buriedinscraps

Decide what to be and go be it.

Archive for the tag “sewing”

One more down!

Last year, my husband and I took a trip to Shipshewanna where I purchased this church window.  I liked the shape of it and I could see an old quilt behind it.

open_window I took it home and put it away for another day.  It was a good idea when we bought it but then I had to actually do something with it.  I’m not one to cut up old quilts…even if I had one.  So, I knew I would have to make something.  There it goes….up on the Later Tater pile!

Then I fell in love with hexies.  So I began to make hexies.  What to do with the hexies I was making?  The church window came to mind so I stitched enough hexies to fit behind the window.  I stitched all the way to Florida and back.  A long as I was stitching with the window in mind, my husband stopped asking me when I was going to do something with it.

hexiesThey were finally pieced.   I knew they needed to be quilted.  This was a perfect opportunity to practice free motion quilting.  It was a nice, big piece, it had a purpose and it would hang above the front door so no one would ever be close enough to see mistakes!  Win-win!

I quilted on this piece for about three hours and when it was done, I thought it looked pretty darn good!

quitingAs soon as the quilting was done, I wanted to staple it to the back of the window.  My sweet husband gave me the staple gun.  I actually thought he would staple it for me.  Ha! Who was I kidding!  He sat in the recliner and offered direction.  I was tempted to use the staple gun on his lips but thought better of it.

windowNow it’s finished…  At least my part is finished.  It’s up to him to figure out how to hang it on the wall.  Let’s see how long it takes him….

 

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Baa, baa black sheep…

…have you any wool?

Any wool appliquers out there?

I decided I needed something to do with my hands while watching my beloved White Sox circle the drain on a daily basis.  Something to keep me away from all the sharp objects in the kitchen.  I decided on this pattern:

patternThe fact that I’ve really never done much applique didn’t deter me.  So, I’ve been collecting wool for this project.  WOW! Not an inexpensive venture!

basketThis is my first really big jump into wool applique.  I love this pattern but the directions are rather vague.   I’m assuming (yeah, I know…bad idea!) that I would proceed like any other applique project—block by block.  Should I stabilize the back?  Would that make it harder to embroider later on?  Floss or perle cotton?

So many questions!  Does anyone have any tips for this woolen rookie?

Yikes!  Hang on to your hats!  Another adventure!

Hippie

peaceEvery once in a while you have to step outside of your comfort zone.  Not saying you have to take a giant leap…but every once in a while you have to tip-toe away from what’s comfortable.  So, I walked away from my reproduction prints for a project.

Mickey Depre (of Pieced Hexie fame!) was at our guild meeting.  She shared some of her bright, fun quilts.  I thought…Hey! I could do that.  Yeah…but did I want to.  The next day at work, I kept doodling this little wall hanging idea.  Hmmm….it needed brights.  Civil War prints are anything but bright.  My considerable stash wasn’t going to be very helpful.  So I knew I had to beg, borrow and steal from my sister and MiniQuilter.  I knew if I asked MQ she’d let me shop in her stash.  But if she said no, I guess I’d just steal when  she wasn’t looking. 😉  Even though it wasn’t really my style, I drew up the design and started to cut shapes.  Here’s what I came up with:

hippieCan you tell I channelled my inner hippie with this one?  Definitely not my usual stuff.  Bright colors and applique no less!

Got it all pieced together and started to cut away some of the background and guess what!

hippie2I cut away a little bit too much!!  Enlarge the photo and see what I mean.

I laid the quilt on the floor to take these photos and something just doesn’t look right. Like a bolt out of the blue I see it!  The darn “a” is backwards.  My husband says “Change it.”  I say “Peace out, man.  It’s just doin’ it’s own thing.”

hippie3

I’m thinking about maybe adding some crystals in the upper left.

Now, here’s my question….do you think it needs another small border?  Maybe something a little less busy?

I feel crummy today…

My sister started it.  She started making crumb blocks.  And, like the lemming I am, I jumped right in after her.  I’ll admit that I was resistant at first.  Why would I want to sew little scraps together all willy-nilly?  I’m a symmetrical person fo cryin’ out loud!  I love need balance.  (my nine-year old grandson asked me Saturday if I knew what symmetry was.  Unfortunately, at times, I know all too well!)  So, the thought of grabbing a couple of scrap pieces out of a basket and making them fit gave me fits.  And what if one of the scraps was, say, a Christmas fabric…in a non-holiday themed quilt.  My quilting OCD wouldn’t let me do that.  Oh dear!  I told myself this would drive me batty(er) and I don’t need the stress.

And my sister kept talking about her crumb blocks.  How much fun they were.  How cool they were. How many quilt tops she made.  I tried to resist.  I really did.  But resistance was futile.  I jumped in.  At first I just sewed them as leaders and enders.  A snippet here….a square there.  A strip along the Flying Geese that didn’t fly right.  Uh oh….this was fun!

So I started to look forward to the crumb blocks more than the project blocks.  And then…(dramatic pause)…I put the project away and made crumb blocks.  Not a million, but quite a few.  I found myself going through my large scrap baskets and cutting smaller pieces and locating all of those orphan half square triangles.

crumb_pileI think this is what we all need at times…some mindless sewing.  The kind that’s very forgiving.  The kind that doesn’t count mistakes.  The kind where mistakes like my wonky Flying Geese can find a home.  We all need crumb blocks.

blocksWant to see how to make them?  Click here to visit Bonnie Hunter’s blog.

Let me introduce you….

….to my new grandson, Danny O’Day.  Isn’t he cute?  Yeah, I know….

dannyAs much as my grandson, MarioFan loves Mario, he loves ventriloquism more.  I’m not sure where this comes from…we never dropped him on his head.  Maybe from the other side of his family. 😉  Anyway, all he wanted for Christmas was a ventriloquist dummy…with an upgrade.  I have no idea what that upgrade was, but I guess Santa did because this was under the tree.  We’ve been tortured lucky enough to have seen several shows and now he’s taking his show on the road..to the other grandma’s house.

His dad decided that Danny needed a travel upgrade also.  Instead of traveling in a grocery bag, my son (Would that make him Danny’s grandfather?)  thought Danny needed a case.  He searched for directions to make one to no avail.  Buying one would be very expensive.  So, who’s the dummy?  The one inside the case or the one buying it?  He settled on a suitcase he bought at the thrift shop.  It was in great shape…but it was moss green.  So, he spray painted it black.  Next issue was how to secure Danny in the case…don’t want my newest grandson to be injured!  Here’s where I come in.  I made pillows for either side and one for his sweet, plastic head.  Then I stapled some Velcro to the ribbon straps inside so they could be pulled tight across his body.  All that’s left to do is to make some travel stickers for the case and we’ll be cookin’ with gas!

caseThat is the extent of my sewing lately.

As for any other sewing, still in a bit of a funk.  I did pull some fabrics for a New York Beauty block but that’s as far as I got.  I keep looking at them.  And with my best Scarlett O’Hara voice, I say “I won’t think about that today.  I’ll think about that tomorrow.”  Sometimes I love how Scarlett thinks!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  Yes, it’s that time again; where we look back and reflect on the good times as well as play woulda, coulda, shoulda.  Then we make our resolutions only to have them become a far away memory by February.  I don’t know about you but I’ve long since given up on New Year’s resolutions.  Who needs the pressure! 🙂 By the end of January I was beating myself up because I hadn’t done enough to change the world.  So I haven’t made one for many years.

But there’s something about this year that’s making me want to make a “strong suggestion” to myself this year.  You get to that point where you realize you have a whole lot more years behind you than you have in front of you.  And I want to spend those years healthier than I am now.  I have no real health issues and I want to keep it that way!  This is the year that I hope to lose those crummy 15 pounds I’ve been playing with the past few years, eat a healthier diet (bye-bye processed food…except wine :-)) and maybe actually exercise!   OMG…I said the “E” word!  I’m also looking into yoga.  Not promising anything.  Not “resolving” anything.  Just strongly suggesting to myself that this is the year I  take control of me.  Those in my house can come along for the ride if they dare!

We saw the movie “Lincoln” last night (short review–great movie..go see it!) and at one point toward the end, Abe turns to his wife and says “We need to try to be happier.”  And that will be my mantra this year…I need to try to be happier.  I’m not terribly unhappy, but I could be happier.  And it’s my goal to do just that!  Fortunately, quilting makes me happy!

I’ve been working on a quilt for MiniQuilter for over two years.  Took me forever because it was hand-embroidered.  The top is finally put together and it’s awaiting quilting.

basket_blockShe loves the 30s fabrics and this quilt pattern was perfect for them.  I was originally going to send the quilt out to be quilted, but I think Grandma should quilt it.  So that is my goal.  And I DO resolve to finish this quilt!

basket_quiltI can’t give her this quilt until I make one for her brother.  (Good thing I only have two grandchildren!)  I’ve been looking for a pattern for a quilt for MarioFan without much luck.  I was in the grocery store with my husband and thumbed through McCall’s American Loves Scrap Quilts and there it was! Paper Chain!

paper_chainI think it’s a perfect pattern for a boy’s quilt.  The picture of the finished quilt is a page from the magazine and the block is my test block.  It went together really well and pretty quickly.  I’m thinking I want to make it basically in blues and browns with a little bit of green and/or red.  I’m kind of excited!  The new year needs a new project!  And I resolve to finish this one also!

chain_blockWhat are your quilting resolutions….or “strong suggestions”?

Funny….

Funny how life always gets in the way of the best laid plans!

When last you saw me, I was going into the sewing palace to make Barbie clothes and wasn’t coming out until they were finished…or until tempted with a bottle of wine.  Neither happened.  OK…well maybe I gave in to the siren song of a bottle glass of Merlot.  Barbie’s wardrobe was just as frustrating as I feared…little seams and little stitches.   Forget the little snaps.  It was velcro all the way! (I think I could have sewn a wardrobe for myself faster and easier.)  Anyone who thinks making “little” things should be quick and easy because they’re little has never obviously made little things.  I used the Barbie that lives at my house for a model.  For a skinny chick I sure had trouble getting her jeans over her hips…just like some of us not-so-skinny chicks!  Apparently she has a rubbery and the fabric stuck to it.  (Insert joke here.)  And to make it worse, she has a funky arm.  This particular Barbie is a baker and her arm is designed to fit around a mixing bowl.  Grandma didn’t check that out when she bought Barbie.  Of course, Grandma is from the era when Barbie was just Barbie–not astronaut Barbie or baker Barbie or deep-sea diver Barbie.  Needless to say, MiniQuiter is getting a different Barbie for Christmas….one with normal arms.  I remember making Barbie clothes in the past that fit much better.  Someone has changed the patterns!  I mean, seriously, these patterns are made to fit one “person”…Barbie.  It’s not like you need to make adjustments for  different figures.  Seriously McCall’s and Simplicity…she has one figure.  And a not so realistic one at that, but we won’t even go there!

barbieSo, most of the sewing is done.  (I’m hoping to finish one more dress for Ms. Barbie.) Most of the gifts are wrapped, cookies are baked, cards are sent.  One thing left to do….wish all of my blogging buddies a merry Christmas and best wishes for the upcoming year.  May we finish our current UFOs and replace them new ones.  And may we find the time to do just that.  (Darn Barbara Brackman is planning a block of the month for the upcoming year.)

ornament2

Merry Christmas!

See you in 2013!

How time flies…

…when you’re having fun.  Or supposed to be!

After getting through Thanksgiving with little or no drama–no dropped pies or turkeys that didn’t cook–decorating for Christmas should be  a piece of cake.

It’s a tradition (or a curse–not sure which) to decorate the weekend of Thanksgiving.  Since this was Mr. Christmas’ (aka my husband) first post-retirement Christmas, decorating should be a snap this year!  Or not…   It’s well documented that when we decorate, the rest of the family scatters to the four winds.  No one wants to be around when the battles begin.  Getting  a pre-lit tree has helped tremendously in curtailing the not so festive words that would fly around the tree trying to get the lights wrapped around the branches just right.  And, yeah, those nuggets came from me.  Mr. C was always too busy having a holly, jolly Christmas.  No holly, jolly for me until the decorating is done.

This year we were getting an early start–a whole day early.  Maybe this wouldn’t be a lost weekend after all!  Step One…assemble the tree.  You know, as they say, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt….or the tree falls over.  Yep, our tree decided to keel over.  The “trunk” bent and we watched it fall like a giant redwood in our living room.  Mr. C decided to just bend the trunk back the other way and it should be good to go for one more year.  Oh yeah…that worked…for about 60 seconds.  Tim-ber!!  It came down again.  Two choices…tie it to the window locks or buy a new one.  We had a tree that had to be tied up back in the day.  Even though we tried to make it look festive by tying it with red ribbon, the bottom line was it just looked tacky.  So, off to the store we went.  By this time Mr. C was no longer holly, jolly and since I wasn’t to begin with, you can imagine the mood in the car.  Add to that a little thing we call “Black Friday” and I think you know where this went!

The store was not very crowded–grateful for that.  They were also not very cheap.  If I need to buy a new tree I’m the day after Christmas bargain hunter, so I was stunned by the prices.  Narrowed it down to two and couldn’t decide–should I go cheap or go pretty?  Mr. C reminded me that we weren’t buying a house …just a Christmas tree.  PICK ONE!!  OK…so I went with pretty.

Later on that evening, MiniQuilter and MarioFan came by to “help” decorate the tree.  I’ll admit to being a little bit tyrannical particular with ornament placement.  It comes naturally—my grandmother was the queen of the ornament placers!  I had to keep reminding myself that in a couple of years they won’t want to help decorate and I”ll be sad.  But WHY do kids find the butt-ugly ornaments–the ones you just can’t bring  yourself to toss out for whatever reason–and put them right in the front of the tree?

Right in the front where i have to look at it every time I pass by!  Is it a kid thing?

But when it was all said and done the tree was pretty and it was finished in one day.  Sitting on the couch with a glass of wine and Mr. Christmas with a beer, it looked pretty and festive.

Which gave me all day Sunday to sew.  I had made a baby quilt for the granddaughter of a good friend.  It’s an I Spy quilt.  Picked up the kit for $7–all cut out and ready to go.  Pieced it quickly and it looked cute.  I decided that since I had a poly batt, I’d use that.  After I started to stitch-in-the-ditch, I remembered why I don’t use poly.  I like flat quilts and this had too  much loft  for me.  Too late to change horses now.  So I plugged along.  I did some nice swirlies in the border–several times.  I had to “unsew” and resew because the backing folded over and was caught in the stitching.  I don’t know how many times I have to do this before I learn.  Apparently…several!

My favorite part not) of quiltmaking was up next…the binding.  It actually went on pretty well for a change.  But I have lots of trouble with mitered corners.  Mine do not look nice.

Maybe it’s practice..maybe it’s me.  I just know I’m not happy with the results.  So I walked away from it and came back to it later.  It didn’t look so bad.  The baby won’t my mistakes.  And I don’t think his mom will either!

Still gearing up for Barbie…   🙂

You’ve come a long way, baby…

My sister posted a picture of a quilt she made years ago.  She pointed out all of the mistakes that were in that quilt…all the reasons why she was going to trash it.  Then her daughter rescued it (Way to go, Sam!!) from the trash heap and loved it to death…literally.  Death of the quilt I mean…Sam is alive and kickin’!   And my sister brought up a point about how far she had come as a quilter.

Something to ponder.  How far have you come as a quilter?  I remember that day about thirty years ago when I took my first quilting class.  I was a raw rookie.  I became obsessed with quilting.  Everyone got hot pads or pillows for Christmas that year.  I was a pillow making machine!  I thought they were beautiful.  Ohio Star…hand pieced…hand quilted…with stitches about 1/2 ” in length!  When my husband’s grandmother passed, I was reunited with one of those pillows.  Yikes!!!  Were the quilting gods laughing at me?  Was it the result of bad karma?  Whatever it was, this couldn’t be the pillow I gave her.  Mine was beautiful….not this hot mess!

It all came back to me.  Yep…this hot mess was one of my first endeavors.  Then I thought about my first real quilt.  It was a sampler I made for my son….just blocks and sashing…no borders.  At that time my idea of quilting was to quilt just like our great-grandmothers quilted…by hand with cardboard templates.  And even more than that, I would use whatever fabric I found lying around.  Even fabric that belonged somewhere else…like my husband’s uniform shirt. 🙂 It was the perfect blue and it was old…sort of.  After he discovered that I cut triangles from it, he locked up the rest of them!  I wish I could show you a picture of that quilt but it’s 1200 miles away with my son.   Sometimes I think that’s not even far enough away!  I guess the miles have spared me the embarrassment of sharing. 🙂

I think that looking back at my early quilts, I can say I’ve learned a few things.  First of all I can’t believe that I would only hand piece and hand quilt.  I wouldn’t dream of going near a machine.  Now I’m convinced that if our great-grandmothers had access to a machine they would have gladly used it!  It took me forever and a day to finish anything that way.  I liken it to quilting in quicksand...just…can’t…move…  I don’t say this as a knock against hand quilters.  Hand quilting is a thing of beauty and I truly admire it.  And I understand the peacefulness it brings to hand quilters.  It just doesn’t bring me that same peacefulness.  I truly love the hum of my Bernina.  While it’s humming away on Project A, my brain is humming on Project B…and C…and D…

I’ve also learned to use the best quality supplies I can afford.  A bargain is not always a bargain.  My husband’s shirt may have been the perfect blue, but if it was old to begin with, it had two strikes against it when it’s sewn into a quilt.

I’ve also learned to step out of the comfort zone occasionally.  I always go back to what I love, but  a walk on the wild side from time to time is fun!

These are lessons learned the hard way…with quilts that did not stand the test of time.  They did, however, stand the test of love.

Here’s a picture of one of my earliest quilts.  Would you look at those colors!

How far have I come as a quilter?  Pretty darn far!  And there’s a long road ahead.  So, let me ask you…how far have you come as a quilter?

And speaking of far, here are my latest Grandmother’s Choice blocks.  I love this quilt.  It reminds how far women have come and how much farther we have to go.  So, no matter if you are pro-life or pro-choice or pro-whatever your issue is,  please be pro-vote tomorrow.  Vote and let your voice be heard….for Grandma!

Beauty and the Beast

A while back, my blogging buddy over at Coloring Outside the LInes and I decided we would do a New York Beauty quilt.  I decided to step out of my comfort zone completely and move away from the reproduction fabrics.  It was a chilling thought…didn’t know if I could do it.  I decided to use batiks.  The pattern lends itself so well to batiks.  Of course I had no batiks in my stash.    I begged some batiks from my sister and purchased some others and dug around in my mountainous stash and found two.  Yep…two.  Have I  mentioned that I usually only work in reproduction fabrics?   I guess the Civil War era ladies just weren’t that into Bali . 🙂

I went through my minute little pile of batiks and pieced some NYB blocks.  I can see now that my mini stash of batiks is sorely lacking in brights.  Looks like the only brights I have are red or pink.  What’s a girl to do?  SHOP!  I guess that’s the only answer.  Shop.  So, that’s the plan for this weekend.  Shop for batiks.

Here are the blocks I’ve finished.  I usually don’t paper-piece.  I like the nice, crisp points you get with paper-piecing.  I just hate the waste.  I have a difficult time deciding how big of a piece to cut.  And I always cut some just a smidge too small.  Then the next ones are much too big.  Feast or famine…..  Beauty and the beast….  If anyone has any tips on frugally cutting fabrics for paper-piecing, I’m all ears!

In my last post, I sang the praises of Down Under Quilts magazine.  I still have to make that hexagon quilt that’s on the cover.  The quiltmaker recommended Marti Mitchell’s hexagon template ruler kit.  So, for the small price of $12, I bought it.  I made a test block to see if I’d like the templates.  Oh yeah….they’re great!

My only concern is all of those Y-seams.  I can’t seem to get away from them!  I should be pretty good at them by the end of this project!  BTW….these aren’t my fabric choices for the project!  😉

My little friend and I would like to wish everyone a fun-filled Halloween!

 Happy Halloween!

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