Friday, January 13, 2017

QUILTER'S ALMANAC/PLANNER

So I started out the year 2017 thinking that I ought to start writing blogs on a consistent basis. I also ought to have a Quilter's Planner and I looked at the various options out there on the market place. But knowing myself, I am not that good at keeping records or diaries after January and some of those looked way to detailed. While cleaning up some older magazines I found something that I thought I could use. It is a daily planner also known as QUILTER'S ALMANAC by Eleanor Burns dated 1991. Evidently, someone else who didn't use it gifted it to me and it has been in my magazine stash every since. Eleanor is a great teacher and in the almanac, she talks about gathering up a group of women, giving them each a piece of challenge fabric and then conducting a year long Block of the Month. I could do that. I can use the calendar to keep track of my progress on quilting through the year and also make a block of the month with stash fabric. Note, I said stash. Off I went to the stash to find what I needed for this years sampler quilt. Its somewhat embarrassing to have all of this in my stash but hey, we have to shop. Let me tell you how I buy fabric. I have a large section in my brain for fabric and I have the ability to remember nearly every piece that I have bought over the years. I don't seem to remember where I put it but I can remember that I have it. I bought this piece of butterfly fabric at Quilting by the Bay in Panama City, Fl. I knew that I had the green with dots in my stash because it goes with more butterfly fabrics that I purchased in Maine when my mother in law died. I bought it to go with along with the large polka dots with dots inside them. And I always have a variety of black and white prints as well as plain black and plain white. I thought these dots were so cute! And I like cute! All of this is on sale of course as I rarely pay full price for large pieces. The first block for this quilt was a star and here it is, already made. If you are a novice quilter, start out with Eleanor Burns. If you follow her directions, the blocks come out perfectly with only a bit of trimming. I now have a perfect 12.5" block! I am going to do this each month and use my planner. Not sewing ahead! Until next time, Happy Sewing! Carol

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

SEWING WITH HANNAH

I have a beautiful almost 15 year old granddaughter named Hannah. She is very artistic and I've been trying to get her interested in sewing for some years. A few years ago, I gave her an inexpensive singer sewing machine for Christmas and she made some pillowcases. And then it sat. Last year, she asked me to help her make some costumes for Cosplay, . She is very much interested in the Japanese Anime characters and she showed me a picture of a costume so we were off to Goodwill to see what we could find to make it. Here is Hannah with the finished project but we had so much fun at Goodwill, she wanted to go back. The day we went was 10 items for $10 day. Whoo HOO! I found a black jacket and an orangegold sweatshirt to make her jacket with. I cut off the sleeves of the sweatshirt and sewed them onto the jacket and you can see the finish above. Not only did we get these items but I also got 7 mens cotton shirts to use for quilts later on. So this past Saturday morning, I got a phone call from my son. "What are you doing today?" I'm sewing I guess. "Hannah wants to come over and get help for another costume>" YES!! Of course!! Any chance I get to sew and teach my granddaughter is a wonderful thing. She showed me the pictures of the costume and off we went to Goodwill to look for a small vest, a pair of black shorts and a purple jacket or shirt we could alter! IT wasn't $10 day but we found what we needed, the perfect black vest that fit her perfectly, the shorts, and a large purple men's shirt that we could alter to make a jacket. I don't have any pics yet of the finished costume but let me tell you, it turned out cute! And Hannah was so pleased! We didnt' have time to sew on the outfit on Saturday so she came back on Tuesday to finish it up. In the meantime, I had sewed a green with black stripe front to the vest. Why I had the perfect matching fabric to the costume picture is beyond me but it turned out cute. So our task on Tuesday was to figure out how to turn a large man's shirt into a jacket/coat. I cut the sleeves off, pinned and tucked. When I sat at the machine to sew, Hannah would watch what I was doing. I sat her down to sew the darts which I had pinned and several other things. Each time I sewed, she stood and watched. Today I have to go to Joann's and get some gold buttons to sew on and she is coming over again! Thank you Lord for the blessings of getting to know my granddaughter and helping her to learn how to sew! If you can sew, you can earn! Carol

ROW BY ROW CHALLENGE

I am very fortunate indeed to live in an area where we have 8 participating Row by Row shops within an hours drive or less from my home. Two of the shops I can get to within 10 minutes. There is also a good sized Joann's nearby and A&E Pharmacy in Pensacola. If you are ever in Pensacola drop by A&E. It is awesome. So this year, I decided to collect the rows and sew up a quilt to try and win a prize. My granddaughter, Hannah, came over to sew one day and she helped put one of the rows together! I sewed all weekend, quilting as you go on my Platinum 16. It started giving me fits on the last two rows I added but I managed to finish Monday morning. I headed to Unlimited Embroidery in Navarre, Fl and walked in to win the prize! I was so pleased and Lynda, the owner, was very generous with 30 fat quarters, a pattern and burlap bag with embroidery.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

THE JOURNEY HAS BEGUN!

My Journey has begun! I've decided to start the retirement process from my interior design business and delve into a quilting life. I've set up an Etsy Account which I will address later. See you soon! Carol

Friday, February 20, 2015

COLOR CONFIDENCE PART 6

My philosophy on selecting fabrics and colors for a quilt is a five part process that I have shared in my recent postings. Let me restate them here
FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM 1. find your fabric; 2. find your theme; 3. find your neutrals; 4 find your accent fabrics; and 5 find your pattern.
In the case of the fabrics and blocks I've been working on I already had a pattern in mind. A friend and I had agreed to take advantage of Jacquelyn Steve's free Sew Sweet Simplicity BOM. You can visit the pattern at http://jacquelynnesteves.com/sew-sweet-simplicity-free-block-of-the-month/
The center 6.5 inch block of Jacquelynne's quilt could be either applique or a fabric. I'm not all that fond of applique and when I saw the fun floral fabric at the LQS,I thought immediately how much fun it would be to fussy cut the flowers for the center block. So in this case, the pattern came before the fabric.
Most of the time, I think I find the fabric first and then search for a pattern to go with it. In my travels and visiting local shops, I look for what is on sale. If I think it is a good buy and I like the fabrics, I will buy 1 to 2 yds, depending on the pattern repeat. I have a set of fabrics in my stash that I purchased on a New England vacation in 2013. I tuck these fabrics into my mind and then I search for patterns through magazines and books. I think I have hit on a pattern that will be wonderful for this set of fabrics. On the other hand, I have bought patterns that I like and I'm not sure I've ever made them. I do make bags from patterns, many of them. My husband continually asks why I can't throw the magazines out. You all know the answer to that one. We save them to find patterns to use for fabrics we have. And the books, I have many many books and buy more. After all it is like reading a novel and you learn so much. And, unlike a novel, you will read it again. I hope you have enjoyed my take on finding fabrics and mixing and matching colors. Its been fun. Carol

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

COLOR CONFIDENCE PART5

One of the reasons why I don't blog consistently is because I have such difficulty with pictures, loading up, saving, etc. A blog is better with pictures but if you can't get them to appear and save them to your computer, well it doesn't work. That's another post. Today I am going to talk about the third and fourth items in our FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM story, choosing neutrals and accent fabrics. Featured is our focal fabric I've been working with and the neutrals and accent fabrics I selected to go with. Starting with neutral, I went with the obvious choices of white and black. Bonnie Hunter of Quiltville fame describes neutrals as anything lighter than a brown paper bag. That is a large selection of fabrics but I usually choose a white, cream or tone on tone. And when I'm working with scrappy, I like to use a constant neutral throughout to give the eye a rest. Back to our focal fabric. After choosing the neutrals that you are using, it is time to choose the accent fabrics to go with the focal print.
I selected a total of three accent fabrics and if you look closely, they are three prints. The purple is mottled and falls into the print category. The grey has tiny ovals printed on it and I selected this fabric because the ovals reminded me of the petals on the flower. This is an important aspect of interior design, repeating shapes or motifs throughout a room. Why not in a quilt. The third accent fabric I chose is a small grey/white floral that has a modern vibe. It is probably my favorite fabric of them all. It calms all the bright colors of the focal fabric, purple and black. It is slightly larger in scale than the grey oval fabric and it pulls it all together.
Now that I've shown you my fabric selections, its time to show them to you in a finished block.
So far we've finished 4 steps of the FIND FIVE FOR FABRIC FREEDOM list. The focal fabric, the theme, the neutral and accent fabrics! And we've sewn them into blocks. You can see how the bright fabrics are calmed by the white and the small grey/white floral. Next time, we'll talk about choosing the pattern. In the case of these quilt blocks, the pattern was predetermined. Until next time, happy quilting. Carol

Monday, February 16, 2015

COLOR CONFIDENCE PART 4

As I've been writing my take on Color Confidence and Fabric selections, I've been running my writings past my friends on Sparkpeople.com quilt and Lose Team. I quilt but I don't lose and they let me stay anyway! Before I delve further into color selection, lets concentrate a bit on theme. Lets narrow our themes down to just three: traditional/transitional; modern/contemporary; novelty. There are many others we could name but most fabrics probably fall into one or more of these three categories.
Lets first talk about traditional/transitional. I put these two together because they can cross over into themselves. A traditional design would include large florals, roses, the "Waverly" look, Colonial design, toiles, and civil war. Plaids lend themselves to traditional when made in warm colors and tones but they can also be fun and playful. Lets not get too bogged down in names, just go to your LQS and peruse the racks and try to select tradtional designs. There are many fabrics that fall into this category and the coloring of the fabrics also plays into the category. A magazine where you would find the use of traditional fabrics and furnishings would be TRADITIONAL HOME.
Next, transitional, which bridges the gap between very traditional and modern/contemporary. I live in Florida and I have many clients who move here from northern and midwest states. In their past lives, they may have had very traditonal interior design in their homes and I help them "tone it down" to a more transitional design with the use of color and furnishings. They may have brought antique furniture or dining room tables with Queen Anne legs with them. We add brighter, more contemporary fabrics to the mix. The 1930's fabrics would suit this type of furniture well and bring it down to a more casual lifestyle. Traditional/transitional fabrics and design are the # 1 preferred style of the American lifestyle.
There has been a resurgence in the modern/contemporary look in the past several years, both in interior design and quilting and sewing. Modern fabrics include geometrics, solids, textures, stripes, flowers that have been "modernized" and more. You could also include Australian/Aborigine fabrics as they include very modern techniques with a traditional vibe. You should be able to identify modern and contemporary fabrics at the LQS because if you don't particularly like this look, you would breeze right past them into the more traditional section.
Lastly, lets talk about novelty fabrics and this includes a wide range of just about everything left. Fish, sailboats, juvenile, baby, Americana,; It's easy to identify novelty fabrics at the LQS
My interior design eye is trained to peruse the racks in the LQS quickly and land on the fabrics that I am either looking for, or that appeal to me. I can quickly eliminate those I'm not interested in. If you could train your eye so that you can eliminate and select, it would help you in your quilting. In many quilt shops, there are so many fabrics on the racks it is overwhelming, even for an experienced fabric selector such as myself. I visited the Keepsake Quilt Shop in New Hampshire two years ago and I was completely overwhelmed at the # of bolts on the shelves. In addition, they had all of their fabrics booked by color. If you were looking for a particular series of fabric, like Civil War, you wouldn't find them all together on the shelf. All the browns would be separated, all the blues, reds, etc. It can be very confusing if you are looking for a particular line. I had less than an hour to shop at Keepsake because my husband was patiently waiting in the car. If I could go back and spend half a day, it would be different! I hope this has helped you to be more comfortable in thinking about themes and grouping them into the three categories I've suggested. Quilting isn't a test and you don't have to be exact. We just need a few guidelines to make beautiful quilts. Until next time, visit your stash and group your fabrics into themes. Carol