Thursday, April 19, 2018

OH! THE JOY OF A NEW QUILTING MACHINE



A sixteen inch throat sit down quilter! She is so pretty and so much fun to use.  I have been quilting on a juki which is a very good quilter but I wanted some elbow room and room to maneuver.  The block I am quilting is my first outing with my Tiara.  This block is the third in the Helen Godden painted birds series "Feathered Friends".  Right now I am experimenting with different size needles to see what works as it is my understanding that long arm quilting machines generally call for heavier needles.  The above was done with a size 16 and I am going to try a 14 next on the more finely detailed quilting.  The 16 needle makes a big hole in the painted fabric.

Free motion quilting practice projects are now in my project list.  First is Angela Walters FMQ Along which has 9 lessons covering basics with great videos.  
https://quilting-is-my-therapy.myshopify.com/collections/free-motion-challenge-quilting-a

Second is this WOW fabric from Hoffman. 

 If you follow Margaret Solomon Gunn on her blog:
http://quiltsoflove.blogspot.com/2018/03/bitten, you will see what she has done this this panel.  You should look-it is pretty awesome! She outlines each petal and  quilts a different motif in each.   I have 2 of her books.   "Dense and Dainty" provides motifs for this panel.





And the third learning project is this panel is available on  Craftsy.  It was designed by Margaret to use with her classes on gridwork and to accompany her "Beautiful Backgrounds" Grid based fill book.   I much prefer free form sorts of designs but I ordered this book in error and thought I might as well make use of it.  This is a wonderful book also.


So, my friends, that is the GRAND PLAN.  You can see there is lots to work with here so my new Tiara and I will be good friends by the time I finish all this.

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Block number four of Morning Glory Designs BOM

Blue and yellow is one of my favorite combos and I love the graceful, swirly flowers.  They took forever to make and stitch down-all those little pieces.  These blocks might make a good quilt-as-you-go project.
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I wanted to show you some photos of my beautiful daughter in India.  Mary lives in Northern India in Rishikesh. 

These photos were taken late January, early February.  

~~~~~~~~

AND NOW..........YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN

These are photos from above looking down from a plane of terraced rice fields in China.  The first one especially is so abstract it is difficult to decide what you are looking at but how exquisite!

HAPPY QUILTING TO YOU UNTIL 
WE MEET AGAIN!  


I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

IN WHICH I POP MY HEAD BACK 
INTO THE BLOGOSPHERE


I have been a busy little bun working on my projects and thought I would bring the world  up-to-date with my doings.  The Wren block from Sandra Leichner's Naturalist's Notebook is finished.



I am happy with the result. Batiks are difficult to capture with a camera but you can get a sense of the color variations in the fabric.  I searched for a long time to find some "perfect" background.  This is called Garden Splendor by R Kauffman.  The fabric is a pretty sharp white so I have tea dyed it to tone down its brilliance.  The writing is mostly french gibberish but the effect is perfect-writing in a naturalist's notebook.

I have begun work on block #2-The Goldfinch.

The bird and the leaves are already stitched down but the petals are basted as I am still reviewing them to see if their color is right.  This block has lots of background embroidery and detailing on the bird, leaves and flowers.  Here is a photo of the pattern so you can see what is going to happen.
Pretty challenging!

I have developed a bit of a rhythm over the past couple months for working on my projects.  I am participating in 2 BOM programs.  I talked about Helen Godden's  Feathered Friends quilt last post.  Each month she releases a new block depicting an Aussie bird to be painted and then quilted.  The other BOM looks like a rainbow of color!  There is some piecing so I have to concentrate on this part and the rest is applique.  The BOM is from Morning Glory Designs.  She releases a new pattern each month which is posted and available for download during that month.  Here is a drawing of the quilt :


and a link to the site:
https://www.morningglorydesigns.com/free-block-of-the-month.htm
Here are my versions of the first 3 blocks:

I love the color, the way the diamonds and squares form up, and the movement of the applique.

Helen Godden's new birdie block was released today tho I am on hold for now as the printer ran out of ink (what a racket!) and I ordered a couple new colors of paint.  Here is the finished Feb block:
And March block:
I just cannot say enough good about this project.  It is so fun to mess around with the paints and then do the quilting!  Helen has videos with instructions on the painting process and another on the quilting process.   I am learning about the paints which are Jacquard Luminere and about different FMQ stitches.  Link at:
http://shop.helengodden.com/index.php?route=common/home

So anyway, back to rhythm.......The BOM's come out the first of the month and both are completed in a week or so apiece which gives me then 2 weeks to work on the major and challenging Naturalist Notebook which is a very time consuming and intense project.  I am pretty happy with my project line up-there is lots of variety in materials, style, difficulty, and color.  I also do some FMQ practice during the month as this has morphed from being the terror of my creative life to being a favorite thing to do.

FROM OUR WALK ON THE WILD SIDE:
Signs and sings of spring in the Missouri woods:




AND NOW........YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN!

This artist makes temporary works of art out of natural objects.  His vision of the world is awesome.  If you want to see more of the beauty made out of our ordinary world, check out his webpage at:
http://www.jamesbruntartist.co.uk/




See the charming outer ring of rock people!


HAPPY QUILTING TO YOU UNTIL 
WE MEET AGAIN!  
PURPLE, BIRDS, AND FLOWERS ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITE THINGS!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

IN WHICH IT LOOKS LIKE MY WREN 
REALLY MIGHT FLY!

It feels so good to be back at work!  I am pleased with my birdie.  Applique involves so many stages: searching thru fabric, ironing fabric to freezer paper templates, starching down the turned edges, lightly gluing down the pieces with Elmers, then tacking all down with basting prior to any stitching.  That part is completed-now I get to do the stitching!  After stitching, there is some embroidering of stems and leaves and feather-work on the bird.

Here is my wren next to pattern so you can see what embroidery will be completed.
Before I started working on the wren, I pulled out a couple of my bird books to refresh my memory as to the feathering of wrens.  It occured to me then that tho this pattern is called the Naturalists Notebook, the birds are somewhat impressionist-that is not an exact copy but rather evokes the bird. 
I use 100 wt silk thread for applique work.  I have used other types and they all have their pros and cons.  Aurifil 50wt is the current favorite being pushed as the go-to thread for appliquers and I am sure it is just great.  I am going to stick with silk because I am tired of changing-as I said, they all have their pros and cons-no one of them is perfect.

 Here is another view-I am having a hard time capturing the colors.

A couple of the bits on the bird were hi-lighted using Caran D'ache Neocolor II.

I know most of you follow the wonderful Esther Aliu @  http://estheraliu.blogspot.com/  .
She has begun an exciting new group on facebook.  You can find it at: Stenciled & Painted Quilts Group to sign up.  She is demonstrating some beautiful stenciling work right now.  The idea behind this group is for us all to share our experiences with textile paints and help each other learn.  I know most learning is done by playing but helpful hints from other's experiences might set a person in the right direction.  For instance, I have trouble with the Caran D'ache appearing to dull out the fabric so the new color may be correct but the overall look is meh! Any ideas?

On Feburary 1st, Helen Godden will release her pattern and video classes on how to paint Aussie birds using Jacquard Luminere acrylics.  I have all my paints, brushes, and black Kona ready to go!
The Sweet William pattern I mentioned last post has morphed from reproduction fabrics to a "Liberty of London" feel.  Liberty of London, as you know is lovely colored, finely printed, small florals-very expensive here in the US.  There are some clones available such as Regent Street by Moda and Garden Delights by In the Beginning fabrics.  After having lived thru the hardest year of my life, I found I did not want to use the toned down reproduction fabric.  I want sunny!  Tho subject to change, here is kind of what I am thinking of:


 Instead of yellow gingham, maybe this mottled yellow with the basket blocks picking up the lightest tones.  I have ordered a charm pack of the Garden Delights and am thinking of mixing them with Kona cotton pastels.  I can tell more once I receive the fabric.


AND NOW
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN 
These are computer models of weather patterns.  I was struck by the similiarity to Van Gogh's swirlings.  It must have been hard on him if he saw the world like this:

 That's all for now!  Happy quilting until we met again!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.

Monday, January 15, 2018

IN WHICH WE WELCOME IN 2018 BY TAKING A HIKE THRU SNOW IN -1 (F)!



and we are not talking wind chills here either! That slight glow in the sky is the sun. You can see the ice which formed on my hair from my breath. COOO-OLD!

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to look forward and make plans for the future.  I have settled on three projects on which to work.  Some painting, some old-timey feel, some realism-a variety of possibilities.

1.  Sweet William


This is the "old-timey".   This quilt has an antique look which I love plus the color yellow.  I am striving to use fabrics such as reproduction fabrics which will adapt to an aged look.  May have to do some tea dyeing also.I have not yet received the pattern yet so I cannot show detail photos.  This project seems like a good one to work intermittently and will enable me to switch back and forth on projects.  The pattern maker is Susan Smith, an Australian designer.

2.  Feathered Friends BOM with Helen Godden

Another Aussie designer!  (they are my favorite!) This BOM is different.  For about $60 US, you can access a link and each month beginning Feburary 1, Helen will post a new downloadable pattern.  This exciting fun of this BOM is that the designs are is painted on using Jacquard Lumiere paints, and then quilted in the most charming ways.  No applique this time.
There are nine 14" blocks all of which are of Aussie birds!  I can't wait for Feb 1!  I have ordered my paints and some new sized brushes, and have the black kona pfd (prep for dyeing) fabric so I am ready.  Here is a link to Helen's facebook page describing her class if you are interested:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzcwjTD3XCc
You can google Helen Godden to find her webpage-for some reason I could not get the link right.

3.  Sandra Leichner's Naturalist's Notebook block series.

Here is the first block which is 9.5 square :


This is block number 1 and it is relatively simple just applique and embroidery. The end result is very naturalistic.  These blocks require a lot of batiks and, as time goes on, more and more sophisticated techniques.  You can see this pattern and the other 10 on her webpage under "shop":
http://sandraleichner.com/
I have lots of batiks but I also will be tinting the fabric here and there to create more tones and variations with my Caran D'ache pastels.

Soooo....that is me all sorted for awhile!  I am looking forward to receiving the Sweet William pattern and beginning the search for the correct yellow gingham, and for Feb 1 to roll around.

And a jigsaw puzzle for your moment of zen:
Pretty tricky I betcha!


Happy quilting to you until we meet again!


I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.



Sunday, October 29, 2017

IN WHICH I REPORT ON THE DOINGS OF THE LAST COUPLE OF MONTHS AND SHOW YOU A FINISHED PROJECT!


This turned out nicely.  I really like it and it makes a good snuggle since I enlarged the pattern to 72x72 inches.  I enlarged it by adding a wider margin of black around the edges but I also bought a charm pack of the same woolies fabric.  I cut each one in half so the pieces were 2.5 x 5 inches and added this extra bit onto the end pieces of the matching fabric.  You can see the difference by comparing the original pattern below to mine above.





Kitty first checks the patterning to see if it has been done correctly, then thinks about it and decides to clean her toes.
                                *****************

Other than finishing this quilt, I have not been busy.  I have been puttering around, playing computer games-I have a whole collection of these mostly puzzle adventure sort, more cerebral than action oriented.  I finished the Hygge shawl I was crocheting.  My daughter Mary is returning to India and is taking the the shawl as a gift for her yoga teacher.  It gives me no end of pleasure and satisfaction to think of this piece of work assuming its own future in the east.  Who knows what will happen to it, whose life it will pass through, and what lands it might see.  


Two of my quilts have also begun their own voyages.  I donated these 2 quilts to the National Quilt Museum in Paducah for their annual fundraising auction.  Where they went, I do not know but I wish them well.  Quilters whose quilts are accepted for auction receive a little gift which is the little commemorative  plaque celebrating 25 years.
                                ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here is what I will be working on this week: 

This will be a free motion quilt project.  The dragon fly is from Edith Choiniere.  She has a free motion pattern  each month which you can download for free for that month only.  Her site is:
https://www.collectioninedith.com/home.  I shrunk the dragonfly motif about 50% and am designing a world for it to live in of water and water plants.  I have some iridescent turquoise and purple metallic thread for the dragonfly and some 100 wt silk thread for the vegetation.  I am thinking also of very faintly washing the vegetation with green and brown.   But faintly as the main event is the dragonfly.

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An image from my walk on the wild side:


A beautiful thing to delight and enchant our eyes and selves.
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And last but certainly not least is our moment of Zen:

This is not an exquisite oriental ink painting but rather a photograph of the sun as viewed through burned tree branches and smoke filled skies during the California wildfires in Santa Rosa Oct 9.  

So......this has been my life this past 2-3 months.  I hope your time has been good.


I am linking up with:


Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!

Sunday, August 20, 2017


IN WHICH I BEGIN A NEW PROJECT


This is the beginning of Over and Down Under by Bonnie Sullivan.  It is a simple pattern but the hard part is making sure the 2.5 inch squares of fabric arrange themselves in the right places necessary to create the basket weave look. There are 40 different fabrics.  I ended up putting each of the different fabrics into their own numbered baggies. Soon the patterning made sense and I could dispense with the baggies.  Here is the pattern so you can see what the aim is:


The size on the pattern is 56 inches square which is to small to cuddle under properly-a person's feet would always be sticking out the bottom-how can that be warm and cozy.  So I am thinking of simple ideas on how to enlarge the quilt without losing the really charming essence of it.

Suki (my Juki sewing machine) has been a joy to work with. As I have mentioned before, my piecing skills are non-existent and I would never even attempted this intensively pieced quilt without the fabulous compensating foot that came with Suki and which makes perfect seams:



I am still working on the Hygge Scheepjes CAL 2017.  I have finished the body of the shawl (except for the spacers between the different motif rows) and have crocheted around the body of the shawl 2 times.  After I do the decorative spacer, crochet around the body a couple more times, and do some pretty decorative stitching at the two ends-Viola, fini!!




Maybe you remember on my 1st year blogiversary, I listed upcoming projects.  I have not even looked at any of these since that time.  When I lost my sweet Annie. I turned everything to face the wall as if all my projects were sitting Shiva.  Shiva apparently only lasts for a week or so, but mine are going on 4 months.  They have pretty much left me alone-they have not called to me or nagged me to get on with it.

However, I have ordered some background fabric for the Village quilt. I ordered ombre fabric with a lovely texture from Daiwabo in blue (for sky and water), green (grasses and hillsides), tan (rock walls), and gray (for rock pathways and plaza).  I ordered more than I need so I can play with paints to add some dimensions.

Not a good photo but you can see the ombre



Yesterday I ordered fabric for Yoko Saito's Enchanted Garden pattern from Quiltmania.  Her quilt is in blues, greys and some light tans.  Mine will be different-maybe i can show you my ideas next week.  Here is her pattern.  You can see it is very applique intensive (my favorite).





Found object of the week-from my walk on the wild side


AND NOW 
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN
I saw the neatest quilt the other day.  Its name was "Dangerous Roads".  I wondered if it were an original design so i googled "dangerous roads" to see.  I did not see the quilt (which is an original design) but I did see some of the most amazing roads.

Here is the quilt that began my voyage:


This quilt is by Julie Stocker of Pink Doxies.  I am not big on pieced quilts but this one just captured me. She has a way with color and design and you should check out her site!
http://www.pinkdoxies.com

Anyway....here are some of the insane dangerous roads she let me to:
Atlantic Road in Norway
Dangerous Road in Romania

Tongtian Highway in China

Guoliang Tunnel Road in China


Friendship Highway in Pakistan  AKA The Karakoram Highway

These are just of few of the Dangerous Highways.  If you really want to scare yourself, google this for more!

That's all for this week (that's plenty!).  Happy stitching and see you next week.  Have a good eclipse!!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!