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Monday, July 31, 2006

Sewing Girls

Summer and Ariana are very happy now that Summer has returned from San Diego.

They came over here and spent the day sewing purses. They fused the design on and then quilted. I had no input at all into the design or colors. I gave advice on possible ways to quilt it but they actually came up with better ideas of their own.

In the background of the photo of Summer looking over the fabric selection, you can see the Double Irish Chain that I am making from leaders and enders.

One Word

One Word for -

1. Yourself: artistic
2. Your partner: artist
3. Your hair: long
4. Your Mother: gone
5. Your Father: 92
6. Your favorite item: fabric
7. Your dream last night: forgotten
8. Your favorite drink: Water
9. Your dream home: mine
10. The room you are in: computer
11. Your pleasure: nature
12. Your fear: heights
13. Where you want to be in ten years: here
14. Who you hung out with last night: family
15. What you're not: mathematical
16. Your best friends: fun
17. One of your wish list items: car
18. Your gender: female
19. The last thing you did: sewed
20. What you are wearing: shorts
21. Your favorite weather:cool
22. Your favorite book: mystery
23. Last thing you ate: blueberries
24. Your life: interesting
25. Your mood: happy
26. The last person you talked to on the phone: daughter
27. Who you are thinking about right now: quilting

Tag, you're it!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Some Bags

Here are some bags that I have made lately. I have been enjoying the process of turning lots of small scraps into something useful. The pink one second from the right would have been one of my favorites if I hadn't forgotten to use piping on it. The piping sets off the string piecing so well. It just lacks something without it. It took me a while to figure out what was missing on that one. The round one is waiting for a handle of some sort. I ran out of the navy fabric before I got the handle made. Also the rings for the handle are a bit too low and I don't think it will balance quite right. It has been fun making these and I still have alot of string pieced fabric left so there may be a few more before I am done.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Flower Bag

Here are the instructions for a flower bag. Bear in mind that the exact measurements are not at all important. I have made tiny ones of silk for keeping earrings in and large ones to use as lunch bags. This one is made of two layers of cotton but that is a bit heavy. A double sided fabric like batik, nicely hemmed would be better. I have also used thrift store scarves. Anything that is square will work.

I started with two 14.5 inch squares because that is the size of my square quilting ruler. I sewed them together, turned them and sewed around the edges so I wouldn't have to get out a needle and thread to sew up the opening.

Mark about 5 or 6 inches down from the point on each side and draw diagonal lines connecting the marks. Fold all these triangles to one side.

Sew across the angle. I used a half inch seam because I have only fairly thick yarn to use as a drawstring. On a tiny silk bag I would use a narrower seam and probably fine ribbon for drawstrings.

Thread in two drawstrings. I usually start from opposite sides. This is a very common thing in Japanese bags, but not so common over here.

Turn it over and pull up both drawstrings at once. Voila! A flower bag, all done.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Crazy Bag

I made my first attempt at Crazy Quilting today. I thought I'd try a round bag. Not so crazy about the results but I will finish it anyway. Not sure if I know anyone crazy enough to carry it. The one in the book had round handles. The top was scooped out and the handles fastened on with tabs. I thought I had some round handles but can't find them. Then I thought of a zipper and shoulder strap but not sure about that either. I am going to think about it a bit befroe I finish it. The dark circle is quilted but it doesn't show up very well in the photo.

The second picture is of some books on making bags that I bought in Japan. They are written in Japanese but very well illustrated so that if you know how to sew it's not hard to follow them. My DIL is Japanese so if I get really stuck I call on her to translate. I have made several of them and some are very cute designs. There is one that is basically a square that is sewn so you can thread a drawstring through it to make a bag that looks like a flower. It opens up flat so if you use it as a lunch bag it also becomes a place mat. So cute. I will maybe see if the instructions will photograph well enough to follow and if not, take photos when I make the next one. (Soon)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

More Bags

What do you do when your studio is such a mess that you can't see the table top let alone the floor? Why you work on something small like bags. Anything to avoid cleaning. As a result, here are three more bags.
We are taking part in a studio tour this fall so I want to have some smaller items for sale. Hopefully, there will be a market for patchwork bags.

Another Burgundy Bag

I am trying to use up some of the string pieced fabric so here is a second bag. It is a bit smaller than the first one and I think I prefer it, maybe because the shape of the bag itself is better.

Thanks for all the compliments on my Double Wedding Ring quilt. As I mentioned in a previous blog, I didn't piece it. I found it in a trunk at my Dad's place. I remember as a kid asking my mother why we didn't take it out and finish it. She never wanted to, but now that I am into quilting, I couldn't resist. I'm not sure who pieced it, maybe my mother in her teens back in the early thirties. I think it was done by someone without much piecing experience but I love it anyway. The fabrics are so unique. I hope I will be able to find or dye some fabric for the binding and finish it this week.
Forest Jane asked about my bread. I always make our bread, have done for years. I make multi-grain bread and often add left over rice or mashed potato. The grains I use include oatmeal, oat bran, flax, barley flour, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ, rye flour and anything else grainy that I can get my hands on. I didn't bake last week because it was so hot but yesterday we just hit the wall with bought bread and I baked, heat or no heat. It warmed up the house quite a lot but we thougt it was worth it.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Double Wedding Ring

Here is the antique Double Wedding Ring that I have been hand-quilting forever, it seems like. Actually it's only a few months. I am not the world's best or most dedicated hand quilter, but I like to have one on the frame to dabble away at in the mornings. I was baking bread today so I had to stay in the house to keep an eye on it (the bread that is). That meant I had all morning to finish the quilt. Now I just have to find some pink or blue fabric that more or less matches the corner pieces and have my first attempt at binding curves. The only thing I really know is that you have to use bias strips. One problem is that the edges, over time, have frayed quite a lot. I guess the piecing is far from perfect, as is the quilting, so I won't get in a twist about the binding.

String Pieced Bag

Here is the first bag made with the string piece from yesterday's post. I learned a few things. First, do it on paper as Bonnie from Quiltville suggested. I thought that since this would be a bag, the extra bulk would give it body. It did but was nearly impossible to match the points with all that bulk. Also the burgundy part is only one layer so the difference is noticeable. I also had to do some figuring to decide what size of triangle since I don't have the ruler Bonnie uses. I made the string pieced fabric about 12 inches wide and the piano key strip along the top is the left over piece that was too narrow to use on the triangles. I might try some smaller triangles with the left overs.
Still, I am quite happy with the results. I have lots of the string pieced fabric left, some with the burgundy and some not made into triangles yet. Today I want to make some more bags with the triangles in different configurations.

Friday, July 21, 2006

String Piecing

Here is a photo of some string piecing I did in hopes of reducing my huge pile of scraps. There is something very satisfying about making something beautiful from a messy pile of what looks like rags. It is not a neat task as you can see by the mess on the floor but fun to see what will look good side by side. Now I will cut them into triangles and perhaps make a bag from them. (Note to self: organize scraps instead of jamming them all into large plastic bags when cleaning.)
Meanwhile I am quilting the flower boxes that I showed in my last post and still using up leaders and enders on the Double Irish Chain. I am at the point where I need to cut a lot more 2.5 inch squares so that will be the next thing I do with my scrap pile. I wonder how many quilts are lurking in that mound of fabric?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Leaders and Enders

I have the flowered quilt all ready to pin. I found a large piece of flowered fabric for the back so now all I have to do is get on my knees on the cement and pin it. I have it taped down so it shouldn't take too much time.

Meanwhile I have been sewing some leaders and enders into a Double Irish Chain. I love the way it is looking. I need to put it aside now until I get a few more leaders and enders done.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Another One in the Works

Here is what I have been doing the last couple of days. It is all from scraps using a pattern from Karen Alexander's book, Stack a New Deck. Super easy to do but I did manage to cut a couple of the stacks wrong. One mistake equals eight mistakes because you are cutting a pile of eight. The good thing about using scraps is that you can use the mistakes somewhere else.
I probably should have spent a bit more time arranging the blocks. There is a bit of a light area and the top right corner has a couple of blocks the same too close together.
I still like the scrappy look of it and because the fabrics are all kind of old it has an old fashioned flowery look that I like. I am thinking of a fairly wide border in the navy blue the same as the setting triangles. I was going to put a light inner border but I think I like the sawtooth look by having just the darker one. I'll try both on the design board tomorrow.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

It Worked Like a Charm

It was too hot to do much so I thought I'd try Judy's (at
method of doing this triangular patch without triangles and it worked amazingly well. (I tried to add a link but it didn't work).So easy. And to top it off, I have a ruler that does the job. It is an Omnigrid and it has a yellow line instead of the black tip but does the same job. The fun part is all the different arrangements that can be done with this block. My points aren't perfect but it was my first try and I am a Maverick after all. I am impressed. I also understand the rational behind it so I think I will be able to change sizes if I need to. Thanks a million, Judy!

Another One Done!

Here I am holding the silk and brocade teapots at the gallery where Marcel's paintings are hung along with six other artists. The round one right behind my head is one of his.
I am done with fusing, at least if silk and brocade are involved. The fusing didn't stick to the silk for some reason so I had to zigzag around all the teapots. I sewed some black cording between the squares. It was a good excuse to buy a cording foot for my Pfaff. I decided against doing any quilting on the background. The silk is so fine that I was worried about snags and, let's face it, I couldn't imaginge that I would be able to do it without making some kind of mistake. Silk is very unforgiving about ripping out. The needle holes show forever. I am going straight back to good quality quilting cotton!

Friday, July 14, 2006


This one has been sitting around for nearly a year so it's about time to be finished it. It is not black as most of you thought from the last photo, but a dark chocolate brown. I think it sets off the colors of the squares very nicely. It is a double or maybe even twin size so I'm not sure what I will do with it. We have no beds here of that size. Maybe a large sofa quilt for TV watching this winter.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Teapots Again

I am back at work on the fused silk teapots.It was a bit dark in the studio because I have all the curtains drawn to keep out the heat. As a result the colors are not looking nearly as bright as they really are. I have the teapots all fused on and sewn together. Now I have no idea how I am going to quilt them. I put iron on interfacing on the back of each square so they would be a bit more stable for sewing together and for the quilting but I am at a bit of a loss as to just how I will actually quilt them. I am also thinking I might not put a border on, just an envelope style backing. I thought of using one of the brocades for the binding but it frays very badly and almost the second it is cut so I am not sure I want to go through that. Any ideas would be greatlay appreciated.

My Flower

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

Who knew???

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Another One Nearly Done

I hauled this one out a couple of weeks ago and pinned it but then had to put it aside while we got ready for the Artists' Day party. When I actually got started on it I was surprised how fast it went. I have only the border to do. I started it but then ran out of thread. It was nearly noon so I decided to leave it and make lunch. Now we have to go to town to do errands and see my Dad so the rest of the day is used up with that. I hope I will be able to finish it tomorrow. It shouldn't take long to get it to the stage of hand sewing the binding, if I have enough fabric to do the binding. If not it will be a multi-colored pieced binding which could be neat.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Artists' Day Party

We had a busy party weekend.

We hung a show of 49 paintings in our studio on Friday afternoon (in hot, hot, muggy weather) and had about 50 people for a pot luck supper and party at our stone circle after. I have made, over the past few years, cloaks in every color of the rainbow. We got willing models to wear the cloaks and parade around the stones. We mow the grass into a circle and light a fire to get lots of smoke for a mysterious look. It's a great photo op.

This one is a bit blurry because it was taken off a digital video shot. It is of some of the people wearing my cloaks and paranding around the fire at the stone circle.

Here is Micha wearing her favorite yellow satin cloak sitting on top of a big stone looking cute. Not a hard task for her!

Saturday morning we crated up all the paintings and moved the show to the Pembina Hills Gallery in Morden and had on official opening on Saturday evening.
Needless to say, we are rather beat today but feeling that it was quite successful.
I spent an hour this morning getting my sewing studio back into place the way I like it so that as soon as I recover my energy I will be able to get back at it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Some of you seemed interested in our caboose so here are a few pictures. We bougt it in the mid 1970's from CNR. We used it for a studio at that time but since then all the kids have taken turns using it as a bedroom while they were in high school and later several of them stayed in their with their own kids while they were living back at our house temporarily. Now the grandchildren love to sleep out there when they visit. It was uesd as a pottery studio last summer so it needed a lot of cleaning. It also tends to be a bit of a storage area for family members who are moving. Train lovers don't necessarily love the paint job.

The first photo is the path leading to the caboose through the wildflower garden. You can just make out the caboose at the end of the path.

Next picture is of the outside,which, I am afraid, is badly in need of a paint job. First, though some boards need to be replaced and they will probably have to be specially cut to fit. Hence the delay in painting.

Then you can see the main part looking toward what would be the back end of the train.

Then there is a picture of the seats that are up in the cupola. The interesting thing about them is that the back can swing from one side to the other depending on which way you want to face. We installed a drawing board on the one in the photo.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sorry, More Grandchildren!

Micha, Sacha and Ariana are staying here for a few days while their parents are away. Here they are cleaning up our old railway caboose so they can sleep in it.

Ariana loves the riding lawn mower. She helped out so much yesterday by mowing our huge yard with a bit of help from her sisters.

We are planning a big party on July 7. We call it Artist's Day. There will be an art display in our studio so nothing quilty being done until after that. I am pushing everything out of the way to clear a space to show the art. I will try to post some photos on Friday. In the evening we go up the hill to our big stone circle and have a party. You can see pictures of the stone circle at:
Star Center Art
And check out the Landscape Art section.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Just to give Reve equal billing in the faraway grandchildren department here is one of him at the beach wearing clothes.

And a closer one of True.

Then Sky and Free and Summer, who will be returning from San Diego at the end of July. One set of grandchildren close to home again!

And now I promise to go back to quilting news on my next post. (Although I do have one set of grandchildren not represented here but I will save them for another time.)