Improv Quilt Completed and Bracelet

May 27, 2016

My Improv piece is completed:

Improv finished

I removed the quilting from the upper left side and replaced that entire section with another piece of fabric and curved quilting. Now the piece seems to flow across the top and keeps your eye moving over the surface.

A friend (Thank-you, Jody.) suggested I add some light to the center of those floral shaped objects, and I went with it. I was going to bead it, but this piece is a mix of traditional and modern, and beads didn’t seem quite right for it. Instead, I mixed up a light yellow paint and applied it with a foam pen.

And here is a picture of a completed bracelet:

IMG_0010

That poor bracelet has quite a story. It was finished in Arizona, and the first time I wore it, it fell off. I thought it might be too tight, so added another component.

The second time I wore it, it fell off again – this time in a friend’s driveway, and I didn’t realize it had fallen off. I actually drove over the poor thing. My friend’s neighbor spotted it in the driveway, and my friend gave it back to me. Thank-you, Jess.   Three of the components were damaged, and honestly, I should have remade the entire thing. It sure would have been easier to do, but no, I spent more time repairing the damaged components.

Process of elimination placed the blame on the magnetic clasp. This time I went to a bead store, and purchased a good magnetic clasp. Ta-da, now it stays on my wrist.

Another bracelet is being planned – a different design, and a Comfort quilt was also started this week, so stay tuned. There is more to come.

Hugs…

Improv Quilt Progress or Not

May 17, 2016

I’ve been steadily working away on my Improv Quilt, but have a dilemma. I love all the quilting designs I sewed except for the top row – where the cheerful flowers are rolling across the muslin at the top:

Improv quilted

Originally, I thought echo quilting would look great, but when I did it for the section on the left, those flowers are staring out from the quilt like a deer in headlights. Okay, maybe curved lines would look better. That’s what I did on the right top side.

Both quilting designs leaving me feeling “meh” – unexcited. I want this piece to sing. That top section is bringing me down.

So, I’m turning to all of you. Any and all suggestions would be deeply appreciated. My creative well has suddenly gone dry, and I really would like to finish the quilting on this piece, so I can block it, face it, and attach the hanging sleeve, and label.

 

Hugs…

Arizona Table Runner

May 7, 2016

The last project started in Arizona has been completed – the Mystery Quilt project – which ended up being a table runner:

Tablerunner

 

 

I am not a person who enjoys mystery projects. As soon as I finish one step, I want to move on to the second step. With mystery projects, you have to wait till each succeeding step is released. Waiting is not something I enjoy.  I also like focusing on one project at a time, so mystery projects and I have never been compatible.

For some inexplicable reason, I agreed to participate in this mystery project, and am I ever glad I did. I learned about the 10 Minute Block – which I altered as I didn’t like the big expanse of fabric in the corners. I fused strips of contrasting fabric down the middle of those corners, so the scale of all the pattern pieces is similar.

I learned about the Double Diamond ruler too, which was oodles of fun for the interlocking braid strip.

And last but not least, I learned about the Flights of Fancy 5 Minute block. By the way, none of the blocks actually took 5 or 10 minutes. Much debating, much rearranging, and much sewing and un-sewing took place, so I ended up spending lots more time on these simple blocks. Now that I know what I’m doing, these blocks would actually take 5 or 10 minutes to sew, but there had to be over 40 of us in this workshop, and trying to get everybody on the same page, at the same time, was quite a feat.  Our teacher did a great job leading this workshop.

I did change the layout a bit. The extra black strips between the blocks added some length, and the sashing added a bit more.

I am quite pleased with how this table runner turned out. The turned edges of the Cathedral window type blocks, and the braided strip added wonderful dimension, and I like the fabric choices.

Now to finish the quilting on my improv quilt, face it, attach a hanging sleeve, and label. I’ll share a photo of that as soon as I finish it. Hopefully, it will be including in an upcoming exhibit, and then I have a long list of scrap quilts I’d like to make, and garments to make.  Yes, I would like to make some items of clothing for myself.  I find I am drawn to skirts, and don’t have any casual ones in my wardrobe.  When I googled cotton skirts, I was appalled at the prices, so will see if I can manage to make a few – with pockets.  I gotta have pockets.

Hugs…

Comfort Quilt # 4

April 8, 2016

I’m back home and was highly insulted to see snow on the ground.  Yes, it’s April in Upstate New York, so that is not surprising, but I’ve been spoiled with all the sunshine and warm weather in Arizona.  Back to the reality of a volatile Upstate New York Spring.

Back also to my wonderful sewing machine.  I bring a small, lightweight sewing machine with me on vacation, and really miss my Pfaff.  No way am I lugging a 40 pound sewing machine around with me when I travel though.

This was actually a good thing this year as I tried my first QAYG project, and do I ever love the QAYG technique.  Never more than 6″ of fabric on the right side of the sewing needle, and oh so much fun to do all the quilting before you join the next section.

This is the fourth arrangement of the square and rectangle shapes I’ve been using lately:

I don’t know which orientation  I like best.

And this is the first time I’ve sewn the binding totally by machine:

2016 binding

Would you believe this is Christmas fabric?  The colors matched the prints beautifully, so I used it.  I used stitch 2.2.6 or maybe it’s 2.26 in my Pfaff sewing machine to topstitch the binding to the front.  It took a little longer but it did a great job of keeping the binding in place and looks just as good on the back as it does on the front.

I still have two more projects started in Arizona to finish, then have lots of ideas for future projects.

Hugs…

 

 

 

Valentine’s Day 2016 and the Birth of a QAYG Quilt

February 15, 2016

I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine’s Day.   It was a wonderful day for me.

First I emailed a couple of dear friends to wish them a Happy Valentine’s Day.  My husband went clay shooting in the morning, and then we went out to eat at our favorite restaurant in Tucson.

It was a gorgeous day, 82, sunny, and I set up my outside sewing station (in the shade) for the first time since we arrived:

IMG_0004

There was a beautiful breeze – which is why my hair is in motion, and I got the first piece of a Quilt As You Go (QAYG) project completed.  The fabric prints are from Beth – thank-you, Beth, and the white fabric was mine.

Yes, it is composed of the same square and rectangle sizes from the last Comfort Quilts I posted, but doesn’t it look totally different?  It is yet a third setting, and the color choices are clear and crisp.

Another difference is I’m sewing fabric scraps together, then cutting some of the rectangles from the made fabric.  This adds more variety, and gives the illusion of a much more complex top.  It is so much fun, and oh so satisfying to actually use some of my fabric scraps.

I can not wait to see how this project develops.  I’ve never made a QAYG quilt before, but with the small harp I have on my sewing machine in Tucson, I thought I’d give it a try.

No presents were exchanged.  Instead we were gifted with a perfect weather day by Mother Nature – thank-you Mother Nature – and enjoyed every minute of the sun, gentle breezes, and beautiful sunset.

Hugs…

Comfort Quilts

February 8, 2016

I’m happily sewing away in sunny Arizona with the quilt groups I belong to here, and concentrating on piecing Comfort Quilts this year. It’s helping me deal with the loss of my father, and will hopefully benefit the people who will receive these quilts.

 

American Patchwork and Quilting magazine sent me an advertisement last year with a free quilt pattern included, and I made a variation of the 2.5” square and 4.5” x 2.5” rectangle shapes used in 2015. The simple shapes captured my interest, and I decided to make a few more variations utilizing them.

 

The first quilt I made was this one:

First Comfort Quilt 2016

 

All the fabric was purchased in Arizona, and the colors are strong. That was my intent, and I’m pleased with the result. The binding will be in the dark blue, and should nicely frame this quilt.

 

The second quilt is this one:

Second Comfort Quilt 2016

 

And was I ever surprised when a visitor took one look at it and said that’s the Missouri Quilt Zipper Quilt. Now I’d never seen the Missouri Quilt Zipper video, but it was the first thing I checked out when I returned home. Sure enough, it uses the same shapes – little different measurements – a different arrangement, but these two patterns are sure enough kissing cousins. ­­­­­­­

 

That’s okay. I’m still having fun with these shapes, and will most likely make 2 more variations. In fact, one was started yesterday. This one uses very different colors – a solid white, with many prints received from a dear friend (Beth) who didn’t want to use the prints color palette anymore. It’s not a color palette I use often either, but I am most definitely having fun using them in this project.

 

The usual sightseeing, shopping, and relaxing is also going on. The restaurants down here are wonderful, and I’m oh so happy to be in the place my heart calls home.

 

Hugs…

The Prayer Flags are a Flying

January 12, 2016

This is my late wrap up for 2015, but I’m not going to say how my year was. I will say that I continued to destash, and got 135 more pounds of stuff out of my home for a total of 3,316 pounds since I started this process. Obviously, I’m slow as molasses with simplifying my life, and I realized, I’ve also been making purchases, so who knows if I’ve actually made real progress or not?

 

I could be completely rigid and weigh everything that comes in and everything that goes out, but who cares? I can’t believe I just typed that, but even I don’t care anymore, so how could you all possibly still care?

 

My goal for 2016 is to be happy. Easier said than done. I’ve kind of lost my way in this world. After my father passed away, I lost the caretaking role I played, and it seems, I’m not all that happy with not being needed.

 

Whew, that was a lot for me to admit, but it’s exactly how I feel. I’ve raised a family, had pets, and now no one really needs me. I’m free as can be, to do what I want to do, yet I’m floundering.

 

Don’t feel sorry for me. I have a good life. Heck, right now I’m in Tucson, the prayer flags that I made are flying in front of my home away from home:

Hanging prayer flags

 

and the sun is shining. I’m busy making Comfort Quilts for my quilt guild back home, the Casa de Los Ninos here, and enjoying renewing friendships with my Arizona buds.

 

I need to do more though. Haven’t decided what it will be, but when I do, I’ll share with all of you.

 

Till then, I wish you all a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful 2016.

 

Hugs…

Prayer Flags

December 22, 2015

Last year I made a couple of prayer flags, showed them to some friends, took some pictures, posted them on this blog, and haven’t seen them since.  Sometimes things like this happen in life.

Well, I still wanted a set of prayer flags to wave in the Arizona breezes, so got busy and made some very simple prayer flags. No more stamping, hand beading, or fabric dyeing for these.   This time around, I selected machine embroidery designs I purchased, or received free from various generous digitizers.

I sewed out an eagle design on my hand dyed blue fabric for sky:

Sky

A feather on white fabric for air:

Air

A fireman’s badge (my Dad was a fireman) on red fabric for fire:

Fire

A fish on green fabric for water:

Water

And a cactus on yellow fabric for earth:

Earth

They will be displayed by our patio for all my neighbors to enjoy as they walk by our site.

And wow, do they ever need to be ironed, and the holes from the outline box on the cactus/earth flag need to be smoothed out.  It’s amazing how a photo shows every little oops.

Hugs…

The 3 Ds and My Telephone Line is Completed

December 10, 2015

Yup, it’s a 3 D day here – dark, dreary and depressing – weather wise, but I’m riding a caffeine high, so happy as can be.

Lots has happened this past month.  I had a trunk show at Genesee Valley Quilt Club, and was welcomed with open arms, and a very hospitable planning committee.  There was a beautiful table setting with real china, and a pot for hot water and a nice selection of teas.

My lecture was well received, and it was oh so much fun for me to talk about,  and share the quilts I’ve made during the last 39 years of my quilting journey.  Thank-you to everyone who was involved in making my trunk show go so smoothly.

Then the following Saturday the 2015 Whisper Quilts Challenge was revealed from my Fiberistas group.  What an emotional experience that was.  We learned a lot about each other, shared our highs and our lows, and there were some tears along with lots of laughter.

This group of artists is not only talented, they are also supportive both in our artistic and our personal lives.  It is an honor to be part of this group.

Here is a photo of each of the 9 quilts made for my Whisper/Telephone line:

1 Diane

This one started the whole thing.  You might remember I made this 12 months ago for the beginning of the line.  It was inspired by the sew by number cards I played with as a little child.

 

2 Mary

Mary got that first piece, and took a trip down memory lane to 1955 and remembered how much she enjoyed playing with paper dolls.  McCalls is kind enough to have all the issues with the dolls on their website, and Mary made a quilt using that idea.

The little doll is removable, and so are the clothes.  Mary put little tabs on the clothes, just like the paper dolls from years ago, but these are fabric.  She made hangers out of paper clips, so I can change my little doll’s wardrobe.  How cute is this?

 

3 Steph

Steph was inspired by the year 1955.  She looked it up on the internet, and a coral reef park in Florida was established.

I have to admit, when I opened the envelope from this piece, my jaw dropped open.   It was hard to see how this piece was inspired by the paper doll piece, but once the connection to 1955 was made, I got it.

There is a lot of thread work on this piece and a tulle overlay, with shells attached.  It is a textural wonder.

 

4 Janet

This piece was made by Janet, and she followed the sea concept, and it too has a lot of texture created by layer upon layer of lace.  Shells, stones and a piece of rusted metal were added.

Janet added metal to each piece she made, and did a wonderful job of incorporating it into everyone’s quilt.

 

5 Sue

Sue’s piece was next, and she was inspired by the diagonal lines.  There are layers of interest with textiles, and paper, and she stamped the bamboo onto linen fabric.

It’s eerie how this piece actually ties into the first piece.  You see I sat on the floor in my living room, sewing away on my cards with bamboo printed drapes covering the windows.  What a coincidence that she used a bamboo stamp on this piece.

 

6 Frances

Frances was inspired by the diagonal line also, and this piece is actually doublesided, but I didn’t get a photo of both sides, so here is the one with the highest contrast.

She thought she’d create a stone path, and it does look like one, doesn’t it?

 

Julie

Julie saw the stone path, and immediately thought of a garden path, ending at a brick wall.  Now I have a beautiful garden that will never need to be weeded, and be perpetually in bloom.  It doesn’t get any better than this.

8 Kathi

Kathi was inspired by the flowers, and did her version of broderie perse.  It’s a much looser version than the traditional, closely spaced buttonhole stitching used, but it is perfect for this untamed, out of the box flower arrangement.

9 Beth

And this last one was made by Beth.  I love the Oriental feel of this piece, and the fabric used for each element.  The vase has sewing related text, the floral arrangement reflects back on the bamboo curtains I grew up with, the blue color was used in the first piece, and the 3 triangles on the left make this composition sing.

I can not get over how this ended up becoming a cohesive collection.

Thank-you to each and everyone of my friends for taking the time, and using your skills to create such unique pieces of art for me.

Hugs….

 

 

 

 

Log Cabin Swap

November 1, 2015

Two of my friends and I decided to swap some log cabin blocks this week with some parameters.

First we used the same fabrics.  They brought some fabrics they liked, and then we shopped my fabric collection for colors that might work with what they brought.   We ended up with a total of 36 different fabrics to use, and I used 35 of them.  The one I didn’t use was white on white.  Everything else had color, lots of vibrant color, so I chose to keep that white on white print out of the mix.

Second – we were to vary the size and number of the logs.

Third – we made four blocks trimmed to 12.5″   Here are my 4 blocks:

First 4 blocks I made

Fourth – we cut them into quarters.

Fifth – we swapped with each other.  We kept 2 quarter sections of each block we made, and gave one to each other.  This way we each had a piece of every block sewn.

Sixth – we could sew them together anyway we wanted.

Originally I was going to put sashing between each quarter block, but I started assembling them at 9 pm, and decided to sew them block to block.  Now I might have added the sashing if I had started sewing at 9 am, but that didn’t happen.

This is how the swapped quarter log cabin blocks look after being reassembled:

4 together

I’m not a fan of them all together like that.  There is no place for my eye to rest, and I’m old, and tired, and need some resting space.  ;-)  So this is what I did with the blocks:

log cabin with triangles

I added sashing around the blocks, then added big white triangles to square off the quilt.

This top is far from being completed.  Those big white triangles need something, but I’m not sure what at the moment and have to make the last Whisper Quilt by Saturday, so this is being shelved for now, and has officially reached WIP (work in progress) status.

Now back to why I added the white triangles.   I wanted his piece to have a purpose.  Adding them, made the top large enough to become a Comfort quilt.  And before anybody says creating art for art’s sake is a purpose, I don’t want to do that at the moment, and honestly, not every quilt I make is, or should be considered an art quilt.

It’s taking me a long to time to grieve for my father.  I took his passing really hard, and making Comfort quilts makes me happy right now.  We all need a little happy in our lives.

Hugs…


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