Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Mixed bag

  I am continuing to piece...no pinning or quilting for now due to the pain in wrist and hands.  When the grip is weak, it is better to just do random piecing.  So I have a small mixed bag of blocks for projects to share.

  The Easy Breezy leader and ender project from Bonnie Hunter has a few blocks completed.  The small tray on the left has a good stack of sorted paired parts for blocks.I am clipping the finished ones into stacks of 10,,,,so 11 done so far.

  Bricks and Stepping Stones is a pattern also from Bonnie under the Free patterns here.  This is really an unfinished leader and ender project from years back.
  I am using floral 2'' squares for the small four patch units.  Then these are set in the corner of more solid / tonal fabrics.
Bonnie's original pattern is set a bit differently into long rectangle blocks.  This is just another variation.

    What I am really trying to piece....5'' spool blocks....and the leader and ender units go in between sections of this one.   A few blocks / triangles got a bit wonky, but they can just join the fray.    I have about 30 of these  to date.

   I have a written list of sizes for cutting the different parts for all three of these different blocks.   So obviously the same fabric will appear in spots in each of them probably.
  From one 2'' fabric strip  I might cut a 5'' strip and 4 squares for the spool block, and also 3 1/2'' pieces for the Easy Breezy block.
  Then I can sit and sort and put together fabrics I like for latter piecing.

   On the home front.....I got out of the house over the weekend when we ran a few errands.  A quick stop at Big Lots with masks--ugh--for a new small electric chopper.  I found the 3 cup size which is a bit bigger than the one that died.  I should be able to use this for chopping leftover roast for enchiladas!  Good thing :)
   Not so good to see was the massive amount of construction and changes taking place around here. They clear cut land and trees to put up homes and apartments, then will eventually plant pencil twigs to replace the old growth.  Sigh.   Then we saw another couple of acres cleared for a new grocery store.  Fine, if they keep the shelves stocked.  I guess it is the growing population moving here that is keeping our shelves slightly bare.
  And lastly.....bad storm a few days ago, and I remember hearing an extremely loud crack and flash.  This morning Sir Old Man spotted the tallest pine in the back leaning, dying, and split at the base.  Lightning hit.  He is calling Lupe to take care of it.  Oh, and the earthquake.  LOL....yes, there was an earthquake of 5.1 in NC yesterday morning.  It was felt here, but no damage seen here.  More shaking on Monday morning, very light.  I am thankful for that. 
  Off to do some therapy sewing.  Happy stitching.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Out of Focus

    If you are like me, you are tired of being home,  confined, masked,  feeling bored and abandoned, and so on.  Everything is just "off", mixed up and out of focus.    And that is just what this quilted wall hanging is!
  It's not lovely, it is just sort of out of focus.   It will serve as a reminder to the future about this year.

  I made stacks of small string pieced blocks....about 4'' in size. Half dark to half light, or close to it maybe.  Lol.
 I sewed until I got tired of making them.  That took about 2 months.  Surely this will be over by summer.

  I started piecing them together.  I mean I wanted it finished and done, by the time all was right in the world.   Row by row...... June came and things were getting worse.  Rows joined and stitched into a top.  Then it was hot and July.  The world was hotter and the virus spread even faster.  Surely next month would be better.
  Well, August arrived, I finally gave in and quilted this thing.  Quilted with swirling loops in an all over pattern.   Things are not much better.  Little improvement to note.  Just out of focus.
  Out of Focus wall hanging.....about 30'' by 40'', string blocks in offset barn raising pattern.

     This year has been slow fast time for me.   Long slow days, but the weeks/months have flown by.  It's Monday, and then mid-week, and the weekend comes again.  Repeat....over and again. 
   I have a hard time believing it is August already.  Even more distressed that this ugly monster is still playing havoc in our lives, to say nothing about the other stuff going on. 
    I have several piecing things going on, like the latest leader and ender, a few spool blocks, and some 4 patch units.  They are more random rather than productive.  They suit my pensive mood for now.   The faux madras design is on the design wall waiting to be pinned.  The backing arrived this week.  It can wait a little while longer.....no one is going anywhere. 

  2020 was to be a year of perfect vision.....and here I am Out of Focus.
Happy stitching.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Pin cushions again!

  This is the last batch for now, anyway.

   The first 3 are fairly plain ones. The two on the left used part of a damaged linen doily I first showed.  Some machine quilting on them.  On the others I made I did not add machine quilting.  Vintage crochet trim on the one on the right.

  A small one with a bluebird print with lace and a bird motif added.  It's about 3'' square.  A favorite!

  The one is front turned out really nice.  The print featured butterflies on tan and I just framed one of them with fabrics and lace.  It's about 6'' long.
  The larger one on the right is about 5'' square.

  I had several emails with questions about the technique.  First I was inspired by Kelly Cline and her vintage linen pincushions. 

 I figured out what way worked for me.

  • I used batting as my foundation to attach fabric and lace in crazy patch technique.
  • I added lace as I went and motif or special bits when foundation was covered.  
  •  My filling is crushed walnuts shells purchased from Amazon. 
  •  I fill thru the back rather than in the side seam....see photo.  It is easier to whip stitch the opening on the back for me.  

   I am not selling them.  I will sell lace and trims...contact me via email if interested. 
I plan on donating these to the quilt guild's boutique for next year's show.  So I have plenty of time to make a few more....such fun.

  I also uncovered a small dresser scarf that I embroidered way back when......I guess I was in my teens when my neighbor, Betty, taught me to embroider.  She was also instrumental in teaching me to sew.  I plan on seeing if I can get that machine quilted soon.  I cleaned the sewing room yesterday.....all fabric back in its place, and the lace container organized and put away for now.  I can see table tops and Hot Legs can breathe again. LOL.

  I count this all as a win as I am now motivated to work on a project.  Pain or no pain, I hate being so down that I don't want to stitch a bit.  It may be partly the heat but a greater part of the blame lands on the monster called Covid 19.  It has sucked the interest and mojo from my creative spirit.  I am so over this, and really want and need to find some normal in my life.   I know most of us feel much the same way, so you know where I am at.
Stay cool, and happy stitching.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Three pincushions

  Three pincushions done!  They are quite addictive, as there are so many variations to explore.  The long style on the right is strip pieced with batik scraps and added a couple of pieces of lace.
  The daisy trim one on the left turned out so pretty.  The rose motif was from a bridal lace I was given.  And the one on the bottom features a section of a lace collar for a young girl's dress. 

  I have more to fill and finish up but this morning was devoted to clearing off table tops in the sewing room.  Stacks of bits and pieces to put away, but all is now cleared and sorted. 

 The heat is relentless and the humidity is thick and heavy.  Much too hot to even sit outside. 
  Sir Old Man came home with a surprise after a trip to Ace Hardware.  We added  it--- small flag with a special symbol---to the back walk by the Japanese Maple.  It's like the one shady spot near the house and can be seen from the  back patio.

  Stay cool.  Stay safe.
happy stitching. 

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Mid month progress....

  July is here....and we are all so hot!  Our common remark is, you can wear the air here.  At least the sun is shining.  Right?

    Little by little I worked on the batik project.  One or two rows joined every few days and finally it is a top.  Now I see a few spots I should have moved.  Isn't that the way it goes?  But for now it is what it is.  It is just intended for a sofa throw.  I need to order some backing fabric and then it can get quilted.


   In between the joining the rows I started on the annual leader and ender block from Bonnie Hunter.

  Once I got into the rhythm of the block, one row joined made one block!  It worked perfectly for this project. 
  So I set up a tray of  pieces clipped together for a block.  As I work thru scraps and such I will put more together thru the year.  I have about 8 completed here!

  The last few days have been dog days of heat that just sap your strength and energy.  After a quick doctor's appointment this morning, I determined I was going to sew, be creative, push myself to do something.  Anything! 

  So I had seen a small doily in the sewing room.  I don't remember when I pulled it out originally, but it had a small tear in the corner and thus did not get used for what ever I was working on.    I cut off part of it and sewed.......   Inspiration came from Kelly Cline quilting on FB.   Her pincushions are beautiful!

  I stitched it down to a soft tiny print piece of fabric.  Then added some small quilting in the plain areas, and put on a backing.   This will turn into a pincushion for the guild boutique  (probably) next year.   I just need some crushed walnut shells.

  Just completing this little one, inspired me to find my own style for special pincushions.  And within and hour or so, I was moving right along. 
  Note:  My first love of quilting began when I discovered crazy quilting.  All that beautiful embroidery and lace!  I have since sold most of my threads and embroidery yarns, but I still have a large tub of laces and trims.  Many are antique, some were gifted to me, and others culled from sale bins at Mary Jo's. 

  So the natural part for me is to mix accent fabrics with lace and trim, mixing the new ones and the old ones.  I am going to have a very difficult time sharing this purple one!  But I think I will make a few more in a similar vein :)   I wonder how the laces will look on some of the batiks scraps?  Just thinking of combinations.  This could be a few days of fun.  Now to send Sir Old Man to the store for more crushed walnut shells!
Happy stitching.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Looking for motivation

  I am beginning the month of July, looking for motivation.  Hoping for inspiration too!   The month of June was very slow, and non-productive.   So I was very happy to see Bonnie Hunter post a new leader and ender challenge for the year today.     Just in the nick of time for me....and it is squares which I have tons of :)
  I have been doing some simple sewing and I mean really simple for June.  

 I found a project sheet saved from somewhere years ago, and decided to sew up batiks.  I have lots of batik scraps and a huge envelop of charm squares.  I know I won a couple of packs years back and never used them.    The original design had everything lined up so that the inset strips matched up.  So for a couple of reasons I decided to flip the arrangement in pairs.
  First, this is a scrappy mix of batiks....each side of the brick is not always the same fabric.  I tried to be close in color and value when possible.  My goal was to use up all the charm squares in the baggie.  
  Second, visually for me the mixed version was more interesting, not as modern looking.  The arrangement seems to keep the eye moving, so the unmatched fabrics are not as noticeable.  It reminds me of the old madras plaid look.  
  I have another couple of rows of bricks to sew and press before I begin to join it all together.  That's why I was happy for the new leader and ender.    
  While the weather is better and I am having less pain, I hope to make a dent in prepping the leader and enders  before beginning the assembly.  

    On Facebook, the challenge is going around this month to share a quilt each day for 10 days.  And to name and challenge another to do the same. No details or such required just quilt photos.  Sure makes the world a prettier place....lol.   I am on day 3 of sharing .   Just an idea to pass on that others might want to try in their areas.

 The fragrant Lilies are in bloom right now.  It is heavenly to catch a whiff of them as you walk past.     The blooms are huge and so pretty.

 I am trying the new Blogger....not sure I like it.  Why the change?  Oh, well, new and improved it not always better.  
Happy stitching. 

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Using some bounty!

  Have not been doing much of anything in the sewing room.  Just spending some time outside and enjoying the weather and garden.
  Neighbor Farmer Steve left some bounty on the front porch....early cucumbers.  And I turned them into lunch  yesterday.....Cucumber Bacon Sandwiches.
  Easy to make....and make up as you go along.  Light and crunchy for lunch on the patio.

  Combine for the spread:
  3 Tbs softened cream cheese
  2 tsp of Ranch Dip Mix
   (  I buy my Ranch Dip Mix in bulk at  Hochstetler's Country Store because I use it in everything)

  Slice cucumber thin and place on paper towel to drain moisture.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper....lightly.  Meanwhile  fry up bacon until crisp.  I cut bacon slice in half before cooking as I was using small croissants for the sandwiches.

  Slice croissants in half and spread both halves with the cream cheese spread.  Layer on 3-4 slices of cucumbers and top with bacon.
  Next time I want to try adding some spinach and see what Sir Old Man thinks.  Or maybe I will just make a nice tossed salad combo using the rest.  Summer's best, I think.

   Lots of things in bloom right now.    After some heavy rain, I found these stems bent over and almost broken.  Old fashion gladiolas make a simple and colorful bouquet.   Later that afternoon, I noticed they matched the runner on the cabinet!
  Daylilies are in full bloom  and the daisies and coneflowers are awake too.  So it has been great to enjoy them.
  Sir Old Man is extending the sun shade canopy---from 10 foot to 16 foot---this week over the patio/deck as the new sail was delivered.   It should open up our space a bit.


As for sewing....a small bit not much.  I haven't been very inspired.  I found a big stack of batiks matched up along with a print out from a magazine from years back.  My batik pairs are not all exact matches, random leftovers, and gifted fabrics.  But that is fine by me, I probably won't follow the pattern layout exactly either.  So with the heat settling in, I hopefully will get motivated to see how it works. 
  I ran out of fusible interfacing for the watercolor projects.....oh, horrors.  That stuff is scarce as hen's teeth.  I finally broke down and ordered some gridded interfacing which arrived this week.  So maybe another floral project in the future. 
  Like everyone else, I am ready for life to return as it was.....but know it isn't happening soon.  Fair warning to all.....before the next major event/pandemic/apocalypse  buy fabric, thread, interfacing and toilet paper!  Stay safe and sew on. 
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