Friday, September 14, 2012

Some new work to share...

Yesterday, I did the online class work for Machine Quilting Negative Spaces. I needed another piece to add to my ceiling panel that was 2/3 of the way finished. So I got out my muslin and cut a piece to size and started quilting. This first photo shows using a row of large circles to make a breaking point where the quilting motif changes from circles on one side to swirls on the other
I have done swirls frequently but not this way and then to add pebbles (or circles) in between really breaks up the swirls and adds so much more dimension to the piece
I think that this was one of my favorites. The next one shows another of my favorite designs for the texture but I found myself getting very tense while quilting this one out which was unusual as it didn't require any back tracking or to be particularly careful with this one. It is a flower motif, it reminds me of a chrysanthemum.
By the time I finished this area of quilting which was approximately 15" by 35" I had to get my shoulders unattached from my ears. I was so tense that I kept drawing up my shoulders. Strange. I also had to stop every few minutes and make my self breathe deeply and to shake out my arms. I found myself holding my breath on this one.

Once I finished up that piece I had some lunch and took a break for a while and then worked on a customer quilt that I started the other day. I finished up the outside border after supper. Here it is.

And here is a detail shot of the quilting in the blocks.
I quilted this piece with Warm and Natural batting, and used So Fine #50 thread by Superior Threads in a very light beige color. It was a dream to quilt.

So now I have to load another quilt on Lola and get to quilting it. I am also working on some smaller things to take to the quilt show for the country store that we have. I need to decorate my shoes for the show also. We are to decorate a pair of shoes to put on display up on the stage and they are to represent our personality. Wait till you see what I have planned to do.

Well, have a great day and enjoy these beautiful days that we have been having. I am going to try to enjoy the great outdoors again with another walk at Lake Wilhelm.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Taking time to appreciate what is around...

Today's post is going to be of things that I took time to notice while on my walk yesterday. Georgie is a good walking companion and we have been enjoying exploring the bike/walking path that goes around Lake Wilhelm. It is a beautiful paved trail that winds through the woods and around the lake for the most part.
There is a section that you have to walk/ride on the road but it is a remote road with not much traffic. I set myself at a pretty fast pace yesterday but I did stop along the way to get some pictures of a few of nature's beauty.

Beware of the catepillars. The trail is also a catepillar crossing. If you want to see a beautiful butterfly next year don't step on the catepillars.
There are a lot of these bat houses that can be seen along the trail. I am glad to say that I didn't see any of it's inhabitants. I think they were all inside having a slumber party.
At the end of my destination I took a little time to enjoy the lake and got some photos of the lake and facilities that can be taken advantage of.

They have public restrooms, I didn't bother taking a photo of, and picnic areas that are rather idealic. I must confess I have never had a picnic here but doesn't it look like a lovely spot to unwind with the family?

I took some photos of some of the wild flowers along the way.
It's getting close to the end of the season for the Queen Anne's lace but here were 2 little blooms standing all alone next to the path. Aren't they sweet?
And how about these lovely little wildflowers? Adorable?
Even the spiders leave their mark on the landscape.

Have a great day and enjoy your surroundings and take advantage of some of the free or not so free stuff that is available to do in your own neighborhoods or your backyard.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Being online is...

I have been taking several online classes lately on machine quilting and I have been learning some new ideas for quilting these quilts that I make and that customers bring to me. I highly recommend these 2 classes that are offering. The first one is Design It, Quilt It by Cindy Needham. She does beautiful quality heirloom style quilting. She specializes in wholecloth linen quilts and they are absolutely gorgeous. She does a great job in explaining and showing examples of the designing process that she uses and all the basics that you need to know to create beautiful works of art that really are simple once you break down all of the steps in the process. They are time consuming in order to get the beautiful results but not difficult.

The next class that I recommend is Machine Quilting Negative Spaces by Angela Walters. I haven't completed this class yet but I have learned a lot already and I am excited to try out her techniques on some of my quilts. Perhaps today will be the day that I can try some out before I get started on that customer quilt I have prepped. I can throw one of my finished tops on the longarm and practice, practice, practice.

Yesterday, I got started on a new addition to my daily routine. I took a 40 minute walk/run with Georgie over at Lake Wilhelm. I definitely need to get some exercise so I have decided that I need to do it in the morning before I get too involved in my quilting or I won't do it at all for the day. So once I get the blog post done each day, I plan on going outdoors to get some fresh air and exercise. If the weather is not co-operating then I will do some indoor workouts. This was spurred on by a 5 week fitness/getting active challenge that was posted online. So we can find wonderful groups to support and encourage us in nearly any activity we choose.

My thread was sitting on the doorstep when I got back from my walk. Eye candy. Once again this purchase was made online. The scary thing is you don't even have to leave your house to shop and spend ridiculous amounts of money. So with this one you need to exercise restraint.

I worked on several small items to try to get some more handwork ready. I put the binding on this dragonfly wall hanging. It is the second one like this that I did.
I like the lemon-lime green that runs through the background and so I used this colored wavy lined fabric for the binding to draw attention to this color. I like it, it adds an extra punch to the piece. Then I pulled out this little wallhanging that I have been reluctant to work on for ages as it is a piece that my mom started but didn't get done before she passed on.
She pieced the Christmas tree and had done some hand quilting on it and that is were it remained for at least 6 years. So I decided that I would add my own touch to it and finished quilting the border and stablizing around the tree. I plan on adding jewelry findings for ornaments and garlands as tree decorations. They will probably be a lot of my mom's jewelry pieces.

I thought that I would also show you where these things stay while they are waiting to have the hand work done.
I brought one of my many baskets upstairs to sit on the floor beside the couch to store these things aong with a little sewing kit, which my mom also made for me, so that when I am relaxing I can pull something out and work on it. I don't have to go run all over the place to gather up the tools and projects that I need, because once I sit down to relax the last thing I want to do is get back up and run around finding something to work on. This is also great to go to if I am heading out of the house and I want to tuck a small project in my bag to work on while waiting at Dr.s offices, etc. If there is nothing in the basket then I know I need to work on something quick. I will be prepping some applique blocks to put in there soon.

So today, walk, quilt, and do what ever else may present itself. I hope you have a great day and remember to take a break and go outside and enjoy the cooler temperatures and get a little exercise. Have fun.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Back to real life...

Yesterday, my schedule returned to real life stuff again. Laundry, cleaning up the house and getting back to my quilting schedule, along with my blogging. I think Georgie felt a little let down. I did not go outside and play with her as much as she had gotten used to last week with Brie wanting to be outside playing with her and running around.

I thought that I would get all of my laundry done but I had the problem of needing to turn off the drier so that I could use my iron (can't overload the circuit or I blow a breaker) and then I would forget to turn the drier back on. So today, I hope that I can get the rest of the laundry washed, dried LOL, folded and put away.

In the meantime, I did get a customer quilt prepped for quilting on my DSM, it is
45" X 50" so I would like to do that one sitting down. I didn't start the quilting as I am waiting for a thread order to arrive. I am out of all my light beiges for backgrounds along with many other colors that I have used up. I placed an order of $168 worth of threads last week. They are to arrive today. It feels like Christmas.

I thought I would give you the reasons that I use to decide if I am going to quilt on the long arm or on my domestic home machine. One of the determining factors is how large is the quilt. If it is wallhanging size I often will do it on the DHM simply because I love to quilt in this manner. I learned machine quilting on my home machine long before I got the long arm and I love it. That does not mean that I will not quilt a large quilt on the DHM. I just quilted a grandmother's flower garden quilt that was 80" X 93" on the DHM, which brings me to that reason. The complexity of the design or how detailed and densely quilted the piece needs to be. I have much better control on the DHM than the long arm. So if the quilt is to be a show quilt or a family heirloom piece I will quilt it on the DHM. If I have a piece that needs to be quilted loosely with an all over pattern such as a baby or lap quilt that will be used and washed a hundred times I will do it on the long arm. I also love doing those large quilts on the longarm as I don't have to wrangle that quilt all around trying to get it basted all together. I can do semi custom work on the long arm with good results and I do love the speed that the longarm gives me. The last factor is if a customer requests that I do their quilt on one machine or the other.

So much for that, let me show you what I did get done yesterday.
I think this little piece will be going into Jr.'s room. The new grandbaby that is coming in Dec/Jan. It is a vintage piece of linen that I found at an antique store, the red work was done and I just love the animals. Since Jr.'s room is going to be barnyard animals and Brie's is jungle animals this marries the 2 nicely.
Now this photo shows a piece that I pieced together on a retreat last winter and I got it basted together and quilted yesterday afternoon.
I stitched the binding down while watching TV last evening (as I did all 3 of these pieces last night.) Since quilting is my therapy this speaks to me. I love the wild frenzy of quilt around the quilter. I named this piece "I've lost my marbles" as I used a piece of fabric with marbles in it and incorporated hand dyed fabric too.

This table runner I have had quilted for a little while and it was in my basket to finish the binding so it also got pulled out and finished last evening.
I made this from a stack of squares that were given to me by my retreat room mate last winter and I tried out the disappearing 4 patch technique that I learned at one of our quilt meetings. I knew about the disappearing 9 patch but never had heard of doing a similar thing with the 4 patch block. It was fun but I would definitely use more contrasting fabrics if I do it again as the design got somewhat lost in the very busy prints of these. It was a great learning piece. I also love the swirling quilting motif that I used to quilt this piece. Lots of fun.

Well, it is time for me to get to work. I hope you have a wonderful day and try to get some of those unfinished projects done that you have lying around waiting for your attention. It makes you feel really good to see progress being made. Now off to the laundry. That will be progress for me. LOL.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Last week was a whirlwind of motion...

This is going to be one of those photo rich posts. I have tons of photos of little Brie and her momma that just speak to my heart that I want to share. We did lots over the course of the week and one thing I have to say is that we were moving most of the time. Not very much sitting and relaxing going on.
This face says it's "too early to be cute"
Ok now I can do "funny face"
We took time to smell Grandpa's roses.

Brie loved to play ball with Georgie and Georgie loved to play keep away or steal the ball from Brie.
This was the wind up.
Here Georgie is pleading with Brie to throw the ball for her.
We went on a play date with Jeffery at his house. This was Brie on the way there.
Had to rest up a bit so she could play.
A graceful moment trying to get in Jeffery's truck, which was the best toy there.
Here she is trying to escape the play room. Why? I don't know what she thought would be better than an entire room of toys to play with.

We went to the outlet mall one day and she was playing shy with a lady that sat down on the bench that we were resting at while mommy put stuff in the car.

Friday afternoon we took a walk at Lake Wilhelm to get some exercise and pass some time until Grandpa was finished at work.
I am not sure if Brie was walking Georgie or if Georgie was walking Brie.
We got a nice picture along the water's edge with some morning glories blooming at 5:00 in the afternoon.
Our last evening home we took Lindsey and Brie to Red Lobster for dinner and here Grandpa is tickling Brie and she was loving it.

Saturday morning we saw them off at the airport. Here is our last picture before going to security.

We had a wonderful visit. I wish we lived closer so we could see them more often but I am very thankful for the time we had together. Now it is time for me to get back to work and finish up some projects that I have to do.

Have a great day and remember to take time to smell the roses. They are here for just a short time.