Think about this.....

...the only thing scarier then reaching out to the unknown is settling for that with which we are comfortable.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Back from Cali!

Here's the quilt our new grandson gets to drool and play on.

Tristan's New Floor Quilt
I probably posted this previously but since I haven't been home in so long, I forget whether I did or not.

I really want to sew something today! However, I have incurred a slight injury in my travels and am not very mobile so this may not happen. Not to mention, I'm working on about four hours of sleep and feel like I'm paddling through Jell-O.

While in California snuggling and loving our new grandson, I was able to produce quite a few hexagons. Let me see, I'll take a count...131. Hmm...thought I did more then that, but I'll take it.

The leaves are nearly all off the trees and it looks like we're settling into our dismal fall weather patterns. It's a great day to sew, so if you can, enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Classes, Classes, Classes

Since last Wednesday, it seems like I've spent more time in classes then I have in my studio. Oh wait, that's actually a true statement!

Friday and Saturday was spent with an amazing instructor named Sue Wilson who taught the Judy Neimeyer method of quilt construction. Judy is the lady who wrote the Amazon Star pattern and who has a plethora of other amazing quilt patterns available.

But, her quilt patterns (most of them anyway) are extremely intricate and very time consuming! There is a special way, from start to finish, on how to construct her masterpieces, and it took a two day class to decipher a small 46"x46" wall hanging. I'm a little under half way into completion even after spending some time in here yesterday on it.

The class was so worth it and I even picked up another pattern to do at a later time. There were several patterns I wanted to pick up but am getting ready for my trip to Cali to see the kids and didn't want to get crazy before leaving.

The receiving blanket quilt is on DW and ready to quilt. I hope to take that with on Wednesday. I'll continue to putter in here on my Pepperdish wall hanging too and probably won't be blogging much for the next two weeks since our nephew is here from Tennessee for a visit.

I'll be back around the first of the month and until then... happy and keep quilting!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Green Light

Bonnie Hunter is a quilter located somewhere in the Carolina's. She is known for her scrappy quilts and wonderful quilt patterns. She also does a mystery quilt every fall and it's about this time of year she announces her color scheme. 

The colors this year are mimicked from the Grand Hotel on our very own Mackinaw Island. While I love most of the colors she has selected, pink is the one I just can not do. I don't hate pink, but setting it into a quilt for the unknown recipient is just not going to happen.

She also uses one or two special rulers for her annual mystery quilt and I had yet to make up my mind whether I was going to do this years selection. After my class yesterday, and finding the special triangle tool we need to complete this years quilt, made my decision to go ahead with the mystery.

Just a recap...last years mystery quilt was the Celtic Solstice. I have completed the top, but have yet to get it on DW. Probably because I did the king sized version and finding backing fabric for it has been, well, a mystery.


The kids in Cali have asked for me to bring this quilt along since the top is now completed. I still need to quilt it but should be able to work it into todays schedule.

Tristan's New Floor Quilt
Class yesterday was very, very informative. We have these huge machines that do a multitude of stitches, but in reality, we only use about five of the hundreds available to us. This class teaches us to use the variety of stitches available in a useful way rather then repeatedly ignoring them.

Stitcher's Garden 1st Block
This is the completed block I finished when I got home.

Applique Detail
Here is some of the detail put into each of the appliqué pieces. Generally I would have just blanket stitched around each of the pieces, but if you look carefully, there are flowers, sprays, and tracks surrounding the appliqué elements.

Today I have to prepare for my class over the weekend; a look into Judy Neimeyer paper piecing. All the fabrics have arrived and they need to be sorted and pressed before moving along.

Afterwards I need to finish my Check Mark quilt top (only the borders to go), and get the baby quilt quilted.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Birthday Week

Monday: Finished Animal Whimsy! Got the top trimmed up and the binding on. Hurray!

Put together the Spartan "S" receiving blanket quilt. I'm trying to decide if I should border this quilt or not. It seems like whatever color I snug up to it is not working. Borderless it is!

Tuesday; my birthday. Did errands in the morning and then came home mid-afternoon and finished the Check Mark top piecing. I have to get borders on it yet, but all the freezer paper numbers are off, the basting stitches are pulled and now I have to check my directions to see what I do next.

I have class in Portland today for A Stitchers Garden BOM. I take this class with a fellow guilder so it should be fun, fun, fun! We have already attended our planning session and today we actually get to do our first block.

The blocks are a combination of appliqué and piecing, which is the best of both worlds I think.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Quick Synopsis

Wednesday: Put together the orphan blocks.

Jim loves this quilt. I'm still not so sure.

Found some more UFO stuff in my studio and put this up on the design wall.

The white patches are receiving blankets from the boys I cut up years ago. The green is a newer flannel a friend (I think) donated to me and it worked with the whole theme.

Thursday: Class in Ann Arbor. Here's where I left off from my six hour class. This is the reverse side, but I'm trying to protect it from the suns rays that filter through my window.

Friday: Finished quilting Animal Whimsy with Jim's mom. Tried to get her to play with DW. She ran away. 

Saturday: Purchased about 50 yards of backing fabric from Fields Fabric in Grand Rapids. Great prices and the quality is pretty good. Will be able to finish around 10 quilts with it all. Also purchased black sashing fabric for the last BOM/Scrap Squad block exchange quilt.

Saturday Afternoon: Had to clean out the spare room closet as the rod fell down away from the wall. It buried all the unfinished tops put in there to accommodate visitors this weekend. Ugh!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Continuing On

The house cleaning continues. The first order of business was to get the little hourglass string quilt off the design wall and finish it.

Here's what I came up with.

Giddy Up
This may end up being the reunion quilt for 2015...hmmm?

It was Tuesday and so another house was in order. This is #15 and the last of the houses. I thought after making this house I could start putting the top together, but after reading the directions realized there are a number of different trees we'll be using to set in between the houses and along the borders.

The First Snow; #15
Moving along. My Sugar Block BOM from 2013 was sitting in the pile I made the day before. It seemed the next logical step in cleaning house and by the end of the evening, this is what I came up with for those blocks.
Sugar Block BOM 2013
I still have three more piles to sort through today. I may end up combining the Craftsy BOM from 2012 and the exchange blocks from my Scrap Squad members into one quilt. I'll have to wait and see what I get on the design wall. They are all done in yellow, black, white, and a little red. I wonder where I got the colors for my studio? :-)

I'm also excited to get into my orphan block pile. This quilt will probably end up being pretty fugly but until I get it up, won't know if I can actually use these blocks together or how I'm going to deal with them.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cleaning House

When we moved the studio around a week or two ago, my plastic drawer bins were never cleaned out. I knew I needed to get to that sooner or later and yesterday was the day.

After finishing the mega hexagon top, I was pretty much out of projects I could currently work on. I tried to locate the blue polka dotted strips that are the basis of my string quilt blocks hanging around on my shelves, and this lead me to my bins.

After unsuccessfully locating the polka dotted strips, I was able to successfully locate something more to do. Hark! Lots of BOM's that had yet to be put together and a LOT of triangles. I should have taken a pic of the mess I created while cleaning.

I saved too many of these triangles over the years and it was time to cut the apron strings. Anything less then 2 1/2" was to be recycled and off to Dee.

The iron and I were vast becoming best friends as I sorted, ironed, and then appropriately put into size-type piles to be replaced back into the bins for future projects.

Here's the pile of BOM's I have to work on over the next few whatever.

BOM's ready to get together and a pile of orphan blocks
I love the way the light slants into the studio in the morning.

Enough for a small baby quilt...or something
I had enough of these blocks to get on the design wall as a something or another. I'll just either sash them or put them together as is to make a baby quilt for somebody.

Easter Chicks
This block was from my 100 blocks Volume 5 (I think) while I was working for them. Jim wanted me to finish it up for our little quilt rack on the piano.

This was a test block for a Craftsy class I took
Jim wanted me to finish this block too for the piano rack. It'll be nice to hang around Independence Day.
Hi Caleb!
This is Lily. She was watching me take picks of the two piano rack quilts and just begged to be photographed.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I still have not located those blasted blue polka-dotted strips. They can't be far and my studio isn't that big, so eventually I'll stumble across them and then put them near the blocks they belong with.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Little Projects

I think I've mentioned before that Sunday's are a great day for those little projects hanging around here; things I've saved in my head or in my project basket to work on for those lazy, rainy Sundays.

Here are the two I spent yesterday working on.

This is one of three the kids in Lansing will be receiving for Christmas. I know they don't usually frequent my blog so I can post them here without too much concern.

This is Tater Puss.

Tater Puss
I tried to use a satin stitch on his appliqué pieces. Not too bad for my first attempt, but I need to get with Carol R. in our guild to seek out more information. My bends and curves aren't the smoothest, but I don't think the kids will really notice.

I saw this pic on a Facebook posting and after finishing Tater Puss remembered it somewhere in the back of my head. I constructed most of it from memory and then Jim was able to filter it out of my FB page. Luckily, I was pretty much on track and this is our finished wall hanging.

I usually put this kind of stuff in my studio, but with the colors I used and after bringing it into the Family Room, decided it needed to stay in there. It just makes me giggle and hopefully it will to others who come to visit.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Mega Hexy

When you design a quilt from scratch, much of the time is spent measuring, doing math, measuring some more, cutting, sewing, ripping, re-cutting, re-sewing and hoping it all works out. Here is where I ended up Friday night.

Here's a giant Grandmothers Flower Garden. Now what?
I had to decide whether I wanted to finish the quilt off as it was, or go a little further with it. Did I really want to tackle all those weird binding angles and furthermore, would the finished product really lend itself to being a useful quilt in this particular shape?

I decided "No" on both accounts. The binding would have been do-able, but the second question was of more importance; would the quilt be usable and was I just making it to make it? I want my quilts to be loved and used and needed by somebody to keep warm, not just a blob of material that looks nice.

After arriving back home from our travels yesterday afternoon, I dug into more of my fat quarters and yards of fabrics and came up with enough light colors to surround the hexagon into a more manageable configuration.

More like a quilt shape now
This was another measuring, cutting, etc. dance and I was pretty tired of working with this after I got everything onto the design wall.

On to something else. Animal Whimsy is almost done. Only six more blocks to free motion and it'll be ready to get off the frame.

Our son and DIL in Lansing have moved into a new house and they need some art to put on the walls. I had my DIL pick out three cat pieces from The Marshall House quilt shop and I began one of those on Friday night as well. No pics yet, but they should turn out really cute and look nice in her kitchen once completed.

While at Gall yesterday, I had to ask the difference between a couching foot and a cording foot for my sewing machine. Two classes I'm currently enrolled in call for both feet to be used on future projects, and of course, neither Laura or Temp came with either of them. Cindy explained the difference and I'll have to invest in those in the near future.

Our long-arm class was a bust yesterday because the shop owner took the long-arm machines to Grand Rapids for the weekend quilt show up there.

Looking forward to my Bargello class on Thursday in Ann Arbor. There is some discrepancy in the directions that were supposed to have come to us for the class, but we are getting everything ironed out prior to the class beginning.

The T-Shirt quilt was delivered and the customer absolutely went nuts. He and his wife seemed to love what I did throughout the piece and he said his mom would probably cry when she received it for this upcoming Christmas. This alone is why I quilt. If I can make somebody happy about what they receive, it's certainly all worth it!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Giant Hexagon Invasion

Here is my first round. A new experience with those Y seams let me tell ya. But, with my guild friends' instructions I seem to be getting along with them fairly well. Only one very tiny pucker so far in one of those seems and I can probably work that out during the final pressing.

This measure 46" side to side. The finished quilt is going to be rather large I think.

Super-Sized Hexagon beginning
The rest of the day was spent working on Animal Whimsy. Some of the quilt is being done with the Pro Stitcher, and the rest is being done free motion. I think I finally have a handle on these swirls.

The quilting weather forecast is perfect for the next few days. I have a class tomorrow morning at Gall learning how to do Pantographs. This is all brand new to me and will be exciting to learn another long-arm technique.

A English Paper Piecing get together at the Hen House follows my long arm class. I don't know if I'll attend this but it sounds like a fun option on a rainy, cold filled day.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Autumn is Here!

I love fall. The maple tree out front is already peaked out, but then again, it's not a real healthy tree so it has a tendency to loose its color/leaves earlier then most of the other trees around the place.

Autumn is a time to clean, organize, and create! With the sun's rays slanting through the studio windows at such an inviting angle, it's hard not to just want to live in here. Oh wait, I already pretty much do.

Therapy in Session is finished.

My sentiments exactly!
Here's a close-up of the hair I quilted in. 

Yellow hair of course!
We have another candidate on the long-arm; Animal Whimsy. I love this quilt and the expression each of the farm animals carries. I'll have to be careful when working on this one though because I have already included the eyes, which are very small buttons, on each of the animals. DW and plastic buttons probably wouldn't get along too well.

Animal Whimsy
A few of the guild members are "super-sizing" quilt blocks. One member has just completed a Churn Dash block, and another one is doing a huge Log Cabin. Can you tell what I'll be super sizing?

I didn't receive my Sugar BOM yesterday, but noticed it came through this morning. Therefore, it was not my negligence in getting my FB profile pic updated yesterday. Ha!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Batteries Full

I love a day where I can look back and say to myself, "Wow, I did a lot today."

Starting with our binding on the Stars and Moon quilt, it is now finished.

Stars and Moon
Label for our T-Shirt quilt customer was attached and now that quilt is ready for delivery (I just need to price it out and get the invoice printed).

T-Shirt Quilt Label
There isn't one quilting chore that I absolutely hate doing. Honestly! Every part of the quilting process is an experience into another hour of bliss. However, labels are probably up there with the "least favorite" category basically because most recipients view it is a non-significance. I literally spend at least two hours in making, printing, and sewing the quilt label onto a quilt.

House #14
One more week and we'll be done with individual houses. I can start constructing the quilt after next Tuesday. Hurray

It was 5:00 or thereabouts and all my to-do's were done. What to do next? My guild friend who dropped off those two totes last week? Yeah, she had a number of kits in one tote alone. This is kit number 2.

Therapy in Session
I started on this little wall hanging and accomplished most of the outer edges yesterday. The directions do not say what to do with the center section, but I'm thinking some thread sketching in some of the blocks within the drawing may be kind of cool. Gotta give the lady yellow hair as well, right?

Jim and I have company coming in a few weeks so we are sorting through the tops/backings in the spare room. We have another six or thereabouts to get on DW which was surprising to me because I thought I was down to about three.