I found out a couple of weeks ago that Sydney missed the part of language arts classes where they taught her to sound out words. She has a huge vocabulary and uses words appropriately. But, she couldn't take the letters on a page and turn them into a word. I found that out when her teacher this year had us track not only how long she read each day, but how many pages she covered. I found that she could read almost a hundred pages in a half hour. Uh-oh, something's wrong there. She's not a speed reader. Turns out she couldn't answer questions about what she'd read. So, I tried reading the same book as her. I'd read it and then she'd read it and she had to summarize what she'd read to pick out what was important. Couldn't do that either. So, now she reads aloud to me while I sew, or knit, or cook. I'm teaching her to sound out the words and the big reward was the other night when we finished the first book, which she said she'd read in 4th grade, and said it was a really good book this time. And, I have to agree. Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech was a good book. It's about twin orphans that get adopted by a really nice couple, so it was particularly applicable to our family...except the couple in the book were much nicer than Rob and I. We started our next book last night and it's set in Africa and has lots of names of people and things that are native to the region. And, with little prompting, she was able to sound out those words, too. So, now, I have my own little book on tape that I can listen to while I work. I just have to get through the complaining about having to read every night. :-(
All I worked on was putting together the strip sets for my 25 patch blocks for my irish chain. I really enjoy the leader/ender idea. It's like making two quilts at the same time, only one of them goes really slowly. I guess I could have tried doing it while I was paper piecing that Indian Orange Peel, but that seemed to get in the way more than it accomplished. Speaking of the Orange Peel, my mentor and I are getting together in a couple of weeks to work on the layout, so I'll be able to get moving on that one again. I really need to finish this apple theme quilt before then because I know I'm not going to want to stop assembling all those curved seams long enough to finish it later. And, I can't afford to stop, because that usually leads to a UFO and I don't want to be rushed to finish it so that I can enter it in shows in late winter. Plus, if it sits too long, I'll get out or practice quilting apples and leaves and blossoms. There's lots to say about quilting the same shape over and over and over. You get really good at it and I don't want to have to start the learning curve over again.
Okay, that's enough of me rattling on. Hope you guys are all having a great week. Take care and we'll see ya' round the net. Lane
But, I took two days off last week and I had the weekend, and I quilted Thursday from the time Sydney left for school until bedtime. I quilted all day Friday again, but after dinner, I decided I needed to spend some family time, so went to the living room with my seam ripper and pulled out a few mistakes. Got up Saturday, and quilted another 3 hours. Then, we went on our road trip. When we got back, I had to spend a couple of hours cleaning up the sewing room so I'd have some moving around space. I had made a real mess drawing motifs and copying them and tracing. There were pieces of freezer and parchment paper everywhere, and stuff I'd traced from and stuff I'd traced onto. When I was done, I just couldn't put that quilt into the machine again, so I decided to do some piecing. I pulled out the featherweight and made a couple of blocks I was behind on the Block Central BOM for this year and there were a half dozen HST blocks and 25- 9 patches that are going to finish at an inch and a half...yes, that's 9 half inch squares in an inch and a half block. Boy, that was fun...or something near fun (there is heavy sarcasm here. I don't usually do miniatures). And, last night, I made a house block for the Forever Green BOM. And I just couldn't work on any more blocks with tiny pieces, so I decided to pull out my leader/ender triple irish chain that got so far off track earlier this year. There was a good bit of seam ripping for that, and some cutting new pieces to substitute for what I previously considered to be light squares, but I'm back in business on that one and it can go back to being a leader/ender again.
I'm taking a couple days off from quilting now, and hope to get back to that apple themed quilt later this week. It's turning out terrific with just some filler and the borders left to go. I drew a basket of apples and flowers and leaves that I'm quilting into the large triangles. The one I did the other day took two hours to quilt and another hour to pull out all the parchment paper. I know what I'm quilting into the narrow inner border, but only have a vague plan for the wider outer border. But, if my brain keeps working like it has so far, I'll have a full fledged plan by the time I need it.
My machines have definitely had a workout. I'd like to oil them tonight and let them sit for a couple of days. And, let me sit for a couple of days to recover from my little quilting vacation. Ain't it always the way? You need to rest up after "resting up". See ya'. Lane
This is from a scenic outlook in Longhorn Cavern State Park. No, Texas is not all desert. This is out in the hill country west of town.
And, this is lake Lyndon B. Johnson, which is part of the Highland Lakes chain that was created by building dams and flooding valleys. It stopped the central Texas flooding problem and gave us some fantastic lakes and while most of them are very low or dry right now, this one still looks full.
So, where do apples come from has all kinds of meanings for me today. First, it's fall and fall always makes me think of apples and apple pies and cinnamon-ey smells, but how did I start out quilting leaves and flowers and end up looking for a child's drawing of an apple to use as a quilting motif? Well, the focus fabric in the quilt I'm quilting has apple blossoms and leaves in it. I decided to follow that theme in the quilting. And, after quilting about 100 blossoms and 400 leaves (okay, probably not really, but I've gotta be getting close) I need something else for my mind to focus on and to add some variety to this quilt. I searched my books, and searched the internet, and started following some blogs about FMQ and even bought a new book full of motifs. I thought of apples while I was laying in bed last night. They'd fill the bill just perfectly in those squares I couldn't think what to put in. And, they'd give me a great focus for the flower arrangements I'm going to quilt in the open triangles near the edge, and they'd give some variety to the flowers and leaves I was planning for the border.
Okay, so I get apples on the brain and I start to realize that not only is the focus fabric made up of apple blossoms, but the colors of the quilt are red, green, gold and brown. If you think of dried up apples as being a really dark brown, then those are the colors of apples. So, I have even more reinforcement for adding apples to the quilt.
But my mind doesn't stop there. One of the apples I quilt in should have a big bite taken out of the side of it. Just one. All the others should be whole. Okay, so that might just be funny to me and others might not find it too whimsical, but unfortunately, at least for the day, the idea is stuck there.
Then, I went one step further. If the quilt is quilted with leaves and apple blossoms and apples, then the name should be about apples, too. So, "Where do Apples Come From?" came to mind.
And, all that from just a tiny bit of focus fabric. I thought I would have a better picture of it saved somewhere, but I don't, so you'll have to pull out your glasses to see where all this started.
I'm probably a third done with the quilting. And, in my usual style, I'm still making it up as I go. It's impossible for me to fully plan a project like this, although I did give it a real try, printing pictures and drawing out what I had planned. Of course, all those plans were for an asian themed quilting plan, and you can tell that didn't happen. We'll have to see if I'm still thinking apples tomorrow...or maybe I'll end up quilting in zucchini and change the name again. ;-)
Take care and have a great Monday! Lane
Okay, back to the topic at hand. This was my first wallhanging and my first kit quilt. I made it for Rob's birthday in 2006. The kit was called Hip to be Square and it came from Keepsake quilting. It's all batiks and in the original design, there were all these 6" log cabin blocks that had just one round around the center block, alternating with 6" plain squares. While it was in the design phase, we decided not to use the plain squares and make the log cabin blocks for the whole quilt. It made it very busy, but we love it. I especially love the colors, the purples and the greens, with just a bit of pink, gray and black. It's quilted just in the ditch and in all the years that it has hung in the living room, I've never gotten around to adding the label. But, I know exactly where the label is. Just never got it sewn down.
And, finally, I want to plug someone else's blog. Leah is doing some fabulous things with free motion filler quilting. This is exactly the kind of quilting I want to do. She's set herself the challenge of coming up with a new free motion filler pattern every day for a year. That's really ambitious and I'm in awe of the 35 she's come up with so far. She provides a video to go along with the pattern and instructions. I'm planning on using at least two of these in the quilt I'm quilting right now. If you love to look at beautiful quilting as much as I do, check out her blog. I'm certainly going to keep an eye on her. http://freemotionquilting.blogspot.com
Y'all have a great Friday and enjoy the weekend. We'll see ya' round blogland! Lane
If you've followed my blog, then you know I fell in love with a treadle machine on our last antiquing trip. Last Saturday, Rob took me back to get it. And, despite the really bad weather, we encased it in plastic and gorilla tape and brought it home. The rain even held off long enough for us to stop at the Hill Country Cupboard Cafe and eat the most delicious and bad for us meal ever. They boast the best chicken fried steaks in Texas. Rob had the steak, Sydney had the chicken fried chicken breast and I had the chicken fried pork chops...Yummmy! And, for dinner, we had cholesterol pills (just kidding). But, I digress.
It took me all afternoon on Saturday and a lot of internet research to get her working smoothly. Everything had to be cleaned and oiled. When I got there to get her, I saw that the gold decals were not in the great shape that I remembered them being, but since I wasn't buying the machine as a display piece, but rather to sew on, that didn't matter so much to me. While I was there, I changed the needle and threaded it and tried to make a stitch, which didn't work, and I used that to bargain on the price. I got it for $112.50, which is a great price for the cabinet. But, when I did research at home, I found that with less than perfect decals, the machine head has no real value. What a shame. That means most of these are probably ending up in the landfill, even though it makes beautiful and even stitches, as well as my more modern electric machines do.
The reason I couldn't make a stitch is that it has a bobbin shuttle instead of a regular spool bobbin and I didn't know how to thread it. As the needle goes up and down, the bobbin shuttle swings back and forth, locking the needle thread with the bobbin thread. Once I searched out the model number from the serial number and bought and downloaded an owners manual from the internet, I was able to get it to sew quite well. The treadle action is going to take a lot of getting used to, but I made a block on it Saturday night and it worked really well. The only problem I had is that there are no marks for a quarter inch seam allowance, so I was using a magnetic seam guide that I'd never used before and that also took some getting used to.
So, here are pictures of my 1925 Singer model 127 treadle sewing machine. (sorry about all the clutter around the machine. This is my sewing room and there's not nearly enough room for all my machines and quilting paraphernalia.)
Jeez, there is just too much going on, and I can't keep up with it. Work has ratcheted up to the point where I don't know whether I'm coming or going. And, I have a new co-worker who is the most pushy, passive-aggressive pain in the butt that I've ever worked with. She's also the first person I've ever worked with that I just don't mind being rude to at all. Normally, if I was rude to someone, I wouldn't rest until I'd apologized and tried to make it all better. But with her, I kinda don't mind if she hates me. Maybe it'll keep her off my back for a little while. Not that I've been really rude to her...yet.
Thank goodness Sydney is in a "good" phase. Since school started, we've had a couple of rounds of showing her that the more effort she puts into something, the less time she has to spend on it. Although, she is pushing me about dressing up for her school photos this year. Don't know why she's developed this thing about wearing T-shirts, but I really want her in something nicer than that for her school pic.
And, my quilting is going well. I finally have all the stitches out that I wanted to remove and am now started putting them back in, in the right colors. If my family will let me, I'm going to lock myself in the sewing room tonight and quilt until my hands get numb... I really need that relaxation right now. You know what I mean. That mind numbing sound of the needle going up and down, thinking of nothing more complex than staying on the lines. Ahhh. Sounds better than chocolate to me right now. But, maybe chocolate will get me through for the day.
Take care and have a great Wednesday! Lane
It all started with the very center of the quilt, which is red. I used a gold thread to quilt on that and there was a lot of contrast and the quilting really showed up. Then, the next round was a pale green fabric and I used the gold thread on that, too, but the quilting disappeared because there was no contrast. And, further out, there was brown fabric and I used the gold thread there, so I was back to the contrast. My solution was to pull out the quilting on the green fabric and try using a brown thread. That gave me the contrast on all the fabrics and made the quilting really show up. And, it made every mistake show up as well...not just show up, but stand up and do a can-can dance. But, I persevered and finished the 24 inch square center and moved out into the gold sashing, where I used brown thread to keep the contrast going. And, I was not liking it. And, I was not sure what to do about it.
And, then, dear Rob came in and was brave enough to tell me what he thought about it. Now, it's one thing to think I'm making a mistake. I can second guess myself, and say that I'm just being too picky. But it's quite another to have someone else confirm what I'm thinking.
So, out came the seam ripper and I spent all day Saturday pulling out all that intricate quilting that I'd put in. I filled a trash can with thread (and covered the floor with it, too). I had put in 32 2"x4" leaves including veins and I pulled them all. I even redrafted the pattern and made all new parchment paper templates so I could include some echo quilting. After a trip to JoAnn's for red thread to match the center and gold thread to match the sashing, I'm started again. I got all the center re-quilted yesterday and started pulling the quilting out of the sashing last night. I was hoping I could leave the brown thread in the sashing, just because it was a very intricate pattern of flowers and leaves and I was not happy about the time it is taking to rip it out, but after I saw how wonderful the center looks with matching thread, it had to go, too.
I don't know if I've posted a picture of this quilt on this blogsite. I made it in the first class I ever took, which was early this year. Now, I've been quilting for 10 years, but I had never taken a formal class. So, I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave it a try. I like the quilt so much, I decided to enter it in a couple of shows next spring. But that means quilting it. My mentor had some ideas, but I just wasn't getting the same feeling that she did from it, so it sat around for several months until I got the courage to try something of my own. You can't see it, but the lighter fabric in the corner circles is apple blossoms and leaves. I'm recreating those as the theme for the quilting motif. Now that I have the theme and the right supplies and have changed to a machine that will allow me to use a different color thread on the front and back, I think I'm finally on a roll.
Y'all take care and have a great Monday. I'll see ya round blogland! Lane
Today I'm posting the first set of vintage dishes I ever bought. Now, seems like everything vintage that I post has some family theme and this one is no different. My Mom has a set of these dishes that she's collected since I was a kid. I can remember going into the Palace, a very upscale department store back home, and buying her pieces for special occasions. So, when I found I set that was severely underpriced, I bought them on the pretense that I'd send them to her to add to her set. But, instead, they became the start of my collection.
The pattern name is appropriately "Apples" by Fransciscan. All but two of my pieces were made in California. In the 80's, I think, a company in England bought out the brand and started producing them overseas. The English dishes lack the clarity of the CA ones. The lines are blurry where the CA lines are very clear and clearly hand painted. I have pieces dating back into the 20's and there are only a couple more pieces I'd like to collect, but they are so outrageously expensive that I'll need to win the lottery to get them. I've watched the prices go up over time, but my starter set was place setting for 8 and a small hostess set of serving pieces for $100. In the 90's, that seemed like a lot of money, but even then, I knew it was a great price. I bought a lot of things over time from the same vendor at the Austin City wide garage sale. He didn't spend enough time studying the value of his items and consequently, I knew I'd always get a bargain. So, now I have the original service and all these serving pieces. We only use them on special occassions and luckily, I've never broken a piece.
Saturday, to celebrate the holiday, we went antiquing and I found a hundred year old Singer treadle that's a STEAL in a shop in a small town near here. It is a beauty with all the original gold decaling (and it is covered with it) I tried to buy it, but Rob and Sydney both mutinied and basically dragged me out of the chair I was sitting on and told me I didn't have a place for it. I know I don't have a place for it, but that doesn't mean I don't WANT it...real bad. Did I tell you it's a beauty and a STEAL? I told both of them that if they didn't leave me alone I was going to find a place for it...on their side of the bed, but they were unyielding, even when I pretended to be upset and sulk. For an hour, everything they said to me, I replied with "you don't have room for it". Didn't matter what they said, from food to scenery. you don't have room for it.
Sunday, Rob relented after I showed him exactly where I would have put it and offered to take me back, but the store isn't open on Sunday (small towns, humph). Maybe I can talk him into taking me back this Saturday. I've got my fingers crossed. Yall cross yours too. It won't fit in the car or I wouldn't need him. Rats!
I know I don't have room for it. But, I want it. And, what am I going to sew on after the downfall of society when there's no electricity anymore? Answer me that! See how I went from want it to need it??
Y'all take care and have a great evening. We're all fighting allergies...ragweed, mold, dust, oh my! Lane
I challenged myself to include as many fabrics as I could, so each of the colored fabrics in the 2 inch squares or the half square triangles could only be used in one square and one triangle. It couldn't be repeated anywhere else in the quilt. The lighter halves of the hsq's do repeat tho. My mentor and I together didn't have enough neutrals to avoid repeating there. And, within the larger blocks, no fabric is repeated across blocks except the greens used in the trees. I repeated them so I'd have consistency in the trees. And, there isn't one cmas themed fabric in the whole thing.
This was a very fun quilt to piece and I learned so much about machine applique! I used freezer paper on the back, stitched it down with a narrow, monofilament blind hem stitch and when the backing fabric and paper were cut and peeled away, I went over the edges with a machine blanket stitch in a 40/3 black cotton thread. I did have to fusible web all the stars. I wasn't satisfied with my ability to get the edges to fold over the paper, so I gave up and fused them and blanket stitched.
Around my house, the hardest part is deciding what to post because there's so much to choose from. Today, I selected a lamp that my father made in high school. It's made from a hollow "cypress knee". A cypress knee is a section of root that a cypress tree sends up out of the ground to expose part of the root to air. Cypress trees mostly grow in swampy areas and there is no air in the soil, so they stick roots out of the ground. They're beautiful along the waters edge, just one knee next to another, lined up like soldiers. But, if you have a Cypress tree in your yard, they're heck on lawnmower blades.
Anyway, he hollowed it out and ran an electrical cord to a lamp fixture at the top. The only thing I've replaced is the cord and plug. (The old plug finally blew and left a bad scorch mark on the wall. Yikes!)
It sat on a table next to my grandmother's chair during all my childhood memories. The shade it had there was a plastic barrel with a mountain and water scene on it that was really beautiful when the light was on. I can remember turning it on, just to stare at the beautiful scene depicted on it. After her passing, it came to me without the shade and I found the green shade on another lamp where it looked terrible and, with a little switching around, it landed here where it fits perfectly. It is a heavy vellum shade with leather lacings holding it to the metal frame and is very old but not fragile at all. It was made to last a long time.
Behind it is a corner of my first wall hanging quilt, Hip to be Square, which was made for Rob's birthday in 2006. It is also the first kit quilt I ever made. Maybe I'll post a full picture of it another day.
Have a wonderful Thursday! I'm still working too hard, but I'm also stealing time now and then to work on the cmas quilt. I've got one miter left and hope to post a pic of it tomorrow. See ya'. Lane
Last night we went to "Back to School" nite for the parents. We went to each of Sydney's classes and met all her teachers. And, every teacher had nice things to say about Sydney (and only a one seemed thrown by the fact that she was there with two fathers). Apparently she is very participative in class. She regularly gets extra credit in World Cultures because she keeps up with the news. Her art and choir teachers were very happy to see her. And, her math and language arts (english) teachers certainly had nice things to say about how attentive she is in class.
But, the best part was all the kids she talked to in the hall! They were everywhere and she knew them by name, and they seemed excited to see her. And, all the kids walked in front of the parents with their heads together, undoubtedly comparing notes on how dull their parents are. In fact, at one point, we had to pull her away so we could get to the next class. It was a wonderful thing to see.
And, even though she earned two home demerits yesterday, we had a wonderful evening with her, in her element, where she was in charge and got to lead us around as if she were a tour guide, pointing out the features of the school and introducing us to her teachers.
And, she has friends!
Y'all have a great Wednesday and we'll see ya' round the net. Lane
But, when you consider all the effort we put into piecing a quilt, who wants to have a bunch of little imperfections that will haunt us every time we look at the work. So, we pull out our square up rulers and we square and square and square. But, what I wanna know is how I got off square in the first place??????
I squared every block of that cmas quilt before I assembled it. And, I still had to ease blocks in where I was off by as much as a quarter inch to get them all to fit together. At one point, I thought I was going to have to add strips to get it all to meet up, then I found out there were match points and if I added an extra strip, I would throw off where those match points were supposed to meet. Then, after all the blocks were in rows, I squared it up again. And, when I joined the rows, I squared again. (It's a wonder quilts come out bigger than postage stamps after all that trimming) And, I added the first border, with it's perfectly mitered corners (okay, so maybe trying to match and miter a striped fabric was not the wisest choice I ever made, but it looks TERRIFIC!)
Now, I know I cut every one of those border strips the same width and I know I sewed every one on straight, using my precise quarter inch foot. I expected to have to square the corners after my mitering, just to keep them "perfect", but how did some of my borders come out 2 1/4 and some of them come out 2 1/8? How could I have been off there? So, I pulled the cutting board to the floor and squared up the whole thing to 2 1/8...hey, I ain't pulling out those miters to fix a seam allowance, believe you me! And, I managed to get one side of the outer border sewn on before I ran out of time. Just three more sides and I can post a picture.
And then, I'm going to start some free motion quilting on another UFO so I can get my safety pins out of it. And, maybe I'll get this cmas quilt finished before the holiday (I didn't say which year). But, just in case, I told Rob we may be hanging just the top this year. Who needs more pressure around the holidays anyway?
Man, it's just so groovy to be square.
If only they'd had the internet, they'd have realized that square was going to be cool again. See ya'. Lane