Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday WOW–October 31

Happy Halloween to those who celebrate it.  And welcome to another Wednesday.  Time sure flies.


I stitched a lot of short, narrow tucks onto fabric circles today.


These are the bottom half of a cute item destined to become pin cushions.  Did I mention there were lots?  It’s a good thing I was at the quilt shop sewing these.  I would have gone bonkers stitching all that alone in the basement!  Can you spell B-O-R-I-N-G?

Thank goodness the worst is over.  The top half will go much quicker.  Er, I mean it **should** go much quicker!  LOL!

I really enjoy going to the shop to sew.  There is a small group that gathers each week and it’s fun to see what everyone is working on and – sometimes – chime in with an opinion on how to proceed on a project.  We all seem to get a lot done – in spite of all the chit chat and distractions! 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Serendipity–Artful Bias

Today’s topic is bias strips.  As with everything else in this book, bias strips can be used in lots of ways.  It’s worth noting that this book also does a good job of stepping you through a couple of ways to cut bias strips.  I’m sure I’ll need to refer to it at some time in the future!


And so, I cut bias strips!   With 5” wide strips, I folded the edges in to meet in the center and pressed gently.


Then I stitched them down to a piece of square fabric.  You can’t see the stitching in this photo, but it’s about 1/2 inch from each folded edge.


This is the back of the piece.  I used a thread that matches the top fabric to do some decorative stitching so it doesn’t really show on the front.  But that’s OK.


Because when I rolled back the edges, the stitching shows quite nicely!


Here’s a close-up.  I think that is a really pretty stitch showing through.  I can’t imagine why I haven’t used it before this!

The rest of this book is about specific projects and the mechanics of stitching blocks with inserts and such.  I’ve read through it, but for the purposes of these Sunday explorations I’ve come to the end.

That means next Sunday I start with a new book!  I haven’t decided which one yet.  I guess you’ll have to come back next week to find out!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wednesday WOW–October 24

Erm, sort of!  I realize today is not Wednesday, but let me tell you what happened!

Last night (Wednesday) I sat down to transfer my photos, when the lights went out!  They came back a couple of times and then went out for good.  So much for computer work!  As it happened, we were without power for almost three hours.  It has been quite some time since we spent such a peaceful evening!  We opened windows and lit a few candles (mostly battery operated) and just enjoyed the quiet.  [Full disclosure:  My nook tablet was charged up so I had some techy time!]

Ok, enough about that.  On with What’s on the Wortktable!


I worked on the blue and white quilt.  Those are some borders up there.


The borders are made of 2x4 pieces which you can see in this photo, waiting to be sewn together.


And with those borders attached, this quilt top is done!  Ready for a backing and quilting.  While I had it hanging on the wall, we (my fellow sewing ladies and I) discussed some other options for completion.


We decided it would look great with these prairie points!  So, now I just need to cut and fold about 500 little squares!  No problem!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Serendipity–Inserted Rectangles

It’s been a couple of weeks since a Serendipity post, so let’s do a quick review.  I’ve been working my way through this book:



I’ve already worked through tucks and folds and am now in the section about shapes inserted into a seam.  (By the way, if you want to check out previous Serendipity posts, click on SSunday in the categories list.)  I’ve inserted squares and triangles in various ways.


Today, I’m working with rectangles.  These are pretty simple.  What you can see up there are rectangles folded in half and stitched between two squares.  I’ve alternated placing the fold at the top and then at the bottom.  That’s why it looks like a really bad job of matching!


The action happens when you open the rectangle and line up the edges on the bottom. 


See what nice triangles are formed!  I stitched a narrow “border” at top and bottom so the raw edges are hidden.  This would make an interesting border for a wall hanging or quilt.


With the edges rolled back, there is a nice curvy look and by using contrasting fabrics like I did, you can get some really interesting shapes.  Combining these in different arrangements results in a multitude of options!


Like this Flying Geese look alike.  Just change how the square-rectangle-square units go together.


And – just because I can – I experimented with additional folding and rolling edge techniques.  All the various embellishments and folds used on the other shapes can be applied here. 

Next up will be working with bias strips.  Sounds like fun, huh?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sweet Tweets

Another class I took while I was in Des Moines was from Laura Wasilowski, called “Fowl Play.”  Laura makes whimsical art quilts using raw edge applique – or fused applique.


She provided some of her hand dyed fabrics with fusible web already applied, so all we really had to do was cut out the shapes and apply heat.  The picture above is what I was able to do in class.  I wanted to add a few more things to it, though.


After I got home, I added some border pieces, a few more grasses and a sun.  Then everything got a good steam press to ensure a good fuse.  And then came the fun part!


Hand embroidery!  Laura also hand dyes perle cotton threads in various sizes.  I also have a small selection of perle cotton and was able to experiment with the different colors and weights.  It’s hard to tell how much is enough, though.


In the end, I decided to do some machine quilting in the “sky” and stitch a narrow binding, and call it done!  But not before adding the final, very important, piece . . .


The Official Seal of The Chicago School of Fusing!  As a graduate and alumni, I can now display this emblem proudly!  On this piece, at least.  I guess I’ll need to take another class if I want another TCSoF label.  I could live with that!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

We’re Back!

Well, I think so, anyway.  If it worked once, it should work from now on.  Right?


And these are the pictures I was going to show yesterday.  I’m happy to say that today the mess got cleaned up.  Well, mostly.


And I can now show off the project I’ve worked on all week!  That’s it sitting in the middle there.  But since it has taken sooo long to get these pictures uploaded, I’ll save that for tomorrow.

One success today.  When you get that it’s time to call it a day!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday WOW–October 17

This is a revolting development.  You see, we have a new computer.  At one time I was really good at computers – even had a Microsoft certification to prove it!  But that was a long time ago.  Things have changed. 

I’ve spent most of the past three days loading and tweaking software, trying to make everything that worked before do that. . . . work!  Thought I was doing pretty well, too.  Until tonight, that is.

My camera has eight – count ‘em, eight! – photos that I was all set to share with you today.  And while the computer recognizes there is a camera out there, it insists there are no files on it.  Sigh.

So, I will have to regroup.  Sit back and give this a bit more thought.  Don’t worry – I’m not giving up easily.  Those photos WILL show themselves and do my bidding!  Some day.

When that happens, I’ll be right back here to show you what I’ve been up to.  When I’m not cursing the computer, that is!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Goofing Off!

I really did intend to do some fabric folding for Sunday Serendipity today.  But once I was in my work room, it did not look like it was going to happen.  You see, I would have to actually find my worktable before cutting or folding any fabric!  And who wants to spend Sunday afternoon cleaning?

PA140002 Besides, I’d much rather be stitching on this!  It’s not finished yet, so I can’t show you the whole thing.

PA140001Soon, though.  I promise!

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Fanciful Garden

One of the classes I took in Des Moines was from Karen Linduska.  She showed us how to make a garden using the stitches programmed into our sewing machines.


PA110001This is how my garden looked at the end of the day.  We had a full day of learning different ways to manipulate the stitches.  Our classroom was full of brand new Elnas with about 300 built-in stitches.  I love my Bernina, but that Elna can sure turn one’s head! 

PA110002By manipulating width and length of a stitch, as well as mirroring and elongating, we could make just about any type of flower.

PA110003 There are lots of ways to make leaves, too.   I had several variegated threads and I loved watching how the patterns would stitch out.

PA110004These flowers were cut from felt and fleece and then tacked down with the button stitch.  You can see that some of my attempts were more successful than others!  But since when are all flowers perfect?

PA110005Before changing thread color, we stitched a line onto the ground area.  I decided to use the star stitch and a satin diamond shape, but I altered the size on each pass.

The “horizon” is a group of yarn twisted and couched with a 3-stitch zigzag.  I think I had four different yarns.  Karen provided all the fabrics and yarns while each student brought their own thread.


Once I got home, I squared it up and added a black border, stitched on a backing and called it done!  Now I will need to experiment with what my Bernina can do.  That should keep me busy for awhile!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Well, sort of . . . er . . . not really.

One of my teachers last week, Laura Wasilowski, used my class work on her blog.  It actually looks pretty good!  Check it out here.

Now you’ll have a point of reference when I show the finished piece.  It’s coming along nicely if I do say so myself!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wednesday WOW – October 10

Starting to feel like my life is back to normal.  I tell ya – the older I get, the more exhausting travel becomes!  As I told my Dad when he complained about the same thing, “It’s further than it used to be!”

But enough of that! 

PA100001This quilt is progressing nicely.  All the pinwheel squares are done!

PA100002The first border is on (one inch to frame things)  and I’m ready to piece the next one.  It won’t be long before there is yet another top to add to the pile.

But in the meantime, I’m anxious to get back to those pieces from last week’s classes.  They’ve had long enough to “age” so I know what I want to do next.  Can’t wait!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wednesday WOW - October 3

If all goes as planned, you are reading this on Wednesday while I am in Des Moines attending the AQS Quilt Show.  I didn't want to leave you stranded, though, so I wrote this post ahead of time and scheduled it to post Wednesday.  If all goes as planned . . . . . . .

[Apparently nothing went as planned!  Ah well.  This way you get an extra post or two.  And I go back to learning how to Schedule!!]

It's about time I caught you up on my postcard swaps!  In fact, as I look through this year's posts I don't find any postcard pics.  Huh!

To begin with, I joined a birthday swap.  There are about a dozen of us in the swap and this is just a few of the ones I received for my birthday in February.

And these are a few of the ones I've sent out so far.  I wish I could show them all to you and tell you who they went to/came from, but that was months ago, and gosh, I can't remember what I did last week!

In July, the theme was "Hats and/or Purses".  I embroidered the silhouette in the top photo, and got these cool origami folded shapes from my partner.

The August theme was "Weather."  That one was interesting because the swappers come from all over the world and everyone's feelings about their weather was different!  Being in the middle of the USA, I made a hot, hot, hot sun!  My partner was from England, however, where they have had too much rain.  Can't you almost hear the rain beating against the window?

That doesn't cover all the postcards from the past nine months, but it is a fair representation.  Every one is I make is a small challenge and every one I receive is a cherished momento! 

Next week we should be back on schedule.  See you then!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sneak Preview

I spent most of the past week in Des Moines, Iowa, attending the AQS show.  This was my first time at a national level quilt show and all I can say is “Wow!”

I took two-and-a-half days of classes, from hand quilting to stamping on fabric. 

PA070003 PA070002 These two photos show some of the projects from those classes.  As I complete work on these projects over the next few days/weeks/months (!) I will show better photos and talk about what I learned. 

So, this is your preview of things to come.  Now if I can just get my brain wrapped around all the ideas and inspiration that I was bombarded with!