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Friday, December 19, 2014

Not Stinkbugs.....Elves!

Dear Quilting Friends, I am so far behind that I am starting to catch up with myself! I heard a noise coming from my attic. I try not to go up there unless I absolutely have to after the Great Stinkbug Caper of  2012 but I kept hearing this buzzing. I climbed the steps and noticed that the light was on and what did I see? My Featherweight machines being used by Elves! Wonders never cease!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Garden Folly, Little Houses, Little Things

A little tour of some "little's" from the Ladies and other places.
Can you believe how cute this little house is? I have no idea where it is or what it is used for but it reminds me of a Garden Folly popular in the17th and 18th centuries. It would work for me. I think it might be a little tight for a quilting studio. Maybe if you only have one machine and one storage piece. Probably not.
 ::Surroundings::: Tiny Houses mean creative living
Jenny has been doing some needle felting. She used cookie cutters as forms.

Rose took a Christmas themed panel, built lots of little log cabins around it and made a pillow.

Little log cabins.

A lovely pieced back for the pillow.

Karen's Mother made this brooch some years ago.
  •  I'm more than a 'little' bit excited for the Perfectly Precious Pear Project. An elf told me that there is a fine floor lamp with a clip and a magnifier coming here. Oh yes, no waffling on the project now.
  • I am more than a 'little' peeved at how a simple posting on a blog (not this one) turned into a political/cultural affront to the blogger. If you can't say something nice, be polite or supportive...scroll on. Read blogs that coincide with your own interests, we will all be happier.
  • A 'little' bit of perfume goes a long way. I overdid it today. Headache all day from that enthusiastic second spray. 
A 'little' bit of this and a 'little' bit of that makes this blogger a happy camper. The key word here is camper, not tent like camping, RV type camping. The show comes to Pittsburgh in January. visit here.  

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

String Quilts, Gotta Love 'Em! and This Week at the Ladies of the Cloth

While we all beaver away finishing our Christmas projects and plan for the Holidays I suspect I am not the only who takes a little break to just scan the internet for ideas. I am very fond of 'String Quilts' and cut many of my scraps into 2 1/2 inch strips using my Go cutter. I keep them in a bin just waiting for a goodly sized collection to start the next scrappy string. I saw this quilt the other day and just had to share it here. I have never seen this application and while I am not so keen on it I think it might grow on me. It has potential.

(details originally posted here.)

A Gwen Marsden design.

Like dots, string quilts call to me. When I saw this one on another bloggers site I was really intrigued.  These are little strips set in a crooked pattern keeping a fanned out appearance on each one then framed in black.

This is the final photo of the second row quilt The Ladies of the Cloth completed as a service project this fall. It is quilted and bound and sent off to a person in need.
Terri brought her current project. She is a beginning quilter and has adopted the small quilt experience to learn piecing and practice free motion quilting on this piece. Using Christmas styled fabric she is putting the binding to this one. She is hiding behind it by the way.
I wanted to show you a detail photo of the machine quilting in the border of the row quilt. Sometimes I think we over-do the work. This proves how perfect this quilting is for this quilt.

  • Remember to take some time for yourself during this busy run up to Christmas and New Year Celebrations. 
  • Remember to enjoy the quilting process and not fuss and fidget. Lets face it. We all want to do nice work and build on our skills but we are not splitting the atom here. Sometimes I see angst among quilting friends (Interestingly those who do not attend a weekly or monthly group session) and I feel great empathy for them. They are not having fun, enjoying the process, or sharing their work. It is 'not good enough.' No more of that.
  • Remember to not bruise your olives this season of dips and spreads. They will thank you for it. 
  • I am remembering this day. My Father passed 18 years ago.  5 days before his birthday. So many mixed emotions for me at this time of year. My gift to him is to respect my Christian heritage and keep Christmas in Christmas no matter what else has happened or whatever obstacles we face.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Cloth, the Quilts and the Ladies of the Cloth

A gift for someone, note to self, not me!
A simple gridded type of machine quilting makes this work stand on its design.

You can see what I mean in the photo below. Susan said she was inspired by a photo on Pinterest. 
 And there is another element of note. We studied this background fabric and the consensus was that the fabric resembled an underwater sea-scape or an aquarium. What would that mean? Fish, we think she needs to add three dimensional fish. This was quite funny because Susan was thrilled because she felt she was done with the piece. Now she agrees, she needs fish.   
And what is the moral of this story? Sometimes you may want opinions and sometimes you may not. These opinions were offered in good faith mind you and we all had a bit of a chuckle. Friends are like that, yes they are!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Screaming Batik Quilt

 I have to admit that my post yesterday was more than a little snarky. As you may suspect things here have been somewhat overwhelming. Throw in a Holiday or two, sick friends, confused MIL and the mix can be volatile. This morning much better. Sleep, I needed sleep.

I finished the flimsy for a gift quilt and quite frankly, I don't like it. Not my usual. Not my style. I may not even layer it. I am going to let the recipient see it and decide if it needs to be something else. 
Using this old couch as a background for this photo was obviously not a good idea. Get me the Dramamine!   I don't like the color, this photo is really wacky on my computer screen and I suspect on yours as well.

Husband likes these color explosions, I am a calmer, more neutral kind of chick. This pattern is from Lynn Hagmirer's book "Loose Change."  It looked much better in traditional fabrics, Kansas Troubles line.

The fabric is Summer Woodland (I think)  from Moda. A batik pre-cut charm pack and jelly roll collection that I picked up last Summer. Never really knew what to do with it so I thought I would test the 'layering' method that Lynne developed. The method is OK, but this one is so not working for me.

Addendum: Well, I sent said recipient a photo of the flimsy. She loves it. I've  got to talk to these people! Lower their expectations. So I will start piecing the backing and start basting tomorrow night. Then onto the quilting. I think I am going to try something new there too. More on that soon, it involves plastic wrap.

Kansas Troubles Website:  I bought fabric for another of Lynne's quilts from her next book. More on that later. 

The Book Loose Change

Here is a great blog I found a couple weeks ago. She has decorated all over for Christmas. Why not go over there if you need inspiration. Not a whole lot here. The blog:  Confessions of a Plate Addict.

***As usual no compensation received or implied for the pattern, the book, the idea, the fabric et

Sunday, December 14, 2014

You Know it's Monday if we're Talking About the Pears!

My favorite work basket,  The Cape Cod, from Pennsylvania Basket Company. Why I like this: lightweight but good size. It has a solid wooden disc for a bottom It holds enough for almost any hand-stitching project. A quick grab and go produced my embroidery scissors, needles, a little tape measure, a pincushion, a little lidded box for stuff (?) another carved wooden box with a lid because it was already in there and the little pouch on the left holds my favorite thimble. The bubble-gum pink thing is a screw hoop.

Samplers and Santa's

Pears, that is what is on my mind.  19 (nineteen) days until the start date of January 1, 2015. I just want you to know that while I am gathering my supplies I am NOT working ahead. For it to be an honest chronicle I feel that I need to post as I go. Be prepared for lots of excuses. Consider these: the dog ate my homework, my sister is lost in the woods, I am having senior moments, I have too many quilts to finish! You get the idea.  In the process of my research to re-enter the cross-stitch world, after all it has been at least 20 years, I have compiled a short list of needful things.
pic of pear  - Freshly harvested pears on old wooden background - JPG
First off, the linen. Dear Marly uses 28 ct. linen for this project. I thought I would have a hard time finding it but much to my surprise I was lucky. Now, after reading Marly's many in-depth posts about many types of linen, many colors of linen, the 'hand' of the linen etc. you need to know right up front I am just glad I found the linen! Now just sit down and try not to gasp. I found it at Joann's. In the back, by the bathroom and the remnant piles.  Nothing too fancy. Two pieces, in hermetically sealed bags, two colors. I got both (with 2 50% coupons) at a reasonable cost. If perchance they are total crap I will order it online.

 Second, I have enough DMC thread to start. I have a lot but I am not sure I have all the colors yet. They are all in little cases wondering why they have been in a darkened drawer for 20 years.

 Third, nice sharp little scissors. I dropped a hint the size of Gibralter to my DIL that I need (another) pair. I like to keep a pair of scissors with each project. I am spoiled. I admit it.
The thimble, silver, needs cleaned but I sort of like the oxidized patina.

Fourth, I even found my little magnetic hold-the-pattern-board thing. I thought Hubs had recycled that some time ago.

And last, but not least, a hoop. I know that Marly does these little projects 'in hand.' I know that I am really poor at maintaining equal tension in the stitches when I do it in hand. It's like making pierogi 'in hand.' Gut bombs I tell you, they were big dough ball gut bombs.   I will therefore use a hoop. Got that.

A Keeper, can't forget a keeper. That could be a basket, a tote, a wooden bowl or a specially designed and sewn little pocket purse, maybe even a large cosmetic case with compartments, or not. I have an idea.  
I picked this up in Erie on the Lake, Canada about 25 years ago. There are several in the collection now. They were carved in Poland.

 Now of course needles will be needed, I have like a thousand embroidery needles so there we go.
This little brass hang tab is on every basket I have purchased from the Pennsylvania Basket Co. They have a booth at the Shaker Woods festival every Summer. I love me baskets chickies!

So that's it for today. Well. there is one more thing. I am so un-Christmas this year I fear I may be reported to some neighborhood twinkle committee. I did break down and buy new candle (happy lights) for all the windows in the front of the house. Most of the back of the house faces the woods, who is going to complain? Deer?  Turkeys? Crows?  Then the Nativity set went up, that is a given. So friend drops by yesterday to bring Husband his favorite Chicken Pot Pie. I know, can you believe he asks this super busy friend of MINE to make him Food? I will be glad when he is moving again. Anyway, she remarked that I had no tree, no mantle dec, nothing was as usual. Right. So down I go into storage room (read damp) and pull out two little table trees that I thought I could plunk somewhere. Tree number one fell apart in my hands. Tree number two was intact but all the little homespun ribbons and gingerbread decorations were moldy. Blue/green/white mold. Yuk. So I removed all that junk, washed the little bugger in the shower, add a string of mini lights I found in another bin, and a couple red balls from some centerpiece in the last century. So here you have it, Merry Christmas!

Crock was out on the patio with a dead mum in it. Where am I going to put this thing?

To Follow Your Dream, My Great Nephew, Hawaii

Yes, that is our Bryan. Fearless. Gives his Mother little heart attacks everyday. Bless his sweet little heart!
Even in our senior years we have dreams. Short term and long term goals. If you do needlework of any kind it is the search for the right project, the working of it, and presumably the completion. It does indeed become a passion. I cannot imagine what dreariness would permeate my life without it. That said, our Bryan also has a passion. Look at him go!