Sunday, August 31, 2008

Using experimental pieces

A couple years ago I made a bunch of totes and purses to send to the gallery in southern IL. I used a lot of experimental pieces of patchwork as the outsides of the bags. I lined this one in red with tiny pin dots and made 2 pockets in the lining.
The pile of sale fliers were inside on the first picture to make it stand up by itself. I never thought about them being in the second picture until I got to the computer. I guess no one is going to hire me as their photographer, LOL.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back in the groove

I haven't actually quilted anything for awhile so last night I got back in the groove by quilting this store sample. I just did an all over meander and used fusible batting so it was a quick one. Now I am ready to quilt the one that has been on my basting tables (shown a couple days ago). Now this little guy has the right idea. EAT the walnuts, don't PLANT them. See his tail hanging down in the Y of the tree branches? I watch the squirrels plant the walnuts and then I spend the next spring digging out seedlings. I suppose they do find a few of them and eat them too. There are 6 walnut trees in the lot line between me and the neighbor and this is a year of lots of walnuts. Click to view his beady eye a little better. He wouldn't move out of the shade for me.
The first anemone bloom has lost its bushy center and the second one has opened.
A few years ago I had a colorful plant called Ireseine, bloodleaf in one of my porch pots. For the next couple years I didn't get back to the greenhouse where I had purchased it and didn't find any locally. This year I found this one IRESINE HERBSTII, chicken gizzard plant. The spelling is slightly different (Ireseine and Irisine) but I suspect they could be from the same family. This one has more pointed leaves and has burnt a little being in the sun even though it called for full sun.
With a plant like this I can be guaranteed color in the pot all summer even when the flowers aren't blooming.

It was very cool overnight, almost blanket weather for sleeping. We are supposed to get some hot days for the beginning of the fair. I just hope it cools down for the end.

Friday, August 29, 2008

It's all black and white

Are any others interested in the positive/negative black and white prints? Some of the prints are more gray looking because there is a close to 60/40 relationship of the 2 colors within the prints. I tend to be drawn to the more graphic ones but I figure I should have a little bit of the other ones in my collection. This is a portion of my pos/neg group. I have a couple ideas that I want to try with them. Here is my first anemone bloom. They usually bloom in Sept. so they're a few days early. I know this picture is a little blurry but I didn't want to get my feet wet walking through the dew this morning to get a better picture.
I like the shape of the buds on this plant.

Thank you for your concern about my headache. I was able to squelch it early in the day both days but then I have the one day of feeling "dull" afterwards. I will go shopping at Wal-Mart this morning. I can do that while I feel dull!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Big blooms

LC mentioned in her comment about hosta blossoms being small and most really are. Here is the actual size of these sweet smelling ones I showed yesterday. I can easily see these from my kitchen window. This is the largest blooms I have on any of the hostas. Here is another totally different kind of bloom on another hosta. The leaf on this one is longer and skinnier and the flowers are in a cluster. It is just starting to bloom so I'll try to get a better picture in the next couple days.
Here are more of my Rose of Sharon blooms in front of Sedum.
And this is on the basting table about half basted.
In the studio I am making more of these blocks for the next quilt. They haven't been pressed yet and the picture was taken without a flash with the light coming in from the top edge of the photo. I feel like they are organic blocks, untouched by heat and steam.
I hope we get some of the rain they are predicting. I got up with a whopper of a headache yesterday but I had it tamed in time to go out to lunch with a friend. The barometric pressure was pretty high yesterday and today is starting out pretty gloomy. We need the rain before the big county fair next week. We have the largest county fair in IL, the last one of the season starting Wed. after Labor Day each year and lasting for 5 days. We can almost always be guaranteed a heat wave that week. It is brutal on the vendors in the buildings. Take a 90 degree day, an open building and 50-100 people (body heat) walking through. You would think Sept. would be cool weather but that is the exception rather than the rule.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The dentist office waiting room

In 1996 I needed some dental work done and I didn't have the money to pay for it. The dentists in this office were just getting ready to redecorate and they knew I made wall art. We came to an agreement and I made this large piece which I traded for the dental care I needed. They also purchased this smaller piece. All of the years I was making the colorwash pieces I kept calling them dentist office pieces because I thought they would calm a viewer. I never dreamed that they would actually become dentist office art.
I love my dentist so much (she's good!) that I gave her this I Spy quilt for the children's area. While I was sitting there chatting with another lady she was telling me how much she enjoyed this one, so I guess it isn't just for the children.
My large hostas are blooming now. They have sweet smelling lily-like flowers.
This one on the north side of the house is more upright where they usually are more horizontal like the previous picture.
It was only in the 50's overnight, great sleeping weather. I know we will get one more blast of hot and humid weather yet but I'm enjoying these cool low humidity days until it gets here.

Thanks again for all of you that comment on my blog. Lots of you are no reply bloggers which means you don't have a Google account, or your email isn't on your profile page. I can't thank you personally because I have no way of contacting you but I do enjoy and appreciate your comments.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Color, color everywhere

I took a couple pictures on my walk yesterday. This is one of the gardens that I really admire. I don't know the name of a couple of the flowers so I will be getting out my gardening books.
I love the deep purple contrasted with the white fence.
I got this piece re-bordered and I think it looks much better. It is now 35" x 37".
And here is another Rose of Sharon blossom. By getting the picture straight on you don't see it's long stamen (or whatever it is called) sticking out the middle.
I'm off to the dentist for a cleaning this morning. I really don't want to hear any bad news.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Setting triangles

I had originally tried the half blocks as setting triangles back in July when I was showing my progress on designing this quilt. I'm not sure I want to go to all of the work of making pieced setting triangles. I tried several fabrics and only found this one that I liked. I have a few more that I will try today. I am trying to keep this all in the Kaffe Fassett, Martha Negley, and Philip Jacobs fabric lines so that does limit me in my selection. Click on the picture for a closer view. I have all of the rows sewn together one way and must add the setting triangles before I can sew the other direction. I do have my energy back with the change in the weather. I love the low-70 degree days with low humidity. A little sunshine added in makes a perfect day. I was feeling so good I balanced 2 checkbooks this morning before I did this post.

I took some more pictures in the gardens. This is the really pale pink balloon flower that happened to have every bud on the end of the stalk blooming at one time. You can see some of the purple balloon flowers in the blurry background.

It wasn't until I brought this up on my computer screen that I saw the critter right above the flower. What a bonus! This is my darkest lavender Rose of Sharon.
I noticed the sedum on my walk last week that was turning pink already. I checked mine out and it is just starting to bloom.
I'm going out for a walk this morning and this time I will take my camera along. I am going to dig up a couple hostas and divide them this afternoon after I get home from my mother's dr. appointment. She has been doing pretty well lately. We even had 2 weeks with NO dr. appointments.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Garden walk, and miscellaneous

I had 3 butterfly bushes at one time. The last 2 years I haven't seen any signs of growth in early spring and then all of a sudden, late in the season one of them came back. This is the stubborn prairie type bell flower that has planted itself all over my gardens. Here it is coming up through the gold mound spirea bush.
Sequana asked yesterday about the thread for the machine embroideries that I do. A chart comes with the digitized designs that are on a CD. Since I want these to look like Laurel Burch's colors, I usually follow the chart. The letter S stands for Sulky brand thread.
So then I go to my Sulky thread boxes and pull out all of the colors that it suggests. This is rayon embroidery thread. The difference between embroidery thread and regular thread is that regular thread has a tight twist to make a strong thread. Embroidery thread has a looser twist for a prettier thread that fills in the design better.
I did get the other 2 borders picked off this one and the first border sewn back on. Now I have to decide how wide the outer zebra border needs to be.
This one has been nagging me to get it off the design wall so yesterday I finally cut the sashing strips for the short direction and got the first 4 rows sewn. The rest of the blocks just have the sashing strip sewn to their left sides and are waiting to be sewn in rows.
The late afternoon light and the camera have decided that this Rose of Sharon should be bright pink when in reality it is a lavender.
The Japanese beetles have been trying to devour the flowers but luckily I don't have the infestation that some areas have.

Remember how I was complaining about the heat and humidity? I actually shivered this morning. It is quite cool and low humidity. The sun is out and it promises to be a beautiful day.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

No energy, lots of humidity

I don't deal with humidity very well. I also don't like air conditioning all that well, and since I don't have central air, the house is cooled very unevenly with 2 window units near the center of the house. I finally did turn on the A/C yesterday afternoon and the stickiness is gone. My energy has returned a little but I can't say I accomplished anything yesterday. I looked at the leftovers from 2 previous quits and admired them. That took about an hour!! LOL. Last night I embroidered another of Laurel Burch's animals for the quilt I will eventually make for the guest room twin bed. Now I have 4 done, at least 20 to go.
It's a dreary, gray morning, but they aren't promising us very much (if any) rain out of this front moving through. The Canadian cold front should be here this afternoon. Thank you Canada!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Something old, nothing new

In 1991 (yes, 17 years ago) 2 friends and I got together and each strip pieced 2 big pieces (6 total) and then we cut segments out of them at a slight angle. Some were angled to the left and some to the right. Then our plan was we each took segments from all of the groups and sewed together backgrounds. Our plans were to applique on them, maybe more of a collage type project. I sewed my background together but since they both moved away after that I'm not sure if they sewed theirs. This has been sitting in the UFO box for 17 years. However there were wedge leftovers because of the way we cut the strip sets. Neither of them wanted those pieces so I took them, and I did make a wallhanging out of them. It isn't finished though. At the time I was influenced by 2 people who did beading.
The first thing I did was stitch in the ditch with clear monofilament thread on top and bobbin thread that matched the backing. This way I knew from the back where the areas of color were and stitched from the wrong side with heavy glitz thread in the bobbin case in several different patterns and different colors.
Then I decided to start beading. That may have been a mistake because I have never gone back to finish it. I have dark beads on this color section and......
light colored beads on the light background sections.
This is another case of the leftovers being more inspiring than the original plan. Someday I hope I have the urge to finish the beading, but it may just be an interesting item at my estate sale when I am gone.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ripping good time...

This is how I spent the afternoon yesterday, having a ripping good time while talking to friends. I decided the first border wasn't wide enough to really give the "hole" appearance that I had when I showed it with the wider border. I have 2 more borders to rip and then I can cut new ones. Below is one of the little critters that fly through my yard. I thought is was a cicada killer but found out now it is a dragonfly. I know my flowers, not the bugs.
They are predicting some much needed rain later today and maybe tomorrow. Our grass is turning brown and a lot of the perennials are going into their autumn stage. I think it has been about 2 weeks since we had rain. I remember it rained the day my brother left, Aug. 3rd.

Thank you to all who reminded me about the time delay in picture taking years ago. The picture shown is a school picture, with the teacher in the top row center, sitting down with a book on her lap.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Company is coming today

Some of the ladies I used to work with at the quilt shop are coming today for pizza and fun. I have a couple errands to run before they get here so today I will show you an old picture.

This picture was taken in May, 1893. My grandmother on my father's side is the girl seated in the front left with her hands on her knees. She is 10 years old in this picture. She died when my dad was 6 years old, in the influenza epidemic in 1920, so I never knew her.
I guess the photographers never said "smile" in those days. They are such a somber bunch!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Preparing to pintuck

On the tote bag pattern I showed 2 days ago there is a bag with pintucking. To do it you need the right equipment. You have to have a double needle. The pattern calls for a 3.0 which means there is a 3 mm space between the points of the needles. A lot of my packages were purchased back when Pfaff was still putting their name on packages. You can see they come in lots of different sizes and even a triple needle is available, but not for pintucking. The 6.0 is for doing the double row of stitching when hemming a T-shirt, to look like the stitch from the manufacturers. The one shown is a regular one; I also have a ballpoint one somewhere. The tote bag pattern also called for a 3 groove pintuck foot. I see I have a 5 groove and a 7 groove which means the pintucks wouldn't stand up as tall. I also have the foot at the bottom that is a single groove with a side panel that will ride on your previous pintuck so you can have evenly spaced tucks. You can also do fancy stitching down between 2 tucks with this foot. It looks like I may need to buy a 3 groove foot.
I do a lot of playing on little samples that sometimes just stay as samples, never made into anything. The next 2 pictures are my playing with a double needle and no pintuck foot. You will still get a tuck without the foot, just not as tall. These are hand dyed fabrics from Cherrywood.

On this next sample I also did not use a pintuck foot, just a double needle and tension tightened a little. Then I wanted to see if I could do a machine embroidery over the top of the pintucks.
I think it worked pretty well.
A long time ago I gave classes on making quilts from old blue jeans. I took one of the softer pairs of jeans, cut a square and started playing with the double needle again. Then I came back and couched down some hand dyed thread with a clear monofilament zig zag stitch.
Now I just have to decide what fabric I am going to use for the tote.