Monday, January 31, 2011

Piece on Earth...

Steel Scraps suggested "Piece on Earth" as a saying for a church sign, and it was so good that I decided to put it on the church building rather than make a sign post.  Thank you for suggesting it!!
Just beyond the golf course and the 18th hole, a lone horse stands in a field contemplating an apple snack stack.

Block #10 of this "All Around the Town" quilt is now done!  I'm getting very close to getting all 12 blocks done so I can assemble the quilt center.  It is getting exciting!

The following pair of pets will embellish a couple of the previous blocks.  I just have them glue basted.  The doggie's bone is wrong side up so you can see where I glued the raw edges under with my trusty Elmer's glue stick and awl.  Now I just need to place them and applique in place.  I want to try and make a garden gnome for one of the yards as well.  Hee-hee-hee...
After a long time where it seemed I was not making emough progress, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel...and it isn't a train!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fore!!


I don't actually play golf, but just about everyone I've met in Michigan since moving here does.  I am a church musician and often hear people on a particularly lovely Sunday morning longing for the golf course.  So I was thinking there should be one right next to the church.  I can just imagine that moment of indecision on Sunday mornings (the clubs are probably already in the trunk...along with the plaid pants and white shoes...).


It's a given that I would add a horse (and an apple snack stack) in the quilt.  My daughter rides and loves horses.  The additions are mostly glue basted, I still need to stitch them down and embellish with embroidery.

I have been thinking hard, trying to find some humorous inspiration for a church sign.  If anyone has a suggestion, I'd love your help/input.  This block will be positioned between the golfing and redneck house, if that gets your creative juices flowing.  LOL

The redneck block is now completely finished!  Only two more to finish.






The new washer is in and I'm trying to decide if I like it.  It is a high efficiency model with no agitator.  It uses very little water.  I gently pre-wash all my fabric.  It removes some of the excess sizing and dye (which my skin is sensitive to) and cuts down on later shrinkage and fading (and freezer paper and fusible materials adheres better when ironed onto washed fabric). 

I used to just put the appropriate amount of water in the tub, dump in some fabric, let it soak a while with no soap, hand-agitate a little, then spin and dry.  Of course, my husband usually walks by while I am hand-agitating and he quips something like, "you know...I think those machines will do that for you..."

He's hilarious.

I inherited this pile of scraps some time ago and decided I'd experiment on them.  They got a little stringy...I sort of expected that...should have put them in a lingerie bag.  Then I tried a very large (6+ yards) piece of new backing.  I ended up pinking the edges first.  It went well.

I tried using the "quick wash" cycle and I never really knew what was going on in there (it locks the lid so I can't just open up and take a peep).  I'm going to have to experiment further.  Any suggestions?

I am so close to finishing the last 3 blocks of this quilt.  I am also going back and adding a few things to the other finished nine blocks...just some animals and the odd piece of lawn art.  How I am going to do the sun is slowing me down.  Then I can add the "road" skinny stop border, the outer border, and the cars.  I can't wait to do the cars!!

Barb over at Fun With Barb has a great blog and recently posted about finding her favorite thimble.  When I saw the picture of it, I understand why she was so happy...it is beautiful!  It made me start thinking about my favorite thimbles (and wanting one like hers...covet-lust-drool-covet-lust-drool). 

The thing on my finger is a reusable leather adhesive pad called 'Thimble Pads' from Colonial Needle.  I like to use them sometimes when I am hand appliqueing or binding.


The one on the left was my Grandmother's thimble (on my mom's side).  It is only shiny where it is handled a lot.

The middle thimble is one of the three Roxanne's thimbles I have purchased over the years.  It is brass.  I also have a gold plated one and a silver one.  I was really disappointed with the gold one, as the plating blistered and peeled off on the inside and now turns my finger green!  Ick!  The silver one has lost it's luster on the inside, but is still satisfactory.  The brass one has been better, though more expensive.


I LOVE my Roxanne's thimble (can also be purchased through Colonial Needle), but the weight can be a little trying sometimes, especially in cold, dry seasons.  I was teaching a hand quilting class one time, and I was apparently gesturing too wildly with my hands, trying to make some stupid point.  The heavy brass thimble flew off my finger and hit one of my students in the chest!  I was mortified!

I've started licking my finger before putting it on to create a suction...pretty unsanitary now that I think of it.  That's probably not good for the inside surface.  I was very careful in choosing the size, but we all know that our fingers vary in size from day to day (one reason I have 3 thimbles - 3 different sizes).

Every now and then I finish another basket...this is a slow, slow, long term project.

We have snow on the ground now and will be under a Winter Weather Advisory tonight for 4-5 more inches(of course - it is band Solo and Ensemble competition weekend, and the weather is traditionally bad that weekend every year...sigh).  I hope you folks on the northeast are coping with your snowy winter...you just can't seem to get a break!

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, January 24, 2011

The giveaway winners (yes - two of you!)...

I am overwhelmed by all the kind/funny comments posted on Stash Manicure and here on Fabric Therapy over the weekend.  It is all very humbling, indeed!  I still think of myself as a newbie/clumsy blogger.  We are truly a fabulous sisterhood of the traveling needle, brought closer by this world wide web!

All of this prompted me to do a bit more file purging last night to come up with a second giveaway of some more new/old patterns.

(Weasely guards the new loot as he continues to try to completely close my original, first idea book with all his might and weight...this overstuffed journal is twice as fat at the open edge as it is at the spine!)

Anyway, on with the results!  My daughter is home from school today (teacher record day, or something like that), so she has drawn two names from the combined comment list generated on both Stash Manicure and Fabric Therapy.  Drum roll, please...

Mommarock has won the original giveaway (5 new/old patterns, fat quarters and notions).

AND

Dizz2u has won the patterns Weasley is guarding, pictured above.

I will send both of you an email shortly so you can "reply" with your snail mail address.  Then loot will come in the mail (always fun to get loot in the mail!).

Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment, and thanks to Madame Samm and Stash Manicure for the opportunity to share some of my compulsive organizing and quilting!  I will be back on Stash Manicure in February. 

Got more stitching done on the redneck house block this weekend...nothing that really shows up in a picture.  There's not much visibly different between the glue baste stage and the stitching stage.  Then, this happened...

The washer died.  I was pre-washing a large piece of quilt background when it happened.  THANK GOD I made the responsible decision (this weekend, anyway) to wash the small mountain of family dirty laundry FIRST before washing fabric!!  (Usually NOT the case...LOL!)

I had to wring out a 6 yard piece of fabric before drying it, but at least it wasn't clothing...I mean, I'll do a little hand washing of FABRIC, but I wouldn't have been happy finishing a load of undies in the laundry sink.

Anyway, after a trip to the local Sears store, a replacement was picked out and paid for.  I guess when I hear next months economic news for "durable goods," I can proudly say that we helped out a little!  We got 15 years out of the old one, so I shouldn't complain, and we are replacing this with one of those high efficiency, agitator-less, top-loading, energy and water saving types.  Good for the economy and good for the earth...just bad for the pocketbook!

Appliance shopping sure bit into my sewing time...and so did this...


Hubby and daughter have been hinting at homemade pizza with stuffed, wheat crust for a while, so since the afternoon was already "a wash" with the unexpected appliance shopping, I gave in.  They live with my stash and quilting habit...they need to be nurtured and loved.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


Friday, January 21, 2011

In touch with my redneck roots...

Howdy!  Let's face it...we can't outrun our roots, our up-bringing, our heritage.  It's a part of us no matter how far away from home we roam.  Check out my redneck clothesline.
Some has been stitched, some is waiting to be stitched.  It's going to be in the front yard of my hick house, which I have added to "All Around the Town," a vintage BOM by Sue Garmon.  I've adapted one of the last blocks to reflect my Alabama roots, complete with some scrabbly pine trees.  I'm sure Sue is much too fine a person to stoop to such depths of design, so I just had to! 

Many people have asked about this pattern (without my perverse changes and additions, of course).  It was a BOM offered by Quakertown Quilts in Houston, TX a few years ago.  It is still commercially available from their site here in a set for $60.00.  Due to the interest, I've decided to do a give-away of the pattern when I finish with it in February (thanks for the idea, Meredith!).  So stay tuned!

There is still more work to do on this block (like embroider that poor chicken some legs), but I just had to share the progress.  Now, certainly I did not grow up with my undies flappin' and dryin' in the breeze in the front yard of our house and we had indoor plumbing (and no old, broken-down pickup truck on blocks in the front yard), but I have to admit that you do see this from time to time when driving through the lovely state of Alabama.  To be fair, I've seen this sort of thing in every state I've driven through in this country, including Michigan, where I reside now.  Redneck is not just a southern affliction.

I looked up redneck in the dictionary.  Most definitions use words like narrow, reactionary, rural, bigoted, working class, conservative, unsophisticated, prejudiced, white, uneducated and farm laborer.  Jeff Foxworthy certainly elevated (?) rednecks with his "You know you're a redneck if..." jokes (...if you go to a family reunion looking for a date...).  Redneck, more literally, refers to someone repeatedly laboring in the hot sun without proper sunscreen and/or neck coverage.

I've always associated rednecks with a certain swagger, a good-ole-boy (or girl!) with a beer in one hand, chewing on a toothpick, and a Marlboro hanging from the bottom lip.  They are usually good-natured and would give you the undershirt off their back if you needed it.  It is in that spirit that I decided a redneck house needed to be settled right next to one of the other blocks I'm working on...this nice, neat, pious little church.  Ooooo...I bet the tongues will be wagging after Sunday services ("just look at the state of that house" and "well, I never..."), all in good fun with a sense of community and brotherly love, of course.  Just like I heard once, "if you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me..."

This block still needs a few things and definitely some sheep in the neighboring pastures (and a cross on the steeple!).  Maybe the church needs one of those church signs with a clever saying or name of the upcoming sermon on it (any ideas??).

I am guest posting again on Stash Manicure today, Saturday, January 22.  Check it out!  I did a purge of some of my quilting pattern files and came up with the following five unused patterns.  I'm also including a short stack of new Halverson light chocolate fat quarters, a bottle of Roxanne's Glue Baste (which is what I use instead of pins in my applique...dot-dot-not-a-lot!), and a tube of my favorite Jeanna Kimball straw needles (thanks for turning me on to these, MaryLiz!). 






Leave a comment here at Fabric Therapy or on my Saturday post at Stash Management before 9:00 AM, Monday, January 24 to be entered in the drawing.  These patterns are lovely and you may find them to be just what you needed.  

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Baby steps...

I'm making baby step progress on the 10th block of my "All Around the Town" by Sue Garmon.  I've appliqued aspects of the house, but still need to applique it to the background.  I went a little nuts and added window box gardens with embroidered Marigolds and a cobblestone sidewalk. 


I've only had little chunks of time to sew over the past few days, but I've really taken advantage of those stolen moments working on this block and the last two.  Since I'm making a few modifications, I have to work on them together to make sure the changes will work between the 3 blocks.
I've also prepped my letters for my word border for my chocolate bunny quilt.  Now I need another 30 minute chunk of time to finish the initial glue work.  I can't wait to spread them out on the border fabric to see what the phrase will really look like (Just hand over the chocolate...and no bunny gets hurt!)

Is this pitiful, or what?!?  This is Weasley's favorite spot in winter.  Right under my feet at the kitchen sink where there is a heat register to blow on his abundant belly.

Ahhh...to be a cat...zzz...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)


Friday, January 14, 2011

Chocolate bunny word scramble...

Weasley and I have been playing chocolate bunny word scramble.  One of the two UFO's that I am committed to finish right now is "Bunnies Prefer Chocolate" by Anne Sutton of Bunny Hill Designs.  I just finished the embroidery embellishments and got the blocks sewn together.  Now I am ready for a stop border and an outer border.
This is not a very good picture...too dark and washed out, but you get the idea.  The thing that coaxed me (tricked me, really...) into finishing was deciding to put a phrase in the outer border.

I've gotten some good suggestions from friends and blogland.
The phrase will be: (drum roll, please...)

Just hand over the chocolate...
...and no bunny gets hurt!

As much as I love Tonya's free pieced letters, I decided the roundness of the rabbits called for rounded, applique letters.  I've got them drawn on Freezer paper, ready to cut out, adhere to some fabric and get crackin' on the applique.

I finally took down the Christmas tree ornaments and the new artificial tree segments were stuffed into 2 large tree duffle bags.  They are in the living room until we get them in the attic over the garage.  They look like body bags.  A neighbor popped in today, glanced at the bags, then glanced back at me.  I told her, "that's what happens when you don't get what you wanted for Christmas..."

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)

Monday, January 10, 2011

A little weekend building in the neighborhood...

As Forrest Gump would remind us, "Life is like a box of chocolates..."  Since I only have 3 of 12 blocks left on "All Around the Town" (Sue Garmon), I am sort of working on all three at one time...kind of like snacking on a Whitman's Sampler box of chocolate and cramming multiple flavors in my mouth at one time.  But I can't help myself!!  This is such a fun quilt to do!

I just need to fill in the upper left hand corner, then I can add the inner border (the road), the outer border, the cars, and a few last-minute little "rogue" elements in some of the yards.

I got out some of my architectural fabrics so I could pick out my building materials.  That is the fun part!!  Then I have to coordinate the grassy lumps that form the bases of the blocks.  Once all the decisions are made, thing get easier and I can start prepping the pieces using freezer paper and my trusty washable Elmer's glue stick.

I am still planning a tutorial on how I do applique...trust me...THIS isn't a beginner project for my method.  I am going to use "Stars and Sprigs" (Kim McLean) for that (and soon!)  Once my separate elements are prepped, I lay them out on my pattern and use my Roxanne's Glue Baste to LIGHTLY ("dot, dot, not a lot")layer and glue the pieces together. 

Have you ever used these little sewing weights before?!?  I received them YEARS ago as a gift and now use them to keep things from shifting while I work (I think they were intended to be used with tissue sewing patterns).  Fabulous gadget, and I am a gadget girl!
I leave some of the pressed on freezer paper in place to help me line up the pieces while I assemble.  I usually do this over my light box, but for some reason I didn't this time.  I definitely use the light box when I am glue-basting on to my background fabric so that I can really see my pattern through it as a guide.  I like to glue things together in units, then I will applique/stitch the units before either combining with other pieces or stitching to my background.  I do this both for convenience and because I like to trim the background away from behind my applique (if I will be hand quilting heavily).
The church doesn't have very many pieces and goes fairly quickly.  This block seems really crowded so I am removing the skinny little hosue to the left.  I will insert some trees, a rail fence and some animals on the other side of the church. 

The tall blue house had too many really skinny windows, so I made a few changes
I am making the last block's house into a "hick house," so I re-worked the block, scaling down the house and making some architectural changes to make it look very rural.  I don't mean to make fun of "hicks" - I am from Alabama, living in Michigan and have "hick" in my blood.  I have "hicks" in my family.  I know about "hicks".  (I could probably provide family photos for Jeff Foxworthy's "You Know You're a Redneck if..." books.)  I am adding a matching outhouse and a few other little rural touches.  I have this old barn-board looking fabric which will be perfect for this house.

The hardest thing about applique can be perspective...what part of the picture to put on top and what to feature to the rear.  I decided to do reverse applique on the windows and doors so they look "behind" the structure, so I glue in those features last.

 Weasley helped me with the windows and doors.
 After I applique these units together, I will embroider little things like window panes and door hardware.
Then I will arrange the blocks from the stitched units (houses, trees, etc.) and do the final stitching.  It felt so good to do a little work on this quarter of the quilt, as I had really developed quite a mental block for some reason.

Fence posts, fence boards and some trees...
Krause -Hobo Quilts
I want to share some pictures of a quilt from this book,  "Hobo Quilts: 55+ Original Blocks Based on the Secret Language of Riding the Rails."  My friend Mary Jones made it as a sample for Wendy's Simple Stitches in Howell, Michigan.

She put a train on the back featuring her labels and a picture of one of the gentlemen from the book.  The projects are cool and just reading about the history is really interesting.  GREAT book and great project for a man in your life or anyone who loves history!


While at Wendy's shop, I picked up this cool scrappy quilt pattern.  Their sample (which I forgot to take a picture of...oops!) featured the scrappy units in a vertical setting rather than the horizontal one featured on the pattern.  VERY cool!  Everything is based on 1.5 inch strips and squares.

ALWAYS looking for things that will whittle down my scrap bins!  Just another idea from my "box of chocolates" to nibble on this year...

In stitches,
Teresa  :o)