Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Unexpected

   Last week I was quilting.....meander quilting....the water color wall hanging.   I had made the blocks for  a class  using the strip pieced method.  Tutorial for this method is  found here.    This type of water color work is strictly dark to light in a block format.  I had at least 3 sets of blocks for this that were left over from demonstrations.

 I had put them together, but goofed.  The top row was sewn on upside down.  It did not look quite

  So a little ripping and re-sewing.......add a border  and finish it up. 

     At first I was not happy with the border color I chose.  But the more I worked on it, the better I liked it.
I began to notice how the border color pulled out the odd blues and greens in the floral fabrics.  Overall it softened the effect.   It became the expected.  Exactly, something different than I usually use. 

   Then I found the perfect print for the binding....with touches of dark brown on the light turquoise background.  I liked the way it finished off.

  The Unexpected---wall hanging.
  30'' by 36''

Happy stitching. 


Monday, September 17, 2018

It was minimal for us

  Today all is fine.  The storm has passed directly over us with very minimal damage to our area.    We had some winds on Saturday, and rain began in the afternoon.  Sunday was more rain....light mostly.  But it was a painful day for me....I found out on the weather last night that the eye passed directly over us.  That low pressure had been giving me high pain for the weekend.

  We did hear from a cousin who rode the storm out in Wilmington.  No power, all wind and rain for 72 hours.  Damage to the roof from limbs with some leaking spots.  Little sleep with the house temperature at 88 degrees.  They had no flood damage being on higher ground,  but they sought relief in the car on Sunday afternoon.  They got it out of the garage and turned on the AC for some soothing cooling.  That must have been a wonderful few minutes. 

Thanks to all who checked on us. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Little Knot

  I had 6 blocks that did not get put into my large Garlic Knot top.  I thought they would be a good table topper.....A Little Knot.

   Before binding, I was just a little disappointed at how plain it seemed.  I debated on applique in the border or even adding additional borders.  I went ahead an quilted it up and then had the light bulb moment for the binding. 

 A cute flange binding would give this one a pop of extra color and hopefully improve it after all.  So the blue fabric became the flange and a floral print is the outer binding.

   A Little Knot is 18'' by 24''.

Now I am more motivated to get the large Garlic knot pinned and quilted.  I need to piece up some backing.....that always slows me down for some reason. 

  The water color wreath wall hanging is under the needle already.  I have the center section quilted and just need to do up the border. 
Then on to bigger things.

Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Storm update

  Thank you to so many for the notes and emails about the hurricane.  We are prepped and have been keeping an eye on updates.  If you have never lived near the coast you may not understand how things change in the forecast.  That is one reason we prepare----rather safe than sorry. 
  So this morning, it has changed again.....for the worse for us that are inland even. 

Hurricane storm track

  It appears the storm is expected to take a dip south or even slide south along the coast.  Then it will probably curve north right over our upstate area to North Carolina mountains.  The rains will be our main concern as well as tornadoes.....all this is late Saturday into Sunday. 

I saw this post on Facebook just a little while ago.

Image may contain: water, outdoor and nature
The Quilts of Compassion Disaster Response TEAM is currently monitoring Hurricane Florence. We are planning a deployment to the area!!! We will have detailed information once landfall has occurred and Tier 1 organizations have responded to assist with immediate needs of food, shelter, clothing and medical attention. Quilts of Compassion is considered a Tier 2 Disaster Response Organization that responds 6-12 weeks to an area AFTER all “basic needs” ha...

.....I will be going thru my extra quilts today to see what I can share.   
Happy stitching.  

Monday, September 10, 2018

Looking for Signs

  Yes, I know it's the season and the hurricane is heading in this direction next week.  Yes, I know the calendar says it is mid-September and it should be cooler.  Yet, without a few signs I would not believe that Fall is on the way.  It is about 84 degrees with 80% it feels like at least a 100 degrees outside! 

It is way to hot to have a quilt in the lap for quilting even at the machine.......So  I went looking for signs.....

   The small shrub rose in the back is having the second blush of blooms.  If the Fall is mild enough, some of the roses will hang on until November.    The hummingbird feeder hangs just above this bush.  It is good to enjoys the beautiful blooms and watch the antics of those hummingbird above. 

   Lady Writing Spider returns once again this year.  Always by late August, we can find one of them in the back garden.  This year, we have spotted three webs with writing. 

 Usually I am running the other direction when I see a spider....had a very bad reaction to a bite once......but I like to see her work the magic into her web.  She is a huge one, easily 2'' long, and the writing strand is about 6'' long.   Oh....and please ignore the weeds that appear in the midst of the browning daylilies:)

Image may contain: outdoor

    And this sign must be a sign.....I know I illegally saved it, but could not resist.
I would love this to post on my sun room wall.  It's a perfect reminder that tomorrow will be a better day. 

   I always can use a swift kick by Dr. Seuss to keep me looking up, remind me the glass is half full, and just keep getting back up.  For sure, Fall is coming. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Getting to know you at Stitchin Therapy

  Welcome to my spot in blogland.  Feel free to sit a while and  enjoy my creations.  Many thanks to Benita at Creative Space for setting this up.

String Me Along
 I'm Debbie and I'm a quilter!  No surprise there.   I began my blog about 9 years ago, and consider it my special spot on the globe.   I am a traditional quilter who loves floral fabrics, and found my niche in watercolor quilting. 
    I do multi-color, multi-print quilts....translate that to scrap quilts and watercolor quilts.   String Me Along was inspired by a quilt in a magazine.  I used tons of strip scraps and drew all the applique myself.


 This  wall hanging is called Persistence.  It is a watercolor with a thread painted Goldfinch that I  appliqued before it was quilted.    It has a narrow gold flange to set it off from the dark border.   

   Before I get too wound up, I need to point out a few things on the blog tour.

  • Under the banner I have various pages listed that highlight and link to posts and photos of my quilts and techniques I use.  
  •   A page of watercolor techniques, patterns, a few tutorials, and several years devoted to quilts I finished.
  • In the right hand column, there are handy sections to use.  Talking About is the labels used on posts and a quick way to search for what you are looking for.  
  • There is also a search this blog box to help find info, too. 
  • And email.....this is a quick way to get a reply or help for information from me. 
  • And my blog roll.....a lot of great bloggers who inspire me.  Stop by and visit them.  

  In the last 3  years, I have been focusing  on very traditional quilt patterns that could feature my extensive floral fabric collection.  See the page here of The Year of Florals.    
   While I thought it would only last a year, I am still exploring patterns and repeating favorites.  
 My blog banner photo is a simple traditional pattern using all floral fabrics. Many Scrappy Trips pattern is from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.   I am a big fan of  hers, so you may recognize many of her patterns that I have used. 

  I also do free motion quilting.  Swirls seem to always fill up my quilting space.  And feathers took me a year to conquer, but are now one of my favorite motifs.   The plume motif was inspired by a magazine ad, so I can't claim it as original.

   The trail of plumes turned this border into something quite special.  The more plumes I added, the more I wanted to add.  They really became addictive.  
   I have used this design on table toppers, place mats, and table runners too.  

  Since I can never pick my favorite quilt,  I will end up with my most recent finish.  
Once again a traditional half  log cabin block set on point  made using my floral fabric stash.

  Little known things about me----
I love coffee, cool mornings, and sunsets.   I love to read a good book that takes me to places unseen, and adventures unknown.   I grew up in Orlando, Florida before Disney turned the sleepy town into  a nightmare.   

  I hope you enjoy your visit, as I appreciate your stopping by.    I would love to see you visit again, and share my quilting adventures.  Now venture over and visit some other quilters and don't forget to enter for that big prize.

Happy stitching.  

Friday, August 31, 2018

Ending August ....bowled over

  Around here we wait for the end of August.  The last high humid days linger yet we know they will be gone soon.   Nothing much goes on until a cool crisp morning arrives as an early signal.  Coffee on the back porch to enjoy a little time before the day begins.  I hear the wind chimes and notice the Writing Spider has begun her annual task of web spinning.  All things say fall is near.

 So with that in mind, I have been making bowls.....lots of rope bowls for gifts.  I am quite sure the guys at our local Ace Hardware think I must be washing a lot of clothes, but not so.  I am making gifts to give.   I finally think I have the technique down and a system that works for me.  This is the "naked bowl version".....Sir Old Man laughs at my nickname for these.

Here's the link I used....Rope Bowl .

 Fully wrapping the rope  with fabric strings was killing my hands and upping the pain level.  So I found this version where  only short scraps are wrapped at intervals.  It gives an interesting design and really short bits can be used.
  I also figured out the loop at the end is the best for me.  It is very easy and looks good.  I used neutral thread ---top and bottom.  The zig zag setting that works best for me, my machine and this cording is 4.8 wide and 1.8 long stitch.

   And in the mail....a squishy envelop from Nicki of Texas!   She was a wonderful support when the doll quilts were being made for Mrs. Claus.
A wonderful surprise.   A lovely fat quarter of fabric that she loved, and held onto.    She said she hated to cut into it, but wanted someone to love and use it .   I am glad to be the one who will use it!

  Matter of fact, I intend to cut a strip to use in my leader and ender project.  Here are some of the units I have so far.  This is Bonnie Hunter's Jewel Box Star for this year.     

 So I am ending the month with one finish.
I shared it here earlier this month.....The Distant View.

And baskets have been made....with probably 2 more to do.

The Spider Web top is complete and on a hanger for the future.

I did not pin or quilt the Garlic Knots top....maybe in September.

 I have bread to make for the freezer,  as well as a loaf to eat.  Visitors are expected throughout the month  so I plan on baking and freezing a couple of meals.  I find it necessary to plan ahead as I am still having a challenge continually with my balance.  It limits my walking and standing .  That explains why I over do on good days.
Happy stitching.

Friday, August 17, 2018

I was ruthless

  I haven't done a lot in the sewing room this week, but I wanted to get some fabric put away that I pulled out of the closet.  You know how that goes probably.  You have to re-arrange things to get it back in, and in the process you find things.  Don't even think about snickering because it could happen to you.

   First find......a water color wall hanging unfinished......and sewn together wrong!  I remember this one.  Oh  yes, from just before I got so sick 2 years ago.  This was from the last strip pieced class I taught.  I brought home the sample parts and made the last few blocks, decided to make a wreath out of this set and then proceeded to sew the last row upside down or something.  Awful!  I must have hung it up on a hanger and put it in the closet.  Then I went downhill from there.

   So I did the unsew thing and put it together correctly.  It needs a border, but it is up on the design  wall  for now.

    Second find.....was about 20  fabric squares for string piecing foundations.  These were 8'', so I am thinking they are leftover from when I made the Faceted Jewels quilts.

I started to just put them back where I found them on the shelf but caught myself.   I was going to have to face them someday.  This lead to another decision.  4---count them four--- bins of strings are too many!
    I just began to cover the foundations until all were done.   I still need to trim and square up half of them.  I can find a use for them down the road.

 Then the ruthless work, make that fun began!  Any idea what I mean?
   I still had strings and bits in 3 bins and I wanted more control, so I began tossing.  Not over my shoulder like Eleanor Burns would do on TV, but into the trash.  All those small bits and ends, all the really ugly fabrics---where do they come from----fabric too frayed to use.  All gone.  I only saved pieces long enough--6'' or more--and fabrics I liked.  There was miles of one fabric and it all went away.

   Now, I feel in control.  One bin for dark colors, and one bin for light values.   I did keep some triangles that work good for the corners.  But the strings are reduced and I feel better for it.
And I am strung out after this.

  Of course, we all know that fabric bunnies will nest in there and reproduce abundantly.  Every quilt or project I complete, creates more strips and strings.  Does it work that way for you too?

What ever you stitch, enjoy it.
Happy stitching.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Coming in September

   Benita from Creative Space blog and Victoriana Quilt Designs is setting up a meet and greet page on her newly created blog.  She wanted a way for new bloggers --and old-- to introduce ourselves and find things that interest us.  
  I will be participating beginning September 4th with a blog post.  If you are interested in sharing your blog and joining the meet and greet, please contact her to join in.  
Happy stitching.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Looking for floral fabrics?

   I had emails asking about my floral fabric collection/stash.   I have been collecting a long, long time, so many fabrics I have are not available.  While floral prints are not the rage, there are some available.  I am going to steal a few photos of fabrics to give you an idea.

From Connecting Threads:

  While this collection looks promising, really there are only 3 or 4 fabrics that I could collect for a water color quilt project. 

1.  A good swirl with light background.
2. Large floral with some  greenish background .   This        should work.
 3 and 4 are the same print.  Both have a light background.  The green one will be a good one to bridge from a medium value area to light.  The creamy one will be a good light value with little contrast. 

If you click on the link to the website you can view the rest of the collection.  Remember I avoid anything that is dotted or looks dotted from a distance, and I avoid red backgrounds  and tonals too. 

Botanical Blooms collection looked good at first glance....until I clicked on a larger view.  Too many dots and tonals.  I did see one print, but no yardage available for it. 

From the

Botanical Society Medium Allover by Fabri-Quilt Discount Cotton Quilting Fabric by the Yard
This is a wonderful print from Fabri-Quilt.  Large and small flowers with background that will blend well.  I think I need to order more of this as I use it a lot.  And it is only $4.99!

May 22, 2018 - Fabric-4183.jpg
  An old fashioned style print that is a good dark.....dark background with small colorful blooms works well in everything.   Maybe an older Cranston print, but it still works.   There are several others here, and I love the good prices :)
   As I run across good fabrics, I will try to share the links.   Thanks for the questions. 

  No sewing this week....baking, and other stuff, but tomorrow looks clear.  Could be just me and the machine.  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

My glass is half full aka The Distant View

   A finish finally on the floral log cabin quilt.  Big sigh.   I was beginning to think it would be a couple more months to pull this one off.   Yet, my wrist felt better after  a week of rest and I finished up adding the binding.
  I began working and planning this quilt in March.....this post.... has the block recipe/cutting and measurements that I used.
Then in this post in April I was beginning the layout and talked about second guessing myself in the fabric choices.

  Along the way, I did work on another quilt or two, and one had to get quilted.

   Fast forward to August and here we are!   She is done...quilted and bound.
Floral log half cabin blocks are set on point.  By paying attention to  the placement of the values of the fabric, the last round in the log cabin becomes the "trellis" that we are viewing the garden through.

      Placing the lightest value fabric at the top creates that dimensional effect of the garden in the distance.

    The setting triangles are a deep green with a faint tonal print.  I like the way it sets off the blocks and makes things pop.
While I quilted swirls thru the blocks, I stitched feathers in the setting triangles that make the border.

   To carry the florals to the edge, I debated on a floral binding.  Instead I decided on a flange binding using the floral as the faux piping.  I love how it turned out.

  I had printed up a label a few weeks ago, calling this  A Distant View.
You can see the binding flange here.

  Anyway, as I was sewing on the binding, my mind wandered.  I thought about  the trick this block creates and fools the eye to think we are viewing the distance.  And it came to me that altering our position or stance creates a different view.

Insight:   We can look backward, or forward.  Hindsight gives us wisdom sometimes.  Looking forward gives us options, choices we can make.

  So I decided this quilt should have a nickname.  And noted it on the label.  My glass is half choice as I move forward.   The last 2 years have drained my glass, yet I will not let it keep me down.  My life, my choice.

   The Crepe Myrtles in the back are almost finished with their glorious blooms.  One low hanging branch  over the deck needs to be trimmed back, but before we do that, a photo or two.

    My Glass is Half Full aka A Distant View is 55'' by 66'' .  Machine pieced and quilted with swirls and feathers.  Binding is a 2 fabric  flange binding.  I have used this several times before as it is easy for me since I only machine stitch now.  Tutorial can be found at Missouri Star Quilts.

  I'm going to relax a day or two and just enjoy this finish.  Then I will jump in and pin to quilt the garlic knots top.   Enjoy your week, and stitch on.

Happy stitching.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Artisan Bread day ends the month

    Once again I overdid it and pushed my joints/wrist/hand beyond a good and sensible level.  I wanted to claim I finished the floral log cabin quilt  this month.   I really worked over  the weekend on the border feathers, and got it done.  Got the binding cut and ready to sew.  Then yesterday I knew I had over done it. 
   So sewing was put on hold yesterday and today and the wrist support was donned.  With the pouring rain (yay!), it made sense to just make some bread.  I found a very simple, no kneading, recipe for crusty artisan bread.  The video made it look easy and tasty. 
   It was simple to assemble, a little stir, and cover.  Eight hours later it filled my bowl. was quite tasty for such a simple effort.  Chewy and a good crust smeared with butter.....yum!
  I did not cook it covered in a dutch oven, but rather made two smaller boules baked on parchment lined pan.  Sir Old man just sprayed/misted with water half way thru the baking. 
   Next time I want to add fresh chopped rosemary with sea salt on the top.

So my month did not end as I envisioned.  Instead July went like this........

  • Garlic Knots top assembled and detail photo of the border.
  •  Cutting and sorting began for the new 2018 leader/ender challenge, Jewel Box Star.
  • Spider Web string blocks were made, and joined into a top.  Border is in the works.
  • Quilted the floral Log Cabin photo yet.

August plans---can you believe it is August already?  Two days of rest and the inflammation is better.....I will be good and rest the wrist the remainder of  this week.  So August plans are simple.  
  •   Finish the log cabin quilt....trim, square and bind.
  •   Finish the spider web string top.....border to be added.
  •   Pin the garlic knots quilt.
  •   Don't forget the coiled baskets for Christmas gifts.

 And I will read and enjoy the rain  for now.  Happy stitching. 

Friday, July 27, 2018

Stabilized by a border

    On my list for the week was to join the string blocks for the Spider Web, and to add the first border to stabilize the top.
  I cut a 3 1/2'' strip of the various black and white prints for that first border.  I just wanted to mix them up like I did for the "star" parts.

  Once the rows were joined I measured--twice--both top and bottom to check the width.  37''---right as it should be.  That was easy, so I cut the correct measurement for top and bottom and got them attached.  I held my breath as I stitched.....strings are notorious for growing  every minute they are free.

  Then I measured sides.....sure enough one side was expanding as I looked at it.  That side was gaining weight faster than I can eat chocolate.  It was 3/4'' larger on the second measurement.  So I took the average of both sides and cut the borders at  57''.   Quick to the machine and tame those bias edges.  Deep sigh of relief when all came out evenly.
    For some people bias may behave nicely, and just lie there all sleepy and relaxed, but I have never had such good fortune land on my sewing table.  So I generally have to work harder to get even sides/borders etc. when working with bias.

   Now, I can finish up the stringy piano keys style border.  One tip here that I learned the hard way when making coin strips.
  Work in short sections of about 12'' - 15''.   Trim and even up the sides, top and bottom of strip section.  Then move on to joining the sections together for the needed length.  This tip will keep your border straighter instead of curving or listing to one side like a drunken sailor!
    I have enough sections for 3 sides, just a few more to stitch.

      But first, I need to match up some more leader/enders!   I almost emptied  what I had prepared, just 4 triangles left to stitch together.     The blue bin was full of  parts to sew as L/E while making the border and joining the blocks of the Spider Web. 

So I will add to the list to press the 4 patches and HSTs, and match up some more.

  Here is one quarter section for the Jewel Box Star that is the new L/E.  I couldn't resist trying at least one section to see how it would look.   Should be a surprise!

Happy stitching. 

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