Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Finish, A Mystery & Winners

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
 Albert Einstein

I wanted to get my finished project blogged about yesterday but I spent most of the past two days in the road running errands.  I didn't get everything done Thursday so I had more to do yesterday.  I had an appointments to keep both days so I was afraid to try to start anything in the studio for fear of being late.  Christmas shopping is almost done but I have a stack of projects for gifts that need my attention.  Hopefully next week and this weekend will allow studio time.

A Finish

My finish is one you have seen before.  It is a charity quilt.  I decided to finish it although there are some ladies who like to stitch the binding down in the group.  That is a good project for some older ladies who don't or can't sew much any more.

Here is a good shot of the quilting.  I used a variegated YLI thread that went from blue to orange so it was perfect for this quilt.  I tried for some glamour shots.  Misty wasn't impressed by the quilt at all.

I did a scrappy binding with the leftover fabrics.  It turned out fine.

I think this shot was after washing.  The fabrics weren't prewashed before piecing.  It shrank some and the color catcher turned blue but there was no bleeding of color.

I tried something new and attempted to center the X on the back.  This is hard to do on the longarm as the layers shift as they are rolled up.  The tension put on the fabric is never exactly the same each time it is rolled either.  I think I did pretty good however it was only about an inch off when finished.  Not enough to be noticed visually.

Misty was one of the reasons for so many errands.  The groomer and the vet.  I'll have to get a picture of her new haircut.  You can see she was a little scruffy here.  She is 10 years old and has been suffering from skin problems this fall.  This is common with her breed but she has shown a little improvement this week.

A Mystery

Last Saturday I had a spike in page views here on my blog, over 2200 in one day.  I'm thinking that someone must have mentioned my blog on Instagram or Twitter because many used Google to find me.  Any of you wonderful readers out there know where this sudden interest come from?  Maybe some of my new readers found me that way.  I'm just curious.  It's nice to get some unexpected hits.

A Christmas Hang Out?

Welcome to ALL my NEW READERS!!!  Even while I've been delinquent in posting my numbers have been crawling upwards.  Thanks for having faith in my imparting something you want to read about.  I am about to hit 400 on Bloglovin.  I haven't check my other numbers lately but that is by far the largest one.  I know others use Feedly, GFC or email to get my posts too.  I'm thinking another drawing will be due soon to celebrate.  How about one to start off the New Year.

Most of my traffic lately, especially while I wasn't posting, was to check out my posts about Christmas projects and the Christmas Hang Out Linkys that I did the past two years.  I have not done any promotion for one this year.  I have been running them the week before Christmas.  If you are interested in having one this year I will be glad to do it.  I was thinking that a theme of Table Toppers would be nice.  This could be anything from Table Runners to Mug Rugs or Placemats.

If I have at least 10 people who want to participate I will do it.  I think I would leave it open until New Years.  That way the Christmas Rush will be OVER and you will have time to think blog again.  If you have a tutorial for anything that will fit the theme let me know and I can feature it one day.

As I have done in the past I would have a Giveaway for those who participate.  I will make a decision Monday according to those who comment this weekend.  If I don't have at least 10 who are interested in linking up I will just skip this year and do one next year.

The Winners!

Thanks to all who commented on the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway.  I used Random. org to select the winners this morning.  Here are the Lucky Numbers that came up.  I will get the gifts on their way to you when I have your snail mail addresses.

#51 Cindy Dahlgren
#55 Debbie
#47 Lisa
#45 Crickets Corner


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Zip It Up

My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch on fire or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one cares. Why should you? 
Erma Bombeck

As I said I have been exploring what I can do with my embroidery machine.  These zipper bags are from one of the design discs that caught my eye.  The zipper was stitched on in the hoop and the backing can be too.  I decided that I would prefer to have them lined so I didn't do that step and added the lining.  

I used a quilting design from another design disc to quilt thimbles all over the backing.  They would show up better on a more solid fabric.

Here is the second one I made.  I just quilted the back of it with straight lines, I forgot to get a picture.  I got the corners to turn out a little sharper on this one.  I love the saying it fits me to a T.  LOL

I love the swirling thread and needles.  It takes most of an hour to stitch this out.

I thought you might like a close up of the iron and spray bottle.  

The other saying on the disc are all ones I want to stitch out.  I might want to make something other than the bags with them though.  This is another Anita Goodesign creation.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Thanksgiving Projects

Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse. 

Henry Van Dyke

We had a great Thanksgiving gathering!  All my kids and grandkids were there.  The turkey was beautiful (sometimes they look a little sad) and the food was all good.

When I was shopping at JoAnn a few weeks before Thanksgiving I saw this fun fabric and it just jumped into my hands.  I had to use it for something.  I also have been exploring my embroidery machine and trying to get comfortable with using it.  Here is what I made.

The fabric says Gobble, Gobble, Gobble and Gobble till you Wobble.  I had some brown rick rack in my stash of assorted trims that I used in the edge.  The turkey is from Anita Goodesign.  I used batting in the middle and quilted around the turkey and around the inserted square.

This one was ready for a nap and not too happy when I remembered to get the camera.  
The bib was a little big for her but she will be able to use it next year too.  She is 6 months old now and they both have blue eyes.  Cute little cousins don't you think?

I also made a nice tablecloth for my odd sized dining table but I forgot to get a picture of it.  I even drafted the pattern so it would fit well.  With the leaf in the table measures 56" x 76" and you can't find a one to fit in the store.  Round ones to use without the leaf are either a little short or a little long.  I use some of them anyway but need to make one that fits better.  I have the fabric that I bought about 5 years ago but haven't made it yet.  Now that I have the circle drafted I should be able to get it done.

Don't miss the Giveaway on yesterday's post if you haven't read it yet.  I'll be back to share some more of my finishes soon.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

The human contribution is the essential ingredient. It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live. 
Ethel Percy Andrus

It's Giveaway Day!  
Let's Celebrate the Season of Giving!

Since I have been away from my blog for a while I thought I should treat my readers to a Giveaway.  I am giving away patterns and there will be 4 Winners!  

I'm offering a variety so maybe you will like at least one of them.  If you haven't been to my blog before I hope you will take the time to look around.  I post when I have things to share and since I didn't even post once during November I am a bit behind.  I have made a few things and even finished them!  Maybe the shock of actually finishing the things I started was too much for my system.  LOL  Either that of hitting the big 60 back in October has thrown me for a loop.  Whatever it was I think I'm over it now and have a bunch of pictures of what I have been up to ready to share in the next few days.

So if you like Santas, Angels, Trees or Snowmen you should like a chance to WIN.

These Santas have been dieting.  The single one would look great on a door.

Some days are tougher than others so you might want a few angels 
watching over you.  This sweet applique project would be fun even if you decided 
not to add the scalloped border.  I added a close up of this one.

Not into applique?  How about piecing or embroidery.  These trees and houses
could fit in with your Holiday decor or most any Season.

If snowmen are more your style you could win these 2 patterns.  
The one above is for some little ornaments or a lapel pin. 
The wreath below could warm your home all winter.
They are made with cotton batting and can be dressed
in recycled  shirts or sweaters.

Giveaway has ended.

Leave a comment below as to whether you prefer Santas, Angels, Trees or Snowmen.

Make sure you leave your contact info if you are a no reply blogger.

My followers, new or old, my leave an additional comment for a second chance to win.  Just state how you follow my blog in a second comment.  If you would like to say what you have read on it that you liked best that would be great too! 

Giveaway closes at 5pm PST Friday, December 12.  Winners will be announced this weekend.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Learning the Art

To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living. 
Henri Frederic Amiel

Well, I have been getting a few things done but obviously not blogging about them.  October started out as it always does with my birthday a few days into it.  This was a big one ending in 0.  My husband and I went to the movies and then did a little shopping for me ;-)  then he left me alone for the evening and went to a football game.  The next day my oldest son hosted our whole family at his house for dinner.  It was really nice for all of us to get together.  With 4 adult children it is hard to make schedules mesh for that to happen.  Soon it will be time for Thanksgiving and hopefully it will happen again.  I'll be hosting that this year.

I finally got a quilt loaded on the longarm and have been quilting it.  I'm planning to get it finished this week.  Here is a peek.

I'm doing a pantograph on it.  This is a charity quilt that has been hanging around for too long.  It is a fun one I think.  I had fun making it last year while I was avoiding the stairs because of knee problems.

I pieced the back and am trying to get the design centered more or less.  I will see how good my planning was soon.  Here is a look at it from underneath. 

And a longer shot.  Homespuns aren't everyone's favorite but these are fun and bright.

I also got my Soul Searching top finished.  Yeah!!! I decided to depart from the pattern and added a row of Black and White strips between the blocks vertically.  

I would have added two rows but it would have made it too long.  That would have been more visually balanced since there are two squares between the colors horizontally.

Here is a view from the other direction.  How do you think it turned out?  Do you like the added rows between?  Should there be two?

I have been doing these blocks each month with the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.  I had big plans at the first of the year to work on 3 projects but I've only made progress on 2.  That's OK.  I think I will just save the other one for next year.  Maybe I can get the 30s print one finished this year.

Linking with:  Design Wall Monday  and  Anything Goes Monday  and  So Scrappy

Sunday, September 28, 2014

One of My Designs

I'm always thinking about creating. My future starts when I wake up every morning. Every day I find something creative to do with my life. 
Miles Davis

At last I got something finished.  It's finally a top with borders attached!  Of course it still isn't quilted.  I'll just add it to the que of dozens waiting for that attention.  Obviously my creative strength lies in the design and creation department not the finishing one.  I must have been thinking about something new when they were passing that one out.

Want to see?  I have thought about writing this one up as a pattern.  Let me know what you think.  It is not a complicated one at all.  I just got hung up on getting the borders on.

The triangles started out at 10 inches so the top is a large lap size.  I need to measure it.

The colors didn't photograph very true.  The blue is a bright turquoise and the purple nice and rich.  This is the center.  The colors are better in the next two pictures.

What I was trying to do with the borders was to give it a 3 dimensional look like the purple was floating beneath the rest of the quilt.  I think is was moderately successful.

This close up above show how the angle is continued in the outer border.  This would look better done with different fabrics but I made the design decisions after sewing the center of the top together.  This was designed on the wall working with the squares already sewn.  I usually make up new designs in EQ7 and then go to the fabrics.

I don't work with novelty prints too often but I have whole bolts of these.  The tone on tones I only had what is in the quilt of the blue and yellow.  I think I have a bit more green.  I will use the small patchwork print for binding.

Now for just something pretty.  Back in the Spring I bought 4 dahlias and this is the first one to bloom.  It now has another bloom open.  These were supposed to get about 3 or 4 feet tall.  It is about 2 feet tall and the others are shorter than that.  One other one has a bud.  Hopefully we will see a few more flowers before frost.  Maybe they will be bigger and bloom earlier next year.  This bloom isn't as big as my hand.  My Mother had some that were 6 or 7 feet tall and had blooms the size of a plate.

We also planted a peony bush that also hasn't done anything but it isn't dead yet.  Our hard red clay is tough on plants.

So that's my big reveal for the day.  I also have the rows together on the Soul Searching quilt but I need to cut and sew the Black & White Prints I'm going to add for a horizontal sashing.  I didn't get it done today because I took a nice nap.

So let me know what you think of the top.  I can't wait to read your comments.  I also need a name for this one.  Any suggestions?

Linking with:  Design Wall Monday and Anything Goes Mondays and 
                         Linky Tuesday  and Fabric Tuesday

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Fabric and Ideas

We live in a web of ideas, a fabric of our own making. 
Joseph Chilton Pearce

Ahhh!!!  New fabric!  The smell, the touch of it, the ideas and possibilities it ignites within our soul.  Is there anything like a little retail therapy to a quilter or sewist?  If you can't make it out to a store even petting the stash will get your brain firing with more ideas than you can find time for.  But then if I didn't dream up new things to keep me going I would be very, very sad and bored.

So I went to this show for a day.  I usually go for several days but not this time.  There were some really wonderful quilts there and enough vendors to significantly lighten my bank account.  I think it would have been a better show if they had accepted entries of quilts for judging and prizes.  The ones there were wonderful but I like to see what regular non-published quilters make too.

So what did I find to buy?  Many things but not some of the things I had on my list.  This little hedgehog potholder pattern was just too cute to pass up.

This Sew Together Bag has been featured on many blogs this year.  I think I might like to try my hand a one or two of them.  I have a huge stash of zippers that I should put to use.

I haven't made my granddaughter anything to wear.  These two patterns look like they would fit her style.

This bag pattern includes three different bags.  It called to me for some reason.

If you have been reading my blog for very long you know I have a thing for owls.  The fabrics on the bottom are a heavy linen/cotton blend that will be just right for a bag.  The top one is a cool Alexander Henry print that I think would be great for the lining.

This collection of prints really appealed to me!  It's full of art supplies and quotes.  Maybe it will end up as the art supply tote.

Then there were these that jumped into my had just because...

I'm sure you can see the appeal!  These are all one yard cuts and they got very heavy to tote around the show.  I also picked up a few kits and baubles for making jewelry on my Kumihimo loom.  Can you believe there aren't any batiks?  I will have to remedy that oversight in the near future or maybe I already have.

I should get off the computer and into the studio.  I have things to get done there and more projects to plan.

Linking with:  Freemotion by the River

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chaining Blocks Together

America is not like a blanket: one piece of unbroken cloth, the same color, the same texture, the same size. America is more like a quilt: many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven and held together by a common thread. 
Jesse Jackson

Want to see more green?  I should have shared these back in August but as I said in my last post I was distracted by other things happening in my life.  So here are some of my green blocks.

I can't say that 30s prints are my favorites but they do make me smile!  I have learned over all the years of quilting that I have under my belt that with blocks that have directional triangles that it is best to chain piece the blocks together after the smaller units are done.  If you do this the chances of getting the triangles turned wrong are much smaller.

Here is what I do:

First make all the smaller units

Next sew the first two units in each row of the block together.
If you look closely you can see the threads connecting the block rows.
(They would have gone through the machine sideways to what is pictured.)

Next add the last row still leaving the threads uncut.  The last thing to do is to sew the last two seams going across the block.  I made 48 blocks for this quilt and only twice did any of the triangles get turned in the wrong direction. I don't think any of the 4 patches did.   I usually work on a group of about 6 blocks at a time chaining through the same step on each of them.  When I work is small groups of blocks I always get a few finished blocks done even when I don't have a lot of time at the machine.  Nothing like a little immediate gratification!

Of course not all blocks are nine patches.  This method can be used no matter how many rows or pieces are needed.  I also use the same method for joining blocks into rows to complete the quilt top.

I hope this simple tip will save you some time and keep you from having to pick out things that get turned the wrong way.  If you have any hints that save you time leave them in the comments below.

Linking with: Anything Goes Mondays

Saturday, September 20, 2014


The dignity of the artist lies in his duty of keeping awake the sense of wonder in the world. In this long vigil he often has to vary his methods of stimulation; but in this long vigil he is also himself striving against a continual tendency to sleep. 
Marc Chagall

I didn't mean to be gone for so many weeks!  August was a bit crazy with day trips and the need to run hither and hon for various appointments.  My dear sweet doggie has been plagued with various allergies that made her restless and kept us awake for many nights.
She is now getting better after several trips to the vet and we are getting a little more sleep.

September started off nice with some of my kids coming over for a while Labor Day.  The rest of the week didn't go so well.  I had an unexpected trip to the ER with a kidney stone.  Fortunately it was gone in about 48 hours but it took a few more days to get the drugs out of my system.  Can't say that I enjoyed that experience at all.  Pain that intense isn't fun at all!!!  Needless to say I didn't get much done for a few days.

Happily I'm back to normal again!  I have made progress on a few things.  Want to see?

I made my last two Soul Searching blocks.  I had skipped August because I wasn't sure I wanted another green.  I love the orange one!  Then after thinking about it for weeks I decided that I would make a dark green one.

So what do you think?  Now I have nine made and can sew them all together.  

Back in August I also made some more 30s blocks in green.  Don't seem to have those pictures loaded from the camera yet so I'll share those later.

I went to the Quilting Live Show last week.  I had wanted to go to Chattanooga to the
AQS show but after feeling poorly for a week I decided not to push it by being on the road alone.  I think that was the right decision.  We also had to cancel a weekend in the mountains because of my wonderful little kidney stone.  Who knew that something the size of a split pea could cause so much trouble?

I managed to console myself at the Show with some shopping.  I'll share pictures of some of the goodies I bought next time.

I've been making progress on a few other things too that I'll be sharing soon.  I've actually been getting some borders sewn on to projects!  This is a good thing!  I would hate to show you how many tops I have that are all done except for the borders.  I hope to get two that were design issues done this weekend.  Maybe I'll get the nine Soul Searching blocks on the design wall too!

Linking with: So Scrappy and Patchwork Times
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