Friday, December 23, 2016

Wanabe Quilters Christmas

I was in a great party mood for last Friday's annual Christmas party which included great friends and admittedly a few mimosas. One of my favorite secret pal gift exchanges came from Karon Cornell ( a wonderful oil painter ) to Janmarie Halliday. The subject :  Janmarie's then little girl/now grown woman Noelle .
Cute kid, eh?
Gift from Mary Lou Ripper on the right to Karon on the left. LOVE this pattern

Wool is in !
Carol Lundquist (Left) received this piece from Carol Brodie ( Right.) Carol B is an applique queen who loves Grandmothers flower garden.   Oddly enough, Carol L was Carol B.s secret pal . Her clever gift.... several  premade  frozen meals ready for the crock pot. 
I missed pics of some... including my own   Shame on me.   I have a mimosa excuse.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

One last quilt to quilt for 2016

A couple years back, several friends from my Wanabe Quilters group took on an old Alex Anderson pattern  Christmas Quilt.... This is the second one finished by Hilary Field, ( my own version is one  of my "Quilts in Waiting" stack in one of those zipped plastic bags)  This is a good size quilt 78 x 93 ....  The mixed  black and white fabrics and multi colored Christmas trees called for a simple quilt plan... I used silver thread.
I was looking for a way to keep quilting cost down but knew edge to edge quilting would NOT look great on this quilt so I sought  a simple no need to mark motif for the dozens of trees. Settled on this continuos line swirl.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Playing President at the Beautiful Mission Inn

So much to do this time of year.... Had a lovely lunch with several friends at the exquisite Mission Inn in Riverside, Ca.  Here, good friends (  first Karon Cornell ) and Janmarie Halliday check out the chair built for back when U.S. President Taft.  It's big chair for a big man. Both friends felt sooo tiny in it!
and Janmarie
Definitely a place to visit in the holidays!!!!   ;-D

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Ho Ho Ho Brownie Based Santa Hats

I've been M.I.A. for over 2 weeks  cruising the   heavenly Pacific Ocean ( someone had to  ;-D ). Now back and have a party  to attend this evening.  There will be lots of young people... so I wanted something fun to present.  These Santa hats take hardly anytime to assemble assuming you pre baked a store bought brownie mix.
here's the basics..
We're using a  circular
cut out brownie as the base
One could use a shot glass or round cookie cutter  ( I used a round clay cutter -shown below). 
Mascarpone cheese as a hat brim and top knot For 12 hats I used about 1/3 of the container of cheese placed in a bakery cone with a large round hole tip. 
A strawberry as 'the hat' 
Pretty simple stuff....
Squeeze mascarpone on top of the brownie base
Place  a strawberry on top

and add a squeeze of mascarpone at the top of the berry
pretty cute plate hat set! I think kids of all ages will like. 
If you've never purchased Mascarpone, you will usually find at a local Italian market. It's a dense cheese used in Tiramisu or the like so it will hold up well sitting out for a while.  Whipped cream wouldn't hold up so well if you were considering that as an alternative.  I have seen mock Mascarpone recipes on-line using cream cheese, a wee bit of sour cream, and very wee bit of heavy whipping cream. Google is our friend.  Party starts in 24 minutes so here we go. 
Post party update... emptied plate returned!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

BIG WOW Wool on Wool

New friend Bev Ziese  of Irvine, Ca has become a star in wool applique. I was asked to quilt this piece for her and what an amazing journey it was for me.  I had quilted wool applique before but never atop wool background, and not with this level of  gorgeous detailed beading and embroidery!  There's always something new to learn.  I chose a thin batting 50% cotton, 50% poly (the poly for holding shape).   Here's a view of the piece as it was coming off the longarm . I want to show you some of the beautiful applique detail following this.
 The are 24 separate blocks on this exquisite wall quilt. EVERY BLOCK is different.  Beading, embroidery, french knots... just beautiful!! Here is a sampling...

 lastly... I love this little acorn! 
Some know I like to use this blog for teaching opportunities.   If you loved these wool applique... they are part of the Jacobean Wool Patterns purchased from 
Quilting wool?  I knew the stitches would sink into the background wool... and  thus I changed /lengthened stitch length to  only 8 stitches per inch. I think that worked well for me. Many of these gorgeous patterns include beads and embroidery at or outside the edges of the applique. As a quilter... just deal with it.... you may not be able to get as close to the applique as you'd like for an outline stitch, but so what!!!  My take on this kind of work...  the applique speaks for itself... Don't try to compete with too much quilting! 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

"POT" .... Pot Holders ... Why not!

I don't even smoke tobacco much less pot but I got a kick out of this version of my occasional pot holder sewing....  I bought this "POT fabric" last summer in Colorado where pot was already legal.  ( This fabric pattern is called "Herb" by Alexander Henry. It's out of their 2014 line but shops can surely get it.. especially since several  more states just legalized it.  .... at least Jukebox had it.

So here's the deal.... what you'll need and *what you'll get ( * finished pot holder upper right side of pic below. )

To make 1 super functional pot holder... as seen below you  will need:

3  10" squares of a novelty fabric or at least matching fabric.  (2 of which are folded over right side out triangle shapes of pot fabric in the picture below)

2  10" squares of contrasting fabric ( exampled by triangle -folded black below)

2 10" squares of mostly or all cotton batting  
1 10" square of thermal isulated material PLUS 1 10" square of mostly or all cotton batting.
(I've made both ways and both work fine)

1 scrap square of novelty fabric ( appx. 4" x 4" )

Start by layering the 'batting' layers as shown... , place the scrap fabric in the very center.

and stitch it through .. all around it's perimeter . It makes little sense right now but this scrap fabric will be directly below the 4 fabric triangles when they are added and turned inside out.  You'll see.
So now turn this fabric side down on your work surface.
This may seem odd... but next comes the 10" novelty fabric placed directly atop the layered battings.  
Now you take those 2 of each fabric right side out triangles and "weave" them atop the 10" flat novelty fabric...   Below are the first 3  triangles put down and then to place the final triangle, will require pulling back a corner to set in the final triangle. Skip down one more pic. 
Final triangle in! 

We're getting ready to stitch through several layers so PINNING  
to secure layers will be very helpful. 

Adjust ( lighten) the pressure foot so things will move easily through.

Stitch the entire perimeter.
You are about to turn this deal inside out so snip  excess bulk at the four corners
There's not an easy way to still photograph the inside out process...  Just do it.... and the result is the ( in this example) the 10 inch POT fabric  is now on the underside of your pot holders.. the folded triangles now on top .
To use as a true pot holder with a good grip...  one can literally slip a couple fingers through the center opening of the folded triangles.  It's a mighty good HOT Pad  for food dishes too.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

O.. to return to Venice

Friend and fellow artist Larry Tinsley  interpreted the  grand canals of Venice  in 'raw edge' appliqué. Yes.. he loves Venice.  I do as well and hubby and I  hope to return someday. Larry's fabrics were carefully and beautifully chosen/ placed. Lucky me, I got to quilt it for him.  I LOVED his fabrics so whatever I did in the quilting, it HAD to support his fabrics and NOT get in their way.

Believe it or not... many of the buildings had such interesting textures in their fabric surface, that colored threads atop would have been distracting. I chose to closely quilt them.  The closeness of the quilt lines made the building look flat/ hard ( as would be the case of old world buildings) .... and.... as importantly they were  quilted with ever so thin monofilament or in some cases 100 wt ( REALLY thin)  matt finish poly. Seeing the thread  at a distance was just less important.

The commercially printed sky fabric was unusual... some circling brush strokes like swirling wind... and lots of little bits of cloud here and there. Never seen a sky quite like it.  Thats the fun part of quilting.  The ever looming question in quilting.... HOW DO I DO THAT AREA justice????  
 (Click on photo for enlarged view)
(c)  VENICE 29"L x 32W

Larry 'framed'  his scene  is blue and gold. Plenty of straight stabilizing quilt lines were needed both visually and to eliminate potential for surface distortion. ( You may note I am not using a walking foot for this... instead, I'm using my 1/4" foot  and have reduced the pressure on the pressure foot so I can stitch easily without 'stretching' the border fabric.  Beside... I can use the side of the 1/4" pressure foot as my stitching guide for the 'next' line to it's right.
 Using gold thread... a traveling scroll line further adds to border stability AND  reminds me of the old world elegance seen in this breathtaking city.
Last...  After all the handling involved in the quilting process, I like to dampen/ pin/ and air dry to block perfectly flat.( I circulate air with a fan in the room  though not pointing directly on the quilt )
 Pins are out and Quilt is in Larry's hands for binding.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Potions and Spells

Lucky Me... It's that time of year to celebrate the spooky and wicked.  A slightly early Happy Halloween!!!  I get to custom quilt a second spectacular embroidery piece by Hilary R Field of Orange Ca. The central embroidery  scroll speaks to Potions and Spells.   Some embroidery has been outlined as quilting. Purposely, no fancy quilting inside the scroll...  Hilary's  spell message is the all important part here.  There is a bit of negative space around the spinning 'spell' text though so I knew I'd want to add some downplayed images that support the scroll in center.  Hand drawn with disappearing marker and here we go.  Boiling cauldron on lower left .
A fairly realistic flying bat profile upper left. Simple contour drawings come alive with a surrounding fill.  Click on any photo for enlarged view.
Spider and web... makes me shutter. Creepy! 
Overall center ..  This does have an old world feel. 
The surrounding border is various value browns and neutrals. Quilting that would draw attention to these would have been a disservice to the scroll...   so the goal I had was to  secure and use straight line quilting to  provide a counter balance to the active and fluid middle. Sometimes, I really do think less is more.  
This is a truly a beautiful piece of work by Hilary. Such impressive embroidery skills!!!