Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Quilts and kids

Hey there! How are you all doing? I hope you are good. We have been busy. Here are my kiddos. Yesterday was dress like what you want to be when you grow up. Ethan obviously is a soldier like his dad (this was a very popular outfit with the little boys - it was like driving up to Ft Benning at school pick up. Many little tiny soldiers dashing around). Emma is a movie star/ artist. Sam was angry about having to choose...he said he has too many years ahead of him to choose. No doubt, so he went as himself.

See, Emma has a paintbrush in her hair. Bamm she is an artist. Oh and her red dress? It was the dress I wore after my wedding on my way to Mexico with my new husband. I was the size of an 11 year old when I got married. Crazy.

This is Sam today on Hat day. Notice the patch? Well we are doing patch therapy. Turns out that his right eye is all but blind. We ordered his glasses, so they should be here by the weekend hopefully. Anyway the patch is to force his brain to use his right eye since at the moment the brain is just rerouting all signals to this good eye. For now the patch is just for around the house use. 

I think he can pull off the pirate look pretty well. Sometimes I feel like I do more nursing around my house than I did when I was in the Army. I have a mostly deaf daughter, a half blind son, a lame dog and 2 retarded cats. The Lord must feel I am up to challenges. 

Let's chat about crafty things now. This weekend was so beautiful I pulled my sewing out to the back porch. I took all the gadgets from the kids and used them to weigh down my quilt blocks

My little Featherwieght just humming along,  

My husband mulching the leaves

My kids playing

Another quilt top just about finished 

Best kind of weekend there is.

Some of my bird blocks have flown home to me from my Bee FF 12 group. I requested Liberated birds I love them.  Thank you ladies!

Happy sewing folks enjoy your blessings,

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Some of my new favorite things

Hey there! I just wanted to take a moment to chat about some of my new favorite things. I love it when blogs talk about things they really like so I can go seek they out and try them for myself. This post is totally unsolicited and as you can see from my side bar I am not sponsored by anyone, so I am not getting paid or rewarded in anyway sharing this with you.

Let's talk about thread first. I think of thread as the blood of the nervous system of a quilt. The thread connects everything (ok that is a terrible example - if thread were anything that held everything together it would be the skin, but that doesn't work either...just go with it). I have been a thread snob for ages, so imagine my thrill when I found a thread that was even better to use than my King Tut Cotton? I do still love and use my King Tut...I have not completely thrown in the towel!

I LOVE Aurifil thread. It is silky and strong and leaves so little lint behind. It is so skinny that seams press perfectly flat

The big cones of Aurifil are from Brenda at Pink Castle Fabric. She ordered them for me bacuase I wanted to try the Aurifil out on my Long arm. It is pricy, but it lasts for ages.

Aurifil thread is so very nice to hand appliqué with! I am pretty lazy with my hand appliqué and I cut a big long piece of thread so I don't have to thread the needle quite as often. Do you do that? Well, what I love about hand sewing with Aurifil is that the thread seems to never knot up and it also does not weaken or fray. It is just a delight to stitch with.

 When I am sitting and sewing I love to have a cup of tea. After my 3 cups of coffee in the morning, I have to switch to tea you see. Well I just read about Luhsetea (I have no clue how you are supposed to pronounce that word). This little company was started by and Army wife and her daughter. I am a sucker to support fellow Army wives! 

 The tea is very nice. And each tea has a delightful little story to go with it.

Finally, lets talk about fabric. 

For the September meeting of KCMQG Caitlin brought a bunch of her fabric for us to buy and pet. Caitlin just started a new business - I Don't Do Dishes.  I LOVEd how the Couture Cottons (by Michael Miller) felt. SO silky and soft. They have a slight sheen to them as well. Well, I was running low on solids so I ordered the top 3 from Caitlin and the rest of the solids are from Hawthorn threads. Caitlin had her husband bring my fabric to work with him so I could just drive down the road and pick it up. What awesome customer service! Thanks Caitlin and it was very nice to meet your husband.

Caitlin also sells Aurifil thread.

Here are solids for a bunch of Texas flag quilts.

Oh and here is a tip...if you are using a big cone of Aurifil on your domestic machine - you may want to flip it upside down. It seems to come off the cone better. When it was the other way it kept getting caught underneath itself.

That is it folks, happy sewing!

We are going to the Haunted Leavenworth Tour tonight...Boooooooo maybe we will se some boogers?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Rebecca's quilt

Hi there! I finished quilting this quilt for Rebecca last night. It is quite large at 118 x118 inches. Rebecca wanted me to "go crazy and quilt whatever my heart desired". Wow...that is a lot of freedom! 13,924 square inches of freedom. 

I knew what I wanted to do in all the colored blocks, and I knew what I wanted to do in the white background...but those brown centers were the tricky places. I knew I wanted to do something that would be seen....In that I mean you can clearly see the quilting on the more solid fabric (the white and the brown) but the quilting in the colored spaces is almost invisible. 

All the colored blocks have different swirls or pebbles.

I think this brown block is my favorite. I was looking through some Zentangle slides on Pinterest and these borfin shapes are inspired by Zentangle.

I LOVED these simple lines too! So fun. 

The white is all quilted with this very loose meandering feather. And let me tell you this folks..this meander took a long time and miles of thread. I guess it is because there was so very much white and I decided to quilt the background fairly small scale. I half wish I would have done swirls in the white background, but these feathers were almost hypnotic to quilt so that was cool. I do adore the texture they create.

Here is the back of the quilt

MAybe you can see a bit of the quilting here?

Anyway this was such a fun quilt to quilt away on. My next one will be more simple...I think. We shall see. After that I have more Texas flag quilt to make.

Have a lovely weekend. It is chilly here so I hope you are warm where ever you are.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I am a sucker for an old quilt top

Hey there! I hope you are doing well. I just wanted to share a little something with you. I like old quilt tops. Not really old quilts but old unfinished quilt tops. At first I thought I liked the tops because I had big plans to quilt them up. And indeed my collection of old quilt tops began after I bought my long arm. I actually practiced quilting on old unfinished tops before I started taking customer quilts, but in the year or so since I have owned my Gammill, the old tops seem to find me. I get a clenching deep in my gut when I drive by an antique store and I know that there is on old quilt top within calling to me. Sometimes I think I am the only crazy quilter around, but I have heard from long arm quilter friends that the same thing happens to them. My kids have been trained to look for Quilt tops and Singer Featherweights upon entering an antique shop. Now sometimes the tops are ugly. For real. It would be a waste of batting and backing fabric to finish them (the old quilter lady who made them probably thought the same thing and that is why they are languishing in a dusty antique store) So I happily gather up my ducklings and waltz out of the shop...but sometimes I just can't leave them. And they come home with me.

Above are two that have recently come home with me.

This one is an "Ocean Wave" pattern. All those wee little hand pieced half square triangles called to me. I know I would never in a zillion years attempt to make this quilt top and I felt it deserved to be finished...or at least hang out in a quilting studio so it could be admired and loved. There are friends for this quilt in my house.

It is a super windy fall day today. I just wanted to show the wind with this other real reason.

See, not only do I like quilt tops, but I also really like quilt blocks. I bought this lot of 42 on Ebay. They were a pretty good deal so I couldn't leave them right? Well, I think every other quilter in the world probably recognized that the browning of the blocks meant that the blocks REEKED of cigarette smoke. I could smell the box as I walked up to it. Wow. Pungent to say the least. I though it would be a great ideal to hang them out on the line for a couple days.

Fresh air right? I even went so far as to hang a couple out on the clothes line. Then I noticed that I was having to hold the blocks down with my foot while I hung their friends up on the line. Imagine me clutching about 5 blocks in one hand, clipping clothes hangers with the other hand and placing my foot on the remaining 30 or so blocks while a Dorothy and the wizard of oz worthy wind whipped around my body. Finally I envisioned the sweet little stinky blocks fluttering away into the forrest.  What was I doing? 

I stacked them back up and lined a brown paper bag with coffee beans, placed another piece of brown paper on top of the beans and dumped the quilt blocks into the bag. Apparenly the coffee beans are supposed to leach the ciggerette smoke stink out of the blocks? We will see.

In case you were wondering, this block is named "Sailor's Joy" Isn't that one of the most beautiful names for a quilt block? I don't think any two blocks are the same. What a delight? Anyway hopefully when I drag them out next they will smell like coffee instead of smoke.

The weather has been awesome around here. The kids and Stanley have been loving the leaves.

I have been working away down in my lair.

And I have been cooking for my tribe. This is a new cookbook for me. Look how happy those folks look. I love it. 

I am making this soup for dinner since the flu I have been fighting has passed to my little Sam, and Ethan had a tooth pulled this afternoon. 

Happy quilting my friends! 

***I am thinking about a give post will involve a choice for you.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Improv piecing workshop with Denyse Schmidt

Hey there. How are you? I hope you are doing well. I got to do a fun thing on Friday. I attended an Improv Piecing workshop with Denyse Schmidt. In my opinion Denyse Schmidt is a genius. Her book,  Denyse Schmidt Quilts was the very first quilt book I ever bought way back in the olden days of 2005. I can remember sitting outside on the sidewalk with it. My friend (Becky) and I looked through it and studied every picture and read about each project. Becky dashed home and ordered a copy for herself and called me immediately to let me know that she had some fabric with Denyse Schmidt's name on it. I thought that was so cool. Of course Becky was talking about the now infamous Flea Market Fancy. I can remember thinking to myself that "wow...this lady gets it!" I want to be like Denyse when I grow up.

If you have never gotten to attend a workshop with Denyse I will tell you what goes on so maybe you can improvise your own workshop with yourself.

Denyse has the sewing tables set up with 3 brown paper shopping bags each one is marked "Small, Medium and Large" Each bag is full of fabric scraps cut in small, medium and large sizes. 

You have to stick your hand in a bag and pull out a piece of fabric without looking. No matter what you select you have to use it. 

You just draw fabric out of the bags and sew them together.

What a fabulous exercise. 

There were some fabrics that I pulled that were a bit ugly, but when they were all squished in their their friends they looked lovely. 

I had a great time on Friday. If Denyse Schmidt ever comes to town and you can swing it, do go sew with her. She is brilliant and I hope some of that inspiration will stick to me so I can finish the quilts block I made and make them into a quilt.

Here Denyse is with my 6 blocks. I love how different this is from my normal work. My youngest son has already claimed the blocks for himself, so I will make this quilt for him.

Here we all are after class. I love how Shea and I have blond eyebrows...I wonder if she ever got grief growing up about her eyebrows like I did?

These are Shea's pictures. I totally forgot my camera. I did bring my phone and I took a ton of pictures with it, but I am too dumb to figure out how to move pictures from my smart phone to my computer.

One more thing before I go back to sewing. Friday night I watched a great movie that I had checked out from the library. Atonement.  I knew it was not appropriate for the kiddies, so after they went to bed I put it in. I guess my husband had overheard me telling Emma that it was an adult movie, so she was not welcome to join us. He translated that into the movie was a porno. He had this goofy grin on his face when he plopped down on the couch with me to watch it. About 15 minutes in he voiced his disappointment with my selection. I was a bit confused. He told me what he had been expecting and I started laughing. Who would want to see a dirty movie with Elizabeth Swan? It would be like watching a cadaver. Yuck. And I got it from the library. I don't think they rent out dirty movies there? And I have never rented a dirty movie anyway, where would I even begin to find them? Needless to say my husband managed to stay awake for about 10 more minutes and then he was snoring away beside me. 

Happy sewing folks!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Things are bigger in Texas

I finished a very large project today. A couple months ago I was contacted by a lady who wanted a king sized Texas flag quilt. No sweat. I can do that. But, instead of white, she wanted snow leopard fabric. Well....ok ( I had to hunt for good snow leopard fabric all over the internet, but I was sure I had seen some somewhere) I can do that too. 

Here is a shot of just the quilt top. Pretty big, isn't it? 

Here is the quilt after is was quilted.

And here is a bit of the quilting detail. I love quilting this way.

Here is a shot of the back. 9 yards of Kona Coal. I love that grey. 

I really want you to see the texture on this quilt. The lady I made the quilt for wanted the quilt to be very puffy. I used 2 layers of wool batting for this quilt. I love quilting with wool batting. Magic happens when you pass your needle through wool. Really, it does. If you have never quilted with wool you really should give it a go. Wool batting can also be quite heavy, and 2 layers of wool make for a very heavy quilt. But the wonderful thing about wool is how well it breathes. It is cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Hooray for wool!

So, here it is on a bed (my bed...but only for this picture)

And here is the star side. That is a BIG quilt folks. I wish many sweet dreams beneath this quilt to it's new owner. Now, I just need to find a box big enough to send it on it's way.

Here is a sneak peek at the next quilt I am working on for Rebecca. I need to add some more feathers in that open spot. And I have 3 bags under way as well. I feel like my little sewing studio has never seen such action. Good times...I love it! 

Oh and I get to go to a workshop with Denyse Schmidt on Friday! I can't wait! I need to figure out which of all my fabric is my favorite and only bring a quarter yard of it. Now, that will be a hard decision!

Happy quilting folks!