Friday, November 28, 2014

Winter Baubles in blue

 Winter Baubles tells the story in the colors captured here.  There  are the  bright blues of the winter sky, the shadows of blue on snow covered paths,  the watery blues of sunlight reflected off the ice in the birdbath, and the darkest blue of night.  Like colored glass hung in a window to catch the streaming light, the baubles hang against a cloud of white.

  I imagine that the smallest of breeze could set them spinning and twirling to cast a dancing hue of blue light across the wall.   Of course, I am only being fanciful, but I find this one very restful to view.

  Need I tell is stiff as a board from all the thread and heavy quilting.  Miles of thread does not make a quilt for cuddling!  It does hang straight  :)

 So I think this adventure is over.   I have a couple of tops that are in need of quilting. I may get to them next month.  It is time to crank up the ovens and begin some baking......cookies, and breads.
  Happy stitching.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Selecting the blues of winter

  I have been working on the blue version of the baubles.    I found lots of different shapes and patterns on Pinterest for the baubles.....way more that I needed.  Then the truly difficult part was required, that being fabric selection.     For some reason, I have a hard time selecting blues that blend well.  It has always been that way, and this time was no different.

  My first step was to pull out all the blue fabrics that I liked---any shade, any value, and any pattern.  I just piled them up on the table.  Two fabrics jumped out at me as having the winter blue colors I wanted.....the swirled dark and light blue, and the print on white to the right of the large ornament.   I set those aside.

  Next, I began to eliminate fabrics because of the pattern-----stripes, and  solids just did not read well.
   Then I removed the fabrics that had too gray a tone.....they looked too dirty, like  trampled, wet snow.   Some fabrics were heavy on the green tone, some way too light, and others much too dark.

   This was the stack that I was left with.  I then cut a small piece off of each one and placed it randomly on the white background fabric just to be sure the fabrics reflected all the shades of winter blues.   Stand back and look at them....squint a little, too.  It seems to help :)

 And here it is in progress......... those decorative stitches on my machine have come in handy for this project.  They make a perfect decorative chain between the baubles.   I rarely use these stitches, so I had to experiment to find ones that worked....or at least that I liked.

  On to pie making and some laundry....then happy stitching.  

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Mrs. Claus story

    If you follow this blog, you know about the Get Your Mrs. Claus On project.  (You can find details on the Mrs. Claus page under the banner.)  And you may have seen the Mrs. Claus buttons on other blogs that participate.   Those buttons and my posts bring in lots of email and inquires about how to participate.          Earlier this year, in the Spring I think, I got an email from someone who was interested in making a couple of doll quilts.  I heard nothing else from her until October.  Here is her email......
    I’m thinking that I’m late with this but I’ve just finished with chemo and wasn’t of the right brain power to have done any quilting during the summer.  I have 4 quilts with pillows for you that I made this past week and would like to send them.  If you already have enough, I would appreciate it if you would allow me to send them anyway and you can use them for next year.  I have stage 4 cancer and I’m afraid that I don’t know what the future will bring for me next year and I would like to know that I have made a contribution to your wonderful project.
And then a few weeks later, another email.....
   Sorry it’s taken me so long to answer your note.  I got to making more and more little quilts for you thinking “if I’m going to send 4, I might as well send 8” and so on.  They’ve been so much fun to work on. It’s been so good to get back to sewing although my skills have gotten a little rusty. ........ I’m having fun!  It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that.  In any case, I’ll send them by Thanksgiving so they don’t get messed up in the Christmas packages that will be travelling all over.   I still don’t know what next year will bring but hopefully when I have the next CT scan on Dec 8, the results will still be fine.  I appreciate your prayers;  I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without the grace of God and the prayers of family and friends. 
  Today, her box of goodness arrived, filled with doll quilts and attached pillows!  Angels, and patchwork stars......

kittens, and dancing frogs......(okay, the dancing frogs just stole the show for me.  I love it when one of quilts make me smile!).......

cupcakes, and candies, and mints......

throw in some pink and purple---love it----rail fences for zig-zags.....

mixed with a rose colored quilt of hourglasses.....

 blended with more candy mints made into pinwheels.  And the result is a box of love, therapy,  and outstanding goodness.

    Thank you, Mrs. Claus of Nebraska.  My heart just swells to know how this project touches the quilter as well as the little girls who will love and enjoy these quilts.    
  To all readers, please join me in sending prayers to this Mrs. Claus for a clean scan.  
Happy stitching.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Seeing Red

Seeing red, in this case, is not a bad thing.  I just seem to have a color fixation on red this week.  Both my small projects were heavy on the red and white.....then a red binding  and I am seeing red.

A Cardinal Sings
Christmas Baubles

   Sir Old Man was gracious today and took me to my favorite quilt shop while running errands......we found some white background fabric, a few reds in this particular shade, and a couple of cool blues.  I am quite taken with this project, so a blue one is up next.....but I may do another larger one in red  :)
It's from BabyLock website, an embroidered (by machine) small wall hanging.  So you lucky gals with the embroidery machines could do your own version.  
I have fabric to wash....then happy stitching.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throwing out some inspiration.

The scrappy top is assembled.    I couldn't find a movie to watch, so I enlisted the aid of the Property Brothers.  Three episodes later, all the scrappy blocks were stitched into a top!  I gave it a good press today and waited for the afternoon shadows to take a photo.   I began this back in August---here is the post----  as a Let's Book It project.  Once quilted, this little throw at 60" will go on the donation stack.

  That meant I could play this afternoon........wonder what she had waiting to try?

I wanted to try stitching a winter a wall hanging I had seen on Pinterest.   So I thought I would experiment.  Instead of the pale blue, I tried the deep burgundy thread.
   First, I thought the technique was all about the quilting.....the colored bauble is really more of a thread sketching using quilting stitches.  It is tough to get good looking stitches, when you are working that small/close/teeny tiny and quilting through batting.  The back is so ugly that I would not let you see it.   Nope, this is not enjoyable for me.

  Second, I noticed a vast improvement in  the McTavishing stitches....I finally am getting the hang of it.  Those "c" stitches make all the difference!

  Third, I decided to try an inspiration of the original on Pinterest.  Beautiful red fabrics for the applique.....a couple of them were from a older charm pack of Christmas fabric.
  I think Christmas Baubles turned out good for a first try!  The shapes I found in EQ7.  I just played around with the sizes.  Light Heat and Bond for the fusible, and stitched with a zig-zag stitch.  This is only about 12" by 20"....a good size for a door banner.    A red binding and this one can be up before next month arrives.
   Wonder if I should try this in pale blues?  Someone stop me.....I need to buy fabrics for more of these!  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

What to do with strings

   I ended up with only 4 string blocks from the weekend play time.  The rest of the time was spent hemming slacks, but that is another story.  So only 4 string blocks, and a little imagination, some fusible pieces and  you get......

A small table topper hanging!  Ready to be quilted and displayed next month.

   A small project always motivates me to tackle what needs to be worked  next up are the scrappy blocks on the design wall.    I have 3 rows sewn.....and it really looks much better than this photo shows.
   I get to the assembly stage on some projects and just get a bit bored.  OK, I get a lot bored.   But I rely on my self imposed rule of  3 to prevent this from becoming a full/total/complete UFO.

    So I am numbering rows and hoping for a good movie just made for sewing rows while watching.  This will go in my stack of quilts for replace one I will deliver on Wednesday.  You can never have too many quilts to share, and there is always someone who needs to be covered.   Especially at this time of year, I am thankful I can share my gift.   Stay warm, and  Happy stitching.  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Musing on Fall to Winter

   What happened to our fall?  Like the other 2/3's of the country we went to freezing temperatures overnight.  And we will likely stay there for a good while.
   Fall to me is the time for baking, and finishing up projects, and preparing for the holidays, cool nights and warm days.  This year that time has been snapped up and taken over by frosty nights, and cloudy days.  I did get several days of baking in this week....pumpkin swirl bread and glazed pecans for gifts.
   Then I began to tackle drawers that were full of just "stuff".  On to the closet, and I pared that down quite a bit.  I tend to wear the same items over and over, so why do I have all that other stuff in there?  Out with it!!  Three full  and extra large bags of items to be donated.   The benefit was lots of space in the closet!
   Next a shopping trip---lol---for some updated replacements that I will wear.   No jeans...I have enough...., but I did find a purple sweater that I fell in love with.  That should make it easy to find me in a crowd....:)

   And that was the good part of the week......the other 2 days were spent on the phone and computer comparing insurance and drug plans.  If you are approaching that month for know what I mean.  I can not find words to express the frustration with the quagmire that you have to wade through.  There is nothing easy, simple or pleasant about this task.  It is difficult to get a straight answer to your questions.....all answers seem to be scripted versions no matter who you talk to.  Comparisons of plans are almost impossible because the numbers are "hidden" depending on which company has a deal with which pharmacy or drug company you select or need.  In essence, I feel like I fell into the deep freeze of winter.
    Now I need some therapy....of the stitching kind.  I plan on spending a couple of full days this week in the sewing room getting just what I need.   I have projects to finish up and I think some string piecing would be good for the soul.  Happy stitching.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mrs. Claus update

  The last of 2014 doll quilts have been delivered to the toymakers at the woodshop.  Just over 100 doll quilts....that's a lot of toys to make!  And doll quilts are still arriving.....they will be used next year.  Want to see what has arrived?
   Karen, aka Karribean Quilter, is Mrs. in Nevada.  She sent 2.....the pink and yellow represent the colors of the beautiful sunsets.  And the scrappy one has wave quilting to represent the Virgin Islands.  I love that she takes such great inspiration from the places she loves.
    Karibbean Quilter is a member of Circle of Friends, the new group formed from the HGTV message board.  The message boards were shut down the first of November.  If you are looking for a very active and lively group to join, you might want to check them out through the link.

  Another member of Circle of Friends is Kelly, Mrs. Claus in Oregon, aka KBlue.    She sent this bright and cheerful doll quilt made from a fun print with horses.  Love that purple!

  Mrs. Claus of California-- now --is Terri, a faithful follower and friend. Oops....update....She is now Mrs. Claus in Washington!   She loves hand work and began working with hexagons this year.  Her note said she did not know what to do with them.....well, I think she figured it out!  The pink hexie flowers are just adorable.  I love the scattered arrangement, like walking thru a garden.
   This Mrs. Claus just made a move and is waiting on furniture to arrive so she can return to  her regular sewing projects.

    Mrs. Claus of Maryland is Sunny and she has been busy!  Just check out that center quilt of hearts!  I love the unusual layout with the string piecing.

    She also made these three---a total of six, including a hexie one too!  I really love the traditional patterns.....the Quarter Trip in blue is so pretty.   Thank you, Mrs. Claus.

  Thanks to all the Mrs. Clauses around the  world.  You touch many hearts with your gift.  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


In honor and memory of our Veterans, our heroes. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Thank yous and a good class!

   Thank you to  Roger and to Sir Old Man  for  handling and holding all  the quilts for me.  Thank you to Shelia for sharing her husband, Roger, and for taking photos.
   Thank you to the Foothills guild for inviting me and  the great response to my quilts.

 Thank you to my wonderful followers who offered support and encouragement, especially those 2 angels that kept sending messages.   What a lift you gave me.  Big sigh of relief.......and on to the Feathers Class.

   I have talked and talked about the Endless Feathers in lots of posts, and even offered a tutorial on how I build the feathers.  Click here for the Tutorial Page.   the tutorial is near the bottom of the page.  But I had not attempted to actually teach anyone my method.   So this class was a trial run and I was excited to see how it went.  Little did I expect to see such amazing results!

      Class began with about 45 minutes of drawing---hearts, plumes, and basic set of 3 plumes.  And talked about the importance of muscle memory.   Then to the machines.  Before I got sidetracked with questions, I managed to take photos of 4 of the samples.

   This is Lynette's first attempt doing the Endless Feathers.  She just took off and kept going and going.   Then she went back in and added the center band of feathers.

   Suzanne started small and gained confidence. Her plumes began to grow and she developed a nice curve to the feather.  


   I believe this was Deb's....she wanted to fill every inch of space.   She got around that curve on the bottom and created a very nice flow.

   But every class has that one person you want to rave about a little.  This is Cheryl's first feather sample.  She sat in the back and I heard this machine just roaring along.  When I went to look, I almost fell over.  She had filled half the sample with beautiful feathers.  She was full of questions and just soaked things up like a sponge.

   We broke for lunch and had a wonderful "round table" discussion on everything from batting to styles of design.  And then they wanted to know about swirls!  If you have followed for long, you know that is my favorite "go to" design for Free Motion Quilting.  So we threw in a quick drawing lesson on swirls and how to develop them.   A little more machine time, and I told the class I was on empty.....they had all the info, now they just needed practice.

  I learned a few things too......
    I need to try using the wool blend batting.
    I need to have sticky name tags for everyone in class.
   Take extra pencils for drawing.

And now, back to our regular programming.....Thanks again, and happy stitching.    

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A little turn helps

  Cactus blooms!  This is one of two that I have and it is full of blooms....I expect a few broken branches with the weight.  It sits snuggled in a corner of the dining room and is so easy to it was a wonderful discovery a couple of days ago.

  But before I go on, I need to thank a couple of special blogger angels who responded with great advice, and words of encouragement to me.  The trunk show is Thursday night and the anxiety has been rising.   I know I share and run on here at the blog.  It is my safe place.  I record my progress, design ideas and style.  I can show my goofs and successes.   You drop by, read if you want, comment, and go on.   But now, I agreed to "parade" about 4 dozens of my quilts.....bits and pieces of a whole group of people.   Words can't convey how scary that is for me.   So, thank you, angels for being there.

   I have been hibernating in the sewing room for a few hours  today to get this latest project to the flimsy stage.   Here is how it was going over the weekend.  I added that narrow blue around the center and then decided I wanted more!  So I began working on bands for the outer border that would be added---like the left side seen here.

    And now with the outer border attached.  Notice anything else?    Sir Old Man did his normal inspection, and kept tilting his head at an angle.  Well, actually he was almost on his head to look at it!  I took his suggestion and  rotated this photo 1/4 turn......and it looks so much better.   Now the light source is at the top, moves behind the center and ripples along the other side.   Having an "in-house" critic is helpful after all.  All from a little turn.

 Insight:  A little turn can give a new perspective.   It may change the whole look of things.

  Don't forget the Blogger's Quilt Festival is going this week until Friday.  Here is the link to visit.
The rest of the week here is busy/booked solid/no more sewing time......until I finish the class on Saturday.   Till then, happy stitching. 
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