Thursday, March 23, 2017

For Paulette
Some years ago I "met" a fabulous, kind and generous person via an early message board that focused on hand embroidery. We were an innovative group and shared our needlework passions. Members from all around the world joined in our embroidery exchanges. Dear Paulette was from the great state of Texas and lived for the bloom of the blue belles. She had a wonderful life with family and friends nearby and anticipated the birth of each Grandchild with embroidery and quilts. The last few years were laden with illness and she passed recently. She was taken far too young. So when I see a picture of blue bells I think of Paulette. Happy Spring dear Friend. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

This and That, I Think I Might be Cranky :(

For the life of me I cannot seem to take a decent picture anymore. Not with the Lumix point and shoot or with the fancy dan Nikon. What's up with this? I swear I am clueless at this point. I found this little sign at a quilt show last year, it is hanging from a shelf over my sewing machine. It is my current motto and I am sticking to it!

Mondo, waiting for Spring so she can take off her Winter coat. Me too. Turkeys hiding on the right side of the frame. Sneaky little buggers, the Tom was admiring himself in the truck bumper, what a clown! He scampered off as soon as he heard me. See him behind the truck? He has his tail feathers fanned and I tried to get a zoom shot. Well, we know how well that worked out. 
Oh for Heaven's sake, go away!
As soon as the girls and Tom heard me open a door they started to scatter. I counted about 40 of them. I have an exhibit farm going here I'm telling you. The whole crew is just waiting for the ground-cover flowers to bud and then they will dig up all the beds. And leave me gifts. Nature, gotta love it!

  • I think I am out of sorts because it has taken until Late March for us to have our Winter. I was totally geared for Spring. Ready to power wash the world here.
  • I'm getting fussy because I need to strip clean the studio and I don't feel like it. I am reminded of how far behind I get at this time of year.
  • I was leaving Joann's yesterday with hands full, not one but two lovely ladies opened doors for me. I was so grateful.    
  • See, there still are some kind and reasonable people in the world despite what we hear. Works for me. 
  • My bones are screaming with the constant temperature and barometric pressure changes. I learned how this is not my imagination from the veterinarian. She told me that everyone is bringing their dogs in for this. How come my "arthritis specialist" didn't mention this?  
Next post will be about sewing, promise.
I need to finish quilting the borders on this one and add the hanging sleeve and binding. Hopefully, tomorrow. A friend and I were going to make pierogi tomorrow but she needs to take her brother for chemo treatments. She just lost her husband and her other brother to this disease now she is living it again. What an amazing person she is. I am blessed to have wonderful friends. Well, now that I think about it I have nothing to be cranky about. Thanks.

Monday, March 20, 2017

On the Agenda

So, here is the current line up. I am not sure what I will work on first but for this one I will need to do some major research. It is Redwork. Now I have done lots of Redwork by hand. Love it, meditative, soothes the soul I say. I am not sure what I will do with this design set but I am thinking I need some perky new pillows for my bedroom. I transferred the designs to USB but haven't read the tutorial yet. 

This is the back of the CD case. As you can see the heart is a central design and there are borders and elements to enhance it. The heart come in four separate hoopings. Yes, four. Matching up all those design lines is going to drive me nuts, just so you know. It is beyond my skill set so practice will be required, and reading, and research, and good thoughts. 

With Wedding and Bridal Shower season looming I have unearthed this sweetie. For Days of the Week kitchen towels, this one is destined. It is so darn cute but I think not likely a style for the modern bride. Perhaps for someone around my age. It has a totally vintage appeal. Now to find the right towels. I want cotton/linen without any other markings. Preferably, white or off--white even a shallow waffle style will do. I did find some from online retailers but I heard about another source that I will need to investigate.

Here is the whole collection.

I often use a large magnitic hoop when stitching out designs that are not too dense or stitch heavy. I use a sticky stabilizer or something like this light-weight no show for napped fabrics. I have discovered that the slide arm on my hoops tends to seem dry and resistant to move when mounted on the embroidery arm. I have a solution.

This polish came with my acrylic extension table. It is supposed to help keep your table smooth and therefore moving fabric along that much easier. It comes with that itty-bitty 2 inch square (can you spare it) piece of terry cloth to apply. You only need a little bit. I take the residual of what is on the terry cloth and wipe it along the plastic rib that feeds into the embroidery arm. Perfect. No more drag!
  • I attended a little class on free motion quilting and using rulers and templates. I just love how easy it all looks when the pro's are doing it! I'll be sharing that soon. 
  • The best thing about attending classes is meeting up with old sewing friends and making new ones. 
  • Learning, testing, stretching our creative muscles is essential at any age but as we enter our retirement years there is nothing better. We have time now, time to enjoy the process. We want to be with like minded souls to enhance our lives and any creative pursuit helps us attain that. 
  • 1974 Rock Your Baby-George McCrae

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Tuesday Share and How I Work

Tuesday last Terri, from the Ladies of the Cloth, shared her latest project. Isn't it adorable. This is a Jenny Doan design and Terri chose the perfect colors to showcase her pinwheels.
Jenny's Block Magazine is a bargain. It is full of design and heartwarming stories with no advertisement At less than $6.00 USA, I think, you are sure to be inspired. I have a small mountain of them and study them endlessly. She makes short work of complicated designs. No affiliation or compensation received or implied.   

A friend recently asked me how I work? I was a little confused by the question but I was using the Destiny for embroidery and another machine for piecing at the same time. Not being a Sewist I can see that it must have looked pretty discomboobalated to her. Right now my studio is a bit messy with several projects going at the same time. Fabric is piled here and there as is a large collection of batting left overs that I am using for other smaller projects.

Sustenance: When I am in the zone I get very engrossed. For example, if I am quilting on the sit down mid-arm quilting machine and the music is cranking I can go for hours without a break. Instead, I plug in my electric kettle and work on a steaming cup of tea. If I plan ahead I make a little sandwich and store in it in a little fridge I keep there. That way I don't even have to climb steps for nourishment! I know many people fortify with chocolate while they work. Not for me, I am not so much for the chocolate....well unless they are chocolate diamonds but that's another subject.
A little tea station off my studio makes life simpler when I am working.

Re-purpose the left overs: As I work and trim at the machine I keep a drop-box nearby to keep all the scraps in one place. I hate bits and pieces all over the place. I will make something with these. Sadly, I cut about 15 strips of fabric about an inch too short for the current in-the-hoop embroidery project. Thus, to the scrap bin for them. I try to remember this fabric was already left over from another project so not really wasted. PS, the drop box is another one of those left over plastic drawers from one of the famous rolling plastic storage carts. 
Be prepared: At each work area I keep a work box. In addition, by the embroidery machines I keep a tin full of already wound bobbins, a magnetic dish (from Harbor Freight, this is the small one) that securely contains my trimming scissors, a large and small screw driver for tightening hoops, a seam ripper, you know what that is used for and my favorite titanium needles. The magnet is convenient because I can place each item in its place without even looking up from my work. That magnet is strong and ti grabs each item and keeps it there.

The screwdrivers that come with the machines are no match for this set. A large grip makes leveraging those screws tight a minor task. The blade is recessed down into the body of the driver and keeps the screw driver from slipping when you use it. It comes in this large size and a small size for removing needles and presser feet etc.  

I lost the packaging ages ago but these are available at many quilt shops and machine dealers. They are worth every penny but quite frankly I don't remember how many pennies!
  • I am getting more comfortable with the in-the-hoop method of layering and embroidery. My first embroidery machine is down right primitive by today's standards. How technology has changed the way we sew in a short time.   
  • Working on two projects at one time is great if you can do it. Of course, at least one of those projects needs to be downright simple or things get a bit muddled and that seam ripper gets plenty of use. Ask me how I know this.
  • If you follow Bonnie Hunter she is a strong proponent of her Leaders and Enders method. I can't say I have mastered that but plan to try when she introduces the new project in a couple months. She is a very busy quilter, I wish I had her drive. However, she announced this week that a simple biopsy of a "thing" on her face turned out to be Basal Cell Carcinoma. She will have additional surgery to remove the remaining lesion and treatment will be determined after that. My thoughts and prayers go out to her, she is a trooper! 
  • Interested in a project to use all those orphan blocks? Check out this post on A Quilting Life!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Under My Needle, The Stackers Quilt, Part #2

I hear what you're thinking!!! Look at that jumbled up mess! Well this is the entire stackers quilt, with all the rows chain pieced together, 8 pieces of fabric per row. I wanted to see how much I could stuff behind that needle! Turns out, quite a bit :)

Particularly when "assembly line" sewing, as Eleanor Burns says, I need to be organized. Everything in its place makes the work fun, less tedious.

 Over the years I have saved little drawers from plastic rolling carts when the carts no longer suit my purpose. I use them to organize my projects. Here I have the 10 inch white strips and the 8 inch colored strips ready for their sewing.

First I join one white to one colored strip for the entire quilt, then connect by two's then fours, then close the row by sewing the short ends together. This makes a closed circle. Then in slightly random areas I cut open the loop on a white section.

By the way, I changed sewing machines. I am using the Destiny for embroidery and the Baby Lock Rachel is getting ready for her new home in a new cabinet in the family room. This is the Viking #1+, a vintage machine by now.
I have always like the 1/4 inch quilting foot from this machine. The flange on the right side of the foot is very long fits so well. Viking feet were much more expensive than the Baby Lock feet are now. This was a major purchase!
The side view of the quilting foot. I also have a acrylic Sew Rite flatbed extension table attached. Makes for much easier quilting by providing a larger surface for the fabric to lie, without tension on the stitches.
The stitch settings.
As I write this I have finished making all the strips and will be laying out the rows for this quilt. I think it might need something more, it seems a bit plain. Maybe some applique? That will be a future post.

An interesting and informative article for those who want to learn to quilt from Quilting Digest. Worth a read for newbies and seasoned quilters.

Stackers Quilt, Part #1

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Hello New Subscribers

While I am busy unearthing the Easter decorations I wanted to pop in and say hello and welcome to the new viewers and subscribers to this blog. Your interest is what keeps me doing this after 10 years. Hard to believe but the original Corinne in Sewtopia was started 10 years ago....with 17 viewers. I was thrilled then and over whelmed today.

I am fortunate to meet like minded souls in public forums and classes. Today we spent 3 hours playing with free motion quilting and learning how to use templates and rulers. My main goal was to learn how to make a decent feather. Well, surprise, surprise, they are still not so good. I just can't seem to get it. The solution? Templates. Yes and I will be sharing my template journey soon.

Thanks Gloria for hosting another learning event. 
  •  The rulers and templates are manufactured by Westelee Quilting Templates and Rulers. I only bought one long straight line ruler for the sit-down long arm but I bought a whole magilla of them for the Destiny. Had great fun giving them a try and enjoying the company of other ladies who were as taken with them as I was. 
  • Our class was taught by Cathy Brown of California. She arrived just in time for the cold Winter weather. She is a trooper.
  • The event was sponsored by my friend Gloria Horn, of Gloria Horn Sewing Center in Mt. Lebanon. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The St. Patrick's Day Tea

A more formal setting this month, the Antique Sheffield Tea Pot. This is the hot water pot. It's classic lines always remind me of the teas it has likely seen. Unfortunately, the inside of the pot is not looking so good, I am not sure if it has always been this way or not. At first I though it was copper but I am not sure anymore. I may have the set re-plated in the future and until then it will be decorative rather than functional. The trays have been collected over time. Don't even remember where!
It is time for a Tea Time Tuesday post, I think, and the theme today is St. Patrick's Day. Irish heritage is part of my history but there were never any big celebrations growing up. It was just another day. In America the holiday is celebrated very differently than in Ireland I suppose.

The Celtic design I made a few weeks ago on the Destiny. A Tea towel for the season! The sweet little cup with Shamrocks is a favorite, actually a gift from my Mother many years ago. She who did not celebrate St. Patrick or his snakes.
The conflict in the family derives from a historical feud. Mother's Mother's side of the family was hard core Irish Catholic. Mother's Father's side of the family was hard core North Ireland Scotch-Irish Protestant. That left us all in the middle. A sad state of affairs that divided the family and left us in a heritage gap. None the less, I look about as Irish as you can get on one hand, black hair, fair complexion with freckles and my sister with a more Auburn coloring.  Since we were both born 4th generation American I feel it is mostly not relevant. We never knew one side of our family, for me that is tragic.
Hand Painted Shamrocks on translucent porcelain with gold accents.
The Hallmark.
 The Jadite Smith Glass chicken is out for the celebration as well. Now, to find a porcelain pot suitable for the occasion and pour a cup of Irish Breakfast Tea.