Tuesday, April 22, 2014

In under the wire...SO typical...

"Songs of Spring," 6-inch blocks by Lori Smith, outer border by me, is hand quilted and bound...just in the nick of time to be my second entry for the Sauder Village Quilt Show next week (Tuesday through Sunday) in Archbold, Ohio, along with "Baltimore Rhapsody" - the big music monster.

This tiny baby measures about 36" x 42".

I just love appliquing these fun, tiny blocks...the blocks are the perfect size for a baggie, take-along project...once they are glue prepped for applique.

I drive the quilts to drop them off on Sunday afternoon...yippee! Best not to peak too soon, LOL! 

The hand quilting is pretty boring...outline quilting of block motifs, diagonal grid through the blocks, piano key motif above the swags, and dense echo quilting in the outer border.

Since I am coordinating a huge fundraiser "Pastapalooza" spaghetti dinner for my daughter's high school music program this Friday night, I needed hand quilting therapy last week and weekend.  Hand quilting calms me down when I am contemplating a hanging death by hot, al dente pasta noodles...

I just love that stop border green wiggly striped fabric.  It gives the quilt a little motion.

Here are the twelve little blocks.  They are such a cute, little size...

Here I am, nervously soaking out the blue quilting lines and the glue from the corner outer border motifs.  I pre-shrunk my cotton batting before basting the layers together so that I could keep the overall shrinking of the finished quilt to a minimum.

Would you believe this is the first time I basically washed a quilt right after finishing it...not even waiting for it to get soiled?  I'm thrilled it didn't come apart or get all bunchy...

I don't know what I was afraid of...the small size made it an easy chore.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

New and improved design wall...WAY overdue...

Well, the second college tour trip of the year is over...another 2000 miles on the car and the future still uncertain.  It is a good thing Riley is a junior...we have about 6 months before the application deadlines start emerging.

I finally got fed up with my old design wall.  Before our college trip, I picked the windiest day of the week and took off to Lowe's to buy two 4' x 8' sheets of insulating foam board.  

The price?  $12.50 a sheet.  The stupid, wacky drive home with a virtual kite/sail poorly strapped to to top of my Subaru Forester? PRICELESS!  

I'm surprised I wasn't pulled over and arrested for stupidity, really.

It's a good thing my car has a sunroof...toward the end I had my arm through the roof, holding onto the front edge of the foam sheets.  It was a little nuts trying to change gears (of course having a 5-speed manual transmission made this all even more absurd...).

I used my 50% off one cut coupon at Joann's to buy some wide oatmeal-colored felt.  Then I used my Mod Podge and a wide craft brush to "paint" the back edge of each foam board.  I stretched the felt to the backside and stuck pins in to hold things until the glue dried.  Voila!

I had to use my electric foam craft cutter to melt/slice one of the pieces that was too wide before gluing.  I also had to make a little cut for the bottom corner of the steps...I wanted the area as wide as possible.

Here is the first, slender panel in place over the poured basement wall.  I just used a level to make sure it was plum and tacked it into place.  Then I prepared the second, full sheet and got it into place right up against the first piece.  

There is a seam between the two covered panels, but I don't care. It is such an improvement over the (formerly) hot pink thermal blanket from college, received 35 years ago before entering Auburn University in the fall of 1978.

This is what my design wall USED to look like...a very tacky color peeking through my projects in progress.  I'm not even a pink person...I think the thermal blanket was a gift from someone for high school graduation.

I like the foam board and the ability to just poke pins in the thing, just like a bulletin board.

The beauty of having so many projects in progress makes it possible to hop, skip and jump around when momentarily stumped by the design progress. 

I am slightly stumped by the outer borders of the "Belles and Blossoms" project, so I designed an outer border for Lori Smith's "Songs of Spring"  6-inch blocks I had finished hand appliqueing.  I have the finished wall hanging basted and, now, mostly hand quilted.  I will show it soon!

Guess what we got on tax day...MORE SNOW!  My poor, late, shivering daffodils, who finally had the courage to stick their heads up last week...

Even though it was below freezing, the roads, driveways and sidewalks retained enough warmth to melt the snow.  Good riddance, polar vortex and the long hard winter of 2013-14!  The snow shovels were already up in the attic!

Wacky, wacky, but I did hear that the 2 inches or so was enough to push Detroit and our area into the record books for the snowiest winter ever recorded.  Then, Wednesday night the low temp of 16 degrees set a new record as well.

I shouldn't complain...other places in the Midwest received a lot more snow than that this week.  Weasley took the snow as a sign that his winter hibernation should be extended a little longer...

I hope you are getting some spring where you are (or maybe some fall colors "down under").

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Playing with tiny thimbles...

OK...it's is not news that I am addicted to fabric and quilting.  Well, the sneaky secret is that I am really addicted to reproduction fabrics (like there are degrees of addiction...).  I have a few containers of them...they are just so beautiful. 

I have a few scrappy reproduction works in progress.  I just think the fabrics are deep, rich, and gorgeous.  Since I can't throw any scraps away, I cut out these tiny little thimbles.  (I also get the repro scraps that my friends throw away...)

Anyway, my Dad's birthday was in March (83 years young...), and I made him a little mug rug to put by his computer to mind his mug and snacks while he works away.  

(and look who woke up long enough to sneak into the picture...he is looking indignant and refusing to smile for the camera because I just peeled him off the quilt where he had plopped down...)

I machine pieced the tiny thimbles and hand quilted the finished rug, first quilting in the ditch around all pieces and the stop border, then coming up with a simple swag with hearts for the outer border.

I love the way it looks with the antique bobbins (I "lightened" the picture a bit to show the hand quilting around the outer border).  

Some day I want to make a larger quilt with those tiny thimbles...they are really fun to work with!  Maybe I should make a larger mat to put on the table I made from the treadle pedestal, since this piece looks so nice on the floor under it!  The sewing machine and cabinet had been ruined by water in an old barn and were beyond saving when I bought the old base.  My Dad cut and routed a simple but beautiful hard wood table top for me to stain, finish, and attach to the base.

My daughter and I are off for a few days to check out Oberlin, Rhodes, Vanderbilt, and U of Alabama a little closer.

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

"Belles and Blossoms" has sashing and cornerstones...

My original project, "Belles and Blossoms," now has sashing!  I decided to try something a little different for me...appliqued sashing with pieced cornerstones.

So I glue-prepped my little skinny vines, put them in a baggie, and managed to hand applique them while waiting in the car for my daughter at various places.

What will I do when the snow all melts and she is no longer tentative about driving?!?  Maybe I will have to start hand appliqueing during the sermon at church to keep up my level of production, LOL.

I really do listen better when my hands are busy...you knitters out there can back me up on this.  There's not a lot to "see" during the sermon...so why not?

(Sometimes there is not much to HEAR...oh my, did I say that?!?)

At first I thought this treatment might be a little busy, but it is growing on me.  It may change my plans for the outer border...I might need a plain border in between this and the outer border, for instance, to break of the insanity.

Hmmm...got to think about this for a little while...good thing I have another BAZILLION things started that I can work on...

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wonky mug rug mania...

Now that I've distributed these mug rugs, I can share them!  You know it's a brutal winter when you don't get out to see and visit with your quilt friends...some of us (me) have been hibernating, waiting for it all to just stop...the snow, the below-freezing-temps, the isolation, the depressed mood.  I think we are 3 inches shy of the snowiest winter on record (since the mid 1850's), and it may not be over yet...dang it...

When I need to do "fabric therapy," one avenue of stress release is playing with scraps and making wonky stars (aka Bonnie Hunt's Maverick Stars from here).  Making them is fun and fruitful...I keep them, and some scrappy ingredients, in a box until I think of something fun to do with them.

It is a great way to use those brights tidbits and left over neutral scraps that I just can't bring myself to throw away.

I decided to sprinkle a few of those stars with my feeble attempts at Tonya Ricucci's free pieced letters (aka Lazy Gal Quilting's book "Word Play Quilts").

Ta da!  Wonky mug rugs!  I mean, don't we all need a little mat by our sewing machines to put our beverage/snack on to catch the moisture and crumbs?!?  I even subjected my friends to my BAD machine quilting, LOL...

I finally had a day out with these ladies last week, and THAT was some fabulous fabric therapy.  We hit Jennifer's Quilt Shop in Pinckney, MI (see pictures of this FABULOUS SHOP in this old post), Wood N Things in Brighton, MI (GREAT shop for small home decor items), and lunch.  

I was reminded that hibernation is STUPID...connecting with friends is PRICELESS!  Thank you, Ola, Mary and Beth, for a great day...

Have fun with YOUR favorite fabric therapy!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Quilt photography...deconstructing the family room...

Above is my family room BEFORE I had to destroy it to take a quilt photo...

The chaos below is after moving EVERYTHING in the room to expose the only wall in my house where I could take a picture of a 96 x 96 inch quilt...

Furniture is shoved out of the way...

I wasn't willing to take down the existing, hanging quilt, so we ended up hanging this quilt, a little higglety-pigglety, in front of the wall quilt...we employed a cardboard box on the CD/DVD shelf on one side and a 2' by 4' clamped to a step ladder on the other side...CLASSY, huh?  The quilt is pinned to the longest pole of my quilting frame...

The sofa is standing on end...lamps, chairs, end tables, and stuff is piled everywhere...Weasley the cat was COMPLETELY mental during all the chaos...

I wish we could have had this quilt flat against the wall...it was kind of fluttering, gently, in some undiscovered breeze in the room...so it doesn't look completely flat, square, and straight at the bottom of the quilt.

Oh well...we did the best we could...it was an afternoon of "marital enrichment," if you know what I mean...

Before cropping the picture...

After cropping...

Now I have the pictures needed to enter it in some upcoming shows.  

The quilt police suggest taking pictures outside, but it is still too snowy, cold, dirty, windy, and disagreeable out there.  It was a rare sunny day, so we went for it inside.  Thank goodness for the ability to crop pictures, LOL!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Six Belles - ready for spring...and sashing!

Well, the Belles are all finished and ready for some interesting sashing.  Hold on gals, the sashing is in progress!

They are all stitched on the same Moda Bella white background, but you wouldn't know it from my quilt cave photography.

The blocks have been trimmed to 8.5 x 8.5 inches in anticipation of my sashing pieces, which will be appliqued and finish to 3 x 8 inches.  I have 5 of 17 sashing pieces appliqued, so it won't be long.

I spent 2 hours shoveling new snow from Winter Storm Vulcan...time I could have spent stitching, grumble-grumble.  I'm not sure how much Steve shoveled before trying to get to work, but I just shoveled a good 6 inches, much more in the drifted areas. 

Now the sun is out and the wind is whipping through the neighborhood.  We'll probably be shoveling some of this AGAIN when the wind dies down (it's bad enough the first time...).

Stay warm!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)