Monday, June 29, 2009

Farwell to Wilma

This was a sad day.  My beloved gray cat  -- Wilma -- who has been my companion and pet for 14 years died today from lung cancer.

   WilmaWilma and Betty are sisters and have been close since I got them as kittens.  It was hard to watch my big lovable kitty drop from 13 lbs to 8 lbs over the past month, and see your lustrous gray coat look shabby.  When she quit eating a few days ago and noticed her breathing was becoming more labored I knew something was very wrong.

03260007I took her to the vet today, and after seeing her x-ray showing massive lung cancer I made the decision to have her put to sleep.  I held her and petted her till the end and kissed her good-bye.  Betty is still around and in good health, but is sitting on my feet while I write this.  I think she knows her sister is gone, and misses her already.

Thanks for sharing this sad moment with me as I mourn the passing of my little furry friend.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Purple Flutterbye Auction Mini

Purple Flutterbye

After making the first butterfly quilt I had blocks left over so I made this little cutie for the guild mini auction.  For some reason I had a lot of purple butterflies left so I framed them in various shades of purple but used a blue binding to bring out the blue a bit.  I added tiny black piping around the border just to accent the black in the blocks and the sashing.  It was auctioned off today. . . will have to find out who bought it and what it sold for.  I still have 8 more butterflies left. . . yes most of them are purple!!  hehehe. . . so I will make one more mini, only this one I will keep.  You can’t see it well in this picture, but I did tiny little McTavishing inside each block, and quilted tiny little feather antennae for each butterfly.  You can see details if you click on some of the photos below.

UFO Sewing day

Mingo Christmas Quilt

What a fun day! Three of my quilt friends came over today to sew. We try to meet every month to work on UFO's, but we also love to visit and catch up, do some show and tell, and of course, EAT! I made a big chicken salad and the other girls brought melons and peach crisp. YUM

This is the project I worked on today. These fun panels are Christmas Flamingo’s. I am putting together a top as a show sample and today I was working on figuring out connectors between all the blocks. I framed them all with black and prints, then a second white frame. They are still on my quilt wall so I will try and finish this tomorrow. It is sort of a challenge since I am making it up as I go along! I’ll post a “finished” picture when I am done.

The other fun thing we did today was go to the Ottawa Piece Maker’s Quilt Show! (Ottawa, KS not Canada). I had 8 quilts in the show, but there were lots of gorgeous quilts there. Here are pictures of the quilts I had in the show.

Monet Monet
“Monet Monet” A Bargello Quilt I made in a class with Tony Munoz
Cats in Candy Land
“Cats in Candy Land”
The blocks are from Claire’s Cats
Color Wheel QuiltColor Wheel Quilt – I designed and made this quilt as a teaching tool for my color class Flamingo Calendar QuilteFlamingo Calendar Quilt from a wonderful fun swap
Halloween BOB Halloween Bag O Blocks Quilt In Da Go Sampler
In Da Go Sampler Swap Quilt
Vintage Moments
Vintage Moments Quilt done in 1930’s reproduction fabrics
Winding Ways
Winding Ways Quilt made from a John Flynn precut kit.

What a great day. . .Good friends, good food, good fun, and a great quilt show. Ahhhhh, what more could a girl want?

Ok. . . .Tomorrow I will post the next block in the Midnight Posies BOM. There’s something to look forward to!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Flutterby Mini Quilt

I have had these little 4 " blocks in my UFO drawer for about 3 years and finally got them out and made a little quilt. I loved the blocks but never had an incentive to get them put together. I am in a Mini Spring Blooms Quilt Swap sponsored by Quilting Bloggers and thought of these sweeties and pulled them out. I quilted it on my regular machine, not confident enough yet to do that tiny McTavishing on my long arm.

Now that is is done. . . .I want to keep it instead of sending it off to an unknown person in Michigan!!! Of course I will be getting one in the mail in return, but it just isn't the same as making it myself and loving it! LOL When I get my mini from my mystery partner, I will post a picture. Off in the mail this one goes today!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Life's a Beach

I am having great fun making beach blocks for a swap I am in. These pictorial blocks are so fun and since I do fusible machine applique, they are also pretty fast. The first set of blocks is a light house. I found this pattern online as an embroidery (noun not a verb) pattern and fell in love with it. I adapted it a bit for applique and here is the resulting block.

The second set of blocks are jelly fish. This was from a coloring page I found on the web. It was just so cute. I often find coloring pages great sources for applique or embroidery. I love to do the machine button hole stitch on the edges and use different color threads to realy enhance the pictures and add details.
I found this background fabric in several colors on my recent camping vacation and thought the jellyfish would love swimming around in this swirly water. You can't really see in the picture, but I stitched the pieces down with variagated gold metalic thread! I wasn not sure if it would work but I increased the tension on the bottom thread and decreased the tension on the top (metalic) thread. Then I used a Metalic needle (it has a bigger hole so the thread doesn't shred) and so far, not a single broken thread. It works great!
The last block is one of my favorites. I call it Flamingo in a hurricane. Now I really didn't intend it to be a hurricane, but when I positioned the palm tree and leaves on the block, it looked like it was in a big wind.
Then i realized that the flamingo was too big to stand in the water -- I didn't want him standing on the beach sand -- so I added a puddle for him to stand in and added some ripples around his legs with blue thread. I think I will add some more so it looks more realistic. I pieced and appliqued the background (sky, water, sand) then machine appliqued all the elements on top. The flamingo legs are satin stitch in orange thread with a little extra wide thread play at the knobby knees.

My big tip for machine applique. . . increase bobbin tension and use a stabilizer. My stabilizer of choice. . . . wax paper! Its cheap, easy to get just the right size, and it slides around easily on the machine bed or table making it easy to get around corners or curves. Also, a knee lifter on my machine is the key to success, as i can keep my hands on the work and my knee lifts the presser foot when I need to pivot. If you need a thicker stabilizer. . . use 2 sheets of wax paper. It pulls off when you are done really easily! What fun this was to do!!

Now that my blocks are nearly done I am going to load a charity quilt top on my new long arm, it will be the first REAL quilt I will do on my new machine. I have been practicing on scrap fabric and muslin, now its time for the real deal. I think I will do loopy stars or swirls. I have been practicing both of those. Wish me luck!! I'll post pics of the finished quilt when I get it done.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My New Toy!

I finally realized one more of my professional quilting goals this week. I purchased a long arm quilting machine. Technically it would be called a mid-arm, HQ16 with the new professional studio frame. I bought the 12' table but only set up 8' so it would fit in my studio. Since I mostly do smaller quilts this is a great size for me and will work just fine as I am learning. Of course it meant I had to clean up my studio and get rid of all the junk! That alone made it worth it. I finally parted with stuff I have been hauling around for decades which I really do not need or want. I bet you have a pile or two of that stuff in your house too! :-)
I had to move my book shelves and get rid of my rocking chair and book nook corner in my studio to fit in the frame, but the rug works great to cushion my feet when I am standing at the frame. My studio is long and narrow 24' x 9' so there wasn't room to put it on one of the end walls. This way I can get behind it to use the laser and pantos with the rear handles. I really wish I could get wheels for it so I can move it around as I need to, but my floor is cement (under the vinyl) and not particularly flat!

I am still adjusting the height, and may have to lower it a bit once I get more used to what works for me. Luckily the frame is easy to adjust. I have signed up for some classes and am watching some DVD's a friend lent me. I am also filling up sketch pad pages of squiggles and leaves and feathers while I train my eye and my hand. This really is fun. I find I am really jerky in my movements and have to really practice being smoother. I sure would love to hear your suggestions and advice as I fly along the learning curve! Don't you just love new toys?!?!