Saturday, December 31, 2016

Old things, new things

 Old Things:
 A pinning session to prepare the pineapple top for quilting.  As I pin I tend to contemplate the quilting design.  Usually I am inspired and figure out what to quilt, but not this time.  So I haven't made a start to this one.
  The water color banner was pinned too, so I will quilt it up first.

 The wild geese are just hanging in strips on the design wall.  I lost my drive to see them fly.  But they do need to get sewn at least into a top.

  The Therapy Quilt of circles is waiting on binding....I will cut that today.

New things:
  Sir Old Man was heading out  to the Big Box store and I hitched a ride so he could stop at the quilt shop.  My excuse was that I needed a  new pair of machingers---gloves for quilting.  My old pair has holes in two fingers and are bad!

  A few fat quarters became the second excuse......just because they were purple!  And all fabrics were on sale, I just had not shared that tidbit of information with him.

  Marietta always a stack of flat fold fabrics too.  This older fabric with coffee theme panels caught my eye.   A perfect size  for small wall hanging and a few snack mats.   Buy now, and make for gifts through the year😉.

   The new adventure is under cover.   I got pulled in by the thought of
the aroma of fresh baking sourdough bread.

  It is Catpatches fault.   Barbara has been sharing her adventures and breads she is working on.  Then she shared details of starting some sourdough starter for a virtual bake at the facebook group..

    My starter has died and could not be brought back to life.  So I figured it was a good time to try again.    The first few days were touchy and nothings seemed to be happening.  I decided to hang on and then got the bright idea to put the bowl onto a cutting board instead of sitting on the cool granite countertop.  That helped a lot.  This is now day 4  and I have bubbles and it has begun to increase in size.  Today I will discard half and feed it....mix and let sit.    Hoping to get the yeasty aroma soon.  Baking begins next week, and I want to have plenty to share with the neighbors that have been so good to us especially this year.    I also plan to save an freeze some of the starter via method that Judy at Patchwork Times shared.
Pat Sloan Block 2 collage   And the last new thing is one to share......The Solstice Sew Along with Pat Sloan.   She is offering a new pattern each week--12'' block-- and the goal is 25 blocks in 6 months.  Make all of them or make the ones you like, just be sure to download and save the patterns.  They are very good.   There is a linky too and it is good to see all the color combinations being used.

 And that wraps up my year of 2016.
  My word was Enjoy.....and it should have been persevere. Next year I will move forward, being stronger and the best me I can.

Wishing all a Happy New Year and health for each one.
Happy stitching.  

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Last one of the year

   I found this photos of my Bow Tie blocks in my photos album from April.  April?  Nine months ago......let's just say before the stuff that happened.  
    I found the top  earlier this month on a hanger, awaiting its turn under the needle.   My goal for the month for this was to get it pinned and quilted.  And yesterday, it got binding done too!

   Bow-quet of Florals got bound yesterday.  I love a finish:)   I quilted it with open swirls, edge to edge.

   I am not sure if I showed this label yet.  I did this one a little differently.  Once the word part was printed off onto treated fabric, I simply added scraps to either side.  Rather than turn the edges under and hand stitch, I used muslin as a backing.   I sewed around all 4 sides and then slit the muslin to turn the label right side out.   Then I top stitched it onto the back.

  Time to shoot a few outside photos.  Please ignore my weeds.

Size is 48'' by 66'' ----perfect lap size to enjoy.

The Ultimate Color Combinations Cheat Sheet  To share:
    I ran across a really good, really simple color combination cheat sheet.     I know I hated the color wheel lessons, too. But they are soooo important!    I actually printed off the long list of color combos to keep handy.  You know, in case I have a no idea in mind day and need a color scheme.  Check it out.
  So the count down is near, as the new year arrives.  I am glad to get back to the usual routine again.  Happy stitching.   

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

No looking back, just ahead

   Instead of reviewing this last year as I usually do,  I am looking forward.    I can't bear the mental trauma a review would cause.   I am just diving in to my plans for 2017.

   Nothing like  simple traditional patterns.  They evoke memories in us all.  The 9 patch often gets relegated to a fill-in block or maybe a good block for a border.  I have been very guilty of that type of thinking.  You can't live "Be Legendary" by thinking/playing in the same old mode.  This 9-patch wants to shine.

   After Shelia at Quilting in South Carolina did a program on 9 patch quilts at guild a few months ago, I pulled out my over flowing file of 9 patch quilts.   I have saved pages from years of magazines.     I want a simple layout.  That part is easy, as  my favorite is on point.   I have floral a small bolt of white.  So that is decided on.  

   Lots of strips became my leaders/enders while I was piecing some flying geese.  Or was it the other way around.  Either way, I ended up with lots of 9 patch blocks and enough flying geese for a donation quilt.

   I am planning applique for some of the plain setting squares.  Or I think I am.....I am going to get a few done and see if it is what I want.   I am not sure if the applique blocks will fill in the center or just along the outer edge. I am making a few to see what I think.  If they are not used here.  then the applique blocks will be a start for something else.

 This is my selected project to start 2017.  And this is my simple formula for leaders and enders production, a la the scrap queen, Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.  

Recipe: Will yield 2 "9 patch" blocks
  2'' strips of white
  2'' strips of floral prints
For the prints (P):  Cut one length at 4 1/2'' and  two lengths at 8 1/2''.
From the white (W):  Cut two lengths at 4 1/2'' and one length at 8 1/2''.
   Sew strip units....4 1/2'' W-P-W and the 8 1/2'' P-W-P.   Press seams to print.
   Sub-cut----each unit is sub-cut at 2''.
 Then assembly 9 patch.  Block is 5 1/2'' unfinished.

    To finish off December I have two small quilts that are in the binding stage, and a couple that need to be pinned.....backing and batting to be cut.  I will start the new year with finishes for sure!  I am priming up for the new year.  Happy stitching.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A little muscle memory goes a long way

   I have worked on the Therapy Quilt of circles the last two afternoons.  Around the circles of many did a simple meander and some squiggly lines when there wasn't enough room to meander.
I know it is hard to see as I used white thread, but I just wanted texture not design.
    I was about half way thru when I finally felt that I had my rhythm back for this stitch.   I don't use a stitch regulator, so control is very important to me.  Consider that I have little feeling in the palms of my hands (guiding the quilt), and only sense pressure in parts of my feet (foot pedal), and you can see why I said I needed to practice to gain my control/speed/rhythm back.   It is all about the muscle memory developed during lots of practice.   I found myself wanting to race thru the motions and get it done.  A break and honest discussion with self helped put things into perspective.

    "Listen Self, you need to take a deep breathe, and relax.  This is not a race.  Remember the point is to practice,  and gain confidence to FMQ again.   You have nothing to prove to anyone, you are doing this because you love it, because you can.  You have a second chance, take it and enjoy it."


   It helped.   Then I decided on the border motif.....the leafy vine.  The plain border is 41/2''  wide  I had plenty of room to make some nice size leaves and a few curls along the stem.   I have used this before on several quilts, so I was hoping the muscle memory would kick in.   
  This is one continuous design without a central stem stitched.  The outer edge of the leaf is stitched to a point (I missed a few of those, oh well) first.  Then back down to the center without closing the leaf.  That allows a vein to be stitched half way up the leaf and then back to the opening.  Then you can stitch another leaf on the opposite side or insert a nice fat curl.    I like to have large and smaller leaves on this vine.  Perfect shapes and sizes are not in my game plan......and you might notice the different angles, with some leaves pointing up and other pointing out.  Much more natural.  

   And then the mail came.....goodies from Wanda at Exuberant Color.   
  She had offered me some quilting stencils that she no longer used  that would be perfect for my beginner Free Motion class in the new year.   Of course I said yes!  I had been thinking of revamping my class and adding working with stencils too.   For two reasons......1) not everyone can develop/create/design a motif  by free hand, 2) often they need a "map" or pattern to stitch over.    So thanks to Wanda, my students will have a new adventure to try.  

   And to fill the extra space in the box, she included some extra goodies.  A bag of floral strip scraps (yea!!), and fabrics (big yeas!!!)  that feature cardinals.    And she made me a mug rug with a cardinal in the center.  She definitely filled me up with some hope!  Thanks so much.  

   Tomorrow we have plans for lunch out after an appointment, and a few errands to take care of.   My energy level is not back yet, so that will be enough for me.   Happy stitching.  

Monday, December 19, 2016

Be Legendary!

   It has been  a few months since I uncovered Hot Legs.  She needed some oiling and dusting off.....and I needed some practice.   I am suppose to begin teaching FMQ again in a couple of months, so it was time to test the muscle memory and control.  My focus banner was small enough to handle for this, and if the stitches were not perfect, I could live with it.

   I decided I could just fill this banner up....almost doodle the space and get some practice in.  I never like doing pebbling/circles very much but thought it was a good fill for the space.    Then I branched out to some swirls and stacked  tear drops.  The muscle memory was there, I just had to work on controlling my speed.      And before I knew, the banner for 2017 was done.

  For 2017,  I  chose "Be Legendary"  as my focus.  It's my reminder to look for an opportunity to blaze a trail, make a mark, to lift others up.  I want to laugh a lot, love deeply, and live well the life I have.  To be legendary is to be the best me I can.   Perfection is not required, only  to enjoy trying.   I think that shows in this one:)

  My camera no extra photos.   Guess we have to go shopping for a new one.  It's hard to blog without photos.

     Anyway, my latest health update.....I am doing weekly shots for a few weeks, and then to a shot every 2 weeks.  My body is just using up the B-12 so quickly......healing and daily maintenance.   We will try this for a few months and then everything gets rechecked.    And the hand incisions are healing nicely....just itchy, which is a good sign.

    Since Hot Legs is juiced up, I plan on getting a bit of quilting done this week....probably on the Therapy Quilt of circles at least.  And filling out my Project plan list for 2017.   This should be a quiet week, just some rest and relaxation.  Merry Christmas all and happy stitching.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Having way too much fun!

    Last night I read through my new book, a  get well gift from Lara at BuzzinBumble...... isn't she a sweetie!
I had commented I was putting her book on my Christmas list, and she offered to send me a copy for my recovery.  Happy dancing here.

   So I did an intense read and decided to begin today on my focus banner for 2017.  Nothing like the present to set a future course.
   The book is a great read, and I love the extra tips that Lara includes.  Her directions are clear and easy to understand.  It is not a complicated technique, it just takes a little planning and prepping.   So if you haven't gotten a copy.....put it on your Christmas list.  There's time:)

     Along the way, as I prepared my fabric for the words I want to use, I discovered a new use for campaign yard signs.   I slipped one inside a trash bag for my prepping.  And that is all I will say about it for now.

  It was time to begin work on the letter patterns for the applique.  Next, I pulled out my orphan block box.  I found a couple of blocks I loved that I could incorporate into the banner.  And then the improv/free piecing of the background.  I have a large zip lock bag of neutral strips, and pieces that come in handy for creating  mixed backgrounds.

   I had a rough sketch  as a guide to what I wanted.  I knew that I wanted an off set layout, and that a bit of color in some orphan blocks would be a good thing.  At this point, I need to square up the bottom and check to be sure I have enough room for the letters.

   You can get an idea of the type of piecing I am using....strips, chunks, a few 4 patch units, and a couple of blocks.  It is a matter of finding things that fit, and pressing well.  Square up the sides as you go:)

        And the first letter is a "B".    I am using a lot of batik scraps for the words.

  I did a search for alphabets for applique.  I found a couple that I decided to work from because the size was about right.  I traced over the block style letters I needed, adding a little curve and personality to them.    I added an extra strip across the bottom on the final size to be sure I had enough length.  

    I did a small bit of cutting with the rotary cutter---no problem.  The pressing is worse on the hand, so I pulled out the lighter travel iron to use.  Much better.  
   I got the lab results for my B12 level.....even with the monthly shots, it is too low for my nerves to heal and maintain my body.  I see the doctor on Friday to discuss  a different shot schedule.  I seem to do well for a couple of weeks after the shot, but feel my  energy level drop by the third week.
  I'm done for today.....happy stitching.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Drum Roll, please

  Time to let the random selector pick some names.  Seven goes.
  • Lynda
  • Quilting Babcia
  • MoeWest
  • Andrea 
  • Auntiepatch
  • Rosyquilter
  • Vrooman's Quilts
 Congratulations to those listed.  I have snail mail addresses for a few, and have sent all an email.  So please reply with your address.  Thanks.

    Another surprise.   I am sharing   printable pages  I have worked up.   The first page is for a quilt planner/journal page.  I like that each month we review our progress, detail finished projects, set forth ideas for the next month, and such.   I am "old fashioned, and  I also want a paper copy.

   I created a space to list projects, a section for specific plans, ideas to try, materials needed, and those that get done!   You should be able to open the photo in a different window, then print, or save to your computer to print later.   I hope this works:) 
    I printed on card stock weight paper.

   I needed a little more organization. Since I have been laid up with my hands for a couple of months, I have several things pinned and ready to quilt, others in the sewing stage, and one I am planning.  Some are large and others small.   While my short term memory has improved, there are times it needs some help.   I hate to have UFOs hiding in the closet/under the table/forgotten in a bag.
  Here's the second page  to keep a master list of projects in the works.  I kept it very simple with just name, description, and steps to be done.   You could do this monthly or every few months.  I wanted it to be posted on my cabinet where I press.....and it will always be in view.   So use and enjoy.  
   Stitches are out, and all is well.  The hands are still a bit sensitive, so quilting will wait until I feel good enough to push that sandwich around.  Thank you all for the support and encouragement.  I do appreciate it.  
Happy stitching.

Monday, December 12, 2016

December's list

    My list for December included making labels for the quilts-in-waiting---those in line for quilting.  I printed out a page of 4, another is hiding under something :)  Two of them are ready to go.  The pineapple label needs some borders added yet.

   Mug rugs on display......these are finished and some straight line quilting.  I just kept going  round and round  and back and forth.    I also had time to cut out some words for the giving on Tuesday.  I think I will have enough to send at least 3 to each name I pick.

  I have been reading and enjoying Barbara's adventures at CatPatches blog with her barm and bread making this week.  I got motivated to make a couple of loaves of sweet bread stuffed with cooked apples.     I think I had the  icing a little bit thick....thinner would be more of a glaze.

Thick or is good.  It won't hang around here very long, so I can try it again.
  I used a sweet dough mix that I got this spring.....and I use a bread machine to do the kneading and first rise to dough stage.   The apples were chopped and cooked to a softer stage with some sugar, cinnamon and corn starch for thickening before filling the dough.
   A full weekend.....and it's Monday morning by the time this post goes up.  That means I am getting ready to have the stitches out this morning.....look out world, she has hands!   Back tomorrow.....happy stitching.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Mug Rugs today

  Baby, it's cold outside today.  It was 25 degrees when I got up.  Extra coffee will be needed.  So I am working on a few mug rugs.  I took photos this time of how I now do my backing for ease of turning and finishing.

   My hand stitching is even more limited now due to the neuropathy in my fingers.    So instead of leaving a side open for turning, I realized a back opening would be much less noticeable for my poor stitches.  I use an over-sized piece of backing that I split in to 2 pieces and then rejoin----leaving an opening for turning.

   I layer the back right side up, the front is placed right side down, and then the batting is on top.  Note the batting is cut about 1/4'' smaller than the top.  No trimming will be needed for the batting this way.  Plus, the batting edge becomes a stitching guide.....I sew right next to the edge and catch batting in the stitching in spots to hold everything in place.  Sew around all 4 sides.

    Prepare to turn by clipping the corners and trimming off any extra backing fabric.

  Turn mug rug inside out and poke out the corners with a chopstick, or purple thing, etc.  I haven't pressed these yet, but the one on the right is the backside.  Note the pin is on the seam line that needs a few stitches to close it.

   Turned and ready to press and then get quilted.  This focus of Take Chances was too good to toss even it part of it was cut off.  I think straight match stick quilting will be good here.

  I am now counting the days until the purple stitches are removed from my palms...3 days to go.  The soreness is gone, and  I tried using the rotary cutter a little bit for squaring these up.  Yea!!!!  I am not ready to cut strips or anything, but no pain and no pressure applied.    And....this is big, I can raise my right arm over my head with no pain traveling up the nerve to my shoulder.  No pain, no burning,,,,wow!    So soon I will be able to begin light exercises to build lost strength.  And by the new year I will get to turn on Hot Legs and quilt!  Now that's motivation.
  Happy stitching.  

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Focus ideas for 2017

  I shared a quick photo of fabric that Sir Old Man found on the flat fold table....and  of which I quickly bought a yard.  I did not read each square with the sentiments at that time, just enough to let me know I should get some.
  My thought was to make some mug rugs, maybe a few snack mats or such.  Little did I know what I would find when I did.

  I don't believe in coincidences.  I use to, but age has given me a different view.   I believe things happen for a reason.  People enter your life when you need them, and each act sends ripples though the universe that return to you in some way.    This fabric entered my life at this time because I needed to read all the wonderful words written on it.   Now,  I need to share them and pass them on.

  Be Yourself.  Above all, let who you are, what you are, what you believe shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.

Take Chances.  Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.

Be Spontaneous.  All growth is a leap in the dark, an unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.

Let Go.  We must be willing to let go of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

Be Unstoppable.  Courage does not always roar.  Sometimes courage is the quiet voice in the corner saying I'll try again tomorrow.

Be Legendary.  Life is a song, sing it.  Life is a game, play it.  Life is a challenge, meet it.   Life is a dream--realize it.  Life is love, enjoy it.

   These are my favorites, and I have claimed one for my 2017  focus.  I want a larger banner than last year.
Pick a focus word for the next week. Share your word below!
  Now it is two days later......I began writing this post and life reared its head to stall the form of my brother who needed some TLC attention after some out patient surgery.  (Why do they call it is surgery.  You cut anything in my body, you invade my space and send my life into a tail spin.)  He is better now and I am thankful for that.  I am doing better too and looking forward to stitch removal on Monday.  But I digress and on to my point.

  Remember I said those ripples come back to you in some way.
Insight:    I believe things happen for a reason.  People enter your life when you need them, and each act sends ripples though the universe that return to you in some way.   
   One of my ripples returned yesterday morning in an email.  I am getting a wonderful get well/birthday gift next week, and just in time to use the technique on my focus banner.  I do hope you are intrigued, and will return to see what focus I chose and what I want to do with it.
   I want to use several but one must do......hummmmm, that leaves a lot of bits of fabric to share.  I know a couple of people I intend to palm off  a sentiment to, but that leaves enough to offer up  a gift to a few followers.  So seven followers---lucky 7---- will get picked from the comments and I will send a bit of fabric with sentiment to you.  Comment on this post between now and Monday the 12th.  I will pick 7 on Tuesday.   Tell me your focus sentiment for 2017, if you have one.  Be  sure your email is included in comment if you are a "no reply blogger".   Now....go sew.  Happy stitching.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

In the nick of time

  Early Sunday morning, enjoying the first cup of coffee, and my phone did a jingle to alert me to an imessage.   From Sir Old Man's cousin, Diane came photos of her project finish.    She is having eye surgery this week and wanted it done before that happened.

  Santa turned out cute and just in the nick of time :)

   And on the backside.....a label and sleeve for hanging!   I told her I was proud as she had learned well how to finish off a project.  This was Diane's first time to print off a label on the computer too.    A beginning/learning quilter deserves praise and stardom.  Well done, I say.

Update:   Di says the pattern is from McCall's Quilting magazine from December 2000.  She got the issue at her guild and this issue has several things she wants to try.
And prayers for good surgery, Di.
Happy stitching.

Friday, December 2, 2016

December plans

  For December the word is Recovery!  My time to heal, reflect, and renew.
I don't plan to start anything new, and probably won't complete things waiting in the wings. 
  •  I have 3 projects pinned and waiting their time under the needle---soon I hope as Hot Legs has been idle too long.  
  •  I have 2 things that need to be basted and prepped for FMQ---pineapple blossoms and a watercolor banner.
  • Wild Geese (or maybe Night Flight) are joined into strips and need sashing up, and a small border added.
  • Floral 9 patch blocks are in the sewing stage.  I need more strips cut, but must wait for some healing to the hands.   Applique for the alternating squares can be planned but not able to cut things out yet.

Two small projects completed for November.   Both are table toppers of string piecing with appliques added.  

   We finished the re-do on the pantry closet, and then went thru carpel tunnel surgery on both wrists.  So December will be a quiet time of healing and recovery.

  • I did not make labels for the projects awaiting quilting, so that is something I will do this month.  If the labels are done already, it will give me a push in January to finish things.  
  • Plan appliques for the 9 patch floral----I haven't shown this one yet:)
  • Make plans for January finishes.
  • Recover and enjoy the season.
  Report on the bandage removal:  The hands are now clean and those stinky bandages and wraps removed.  Incisions are covered with Tegaderm and they look good.  I won't show photos as my hands are purple, quite bruised.  
I am to use fingers as much as possible, just no pulling, lifting, or tugging on anything.  So I can type, and rotary cutting though.  Cooking is still off limits too.  Two weeks of being cautious/careful.  The good news....the very good news is that there is a very slight improvement in the sensation or feeling in the right hand!  Not so much on the left but I can be happy and rejoice in any improvement!    
  And that's a wrap for  December should be a breeze.
Happy stitching.  
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