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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Quilty Pleasures: Almost Finished?

Four projects are close to being finished, so here they are in their unfinished states. Maybe posting them will be a reminder that they are patiently waiting.

This is my modern quilt, started last September at a workshop presented by modern quilter Jacquie Gering.

It's been pieced and pinned for a while now, waiting to be quilted.

Why isn't it done?

The Paralyzed Perfectionist speaks: "I am afraid that I won't quilt it perfectly!"

Jacquie Gering her ownself saved the day by appearing on The Quilt Show, showing me (only me) how to quilt it using the Bernina serpentine stitch.

OK. I can do that.

The next quilt in the wings is this one:

Sorry about the weird light thingies on the top right of these pics. The sun was coming through the window and there was no way I could go out in the wind to take photos.

So this one is a baby quilt I made alongside my very first beginning quilting student in November-December. Hers is done. Mine is not.
Layering, basting, quilting and then it's done.

But I am not worried because I know how to quilt this one.

I bought the batting last night, so it will be quilted soon.

Since a baby is imminent, there's a deadline and I'm sticking to it!

Below are two blocks from a project I started last year. It was a Block of the Month and last night was show and tell. I showed them my blocks and told my quilt buds it would be done soon.

 I have all but one of the blocks appliqued, but still need to add a skinny border and an appliqued scalloped border to each block.

Here is how it will look someday:

And, here is my other project, almost, very close, so close to being finished I can almost taste victory:

 I need to make six more of these setting triangles for Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street mystery quilt.

The rest of the blocks are done (whew) and next is to put it all together.

I can't wait to see this one completed. Lots of little pieces, many hours watching internet tv shows and listening to BBC podcasts will be my memories for this quilt.

There is more stuff started and lurking in boxes and bags, but these are the closest to being finished, so they are the ones to be completed in the next weeks.

Besides, if I dragged out all the Works in Progress I have, I might get discouraged.

And I don't want that!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Quilty Pleasures-Easy Street Progress

I'm about halfway finished assembling the two different blocks used in Bonnie Hunter's Easy Street mystery quilt and was able to put part of it up on Thread Bear's design wall for a sneak peek.

I think I like it so far.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Quilty Pleasures-Make Two Quilts At The Same Time!

"Leaders and Enders" is a term I first encountered on Bonnie Hunter's blog, Quiltville's Quips and Snips. For years I have used scraps of fabric to start and end my piecing because it eliminates having to hold the thread tails taut as I begin a seam (to eliminate that bird's nest of thread you get if you don't). I never thought about actually making another quilt with those scraps!

Essentially, leaders and enders are scraps of fabric that will eventually go into a quilt, chain pieced in between the beginnings and endings of the main quilting project you are working on.

Let me show you because it's kind of hard to explain without looking at it.

I am working on Bonnie's Mystery Quilt called Easy Street, piecing the blocks, which are purple, turquoise, green, gray, black and white.

 Here are some half square triangles (Honey Honey by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics)
because I want to make a quilt out of them someday in the future. So I "lead" with two half square triangles, right sides together. Some people use two inch squares and here's a guy who uses Dresden plate blades.

 I was thinking about Gwen Marston's and Freddy Moran's "parts department," where you make pieces for a quilt, just to stock up for when you want to make one.

So here we go, starting with the triangles. Don't look at how they are a tad uneven and definitely don't tell the quilt police. And this close up of the lint on the machine? Pictures don't lie! OMG! Get out the lint brush!

After the triangle, I move right ahead to the Easy Street quilt without stopping and chain sew along as far as I can go.

 When I finish chain piecing the Easy Street quilt, there's another pair of triangles ready. I chain right onto the new triangles.

I sew right up to the end of the triangles, the "enders," and leave the fabric under the foot, ready for the next round of sewing.

 I snip off what's behind it,  all the chain piecing I just did with a little triangle stuck to the end.  I clip off that triangle.

 And I toss it into a box.

So far I don't have many half square pieces, but eventually they will add up and I will have enough parts for another quilt. 

Not only do I have some new "parts," but I've saved time and thread, too.

I hope this is a clear explanation. If it isn't, feel free to leave your questions and comments. Also, what have you made with your leaders and enders?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

New Mexico Sunshine

Northern New Mexico is enjoying temps going up into the 50's for the next week or so, and this chair has become a late morning reading spot. Yes, dermatologists say sunning is not allowed, but with the right SPF and a sunhat, a gal needs a little vitamin D, doesn't she?

The magazine is Rolling Stone and the article is about uppity nuns.

Even with snow still on the ground, Ms. Pearl lies on the porch's wooden floor, panting, soaking it all in, like an old lady in a sauna.

Sun sun sun sun.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Yes, There Is Some Quilting Going On Here

A comment by prolific quiltmaker Pattilou (check out her blog to see some of her many creations) made me realize I haven't had a quilt post for a while.

I really have been sewing my head off and hope to have some finishes in the next couple weeks.

The photo below is a hint to those who might be working on the same project, or have already finished it.

At least two of The Nickel and Dime's blog readers have either finished or are close to finishing their own versions of this quilt. Me? Well, I had to take a couple weeks off while we were visiting in California, so I am behind.

But I am determined to get this done, while listening to The Archers, a British radio soap opera known for being the longest running radio serial in the world. I feel like I have parachuted into another world, eavesdropping on the conversations of British country folk, both rich and barely hanging on.

So, who knows what quilt I am making? Are you making one?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Brrr....It's Cold!

 Brr! It's definitely cold here. How cold is it? It's so cold Ms. Pearl lifted up both front paws from the snow, sitting up even though she had never done it before.

It's been cold in many places of the United States, even cold in Southern California. Gotta put away the crop tops and shorts for a while, you guys. Get tough, SoCal people!

Here in Northern New Mexico, temps haven't gone as low as MINUS 33, like what happened a couple February's ago, but this morning was -12F when doggie visitor Reggie went out for a little constitutional. Ms. Pearl wanted to stay "turned in," snug under our bed's down comforter. Smart doggie.

It snowed all day yesterday, a light powdery 3 or 4 inches of blessed moisture.  That's our upper pasture with plenty of grass. Our two beef steers are methodically eating, one bite at a time. A USDA fellow dropped by for a cattle survey and complimented us on our grass and said we were managing it well. Well, yeah, we only have two cattle on it!

Our two steers, George and Ringo (why, oh why, do I name these cattle?) are still getting used to Ms. P and her officious behavior. "Stay together! Get in line!" are what half Australian shepherds say to both their livestock and their people.

So here are George and Ringo. They are Limousin-Angus cross breeds.


They are an experiment: Limousin cattle are larger and longer than Angus, so will produce more beef. We will have a couple more Black Angus soon, so maybe we can have some taste tests. These guys are wearing their shaggy, thick fur coats and have found all the tree sheltered spots for when it gets snowy.

Usually, though, all they do is eat or lie down in the sunshine. What a life.

Looking north toward The Enchanted Forest are the mountains near Angel Fire Resort. (Whoops-Those are the mountains above Guadalupita. Sorry.) I know skiers and resort workers who will be very happy.

The creek is almost completely frozen (this photo is from December)  The steers found an open space to drink, but Tom made the opening bigger.

I think if there wasn't sun most days I might not like the cold weather, but it's amazing what a little sunlight can do for my mental health. Heck, I even consider 40 degree weather warm now, and that's what we are supposed to have starting tomorrow. Yippee!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Medieval Snowball Fight

Shown here is a detail from the fresco at Castello Buonconsiglio, created circa 1405-1410

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Quilty Pleasures Wednesday: Paradise Stitched-Sashiko and Applique Quilts

I received a new quilting book for Christmas and I already have a project from its pages in mind. Hand quilting large spaces should be left to the pros, in my mind, but I'm okay with small projects. Large hand quilting stitches are even better and the Japanese quilting form of sashiko gives me permission to make it big.

Do you like to try new stuff? Spicy grasshoppers have not crossed my palate yet, but it's always fun to try something new with sewing.

Paradise Stitched by Sylvia Pippen offers several wall hanging projects using applique to add blooms and birds to plain fabric. Quilting, embroidery and sashiko, a simple running stitch, complete the projects.

Advice about how to choose the appropriate fabric to get the shading and brights needed is clear enough that even I can understand it.

Here is something I think I could do and it would be a reminder of my California roots.

The detail below gives you an idea of the techniques involved. I will be a fused applique person for this project.

So I think this may be a project for 2013. What do you think?