Monday, December 10, 2018

Finishes!!

I'm happy to announce that I have had a few finishes since the last update!
The biggest finish was ending my tenure of president of the Possum Town Quilters guild.  I entered the year reluctantly and I exit overflowing with gratitude and appreciation.  To have had the encouragement and support of nearly 40 members is an amazing experience.  It's both uplifting and humbling.  We had a great year due to every member bringing their own special gifts/talents to the group.  Each contributing in her own unique way.  And I definitely couldn't have done without my fellow fantastic officers! I was not alone!

I'm going to make a long story short here because I have to mention how special these guild ladies made me feel.  I started my year of leadership focused on encouraging members to step up when volunteers were needed.  And they did not disappoint!! As a reward for their efforts, I offered to take a PTQ quilt top that was in desperate need of some tlc.  I did repairs to the quilt top and and each of their volunteer acts would earn a chance to win it in a drawing at the end of the year...
Well, instead of allowing me to draw a name from the jar, the ladies unanimously agreed to gift the quilt top to ME for my efforts as their leader this year!!!  I was so overwhelmed with emotions.  How blessed I am!!

Getting the repairs done to that quilt top counts as #1 of the finishes.  
#2 was making up little "thank you" gift tins for the PTQ Christmas party.  At my request, my brother, Nathaniel, made small heart shaped bees wax thread conditioners... (Have I mentioned lately that hearts ❤️ are my favorite shape? All my quilts have a heart in some form or another.)  Aren't they a perfect item to put into my "thank you" tin?
(I thought I would put chocolate kisses in, but in the end, there was no room for chocolate kisses.)

I made up some needle holders to fit in the bottom of the tin.  
I found flower needle threaders online, perfectly showing my whimsy side.  
I added spools of thread I had purchased a few months earlier at a going out of business sale.
I think the tins turned out to be sweet little sewing kits 😊
 And look at these straight pins with Spool heads I found on the Hobby Lobby sewing notions wall!  They were too cute not include!!

Finish #3 was the woven basket I showed in my previous update.  I forgot to get a photo of it before wrapping it up for our hand made gift exchange.

Finish #4 - the second ZickZack scarf! And it seems I don't have a photo of this finished item either.  As soon as she saw it was finished, my Sweetling grabbed it up before I could even give it to her 😄.

I did make the comment in front of her that I need to load another scarf on the needles to replace that one. And she's already claimed scarf #3 before I purchased the yarn!!
Inspired by the ZickZack Scarf Pattern by Christy Kamm, I've upsized the yarn from fingering/sock weight to a fluffier Sport weight and the needle size form a #3 to #6.  Already I can see that progress is going to go much faster, and I love the fluffy feel of it compared to the finer yarns.


The yarn is Loops & Threads, Kai collection, colors are Mint Chip and Splash.
The yarn has more of a tweed look to it, and so far it seems to have slow, long color changes.  Possibly the color changes will be very subtle and unnoticeable until looking at the completed project.  I am super curious to see how it turns out.
Usually, I don't care for the backside of stockingnette stitch with color changes, but in this case the tweed effect is enhanced.  I think it's super cool.

Anyway, the knitting is just a side project.
I have a small quilt to finish by Christmas, only half the binding left to do and a label to add. Maybe I'll blog more about it after it's given away.


What I have to do now is concentrate on two quilts I want to enter into Mountain QuiltFest 2019.
One is for our guild challenge with a Christmas theme.  I still have to trim and add the border.  And I want appliqueing holly leaves around the border to make it a Christmas table runner.
The other is Whimsy's Doodles... I want to increase it's size with this pale blue, but a plan hasn't really presented itself on this yet.  Here's hoping a plan comes soon!!  The deadline is in January!

Ok, enough time chatting. I've got lots to do!
'Tis the season to be jolly!  Oh gosh, I still have to dig out the holiday decorations 😮.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmaas! God bless.

Monday, November 19, 2018

A few things I've been working on...

It's been a while since I've updated my blog!
I've been busy with my stitching projects, as in a little bit on this one, a little bit on that one... But I don't think I've actually completed anything.

Whimsy's Stitches is getting filled in nicely.  I am considering entering it in a quilt show.  I'm still deciding which category.  Either, keep it small (under 24 inches) for the miniature category, which allows all quilting techniques.  Or make it bigger, the small quilt category requires least 30 inches, but it's a hand quilting only category.
Ugh, decisions, decisions! I'm going to have to make up my mind soon, because deadline might be only 8 weeks away!

I've also been knitting.  The ZickZack scarf I recently blogged about has been the easiest project to pick up while my Heartbeat and I watch our TV shows.  Remember I had a difficult time Letting Go of the first ZickZack scarf?  Well, I had about 20" of this scarf knitted up.  My Sweetling runs her fingertips over the fabric.  And with a sly smile, she lets me know her desire to have this one too.  And you know?.. I'll happily give her this one as well.  It's about half way done.


My friend C.C. continues to encourage me to practice long arm quilting.  She has pieced a few simple quilt tops for our PTQ guild charity baby quilts. (Lol, she doesn't let me get away with saying I don't have a quilt to work on.) This is the latest one.  It still needs trimming and binding.
Today, I braved putting one of my own quilts on the long arm.  I saw this quilt design in Pinterest. I tried to order the kit but it was out of stock so long that I figured they weren't going to make the kit anymore. So I drafted up my own pattern.
It's been 2 years in the making. I think it's been the quilting stage that had me stumped. So, simple wavey lines was the final decision here. 
My dilemma now is:  can I send a baby quilt to the intended recipient if she's already 2 years old?  I need to make time to finish the appliques and bind it.

So I found a "Weave fabric strips into a charming basket" pin in Pinterest a while ago.  I am finally trying my hand at it.  It took a bit of fiddling to get my basket to start shaping up, but I'm well on my way to a finished product 😄. 
This blog update didn't have any, but I am determined to have a some "finishes" before this year is over.  Hmm, it's the middle of November?!? 😉 lol, I'm feeling a bit of a time crunch. Wish me luck!! 

Friday, September 28, 2018

Doodles with a needle and thread


Remember when we used to make book covers from brown paper bags to protect our school text books. We were not allowed to write in our books, but we were allowed to be as creative as we wanted in decorating those covers.  Many of my friends' covers were covered in doodles. Every inch had something interesting to look at.  When we got tired of that cover we could tear it off and make a new one and start all over with doodling to decorate it.
Well.... written on my cover had the name of the class, the period I had that class, and my name just in case it was ever in question who that book belonged to...  My cover lasted all year long because I was not a doodler!

I didn't plan to include this today, but a memory just popped up and I have to share ❤️.  My mom was a doodler when she talked on the phone. You know, during those lengthy conversations when family member or close friend needs a sympathetic ear.  Many times her side of the conversation was just her murmuring "umhmm" or "I see" or "pobrecito" which translates to "poor thing."  The thing that struck me most, was that my mom was listening with every ounce of her being. She'd be so intent on being there for the person on the other end of the line. 
There was always a writing utensil and a notebook near the phone because sometimes she'd have to write down a new address or phone number that was given.  But when the conversation would get deeper her hand would absentmindedly seek out the pen.  She'd end up dragging that ink tip along any piece of paper that was handy, usually the phone book or her personal notebook /phone book.  
Ok, my mom is one of my 4 regular readers. I can imagine by now she's shaking her head.  Maybe denying that she's a doodler.  That would be because she had a preferred shape, an arrow.
↖  ↗  ↘   ↙  ↔   ↡
She'd mix in a square or triangle once in a while, but it was usually arrows.  Arrows with one point, some with two points, some with a triangle point on one end and feathers on the other.
Often, she would retrace the shape she had just drawn, over and over, still giving support to the person on the phone.  Her focus on them so complete and the unconscious doodling meant that nothing was going to interrupt that phone call until that conversation had run its' course.  😊

My mom lives in Colorado. I live in Mississippi.  I try to call her at least once a week.  Our last conversation was 90 minutes long.  Whether she was doodling during that call, I don't know.  But I have no doubt what so ever that I had her utmost attention.  Thanks Mom. You're the best!!

~~~

K, my reminiscing moment is over, back to my blog... 
Remember, just a few years ago, the rage was Zentangle?  It's an art technique that's doodling with structure.  The idea is to fill in a space with repeating shapes or lines.  You could divide a larger canvas into sections and each section had a different design.
I put "Zentangle" into Google search and clicked the images button and here's the Zentagle images search result.  
 My attempt at this lasted about a week.  I'm just not a doodler!  But I remember thinking "what if someone applied this to quilting?!!"

And wouldn't you know it.  Before I had the courage to test my idea.  Next thing on the store bookshelves is Zen Quilting workbooks and ZenTangle for Fabric Arts, Quilting, Embroidery.  An added technique was painting the quilted fabric.

And then comes Karlee Porter with Graffiti quilting!  Talk about inspiration!!  
(... but I'm going to get a little side tracked here, I'll come back to Karlee Porter in a moment.)  Graffiiti is an art genre all its own.  We often think of the unwanted vandalism on public walls, the big puff letters or words scribbled on the wall. But Graffiti ranges from simple words to elaborate wall paintings.


The mural above was on the street side wall of the Lucky Town Brewing Company in Jackson, MS.  I thought it looked pretty cool. Pics are dated Feb'17.  I haven't been back since then, maybe it's still there.

This art piece was on the building that houses Stitcher's Garden quilt shop in Pueblo, CO. (pic dated Jun'17)
It is quite beautiful in person.  Those bright colors make me feel happy.
Do you think these are pieces fall into the graffiti category?

So, back to Karlee Porter's graffiti quilting.  This is more in the direction I want to pursue.
It has a groovy vibe, which appeals to my "Hita's Whimsy" nature very much.  Also, she uses arrows a lot in her designs.  I can't help smiling over that.
Have a look at the Google search for

I actually tried my hand at graffiti quilting a while back. I had forgotten about these pieces until they grab my attention while I was scrolling through my pictures looking for the walls.  These pics are dated Jan'17.  Looking at them now, I think there might be some potential there.

I took a class taught by Teresa Pino on painting a graffiti quilted piece..
The quilting was done by the instructor.  I did the coloring.  Umm, more practice is needed in this area...
 pics are dated Jun'17.
The pic below was my teachers sample.

Zen quilting and graffiti quilting are both machine quilting methods.  Machine quilting is fun, but what gives me most satisfaction is a needle in my hand and the motion of drawing the thread and making the quilt sandwich cinch together.
And so enters Free form Hand Quilting.  This technique is about hand quilting without marking the fabric.  You can start quilting with a pattern in your head, most common was Bishop's fan, also known as Baptist fan.  Or stitching can be started without any plan, just go wherever the needle takes you.   I've been wanting to attempt free form quilting for a long long time.  
I finally started a small sample size.

I started without much of a plan.  I made a quilt sandwich out of inexpensive bleached perma press cotton (basically muslin) for both top and bottom fabrics. And the batting is a poly batting that was left over from charity quilts.  And because I wanted to get to the stitching as soon as possible, I pinned basted the sandwich.

I thought I would start with a few wavy lines first, but somehow my needle went for triangles instead.

Freeform is intended to be no marking. But I'll allow using the top of my needle dragged along the fabric surface to help me shape my curves until I get the hang of it.
I was trying to catch the slight indention the needle tip makes in the fabric.
My favorite shapes are hearts and curly cues.  I haven't stitched a heart in yet.
Remember I said that in my haste I pin basted?
I think that was a big mistake.  The thread gets hooked on those safety pins.  
I've managed to make progress even with those safety pins being a nuisance.  I love quilted feathers.



I'm using a 30wt 100% cotton Sulky thread.  It's my first time using it for any project.  The label says for machine or hand use.  And I actually like it a lot for hand quilting.  I cut about 30" lengths from the spool. Aside from the basting pins issue, I haven't had tangling issues.  I don't see any fraying or fuzzies along the length as I work.  There is a bit of fraying on the end, probably a shorter length work eliminate that.  I just snip an inch off and continue working.




What I'm not so sure about in this project is the variegating color.  Maybe I should have used a solid.



Now this kind of doodling I can do!!  Slow and steady.  Each new shape comes at it's own pace.  There's no plan, just a couple of rules (which I am allowed to break if I want.)  One rule is no marking.  The other rule is every stitch stays, once it's in, it's in.
I'm not concentrating on perfect stitches. My goal is to doodle with my needle and thread!  I'm really liking this exercise.