Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Dim light coming from the end of the tunnel...

Hopefully the light isn't a train at the end of the tunnel!  The two side borders are stitched, embroidered, soaked, pressed and ready to apply.  Only the top border stands between me and getting this quilt assembled and ready for quilting.

I am waiting until all four borders are stitched before attaching to the body of the quilt.

I spent some time over the weekend picking out the fabric bits for that final top border.  My "little bits" boxes make this process a little easier.

I have two bits boxes for each color, one 4 x 6 inch size and a larger one that is 5 x 7 (boxes are photo boxes by Iris, available at JoAnn's).  

When I first set up the bits boxes, I cut a rectangle, sloppily by hand with scissors, from favorite fabrics roughly 5 x 7.  Then every time I cut out a piece, the rectangle in the larger box gets smaller and little scraps start filling the smaller box.

This works well for me and saves time.  Larger applique pieces like apples, pears, wedding rings are cut from the larger piece in the bigger box, then the scraps (like the center of a wedding ring motif) get put away in the smaller box.

I know it sounds fussy and tedious, but over time I have a good system.  The smaller bits are good for grapes, berries, individual petals, leaves, etc. 

They are quickly and easily sorted through and manipulated with my large beading tweezers.  This really helps me and my post cat bite, post surgery, dumb, swollen, crooked index finger that is quite useless at picking through and gripping little fumbly things (tweezers purchased from Amazon.com).

Then I had a long session of trimming and gluing the scant edges under with a good DVD to watch. There were 321 pieces in this top border alone!  It will measure somewhere around 56-inches long.

I build some of the units, like the more complicated flowers, right over the pattern, before attaching them to the border fabric using my light box (I remove the freezer paper pattern pieces before attaching).

I love my vintage pattern weights, but sometimes a larger, weighty surface is needed to secure pieces until the glue baste is dry.  I use a very small plexi-glass ruler to cover motif area...

...then I pile the heavy little weights on top until things are flat and secure...kind of looks like a clump of grapes.

Here is a look at the same thing, without the distracting glare of the light box.

The pattern weights and a straight line drawn with a washable, blue Clover pen keep my 56-inch long vellum pattern properly aligned with my fabric border strip over my light box and I can scoot things from side to side as I work over the lit surface.

Cupcakes with no calories!  I really like using cupcake papers to sort applique bits awaiting glue basting.  I can lift them out of a cupcake pan and they are light weight and easy to work with on my work surface.

Again, use of my beading tweezers to apply pieces makes handling the fussy pieces MUCH easier as I glue baste into place.

And here is the final top border...all ready to start stitching!  I am watching the episodes of "Series of Unfortunate Events" on Netflix and "Victoria" on PBS.  It makes all that hand stitching ever so pleasant!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Still heading for the borders...

The second border for "Contentment" is done!  This is the left border...it just needs to be dunked into water to soak out the glues.  

And I am very close to being done with the third border, the right border.  It is a mirror image in design to the left border, but with different fabrics.  My husband was off yesterday and volunteered to be my third and fourth hands to snap a couple of "wild animal pics" of me actually taking stitches.

Just a few more vines and leaves, a little embroidery and then this border with take a bath with the other one.

The bottom border has been finished, lonely and waiting for a few weeks for some company. Once I soak the glue out of the side borders, I will trim all to size and attach them to the body of the quilt.  I am so excited!

The top border contains wedding rings and more flowers and fruit.

We put almost 5000 miles on the car in December and early January...I hauled these borders around with me, but did not have the time or energy to make a single stitch.  Bummer, but they are well-traveled!
I took Riley to Michigan, drove to the opposite end of Alabama, then we went to Pennsylvania to see Steve's Dad and family after Christmas. While there, we drove to New York City to see a Broadway musical (Riley's Christmas present).  We saw Josh Groban in "Natasha and Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812." It was SOOOOO great!  I predict it will win awards!  We sat on the stage and were in the middle of all the action, sometimes just inches away from the performers...even Josh!  I even had a strange, impromptu, spotlit interaction with one of the cute leads! WOW! I'm in love!

I was sick all through the holidays with Bronchitis...were you?  I keep running into people that had the same thing I did.  Antibiotics, breathing treatments...I am still not quite right.  Not a good start to this weird new year!

While in Michigan, I experienced polar vortex and a snowstorm...it has been in the high 60's, low 70's here lately in NW Alabama. This is weirdly warm, even for the south.  There was snow in central Alabama a little over a week ago.  There were things I wanted to do outside while the poisonous snakes were safely snoozing...not sure I trust their sleeping habits right now.  I bet they are awake or just dozing.  I expect to see the daffodils pushing up any day now.  We are still in a terrible rain deficit.

I want to spend more time in my quilt cave this year and lose weight.  Seeing how the kitchen and the quilt cave are miles apart in this big house, that just might work!  I also decided that it is time to be less sad and more happy.

That is easier than it sounds.

In stitches,
Teresa  :o) 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Stuck in Funky Town...

As most of you now know, the quilting world lost a bright star on Sunday, January 8.  Sue Garman was a brilliant quilter, designer and teacher.  Her boundless enthusiasm about quilting was infectious and contagious, and she touched thousands through her blog here and her pattern website here.  She was very kind, generous and helpful to me, even though I never met her in person.

I first "met her" through obtaining permission to enter this quilt based on her quilt wall hanging pattern, "All Around the Town," in an AQS show several years ago. I seem to always twist and turn other people's patterns to make them my own, and she encouraged that behavior!

She was most gracious and thrilled about my little changes and additions.  She even asked if she could post my quilt on her blog...I was so honored and excited!

She was tickled about my addition of a "red neck" house, complete with outhouse and a truck up on blocks in the yard, and other little touches in other sections inspired by my family and friends!

My daughter drew the horse to add to my quilt.

My bestie Ola's family golf tradition...

Judy E's flower garden pink flamingo pair...

Our orange kitty, Mr. Weasely...

The black stop border with every address I had ever lived hand-quilted into it...

Tiny quilts hanging in a quilt show...

I have been working on blocks for her amazing "Afternoon Delight" quilt lately.  Here are a few of my favorites...

The almost 7-inch blocks are not only beautifully designed and drafted, but incredibly fun and healing to stitch. She was designing and stitching right up to her early passing.  If you are not familiar with her patterns or her, I urge you to visit her site and her blog. She will be missed!  

Sue Garman, quilt on!

In stitches,
Teresa   :o)