Friday, January 28, 2011

Hand Quilting Frame

I had a couple very large packages waiting for me the other day when I got home. It was the quilting frame I'd ordered! It seems that whenever I order something, I want it to arrive later that same day! I'm always so anxious to receive it!

It was no different with this quilting rack. I managed to get it all set up and put together by myself, and now it's all ready to use. There sure are a lot of adjustments on it: higher, lower, more slanted, less slanted.

Now my tumbling blocks quilt is installed on it and I'm ready to start quilting. I finally got all those little seams pressed down (with only a few small burns on my fingers). And I have given up any notion that this is a portable project. Now it will just sit at home (for years?) while I hand quilt it.

With my little arsenal of tools set up beside me, I'm ready to go!

Thread snippers
Needle threader
Thread Heaven conditioner
Rubber disc to pull needle through

* * *

No, wait a minute.
Now I'm ready to go. Gotta have that (non-greasy) hand lotion nearby!

I really love having the quilt set up for me to work on. It's so easy to go into that room and quilt for just a few minutes or for a half hour. Nothing to set up or put away. It is placed in my guest room, and I can watch tv while quilting if I want. Looking up occasionally helps keep me from getting a stiff neck.

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Project

Here's a sneak peak at a new little project I'm working on. [Man, it seems I'm really, really good at starting projects. Now if I could just manage to finish a fraction of them...]
This is going to be a small wall hanging for my guest room.
I'm going for the arboreal thing here, with browns and greens. I have it sewn and quilted. And I have the binding cut already. All I need to do is sew the sleeve, a label, and get it bound.
I played with some leaf shapes (more or less!) in my quilting.

Christmas Crafts Now?

Here's a little snippet of a Christmas craft that I'm working on. Why now? Because I didn't get it done for last Christmas, and there's no time like the present to get busy on it, I think! It's one of those pre-printed panels you buy off the bolt.

It's a sort of stuffed doll/animal/toy, weighted at the bottom with nylon beads.
Below is a photo of what it will look like when I get it done.
I'm not quite sure where this will go or to whom it will go. We'll just have to wait to see Santa's fate.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Wooden Bowl

When I was in Iowa in December, I visited BrotherStitches's woodworking shop. He has a very nice shop set up, and it's always interesting to see what he's working on. I spied a block of wood on the floor that looked like it was several pieces of plywood glued one on top of the other. He told me yes, that was what he'd done, and he said he'd show me the finished product when we went in the house.

This is what I saw when we went inside. A beautiful turned wooden bowl. Having started out as plywood, it showcased all those different layers making up the stacked plywood.
This is a shot from the side, where you can see all those different layers. Isn't it gorgeous!

And this close-up really highlights the layers, most of them a slightly different color from the neighboring layer. I was amazed at the lines and colors. BrotherStitches then said, very off-handedly, "You can have that bowl if you want."

WOW! I couldn't believe it! For me!?!?! BrotherStitches is quite a woodworker, and makes lots of beautiful pieces of art. And I have a very decent collection of his work. From Shaker boxes (all sizes) to turned bowls to carved figurines. He does it all, it seems. I'm very lucky to have him for a brother.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Tumbling Blocks

I finally finished sewing all the rows of my tumbling blocks quilt top together! It now measures 82" by 90." It consists of 426 hexagonal shapes, sewn together from 1,278 diamond shapes. Whew!!

Now comes another fun part! With the quilt top up-side down, I need to iron all the seems on the back sides. Especially to get all those intersections to lie flat.

With so many short seams to iron, I'm using my Clover craft iron. Because a regular iron would be just too clumsy to maneuver these small seams.

Oh. My. Goodness. This. Is. Tedious.

After I iron a section with the craft iron, I go over it again with the regular iron, because I feel that the bigger iron will give a better overall press.

I've discovered that this is work which can easily produce a very stiff neck, if done for too long at a time! So I try to iron a bit, then take a break and do something else for a bit, then back to ironing for a while, then another break. Whose idea was it to make this quilt so big, anyway!?!?!?

Here is the fabric I bought for the backing fabric. It's extra-wide fabric (110"), so I won't have to deal with a seam anywhere in the back. Yes, I'm sure that will make this whole project much easier!!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Fabric Bowl

This shot makes it look extremely wavy-edged, but I wanted to show you a photo of another fabric bowl I made. This time for a Christmas present. As you can see, I've used a variety of Christmas-y fabrics to wrap around the clothesline.

This next photo shows a close-up of the decoration I put on the side. I simply made three little coils with green fabric, then sewed them onto the sides of the bowl.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, Everyone!!!

Another year has gone by, and a new one has arrived to take its place.

One thing that gets me going is that today is:


1 slash 1 slash 1 1

I know it's silly, but I always like it when date numbers line up like that. (It doesn't take much...) I just enjoy noticing these things when they occur. Like September 1st, 1991 appeared as 9/1/91 on checks that I wrote that day. I guess I can look forward to January 11, 2011 (1/11/11) as well. And November 11 will be awesome: 11/11/11!!

* * * * *

Enough of the silliness. With all sincerity, I wish each of you a fulfilling 2011. Do you make New Years Resolutions? I don't, but I often reflect at the end of the year just where I am in my life, and think about what is good, what needs changing, etc. Sometimes I think of new projects for a new year, but not resolutions. One year I decided I would grow my hair out until the next December 31.

Also, on New Year's Eve, MisterStitches and I celebrate our wedding anniversary. After 34 years with this wonderful man, I can only say that I love him more. Yes, it's been a while since that below-zero-degree day in Iowa in 1976 when we said our vows. It feels like several lifetimes ago.
So glad I did it.

* * * * *

In thinking about my "situation" this year, I'm feeling very content with my life, what I'm doing, where I am, what's going on. I have two wonderful kids, each married to someone that is also dear to me. One tremendous granddaughter who rocks my world. I love where I live. I have a lot of time to sew and quilt and play with fabric and paper. I come from a loving family, who care about me very much.

See! It couldn't get much better than this.

Also, this is my first full year of blogging (having started mid-year 2009), and it is something I really love. It's interesting and kind of a way of exploring myself. Gives me a chance to stand back and look at what I'm posting and what I'm doing. My list of blogs that I read has just gotten longer and longer, as I find new places to give me inspiration, new ideas, and just places to feel like I'm sharing as a friend. Cyber-friend, I guess.

I've been doing a better job the last few months with my walking and swimming. I am much aided by this website, where I am tracking my (virtual) walk across America. This is something that I very much want to continue throughout 2011. And beyond. But I'm not going to resolve to make X number of quilts for charity or anything like that. A project that I think I should undertake for this year would be to get myself a new camera, so I can show you some better photos!

* * * * *

So last night MisterStitches and I went out for a New Years Eve dinner to one of our favorite restaurants. There was metallic confetti sprinkled all over the tables, and we managed to keep most of it out of our food! We declined the "festive" hat and tiara, noisemakers, and bubbles. But I did bring home a confetti "popper" which I can't wait to pop open.

Five wonderful courses of delicious and adventurous cuisine--it was amazing. MisterStitches mentioned to our waiter that it was our anniversary, so when our dessert came, another dessert plate came with it. It was a plate with some awesome truffles, a single birthday candle burning, and "Happy Anniversary" written in chocolate on the plate! It was so cool! I wish I'd taken my camera to dinner with me so I could share it with you.

* * * * *

I plan to go forward into 2011 and make the most of it! I'm looking forward to making a lot of quilts and quilt projects. And happily, sharing them with you!!