Sunday, October 30, 2016

So what's next?

Since I just finished a quilt I am looking forward to what is next.  I remember a time when I just couldn't wait to start the next project.  It seems now a days I like to put a bit more thought into what I want to spend my time making.  I have wrestled with what to do with a bolt of solid red fabric I bought several years ago. I really love two color quilts and know that is the direction I want to move.  So I narrowed down my choices for a red and white quilt to an ocean waves, lady of the lake, or broken dishes.  Well, I have made my choice Lady of the Lake.  Not quite as many of those HST's as Ocean Waves which is helping me with the decision.  Piecing has alway been a challenge for me!  So to encourage me to start I ordered Bonnie Hunter's essential triangle ruler and I hope with her experienced advice I can become a more accurate piecer.  I need to dig out my white bolt of fabric and see if I have enough to start but hopefully that will happen over the next few weeks.

As for today, I really need to relax.  It has been a crazy week here.  I spent a  lot to time working on the lawn.  The previous owner did nothing to control the weeds.  I had some weed with a purple daisy looking flower that are actually winning the war between it and the burmuda.  I also have been tilling organic matter into the soil that will be my little kitchen garden.  We will see??  It has come along way this summer at least all the rocks have been removed and the sod has been busted. Now to let the organic matter and worms do their magic over the winter.  So it feels good to take the afternoon off and add some leaves to my trailing vine quilt.  It's my go to project in between any others.  So glad it is there.
Pieced and prepped leaves for Trailing Vines

My granddaughter Aria put in a request for a quilt for her doll Leah.  She told me Leah would love to have a quilt just like the one that I made for her. So this is what I cameup with this week.
Aria'a Wonky Star Quilt
Leah's wonky star doll quilt
Hopefully, this will work! 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Finally Finished!

It seems like the final steps have taken forever, but Baltimore Garden is now happily hanging in our front room.  I wish I had a better camera and had some knowledge when it comes to photography, but it is what it is.  I am very pleased with the hang it dang it quilt hanger that I purchased to hang this quilt.  I have several quilts that I would like to hang in on this wall as the seasons change and this hanger allows you to adjust the rod to fit your quilt. Hope you enjoy the pics.

What a journey this quilt has been. I learned so much about applique and I love that the hand quilting and added trapunto balance well with the beautiful applique blocks.  I really enjoyed working on this, often thinking back to the originial quilter or quilters who made this quilt.  What it must have been like in 1848 when the originial was made.  I love that it isn't perfect but that it is unique!  When I first fell in love with antique quilts over 40 years ago, I just couldn't fathom having the tanacity to make a quilt.  But, now having several large quilts under my belt I can't imagine spending the time any other way, as I now know there are so many rewards to stitching and I enjoyed the challenge of learning the techniques needed to make a quilt!  Plus the final bonus of having this beauty hanging in my house to enjoy for years to come!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fall color

For those of you that follow along on my blog I have finished  Baltimore Garden and photos will be posted when I get it hung.  I still need to attach a sleeve but I am waiting for the hang it dang it to arrive.  So this week I did pull out the trailing vines panel that I prepped several weeks ago.  It's fall afterall and the north wind came down this week and cooled us off here in north Texas.   It sure feels good and although we don't have much fall color down here with our live oaks  I did plant a Natchez crepe myrtle that is showing some burgundy color and there is also plenty of color as I add each leaf to the prepped vine on my version of Trailing Vines. A quilt first made by Susan McCord.  Here is a link to some info about the quilt.  I love how they described the quilting 9-10 stitches per inch, outline or self quilting.  That tells me she just enjoyed her stitching and didn't get hung up about perfection.   She made some remarkable quilts out of tiny pieces of scraps. I am including pics of a couple of photos I found on line.  She really was talented don't you think?

Susan McCord's Trailing Vine
My version

Susan McCords Ocean Waves

Sunday, September 25, 2016


Last Sunday I finished stitching down the binding on Baltimore Garden.  What a joy to finally see those edges bound.  It makes such a difference!  But the quilt is still not completed at this point.  From the beginning I wanted to add trapunto to this quilt.  It is an easy process and very appropriate to use on a reproduction quilt.  I use yarn as my filler and add it by working from the back of the quilt.  Tim over at Tim Quilts has a great video that shows how it is done.  It's important to use a dull pointed needle so the holes made are made by pushing the threads of the fabric apart and not piercing them.  The holes made will quickly disappear by running the needle over the threads, but I don't even bother doing that as I will wash the quilt when it is completely done and those threads will fall back in line than.  Here are some before and after pics of Amish Ice Cream Social to show you the difference it can make in a quilt.

Prior to trapunto
one wreath with trapunto

four wreaths with trapunto
After finishing the binding last weekend, I just had to sit for a bit and add some stuffing to Baltimore Garden.  I hope you can see in the pic below the difference it makes!

Left side has tranpunto right does not.

 So today as the rain falls I will join the other slow stitchers over at Slow Stitching Sundays.  Although my slow stitches will involve a darning needle and some yarn, they will still be relaxing.  Hopefully they will get me thru the Cowboys/Bears match up that will happen later today. A bittersweet game for me as I grew up near Chicago as a Bear fan but now I am in Texas where you really need to be a  Cowboy fan!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

A fun filled week!

I am looking forward to my slow stitches today, as I will hopefully finish stitching the binding down on Baltimore Garden.  It has been a long week and  my anxiety levels were high, as I thought about trimming and squaring up a quilt that I have so much time vested in.  So much can go wrong with a rotary cutter in my hand !  But, I decided  to just take a deep breath and measure carefully.  I guess the care I took squaring up blocks and the border while assembling the quilt paid off.  I had very little to trim off of the top and loved how it looked once I gave it that much needed haircut.  Over the hump, now to just enjoy the binding process.  I know many quilters don't like binding but I love doing the math to figure out what size square I need to make the binding.  Cutting the bias binding, pressing the seams open, pressing it in half and then stitching it to the quilt top. It makes such a difference to finally see your quilt bound.  What's not to like?

Moving along, I  have been wanting a table topper to go on the kitchen table since we moved this summer.  I finally decided after seeing Cathy over Sane, Crazy,Crumby Quilting working on her triangle star blocks that I thought that block would be perfect for my table. I think the vibrant colors Cathy is using in her blocks are probably better suited to showing off this block, but the fabrics I chose really look nice in my kitchen.  The plaid and muted cream fabric don't have as much contrast as I usually use, but they really worked well in my kitchen.  I pulled out some black solid for the background as I believe that every room needs a touch of black.  Ok the truth is  I am obsessed with black painted furniture. I am still trying to figure out how to break the news to my husband I plan on painting our oak chairs.  Anyway back to the table topper,  I was really surprised at how well it went together.  Of course my seams are not all perfect, I say they are just right.  I have it layered and basted and started hand quilting it.  Maybe, I can sneak in a few more stitches today.

While I was downloading these photos for the blog, I kind of chuckled at the difference of these two projects. The possibilities are endless and I guess that keeps us moving from one project to the next!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

More Slow Stitches

It was a great week here.  I finished the hand quilting on the border of Baltimore Garden.  A bittersweet moment.  I do love finishes, so I must move forward.  I discovered I didn't have enough red fabric left to make the binding so I placed an order for more.  So while I wait for that to arrive, I decided to work on the label. Today I will add some embroidery stitches to my label.  I an using prescentia 16 perle cotton that I had left over from another project.  The label will pay homage to the original quilt, to Barbara Burnham for her wonderful pattern and then to myself as the maker of this quilt.

Next I will begin the  trapunto process.  If you have never added trapunto to a piece you really should try it sometime. It is quite easy to do.  I  use my mother's old darning needle. It is a large needle with a large eye so I can thread the yarn quite easily.  I work from the back side of the quilt and add just enough yarn to each area that I want to trapumto, until I feel it looks the way I want. I love the thought of using a needle that my mom used for so many years to darn socks. The process is very relaxing much like hand quilting. I am linking up with Kathy's Quilts to share and see what others are slow stitching today!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

It's all down hill from here

Well I turned the final corner on Wednesday as I finished the third border and started to head down the last one.  My hoop in the corner of the breakfast nook seemed to keep calling to me.  As I stitched, I thought yes this is the real reason you were hesitate to stitching.  I knew it wouldn't  take me long and I would be wishing that the chores around the house didn't need to be done.  Maybe the best word to use is: addiction.  Just one more line of stitches. Oh I have four needles threaded I will stop when I need to rethread.  I get into such a rhythm that I don't want to stop. Then I realize the end to this project is getting closer and closer. NO, please don't end!!!!!    So, I have decided to concentrate on those ragged edges.  Do you get sick of seeing them?  I know I can't wait to slice them off!

Since it's a holiday weekend, I put the hoop in the sewing room so I wouldn't be tempted to stitch. Now that we live closer to family, it's important to make some family time.  Saturday was spent looking at homes with my son and daughter in law.  They have a big decision ahead of them, so glad it is their's and not mine. But I did find a bit of time to pull out some clamshells I played with about a year ago.  So I worked on making a few more, soon I hope to have enough for a table mat.  Having another project to look forward to should help with dealing to end of Baltimore Garden.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Turning the Corner!

I have had a lovely week of stealing a few minutes here and there to put in some hand quilted stitches on my border.  I have completed the second border and need to add a  few more to finish this corner before moving on to the third border.

Each stitch has been a delight and as I sat and stitched this week, I started thinking about how many hand stitches are in this quilt.  Way to many to count for sure, but so enjoyable.  I remember when I first thought about making a quilt back in 1977.   How does a quilter have  the tenacity to put in all those stitches.  Now I can look back and chuckle.  Kathy over at Kathy's Quilts gave a very good definition of why so many slow stitchers enjoy their craft.  We definitely come out with so much more than a beautiful quilt!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Pura Vida!

Last night one of our smoke/CO detectors went off.  The one right outside the master bedroom, of course.  Out of the blue it decided to go off!  Of course, first we checked the whole house for a fire. We are dog sitting my son's two large dogs that are deathly afraid of storms. Well, I found something that scared them even worse.  Max decided he wanted to be Lassie and felt he had to bark and run to the door, like we needed to be rescued.  We have high ceilings so we had to haul in the large step ladder to be able to reach the detector.  Looking back, we must have looked quite hilarious in our pj's with two large shaking dogs cuddled on the sofa and schnauzer that was in rescue mode.  So it took a while to get things back to normal and everyone in bed.  This morning we went out and bought new batteries for all the detectors and my husband replaced the wacky detector. Hopefully that won't happen again in my life time.  What a way to end the week especially after I had some really relaxing sewing sessions this week.  First, I finished my SVBQ  applique block.

Then, I turned to Baltimore Garden.  It is  such a large quilt and I am getting so close to finishing, that I have decided it will take priority the next several weeks. Before we moved I had started a wee bit of the border. I had decided to do perpendicular double lines every inch as a background to the swags.  When I pulled it out of the moving box and laid it out I just wasn't pleased. I wanted something that was a little denser to match the half inch grid I used as background quilting on the blocks.  So I decided to try 45 degree straight lines one half inch apart! Yes, much better!

 I am so thankful for all the encouraging advice the gals over at Slow Stitching Sundays gave me.   I was reminded that I should concentrate on my joy of stitching and not measure the progress.  To find a few moments each day to enjoy the stitching.  They of course are so right, those ten minutes here or there really add up and I found myself sneaking over to the frame every chance I got. Before you know it I got one border quilted.  Thanks to all of you that took the time to comment and help me get back that joy!  I watched a pbs show this week on Costa Rica.

Pura vida” is commonly heard in Costa Rica—it means “pure life” and is often used as a greeting in lieu of “hello” and “goodbye”
Costa Rica is known as the happiest country in the world. They spend a great deal of the show explaining the expression used above. It's all about taking time for one self and others and enjoying the simple goodness the earth provides.

I think they may have something there. I know without my quilting time, I tend to get wound up. So Pura vida fellow slow stitchers!  Thanks for taking the time to remind me it's ok to take some time for me and what ever  brings me joy! 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Shame Shame!

As I get up this morning and drink my cup of coffee.  I feel a lot of shame, when I look at the progress on my SVBQ block.  Not much progess at all this week!!!!!! Not sure why I can't relax enough to enjoy my stitching.  I am going to take some tips from the Slow Stitchers over at the linky party at Kathy Quilts.  I really need to set a goal of making a bit of progress each day.  I know if I just allow my self the time it will soon become a habit. So instead of being depressed about my progress I will share my progress in the photo below.  I almost got all the red petals added and I am going to concentrate on how once I finish them and once I get that stem added this block will blossom into a lovely block to add to my quilt.  It's just a hodgepodge right now, I really need to make it my goal to bring it all together, don't you think?

Sunday, August 7, 2016


This is the first time I have visited my own blog since March of this year!  OH MY!  How time does fly.  If you remember my husband and I made the move from Arkansas to Texas.  Really only six hour apart traveling on the highway, but not as easy as one would think.  Finding a home in the Fort Worth area was much more challenging than I thought it would have been. The area is growing so quickly builders are not able to keep up with demand.  Also selling our home in Arkansas in a very depressed area was as hard as I thought it would be.  We had three offers over eleven months. Luckily third time was the charm and we are now no longer home owners in Arkansas.  We were able to close on our new home in Texas in early June.

So I have spent most of the summer getting settled. Can't say I am completely there but for the most part we are moved in and thriving. It is so nice to be only a few miles away from my son and his family.  Attending a graduation and celebrating a birthday without having to make a six hour trek is so delightful.

But getting my sewing room ready to go has not been on the top of my list.  I just seemed to have lost my need to stitch daily.  But this week I pulled out the pattern for the next block of Shenandoah Botanical  and decided to see if just making myself sit down I could enjoy a few stitches.  Well, that did it!!!!!  I think, I finally feel like I have  a few minutes a day that I can sit and enjoy some stitches.

I will continue by using the back basting method to complete these blocks.  I got all the leaves done earlier this week and I hope to work on the flowers next.  So, I started back basting the little heart shaped buds this am.

They reminded me how I much love hand stitching.  Aren't they just too cute!

I also pulled Baltimore Garden out of the box and started hand quilting the border.  It's hard to believe that hand quilting the border and than doing the trapunto and trimming and binding will finish this beautiful quilt.  But I am sure it will still take me some time to get it done.  But I sure have come a long way from when I first started blogging about making this quilt in April of 2013.  So glad to have the relaxing time to stitch again I sure hope those sharing their  stitches over at Kathy's Quilts have continued sharing!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Some Things Never Change!

Oh my I know I haven't blogged in a while but this is almost becoming ridiculous!  It has almost been a month and its funny to see that last time I blogged about the rainy weather and not much has changed.  We got a deluge of rain this week 6+ inches in one day alone.  Thinking about it, I would really don't even want to hear the total for the week.

But one thing about rainy days is, it allows more time for stitching  This morning I am working on the last block to be quilted on Baltimore Garden.  How exciting is that, of course, I still need to quilt the border.  This block has the initials that were included on the original quilt and the date.  It amazes me that this quilt was originally made 168 years ago.  I have often thought about the original maker and why she made the quilt?  I guess it always comes back to the enjoyment of stitching and the desire to make.  But, I can't help but think the maker of the original Baltimore Garden had a real love of flowers and possibly had her own flower garden. So over time, some things never change,  and I find that quite comforting. I am linking up with Slow Stitching Sunday's to see what others who enjoy stitching and making to see what they are stitching today. Hope you can join us and enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Rainy Days and Sundays

It has been a crazy couple of weeks around here. My husband has decided to take a new job in Texas.  It has been a goal of ours to move closer to family as we get closer to retirement.  But, even though we have moved several times over the years it is always stressful facing a move.  I finally sat down yesterday at the hoop and finished hand quilting block # 20 of Baltimore Garden.  The final five blocks have the crosshatching marked.  So this am, I will be tracing my random flowers and leaves on the last five blocks and I will be ready to sit and stitch.

I am so looking forward to my slow stitching today. The sound of the rain drops or the wall clock ticking in the background help me to concentrate on the needle in hand, to free the mind from troubled or chaotic thoughts.  We all need time away from reality, a time to rest our minds.  I look forward to each Sunday when Kathy reminds us it's time for Slow Stitching Sunday.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Could that groundhog be right????

It's a gorgeous day here in the south.  Sun is shining and we are suppose to reach the mid 60's.  Maybe there is some truth to the ground hog not seeing his shadow.  I noticed this week when I went to check the mail that a clump of daffodils is starting to form buds. A sure sign of spring.  Unfortunately about the time they are in full bloom they get covered in snow or pounded by heavy rains.  So I guess we will take it day by day.

 I haven't seen any bees flying around yet, except the ones on my background fabric.   But my husband did say he saw some mosquitos flying around last week.  Hard to believe isn't it!

So today's stitching will include working on the next block of SVBQ.  The Blue Flag or Iris block!  When I grew up in northeastern Illinois where many farmer's wives grew iris' in their gardens, sometimes you would see them growing along side an old country road, perhaps the remains of an old family farm.  They are quite hardy and we never had any of the fancy hybrid variety but just the old fashion generic flags.  So I decided to do my petals in purple, adding a bit of gold to the centers. Yes that is how I remembered them!

And of course I will try to get a few stitches in block number 13 which is a corner block on Baltimore Garden.  Two more blocks on this row and then I will move to the last column of five blocks on the other side.  I also took some time to play with quilting ideas for the border.  Nothing in stone yet, but getting close to deciding.  It's a bit like shopping for something new, its the journey the window shopping and browsing that brings so much joy to quilting for me. How about you?