Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Works in Progress

Half-way. I'm half-way through the Big Rip. It's all down hill from here!
In other news: Bernie Bernina and I have a quilting project going on...
 Excitedly, blocks from the members of my Mid-Century Modern Quilter's Bee have safely arrived...
... and are looking so bright and pretty together. My plan is to continue making pink and orange Juicy Fruit blocks...enough for a twin size quilt. It's a good start!
And I've got a couple of finishes that I'll show more pictures of tomorrow!

A first for me: I'm linking up with Lee and WiP Wednesday. How are you doing with your unfinished projects this new year?
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

365 Photo Challenge: Week 4

The prompts for this week's photos were a bit more challenging, but I had fun coming up with some appropriate subjects. The glimpse of my week includes: twins on a bat-mobile; a furry friend; a sweet treat and a sweet girl; little but mighty cheers; a dog in the wrong place; and a glorious end to a pleasant day. Take a look...

January 22: Equal
 January 23: Snuggle
January 24: Cold
 January 25: Hands
 January 26: Passion
January 27: Dislike
 January 28: Sunset
Are you slowing down to enjoy the little things around you every day? Hope so!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How to Wear Out a Seam Ripper

Frogging; unsewing; ripping out. Whatever you call it, sometimes you just have to 'Do It'!
Everyone needs the right tool to get the job done right. I've got several laying around...
 This one is the prettiest, by far! Isn't it gorgeous? Hand made, and a gift from my good friend, Cindy. I adore it. To be honest though, with it's rounded tip, I use it as a stiletto more often than as a ripper.
 Now this one; this one is my fav! It's made by Fons and Porter: ergonomically correct, sharp point and great cutting edge.  I just bought myself a new one for the Big Rip that I'm in the middle of! I wanted the sharpest tool I could find.
 Before my new one, this was my go-to seam ripper.Same brand, but see those little holes on the handle? Well, a certain dog actually stole it off of a table twice and I found her chewing on it! Scary! Now the metal part has a barb on it, so it's a bit annoying to use.
 "What's the Big Rip?" you ask. Well, here it is....stipple quilting....
 Yep! I'm removing all of the background stippling from my Farmer's Wife quilt. I'm almost halfway finished....Yay! It's slow going, but I just know that it will be worth it in the end.
 Each of the 110 six-inch blocks in this sampler quilt are beautifully and uniquely professionally quilted. Each one is different and I just love them. LOVE THEM!. While I have nothing against stipple quilting, and use it on many of my quilts, it just didn't work for me when paired with all of the custom work on the rest of the quilt. The professional quilter has agreed, graciously, to redo the background with something a little more creative.(Any ideas?) But first: The Big Rip must happen!
 After I'd spent several hours frogging, I learned from another quilting friend, that there was a more efficient way than my 'cut every fourth thread and then turn the quilt over and pull out the loose thread, then turn it back over and pluck out the small loose pieces' way that I was doing it. Here's what she taught me. 
First, slip the ripper under a thread and cut it. Pull out a few stitches...
 Grasp the end of the thread you just pulled out, and give it a tug, revealing the bobbin thread underneath...
 Now, use your seam ripper to cut that exposed bobbin thread...
 Keep pulling on the top thread and cutting the bobbin will be able to pull several stitches out at a time. As the top thread gets longer, I wind it around my fingers. You can see the little trail of hairs threads that are left behind. You will have to go back and remove these, but won't have to turn the quilt over to the back to remove anything.
 To keep my spirits up, I am collecting the ripped out thread in a pretty bowl. I usually set my timer for 30 minutes intervals and try to work when the light is good for these  tired old eyes of mine.
 The quilt looks pretty on my dining room table anyway. I hope this never happens to you, but if it does, now you know how to wear out a seam ripper! (Thanks, Sherri, for setting me straight!)
Oh, and I see that I need a manicure as well! 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

365 Photo Challenge: Week 3

This week I switched my camera to manual focus for the first time and was so pumped that two of the pictures actually turned out well enough to use for my Photo Challenge post! Granted, I'm back to auto focus for most photography, but feeling a little more confident. 
A bit of explanation on my responses to the prompts: among a bunch of impostors the real nut stands out; someone got into the jewelry box and made a mess; Janie loves her 'puter; Lolly loves her skinny vanilla lattes; the juicy fruit blocks are finding their way to my mailbox; phones are for more than just talking these days; and a flock of robins stopped by for drinks. I hope you enjoy.
January 15: Nut
January 16: Jumbled
January 17: A Favorite Toy
January 18: A Doorway
January 19: Bright
January 20: Playing
January 21: Frozen

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Morning

" Ask and it will be given to you;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives;
he who seeks finds;
and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
Matthew 7: 7,8

Friday, January 18, 2013

Holy Sewing Marathon, Batman!

Only because of my serious caffeine addiction, was I able to stick-to-it and finish up the second Batman quilt top this week! To look at them you wouldn't really think that this improvisational style of piecing would take the hours that it does!
Let's just say that I'm a bit done with a grey, yellow and blue color scheme,
 shall we!
 Have I mentioned that I used a quilt in this magazine from 2011 as a jumping off point? (Notice Cindy's selvage pincushions on the front?!)
 The quilt, called Rectangle Blues Quilt, is designed by Alissa Haight Carlton and includes a nice diagram of her block placement. That is the part that I found very helpful in planning out what size to make each block and how to set them all together. Although one of the block measurements was incorrect, it was an easy fix and saved me hours of math, which I'm not too hot at anyway! I ended up adding a 3.5 inch border around the quilt top, both to give the design some "breathing room" as well as stabilize the edges. 
I made one back yesterday and am on my way to Joanne's for more Kona medium grey so that I can piece the second back. I'm hoping to get the quilting done over the weekend.
 The two quilts are twins, but not identical. The one on the right has more "extras" pieced into the frames and background. The background is Kona medium grey. Not having enough of the medium grey for the background of the second quilt, I decided to use several shades of grey to create an ombre look from dark to light. I also tried a little different technique in making the improvisational frames by using scissors to cut the strips rather than my rotary cutter. While making for a little more "wonkiness", the technique also led to a quilt top that doesn't lay quite as flat. Hopefully that problem will "quilt out"!
I'll get back to you on that.
Meanwhile, on with the Sewing Marathon, Batman!
I'm determined to make my end-of-January deadline on these two!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Random Thursday--The Doll Update

Since several of you have asked me how my four grand daughters liked their Christmas dolls and the wardrobes, I thought that I'd do a little update today. First off, I found some fun suitcases to store each dolly's things...
 My oldest grand daughter, Haven, was gifted a "real" American Girl doll. What fun I had surprising her with a trip to the American Girl Store in Kansas City, where she looked at each and every doll before making her selection! After sorting all the clothes that I'd made, these are to ones that Haven got for her doll, which she named Katie Paris (which sounds like Katie Perry, she noted). She got the the largest wardrobe because she will appreciate it more...
 Haven's sister, Maelie, is three. She got a knock-off doll from Target. Turns out, Maelie doesn't really care one bit about dolls.(More on that to follow.) When pressed, she decided to name the doll Apple. Here's the wardrobe that she received...
 Lula probably wants an American Girl doll more than any of the other girls. But, she's four. She got a knock off too, but from Tuesday Morning, and she loved it. She named her doll Ella and here's her wardrobe...
 Haven had picked out Katie the week before and brought her to my house on Christmas day all decked out in a Christmas dress she'd swiped from another doll at home. Here's Haven introducing Katie to Apple. Notice that her little sister is not involved at all. This is how it went.Oh, well.

Haven and Maelie spent a few days with me after Christmas. During that time, Katie probably wore every one of her outfits and Haven saw to it that Apple (Haven wanted to change her name to Rose Red...not sure how that ended up!) was well dressed as well. Lula and Ella came for a visit. The tea parties were incredible, let me just be clear!
Jane, who is two, likes her baby doll well enough, but not like the two older girls. Here's Katie ready for bed in her cozy pajamas as Jane gets ready to go home after a long day of  present opening...
So, all in all, I would call it a success. The younger girls will play with the dolls once in awhile but Haven and Lula have new companions and I'll keep making doll clothes! 

Meanwhile, Molly, the American Girl doll who lives at my house and has been well loved for over 20 years, had to make a trip to the doll hospital after her arm was accidentally amputated. (It probably was a rotator cuff issue...just wore out, you know!)
 We all were very sad and for the next few weeks it was hard for Lula to bear that Molly was not here when she came to visit. Finally, the wonderful day arrived when Molly was released from the hospital and brought home by UPS ambulance.  Here's how she looked the day she came home, complete with her own hospital gown,...
cosy socks and a certificate of good health!
 Molly's limbs are all tightened up and she should be good for another 20 years or so!
 Katie hasn't gotten to meet Molly yet, 
but we are making plans!
I'm linking with Cindy today for some really random posts!