Saturday, April 25, 2015

Blooming Flower Garden

This is the view from the back deck, it's a natural pond with all kinds of waterfowl, fish and amphibians, unfortunately it's also a haven for water moccasins that mostly stay in the water! Care must be taken to keep the grass short to discourage the snakes from leaving the area and domestic animals are watched closely.


My friend's husband makes a mean mango daiquiri and that's what we had with our yummy lamb shanks, a lovely evening to a successful day.L
Project #3 was our focus today, starting with the strips for the background of the quilt, that was the most time consuming part. Tina Curran's pattern is our guide for this adventure, and it's interesting to see how Leslie and I approach the construction and how different our final quilts will be.
We began by laying the strips down on the design wall until we found an approximation of the basis. We began to piece the strips using a mitered seam rather than the block approach in the original pattern. This doesn't look at all encouraging but it's early in the process!l
I found the simplest way for me to join the strips together was to lay a ruler on the strip to be sewn and draw a line with a marker where I wanted to stitch.
Then I took the backing to the machine and pinned the new strip on the marked line, leaving the other strips still on the wall.
I sewed each consecutive strip in the same way until I had my backing the desired size.
It down and squared it and trimmed to this, about 27"x29".
We cut out a wide selection of flowers from lifelike to stylized and modern, and ironed on a fusible backing, we prefer Steam a Seam Light 2, it is the most user friendly we have found.
This is my interpretation of the pattern mostly ready to do he final fixing of the appliqués, it needs just a couple more flowers and a little tweaking. One of the advantages of the Steam a seam is that it has a sticky backing that adheres temporarily to the fabric but is repositinable until you reach the final design choice and can press the appliqués on permanently.
Below is Leslie's design, quite a bit different to mine as her eyes interpreted th picture.
She has yet to add her stems and some leaves, I love it she even has a little green frog hiding in the bottom of the picture! I think I must make a second one with different colors, as Leslie said they are addictive!
After church in the morning we will finish up with this quilt and see how far we get with the next project before I head for home Monday afternoon. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Two Down, One To Go!

 This morning we made a run to the Bernina store to have my friend's big Bernina checked out- the one she quilts on-  and I indulged in a little retail therapy!
This cool tool and cup holder clips to the table like this.....
I need one, I am forever knocking my tools onto the floor, scissors, pencil, ruler etc not to mention my Coffee/water when I am sewing.
Then we saw these very handy little iPad/phone stands and I decided we needed to make them so we had to have the book. 
Twelve projects in here surely we can use more than one!
It would be good to find vinyl covered fabric for these or they will get dirty and impossible to clean. Tomorrow we will look for some when we go out to buy lamb shanks for dinner, yum yum!
While wandering around the terrific and very friendly Bernina store -"Sew much more than a sewing store"- I noticed copies of the Angela Walters book that I already have and so I had to buy one for my friend. Her quilting set up is a sit down version and this book is aimed at both longarmers and home quilting set ups so I am sure she will be able to reproduce the designs. Angela demonstrates  lots of great design combos that are easy to quilt out.
This was the progress I made today on the curves quilt made with the curves ruler from http://sewkindofwonderful.com. I didn't have enough WOW but Joann's had the lovely Kona cotton and I had a 50% off coupon, deal!
Tomorrow we begin on the Summer Flowers wall hanging that should be fun, something different change.
 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Longhorns And Bluebonnets, I know I'm in Texas!

This is Texas now in Spring so lush and green with wild flowers everywhere and the State flower looking particularly beautiful, the Bluebonnets are amazing.
I am here for a week to visit with a dear, long time friend, also a quilter in fact the person who really got me hooked!
We began this morning on our first project with two sets of templates a 9" and a 10", Leslie took the 9"  and I the 10 " and off we went on a cutting spree, which took longer than we expected.
Here is my friend hard at work, we did cut 30 blocks each and below was our progress by lunchtime.
 Mine are on the left and hers on the right they are looking very nice.
By bedtime we had a few sewn together. I made a couple of mistakes sewing the background on backwards then in spite of my errors Leslie did the same thing so there was a little ripping, always have to do a bit of ripping or you don't feel as if you are really quilting!
We are very happy with them and since we are inspired to move on we may set them aside to begin on a second project tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Baptist Fan Quilting Design

I just replaced my broken iPad2 with an iPad Air and this is the first post to be constructed using the Blogger App. Little man destroyed the old unit, grabbed it and ran and when it flew out of his hands it bounced a couple of times on the tile floor then came to rest on the now shattered screen!
Argh. Guess it was time to update!
The old iPad never gave me the ability to post the way I wanted to and I am anxious to see if it can be done with the Air version, I am weary of toting the laptop whenever I travel.
 At first look the App is quite different from working directly with the Blogspot URL And I don't yet know how to manipulate the photos and text so more study is required!  
Baptist Fan is a terrific traditional quilting design I love to use on more traditional quilts like this king size quilt .
It's the third of four quilts I am finishing for the dear lady with ALS, and hanging in the loft as high as I can hoist it you can see by the way it drapes on the floor that it is a large KS.
I just love the way the design looks as simple as it is the result never fails to delight me. In the past I had managed a fairly decent freehand BF but when I decided to invest in the Circle Lord system my first purchase was the BF template and I can't say enough about how efficient, accurate and fast these make execution of this design. It gives wonderful movement to the quilting and does not distract from the pattern of the quilt but rather enhances it, the goal of most longarm quilters.
The backing is a plain muslin also a very traditional way to back quilts allowing the back to become a whole cloth quilt and easily used in reverse as a change from the pieced top - thread is neutral tone.
 The variation in color is solely due to lighting issues, there was a light on in the area the other side of the quilt and it showed through to the different colored blocks.
PS.
OK, so far I am not a fan of the Blogger App. which I have to use on the iPad because regular Blogspot editing software does not play nicely with the iPad. What I am finding with the App is that I cannot alter the size and position of the photos and I can't seem to get the full post editing page up. I went back to the laptop to tweak the post to make it prettier but when I am away from home next week I will not have that luxury!
Some of these issues may be operator error, I haven't had a chance to read up on the App to get the full benefits, that will be a project for the next few days.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

To Border Or Not To Border!

It somehow looks unfinished to me but is that the way of the modern quilts, no borders?
I will ponder it - there is sufficient fabric for borders of some kind, what do you think?

Monday, April 6, 2015

A New Project!

This is the perfect moment to begin a new project, since my right knee is in very bad shape at the present I decided I would prop up the right leg and sit and sew with my left foot! It does feel a little odd to a right handed person, the biggest problem I have is failing to lift my foot off at the correct moment!
This is the pattern I chose because the fabrics had already been prepped for a retreat last year then I found there wasn't time to get to it. I do not remember the name of the pattern, or where I got it but I suspect it may have been one of those freebie inserts that come with magazine subscriptions.
It's made up of these simple blocks, HST's and squares. I had saved the pattern because I thought it would be a great example for some modern quilting techniques.
 It needed eight different half yard prints and I had won these beauties called "Rose Parade Half Yard Bundle" in an online contest at Fort Worth Fabric Studio Blog two years ago [they have gorgeous, yummy fabrics!]
Exactly eight half yard pieces, perfect! Combined with WOW already on hand it was the exact fit for this design, how rarely does that happen?

So I sat and sewed yesterday afternoon and again this afternoon for a while, now all the blocks are pressed and trimmed and these few on the design wall. OMG.
I really love this quilt and can hardly wait to try some modern quilting ideas on it.
Tomorrow perhaps I will get it all pieced together

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Light It Up Blue

Today, April 2nd. is World Autism Awareness Day, so wherever you see blue lights or blue shirts it may be someone touched by or supporting Autism families and research.
Having an adorable, clever, winsome little grandson with autism my knowledge of the disorder has grown exponentially since my Psych. nursing days. Our little fellow is a miracle to me, until a couple of  years ago he was non verbal and wracked with unpredictable and uncontrollable meltdowns in his inability and frustration to communicate his needs.
We had no clue when we welcomed his birth that he would have such an enormous challenge in his life, and the diagnosis was a blow to us all.
Today at almost six he is in kindergarten at a wonderful Elementary school, talking a blue streak all day long, singing and generally behaving mostly as any little boy would. He requires speech therapy for articulation, some words are not clear and when he speaks quickly he may run all the sounds together in  his excitement or distress. He struggles with some aspects of grammar, pronouns he is mastering now after a lot of practice. He knows good manners [though as with any child he can need a reminder].

He loves the water and can stay underwater for the longest time, so swimming is a favorite sport.
 He succeeded far beyond the instructors expectations in his first skiing adventure and loved every minute of the snow time.
He is mastering the bicycle beginning with this Glyder Bike and moving up to a regular two wheeler.
Recently he has begun taking horse riding lessons and again is making impressive progress.
He loves to cook especially baking and begs "can we make banana bread please Grandnanna?" 
He can tell me all the ingredients that we need and always wants to measure them himself, so he is learning not only about cooking basics but about weights and measures too. He is beginning to read and add and subtract and experiment with little science  projects and has an excellent  memory.
He is a happy, funny, loving and enthusiastic child who enjoys learning and trying new things. He can be a real clown and has a wonderful sense of humor. He is sensitive and can struggle with aspects of life that the average child may not but he is learning ways to manage them and tries very hard to battle the difficulties he encounters. He can also be very difficult and trying at times, and we all need extra patience to guide him through.
He discovered electronics early on, really before he was verbal, and must be strictly limited in time and exposure to the plethora of games available on phones and tablets.
 One of his favorite treats is a visit to the games arcade.
But he also fills our lives with joy and wonder and constant challenge, he is exactly the way God made him and we believe with the dedication of family, teachers and all the others who encourage and shape his life he will continue to face and overcome the challenges of Autism until he is champion of every one of them. God has a special purpose for his life and it is our privilege to help him to find it.
So next time you hear the word "autism" I hope you will have a better understanding of the kind of success these children can achieve and do all that you can to assist any you know. If you see a child with a "meltdown" it may not be a temper tantrum but an autistic child struggling to make sense of his world, have compassion on his family and say a prayer for them!
"I Lost my tooth"

Some current stats on autism
1% of the world population has autism
The incidence has grown alarmingly, prevalence has increased by 119.4% from 2000 to 2010 from 1/150 to 1/68
Males are 4-5% more likely to be affected 1/42 boys, 1/189 girls
Autism is the fastest growing disorder and the most underfunded
The cost of autism in children is over $200 billion/year
These stats do not include Aspergers and other spectrum disorders

Quilt For A Little Girl

This is the second quilt finished for the dear lady with ALS, it will go to her youngest granddaughter who I am sure will be thrilled with a quilt from her Grandma.
 It finished up about 40"x60" a nice size for a small child to cuddle with.
Quilted with a freehand Edge to Edge swirl, I just love how it compliments any quilt.
 The border and backing are a pin dot, batting QD Dream Angel of course and the thread Superior brand Magnifico.



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

QOV#3

This is the last of three Quilts Of Valor for Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association. They will be shipped off to be bound by another quilter and ready for presentation at the reunion in Washington DC in August.
Although I use Quilter's Dream products all the time, this was the first for using Quilter's Dream Puff batting - it quilted up easily and made the  freehand Edge to Edge peacock feathers look really pretty. If you want a poly batting with some loft I recommend Dream Puff.
 The backing is pieced and also shows the quilting detail nicely.
The thread is Superior So Fine in a neutral shade.