Saturday, June 30, 2012

Starting a New Art Quilt

My dear friends and wonderful readers gave me such nice comments on my "Hills and Fields of Alabama" quilt that I decided to do another one.  Today I started it.  I got out the fabric and pressed it nice and smooth.  Then I realized that I was all out of iron-on interfacing!  GACK!!! I certainly didn't want to make a trip out in the heat to buy some more so I put on my thinking cap.   I have some Wonder Under; I have some batting.  Ooh I have an idea, no, a PLAN.  
I took the batting and cut a piece to the size of the cloth.  I then cut some Wonder Under to match (slightly smaller) I fused it all together and hoped!
When I got to the machine and started sewing and couching down yarns, I realized that this works BETTER than the interfacing.  yaay!
So I did a LOT of machine work on this today.  Here is the beginning for you to see.
The color is a little off, but it is close.  I am debating using some metallics in this. I have several now that I can use.  What do you think?   Any other suggestions?  I am open to ideas.  I am thinking about doing some applique on it too.Tell me what you think!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Jump in the Pool - Block 4

BQAL-4 by GeneBlack
BQAL-4, a photo by GeneBlack on Flickr.

Yesterday the fourth block in the Beginners Quilt Along was posted. Pat Sloan is calling this block "Jump in the Pool" - the more common name for this is Churn Dash. I have also heard it call a Monkey Wrench block.
I decided to make the two color block into a three color block - just for fun. I am thinking the maybe I need to applique a star or something in the center of the yellow. What do you think?
There is a link to the Quilt Along in my sidebar. It is not too late to start making this fun and easy quilt. The tutorials for the blocks are outstanding. It starts very simply and each block (so far anyway) has built on the previous blocks. This is a great skill building tool. Notice how well my points are matched? I am thrilled with what I have learned - even though I am not a beginner. It is always great to brush up on the basics.

It sure is hot here! It is over 100F today. Sheesh and it is still June! I am thinking by August I will be running around completely starkers. (well only in the privacy of my own home that is.) I can't seem to stay cool enough.
I think I will go get a nice glass of ice water. Remember to stay hydrated if it is hot where you are.
Have a great weekend. Remember, comments are always welcomed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Picking up a UFO

I haven't been in much of a sewing mood lately other than the hand work.  But this evening I picked  up one of my UFOs and started working on it again.  I have this piece that is already pieced, backed and quilted.

And I had some pieces of "scraps" that were left from piecing this part. So I pressed, cut to trim up and started sewing them together.
So far I have this:
I think it is as wide as the other piece. If not I can just add a bit more onto it.  Ha ha...I have been watching a British sitcom and I tend to pick up phrases.  Did you hear my English accent on the "add a bit more onto it" part?  This quilt will be done in a quilt as you go manner.  It is also a make it up as you go pattern.  Strangely those seem to work out best for me.   The back of the piece that is already quilted is pieced also.  This will be a reversible quilt. I love making them that way.
Now, where did I put the remainder of the fabrics I started with for this one? Hmmm........

In other news I saw the announcement that I won Second prize in the Quilts of Valor Blog Hop.  I will be getting a delightful set of Aurifil threads.  It is the Basics Collection by Mark Lipinski.   Thanks to Marjorie for hosting the hop!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Today -Party and a reminder

A year ago yesterday the second princess was born to my darling niece.   Miss Emily is now one year old.  As I made her older sister a "party doll," I thought it only fair to make her a doll also.  The birthday party is today and I will be delivering her doll and a matching (sort of) tank top.
The party theme is Minnie Mouse, so I got an embroidery file for Minnie and sewed it on the dress/body fabric before I constructed the doll.
Here is a closeup.

 I took the pink tank top and put it there also. Now she will have a top that matches her doll.   Did you notice the legs and feet on the doll?  Those were a real pain to stuff with fiber fill.  the pattern only had straight legs, but I wanted her to have feet, so I added them to the pattern.
I also have a dress for the princess (pink and white of course) but as I didn't embellish it, I am not putting a picture of it here.

In other news, well really a reminder, my quilt in the Quilting Gallery show is now in second place.  So I could use a few extra votes.  My quilt, Fields and Hills of Alabama. The voting page is HERE.
Thanks to all who have voted.  I never dreamed of being in the top three. I want to win!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Shameless Plug and BQA-3

I have entered an online show at Quilting Gallery.  The piece I have entered is the same one  you saw on my last post..but here it is again in case you missed it.

I would love it if you would vote for my quilt, Fields and Hills of Alabama. The voting page is HERE.

I also made my Beginners Quilt Along Block 3 last night. So, you can see it now.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wall Art Quilt - Finished

I am very happy to show you the final finished version of the wall hanging/art piece I made recently.
A backing and "batting" were added this week and then an edge finish was applied.  Here is the finished piece.

"Hills and Fields in Alabama"

I love this abstract landscape.
This is done is stages. There is machine stitching and machine thread couching done first.  Then lots of colorful hand stitches are added. Then possibly more machine stitches to help fill in some areas.  When I decide it has enough stitches (completely done by gut feeling,) it is ready to layer and finish.

I am certain I will make more of these.  It is lots of fun to sit and do the hand stitching when chatting with friends or watching television. ( granted, I don't watch much television  but I do watch some movies/DVDs or Netflix.)   It is a nice meditative process.  Plus it gives a great sense of accomplishment.
(okay okay, so I went crazy and ordered lots of threads to do it with and now I have to use them. LOL)

Do you enjoy doing hand work?  I do, but sometimes I want a fast finish.  This is not a project that has a fast finish.  I just enjoy it for what it is.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

BQA-Block 2

BQA-Block2 by GeneBlack
BQA-Block2, a photo by GeneBlack on Flickr.
I am doing the Beginners Quilt along (it is not just for beginners, so feel free to join us.) This is the second block. Like the first it is a nine patch. However, this time each of the nine patches is a patch made from two strips. It is pretty easy.

I tried something new (to me) and daring on this one. I didn't press the rows prior to sewing them. I did press the 90 subsections though.
I found it interesting that the corner points were easier for me to nest this way. The one downfall I see is that a couple of my seams "twist" because of it. I am sure I can conquer that with a bit of practice and paying attention. I am really happy with the points though. I have "pressed, nested and pinned" with less perfect results.
I should tell you that I saw a video of someone (sorry but I forgot who it was) that confessed to not pressing. Her reasoning - "our grandmothers didn't run to press each section, they just kept sewing."  It sounded good to me. Ha ha.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sailboat Finish and Backing

The Smooth Sailing quilt is now finished.  Thursday night I made the label and sewed in on the back.  I love this little quilt.  I am sure the one who commissioned it as well as the mother of the baby will love it.
Here is the front:
I did a simple wavy quilting on it to be reminiscent of ocean waves.
Here is the back.

I used the "bonus" half square triangles that I got while making the front squares as part of the backing Some of them are pieced triangles because the square was pieced before I added the corners.  So the blue/gray HSTs don't look like simple HSTs.  I also got a stack (10" squares) of the whole line of fabrics when I ordered the focus fabric.  I chose the ones I liked best for this quilt and used them in the backing also. I love a pieced backing -I just think it is fun.
I took ideas from my gentle readers and made the label on my embroidery machine.  I have blurred part of it, but here is the close up.

 I think it will enlarge when you click on it.  I will say that I know it is on crooked.  So what?  It adds a bit of whimsy....that is what I am saying anyway.  I sewed it on by hand and I don't want to do it over. Okay? hehehee
Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I am doing the beginner's quilt along (see the button on the left sidebar.)  The first block has been posted for a bit, but I finally got it made.   The first block is called hopscotch; but you may know it as a good old nine patch.

I have already learned something in this quilt along.  You see, I normally iron all the seams on a row one direction. Then the next row I reverse directions so that the seams nest.  But the directions for this said to iron the top and bottom rows outward from the center and the middle row both seams in toward the center.  It worked great. The seams still nested.  But the bonus is that when I tried to sew the bottom row to the top row, the seams didn't nest and I took a second look. It saved me from ripping out that seam.
Are you doing any quilt alongs?  Have you ever done a quilt along?  Did you like it?  Why or why not?

This will be a sampler quilt. For me that is a good thing.  I have made a sampler every year for the past 3 years. Each year the same lady has bought the sampler at my November sale.  So I need to have one ready.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sailing on

The darling little sail boat quilt  got quilted last night.  Tonight I have had too many other things going to get to work on the binding.  But here is the quilt all nicely quilted with wavy lines (think ocean)

Other than binding it, I do still need to make a label for it.  What information should I put on the label?  I guess you should know that this is a commission quilt,  but I was told "do it, I trust  you" (or something like that. )   Plus I sort of know the mom-to-be whose little boy this will be for.
So what should I put on the label?  I know I am putting his first name.  Other than that I am open for suggestions.  Also how do you make your quilt labels?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Accomplished on Saturday

Sometimes Saturday is really productive.  While this was not my most productive Saturday, I managed a couple of accomplishments.
I finished the backing for the Sailing Smoothly quilt AND see that blue "thing" beside it?
I have the binding cut and joined and on a roll ready to bind the quilt when I get it finished.

Then, while relaxing in the evening I did more hand stitching on the art piece.  It is pretty well finished as far as stitching goes. Now it needs a backing and an edge finish.  Not sure what I will do for that.  It may require a shopping trip to get some "rat tail" cord that is large enough to make the finish like Carol Waugh showed on The Quilt Show.  No pictures just yet, but you haven't seen the last of that one!

Color me happy.
How was your Saturday?

I always enjoy getting your comments. I can see that I am having lots more visitors than comments. Let me know you were here  ((grin))

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Got it Covered

When I started on the art piece, I was using a different hand dyed fabric.  But I made a big GOOF!  I forgot to add the fusible interfacing to the back of it.  I noticed that it seemed to be puckering but I plowed on.
When I got the basic machine work done on it, I took it to the ironing board and ironed it. OOPS!  Those puckers made for some wrinkles that would not go away.
So I started over.

I kept thinking I needed to try to rescue that yummy fabric and pretty stitching.  (((IDEA!)))  I needed a nice cover for my Kindle.  So I cut a piece and started my usual "just wing it" thing.
Here is how it came out:



Not perfect - not nearly, but it is pretty and it makes me happy. I will probably try to perfect my pattern and make a few more.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Update on the Handwork/Art Piece

I thought I would show you the progress I have made. I also thought I would show you a bit more of the piece.  This is pretty much the entire thing.

Tuesday evening, I decided to add more machine couched threads and more decorative machine stitches.  In doing so, I broke up some of the larger areas. Those were the places I kept looking at thinking "I will never fill in all these places."  Now it looks quite manageable.
There are a couple of places where I am considering taking out some of my stitches and adding something else there.  (yes I am seriously thinking about pulling out those hand stitches!)
Only time will tell.

I must mention that this piece looks very much like a landscape to me.  It has the essence of one of my paintings.  So, changing the medium doesn't necessarily change the artistic outcome. It merely gives it a new form of expression.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Sailing Along Smoothly

The hand work has been temporarily abandoned.  Why?  So that I can work on a sweet little quilt for a soon to be born baby boy.   The Mommy is decorating the nursery in sail boats with the main colors being red white and blue.  When I was told this, I went looking for fabric   I found a fun line at Connecting Threads.  It is called "Smooth Sailing"    I ordered the Mariner's Star design in Silver Lining.
I got some red, blue and gray at the local quilt shop.  I also ordered the 10" square sampler.  I will use some of it in the pieced backing.
I designed a quilt top in Electric Quilt 7.  I also designed my own sailboat block (after looking at several online.)
Here is one of my early drafts:

Of course as I started working on it, I changed a few things.  So here is the finished top.

It is raining here today so I had to do an indoor picture.  It isn't the greatest picture, but you get the idea.
I love the way this came out.  I just have to say Thank you!  to Connecting Threads and to Electric Quilt for such wonderful products.

There is a cool giveaway featuring some Connecting Threads fabric at Hilachas' blog

Saturday, June 02, 2012


In my last post I asked "What defines art?" and "Is it art?"   Some of my sweet readers said it looks like art to them.  I have continued to work on my "art piece" with lots of hand work.  (which is very time consuming.  And it makes my right index finger hurt as that it the one doing most of the work.)
 Here is another sneak peek:
Someone asked  if I am using variegated thread. The answer is "Some of the thread if variegated."  I am using some that is commercial such as the Aurifil wool and a mystery perle cotton variegated.  But there is some in there that is hand dyed.  I got that from Laura Wasilowski at her Artfabrik store.  I love the shine on the #5 cotton. (click the picture to expand it.) The center section with the scattered seed stitch is #5 cotton from Artfabrik.   In the previous post, the top picture  shows more of the  #5 cotton. That stitch is one Laura calls "wheat ears" - I call it a star stitch.  Either way the thread shines in vivid colors.  I like it so much I just ordered a couple more thread choices from Laura. One is another #5 in the Renaissance colorway.  I can hardly wait to get it.