Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Setting Goals

In order to get anything done there needs to be a plan right?  Well for me the plan needs to be put into small obtainable goals.  I've found that if I work in the more long term fashion it doesn't work.  Long term?  Okay let's say I want to have this quilt quilted by Friday.  That's long term, but if I break it down into days or hours its more attainable.  So the plan WAS  I want to quilt at least 4 bobbins of background fill.  To me that's obtainable since this background fill is kinda dense.  It's an intense background fill, not at all relaxing.  But the finished look is well worth the effort,  so working in small chunks of time is necessary in order to let me relax and get ready for the next intense quilting session.  So the plan was 4 bobbins.....
 ...then finish invisible machine applique on the last 4 of these.  By that time it should be around noon and I can mow the grass and do some weeding in the flower beds before the rain comes tomorrow.  
That was the plan yesterday.  And one bobbin into the plan and low and behold my dear momma calls.  Plans came to a screeching halt!  She woke up with her neck out of whack, and is very dizzy, which means an emergency trip to the Chiropractor to put her neck back in place.  Why?  Because Wednesday she has an appointment (I'm the chauffeur again) to have the blood flow to her brain checked and when her neck is out whack the blood flow is being pinched off.  If she fails this test they want to do stint...sigh...She can't drive when dizzy and she won't drive into the bigger city on Wednesday by herself, I'm not complaining just stating a fact.  Momma is tad bit spoiled but that's a topic we'll skip.  
In my jammies at 8:15 a.m. talking to momma, by 8:35 I'm dressed and out the door.  By the time I get home it's 1 pm...so...quilting time has passed and I'm now into mowing time.   The yard is now well groomed, and everything on my list is done but the sewing.  So I'll try once more today to reach this goal.  
Do your best laid plans end up like this?

Until next time "Quilt out of Your Comfort Zone!"
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Monday, June 24, 2013

Design Wall Day

Good Monday morning!  Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!  Just a quick reminder that it's that day of the week again.  Where I share my design wall over at  Patchwork Times.  Judy has a great blog and shares so much, patterns, cooking, canning, gardening and life in general.  Hop on over and see what she and others are gabbing about!
Here in Podunk, Saturday was spent working on my newest design.  For those of you that are new, all the applique on this quilt is made from men's shirts.  A much needed break from this quilt this week as I finish quilting my pieced cherry quilt that's on the frame.
The plan is to add Connie and her late husbands names to the center motif and the date they were married.  Maybe plaid centers on the flowers, and more smaller blocks with more birds....Hopefully while quilting on the frame this week the creative juices will fill by brain on how to finish up Connie's quilt.
What color would you put in the center of the white and yellow posies?  Maybe the buttons from the shirts?

Yesterday our power was out for 6 hours!  So the better part of this 6 hours was spent retraining my brain not to flip the light switches.  It's amazing what we take for granted.  I could go on and on about woes of trying to wind bobbins, listen to radio...It's sad but funny!  
So I straightened the fabric storage a bit and did a little reorganizing.  
The cabinets...somewhat organized now.
The baskets below previously held my long term projects, BOM's, hand work and such.  Now they will hold the fabrics and things related to the current WIP, thus keeping my cutting table clear.  
So where's the things that were in the baskets?  I shoved them in the cabinet!  See all those baggies.  It'll do for now until I can find a box or other storage.
 Until next time "Quilt out of Your Comfort Zone!"

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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Change of plans

Have a plan, but no one says you must  stick to the plan.  So while making a basket block last night I had an epiphany.  Less basket blocks, design another 12" block, one large medallion.   
Only half of the medallion is shown, because its basically  mirror image so no need for me to draw both sides.  Depending on the decision on how to set the other blocks the center design will be 30" or larger.  Sorry for the bad pictures, 15 were taken and  they all were less than perfect.

Hopefully by the time I get the center pieces glued down I'll come up with a plan  for rest of the quilt.  Might need to bring those birds out into the other 12" block....HMMM....
Until next time "Quilt out of Your Comfort Zone!"

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Getting the bugs out

Before I gross you out, as my kids would say, I'm gonna show you something nice. It will help to ease the grossness.  These aren't sewn down yet, there's just enough plaid shirts to make 12 different baskets.  I'm leaning towards a large more impressive basket for the center medallion which will be over 30" square if I sash these smaller blocks.
Okay now if you don't like bugs then this where you kindly leave.  I'm being invaded by Rollie Pollies!  They do absolutely no harm to anything in the house because they eat decaying leaves.  They're just lost. They come in and because there's nothing decaying in here they die.   I swept the entire floor last Friday, (I sweep almost daily, but getting under stuff only once a week or so.)  and look!  This is whats behind the Longarm.  YUKKKY!  
After doing some online research it seems that these little boogers are pretty hard to  kill.  There's a spray but we can't use anything harmful to our Beehives which are already having a bad time.  The picture below is what a bad hive looks like.  Basically this shows what a bunch of dumb male bee's will do, Make a mess!  The hive needs a new Queen, so I suppose its your typical bachelor pad.
Well we found a product that's not harmful to us or the bee's but will kill the Rollie Pollie and several other unwanted pests.  Diotomaceous Earth,  It's not a chemical, Its a mined product from within the earth, what I understand it will cut them to death.   Sounds horrible, but whats a gal to do?  The only draw back is as soon as it gets wet its non effective.  We're having an extremely wet year here in Podunk.  I had to find the source of the bug outside and of course it's right outside the door that you see, the north side of the house it a breeding ground for Rollie Pollies.   And how do I know this?  Two weeks ago when transplanting Hosta's just outside this door, when I pulled back the landscaping stone ....I was so glad I had on gloves....girls I'm telling you I've never had so many bugs in my hands....yuk.  They do good work in compost piles, like worms, but they also will destroy tender young seedlings, which we've had problems with in the last couple of years.  
Okay I promise not to gross you out anymore.
Until next time "Quilt out of Your Comfort Zone!"

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tulip Basket

After a full day of working on the shirt quilt, the ideas that flooded my brain were trapped and needed out.  At midnight last night I decided to just go work on some of it because I wasn't going to sleep until I did.  So I rummaged through the kitchen cabinets looking for just the right shape.
So glad I didn't throw this stained bowl in the trash, it worked perfectly!
Wanna see whats under that bowl?  TADA!  Shadowing on the tulips means more work,  I can leave it, cut a piece of muslin to go inside each flower or cut away from the backside.  Stems?  It would be cuter!  Maybe, if there's enough of the leaf fabric when I get all the blocks assembled.  The leaf fabric is from a large stripe on one of the shirts, so if I'm careful with my cutting, maybe on the stems.   Notice the button, it's also from the shirts.  And that background fabric is an old sheet that Connie sent in the large bag of shirts.  It might be a booger to quilt, but I've worked with sheets before, its all about finding the right needle and thread combo, I think its manageable if I don't quilt it to death.  
Okay Connie only 11 more blocks to go!  You gonna help me stitch them down!...LOL!
Until next time "Quilt out of your Comfort Zone!"

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Monday, June 17, 2013

Whats on the wall Monday!

Good Monday morning!  How is everyone on this totally fantabulous day?!  Yes I said Fantabulous!  Before I get to my stuff this morning I want to let you know I'm linking up with Judy once again.  Anyone can link up so if you have a blog and something to share hop on over to Judy's blog and link up!  We're all nosey and would love to see what you're stitching up!  Also giving out a big Cheery, come on in wave to all the new followers!
Okay now onto my design wall.  This weekend was spent working on Connie's quilt.  It's moving along very quickly.  Hoping to have it completely pieced by Wednesday morning.  It's so nice to work on something inside that comfort zone, it's mindless sewing of squares, allowing my brain to think about other not so comfortable projects, let's the creativeness seep into the chaos that goes on in my brain.
 The shirt blocks still need to be snowballed.  The pattern for the shirts is called "Aloha Shirts"  by Beyond the Reef.  
 I've already cut the squares for the snowballing...and of course there's always time for a little drafting on graph paper.  

Barely even made a dent in the shirts!  I've got some ideas brewing for another quilt.  Something a little more girly...I know Connie is reading this post so I can't tell...LOL!  She hates surprises...hang in there Connie, when I start making them I'll let you in on the secret.  Let me tell you how much she hates surprises.  Her neighbor was out of town for a few days and they had ordered a package.  It was delivered to her house for safe keeping.  Long story short, it drove her nuts till he came, then she made him open it on her porch so she could see what was in it!  I believe her words when telling me the story were "I was about to crazy with that box here and not be able to open it!"  What was in the box?  I don't remember I was to busy laughing at her!
Until next time "Quilt out of Your Comfort Zone!"
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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Just Thinking

Quilters, we come in many different packages.  Some quilters spend more time collecting fabric and patterns than the actual process of quilting.  Some start projects, shove them in the closet and never complete the piecing let alone the quilting and start another that too will get the shove.  And then there's the "I'm taking a quilting class" quilter, that can only complete a quilt with a crowd.  And of course don't forget the quilter that is always looking at fabric and patterns but hardly ever buys a thing.  An the ideal quilter, designs her quilt, purchases the fabric, makes it start to finish before starting another.  Which one are you?  Me I'm a collaboration of all.  But I think my biggest issue is searching for the next project, looking for inspiration.  There's days when I think I should start selling all my books and fabric.  Just start fresh, get rid of all those UFO's also.  And become "The Finisher", "The Ideal Quilter".  Why?  Because look at this!  I was cutting into Connie's shirts, but in my mind I was designing "The Next Big Thang".  And before I knew it I had went through every magazine in the cabinet.  Do I plan on making these?  Well heck no!  I just need INSPIRATION.  It's the crazy plan of plucking an idea from here and there, and make it your own.  Sticking with a pattern is close to impossible.  
 The ones that I thought would work with the new studio theme "RED"
 Well you know Independence Day inspiration...
 Oh look at this nice vintage pattern...
And that's how it goes, everyday!  There's a quilt on the frame, a quilt by the sewing machine that in process and one on the cutting table and design wall.  One waiting on the frame, one waiting for a border before going into the flimsy pile.  We won't even talk about how many flimsy are waiting to be quilted.   I could go on and on but you get the idea, I'm not IDEAL.

Until next time "Quilt Out of your Comfort Zone!"
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Friday, June 14, 2013

Quilt it to death!

Quilted things kinda light on the borders.  Decided that I need to make the colors pop out.  And since this will be a display quilt and not a "Come Cuddle with Me" quilt I've made some changes to my normal quilting process.   I'm  using a medium loft poly for the puffy effect.  Normally when doing this much background fill I like to use a fine thread(100 wt) for 2 reason thread build up and bobbin life.  The choice of 60 weight was a mistake, I've already used 3 bobbins of white in background fill.  
Until next time "Quilt out of Your Comfort Zone!

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Connie's Shirt Quilt

This is my good friend Connie holding her first quilt block ever.  25 of these cute little shirts made from her late husbands clothing.  The project was started over a year ago.  She lost steam on the project after getting custody of her 6 yr old grand daughter.  So I've offered to finish.
The cutting table was empty and ready for a new project.  I've had these blocks and bag of cut up shirts for a few weeks(months) so it's time to get moving!
 Connie chose to have a royal blue and light blue fabric for the borders and sashing.  After playing around with ideas the decision has been made(by me) not to have a sashing.  She gave me the freedom to do as I pleased since I'm a more seasoned quilter, she trusted my judgement.  I think she'll love the change.  The snowball pattern will use up more of the shirtings.  There's enough of the yellow shirtings to make the center of each nine patch block.  Hopefully that will be enough to pull all the fabrics together.  As I sit here and look at the quilt, I'm wondering if pulling the blue into the quilt body would help or pulling the yellow into the border, maybe some shirtings in the border?  Piano key border?
In between cutting shirts I can work on this.  Yeah for mitered borders!  It took about an hour and half to sew those miters...hopefully this process will get easier.   Being that it was new to me, I pinned and repinned, peaked and repinned.  Unless a quilt needs straight borders this will be my standard from now on.  
Until next time "Quilt out of your Comfort Zone!"

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The quilt inspiration

A few weeks ago I was out doing my weekly errands and seen a yard sale sign.  Normally I would just pass on by because I'm one of those crazy people that have a schedule for day and that wasn't on the schedule.   For some reason on this day I slammed on the brakes and made a sharp left turn, leaving the scheduled path for a force out of my control.  Not even questioning the detour I spotted the junk infested driveway and promptly found a spot to park.  Do you size up a home by the way it looks?  I do, Looking at the yard and quick scan of the sale contents from the street I summed up that this must be an elderly couple.  So I started to scan the patrons and spotted her.  The cutest little gray haired old lady, smiling and chatting with a fellow gray hair.  Looking around she had many antiques priced way out of my yard sale comfort zone.  $200 for a cast iron rocking horse toy that I could hold in my hand!  My mind said get in the truck there's nothing here for you!  But as I browsed  I spotted this....
It's a little banged up but cute.  And only $2!  I had to have it, I knew at that point why my truck had taken a sharp turn.  Its a picnic basket.  Gray haired Gertrude came over and started telling me the story of how her and her husband had used this for many years for picnics.  It was on display in her home by the fire place until her great grandson plopped his butt down on it.  Now she's selling everything preparing for a move into a retirement home since her husband has passed.  And then that's when I spotted this
I asked about it.  She asked if I knew what it was.  Being polite I guess a Pee pot.  She rattled off some fancy name for it and then said "Yes it's a Piss Pot that belong to my mother and we all used it for many years."   I had to have it!  My mom would always say this phrase when talking about someone poor, "They don't have a Pot to Piss in nor a window to throw it out" So girls that's how my sewing studio colors have changed from blue's and yellows to red.  Inspired by an old lady that we'll call Gertrude and her loving husband that took the time for romantic picnics.  The Pee pot will now be my trash can by the sewing machine.  Instead of filling with crap I'll fill it with scrap.  Momma got a good chuckle when I called and told her I now have a pot to piss in and a window to throw it out.  
What inspires your quilting?  Do your quilts have a story to tell?  Quilts are pieces of my life and reflect a small piece of the story.  I think for the quilt labels I'll include "Gertrude and her loving husband" as the inspiration.

This picture has nothing to do with the rest of the story but it too has one.  The pin cushion  belonged to my Aunt that passed a couple of years ago.    She was a quilter and a seamstress.  Momma gave it to me yesterday.  Love the old pins even with the rusty spot it's a treasure.
Until next time "Quilt out of your Comfort Zone!"

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Take a Peek Tuesday

Yesterday was design wall Monday, today we'll call it Take a peek Tuesday.  So here's a peek at what I'm trying to get finished and on the frame.  Had I not decided to miter the borders it would be on the frame.   Stepping out of the comfort of straight borders and into a very uncomfortable miter border.  So I dragged out every Quilt reference book, and search the net for tutorials, and still I'm afraid to make those corner stitches.  
 It'll be this evening before I can get to this, today I'm spending the day with momma.  Girls day out!  Maybe I should move this to the floor marking and pinning those corners.  I'm up for advice on these corners if you have any suggestions.
 Look at all the red!  It's slowly taking over the Blue sewing room.  Can't wait to get everything quilted up and switched to red, so I hung the barn quilt even though it will need to come down when I paint.
Today I'll be looking for a border fabric for this one.  It would be nice to get it quilted and in the spare bedroom before summer is over and I change to winter quilts in that room.
Until next time "Quilt out of your Comfort Zone!"

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Cherry Blossom Marmalade Tutorial

Good Monday morning!   As promised here's a tutorial for how I made my Dresden with scallops.  Before we get started I'd like to apologize for picture quality.  My camera quit working so I had to grab Ross's camera(older).  It didn't like up close shots and I just couldn't make sense of the manual.  Well here we go anyway.
You can get the templates for the applique here and here.

  Fabric needed for one block
(20) 2.5 squares (Dresden blades)
(1) 3.5 square green(leaves)
(2) 1.5 x WOF (scallops)
(2) 3/4 x 3.5 brown (stems)
(1) 1 3/8 x 26 bias strip (circle frame)
(2) 2.5 squares (cherries) 
(1) 9" square white (pic shows circle because I cut mine before pic..OOPS)

 This is the ruler I used, marking with glow tape as shown in picture.  If you don't have this ruler the templates for this block are provided here and here

So lets get started by cutting all 20 blades 

Sew them together in pairs.

 Keep sewing till you have a complete circle, then press seams open.  I don't use steam throughout the entire process of making this block.

 Trim away these little wings sticking out.  It will make it easier to sew on the scallops later.

 Once trimmed it can be set aside for now.

Because I made this pattern into a full size quilt with 12 blocks I made 20 scallop templates.  It made the process move along quicker.  Also my templates are made by taking 3 sheets of regular freezer paper and ironing them together, then tracing my templates onto them.  You can use these many times and they still stick really well.  This is the 13th time I've used this set.  Once your template is made line the straight edge up with the straight edge on your fabric and iron them shiny side down, the waxy surface sticks to the fabric and will not leave a residue.  

 Now cut them apart.

 Trim away the excess fabric about 1/4 inch away from the template.

  Any type of fabric starch will work for this next step.  I prefer Sta-flo concentrated starch.  It's economical and I can mix it to the desired stiffness needed.  For this type of applique my mix is 1 part starch 3 parts water.  Of course you can mix it however you like.  Any spray starch will work, you do not need to use Sta-flo.  If using an aerosol starch, spray a little of the starch in the cap or a small bowl. 

 Using a paint brush apply starch to the exposed fabric.

Carefully press the seam in towards the template. 

 Only 19 more to go! 

The same method was used to make the leaves and circles for the cherries.

 The starch when dry will stick to these templates, I was trying to show you how I use my thumb to loosen the edges before trying to pull out the paper.  Instead you got a great pic of the background...

 Remove the freezer paper templates from all applique shapes.  After removing the paper, press the applique shape.

Fold the bias strip in half wrong sides together(do not press). Using a contrasting thread(the contrast will be helpful later) sew a very small seam, about 1/16" to 1/8" .  Repeat this on the 3/4" x 3.5" Brown stem pieces.  

 I use these pressing bars, but the next step can be done without them.  I chose the 1/2" bar for the larger blue fabric and 3/16" bar for the brown fabric to be used or the cherry stems.

Weather you use the bias bar or not for pressing the bias strips, try to keep the seam in the middle of the strip it will serve as a guide later.  But if it gets a little wonky or off it's no big deal.  As long as you can't see it from the other side it's fine.

Remove the bar after pressing and press again.  I gave mine a little shot of steam to help it lay a little flatter.   I know I said I didn't use steam, but there's an exception to every rule, and this is one of them.  I like my applique to be thin with sharp edges.  The steam helps remove any creases or lines caused by the pressing bar.

Carefully tuck one end inside the tube about a quarter inch.

Cut out your circle using the template provided.
For this next step I use Roxanne's glue baste.  Any basting glue will work.  Even Elmer's Washable School Glue works perfectly fine.

 This is when that contrasting thread come in handy.  Put a few tiny drops of glue on the edge of your circle.  I line up my seam with the edge of the circle, working in about 2" sections, use an iron to set the glue and move on to the next section until you make it all the way around the circle.

 Trim away excess leaving about 1" overlap.  Tuck the over lap inside the other end.  After you get it in just the right spot add a tiny drop of glue inside to hold it in place until stitched.

Tada!  A pretty framed circle.

 Lightly press in half both ways as shown below.  

Line up the pressed lines with the lines on the template

  Glue baste the stems leaving the top longer than needed and not glued.

 Apply glue to leaves only as shown below.

  Position your leaves then press them with an iron to dry glue.  Next place a pin in the middle where the two leaves intersect.

  Trim off the top of the brown stems  right next to the pin.

Finish glue basting down your leaves, then glue baste the circles for the cherries.

Press the Dresden in half both ways.  Depending on the look that you want you may want to use the seam in the Dresden for the center, I chose the middle of the Dresden blade. 

 Line up the pressing lines on the circle and the Dresden, using one drop of glue at each pressed line to secure.

Finish gluing your way around the circle.  

Lets start adding those scallops.  You can glue them if you would like but I chose to pin them in place. 

 These are going to overlap just a bit.  One at a time pin or glue each scallops in place.  The next piece will be line up with the seam that the scissors are pointing to.  Allowing the overlap on the previous piece.  

 Carefully stitch that famous quarter inch seam.

  Press lightly out towards the scallop, NO STEAM...just give them a little press.

  Now turn it over and press the seam open to help reduce the bulky seam.

Flip that baby over and give her a good steam pressing if you like.
Ain't she a cutie?
  It's ready to be appliqued to your project.

Below is my original Scalloped Dresden.  I love how changing the fabrics can change the feel of a project.  I'm calling the one above "As American As Cherry Pie".
 The original below is "Cherry Blossom Marmalade".  Click here see the quilt I made using this color way.

And the American as Cherry Pie version was turned into a pillow.  Click on the image below to see it along with a few tips for making the pillow.  It's not a tutorial.

~ Lea Anne ~

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