Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Prayer

I saw this prayer in the newsletter from Stitchin' Heaven.  I thought it was too good and I should remember it more often.
New Year's Day prayer......
Dear Lord, So far this year I've done well.
I haven't gossiped, I haven't lost my temper, I haven't been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish, or overindulgent. I'm very thankful for that. But in a few minutes, Lord, I'm going to get out of bed, and from then on I'm probably going to need a lot more help.
Happy New Year and happy stitching.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Stitching on the Braid

Last night I finished the scrappy mountain blocks--delectable mountains--that I had cut.  After the pressing I realized I had cut too many "downhill" blocks and not enough "uphill" ones  (the mirror image).  So I hit the stash again and cut the needed squares to make some more "uphill" blocks.  Here's some of the "downhill" ones.  I am using 10 1/2 inch squares to begin and then the strips are cut to 2 1/2 inches.  The block end up unfinished at 8 1/2 by 10 inches.  Since I am adding more blocks that I need, the quilt will end up large rather than a lap size. 
I have been piecing using the featherweight machine.  It began running heavy and needed a good cleaning and oiling.  And a new needle....remember it goes in sideways!   Even so, I love that little machine.
And back to the french braid......I had one run done and have begun the second, which is about half way done.  I wanted a photo to be sure I was happy with the colors.  The second run does not start with the same fabric as the first, and the third and fourth will be different too.  The photo shows the two runs....unpressed or trimmed.  The piecing is very easy once you get the system down, so the rest should go together quickly.
 I found some batik on sale while in Asheville that I believe I can use for the separator bands, as it has the blue, purple and rosy tones in it.  But that is for another day, I need to finish the piecing first!  That's why I usually have 2 or 3 projects going at once.  I get bored easily and my mind starts jumping around to something else.  By switching back and forth between projects, I manage to get things finished.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lots of snow and lots of food....

Our few days in Asheville, NC was wonderful.  There was lots of snow on the ground, and thankfully the roads were mostly clear.  The cabin was just a dream with a huge long covered porch and a bird feeder.  So guess what was the first thing that greeted us....a cardinal, so I knew we were welcome here.  We did a little bit of shopping and found  a quilt shop, The Cotton Company, and of course I added to my stash.  And I found the Isacord thread that Leah at 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting reccommends.  So I can't wait to give it a try.
Christmas Day was cold and rainy.  I got up early to put on the roast and guess what?  It was still in the freezer and I went into a panic.  After a strong cup of coffee,  I calmed down and gave thanks for the frozen roast.  We got it thawed enough for the crock pot, so all was not lost.
The Corn Pudding my daughter made was so good and even better the next day.  So here is the recipe.
Corn Pudding
1 box of Jiffy corn muffin mix
1 can whole kernel corn--drained
1 can of cream corn
4 eggs--beaten
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp  sugar
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 tsp of fresh nutmeg
1/2 C melted butter
Mix all ingrdients together.  Pour into greased baking dish--about 1 1/2 quart dish.  Let sit for 1 hour.  Then bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes till the center is set and lightly browned. 
I did manage to get blocks stitched and cut into pieces for assembling for the scappy mountains.  I only got one block completely pieced.  And that is okay, because as I finish it up I will have the wonderful Christmas memories to stitch into it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas

I spent the day making a list of items to remember to pack up tomorrow for our Christmas trip to a cabin outside Asheville, NC.  It is a new twist for us to get away over the holidays, just to have some good family time together.  Deana is really hoping for snow, so I am packing more food just in case.  
I have the featherweight packed up and ready to travel.  I did get some  fabric cut to begin piecing on the scrappy mountains.  It just seemed like the perfect take-with-me project while spending time in the mountains for a couple of days. 
Now for the hustle and bustle of getting everything together. 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Re-purposed cabinet

I just have to share a couple of photos of this cabinet.  My husband has been working for the last few weeks on this for our daughter.  Russ took the bathroom sink cabinet from her bathroom  (that they remodeled  this fall) and converted it to a work center for her kitchen.  Since the bathroom cabinet was only 29 inches high, he built a base for it.  He made the 2 center drawers (from dresser drawers found on the curb) to fill in the  original false fronts.  The cabinet hardware was original to her house that he cleaned and polished.  The final stage is the granite tile counter top and touch up painting.   A great Christmas present with the loving touch of a father.  A white cabinet that is really "green"! 

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Insights I have gained

It's the time of year when I reflect on the last twelve months.  I am not one to make new year resolutions, because I never keep them.  Rather I have found I can learn from my successes and failures and then create a plan for me.  I learned to make lists from  Pat when we were roommates just out of college.  She had a list for everything.  Over the years I developed the habit, too, and love the feeling of crossing things off when completed...done...finished...over with!   Thanks, Tricia!
So here's a list I have been making this year of insights I have gained from my various projects.
1.  Use fabrics I love.   For me that means florals, tone on tone patterns, batiks, paisleys and swirls.  I don't care for 30's and reproduction prints, or  many conversational  type prints.  Many of the latest "modern" fabrics are unappealing to me.  My "Turning 60" quilt took on a life of its own as I worked on it because I truely enjoyed all the fabrics in it.  Completing Deana's quilt of reproduction fabrics was a labor of love because I was bored with the fabrics.
2.  Use color to create a feeling or mood in the quilt.    "Autumn's Carpet"  done in batiks showed me this.  Right now it is hanging in the sunroom where I see it each day.  The background captures the bright sunshine and the sky as well as the changing colors in the landscape of fall.  The same goes for "Shenandoah Colors" from last year.
3.  Have a source of light.  Any of the watercolor quilts show this.  The concentration of light fabrics blended to dark create that wonderful effect of light.  Even in a traditional quilt or a scrap quilt this is good to remember.  The trip around the world in florals just glows from the center out.  One of our speakers at  guild mentioned this too.
4.  Extend the pattern into the border.    That is the hardest for me.  Until a couple of years ago, I always just added a frame style border and called it quits.  Doing the 9 patch pizzazz quilt spree---about 5 of them--I carried the leftover parts to the border to use them up.  I really liked the effect and tried doing that with other quilts.  In some of the watercolor wallhangings I spill the design over and let it become the border.  Some quilts need a plain border, but not all.
5.  Remember the rule of thirds for the focal point.  The rule of thirds is a design rule---Deana's education paid off for me too.  It is more pleasing to the eye to offset a focal point rather than make it dead center like a bull's eye.  The Dogwood which was the donation quilt  for the Alzheimer's auction was a joy to make because I really liked the offset layout.
6.  Be inspired to inspire others.  Do not copy.  I buy books and magazines, rarely individual patterns for quilts.  I don't do an exact copy of a quilt that I see.  Rather I like to take inspiration from the pattern, layout, or color selection.  How would a quilt look if...?   And I seem to ask myself what the quilt would look like done all in florals.  That was why I made  the "Carolina Fence" lap quilt.  Wonder how the cobblestone pattern will look done in leftover florals?
7.  Express yourself.  Quilting is my visual art form.  Things I love and enjoy find their way into my quilts.  I say that a piece of my heart is in each quilt.  Even the ones I give away.
  Wow, I sure can run on.  Think it is time to add to my list of projects for 2010, as about 3 new ideas came to me while blogging this. 
Happy stitching to all. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gifts from Deana

When my daughter showed me the scaves she was knitting a couple of weeks ago, I did my usual whine, "When do I get one?".  She brushed me off with the comment that she didn't have time this year.  She's a sly one!  She already had something better planned.  This is the photo of the absolutely beautiful snood that she knitted for me. It has scalloped edges and drapes so nice around the neck.   It was one of the 60 gifts for my birthday....and that's another story.  The snood is like a  cowl-neck scarf that can be pulled up to cover the  ears and head.  I love it, thank you Deana. 
She also gave me a notebook to use as a journal with the  label, My Alaska Trip.  We are planning a week long trip in the spring to Alaska and have booked our tickets.  I thought that was so special and today I made a quilted cover for it.  I used an "orphan" block and added scraps and fabric pieces to make it large enough.  The bluish-purple fabric was perfect to use  because it has scripted journal entries and line drawings on it.  Can't remember how long it has been waiting for a project to be used in.   That is the great thing about a fabric stash, just finding the perfect fabric to  complete a project.   Hope your stash grows often and is replenished with use.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Shenandoah Colors and Corn Chowder

It's cold here today for us.  That makes it a soup night.  Chicken corn chowder sounds good.  I have a base mix that I order from a place in Virginia.  I add a few ingrdients to cooked chicken and a few spices and onion.  It is so good, especially with home made bread.
We spent a week in the Shenandoah Valley about 2 years ago.  Just browsing and sight seeing.  We found a farmer's market in Harrisonburg and bought all kinds of jams and soup bases and had the best ice cream there.   We visited the Grand Caverns, toured a vineyard, went to the daylily farms, and toured the owner's private gardens, and the Green Valley book sale, of course.  When we got home I decided to capture those memories in colors in a quilt.  Thus the name is  "Shenandoah Colors".  I chose the deep purples and  reds of the vineyards, the golden hues from the daylilies and the Caverns, and the blues of the sky and mountains.   I used a variation of the trip around the world from Eleanor Burns, and blended the colors from light to dark.  And the quilt ended up being King size and we use it on our bed daily.   The photos are of sections of it....I have no place to hang it for a full size photo.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fall to Winter Banner and Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice is ready for the label.  It is an I Spy game quilt for Natalie.  I used 6 inch squares of all type of conversational prints.  I had a lot with hearts and flowers on them, hence the name of sugar and spice.  It is a long ride to Florida and hopefully it will take hours for her to count the hearts and flowers on this! 
On the label I listed a lot of categories to look for or to count like things to wear, things to eat, animals,  hearts and colors of flowers.  I used fabric with a cardinal on it for part of the label.  The finished size is 45 inches by 58 inches.  For the binding I used up a lot of extra leftover pieces.

The third watercolor banner for my seasonal series is ready for its label too.  The cardinal is harder to find on this.  He is hidden in the holly leaves fabric on the left near the bottom.
I called this one "Fall to Winter" because of the rust color fabric used on one side of the border.   The original fall banner ended up turning into an art quilt with the tree on one side and being too large to be a banner.  So I really need to come up with a winter banner.  I have a spring one that features an iris, and a summer one with the climbing rose.  I think maybe the winter one will feature a crocus. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Still Blooming and the cardinal

My old  world rose is still in bloom, even after a couple of frosts.  It is right outside the bedroom window and I love to catch the spot of deep red  from there.  The bright red berries on the heavenly bamboo, which is on the other side of the patio, are beautiful too.    I spotted a couple of cardinals at the feeders while taking these photos.  They always make me smile because the cardinal has become a personal symbol to me.  About 3 years ago I went through a very dark time in my life, and on top of everything that was going on I felt I had lost all my energy and creativity.  For months I functioned on auto-pilot.  That Christmas when I was unpacking the ornaments for the tree, I made a discovery.  I realized that I had a huge assortment of ornaments that featured a cardinal.  Some I had bought, some from friends, and a lot of them given to me by my daughter.  Then looking around the house at my  quilted wall hangings, again I saw a cardinal featured on many of them.  I found fabric with cardinals in my stash closet.  I noticed that many times I had used a cardinal graphic on my quilt labels.   I mentioned this a couple of weeks later to the counselor I was seeing.  His comment was that I might have found my symbol.  
I researched a little bit and found references to the cardinal as a symbol of hope.  That was it for me.  Today I use a cardinal in my quilts, either on the front or back.  It symbolizes the gift of my heart and who I want to be...energetic, one who loves life, and helps others when I can.  Even in the darkest of times, there is hope.  That is why the cardinal is featured in my "Turning 60" quilt, as a reminder of who I want to be.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Fabric Sale

Just ordered fabric again from ....I am very bad!  They have a good sale right now at 50% off  a lot of fabrics.  I needed some yardage for backings and found several at $2.49 a yard, plus I had a coupon to redeem. 
I put together an I Spy game quilt for Natalie and I am ready to pin and get it quilted.  Her 7th  birthday is Saturday and  I want to surprise her then.  It is very girly with lots of hearts and flowers, so she should enjoy it.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Winter Banner

Here is the winter banner in my series.  It is sewn together but not quilted yet.  I used the thread painted pinecones and branches as the accent.  The branch wasn't quite long enough, so I had to use an extra bit of fabric to extend it to the border.   It reminds me of the Wolf Pines at the back of the garden shed.  And Russ picked the border fabrics to use.  He is getting pretty good at that.
 And here's a detail shot of the thread painting.    I used a zig-zag stitch to attach the branches and pinecones, and then a lot of straight stitches to secure the needles. 
  A word to the wise....I used the Featherweight and the plastic 1/4 inch foot to sew the watercolor background.   The machine began to bind up and squeak about a third of the way through.  Cleaning and oiling did not help.  Finally it dawned on me to swictch  to the regular foot.  That was it.  The  finish on the interfacing was causing a build up on the plastic foot and making the machine drag.   Lesson learned. 
 It's time to make cookies.  And maybe stitch a little later.                   

Monday, November 30, 2009

Some more thread painting

I spent the afternoon yesterday practicing thread painting.  Just me and the machine, while Russ was in the woodshop.  These are the pine cones and branches from the online class.  I stitched onto 2 layers and solvy and tulle.  I am happy with the results.  I still need a lot more practice to get the holly leaves done.  For some reason they are harder for me.  Anyway,  I plan on using the branches on a watercolor banner--the winter version, I am currently working on. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

This year has flown by for me.  I pause to give thanks for all I have been able to accomplish, for the friends I have made, and for my family.  Tomorrow is baking day and of course the "Green Top Salad" that is our family's trademark dish that makes it a holiday dinner. As I was pulling the ingredients out of the pantry, I found myself smiling and remembering my nephew's comment one year that it wouldn't be Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without Grandma's salad.  The joke is they won't eat Grandma's salad with green jello on top, it has to be orange or cherry jello.  Yet the name remains...Green Top Salad!   I am thankful for those sweet memories and so much more.  Wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving and family time.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Artful Bras going to auction and Give me your Heart

The Artful Bras created by the Quilters of South Carolina are going to auction on ebay at the end of the week, and a book is now available.  Two of the gals in my Bee group created bras for this project.  A unique project with a lot of creative sure to check it out.  Their new project for this year was a small quilt promoting heart health for women.  Once again some very creative designs, and they are posted on their website.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

One Fabric quilt blocks and cobblestones

Friday night was Bee night and I made a big dent in piecing the one fabric quilt blocks...finally the 25 blocks are completed.  I even got the smaller ones pieced that will be cornerstone blocks in the border.   The top photo shows a few  of the blocks.  The rest have to be squared up so I can begin sewing them all together. 
This is very much like the 4 patch swirl technique, except you cut large triangles--corner to corner--rather than cut squares.  I did not "fussy" cut the fabric so the blocks are not perfect swirls.  I decided I would be happier with more blocks and less waste and could stand the imperfections.  In the second photo  you can see the fabric I chose to use.  It was a "show special" and the 3 1/2 yards was all that they had.  And as it is I may have to very creative in the border to have enough fabric. It should end up about 45 inches square, I hope. 
I have been following a blog called Exuberant Color for a few weeks.  Wanda is a prolific quilter and has an amazing sense of color.  I spotted her series that she called "Cobblestones" done in batiks and have read all the posts.   Since I have just completed Autumn's Carpet done in batiks, I have a box of  batiks scraps and pieces that I could not toss.  So....a new scrap project has begun to use those odd pieces.  This will be on-going for a while as I expect  a lot more scraps from the french braid quilt I will be doing in batiks too.  So here's a photo of a few of those that I have put together.  They are not squared up or trimmed to any size yet.  That is what is so great about this technique.  Start with what ever size square or rectangle you have, and add strips around it log cabin style.  You will end up with several general size blocks when you square them up.  So each row could be a different size block.  And the blocks will probably end up staggered when the rows are joined.  A very scappy effect.  Anyway, I think this  will be a great project at night for the featherweight.  No thinking or planning, just stitching. 
Tomorrow I will begin the preparations for Thanksgiving dinner.  I like to get a few things done ahead of time and stash them in the freezer so I don't cook all day Wednesday and Thursday.  Rosemary bread is the plan for tomorrow.  And then a little time for stitching. 

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Thread painting practice

I spent Saturday afternoon trying to do the thread painting tutorial from Shirley's blog at learning fiber arts.   And this is the result.  Well, actually this is the second try at the poinsettia because the first one was awful.  It's not so bad in the photo.  I don't think poinsettias are my thing, but I was pleased with the holly stem.  I just printed out the second and third tutorials she has for a candle, and the pine cones and holly.  So I will be working on them this week.   I am going to try the candle on fabric and peltex as she suggests.
 The poinsettia was thread painted onto red fabric using three shades of red, where as the holly stem was done on 2 layers of tulle and 2 layers of solvy stablizer.  You can see the difference in the thread painted effect.  I will probably use them on Christmas postcards....or not.  I need more practice and probably more thread!  I had to pick up 2 more shades of red on Saturday.  A lot of the effect depends on the right shading, and that takes threads in different values.
 I finished up a tote bag for an exchange at the Christmas dinner  for the Woodworker's Guild.  I found a neat fat quarter in the fabric given to me by a friend of my daughter.  I decided to use outside pockets on it.  But the quilting was a nightmare...I had to change thread 3 times and needles twice to find the right combination.  But I am very happy with the result.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Colors for French Braid Quilt

Color choices for this one is the challenge.  I thought I would try photos to help me decide which type of color run I would use for the french braid quilt.   My first choice was all blue to purple and quickly discarded as there was no life to it. 

The top photo is probably the front runner right now for me.  The fabric on the right will be the starting and ending point.  It has a golden tan background with the blue, purple, turquoise and rosy tones in the pattern.  So this fabric creates my palette.  The rest of the fabrics are laid out darkest to lightest by value, rather than by color.                                                                                                                                                          The second photo has the fabric groups in 2 color runs--the purple and rose and the blues.   And the photo below it is the same as the top (just reversed to make it easier to compare).  I will use the black as the accent square.  I plan on using a variation layout on the french braid.  I first braid will be colors 1-12, the second braid will start with #3 to 12 then #1-2, the third braid will be 4-12 then #1-3, etc.  Or at least something like that. 

I also plan to use separator bands between the braids.  I will probably use rectangles shaded like the braid runs.  I love the blended effect of color values and  prefer asymmetric designs.  So that is what I am trying to achieve here.  Since this is hard to visualize I guess I just need to jump in and try.   
But first to finish the one fabric quilt piecing, make a totebag for Christmas gift, and try the tutorial on thread painting from Shirley at learning fiber arts.   It's so true....I'm a quilter and my life is in pieces!  Have a great day everyone.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2 Guild Programs back to back

A help call came yesterday morning from our guild VP and friend.  The monthly meeting was that night and the evening program had just cancelled.   She was calling our Bee group, commonly called "the peeps", to jump in and create a program for the night.  So we put together a hands-on type program to make postcards for our guild exchange in December, and Sarge called it Peep Show 2!   I am glad I had just finished a few postcards up last week and had something to show.  Glad that is over!  This morning I did a scheduled guild program along with the same 3 friends for a local quilt guild on making labels for your quilts, and binding and sleeves--now called Peep Show 1.  Lots of great response and interest in trying to use the computer to create a label. 
Just seems funny I had posted both these topics here in the last week or so....guess I better be careful what I blog on about. 
Still piecing on the one fabric quilt.  And not sure I am satisfied with the first selection of fabrics for the french braid quilt.  Think I will head to the fabric stash and look for a second color way.   Then photos, that is what I of the color choice will probably help me plan better.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Quilting for PodBeLu bags

What are PodBeLu bags?  Knitting project bags that my daughter designs and makes.  Deana started knitting about 3 years ago and it took off from there.  She is a natural at almost anything she touches.  She has a funky design sense and loves retro prints and also very graphic prints.  So when she wanted to make a couple small bags for socks she was knitting, I opened my big mouth and and said I would quilt the fabric for her.  So here are a couple of photos of the bags.  She sells them through her favorite knitting shop, Baskets of Yarn in Charlotte.  They will be at the large Southern Christmas Show beginning this weekend. 
Quilting the fabric for the bags has been a great way to improve my machine quilting and gave me a chance to develop a couple of motifs that I use a lot in my quilts.  The stacked teardrops that fan out and create a feather effect has become a favorite of mine.  It is what I used on the quilt "The World is a Garden" and won Best Machine Quilted in our guild show.  I discovered 365 days of free motion quilting blog a few weeks ago.  Leah has created amazing designs and I can't wait to try a few out on the next batch of fabric for the PodBeLu bags. 
The one fabric quilt is up on the design wall, and I am ready to begin the piecing.  I am afraid it will be tedious and take forever.  So to keep me motivated to get the piecing done, I started auditioning fabrics for a french braid quilt!  Piece on one and plan for another....will see how it goes.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sweatshirt jacket

I finished up the sweatshirt jacket  a couple of nights ago and got it washed yesterday.  I cut hunks of blue fabrics--mainly tone on tone prints--and pinned and stitched them down raw edge applique style.  Then I quilted it all over with loops and swirls and a bit of stacked tear drops.  A lot of hours and about 8 bobbins of thread!  The next time, if there is a next time, I will not use a sweatshirt for the base but polar fleece.  It is such a pain working on the knitted sweatshirt and I would rather have a longer version. 
I do like the overall appearance, and love the mis-matched buttons I found in my stash to use for the closures.   Rather than add binding to the sleeve edge, I made a cuff that folds back about 1 1/2 inches.  Kudos to my Featherweight machine that just hummed along when I attached the binding and made the button loops.  I love that little machine! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Autumn's Carpet and postcards

It's peak week here for leaf viewing. So I spent the morning making fresh apple bread. I just finished the binding on a seasonal quilt called, Autumn's Carpet. I wanted to capture the effect of the colorful leaves spread across the yard. So I gathered leaves from my yard and my daughter's yard and used them for patterns for the leaves on the quilt. I had a stash of batiks that I used to create the background---using the Turning Twenty Again pattern. I just fused the leaves on and did machine applique and decorative stitches for the details. The stems are various yarns that I twisted and stitched down with a zig-zag stitch.
I machine quilted it with a bit of outline stitching and lots of swirls. It ended up about 55" by 75", a nice size lap quilt.
Over the weekend, I remembered that our guild exchange in December was to be a Christmas postcard. So I got busy and made three different ones. This time, instead of just using muslin, I created a "backside" for the postcard in my greeting card program and printed it on Printed Treasures. I used a snowflake graphic and changed the color of the snowflakes to match the front of the card. The edges were finished using Sulky thread. One more thing to cross off my to-do list!
Now to finish a sweatshirt jacket and get back to the one fabric quilt that is in pieces on the design wall. There are more ideas and designs in my head that hours in my days. Happy stitchin' to all.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Design Wall Completed!

The design wall is completed and I can't wait to use it.
We began today by laying the flannel out and ironing it flat on the floor. Then the panel with the slat support was laid face down on it. Out came the staple gun--another tool-- and each side was stapled in place on the wood slats. On the bottom corners I cut out a bit of the corner to eliminate the bulk. I cut about a 3 inch square bit out. We added felt pads, as bumper guards, at the bottom corners and across the center slat.
The upper corners posed a small problem, as we could not staple them like the bottom ones because of the hanger cleat. So I decided to just roll and tuck the flannel down as best I could and pin in place. I used 3 T-pins and stuck them straight down into the foam panel.
And here it is and already in use! Now, I only required a step stool to reach the top. Seriously, I will be able to pin up an entire quilt now, rather than just one section at a time. So I am very happy....and a huge thank you to my husband for his design and time to make this happen.
Next project.....I have just cut the squares to begin a one fabric quilt. It is from the book "Wonderful one fabric quilts". It is a black, grey and white wallpaper stripe fabric. Check back and see how it goes.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Creating a new design wall

I have been wanting a new and improved design wall in my sewing room. Until now I have been used felt covered display boards (the tri-fold type of foam core) that I simply hung on hooks. These provided about 4 1/2 feet square of space, which was fine for my watercolor wall hangings, but not enough for a quilt layout. A couple of my Bee friends use flannel covered construction foam insulation boards that are screwed/nailed to the wall of their sewing space. So I whined enough to my husband and he has come up with a design to easily hang the design wall and also allow it to be moved!
First, he installed a narrow crown molding ( about 1 1/2" wide) about 12 inches from the ceiling, and about 8 inches from the existing crown molding. The flat portion of the back of the crown molding was nailed to the wall into the studs. The top edge does not touch the wall, and will be the lip--or French cleat--that the design wall panels will hang onto.
The second photo shows how the
cleats will hang onto the molding strip. The thin slats shown hanging here will be attached to the back of the construction foam insulation board with construction adhesive. The third photo shows the slat attached. Not only will they provide additional support for the insulation, they will be what we staple the flannel cover to. The top portion of the hanger is a 5 inch piece of molding that Russ screwed to the thin slat. This makes a perfect match for the french cleat. Additional slats will be attached across the top, middle and bottom of each board.
Russ got to use a lot of his tools and gadgets for this.....stud finder, laser level, nail gun and compressor, hand saw, screw driver, and a few more I am sure.
The next step is to cover both boards with flannel and staple it to the back. I purchased a double brushed flannel 108 inches wides from my favorite shopping site, , for this. So check back for the next steps and see the end result.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

By the shed

I finally got a photo taken of my latest watercolor. I am very happy with how it turned out. Inspiration was the view of the garden shed from my sewing room window. I have problems with perspective...but the impression is right. I wanted the path to look like it flowed into the border but just could not get it right. Finally, I added the tiny black bias around the inner section, stopping at where the path was. That seemed to create the illusion I wanted. Adding the window to the shed (which isn't really there) was a stroke of luck to push the shed back and make it part of the mid-ground instead of foreground. I also used a bit of colored pencils for extra shading on the shed. Now to find the right place to hang it.
From Bee group last night----Sarge said to add a comment to my entry on quilt labels. Make a label and "don't write on the back of a quilt with ball point pen!" Got to love her. She's telling it right. I have seen quilters do that. It's a pet peeve of mine. That's part of why we put together a guild program on labeling your quilts.
I finished lesson 5 for the blogging. Hope you enjoy the result.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Lesson 3--linking

Here are a couple of great blogs I want to share
Blog 1 Quilting lesson online
Blog 2 Online quilting

Creating labels for quilts

I always name my quilts and create a label for them with details of inspiration, the pattern used, and who it is for. Why? This is my art form and I put a lot of effort and work into each quilt. They need to be signed, even when I give them away. Besides, I enjoy designing the label as an extra bit of art.
A few years ago I began using a simple greeting card program for this. I love the wonderful graphics in the program that make wonderful frames or borders for the label. I can usually find a graphic that just fits the theme or mood of the quilt. I create the label and print onto Printed Treasures sheets. Printed Treasures is a pre-treated fabric designed for inkjet printers. I try to create 2 or 3 labels at a time and use a whole sheet. But if I have a half page, or even a quarter page left over, I have found a trick to use. See the end of this entry for details.
I find it very difficult to hand stitch through the Printed Treasures, so I add 2 inch strip of fabric around all sides. I press under a 1/2 inch and spray starch it to get a crisp edge.
This photo is an example. The label is in a jacket I made from fabric my daughter, Deana, gave me from her stash. It was in black, grey and white with art deco-style ladies and graphics. I saved one lady to add to the label. The border graphic is a black line style that is art deco also. Then a 2 inch strip is added to all sides, pressed under and stitched to the lining.
Multiple graphics can be added too. For this mystery quilt label I used a full page. First I found the "footprints" border and set it. Then I ran across the wonderful profile graphic of Sherlock Holmes. I had to include it because I had named the quilt "Sherlock I am Not". I placed it in the upper corner area. For the title and the rest of the text requited 2 different text boxes to fill in the awkward space. To finish the label off, I used the "red herring" clue pieces (the tiny pinwheels), and leftover strips from the binding to create the border. Note that there is a second round of strips added on this one to have a good allowance to turn under.
Another thing I like about using the greeting card program is that you can easily import photos for your labels. That can really personalize the label and make it very special as a gift. One year my guild had a Red White and Blue Challenge. I made a celtic knot inspired quilt--from a Karen Combs class. The label had to be covered as part of the challenge. So I created a "book" style label complete with a knot closure. When opened you see the label text on the right and the left side has the photos of my Dad and Russ, my husband, who both served in the military. I used a celtic knot graphic on the text portion, and a military banner graphic under the photos. The two sections were created and printed separately and the joined with a 2 inch strip of fabric and bordered on 3 sides. The cover was strip pieced on the diagonal with fabrics leftover from the quilt and a narrow strip added to all 4 sides as a border. The cover was then stitched to the photo side pillow case style. Then turned right sides out. Only the text side is hand stitched to the quilt. The frog closure was then added.

I don't always make complex labels. Some are very simple with just a basic scrap style border. But I always include some type of graphic. This label is one one of my watercolor quilts, and has just the simple 2 inch strips added around it. One final note...when I create a label I always do a test print on paper before printing on the Printed Treasures. Then I have a file of ideas for label styles and graphics. I use these when I do a guild program presentation (along with my Bee group members) for other guilds.
Printed Treasures is too expensive to waste from typos or low ink! So I use every leftover bit. If I only have a single label to make and I have a small--quarter page--bit of Printed Treasures that needs to be used, here's a trick. Create label in the program and print it on paper. Check the size by laying the Printed Treasures over it. Hold it up to the light and check to see that the printed graphic and text fit and that there is about 1/4 to 1/2 inch on all sides. If your label size if too large, then adjust in the card program and reprint and check again. If it fits, then use scotch tape and tape the Printed Treasures --on all four sides--over the label you printed. Be sure the tape covers no more than a 1/4 inch on the edge of the Printed Treasures. Then place the paper with the taped on Printed Treasures section back into your printer. And print. You will have exact placement and no waste.
Ok...enough blogging and back to stitching.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

2009 quilts

This is "Turning 60".

I love the horizontal layout, it is so restful to me.

I do not usually do a lot of applique and this presented a challenge for me. After the first 30 leaves, the quilt began to take on a life of its own and the vines began to extend and twist more. There are sayings, and favorite adages written along the vines and around each leaf.

It is all about the journey of life. So to know me, read my quilt.

This is a trip around the world quilt done in the color wash technique to blend one row into the next one. I used Eleanor Burns technique with a little adjustment.
To get the fabrics to blend I needed to use smaller size strips. So I decided that I wanted the individual pieces to end up 1 and 1/2 inches by 3 inches. I then "back-tracked" through the technique and determined the correct size to use for the initial cut for the strip set.
Of course, I was short on 2 of the fabrics. But with this technique, I was able to mix in another fabric to complete the row.
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