Saturday, July 31, 2010

Next Time...........

One of the biggest things that quilting adds to my life is the learning curve. Because a lot of quilters, myself included, work on several projects at one time and set some projects aside, we look at things through different eyes when they are resurrected from a drawer or box months, or even years later. I used to say "I should have done...." and now I say, "Next time, I'd do this." By changing that statement, it validates that what I have in my hands is still a great project worth continuing on, but that I've grown in my quilting abilities. And that's a really good feeling to me.
I know I've posted pics of this project before, but I now have one column of feathers finished. This is the first time I've free hand marked and hand quilted feathers.
Next time.....I'll consider a softer spine for the feather. I'll take more care that all the feather ends are right up against the seam allowance. The first few on the left are a bit short. As for the thread color, I was going away and needed something to take with me. Time was limited, this was basted, but I didn't have any black hand quilting thread. Then I thought, this is a Liberated Amish challenge, Amish used brown thread to quilt, I don't need black. Time ticked along and when I was packing and getting ready, I had a spool of rust YLI (my favorite hand quilting thread)ready to go with a package of needles already threaded. So rust became the color of choice. Funny how I justified that design decision.
Here is another project that has been brought back to life. It started with a charm pack that become the border, I've had the pot sewn on for months and now its' time to put some flowers in the pot. I'm keeping it simple to get it finished. This project has not been made for any one person, so finished will be good. I love the colors so it might end up on my office wall.
I have a few hand quilting projects on the go, but aside from my BOM that has once again been set aside, I don't have any hand applique. This should fill that need for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sliding into August

So much for posting every few days, sorry readers! Life has been zipping by and I can't believe it is almost August. The air was cool this morning when I headed out to work. Just because I haven't posted doesn't mean I haven't been busy quilting. Here is the huge quilt that I finished this weekend. I have no life, well, I should say, "quilting is my life"
This back shot shows the quilting pattern quite nicely. The top was 108 x 130, I used circle templates, straight and wavy rulers, and freehand.
I love how this turned out. It took a long time to finish, but it is in the mail and should arrive at it's owners home today. Now she gets to bind and label it.
This is the latest swap I've participated in. I swapped out 48 Paducah 9 Patch blocks so my top is going to finish at 56 x 64. Perfect for a lap quilt. I only have one block repeated and since it was my block, I'm partial to the fabric choices so I kept it in. I was very happy with 45 of the swapped blocks.
In between Paula's big quilt and loading the next quilt, I managed to get this donation quilt quilted. It's a fund raiser for my friend Betsy, who is doing the 3 day/60 mile walk for Breast Cancer. It just needs the binding turned and hand sewn on the back.
And finally, a shot of my 4 legged kids. They love to play. Well, Annie loves to put Mollys head in her mouth, then Molly swipes at Annies nose, then they race around the house. Entertainment for the quilter.
Take a few stitches today.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Stitching Progress

As I've mentioned before, I'm quilting a monster sized quilt for my gal pal, it's 108 x 130 and it's all custom. It's taking me hours and hours to quilt one row. I've got 2 1/2 rows left to go, but this has been consuming most of my quilting time.
I do get a few minutes here and there in my sewing room, when my machine is warming up or a few minutes after I've quit longarming for the evening.
This is a bit of "mindless" sewing, all the strips and blocks are cut and ready to push through the machine.
This is a top in progress from last fall, it's going to be so bright and cheery when it's all finished. It's from my list of UFO's that can be worked on this year.
Here is my Liberated Amish challenge quilt. I've started the hand quilting, I've decided on feathers up and down each of the black bars.

I see lots of bloggers have taken a Process Pledge. Not me, but I will share this with everyone. I am marking the feathers free hand and using this pencil. Click on the photo for close ups. You can see faint marking lines, these are the original marks that have rubbed off. And you can see the more recent markings. The pencil I am using is a PrismaPencil in silver. I LOVE this pencil, it's my favorite marking tool. Does it work for everything? Nope, none of them do, but this one is my "go to" marking pencil for any project. Plus it comes out right away with a spray of Sew Clean and a quick rub with a cloth.
And I'll end with a beautiful shot of the beach at Hicks Lake, BC where I spent 4 nights camping. Oh to have more vacation days than work days!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Back to Reality

I spent Friday night to Tuesday morning camping at this lake. It was 90 miles away from home, so far enough away to get away, yet close enough to be a managable drive for a few days away.  Our site wasn't lake side, it's a hike down to the lake, but it's well worth the effort. The beach is private so once we hauled our chairs, towels and toys to the waters edge, we were able to leave them down at the beach.

I said camping, right? I really did mean camping. Here was my hotel room for the four nights.  And I managed to get in a little hand quilting time. I find it hard to read when people around me are talking, but it was the perfect time to relax with needle and thread.

Everyone that was invited brought their kids, the 2 and 4 legged kind. I have to say my Annie (border collie) was extremely well behaved. She had never been camping so I was a bit concerned, but she did great.

And this is what I came home to. My watering job! This is down the side of the driveway. I over planted as some things, the Livingston Daisy, grew far bigger than I knew they would. I also planted Madame Butterfly snap dragons, which are very interesting. There is a variety of things still coming up, but everything that survived the attack of the slugs is doing really well. The hardest hit has been the marigolds.

Livingston Daisies. Note the different colors on one plant.

Madame Butterfly Snap Dragons.

I am waiting for a dahlia to bloom, along with some zinnia's, cone flowers, and the crackerjack marigolds. I planted a packet of seeds of each of these.

My back yard had an excavator in it when I got home from work.  I'm going to look for "before" pictures and will post an update.
....and don't ask me what happened to my blog. I tried a simple "update" and crap happened.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Staying Focused

Wow, I can't believe it's been over a week since I last posted here. Someone asked me where I find the time. I guess I really don't! Between picking raspberries and picking daisies, I've been quilting on my gal pal Paula's (no blog) quilt. It's slow going, all custom, and I'm working on it as much as I can. I also have taken some time to get this top finished. It's 56 x 77 and I couldn't have done it without the help of Deb S, Dani F, and Muriel F. Thanks for the blocks and fabric, your contributions truly made this quilt what it is.
Here's the story. My friend Betsy S has got a team, Safe at Second Base, and signed up to do the 3 day, 60 mile Susan G. Koman walk for Breast Cancer. She lost her mom during the time I was going through my treatment. I cannot walk 60 miles, but I can help raise money. We've attended a couple of Farmers Market events in our little town and made close to $500 through baked goods, flower baskets, and donations from generous people. Now with this quilt, we shall raise even more money for the cause. Once the huge customer quilt is done, this one will be quilted and bound and ready to go.
Credit on the pattern: I forget! I saw a work in progress posted on someone's blog. I emailed her to find out where she got the pattern so I could purchase it, but she replied that she was just messing around on her design wall. So I used it as inspiration. And I added the word, which came from a challenge I took this spring. And the word "Imagine" is so closedly tied to Breast Cancer awareness. Imagine a world without B.C.
That would be fantastic.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Thought I Was Finished

This is my first 4 block quilt and I love it. The blocks are 24" and it is going to be hand quilted and bound in green, or cheddar, or red. I'll decide that in 2016 when it's been quilted!
For the last few months, maybe even the past year, I've been enamored with books that show quilts from yesteryear. The books don't have to have any patterns, just lots of pictures for me to dream about making these wonderful quilts. The samplers with cheddar, red and green are the ones that really float my boat. Throw in a little navy blue and wow, the quilts are amazing. Here is my first attempt at recreating a little bit of history.
You can read about it here on Barbara Brackmans blog. There is more information about it here. Maybe Rose Kretsinger was the original designer and maker of this pattern, maybe not. I do know that it isn't an original design of recent times, however the pattern is available in Jan McCalls magazine. I recommend looking at the story behind this pattern as it's very interesting.
Now to put it in line for hand quilting; right behind a sampler, my LibAmish top, my Gathered Over Time 9 patch, (which has been started with Baptist Fans) and a few others that I want to hand quilt.
I've been thinking about the following; "Process" vs "Project" and wonder why I keep bouncing from one to another. WHY start another applique project when I still have one on the go. Why not just enjoy the process of the applique and leave it at that. Or the process of the hand quilting, or whatever it may be. I like to think I focus on the process, but clearly, with 3 projects all started with hand quilting, one more marked and another one on the pile, I don't stick to one piece and finish it. I guess it would be like watching the same tv show every night, or eating the same foods for lunch every day.
Hey, variety is definitely the spice of life!
And yes, I do see that one flower is missing the center circle. I counted and double counted and checked and triple checked that I made enough circles. When there were none left on the table, I was excited to be finished, too excited to check the floor!

Fresh Raspberries

a.k.a. The only thing that is growing and producing in my yard! It's been a tough spring for gardeners and being that it is my first year at this, I'm sure not getting the results I was hoping for. Oh well, I guess it's like fishing, you don't always come home with fish!

I still have high hopes for carrots and radishes. I've planted a second crop of lettuce. No, I didn't eat the first crop, the slugs did. I'm on my third box of slug away.
There must be about 100 buds ready to burst open on all my day lilies. So far I've seen one. I've been hoping for this mass eruption of blooms, I'm still waiting. Some sunshine might help the process!
Both of these plants are doing well and have been full of bloom, but I have no idea what they are. Any ideas?
And there has been a bit of quilting going on, here it the latest quilt on my machine. It's huge, 108 x 133. The blocks are 12" and they are set 6 across each row. I love the look of continuous curve when it is stitched with templates, and precise piecing makes this so much easier for me to quilt. It's very time consuming and labor intensive, but I think it's worth the results. I'm on the second this will be occupying all my spare time for the next few weeks.
I've got in a bit more hand applique, I'm excited to show the results, but I'm 5 circles away from officially finishing the top, so I'll wait another day to post that project.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Birthday, Canada

This flag is so beautiful and it stands for so many wonderful things! To all the Canadians, enjoy your day, you have so much to be proud of.