Sunday, March 19, 2017

IN WHICH WE KEEP PLUGGING AWAY
ON SWEET SURRENDER!
and
A TRIP TO INDIA!

Another border completed!  Both borders have been measured and sewn to their respective locations.  I don't sew the borders in place until the applique is finished as the tension of all those stitches reduce the length of the border.  The top and bottom strips have been laid down just to give you a sense of balance and direction.  The scrolly vines  on the top and bottom borders will twist and meet the vines of the side borders.  

I have used Kaffe Fassett fabric for the leaves and dots in the body of the quilt and plan to add some to the vines-not a lot but just enough to break up the greenness.  I have been looking at colorful stripes for the binding-I bought some of the green for that but now I think that is too much green.  I found this from Andover and am thinking of it as a possibility:

Each of the stripes are 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide and the fabric has the same bright colors.  if you imagine a narrow strip of this fabric  as an edge:

I like the colors and the fact that the bands are uneven-that is in keeping with the mood of the quilt as well as the black lines.  The green is the only problem.  Kaffe has some nice stripes but they are all in a limited color range.  Even the binding is an important design element!

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I have cataract surgery in my right eye on Wednesday.  I am slightly apprehensive but glad.  Everything is getting so dark.  It is as if all the lights are dimming.

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My blog has had visitors from two new countries:  Kazakhstan, and Columbia.  I am so happy you have stopped by to visit!  Flags have been added.  

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AND NOW....
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN!

A festival to appeal to all quiltmakers and designers: 
HOLI:  Festival of Colors





(photos from Atlantic Monthly-see more at https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2017/03/holi-2017-the-festival-of-colors)

Holi is a Hindu festival celebrating springtime and Krishna's "pranks". Pretty colored powders are blown on celebrants or mixed with water and sprayed.  Only India would do something as wonderful as having a festival for color!

My daughter lives in northwest India in Rishikesh which is located at the foothills of the father Himalayas and near the mouth of the mother Ganges.  She has lived abroad for about 8 years spending 4 in South Korea where she taught English and wrote stories for the children to help them learn English. She has lived in Rishikesh for about 4 years where she writes and studies yoga.  Here is a photo of her at Holi 2016.

Here are some photos of Rishikesh and a map so you can find its place in the world.



My daughter walks across this bridge everyday.
The river is the Ganges.


That is all for this week!  Happy quilting to you until we met again!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,



Sunday, March 12, 2017

IN WHICH WE RECEIVE THE BEST GIVEAWAY EVER!



I received this wonderful package of fabrics from Robin at I Like to Create http://solsticestudio.blogspot.com.  I photographed the fabrics below Caswell because I wish I had some of these pretty fabrics when I made this quilt.  They would have been perfect.  The fabrics are all designed by Paula Barnes.  Isn't this the most generous giveaway ever!  I am very lucky to have won!

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On to more mundane topics........
I have been working on the borders for Sweet Surrender.  I have been working on the right hand side:


The border is basically completed.  All that is needed is some leaves from the brilliant Kaffe fabric and, I think, some colorful dots but no flowers.  Keep it simple.
 The vines as you can see are based on the stems on the body of the quilt.  The applique stitching is completed.  I think I will make the vines for all four sides before I add the leaves just so I can see where I am at that point.

I origninally used my 1/4 bias maker and make yards of stems while I was waiting to buy the background I needed.  However, I molded and basted some of these bias stems and realized they were quite a bit different from those of the body of the quilt.  The 1/4 inch bias formed stems which were much more sturdy, architectural, and, substantial.  See what you think-match it against the thin stems in the quilt body.

Those on the right are the 1/4 " stems.  I much prefer the thinner ones which match the flowing, curvaceous, and more delicate look of the stems on the quilt body.  Here is my process for making the thin stems.  All my tools are there except for the clover mini iron.

I use freezer paper to trace my shape, then iron the shape to my cloth, clipping the edges of the cloth. I paint the cloth with starch as I go, then iron the edges of the cloth over the paper shape.  I have some fray-block handy for tightly curved areas which have lots of clipping. You can see by the two finished pieces the nice, clean results of this process.  I made several of the little silver ironing pads to use to keep the ironing board clean.  I can just throw these in the washer.  I use the Elmer's glue to glue baste the finished pieces on the applique.  To prevent glue from getting all over things, i lay the applique piece on a small piece of plexiglass and apply the glue there.  I cut lots of these squares from an odd piece of plexiglass I had around and just rinse the glue off after working. 

I like to use Elmer's because it glues the applique piece down sturdily but it is also easy to move and rearrange the piece.  When I have everything in place, I do big stitch basting with white thread .  I have found this method works well for me.  Everything stays put nicely and there are no pins to tangle me up.

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Two friends watching the sunrise together.  

This is Rommy the yellow Lab and Yoshi the orange cat.  My husband caught this perfect image in the early morning  with the  Lieca camera in his cell phone. These two are good friends.  The cat generously  allows for the dog's more limited mental capacity (his words, not mine!)  

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AND NOW....
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN

There is so much beauty in the natural world.  An here is a sample for you to enjoy.  These are Mandarin fish which live in the Pacific Ocean and love the reefs around Australia.  They are part of the Dragonet fish family-they look like they could be part of a mysterious dragon family:



Lucky Australia!

OK...that's all for this week-happy quilting until we met again!

I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,


Whoop Whoop, and Off the Wall Friday.           

Sunday, March 5, 2017

IN WHICH WE AGAIN BATTLE THE MATERIAL WORLD!

I have begun quilting Chuck Susan and Me.  I choose 100wt Superior Monopoly as my top thread and 60wt  Bottom Line for the bobbin.  Nothing but trouble.  

This is probably obvious to everyone else but I just had an epiphany realizing that there are two types of spooling on threads: 1. cone type where the cone remains stationary thread unwinding from the top of the cone, and 2. the type of spool which revolves to unwind the thread.  This type is called a spool.  

My juki, named Suki, is only set up to use cones.  I tried the the spool of monopoly and the thread flew all around and under, wrapping most efficiently  and breaking needles.  Not to be bested by this limitation, I bought an adapter:
which does not seem to be well made as the plastic screws stripped almost at once though I was gentle with it as advised by the Amazon purchaser comments. I cannot recommend it because of this defect.  The plastic of the screw and the piece it screws into is too soft.  This adapter was returned to Amazon as defective.

Since it is always fun to invent things, I set my mind to making a horizontal spool holder which would allow the spool to unroll freely.  Here is a photo of Suki showing the two cone holders which was what I had to work with.  


 I bought two 4" sections of 1/2 inch plastic pipe.  I drilled holes thru the pipe near the top to hold the wooden dowel
selected for a spool holder. This dowel stays in place by the use of 2 small cotter pins.   I placed this over the 2 cone holders and viola!  the thread unrolls smoothly, evenly and without tangling. And the adapter is very stable.



The battle to master control over my quilting thread pretty much consumed my whole week though I did buy the necessary white and black fabric for Sweet Surrender border which I will work on this week.



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Are you ever confused about who at the bird feeder is a purple finch and who is a house finch?  They look very much alike except that a purple finch is smaller, generally prettier, and looks dipped in raspberry juice.

Purple finch:

House Finch:

You can see the orangish-red of the house finch clearly in this photo.



And here is Kitten overseeing the thread problems as we work to resolve these.  You can see she takes inspection duties seriously.





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AND NOW...


Your Moment of Zen 

Take a quick look at this photo and decide what you think the photo is portraying.


I thought chess pieces, whirling tops, something in pretty packaging, maybe some elegant distinctive dessert. My husband thought maybe these were Christmas ornaments. These are actually whirling dancers in Carnival in Rio!  Isn't it nice to look at something when you cannot determine at first glance what it is and your imagination is in free association?

SO LONG AND HAPPY QUILTING UNTIL 
WE MEET AGAIN!



I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Whoop Whoop, and Off the Wall Friday.           




Sunday, February 26, 2017

IN WHICH WE FIND SWEET SURRENDER ASSEMBLED AND SQUARED!


Ta-Da!

Well this battle has been won against all odds!  Assembled, squared, and only a little wafflely which I think I can ease in if I carefully baste down each row when making the quilt sandwich.  I have abandoned making triangles for the border.  The pattern did not have the dimensions of the quilt body so I do not know if the above quilt body will coincide with the size of the triangles-I could end up with and inch hanging over or an inch under and why give myself this sort of headache?

After some re-thinking, the border will be made of the background material with the lines going all in the same direction.  The best quilt shop in Kansas City, Quilter's Station, the orginal source of this fabric, has more and has set it aside for me.  We will be in KC this week and I can pick it up.  Once this decision was made, I began constructing the stems and 1/2 edging around the quilt body.  About 10 yards of stems-maybe I overdid it.

The stems are the same colors as the stems on the appliqued diamonds and I will add some leaves and maybe some flowers.

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Have you made a contribution to The National Quilt Museum in Paducah?  This is more important than ever as Congress is about to eliminate the funding for the National Endowment for the Arts which will reduce income for all museums as well as other forms of the arts.  Here is the link for Info on how to donate:
 http://quiltmuseum.org/quilts-for-quilting/

I am donating 2 quilts and some quilt patterns.  Here is my package ready to go:


And here are the quilts I donated:



The left one is made of Kansas Troubles fabric and the second was made about 8 years ago as a BOM.  I hope they have lots of donations and raise some funding.

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I read a funny thing the other day:  

We are having such a nice spring this winter!

That is certainly the case here.  All the optimistic flora and fauna abound.  We have had robins in January.  The squirrels are frolicking about in a suspicious manner. AND daffidols, forsythia, and japonica are all budding and even blooming as well as all the buds on the trees.



 This has been going on since mid-February!  It is pretty eerie!  In the past, the daffodils poked their heads up about the end of March at the earliest and did not bloom until April.  I received some blow-back last week indicating that I did not take climate change seriously. That is not the case!  Probably climate change is the most serious long term problem facing us (there may be more dire ones in the short term).

AND NOW......
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN

 There are little gardens all around us.  This particular garden grows on a large tree stump in my front yard.  The stump is about 3 feet in diameter and is covered with a
pretty gray "rose" garden.





Only the first photo is from my tree stump garden.  The other photos I googled under "tree stump fungus".  The beauty of fungus.

When we lived on our farm we collected and ate some varieties of fungus-puffballs, morels, oysters and coral.  I believe the above is edible.  But then we lived without electricity, phones, or running water for 5 years also.  Off the grid as they say now.

SO LONG AND HAPPY QUILTING!!

I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
and Off the Wall Friday.           

Sunday, February 19, 2017

IN WHICH WE CELEBRATE CLIMATE CHANGE!

Our area is experiencing several days of record breaking above 75 deg days.  This is so different from the Missouri I moved to in 1973.  Winters then were very cold and snowy.  Nights fell to 20 below F at night and the earth was always covered in snow.  We are slightly dryer now but the corn and wheat seems to grown very well. Summers are cooler also now.  
Maybe we are some of the lucky ones-for certain others are no so.  Mexico City is sinking as the water table diminishes.  Australia is dry, dry, dry, and hot with wild fires.  California is either feast or famine-either torrential rains and floods or extreme droughts.

Is this state of affairs to late to adjust?  Don't know!  But the days here are nice!

END OF WEATHER REPORT
ON TO MY FAVORITE:
 FREE MOTION QUILTING


This is my graduation project for Christina Cameli's Wild Quilting class on Craftsy.  I incorporated all the lessons and techniques she demonstrated but in my own style.  I love movement and I think this piece captures ebb and flow.  I know now I will always have a wild, graffiti piece at my side to think about and work on.  I began this blog 9 months ago expressing my terror at FMQ and, by practicing, doing some on-line samplers, and taking a couple Craftsy classes, now have  what my be my true love. The wilder and freer the better!

But let us not forget our nemesis:  Sweet Surrender which is slowly becoming the "undread".  Four rows assembled on schedule (this is one time when goal setting is useful: for getting something done which would rather be ignored).  These rows are reasonably flat tho not perfect-that is okay.  This will come our in the wash-that is in the quilting process as these waffles are small.  I think it is looking really pretty and I am pleased with it.



This week, I will assemble the final row and then all five rows together in one piece.  I have a nice idea for the border (which again involves triangles-will I ever learn!??!) and some pretty applique.  Maybe I will be able to begin that.  I will be very happy to applique again as this is my true love (whoops, I guess I have 2 true loves, no make that three as my best true love is my sweet husband-we live in each others pockets).

WELL-TIME TO THINK ABOUT THE NEXT PROJECT

The Village wall hanging will be next in line.  I began this about 4 years ago and got irretrievably lost in the making of it.  The pattern was from my favorite Quiltmania and is by Yoko Saito.  Here is a photo of her pattern:

I began with this format and soon diverged as my idea was to made a coherent village.  The fabric is subdued Japanese taupes in a variety of colors.  In this photo you can see the various houses, bridges, rockwall, etc that are ideas for the wall hanging.
The upper right hand section is Yoko's block which is just delightful to me.  I kept that in place and will use it except I have to remove the houses from this fabric as I need to dye the background.   Info on how to do this is from another craftsy class from several years ago Linear Landscape Quilts by Gloria Loughman. This class is mostly about using Setacolor paints for hand dyeing fabrics to use for landscapes.  

I was never happy with the layout.  I played with it some always keeping that one block of Yoko's which I felt would define how the village would work.  I gradually realized that I want sky, stream, grassy areas, flagstones, and rock walls.   Gloria's method for painting fabric to use as landscapes will be perfect for this.  You lay the fabric out and use plenty of water to create a wash effect.
More progress on the layout but still not what I want.  And still the background needs to be painted.


This is where I ended.  Progress made but still no cigar!

I am going to start with the background dyeing.  Blue sky with some sunny clouds, a stream for some goldfish and lily pods.  Gray with speckles of dye for the paving stones and flecked ecru, tan, gold etc for the rock walls and bridge.  My idea is to take the paving stone and rock wall fabric and embroider the stones with sashiko embroidery.  

Anyway that is next after the undread sweet surrender.  Its good to have the next project in your mind for your unconscious to work on for you and come up with some neat ideas.

AND NOW.....
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN


This endless, continuously spiraling whirl pool is the creation of artist Anish Kapoor.  Named Descension, it is located on pier 1 of Brooklyn.  It is 26 feet in diameter made with black dye and invites the viewer to loose themselves in another world.  Kapoor's artistic leaning is to destabilize the physical world so we can see the world from another view. For more info and other photos, see...... 

http://www.designboom.com/art/anish-kapoor-descension-public-art-fund-brooklyn-bridge-park-new-york-02-17-2017/   
That's all for this week-so long and happy quilting!

I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
and Off the Wall Friday.           


Sunday, February 12, 2017

IN WHICH PERSEVERANCE IS SHOWN TO HAVE PAID OFF!

I have put together two rows of the dreaded Sweet Surrender! 


They went together pretty well.  There is some floppiness in play  especially on the left hand edge but all and all-pretty good!  Here was my method:




For the first row I cut templates for all the triangles both appliqued and pieced.  However, I found that I had cut the appliqued triangles most accurately (!) so decided no paper template would be required for them.  The templates where cut allowing 1/4 seam allowance.  So I pressed the pieced triangles well, got out my trusty elmers glue, and pasted the template to the back of the pieced triangle. (I tried pinning but too slippery).  I trimmed off any excess of which there rarely was any-mostly the pieced blocks were short on the seams.  Okay!  Since I knew my appliqued triangles were good, I  matched the two ends of the triangles together and eased in any excess.  The paper template was exact and was the standard.  Lots of the pieced triangles have skinny seams.

So there you have it!  I will do the next 2 rows this week-slow but steady progress!
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Usually I work on one project at a time but currently I am working on three different aspects of my craft: assembling the dreaded Sweet Surrender, completing my Wild quilting craftsy class, and painting Arabesque.

The block below represents the synthesis of all the lessons Christina Camelli has taught us.  This has been a wonderful class and I am sorry it is ending.  The block is only partially quilted.  I find I love dense quilting and I also want to make this the most interesting quilting job I am capable of.  So I quilt as the ideas as to what to quilt next occur to me.  I started with quilting the big swoop across the quilt and am building on that.  I know I am supposed to just flow from one area to the other utilizing what I have learned but I guess that is not me.  Flowing will come in time.  Here is where we stand now:

  Here is the reason for the cat fur:  Helper Kitten! She is all over "our" work with furry suggestions.


It is so hard to photograph black.I am using varigated thread but it does not really show up and the black does not look really black.  The big circle drawn in is a thought to maybe do a Krista Withers sort of thing which would emphasize the geometric. Who knows what my fingers will think up.

 When this is finished, i will move on the quilting Chuck Susan and Me-each little square will be different. I have half the body of the quilt assembled in quilt sandwiches ready to go and have purchased my thread.

My paints arrived the other day-so many pretty colors!  I am not sure how I want to use them so I made little samples of the colors with labels so I can move them around and see what is what.


I was not sure where to start so I painted the stems.  i used a jade/spruce green.  I feel so meditative when I do this like a medieval monk at Lindesfarne painting illuminated manuscripts.

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I told you last week how funding for the National Endowment for the Arts maybe eliminated and how this will affect quilt museums.  Our biggest and best quilt museum- National Quilt Museum in Paducah-is asking for donations to sell as a fund raiser-kind of a quilter's bake sale.  Info is below if you want to donate-go to their webpage.  I am going to donate 2 quilts.



AND NOW......
Your moment of Zen!

Beekeeping!
When we think of beekeeping we think of white wooden boxes or maybe one of those adorable basket skeps.  Here is one even more unique from the Cevenne region of France.  Here, for centuries, they have been keeping bees in hollowed logs:


These hollowed logs like like a forest of giant toadstools. The beekeeper gets at the honey by turning over log as you can see below.  Apparently the bees love these homes as they are close to its natural habitat in an old dead hollow tree or fallen log.
We keep bees when we lived on our farm.  Here is the only photo I have of the beehives.  This was our first one-it was early spring-the big jar is filled with honey water to help the bees make it until the flowers started to bloom.  We added two more layers to the hive and as these bees outgrew the hive and began to swarm, we captured the swarms and eventually had 3 hives.  This photo was taken about 1976 before digital camera when we just used film and you never knew what kind of photo you were going to get.  I wish I had taken more.

You can just make out the bees on the landing.  They are stretching their spring legs.

SO LONG AND HAPPY QUILTING!

I am linking up with:

Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog,
Patchwork Times,  Em's Scrapbag,
Esther's Wow, Let's Bee Social,
Free Motion by the River, Whoop Whoop,
and Off the Wall Friday.