8.23.14--TOO BUSY

Got a quilt back from the long-arm basting people--need to put it on the quilting frame and locate some fresh needles! Have had the perle cotton right here for almost a week.
Gone this morning to get Dana Bolyard's and Russ Adams' autographs and a new book.
Busy finishing up the trial run for my Quilt of Valor quilt. I sewed initial seams together yesterday morning and the rewrite I gave the pattern seems to be working out GREAT. 

The quilt involves five 10 inch Variable Star blocks, one 20 inch Variable Star, and one 40 inch Variable Star. Choosing the economic way to make the "flying goose" units has been my mental challenge. I dislike applying a bias edge to another bias edge and I have decided to use Half-Square Triangles for the two larger Star blocks. For the five smaller blocks, I will use the lesson from Audrey on how to make 4 of those units at a time. 

Pictures when the light is better and they have received a good pressing!


Fabric to try out a Quilt of Valor block before using
the lovely red, white and blue specially set aside.

Trying out a quilt block. 
I usually check ERRATA on patterns I am following--even though following patterns is a rarity for me. I have learned the hard way not to cut EVERYthing out or buy ALL the yarn I need (when I can't get that dye lot again) 

My Audrey class mentioned in passing that I should make a whole block first. That meant I should NOT CUT ALL MY PIECES and THEN TRY OUT THE TEMPLATES.

Darned good idea. Glad I paid attention.

A famous magazine published a Quilt of Valor pattern I desperately wanted to make. I have spent several days on the math of it because it doesn't give finished dimensions for each component. I am working back from the total size and up from some of the more identifiable cuts to guess. Think I have it. Cut the first two components to check out later today.

And because I have experience with ANOTHER DIFFERENT one of their publications, I knew better than to just cut willy-nilly. Thank heaven I learned. Thank heaven for my Audrey class and for dear Audrey. She tells me it cannot be done with the dimensions and templates given. I was sad because I really liked the quilt. 

At the time of this post, I am awaiting a return email from the designer. She is checking her templates against the published ones. The person who FINALLY returned my email at the magazine said a computer drafted the templates and she is sure they are correct. She does not mention if anyone actually sewed out the block... but she did suggest I cut it bigger. Too bad if I do that, I have no idea to what size it must be trimmed because there is no mention of it in the pattern.

Never mind. Audrey is going to teach me to machine applique. Then all (100+) leaves will be in the right spot. 


Someone I know wrote a book of quilt patterns! Dana Bolyard is a quilter whom I met via the Bless My Stitches Quilt Shop, in Murphy, NC

IMAGINE QUILTS  Is published by Martingale--That Patchwork Place. Every book they put out is well done. If I am considering buying a quilt book but am not sure whether or not I really "need" it, I look at the publisher. If it is Martingale--That Patchwork Place, that usually makes up my mind for me. 

On Saturday, August 23 at 10:00, she will have a trunk show and book signing at the Bless My Stitches shop. 

One of her quilts is on the cover of MODERN BABY which has designs from a lot of new, fresh, modern quilters. I think she is on her way and I can say I know her!

8.20.14--BEARLY HERE

With my Fisher Space Pen  for scale
The main problem with cleaning up the studio is that I keep running across projects that I have not seen for a time. Sunday, I spent  a little time making a small teddy bear. She is supposed to be a ballerina bear, but no matter what, her tutu didn't suit her. 
Next to her kit picture
I just put a ribbon on one ear and she has personality enough to carry it off. I hand sewed the seams on this one, using ladder stitch with a seam allowance so tiny I do not have numbers for it. 

Head, arms, ears

She is made of a mohair fabric that has a bit of a canvas style back. 
One ear, sewn and turned

The challenge was to make sure TWO cross threads of the canvas were in the seam allowance rather than just one.


Looks like summer. MrWallPaper.com

You can get free wallpaper downloads like this if you are bored with your computer screen. I grabbed it because it looks like summer and happy and tea.


The Journey is the goal.


Mulberry Silk Sliver lightly needle felted to acrylic felt base.
2.5" X 3.0"
I am pretty excited about felt. I am not as enthused about penny rugs as I thought I would be and rug hooking? That is going to be another post. I promise. But needle felting and knitted to felted fabric, and nuno felting I find fascinating. As with every new or continuing interest, I absorb myself in it. Research keeps me on the computer. Amazon  gives me title ideas. My library finds them and emails me when they are ready to pick up.
Here is what I have read so far:

Felt Jewelry by Teresa Searle. Nice pictures, unusual ideas, great close-ups on techniques. Most ideas involve bulky felt beads, bulky bangle bracelets, bulky pendants, weird rings, odd headdresses and such. Lots of room to springboard off the ideas into the home-dec area. Some of that bulky stuff could translate into napkin rings, and curtain tie-backs.

Felt, Fabric, and Fiber Jewelry by Sherri Haab The first 25 pages are photographs of supplies and basic instructions I did not need. There are a lot more different types of projects in this book but as the title says, fabric and fiber are also included. The projects also include lessons on how to crochet, how to make polymer beads, how to tie some basic knots, how to do basic jewelry wiring. A lot of basic information but not much in-depth. Still, a few great ideas, room to do more.

500 Felt Objects, Lark Crafts

Like a trip to a museum you hold in your hand.

There is a brief section about the ancient history of felt and its architectural properties. Although there are no pictures of yurts and most of the pictures are couture show stoppers, there are quite a few bowls and containers, furniture, and sculptural installations. It makes me want to find a source for industrial felt. 


I couldn't possibly tell you all names of the different kinds of cameras I have had. I vaguely remember the kind with the flash cube that would advance to the next side of the cube for a new bulb. I remember one that had no flash at all. I remember making a pin-hole camera in the fifth grade in Mrs. Martin's science class.

But my most recent three cameras, aside from secondary camera features found on electronic devices intended for other purposes than picture-taking, are what I am thinking about today.

I bought the Sony Mavica soon after playing with one in a computer class. I took a class as part of continuing education for teachers. We used the cameras and were amazed at how easily the floppy disk would pop out of the camera and make the pictures instantly available on the computer. We were taught how to print the pictures and that we could even purchase PHOTGRAPHIC paper. I bought one. It was a lot of money for us, and a spur-of-the-week purchase, but they had it at the drugstore and the price was affordable with a credit card, so off I went to the band event to take pictures of my sons.

Later, I wanted a camera that was a little more sophisticated. Besides, enough time had passed that none of the computers I used had floppy drives. Except, of course, the ones I was allowed to make available to my students. If you ever want a piece of technology that has outlived its contribution to the user, look in a public school teacher's classroom. That is a post for another day.

I researched for several months and then asked Santa for the Sony H7.1080 I had thought I would be able to later add a zoom lens, but I did not research thoroughly. It will not take a lens but its wonderful Carl Zeiss lens does almost everything I could want. It is a WONDERFUL camera.

Then, a month ago, I received a Nikon D80 from my brother. It came with a AF Nikkor 28-200mm lens.
It was three days before I could figure out how to turn it on. 

I have a great manual I used to learn how to remove the teeny memory disk, change and charge the batteries, and attach and detach the lens. The learning curve is pretty steep. 

I am used to setting my shot using the screen. While the Nikon D80 has a screen, it is only for viewing the shot after it is taken. To make the shot you have to look through the viewer. This is a challenge since I am farsighted. Very farsighted. Glasses off while enjoying nature, glasses on while trying to take the picture. Glasses off finding a new bird or leaf or whatever, glasses on to take the picture. I found out that there are no lens settings for getting right squat onto something to take its picture. Well, there probably are, but I need to go back and study the tutorial more. This thing has bells and whistles I haven't even found yet. 
Sony: Original shot and cropped version
Nikkon: Original shot and cropped version

8.15.15--I DID IT!

A few weeks back, I talked about all the ways to get the effect of the LeMoyne Star (THIS post) without encountering the Y-seam. None are as satisfactory as the old traditional way when executed correctly. In my Audrey class, the time came for LeMoyne Star and I was determined to do it traditionally. 

It took me FAAAARRR less time than I thought it would--due almost entirely to starching the fabrics before I cut them into shape, and to marking the back sides of the pieces' seam junctures.

It took me FAAAARRR less time than I thought it would. Still, it would probably take me all day long to get four of these. At 9" finished, that is one slow quilt. Maybe I would pick up speed as I went along. I am afraid I would just get to the "that's good enough" stage toward the end of the afternoon, though.

This block, despite being one of my triumphs, went into the basket for a Loaves and Fishes quilt. It will be part of a drawing to increase $$ for one of the local charity quilt efforts. Maybe I will win it back!

8.14.14--FELT GREAT!

At Applique' Bee. we have been working with felt.

Yesterday (at the time of this writing) we had a guest teacher. Carol shared all kinds of things she had made with needle felting.  She led us through making a book mark and invited us to make another small project.

We used "craft felt" as the base for our needle felting applique'. I was all set to make a white snowflake on blue and at the last minute switched to yellow chick on orange. I used a canape' cutter as a form. The yellow and his little green eye are wool roving, needled into shape and his wing was a little snippet of pink woven wool fabric.
Little Matryoshka, before and after embellishment

The special needle used for this has barbs on it, and you poke it into the wool all over the place until the fibers have married beneath the project. After bookmarks, we were invited to make a small, second project. I was fascinated by a pumpkin she made. She used a form inside it and I have enjoyed researching to see what kinds of things people use. I even needled up a respectable sphere from poly-fill. No wool gathering here! Not unless it is on the outside, where you can see it.

When I came home from class, I rummaged around and found my green and pink knitted, then felted purse. I had started needle felting "craft felt" flowers and didn't much like the effect, so I put aside for another day.
Knitted cording, chenille stem, darning needle. Save out enough for the loop! 

Yesterday afternoon, I finished it up with more flowers, leaves, and some vintage buttons. I didn't have a bunka brush to raise the nap on the acrylic flowers, so I used a toothbrush. I think next time, I will look to use a smaller gauge needle if I use acrylic felt again.
This morning, I made a dorset style button and applied the button loop. All done!
Loved the idea but this was the worst written
 pattern I ever knitted. I made up half of it 
and just took a chance.

8.13.14--VERY COOL

Makes me wish I drank soda pop.
1 of 52 ways to reuse plastic bottles. Wonder
what the other 51 might be? Click BoredPanda.com
I guess you can tell I have been thinking about plastic and recyclables a lot lately. We recycle much of our REFUSE but I wonder if some of it has another life it could live before leaving another carbon footprint to go to its next existence.

I guess I mean, with the plastic bottles. Can't they become useful in another way before we have to use coal fire to melt them into something else? 

I am not condoning the use of individual disposable water containers at my house anymore. We rarely use plastic bags from the stores. Newspaper and re-purposed National Geographic maps comprise my new wrapping paper for gifts.

Almost every part of my button collection is in a glass jar that would otherwise have ended in the "glass only" dumpster. 

I found several places to take my magazines when I am finished, rather than the recycle bins at the dump. Let them live on and on and on before their next incarnations.



Looks refreshing. Did you know people write RECIPES for iced tea? I could learn to like cooking...
Try these top 50 iced tea recipes at AllRecipes.


Do you like you, too? Find something that makes you happy and borrow the joy.


Yes, the light bulb and all the let there be light metaphors remind us of  creativity and ideas. Watch the video below and see how in Manila, a few simple materials can bring light to struggling people.


FLOWERFALL by Michelle Brand
Michelle Brand Environmental Design

Plastic bottles and lots of those little plastic connectors that hold sales tags to your clothing can make some lovely art.

When you use a lot of bottle bottoms, what do you do with what's left? Here (Blogilates) is an idea if you like the Anthropologie stores displays.

Go visit Cassey Ho and learn to make your own flowers from recycled plastic bottles.


Looking through old projects.

I came across a box marked Faux Cathederal Windows. When I opened it up, I remembered a class I took in Maitland, several years ago. I took it out of the cabinet and played around with the "blocks" for a few minutes. I could finish this up. It might take a few days, maybe three or four. I don't even need the fancy cutting mat and stainless steel circle we were required to buy to take the class.

I do not want to finish this up.

There is a finished strip that is about 14" by 36". It could be a table runner and  it only needs pencil marks removed.
There are at least three pieces that could be finished for place mats and parts that could make one more.
There are other parts that could assemble into other runners or candle mats. It could even be finished as the lightweight quilt top it was meant to be.

Homeless Quilt Blocks Seek Loving Family
If you would like to have this project, let me know. Otherwise it is going with me to Audrey class on the 18th and anyone who wants it may have it. And in case you do want it, here is a link to Generations Quilt Patterns about removing pencil marks.


I finished a binder cover. 

Almost finished, flower needs a little more needlework
and a button.Wonder if I have an ORANGE one.........
I have tried a lot of tutorials for binder covers and never actually followed the directions, really, but put my own spin on the designer's directions. No wonder I keep searching for the perfect binder cover "pattern".

Have you ever made one? Did you know that not all binders of the same size are actually THE SAME SIZE
This time, I bought Wilson-Jones 1 inch binders. There is no office supply store near me, so I waited until we needed to go to a BIG town and found a supply store. I should have just waited until the big box discount stores got their school supplies in. The pickin' s were slim a month ago and I do not believe I got a very good price. Anyway, I bought 6 and I know they all measure the same, although, when binders go on sale around HERE, I will probably not find the same brand and I will have to remeasure and redraft my pattern.

This time, I loosely followed this tutorial from JustSewIt.
I linked you to the first page, but there are three more. I read through the directions a couple SEVERAL times.

It explains how to measure and draft the pattern. Of course, after reading it a billion times I did it wrong anyway. I wish I had left a little more wiggle room for the seam allowance but it worked out. She is not so clear with the origami flower but I had enough paper origami experience to know what she meant when she said "see if you can figure out what I did". I also could tell from her pictures to use a 7" square of fabric for the flower.
Ready to ship! Purple and orange predominate.
Can you guess which state this heading to?
Some things I did differently on purpose:
1. I used garment fleece and quilted my cover fabric to the fleece with no backing--kind of an "open-faced" quilt sandwich
2. I put the design element and pocket on the inside left cover in case the recipient wants to cram it into a backpack. All the "delicate" work will be protected.

Some things I will do better next time:
1. Allow another inch more all around  for quilting "take up"--I had to iron the religion out of it to make it fit afterward.
2ONLY use garment fleece  for the outside cover and find some other interfacing for the inside parts
3. Try to remember what Audrey says. 
No more hesitation. I can DO IT. I can cut that fabric. It is just fabric. And, boy, do I have a lot of it.


Look at this! All you ever wanted to know about how to improve your baking.
From HandletheHeat.com this link takes you to part one of her cookie 

I enjoyed reading about it at Tessa's site, even though I will probably never willingly bake anything unless it is a family member's birthday. But, STILL! She has a very scientific approach to making the perfect cookie. 
This link will take you to part 2 of her experiment--THE 

I like the KNOWING of a thing, even if I don't want to be part of the DOING.

Go back to the link that says TESSA'S SITE. When I wrote this, it linked to a great marinade similar to one I have used. Who can guess what she has for today?

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies, Part 3

I don't know about you, but I like the looks of the one made with coconut oil. But wait, there is more!

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies, Part 4
Hmmm. The air pan cookie looks good on the bottom...Wait a minute! I don't like to cook! why do I all of a sudden think I need an air pan?

The Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies Part, 4
I will be reading Tessa a lot. Don't be surprised if it turns out that I get an air pan and look up what a silpat is...