Monday, July 29, 2013

Design Wall Monday

On my design surface is another long term project that, happily, saw some small progress yesterday while I was awaiting return of our youngest chick, returning to the nest after college graduation from Arizona State U. 

These six wool appliqué blocks have been making the bus trip with me for far too long. The butterfly got her head and and antennae, the peach its stem and leaves, the bird her beak. I cut the tiny stars and stripes for the watermelon but they await stitching. The pansy only needs its center, and the apple got a leaf. I'm undecided about putting seeds on it, they are so tiny!
DD Erica arrived in late afternoon with her uncle and cousins, and all her stuff, so now my sewing room looks like this:

But that's ok, it's temporary :). See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tuesday's Orts

Tuesday's Orts--bits and scraps of thoughts and events that land here semi-regularly.
  • The past two work weeks have been pretty brutal--one of our team was out for two weeks' vacation and by last Thursday and Friday I had spent my entire 8 hour shift each day working on STAT charts.  Now that she's back, it's gone down to 2/3 of the day on STATS.  I'm aiming for 1/3 by next week!
  • Auto correct is a useful feature, however has its flaws that can amuse.  For instance, whenever I misspell "motion", IEspell gives the suggestion "Motown".  Makes me want to break out in song--Temptations, anyone?
  • The increased summer traffic is affecting my commute by at least half an hour every day, but since someone else is usually doing the driving as I take the bus, it isn't too painful.  It's also easier to stitch when the bus is going slow.
  • DD Erica is moving back home soon.  Thankfully we have one last Saturday to get her room cleaned out, as she extended her stay in AZ by a couple of days at the request of her host family--my brother and his wife and kids.  They have all grown very attached to each other.
  • I have so enjoyed watching all the flora, fauna, and folks on my walks around Santa Barbara these last four months.  There are so many neighborhoods with charming abodes.  This is one of my favorites:
 This "storybook" cottage catches my eye every time I see it.  Isn't it adorable?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Finished for the Fair

What a boring blog--only the same quilt over and over again for weeks--sorry, peeps!  I'm happy to say I made the entry deadline by hours to spare, so I get to show a finished quilt at last.

The finished quilt is about 59" square, a shape I don't usually prefer, but seems to work just fine for this quilt. All the nine patches came from a swap of Civil War print themed blocks.  I found the pattern called Carefree Romance in American Patchwork and Quilting magazine that worked perfectly with these 6" finished blocks.

I used the same caramel print for the binding as the hourglass blocks, which I'm hoping ties it all together nicely.

For the first time, I tried a "ribbon" design for the border, rather inexpertly, at that.  Not my favorite!  I may end up ripping it out and going with something else in the future.  Crossing my fingers it doesn't count too badly against me in the judging.  

A pieced backing lends some contrast to the traditional front.  Happy to cross this quilt off the UFO list!  In addition to this quilt, I submitted four other items, three of which I had to borrow back from their owners:  a modern Christmas Chevron table runner and an Any Witch Way wall hanging from DD Elaine, plus the Baby Houndstooth quilt I recently made in April for my Bunco buddy (whose adorable baby girl, Kate, I got to hold for awhile yesterday!).  Finally, there was a wool applique candle mat.  Next time I see them after the Fair opens July 31st, it will be to discover whether any ribbons are attached. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Though I've been using Leah Day's method for stippling, where she advises, "just wiggle", as she demonstrates it in her video, her gloves don't look anything like mine.

These look pretty diseased, don't they? Even right after I wash them the discoloration lingers. I'm thinking since Leah sells them in her online store she must open a fresh pair a week for her videos, rather like ballet dancers and their toe shoes :). All the wiggling is done and I'm moving to borders and binding now. Getting down to the wire since this must be turned in tomorrow for Fair entry, but I'll make it!  I'll reward myself with a new pair of gloves, I think :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Quiltus Interruptus

While I had planned on spending Saturday quilting Caramel Blues, on Friday afternoon I got a text from my DH saying he had scheduled a carpet cleaning crew to come at 3 PM Saturday.  Oh no!  This of course meant doing a great deal of shifting things downstairs from up, inside to out in the garage, under beds to tops of dressers, and generally making a large mess everywhere.  We always have done the moving of furniture and belongings ourselves, wanting the cleaners to concentrate on the floors, and not our stuff!

Though the two man crew did a good job on our ancient carpet (20+ years old), naturally the last room finished was my sewing room--at about 5 PM--which meant the carpet was far too damp even this morning to move back onto.  With the doors and windows all open and nice sunny/breezy weather, eventually by mid day I could reassemble the room a bit, pushing the sewing desk back into place and setting up my cutting table so I could mark the remaining blocks.  

All the caramel blocks now have their arcs and circles.  Since this photo I've completed at least half of the stippling in the cream.  It goes pretty quickly since the triangles are not that large (and I'm not a perfectionist!). The nine patch blocks are standing out just as I'd hoped.  I checked my project box and I have the caramel binding already made, so I'm sure to meet my deadline of next Sunday at this rate.  Unless DH decides to schedule something ELSE for next Saturday!

Remember the modern baby quilt I made a couple of months ago for a friend of  DD Elaine? I was thrilled to learn from Elaine a while ago that the quilt was over the crib in their nursery--what a nice feeling that they liked it!  The expectant couple chose not to learn the gender of their baby, and they had to wait a long time, as mama went over a week past her due date. But today they finally welcomed a son, whom they named Jude.  Many congratulations to the new family! 

Thursday, July 11, 2013


When there is time before the bus comes I might go in the library or the Santa Barbara courthouse and wander around a bit.  The other day I visited the Mural Room in the courthouse and took these shots with my iPhone. 
This one representing the arrival of the Spanish...

Fifty years after Columbus, it reads. The flag of Spain was planted and white foreigners began changing what would become California.

The Mural Room's ceilings are probably 30-40 feet high, and the huge beams heavily decorated and guilted.

It's a lovely quiet place to sit and enjoy!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Foray into Free Motion

It is always so nice when needle, thread, and quilting come together without skips, breakage of thread, or breakage of needle while free motion quilting.  Makes all the repositioning I have to do with my small-harped sewing machine the only bothersome bit.  But first there was some marking.  Now, I am mostly a "no-mark" type of quilter, however, when necessary I get it done with simple tools I have around the house :)

An oval baking dish and a spool in this case--the spokes in the spool helped me line up the positioning with the point of the triangle while I traced around it.  I changed the design by making the circle on top of the arc instead of within, to fill up the tip of the triangle sections, and I think it looks better than my original sketch.

I'd say I'm consistently inconsistent in the way I do my quilting.  This time I'm switching back and forth between marking the caramel triangles and stitching them with caramel thread, and the stippling in the cream sections with matching thread. 

Pretty busy from the back side!  Since these photos I've gotten another bunch of the caramel blocks done and additional stippling, with probably a little over a third of the quilting complete, and so far am liking the effect.  I think the arcs will show up a lot better once the quilt is washed.  It was a good session!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Nine-Patch Quilting--What Shall I Do?

County Fair time is nearly here and I've been thinking about what I'd like to enter this year.  Deadlines being a good thing for me, I mentally ran through some unfinished quilts and decided starting on the one furthest along in being quilted was a wise place to start.

This poor project I'm calling Caramel Blues has been stuck at about halfway quilted for quite some time.  The CW print nine-patches came from a swap of nearly three years ago by Julie K and the pattern is Carefree Romance from AP&Q magazine.  Simple hourglass blocks make this a much more complicated looking quilt than it was to construct. The caramel and cream prints came from Temecula Quilt Company.  I think the caramel is a Jo Morton print.

I used a walking foot to stitch pumpkin seeds diagonally across each block's center and corner squares with variegated thread, and then cross-hatched the remaining squares.  But then I became stuck on what to do in the surrounding triangles formed by the hourglass blocks.  I want the nine patches to stand out and not be over powered so my original idea of using the same variegated thread in the cream triangles was ripped out--it was far too distracting and kind of looked dirty on the cream.  I did manage to purchase some matching thread some months ago but that was as far as I got. 

Out came the sketchbook.  I sometimes come up with great ideas while not really thinking too hard, just doodling and playing.

 I didn't want to repeat the pumpkin seed but did want some more curves to play off the patchwork. 

 Hmm, this is coming along. 

 A full size mock up of the triangle.  These are 6" finished blocks so not a lot of area to fill. 

Today I wandered over to my LQS and picked up some General Pastel marking pencils and scored a cool tool pencil sharpener for 15% off since it was the tester and the last one.  Now for the ITIS part of the quilting process: I'll Try It & See.  Future post to come featuring success or failure...cross your fingers for the former!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Design Wall Monday

My design surface is continuing to fill with blocks from the Jelly Roll Sew Along (Aunt Reen's Place).
All the blocks are complete, though I am far behind other weavers.   Next comes layout and switcheroo :)  I tried a dozen blocks for a sneak peek.

Not the best photos, sorry.  No idea why this is underlining!--seems pretty purple-y but there are still enough greens and blues and tans to balance, don't you think?  See more design walls on Judy's Patchwork Times.

Design Wall Monday--Catching Up

 Design Wall Monday --See more design walls on Judy's Small Quilts and Doll Quilts blog.  I disappeared for awhile, due to computer issu...