Monday, March 30, 2015

Where my feet may fall

  Ah, Spring!  Time of warmer temperatures, trees leafed out, and flowers in bloom, and garden tours.  When the garden club offered tours of home gardens, we often went.  The variety of styles and settings were a delight and enjoyable  afternoon.

   Formal gardens offer  paths that pass by lush plantings  in rows and borders.  Generally, they will direct your walk to a focal point.  It may be a gazebo, a fountain, or just a bench under a large tree.  Informal gardens are more relaxed, allowing you to wander and freely pick your direction.  Their sense of order are often contained in island beds around a clump of shrubs, or a tree.

   I loved both.  I would find myself stepping off the path, bending under a tree branch to see a hidden clump of iris in bloom.  Or maybe I would spot a nesting bird under a bush.   Passing by a fountain, I would lightly touch the droplets of water on the surface, or just admire the mist that was formed by the spray.
    I would catch sight a cottage garden bed and stop to enjoy the array of finery.   Tightly planted clumps of perennials that have intermingled over time and give a method to the madness  are  the absolute favorite of mine.   No fear in this style of garden, as anything goes.    Maybe you can catch a glimpse of  each style in this recent project, called Where my Feet May Fall.

       I found this project, English Garden,  in a book by the Palouse Patchers.  I selected it for a Let's Book It project. And for once....I almost followed the  I only changed the size of strips to 2" for my version.
 Here's the post where I began.  
A post as it became a here.
On to how I created the blended here.
And finally the here.  

    I was initially attracted by the watercolor border.  All those 2" squares just jumped up and called to me.  Luckily I had a ready stash on hand, so there were plenty from which to chose.   I refer to the "blocks" in the center of the quilt as atypical log cabins.  After piecing the 4 dozen of them that were required, I got the hang of their construction.  I loved the open space of the background area, as it begged me to fill it with feathers.  Although I admit, I was glad to  see them come to an end.....I was feathered out.

  Early morning light while the dew is still covering  the garden greenery provides a perfect time to visit this garden quilt.  The shadows of light and dark in the border mimic the shadows you find at this time of day.


  If you ask how many different floral fabrics I used for the border, my answer would be.....wicked grin and a wink.....I can't count that high!  I must say I just about depleted all the squares I had cut and stashed.  Time to replenish the trays.

 The backing fabric is a black and white print of butterflies.

    Where My Feet May Fall  is 64" by 84".  Labeled, bound, and done!

Let's Book It project.....actually selected and cut in December 2014.  Sewing began in January. ...okay, I take a few months to get these big ones done.   Without the motivation of Let's Book It, I might never have taken this journey into the garden.  Thanks to Sharon at Vrooman's quilts for enabling me!

Linking to Let's Book It.
Check out what other's booked this month!

Happy stitching.....see you next month!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday finds March 27

A mixed bag today.  Can you tell I am having fun as I look at things around the world?  With an eye open for inspiration, I found these  on Pinterest this week.

Quilt blocks made from vintage embroidery
From Hen House
   I love vintage linens, especially those with embroidered designs.  Sadly, they often have damaged areas, or are badly stained from time.  Hen House recycled the pretty part and created a mixed bag of blocks from her strip stash.  And she has an amazing stack of fabrics  from which to select.    She turned the blocks into a lovely quilt.  I would be inspired to create mug rugs, table runners, or small gift bags from some of these.

Blue Roses Shabby Chic Floral Fabric Easy Pre-Cut Quilt Blocks Top Fussy cutter Quilt Kits sells kits that are pre-cut.  This pin caught my eye as a good block for using large prints  or other focal fabric.   It's simple, and could be done in a scrap version, or maybe planned color scheme of batiks even.  Either way, it is a good block to add to future plan.

Podunk Pretties: Podunk Posy quilt block tutorial (lots of pics)
From Podunk Pretties
  Just in time for spring can pick up these blossoms and the tutorial at Podunk Pretties blog.      Lots of photos included with the instructions.    Her future plans are to use these blocks in a border.  The quilt will be just beautiful!

How to Make a Quilt Sleeve
From Christa Quilts

    Once that quilt is finished, you just might need a hanging sleeve to finish it off.  Christa Quilts offers a good tutorial on just that....along with a couple of options.  

  As always, please visit these linked sites and pin from there for future reference.

 I see a bit of  almost sun today, so I am out to take photos of a finish!  Of course, the rain moves in again tonight, but no complaints as we always need the wet stuff.    Enjoy your weekend, and happy stitching.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Doll quilt from Our Circle of Friends

   Christmas has started early......I felt like I needed to decorate a tree after opening a large box full of doll quilts!

  The group is called Our Circle of Friends.....formerly known as the HGTV Message Board, which closed,  and vanished like the wind.  These gals are so committed to quilting and each other that they simply moved their group and set up a new forum.  You can visit them here.   They have a variety of on-going projects, and things to participate in.  Recently, some of the members went on a retreat in Florida, where they managed to include a "Doll Quilt Challenge"  in their activities.  

   Here are two of their creations that I think might reflect a few of  the other things on their agenda over the weekend.   Notice the tropical fabric....a theme fabric for the challenge.
Colorful and fun!

There's the challenge fabric in blue, too.

  A pair of whole cloth doll quilts.....hand quilted and a delight to see.  A dainty print was used for the binding.  Just precious!

  And the one on the right has a label that explains this doll quilt was made in memory of McPatches, who died recently.  Mary Ann, aka McPatches, was a dearly loved group member and had been an ardent Mrs. Claus for a few years.  She made boxes of quilts for this project.  I thought this was so sweet.

You just never know what those crazy quilting gals will do!  Thanks to all who had fun and participated in the challenge.

And one more quilt.....from Claire, who is a member of this group.  Her doll quilt arrived a few weeks ago, and I was waiting to lead off the doll quilt season with it.  Thanks, Claire, Mrs. Claus from NH!
  Quilt show is over....time to get to sewing.  Happy stitching.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Finds #8

A lesson from Bonnie on fabric selection for scrap quilts   From Quiltville....Bonnie Hunter shares her tips on selecting fabrics for her scrap blocks.   I thought she gave a good set of guidelines on using multi-color prints in her post.  Be sure to check it out.


   Another way to recycle jeans.....make a sewing machine cover.  I ran across this here.    I thought this would be great to make a cover for the Featherweight machine.  No instructions, but it appears that extra fabric was sewn to the waist band to make the top to check the old jeans in the closet!

Free Patterns   gnome is cute!

    While I do not do paper piecing, this one was just too cute not to share.  Sonja has an album with several free patterns available.....check it out here. 

  I was inspired to turn this into an applique for a mug rug.

Zentangle Quilt Tutorial
 Cassie sent me this pin.....she knows I love doodles and zentangles.    The Zany Quilter has a good tutorial on creating this "art quilt" that looks like a zentangle.   Thanks, Cassie!

 Wow....that's enough for this week.
  As always, be sure to visit each site thru the links....please pin from the original source, and not from here.  Enjoy and happy stitching.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

New tool from the workshop

    After I shared the tip about using a magazine in place of a clapper last week, I got an email from Nicki.   She gave a challenge to Sir Old Man to make a "clapper" in the workshop.   Actually she shared a link to show how someone made their own clapper and then said she was sure Sir Old Man could fashion one for me.

  That was enough to  send him to the workshop!  One piece of oak scrap +
one large table saw + router + sanding = one clapper.
  Nice and square, smooth and easy to grip. Note the routed edge for ease of  handling....exactly right.

So how did it work?
Perfect!  It is long enough to cover the sting piecing blocks.   And they are nice and flat.
  So thanks to Nicki for the challenge, and to Sir Old Man for the new tool!

Update....Applause for the wood worker:
   In case you have a wood worker in your home...... Here is a link to instructions to make a tailor's clapper. 

More string blocks added.

The binding is sewn for the garden quilt.  I just need to stitch on a sleeve and add the label.....and wait for a dry day for a photo shoot.
I love progress!

Happy stitching.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Free Motion quilting---butterfly wings

     I mentioned the free motion quilting when I shared this table runner.  I got a question about it from Fran.  She asked how I moved from one area to another on this one.

   Originally, I did a post last August when I began practicing this stitch.  Click her for that post.

  Since this is not an original design I did not do a tutorial.  The design is from LuAnn Kessi's sketchbook.   Go to her blog to check out the is filled with design ideas for free motion.   I refer to it a lot....and I have lovingly stolen/swiped/copied many of her motifs.

My prior explanation....

  Individual plumes are stitched and then outlined to form that wing look.  Note----you end up back where you started stitching.  Generally 3 plumes, then outline to form the wing shape.  But sometimes you only have enough room for 2 plumes, and that is fine.

  The head of my plumes are about 1/2" to 3/4" to the size of the bobbin.  I did have to remind myself to remember to change/alternate direction that the plume tilted.  
   So, grab your drawing pad, make a few plumes until you get the hang of this one.   Practice is all it takes.  Thanks, Fran.....great question.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

On my return

   Finally, I feel like I have turned the corner and returned to the land of the living and sewing.  We have a new heat pump, and the sun came out this afternoon.  Life is just full of blessings!
   I hit the sewing room for a bit this morning and tackled the finishes for a couple of small projects that had been pushed aside.  
    This table runner needed the binding.  It has been sitting since December I know.  I love the blues, as they are nice and soothing.  
   I know I found the pattern on Pinterest, but it may have came from a magazine originally.

Machine appliqued stems and leaves.  I practiced the butterfly wings quilting on this one.  It gives great texture.

  A sling bag  needed a strap--a la the link from a couple of weeks ago from Pinterest.  I used decorator weight fabric scraps from old decor projects.  I had the "D" rings, but not the slider ring to make the strap I just did a very long strap for across the body style.
    I also adjusted the size of the large bag by 2" overall.  The small size was too small and the large just seemed so big.  I think that makes it a Mama Bear sling bag!

   I think I will drop in for a visit to the workshop and see what mischief Sir Old Man is up to.   And if there is even time, I will work on some binding for the garden quilt.   Happy stitching. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Friday Finds # 7

Getting really flat blocks
From Cluck Cluck Sew
  I ran across this pressing tip for getting flat seams at Cluck Cluck Sew  recently.   Now, I knew the principle of using a wood clapper to set seams----of course my clapper has long disappeared.  But a magazine could do the same thing?  I was not a believer until I tried it. 
  I had a stack of 2 patches that needed to be pressed, so I pulled a magazine out like the tutorial said.  I pressed, covered the hot units, and waited a minute to let them cool.  Sure enough the seams were much flatter and stayed that way when I moved them.  Now, I have added a magazine to my pressing basket.....this is one hot tip.

 This site has a great tutorial on Birds in the Air quilt block, and it is in multiple sizes.   See it here.     There are also instructions for paper piecing and extra variations of the block.  

Be sure to visit the source link before pinning.
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I got caught

  I have been little more than a slug for the past few days......first I caught a cold.  And naturally, after nursing the stuffy head syndrome, the ear/sinus infection caught up to me.    I thought I would get thru this season without one of these.  Instead, I got caught.
     I am no further along with any major project......I did try a few string blocks.   This is as far as I got before the medicine took over and I went back to napping and drinking hot tea.
  And to top it off, the heat pump went kaput.  Luckily, the weather turned warmer and we have been fine.  A replacement gets put in this week.
Such is life!
  Anyway, soon as the antibiotics kick in.....I'll be back.   Happy stitching.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Time for a change

     Twice a year, without fail,  time changes.  Not only does it mess with my body clock, it messes up my head.  About 2 or 3 days before, Sir Old Man starts the comments about,,, "It will be 8:00 when you get up next week."  Or some such crazy comment.   I threatened to change the clocks back one hour every time he made one of his comments.....just to confuse him.    
     Seriously.....the mysterious "they" tell you to Spring forward.  If I spring forward, I should be gaining ground, right?  Not so, I lose an hour.    Ah, "they" say, you gain it back in the fall when you "fall back".  Fall back sounds like I am losing something.   Things like this must be messing with the time continuum or the tilt of the Earth's axis, or something really important in the universe.    How about I keep my hour, and let "them" just go jump into the lake, backwards to make it more interesting!

 As I implied, there are more important things in my universe........
      Do we need a calendar to remember to change the machine needles?     How do you remember to change your machine needle?  Ideally, a new needle should be used after 8 hours of sewing.  If that is true, why didn't they include a buzzer to remind me.  On Hot Legs, the sit down quilting machine, I routinely change the needle after each large project.....or sooner if I notice skipped stitches.  On my regular machine, it is a hit and miss game to remember.  For a while I had a piece of painter's tape on the side and I would note the type of needle and date.  Note I said, for a while.....I got out of the habit, and so I wing it here.

    I know to change the bobbin when I run out of buzzer needed here. I clean out the bobbin area when I change bobbins.....those fuzz bunnies multiply so quickly when you sew a lot.  I also do the oiling thing after a cleaning session.
     Then there is the rotary cutter.   Admittedly, I over use my blades.....I wait till I have to fight with it before changing.  This past week, I order a new pack of blades so it is time for a change.....on all cutters.  I just wish there was a good use for those old ones other than trimming paper.  
   My hint for the week.....change the time this weekend,  and change your rotary cutter blade, and needle.  You won't get that hour back, but your stitching time will improve.    Happy stitching.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Feathered out!

    I started quilting the feathers on the English Garden quilt a week ago....and now, I am feathered out.   It takes a lot of concentration and control when filling in specific areas.   All the open areas are filled, and it is on to the borders.  No feathers for them, just some meandering and a few swirls probably.  

    I used large plumes on this one, otherwise i would still be filling in.  I found I was having a challenge getting the corners filled in because of the zig-zag layout.  So in some places I did a lot of back-track stitching, and in others I added an extra plume and started off again.   In the grand scheme of things, those "funky" spots will never be noticed.

    When I needed a break, I turned to some doodles.  These  things are absolutely addictive for me.   Playing around with a few different shapes and those lines of Mctavishing designs for fill ins sent me off in a new direction for this batch.  
    I picked up a new batch of paint cards and found more gel pens at the dollar store this I am set for break times.
    I need to clean and oil Hot Legs before I go any further with the stitching.  She has had a good workout.
Happy stitching.

Monday, March 2, 2015

March's beginnings......

  This is the beginning of the new Let's Book It project that I shared a hint about.
  The book is an older one....Awash with Color by Judy Turner.  On the left you can see my foundation pieces that I cut for the string piecing.   I am using some very old, very thin men's shirting fabric I was "gifted" with a while back.  I figured there was no reason to let it go to waste.  

  Taking a break from the feather quilting, I used some string piecing as a little therapy. I am using a 6 1/2" foundation---perfect size because I have that ruler.  I am not being strict about the fabric strings, and you will probably see a few that "read" as more solid than floral.  I just need to clear out a ton of these pieces.  My pieces range from real strings to 1 1/2", and maybe a few wider ones thrown in.
    What I am paying attention to is the value.  That means a dark assortment, and a light assortment.  The light assortment has a range to it....from very light to a light medium value.   The dark group must read darker  when viewed through the value viewer or ruby beholder.

And once again, I am not following all the directions for construction.  The technique taught in the book is a "quilt as you go" technique where you actually piece the strips onto batting and backing.  When you join the blocks they are already "quilted" from the piecing.  Of course that means you need to as a binding strip when assembling to cover the seams on back.  I have done this once, hated it, and won't do it again.  I will stick to the traditional assembly for this.
     So with just 6 blocks completed, you can get an idea of what will develop.  This could be done with batiks, or different color and greens would be so soothing.

   I have 2 more rows of those feathers to do.....I am past the long center rows, so it will move along faster now.  They were a little struggle, and I know where the "goofs" are....but once it is done and washed you will probably never find them!  I really appreciated a short video that the Impera Magna shared by Angela Walters.  She shared her 3 things that quilters should do to enjoy the quilting process more.   I love the part where she said "Comparison is the thief of joy."   And I might add, so is fear.  That's the word this comparing and no fear.....just get it quilted.  Happy stitching.   
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