Wednesday, September 26, 2012


CarpentersStar topThis quilt top has been my only quilting focus so far this week.  As of today I have quilted almost to the center, attempting to learn how to quilt feathers.  To say I am a complete failure at this attempt would be false but to say I am getting any better would also be false.

I first quilted the “over the top” type of feather.  I don’t seem to have the control to stitch on top of the previous stitching.  Also, I seem to make squareish tops of my feathers.

So the next set I tried the more traditional feather.  They do look a lot better, don’t you think?  However I don’t feel at all comfortable doing them.  Maybe I’ll get better on the second half.  Confused smile

I decided to do a small meander in some of the triangles and as a background around the feathers.  Because the thread is variable, it makes an interesting focal point.  Hopefully that will draw the eye away from the feathers.  Angel

Since feathers are not, at this time, my favorite pastime, I spent some time working on the lessons in EQ7.  I am up to doing applique blocks and was really surprised that I could complete the block as called for in the lesson.  I have only two more lessons to complete for the online “class.”  I have learned a lot but the best thing I have learned is how to find things when/if I need them again.

And, true to my retirement plan, I took some time for a snack and a good book.


002So, what was DH doing while I was slaving away in the studio?  Well, 6 years ago, when we moved into this house, I gave him the living room to display his B Western memorabilia.  And, for the last 6 years, I have tried to get him to complete his display.  Well, for the last 2-3 weeks he has been working on it.


He has movie posters in all sizes.  Lash is on a 4’ x 8’ insulation board,


As is Starrett and Burnette.  These posters were situated outside the theaters to attract movie goers.

The smaller posters were inside the lobby.


We have records, books, games, lunchboxes,


autographed pictures, cap guns,


cameras, radios, and any number of other things.

Right now it all looks a lot like a flea market booth but he assures me that it will, someday, be put in order.  Someday……

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wow, it’s Design Wall Monday, again.

And yet, there is nothing on my design wall this morning.
inner border
During the last week I sewed the blocks together and decided on the inner border.  I blogged about this fabric here and am really happy with how well it goes with my swap blocks.

0outer border
And then I decided on the outer border and this past weekend I cut it out and

And sewed them on.  I am so excited at how this quilt has turned out.  During the making I, again, remembered how difficult swap blocks can be: not the right size, no quarter inch seam allowance, poor stitching, pleats inside the block, etc.  However, once I decided that I was going to use each block pretty much as it came, the top came together to be beautiful.  I also got the binding prepared so now it is ready for quilting (once I put a backing together).

And that brings me to the mental block I have been suffering since June.  That’s when Judy at Patchwork Times offered lessons on stitching feathers.  I made my quilt, a Carpenter’s Star, put it on the frame and stitched the top border.

outer border

And that’s as far as I got.  Between the stitch regulator now working and my unhappiness with my feathers, I just couldn’t make myself go back into the quilting room…..until Sunday.

more feathers
You see, I am making two quilts that I want to have done by Thanksgiving.  Both tops are done but in order to get them quilted I have to finish this quilt.  So Sunday I made the stitch regulator work and then quilted one more line. 

back feathers
I am not unhappy with how these feathers look, but I still need to quilt a curved feather as well as a circular feather.  I have given myself this week to get this done: I really need to move on.

And, in between quilting bouts I will be making my funky chicken #9, my color challenge project, and working on my EQ7 lessons.  And, how do I relax?  I read murder mysteries, especially ones that include quilters.  Nothing better than sitting on the swing out on the deck, reading a book and petting a puppy.
Oh, I also spend a little time on the computer trying to get through all the blogs that are posted on Patchwork Times every Monday.  Lots of great stitching going on over there. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Don’t You Just Love It

when a plan comes together?
Several months ago I bought a clock for my bedroom.  It was kind of a DIY clock where you could display your own pictures in place of the numbers.  Well, Tuesday was the day I finally got around to making it.  The first thing I had to do was to figure out how to make each of the pictures 2 3/16” square.  And then I had to go through many pictures to find ones I wanted to use.  I discovered, again, that I was not doing a very good job of filing pictures so I could easily retrieve them. 
I don’t have a software program for the above so I made a grid in Word and brought each of the pictures into the grid.  Then, I cut the grid apart


and placed the pictures on the “spokes” of the clock. 

It’s hard to tell here but the white frames have the numbers written on them.  The clock itself is metal and the frames are magnetic so once the picture is framed it stays there even when hanging on the wall.

Here it is, hanging on the bedroom wall.  Eventually it will be hanging over my bedroom sewing corner but for right now I am enjoying it next to the bed.  And, when I make new things I can change out the pictures.  How cool it that?

Then I went shopping.  I knew I needed fabric for the spacing on the Santa quilt so I gave myself yesterday afternoon to run around looking for it.  However, I found it, center piece, in the first place I went.  The great thing is that all this fabric (24 yards) was on sale for $2 a yard.  Well, what’s a girl to do?

And I think this is the perfect fabric for this piece.  I wanted something that was primarily white with a print that would not compete with the blocks or the panel.

SantaSo, what do you think?  I am thrilled with how this is going to look. 

Nothing is sewn together yet but I hope to get at least this part together this week.  I was going to put a small red stop border around the panel but I don’t think it needs it.  Maybe a stripe border around what you see here and then a larger final border……..we’ll just have to see when we get there.

I did take some time to draw and cut the fusible for the #9 Funky Chicken.  I almost hate to put it together because then I will be all caught up and will have to wait until the 1st to get the next block.

But I did finish this.  I fused the pieces while they were on a teflon sheet, which worked very well, but then it was quite a bit of work to get it off of there and onto the fabric.  I will set this aside for a while (too many things to finish before the end of the year) but if there are enough scraps from the last 4 chickens, I will make another and then they will be new arty placemats for us.

Monday, September 17, 2012

On The Wall

panel quilt
There is finally something on my design wall that I am really working on.  I ordered this panel from The Fat Quarter Shop.  It is the perfect compliment to my swap blocks, don’t you think?  It comes with an unusual measurement (31.5 x 42) so I will get to play with the math to figure out the setting blocks.  I think I will have to “shop” for a good fabric for them.  I think white with just a little, very little, print.  Of course I will have to find just what I am thinking of: I love shopping for something I’ve never seen.

fused on teflon
I fused my 8th Funky Chicken this weekend. 

A couple of people have asked how I do my applique so I am showing a little of what I do.  For the larger pieces I “window” the fusible.  I cut the center out, leaving only about 1/4” of the fusible and then fuse it onto the fabric.  This leaves the applique more supple. 


I don’t bother to window the smaller pieces and it doesn’t seem to matter.

003 (2)

On Saturday DH and I went to Auburn, AL for the first home game of the season.  It ‘s a good thing that orange is my favorite color, it was everywhere.

On our way in

And of course I love my eagle shirt: I love it.


We even came home with a new toy.

Now, just for fun, does anyone know what this is? 

There is no prize for this.  I started playing with this late Sunday afternoon and it is truly going to be a work in process.

So while I play, hop on over to Patchwork Times so see what others are playing with. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

I got Nuttin’

on my Design Wall this Monday.  I almost wasn’t going to write but, oh well, here I am anyway.

Teapot 2
Here is what is on my design ironing board this morning.  It is Teapot #2.  I really like the fabric (a really small scrap) but I’m afraid that the lid and spout are blending right into the background fabric.  I’m going to have to add something to make them stand out but, of course, Ms. No Artistic Talent here, can’t figure out how to do it.  It may be that this teapot is making a decision for me.  I haven’t decided if I will stitch these down with my usual invisible zigzag or with a colorful blanket stitch.  I am thinking that a red, to match, blanket stitch would outline her beautifully but that would mean blanket stitching all of the teapots.  Fortunately teapot stitching isn’t in my near future.  Rolling on the floor laughing

In addition to the teapot I did get 5 of my 6 Funky Chickens stitched.  I’m not including a picture since they have been displayed several times before.  And, I did do cleaning in-between each chicken.  I can almost see the top of my cutting table now.  I have pressed and folded several yards of fabric and found/made up several large scraps to go into my fat quarter drawers.

While dealing with scraps I started a new scrap bin.

Meet Mr. Batik Bear.  He came with animal crackers and last week I ate the last two so he was here, empty, and feeling left out.  I am planning on making some batik crumb blocks and he is a great place to put all those little pieces while they wait for me to get started.

He and I spent some time outside yesterday in the very pleasant weather: low 80s, low humidity, slight breeze.  Great for rocking on the porch with a good book and a cup of coffee.

Did you see this plant in the previous picture?  I had it hanging off the porch roof but it has tendrils that climb and attach and when we were expecting a storm I had to cut it down to move it.  I decided that it needed a different place so I have hung it off of the iron maiden that stands outside my studio.  I figure that the plant will climb up her and cover her with leaves and the red flowers that will eventually bloom again.

One more thing.  I took a break from studio cleaning and we spent the day in Pensacola.  I can’t go there without visiting A&E Pharmacy, where they have lots of fabric.

I didn’t have anything in mind when I went so I only shopped the sale fabrics and these are the ones that came home with me. 

The one on the right is going to be the backing for one of my Christmas quilts.  It really is a panel but since there is a child in the home I think he will enjoy the winter animals.

The center is really a brighter green and will be the backing for another quilt I have started but have not taken any pictures of yet.

And the one on the left, which is more of a yellow/tan is for me.  It is a batik: no plan.  The good thing about these fabrics is that they were only $3.98 a yard.

 And this picture is of the reason it takes me so long to get things done.  Just about the time I really get into a project, over comes DH to announce “Break Time.”  And see how happy he is.  Maybe later this week I will post some pictures of the project he has been working on: redoing his cowboy themed great room. 

Yes, I live with Eric, Hoppy, Roy, Gene, Lash, Rocky, Rex, and many more old time cowboys.

Well, the dishwasher has stopped so I guess it is time to move on to other things.  Be sure to stop over to Patchwork Times to see the progress other quilters are making. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Organizational Plan

Over the past several months the studio has become more and more just a place of clutter.  When I want to do something I have to clear a spot to work and the clutter has made it even harder to use what little time I had.  So yesterday I devised a workable, I hope, plan to de-cluttering and yet having sewing time, too.  Since I have several applique projects going (all machine applique) I will applique one block and then spend the same amount of time putting things away.

appliqueing chickens
So yesterday I appliqued three of my Funky Chickens.  Don’t those needle holes look big?  But experience has taught me that they will shrink back to size when the quilt is washed so I don’t worry.  Besides, the needle is really not that big.

3 chickens done
Anyway, these three are finished and ready to be a quilt once we have all 12 in our chicken coop.  I do most of my applique with invisible thread and a zigzag stitch which seems to work really well.

In between chickens I cleared off the ironing board and started whacking off the top of the fabric mountain that has grown on the cutting table.  One bad thing about having a large table is that I can leave stuff there and move on to a new project and it isn’t in the way until there are 6 or 7 projects worth of fabric, rulers, and other assorted tools on there.  I finally was using a 2’x2’ space to do all my cutting and fusible drawing.

4 3=7
I did take some time off to document the rain we had (30 hours of it).  This gauge only shows the last 4”, the first 3” were accidently dumped by the dogs. 

I don’t know if you can see but we are on well water and our pump is about a quarter underwater.  I have always wanted to live on the water so I just pretended this was a lake.  When the rain stopped it only took about 2 hours for all of this to be gone.

However, while it was raining it was like living inside a waterfall.  Open-mouthed smile

plants in the rain
I put the plants in a semi-protected area so they got mostly the splash of the water falling on the outside area of the deck: I won’t have to water them again for a couple of days.  Rolling on the floor laughing

giveaway panel
Yesterday I received the panel I won in a giveaway from Kate of Life In Pieces.  The panel is about 4’x3’.

panel potential layout
Although I don’t plan on using these blocks with it, I think that a layout something like this would work for it.  I will be putting it away for now but probably get it back out next summer when I begin working on Christmas stuff again. 

cards and tweesers
Along with the panel Kate sent these note cards and tweezers (I apologize for cutting the head off of the tweezers: will get a better picture for DWM).  I didn’t realize until I opened the cards that Kate made them and they are beautiful.  As for the tweezers, they are great.  I already have a similar pair that I use all the time and now I can have one at another sewing station.  When I got the first one I thought it was just cute (she has red hair) but they are long and get into places my fingers can’t and they hold tight: excellent.

Now I better get back to my organizational plan.  I am currently waiting for the Direct TV person to show up.  He called to tell me he wouldn’t make it until after lunch and then I just got a recorded message saying he will be here in about 1 1/2 hours.  Who knows!?!