Sunday, January 15, 2017

Winter Ice--Quilting Update

Some tiny stippling
I've been making progress on Winter Ice--which was the mystery quilt offered through the quilt guild last year. I decided to use the Ultimate Shape Stencil also for the corners of the star block. Bernie, my 1630 Bernina, provided the technology to quilt these as well as the tiny stippling! I also decided to quilt the setting triangle with tiny stippling. Cindy Needham says that it is important to have sunshine--large spaces and shadow--tight quilting to make a quilt sparkle.

Nine patches with the background completed

Bernie quilted the background squares of the nine patches too! I liked the secondary pattern this quilting produced!

Quilted side setting triangle
Then, it was on to quilting the side setting triangles and side setting squares.  I had planned to use my ruler and stitch straight lines; but, I couldn't use the ruler and ruler foot with Bernie so I free motioned all the lines. I liked the "sunshine" pattern that is visible after quilting.

Quilted side setting square
On purpose, I chose to quilt the sections of the square similarly; but not exactly the same. I quilted the corners the same way! My goal is that the differences would blend. For myself, quilting the same pattern over and over is tough for me to do. I need variety!

Quilted circles are the dominant
motif for the corner squares
These are similar, yet they are different. I found that drawing the circles helped me make the size more consistent.

Thanks to Aaron at Quilting Delights, Joie, my 790 Bernina is up and stitching again! (She needed a part replaced in her balance wheel.) So I had access to the rulers again!

We had our snow storm which kept the grandkids at their home and kept us in our home too! Ten inches of snow in an area that gets maybe an inch sure paralyzes our area. That snow has hung around for over a week! There isn't enough equipment to clear roads and spread gravel. A newspaper article stated that some snow clearing equipment  came from Seattle, Washington! Tomorrow, the forecast is to be in the upper 30s instead of the lower 20s! At any rate, the weather kept me inside quilting the borders.

Quilted lines
I started with quilting straight lines. The ruler worked okay here. I find that I have a hard time determining how much pressure I have against the ruler to the foot of the machine. Sometimes, I think I have contact only to discover the foot isn't close to the ruler after all!

I liked the regular and irregular spacing of the lines. I had thought that I would stitch on some of the open spaces; but, I decided I liked the plain lines best.

Cross hatched arcs

I stitched the swags. I had chalked a design earlier and I took a photo of it with my phone so it was a matter of producing the design!

First, I echo quilted a couple lines in the triangle area and then I cross hatched the center triangular share. The ruler helped me produce good results. I had planned to add a "shadow" in the outer section; but, I decided to quilt a squiggly line instead as I needed a more open quilting design there.

Squiggly line
When I finished the arcs, I stitched the squiggly line. I liked the organic nature of the squiggly line. I had thought about stitching lines here that were similar to some of those in the setting blocks; but, decided I needed something with curves instead.

Corner Design
In the corners, I stitched a similar design. The squiggly line worked well! It was exciting to finish quilting!

I put the quilt in the tub so that I could rinse out the blue marking pen lines. The lines disappeared like magic. I had prewashed all the fabrics; but, the tub water was still colored when I had finished. I didn't have any color migration though! WHEW!

Finished quilting on Winter Ice

I used the washer to spin out the excess water and then I laid it on the floor to dry. As I looked at this photo, the quilting is providing texture the way that I had envisioned. Those wavy edges are going to be a challenge to bind; but, that is a post for another day!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

FAL2017--1st Quarter Goals

Bailey, our dog, loves snow!
We've had some kind of weather the past couple weeks. Our temperatures for January average between 35 and 47 degrees. We might get an inch of snow that might last a day or two and we might get 3-4 inches of rainfall. Yesterday and this morning, we received 10 inches of snow! The high is about 30 degrees and warmer weather isn't forecasted to arrive until Sunday! Last week we had freezing rain and lost power for about six hours. If this sort of weather happened every year or hung around, people would learn how to drive in it; but, when it is for a day or two, grid lock occurs instead. It is nice to not have to go anywhere. (It would be a challenge to get out of the quarter mile drive way!)
I'm ready for spring!!!

1. Winter Ice--on target to be the first
finish of 2017!
It is good quilting weather. This is the list that I will l finish in the next three months! I participated in the FAL (Finish-A-Long) last year. I didn't finish all that I thought that I could; but, it did help me with planning so I'm participating again this year. After all, finish more projects is my number one goal this year! 😀

1. Finish quilting "Winter Ice," stitch the label, sleeve and binding. (I thought I would finish this at the end of December.) The quilting part of the journey has become more involved than I had envisioned!

2. "Chickens"
On tap to be the second project of focus!
2. Finish the chickens! I KNOW!!!! This has been an ongoing project for many years. I need to finish the appliqué that travels across several blocks and add the pieced border for the top to be complete. It is a challenging project because there are a lot of pieces and one piece might be under some pieces and over others. . .argh! As soon as I finish Winter Ice, this is going to be my "focus" project!

3-4 Finish this bag and make a second!
3-4. Finish that little bag and make a second. I have this brown fabric that might work for the second bag; but, I need to reacquaint myself with what is happening with this project!

5. Figure out what to do with these parts!

5. Figure out what to do with those hexagons made using different techniques and get them into a finished wallhanging!

6. Finish this top--perhaps a little
"Jean Wells" technique for added interest?
6. Finish that project that I appliquéd some leftover pieces to a sparkly background. I think I want to go a little "Jean Wells" to create an interesting background on part of that sparkly black!

7. Make a head wrap
7-10. Are four projects in JoJo's passport--Mt. Hood, Hawaii, Canada and England. Visit her at Through My Hands to learn more.

7. Is a head wrap and has a Hawaiian influence. I look forward to playing with some paint. You can't see the beige towel; but, it's under the fabrics!

8. Mt. Hood project fabrics
8. This is the Oregon project. I see Mt. Hood out my window on a clear day and love the view. I'll be adding a lake using her pattern which is just fine! I've not done a whole raw appliqué edge project before nor have I tried to make a reflection. There will be several firsts achieved when I finish this project!

9. Canada hot pad fabrics
9. Canada hot pad project. I'll get to play with hexagons on this project and it is small. . .although it contains some tiny details!

10. Tea room fabrics
10. London tea room project. There is a lot of appliqué in this project and the opportunity to embroider those words with my machine instead of appliquéing them!

11. Work on the group quilt project.  I just received the photo; but, I haven't received the instructions for what fabrics I can use and I'm not even sure how many people are working on this project. . .I'm thinking there are 6-8! At any rate, we are given a part of this photograph to recreate in fabric and then we put our parts together and have the whole photo at the end. So. . .being accurate in the size will be extremely important! I haven't done this before so I'll be expanding my box which is goal number 2!!!!!

11 projects to complete over the next quarter. Maybe???? 

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ten for 2017--The Plan

We are in to the second week of the year and it is time to post my plan for 2017! I decided to keep my goals general so I would have the best chance to succeed!
42 Minis--The finish that stretched my
heart as well as my quilting abilities!
What project will do that this year?

1. Finish more--I'm thinking about challenging myself to finishing 17 projects in the spirit of 2017! I am going to participate in the 2017 FAL. I found 2016 FAL to be helpful. FAL= Finish-A-Long.

2. Expand my "box"--Start JoJo's projects because each one uses different techniques from paint, to thread to beads and more.

3. Start new projects--When the opportunity is there, I want to feel free to start one without feeling guilty about the other projects that are hanging out in my space!

4. Participate in my guild's challenge and block contest; enter at least two quilts in the guild quilt show.

5. Expand my machine embroidery skills--Embroider enough projects that I don't feel like a novice!

What projects will the "grands" and I
create? Dare I hope that we stitch a quilt??
6. Stitch and create with the grands--They are growing so fast. Soon, they will be in school and other activities like friends and homework will occupy their time. It has been fun to stitch small projects together.

7. Sew 50 yards from my stash and purchase less than that so I have a net loss of fabric for the year!!!

8. Make progress on current projects--sometimes, I just need to get a project out of a bag and either work on it or if it has taught me all that I need to learn, pass it on!

9. Stay the course with my physical therapy exercises so that I can play with my husband, travel, walk the dog and quilt!

10. Follow the fun--If it isn't fun, then why the heck am I doing it???? (Okay. . .ripping stitches isn't fun; but sometimes it is necessary!) Along with this "fun", I resolve to be kind to those around me and to be am thankful for what I can do. I must focus on the positives! (Monica over at Lakeview Stitching shared in a post that "Follow the Fun" was her resolution. I liked her thought so much that I decided to "borrow" her words and do it too!)  

For the past few years, I've chosen a word to help me meet my goals. I'm incorporating my "word" from previous years to help me along my journey. In 2014, my word was finish. In 2015, it was complete. In 2016, it was focus. This year, my word is organize! I found this past year, I needed to organize my supplies so that I am using what I have instead of searching for something that I think I have! 

That's it. . .ten items. The list is general and achievable. So I suppose that means, I need to decide what I'd like to work on for the next three months. I'll think about my list and post it later this week!


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Year in Review--Good Bye 2016

Happy New Year!!!  I thought that I should see what I achieved on my list from the beginning of last year. My word for the year was focus and it did help me continue to make progress when I was stalled. I did start new projects; but, started fewer than I would have had I not been "focused!"

42 Minis
Of the eight projects that I listed, I finished two! My presidents blocks or "42 Minis"was the one that hung in the Featured Artist show last October. I am so happy that it is a quilt now! I blogged about my progress often!

The other project that I finished was my stitch book and I have used that to review stitches from time to time. In fact, I'm thinking about making a project soon utilizing that tool. I did use that book to make the guild challenge which was another goal on my list.

Below is most of my list with my update:

Stitching with a "Grand"
Close up of "Tickling the Ivories"
Continue to make progress on my current projects. (I have stalled on some; but, I'm working on a couple. I still want to work on these projects so I'm planning to stay the course!)

Start new projects. (I did this best of all! This DEFINITELY needs to be an item on my list for next year! 😀)

Sew another 50 yards from my stash. (I ended up sewing 24 1/2 yards from the stash. I have two projects--one a top almost finished and an almost quilt that had I finished would have put me way over the top in yards used! So I don't feel bad missing the mark!)

Try new to me techniques like paints, crayons and color pencils on fabrics. (I put some beads on a project and had fun. I hope to expand my box in 2017!)

Participate in the 6x60 guild challenge. (I did!)

Enter four quilts in our guild's quilt show. (As I think back, I can remember two--Blueberry/lime and Tickling the Ivories-- so next year I need to document what I enter with a blog!)

Sew projects with the grands. (I did! We made dresses, skirts, crafted some stars, finished some hot/cold rice packs and worked on some geese blocks.)

Have FUN! (I did!)

Looking back on my posts, the one that received the most comments was the one I wrote for the Fourth of July. You liked reading about my trip and I was tickled that the information wasn't boring to you!

The post that received the most views was the one about the Ultimate Shape Stencil.  You liked reading about how I used a tool to make progress on a project.

Dad receiving his star quilt
The hardest post to write was the one about my dad's passing last week. I received messages to the post, through Facebook and through private messages that have helped my mind and heart. I'm still in a sort of hovering mode. I appreciate my daughters',  husband's and friends' support. I am trying to get back into "normal."

I am trying to be mindful of others' grief processes and providing space to them. I am trying to not wince when lashed with unkind words. I understand that feelings are raw. I understand that there is often whole books of  "why" behind what comes out of someone's mouth which I didn't cause. I believe the effects of joy and kindness always return to you as will the effects of mean and nastiness. I choose joy over mean anytime!

Now, onward to what I want to accomplish in 2017!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

My Dad--April 9, 1935-December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve, my dad passed away. He was a rancher/farmer who lived a mountain pass and about 120 miles from my driveway. The drive would take about two and a half hours. . .depending on the weather and the traffic.
My dad reading the label on his quilt
In honor of my dad's 80th birthday in 2015, I stitched him Dad's Stars. Last August, medical staff determined that his bladder cancer had returned. His lung and heart conditions prevented him from having surgery, radiation or chemotherapy. He opted to go into hospice care at home. He was unable to walk or stand which bugged him because he led an active life. (His hobbies were hunting, fishing, trapshooting and playing cribbage.)

I appreciate the care his wife provided as she was the motivating force for me being able to visit with him for a couple more years. His long term memory stayed sharp. I enjoyed our evening  phone conversations between seven and eight.

My DH and I surprised him on Friday, December 23, showing up on his doorstep for coffee and a cookie. He said the visit was the best Christmas gift we could give him. We visited; then we headed home. We had planned to make the trip Christmas morning; but, the weather report was looking like chains required to get over the mountain pass with heavy snow fall so we decided to go earlier.

Christmas eve day about lunch time, we chatted again. I called earlier that day because I knew that my family would be celebrating with him and I knew he would be busy. During our conversation, he let me know that his quilt was still nice and warm. He told me that he was glad I had an activity that I enjoyed so much. He said he liked trap shooting that way; but, he didn't do it but on the weekends and over time he collected a number of guns that he didn't use all that often. He thought I was smart to pick an activity I could do every day as well as have enough machines to get the job done. He sort of understood the time it took to make a quilt when I involved him in the process of making him his quilt. Although, he would look at a block and ask how long it took me to quilt it, then shake his head at my answer. His response meant, he had a crazy daughter!

Christmas was one of his favorite times of the year. The season, for him, always began when decorating the fresh tree commenced. He liked tinsel on the tree, added one strand at a time and thick! Christmas morning, he was so excited to see what Santa had left everyone under the tree and delighted in package unwrapping because there were new toys and games to play. He didn't care if it was a top for the toddler, a train set for the first grader or a basketball for a middle schooler. All toys had to be "tested!" He remained the oldest "kid" when it came to Christmas joy.

His wife called us at 11:25PM Christmas eve to let us know that he had passed. I guess he decided that he had some deliveries to make himself and couldn't stick around to greet Santa after all.

I appreciated all of our visits, I left nothing unsaid. Monday, I wrote his obituary.  It will appear in his local paper soon. Service arrangements and a celebration of his life are pending. I won't be surprised if both are held in March in conjunction with an event he established 15 years ago in the memory of a friend.

Today, I worked and shared his passing with one person. I didn't realize how difficult it was to say the words!

Love you, Dad!

Quilting will wait.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas or a happy whatever you celebrate! May your holiday be full of friends and family with lots of good food and cheer! I always wish for a white Christmas; but, we often aren't lucky enough for one! May there be much happiness and peace in the coming year!

Tall Tree
Our quilts are hung.
This very tall tree hangs on a door. My mother-in-law made and gifted this to us years ago. I enjoy listening to the bells jingle when the door is opened and closed.

Home Grown Santa

This is the small wall hanging that hangs in the kitchen. I made this for my grandmother in 1992 and it hung in her house every year until she passed. I think of her when I hang it each season. She always liked a little sparkle on her packages so I used lame on the bows!

Angel on High

This is the little larger angel wall hanging that hangs in the bedroom. I made this in 1994 for a friend. She called me a couple years ago saying that she was moving from a 3500 square foot house to an 800 square foot apartment and would I like it back? Of course, I would welcome it back!

Life happens. When I give a quilt, I tell the recipient that if the quilt outgrows its usefulness, it is always welcome back--no questions asked!

For many years of my quilt making, I gave what I stitched away and as life has happened, a number of those projects have returned. They are like past friends coming home to retire!

Santa's Sleigh
This wall hanging of Santa in his sleigh, I made in 1998. It was an early attempt to free motion quilt with metallic thread and to create texture using different stitch designs. It is one of my husband's favorite quilts. I had quite the challenge figuring out how to attach the cord that I used for the sleigh runners.

Better Homes and Gardens
Block of the Month

My mother-in-law made two of these quilts from a block of the month through Better Homes and Gardens. She started the quilt in the late 80s and gifted this one to us in 2009. The other, she made for her daughter and son-in-law. Ours decorates the bed.

Serenaded with a song

The tree is decorated with many homemade ornaments from friends and family members. There are even a few ornaments that I picked up during some of my travels. This year, it is extra special because the grands helped with the decorations. The oldest grand was terrific with the decorations. Although, when I showed her the first box, she was concerned that there weren't nearly enough to decorate such a big tree. She delighted in touching the ornaments and hanging them "just so!"

She tickled me with the comment, "Look Gran, I made a line!!! It looks so nice!! It is just the way I want it!" When I was about her age, I remember our tree was "redecorated" to disperse the ornaments in a more pleasing arrangement. That redecorating hurt my heart. I said, "Hmmm, we need to step back and look. Do you see any bare spaces? No?? Terrific, because I LOVE it!" Then the grand had to sing and dance a song for me. What a special memory!

The cookies are baked, the breads are ready for gifting. The packages are wrapped. Christmas is here!!!!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

Ultimate Stencil Use

Ultimate Shape stencils 
Using Cindy Needham's Ultimate Shape Stencils, I quilted the purple squares in the star blocks.  I used the smallest size for the two inch squares and the medium sized stencil for the four inch center squares. I plan to use the medium large size for the six inch nine patch blocks later even though the large size stencil fits the nine patch with the setting triangles!

I liked using her stencil because it was easy to mark with my chacoliner. I also liked that I got to work with curves!!! There were a lot of stops and starts. Again, I used the variegated 40wt cotton Valdani thread.

Chalked Lines
It is easier to see the chalk marks than it is to see the thread. Those other chalked lines are lines I drew to audition whether I wanted to quilt those next . . or come up with a different design!

Finished small squares
This is what the design looks like stitched. Notice that because I used a variegated thread that was about the same value of the purple fabric, the thread blends. Also, because it is variegated, I think the bobbles don't show as much!!! This step only took about 18 hours!

I played around with some alternative patterns for the pink/purple section of the quilt and that is what I'll be quilting next. I also did a little brainstorming on what to do for the background in this area; but, nothing "spoke" to me. Maybe tomorrow I'll hear what the quilt wants in those areas.