Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Quick Trip to Texas

My winter is going too fast! I'm supposed to get lots of quilting and sewing done in the winter. I'm not getting nearly enough sewing done...yet. I have trips away from home every month through March. My first trip of the season was to Texas to see family, attend my husband's Texas Air National Guard reunion and luckily I managed a day at the Houston Quilt show. 

The first booth I hit was Sew Batiks, a company out of California. They manufacture a large line of wide-backing batiks which I have ordered over the years. I fell right away for this kit so it came home with me.

They also manufacture many rayon batiks. The navy blue piece on the right is from their booth. It is a border print. The other two pieces are from a booth, Fabrilish. Love that name. The hot pink is a rayon batik but the sea green piece is a bamboo fiber. 

I've seen this blouse pattern for years but finally saw a lady wearing the green top and thought it was great so I had to get the pattern. Only two side seams and the top is complete. One of my winter trips is to Hawaii and I want to make the pink top for it.

The Houston Quilt Show is a pretty good place to shop for wools so I tracked down pieces to make some Santa dolls. Many years ago I would make a new Santa doll every Christmas. I think that lasted three years. I'm am still hopeful I will get some made before this Christmas.

I am sooooo excited about my Bloom quilt. I got all the flowers outline stitched and have started on the background quilting.  

I have been making Bucilla stocking kits since 1995. I have completed 54 stockings. Every year when  Bucilla comes out with new designs, I wish for a pilot Santa. It finally happened! I just got my new kit and this will be the first Bucilla project for 2018.

There is so much more to share but it is time to get back to stitching.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hot Water and Heat are Good Things

For the past week my life was hijacked by a boiler heating system and hot water heater that weren't doing their jobs keeping our house warm. I tried to push through the distraction and attend the quilting retreat with my Material Girls quilting group but  I gave up after the third morning of waking up to no heat and changed the quilt retreat into a stay-at-home intense Bucilla kit work session. I could sit at my dining room table which was next to the fireplace...pretty cozy.

I finished this adorable stocking, Candy Express.

I finished the first companion ornament to the stocking...tiny pieces which were a challenge not to lose before they were all attached.

We got our first official snowfall for the season on Saturday. Most of it has melted be we had it for a few days and the dogs loved playing in it.

Eli...he really wanted to sit on the dining room table while I was working on the stocking but that is not allowed. Here is his reaction to my reprimand...Ha!

I have been pecking away at my Bloom quilt. 

It is so much easier stitching through the soluble glue edges versus fusible web. 

This quilt is from Fourth & Sixth Designs. They have a YouTube video for each block, specifically for construction using a domestic sewing machine and one video for doing all the top stitching on a longarm.  

I am obviously doing the longarm version.

I will wash this quilt to get rid of the glue so that will be the final test to see how I like this technique but so far a major thumbs up from me.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Clothing Finish!

I'm pretty happy with the finished product!

Most importantly...it fits. A little roomy through the hips but I am not planning to alter it. It is extremely comfortable and was super easy. No buttons or zippers. It slips on and off very easily.

Here's another look at the pattern. I made the pink version with long sleeves. I used a silky, rayon print. 

I pulled out a specialty foot I have ignored for 20 years, a rolled hem foot. It took me a couple of tries to perfect my technique of running the edge of the fabric through the foot but it was worth the extra practice to get it so perfectly stitched in the end.

Two more blouse patterns to try...am I on a roll? I hope so! 

Friday, September 29, 2017

Knobs Everywhere

Nothing like taking an idea and running with it! 

My local home store keeps running out of these knob sets but buying the knobs individually is a little more expensive. Here are my supplies. The #8 hangar bolts are the main ingredient for changing cabinet knobs into wall mounted knobs.

Picture quilt comes out of hiding to hang on a bathroom wall. 

My primary guest room also got an art quilt. You might recognize this McKenna Ryan design, "Rhythm of the Sea."

And knobs for hanging a quilt in my studio.

And I almost forgot...before and after landscape photos.

The last side of the driveway pad...this was a dumping area when our home was under construction. 

Rock covering the slope and out of control vegetation cleared. 

Another view...

And a mad rush to add a second perennial bed...after all...the firepit looks lonely...

Rocks in place to outline the second perennial bed. Next spring my first job will be getting soil delivered.

The big rock pile is gone! I still have some other areas of the yard to clean up before the snow arrives. I am hoping to finish that this weekend as the forecast is great for Saturday and Sunday.

No quilting until I finish making this top. I did get it cut out last Sunday. I think once I sit down at the sewing machine I will zip right through this blouse. I am making the pink short sleeved version. 

I am out of knobs but there are a few more bare walls in my house to cover...one of these days.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Completing Projects

I finished the binding on my Sea Holly Hunter's Star quilt just in time for September's Breakfast Club. The club is meeting tomorrow. I made my own border design but used the construction method from the Missouri Star Quilt Co.,  Block magazine holiday issue from 2015. I had a layer cake and jelly roll from the Hoffman Sea Holly Bali colorway hiding in my stash. The background is also a Hoffman Bali dot 885 colorway, #413 Watercress. Beautiful fabrics.

I have found that quilting  with parallel lines along the border tends to distort the border...I know my piecing was spot on when I made the top and this is the second quilt I have noticed this issue occuring. I am always learning.

I finished another cross stitched Santa ornament, Musical Santa. 

On Saturday, I had some new visitors to my yard, three horses that got loose from my neighbor. They roamed our street for a few hours which made my dog, Logan, absolutely crazy. 

And the end is in sight for my autumn landscaping projects. Little bits of rock left to move. I'm not tackling any new  landscaping projects until spring of 2018. 

It is raining today and my list of indoor projects is extensive...but getting ready for Breakfast Club will be my number one priority.

I missed the August Breakfast Club because I woke up that morning to a very sick dog. As it turns out, McKinley, most likely had a bacterial infection caused by eating rabbit tainted with Tulameria,  also known as Rabbit Fever. Antibiotics took care of the illness. It was very scary for about 24 hours. We are experiencing a boom in rabbit numbers this summer throughout Alaska. There are cycles to the rabbit population...who knew? The owls in our area leave rabbit parts from their hunting excursions and I am often pulling rabbit parts out of the dogs' mouths. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Changing Quilts for Autumn

Always fun to change the decor up a bit. "Henrietta Whiskers," above my treadle machine, was the easiest switch...my existing curtain rod for hanging was staying in place. This is an Anne Sutton pattern that was a free block of the month on her blog many years ago. It was very different from my usual tastes but I did it in batiks with wool applique and made it mine. All the materials were from my stash. 

Next, was my entry way. I took down the curtain rod  I was using and did cabinet knobs along the top edge of my wall. The advantage is the quilt hangs flush against the wall.

Here's a better look at the knobs I used to hang the quilt. This is a very fun and quick strip pattern called, "Strip Lash."

Last spring I put knobs all along three sides of my breakfast nook. At Christmas I added the knobs above my windows to hang garland and stockings which gave me the idea to do all three walls and hang a quilt on one side.

My husband says this quilt is one of his favorites because of all the different textures. Tough to get a good photo on a gloomy day. The pattern is, "Perfect Ten," which uses 10 fat quarters.

And this is our mud room off the garage entry. This is another easy quilt called, "Irish Mist." Got it as a kit at the Houston quilt show several years ago. This quilt hides lots of ugly things; two circuit breaker panels and a series of wall mounted units like a router and cable TV box.

The gloomy weather continues so I am hoping to get the quilts changed in my master bedroom and add some knobs in other spaces for more quilts. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Landscaping Updates

September is finally here! May and September are my two favorite months in Alaska. Our weather is usually pretty nice and I find those two months are my most productive.

I had whittled away my last pile of fractured granite rock so it was time to get another load. Only 48,000 pounds in this pile! It needs to be gone by the time snow arrives which is do-able if the weather cooperates.

I am still working on getting rock around the slope of our parking pad. I had a tricky area under the metal grates for the pole barn..



A different angle...before...


I lovingly refer to this landscaping work as my rock gym. Lots of rolling and propping stones on a furniture dolly to get it where I need it. 

I am also working on an area in the front of my house...a gravel walk way that needs to go around the side of the house.  This is where I was when I ran out stones.

And a little progress on getting to the side of the house. 

The black plastic has been in place for months to kill the grass in this area. More rock and a shrubbery bed  planned for this general area.

Poor Eli got his first bath this morning. He had a messy bottom. We have a glass enclosed shower that he was trapped in while I cleaned him. He wasn't thrilled but it went better than expected. No scratches or bites.

He does look a little miffed but I think he was ultimately glad to be clean. He looks incredibly scrawny without his fluffy fur. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hunter's Seaholly Star

It is always a good feeling to take a quilt off the frame. 

My challenge with this quilt was to use time saving techniques on a longarm that Angela Waters shared in her class this past summer. Mainly...do as little marking as possible. I was definitely doing some extreme marking.

I had intended to use one variegated thread throughout but the need to use a light and a dark thread screamed at me pretty early in the quilting so I switched to using two threads...that led to a lot more stopping and starting than I had planned. It is a start to speeding up my quilting process.

Half of my studio lights are turned off for the next two pictures to show more shadowing on the quilting. No sunshine in the forecast for natural lighting pictures.

Months...possibly years ago...I was inspired by the quilting done by Michelle at mmm Quilts when she did a Hunters Star design quilted in a mock wedding ring look. It really stuck with me so almost from day one in making this quilt I had a good idea what my quilting would have rings.

If you check out the link to Michelle's blog you will get the added bonus of seeing her quilting on a client's quilt done in my pattern Batiki Argyle. Love that rich purple background. Yummy.

I've been trying to stay consistently working on my Bucilla projects in the evening. As Christmas draws nearer my readership on my Facebook page increases with questions on making these kits. 

I started this kit, Santa Delivers the Mail, on August 15th and predicted it would take me two weeks to finish it. Got it done on  August 29th.  I just worked on it in the evenings, one to three hours a night. Technically...I guess it isn't done...still need to make it a stocking but I tend to add the stocking backs in mid-October, doing all the kits I have made since last Christmas. 

I've made four stocking tops since last Christmas and three ornament sets. My personal goal is ten Bucilla kits a year. Three more to go. I think I can do it! 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I Need A Time Machine

Hello. It has been awhile...so much for my plans to blog more frequently. 

I have started down another rabbit hole. Like many quilters...I was originally a garment sewer. As a young professional I made all my clothes. Then I became a stay-at-home mom so I converted to a  jeans and T-shirt wardrobe. I have one small box of clothing patterns I saved.

A blast from the 80s...I loved this pattern. Never made any of it. The top still interest me. Maybe I can length it to wear with leggings...those super baggy pants aren't in "Vogue" anymore. And of course I love that is says it is a "Paris Original." Excellent!

My renewed interest in sewing garments was mainly ignited by reading another quilter's blog, Suz at All The Good Ones Are Taken. She made some really cute dresses for her work wardrobe.

I have also been noticing all that pretty batik rayon fabric showing up on websites and in my local quilt shops. So...I went pattern shopping. Wow...prices have really jumped in 20 years. The patterns were 40% off at JoAnns so I grabbed a few. The pattern from the 1980s above retailed at $9.50. The most expensive pattern I bought a few days ago was $30...before the discount. Even 25 years ago you never bought a pattern at full price. Some things never change...there is always a sale on patterns.

Back to the new patterns. My favorite of the bunch is the top below that really looks fun. It has a knit base that you layer with three different fabrics you texture with pleats and yarn. Nothing new here...I have always gravitated to challenging projects and almost always changed up the original patterns.

Some more practical designs, basic tops that should work well with rayon batiks that I can pair with leggings. I do wear mostly leggings in the winter time...easy to slip my snow pants over for a quick walk outside.

I have a few pieces of fabric left from my garment sewing days that I might be able to resurrect. These are a stash of hand dyed Cherrywood cottons that have a wonderful suede texture. 

Here's a vest I made 25 years ago out of  a Cherrywood colorway. 

Please sewing fairy...help me actually follow through on my clothing plans!

I found this pretty batik rayon yardage on sale via the internet. Pretty scary to open up this Pandora's Box of sewing clothing again...

I have been trying to finish a quilt but I seem to have gotten sidetracked for almost a week now. And...Breakfast Club is Thursday (no idea what I will work on...sigh) and I am going to the state fair on Friday to see how my quilts have done this year. I entered three pieces. Maybe I can enter garments next year! (I do need my head examined.)

I always seem to have time to buy more fabric. I have been eyeing this set of strips for months and they went on sale so I just had to buy them...these are the interior colors of my house. 

On a sad note, my Tutto sewing machine cart needs a wheel replaced. The new parts came promptly several months ago but it requires using a rivet gun to make the repair. After months a waiting for my airplane mechanic son to help me...I am giving up and planning to ship it to Tutto for repairs. I really need this fixed by winter...it gets dragged through the snow and ice at the quilt shop...might be why  I need a new wheel.

Here's hoping I do a little better at blogging more regularly...