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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Sew Happy Together

Hen & Chicks

One of my VERY FAVORITE SONGS in the 1960s (so long ago!) was "So Happy Together" by the Turtles (1967, when I was...oh, let's not go there). I wore out the little 45 record that I had. I still love the tune. (Don't know the song? Listen and watch here, vintage 1967: Turtles singing "So Happy Together" ). Looking at their "outfits" and  antics during this "live performance" should make any quilter creative, LOL.

Out of that random memory and inspiration came this machine applique and embroidery design on a 5" x 5" square:



I also created this machine embroidered and appliqued 5" x 5" label for a baby quilt made by my sister :
The nice thing about making appliques is that I can use all sorts of little scraps that I already have saved for this purpose (and other creative endeavors).

New Design

A Modern Quilt Guild friend showed a few of us how to make this design using scraps of batiks:

The lighting isn't good for the photo, but in spite of this I think you'll notice that there's not enough fabric color contrast to set off those leaves. It's not finished, however, so I'm thinking about perking it up with some threads and maybe some beads.  Measurements: 11" x 29", about wall-hanging or small table runner size. I've got more leaves to set into other projects, so this serves as a good test.

HAPPY CREATING!

Linking up with you via:

Sew Fresh Quilts    Quilting is more fun than Housework    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced



Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Watercolor Quilt Class & Outdoor Quilting


Last week I took a local class taught by a local mother and daughter team: Making a Watercolor Quilt. Probably the hardest part is choosing colors that move from dark to light which is a good exercise for quilting in general:


The project starts with 2" squares cut from strips and scraps.

I tried laying out a background scene that might suggest: foreground, water, bushes, sky.
I stitched them together. Here they're displayed on a green pillow, but they are not part of that pillow. The piece is small, measuring 14" x 14". What will it become?

Now I must decide what I will put on top of this to make a true watercolor-type of scene. There isn't enough contrast because I didn't receive the supply list before the class which was frustrating. So I drove home and scrambled to select fabrics from my stash in less than 30 minutes! For that reason, I didn't have enough contrasting fabrics. Fortunately another participant shared some of her squares with me. 

All in all, the project is easy. I've been saving up 1.5" squares of scraps for several years and had considered making a "Postage Stamp" quilt top, but I might change that to a watercolor top. Such small squares will become even smaller in the process of stitching them together, so the gradations of color will be more subtle and require more of them, I think.


Quilting Outdoors

My previous post featured a wrestling match with a queen-size quilt on my domestic machine. I decided to pull the "monster" and machine outdoors to our backyard to create "ambiance", so here's my "room with a view" (and running hens who were napping in a flower bed nearby, hoping I'd offer them something to nibble):


HAPPY CREATING!

Linking up with you via:
Sew Fresh Quilts                   Quilting is more fun than Housework            WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced                 


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Free-Motion Wrestling!! and Thread Painting Experiement

Perhaps you have this same situation: quilt tops that need to be quilted. The dilemma: how to quilt them. I'd love to use a long-arm machine, but don't own one. I'd love to RENT a long-arm machine, but that's a two hour drive away. So it's time to take matters into my own hands, literally, by going "domestic," as in use my home "domestic" machine. Of course, it has turned into a wrestling match. It didn't look anything like Leah Day, believe me.
Safety-pinned and ready to whirl
I pulled out the quilt I began making for my husband back in 2007. I had it sandwiched and pinned, ready to quilt. My domestic machine does not have its own cabinet, so I use an acrylic table attachment when quilting. It's small. When machine quilting on a domestic machine, it helps to have a level surface to help support the weight and size of the quilt while quilting it. It's ridiculous, but here's what I did:
The QUEEN-SIZE quilt sandwich is on the dining room table. I decided to use the living-room throw pillows to prop the weight of the quilt up to almost the level of the acrylic table attachment. The pillows would also, in theory, be soft on the table surface and slide easily as needed in maneuvering the quilt. Clumsy, but I'm desperate.

The dining room chairs are substantially built, but they're not the right height to wrestle with this monster. Add throw pillows and practically fall off the chair.

Now I have to learn how to work with the speed and rhythm of the machine. Result? Skipped stitches, uneven stitch lengths.

The thread is also important. I used King Tut cotton in the top and The Finishing Touch polyester thread in the bobbin. Result? Broken threads...un-sew...restart...broken threads...repeat. I won't show you THAT ugly photo.

I think the bottom line for quilting on my domestic machine is to use its high speed, which is scary at first, and then the other key is: don't swirl too quickly (skipped stitches, broken threads).

I like swirling, but I think many of my swirls end up looking like velociraptors from the Jurassic Park movie. (Speaking of velociraptors, have you ever noticed that they move around and act distinctly like chickens?? If you're a chicken-lover, you'll notice it!)

I'm not done with this "monster" yet. I've imperfectly completed about a third of it. I figured that it's better to get this done so we can use and celebrate the love we share. Since it's for our use, who cares if it's not perfect?? I won't let the "quilt-police" examine it. And someday, when my children inherit it and realize it's not their style or colors, they can donate it to a quilt museum where the caption will read: "Had this quilter lost her mind??!!"

Thread Painting Experiment

During the local quilt show last week, I attended a presentation about thread painting. Of course I had to go home and try it.
My first attempt: a cup and saucer. I drew a crude picture with a Frixion pen. I used a light stabilizer behind the top fabric (an old cotton sheet) and machine embroidery thread, neither of which were thick enough for this project. I believe she recommended a thread weight of 30, but I currently don't have any. I hooped it on a wooden hand-embroidery hoop.


My second attempt: Thick, wash-away stabilizer, a layer of old cotton sheet sandwiched between the stabilizer and top fabric, raw-edge applique fabric scraps for tree trunk, tree roots and branches and leaves, multiple layers of that machine embroidery thread and varied colors. I used the wooden hand-embroidery hoop again and I suspect that it wasn't tight enough, since the fabric is rumpled or gathered. I might try my machine embroidery hoop next time and purchase some thick thread to try this out in the future.

Linking up with other creative ones like you at:

Sew Fresh Quilts           WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced          Quilting is more fun than Housework





Thursday, April 23, 2015

Eye Candy & Inspiration from a local Quilt Show


There's a group of quilters in town, Pioneer Quilters, who have been meeting in a traditional quilting bee-style for 40 years!! They demonstrate how to hand quilt and share the joy of our art and craft. If you hit the hyperlink I've provided, you can see some of their work over the past two years. I have some photos to share from this year's show in Eugene, Oregon (sorry I didn't touch up the photos so that you'd see their actual colors and brilliance):

"She Flies with Fish"

"She Flies With Fish" by Sharon Rogers

A Tribute to Laurel Burch
The show program says the following about this quilt:
"Size: 72" x 72"
This panel runs horizontal instead of vertical, so there was a bit more of a challenge when piecing it. I was inspired by Karla Alexander's book 'Dynamic Quilts with Easy Curves'...If I am not following a pattern, I work from the center out and add blocks, rows and borders according to what I see fits."

"Fireworks in Grandma's Garden"  (great name!)


"Fireworks in Grandma's Garden" by Robin Fouquette
The show program says the following about this quilt:
"Size 62" x 62"
Inspired by Mickey DePres book 'Pieced Hexies'. The quilt is hand-pieced, including the entire background, then machine quilted. After the quilting, pastel chalk was applied and finally Swarovski crystals were added to create the 'fireworks.' Received Honorable Mention at the Denver International Show, 2nd Place at the NW Quilt Expo and 2nd Place Viewers Choice at the Emerald Valley Quilters 2014 Quilt Show."


"Stars Over Marcola"

"Stars Over Marcola" by Diane Scott (Quilted by Lisa B. Wilson)
This clothesline is too cute!! (I still actually use one myself whenever I can.)
I love the detail of this quilt. The church windows look like stained glass.
Program Description:
"Size 63" x 63"
This folk-style quilt depicts life in rural Lane County [Marcola, in her title, is a small community in Lane County]. The structures and stars were created using a paper piecing technique. Rounded trees were made using needle-turn applique, and there are elements of surface embroidery in many details. It was great fun to design and make each of the border scenes. There are over 100 little paper-pieced stars in the background represnting local July constellations. Many of the individual patterns are from the book 'Down in the Valley' by Myra harder and Cori Lee Derksen."
What a masterpiece!!


I'll have another one to share later when I get the details about who made it. You'll love it!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bowtie Block Swap & Bloggers Meet-Up



My blocks are very scrappy. They'll be swapped with 11 others, so it will become even MORE scrappy. I randomly laid them out on the floor to photograph. If this were my final quilt top, I'd definitely rearrange the reds and blacks to be more random throughout the top. In the grayscale photo, the darks are perhaps more obvious, a good technique to use when deciding on block/design placement.






Quilting is more fun than Housework   

Meeting another Quilting Blogger: Cynthia Brunz

I'm also looking forward to meeting Cynthia Brunz of Quilting is More Fun Than Housework today at the Pioneer Quilters Show at our local historical museum. She'll be sharing her experience and insights on "Social Networking for the Quilter."        


Linking up with you and others at these other sites as well:

Sew Fresh Quilts


WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Something to do...

Visit "Quilter's Bug" this month for more connections, resources, and fun!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

BOWTIE BLOCKS & "LEAVES" QUILT PATTERN USING HORIZON FABRICS

BOWTIES GALORE!

I recently became involved in an online swap featuring bowtie blocks.
They're quite simple to make. I need to make 88 individual bowtie blocks (measuring about 6.5" each), assemble them into a larger block of four (measuring about 12.5" each), and swap 22 of these big blocks with others. Yikes!

 I've made 65 so far from my fabrics and scraps on hand, which means I currently have about 16 ready to assemble. It's definitely a stash buster!! Just a few more to go!

If you'd like to try this block, you can find the instructions at Quilters Cache.

LEAVES QUILT

I purchased fabrics from the Moda line by Kate Spain called "Horizon" (any time her designs come out, it's hard to resist!!) to make the "Leaves" Quilt by Barbara Cherniwchan for Coach House Designs. The moment I saw the pattern and the fabrics, I fell in love!! The leaves are appliqued and there are little appliques on top of each leaf. What a project!
Leaves Quilt Pattern Download
Pattern cover quilt (isn't it lovely??)


Leaves with Leaf bits machine appliqued
I organized the parts into a box a couple of months ago so that I can pull it out and "fuss" with it. I am beginnng to machine applique the bits of appliques on the leaves with invisible thread by Guterman. I tested the thread to make sure it wouldn't melt under the iron first! It's performing fine.

Looking forward to being inspired by YOU as we link up at:

Sew Fresh Quilts                       Quilting is more fun than Housework




Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Working on "Periwinkles"

Using the "Mini Wacky Web" template I'd bought from Missouri Star Quilt Company a few months ago, I decided to try their "Mini Periwinkle" quilt pattern.

The "periwinkles" are a little fussy to make & waste a bit of fabric, but they are cute.
I'm using mini-charms (precut 2.5" squares)  for the stars or "periwinkles," and jelly roll strips for the background fabric. I don't remember the name of the fabric line I'm using, do you?

Happy quilting!
Sew Fresh Quilts                                                    WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced