Thursday, May 31, 2012

Design wall / FMQ

   What have I done this week?  Upset the therapist for one thing by threatening to start driving this week, and then putting her into overdrive when I said I had done some machine quilting already!  She put me on the "stepper" to work off my aggression and stress.  Ha! Fooled her.  Wait till she hears I got on the stationary bike this morning!  This broken wing---day 41---is putting such a damper on me, but I did start a new project and do a little FMQ.... just to see if I could.
   Now this is not my usual style, and some blocks need rearranging, but it is a start!   These are the brick blocks for Deana. I need a few more of the hot pinks in there.
  My bricks will finish up at 12" by 6".  I am linking to Cat Patches  for the monthly start project party.  It could be a while before I can this one really handed, that is.

  I did mention FMQ, didn't I.  Yep, I worked on the last of the watercolors for the Awakening series.  I figured  it was small and I was just going to do large stippling, so maybe the left arm could just go along for the ride.  I mean the right hand could do the work.
   One of the exercises I do daily uses a pole / stick to carry the left hand and forearm  outward about 25 degrees.  In layman terms, that is about 3 inches out ward and to the left with the elbow at 90 degrees.  I am not to use the left arm muscles to move it, but let it move passively by the movement of the right arm.  So isn't that about the arrangement when we do FMQ?   I was careful to not put pressure on with the left hand/arm and just let it ride around as I quilted with the right hand doing the movement.  Lot more fun than pushing and pulling with a stick!!    I know I can't tackle anything large, but mug I come!

  Please note:   I have been scolded a bit.....I am not doing anything that will hurt or delay this.   But I  really need to be doing something so I do not end up in a padded room in 6 weeks...that's 6 more weeks of this.  The arm is supported and in a sling.....even on the stationary bike.

    I will be sharing the Awakening series  photos soon....thank you, Sir Old Man for taking some great shots.    And don't forget to VOTE at Bloggers Quilt Festival , as today is the last day.
Happy stitching.  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gathering lavender

     I love the scent of lavender.  It is believed to be calming and relaxing, and a bug repellent.    Deana had bunches of it hung all over her house this weekend, drying to be used in sachets that she plans to make.  She's a knitter and wants to add sachets of lavender in with her projects and gifts.

    So yesterday Sir Old Man cut back a few of my overgrown bushes.    I filled several containers as well as hung up some bunches to dry for her.   I may just make a few sachets to tuck in with my stored quilts.

   I filled this one and set it in the master bath......the aroma is heavenly.   Of course the tiny blooms will droop in a day or two and I will have to snip them off to collect them to finish drying.  But for a couple of days  I will enjoy the scent.
  I did my OT/PT at the  sewing machine this morning.....sewing together the extra squares to finish off the watercolor of the arbor.  I will attempt to get the rows  attached tomorrow.  Then I made a few more brick blocks.  It is slow going, but so much better than going stir crazy!
  Thanks for all the well wishes and votes.....we will see.
Happy stitching.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ripple effect

  Do you believe in the ripple effect?  You might refer to it  as "you reap what you sow" or the golden rule.  I always think of it as the ripples across the water when a pebble is tossed into it.  The ripples spread out in a widening circle far beyond where the pebble was tossed.  It is an image that stays with me.  It gives me a reason to share, and give, and offer any help I can. 
  I received an email from an anonoymous blogger and it really touched me because it brought the ripple  image to mind.

"Thank you for your thoughtful present of having written this article. The message seems to be given to me specifically. Our son also had a lot to learn from this – though he was the individual that found your site first. Most of us can't imagine a more superb present than a gift to encourage that you do more."

  Then this email arrrived just a little while ago......
"I'm pleased to tell you that your quilt was nominated in one or more categories for Bloggers' Quilt Festival - Congratulations!  ..... help me spread the word on your blog, facebook, twitter. Anyone can vote, so they need not have participated in the festival.
Good luck!
Amy "

Wow....surprised and stunned....  Persistence was nominated in the Art Quilt Category for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival!!!!    Today I needed  some extra encouragement;  I really needed reminding that I can get through this.  The ripple came back to me.   Thanks to those who nominated  Persistence.....thank you because it means a lot.    
  Now, please vote on  the nominated quilts.    Click here to vote!!!
Spread the word and share the link...anyone can vote for their favorites.
Happy stitching!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

In need of Therapy

    When I named my blog Stitchin' Therapy 3 years ago,  I never thought it would be so insightful!  I considered my sewing and quilting as a form of mental / emotional therapy.  Time to play and create, to experiment and discover what I liked.  Now, it is the treatment  I need for physical and occupational therapy.  Day 37 of the broken shoulder event and I am finally able to sew a little bit.
    Right now the PT is focusing on keeping the joints loose and moving----slightly. I have limited range from the shoulder.    But at the sewing machine, I can passively  exercise the joints and muscles!!!  Just allowing the hand to guide the fabric and let the machine do the work for me, involves the movement I need---froward and then back.  Fine motor skills begin to disappear within 2 weeks---it has been 4 already for me---and so  stitching will hopefully help those too.  Just threading the sewing machine takes fine motor skills, as well as aligning 2 edges of fabric strips.  
   Luckily, I have lots of strips already cut and a jelly roll from a recent win........  I turned some of them into "brick" style blocks for Deana.  She claimed all the hot pink and turquoise strips for a lap quilt from the jelly roll.   This definitely will not be my usual style.....a more modern style set for her.  But hey.....I am stitching again.  That's emotional therapy as well as PT and OT!
   Enjoy the long weekend and remember our heros on Memorial Day.
Happy stitching.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

And another one...

   Another doll quilt arrived this week....from Mrs. Claus at Hill Country Quilter .  I love the colors and variety  in this one.  Thank you, Mary, for being a Mrs. Claus from Texas.

  So number 70 is added to the stack of precious doll quilts for 2012.  Once again, thank you all for helping.

I am heading off to PT once again.  The good news this week is the x-rays showed new bone growth! Yes, finally.  The doctor was very pleased and surprised when he checked the range of motion.  Very little stiffness and of course it hurt like all-get-out when he raised the elbow to the side, but I do see some light at the end of the tunnel.
  Don't forget the Bloggers Quilt Festival  ----lots to see and nominations are going on for the next few days.  I made my choices.     Update:   Voting has begun for viewer's choice.  Just click the "vote" under your favorite quilt.  Only one vote per IP address.   View and vote.
Happy stitching......soon me too.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bloggers Quilt Festival 2012

Welcome to  the Bloggers Quilt Festival !  Thank you, Amy for hosting this.

  Persistence is a small wall hanging, but right now in my life it has huge meaning .   Persist, stay the course, hang in there, don't give get the idea.  This is day 28 of the broken shoulder event, and  each morning I  when I see this wall hanging  I am reminded to hold on one more day.  Healing  is a slow process.  I am impatient.  I am tired of having this sling hold me down.  I want to sew and create.  I want to do the things I love.   Not yet.   Persist one more day, it will be better.   And that is why I chose to show this water color for the festival.

 The background is done in floral fabrics using the watercolor technique of 2 inch squares on gridded interfacing.  It's my favorite form of expression in quilting.  I enjoy working with color and value and finding the impact in their arrangement.
    The central area of the lightest fabrics glows  and blends into the surrounding foliage and flowers of the garden.  Perched on a branch is a Goldfinch.  I often watch these beautiful birds from the window in the sun-room.
    My Goldfinch is thread painted onto several layers of  tulle and stabilizer .  I used about 4 shades of yellow and a touch of gold thread for the body.....lots and lots of thread.   The branch is also thread painted.  I mainly use a zigzag stitch for thread painting.....using a side to side motion to achieve good blending of color.   Once the thread painting was finished,  both were cut out just beyond the thread line and machine stitched to the background.

I finished off  the edge with a filet inset strip that is very narrow, about 1/4".  I love how the yellow really makes the Goldfinch pop.  And then  I added the border to complete and quilt.  

                                                                          18" by 26"  
Persistence....The ability  of taking one day at a time as you hang on till it is done or in my case, healed.  A good character trait to have.   And remember to avoid the holes in life.
  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the festival.   Visit  Amy's Creative Side  to view all the entries and to be inspired.  Happy stitching.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stacking things up

   The days are long and I have time on my hands---well, one hand at least.   Reading sounds like the way to  use my time, but as I am having double vision in my right eye----from the broken nose and concussion----so I am limited there.  It just takes twice as long to do anything.  Try folding laundry or a fat quarter with one hand.....ugh!
    I resorted to putting things away and straightening up in the sewing room.....a little while each day for the last few days.  The outcome is a stack of small projects that I found half done,  and things I was in the process of finishing up.   A couple of mug rugs to quilt, a wall hanging to quilt, fused art quilts for journal covers to stitch, a card wallet to complete, 2 quilt labels to here they sit waiting for 2 hands.
  I added a couple of things to the stack:  more squares to stitch together to add to the watercolor I was working on.  Wanda at exuberantcolor  made the suggestion to add another row around the entire wall hanging to add depth to the center.  She was right;  that is exactly what it needs.    I also pulled fabrics for a table runner for a gift I need to make.....add it to the stack.  And finally, a bin of strips and fat quarters for a lap quilt for Deana----turquoise and pink.
  I attempted some one hand stitching and need to report it is only good for non-accurate stitching!  Why did I think otherwise?  Threading the machine is a trial  but I can sew stings together and create some wonky stuff.  I  do need the therapy!
     A second stack up-----doll quilts!   They took a while to layer into a stack.  There are 69 precious little jewels here.  Thanks to all the wonderful, fabulous, generous  Mrs. Claus quilters around the world for  making this happen.  Hugs and blessings to you all.
   Happy stitching.    

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Putting heart in my quilts

    Cheree at The Morning Latte   has a very insightful post today.  Her analogy of creating an  "island day" for  designing, writing, and discovery touched a part of me.  My thoughts of my life came rushing and roaring back upon me in a flood of memories and insights of my years.
   I often get comments about the way I equate my quilts, designs, and projects to the reality and blessings in my life.  That relates to my creative philosphy of being one with what I create, and becoming entirely enveloped by the process.  I  allow my feelings and emotions to be displayed in the fabric or design.  I call it "putting heart into my quilts (projects)".   It doesn't make my quilts better;  it does allow them to speak by themselves.     I can look back and see the stages of my life displayed in fabric.  I have shown these quilts before, so bear with me, or ignore ....your choice.
   My twenties was a time of finding myself.....through college, work, marriage and a family, or so I thought.  Then in my thirties, I spent all my time trying to please others.  Whatever was asked, I did it.....all.  I had no focus actually, just a lot of busyness, and I took every class I could.  Comings and Goings displays this decade.  It just gets mushy in the center with no focus.
   Entering my forties, I lost my Dad.  This became the decade of taking care of others, again whatever they needed, I did.  In the process, I lost myself and forgot to take care of me. 

   By the time I was 50, I believed I had it made and all figured out.  Instead of being the time for me that I planned, it became the time of relearning the lessons of life.  The highest highs and the deepest lows,  tears of joy and tears of  sorrow, smiles of love, and smiles through the worse pain filled my days. 
This is Garden Tears, my 50's quilt.  Lots of floral fabrics used in creating  the court house steps blocks.  All the lights in the center fade to darker corners of the quilt.  The greatest discovery of this decade was  watercolor quilts and realizing I had found my path of real expression.

  Enter Turning 60........I really need a better photo of this one.  I found this horizontal layout to be so soothing to look at and work on.  The piecing is simple as you can get.....exactly what I want my life to be.  The bands of fabric are blended by value to separate the stages of experiences and discovery.  The vines and leaves are surrounded by words to live by, and  expressions that mean a great deal to me.   "Along the way, I have learned it is not all about me"  seems to be the ultimate statement  that I can make about my life and quilting. 
  And that is what I mean by putting heart into my quilts.  They  are not show stoppers or ribbon quilts are my life in fabric.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A few more little ones

It's a lovely rainy day, which we need badly.  So porch  photos of the new doll quilts that arrived are the order of the day.  ( Thank you, Sir Old Man for all your help hanging these precious gems.). These  came from Nicki and the gals at the HGTV message board on Monday.  What a blessing you all have been.

I hope you like viewing them because I love showing each one.  Such variety in styles and fabrics.    I love this bug fabric!  Hearts, pinwheels, strippy ones, whole cloth, and half square triangles.....all of the styles can be turned into the most darling small quilts.  At the bottom there is a tossed 9 patch even.

My darling daughter  came over on Saturday and did some modifications to a few tank tops for me.  By snipping open  the left shoulder seam  and adding snap tape, she created  a way for me to easily slip into them.  I think I surprised her when I let her use the pink snaps on the gray is so not me.  Thankfully she let me pick black for the purple one.   I'm just so happy to be able to dress myself now.  Thanks, Deana, just perfect. 
  PT went well on Monday.  It felt so wonderful to stretch and release the tight muscles.  My favorite was the pendulum reminds me of playing elephant as a child and letting the arm just hang like an elephant's trunk.  I have sore muscles but the pain is less over all....which means less pain medicine and that is a good thing.  The left arm doesn't "follow instructions" yet, but the wrist and fingers are working.  Typing is possible but no stitching yet.....but I am going to try some one hand strip sewing and see how that goes.   Happy stitching.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Still on the design wall

 May is usually the garden month around here....gardens in bloom and garden tours.   So many wonderful  garden design ideas have found their way into our own garden from tours we have been on in the past.  I have a file folder of great photos to spark my imagination.  One year arbors were featured in the tour.  Some offered a quiet place to sit and view an area, others beckoned with a path to courtyards and fountains. 
 I  selected this photo as a starting inspiration of a water color I began last month.  I had just finished up sewing the rows together  BF--before my  fall.  And I have been staring at it on the design wall for the last couple of weeks trying to decide what else I needed to do with it besides just adding a border.    Maybe tulips or roses that I can thread paint and applique ---letting the blooms and leaves extend into the border.   Maybe some thread sketching along the fence posts as a vine.   I think I will just try sketching a couple of ideas for I can't do ant stitching for a while.
Don't forget.......Amy's creative side   is hosting the Bloggers' Quilt Festival again in a couple of weeks.
I love viewing all the great quilts and projects that bloggers share during the festival.    Got your entry  planned yet?  
Happy stitching.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Double dipping....

The Liebster award (German for favourite/dearest) is to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Upon accepting the award the recipient must then pass it on to five more blogs of note. A way of introducing other bloggers to the blogs they enjoy.

The Liebster Conventions says that :
1. Thank your award presenter on your blog and link back to him/her
2. Copy and paste the award to your blog
3. Present the Liebster Award to 5 blogs that you think deserve to be recognized
4. Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
5. Have faith that your follower will spread the love too!

  Kim at Seeing Stars and Ashlea at Ashleasquilting  tagged me again for the Liebster Blog.  Thank you both for your kind comments.  Both of them have great blogs.....check them out.  So, I am doing a twist to this one....I am not going to pass it on to other blogs, but feel free to grab it if you so wish.  What I will do is share just a couple of blogs that I really enjoy and have been inspired by.  Stop by, leave them a comment on their latest. 
Rhianon  at The Nifty Stitcher  is an inspiring stitcher by hand and machine.  I have mentioned her before in conjunction with the Free Motion Quilting Challenge.  Her feathers were just amazing.

Holly at Through my Window  has wonderful art quilts to delight the eye.  She does a lot of painted backgrounds and thread sketching for details.  I find something to enjoy with each visit.

Mary at Hillcountryquilter is working on  Jane Stickle blocks right now and has the center portion of a top down from Strips that Sizzle.  Both of these are wonderful.  Her strips really do sizzle in this one. 

Wanda at Exuberantcolor --I know a lot of you follow her anyway and she has lots of followers---is prepping for an exhibition show in Charlotte, NC next month. (Guess who plans to go!)   Right now she is working on a couple of different colorwash quilts that I am drooling over.  So if by chance you found me looking for watercolor quilts.....check her blog out. And if you are within a couple of hours of this display, it will be worth the time to see it in June.
Happy stitching.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More mail...and news

From Marge, Mrs. Claus in Canada,  comes this precious doll quilt.  I was as excited to see it as she was to send it.  She used a variegated thread for machine quilting that picks up all the bright colors.  I love it. 
Thank you  so much. 

Then  a whole box of doll quilts arrived sent by Nicki from the HGTV message board group.  Four of these quilts were made by Mrs. Claus in Connecticut.  She took the tops and batting and backing to a group of senior ladies near by that wanted to help.  They tied the little dolls quilts.....thank you, ladies for your wonderful help in this project.    Also in the box was a wonderful array of techniques.....string piecing, and 4 patch blocks, 9 patch blocks, a panel top, and the cutest hand embroidered giraffe, hand quilted and machine quilted.  I will post the photos on Flickr when the site will let me was giving me huge fits today and would not take anything.
Are you ready for some news on me?  Hold on to your needles......No Surgery Required  at this time!  That is the official statement from the doctor after viewing the CT scan.  His direct comment was...."Well, this shoulder looks a whole lot better on the CT than on the x-ray."   He feels there would be no added benefit in surgery for me----factoring in age, time for healing, the additional stiffness and therapy needed would be prolonged.  The "displaced bones"  on the x-ray are  less than 1/4 inch lower than they should be.  The other bone thought to be a fragment or jagged is where it should be. 
  Huh?   Knock me right over, doc!  I  think I experienced a miracle /pivotal moment right then.   The 1/4 inch --like scant 1/4 " seam allowance---was a sure sign to me that the arm--and machine-- will soon be humming and sewing.   I will begin PT on Monday.   I feel the pain of it already but know it is required.    Thank you all again and again for the cards, emails and prayers.  I am doing a happy dance in my soul.
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