics.

  My back is better....I managed to get to the mail box and back.  Heat and frequent breaks are my routine for a few more days.  I have a class to teach on Tuesday, so I will rest a lot to get through it.
Happy stitching.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

From a quilt show.....

  I have been down since Wednesday with a pinched nerve flare up again.  Very little accomplished in the sewing room.  Yesterday was a little better and I pushed to go to a local quilt show.  I managed about an hour for seeing the quilts and visiting one booth of used books.  Luckily Sir Old Man was there to take a few photos and get me back home.

 This was an amazing quilt.....of course blue and white is always a favorite.  Made by Janet Ginn and hand quilted by a friend.  She calls it A Gift of Friendship.   I would call it a treasure!

  One very modern quilt caught my eye.  The offset layout was quite unusual but it worked in this quilt.  The use of black and white with a touch of color was striking.  I did not get the makers name.

 Many Paths was made by Kate Weston.  She is known for her precise work and it really shows in this quilt.  Several of us were studying the design to figure out the pattern.  It involves 2 different blocks.....a shoe fly block and a 9 patch of small 9 patch blocks.

  Check out the detail here that she used for the border.  Those small units were about 1 1/2''.    Also note  the small units that make up part of the shoe fly block.

Perfectly amazing!

   My Blooming Garden was made by Sandy Wolfe.  She is another very precise quilter and does excellent applique.   This is a very scrappy quilt and just beautiful work.

  Note that border.....just lots and lots of mixed 4 patch units.....guess the size?
I was floored....they finished at 1/2''.  Oh, my stars!

 For this wall hanging size quilt, Sandy used wool applique with beading and embroidered stitches.  You can just see a bit of the border unit at the bottom of the photo to compare the size of the 4 patches.  

  Lots of 4 patches make up the chain block units between the applique blocks.  I love that the applique extends over the  scrappy chains.

   Quilt shows give me inspiration and ideas to incorporate into future quilts.  I don't always follow directions well and that is what makes it fun.  Enjoy and happy stitching.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Motifs in fabrics

  Today was the Beginner Free Motion Class at my LQS.....and unknown to me, Marietta had arranged to have a video taken for her FB page!   Hopefully, the video will focus/feature the students as they worked.   The young gal will return for the second class next week to show how the student's progressed.  I sure hope they do all their homework.  Actually, this was one of the best groups I have taught....they moved along exceptionally well.

     I came home and went ahead and pulled some fabrics for the next class.  Part of what I include a the end of the session  is design and motifs.  In other words,  picking out a pattern or motif to quilt. the questions to ask yourself, and looking for hints in the quilt itself.

  You know I love swirls.....quilting and fabrics.  These are a few in my closet.

  Swirls that play off each other. Swirls that curl, mix with leaves,  and form vines.    These motifs should look familiar as they have been a strong influence in what I quilt.

Then I noticed this one......look familiar?

 It is quite similar to the  'fern twist' motif used on my latest project..... those 3 spiky  points look like the motif in the above fabric.    Why reinvent the  wheel/swirl?  Look for hints in your chosen fabric.

  I spent the afternoon, prepping for the upcoming watercolor class next month.  I figured if it was done now, I could concentrate the rest of the week on a project.

  Enjoy....and happy stitching.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Friday finds.....April

A beautiful wreath that I do think I could quilt!  This design is from ipatchandquilt.    She teaches free motion and has some interesting wreath designs.

Ever thought of giving your machine a tattoo?  Barbara at Cat Patches shared a photo of her jazzed up Tiara recently. How much fun is this?   The rub on stickers are from Urban Elementz.

Summer Fun! Mini Pineapple Quilt - Red Brolly:   Remember the traditional pineapple wall hanging I made and used the ugly fabric on the back?    How about these cuties from Red time colors for pineapples.  I thought they were adorable.  The pattern is just a bit different, so now you can chose which is your favorite.  Perfect to put on place mats, create a table runner, or a small wall hanging.  No reason to wait for fall!

As always, please visit the original source in the link for full details and for pinning.  Blogger is giving me fits right now and is jumping all over the place.  I am quitting now before I commit a crime against this thing.Enjoy and Happy stitching!
  Need a new ruler?  Here's a link to a new style called RnK Select ruler. Alex Anderson promotes this new line.    I do need to replace my 6'' by 12'' and may give this style a try.  I like that it is not cluttered  up with extra stuff.....slightly frosted, and non- slip back.  

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