Sunday, July 20, 2014

Summertime Happiness

In June I did a huge clean-up in my sewing room. There is still a lot I could do, but for now I am quite happy with my progress. I cleared out one bookshelf of books and sorted through the quilt books I really still love and use. I gave the old books to a book sale. 

Folded fabrics readily available and visible. These are not in direct sunlight and are up off the floor under my sewing table. I swapped out the drop leaf table and the dresser. 

Still need to sort out some things in the drawers but I love having a little ironing station handy to my sewing machine. I still have an ironing board and an old iron in front of my sewing table. I bought a new iron when the old one started to spit and leak but it is fine as a dry iron. 

Bill and I went on a day long trip to Oquossoc. Here is the view at Height of Land. That's Mooselookmeguntic Lake. Beautiful! 

Alex came to visit early in July. He had not been home for a couple of months so it was very good to see him. He came again to see his sister later in the month. 

I made this purse from a Pattern Pile pattern I purchased. It is called the Bonsai Bag. It is sold online and is downloaded as a pdf. 

When I make this again I will match the upper lining with the outside panel as the fabric shows and mine would look better with the same fabric. I embroidered over the flowers and leaves on the front panel. I added some beads and machine quilting. So fun to make. 

Zoe came to visit last week from North Carolina. We had a very happy week together. She picked out fabric at On Board Fabrics in Boothbay so I can make her a Bonsai bag, too. 

Gift shop in Boothbay Harbor. We had a snack in the sunshine at a sidewalk cafe, went to Enchantments and bought books on crystals, had lunch at the Blue Moon Cafe in the cool shade of a garden. 

After our shopping trip to Boothbay we stayed home and tried some silkscreening. Neither of us had ever silkscreened before and it was so much fun. Great to have two people working together, helping and learning as we proceeded. I had watched a Craftsy class with Judith Trager. She explained how to silkscreen. I bought a kit earlier in the summer so all was ready for some vacation activity!

Leaves collected from the garden, actually mostly weeds. Photocopied and traced onto freezer paper and then cut out with an Exacto knife.

Here is the padded board we made to silkscreen on. 

Some of our finished leaves! This paint is mostly opaque. I would like to get some translucent paint because seeing the fabric through the paint is quite lovely. 

Some lazy time with the cats. 

Lunch at the Salt Cod Cafe on Orr's Island. They are right next to a kayak rental so usually there are kayakers to watch as well as sailboats, seagulls, and the sky and water. Happiness!

Here's one of the patchwork pieces I made up earlier to silkscreen on. After the silkscreen ink has set (that's fabric paint), I did some machine quilting. Looks like applique, doesn't it? 

Here's the finished little quilt. I fused some birds and a flower then added some thread painting to them. I really like this process and want to do some more. I have several other pieces that we silkscreened that I can play with. 

Enjoy the rest of summer!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Scrap lovin'

As I mentioned in a previous post, I've been cutting my scraps into strips as Bonnie Hunter teaches in her workshops and books. I found this Sister's Choice quilt block on her website at I love this block but I need to pay a bit more attention to my piecing next time. These two blocks came out about 1/2 inch different in size. Not good. Not good at all! Bonnie says that a neutral is any fabric that does not have enough going on to stand alone as a feature fabric. She also mixes her neutrals up within a block which does make the block and the quilt more interesting. The star points are made by taking a rectangle of neutral and placing two star point squares at the ends. Sew diagonally and flip. I like that method a lot but that's where I ran into trouble as these sections need to be accurate.

I bought the Easy Angle ruler and Companion Angle ruler that Bonnie talks about. I have a collection of rulers and many of them just languish on the shelf because I have forgotten how to use them or did not find them that useful to begin with. 

The Easy Angle makes cutting and piecing half square triangles really easy! No kidding, I love it! I made a bunch of four patches and half square triangles the other night and stuck them on my design wall. I love the bright yellow with the red. 

Four patches with Broken Dishes...not sewn together, just playing around.

This one is Dakota Farmer and Bonnie had the pattern in the December 2013 issue of Quiltmaker magazine. Twelve half square triangle units in this one. 

Not sure what I'm going to make but it is fun just to cut and sew and see what happens. I'll show you more about the Easy Angle ruler and the Companion Angle ruler next time. 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Margaret Solomon Gunn

Margaret Solomon Gunn won the Handi Quilter award for best quilting with a long arm machine on a wall quilt recently at Paducah. Margaret is from Gorham, Maine. If you have been to Maine Quilts you may have seen her quilt "Big Bertha". I also remember her quilt Cartoline de Venizia. Take a look here to see her quilts on her website. Congratulations, Margaret!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Scraps Scraps Scraps

Blue Melon
It all started one dark and stormy, really it started when Kathy B showed us how to make these strippy melon shapes at Back Roads. All this fabric was from my stash. I'll get around to quilting it or having it quilted sometime this summer. So, I cut many strips of blue fabric, made this quilt, and I STILL have a bin full of blue strips. What to do? What to do? Well, cut more strips!

This is Bonnie Hunter's method for saving scraps. In her book Scraps and Shirttails that I bought when she came to our guild meeting, she recommends cutting leftover fabric in 1 1/2, 2 1/2, and 3 1/2 inch strips. She says most quilt blocks require these sizes. I've cut mostly 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 strips. I even bought a big 60 mm rotary cutter and it is so much nicer than my old one. Love those Joann coupons. 

Sometimes I take a break from sewing and play in the garden. Just bought this hanging basket on Friday. The yellow is called Bidens, the magenta is millions of bells, and the purple is verbena. I have an urn that I planted these in and think it will cascade over the edges all summer. Isn't it a beauty? 

Meanwhile, back to the scraps. I looked up string quilts and saw some very vibrant star quilts. One is on Bonnie Hunter's blog, so I printed out the directions and had a go at it this afternoon. It took me a little while to figure out a template for the diamond. Bonnie uses the Easy Angler rulers. I don't have any of that line (isn't that always true?) so I improvised. Some of these strips are the leftover leftovers. Really "strings" of fabric. Some are only 1 inch wide and so after seams are only 1/2 inch wide. That little pink fabric on the lower right with the circles is from my daughter's nursery school graduation outfit. I made her a sleeveless dress that had a gathered skirt. Then I made a little jacket out of this pink. It had a sailor collar on it. She was adorable! So, lots of memories in these scraps, as I am sure you know. 

stack o'scraps

As I am still busy cutting, I haven't figured out the best way to sort my scraps. Right now I have a bin for each color, or two colors. I'm thinking perhaps by size might be a better option and just sort according to light and dark. 

When cutting my fabric I have been cutting one or two 10 inch squares if there is enough fabric. I have quite a stack of those now, too. Mostly I'm cutting up leftovers and fat quarters. 

Here's my string star on the design wall. 

The center is horrible! What a lumpy mess! Since I have made Lone Star quilts that lie flat as a pancake, I know I can do better than this. AFTER I made this block I looked in some of my books and have found a better method for joining the diamond shapes. This is just a test sample....ha ha.

Here it is all sewn together. I just love the bright colors and the green. See how the yellow pops out! Thank you to Bonnie Hunter and Kathy B for sending me down this scrappy road! I'm using fabrics that have been in my stash for years. I love it!