We’re Home

March 28, 2020

Hi Everyone!!!  We’re back home and let me tell you, we were motivated to get back home.  My husband drove the long route – to avoid all toll booths and touching money or other people’s hands – and he still did it in 4 days.  They were long days, but you never saw two people so happy to get home as the two of us.

I’m working on two projects:  a donation quilt that should have been completed in Tucson, but we left two weeks early, so I missed 4 sewing days, and my cross stitch project.  Both are active works in progress.

We are staying put in our home, and the days are going by quickly.  I sew a little, I cross stitch a little, I do laundry a little, clean a little, walk 30-45 minutes everyday,  and cook a little.  Oh, I’ve been ordering a lot of goodies too.  😉

Here is the progress on my cross stitch – The Finery of Nature:

Diane 2

The cross stitching and back stitching is completed and so is the green couched thread.  There is still lots of couching to be done, and I’m supposed to add gold metallic French Knots, but haven’t decided if I’ll add them or not.  It’s in my medium sized wooden quilt hoop.  That’s what you see in the 4 corners.

Working on this black fabric was easy in Tucson.  It was sunny all the time, and I had a good spot in the RV to cross stitch.  Home?  Home is a different story.  We’ve seen the sun once in 7 days, and had snow, rain, and gloomy, dark days for the rest of the week.  That’s how the ordering came about.  I decided I need a Brightech magnifier/light combo.  Amazon to the rescue.  Not really though.  The company is located in Los Angles.  Looks like I’m going to have a very long wait for that order to be delivered.

You know what?  That’s okay.  I understand.  Oh, I’d like my light, but I’d rather have everyone involved stay healthy.  I can wait.

In the interim, I brought my Ott light down so I could couch the green thread today, and it worked, but it also did what it usually does – hurt my eyes.  Am I the only one who has problems with that light?  I’ll only work on this project when the sun is out from now on.

While I miss my friends and attending the meetings I enjoy, I’m discovering staying at home isn’t horrible.  Granted, I have food, electricity, water, the all important toilet paper, books to read – the real deal – the ones you hold in your hand and turn pages,  and plenty of projects and supplies to keep me busy.  I’m one of the lucky ones.  My heart goes out to the many who have been laid off, have bills that need to be paid, and children home from school.   Their stress level must be sky high.

I can’t help everybody, but I can donate to Foodlink, and you can bet I tip the people who make deliveries to the house.

All the people who are working in essential jobs – medical staff, truckers, fire and police personnel, military, waste management, etc…  All I can do is pray for them, make masks,  and thank them for their service.

Let’s see if we can flatten the curve, and be kind to all.

Hugs…

 

WIP Wednesday

February 26, 2020

No more talking about my future plans.  I do believe I jinxed myself.  No cabaret happened, and no quilt show road trip happened.  I woke up, got out of bed and promptly injured my knee.  How the heck do you do that?  It’s a tendon thing, and I had my feet pointing in one direction and turned to put on my wedding ring.  That’s all it took.  This aging process does create some “hard to believe it could happen” injuries.

Frozen peas and a knee brace, and 24 hours of resting helped a lot, and while I was really sad to miss the quilt show, I occupied myself with cross stitching:

WIP2-26-20

 

Lots of progress has been made, and lots of thread changes to the chart also.

First –  I substituted all the thread colors for the nest, and am happier that it looks more natural.  Topaz and garnet were in that nest, and I have never seen a bird’s nest with those colors.

Second –  The colors for the small red flowers along the bottom of the bird nest square are a deeper red.  I love the color red, and the colors called for were more orange than red – which went well with the topaz and garnet nest, but since I changed that out, I changed the flower colors to go with my nest colors.

Third – the dragon fly needed something fun.  I kept the original colors, but changed out the lightest wing color from 2 strands of DMC to one strand of DMC and one strand of Petite Treasure Braid., and am seriously thinking of removing the lightest color from the dragon fly body and doing the same thing – one strand of DMC with one strand of Petite Treasure Braid.

Am I having fun?  You betcha!

My husband drove me to the local needlecraft store – the West, and I hobbled around making a few purchases.  My very first piece of evenweave fabric, the aforementioned Petite Treasure Braid and some Kreinik – which I’ve already decided not to use on this project.

The pattern calls for gold cording to couch around the border leaves.  I just couldn’t use a gold cord in this pretty design.  It was too much a departure from the look I’m creating.  The Kreinik is a great color, but I’m not sure the sparkle would look all that great now.  I’m thinking a nice rayon cord would add a bit of understated shine, and add a different texture.  I have lots of that at home, so will wait till I’m home to sew that step.

If I don’t like that, I’ll look for a fingering weight or thinner brown boucle yarn.  That would look very natural.  Wish I would have thought about that for the nest.  Now that would have added lots of texture and made a nice cozy nest.

You should be able to tell by now that I don’t give a hoot about following the rules.  I’m a firm believer in using whatever textile product I own, or can source, that I think will work well in a project.  Who cares if yarn is used in a cross stitch project?  Who cares if sewing threads are used?  There are some awfully pretty variegated 12, 30 and 40  wt sewing threads on the market, and I own a lot of them.  As far as I’m concerned all fibers are fair game.

Yes, I’m back cross stitching, but hold onto your hats, because I’m going rogue and changing up colors, threads and textures to my heart’s desire.  This is going to be fun, people.

 

Hugs…

400th Post

February 21, 2020

Oh my.  I just realized this is my 400th post.  It seems like I just started blogging.  Guess it’s been lots longer than I thought.  Here’s to lots more posts in the future!!!

I am having a stone cold great time in Tucson.  Our friends just left after a wonderful two week visit with us, and we are so grateful they make the long plane ride to spend some time with us.  See you again soon, Mike and Sue.

Cross stitch is still capturing my attention.  This is the progress I’ve made on my The Finery of Nature:

WIP2-19-20

 

I have also ordered 2 Heaven and Earth designs, which I can not wait to start.  And no, I’m not a multiple project cross stitcher.  One at a time, plus quilting is all I want to juggle.  And let me tell you, this is hard.  Stormy – a really cute owl – has invaded my dreams.  Luckily, I don’t have the recommended fabric with me, or I’m afraid my resolve would be sorely tested.

I got my machine embroidered quilt back from the long arm quilter I tried – Rebecca Hall-Martinez.  She did a wonderful job on my quilt, and her fee was reasonable.  That woman has more talent in her baby finger, than I do in my entire body.  See what I mean:

Quilted Front

 

 

The weather has been great.  We’ve had some ups and downs, but anything above 60 and I’m happy as can be.  Even when it’s been a bit cooler, it’s been lots of sunshine, and that’s what I crave.  Bring on the sunshine!!!

Tomorrow I’m going to a birthday party during the day and a cabaret in the evening, Sunday the Tucson Quilt Show at the Convention Center.  My husband is great.  He’s driving 4 quilters, dropping us off at the door, and then picking us up when we’re finished.  It’s lots of fun attending a quilt show with friends.

Next week is jam packed – like every week – 3 quilt meetings, 1 embroidery meeting, the daily walking, grocery shopping, eating out, and last but not least, going to the parks.  The parks here are great.  They have paths I can walk on, plants I’m learning about, and I spotted a cotton tail rabbit on my last walk.

The Jeep needs a little repair, so no wheels for a couple of days.  I’m still going to attempt to fit in a visit to a Tucson needlework store – the West.  I’d like to see if they have the fabric I need for Stormy.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  I’ll be putting myself on the path of temptation.  Ought to be interesting to see what develops.  Stay tuned for the outcome.

Hugs…

#2 Donation Quilt Top

February 6, 2020

This quilt top was actually finished a couple of weeks ago, but I never got around to taking a good photo. This photo isn’t stellar, but it is being donated tomorrow, so it’s this picture or miss posting about it.  Take 5 quilt top

More radial symmetry, more of the green Christmas themed fabric, and I’m pleased as can be with how it turned out.

I have one more fabric kit from home – using the green Christmas themed fabric, and then that fabric will be completely gone.  This is a VIP print, and 2020 is my year to try and use up all the VIP print fabric I have in my collection.  Now that is impossible, as I have quite a bit of it, but it is what I’m focusing on for 2020.

I’ve already started working on the last kit I brought with me, and surprise, surprise, one of the fabric strips I cut was off 1/8″ It was cut 1/8″ too wide.  Now that doesn’t sound like much, does it?  The problem is, it was used to make strip sets of 11 rows.  6 red – cut correctly, 5 white with red polka dots cut 1/8″ too large.  When that 11 row sewn fabric section was subcut, it made the entire row stripe way too long.

I did not bring anymore of the fabric with me, so guess who’s shortening all those little pieces?  And guess who’s not upset?  Yeah, me.  It’s fixable, it’s not the end of the world, and it has made me slow down and enjoy more socializing than sewing while with my friends.

There are 66 strips to be corrected, so I’ll be working on this project a little longer than expected.  It’s going surprisingly fast though.  Only 54 left to shorten.

It constantly amazes me how patient I am with my sewing now.  Everything I’m making, I really want to make.  Maybe that is why I take these little “oops” moments so well.  Who knows?  I’m sure enjoying having no deadlines, not making quilts so they fit a themed exhibition, and not getting involved with any blocks of the month.   Stress free sewing is great.

Hugs…

 

 

Oh, No!

January 23, 2020

Yes, this is titled Oh, No! because I’ve gone down the rabbit hole while in Tucson.  I picked up cross stitching again after not doing any for 30 years, and my has the cross stitching world changed.

It all started because I can’t sew in my RV.  I do go to quilt clubs in my resort and across the street, but that’s only 3 days a week.  What am I going to do the other 4 days?

I do walk everyday, I do socialize with my friends every day, I do go shopping, and do cook and clean.  That still leaves a lot of hours of the day with nothing to occupy my creativity.

When I’m home, I sew every single day.  I walk into my studio – who am I kidding? I have taken up 2 rooms in my house, so I have a choice of machines and projects – and am immediately transported to a place of happiness – even when I make mistakes and have to rip out stitches.  It’s all part and parcel of my creating.

So back to Tucson and RV life.  I was getting a wee bit high strung – just ask my husband.  I needed something to do in the evenings.  I have been watching Anna from the Woolie Mammoth as she cross stitches, but wasn’t tempted to get in on the cross stitch bandwagon at all.  I enjoy her personality, and like seeing what she is doing, but we definitely have different taste in cross stitch projects.

Then I made the mistake of googling the top 10 floss tube channels.  My, oh my.  The Russian cross stitchers blew me away.  The Irish and UK cross stitchers blew me away too.

Two kits were ordered – both I’d seen stitched by Luda.  A scroll frame was borrowed from a friend, and I was just waiting for the kits I ordered to arrive.

While waiting on the first kit I ordered to be shipped, i started on the second design  – The Finery of Nature:

Diane 1

This is on 16 count black Aida cloth with 2 strands of DMC floss.  My other kit is on 26 count linen, and I have a third I’m contemplating, but that’s on a smaller thread count, and is done 1×1 – which means one strand of floss over one thread of the cloth.  I’m going to need a good light and a magnifier for that, plus it’s big.  I’m holding off on it to see if I still love cross stitching after the two kits I already ordered are complete.  I do exercise some control.fd

The Finery of Nature was a PDF file.  After a trip to Hobby Lobby for the floss, it was ready, set, go!!!   PDF files are the bomb.  I downloaded the design to my laptop and my iPad.  I use my iPad to follow the graphs by enlarging the heck out of them, and  I especially love the PDF files that let you edit them, so you can highlight the stitches you’ve completed.  It’s a whole new world for cross stitching, baby!!!

I’m not exactly doing a great job of it, but I’m having fun.  I need to do better with my tension, and part of that is because I can’t get the fabric in the scroll frame I’m using taut.  Part of it is me.  All I know is I’m having fun, and that’s what it’s all about.

Hugs…

 

2019 Wrap Up

January 3, 2020

Happy New Year to everyone!!!

I try to do a wrap up at the end of one year, and beginning of a new one, but we were on the road – our annual 2,400+ mile drive to Tucson.  It’s a long drive and by the time we arrive, all we want to do is hook up to electricity, get water in our RV, and rest – which doesn’t happen quickly.  Doing all the outside hook ups, then all the inside cleaning and rearranging of our belongings takes a while.

Today was the first day I heard the hum of my sewing machine in 2 weeks people – 2 WEEKS!!!  It was sheer bliss.  It makes me so happy to sew.

Nobody showed up today at quilt club, so I had the entire craft room to myself.  At first I was sad, and then I thought, I’m here, I’m going to sew, and it was all good.  No line for the iron, no waiting to use the huge cutting table, plenty of room to spread out my projects.  In fact, I got out two of them, and worked on both of them.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love sewing with my Tucson friends.  It’s nice to get caught up with each other, and creativity flows.  It’s also nice to sew quietly by myself.  It gave me a chance to get reacquainted with one of the fabric kits I assembled for Tucson sewing, and wonder of wonders, not one mistake was made.

I started piecing the pre-cut kit, till I realized I forgot to bring the white yardage from the RV with me.  That’s okay.  I got as far as I could without the yardage, and then took out the fabric I cut for a scrap quilt I’m also making.  It consists of 2″ x 3.5″ pieces of fabric I’ve cut from my fabric scraps.  I’d made one block at home to make sure the idea worked, and today made another.  The new one is on the right:

2 x 3.5

I don’t know where I saw this, but it’s ingenious.  You never have to match a seam, and you can make use of lots of small fabric scraps.

You start with joining the two center rectangles.  Then – looking at the block on the right – you add one rectangle to the top and bottom.

Next you sew 2 rectangles together, and add it to the side, then sew another 2 rectangles together and add it to the other side.

Sew another 2 rectangles together and add it to the bottom, sew another 2 rectangles together and add it to the top, then sew 3 rectangles together and add it to the side, then sew another 3 rectangles together and add it to the other side.  Voila, the block is complete.

You could keep on going and create one big block, but that gets to be a lot of fabric by the machine for a full size quilt.  I prefer making blocks, and will then sew them together, turning every other block, so when you sew them together, you don’t have to match a single seam.

Some of the fabric is from the very first quilt I made, some from the first quilt I made for my daughter, some from a friend who moved to Florida, some from a friend in my quilt guild back home, some was left over from placemats I made for a friend who has since passed away.  You get the idea.  Not only am I using fabric from my collection, I’m remembering family and friends.  Not a bad way to start a new year.

Now for the wrap up.  I completely used 2 pieces of fabric.  Now don’t laugh.  Anything out of my fabric collection is a huge accomplishment.  This year, I know there will be 3 completely used before we head home.  Yes, I’m upping the stakes – not by a lot, but I’m going in the right direction.

I also totally emptied 6 spools of thread.  I’m talking 2 of the 1,200 yard spools, 2 of the 500 yard spools, and 2 of the normal size Mettler/Sulky spools.

I also sold my knitting machine, yarn tree, every single machine knit book, magazine, or pattern I owned with 9 humongous bags of coned yarn.  Took me two days to gather and carry all that stuff downstairs.  Yup, me and my trusty chair lift managed all that – except for the yarn tree.  Needed help for that.  It was tall – about 7′ high, and wide with 80 dowels sticking out of 4 long pieces of wood.  It was like trying to get a very tall, swivelly porcupine down the stairs.  Yes, the thing had a swivel base, and I kept on getting poked all over trying to balance it, and stay in the chair lift at the same time.

Donated and gifted 3 quilts and 4 pieced quilt tops too.  I make way too many of them, and if they aren’t in rotation, it’s time for someone else to enjoy them.  I realized after one went missing after my last trunk show, I might as well get the pleasure of gifting them or donating them to where I want them to go, not to some thief.

Had emergency surgery in October, and it was the best thing ever to happen to me.  It was an easy surgery – laparoscopic gall bladder surgery, and the darn thing was pre-cancerous.  Who knew?  The gall bladder attack wasn’t any fun, but I only had the one.  Now I feel terrific, lost 2 dress sizes, and the surgeon removed the nasty cells before they could turn into something very bad.

I am blessed to still have my husband, and a wonderful daughter in my life.   Lots of friends too.  Material things are losing their importance to me.  Although I wouldn’t refuse a new Juki sewing machine if one decided it wanted to come home and live with me.  😉

Well, that’s it for 2019.  I’m looking forward to seeing what 2020 will bring.  Much love, creativity, and peace to my family, friends, and you my readers.

Hugs…

 

Wine Bottle Bags

December 21, 2019

This is most likely the last sewing I’ll be doing before Christmas, and I am happy with the results – 2 wine bottle bags, and an origami Christmas ornament.

Wine Bottle 1

Wine Bottle 2

The first wine bottle bag is lined and was the free pattern from bluprint.  The second wine bottle bag was a mixture of a whole bunch of youtube videos and my imagination.  The origami ornament used to tie around the second wine bottle bag came from youtube also and is located here.

The first wine bottle bag took me longer than I thought it would.  I had problems with lining up the bag to sew the channels for the drawstring.  I did like the way the drawstring ribbons worked to close the bag.

The second wine bag took minutes to make.  It was really easy, and isn’t lined.  I used some moire fabric I purchased for crazy quilting for the body of the bag, and cotton quilting fabric for the border.  The moire fabric is pretty heavy and didn’t need to be lined.

I’ve been wanting to try the origami fabric decoration for a few days and thought it would work well with this wine bottle bag for a tie, and I’m pleased with the result.   The only thing I did differently from the video was use Best Press to stiffen the cotton fabric.  This was a hefty cotton, so didn’t think it needed fusible, and that turned out to be true.

That button is a designer button purchased years ago.  When I say designer, I mean from one of the haute couture houses.  Wish I could remember which one, but I purchased a bag of them, and they have been safely stored in one of my button drawers ever since.  It was time for one of them to come out and shine.  There is a little rhinestone in the middle of all that gold. Between the gold, and the rhinestone, it should really twinkle on a Christmas tree.

I still want to sew, but I also need to clean, do laundry, and cook for Christmas.  This is a happy time for a lot of people, and a sad time for others.  My mother passed away 12/23 thirteen years ago, so I’ve experienced both emotions around Christmas.   I wish for all to experience peace, kindness and acceptance now, and in the future.

Hugs…

Patch

December 17, 2019

I am having such a fun time with my Pfaff Creative Sensation.  It’s an older Pfaff model, but I love this machine, and am constantly amazed at its abilities.

You might have remembered my husband asked me to patch his jeans for him.  He picked out a design, did not want me to change the colors, and I was off and sewing.

Eagle patch

The water soluble stabilizer hasn’t been soaked off around the edges yet, but this was a pretty quick sew out.  Then I realized I wanted it to be a patch, and after I did the embroidery, I added the zig zag border from Creative Shapes.  There are quite a few shapes to select from, and all you do is select one, select applique, click on satin stitch, and click the arrow to okay it.  Voila!!! A zigzag edge was sewn out easy as can be.

This was all done with the sewing machine only – no digitizing program – and did it ever do a nice job.  My very first patch has been made.  This machine can do so much, and even after owning it for 6 or 7 years, I haven’t touched the surface of everything it can do.

You might remember I made a decision to stop making art quilts for exhibition and slow down to create what I want to create.  I’ve been enjoying making quite a few quilts for donation, using my “good” fabric all year long, and learning more about my sewing machine.

This has worked well for me. My happiness level has significantly risen, I’m much easier to live with, and I got rid of all the sewing under pressure I was doing.  2019 has been a good year.

2020 will soon be here, and I have 2 donation quilts in progress for Tucson sewing, and a hand sewing project that I picked up again from 2003.  Yes, I’m still focusing on completing all my UFOs also, and did finish 4 of them in 2019.  I don’t have that many left, which gives me such a feeling of satisfaction.

I hope you’re all feeling very good about your creative endeavors too.  Working at your own pace, is a gift I gave to myself in 2019, and it’s better than anything I could have purchased.

Hugs…

 

Woven Basket

December 16, 2019

I’m trying to get as much sewing done as possible before Christmas and managed to complete a simple woven basket – which wasn’t simple for me.

I had fun selecting the fabric, never enjoy fusing, but the problem child was the fusible I was using.  I think I got a bad batch of Steam a Seam 2.  I did use two fusibles in this project though. One layer of Steam a Seam 2, and one layer of fusible batting.

A few friends already made this basket and had a lot of problems with the stiff fusible recommended in the pattern.  Their sewing machines flat out couldn’t handle the weight, so I thought I’d try a different combination.

The pattern is Aunties Two Woven Spirals, and you start out by fusing 4 pieces of fabric together to make two of these shapes:

My print fabric

That’s the print fabric I selected, and I didn’t take a picture of the second rotating shape.  It was white on one side and yellow on the other.

After the fabric is fused and the shape cut out, you zig-zag stitch around.  That’s where the problem arose.  I tried different needles, different threads, cleaned the machine. Nothing worked well.  The needles kept on getting gummed up from the fusible.  I finally came up with a solution after 3 very frustrating attempts.  I put some Goo Gone on a pad, and wiped the sewing machine needle clean every 50 or fewer stitches.

A little ball of glue would form on the needle.  The little ball of glue would rub against the thread, and the thread would break.  When I saw the ball forming, I’d stop, wipe down the needle while it was still in the machine, then continue sewing.  Not an elegant solution, but one that worked.

Here is a picture of the completed bowl and the pretty interior:

My finished basket

My inside basket

I didn’t like the uneven zig-zag top edge, so made some binding and sewed that on.  Then I thought it needed a little something extra, and hand sewed some 4mm glass cube beads at the woven intersections.  They are green lined blue beads.  Aren’t they just perfect for the basket?  I have oodles and oodles of beads, and hardly ever use them.  That will change in the future.

They are double stitched, and I knotted the thread after attaching each bead.   If a bead does fall off, it’ll only be one bead.

This basket is the perfect size to hold pizzelles, and will make for a cute little gift for someone special in my life.

Now to make a patch for a pair of jeans my husband cut.  I consider it a slight miracle the man avoided the ER.  He was opening a box with a box knife, and was bracing it against his leg.  You guessed it, he cut right through the cardboard and into his lined jean pocket.  Thank goodness that pocket was lined.

I hope all is well with all of you, and you’re taking some time to enjoy exploring textile activities amidst all the shopping, wrapping, baking and cooking.

Hugs…

Embroidery Design Quilt Top

November 28, 2019

This was a long tine reaching quilt top status- only becuase life kept on getting in my way.  Never did find more of the fabric I wanted for the border, purchased a large amount of pink, which also didn’t work, then woke up with an idea.  I have lots of Asian inspired fabric designs.  Lots of different colors, and sure enough, one of them worked:

Top pieced

Not only does it work, I like it better than the fabric I was trying to locate.  This was the Petal Pizazz embroidery designs by Missi Skeldale.  It was a sew along on her facebook page.

And that pink fabric I was going to use for the border?  Practically all of it is being used for the quilt backing.  I love it when things work out that way.

Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it.  Our party got cancelled due to illness.  My husband started it all, 9 days later I got sick, and neither one of us wanted to get our company sick, so cancelled the festivities.  A friend brought over some Italian Wedding soup, and we gratefully enjoyed our small bowls.  There was plenty in the container for big portions, but neither one of us is eating much at the moment.

When you have a cough and cold, warm soup really hits the spot, and home made soup is better yet.  Thank-you Karley. We are very grateful you are in our lives.

Hugs…