If It Rains, Clean Something

If It Rains, Clean Something

Today there is dancing in the streets!  Okay, not in the actual street, just in our fevered brains.  After more than five months of destruction and reconstruction, the house repairs are finished.  There are still two walls that need wallpaper and the painters are waiting for some consecutive days of dry weather to finish the painting outside.  Still, we are enjoying some wonderful quiet.  I should be able to move back into my studio tomorrow.  What a relief!

We had a stormy weekend which was the perfect opportunity to create a neatness in my office.  I thinned out a bunch of ten-year-old (and older) magazines and saved some (okay, a lot of ) inspirational pages.  The desk is still a little scary – one step at a time.

Now that I’ve declared April UFO month, it’s time to choose something to finish.  This is the current front-runner.

Obviously, it’s spent some years folded up in the closet.  (Don’t worry, it had lots of company.) It was a little study in value using just one block in three sizes.  I like the colors and I had really forgotten about it.  It’s time to give this baby a little love.

Barb is finally finishing setting up her studio.  She moved into a house at the beginning of January and it takes forever to get settled when one is also working full time.  Barb is also Ms. DIY, so she’s been very busy.  The current project is Roman shades in her two back bedrooms.  I haven’t made window coverings of any kind for years, and frankly hope I never have to again.  I think Barb just likes the challenge.  She was pretty surprised at how big her stash is when she moved her sewing stuff out of my house (no room at her apartment) and into her house.  Now she’ll have to buy her own thread!

The weather hasn’t been too springy.  Last weekend we had sideways rain and lots of wind.  I’m actually surprised that it didn’t blow the petals right off the tulips.  Guess they’re pretty tough.

I’m hoping to get down to the tulip fields around Woodburn in the next couple of weeks to take some pictures.  It’s very reminiscent of Holland in the spring with so many fields of color.

If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter, it’s easy to do and we promise not to fill your inbox.  The aim is a monthly missive when life doesn’t intervene.

Check out our shopping page for some spring inspiration!

Keep quilting for fun!

Candy

 

A Finishing Month

A Finishing Month

I recently read that the Northwest has two false springs before the real one kicks in.  This is true.  And spring itself is a bit iffy.  One day can include sun, warmth, clouds, a chilly rain, maybe some wind and hail, and then sun again.  This same post also mentioned summer, also known here as road construction.  But that’s a whole other story.  I just ran out and took some pictures of the sunshine.  Then I sat out in the sun for a few minutes.  Real Oregonians do not waste sunshine.

That poor rosemary had a tough winter.  It’s hardy, though and has already worked its charm on a chicken recipe.  This is the first day that any tulips have opened up and I’m loving the look.

I finished and washed “Sewist’s Delight.”  It needs blocking, but I’m not convinced it’ll help a great deal.  I like the colors and design.  But the quilting experiment was definitely a bust.  And so, another lesson is learned.

   

 

I’m hoping to get back in my old sewing space in April.  The space I’m using is fine, but it just feels off.  I’m seriously thinking of making April a finishing month.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’m a great starter so taking some time to finish would do two things: one, some UFOs will be dealt with and two, new ideas will come really fast.  It’s a bit like the dogs who want to be somewhere they’re not.  In truth, there will still be lots of UFOs on May 1, just fewer.

Our next newsletter will be out in a couple of weeks.  It’s easy to sign up at the top right of this page.

When the sun comes out, run out and enjoy it.  Sniff some hyacinths – that aroma is the very essence of spring.  Then, work on a springy quilt.  Check our shopping page for ideas.

Quilt for Fun!

Candy

 

Something Springy

Something Springy

Spring is  here.  We know this in the Northwest because we’ll have a sunny and 70 degree day followed by a rainy 50 degree day followed by a dry, mixed sun and clouds day.  It’s confusing, mostly because whatever I choose to wear, it’ll be either not warm enough or not cool enough.  The trick here is layers.  Lots of layers.  BTW, these hyacinths smell lovely.

A couple of weeks ago AQS had a book sale.  The quilt library is already stuffed, but there’s always room for one (or four) more.  My biggest problem is that I want to do ALL the quilts.  Time is a bit of an issue here.  The good news is that no matter what, I’ll never be bored.  The big question is, what do I do next?

“Sewist’s Delight” has the quilting finished and the binding attached.  This one comes under the heading “better finished than perfect.”  I like the idea of the quilting better than the reality.  If I were to do it again, I would quilt each of the four big blocks individually and then put them together.  I’ve done this before with some large projects and it would’ve been more appropriate for this one.

The narrow quilting went fine within each block, but got kind of hairy between the blocks.  Live & learn.  The plan now is to finish the binding and wash the quilt.  A bit of shrinkage may help the overall look or make it way worse.  Only one way to find out.

One of my spring favorites is “Tulip Field.”  The pattern is on sale through the end of April for $9.00.  Treat yourself when the taxes are done.  Or any time, really.  Click on the shop button and have some fun.

 

There are actually tulip fields not far from here.  I haven’t visited them in a couple of years and it’s about time.  As soon as they’re seriously blooming, I’ll take a field trip.

Quilt for Fun!

Candy

The Refresher Course

The Refresher Course

This greeted us this morning.  It’s not really sticking.  Right now it’s mostly just blowing around.  I think the same flakes are just blowing back and forth across  my window.  Guess it’s still winter for another month or so.

You learn something new from every class, even if the class turns out not to be your thing.  We hear this all the time, mainly because it’s true.  And not just for quilting.  Last week I took a three day art class that was a lot of review.  It was great!  I tend to get so wound up in how I want something to turn out that I forget the basic lessons.  One of those for watercolor is to let the paint do what it’s going to do.  Watercolor is not for control freaks.  What you think you want tends to be more of a suggestion.  For drawing, it’s putting down what you see, not what you think you should see.

None of these things are new lessons for me.  I’ve taken drawing and watercolor classes before.  The truth is that sometimes we all have to take a step back and relearn the basics.  One more time.  And then again later.  And maybe next year.  Same goes for quilting.  Every once in a while it’s good to remember to cut and sew accurately.  Review a Sally Collins book.  Slow down, take a deep breath and remember the basics.

The biggest problem with art classes is they make me want to just hang around and play with my art toys.  So I do.

I started to quilt on what I think I’m going to call “Sewist’s Delight.”

(The fabrics in the centers are prints about sewing.)  Naturally, I don’t have enough of the dark blue thread so I’ll have to get back to it in a few days.  It’s not like I don’t have a dozen more things to work on.

The Frosty Day pattern (above) is ready and will be added to the shopping page.  It’s a 3, 6, 9 pattern so the blocks are basic and give you the freedom to make it yours.  There’s still some winter left.

We invite you to sign up for our newsletter which we send every month or so.  One is coming up soon and we’d love to hear what you think.

Stay warm and Quilt For Fun!

Candy

 

Fooled by Mother Nature

Fooled by Mother Nature

The weather is pretending to be spring-like and bulbs are coming up early.  We can only hope it’s not too early.  It won’t be funny if they get frostbitten.  Here’s our first crocus volunteer.

In the upper left you can see some very early tulips.  They may regret not staying cozy underground for a few more weeks.

I don’t even know what this guy’s story is.  It usually blooms in the late summer and early fall.

The forecast called for a dry and cold winter and Mother Nature has fooled us again.  We’ve had plenty of rain and very few freezing nights.  I wouldn’t mind a bit more sun.  The thing about weather is that you get what you get.

The three-week house repair has now entered month four.  Because of work being done on the studio corner of the house (including jackhammering on Wednesday), the sewing table has been temporarily moved to Barb’s old space.  Her new house has room for her studio and most of her things are moved out of my house.  While I’ll miss having her working here, this arrangement is much more efficient.

 

The personal challenge quilt is all pieced together and ready to quilt.  I ran out of the original orange color and substituted one from my stash.  They look more alike in person than in the picture.

Which brings me to a couple of interesting color facts that I knew, but got some real reminders of this week.  The house project affected two rooms that had wallpaper in them.  The paper in my son’s rooms is about 20 years old and still looks good, but of course we didn’t have enough leftovers for the affected wall and that exact thing is no longer available.  So that wall will have a coordinating color.  The dining room has the same problem, so we decided to find wallpaper that coordinated with the border, which has a bamboo design.  Grasscloth comes in a million colors so what could go wrong?

I didn’t have a scrap of that border which went up 28 years ago, so I matched the color in my Joen Wolfram color palette and took a picture of the  border.  I brought home a sample that seemed very close in the wallpaper store.  Let me just say that it was way off.  I can easily get a green that’s too yellow or one that’s too blue.  The lesson relearned is that colors in photos don’t tell the whole story.  Also, ink and dye will never match.  And lastly, they don’t make that color this year.  Oh, and the light at the wallpaper store is nothing like the light in my dining room.  This old house is about to push me over the falls.  I would post a picture, but all the living room furniture is stuffed into the dining room while repairs happen and there’s no way to actually get a decent shot of the wall.

The good news of all this is that Sweet Husband and I are both in the mood to declutter.  We’ve lived in this house for 28 years and it appears that we’ve saved WAY too much junk.  From pictures that haven’t been hung up since 1979 to cookbooks that I never use, we have it all.  And then there’s fabric.  I can’t even go there in my head.  I’ve saved lots of little pieces that were too big to throw away (at least in my fevered brain).  I think there’s a scrap quilt or 80 in my future.

There are three small drawers like this with different widths of strips.  I’d better get on it before I hit hoarder status.

Now, back to the sewing machine.

Quilt for fun!

Candy

 

The Personal Challenge

The Personal Challenge

One of the most interesting and educational things we quilters can do is the personal challenge.  The challenge can be a single project or a long term thing.  When we give ourselves a test that includes limitations on palette, size, time or whatever other boundaries we think up, we make ourselves imagine outside our box.  There are so many cool techniques and ideas and patterns out there, that we could quilt for a lifetime without really testing our boundaries.  Pushing ourselves into unfamiliar territory is a bit off-putting, yet it is the door to being better artists and better quilters.

Last summer I bought an odds and ends package with these fabrics in them.

 

There are good sized chunks of some and fairly small pieces of others.  These are fabrics I wouldn’t normally buy, much less buy together.  But there was something about them that called to me.

After looking at ideas I have saved and filed for some years, I added a solid and winnowed the above fabrics down to these.

Sadly, there’s not much orange and I will either add some of a similar orange from my stash or consider adding the red from the original group. I will not buy anything more.  Tough talk, I know.  That’s the challenge.  I can do this.

So far, this is what I have.

The carpet background is not my favorite; my design wall is currently inaccessible.  I plan on making three more blocks and calling it finished.  This plan has led to the thinking up of a couple more quilt designs.  Can’t wait to try them out.

The “Frosty Days” pattern is finished and will be available at the end of the week.  Check back for details.

And finally, Toby and Ella accompanied Sweet Husband and me to my mother’s last weekend.  “Nana” is a big fan of the dogs and looks forward to their visits.  Sweet Husband does some odds and ends around the house and sometimes some bigger projects.  The original parts of Nana’s house are over 100 years old, so there’s always something.

Toby naps, gives driving directions and asks for Sweet Husband to share his chicken tenders.  Ella just stares out the window for however many hours it takes to get where we’re going.  She does not take time out for photo ops.  So Toby brings all his cuteness to the camera without interruption.

Stay in touch!

Challenge yourself and quilt for fun.

Candy

 

PS  It’s raining.  Again.  Please send sunshine.

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

This year is starting out with a bang.  Sweet Husband and I have spent chunks of this week helping Barb move into her new house.  We got lucky with the weather – mostly dry and sunny. It’ll be great when she gets everything unpacked, sorted out and put away.  For now it’s a bit chaotic.  Whether you move next door or to another continent, it’s about the same amount of trouble.  Between that and the updating we’re doing on our own house, my quilting plans for this week pretty much got put back a week.  Such is real life.

I’m thinking about quilting goals for 2018, and this year I’m taking a shot at realistic plans.  If I can do more than I planned, that’s great.  I just don’t want to be annoyed with myself if (when) I fall short of goals that could only have been accomplished with the aid of a miracle.  I have enough good UFO’s and ideas for new things to keep me busy.  As always, I’ll make a list and then pare it down to be more realistic.  Quilting is kind of like going to a buffet where my eyes are always bigger than my stomach.  In this case, I like almost all the quilt ideas I see, and all the fabric, and all the notions.  I could use most of them if I didn’t have anything else in my life.  There are a LOT of other things in my life.  So the final plan is to be as efficient as possible and enjoy everyone in my life.

My studio still looks like this:

It will probably be like that for another month.  Just out of the picture to the right is a plastic wall that I have to sneak by to get to the cutting table.  The long and short of it is, it takes more time to find things, and I trip a lot.  Now to collect my perseverance and stubborn qualities to just go in there and get it done.

My son and daughter-in-law (aka Dan and the lovely Catherine) sent me these scissors for Christmas and they are wonderful.  They are Tim Holtz Non-stick Micro Serrated Scissors from Tonic Studios.  I love them because, not only are they sharp, they have big handles that don’t mess with arthritic fingers.  This pair is 7 inches long (2″ blades) and also come in 5-inch scissors and 9 ½ inch shears.  They are available on Amazon and Blitsy and probably lots of other places.

I used them to cut out the wool pieces for this cute project:

It’s not finished (big surprise), and I’m not putting it away until it is.  I will stitch the pieces down while I watch TV and it’ll be all ready for next year.  I love old pickups, so this project has a special place in my heart.

For those of you who are having a very wintry winter, stay warm.  For the rest of us, stay warm and do not gloat.  It’s not nice to tease Mother Nature.  The longer our snow shovel remains hanging in the garage, the better.

Keep quilting for fun!

Candy

 

This and That

This and That

I simply cannot believe it’s mid-December.  For one thing, we’ve had over a week of sunny (and cold) weather.  It’s probably going to rain over the weekend and then get nice again.  The Farmer’s Almanac calls for a cold and dry winter followed by a hot, wet summer.  Not our usual MO.  What I find interesting is the plant life that continues to survive.  The alyssum is still blooming a bit which makes the deck look a little less desolate.

 The hydrangea mostly looks like this picture on the left.  It also produced one little flower last week, on the right.

We are currently into week 6 of our 3-week house fix.  Yes, you read that right.

This is Maynard.  He’s boxed in behind the dining room table so that a chunk of wall could be replaced.  He screams so I don’t have to.  I do feel lucky that all the guys who’ve worked on this project have been really nice.  I decided to give up dusting until they’re finished.  Talk about your exercise in futility!  The dust will likely be measurable by the time this project is over, and right at the moment, I just can’t work myself up to caring.  I’d rather sew than dust anyway.  (Please don’t tell my mother.) (As if she doesn’t know.)

I’m working on the pattern for Frosty Days.  I’m also making another Frosty as I go along to make sure the instructions say what I think they do.  It’ll have a more controlled palette than the one below.  Apparently, not everyone wants all the colors all the time.

We’re starting to plan for the new year.  If you are, too, let us know what you might like to see in this space.  Also, sign up for our monthly newsletter.  We’ll be talking a lot about domestic machine quilting in the coming months.  The sign-up space is on the upper right side of this page.

Whatever you celebrate during these short, dark days we wish you all happiness.

 

On a Foggy Morning

On a Foggy Morning

We’re enjoying a rain-free, kinda sunny morning.  Any sunshine in late fall or winter is a big deal here.  I took this picture this morning outside my studio.

It was really foggy earlier, leaving little droplets everywhere.  We haven’t had many spiders this year so this web was a beautiful surprise.

In other news, we’ve restarted our monthly newsletter.  It will include reviews of quilting books that we’ve found inspirational and educational.  We’ll also include some practical information and photos for quilting on your home machine.  It’s actually really easy to sign up for the newsletter.  Just look to the right of this post for spaces for your name and email address.  If you have questions, just let us know at  motheronabroomstick@gmail.com

This week I’ll be putting out and hanging up my Christmas quilts.  The newest addition to the Christmas collection is “Snapshots: Christmas.”  How quickly it gets quilted is dependent upon how much wall replacement happens in my studio.  Barb’s studio space will definitely be affected.  The guys who are working on it are great.  It’s the noise that I find really distracting and headache inducing.  There is one really loud and whiny power tool that has led me to understand where head bangers come from.

Are you making gifts this year?  If so, we’d love to see pictures and hear about  your projects.  You can email us or post on our Facebook page.  If you decorate with quilts, we love to see those, too.

This little wool project was from a pattern I bought some years ago at the Northwest Quilting Expo.  I just love it and it’s so me, especially when I’ve bought a bunch of fabric.  This is the perfect time of year to cozy up to the fire and do some relaxing handwork.

With winter fast approaching, I always think we need some color to offset the brown of sleeping trees and the grays of fog and storm clouds.  With that in mind, our next pattern will look very much like this:

I like it for a wall hanging or maybe a winter baby.  This pattern will be ready by mid-December so you can add some sparkle to your January.

Have a great week.  Give yourself a break and quilt for fun!

Candy

 

Life and Quilts

Life and Quilts

As the clouds roll in and the nights get chilly, winter can’t be far away.  While winter is officially about six weeks out, sweaters and boots are already in the rotation.  Right now, some trees are still full of yellowing leaves, some are looking sparse and others are already bare.  It’s that weird in-between time when sun, rain, warmer temps and a cold wind can all happen on the same day.  So layer up kids, ’cause anything could happen.

I’m facing an interesting challenge right at the moment.  It seems that one wall of the house needs serious work due to some leakage and that includes one wall of the studio.  In order to get that done, everything in the studio had to be 4-5 feet from that wall.

What this means is that I’m now sewing in a seriously confined space.  It forces me to be tidier and (somewhat) cool with a less efficient set-up.

If the above picture makes you cringe, you’re in good company.

It also means that things must be folded and put away as I go, which is not my usual MO.  I tend to just toss things on a chair or the floor until a project is finished.  That habit is a no-go in the current situation.  It also is making me rethink how I want to change things up as I get the rest of my space back in three or four weeks.  There is also lots of pounding and sawing going on right outside my window.  Luckily, this doesn’t really bother me.  It’s just life happening.

I’m making a quilt for a dear friend who I worked with for 15 years.  I decided to go through my files of saved pictures and patterns from quilting magazines and found the perfect thing right away.  I already had some of the perfect fabrics and had to fill in a few colors.  I cut the pieces as noted in the directions and as I’m sewing the pieces together, I realize that the 34 cut pieces of blue really need to be 68 cut pieces of blue.  Luckily, I always buy a little more fabric than the pattern calls for so it’ll be okay.  The truth is that whatever magazine this came from probably published a correction the following month.  The other truth is that I tear stuff out and file it and maybe come back to it years later (in this case 12 years later).  So here’s the lesson:  Read through the pattern and cutting directions.  If the numbers or fabric amounts don’t seem right, refigure.  Also, a little extra fabric is cheaper than going back to the store or hunting down more online.  I understand that magazines are on deadlines and mistakes can slip through the cracks.  Our challenge is to figure out a way around the issues.

 

If I make 17 of these blocks, I need 68 blue pieces.  Got lucky this time.  Next time I’ll look closer at the numbers in the pattern.  The doggies in the center are from a Laurel Burch collection from some years ago.  I have learned over the years that if I find some really special fabric that I totally love but don’t know how I’ll use, buy a bunch!

Feeling a time crunch coming on before the holidays?  Try something smaller and non-anxiety inducing.  These patterns are on special this month for 20% off.

Setting an Autum Table

Setting an Autumn Table

 

 

 

Santa Says Hi

 

We’re bringing the newsletter back after a long vacation.  Sign up on our Home page to get more quilting information, book reviews and tips.  Also, we’d love to hear from you, so email us at  motheronabroomstick@gmail.com

Quilt for FUN!

Candy