Monday, October 2, 2017

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Twenty Years Ago

I did all the prep for this quilt by Linda Brannock.  And I appliqued four centers.  And then it got put aside until today.  You can see that I am not taking my color cues from Linda.  I've got vibrant greens, yellows, oranges, and browns from light to very dark.  Hers is called Homespun Prairie.  Mine is Prairie Sunflowers.


A small sampling of the blocks; these are the eight I have the centers done.


Each time I start a new project, I start an index card, noting the name, design source (me or someone else), dates worked on, etc.  Here's the one for this quilt in progress.  (Bet you wondered how I knew this was 20 years old!)


I also noted the four centers I appliqued today on the back of the card.  When the quilt is finished (hopefully before another 20 years pass!), I will add the end date and the finished size.

It was quite a treat to see fabrics from 20 years ago; 25 greens, 25 oranges/yellows, and 25 browns.  75 different fabrics so far!  I now have this out where I can see it more frequently, so perhaps I will be more apt to work on it.  I also have the setting and backing fabrics in the bag with the book, pattern pieces, etc.  Luckily this is not one of the projects I started long ago and now no longer like!

Happy October, everyone!

Blissfully,
Sharon

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Please Read This

A long-time admirer of Susan Branch, I am always thrilled when there is a new blog post.  Her artwork is beautiful, as is her photography and general life philosophy.  I stopped in today and was fascinated by her post.  You can access it here Susan Branch.  

Lots of food for thought, interspersed with grace and beauty.  Check it out!

Blissfully,
Sharon


P.S.  There are still a few places left in my Care and Feeding of Your Featherweight class on Saturday, September 30, 10:30-2:30, at Patchwork Plus in Marcellus.  For more information or to register, call 315-673-2208.  Your machine will thank you!


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Mark Your Calendars!!!!

This is a quilt show you do not want to miss!  The Tompkins County Quilters Guild always does a great job with their show.  And check out the silent auction for a small gem you can't live without!


Here's the pertinent info:



Is it hot enough?  I know some of you are enjoying it and wishing it had happened during usual summer months.  Can you imagine being in an un-airconditioned classroom trying to learn something as your brain melts and leaks out your ears?  Me either....

Blissfully,
Sharon

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Oh No...


I think they're gaining on me!!!!



Yep, here come those turkeys now!!!!


HeHe!  I just couldn't resist.  Hopefully that will start off your day with a smile.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Just taking a moment

Diane G. was right on the money for the location of yesterday's picture--Alexandria Bay, NY, near the International Bridge.  A little somthing/something will be headed your way.  

And Pat B. wasn't far off the mark!

It was a beautiful time to be near the water.  What beautiful colors; love the shadows.


I stayed at the lovely Pinehurst on the St. Lawrence.  You can find out more about it at www.pinehurstcottages.com.  

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Blissfully,
Sharon

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Look Back

Happy students from the April skill-builders class. And, yes, we used half- and quarter-square triangles cut to the correct size. No trimming but the dog-ears! And those points are sharp! Great job, ladies!!

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Stuff to Ponder



"It is a friendly heart that has plenty of friends."  William Makepeace Thackery


"He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything."  Arabian Proverb


"To speak kindly does not hurt the tongue."  Proverb


"The willingness to take risks is our grasp of faith."  George E. Woodberry


"The way to gain a friend is to be one."  Jules Michelet


And my favorite:  "It takes a long time to become young."  Pablo Picasso


Blissfully,
Sharon

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Miss Quilty Manners Says...

The first week of September...looked forward to with great anticipation by all parents of school age children.  No one wants to rush the summer, but....

For many of us, the new year begins in September, not January.  I know that when I am scheduling quilting classes, I consider a "term" from September to June.  And that means a new "term" is beginning!

Let's review "Workshop/Classroom Etiquette"!  Feel free to share this with ALL students, quilters or not.

Students may not be aware of ways in which they may inadvertently disturb classmates and teachers. Here are some suggestions to help you.

1. Arrive on time; and if you must leave early, do so quietly. Let the teacher know that you will be leaving early, but do not request extra time of her because of that. Do not abuse the teacher's class time with problems concerning unrelated personal quilting projects. Be prompt when returning from lunch or break.

 2. Be alert; listen to the teacher the first time she says it. Then, if you do not understand, you can ask questions. Refrain from answering questions for the teacher.

 3. Need help? Ask the teacher, not your classmates. Not only will you get the correct information but you will not distract a fellow student. Raise your hand when seeking assistance from the teacher; but don't monopolize her time.

 4. Keep talking to a minimum and do not interrupt or talk while the teacher is lecturing. Excessive talking distracts both your classmates and the teacher. Try not to repeat instructions out loud. 

5. Be prepared. Have all necessary materials and equipment listed for your workshop/class. You are responsible for obtaining and bringing your own materials. You may want to assemble a "traveling" bag that contains your basic sewing tools (i.e., scissors, markers, thread, etc).  The number one rule for your dedicated traveling bag?  Do NOT remove anything from it while you are at home!  That's how supplies for class are forgotten.

6. If you must have liquids with you, they should be in spill-proof containers.  Murphy's Law says that spilled drinks always end up on your classmate's work, never yours. If you bring food, try to make it something that you can eat quietly and neatly.

 7. Even if the class is not your cup of tea (too hard, too easy, not what you expected), don't spoil it for others. Attitude is catching! You can always learn something! 

8. The workshop/class handouts are not to be copied or taught without the teacher's permission.

9. You enrolled in the workshop/class because you wanted to learn from this particular teacher. If your usual procedure is different than what is being presented, try the new way.  You may find that you like it better, or that  there is a part that you can incorporate into what you normally do.  

Now let's go learn some new stuff!  Happy fall, everyone!

Blissfully,
Sharon

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Fussy Cutting

Why is it that I never tire of fussy cutting fabric?  These horses were a perfect fit for these 1.5 inch hexagons.  I am embarking on a hexagon journey to make almost 200 3-inch finished hexagon blocks for a fairly large quilt.  I am using the theme of "These are a few of my favorite things" and this was the first block I did.  I have around 50 done now.  The fabrics for each block are chosen independent of others that have been made.  If variety is the spice of life, this quilt will be TANGY!


Enjoy your Labor Day!

Blissfully,
Sharon

Saturday, September 2, 2017

More Quotes



"You will never "find" time for anything.  If you want time you must make it."  Charles Buxton


"Every day should be distinguished by at least one particular act of love."  Johann Kaspar Lavater


"Allow yourself to enjoy each happy moment in your life."  Steve Maraboli


"A happy life is one sent in learning, earning, and yearning."  Lillian Gish


Blissfully,
Sharon




Friday, September 1, 2017

Who Knew!

Truthfully, I didn't!  Slugs (who don't have shells) eat most of my iris blossoms and leaves, and do quite a bit of damage here.  But a bit ago, I found this snail ascending my door frame (outside!).  Photo op!


Check out the cool patterning on the pale parts and on the shell.



This is the best pic of all!  


September already.  Labor Day Weekend.  Yes, I'm still quilting.  Yes, I am still horsing around.  Lots of news to share over the coming days.  But I thought this would really get your attention ;-)

Blissfully,
Sharon

Friday, August 11, 2017

What kind?

of winter will it be? This is the first (and only) wooly-bear I've seen. Typically the amount and placement of black markings indicates when the worst storms will be.  Did you notice--NO black! Here's hoping! (No I don't do winter sports....)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

So Long, Bye Bye

What to do?  With those bent, broken, dull needles and pins.  Over the years I have collected them in a variety of decorative containers (and some NOT so decorative!).  Salt/pepper shakers work great for needles and pin with almost no heads (like the one on the left).  Because I use pins with larger glass heads, it was a hassle to unscrew the top each time I had something to insert.  Enter...the cheese shakers with larger holes!  Almost everything will go in.  For traveling:  a small plastic box that pins originally came in.  I carry this in my Featherweight cleaning kit and collect used needles in classes.  


But now those containers are full.  Always remember that these are "sharps"--just like in hospitals, etc.  No one should have to take a chance of being poked.  So here is how I dealt with this situation this week.

I removed the labels from some old prescription bottles (which many people use to collect sharps in and then dispose of them in the same container).  And a cardboard box which I reinforced with duct tape--lots and lots of duct tape!  The needles and pins were transferred to the bottles and the box (I had lots).


Then I sealed all of the bottles and the box with duct tape.  I labeled each container and then put them in my recycling.  


Easy peasy, everyone safe...ahhh, a sigh of relief, and I have empty containers to start collecting again!  This was several years' worth.  In the glass containers they are pretty with the silver and the colored pin heads.  I try to keep a container wherever I sew; no excuses for stray pins and needles.

While you are blog reading, check out Becky Goldsmith's post on washing your fabrics here.  She said it so well that I am not going to repeat it.

That's all I know for tonight.  Please share any ways you have of disposing of used needles and pins--there might be a prize for the best suggestion!

Blissfully,
Sharon

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Tumbling Blocks Flimsy

Tumbling Blocks.  Super easy to do by hand, even with the "dreaded" Y-seam.  It's so easy to get a 3D look with just one template!

These diamonds finish at 1.5 inches per side.  They are assembled into units of 3 (easy to take with you) and can then be arranged and sewn together.  


The best part?  The neatness on the back!  Did you know that if you press each 3-piece unit exactly the same (clockwise or counterclockwise) the units fit together with opposing seams?  Who knew!?!?


Notice the furling of the seam allowances where six seams meet.  No bulk!


Even the unit seams furl (see furl at right below).  Notice the "trimmed" seam allowances?  Again, no bulk, and no shadowing of a dark fabric under a light.  I do trim both light and dark to reduce bulk and to make it easier to quilt (hand or machine).  Just be sure to NOT trim light and dark on the same seam.  That just gives you the same problems with less seam allowance ;-)  


Have I mentioned how much I love hand piecing?  Contrary to popular opinion, it's faster than setting in seams by machine and it's so portable.  Have you tried it yet?  (This is not EPP; no whip stitching involved or basting over paper, etc.)

Blissful hugs,
Sharon

Friday, July 21, 2017

Meow

Dickens reminded me that he's been absent from the blog for quite a while.  Enjoy!




Blissful July hugs,
Sharon

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

In My Spare Time

A couple months ago, a friend asked me to make some bedding for a doll cradle she had found at a sale.  Yes, I've made small quilts before, but never bedding--a challenge.

I had several small packs of fabric samples, roughly 2.5 inches square.  Yes, I did wash them--which made them varying sizes and not all 2.5 inches.  So I found the smallest square and cut every one the same.  I did spend some time laying these pieces out (I had more than I needed and eventually eliminated until I had this).


Knowing that it was going to a 2-year old, I machine quilted through each square to create a diagonal grid.  Light yellow thread was used on top and in the bobbin.

Here's the back:  Grandma LOVES tea!  So what could be more perfect!  (This is an older Diane Knott piece that I had in my stash.)  

I bound it in yellow solid (French double fold).


Here's the cradle--clean and shiny.  I made a small flannel pillow, stuffed with cotton.


And a mattress made from a new material that can be outside and does not retain water or smell funny.  I also made a cover for the mattress, also from the blue striped flannel.  (The stripes run the opposite way of the pillow.)  To make it more user friendly, I used the Kam snaps to close the cover, making it very easy to remove for washing.


Grandma and Grandpa loved it and so did the recipient!  It's been in use every day! 


So I have not been idle while I've been away from the blog.  I did try to post from my phone several times but they never showed up on the web.  Go figure....

Blissful (but quick; it's so darn hot) hugs,
Sharon

Monday, June 26, 2017

Binding the Small Stuff

When binding anything larger than 9 x 9 inches, I use a French double fold technique, cutting 2 inch wide strips on the crosswise grain.  These strips are joined with diagonal seams and are folded in half before applying.  Yes, I said I start with 2 inch strips for a 1/4-inch finished binding.  I like my binding to be full all the way to the fold and the same width on front and back.

However, it is impossible (for me) to do the final join on anything not having at least 9 inches on at least one side.  (Yes, I know this probably leaves you with many questions, but this is not a binding tutorial!)  I found an alternative for the smaller pieces.  And I love it!

Recently I have found a number of excellent blogs and have added them to my Blog List on the right side of what you are reading now.  The Constant Quilter (Wendy Caton Reed) has a fantastic blog, and once I found her, I went back and read all her posts from the beginning.  Wendy uses what she calls "the potholder method" where she makes and quilts one block and then binds it.  She does that for each block in her quilt and then whipstitches all the "potholders" together into a bigger quilt.  Can you believe she actually made a "Dear Jane" with this method?  Well, she did!  So, if you click the link above, it will take you to her post on Single Fold Binding.

Because the Dear Jane blocks are less than 5 inches finished, I thought I'd give it a try.  I had hand pieced several smaller tops while taking pics for new handouts.  Here's the first one I did, using the process that Wendy has on her post.


Here's the back, along with a ruler to show how big (little) this piece was.


I admit that I was a bit unhappy with sewing a couple threads to the left of the fold lines, so I tried again; this time I sewed right on the fold lines (see Wendy's blog for her process).  I was much happier this time.  Try both ways and see which you like better; I may have sewed a bit left-er than Wendy suggested (read this as "it's always Sharon's fault, not the originator of whatever the technique is").



I love French double fold binding on almost everything.  But this single layer binding has much less bulk and is super easy to apply and finish on smaller pieces.  The potholder method of finishing quilts is not new--do a search for the term--or read more of Wendy's posts to learn more.

Another great technique to put in your tool box!

Blissful hugs,
Sharon

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Just Hatched

Smaller birds have done it in the past.  Larger birds have looked and decided it was not a good idea.  Until this spring.  Robins decided to build a nest on my very old, brittle blueberry twig wreath on the front porch.  Now a robin's nest is pretty sturdy, lots of mud, straw, grasses, etc.  And heavy.  And it made the heart-shaped wreath tilt significantly to the side.  But two eggs were deposited....

Standing on the rocking chair near the nest I was able to see these:




I also got a short movie, but I have not been able to upload it successfully.  I really do love where I live.  These two successfully fledged, and the parents have stopped hollering at me every time I move!  I don't miss that!

The phoebes are nesting again!  So they are hollering at me on the side porch.

Next up?  Yes, it's something quilty again!

Blissful hugs,
Sharon

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Even Smaller Thimbles

These things are so much fun!  This is hand pieced with 1-3/8 inch finished thimbles (measuring from top to bottom), and machine quilted in turquoise thread.  Because of the smaller scale, I decided to quilt 1/8 inch from each seam line.  (Note:  On the larger thimbles/tumblers, I machine quilted 1/4 inch from each seam line.)  The fabrics are from Juniper Berry by BasicGrey.  (Love that line and their new Christmas one as well!)


The back.  A bit more "Christmas-y" than the front (Jingle by Kate Spain).  Because I had cut the front so that the directional fabrics all faced the same way, I needed to make some kind of hanging method, but I also needed something that would lie flat if I decided to use it on a table.  Check this out!



While checking out a new-to-me blog, I took a look at the tutorials of Laurraine Yuyama.  The directions for adding these quick, easy, and flat hangers are linked here (just click on her name to go directly to the directions).  The only things I did differently are that I didn't topstitch the folds, and I only added the triangles to the top edge.  I stuck my ruler in so that you can see where a dowel can be inserted as a hanger!  Works great on smaller pieces, but I wouldn't do this on something too wide (not enough support in the middle).

In the second photo above, you can just barely see the corner triangles when they are not filled with the dowel.  Perfect finish for those of us who can't make up our mind on hanging or not hanging a piece!



While you are Laurraine's site also check this out:  https://patchworkpottery.blogspot.com/2016/09/hollyhocks.html.  This was my introduction to Laurraine's blog and I still love it!  

Okay, that's it for today.  It's been hot and humid with even more of both forecast for tomorrow.  Stay cool (in the temperature sense; you are already too cool for words in real life!).

Blissful hugs,
Sharon