Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Linda's Wool Applique Project

 Wool applique is a passion of mine. Not just mine it seems. While the pieces are small the project is not small. It is an intricate undertaking of design and stitching. This is the pattern.
Too cute! A charming little vase of flowers, beautiful stitching.

Bird on a branch with acorns.

Birds and berries on a branch with Oak leaves.

Block #4, in progress.

Our weekly sew-ins at the Sew and Sews are always an experience of discovery. We all gather our latest quilt books and magazines and share. We bring finished projects for a show and tell and projects in progress to keep our hands busy and lovely fabrics we have acquired. During one of our discussions one member quipped that we should call our group "The Ladies of the Cloth!"   We laughed and laughed. I think it might stick!!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Brief Photo Tour

Now I know that compared to the George and Amal photo's these just reek of glamour, A-list friends, and loads of wealth. Those two will just have to grin and bear it! 

Fall is decorating time in Sewtopia. I had a few minutes the other day to snap some photo's. Let's take a look, OK? Mr. Sewtopia is Mr. Halloween. Thus the black wreath in the dining room. The dry sink shelf is trimmed with pumpkins, dried gourds and faux apples. The Coffee Grinder was hand made by my departed Father in Law. He loved wood working and would spend hours and hours making little projects for anyone who asked.  
Obviously still the dining room. The table runner is from Red Lion, Pa., The Family Heirloom Weavers. The candlesticks are black wrought iron and the candles (with the Halloween faces) are battery operated. The dried berries have been around for years and years and used in many other places.  
 The living room chest has an orange bittersweet wreath around the lamp base, the Crow on Pumpkin came from a little gift shop in Ligoneir, Pa. a couple years ago.   My favorite is the pumpkin faced bubble light!
 The living room entertainment center is topped with a large (heavy) white pumpkin. The white multi-berry wreath is another piece that ends up different places every year. The little lamp is a Vintage Smith Glass candle lamp, the amber glass cat is Meyda Tiffany, the candle wax lamp on the left is from a local gift shop as well as the Boyd's bear piece on the left. The unit is topped with another Family Heirloom Weavers runner.

 The front hall Chippendale Reproduction mirror and shelf hold a paper mache pumpkin and a Ghost Mama and Baby in wool roving from the Ram's Horn, a local artist.
 This wreath has had a few homes over the last few years. Made by a friend who used to own a gift and antique shop, I think it greets entering guests and family with a bright nod to Fall.  And no, I did not put a hole in the coat closet door, I used one of those plastic hooks that can be removed after the decorating season. Love them!
Walking down the hall the eat in area of the kitchen has it's own little Fall bling. This odd pumpkin is about 10 inches in diameter and those chips of bark are glued to a styrofoam pumpkin. Cute. I placed it in the large pottery bowl that usually holds fruit. 

Hope you enjoyed the tour. There is more of course, perhaps another time. Have a lovely day, take a moment to enjoy the beautiful show that Mother Nature provides at this time of year.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Quilt Show in Miniature, Small Projects, Kitchen Towels and giant Ric-rac!

I saw this on Facebook and now I can't find the source. Just look closely at each little booth. I cannot believe the detail and realism show in this little diorama.  Amazing.

OK, now back to sewing. Small projects again. Two more kitchen towels in a Fall theme. I picked up this Thanksgiving theme fabric at Joann's the other day. Instead of pinning the large ric-rac I decided to try the glue basting method. I don't have the fine tip recommended by Sharon Shamber so I carfully put little dots on the fabric. After the glue I pressed the panel and the trim with a dry iron. This dries the glue and I had a very stable stitching surface. No lumps or bumps from pins. (((yeah)))     
I secured the trim with a simple 2.0 straight stitch. I did use my guide beam to keep my stitching line straight. The panel and the ric-rac are attached at the same time. 
Another example. Press the panel edges in 1/2 inch, Put a few drops of glue on the top, bottom and sides to secure the panel. Then secure the trim with the glue. Press dry. Sew.

 Towel number one secured on the hanger.

Halloween doll, sort of looks demonic in photo's. 

The panel is a piece of left over fabric from an apron project.

  • Towels are good surfaces for embellishment.
  • I like the glue basting method, I am looking for the fine tips for the glue bottle.
  • There are many more towels.....
  • A local retailer has ordered the large ric-rac for her stock. More colors, more ideas, more embellishment.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

About Some Earth Elements, Wild Mushrooms and Wind Art Installation

 These two are taking up residence on the side lawn of the visitors center at Meadowcroft Rock Shelter. I can't find my Mushroom Identification Book. I will put that replacement on the wish list for Christmas. I never cease to be amazed that I see things differently in a photo than I do in real life. There was apparently a litterbug on this little patch of soil before me. If I had been more observant I would have picked those two litter papers up before I clicked! Yeesh!
What beautiful days we are having right now. It is hard to believe that we are in the last weekend of September. After some outdoor work I spent some time sewing some batik blocks for the next project. In spite of myself I did give in to some retail therapy that I will share soon. I read a recent Facebook post where the writer queried the group if we all pet  our fabric or even talk to it. I think that I do. Mmmm. I think that is probably OK, don't you?

Now please, take a minute, click on the link. You will be amazed. Really.
An wind art installation you must see to believe!!!

We will return to sewing next post. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Big Blocks For a Quick Quilt

This is a sample quilt from Kansas Troubles, I am not sure where I saw it originally. The elements are very simple, squares and half square triangles. The fabrics are signature Kansas Troubles colorways. This is the Moda Love Layer Cake Challenge Quilt pattern available for download from this blog.  Choose your favorite fabrics and quilt as desired. I think I will strongly consider this pattern for one of my Plus 1 project quilts.

  • My Plus 1 Project is a new thing I have in my head. I need to be one or two gift quilts ahead at all times. I used to be really good at that. The last couple years, not so much. 
  •  I am going to try to work with the Go dies in my collection to cut my squares and half squares. I will likely want to add a border or two and maybe a little more bling on the outer border. Just thinking out loud. 
  • I may test it using a Christmas Layer Cake for this. Need to lay it out and see how the colors work out.
  • I am thinking I might use the Christmas motif die. I did find more of my favorite fusible the other day. I stocked up!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

She Shares Links and Photo's of Someone Else's House

So here's the story quilters. A few weeks ago, Mr. and I were on a little road trip and we passed the most stunning Victorian house. In our youth we wanted a house like this and did some searching but could not find quite what we wanted without having to invest huge amounts of money in restoration. Then I remembered an article in a magazine..."Victorian Home" that showcased a New house being built in farm country in Pennsylvania.  Could this be the one?

With as much finesse as possible I rolled down the window and took a picture from a distance....then remarked we needed to get closer. I didn't have the big camera with me, it has a great telephoto lens so closer and closer we went.

The side entrance, I think. Notice the Purple Martin bird house, the bell on the corner of the house. I have a bell that is similar hanging on my front porch, I need to take a photo for you. Notice also stained glass windows, lace curtains, paint colors on the trim work, the turret on the left as well as the bay window and lovely shingle pattern on its roof.
wrapping around to the front entrance, just look at all those stunning pink baskets of flowers!!!! More  Stained gla'ss, frosted and leaded glass on the front doors and all the amazing Gingerbread wood trim on the porch. You can just barely see the Wicker furniture and ferns on the porch as well.
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, I rest my case. Absolutely beautiful. Just look at that little balcony on the second story and another turret on the left. Lattice wood work on the porch skirting. To the left is a sweet little sitting garden. Oh, my.
Yet another angle. No Victorian farm house was complete without lightening rods. Notice also that there are so many different shapes and sizes of the windows. I was starting to think we my be arrested so this was the last photo as we turned around and went back up the road.  I wanted to knock on the door to ask if it was OK to take the pictures but husband thought I might get hauled away in a little white coat, but I swear this was the house in that magazine! I am sorting through years and years of old copies looking for that article. And yes, this is a new house built in the Victorian fashion. Be still my heart.

The following links will take you to some new to me sites that I thought were interesting and informational and also inspirational (like a glorious Victorian house) if you need a little bump!
Have a great Wednesday.
Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures, working on the "C's!"

Un-sewing with a beard trimmer type device.

More Patterns than all of us will ever use in a lifetime!

New to me blog, stunning color in beautiful quilts! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Stash Busting, with Batiks

Using up the stash is becoming a mantra. There were some sales in nearby shops this week and I resisted. Aren't I good? Anyway, This Batik collection is called Wood land Summer by Holly Taylor for Moda. I have a layer cake, (10 inch squares x 42)  and a pack of charm squares. (5 inch squares x 42)

I wasn't really sure what to do with them because my first love is not Batiks, but they are growing on me. I did recall a video I saw recently featuring a new to me method using pre-cuts by Lynne Hagmeier. (here) Why not said I!

So here is what I did. I opened each pack and matched one 10 inch square with one 5 inch square seeking as much contrast as possible.

Center the 5 inch square on the 10 inch square.

 Now, of course, there is a special ruler one can purchase to make the placement easier. It is essentially an L shape. When I measured I came up with 2 1/2 inches on all sides. I did include the pinked edge in that measurement but eventually ignored the pinked edge and made it just short of that by 1/16th. This is a layering technique, nothing fancy here. Ultimately the pinked edge will soften and form a little fringe around the small block. Here you can see that I cut a cardboard (the backing in the layer cake) into the shape of the ruler. I used it a couple times and it was more trouble than it was worth so I just used a ruler. No problems.   
 After placement Lynne instructs you to put a pin in opposite corners to stabilize the the square while you stitch. I did that on about 5 squares and had some bubbling of the small square. I didn't like it. Now what? Batiks are different in texture and I think that was the root of the problem

 The instructions tell you to sew 1/8th inch from the pinked edge. Well, mine is a fat eigth. To keep things consistent I used my quarter inch piecing foot and the laser beam. 
Such pretty colors in this collection.  I have been waiting to use the Elmer's School Glue basting technique popularized by Sharon Shamber and her daughter Cristy. Here was my chance. I have not been able to find the fine tip they recommend so I put a little in a cap and used a wooden skewer to apply. Well, good grief, I don't have all day here so I very carefully put little dabs of glue right from the bottle in the corners away from the stitching line. Bingo, we have a solution. No warping of the fabric while sewing.

I finished stitching all 42 squares in record time. The glue idea is good. Now remember, Elmer's school glue is washable, not permanent. Just try not to get it on your needle. If you do, just wipe it off with some water. Easy Peasy.  

I used the same smoke colored invisible thread to attach the small to the large square. It was already in the machine and I couldn't decide what would work with all these colors.

 Then you cut the square in equal fourths.
 Like so.

All 42 squares cut and stacked.
 Times up, need to empty dryer and come up with something quick for dinner. More to come. 

Conclusions for this part of the construction:
  • Batiks are beautiful, the more I look at them the more I like them.
  • Batiks are stiff, much different hand than traditional quilting cottons.
  • I like trying new construction methods.
  • I like basting with Elmer's School Glue. I will try to find that video for you. here it is!