Friday, May 29, 2009

Going Green

At one time in my life I didn't care for the color green.  Something to do with frosting ten gazillion cookies in green!  But I got over it.

P5200020Good thing, too.  Because I've spent a lot of time working on green lately!  I signed up for Pat Winter's swap called Pieces of Friendship.  I decided right away I would do something with fairies in the garden.  This was one of the projects that I did in my head several times, twisting this way and that, and revising the idea as time went on.  Once I started actually working, it was just one step following another - until fini!

P5130007I started with a piece of fabric that I stenciled and textured with Shiva paint sticks.  My first experience with these sticks and there are tons of fun things that can be done with them. 

P5150009I free-motion stitched small leaf shapes onto several different shades of green fabric.  You can see the stitching on the lighter fabric here, and you'll just have to trust me that the strip in the center has stitching, too!


After fusing the stenciled fabric to stiff interfacing and cutting it into puzzle shapes, I glued a small purchased face to each piece.   Then I pulled out all the green beads in my stash!  I beaded a bezel around each face and then stitched the individual cut-out leaves using different beads to attach and embellish.

Finally, I attached a backing and zigzagged around the edges - very carefully so none of the leaves or beads are caught in the stitching.  That part had me most worried - and took forever, but they all look pretty good.  Well, I think so!


Here are the complete set (I don't know why the color is off).  Pat asked for at least four, and I made nine.  Talk about an over-achiever!  For each one I send, I should get one in exchange.  I will then assemble the puzzle and have a wall hanging made by a very talented group of stitchers.  (Be sure you scroll through the posts on Pieces of Friendship.  They are amazing!)  And my little fairies will go to live in homes all over the world.  Isn't that cool?  And I had great fun doing the project.  I just love beads!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

"Life Is What Happens When You Are Making Other Plans"

Oh dear.  It's been almost two weeks since I posted last.  Stuff just happens - ya know?  I don't know who originated the quote in my title, but they sure knew what they were talking about!

Last month we had a lot of rain.  Really a lot of rain!  The ground became fully saturated and the water table rose around here.  That means water in the basement for most everyone in town!

However, not everyone in town has the basement full of "precious" everyday stuff like I do!  We've been talking about a new floor for my sewing room, but can't consider that if water is going to come in whenever it rains a bunch.

OK, long story short.  This is what my sewing room looked like for a few days!


And this is where the sewing machine usually sits.


So . . . not much crafty stuff getting done in that room!  Just a lot of sawing, sealing, and hammering.  There was also a fair amount of worrying going on.  LOL!


Once the room got put back together (sort of), there were the two days the internet was down, trips to the dentist, classes, meetings, and so on.  Oh yeah!  Misplacing the camera as well!  Oh boy - when it rains, it pours!  Oops - not the best choice of adages that.

Only one more waterproofing project to be done, though.  You may have seen this cabinet before:


It's about sixteen foot long and taller than I am (not that that's very tall!) and it has to come out!  At least temporarily - to replace waterlogged boards behind it.  I have fingers crossed that it will all go back in.  'Cause it is FULL of my stuff!!!!



As in seven shelves of fabric (and all the accompanying goodies) by sixteen feet!  OK, I exaggerate - the in-between shelves don't go all the way and there are lots of books and boxes.  It's not that much fabric - no matter what Sarge thinks!


Not to worry, though.  I have managed to do a couple of projects that will soon be pretty picture posts for you to enjoy.  I will be back to show you some fun things in a couple of days.  Hope you are having a wonderful weekend.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Whacking Good Time

OK, that's a really sad title.  I know.  Sorry.  I'm working on a Stack and Whack quilt and having a hard time coming up with anything else to call it.  But I am having a lot of fun sewing these blocks!

So the story is . . . I am taking a class at a local quilt shop.  For the first session, we learned to lay out our fabric (stack) and cut the pieces (whack).  Here is a picture of some of the blocks about half way through the first day.

classLots of different fabrics, even for a small class.   Some real surprises when you get the pieces stitched together.  These are octagons, made from 45 degree triangles. 

Here is the fabric I chose, before cutting.  A Michael Miller design - and pretty flashy on it's own I'd say.


And here are just some of the blocks pinned on my design wall.  The most fun is turning it over after pressing that last seam - and seeing what the kaleidoscope created!


The next session will be adding corners to these blocks and assembling blocks and a border.   The teacher and I had a ball picking out fabrics.  If you know how much I like bright colors, you can guess that I did not choose anything - er - subdued!


In fact, I doubt anyone will be able to sleep beneath this quilt when it is finished.  It's gonna be a bright one.  Just wait 'til you see!

I need to choose a name for this quilt.  Something like "Awake All Night" ???  What do you think?

Friday, May 8, 2009

Time Flies

Here it is May already, and another six weeks has gone by.  Where does the time go?  Seems to me I just finished posting a Goal Review . . . and it's already time for another!

As always, to review the previous posts on Goals, you can just click the goals link in my sidebar and browse the last couple of posts.  But for now let's get down to business.



1.  Stitch an envelope for a Mail Art Exchange with Stitchin' Fingers. Done! 

I posted pictures here of both the  Mail Art I sent out and the one I received.  It was fun, but took slightly more time than I expected.   If you think this type of thing looks interesting, check out Stitchin' Fingers.  There's always something fun going on!


2.  Continue working on Take It Further. Still in progress. 

I did accomplish quite a bit during this period.  Once I complete the embroidery I'm working on now, I will be able to begin assembling the month pages.  It could even get finished next month!  Or not. 



3.  Get going on the "dreaded" Halloween quilt! Done! 

OMG, I can't believe I got it done finally!  I posted pictures here.  Feels good to check that one off the list.  Not to worry, though.  There are several more quilt projects on my list.


4.  Make a quilt top for Quilts of Valor (QOV) as part of the local Quilt Guild project.  Done! 

I'll post pictures soon.  Now it goes to guild meeting so it can be quilted.


5.  Design the prototype for my Hoffman Challenge entry.  In progress. 

Well . . . actually, no progress at all this six weeks!  Oops.  It isn't a hot priority - yet - so I guess I have kept moving it down on the list.  But, July will be here before I know it!  So, I will definitely work on it this month!  This is what the fabric looks like this year.


6.  Make a doll with a wire skirt, something I have had in my head for wa-a-ay too long.  In progress. 

And she is working nicely, thank you.  I had to wait for clay to dry which took forever!  We've had a lot of rain this spring and the basement got a bit damp.  Not good for air drying clay.  LOL!  So she will be a carryover.

Again - a result of half and half.  Does that mean I'm consistent?!  Well, here's hoping I do a little bit better on the next list.  And, without further ado, here is that list:

  1. Make pieces for Friendship Puzzle
  2. Make significant progress on Hoffman Challenge doll.
  3. Complete Stitchin' Fingers swaps for May and June (3 so far).
  4. Complete TIF pages and bind into a book.
  5. Finish two In-progress dolls - one of which is wire skirted.
  6. Stitch top for Scrappy Stars quilt.

There you have it.  I think these will be pretty interesting.  Hope to have some eye candy for you along the way.  Check back around June 19 for sure to see how I did.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Finishing up TIF

I am slowly but surely finishing up the pieces for last year's Take It Further challenge.  I have all of the patchwork pieces completed.  Here are the most recent ones.

P4130002 P4110001 P3090012 P3090010P3070004

Along with trying color combinations as part of the challenge, I used these pieces to explore different patchwork blocks.  This has improved (and challenged!) my piecing skills and I can imagine doing a full quilt from some of these blocks.  Some day.

The other part of each month's challenge was based on a theme chosen by SharonB.  During the challenge year I started pieces for the themes, but did not get quite all of them finished! 

Well, I've finally finished the very first one!  In January, Sharon asked us who we look up to and admire, and why.  I couldn't settle on one person, but decided on a group who shared an attribute I admire . . .  the courage to follow their muse wherever it leads.  I placed a lot of symbolism here, so don't expect to recognize everyone!

P1310001 This is what the piece looked like at the end of January last year.  All the fusible web applique was done, but no embroidery yet.

P4240019And this is what it looks like now. 

These pieces will all get finished into pages for a fabric book.  I have one more theme piece to complete.  It is all embroidery so may take awhile, but is coming along nicely so far.  Once the book is assembled I will post pictures and give some more information.

This project is coming along pretty well.  I've enjoyed all the work and I'm not sure I want it to be finished.  But then, there are lots of ideas for new projects.  I don't expect to ever die from boredom!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Halloween in May???

Oh but, it's finished!!  Finished, finished, finished!!

Really finished - as in, quilted, bound, and labeled!  This thing has been haunting me for months (ha!  how appropriate) and I am so-o-o-o happy to have it finished!  (Have I mentioned that it's finished?)

quilt-01OK, enough silliness.  This quilt represent a couple of milestones for me.  It was my first adventure in paper piecing - way back in October '07 - and my first exercise with the Quilt Wizard software.  Then I had the dilemma of how to quilt it.  With the different elements, there needed to be some different quilt patterns.  Up to now, I've either followed the lines of the print, or kept to mostly straight stitching.  Not going to work on this!  It could get scary here.


Jack wasn't too hard.  I could use the walking foot to echo the cut out spaces in his face.  Then free motion the pumpkin section lines and some "scribble" lines on his stem.


And the other pumpkins were easy to follow suit.  Pumpkins are organic so lines don't have to be straight or evenly spaced.  Cool!


I outlined the leaf motif and then free motion stitched vein lines.  They don't show up really well, which is all right.  If you can't see them, you can't see how wonky they are!

P4240008Now we are down to the scary part.  Stippling in the backgrounds!  Ha!  Another bonus - you can barely see this stitching!  In fact, I could barely see it while I was stitching it!  Eye drops anyone?


In the borders I stitched a row of pumpkin shapes with loopy vines kind of meandering between.  This is the back side so you can get an idea of how it looks.  I don't know what kind of batting I used (threw away the package more than a year ago.  Sheesh!), but it sure migrated through the fabric!  Now I know why they make black batting!  And why you should pay attention to what batting you are using!  Like maybe save the label?  Doh!

Alright!  Bring on the next one!  I'm turning into a quilting fool.  Well, some kind of fool anyway! ;-)