Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Temporary sewing room?

  While the foundation work is going on, I am temporarily sewing in the office.  It is cramped but doable with the Featherweight.   I have Dr. Blake Mysteries and Miss Fischer's Mysteries lined up on youtube  to keep me company.
   I can close the doors into this room, but I still hear the drill, the banging and hammering going on.  My nerves are on edge, but sewing on the rail fence blocks is a distraction.



  I am using the double 4 patch parts as my leader and ender as I am joining rows.  I also have a small water color to sew up.

  Just back from fixing lunch......the house is upside down and furniture from 3 rooms fills the family room.  I have to go around to get to the kitchen.    The sunroom  floor is leveled and the ground is stabilized......what a relief.  I almost started crying.  This afternoon they are working in the master bedroom and bath.......at least we will have a place to sleep.   I have a doctor's appointment in the morning, so that is a small reprieve.
Here's to quiet and happy stitching.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Reflections

  The closet is half empty of the fabric stash.....of course the spare bedroom is a wreck!  But a little each day and we will be prepared for the upset/repairs.   And thanks for all the reasons to buy more fabric.  Blogging friends are such enablers:)
  I still have my machines available for now, so I wanted to finish up the water color throw.    Binding is now on and the label too.





   Reflections  is a small lap throw......48'' by 60''.  It was an experiment and play time for the layout.  I had never tried this type of layout before.
   I began with 14'' square foundation of fusible interfacing.  That means  the block units would be 7 squares (2'') across and down.  Each block unit was shaded and blended individually.  I could have joined the blocks together without the light sashing, but for some reason I preferred the sashing this time.    I added pieced strips of dark florals for the border.


   I do like how the light shimmers across the blocks like dappled sunlight through a tree's branches.

This experiment is done! And I  get to scratch off a project on the to-do list.  That is always satisfying.



Friday, May 12, 2017

Good stuff in small packages



  If you have a treasured Featherweight machine.....read on!
  My machine was a little sluggish when I sewed on her last week.  Then I read a post on Connie's blog, Freemotion by the River.  She shared a couple of items she ordered from the Singer Featherweight Shop.   So I made a visit.

Black
Photo from Singer-Featherweight Shop
  Yes, I need one of those.....an accurate seam guide.


And a new bottle of oil, and some grease.....Sir Old Man will know exactly how to use these two:)




Gift Certificate (incremented from $10 - $1000)
Photo from Singer-Featherweight Shop
Let's see, what else can I find.  An LED light bulb to help me see better for that accurate seam allowance.  Oh, an a replacement thumb screw for the presser foot.  Just little things to help get things running smoother.

  And get this everything comes tied with rick rack!  So cute, and a wonderful touch.

There's even a page called "Schoolhouse".......all information and tutorials and details a FW owner/lover will need.   Be sure to download and print out the page with the oiling details.
And lest I forget.....very quick service with free shipping.  A plus plus for me :)
   Stop by and check things out.
   Sorting, shifting, and moving is on schedule.  I even spent some time cutting and prepping for a future leader and ender project.  I won't be bored next week....just stressed as they lift the foundation of the sewing room.

Thanks for all the enabling for my buying more fabric.  Got to say Catpatches took the cake.  She said, "Life is short.  Buy the fabric."
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Why do I do this?

  I have to laugh or else I would cry all day.  My plan was to clear out the fabric bins and stuff on the floor of the fabric closet today.  Plan made.  And then I went to guild meeting last night.  I took a small bag of items to Pat for the guild boutique  at the quilt show in the fall.  I returned home with...............



  Seven Fat Quarters!  It was vendor night at guild and I get out so rarely.  Or that was my excuse.  I won't even think about putting them into the closet yet!





  And a pre-printed project to finish for the guild boutique too.  The panels and backing with polyester batt----not sure about that---needs to be finished up.  It is suppose to be done as a door hanging, raw edged and dimensional.   I may turn it into a nicer banner.  The two smaller pieces will make up as cute mug rugs, or maybe a table runner.   They are having workdays once a month to make items to sell.  I don't have the stamina for a day long event, so I brought one home.    LOL, like I have nothing else to do!  But I have a few months to do this, so I should quit whining.

    Then Sarge, our VP, announced Diane Knott would be here next month for lecture and workshop.   She has a new book out....should be good.
Anyway, I am off to clear the closet floor area at least.  And answer text from Cousin Diane.....happy stitching.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The first week of May....

  I have been quiet.  I have been sorting/clearing  things out.  I have done some sewing.  I have done some baking.   I have done some free motion quilting.  I have done some  fabric cutting.   I like reading that list.  It makes me feel I have been productive....especially when I think I haven't.  


  More rail fence blocks sewn.  This one is turning into a very happy feeling quilt.   I debated on playing around with the setting, but I like this just fine.  I don't do a lot of zig-zag settings any more, as that style setting messes up my sensory input and balance.   No chevrons, please.   This is subtle enough I can handle and enjoy it.





I cut more strips to the 6 1/2'' length and sorted them into light, medium light, med to darker, and dark value stacks.   I will sort and pin them into block units and then put them together.  



   I spent a couple of afternoons free motion quilting the water color throw.  I added an extra row of dark floral fabric strips on the outer border area.  It has a better balance now.   I used an all over large swirl for the quilting.   And I love the over all effect of the light flitting across it all.  Now it needs a trim and binding.


   While I was cutting the floral strips for rail fence blocks, I decided to cut  up the extra short lengths into 2 '' squares.  Whoa.....I ended up with a very large box of squares.  Since I am doing another workshop this month, I had planned to use the extra squares for the class packets I give out.    Needless to say, I have more than enough.  So...........I marked a piece of interfacing with some guide lines and designed this small piece with some of the extra squares.  It needs seams sewn......and border, etc. Designing the top is a good tension easing process for me.

  I also did some errands with Sir Old Man.   This time I found the 90'' wide muslin at the J store......but no Heat and Bond Lite at all.   How can brick and mortar stores expect to get my business if they never have regular items in stock.  I hate running around to several stores to find  regular items.  Sir Old Man complains about the same thing at the home improvement places.  So today I hit Amazon for the Heat and Bond....and a couple of other things.

OH....and I added a new page to the blog----Year of Floral Quilts.  So original, but I reference them a lot and figured they deserved their own spot.
Happystitching.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Cleaning up April

    With two quilt tops pinned yesterday, I finished out the lists of items to accomplish for the month. I didn't get the 9 patched quilted this month, so carry it forward.   I have the labels printed off and ready to border for both of them.  That's a plus!

   So I spent a couple of hours cleaning out the upper cabinet of the Hoosier where I have my ironing space.  With it empty, the guys can easily move it on sliders for the foundation repair.  And I won't panic over it being damaged.  Some things were tossed, lots of ribbon and beads to pass on to Sandy, and one box of items to keep.  I feel better about it all.

  I finished going thru books and magazines to empty the book cases.  Wow, I have 2 boxes of books to pass on, and plenty of magazines too.  I was proud of myself for only keeping 4 magazines!  Of course, I have a good stack of tear outs to sort later.



   And another find......three beautiful old hankies.  I knew I had some of these around.  Not sure if they were part of my Mother's collection, but probably.  I am looking at Pinterest for ideas on how I will use them.  Under consideration  are blocks to make a table runner, or three butterfly blocks for a small wall hanging.  They need a good wash before I do anything with them.



   For May, I am planning another light month.  Rather than not get things done, I hope I can do a little.

  •   Quilt the 9 patch top.
  •   If time, quilt the watercolor top, too!
  •   Second workshop for the Busy Bees.....prep the handouts and fabric packs.
  •   Work on the blended rail fence blocks.
  •   Continue leader/ender 4 patch units.
  •   Move the fabric out of the stash closet......for the repair work. 
I am making some bread this afternoon.  Happy stitching.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Now on the design wall

  The design wall was empty, and I can't stand that blank space staring at me.  So I put up a few of the rail fence blocks I have been building.   Once again the floral strips are being used.  Four of the 2'' strips make up these units.  At least one dark, a couple of mediums prints, and one light  used to create a blended effect.  Then they just zig zag across and down.   Once I sort and pin each batch, the sewing is mindless and perfect to do while watching a movie.

  The sorting, purging and such is still continuing a little each day.  I have emptied 6 different leftover project boxes that just got put back on the shelf.  So a benefit is I am creating space, as well as finding useful leftovers.  Of course, I probably won't have any problem filling it back up.

No automatic alt text available.
 And then I saw this on FB from Mary Jo's----a mecca of a fabric store in Gaffney.   That's me.  I have promised, tried, avowed this very thing.  And then I laughed at myself and went shopping for one more piece of fabric.
  I haven't tackled the fabric stash closet yet......tomorrow maybe.  Ha!
Enjoy your day....happy stitching.

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.  
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