Saturday, December 30, 2017

Ocean Waves in the hoop!

Well, Christmas is over and the cold weather is upon us.  During 2017 I really fell off the wagon when it came to blogging.  I started my blog to keep a record of my quilting journey.  So, today I am featuring the red and white ocean waves quilt that I pieced this year.  I machined pieced it like a hand piecer would piece this pattern. The reason being, I didn't want seams in the white squares.  I found that piecing this way really helped with my accuracy, a constant struggle for me.  Now, I am not saying all my seams are perfect but they are something that I can live with.  When I started quilting trying to achieve perfection often would  take the joy out of my craft, it was suppose to bring me joy!  So, I no longer beat myself up over seams that are not perfect.  I still try to do my best, but a finished quilt made with love is my goal these days. The following are some photos that I did capture in the process of piecing this quilt. It measures approximately 76X76. 

So yesterday, I pulled out this top and got it basted! I am excited about having a quilt in my hoop.  I love finding a few minutes here and there to sit and add a few stitches.  To begin, I am going to outline quilt the white triangles.

 After that, I am really not sure, I am open for suggestions if you have any.  I hope your staying warm and finding time for a few joyous stitches. I know I am looking forward to 2018 and getting my ocean waves quilt quilted!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Christmas Pillow

Last Sunday Tanya shared the tutorial for this Christmas pillow. It will be the perfect gift for a gift exchange we do Christmas Eve with extended family.   What a cute and fun  little project!  Much like hand quilting, embroidery is so calming. I used a simple back stitch and I so enjoyed the sound of the needle and thread going thru the fabric.  A few hand quilting stitches helped to add some texture and before you know it was finished.  I hope you have some time for some slow stitching today!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Getting back to normal

Sometimes it doesn't take much to throw me off the track when it comes to my stitching.  It's been a crazy month with having to deal with Tom's burns and getting ready for Thanksgiving and having family members visiting.  I usually just put my stitching aside, rather than get frustrated with not having the time. I also think it is important to take time to visit family when they are in town.  Tom is doing much better. All the bandages have released themselves and he is finally able to take showers. I hope that his visit to the burn clinic on Tuesday is good and we are on track.  It is amazing how fast our skin repairs itself.  The redness will be there for up to a year but all in all we are thankful things were not any worse.

Family members left Friday and I thought I would put in a few stitches, but my swing arm lamp wouldn't turn on.  So this morning Tom looked at it and found the culprit, the switch. Now, a trip to the hardware store should get it working again.  So this afternoon I hope to be able to stitch again. Looking at my current panel, I must say I've done well as three branches are completed.  I really need to decide if I want to stop at 5 panels or make the quilt wider and do another, or consider doing some kind of appliqued border.  I have plenty of time to think about it as I stitch the rest of this panel.

Hanging them on my sewing room closet door has been very inspirational. I have decided to go with green for my alternate panels and I really need to start keeping my eye out for the right fabric.

Sunday, November 12, 2017


It was a rough week here at our house!  Tuesday night my husband got a call in from work, it was around midnight and I had gone to bed but was restless so I heard him get up and I got up to say goodbye.  I went back to bed but just couldn't sleep.  Around 230am, I got up to get my phone as Tom said he didn't think he would be very long and I was beginning to worry. My phone goes into do not disturb mode at night I had missed a text from him. As I opened it it said "This is a nurse at Baylor Medical Center you need to come here immediately as your husband was injured at work.  So I called the number they left and they said the injury was serious enough they were going to have to move him to another facility.  Yes, you know the dreaded call. So I got dressed and off I went, he had not been transfered yet so I was able to see him for a few minutes before he was sent off to  the burn hospital in Dallas.  He had 2nd degree burns on both hands and arms, his neck and chest. So when the transport team arrived I followed them into Dallas.  He was sent to  Parkland the very hospital JFK was taken too. Going thru the emergency room was terrifying as you have to go thru  a metal dectector and the waiting room is filled with homeless and drug addicted patients.  I wanted to start balling as I was waiting for a pass to go back to the er, but I know I needed to be strong.  Tom was admitted and the staff was wonderful. He ended up staying two nights and was able to come home Friday. He has a long road to recovery but things are looking up.  Friday night I picked up the new panel I prepped and starting stitching down leaves. Oh how tranquil, oh how wonderful to be doing something normal.

So although my week was helter skelter, I was able to make some good progress by getting panel five prepped and one branch's leaves appliqued.  This morning I am prepping two more branches and then I can stitch down the vine on branch one and have plenty of leaves to applique as we watch the Cowboys game.  I am so thankful that things are calming down and even though his burns are very serious it could have been so much worse. The nurse was telling me pain is good when it comes to burns, as the damage is minimal.  Two nights in the hospital is minor compared to some patients that spend a year or two in the burn unit.  So, this is a reminder to love each day as if there is no tomorrow and to be thankful for the little joys in life.  I am so glad I have my slow stitching to turn to!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Trailing Vines Progress

 In my last post, I talked about how the prep work seems to bog me down.  I thought about it a lot this week and it's really not so much the actual prepping.  Once I get the iron hot, it doesn't take long at all to prep a branch of leaves.  What really seems to bother me is that I run out of leaves sometimes in the evening when I do my stitching.  I find as I do when I hand quilt, that I don't like to be interrupted during the process. So when I hand quilt I thread about a dozen needles so I can keep going.  So I thought of a solution,  I made another file folder lined with wool batting so that I can prep two branches ahead of where I am stitching.  As soon as one branch is stitched, I can take some time to prep the next one, and I still can stitch since I have that second folder. It seems to keep me going at a better pace.

I was half finished with this panel when I pulled it out of the closet last week.  I have almost finished four branches since than.  I guess I should think about getting the next panel prepped before I loose my rhythm.  This UFO is really a fun project to stitch.  It's quite amazing what Susan McCord did with her bits and pieces.  It seems a bit overboard to save bits and pieces and even sew those bits and pieces together to make a single leaf.  But, there is something very comforting, very organic about the process. When you lay out your stitching at the end of the day the results just make you smile.

My efforts are paying off, two more branches and this panel will be complete!

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Trailing Vines

I really need to get back to my applique project!  My poor trailing vines will never get done unless I put in some time.  I have three out of the five panels that I decided to make finished. Half down the fourth so it's time to give it some attention.  The original quilt is quite large and if I remember right it has thirteen panels of leaves.  I decided from the start that I wanted to make mine with the fabric panels and the appliqued panels the same width, more like a strippy quilt.

Yesterday morning the northern winds brought Texas some cold weather. The temps got down to 32F and we had a light frost. The lawn sprinkler ran at 5am and maybe that helped.  But those north winds get me thinking about my next hand quilting project.  I am thinking of quilting my star quilt but I want to use a wool batt and right now I don't have one. So I will have to see if I can get one locally or get one ordered.  Looks like I need to concentrate on my applique till then.  I know I may sound a bit hesitant and to be honest I am.  I love to hand applique but the prep work sometimes gets me down.  It makes such a mess and then cutting and pressing all the freezer paper templates and cutting out each leaf takes a tole on me.  But, I perservered thru Baltimore Garden so there is no reason I can't get this one done.  I find looking at a completed panel inspires me to move on. So I have hung them on the closet door for inspiration!  So today I will be stitching down some leaves as I watch the Cowboys play the Redskins.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Strings and other things!

I salvaged an old Singer Touch and Sew from the large trash pile a few blocks down one morning while I was taking my morning walk.  I just couldn't bear to think it was headed to a land fill.  So I picked it up dusted it off and gave it a good oiling and found that it seemed to work just fine.

So I thought I would set it up for a perfect 1/4 inch seam to sew some hour glass blocks.  Well, after changing out thread and adding a new needle it just didn't seem to want to sew right. Isn't that the way it always goes.  But, I was determined to figure out the problem.  After a few You Tube videos I learned to adjust the bobbin tensions and the bobbin case and still to no avail did it sew correctly.  So back to the internet and then I read that the spool of thread had to have some resistance on this machine so I place my hand over the thread on the top of the machine before it went into the tension regulator and low and behold it sewed perfectly.  I had scraped off some old foam pads on the thread holder as it seemed frail and never thought that it had a purpose.  So I decided to add some wool felt I had to replace the old foam.  It seemed to help but I still wasn't quite there. Then I found a piece of soft foam and cut out a piece to put on before the spool and wala my problem is cured.

So today, I am going to sit and stitch some string blocks. I started some of these a couple of years ago hoping to make up some baby quilts for future great grandchildren.  I know it wasn't that long ago I was waiting to have grandchildren. Ha Ha ! Nothing fancy but something they could be placed upon or use when they are sick and not feeling well. Kind of a utility baby quilt!

It's quite an adjustment stitching on this Singer Touch and Sew. I know it's not that old probably from the early 70s but I regularly sew on my Viking. Even though she's probably close to 15  years old she has an auto lift sensor system and auto needle down.  So adjusting to using that lever on the back of the machine had my mind boggled for a bit.  But, I am going to use the Singer to sew string blocks.  No need to worry about perfect 1/4 inch seams and whether she eats up the edge of the fabric when stitching as that will be trimmed off.  I am hoping that since the box of strings is next to the machine I might spend a few minutes here and there stitching some up.  It frees up my Viking for piecing blocks for my hour glass blocks. Just playing on her today makes me see why some like to sew on the vintage machines. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A king size finish!

Well, I was able to finish stitching down the binding on my king size log cabin last Sunday.  It had been a while since I stitched down binding and it sure felt good.

With the fall like temps Saturday we headed to the state fair. The weather was perfect cloudy and cool.  We had a hard time staying away from all the vendors serving fried food.  We did have a Corny Dog and we shared a fried Texas sheet cake. It was very very good!!!!

My favorite part of the fair are the livestock barns.  It was nice seeing the hogs, sheep, cattle and chickens on display.  I guess you just can't take the country out of someone who was raised on a farm.

The fair reminds us that summer has ended and fall has arrived. We don't get the big display of fall color here, but I do enjoy the color in my big pot of coleus.  I really need to plant the pansies and ornamental kale that I purchased early this week but my heart has a hard time pulling up the coleus.  I have to remind myself it won't be long till a frost will kill them anyway.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Slow Stitching Binding

Well, I looked at the date of my last  blog post and it was Oct 30 of last year. Oh my how time flies!  For the last couple of months I have had the urge to continue my blog but I just haven't taken the time.  I can start by saying our move from Arkansas to Texas altered my routine and kept me pretty busy. But, I started my blog years ago to document all the quilts that I make and hopefully to inspire others to enjoy hand quilting. So, I really need to get it caught up and current.

While still in Arkansas, I made a log cabin quilt top.  It was such a joy to make. I love the simpicity of the pattern and there are so many way to lay out the blocks.  Well, I pulled it out in late spring in hopes of getting it hand quilted.  It has taken me all summer to get the quilting done.  The quilt measures 90X108 inches.  Today, I will work on stitching down the binding and I will be linking to Slow Stitching Sunday's.  I really miss following fellow bloggers and especially Kathy's Slow Stitching Sundays.  Her post this morning reminded me
not to worry about time but to enjoy the process.  In today's world its very easy to get caught up in the rat race.

I really missed the peaceful time behind the hoop. This last month I probably spent an hour a day. Oh that precious hour how I missed you!  It feels so good to enjoy that hour in my sewing room doing what makes me happy. So I hope if you have the need to be creative or just make something that you take a bit of time to do just that!