Friday, July 31, 2015

Shifting Gears

 When I was learning to drive,
many decades ago,
I loved practicing shifting gears in my family's 
red standard pickup truck.
It was fun to drive.
That is until you got stopped
at the traffic light in the center of town, 
especially if you were coming up the hill 
on Center Street, you know,
just up from the bowling alley.

Foot on the brake,
foot on the clutch,
and a foot on the gas.
that means three feet.

That's when my mom would come to my rescue.
She would slide over on the front seat
and add a foot to help out.  
We would laugh and
hope no one was right behind us.

So I learned way back when
that shifting gears
can be exciting and that's
exactly what I've been doing this summer.

Summer is full of color and
bright light so I've
been working on my Dresden Plate 
inspired by Kathy Doughty
and her book
Material Obsession,
Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots.
Everything has been cut out and sewn
for a couple of months.

 Now it was time to get back to it.
Using Roxanne's Basting Glue
 each ring was positioned on the background and
then lightly glued.
The seam allowance on the center circles were
painted with starch and pressed over using
a freezer paper template.

The applique has been easy
with all of the seam allowances
folded under.
I did have to figure out
 what thread to use because of all the different fabric petals.
I didn't want to keep changing thread colors.
So I finally decided to use
a light gray, Superior Thread,
Bottom Line.
The thread is so fine that it
basically melts into the weave of the fabric and
becomes invisible.

 I used a red Aurifil
which is nice and thin too, for the centers.

A few more sections to stitch together,
 a few more red circles to applique,
and I'll be ready to shift gears again.

Until Next Time-

Thursday, July 23, 2015

In the Beginning

This week at my Quilt Therapy meeting
the show and tell was all about 
"In the Beginning".
What was our first quilt and 
it's story.

I'm afraid I don't have my first quilt anymore.
It found it's way to quilt heaven a couple of years ago.

I called it Hit or Miss.
2" x 3" rectangles sewn together
and tied with yarn and a red sheet for the backing plus
double batting because quilts were suppose to be fluffy!

So for the meeting I brought my second quilt.
I was an expert by 1975,
or so I thought.
I had discovered applique.

33" x 48"
Hand Appliqued and Hand Quilted.

A pattern in this book was my inspiration.
It was a small gridded pattern that you 
needed to draw to the size you wanted.

Can you tell which fabrics are cottons
and which fabrics are polyesters?

Why, the polys are the ones as bright as the day
I stitched them.

This is a turkey if you are having trouble.
The cottons have faded, the solid polys are bright,
the DMC floss for the buttonhole stitching 
is still the same color and, if
I could show you a close up of my applique stitches,
you would see them as clear as day.
Mostly because the thread
 is the same original matching bright color...
polyester thread.

But that's all part of the learning curve especially,
when there were no classes,
 no internet,
no good instruction books,
 no quilt guilds,
no quilting buddies,
no quilt shops, 
just a black and white photo.
 a kangaroo

This alligator had some bleeding issues.
 I'm not sure if it was the fabric or the DMC floss.
I don't remember washing this quilt, so I'm
not sure if some color has just wicked out.

I did quilt the heck out of it.
My first hand quilting, 
a half inch grid in the background
 and a zigzag pattern in the border and sashing. 

The good news is that the quality of our cottons 
have improved over the past 40 years.
The grey goods are better
and the dyes are a lot more permanent.

This quilt has never been in direct sunlight, yet
here's what's happened over time.

I used the same fabric on both the front and
the back of this quilt.
Incredible, huh!
Look how the fading has even crept 
around into the edges of the backing.

I guess no matter when we're
 bitten by the quilting bug, our first
few quilts can tell quite a story.
It's just part of our history.

Until Next Time-

Friday, July 17, 2015

Shhhh, It's Quiet Time

 I finished just in the nick of time!
We're having a birthday party on Saturday and
someone is turning three.
 And I've made something special.

Of course, I have two super hero grandsons as well,
so that meant sewing X3!

I've been sewing snaps, button, zippers,
working with Velcro,  eyelets, 
buckle closures, cutting and fusing felt,...

Shhhhhh! I've been making
Quiet Books.

I had been collecting ideas from Pinterest
for awhile.  
There are a few websites that have free patterns.
Here's one:

This barn

complete with finger puppets,

or this mailbox 
are popular pages that have patterns available,
but very limited directions.

But most of the pages were ideas I saw
and then I designed and figured it out myself.

 I have to say,
it was a study
in sequencing, figuring out what 
needed to be done first and so on,
 so that the pieces are completed with
a professional look.

For example, on this color and shape recognition page,
the Velcro was sewn to the back of the piece first and
then the layers sewn together with the cording inserted in between. 
That way no construction sewing could be seen.

  Although the
pieces were fused, I knew that alone
wouldn't stand up to lots of handling.
So that meant free motion sewing around every piece
to assure they would stay.

This is an idea I saw and would love to credit
the person who designed it, but couldn't track that down.
This is for the kid's Italian heritage.

This block took quite a bit of  planning. 
The pieces needed to fused and sewn in place, but still needed to
keep the center open to allow the spaghetti to
be pulled through the eyelets.

Some pages required some
extra pieces to add to the fun.
Finger Puppets in sleeping bags.

Most of the pages try to teach some skill.
(Guess that's the x-teacher in me.)
Concentration ( Memory Game)
It's done with magnets and washers
and I included pockets to store the pieces.

Tic Tac Toe (Strategy)
Using premade felt animals found at JoAnn's.


Number Recognition.

 Of course, I had to add some pages with buttons.

That always requires some practice.

During this process my machine refused to make buttonholes.
That required a trip to the repair shop
to get my buttonholer recalibrated.

A few different pages for my youngest grandson.


Big jumbo snaps

I couldn't find a construction plan I liked so
 I opted to use pellon fleece and bright fabric for the pages.

After two pages were completed
they were sewn together around the outer edges
to make a single page.

Each page has 3 eyelets and 
the whole book is held together with 3" book rings.
There's also stiff interfacing in the covers to 
give it some stability.

I added handles and a
closure strap.
The letters on the cover come off
so everyone can practice spelling their name!

Well, my Nana project is done.
Now it's time for the kiddos to
have some quiet time and play.
Nana needs some quiet time too.
After she picks up the mess in the sewing room.

 Until Next time-

Friday, July 10, 2015

3 Cheers

 Despite the fact that fireworks 
and firecrackers were pretty much
finished last weekend,
I continue to look at the month of July
as the Red, White and Blue month.

That way I don't feel bad
finishing up this cute free embroidery pattern

 I had taken the pattern and enlarged it,
did some coloring with crayons,
heat set the color, 
and finished up with the embroidery.

It became the perfect size for a 
small holiday pillow.
 (11" x 17")
 I decided it needed the rickrack to
frame the piece and, of course,
so many things look better with rickrack.
Don't you agree?

It was nice to have a smallish project to work on.
Something to pick up and work on and
relax with.

 We've had a rainy week 
here in colorful Colorado,
lots of welcomed rain and moisture.
And it's found me inside
busily sewing on a project that
I can show you next week.
 Let's just say, it's the kind of 
thing only a Nana would do
for her sweet grandkiddos.
Not necessarily smallish or relaxing.

 Until Next Time-

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Softly Tootin' My Own Horn and Some Other Things

 My mom always told me
never to "toot your own horn".
It was bragging and, besides,
others would see your good work and take notice.

But today
I'm breaking that rule, but 
  I hope I'm not tooting too loudly.
I have completely finished

 Dutch Chintz Medallion
2014- 2015
63" x 63"

It's taken a year and a half,
6 installments of Quiltmania magazine,
a fabulous design by Di Ford,
and perseverance.

It was fabulous to work with the Dutch Chintz

I had never done Broderie Perse applique before
or English Paper pieced hexagons.
The design brought forth new challenges and skills.

I didn't like how these football shapes didn't touch.
So I added some tiny circles to connect
them altogether.

And mitering borders
is always a challenge for me.

Then there was the decision on how to quilt it.
I combined both machine quilting in the ditch and

 hand quilting the open areas.

Today it's done

 and the label sewn on.

Tah Tah Dah!
Last Saturday Running Man drew three names
to win the three fabric baskets I had made 
in conjunction with my birthday celebration 
and my year of fun.
Here are the winners:
Basket #1 - Cathy of Quilting on Main Street
Basket #2 - Sandy L.  
( I still need to hear back from you, Sandy.)

Basket #3 - Julie of JulieKQuilts

Thanks  to everyone who took the time to 
leave a sweet comment.  I appreciate all of you.

The Fourth of July holiday is 
just around the corner here in the States.

Have a wonderful celebration.

Until Next Time-