Archive for the ‘Quilting’ Category

You Are Never Too Old For Toys

April 17, 2019

My daughter sent me a box of Harry & David treats, and I discovered that kids and cats have it right after all. The cardboard box is always part of the gift – in this case, the insert in the box that kept the tower of treats from rattling around during shipping. I set it aside to use for elevation at displays. I will drape some fabric over it, then lean things against it, put something light on top of it, or surround it with ribbon to draw attention to my booth. Then I noticed that the little cut-outs looked like eyes. “Self,” I said, “you’ve got a mask here.” So I decorated it.

Oh, yeah, we’re having fun now!

Luck and wisdom!

Waiting for the Reveal

April 10, 2019

I am making progress with the PIPs (Projects in Piles), but nothing to photograph. Luckily, the front yard is in the process of blooming, which illustrates the way I feel about the last couple of weeks of work. I put borders on three UFOs (UnFinished Objects), and made backs for them. I suppose I could photograph the tops but I would prefer to wait until they are done. They’ll be donated when completed, but before I can get to the quilting I need to finish a few simple sewing projects. In the meantime, I will enjoy the message of the flowers – patience + perseverance = progress.

Luck and wisdom!

Display Block Doggie

April 3, 2019

I took a workshop from Nancy Brown last month. She does beautiful hand applique, and teaches her students how to get the same results. Here is the dog I made from her Labrador Retriever pattern.

I knew I would never get a full quilt out of this one block, and didn’t feel like keeping it around until I get through my other projects and can make brothers and sisters for old Blackie here. Instead, it will become a Display Block for my guild’s collection. These blocks go up at our guild outreach events, at local libraries, wherever we are offered a chance to talk about quilting. It’s much better for someone else to enjoy the block than for it to languish at the bottom of one of my piles, yes?

Luck and wisdom!

Picking (Up) The Low-hanging Fruit

March 27, 2019

My plan to sort through the piles is working, and I think I’ve hit on the “organizational” scheme that will see me through. I’m working on the piles on the floor near my sewing machine. I can see them, reach them, and I’ll have instant feedback of success because there won’t be as much to leap over. This week I am working on two class projects that I determined from the beginning would become donation quilts. This is what the basket class project became:t

I found a cute flannel for the back, and decided to machine applique some of the animals in and around the baskets.

The binding is a stripe I had thought would make a good handle fabric. It didn’t, but I still wanted to use it, so binding it is. The top is busy enough that I did an overall loopedy-loop quilting design. The quilt is labeled and ready to donate, I’ve put away all the leftover fabrics, and I’m ready to start the next project. Is this what progress feels like?

Luck and wisdom!

To The Sea Again

March 20, 2019

When I finished this quilt and showed it to my husband, he said, “Well, that’s clever, to have the sailboat surrounded by a boat.” I almost refrained from admitting that I hadn’t intended to piece the sea so it looked like a another ship, but I’m happy he likes it all the same. I decided I didn’t have the energy to quilt in more than a few words, so all I wrote was “to the sea again.” That’s also the title of the piece.

I used the fabric at hand, partly as an exercise in creativity, partly out of laziness, and I used a modified improv piecing technique. I wanted the sand and the sky to angle a bit, but I did use rulers to make sure I had a clean edge. Rather than try to fit the angle where the sky meets the palm trees, I sewed the strips part of the way, then folded back the tree fabric, finger-pressed the seam, and used the crease as my guide. When I was finished quilting, I trimmed the bottom so that the sand  ran at an angle, and squared the rest of the quilt against that line.

Luck and wisdom!

Sailboat Block

March 13, 2019

One of the Progressive Projects had us doing individual blocks of houses or transportation. This sailboat, although lovely, didn’t fit in the quilt I envisioned with the other blocks. I kept it aside for “the perfect project.” Now it is one of my PIPs (projects in piles), and it will be made into something.

I read that humans like pictures of meadow-like landscapes surrounded by trees because we evolved in that environment. I prefer seascapes to meadow-scapes, but the palm tree fabric gave me the idea of combining the two views. The next problem to solve is how to quilt it. I’m auditioning phrases that incorporate the word ocean or sea so I can use this for the Challenge assignment, “Use Your Words.” Getting double or triple duty out of one block would please me out of all proportion.

Luck and wisdom!

Decision Tree for the PIPs

March 6, 2019

I jumped into a new PIP (project in piles), and both succeeded and failed. While the part of the project I worked on went as the instructions promised, the product isn’t what I expected. Now I have to make choices, and I think a decision tree will be useful not only for this PIP but all the others.

My plan was to make a bunch of new tote bags from a collection of brocades. The good news is the bag turned out exactly like the pattern. Actually, this is astounding news. I can’t remember the last time I followed a new pattern and ended up with a replica of the picture in the book. Unfortunately, I didn’t understand all I was seeing in that picture, which is why the good news is also the bad news.

The tote bag is pretty enough, and well-made enough, but it isn’t functional enough for me. The handles don’t feel right, and it isn’t as large as I thought it would be (yes, I read the dimensions before I started – don’t ask me why I expected something different). So, I’ll spend the next few days on my decision tree, deciding whether to abandon the project entirely and fold my brocades into a different project or use a different pattern for more bags. Whatever happens, I’ll probably call this particular PIP finished. The beauty of decision trees is you can follow at least one branch to a conclusion you find satisfying.

Oh, drat, that’s a new project – a quilted decision tree!

Luck and wisdom!

The New Challenge Begins

February 27, 2019

I finally decided how to approach my new challenge to finish half of the projects I can reach. Since most of my projects are in random stacks I’m calling this the PIPs Challenge – Projects in Piles. Many of those stacks are on the floor, so that’s where I’m starting. Rather than trying to catalog the projects ahead of time, I’ll see what I find when I peel off the next layer. The top you see began with four demonstration blocks and a collection of fabric that had a watery theme. The main border fabric reminds me of a swimming pool.

I’m hoping that a side-effect of working through the piles on the floor first will be that I can reach the projects at the bottom of my shelves. Those of you who have seen my studio know this is not a trivial task. Some of those projects have been waiting there so long they may have evolved into something else, perhaps with language skills and a higher devotion to tidiness than I have achieved. I’ll keep you posted.

Luck and wisdom!

Completing the Challenge!

February 20, 2019

I am working on the last project for the guild’s Unfinished Quilt Challenge. This is actually project 14 on my original list of 18. I turned one project into a tote bag and one project was shared early by mistake, so I’m completing more than 12 projects in this year-long challenge.

This top started with a square that my grandmother had marked to embroider. She used the famous blue pen, which is supposed to wash out but probably won’t as it has been sitting there for at least 25 years.

I may attempt to take out the blue dots by carefully applying water with a cotton swab. If that doesn’t work, I can always bead over them, or just keep them as a design element that will anchor the piece in a specific time of quilt history. As long as I’m finished, I’m going to be happy with it.

Luck and wisdom!

Fabric Design = Quilting Pattern

February 13, 2019

I hate to mark quilting patterns. Sometimes I’ll quilt loops or leaves when nothing else comes to mind, but this quilt included fabrics that didn’t call out for either. The fabrics convinced me to use their designs for my quilting pattern.

I didn’t concern myself with restricting the quilt design to the square. If there was a flower that I could extend to the next square, I did.

By the time I finished the center, I felt comfortable enough to try outlining most of the butterflies in the border.

Next time you just can’t make yourself mark even a simple grid for your quilt, listen to the fabrics. You might like what they suggest.

Luck and wisdom!