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Posts Tagged ‘quilting’

The record highs have begun and it is only February. It was 82 degrees today breaking the old record of 81 that was set in 1909. Please tell me it will not be as hot as last year—please! I am still waiting for winter…

What have I been up to? Let’s see… my husband is still away-things are better in some ways and not so great in others. We are working at it, but it’s very trying. My health is not doing so well but hey, I’ve lost weight. Simon (my daughter’s our cat) had his one year anniversary this past Sunday. It is hard to believe that we have had him for an entire year. I have a blog entry to post about him with photos… He really misses my hubby and pouts when he doesn’t come by—makes two of us, but don’t tell anyone. My daughter who had lung surgery last year received good news today from her pulmonologist. If she does well for the next 6 months, the doctor will cut her loose. She has to make it through pollen season first.

Finally, I have been working on things to put in our etsy shop. I was hoping that it would be up and running by now but things don’t always go as I plan. I have gone back to doing some counted cross-stitch and designing some other new things (the photo is a clue). Quilting has taken a backseat for a while, but I will get back to it one day soon. My painting and tatting (New Year’s resolutions) are just thoughts for the moment but other things have been fruitful. It is a tradeoff.

I hope your gardens have been fruitful. Happy Gardening in everything you do!

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At the beginning of this year when I was deciding on what quilts I would be working on, I forgot all about the Christmas one I started years ago but never finished. I use it “as is” but pack it away after Christmas. I have pulled it out, cleaned, and pressed it.

It was meant to be a wall hanging and was done in my (better) cross-stitching days. The pattern is from a pamphlet filled with great designs. I love them all, but especially the reindeer and Santas. There are snowmen/women but they don’t have much color to them. I will have to dig out the patterns along with the Santas I have stitched.

I just love this design! It is so whimsical…

Happy Gardening and may all of your projects continue to progress!

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Years ago, I had a friend who lived across the street from us. She and her family had moved into the neighborhood not long after we moved in. Our girls played together but she and I were closer than our children were. She was very family oriented and liked to collect things that gave her home that warm and friendly feel, so I designed this quilt hanging for her—I love this material.

This was not a difficult project, but I chose to use plaid for the lettering (I see those eyes roll). It took extra time to match up the pieces, and I wanted it to look just right. It was machined pieced and hand quilted with a heart motif on the border. It was about 14 inches wide and about 46 inches long (just guessing). This is a terrible photo and my apologies, but it was scanned from a photo taken years ago.

This was my second quilted wall hanging I made after I was married. Anything I quilted before is lost to memory with no photos. I designed it and was very pleased with it except for the time it took to piece together the letters. I have often thought I would repeat this project but never have—not even for me.

As for the friend, she has moved on years ago. We kept in contact for years but sadly have since lost touch. I miss her, but life goes on.

Happy Gardening and may you find the time to WELCOME new friends into your life!

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Jack-o'-lantern and Bee

I have not always been a quilter or even a seamstress, but when I was young, I was always crafting something.  I loved to design and create plans, and then I enjoyed seeing those plans come to life. I was not a fan of investing a lot of time in any one thing, so a lot of tedious hand sewing is something I tried to steer clear of. I did not get bitten with the sewing bug until my college days. My mother bought me a sewing machine when I moved away from home—an electric one. I wonder if she knew how much of a gift she gave me, but I wish I had taken my Singer treadle one with me, too. I enrolled in a sewing tips course while I was working on my master’s degree though I could already sew. Our teacher taught us how to make things she sold in shows and exhibits. She shared with us abundant tricks of the trade. The variety of things I made helped to spark my creative talent in sewing and kept alive a spirit in other things, too. I owe this lady so much.

Ghost and Clown

I have been going through some of our early photos with the girls and found some things I want to share. I only hope they will forgive me. I love making costumes. The thought of becoming someone else is magical to me, and  I still enjoy creating my own patterns. I don’t go for the scary or the occult at Halloween, but we have allowed our children to trick-or-treat because it has been a good way to get out and visit with our neighbors. We moved into our house before my youngest could walk so she stayed home her first year. Her costume was a fuzzy one piece outfit (with hood). I sewed ears on it along with a small tail. I could not find a photo of her in it, but she basically spent the night crawling back and forth on the front porch while I sat outside giving out candy.

The jack-o’-lantern costume was used by my oldest for 2 years since I made it a little big. The above photo was taken on the second go-round. The bee or yellow jacket is my youngest daughter. I hated that I had to buy fairy wings to use, but I painted them and they worked just fine.

Lil' Miss Muffet

There have been many costumes over the years but these are a few of the earlier ones…–Ghost (a story here) and Clown(multi-colored mop hair)—Little Miss Muffet (complete with spider)—Little Red Riding Hood—50s Era outfit (poodle skirt)—and Pink Bunny Rabbit. The ghost looks more like a zombie (which I’m totally against). I didn’t want her sight to be obstructed. I wasn’t very happy how this one turned out. The rabbit outfit (below) was made from one-piece pj’s that I cut the feet out and added a big white tail.

Lil' Red Riding Hood

Some that are not here are a Hershey Bar, Pikachu (I was very proud of that one), a raccoon, a kitty, a witch, an 80s pop star, and others I don’t remember. Perhaps I will show some of them when I get to those photos. By the way, these are not digital ones, so they do not show up as well.

50's Era and Bunny

About the poodle skirt:  It was made from material that had little white sheep on it. After purchasing it, I put it on my sewing machine which at the time was in our bedroom, and one night after the lights were off I looked over to see all of these glowing spots. It scared me so bad! Each sheep glowed after being exposed to light, so I thought it would be good for a costume.

I want to include pieces of these costumes (or scraps) in the memory quilts, but I have to find some of the costumes that have been packed away. The trick now is to keep everything together until I can start on the quilts. I had planned to have the tops finished by now, but with all of the things that have happened this year I am glad that we are doing as well as we are.

There are more things to come as I take a trip back in time. And, if you are wondering what the bunny is doing over there in the photo, that is my youngest. She would dance and sing all of the time. She got caught in the action. Did you check out that bunny tail?

Take care and Happy Gardening!

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While at the hospital and doctors’ offices and such with the ‘collapsed lung daughter,’ I finished my embroidery blocks for the orange, yellow, green…quilt. Now, I can start … piecing the top but … (there is always a but) first I need to do some rearranging in the house plus catch up on some cleaning that has gone undone for way too long. Simon has begun to shed again-don’t know what is up with that, and I want to move my sewing machine to a “better” (cooler) location-Antarctica perhaps? I wish it would cool down a bit before I really get going but that may not be until December at our rate. It rained last Friday and I’m so thankful for it.

Back to the quilt. This is what it looks like so far (don’t laugh):

No, there are no stitches—-yet, but, hey, at least it is to this point. For a while, it looked doubtful I would get this far. I have to also confess that I have been busy with other things-none of which were on my list to get done this year. My mind is always thinking of new things and having that gnawing question popping up, “What if…?” Sometimes I just lack focus. 🙂

Happy Gardening in all that you do!

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I fell off the wagon

It seems that I have fallen off the quilting wagon so to speak. I feel like that commercial, “I’ve fallen and can’t get up.” When I started posting about my quilting projects, I didn’t have any unfinished projects that I could think of. Then I remembered the Christmas wall hanging I did way back when. I finished (?) the top over 10 years ago. It is put away until next Christmas, so out of sight out of mind. I’ll have to get photos of it to post. The center was cross-stitched back in my big cross-stitching days. So now I either have several projects I am working on OR I have several unfinished projects. I vote that I have several projects I am working on. My memory quilt projects are stalled until cooler weather and who knows when that may happen the way the weather is going.

Embroidered white block

I did get all of my pieces cut for my multicolored baby/lap quilt, but… I decided to use 5 white fabric squares in the mix. Since they looked so plain I decided to embroider flowers on them that will include all of the colors in the quilt. That means that I have to finish them before I can piece the top 😦 . Two blocks have been completed so far.

Closeup of 4" block

This quilt is far from traditional and is comprised of different fabric types including some polyester and flannel. It will be ok-I promise. The flowers are supposed to look like sliced oranges and lemons because I can’t help but think of fruit every time I see these colors together.

In the meantime, I have designed several other quilting projects. One is for Christmas that will not get done this year. I love this project, but…the queen size has 896 pieces plus borders…. 😦  — there is no sashing. I sized it down to a twin, and it has **only** 560 pieces plus borders  :/. There are so many other things going on that I cannot help but have that sinking feeling with no lifesaver in sight. One things is that I’m having some health issues-so much so that I have a bag packed and ready though I’m not sure that I will need anything that I packed. I’ve never gotten this far before so this is serious. If I go, it most likely will mean brain surgery, but let’s not go there now. I hope everyone’s sewing garden is going well because it is too hot to be outside for too long.

Take care and Happy Gardening!

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I’m sure you have heard this song. It just popped into my head for some reason but it is anything BUT cold here. The forecast from last week was a tease and said it would be in the high 80s yesterday and today—It reached at least 97 yesterday if that is any indication of our “cool” spell. We received 2 brief showers last week-not enough to even register a ¼ of inch together, but I’m very thankful for anything we get, even clouds. Crops are completely gone except for farmers with irrigation equipment and many of them are running short. Texas and the area around them are not fairing any better…and it is only JUNE! If I counted correctly, there are 77 more days until Sept 1—Help, I’m melttttinnnnnggg……. 😦

Binding being added to quilted pillow (block from old quilt top)

I am almost done with my first quilted pillow. I’ve been at this forever it seems. I changed my mind (should be my middle name) — I am binding the pillow rather than adding a ruffle. I wanted to finish all of covers on the machine, but I had to at least do one completely by hand. When it is hot like this, I don’t do well. It’s like I’m in slow motion-very slow motion. It is really bad when 97 is a cool day!

Try to keep cool, drink plenty of water, and take time to enjoy the small things in life!

Happy Gardening!

update:  The pillow measures about 16 inches square just to let you know how big this is.

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True Confessions

I have to confess that when I started my fan quilt blocks I had not made one before. And, I wouldn’t be doing these except that they were precut when a friend gave them up. Let’s face it, adjoining 2-D curved pieces is not my idea of fun because I struggle with it on the machine. Yeah, I know they have tools to help with this now, but that’s not the point.

The fan quilts I have seen while growing up were pieced together, not appliquéd, but the instructions I had on hand (multiple and various resources) said to appliqué the fan onto the background. I did not like this idea and found that hand-piecing the fan did the trick with no puckers or flattened arcs—I am really impressed at how well they are turning out. I haven’t finished with those blocks because I changed my mind about what to do with them and now want to make a queen size quilt but do not have enough matching material…will work on that later (perhaps next year???).

So, I want to ask…

1) How many fan quilts have you made?

2) How did you assemble the pieces- appliqué or other?

3) Which way do you recommend?

 Thanks.

Happy Gardening and try to stay cool!

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Another one about done

2nd block for quilted pillow from old quilt top

I am almost finished quilting another one of the blocks that is being converted into a pillow. In fact, I will start on the third one this weekend—fingers crossed. I have pulled out 5 blocks and set aside for a table topper. Of those, there are two pairs who have matching corners with the one for the middle being different-but the corners match. That leaves me with 10 blocks to go after the 3rd pillow is complete. I think those 10 may have to wait a while longer because there are other things that I need to attend to.

This second pillow is different on many fronts:  The star design is just a hodgepodge of pieces. That’s ok, but the corners drive me crazy. I am also using a poly batting rather than flannel, and the border fabric is not as thick. Since the thickness is less, my stitches are smaller. I don’t quilt many stitches per inch-about 8-10 on a good day. Consistency is key, but I think that’s not bad considering my hand and arm condition. I’ve lost more feeling and dexterity in the past few weeks-not a good sign, but that’s not slowing me down-much. Press on. Sewing and quilting by hand is something that requires patience. It also teaches patience. There are many things in life I have no patience for, but this is my release. If I become impatient with my quilting and sewing, I put it down and move on to do something else. I dare not get frustrated with my biggest release in life.

I think all hand quilters strive to reach that “golden number” of stitches per inch. I’ve seen debates of how to count stitches, but it is simply the number that can be counted on one side within an inch’s unit of measure-not doubled. Or, you can count both sides and divide by 2. My golden number that I would like to obtain is 12, but I’m sure if I could stitch 12 my golden number would be higher because we are never satisfied. More than 15 or 16 stitches per inch and it is almost the equivalent to weaving—in my opinion. To reach this goal (or more) and sew it consistently requires a disciplined hand, body, and mind. Runners spend months training for marathons conditioning themselves along the way. The same applies to a dedicated quilter who can stitch in such a way.

I will never reach my golden number, and that’s ok. I like larger stitches on some projects, and I guess that’s what it is all about-personal taste. After this weekend, it is back to the machine for a good bit of sewing. I have a bin full of catch-up items to complete. And as I continue to plug along, I wish you the best in all of your projects whether you stitch by hand, machine, or proxy :).

Happy Gardening in all avenues of life!

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Pillows from the star quilt top given to me a few months ago:  All of the repairs to the 18 blocks have been taken care of (at least, I hope so) with some of the pieces having been switched out because of holes and damage-all of this is being done by hand. Don’t ask me why I chose this block to start with, but it is coming along…slowly. You may not be able to see but I’m quilting diamond outlines in the border in blue thread.

I still have to finish the border, but I wanted to post how this is coming along because I usually forget to take pictures. This is the pillow that I’m using for my inspiration =>. I made it a few years ago and just love it. This one is stuffed and is not a cover like I am making now.

I used to buy pillow forms to use in my pillows, but I became disenchanted with them and began to stuff my own. Sometimes I use bed pillows that I purchase-on sale-depending on the size that I need. Normally, I cannot get 2 throw pillows out of one bed pillow but I can get more than one and have a better quality pillow (that’s my frugality speaking), so I buy about 2 or 3 at a time.

I had planned to use the sashing from the quilt top for the back side of the pillow and possibly for the ruffle, but I am rethinking adding the ruffle now. I should have that decided by the time I finish quilting the border. I have had a few problems that I did not foresee but I am working through them. The biggest is the star point issue. I thought I could square up the blocks and get everything in the block but that is not going to happen. There is nothing I can do to make it work perfectly because there is not enough material on some of the edges 😥 . This is one of the pitfalls. Sometimes things just do not work out like you want them to and you have to make do. That’s life!

Happy Gardening in all aspects of your life!

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