Wednesday, November 14, 2018

My Library-Quilting Books, Kathleen Tracy, A Prarie Journey-Small Quilts That Celebrate The Pioneer Spirit

Image may contain: people sitting, table and indoor
Not really, wishful thinking!

This seems to be the time of year when many online and store-with-a-door retailers set about their plans for block-of-the-month reveals for 2019. Everything from felted wool mug rugs to full size quilts are presented to all the hopefuls who plan to accomplish something in the studio next year! That hopeful time when all creatives write lists, examine supplies and make plans.

I have done quite a few block of the month projects sponsored by local dealers. The last one I signed up for ended up being a problem due to family responsibilities. I just couldn't get to the class. Period. Still have all that fabric, I know I mentioned this before. Not so keen on the fabric either.

How does this translate for 2019? Well, I have an idea, for me. If you want to pursue your own block of project this might work for you as well. 

So how does the library theme relate you ask....well I added a new book recently, a gift. Swore I was not going to get any more books. My library is full. Even though I have thinned the herd, so to speak, the keepers are numerous. I am not ready to purge everything, well not much of anything. 

Enter this professional quilter, author, designer. I came to know Kathleen Tracy via her blog. What a talented lady she is. Her specialty is small quilts. Since I don't have time for a big block of the month project I thought I would try to do a small quilt, I would like to say monthly but maybe every other month? 

Her most recent book is A Prairie Journey-Small Quilts That Celebrate The Pioneer Spirit. 
Each little quilt has it's own personality, lots of traditional piecing and color. Such a nice little gift. I have admired all of Ms. Tracy's books but something about this one spoke to me.
Excuse the screen shot, camera is in another room, Lola is finally sleeping and I am not going to wake her. Just saying.
First project, I think it will be "Child's Play" on page 56. It is a simple four patch block alternating with a non-pieced block, easy peasey. It is a little bitty one even with a small and a wider border. It finishes at 13 1/2 inches square. I know, a wee one. Copy right law prevents me from showing it here. I will show my quilt though. 
  • I will use up all those bits and pieces of fabric waiting for a purpose.
  • I have oodles of batting scraps too. 
  • I need some new "littles" for tables, shelves etc. This might fulfill that need.
  • Ms. Tracy's website HERE. 
  • Her Blog HERE. A Sentimental Quilter.  
  • Photo of book used with permission by Author.


Monday, November 12, 2018

Karen Says Merry Christmas!

Quilty friend Karen, from the Ladies of the Cloth Group, has been a very busy bee. This is her in-progress Christmas Quilt. My camera did not do the colors justice. She has done an outstanding job with color and design on this beauty.
The little zip bag holds Winter/Christmas themed buttons and charms. This will be so darn cute! When she finishes I will share the outcome. Hopefully, I will be able to be there when she brings it. I never know these days.

It was a day of swooning. The stunning little baby sweater was a joint effort between Marilyn and Terri. Marilyn knit the body, Terri did the finish. The sweater is a gift for Barb's great grandson. She doesn't knit but she makes amazing purses and totes.
See what I mean? She made these sweet little bags for a craft show, after she showed them to us I am not sure there were any left! Perfect little gifts, perfect.   

  • I took a glance at numbers, you know statistics for this blog. 2309 posts have been shared here in the last 8 years. Wow. And wow. I am not a pro blogger. I do not do this to make money I just share the work of my friends and myself. Over a half million, (I know!) people have read these posts. I am gob-smacked. Since I don't follow stats like the pro's do I am always surprised. Thank You for still reading. Every time I think I'm going to close the blog I change my mind. That is why. 
  • I woke with sniffles this morning. It is my fault. I have a bad habit of popping outside with Miss Lola for her business without a coat. Often in PJ's and slippers. I caught a terrible chill yesterday and just could not warm up. Again, my fault. Today, I am on the look for a jacket to wear for the pop-outs. Off to the Winter closet. Not ready, just not ready. 
  • A friend and I were discussing how much our lives have changed over the past few years. Neither of us are living the lives we expected at this stage. Scanning family photo's brought her to tears. I can't look at them, I know what will happen. No matter how you prepare or rationalize life... it sneaks up on you. That is why we sew, knit etc. She and I have these chats now and then. It is a coping mechanism. This year is a tough one, for both of us.   
  • A cold morning here, frost on everything. Someone in the neighborhood has a tuxedo cat. He walked across our upper terrace (known as the critter highway!) in stalking mode. He walked back trotting with something squiggly in his mouth. Bravo little kitty. Three of female deer walked past and then a 6 point buck was behind them. We don't often see the boys. They travel via the paths through the underbrush and let the girls take the point. The turkey are gobbling all around the barn and the woodlands, happy to not be domestic I think.
  • Found my camera USB cord. I had placed it in a little pouch, near my desk so I wouldn't lose it or forget where I put it. Don't say it please.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

A This and That Post, Looking to 2019, Sheep

The leaves are gone, the air is cold and crispy, there is a sprinkling of snow on the hill. This is such a bucolic scene out my window, soon to be gone I fear. The farm is up for sale. The developers are swarming like gnats. I may have to add a, not really. 
A work in progress, hope to have it finished by Christmas but we are lagging a bit, just so you know 😒  

Planning for the year to come I have have some new ideas! First is an old idea, the parts are now in place. In a country sort-of-Victorian style I am making a Handkerchief quilt. Yes, you heard that right. My plan follows some ideas I have accumulated on Pinterest, You Tube, etc. The darling, unused handkerchiefs will be quilted to white fine muslin squares, I may do these on the Destiny, again, I have ideas. There is one pre-loaded design function in IQ that I  used in a workshop about a year ago. It took some time for the stitch outs but the designs are really nice...if I can resize them. I didn't like the fabric from the work shop so they went to someone who did but the idea is good.
Laugh not my pretties, this little sit-about looks a lot like Lola! At the end of the post is a link to a cute little video that reminded me of how fascinated I have always been with sheep.
Talk about transition. Last week, quite warm, rain of course, now I wake to snow flurries. How does this happen? Lola had Mr. out at 5:30 am for their first walk. Deer have been "camping" in the side yard and the parking place where we Winter-over Mondo. This morning, a large buck was cruising the scene. We have a complication again though. The coyote have returned. We hear them yipping at night and some locals have seen them, one was eliminated just last week. For us, that translates as hubs walking Miss Lola when it goes from dusk to dark or sunrise to light. Hard to believe that he has to carry a weapon to deal with them. Supposedly, they are rather aggressive now. A favorite prey is domestic dogs and cats. Thus, the precautions.

I share this not to shock but to inform. This is not the wild west, it is not the high desert, it is suburban Pittsburgh.

Another idea. This one has been on the back burner, forever. But I am committed this time. I do not use the word "committed" lightly. I have been collecting blues and off-whites for some time. I need more but that is my plan for the "Love the Log" quilt.
This die is from the Accu-Quilt line, I have had it for at least a year. It is still available. Nice little directions on the inside wrapper. This is a big die, it cuts the entire block x 2 on one pass with the cutter. Mine is the Go, not electric. I am trying to build up the muscles in my cranking arm 😀
 We have never permitted dogs to be on the furniture. This is what happens when you get older, have no grandchildren and a very head strong dog. Miss Lola, 5 1/2 months. 
  • I have lost the USB transfer cord from my camera. I know, what a pain. The camera is several years old and I will do one more house search before I pronounce it gone. 
  • I have several good photo's to share on there. 
  • I may have to break down and use the fancy camera. Heavy around the neck, too many buttons and do-dads. It is a learning thing, you know, and I am getting lazy. I am not a photographer. Just not.   

wooly-ay bull-ay My favorite is the ginger colored alpacca!

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Time of Year, The To-Do List

~~Fall Reflections ~ autumn in Centennial Park, Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada by Brian-B-Photography~~

Just look at the size of these pumpkins! Love, love, love the house!
Fall is here despite our warm-ish temperatures. As we look forward to Thanksgiving, I look around and consider everything we have to be thankful for. I have a wonderful home, a loving family, friends who have been by my side through many years and I live in a country that is considered to be the best in the world.  
We are preparing for the daily rain and heading out to a Christmas open house at a local retailer who always has the most beautiful and inspirational displays. For many reasons, despite being Thankful for the life I have, this Christmas will be a little more challenging. Our lives are always changing, of course, we expect that but, isn't there always a but?, but....something is different.
  •   I have a hard time adjusting my expectations of myself. I have to remember that I am not 30 years old anymore 😅 
    • I had to laugh at my to-do list this morning, I have all kinds of energy and plans before I go to bed, make these lists, sleep on them. When morning comes I stumble to my coffee pot, grab the dog, take her out and reconsider the list. 💊I am NOT superwoman and adjustments are required!
    • I hope you had an opportunity to read the prior post  update on the Baby Lock Coronet this weekend. I know I am sort of a machine passionista and most people are not but this will be the last one for a while. Those who own these machines, and there are many, always are looking for advice, experience and set ups.  
Have a lovely weekend. Soon we will be dealing with the cold here in the North East. All photo's from Pinterest, Harvest Thyme. 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Coronet and Her Amendments

My famous line is....if you have this machine on this frame you probably already know what I am talking about. Let me make two little statements before we move on, this is a long post. There are lots of pictures, requested by many readers who have or are considering this machine. Second, please remember that this is a working studio, there is clutter, there are things stored under this machine. Carts, fabric, etc. Try to ignore that when viewing the photo's. Ok, lets begin.
First, lets be clear. The Baby Lock Coronet on the 5 foot frame is the same machine sold by Handi Quilter on the Little Foot Frame. The same machine. Prices seem to be the same. For me the sway point was the location of the dealer and the readily available and knowledgeable assembler and answer man, Steve. 

All in all I am totally on board with this machine. I would love to have a larger table but I don't have room unless I give up other machines etc. That is not going to happen so I have done a few little things to make the whole process more comfortable.
  • When Steve assembled my machine he made it lower than I had seen at the store. I am only 5'3" now and at the height it was displayed I had to stand and stretch to work. 
  • I have lots of nasty arthritis that inhibits my standing time and stance, therefore, I purchased a new chair, specific for sewing that had 1.) lots of padding, 2.) a full all around foot rail, 3.) height adjustable. I can use this chair at all my machines, just adjust height. Pricey, yes, worth it, yes.
  • I added the ruler base after I was comfortable with the machine. Essential for ruler work. I must add that I had the sit down Sweet 16 for several years before I traded up. Many functional elements of the machine, including the stitch regulator (that was an additional purchase) made the transition much easier for me than for some. 
  • I added a thin elastic band that spans the entire frame to indicate to me, since I get going and forget where my stitching field ends, where to end the pattern.
  • I tried to add a leader to the back bar to increase the stitching field at the top. Failure. Just not enough space. 
  • I purchased 6 large magnet bars to secure fabric to rails, instead of the provided clamps. I am still playing with those. I will address the outcome in another post. Bars were purchased at Harbor Freight. This leader is attached to the bar with a thin layer of Velcro. I have yet to add my registration marks. I will mark center, left center and right center. I will add the same registration marks to the front bar.  
  • I bought new side clamps from another retailer. I was having a hard time finding the ones I wanted locally and online and accidentally stumbled on these in a Google search. They are a Handi-Quilter  product, easy order, shipped in two days. Good price. *The retailer is Canyonland Quilts, click here. These dear people even sent a charm square of Halloween fabric as a thank you.  How rare is that?
  • Now here is the clincher. I added a third rail. What? You know, a take up rail. 
    This is a Handi-Quilter product, the same as the back rail that was on your table. It is attached by L brackets that attach to those Upright bars on the back of the frame that you never knew what to do with! I used to hang clamps on them!

 The bar comes with the leader attached with a thin row of Velcro, all you need to do is bolt those L brackets on to those uprights, snap the bar in place and close the clamp and you, dear ones, are ready to rock and roll! No more juggling that rolled up quilt on the back bar to keep it off the machine tracks. No more bulk to shift here and there to get close to the top line of the stitching field. Now, FYI, there are multiple adaptions shown and demonstrated on the Facebook Coronet site. They all work. I know they are much less expensive. But I went this route because it is a perfect fit, it sits very securely in the clamps and if/when I upgrade it will enhance the trade in value. I was fortunate to find a retailer having a special on price and shipping. Sew Creative was prompt in recognizing the online order and shipped quickly. You will see a phone number on their site if you need to discuss anything. ***BTW- I do not receive compensation in any form from the retailers I mention on this blog. If they are honest, if the product is good, it is received in a timely manner and they are available for questions this is where I buy.

 I plan to work on a Christmas Wall Quilt first with this set up. I will report back including the process I use to help you decide if this might be for you.

*I added a set of Echo feet to this order. Many of my project have echo's but my hands aren't as steady as I would like. The feet, in three sizes, will help.
Adding the leader, the third bar and the elastic warning band has given me a full 15 inches of stitching field.

I have had these rulers for a while. Played with them a bit but will give them a work-out soon. Two shapes, this one kidney shaped, palm size.

This one an oval, also fits easily in the hand.

Just had to add this fabric. Can you believe it is so cute. It is beautifully printed, there is a gold, lurex type, thread throughout. It is premium weight with a nice hand and texture.

I got it at Joann's on sale. It will be and apron and placemats or a runner for my kitchen table. I always add a layer of heat resistant batting for table items now.

Lola and Dad watching television. Yes, she has grown a bit!

Jenny of Elephantz Blog shows a nice little tutorial on using lace as a binding on a little pin cushion, cute idea!

Somethings Got a Hold on Me---Etta James

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

It's a Very Terry Christmas!

Ladies and gentleman, when you read the title of this post you might just think..."she's been doing this too long!" You may be correct. A few weeks ago Terri, quilty friend from Ladies of the Cloth group, presented this too sweet paper pieced Christmas tree. This is such a great idea. 

It is hard to believe the end of October is upon us. How did that happen? Our leaves are not totally down yet, the air is cold and wet. It seems too soon to get Christmas-y- but it will be here before you know it and Terri is ready to go!

 Jenny and Terri also took a class to make this stunning enameled jewelry. These are Jenny's pieces. Aren't they beautiful? The little hearts are about the size of a dime. The red ones have an Asian flair to me. They both have multiple talents and love to explore new mediums. 

That whole training thing pooped me out!
  •  Meet Susan of the Quilt Fabrication Blog. Today she is talking about Binding Techniques. Great for newbies and wonderful refresher! Just click anywhere on this sentence.
  • Lola and I had our first formal training session. There were 9 other dogs. Some were itty-bitty little ones and others were big menacing pooches. Lola is in the middle size range. Bless her little heart, she did so well that she was doing the demonstrations. UNTIL a big cranky boxer tried to attack her. Well let me tell you, I was a little frightened. My curly little girl backed up, walked behind me and essentially said..."Mum, handle this please!"
  • I am starting on a Christmas Panel (bought last year, ha) to dress up MIL's room at the Assisted Living Home. It is a nice room but I like to jazz it up for seasonal celebrations. I am not sure she even pays attention to it but I try.  

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Idea's for a Service Quilt - The Log Cabin Scramble
Combing through my archived "idea box" I found this photo. If I remember correctly it was destined to be a service quilt. Each member of a quilting club made one log cabin block, I believe the finished size was to be 12 inches for each block..
The blocks were to be red, white and blue with an accent color if you choose. Many members added a yellow strip now and then, others a turquoise in addition to the prescribed blue. 

Each block was cross cut and reassembled. Here it is after the cutting and unfortunately I forgot where I saw the original block and also failed to assign attribution. Silly me. I am not sure how it was finished or quilted but I rather like it. 

What do you think? I think it wold be just lovely in 1930's prints or maybe even blues and off whites. Since I have been collecting the blues I am thinking a test block, or four, might be a good idea.

  • I did not put up our Halloween tree this year. Lola (currently in super brat stage) would destroy the ornaments and likely cart the tree off somewhere.
  • No costumes to make, never have trick or treater's up here in the dark woods. A non-event actually. But this year we will dress the brat in a hot dog costume (if she doesn't chew it up first) take her to the assisted living home for trick or treat there on Monday. She visited on Friday and made some new friends.
  • So enjoyed our time off. Some new goings on here, share later. 
 Are  you interested in some new television programs I have discovered? These 3 are on Acorn TV.
  1. A Place To Call Home-an Australian series featuring a post-WWII Inverness, Australia. The almost Downton Abbey/Dynasty format keeps you watching.
  2. 800 Words - another Australian series about a family shattered by the untimely passing of  the Mother. They relocate to New Zealand. It is peppered with humor and reality at the same time. 
  3. Loch Ness Monster - an English tale of a serial murderer. Good mystery, no gore, lots of human interaction.