Sunday, April 19, 2015

Fun With My Sister

As I mentioned a few posts ago, my sister Sally recently came to visit.  She lives in the south part of Washington and we're only about 3 hours apart, but still don't get together as often as we'd like.

Sally said it was her vacation, and she wanted to PLAY!  As in - Sewing Fun!  So, that is what we did.  I set up my two little machines in the living room and we hauled the design wall down from the quilt studio.  And then we spread fabric and projects all over the place!

Wool work #1

She brought some fun things for me to see, like her wool projects she's been doing.  She's been playing with these for a while now, and finally got them to a "finish".

wool work #2

She was thinking of making these two pieces into pillows, but I suggested maybe wrapping them around a small canvas and making them wall art.  (No final decision was made at that time)  I love these!  They are so cheerful, and all those stitches make them very appealing to me.  Maybe I need to find some wool to play with!

Here is a quilt top that she has been doing.  Her color scheme is based on a tree by her front door.  It has the red-violet branches and the new leaves are a beautiful lime green.  This is quite different from what most people would do, but it's very "Sally" to me.  She's always loved those large floral print fabrics of the 1940's!  She just brought this to show me, and no progress was accomplished.

This is her "vintage baskets" quilt that she brought last year when she visited (see my post here).  She bought the border fabric last year and while she was here this time finally got it put on, with the addition of a little flange between the center and the border.  I just happened to have the right shade of turquoise for that!  Yay for stash!

detail of the border with flange

While Sally worked on her basket quilt, I worked on my liberated baskets.  I haven't touched these baskets in a while, but I did make a little progress.  I haven't decided yet just what I'm doing or where I'm going with these.  So poking along is just right for me at this stage.  I really like the basket in the upper right corner.  It looks "fizzy" with all those dots in the background!

I had made a bag for my sister, last year, I think. ( I can't find any photos of it anywhere to show you, and it came out really nice with batiks.  How could I forget to take a photo?!) She wanted to learn how to do that bag, so I helped her make this one.  You can find the tutorial for this bag called "Open Wide Zippered Pouch" here.  Sally used an old curtain from the thrift store that was bark cloth.  Very fun!  But it was also quite soft, so the use of interfacing was a necessity.  I think it came out cute!

She used a soft pink polka dot for the lining.  

I also made a bag (with cotton fabric), but neglected to use interfacing on it.  No photo, as it's doing a darn good imitation of a puddle!  (I think I learned my lesson)

about 18 to 20 inches square at this stage

This is a little wall hanging that Sally has in progress.  Never mind that it has been in progress for about 20 years!  Progress is still progress, right?  The fabrics date this work, but it's still cute and it will get finished.  Sally's planning on adding more borders, and still has the fabrics set aside with the top.  I do this all the time . . . do you?


Sally and I have always been slow about getting birthday and Christmas presents to each other in a timely manner.  It's a family trait, apparently.  Or so we're claiming anyway.  So, these are some of my Christmas presents from Sally.  They are kitchen towels that she added the decorative strip to.  The blue with the red strip is special to me, as that red fabric was a skirt that my Mom owned.  And, just so you know, I am actually using these!  They make me smile.

After I showed Sally my photos from my classes with Gwen Marston in March, she wanted to learn how to do a liberated star.  This is her first star!  She struggled to get the concept of how to trim those star points, but finally got it.  Isn't this cute?  I hope she'll make some more!

We had a blast while she was here.  My dear, dear husband cooked meals for us!  What a sweetheart he is!  I can't wait for her to come back to play some more.

I'm leaving for California in a few days to go to a quilt retreat with my California quilting buddies.  I can hardly wait!  I haven't been in two years, so we'll have a good catch-up while we sew up a storm.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Liberating Some Stars

As I mentioned in my last post, I took two classes with Gwen Marston recently.  Today features the second class - "Liberated Stars".

Gwen's Liberated Stars quilt

Some of the students (like me) had already made the liberated stars, and some were new to it.  When I've made stars in the past, I've always cut the background fabric away after sewing and trimming the star point.  Gwen said she doesn't do that very often anymore, so I tried not trimming.  It didn't seem to make a big difference for 6 inch stars, but seemed too thick for the little 3 inch stars as well as the 9 inch stars.  Maybe it's just because I'm used to trimming?  I haven't made up my mind which I prefer yet.

Here are all the students' work that I managed to get photos of.

Some fun bits going on in these stars!

Love what the striped fabrics do!

fun background!

Do you remember the string blocks from my last post?  Well, this student added the stars to her string blocks.  Cute, huh?

And here are my stars - I did a 3 inch, a 6 inch and a 9 inch star.  For this project, I decided to use my hand-dyed fabrics.  Most of those fabrics have been "aging" in my stash for a number of years, waiting to be used in the right project.  I think this is it!  I'm using a Kona Snow background, with a couple of low-volume black and white prints to mix things up.  

I found the 3 inch star fairly challenging to make, but I think it's really cute.  I'm sure they will get easier as I make more.  

I haven't made any more stars since the class, as higher-priority things have claimed my time.  But I can't wait to get back to making stars.

One of the students brought a liberated log cabin quilt to show off.  It is made using mostly solids, but the print fabrics in there are a fun touch.

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had time to post.  I have lots to share with you.  I hope to do another post soon.

See ya soon!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Playing with Strings with Gwen

A couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to be able to take another class with Gwen Marston.  I actually took two classes, but this post is on the Strings class.  The other class will be another post.

I've made lots of string quilts, but I've never done Gwen's method of strings - sewn without using a foundation.  Of course, Gwen started us out by talking about her method and doing a demo for us.

Here are some of the quilts Gwen brought to show us.

This one is all in solids and Gwen quilted it (by hand, of course) in black thread.

The blocks in this quilt started with a base square.  

Same with this quilt.

A cute little dolly quilt!

In this photo, Gwen is showing us how to cut up strings sewn into a strata.

Laying out the blocks.

And then sewing the blocks together.

So, we all got to work and sewed furiously.  I went around the room and took photos of everyone's work as the class was coming to a close.  I thought everyone's blocks looked great, no matter which method the student used.

Made using men's old ties.

One student brought a log cabin top she had made, and was making string blocks to go in the border.

And these are her border blocks.

I loved these blocks!   Both the colors and the design.  This person told me she was using a jelly roll!  I'd never thought of that.

Rectangular blocks.

These blocks were made by sewing a strata together first.  You'll see more of these blocks in the next post.

Also made by sewing a strata first.

And these are my first blocks (on the top right).  (The others were another student's first attempts)  Incredibly, and in spite of a huge stockpile of strings, I wasn't actually using strings.  I brought yardage and cut strips to use.  That was a first for me! 

And, miracle of miracles, I managed to get my quilt top finished this last week!

I think this quilt has kind of an African and/or "jungle" vibe to it, which was unintentional.  It's made with all batiks, but no actual African fabric.  I was making this little quilt to go on the wall in my guest bath downstairs.  There's only a toilet and a sink in there, so I'm not worried about the water.  (I don't know that I'd put a quilt in a bathroom where someone is taking a shower on a regular basis.  In this Pacific NW environment, it would probably grow mold before too long.)  This bathroom is decorated in a fairly sophisticated style (it was that way when we moved in), with beige striped wall paper and some fancy mirrors over the sink and I wanted it to fit with that.  And that room is kind of on the dim side (no natural light), so I didn't want anything too dark.  I think I actually succeeded in having it fit in the room both size-wise and style-wise, and it looks good in it's appointed place.  I'll get some photos when it's done and hanging in there.

It's been quite a while since I made a wall quilt a particular size (25 x 30 inches) for a specific place.  Kind of fun to challenge myself that way.  So, it feels good to feel successful!  Also, I knew that, being on the small side, I could get it finished in a reasonable amount of time. So, now to get it quilted.  Hopefully that won't take too long either.

My sister is coming to visit this week.  As a matter of fact, she'll be arriving in a couple of hours.  This will be her vacation and she wants us to sew together.  The Potter is OK with us taking over the living room!  What a great guy, huh?  I think we'll have fun!

I hope you have a creative week!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Some Bits of This and Bits of That

I've been sewing!  I'm starting to feel caught up on a few projects I'm working on, but I'm still behind in others.

I've been working on the Traveling Round Robin.

my block for the Traveling Round Robin

I've completed my block.

B's blocks
And I've completed B's block as well.  Here it is with her first block.  So now I'm ready to pass these on and get the next ones.  B tells me she has 2 to pass to me.  I get them Friday and have 2 weeks to get them done.

Last Friday I went and sewed with friends.  I'm keeping the black & white blocks project (see it here - you'll need to scroll down a ways) with my traveling machine and I worked on those. 

I'm 1/3rd of the way on making the blocks.  I have 8 of each and I need 24 of each.  I'm liking them so far.  I'll only be working on those with my traveling machine (my Brother) because I get a different 1/4 inch seam allowance on that machine as compared to my Bernina.  Why is that??  Both machines have a 1/4 inch foot, but no matter what I do, the seam allowances are always different.  So I've decided the easy answer is to just not switch machines in the middle of a project.

What with being sick, going to Florida and then just being busy, last week was the first chance I had to lay out all the Big O blocks I won from the Block Lotto in December.  As you can see, Dunkel was holding down the pesky blocks for me.  This is not my plan for how I will be setting the blocks.  You'll just have to wait and see!  (insert evil laugh here)

I have a 'secret' project that needs to be done this month and it's only in units at this point.  I really need to get busy on that!

This was very strange labeling on a package of ground beef that I bought the other day.  Maybe because we're so close to Canada here?  The meat came from Oregon.  Any one else seen this on their meat packages??

We've had such a mild February that plants are thinking it is truly Spring.  The crocus and the daffodils are blooming.  Most of the fruit trees are in bloom too.  And the grass is growing too, much to DH's dismay.  This is my new trillium I just planted last fall.  I've never had a trillium before, and I'm looking forward to seeing it bloom.  It's supposed to be a purple trillium.

And don't hate us, East Coast people, but this is my camellia plant.  There were three blossoms on Saturday!  And more flowers about to pop open.  Crazy.  This plant/tree usually blooms in the April/May time period.  

I have a suspicion that Mother Nature isn't done with winter yet, in spite of the warmer, sunshiny weather we've been having. It was down in the 20's (F) last night.  I'm afraid we just might get a big snow storm one of these days.  It's not impossible in March or even April here.  But I have to say that I'm really enjoying all the lovely sunshine we've been having.  It is a welcome little miracle in the middle of our usually gloomy grey rainy winter.

Stay warm!  And I hope you get the time to be creative this week!