Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dr. Seuss balancing act...Thing 1 almost finished...

I have two Dr. Seuss quilts to make for my niece and nephew for Christmas, and I finally got brave and plunged ahead on cutting into the panels I bought for the purpose.  Between my stash and some of the accompanying fabrics, I had good choices for stripping out and arranging the fussy-cut blocks after I cut them apart.
This is the body of the first little quilt.  I have a skinny black with white dot stop border and a yellow print outer border to put on this one, which is for Eliza.  Then Asa's quilt, the second one, will have the same skinny black stop border and an aqua print outer border.

I wasn't happy with the freebie pattern so I came up with my own setting.  It was harder than I thought to dig through my stash bins for just the right shades of red, yellow and aqua to compliment the panels and blend with the purchased yardage.  I ended up having to cut off most of the frames that were printed around each fussy-cut block because of the way they were printed, but in a way that made it easier for me. 

I found my "Cat in the Hat" fabric at the Equilter web site (Robert Kaufman Fabrics).  Even the black and white selection was fun to fussy cut for a filler wonky star block.
Since these babies (who are cousins) will get them at Christmas when we are all together, I am putting their names in the quilts so they can tell them apart.  I bought red union suits and little blue wigs to go with the quilts, so they will be "Thing 1 and Thing 2."  My 13-yr-old daughter will wear her old Cat in the Hat Halloween costume - it will make for a GREAT photo opportunity on Christmas morning when we are all together!

Someone is going to machine quilt these for me, so I needed to drop everything to get them done to meet her Christmas cut off quilting rush.  I'm feeling a little manic between making these quilt tops, getting my sister's log cabin quilt layered and basted for hand quilting and getting my daughter's Halloween costume done.  It's like the Bermuda Triangle of sewing.  It doesn't help that she wants to look like this.
For all of you not familiar with "Wicked," this is Glinda (in the pink dress)...I think this dress is wicked...to MAKE.  I wish she was going as Elphaba (with the green skin)...that would be easier for ME.  Her best friend is doing that one (her Mom doesn't sew...).  Oh well...this too shall pass...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, October 25, 2010

The top is finished...maybe...

I love anything out of  a Blackbird Designs book.
This is my version of Chelsea Cottage.  I got all the blocks assembled, then decided it needed a sawtooth border.  The sawtooth border contains alternating red and black HST's.  I LOVE scrappy, and this is SCRAPPY!  I'm still trying to decide if I want an outer border, then must make a decision about the quilting.  I'm leaning toward hand quilting.  It will be a large wall hanging for my sister Laurie.  It's already 54 x 74...already big for a wall hanging.  Hmmm....


Weasley thinks the applique needs a cat or two, since my sister has cats.  Hmmm...
He's my worst critic and my biggest fan, but can be easily bought for some kitty treats.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Actual progress...a view of the design wall...

I finally finished the hand applique piece for Laurie's quilt!  I wiped the cobwebs off the stack of already made log cabin blocks that have been waiting patiently and got to pin everything up on my design wall.  Now I need to sew them all together.  Yippee!!
I'm liking it!  This quilt started as Chelsea Cottage from the book, "You're Invited: Quilts and Homes That Inspire" by Blackbird Designs.  I decided to change things a wee bit (hey...it's me...).  I wanted larger log cabin blocks, so I added an additional "round" of logs.  All this meant that I had to re-draft the applique block because the block size changed from 16 x 24 inches to 20 x 30 inches.  I changed the proportions of the cottage and re-worked the vine and flowers.
I had promised a tutorial on how I do hand applique.  I thought I would use this project.  I even enlisted a less-than-enthusiastic husband to take some of the pictures because I found that I needed 3-4 hands (I wouldn't mind carrying extra weight around if it was something USEFUL like extra, helping hands!).
Well, I didn't check the quality of the pictures before rushing on and finishing the block...tsk, tsk, tsk...haste makes waste.  Some were blurry.  I would have gone back and made some more pictures, but I had rushed on and whipped up the block.

I do want to preview my favorite applique tools, though.  Especially the funky blue thing pictured above.  And for everyone who posted a suggestion as to where I could get more "dobbers" for my Roxanne's Glue-Baste, thank you, thank you, thank you!!  They are called "Lil' Sticks" and they are made by the Fasturn Company, and P3 Designs carries them and they're cheap...I ordered a dozen!  (they come in packs of 3)  Apparently, they make good cake testers when baking as well.
Anyway, I wanted to mention the blue coil.  It is a flexible French curve, and I LOVE using it for many things, but mainly to design vines for hand applique.  It is bendable and stays where you bend it so that you can "audition" a vine on your block, then move it to freezer paper or a sketch pad to trace it.  It is a drawing and drafting tool that I found in the art section of my local Joann's store.  I've also seen them in office supply places.  I also use it when hand quilting to make up and repeat quilting motifs.

After coming up with my "curve," I move it to freezer paper and trace one side of it.   Then I go back and draw a second line to make it as thick or thin as I'd like.  Because I iron my freezer paper pattern to the right side of the fabric, I don't have to worry about reversing the curve.
Anyway, I promise that a tutorial is still on my to-do list.  I have a greater appreciation for everyone that posts tutorials...like Crispy and Bonnie Hunter.  Thank you for all your hard work and attention to detail.  Tutorials are fun to do, but care must be taken and can't be rushed.

Anyway, I will pick a little project and do a tutorial soon.  I really needed to rush on with this project, as it is a Christmas present for one of my sisters.
I posted on Stash Manicure again this morning.  I revealed some of my stash on that site a couple of weeks ago and was asked to post again and go into more detail.  It was harder to do than I thought it would be...it makes you feel a little vulnerable...EXPOSED!!  I compared it to showing someone my underwear drawer...you know...it's all clean and boring, but most is old and in need of repair or replacement...the last bastion of privacy.  I love my stash...I've been hoarding collecting it since the early 80's, but it seems a little self-indulgent sometimes, especially in such bad economic times.  And have you ever seen the show Hoarders on the A&E TV channel on Monday nights??  Yikes! 

Check out Barbara Brackman's latest post about the price of cotton right now and what that will probably do to the cost of fabric.  I think we will all be "shopping our stashes" more in the near future...

I am shamefully behind on reading your blogs...I hope to catch up this weekend.  It is supposed to get all rainy and chilly here in southeast lower Michigan.  Ahhhh...fall.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Steady girl...wait for it....

What do I have in common with this sweet, patient pooch??  We are both waiting to bite into something so wonderful and tempting, and we are BOTH HAVING A HARD TIME WAITING!!  Look what arrived in the mail on Saturday...

This beauty is called "Stars and Sprigs" (96 x 96) and it is by Kim McLean.  I'm trying to be a good girl and finish a couple of things before jumping in with both feet.  The pattern can be ordered from Glorious Color

Check out Glorious Applique to follow people making the various applique beauties by Kim McLean.

As for me (for the moment), I'm just thinking about how Dorie from Finding Nemo would say, "just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


Saturday, October 9, 2010

HELP! Have you seen my brain?

HELP!!!  Do you see this purple-knobbed little tool?   
It is meant to poke into the needle applicator of a large bottle of Roxanne's Glue Baste to clean out the needle to thus allow the glue to flow freely.  It is an awesome tool...

...why do I need help?  I can't remember where I bought it and EVERYONE that sees this little gem WANTS one!!  I have searched the Internet trying to find one and "jog" my memory about this.  I thought it came with my last purchase of a large bottle, but I can't find that it comes with the product now.  (Lord, I miss my mind!)

I'm a tool girl, and sometimes a great time-saving tip is all about the tool.  I'm working on a tutorial post on the applique method I use and want to mention this product.  Please let me know if you can help me out with this mystery!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's October...bring on the PUMPKINS!

It's October on the farm, so I decided to turn the watermelons into pumpkins with a wave of my magic wand...bippity boppity BOO!  This is block nine of "All Around the Town" (by Sue Garman).

Three more blocks (wedges, really) to go.  I had so much fun with the pumpkins and quilts, I think I need to go back and put a few more things in front yards.  Then I can start thinking about the cars and two borders.
(Here's the pattern front.)
Despite my protestations, my friend Mary Jones recently "paid" me for some hand quilting with the following goodies...

GORGEOUS new Jo Morton fat quarters, some Halloween coasters (to protect our furniture from mugs of steaming, hot, witches brew, straight from the smoking cauldron...), and a funky little big-headed Halloween ornament.  And do you see the kitty card in the left back corner?  THAT is going to be drafted into a future applique block...I LOVE that caffeine cat, just trying to get his morning fix, with his paws wrapped around his cup of java, foam on his latte-smacking mouth!  Me-OW!!

I love using greeting cards to get ideas for applique blocks.  My quilting friends are kind enough to save the fronts of their recycled greetings for me to make Christmas ornaments from.  Every now and then, there are some that get my applique needle quivering...just look at this doggie with the bird friends...

In addition to working on my barn block, I've been appliqueing the house that will go on the quilt I am making for my sister, Laurie.  I am using a variation of the "Chelsea Cottage" pattern from Blackbird Designs for her quilt.
 I can't wait to get it on a piece of background so that I can surround it with my prepared log cabin blocks.  I've also been prepping more cranberry birds for little Christmas projects.
And getting the odd basket appliqued.  With all the painting I've been doing, it has been nice to relax with little obtainable goals in the evening, even if only for 15 minutes (thanks Victoria of Bumble Beans, Inc.).  Those 15 minute sessions can really add up! 
Have a beautiful fall day (or spring one, if you are "down under").

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, October 4, 2010

What came first, the chickens or the collection?

Chicken fever, chicken pox...call it what you like, but I might have quilt guilt by association.  Country Threads published "On Behalf of Chickens" in 1991, and I fell in love with the log cabin chickens, among other cool projects in the books.  Apparently that was when I sealed my fate as being obsessed with anything "chicken."  Even though I had been quilting for years at that point, this was my first "rotary cut" project, finished in early 1992.
I lived in Galveston, Texas back then, and had a kitchen with a lot of wall space.  So after making the first chicken quilt, I decided to make a second one from the same book, and a decorating theme was started.  This one shows why I love hand applique...I really suck at machine applique...
When I went to garage sales, I started seeing little baskets and such in the shape of chickens on the $0.25 table...this added to the nonsense in my kitchen.  These two quilts appealed to my love of scrappy and worked with my homespun and calico fabrics collected in the 80's, along with 2-3 garage sale men's shirts. 
After moving back to Michigan in 1995, I moved into a house with no wall space in the kitchen.  That is when the "chicken bathroom" was born (we'll get to those pictures in a moment...). 

In 2004, I joined a year long "around the block" challenge with 10 other quilters in my group of talented quilting friends.  We each chose a theme, color range, made a couple of blocks to establish the theme, basted them to a piece of gridded Pellon interfacing, and put everything in a new pizza box to be passed around the group, swapping boxes on a monthly basis.  We were all asked to make blocks in units of 4 inches...4 x 4,
8 x 8, 4 x 8, 8 x 12, 12 x 12, 4 x 12...well, you get the picture.  Even though we basted our offerings to each person's piece of interfacing every month, once we got our own box back, we could take the blocks off and come up with an arrangement, add blocks, etc.

Well...I chose chickens.  I had a lot of chicken fabric I REALLY wanted to get rid of.  My friends in Texas, mistaking me for a "chicken lover," would bring me fat quarters or larger pieces of chicken fabric, and this continued in Michigan after I showed my two chicken quilts at "show and tell" one time.  I mean, they are cute.  I figured choosing chickens as my theme would allow me to use up my chicken stash as I worked out the setting, borders, and backing.  HA!  Now I have TWICE as much...they are multiplying!  Here is the twin sized "Foul Play," completed in 2005.
My buddy Jo Watson made the following three,,,


Deb Cadwallender made this one...
 Judy Endres thought that all those chickens needed a rooster to keep them in line...
Kathy French made the next two... 

 Margit McPhee pieced this feathery friend...
Jean Wood made one chick and eleven eggs.
 Roma Fogelsong made the mother chicken with her 4 chicks...
 Sherry Peterson made this one...
 The following are goofy things I made to fill in spaces.  Judy Tomer and Rose Barbre also made blocks.







I made the word banners as well, one day when in a silly mood.  When I hand quilted this, I quilted chicken phrases and words in the blue stop border...stuff like "KENTUCKY FRIED" and "CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN" and "POT PIE," etc.

I'm working on something strippy and scrappy now with the remaining chicken fabrics...it's called "Poultry in Motion."  After that top, a pieced back and binding, that is IT!!  No more chickens...I'll show that project another day...and perhaps announce a give-away of the remaining chicken fabrics...I'm sure there will be some left...

Now, here is the chicken bathroom, recently painted and chicken stuff put back on the walls and ledges.  A stupidly designed room, it is taller than it is big.  Lots of room for chickens...



Sorry for the long post...that's a lot of chicken to "eat" in one sitting...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)