22 June, 2017

Quilting By The Numbers

After~ Pantographs, arranged numerically with accompanying directory on top.
As I mentioned in yesterday's post I chose to use a specific pantograph for quilting the "Red Hot Summer" quilt that is currently loaded onto Snowbird.
That very action: searching for and locating the chosen pantograph was a completely frustrating and time-wasting activity task chore. Up until yesterday the pantographs were arranged in the unorganized jumble as pictured above. The method for selection was haphazard at best; pulling rolls out of the repurposed, expandable wine rack that is housed in the bottom section of the sewing machine cabinet, until I got lucky and found what I was looking for. "There has to be a better way", I thought.  I already had a computer file listing all of  the pantographs that I own, created for potential quilting customers a few years ago. I decided to print it out, assign a number to each entry, and subsequently create matching numbers to attach to each paper pantograph roll. The whole project took me approximately two hours; it will pay for itself, time-wise, in short order. The feeling of accomplishment in taming this jumble is, to me, priceless! Keeping the directory up to date on looseleaf pages allows for future entries to be logged in and added, page by page, over time. It's a good system.

Meanwhile, that Waterworld quilting is coming along quite nicely.

Life is Good!

21 June, 2017

Summer Stitches

"Red Hot Summer" ~ 60.5" X 68.5"
Today is the first day of summer, bring it on! As a way to commemorate this premiere day of my favorite season of the year I have pulled out this Stack and Whack flimsy and loaded it onto Snowbird for quilting. I completed this top probably ten years ago. 
These "sand men" on the beach and related surf items combine to create wonderful kaleidoscopic effects, just as delightful today as they were to me back in 2007!

I didn't have enough of any one fabric for the backing, but I did manage to scare up enough of several coordinating sand and sea fabrics to compose a pieced back with a few big swaths of the featured large scale print for posterity. 
The pantograph I chose is "Waterworld" and the thread color is "sand". The beach motif is complete!
Let the fun begin!
How are you observing this number one day of summer at your house?

Life is Good!

18 June, 2017

Doubly Blessed

I arranged these two bouquets last evening, they graced the altar at church this morning. I come from the tradition, in a large church, where, when it was the Sunday that you dedicated the altar flowers, they were ordered for you by the church secretary and just showed up, arranged and delivered by a local florist to the specific norms adopted by the church. And then there was Grace, our mission church. We meet in the chapel of a funeral home and, until fairly recently, we trotted out the same silk arrangements every week. A few months back we adopted the precious tradition of signing up for a particular week and bringing flowers from home. There are no stipulations, they can be as elaborate or as simple as the donor chooses; anything from professionally arranged florist bouquets to cut flowers from one's own garden or even potted, flowering plants. It's exciting each week to see what fellow members choose to bring, since it's a personal choice we learn more about each other through this service opportunity; it's always interesting to me to see what someone may bring on a particular Sunday and why. Today was our Sunday, I signed up weeks ago, these flowers were dedicated to my mother and father this morning as they are celebrating doubly: today being both Father's Day and my mother's birthday! It is a joy-filled day, our family is doubly blessed. So, back to the arrangements being readied last evening, I thought for a moment about how we could transport two vases in the car without spilling water. I cut two holes in a shipping box after taping it shut all around and slipped the vases inside. Voilà! (I haven't lived with an engineer for over forty-two years without picking up a trick or two.) It worked out just perfectly.
Happy birthday, Mom, happy Father's Day, Dad.
These altar flowers today are dedicated to the glory of God in your honor.
Life is Good!

12 June, 2017

Done and Done

"Jackstones" is completely and totally finished: binding, sleeve and label. Done.
This quilt measures 63" X 73.5". I was inspired by a pattern but drafted my own, you can read more about that here. Begun two summers ago, the flimsy stage was reached a year after that and it has languished either on the rails of Snowbird or on the sofa ready to have the binding properly finished for the last few months. I am pleased to have this one in the "done" column, it was worth the wait. 
"Jackstones", quilting detail.  
"Jackstones", the back.
And, as if that quilt isn't enough to celebrate the completion of, here's another for good measure!
"Out of the Blue" has also moved itself into the done column. Okay, well it didn't move itself there, it had some help! Don't ask why it has sat, with three quarters of the binding hand-sewn into place (and the remainder basted and waiting), for months. I don't know. A long car trip this weekend, to Tennessee, for the wedding of a dear friend had me packing a "handwork" bag for the car. The result is gloriously pictured above. This one was begun in 1997. Yes, you read that right. It was stored in bins for a decade and a half or so and saw the light of day when I chose to cut the remainder of the triangles using my Accuquilt die cutter. This whopper of a twin bedspread (with generous pillow tuck) measures 79.5" X 115". 
I didn't attach a hanging sleeve to this one, Mr. Goodneedle is holding the top of the quilt on the other side of the hanging bar just so that I can take this photo, Hannes thinks he's playing hide and seek!
L-o-o-o-ng quilt; l-o-o-o-ng dog.
Life is Good!

08 June, 2017

Buried and Busy

It had gotten to the point that I couldn't pull open the file drawer in the studio anymore, no matter if I'd had my Wheaties for breakfast or not! It was time, long past time, for cleaning out the files. Do you ever have looming jobs that seem to be so much greater in scope, in your imagination, than they actually turn out to be? I do; this was one of those tasks which seemed too big to tackle... almost! I started yesterday morning, one file at a time. The waste basket became my best friend. Pounds upon pounds of paper were carried to the trash can outside. Quilt sketches from the 1980's, quilt judging critique forms and quilt show programs that were also decades old; did I need to keep any of these? NO! This afternoon I can open and close the file drawer with ease, it's one fluid movement again, with room for more files if the need arises. A job successfully completed, such as this one, always makes we wonder why I waited all this time to begin. A huge sense of accomplishment is my reward.
Digging out from all that paper was cause for a celebration. For me, getting organized is like throwing a party; so, how better to commemorate the occasion than by getting busy making pencil cases for the grands. This was fun, I trimmed each with their individual favorite colors and filled them with a few treats to celebrate the end of school; who knows what treasures and treats they may come to hold over time. Another pattern byannie.com.; this one is a free download. And to think, I was once afraid of zippers! 😉 What needs organizing at your house? Attack it head on, you'll be happy that you did!
Life is Good!

01 June, 2017

Twirl, Girl, Twirl!

I was challenged to figure out what to do with that leftover pom-pom trim from the Big Hex. I had an idea! Remembering this book on my shelf:

...and a particular dress in that book...

I decided to add it to the hem of a T-shirt dress for my favorite little 4-year-old twirling girl. She came over yesterday for a "fitting". Measurements were taken and I made this dress up for her in the size suggested. It appears to be quite roomy upon completion, she had to leave before Nana was done, I believe she'll have this dress to spin around in for several seasons. Since I finished it up after her departure and  I still had the dress here with more time to think about further embellishments I came up with a plan. Yes, it definitely could use a monogram! That's what happens when things languish in the vicinity of the embroidery machine.
Perfect!  Really, who wouldn't want to twirl around in a dress like this one? 

I made good use of that pom-pom trim, right down to those last few inches!
(The color in the photo below is much more representative of the actual hue than the above photos.)
Life is Good!


26 May, 2017

Wrapping It Up

I'm down to quilting the last few rows of blocks in this quilt: "Jackstones". It's been on the rails for a very long time; so long, in fact, that I have removed it and replaced it three times already to quilt pantographs on other quilts while it languished! It really is way beyond time that this one gets wrapped up. I don't know about you but I feel a particular sense of urgency at this time of year, a push to get things done, wrap up loose ends and complete tasks. I believe it goes back to all those years of being a student. The month of May signals "end of year" like nothing else in my mind, that signal increases in frequency and volume with each passing day in the month. Just thinking about term papers being due, final exams and end-of-year this or that can still elicit a cold sweat, even after all these decades. With increased age I am keenly aware now, more than ever, of the all-too-swift pace of time passing; easily gauged through the rocket-like growth of my own grandchildren. There's no time like now; right now! "Wrap it up, finish the job, get it done" echoes in my head, "there are new challenges on the horizon". We were invited to a few "end of year" programs for Gregory and Lynnleigh at their respective schools (didn't school only just begin last week?).  They were both adorable, naturally.
Lynnleigh, age 4
Gregory, age 6

Back to the job at hand, only a few more rows. "Wrap it up, finish the job, get it done"... almost there!
None of us know how much time we have; but I, for one, know that I don't want to spend forever quilting on just one quilt! There's simply too many other things that I want to try and need to get done. I am thankful for this ingrained "end-of-year" urgency that not-too-gently propels me forward, presses me onward; yep, it's high time increase that final effort and wrap things up! Summer (and all the fun and adventure that one word implies) awaits; and beyond that there are newer, bigger, mountains to climb! I'm sure you remember that feeling too: the giddy excitement of what's to come.

Life is Good!
Up next: "Twirl, Girl, Twirl!"