Monday, September 1, 2014

Magic Number 21

I look at September 1st as the beginning of my new stitching year. Excited as child who liked to go to school with new notebooks, pencils etc., I was anxiously awaiting new experiences and new things to learn. I spotted some odd shapes over a little rise yesterday on my way into the church parking lot. It was raining very hard so I decided to return when the weather improved.
Just as I suspected, fabulous fungus....lots of it!
closer inspection showed a pattern to the little crop-lets....they followed the partially exposed roots of an old tree long since removed.
It was my intention to capture some different angles but the grass was sopping wet and there was a funeral procession pulling into the lot. I did not wish to appear disrespectful. If they last before the next grass cutting I might be able to go back.

Back to the subject at hand. The number 21, which is actually 22 and maybe 23. What is she talking about you say?

While languishing in road construction the other day I was trying to decide how to approach that new year here. Breaking out my pen and paper I came up with no less than 21 categories of stitching and craft discussed here in the past... many not recently. Last night during a long sleepless period I found number 22. So, in spite of the possibility of letting this blog go in the wind like many others who are not sponsored, I may have some new ideas to share. 1072 posts and 100,000+ page views later I am still motivated to share my work and the work of my quilting friends here. I have been approached several times by parties interested in 'sponsoring' this space. That is not my intention so I will continue as always.
There is still so much to do!
  • upcoming topics include: organization and re-purposing kitchen items for your sewing space, maintaining your mending schedule, working on the stash, using the Accuquilt cutter to organize your scraps.
  • Fall decor smalls
  • My personal +1 project.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Quilters Know What I Mean

Just right for a picnic!
Not one to waste the long Holiday week end I plan to baste a quilt, with my 'slats,' on the dining room table tonight. It is still the best place for this process but it sure disrupts the flow of household activities. I saw this little e-card on Facebook the other day and I know many of us can relate!  With Summer winding down I look forward to starting a new quilt with some Fall Themed fabric I picked up a couple months ago. And with great luck and divine providence a new Christmas themed quilt.

May your Labor Day weekend be a nice wrap up for the Summer of 2014. A rather cool and wet one for us in Western Pa., but not bad over all. Soon millions of leaves will be falling and burying us here. The Fall leaf round-up is quite a job for us. I shudder to think.

So enjoy the last of the Summer celebrations, fire up the grill, visit with friends and family, use a worn quilt for a picnic blanket. Until next week.....................toodles!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Flying High with Accuquilt Dreams...A Friday Finish, The Eary Fall Banner

We are lucky quilters. When I think about all the amazing tools and gadgets and widgets that the sewing markets have designed in the last few years I am agog. When I think back to my first quilt of a poly/cotton blend calico that was all that was available. I also used cottons from discarded shirts and dresses. That movement is still alive and well, the waste not want not quilters! Just think about Bonnie Hunter and the style she has promoted making scrap quilts. Love it. I used to cut templates from cardboard, traced with a number two pencil on the back of the fabric and cut out with scissors. No more my darlings, no more of that.

That little dissertation leads me to cutting systems. I himmed and hawed for a long time before I purchased my Accuquilt Go but it is indeed one of my best sewing purchases ever, ever! If you make more than one or two pieces per year this might be for you. (no compensation received or implied by the way.) This is not a lighthearted purchase. It can add up. But with arthritic hands this has been a lifesaver for me, cutting wise. I dislike the cutting process quite a bit, I admit I am not so good at it. Something always 'goes off' and I have to waste fabric to re-cut. With careful planning I don't have as many scraps as I used to when cutting certain shapes. Now, of course, there is more waste with applique pieces or fussy cuts but I can live with that.

My most recent order was this log cabin die. It can produce a 12 inch block. Works for me. I haven't used this one yet, I have several other items in progress that I want to complete before diving into this one. I just ordered the 2 1/2 strip cutter die as well. I am going to proceed to cut my strips as I go to reduce the stash. I am so enamoured with strip quilts and this is a great way to do the prep. 

As usual, I like to do a couple quick projects between big ones to get that satisfaction of completion. In that vein I found some scraps left over from a quilt project from a couple years ago. I joined them into off-set rows. These little strings were a bit wonky and not suitable for the quilt but since I am a fan of all Kansas Troubles fabrics they were set aside for another use. I used my fall Accuquilt applique die that had a pumpkin, a maple leaf, an oak leaf and an acorn. I even found some trim I picked up at a quilt show a couple years ago to add some dimension. And Ta-Da, the Fall Theme Mini Quilt Flag. The second in my series.  
21/2  inch strips sewn then cut into 2 1/2 inch blocks then joined.
The Banner measures 15 inches x 36 inches. This is a very wrinkled look at the top applique portion. It really doesn't look this bad in real life.  I am going to un-stitch those echo's and re-think that section tomorrow. The appliques were cut with the Accquilt cutter, and fused with Steam a Seam 2 EZ. My new favorite fusible. I added the little fabric vine trim to add some dimension.  
divided approximately in thirds, the bottom is 2/3 of the overall length. I decided to off-set the block rows to add some interest.  A little free motion stitching on the leaf veins and a simple satin stitch around the pumpkin was done using one of the new water activated stabilizers. Not sure about that, need to work with it a bit more. The adhesion was good after a second dampening, it was a mid-weight but it seemed to bubble a bit. I probably did something wrong. I'll let you know about that. 
The quilting was done with one of the many decorative stitches on my machine. Straight rows, right down the middle.

In summary, I am breathless with the possibility this little cutter affords even the most casual sewist. I know some professional sewists/quilters who swear by theirs. Me too!

*Mr. sees me working away, offers a little bag of chips. Quite frankly I think I just ate my shoe, kale and spinach, yuk!

Berlin, Take My Breath Away, the theme from Top Gun

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Profound Sewing, Small Projects, Decorating Kitchen Towels

pretty fabric inspires

In life you are never caught up
  • Figure that out and you have a lot figured out
Source: Barbra from Sewing on the Edge  

It was my intention to discuss kitchen towel decor today. I will, but I wanted to share the above quote from a sewing blogger. Barbra is a clothing guru. She is supremely talented, genuine, funny. She has an occasional post that she labels "Fly Paper Thoughts." You should read it. It is a capsule view of her life and her family and a bit of sewing thrown in. 

As I worked in the TRQ booth at the Sewing Expo this last weekend I had a great view of a Quilt Shop booth across the way. The Quilt Shop is in Florida. Long way to travel if you ask me. But anyway, they had a nice display of decorated kitchen towels. I know, what is the big deal. Well, I started thinking about how quilters and sewists in general need a little 'crafty-type' of project between the big ones and this would certainly fill the bill. There were patterns, kits, yardage and ideas galore. After looking over there for most of the day I took a little break and spent some time talking with the ladies. People who sew are nice people. I picked up two kits that included the premium towel, a decorative panel and giant rayon rick-rack.  

The kits: 
Kit number one was this brown homespun style towel, a panel that has a transitional season look with sunflowers, baskets of mixed blooms, mums etc. And that glorious giant red rick-rack. Sewing could not be easier. I attached the panel and the trim in one stitching. Talk about a quick project. It took longer for my iron to heat up than it did to sew the whole thing!  

On this one I chose to tuck half of the rick-rack under the panel mostly because it looked better and because the rick-rack would have obscured most of the panel.

I also considered those people who do not have embroidery machines. This is an opportunity to imitate the decor without the embroidery unit. I purchased additional rick-rack to use up some of my own towel collection. Also, think about all those built in decorative stitches on our machines. A decorative panel bordered with decorative stitches would produce the same effect. 
The other kit I purchased was a simple off-white linen towel with the panel in stylized leaf prints. The rick-rack is a happy Granny Smith Apple colored green. On this one I stitched the trim on the outside of the panel.
Again, a single stitching, I just happened to have a rayon thread that matched the color.

*my profound thinking today: Just when life is settling down a bit the road takes a sharp turn and sight around the bend is limited. Two times in one week. Dear friends, serious illness, so much to think about. Such is life.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!  

If You Leave Me Now, Chicago, with Jim Caviezel 
or the studio cut 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Tie Quilt, Have you Tried This?


Sorry for the late post. It has been one of those days. I saw this Tie Quilt a while ago on Facebook and thought it was so interesting. I have lots of ties deconstructed, somewhere in the big closet just waiting for a purpose. So far I am not sure about this one. I am thinking of how to care for it. Washing might not work, but then again you could just not use it.  

Hope you had a lovely Tuesday. My day started bumpy with some vehicle complications for Mr. Sewtopia. Nothing like spending your day at the garage! I was able to get some work done this afternoon  though. I finished a quick Jelly Roll flimsy, now to find the right backing and get it quilted up. A friend in need.  and all that, imposes a deadline of sorts. I was also able to piece, applique and quilt a new mini-flag quilt from scraps of another project. Photo's will follow. I am piecing binding now. Like I said, all scraps. My favorite kind of project. 

TELL IT TO ME TAMMY! listen here

Sunday, August 24, 2014

When You Leave the Sewing Room................

Monday Morning Musings are really disjointed today. Please bear with me. I have been chained to my sewing machine for days and agreed, reluctantly, to get out of the house this Sunday. Here is just how all this turned out:
  1. Again and again I am reminded of how apoplectic I would have been as a young woman with my bra straps showing. Not just just straps but I mean straps and straps and straps. Revealed on tank tops, tube tops, sundresses, you get the idea. And be aware, there is no age discrimination here either. For a mere $5.00 this could be addressed.
  2. And then there are the Tats! OnSee Bra Strap Converter in Clear the shoulders, on the neck, on the legs, on the cheeks, again, you get the idea. Some are nice, well done. Others, not so much. They look like prison tats. That's on the women. I couldn't even look at the men! Years ago I had a patient who had a heart shaped tattoo applied to her derriere as a young woman. By the time I saw her she was in her eighties and that heart looked like a dried up apple core headed south.
  3. It was 85 Sunday afternoon and the humidity was hanging in there too. A visit to IKEA is always an international event here.  I picked up one of those three shelved wheeled carts for my sewing room so popular this year. Went to assemble and no wheels, had to go back. So we did. That place was packed with all the back to school shoppers. As we walked in I was confronted with a moving wall of people in Burka's. In this heat! I was not sure if I was in a different country or not. Those poor women must have been sweltering. The husbands were attired in golf shirts, cargo shorts and Dock-siders. Mmmmm. Oh, and Raybans can't forget those western icon's of sun wear the aviator Raybans!. Oh, so cool!
  4. Then on to the Chinese buffet to make happy the MIL. Behind me there were two young men who proceeded to enlighten each other on their recent conquests. Their girlfriends were blind to all this apparently. They went into painful details about this "hunting" process.  I had to stop eating in the middle of the General Tso's. It was all just too much... a sensory overload. Remember, I am usually alone, with dog, sewing on a day like this. 
  5. Then, believe this, our waitress proudly mentioned in broken English/Chinese that we would be getting the senior discount! This is the first time this has happened. I was not sure I heard her correctly. (I have a hair appointment this week, obviously I need work!)
  6.  Then the drive home. Passing through the city on a Sunday afternoon is always interesting. First, some sort of a bicycle event. Hundreds of bikes. Criss-crossing intersections, zooming in the bike lanes...some of the tourists didn't know we had bike lanes, on the right, in traffic, yes we do. Stay alert people this has disaster written all over it! This weekend even more so with all the students and their parents loading in  apartment and dorm rooms. We have four major Universities in the city proper. You can just imagine. When what to my wandering eyes should appear: A Party Bike! Sorry for the blurry picture. Yes, it is a pedal powered bar. Right down the middle of Carson Street. There is a driver, sober we hoped, in the front right by the keg. Everyone else, except for one lady in the back is pedaling furiously on those side seats to avoid getting hit by a truck. I kid you not, it is hilarious.   Coming down the street facing into this vehicle all you can see are legs and pedals furiously pumping away to keep this doozie moving. And Laughing, lots of laughing moving!St.PAtricksDayParade-Pittsburgh-5I just kept thinking "what a day, I need to post this!"
My sensitive nature will need some recuperation time. A stroll in the garden, some time with nature. A walk with a willing dog or two. How did I manage a public life before retirement? I am sure that None of this would have given me pause. The golden years.

I have bobbins to wind and basting to do, I need a cup of calming tea. Hopefully a party bike will not come to my door for a refill!

Eagles, Take it to the Limit, 1977