Sunday, April 23, 2017

Discoveries

  I will be spending lots of time sorting, purging, shifting everything in the sewing room.  It all has to be moved out for some foundation repairs to be done to the house next month.  The thought of the disruption and such that go with it is enough.  Then they said the back room.....my sewing room....ugh.  No one, and I mean no one, knows how much "STUFF" is tucked away there.



    It is amazing what can be discovered in the depths of the sewing room!  Items forgotten and never remembered, items lost/misplaced, hand offs meant for completion.....and so on.  I started on the 2 book shelves and these 4 items were my discoveries of the day:   A stack of small layered raw edge applique blocks.....enough for a small quilt.   Embroidered hankie that will turn into a mug rug for gifting.   Magazine tear out with perfect instructions for making HSTs from strips.  Handbag pattern....the X Bag.
  These I set aside as small things I want to indulge in, as time presents itself or I need stress relief!   I also set aside a huge stack of books that I culled from the shelves......Sir Old Man's cousin gets first dibs on them.


   So here I am sorting and purging and the mail comes........a small package from JHittle of notions that I ordered!  Not pictured are the small snips and machine oil for use with the Featherweight.  The rotary cutter blades are generic and 10 to a pack.  Luckily the notions are small and won't be such a problem to move as the rest of the stuff.  A bigger problem is where to relocate for a week......probably in the garage for most of it, and the machines in the guest bedroom.  
  But today, I think I will piece strips on the FW as I catch a movie.....just to not think on it all.
Happy stitching.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Watercolor and workshop

  I didn't get a post done to share the watercolor experimental piece.  Last month I shared the collection of units made with 2'' floral squares.  I ended up with 12 of them.  The fused blocks started at 14'', and when the seams were sewn  ended up as 10 1/2''.







    I played with various layouts but kept returning to this style with the light areas spreading in a diagonal across the top.  In the end I decided to sash them together.  If you have visited before, you are aware that it is not a favorite technique of mine.    Yet, I thought it was needed for this top.  I used various very light florals as the sashings....to define the block units and blend where the light areas moved from one block to another.
  Then a band of 2'' strips were added around the outer side.  I am thinking it needs one more round of dark floral fabrics.  For now it is on the design wall.





 
 
Tuesday was a great workshop.  All eight were fairly new to the concept of blending fabrics and value.  A couple were very much worried about using different colors.....until I kept tossing in colors they hadn't thought to choose.  Anyway,  a few of the projects in process.  My photos aren't great but you can see how they began.

       







         
   I had them begin designing after sorting the values of squares.  Light areas were decided on and then the darker areas--usually at the bottom were laid out.    I made the rounds as they worked, pointing at areas that needed some tweaking.  And
always pushing the value viewer, and smoothing hard lines.

  The one fabric lacking.....light values!  We flipped a lot of squares over to get light enough values.   No surprise there, so before another workshop, I need to scope out more light values.





 

   At the end of 4 hours, everyone had a fused piece to take home and sew.   I asked for finished photos to share here, so I am expecting some really good results.

  Sir Old Man was useful as always...beyond lugging and toting the supplies, He helped iron some final pieces!  I could not teach without him.

   I ended the day with a short nap, and long shower.  Pure bliss.

Happy stitching.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Fortune cookie says.......


   My fortune cookie contained a very specific message for me last week.  It was a kick in the pants actually.  Here I was feeling bad----sinus infection, weak, and feverish----feasting on Hot and Sour Soup and the message came.

Is anything more finger pointing than that?  Who has been peeking in my head?    There are no coincidences in life....things happen for a reason even if you miss the point.  Believe me I got the point on this one.  Let nothing stop you, no matter where you are.   Just keep getting back up.  

  The tree crew returned to grind up two stumps and check that we were happy with their efforts.  A resounding yes.....even though we have tons of things left to do.  They gave the featured Black Pine a good shaping and trimming.  It now looks like a sculpted tree rather than a huge bushy thing.
    The tree specialist said the severe pruning would  or could cause a shock to the trees and shrubs.  They might be slower growing this season.  He words were to the effect they needed to re-group and rest a while.  Once again......another person's words were directed right at me.  I get quite frustrated/upset/annoyed even when I need more rest than usual.   So this double whammy to me needs to be remembered.


     Enjoy family time this weekend.  Happy Easter......happy stitching.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hang in on the fence!

  
     Isn't this cute!  I saw this on Facebook at Quiltville Open Studio.  Apologies to Hannah, I think,  who posted it for stealing her photo.....you can't pin from FB.  What a pain.  She hung her quilt block sign on a fence portion that hides the trash can!  I so love this.  Since I have a woodworker around I think I could get him to work on something like this....big grin! 



   I have been resting/recouping/ etc. from the second round of antibiotics.  It was not an infected tooth but a sinus infection that jumped up and grabbed me.  The dental work did cause some facial swelling/tissue damage that provided a perfect environment for the sinuses to flare.  Perfect season for it too....the pollen is everywhere and turns us all that yellow-green.


  In the meantime, the tree crew came by twice  and removed 2 trees and trimmed up lots of overgrown trees and shrubs.  I managed to pull a few weeds and trim up a small rose bush one morning.  I just needed to get my hands dirty.  
   
    I have made little progress for the month's plans.......other than sashing the watercolor blocks.  I hope to get it pressed tomorrow at least.  And maybe get the 9  patch pinned for quilting this weekend.  

  Just back from doing a trunk show for the Busy Bees in Fountain Inn....a large fun group.  I have been saving up energy for this.  It was a great time and big thanks to Sir Old Man and Tony Fig for helping out with the quilts.   The workshop is next week and it is full.  So I am really looking forward to it.  
Happy stitching.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

New month, more plans

   I am glad March is behind me.....my face/jaw is back to normal size, and antibiotics will be finished up today.  Time to look ahead and make new plans.

 I did well getting thru the plans for the month, all done with no new starts.
  Quilts are stacked for the guild program and handouts and packets ready for the workshop.

   March had a finish.....
Lavender Scents, the floral bargello.  This is a small size lap quilt, 38'' by 50''.


  Watercolor blocks.....12 completed.  I plan on getting them joined with sashing for a small top.










   And a final assembly to a top for the 9 patch blocks.  I also cut and made the binding for this quilt.  I will be using  2 fabrics to make a flange  binding.  This quilt top is 59'' by 63'', so it will be the quilt project of the month.....lol.




  I am keeping plans on the light side for April......

  • Pin and quilt the 9 patch.
  • Add sashing and join the watercolor blocks.
  • Continue leader/ender 4 patch units.
  • Guild program for Busy Bees Guild.
  • Workshop for Busy Bee group.
And some yard work needs to be done.....right now I am pulling weeds in the front bed after the tree crew removed two trees and a few over grown shrubs. They will return next week to finish in the back.
Knock on wood....I return to the dentist for the crown in 3 weeks.

Today is April Fools for most people.....but it is Happy Birthday to our daughter. 
Happy stitching.




Monday, March 27, 2017

Bargello questions

    Emails and questions about the bargello quilts I have done came in over the weekend.  Everyone asked for the pattern.....I can only give you the book for the technique, you must plan for yourself.
    I refer to them as bargello, but truthfully my projects are more of a "bargello-style".   The most recent one, Lavender Scents, is done  in the matched bargello technique, but the previous ones employed the technique Eleanor Burns teaches in Quilt Trip Quilts.    Find the book on her site, or Amazon, or if you are lucky in a used book shop.  I did!



    Her technique uses a dropped square so that you do not match every seam.  I have done several Trip Around the World quilts this way.    You still end up with the staggered effect of a traditional TAW quilt.


 And like the commercials say...."But wait there is more."
 


Toward the back of the book  in the gallery of quilts are luscious  quarter trip quilts.  They inspired me to experiment with blending some fabrics for a waterfall background.
  Evening Serenade is from 2010, and is the same technique, only it is  a quarter of a TAW.  This is Eleanor's quick trip!  This was so successful I went on to make a few and even one for a wedding gift.

 So here's a collage of bargello and bargello-style quilts.


  Top, left is the wedding gift quilt....quick quarter trip.
  Top, right.....Catching the Light from 2015, florals, quick quarter trip.
  Bottom, left.....Lavender Scents.....matched bargello in florals.
  Bottom center.....Just Go with the Flow....blended, quick quarter trip.
  Bottom, right.....Shenandoah Colors.....from 2009, king size, quick quarter trip.

  It's fun to look back and compare similar quilts and styles.
What have I learned -----

  •  My natural inclination is from left to right :)
  • Deciding on the color way is the first step, and the hardest.  
  • Be sure to make a color card chart like the book says!
  • The narrowest sub-cuts I like are 1 1/4''.  The narrower the strips are cut, the faster the pattern drops when sewn back together.
  • My favorite border is the mix leftovers on Go with the Flow.
  •  I love the  technique of Eleanor Burns.....faster and less matching, and less chance for me to make a big mess.   

    After the dental adventure last week, I now seem to have developed an infection with swollen face, sore teeth, etc.  Sir Old man tracked our dentist down---he was at Comi-Con---and got antibiotic ordered in.  Hopefully, that will work and clear me up by the end of the week.   Dr. Scott called at 8 am this morning to check on me....I have to give him daily reports this week.  Such is my life :)
Happy stitching.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Priceless

Today I  had a dental appointment.  We won't discuss it except to say 2 hours in the chair is too long.  I will return next month.
  And then I  saw this today from Accuquilt.  Grab a kleenex and watch......  It is worth the 4 minutes.
  And there is a pdf of the script...... So God Made a Quilter. 




I will be better tomorrow.....happy stitching.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Does it smell like Spring yet?


  Just in time for Spring.....Lavender Scents is finished.
    When I was searching and mauling through fabrics in the stash closet, I found about 1/2 yard of the purple that I used for the outer border.  Ah, just the right purple to make the purple tones in the bargello pop.   Then a very dark green for the inner border to frame the design.    The binding was a chance discovery.....cream background with the perfect purple swirl design.  Note here.....I buy fabric because I like it for the color or the design.  I don't buy a complete fabric line so that everything matches.  The fun is in the search thru the stash :)
   Quilting detail.....a light lavender thread by Aurifil 50 wt.  The center design got an all over large meander....not too dense.  The outer border was done in swirls....mixed large and small.  All were done free hand, no marking.  I just make it fit as best I can.




 And for Janet.....here's the full photo.
  For several reasons,  I named this one Lavender Scents.   The body of the bargello has a lot of purple touches in the fabrics.  Second, I love the smell of lavender.  Third, my sense of smell has become quite acute with this health thing.  I become overwhelmed walking into the grocery store and smelling all the goodies in the bakery or deli.  The lavender candle on the counter doesn't have to be lit for me to smell it.









  I did the corner trick for the label this time.  A printed square that I added fabric to to enlarge it to about 6''.  Then a fold on the diagonal and added it  to a corner before binding.









Here's the post  with more details of the stitching.  I began this project last year and only got part way through the stitching when I got delayed at the hospital.  I chose to use all floral fabrics for this quilt to create a watercolor bargello.  Anyway,  I picked it back up in January and am very happy to have it completed.

Size is  36'' by 52''.








  Spring arrives Monday....and the warmer days too.  I will be overseeing some yard work as the flower beds have gone wild.  A crew will be coming in to cut back some shrubs and trees for us.  Those big tasks I/we can no longer do.  The shrubs by the front porch will disappear and I plan on a scented area instead of just green.  Wonder what plants I will choose.
Have a great weekend and happy stitching.  

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Stitching time

  I got some stitching time in today.
 I finished off the free motion quilting on the bargello top.   Large meandering in the center section---nothing shows too much on all those floral prints----and swirls in the border to finish it up.
  Then I turned to the design wall.










   I wanted to show how much the size reduces on the water color projects when the seams are sewn.  On the far right are the "fused to interfacing" units starting off at 14''.  The smaller four units have the vertical and horizontal seams sewn.  They measure 10 1/2'' now.  In case you are wondering ....sewn units are 75% of the original size.    They sew up fast and easy, and I am doing leader and ender 4 patches between rows.


 

  And a thank you to Susan, aka "Sarge".  She claims to have been carrying this zippered bag around for 3 months.  She made this for me for Christmas.  Isn't it a beauty!  I love, love, love the red and she did a great job on the zipper too.  I know that was a labor of love because she doesn't have a sewing background.  Boy, she has come a long way, baby.  Thanks, Sarge.....hugs.

  Haven't gotten a lot accomplished.....cold weather and low pressure systems wreck havoc on nerves and joints.  But tomorrow will be warmer, and I plan to work on the binding for the bargello.  Happy stitching.    

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

From Guild night

feather bed quilt pattern by Anna Maria Horner (This is a free pattern in the make section at annamariahorner.com):   We had a guest speaker, Anna Maria Horner......  You may not know the name exactly, but I am sure you know the quilt at right.  The Feather Quilt was here last night.
 Anna walked us through her journey to arrive at quilting.....designing, making, experimenting, and her love of color.
 She is self taught, and so her approach is a bit different from more traditional quilters.  She was designing fabric patterns before quilts.  So her more modern take on quilting was fun to see.


    

Sorry for the fuzzy pictures.
   This was a variation of her feather quilt that she made for her son.   The feathers were done via applique on this one.  Take note of the borders.....lots of lots of strips left over from the piecing for the feathers.   I think I will snag that  idea.   I really liked her make do approach to finish this up.







    The colors were strong and vibrant in this quilt.  She took inspiration from the fabric design to venture into designs with the Dresden Plate blocks.









This quilt used fabrics in her design line that were yarn dyes.   The colors are more muted and appear as the plaids and strips here.
 Again, floral motifs from Dresden plate blocks.
I was blown away with her no rules style...angles, and squares, some things matched and other parts don't.   Talk about being adventurous:)  Nothing has to be set in stone....just pleasing to your eye.




   Even though I took several photos of this one...all were fuzzy.    It was outstanding!  The floral motif appliques were vibrant and fun, and set on gray backgrounds of varying value of light to dark.  A nice blending.  The hot pink was unexpected and give lots of life to this one.
   Her story about the finished size for this was that she planned it, and forgot that the block set on point was larger in the end.  It ended up bigger than king!







spinning.blooms.200.jpg

  And I loved this cute little wall hanging size.  Her original idea was to make four units and create a large quilt.   You can see her stylized flower patterns here.  This is a free pattern on her blog.....here.

Be sure to check out the other free patterns she has too.





  A fun night and great program.    I always need a good jump start to get my inspiration moving.  Happy stitching.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

No reason

  I added a few more of the colorwash blocks to my design wall.  Not that they will stay in this arrangement,  I am enjoying the view right now.   And I am beginning to do the sewing of the fused units.  That way I will have a better perspective and reality  of the size.

  Yesterday I worked on the bargello piece and added a couple of borders.  The borders really altered the feeling of the piece.  No photos.....keeping you in suspense.  Lol.




   No reason....just because, he said!  Sir Old Man knows I am battling and struggling with the weekly B-12 doses.  I am feeling stronger and better with the shots more often.  I am riding the stationary bike....right now I am doing 3 miles.  I will move up the 4 miles next week, I hope.    My vision seems more stable too.

  One of the  draw backs is the hot flash.  At least that is what I call them.....they are more like an oven roasting event.   More overwhelming than anything I ever experienced.   The other thing I battle is the brain fog......It can come on suddenly and stay for a while or disappear just as quickly.  While putting on the borders to the bargello, it hit and I could not figure out which strip went where.....I could not remember how to attach the border.   It was time for a nap to let the fog dissipate.
    Yesterday I caught the lesson on  Handi Quilter Live featuring Helen Godden from Australia.  She is a free motion instructor for HQ.  She did a few demos....like how to do a faux buttonhole applique stitch with the HQ16!
Great tips too.  They usually do a live session once a month.
  A gentle reminder to me.....time changes on Saturday.  At least no one around here has been making statements to confuse me :)  Happy stitching.  

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The 9 patch top

  A few rays of sunlight this morning gave me the chance for some photos of the 9
patch top.  Looking at the photos I had to giggle a bit.  I am sure Janet at Rogue Quilter will know why immediately.    She commented on my last quilt of circles  that she caught the colorwash effect I got by grouping the values together.     I really put this one together randomly.....with no thought to grouping colors or values.  And right off I see dark values at the top and bottom...lol.  It is who  I am and what I do.  I can't escape it.
   One minute I think ....add a border.  And the next I think no.  I am going with no border as it is 58'' by 63''.  That is large enough for me to deal with, any larger and I would struggle with it.   That's settled!



   I have been sorting through some magazines......For projects for Sir Old Man.    I found several, but these 2 I am very interested in.  The small cabinet is needed in the sunroom for storing table runners, place mats, and etc.  The bookcase.....we always need a bookcase :)
   A few projects should occupy him for the spring and summer.  A small system is going into the shop that should take care of the heat/cool and the humidity.  That tax refund at work....!



Confessions of a Fabric Addict: Stunning Stars #6 - "A Star Is Born"!  Tutorial for this one!:
From Confessions of a Fabric Addict
    OK....I saw this at Sarah's blog,  Confessions of a Fabric Addict .   She created the cutest baby quilt in her Stunning Stars series.  So simple and so striking.  She used 6.5'' squares and shares a super tutorial.  This one is too good to pass by.  Be sure to visit and say hello.    I could see lots of variations....string stars on darks, plaid stars for men, and floral stars for me!!  Thanks, Sarah, for sharing.

 Happy stitching.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Playing with fabric squares

  Just some play time over the weekend produced some large units for a watercolor...of sorts.   I had some short type pieces of fusible interfacing that I use in the watercolor wall hanging.   I cut the interfacing  to 14'' square pieces and just started laying out  2'' squares of my floral fabrics.   These 6 pieces are fused but not sewn yet.
   Each large section is just blended from diagonal corner to the opposite corner....dark to light value.  I pinned them to the design wall after I pressed the squares down.    Now this could be interesting......if I changed them around a little.


  This layout is spaced out a bit, maybe for a sashing or a floral strip to join.  I am not sure yet.  But I like this layout better.   This could turn into a nice lap quilt.....I will think about it :)

  For me, this is stress relief.  I am sure it would induce panic in some.  Wonder if I have some more interfacing.....!

  The 9 patch blocks are all joined......I thought I would leave it borderless.....but it looks so unfinished, and forlorn.  I need to let it simmer a while, and that lead to the playtime with squares.  No thinking required.   Happy stitching.  

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March is on

  February had a couple of finishes...small ones.  I shared the blue pinwheel table runner before here.
 Over the weekend I finished up the binding on the place mat with plumes.  I like the movement and texture on this one.






  And the 9 patch blocks are coming together finally.  I have 3 other sections like this to get sewn together next.    So this is the main plan for March.....get the 9 patches sewn into a top.  Then decide if I want border or not.







     Since the circles are done ...here if you missed them..... I have just the 9 patch to put together and the floral bargello to border.    Since our seasonal temps are rising quickly, trees are in bud, and the flowers are popping up, this bargello from January will fill the seasonal need for color and floral fabrics.    It has been breathing and waiting for its turn under the needle.    Simple plans for this month.....Work on the 9 patch and the bargello.....

  • Border, and get ready for the quilting!  
  • Pull quilts and wall hangings for the guild program I am scheduled to do in April. 
  • Prepare for the workshop to follow.
  • Continue the Rainbow challenge blocks.
Health notes:
  I had the appointment with the eye doctor yesterday.  My vision has slightly improved from 4 months ago.  His words were "Be aggressive with the B-12 therapy.  Listen to your body and what it needs."   He is a man I admire and respect.   I had the impression he felt the doctors were being too slow to react to my needs.....I agree.   The up and down of the B-12 levels wears me down.  I sense that my body is trying to heal all the many areas and systems that have been affected, and so the B-12 needs are great.   All this to say...shots are now weekly.....per me and Sir Old Man agrees.  My saga is wearing him down.

Isn't the adage for March...in like a lion, out like a lamb?   Temps are to be in the upper 70s today.  Expecting huge storms across our region this evening, so after the dental appointment, we will hunker down.  Tomorrow I will stay in and sew, promise!  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The rest of the circles

   I needed this finish for the month.....I needed the satisfaction of seeing a project to its end.  But what makes this special is the story it tells to me.
    November 2015, I began the year long journey of the Quilty 365 challenge. Make a circle a day and in a year you have enough for a large quilt.
I sailed along until May 2016, and ended up in the hospital and rehab for months.






    Included in the circles are fabrics that create a picture of memories.....events, trips, people I hold dear, and some special fabrics shared from blogging friends.   And several cardinal fabrics claimed a spot too.
    During the months of therapy, I would go thru the stack of circles that I had, laying them out in different ways.






   Lots of floral fabrics--of course---and sewing notions are there too.  A few duplicates worked their way in and I let them have a place in this story.  They are a reminder to me that I often do repeat quilt patterns because that pattern or design fills a need in my creative soul.  
  I broke up the border on this one by inserting some extra squares and a few small circles made just for the border.   I like the contrast, and change in the fabric and size of the circles.  It says, "Don't take yourself so seriously".






   And don't forget to flip this one over!  I had some extra circles.....half circles, and a couple of full ones....but not enough to complete a full row on the front.  I stitched the half circles together and created the offset row for the back.    There was a lot of labor in these circles and halves.....I did not want to waste a single one.









   A better back view shows the quilting better.  Through out the center section I used a meandering curl.....between the circles and over the circles.  The stitching is open---not dense--to have a softer feel.  In the border I used several motifs....feathers. swirls, stacked teardrops, leave and vine.









The label was sewn to the back before quilting.


  This  is called "The Rest of My Story", a companion to The Therapy Quilt.






I thought it was interesting to compare the different arrangement for the layouts.    The Therapy Quilt (on the right)  has 3 extra large circles with selected circles laid out block to block around them.  A solid border finishes it off.

The Rest of My Story has a staggered layout with half circle blocks at alternating ends.  The border is broken up with the added squares and circles.
   And that's my story for February, it seems!  Plans for next months....up next.  Happy stitching.  
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