Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Learning a Better Way to Applique

I was not satisfied with my leaves yesterday, using fusible interfacing. The leaves were small and by the time I turned them right-side out, they had stretched and all were somewhat miss shapen. Live and learn. The method worked just fine for the larger bird and the pineapple.

This time I redid the leaves and red flowers using a heat resistant plastic template, with starch swiped over the seam allowance of the fabric, and pressed the seam allowance over the template. The result is much better, and neater with only one burned thumb. Also, you only need one template for all the leaves.

Why do we resist trying new things? I've wasted more time RESISTING, than actually TRYING this method that works wonderfully! Yep Mom, you were right - I can hear you now. 8-))

By the way, acrylic nail tips work well for this process! Your fingertips are close to that iron.

The photo shows 13 leaves done, with 6 more ready to prepare. This took me about 45 minutes ??? to make that bunch of leaves and flowers.

On the right is my pile of discarded leaves. Also, on the RIGHT, there are two yucky red flowers made the same fusible interfacing way - didn't like them either, so I remade them (left) with better results. It's still fiddly getting into the 'V' neatly.

I'll bet you 'real' applique'ers are laughing at my amateurishness. 8-)))

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


This first paragraph I wrote about this fiddly applique was so whiney, cranky, etc. I've deleted it and tried for something more positive. Mostly, I'm complaining that the fusible applique is not exact, amateurish, and not very 'slick'. Apparently "PRACTICE" comes into this process! And I AM trying to branch out a bit, trying new techniques.

The pieces will all be fused, except for the bias vine. I will blind stitch the bias vine down, and fuse the leaves, using machine fancy stitches around the leaves, and bird, each with a matching color -and I have to add the wing. I'm hoping the end result will be a little more smooth.

Should I loosly baste the pieces down first? I plan to have this design on alternate corners. You can see my pattern that I put under the border for placement, and flip it over for the opposite side. I KNOW I should have done all the applique before putting on the border, but that was yet another step of fiddling. This is not a large quilt so I'm expecting to wrangle it around with the machine applique.

Hey, it looks better in the photo than I thought! I still have several red flowers to add, and I am using brown buttons for the buds. This is one of the few times I am actually following a pattern for the applique.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The man in the bedroom

It was a hot and steamy summer night in the south, windows open and fan noisily turned on, going full blast in the bedroom. We had 2 teenagers and they came and went and refused to keep a key with them, or the key is lost or ??? They don’t lock doors, lots of issues with them but…the house was not locked. Neither teenager was home that night.

We lived in a split level home -- not much crime in that neighborhood. One can enter the house from the driveway through the back door into the garage, past the furnace, walk around the accumulated junk, past the car, 2 cats and one dog, the catbox, the dog bed, pet food dishes, laundry baskets, through the door into the house, turn, up one set of stairs, turn, up another set of stairs, to the hallway. Got it? Not the easiest place to maneuver if you don’t live there. No lights were on.

We’re sleeping and I vaguely hear/see someone walking in the hallway toward our bedroom in the dark. - I am closest to the hallway. He had very white tennis shoes on – that’s all I could see. I knew it was NOT my son as his shoes were always yucky. This man/person turns into OUR darkened bedroom, and plops down on the floor next to my side of the bed, and prepares to sleep in front of the noisy fan.

I was stunned -- what does one do? I distinctly remember sitting up, with my mouth open. First, I woke husband up, who couldn’t understand what I was saying because the fan was making so much noise, and from his side of the bed, he didn’t see anything on the floor in the darkened room on MY side. I checked under the sheet to see what husband was wearing – uhhh nothing. I checked under the sheet to see what I was wearing – oh lucky me -- I was wearing SOMETHING, not much but -- Looks like it was MY responsibility to do ??? what????

I turned on the light, and this big goomer, jumps up, and STUPID ME – I extended my handshake and said, “My name is Elaine”. He says, “My name is Mike – your daughter said I could spend the night.” Uhhhhh, I am being polite, introducing myself to an intruder, a possible killer – BECAUSE WOMEN ARE ALWAYS TAUGHT TO BE POLITE FOR GOSH SAKES!!!

Now, quilters, what would have happened if I had a gun under my pillow -- ??? I may have used it on this stupid young man! Or, he might have been a killer walking into my bedroom and used it on us? At this point, the big goomer/kid realized he was in very hot water and left very quickly, navigating the obstacles the same way he came in, apparently. Both husband and I were both stunned, frightened, shocked, and finally relieved we did NOT have a gun at the ready but ????

Teenage daughter denied knowing “Mike” when we next saw her.

We women don’t always have to be polite, ya know. And this also brings up the subject of guns – I still don’t know which way I feel based on THIS incident.

Let's Face It!

2009 Fabric IN 65.75 yards
2009 Fabric USED 50.70 yards
2009 $ spent for sewing supplies $999.26
That figure includes ALL sewing related expenses.

Well, my fabric is increasing at a slower rate, than in previous years. Sounds like Government Budget talk, doesn't it?

Batting and backings are the big culprit.

Regarding the little quilt I'm working on, I have made 18 appliqued leaves, using the fusible interfacing method, but I poked through 4 of them - it's very thin interfacing even though I've tried to NOT poke that portion. But they are all various sizes, shapes -- NOT what I wanted. And yes, I faced 2 pineapples with the wrong side up - dang it - I am NOT paying attention! I may end up using Steam-a-Seam lite 2 instead. I'm hoping to get it to photo-stage in the next post.

Our summer heat has dissipated somewhat - Where is that Kick-in-the-Pants when a person needs it? I am LAZY!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Am I the only one ??? -- Boogie Down the Aisle.

Ok, I'm getting old and set in my ways, but am I the only one slightly uncomfortable watching this dancing and cavorting down the aisle for a wedding when it was held in a church? It was happy dancing, not lewd, or sleezy but ... I would feel different if it was in another location but in the church?

I would welcome opinions - any.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A WIP - "Mother Earth"

This is my current project, a smaller version of one I worked on a year ago, as a Raffle Quilt.

I scaled down the pieces, was careful to use muted/grayed earthy colors, and did not worry about light/darks, going vertically, or horizontally. The wide border will have a good amount of appliqued flowers, vines, leaves, either at opposite corners or all around. There is a narrow border of ??? green or dusty red between the 4-patches and the border. The cream border fabrics (cream blotchy with small brown polka dots) are wider then pictured - I folded them smaller but it may require the wider width. The finished project should be about 58 x 70 inches.

The 4-patches finish at 3.5 inches, and the original pattern is from Mimi Dietrick, Bed and Breakfast Quilts.

This is for my SIL, also called Elaine, who does a fantastic job with her flowers and with 5 children and many grandchildren, is a sort of "Mother Earth" herself.

I - Elaine - am 5 ft. 7 inches - and NOT slim, nor small by any means. My brother met HIS Elaine who was small, under 5 feet, and early in their life, weighed LESS than 100 lbs - a small young woman. I was pushing 140 lbs. To differentiate between the two of us, we called her "Little Elaine" leaving me ... blank Elaine. No one said "big" but the unspoken word was THERE! It was always funny to hear family mention the both of us in the same sentence, because they would easily say "Little Elaine" but always stumble when MY name came up! LOL

When I visited her recently, I said I wanted to make her a quilt and this is what she chose.

Lazy, Lazy, Lazy and ???

sigh, sigh, sigh ...uninspired, ...clicking here and there, ...NOT sewing much, not commenting much, and ... and ... HEY! where is my Blog COUNTER, and where are my LINKS???? I've not even noticed they are gone? When did that happen??? Drat! Now THAT near-critical-event may get me off my you-know-what!!!

(OK, that counter issue is fixed - One Step At A Time, Elaine Adair! P.S. adding about 100 links back onto my sidebar is taking me a while!

On another subject, I had a recent check-up with the Dr., because it's been 6 years since the last one, and hoooooray - BP is low, all the cholesterols are where they should be, and everything's working OK. (DH might argue that point).

You all know, the WORST part was the weigh-in on their brand new, fancy-schmancy digital scale with digital large print screen, handlebars for those who faint when they see that dreaded number - stepping slowly onto the scale - you know if you step slow, it won't read as high maybe and -- OMGOSH -- it said waaaaaay too much, I DID grab those handlebars ... 14 pounds !!! out of nowhere !!!! This tragic event put me into a practically catatonic state!!! I could not even carry on a sensible conversation with the young lady Dr. without CRYING, yes CRYING at that horrific news. How did THAT happen????

Then came two sleepless nights of fits, tears, hopeless promises, depression, nightmares, feelings of worthlessness, and finally it dawned on me that my clothing still fits the same as always. I gingerly clambered onto my own scale and ??? huh??? It shows exactly what it showed 6 months, 12 months, 2 years ago and which has ALWAYS matched the Dr's OTHER old timey scale that is not in use any more. What gives? Here I suffered for 2 whole days and nights because of the danged fancy/schmancy scale that now seems to be inaccurate? I wasted my appointment time because of shock and dismay, tears and feelings of no self-control, and not asking the Dr. the questions on my list .. all because of a NUMBER on a screen!!! I will NEVER step on that scale again!

BTW, did you know you CAN tell the nurse "NO"?

Realizing the worst did NOT actually happen has lifted my spirits - I'm going upstairs to SEW!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

An Impressive Irish Chain

Several quilters hung our quilts at the local bank during Heritage Days. Yes, you've seen those 2 quilts on the right before (mine), but that Irish Chain was amazing - not mine unfortunately. It's old, all hand stitched and quilted with tiny stitches, and that border was not pieced -- it was appliqued onto the white border. From this distance (photo) the viewer can see slight irregularities in how the little squares lined up, but up close I could barely tell it was not pieced, her applique stitches were so small - it is so well done, with the red squares in all the same place, as are the green. The label said it was made in the 30s. I'm going back for another look-see.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Nebraska, the Good Life

The theme for our Quilt Show Challenge was "Nebraska, the Good Life." Barb K designed this exceptional beauty with photo transferred panels, of a young'un in the corn. It's not small, either. What a beauty! Yes, she received a First Place Ribbon for this one. It's even more striking in person.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Quilt Show is Over

Quit show is over - alas, no ribbons to take home for ME, but there sure was an abundance of beautiful quilts. Taking them down (my job, with others) was HOT (no air conditioning), and when beads of perspiration almost started dripping off my face onto the quilts, it was time for me to take a rest. This snowy quilt tried to cool us!

Because our quilts are hung close together, it's hard to get decent photos, but I'll start with one quilt made by a friend Kathy, several years ago. She was a new quilter and made this friendly wintery queen quilt and asked me to hand quilt it! She filled the top with so many charming patterns - what fun to see them all. Zowie - it was huge, and some areas were fused, so there is limited quilting in those parts. I quilted swirling snow, snowflakes, snowmen and other motifs. She said I could come up with my own designs in the many motifs. The last border on the outside is wide and blue, not readily apparent in the photo. I swirled snowflakes, snow, round and round, in "s" curves, etc, looking like blowing snow - what fun! (Snowflakes take a LONG time to quilt!) Frankly, I've forgotten how pleasant hand quilting looks. To see the quilting you may have to enlarge the photo (Control +)

Below is the 2010 Serendipity Quilt (can't use the word Raffle). It's a stunner! Who wouldn't love to win this one?

Below, another winner - a stunning Kaleidoscope (much more complicated than I make them!) and I foolishly don't remember the maker! BAD me.

Below is a Log Cabin version - not mine, but isn't it pretty? You may have seen 2-3 versions of this pattern earlier on my blog. I LOVE it, and apparently, so did the Viewers!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Quilt Show Preps and another K block

If you've never help set up a quilt show, this is how we do ours. I must give credit to others as I did NOT do this work. This is Wednesday evening. I will work at the take-down Sunday and see the entire show then. Can't wait! The awards are Viewer's Choice and we are always surprised (and some of us get a teensy bit hostile!) to see what the Viewer's like best. LOL

This is the gym at a church. What you see are the frames on the floor in the proper position. The binder clips to hold the quilts are already on the frames. The frames will be pulled upright and positioned in the stanchions. In the background is a scaffold on wheels which is rolled from frame to frame, and then the quilts are clipped to the upright rails. I've done the "take-down" only, not the "put-up", but I believe I have it figured out. Over the years, the system has become well orchestrated, almost like choreography.

On the lower part of the walls, there is carpeting, making the space ideal for hanging small quilts. Unfortunately there is no air conditioning. and despite many years of considering options, there are no other spaces as nice/handy as this. We bring a lot of fans.

Next subject, I tried another kaleidoscope strata, deliberately putting an 'in your face' print (that dark rust/white check) in the middle of the strata, knowing an 'in your face' print would take over the block. As you can see, it does.
However, even so, I believe if this whole quilt was together, it would work just fine. My VALUES do not blend well, but hey, I'd cuddle under it!

Sunday, July 05, 2009


If you comment under "Anonymous" but ask a question, a blog owner is unable to answer your question.

If you look under the owner's profile, there is usually an e-mail address and you can send a message there. I am happy to answer your questions, but need your e-mail address.

Regarding marking the quilt top? I don't do much marking on my quilts - mostly, it's free-form, no stitch regulator. The pattern is embedded in my brain, after having practiced on paper or on a kids Magna-Doodle, a drawing toy. I might mark an implied spine on a large feather structure, or some kind of guide line, and sew leaves and 'things' off that guideline, but there is little marking on my quilts. My thinking is that a 'mark' causes one to stiffen up, and loose the fluidity - kinda like dancing. You can't dance by stepping on given marks on the floor - ya gotta loosen up and flooooowwwww.

Ugly fabrics, great result

In response to "No-reply" questions on my previous post "Lavender Meadows" Kaleidoscope quilt, YES, the hearts/leaves structures are free-form MQ on my domestic sewing machine (DSM). No, no stitch regulator.

I have been thrilled with how successful ALL these Kaleidoscope quilts are turning out, and decided to try out a strata of really unlikely and/or ugly fabrics to see if "ugly" might also work.

Values are arranged from light to dark. (I DID avoid large splashy prints.) They don't look like much when used together, do they?
But once again, I cannot keep from cutting them up in wedges to see the lovely result! This just proves we/I should not stew and fuss over color choices, at least not so it keeps us from actually SEWING something.

NOTE: the fabric/color you put near the middle of the strata (that peachy one) takes on it's own personality in the block, so that factor would be the only suggestion when choosing a fabric, although if you mix all the different strata/wedges up, the result may be different. (Personally, I LOVE the surprise!) I DID use a red filter (a simple high school report cover) to assist with VALUE.

Now, these are my samples for a workshop and I will NOT sew them into a block. 8-)

Friends ask me how I complete so many quilts. There are a number of answers, but mostly, I do NOT stew over my choices, color, values, or even my small errors. My goal is to MAKE a quilt and enjoy the process. Oh yes, it would be wonderful to win ribbons at our small quilt show, and maybe that is a cop-out, but I know my style and my approach, and they don't lean to perfection, but DO lean to having fun along the way. I'm an enthusiastic and joyful quilter and if I can motivate another quilter, THAT motivates me even more. 8-)))

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Lavender Meadows - DONE

Did you know that it IS possible, if you have an auto-threader on your machine, to actually thread your machine needle with the BOBBIN thread when using invisible thread in the top? Yes, it can be done (once). I actually had the mental acuity to stop and think, "now how could this mishap be used to advantage?" I could not re-create it though! 8-)))

I've not blocked this quilt, nor washed it yet.

This kaleidoscope quilt (#5 or 6?) was supposed to be a collection of samples for a workshop, but it was impossible not to complete the whole quilt. Guess I'll make another strata set tonight. I am tempted to use really ugly fabric to force myself to leave it as an unfinished SAMPLE, and not a finished project.

The narrow border quilting pattern is my own, and is one of the first ones I learned. It's amazing the variety leaves can take - wide, narrow, long, viney, or heart-y.

Sometimes, when machine quilting, the borders kinda pooch up - don't like that! - so I run a line of invisible stitches along the border, if I am quilting each one as a separate unit.

The quilting pattern for the main part is a kind of Loosey-Goosey feather from The blue border quilting pattern is 3-5 shell shapes. It's easy to 'travel' with this shape.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Clouds, Storms, Rain, Hail, Leaks

Look at this beautiful summer sky! Take time to look UP occasionally. However, we are in a season of unusual rain and many storms - a good thing, but almost every rain storm comes with HAIL in this part of the country! You may have seen the devastating result on my earlier Hosta post. Gardens are definitely subject to total damage, as are crops.

Storms are popping up almost every evening, along with the NOAA weather radio going off, scaring us to death, recurrent checks of the radar on TV, visits outside to see where the storm is headed -- oh my, the busy life of retired Senior Citizens! LOL.

This one produced a lot of wind, rain, hail, and more rain, and uh ohhhhh, "What the daXX blazes is this dripping in the middle of the family room"!!!! OMGosh a leak!!! (I tamed the language down a bit, for those of you with proper manners!

DH rushed outside to the garage to get a ladder (LOTS of horrendous lightning happening, appearing to hit in our back yard, and there he goes waltzing across the yard after the ladder so we can check the attic area)!! It's only a space - one cannot actually walk up there. Naturally, we can't see a thing, even with our handy-dandy-for-emergencies-only-flashlight torch. And while I am being totally sweet and helpful, holding the ladder, and handing him the torch, SOMEONE is NOT being pleasant during the process and it wasn't me! Pretty soon it stops raining and now we'll never find it's source -- Gotta get up on the roof! OMGosh, we're getting too old for that!

(As I'm writing this, our weather alert went off again!)

Well, this is the view after the storm - pretty impressive, right?