Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Neglecting my blog

It has been way too long since I posted.  I have been busy, both sewing and regular day to day "stuff". The two quilts I have been working on are taking way more time than I anticipated.  I am still FMQ my Halloween quilt and that is going okay, well truthfully it is frustrating sometimes.  Quilting a real full size quilt is a lot different than quilting a small practice piece, but I do think I am making progress.  On my last trip to visit my daughter I stopped at a local quilt shop and bought a new toy.
I really want to learn to FMQ feathers, maybe this will help.  Maybe not, but it can't hurt :)
It also seems to me that I need at least two sewing machines set up to be able to keep working on projects, one to piece on and one just for FMQ.  The weather is turning cold and snow showers are predicted for tomorrow evening, perfect for quilting and reading and hot cocoa.  I started working on a table runner for my table for Thanksgiving.  I hope to finish it up this weekend.  While I have been ignoring my own blog, I am totally fascinated by everyone else out there in  Someday I would like to go to the big show in Houston, the pictures being posted look like it would be a lot of fun.  Okay, well, I will have to make a new resolution to post at least once a week with updates, it keeps me motivated.  Night all.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Retro Bag

Quite a bit of sewing yesterday and today and quite a bit of "unsewing" because I had problems with my metallic thread and didn't realize it until I had to stop and clean out my bobbin case.  Interestingly enough, I didn't really get upset, I was having a good time just doodling.  It is going to take some time to fill in the applique pieces, and hopefully it will be worth the effort.  If nothing else I figure I am practicing my free motion skills. 
Today I worked on and completed my version of a Retro Bag pattern., I purchased from Greta's Blog.  I added 3 inches to the width of the bag  and made the handles longer because I want to use it for a tote for work and also this was my practice run.  I am happy with the outcome and can't wait to make a few more in different sizes and true to the pattern (which is much sleaker).  She has a picture of a small version, which I think would be a really cute accessory to match the bag.  Front and back
The pink areas on the front of the bag are big pockets, the back has a zippered pocket. and the inside
Fully lined, pockets on both sides.  I used a piece of a remnant I purchased at JoAnn Fabrics for about $3.  It was a drapery remnant.  I think her instructions are great, lots of pictures and tips.  I had never put in a magnetic snap before and it was easy peasy.  NAYY,  but check out her patterns and her quilting is fantastic.   Happy Sewing. Berning

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Scrapbooking Retreat

I recently went to a scrapbooking retreat at Craftman Lodge in Colorado.  My good friend Diane and my oldest DD are both avid scrapbookers and have kind of made me a scrapbooker too.  My first love is sewing, but scrapbooking is fun too and similar to quilting with pictures.  When I think about it, the memory quilts I have made are scrapbooking with fabric. 
Happy Scrappers busy at creating. That's my buddy Diane in the top photo.  Here we all are along with the sweet lady who organized the weekend Teri and my beautiful DD (in the red top and white shorts).  This was a beautiful lodge, slate and marble all over the place and the weather was perfect. 

And last but not least, some of my creations

I completed 12 new pages, which is pretty good for me, but what was really nice was to spend some time just being creative with my daughter and good friend.  We thought about planning our own mini-retreats and hopefully that is something we really will do.  Happy Wednesday! Bernie

Monday, October 4, 2010

Creative Courage

Actor Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion:

What makes a King out of a slave? Courage.
What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage.
What makes the elephant charge his tusk in the misty mist or the dusky dusk?
What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage.
What makes the Sphinx the 7th Wonder? Courage.
What makes the dawn come up like THUNDER?! Courage.
What makes the Hottentot so hot?
What puts the "ape" in ape-ricot?
Whatta they got that I ain't got?
Dorothy & Friends: Courage!

Cowardly Lion: You can say that again.

That is what came to mind tonight.  Why can't I take this

And this

and transfer all of this practice to the real deal? The quilt top I threw together (rather sloppily) just to practice on?
Courage.  I am afraid to "ruin" this top with my amateur quilting.  I have practiced and practiced, I have several stacks of all my practice pieces, but for some reason I cannot bring myself to put this quilt under my sewing machine needle. I will have to get past this mental block, because I know the only way to really learn this skill is to do it.  So I will set Friday as my deadline to put this in the machine and start quilting it.  Maybe the great and powerful OZ will give me courage. :)  
I have been busy, loving the first days of Fall, loving the cooler weather.   We had a nice little mini holiday when my husband's cousin came to visit and then I went to a scrapbooking retreat with my oldest daughter and a good friend and that was fun too. I will be following up with pics on that adventure later.  Today is my favorite aunt's birthday and I had a nice long phone chat with her.  Happy Birthday Aunt Marion! October is my birthday month too, so I am making resolutions and plans for the coming year.  I want to try to work outside my comfort zone in quilting.  Here is a sneak peak of one of my current projects.

I am freemotion basting the applique with invisible thread and plan to thread paint it with metallic.  I am going to use a wool batt because I want the applique to stand out after quilting without having to do trapunto.  Hope everyone is sewing happy.  Bernie

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Pics from Square in Square class

Here is Cyndi McChesney (our teacher for the class). She is a certified teacher for this technique and she is great. Here she is showing us how the 1/4 seam is built into the block.
Here are some of my fellow quilters working away.

Here is my friend Mari, she sat down at the kindergarten table to lay out her topper

Isn't it pretty? I should have taken more pics, because everyone picked such pretty fabrics. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Labor Day doings and Quilt Class

Well, last weekend was pretty peaceful.  We never did make it to the Kid's Day Parade due to some misinformation, but the kids did go to the State Fair and we had a nice barbecue and the evenings found me sitting outside on the porch watching my granddaughters jump rope and shoot hoops.  OH yes, the tooth fair pillow was a big hit with my GD! We even had a little sewing time together and they got to sew on "gramma's big machine" with gramma sitting right next to them of course. 
I have been in a strong high energy mode for several weeks now (what gives?) and have several projects going.  I have managed to keep up with the quilt along, doing my practice pieces as instructed.  I put together several more practice quilt sandwiches and am going to experiment with what I want to put on the Halloween quilt (which is all pin basted and ready to go). How is everyone else coming along? I see that Erin is following along, she posted pics of her first exercises and they look great.
I spent most of Thursday and Friday evening getting ready for the Square in a Square quilt class I signed up for months ago through my quilt guild.  I am here to tell you I am so pleased with this method.  We had a lot of fun in class, but best of all I felt I really came away with a good product and great results.  I had purchased the special ruler and a book years ago at a quilt show after watching a demo, only to get it home and not really understanding what to do and to lazy to figure it out - so - the ruler and book were put away in my ruler basket and there they sat until I heard about this class.  Our teacher's name was Cyndi McChesney and she gave us a LOT of information in six hours time.  I have known Cyndi for a few years.  I met her when I went looking for a longarm quilter to do some of my tops.  She has her own longarm business and I have been really happy with the tops she has quilted for me.  Long story short -
I would never have attempted these stars on my own.  I am so tickled with this I have to share. From this

To this

and finally this

It still needs to be sandwiched and quilted of course, so this will be another piece I will use for the quilt along. :) More pics of the class in a few days.  Just wanted to share before bed.  Hope you all had a great weekend. Bernie

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tooth Fairy pillow sneak peak

Looking around the blogspots it seems to me that lots of quilters are rejuvinated and ready to quilt - the lazy days of summer are winding down unless of course, you live in Australia.:)  My oldest DD (and wonderful mother to my two beautiful granddaughters) called to say they might come down this weekend for the state fair.  There is a kids day parade on Saturday that the girls really like.  There are three parades during the Fair.  The big parade downtown to kick off the Fair, the Kid's Day Parade and then the Fiesta Day Parade on the last day.  They are all fun, but the kids day parade is the best.  It is made up entirely of children and is held in a small area of town called Mesa Junction which is like an old fashioned downtown area with little shops. This parade has been going on for as long as I can remember.  I remember being in it with friends (we rode our bikes, which we decorated ourselves) and my children were in it (we built a float out of a wagon for the younges to ride in). 
I will post pictures if they come early enough for us to attend.  Of course that prompted me to finish up the tooth fairy pillow, so I can give it to -
My youngest grandbaby, as you can see she needs it for the tooth fairy! I decided to try to put some ribbon embrodery on it so it is not quite done yet, but I think I can finish it up by Friday.   In progress sneak peak.

Close up of my attempt at ribbon embroidery.  I will also have to add some sparkly crystals cause my girl loves bling! Then I just need to sew the back on and stuff it. 

I free motion quilted the background with loops and hearts, I will try to get better pics when it is all done. This was one of those preprinted panel sewing projects that I keep an eye out for in the clearance bin.   The little black heart stitched area will be covered with a little heart pocket for the tooth.  I have yet to write anything in my quilt journal book - I should start it with the quiltalong quilt information, does anyone else keep a journal of your quilting? What kind of information do you write in it?  I have a few projects I am actively working on right now, I do want to add a future quilts list to my blog list.  You know, those quilts that you want to try to make because you like the pattern or have an idea for a particular fabric?  Nuff, said for now.  Hope everyone is having a good week.   Bernie

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Quilt Along, WIPS, & Quilt Journal

Just a quick post, hopefully I will have time tomorrow to post pics.  I have pin basted my quiltalong quilt so it is all ready to go.  I pin basted on my cutting table as I just can't get on the floor anymore to baste a quilt - my knees just won't do it.  I spent a good part of my sewing time today cutting and tracing applique's for the new pattern I am trying out and also did a test run on kitchen towels and hot pad/pot holder for the craft sale for the quilt guild sale.  I practiced free motion quilting on a little tooth fair pillow I am making for my youngest granddaughter. So yes, I have been busy.  
The one item I did not have for the quilt along was a Quilt Journal, I found a nice little hardbound journal at Kohl's that I think I will be using.  I have never kept a sewing journal - usually I use little post it  note pads and pieces of scrap paper that I make notations on when sewing, but nothing I keep for future reference.  It is a wonderful idea. 
WHEW - it feels good to finally have my sewing motivation back again.  For the last couple of months I just didn't feel motivated, part of it was all the trouble I was having with my pink and  brown quilt blocks, but that is another story :)   Hope everyone had a little time to sew over the weekend.  Looking forward to the Labor Day long weekend - I will make time to sew for an entire day ! Whoooppeee.  Bernie

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Free Motion Quilt A Long

Christina over at " A Few Scraps.blogspot" is having a quilt along and I think I will join, doesn't that just fit in with my throwing together the Halloween quilt because I want a "real" quilt to practice on.? She is giving away prizes too so anyone interested in this should check her blogsite out.  Her entry deadline is August 21st, but she didn't say how long the quilt along will be.  I hope she gives us some time cause I am sew slow.  This will be the first anything I have joined in on so maybe it will help keep me motivated.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Estate sale finds

Thank you for your sweet comments on my fast and dirty Halloween quilt - I have to dig out the backing this week and hopefully pin baste it next weekend so I can start quilting it - this one might just be done by Halloween! I  don't know how I did it but I deleted my post after uploading probably far too many pics.  Ah well, I will now make this one shorter and I hope sweeter.  I must confess to going with a good girlfriend to an estate sale during our lunch hour last week and purchasing a queen sized hand pieced, hand quilted basket quilt and an old sewing machine. Sewing Machine Anonymous, that is what I need. I have a weakness for old machines, especially if they are going to end up at the local dump.  I can't fix them, but they are interesting to me. But, no more, I have no place to hide, umm I mean store them. :) Anywho, here are a few pics.  OH yeah, I did start cutting blocks for a new quilt today, but more on that later. 
Look at the neat little stitches.
It does have damage to the top and several of the blocks, but I am going to try to patch it up as best as I can and put it on display in the guest bedroom.  I heart it.
Now, about that sewing machine addiction, really, this machine makes a beautiful stitch, all I have to do is figure out how to get that bobbin case out and how to thread it and oil it and I could use it just for piecing. Right?

It has a Montgomery Ward logo, #30, I am guessing maybe 1940's or 50's? Lots of neat attachments.
Part of what intrigued me about this machine - I never saw one like it before, and it is in such good condition. The bobbin case looks like Ft. Knox, not quite sure I want to take it out yet.
I think I have to unscrew it to take it out.  The only thing missing was the manual, but maybe I can find one online.
I hope you all had simply wonderful weekends.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Halloween practice quilt

Well, I finished piecing my Halloween quilt, just for fun, it was fast and dirty, no pattern, no specific plan, just wanted to piece a quilt that I could quilt myself.  It will be a gift for my granddaughters.

This is laid out on the floor - you see my cheater panel is set on point - I want to quilt it with that glow in the dark or maybe florescent thread with a spiderweb type design.

I am happy with it and I know the girls will love it.  I have been in a slump as far as sewing and I am not sure why exactly.  The quilt group I belong to is having a craft sale in October and we (members of the guild) are supposed to donate items for sale.  I just don't know what to make.  They have asked for small items that can sell for $20 or so.  I thought today maybe some eyeglass cases or table runners? I don't know.  I did purchase at Walmart a couple of Elvis apron panels and figured I would make those for the craft sale, they only cost me a couple of dollars each from the clearance bin and I think they are cute.  Even though it is still hot here during the day, it is cooling down in the evening and I feel an early fall this year.  Well, looks like computer is just about out of battery power so I will log out for now.  Bernie

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Freemotion quilting

It is late Sunday night - work tomorrow - and it was a very busy weekend, I did manage to get a few hours in my sewing room today.  I have been practicing my freemotion quilting and even though I laundered this practice piece (wanted to get the chalk out of it) I think you can see the design pretty clearly in these pics.  I used just regular old school chalk to mark this stencil design.  This probably is not technically freemotion since I used a stencil, but I wanted to try it.

This is the front and the pic on top shows the front with the back flipped over.  I serged the edges. 

The stitch length is looking much better, more consistent I think with several weeks of practice. I am using Superior thread in both needle and bobbin, So Fine which I believe is 60 wt.  I have already made a new quilt sandwich in pink fabric and will be trying marking out squares with chalk and see if I can freemotion a consistent design across the quilt sandwich.  The batting on this piece is 80/20 cotton poly.  The next one I am going to use wool batting. 
I also finished piecing five more blocks in my pink and brown.  That makes 12 blocks completed, but I am still struggling with the 1/4 inch seam allowance, I have tried several different set-ups, but either come up too small or too large.  I am going to try to figure out what I am doing wrong next session.  I think too I will change my presser foot so that I can adjust the needle.  Does anyone else struggle with that "scant 1/4 inch?"  OH YES, the big news is a new JoAnn Fabrics has opened at the mall.  I made a trip today to use my 40 percent off coupon and check it out.  I hope it makes a go of it as we have not had a regular fabric store in town for many years.  Well, better sign off for now, I want to go check out what everyone else has been doing :) Bernie

Saturday, July 10, 2010

New Quilting friend Texas Quilt Show

I made a new quilting friend on my trip to Texas in June to attend my nephew's graduation and visit family.  Her name is Elaine G.  I met her through my very sweet niece who just happens to be friends with one of Elaine's daughters (another delightful girl).  The girls got us togehter and we all went to a quilt show. We had a wonderful time and went to lunch after the show and then she invited me to her home to look at her beautiful quilts.  She does redwork and had several wall hangings I loved and also showed me a batik beauty she had just completed piecing in fall colors.  Very pretty.  Here is my new friend.
 and a few pics of the quilt show we attended. 
I think Elaine voted for this one as her favorite.  There were many talented quilters displayed and every row we walked down was full of eye candy.  I was especially taken with a black whole cloth quilt with some star appliques that was quilted with decorator threads and every inch covered with the most fantastic quilting. 

Check out this dragon

Close up of the scales and quilting. 

I can't figure how to get my pics all the same size, hope you can see some of the detail.  Look at the pieced leaves on this last one and the cat in the corner.  Cute.  Well, hope  you enjoyed the show.  I will come back and edit when I find my souvineer postcard to give credit to the quilt guild that put on this wonderful show.  Bernie

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The 3 hour block and Halloween treats

Well, I had not been in my sewing room for over a month and was really wanting to get back to it - so at 3:30 pm Sunday afternoon I decided I would work on my pink and brown quilt top.  This one is for me, but it is slow going.  I have to think hard (ouch) about it, one block at a time - because I have my own idea for how it is being put together. And I don't have a design wall, so I have to lay it out on my cutting table, then write down how the next block should be done.  So I pieced the next block in row one and when it was complete the measurements were all off (too small), so I did something I NEVER do.  I took it apart and sewed it together again, but then it was too big, so I hacked off more than I should have only to realize the colors were in the wrong place! So I took it apart AGAIN and sewed it back together again. 
okay, success finally, but I was so tired of it by then, I worked up the next block and quit for the day.

You see my little tape labels for the first row? Those are supposed to keep me from getting too confused :) The pic above shows the pattern beautifully, it is a scrappy quilt and I have collected the fat quarters over the past 3 years.  It started out just brown and pinks, but I have added green.  I  am going to have to figure out a way to put up a design wall if I want to keep it going. 
I also pulled together my little stash of Halloween fabrics and cheater panel. I want to put together a Halloween quilt, just something lap size, which shouldn't be too hard with the cheater panel.  I think the grandkids will love it.
The striped piece has glitter running through it and the bright orange is supposed to glow in the dark.
I have no idea what pattern I might use.  Something very simple.  I don't really want to cut apart the cheater panel, so it will be the center and I will work blocks around it to fit.   Famous last words How hard could that be? HA.