Saturday, May 31, 2014

May NewFO and finishes for SO/SN

   May was a short month for me, but I did have that big finish!

Something Old  was The Buzz Saw quilt. Begun last fall and finally bound and done!  This one is also called The Whopper due to its size.

Something New was Charming Bricks.  Technically it was done but not bound and finished until May.  This was the "extra" Let's Book It project from April.

  May's NewFO is a variation of the Hot Dish Pattern....and May's Let's Book It.  I started out thinking it would look like this photo from the cover of Quilter Magazine.  Yet when I laid out the pieces, I did not like it.  I don't know if it was my selection of florals, but I knew it was a bust before I began to sew.   Sometimes you need to quit before you begin.  I needed a plan B because  plan A was out the door.

  By luck /chance/ happenstance/ or maybe by magnetic attraction I saw a post by Deb at A Simple Life Quilts about her finish of a Minnesota Hot Dish quilt.  I realized it was the same block pattern with the value placement changed around!  I did a post and tutorial with my "recipe" for the block here.     I have 12 blocks on the design wall and the remainder are in the piecing process.


 I have several leftovers to work on in June as well.  I started a couple of watercolor wall hangings that are calling to me.  The first cascade  is ready to be quilted.

  The second cascade is ready to have the rows sewn and then quilted.

  Then there is a quilt that needs quilting for Habitat for Humanity, four placemats to be quilted, and a cover for the Tiara to be made, and two scheduled classes to teach.  With all of this hanging around, I may not leave my room for a couple of weeks.  Somebody needs to get busy.

Linking to Cat Patches for the New FO.  Linking to Never too Hot to Stitch for SO/SN.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I saw a tree

  It was a great trip!  And it is always nice to get home....something about my own bed.   Sir Old Man accomplished all his "Daddy-do" projects, plus a couple of more things.  Once again we visited the Farmer's Market in Royal Oak, picking up fresh breads and jams.  Deana took us to a used book store....we love to wander and browse.  I lucked out and found 2 quilting books....I will share the inspirations from them later as they will probably be Let's Book It projects.

   On Sunday we went to see the Campbell Street House.....from The Rehab Addict TV show!  Unfortunately, we all--there was a big crowd gathered--- had the date wrong for the Open House. But having watched every episode, as Nicole tore off the porch and awning, had the windows repaired, fixed the porch, and hung the well as all the interior, it was a treat to see the real thing.  She takes "jewels" and restores them to their former glory.....adding and taking away the damage and saving anything she can.  My kind of re-cycling preservationist.

An old tree was turned into a work of art along the curb.....using a chain saw!  Believe me, this was so amazing.  I believe she enlisted a local artist to do this.  Her hope is to encourage the area to restore their street and revitalize the neighborhood.



  Further down the street, another tree became more art for the neighborhood, too.  You could see signs of some improvements on homes along the street.
  There is amazing architecture in Detroit, even in the small homes with distinct details.  So we were really glad to get to see a glimpse of an area that can be brought back.

   We stopped at an antique mall off the interstate in Northern Ohio on the return trip home.  I spotted this sign....How cool would this be hanging in the sewing room?  No, I did not bring it home....but I loved it anyway!

    I am playing catch up around the house for the next couple of days....and ready to get to sewing again.  I do want to apologize for not replying to comments and a couple of questions while gone.   Using the iphone to reply is hazardous to my blog it seems.  I try to reply and the  email disappears.  Poof into cyberspace somewhere, somehow.  Obviously it is me, but I do not know what I am doing wrong.   So if you were one who needed an answer, please try again.
Happy stitching.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Just by changing places

   Just by changing placement of the dark pieces in the block I selected for the Let's Book It project, I got a totally different look.  Instead of a dark side and a light side, the dark value is down the middle.  It is a much stronger look and not so muddled.

I have only gotten to sew about half the blocks, but here is an idea of what it will become....a zig-zag chain, or x's and o' just depends on how you look at it!
  This is a great strip/scrap buster project.  So here is the recipe I followed for the Hot Dish variation.

1 square of dark value----3 1/2" square

Dark value strips:
    4 strips 2" by 3 1/2"
    2 strips 2" by 5"

Light value strips:
    2 strips  2" by 3 1/2"
    2 strips  2" by 5"
    2 strips  2" by 6 1/2"

Each block requires one set of the above strips.  Block will be 9 1/2" when sewn, and finish at 9" in the quilt.

    Lay out the pieces according to the photo at right.
    Begin in the center, adding strips to the center square.
    Sew one light and one dark shorter strips together at one end.     Repeat for the second set.  Sew to the center panel.
   Add the top and bottom light strip.
   Sew one light strip and one dark strip --2" by 5"-- together at one end. Repeat for the second set and attach both to the block.  Done!


    You can see there are only 2 spots that need matching....very easy to nest those seams and get a nice match.  And be sure to be consistent in your placement of the print in each block.
  I will be carrying this project over to finish up next month.

   I am straightening up the sewing room, and pulling out the luggage.  We are heading north for a visit with daughter and son-in-law in a few days.  That means pulling out the sweatshirts and jackets that I just put away!  What was I thinking?  So tomorrow is for errands, and such...I got orders to bring Duke's mayo and Cheerwine.   If you are not from the Carolinas, let me just say that both are must-haves in our dietary regime.    Then to gather the supplies for the Daddy-do projects that are on the schedule.  We never seem to travel without those tools and saws!  See all on the flip side.  Happy stitching.    

Friday, May 16, 2014

2014 Blogger's Quilt Festival

Welcome to the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I do hope you are enjoying all the blogs and entries.

  This year I want to share The Buzz Saw quilt.  I affectionately refer to this one as The Whopper, just because it is so big.  I don't usually make quilts this large.  It finished at 112" by 94".
  In the fall,  I worked on the 80 + blocks needed.  I used the "magic technique" of  Majestic Mountains from Quiltville and Bonnie Hunter and simply added an extra strip to one side for the block construction.  So assembly was simple.  The quilting.....that became a hold up.  I folded the top and put it aside.  I delayed. I hesitated.  I procrastinated.  I fussed that it was so big.....such a whopper!

  Finally, I put it under the needle.  I was asked how I quilted small bite at a time!  The center plain areas were quilted with lots of section at a time.  Some straight line quilting was added through the center of the batik "saw blades" area.
  I quilt on a Tiara table top long arm....and I love the space.  I use side tables for support of large quilts, and do a lot of bunching and scrunching.

  When it came to the borders I knew I wanted to quilt lots of feathers....endless feathers.  So when the snow storm hit us, it was time.  I tackled the borders, again one small section at a time.  And before the snow melted, I was done.

  My husband, referred to as Sir Old Man, selected the pattern.  If you have visited here before, you know he is a woodworker, so the buzz saw pattern clicked with him.  My blade is larger, but his has more teeth!

   The rest of the story......I agreed to make this large quilt because Sir Old Man agreed to make a new bed for us.  I even put that on the label.  The quilt is ready and waiting for the bed-to-be.....only the wood has been selected for the legs.  
   As quilters we know the importance of making test pieces.  So to be fair, he has been "practicing" techniques needed by making a side table.  The table is almost complete, and ready to be fumed with ammonia----don't ask, that is another story!  Of course, he now needs to build a tent to do the fuming.

 I just hope that Sir Old Man knows that although the quilt is large enough to cover his saw and table, it belongs on a bed.
  Thanks for visiting and reading about the Buzz Saw quilt.

  Category: Large Quilts

Enjoy the here.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Watercolor....reality check

  Between loads of laundry, I have been adding squares to fill in the areas.  Time for a photo to really see how it is coming........nothing like a reality check here.
  Right off, I realize that the outer row needs to be dark all the way around.  I got too light on both sides.  The outer row is my self-border, and if it is dark enough everything else will pop.
   Most of us have an abundance of medium value fabrics, and some light value fabrics, and a few dark value fabrics.  For watercolor quilts, I find you need more than a few dark values.  I like variety, so I went shopping in the stash closet for those uncut dark values.  The very best dark values are floral prints on a black  or dark green background. See photo below for examples of fabrics I would use.


  I marked a couple of areas in this photo to show areas I feel need to be reworked also that are in the center.  Where I marked Darker is just too muddy.  By making it darker, the light cascade should appear stronger.   The area I marked as Too Light needs to be  more medium in value.


    Final reality check photo.  Ah.....much better.
I only see one or two spots that I can touch up.  And then I will need to fuse everything in place before sewing.  The fusing to the interfacing takes time....I do a few rows at  a time and take a break.

   Emails and questions have been filling the mailbox in the last few days.  Most of the questions have been answered in long ago posts that are buried among other things. I have tried to put links to them on the Watercolor Tutorial page at the top.  So, if you have stumbled across this and are looking for watercolor directions, please start there.

   I am behind on my Let's Book It project.....I promise to do a quick tutorial on the block construction next week.  The dozen blocks I have gotten done, look great I think.  And they are quick and easy.

  Got your post ready for The Blogger's Quilt Festival?  It goes live on Friday and Amy says that Babylock is donating a new machine for a prize to entrants!!!  So if you have a need, you might like to check it out.

   I am teeming with ideas after guild meeting this week.....there just aren't enough hours to get to all of them, but that is another post.  Till then, happy stitching.  

Monday, May 12, 2014

Frequently asked questions

  I worked on the watercolor wall hanging with the cascade of dark and got the border added.  I was playing around with it and decided to use the last couple large squares in the border.  It sort of works.....the more I look at it the more I like it. And then I asked the "what if" question.
   What if I reversed the placement of the light and dark areas in the overall design?  What if I did not use an added border, but worked in a narrow dark border into the design?

   So while I was thinking about my "what ifs", I checked email.....more questions about my watercolor tutorial, and questions about my watercolor "patterns".  I have answered some of these questions before in this post.  I will be linking the post on the watercolor tutorial page for easier reference.  In general, I do not use patterns, nor do I have patterns for sale.  You are welcome to use my designs as inspiration for your own it would be impossible to exactly duplicate these watercolors.

  So when I got back to the design wall, I pulled out gridded interfacing to experiment with a reversed design.  This is how I began.
   1.  Dark squares in the outer row will go all the way around to create the self border.  What is important right now, is not the blending but just getting the darker area defined.
   2. The cascade of light is begun by placing the very lightest squares I have in an "s" type wave from the upper corner.  By placing them on a diagonal, I can get the design to move across and down the space.  Again, blending is not so important.  I am just defining the placement.
   3.  Stand back and look at it.  Is the shape smooth, or is it a little to tight and cramped?  (I moved a few pieces in the light area and opened up the spacing.)

   Filling in the design areas:
     I started filling in the upper left corner to get it nice and dark. Dark is important....not medium, not sort of dim....dark. The light area  will pop and glow within the dark side areas.  I re-worked the upper right corner already, as it was too soft. Yet I see a couple of pieces that could use a little help to blend better.

   Taking photos is always a good idea.  It lets you see how the design is developing, as well as helping see what is blending and what isn't.  As I continue to work down the left side, I will try to remember to take photos to share.

  Happy stitching. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Cute doll quilts

  This week's mail brought 2 cute doll quilts.....from two Mrs. Claus who are part of the HGTV Message Board.

  Mrs. Claus in Ohio is Malou.  Malou sent a doll quilt to represent the state of Virginia.....because someone claimed her beloved Ohio first!  That's ok....all are welcome here.  Malou threw a little education into her doll quilt with the colorful set of ABC's.  I love the use of the tiny rick-rack print fabric she chose to use for the borders.

  Nancyc20 is Mrs. Claus in California.  Nancy has been helping this project for several years and sent this adorable checkered board doll quilt.  I just love the yellow binding.....I do think I have that fabric, too.  

   A peek on the back of both doll quilts reveals  what makes these so special.  Adorable  little labels on each one provides the perfect finishing touch.  These two Mrs. Claus have got it all together!  Thank you both for your help and support.

    Happy stitching....and enjoy your Mother's Day, too.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

What a difference

Difference number 1:  What a difference all that cutting made!  I have space---free space---in my stash closet  on the floral shelves!  Of course, I now have 3  overflowing and jam packed boxes of floral strips instead of 2.  I could thin it out a little bit more, but figured it was time to do something with a few strips.

Difference number 2: 
   I finally picked out a magazine for my Let's Book It project for the month to try using those floral fabrics.  But a little intervention occurred when I read about a finish at A Simple Life Quilts.  Deb shared a finished project called Minnesota Hot Dish. I realized it was the same pattern, only the value and color placement were different!
  Here's my first sample block---to test my math---and the magazine with the same block with a different arrangement.  What a difference the placement of value makes here.

This is a perfect block for using strips.
 And only a couple of spots require kind of fun!
So now I get to cut up some strips and play with fabric.

  A lesson relearned here.  A traditional block can be transformed by where you place the value.  Reversing light and dark areas can provide a variation and a striking difference.

  •  I need to think outside the box more often.
  • Listen to my inner voice.
  • Forget trying to follow the latest thing.
  • Make more quilts!
And I am so glad my mojo has come home!  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

My books wrote me?

I got a good chuckle over this email today.  I ordered a couple of books....early Mother's Day to me from Better World Books.  And this is to notify me they were shipped.

(Your book(s) asked to write you a personal note - it seemed unusual, but who are we to say no?)
Holy canasta! It's me... it's me! I can't believe it is actually me! You could have picked any of over 2 million books but you picked me! I've got to get packed! How is the weather where you live? Will I need a dust jacket? I can't believe I'm leaving Mishawaka, Indiana already - the friendly people, the Hummer plant, the Linebacker Lounge - so many memories. I don't have much time to say goodbye to everyone, but it's time to see the world!
I can't wait to meet you! You sound like such a well read person. Although, I have to say, it sure has taken you a while! I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but how would you like to spend five months sandwiched between Jane Eyre (drama queen) and Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (pyromaniac)? At least Jane was an upgrade from that stupid book on brewing beer. How many times did the ol' brewmaster have one too many and topple off our shelf at 2am?
I know the trip to meet you will be long and fraught with peril, but after the close calls I've had, I'm ready for anything (besides, some of my best friends are suspense novels). Just five months ago, I thought I was a goner. My owner was moving and couldn't take me with her. I was sure I was landfill bait until I ended up in a Better World Books book drive bin. Thanks to your socially conscious book shopping, I've found a new home. Even better, your book buying dollars are helping kids read from Brazil to Botswana.
  I have no affiliation with Better World Books, but I really enjoyed their humor.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Good things

 It's May already?  I think my "mojo" has been on vacation without me, as I have been very un-productive recently.  I seem to get this way seasonally or after a huge push to finish things it may be both reasons this time.  Plus a little technical difficulties with this aging computer over the weekend  just did not help improve my short attention span.

  The Charming Bricks is finally up on the wall.  It is now hanging over the Tiara.   I added a mixed fabric binding in darker florals to finish it off.
    I know it is not my typical style, but it just makes me smile.  I love having a floral brick wall to view.   Stepping out of my comfort zone proved to be good this time.  And finished is a good thing.

Insight:  Reminder....Do what you love.  Throw away the rest.  Listen to that voice in your head.

 So I needed to fill my time in the sewing room doing something.......I cut strips.  I cut lots of strips.  I need to de-stash and so I cut strips.  Now  I have two shoe box bins full of floral strips.  I have one more shelf to cut my way through and I should have enough strips for a year of floral quilts.  I have a couple patterns that I am working on  /planning / adapting.  De-stashing is a good thing.


   And there is nothing like a little free motion practice to lift my spirits.  I put on some music and just go for it.  I let everything else fall away.  I find that zone in my head where thread and fabric blend and these wonderful feathers emerge.  Finding that "zone" is a good thing.  So are feathers!

Spring '14 Blogger's Quilt Festival -
 The Blogger's Quilt Festival is almost here.  I just ran across this on Amy's Creative Side.  Get a post ready for your entry as this goes live on May 16.  Viewing so many quilts in one place is always good for inspiration.    Ah, maybe I will enter The Whopper.....guess I need permission from Sir Old Man on that!

I am off to do more de-stashing....Happy stitching.
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