Saturday, June 25, 2016

THIS WEEK'S FOUR PACK MAKES 100!!.....also machine quilting update

I like all of this weeks blocks very much.  They are all adaptations from Chuck Nohara's book.
This one is my favorite.  The flowers and stems are from Chuck's book but I did not like her bird and substituted this broderie perse one.  I love how graceful the stems and flowers are and how the bird complements the colors.

Chuck's sunflower petals were shaped differently.  Since I wanted to use a directional fabric and her pattern called for the petals to be cut from one piece, I had to cut individual pieces and I also shaped them differently.  This is the beauty of having good resources- they generate ideas instead of being slavishly copied.

I love sunflowers!  We have some volunteers growing up around our birdfeeder.  They will not "make" as rural farmers call it-they are spindly and small.  The ground is too dry and uncultivated there.

This basket was fun but time consuming.  I have told you of my frustrations with hexagons-triangles are easier-the thread does not wrap around so much. Also I received some good advice on how to handle paper pieces working with them.  I wanted to put into practice the advice I had received and I think the basket turned out okay.  I had to call into account my math skills when making this block when I sized it up from being 2x2 inches to 6x6.  I also thought the braided handle would be more interesting than the simple one from the pattern.

I have never seen a block like the one below.  It has such a different look. This makes 100 blocks-43 to go but who's counting!

I have been working on my free motion sampler and have completed week three. This was an especially hard one-not sure why.  I have included a copy for the pattern for a couple reasons.  One-you can see the difficulty with this pattern-one sews around the circle and then backtracks and shoots off in another direction. The hard part was not getting trapped in a corner.  I drew and drew this and did some practice squares.  The other interesting thing is how individual style is achieved with practice.  My circles are closer together and are more curvy.  This just happened.  The fmq is not perfect but I am pleased.

As promised, here are two more blocks from my Caswell Quilt:

The robin block on the left is from the original pattern except I wanted the block to be 8x13 instead of 11x11.  So I deconstructed and rearranged it and added the snail.  The second pink flower bloc is taken from the original Caswell rug.  The idea for the caterpillar came from looking at Elizabethan stitchery and the dragonfly is placed on a seam to break down the barriers between blocks. 

Lastly, we have a red bellied woodpecker who visits the corn feeder.  He edges down the tree to the feeder, snatches up a kernel, goes back up the tree to beat the kernel against the bark before he eats it.  You can't see the kernel but that is what he is doing.

I will be so glad when my birthday is here in a couple weeks-I will have my new camera and hopefully be done with fuzzy photos!  We also had a large yellow flicker wood pecker some to the fountain but he flew off before I could grab my camera.

Happy quilting!

Linking up with Slow Stitching Sunday, MCM, Moving it Forward Monday, Oh Scrap!, Monday Making, Easter's WOW, and NTT .
  Thanks for hosting ladies!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

              I have mostly been laying low and staying cool. I have been working on Stonefields blocks.  The top two are from the Stonefields pattern, the ewer is from Chuck Nohara's book and the sailboat floated in on my imagination.  
 Not too exciting but pretty French General fabric.
          This one is straight from the pattern   It is a charming pot of buds.
I love this one.  The combination of ewer and bowl and tulip is lots of fun.  I added the extra tulip.

This one is my favorites right now.  Notice the racing strips on the sail.  When I was a girl, we sailed on the San Francisco Bay.  My father's hobby was building sailboats.  He build a lovely 27 footer when I was about 5 or 6 years old.  I used to help him by handing him tools or holding something or stirring glue.  My father was great.  He was so empowering.  I asked him if he thought I could build a sailboat when I was older and he said "Yes.  Just get a pattern and follow it".  You must understand was in the 1950's years before Betty Friedan's first cry of feminism.  He did not think I was handicapped by not being a boy.  It was this far-sighted and generous thinking on my father's part that enabled me to undertake any number of activities other girls felt they could not do.

Anyway, we kept the sailboat in a marina on the bay and went there every Saturday.  We either sailed or did maintenance on the boat (wood hulls required constant upkeep in the days before fiberglass).  I loved tacking with the breezes as the side of the boat dipped close to the water and we flew along with the sea birds.  When I was older, he built a 37 footer where he lived for a few years.  Sailing lead to a life-long love of the water.
This is a photo of the fmq sampler from the Sit Down Free Motion Quilters facebook group.  We are on week two which I have completed not to my complete satisfaction.
Week two is the orange peel.  There are some wobblies in there.  I thought I would have done better on this as I used a stitch like this on Mountmellick which I finished last month. Here you can see the orange peel quilting.    
I decided since I have shown some of Mountmellick, I will show you some of the border applique made from Petra Prins Dutch chintz and is perfect for broderie perse which is one of my favorite things to do.  The original border was composed of stars and the little pots of flowers are mine.




Here you can see how the border fits together: 


Linking with MCM, Moving it Forward Monday, Oh Scrap!, Monday Making, Easter's WOW, NTT and Low Stitching Sunday.  Thanks for hosting ladies!

Sunday, June 12, 2016


I know one thing....I have given up goal setting!  Talk about something that gets in the way and can alienate your life!  Here is a for instance:

You know by now that I am pretty terrified by free motion quilting.  I think the terror lurks because I have devoted so many hours of my love and life to a hand appliqued quilt or wall hanging.   The possibility of ruining my heart's work with inept quilting is an unbearable thought.  

You might wonder what this had to do with goal setting but I will tell you.  I was getting so wrapped up in making 25 blocks for June that I almost discarded the opportunity to work on the thing that gives me nightmares.   The facebook group The Sit Down Free Motion Quilters is offering a fmq sampler for members to work along side each other to see how everyone is progressing and learning from each other and showing our contributions.  My goal mind set said "no you cannot do that-you don't have time-you have 25 blocks to finish". That is when I drew the line on this goal process-it was getting in the way of progress!

The Sit Down Free Motion Quilters is such a nice group.  They have provided lots of good info and instructions for the sampler which I have downloaded and printed (so I can lug them around with me).  I was meticulous in making my quilt sandwich even though this is a sampler and not the "real thing".  

Look how snug my quilt sandwich is.  I marked the top before I made the sandwich as I thought that would be easier. I used blue painter's tape to hold down the backing.  That stuff really sticks!  I follow Cindy Needham"s instructions for making a quilt sandwich and always end up with excellent results.

This is the stabilized sandwich.  I am quilting the top with shades of rose/purple and the bobbin will be orange.  Now that it is stabilized, I took the pins out.

Here is a question for anyone:    I know why quilters who use a quilting frame leave large margins beyond where the quilt will end.  That is so they can clamp and pull these edges for good tension.  However, for a sit down fmq is it necessary to leave such large margins? Sometimes these large margins get in the way and can flop around accidentally getting sewn into the quilting.  What are people's opinion on this?  I left about 2.5 inches for this quilt and basted the edges together.  This gives me enough if I need to hold the quilt for the fmq process.

Here is another reason to abandon goals:
I was beginning to get a production line going for my blocks in order to reach 25 for June and making blocks because 25 needed to be made.  I have always been a self motivated person and never had a problem finishing a project. Loving what I do finishes projects.

These are my blocks for this post.  I don't know what the source of the first block is-maybe I made it up-it is a logical block. The second two are variations on blocks from the Stonefields pattern.  I added the broderie perse and the butterfly to the third block as it seemed kind of stark and alone.  Here is a close up of the middle block : 

That's all for now.  We have been having a heat wave with 98 degrees and high humidity.  Right now there is a wonderful thunderstorm with cracks of lightening and buckets of rain.  Maybe this will bring in some cooler weather.

Happy Quilting

Linking up with:
Slow Stitching Sunday (good day for slow stitching!)
Main Crush Monday
Making Monday
Whats Your WOW?
Moving it Forward Monday
BOMs Away Monday
Let's Bee Social


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

More Detail On My Caswell Quilt

I showed the fruit basket block on my last post.  I had lots of comments on it.  I love how this block turned out from the ants to the layout of the flowers to the fruit.

Also I like it because the fruit basket from the original Caswell Carpet in the Metropolitan Museum has been used many times by designers who fell in love with this motif.  To me, this is one of the joys of quilting that motifs our great-grandmothers and beyond are appreciated by quilters today and given a new twist. Here is the original cropped from the carpet:

The photo is very fuzzy because it is cropped off a page in a book,  American Folk Art, by Jean Lipman.  You get the general idea though.  Here are three different adaptations by 3 different designers.  

Erica Wilson of needle work fame adapted the block as a needlepoint design.  I believe the canvas was printed with the design and maybe the yarns were sold with it.  You can see the similarities and the differences.  No matter the changes, the derivation is unarguable.

Another example is a folk art painting by T. Holland dated 1977, found in Pa., and is painted on pine wood.This is a charming adaption in yet another medium.  I found this listed for sale on ebay.
The final example you will have to look up for yourself.  You can google Caswell Carpet to find beautiful red quilt by the fabulous Barbara Korengold.  No further words needed.

Here are some details from the basket:

This block took about 2 months to complete.  I worked on it off and on as ideas came to me on how to arrange and design the fruit.  I took it apart more times that can be counted.  The pineapple is made of about 30 fingernail shaped pieces which were cut carefully to allow for the color variation. 

Here is the cause of the ant problem-an abandoned picnic! I hope your recognize the wine and baguette, grapes and apples, and wedges of cheese.  Since I collect blue and white china, that is what is in use at the picnic.  This photo is also a close up of the ants which are about 3/4 of an inch long and royal pain to make.  Their legs are embroidered.

And finally here is a view watching the ants progress to the sweet and juicy pears!

Here are the latest Stonefields blocks.  The bottom 2 are based on designs in Chuck Nohara's book mentioned in a previous post and the top one is one i thought up.  One advantage to making Stonefields is the opportunity to try different techniques.  I have been wanting to try out a "tile" design and now I have with the flower.

Happy quilting! 

Links to:
Needle and Thread Thursday
Can I get a Whoop

Sunday, June 5, 2016


More Stonefields blocks.  These blocks are taken directly from the stonefields pattern.  That is not a really honeybee on the middle block.  I thought the flower looked kind of spare so I added the honeybee as a broderie perse. 

When I first completed this block, I used just yellow pieces but the block ended up looking kind of boring so I swapped half the yellow blocks for the same pattern in pink.  The hexies end up with the same architectural look but with variation.  I also added the border to help cheer it up.

Does anyone have any advice on how to sew hexies together without the thread wrapping around the other hexies until you want to pull your hair out?  No matter how I sew it, the thread wraps around another hexie so I have to stop, unwrap and curse.  I use 100 wt invisifil for applique so I am also dealing with very fine thread.  Help. Please!

I find that when I am creating a quilt choosing my own fabric mood and style that rather than a kit or set of fabrics determined by someone else that  I spend quite a bit of time auditioning different fabrics and sometimes will change them out even after I have completed the block as I did with the hexie above. Another instance is my house block:

On this block, I wish I had used a different color for the birdbath.  I may change it but that involves lifting the carefully stitched wing of the bird and having to re-embroider the daisy.  Not impossible but, once finished, it is hard to re-do something.  My reason for using that shade of brick red is because the blue of the sky is off from the aquas I am using and I thought the brick red would tie the block more into the general color mood.

Talk about a slow Sunday!  Here is my cat Yoshi zzzz-ing out in the backyard while overseen by a curious blue jay.

I don't talk much about Yoshi as he is an outdoor cat-really a backyard cat because he never leaves the yard.  He was an indoor cat but he bites.  I put up with it for a while feeling that I just needed to learn his signals.  But when he bit my check just below the eye, it was time for a change!  If you follow the blog "Fabric Therapy" you will know that Teresa's beloved cat Mr. Weasley bit her hand which became terribly infected and required an operation.  She could not use her hand for about 2 months and then underwent P.T. for a while.  A death knell for an appliquer!

So out he went.  I built a door flap into the garage so he could come and go.  He has a nice insulated house in the garage with a heated pad for winter so he does all right.  He is really a sweet, loving kitty.  Maybe he bites because he is declawed - NOT BY US.  Yoshi was a shelter cat my daughter adopted when at university.  He is rather happy being an outdoor cat-he chases the birds and squirrels and finds lots of nice places to sleep.  He has a couple cat friends he fights with now and then and a big stump which is his throne.

Happy quilting!

Linky Parties:
Main Crush Monday
Moving it Forward Monday
Bits and Bobs
Monday Making

Post Script on Monday:
I linked up with Gwennie Inspired Medallion Linky .  
This blog had the prettiest baskets so I decided to add my Caswell basket to the link. 

This quilt flimsy was finished shortly before I started to blog and is actually one of the reasons I wanted to blog.  I love this quilt pattern by Threadbear.  I have made lots of changes to it but it remains their quilt pattern.  Since I missed blogging about my WIP ups and downs I thought I would enter a block on each post so I could demonstrate the quilt.  So here is block one, the biggest block at 11x22.

Again, Happy quilting!

Thursday, June 2, 2016


I am not sure how I feel about setting monthly goals.  Maybe I am a "just let it happen" kind of girl.  However, I have 3 exciting projects ahead of me after I finish stonefields.  So while I don't want to rush my current project-i want to savor it as I do with all my quilts-I am just drooling over the fabric and ideas to come.  Here is where we are with Stonefields so far:

I have 59 squares remaining on the top.  If I do 25 in June, 25 in July, and finish up in August, that would be very satisfactory.  My border will be very much simpler than the one in the original pattern so probably I can finish that in August also and begin in September with my Kate Spain fabric (yeah!) and the Sweet Surrender pattern (I hate that name for a pattern-they should have thought a bit longer on that topic).

So instead of one monthly goal, I have a three month goal.  As I say, I am not much on setting goals because a written goal can hinder creativity.  One gets so focused on the goal that the goal becomes the end and not the process.  But I am going to see how this goes. 

Another aspect to goal setting is its importance when quilting activity has to compete with motherhood, work, and the multitude of other activities that modern women deal with everyday.  Me-i'm retired and free as a bird and so don't have to eke out a corner of time to do something creative.  Just a thought!

I found backing fabric for my Caswell quilt.  it is Georgetown by Judie Rothermel.  this fabric captures the movement and the colors of my quilt plus the insects.  it is so pretty.

 Here is my Caswell against the background.  The lighting is so poor in this dark corner but it was the best I could do.

I usually just buy something plain and on sale as a backing but I love this quilt so much that I wanted something special for the backing.  I may work up the nerve to actually quilt it in December (goals!)

Here is the animal life out our cat TV:

You can see why Glossie Blossie is so entertained every day with the squirrels and the purple finches.

Happy Quilting!