Think about this.....

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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Sunny Days

When I say sunny days it reminds me of Sesame Street, you know, because of the song. But it was sunny yesterday and today's starting out the same way. For some reason, it seems like I'm more productive when it's sunny out in the winter. Not so much in the summer (probably because I'm outside doing stuff instead of in here).

Here was the first thing I completed.

Craftsy 2012 BOM with added Scrap Squad Exchange Blocks
This quilt will not be for sale since some of the blocks included were made specifically for me during our Scrap Squad block exchange in 2013.

Next up (and the above took me most of the day) was going through Jen's box. I had already started thinking about what to do for her, but after reading her journal and instructions, basically came up empty. I started playing around with some of her suggestions and thought I had settled on something last night, but then while feeding the birds this morning, came up with something entirely different. I'll get started on that next week and hopefully be finished with her row prior to leaving on Friday.

While waiting for Jim to get home last night, I loaded this little charity piece up and watched a few Angela Walters videos to get some quilting inspiration.

Colorful Bargello
I wish this Bargello was bigger then it really appears, which is why I'll donate it as a lap quilt to the VA in the fall. I think I'll throw some meandering feathers randomly throughout to give me some practice on those and fill in with some open swirls or paisley's.

Jim has a short run today so he'll be home by lunch. I think we are still on a sandal/casual shoe mission (like last weekend) so I don't know how much studio time I'm actually going to get today, but we'll take what we can and run with it.

Friday, February 27, 2015

180 Degrees

After I shut DW down for the night, prior to leaving for guild, I was stuck with the "I don't have much to do tomorrow" conundrum. I like that word...conundrum.

After returning from guild, I now have plenty to do AND I was (shame on me) perusing through Pinterest this morning, and wow, found even more pins to look at later and possibly create.

This is what I started out with yesterday morning.

One of a few blocks I'm in the process of making
After an hour of paper piecing, decided that was enough of that for the day and moved to long-arming.

Here is a little peek at some of the detail going into what I worked on for the remainder of the day on DW.

Leah calls this one "Escargot"
It's a peek because I had already rolled the quilt before leaving last night to make sure I was ready to go this morning.

I watched something on Quilting Is My Therapy yesterday during lunch and it really hit me between the eyes. I mean right square in the face, slap me silly and brought me to my knees kind of lesson. It definitely merits repeating and I need to get this down in my studio somewhere. Maybe I'll have mom paint it around the walls or I can quilt it out or something, but here's what I learned yesterday:

Three Things Machine Quilters Should STOP Doing!

1) Stop comparing your worst to everyones best. Comparison is a thief of joy! Just enjoy the process of learning.
2) Stop pointing out your mistakes. Stop pointing out your mistakes. Stop pointing out your mistakes! Say, "Thank you, or I had fun doing it, or I'm so glad I was able to finish it."
3) Don't forget the purpose of the quilt. Don't look at a 2" quilted section with mistakes in it, but rather the whole quilt and its purpose.

And the final note to the lesson was this: A finished quilt is always better then a perfect quilting design!

While I hone my free-motion quilting (because the computer, other then doing a horizontal plumb line, has been O-F-F off) I'm picking up tricks and learning, and reading, and watching, and collaborating, and continuing to gain experience with all those tops I made for three straight years.

I offered advice to a fellow guild member last night about how to quilt her quilt. I need to stop opening my mouth because it just gets slapped when I do. I knew who the quilt was for, I knew the quilters set-up, and I knew about the amount of time the quilter wanted to put into it, and took that into consideration before throwing out any ideas. I was familiar with the top since I watched it's development through social media, and yet, once again, the "expert" quilter in the group was sought out to give the quilting advice that I'm nearly positive will be taken.

I'm not a professional and I'm not a show winner (okay, a few local shows, but I don't consider those "real"), but I have a brain and I have passion. Yesterday, after logging my last page into my spreadsheet, I have nearly 90 quilts out of DW to date. I'm learning more every day and I love to watch the quilt top (which is a work of art in of itself) turn into the quilting palette to really make the whole piece shine.

I shared this story because prior to sitting through my "lesson" from yesterday, would have gotten pretty bent out of shape about the comment thrown my way. I'm still "healing" from a few weeks ago when the quilting professional snapped at me in front of everybody because she thought she had to get snarky. But, I don't care what others think anymore. I don't care what they say anymore. I'm me I'm too old to change that and in my life I'm finally able to do what it is I LOVE to do.

I'm going to take my ideas and make them happen somehow, some way and if you like any (or all) of my ideas, Cool. If you don't, whatever. After yesterday, I'm actually pretty okay with that and just do not have the time to stress about it anymore.

Enough on this, it's time to get sewing and creating, learning and enjoying; simply living life!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sewing

I did it. It's not perfect, but it works, and it's cute as the dickens. One project...four different looks.





Mike now has his own "clothes" to wear and depending on the season or my moods, I can change his clothes easy peasy.

I actually finished the sewing machine cover before I broke for lunch, so this gave me lots of time to think about and plan how to start quilting each of the blocks in my BOM Sampler. Here's where I left off last night.


I don't usually like sampler quilts. To me they seem too busy and lend too much for the eye to look at. And, it seems like the block you dislike the most is the one that keeps resurfacing when the bed is made or while it lays on the back of the couch.

Not so much with this one. Amy Gibson did a really nice job planning and providing blocks for this piece (which is why I have made two and may be making one more just because). Each block is a quilting opportunity to incorporate what you know and what you should practice on, and the piecing is very diverse so production sewing does not occur either.

I'm using four different thread colors in the quilting but I'm running a white bobbin for the background. I've cranked up the top tension to bring up a little of that white bobbin on the black and red threads to give it a little texture and difference. I get a thread break once in a while, but it's making it look really cool, so it's worth it.

I hope I can attend guild tonight. It's snowing lightly outside but it should stop soon enough (as I'm crossing my fingers). I think we have to exchange our row by rows and I have to ask the members what their preference is in the class I'm teaching for Quilt U (make it/take it -or- Introduction to precuts and building blocks from them).

Meanwhile, back in the studio, other then long-arming today, I'm not sure where to head at this point. I'll have to rummage around in my shelves/baskets to see what I've got in the works over there and see if my mood lends itself to working on one of the WIP's or whether something new needs to be started. Artists are so fickle aren't we?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

More Quilting Lessons

While trying to locate my next long arm project yesterday, I stumbled across this particular little quilt I made, oh, I don't know, back last fall or even late summer of last year. All I needed to do was bind it.

Now that all my fabrics are so organized, I just went over, snagged the right grey I needed, and stuck that bugger on there. This will probably be a donation quilt unless some little guy would like it on his bed.
Colorful Chevrons
After taking care of this misplaced quilt, I loaded DW with my 1st (but second to quilt) 2012 Craftsy BOM quilt. This is the one I also put the Scrap Squad exchange blocks in to make the top much larger. I wanted to quilt this on the long arm at the same time I was doing the quilt-as-you-go blocks but only a week off isn't bad, right?

Once I got it all loaded and I got the borders started, I moved along to the New York Beauty Flying Geese.

I needed to find thread to quilt it with and well, I didn't have the right colors in the kind I was looking for. I knew I was going to have to do some travel stitching on a lot of it so I needed a strong poly thread to take the abuse. Unfortunately, all I had in the color I needed was So Fine by Superior and I really had my doubts.

What I learned was a couple of things:

1) I can use the lighter weight quilting threads on my DSM by feeding it through my large cone holder I usually use for Laura.
2) So Fine thread is not good for a lot of travel stitching.
3) While I can get the cone holder to hold the thread I'm using through the machine well enough, apparently winding bobbins may not give the same great results unless closely monitored.

With a lot of frustration and broken threads (it was too late to change my mind half way through the quilting process) here is the New York Beauty Flying Geese wall hanging. I only have to tack down the binding (which I'm doing by hand) and I'll do that at guild on Thursday night.

New York Beauty Flying Geese
My sewing machine cover project still sits here waiting and I have another long arm project to play on, which about sums up where I'm headed to today in my studio.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Monday

Monday's are usually super productive for me, especially when Jim gets a mandatory for Tuesday morning. It means he won't be home on Monday night so I stay in the studio longer and get a lot more accomplished. I miss him and rather he'd be here, but as long as he's not, I may as well be doing what it is I love to do, right?

Something was written or researched about how men want their woman to be in the same room with them, even if it's just to watch TV or play silly mindless games; they just like to have us present in their surroundings. Having said that, when Jim is home, I know he prefers me to be with him so I knock off in here much sooner then when he's not home.

This top is completed, marked, and ready for the quilting. If I have the correct thread, I'll do that today. 
NewYork Beauty Flying Geese
Fay's Coffee Cups was long-armed yesterday morning and completed, and then because I finished the above piece earlier then I thought, I made the bindings, still had energy, attached the binding on the one side, was still steaming ahead, and so attached the other side. Voile! Finished!

Fay's Coffee Cups
The wind is screaming outside and the temps are sitting around 6. It's going to be cold in here because of this so I need to do something physical. Loading a quilt always requires a good amount of bending, stretching, running around, leaning, etc. so I think that may be a good thing to think about today too.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Not Much to Report

I started working on my New York Beauty Flying Geese wall hanging yesterday, and then Jim and I decided to go visit my mom.

I continued on after we returned why Jim watched MSU beat Illinois in basketball...and that was about it.

A very brisk, sunny day today will take me back into my favorite room. I'll continue on with the wall hanging and get some long arming done on those coffee cups. My sewing machine cover is still sitting here...waiting in pieces to have something done, and I've actually thought of another guild challenge idea but don't know with us heading to Cali in a week and a half whether I should venture in that direction. Probably not, but maybe I'll make it anyway just because I love the new idea.


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Birdzilla x 2

While Jim was getting in the shower this morning I happened to look out the back window to see a surprise coming towards the feeder.


Then they got closer and started moving around to the front feeders. I was able to snap quite a few great shots of them hanging out front but this is my favorite.

One of our birdzilla visitors this morning
Look at the color of his plumage. Well, the pic isn't as good as the real thing, but they were both beautiful to watch for a few minutes before a passing truck scared them off.

Sewing Machine Cover...or pieces thereof
This may be my attempt today??? I have another wall hanging pattern Ben and Alisha purchased for me for Christmas I want to also get into today, so we'll see where the wind takes us.

Meanwhile, it's Sunday. It's small project day so keeping that in mind we'll get started.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Double Needle

I had to wait until this afternoon to blog today because Jim and I had to run errands. Off to Charlotte, Lansing, Mason, and then back to Charlotte again. Our main intention was to purchase Jim some sandals or casual shoes for our trip out to Cali in a few weeks. Of course, we got everything else but.

I tried my double needle yesterday on my Stitchers Garden piece for next month. This is what a double needle looks like in the machine.

Double Needle

What the double needle does
This is the type of stitch the double needle makes. It is so cool! Mike allows me to use about 20 of my stitches with this special needle and our homework for next month needed to have a wavy line at 1" intervals quilted onto the background. Pretty neat, huh?

I also worked on getting the braided corners on the second block from this month and it turned out okay. My appliqué mistake turned into a design opportunity.

DW and I worked a bit more on the coffee cups quilt and after rolling it later in the afternoon, found I was further along then I thought. Two more rows to go.

Jim and I purchased a second backing (the first one isn't going to work) for Amazon Star from the amazing Hen House. She is getting more and more fabric in and all I can say is wow! Her prices aren't sky high and we get a guild discount to boot.

While we were in Mason we visited a shop called Yards of Fabric. Jeaneane is really nice and I picked up some really cool fat quarters and a pattern to make a sewing machine cover for Mike. He gets pretty dusty if I don't use him day to day and this will make a nice small project Sunday thing to work on tomorrow. If the pattern works out (sewing anxiety here) I'll make a second one later for Jay.


Friday, February 20, 2015

No Special Foot Required

Once upon a time we used to do a lot of cross stitch. I still have all the floss we used and just haven't done much with it over the past 10 or so years. Yesterday I found a use for at least a little of it.

This is the braiding we learned in our Stitchers Garden class. No special feet are needed for your machine; just an open toe foot so you can see where it is your going when sewing. I braided the floss around the inside of the border of one of my Stitchers Garden blocks.

Braiding with Embroidery Floss
You can really use any medium you'd like when doing the braiding technique; ribbon, cording, yarn. Whatever you have available you think might look nice in whatever it is you're wanting to embellish.

The second block will have this done in each of the corners because I got my appliqué too close to the edge to do a whole round. And, it takes A LOT of time! One 12 1/2" block took me 45 minutes.

DW and I spent some time together on the coffee cups quilt and then I made a prototype of the quilt fairy gift I want to make for all my friends. I may or may not stick with my idea. Like all other projects, it turned out to be more work then anticipated and making 25 of them just makes me grimace. Not that my friends aren't worth it, but having to mass produce something 24 more times just may not work for me.

It looks like I'll be teaching again for our bi-annual Quilt U in May. April would like me to take off with something Jenny Doan, from Missouri Star Quilt Company, teaches for her precuts. I have a few ideas but I want to make sure it's something fun and useful at the same time. Maybe I should take a poll from the members to see what they would rather have: A starter foundation for something they can make small or large -or- more of a make it/take it kind of thing. I'm leaning towards the later but the class certainly isn't all about me.

Notice I'm not at Sew In?!? It was -13 this morning when I woke up and that was at 8:30. I had to go out and feed the birds and get the mail an hour later and I could not believe just how cold it is. It's really hard on the vehicles to be running around in this, and frankly, I just wasn't up for traipsing around and shivering all day like I did Wednesday. The house isn't any too warm, but at least I can keep the space heater on when I'm here and get some laundry done too.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Learning

Class yesterday went extremely well. Not much was accomplished, but we learned how to braid with our normal open-toed foot on our machines, and we learned what those double sewing machine needles were all about. They are actually pretty cool and I plan on playing with that today.

Before I left for class I actually got this piece loaded and basted down.

Coffee or Tea?
This is a self designed piece I made especially for the owner of Fay's Evelyn Bay Coffee House. Fay and I took a knitting class together a year or so ago and I instantly fell in love with her. She's so kind and always seems to be smiling. It's people like that you love to make quilts for because you just know they'll treasure it forever.

Because I didn't get my sewing fix in at class yesterday I came home and started thinning out my string basket; eight (2) more blocks were completed before I felt like I could just not sew anymore.

So, the quilt camp idea I had a week or two ago Jim busted (again). I found yet another idea I'll try out. It'll take longer then some of my previous ideas, but I think it will be more useful to the camp members. Maybe hubby will be on board with this one?

I have Stitchers Garden homework to do and this cute mug quilt to long arm. Sew In is this weekend so I'll have to pack and get ready for that too. I really, really need to get started on doing something with those selvedges. They were going to be used in the quilt fairy project a few ideas ago, but since that has changed, so too will their purpose. My two baskets are letting me know it's time to do something!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Visitors

Not human visitors, but the aviary kind who sometimes divert my already short attention span near our bird feeders. While it was snow globe snowing yesterday, a few of my winter friends were feasting on the sunflower seeds set out earlier that morning.

Bird Visitors
But my attention was not diverted long because the 2012 Craftsy BOM Sampler Quilt-As-You-Go quilt is completed! After getting those borders on and quilting them up with some simple straight line quilting, I fell more in love, if that was even possible. I couldn't stand to put it away until spring so it stayed on my planning table all day long.

After Jim arrived home for the day, he too fell in love and instead of putting it downstairs, we put it on the spare bedroom bed to admire until spring finally arrives.

2012 Craftsy BOM Sampler
While the sampler was sitting on the planning table, I moved to DW to finish the White Crayons. It's called "White" because my best girlfriend on Arizona has the black version of this very quilt in her office at Camp Verde Elementary.

So, two quilts in one day (again).

White Crayons
Before I leave for the Stitchers Garden class later this morning, I'll rummage around in the spare room to see what goes on the long arm next. I should have about enough time to seek out a top and backing and get them pressed and partially loaded.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

To Border or Not To Border

I spent all of yesterday on one project! Just One! I can't believe I actually did that! Shocking I know.

By mid-afternoon, the rows were together and had a quilt nearing completion. All I needed to do was add the binding and I could move on.

Ummm, no.

I love this quilt so much and decided it would not be for sale but rather our spring/summer time quilt. And, because it finished kind of small it could only serve as a topper for our queen-sized bed. Which would be okay if Jim wasn't as huge as he is, but his surface area alone would take up most of the quilt. Since I like to be covered too I now had to investigate on how to get a border on my quilt-as-you-go method.

Here's somewhat of a pic of the quilt prior to adding any borders.

Block of the Month Without Borders
I decided on a piano keys type of border since I had some material left over from the block construction. Probably just about enough to get a piano key border made. 

Piano key borders take a long time to do when using a muslin foundation. The purpose of the foundation is to keep the keys at nearly a 90-degree angle and to keep the pieces somewhat aligned when sewing them together. 

I have attempted this border type without using the muslin and found myself wandering off in sewing them together and had shorted myself on one end or the other. The border construction took until dark (as you can see from the pic) to complete. And, then of course, I was still short on the last border by about a foot, so back to Jay to construct more. 

After construction, the borders are attached to the quilt together; front and back borders at the same time. Which sounds easy enough, but after starting the first one, found pinning is not an option but necessary when trying to keep all the layers aligned together under the walking foot. 

I ran out of steam around 9:00 last night. Today will hopefully see completion of this beauty. I have to get the batting in between the borders that were attached last night and then those have to be quilted and then trimmed before the binding can be constructed and attached. 

While I am enjoying this method of making a quilt, putting all the layers together on DW after the whole top is completed seems like the way to go from now on. This would be more fun on a piece that was a little smaller maybe or something requiring micro quilting; like this one. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Explosion

It looks like a BOM quilt had a BM in my studio. Blocks, blocks, everywhere. 

Blocks everywhere!
On the design wall, on DW's rails, on the planning table...everywhere. But, after today, this will certainly be rectified. 

I'm falling more and more in love with this quilt too but I think it's going to finish pretty small. However, since this is a quilt-as-you-go quilt, I could easily add a large border around the center section...or even a medium and then large border to make it even bigger. We'll see when I get it completed later this morning. 

If you look close enough, you can see DW also has a new set of clothes on this morning. The White Crayons are all bordered up and I'm still trying to decide what to do with the crayons themselves. Since this will be a quilt for a child, I should probably keep it simple. I also have to embellish it with rick rack after it's quilted, so I need to keep that in mind too. 

The house is very cold this morning. Temps last night were well below zero and the furnace is having a hard time keeping up. The studio is one of the warmest rooms in the house (as long as we don't have a strong SE or SW wind) so I'll just hang in here most of the day and into the nighttime I think.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Piccadilly Circles

I love this quilt. I had hoped it was bigger then it was, but when I "filed" it downstairs, it was much smaller on the queen-sized bed it went on.

Piccadilly Circles
It's fun seeing all these old tops I have as I pull them out. This quilt was a struggle for me since it was one of my first encounters handling curved piecing. There are only a few tiny puckers that I noticed while I was quilting it so I must not have done too bad.

Here is my studio helper, Lily. She was hiding (which is rare) after dad gave her her spring hair cut yesterday morning. She usually hangs out on her horse blanket just at the outskirts of my studio door, but she was making sure dad couldn't get to her for any other housekeeping chores he may want to perform.

Hi Caleb!
Despite the horrible wind and rock bottom temps yesterday, we did end up running into town. We were going to head to the Hen House to select the fabrics for my next project, but it was already late in the afternoon and I didn't want to rush through the selection process. Maybe next time?

The next quilt up on the long arm is the White Crayons. I pulled it, paired it, measured it, and will be loading it later this morning. I also have thread now (thank you my man) to finish quilting the quilt-as-you-go blocks. It IS small project Sunday, but maybe we'll change the rules today for a change?!?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Supplies

The bummer about winter is it keeps me in the house. And, when you run out of stuff (like quilting thread) it halts some of what I do here in the studio.

This is where I left off last night before running out of the white Isacord quilting thread. Luckily, I have a thoughtful husband (my Valentines Day best friend). He was near Portland for work today and swung by to pick me up some more. So, while he's watching the basketball game later on, I can continue getting these borders quilted out.

A UFO?
Piccadilly Circles is coming along nicely. It should be finished later this morning and then I'll have to figure out what I'm going to do with the binding.

I still can't get over how nice my studio looks with the new shelving unit. While I was cutting those squares down last night I was so careful to clean up my scraps and file all the fabrics back where they belonged. I want to keep the studio like this so a conscious effort is being made to take the time for cleaning and organization.

Happy Snowy Valentines Day! Stay inside where it's warm and where quilting can keep you even warmer!

Friday, February 13, 2015

First Row by Row Done!

Mary's row is completed. Hurray! It took way too long to complete, but lesson learned; plan better or end up making/doing more then you bargained for.

Here it is.

Mary, Mary, quite contrary. How does your garden grow?
Mary had selected "Garden" as her theme, and while she wanted it a little on the modern side, this is what I came up with.

Piccadilly Circles is next up on DW. I started with the borders and some of the filler early on yesterday, but Mary's incomplete row was screaming at me over in the corner to be worked on so I shut DW down after just a little bit.

I didn't head off to guild last night. Too cold and frankly, I wanted to get this row done before I closed up shop. I couldn't face another day of it. However, I'm glad I took the extra time and think it's one of my better self designed pieces of work.

It's time to start joining my quilt-as-you-go blocks too. As they sit in a pile, and as I keep having to move them, they are very heavy and are beckoning me to get back at them. I can't wait to see how they all come together and with the excellent teaching on Craftsy, I'll hopefully get them together without any problems.

After cleaning my studio this week, I stumbled upon many projects I've been just itching to get at. A few of them are still, "Eh", but others are "Hey, I really want to do this quilt!" I relocated all of them into just one location (instead of all over the place) and will see what I have in the way of fabrics to complete one or two over the weekend.

And, I have a few sets of fabrics (flannels, coordinates) that are without a pattern, but perhaps, can be used for those patterns I found while cleaning. Eureka!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Spring Cleaning Early

I am so thankful I have a best friend who makes me cool things like shelving for my studio. It looks like I have a quilting store in here now and hopefully (conscious effort here) I'll keep it looking this amazing in the coming months as I build more quilts. Thank you again my wonderful husband.

Greater then 1 yard cuts
The first set of large shelves will house my larger yardages. Greater then 1 yard has been my rule. To the left of the big shelves, there on the floor, are my 16-unit shelves which hold all my little tiny scraps I use for paper piecing and other such things.

Pre-cuts, Future Projects, and Immediate Notions
This shelf is located to the right of the large shelves and right behind where Mike and I hang out. The fabrics on the bottom are most of my large cuts of flannel, and the caption explains the rest.

>1 Yard Cuts
This set of shelves is under my pressing/planning table. The project on top is my Stitchers Garden work in progress. This is the set of shelves that get the most abuse. I dig around in here almost daily looking for that "just right" fabric since there is such a variety.

Some of these (yellows, creams, golds, off-whites, and white...oh and brown/tans) had to be relocated to the larger cuts shelving unit because I have so many smaller sections left they wouldn't all fit. And, I had to finally take care of the fabrics I received from Christmas and friends who have donated to my scrappy quilt cause.

Most of yesterday was spent getting this mess taken care of, but I was able to spend a little bit of time on Mary's Row by Row pieces. Still a long way to go with those, but it was finally good to get my machine turned back on after spending all day on fabric.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Lots and Much

Lotsa projects being worked on today.

Yesterday, first thing, I had to bind my Slap-la-que Heart quilt. Here's a pic of my feather progress and where I inserted them into the wide border. Below the feathers are some ribbon candy motifs.

Feather and Ribbon Candy detail on Slap-la-que Hearts

Slap-la-que Hearts Completed
The kids came out last night for a visit, which is unusual for a weekday. Ben needed to borrow a wood working tool from dad, Caleb wanted to visit with us and Lily, and Alisha wanted to check on how the bunny's nails were fairing. They also brought up my new fabric shelves Jim built for the studio.

Re-organizing the fabrics
Today, I'll be working on organizing this mess before I can continue doing anything else.

Before the kids came out, I had loaded this quilt onto DW and Alisha and I were playing with how to quilt those circles. We came up with a variety of ideas but nothing really suited me (yet). I put three  gentle waves in the piano key border and some string of bees in the white border. The center of the circles have an open spiral in them with the string of bees at the connectors. I may run a feather fan in the black section?!?

Shayla Wolf Circles
If you look carefully in the previous photo of the reorganization project, you can see what else was started yesterday. I've begun Mary's row by row. Many of the vegetables are done so only a few more to go to start with.

I'm pretty nervous about this work I'm doing. I'm aware of how precise Mary is and everything I do I ask myself, 'Is this my best work', 'Can I do better?', 'Will Mary approve?'. I was actually sweating while working her pieces yesterday and I think my heart rate was pretty elevated too. I need to get a grip and just enjoy the process.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Papers Everywhere

What are all these papers for?

Mary's Row by Row!

I decided to modernize the original pattern, which I found out after perusing my library, was dated Spring of 2000. And, bonus, I found another set of paper pieced patterns in a little later issue of my magazines that I could incorporate into Mary's garden as well. And, I think I'll add some modern fabrics to spell out the word "garden" within the different garden elements I'm building for her and try to set the paper pieced pieces around the garden word.

Oh Mary, how does your garden grow?

Good think she doesn't check out my blog or she'd know what it was I was doing for her. So, today is dedicated to building Mary's row and having some paper piecing fun!


Monday, February 9, 2015

Choices

I have three or four projects to choose from today. Well, I actually have a few more, but this is where  my biggest pull is for this dreary Monday.

First, and I don't have pics, are Mary R.'s row by row blocks. I don't have pics because I haven't started them yet. I think I know where I'm going to go with the blocks, I just haven't gotten there yet. The thing that's bothering me about her piece/instructions is she indicates she would like them toward the more modern end of things. Where I want to send the row is not so very modern, so I'm rethinking what I've come up with.

Second in todays selection is my 2012 BOM; all the blocks are quilted! I have never made a quilt-as-you-go full sized quilt. Only small things like bags and table runners have ever been tackled so I have to learn what to do with all these next.

2012 Craftsy BOM Single Quilted Blocks
This is the pattern called Spin Doctor but I'm going to rename it once I get further into it. For now, I'm doing all the blade leg work and yesterday involved stitching fusible interfacing on each of the 45 blades. I know you're probably wondering why I stitched fusible to my fabric. Be patient. There is a method to my seemingly insane decision.

Spin Doctor Blades
DW is now dressed again. I do not like it when he sits naked for a few days. It's like all that money I spent is sitting there collecting dust and not doing what it is it's supposed to be doing. This quilt is to replace another similar quilt currently on the back of one of our couches. The first quilt was done with sheeting as the background for all the hearts, and it was only two washings later the thing started to shred.
Slap-la-que Hearts
Time to go work and enjoy our cloudy and dreary day with some Pandora and quilt making.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Two Groups of Five

Ten total that will be participating in our guild Row by Row. In my group are: Mary R. Jen, Me, Kathy Singer and I think Carol S. In the other group is Katie, Margaret, Polly, Ruth, and Mary Jean. We actually revealed our first rows and wow, what a contrast, and talk about some amazing work. I'm feeling the pressure!

No pics for the blog today. I was so engrossed in learning about FMQing on Mike and listening/watching videos on the 2012 BOM's from Craftsy I didn't do anything else at all in my studio yesterday.

And, I'll probably do a lot of the same today. I'm really, really enjoying doing these blocks and learning new stuff, so while I'm focused I'm going to continue pressing on. Happy Friday!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

I Wonder How the Birds Don't Freeze?

Such tiny creatures, and yet they manage to not freeze to death when the temps this morning are at -11?!? And as many clothes as I put on when I go out to shovel or feed the birds, I'm shivering before I even get back into the house.

Gladly, I have a warm home to live in, whereby they have downy feathers to keep their little bodies warm I suppose.

Here's a cute little neighborhood that seems to have the warmer climate in its favor since the trees all have leaves on them.

There Goes the Neighborhood
I took Logs in a Roll off the wall and put this one in its place. Logs is now for sale and would be a cute addition in some little kids' room.

Where am I going today? I started cutting out for a new quilt yesterday. The original designer, Angela Walters, calls it Spin Doctor. I'm not all about that name, and since I'm using different fabrics and a totally different color palette, I'll have to think of a name as it comes together. However, I need background fabric for it yet (searched again yesterday but came up pretty empty), so until I obtain that, I'm pretty much stuck.

DW needs to be dressed and the Craftsy BOM 2012 blocks are sitting there waiting for me to work on them.

Hopefully, if the weather cooperates, I'll be able to actually get out of here today and visit/learn/share with all my quilting friends at our weekly guild meeting. We have so much going on tonight (Row by row exchange, Make it/Take it, Bring a quilt to share showing a new technique you learned), Wow!


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Measure Twice, Cut Once!

Quiz time.

Question: What size is our AQS Challenge quilt supposed to be?
Answer: 36" wide by 48" long.

See pic below and guess which one I used to mark the lines to cut the quilt down before I had to bind it?

Different measuring devices I currently use.
If you're answer was the blue measuring tape, you are officially the winner and will need to see me for your prize (yes, you actually get one)!

So, thankfully, I hadn't cut it completely down before discovering I had a measuring device discrepancy. The blue measuring tape is now in the trash to never be used in my studio again. GRRR!

The last thing I do in making a quilt (and only if I have to, which is probably bad) is making and attaching the label. Here's my label proving my quilt is officially and completely ready to go through its first round of judging by my peers at our guild.

2015 AQS Guild Challenge Label
On to other things. Actually, and since this wasn't my first choice of design, I would like to make a second challenge quilt, but I think I need a break from challenges for a while. Therefore, I'll sit on that idea for a bit to see how it settles in my head and go there if I find myself in need of something else to frustrate me to tears.

Good news (other then our new grandson rolling over for the first time yesterday) is I have thought of something to make as a quilt fairy for quilt camp in July. I pondered this all of last year and never really settled on anything. This morning, while in the shower (I do my best thinking in there I think), I thought of something not too taxing, something everybody can use, and best of all, fun to make. I have to check into this further after I blog today, but I may be on to something good here. Yeah!

First and foremost, I have to get the binding on my little wall hanging since I totally neglected it yesterday. I was determined to get the AQS thing done, done, done, so I put everything else on hold until I could breath a little easier. Big Breath. Okay.

I found a new pattern I want to tackle this week. I have all the fabric I want to use except for the background. It calls for 3 3/4 yards and I only have at most, 2 yards of the colors suited for what I'm doing. It's kind of a modern quilt and would look pretty awesome in our quilt show and it finishes at a twin sized so it would be even more useful afterwards. Shopping time!

But shopping will have to wait 'cause we got more snow last night, and even more is on the way later today. Not to mention, it's kind of foggy out and the temps are below freezing causing a slick coating over everything here, so driving today is not an option. I'll just stay in and work on the quilt fairy stuff instead, which is just fine with me.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Embellishments

I think I'll just call this the Little Girls Blocks quilt. I love the colors and some little girl would probably love to have this quilt on her twin sized bed. This was piece #1 off DW yesterday.

Little Girls Blocks
Piece #2: When Mary R. did our class a few weeks ago, she talked about embellishments and how they add to a piece of art. The wall hanging I've been working on was cute without all the added extras, but lacked something in the unoccupied spaces. The quilt designers (meandmysisterdesigns.com) added some of their own embellishment suggestions in the pattern, and then I too, added some more.

Here are a few of what we both did:

Mailbox

Dog House and Tree

Hanging Basket
I actually like this one the best but the pic didn't turn out too well. Night lighting over my long arm isn't the greatest at 8:00 p.m.

My favorite!
See why I did not attempt to hand embroider these designs? They were meant to look a little messy and free forming and I don't think I would have obtained the best results doing it by hand.

I have put off working on the AQS Challenge piece long enough. While my wall hanging is drying (to remove some of the registration marks) I'll rescue the "W" quilt out of the spare bedroom and perhaps, maybe, hopefully complete it today?!?

I'd love to get this off my "to do" list and a few other guild members seem to be wrapping up their pieces this week as well. They aren't due for another month or so, but I think it's time to put this thing to bed and move on.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Shelving and Snow

The storm is finally done. 15 or so inches of new snow later, and after shoveling the stuff out of the driveway this morning with Jim, I can, without a guilt complex, work in my sunny studio today.

Jim spent some of yesterday working on these.

Additional shelving to go in the studio
I think he's tired of some of my fabrics hanging out on the floor. I am too since I seem to trip over the stuff on a regular basis. Grace is not my middle name.

While Jim watched the Spartans kick Michigan's behind in basketball (no, we DO NOT watch the Stupid Bowl), I worked on the little girls quilt. Here's a better pic of the cool border quilting I put in since the one yesterday didn't give much detail.

Better border pic
I was able to finish the quilting on this piece during the game and will get the little wall hanging I've been working on for two days on DW later. I have to do some overall quilting before I can begin embellishing, which is why it didn't get done yesterday.

But first, I have to finish the binding on this little girls quilt, and then bind it, and then find a backing for the wall hanging and make that. Ahhhh...so much to do!