Wednesday, February 27, 2013

About time I say

  I have been hiding away in the sewing room for the last week.  It's my therapy, and place to de-stress, and regain my focus.  Nothing like making a mess, and threads flying to put things into perspective, is there?

  February's NewFO  is now a February Finish!    I started the travel duffle bag and then got sidetracked for a couple of weeks.  This week I got back to it and decided to finish it up.
Zipper in, pull tabs attached, and the end pockets added.....lot of bulk, but I managed to get it done.

   This bag is big....I have it stuffed with 3 large lap quilts, and a travel pillow in this photo.   The bag finishes up at 21" by 12" by 12"---that's a good size bag.
   I love the  bag color, and all the feathers floating on this.  Now, I just need some travel stickers of my own.  Of course, I could just use it for fabric purchases when traveling.....!!

From Mrs. Claus-- my alter ego:
    Two small doll quilts from the fabrics that Doreen picked up for me completed.  One is a pre-printed panel and the other has appliques from a partial border piece of the same panel.  I have 2 more to put together for March.

Easy street mystery is quilted and ready for binding.  I met --and passed---my goal for February, which was to get the borders on it.  I also got the label made.  Because of the yellow (overwhelming) fabrics,  I am calling this one....Walking in Sunshine.   Nope, no photo yet until it is bound.  That is on March's list.

   So, I needed  a real NewFO for February.    And I also, feel a need to work with some floral fabrics.  I pulled out an older book, and found this.  It's easy---actually mindless sewing--- and will use up a lot of those extra floral strips that I have stacked up.
   Rectangle blocks, some vertical strips and others horizontal strips,  that are 10" by 6" are put together by value.  My strips are already cut at 2", but a mixture of strip widths could be used.
Right now, I am working on the horizontal strip blocks---about 7 or 8 done.  I have no idea how big it will be.....but I need to make a dent in my stash of floral fabrics.

Voting is going on for  Project Quilting.   This is week 4 entries.  
If it seems a bit quiet around can find me in the sewing room.   Happy stitching.

Friday, February 22, 2013

At week's end...

   It has been a very long week.  I think it is because we missed last weekend ----no rest and all that painting in Charlotte instead.     
    I got an update on the travel with the Furkins and move in. Logan, the big furball, is loving the new house and all the nooks and crannies to explore.  
Songo, the princess cat, traveled well and found herself  a safe zone in the basement.  Nick, the retired champion Whippet,  loves the snow right now and is running circles around the yard.  Phoebe, the alpha personality Jack Russell, is in true form as she has already discovered how to get through/around/under the fence!  But what about Lucy, I asked.  Lucy, the blue eyed rescued hound and my digger of holes, is afraid of the stairs in the house.  She has to be coaxed down or up them.  She's been a part of the family for 5 years, but still she carries such awful "scars and fears" from her early years.  But she's a tough me and that's why I love her....she will be fine.   Moving Day was hard work as you can see.   Oh, yeah, the two 2-legged human parents are well and settling in too!
  I had several question about the guild challenge, which I have been calling the ugly challenge.  Actually it is Lemons to Lemonade.  The fabric I got is the dark calico print in the photo.  I was lucky, as it's not that bad.   
   So how do I turn this into a lemonade thing.....dilute it out with other fabric is my philosophy.  If  I give the eye lots of space and things to look at, I believe I can hide a half yard of  this calico in a garden quilt.   

 This week I began the fusing in earnest.  The stems and vines are even partly stitched down.  One panel is completely fused and I am working on this second one now.    

   Here's hoping next week is more productive, as the month is almost gone.  I also have another class to teach locally soon and I need to re-vamp the worksheets.  I'll add that to March's list  :)

Happy stitching.  

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Project Quilting #4

  I really had to focus to get to this this week.  I hated to break my commitment to Project Quilting.    I  have taken on a lot of projects, so I decided to put a little practice into this one..
   Our challenge this week was to incorporate a star into our project...."Wish upon a star..."

    I created the background--night sky--- from blue strips that were sewn and cut apart and then resewn in a random fashion.  This idea is from a tutorial at Marcia's Crafty Sewing and Quilting

 The star is free hand drawn and stitched down with a trapunto effect---the easy part of this one!   I needed to practice the Sheer Ribbon Illusion for the challenge for SewCalGal, so a little thread painting followed.
   Instead of the "splat" pattern that I tried before, I went with the streamers.  I realize now that I did not put enough curve into them, just a few twists.   The curves help provide the illusion I think....and I like the "splat" effect a lot more.  


      Shine On is 15" by 25".
Now to get back on schedule.....happy stitching.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Traveling duffle bag

    First, wow, the Hugs and Kisses Blog Hop was awesome.  A lot of very nice/kind comments were left and I really appreciate the love.  If you missed out, click over to the Pinterest page to view all the entries for some loving inspiration.

 I shared a photo of my beginning of the Travel duffle bag on this post.    I'm still working on it.
  This is the end pocket.  It is zippered and has double pleats for fullness of bulky items.  I've  had this travel type fabric in the stash for a while and thought it was a good choice of the theme.  Anyway, the pocket is made separately and then stitched to the end piece, which eventually gets sewn to the bag's body.  I made a couple of changes to how the zipper was attached to the pocket and bag.  Instead of sewing the zipper directly to the pocket, I used a 2 " strip of fabric folded in half , and sewed the folded edge directly to the zipper.  That gives me a cleaner and easier finished edge to work with.  The raw edges of the strip were sewn to the pocket---between the outer fabric and lining.

This is the body of the bag with the handles and outer front pocket.  Once again, I made a couple of adjustments....with apologies to Cherie.  My straps are 2" rather than 4".....which made my pocket wider.  Oops, I had already cut it out.
  Not a problem really, it gave me a chance to get creative.  I needed an extra inch on each side.  I used a folded strip of the body fabric as a decorative accent and then added more of the pocket fabric to each side.
  Of course, then I needed to clean up the top and bottom.....I just added a strip of double folded fabric and top-stitched it on.
  I had planned on getting the top zipper in over the weekend, but that did not going to happen.  We got notified of a "hack attack"  and every thing has been haywire.  Everything is fine so far, but you know how much is involved in changing numerous accounts and details.   My best advice is to change your passwords regularly,  make them unrelated, and be sure them are hard to figure out.    I need to listen/ remember/ pay attention  to my own words.  It is the world we are living in today.
   I will be back  in a couple of days.  Till then.... happy stitching.  

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Totally unprepared

   It got dark quite abruptly.....and guess why?   Snow, snow, snow.
We were suppose to get a few flurries or a light dusting of snow.  This is how it began.

    Two hours later and  Sir Old Man asked me if I had any dye.  Oh, man,  I was totally unprepared for this.  Looking out the window, all I can think of is, "All this perfect snow going to waste, because I don't have any dye for snow dying."     Guess what I am putting on my next fabric shopping list.  I will be ready.
   Giggle**giggle......The snow dying I am referring to is snow-dying of fabric.  Here's a great link to see what Kathy does at Tamarack Shack  .  I love her backing fabrics.

Surprise mail

     This was a day brightener that came in the mail from  Dolores of the HGTV Message Board group.  Beautiful spring time colors and such a cute little pattern she used.

    The  group of ladies from the HGTV board are such a huge support and encouragement to me and this project.  It is beyond words to really explain the feeling when a package of love arrives unannounced.  I get to enjoy that "Christmas glow" all during the year.
    This one really touched me because this Mrs. Claus is from South Carolina , too.  

Thank you all.   Happy stitching.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hugs and Kisses Blog Hop

   So glad you stopped by for the Hugs and Kisses Blog Hop
 Thanks to Madame Samm and Jane for bringing it all together.
I've been waiting to share a couple of  treats....inspired by candy!
The  question is .... Where do those candy hearts come from?   Made in a factory, or from some place more wonderful and magical?  I like to think they grow in Candyland!   

  I remember playing the game Candyland  when I was young---a long time ago---and with my daughter.  I  drew my inspiration for this mini table topper from the sweet treats with all the cute sayings on them..  Imagine a whole field of  candy hearts ----in just the right fabrics, of course---- just waiting to be picked and labeled for your sweetie.   Appliqued hearts, decorative stitching, a little curved piecing, and add your own secret messages along the border  for  the candies.  Want some more candy inspiration?
     This is Red Hots!    Those tiny cinnamon heart candies are just the thing to inspire me here.  On the first Valentine's Day that I shared with my husband, I gave him a small box of  red hots!   Of course, a few kisses were thrown in too ....but those red hots were memorable.    So when I saw this pattern, it seemed a perfectly sweet thing to make to recall that memory.   
   If you follow me at all, you are aware of my fondness for swirls.  So this pattern just jumped  up and called to me.   Swirls inside the hearts,  and swirls  accenting the hearts.....I had to make this one.

     Layers of different red fabrics create hearts and swirls that spill over the background,  which was perfect to try a few  quilted feathers on.

    The pattern is by  Jane Spolar and is found on the Janome website.    So my special treat for you is the link for the pattern.   

 And I can't forget the label.  I found a red swirl graphic that was just perfect.

   And finally, a fused heart mosaic from last year.
This was a quick  art project based on the tutorial by  Terri Stegmiller.      A great way to use up left over bits and pieces  and then quilt it all down with lots of thread.  I did a simple edging treatment with lace rather than binding on this one.

   Thanks for stopping by and visiting.  Enjoy the rest of the blog hop links below.    Happy stitching.

Friday February 15th

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Visiting Day

  Welcome to the new visitors from the Let's go Visiting tour hosted by Stitchin by the Lake   Glad to have you visit my home / blog / humble abode here.
   For a quick intro....I've been quilting off and on for about 30 years....yikes!  Let's just say long enough to have figured out what I like to do and what is not my favorite thing to do.   I began as a very traditional quilter, and experimented with crazy quilting until my fingers stiffened up.  Then I found watercolor quilting, my ultimate love in quilting.  Today, I dabble in a lot of things, especially playing with design and color.
   On my design wall right now is a guild challenge quilt.  We were given an "ugly" fabric and challenged to turn the lemon into lemonade.  Luckily mine was not too bad, merely in 1980 calico.   I have the 9 patch blocks  completed and have begun adding the vines and  stems.  My design concept is to hide the ugly among a lot of other fabrics.  And then to add enough quilting to blend it all together.

 And speaking of quilting......  I just began my NewFO for February. It's a travel duffle bag and right now I am quilting the base fabric.  The pattern is available at StudioCherie on Etsy.  Because I chose to use a very dark fabric, I quickly realized I could not see what I was doing.  But the lining is I flipped it over and I am quilting from the back!  
   I realize the stitching will not show very much, but this was too good of an opportunity to practice those endless feathers I discovered.  So good practice and no one can see all my mistakes!

    Going on right now......Voting for favorites for Project Quilting at Persimon Dreams.   Please click over and view this week's entries.  Select up to three of your favorites and vote...please.  Kim has put a lot of work into this and would like some extra imput.   And there are some really good design inspirations this week.
    The Hugs and Kisses blog hop----my day is on Friday the 15th, so please come back---is going on this week.  Our hosting cheerleader is Jane's Fabrics.   You might was to check out the cute projects being shown.  She has the full day and week schedule posted.  
  The Golden Quilter Awards are up and voting is going on at SewCalGal's blog.     You can enter for prizes when you vote.
   Lots to do and quilting to finish.....thanks for the visit.  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Design options

  My night time / when I am in the mood / on-going project  is beginning to take some shape. Actually, it has been patiently waiting for me to get back to it.
   My basket of units is full and for the last couple of evenings I have been making blocks.   This is the  block I am working with.....4 patch units, and HSTs.  Both units start with 5" squares.

 Since my design wall is being occupied right now....I had to use the floor.
    Straight rows and furrows layout.  With enough blocks I could do a full barn-raising layout to create the diamond effect.

Or.....a very traditional  square block to block layout.  Somehow, this is just a bit boring to me.

This was my original idea for the layout.  And I do think I like this best.  Seems I am always second guessing myself.
  Insight:  Trust your gut instinct.

So I can continue to make blocks and begin putting some of them together too.  I think this will be one of those quilts with no borders.....just lots of blocks.

Happy stitching.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

2013 Challenge for Free Motion Quilting

A new year and a new challenge in free motion quilting from SewCalGal .   This time it is a little different as this challenge will extend thru to October of this year with 4 to 6 different ones to help improve our skills.
The first one is posted  and features Libby Lehman and  Threadplay  and Sheer Ribbon Illusion.  I'm sure you can guess that I was interested  ;)  Oh, yeah!
  I went right on over and watched the video---hint:  watch it soon, as there is no telling how long it will be available for free.  Well, then knock me over.....who knew that this technique was thread painting!  It has been a while since I did this, and I really enjoyed it.

 I got in a little play time / practice.  Not a great one....but a good beginning.   I had to add extra strips around a 6 inch square to have a big enough piece to hoop for stitching.
   I drew my "splat"---watch the video to learn---and picked out thread to experiment some.

  What I learned:
1.   Be sure to have 3 good values of thread...light, medium, and dark.
2.  Don't make the areas too small.
3.  Circles are hard....I did better with a stipple or lazy 8 motion.

4.  Do you see my major goof?  It was not until I got the photo on the computer that I saw a goof.......I have the light source wrong .  The top edge of the  areas should be the light side!  I reversed  it  :(    I have the light coming from the bottom side and it distorts the illusion.   In my haste to try, I forgot this important element.

5.  Be sure to leave enough light  thread areas showing.....don't cover it up so much with the medium value.
   I did better on the blue areas  The purple ones, where I began first, do not have enough of the lightest value showing and they appear more flat.

I will be trying this again in a few days....practice makes perfect, or at least better!   I will probably turn this into a mug rug.  Before I try a bigger project, I will make a few more smaller ones.
***  Added note***  To view the videos, you need a basic---but free--membership to The Quilt Show.  Sign up is easy....just another name and password to remember  ;)    If you already have the membership pack you are ready to view.

Happy stitching.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

From the Mrs. Claus sisters

  Two lovely flannel doll quilts arrived this week from  Mrs. Claus in Wisconsin.  Both of them are involved in the HGTV Message Board and wanted to help make some quilts for the doll beds.
  Who wouldn't love the beautiful butterflies or Winnie the Pooh and Tigger?  Ladies, these are just the best and softest little quilts ever.

A friendly bear  stopped by and wanted to  check out the new quilts.  He just hopped right up and made himself comfortable, too.

   So thank you so much to PattyJ and Sister Sue, who kindly made and donated these 2 to the Get Your Mrs. Claus On project for 2013.  They are so appreciated.

Oh.... I must not forget the backs and the labels.

  I needed one more photo, but this sassy gal, who is a new friend of Rudy's, just had to get in the picture. I am not quite sure, but I think Rudy  is enamored with her!    Giggle***Giggle***   You have to watch out for those quiet ones.

  We are off to a good start for 2013.....these gals at the HGTV Board are busy and are putting me to shame.  I better get busy on my stack of doll quilts soon.

Happy stitching.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Project Quilting week 3

  It's  time for week 3 of Project Quilting.  Our theme is Annie's Vision.  Annie Young is a blind artist who has a vibrant style that  depicts her feelings and senses.   Oh boy!  If  I was to create just from my senses this week it would be a huge hodgepodge of pieces.    I'm feeling pulled in multiple directions with  the tax man looking over my shoulder!  So coming up with a focus was my challenge this week.      I flipped through my sketchbook  and ran across a Pasque flower drawn after our trip to Alaska in 2009.

    I began with a 9 inch square for the background for the flower.   The pieces were fused down.  Then before I did the machine applique I placed some batting scraps behind the block.  Once all the edges were stitched down, I trimmed away the extra batting from around the stitching.  Trapunto effect!

I finished this off with an offset design of batiks for the borders.   I did not measure these pieces..... just cut  and stitch, trim and re-sew....until I was satisfied with the result. 


 I focused on the  memory of my mother-in-law  telling  about finding strength in these tiny flowers as I worked. Pasque flowers  are very delicate in appearance and have fuzzy stems.  The petals are thin and highly veined.    She referred to them as crocuses  and said they would poke right up through the snow in late winter in Alaska.    I imagine that finding  a few spots of vibrant color in the snow after a long winter was a real treasure and bright spot.   

       The Pasque..... finished size is 12 " by 20 ".  

  Linking to Project Quilting at Persimon Dreams  .

Happy stitching.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Pedal rest Prototype

    The first thing we tried was a piece of the interlocking foam flooring that you can find most places--big box stores.  They are made of re-cycled plastic and often are used for kids play areas.  The more expensive type can be used for shop and garage flooring, too. It can be cut with a craft knife or scissors---not your good ones!   By placing the textured side down on the carpet and the foam side up, the pedal did not crawl at all.   So far, so good.  Now I have a small piece for using with the Featherweight,too.
  Comments yesterday provided other alternatives,  like silicone kitchen pads or an old serger pad to place under the pedal.

   Sir Old Man also considered the ergonomic problem that I have.  I am short---consider me a sawed off shotgun size.  With my sewing chair raised to the high position to get the 90 degree position for my arms and upper torso to the table, my feet almost touch the floor.   Sir Old Man got right to it and figured this out on his own!    A pedal support with  a heel rest area.

 By creating a slanted rest,  I do not have to sit on the edge of the chair to reach the pedal.  It is raised about 2 inches overall from the floor.

   I'll be giving this baby a full test run later today.  But I do believe my problem is solved.
Happy stitching.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Be good to your foot controller

  So here is the saga....My machine--Janome 6600--began to act up a couple of weeks ago by doing  a "speed up and then slow down" dance.  I took it in for service, and of course, it behaved perfectly normal for them that week.  Back home again and all seemed well...for a day or two.
    Then she added some more moves to the dance by actually stopping in mid-seam and beeping at me.  The final straw was when she began to stitch by herself while I was at the ironing board.  Enough of that and I unplugged the foot controller, which meant I had to sew with the stop/start button.  I managed to get the binding on that I was doing that way, and was now convinced it was the foot controller that was my problem.  Luckily, she is still under warranty, so my dealer exchanged the pedal for me.
   A little added research explains that a foot pedal/controller can be prone to those hated lint / fuzz / fiber / fur bits that are found in our sewing areas.  Add to the fact that my pedal was on carpet, and you introduce static electricity into this mix.  And yes, sometimes those  fuzz balls can be sucked into the foot controller and lodge or take up residence there.  They are known to reduce the sensor and contact ability that govern your speed and ability to stop/start sewing.
    Note: It depends on your machine and model, but my foot controller could not be taken apart by Sir Old Man without damage.  So being the great guy he is, he is working on a prototype pedal station for me to get it off the carpet.  And as much as I would prefer to sew until the room is empty of fabric (Dana's cute comment),  I will need to clean more often, paying attention to the floor and  pedal area.

   And on a happier note......This morning I fixed the Dutch Baby recipe that  Barbara at Cat Patches shared a while back.  I used all blueberries and it turned out so good.  Perfect for a cold winter morning.  This is a keeper recipe for sure.  Thanks.

There is Show and tell of  Winter Landscape Quilts at Quilting Gallery  going on through Monday.  Be sure to check them out.

Project Quilting in review at Persimon Dreams blog  is going on.  The next challenge goes out on Sunday.  And Kim asked that we spread the word about the extra challenge-- Bonus Challenge and bundle --- that is available at the Fat Quarter Shop.  If the weekly scheduled challenge doesn't work for you, consider the Bonus Challenge, as it is on going until May.

And a little tease to remind you of the Hugs and Kisses Blog Hop  that will happen Feb. 11 -15.  It is going to be fun!

Happy stitching.   

Friday, February 1, 2013

Doll quilt arrivals

     Mrs. Claus strikes again!
  Two packages were in the mail today, and both were from gals at the HGTV Message Board with doll quilts for the Get Your Mrs. Claus On project.    

Malou  sent this adorable puppy quilt.  I love the decorative stitching she used for the quilting.  It gives the doll quilt a lot of personality.  Just too cute.

    Chlynn 1129  sent this cheerful little quilt.  What a delightful panel print.  So colorful, it needs no help to make a little girl happy.

 And then I turned them over to the backs.....and found the wonderful labels that these 2 Mrs. Clauses attached.   When the gals at the HGTV Message Board sign up to make a doll quilt, they select a state to represent.  Their goal is always to have every state "covered"!

  Malou chose Virginia even though she lives in another state.  And Chlynn  selected Wyoming.  I so love the little lady bug.  She used her machine to embroider the state and year.  A clever idea!

  Thank you both for your help and being Mrs. Clauses who care.  You are the best!

 The machine is heading back to the shop.....the foot controller has developed a mind of its own and goes racing away without me!   I'm trying to smile through this, but there's some fuming going on.  So I am breaking out the old reliable mechanical machine again.  Repeat after is my friend.  Happy stitching.
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