Wednesday, January 18, 2023

All things (not)PINK but BLUE


The second challenge for Project Quilting was announced on Sunday, this week the challenge was a color theme & the color chosen was PINK.  I have never been much of a pink fan and am drawn more to browns & greens so I knew the real challenge was going to be finding pink fabric in my stash. 

I purchased a Moda Fabric “Songbook a New Page” mini panel last fall from -Fancy That Design House- and one of the panels had some pink on it. 

I picked through my stash & found some bits & pieces of pinkish fabrics to match it and did a little quilt as you go coaster? hot pad holder? mug rug? Your guess is as good as mine! I embellished it with some different decorative stitches in a burgundy color thread & it was done. 

I was finally getting over a nasty sinus infection this weekend & knew this week was going to be a busy one getting caught up on all the things I didn’t get done last week! I knew if I was going to get any type of project done it had to be small & simple and be done in one day. So I started this and finished it on Sunday evening! The finished size is about 9 x 12 inches.



Little did I know how busy the week was going to be! 

Bright and early Monday morning we were all surprised & welcomed the 9th little leaf on our family tree ~ our new grandson ~Rowan Fenwick Fiedler~ he arrived safe & sound to join his parents and his older sisters Willow & Aspen. 

I was more than happy to spend the week snuggling this handsome little guy! 

I thought the saying on the little panel I chose was sure fitting for my week… just not in PINK  this week because we are all on TEAM BLUE 💙💙💙 












Sunday, January 8, 2023

Duck.....Duck.....Goose! Project Quilting 14.1

The Project Quilting Season 14.1 started this week on Sunday January 1st 😱 the 1st challenge for this year was “The First One” the rules stating that this challenge was to be all about ONE. Here is a clip from the rules for the week- 

Let’s revel in the “firstness” of January 1 for this week’s challenge theme and look at the number one.
Number one could be the winner. The “first” to reach a summit or achieve a position.
But sometimes one is the loneliest number; a single with no one around.
And sometimes it’s just math. In any event, let’s carry the one this week!

Ok??? I spent two days thinking of all the things I could that represented one, trying to come up with something unique and creative to start this season off with a bang!

On Tuesday when I was looking for something entirely not sewing related in my tornado of a sewing room, I found a piece of fabric I remember buying online because I thought the creatures on it were chickens, but when it arrived I discovered they were ducks 🤔 and my idea was hatched! LOL 

Who can remember the game - DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE- we played it at every recess, during Bible school break time, any time a game needed to be played that was fun but at the same time made everyone sit down and calm the chaos….of course if you are from one of the foreign states of America you remember it as -DUCK, DUCK, GREY DUCK- but we aren’t going to debate the correctness of the name Duck, Duck Anything today because for this particular project it is GOOSE who is #1. 

For those who have no idea what I am talking about- 

Duck, Duck, Goose (also called Duck, Duck, Gray Duck or Daisy in the Dell or Quail, Quail, Quarry) is a traditional children's game often first learned in preschool or kindergarten. The game may be later adapted on the playground for early elementary students. The object of this game is to walk in a circle, tapping on each player's head until ONE is finally chosen; the chosen player must then chase the picker to avoid becoming the next picker.

I had just finished making a baby quilt using Flying Geese Blocks and had a set of blocks in a color I didn’t realize I had already used, so these extras were just laying around with no where to go, when I saw the duck fabric I knew just what to do with ONE of them them! 
I made a little DUCK DUCK GOOSE Quilted burp rag 🤪 
I surrounded my lone Goose with the ducks, layered the finished top onto 2 pieces of double gauze fabric and quilted them together, finished the edges and it was done! Pretty simple but it works 🙌🏼
…and for those of you in the GREY DUCK camp…it’s a light grey grunge fabric that could be a grey duck…but not really because that’s definitely a flying goose! 😂













 

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Flying Geese-13.6

 Well, that's a wrap! The last challenge of Project Quilting Season 13 is done! These little challenges are such a great way to get through the long days of what is usually a mental slump after the holidays, they fire up the creativity and keep me motivated, so it's always a little sad to have the season end. But spring is in the air and the geese are heading home, there are gardens to till, rocks to move around, quilts to quilt and vacations to plan.

Our challenge this week was to create a quilt using the Flying Geese Block. This block is my absolute favorite quilt block. It is such a simple block, easy to make, and yet so versatile. I love adding a row of flying geese in a quilt border, or just making a whole quilt of flying geese. I would have to say this was probably the challenge I was most excited about. Pictured are a few projects I have done over the years incorporating the flying geese block. 



For those who don't know what a Flying Geese Block is, it is a simple block made up of a larger triangle representing the goose, surrounded by two smaller triangles representing the sky. During the time of the Underground Railroad, the Flying Geese block was used as a code in quilts, it was a signal for slaves to follow the direction of the geese, north to Canada, and as way to tell them where they could find water, food and shelter. 

The only rule this week, other than the ones we have each challenge, was that we had to incorporate a minimum of 5 flying geese in our finished project.  

I love listening to the geese in the spring and fall as they travel across the sky. It's fascinating to think about how year after year they know when it is time to head north or south as the seasons change. Hearing the geese and the cranes in the spring and watching the great flocks in perfect formation as they head north is a sure sign that warmer days are on their way. I can remember going goose hunting with my Dad when I was young, the cold frosty mornings, the anticipation and then the sight and the sounds of the huge flocks of geese and ducks as they landed on the water. 

Earlier this week I was visiting with my oldest daughter and she mentioned that they had gone to see the geese that have started migrating north. They live on the eastern part of the state and when the geese start flying north in the spring, the fields, swampy areas and lakes are covered with geese, hundreds of thousands of them. It's an incredible sight, especially the snow geese. She mentioned that the bald eagles follow the geese on their migration and sometimes you can sight eagles close to where the geese are. Since eagles are predator birds we figured that they followed the geese to prey on the weak or sick ones. We laughed about making a dead goose block to represent the one the eagles got, so with my morbid sense of humor, that's what I did.

I found a nice goose grey fabric to use for my geese, and while digging for a blue for my sky, I found this fun green that had rows of flying geese printed on it and decided to use that instead. Then of course the bright blood red!


 I decided I wanted the geese to be in a curved line and the only way to do that was to paper piece them. I have a love hate relationship with paper piecing. I love the crisp perfection of the finished product, but I hate the process, I can never remember which direction I need to lay my fabric, and sewing on the paper side always throws me off. I also think it's an incredible waste of good fabric since you end up trimming so much off.  Since it is a quilting challenge, I figured I might as well challenge myself and practice my paper piecing skills.



I wanted to quilt it to give it a feeling of motion so I quilted it with random wavy lines, and then I added a couple of feathers, one an eagle feather, and one a goose feather. My finished piece is 6 X 9. 




Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Rhythm & Repetition 13.5

We are on Week 5 of this years Project Quilting Season. I don't know what is different about this year, because usually the weeks drag out and it feels like forever before a new challenge is announced. This year I feel like its flying by so fast! 

This week our challenge was Rhythm & Repetition, as Trish, who is our challenge creator each week, said in her notes about what we were to create this week- 

"In language, music and visual art repetition is used for effect. It can be used to create calm and peace- a feeling of Zen brought on by doing, seeing or hearing the same thing over and over again, When you know what to expect, your mind is at ease.

Conversely, the disruption of rhythm can be used to cause tension and drama: to draw attention to a point in its difference from the norm." -

Quilting is full of repetition, repeated patterns, colors, shapes that all tie a quilt together in a visual rhythm. Other examples of repetition can be found in Art, Poetry, and Music.

There were some articles to give us some ideas and thoughts to work with, and a song for inspiration. I read the articles and I looked up different ideas, I even listened to the fun little song about Love, but this week I was not inspired. 

I decided I needed to think about this for a few days, and almost decided to not even do the challenge this time around. But you know what they say, quitters never win!

 The only rules we had to follow was that we had to intentionally repeat something in our design at least 3 times for visual effect. Then there were the normal rules that we have to follow every week. It must be a finished project and we had to start and finish it in the challenge timeline, and it must stand alone as done. It does not need to be a traditional quilt but it must incorporate at least one of the traditional quilt requirements, either patchwork, appliqué and have 3 layers stitch together. 

I think I got stuck on the repetition of 3 times for visual effect rule and just couldn't get past that. 

On Monday night I needed to escape from the constant sound of the news blaring from the TV in the basement, I really didn't feel like sewing, but sometimes I find it calming to just cut strips of fabric and sew them back together without a plan or a pattern. So that's what I did, I grabbed a scrap of fabric, cut it into 1/2 strips and then sewed them back together, pretty mindless work but it created a sense of calm in a somewhat stressful day. 

While I was sewing and thinking about the other projects I needed to get done this week, I realized that I could use these sewn strips and "make it work" for the challenge this week. Since the rules stated we just had to intentionally repeat something in our design at least 3 times, I figured that my strips would count as the repetition, but it was pretty boring looking, so I added one strip of blue. After I had my little scrap all sewn back together, I decided to cut it up into 2 1/2 inch squares and sew them back together. I turned one to create a disruption in my design. 


Then I quilted it to another scrap and put a binding on it. It burned up 3 hours of my evening, which I could have been folding clothes instead, but that has never been a calming project! 



I didn't put a lot of effort into this week, and it's kind of like the Elementary Science Fair where your best friend wins the Grand Prize Trophy and you get a P for Participation. LOL 

My finished piece is 2 1/4 by 9 inches. I thought about adding some buttons or some sequins but then decided it would make a great book mark and just left it as is. 



Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Mining for Diamonds- PQ 13.4 "You can call me Queen Bee"

The challenge this week for Project Quilting was announced the day before Valentine's Day and it was competing with the Super Bowl and the Olympics. I thought maybe one of those events would play a role in what the challenge would be, but other than diamonds being a symbol of LOVE, I was pretty wrong! 

The theme for the 4th challenge of this season is "Mining for Diamonds". We were challenged to create a quilt that was inspired by diamonds. As most quilters know the diamond shape is pretty common in many quilt patterns, so we had no excuse to come up with something, even just a simple square in a square block, which is also known as "diamond in the rough".

 It's funny that in so many of the challenges this season someone says, I just made that, or the project I made last time would have been perfect for this. I laughed when the challenge came out because a season or two ago we had a challenge called "Craving Chocolate" and I created a chocolate diamond using chocolate candy wrappers, this would have been perfect, but I was not going to have a repeat of the two of us eating chocolate candy by the bag so I could have enough foil to create another diamond! 

I spent Sunday evening looking at ideas for quilt patterns using diamonds, and other diamond ideas. I really like the diamond in the rough pattern and recently quilted a wonky block quilt that used that pattern. I thought maybe I could do a table runner or something simple and incorporate a wonky diamond block. 

But my mind works in mysterious ways, and when an idea comes to me, I just have to fly with it. While looking for patterns and thinking about diamonds, I kept thinking about the song 'Royals' by New Zealand singer-songwriter Lorde. Now the song has the word diamond in it probably 3 times, and really has nothing to do with mining for diamonds, but I couldn't get the song out of my head and decided this was it. One of the rules of the challenge is that as long as we could explain how our project was inspired by diamonds we could do anything we wanted. 

If you listen to the video a couple of times my project will make sense...or not...LOL :)

              

I decided this challenge I was going to paint my main design and then do some diamond in the rough blocks to go with it. So on Monday evening while we watched the snowboarding competition I started my little design. 

 I then dug through my stash and found some scraps that fit my color scheme and stitched together my wonky blocks. I quilted around the design and attempted to quilt my blocks to look like diamonds. 




I decided I needed something bright and flashy to represent the diamond on the crown and sceptre, so I sorted through my button tin hoping I would find a button or two with a rhinestone on it, all I could find was one lone little stone at the bottom of the tin, so I glued that to the crown and embellished it with gold beads. I knew there were some bits and pieces of a geode we had cracked open in a jar in the kitchen, so I found one that fit the top of the sceptre, glued it with rhinestone glue and then used some invisible thread to secure it. There was a planned power outage in our area for Wednesday morning so I did the binding and hand sewing during that time and was done before noon! You can call me Queen Bee :) The finished piece is 9 x 22 and was painted using Tsukineko All Purpose Ink. 




Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Kitchen Influence - PQ 13.3

 The wind is blowing today and it's cold again, so it's the perfect day to be indoors working on something quilt related, good thing I have something I am working on next door, because I already have my challenge done for the week! 

This week our Project Quilting challenge was Kitchen Influence. We were challenged to create using food and cooking as our inspiration. 

My husband is a snacker, he is rummaging around the kitchen all day long, and then still eats 3 meals a day, this bad habit is because he grew up in a house where the cookie jar was full 24/7, and his mom spent her days in the kitchen cooking. She got up and made eggs and pancakes for breakfast, baked bread, made at least a batch of cookies a week, a pie or two, a cake, then made huge meals for dinner, and supper, and everyone snacked all day long. They also lived on a ranch and worked really hard every day.  She had a husband, 4 very hungry growing boys, a brother in law, sometimes hired hands, and eventually grandkids that all ate a lot of food & cookies at her house. 

We still live on the ranch, but most of the work is done with tractors, no one is hitching up a team to feed the cows every morning, so in my opinion, snacks & 3 meals a day should go the way of the old west. I would be happy if we bought a loaf of bread every week and had a peanut butter sandwich every day until the bread ran out! We grew up in a house where my mom said, "If you're still hungry, eat an apple"...yet here I am married to the Cookie Monster.  

My mantra is "I hate cooking"  and I complain daily about it. But maybe if I am honest it's not that I hate to cook, it's that I don't like to cook every day for just the two of us. Because when it's all said and done, I actually love to make fun meals when there is company or when our family is all home, and not to brag, but I am a really good cook. One of my favorite time wasters is watching people cook delicious recipes on instagram reels, and wish I had the ingredients to recreate them. I always think I could win one of those cooking shows where they put you in a kitchen with limited ingredients and tell you to create a 5 star meal without a recipe. But cooking takes time, and you have to be able to get the ingredients you need for fun recipes, and we live in the sticks so most of those ingredients are 100 miles away, and by the time you drive to get them, you don't want to cook anymore. Or you spend 3 hours making something, and there are no leftovers so you have to do it all over again 3 hours later! Who has time to cook when there are quilts to be made? 

Needless to say when the challenge was Kitchen Influence, I just had to laugh, my most hated place in the house! LOL 

I knew I didn't want to make a pot holder, and we have more mug rugs than mugs. I thought about placemats but didn't feel that ambitious. So I googled quilted kitchen gift ideas thinking maybe there would be something inspiring I could make for a gift. There were a lot of really fun wine bags, some towel things that would be nice to give, some cool little quilted covers for casserole dishes, actually quite a few really neat things to make and give. But what caught my eye was this fun little Bubble Bag from a shop on Etsy called Love From Beth,  I decided I needed that pattern and that was what I was going to make. In my dream kitchen I would have a fun shelf with a whole row of these bright little bags holding...snacks! LOL 


The lovefrombeth Etsy shop has all sorts of really neat quilted container patterns, some really cool quilt patterns I need, and what's great about them is most of them are digital downloads, and since she is from the UK makes it really handy to order and have it right away. So I ordered the pattern Monday morning, printed it and started the stash dig. I didn't have to dig far and this fun vintage piece popped out and said pick me! It was perfect. 


I had a green thread in my longarm machine and pinned a piece of muslin to the edges beside the quilt I am working on so I could do a quick little quilting. I picked muslin for the lining fabric thinking if I used it to put any food items in I would want it to be easy cleaning. But now after I have it done and know I am not going to put food in it, I wish I had found something a little more exciting. 


I don't like to read and follow directions, so it took a couple of attempts to get things right. If I had been reading and comprehending I would have read the directions before I printed them and realized that I needed to check the box on my printer that said print in actual size. The first bag I attempted was to small and the bottom didn't fit right, and I sewed the darts on the wrong side & there were ugly threads all over. So I started over again and thankfully my printer ran out of ink AFTER the pattern was printed in the correct size. I was also thankful I had quilted a large piece of fabric with the intention of making something else with the extra. 



It is such a fun little bag and I know that I will be making more, from start to finish, leaving out the mistake parts, it probably only took a couple hours to make, there is some hand sewing so that was the most time consuming. I did make my handle differently from the pattern and attached it from the edge of the bag before I put on the binding. Now I wish I had a cute little miniature Pomeranian to stick in it! 



So that's my Project Quilting 13.3 Kitchen Influence project for this challenge. I made lasagne last night so I know I am free from the kitchen for at least 3 meals, which means more time to make more cute little bubble bags! 



Tuesday, January 18, 2022

PQ 13.2- In Silhouette

 How is it possible that week TWO of this seasons Project Quilting is already here? The one thing these challenges do is make these long winter months fly by a little faster and for that I am very grateful.

Sunday when the challenge came out I was busy most of the day and didn't get a chance to read what our challenge was going to be until that evening, and someone already had a project done and posted! I am amazed by all of the people who can think that fast, and then actually get something done. I decided maybe if I pushed myself I could get mine done by at least Wednesday.

This weeks challenge is "In Silhouette" as soon as I saw that I thought of my last weeks project, it would have been perfect. 

One of the things I love most about the challenges, is reading Kim and Trish's blog postings on the Persimon Dreams Blog at kimlapacek.com - the time and thought put into creating each of these challenges is amazing. I usually have to read the blog post two or three times just to get my brain working and get some inspiration for the week. In the challenge this week all we had to do was incorporate a silhouette into our design, other than that the sky was the limit. 

I was really excited when Trish mentioned German Scherenschnitte as an example, because a number of years ago I really got into Scherenschnitte and did all kinds of fun paper cutting designs, I am sure if I dig deep enough in my mess I would still have some of them, but I don't even want to dig very deep into my fabric stash because then I have to pick it all up, so I certainly wasn't going to go looking for inspiration in piles of papers.

I decided it would be fun to do something that resembled a scherenschnitte design, and thought of a photo I took a few years ago when the goats got on the back deck. I started on Sunday night and about half way through just didn't feel the inspiration so I threw it away. Back to the drawing board. 


I had a quilt to bind on Monday so while I was upstairs sewing I dumped out my batik tote and started looking for inspiration. One of the ideas Trish also mentioned in her blog post was Mexican Papal Picado. I love bright colored flags, especially Prayer Flags and Paper Picado, something about those little flags just make my heart happy. 

I decided that somehow I wanted create a little Día de Los Muertos scene with tiny paper flags as my silhouette.

A little history about Día de los Muertos, this is a Mexican holiday where families welcome back their deceased relatives for a brief reunion that includes food, drink and celebration. The holiday is celebrated from Halloween on October 31 through All Saints Day November 1st & All Souls Day on November 2nd.  Little alters called Ofrendas are prepared to honor loved ones who have passed away, symbols of the four elements: water, fire, earth and wind are used on the alters, as are other items such as photos of the deceased, salt, cempasuchil (marigold flowers) and bread. Each item represents something significant to the celebration.

The little Papel Picado Flags (which basically means chopped paper), represents the wind element. The holes in the paper are a way for souls to travel through to make their visit back to earth. 

The candles that are lit represent the fire element, these candles are used to light a path to guide the spirits home.

The bright orange marigolds are used because their strong fragrance is believed to attract spirits to the alter, and their orange color is associated with the feeling of celebrating life, instead of the sadness associated with death. 

An idea was forming as I sewed & dug through fabric, all I needed was the right fabric to make it work. I found a little 3" x 6"  scrap of purple fabric that made me think of the night sky. Surely there was more than mere inches of this fabric somewhere, why would I only have a scrap. Who saves tiny scraps of fabric? 



After digging through a pile of fabric that felt like it got larger as I dug, there was just that one little tiny piece of perfect purple, I knew there was no way I could cut flags small enough to use on that piece of fabric so I needed to add to it or scratch that idea completely.  

Between binding breaks I just keep sorting fabric, now this is not a neat and tidy sorting of fabric, this is more a dump out the fabric onto the floor, then dig through it and pull out colors that catch your eye type of sorting, stuff the discards back into the tote and rummage around some more. Every tote of fabric in my sewing room is a complete nightmare, but every one of them is full of treasure, maybe someday I will sort them out neatly, but chances are I will not.

I found a bright gold & orange batik that had swirls like glow of candles, not only were the swirls perfect, but the color was exactly like the marigolds. The crazy thing was it was also only about 6 inches wide so it fit the purple just right. Now all I needed was something to make my silhouette with and I was in business, I didn't have a solid black but I did find a strip of dark blue, I also found a fun purple and orange piece that had little patterns that were like the cutouts on the papal picado. 

I sewed the purple sky & the swirled gold fabrics together, trimmed them up a bit, then cut the edge of a swirled piece and used wonder under to iron it down to the top where the gold met the purple. I then used the dark blue to create my silhouettes of candles and ironed them down to the bottom of the gold, I zig zagged around them and created little wicks using black thread. 

I then quilted the candle glows with gold thread and used the purple/orange batik as my backing fabric, border and binding. Then the fun part began, I used gold sequins and orange beads to create the candle flames. I have all thumbs when trying to do things like hand sewing or beadwork, so this part of the whole project took the longest to create. It was probably a good thing I never found a larger piece of that purple! 

The next step was to create my paper flags. I thought seriously about using paper since I knew it would cut neater, but I knew that all I had for tissue paper in my house was red, green, gold or white leftovers from Christmas. So I dug back into the fabric until I found some tightly woven batiks in bright colors and not too much design and very carefully snipped out some tiny flags. 


Originally I was going to use a black pen and draw designs, but I knew I wanted them to be authentic and for you to be able to see the candles behind them. When the flags were done, I stitched them to a cord, ironed them good and stiff and then strung them onto my quilt.


 I was done...before noon on Tuesday! My little quilt is 7 X 9  and as you can see my flags are the size of postage stamps. I don't like my silhouette candles, I think I could have put a bit more effort into making them look more like candles and less like a city scape, but overall I am happy with the way it turned out.