Monday, February 29, 2016

Leaping February finishes

An extra day this year in February.....did you use it well?

 February finishes included two quilts for Habitat project at guild.....quilted and bound.  My Birds in the Air  quilt was quilted and bound also.  A small wall hanging for an early spring--we hope---for my Let's Book It project, along with one house block for guild.  I think I need another one of these.  And finally a diagram of  the free motion quilting I used on one of the habitat quilts.
  Ok, so maybe not a lot of finishes, but progress on other fronts filled in my leaping month.

 Circles.....I know you laugh at me because I am having fun and enjoying these.  Day 91 and more to come.

  I am adding to my Bow tie blocks on a semi-regular basis.  I have a stack of 12 to press and re-arrange on the design wall.  I am up to 37 or so with a couple of dozen to go.  Maybe by the end of March this one will begin to come together.


On the watercolor front.......  the wall hanging has gone from lost and forgotten to sewn, bordered and quilted---almost done.
   I used a 1 1/2'' strip of a tone on tone purple for the inner border.  The darkness made all the purple in this piece come forward.  I also tried about 6 or 7 fabrics for the final border.....nothing worked.  It was either too light, too dark,  or so distracting.

 I finally pulled out this piece that is slightly muted---a large print of butterfly wings.  I loved the effect and went with it for the outer border.  Quilting is done and now for some binding.  A sure finish for March.

March plans:
I have a jump start on my Let's Book It project for March....the re-cycled/ re-claimed/ too ugly as originally started  one.   Mainly quilting to be done.
More circles.
More bow tie blocks....and maybe get to the layout.
Finish the watercolor with binding and sleeve.
Stitch up the table runner pieces I found in the stack under the do these things get away from me?  Do they just run away and hide, like play hide and seek?   Probably, I just get side-tracked---but I am blaming the fabric  joker who drops in and messes with my mind.

That's my month....past and future.  Enjoy yours, and happy stitching.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Report on those circles

  The end of February is day 91!  Even more surprising is I am current and caught up.    There was a mixed bunch of circles for this month...from buttons to Betty Boop!   I really like the no pressure--haha!--of only doing a circle each day.
    So before I show you the mixed mass of squares, here are my reasons and things I have realized from this sew along.

  • It is easy to catch up if I miss a day......or not, it is my choice. 
  • Interesting subject matters to portray add to the fun factor....a little off beat or quirky fabric adds personality.
  • Finding pleasing combinations of background fabric for the circles gives me reason to search around in the find some hidden treasure.  
  •  Thread play....contrast or matching....I have lots to choose from and use up!
  • I like mixing in fabrics I love, finding fabrics that evoke a memory, or throwing in a fabric that just needs a home.
  • Finally, no one has to like this one, but me!
So here are this month's circles.

A lot more floral fabrics this month, and some geometric patterns, as well as tone on tone patterns.  

To celebrate Day 91......I decided to throw the entire batch up on the design wall.

  There is no rhyme or reason to the arrangement.  I just wanted to see them together.  I was afraid I had too many of the dark backgrounds in my mess.....but I really like them as they add a big visual interest at first glance.  This is going to provide hours of design play time at the end......if I get there :)  I really think I will end up with 2 smaller will just be floral fabrics probably.  

Are you making circles?  Details on Quilty 365 at Quilty Folk blog.  
Happy stitching.  

Friday, February 26, 2016

Sharing more talent

  I have mentioned my daughter and her genuine artistic talent......from pencil drawings to fabric and designing.  She has amazed us since she was young  playing with Barbie dolls and hand stitching clothes for her.  It was natural that she go into designing.  So, it is a little brag book time to show some of her new art........

  A couple of years ago, she took a jewelry making class to see what it was all about.  Of course, she excelled and discovered a new vista for her artistic talent.  This a form of fun and therapy for her, but I stole a couple of photos to share what she is doing.  To date, she only makes items for friends and herself.

Lots of earrings.....I am not sure what type of bead or stone these are, but I love the color and how she turned them into a pair.

  This is one of her latest designs.  It is a pendant made from antler horn button.  We picked up a variety of these "buttons" when we were in Alaska a several years ago.   She used copper rivets and hammered copper on it.

  The copper loops over to the back and finishes with more of the free form design.   She uses a jewelers saw to cut out the free form design that reminds me of the coast line in Alaska.

 Her latest and absolute favorite she says.  Wonder Woman is 2'' high!!!!  Believe me, my jaw dropped when I looked at the detail on this.  I have no idea how she accomplished this, but I think it is so her!
I think she did grow up to be Wonder Woman :)  Read that as Mom and Dad beaming at her talent.

As for me, I am finishing up the small to sew.  Happy stitching:)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Early Spring for February Let's Book It

 This is an older publication and I've never made a project from it.  I love the crazy patched backgrounds and cute appliques.   I took inspiration from a project, but did not follow the, story of my life.

  I used large chunks and hunks of  small prints/ muted prints to create my background.   I liked the offset balance in this layout, so that is how I stitched it up.

  I modified the basket shape and made it slightly taller.  I was fusing the basket to the background.....and cut out the center portion of the fusible for the basket.  This is the Pat Sloan method for keeps those large areas from being stiff.  And you get the benefit of the edges being fused---read as no fraying.

  The basket, stems, and flowers are fused and stitched down with a small zig zag stitch.  I thought the overall design needed a little kick, so I added a bit of fabric as ribbon ends.  The edges were stitched with a decorative stitch to give a ruffled edge appearance.

I also used a decorative stitch on the flower petals.

      Quilted with swirls and stippling for texture, and finished with a soft blue binding.  I pinned it to the design wall and was not satisfied.   Either I needed additional buds or blooms on the left, or  something.  It hung there for a week or so and it dawned on me I had something to finish it off with.

Just what the basket of blooms needed.....a couple of butterflies.  These are ready made appliques that I have had in the stash.  A little black thread to add them to the finished piece for some balance.

  Early Spring---a cute finish for Let's Book It.  I am so glad I don't have to follow the rules to play along with this monthly project.

  Let's Book It project is hosted and presented by Sharon at Vroomans Quilts.  See the details and linky party there every month.  For that matter, just join us.

  Next month I am reviving a "rejected" book project and turning it into my project of the month.  So I have a head start.....
Enjoy....happy stitching.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Watercolor palette

It was a taxing kind of day yesterday....:)  So little sewing room time.

  Today  I am stitching away on the watercolor I found....and studying the colors and fabrics in it.  This is the lower corner that "reads" at a distance as deeper purple.  Note the real variety of colors in the fabrics.  A few strong purple fabrics blended with medium value purples give that impression among the yellows and blues and greens.
  I do see a few repeats here, but it is the variety that makes up the watercolor palette.  I can't stress that enough.  I have spent years collecting the floral fabrics---paisley prints, feathers, swirly designs also----that I use.

The upper right corner is blue at a distance.  Up close you see the reds and greens, and purple tones too.  Once again, see the variety of fabrics.  That is my palette.

 The same word applies to scrap quilts....variety.  Vary the value of your preferred color, vary the scale or size of the print to breathe life into your quilt.

  I am urging you to visit Wanda at Exuberant Color.....she is the master.  Her recent post of her latest Trip Around the World quilt is here.  Note that she used 120 different fabrics in it.  Not a scrap quilt....planned by design.   I commented to her about the shimmer she achieved in the red/pink rounds.  It is blended yet distinct at the same time.   She responded that she  wanted more of that the next time.  She also said she learned she needed to choose a variety of  prints and value and not try to match so closely.  I thought was an excellent bit of advise  to remember.  Hopefully, we will see another of her TAWs and the process she uses to select those strips...hint, hint :)

Insight:    Variety, variety, can give your quilt design a lift.  Match  similar values to get variety, and vary the print.  

Enjoy the weekend.....happy stitching.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Friday Finds---of a sort

   After my post on no-reply bloggers, the general consensus was in agreement. ....most of those comments/questions are ending up in the trash can.    And then Miss Pat referred me to a link at Vrooman's Quilts that took me here to Jane's Fabrics.     She offers a good step by step talk on how to set your settings.
Update:    Dana shared this link for the google + users.  It's at Sew Many Ways.
Thanks, Dana.

  I had more requests for info from "no-replyers" on one of the more popular posts on this rail fence variation.  Apparently, it was shared on facebook.
  Below is the finished quilt.  I gave no details on the fabric required because it was a scrap quilt.  But a fair estimate for a small throw size is 1 yard of solid for the plain rails and outer border, and 2-3 yards of scraps for the mixture of squares.

   Also you will need about 1/4 yard for the inner border strip.
  If you plan a consistent layout for the mixed squares, I would think about 1/2 yard of each of the six would be plenty.   For a larger size, like a queen quilt, I would probably triple the amounts on everything!

Something new.......Maureen at Mystic Quilter is jumping in to join the SAL for the Gypsy Wife quilt.    It's a very unique quilt with a variety of blocks in a modern setting.     I will be watching....and debating if I can do an adaptation in the future.   I did set up a new Pinterest board for the GW quilts I find.   Right now, I am enjoying the slower pace I have going.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Two for Habitat means free space

  I finished up the second quilt for guild for the Habitat quilt project.  We support our local Homes for Habitat organization by providing a quilt for each member of the family moving into their new home.  It's a very big undertaking for us, as we usually donate 60 to 75 quilts each year.  Fortunately, we have willing members and lots of support for this.   Both quilts  were pieced by members and I did the quilting and binding.  Many hands make the work lighter.

So Habitat gets 2 quilts and I get a little free space in the sewing room.  While cleaning up, I noticed a couple of things I had set aside.

  Last year sometime, I began a Let's Book It project that I did not like and got tired of working on.  Instead of trashing the dozen blocks, I cut them up and put them together as a long runner.  Looking at it now, I think I have a different idea on how to finish this up into a quilt.  I just need to decide on the fabric to finish it off.    I like to have one or two small throws on hand to give away if needed and this will fit the bill.

  Second discovery.....a water color that needs to be sewn.  How did that happen?  I am not sure why I did not finish this or when I put it together.  Has life been that crazy?    I will move this one to the top of the list and get it sewn up.

  I have a stack of fabrics to cut for bow tie blocks, another pile for circles and backgrounds, plus a bin of scraps by my chair.  Sir Old Man asked if I was running out of space in the sewing  I tried to explain my system, but his eyes glazed over, so I shut up.
   I did discover why all the "man glitter"--sawdust---is turning up around here.  He has begun a new project that will go in the sewing room.  It seems he thinks I need a side table by my machine to hold all my necessary stuff.  I am afraid it will be too beautiful to use!  Lucky me :)    Happy stitching.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

~  true ...:     Every few days I get requests for information or a pattern that I offered via PDF.  Unfortunately the latest batch were all from No-Reply bloggers.  Replies to this go into the deep dark void of  space where only zombies, and alien things reside.

    So once again, I remind readers to check that their email is attached to their profile or they need to include it in their comment.  Do not expect me to join your circle of google or whatever......I won't and don't need to join anything else. I freely share, but find it hard to also be a detective.  Otherwise those comments go to the trash.  Just saying.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Free motion quilting today

  The second quilt for habitat for Humanity is under the needle today.  It's a simple design with beautiful border fabric....the dark paisley.  When I went to pin it in preparation for the quilting,  I found 2 areas that bubbled up in the center of the quilt.  Re-pressing did not help.  I was concerned about this one.   So I knew I would need a little denser quilting to make it flatten out.  

A little fullness in the border is common and easily absorbed when quilting.   One of the best patterns to work in fullness I find is a curling or meandering  loop.  Yet I did not want to use that here all over the quilt.    So I got out my doodle pad  and looked to the paisley fabric for inspiration.  This is what I came up with.

The swirl of the paisley with a coxcomb of sorts....rather than a regular swirl.  I varied the size and direction of these swirly things.  It is filling in nicely so far.

 I am using a butter yellow thread for this make it easier to see what I am doing.   Once I finish this one up, I can move on to having some fun.

 Fun...... Like the bow tie blocks.  Dana mentioned that she saw more color wash going could be.  Anyway, I just switched a few around to play with the layout and see what might happen.  I'm not sure if I will do a directional design or throw in the circle layout.

  I ventured out today out of!  It was 32 degrees when I left, and 27 degrees when I returned.  That front and moisture is approaching bringing some freezing mist with it.  Yet never fear, it will be 60 degrees by next weekend :)  That sounds really good to me.
Break time is over.....happy stitching.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday Finds

 This week at quilt guild, our President asked for 2 house blocks next month....any size or variation.  I knew I had this one to try.  It is from Vroomans here for Sharon's tutorial. 
 This is an 8 1/2'' by 10 1/2'' unfinished block.  I know I have shared this one before.....but I made this one :)   Thanks  again, Sharon for sharing this one.

  After sharing a few ideas for borders last week, I ran across this.
More border ideas from Pat Speth in Nickel Quilts.   I don't have this book.....but I am adding it to my want list.

From Fluffy Sheep Quilting
  We all know how to make bow tie blocks.....but here's a really cute variation that used a nine patch in the make up.  Since I am doing a daily--almost daily---bow tie block, this naturally caught my eye.   Visit Fluffy Sheep Quilting to see some details. 

Temecula Quilt Company: Happy Valentine's Day:

One cute, little block can turn into a great Valentine's Day quilt.   See it at Temecula Quilt Company.  Wish I had found this sooner....maybe next year?

That's it for the week.  As always, please visit and pin from the original source.  That helps keep me honest and other bloggers happy :)  Give a hug and a kiss to someone sweet.  Go enjoy some chocolate.   Happy stitching.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Slow week

  Frosty leaves and icy branches for this week......I'm not leaving the house until it gets above freezing, which might be this afternoon.
  Making circles has been entertaining.  I like making them and then finding a good match for the background.  High contrast for some and very muted for others.

  I realized how poor my selection of greens is.....a lot of solids and a few ugly ones, too.  So I decided to straighten up the bin of black and white fabrics.  At the bottom of the bin I found a small scrap of fabric that had to become a circle.

   It's another memory one.  I was telling my daughter about the circles and that I made one for her yesterday.  Immediately, she knew what fabric I used. "Betty Boop"!!  Yep, a bit of leftover fabric from lounge pants  that I made for her when she went to college.   I love her expression and those eyes.
It makes me smile.

  I'm a couple of days behind on the bow ties blocks.....but here's my collection so far.  I need to spend a bit of time cutting up some more pieces.  I am just pinning them up as I go and will figure out the design when I have a bigger selection.

  One Habitat quilt is bound and the second needs to be's task is to get the backing pieced.   I got side-tracked this week on the annual tax prep.....ugh!  So I haven't gotten far on anything.  Just a slow week.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Birds in the Air

  I had to search back to see when I began was in July  of last year.  I started making the triangles and got side tracked.  I returned to making triangles and got side tracked again.  I began joining the units and got off onto another project.  This photo is from finally made it to the flimsy stage.     

  I was unsure how it should be quilted, so it hung on a hanger for a couple of months.   I debated on straight lines to accentuate the diagonal lines.  I thought about some easy meandering since the fabric are mixed and strong in places.       Then I thought it needed a border.....or not.    I finally asked myself a couple of questions.....was I keeping or giving it away?  ......did I want a soft or hard effect?   I decided to keep it for a small lap quilt.  I always want a small throw on my lap when I sit and read or watch TV.   And a soft effect was an easy choice.   Quilting motif is a pattern called swirly tails  from Wendy Shepard's blog.   It softly blends without being too dense.
      A pale purple binding finished it off.    I tried a scrappy mixed of colors/ all dark colors  but found it distracting on this one.   Since the color palette is blue, green, and purple  I thought a softer tone worked the best.

  And this Let's book It project is done!   
    I found a small project to play with for this month's Book It project.  It's a nice mind distracting / doesn't have to be perfect project.  When I have things tumbling around in my brain---life in general---I find that a simple project is best.  So I will be playing with it for a day or two.   Enjoy it all....happy stitching.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Friday Finds....borders?

  Borders?  I have a love/hate relationship with borders on my quilts.  And lately, I have been very lax---read that as lazy---about using borders.   First, why do we add borders......

  • A plain border---solid or striped---can make your quilt larger in size.  
  • Turn a square top into a rectangular size by adding border to the top and bottom only.  
  •  A great place for leftover parts or small blocks, especially in a scrap quilt. 
  •  Enhances the design and makes a finishing statement.  
Sixteen-Blue-Ribbon-Quilts-43.jpg 1,275×1,608 pixels:   

I think I shared this before.....a good collection of simple ideas for a border.  I don't have a source for it, but it contains sound advice.  

   Now a few good finds  for some inspiration.

Elizabeth's Quilting Projects

  From Elizabeth's Quilt Project blog.....check out what she did in this border.  Crumbs!  All the bits and pieces from this jar quilt came together to make a border.  I like the unexpected movement it creates.  She explains  her technique here.  

Exuberant Color: Last January finish..........:
Exuberant Color
 From Exuberant Color blog.  Wanda recently finished this scrap quilt of leftovers.
Not only is the design amazing and simple, but the border just turns this quilt into something outstanding in my eyes.  The border of triangles repeats the the star points.  Be sure to click over and read how she developed this one. 

"Gathering Baskets" (from Primitive Pieces By Lynda):
From Primitive Pathways

This is a pattern from Primitive Pathways.   A different layout--offset--using the triangles and that extra border on the right with applique is quite special.  

Block Leaf Quilt Border Pattern for Corners:
From How stuff works....... a border design using those orange peels.  How neat is this!  I love how it turns the corner so nicely too.   This would be great on a busy scrap quilt.  

As always, please visit the links for the original source.   I did not make these quilts, so don't pin from me....thanks.  
 More border ideas and inspiration can be found on my Border board on Pinterest.  
Enjoy.....and happy stitching. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Waiting on my muse

  I am in a lull.  Where did that muse of mine disappear to?    I usually hear her whispering my ear, giving me an idea, or direction to follow.  Yet, things are quiet and silent right now. So, I have not picked a new  project...large or small.  Instead I have added to my almost  daily routine.

The addictive circles continue.  Seriously, I do find them addictive like eating M and Ms, or potato chips.   I have a very eclectic mix of fabrics....some for color, some for print, some for memories.  Setting them together will be a challenge.

   Since I do a circle a day, why not add a block a day to the routine.     I only had a 3 1/2'' strip of this fabric left.  The easiest block I could come up with was a bow tie.   Now the bow tie is added to the routine.    There are a lot of design options for this block......I will just see where it takes me.

  Mainly I have been quilting those projects in waiting.  Very large,  open meandering for this Habitat quilt for our guild.  Ruth made the top, and I will just finish it up.  This one now needs binding fabric.

  Binding was added to the Birds in the Air.  Just a label to add  and then I will share its finish.

 We had oven an inch of rain yesterday.....I see robins every where in the front yard.  All those sweet worms must make a good breakfast for them.  That means spring is not far behind.   Happy stitching.  
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