Thursday, December 27, 2012

12 hours later, needle turn appliqué

After 12 hours in the car this is all I have to show. I sure hope I get faster... I am planning on making this Piece o Cake applique quilt.  It may take me five years, but that's okay.  The pattern is called 'my whimsical quilt garden.'

Also this is a test - trying to post from my phone.  update... it worked great!  yippee!  now i need to figure out how to send these as a test vs. an email. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lil Twister Quilt

 Christina made this, and I think it is so cute!  I love the fabrics.  I would hang it up long after Christmas.  These fabrics don't shout Christmas, and I love the subtlety.
Here is a close up of what I did in the border - quick and easy.
 I did some simple cc'ing in the twists, and I'm not sure what the background fill is called.  It quilted up so quick.

The back looks great, too, doesn't it?


Monday, December 17, 2012

I want to keep this! - fleur de lis applique

I made this sweet little wall hanging as a Christmas gift for a friend.  I had sooo much fun quilting this up tonight, and now I want to keep it.  My friend is a non-quilter, and I am not so sure she really understands the art.  I don't know if she appreciates it. I am sure she would appreciate it more than a box of chocolates, but I hope she doesn't ask me what she should do with it.  Ugh!  

This was my very first applique attempt.  It was not hard at all.  I just fused it, though.  Then I zig-zagged around the edges.  One of these days I will try some needle turn, but not at on something like  this.

So, my dilemma is...  do I give her a store bought gift, or some accented flour sack towels (useful), or do I give her this?
 I will stitch a black binding on  this.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Is it Possible to Create Too Much Texture?

Maybe...  This is my daughter's quilt.  Isn't it cute?  She had many piecing issues, which I attempted to "quilt out."  haha...  

Anyway, she didn't care how I quilted it, said I could do a real easy e2e, but all that white tempted me to do something more.  

I probably should quilt down those colored parts of the pinwheels to make it a little less texture-ous (is that a word?), but she doesn't care, I don't have time.  So, for now, it will have lots of texture!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fused Happiness

 Even though I may have 14 UFOs, and four quilts in progress, sometimes I just have to drop everything for a new project.  I found this project in a magazine, and it was yellow flowers on a red background.  I became obsessed to make my own.  This is just my second attempt at any type of applique (made the first one 10 days ago), and I am easing into it with fused applique.

 A few years ago I watched a couple other techniques, but turned and ran as fast as I can.  Now I am thinking I may try it again.  Lately I have been interested in whimsical applique quilts and Aunt Millie's Garden by Piece O'Cake Quilts.  I am sure the bold colors initially attracted me to something that I had previously thought as uninteresting quilts.

We had beautiful fall color this year on our trees, and I snapped this one the day before the leaves dropped. We have 10 of these trees, and it amazes me how they change color and lose leaves at different times...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A Wonderful Quilt Retreat

I just got back from our annual retreat in Oakhurst, just a few miles from the south entrance to Yosemite.  This is the view from the sewing room on Saturday morning.  Isn't it gorgeous?  We had three inches of snow.  It all melted while we were there, and just in time to drive to the local quilt shop, too.

I had a great time.  My daughter joined me this year for the first time, and she loved being able to sew for almost three days with no little ones around.  It was really nice to have her sewing beside me.  She is so creative. 

I didn't get much sleep - I just couldn't sleep past 5:00 a.m., and I didn't get to bed until midnight each night.  That's okay, because I did get lots of stitching done - I made three aprons, one wall hanging, started my first ever applique item, and planned out my next project. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I Feel Like I Almost Climbed Mt. Everest

Okay, I know that's really exaggerated, but listen...  I think I have had this quilt on my frame since June.  I really wanted it to be special.  I wanted it to be different.  When I loaded it in June I thought it would be done in a 2-3 weeks.  But then all of my vacations began...  Flagstaff, AZ; Bear Lake, UT; Spain, France, visiting my mom and dad in Wisconsin.  Then school started.  Then my mom got sick and I spent three weeks with her and my dad, helping him through her funeral and needing to move him to an assisted living facility.  Then I just didn't feel like doing anything, even quilting.  Since I lost my mom, the pain is still so raw, and I have really felt like I need to be with my husband, daughters, and my grandkids more.  Which means less quilting time.

 So, yesterday I removed this quilt from the frame and I THINK it is done.  Yes, think, because I really feel like I want to change it.  Have you ever done that?  I feel like those green and blue squares in the border really detract from the beautiful center of the quilt.  I am thinking I may actually cut a new border, and reload it on my machine, and applique down a strip to cover those squares.

I think I know how best to do continuous that's a whole lotta cc's, isn't it?  I really didn't want to do this one in feathers like most Triple Irish Chains are done -- you know feather wreaths, feathers in the borders.  We'll see if I am still happy with that decision at a later date...

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Remembering My Mom

My mom passed away two weeks ago from leukemia. She was 85 years old, and would have celebrated her 64th anniversary with my dad on October 2.

She had the best sense of humor. Being around her reminded you to lighten up, because she always found humor in her daily life.

I hope to be half as thoughtful as she was, never forgetting a birthday or anniversary, and we had a large family. She was the type of person who after spending some time with you, would go out and pick up little things that she noticed you needed, or would make your life easier. When they visited, I knew that when I returned home from work I would find my house cleaner and more organized than I had left it.

My mom was adventurous. Although her family had no money, she worked through high school so she could ride a horse at a stable once per week. My mother moved across the country several times and considered it an adventure. My mom traveled to all 50 states, and 11 foreign countries. She took downhill ski lessons at the age of 52 and rode in a hot air balloon when she was 78.

My mom taught me how to sew at age 8, and it was seeing her Quilt in a Day Log Cabin quilts that motivated me to become passionate about this art. For quite a few years I would save my unbound quilts for her to hand stitch.

I didn't get to live near my mom for most of my adult life, but always felt very close to her, and called her frequently for advice, instruction, and recipes.

I will be trying to comfort my dad as much as I can, and hope to get him to come to stay with us, at least on a temporary basis. I will be holding onto all the great memories I have of my mom in the years to come.

This is her favorite quote:

May You Have...
Vision to See, Faith to Believe, Courage to Do, Heart to Love

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Machine fill or not to fill

I am ever so slowly making progress on my triple Irish chain.  I have stitched out all the patterns on the white blocks, and framed them with straight lines.  I have auditioned a couple fills with super large basting stitches and they didn't jump up off the fabric and tell me that they looked great.  So, now I am wondering if I should fill the areas on either side of the straight lines, or just leave it as-is.  I really wanted to do something incredible, but I just don't see it happening.

 Honestly, I think this is the worst part of the process, deciding how to quilt the quilt.  I used to think that it was the fabric selection.  Not anymore.  I have taken classes, and scoured online resources trying to learn, but I usually doubt my decisions.  What the heck!!??!!
Once I decide if I am going to fill around the straight line frames, I have to decide how I will quilt the borders.  Ugh.....Can I just pay someone to make those decision for me?  I am good at following direction.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I am on a De-Cluttering Kick

So I have been feeling the urge to purge lately.  As much as I like beautiful things, or clever  ideas, I also hate to look at what all that 'shtuff' does to my house.  I recently learned about Flylady and very briefly checked out her blog.  Since then I have been thinking that I can conquer the mess and clutter 15 minutes at a time.  I hate to clean, and so I don' often as I should.  We used to have a cleaning service twice a month, but no longer do.

So this past week I decided to open up a couple bathroom drawers and tossed a bunch of old junk we never use.  Love that feeling!  Then I went to the hardly ever use anymore filing cabinet.  Since so much is stored online, I am hoping to scale back from a four drawer to a two drawer soon.  Anyway, I grabbed four huge files of old bank statements and Dean and I enjoyed our new fire pit in the new backyard.

I had a glass of wine, and capped off the evening with a s'more!  Yum!  It makes me feel like I am camping, but I get to sleep in my own bed and enjoy that hot shower.  That was so much more fun than sitting at the noisy shredder.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tropical Twist

I was asked by a dear friend to make a quilt as a wedding gift for her daughter.  She gave me a great deal of leeway.  I was asked to make the quilt blue and orange, and she wanted it to have a scrappy look.  I sent her a few pictures of quilts, and we decided on this Bonnie Hunter pattern, Tropical Twist, from the January/February 2009 issue of Quiltmaker.  I purchased the batiks in five states... Wyoming, California, Wisconsin, Utah and Arizona this summer.  I am really pleased with how it turned out.  I quilted it freehand.

I found a new place to display finished quilts for photographing -- from our new arbor in the back yard.  It worked out great!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I am Quilting a Triple Irish Chain

I have finally been able to get to my machine and although I feel like I have spent as much time removing stitches as I have been making them, it has been enjoyable.  I completed about 80% of the cc'ing in the dark squares when I realized that about 40% of them had bad tension on the back.  I think it happened when I changed bobbins and I must have had something in the spring.  At least ripping stitches from loose tension is easy, right?

Anyway, my plan is to cc all the dark squares, and then stitch out a beautiful stencil pattern in the white.  I got the stencil from Cheryl in Washington.  I am not sure how I will do the lighter borders.  Definitely feathers in the dark border.

I basted the quilt while I was stitching the cc's.  As I skipped over the big white sections, I changed the speed and moved over to the next section.  I hope I will happy that I basted it this way.  I am not burying threads on this one.  It is mine, and the back is so busy nothing will be visible.  

I am using Constatine Quilts No Frills cc ruler for the cc'ing.  It really makes it easy.

Lastly, here is a sneak peak at the commissioned quilt that I worked on this summer.  I did a really fun allover on it.  

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Finding Quilting Designs Around You

I guess I am finally able to see quilting from a different part of my brain, or have really been missing quilting.  I have been seeing quilting designs so much more lately.  In my previous post I saw different designs in stone, bricks, marble, etc.  In these photos I saw new ideas in the windows.  Can you see what I see in the first picture?  The flower-shaped design with circles at the ends of each flower petal?  I want to stitch that out and see how it looks.

These pictures are a few of many I took in Barcelona, at La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi's greatest masterpiece.  the exterior photos show Gaudi's use of the gnarly pillars to represent tree trunks.  He uses the same concept in the interior, too.  I love the windows in the ceiling that allow the light to shine through and depending on the time of day, they seem to spotlight different naves in the cathedral.    

Wow!  This cathedral is beyond words.  I have been to many of Europe's cathedral's, and this is my favorite.  It is still not completed.  It is impossible to capture the wonder that you feel when you stand inside.


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