Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Busy times

 Time has flown since I last blogged. It has been a gorgeous fall: the colors have been just amazing and the weather was kind enough to last through the first half of November.   Never has that happened in my experience. To be above 30s and 40s was a bonus and I loved leaving the warm outer clothing in the closet. 

I have continued to sew a little every day. 

I have finished my 100 blocks in 100 days by angie at gnomeangel.

Here are 2 of the 8  inch blocks from the end of the sequence.

Here are an assortment of the 4 by 8 inch blocks.

And this is a pile of various blocks: half are 8 inches square and half are 4 by 8 inches.

I have purchased a light blue solid to sash it.  

I have also knitted another scarf which needs to be blocked: It is a bright fun self striping sock yarn. And I learned how to make the holes for lace work.  

I have finished my wool applique center of a small quilt: 

And I continue to keep working on my ocean waves quilt: 
23 blocks made of the 64 I need. I love how it is looking. 
Currently I am waiting for a new iron to press my seams. My Rowenta finally gave out completely and my travel iron, just doesn't pack the punch to press it well. I have ordered a new CHI iron and am awaiting its arrival. 

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Time flies

 Well, I was quilting a bit and have started my Ocean Waves for our quilt show next March as the theme is triangles.  Using my accumulation of Kim Diehl fabrics, I started making lots of triangles using preprinted papers. And I have well over 10 of the centers of the block completed.  

I love arranging the colors into rows. And then the piecing starts.  And I really want my corners to match.  So I need to use my seam ripper off and on.  Over all, the colors look amazing.  This will be a long term project.

But I did get a new tv stand which has storage underneath and my extra large ironing board on top.  Two needed things in one!!

I had a quilt retreat a month ago.  I remember wearing a sweatshirt to bed it was so cold as we were staying in a college dorm.  I am so glad to be done with that faze after seeing the rooms.  The sewing area was great and I was very productive. And here are some great tops that have made great progress:

The first is that my 25 blocks of  Blockheads #4 are put together with sashing and setting blocks.  And I have now purchased border fabrics.  But it will take a while to finish as I plan to do some applique.

This 2nd one is a small quilt I think each triangle is 3/4 inch.  I really like how it has turned out.  It is even layered and pinned and ready to quilt. 

My phone and computer and not cooperating.  I would love to show more photos, but hope tomorrow is better. 

Sorry for the delay in blogging. It isn't that I haven't been sewing.  I have more to show and tell. 


Thursday, October 20, 2022

Gremlins, Goblins and Ghouls

Halloween is almost upon us.  And it is time to see all kinds of ghastly quilting delights. What Fun!

Many thanks to Joan for hosting and organizing this fun blog hop!  

Here in Wisconsin, the season of weather is arriving for fall. The trees are just fantastic: 

Whether just down the block or out for a country drive: it is totally gorgeous. 
And while we even had snow on Monday, it is amazing that the leaves have not just dropped from the trees as last year we had a rain that just stripped the trees. but this year we really are having  longer to appreciate their beauty.

And on the drive, we saw the funniest Halloween display: a whole tent of skeletons listening to a band and playing bingo.  Very creative.  On the other side of the driveway were many animal skeletons going over the rainbow bridge. 

But this is about our Halloween quilting: mine are rather cute and not too gruesome at all.

This one is more of a nostalgic appearance with creative borders.  A nice wall hanging.

Close up of quilting:

These are just table toppers from Halloween fabrics and a Terry Atkinson simple pattern from a charm pack.  I just separated the pieced squares into 9 patches with lattice.

And the one that has taken several attempts  at is:

It has gone in and out of the WIP box a few times.  But I am determined to get it done for Halloween this year. I have a cat to make for beside the pumpkins and a spider for the bottom row beside the candy pieces. The cute witch at the top and her green frog need eyes as well as some "Trick or Treat" lettering.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Gadgets galore!

Thanks to Carol for organizing all our Gadget appeal and for including me in the mix. 

 What quilter does not have and assortment of thingamabobs to help us in quilting. Such rulers, pointers, turners, and more to make our lives easier as a quilter.  

I have drawers full of things, some from when I first started sewing back 45/50 years ago.  I took the required home economics in middle school, but selected a class my senior year. I had already sewn my first dress with arm and neck facings as well as a zipper when I was 10. So I was well familiar with the sewing machine. However, it introduced me into tailoring where I made my first wool suit. 

And over many decades I have transitioned through sewing for my kids especially smocking dresses for my daughter. And I made baby quilts and accessories.  That blossomed into quilting where I continue to new and varied techniques each requiring new gadgets. 

Some needed gadgets are expensive like a good set of Gingher scissors. The large one I have had for decades. The smaller one is awesome and has serrated edges and perfectly cuts fine lines and inside points.

Some gadgets are very inexpensive like freezer paper and other dollar store items for storage.

But my favorite gadgets are 

1) my wool pressing mat.  I only have a 12 square as when they first came out they were pricey. But I pin  a layer of  muslin to protect it from various stiffening sprays which then can be removed, washed and repinned. ( I left the stains on it so you could see them, but then changed it. ) 

I really find this helps my seams to be flatter and less misshapen. Although I do use a spray stiffener. I am not partial to any one brand, but do love the misting spray bottle. 

2) my seam rippers and I have many for those times where mistakes happen.

These are inexpensive ( TJ Max) facial hair trimmers. Really!

(Sorry, my attempt at a video failed.  You open the seam and push it on the threads.  It cuts it without hurting the fabric.  I have also seen it pushed in between the 2 pieces of fabric to cut all the threads.  this is similar to a seam ripper with a ball on one of the points. 

I also love my normal Clover ones.  I keep misplacing them. 

3) frixion pens.  I just love these to mark fabrics. They have a wonderful fine line and come in a variety of colors. And they erase when ironed. Yeah!   I like the ones with the lids not the clicker ones. They are only about 3 dollars or such. 

4) Lastly my clear rulers. I use these at the ready to mark my diagonal lines for half square triangles. But additionally It is at my side to measure small fabric lengths and check seam allowances. These are usually next to my machine, unless they have wandered to another location. 


5) Another notion I can not due without is my magnetic pin bowl. They were all the rage and beautifully painted.  But I purchased mine at Harbor Freight for a fraction of the cost.  This is so good to keep pins where they should be.  I find it so easy to drop the pin in the vicinity and it just goes there. It will attract pins, stick to your ironing board, and not spill when it is dropped.  

6)  An unusual notion is some pipe cleaners or chenille stems.  I really like these to help clean my sewing machine.  The fuzziness attracts the lint and holds it.  The wire in the middle is great for poking in cracks. 


7) Lastly, I love, love, love my thread cutter for chain piecing.  It was given as a gift as I would not have bought it for myself. And now, I can't sew without it. There are many brands and I think they all use a rotary blade you can spin or replace if it gets dull. My tiny screw driver is on the  bottom. 


Hope you learned something from the list and the photos.  Gadgets are ever evolving and we all want short cuts. 

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Not quilting

 I think the title is misleading, but.......I have been knitting.

  I purchased the wonderful pattern and yarn several summers ago in Canada when I visited mom.  It was in one of my all time favorite shops which I have visited for decades.  This funny little shop with old wooden floors  has 2 sides: one for bulk items in barrels and the 2nd side has books and knitting.  

I always find fabulous books there. As I teenager and then young mother it was craft books: felt or floss or whatever.  Now, it is to find interesting books for my grandsons.  

But this trip I saw this awesome scarf on the back wall and surrounding it was the pattern and color variations of yarn.  I chose the blue/purple shaded one. Although, I really like the one on the cover now.


In progress at my station to be away from my husband who tested positive for Covid a 2nd time.

Up close of the colors which doesn't show the sheen of the metallics.

Tres finit!  Or great finish in English.  No fringe, as I didn't quite follow the pattern correctly. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Great Wisconsin Quilt Show!

 The new fall season has 2 wonderful kick offs for me.

First, my husband and I have for the last 10 years taken a long weekend to Sister Bay in Door County.  It is always Marina Fest as well. We love, love, love, the wonderful Marina and walking up and down the different docks, watching the boats, the sunsets and this year mostly the choppy waves.  But it is so nice to get away just the two of us away from home. The weather was cool this year, so unlike the normal summer vibes.


                                                        The Packer Gnome and me

But the 2nd event is themost wonderful quit show here in Madison, Wisconsin only an hour away.   This is the first in 3 years following Covid.  This year, there was a new name and Nancy Zieman's company no longer runs it.  But it is quilts, and fabric and speakers much. 

I should have known it would be crowded when it took me 45 minutes from the ramp on the highway to get to the Alliant Energy Center . I could have walked there in 10 minutes or less.  Hmmm. staffing issues caused lots of the delays. 

But it did not dampen my spirits.  So much to see, so much to explore.  

Of course, I bought things.  ( I had already purchased the panel and pattern from Primitive Gatherings the previous week.)  And I am so excited to get a wooden walnut clapper at a terrific price. But I did not go overboard and refrained from purchasing too much as I need to finish the projects I already have. 

But the show quilts blew me away.  Truly.  Design, color, technique, miniscule quilting. Each quilt more gorgeous than the next.  There were 10 categories. 

There were entrants from across the United States from Florida to California, from all over the Midwest, of course, but so many states farther away: Nevada, Missouri.  This is in Wisconsin ; can you believe it?   And famous quilters:  Holis Chatelain, Karen Kay Buckley, Barbara Clem and Gail Stepanek to name a few. So here are some inspirational quilts. 

So there were Covid quilts:, of course, which I had to include. There were so fitting for the show.

But here were the show stoppers from the wonderful talents these national quilt winners:

Gail Stepanek and Jan Hutchinson


Best of Show

Barbara Clem:   beautiful applique and embroidery

Holis Chatelain:  so real and all in blues. 

This was a small quilt and the threadwork is what made it colorful.

Karen Kay Buckley

It was just so wonderful to see such great works with incredible workmanship.
And that was only the tip of the iceberg for all the quilts in 10 categories.