Let’s iron those chains!!

We all know that ironing is a BIG part of quilting and sometimes it takes longer to iron than it does to piece. And, woe to you if you don’t get it ironed flat!!!

Back when I was working on the Brown Stripe quilt, I made a video about an easier way to iron when you have been chain piecing. While it isn’t actually a TOOL, it certainly is a technique that will go a long way…..

The Thursday Quilters….

As I have mentioned before, my Mom was a prolific quilter and the queen of scrap quilting. Seldom did ANY piece of fabric get thrown away, whether it was cotton, polyester or even knit!!!

One of the joys of her life was ‘The Thursday Quilters” group. Two times each month, a group of 4 to 10 quilters would meet to work on projects….either their own personal project, a “group project or a joint quilt for charity. Their favorite charity was the West Texas Rehabilitation Center and, as I cleaned out Mom’s house, I found many photos of her and her friends, proudly standing in front of their offering…..

This quilt was made as a result of one of their group projects. Each person made a certain number of blocks and then they were shuffled around and redistributed to each participant. The result was a large number of very interesting fabrics…..

…. some of the most unusual (but effective) fabrics that I have ever seen……

Mom LOVED applique so this project would have been right up her alley!!!

I am happy that I have my own group of “Thursday Quilters”!! We may not meet on a regular basis, but we have got each other’s backs….and tops…..and batting….and quilting……….!!

Mandala Art….

My friend Debora is a wonderful quilter who has recently turned her talents to paper and pen, in particular working with Mandala patterns.

She recently went “upscale” with her art and moved it off the paper and onto the wall. This video details her work……

If you want to see more of Debora’s art, check her out on Instagram…. @debora.exum or have a stroll thru her youtube channel.

This very much reminds me of the Henna Tattoo quilt that I did several years back…..

And as I think about it further, maybe I should use a Mandala design and plan another whole-cloth project……

……One more idea to add to the pot!!!

It’s Fall Festival Time!!!

Yes, it is Fall Festival time and that means NEW ART for the house!!!

One of our local autumn traditions is the Oconee Fall Festival. It is an amazing gathering of craftsmen and artisans from the area and an even more amazing gathering of people!! We always see someone that we haven’t seen recently…..this time it was one of our daughter’s friends from High School, and even a couple of quilter’s who have been absent!!

This year was especially wonderful as it was the first event that we have been able to attend since March.

The weather was glorious…..

And my “one-time-per year” Funnel Cake was fried to perfection, crisp and sugary…..

But the star of the day was the art that we purchased!!!

We love the art of Eugene Swain. His paintings are rustic and always have some three dimensional element. This was our pick this year……

We were immediately drawn to the light that comes out of the painting. The outhouse is actual pieces of wood and the door hinges are metal. All of his frames are rustic and the perfect way to showcase his rural scenes.

If we keep attending these shows every year, we will soon be able to put on a gallery show just from our home!!

We met a new artist this year…. Jim Hamilton works on wood in a way that we have never seen before. He first uses a wood-burner to place the design on the wood. Next he adds paint to accent the picture and then covers it with a thick coat of poly-urethane. This pelican called out our name……

“Surveying the Kingdom at dawn”

….and we welcomed him into our home.

Next we stopped by a woodworker’s booth and, sadly, I didn’t get his name. This bowl had so much character (top and bottom)…..

He told us that it was White Oak and that this particular, interestingly shaped piece was the first cut off of a fallen stump. We love it!!!

Finally, we had to visit the booth of our neighbor Kathie. She is a wonderful potter, making hand-worked pieces with many having a “pet” flair. In this case, Michael was out for something specific for his morning Espresso habit and he found a cute mug that is perfect for the cooler autumn weather…..

It was so sweet to walk hand-in-hand and enjoy the weather, the company of those surrounding us and this first “rite” of Fall!!

One quilt done….MANY more to come

I spent this afternoon at my new machine and was able to finish the Charity quilt that I started when I was shopping for Julio, my Juki 2200QVP Sit-Down machine.

To say that I am thrilled with the results would be the understatement of the year…..

I quilted 9 wreaths using the Westalee rulers and then just started adding bits and pieces to the open areas. I used rulers for fill designs, rulers for border designs, free motion squiggles and free motion straight lines……

I have found that the rulers work wonderfully and the larger doodling is easy to accomplish. I can see that I will need to practice on the smaller FMQ designs to gain the fine-motor skills needed!!

I even got brave and started working on the borders for the brown stripe quilt. You remember this one…..I was pulling my hair out over it about 10 days back (see my post “FMQ With rulers is NOT for the faint hearted).

AND, the results were spectacular……

So far I haven’t had a single moment of buyers remorse!!!

But sweetie….he followed me home!!

Wednesday started out like a normal day. My plans were set for working in the morning and spending the afternoon in my studio. Then, we went to the gym….and you know that NOTHING good ever comes from that!!

While plodding along on the treadmill, I started listening to a quilting podcast and towards the end they started talking about Quilting Machines….long-arm, sit-down, mid-arm etc……

Slippery Slope: What It Is and How to Respond to It – Effectiviology

Back at the house, I couldn’t get the conversation out of my head and kept thinking about the Color Wheel quilt that is 82 inches square and wondering how I would ever quilt it on my Juki. Also, I realized that I actually have room for something like this in my new studio!!

Finally, I picked up the phone and called my local(ish) Juki dealer and started asking questions about the 2200QVP Sit-Down machine. I found out that this machine is being phased out and replaced by the identical machine, except with a stitch regulator (and a lot more $$$$$). Since I really wasn’t interested in the Stitch Regulator, I decided to make a trip to the store and give it a try.

I went prepared with rulers, quilting gloves, practice pieces and a basted charity quilt. I was immediately pleased with the stitch quality……

….but continued to sit and play!!

After about 2 hours, I was hooked and decided that this machine HAD to come home with me.

After huffing it up the stairs, Michael paused to take a photo of me and Julio……

On Thursday I found a couple of hours to keep working on the charity quilt and am again pleased with the results…..

There will definitely be things to learn and it will take a bit of time to get used to, but I am thrilled with my new purchase!!!!

Throw Back Thursday….my first “Art” quilt

Amber, our Daughter-In-Law came into our life back in 2006 and in July of 2010 she married our son Brian.

Amber trained as an art teacher and was in the classroom over 10 years, recently leaving the classroom to become an instructional coach. Back in the early days of her teaching I wanted to make something that could be used to decorate her classroom and, of course, it had to be a quilt!!

I had so much fun making this quilt with just a basic idea in mind……

At this stage of my quilting career, I was making quilts that were fairly traditional in nature, never having even thought about making an “art quilt”!! So, I laughingly call this my “First Art Quilt”!!

Fortunately it hasn’t been my last!!!

A Little Happiness in the AM

I was out walking one morning last week. It was dark and I was trudging along with my headlamp providing a small circle of light in front of me. I caught a glimpse of something on the curb in front of me and was excited to see this lovely collection of painted rocks and shells…

…..or in my case HAPPINESS!!!

It put a smile on my face and a bounce in my step!!!