Sunday, January 29, 2017

A Super Fun Day!--post 1

Our guild supports an event called Saturday Workshops. It is the one day of the year that the members teach other members. The teachers volunteer their time. The cost of the class defrays the rental cost of the building and the kit fee covers the teacher's cost.

This year, I was the workshop chair. We held our classes at a new venue for us. Mother Nature gave us a hug and kiss with a snow/ice storm in December and January. Participants were challenged signing up for the classes because two guild meetings were canceled!
Tea Cozy

Workshop day was yesterday. In this post, I'm sharing photos of the classes that were held in the morning.

Robbe taught a tea cozy class. What a fun gift idea for a tea drinker. One of the participants is considering using one of her mother's embroideries to embellish the front of the tea cozy. Always, good ideas flow from teacher to participant, from participant to participant and from participant to teacher in these  classes.

Circle Play example
Circle Play was what Pat taught. The creations in this class were awesome. The circles were so round and so perfect! Unfortunately, I didn't get out my camera and snap photos! Pat is my neighbor. Earlier in the week, she invited me to come and practice her technique so she could get a feel for how the class would go for her participants.

She said that this technique is addictive. I used two fat quarters from my stash--one that has been there for about ten years and one that I picked up from the free table. I used a batik strip from Pat's leftover bag.

I don't know what this will end up to be; but, the technique is addicting! I did want to go to my stash and make more!!!! Mantra to self, "Focus, focus!!! You've some other projects to complete!"

Pin cushion samples
 Lynn S does amazing things with wool. In her class, not only do you "get" to experience her warm teaching style; but, her kits are so generous that you often have enough supplies to make a second item. These little items can be totally completed in a day and they are a nice break from  stitching blocks!

A Stack-N-Whack project in progress
Diana led the morning session of Finish It Up. This class was an opportunity to have a mini retreat to make progress on a project that may have been languishing in a bag in your studio! Jannean said she hadn't worked on her project in several years!

She said she kept putting other people's projects in front of hers and decided it was time she moved this project to the front of the pile!

Hand Dyed Fabrics
Debby taught a hand dyed fabric class. These were her samples. Her students were stamping on fabric, using a brayer to create colors and textures and of course. . .I was drooling instead of snapping photos!

She is a retired high school art teacher. . .gosh, I wish I had had an art teacher like her when I was in school. She empowers her students to produce wonderful creations!

Next post, I'll share the afternoon classes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Little Painting--#2 FAL2017 Finish for 1st Quarter!

The project
I finished a passport project from JoJo.  This is finish #2 for the quarter!!! It is a head wrap and the flower utilizes fabric paints to shade it.  I shared my fabrics and plan in my FAL goal for the quarter post.

The supplies
I had these Tsukineko inks from a class I took a number of years ago. I may have opened the bag a couple times since then; but, I haven't opened the bottles!  I remember buying the jacquard metallic and blender supplies after the trip; but, only used a little of the metallic ink. I spent a little time looking at YouTube videos about how to use these products because I had forgotten!

Frankly, the supplies intimated me! Goal #2 for me this year is to "expand my box." This was a great project to encourage me to play a bit! I stitched the flower sections. JoJo's directions were to make little pillows for each petal and then add some paint!

The palette
It doesn't take much ink to play. That is just a few drops of the ink. In retrospect, I should have prewashed my scraps as they would have taken the ink easier; but, getting the fabric wet and then painting with a brush and/or the fantastic brush sticks worked.

Flowers before painting

Shaded flower--wet

Metallic paint added--wet 

The process, once I started, wasn't difficult. I started with the lightest color and went toward the darker attempting to shade. It didn't take a lot of time to paint and clean up was a snap!

I opened the metallic gold container and added a little to each petal. Then I let them dry overnight.

AppliquƩd using the blanket stitch
The following day, I heat set the paint with the iron and arranged the petals into a flower shape.  I blanket stitched them to the towel.  Notice the centers are lighter and that metallic paint makes it appear like there is organza on the centers.

JoJo's next steps were to draw your pattern for the wrap. I used a piece of freezer paper which worked well. Her directions were easy to follow.

The towel that I used for this project had a hole in it; but, it was still a great towel. When I was cutting out the first head wrap, I saw that I almost had enough towel left to make a second wrap so I did! One towel with a hole became two gifts. I call that repurposing at its best!

First finished flower
Then, I added dimension to the petals with free motion quilting. It was challenging to stitch those petals because the towel is thick!

I can't get over what a difference the paint and thread made to the flower! At this point, I decided the project needed a little embroidery. Being confident with my embroidery software and machine is goal #5! So with the help of Miss K, we picked out a couple letters and stitched them.

Miss K kept the machine going. She was an excellent monitor! I think she would enjoy embroidery especially since she prefers shiny threads and I have shiny threads in my thread stash!

Second finished flower
We used two pieces of tear away stabilizer in the hoop, floated the towel with a piece of wash away stabilizer on top. Each letter stitched beautifully!

Although Joie, my Bernina, kept giving us an error message that her bobbin needed replacing every 30 stitches! Her bobbin was plenty full so I don't know what was up with that other than it took much longer to stitch the design!

She is spending the day at Quilting Delights getting a check up from Aaron. I appreciate the customer service from that shop! Often, I'll call and explain what I'm experiencing. He or the owner, Thea will either tell me a couple fixes or he or she will tell me a good time to bring it in. Often, I can pick it up later that day!

The last step was to stitch the long seam and enclose a hair band in the top of the head towel. I didn't have a hair band that matched the towel so I chose a hair band that worked with the flower.

 Miss K thinks these are for her mama and her auntie. I had to chuckle because she didn't put it together that the J and the K are the first letters of her's and her sister's names!

Adding the embroidery. Miss K knows how to clear the
screen and start the embroidery.  She loved "stitching!"
She was more interested in finishing the project so that we could wrap them! She does love to wrap packages! Won't she be surprised when she opens one of these next Christmas?

Why make a head wrap for a 3 and a 4 year old? They take swimming lessons in the late afternoon so they are going home with wet hair and it has been cold here! This way, they can wrap up their hair and be fashionable at the same time! By next year, they will both be able to manage the "wrap."

First finished head towel

Both head towels ready for gifting!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Outside My Box

My paint palette
I was serious about expanding my comfort zone as one of my goals for the year.  Today, I  participated in an art journal class. The best part of the class was taking it with my friend, JoJo. It was my first time to take a class at this shop and my first attempt at art journaling. I've stamped greeting cards many years ago; but, I don't consider myself artful or arty! JoJo encouraged me to try. She even provided me with the majority of the supplies! You can't go wrong when you have an instructor to guide you. I provided a roll of paper towels, a pair of paper scissors and a pencil!

The acrylic paint applied to the page
This is the second class. The introductory class last week was canceled because we were snowed and iced in. I was apprehensive about taking a 102 level class when I hadn't had 101! The instructor gave us a little "review" of what we would have covered the previous week and talked about some supplies and then we started "decorating our journal books!"

After working in a media where the quilt police will call you out because you have been less than precise, dabbing, wiping and rubbing techniques were a welcomed change!
Journal layer
This paint was so soft and smooth to apply and it was fun to just rub it on and heat set it!

The instructor had us write words to add a layer to the background before we drew hearts with a grease pencil. She talked about how it was challenging for people to fill a page with text and gave us a cheat sheet should we need it.

For a couple years, I've been writing a few paragraphs every day. I started the daily journaling two years ago when a group of six of us worked through the exercises listed in Julia Cameron's Artist's Way book. Generally, I write about what I plan to accomplish, list a task that I haven't been able to complete or write what I have finished.

Surprisingly, writing whatever "it" is on the paper has helped me see what I have accomplished and to find possible solutions when I'm stuck.

Stamped image on left page; white paint
on right page. What a change!
Writing this page today made me think about how far I have come! I am much more positive and definitely kinder to myself!

Next, we layered one page with white paint to lighten the background. Then we added some lines to the hearts to provide some depth.  On the other page, we stamped an image.

It was surprising how little of the products we used; yet what an impact those products had on our work!

Spray ink resist and ghost print pages
Then the instructor showed us how to use spray ink to make a resist or a ghost print. I tried those techniques and then filled in with what I had tried at the beginning of class. It was fun. I'm already looking forward to class next month!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

First Finish--QAL 1st quarter

Finished front view of Winter Ice
Winter Ice is finished! It was the perfect project to have had available to stitch as I have started to implement my dad's last wishes.  It was good to have a quilting plan and all I had to do was execute it. I'm glad I didn't have to make any real decisions!!

You can click this link to review my list that I posted earlier this month regarding the FAL2017! I do have the sleeve and label to hand stitch; but, it is at the "useable" stage so I'm counting it finished now! Note that most of the wave is gone from the border. I put the binding on just like Luann Fischer from Let's Create Today suggested in the comment she left on my last post. I've shared it below with you! Thanks again Luann!

"Luann FischerJanuary 16, 2017 at 3:11 PM
Well executed quilting! This quilt is getting lovelier by the stitch. 
For the binding might I suggest the following. Determine the measurement you want each side to finish at. Cut this exact length of twill tape, for each side. Mark half points, quarter points, and as many more as you may need. Then pin your marked piece of twill tape to its corresponding side, matching up your integral markings. You can use a basting stitch or regular to stitch it into the 1/4 inch seam allowance. Then when you attach the binding, just keep the twill tape encased in that seam allowance area and it will tame the edges. I hope I've made this clear, if not, let me know and I'll try to better explain it. The point is, twill tape does NOT stretch, so if it is cut to the desired size, you may be easing the quilt edge into it, but it won't be wavy when finished."

Winter Ice label
I've started to track how many hours it takes me to make a project as well as what items go into the project. Every quilt has a story and this information just adds to the story line!

I used three marking pencils, two chalk refills, 10 sewing machine needles, one hand sewing needle, six spools of thread, one 80/20 queen size batting package and 24 yards of fabric of which 20 yards came from my stash! (Already, I am well on my way to meeting my yearly goal of sewing 50 yards of fabric from stash!) The cost of the materials was $266.

What were the hours that I spent prewashing fabric, ironing, cutting, piecing, quilting and binding it into the project? The answer is 132 hours! Amazing isn't it? That number doesn't count the time I searched for the background fabric. It doesn't include all the time I spent drawing and auditioning quilting designs as well as fabrics for the project!

The pillowcase is stitched for the project. I try to stitch a pillow case for each project as a way to store the project. It also doubles as a gift bag when I give it away. In this case, I didn't have a large enough "scrap" piece for the main body of the pillow case; but, this a print fabric coordinated well with the other fabrics I used!

Pillow case for the quilt
I've been piecing the back to use as many of the leftover pieces of the projects as possible after I have finished the top. Piecing the back, sure makes great use of the remaining pieces. Yes, it can be time consuming when there are a lot of pieces. The back for this project took about a day to piece.

Any pieces left from piecing the back, I cut following Bonnie Hunter's plan. I'm beginning to collect enough like sized pieces that I might be able to use some in an actual project. How cool will that be to have precut pieces! When that happens, I'll share it in a post. In the meantime, this is the finished back.  This was one of those times when I contemplated making the back a top; but, in the end, I decided it would be better to have one finished project than two unfinished ones! šŸ˜Š

What I liked about this project:
-- how I was able to divide and conquer the quilting designs for the different quilt sections.
-- how cool the ruler worked for the cross hatching design in the outer border!
-- how my fabric choices worked in this design!

What didn't work so well with this project:
--the straight line ruler work in the middle of the quilt.
I decided that before I give up, perhaps, I needed to take a class and perhaps, I needed to try a different design of rulers. At the end of January, Quilting Delights is hosting a ruler class so I signed up for it. It meets once a month for the next eight months. I'll reassess my ruler skills at the end of that time!
--thread tails. I should have buried the threads!
Finished back view of Winter Ice

What I thought would work; but, didn't make a difference with this project:
--I was careful about ditch quilting and adding the dense quilting after I had quilted medium or light areas. I thought that this tactic would greatly reduce the wonkiness that happens to my projects by the end of quilting. I can't say that I noticed a big enough change to say that tactic worked well which was a disappointment! Perhaps, there isn't a way to get around that wonkiness when quilting on a domestic machine.

What I did do that I surprised me: I was able to crawl around on my knees to block and mark the edges of the quilt. The gel injections I had in November are working. It has been four days since I was on my knees and I'm still recovering though. No way would I have been able to do this before the gel injections!

Eventually, this will end up on someone's bed; but for now, I'm going to enjoy it.

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! šŸ˜€

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 appliquƩ 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 appliquƩd 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 appliquĆ© 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 appliquĆ© in this project and the opportunity to embroider those words with my machine instead of appliquĆ©ing 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!