Today

Today is Song

(To the tune of “Frere Jacques”)
Today is _______.
Today is _______.
All day long, all day long.
Yesterday was ______.
Tomorrow will be _______.
Oh what fun!
Oh what fun!

This will be my new morning song. I spent all of today thinking it was Saturday. Oh, well, it was a productive day, either way.
A friend of mine told me about how she was making seasonal and special masks for her granddaughters. I thought it was a cute idea. I had ordered some Halloween fabric from Studio Stitch to make some other projects. One of these fun fabrics was a print of “Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet.” The fabric made me feel like a kid again.

This past week was spent trying out different embroidery stitches and designs. I purchased the book, Embroidery A Step-by-Step Stitching Guide by Lucinda Ganderton.  When I first started quilting, I bought Ganderton’s book about quilting, A Block a Day.  I found the quilting book to be very helpful, with clear cut instructions. I thought her book on embroidery might be just as good of a resource for embroidery, and I was right. I was able to try out new stitches on the projects I completed this week.

One of the pieces I embroidered was the result of a Zoom-ing session with my granddaughter, I asked her if she had any ideas for another fall scene I could embroider. She quickly talked me through some different ideas. She did not want to draw the  actual scenes, because she wanted me to use my imagination. 🙂 She did however, use arrows, labels, and scribbles to design what she wanted. The one I chose to do was the scarecrow scene. My granddaughter said it needed two cornstalks, a crow, and a “cute” snake. She also asked if I could make sure to include the posts on which the scarecrow was hanging. I decided to make somewhat of a dimensional scarecrow by stuffing the face with batting. I used a scrap of jeans for the overall, some fall fabric scraps for the shirt, and some burlap for the hat. The crow was fussy cut from the fabric I used to make my autumn quilt. I had to think a bit about how to make a “cute” snake, because I do not think there is such a thing. The snake is hiding in the grass by the scarecrow’s foot. I included everything my granddaughter said should be in the piece, however, I did move the crow and the snake to a different location than she had designed. We will talk about artist license the next time we Zoom. This piece was a lot of fun to make because it was a collaborative effort. I so enjoy these art sessions on Zoom, although I would much prefer it to be in person.

This pandemic and the issues facing our country, make it so difficult to stay positive and hopeful. There is no telling what the holidays will look like this year. I started thinking of Christmas designs to embroider, and this definitely helped to put a smile on my face. I found Christmas tree tutorial by Artesd’Olga. I loved the stitches she used for making the pine tree. She offers a free pattern to download. I used my  light box to trace the tree onto linen. However, I changed the pattern just a bit. Instead of embroidering gifts under the tree, I used Christmas fabric to make a tree skirt.
The next Christmas design was a poinsettia. I drew the flower on sketching paper, just for practice. Then I used a Micron 05 to draw the poinsettia onto the linen. Making the French Knot for the center was my favorite part.
My mother used to love cardinals. Once again, I practice sketched a cardinal on a pine tree limb with a pine cone, before drawing it onto the linen. The bullion stitch was used to make the cone.

Since I thought today was Saturday, I was planning to just read, and watch TV on Sunday. Now, I have to find something else to do for tomorrow because…

Today is Friday.
Today is Friday.
All day long, all day long.
Yesterday was Thursday.
Tomorrow will be Saturday.
Oh what fun!
Oh what fun!

 

 

 

Christmas in June ~I Wish You A Merry QAL

Last July, I joined my first quilt along. Thanks to Abbie at Sparkle On!,for the invitation and encouragement to join the I Wish You a Merry QAL. I learned quite a bit of different techniques with this quilt. As I made each block, I experienced a lot of special childhood memories of Christmas. I entitled this quilt, Traditional Christmas. Mom use to have different sets of Christmas decorations. My favorite was her traditional Christmas, which included many of the ornaments from my childhood.
There are two blocks that I chose to make instead of two from the QAL. The Christmas cocoa mug is from a block pattern in Block a Day by Lucinda Ganderton. The stocking block is one that I designed myself.

Front

Back
The center Christmas lights block is one of the QAL blocks.

Hope

 Source

Today, I am binding and putting the finishing touches on one of the quilts that I entered in the Salute To Texas Quilt Show.
Back in January, I was walking around JoAnn’s and I found six different fabrics with birds.
I love birds.
Anything with birds.
With no plan in mind for how to use this fabric, I purchased some yardage of each of the six.
On the way home, my favorite poem by Emily Dickinson came to mind.
At this time, I was studying and making blocks from Lucinda Ganderton’s book, Block a Day.
I chose some blocks and used the bird fabric for the center points of each block.
Here are some close ups of some of the blocks:

I’ve made and attached the label.
I have also made the sleeve.
Now, it’s binding time.

Feeling Good

Source

My fingers are just a bit numb, but I finally finished the binding of the Tribute to Tonie quilt.
I paced myself and did one and a half sides each day.
As I was binding this quilt, I kept asking myself why I made it so large.
The whole idea for the quilt began in January 1, 2017.
I had purchased the book, Block a Day, by Lucinda Ganderton, and my plan was to make a block a day.
As I studied the blocks, I found blocks that represented things and memories of my mother.
I knew that February would be the year anniversary of my mother’s passing , and mom was very much on my mind.
So, I just started making the blocks, without a real plan.
Nothing unusual for me, not to plan ahead.
The quilt will fit on my bed, or maybe I can hang it in the living room.
After looking at this quilt for quite some time, there is nothing I would have done differently.
The quilt just tells the story of my mother, so I am very happy with it.
My friend, Jeana Kubik, did an excellent job with the long arm.

I had to do some major rearrangement in my sewing room in order to facilitate adding the sleeve to the back of the quilt.
I still have to add the label.
It is difficult getting a good picture of this, since I cannot hang it up just yet.

The center of the quilt is mom’s pink and brown house…yes, pink and brown.
We often referred to mom as 215, the house address.

These are two of my favorite blocks.
The cup represents our Sunday morning coffee visits.
It does feel good to get this done.
Now, I will take a break for a few days, before I start binding the third quilt.

Project Hiatus

Everything is packed.
I decided to chill for these  few remaining days before my trip.
Since my work table has turned into my packing-for -vacation table, I really can’t work on any projects.
The next best thing is to design NEW projects!

Abbie, from Sparkle On! with Abbie posted an invitation to join a Christmas QAL.
I have never done a mystery quilt,and I am still considering doing this.
One of the perks, besides the fun in working with this group of creative people, would be the chance to learn/practice some different techniques.
Abbie did get me thinking ahead on seasonal projects.
I am usually a last-minute type of person.

During this self-imposed hiatus from working on projects, I decided to design an autumn quilt.
Autumn is my favorite season, even though in my  area of Texas, autumn is a bit different.
I remember dragging books about fall, and setting up scarecrows,  baskets of leaves, pumpkins, and other autumn goodies to my classroom for the children to experience autumn.
The room was turned into an Autumn Festival, even though the outside temperature was still 90 degrees and above.
On one particularly hot, September afternoon, I was standing outside with my students who were waiting to be picked up after school. One of my students started shrieking with delight when she saw a dried, dead, brown leaf fall to her feet. She shouted, “You were right, Mrs. Cunningham, it IS autumn.”
I loved her enthusiasm!

As I was saying, before I bird-walked off topic, I do love autumn.
I’ve been wanting to make an autumn quilt for some time.
Some shops already have gorgeous fabric that just shout, “Autumn!”.
These are some of my quick design sketches.

This is already larger than I want, so I would adjust this to something more like a lap throw.
The second border would be made of multi-color nine patch blocks.

The leaves would be made of different autumn colored fabric on beige, with a gold-ish border.
I would cut the block in a wonky fashion and set the blocks in different directions as part of a tumbling leaves design.
The four corners would probably be paper pieced blocks of an owl, a squirrel, an acorn, and maybe a field mouse or pumpkin.
I found these free paper pieced patterns on Craftsy.

Owl   Pattern on Craftsy
This is more of a Halloween background so I would change that up a bit.

Squirrel Pattern on Craftsy

I found these squirrel blocks on Sew Fresh Quilts .
These are definitely beyond my skills, but I just thought they were great blocks.

These are just preliminary thoughts on a quilt I might or might not make.
I just enjoy fooling around with designs.

Oh, by the way, my Brack Pack friends and I are taking a road trip to Crystal Bridges in November.
We should see some beautiful autumn foilage.

As usual, I got side-tracked and started looking through Lucinda Ganderton’s book, Block a Day.
It is the Bird Block, block #77.
It was fun playing around with this block.
I have two sketches using this block in two different directions.

There are still a couple of more days of waiting and preparing for my trip, so I have time to play with some more designs.

 

Oh, and aren’t these cute?
I found these luggage tags and thought they would be just right for our trip.
The purple and blue stripes are for my granddaughter.
The polka-dots are mine.

If this post seems to be “all over the place”, it is because I am “all over the place”…more so than usual!

Quilt of Valor

Last week, I went to Pattern Jam to try out some designs for the QOV.
I used fabric photos from the collection on Pattern Jam just to give me an idea of a color scheme.
First Design

This afternoon, I spent some time looking at different Quilt of Valor designs.
On Pinterest, I found a pattern for a 5 point star that I thought was pretty cool.
American Quilting has a great tutorial on how to Stack, Cut, and Sew Stars.


I thought I might use these stars for the QOV, but then I pulled out the
Lucinda Ganderton book, Block a Day.
I am a little more comfortable working with the 12″ blocks.
The star is appliqued onto an 8″ block, and I know I can make that into a 12″ block.
But, I just couldn’t come up with a design using the star blocks.
I still plan to try my hand at the stack and cut stars, but not for this project.

The blocks I chose from Ganderton’s book include: Mississippi Spin, Spinning Heart, Variable Star, Pennant, and Friendship Star.
Second Design

I originally planned a quilt with three rows, sashes, and two borders.
But, the QOV site suggests that an ideal size for a quilt would be 60″ x 80″.
This design did not meet the minimum size required, which is 55″x 65″.
Third Design

This is my second plan.
As I posted this plan, I realized that I will need to turn some of the blocks to keep it symmetrical.
I will be in Dallas this weekend, and I plan to shop for fabric.
The patriotic fabric is out now.
I have seen some at JoAnn’s and Wal-Mart.
I would like to have some of the red and blue with a sprinkle of gold.
Then, I can use a gold for the sash.
The pennant block would look good with a star fabric and a stripe fabric.
I’m thinking that the heart might be gold, if I can find one that compliments the red, white, and blue.
Maybe a white on white, and a white with gold might work.
I’m still not sure this is the design I will use.
I will be visiting one of my daughter-in-laws and I plan to ask for her ideas.

PJ Day

I officially declare today to be a Pajama Day.
Why?
1. The time change messed me up.
2. It’s Monday.
3. It’s raining.
4. I finished two large quilt tops yesterday.
and
5. Because I can!

Note: I do wear earrings and comb my hair on PJ Day, so I am spruced up a bit. 

After finishing the border on the Hope quilt yesterday, my original plan was to wait until today to finish the Tribute quilt.
I took a reading break, and then decided to finish the Tribute quilt.
It felt so good to get this done.
Lot’s of stories and memories with each of the blocks.
The quilt is so big, it was difficult to take a good photo.

The border is the same pink fabric that was used to frame the house block in the center of the quilt.

Thanks again, to Lucinda Ganderton.
Her book, Block a Day, was the inspiration to tell my mom’s story.
This is my first time to make a quilt with so many different types of blocks.
The book provided great instructions for cutting and piecing the blocks.

Hope Quilt

The time change has thrown me a bit off, but I managed to complete the top of the Hope quilt.
The keyboard strips were an accurate fit for the borders.
This quilt is a bit too much color for me,
It works out in that the quilt was a self-challenge to use up scraps.
I’m also surprised that my plan-as-you go method worked out better than I thought.
This is the best picture I could take.


Top Left Corner

Top Right Corner

Good Fun

“I know that it’s wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.” Dr. Seuss.
Another rainy day, and I loved it.
Got a lot done on the Hope quilt.
The vertical sashes were a bit difficult for me.
I had to rip the sashes a few times because the corners did not match.
My sister suggested I use teal for the sash, and I’m glad I listened to her.

Tomorrow, I will add the keyboard border.

Thanks to Lucinda Ganderton and her book, Block a Day.
This makes two quilts, and two tote bags that I have made using the blocks from her book.
Great resource!

New Tool

My son uses a design program when he is planning a piece of furniture he will be building.
He asked if there were any quilting design programs, and that was the first I ever thought of something like this.
After a bit of researching, I found a free program, Pattern Jam . 
I also found an app for the iPad, Quiltology.

I tried the free program today, and I am still learning how to use it effectively.
One glitch that I ran across was in designing the border.
The border for my Hope quilt is not solid.
It is made of keyboard strips.
I was not able to find out how to insert the different keyboard strips.
The result was a border showing just one keyboard strip.
I will keep playing with this and see if it is worth using.
One benefit I can see already, is the ability to layout the design and color scheme.
This is the result of the Hope quilt on Pattern Jam.

Tonight, I will be attending my first guild meeting.
The Alamo Heritage guild meets at a church that is near my house.
This will give me the opportunity to ask people about quilt design programs.

Oh! Exciting news.
Lucinda Ganderton, the author of Block a Day, commented on my blog!
I was so happy to read what she had to say.
Her book has been a great resource for me.
I highly recommend the book.