Thursday, June 25, 2015

Butterfly Migration

I finished the quilt top that I started in a workshop with Gyleen Fitzgerald earlier this month. I am very pleased with the way it turned out. The "butterfly" seams, Gyleen's way of conquering the dreaded Y seam, worked out well, though at times, I will admit, I got lost in the jungle of seams where six come together. In the end I sorted it out and got everything to match up for the most part.

In a crazed period of cleaning, I found the cut off pieces from my Cultural Fusion quilt. I sewed them up into wonky four patches and then set them into this little strippy  quilt.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


In the past week I have come into quite a bit of quilty largesse. First off, my name was pulled at our guild meeting on Friday and I won a stack of 12" churn dash blocks. They had been made by members as part of a display at our quilt show in March.

On Tuesday evening another guild held a social evening at one of the member's homes. The purpose was to distribute the stash of a much loved member, Darlene,  who died last year. The ladies who "curated" the stash did a wonderful job of sorting and bagging everything up. There was a lifetime of wonderful goodies from a talented quilter. No junk at all. Whether the ladies disposed of the junk ahead of time, or whether there just wasn't any, it was a marvelous thing to behold. The large dining room table, side boards, chairs, floor, and deep window sills were piled high with magazines, books, fabric, blocks, rulers, rotary cutters, and partially completed projects.

As we came in the door, we received numbers. I was lucky enough to get into group #1. There were five groups and we rotated through, picking out something each time. We went around four times or so until there were only a handful of small pamphlets left. What did I walk away with?

Bernina piping foot, 6" x 2" Creative Grids ruler, a bias tape making tool, two large packages of fabric in neutral colors, a decorative Singer sewing machine tin, and (my favorite), a baggie of 40 hand pieced 5" nine-patch blocks in red and white. Our guild's AQS appraiser was standing next to me and she pronounced them vintage, circa 1920. SCORE! I am formulating a plan for using them, incorporating some of the ideas and suggestions made by Gyleen Fitzgerald at our meeting last Friday.

I purposely chose the fabric packages of neutral colors because my stash is lacking in those. For inspiration, I have been poring over books that use only neutral colors.  The idea is to make a quilt with only the fabrics from Darlene's stash. There is a nice range from dark to light, so it will work. I counted up the yardage and it comes to 12.8 yards. Wow. Thanks, Darlene.

I have been working on making blocks from last Saturday's workshop with Gyleen Fitzgerald. I wish now that I had chosen background fabrics with more contrast. However other people have told me they like the subtlety. Don't know if they are just being polite or actually mean it. It would look better in my opinion if you could actually tell that these are tumbling blocks. Live and learn.

This photo is "just because." The peonies were extra pretty this year. These pale pink ones remind me of the tissue paper flowers we used to make in grade school.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Awesome Workshop

Yesterday our guild hosted Gyleen Fitzgerald of Colourful Stitches to teach her Play Modern workshop. Wow! what a great teacher and lecturer. If you ever get the chance to hear her speak, or better yet, take a workshop with her, do not hesitate for an instant. The workshop was a design class according to Gyleen. I would also consider it to be a technique class because you learn the "butterfly seam," her trademarked method of constructing with the Y seam. She calls it the butterfly seam because it's so gentle to do. There was an absolute newbie quilter in the room. So new, she really hadn't learned all the ins and outs of her brand new machine. She breezed right through the process with Gyleen's excellent hands on tutelage. This is a technique that can be challenging for even an advanced piecer, so it's no less than miraculous and a testament to Gyleen's method and instruction that such an inexperienced person was able to accomplish it with perfect results.

Here is what I completed yesterday. Others finished more, but I had other duties as the guild organizer that took away from my productive sewing time.

My blocks are on the left; my friend's are on the right. It looks as though we are making the same design, but mine ultimately won't be arranged in a circular star pattern. I had only made three of the blocks with the colored pieces in them and this is the only way that three can be arranged to complete a cube. As I make more, the design will change.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

New Cottage Treadle

Spied by my "personal shopper" in a local resale shop. Can you guess what is inside?

A New Cottage (National Sewing Machine Co. badged machine). It's a treadle and I have been toying with the idea of jumping into the treadle community for awhile. Blame Bonnie Hunter! There is no belt attached, but when I turn the flywheel, everything moves very smoothly and quietly. It's a bit dirty, but not bad. Nothing that some oil and elbow grease won't fix. Here are the "irons":

I am going to go back today and investigate it further. It may be coming home with me.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Progress on Ellie

I have finished Ellie and stitched her down. I added the sun, but still need to adhere it with stitching. The fabrics on either side are being auditioned for borders. I have also made a small utility baby quilt and three burp cloths for a little girl. They are the best kind - shopped totally from my stash from fabric to batting to backing to thread. The new baby is also getting a "good" quilt in the mother's choice of colors, but it felt good to whip out this little freebie. The fabrics have been hanging around in the closet since I made the last flannel baby quilt - over ten years ago!

The idea is for this quilt to be tucked into the diaper bag or used in the car. I always shudder when I see those fold down baby changing tables in restrooms. Does anyone ever clean those things? The mother will always have this quilt handy to put down on the changing table and it can be washed and washed without worrying about it.

Monday, May 4, 2015


I took a workshop this weekend at a local quilt store. It's "Ellie" from BJ Designs. I had tried the project on my own and after wasting a lot of fabric and not liking the results, figured I could use some help. The teacher was excellent and she swooned when I rolled in with a ginormous bin of Kaffe Fassett fabrics. She said she hadn't seen this wide a selection even at a quilt store. I have been collecting his fabrics for years, picking up pieces everywhere I go. So, yes, I have a lot of Kaffe fabrics.

The instructor asked us to use Floriana Appli-Kay Wonder fusible web. As far as I am concerned, the jury is still out on this product. You have to use more heat than with other fusibles - at least 7 seconds to get the first bond. Then you can peel off the paper backing and it is tacky, allowing you to place and remove the piece until you are satisfied with the results. I have experienced the fusible sticking to the stabilizer, however, and the fabric coming away from both adhesive and stabilizer if I left the piece too long before trying to move it. So I have been pinning it in place until I am sure it is the piece I want to use. At $9.00 per yard, it is more expensive than any other fusible I have tried and I expected better performance from it. One nice thing about the Appli-Kay Wonder is the sturdiness of the paper backing which makes handling the fused fabric very easy to handle and cut out.

Once I am satisfied with the fabrics and placement, the pieces are permanently fused into place. A satin stitch is used to outline all the interior seams. The stabilizer, which has no fusible on the back, is then trimmed away from the finished elephant and the entire appliqued piece is glue basted onto the backing fabric. Finally, the outer edges are satin stitched to finish the edges.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Applique Idea

After hanging on the design wall forever, I have finally gotten off my duff and come up with an applique idea for "Two of  Us", the 2013 BOM from The colors aren't real accurate here. The greens are really pretty lime green and the oranges are all orange, not yellow as some appear in the photo. I didn't care for the flower pot applique that is in the original pattern. I decided on an applique from the Rose of Sharon contest and book of the same name by Sharon Pederson. I increased the size of the applique a bit so that it filled the open area better.

I lost my mind somewhere along the way dealing with the fusible web. I don't like Steam-a-Seam because I can never figure out which paper side to draw on. The instructions indicate to draw on the side that comes off easiest. My past experience with this product was a nightmare. I finally realized, by placing an X on the side I drew on, that the paper does not come off consistently on either side. Halfway through a sheet of the stuff, the paper on the opposite side began to fall off. After reading Pam Holland's blog (she is rendering the entire Bayeux tapestry in applique using this product), I realized that the manufacture had stopped making the product for an extended period due to problems with the product. Whew!

So, back to the old tried and true Pellon Wonder Under. Another problem reared its ugly head. The fusible falls off the paper rendering it unusable. Some salesperson told me that happens if the product is old. Really? So you buy several yards of the stuff to have on hand as you work through a project. Then you put the project away for a few months and when you go back to it, the product is coming apart. It's inexpensive enough that it's not a big financial loss. Just a big headache at 10:00 p.m. when the stores are closed and you are trying to make it work. Grrr.

I am going to try a brand new (to me) product - Floriana Appli-Kay Wonder Fusible Webbing. Alex Anderson has been touting Floriana products recently. I bought a roll (18" X 3 yds.) for a workshop I will be taking next weekend. Since I won't need all three yards for that project, I am going to try it out today and see how it works. At $27.99 for the roll, it's not cheap. But if it works well, it will be worth the price.

By the way, my Chinese fortune cookie yielded the following "fortune" last night: "The item you lost will be found tomorrow." What a relief. I guess the mind I lost yesterday will return to me today.