Monday, July 11, 2016

Prepping for Surgery

Don't get excited, it's not my surgery. My guy is finally getting his shoulder repaired after 10 weeks. We hear it's going to be a very painful recovery, but knowing that every day after the surgery brings us one day closer to being back to working order makes us both happy. He retired in February, so this was his summer of sailing and golfing and getting an old car............. surgery!

So I need to be prepared for the next week, while I sit and keep him company for a few days. What else but EPP!

I have signed up for an EPP group that starts up in the fall, but I'm getting a jump start.  Wow, are those small diamonds small. That really sunk in when the package of 450 pieces arrived from Paper Pieces.  I'm trying a "new to me" method, no stitching through the paper, so the one hole punch is necessary for paper removal with a tiny crochet hook.



I've got lots of diamonds cut.  Super fast and easy since I had scads of 2 1/2" strips in a basket. 


Using small paper clips to hold down the seams makes the basting task more manageable, and I feel that I'm getting a tighter wrap on the paper.


So far, I have a small zip bag already basted.  However, it still looks like 1000's of papers are in the package, even though it only came with 450.

I'll have busy hands along with the surgeon. If I get bored, I also have a facing and sleeve to stitch down, and a wall hanging that is marked, basted and ready to hand quilt.  This should keep my hands busy for the next few days. 

Then it's back to the quilting machine with customer quilts.  I'm staying on task and am working with a 2 - 3 week turn around right now, so if you have any tops you need turned into quilts, please consider me, it's appreciated. 

Keep stitching,
Sharon

Saturday, June 25, 2016

This, That, and Ft Mac

A little of this. Hexi's getting appliqued along a vine. Tiny, yup, but oh so cute.


A bit of that. Yes, that is my basket that I've been working from for months and months. It actually is holding the fabric for my Sacagawea Sampler from Minnik and Simpson. Seems to be in the same holding pattern. However, I've been using this basket as a resource for the above quilt.


Seems I had a bit of organizing to do. With a neat and tidy box to work from, I can now go forward and start the piecing on the next round of this Americana medallion styled piece.


And finally, a quilt for Fort McMurray, Alberta. The residents are slowly making their way back to town, some not finding anything left of their life after a devastating fire ripped through their town. Hopefully this quilt will make it into the hands of someone and allow them to be wrapped in some small comfort.


It's on my long arm right now. Thanks to all my guild buddies at Running With Scissors in Ferndale WA who contributed their time in making these blocks, and thanks to my quilting bff who left her bolt of poppy fabric at my house so I could 'donate' it on her behalf while she trekked and cruised through Europe. Hey, I'll take the help wherever I can get it for a project like this!

Keep stitching,
Sharon

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sneak Peek

This is what I can show you, just the trimmings.  But if you look closely, you will see that there are some 30's colors and prints peeking out from all that cream.

After the blocks were all made, I got the machine quilting done.  I slipped it in between a customer quilt and had it ready to bind in no time.

One stitch at a time, I got the binding all stitched down by hand.  It was the perfect take along project for a weekend road trip that we just went on.  Work and pleasure all rolled into one.


Another shot of the quilting, I just love the texture on the back of this piece.


Makes you want to pet it, seriously, it does!

The timeline of publications, this shall be revealed either later this year or next spring.  I'll keep you posted. It's a fun and fast project made easy with pre cuts.  Enough of a tease.

Keep stitching,
Sharon

Monday, June 20, 2016

Got the Blues?

The state my sewing table has been in for the past few 6 months.  Piles of 2" squares, all waiting to be stitched together with assorted creams/whites and made into blocks.
One at a time, these squares are slowly becoming strips.  Some start and end with blue, others with cream/white.
They get pulled out of this box by the handful, and rest patiently beside any current piecing project, just waiting for the end of a sewing session, so they too, can get stitched together. O-N-E at a time.


At first I thought that a 16 patch would be the right size.


but I didn't like that the block wasn't even.  It needed to have blue in all the corners.


And then the 25 patch block morphed into this, a 49 patch block.  Now we're talking!


This bottom block makes a statement!


So far I have enough sections for 13 blocks, only 43 more to go.


Oh, and then there's the forty eight  9 patches that I need to make..... yes, 48!


At least I moved away from the first idea, 1" finished squares. One 9 patch and I quickly realized how long I would be at this project.

This is my Ocean quilt, and I just couldn't strip piece this block.  I love the randomness of putting each square together, one at a time.  No timeline, just a labor of love for my guy.

Keep stitching,
Sharon

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Mixed Bag

Quite a while ago, I did a few small pieces using 1/2 sq triangles and I needed one more to fulfill a long overdue gift.


It looks best this way, and it fits onto this cute little hanger.


Since it's going to hang in her cabin in the woods, this was a perfect pick for the backing. 


I made a few more sections of sashing for a 25 block applique project.  There are still several blocks that need the marching stitching and it's been set aside for now.


Can you see a theme going on here?  Lots of 1/ 2 triangles have been made in my sewing room.  This piece is close to finished, but for now its also put aside.


My customer brought this fabulous Double Irish Chain.  Its going to be the guest book.  All the guests will be signing the center white blocks so we kept the quilting to minimum. 


 This wavy cross hatch was just the right amount of  quilting.



I love the two colors she chose for this piece.  It's such a classic.  A single Irish Chain with 2 colors is a fabulous graphic quilt.   I think red/white or cheddar/cream.  What two colors would you  chose?

Keep stitching,
Sharon

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Dusting off my Blog

Wow, it's June and I only put one post up in May.  Hand quilting and secret sewing really makes for a boring blog.  I'm going to try to keep this up a bit more as I have a few of my own projects in the works.  First up is this one.  Look at this fabulous Christmas fabric.  Timeless Treasures sure knows how put print some great pieces.This is the fabric that started this journey many years ago.


I was visiting my parents in AZ over Christmas and the 'quilt lady' across the street took me to a long arm quilter's home.  She sold a little bit of fabric from her garage and also taught classes.  Here was this amazing Stack and Wack made out of the above fabric.  I was smitten and I HAD to have this.  Of course she didn't' have any yardage left, but she did have some left over blocks already cut from her class.  And of course they were two different sizes.  Not to worry, I can fix that.  So here is my quilt that has lived in the bottom of a big plastic bin for many years.



The plan has always to put loads of feathers on this piece.  I have stashed away a 30 wt orange/red thread just for this occasion.  The setting triangles are quite large as the blocks finish out at 16". I've chalked out a feather, trying to see how much it will fill the space.  I've over cut the setting and corner triangles as my plan was to grid from the feathers to the edges and then trim down.  I'm all ready to go.


The quilt got loaded up on my machine, I pulled out the heavy thread, nope, then I pulled out my 'go to' So Fine from Superior and this happened. Good bye feathers and hello dense matchstick quilting with double orange peel motifs and a ton of stitch in the ditch. 


After the center was quilted, I pulled out my 'tools of the trade' and got busy.  The first thing was to get out my carpenters L and mark out the corners, as I had intentionally over cut them. These are big corners.


Next up was my rulers, markers and adding machine tap, along with my trusty seam ripper.  That tool was over worked on this project.


The corners were the biggest challenge, but I just kept my focus and worked through the process of "divide and design". This is the first real attempt I've made at this type of "modern" quilting.  Adding machine tape is my best friend for this.  Just roll out the length of your area, fold it in however many places you want to divide into and voilĂ , no measuring.  Other tools were used as needed , and here you can see my outline and chalk registrations.


Here is the 'after' shot with all the quilting done.



The smaller blocks had a sashing sewn around them to build them up the larger block size.  However, when sewing the centers together, apparently I did not pay attention to the direction of the spin.  Yup, makes for a mixed up background of patchwork.  But remember, I was going to feather all the red background so no big deal................... until I changed my plan.


Another shot of the stacks.


If you enlarge the photos you will see more of what I'm describing.  When it can to the setting triangles, the quilting on the surrounding blocks was different on each area where the triangle was set in, due to the reverse spin and orientation placement of the blocks.  I couldn't have made a more mixed up setting if I tried.


The side triangles each have a different pattern, but they do match to the same on the other side.  The top and bottom triangles match, as do the four corner triangles.  Here are two side triangles stitched out.

Second design, just divide and conquer.

The long shot when it was still on my machine.


It's hard to photograph the whole piece, but once it's bound and washed, I'll try to share another picture. 

It takes a lot of thread to quilt like this.  My long arm uses L bobbins, (the smaller version) but I've never used 17 bobbins of thread, not even on a King that was custom feathered. Wow. There were a lot of stops and starts as well. Look at the tread tails.


This fabric made for some amazing medallions.  It's a Christmas print, so I will have a new piece to put out this year.  I'm super pleased how well it came out design wise.  It's got flannel on the back, but with all this thread, there is nothing cuddly about this quilt.


An easy skinny L design filled the spins, and I used a tan thread as to no detract from the fabric.


I managed to find this piece at a later date and bought enough to bind the quilt. Now that it's done, I'm debating about keeping the binding in the red.  I have lots of that "crackle" print filed away.  


I'll try to post a little more often, I'm still taking customer quilts, I'm open for quilting, so if you have some tops you would like turned into quilts, please consider my services. My guy is waiting for surgery, all our summer plans are canceled so I'm staying home stitching the summer away. He's looking at shoulder surgery which comes with a 6 month rehab. Yuck.

Keep stitching,
Sharon