A View of My Quilt Life

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blowing in the Wind

The Sauder Village Triple Windmill Challenge needs to be done by the end of April.  I've had the fabric and a 'vision' since last May.  Up until this past weekend, all I had done was the washing of the fabric and making the paper foundations. 

Since the weather had taken a turn back to cold, damp and windy, it was a great quilting weekend.  

I started with the largest block to work out the angles of the block. 

So many colors had to be narrowed down.  The large block was destined for bright and warm colors.

The block foundation was cut apart into sewable sections. Thank goodness for glue sticks! 

They progressed rather quickly by continuously chain piecing.

Once the sections were pieced and trimmed, they were joined using the partial seam method.

The big block done - 12 inches square

I moved on to the violet blocks.  These blocks are spinning in the opposite direction and measure at 8 inches finished.

Two violet blocks done.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Where Have I Been

Well, last week was a bust, blog-wise, with lots going on in different directions. And some I'll tell you about here as we move through this week.

But I want to kick off the week with some quilting progress. Finally!

Over the weekend, I was up in Wisconsin, house and dog sitting for friends, P&T.  They have 5 Chinese Shar Peis so I LOTS of company and help with quilting.

First up - the machine quilting on Chirp, Chirp is done!

The edges were trimmed.

The binding is stitched down,

and just needs to be turned and hand stitched on the back. I pinned it in place to get an idea of what it will look like.  So nice to have this one so close to the FINISH line.  It's a benefit auction quilt, with another one to make by May.

Friday, March 20, 2015

One Night Quilted Object

I finally have a quilted finish!

Last night I was determined to get something stitched - anything.  The objective was to start and FINISH a project.  Being able to do it in one night was a bonus and a boost.  

It started with cutting, using the pink pad as a pattern.  Butterfly fabric for the top, with plain natural muslin as the back and batting scraps (yes - use them up!) in between.

I quilted diagonal lines in a lime/aqua variegated thread  and used extra wide double fold bias tape for the binding.

FINISHED!!  I have a new pretty saddle for the upcoming spring fun show.  Better yet - I have some stitching momentum building heading into the weekend!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Butterflies are Free to Fly

There aren't any butterflies outside yet but they are on the sewing table. Aren't they bright & fun?

Not going into a quilt but it will be a quilted object.

I am making a spring-y saddle pad for the upcoming Easter fun show at the barn. The pink pad is my sample/pattern.

More importantly, I am thrilled to share that the quilting on the body of Chirp, Chirp is complete!!

I still need to quilt out the borders but definitely a step towards a Finish!

Maybe I'll be binding this weekend - fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Stitching - of a Different Sort

Yes, I know I am supposed to be quilting. 

Yes, I know I have 2 Challenge quilts and a full size Auction quilt to make.

Yes, I know the machine Quilting is not yet finished on Chirp, Chirp.

BUT I just couldn't put this down.  I NEEDED to see if I could do this. 

My brain needed to stretch in a different creative direction.  Maybe I am hoping it will help cure the design standstill I’m having with the Triple Windmill Challenge.  Or maybe, just maybe I wanted a new pretty for my horse without spending much money – just in time for the spring fun show in April.

I progressed from chain stitch and single crochet on this sample to double and then triple crochet.

This sample is the square mesh stitch,

And finally we have the netting stitch.

Hopefully with a little more practice and some careful study of my sample fly bonnet, I’ll be able to make my own version.Hmm, maybe I need to try a smaller hook, too.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Reviving an Ancient Skill

Once upon a time, a long, long, long time ago - like last century - I learned to crochet.  I was probably about 5 when my grandmother first taught me. I could chain stitch like nobody's business!  

The last time I crocheted was sometime in middle school. I made the ugliest, scratchiest, brightest orange slippers ever seen.  Acrylic yarn was big back then along with worsted wool - ICK!  Thankfully - there are NO pictures of them.

Fast forward to now.  I've been inspired to see if I could revive my very old, very rusty skills and see if there something new I could learn too.

I LOVE crocheted horse fly bonnets.  This is one I replaced the ears on with peppermint swirl batik.

But even the simplest of them are $20 at the saddle shop and they are a plain solid color. Once you add trim or bling - the price can skyrocket.  I found some custom made ones online going for $120 - $170!  Granted, they were pretty but that's so  not in my budget. And I know I can make my own and trim it out for a fraction of that price! 

I have this as my prototype.  Not sure who made this one - but the tassels are not even in placement or count.  I am strictly using it for size and shape.

I found this really pretty cotton yarn - shades of blues and greens. There are TONS of pretty cottons yarns out there, which could cause other problem down the road but I'll worry about that later. 

A quick review of the slip knot, chain stitch (foundation stitch) and single crochet stitch from online videos and I had this.

YIKES!!  Still rusty as all get out!  I pulled it out and tried again. 

MUCH BETTER!!!  Not perfect but the fingers are remembering what to do, how to hold the yarn and relax at the same. Too much tension in the fingers carries over into the stitches. 

There are a few more stitches I need to learn and practice before I'm ready to start on making a fly bonnet but it's good to have a goal.  It's also good to have another kind of handwork project to carry around with me. 

The downside to this? There are tons of soft cottons yarns  in hundreds of beautiful colors...and I probably have batiks or solid cottons to coordinate with most all of them for the ear covers.

Monday, March 16, 2015

It's a Book!!!

It's here!!!

This arrived at our front door last week.  The Cherrywood Challenge 2014 - Wicked is now in print and shipping!

I can hardly believe it - I'm in a book.
"Wicked...Walking" is on page 62. 

The full exhibit of all 114 quilts recently  hung at the AQS Lancaster, PA show.

Check out the Cherrywood Fabric Facebook page for more pictures of the Lancaster show and an updated schedule of where this exhibit will be shown this year.  But if you can't make it to a live show, you can buy the book and see every quilt up close and in detail!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Snuggle Buds

Drake's ears are doing much better - the yogurt has done it's re-balancing job. They are still a little itchy and the boo-boos need some more healing time so he's still wearing his hood part time.  

The cats have gotten used to his wardrobe choice. Zena even felt sorry for Drake and snuggled in to comfort him.

The weather forecast for the weekend looks warmer (near 60!) so we'll be out and about soaking up some Spring! Hope you have a great weekend too!  

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A Windy Start

It's past time to start putting fabric together for the Sauder Village Triple Windmill Challenge! 

Last night I pulled out the paper foundations, fabric swatch cards and all the related paperwork.  Armed with a cup of hazelnut coffee, I sat down to get started.  I cut apart the large block's paper base into sew-able chunks.  

And I stared at it. And stared at it. Hmm. Nope - not happening - going to need a color layout plan to figure this one out. So that needs to happen and SOON!!

Rather than waste precious machine time drawing and coloring, I switched machines, grabbed the Chirp, Chirp quilt and continued the machine quilting on it. 

By 9 pm, I was ready to shut down and am happy to say that this project is about 80% quilted!! I should be binding by next week.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Two plus Two equals Two Hundred and Fifty-Six

Big surprise there right?  I am still in the beginning stages of whatever this HST quilt is going to end up being and wanted to make more large squares to see the how the layout would progress.

I was thrilled to be able to sneak in some sewing last night.  The HSTS become twos, then fours, then four fours are a quarter block.  These do stitch up fast but you need to watch for fabric shift, lest those points get cut off.

I love the different effect you get at the corners where the 4 big squares meet up.

I need to get several more stitched up.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Mommy Dresses Me Funny

Drake has been having an ear issue.  The recent round of antibiotics has apparently upset the delicate balance of normal ear gunk.  I stupidly thought his system could handle the meds without yogurt being added to his diet.  Not so much! 

Wil started the yogurt therapy but Drake's ears are itchy and he's scratching them. And scratching them.  While we were both out of the house on Sunday, he managed to create quite a raw bald spot behind his right ear. 

When I saw that, I knew it was time for a different tactic.  I treated the boo boo, tended to his ears, clipped his nails back, grinding them smooth and then got busy at the sewing machine.  No - no HSTs or machine quilting. Not this time.

A much more practical bit of sewing needed to be done first.  It was obvious we needed a physical barrier so Drake could scratch while he healed.  I DETEST the nasty plastic Elizabethan collars used for things like this on cats & dogs. 

They are big and cumbersome and uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous. And plastic. 

Yes - they make fabric ones. But I am not about to shell out $20 or more for a bit of fabric and the hope it fits okay. Not to mention I would have no idea what kind of fabric it was made from.  I had some extra cotton twill (soft & breathable), batting scraps and Velcro already on hand.  Twenty minutes later, Drake had a custom fit, quilted squishy hood. 

He can eat and drink and sleep comfortably in his hood.  It has the brim folded back a good inch and a half but it can be unfolded for more protection if needed.  His flat buckle collar is slipped into a sleeve at the bottom.

Most importantly, while his Mommy may dress him funny, his ears and neck are protected. The cats reaction to his new wardrobe was quite funny, though we didn't get pictures of it. They were convinced he was a large alien creature.  They calmed down once I folded the brim back & they could see his face and eyes better.

He'll be sporting his spring bonnet for a few days.