Saturday, January 27, 2018

Wyoming Whimsy

This week, it's a finish for the Wyoming quilt. Yay!!

I didn't realize the camera was slightly tilted--which makes the top of the quilt look a bit wider than the bottom. Be assured it's perfectly square. (I'll take a better shot of it for the Etsy shop.)

Here are a couple of zoomed-in views.

This quilt is based on a photo taken by my daughter-in-law, Shannon, at String Lake in Wyoming last year. Here's the original...

...and here's the saturated version I used for color inspiration. The colors I put in the quilt are a little over-the-top for me, almost fantasy-like; hence the quilt title, Wyoming Whimsy:

Many thanks to Shannon. I had been floundering for landscape quilt inspiration at the time, and was thrilled to get her permission to use the photo.

While pressing the binding toward the edges (before hand-sewing the back), I used these finger/thumb protectors for the first time. I've never burned my fingers doing this task, but have come pretty close a couple of times, so was glad to have found this product in Nancy's Notions catalog.

And speaking of Nancy's case anyone hasn't heard yet, we lost Nancy Zieman--master seamstress, quilter and teacher, and longtime TV host of PBS's Sewing With Nancy--to cancer on November 14, 2017.

She will be missed not only by her family and friends, but by hordes of people who never even met her--including me. You see, my introduction to landscape quilting came through Nancy's show one memorable October day in 2009. And I've relied on her garment-sewing expertise for decades. What a teacher, and what a lady. Thank you, Nancy.

Enjoy your weekend!


Friday, January 19, 2018

Getting Back on Track

It seems almost anti-climactic to say my main machine is back, following a stay in the repair shop that lasted from August 9 until almost Christmas. By that time there wasn't much opportunity to quilt, with all the holiday prep and celebration going on and the sea of wrapping paper and Christmas storage boxes covering every surface in the studio.

Then on New Year's Eve the flu came to stay for about 10 days. But this past week, work has resumed at last. Yay!!

One quilt did get made on my vintage Singer during fall season, but was waiting for a finishing touch. As soon as the big machine came back I sewed one of its decorative stitches, a tiny evergreen tree, in the middle of each block, and the quilt was ready in time for Christmas.

Then, during the week between Christmas and New Year, before the flu struck, the Wyoming landscape, previously pieced and waiting for the machine's return, was quilted. (These landscapes are too big and too stiff to quilt on a regular-size machine, so this one had sat waiting for a couple of months.)

Next time I post, this will have been bordered, steam-blocked and other words, DONE!!! My first finished landscape quilt in 5 months.

Feels so good to say that. Landscape quilting is my passion, and I haven't felt like myself for some time now, with this forced hiatus. The one saving grace--and thank goodness for it--was that my interest in knitting has revived, big-time. But it feels great to be getting my quilting bearings again. There are some other pieced projects that were also waiting for the machine, so time to get moving on those, too.

Have a great weekend!


Monday, November 20, 2017


....and waiting, still. As of today it has been 3 months and 11 days since my sewing machine went into the shop.

Long story short, I'm told that the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 8900QCP is the only one of Janome's models in which the LCD light is tied into the mother board. When one goes, so does the other. The light, which was my issue, is an inexpensive part. The mother board, however is far from inexpensive. And apparently there are enough Janome 8900 owners having this issue (found two other people with the same complaint in my Janome 8900 Yahoo group, which is fairly small) that the factory has the mother board on backorder until the end of this month.

Since projects are piling up, I decided not to add any more to the pile except this one, pieced from the October Quilty Box selection, curated by Leah Day.

Leah has been my go-to for free motion quilting tutorials for years now, and I really like the batiks that she designed for this project. Here's the tutorial for this quilt.

So the top is finished, but the quilting, which will be free motion outline quilting, is waiting for the machine. (Refer to the previous post to see why I'm rolling my eyes at the use of that phrase.)

I also made the quickie project included in the Quilty Box, the Tutu Notions Holder and Pincushion, which only required a small piece of fabric and a canning jar, lid and screw band to complete.

Haven't decided what threads, etc. to put in it yet.

What has really changed in the last two months, while waiting for the machine, is that I've become obsessed with knitting again. After sewing the buttons on a long-finished sweater for granddaughter Lucy...

...I've started a sweater for her from Alice Starmore's book, The Children's Collection, from a pattern called "Secret Garden." The book's photos of the sweater, which is made from a different color yarn than that pictured at the link, had me practically drooling. I'm knitting a size well in advance of Lucy's age so I can take my time and break away when needed, for landscape quilting...that is, if my machine ever comes back!

Have a great week and, if you're in the U.S., a happy Thanksgiving. 


Friday, October 6, 2017

Fill-in Follies

As of four days ago, my main sewing machine, the big one, has been in the shop for service for two months (hence the long silence on my blog). I can piece bed quilts--though not landscapes--on my vintage Singer. But no way can I quilt on it. My shoulders and neck have already signed, sealed and delivered that decree.

So, what do you do when you're a quilter and you can't quilt?

You design and piece like crazy. And because you're feeling a little crazy, or at least frustrated, some of your fill-in projects may go off the rails a little bit. (That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.)

1. Decided we needed a new Christmas quilt for the couch this year, and that I was not going to buy any new fabric for it.

Click on photos to enlarge. Enlarging is not going to improve this one, though.
Hindsight tells me this was perhaps less than wise.

Regardless, it's now sandwiched and waiting for the machine. (Warning: You're going to see that phrase again.)

At this point I could sign off and title this post "seeing red," both for the over-saturation of red in the quilt blocks and for the irritation of being without my machine. But no. There were more misadventures to come.

2. Came up with the bright idea of mixing and matching (?) squares and strips from the fat quarters in a recent Quilty Box selection--completely ignoring the fact that some of the combinations would be so tonally similar they'd barely be noticeable in a finished quilt...and that the ones made with remnants (the stripey ones) would look like flags from unheard-of countries.

It looked somewhat better after adding some horizontal sashing (vertical would have made it too wide). Maybe a crib quilt?

Anyway, now it's sandwiched, and--you guess it--waiting for the machine.

3. Decided I'd gotten in enough trouble in the studio, so would head for the basement and paint some fabric for landscape quilts. I had done that once, and got a couple of decent pieces out of the lot I painted that day.

This time, not so much.

I would love to be able to say that my 2-year-old granddaughter painted these. The truth is, she could have done a better job.

Except maybe for this one--originally it was so bad that I scrunched it up and dried it in a wad, ending up with a far-better looking piece than what I'd started with. I like it, but don't ask me how I'd use it.

(Excuse the striips hanging behind and beside it. Piecing them for yet another desperation project, a scrappy bed quilt.)

In the meantime, my daughter-in-law visited her family in Wyoming and came back, bless her, with this beautiful shot she'd taken at String Lake. So....

4. Decided this would be the inspiration for my next landscape, but that instead of using all realistic fabrics, I would use some of the batiks that were piling up on the shelf.

Not saying that was a bad idea. Just a bit different for me.

It progressed pretty quickly, from tracing to pattern-making to fusing to piecing to embellishing...

...but not to basting. And why? All together now: Because it's waiting for the machine. :-/

We'll (eventually) see how this turns out with some thread embellishment and free motion quilting. Again, it's not my usual style of landscape, but I had a lot of fun piecing it. Thank you, Shannon.

Hoping next time to have some quilting to show.

Have a great weekend!