14 August, 2020

Top Ten (?)

I was recently challenged by a friend to post one quilt picture a day for ten days on Facebook. I took her up on that challenge and enjoyed scouring the files for ten photos of some favorite quilts that I've made over the years. I had so much fun that I thought I'd share my selected ten here in collage form. Some days I get so busy planning the next project that it's nice to reflect on projects from the past. 
And, because I don't need to limit this post to only ten photos, here's just a few "leftovers"; for fun!
As we move forward sometimes it's nice to take look back at where we've been, 
(and what we've actually finished! 😉) don't you think so too?

Life is Good! 

12 August, 2020

Gettin' Chubby

I'm getting chubby these days; well, maybe (hopefully) not me, but I'm getting chubby with my binding! "Chubby binding" is the preferred binding method of Kim Diehl and it is explained in all of her books. I spoke about it here, having used it on a quilt last month. The appearance is quite nice and the corners turn perfectly square each and every time. "Brother Bear" has been prepared with this binding for hand finishing.  
This method uses a Clover tape maker (size 25) for turning a 2" cut strip. Since this method uses a single-fold over the raw edge instead of a customary, double-fold, binding I wouldn't recommend it for any quilt that gets a lot of use. For a wall hanging or light-duty quilt, however, it's my new go-to method.  
"All American" is quilted and off the rails. It will hang on a brick wall out on the porch, it will get  its chubby binding applied this afternoon. I can't wait to get this one done and hung! 
"The Quiet Road" has been loaded and the quilting's begun. I almost talked myself out of quilting it with orange thread and considered a neutral linen color; I'm SEW glad that I didn't listen now! 😍
The Tie-Dye kit that I ordered arrived yesterday. I've never done this before but am looking forward to having fun with this along with our oldest granddaughter. Lucy Ann decided to tie-dye her quilt backing fabric, I'd better get busy and read through all the directions in preparation for our dyeing day. 
Another year, another batch of nap blankets for the Pre-K program at a local elementary school. I'm not sure how long the small quilt group of which I'm a part has been contributing 45 nap blankets (three classrooms of fifteen), but I'm guessing somewhere between seven and ten years. This years' contributions will be "held" until the Pre-Ks return in person (at least nine weeks from now) given the amended school calendar concessions for COVID-19. They've been delivered and we'll start looking ahead, the need is ongoing; it's never too early to get a head start on next year's batch. 
Life is Good! 

08 August, 2020

Label It!

"Brother Bear" is quilted, off the rails and trimmed for finishing. My normal order of doing things, once quilting is completed, is to print out a label and make the hanging sleeve and binding; then I place the hanging sleeve and label into position and attach them at the same time that I stitch the binding on. This was the last sheet of Printed Treasures that I have on hand. I realized a few months ago that this product is no longer available, every website that I checked was out of stock and my LQS is unable to order it. I have used it for label making for many years. (I did find a lone package floating around on an E-bay site for an exorbitant price, no thanks!) I am currently researching a substitute product and, so far, have almost settled on EQ Printables. I have also found a very similar June Tailor product, I just don't know. I haven't purchased any yet and am eager to get the opinion of other quilters out there. Do you print your labels from your home printer? What do you use for your labels and how easy is the product to work with? How well does the printing hold up after washing? Please weigh in and help me out, the sheets are pricey and I don't want to make an expensive mistake. Thanks SEW much!

Life is Good!

05 August, 2020

Great Mail Day~ and Questions For You...

Yesterday was a great mail day, two-fer-- don't you just love those? My thread cone arrived at the same time as the pantographs that I'd ordered. O, happy day!! I don't know about you, but while I'm piecing a top (and using up thread which led to the order of that first item) I'm already projecting as to how I'll quilt what's under the needle. I had been thinking for awhile about quilting the All American quilt and, last week, Urban Elementz had their pantos on sale; so, of course, I ordered two! The design on the right is "Becker's Shooting Star" and that's how I'll quilt up that one. 
"All American"
I've had my eye on this panto for some time but was resisting adding yet another panto to my collection; the sale prices provided the nudge that I needed, it'll be great on QOVs too (that's rationalizing, right?😉). 
"The Quiet Road"

The Pumpkin Fest panto, left, top photo, is pretty dense and a bit more complicated, I believe it will look great quilted on the simply pieced top The Quiet Road. I've got my work lined up and ready for me!

So, why special order thread through the mail? I like to use Presencia, 60 wt., 3-ply Egyptian cotton thread for all of my piecing, I order it by the large (4880 yd.) cone and keep it on hand all of the basic neutral colors. It's strong, but fine, and leaves very little lint, comparatively. in the bobbin area. I became aware of this thread in a workshop taught by Augusta Cole a few years ago and have been a convert ever since. My LQS doesn't stock it, I order it from Red Rocks; it's pricey but lasts a good, long, time and the customer service is excellent. 

Sew, today's questions for you: 1. Do you jump ahead in your thoughts to future steps (projects?) as you're sewing one one project to what will be next, or are you focused on what's right in front of you? 2. Do you have one, special, nothing-else-will-do product that you go that extra mile (and pay postage!) to find and purchase? Weigh in~ let me know that I'm not alone!

Life is Good!

04 August, 2020

Reading Wrap-Up and a Recipe

This is my list of books read for July. We're still thoroughly enjoying our D-E-A-R* time on the porch while we stay at home. Our daughter helped me to reinistate my library card while she was here this past weekend; I have picked up a book already from the local branch and have a hold placed for two more, when they become available. This past months' reads were all good ones, I'm new to Louise Penny and have A Fatal Grace, her next in line after this one, in the queue all ready for this month. What's currently on your reading list or, better yet, on your bedside table?
We enjoyed this recipe over the weekend during family appetizer time, it's a newly discovered one for me, but will be repeated again soon. It could easily be a meal in itself, (which may or may not have happened last night) it's even better reheated! I served ours with Triscuits and Pita Chips but any sturdy crackers would be equally great. Enjoy~

Life is Good!

*= Drop Everything And Read

03 August, 2020

The Quiet Road

There's a kind of quiet the descends on the house after children leave; it's a weird stillness that settles around you like a blanket, one that's impossible to shake off. You're aware of the hush all over again each time you pick up a forgotten Lego, book or sock from its resting place left in their wake. It's the same every time, sweet memories of time shared together filling up the empty spots and spaces that only days before were filled with activity and punctuated with laughter, jokes, music and hugs. Today is one of those days. I completed a quilt top last week, a Yellow Brick Road pattern made up of low-volume prints with an autumn theme. I'm calling this one "The Quiet Road". Sometimes a super-easy pieced quilt top is just the thing to satisfy that need to sew and desire to accomplish more than weeding the flower bed or vacuuming the house, those things that become all-too-soon undone. Sure, I've already got a sizable queue of quilts-to-be-quilted in the closet but this was begging to be completed, it was jumping up and down with its hand raised shouting whispering loudly "pick me, pick me" from the stack of UFO's. I'm pleased to have listened ; the result is vintage-y in appearance and calming by nature.
"The Quiet Road" ~ 57" X 75"

I've chosen a dark orange for the backing and a meandering pumpkin pantograph for the quilting, in burnt orange thread. Isn't it ironic how sometimes it's the quiet things that should, seemingly, fade into the background and remain unnoticed; but, instead, they grab all of your attention and move themselves forward? 
That's the way today is~ it's the silence that's wrapped itself around me. 
It's a peace that has filled my heart providing energy for planning that next noisy adventure;
sometimes we need only take a stroll down a quiet road to show us where and what we require!
Life is Good!

01 August, 2020

New Month, New Quiltmaker

Even though it seems as though each day slips silently into the next during these crazy days of the "new normal" (whatever that is), time really is moving forward and we've slipped into August already! Our daughter and oldest granddaughter spent a few days visiting from the Capital City. Now that Lucy Ann has completed third grade, it's high time for her to learn and utilize machine skills  for her very first quilt. She took to the machine like a duck to water-- she was eager to succeed and nothing stood in her way!
We started slowly. She worked from her favorite color palette of navy blue and aqua and began a lap-sized quilt by joining squares into four-patches and then into larger units. She helped to die-cut all of her squares. She understood the importance of maintaining an accurate and consistent seam allowance; everything fit together perfectly.

From four-patches into larger units.
By day two she was well on her way to laying out her overall design. We kept the sessions long enough to be productive but not over-tiring. 
We took physical breaks; snacks and games were all part of the plan, too. I believe she had a great time!
On the first evening (it started early, on Thursday!) of our "girls weekend + Paw Paw" we ate pizza out on the porch and topped it off with an old favorite (in our family) dessert; Rainbow Angel Cake. This tunneled-out-and-filled-with-rainbow-sherbet-angel-food-cake was a constant at our daughter's birthday parties throughout her teen years. We spent precious time visiting, playing games and watching television together before bedtime. Last evening we had appetizer hour, a baked potato and toppings bar for dinner and a chocolate chip cookie skillet with homemade chocolate ice cream. Lucy Ann and our daughter taught us to play Kings Corner, a new (to us) card game. Our weekend was a jam-packed and enjoyable one!
Before she had to pack up the car, and head back home with her Mom today, Lucy Ann had everything in place on the design wall! Time slipped away altogether too quickly. Is this the face of a proud and happy new quiltmaker? I'd say "yes"!! 🙂 We need to schedule future sessions to finish up the top's assembly and to tie-dye the backing fabric before we load it onto the longarm for quilting. The fun with this one never stops! 
I cannot wait for our next get-together. 
Yep, time marches forward; days turn into months which turn into years~ today's Hannes' 16th birthday! Happy birthday, little buddy; you make everyday a joyful occasion. You're a loving and loyal companion.  
Life is Good!