Let the Quilting, Fusing, Dyeing Begin

Let the Quilting, Fusing, Dyeing Begin

Summer is here, the garden is in and my sewing machine is in the shop for its yearly checkup.  Apparently June is tune-up-your-sewing machine month as it’s been in the shop for two weeks and it’s just now ready to come home.  Since today is a Friday in the Summer, I’m not going to retrieve it until tomorrow.  I find that about 2 pm Friday afternoon, about half the population takes a stupid pill and hits the freeway.  It should be a lovely weekend so there will be lots of traveling to lakes and beaches.

Sunday, Barb and I head for the hills, (literally) when we drive up to Sisters, OR for a week of quilting topped off with the Outdoor Quilt Show on Saturday.  Sisters is located on the east side of the Cascades at the edge of Oregon’s high desert.  It’s a lovely setting for both Quilter’s Affair classes and the Outdoor Show.  I’ve been going since 1993 except for a year when we vacationed in Europe and the year my son got married.  This year I have four days of classes and a day to just hang around.  There’s a lot to be said for the relaxation of just hanging around.  In this day and age, people don’t do it so much and I think that’s a shame for both adults and kids.  Enjoying a day, taking it all in, is good for the soul.

On the left, the highway through town is closed on the day of the show.  On the right, quilts are hung on the outside of most of the buildings in town.  How can you not love this?  Also, being with friends and not cooking or cleaning is always good.

For the first year ever, all my quilting stuff is packed up and ready to for Sunday.  Clearly, that’s because the sewing machine is gone (although I could’ve borrowed Barb’s) and I found the need to clean the quilting studio.  Who saves tiny bits of fusible web?  Not to mention some weird junk that I have no idea what it does?  The good news is that it’ll be ready to roll when I get back.  This year I’m doing a fusing class, quilting with rulers and painting on fabric.  Barb will be dyeing fabric and making tote bags.  So much to learn, so little time.

         All packed up and ready to roll (left). Just a small mess in the background.       For me, this is neat.  Just a little more quilting to do on Submariner’s Compass.

I’m already thinking about fall.  I have a couple of ideas in my head and will get lots more inspiration this coming week.  Now I’ll go bake some cookies for my housemates.

If this post has issues, please know that I couldn’t preview it and hope to have the problem solved quickly.  I love the internet, but it’s always something.

Have a wonderfully fun and safe Independence Day weekend.

Keep quilting for Fun!

Enter Spring

Enter Spring

Spring is officially here.  Here in the Northwest, spring weather means all the weather in one day.  Sun, rain, wind, maybe some thunder.  Because we’ve had such  record-breaking rainfall, many a back yard is pretty swampy, mine included.  However, the front yard is merely soaking wet and the tulips don’t seem to mind it much.  We’ll have plenty of color out there soon.  I’m fervently hoping the tulips will overshadow the weeds which have also loved the wet weather.

My quilt guild had a show last weekend and our small quilt group had a chance to show off the projects we’ve been working on for a year and a half.  We all had the same group of fabrics, though we could add some if we chose and the same blocks from the Tula Pink “100 Modern Blocks” book.  We each made at least 60 blocks although a few overachievers made more.  There are a few missing from the group below but you’ll get a taste of how different each quilt was.

It was such a fun project to work on and my fellow quilters are just the best.  It will be a while before I use lots of black again as it was a dust and thread magnet.  (Mine is the big X.)

I finished “Limeade Runner” (finally) and it’s perfect for the kitchen table during Easter time.

It’s just seven blocks from “Pink Lemonade” put together in a line.  And here it is at work already.

If you really look at the top right of the above picture, you might notice a furry photobomber.  She blends in so well with the couch, it’s easy to miss.

Here she is with her favorite toy.  She carried it around for about 20 minutes the other day.  That ball is  so far in there I’m not sure how she does it.

Ella’s not giving up her tennis ball for love or money.

Toby has perfected his “nobody loves me” look.  Trust me when I tell you, he’s our big sweetie.

Check our shopping page for a couple of specials.

Quilt for fun.

Candy

PS  Please share us with your quilting friends.  The more, the merrier.

Longing for Spring

Longing for Spring

How is meteorological spring looking for you?  I wouldn’t have known the difference from winter if I hadn’t been listening to the weather channel while I was quilting.  The fog, rain and occasional snow looks pretty much the same as it did two weeks ago.  So I put out Easter decorations just to brighten the house up a bit. I think it’ll help a little.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Outside

Inside

Confession time:  I’ve got more than a few UFO’s hanging around and it’s time to finish them.  Most are completed tops and many aren’t even very big.  Some are projects I started in classes and just never got around to finishing (which assumes that I can figure out how to pick up where I left off).  I’ll be working to finish or give away some of these projects over the next few months.  This does not mean that I won’t start anything new.  I will.  I’m still me.  I’m actually looking forward to finishing some of these quilts because I really still like them.  Since I won’t be working out in the yard anytime soon, I can concentrate on inside projects.

Actually the UFO thing sort of springs from a newfound need to simplify my life and thin the herd that has become “our stuff.” I was inspired by seeing a friend’s newly pared down closet.  In order for this not to be overwhelming, I just do a little bit a few days a week.  One drawer is so tidy that I open it daily just to inspire myself to keep going.  (Also, to admire my work.)

I’ve been working on a quilt from Karla Alexander’s book, “Dynamic Quilts with Easy Curves.”  It’s a gift for some old friends who have recently redecorated.  The new look is very modern/contemporary with mostly neutral colors.  As you may have noticed, I’m not exactly the queen of neutral.  I think I’ve met the challenge.  Whether I was victorious is another question.  I like it more than I thought I would, but am ready for a project with color.

Since March weather can be dicey most everywhere, I’ve decided to put a few of our springier and brighter quilt patterns on sale.  If the flowers aren’t blooming in the garden, we can just make them bloom in fabric.

Tulip Field

Spring Sampler

Singing Tulips

In Full Bloom

All four quilt patterns can be found on our Shopping page.  They’re pretty much guaranteed to brighten up any space they occupy.

Please share us with your quilting friends; the more quilters, the better.

Keep quilting for fun!

Candy

Teased by Spring

Teased by Spring

Last week we had a lovely, sunny day.  The kind of day that says, “Spring is just around the corner,” when it’s really not.  Mother Nature can be an awful tease.  Still, being outside in the sunshine is really refreshing.  Since then we’ve had a couple of nice days and lots of rainy ones, with more rain on the way.  Tell me, again, “how many more days until spring?”

We went to Utah to ski with friends week before last and managed to ski a bit before it rained.  This has been such an unusual winter for many of us.  The mountains of Utah were gorgeous as always and just getting out of Dodge for a few days makes the winter pass more quickly.

I finally finished my small quilt group project. All the blocks are from Tula Pink’s “100 Modern Quilt Blocks.”  All twelve quilts were made with the same blocks and colors.  To say they’re all different would

be the understatement of the year.  It was such good practice for very accurate cutting and sewing.  Each block finished 6 X 6-inches.  I made 67 Tula blocks (and parts of a couple more).  Everyone made at least 60 and at least one person made all 100!  There’s always at least one overachiever.  The quilting was a challenge as the quilt is kind of big, 72 X 76.  My next few projects will be decidedly smaller.

Speaking of smaller, I’m in the midst of another teapot quilt.  This one is mostly wool.  The basic pattern is the same as the last Teapot Quilt, but it’s a little different look.  I’m putting in a few stitches I learned in a Sue Spargo class I took last summer, ably taught by Tonye Phillips.  The pot is still looking a little naked, but you get the idea.

I’m attempting to use materials I already have,  I have lots of little bits of wool and felted wool, which work well.  The beads in the center of the purple flower are 2mm seed beads.  For $2.59 you get a little vial with about 2000 tiny beads.  I bought them for a class where I used about five.  I have enough left to last for generations.  If anyone’s interested, I’m happy to share.

I’m thinking about a poppy quilt for this summer based on this picture:

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Poppies always take me back to the flower days of the late 60’s and early 70’s.  I loved the bright colors and pink and orange together.  I also liked the clothes, although that’s a whole different story.

Time to get back to my teapot and maybe a cup of tea.

We’d love to hear your comments and follow us on Facebook.

Quilt for Fun.

Candy

 

 

Digging Out

Digging Out

We’re now back to weather that we  call normal.  The snow and ice are gone and it’s about 30 degrees warmer than it was a week ago.  The tulips are just starting to come up and we may survive winter.  The back of the house had lots of icicles.  One was 28 inches long!  Check out the bottom of this hanging basket:

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We’ve had wintry weather before, but icicles off the bottom of a hanging basket is a first for me.  Because we had such a lovely fall, I hadn’t taken old flowers out the the pots.  Of course, they’re all totaled except the pansies.  Those babies are tough.

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I finished Dancing Teapot today.  It came a long way from this

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to this

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And a close-up of the flowers and quilting.

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The teapot and decorations are fused, so it’s pretty quick to do.  I needed a little color to brighten up our rainy, winter days.  The pattern will be on the Shopping page tomorrow.

My next move is to make the teapot penny rug style.

Having some smaller projects that go quickly is really nice when there are some pretty big ones in the queue.  I have a couple of large quilts that “just” need to be bound.  As if that will take a half hour or something.  I also want to make some serious headway into my stack of unquilted tops.  (After all, it’s still January and we’re allowed to say stuff like this as if we have all the time in the world.)

I have one other project that’s been haunting me for many years.  Back in about 1983, I started a Christmas quilt.  I’m pretty sure the pattern was from Quilter’s Newsletter.  I finished the top and began hand quilting it.  I didn’t get very much quilting done, but vowed to finish the following year.  Cut to 2017.  That same unquilted piece has been hanging around all these years and I haven’t put one more stitch in it.  The backing is plain white and the batting is polyester and a bit fluffier than I like now.  So here’s the plan:  I take out the hand quilting (Luckily there isn’t much), and sandwich cotton batting and a more colorful backing and machine quilt it.  I really want to finish as I totally loved the fabrics and I want to use it at Christmas time.

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 I’m thinking my new mantra for the year will be “Fix it or fling it.”  This is not just about quilting, but about a lot of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years.  Because we haven’t moved in 27 years, we’ve tended to save stuff “just in case.”  I’ve decided that if I’m not using something, someone else should get a chance to.  So this will be my first “fix it.”

When I get to a “fling it” quilt top, I’ll post it here and on Facebook so that other quilters can get first dibs before I give it away.  Check us on Facebook and post any quilt top that you’d like to give away to a good home and we’ll see if we can put some “fix it” and “fling its” together.

As always, we ask you to share us with your fellow quilters.

Quilt for fun,

Candy

Happy 2017!

Happy 2017!

Happy New Year to all!  It’s time for new calendars, a resolution or two and a deep calming breath.  We made it through another year.  Was yours a bit of a roller coaster ride?  Life is like that.  Hope you finished some projects and have more in mind for the coming year.  I have bunches of ideas to work on this year and will share as I get them going.

I finished this on Dec. 30.

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It’s a kit I bought at a show 2 or 3 years ago.  This sort of project relaxes me.  It’ll get packed away in the next day or two, but did its job to bring a little serenity to a busy December.

About this time last year I posted about having a “Finished” list.  I actually hung in with it for a few months.  Then life got busy and I kind of forgot.  So, as with many good resolutions, I’m starting over.  I used to really beat myself up about not following through with resolutions.  Now I’m more into giving myself a little break.  The new plan is:  I didn’t mess up as much as I learned.  Now just do it a bit better.

This is a good time to go back and look at your first quilt.  Mine was made in 1976 from a pattern in a McCall’s Craft Magazine.  Some of the fabrics were cotton and others were blends. (In the mid 70’s 100% cotton fabric was a lot harder to find.)  It was machine appliquéd with a zig-zag satin stitch.  My little machine wasn’t really built for that and I had to stop regularly to let it cool down.  The quilting was done by hand, but there wasn’t much of it.  It was cute, not fabulous yet I was totally hooked.  How is yours?  Chances are that it’s not as good as your last one.  You didn’t quit; you learned a lot from that quilt and made the next one better (or different or more “you”).  You went on to learn new techniques, some of which you loved and some you decided were definitely not for you.  It’s how we work; it’s how life works.

So here’s a resolution that makes sense:  Take a risk, learn something new and have fun with it.  If it works, great!  If not, you learned something (even if it’s that you hate the new technique) and that’s great, too.

Here’s a picture of part of a quilt I finished earlier this year, apropos of nothing except that it’s very cheerful.

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For those of us getting an unusual blast of cold weather, stay warm.  (It was 16 here last night.  Might be setting a record.)  For those of you in milder climates, your friends in the cold may not want to hear the 70 degree details.  For everyone – check out our Facebook page.  There will be more postings this year and we’d love to hear from you.

Quilt For Fun!

From under three quilts,

Candy

Holidays

Holidays

They’re here!  It’s “the Holidays” and they include everything from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.  All in all, that’s about six weeks of fun, stress, and stress to make it fun.  I love the idea of it all and am planning to relax and enjoy as much as possible.  If it could just look like a Christmas card of a cozy cottage with snow all around, gingerbread men waiting for Santa and a warm fire in the fireplace as opposed to chains on the tires, and a cancelled flight.  So here’s the new plan:  don’t go for perfection, go for fun.  Don’t do it all, do the parts you love.  Sound familiar?

So this happened yesterday.

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The forecast said a bit of snow in the morning.  It actually snowed on and off most of the day.  It didn’t stick and this is what it looked like this morning.

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 It did leave some serious snow in the mountains and ski season promises to be good this year.

I put the Christmas quilts up and Sweet Husband assembled and decorated the tree.  While I have some thoughts about a new Christmas quilt, it will wait until after the holidays.  I have a couple of projects with deadlines that need to be dealt with first.  With time running short, I recommend a table runner like our “Santa Says Hi” runner that can realistically be finished before the end of December.

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Depending on the colors of your fussy-cut centers, you could go anywhere from traditional colors, to coral and olive green to apple green and purple.  What’s in your stash?

This is also the time of year when we start thinking about resolutions.  This year I’m going more realistic.  I want to get some new patterns out there and have them be available in a timely manner.  A Christmas pattern that comes out at Thanksgiving isn’t going to cut it.  The best way to accomplish this is to put in on the calendar, put it on the list and write it in ink in my planner.  We have some fun ideas and are looking forward to sharing them with you.  In the meantime, see what we have on our shopping page!

To all our quilting friends, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Quilty New Year!

Candy and Barb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having Fun Yet?

Having Fun Yet?

The sweet surprise last Monday was a dry and mild day and night.  We had lots of trick-or-treaters and Toby and Ella had a great time.  They tried more than once to just amble off with the kids, but it’s hard to just blend into the crowd when you’re big and furry.

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Toby was bummed when the kids didn’t stay and play.  There’s nothing like a whole bunch of new fans that think you’re soft and cuddly.  While the dogs both loved the excitement and attention, they were pretty pooped at the end of the evening.

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I have no idea how this could possibly be comfortable, but the big guy doesn’t seem to mind.

The rest of the week was sunny and mild, which is pretty surprising for the first week of November here.  I sat out to catch a little vitamin D and for some reason, I found that nasturtiums that barely came up in the window boxes this summer, were enjoying a major comeback.

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There are also a couple of pansies still blooming.  Usually they do well in the fall but the wind blew half of them away and I’d about given up on them.  Yet there were a few hardy souls.

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I finished my Hallowe’en top this week and plan to quilt it right after the quilt that has a due date.  The pattern I used is called Giddy Gridlock and was featured in Easy Modern Quilts, Winter 2016.  I made it a bit smaller than the pattern called for, but it’s plenty big enough.  The plan was that this would make some inroads into my Hallowe’en stash.  (Insert hysterical laughter here.)  The good news is that it was fast and easy and I like it.

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I refolded and restacked the Hallowe’en fabric collection so it at least looks neater.

So now that it’s November, my question is:  are you having fun yet?  The Thanksgiving and Christmas magazines are out with tons of information on throwing the most fabulous holiday celebration ever.  Also, gift and decorating ideas for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and anything else I haven’t thought of yet.  There is lots of advice on making it  simpler (followed by recipes with 25 ingredients), taking care of yourself, gift giving and hosting the party of the century.  The very idea of wandering through the mall in the next two months, looking for a gift (I’m not sure quite what) and hoping the perfect thing jumps out and says, “Buy me,” makes my feet hurt.  I wish I had some really fabulous advice on how to have fun during the holiday season, but everybody defines fun differently, so that really doesn’t work.

I’ve given myself permission to do my shopping on the internet the last few years and that’s helped a lot.  I also let people bring food to family dinners I host.  The most helpful thing for me is taking enough fun time in the quilt studio.  This isn’t for making gifts, but for sanity maintenance.

The first year Sweet Husband and I were married, I realized that Christmas doesn’t just happen, people like my parents made it happen.  I really felt the pressure of making it happen for our new family.  This can eventually suck the fun out.  I’ve learned to spread the work around and not get nuts about it.  There was a day (before kids) when I candied my own fruit for fruit cake.  I didn’t really like the cake, but loved the smell of home-candied fruit.  Then there was the home-made divinity that the sugar ants got to.  They kind of got stuck and croaked there.  Lesson learned.

Here’s the point of this little ramble:  Do the parts you like and get help with or skip the parts you don’t.  I’ve taken this advice with quilting projects and I think it’s a good plan for life in general.

So how will you make the holidays fun for you this year?  If you have some great ideas, send them to us so we can pass them along.

Keep Quilting for Fun!

Candy

Happy Hallowe’en

Happy Hallowe’en

This is what goes on around here at Hallowe’en.

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The “tombstone” at upper left fell over when we had some wind.  Naturally, the mums had been planted about three days before.  As you may have guessed, the center mum was never the same.

The very unfinished quilt top is all from the Hallowe’en stash.  When this is finished, I plan to go right to spring so I have some new things to show.

The little tree is decorated with fall ornaments I found at a quilt show some years ago.

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This picture is not all I’d hoped.  I took it panorama style and had to limit pixels to upload it.  It’s kind of cool, but it bends everything a little.  The table is actually a regular rectangle.  Mona and Maynard spend October having their moment at my dining room table.  The rest of the year they hang out in my office.

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And yes, this actually is in my yard.  The witch has been a Hallowe’en staple for some hard years, but she survives.

The sock is from a wool class I took years ago.  It just pleases me.

I think the last one is self explanatory.

 

Sadly, it’s slated to rain on the Trick or Treaters on Monday, but the weatherman has been wrong before and I can only hope the kids get a break.

Next time I’ll talk about actual quilting.  I have lots of new ideas to try out soon.

In the meantime, here’s Toby –

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“Only two more days until all the kids come to tell me how cute I am!”

Quilt for Fun and Happy Hallowe’en!

Candy

 

October Color

October Color

It rained here last night.  The kind of rain that actually gets down to the roots.  It’s cool and cloudy and that fall smell is in the air.  It’s a mixture of wet leaves, wet dirt and not enough sun.  In the “olden days,” there would also be burning leaves mixed in and although I totally support the idea of clean air, I do miss that smell in the fall.  There are still lots of leaves on the trees . . . well, some trees.IMG_1221   IMG_1220

Same parking lot, same day, two directions from where I was parked.  Apparently, not everyone is on the same schedule.

 

There is still color in the yard.  The dahlias are going strong and probably will for a few more weeks.  Love those guys.  The hydrangeas are doing their fall thing . . .

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Except for the one below that’s still the color that most of them were throughout the summer.

 

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I’ve never owned any hydrangeas until about two years ago.  Now I’d like a yard full.

And then there is alyssum and one little geranium (the tiny pink thing at the top) that’s trying to hang in.  I just put the ornamental peppers in as they add some much needed bright color.

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I finally got the binding finished on Autumn Sunset.  The pattern is ready and actually pretty easy.  The video on painting highlights and shadows is still on the to do list.  That project will be a learning experience for me.

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The painting part is completely optional.  I just like messing around with it.  The pattern is available over on the Shop page.

I went to the Quilting Expo in Portland last weekend.  There were lots of really great quilts and I took a bunch of pictures.  Sadly, none of them is very focused.  Usually my phone takes great pictures, but I suspect I did snapped and went so quickly that it didn’t have a chance to focus.  Here are a couple that aren’t too bad.

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I enjoyed how the spiral, above, is escaping the edges of the quilt.

Now that it’s October, I’m all about Halloween.  This week most of the decorations will go up.  The outdoor stuff will wait a couple of weeks.

 I dove into the Halloween stash and made this cutie.

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What no home should be without.  The perfect size for my rocking chair.

Drink some cider, eat a pumpkin scones and enjoy this colorful season.

Quilt for Fun!

Candy