A View of My Quilt Life

Monday, March 31, 2014

Last Day of March Recap and 2014 NewFO Link Up

March came in like a lion and is going out like a lamb or at least that's what the latest forecast said.  The temp is suppose to break 60 - I'll believe it when I see it - though a chance of rain later today.  No matter, I have a full day of errands and shopping to do, so I need to get this written and posted early.

Quilt-wise March was okay, not great, but okay.  Too bad I can't count house projects in my stats. I still have some blank canvases where there should have been designs done.  Occasionally, I need added time crunch pressure to get inspired. Not the best way to work but it happens. 

I am participating in Barbara at Cat Patches 2014 NewFO Challenge. Click here to see everyone's new projects  March NewFO Challenge and Linky Party

My March 2014 quilt stats:

1 Quilt finished - My first foray into using silk dupioni in a quilt!  I finished the piecing and machine quilted Silk Road: Spotlight.  Originally supposed to go the long-arm quilter to be eligible for a LQS show, this one turned out to be a learning opportunity.  I will be using silks again, possible mixed with cottons but definitely doing some things differently!

1 new quilt row done for LQS (Pieceful Gathering) Daring Downton Debacle Challenge - 3rd month of a 5 month project using Andover Fabrics's Downton Abbey collection - machine pieced second row completed. It's a NewFO. I made a variation of the Castle in the Air block.

 And to show the progress of this project - three rows together.

2 quilts in progress - machine quilting projects - 

The first is the quilting on the French Braid panels. This was pieced last fall and is a machine quilting NewFO in Progress

And then there is a NewFO from an old UFO - my Sweet Man's 'Grey is not a Color' quilt. This project was planned back in February of 2011, had exactly one quarter of the top pieced and went into the timeout box.  It was past time to get this one done. I got the remaining three quarters pieced this month and have two of those quarters quilted and am almost done with the third.  

Going to need more thread and wait until tomorrow to see the slight problem with the backing. Quilting is an Adventure!

There are more project just waiting to be started & March was suppose to be the month for them, but now April HAS to be the month for them!!

If you are keeping track, how did you do for March?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

2014 Pantone Challenge Winners

 The 2014 Pantone Quilt Challenge Winners have been announced.

Nope - my Silk Road: Spotlight wasn't among the lucky few but it was FUN to compete! 

I love looking at all the other entries and getting inspired.  There are some AMAZING quilts out there in this year's Pantone color of the year - 'Radiant Orchid'. Be sure to jump over to  Pantone Quilt Entries , to check them out.  
Who knows maybe you'll be inspired to use a little Radiant Orchid' in your next quilt.  I can't wait to see what next year's color will be...maybe another quilt!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Now Under the Needle

The French Braid center panel is still hanging on the design wall.  The photos I took and posted yesterday made me realize the line of quilting I am missing on the larger braid section legs.  I added it in yellow below.

I am going to try it on a few legs but I think it will end up breaking up the space a little better.  While I was figuring that out, I had something else under the needle yesterday.

The first quarter panel of Sweet Man's 'Grey is Not a Color' is being quilted.  
First quarter of Grey is Not a Color

I am outlining each block of color and then quilting 4 lines down the center of them, using a Sulky Blendables 30 wt. cotton thread in 'Soft Blacks'

Simple straight line quilting
Sulky Blendable 30 wt. cotton 'Soft Blacks'
The quilting cannot be too dense as this needs to be a light, soft drape-y quilt when it's done. DH does not sleep under any kind of heavy blanket/comforter/quilt. I may add some additional quilting in the sashing or I may not - have to see more of the block quilting done before I decide.

Now I can alternate between quilting on both of these projects so I don't get bored with either of them.  Need to find my machine quilting zen state.

Friday, March 28, 2014

French Braid Cooking

Up on the design wall - the French Braid quilt!

You: Wait - what?  That's an older project. 

Me: Yes, yes it is.  

You: Well, why is it on the design wall? Those sections are joined into three panels already - why aren't we seeing anything new?

Me: Oh, but there is something new to them. The panels  are sandwiched and the machine quilting has begun.  Here are a few detail shots of my progress.

There are three different colors of thread so far.  Unfortunately, one of the spools was a little low on thread so I had to go thread shopping.  You can imagine how upset that made me, right? NOT!

I just LOVE YLI thread!  After trying many different kings of thread for hand quilting, I have found theirs to just rock!  It's sturdy but flexible, and does not knot or twist like some other do.  I have even used it to machine quilt.

More importantly for this project, they make wonderful machine quilting thread too.  It glides through my machine like a dream!  And it comes in solids and variegated colors.  I'm using the Mediterranean as the middle color thread in this quilt.


It is a 40 wt., 3 ply thread of Egyptian cotton - with dyeing and finishing done right in North and South Carolina.   If you can't find it your LQS, you can order directly from them. Check out the  YLI Corp website for lots of great thread info, including a guide for picking the right thread for your project.

I usually buy this thread at quilt shows or wherever I spot it at a LQS, but rather than drive all over hunting it down I opted for online shopping and since I was already paying for shipping (cheaper than gas right now), a few other spools jumped into my shopping cart.

Napa Valley Wine

Nordic Fjord

There is a lot of quilting to be done on the three panels so it will be around for awhile.

In between road trips, quilting, and chores, I like to actually cook food, not just open a box and pour.  In our small kitchen (a barely 2 butts at a time space), I have a system and a rhythm to my work.  Often, this gets disrupted by extra canine helpers, who, after being repeatedly told to get out of my kitchen at or accidentally having a paw step on, finally tuck their tails and retreat to safer ground - right outside the door way.  

 Zena, however, is not canine and just wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Her unique approach to a prime viewing spot was on top of the tall pantry cabinet in the dining room, right outside the door to the kitchen.   I just had to laugh.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

I Crashed My Fabric Diet!

It really wasn't my fault - I Swear!!

I was just standing there, at the cutting table of my most favorite quilt shop in the Universe - Lolly's Fabrics in Shipshewana, Indiana - minding my own business. 

 I was catching up with Kris, the manager, while admiring all the fabulous fabric all around us.   

This is a busy shop, so Kris had to help other customers and that's when my attention wandered a bit ... right over to the In the Beginning Fabrics Modern Solids 2 collection by Jason Yenter.  The colors are just so yummy in this shot cotton collection!  

To distract myself, I turned away...right to face the Kafe Fasset woven display.  ACK!! Sensory Overload! So I turned away...back to facing the Modern Solids. ACK!!

Then it hit me - I glanced at the solids, then the wovens, the solids, the wovens and back and forth like a spectator at a tennis match. These were a potential match made in quilter's heaven.  There was one woven, in particular, that spoke to me so I reached out, grabbed it and carried it over to see close up if the colors really matched the solids or was I just being sucked in by pretty fabrics, again.

One of the neatest features of that particular spot in the shop is the overhead prism reflecting natural skylight thingy.

 I borrowed this picture from their website and you can see the huge square thing on the ceiling that lets in natural diffused and reflected light - right over the cutting table - so you can really judge the colors correctly!

At this point, I was gone.  The bolts of fabric jumped off the shelves to the cutting table and came home with me.

You be the judge - here they are hanging out on the clothes line, drying in 35 degree temp. 

Photo shot facing the sunlight

Photo shot with sun behind me
Don't they just play nice together?  The strip is a one yard cut and the solids are a third of a yard each.  No, I have no particular quilt design in mind for them yet.   I'm over there, standing in  'Bad Quilter' timeout corner for breaking the 'Shop the Stash' rule.  Of course, nothing is stopping me from thinking about a quilt design while I am taking my punishment.  It was worth it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Michigan Machine

One of the things I wanted to do on my recent trip was to drag the Michigan sewing machine out of the closet and check out the model and serial number on it.  Since I normally travel with my machine, I don't use this one but that will change. Sewing machines need to be used - it's good for them!

Singer Model 15-91 with "Eye" & Trefoil decals.
This machine belonged to my Great Aunt Lillian.  It runs, though it can use a cleaning and oiling. There is some built up grunge to carefully remove.

It is a Singer, Model # 15-91, dating to January 1933. She is 71 years young! 

Housed in a Model # 47 cabinet, it has a knee controller instead of a foot pedal.  

I had planned on bringing the machine home for a thorough going over but it is wired into the cabinet due to the knee controller. I need to do some research on how to remove the machine from the cabinet & not do any damage to the wiring. 

Check out that scroll work face plate, though it will be better once it's cleaned and shiny.  I have another machine project!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Road Trip Recap - March 2014

This was the view from behind the wheel early Friday morning.

 A short while later, here was what greeted me at the Michigan house.  

On the second day of Spring there was snow!  There was a fresh fallen layer on top of the remaining melted down hard pack snow. 

I was hoping to share some pictures of emerging green shoots or bright spring bulbs blooming.  We'll just have to settle for some evergreen pictures.

By Friday evening, most all the snow had melted - except for what was on the deck. 

There is some standing water on the property that will be around for awhile. Not the most we ever had but quite a bit.

Hopefully we'll have some color shots soon - Come on, Spring!!!

Friday, March 21, 2014


This time I fully admit that I had a MAJOR idiot moment. No, really, I did! 

It was such a slap-your-forehead, DUH moment that my DH, Sweet Man, was laughing out loud at me and I couldn't get mad at him because I. AM. AN. IDIOT!!

It all started a about two weeks ago when the DH was tidying up the garage.  Up high, on the back of a deep shelf, was this:

I had forgotten about this, as it was given to me a few years ago by my friend, Pam and well, as the saying goes - out of sight, out of mind. SHAME on me!  I told him to set it over to the side as I needed to work on it, when I had a minute. 

That minute came today.  I opened the case.

Yes, I knew it was a sewing machine. 
Yes, I believe I knew it was an older Singer. 

BUT, I did not realize that it was a Singer 301A.   In near perfect condition!!!  Look at that pretty original two-tone finish.  All I've done is wipe her down with a damp cloth to get the little bit of surface dirt off. No caked on grunge on this beauty!

She is ever so slightly, a teeny tiny bit stiff when I rotate the wheel - nothing a spot or two of oil won't fix.

Complete with perfect cord, intact bobbin case and extra bobbins!

The red and white sticker on the bottom reads "Sewing Room Machine".  The serial number (NB064729) dates her to about 1956, manufactured in Anderson, South Carolina.

On the front bottom edge there is the name "Wendy Fallon" and a date "12-25-75", etched into the finish.  So, she is officially named Wendy!  I need to talk to Pam  to find out if she knows any more about this machine's history.

There is not much I can say in my defense except that until recently I didn't know much about vintage machines other than Singer Featherweights (I have two).  Other than another friend, Martha (Thistle Rose Weaving - check out her most recent post on the Spring Fling Shawl, it's beyond gorgeous!!) having another vintage Singer (500 - Rocketeer) and loving it.  Since last fall, I have had further exposure to and education about other brands and models of vintage machines and I am loving them!  No fancy electronic gizmos, no computer bits to fail or fry, no inaccessible areas that can't be checked or cleaned, no plastic parts. 

Unfortunately, the original grass cloth covered trapezoid case is pretty beat up. It may end up being recovered or maybe turn into a modge podge decoupage project.  In the meantime, I have a workhorse, slant-needle, gear driven (no  exposed belt or motor), 58 year old big sister to the Featherweights to drive around my studio.  I can't stop smiling...even though I am an idiot.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Road Trip of 2014!

Earlier this year while calendaring with the Girls, a proposed Girls Weekend has discussed for Spring.  The Guys had their Guys Weekend March 8-10th, so we thought this coming weekend would work.  Nothing was carved in stone as things always seem to need to be more flexibility in us Girls' schedules.

Budget shrinkage, new truck tire purchases, visiting dog issues, an upcoming trip to Midwest Horse Fair at beginning of April instead of towards the end like last year, etc., etc. and before you could blink, the Spring Girls Weekend was a vanishing dream.   Except for me!

There are thing to do and people to see.  I am heading out to the Michigan house & Shipshewana.  The Michigan house won't be officially opened up for a few more weeks but I am dragging out some stuff early. 

 Shipshewana is having a Draft and Standardbred horse auction.  I'm hoping to have Pam's new used saddle repaired and pick up some supplies at the bulk food store.  

And an added benefit is that I can take advantage of the wide open floor to sandwich some quilt.  The four quarters of Grey is Not a Color are already packed & ready to hit the road!   I'll be out of touch for a few days but am so hoping some signs of Spring can be found, photographed and shared when I get back.