Thursday, April 30, 2015

Progress in the workshop

  There is progress in the workshop on the bed---ala Sir Old Man's handy workmanship.  Want to see the pieces?

Bed rails, and slats, and foot board/head board top coat of finish applied and sanded in.  This is labor intensive but in the end, it will be so worth it!

  And the legs....can't forget the legs.  Aren't they beautiful?  You can see the mortise cuts into the side of the leg.  Now ask me how much the chisel set cost to make those cuts.  **grin**  Let's just say, as much as a lot of fabric.

  This photo is truer to the color so far.  Each coat adds depth and patina to the wood.  Can you tell I am excited.....believe I am.    Hopefully the weather will stay beautiful so another coat can be added, as it requires a couple of days to dry between each one.  

  Sir Old Man put the drying time to use on a small project.   A small box....not really that small.  The front piece was a section of maple from the bed that was unusable for the sections because of the knot.    Yet, it is perfect here as an artistic statement.  Waste not wood, or fabric!

Note the inset accent pieces of each corner.  Don't ask me how he did looks great.  You must press one end to open and lift the lid out.  

The grain in the top is  amazing.  A couple more coats of finish and it will be so beautiful.   There is more to this box than meets the eye, but I will wait to share that when it is completed.  
  Off to make more saw dust......happy stitching.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Let's Book It April

    Let's Book It at Vrooman's Quilts.....this is the project I started in March of  floral strings in light and dark blocks.   I got this far.....and decided I did not like it.   Here is the original post.

  Maybe it is the diagonal setting, or the lack of concentrated focal point that made me feel blah about it.  So instead, I did something I hate.  I added sashings.

   The sashing creates a window pane look. Now I was able to concentrate the light blocks  to show a light source.   Apparently that is what is important to me and satisfies my eye.

   I used a combination of two different fabrics of similar value  for the sashing.   One of the fabrics was  shaded from dark to light.....and I let it fall where ever it landed.

   Now it is time to add a border to frame my window and then get it quilted.  Tthis Let's Book It will carry on one more month, it seems.

Linking to Let's Book It for April.  The link is above, so check out what other projects are going on.

Happy stitching.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Log Cabin layout

   I'm feeling a bit indecisive on this one.   I won't say how many layouts I tried..... here are 2 I liked.

Here's the block.....a quarter log cabin.

Two layouts for the quilt.
   Offset barn raising layout.  Distinct rounds of light and dark areas.

   An "X' variation.  This one reminds me of a formal garden maze.

   I tried a zig zag which left me dizzy.  I moved things around to get the flying geese pattern, which did not make me happy.  I created a star, yet it wasn't what I wanted. Finally,  these are the two that I narrowed it down to.....viewing the photos on the computer helps in the decision making.

 Oops....I hit publish before I was finished!  And now I forgot what I was going to add.    Oh, yes.....I plan a border for this one  and the barn raising one will probably work out the best for what I envision.  If and when I get that far.  I need to finish up the string project....I got past all that sashing mess.  It needs a good press and pinning.  With the end of the month quickly approaching, I probably won't get it finished.  But it is next on the agenda.  Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A peek at the design wall

  I wanted a break from that sashing ordeal, so I put up the bonus blocks that are happening from my leaders and enders.
  I did a post  a couple of months ago on the block here......2 patch + 4 patch.   It is really a rail fence variation.
   Seeing the blocks up on the design wall, I realize that this version benefits from using  strong colors in the mixed patches.  Including fabrics with light backgrounds seem to break up the pattern.  It almost looks watered down.  So I will pull out the light ones and look for good brights to liven it up.

    I am not sure of my layout for this one.  I am using the Faux Braid block pattern----quarter ( or some call it half)  log cabin block.
    I originally did a similar one in straight rows....and then gave it up for a donation quilt last year.  I have been working on these blocks off and on for a while because I really like the design and get to play with floral fabrics.  Anyway, I thought I would play  around with the layout and see which I liked.      This one is the barn raising layout....or at least part of one.  I have 48 blocks in total  to play around with.  So I will let this sit and simmer for a little while as I finish up those darn sashings!  For now, I am just going to visit the workshop---and my bed that is being stained---and enjoy a few rays of sunshine.  Happy stitching.     

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sunny doll quilts

    From Mrs. Claus in Indiana............ A couple of  doll quilts  arrived full of beautiful sunshine.  I just loved the dotted fabric used for the binding on this one!

     See the golden rays of sun that Teresa included in this one?  OK,  I know she didn't really, but after the rainy week and a night  of storms, I chose to see the sunshine in these.

   Teresa is Mrs. Claus in Indiana.   Her doll quilts started life as orphan blocks.  She then added batting scraps that were pieced together and finished them off using  long forgotten fabric in her stash.  We both know our stashes will never get used up  ;)
  Thank you, Teresa, for sending sunshine our way.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Piano Key tablerunners

  Two versions of the Piano Keys table runners that came from the pattern by Connie at Freemotion by the River.    The link will take you to her post and tutorial.
Note that she added information on her Saturday post for the tutorial....and another version!

Bold and blue!  This one was done with 2 1/2" strips by the pattern.  I used a variety of batik precuts that were leftover from several projects.   And more leftovers for the binding....just as long as it was mainly dark blue.  This one is 18" by 42".

    The floral version.....spring has arrived.  What can I say....this layout is the result of a happy mistake.  I ended up with the exact same fabric on  one end and decided to disguise it by putting the background together in the center.

   Finished size for this one is 18" by 32" because I used 2" strips from the stash in place of the 2 1/2" strips.
   I really enjoy the light feel of Spring in this one.  Quilted with feathers in the center and swirls in the floral prints.

  My favorite is easy to pick. :)

  Yet, the blue is so soothing.

I hope I inspired you to get the pattern and spend an afternoon making a runner.....surely you need a small gift to share.  Thanks, again to Connie for sharing her pattern.

Linking to # Creative Goodness this week at QuiltShopGal.

Linking to Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River.
Happy stitching.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Disaster Response for quilters

   Today Sir Old Man is off to take training for Disaster Response Team in our he needs another volunteer project?    He attempted to interest me....but for some reason I do not have a desire to learn "Mud Out/Ashes Out".  And secondly it can be intensely physical and guess  who is a total klutz?

  Yet......I am joining a Disaster Response Team....for quilters.  Sharon at Vrooman's Quilts  shared a call (very timely for me)  from  Quilts of Compassion---Facebook link here ---- for quilts for their Disaster Response Team.   There is an urgent need for quilts for the victims in Illinois after the tornadoes.   I have one ready to go.  And a real purpose for those scraps I love to stitch.

  So while I am changing the layout of my Let's Book It project....that means I am adding sashing strips after doing a reset.....I am also doing a leader/ender  of lots of 4 patches.  I can then turn the 4 patches into another Disaster donation quilt.

  I also had time to think about why I hate to do sashings.  You can wander thru my house and look thru my quilt stack and not see a quilt with sashing between the blocks.
Insight:  Adding sashings to blocks is so absolutely boring for me.  I feel like I am running in place and getting no where.   At least when I am adding a border, I know I am approaching the finish.
  OK, break is over....time to take photos of the table those finished and will post tomorrow.  And then back to the sashing salt mine!  Happy stitching.  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Finds

Mum's 30-minute reversible ironing board cover @ Bloom We are in the sewing room today with a few ideas.

 From Bloom and Blossom to make an ironing board cover.   I have done one before and thought it was not too hard to do.  I thought this was a good tutorial.....although I may be lazy and just buy the next one.

ice cube tray ideas

The blog at Sew Many Ways has a Tool Time Tuesday, which I love.   I am borrowing her image for the use of silicon ice cube trays for bobbins.  I thought this was too clever.  Of course, she also had one filled with sewing machine feet, and/or batteries.  Where does she get all her ideas?  Drop in for a visit and see what she has done with household stuff.

Ruler box pin cushion

   Isn't this cute?  Even if you have plenty of pincushions, you have to like it!  And if you are fortunate enough to have a vintage/old/broken/unwanted yard stick or ruler, now you can re-cycle it.    Here is a link to here.    She uploaded the photo to Pinterest, but I could find no other info.  So it's for inspiration!

     Inspiration takes different forms......what to do with a craft project from Sir Old Man's father?   His Dad would go to craft time at the nursing home, and I  was usually the recipient of whatever was the monthly project.   One such project was a small wood box about 3 1/2" square with a lid.

     So....a few ideas here.  Storing needle packs, fill it with safety pins, or turn it into a pincushion.  I intended to use it as a pincushion, but there was the lid.  It is the personality of the box that Dad painted.  I decided it is for safety pins....especially the bent ones!  Thanks, Dad.

   Please visit the links for pinning for future reference.  
Happy stitching.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Update to thread guilt

Thread guilt was a post from here to read.

  I was surprised  to hear how many agreed with me.  But the extra emails were even more surprising.....and I am still answering some of them.  I thought I would share a couple of the topics.

   Meandering came up in 2 of them......yes, I still do a lot of meandering.  I like the appearance it gives to a quilt.  Although I do get bored stitching it sometimes, it is a very useful motif to stitch.  Never think it is too simple,  too easy,  too common.  It can create great texture, or be done quite large and keep a quilt soft and cuddly.   And it works perfect on busy prints like my floral favorites.  It is the first motif I teach in a class to teach control and steady motion.

   Dense quilting.....perfect for wall hangings that you want to be flat, and it makes those applique areas jump, pop up, and stand out!

    How did I learn feather quilting?  LOL.....they haven't been reading this blog very long!!
    I battled to learn how to do feathers for about a year.  Over and over, until it finally clicked and I got the hang of it.  It was something I wanted to master, and took time, practice, and determination.  And I don't demand perfection...expect to have a wobble or two.

    So today, decide for yourself to quilt those UFOs with whatever works for you....straight lines, curves, meandering, whatever.   You have permission to experiment and see what works.  We are making quilts to warm bodies and hearts.   I am waving the banner that says...."My quilt, my way, and that is enough."   Join me......happy stitching.    

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Thread guilt

     How much quilting is enough?  Or, do I just have thread guilt.  Sixty years ago, my grandmother  quilted enough to hold the top to the backing and to hold the pulled cotton batting in place.  She did a lot of simple cross-hatch quilting usually 1" to 2" apart.  Today we are gifted with batting that allows for quilting up to 8" apart and we seem to be expected to quilt about 1/2" or less apart.  Rough calculations mean we are adding at least 4 times---and that could double even--- as much thread as required!      And I am guilty of stepping/falling/rolling in this bottomless pit of more, more, even more quilting.  Enough, I say!
   What brought this on......quilting the table runners, and then requests for entries into large regional shows.   I don't do "show" quilts.  Yes, I enter quilts into my local guild's show, as support for the efforts and fun.   I quilt for expression and for others.  I quilt because I like it.  I quilt because I am addicted to fabric.  I do not design or quilt just to "show".  This is my path, my choice.  I am merely reminding myself to not be caught up in thinking otherwise.

  The floral table runner....covered in feathers because I like stitching them.  It has been a while since I did feather stitching....and I had a few wobbles.  I left them in and carried on.  In the grand scheme of things, no one will notice or even care!   I used a light purple Aurifil thread.  I took the hint from the background fabric....a mottled purple tint and creamy yellow.  I made sure all the floral prints in this one picked up on that color way.

  The blue batik table runner  has a light blue print on the backing.  I had intended to use straight lines, matchstick style quilting.  Yet when I drew the lines on a plastic overlay and placed it on the runner.....I thought ugh!  It was just too much thread and did nothing to enhance the runner.  Or maybe it just wasn't my style.  Either way, I decided to practice some wings.....I call them butterfly wings.   It is from  Luann Kessi's design called "plumify".  I like the overall blend of this design stitch.

I have to round up some binding strips to finish these two off.

   Insight:  Stitch with no guilt.  Make it flat, leave it puffy,  let it blend,  or make a statement.   Find your style, improve your skills. It is your quilt and that is enough.
Happy stitching.   

Monday, April 13, 2015

Variations on table runners

  I hope you grabbed the Piano Keys pattern from Craftsy by Connie at Freemotion on the River    that I shared on Friday Finds.   She says it is the #4 best seller!

  Since I was cutting another project I threw in a couple of table runners to play with.  First, I did one in with a background in blue/gray print.  I did some power stitching....sewing the units together for each size.  Then I cut them apart and pressed before the layout to join them.

  I was working with leftover strips that were already cut at 2 1/2".   My variety was slightly limited on the precut size.    Yet the design turned out great.  Within a couple of hours, a table runner ready to be quilted.

  And this is the year of my floral out came the box of 2" strips.  The 2" strips of florals were cut to the same lengths as the pattern said, only the overall size is ends up at 32" long.
  This is the first half.

Viola....a mistake makes it a surprise!
Somehow, I ended up with the same fabric on the end positions on the right side.  I could have un-stitched a few strips, but instead  I  reversed the layout to put the background in the center.  ( Boy...this needs a good pressing before quilting.)  I like the variation with the floral fabrics.

  I think matchstick lines for the quilting on the blue one.  And some feathers for the floral....I am sure you expected that,  lol.

Insight:  Mistakes are opportunity for design options.  Go ahead, make a mistake and see where it takes you.

Happy stitching.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Friday finds April 10

Did ya miss me?  I missed last week, so I will try to make this one good.

Vintage View: FREE For the Cause Bed Quilt Pattern  A full size quilt from McCall's Quilting.  It is called For the Cause and here is the link for the free download.   It is based on an Amish 1820 quilt.  See the link for details.  Such a perfect scrap quilt, and I can think of a lot of color ways that this would be good in.

  I fell in love with this one immediately!  It is done in blues, it blends, and it is soothing, and it is called Watercolors!  What more do you want?
  The full pattern can be downloaded at All People Quilt here.   I may need to add this to my list of future projects.

From Vicki's Crafts blog

 No pattern needed for this one.....but I loved the use of color and simple arrangement of coin strips and the 4 patch units on point.  This scrap quilt is from Vicki's Crafts blog and you can read about it here. 
     This could put a dent in the scrap basket, or that stack of left over coins and 4 patch blocks.

Bordered Diamonds Pattern via Flickr Very nice in cool colors palette...

  Isn't this one a beauty?     The colors of the sea.....simple and striking.   Dana at Stormy Days found this pin from a flickr post.   Karen, the maker, says it is Bordered Diamonds pattern from the book Simple Shapes Spectacular Quilts.

It is amazing what the added border does to the diamond shape.  I think the variety of the border colors makes this one very striking.

Piano Keys Table Runner tutorial at Freemotion by the River
From Freemotion by the River

 One last free one.....this is from Connie at Freemotion by the River.
  It is her new pattern called Piano Keys.  Jelly roll friendly for those of you that use precuts....and great for us that use scraps too.  Her blog offers a tutorial.....and links to the full pattern that is free on Craftsy for the rest of the month.  Know where I am heading!  Thanks, Connie, for offering this to us.

  As always, please visit the links provided for pinning for future reference.
That's it for the week.  I feel like I am living in "fast time" --- where did the week go?  Hope your time has been productive and full of inspiration.
Happy stitching.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Home Ties

   Spring is here in full force. Flowers in bloom, warm temps---84 degrees today---with cool mornings.   So this quilt is just what is needed for early mornings on the porch...along with a nice cup of coffee.

   I finished up the scrappy binding yesterday, for a finish this month.  Yay!  I had debated on a border for this one, but instead I opted for just a nice snuggle size of 50" by 60".  

  Simple straight line quilting on this one.  I almost used an all over swirl, and then decided to keep it clean and simple.  I just wanted to accent the diagonal lines of the blocks rather than weight it down with too much thread.

   I began putting these blocks together last December, so this one has been hanging around for a while.  The block is Carolina Chain from Bonnie Hunter.   Originally shown in Quiltmaker 2010, here is a link to see the block.  I believe Bonnie has put this into one of her latest books.....but it is simple enough to figure out just from the photos.  Wink.....I am thinking about a floral version using 2" strips this time along with batiks.

  A simple scrappy binding.....I just dug through the bin with leftover binding pieces and sewed them together.    This is one of my favorite "waste not" techniques.   Eventually, every binding scrap finds a home.
  Home Ties is done....and looking for a home. I have somebody in mind for this one ;D
  I love a motivates me to move forward and think ahead.   That means I need to do some cutting.   And ponder the layout for the strings I took off the design wall.  I think I have an idea that just might satisfy me.
Happy stitching.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Butterfly Week?

    I feel like it has been a "butterfly week".....flitting from one thing to another, with nothing finished.   Want to see what I mean......

  I have a workshop this fall to teach on making a  water color wall hanging.   It has been a while since I did this and my original samples have been turned into projects.   So I needed to create a couple of small pieces to show the process.  One of these will get partially sewn for class.

  A little straight line quilting on this top of the Carolina Chain blocks.  It needs trimming and some binding.  I really like the overall finish of this block.....I think it is worth a repeat!

   Then just some play time --ticker tape style --with hunks of scraps.... sorted by color.  A couple of these will be turned into doll quilts, and the rest into place mats.  Simply zig zag stitched onto a white background fabric with batting underneath for stability.  I will add a backing and bind to finish off.

  I like doing these as a means of therapy to let my mind roam and see where the pieces fall.   When I am happy with the arrangement, I pin each and place and stitch away.

  And some stay-stitching  to stabilize some edges.   I have several long...long....bands of strips for a piano key border for a scrap quilt.  To keep them from stretching and getting wavy on the edge, I like to stay-stitch about 1/8"  from the outer edge that will eventually get bound.   When I was a garment sewer, I hated to do the stay-stitching for some reason.....yet now I find it very useful.

   I did a check on my machine stitch length a long time ago to learn how many stitches per inch were at the different settings.  I marked a couple of 1 inch can see the dots where I penciled in the lines.  Then I stitched at different setting,  like 2.5, 2.2, 2.3.   Count the stitches between the penciled lines.

   For piecing I generally use a 2.3 setting for 12 stitches per inch.  It is easier to unpick, too!

   For strip piecing that will have sub-cuts---and the chance of unraveling stitches---I use a 2.2 or 2.0 setting for 13-15 stitches per inch.

   For the stay-stitching I use a 2.5 or greater setting for anything less than 10 stitches per inch.

  And, lastly, I took the watercolor strings off the design wall. I was ready to begin putting the rows together, yet for some reason I was bored with  the setting.  My instinct told me to stop and rethink the design.  If I wan't pleased with the layout un-sewn, then I was sure to not like the sewn version.   I have another idea to try, but not  yet.
  So that has been my flitting around this week......hope to accomplish something soon...happy stitching.
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