Saturday, December 27, 2014

Surprise presents!

   This year, I received two surprise gifts. One was from quilter that i correspond with online whom I have never met, but enjoyed friendship with her. She sent me a pincushion that is just super and practical and fun!
Just Adorable!!!!
     The second present, a total shock, even though he supports my sewing machine, um, habit, was totally unbelievable by my husband. He pulled this off with no help or hint. He had bought me a Martelli mat that I had to wait for till Christmas, but this was not in a Martelli mat box!
This is not yet polished or serviced. I did it this afternoon, but did not photo it yet. After fixing others, I have my own!!
Pretty amazing shape!!!

Frozen warms the little girl

     I have got to say it- Disney is not my idea for a quilt. But my granddaughter, 2, asked me if I could make an Elsa Blankie. I bought the panel in Houston at the Quilt Festival as well as the big border snowflake fabric. I cut off the annoying pink border and added three. I used a heart design in one border, snowflakes in another and swirls in the last. I free motion designed the panel according to what the image was. I changed thread colors for the hair and clothes. 
    Of course she loved it because of the Disney princesses. She put it to use right away.
All done! Used the colorwash binding I auditioned for Circle Dance
Freestyle quilting

Border quilting
My daughter helping her niece fly
Mother and daughter cuddling

Circle Dance done and given away

     I made it in time for Christmas gift giving. My daughter and son in law's quilt was completed and wrapped in time. I chose the dark binding because it did frame up all the circles. Thank you, Wanda, for the advice! They both loved it. Some of the quilt designs I used were water molecules, Pac man, candy swirls, pebbles, and other motifs that mean something to them. I did not put designs in regularly, because the circles were not in a regular pattern. They used it when they were here overnight and is now on their bed. Yay!
The whole quilt done!
The one piece backing
The sun burst center motif


Pebbles, swirl candies

Small CIrcle quilting

Quilting showing on back

Home in another state!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Circle Dance binding dilemma

     Well, I did it. The queen size Circle Dance is all quilted. I used Glide thread on my Bailey Home Quilter. I used adapted designs from The Inbox Jaunt and Leah Day. Now, I am trying to decide the color of the binding. I have narrowed it down to three choices.
    This has to be done, under the tree (which is not cut down yet), by Christmas.
Progress was sometimes impeded by my beta tester
Why are all these machines in my way?
Multicolor hand dye
Batik colorwash
Batik print

Grand Illusion eeking along

Clue 3 pile
Done units, all of 1!
Pieces of Clue 2, extra HSTs
      The Grand Illusion Mystery quilt is inching along. I try to cut all the fabric for each clue as it is given on Fridays by Bonnie Hunter. I am cutting from scraps and stash, so just finding the right piece takes time and they are all not the same size to cut into. This quilt is forcing me to be really precise and to go slow. I hope it will take my skill level up at the end of all this. I have all of Clue 1 sewn. Part of Clue 2 is sewn. Part 3 has most of the strips cut I think, but only 10 out of 120 units are made. I have been printing my Christmas cards and other stuff, so I sit down for short bursts of time. It is easy to leave in place because I have a dedicated machine for this quilt.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

An Illusion of a mystery

    I love Bonnie Hunter. I have learned so much about quilting from her. I met her and took a class with her in September.
I hate mysteries. I hate absolute precision piecework where you hold your breath on every seam. So, why am I doing her recent mystery, Grand Illustion?
   It is neat to follow along with others learning from their mistakes.
   Last year's quilt was awesome
   It is forcing me to suck up and learn to be a better skilled quilter and to have sharper eyes and hands.
   I want to see if I can do it because I would never attempt it on my own.
   I want to learn from Bonnie.
Okay, I cut out all the Clue 1 last week, sewed all the HST. I am using the easy angle ruler and loving it but I still am making piecing errors. I use a plexi sewing guide along the edge and tweezers to hold the ends of the pieces together and lots of spray starch on the pieces. 
   So I thought I was ok. I did not finish sewing the 4 patches all together. I still have HST to press open and cut off dog ears. And then yesterday's clue. Oh no, diagonals. I printed and cut out the template fussing with getting the right size and cut out a few to try it out. Made one good one and some not so good ones. So, I have to finish sewing the blocks for clue 1, cut out all Clue 2, and sew them together. I thought I was a fast piecer, but I am very humbled by my limited output. I have to keep going, I have to keep going.
   I do have stuff to finish for Christmas yet also. The Mystery may fade for a while.
All HST cut in pairs, all 280
All HST sewed
5 Clue 1 blocks and 1 Clue 2 diamond block

Retreat Time!

     Hard to believe it is already a week since the Camp Pioneer Retreat! The Camp sits on the edge of Lake Erie. I had some nasty cold virus then until about yesterday, so I am really behind. The entire weekend I spent on paper piecing Sea Urchin by Judy Niedermeyer. I did not make fast progress. It is really time consuming. I still love the fabric, so that is good. I only got the arcs for the biggest circles done minus four. The trusty, robust SInger 301 blew through it all with abandon. I bought one of those teeny irons so I could press right in front of me and trim. It is a nice hot iron and I don't use the steam.
The view from the sewing room window
It only looks like chaos. Can you spot the 301 to the left?
More hours of work than you would think

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blasted in Buffalo

     I am sure if anyone watches national news, you are aware of the snow situation here. Actually, I live just north of the city and am out of the persistent band. I have only had about 5". However, my friends and family are literally trapped inside their homes. As a lifelong resident of Buffalo, I have never seen so much snow all at once. We are talking 5-6' of snow against homes. This is not the norm around here. I have been glued to the radio and on the phone to my mom and friends. There is no way to get to help them. 
     I have tried to get back on track sewing since last week I watched my grandkids 24/7 for a week while my son and daughter in law took a long overdue vacation, but the situation is serious here. My new lens came in and did not function properly, so I sent it back and with the mail situation, I am still relying on my crummy point and shoot. I continue to quilt away on Circle Dance and cut fabric into a workable system.
     My 4 year old grandson was able to make this pillowcase that he used all week on my Spartan handcrank. We both had a good time. I used Elmer's washable glue to hold the seams instead of pins. Worked great.

     The Frozen panel that I reluctantly bought in Houston has been sewn into a top. I cut off the terribly ugly pink border and added two solids and a snowflake border to make it a nice size for a 2 yr. old. Now it needs to be quilted for Christmas, so I need to get Circle Dance done.

      Also, I continue to cut fabric squares for a colorwash quilt and sort them on cheap cookie sheets. I think there is enough and it is daunting to know where to start.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Not quite an angel

     At the Quilt Festival, I managed to dent my credit card with fabric. Even standing trying to be an angel in the park across the street was futile against the siren call of fabric.
     I tried great restraint. I only bought what I knew I could not find anywhere else at this time except for the Frozen Panel and snowflake panel to make my granddaughter a quilt. I do not like and buy Disney things, but when a two year old looks at you with her big blue eyes and blonde curls and says, "Grandma Linda, make me an Elsa blankie?", I cannot be held responsible for my actions. The photos are not great until I get a new lens for my Canon Tli instead of this point and shoot.
New thread from YLI that is a 70 glazed cotton piecing thread for sewing my small scraps, quilt magnets, and yes, fabric
New Kaufman Pointillist Jewel fabric
Hand dyed spiral from Joy Fabrics

Drinking out of a firehose

     I have been back from Houston and the Quilt Festival since Saturday, but I am still in numb mode. It is not just from the long airplane jaunts. I was told by others that it would be overwhelming. I have been to NYC numerous times, so I thought that can be overwhelming, but I survived. As a visual artist, so much can be too much to digest and process.
     The Convention Center is 6 city blocks long by 2 wide. It truly is. This Festival filled it all. The Quilt Show is actually many embedded shows, all separate shows in themselves. So, think of every quilt show you have been to and put them in all in one spot, at once. The vendors stretch forever and are not limited to quilt stuff, but any kind of jewelry, clothing, skincare, and on and on. Non-quilters could drop big chunks of money as well as fabric fiends.
     Please keep in mind that I only had my inadequate point and shoot since autofocus died on my Canon Tli and could not adjust for the lighting. I am only going to include some photos. All the award winners are found much better elsewhere. This is meant as a sample of the quality and creativity.
Vendor Mania

Red Pipes from top of corner of the Convention Center as viewed
from the park across the street
Only a small portion of the Stunning Red and White exhibit
Exquisite drawing and amazing quilting in the background
Quilting designs just amazing
Notice this quilt is not solid but has cut out areas, can't fathom the construction
Dynamite quilting, composition and colors

Monday, October 27, 2014

Last Stitches for now

     It is almost time for my big adventure. Tomorrow I am leaving for the International Quilt Festival in Houston. I can't believe it. I have never been west of the Mississippi. I am flying with some friends who invited me to go with them who have been there and know the drill. I pray I am not overwhelmed by the size and commercialism and make wise purchases.
     I finished the pumpkin HST little quilt and FMQ it all in leaves motif. I gave it to my daughter in law as she loves fall decorations.
      The made fabric Lemoyne Star has had some additions around it. I want it to be rectangular, so I am adding different borders instead of symmetrical ones. Someone gave me a bunch of HST that are perfect for using here. I am going to add more to the top and bottom and probably an all around border before it is done, but that is all for now.