Monday, September 15, 2014

this and that

Meanwhile back on the ranch, I've just been sewing away on Kaela and Joe's wedding quilt, Steps to the Altar:


I'm working on the appliqued trees for the Flags of the American Revolution quilt-along organized by Lori of Humble Quilts.


I tacked up the center medallion on my sewing room wall.  I can see it across the hall from my bedroom.


From this far away, and especially in dim light, I see that I don't have nearly enough contrast between eagle and background.

But I do not want to re-stitch this block.  I have my heart set on using a lot of this blue throughout.

I may do some off-white sashiko stitching around the perimeter of the Eagle, once the quilt is sandwiched.  Any other ideas??


Here's Daisy ... a big part of my days, and reluctant to pose for a photo...


Molly is a patient old gal:


The nights are chilly now, and the mums are everywhere, another sure sign of fall:

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Small world


This is the simple block I made over the summer to send to Tokyo for the 2015 NHK Partnership Quilt project.

The theme this year is kawaii ("sweet") and because Kaela and Joe had just gotten married, I had PINK and WEDDING CAKE in my mind!

I used scraps from the first "little girl" quilt I made Kaela long ago; and white silk leftover from my own wedding dress.

Volunteers in Japan will create bed quilts from all the many donated blocks, and those quilts will be displayed and raffled off at the Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival in January 2015.  Thanks to "Queenie" at Queenie's Needlework for the push!

And speaking of the newlyweds,



Kaela and Joe recently got a little puppy and they (yes, they!) wanted to make him a pillow and little blanket for his crate.  I did not know this until Kaela texted me from The City Quilter.  I texted her back saying "Ask for Chris from England and say hi from me - we are blogging buddies!"  Wouldn't you know, Chris (Made By Chrissie D) was already the one helping them.  I think we all got a good "it's such a small world!" laugh.   Further proof that quilters are the friendliest people on the planet!

Kaela said when she walked into the shop, it brought back memories of us shopping there, and of years of her tagging along to quilt shops with me, and with Grandma Mary Lou.   She said it was a nice calming feeling.   Music to a quilting mother's ears.

This made me reach for Kaela's first ever patchwork project -  she made it for her little dollie "Squeaky Baby" :


I love the way social media can link us up and connect us through time and space.  But it is precious indeed when one quilting blogger helps another's daughter in real time and real life.  Thanks, ChrissieD!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Flags of the American Revolution - stars


Last night I finished up the last of these stars and attached the triangles this morning.... and so have caught up with Lori's quilt-along.

Tommy started school yesterday, his Junior year.  How does time fly by so fast??

Daisy is growing right before our eyes - formidable strength, boundless energy and playfulness, starting to challenge (unsuccessfully) old Molly's alpha status.


And... eight more blocks to go on Kaela and Joe's Steps to the Altar quilt:





Monday, September 1, 2014

Flags of the American Revolution - Eagle




Lori at Humble Quilts has started a "quilt-along" to make the sampler found in Jan Patek's Flags of the American Revolution.  Perfect first quilt-along for me, as we live in a pre-Revolutionary War house, our town celebrates its 300th year this year, and it is high time that I quilt something Revolutionary!

The first step, the center Eagle block - freezer paper templates, needle turn applique:


After I had started appliqueing, I realized my placement was a little off and I had to shorten and round out the beak at the last minute.... resulting in eagle, or goose?  But I guess part of the appeal of "primitive" is lack of precision.



Go over to the link-up at Humble Quilts to join in or just see what other quilters are doing.  Thanks Lori!


  I do have some catching up to do! Appliqueing these stars to red setting triangles:



Edited to add.... and here it is finished up:


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Organized for hand work - your favorite needle?




How do you organize yourself for "on the go" handwork?  I feel like I've finally got a minimalist system that works for me.  Julie Fukuda has a neat post about this  with an idea for a chatelaine.  I always admired her little sewing tin (to my mind, very wabi sabi) and have since tried using similar containers, but for actual "on the go" I tend to always come back to this little indigo pouch I purchased in Japan.

This pouch works for me because it sits on my lap or next to me in a chair without falling off, it can squish into my purse easily enough, and it's just a pleasure to use.


Isn't the little cat adorable??  That little touch of sashiko, and the silk striped tail - so cute.

I love the cheery red interior, and I just keep a few pins and needles tucked there.  The key for me is just a few, so that I can account for them.  It's very anxiety provoking to lose a pin or needle during a church meeting or in a waiting room!


Plus... thread, small scissors, thimble, and a few batches of patches (well now that has a nice ring to it).



What needle do you prefer for hand piecing??  I like these Richard Hemming & Son Large Eye Sharps size 9 and have used them for years for hand quilting too.  However..... I have ordered some other needles to try, and find I really like this John James GoldnGlide Quilting Size 9 as well.  It really does glide through for hand quilting and piecing.  It feels a little too small in my hand though.



I also ordered these John James Sharps and will have to try them, but they are longer than the Richard Hemming Sharps.  There is so much variety across brands.


I'd love to know your opinions.  I have a couple of glass vials of Roxanne quilting needles as well, which seem teeny tiny.  What do you use, for hand piecing and for hand quilting??


Not having a portable sashiko project at the moment, I've decided to make a bunch of these nine-patch diamond units, pieced with yellow diamonds at each narrow end.  Five diamonds can be combined, and so on.  The yellow pieces will form stars, surrounded by indigo, and further ringed by scraps of red/pink, green, light blue, etc.  We'll see how this evolves.  It's FUN to have some hand piecing to carry around.


And, for hand quilting at home, I have finally basted my Sashiko Sampler:



Crazy how hard it is to accurately show the indigo blue!  Perhaps when I upgrade my iphone I will do better. 

Turn my head for one minute and Dandelion steps in... 


I will miss him (sort of;) when Noelle takes him back to Boston next month. 



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Steps to the Altar, step by step

I'm hitting my stride with these fun Steps to the Altar blocks.



More on this block here

Here's how I am assembling the blocks.  I know, not the most efficient, but works for me!


Cutting:

"Steps" fabric:  2" squares - cut 9
"Altar" fabric: 3 1/2" squares - cut 2

Background fabric:
2" squares - cut 9
6 1/2" x 3 1/2" rectangles - cut 2
3 1/2" square - cut 1
3 1/2" x 2" rectangles - cut 3



To assemble a block: 
1.  Layer one "Altar" square with one 3 1/2" background square.  Sew and flip:



2.  Sew the 2" background squares to the 2" "Steps" squares:



3.  From the units made in step 2, make three four-patches: 



4.  Make three of these units:




5.  Using one of the unit made in step 4, layer with a 6 1/2" x 3 1/2" background piece, sew and flip: 






6.  Make another unit like in step 5, but be careful that the "steps" square is oriented in the opposite corner. 




7.  Using the last unit made in step 4, plus the second "Altar" fabric square, sew and flip to make this unit:  


6.  Assemble your pieces!












Old Molly enjoying a cozy nap as I slowly add blocks to the wall...