Monday, November 30, 2009

My New Great Studio

Many of you have seen the photos of my Florida studio on March 13, 2009. I decided to make some changes since I am sewing more this year.

I have moved my sewing machine to the great room. It has a perfect view of the TV as I sew. I also have a view out the sliding glass doors of the golf course. I can open the sliding doors to enjoy the glorious weather. I've even considered moving the machine to the lanai! This is also a perfect set up if I have a friend come and join me to sew since a sewing machine can be set up on the kitchen table or the small folding table I have.
I am keeping the ironing board in the other room for now. I will get more exercise and in a small house like this you don't get enough exercise.
The bar you see behind the machine belongs on the lanai but we have not moved it out there yet. It makes a perfect place for me to put things I will need as I sew.

I wanted to layer and baste this Eight Point Star for a One Arm Quilter and figured out a way to get a large enough area. I brought my folding table into the kitchen eating area and wedged it up against the peninsula counter. Even though there is about a 1 inch height difference it worked perfectly. I taped the backing down with painters blue tape and layered the batting and the quilt top. Now it is ready to quilt any time I have the inclination to do so.

A studio can be created just about anywhere you have a little space if you really want to sew.
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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Oh, Christmas Tree!

I put up the Christmas tree today. Certainly not a traditional tree. It took a lot of research to find a purple tree. The lime, magenta and black ornaments and the garlands were easier to find.

It took me 10 or 15 minutes from start to finish to put up the tree and decorations on the prelit tree.

The reason I can do this so fast is because I simply wrap the tree in Magenta Saran Wrap and put it out in the garage. I even match the color of the Saran Wrap to the tree and my house!
My plan for this evening is to turn out the lights and watch TV.
Tonight's puzzle is a close up of my tree.
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Friday, November 27, 2009

Traditional Quilt - final block arrangement

This is the final block arrangement for this quilt.
I clipped coupons last night to go shopping for Black Friday deals. I woke up this morning and decided to go back to sleep and forget it. I still feel I had the experience just by clipping the coupons! It was a good decision since I really don't need anything and my Christmas shopping is taken care of.
I spent the day straightening up the house and changing some of the blocks around on this quilt. There were some similar blocks that were too close together and just stood out too much on the first layout.
My goal was to have a quilt where the colors and values were somewhat evenly distributed so your eye wasn't drawn to any one particular area. I think I accomplished that. As you look at this on the computer your eye may be drawn to an area but it is because of the color and value in specific blocks, not because similar blocks are too close together.
I have taken the blocks off my design wall and they are stacked and labeled row by row. I can now sew them together when Pat and I get together on Tuesday for a sewing day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cyprus, Students Tesselations and Thanksgiving

At 3:16 p.m. EST I had my first visitor from Cyprus on my blog.
Welcome to you.
There seems to be a lot of interest in my students tessellations on my blog recently. I had the second highest day ever of views of my blog a few days ago and the Tessellations seemed to be the big draw. Wonder what sparked the interest?

Like many of you I enjoyed the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade today. I haven't watched the whole thing yet as I recorded it so I could get some things done today.

I thought the hats these two children were wearing at the parade were a lot of fun.

One of my favorite parts of the parade are the balloons. Spiderman was a big hit.

I enjoyed this turkey float. I can't think of Thanksgiving without thinking of the turkey we have always enjoyed on Thanksgiving.

I had Thanksgiving dinner with my friends Karen and Jerry. Karen set a beautiful table. I'm so proud of myself for remembering to take photos of the table before we ate. The meal was delicious - all of my favorites - turkey, dressing, cranberries, salad, rolls, sweet potato casserole and of course pumpkin pie with whipped cream for the grand finale. I feel full and content after a great day.
I've used a photo of the dinner table so you can enjoy it a little longer.
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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What do you do without a design wall?

I've probably had these 63 blocks finished about a week now. I don't have space for a design wall here and was trying to figure out what to do. Yesterday I came up with the "brilliant" idea of pinning a piece of cotton batting to the large quilt I have hanging on the wall and using it for a design wall.
It worked extremely well.

This shows all 63 blocks with the orientation I expect to use for the quilt. This is the first photo just as I put them on the wall in a somewhat random arrangement. It is quite obvious that I will have to move some of them around a bit.
It is much easier for me to see that in the photo than by looking at the blocks on the wall. I will start to move them around and take more photos evaluating each arrangement as I go.
Once I am pleased with the arrangement I can take them down by row, label them and sew them any time.
I will not make a border fabric selection until they are sewn together.

I used the light bulb cut since I had such a light bulb moment with my design wall idea!
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Almost Crazy Christmas Quilt

I realize I said this quilt would be done before this. It is one of those quilts that does require perfection in workmanship. I was not programmed for perfection the last few days. I spent my time organizing the studio and doing some sewing practicing imperfection.
Finally today I was able to work on it. It will be done soon, but I'm not promising anything as far as a completion date. It will be for sale so keep your eye on my blog if you are interested in it. It is more than twice the size of the first Christmas quilt.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ladies Who Lunch are back!

Today I met Karen and Lynn at the clubhouse for lunch. We were celebrating Karen's birthday which is today and Lynn's which is Saturday.
We had a delicious lunch and stimulating conversation. It had been almost a year and a half since I had seen Karen so it was so good to see her smiling face. She's always smiling. Maybe it's about her 9 grandchildren under 5! She and Lynn share 3 of the grandchildren since Lynn's son and Karen's daughter are the parents of those 3!
After lunch I took a quick trip to the quilt shop. We are so fortunate to have a wonderful quilt shop about 4 miles away. I found some fabric to finish the companion quilt to the one I posted and sold on this blog last night. Hopefully it will be finished in another day or two. Keep watching, particularly if you may be interested in purchasing it since the last one sold so quickly.
After dinner and a little nap I sewed a little more on the traditional quilt. Tha will be in progress for a while! After I put the pieces of this puzzle together I'm heading back to do a little more sewing.

As you put this puzzle together you can think about the delicious lunch we had!
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Crazy for Christmas Quilt

Crazy for Christmas 14" x 17" $200


It's finished and if I do say so myself it is quite spectacular. I went from imperfection on the traditional quilt to absolute perfection on this quilt. The crazy piecing is emphasized with decorative machine stitches using special metallic threads. The combination of cotton fabrics, both print and plain, contrast nicely with the metallic fabrics. The borders and binding finish this off for a Merry Christmas.

Although you've done a puzzle of this quilt in progress it is truly a star of the show now!
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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Christmas Crazy Quilt

Last night I was asked on Facebook if I had made any Christmas quilts. After telling about the ones I had made I remembered I had one started here. I found it and today I worked on it. The only thing left to do is the binding.
I have always loved old crazy quilts. This is my interpretation of a crazy quilt using today's wonderful threads, prints and metallic fabrics. I really enjoyed making it.

Tonight's Crazy Quilt uses the crazy puzzle cut.
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Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm back - finally!

I found this quilt block design in a quilting magazine several years ago. Even though I hadn't done traditional quilts for some time I was fascinated by it.
Two years ago I cut a lot of rectangles and squares to make this. I pieced several blocks and laid out more of the blocks until I had about 30 - not even enough for a blankie.
To lay out a block I put all the pieces in the correct arrangement between the pages of a magazine. Then I turn a few pages and lay out another block. This makes it so much easier when the time comes to sew the blocks.
Today I started sewing more of the blocks together. I have a goal when creating this project - IMPERFECTION! I am really a perfectionist when I am quilting and I think this block could benefit from a few pieces that don't match! It might make it look like it was an old quilt. However anyone who is familiar with today's fabrics will not be fooled. It won't hurt me either to become less of a perfectionist!
I like to chain piece. This block does NOT let me do that. I had pieced several blocks and realized I had probably thrown away a half of spool of thread cutting off the beginning and ending threads on each seam. I got out a scrap and sewed onto and off of that between each line of stitching. Not only did this save thread, but it kept the fabric from being pushed into the hole in the throat plate as I started each seam.
When I haven't sewn for quite some time I like to choose a project that doesn't require much thinking. This is that kind of project.

For those of you who have been experiencing puzzle withdrawal I'm back with one for you tonight.
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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Honey, I'm home - AGAIN!

I had a smooth uneventful flight to Florida. When I arrived in Orlando my good friends John and Lynn were there to pick me up and whisked me home.

I got the MOST WONDERFUL surprise when I arrived home. They had power washed my lanai (it was really dirty from the summer winds and rain). Not only that, they had brought out all the furniture which had resided in the garage over the summer, including the cushions. But that wasn't all - they found the Hotel Florida window, the Apple Blossom Time quilt and the Tord Boontje lamp and hung them all. Then they brought out my plants.
I am still finding things they did for me to make my arrival wonderful. They aired out the house and cleaned the 5 big sliding glass doors.
The refrigerator was turned on and stocked with Coca Cola and water. The phone was plugged in and ready to use. The water heater temperature was turned up for me. They hung the Seldom Inn sign by the front door.
I'm still finding things they did.
They are just the best and I am so lucky to have them as friends.

It is now Sunday morning and I am sitting on the lanai watching the skinks (small lizards) climb up the screens outside and sun themselves. I also have a beautiful view of the golf course and the golfers.

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood where the temperatures are in the low 70s at 11 a.m.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What a difference a gauge makes!

Last winter I decided to knit a shawl for myself similar to the afghans I had knit. I loved the feel of them - lightweight and yet warm.
When I finished this one it was half as long and twice as wide as it is now. It stretched way out of shape.
I realized I used too large of a needle and knit it with too little tension as I knit.
I chose to use a rainbow of colors so it would go with anything.
I still love it, but I have to fold it in half or do some other creative things with it to wear it.
I used Size 15 needles and 100 stitches.

I assembled another group of yarns and changed several things when I knit this one. I used size 13 needles, 80 stitches and a tight tension as I knit it.
This shawl has a totally different feel to it and is hardly long enough to wrap around me. But - it covers my back and shoulders. It too feels good. The colors of this one are more similar and yet there are many things I can wear it with.
I probably used about 50 different yarns for this one.I love this type of knitting. I use up all my leftover yarns and have so much fun putting them together to create a pleasing design. No yarn is too short to use if it is at least 12 inches long!

This shows a size comparison of the two of them. The rainbow colored one is folded double.

I won't be getting much use out of either of them soon as I head to Florida tomorrow.
Everything is ready as I had planned on going a week ago and had to delay my trip. I've been packed for a week, the house is organized and my house sitters are ready for me to leave!

My favorite cut for tonight's puzzle!
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

21 years ago today I became a grandmother

Today is my granddaughter Heidi's 21st birthday. This is one of my favorite recent photos of her. She will soon be graduating from college. Where have the years gone?

This is another photo I really like I believe it was taken at some kind of retreat.

A few months ago she had to dress up as a rock star at work one day. I think she did a fantastic job and I can just picture her and one of her guitars on stage with one of her favorite bands.

The stars are shining on Heidi today!
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