Monday, June 24, 2019

Blog Banner---From my archives

Rather than fending and answering a couple dozen emails, I thought it would be easier to re-post this from 2017.    I responded to a post by Kerry on the Quiltville Studio Group on FB and she mentioned my blog.  She had been inspired to make a beautiful version of Scrappy Trips in floral fabrics by my banner.  Others had here is a post that could answer many of them.
From July 2017.......

Insight:   Things occur and happen to direct you along the road 
you are suppose to take.  There are signs we can chose to ignore, 
but with advanced age I have learned to be more 
receptive to directions.  At least sometimes. 

   All of this to say......this has been a week for emails and questions....not just requests for patterns.  Questions are a good thing.  Questions ask for help, provide direction, point up details I have forgotten, and they let me know what readers/followers want to know.   So after 3 questions about the quilt shown in the blog banner, I think I needed to provide details.  A hunt thru past posts revealed a big lack of details.  I have no idea what happened about that.

   Trippin'  Thru the Flowers is from 2014.  I began working on this as a Let's Book It project in April/May 2014.  The pattern is from Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville.    She calls it Scrappy Trips.   It is a Trip Around the World variation.....many small trips in fact.  My version is based on value rather than one color.   So.....chains of value radiate around the center square creating diamond bands of value.   Doesn't that sound rich?

  Value......not color.  Value is the lightness or darkness of the fabric.   And the secret to a quilt with the changes in value like this is variety.  You can't have enough floral prints to chose from :)   
 Three things I use to work with value in a water color (or a scrap quilt) are
  •  a value viewer (ruby beholder), 
  • a design wall, 
  • and a camera.   
Learn to sort your fabrics into correct value groups.   I use a ruby beholder viewer.  Additional tip....... Visit Exuberant Color for some good lessons... variety of value  ,  a lesson on value .  I learned great lessons from Wanda's blog, and there is no reason to create my version when she is a master at this.  

Design wall.....big, small, permanent or portable, it is so important.  I can stand back from a design layout about 8-10 feet and see how the values are working together.  In this design I wanted to  see distinct lines of dark and light.  I needed areas of medium value fabrics to blend to the dark and to the light fabrics.  

A camera....if all else fails, take a photo.  Look at it on the computer and amazingly, I can see where problems lie that need to be fixed.  Added tip....turn the photo into a black and white version and you will see instant photo based on value!

Back to the quilt............  
This is how the Scrappy Trips is put together.  4 blocks come together to make up the small trip around the world unit that you see.   If you read thru Bonnie's pattern, you will know that it takes 6 strips for each block unit.    So I had to make several variations for the variety in the full quilt.
   I laid out the strips according to value from dark to light before sewing them together.  It was important to be sure the dark and light fabrics were distinct and not too "mushy".   The lowest block on the left is just a little bit too mushy.  Compare it to the upper corner block that is diagonal to it.  Much stronger light in the center creates the radiating diamond.     So yes, I did have to do some planning--not too much--- to be sure I had light center units forming as well as dark center units.  

 And now a little further along.
   I got better as I went along....selecting fabrics to put together to blend and to have contrast.  
  In the pattern instructions, after you make sub-cuts you unpick a seam to join the rows.  The strongest dark or lightest light fabric was needed to run thru the center to get the pattern.  

   So many Scrappy Trips became Trippin' Thru the Flowers.   And  then became my blog it speaks dearly of the floral fabrics I love.   The blended values  remind me of shadows  in the garden in the evenings.  Movement can be strong and still gentle and that is what this quilt says to me.  
Happy stitching.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Piper and package

    Piper came for a short visit with our daughter and SIL.  Note the "place quilt" that travels with her.  She has become quite famous with her own Instagram page to promote her travels, and people she meets.   She's a Therapy Service dog for my daughter....yet everyone at her work loves to feed and pet Piper.  I think she serves as an anxiety calmer for a lot of gals there.  I spoiled her by baking an extra sweet potato for dinner.

  We had a great visit and Sir Old Man had some help in the garden for weeding and thinning plants.  That is until he was swarmed by wasps!  That pretty much squashed his day with about 6 stings on his arm.  So he was brought inside, treated with Benedryl, and ice packs.   He is much better this morning.

So I haven't done a lot of sewing.....but a lot of fabric came my way.
   Sir Old Man brought in the mail a couple of days ago.  He came down the hall asked if I had ordered some fabric.  I said, No.  He then asked if I was expecting some fabric.  Again, I replied no.  With a grin he presented me with a fully stuffed, absolutely stuffed to the gills, priority mail envelope.  Well, he told me, I think you got some anyway.    I am sorry I did not take a photo of the envelope.  And right now, I can't get the phone to transmit photos of the fabric.....have no idea what is up with that.  Sometimes I hate technology.
   But let's just say, 5 pounds of fabric is a lot.....probably 10+ yards  easy.  And of course, it is all older floral fabrics....from VIP and Cranston, and early Hoffman....probably from the 90s.  Some one had a clean out/de-stash and I was the gifted one.  Thanks, to Cheryl at  Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting for passing on her  de-stash.  And since it is more than I can use.....I have a couple of people in mind to pass some on to.  :)   Happy stitching.

Update!.......Sir Old Man figured out my technology problem and the photos uploaded.  I hate those phone updates that mess with my settings!  So here's a photo of the fabric received.  I will be cutting and sharing in a few days. 
  I have my cousins coming by to spend the day Friday, so I need to do some food prep tomorrow.    I always enjoy their visit. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Between the rains

  I glanced out the office window as I was answering emails and saw a swath of yellow blooms.  These are large, very large daylilies called Buttered Popcorn.  Isn't that name just the best!     I had Sir Old Man separate them last fall and plant them all alone the front walkway.    They are quite prolific bloomers.

  He had to tie up the gladiolas near the window that are just coming into bloom.    We have had 2 '' of rain in the last 2 days, and more  coming.  So I am afraid the these stems will be beaten down or broken soon. 

  On the design wall......
I unearthed a hidden UFO.  Well, not really a UFO, just a very long term project.  Anyway, I found about 20 of these block units while Sir Old Man was in Alaska.  I sewed most of them into 4 block units to create the small Trips Around the World unit. 
  Once I got them up on the design wall, I started sewing up more of the strata units of 6.   I have shared this many times.....from Bonnie at Quiltville.  It's the Scrappy Trips around the World.
  So this is what I have been sewing when I found a few minutes.   I like the very scrappy nature of this, and it is just fun stitching.  I probably need another 20 or so blocks for a large size.  So I will just keep going on this long term one. 
  Thanks for all the wonderful comments on Sir Old Man's project.  He was floored by the response. 
Happy stitching.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

From the workshop----no drooling please

   The last 2 weeks got away from  me.....Sir Old Man made it safely back with a full suitcase of laundry!  It took a couple of days to get things back to normal, and run errands, etc.  Then a week of something scheduled everyday.  And time  to sew or blog completely escaped me. 

   Today's project to share comes from the wood working shop of Sir Old Man.
It has been a UFO project for about 2 years.....everything else got put ahead of it for one reason or another.  No drooling, please.

  A Mission style cabinet  now fills this spot in the sun room.   He made it of oak, which he once again fumed with ammonia to achieve the color.  No stain, just the natural reaction of the wood to the ammonia.   He had to do a second closed fuming tent session to get the color he wanted.

      He tracked down and ordered the period reproduction hardware.  I love the lines of it. 

  A single shelf behind the door, and beautiful drawers on glides for easy closing. 

  Please notice the drawers are flush to face of the cabinet.  And there is a very nice, even reveal around each one.  I had a lesson or two about the difficulty of attaining this.  Pennies were used to ensure the spacing was exactly even. 

  I figured that if he could endure lessons on matching points and even stitches, I could learn about flush drawers and those details. :)

Perfectionist that he is, even the inside of the drawers get a sanding and finish. 
  Of course, that makes it all the better for me when loading or overloading them!  And no cheap plywood here....he uses a very costly baltic birch  for the drawers.  It does not warp or twist.

This photo is a truer color of the wood.  It is such a beautiful golden honey tone.  With exposure to daylight, it will darken and age to a deeper tone.   The appearance will be pure vintage Mission style in a few months. 

  I spent the afternoon gathering place mats, and table runners from the far corners of the house.  All the seasonal runners and mats went into the long bottom drawer.  Behind closed doors went the many place mats and runners for daily use. A smaller drawer for mug rugs too.  And the top drawers for extra cutlery and serving pieces. 
  This is the heirloom piece of his workshop.    I may need to add extra insurance to cover his work! 

  The rain has arrived and it is so nice to hear the splatter and drips out side.  We have been so dry for almost 3 weeks.  Good day for some stitching.....happy stitching. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

On my own

    I am on my own for a week or so.  It actually feels strange.  Up at 5:30 am to see Sir Old Man off, I napped a lot during the day.

  Sir Old Man landed safely last night.  This is out the window at 11 pm.  Snow, big mountains, still daylight......where is he?

  He had the opportunity to join a mission group from church.  Well, actually, I saw the notice and nagged until he went to the information meeting. was meant to be. 

   This should give it away.   He is in Fairbanks, Alaska.  The team will be doing maintenance and repair of the buildings, and such at Camp Li- Wa. 
   For him, it is full circle as the Camp is now affiliated with the mission at Victory Camp.  His parents served as missionaries in Alaska--he was 6 weeks old when they moved up---- and helped clear the land and build the first buildings at Victory Camp. 

      So I get to "retreat" here at home....on my own.  I caught Bonnie's quilt cam over the weekend and thought the tulip blocks were so cute.  I like the idea of a small wall hanging or table runner, so I am working on a few to see how it goes.  I am not organized enough to use these as a leader/ender......too many small units to get mixed up.  I will say that if I wanted a quilt of them, I would be making larger blocks.  These are 6 1/2'' unfinished.   I think Pat Sloan showed the same pattern in a larger size recently.  Larger is easier on my fingers. 

  Weather finally cleared....and turned into summer.  I mean 90 degrees in May?   But it stopped raining and we had a couple of nicer days.  So I took a couple shots of the Jewel Box Star outside. 

   I have a couple of movies lined up on Prime, the Featherweight to get set up, meals in the freezer or a salad,  and I will be ready to stitch thru the week. 
Happy stitching. 

Monday, May 13, 2019

Jewel Box Star

   The binding is finally on the Jewel Box Star.   This one began in  July 2018,  as the annual leader and ender project from Bonnie Hunter.  

   I used all floral fabrics for the block pattern.  I had to plan that out before I really began.  Since then I have been working on the units and sections between other things, until I had a small size top. 

  I really don't need another large bed quilt, so a smaller throw size was made.

 I knew I wanted a nice applique border on this to carry the flower theme out to the border.  The center would be busy enough and a "quieter" border sounded good. 

   I added applique vines and flowers to opposing corners of the top.   I wasn't really thinking about the quilting when I decided to do that.  I just liked the visual effect.

   The center of the quilt was quilted with a medium meander stitch.  For the  solid border I wanted quilting that would show texture and stand out.  I debated on several ideas, but found the perfect solution in my quilting motif notebook.  It's called leaf meander and worked just right. 

   I used a flange binding here too.  I repeated the inner border fabric for the flange, and used all floral prints for the visible part of the binding.  I think I stitched 5 different ones together for this. 

  While the open areas of the border were easy to fill in with the leaves, around the applique took a bit of time and patience.  The inner section around the applique was densely quilted with pebbling and small stippling, and the outer areas with the leaf motif. 

   Another great fabric for the back.  Also purchased from the QuiltedTwins website.  It was listed as a tan but had a distinct greenish tint....I thought it was more a pale sage with a tonal print design of swirls and blooms. 

   And this leader/ender project is done. 

   Happy stitching. 

Saturday, May 4, 2019

A bright idea

NEW SUNBEAM FLEXIBLE NECK LED DESK LAMP ADJUSTABLE LIGHT ENERGY STAR BLACK    We stopped into the Dollar Tree yesterday while out to pick up a few items.  I remember seeing Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville post a while back about these small lamps she found there.   Our store was loaded with them, so I thought it might be good to use by the Featherweight.  Sir Old Man was quite skeptical.  I picked up one anyway:)   Let's just say he changed his mind and wants to pick up one for the workshop.  It is really bright light for $1,,,,and should help the eye strain.    
    I finished up the leaf quilting motif  and plan on making binding today.   Happy stitching.  

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Update! With a miracle thrown in....

   What a roller coaster ride the past few days have been.  My brother has had several more consults, exams, biopsy scheduled, and so on.  Nothing definitive, but general consensus was only biopsy will tell for sure....and it could be musculature.   Then yesterday he got up and said he felt normal.....less pain, and swelling down....what?

  He returned to his first doctor, and they talked about all the consults, and compared all to how he felt then.  Bottom line, he canceled the biopsy and is talking one week of steroids to see if all the swelling disappears.  He promises to be cautious and rush to the ER or doctor if any change happens. 
  We are optimistic and relieved to not have to rush to Florida, and so grateful for healing hands of mercy from above.  A timely miracle, I think, that brings me to my knees.  And very thankful for all the prayers and concern offered. 

  My creative self feels full and I am sharing an older project called Awakening I.  This is my form of self expression.  Over on Linda's blog, Art in Search, she shared a wonderful post on reflections. 
Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

I finally picked a motif.

   For the past few days I have done little....very little in the quilting department.
   I managed a short couple of sessions at Hot Legs to quilt on the border of the Jewel Box Star.  I was trying to find a motif for fmq that would carry on the garden/floral theme.  I had a couple in mind, but for some reason  could not settle on one.  So I pulled out my FMQ motif  notebook, flipped it open and .....
there it was...exactly what I needed. 
The Leaf Meander motif is from Handi-Quilter. 

  It is one of their minute motif sessions.  I had printed out the lesson sheet and practiced drawing it a few times on my scribble pad.  When I am satisfied with the practice, I go to my motif notebook and do a page of drawing.
I also make any notes on source, or changes I want to do, or how I see using the design, like border or fill in.  It then becomes a future reference for designs for me to pick to use. 

    I changed up this one from an overall design to a trailing design perfect for a border.  I also do not do an outline stitch around each leaf, but rather use the outline to fill space or travel back to where I want to go. 

     The leaves can be fat and long, or short, or skinny.  I can do them in clumps or singles, twisting in different directions, with pointy ends or not.  As long as the impression is a trail of leaves, it works for me.  Plus this one fills in quickly and is not completely dense. 
   I am about half way around and I am very happy with the overall look.  So I am starting my month with an almost done quilt! 

   My mind has been a jumble of concern for my brother.  The biopsy was delayed and put off until Wednesday.  That gave us a time to catch out breathe, but it also gave him time to think about things.   He was ready to back out completely yesterday,  not a good thing really.  They suspect inflammation of the artery in the temporal lobe of the brain and that is scary.  There is cure...but it can be lived with.  So until he gets thru this, I am living anxiously.  I am trying to be calm and trusting,  yet I am aware how short my fuse is right now. 
  Short sessions at the machine seem to help.  Thank you all for the notes and prayers for us.  Happy stitching. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

More FMQ

    I am working on the Jewel Box Star quilt.    This photo is from February when I was playing around with adding applique to the border.  

   The center has been quilted with a simple meander/stipple.  Now to the more intense outlining of the applique.

  Before I began I reviewed the points I picked up from Helen Godden video.

  • Since the applique stem and flowers are all connected, just start at one point and follow it all the way around until you have outlined it all.
  •   Second, if you have to stop, stop at a natural turn/point rather than in the middle of a long line or curve.  (Easier said than done in reality, but I tried to do that!)
  •  When beginning after a stop, get the needle moving before you move your hands/quilt.  This makes the stitching smoother, and without jerks in the line. 
  • Remember to breathe. 

  Before I  share this adventure in photos, the quilt police are banished.  No perfection here.  This is reality at its best.   It has been a while since I tried this style FMQ.

  Once I did the outline stitching, I decided to try some pebbling and dense stitching in the areas between the stems and inner border.  I love the effect but this is tough for my old eyes.   So I decided to mix it up a bit.  The next area was smaller stippling.

The outline stitching was good here.  The area was larger, and the closer stippling closely resembles the pebbling.  So why not?

   After a couple of hours, the intense concentration has sapped me.   And....I need to figure out what I will do around the rest of the border.  Maybe swirl flower will be a good choice. 

   On a personal note, my bother has a serious health issue arise yesterday.  He is having more test, scans, and doctors to see today.  I ask for healing prayers.  Thank you.
Happy stitching. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Simple quilting

  Just a quiet week here.  So I am getting a start on some simple FMQ.  I had the leader and ender project already pinned.   I debated back and forth on how I wanted to quilt this one. 
  The center is all done in floral fabrics...meaning not much will show once quilted.  That really influenced me to just use a smaller stipple, and ignoring the darker triangles that create the star.  Of course, you can't see much from this photo, and when finished it won't really show either I suspect.

  Even a peek on the back doesn't show much.  I really, really liked this fabric I picked up from Quilted Twins.  They called it tan, but it is more a pale sage color with a faded floral/swirl motif. 
  It was one of the extra wide backings that I ordered a couple of months ago. 

  And now I have a duo of watercolor tops for wall hangings.  Some days just playing with the squares calms me, and takes me away to a better place in my mind. 

  The peeling hands are still there, but seem to be calming down.  Soon I hope. 
  And the pollen season is beginning to wind down...thank goodness. 
Happy stitching. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Catching up once again

   I slipped up again....being too quiet and got a text from Cousin Di to let me know I hadn't been blogging lately.    Since the sinus infection last month, it has been pollen season and the allergies have worn me down.  And now I have developed a skin condition.....peeling, scaly palms and fingers.  Thankfully, it is not painful but very unsightly.  Apparently it is related to severe  seasonal allergies.   Like I need more evidence that my immune system doesn't work normally. 

  Better things.....I watched the Live Podcast done by Helen Godden for Handi-Quilter.  She is absolutely amazing and inspiring. 
  She was stitching on poly/silk scarves from thrift shops and turned them into beautiful wall hangings.  Her "road map" technique intrigued me.  I played around with it on plain cotton....just to get the hang of it.   Begin by drawing large curls  so that each one connects to the previous one, using a wash away marker.  You do not stitch on the mark but on each side....begin on one side of the curl and follow it all the way around the entire design.  It will eventually get you back to where you started. 

No laughing, or pointing fingers now.
   My results were not the most beautiful or anywhere near pretty.....but the technique does work well.  Yet by stitching this trial, I see how important it is to space the curls apart and not bunch them closely.  And it takes practice to control and be consistent in stitching around a drawn line.  That was always a challenge for me. 
  Helen also shared her technique for grid marking for sewing orange peel filler.  Once again I need to practice if I want to do this for real. 

   Moving something I know I can do. 
I played around with floral squares and some interfacing. Just to use up the abundance of squares, a more graphic interpretation  than I usually do.   Maybe it should be turned 180 degrees before I decide.   I will probably turn this into a small banner at some point. 

  Storms are moving thru the area right now....and heavy rain.  The rain is quite welcome because it should reduce the dreaded orange haze of pollen that covers us all. 
Have a great weekend.  Happy Easter.  Happy stitching. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Chandelier Beads done

  Bound, labeled and done!  I promised photos when it was a better day for photos.   Yesterday was just a perfect day that is except for the pollen.  I think it is twice as high as usual everywhere.  So just ignore any yellow haze on things for now.

  Chandelier Beads is a small throw quilt for the back of the sofa.  It is just 56'' square.  The block is and uneven 9 patch block that I adapted for this.  It is set on point.  I kept the beads colorful. More  tonal fabrics were used than prints, although I did throw in a couple of those too.  The background was kept light, but not all white.  I threw in beige and cream  too.

  After a quick wash and dry, it crinkled up nicely.  Nice and cuddly, and the quilting just seemed to pop.  Free motion swirls throughout the background areas, and those butterfly wings in the border.

  And now, I can call this one done.
And move on to the Jewel Box Stars for quilting.    A floral quilt for spring quilting.

  I did play a bit in the sewing room, but nothing to show.  I ended up in the kitchen putting a couple of freezer meals together for this next week as it is full of doctor's visits.  I am not sure why they all seem to come together in one week and bog me down.  It happens too often. 
Happy stitching.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Scrappy Trips anyone?

  It is always nice to get email from followers.  And even better when they share their version of a project that I inspired.  Just this morning I had an email from Nancy with a photo of her version of my "Tripping' thru the Flowers"----the one I use as a banner photo. 

Made by Nancy and shared at Stitchin'  Therapy
  Nancy said she has just recently retired and got going on this.  Didn't it turn out great?  I love her border fabric and how it just pulls the blues out of the center.  Just fabulous and exciting design.  I like her very clever borders too.  Thanks, Nancy, for sharing your finish with us.  
   My post with details for Trippin' thru the Flowers is here.    Links to the original source, Bonnie Hunter at Quiltville, and some details about my version.  
   It's a rainy day here, so no photos from my finish yet.  I plan on making a label today at least.  Yet viewing Nancy's quilt inspires me to play a bit with floral fabrics......wonder what trouble I can get into?
Happy stitching.  

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

FMQ on Bead blocks

   Slowly regaining my strength,  it  took me about 5 sessions this past week to get the Chandelier Bead top quilted. 

  I wanted the colors of the "beads"  to be the focus so I decided not to do an overall quilting pattern.  Lots of texture came up with swirls in all the "negative" space around the beads in the block. 

   In case you don't remember this block from a few months ago, this is the post and snapshot of the block I worked up in EQ7. 

      The border is in a teal blue tonal pattern.....I switched to medium gray thread so I could see what I was stitching.  I debated on feathers but in the end went with the butterfly wings motif.  It is 3 plumes in a clump and out line stitched to create a group that resembles  a butterfly wing.  Here's a better post and detail on this motif.     It's one I snagged from LuAnn Kessi's blog  and use it often. 

   Time to get this one trimmed up and the binding on.  I will get better photos when it is done.  I love the backing fabric....a crackled blue pattern that reminds me of ice.  It shows off the texture  from the quilting well.

    We had a nice weekend weather wise and awoke to cold this morning.  There were threats from the weatherman about snow flurries this morning, but I believe they lied to us.  LOL....what else is new.   This has been the craziest winter to spring season we have had in a long time.   

  More quilting to come as I have the Jewel Box Stars in floral prints ready to go.  That will be my April challenge to myself.  Happy stitching. 
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