Friday, March 27, 2015

Quilters Keep On Giving

Quilters are some of the
most generous people I know.
We make and give quilts away
to people we know and
to those we don't,
to people of all ages,
and to people near and far,
in times of celebrations and
 in times of need.

A few weeks ago
one of my quilt groups was approached
to make quilts for a 
new local low income housing project.

The group of about 30 women
made a commitment to
make and gift 20 quilts
 to the new residents, folks
who are trying to improve their lives
and living situations.
Most of the residents will be males
so it was important to use fabrics
that were neutral or more masculine looking.

I spent some time looking
through my stash and cut 
32 light and 32 blue 10" squares.
After sewing on both side of the diagonal,
I had made 64 large half square triangles
which were then trimmed to 9 1/2".

 Some of the fabric was close be being called "vintage".
 This piece was part of a collection
commemorating Columbus's 500th year anniversary in 1992!

The pieces were laid out in
an asymmetrical pattern
 and made a great masculine design
that will look fantastic in somebody's new apartment.
One machine quilter has volunteered her
time to quilt each and every one of these.
What a wonderful gift.
 I've already passed this top on
 with the backing and binding  included.

The recipients may call these
gifts of love a blanket, a bedspread
or an afghan.
But that doesn't matter.
Hopefully, it will be a reminder to whoever
receives these
that they have not been forgotten and
there are folks who care.

PS. As of this post, 17 quilts are just about done.

Until Next Time-

Monday, March 23, 2015

Down the Rabbit Hole

Remember in the story of Alice in Wonderland and
how she decided to follow the White Rabbit
 down the rabbit hole.

Look who I caught
 peeking down the rabbit hole.

For the past couple of weeks,
I've been feeling just like the
impulsive Alice.
I've been
 following my quilting desires,
leaving my regular projects and WIP's behind and
feeling more spontaneous.

Last week I had fun following
 this little Wool Rabbit.

I enjoyed taking my time working
"Dandelion Wishes"
designed by Nutmeg Hare

 There's something relaxing and soothing about
working with wool.

I followed my own path and
didn't use black wool for the background,
instead I used a blue flannel
and a linen and cotton blend for the embroidery.
It seemed a bit more spring like.

I guess we all remember picking dandelions and 
blowing the feathery seed head while making 
a wish.
Wouldn't it be nice if 
life could always be that simple?

Granted, this wasn't the white rabbit with a 
pocket watch telling me he was late, too late,
for a very important date.

But instead a little brown bunny who seemed to be
unaware of the fact he was
blowing dandelion seeds all over the yard.
 Running Man found this quite inexcusable.
Sorry little brown rabbit.
Life is not as simple as it use to be!

Until Next Time

Thursday, March 19, 2015

My Own Bands of Color

After my trip to Florida
and having the opportunity to experience
the beauty of Seminole clothing, (see here)
I was ready to give this
patchwork technique a try.

 Seminole patchwork is quite remarkable.
By using strips of fabric
 unique patterns can be created.
Many of these have become
part of the cultural heritage for
the Seminole tribe in Florida.

Here's my interpretation
with 5 different designs.
23" x 33"

I was able to get the book
Basic Seminole Patchwork by
Cheryl Grieder Bradkin
at the library and found it
 a great resource.
Lots of patterns and and well
written instructions.

My initial idea was to use
a Florida beach palette, but

by adding
some black it just seemed to make
the colors pop.

I used batiks to have a natural
subtle look without too much pattern,
but enough to keep things interesting.

It was fun to sew strips and it was
a good skill lesson in keeping
a perfect
1/4"seam allowance.

Once the designs were made it was
time to set them together
and balance them with other connective strips.

After adding 2 borders,
I machine quilted in the ditch
in just enough rows

to hold everything together.
Nothing fancy in the borders
just some straight line stitching to repeat
the row by row format.

Exploring this piecing was fun and easy.
Many of these patterns can be found
in other quilts as pieced borders.
Maybe this type of patchwork 
was the beginning of the popularity
of row by row quilts.
Quilting influences come from everywhere.
You never know.

PS.Inspiration can also come from other bloggers.
Audrey, from over at Quilty Folk
published a list some of her favorite blogs.
I'm thrilled to be included in her list.
If you're visiting from her post, welcome.
If you've never enjoyed the insights
of Audrey's creativity,  I hope you take a
moment to visit her inspirational. blog.

Until Next Time-

Monday, March 16, 2015

Buzz'n Like a Bee

The other day I casually glanced at a shrub
just outside of my window and 
had to stop and look again.

Completely unnoticeable to me
 were these tiny pink flowers.

But those flowers had not
gone unnoticed by the honey bees
that live a few doors down in a neighbor's backyard hives.

I hadn't seen the flowers, but instead
the movement of
 ravenous bees eager for the 
taste of fresh flowers.
I was like those hungry honeybees.
 I spent most of my time last week
working on three quick and easy projects.
I was energized to begin working on
something fresh.
I had a plan.

First was this ABC quilt.
 It wasn't anything challenging or
complicated, like those simple flowers on the shrub.

It simply entailed cutting apart a panel
designed for Moda by Abi Hall
called ABC Menagerie.

Then adding some sashing,

  and finally a border.

Machine quilting some straight lines and

  then some hearts in the border.

Just working to a different 
rhythm was refreshing.
Straight line stitching was 
all that was required until 
it was time to do the borders and
then just a bit of free motion quilting.

It felt so good to complete a project
in just a few days.
I was just like those honeybees
so happy to be buzzing around 
tasting the sweetness of the first spring flowers.

I even had enough fabric
leftover to make a few pillowcases.

Those are for the the 3 little people
who come to Nana's house.

But is that all I got done?
No, there's more.
 Can't wait to show you.
Until Next Time-

Monday, March 9, 2015

Spring Thaw

With the clocks springing forward
this past weekend,
it made me feel like
I just needed to be leaping too.

Leaping right into something quick and  FUN!

I've been working on so many long term
heavy wintery projects.
I  need to lighten up,
Thaw out,
And spring into a few 
Quick, seasonal projects.

Brighter colors are a good
indication that spring is just around the corner.

These cute ABC animals are from a Moda
line designed by Abi Hall called
ABC Menagerie.
Working with these sweet little guys will
certainly chase away the winter doldrums.

And then why not dance your way into
 a new wool pattern
This sweet little bunny with his dandelion wishes
can fill us with hope that spring isn't too far off.

I need to thaw out.
Explore, investigate,
challenge myself to something new.

I've wanted to try some Seminole piecing
since I had seen those beautiful garment in Florida.
Springtime colors some how
makes me feel a little bit warmer
despite there's still snow outside my window.

The other night look whooooo
came to dinner.

We didn't dare move, but
I could slowly reach for the camera.

I think he was annoyed when we saw he'd moved to
the bench in the garden.

Surprise!  We're still watching you
watching us.

Until Next Time-

Thursday, March 5, 2015

I Got Them Sewn Together.

Last time I posted,
 I shared
Running Man's 50 mile trail run.

I haven't been out running on a trail,
but it has felt like I was doing an ultra ultra
sewing challenge.

I had been working on two 

These were very challenging.

I am a visual person and
the pattern has few pictures to help to
understand the construction.
Even with years of sewing
under my belt, 
I was left feeling a bit challenged.

But fortunately,
Sew-a-Long for this bag just about
a year ago.

It was a fabulous resource.
I couldn't have put this bag together without 
their easy to follow steps by step construction.
I wanted each bag to be super scrappy.
That meant it required 11 different fabrics,
a different one for each of the different sections.

It also meant finding
4 zips per bag, in the right sizes to 
coordinate perfectly.

I found those at

Oh, it just makes you want to buy zippers.
She has a wonderful deal, especially for this bag.
4 zips for $2.30 with a fabulous assortment of colors.
Going to this site is wonderful if you're making
this bag or for something else that might require zippers.

it was a lot of work, but

I'm glad I finished my race too.

 Until Next Time-

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Everglades Ultra

 My little R & R to Florida 
did include one more activity.
Well, actually one more event
for Running Man.

Yes, another one of his
50 mile ultra runs.
This time he was familiar with the
lay out of the course.
 He had run this one
a couple of years ago.

Here we are at 5 am.
Ready to start running through the
Everglades in the pitch dark.
Oh, boy.  That's what I call excitement.
I settled back in the car 
until the sun was out.

Here's the goal.
No band, no fireworks, no huge crowds.

Here's what a 50 mile 
trail run looks like on a map.
There are aid stations about every 4-5 miles.
It's not a course where a crew can follow
their runner so that meant
 I stayed put for the day.

Here's what I did.
Took a couple of walks.

and did some sewing.
Sitting at an ultra race and appliqueing
is a unique conversation starter.
(This is my nine patch swap quilt.)

I also watched the vultures circling and
 waiting to swoop down on some unexpected runner
too pooped to make it.
Not really, I hope.

But this trail run is not without dangers.
So that is why each runner
is equipped with bright orange whistle to
summon help in case you encounter
this or
a bear, or panthers, or some coiled up
 huge snake.

The only danger the orange whistle
can't protect you from are

cypress knees,
which are these woody projections that grow 
out from the base of the cypress trees.
I think every runner came in with a bloody
knee or two after being tripped up by these.

It was a beautiful day in the swamp,
I was glad when Running Man finally
saw this sign.

He was not the fastest person on the course,
but he was the fastest one

in his age bracket,
Males, 60 and up.
We affectionately refer to it as
"the Ol' Geezers"
 Way to go, Running Man.
I was his cheering crowd!
 Until Next Time-