Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Let's Book It for June

  A small bargello wall hanging was my choice for June's Let Book It project.  It is from the book,  Colorwash Bargello.  I pulled a lot of fabrics out of the closet.....playing with the layout and rearranging them until I was confused and muddled.

 Arranging the fabrics for a bargello is probably the most difficult thing for me.  There are so many ways to create the strata....all darks together blending to all lights, or two or more dark to light runs.  Each layout will create a different effect.    In the book, all of the lights were grouped together as well as the darks.  I decided to lighten it up a bit in my arrangement, and I used more light fabrics and did two runs of dark to light.

  This was the final fabric arrangement.  The important thing to remember is the last piece will also be next to the first piece in the final arrangement.  So it is important that they work well together.

  I used 2" strips of each of 21 fabrics.  The pattern called for 18 fabrics....by adding on 3 more I would end up with a longer wall hanging.   Two stratas of 21" long strips are made, so I could use fat quarter cuts, too.  Sewn and pressed.....one strata has the seams pressed to the darkest, and the second strata seams get pressed to the lightest fabric.  By pressing them in opposite directions, the sub-cuts are alternated when re-assembled.....and the seams nest for easy piecing.

   The sub-cuts are not all the same width....these range from 2 3/4" to 1 1/4".   So it is very important to have a plan and keep things in order.

   The strata are sewn into tubes and the sub-cuts are made.  I pin the cuts in order to the design wall as I go.  And the design emerges.


   All the rows are sewn together in order.  Really easy sewing, as that pressing trick makes it simple to nest the seams for matching.  And it is time to select the border fabric.......
    I plan on using a 1" strip of the burgundy as the inset border.   The outer border will be wider , probably a 3" strip.  The light purple/cream print is not working for me.   So it is one of the other two fabrics.
   This project will get carried over to next month, and that's the great thing about Let's Book It.  You don't have to finish it to participate.   Pick a project, start it and share it.  You might be motivated to even get it finished!
Linking to Vroomans Quilts for Let's Book It.  
Happy stitching.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Re-purposed plate rack

    I had a very cluttered and messy note board by my stash closet.  Originally it had photos and note cards tucked into it.  Lately it was just layered with stuff!  I thought I would straighten it up.....yuck!  It was also a big dust catcher along the top edge. and the fabric cover was faded.    Time for it to go.....which left a bare spot.
   I debated on a couple of ideas.....like a hanging magazine bin. or a magnetic board.   I figured they would get stuffed and cluttered up also.  Instead, I looked for something that could be re-purposed that I had on hand.

  An unused plate rack just fit the space.   Sir Old Man used the 3M hooks to hang it for me.  He suggested I hang the tape measures on it, as I was always hunting for them.  Now they have a home to return to after use!
   I glued  ribbon to the end of a clothespin for holding favorite note cards.  A couple of "S" hooks can hold small project samples.
   Maybe I can keep this little set up neater now. It sure looks a lot better.
Linking to Sew Many Ways  linky party. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Finds June 26

There are some great charts for help in solving tension issues on a long arm....or  Tiara machine....all from Handi-Quilter.  All  of these are from the HQ Blog.
For common issues like skipped stitches.......click here

For tension issues..........click here.

Steps for perfect tension......don't we dream of this.....click here.

  The info is good, basic, and a great reference to have on hand for anyone with a mid-arm/ long arm machine.

scrap quilt  Great layout for those crumb blocks.

  Perusing quilts, I almost skipped this one.  What caught my eye was  the layout.   Crumb blocks of different sizes achieve unity in this setting.  Big, small and in between work so well together here.  I enjoy the mindless stitching to make crumb blocks but then end up with so many sizes.....so this is one I want to remember.

  And that's it for this week.....I will probably take next week off as company will be here.   I just need a few cooler days to get some baking done before they arrive.  I just hate to heat up the house with the oven  when it is 98 degrees outside.  I know, it's summer, but this is ridiculous weather for June.
  Yikes, I just realized June is almost over.......got to get one more thing finished.  Happy stitching.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Potpourri

   Years ago on early summer mornings, I would gather blooms for the petals to make potpourri.  Daisies, and cone flowers, cosmos, and rose buds, and my favorite lavenders were snipped and then laid out to dry.  By the end of the season I would have a colorful mix for holiday gift bags.   I still have a yard full of blooms, but no longer do the  gathering for potpourri.

   Which leads me to this recently  finished quilt, named Summer Potpourri.   All the blooms of summer captured in  a quilt in the early morning sunlight.  Capturing memories in fabric.....it is part of what I do.

  This is the block I used......a quarter log cabin---ala Faux Braid layout.  
I love this versatile block.  It works up great in scraps, batiks, or my florals.

  On the design wall, I experimented with the layout.  The final arrangement was the old favorite, barn raising.  I just off set the final layout and added an extension into the border.

   I used a 1" purple strip to frame the blocks before adding a 6" border.   As I joined the strips for the border, I inserted a few random squares.....some of those flower petals that fell out of the gathering basket.  Actually, it is my way of camouflaging/ disguising  the joining seam.

  The quilting shows better on the back, which is a simple white muslin.  A lot of open swirls throughout the center blocks, and leaves and vines along the border.

 Summer Potpourri is 58" by 72".....bound and labeled.  Binding is a mix of floral prints.

  Another finish for the Year of Florals.....and not a dent in the stash!
   I have come to the conclusion that the stash will always be more than I need or can use.  No matter what I do.  The stack/pile in closet stays the same---insert evil grin---do you think fabric fairies visit me at night and leave more?    Maybe I will leave some cookies out for them tonight.

  Happy stitching.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Now where was I?

   I got side tracked last week on some small projects, but progress has been made on a couple of other things.    The quilting is done on the large quilt of quarter log cabin blocks.  I used a large over all swirl in the center and a vine of leaves and a couple of feathery things in the border.    I will be finishing up the binding today.......and get a sleeve attached too.

   New Let's Book It project:
   The small bargello strips pinned to the design wall.   On to the sewing.....first, I sew in pairs and press.  Then the pairs are joined.....until everything is joined. By keeping things pinned to a design wall I don't get confused and mix up the order.  That is always the challenge in a design like this.

All the rows are sewn here.  I like the gentle flow of this one.

   Fabric choices:  I used 19 fabrics here, and about 8 of them were light in value compared to the rest.  Using more  dark fabrics would give a heavier feel to the piece and I was wanting a lighter piece that captured the sunlight.

   This will rest on the design wall until I find just the right accent and border fabrics.

    So that's where I am.....finishing up and thinking up new things, some baking thrown in, a nap or two, and staying out of the heat.  Happy stitching.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday Finds June 19

From Crafty Sewing Blog
  How is your summer going?  Any travel plans?  If so, you might want to think about this cute idea from Marcia at Crafty Sewing.   She used a Sharpie marker to put some personality onto her luggage for identification.  Of course, the swirls are a favorite of mine....but chose something that fits you.

stylized chicken

    Small projects are a sign of summer for me.....it is almost too hot to do anything else.    A good time to make a few gifts up for later.....like these chicken placemats!  This chicken is so funky, who wouldn't like him.  Check him out here.

Quilt Kisses: Finishing My Sister's Third Quilt

Check out this beautiful combination of colors.
Once again, visit Quilt Kisses to get the details......and see the table runner.   The quilt is actually the leftovers from the table runner!

OK, inspiration given.....hope you find something to play with.  As always, please visit the links for details and pinning.

  I spent the last two days machine quilting --in between other things --- the off-set quarter/half log cabin.  A small portion of the border is left to get it finished.  I had a terrible time with the tension when I started.....and Sir Old Man came up with a probable reason that I had not considered.  Humidity!  He suggested I change the bobbin for a new one......new bobbin and problem solved!  Whether it was the humidity or not, I got production going.
   Enjoy your weekend and happy stitching.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A project folder

   I generally keep my current project notes, printouts  and details in a folder, along with any book or magazine with info or layout details.  Today, I wasted time hunting for it....moving things and looking all over the place for it.   I did find it shoved under the next quilt to be quilted.  LOL!
   But the hunt gave me an idea.  Instead of a plastic folder, I could cover some stabilizer with leftover blocks/strips and make a folder pretty enough to enjoy.

 I used Pellon stiffener----the one used for making postcards and purses---as the base.  I measured, marked the size, adding extra length at the bottom.....to fold up for the inner pockets that I wanted.  
   Then I fused heat and Bond light to both sides.  To the inside of the folder, I fused plain bleached muslin.

  The outside was to be the fun part.   I had a section of leftover bargello strip that was just too narrow to do much with.  I cut two sections of the bargello for the outside of the cover and added extra batik strips on the ends and between the sections to cover it all.
   I did some straight stitching to hold the raw edges in place.

  All the outer edges were overcast with a zig-zag stitch.  The bottom portion was folded up and straight stitched in the center and on the sides.

  A finished folder for my favorite and current projects! I can stuff all my notes and ideas into it, leave it by the machine and enjoy it.

   I see lots of possibilities for a cover....leftover blocks, scraps and bits of favorite fabrics, even a small landscape.   A great waste not project.

  So what would you stuff into your folder?    Happy stitching.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Machine Stitches

 Does your machine have those programmed stitches on it that you never remember to use?   Or you don't know where to use them.......same here!
  So when I needed to  cover the edges on the  fused flowers, I  decided to try a few of them.  That is a serpentine stitch  around the outer edge.  It gives a fun finish to the flower.  For the center I used the uneven zig-zag stitches.  I'm not sure what they are really called.

  For the purple flower, I used the same uneven zig-zag, but I shortened the stitch length to give a more open appearance.

  To stabilize the piece, I simply placed batting behind the top.  The batting prevents distortion.    On both I used  Isacord embroidery thread.   Once everything was stitched down, I then added the backing and quilted.  So all the "uglies"  from the embroidery stitches, do not show on the back.

  Finished size is 15".....a cute wall hanging, or table topper.
  I like this one well enough to try another version and play around with the colors.


  Speaking of  color.....Color....yep some color was bought and given to Sir Old Man for the workshop.    Lol!!!  I found duct tape in red, turquoise, and camouflage.  Now he has no excuse / no reason to use that old gray stuff.   He should just be glad I didn't buy the pink, or the one with ducks on it!

  Happy stitching.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

When the heat is on....sew

  I  brought home some fabrics from the quilt guild's stash to make a few pillowcases for the Children's Hospital.  Looney Tunes, fly fishing and Peter Rabbit are featured here.....they are ready for a good pressing  for next month's meeting.  I used the  simplest pattern from All People Quilt.  It takes longer to measure and cut than to sew!

Another small project jumped into the mix.   I put together 4 neutral string blocks and added a variation of Connie's flower.....find her tutorial here at Freemotion by the River.     

    The 2" border is composed of more of the leftover pieces that I string together and keep on hand.  Whenever I am cutting fabric for a project, any piece that is too short---as long as it is at least 2 1/2"----gets tossed into a bin for bits.  So when the mood strikes, I just stitch the bits together in long strips.  Some I may sort by color, or I may make a string of just floral fabrics, or in this case, it is the "waste not" style of anything goes.      So when needed I can inset the stringed strips into a border.  I started doing this after making the large quilt called String Me Along.   Making all those stringed sections took forever, but I loved the effect.  

  Back to the small project......flowers stitched down, quilted and ready for binding.   I plan on watching Bonnie Hunter's quilt cam this afternoon.....so I can finish it then.    But first I need to straighten up the sewing room.....it looks as if a tornado has been in there.  Enjoy the weekend.....happy stitching.  Linking up to Creative Goodness at QuiltShopGal.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday finds June 12

Quilting In South Carolina   Shelia's thread storage systemMost of us never have enough sewing or storage space.  When you are a quilter you need a magic wand, or genie or someone to make room for all your items.  I have a friend who has a wonderful hubby that added on and created a fabulous space for her.
   Her thread storage area alone is worth a look. Shelia blogs at Quilting in South Carolina and this is her studio tour.  You need to see it!  Be sure to check out her ironing station too.....I am so envious of it and all her space!

Quilt Kisses: Side-by-Side Quilt Ladder Tutorial

   From Quilt Kisses.....I borrowed her photo of a folding quilt display rack---with her permission.  She recently posted a full tutorial    for the rack made by Mr. Quilt Kisses.   And we all need for storage and display ideas.   Thanks, Jasmine, for sharing this.

Update:   Sharon  of  Vroomans Quilts commented that this would be perfect for her shop and travel.  Now why did I not think of that?  I sure do need one for doing programs and classes and it will fit in the van!  Now, where is Sir Old Man hiding.....oh, honey, I have a new project for you......

Pat Sloan thread cone holder hack button

  From Pat Sloan....a cheat, as she calls it.    I thought this was good one to remember.....a thread cone holder.   

  Use a cup---wide base that won't tip over---with a lid.  The thread feeds through the opening for a straw....no tangles.  Good for the machine and for hand sewers too.

    LuAnn shared some new free motion feathers  this week from her sketchbook.  She is trying for a looser and more open feather.  I like these and need to practice some drawing to get the hang of these.  Thanks, LuAnn!

  As always, please visit the links for details and for pinning.   I am only passing on the site links and basic information.

 Coming in October....The Aunt Het Quilt Show 2015.    This is my guild's  local show which is always fun.....a lot of work too!  It is viewer's choice--not judged---and ribbons are awarded.   All the details on the link.....if you might happen to be in the area, or even if you are interested in entering a quilt.    lol.....I might just enter a "mini" this year.....not made by me, but owned by me.  Just saying.

Happy stitching.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Storage cabinet from the past

   Last week I mentioned the antique cabinet Sir Old Man was repairing.  He hopes to return it to life.....not restore it  by stripping and painting.  The scars and dings  are the history and tell the story of this old piece....that is still in pieces.

  About 25 years ago, sir Old Man's great uncle died leaving a 3 story row house in Philadelphia filled with items from the past.  We ventured up to help his Dad and brother go through stuff.  Little did I expect to walk into such a hoard of things that bespoke history.  Yes, there were antiques...some I have....and lots of just plain old stuff.
    In the front bedroom was a giant/tall/big old ugly painted wardrobe style cabinet.  It was massive and jammed into a space too small.  When we opened the doors, it was filled top to bottom with rolls of toilet paper and unopened packages of bed linens that had literally rotted with age.   Sir Old Man wanted to bring it home......all I could think of was how?  It was so big.

  I did not know that this wardrobe was probably one of the first style "knock down/take apart"  cabinets.  It literally comes apart in manageable sections and pieces.  You can see one of the inside of one of the doors.....note the wavy panel shows the hand planeing of the piece.   I tend to see it as a primitive style, he refers to it as a farm style piece.

 Once the doors came off,   the center support board and the top crown section could be removed too.  And thus the outer sides and back simply slide apart from the base.
    This board is a section of the back.  There are 4 or 5 of these that are chamford---tapered on the edges to fit into grooved sections.  Very much like  tongue and groove flooring of today. Interesting to note here.....each board is over 12" wide and a single plank of wood.......not glued together narrow boards, or today's glue-ups.   Also, the dark piece on the left, is one of the doors......it has the  aged patina of naturally crackled  layers of paint.

  Sir Old Man found some clues about age in the construction when he began the full disassembling.  Bolts......hand made bolts!  Each one varies as you can see in the thickness of the heads.  A good indication that this cabinet began life in the early to mid 1800s.

These 4 bolts actually hold the whole cabinet together.  Two bolts into the top and two bolts into the base.  In the center you can barely see the nut....it has been mortised into the base.  To the left of it, there is a head of a nail showing.  Sir Old Man has extracted one or two of these and discovered they are cut nails....not modern!

  The hand cut dove-tails were found on the base section.   You have to look really close to see the scribe line, as it is very faint.   Each one appears to be hand cut....no two alike.  And that fascinates me....getting those angles to fit just right and hold the pieces together.

 This is the good foot in the back corner.

The repair.......The back foot  on the opposite side was broken off.   It had been braced on a stack of books wedged into the corner of the room.   Sir Old Man made a new "foot" piece and cut out some damaged/splintered wood to insert a smaller piece.  The glue up and repair is done and just needs some paint to blend in.  Since it is in the back corner and will not be seen, he is not "re-storing" it to original, but rebuilding the damage.  

So that is where this project is......we are on the search for hinges for the front doors that must be replaced now.    So a visit to our one remaining old fashion hardware store is on the schedule soon.    Can't wait to see this one filled with quilts.....now I need to make some lavender sachets...big ones...to hang inside it.  The list never ends, does it?

  We had a massive storm rumble through the area last night.  At least a couple of inches of rain in a very short time.   And a  pond began to develop out front......my favorite area to take photos of doll quilts is under 2" of water.The water is lapping at the edge of the porch.  I gathered towels just in case it came over the edge.....but all was fine and the rain slowed enough for the drains to catch up.
   This morning it is sunny and steamy.....I think summer is here.

Happy stitching.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Evening of power sewing

Here is where I was with the small Carolina Chain blocks last week.  I decided to stop making blocks and keep it a small lap quilt.
  Link to earlier post is here.....big version and the start of the smaller size blocks.

  I cut a few strips of the dark batik as the inner border.  While digging through a stack of scraps earlier, I found some pieced bands that were left over from other projects.  I kept digging until I found just enough to string together and use for the second border band.  An added bonus....waste not!  Finding those bands speeded up the process.  So far, so good.

  And it all came
 together with an additional dark strip on the outer edge!

Then a little breeze came up, but I really like it anyway.

  Not quilted yet.....but soon to be.  Not named yet.....but bound to be.  Just add it to my Year of Florals....destined to be one of my favorites.

   A little power sewing sure can go a long way to relieve a little stress, resolve a design issue, and turn into something you love.    Happy power sewing!
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