Thursday, January 28, 2016

Westering Women

I'm opening today with my first block of Barbara Brackman's Westering Women Sew Along.  Last year was so fun I decided to jump in again.

Week 1:   Independence Square - 9 inches

I printed out a couple of sizes and made some re-sizing notes.  It was easy to make this 12" block into a 9" block.  I wanted to do 6" blocks, but didn't have the brainpower yesterday so 9 it is.
I've decided on a color theme for the whole quilt; brown, red and pink.  After 25 years of quilting I learned the hard way to layout my block.
I played with the value placement a little and I'm really happy with it.
At my local guild we had a crayon challenge.  We picked 3 crayons and threw one back.  I ended up with an orange and blue crayon.  We were allowed to add white, black or grey, but I challenged myself to use only the 2 colors.

This was WAY HARDER THAN I THOUGHT.  I guess I just don't work in this free form style well.   I'm calling "Da Bears" for the Chicago FB team whose colors are blue and orange.  I think it is eh - okay.
 I used this fun color print on the back.
 It is 17" square.   Here you can get an idea of the size with my 2 crayons.
My blog friend, Kyle of Timeless Reflections published a nice post about her beautiful basket quilt which also featured my fan stencil.
Kyle had such wonderful things to say about the stencil.  Thanks Kyle for the review and for sharing your amazing talents with us!  Your blog is one of my favorites for inspiration.

We had an easy time with the Blizzard of 2016.  Here is a morning shot of my balcony after a night of snow.
I enjoyed watching this little fellow munch the bird seed that that I had spread on the table.  Once he found it under the snow he settled in for a long snack.
Lastly, here is my little angel.   As a digging out treat we went to Dunkin Donuts and Subway and brought coco along for a ride.  She ate the donuts while we got the sandwiches.  I suppose it was our fault and it could have been worse; we could have gotten the sandwiches first.

I'm off to visit the Harvest Quilters of NJ for my Hex Vex workshop on Saturday.

Are you doing the Westering Women sew along?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

January = Sanctuary

Happy Tuesday!

I'm starting this post with an oldie.  I made this small quilt in 1994 for Mr. Fun's Office in Chicago.  It measures about 36" square.  I love to visit my earlier quilter self.  How organized I was with the placement of the pink and turquoise.

I admit I purposefully mixed up 1 of the nine patches.  I loved the look in old Amish quilts so I included it in mine.
Here is the back.  I machine appliqued along the print of this funny fabric and 
added a red sun to the purple sky.  Pretty arty for 1994.
I've been enjoying on my dining room table
Have you ever made an Amish style quilt?  I think I'd like to make another one to hand quilt.  It's been on my to do list for years (okay decades).

Hooray!  I finished my first block of hand quilting.  I am so so glad that I cut out the back of the applique'.  It's going really well.
The back - boy you sure can tell when I change directions.  I think it will block out, but we'll see.  You can also see I skip a few stitches.  So sue me!  I know the judges hate that, but I want the top to look even.
My fingers are already getting rough and a little sore.   I use Bag Balm.  It is a veterinarian product to heal superficial abrasions.
Take care!  It is very greasy.  I put in on AFTER I quilt or do dishes.  I massage it in and then wipe off any excess with a paper towel.   Trust me, a little dab will do you. I'll never finish this tin in my lifetime.
Thanks for all the nice comments on my newly finished top.  This year I'm going to include my inspiration where appropriate.  In this way I hope to encourage you to make it your own by using inspiration and not copying.
Here was the inspiration photo.  I don't know who's quilt this is, but I took the photo at Gwen Marston's Retreat on Beaver Island in the late 1990s.
This is what I mean when I say "make it your own" when I lecture.   You don't have to copy to use a great setting idea.  Mine quilt is quite different, but obviously related.

Coco is taking sanctuary this January in her favorite chair.  I rarely see this dog without a pillow under her head.  What a princess!  Yes,  my angel tree is still up.  I am enjoying it on these long dark winter nights.
OH my!  Look at this beautiful Red Shouldered Hawk.  He flew in last week and perched in the backyard.  I took this photo through the kitchen window on super zoom.  Can you see how he is standing on one foot? (claw)
I posted this on IG this week.  It is one of my favorite winter things to do.  I simmer citrus, apple slices, fresh ginger, cloves, rosemary, cinnamon, bay in water to scent and humidify the dry air.  It smells wonderful and lasts for several days of reheating.  I bet you even have most of the ingredients on hand.
I hope you are staying warm and busy!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hello Out There!

Thank you all so much for your overwhelming support and encouragement and nice comments on my Alice Payne Quilt post.  I will post quilting progress when I make a little more.

My first finished top of 2016 - "Toile' the Night Before Christmas" 75x75"
I used nine patches that I swapped with my Illinois quilt buddies a couple of years ago.  We traded cheddar nine patches.  I set mine with a variety of dark red prints and this fabulous Christmas toile'.
I hung it over the banister for a few days.  It had really nice light here.
Here is a close up of the toile'
Today is a blustery day in the 100 acre woods.  I tried an outdoor photo shoot.  It was a challenge.  My inadvertent selfies made me laugh.
Here is the setting I've decided for my Stars in a Time Wrap.  I'm using black tone on tone and a wonderful double pink.   Piecing this is picky so it may take several sewing room visits.
I'm taking a very laid back approach to putting Christmas away this year.  It's happening and I'm trying to be thoughtful and organized.  I came up with this little idea for small ornaments.  What took me so long????  Each one is perfectly cushioned and separated from the others.
Here is my White House Tree.  I decided to try this storage technique - wrapped up in Plastic wrap, lights, ornaments and all.
I am really really enjoying this book.  It is author read and so interesting.
I'll close with this little centerpiece I assembled for January.  I intend to make 1 each month as I enjoy having something pretty on the table where I work on the computer.

Have you heard that Barbara Brackman is doing a new sew along this year?  She will be offering a 12 inch block pattern each month.  The theme is Westering Women.  I have decided that I will make 6 inch blocks.  So who's in?

I'm really enjoying the quiet simple days of January and hope you are too.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Go Ask Alice

or WWAD: What Would Alice Do?........

This is a question I asked myself many times over the course of working on this quilt.  Alice Payne made the original quilt in the late 1800s and I thought about her and her life in Pennsylvania.

Here is Alice Payne's Original Album Quilt:

And my top:
And now I'm ready to hand quilt it!  Hooray!!!  I literally took my first stitches yesterday, New Year's Day 2016.

Here is how I marked the blocks like Alice, on the diagonal through the applique'.  I framed each block with this scallop.  I don't think I've ever seen this before on an album quilt.  I borrowed it from Mary Schaffer who often framed her center portion.
I use the water soluble pen and the sew line white marker.  I used a teachers bulletin board frame to mark the scallops.  Here is how I lined things up.
Whoopsy Daisy - I marked the diagonals wrong :(
 I use a Q-tip and water to dab away my mistake.....
Here are my tools for basting, long needles and crochet cotton thread.
I like to pre-load several needles so I can keep cruising along.
I worked on my dining room table with old cutting mats underneath.
Here is Alice's outside border design.  Look how she started and stopped here at the seam.  Oh, Alice, if only you had had my tutorial.
I'm paying homage to her choice by putting a fan in each corner.  With the scallops the fans were just too much and worked against my cute scalloped frames.
The thrill of Victory!  I had a brilliant idea to use this FABULOUS paint by number fabric for the backing.  I posted a APB on Instagram and FB and thanks to Doreen I found 5 1/2 yards at The Quilters Studio,  in Virginia.

One problem, when there is any light source behind it the muslin in the applique blocks become mottled.   waaaa   waaaaaa boooo hoooo hooo hooo.

Light in front:
Light from behind:  This is literally the same sandwich of backing, muslin and batting.
In the end, I decided to use muslin on the back :(    This after buying the fabric, washing it, ironing it.... :(

Here is my start.  I'm a little rusty, but I'm committed to not fuss about it!
Here are my tools:
So this was probably way and I mean WAY more than you wanted to know, huh?

Happy New Year to you all.  Thank you for your comments and encouragements last year.  I look forward to a new year of fun inspirations and postings.