Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hand stitches are so comforting

The last thing I wanted was to start a new project. I was working on the applique around my Christmas table topper, I had started my Hexagon journey, basted a sampler for hand quilting AND was working on a BOM that had plenty of hand work. When my gal pal Muriel came over to show me her new project, I said "I have to make one too!" I traced the templates and set to work. This is the cutest little topper that measures 24 x 24 and is the third piece that I've made with this collection of fabrics.
Here is a close up with a quarter (Yes, I know it's CA money, it was on my dresser)just to give a reference to the size of the blocks. This is a Judy Rothermel pattern from an older magazine, sorry I can't remember. If you really want to know, leave me a comment and I'll get the info for you.

Mitered corners with the stripe, I'm glad I took the time, it's the little things that thrill me in my projects, and this is one of them.

The back is scrappy, I'm trying to use up this group of fabrics....I still have more! I think they multiply when I tuck them away in their home. You can see some of the hand quilting here.

Here is the whole top. Every time I start hand quilting something I have a plan, and every time it changes! I did machine ditch the borders on this and was glad that I did. It seems like so much energy is used in quilting ditches and the rewards just are not there. And yet I am ditching a sampler quilt right now.... some habits are hard to break.

Here is a pic of the center. Hope you enjoyed these photos as much as I enjoyed working on them. I love "finished", it's the best feeling!
Sew that's all for today,

Friday, April 24, 2009

Who's the smarter one here?

For someone who thrives on 8 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep, last night was a bit of a train wreck. After looking at the clock and 11:30, and 12:48, then at 2:19, and again at 3:15, I decided to just get up. I carefully moved out of bed as to not disrupt the cat at my feet, side stepped over the dog who was asleep on the floor beside my bed, and made my way downstairs. Of course there was no fresh coffee waiting for me, what sane person would set their coffee maker for 3:15 a.m. when they get up at 6:45?

So what's a girl to do at 3:15 a.m. you ask?

Well, she takes out these.....
And starts sewing these..........
Which is the start of one of these.......But I think Annie was the smarter one, she went back to bed and slept until 7:00 a.m.

Sew much for a good nights sleep...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Some of my favorite things.

Today I decided to post a few of my favorite things. Early in my quilting journey, when I was still living in the city, I fell in love with a quilt displayed at The Cloth Shop in Vancouver BC. I had never experienced a B.O.M. so I thought I'd give it a whirl. The project was from Country Quilts and I pieced it over a 9 month span. Then I moved to the US and started a new chapter of my life in a town of 160 people. Wow, I used to joke with the locals that there were more people in my apartment building than in Grass Valley, OR. My guy was a truck driver, so after moving to this rural area, he hit the road and I started hand quilting this project. I called it City to Country and it became and has stayed "my favorite quilt" It has had several places in my home and right now it is over the railing at the top of my staircase.
This next quilt also has a bit of a story, (don't they all). My guy and I were on an adventure one weekend. He wanted to see some of the sights around Vancouver BC so we headed off to Whistler. A mountain bike event was going on so after driving all around and unable to find a place to park, we continued on our journey. Just north of Whistler is a small town and amazingly enough, there was a quilt shop. My guy spied this turquoise jewelry fabric and wanted to buy the whole bolt. I restrained him and we ended up leaving with 3 or 4 yards. Time passed, I moved to the U.S., we got married, he kept asking when he was getting his quilt. Keep in mind, he already had 2 quilts made for him. But this was "his" quilt, he kept telling me, he picked out the fabric. I finally saw this pattern in one of Jean Well's books, Patchwork Quilts Made Easy, and I thought it was perfect for the focus fabric. I committed to this with him, then I counted out 384 1 1/2" x 2 1/2" flying geese. Was I crazy? Not really, look how fabulous this is. This was one of my first quilts that I did on my longarm, I used wool batting and it turned out wonderful. Donnie used to ask when he could take his quilt with him and my reply was "never". I made him a quilt for our 1st anniversary that was designed to fit his sleeper, and the other quilt I made for him was hand quilted. He would joke with me about this being "his" quilt and I would reply, "Yes it is and you can look at it any time you want"! It hung on the living room wall for many months in Grass Valley. Since he passed away, this quilt has become very special to me, as we laughed and joked over this one so many times.

Here is a little bit of inspiration. Every year I make the trek to Tacoma for Innovations, the machine quilting conference. Just down the street from the convention center is the Brigde of Glass, created with Dale Chihuly work. I never tire of looking at this amazing piece of art. Here are a couple of photos to share. If you are ever driving north on the I-5 in WA state, take the Tacoma exit and spend 10 minutes of your time, it will amaze you.

Sew many things to be inspired by...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Great Hexigon Quilt Along 2 is up and running.

Whew, I made it! I got the priviledge of joining the Great Hexagon Quilt - Along Too. I stumbled upon the original blog and was disappointed to see that it was a closed group, (because they maxed out their membership limit!) but was thrilled to see a sister site come alive. I'll be posting my hexi projects over there now, so if I post them here as well, you may get the pleasure of seeing them 2 times. Now to figure out how to get the button on my side bar???
Sew a little today,
........and make sure I post to the right blog. I posted this to the hexi site!
Geezzz, I need to learn new tricks!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My Sunday list is finished.

Sunday was the day to get up and get out of the house. My list of errands was building up and since I know myself and how easily I can get sidetracked with quilting, my mission was "up and out the door". Well, even the best plans can go sideways. It just takes a fresh pot of coffee, my 4 legged kids looking for some loving, and a tray of strips calling out "Sew me, Sew me!". Here is how I spent the first couple of hours doing errands.

OK, so then I got serious, gave the dog a few biscuits (that's her signal that she is not coming with me)and I headed out the door, new credit card in one hand and a list in the other!

First stop....
So many colors, so many styles, how was a girl to choose. So I didn't. It's a spring season full of color, and although I tried on all the pink, green, mango, and turquoise sandals, I do consider black, beige as colors.....and if the flip flop fits, buy it in two colors!

Grocery shopping was also on my to do list and the result of having food in my cupboards meant I could make myself a terrific home made dinner.....for 12 nights! The empty space was my dinner, yummmm, beef enchilada's with green sauce, made from scratch.

Sometimes it's fun to be a tourist in your own back yard, and Peace Arch National Park happens to be in my backyard. You couldn't ask for a nicer place, it's right on the ocean and the scenery is amazing. Once the flowers all start blooming I'll post more photos. For now it was the man made attraction that caught my eye. Here is some creative inspiration.
And for the gardeners out there who are struggling with dandelions, take note. Double dandy's, I've never seen these before, but beware, coming to a lawn near you!

Sew many things today....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The cutest quilt I've seen.

My friend Mona sends me the most amazing quilts, every time I open a box from her there is always a surprise. This had got to be one of the cutest quilts that I have seen. I have no idea who's pattern it is or who created the technique for the center. I just know it is amazing. Once it's washed, the lamb will come to life and be one fluffy chenille lambikin. Is that even a word? Who cares, you all know what I'm saying. This quilt so tactile, the baby who gets to play around on this blankie is going to never want to give it up!
I'm always so thrilled to be a part of someone else's quilt. It is an honor that they choose me to help finish their projects, all around there is a little bit of me stitched into these amazing gifts that quilters spend so much time and money and love and energy on. Seeing so many different peoples work, and their ideas of color and design makes me a better quilter. It stretches my world, shows me diversity in projects and expands my comfort zone.
I just know the sweet little girl that curls up on this quilt will not want to let go of the chenille borders. When I was young and stayed at my Grandma's house, the chenille blanket was my favorite. Now this blanket resides on my guest bed, chenille and quilts just go hand in hand.And here is the back. Even with chenille, it's worth doing the quilting as it really does show up. How snugly is this going to be.

Put your face in the sun this weekend!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Learning something new.

This is a continuation of my last post, more pictures from M'Liss Rae's trunk show at Moonlighters Guild in Bellingham. Here she was showing some embellishing ideas. This one is great, she couched various items along her borders prior to attaching them to her quilt top. First, this made it easier to handle, and second you can audition your embellished borders prior to committing them to your quilt top. Experiment, think outside the box, play. You will surprise yourself with what you end up with. And remember, sometimes the map you lay out takes a few twists and turns, these can be the best adventures of allHere is a close up of the corners. Since she mitered the corners and it's abstract work, the lines don't match up. This adds to the design element of the finished project. I'm not sure what M'Liss used on this border, but it has the look of sequins. There are no sequins on this quiltMore ideas from M'Liss. Click on the photo for a close up look of her ideas. Does this make you go Hmmmm, I wonder what _______ (blank) would look like? Find something that inspires you, it's not always another quilt.
Love the fabrics used in this one, it's so bright and cheery. Click to enlarge to see more of her creative ideas.

Here is my "something new". I took a class from Janet W. in Lynden, WA She is an amazing hand appliquer and she has been designing patterns and creating samples this year. This was the first class she taught and it was excellent. Here is my started project. I have picked it up a few times since the class and I've almost done the hearts. I had never marked a background, but with the light box and the pattern, it was easy. My favorite marking pencil is a Prismacolor Verithin in silver.

Here is the Teacher's Sample. This piece was designed by Beth Ann Williams and is from the cover of one of her books. Wow, I just love Janet's color choices and border treatments. I am in complete awe of the work Janet does. She has taken many classes from Nancy Chong and she is currently working on a piece for an exhibit at LaConner Quilt Museum. I can't wait to see more of her work.

Carve out some time to sew this weekend,

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Guess who came to our Guild?

The April meeting at Moonlighters Guild in Bellingham, WA was blessed with the fantastic guest speaker, M'Liss Rae Hawley. She joined us for a presentation on "Be a Better Quilter". Her lecture, along with amazing samples, was both inspirational and refreshing. I was glad to hear that M'Liss is a perfectionist and she's OK with that. I like that in a quilter, after all, it is our quilt that we are making and if "good enough" isn't, then get out the seam ripper and make it right! M'Liss was educational and she shared with us many things that will help make us better quilters. Here is one of her cover quilts that she brought along, what a lesson in color theory. One lesson M'Liss spoke about was reducing your variables. In this picture below, the cover quilt of M'Liss Rae Hawley's Round Robin Renaissance, she explained that she reduced her variable by using only batiks. The WOW factor is amazing, this photo doesn't do this quilt justice. The piecing, border choice, and quilting combination make this a fantastic piece of work that validates what M'Liss was speaking about.
Here is the back of another quilt that was in her trunk show. M'Liss brought up the subject of Longarm quilters and how some piecers have been disappointed in what they have gotten back from their quilter. Not so much on the quality but on the design. She suggests you work hand in hand with your quilter, give them ideas of your vision. This includes your thread ideas, how dense you want your quilting, design elements that you want enhanced, and motifs or border designs that will add to your quilt. After all, it is your quilt and you need to communicate your vision of the finished project. I love when my customers bring their ideas to the table, it helps me do a better job on their quilt tops. Here is some quilting by Barbara Dao.
M'Liss has written several books that focus on Fat Quarters and here is one of her samples. Many quilters think Fat Quarter quilts are quick and simple, in the one below M'Liss has put together a design that may stretch your quilting skills, partial seams. The end result is well worth the effort as this top is stunning. Her quilter, Barbara, has enhanced it with outstanding work and the collaberation M'Liss has with Barbara shines in evey quilt we saw.
It wasn't all fun and games for M'Liss. The guild members put her to work signing many of her books. She does look like she is having fun though! Thanks M'Liss, your presentation was awesome and inspiring. You gave everyone something to strive for in their own personal quilt world.And on a more personal note, Miss Molly is healing quite well. Her eye is almost back to normal, thank goodness she wasn't blinded. She doesn't like her meds, all the scratches on my hands can attest to that, but I have managed to get about 2/3 's of the antibiotics in her every day. She has poked her head out the door for a few minutes the last few mornings, but she is sticking very close to the open door so she can make a run for inside when she hears a noise. At night she has taken to sleeping with me, I don't mind that at allUse a needle and thread today..........

Monday, April 13, 2009

A little redecorating for spring

I have finally found a site that was easy to use and I love all their choices. It's called The Cutest Blog and you can see all their work here.If you want a new look to your blog, or some great tips, check them out. They are having a drawing for a "free makeover" to your blog, so it's worth a look. As usual, I fell in love with the first one I tried, but had to check out 7 or 8 other backgrounds before I went back to my first choice. Trust your instincts, it will save you a lot of time. Please take a minute and comment on the new look, tell me what you think.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Gal pals and other things

This is a post that could have happened a few weeks ago if I'd had my act together. This is what a day with a friend looks like. First stop, the local dairy. It was noon somewhere when our car made the sharp right into the parking lot. Chocolate Fudge and Coffee Express(?) in a waffle cone, what a great way to start the day. This is what a single looks like when you tell them "Whoa........That's enough"!

Next top, Calico Country quilt store. These are Paula's treats as I'm on a fabric diet. I've not been very successful with the food diet these days, but Paula has rocked in that department. At least my fabric stash didn't get any bigger on this day.

After the quilt shop we were off to the Spring Antique and Craft show at the NW Fairgrounds. There were so many delightful things to see and taste, but alas, many booths had "Please, No Photos". However, there was a gentleman selling these odd looking items. Although he has no idea what they were made or used for, he carts them around to all the shows and tries to sell them. They were found in an old barn in the town of Lynden, WA. They were covered with moss and dust and spiderwebs and other dusty surprises and he just couldn't resist purchasing them. If anyone knows what they may have been used for, please post a comment.
Do you know what these are???

I snuck this picture in, it was just so fun. I'm a sucker for the bright colors and unique ideas that crafters come up with. Fabric covered buttons with a magnet hot glued onto the back, what a great idea. Although I have yards and yards and yards, well, you know, of fabric, I would find it easier to purchase these pre-made. At least I wouldn't burn my fingers with the hot glue!
To top off the weekend, we decided to take a ferry ride to Lummi Island. Since neither of us had been there, we thought we would drive over and see what we were missing. There's not many places to pull over on the road that runs around the shoreline, so photos are scarce. We did chat with some weekend locals and got a bit of the history, it's a quaint spot, a fun way to spend a few hours on a nice day. After the drive around the island, lunch was in order. Creamy Avocado and Chicken soup to start and Lummi Salmon fish and chips to share for the main course! Delicious. Here is the view from the ferry lineup. This shot is of the coastal mountains to the north.

I've been working on my hexi's today, hope you get some time to work on your projects.
Happy Easter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

And the winner is.........

A big WhooHoo! Here is the 3rd place quilt from the Sewing Expo in Abbotsford, BC. The theme was Quilts of the Pacific NW. My gal pal Muriel made this quilt with a group of others from the Vancouver BC area. Her block is the Orca whales with the Lions Mtns in the background. All the blocks are original designs and the quilt is embellished with a variety of items. There are shells, tulle, glass beads, sequins, crystals, threads...too many to mention. Her prize was a case of Marathon threads, better than a box of chocolates!
Here are a couple of pictures of what spring represents to me. These came about from a charm swap that I did online through 2007. I've made a table runner from the charms and this little topper. When I was going through a rough patch and my brain wasn't working at full capacity (does it ever?) making 1/4 sq triangles was the best I could do. No thinking, just sewing squares together. Prozac of sorts. I guess that's why I have about 900 of these squares in pink & brown civil war prints sitting in a bag. Yes, that is also on my list of things to pull out and work on this year.....and why Blogger is underlining this post is beyond me..........For now, I'll leave you with a close up of my work. I love the scrappy border and with the 30's print, I couldn't resist doing a little hand quilting on this topper. It's quite small, 24 x 24.
Hope you get to stitch today,

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This and That

Spring has finally arrived here in the NW. It should hit close to 70 today. My longarm machine is in a non heated room, so now that it's not so cold, it's more inviting to go to the garage. I am anticipating a move in the next few months and my biggest priority is a room big enough to contain my longarm, domestic, cutting/pressing table and a tv mounted up in a corner for my "Workshop in a Box" dvd's that I've been buying. My newest is from Kim Bruener, I'ved only read the book, haven't even looked at the DVD. I'm sure it will be fantastic, my very first longarm class at Innovations was with her. I had no idea who she was or what I was doing. By the time I got home, I'd taken 3 or 4 feather classes and knew for sure I could never do feathers. That had something to do with trying to take 3 different techniques and put them into one method. Not a good idea! I love doing feathers, I'm pretty good at them too, but I wanted a visual just for refreshers and ideas and there is no one better that Kim for this.

Here are two of my free hand feather pieces, not bad but always room for improvement!

I follow a few other blogs and I'm loving Tues mornings. Check out this fellow quilters blog to see why. And no, I have enough of my own WIPS so I'm sorry to say I haven't been able to help her out, maybe you can!

This past weekend was busy, a quilting class, (pics and more later), up to Abbotsford, BC for the Sewing show, dinner with my gal pal Muriel. She happened to have the most beautiful quilt hanging at the show, but I didn't have my camera. Maybe she will send me a picture? hint, hint. Sunday I met up with an old friend and we went back to our old apartment. Seeing our same old curtains still hanging in both our apartments was worth the trip. Laughter, sunshine, quilting and old friends, what a great way to spend the weekend!

Stitch a bit today....