Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Recap of 2013....

I decided to do the recap of the year on the last day of the year instead of the first day of the new year.  I have no intention of rushing to finish anything to add to this.  I want to spend a day cleaning up and evaluating what I want to do next year.  Above is all of the finished quilts of 2013.  It is less than 2012 but I'm pretty happy with the amount.
I also did quite a few mug rugs.  I'm not sure I had photos of all of them but at least it is most of them.
The collage above is all of the tops that I finished in 2013.  Most were new ones made this year but the top left one was just a border added to a top from a previous year.
This collage is blocks made but not yet sewn into a top and two that are waiting for their final border.

I think you can see that making quilts really is my therapy since it was a rough year in a lot of ways, one being my dad's death and the complications that preceded it.  I do my best to be a happy person and to see the bright side of whatever is happening.  There is enough gloom and doom in the world without dwelling on it and discussing it to death.  The beauty of nature soothes my soul, the colorful fabric lifts my spirits, and using my artistic talent to make the quilts fulfills my need to create.  Good-bye to 2013.  Hello to a new beginning in a new year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Really a finish this time.......

Zinnia Garden is finished.  It is 55" x 73" right now.  I want to wash it to soften it so it will probably end up a couple inches smaller.  I want to wash the smaller quilt, English Flower Garden, at the same time. 

I used two different threads for the edge finish on these two mini quilts.  The one on the right is the same color thread that I used for quilting on both of them.  The one on the left is a little darker and I think I like it best.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Another December finish...almost..........

I loaded the backing on the longarm machine a couple weeks ago and yesterday I finally got the batting and top on there and got it quilted.  I got half done hand sewing the binding while watching "The Secret Life of Bees".  I had forgotten a lot of the story but remembered that I really enjoyed reading the book.  I also quilted another of the confetti pieces and did the edge finish on both but didn't take a photo yet.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A few more details...........

I started quilting the first of the 3 little confetti type wall art.  I am using a variegated rayon embroidery thread for the quilting.

I made several of these in June and July 2012.  Here is a link to the start of one batch that year.
It will explain a little more about them.

This gives a better view of the way the pieces are just overlapped a small amount and there is a loose edge on each of them.

Here it is after quilting in that same area.

That piece is all done except the edge finish now.  Next to it is one that hasn't been trimmed yet.    If you go to this post and scroll down you can see the edge finish that I use.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Attention span..or lack thereof.....

I walked into the studio to cut more pieces for the new quilt and I saw the three confetti type quilts that I started last week and decided to work on them instead.  My new little ironing and storage cart is perfect for taking photos of small items. 

I can just turn it around to have the best light on the projects.  I have about 5 hours into these 3 pieces so far and all I have done is place the pieces and iron onto fusible batting and then iron to a backing.  Now I need to quilt them and then they will be trimmed.  Today I have a funeral to go to so I don't know what I will get accomplished.
There is a pair of woodpeckers in this photo.  One is on the suet cage facing the other direction and leaning over to eat the suet.

The one sitting next to the butterfly on the pole flew over under the feeders and started eating.  He has a little pile of snow on his beak.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A little cutting......

I had a wonderful family day yesterday.  I started teaching my youngest granddaughter how to knit.  It started to snow while I was at the party and was getting slippery by the time I came home.  I finished cutting all of the red and yellow for the new quilt on my list.  I have to come up with at least one more color too because I only have 8 right now and I need either 9 or 12.
A pair of doves was in the tree right outside my kitchen window.  I scared them when I walked by the window a few minutes later and both heads shot up in unison.  They are funny birds.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas day.......

I took this photo in 2009 and thought it looked like a Christmas card so this year it is!  May peace and joy be in your hearts and lives this holiday season.
In yesterday's mail was the beautiful piece of quilt glass made by Vicki Welsh.  My name was drawn as the winner of week 2 of the Real Studio tour.  I think I will hang it in the north window of my studio.

This is more like it, the cutting table getting cluttered again.  Last night I counted how many pieces of each color I have cut so I know how many more I need. 

I won't be answering any comments today.  I'll be with my family for Christmas dinner.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A friend.........

A friend who reads my blog was travelling through this area yesterday so she came over for a few hours.  We went out for lunch and then we played with my pile of clean up cuts from batiks.

I started cutting for this quilt when I was making my Fractured quilts (this one is in the same book) so last night I got serious and cut some more pieces.  I need to find about 7 more light fabrics for backgrounds and I am only about halfway done cutting the color pieces.  I think this will be a good one to start on New Year's Eve.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter wonderland, again.......

As you can see above, we got up to some new snow on Sunday morning.
I will actually have an Amaryllis in bloom on Christmas this year.  All four flowers are open now.

I sewed more strips on the log cabin blocks, nothing else new in quilting.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Checkerboard Love.............

I have one December finish.  It is one that I have wanted to finish for a long time.  I pieced it in October 2011, chose the backing fabric in 2012, and finally finished it at the end of 2013.  It is approximately 63" x 83".

Saturday, December 21, 2013


After posting all of those photos yesterday, it seems strange to only post one today.  I finished the binding last night on this quilt.  I have to take blocks off a double design wall in the basement to take the official photo of this one.  The best lighting for photos is on the double wall just past the longarm machine so I'll work on that today.  Yesterday I made one more batch of Chex mix, a batch of fudge and green Spritz cookies.  I have 2 new cookie recipes I want to try today.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The REAL studio tour reveal...........

Today I'm linking up with the REAL studio tour, button on my right side bar to check out lots of studios.  Thanks Vicki/Field Trips in Fiber for hosting this.
This is my main floor studio.  It would be a family room in this 1950s ranch style house if a normal family lived here.  I'm standing in the doorway, the sewing cabinet to the left, the TV on the right on a cart with wheels so I can turn it toward the kitchen or studio.  The embroidery machine and cabinet are on the same wall as the TV.  I bought the bookcases in 1984 when I finally had a room I could call my own.  I bought most of the furniture at a good discount while working at a sewing machine store.
I stepped forward one step and turned to the left so you can see the machine and the third bookcase full of batiks (a 20+ year collection).  I'm still working on the striped binding, half way done when I took this photo.

I'm at the far end now, past the cutting table.  My serger is at this end of the room.  The three DMC cabinets I showed last week are in the bottom of the bookcase. 

I put a bin on top of the cutting table for all of the miscellaneous stuff that doesn't have a current home.  I pounded nails in the wall and hung a bunch of my rulers.  The rest are in the slotted rack next to the window. 

This shot is taken from the far end looking back toward the doorway which leads into my kitchen.  The room is about 11' x 15'.  If I have the back extension of the embroidery machine cabinet opened up then I close the back extension of the other machine cabinet.
Next is the basement studio (a/k/a the whole basement).  I set this up in 1994.  This photo is taken near the end of the stairway looking to the far end.  There are 2 cutting tables, then my longarm and then 2 design walls.  2 additional design walls are on the left.  The 5' x 30" ironing table is at the right which is in the center of the basement.  The wall juts out about 6' to the left just past the first design wall and second cutting table and that is where my studio cutter is.
I stepped 4 steps to my right to take this photo.  Now the ironing table is on the left.  Right in front of me are two 96" tables, then another one turned sideways, then 2 sewing machine cabinets, then a drafting/cutting table and finally at the far wall, a work bench with storage shelves on top of it.  There are 3 more design walls on the right, but actually the closest one is 3 stacked in front of each other.  To my right is the washer and dryer and I pull 2 design walls over in front of them when company is coming to play.
I have just turned the corner past the second cutting table and here is the Studio cutter and all of the clutter around it.  My dies are on top of and inside the top shelf of a cabinet just past the cutter's table.

Now I have turned right and walked past my long arm machine.  Works in progress on several walls, another wall of shelves and another 5' table.  There is a storage area behind each of the design walls and under the longarm.

This is a repeat photo from Mother's day last year when my son made the plywood top for my pool table.  Under it I store my boxes of floral fabrics.  Looking past it you can see 2 tables and chairs, a TV and a microwave.

Walking past the pool table and turning left we're back up by the stairway again.  These two shelf units back up to the stairway.  This is the only portion of the basement that has a finished ceiling in it.  It also has paneling which is pegboard on the upper half.  You can see the pegboard in the photo of my Studio cutter. 

I sewed in the corner of a room for 25 years and then both kids got married the same year and I got a guest bedroom and a studio.  At that point I decided to clean out the basement (a 10 year project!) and I added the tables and design walls.  I hope you enjoyed the tour.

I have posted lots more photos of fabric storage over the last 7 years if you look under STASH on the label list, and also under Organization.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Log cabin explanation......

On Nov. 26th I wrote this:
In a traditional log cabin block there is a red center which in this case is a dark fabric.  That means the first two strips that are added should be light, then 2 darks, 2 lights, etc. until you have the same number of logs on all sizes.  Having made about 30 log cabin quilts over the years and teaching it many times I know that you get the best layouts with the last 2 strips being dark.
Several people mentioned they wanted to know more about that and I felt I needed an example so I had to wait until I had more blocks sewn.   The main design is usually the dark fabrics.  In the layout on the left, I stopped with the last 2 strips being light.  The star is disjointed with 4 floating bow ties and a diamond in the center surrounded with a white border.  The path represented by the column on the left is also not joined at the center so it will be floating diagonals.  On the right, I ended with dark as the last 2 strips and the star is joined together and easier to read as a star.  There are other layouts in which this would be even more pronounced and I know this because when watching the students try different layouts, the ones that ended in 2 light strips had a limited number of layouts that worked.  Personal preference will prevail however so if you don't agree with me it's OK.

I made 2 batches of Chex mix and another batch of spritz cookies.  I intended to make the cookies pink or green but had already added the flour when I remember that.

A friend is scanning the negatives of my third and fourth grade teacher and he sent me this one.  I'm sitting down in the front row next to my little brother.  My other brother is standing at the left in the back row and my mother is the third from the left in the back row.  I don't remember the day this was taken.  There are younger siblings of some of the kids here so it must have been a party open to families of students.  Here is a post where I'm showing the only other photo I have from this one room school.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Binding progress.........

I didn't make much progress, just one complete side plus about 10" on the next side.  It just looked so pretty I had to take a photo.

My amaryllis is just starting to bloom.  There are 4 flowers on this stalk and there is another stalk that you can see to the right of this one, about half as tall. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Binding, cookies, birds........

I followed my plan and finished the quilting and got the binding sewn on.  I am finishing it by hand so I just got started on that part.

I baked a batch of chocolate Spritz cookies.

The birds love the forsythia bush near my kitchen window.  It was another cold day yesterday but we are going to be above freezing for a couple days this week with rain predicted.  Right now the snow is up to the tops of my boots so the rain should settle it down some.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A little quilting......

I started the month of December with the intention of getting several quilts quilted.  The month is half over and I hadn't done one yet.  Yesterday I decided to get started.  This quilt has been basted for almost a month and now is a little over half quilted.
I'm ditch quilting every row crosswise on the quilt and that will be all I will do.  The lines are 2" apart.  I  hope to finish it today and get the binding sewn on right away.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The REAL Studio Tour

Vicki Welsh is hosting a REAL Studio tour, this is week 2, and we are showing storage solutions.  There is a button on the right side bar that will take you to the link up on Vicki's blog to see other storage ideas.  This little DMC 6 strand embroidery floss cabinet fits on the bottom shelf of one of my bookcases and holds my regular sewing thread.  I had a quilt shop back in the 1980s and I sold DMC embroidery floss and cross stitch supplies in addition to fabric. I kept 3 of these when I closed the store. 

I bought drawer divider trays to help keep the thread separated into color groups for the small spools.  Another one of these has scissors and rotary cutter blades and other small items in it.  The third one is really miscellaneous.
Last week I got 2 small shelf units on wheels.  They fit perfectly under the extensions of the cutting table.  All of the thread on the bottom four shelves is embroidery thread for my embroidery machine.  The other shelf unit has fabric in all of the boxes.

I just got this on Friday.  I have looked at them in the past and the price has always held me back ($89.99).  Even at half price I just couldn't buy it but Friday it was 70% off so I got it.  It is short enough to use the top as an ironing surface by my sewing machine too.  One size of the cut and press boards fits perfectly on top of it.  I just put it together yesterday so I haven't filled the drawers yet.
Snapware stack units are my favorite portable storage for small pieces of fabric.  Since I have two studios on different levels of my house this makes it convenient to transport pieces from one to the other.  I have several sizes of the containers.

Next week we will be showing our studios, as they are when we are working in them, not pristine clean.