Scrap Breeding

Do you ever feel as if your scraps are breeding in the dark corners of your studio??   Well, that is exactly how I felt when I realized that my one scrap basket was completely full…pressed down and running over, and that there was another box on a shelf with even more scraps that needed to be dealt with…..

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So, I dedicated my 20 minute morning sessions to getting the boxes cleaned out and all of the scraps cut and ready for use.

I subscribe to the Bonnie Hunter Scrap User System.   She suggests cutting strips of 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.5 inches in width and squares in those same sizes.   I go a bit further and add squares in 4.0, 4.5, 5.0 and 6.0 inches as well.    I try to only cut strips if they are longer than 12 inches, but dont worry if the 1.5 inch strips are a bit shorter.   I also cut rectangles in 2 x 3.5 and 2.5 x 4.5.

It took quite a while to get thru everything and I was amazed to realize that I couldn’t remember what project some of the pieces came from.  And there were some that I would swear that I had NEVER even owned the fabric…..

See….  I told you that they breed….these unknowns were apparently hybrids!!!

It was a good feeling to see this fine stack at the end of the process…..

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And, it felt even better to fill up my 1.5 inch strip drawer again…..

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It had taken quite a hit over the last two years as I made my rainbow pineapple quilt and another friend used the same strips to make her pineapple quilt.

The same went for the 2.5 squares……they have been used for numerous quilts made by myself and others…..

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As I added to the 2.5 x 4.5 bin, I realized that I need to come up with a pattern to use some of these up……

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When I was finished I had two stacks of leftovers.   This first one will be handed over to the Guild Charity group to stuff Dog Beds that are made for one of the local shelters…..img_7863.jpg

The second pile are scraps that are too small to use but too big to throw away….

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Most non-quilters would find that statement a bit crazy but I KNOW that all of you quilters completely understand!!!

We are excitedly heading into wedding week and are truly looking forward to the events of the upcoming weekend.    My daughter has been amazing at organizing the event and I am expecting everythng to go well.

Then, it is only 2 weeks until tax season is over.,…..and, the pièce de résistance will be our Guild retreat for 4 days at the end of April!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A new toy for the studio…..

Work wise this past week was a good one and I accomplished a lot.  SO, I decided to give myself a reward today (Saturday) and spend a few hours in my studio.  The goal of the day was to get my new toy ready to use……..

During our guild quilt show I spent some quality time ($$$) with a couple of the vendors and came away with a few new toys…..

The first vendor was SewingMachines.com who have a store in Atlanta and was where I purchased my Juki machine several years ago.    They demonstrated an acrylic table that would allow you to turn your machine sideways so that you were sitting at the “needle” end of the machine.   The idea is that you can easily move the fabric from side to side without running into the edge of the machine.

Right now, when I quilt, my table is set up like this…..

IMG_7816.jpg….with my view of the proceedings being this……IMG_7815.jpg

Under the new system, my machine needed to be perpendicular to where I sit.  The only problem is that my table has a cut-out that the machine sits in…..

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So something had to fill this hole!!!   I went out to the garage and found some of the “extra” wood pieces that we had laying around, pulled out a tape measure and the jigsaw and got busy.   I quickly put together a “table” that would fill the space…..

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It isn’t pretty, but it works…..IMG_7822.jpgSo, this will be the new view of my quilting…..

IMG_7823.jpgIt may just be an illusion, but I sure feel like I have more room to manuever…..time will tell!!

I played a little bit with this set up and at first I wasn’t impressed at all, but as I practiced longer, I really started to enjoy the freedom of movement.  The biggest thing to get used to is reaching across for the needle up button.

The other booth that I visited was Angel Oak Stitchery, interested mostly in their free-motion quilting rulers.   They had tons that were sized for both Long-Arm machines and Home Sewing machines as well.    I came home with a nice selection……img_7825.jpg

…..and added those to the ones that I already had……

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And yes, I realized that I now have TWO  2 inch circle rulers…..argh!!!

I did some playing with these today and plan to start using them on a charity quilt in the next few weeks.

The final problem that I had to fix with this new setup was that my chair needed to raise about 4-5 inches higher so that my arms would stay at the suggested “90 degree angle”.   I spent some time looking online but couldn’t find a desk chair that would raise that high.   I ended up thinking about a drafting chair.   Michael then mentioned that he had one in his shop and that I should try it out first.   It works perfectly!!!   AND, since he isn’t working much in his shop right now, it is making the move from the garage to the upstairs studio!!

Now I am COMPLETELY ready to start “upping my game” in the free-motion quilting arena!!

 

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On another note, the wedding plans are going great and we are getting really excited about the upcoming celebration….just two weeks to go!!!

 

 

 

Fun times with handwork!!

Over the last few months I have posted about my enjoyment of doing various types of handwork….starting with beading and embroidery.  I have shown snippets of these, but as Quilt Show Chairman I made a badge for each of my 34 Chairmen and Co-Chairs.   I think that they turned out great…..

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….and were even nicer when Claire helped to put the ribbons on each of them…..

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They looked super when they were all finished…..

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….and the recipients (who did an AMAZING job) seemed to enjoy having them to wear during the show…..

Over the last two (or maybe it is three) years, I have worked on a Needlepoint design from Kaffe Fasset.   It was fun to work on the funky flowers in amazing colors…..

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I gave it to my son, Brian and his wife Amber when they purchased their first house and it is now residing happily in Amber’s art studio!!

And now, I am moving on to  Hand Applique.

The few times that I have tried Hand Applique, I have really enjoyed the sewing process but was never happy with the way that I prepared the pieces beforehand.   I had tried Needle Turn but that did NOT work out well!   I tried gluing the edges down, ironing them down and folding them over a piece of Freezer Paper.   I even tried it wth TWO pieces of Freezer Paper ironed together to give it more body.   But nothing really worked!

When I was at the Quilt Show in Houston, I spent a few minutes listening to quilter, Karen Kay Buckley, talk about her method for preparing applique pieces.  She advocates using heat resistant Templar plastic to form the applique pieces.   Rather than using glue, she suggested brushing the edges using Magic Sizing…..

IMG_7659.jpgShe even suggested spraying a small amount in the cap and using a brush to coat the edges….img_7661.jpg

…and then ironing the edges in place….IMG_7663.jpg

Karen says to use a dry iron but I found that it worked much faster if I used a minimal amount of steam.   This revelation came when I “thought” that I had turned the steam off but, in fact, had only turned it to the lowest setting.   So, lowest setting it is!!

The plastic is removed and the result is a piece all ready for sewing down…..img_7666.jpg

I thought long and hard about what I wanted to start with and my mind kept coming back to 70’s Mod Flowers.   The good thing about these flowers is that they are mostly gentle curves and I think that will be a good thing to start with.

I am also using Buckley’s circle templates to do the flower centers…..

img_7667.jpgThis technique involves sewing a running stitch around the fabric, brushing the edges with Magic Sizing…..

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And then pull to make a perfect circle…..

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I have absolutely NO idea what these will be used for, but I have started making blocks and am loving the process…..

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These two went together without any problem and I am now working on a larger block with two layers of petals.

I have also added a couple of things to my sewing corner…..ie my recliner with a table to hold my cup of tea…..IMG_7804.jpg

The biggest addition is the lamp that folds over my shoulder and does a fantastic job of illuminating my project without putting out so much light that it disturbs Michael as he sits next to me. This lamp is the Slimline LED floor Lamp made by Daylight Company.  I especially like it because it folds back on itself which means that it isn’t a super obvious intrusion into the room decor when I am not using it.

I first heard of the lamp from Bonnie Hunter in one of her blog posts.   She not only extols the benefits of the lamp but also gives some great tips for how to make assembly easier.   You can check it out here……   https://quiltville.blogspot.com/2016/10/find-simple-pleasures.html

Tbe next addition was a wicker basket to hold all of my “stuff”.  Previously I had just set it directly on the floor but felt like it made my area look cluttered.   I am MUCH happier with this solution.

The only problem now is that I can hand sew the flowers pretty quickly but am fairly slow at getting the pieces ready.  Hopefully I will get better at that soon!!   And one of these days, I MIGHT try making a leaf or a stem or something else flower related.   I will keep posting as I go.

Show Time!!!

This past weekend our guild celebrated with our 15th biennial quilt show and it was a huge success.   We had over 1200 visitors which is about 250 more than we have ever had before.   As this year’s show chairman, I was PUMPED!!

My quilts did well in the show, with “Vila Do Conde Friendship Garden” receiving 2nd place…..

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“All Tatted Up” got an Honorable Mention…..IMG_7632.jpg

 

The judge even liked the sponge painted corners!!!

 

“The Tiles of San Giovani” received an Honorable Mention…..

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“Snowed Under” was also awarded Honorable Mention…..IMG_5449.jpg

 

As usual, our ribbons were amazing…..

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I really appreciated the attention to detail…..

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But, the quilt that brought the most comments was “My Favorite Earrings”…..

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It was such fun to walk past the bay where it was displayed and hear people oohing and aahing over it!!   There is something about it that just makes people smile!!

My favorite ribbon of the show was the Blue ribbon in the Novice Division that sweet Claire received for her quilt made for her Mom and Dad……

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The judging this year was done by Doris Goins and I really enjoyed listening to her comments and watching her judge the show.   It was even more interesting when I looked at the judges comments on my 7 quilts and saw that MOST of them had the same two comments.   The first was tension issues in the quilting which I have already fixed when I tightened the screw in the bobbin casing.   The second was that my binding was well done but that my mitered  corners need work to be square.   So that definitely gives me something to work on and learn how to do better!!

All in all, the weekend was a blast!!   It is always so much fun to talk quilting for hours at a time, with quilters and non-quilter’s alike.  Although we got off to a rough start with the quilt frames collapsing after we had hung about 75% of the quilts (!!!!), everyone rallied together to re-set and re-brace the frames and then re-hang the quilts.   Amazingly, everything was finished and we all got to go home shortly after the opening ceremony!!    On Friday we had 225 visitors in the first hour and, when parking ran short, I ended up running a shuttle from a local church to the civic center.   Note to self….must have a parking director next time!!!!  We closed the show out with a bang….literally….as severe thunderstorms roared thru the area, leaving us loading trucks in the rain and dashing to our cars with our precious quilts tucked safely under our arms!!

This beautiful sight was the end to a magnificent weekend……

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So now I am back to doing tax work and starting to get geared up for my daughter’s wedding in THREE weeks!!

My goals for February worked pretty well, although I missed one week of blogging and those two pounds are still around….but at least they haven’t brought any new friends with them!!

Until next time……

 

What’s next…..

I have finally finished all of the quilts for our local show, and I have laughed as I realized how many of my quilts have a finish date of January or February of show years!!   I guess that I really do need a deadline!!

I am now starting to think about what to do next.   I know that the next three months are going to be super busy and that I wont have a lot of large blocks of time but I do want to make sure that I have something planned for my “creative-20” minutes each day.

The problem is that there are just SOOOO many choices, including a number of UFO’s that came from my Mom!!

She left this quilt top…..

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….which I dont particularly like, but I just realized that it might be a good place to practice some ruler work free-motion quilting!!

She also left several sets of block that I am not sure I EVER want to finish…..

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Since I couldn’t come to a decision about where to start, I decided to  start working on cutting and organizing the scraps that have accumulated in the last couple of years.   Today I worked on them for 2 hours while listening to a webinar about Depreciation Tax Laws…..

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I thought that having my hands on fabric would make the webinar more enjoyable….Not So Much!!   Anyway, it will be good to have all of the scraps cut and stored in an orderly manner and ready to use at a moment’s notice.

One of the things that I also wanted to do was to give my sewing machine a good clean.   To that end, I purchased a vaccuum cleaner attachment that would allow me to get down and dirty with my machine…..IMG_7592.jpg

It seemed to have made a big difference.

Finally, the chairman of our Guild’s charity bee gifted me two quilt tops that I can use to practice my machine quilting.   I love this quilt……img_7593.jpg

…..and am looking forward to quilting it, but think that I will do this other one first……img_7594.jpg

These two will give me some good practice time!!

 

Finally, I have also realized that I am missing having something to work on at night so I am playing with some hand applique….but more about that in a future post.

So for now, I am enjoying doing a few small things and looking forward to creative times to come!!!

 

The Cre-8’s Have Done It Again!!

Back in September I posted a blog called “Handwork is Fun…..Who Knew”.  In it I talked about our “Creative Eight” groups latest project…..a handwork round robin challenge.

We each brought our own design, gave a few ideas of what we were thinking about our piece, and then started passing it around the group for each to add their own personal touch.   Back in December the pieces were returned to their respective owners and most of them were completed and entered into our upcoming guild show.

Here is our work……

Brenda gave us each a lovely crazy quilt block…..

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…..we all added our embellishments and the final quilt ended up like this…..

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Cleo’s colorful offering started like this…..

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Although not yet finished, this is where it is right now…..

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Fay gave us a simple, preprinted flower panel  that turned into this……

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Denise started with a piece of brightly colored fabric…..

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that we happily turned into a marshland…..

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Linda provided a campground…IMG_5277It came to life as it passed among us…..

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Deb gave us “Henrietta”……

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….and we sent her out on a grand adventure……

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Ruhanna had this wonderful pumpkin….

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…..that we happily embellished

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And finally, I provided this wall…..

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….which came back well embellished, but I forgot to take a picture at that point!!    However, I continued adding flowers and foliage and am super happy with the finish….

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I think that, although we had apprehensions about the project, we all REALLY enjoyed the process and the final results.  If nothing else, it helped me to remember that I enjoy doing handwork and am looking forward to doing more in the future!!!


Out, Out Damn Spot….

Warning….this post is not for the faint-hearted quilter!!!  But I will give a bit of spoiler and say that the quilt lives!!!

After 12 spools of thread and countless hours of quilting, I finally finished “All Tatted Up”!!    When I last posted about it, I was trying to decide what to do with the peacock corners.    After much deliberation, I decided to continue with the matchstick quilting around the peacock and then do 1/4 inch curves to fill in the space.  IMG_7576

This process was not with problems!! 

On the first corner I realized that my curves were not staying straight but were curving inward. 

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I decided that the solution was to add some straight guidelines.  After spending a good amount of time picking the curvy lines out, I tried it again and I still didn’t have them straight.    One the third iteration I physically marked the curves as the lines moved inward!!

So with problem solved, I started on another corner.   This time I realized that I was quilting a crease into the back as the curves approached the peacock enclosure.   After yet MORE un-sewing, I overly anchored the layers and all went well from there.

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So I happily washed it, blocked it (although one side ended up about 3/4 inch smaller than the others…..SIGH) and bound it. 

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But then I saw it….. a dark spot in the top right corner!!  I carefully took a bit of clothes soap and gently rubbed the spot.   Immediately the fabric lightened tremendously and even pilled up (and this was good fabric….not junk).    I was horrified!!  I convinced myself that it didn’t matter but I kept coming back to it so today decided that it was time to take action.

If you have read my blog for any time at all, you know my obsession with sponge painting to change fabrics.   So, I put on my big-girl panties and mixed up some paint that was slightly darker than the fabric…..IMG_7629

I taped the edges to avoid getting paint on the binding and created a mask for the peacock enclosure…..IMG_7628

….and,  with a super dry sponge, started adding color…..

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The finished effect is okay….

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It actually looks better in person than in this photo, but personally, I liked it better before, but something had to be done.  

It is finished and in the books and it is time to move on!!!