Random again!

Nothing but random bits and pieces going on right now. We are already deep into the holiday activities and there is no extended sewing time available.

I did get started on those charity quits I found. AFTER I cleared away the mess so I could get to the machine!

Did I tell you that I found another top? So I have really been falling down on the job regarding those. I had no idea that I had picked up that many tops so they really need to get done and ready to cuddle someone. I got a couple basted and will TRY to dedicate one day a week to working only on quilting these until they are done.

This little ghoul doesn’t seem to like being stitched, though!

Holiday decorating……………..outside lights, cutting a tree, inside decorations………..lots of “chores” but don’t we love the finished effect? And the light of wonder in the eyes of children?

My grandson fell in love with this little solar polar bear stake, and did we say no? Of course not! He does a wonderful job indicating the edge of our sidewalk!

Soooooo glad that I am not sewing holiday gifts. No last minute panic or pressure. I’m even leaving those dithering decisions on fabric choices just sit there and wait. Whew! I’m definitely looking forward to a leisurely holiday season, with only fun sewing getting done. Wishing the same for you…and don’t forget to check out those children’s ‘eyes of wonder’ for your inspiration and smiles.

Bits and bits

The first thing I did this week did not even get a picture! One art group that I am part of is doing a spool book round robin and I got my section done for that. It was spiral and gold and glittery…and now it’s moved on. But my long time buddies in the Wacky Quilters group also are working on a little round robin and I did take a picture of what’s being done on mine!

Most in the group are NOT doing spool projects, but I still feel the need to get a couple of those out of my system, so that’s what this is. Rather large at about 5″ across, but I have a large spool to put it on.

I have simple leaves painted on blue fabric and really want only embroidery on them, so that’s the only materials I brought! They got a good start on it and it will continue to be my pick-up hand work until I get as much thread on it as I can stand!

We also all had a piece of lovely paper from USArtquest and we challenged ourselves to make something, using it. It was embedded with leaves and that’s what I tore out of the paper. I found a piece of hand-dyed fabric for a background and quilted it around and through the leaves a bit.

Then added some hand stitch and beads.

The size is only 12 x 12″ so it went very quickly. Just to show you once again how I finish the edges of these…on this one I went around the edge first with a simple zig-zag.

Not a tight satin stitch or anything that would distort the edge. Then, because I am a hoarder of all things artsy, I went searching for cording or yarn to add to that edge.¬† I found a lovely yarn with a touch of metallic. I use my cording foot and run another line of stitching around the edge and it’s done!

Nicely filled in, not distorted and quick.

In fact, quick enough that I was able to get started with the quilting on my Grasslands piece.

Just the straight lines along the tape, but it’s a start.

And sometimes, trying to be frugal with painter’s tape and save it to re-use just looks silly!

Classroom fun

Took a workshop at quilt guild (Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild) on Sunday and had a wonderful time. Not my usual type of class–working on a specific pattern with a specialty ruler–but it was a ruler I had already used and loved. Check out Sharon McConnell’s Classic Curves ruler.

Why take classes you don’t really need, you ask? My main reasons are 1) a day away from interruptions for just ME, 2) socializing with like-minded friends, and 3) there is always something new to learn in ANY class! WIN-WIN all the way around!

However, I also knew that I would never make and finish a full size quilt with this particular pattern so I went in knowing I was making a baby size piece and should be able to assemble it during class. Another WIN–I did get the top made! Wooooo-hoooo!

My colored print fabric was using up scraps from an old project and black and white is always a good option. And even though I had made a full-size quilt using this ruler, I actually learned how to use it correctly and effectively with help from Sharon. Truly quick and easy and I cut and stitched all day and had a great time.

And as I worked, I drifted away from the baby quilt idea. I have a pile of baby quilts done right now waiting for the babies who will need them, so maybe I don’t need one more. Maybe some embellishments to turn this into an art quilt wall hanging would be more fun.

Some shaggy, raw-edge circles on the sashing intersections or block centers…maybe some cording to emphasize the secondary circle design rather than the ‘flower’ blocks…it’s African wax fabric and probably should have some of those African style beads I have…

And I’m sure that it needs some embroidery stitching, too. Yep, this is going to hang on a wall, not cuddle a baby.

Let’s mention scraps…I had a lot of scrap from the first quilt I made with this ruler and some from this one, too, of course.

I asked Sharon before class to bring scrap ideas and she did. She showed us how to use the ruler to re-cut the curves to fit into smaller blocks. All we would be left with then is tiny slivers of fabric and even a hoarder like me can throw those away. We also talked about using the shapes in more abstract ways and in other designs.

It was a very good day and filled up all my reasons for taking a class. AND I finished a small quilt top. WIN-WIN all the way!


Snow Day

Now that I’m retired from my job-that-pays-the-bills, I can declare a snow day whenever I wish. It’s snowing today, so that was a no-brainer for me. I didn’t even go to the gym this morning and that’s not a habit I want to continue!

It was so decadent to sit around and drink coffee, catch up with emails, take a late shower and then decide if I even wanted to do anything at all! But projects were calling to me, of course, so I headed to the studio to work on them.

Baby Golfer is done except for the label and sleeve. And I am so very happy with it. I think the new owner will be also.

I will be so sad when I use the last of this yarn, though. It is the perfect combo for many of the pieces that I do.

It was one of the remnants that I got from someone, at some time, and I have no idea of it’s origins so there is no hope of finding more. I don’t think it was some that I dyed, but it could be! I may try that when I use this up, though.

I continued on the piece I started during the hockey weekend. I have fused scraps of organdy that I want to use up. They have been sitting around for quite a long time and they need to be gone! So……………

Grasslands. This part is smaller than I want the piece to be, and I have more scraps of these fabrics so I’m toying with the idea of building up a medallion style piece. Might be too busy, though, and one like this one might work better, if I find the right background fabric.

But I still had a ton of the organdy left so I picked out all the green and put it on a purple–yes, purple!–organdy background.

This will be a second piece in a Grasslands series. I have no idea of the next step on this one yet, though. Stitching will be a major part of it, but it could get some cutting done, too. It probably needs some of the same fabric scraps as the first one.

Creating is always so much fun! I have unsewn samples from pattern making experiments, too, that I’d like to get finished. Aaaaaaand I am taking a class at quilt guild this weekend. Lots of good times ahead and it all started with my snow day.

Irregular days

This past week has been busy but relaxed at once. I’m at the beginning of several projects, finishing up a couple and trying to figure out my priorities for the next few months.

Sewing on a sleeve–I try very hard now to always complete each project, with sleeve and label, so I don’t have a last minute pile of finishing to do before some deadline. Necessary but one of my least favorites is black. I almost always do these in the evenings and even with a bright light, sewing black on black is hard!

I have a commission to make a little golfer silhouette and thought I had it all figured out…then I didn’t like my choices and decided to dye my background.

A delay while that processed, so I made my silhouette and got it ready to fuse.

And when the pieces came together, I think it’s looking pretty good!

Ready to quilt and finish.

And I have been trying to figure out a good use of quite a few leftover advertising postcards so I stitched some scraps on a couple and now I’m not sure how I feel about the back. Do I want to put a fabric back on them to cover up the stitching or do I want to leave the work showing?

Perhaps it will depend on final use–in a mat or frame or loose for use as an actual postcard.

Do I really need to flit from project to project like this all the time? Well, it’s usually waiting for paint to dry………..or dye to process!

And then there are grandson hockey tournaments. This one was in South Bend, so we had to send out a pic to my brother, who is an avid ND fan.

And I love that AJ can count on his Poppa to be there cheering and taking videos, win or lose!

I always bring a little hand sewing for hotel time but this time I just grabbed a pile of fabric from the shelf and shoved it in the bag. I think it’s going to lead me to a series of landscape feeling work.

Or, at least it will keep me busy until the next studio distraction!

EOY Planning

The Artisan Showcase signals the beginning of the holiday season to me. Halloween rolled in with hubby’s birthday and our anniversary is the true end of summer and those decorations got put away yesterday. We do NOT decorate for Christmas at Halloween time, so there’s time before that stuff comes out! No big deadlines so now I need to plan out what’s next.

We had lots of fun on Saturday and the showcase went very well. At one point Debi and I had a laugh¬† practicing our fake customer smiles, ’cause, you know………it’s a long day!

I’m not too successful at it, so it’s good that I like my customers and my smiles stay real!!

Yesterday was an organize the studio day and clear up the rest of the showcase parts. We can park in the garage again and my walls are mostly bare and plain. I even had a little nap and that felt great!

There is a commission to work on but of course I’m changing my direction on that one, too. I thought I had it all worked out in my head, but now I’m dyeing some fabric to see if I like that better than my original plan!

My pain in the neck gold couching got done today. I love this pattern but my embellishment ideas were not as easy as I thought they were going to be. And maybe not as effective as I had hoped either, but done is done!

I’m doing a demo at our next quilt guild meeting, mostly because I was so taken with soft books this summer and couldn’t stop talking about them. I’m always one to put my money where my mouth is, as the saying goes. Means I have to actually finish a few, make sure I have all the steps in order and get my samples organized.

I’m almost there, so I can plan on another day to finish that up and relax for the weekend. Oh, taking a class that weekend, too, and I have to choose fabric…THAT is not an easy task for me, since I have sooooooo many choices here!

Not really much EOY planning, but taking stock is always good and it seems as though I might have some free time for experimentation. I hope so.

But fun time ahead with a hockey tournament for the grandson! Friday and Saturday games for sure and Sunday if they win their way through. With these young players, you just never know what you’re going to see out on the ice. They all work so very hard and I love watching them.

Of course, planning on off time with the hotel pool and restaurant meals makes it a mini-vacation. Fun times for sure!


Free motion couching

I love my Bernina and will be sad when I finally wear it out, but it’s still got lots of good years in it (where’s that ‘fingers crossed emoji when you need it?). One of the best ideas they had for a foot is a free motion couching foot. I love regular couching and regular free motion quilting, so I expected to be in heaven when this foot came out years ago.

Well, it never quite worked the way I expected it to. Of course, my expectations were not necessarily in line with the manufacturer’s product. And I’m not sure that I’ve ever used a material that was perfect for it either. That never stops me from playing, though, and that’s what I did today.

Yarn is a bit too loosely woven to be couched with this straight stitch, but I actually sewed very slowly with it and it worked fairly well. Perhaps that’s my lesson for the day–not every minute at the machine needs to be at top speed!

It looked quite good on the first section I did and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go further. Or maybe just emphasize what I sewed with beading. But I took the advice of a former art teacher and put more, all over the quilt and I like it.

I’m still not sure if it will get some sparkly beads or not, but I was very pleased with my free motion couching foot today. When you use equipment successfully on something for which it was not really intended………well, it was a good day!