Sunday, December 4, 2022

A Friendship in Stitches

      As mentioned in a previous post, I was sent two quilts by Deb Clarke's husband to finish and quilt. It was a real privilege to do this for him. I tried to be quick, but had some delays. I got them quilted, bound, washed and mailed back to him before Thanksgiving, which was a goal of mine. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture, or lost it, of the batik one completely done. It had a dark blue batik binding.

Detail of Easy Breezy, Mocha Glide

Detail back of Easy Breezy

The smudges on back are batiks that ran.

Don't have a completed quilt photo of front, but detail of quilting below.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

My sewing buddy

      No, he did not help me sew. He usually hindered it. He laid on my keyboard when typing. He knocked off notions when I did not pay attention to him. He laid on every completed quilt except for the one I made him. He let me know when to stop sewing and feed him. He kept me company and filled the room with purring. Last week, after 13 1/2 years since I adopted him, Tugger deteriorated to the point, we had to take him for that one last vet visit. He leaves a cat sized hole in my heart.
    I am trying to find a new cat, but I want to give one a home who loves people. It is a hard process. Here are some of Tugger's past quilty moments.


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!

      Happy Thanksgiving to all who read this! I am so grateful that you take the time to read and am so thankful for those who have become friends through reading my blog.

      I am behind writing and posting and I will post after the holiday more. I have been taking photos and marking what needs to be posted, it is just hard for me to find the time, energy and ability to write. Last weekend, I dodged the big Buffalo snow by attending a quilt retreat, Thurs. to Sun., north of Niagara Falls. For the past 5 weeks, my husband has been laying hardwood floors in our bedroom and my daughter's old one as well as painting. That means that furniture was everywhere else. I took on a project way too big for me and have been scrambling for help and sewing like a mad woman. Last week, I lost my best sewing room companion, Tugger the cat, and am teary a lot. 

     So to wish you all Happy Thanksgiving, I am showing you some of my Christmas cactus blooming at Thanksgiving. They are all jammed in one window due to above mentioned house disruptions. Enjoy. Thank you!

A new one I found at Trader Joes!

Friday, October 28, 2022

My Big Goof Up

     Now that I have your attention, I can share my frustration over my misfire. I loved the Blue Bargello quilt I made (now gone) and bought 2 jelly rolls (you need 2) to make another bargello. The Robert Kaufman Watercolor Blossoms roll does not have 2 of every strip (who knew?) so I spent a lot of time digging and finding replacement batik fabric to cut and substitute for those single ones. Ok, covered that before. I sewed the two jelly rolls into 2 sets of strip tubes after arranging them in the best gradation I could do. Ok. Then, covid intervened and cooled off the whole project. While recovering, I marked all the 19 cuts I had to make in the first tube. Because my brain was hazy, I measured once, drew lines on the fabric, marked off on the pattern for each size cut, measured again, numbered the strips with painters tape, and wrote the measurement on each top back of each strip in pencil. Thought I had it made.

    However, in my single focus to sew the strips in accurate pairs, then 2 pairs, etc. I moved each strip up one. In my befuddled state, I did not switch directions when I got to the narrowest strip. As a result, I ended up with one big diagonal. Arghhh! Now what? I have another whole jelly roll strip set hanging there. Did I just waste $$$ and time? Even the cat left the room in disgust. 

What the first half should have looked liked like in design
(this is the blue bargello)

What it actually looks like
    The pattern I am using is a free one, but no longer available and the person who wrote it disappeared from the internet. I love sewing bargello, but I don't understand how to design them to do what you want. I would love to know, but I could not find any relevant tutorial on the web. Using colored strips of paper to figure it out is beyond me. My friend, Elizabeth, always says work it out on graph paper. I hate that. Drawing every strip and coloring in hundreds of little boxes is time consuming and tedious for me.

The second strip set sewn

    After a sufficient time steaming and stewing, out came the graph paper and was taped together to make it bigger. I did not even know what I was doing. I used one box for 1" and tried to approximate all the widths of those 19 strips. I colored in most of them to get the idea. Then I looked at the pattern's second half to see what it was supposed to do but how to make it mesh with my Big Goof of the first part. I had to change sizes and order to make it move together.

Graph paper first half and second half
    Right now, I have the graph paper done. I have the second strip set done. I have the first part Big Goof sewn. So, I have to grab the courage to cut that second strip set and follow the graph paper. And hope I did not goof up when I was drawing it.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Lovely gradations

    The Blue Bargello was given away to a very sick friend. I had wanted to keep it, but there it went. I bought 2 rolls of Watercolor Blossoms by Robert Kaufman and was dismayed to find that there were not duplicates of every fabric which is what I needed to make a similar bargello. After leaving it for a few weeks, I went through my own batiks and replaced the single strips with doubles I cut, actually double doubles because you need 2 complete jelly rolls to make this bargello. I had to find a piece of batik that was at least 10" by width of fabric in order to use it. This took a while, but after much manipulating, I had my two sets. I sewed the strips in pairs, then in pairs again, but alternating which end I was starting from. This eliminates the curve that the strips can take on. I sewed them on my speedy Juki 5500 which was way fun. This is the first set, one complete Jelly roll. The second set is being sewed and this set is being sliced up after marking the strip widths.

    Still trying to replace the Blue Bargello, I found these candidates that for sure have duplicates as that is how Island Batiks package them. I am starting to lay them out and it is fun to see the combos. Just lovely fabric!

Friday, October 21, 2022

A new Upstairs, Downstairs

    There is nothing like sewing fabric together to help keep me together. Somehow as fabric builds into a quilt, it energizes me. I worked slowly with sickness on another Upstairs, Downstairs quilt made from a fabric line called Watermark. I really liked the fabric enough to buy 2 jelly rolls. The problem was a few of the fabrics had annoying areas- like black circles on white- that stood out like a sore thumb. I went through over 5 arrangements and got expert advice from A Left Handed Quilter, and settled on the last layout. It is all clipped together for webbing which I will do at the retreat in November. I wish I was happier with it, but it is too late to change out those strips now. Love the blues.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

The show must go on...

     ...Even if I couldn't. I had the whole quilt show in bags. All arranged on a map, identifying cards in every separate bag, all stacked by row on tables in my basement.

Just part of the bags of quilts
    Set up was Wednesday, Oct 5th for the racks and Thursday, Oct. 6th for the quilts, tea room, boutique, baskets, etc.  On Tuesday afternoon while at the vet with my cat, the ceiling opened up and a ton of bricks fell on me- metaphorically speaking. By the time I got home, I practically crawled to bed in body ache pain and a whopping sharp headache. I started the early treatment Covid protocol treatment that I all prepped. By next morning, I had 101.7 fever and lots of body pain in every joint as well as the sharp headache and I tested positive. My husband stepped up, as he always does, and went to the hall to help set up the supports and tables for the quilt show. The next day, he loaded the whole minivan with the quilt bags, delivered them, and helped hang the show that I had laid out. I was on another planet, but bitterly disappointed. The show was Friday, Oct 7th and Sat. Oct 8th. On Saturday, real early before anyone was there, I went over and viewed the show, taking photos of my two quilts and trying to get a sense of how the show looked.

Our quilt show people love to add all sorts of decor stuff to the displays,
so you never know what you will find around your quilt.

    My fever broke Friday night. For days, I was so despondent about not participating in our every three year show. People tried to be nice by saying things could be worse. Not helpful. I am much better with it now, just sad about it, but it takes time. I was extremely fatigued, brain fogged, and lost my taste and smell after 6 days with it. Today, it is 15 days after it started, and my brain is better, most taste is back, and just moderately tired. Paxlovid is not good for cardiac patients on certain medicines, so I opted out. Thank God I was prepared with early treatment and knew what to do.
    I am going to say only little, but after being vax injured at the first round in February 2021 and being gaslighted by every local doctor I tried to get help with, I spent a lot of energy in research for help. It was confirmed my reaction was not in my head and I needed medical help to recover. Fortunately, I found a group who enabled me recover in May 2021 and prepare early treatment should I get Covid. I have spent countless hours researching and following reports and data from VAERS, V-Safe, the UK and Israel among other experts. I grieve over the deaths and injuries. Most will disdain me and feel anger having the narrative challenged, so I say no more. If you are one of the few who want to know what I learned and how I prepared, email me, otherwise please just pass by I wrote. Don't write to me in anger and nastiness- I already got loads of that.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Truly magical time

     One of my favorite spots on the planet is the Adirondack area  near Old Forge, NY. We have traveled there every summer for a week in August for over 25 years. In the past 5 years, we have spent 3-4 days in September there also. It is about a 5 hour drive from home in Buffalo, NY. The past couple of years, in fall, we stayed in a tiny cottage on 1st Lake. This year, it was golden- I was able to take over 200 photos that I use as reference for my paintings. Waiting for them to come back from Snapfish.
    One of the best places is the cottage's porch where we eat and drink coffee and just stare at the lake. Every moment, the light changes and enthralls. I can't believe I actually am so blessed to be there.

    The lake has so many faces and nuances depending on the sun, the time of the day, the wind, and so on. Campfires are phenomenal by the lake.

    Nearby, the Moose River as it meanders through the area, has gorgeous marshes and views. Saving those photos for another day. The other lakes in the Fulton Chain (8) are all beautiful as well as Raquette Lake and Blue Mountain Lake where the Adirondack Experience (museum) is. Fall was evident everywhere.

Adirondack Experience (museum)

Friday, September 30, 2022

Chock full of quilts

     On October 7th and 8th, our guild is having its triennial show. In order to hang the show cohesively and in good order and time, I take all the entries into my home and long arm studio basement. I photograph each one, crop the photos and then print them out. I take these photos and lay out the show on a large map with the help of my co-chair. Then, we label all the quilts with the place it goes, like (A10)- row A, spot 10. Each quilt is in its own clear plastic bag. Right now, my basement is chock full. It makes me nervous having everyone's quilt here, big responsibility.
    I will be so relieved when they go home from the show.