Saturday, May 12, 2018

IN WHICH MY NEW BIRD FLIES
 AND I WORRY ABOUT THE END
 OF NET NEUTRALITY


Many of you will recognize the fourth bird in Helen Godden's series "Feathered Friends".  All the birds in this BOM are Aussie birds.  Pictured above is a blue wren which is a tiny little bird common in Australia.  This is such a great series. 

Helen is a great teacher who is not hide bound with rules-girl after my own heart.  She stresses consistency rather than perfection.  Consistency is pleasing to the eye and quilting is as individual as one's handwriting.  Helen has different classes and books on improving your quilting on her webpage https://helengodden.com/#.  

This block was quilted on my new Tiara II.  There has been no real learning curve to quilting on the new quilter.  The moves are the same as on my old Juki but now I have more room to maneuver, to see what is happening, and keep better control over the quilting. It is also much more comfortable to work on-no more cramped arms and sore back muscles which, at 70, I already have plenty of aches and pains without adding to it. I am a lucky girl to have this in my life.  I have been practicing for about 45 minutes a day as if I were learning to play the piano.

~~~~SOAPBOX~~~~

Net neutrality is defined in the google dictionary as "the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites".  Beginning June 11 in the US, internet providers will create different levels of internet speed and charge accordingly instead of the equality of service that exists now.

What does this mean for bloggers?  What does this mean for small quilt shops who sell on line?  What does it mean for those of us who spend time flipping thru screen of images of fabrics or ideas?  Nothing good, I fear.  

Free platforms provide the means to post blogs.  Will we be forced to pay a monthly charge to blog so we don't stream at the speed of a glacier?

Small quilt shops provide a huge service for quilters.  We see new fabric lines, can search for several hours until we find that one bit of rare fabric, we are presented with creative ideas.  It is a wonderful relationship.  Selling on line gives an economic boost to small quilt shops and provides quilters with good prices, ideas, and hard to find items.  Will small quilt shops be forced to pay more for adequate internet speed?  Either those sites will be frustratingly slow or we will all pay more for goods and services thereby providing internet corps with more revenue.

AND NOW........
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN

(we need lots of these moments if we are to 
keep our sanity)

This beautiful flock of about 2500 white paper origami doves is an art installation by artist Michael Pendry in the nave at the beautiful Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire, England. The doves fly the length of the nave and are reflected in the pool below.   The installation is part of a healing process after the nerve gas attack there in March and offers hope and peace.






This is Salisbury Cathedral as seen from the east.  Construction began in 1220 and  is one of the most wonderful examples of English Gothic architecture.  It lies just 8 miles from that other ancient religious site, Stonehenge.

Happy quilting until we meet again!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.

Monday, April 30, 2018

IN WHICH APPLIQUE PAINTBOX BEGINS 
ITS THIRD YEAR OF BLOGGING


And here is what I have to show on this anniversary.  Progress on Nature's Notebook.  Veining on the leaves and petals, french knots, touches on the goldfinch, and some stems for wheat.  The petals were particularly troublesome.  I began with 60 wt sewing thread as recommended by the designer to detail the petal but I thought it was too coarse looking. I ended up (arggghh!) pulling out this detailing on 2 flowers and replacing it with a blue-gray 100 wt silk thread.  It was worth it.  

Here is helper kitten doing important quality control work.  She thinks her eyes look pretty next to the petals.  I included this photo as the petals are detailed in the 60 wt which you can see looks to heavy. (so hard to capture the correct colors).

May 1 will see the release of the new Aussie painted bird block (Yay!) and the appliqued color block.  2017 was without doubt the worst year of my life and for most the year my design wall was empty.  It is coming to life like the world in spring which makes me start happy dancing.

Three wonderful projects.  The gray and orange fabric is just an idea for developing the color scheme for the Imaginary Garden quilt by Yoko Saito. After the two BOMs, I will resume feathering the Goldfinch and planting the landscaping.

We have, of  course, had lots of Goldfinches at our feeder but my attempts to capture them on film is somewhat lame but you can see the pretty color. I like the texturing in this photo.


Practice has not made perfect yet but I keep working on it.  Here are some practice pieces from Angela Walters Free Motion Challenge Quilt Along on the exquisite new Tiara II.

And the next bit of practice on gridworking. Pinned and ready to stitch baste. It will be 50 and 60 wt for me.


One thing I have discovered is that I like finer wt thread.  I like denser quilting and finer thread has less build up.  I tried some 40 wt glide which worked really well but the look was to heavy for me. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
From our walk on the wild side:
Mossy path thru the spring woods

~~~~~~~~~~~
Lastly....your moment of Zen


The lovely flowered walkway in Hong Kong at the Un Chau Estates

HAPPY QUILTING UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.


Thursday, April 19, 2018

OH! THE JOY OF A NEW QUILTING MACHINE



A sixteen inch throat sit down quilter! She is so pretty and so much fun to use.  I have been quilting on a juki which is a very good quilter but I wanted some elbow room and room to maneuver.  The block I am quilting is my first outing with my Tiara.  This block is the third in the Helen Godden painted birds series "Feathered Friends".  Right now I am experimenting with different size needles to see what works as it is my understanding that long arm quilting machines generally call for heavier needles.  The above was done with a size 16 and I am going to try a 14 next on the more finely detailed quilting.  The 16 needle makes a big hole in the painted fabric.

Free motion quilting practice projects are now in my project list.  First is Angela Walters FMQ Along which has 9 lessons covering basics with great videos.  
https://quilting-is-my-therapy.myshopify.com/collections/free-motion-challenge-quilting-a

Second is this WOW fabric from Hoffman. 

 If you follow Margaret Solomon Gunn on her blog:
http://quiltsoflove.blogspot.com/2018/03/bitten, you will see what she has done this this panel.  You should look-it is pretty awesome! She outlines each petal and  quilts a different motif in each.   I have 2 of her books.   "Dense and Dainty" provides motifs for this panel.





And the third learning project is this panel is available from Spoonflower.com.  It was designed by Margaret to use with her classes on gridwork and to accompany her "Beautiful Backgrounds" Grid based fill book.   I much prefer free form sorts of designs but I ordered this book in error and thought I might as well make use of it.  This is a wonderful book also.


So, my friends, that is the GRAND PLAN.  You can see there is lots to work with here so my new Tiara and I will be good friends by the time I finish all this.

~~~~~~


Block number four of Morning Glory Designs BOM

Blue and yellow is one of my favorite combos and I love the graceful, swirly flowers.  They took forever to make and stitch down-all those little pieces.  These blocks might make a good quilt-as-you-go project.
~~~~~~~
I wanted to show you some photos of my beautiful daughter in India.  Mary lives in Northern India in Rishikesh. 

These photos were taken late January, early February.  

~~~~~~~~

AND NOW..........YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN

These are photos from above looking down from a plane of terraced rice fields in China.  The first one especially is so abstract it is difficult to decide what you are looking at but how exquisite!

HAPPY QUILTING TO YOU UNTIL 
WE MEET AGAIN!  


I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

IN WHICH I POP MY HEAD BACK 
INTO THE BLOGOSPHERE


I have been a busy little bun working on my projects and thought I would bring the world  up-to-date with my doings.  The Wren block from Sandra Leichner's Naturalist's Notebook is finished.



I am happy with the result. Batiks are difficult to capture with a camera but you can get a sense of the color variations in the fabric.  I searched for a long time to find some "perfect" background.  This is called Garden Splendor by R Kauffman.  The fabric is a pretty sharp white so I have tea dyed it to tone down its brilliance.  The writing is mostly french gibberish but the effect is perfect-writing in a naturalist's notebook.

I have begun work on block #2-The Goldfinch.

The bird and the leaves are already stitched down but the petals are basted as I am still reviewing them to see if their color is right.  This block has lots of background embroidery and detailing on the bird, leaves and flowers.  Here is a photo of the pattern so you can see what is going to happen.
Pretty challenging!

I have developed a bit of a rhythm over the past couple months for working on my projects.  I am participating in 2 BOM programs.  I talked about Helen Godden's  Feathered Friends quilt last post.  Each month she releases a new block depicting an Aussie bird to be painted and then quilted.  The other BOM looks like a rainbow of color!  There is some piecing so I have to concentrate on this part and the rest is applique.  The BOM is from Morning Glory Designs.  She releases a new pattern each month which is posted and available for download during that month.  Here is a drawing of the quilt :


and a link to the site:
https://www.morningglorydesigns.com/free-block-of-the-month.htm
Here are my versions of the first 3 blocks:

I love the color, the way the diamonds and squares form up, and the movement of the applique.

Helen Godden's new birdie block was released today tho I am on hold for now as the printer ran out of ink (what a racket!) and I ordered a couple new colors of paint.  Here is the finished Feb block:
And March block:
I just cannot say enough good about this project.  It is so fun to mess around with the paints and then do the quilting!  Helen has videos with instructions on the painting process and another on the quilting process.   I am learning about the paints which are Jacquard Luminere and about different FMQ stitches.  Link at:
http://shop.helengodden.com/index.php?route=common/home

So anyway, back to rhythm.......The BOM's come out the first of the month and both are completed in a week or so apiece which gives me then 2 weeks to work on the major and challenging Naturalist Notebook which is a very time consuming and intense project.  I am pretty happy with my project line up-there is lots of variety in materials, style, difficulty, and color.  I also do some FMQ practice during the month as this has morphed from being the terror of my creative life to being a favorite thing to do.

FROM OUR WALK ON THE WILD SIDE:
Signs and sings of spring in the Missouri woods:




AND NOW........YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN!

This artist makes temporary works of art out of natural objects.  His vision of the world is awesome.  If you want to see more of the beauty made out of our ordinary world, check out his webpage at:
http://www.jamesbruntartist.co.uk/




See the charming outer ring of rock people!


HAPPY QUILTING TO YOU UNTIL 
WE MEET AGAIN!  
PURPLE, BIRDS, AND FLOWERS ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITE THINGS!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.


Saturday, January 27, 2018

IN WHICH IT LOOKS LIKE MY WREN 
REALLY MIGHT FLY!

It feels so good to be back at work!  I am pleased with my birdie.  Applique involves so many stages: searching thru fabric, ironing fabric to freezer paper templates, starching down the turned edges, lightly gluing down the pieces with Elmers, then tacking all down with basting prior to any stitching.  That part is completed-now I get to do the stitching!  After stitching, there is some embroidering of stems and leaves and feather-work on the bird.

Here is my wren next to pattern so you can see what embroidery will be completed.
Before I started working on the wren, I pulled out a couple of my bird books to refresh my memory as to the feathering of wrens.  It occured to me then that tho this pattern is called the Naturalists Notebook, the birds are somewhat impressionist-that is not an exact copy but rather evokes the bird. 
I use 100 wt silk thread for applique work.  I have used other types and they all have their pros and cons.  Aurifil 50wt is the current favorite being pushed as the go-to thread for appliquers and I am sure it is just great.  I am going to stick with silk because I am tired of changing-as I said, they all have their pros and cons-no one of them is perfect.

 Here is another view-I am having a hard time capturing the colors.

A couple of the bits on the bird were hi-lighted using Caran D'ache Neocolor II.

I know most of you follow the wonderful Esther Aliu @  http://estheraliu.blogspot.com/  .
She has begun an exciting new group on facebook.  You can find it at: Stenciled & Painted Quilts Group to sign up.  She is demonstrating some beautiful stenciling work right now.  The idea behind this group is for us all to share our experiences with textile paints and help each other learn.  I know most learning is done by playing but helpful hints from other's experiences might set a person in the right direction.  For instance, I have trouble with the Caran D'ache appearing to dull out the fabric so the new color may be correct but the overall look is meh! Any ideas?

On Feburary 1st, Helen Godden will release her pattern and video classes on how to paint Aussie birds using Jacquard Luminere acrylics.  I have all my paints, brushes, and black Kona ready to go!
The Sweet William pattern I mentioned last post has morphed from reproduction fabrics to a "Liberty of London" feel.  Liberty of London, as you know is lovely colored, finely printed, small florals-very expensive here in the US.  There are some clones available such as Regent Street by Moda and Garden Delights by In the Beginning fabrics.  After having lived thru the hardest year of my life, I found I did not want to use the toned down reproduction fabric.  I want sunny!  Tho subject to change, here is kind of what I am thinking of:


 Instead of yellow gingham, maybe this mottled yellow with the basket blocks picking up the lightest tones.  I have ordered a charm pack of the Garden Delights and am thinking of mixing them with Kona cotton pastels.  I can tell more once I receive the fabric.


AND NOW
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN 
These are computer models of weather patterns.  I was struck by the similiarity to Van Gogh's swirlings.  It must have been hard on him if he saw the world like this:

 That's all for now!  Happy quilting until we met again!

I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.

Monday, January 15, 2018

IN WHICH WE WELCOME IN 2018 BY TAKING A HIKE THRU SNOW IN -1 (F)!



and we are not talking wind chills here either! That slight glow in the sky is the sun. You can see the ice which formed on my hair from my breath. COOO-OLD!

The beginning of a new year is always a good time to look forward and make plans for the future.  I have settled on three projects on which to work.  Some painting, some old-timey feel, some realism-a variety of possibilities.

1.  Sweet William


This is the "old-timey".   This quilt has an antique look which I love plus the color yellow.  I am striving to use fabrics such as reproduction fabrics which will adapt to an aged look.  May have to do some tea dyeing also.I have not yet received the pattern yet so I cannot show detail photos.  This project seems like a good one to work intermittently and will enable me to switch back and forth on projects.  The pattern maker is Susan Smith, an Australian designer.

2.  Feathered Friends BOM with Helen Godden

Another Aussie designer!  (they are my favorite!) This BOM is different.  For about $60 US, you can access a link and each month beginning Feburary 1, Helen will post a new downloadable pattern.  This exciting fun of this BOM is that the designs are is painted on using Jacquard Lumiere paints, and then quilted in the most charming ways.  No applique this time.
There are nine 14" blocks all of which are of Aussie birds!  I can't wait for Feb 1!  I have ordered my paints and some new sized brushes, and have the black kona pfd (prep for dyeing) fabric so I am ready.  Here is a link to Helen's facebook page describing her class if you are interested:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzcwjTD3XCc
You can google Helen Godden to find her webpage-for some reason I could not get the link right.

3.  Sandra Leichner's Naturalist's Notebook block series.

Here is the first block which is 9.5 square :


This is block number 1 and it is relatively simple just applique and embroidery. The end result is very naturalistic.  These blocks require a lot of batiks and, as time goes on, more and more sophisticated techniques.  You can see this pattern and the other 10 on her webpage under "shop":
http://sandraleichner.com/
I have lots of batiks but I also will be tinting the fabric here and there to create more tones and variations with my Caran D'ache pastels.

Soooo....that is me all sorted for awhile!  I am looking forward to receiving the Sweet William pattern and beginning the search for the correct yellow gingham, and for Feb 1 to roll around.

And a jigsaw puzzle for your moment of zen:
Pretty tricky I betcha!


Happy quilting to you until we meet again!


I am linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday, Bambi's Blog, Making Monday,  Em's Scrapbag, Esther's Wow, 
Let's Bee Social, Whoop Whoop, and Finish or Not!, Off the Wall Friday.