Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Cookies are Baked and Decorated!

 Today my daughter and I baked cookies.
We had a great time decorating the cutout cookies.  What better way is there to spend a cold, snowy December day?
We even shared some with the neighbors.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Design Wall

I've made a little progress on my blue green quilt.  But because of this holiday season, I haven't had a lot of time to be creative.  I did do something with this:

And this:
And the fake fruit tree was full of robins one day early last month.  Sadly, when I went outside to take a picture, they all flew away.  And even though I patiently waited, they didn't come back.
But yesterday, the tree was full of little birds, feasting on the fake fruit.  I suspect the robins are gone until spring.
To see what others are doing on their design walls, click here to go to Judy's blog.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blue and Green Monday

The blue and green quilt is back up on my design wall today.  I have sewn together all the center blocks and started piecing bits for the inner border and frames for the appliqué blocks.  But wait!  What is that monstrosity?  The one in the upper right corner?
Oh!  It's the result of Extreme Hubris, Inattention, Arrogance, and Egotistical Pomposity.  This is what happens when a block is designed in EQ7 and the designer of said block doesn't bother to really read the measurements but just goes ahead and starts cutting and sewing stuff together.
This is what it is supposed to look like.

To see what other people have on their design walls today, click here for Judy's blog.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Blizzard 2010!

I had a couple of requests for my snow pictures.
We have been under a blizzard warning for the past 24 hours.

We received only eight or ten inches of snow, but it was preceded by a lot of rain, so the snow really stuck to the branches and is weighing them down.
The stupid fake fruit tree is really beautiful with all that snow.
The only sport is clearing the driveway.
Rosie loves this weather.
After the sky clears, it's beautiful.  But really cold.  Brrrrrr...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Moons, Spots, and Polka Dots

I was at a meeting last month that involved some show and tell.  A piece was shown that had the most wonderful fabric with what looked like little moons on it.  I just had to know how she did it and, like most dyers,  she was kind enough to share her technique with me.
So I took some hand-dyes that lacked oomph and folded them up.
I got out the little clamps that I purchased when I started hand-dyeing (but never used).  They have little squares and rectangles where they clamp, not circles, so I raided my parking meter change for quarters.  Then I poured black dye over them.

And I got these cool pieces.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Been Too Busy

to be a good blogger.  With the end of the year holidays and all the responsibility that comes with them -- I have been rather neglectful of this blog.
First of all -- this is a postcard I received in the mail from my friend Beth, who blogs here.

So cute -- a crocodile!  Look at the teeth!

Also, I received this a while ago and didn't post about it.  Beth and I exchanged ATCs (the whole sordid story is here) and I neglected to share.  Look at the lovely stitching on the envelope it came in.

Finally, I am a winner!  I won this wonderful batik FQ pack at my local quilt store, Stitcher's Crossing, during their 30th anniversary celebration drawing.  I love these colors!

Next: some dyeing stuff...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Monday Aftermath

This is my design wall today.  The frog quilt is still up there because I haven't gotten around to sewing together the backing pieces.

I don't know why, but it seems much harder to piece the backing than it does to piece any kind of block.

I didn't participate in Design Wall Monday last week because my wall was the same as the week before and I didn't think we needed more shots of the frog-quilt-in-progress.  But this week, a couple of blocks have joined the frog quilt top.  They are from my First Thursday Piecers Group (from now on referred to as "2011 BOM Group").

We are using this book. Because of another engagement, I skipped the meeting when it was decided.  It seems to be a pretty good book -- some of the blocks are easy and some more challenging.  Because the people in this group run the gamut from beginners to advanced, I think it's a good choice.   I like that this book contains a number of different layouts and instructions.

So I couldn't wait until next year (or until I finished this year's) and started a couple of blocks.  I'm still playing around with the background on the bottom two.

To see other design walls, click here to go to Judy's blog.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Finished Some Baby Quilts

Before one of the babies is walking!
My daughter donated the poodle from her personal collection when she saw the dolly quilt.
This was a Valori Wells pattern and fabrics that were purchased for me to make for my favorite nephew's new daughter a couple of years ago.  I made the top and got busy so I set it aside.
Then, the little girl got a new brother.  Yikes!  So I got busy and finished this for her.
I made this for her new little brother (who is not walking yet, thank you very much).

I made this dolly quilt out of the scraps from the little girl quilt.
And because I know that Beth will ask, here are the backs of the quilts.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Finally Did Some Dyeing

For one reason or another this summer, I did very little dyeing.  It's one of those things that really fills some kind of need for me.  And I finally got to fulfill it.

These are gradations I did in an attempt to get lime green and I got some really neat colors.
This was lemon yellow to sky blue.  This creates a really nice lime green.    I skipped the plain yellow and blue and went right for the blended colors.  The piece on the far left in this photo is not really part of the gradation, but I like the way it looks with the other greens.
This was golden yellow to sky blue.  I like this -- it's not really lime green -- more of teal and aqua.
And these light colors are from diluting the droplets that cling to the sides of the mixing containers after I pour out the dye.  They are actually much lighter than they look on my monitor.
I also bought some scarf blanks in various silks and silk/rayon blend to test.  This is a silk/rayon blend velvet.
This is a silk/rayon blend cut velvet.  I love that the leaves are so much brighter.  I used fuchsia and a couple of different yellows for the scarves.

Monday, November 22, 2010

March BJP is Finished

"Lion and Lamb"
4.5" x 4"

This is my Bead Journal Project for March.  Yeah, I know it's a tiny bit late...

I took strips of fake fur and glued them to a piece of Peltex cut into a shoe shape, then attached the beads for a claw and a hoof.  I added some beads in the furry parts for random sparkle.  If you click on the picture, you can see them a bit better.  They do kind of disappear into the fur.

I have started April -- it's a different shoe.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Some 'Splainin'

Or:  Here's where I croak out a mea culpa (sorry, I just couldn't resist).

It has come to my attention that my previous post was unclear.  I am currently blaming blogger because  it took forever for my pictures to load.  So long, that I almost gave up and deleted the whole thing.
But I didn't.  So now I have to explain myself.  The reason I didn't want to stitch the batting to the frog was mainly because I didn't want to have to cut away the excess.  I also didn't want that extra stitching around the edge because I had already stitched down the edges with this fancy stitch.
Here is a closer view -- I left the pictures large, so you can click on them for a closer view.  I didn't want to use the fancy stitch on the batting because I'm afraid that the needle or thread would have pulled the batting up onto the front.  And since I will be stitching around the frogs when I do the quilting, I didn't want too many lines of stitching around them.

One way to eliminate the excess stitching is to use water soluble thread, but that adds the step of rinsing and I didn't want to have to do that.
I finished all the frogs -- here is a picture of the whole quilt top on my design wall -- now it's ready to be layered and quilted.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Frogs, Stitches, and Trapunto

Today my design wall is on the machine.

I stitched around all the fused frogs, then decided to do a little trapunto with the threadwork.  Normally, when one does trapunto, a piece of batting is placed behind the shape and stitched around.  Then the excess batting has to be oh-so-carefully trimmed away.  And sad is the snipper who snips too close and cuts a hole in the quilt while removing the excess.

There has to be a better way.  Especially with these small frogs and their tiny appendages.  So I tried ironing my freezer paper shape to the batting -- I'm using wool for these --and then cutting it out.  This worked fine until I tried to remove my stencil from the batting -- it didn't want to let go.

So I settled for just cutting out a rough shape.  I sprayed the back of the frog/quilt lightly with temporary adhesive; then, using the stitches around the shape as a guide, I placed my piece of batting on the back of the frog.

From the front, I did my thread sketching, but I did not stitch around the edge of the frog.  I stitched only the parts that would give my frog depth.  I used a couple of different colors of thread and my freemotion foot.  I was careful to feel the batting underneath with my hand to make sure it stayed in place as I stitched.

Here is a view of the backside -- with no trimming necessary.

Flush with my success, I tried another.

I like this method a lot -- the only tricky thing is to make sure that the batting doesn't get pushed aside when doing the thread work.  I ironed the batting before I cut out the shapes -- the flatter it was, the easier it was to cut into the shapes.  Next, I'll finish the other three frogs, then layer and quilt as usual.  I will stitch around the edges of the frogs then and there won't be any threads to try to stitch on top of or to remove.

To see what other people are doing today on their design walls, click here to go to Judy's blog.