Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year Rockin' Eve!!!!!

Well... I'll be in bed before midnight! How About You???
Have a great/ safe/ sane evening.... ( we'll mostly sane anyway )

Thursday, December 30, 2010

On Buying a used machine

I am looking to buy a backup used machine of a model they no longer make... so used is the only option. That said.... though few if any of us are mechanics ( certainly not I) a few things seem wise to check/test.
1) The obvious.... how does it stitch out programmed stitches.. straight, etc. etc?
2) How does it free motion with feed dogs down. Check ALL directions.... that's what this worm hole pattern test is about.

3) Remove the stitch plate and look underneath. Is it clean? Anything look odd to you?

It does on this one.... the metal housing above the hook assembly looks odd below the feed dogs. While everything else looked nice and clean from this view.... this metal looks a little rusty. I cleaned the rusty material off with a Q-tip and metal retains a pitted look. I need to check this out with the owner before I'm fully committed. There is no statement of rust damage in their for sale description. It might be fine... but certainly worth checking to be sure.
4. Check the bobbin hook area for cleanliness, dings, etc. This one appears fine.I'll let you know what I learn about No. 3. Friday Feedback.... The plot thickens.... NO water exposure according to the seller. Update... Jan 3rd a visit to a local dealer... to quote " that kind of discoloration often suggests water damage" even though the seller swears otherwise.

IT runs beautifully right now... everything else looked perfect... no real water damage evidence elsewhere....I may return this puppy anyway!

Christmas for Children

Man o man, I am still recovering (cough, sniffles ) from the holidays and know that I'm not alone. " I admit though that I love cherry cough drops! They get me through the day.

'Thought I would at least post the very best part of my Christmas. I traveled out of state to visit my grandkids. Too cool. Max ( just 3) got a high energy puppy for Christmas. Capri ( never heard of a dog with that name) wags her tail so hard I think she might hurt herself.

And sissy Kaley and Max worked together to make a gingerbread house. I added the icing. They ate and added candy and gum drops. The makers of the kits must know this happens. There was still plenty of candy for decorating.

I must admit, this was pretty fun and Kaley and Max were very proud of themselves and their work

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Wanabe (Quilters) Christmas Partying

My Wanabe Friendship group had one great party and gift exchange this year. Here are some pics of the festivities. I love these ladies! You can double click on any photo for closeup views!
All began with great appetizers ( one of many shown here.)

Visiting and gift exchanges next. I can't show them all.... I got distracted and failed to photograph. DUH!
This first gift came from Laurie Lyon (left) to Nancy Mastroianni. It highlited sayings about the things that happen to our bodies as we age. Remember the quote from Betty Davis? " Old age isn't for woosies!"
Then Nancy gave a rose table runner to flower loving Carol Brodie. Beautiful!!!

Carol who does exquisitely fine/beautiful work honored Nancy Kastner with a black and gold fan and patched floral table runner. This thing was gorgeous.
Nancy in turn presented Carol Lundquist with a lovely wool table runner honoring the family Christmas.

The detail on this piece calls for a closeup.

Carol Lundquist made me cry with the enourmous sized AND beautiful black and batik quilt she gave to me. You saw the quilt in an earlier Santa Came Early" post. I then presented Carol Culbert with the green table piece you've seen in works in progress posts including " Do I have to give this away?" post entered mid December. Carol Culbert presented Karon Cornell(left) a lovely framed wall piece of wool applique honoring the sweet sounds of songbirds. Karon manages a wildlife sanctuary for a local college so this was a great fit!

Karon who is a close friend, talented lady, former student, etc.... presented Laurie Lyon with a wall piece showcasing a painted with ink scarlet parrot in flight. Is this gorgeous or what? I should note Laurie is a big-time bird lover so Karon did a great job matching the gift to the recipient. This was particularly touching in that the night before the party, Laurie's 19 year loved "Sun Conyer" (?sp) named Goldie passed away.
We now were missing one of our members Carol Pankow who was traveling and moving her hubby back home from his exec. job in the east We did have a paddle with pic of Carol. We can't show all her presents here as they were wrapped... but Carol collects 'ducks' and she got to ride in one for this pic.

Carol had a gift for Phyllis which for some reason I didn't get 'snapped' DUH! Then Phyllis gave the incredible gift of the day to Hilary Field, our loving Brit and maker of the best English shortbread ever! This piece is all perfect needle turn applique and off the charts beautiful. We don't think Phyllis ever sleeps!

Finally we dined like Miss Piggy in Lauries lovely new home dining room. For this group of ladies.. this IS Christmas. WE all get so excited as every gift is truly special as are all the women in this group . Aw... sweet memories!

The Body Knows!!!

Does this look kind of like you feel too? We run through the holidays.... and sometimes the body just can't keep up with all the activity. I'm relating to this exhaused Santa this year. Christmas Eve, the throat and sinuses failed me. DANG!!!! At least I got through it. I'm now in my flannel jammies trying to recover. I'll be back at it tomorrow... That's my goal anyway! Hope you all had a great Christmas!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas To All!

My best wishes to you and your family, friends, pets, and fabric stash with hope you all have a great Christmas Season.
Me?.. I now have about an hour I can sew before the craziness begins!

Santa Came Early!

'Am I lucky or what?!!! MY SECRET PAL for Christmas is a prolific and industrious piecer: Carol Lundquist of Yorba Linda California. I saw Carol many months ago working on two quilts ( including this one). She almost always does 2 quilts of a pattern at a time so I thought nothing of this being targeted for me for Christmas. I am quite sure however I drooled over it as she worked as it is all batiks and solid black. "Breathtakingly beautiful!" I love pieced quilts but haven't the patience for one this complex. Each block has 53 pieces. There are 36 blocks... that alone accounts for over 1900 little bity pieces. Add the alternating locks and triangles and the border and we are at no less than 2,661 pieces on the top. Egads. I got tired counting them. LUCKY ME!!!!!!! THANK YOU CAROL!!
Needless to say... quilters are sometimes standing in line to get into the abundantly productive group.... if only for the Christmas exchange. ;-) Great ladies to boot!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Just in Time!

I have a couple pastel portraits to complete. I'll deliver this one shortly of a friends Mom who long ago passed. This was quite a challenge... 1) never having met the lady, and 2) working from a black and white out of focus photo. I suspect this will bring tears to the recipient though I hope it is out of fondness for a lost mother as opposed to a poor likeness. Her eyes I am told were the cool blue likened to Paul Newman. Even in death, he is gorgeous to remember.

The Beginning:

Closeup of Done:
This image is likely from a 1940s photo. A very beautiful mother indeed.

Soft Pastels on paper( not oil pastels) are so much like working with inks on fabric. It's quite another stash of sorts though! I very much enjoy them.

Sounds Like a JET Engine!

Arriving home to the mountains of California late last evening, we find we can't drive to our house as the stream in our canyon has risen above it's banks and is flowing across the road in multiple places. eeek... I am such a chicken. There is a small walk bridge across the steam that lets us walk to the house so I did that for last night... but don't know if I'll return tonight. The roar of the stream is a bit frightening! I may stay at my studio down off the mountain.
This view from my kitchen window is usually a trickle... ohhhhh how mother nature speaks!!
If Santa is coming to town, I hope he can swim! ;-)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Traveling For Santa

Tomorrow a.m., I'm headed out of state to see my grandkids. YEAH! My laptop stays home this trip so who knows if I get to post. Here's my best Christmas wishes for you all. The image: A painting of "Santa's Secret" from one of my patterns. I've proposed doing this as a class at next years IQA Festival in Houston. We'll see what works out.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Fond Farewell

Last night: The annual Christmas party for my Material Girls Friendship Group. I've known one member for over 30 years( Terry Hill) and Terry is now retiring from telecommunications and moving out of state to be near her sons and first grandchild. Boo Hoo... we will so miss her. The quilt is hers to remember us all by.
Nice party

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Pin-Sized Pin Cushion

My secret pal is likely to be happy about this... I'm projecting ofcourse as I would love to have this tiny ( about half dollar diameter) pin cushion made of wool. I didn't make this one but have plans to replicate this baby. This, like several other smaller gifts for my secret Christmas pal came from my travels over the last year... Hawaii, Sedona Az Ecuador, etc.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Do I have to give this away?

I spend so much time with any quilt project, I often hate finishing... especially when it is intended to leave so soon. I "HAD" to see how this piece looked on my glass dining table at my studio. I wouldn't mind having this for myself. It goes to my secret pal Friendship group friend next Friday. Waaaa! " What if she has my name as a secret pal and wants to keep what she made??? " Not much chance.... I must just let it go.... I have another piece of similar exquisite over dyed cotton upholstery fabric. Maybe I should do something just for ME

Facing It Off.. the To Do list!

I like facing my pieces.... First, I block, square up the piece.... then sew a very narrow seam all the way around using a 1 3/4 to 2 inch "border" onto the already quilted piece ( yes... it looks funny.) I stay stitch the raw edge of the seam to the raw edge of the quilt to add stability. I also turn under about a quarter inch of the outer border, press and stitch. (yep... it still looks funny)
You can see both a front and back view here where I have folded the opposite ends near each other.... ( I laid a piece of light fabric atop 'the top' so you could better see the front back differences. The back side is to the left... front view on right.
After that.... You work 2 opposite sides before finishing the remaining opposite 2 sides. I dampen/steam the edges as I iron and roll the facing to the back. I pin the entire side and allow it to fully dry before I come back and stitch the facing the same way one would finish a binding. Finally work the remaining 2 opposite sides.... This time there will be double facing fabric at the corners of the piece. Don't be afraid to remove excess.
Finally.... using the same method as previous, dampen, roll the remaining facing to the back ( angleing at the corners... press/ pin/ dry and stitch).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Almost Done

This is looking pretty good and looks like I will finish it in time after all. For a while, I thought this might become a Valentines Day gift in February...

Yet to be done... the label and facing! I use Powerpoint to make my labels..It's fast and easy. Not only can the label be created and printed on fabric in 15 mins. or less, the saved slide of the label becomes my permanent record of finished quilts.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Decisions Decisions

Quilting an exquisite and fairly complex pattern of images on a cotton drapery fabric is a fun challenge. I'm certainly not getting bored with all the variety I see in the original overdyed cloth.

Here's a printed area of stacked leaves ( color in pic is a bit brighter than reality... I hate that.) .
For this design, a simple inside outside line of quilting to reinforce the look of leaf edges seems to work for me.
There is so much activity (multiple/varied images on the original fabric) that sometimes a simple 'knock down' of the background is enough to show off the important images that I doubt I will quilt at all lest they be large and beg otherwise.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Big Boys are BACK!

EEK! I thought we might get through this season without bears visiting our front deck (common in years past) ... but no such luck..... As hibernation time nears, a large hungry adult ("no not the one in the closeup photo") has returned to our canyon looking to fatten up before the long winter sleep. 2 nights ago... he roamed around the house looking for food... last night, he stepped onto the roof from the sloping adjacent hillside. I'm such a chicken ( smart chicken tho)! I definitely won't go out at night for a while!
(c)FYI this is not my photo and is not available for commercial use/artistic interpretation.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Workin' on it!

I've been busy busy but am trying to get some progress on this overdyed piece that will become an oversized table runner.

I have only just begun, but I'm workin on it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Correcting An Irregular Over Dye Project

Well I didn't dye this piece to begin with but I have and occasionally do dye work. in this case, I bought this over dyed 100% cotton upholstery fabric that I wish to turn into a quilted gift table runner piece.... BUT... after I got it home, I found the over dye was most irregular in one corner so what to do? First for perspective,,, the original background for this piece was a soft blue and pale yellow. You see a bit of the yellow here and there. Here's one section of the already dyed fabric.

Well I 'm a bit mad at myself for not photographing the irregular area BEFORE I started this fix effort.... but here is the back side of the irregular area where some rather strong blue still resides.

There were choices on how to fix:
a. over dye again ( a bit challenging unless you dye all the time and can predict the value outcome. Also a big setup/cleanup project)
b. Overdye with inks.... I could do it in a method similar to item c. ...... It's just that ink all and all for big backgrounds is a little more costly than item c below.
c. 'Paint' the heavily water-misted background with a slightly watered mixture of matching transparent paint ( ala Pebeo Setacolor transparent). So that's what I did.... followed by drying/ heat setting using a dry iron on a cotton setting. Heat setting makes it permanent. Whoala!! Done in minutes!!!!

It's now ready to be prepped for quilting.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Great Turkey Day

The food was great, family likewise!!! My 6 year old great niece wrote her first play for her immediate family to perform. How wonderful.

Well it was her first play.... I needed an autograph! A pie plate seemed a fine place for an autograph.

Well we're at my "all man" nephews house where his wife (not pictured) had given him an apron. Like the ruffles? The ONLY reason he would put this on for me for a photo is that I am his aunt who cooked the turkey, stuffing, and gravy and he felt a bit beholden. He's not too happy huh? Posing with him, my niece.. the one with the turkey hat. I've always kidded at Thanksgiving.... " Have a turkey, don't be one." I guess my niece never got the message. :-) The names have been omitted here to protect the guilty! :-) Such a great family ... Lucky me!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bye Bye Birdie!

Oh heck.... last year at this time I posted a "before" photo of a very angry looking live turkey. This years post is what I HOPE my turkey looks like tomorrow. My family comes from Oklahoma farm stock so Thanksgiving is all about comfort food. This ofcouse includes a good cornbread dressing with lots of sage, creamed corn, etc etc. My hubby will make pies. How lucky am I?! Have a great day all.