Tuesday, May 14, 2019

~ Assembly Line Sewing ~

Most non quilting people think quilters are patient.  That couldn't be farther from the truth.  As a quilter I know just how impatient I and other quilters can be.  I mean really lets be honest.  Almost  all of us have a drawer stuffed full of UFO's or WIP.  Why does this happen?   Could it be we lack patience?  Well of course!  We can't wait to start the next project.  We will give excuses for our lack of commitment to a project.  But really it all boils down to we don't have the patience to stay with that project from start to finish without interruptions.  You can deny it if you want, but you know deep down in your heart I'm right.  To me the ultimate patient quilter owns no rotary cutter or mat.  Their sewing machines are used only when an emergency mending is needed.  They don't keep count of how many quilts they made this year.  From start to finish these quilters take their time and use only the basic of tools.  

The rest of us however use every trick, tool and tip to get us to finish line as quickly as possible due to our lack of patience and still have UFO's hidden away.  It's hard to admit, I know.  Sure you're going to kid yourself by saying things like "work smart, not hard".  But to the ultimate quilter it's not hard to use the old fashion methods.  Now I'm not saying there's anything wrong with quick tips and tricks, I quilt by them everyday.  One of my favorite fast quilt making tips is assembly line sewing, speed piecing or chain piecing.  The discovery of this magical technique many years ago changed my quilting world.  I use it to make almost all my quilts.  We have become so accustomed to the tricks that we forget the newer quilters have no clue what we are talking about.  This very thing became apparent to me last week when quilting with my friend Judy.  She's fairly new to quilting but has be sewing for years.  As we quilted together and discussed many things, she brought it to my attention that she felt many quilt patterns are written with the experienced quilter in mind.  How very true.  Even I will add to my patterns "Basic quilting knowledge is required".  

With that being said I thought it would be a good idea to share my current quilt and the assembly line sewing I used to make the quilt go together super quick.  Most of the time setting up for assembly line sewing takes very little extra effort.  This quilt however took a bit more since it's scrappy.  I needed to lay out all the pieces to make sure no two fabrics touched.  How much extra time?  About an hours worth of work putting the pieces on the design boards.  (click here for design board tutorial)  Not all speed piecing requires design boards.  The blue fabrics below are an example.  In the video at the bottom of this post you will see examples of the two types of speed piecing mention, with boards and with out.

Speed piecing is a game changer once you get the rhythm down.  I'll admit it, the first few attempts at this years ago I failed miserably. The seam ripper and I became best buddies.   But like with anything, the more you do it the better you get.  My advice to anyone trying this for the first time is to take it slow and talk yourself through it so you don't need to break out the seam ripper. Making super scrappy quilts also helps because no one will now if you didn't use the fabrics as they were planned.   As long as the same two fabric don't touch it's sewn correctly!  The idea is to cut your thread as little as possible, just keep feeding the fabrics through your machine until you have no more fabric.  

There's also a technique called webbing quilt blocks where you don't cut the threads in between the pieces.   I used this method when making my Podunk Posy quilt. (all links to the Podunk Posy FREE pattern can be found here)  Cutting the threads in between isn't necessary if you are pressing the seams to the side.  This also keeps your blocks together with no fear of getting the patchwork out of order.  Not cutting threads is also a real time saver.  Not all blocks can be done this way but most can.  However if you will be pressing your seams open I don't suggest this method, it's easier to cut the threads as you go.  

#assemblylinesewing #quilttips #quiltingvideo #makersgonnamake #quiltersgonnaquilt #podunkpretties #quilting Pin It

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

~ Buzz Buzz Buzz ~

 Podunk is all a buzz with new bees.  Over the winter 2 of our hives died. Why?  Who knows.  It happens every year, at least one of our hives die.  We have one hive left that is thriving.  It's doing so well we almost can't keep up with those busy bees.  

Mr. Podunk likes to have more than one hive.  We use honey throughout the year and he also sells a little here and there.  It's a small hobby, something for him to tinker with in his spare time.  So how do you get bees?  Well you can split a hive.  Don't ask me how it's done because I'm clueless. I'm just the beekeepers wife.  Capturing swarms is another dangerous but free way of populating a hive.  Mr. Podunk has tried this a few times with no success.  So when all else fails you can buy bees.   We have a few local Beekeepers who have mastered the art of beekeeping.  They will take their hives to orchards or anywhere bees are needed for pollination. They also make money by letting newbies like us buy their overflow of bees.  Getting the bees is a simple process.  Mr. Podunk takes his bee boxes to the bee farm right before dusk.  The bee farmer removes his bee boxes from their stands and replaces them with our boxes.   Bees navigate by the sun, so when the bees come home around dark into their hive.....or so they think!  We basically kidnap them.  The opening to the hive is covered with a screen to prevent them from flying out during the ride home.  The bee filled boxes are then loaded into the back of our truck and we are headed home.

Mr. Podunk isn't taking any chances, he suits up for safety.  The chances of bees attacking at night are rare but you can never be to careful.  He has been beekeeping for 6 yrs.  With every sting from a bee his reaction to the sting gets worse.  Last year he was stung by 3 bees while performing a visual check on the hives.  His hand swelled up pretty bad.  An Epipen would be nice to have around but you know how tough guys think. " We don't need an over priced Epipen."  So I keep an eye on him (at a distance) when he messes with the hives.

 Some hives and bees are more aggressive than others.  The queen sets the tone for the hive.  If she's a grouchy gal so are her bees.  If you have an angry hive they say you can kill the queen bee, forcing the hive to make a new queen bee.  Most of the time killing the queen will calm the hive.  The hopes is the new queen will be nice and keep her worker bees calm after she takes power.  

Mr. Podunk would love for me to become a beekeeper also, but no thank you!  I keep my distance as he prepares to open the hives.

I took a quick photo of him removing the staples from the screen and then I high tailed out of there!  Taking no chances!  I don't want to be on the 11 O'clock news.

This morning the hives are showing very little activity.  Maybe they are getting used to there new home, maybe it's too early for them to be moving around. It's going to be a sunny day so they should be out and about soon.

As I turn to head back to the house, look who's keeping her distance.  Normally Khaleesi is right there with us checking the hives.  Makes me wonder if our curious little pup might have gotten stung.  That'll teach you to keep your nose out the honey jar!

With every new day she is slowly forgetting the neglect and abusive she suffered before us.  She's loving her new freedom and has become quite spoiled.  There's still many miles to travel down this road of recovery but she is making great progress.  We can't let her roam free just yet.  When outside she is on a 30 ft lead if we can't be outside with her.  When we take her for walks she has another 30 ft lead that allows her a little freedom from us but we still have control.  She also is trained on a normal short leash everyday.  But her favorite is the 100 foot lead we use when we are working outside or playing with her.  She loves her Kong tennis balls.  We have 2 of them in the house, 2 in garage and 2 in the yard.  This is like have a pacifier for a baby, you need extras, being without one isn't pleasant.  Even when we are busy Khaleesi will toss the balls around entertaining herself.  

We're working on playing fetch this week.  It's a hard concept for her to grasp. She hasn't quite got the bring it back to me thing down pat.  Most of the time we are the ones fetching the ball....who's teaching who?....LOL!  

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

~ Flower Sugar Rose Kiss ...Drool ~

Hello sweet quilting friends!  I received some happy mail recently and had to share it with you.  This is the new line of fabric from Lecien called Flower Sugar Rose Kiss.  The bundle was curated by Pat  
at Cottage Couture Fabrics .  Pat has a eye for pretty fabrics.  There's always a must have bundle in her shop.

I'm totally smitten with the pretty roses and scallops.  The line has a vintage vibe, especially the gingham decorated with scallops.  Imagine these made into pillows or a cute little apron!  Just darling!

The entire bundle is absolutely gorgeous but I'm crushing on the blues.  

 I can't wait to start cutting into these later this month.  Now to design the perfect pattern for these lovelies girls.  Something cute to show off the delicate roses.  It just screams girly girl.

For some reason the red in my photos is much to red.  My photo editing skills are weak, so I couldn't get them to show that this fabric is more of a really dark pink/red.  It so close to red but I would put it in my dark pink stash.

I lost myself while taking these photos, 2 hours of petting, admiring and rearranging.  Rumor has it that fabric manufacturers put pheromones in fabric so we fall in love with them.  I'm beginning to believe the rumor!  These little girls need a bath to rid them of the pheromones so I can get back to my other WIP. 

One more photo before giving them a bath and a good dose of starch.  Sigh....so pretty.

#flowersugarrosekiss #flowersugarfabric #lecienfabric #fabriclove #pamkittyplayswell

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Thursday, May 2, 2019

~ The "50's" Club! ~

Seriously?!  AARP?   Mr. Podunk didn't get one of these until he was 54.  Is this a belated April Fool's prank?    And just what makes them think I would need a free Bluetooth speaker?  Do they think I have a hearing problem?  Sure I say "huh?" quite often but it's only because I've learned in my old age to tune out the nonsense and the babbling.  

I may not be a spring chicken but this ole girl ain't done clucking yet!  LOL!  Oh I didn't really get my feathers in a ruffle.  It gave me a much needed laugh for the end of a long day.  Then it was out for an evening walk.  Our two chickens came out to comfort me, you know, one old hen to another.  They understand me.

There's so much color happening right now and if you miss going out for a day or two you'll miss the beauty that mother nature has to offer in the Spring.  This is the field beside our house.  The wild mustard is in full bloom.

Our apple trees bloomed a few days ago and the high spring winds have almost stripped away all the blooms.

The apple tree blooms are delicate and the slightest of wind or hard rain and they are gone for the year.

You just never know what your going to find in Podunk.  We found this morel mushroom.  Some Hoosier's will pay big bucks for this nasty little fungus.  They taste like dirt smells so I don't eat them.  We left it in hopes it would spread spores and create a large patch next year.  Then I can sell them to people who like the taste of dirt.  To each their own!

Another thing that grows wild here in the Hoosier state is Dogwood Trees.  There's several on the property but this one hanging over the pond is my favorite.  It's much prettier than the picture.

 As I walked around the backside of the pond I spied a little patch of yellow that was really out of place.  Can you see it at the bottom of the tree?

Aren't these just the cutest?  I have no idea what they are called.  They look like tiny little yellow daisies.

A little farther into my walk I started smelling Lilac.  We don't have a Lilac bush down here by the pond.(yellow arrow points to the pond, its hiding behind the overgrowth).  Then I spied them!  Lilacs!

How on earth did this get here?  Did I plant it?  Getting old and forgetful?  Surely not, I'm only 50 and barely qualify for AARP.  However they came to be, I'm glad they are here.  They smell so wonderful.

A peaceful walk, just enjoying the sights and sounds.

The jungle in the picture above leads to this bridge.  It once was beautiful spot to stop and listen to the water as it flowed into the pond.

Looking to the right we see the pond.

And to the left....GRRR...neighbors trash.  Guess what we'll be doing this weekend.  Trash detail.  This is one of the downsides to rural living.  Not all folks out here appreciate nature.

 That's okay there's still plenty of beauty to be seen on the path leading back to the house.

To finish off our walk was a quick shower that produced a faint rainbow.  I had to do some photo editing to make it visible in the picture.  Even at 50 yrs old I'll stand in the rain to catch a glimpse of the wonders that nature has to offer.

And I think to myself....what a wonderful world.

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

~ Making a test Block ~

I started out this year with a plan in place to design fewer quilts and write patterns for quilts I have already made.  My email inbox has a category for pattern requests from followers or a random person who has seen one of my quilts in an online search.  This plan would free up some time and allow me to learn more about the technical side of social media and to get out of my comfort zone and start doing events such as trunk shows or teaching.  This has turned out to be a hard plan to follow.  I'm a quilter!  Not a tech guru.  Time in the Studio is a must to keep my sanity.   It's a good thing I'm only accountable to me because my plan is already a couple months behind.   Since I feel a need to sew the next pattern release will be an older quilt but I'm reworking the design.  Redesigning means I get to sew!  All this pinned up sewing and quilting energy needs an outlet. It feels so good to let my instincts take control and create.

There's a lot of information that I could share here on the blog through words and pictures.  Since I'm crunching time everyday it seemed easier to make a video as I sewed the test block.  This video is totally unscripted and I'm flying by the seat of my pants.   So it's as real as you can get with some edits to help you understand what I was trying to get across.  

#makersgonnamake #quiltersgonnaquilt #quilting #machineappliquetips #machineapplique #scrappymakesmehappy #podunkpretties Pin It
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