Sunday, June 29, 2014

Slow Stitching

Another glorious Sunday, and again the temps will be in the nineties with humidity so high we are likely to have an afternoon shower.  But, I have plenty of stitching to keep me busy inside.  This week I started hand quilting my pumpkin seed quilt.  I challenged myself to learn to use a new tool underneath the quilt. I have gone from using the aunt becky to using TJ's spoon.  They both work on the same premise, but one fits over your finger and one is held in your hand. I have tried switching several times and would go back to using the aunt becky, but she was getting quite worn so when I started this quilt my challenge to myself was to only use the spoon.  It has taken me all week to finally adjust, but I feel I am over the hump.
aunt becky

TJ's spoon
Making progress on pumpkin seed!

Today, I need to focus on my applique project so that doesn't lag.  The current block has over fifty leaves to applique. Some of them are quite small and this block will end up looking quite delicate compared to the other blocks in this quilt.  It reminds me why I love making quilts.  There is always something new to learn, the journey is always interesting yet relaxing.

I will be joining Kathy over at her blog to see what other slow stitchers are creating.  She is having a give away for some turtle fabric.  Isn't that such a cute idea turtle fabric for slow stitchers! So if you are slow stitching today come on over and join us and link up your project.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Time Flies!

I can't believe we are nearing the end of June! As they say time flies when your having fun.  I have had a busy week and feel I got quite a bit accomplished.  I am so happy to have my sewing machine in working order again.  The week got started with cutting and assembling my June yellow Wonky Star.
I really love all the bright happy colors and look forward to next month's color.

I also got my pumpkin seed quilt sandwiched.  I had planned this as a fall project as I usually don't hand quilt in the summer.  But Santa brought me a new hoop on a stand last Christmas and so I thought I would give it go.   I used to quilt on a  lap hoop and it would just get too warm.  So far, so good!

I love working on different projects simultaneously.  It break things up and my hands don't seem to get as tired as each project is different.   So right now I break things up by piecing my RSC blocks, hand quilting and applique on my Baltimore Garden.   Are you a one project quilter, or do you have multiple projects going?  

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Ready to start!

It has been a bit of  a hectic week.  The part for my sewing machine arrived on Thursday and my husband Tom reassembled it and it is back in working order. But, things around the house have been calling my name, so I didn't get much done this week.  I did finish another block on my Baltimore Garden.

So this morning, I have pulled out and pressed some yellows to start my wonky star for June.  I am a bit worried about not having enough contrast but sometimes those are the very blocks that make a great scrappy quilt. So I will march forward.

I entered Christmas Journey several weeks ago into the Blogger's Quilt Festival hosted by Amy's Creative Side.

 Although,  it didn't win the applique category, I was chosen as a winner for leaving a post and participating.  It arrived yesterday afternoon.  I just have to share a photo of the beautiful Aurifil thread Aren't the colors just wonderful. I am looking forward to using them!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Celebrating 20

I am doing a happy dance this afternoon as I finished block number 20 of Baltimore Garden.  I thought a picture of all twenty blocks would make a nice blog post, but after I laid them out I realized it is hard to get all twenty in one photo.  Standing on a chair I tried to take a shot and only got sixteen in the photo, oops!  Well, I never claimed to be a photographer.  So I did four sets of four and then finished off with two sets of twos.

Block #20
16 of 20

First set of four

Second set of four

Third set of four

Fourth set of four

First set of two

Second set of two

I need to apologize for the pics!  Some blocks need to be pressed and their threads every where, but there will be time for the fine tuning once I get them all done.  Still five more blocks and four borders to stitch so it will be sometime before it is completely finished, but it is good to take some time and smell the roses once in a while.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Applique Stitches

I did some piecing earlier this week and got my RSC blocks finished before I broke my machine. it Why is it we always miss something when it is gone or broken?  Luckily, I also enjoy slow stitching, working with my hands and my needle.  Each of the the Baltimore Garden blocks I have been stitching contain a lot of tiny stitches.  A fellow quilter said that it takes her around thirty hours to complete a Baltimore Album block.  That is just for the stitching, appliquers also do a lot of prep work depending on the type of applique they do.  I have never kept track on how long a block takes.  I have a feeling it would take the fun out of it for me.  I am a goal setter usually, but when it comes to applique, I find just enjoying a bit of progress everyday is all I want to achieve.  A fellow blogger reminded me several weeks ago, that our slow stitching is relaxing and should be enjoyable.  I needed that reminder and gave up my goal to finish my last five blocks by the end of summer. Maybe I will, maybe I won't, but I do know that I am back to enjoying each block.

This week I worked on leaves and stems and even got a couple of layered flowers started.  Two more flowers and then the final layer that forms the center of the flower.  All of the stitching has been so enjoyable this week.  I think part of that might be that I stitched outdoors while listening to the birds and enjoying the view of my garden.  Do you like to stitch outdoors?  I enjoy the wonderful natural light and the sounds of nature.  I will be linking to Kathy's blog today to see what others are slow stitching.  I sure hope you can find some time to slow stitch today or maybe just sit in your garden and enjoy the day.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

June Pickledish Blocks

Yes, yellow is the color for this month!  I did not get started right away this month as I have been doing a lot of applique and gardening.  I did get out my yellows to do my three pickledish blocks.  Luckily, I worked hard on them all week and got them completed.  Then Friday  the screw that you tighten to hold the needle broke off.  My Husqvarna sewing machine has been incident free since I got her.  I am guessing she is somewhere between ten and fifteen years old.  But, I am very blessed to have a talented husband who was able to remove the broken screw and a new one has been ordered. Not sure how long it will take to arrive, hopefully before the end of the month so I can get my wonky star block completed.

I really like the yellow version of pickledish blocks and as each month passes I see that I am really going to love this quilt.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Progress on Block #20

Here we are again enjoying another Sunday.  A day to relax and reflect on another week gone by.  I have spent most of the week working on my applique block.  I did find some time to do some marking on my pumpkin seed quilt.  I hope to get it in the frame later this summer so that it can be finished by the end of the year.

I am using the same feather motif around the large scrappy pumpkin seeds and then plan to fill in the background a grid.

Today, we are getting rain.  So lovely to have rain at least once a week, after three years of drought conditions.  I plan to applique down some stems on my Baltimore Garden block as I listen to the pitter patter of rain.

I have these lovely flowers to look forward to stitching this coming week. Aren't they just lovely! They take a bit of time as there are several layers but they will add so much to this block.

I hope you find some time to stitch today and reflect on the past week and plan your new week.  I will be linking to Kathy's blog to see what others are slow stitching today.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Sewing Circles

I have been working on this block for quite a while now.  It was wonderful to put the final applique stitches into this block this week.
I have to admit I was stressing a bit about how long these blocks are taking.  I had set a goal of finishing them by the end of summer.  I decided a couple of weeks ago, sometimes it is better not to have a deadline.  I love to applique, but applique takes time and I have decided to just enjoy the process.  Remember the Doris Day song from the 1950's Que Sera Sera, that is the attitude one needs to take with applique, what will be will be.

So, after getting all the layers of pedals on the flowers I am added the three centers to the large flowers on the block.   I use perfect circles by  Karen Kay Buckley to make my circles.  I thought I would include some pics I took along the way for those of you that have never used them.

I start by tracing around the perfect circle template that corresponds to the finished size of the circle.

Next I baste around the outside of the drawn line in what will become the seam allowance.  Doing this before cutting them out makes this easier on the small circles.

This is how they look after cutting them out.

Then I place the plastic template on the wrong side of the fabric and pull the basting thread to gather the thread around the template. I will give the circle a quick shot of spray starch before I pull the thread.

This shows how the back side of the perfect circle looks after pulling the thread.  Then I give them a press with my iron till the fabric is dry.  Once they cool the template is removed and the thread can be clipped back and they are ready to applique.
The results are perfect circles ready to be applique to the center of my flowers

Hope you finding time to put in some slow stitching today.  I am linking to Kathy's  Slow Stitching Sunday so I can find inspiration from all the wonderful hand work being done today.