Wednesday, June 21, 2017

HH Hall Building--the Beginning

HH Hall Building
This week, I've started a project that is due the first of August. Eight of us are recreating a photo into a quilt. We were assigned a section. My section is to the left of the of the light and sign post. I get some of the banner in my part.
You can see part of the copy of my assigned section above the photo.

The rules are:
1. Keep the size of the project the same as the photographic copy of the section we were given.
2. Follow the color of the photograph.
3.  Leave our piece two inches larger than our pattern.
4. Return the quilted unbound piece by August 1.

I haven't participated in this sort of project. Although I have had the paper photo and pattern master since December, I hadn't started. One person is finished already. A couple others are quilting. I may be the only one of the group still stalled in the fabric selection stage.

Fabrics that may appear in the project
I have shopped for fabrics. I have rummaged through my stash; but, my creative muse has yet to engage. In my experience, if my muse isn't engaged, this process is challenging. I am forging ahead. I have selected enough fabrics to get a start. Thanks JoJo for letting me raid your stash of yellows!

I spent some time searching for grays since I have a number of windows in my section; but, I couldn't find what I thought was "right." JoJo suggested that I do a little painting to achieve the shade of gray that I wanted.

I thought that was a great idea. I ordered a set of prisma color art duel tip markers from Dick Blick. Of course, the set I had in mind, was on back order! It should ship at the end of the month.

The prismacolor marker set 
In the meantime, I plan to get my pattern ready and begin placing some of the appliqués. I'm planning to machine appliqué these pieces.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to quilt, stitch, sleep, sit or stand long this past week because of neck and back issues. It might be next week before this "flare" calms enough so that I can hold a pencil! Ice, massage, chiropractic treatments, rest, Alleve haven't had much effect . . .yet. Tomorrow is another day and I have high hopes, I'll feel better.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Father's Day

Taking a photo of the view at Green Lake in Seattle, WA
The patient continues to heal and his excitement this week was that he was able to mow the lawn with the walk behind mower. Of course, he took a break--mandatory by my standards--just to be sure that he wasn't overdoing it.

He is a terrific dad. He went to dance performances, swim meets and water polo matches when the two daughters lived at home. Even now, he counts laps for A when she does the postal swims and does activities like power washing her steps when she asks.
Excited about seeing his first grandchild for the first time
When N comes to visit, he spends a lot of time planning her favorite dishes and then passes it off like it was no big deal! He always wants to FaceTime with her first when she calls.

He takes grandparenthood most seriously, he reads stories, drives the grands to the library and "convinces" me when they really "need" to have lunch at McDonald's!  He is really a softie underneath that exterior; but, you didn't hear that from me! 😃

Playground antics with the grands
He is all about family and there is nothing that he wouldn't do to make life easier for his daughters, his granddaughters or the men in his daughters' lives. Today though, he is kicking back and taking it easy, although he tells me that by this evening, he is cooking his famous burgers on the grill for dinner!

This afternoon, I met a friend whose dad died a few weeks after mine. We met at his favorite pub and we had a beer, some food and told stories. My dad would have approved and I bet had they met one another, they would have been friends. They shared the same work ethic and fishing/camping/hunting hobbies. I do miss my dad; but, I am glad that he isn't struggling to breathe. We're planning to get together on our dad's birthdays and Father's Day when we can. 

Work is progressing on the chicken; but because progress is slow, I won't bore you with a photo of those pebbles! I will tell you that I will blog about another project that I need to complete soon in my next post.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Endless Pebbles

It's been a couple of posts since I've shared my progress with the chicken. I've been pebbling. Quilting pebbles over the entire background wasn't my original intention. I had lots of other ideas and plans. I tried each. I ripped or I erased each idea and each plan. I began again. I repeated the ripping and erasing. I posted here about getting into the zone and forgetting about where I was stitching.

 I posed this question to my readers, was I into pebbling full time or had I an out? Several of you commented that I could do other background fills. I tried. The quilt replied, "no, No, NO, no, No, NO!!!!!!" I gave in and listened to what the quilt has been telling me all along--"I want pebbles!!!" I've been stitching endless pebbles! I am closing in on the half way point. When I need a break, I quilt the leaves and the chicken bodies. The final quilting will be the border; but, the focus of this post is pebbles.

Making progress a few pebbles at a time
Quilting pebbles takes a long time and a lot of thread. It's taken me 10 1/2 years to be at this point in the project. So what is another month or two or three?  My goal has been to stitch a couple hours a day which is about all my body can handle and I take breaks about every 15 minutes!

I have absolutely no doubt that I will finish this project. Lately,  I've pondered why it has taken me so long.  I've considered that this project is bigger than I had thought. It is one of the last projects that I shared my progress each evening with my dad. So maybe, the time it is taking me to finish is part of my grieving process as well as my remembrance of him. There is a lot to remember about him!

Perhaps, he's been helping me as I work towards completing  his final wishes. The repetitious pebbling is his way of helping me through the process. (We already know how much my brain wonders while I'm pebbling!)

Perhaps, this project is even bigger than my dad. Maybe God provided this project and timeline to help me at this very time. God is great ALL of the time! On that note, I'll leave you with a close up of my pebbles.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Organizing. . . .a Beginning and an Olive Memory

One binder a day!
Two years ago, a group of six of us, met and worked through the lessons in "The Artist's Way." It was an eye opening experience into how I could develop my creativity. I have continued to write a bit every day as journaling was a part of the process. I'm still working through my plans that I developed through that process. Yes, I've refined some plans, eliminated some plans and changed priorities; but, the initial plans are still in place!

One of my goals was to really organize my studio. At the beginning of the year, I blogged that my word for the year was organize. I've thought about it. I've looked at my ever increasing piles; but, I haven't done a thing. This week I started.

Mind you, I didn't start with a big task. Rather, I began with a small task. I started with the magazines that I've collected over the years. These are in binders, in magazine holders or stacked in piles. I think you get the picture without one!

Miss K's sporting a "thumb" olive
The reason that I had collected so many magazines was that I used them for inspiration. Also, it was so more economical for me to have the pattern or the technique in a magazine than it was to buy the book!

My goal is to sort through one binder or stack each day. I leafed through the magazines one more time to see if there was an article or pattern that particularly spoke to me. Most of the time there wasn't. I might finish this part of the process by the end of the month as I have saved many magazines over the years. In fact, I had been storing those magazines since 2003. I hadn't cracked the cover on them in . . . .well, I don't know! I am enjoying seeing tiny bits of open space!

My quilting journey has evolved. Now my inspiration comes from seeing a view in nature, reading a passage in a book, listening to laughter, feeling the wind against my skin, enjoying a meal with family or smelling the scent of the earth after a spring rain.

Miss J's olived index finger
On another note, the grands and I haven't done any sewing or stitching in months. Their interest has been in other activities. While it brings joy to my heart when they are creating in the studio, I realize they must participate in activities that bring them joy too. I know from experience how difficult life can be when there isn't some joy in every day.

To that end, we've cooked or baked every day that they are here. We learned how to spit cherry pits. (One of the grands had taken to spitting in not so appropriate situations.) Seeing the look on their faces while I spit a few seeds with all the joy I had when I was a kid. . .well, first it was shock which quickly transferred to wonderment which then morphed to show me how! The fun this week was olives.

As a kid, I'd decorate each finger with an olive and then with dramatic flair munch each one off my fingers! Consequently, my brothers and I would go through quite a few olives in a short time.

Miss J trying the technique
My mom had a can or two of olives in the cupboard; but, because we went through a can in such a short time, we only had olives at Thanksgiving, Christmas and maybe Easter.

I even remember her telling us that we could decorate our fingers once this way and if we were caught doing it twice punishment would be involved!

I don't remember how or why we learned to eat olives that way. Quite possibly, an aunt shared that technique with us. I hadn't seen the grands do it. So what is a grandmother to do? Share the olive finger process!

What a hoot and what joy they bring to my day. I hope they leave each day with joy in their hearts from playing with their papa and their gran.

Last, I'm sharing a patient update. He continues to heal and the hip replacement recovery process is going well. The other morning at breakfast, Miss K reminded him of the "rules." She took great care before his surgery to line her papa out on what kind of behavior she expected from him! We took a moment to write each one so we can "remember." As we were writing, the girls wanted to see his wound, so he obliged. They were surprised at how big it was. Miss J was surprised at hard it was. Miss K quickly responded, "Yes, it's metal!" Clearly, she thinks the hardness is a metal plate under the skin. Ahh, the thought process of a child is truly priceless!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Multnomah County Fair

42 Minis
The Multnomah County Fair is held over Memorial Day weekend. This year, I didn't have many entries. I didn't finish nearly as many projects as I thought that I could. . . .hmmmm . . .this happens to me often!

The fair is managed by a board of volunteers as is the needlework department. Last year, I offered my time this year to help organize the entries for the judges on judging day.  Forty years ago, I judged 4-H horsemanship classes and twenty years ago I judged kids cooking. I was also a 4-H member for ten years in cooking, sewing, horses and livestock! I've entered a number of years on our guild quilt show and had my entries judged so I have an idea of what the criteria is for a blue, red or white ribbon.

I enjoyed working with the judges and providing input. I did not offer input if I had an entry in a category. I was awarded a blue ribbon for 42 Minis in the group category and a blue ribbon for Winter Ice in the pieced/machine quilted category.
Winter Ice

What I was not prepared for was their discussion on awarding the Judged Best of Show award as it was between these two quilts. I bet the three judges bantered back and forth between these two pieces for about ten minutes before two of them said that Winter Ice was their choice.  Winter Ice became the Judged Best of Show. Then they learned that I had stitched it on my domestic machine no less! They had a lot of questions and it was fun to answer their questions.

I learned what to look for in a knitting and hand embroidery work. I listened to the clothing and quilt judge and picked up lots of tidbits of how to judge a category. It was a great experience. Best yet, Winter Ice was also the viewer's choice for best of show!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Month 5 of 8 QAYG (Quilt As You Go)

Nice; but, not what was intended!
This was the toughest month for me to complete with the Quilt As You Go (QAYG) lessons so far. We used the 6" spiral template for block one and two. Truly, the first block was straightforward. The challenge for me was that I needed to reverse the design. Reversing the design after I have stitched it in one direction is a challenge for my thought process. I carefully followed the video instructions. . .although I couldn't see the whole part of the project, so of course, the first time through I didn't manage to actually reverse the pattern. It is a mirror image though!

Better orientation
The second time through, I got it mostly right. If I were beginning again, I would chalk the design. Hindsight is so crystal clear! Had I chalked the design, I would have seen that I had the orientation of the second swirl going in the same direction! I also would have saved time ripping!

Seed pod
The second block created a sort of seed pod design. I had some challenges with this one too! Again, I had a difficult time orienting the ruler to get the design to line up where it was supposed to be. Mostly, I stitched in the correct "area."

I write "area" because I didn't realize that the third and fourth lines of the seed pod aren't a mirror image. This caused my design to not be quite centered when I stitched the vertical lines in the background. I can live with this spacing issue.

Clamshell variation
Block three, now that one was a bugger. We used the clamshell template and I ripped this block more times than all the other blocks together! I'm not pleased with my rendition of the block; but, it is finished and that is what counts most! I sure couldn't figure out how to line up the template so that I had the results that I wanted.

Straight line design
Stitching block four, was a piece of cake. We were to use the 12 inch arc template. I could see this straight line pattern on a log cabin block. I didn't stitch it perfectly. Again there were some times when I needed to flip the design and I ended up stitching it the same way instead of a mirror image! I'm consistent when it comes to making mistakes!

We have four blocks to stitch next month and then it will be time to put all the blocks together!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Retreat Stars--Finish #1 for 2nd Quarter 2017 FAL

Fabrics cut and ready for pressing!
I was planning to attend our guild's fall retreat in September 2017 and I even signed up to go; but, then I realized that the retreat was the same weekend as when our alma mater college football team had a home game. I knew then I wouldn't be going to retreat; but, earlier, I had said that I would make a little something for each retreater. I decided I would make these folded stars

Even though, I haven't been to a retreat in about three years. I remember how much fun and inspiring the event was. I made new friends, learned alternate techniques and giggled until my sides ached. I like to support an event that provides so much fellow fellowship. Following through on my commitment is important to me too. I'll share the story about that in another blog.

The stars folded and ready for the hanger!
Making 45 folded stars was number 10 on my 2nd quarter goals for FAL. You can see my list here.  I've been concentrating on that darn chicken project for weeks now; but, when June 1 came and went, I realized I had finished NOTHING for this quarter yet! I decided that I'd better get a project finished before June was gone too!!!!

The quote printed on a tag.

I have been pressing and folding fabrics since the beginning of the quarter so this has been an ongoing project. I know that it is good for me to take a break from working on that chicken!!!! Thursday, I finished folding the final star. (I realized that my math is poor. . .I ended up with 49 stars!) I like the variety and these fabrics are pieces that have been leftovers from previous projects or a couple fat quarters that have been in my stash for more years than I want to admit! I needed to stop petting the fabrics and USE them in a project or recycle them!

Black and gold trim ready for gluing.
The theme for the retreat is "Where The Wild Things Are." I asked the retreat chair if she had a favorite quote or two from the book because perhaps that would make a nice tie in to the theme. She sent me a list. I chose, "Let the rumpus start." She also told me that because of the space at the retreat, just 40 retreaters would be attending.

Of course, I'm thinking in my head that I'll have a few leftover to use as little gifts or package tags for Christmas next year!

But, I digress!!! Back to the process. I printed the quote on a return address label, mounted the label on card stock and punched a hole in the card stock. Next, I glued the hanger which was a from a roll of trim that I purchased years ago. On some of the stars, I used some different ribbons; but, I liked the black and gold trim too! I inserted the quote on the trim and I had a finished star!

I stacked up the stars into piles of five and took a photo of all the twinkling stars.  I hope that these are well received at retreat. The recipient could also hang the star in their studio to remind them of the fun that they had.
Finished Stars

I think the quote, "Let the rumpus start!" fits me as I work in my studio. Goodness, I create some crazy messes and have some wild times before I arrive at the finish point!

Oh, I used six and a quarter yards of "bits" from my stash which brings the total yardage I've used from my stash to 27! My goal is to use 50 yards from my stash in 2017.

By the way, these stars are fun to make. If you decide to make a few, realize that that you probably won't be able to stop at a few!!!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Little More Quilting On The Chicken

Pebbles in the background
Well, last time I posted that I didn't have to decide about all pebbles in the background. I was quilting away in my "zone." Because I was watching the space and not thinking about "where" I was stitching, I stitched outside the boundaries. I plan to keep stitching; I've lots of background to cover and still have lots of ditch quilting to do on the appliqués.

Do you suppose that I can still quilt other textures, or, did I commit myself to pebbles everywhere? Okay, I agree. I am certifiable nuts to have even completed this many pebbles already!

Back of "Flight Path"
Speaking of pebbles, I've quilted many over the years. I'll share my butterfly quilt which was inspired by the children's book, "Velma Gratch and the Way Cool Butterfly." 

Front of "Flight Path"
I wanted to stitch a two sided quilt that was all thread. As I neared the finish, I decided that I wanted the size to be bigger. I added the outer border via the quilt as you go method. Meaning, I quilted the border and then added it to the quilt!

It was a bold move and it worked! It is easier to see the segments that I added when you view the back.

Finished Front of "Flight Path"
I enjoy hanging it sometimes with the back showing and sometimes with the front showing!

Unfortunately, I don't have a photo of the back now. I removed the partial sleeve (the piece hung in an art gallery system so I needed access to the center of the project) and replaced it with a sleeve that had Flight Path embroidered on it.

JoJo at "Through My Hands" digitized the words for me. I so love this font!
Back of "Flight Path"

Monday, May 29, 2017

Quilting the Background on the Chicken

Superior Threads order
Until today, I haven't been stitching since my buddy's hip surgery. I've swept floors, cooked meals, mowed the lawn and even provided transportation to the grocery store! (I haven't mowed the lawn in about 20 years!) My body is rebelling with the added chores. . .especially, the lawn mowing!

The patient, now 11 days post op, is doing amazing! Although his incision is larger than the seven inches the surgeon had said. The incision must be in the 12 to 14 inch range. It was surprising to see how large it was when the home health nurse removed the bandage. She removed his 22 staples and the wound looked like it was healing perfectly! No wonder he felt like he was getting pinched! When I shared the photo I took of the wound, my sweetie said one could fit a Thanksgiving turkey in that space! It is  wonderful to see him moving around pain free and even better to watch him planning more activities! We think he will receive the go ahead for driving next Thursday.

The above photo shows the silk threads that I ordered from Superior Threads. I like the way the silk embeds into the quilting and provides texture. I can buy a few YLI spools at a fabric store; but, since I use quite a bit, I'd rather purchase the product in a larger quantity. Plus, Superior has a lot more variety!
After two hours of stitching pebbles!
Today, I stitched a few more pebbles. After two hours, this is as far as I am! I still have more ditch quilting to do on the individual blocks; but, I'm taking a break from that process. Probably, I should quilt the entire background in pebbles. BUT, I would be bored doing endless pebbles so who knows how long it would take me to stay on track! However, the quilting would be evenly distributed! :) For now, I don't have to make that decision.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


Miss K in her hostess role
Last week, I had a birthday. . .I turned 60. Because I don't make plans for my birthday, I had agreed to teach a number of classes that week. I taught CPR Tuesday and Thursday. Friday, T and I updated seven Red Cross lifeguard instructors in a skills review course.  Saturday and Sunday, I trained twelve 11-13 year olds in the Red Cross Babysitter's Training program. We had the grands on Monday. Wednesday, my husband had a full hip replacement surgery. Little did I know, daughters A and N had a plan for me on Saturday night; but, they weren't sharing it with me!

Miss J in her hostess role
A couple of my quilting buddies with their husbands
Crazy, week? It was! My husband has had hip issues his whole life because of a birth defect of how his left hip formed. In the last three months, his pain level went from about a seven to off the scale. Aleve had no effect. He had to stop walking the dog and some other daily activities. He found it more comfortable to sleep in his chair rather than the bed! He even ate my cooking full time and said he enjoyed it!

From the time he had his first appointment with the orthopedic surgeon to the surgery, it was two weeks. Today, he is a week post op. He feels great. He is carrying a cane for just in case situations and he is waiting for the healing to happen which it is. He is following the rules to a "T!" He looks forward to riding his bicycle in August.
Me, A and N who plotted the logistics!
The night of his surgery, our youngest daughter, N, who lives in London, arrived for a surprise visit. She scared the crap out of me which is just the effect she wanted. I was in bed when I heard footsteps coming down the hall. After pulling my heart out of my mouth, I was glad to see her!

The following day, we brought the surgical patient home. Friday, the oldest daughter, A, and family came for dinner. The patient supervised cooking the chicken on the Traeger smoker/barbecue. I thought that this was my birthday celebration dinner. Son-in-law, J, even brought my favorite pie--Strawberry/rhubarb. Saturday, we were all supposed to go to the oldest daughter's home for dinner. I said to make it easy and let's call this evening what we would do tomorrow.

The patient and I enjoying a bit of Dalwhinnie
The patient wouldn't hear of it. N said that A had the food already in process and it would ruin her day if I didn't go. I said okay and not with a smile on my face either!

I was tired after teaching the babysitting training skills! When I arrived, K, our oldest grand, handed me a paper she had written, "Welcome to Gran's Party." Her dad, J, had made a pitcher of a special beverage he named, "Stitch in the Ditch." It was delicious although, all I couldn't tell you all the ingredients!

A and N had a surprise birthday party planned. How fun! I saw people from when I worked at the Red Cross and members of my water
Water aerobics class members sampling the hors d'oeuvres
aerobic class came as well as a couple quilting friends and their husbands. It was great to catch up as I haven't seen some of those people in many years! A and N kept the table stocked with dairy and soy free alternatives. What delicious choices there were!

During one conversation, I said that I was  thinking about making a quilt using 60 degree angles in honor of my year.  P, one of my quilting buddies, said she was planning to make a project like that and I could join her. Ahhh an enabler. Life is good! Daughter, N, rolled her eyes and said she was so cold!!!!!
A and J made Kalua pork sliders. YUM!

The patient stayed home and rested. Although once home, I did share a bit of Dahlwinnie scotch I received for my birthday. The patient hadn't had any pain medications so a little imbibing wasn't unhealthy for him.

So there was no progress made on the chicken project last week. I'm okay with that. I'd rather hang with the daughters over quilting any day! They did tell me their original plans were to meet at 2:30 (2x30=60) at a tea house for the party; but, because I was working, I nixed their plans! Sorry, ladies! I guess we will have to "party" there the next time N comes for a visit!

Thanks everybody for coming! It was the best party I have ever had! (Thanks A and N for planning and hosting it!)
The attendees, hostesses and me! (N is taking the photo.)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

A Little More--A Chicken Update

Beginning the cross hatching
Quilting this chicken wall hanging is a lot like a sponge soaking in water. . .the more thread I put in to this project, the more it seems to absorb without much change in the look! On the other hand, all the thread in the wall hanging has to "fill" sometime. . . right??!!!!

I placed an order with Superior Threads for a few more cones of Kimono Silk thread. They were having a 25% off sale. Now, I should be able to finish quilting the entire wall hanging with silk thread.

When quilting the leaves, sometimes I chalked the lines. One reason to chalk was to see if I liked the spacing or the direction of the veins. Another reason to chalk the line was that once I've drawn it, I've the muscle memory to stitch it. It seems strange but, drawing the design really does work. What is crazy is that often my stitching is better than my drawing!

Chalked lines
Most of the leaves are quilted. I've used a variety of threads and a variety of designs to create the leaf veins.  I like the various thread choices for the leaf veins.

The leaf veins provide the repetitious quilting; but, since they are a little different--it provides variety at the same time. The grands have had fun finding similar veins, similar leaves and then ones that are different. They like playing that game!

Leaf detail and wood detail
I like the cross hatching at the base of the central rooster. Quilting the "wood grain" printed lines was a good decision. With the center panel almost complete, I still was stuck on what to do with the backgrounds and outer border. I'm getting closer to working on those areas! I have almost quilted the center panel.

When I was at a guild meeting last week, I took this project with me because I was still stuck with how to quilt the outer pieced border as well as how to quilt the backgrounds. Pat had some awesome suggestions. She took my idea of a curve in the outer border and suggested that I incorporate three blocks instead of one or two. Brilliant! She talked about quilting a cloud around the words.

JoJo suggested that I use a fill stitch like a brick wall behind the letters leaving parts of the wall out around the letters. It is great to have friends to provide input!

I am going to try the brick filler. JoJo's thought takes Pat's suggestion to a different level and will still allow me to stitch different fill stitches in the blocks. If I "get" to stitch the same filler stitch over the entire quilt, I'd be bored and it might take another six months to get to the facing and sleeve stage! Below is showing the center panel almost quilted. Perhaps, the sponge really is approaching the saturation point!
Center panel nearing completion

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day--"The Artist's Hand"

Mother's Day bouquet
Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms and Moms to be out there. The days of toast and juice served by my daughters with help from my husband to me in bed are behind me; but, those are wonderful memories.

I use to plant and deliver hanging fuchsia baskets for my mom and mother-in-law. Over the years, that planting changed to a gift certificate for potting plants. Now that my mother-in-law lives in a retirement center, she receives a photo of a plant. My mom still delights in the gift certificate. For several months after Mother's Day, she will share what is on her list, what she actually bought and what she planted in her patio pots. As the plants grow and bloom, she shares that too.

Until 2009, I enjoyed spending as much time in the garden as I did quilting. Then, I was rear ended in a car accident which damaged my neck and back. I had surgery which helped me gain many activities of daily living, but, alack, gardening has not been one of those activities! I still like looking at plants though! My oldest daughter often gives me a plant or two for Mother's Day so that I have something to watch grow and bloom during the year.

My "quilted" bouquet
The grands like flowers. They like picking bouquets.  In retrospect, I should have taken photos of the two of them gathering their bouquet. One carefully selects a stem of this and a stem of that. The other has a "the more the merrier" sort of approach. Either method works.  The bouquet that J created made it to the house; but, the stems were too mangled from all her "adjusting" to make it to the glass. Her bouquet was full of forget me knots which doesn't surprise me since blue is her favorite color.  I love J's exuberance for creating. Her bouquet was beautiful and created with so much love. She would often ask if I liked this flower better than that flower as she made her selections! I carry her bouquet in my heart.

Close up of the daffodil quilting
The bouquet K created is the photo today. K must have walked a mile creating her bouquet. She started with the forget me knots, then would hold the forget me knots next to the next candidate and hold her head to the side looking at the color or the texture and then say. . .maybe tomorrow and walk on or she might say yes and make her collections. Sometimes she would return to a tomorrow candidate and change her mind! K likes pink; but, the bouquet wasn't finished until she found some red flowers (a few coral bells) to add to the mix because red is my favorite color. Then she proudly presented it to me. Their mama and daddy sure are raising sweet and thoughtful ladies to be!

I've had Mother's Day wishes from my youngest daughter who is living in London, England. Actually, I was also honored when Mum's Day was in England earlier this year. Hey, you can't beat two Mother's Days in one year! :)

Close up of the hand quilting
I'm sharing a project I made after reading "Clara and Mr. Tiffany." The daffodils were a photo of the ones that bloom in our yard and the hand is my own with some embellishment! The title of my work is "The Artist's Hand."

Our hands create so much for those that we love as well as bring to fruition that which has come from our hearts and souls.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Quilting the Center Panel of the Chicken

This is what a section resembles before I tie
and bury the threads.  .  .MESSY!!
This chicken project continues to be work in progress. I've been stitching-- a little most days and I've been burying threads in the evenings. I started quilting this chicken project the first part of April. I thought that by the end of this month, I would have finished the quilt. However, I still have a long way to go!

Generally, I've been threading the machine with a color of thread and then stitching until I need to switch to a different color. This means, I'm stitching in various spots on the quilt. This stitching here and there format coupled with hours of knotting and burying threads has contributed to me feeling like I'm just not getting anything done!

I tried knotting and burying as I went; but, I felt like I made even less progress so I decided to tie and bury a bunch of threads instead of one at a time! Although, I've found that the repetitive motion of tying and burying threads hurts my shoulder so I am pacing myself and taking many breaks.
For the quilting,  I've stitched around the print in the fabric and added texture. The
body of this bird is mostly quilted, although you don't see it because the thread 

Using the print in the fabric as the quilting motif means I don't have to 'think' of what motif would fit that section. The downside to this approach is that the quilting blends into the piece. My husband thinks it is crazy to stitch for hours and then not be able to see the quilting stitches.

I'm using 100 weight silk thread as I quilt. I may need to use some cotton thread because I might not have silk in the color that I need; but, I am trying to stay with the light thread weight. The reason I'm using a light weight thread in a color that blends with the fabric is so that the quilting will provided texture and so that the appliqué is the focus of the piece. Can you see where I've stitched around the various prints to give my bird the illusion of 'feathers?' Perhaps, I've stretched that term--feathers-- a bit far; but, I do hope that you can see it!

The rooster body is now quilted. It took a long time to determine thread color and
what stitch to use!

The photo above is another example of how I quilted the body of one of the chickens. This is the rooster which is in the center of the wall hanging. There are just a few threads there to knot and bury. At times, I've had so many threads that I quilted another section of the quilt because I didn't want to stitch over one or more of these thread ends!

I want to share with you a tip about using threads when you don't have THE color that works the best with fabric. Choose the thread that matches closest in value. In the photo above, the thread in the 'orange' section is actually a burgundy. The blue thread in the tail is actually a grey navy. It works well even on the brighter turquoise shapes because there is some grey already in the fabric. Isn't this an interesting find?
Center panel of wall hanging. I've about 50 leaves to quilt along with the arches and  
some backgrounds to finish the center panel.  

I've spent so much time with my nose inches away from the surface of this project that I lost sight of how much I have finished! In the above photo, I can see how far I have come. I need to remember to take a photo and to look at the WHOLE quilt at the end of the day instead of concentrating on the fine detail work. That stepping back view will help me maintain the perspective of the project. I also need to keep in mind that it took me ten years to get to this point so taking another 30 days or so to quilt this piece is but a small increment of time in comparison to how long this project has been a WIP! (Work in Progress)

When I'm quilting, my goal is that my quilting enhances the project. My other goal is that the design of the project will bring you to view the quilt and that my quilting will encourage you to stay awhile and 'browse!' I still haven't decided how I'll be quilting the background of the other chicken blocks; but, I trust that when it is time to put the needle in that area and begin, the design will come to me or at least to my fingers! Enough sharing for now. I had better get back to tying and burying thread tales so that I will have a 'clean' workspace when I want to quilt tomorrow!