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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sanibel

We've been on Sanibel Island for a couple of days now.  Hence all the beach photos. It's been pretty warm, about 85-ish, so I picked up a bit of a sun-burn yesterday.  Today I stayed more in the shade, and didn't spend too much time on the beach except before 9:30 a.m. and after 5 p.m....
 I love the way the waves tumble in. Again and again.
 The sandpipers are so much fun to watch as they dash and dart around.  Sometimes they run after each other and echo each others movements.  I like their long beaks.  There were a lot of stingrays in the water today, they come up to about 10 or 15 feet from the waters edge.
 The shoreline is covered in small shells.  People are continually looking down looking for particular shells, and picking them up to take home.
 I love the colors of the water, the wave edge, the sand, and the shifting sheen on the wet sand.
 At about 6:15 the sun starts to go down, and it's pretty fast.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Crazy

 I took a few photos of the crazy quilt that I made several years ago.  Here you can see the basic overview of the block placement.  There are 30 blocks with sashing, and a "sidewalk" border that meanders around the outside.   I really enjoyed doing the embroidery on this quilt.  Crazy quilts are a project that can just take you over.
 The sashing and background are black wool.  Because the piecing seemed to get a bit diminished next to the black, I couched strands of perle cotton along the edges of the blocks and the border.
 Of course I had a lot of fun collecting the fancy fabrics to use in the quilt:
 I took apart a lot of ties, even one made of fortrel!
 I did a pieced binding on it as well, and added some stitching to accent it.

 The other crazy thing that happened is our trip to Savannah.  We left home on Sunday morning at 5 a.m. but didn't get here until Monday night at about 8:30.  It was an awful trip. It seemed that anything that could go wrong, did go wrong, except for a plane crashing or making emergency landing.  That included getting bumped off an oversold flight, being sent to Toronto (late), waiting 1-1/2 hours for baggage to unload, getting to hotel at 2a.m.,  finding out at 5 a.m. on Monday morning at the toronto airport that the re-scheduled flight had been cancelled, (I had a mini-melt-down then), getting rescheduled for 6 hours later, and it being late taking off.  getting sent to Newark, and again being on a delayed flight, (2 more hours).  So the 10 hour travel time turned into 39 hours.  Blah. 
 So, Now we are in Savannah, and it is pleasant here.  I was traumatized, but I might get over it. 
This is Richard, down by the River.
 The Jere's Antique store you see the sign for at the top of the stairs is incredible.  The second floor was devoted to tables and chairs:


 We came across this amazing magnolia tree, trailing Spanish moss:
 I thought they bloomed later, like in June, but this one was totally covered in blossoms.

 Also, there is a nice coffee shop near our hotel!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Catching Up

 Lately it has been a real sewing spree around here.  I have had some really nice times of getting together with friends to quilt!
It's fun to start a couple of new projects just to try out a new technique, or to use a group of fabrics that I love.
At the same time, I've been sewing a few samples for the store, and the quilt below is one of them.  It will be a new pattern that starts with a Jelly roll (forty 2-1/2" strips).
I wanted to start quilting it last night, but I'd forgotten to get a backing while I was at the store.  So I rummaged around in my sewing room and found a nice piece of soft red cotton velvet. 
 It is a bit heavier than a regular cotton backing, but I thought why not give it a try?  I didn't quilt it very closely, just a diagonal grid of wavy lines.  I hope to stitch the binding later today.

And this afternoon I also sewed the #12 Sampler Blocks:

I always intend to work ahead, but that never seems to happen.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Quilting and Basting, or Bastng and Quilting

I do put pins in to baste, Monika,...
Actually, I spent a couple of hours this morning basting,
As you might guess, I do this on the floor of my sewing room.  I smooth out the backing and tape it down to the floor, with the "wrong side" up.  Then, I smooth the batting over it, then the quilt top. 
After that I spill out a bunch of safety pins and sit cross-legged on the floor, and then on the quilt, as I put them in, starting at one end and working my way to the other end.  As you can see, I don't put them too close together, maybe 6 inches apart. 
When I start quilting, I often do "In the ditch" alongside the borders, or any long pieces like that.
Then, I go all around the outside of the quilt and trim off the extra batting and backing fabric. 
 I do that because so often I've accidentally gotten the extra backing folded over and quilted onto the back of the quilt, and have had to unpick all that.
So, then I often take out the pins that are close to the straight stitch quilting.  I like to take pins out.  I don't like when they click on stuff.  I also don't like to stop in the midst of free motion quilting to remove a pin, so I usually try to maneuver around them, and then take out a whole bunch of them at the same time. 
Also, I don't tend to start at the middle and work out.  Instead, I seem to start at one side and do 4 or 5 " passes from the top to the bottom, moving from the right side toward the center of the quilt. 
I haven't had too much bad luck doing it this way, although I probably do get the backing bunching up a little from time to time.  But, that's just what I am able to do, which isn't perfect, but it's do-able.
And, I am happy that I was able to take some quilt tops to a long-arm quilter to do this past week.  And! I have a few more ready to take as well.  There are still a couple of tops that need backings and borders, but the stack is much depleted. 
I had a few smaller projects, like the Christmas one I did yesterday that don't exactly make me really excited to finish, but I am trying hard to feel enthusiastic about them.  There was some sort of reason why I started those projects, and if I do finish them, then it is possible that they can be used and liked by someone, if not necessarily by me. 
Oh yeah, I do have a "tip" that I thought of when I read "your" (Monika's) post last week on bindings.
This is:  As soon as I finish the quilt top, I cut the binding for the quilt.  Then I have a special container where I place the bindings so that they don't get mixed up with my other fabric and accidentally used for something else. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Today is a nice Saturday, not too cold, and every so often, more snow flutters past the window.
I am trying to do some machine quilting!
It is a quilt top that uses a panel by Thimbleberries, surrounded by quite a few borders, that we had a couple years ago at the shop. 
I thought the borders would be a good place to practice some free motion motifs-- so far I did a loopy thing in the green, and some leaves in the yellow part.  Maybe I'll do a feathered something in the red parts,.. hmm.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Concerning the Hand Warmers, Heidi

Well, this is what I know about the fingerless mittens/gloves.
I have knit 3 pairs now, all on 4.5mm needles.
This is the latest pair.
They are a really nice yarn, containing cashmere, which is very nice next to the skin.
I used a pattern by "Ella Rae" in a book I have, but can't quite find at the moment, but is was a pretty easy pattern.  I just varied it for different cuffs and hand edges.
I did a quick search on Ravelry (if you are a knitter and don't know about Ravelry, well, that's something you'll want to remedy right away!!!) and found a couple of patterns that are pretty close.  Unfortuneately, there are all sorts of other patterns that look like a lot of fun!! Cables!
This one is a free pattern by Knitting at Knoon 
and you can find the pattern for the ones below here


Look at these!!!, by Eunny Jang, on ravelry
 and these, by Erica Lomax:  (more free downloads!!!)
What a lot of fun!!
Good thing that I've been finding new homes for some of the ones I made already -- the orange ribbed ones and a couple pairs of the recycled sweaters! Hope they do their job.  I'm enjoying the grey ones!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Concerning the Interesting Reflection of Fabrics to the Real World

Well, further to yesterdays comment on the colors in the quilt photo being similar to what's outside right now-- another unplanned correlation:
Yesterday I had recorded the beautiful-ness of these strawberries.  I liked the green tops on them, they weren't all dried up, but nice and fresh looking.  (Also note the brown background of the table)
Later, at the shop, Jen was putting together a new kit with the Fabrics from French General.  Of course I have to sew this sample,(it has adorable blocks of alphabet samplers)
 And lo, and behold, there on the cutting mat (green) are the strawberry colors looking back at me.  Red, Brown, Green, and white(ecru).

2 of the 8 alphabets

 Aside from that, I have been recently working on this table runner, made from pieces of re-cycled shrunken sweaters. 
 My friend Linda has done whole throws using this method, which I learned from her.  The pieces are butted up against each other and zig-zagged together.  But the key is to first iron on a little 1/2" strip of fusible interfacing to the back of the join.  I have yet to add a backing and "binding", which has not yet been worked out how to do that. 

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