Sunday, May 20, 2018

7 Years Blogging ... and WOW look what I am quilting this week!

Image result for busy busy busyI want this to be a spectacular 7th anniversary celebration and giveaway for all of you that read my blog each week :)  I have a stack of goodies for a giveaway planned for this week... then life stepped in and my week got uber busy!  

An unplanned trip to Asheville and some unexpected other stuff... well we will do the official celebration next weekend if y'all don't mind!!!

I have made significant stitching progress this week between all the busyness though!!!  It really helps me manage stress QUITE effectively I find :D 

So I have been getting up early and stitching in the mornings each day. I am linking this progress with other slow stitchers of all kinds at Kathy's Quilts Linky Party HERE!  Come check out what all the slow stitching gang are up to and add your link if you blog about slow stitching of ANY kind!  We have cross stitchers, knitters, all kinds of hand stitching goes on and sooo much inspiration to be had from all over the globe too!  As for me... I am a recent transplant to a small town in far southwestern North Carolina USA :D  I LOVE LOVE LOVE living here!
As does my honey of 7 plus years and our pup Daisy Mae of almost 7 years :D  Here she is above enjoying the sunshine on our driveway !

Here is where my week started with this quilt last Sunday... laying out stencils... gathering a marking pen I could see on my fabrics that would also work with the stencils and making my plan ....
 After doing the marking and picking out some threads... a mix of big stitch and regular stitches... I was ready to begin!!!
 Don't forget the proper lighting and a good rolling chair if you use a frame... much more ergonomic and effective to get in those strange positions to make even stitches if you have a rolling chair instead of a stationary one...
 Soon I had the first stitches in and spritzed away the blue marking lines to show off this wonderful texture!!!
 Then I remembered this Needle Keeper I had purchased and hadn't even unwrapped yet so out it came to join my other one on the frame... it stands up off the quilt top enough to hold my hemostats that double as a needle puller when I get too many stitches on the needle or get in a tight spot and need the extra umph to get that needle through thick seams or something... invaluable tool!
Another basic and invaluable tool I use besides a regular thimble (took me AGES to learn to wear one but my fingers and finger nails love me for it! lol) is making a fashioned thimble from white electrical tape from a hardware store!  
Black gums up and leaves residue... they come in lots of colors too ... I have found white leaves NO residue and no gumming up either!  So I make a thimble for my thumb from that and it HELPS SOOOO MUCH!!!
 If you are interested in a tutorial on how I make my thumble ... just leave me a comment and I can add that to next weeks post ;)

Here is a look from the halfway point back to the beginning mid week....
 And here is a look when I was working on the end of the row....
Excuse my wet spot on the burgandy cornerstone.. I had just spritzed off my marks and wasn't patient enough to let it dry before snagging this shot for you all... I was ready to roll!!! lol

I rolled on Friday I think.... marking only about 1/6 of the quilt where I planned to quilt at a time as it is humid out and we keep our windows open a LOT here... the weather is GLORIOUS!!!  But that can make all those marks disappear as humidity is a water like thing.  So be careful if you are in a rainy spot of the world and use the spritz away marking pens.  Mark only what you think you will get to in 2 or 3 days is my recommendation. 

So finally rolled soo I was looking at this this morning!!!
 But when I looked closely at this part here... where the burgandy corner meets the sashing... I knew this wavering edge was NOT what I wanted in this quilt forever...
So I went to my threads I had pulled for this quilt from my thread stash and decided on a big stitch outer line to stabilize AND be a design element on the quilt!
 What do you think??? 

I could have stitched in the ditch with a regular hand quilting weight thread too... but I decided this was just what this quilt needed to me :D  Hope my honey likes this design decision when he wakes... otherwise I will take out this bit and stitch in the ditch for stabilization in an invisible way once washed.... I have done the ditch stitching on the black thin border using black thread on either side of that black line and it disappears when you look at it.

Next up is a setting triangle motif and swirls and hearts in this cool YLI blue variegated thread! My bestie Connie sent me the stencils from her collection above and below as well as the wavy lines in the outermost border ... the rest are from my own stencil stash I have grown over my quilting career!
So if you are new to hand quilting... think about your quilting friends and see if any are willing to "share" their stash with you ... likewise think if you would be willing to share  your stash with them!!!  Returning stencils when you are done is very important too!!  Stencils can be readily bought at some LQS's and online at Quilting Stencils International and also The Stencil Company... I like the layout of The Stencil Company best and prices at both are similar.  I had picked out the same stencils that I borrowed from Connie actually... we both found that quite funny that what I picked out for wanting on this quilt she had in her stash already!!!

I mentioned earlier that we had to go to Asheville unexpectedly this week... Rick needed to visit the VA after he had called them about something so to Asheville we went on short notice... so I grabbed a project I have had lurking in the background but haven't worked on in ages!!!
 This is a little wall hanging... not sure of it's measurements but less than 24" square I would bet... I had layered it with wool batting it looks like and a backing of leftover plaid fabric from my stash... you can see even though it is dark fabri it doesn't darken the light grey background on the center part though... or dull the yellow of the outer border :D  Experiment with fabrics you have in your stash for backings... you never know what will work for a project til you experiment!
Here it is just popped out of my 17" frame as whilst in Asheville waiting I finished outlining the flowers and now need to outline the flower centers and the center star with black variegated thread. then mark and quilt the inner border and outer border after that !  A few more trips to Asheville and I will have this one done... how exciting to make progress on this slow stitching project... thus far I have just stitched with grey thread around the center flowers as I mentioned above so nothing to show a close up of... I have left it out of the hoop to relax from living in the hoop for a year or more already! YIKES ... NOT ideal at all!!!

Lucky for me this is wool batting that wants to be puffy and not retain a crease from the hoop I use... my hoop is a heavy plastic hoop that is 17" across... I LOVE IT... you can purchase one like it affordably at Joann's online if you are interested... it is large but when I use it I just turn it and work on one side at a time :D

My bloggy friend Karen wanted me to share photos of a project I am languishing on... my wholecloth!

So here are a couple shots of that project... I am on the second photo working my way from right to left filling in the dark green leaves when inspiration for this project I had worked on a lot until then left me... I got busy piecing and prepping for the quilt I shared at the beginning of this post "Hanover Stars" and quit hand quilting all together for a bit.

While it was nice to give my hands a rest... they are eager and happy to be back to hand quilting... Hand quilting is therapeutic in a way I can't explain for me... I LOVE IT more than any other hand craft I have done before... I listen to music or watch learning videos on youtube or Craftsy... I splurged and got Craftsy Unlimited 2 months ago right after moving in here and LOVE LOVE LOVE all I can learn whilst stitching away ... sometimes I do more watching... sometimes I have to rewind as I have gotten caught up in my stitching progress! lol  It is all good because you can rewatch all you want and LEARN soo many cool things... if you are interested in giving Craftsy Unlimited a try go to my friend Karen's blog here and click on her Craftsy link and then click on Craftsy Unlimited... I think they may have a free trial but I can't see any of those things right now... TOTALLY WORTH the monthly or yearly fee though!

In closing... the first photo I shared of the rose comes from this bush...
 Which is right outside my bedroom window....
 My honey brought that bud into me in a little glass with water to keep it thriving next to my frame as I quilt :D

Then out the kitchen window we watch these flowers as they take root and are starting to bloom again from being planted a couple weekends ago....
 And here is a collage of mother nature's symphony of beauty all around our little acre and a half....
That center shot shows an ancient weeping willow that stands just north of our garden and fruit trees... it is said a bald eagle comes and watches for fish to swim close to the top in our pond so he can swoop down for a feast of fish... but we haven't seen him yet ourselves.

We have about 50 strawberry plants about ready to start bringing us mature strawberries, we have grape vines with baby grapes, more rose bushes, peach and apple trees, and blueberry bushes in abundance... so exciting to take ride abouts and walk abouts on our land and see the abundance of goodness we will soon be enjoying by hand!!!

OOOh... another thing I learned from a Craftsy Unlimited class by Debbie Caffrey (Cut to It - Designs for Smarter Cutting) and designed myself from that instruction and encouragement were these pillow sham fronts....
I plan to machine quilt them from a walking foot class by Jacquie Gering I also watched on Craftsy Unlimited this weekend!  We will see when and how that turns out :D

Have a blessed weekend and see ya next weekend for a very fun giveaway I have planned... I will have a shorter post I hope then too! lol  For now please remember to always ...

Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Flimsy Story... with a Happy Ending!

First I would like to wish all you moms, grandmas, and great grands too a Happy Mother's Day!!!
I am excited to join my fellow slow stitchers today at Kathy's Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday HERE... if you do ANY hand work at all come on over there and get inspired at her LINKY PARTY!

I have a Flimsy Story to share and it has such a happy ending I can't wait to get there!!! lol

Once upon a time there was a bunch of beautiful fabrics and a pattern all cut out and ready to sew!
Slowly and surely with the help of Gloria my vintage Singer 301a I sewed a few of the pieced together... 
And got one red and one blue background star... then I got sew excited a made 59 more!!!
And my new design wall was FULL!!!  Now time to sash them all together in diagonal rows to make a proper center...
Then add some fabrics for borders...
Don't forget to miter a few times too!!!
And some finesse of leftover bits for the outer border...
And before you know it there is a flimsy!!!

Hanover Stars is born into a quilt top that is 104" square... since it isn't yet loaded on my hand quilting frame it is a flimsy... but here is where the happy ending starts coming into play!

Add a wide backing fabric I just love with the era of this quilt...
 Add a bit more batting when the front runs a bit short :o
 Whip stitch it on with love and care!!

And a quilt is ready for hand quilting!!!!
I will share better photos of my view next Sunday... but for now know that this is where you will find me in our new home finally back to hand quilting at my Hinterberg frame!!!  A different chair (repurposed to my spot) and a new table ... occasionally a glass of wine for relaxation and clarification... and I am ready to go!!!

Hope you liked that happy ending! I surely did :D

Meanwhile my honey has been getting his man cave up and running and organized too!
He straightened out the garage so we could get both vehicles in it... and built a cool workbench and shelf above... he also has a view of the grist mill from his man cave heaven!!!

Here is a view of the outside a few months ago...about 500 square feet big... he is ecstatic!!! 
Here is a view of our neat and tidy garage... our second vehicle on the left is a golf cart we use all around our property!!! :D
 Here are some flowers we planted below the flag pole this week ....
 And a nice shot of our healthy and growing corkscrew willow in the front yard...
 Out past the pond in the back yard is a garden and we have about 50 strawberry plants left to us by the previous owners!!! WOW 50 plants!!!! 
 They are starting to produce strawberries though and we had a early ripe one this week... soooo sweet and yummy!

Then my honey found me a cool 4 leaf clover in the garden too...
 Wowee!! Do I feel blessed :D

Finally this quote and this quilting inspired me this week.. I find it sew true!!!
Take time to enjoy the beauty that is all around you... and make time to use your hands to make something amazing this week!  Happy Mom's Day and happy Sunday y'all... thanks for visiting!

P. S.  My Blog Anniversary is coming up next weekend...7 years y'all!  Come back next Sunday to see how I am celebrating :)  You won't wan't to miss it!!!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Happy May 2018!!!

Did you celebrate any of early May's special days???  

I celebrated THIS ONE!!!
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I celebrated May the 4th with this view...
Yep!!!  All the blocks are made for Hanover Stars quilt center... Now to get them put together!!! lol

But let's review if you are interested in seeing how I quickly pieced each these 61 blocks :)  As May 2 opened with this view...
Now at block 20 of 20 blue blocks in this round...
I pick out 8 blocks that don't match but coordinate... and add the center block that is the same throughout the quilt...

Then I take the 4 middle blocks on each edge and add corners to them to "snowball them :D
 Star points happening here...
 After cutting off the one side and adding the star point to the opposite side and cutting off the excess I have a star in pieces...
 Then I web the block to hold it together and not get the pieces mixed up as I sew them all together....
 Finally!!!  The last block is complete and set into place after being sliver trimmed to size :D
Next up was to trim down the sashings and cornerstones... I had to coffee stain the sashings to get them dark enough...

The sashings have a story... they started out bright white in fabric color from my stash... I tea stained and tea stained again and dried each time and yet not dark enough to look civil warish like this quilt is.  So finally I got "jiggy" with it and made some very strong coffee and soaked them for about 15 or 20 minutes .. rinsed and dried until completely dry in a hot dryer... now they are finally a color we LOVE <3
 And trimmed as they had been cut in a tea died color that wasn't enough... they were then tea died and coffee stained to get the right color from them... and were stringy! lol
 See how those sashings look now though... they really REALLY coordinate with the quilt.. and from my stash!!! :D
So today I will start piecing the quilt together into a whole center... I have planned borders and we shall see how those work out when I see how big this center works ... we want a quilt that is about 103" square before washing ... I have a wide backing that is 108" and plan to put this on my 109" wide frame to quilt... so all should be GREAT!!!

I am sooo anxious to get to quilting this quilt though... this is a meme I saw on facebook on a friends page.. it is sooo how I feel too!

Meanwhile, we have been working in the garden and planting flowers too!  So far we have tomatoes planted (with cages)... a pot set out for a spearmint plant I got that just needs some rich soil for it to grow in .... we have squash, green beans, watermelon and LOOK what the previous owners left for us to enjoy....
Yes we have about 20 or more strawberry plants... we also have blueberry bushes that may be too young to produce but we have about 15 of those bushes... we have peach trees and apple tree too and some grapes to enjoy ... all is waking and looking like it will be fun to enjoy this year!!!

And where the flowers got planted... will show a pic of all the flowers next week once they have settled in but for now... our flag pole & a close up of our lone plant waiting for friends! lol
Chrysanthymums start... 
So for now I will close as I have gotten some housework that was neglected as I pieced and planted done... now back to piecing and planting!!!  More next Sunday!!!  Hope you have a great Sunday and spend your week preparing for a wonderful upcoming Mother's Day too and remember to...