Sunday, January 29, 2017

Time to make the cards and send 'em out!

     I always think I get will get caught up making cards. Wrong. Between birthdays and sympathy cards, my little pack was wiped out. So, with the fabric Mod Podge, I crafted some more...and mailed them out!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Finishes

     I made myself put up the display stand and photo two quilt finishes- the butterfly top, the denim quilted. I decided on the butterfly borders and now need to find a backing and figure out how to quilt it.

     I love everything about denim. This pattern prevents bulky seams and it quilted like a dream. I want to make a larger version. The denim really shows off quilting, and consequently, all my wobbles.


Details, love how denim shows the patterns

Details, back

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Clean as a whistle

     Two machines came my way to give a spa treatment. The Singer 66 was a bit dirty, dusty, needed a new belt, but mostly polishing and oiling. Sews like a dream. My friend found it at Savers for $7.00. I showed it in its dirty state here. She has to find a home for it. The case was cleaned, given a coat of Minwax Antique Oil finish and buffed. Just lovely.

My favorite! No smell or harshness
    The other machine, a Universal SAMP, was the crudiest I ever have cleaned. It had oily dirt and a thick orangish brown crud was on every metal part and also on the paint in places. My favorite go to cleaner is Krud Kutter. It has no smell and dissolves it quick and completely. Many rags and wooden sticks later, the machine emerged. It had been totally frozen up. I got everything to move with copious oil and heat. However, I had to buy the manual online in order to figure out the straight stitching. I would have never figured it out. It was like, push this lever to the right, turn this dial here, push the lever back to the left, etc. Total madness. However it sews with a very strong motor. Not my favorite machine, although very soundly built. I was pining to sew on my simple 301 which I did today. 

I always take the bottom of a jean leg and turn it into a pouch for the cord and and foot controller so they don't scratch
the machine paint.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Framing the butterflies

     I was given a lovely embroidered butterfly panel. I cut off the edges and decided to add a series of borders. Adding the thin blue one was easy. Next, I puzzled out the green. Finally chose a hand dyed green and now am searching for something to be the last and widest one. The purple is just not doing it. I tried two different ones. Have to keep searching and digging. Hmm. Sewing takes no time compared to finding the right fabric.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Pushing through Chaos

     Although I always try to be organized, have set places, and put things away, the sheer amount of projects and all the attended steps make me feel like I am walking in hardening concrete. When I did my goals at the beginning of the year, I decide to cut out the yarn. I am going to concentrate on quilts and watercolor painting.
     I used to make funky scarves and necklaces with yarn and beads. I gave all the beads away to a friend who makes jewelry. I pulled all the yarn out of my cupboards and sorted them by types and put them on the counter in my room. I asked my daughter in law and a fiber artist friend to help themselves to what they liked. All I was left with was 4 baskets that I need to find homes for. I feel lighter after that even though it took all day.

All set out in the daylight

What is left, now it is dark. Gotta find someone for those last bins.
      When I was done with the yarn chaos, I turned my attention to finding/piecing backings for all my waiting quilt tops. I had to pull out all kinds of fabric and puzzle the choices and how to piece them together. Halfway through, I went and ordered some backing on sale at Connecting Threads so I did not have to piece everything. Here is some of last quilts searching for backing. More chaos. I need to get it all picked up so I can roll out batting and get it all cut for all the quilts I made the backings for. More walking in concrete.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Things just get stashier

    When visiting my daughter the week after Christmas, I made it to Fox's Sew and Vac in Meadville, PA and Needleworks in Saegertown, PA. Both stores had different and wonderful selections. I found the fabric for my new OBW and other goodies. Needleworks had a buy 1 yard and get one free. I had a great time and look forward to using them.
Animals for a grandson pillowcase, text for my text fabric collection (looking for an idea), teals for daughter's new king size quilt, and a funky water themed fabric

Funky nature scene, great border fabric and a gift of vintage machines some of which I own.
New OBW fabric, colors not great in photo- 
much more orange and brighter

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Bursting with starts

     After finishing the three tops at the retreat, I started new ones. One of them will be a vet quilt- Red White Blue scraps- a string quilt I discovered in an older quilt book I got at a library discard sale. I am using the papers from Missouri Star- they are thin, strong, and don't wrinkle. I have 24 of the 36 string blocks I need. Kind of a cool quilt.
Here is the book I got the idea from and some sewn blocks.
One of the four zig zags needed

      Another quilt, Katie's quilt from MSQC, was started. I have all 16 patches and 4 patches done. I need the white rectangles and triangles cut and sewn yet.
The last start is one I need my head examined for. I fell in love with the quilt, Harvest Dawn, at a store and foolishly bought the pattern. It is a Judy Niemeyer one and I already have Sea Urchin that is stalled. It seemed like it was a shorter and easier one and in the heat of the fabric moment, I bit. I have all the pieces in the right bags and now have to paper piece them. I can't even tell you how long I took to piece these 4. I will just have to take one bag at a time forgetting what has to be done and chip away at it, regardless how long it takes.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Why I need quilt retreats

     I am aware that there are some quilters who think it is silly to pay to go somewhere to sew. However, I know that I need to. Last weekend, 10 of us rented an used convent in the country, and sewed for 3 solid days. Meals were split up between us and we were able to use the kitchen and dining room, yet leave the sewing machines up. Eating meals together was also a good time of sharing, trying different tools, seeing other techniques. Twice a year, my guild goes to a retreat center for 3 nights where they make and serve and clean up the meals- even more time to sew.
    Since this old convent is small, I try to take projects that just need assembly or block sewing as cutting and laying out is tight. I was able to sew together three tops and start working on three more. I will show the quilts here now, and new projects in another post. I used my new display stand that my daughter and son-in-law bought me for Christmas. It is fantastic, folds up and goes into a zip duffle. What an absolutely terrific present! I will use it all the time for photo shoots.
Exploding Squares laid out at home, numbered columns
Sewn and bordered. I started with 4" squares

Disappearing Hourglass (MSQC) quilt sewn

Exploding Squares starting with 6" squares, added thin sashing
as blocks were a bit busy

My new display stand, Woo-hoo!

It all goes in this zip bag!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Recoup, reboot time

     The holidays were extremely busy, emotional, and draining. I could not get sewing in and that makes me cranky. Every year my husband and I try to spend 2 nights in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. It has to be one of the most beautiful places on the earth. The rates between New Years and Christmas are lower and we stay at a small, wonderful boutique hotel. We just walk and walk and drink in the scenery and architecture of the housing. 
     We use this time to stop and evaluate our goals that we wrote the year before and write new ones. We each list the top 25 things of the year and 10 areas of difficulty. I wanted to take more photos, but the weather did not cooperate. I just drink in the scenery and know it is feeding my love of colors, composition and textures which will help me be a better quilter. I would like to share some photos to show you what I mean. I find these such filling images. My hope is that they give you some inspiration!

This gazebo sits at the mouth of the Niagara River at the junction of Lake Ontario. It is across the river from Fort Niagara.
Toronto is just out of sight to the left. I have seen weddings here in the summer.

Dried hydrangeas outside a B&B

Just to the left of the gazebo, Simcoe Park

Some trucks off the road between NOTL and Port Dalhousie. the patina and functionality of them intrigue me, just like my vintage sewing machines.

Think of all the hard farm work they did.
The shops all had fabulous greenery outside, no plastic here!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Cover for the baker

     My mother was hounding me to make a cover for my daughter's Kitchen Aid mixer as she has a new kitchen. I don't sew 3D real well, so I was hesitant. I found a nice and free pattern online and used some special fabric I was saving. It will match her granite top. I made a lining for it and checked the sizing with that. I did not use a piping (too tough for me). Then, I sewed it all together. By using a lining, I did not have to put bias tape on the bottom. I am showing it here on my sewing machine, as I am a quilter and not a baker. She took it home with her and hopefully, she will like it.
UPDATE: Daughter has the PROfessional Kitchen Aid which is three inches taller than the normal ones, so it doesn't fit. Guess who has to do it all over again.

That's not a mixer!