Monday, March 31, 2014

Where did it go?

 There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

After a very unproductive weekend I woke up this morning feeling a loss of time.  Where did my entire weekend go?  How does one have so much time and accomplish almost nothing?  The Twilight Zone is my only answer.  It couldn't be laziness or couch potato syndrome.   Between fading in and out of "The Zone"  a few cloth napkins were made.  For years I used cloth napkins.  With 3 kids of my own and babysitting up to 5 more it was the only way to go.  When divorced and living alone it just didn't make as much sense to use them.  I've noticed in the last few months that we use 1 to 2 rolls of paper towels a week.  That's way too much waste.  Relax I'm not tree hugger or one of those wackos that chains themselves to a bulldozer.  Some call me frugal, practical, minimalist and crazy!  The way I see it I'm killing two birds with one stone.   Using up some old stash and saving a few dollars a month.  
Using my 12.5 square up ruler I cut 10 of each ugly cheap fabric.  The plan was to use a rolled hem foot to finish the edges.  Well guess what?  I don't have a rolled hem foot.  Never fear, creativity is here!  Instead I used  my blind stitch/SITD foot.
Carefully folded in the corners using a mini iron.
Pinned them in place
Needle position as far left as I could go. Roll as I go, stitching a very small hem.

As long as I don't fall back into the Twilight Zone the last few should be finished today.  

~ Lea Anne~

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Freebies

Another week has just flown by.  Sadly I've no Friday finish to share. So I put together a collection of blogger freebies.
Barbara over at Cat Patches tickled me pink sharing her quilting woes and this free pattern.  
 How many times have you bought a layer cake then couldn't find a pattern.  It's the forgotten precut.   Trish from Notes of Sincerity  has designed several free layer cake patterns.  Her latest is "Bartholo-meow's Reef Boxes for Brayden".  Don't forget to check out her tutorials on the right side of her blog.
How darling is this!  What little girl wouldn't love to add this to their Tea Party!  
The tutorial along with some cutie patooties enjoying cake can be found at Stitchnquilt.  Elaine must be a little girl at heart!
Want to learn  applique and hand embroidery?  Cori from Creativity Among Chaos has tutorials each month for these amazing little fruits.   The real surprise will be the finished project.  She's keeping it a mystery.  You can join in the fun here.
Janet over at Simply Pieced happily took on the challenge of her first pattern tutorial in three sizes!  
Christa Quilts  has teamed up with Camelot Fabrics for her first free pattern.   Just follow the link within the blog post.  You might also want to check out her Aurifil thread  giveaway here.

~ Lea Anne ~

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

He's running wild!

Just wanted to warn you.  It seems the sewing gremlin is on the run and he may be heading your way!    He spent much of yesterday in my studio misbehaving.  My guess is that he snuck in while I was folding laundry.  Sneaky little (BLEEP)!  No one really knows how they get in or where they come from but I tell you he's real!  Possibly related to Big Foot.  You know the kind, sneaky, no actual proof that they exist, but it seems 1 in 5 people have an eye witness story to tell about the creature.   Who is he and what does he do?  The sewing gremlin sneaks in and causes machines and tools to malfunction for no apparent reason.  He loosens screws when your not looking, and have been known to sneak up while your cutting your favorite fabric and move the ruler.  

Long story short this was my day.

  1.  Expensive white quilting thread was stitching black.  It took 4 hours to find and fix this issue. 
  2.  Domestic machine skipping stitches and making bird nests on the bottom
  3.  Printer jams while printing a hand embroidery pattern.  
  4. My photo editing software locks up while editing yesterdays post. 
  5.  The stitch regulator sensor wheel falls off my longarm. 
  Calgon take me away?  I don't think so, I was thinking Irish Coffee where the heck are you?  Have you ever seen a movie where the actor gets mad and clears off a desk in one dramatic swoop.  Or they start grabbing and tossing expensive breakable items?  That's what ran through my mind, I could see myself having a fit, tossing my machines on the floor, beating them with hammers, ripping things off the wall.  Luckily my inner childlike voices have very little control over my actions.  But I'll tell you if I could find that little gremlin that caused all these issues may god have mercy on his soul!    
Beware!  He's gone for now, but he may be headed your way.  I'm not really sure because I didn't see him leave but I think he headed south.   So grab the sewing machine oil and curse real loud, it seems to run him off almost everytime.  In extreme cases you many need a lint brush and screw driver also.   Ranting and making a fool of yourself on the phone with a sewing machine dealer or computer tech seems to have an effect on him also.  Let me say I'm sorry if he happens to land at your place today.
Good Luck!

~ Lea Anne ~

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Almost Invisible

It's coming a long at a turtles pace.  Still quilting the first block.  It's more trial and error, finding the quickest route for quilting the block.  The pictures have been enlarged in today's post so you can see the stitching.  I'm using my favorite thread, Invisafil.   Super fine polyester thread, its 100wt is hairlike.  A little bit more expensive than most threads but cheaper than silk 100wt.  Soft Expressions  has the best prices that I can find.   However  having the best prices also means sometimes it's back ordered.  Well worth the wait.  The longest wait has been 2 weeks.  I can live with that.
It backtracks beautifully.  The numbers below show how many times I've stitched in the same spot.   Another great thing is I can use the same thread throughout the entire quilt.  On the picture above you can see how well it blends into the green tulip leaves.  
With any product there's pros and cons.  The only con(besides the price) is when burying my thread tails the self threading needle will shred this thread if I'm not very careful.  The trick is to hold the thread taunt.  And a little spit on the thread helps it slide right through.
picture borrowed from
~ Lea Anne~

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Falling back

Every quilter has there way of designing.  The younger generation uses a lot of techy gadgets, and the older ones paper and pencil.   It's stereotyping, forgive me, it's just an observation.  Granted some of you grandmas can show the young'ns a thing or two. Well I'm not sure I fall into either category.  Maybe somewhere in between a spring chicken and an old crow.  Maybe that makes me a Love Dove!  Sounds good anyway.
Normally a few quick markings on a quilt and the stitching begins.  For some reason that is not the case with this one.   
Falling back on an older method  used when first starting Longarm quilting.   Gathered up my tools.  Printed out a block in black and white, no need to use expensive color ink.  
 Draw and redraw, groan and moan.  4 ideas, one made the cut.
 A dry erase marker could be used, using a sharpie because it doesn't get on me or accidentally get wiped away until needed.  The rubbing alcohol makes quick work of this and dries fast. 
The day wasn't a total loss.  See, made a huge mess!    
 This is my way of concentrating.  Keeping the hands busy on a simple project while the mind is busy drawing designs. Once it comes up with a few ideas,  just grab the paper and pen and let it flow from brain to paper.   Crazy I know.  But while drawing I'm usually thinking about cooking a chicken or how to layout the garden.  The designs above were drawn at about 10pm after having my own private Strawberry Festival.

~ Lea Anne ~

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Monday, March 24, 2014

Podunk Poor

A few days ago Bev from 44th Street Fabric shared her love for GreenGate dishes and fabric.  Well what girly girl doesn't!  If you've never heard of these dishes you must hop over to Bev's to see what the fuss is all about.  To be honest I've seen them , just never took the time to find out who made them.  Wouldn't you just love to have a pretty little cottage all dressed up with GreenGate?  I would!  But fancy expensive dishes isn't at the top of my must have list.  So what's a Podunk Poor gal to do?  THRIFT STORE!  Okay these aren't as pretty, but they satisfied my need for pretty dishes.  Total spent just a little over $10.  The black and white plate and the candle was a gift from my niece at Christmas.  She's a thrifty college girl that handmade all her gifts this past year.  
While shopping for these my mom asked me what the heck I planned to do with all the mish mash of junk.  When I told her I planned to use them in the Studio she curled her nose and said "For What?"  For looking pretty that's what.  Moms....they just don't get it.

~ Lea Anne ~

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Covering my world with fabric

Yes I could cover almost everything with pretty fabric.  Remember the song by COKE back in the 70's?  "I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony, I'd like to buy the world coke...."   Okay...I've change the words and have been singing "I'd like to teach the world quilt in perfect harmony, I'd to sew the world quilt....."  You get the idea...yep teetering on the edge of lunacy.
Anyway...yesterday I spent most of the day doing the quilt stare, drawing and spritzing away the drawings.  This quilt hung on the quilt rack for months not quilted.  It was there so I could see it daily for when inspiration hit.  Well it never hit.  Its such a happy quilt that just screams SPRING, it must be finished.   I wanted to keep the quilting simple on the borders because they are so colorful, so that part has been easy.  
 After consulting all my quilting design books I came up with a few ideas.  You can see by the ghost markings that none of them were pleasing.  
I feel a quilting aneurysm coming after 6 hours of trial and error.  Step away from the quilt, you can't burn this one!!  Grab the first non quilted item you see and cover it with fabric.  Remember this?  That black stool needs a makeover.
The black legs will need to go as soon as it's warm enough outside to use spray paint.  Can't cover them with fabric!   Well I could but it wouldn't last long, I use this stool a lot.
 Oh yes, quilty satisfaction.  

~Lea Anne~

My inspiration picture for the day, I didn't make it, you can find it over at A Quilting Sheep.  I love Amy's quilts!   I see one of these quilts in my future, thanks for the inspiration Amy!

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Friday, March 21, 2014

It's not complicated

A simple table runner pattern calls for a simple quilting pattern.  Admitting that sometimes it's hard for me to do simple quilting.  Especially when I quilt on the frame.  My original plan for this runner was tons of ruler work and micro quilting.  While pinning this to the frame the internal battle began.  It took some convincing, reminding myself that it's "Git'er done mode".   Grabbed those handles on the machine I said just do it!  
Sometimes quilting out of your comfort zone doesn't necessarily mean doing something complicated.  
This quilting looks simple and some of you mastered it long ago and could do it in your sleep.  For me it was a challenge.  I do meandering, stippling all the time, on a smaller scale.  So my muscles automatically want to do small wiggles.  
Love the back, because I love to see quilting.  
This one is for Ross, so I put it on the Dining Room table where he could see it when he came home.  

~Lea Anne~

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

April Showers

Can you feel it?  It's coming, Spring is just around the corner. Actually today is the first day of Spring, but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature and the Weatherman.  Even though the weather is still a bit colder than normal, the little birds outside my window are getting more vocal in the mornings.  Earlier in the week while getting the mail I noticed that some of my spring bulbs are starting to peek through the mud and muck.  Can't wait to feel the warm sun on my face!  Of course with Spring comes lots of rain, it's better than snow, right?  Well in the spirit of Spring and my new found love for mini quilts, I designed April Showers.
The finished quilt is about 12 x 18.  It could be used as a placemat or mugrug.  I'll be using it for a wallhanging.

Can you see my quilted raindrops.  For some reason I just couldn't get a good picture of them.
 I drew them on with a water soluble marker,  and FMQ them on my domestic machine.  
Machine attached the quarter inch binding.  Oh there's those raindrops!
 The binding fabric before cutting.  Walmart clearance fabric from 10 yrs ago.  This is one of the first stash pieces purchased.
To make the quilting lines on the umbrella I used a dinner plate.  Wishing now that I had put some ricrac on the bottom edge of the umbrella.
The backing is one of those impulse buys, and then you wonder why you had the impulse.  
 So would you like to make one of your own?  If so you can find the templates here along with some general instructions.  In this PDF there is no setting template, only applique templates and measurements for the background fabrics.   The templates are already reversed for raw edge applique.   The picture below shows what you will get.  Enjoy!
Hop on over and see what other quilters are excited about!

~Lea Anne~

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