Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Taking in the quilts

A huge stack of quilts, about 65 entries, are layered on the guest bed so far....that means 100 entries to go!  So tomorrow will be a long day.
  And a sewing lesson with Emily this morning.  She completed a pillowcase for the Shriner's Hospital and began a tote bag for herself.  Her "fun work" for the week is to begin her journal including a page for her ideas of things to make, and a page of her favorite colors. 

I am still refining the color wash.  I walk in and move a couple of pieces, change this or that, take a photo and..... then the phone or the doorbell rings.  Point being, I have not gotten much done on this.  Some areas look better and others still need help....lower left and upper right corners for sure.  But that is part of the design process, and I'll just keep at it till it says done.

When Carol dropped off her quilts, she gave me a great tip.  Make a pillowcase to go with the quilts you give to others from the leftover  fabric from the backing.  That way they have a pillow case to use, the quilt is "wrapped" to give in the pillow case, and the quilt can always be rolled and stored  in it when not being used!  Just love the triple benefit in this one.   Happy stitching.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Answering questions....

The first emailed question was about quilting the french braid quilt.   My quilt was done in batiks and  the runs were staggered when set together.  Each panel was about 9 inches wide, so it  had to be quilted down.  I did not want to use straight lines because the pattern is so angular.   As usual, I probably overdid it, but I used free motion to quilt a vine with curls and leaves.  There's a closer detail photo on the Free Motion Quilting page--scroll to the bottom.  Two reasons:  the curves and twirls create a lot of texture on the quilt once it is washed--I love the look of denser quilting on batiks, and the second....I like stitching curves.   I used meandering loops in the narrow strips between the black bands. 
 I have plans for a second braid quilt done just in florals---on florals curvy/wavy lines would be fine, because the pattern of the fabric will hide most of the quilting anyway. 
On the AK quilt, I saw a Moose, I also used a blended braid border.   I free motion quilted in large loops and swirls the border--confession time--to take in some fullness and stretching.  All braids have bias edges, and each time you touch it, it can stretch even when stay stitched.   

Second question  was about the jewel box quilt.  I went back and looked ......oops!   I started a tutorial  on the block construction and then apparently got side tracked and never gave details on finishing.  The finished quilt in shown on the Scrap Quilts page at the bottom.  Priceless Gems finished at 55 inches by 70 inches with a 4 1/2 inch border.  I used black for the background  and inner border strip and it required  2 3/4 yards.  All the other fabrics were scraps, so I do not have an exact amount used, but I would estimate about 2 yards for the rest of the fabric needed. The final border was whatever I had left of the black and 2 1/2 inch strips that were sewn into a piano key type pattern.  
Thanks, Jan, for the questions and catching my unfinished details.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oops...more fabric!

I thought I was de-stashing with the bow tie blocks.....I came home yesterday with 10 more yards of fabric!  Not purchased by me, but rather "donated" by a beautiful friend who is moving.  Thank you, Lynn, for your generosity and thinking of me and all my projects
It is very soft flannel and I rolled it onto  mini-bolts.  I have 2 projects in mind for it.  The first is to back the bow tie quilt, and second is for pillowcases for the Shriner's Children Hospital.  (The photo also shows one I made for Remy with the Clemson orange border.)
An added bonus:  Emily will get to practice her seams on the machine Lynn gave her and learn how to finish them off when she sews some of the pillowcases, too, next week.   Lynn's gifts get multiplied and spread to many other people.  That's what I call passing it on.

Basic recipe for the pillowcase:
Body is cut across the width of fabric at 25 inches.
Border is cut across the width of fabric at 11 inches.
Inset band is optional:  cut width of fabric at 1 inch, or 1 1/2 inches.  Or add ribbon or rick rack trim at the top stitching stage below. 

Border is folded in half and pressed to form 5 1/2 inch wide band.  Do the same for the inset band.
Lay body face up and match the raw edges of the inset band and the border piece to the top raw edge of the body piece. 
Stitch edge to edge using 1/2 inch seam.  Finish raw edges with a wide zig-zag stitch (or serge off the edge).
Press the inset strip and border away from the body.  Top stitch if desired along the seam.
Fold right sides together, matching the seam.  Stitch the side seam using 1/2 inch seam.  Then stitch  across the bottom.  Finish off the raw edges with a zig-zag stitch. 
Turn right side out and press. 

Quilt take-in day is tomorrow for the quilt show.  It is always fun to see all the entries ahead of time....but it is also a lot of work.   Thank goodness that Russ likes to help!
 I probably won't get back to the colorwash design for a couple of days :(    I need to de-stash a few more strips in different values anyway.  And the suggestion  from Cheryl to use some more red/rust in the lower corner is a good one, so I need to find some more of those colors.  Thanks for the suggestions. 
Fall into Fall Quilter Blog Giveaway starts October 1.  Click on the scarecrow pic to find out the details.
Happy stitching.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


What do you do with a box of 3 1/2" squares?
You make something quick and easy. 
That means 5 squares and 3 seams = a 3 -D Bow Tie  block! 
One evening stitching  produced about 20 blocks.  You need 2 squares for the background and 3 squares for the bow tie.  On a few of my blocks, I actually used a co-ordinating print for the "knot" of the tie because I only had 2 matching squares.   You can use any size squares you want or have.  Larger squares to begin will end up a larger block.  Very quick and scappy and will be a great quilt for charity.

I set a few together-- on the design wall-- in a ring formation.    I need to "de-stash" some more lights for the background by cutting them into 3 1/2" squares. 
Rather than re-invent the wheel or tutorial,  here's a tutorial at Stash Manicure.

Off to de-stash and finish laundry....happy stitching.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Colorwash.... on the design wall

This is not exactly what I had in my head, but I needed to view a photo to decide whether to continue or not.  Carolina Byways quilt was posted on about.com.  I love the name and the design, but wasn't crazy about the technique she used to make the blocks.  So I thought I would challenge myself to use up a lot of stray 2 1/2" strips for this.  I am working on a horizontal layout for the strips that are randomly cut....on the diagonal at about 5 inches. The diagonal cuts give me the mountain peaks and angled sides. 
Then I am filling in with "bricks" cut at 2 1/2 by 3 inches....these will give me the ability to take up or add in where needed to make things fit.   This photo shows just the shape and general spacing that I am trying to create.  I like the effect of the grayed peaks at the top, like mountains in the distance.  I see a good bit of refining is needed there, and I may need to add one more in the upper right corner.  
Of course, this could end up a sewing nightmare and not the way I envision it.....that would make it a pile of scraps!   For now, I think I will stick with it and see.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ladelle's Hydrangea

I am in a very pensive mood today because I lost a dear friend over the weekend.  I cherish the times of laughing till we cried,  phone calls for a hint to solve the day's puzzle, lunches at the diner,  her listening and propping me up through times of  misery, and the years of working together.  She was strong and giving, and always  loyal.    Years ago her husband, Carl, gave me several cuttings from the lovely blue hydrangea by their back door.  I rooted a piece of it 5 years ago when we moved, and now I will root another cutting to establish it in the memory garden for Ladelle.  I'll miss you, Ladelle, but hold your spirit near. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Blooming Trellis

The blooming 9 patch is quilted and bound.  For the first time in a very long time, I did only a minimum of quilting on this quilt--after the Evening Serenade with 5 pounds of thread, guess you can understand why!   The pattern is very busy and it would not be seen anyway, so I decided to just use straight lines to create a trellis around the center.  In the center ---the light area--- I  drew and quilted a fleur-de-lis type design.  So here's the Blooming Trellis.
I tried to get a good photo of the quilted center but my camera went on the fritz, and I was lucky I think to get this one.   Maybe new camera time, or at least new battery!
 Anyway, current UFOs are done.  I am feeling the need for  some simple sewing and more play time on the design wall.  Probably I will  try a colorwash project I have had on my mind.  Let me put together a couple of strip sets and see how it goes before I share anymore. 
Have a great weekend and happy stitching.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sunshine Award

I was tagged for the Sunshine Award from Mary Lou  at  Cheaper than Therapy blog.  I hope that means I spread some cheer!  Anyway, the Sunshine Award is in blogland and it is passed on to bloggers who have influenced you with their positive outlook  and creativity.  I am not sure where it began, but it is a great way to introduce  blogs to others who might not know about them.

Here are the guide lines to follow when you are nominated:

1. Save the image above and post it on your own blog.

2. Pass the award on to 12 fellow bloggers.

3. Link the nominees.

4. Let nominees know they have won this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Here are the first bloggers I am passing the Sunshine Award on to:
Quilter in the Pines
Quilting Journey to Oz
Quilting in South Carolina
A Scot in Tennessee
Pearl Street Road

Check out their blogs, and enjoy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Scarlett Pimpernel struck!

Actually, I got a double whammy from the Scarlett  Pimpernel  this week. 
Number 1................This is an unfinished project from a class that the SP took.  She saw my Coral Reef wall hanging and said that this needs thread painting and lots of detail.  The colors of the fabric--which I think is hand dyed/painted--are fabulous.   It looks like the sun shining into the ocean depths.  Hmmm....I think it also needs a border area with a sandy bottom to ground it. 

Number 2...............A photo and a challenge.
Now this could be interesting to do!  Again the colors are fabulous and strong and the angles interesting.  I also love the tree bark and texture.  This will require some thought for interpretation, as well as several techniques.  Expect to hear/see more about this.
Insight:  Inspiration takes many forms and often comes from unlikely sources.  The Scarlett Pimpernel is giving me a nudge/push/shove down a more creative path.  Recognize that some times others see you better than you see yourself.

Finally...The Sunshine Award.  I was tagged this morning by Mary Lou.  Thank you, I hope I inspire.   In blogland, the Sunshine Award is  passed to a blogger  who inspired you by  their positive outlook and creativity.  The award must be shared and passed on, which in turn creates a great opportunity to share blogs you like with others.  I will be doing some tagging myself soon.
Happy Stitching.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The frog and 5 pounds of thread

Maybe that is a slight exaggeration....I  did use 5 bobbins worth to quilt this wall hanging.  It is 44 inches by 37 inches, so that's pretty small for all that thread!  And the frog and dragonfly are thread painted.  So my exaggeration may not be too far off.  I do like how the light moves across  this one, giving a color wash effect. 
Evening Serenade

I decided to call it Evening Serenade because we usually hear the frogs by the falls outside our window each night. 
Insight:  I need a quilt stand to get better photos.  It is hard to crop out fingers and such without distorting the borders.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Do I plan my quilts or my quilting?

Truthfully, I have to answer......the quilt.  That leads me to my beginnings as a quilter.  Twenty five years ago, I would spend as much time thinking and planning how to quilt--remember needle in / needle out-- large areas and the border especially.  A feather wreath or swag, flower sprays, and hearts were common motifs I always used.  Today our quilting world has changed.   We are a faster paced world of computerized stitching, meandering, pantographs and all over patterns.  Sometimes  the quilting "design" is there to simply hold the layers together. 
What brought all this on?  Quilting the waterfall and frog wall hanging.  All the thread is adding another dimension to this wall hanging.  And my mind began to consider the quilts I have made and the type of quilting I use on them.  Have I missed a chance to add that extra layer to them?  How could I enhance the multi-fabric scrap quilt, or the watercolor with quilting?
So, the time came to quilt the final border and I was stumped.  I pulled out my overlay sheet of plastic and the grease pencil to try of couple of quilting patterns.  I thought either a single swirl or maybe the v-shaped grass around the outer edge.  When I put the overlay on the border, I knew both were wrong.  They were competing with all the texture in the center.  Deep thinking was required here.  I sat and stared at the fabric.  And light bulb moment!  I love it when that happens.....the batik border already had a pattern on it, so why not just accent it with stitches to bring it out?
This is what I ended up with.  I selected a medium blue thread to use and then just stitched around, along and over the dark vein looking areas of the fabric.  The end result is great and is more restful to the eye I think.   Click on the photos to enlarge the view and get a better idea of what I am trying to describe. 
Now to try and find fabric for the binding that blends.  I do not have any more of the last border fabric.... remember the background  was a test project from a couple of years ago that I never finished.  But I probably have something stashed away that will work fine.  
Insight Let the fabric speak to me.  If all else fails.....Simply follow the pattern in the fabric to quilt it.
I'll get a good photo of the complete project...wait till you see all the thread!
Till then, happy stitching.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Today was the deadline for quilt show  entry forms.  I fielded at least a dozen calls about entries, as well as faxed and emailed entries.  I now have a  large stack of  entry forms  to log in and get entered.  Just as well that I had something to keep me busy as I have avoided the machine for about 4 days to let my wrist, tendon, and thumb improve........but I began having withdrawal about 2:30 today.  Big Time Withdrawal....
I snuck down the hall, threaded the machine, put on my gloves and Yes!   Quilting on the waterfall and the frog is a  wonderful remedy for fabric and thread withdrawal.    Two hours later I came out of my creative zone  with about 1/3 of the center done.  This is part of the center with lots of swirling lines flowing across the background.  Not perfectly spaced but I do like the effect.   
                                                                                                                                                                  And here is a bit of the back side.   I really like the pale blue fabric on the back and the Isacord thread. 
I am much more relaxed now, and I will be able to face the entry forms tomorrow knowing an hour or so reward in the sewing room awaits.
    Fabric and Thread Withdrawal symptoms include  wandering thoughts (meandering), dots in front of the eyes (stippling), ankle stiffness (where's the  foot pedal?),  the urge to cry (stacked teardrops), restlessness (free motion swirls and curls), and itching  fingers (cotton fabric addition).  If symptoms persist, run to the sewing room.

 Till later,  happy stitching.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weekly theme contest...Watercolors

I decided to try again.....Garden Shed is entered in the weekly theme contest at Quilting Gallery.
There are other wonderful watercolors  there, too.   To see and vote  click here
Thank you, Christine and Janet for the emailed comments.  Love them all.

OK, now I am a little more awake after a second cup of coffee.  If you are dropping in to see what I do, click on the page links to the right.  There you will find a lot of my finished work including water color quilts and favorite scrap quilts.  There is also a page devoted to how to construct a watercolor wall hanging.  Enjoy your visit and thanks for stopping by. 

I finished up 5 pillowcases yesterday for the Shriner's Hospital, and the frog wall hanging is pinned and ready to quilt.  I hope the trapunto works out.  Hope I can get it quilted this weekend.
Happy stitching.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pillowcases for a cause

I needed some easy sewing today, so I spent the morning searching thru the stash closet for fabrics to use for a few pillowcases.  Shelia put out a call for help in making pillowcases for Christmas for the Shriner's Children's Hospital here.  I found motorcycles, space nebula, whimsical flowers, and  Snoopy fabrics....but the fun part was finding the accent band and hem piece.  What a great way to use up some small pieces quickly.  I think Remy needs a cool motorcycle pillow case too, so I will cut one more.
Happy stitching.
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