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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A gorgeous autumn 2012 day in the studio with friends

 Lovely projects and personalities

A bag? A placemat?

Independent projects, camaraderie and lots of opinions and help

A comfy spot for handquilting

The precision quilter intent on her project

Conversation and laughter could still be heard over the whir of machines

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Bumble Bees

Bumble bees are fascinating.  It stops me in my tracks to watch them hover and work, hover and work.

K. Sperino from Finishing Lines inspired me to invest in a good camera.  I'm amazed at the images the camera is able to capture - even bumble bees and pollen on a sunflower.  I am contemplating how I would translate these images into a textile piece. 

Check out the link to Finishing Lines.  She does amazing work and both her images and work are pure eye candy.

All three photos were taken on Main Street in Boothbay Harbor, Maine this fall.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Goodbye to a friend

I was able to make a quilt for a friend in his last weeks.  It included photos from his close friends and family in lighter, carefree times.  Karl enjoyed hiking, vacations, cooking and spending time with friends and family.  

I will miss his gentle sweet smile. 

Karl certainly appreciated the quilt and the warm memories.

Making the quilt and seeing him enjoy it was the best thing I could have done for myself.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Waste nothing

The following project is an experiment in using every bit and piece of fabric originating with a specific project.  This is challenging to those of us who don't use patterns, love scraps and seem to create more leftovers with each and every project.  My scrap bins, although precious and useful in their right, have grown way too big.

The project started with 22 fat quarters and the intentions of using them all to make one quilt top and to use all the bits and pieces up.  The fabrics all had 2 things in common, they contained the color pink and were florals.

I cut strips out of each of the fabrics in 6", 4", 3" and 2" varying widths to use most all of the fabrics, keeping stacks of each width as I cut.  If I made a project in this fashion again, I'd use wider strips at this point, probably with the widest strip starting at 9" and a few 1/2 yard cuts in place of the fat quarters.  It would lead to a bit less variety of fabrics and less piecing.

As I cut the strips, I stacked strips of the same width together in piles to stay organized.

I mixed up the strips of the same width and cut them in chunks of varying sizes.  Nothing was measured.  The strips originally cut at 6' wide were now stacked in groups of 3 or 5 across my cutting board and chopped apart at whatever intervals or sections appealed to me visually; wide, narrow and in between but being very careful to keep the original strip sets together.  The result was stacks of rectangles that were 6" long by varying widths, and then 4" by varying widths and so on with the remaining strips.  It is very important to the overall construction to keep the cuts lined up across the grid and to keep the sub cuts perpendicular using the lines on the mat and the ruler.

Keeping the stacks organized, mix up the fabrics and sew rectangles together in sets of 2.  Sew the sets of 2 together to create sets of 4, and so on until reaching a desired length that would be the width of a large lap-sized quilt.  Another way to reduce waste when strip piecing is to pay attention to starting a set under the presser foot before the prior set is completely done.  It eliminates wasted thread between pieces and time spent cleaning up when you cut pieces apart.
Once you finish one stack and the strip sets are approximately the same length (the desired width of the quilt), move on to the next stack and do the same process to create strip sets the same length as the previous strip sets (the desired width of the quilt).
Sew the rows together in a way that is visually appealing to you.
Kelly and I were fortunate to spend another perfect week in East Boothbay at our favorite place on earth - courtesy of dear, generous friends. 

This is the total amount of leftovers, including selvage edges (there will be a separate complimentary project using these in a future post), trimmings from squaring up and clipped piecing threads (the little grey nest of threads on the bed of the Featherweight).

I'm not sure what I'll do with the trimmings.  That will be a real challenge!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Catching up?

How do you possibly catch up once time moves on?  I am coming to believe that there is no such thing as catching up.  There is only moving on and holding onto the those moments that are worth remembering. 

So here are some of my recent most important moments.
Kathy S. hanging a sweet little quilt at the Thimble Pleasures Quilt Guild show.

June P. at quilt camp in Connecticut with some young visitors and potential future quilters.

Mary L. is a relatively new but very talented quilter, enjoying her time at quilt camp with friends.

My buddy, Gina B., and a visitor who shares Gina's sense of humor.

Color in my garden is such a welcomed sight.

A finished pink quilt for the quilt show in March.

A finished round robin quilt for the quilt show, with thanks to participants in my group who lovingly added to my center block to create this sweet 1920's quilt.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm anxious to find out if this nest will be occupied this year.  It is in the forsythia that's visible from the sunroom window.  A cup of tea, a good book or a some relaxing hand stitching, Casper cuddled up in my lap and birds singing is a perfect way to spend a few hours. 

The rhododendrons haven't blossomed yet but seem about to burst open.  They are now considered old-growth plants - and I planted them.  So what does that really mean?

This was a gift from Aunt Claudette.  It was her mother's machine and just needs a little work to get the old girl in good working order again. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Singer 301 Sewing Machine

Check out my friend June's new addition to her sewing machine line-up.  Singer 301 with table - sweet little workhorse!  Functional and pretty!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hello again

It's been a while since I've posted anything.  This little break in blogging was filled with other activities.  Out guild had our bi-annual quilt show which was a success by all accounts.  Guild members had the opportunity to sponsor a student for an entry into the show.  It was a very rewarding experience to sponsor Gracie who attends classes with her mom, Beth.  They do a wonderful job and are very enthusiastic. 

 Beth and Gracie with Gracie's quilt, named after her cat, Beethoven.  Grace's quilt is filled with cat fabrics.  This budding artist is designing her own pieces and has sold the most lovely little pillows.  The pillows have a pocket for a tea bag tucked inside an appliqued flower pot.
 A recent vacation to Maine and a roadtrip to South Thomaston led us to this lighthouse where I got to play with a new DSL camera.  Fun, fun, fun.
This Singer 301 is the latest addition to my family of machines.  It runs like a charm with a bit of a heavier and slower motor than a Featherweight.  The stitch is flawless and I'm looking forward to working with it more.

Friends from my quilting mini-group decided to abscond with an unfinished project that I evidently left in plain sight.  The piece was wedges were pieced together and appliqued on the black and silver background.  I was stuck about what to do with the center.  Nothing seemed to work.  Susan decided she could paper piece a center.  Donna would quilt it and Gina would bind it.  I'm not sure who the ringleader was but they got it done in time for the quilt show and entered it without me knowing.  The day of the show they asked me to stand by the piece.  I had typed out all the descriptions and helped lay out the show.  At first I tried to place the piece because it looked so familiar but I was sure it hadn't been included in the set up.  When I realized what they had done, my first thought was what they loved more, a really good practical joke or me!  The truth must be both!  And I am most blessed to have such good friends. What do you think my chances are of this happening again?  I do have a number of unfinished projects stacked up!