Tuesday, March 3, 2015

On the wall and another year begins!

     Today marks the beginning of another year for me. I don't know whether to cry or laugh. I will just be thankful for another day. So many ideas, so many quilts, it is overwhelming. Life just gets busier. 
     Thank you to everyone who is a follower and reader. You are my birthday present!
     So what is on the wall? I have been using 2.5" squares of kid prints for leader/enders and slowly putting Fading Charms together, so here is where I am now. Long way to go.
Center and two sides done
     Also, Sarah Craig of Confessons of a Fabric Addict blog, has been doing a Sweet Sixteen series. See side button. I looked through my squares and found 3 mini charm packs that I got free from the Fat Quarter Shop in Houston and sewed them into 16 patches. I will put this together with some denim squares. I will set these blocks slightly off center with gray background. I am figuring it out on graph paper.
Three of the 8 blocks
With denim added
     I have tried to improve my techniques and organization bit by bit. I finally learned how to pin going from left to right. This enables me to use my guides attached to the machine bed, to remove pins with my left hand and put them in the pincushion without letting go of feeding the fabric with my right, and the pins stay in the fabric much better especially like when two opposite borders are pinned at the same time. Maybe every one else knew this, but not me.
Border pinned at top and also at side makes sure the short side does not shift while the long side is sewn. I put the pin through twice on these long pieces.
Another side
Pin put in left to right as seam would be sewn.
The pin heads do not lie outside the fabric.

     I have put a plastic crate I used to use for markers in my graphic design days next to my machine and put every tool back into it instead of laying it on the table, having it fall or get covered up. I have the iron set right behind me with an ironing pad. Makes sewing small stuff so much easier and pleasant.
Crate to right, leader-ender squares to right.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Children's Disappearing 9 patch yellow version

       I have been cutting and collecting children's prints from scraps from others and trying to buy some pieces. The Creative Grids Stripology ruler and June Tailor Shape Cut Plus are getting a workout cutting 5" squares and 2 1/2" squares from scraps. I am trying to do an I Spy theme so no two squares are alike. I have enough to do another quilt in all boy theme and not quite enough all girls ones. I need 63 prints to make a 40" x 60" quilt. I tried buying some squares on ebay but I am disappointed in the quality of the fabric. So, hey, if you have kids prints you don't know what to do with, scraps and whatever, I will turn them into Gold Star quilts for the kids camp in July.
Nine Patches all sewn and pressed with fold so I know where to cut.
Takes 16 Nine Patches
Nine Patches cut both ways
All in a stack waiting for the design wall
Arranged on the wall

     All the columns are clipped in order. I will sew pile 1 and pile 2, starting with the top two, continuing sewing 2 together. The pairs are joined at the top and bottom with the chained threads.
     Then I will take pile 3, and sew them one by one to the first pair, second pair, etc. This leaves all the rows sewn held by threads so that each long row can be sewn the next. I have Wanda to thank for this brilliance in putting a quilt together. Everything is in order and together.
All sewn together, backing is ready also

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Purpose of Quilts

      Please never forget the purpose of quilts for you. In all the choosing, cutting, sewing, design wall, finishing processes, keep it in mind. Angela Walters today has a video on what quilters should not do, but tells a story of her husband's grandpa who was the one who got Angela hooked into quilting. It is towards the end of the video where she shows two special quilts.
      No matter how much joy or frustration I get working on quilts, the purpose has to be central. For myself, the purpose is to be used to bring comfort and coziness with an aesthetic anchor. My purpose is to use all my art skills, my quilting abilities, my design and perseverance to this end. Even a wall quilt has this purpose. 
      My husband's grandmother, Grandma Okie, whose machine I just refurbed, taught me this purpose, how to treadle and a lot about life. I miss her so much even though many years have passed since she died in March 1986. 
     One of the things she liked to do was thrift shop and find orphaned blocks and fabric which she would then treadle and hand quilt together. One of those quilts I used to keep packed away, however, I know what the purpose for this quilt was. Recently, my husband was not feeling well, and unusual for him, was resting on the couch. I put the quilt over him and he was joined by Tugger, the trouble cat. I had to take this photo and post it as a reminder of the purpose of quilts and the people who make them. Let us not make things more complicated and lose the joy.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Blue Improv finished

      Well, almost. I just need to handsew the facing on and put on a sleeve. This is going in a Fiber Art show on March 1st. I started this in the Hudson Valley workshop by Rayna Gillman. Had a lot of tears in this because I could not catch on to how to do this. At home, I put it together. I put it away and then a couple of days ago, quilted it on my lovely Singer 301. I added a facing instead of binding. Good thing I had put my tutorial on my blog so I could go back and look at how to do it again.
      I need to block it or something because it is pretty wavy now. It is 35" x 36".
 I used Isacord variegated thread- blue to light blue
Detail of quilting
Detail of quilting
Quilting on back, facing yet to be sewn down
Detail of quilting

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cupcake anyone?

     My beloved daughter is a Phd Organic chemist who is teaching college chemistry part time and bakes and decorates cakes part time; sometimes on the same day. Professor in labcoat and baker in apron. Well, it is her birthday tomorrow, and of course, I would not bake her a cake. So, I make her a cupcake paper pieced as her Birthday card. I found the free pattern on Craftsy. It comes in 10 and 8". This is an 8". It fit in the mailer easier along with some dark sponge candy. Hopefully, she will remember how much her dad and I love her tomorrow as we cannot be in Meadville. 
    I made my share of errors and used the seam ripper a bunch, but I got it done. I think it is cute in a good way. I know she won't see it here as my family does not read or look at my blog.
Wish would have had more time to add some buttons or beads, but it had to get there
    Also, I added a hand dyed fabric border to the denim quilt and I really like it. Waiting for the longarm to finish it. Maybe another month. What a fun quilt!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Denim again, love denim!

     I found a beautiful denim quilt on Pinterest that was from Alicia on Lucy's Quilts. She generously gave me the pattern. I cut more jeans apart and carefully pieced this together with hand dye fabric cut in 1" strips. I think it looks like stained glass. I had so much fun making this quilt. I just love it. The pattern is sheer brilliance with nesting sizes and nesting seams. I will put a border on it with hand dyed fabric, maybe about 2". It is about 56 x56 now. I just love hand dyed fabric. I don't want to make it. I just want to cut it up and sew it.
    Now, I need to cut up some more jeans. Fortunately, people gave me a bunch. I still want to make some landscape quilts with denim and hand dyed. The logistics are escaping me to get one over 36".
Sewing the units together

Finished but for the border

Monday, February 16, 2015

Grandma's 66 hums again

     Finally, I finished restoring Grandma Okie's treadle machine. You can see how much I have done if you look back. It took many, many hours. Lots of pieces were bent, broken, or missing. The paint on the bed was so incredibly dirty it took over a half can of TR3 and bags of cotton balls and a bag of rags. Grandma sewed constantly and sewed anything.
     It is going back to my sister in law to be reunited with its parlor cabinet. It is in my refinished cabinet for the photos because I had to test and adjust it. This machine is why I bought a parlor cabinet after looking for so many years. Mine is a 15 Tiffany which is hiding behind the 66 Red Eye.

Runs flawlessly and strong.