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.

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