Thursday, September 26, 2019

Cats lattice

     Due to the work for the guild show, this quilt is coming along slowly. I have the front done and the back needs final big borders. It is a reversible quilt as the recipient is in a nursing home and having two sides is twice the fun. I want to write this pattern up as I think someone else might want to make one.
     On the back, the cats cut from the panel made a great grouping. For the last borders, which have to be wide because it is the back going on the longarm, I originally choose the diamond green. Because it has a directional pattern, I fumed and fussed trying to figure out how to cut it. Finally I thought to just try something else. I will cut the top gray polka dot for the last border. Problem solved. Quilt top is about 58 x 80.
Front finished

Back auditioning
Surround borders on
The original green choice, but two grays also
A muted green polka dot doesn't add much

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Before the show and Top Time Wasters

     Yesterday, my co-chair and I labeled for location and bagged all the quilts for our guild show next week. We will hang on Thursday, Oct. 3rd and the show is Oct. 4th and 5th. Everything is in my basement crowding out the longarm. Here is what the show looks like before the show.

Does this look like over 120 quilts from about 50 people? It is. There is more behind me under the longarm in 3 IKEA bags.
     Words cannot express how much I have learned and improved through one particular person. Almost 8 years ago, someone shared with me the Exuberant Color blog and Wanda Hanson. Over the years, she continues to improve, encourage, and share generously. I took her amazing Colorwash 360 class and its effect on my work was profound.
     Well, now Wanda has a very thought provoking Top Ten Time Wasters post. You can follow the instructions to get more info on the topic.
      I am having a heart to heart with it over a cup or two of coffee today.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Ready to show

     The quilt guild I belong to, Kenmore Quilters, has their show on Oct. 4th and 5th. For the past weeks, I have been photographing, organizing, and arranging all the quilts with my co-chair. We are talking over 120 quilts of various sizes. The show is once every three years. Today, we are labeling all the quilts keying them to where they will be hung and bagging them by rows. Yikes.
     A couple of mine are in the show, although not enough room for the OBW, sigh.

Sadly, no room for this

The back is a French fabric with a piece added

All the color pieces I auditioned for the back fill in stripe
The floral colorwash is in
The back

Organized Chaos in in, check out the pieced striped binding
The back

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Layered leaves, Fractured landscape, done and up

     One of my pieces in the Fox Run show is the Layered Leaves hanging, 24" x 30".  It is discharged black fabric, applique leaves (no fusible or raw edge), quilted by machine and hand, and bound. I used Superior's Twist thread for quilting and perle cotton for the hand stitching. 
     Another piece, Fractured Landscape, was made from leftovovers  in my other landscape, Summer Wonder. I sewed the pieced squares to heavy weight interfacing and zig zagged the edges with the Bernina 830. I glued the squares to smaller sized matboard and then glued them to a 10" x 10" wooden pallet (coupon at Joanns) I whitewashed.
Again, the colors are off- the blues are too acid and the greens are too dark. I took the photo outside, but it didn't help.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Love those landscapes

     The landscapes that I am familiar with- local to me and the Adirondacks, inspire me continually to paint and sew.  I never tire of them. I have never been able to capture them in fabric in a large scale like some as Ruth McDowell has. It eludes me. So, my landscapes in fabric are small. Some of the problem is I hate fusibles as I think the fabric looks like paper when quilted. I also grit my teeth at raw edge because it looks annoying unfinished and unraveling to me. So, to make pieced landscapes has been a tough road for me. 
    Starting Sept. 1st, I am in a show at Fox Run, a gallery in a continuum of care facility in Orchard Park, NY. I need to make new work and have spent the last month rushing to do it. See mess below.
     Using small strips of blue batiks cut into columns and resewn, I created a sky that would not be just a blue hunk of color, but the dynamic differences of tones in the sky. Then, I cut the landscape hills and ironed the top edge under and layered the fabrics.

     All of the landscape hills have been blindstitched with tiny stitches of monofilament (Bernina 830) and  excess fabric trimmed from back.   I tried a whole range of choices for the background after binding. I needed to cover an 18 x 18 canvas for the mounting.

     I chose this one and mounted the landscape after stapling the background fabric to the prestretched canvas (coupon at Joanns). I sewed the landscape at the corners using monofilament thread with a button behind on the canvas to distribute the pull of the threads and make it easier if I have to remove the quilt. 
     Here is Summer Wonder.
Color is off, but the whole canvas look.
     I ordered a new camera (yikes) and am working at getting better lights on stands, so hopefully my photos will be truer to the real colors.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Sewing machine studio

    I know some of you will dismiss what is posted here as excessive, impractical, ridiculous, or laughable. Regardless, this setup works for me and keeps wonderful vintage machines doing what they do better than any new machine- sew straight stitches. All of these combined cost less than the piece of expensive junk lemon quilters Pfaff that I bought new 9 years ago (long gone).
     I have a table my husband made for my most used machines and I have it set up like a woodshop. In a woodshop, different tools have different functions. No one would think of having one saw or one drill. There are circular saws, band saws, table saws, hand saws, radial arm saws, etc. In my studio, each machine fills a role and in some projects I may use all of them as in wall hangings I just finished for a show. This enables me to have a good workflow with minimal set up time and work on multiple projects.
     Each machine has a particular function is set up to do it.
      This LBOW (Light Beige Oyster White) Singer 301 Slant needle is my piecing machine. I have another I use for retreats or travel. The best straight stitch machine ever. The motor is direct drive, no belt, and is incredibly faster than any new one. The slant needle area give phenomenal visibility.
      This Singer 15-91 is also a direct drive machine. I use this for sewing on all my bindings and pockets on the premade tote bags I use for comfort quilt giveaways. Absoulutely rock solid and powerful.
      This is my newest 301. I have a black one, but this mocha 301 works better. It is used for FMQ smaller quilts than put on the long arm. It quilts flawlessly with perfect tension and great speed. The quilting foot is on and ready to rock and roll at a moment's notice. I never name machines, but after using it recently I called it Mocha Momma because it really cooked.
      This Singer 401, another slant needle, direct drive, but a drop in bobbin, is my zig zag machine. I used to use it for blind stitch, but the finer one on the next machine took over. It is a powerful, smooth, awesome machine.
     The Bernina 830 was purchased because I needed a free arm machine for some uses. A friend in Pittsburgh recommended it and I found a great one on ebay from a sewing machine store on the West Coast with all its accessories. This machine makes a tiny blind stitch with monofilament flawlessly for applique. Plus the freearm so I can sew inside things. An all metal machine but for the camstack, it is easy to clean, oil and maintain- a real dream of a machine.
    I also have a Singer 15 treadle that I use sometimes when I just need to get calm sewing, but it is not in the rotation you see here.
    I truly use all these machines and they are a pure joy to sew on. I do my own maintenance, which I love. I am always in awe of the craftsmanship in these machines.  
     There is a lot of help and parts available in using vintage machines- don't dismiss them in favor of fluff features like built in cutters, bobbin winders or knee lifts. For sewing smoothly (no jumping machines), perfectly, and economically, vintage has my full loyalty. My expensive longarm is the one machine that always gives me fits.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Designing in the next generation

    Due to some scheduling issues, I was able to have my granddaughter over most of the past week and a half. She has always had a strong eye for design (I posted some of her work in the past). I asked her to look through my fabrics to find something for a pencil pouch she needed for school. She did find that, but found other things she wanted to do something with. 
     I don't have photos of her pencil pouch, but she found some fairy fabric that she wanted a small "blanket" from. She also chose the flowers on the back "for the fairies". I quilted it with some variegated rainbow thread she picked out. 

          She also found some leftover animal panel pieces someone gave me. She wanted a pillowcase, but all the pieces were too small. Never mind, she found fabrics she liked and told me to sew them together. I explained that the pieces would have to be double sewn in french seams because in a pillowcase, raw edges would fray all over the pillow. She was undaunted. So, on the design wall, we figured out what pieces would go where, with the animal strip in the middle. She tried to match colors from front to back. Having the pieces on the design wall next to each other helped. It was more work than I liked to french seam every seam in the case- I don't own a serger. She loved the pillowcase and appropriated one of my pillows so she could take it home "all done."

     She did ask me if I could take out the handcrank next time she comes over to work on a project. All my urging for over a year I guess surfaced when she saw what could happen with the fabric.