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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Don't be a step skipper!

     Actually, I am borrowing the line from a Seinfeld episode where one character is accused by George of skipping one of the steps in Alcoholics Anonymous. Seinfeld was the last sitcom I have watched and liked. Our whole family still uses lines from episodes to describe situation we observe. There is a Seinfeld line for every occasion.  
    In my case, it was skipping preview on the design wall and just sewing scraps together when making blocks for a smaller Film at Five quilt than I had made before. My idea was to make each block part of the rainbow spectrum. I love rainbows. I don't care that they have been co-opted by a particular movement, I love rainbow spectrums. I just love color.
    I have my 2 1/2" scraps sorted by colors in plastic boxes. So, I just took out scraps and sewed them leader ender style between other quilts. Big mistake. I resisted putting them up on the wall because that would be a lot of little blocks to deal with. So, I selected 25 and sewed them together.  Skipped the wall, paid the price.
    When I put them up on the wall, I noticed I totally forgot the Red Violet block. The green greens were awful olivey, and the red oranges were not distinct enough from the red reds. Do you know green greens are really hard to find? I had to comb through a lot of uncut fabric to dredge up enough colors for one block. I had to compose a red violet block and I need to deconstruct the red orange to fit in (partial seams, o boy). 
     I am thinking of grey solid sashing and I need to pick out the color squares for the sashing also. This time, it goes on the wall first, I am not winging it. Whenever I wing it, I never get in flight, but grounded.
     Don't be a step skipper!
First view on wall, uh oh 
Had to junk block on left. Have to sew new block on right.

Red violet ready to sew- on the wall!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mojo doll challenge

     My guild had a challenge for the end of the guild season in June. We were given a pattern and told to make a doll to inspire us when we need it. I don't sew 3D things real well, but I tried. It was a little small to handle and stuff.
     I thought of who inspired me to quilt in the first place, and it was Grandma Okie, my husband's grandmother. She had been a tailor at M. Wile who used to make the top suits in this country. She sewed all the time- On a red eye Singer 66 treadle (which I cleaned recently for my sister in law who owns it). She taught me how to make scrap quilts. She recycled everything and it always looked gorgeous. I wrote about her, a long while ago, and Quilters Newsletter magazine published what I wrote and gave me a free subscription for a year. And now sadly, I just read that the magazine is shutting down in October. 
     So, I scanned her face from a photo and sewed it on crumb pieced fabric. I added a scrap skirt. Grandma Okie has been gone for 30 years and I miss her so much. I have some of her quilts from recycled fabrics and UFOs that she bought at thrift stores.
     I am inspired now by Wanda, from Exuberant Color. Her posts, words, replies, and photos are always tremendous inspiration for me to keep me quilting. I owe her big time. She will probably not like it, but I took her face from her blog, printed it and sewed it on batiks crumb fabric. I added an antique gold button on the skirt sash. 
     This particular challenge was the most entries we ever had. Unfortunately, I missed the meeting where they were unveiled, as I had a monster migraine and could not even move out of bed. We are going to exhibit them at our quilt show in October, so I can photo them all then. Here is mine:
Grandma Okie side


Wanda side in the flowers

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Colorwash photos redo, sunshine style

    When I showed the big stitch quilting I had done on the colorwash, one blog reader said to photo it in the sun where the quilting would show up. So I reshot the photos and offer some detail pics. I have used a couple of different DMC size 8 pearl cottons so far. The Valdanis are next to try.
Whole quilt, less than half quilted



Monkey Business sewn up

     Those aren't my words, it is the name of the quilt kit I bought from Connecting Threads for under $25.00. I don't usually like kits, but I could not pass up the fabric for the money. The colors are a little too grayed for my taste, but it is going to be a comfort quilt and not live here. I tried real hard- I starched, trimmed with the June Tailor shape cut ruler, pinned, and I could not get the block seams to line up. I don't have trouble with smaller blocks and my 2 1/2" square seams always line up. Feel like an amateur when I look at the seams. I ripped out a number of them three times and it never improved. Keeps me humble. It is kind of unusual type pattern that uses freezer paper templates. Not sure if I would make it again. I think the blocks are too big to handle for me.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Found in Maine

     On our vacation, I was looking for a large thimble. I recently decided to do big stitch hand quilting on my colorwash quilt after seeing how someone had quilted this way on one of Wanda's quilts. Locally, I could not find size 8 pearl cotton or needles to do this. My old thimble is way too small. Joann's had white, black and ecru in the store, but nothing else. 
     I visited Knight's Quilt shop in Cape Neddick, Maine, but found nothing to help me or any different fabric to tempt me. I visited a needlework shop in Kennebunkport with no success except to get the name of a wool store in Kennebunk. I bought a needle threader there that does not fit the eye of the needles I had bought online which I can't get the pearl cotton through.
     Camp Wool, in Kennebunk, was a great store and the owner was terrific. She had DMC and Valdani pearl cotton in many colors at a reasonable price. I bought some gold chenille needles there that are easy to thread, but are a little thick and harder to pull through the fabric. She carries tons of wool for applique and such, but no thimbles. She was a great help. She also had some cotton fabric there, and I bought a precut half yard of coffee cups and fat quarters of handwriting. If they were on a bolt, I would have bought more. 
     I really prefer to buy my supplies from brick and mortar stores, but it is so hard to find what I want. I like to see the real colors and textures. I lost two local quilt stores in the last year.


Handquilting I did on vacation, much more to go. But now I have different colors. 


Away, but not forgotten

     For the past six days, I was on vacation in Maine- Ogunquit and Kennebunkport, which is about a 10 1/2 hr drive from Buffalo (we stop and stretch a lot). Long drive, gorgeous places. The ocean is indescribable. I took sewing stuff with me (even the featherweight), but was so busy walking and looking, that I only managed to handquilt (more on that in another post). I was able to keep up with email and read blogs, but not able to post from my iPad from Blogger. 
     The salt water air is such perfume to me. The skies are fantastic. We just stared at the ocean for extended periods of time. I visited two quilt stores and one needlepoint store. I was looking for thread and thimbles. Found thread, no thimbles anywhere. Here are some highlights of what I saw. There was so much I should have take photos of, but I was too hot or tired to take out the camera.
    We stayed at the Beachmere in Ogunquit and at Captain Jefferds Bed and Breakfast in Kennebunkport- both of which I highly recommend and we had been there before. I could spend blocks of time in Ogunquit- just walking the beach and the Marginal Way. Too bad it is such a far drive.
We stayed in the top room, River Green at Captain Jefferds (the trapezoid windows).
View from the room roof. My husband just loves to sit and stare there.
Sunset in Kennebunkport from the bridge
The harbor in Kennebunkport. The large ship is a restaurant. 
Along one of the Kennebunkport beaches, early morning.
Me enjoying the seabreeze at Ogunquit
The Footbridge in Ogunquit 
Ogunquit beach at low tide
Nubble Lighthouse
Love the rocks along the Maine coast- this would make a great quilt!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Supporting Material

      For the three quilts shown in the post before this, I wanted to show what else is involved. After the quilts are labeled and washed, they are put into these bags. The bags were donated to me. The pockets are made from orphan blocks and cover up a logo (bags are new, but unused). The cards are made with fabric. The fronts use the Crafted Applique technique, but are sewn down randomly. The inside mini quilts are made from cut offs when snowballing. I handwrite the insides. The book inserted is 50 Days of Hope by Lynn Eib.   All of the bag goes inside a big clear plastic ziploc.