Sunday, July 17, 2016

Starts and Finishes

To begin with, the finish is my Quilt for Pulse.  It's done and ready to go to Orlando, as soon as I attach the label later today.
I really like how this quilt turned out with the made-fabric hearts, and hope it gives comfort to a family of the Pulse nightclub victims or a first responder, etc.  It was an honor to put my thoughts and energy into making it.
I used an almost pastel variegated quilting thread, which blended well.  Funny (and serendipitous) that I found it while rummaging through a different drawer than the thread drawers.  I was looking for a fresh rotary cutter blade, but found just the right thread instead.
 The back is pieced, and the binding is a diagonal stripe.
As far as the start, I am beginning a baby quilt that a friend commissioned for her new granddaughter born in May.  This is how the HST blocks look on the design wall at the moment.
I'm using the colors in the baby's room—lavender, navy, aqua, and gray—which I had a hard time imagining all together in a quilt, but it works! To get an idea before I started cutting fabric, I Googled "lavender navy aqua" and it seems like it's a thing.  As in there were a lot of images incorporating those colors for weddings, decor, etc.  So I was out of the loop, apparently—which shouldn't really be news, least of all to me!

Speaking of loops, we did a little bike loop this weekend which took us through some beautiful farmland.  Wisconsin has a lot of rolling hills, but this particular area where we biked is a pretty flat expanse. 
Along the way, we spotted a pair of sandhill cranes.  They blended in  with the landscape and we almost peddled right past, except that I noticed a little movement in my peripheral vision and turned to see what it was.  Can you find them?

Sandhill cranes have a unique rattling bugle call, but this pair was being "vewy, vewy quiet," as Elmer Fudd would say, and looked as though they were tiptoeing through the field. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Quilt for Pulse

It's a good thing I finished all last month's Quilty 365 circles by the middle of June (that post is HERE), because it was right about then that I read about the Quilts for Pulse drive headed up by the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild.

I decided to use the made-fabric I had been assembling from various monthly one-color scraps from the Quilty 365 circles, and use that in making rainbow heart blocks for a donation quilt for the victims' families and survivors of the Pulse nightclub tragedy.
The top is now done, and my trusty quilt holder-upper helped me get a few pictures of it today.  He has impressive technique and flair, no?  Just look at those fingers.
The light was shining through it in this spot on the deck, which made for a neat effect, but then we moved to the shade for a truer shot.
The backing is now sewn together as well, and I'm ready to baste and quilt it after the 4th of July.

* * * * *
In other news, we continue to enjoy the trails and this gorgeous summer weather.  
 
I have rediscovered a new "happy place," other than my sewing room:  On my bike.

Where's (one of) yours?

Linking to Confessions of a Fabric Addict-Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

Monday, June 20, 2016

Happy Solstice

Happy longest day of the year, Northern Hemisphere!  Also Happy June Full Strawberry Moon!  Which kind of sounds like a sketchy movie title, if you think about it: "Happy June's Full Strawberry Moon."  I think I'll pass on that film, thank you.

I have an unexpected free evening due to a glitch at work.  Of course, it's not really free because that means tomorrow I'll do double duty, but let's live in the moment.  In a little while, I'll take a nice walk as the sun goes down.  I feel like I should do something more than that, it being the solstice and all.  Like, oh, I don't know, twirl around in a stone circle with a couple of paper lanterns and a precious jewel tucked into my gauzy frock, all while singing the theme from Outlander

Sing me a song of a lass who is gone...say, could that lass be I?

Nope, still here.

It was Day 9 of the 21-Day Decluttering Challenge yesterday and the task was to "declutter your hobby."  And then I laughed and laughed!  But she added, "Or a hobby you no longer enjoy."  Okay, that's doable in a day.  I made a donation pile of vintage knitting, crochet, and cross stitch books because I no longer do those things, and drove said pile directly to Goodwill along with three other boxes of junk from Days 1-8 of the challenge. 

But before taking that drive, I happened to thumb through one of the books and saw this.  Moppets!

What in the ridiculous world?  

I think Moppets deserves a good caption.  "Moppets: For chills or spills!"

Eh, that's all I've got at the moment, but maybe you can think of one.  Leave it in the comments!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer Light

Even though I no longer have a school-age kid, I still think of June, July, and August as summer vacation.  Do you, too?  I love this time of year, right now, when the days are long and the possibilities seem to stretch as far as the sunset.  That sense of space and light and freedom.
It may or may not surprise you that I have no particular plans for the coming months, except to enjoy them day by day.  There are no big excursions in the works, though I'm sure a road trip will occur spontaneously now and then.
We have been doing some biking, exploring the trails by pedal power.  Also doing some recon on foot of other potential paths before we hitch up and haul the bikes.
We're out for the leisure of it, the warm breeze through our hair (or helmet), the sights and scents.  Not so much for the sweat and burn and saddle soreness.
After the first ride, my knees were griping, and we hadn't even done any real hills.  Since then, icing them down afterwards has become the thing to.  Not as much fun as tossing back a cold brew, but cold refreshment of another sort.  You do what you have to do.
In the sewing room, there's been some puttering.  I started this month's circles for the Quilty 365 project, and they started to come together as a beautiful garden of colors.  June's theme, as I imagined it back in January, was "Floral or Light Multi."  A change from the one color per month idea, and although I wasn't as confident as I may have been when the plan was hatched, I went with it anyway.  
Well, it turned out just fine.  I delved into the scrap bins in search of flowers and there they were, like seeds ready to bloom.
Although we're only halfway through June, I've got the whole 30 days together in a kind of neat bouquet.
My "scraps of scraps" sitting on the side of the cutting table are finding their way into made-fabric.  Not sure what may become of them, but have no doubt something will, eventually.
Other putzing has involved de-boning some thrifted men's shirts for future projects, and altering and hemming a few clothing items for summer.  Among them was a brand new pair of Cabela's women's capris with the tags still on them that I found at Goodwill.  They were unflattering on me as capris, so I shortened them into shorts.

I do have a project in mind for a quilt to donate to a local group that hosts a hunting event for veterans in October.  They have door prizes or gifts, and I'd like to provide something for that.  I'm thinking a Hunter's Star block quilt, but I'm just beginning to hunt for ideas, colors, etc.
We kicked off the summer by celebrating Dad's birthday on Memorial Day with 35 or so family and friends.  Here we are, the siblings and Dad.  Always a good time!
I am also doing the 21-Day Daily Decluttering Challenge hosted by Courtney Carver at Be More With Less.  It's Day 6 today, so if you're of a mind to jump in, feel free.  It's been very gradual steps these first few days, which is good, but already I've got a big box of miscellaneous things ready to donate, as well as a laundry basket full of sheets and towels from the linen closet.  I feel lighter already.

Hope your summer is off to a great start.  Do you have any special plans?

Monday, June 6, 2016

And the Winner Is...

It was so much fun to read your comments on the Crafted Applique blog hop and giveaway post!  The Crafted Applique method seems to have generated "New Possibilities" in the minds of many of you already!
Today is the day to pick the winner of the book so graciously provided by Lara Buccella for this giveaway.  I asked my husband, with his eyes closed, to draw one comment from the pile on the kitchen table (talk about low tech!).

And the winner is...BARBARA WOODS!
Congratulations, Barbara!  Your book will be sent to you directly by Lara, so look forward to that! 

Once again, thank you all so much for visiting and taking the time to comment.  There are a couple other giveaways still happening, including Lara's own for an adorably appliqued Zippy Seahorse Bag she created!  You can find all the details at BuzzinBumble.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

May Circles for Quilty 365

I got a little behind on my Quilty 365 circles during the month of May, but caught up at the tail end.  I had a couple other projects going on for the Crafted Applique blog hop (see yesterday's post—there's still time to enter the giveaway!).

The color theme I chose for the month was blue-green or green-blue, as in everything from aqua to turquoise to teal.  It's one of my favorite color ranges.  There's just something tranquil and restful but also light and joyful about it.  Gosh, it's more difficult to put into words than I thought!

Anyway, here is the group for the 31 days of May.  That brings my Quilty 365 circle total to 152.

I still don't really know how they're all going to go together in a quilt (or quilts), but that's all right for the time being.  Just going with the flow.


In my handwritten note, my idea for the color of the month in June says "Floral or Light Multi."  Well, that seems sort of wishy-washy now that I'm at this point.  But I'll try to navigate my way through the month of circles with that in mind.  Hopefully, once things get going, it will start to seem like the cohesive theme I must have envisioned when I scribbled it back in January.

Linking to: Quilty Folk

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Crafted Applique Blog Hop and Giveaway

Hello all!  I'm excited to be part of the blog hop today for Lara Buccella's new book, "Crafted Applique...New Possibilities."

Lara blogs at BuzzinBumble, and we met via the comments section of our blogs a couple years ago and became friends. She is a genuinely sweet, kind person, and I was honored when she asked me if I would review her book and be part of her book tour blog hop.  

I'm also happy to be able to give away a copy of the Crafted Applique book to one lucky person, so keep reading and leave a comment below for your chance to win!

Applique is something with which I have some experience on a small scale— mostly wall hangings and such—with mixed results.  I've done a bit of needle-turn applique and a few projects using fusibles.  I got a little fed up with fusibles at one point and tried some raw edge applique by just pinning things in place and edge-stitching.  A bit tricky, as you might imagine, and I dread it fraying or coming apart in the wash.  So I was really interested in learning about a new and different technique in Crafted Applique.  

Makes fabric fusible yet flexible?  Non-fraying even after washing, and won't gum up your needle?  Okay, I'm in!

There are some absolutely gorgeous projects in Lara's book.  The one featured on the book cover is my favorite!  The really cool thing is that once you know how it's done, the sky's the limit, and I predict you'll be off and running with your own ideas in no time!  Gotta love a book that not only has wonderful step-by-step instructions and projects but inspires and enables you to create your own right off the bat.

Let's try some simple shapes, for starters, I thought.  I'm often inspired by nature, and this year we've got an interesting thing happening in our backyard—some crows have decided to nest in the tall ash tree next to the deck.  They've been fascinating to watch!  I say "they" because crows are very social and cooperative birds, and taking care of the nest, and the crow mama sitting on it, is a family affair.


So with our resident crows in mind, I found a silhouette to use as a pattern for this mini-quilt, which finished at 10.5 inches square.

I love how it turned out!  It was very easy to prep the fabric, cut out the shape, adhere, edge-stitch, and quilt.  And it's reassuring to know that the sharp details of the feathers and beak won't fray.
 
For my next project, staying with the simple shapes theme, I thought about the effigy mounds that populate the landscape here in southern Wisconsin. Effigy mounds are large raised piles of earth stylized in the shapes of animals, symbols, or other figures.  

The mounds in this area were constructed by an ancient Native American culture known as the Late Woodland, or Effigy Mound Builders, between 800 AD and 1200 AD, likely the pre-Columbian ancestors of the Ho-Chunk Nation.
  
"It is believed that most effigy mounds fall into three classes corresponding to the three natural realms - air, earth and water. The cosmology of many Midwest Native American tribes consider these realms in terms of the upper world (air) and lower world (earth and water). Some of the prominent shapes in this particular grouping include turtles, panthers, canines, buffalo (bear), deer and birds. Long-tailed effigies, such as turtle and panther mounds are believed to be representations of powerful (lower world) water spirit-beings. Often times they are oriented toward a spring or water source."  (Source) 
Represented in my wall hanging is a bird effigy, top left, and then clockwise from there is a fox effigy, turtle effigy, and buffalo effigy.  The wall hanging measures 25.5 inches square.


I quilted this piece in a multicolored thread in a spiral pattern, leaving the appliqued shapes unquilted (thus more mound-like).
Of course in real life, effigy mounds are not as easy to see as a bright batik fabric.  You could walk by or around or over them and not notice unless it was pointed out.  In fact, the back of the piece more accurately represents how they tend to blend into the landscape. Thankfully, many effigy mounds or mound groupings have been preserved and marked, although innumerable sites were destroyed in the early days of agriculture and housing and industrial development.  

I've really enjoyed reading and working with "Crafted Applique: New Possibilities" as a guide and inspiration.  I can't wait to see what YOU will do! 


* * * * Giveaway! * * * *

What might you want to do for your next applique project?  What have you enjoyed or been challenged by in your experiences with applique?

Leave a comment on this blog post for a chance to win a copy of the book, "Crafted Applique...New Possibilities"!   I will draw a winner from the comments on Monday, June 6, at noon Central Time.  Please be sure you are not a no-reply blogger, or leave your email address in your comment if you're not sure, so I can contact you if you win!

Thanks for visiting - and good luck!

And please explore any or all of the blog hop stops to see the way others have been inspired by Crafted Applique.  Here's the schedule:

Crafted Appliqué: New Possibilities Blog Hop - May 1st to June 5th

Sunday, May 1 - Introduce the Hop and post the schedule on BuzzinBumble
Monday, May 2 - Valerie Smith - Pumpkin Patch Quilter
Tuesday, May 3 - Dana Gaffney - Stormy Days
Wednesday, May 4 - Lorna McMahon - Sew Fresh Quilts 
Thursday, May 5 - Mary S. - Needled Mom
Friday, May 6 - Heidi Kuntz - Red Letter Quilts
Saturday, May 7 - Alycia Carmin - Alycia Quilts
Sunday, May 8 - Amy DeCesare - Amy Made That
Monday, May 9 - Sherri McConnell - A Quilting Life
Tuesday, May 10 - Lara Buccella - Sew Mama Sew 
Wednesday, May 11 - Christina Cameli - A Few Scraps
Thursday, May 12 - Melissa Corry -  Happy Quilting
Friday, May 13 - Sarah Craig - Confessions of a Fabric Addict
Saturday, May 14 - Soma Acharya - Whims and Fancies 
Sunday, May 15 - Val Reynolds -  Val's Quilting Studio
Monday, May 16 - Angela Pingel - Cut to Pieces
Tuesday, May 17 - Sandra Walker - Musings of a Menopausal Melon
Wednesday, May 18 - Cheryl Brickey - Meadow Mist Designs
Thursday, May 19 - Judy Murphy - Quilt Paradigm
Friday, May 20 - Yvonne Fuchs - Quilting Jetgirl
Saturday, May 21 - Cindy Pieters - Stitchin' at Home
Sunday, May 22 - Susie Zlogar - Susie's Sunroom
Monday, May 23 - Connie Kresin-Campbell - Freemotion by the River
Tuesday, May 24 - Ruth Bourke - Charly & Ben's Crafty Corner
Wednesday, May 25 - Kaja Zieslar - Sew Slowly
Thursday, May 26 - Ann Brooks - Fret Not Yourself
Friday, May 27 - Cynthia Brunz - Quilting is More Fun Than Housework
Saturday, May 28 - Monday, May 30 ... Memorial Day Weekend in the U.S.
Tuesday, May 31 - Jenn Trott-Zisserson - Quarter Inch From the Edge
Wednesday, June 1 - Paulette Horn - The Way I Sew It
Thursday, June 2 - Sandra Jansen - Studio Sew of Course
Friday, June 3 - Christine Sherman - Triangles and Squares
Saturday, June 4 - Darlene Simmons - Quilt Shop Gal
Sunday, June 5 - Announce BuzzinBumble Giveaway Winners - Lara Buccella