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.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Knitting needles loaded again.

I did complete the tasks in my last blog update.  It took a few more days than I had hoped, Monday turned into Friday really quickly.
The hardest task was letting go of the scarf.  Knowing my Sweetling wanted it and she'll take good care of it made it easier to let it out of my grasp.
Still, it was very difficult. So I've started another ZickZack Scarf by Christy Kamm.
I wasn't very thrilled with these colors.  The yarn was from the clearance bin in a yarn boutique I visited during our summer trip to New York.
The suggested yarn in the pattern is a 400 yard skein.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the 350 yards I have will get me close to a 60" scarf.

I have a bit of length now.  And I like how it's working out.
Possibly there's an added texture because of the subtle color changes.  That dimensional look is super cool!!