Saturday, August 12, 2017

Working those Neutrals

It’s been another busy week here, but at least I was able to spend lots of time down in my studio, sewing my cares away. There was quite a variety of things to work on this week. My ADQD (Attention Deficit Quilting Disorder) was in overdrive, so I switched between sewing neutral string blocks, quilting the pineapple quilt, and sewing tulips and leaves. And mending clothes, sewing on buttons, etc. Life in the fast lane. Not.

But there is a method to my madness. The needle in my machine needed changing, so I figured that sewing on a paper base in order to do the 4.5” neutral string blocks would be better on the old needle. Therefore, for three days I cut, sewed and trimmed blocks. The result was 78 (of 168 needed) neutral string blocks.

There are plenty more strings and scraps and fabrics where these came from, and I will be working on them throughout the month.  Come visit us over at Angela’s blog for Scrappy Saturday. Lots of us are working through our neutral scraps this month!

Anyway, by Wednesday I put a new needle in the machine and switched to quilting the pineapple quilt, which I had basted on Monday. The first thing I did on the pineapple quilt was to stitch all the vertical seams in the ditch with my walking foot.

And then I began doing X quilting in the pineapples themselves. So much moving and shifting the quilt around (!) and my Bernina has an average-at-best harp space. My shoulders hurt after quilting five pineapples. So, I set myself a goal of quilting 5 pineapples a day. With 24 pineapples in the quilt, that will take 5 days. To date, I have completed 15; 9 left to go. I’m using a light, icy yellow on the front instead of white - not that you can really tell from this picture. The thread on the back is a variegated light green. When I finish the quilt next week, I’ll have pictures.

After quilting my quota of 5 pineapples a day, I figured it was a good time to start assembling tulips and leaves for the quilt that my friend Terri and I are making for our friend Diane.

I originally added the gold color in because there is gold in the small pink floral print that you see in almost every tulip. But I think the gold strips overpower the pastels and need to be taken out and substituted with another pastel (probably that aqua with pink strawberries). What do you think?

All the tulips will have a stem and leaves; that is the next step. And this is only half the tulips anyway; Terri is making the other half of them.

So now I am a stem-and-leaf-making fool, and hope to get those done this week in addition to finishing the pineapple quilt and making the rest of the neutral strip blocks.  The next project on the horizon is Bruce’s guitar quilt....

Finally, if you have a moment, why not stop by Lily Pad Quilting and the Pets on Quilts Show for 2017. Darla, my sweet quilting tabby, is entered in the Cats on Quilts category. You can visit the linky party HERE. Voting will open next week, and we hope you will consider voting for Darla, the Quilting Cat!

And now, it’s back to the sewing room for me...... unless Darla is using the machine! (wink)

Cathy maroon
Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Darla the Quilting Cat

Hi Friends! It’s me, Darla the Quilting Cat. Yep, it’s true; my mommy taught me this year. I even have pictures to show you in a moment. But first, I am so thrilled to be joining the Pets on Quilts parade for 2017! We always have fun visiting other animal friends online, and I especially want to thank Snoodles, Padsworth and DragonDrop at Lily Pad Quilting for hosting the fun!!

So, let me introduce my furry self.

My name is Darla (“The Girl with the Polka Dot Tummy"), and I am a 4-year old tabby. I live with my mom and dad and my litter brother Alfalfa. Alfie is an orange tabby. He didn't want to be in the show this year because he's been spending much of his time on Neighborhood Watch duties at the windows, keeping an eye on the birds and other critters that visit. It is an impurrtant job too.

By the way, I have the softest furs EVER invented! Silky smooth, I am. I can’t help it!  All the better to leave them behind on the quilts I get to test. Besides being a sewing cat, I also lay on quilts to hold them down (we don’t want them to fly away, you know) and test them for snuggle-ability. It’s my favorite part of the whole quilting process.

Now I would love to show you my sewing lessons to purr-oove my quilting abilities.

First, here I am watching while Mom explained how to use a rotary cutter. She helped me cut squares out for a quilt. Because I don’t have opposable thumbs, she used the rotary cutter while I held the fabric down or held the ruler. Or both. I`m good like that....

Then I learned to thread the machine. Can I tell you how much I love playing with thread?? I like Mommy’s machine. I think it’s a Purr-nina.

Here I am guiding the fabric through the machine, being careful to catch WATCH that quarter-inch seam.

Sewing is hard work, and as quilters we all must remember to take frequent breaks to relax and stretch our muscles. Here I demonstrate my PROVEN technique. Mommy wonders exactly what it is I’m trying to prove, but sometimes she’s no fun! 

And the finished result!  How can you argue with success?!

When the voting begins in a few days, I hope you will come back and vote for me! I can’t promise, but I might even sew a quilt for you!


Friday, August 4, 2017

Searching for the Neutral Zone

The last week has been fun and busy as we have settled into having my brother Steve come live with us. Unloading, rearranging, cleaning out...... Plus two days this week were also spent tending granddaughters, which was seriously fun but a detriment to my productivity. But we only live once, right?

On Sunday and Monday, I was able to finish up the pineapple quilt top. It will be basted this weekend, after I clean the hardwood floors.

On Tuesday, granddaughter Lauren (age 13) spent the day with me. She is such a mature, delightful young girl. We mostly spent our time painting a carved wooden cockatoo (an old salvage rescue my brother brought me for the patio). We painted it in bright colors, like a parrot, then sealed it. It turned out great, but I have no picture yet.

Then on Thursday, one of Bruce’s days off, we (along with my brother) took all the kennel quilts to Best Friends Animal Shelter up in Salt Lake. One of the dogs wanted to adopt my brother, and one of the kittens wanted to adopt my dear husband. I had to put both feet down. We all walked out with misty eyes. And that is why I sew kennel quilts instead of volunteering my time, and also why I will take the quilts in by myself in the future.

After finishing the pineapple quilt top, the only other sewing-related thing I did was to pull my light neutrals. I can’t wait to work with them. I am in serious need of zen sewing time! So, even with this meager contribution, I am linking to Scrappy Saturday for the Rainbow Scrap Challenge.

Since neutrals won’t work for my regular RSC blocks, I have another plan. One of the quilts I have wanted to start for awhile is Bonnie Hunter’s Jamestown Landing. The link will take you to one of her posts from 2015 where you can see the quilt made of blues and varied light neutrals. I may use both blues and greens for the colored portions, but for this month I plan to move full steam ahead on all the neutral strippy blocks.

Yesterday (Friday), granddaughter London came over, as well Cousin Kim’s two granddaughters Zoe and Trini for their final summer play date before school starts in 2 weeks. The “twins” London and Zoe were crazy girls all day. Our poor cats Darla and Alfie will probably need therapy!

In the morning we took the girls to Michael’s to buy craft supplies: Play Doh, foam crowns to decorate, wooden face masks (kittens) to decorate, scepters/batons, and more. They decorated their crowns and masks before lunch. After lunch, Trini (who is 12) watched the younger girls swim and play in their kiddie pools and break occasionally to play with Play Doh out on the patio. For three hours, they were busy outdoors. Kim and I got to relax and read indoors. We finished the day with my son Shane and Bruce joining us after work; pizza for all 8 of us.

Today, I recover and clean house. The pineapple quilt will be basted sometime this weekend, and then I can Sew Like The Wind next week.

Cathy maroon