Thursday, October 24, 2013

Be Like a Raven Rolling in the Snow

If only... But I've watched this several times and it makes me smile every time. They are so adorable.

Baci e abbracci...

Monday, October 21, 2013


My girlfriend read my post and told me that a piece of muslin should be added behind the batting (this layer will be against the feed dogs) and that you can turn the piece right side out from the center opening--no need for an opening around the perimeter.

Sorry about that...

Baci e abbracci

Sunday, October 20, 2013

My First Tutorial

Yesterday my friend and I attended a very small quilt show at the Memorial Sports Complex in Marlton, NJ. It was hosted by the Berry Basket Quilt Guild. The main reason I attended this show was to supplement my collection of Handloom Batik fabrics. I shopped from this vendor twice in the last few years and both times picked the same colors, neglecting red. This time I got smart and took my fat quarters with me and purchased what I needed.

Otherwise the show was very small and the vendors that attended brought very little with them. I would not have minded if there had not been an entry fee. Of course I found things to purchase, and I also learned about a unique thimble. I stopped to watch the person hand-quilting and noticed the beautiful thimble she was using. I asked her the name and looked into it. The Roxanne Thimble comes in several sizes (watch the video for how to find out the correct size to purchase) and is available in sterling silver, silver plated, gold plated and bronze. It is expensive and I am considering it, but I still am not able to work with anything but the leather thimbles, so I would have to keep practicing with the metal thimbles before making such an investment.

Some pretty bird fabric, really pretty ribbon of antique scissors and a spool of thread and some fat quarters.

A fat quarter of antique machines I could not resist.

When my friend came to pick me up, she brought a "make and take" project with her from Pennington Quilt Works (oh the life of a retired person...). It is a cute potholder. When she showed me how it is made I was excited! I thought I could do my first tutorial. Unfortunately I do not know who came up with this pattern.

For this project you will need:

(5) pieces of fabric that measure 10 inches x 10 inches
(1) 10 inches x 10 inches piece of muslin
matching or contrasting thread (your choice)
(1) 10 inch x 10 inch piece of insulated batting (I used Insul-Bright that I purchased a while ago from Amazon.)

I used the pre-cut fabric I purchased from Connecting Threads, Indigo Patchwork 10 inch squares, one package of 22 squares of fabric for $9.11.

Walking Foot for Sewing Machine

Step 1: Choose 4 of the 5 fabrics for the front. Fold each piece in half, wrong sides facing. Press.

Step 2: Layer your fabrics as pictured with the creased side toward the center. (Note: I found out after I ripped out a seam that it is easier to layer the batting and back and arrange the front on top.)

Step 2 a.

Step 2 b. 

Step 2 c. 

The last step is like folding the flaps on a box. You lift the left top flap of fabric and the piece of multi-colored indigo fabric goes underneath.

Step 2 d. 

To look like 2d above.

Layer the fabrics as shown. Batting, backing (right side up) and top (which really does not have a right or wrong side, but if you like a particular order of which way the squares go--right side should go down). Using the walking foot (I did not at first and had to rip the seam out--there are many layers here), sew a 1/4 inch seam.

Clip your corners without cutting into the stitching.

Turn the potholder right side out and poke the corners with a knitting needle to get them as pointy as possible. Top stitch 1/2 inch around and then sew down each opening. I used a blanket stitch. My friend used another decorative stitch.

This was really easy. Although there is opportunity for more quilting, I think leaving it un-quilted provides more protection for your table top from the heat of the pan.

Now go make a bunch. My friend will be making them for stocking stuffers, and if you like to make kitchen/cooking gifts, I think adding this to a basket with a recipe and the ingredients to make a great dish would be sweet too.

Baci e abbracci

Friday, October 18, 2013

A New Quilt

As I am still working on my “fall colors” quilt, slowly hand-quilting it with Perle cotton #8, I decided to start a new project. 

I had the idea of creating “sketches,” as Gwen Marston puts it, using different traditional patterns in a liberated way. I would use these small quilts to work out my ideas, but have decided to set that aside for now in favor of an idea I stumbled upon.

As you know I recently had some surgery and wanted to give a little something to my doctor at the follow-up visit. I did not have much time so I decided on a card. My next quilt was going to be made from men’s shirting and I wanted to practice the mitered square. I started cutting up the shirts and made a block using a mitered square of the striped shirting, some scraps of fabric and embroidery. I liked it, but could not find an acceptable way to convert this into a card.

When that did not work out I decided on a sachet for one of his drawers or to pack with his woolens during the summer. I used a liberated log cabin pattern in solids and liked it. But I still liked the idea of using men’s shirting, so I made another mitered square with a border of solid fabric for a new sachet. I did not like the way that turned out, so I set it aside. 

Then the idea of using some ties that I have been saving with the shirting came to me. I made a sachet using a square of a silk tie and shirting. I used the messed up mitered square for the back. I decided it was too small by itself and gave the doctor the log cabin sachet.

Then it hit me. I am going to make a wall hanging using the tie fabric as the center squares in the middle of the scrappy hexagons like the “Crazy Patchwork,” (on page 182) quilt in the book “American Quilt Classics” by Patricia Cox. This quilt offers liberated quilting in the patchwork and the opportunity to learn how to do a “y,” or “inset” seam. The other design option would be still using the ties as the squares but framing them with strips of shirting. Maybe I see a series in my future…

Finally, check out Odili Donald Odita's work at the Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. Couldn't this be the inspiration for a beautiful quilt! I love the colors. 

Look for great colors in paintings or artwork by surfing through the New York galleries from your computer.

Another artist whose work I love is Bill Scott. His work is currently on exhibit at Hollis Taggart Gallery, also in New York. Aren't his colors phenomenal?  

Moe Brooker's work is also amazing...

Have a great weekend!

Baci e abbracci...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

From BoConcept Furniture Store in Center City Philadelphia:

They had these blankets/quilts in a few combinations all hand-stitched. I was told they are made of fabric that is also used for saris. I have been trying to find a store in the Philadelphia area that sells saris with no success. I thought a patchwork quilt made of sari fabric would be great.

This is a nice pillow made of felt and hand embroidered. 

Both pieces were inspirational.

Baci e abbracci...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Another Dead Bird...

Mr. R spotted this one as well while we were driving through a shopping center parking lot this afternoon. It is an immature herring gull, I believe it was beginning its second or third winter. So it was a youngster. Mr. R feared it was one of the hawks in the area. Although we were glad it was not a hawk, but a bird more common, it is still sad. Perhaps it was hit by a car and stunned, then died on one of the grassy areas in the lot. Its feathers are so beautiful.

Baci a abbracci...

Monday, October 7, 2013

Palette Builder by Play Crafts

I have always admired Maryline Collioud-Robert's photos where she has the palette of the picture. She recently provided a link to Palette Builder/Play-Crafts and I tried it. At first I could only get the older version to work with my Safari 5.0, but after a short email conversation with the developer at Play-Crafts I was able to use the updated version by downloading Firefox.

Version 1:

Version 2: Beta

As you can see the Beta version gives you Kona cotton fabrics that match your palette. I can make a quilt the colors of my baby bear! How amazing is that?

I had my surgery today and obviously lived to tell. Hoping this will do the trick. I think because of my OCD, I cannot just think everything will be okay, because if I do not worry about it, something will surely go wrong. Deep down I knew it would be okay, otherwise, I would not have gone through with it.

I was not in the mood to start anything new since I have been home from Italy and worried about this day, but now I am thinking about a "sketch." A small quilt to try out a pattern I found in American Quilt Classics, by Patricia Cox. It is a square in the middle of four hexagons made of scraps.

Also, I order some fabric from Connecting Threads and it is nice! I will be giving reviews on their fabric and my new hoop soon.

Gonna go get some rest...

Baci e abbracci...