Lemons and Roses
That's not right. It's just not.
It's cold enough that Sydney even asked for a ride to school again. She was side seat driving, so instead of dropping her off near the street, I took her right to the door, threatening to kiss her on the cheek all the way. I love laughing with her.
Anyway, I went out to feed the birds just before we left. I was all bundled up and toasty warm. After I fed the birds, I checked on the plants in the greenhouse. I did a really good job of placing the lemon trees between the shed and the house so that the heat coming off the house would keep temps around the trees above freezing. After it was done, I decided to move just one more plant. I moved a rose that is in a pot. But, it's too near the end and I have to kind of bend backward to get between the shed and the thorns.
And, this morning, I cut it too close and got caught on a piece of flashing and tore a hole in the front of the green coat I made.
Can someone pass the tissues?
I didn't really get a chance to look at it. We needed to leave. So, I took it off and tossed it across the chair in the sewing room. I'll have to make a small patch for it. I'll have to because that coat was too much work for me to only get to wear it twice.
I was real proud of myself tho. I just dealt with it and walked away. There's plenty of time to figure out what it's going to take to repair.
Everybody have a good Tuesday. So far, it's been a day of joy and disappointment.
Finish and start
And, repeat, right?
I got a good finish this weekend.
I had barely cut the last binding thread when Rob was hanging it on the wall.
This is a bad picture, but it shows the quilting. Outlining around the stars and that lattice in the border.
I also started a new quilt. This is the beginning of the Whisker Burn quilt from Twosey-Foursey Quilts.
These are anvil blocks and they’re pretty easy, but you’ll have to make two at the same time to chain piece, or you’ll have to cut threads. You need the pieces of the second block to serve as leaders and enders for the first block.
It’s a pretty simple block and they go pretty fast, but not lightening fast like I thought they would. I need 10 with a light “anvil” in the center, and 10 with a dark. Then, I can chain piece the 96 hst blocks for the next border. Yay, me.
Anyway, this one will go to Canada for the holidays. My first international quilt.
The one in the book has lots of pink. Mine will have lots of blue. Their colors are more controlled and mine is more scrappy. Yay, big bin of uncut scraps that are greater than 4 inches wide.
And, it’s cold down here. Real cold. Not Minnesota cold, but really cold for us. Today, the high will be in the 30’s. Syd asked for a ride to school…it’s cold enough that she’d rather be seen with me…that’s cold. Not a problem. I took my new coat out for a test drive on Saturday night. It worked perfectly. I intend to wear it today. Yay, warm coat.
Anyway, when it’s cold, my mind goes to hand quilting, with a quilt spread across my lap.
Remember this one? I put it away over the summer and now, it’s back out. Hexies make a great summer project and this makes a great winter one. Nearly done with the second block. 14 more to go. This quilt is all hand sewn. All the piecing and applique and sewing into rows and adding borders and sashings. All by hand. What a nut I am. But, it’s the only one I’ll ever do that way and I want to do every kind of quilting…not just one.
Be well. Have a great Monday.
Baby it’s cold outside.
I’ve used a lot of things to mark quilt; dishes, tape, pens and pencils. Now, I’m using post it notes.
They have a sticky side…well new ones do. I’ve about worn this pair out. I marked registration lines on them that I can line up with the seamlines of the blocks and they stick just enough and are just stiff enough to be eaisly movable.
It sure beats marking all those lines with a pencil. Sew the line, move the post it, sew another line, move the post it. You can see from the picture that its’ working out pretty good, too.
It’s cold here. It is as warm right now as it’s going to be all day. And, it’s drippy rain. It would have been a great day to stay home and quilt. But, I’m taking time off for the holiday next week, so I need to knock some stuff out in the next three days.
Everybody have a great Friday. Stay warm. Stay dry. Be well.
Rob has asked me to make a quilt for a couple that will be in Austin at Christmas. I handed him a book and said I can make anything in there between now and Christmas. The book was Twosey-Foursey Quilts by Cathy Wierzbicki; my new favorite book for picking Linus patterns. They’re all easy and they’re all made from either 2 1/2” strips or 4 1/2” strips. While I don’t remember him actually saying he had picked one, this is the page he left the book open on.
I take that as a hint.
This is an easy quilt to make, but it depends a lot on the fabrics chosen. And, it takes strips in both widths. I could raid my scrap users strips and look for fabrics I had both widths in…or I could go fishing in stash. But, fishing in stash means picking a focus fabric first. Raiding the scraps means picking a focus fabric to tie it all together, at the end.
I’m sure I’ll end up doing a combination of them both. And, I’ll likely pick a focus fabric early, and then change it at the end. That’s a good compromise of processes, right? It sure reflects who I am.
And, how about that tape marking?
It isn’t perfect. I think with practice, I could do better at positioning the tape. But, for the ease of it, compared to actually marking all those lines on a busy fabric, it cannot be beat!
I feel like I don’t talk about the kid when she’s doing all right. I try to. But, there’s really only so many ways to say that my teenager has gotten so normal it’s not even scary to be a parent anymore. We’re all used to the same routine. Do these few things and all goes well. Don’t do any one of them, and life goes to crap. Her life that is. Rob and I just sail along, looking at one another and smiling while she rails about how unfair it is that she has to do dishes on a day when she also had homework. Yeah, yeah, and I walked to school in snow hip deep, uphill both ways. That worked until she realized I grew up in Louisiana.
You learn what not to listen to.
If I only listen to the stuff I want to hear, then life is really, really cool right now. If I ignore the stuff I don’t want to hear, life is really, really cool right now.
Combine that with the fact that Rob and I are doing the right proportions of fussing and fighting and kissing and hugging and I guess I’m just a little bit afraid to talk about how happy I am for fear I’ll put some kind of a jinx on it.
So, keep it to yourselves. And, remember. It’s early. We’re just half way between Halloween and Thanksgiving. A lot could happen before the big holidays even begin.
And, keep your fingers crossed. That girl might make something of herself after all.
Marking with tape
This morning, I started working in the busy border of this little star wall hanging.
Last week, I talked about regretting busy quilting on a busy background. So, I picked a lattice pattern, with double lines about a quarter inch apart, and I used a 1” wide roll of tape as my guide.
I’m stitching up the side of one piece of tape and down the side of a parallel piece of tape. I knot both ends and don’t sew through the tape. Been there, done that. I’ll do all the rows in one direction and then come back in the other for the crosshatching efffect.
It seems to be working out pretty good. I’m getting very straight and even lines. It makes it real easy to make the repeat fit the space. I started taping at both ends and worked toward the middle. I adjusted to take up the little bit of extra space by easing tiny bits of it along the whole border length. There was a lot of pulling and re-applying tape. This tape got too hot and exposed to weather, so it’s not very sticky. Not sure if new tape would be this easy to pull and reapply or not. It might leave a residue. But, this roll is working perfectly and still sticks to the fabric more than once, making repositioning a breeze.
I sound like a commercial for leaving your tape out in the sunshine.
In January, I’m taking a thread painting class and the supply list has lots of things on it that I don’t have. One was basting spray. I’d never bought that before and found it to be very expensive…but I didn’t take time to shop around because I had a JoAnn’s 60% off coupon, so there might be better bargains out there. I also needed an eight inch embroidery hoop that would fit under the foot of my machine without having to take the foot off. There’s lots of different colored thread on the supply list, so I guess we’ll be removing and replacing our work a lot. Anyway, standard (and cheap) embroidery hoops are too thick. The tension hoops only go up to 7”. Sewing machine hoops are way expensive. I found a listing on ebay that said it would fit under the foot, and I took a chance. It came in yesterday.
It is slightly wider than a quarter inch and slides under the foot perfectly! Even if there is a quilt sandwich in it, it should slide under. I have no preconceptions of what to expect from this class. All I know is I don’t know how to thread paint and I’d like to. And, I don’t want to spend a fortune on a hoop because I might not like it.
So, now, it’s just digging through the stash for thread. I’ve started a collection basket to drop stuff into as I find it.
Hope you are well. What wild news. My thoughts are with you, Illinois!
Always so busy
This weekend was the cap of a period of time when I’ve been particularly looking inward. Lots of change, and lots of looking at new opportunities, and lots of deciding how I wanted the future to be shaped. A new boss is like a fresh start in a lot of ways.
This weekend, I started to feel like it’s time to look outward, toward friends, which is a really good thing, seeing as the holidays are looming like clouds on the horizon.
Anyway, I spent a lot of the weekend cleaning. And, cleaning always indicates change. I don’t know why, I’m just aware that it is.
I also pieced this, and this morning, got all the rows put together.
I really like how that came out. Such a simple pattern. I may be about to make another, more conservative one, out of prints. It went together so fast. Just a few hours and now I just need to join the rows together.
I spent a bit of time yesterday in the yard. I’m nearing the end of this year’s garden expansion project. The last of the plants have been moved and are recovering well and this weekend, I focused on re-setting the stepping stones.
They meander through the garden, right at the soil surface so if I miss one, I don’t fall.
They have to be re-set every year or two because they’ll settle down into the dirt.
I have to have them so I can really get into the garden and walk around. This year, I picked up a couple of packs of ajuga, a purple and dark green, low growing plant that I’ve been cultivating, and remember from childhood, and now I want to put some between each stone.
And, that’s a trip through my winter garden. Because all the movement has been slow, it hasn’t left the garden looking too bad this year and next year should be phenomenal. We had two nights last week near freezing and yesterday, it was 90*. Holy Moly! I’ve moved the most tender plants near the potting shed, but not set up the greenhouse yet. We bought a dolly this weekend to make it easier to move my trees that spend different seasons on different sides of the yard. I’m ready, but it can hold off freezing for a while longer and I’ll be just as happy. Everything is so lush and gold tinged.
See any similarity between the colors in my garden and the colors in the quilt picture? It’s no coincidence, even though there was no intention. My work reflects what’s going on.
This pattern has been buzzing around bee for a couple months. One member made a beautiful blue one and another had a bali pack and wants to make a red one. I’ve been listening to them talk, so I don’t need a pattern, and when I stumbled up on the jelly roll and fat quarter pack on clearance in JoAnn’s last week, I couldn’t help myself.
I ended up not being very impressed with the fabrics, which are mostly batik prints, not actual batiks. And, some of them are really thin and one has a dying error…or I guess a print error.
Anyway, I cut all my fabrics late one night and only made one cutting mistake, and it didn’t include a finger, so that was a relief.
I want to use the leftover scraps to make partial blocks that I can then add to one end or the other of a row to throw off the regimentation that you see above’ that stacked brick effect. I think it will be a cute quilt and it’s not taking any time and it will work as a teen boy Linus quilt. I am abysmally behind in my commitment regarding Linus this year. I just hate it when I miss a commitment to myself. Those are the worst kind.
This morning, I was quilting on the star quilt and I realized that I can’t take that to bee tomorrow and try to do it there. It takes a ton of things, all coming together in the right way for me to be able to free motion quilt. It’s light and height and spread and mood and distraction and sometimes, the ability to swear out loud without being embarrassed. It’s the chair and the machine and the mood and I can’t transport that in the car.
So, I’ll pick a machine and piece. I’m thinking about taking the hand crank. That would be fun. A nice novelty and this is such simple piecing I should be able to do it one handed.
Guess I better try that before I decide.
Be well. Have a great Friday. I need to do so many things this weekend that I can’t even think about it without feeling tired and overwhelmed. I am way too young to feel this darn old.
Now you see it, now you don’t
I took out just a tiny bit of quilting on this patch this morning, around the black center patch, and I changed to a dark grey thread (practically black) and outlined it again, and then outlined the print of the fabric.
You can’t see it from the front, but it’s there.
It looks like squiggles from the back. But, then you run your finger over it from the front and it is just delicious. Just the way the batting packs into the outlining and makes the shapes puff up, even before it’s washed, is wonderful.
Okay, so remember me saying that I could put a binding on in my sleep? Well, I must have yesterday.
See that misplaced brown piece of fabric? That’s how much too much binding I had stitched to the quilt. Last night, I had to take the whole thing off and put it back on again, and as I did, I took that much extra out. Its about 3.5 inches. How did I even do that? I pinned it to the top and can only assume that because this wasn’t laying flat when I pinned the binding to it, I pinned in more than I really needed to match the curvature. Last night, trying to hand stitch it to the back, I could not get a square corner to form. Eventually I just pulled it off and tried again. We’ll know if I got it right tomorrow, I guess.
I really would like to get this one finished before bee on Saturday so I can take it in. After that, it’s going to my desk at work. I’m thinking of machine quilting another small quilt at bee this week. I’m a member of two bees that meet in the same home on consecutive Saturdays. The second bee is a smaller group, so I won’t feel bad about spreading out across the end of a table to set up machine quilting. There wouldn’t be room at the first bee.
But, I’ll take some piecing too, just in case we have a large crowd and I don’t get the space.
Be well. Have a great Thursday. Austin made national news for our early season cold temperatures. The girl is getting the chance to wear her coat. I saw her at the bus stop yesterday with it on backward, back to the front like a snuggie, arms through the sleeves, and hood tucked under her chin.
That is not how the pattern designer or the sewist meant for that garment to be worn.
Whatta’ ya’ gonna’ do?
The opposite effect
Yesterday, I complained because you couldn’t see my camel colored Coats and Clark 35 weight thread on a busy background.
Today, I’m complaining because you can. See it between the red and black fabrics? Yes, I picked a line where I didn’t go left or right and make a mistake that shows like a beacon in the night. And, in that light thread, that’s how I feel like they show. Anyway, I’ve picked a dark grey thread, very fine thread and am going to pull just that little bit out of the half dozen blocks I already put it in and replace it with the grey thread.
So, here’s where I’m going to really get freaky. Instead of laying a pattern over that black background floral, I’m going to FMQ around the print, which will transfer an outline of the print to the back and make the black background stand out on the front.
I’m going to try that on at least one block and see if I like it. If I do, you’ll get to see it. If I don’t, you’ll forget I teased you with it. Eventually.
I also put the binding on this little quilt.
Do you ever feel like you could put a binding on in your sleep? That’s what I felt like this morning. I was really watching TV, and then suddenly, it was done and ready for the hand work. I trimmed this quilt in advance, like Bonnie Hunter does, and then applied the binding. I do feel like I got a straighter line.
When I posted about that, a couple of people said they sew their bindings on with a quarter inch seam. I use 3/8. That way, a bit of batting gets folded into the binding, making the binding thick and full. Ever have a judge tell you your binding is loose? This will solve that. In order to fold it over and hand stitch to the back to hide the seam that attached the binding, you’ll have to fold over about an eighth of an inch of batting. There’s your binding tip of the day from my mentor to you.
This is the fabric Syd gave me as a focus for her next quilt.
Rosy pink, brown, and purple.
Just shoot me now.
I’ll be trolling for some yardage of this, so if anybody stumbles up on it on a bolt, please shout. This FQ came from a quilt show. Unknown store.
Be well. You know every quilter loves a good challenge. It’s always hunting season when you quilt.
I could have saved a lot of time
To all of you who think that you can make neutral thread show up on a busy neutral background, and that therefore, it is worth the effort to do something fancy…I hope you have better luck than I did.
I can only tell you that there is a gorgeous feather wreath quilted in that block. I can’t show you. But, if you were here, and if you got really close, and looked from an angle, you’d be able to see it.
Unfortunately, the effort that it required to do it shouldn’t need additional effort to see it. So, I’m thinking of calling this one “glass half full” because I’m kind of discouraged about it.
It’s plenty warm for a nice winter nap. And, it’s a lovely concept and quilt. It’s just I could have saved myself a lot of time by quilting something more simple. Or, maybe if I’d used a thicker batting.
Even the busy back hides the quilting. It’s a busy drapery weight chintz. Somewhere near the center of this photo, there’s a feather wreath.
Hopefully, one day, I’ll learn that busy quilts need simple quilting. If not, I’m going to leave a whole bunch of weird looking work when I pass on.
Who knows. That might be my claim to notoriety. “He never learned to quilt simple. He left us with weird work to study.”
Everybody have a great Tuesday. I’m looking at another quilt with a busy border that I was planning to put feathers in. Not now.
When we’re creative, we’re really creative
I also got one of the little civil war repros quilted and just need to pick a tomato red fabric to bind it with. If you click it, it should open to show off the feathers in the border.
I got started on this one early on Sunday with a scrap of batting and was finished before bed last nigh. Later in the day, we went to replenish the batting stock and the best deal turned out to be the 25 yard roll at half off.
You can see I’ve already cut my first chunk out of it for a holiday quilt I started last year.
I got started on this quilt second civil war repro quilt, which was also pin basted early from scrap.
Just two blocks in, and it’s going really slow. Free motion ditch work. Blech! The best part about free motion is that when the lines are washed away, you can’t tell if something was a mistake or not. But, with ditch work, the lines never wash away.
Want to give a shout out to this machine. Singer 237.
I just got it back from a loan. Honestly, I didn’t drive it for a while before I loaned it and it had some clicks and grinds that I didn’t expect and I worry that maybe it came back earlier than I expected because of that. A bit of oil and this is seriously the quietest machine I own. The only real noise it makes is that grinding noise that usually indicates the belt is too tight. But, in this case, I don’t think the machine ever got used much and I think the belt is just really stiff because the noise goes away after I sew for a while. It's a Powerhouse! And, you can still find one cheap. So, if you’re looking for a good, simple all steel, heavy (no, like 35 pounds heavy) machine that will pull a house off it’s blocks, as my Dad used to say, this is the one. And, they’re not very expensive on ebay, and really easy to repair. You’ll appreciate the savings when you see the shipping cost. She just doesn't have that sleek body that we're all looking for in a vintage machine. Kind of bulky. But what power.
Everybody have a great Monday. Lane
A tale of four quilts
I’ve talked about the kit I bought at Chisholm Trail Quilt show. I paid $30 and decided I didn’t want to make the included pattern and borrowed a pattern from a bee friend and that got me started.
The kit had a couple yards of solids and a border print that went into stash and 1 5/8 of civil war repro prints. That’s what I cut into as sort of an intro to using those fabrics. I have a nice little collection started and I never pull anything out of it. But these fabrics gave me a reason to dig around in there a bit and start to play.
First, I made the table runner from the borrowed pattern.
I pulled the green and red border fabrics from stash and it finished at 36x18. That’s leftover from something else and there was just a little bit. So little that I had to draw my pieces on the fabric with a chalk pencil to make sure I was going to get as much as I needed.
I had little pieces of fabric left, nothing big enough for stash except the background fabric. If I put it in the scrap bin, it’s lost.
So, I pieced another quilt.
This one is 35x28”. The star centers from this quilt were cut for the previous quilt, but there wasn’t enough for a border, so after the whole center was assembled, I cut just the star centers out and replaced them. Then, I used all that black background scrap as the star centers in this quilt. They worked so much better. Again, borders and sashing were from stash. I used up all that green.
But, I still had little bits of that kit fabric left, so I pieced this one.
This one is 32x19” and is going on my desk at work. I’m thinking I might pin baste it and start the quilting today. It won’t take long. All I’m going to do is ditch work and a little something in the borders.
And, I had this much of that fabric left.
And, I said, can I gat another one?
Okay, it’s only 13x8, but it kinda counts.
And, there’s this much fabric. Dare I try again?
Who knows. I’d like to say no, but we all know how that goes, right?
Today I have bee. I’m taking the neutral string quilt to bind. And, I’m taking snacks. Guess I’d better get cracking. Everybody have a great weekend.
I have recently gotten two new buttonholers. A friend picked up a slant shank buttonholer and shared it with me and I had sewing machine attachment lust over the one that Peter Lappin uses, so I had to get one of my own.
The Singer Professional on the right has more templates than any buttonholer I’ve ever seen. It makes three different styles of buttonholes, each in multiple sizes.
All my other buttonhole attachments use templates like the one on the lower right in the photo below. I’m good with how they work and am not disappointed in my buttonholes. I have machines that make buttonholes, but I think I get a better buttonhole out of these old fashioned buttonhole attachments, so even a garment pieced on a newer machine will be taken to an older machine with an attachment for the buttonholes.
The other attachment doesn’t use templates. I want to experiment with setting my own distances and my own style and not being locked into what the templates will do.
This is where sewing goes from a skill to a hobby. For a skill, all I’d need is one good resource that would make a buttonhole. My hobby leaves me wanting to try different things. One way is never enough.
This one just came in yesterday and it is very, very dirty. It needs cleaning and oiling, but I already operated the mechanism by hand and it seems to work fine. Next step; read the lengthy instructions.
If this works out, there might be a couple extra buttonholers that use templates on ebay soon.
Trim before? Trim after???
I noticed the other day that when Bonnie Hunter binds a quilt, she trims the excess batting and backing away first, then she machine sews the binding on before hand stitching it closed.
I apply the binding first, then trim away the excess. I’ve always thought that it gave me more to hang onto while I was sewing the binding down.
But, I rarely get an extremely straight seam when I attach the binding. It’s never been much of a problem. The tiny bit I drift disappears as I hand stitch the binding to the back. I noticed that Bonnie, because she has trimmed before she attaches, uses a seam guide that likely helps her get a straighter line. I think I’m going to have to try that next time.
I can hardly wait to finish this one. I folded the binding and attached it this morning and now I just need to trim and start the hand stitches.
I finally got a good picture of the quilting.
I’m pretty much lovin’ that.
It’s going to be a great cuddle quilt for the winter. Perfect size, perfect weight.
Now, how fast can I hand stitch about a half mile of binding down?
Be well. Have a great Thursday. Lane
I think the girl had a big day.
There were presents.
And, apparently, people sang Happy Birthday until she was sick of it.
We took her out to dinner. And, we made the day about her.
That’s so important to a kid. Just that focus on a special day. It needs to be important and we’re so lucky that we’ve kept it important to her.
Everybody be well. Somehow, despite getting up 40 minutes early, I’ve ended up late. Darn that extra time I spent sewing.
From there to here
When I was writing this post in my head, I was prepared to say all kind of bad things about the kit I started with. But, having the extra time to reflect has made me realize that the things I didn’t like about it were just me. I don’t actually know what the quilt would have turned out like if I’d finished it. It was a mystery and I didn’t see the finished ones. The mystery process itself put me off and the instructions were hard for me to read and the fabrics were very dark. I stopped at one point to wait until I got the focus fabric and could try to replace some fabrics, but I really didn’t like the focus fabric. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I tossed it in the last sewing room cleanup. I can’t find it anywhere and I know it didn’t get washed, so it’s not in the stash.
Anyway, it wasn’t my style and it wasn’t a reflection of me and I wasn’t enjoying it, so with a bunch of pieces cut, I set it aside. One day, reading blogs, I stumbled up on Bonnie Hunter’s free pattern for Cathedral Stars. I had a bunch of the dark blue tri-recs pieces cut and that’s what brought the two things together. Next, it was about how to get that pattern out of my fabrics. And, adding a white. This quilt needed a white like rice needs gravy. And, it was not in the kit. Or the focus fabric.
And, I started to lay out. And, take pictures. Because Sydney says I have the memory of a goldfish and I might like one of these layouts, but if I don’t have a picture, I may never get back to it.
Limited amounts of fabrics. How to make the most use?
And, then I started laying in the alternate block.
And, how will the third block fit?
And what alternate patterns can I create across the quilt by using contrast and color??
Until I ended up with this. I did have to add a bit of another batik from the same color family to finish me out. And, the green is from stash.
Next, I’m going to use the green to set those squares into the setting triangles so the blue pattern will trail all the way to the edge of the quilt.
Be well. It is the lil’ punkin’s sweet sixteenth birthday. What I said happy birthday, she slammed the door in my face. I guess that’s a good sign of normal. Anyway, it’s a big morning for cards and Rob got her flowers. God love him. I woulda never thought to get her flowers. He’s such a good complement to me. Tonight, she’ll get her presents. Two new pair of knee high boots, she got her ears pierced, a second hole in each. New sunglasses. And a scarf. I don’t know what else. But she scored big. She always says “it’s good to have two dads.” Seven years. Crimmeny!
Be well. Have a great Sydney’s Sixteenth. And, happy birthday little syglet.
Do any girls get to sweet sixteen and never been kissed anymore?