Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

To my fellow bloggers and readers....."May your table be heavy with food and crowded with friends and family".

Safe travels to those on the move this week. I'll be staying far away from buildings with cash registers. My plan is to enjoy the time off as I've had 3 vacation days since Jan 2008. I'm giving thanks for my terrific family and friends, my co-workers who have been so supportive during my cancer journey, and to having good health. It's been a journey!
I hope you enjoy your sewing rooms! I'll be enjoying my visit to "the middle of nowhere". Stay tuned for pictures!
Sew thankful for many things,

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bindings Abound

It's Sunday night and I have 3 tops with bindings on them and one waiting to get done. I promised myself I would quilt my own top this weekend, the Christmas 2007 top that hasn't seen a holiday table yet. This will be done and out for Christmas 2009.  As much as I will machine applique, machine piece, and machine quilt, I just can't bring myself to putting the binding on by machine. How about you, are you a hand binder like me? It's my favorite part of making a quilt, my last chance to work on the piece, and my last chance to give it my best effort on a plump and neatly stitched edge.

As usual, clicking will give you close ups of my pics.  This was an interesting pattern.  It's from Kim Diehl's book Simple Seasons. I have all her books and I love them. This one calls for the strips for the branches (arms) to be cut on the straight grain, so that when you go to applique them down, they will bend and crease and be a bit knobby like branches. This was hard to do at first, as I was trying to get them to be as flat and even as possible. Once I gave up on this idea, it became easier to applique and I love the finished product.  I put a layer of batting under my snowman so the background print wouldn't show through the white. Plus they have a bit of dimension to them.  I uses a freezer paper method and hand appliqued the inner border.

The snowmen have got their eyes, they need some buttons down the front, and the binding needs turned and hand stitched to the back.  I might do a bit of  'big stitch' quilting on the appliqued border, the stitch in the ditch just doesn't seem like enough quilting. I'll wait until I turn the binding, that may be enough for now.

Here is a panel that I have been hand quilting, finally got it finished and now it's ready for the binding.

And I'll end this post with Miss Molly. She LOVES her new back yard, no traffic, no kids, just a quarter acre fenced in all to herself. She's surveying her domain!

Hope you found some time to sew this weekend.

Friday, November 20, 2009

A little of this......

This is what one corner of my sewing room looked like on Sunday morning. I started with an hour of work before my friend arrived and we put in another 2 - 3 hours of sorting and moving.

Here is the result. We moved all the bolts of fabric and the bookstand to the studio room. I had to wrap my head around the changes because in my mind I was going to keep all my sewing stuff separate from my longarm stuff. And do I ever have a lot of stuff. My thoughts were to keep all the fabric and quilting books in the room with my sewing machine and then have my longarm books/supplies in the other room. It didn't turn out like that, but after all the work on Sunday I just closed the door and left things. Then Monday morning I went downstairs and walked into the room and knew it was going to work, I could breathe!

Update on my 144 Log Cabin blocks. I think this is the setting I am going to use. All the blocks are made, and from all the scraps, there was one piece of fabric that kept rubbing me the wrong way. So I took it out!
I've been following along the Blog Hop with these girls and this is the first project I've made. I have several other patterns printed and will be doing my best to get them done before Christmas. Since I used red buttons on the Prairie Points, I think the tree will be trimmed with mini bells and a bit of big stitch quilting. Sorry for the sideways pic!
Here are a few pictures of Judi T's quilt. I LOVE her color choices. This turned out great and her choice of backing thread really pops. This was a fun quilt to quilt, thank you!

A block from my 30's BOM that got abandoned in the spring. I had some issues with it, then I lost interest. I have found some it it, but the whole project needs to get grouped, finished blocks up on the design wall and then assess it from there. I think I am over 1/2 way through the blocks and it really will make a great spring time quilt.

And my one finished block for my red & white log cabin tree skirt. Will it see this Christmas, nope. I think I want to hand quilt this with a big stitch perl cotton and use it at a throw instead of a tree skirt. Only time will tell.

TGIF, no plans this weekend which means I will have MY christmas quilt quilted and the binding sewn to the front. WhoooHoo!
Sew a little this weekend.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Organization 101

I've been a little quiet here in blog land.  Just when I think I'm going to post on a regular schedule, I don't!  Geez.  This past week and weekend has been very productive though.  I'm doing a "blog hop" that is happening right now.  Here is a link to one of the eight designers and I've made one project so far; the "quilt as you go" tree wall hanging.  Doable in one afternoon, binding included. 
I've also had a friend come over and she went into Organization Mode on warp speed!  We (I did help a bit) moved and sorted and purged and regrouped and cleaned and regrouped (did I say that already?) We did this many times on Sunday afternoon. Well, needless to say, the end result has been amazing. I couldn't have done it without her help.  Thank you Lisa!
This morning I got up, poured my coffee and went downstairs to my studio.  For the first time since I moved in (Oct 17/18) I felt like I could breathe and it was so terrific!
Part of this is due to me quilting a customer quilt and getting it off the machine, loading another quilt onto the machine (one less in the pile), putting binding on a quilt that I've been working on since the beginning of 2007. This quilt will be a whole post one day, and that day shall be coming soon! Needless to say, moving projects along and getting things finished is going to be the best thing for my studio. 
Now my commitment to myself is to finish up some things.  I've moved my studio twice, but the first move was easy; I picked up the boxes and moved them. Done.  This move, not so much.  Every piece of fabric has been handled and moved to a new storage system,

every project grouped together, every pattern/book packed and moved and moved.......and still waiting for one final move into a book case that I haven't purchased yet.  So you get the drift.  It's a lot of things. And through this whole process, I just keep thinking about my quilt top that I wanted to put out last Christmas, but didn't have it quilted.  This Christmas it WILL be out, it will be quilted and it will have binding on it!
I will leave you with a few pictures of a team project I did with my friend Norma T.  Her piecing is beautiful and we had the honor of having our quilt hang in Skamania Lodge last year. 

Stitch a bit today,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Colorful Presentation....part 2

Here are a few more pictures from our guild meeting with Jean Wells as our guest speaker.  This is the cover quilt of her new book, well worth the money. Here is Jean peeking over the top of her quilt.  She was such a great presenter.  Make an effort to see her if she is teaching or lecturing in your area. You won't be disappointed.

This basket piece has such a warm feeling to it.  Click the photo to see the details in this piece.

Here was one of my favorites, if I could have taken any one piece home with me, this would have been it.  Again, it's the little things that Jean puts in her work that makes it sing.  What a fantastic basket!

This next one is her free form log cabins. Again, the color choices that she makes are spectacular. This is so not my style of quilting, yet I just love it.  It's fresh, creative and it just makes me want to learn more about the fantastic art of quilt making.  Every time I see things that stretch outside my boundaries, I realize I will never run out of things to try with quilt making.

Jean had a few pieces in her slide show that were 4 patch and 9 patch.  That gave another dimension to the finished pieces and just added one more element of surprise and design.
Final shot of the cover quilt.  This one is spectacular.
Are you craving color?  I want to add a palette of solids to my stash!
Sew a little today.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Colorful Presentation

I am so excited to post this blog that I am typing it out while thinking of a name worthy of this post. Yeah, yeah, there are so many amazing bloggers out there, but this isn't about me, it's about who came to Moonlighters Guild last night and gave the best presentation! The talk and slide show was all about color and taking notice of the things around you.   The floral shots were amazing and will make me look at nature in a whole new way. This someone has been in this industry for 40 years, she is an accomplished quilter, designer, author, retailer, teacher, and mentor. She put on a great presentation and was so inspiring. So do you know who she is? Here are a few pictures and if you have seen or purchased her latest book, it will be easy.

Did you think solids were boring to work with?
Are you afraid of using color in your quilts?
Do these pictures change your mind?
Can you imagine using so many colors in one piece of work?
Simplicity of the applique allows the piecing to shine through.
It's the little things that make a big impact, like the tiny block at the bottom.
Stacks of knitting needles was the inspiration for this piece.
I'm sure you have now figured out that our guest speaker was Jean Wells from The Stitchin' Post in Sisters, OR.  If you have the opportunity to travel to Sisters, OR in July you will not be disappointed.  The opportunity to see hundreds of quilts all hanging outdoors in this picturesque town is amazing, and this is all because  Jean had a vision and has followed her passion.
Stitch a bit today,

Monday, November 9, 2009

Progress is Happening

After several months of treading water with my quilting projects, I am now making progress and am getting close to having some "finishes" Whoohoo!  Here is the baby quilt and I hit the goal of having the top finished before I went to bed Sunday.  Not only is it finished, but I have the back all pressed and ready, and the binding is also ready to go!
Mr. Postman came on Friday! I got the books that I ordered from The Book Depository. I wondered if I would ever see them, it just seemed too good to be true. Excellent pricing on brand new books, FREE shipping from England, and they arrived in less than 10 days. This is now my new fav book site online. My gal pal Norma also bought the same books and we are going to work on the Farmers Wife quilt blocks together. That's my new project in Jan 2010.
A little Retail Therapy. The picture says it all. Now how could I go into Fabric Etc, buy a panel, and leave all the co-ordinates? I couldn't. That polka dot is FANTASTIC. This is Gobble Gobble by Sandy Gervais. I
And finally, another picture of my Log Cabin progress. I have 64 more blocks to finish, and most of these are over half done already. My finished pile continues to grow and my strip tray is getting depleted, that's a double victory for me!
Tonight is our guild meeting with Jean Wells from Sisters OR. I have her lastest book and I'm hoping she brings lots of the projects from the book. It's always so great to see the quilts in "real life". I'll report back on the presentation later this week.
Stitch a bit today if you can,

Friday, November 6, 2009

Less Words, More Pictures

The push to get everything unpacked and into a new space has ended.  My need to quilt has taken over and I've spent the last few evenings in my sewing room, doing just that, sewing.  Yes, it still needs some serious organizing, but I needed to do some piecing.  I gather more satisfaction from blocks well pieced than I do from a neat and tidy living room!  Here is one corner that is organized.  The basket quilt was from Jo Mortons workshop in Bellingham WA in the summer of 2008.

This is the progress I've made this week on my scrappy log cabins.  Here are 50 blocks finished.

And here are the stacks of 10 blocks each.  This picture is the balance of blocks needed to make a queen size top. 144 in total  I have been sewing one strip on each block when I sit and sew.  This now results in 10 blocks being finished every time I work on this project. I learned this methond from the book Small Blocks, Stunning Quilts

Here is 1/3 of the baby quilt I'm working on, it's a fast and easy pattern that has a great look. Plus it's easy to quilt! The goal is to finish this top by Sunday evening.

Girls Getaway Update. We did a block swap and I asked for big 9 patch blocks with all my pansy fabrics. I've cut them down and I have 130 blocks to play with. Still need to sew/cut some sashing strips, but I'm making progress.

Proof of a content cat! Miss Molly has settled into her new home.
And finally, my Dad stopped by last Wed night for a sleep over before heading to sunny Casa Grande, AZ. My sis decided to make the drive with Dad and here they are, heading out at 7 a.m. for their big adventure. Three days later they arrived safe and sound and have been enjoying sunny days! Maybe I'll get there for Christmas?

Sew with me this weekend!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Settling into my New Home

Things are really coming together in our new home. I say "our" because my dog and cat act like they have lived there forever. I've had a fireplace of some sort in all my U.S. houses, but this one seems different. Annie, the dog, gets herself right up against the couch while Molly, the cat, stretches out across the center of the living room floor. I guess that is another reason to not get a coffee table!
My sewing room is downstairs and there is no clock or tv or music yet. There needs to be, otherwise, I'll have no life and my animals will starve. I decided to set the timer, and it's amazing how fast an hour goes by. I could live in my sewing room!
There are a few projects going on, but I don't have pics, I promise some pictures tomorrow. Finding all your fabric and having to actually handle each piece and bundle and w.i.p. had really given me a wake up call as to what is REALLY going on in my sewing room. Lots of w.i.p.s that I didn't admit to, but have now committed to working through. But I did start a brand new project 2 days ago. It's a baby quilt, and the baby has been born, and I didn't want to file the fabric, I wanted to use it up. It was the sample swatches of a funky kids western print, and somehow I got about 28 of the same sample piece. I've had it for several years and since the new baby's dad is a closet cowboy, I thought it would be perfect for Baby PS. It's over half done, the quilting will be quick (machine) as I learned from my very first quilt, DO NOT hand quilt for baby quilts that you want the parents to use.
Sew many words and no pictures. I promise some photos tomorrow