Thursday, November 3, 2011

On the Road......Again

We're moving to Tennessee!  Yippee!  We love Tennessee.  We have friends and family there.  There's no state income tax.  It's beautiful.  We spent last Saturday exploring and came across a place, in north Georgia actually, where people were hang-gliding.  Had to stop & watch.  

These people are obviously insane.   This guy was about to literally take a flying leap off the end of that rock.  It was kind of funny.  A lot of folks appeared to be old hands at this.  They'd just walk up, get set, run and jump.  Others, you could tell were scared.  If it were me, my little toes would be digging into that rock!  Next are a few shots of someone jumping.

I will never, never, never do this.  

So anyway,  I spent last week in Chattanooga looking for a place to live.  Rental houses are sky-high and in short supply so when I found something that would mostly work, I jumped on it.  The neighborhood is nice and large so there's plenty of space for my husband to run and me to walk.  The house itself is smaller than we're used to so I won't have a dedicated sewing space.  I'll have to squeeze my machine and fabric and supplies in one of the guest bedrooms.  But that's okay.  I'll finally live close enough to some of the people I love to have visitors!

We don't move till December 1, so I'm back in South Carolina for a few days, supposedly getting ready for the movers, but really, trying to get a hand project together to fill my homeless, sewing machine-less time.  I had most of the blocks pieced for Spaghetti Junction and thought I'd take that with me to sew the blocks together by hand.  Now I've discovered to my anguish and chagrin, that I messed up the seam allowance on a good many blocks.  Much measuring, ripping and resewing is being done.

Guess this picture says a lot about how neat and tidy I am.

On one last sad note, my sweet and terrible little Jack Russell passed away two weeks ago.  I posted about her here back in August for SewCalGal's Pets on Quilts show.  She was so old and tired and just worn out.  I miss her something fierce.  It's like she's all over the house but she's just not here. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Today, I'm happy to be sharing my entry in the .......


This quilt was the topic of my very first blog post back in May.  Seems like forever ago!

Chain Link is a pattern from the book, Link to the '30's  by Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine.  I loved working with the bright colors and learning the partial seam technique, even making the prairie points, although ironing them all was a bit tedious.  Most of all, I enjoyed free-motion quilting all those feathers.  They aren't the greatest, but all washed and crinkled they look just fine and I've spent more than a few afternoon naps under this puppy!  This was my second quilt with thirties repro fabrics so I think I've got them out of my system now, just not out of my stash!

Hope you enjoy this and all the lovely entries in the Blogger's Quilt Festival!  Thanks, Amy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Little Progress

I've completed just a few blocks so far of the Spaghetti Junction quilt.  I may wind up regretting my fabric choices but have to admit I love the magenta and red combination.  Crossing my fingers that the thin red strips will bring it all together. 

 The pattern is made up of two alternating blocks and the other ones look like this.

Next, is a little progress on my hexagon star quilt that I've named the Hexabomination quilt.  Two of the diamonds are sewn together and I'm working on the third.  This would be over quickly if I did it on the machine but it's reserved for mindless TV sewing.

Please note the small dog snoot on the floor to the left.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Design "Wall" Monday

Today I have two things to share.  The first is my hexagon star:

Yes, the hexagon project has grown to such proportions that it requires a design lawn.  It's also the only place I could get enough light.  I'm aware this has become something of an abomination, but I just couldn't stop sewing those little boogers together.  Planning, must remember planning!  I guess the next step is to add a solid fabric between the star points.  I have no idea how to measure for that or how to go about it or what color to use.  Any ideas, insights, suggestions would be appreciated.  Please be gentle.

Next up are the practice blocks for Heather Mulder Peterson's "Spaghetti Junction" from her book, Living Large 2.

Click here  to see how the finished quilt is supposed to look.  The patterns in the book are for large scale prints and it seems that I've accumulated quite a few that I'll be combining with a fat quarter bundle of Sandi Henderson's Secret Garden fabric in the Sunset Garden colorway.  I hope it works.  I'm using the rust colored chicken wire print where the pattern uses brown dot fabric. I plan to add a narrow inner border of that fabric as well.  The block on the right finished out pretty much perfectly at ten inches.  The one on the left is off in places almost a quarter inch.  Back to the machine with that one.  Accuracy is the absolute bane of my existence!

Check out what others are working on at Patchwork Times.  Have a great week with lots of quilting!

Friday, September 23, 2011

More Adventures in Watercolor and a Napkin Quilt Update

Okay, here goes with another watercolor:

This is my very blatant and not very successful attempt to paint like artist Joyce Hicks, specifically her painting called "Aspen Color".   I love her work and would so like to be able to paint like her.  My first attempt at this was much paler and I liked it better up close, but standing away from it, as you normally would while viewing, the two main trees in the front just disappeared.  At the suggestion of my class instructor, I darkened the backgrounds which made the trees more visible but all color subtlety was lost.  Still and all, I kinda like it.  I did, by the way, contact the artist and get her gracious permission to post my attempt at copying.  Do check out her website and blog to see her gorgeous paintings.

On the quilting front, I realized I didn't post a picture of the back of the Tuesday Morning Napkin Quilt so here it is all bound and washed.

And it wouldn't be a quilt post without a folded or rolled shot, so here's another!

It washed up just fine and I think it makes a great, inexpensive utility quilt.  I'm keeping it in my car as my emergency quilt.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

WIP Wednesday - Tuesday Morning Quilt

Tuesday Morning had these gorgeous striped cotton napkins and I fell in love with the bright fall colors.  Naturally, I thought...quilt!  Like maybe for a picnic.  So I bought all they had, intending to just stitch them together maybe turning the stripes in different directions which would have been quite all right and I would've had a finished quilt weeks ago without all the mess-ups. But then I thought about cutting them up and sewing them back together like the mitered square quilts I've seen made from striped fabric.  Course that didn't quite work out.  Plus there were all the placement errors and cutting oopses that led to fewer useable napkins.  The cutting mistakes wound up as part of the backing and I left the rest alone.

The fabric is a heavier texture than quilting cotton, but still very workable.  It's kinda stretchy, but I always starch a good bit, so that wasn't a problem during piecing or the quilting, which is just straight line, in the ditch and about 3/8 inch either side of the seams.  I'm wondering if I should add more quilting?  Probably not.  I don't want to devote any more time to this little experiment gone wrong!

Even with the mistakes and problems, I still like this little quilt  because of the happy colors.  I'm  sewing the binding on now and linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Charity Quilt Finish

Today I'm linking up with the small blog meet at Lily's Quilts.  What a nice idea to have a link party for small blogs.  I like it.

Well, it's definitely a Fresh Sewing Day for me as well.   I was finishing up the quilting on this little quilt by six this morning.  Guild meeting is tonight and I'd really like to turn this in as I've had the kit for months.  Just a simple little block quilt.  Here it is:

As usual, my favorite part of the process was the quilting.  I did daisies and loops in red thread which matched the red print backing.  My first thread choice was purple but no matter how much I adjusted the tension little dots of purple showed through on the back so I gave up & switched to red.  Here is a close up of the quilting.

I like how the red shows up against the purple and green.  One thing I learned quilting this was that different fabrics affect the quality of your quilting.  On some of the fabric squares my stitches look pretty even and the quilting went smoothly.  On others, not so much.  The closer the weave or higher the thread count, the better the quilting looked.  Another reason to use the best quality fabric you can, I suppose.

So, that's my contribution for today.  Now that it's done maybe I can move on to something a little more exciting.  Delicious new fabric arrived in the mail yesterday and I have so many projects I want to start that it's mentally paralyzing! 

What a lovely day it's been so far.  Starting off with a quilt finish is always nice.  That little number is in the wash right now with a couple of color catchers.  Plus, I have sourdough bread rising and I'm getting ready for my watercolor class in a couple of hours.  Hope all of you have lovely, productive days.  But first, go over to Lily's Quilts and check out all the other entries.  Many thanks to Lily's Quilts for hosting!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Harvesting Flannel

In her first house, my sister had lovely custom drapes.  She took them with her to her new house hoping they'd work there, but they didn't.   They didn't work at my mama's house either.  Yes, I'm from the South and I say mama.  Eventually, the drapes came to my house where again, they didn't work.  Unlike mama and my sister, I couldn't let them go.  I just knew I'd use them someday, somehow.  Those drapes have hogged my storage space in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Indiana, Kentucky and three houses in South Carolina and I have never used them!

Finally, I found a way.  I disassembled those babies and was rewarded with yards and yards of lovely, high quality flannel that had been used for interlining.  There's plenty for a design wall and lots of other things.  I'll never have to buy flannel again, so long as I want white.  I think now I'll be able to let go and drop the fabric & backing at Goodwill.  I re-used.  I re-purposed.  I am at peace.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Design Wall Monday!

Hexagon progress!  Confession.  I'm so over hexagons!  I am trying to go full steam ahead and make a finish of this, but....I'm over 'em.  Another confession.  This is no longer a completely handpieced project.  Yes, those little hexie flowers are being zig zagged together.  I think they're fine.

Linking up with Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times where you'll see lots of pretty design wall offerings!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pets on Quilts

When I stumbled across SewCalGal's 2011 Pets on Quilts Show, I had to find this picture and enter.
Sammie, my constant companion for sixteen years.  Looks like I just interrupted her reading, doesn't it?

It's all about the dog.  The quilt is incidental.

She dominates.

She fills whatever space she enters. 

I love this little rat!

These pictures are eight years old and she is much changed.  She is mostly blind and deaf and has an inoperable tumor that will eventually carry her away.  But, she gets frisky about her kibble and will still spin for treats.  I'm loving her and taking care of her to the end.

About the quilt.  My sister made it, entirely I think, from scraps from our old clothes, little tops & dresses we sewed for ourselves in high school.   I used it for picnics and outdoor concerts throughout my twenties and just generally abused it.  It's made of tough stuff and I appreciate it more now.

For some reason, I can't get the button on my blog, but go here to see and vote (tomorrow and Sunday) on all the Pets on Quilts entries!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Watery Departure

Apparently I'm not focused or industrious enough to have quilty things to post about regularly.
So, here is something else I obsess over.

Watercolors!  Once or twice a year I drag out my paints, get all inspired and sign up for a class (did this a couple of weeks ago).

Invariably, things don't go well.  My work of art is, well, not a work of art.  I'm not happy.  I quit.  Maybe this year will be different.  I need to either learn to paint or give my supplies to someone who will.

So, I've actually finished one painting (this one) that I like fairly well.  I'm well aware of it's shortcomings, but I'm calling it done & I've moved on to the next one.

True to form, the picture I'm working on right now isn't going well, but I think I've learned that you have to keep going.  There's an ugly duckling stage and you just have to keep painting and sometimes you get it right.  If not, you have scrap paper.  At least I think I'm learning that.

If my readership was above the occasional low single digit, I don't think I'd have the nerve to post this. Comments and constructive criticism would be welcome (as long as they are kind).

Back to quilting or something fibery next time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Love/Hate Relationship

This quilt was part of the Charm Pack Quilt Along hosted by Freckled Whimsey last summer.  It took me over a year to finish because I very quickly fell out of love with my fabric choice.  Seeing this photo reinforces that feeling.  Not knocking the pattern at all.  Entirely my fault.

Since I didn't love it, it became quilting practice.  

I did a mixture of stitch in the ditch, straight line, and free form feathers.  My straight lines were supposed to be a quarter inch apart.  Sometimes they are.   Looks like I've perfected wonky feathers, too!

Here is the back:

I used plain, inexpensive muslin because that's what I had on hand when I decided to put it together.

Much as I like color, creams & beiges are so calming & restful.  I prefer the back of this quilt to the front.

I love the actual quilting part of the process.  Maybe a machine with more throat space would help.  It took a whole lot of manhandling to get this quilt done on my little machine and sometimes I just couldn't help the wonkiness due to the lack of maneuvering space. 

Once the quilt was washed it became wonderfully crinkly and soft and the bad quilting didn't seem to matter so much.

I'll be linking up with Fabric Tuesday so hop over there and check out all the pretty things!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Aren't These Pretty?

I've only recently discovered designer, Amanda Murphy.  I know!  Where have I been?  In case I'm not the only under a rock dweller,  Amanda designs fabric for Robert Kaufman, and quilt patterns among other things, and she recently had a giveaway on her blog.  I was lucky enough to win!  The flowers are from her Veranda fabric line and the pattern is Village Green. 

I like it a lot!  Thanks Amanda!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Mindless television sewing?  Potato chip piecing (you can't make just one)?  I started basting these little hexagons last summer and kept basting sporadically through the year.  This resulted in piles of hexie flowers with no plan attached.  Couldn't bear the thought of appliqueing them onto solid squares or worse still, basting a bunch more solid hexagons to go between the hexagon flowers so I just started sewing them together.  There's still no real plan, but one may be forming as I hand stitch my way through all six seasons of Lost.  Yes, we just got Netflix. 

Other people are being more productive and focused over at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Blocks!

Finally!  I'm sewing again!  

These two blocks are part of Marti Michell's American Beauty Block of the Month that my lqs is doing as their $5 quilt offering.  I really like the quilt, but these blocks are just wearing me out!  There's no extra fabric included, so one slip of the rotary cutter & you've had it. Just the cutting makes me a nervous wreck.  And if there's any way to miss-cut or make any other kind of mistake I will find it.  That's why one of those plaid pieces is pieced and if the block on the left looks tortured, it is!  When will I ever learn to read through all the instructions before cutting?  Actually, my lqs has been very good about coming up with extra fabric and for free when I've made mistakes. 

Still & all, it's such a pleasure to have my little sewing space back.  I love it there.  My fabrics still aren't organized, but since we've moved in I've finished the quilting on a quilt started last summer (posting on that soon) and finished the top for a child size charity quilt.  Feels good! 

Oh, I'm linking up to Design Wall Monday at Patchwork Times.....if I remember how!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Clawing My Way Out of the Abyss

We've been in our new place two weeks and I'm finally starting to get a handle on things.   It has not been easy!  My sewing room is, of course, the last room to be tackled.  Problem is, it's about half the size of my last one so there's barely room to unpack & figure out where things should go.  But I'll eventually get there.  The two bookcases are supposed to hold fabrics, knitting & art supplies.  I have two more smaller bookcases that will hold my books & mags and serve as a base for my cutting table.  Add an ironing board and this will be an intimate little space!

It's been killing me to see all the great quilt-a-longs in blogland and not be able to join in.  Maybe I can hop in later if I get this all together.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I haven't worked on these blocks in weeks, but technically it is on the design wall, or design sheet in my case.  The block is from Marti Michell's American Beauty pattern that my LQS is doing as a $5 BOM. If you attend each month's class and bring your completed block from the previous month, the next month's block is free.  Conceivably, you can make a whole quilt for $5.  Such high hopes I had!  Two or three blocks behind already and what with moving and all, I just don't have the powers of concentration it would take for me to work on it this week. 

Colors are way off on this & I wasn't able to get them corrected, but they are really pretty pastel greens, pinks and yellows.  You can see a photo of the real completed quilt here.

The design sheet is now in the washing machine prior to being packed for the move and I am off to tape boxes together.  Hope everyone has a lovely week!

Check out all the design wall offerings at Patchwork Times!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Look What I Won!

Isn't this great?  I won something!

Anita at Bloomin' Workshop had a giveaway during Quilt Market and I won this great book, 3 Times the Charm by Me & My Sister designers Barbara Groves and Mary Jacobson.   And just to be extra nice and generous Anita also sent this cute, cute, cute little charm pack of Moda Sanctuary, which totally goes with the book cover.  Thanks so much, Anita!

The flowers in the picture are gardenias and their incredible fragrance just fills the room.  I live in South Carolina and the owners of our house used gardenias as foundation plantings so I have riches of fragrant flowers to cut and bring inside....for now.  The owners have decided they want to sell this house, so out we go!  That is why I don't have anything new to post quilt-wise and probably won't for a while.  I'm in total panic mode till I find a place to live.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

I stumbled across this today and thought I would case anyone is reading.  Leila, who blogs at  Sewn is hosting a skill building class starting June 13th.  It looks like it will be good.  Heaven knows I could use some skill building!  You can read about the sampler here.   And she has just posted about fabric requirements here.   Don't know how fully I can participate due to my own time constraints, but if I can't sew, I'll definately be following.

Other really good and interesting skill building posts can be found at Grey Cat Quilts and Piecemeal Quilts.  Great work and a great service by those bloggers.