Sunday, February 28, 2016

Stitching on the Weekend

    I was a co-hostess at our monthly meeting of the DAR yesterday. We met in the Genealogy Room at the library to learn about the resources available there. I enjoy our meetings, but looked forward to an afternoon of sewing in my studio. Just me, my stash, and my sewing machine. Can you think of anything better on a Saturday afternoon? Don't think so. :)

   I've begun working on a mini paper-pieced Square in a Square quilt. I've made one before and it lives as a table topper in the entryway from the laundry room. It has been admired by visitors to the studio and the new one will be a gift for one of them. Can't name the recipient just yet. I will share a picture of the first tiny 2" blocks though.

  These are the results of Kayla's and my Tuesday Sew Night this week. The 9 little blocks at the top are my mini Square in a Square blocks (2 1/2" here) since not sewn together yet. The blocks in the bottom row are Kayla's Lucy Boston blocks and partial blocks...

 Here is a closeup of the one she finished that night...

Another recent finish...

    Aren't they gorgeous? She has quite a stack of them made. I love studying them. I swear I always think the one I'm looking at is the best, until I see the next one. She is using wonderful fabric combinations in each block.

    In my last post I mentioned Mom's Amish quilt that I had added the binding to. After charging the battery for my camera, I took a picture of it hanging on the wall outside the studio.

   The colors aren't exactly right in this picture. The sky is light rosy pink, med. rosy pink, light blue, and medium blue. The house is beige with a honey brown roof. Not sure what happened here, but some colors appear to be yellow. I also want to mention that, if you've noticed the bottom left corner of all my pictures taken of items on my design wall are dark looking, there's a reason. When I planned on the location of my design wall, I chose the space between the windows on the west facing wall. I didn't want direct sunlight shining on anything left up long-term on it. What I didn't think about was the space at the end of my cutting table (the only good space to photograph the design wall) being in the shadow of the lighting system. I cannot take a picture without my own shadow showing up!!! It's very frustrating. I'm trying to come up with a solution. My best idea is installing a track light above the design wall aimed at the design wall to use only when photographing. What do you think? Any ideas out there?

   As soon as I got home from the DAR meeting, I changed into comfy clothes and slippers and headed to the studio. I had fun raiding my stash looking for fabrics to add to my mini project. I cut lots of 2" wide WOF strips in medium and dark blues, reds, browns,golds, madders, and shirtings to add to the pile I'd been drawing form. Paper-piecing does waste some fabric, but it's so accurate, I think it's worth it. With 2" wide strips, I can cut any of the pieces needed for these blocks with as little waste as possible. After admiring the newly refreshed pile of strips, I began sewing in earnest. Randy ran  cables above the ceiling and down a post for me to have my 19" flatscreen TV on my cutting table. I bought an oak Lazy Susan to sit it on. I can swivel it to watch while I'm cutting fabric, or while I'm at my computer, or the opposite direction and face me while I'm sewing on my Bernina. I watched 4 movies, Fons and Porter, This Old House, and Vikings (recorded) all while cutting and sewing Saturday afternoon. By the end of the day (9 PM) Saturday, I had sewn an additional 16 blocks of my mini SQ in a SQ. I only stopped because Randy requested a haircut that he's put off for two weeks. He arrived home sometime during my sewing bliss, but I couldn't tell you when! lol. Yes, I'm his barber. It's gotten easier over the years as he's gotten balder, so it doesn't take long. He usually procrastinates weeks past needing it cut, because he only wants it done on the weekend and only before bedtime. So if we have a busy weekend it gets put off. I can quicken the time table if I tell him he's starting to resemble Bozo the clown. He doesn't have much hair but it's naturally curly, so it gets bushy when it gets too long, and also harder to cut. That (gentle?) comparison to Bozo gets him to cooperate every time. My little bit of evil genius. :)

  Today, Randy was well-groomed for Sunday service. After church, lunch, and a little together time watching a couple of our favorite TV shows we had recorded, I was back at play in my studio. I love sewing on the weekends, don't you?

Keep stitching!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

February Frenzy

   February has been a busy month. My birthday month, the 10th, so cake and celebrations. The usual work, of course, and lots of wrestling. I haven't taken it up myself, but I am a big fan, of Iowa Hawk Eye wrestling and Mt. Pleasant High School Panther wrestling. The Panthers had a successful season, winning some 2nd and 3rd place finishes at districts, but best of all, advancing one wrestler, our 145 pounder, Colten Mertens, to the Iowa State Tournament. He wrestled and won Thursday, then in the morning Friday, and in the semi finals Friday night. He was in the championship match on Saturday night, which was televised. He came away with 2nd place after wrestling the #1 seed in the state. Colten is a super kid, humble in victory and gracious in defeat. He had a 44 win / 1 loss season and a 117 win high school career record. I couldn't be prouder if he was my own son. I put up 6" gold stars for every pin or win our wrestlers get on a wall in the library. The wall is full from 3 foot up to the 12 foot ceiling and extending to the adjoining wall. There are 2 large windows into a study room that I decorate for any wrestler competing at state. This year it's a huge display and Colten is very deserving of it.

  Hawkeye Wrestling continues with a special after season dual meet tomorrow night at Carver Hawkeye Arena and Randy and I will be in our season seats, Isaah joining us. We'll also be going to the Olympic Wrestling try outs in a couple weeks. Maybe not expected of an avid quilter, but I love it. :)

  It hasn't been all wrestling for me though. On Tuesday nights, Kayla has been coming to my studio for "Sew Night." We take turns providing supper and sew from 4 ish till 9 PM. It has led me to finish some quilts. Kayla has been working on several wool projects and which inspired me to purchase a good supply of wool and thread to try my hand at wool applique. Granted, I don't usually need an excuse to buy fabric, but her wool projects are gorgeous. I don't have anything started yet, but I hope to soon.

  Remember the Amish quilt my Mom had left unfinished? I fished the quilting she had mostly done and sewed on a bias binding to finish it. I love it. It now hangs outside the entry to the studio. I showed it at Breakfast Club yesterday along with 2 other finished quilts.

  OOPS! I thought I'd taken a picture of Mom's Amish quilt finished, but I hadn't. Now, the battery is dead in my camera. I'll take one later and post it next time.

  Here are the other 2 finishes, both small Christmas quilts I had very good intentions of finishing before Christmas 2015. Well, you see how that turned out! Thank goodness for our Sew Nights. 

  This is Christmas Balls, 18" x 18". It's a paper-pieced Court House Steps pattern done in mostly Civil War reds, greens, and shirtings.

 A close-up...

I backed it with a Christmas toile...

 This is Christmas Trees and Nines, 18" x 18", also CW prints with lots of poison green, even the binding. Have I told you before that poison green is my favorite...only a million times. Right?

   A close-up of one of the trees. Each tree was quilted in a different pattern. This green print is an old 
Cranston Printworks fabric from the early 1980's. My stash dates back from 1980 to yesterday! Not counting my collection of vintage scraps and pieces.

    I'm currently working on a new pattern for my Orphans of War line. It's called North and South and will be a small quilt for all of you who already have too many full size quilts. I'll share pictures once it's finished and patterns printed. :)

  I'll close with a picture of Baby Abraham, whom I made the baby quilt for, featured in a previous post. He is adorable as you can see. I've adopted him as my wannabe grandbaby, since I have none at present and none in the foreseeable future. No pressure, son, seeing how you're not married yet.

  That's all for tonight. I want to get some quilting in before Downton Abby is on! Keep stitching.