Tuesday, May 31, 2011

PIF Continued

The next thing I made for Mary-Frances (see previous post) was a tea wallet from a tutorial I found here. It holds four teabags and is great for taking along in your purse on retreats and things.

Here's what the inside looks like...

I think I'll make one for myself soon.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Another One Off The List

Last December or so, I wrote a blog post offering a Pay It Forward gift to one of my readers. The lucky recipient was Mary-Frances of Outside the Line blog. What you see in the above photo started out as two 1-yard pieces of coordinating fabric that had been in my stash for a few years waiting for the right time to be made into a project.

The first thing I made was the bag ...

It's from a pattern in Quilt Magazine (perhaps the Apr/May 2010 issue) called Daytripper Bag by Jana Nielson of Izzy and Ivy Designs.

When I made the bag, I had a few squares of fabric left when I boxed the corners for the bottom, so I used those squares to make Mary-Frances a matching mug rug...

Stay tuned later this week for closeup photos of the other goodies that Mary-France received...

Friday, May 27, 2011

NQR -- But Interesting

This is a non-quilting-related post, but I thought I'd share it anyway.

My family happened to be in Times Square in New York City last Saturday evening, right about at 6PM when some people claimed "The Rapture" was going to occur. I took this photo just a couple of minutes after 6PM, and Times Square was still full of people. I guess no one there was good enough...

Anyway, after I got home and downloaded this photo, I found the billboards to be quite interesting...

"You're Up"
"Nuns Rock"
"Heaven on Broadway Something Like a Miracle"
"Catch Me If You Can"

Interesting coincidence? You decide...
(Click on the photo for a closer look...)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

C(ranky) O(ld) W(oman)...NOT!

A blogging friend of mine, Nancy Near Philadelphia, recently asked some of her loyal readers to send her friendship COW blocks in celebration of her 5th blogging anniversary. She claims to be a COW (Cranky Old Woman), but I can't imagine that anyone would ever call her that. I've never met Nancy in person, but she writes a wonderful blog that makes me smile and makes me think. She is never afraid to speak her mind, but "cranky" is not what comes to mind when I read her posts.

So I jumped at the chance to make Nancy a COW block. I modified a paper piecing pattern that I found online and improvised a bit with the borders.

I can't wait to see what Nancy's finished quilt looks like. Thank you, Nancy, for inviting me to participate!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Returning Home

This native New Yorker (born in Brooklyn, actually, but it counts) spent a wonderful day on Saturday "back home".

My husband, son, and I spent the day exploring Manhattan on "Rapture Day". One of the highlights was getting my picture taken with this statue in the garment district. I was so focussed on finding this statue that I totally missed the nearby sculpture of a giant needle and button... I guess that means I need to make a return trip!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Every Little Bit Helps

The speaker at my guild's meeting this month was Wendy Skinner, founder and director of SewGreen in Ithaca, NY. According to their website, SewGreen is a community not-for-profit program that promotes sustainability through the creative reuse of fabric, fiber, and fashion, as well as responsible consumerism and a rediscovery of self-reliant skills. You can read more about them on their "about us" page.  

Anyway, one of the main points of Wendy's program was that we all can do even a small part to help preserve our planet for future generations. She asked members of the audience for ideas on what they could personally do as quilters. Lots of ideas were mentioned and the one I'm showing here is the use of the green (literally) "eco" button on my Bernina sewing machine. From what I can figure out, the button is on the Artista 170 and 180 models and perhaps the newest top-of-the-line Berninas.

When the "eco" button is pressed, energy use by the machine is cut by 50% -- it's good for when you want to do something away from your machine for a while without powering it down completely. I use it after I've chain-stitched a lot of pieces and then need to press them. I just hit the "eco" button when I've finished sewing, and then after ironing, I hit it again once I'm ready to sew some more. The machine is ready immediately.

So, if you have one of these machines....have you ever used this button? Or is it like 95% of the functions on your machine -- you've never touched them? 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sunshine On My Shoulder Makes Me Happy...

Because we have had so few days of beautiful weather here in north-central PA this spring, I've been taking advantage of as much time as I can to be outdoors instead of in my basement quilting studio. We actually had several days in a row with sunshine last week, so one of the things I worked on was trimming this Project Linus quilt (top made by another guild member, quilted by me as shown in my last post) to get it ready for a binding.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yes You Can!

This post is for all my quilting friends and readers who think that quilting on a regular sewing machine is either
    1) boring, because all they can think of to do is stitch in the ditch or;
    2) frightening, because they think that in order to not be boring, the quilting needs to be free-motion (which can be very frightening and burdensome to do on a regular machine).

I recently tried a technique that I had seen several guild members use...

I quilted this Project Linus quilt (the photo shows the back) on my regular Bernina sewing machine, not on my HQ16 mid-arm machine. The stitch I used was #4 on the Bernina (called the Running Stitch) with stitch width and stitch length both set at 3. The effect is sort of a serpentine stitch. It's not free-motion, but it's a lot more interesting than a straight stitch (and frankly, it goes a lot quicker than stitching in the ditch). Most non-quilters who receive a quilt quilted like this will be quite impressed and think that it was difficult to do (let them continue to think that).

I wanted to see if I could do something similar on my travel machine, the Janome Jem Platinum 720, and the closest I could get was stitch #9 (called the Multiple Zigzag) with the stitch width and length settings also set at 3. As you can see in the (bad) photo below, it's not quite the same -- a bit more angular -- but still better than stitch in the ditch, in my opinion. Click on the photos to see a larger and better view.

So you see, you CAN quilt a quilt on a sewing machine and make it look impressive. I would just recommend using a walking foot. If you don't have one, it's a good investment, and not just for the machine quilting of your projects. It comes in handy for lots of things.

Go ahead...give it a try!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

As Promised

Edited -- If you have trouble viewing this slideshow here, try this link directly to my Webshots album.

Here's a slideshow of my day of sewing with fellow guild members at the Linck Hill Inn in Nauvoo, Pennsylvania (Tioga County).

The inn is a lovely restored lumber-baron (we think) mansion that is now a wonderful guest house with 14 bedrooms (each with a bath) and a number of gathering/meeting/game rooms. It's a great place for family reunions, weddings, and of course...quilting retreats.

Linck Hill Inn Sewing

The owners of Linck Hill Inn also run Three Springs Farm just down the road and they had arranged for a group of Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild members to spend a day sewing quilts for their camp bunkhouse. Fabric and lunch were provided...all we had to do was show up with our sewing machines and enthusiasm.

This is the quilt that I worked on. The organizer did not have enough fabric for the top and bottom borders, but she called one of the local quilt shops and they still had some left on the bolt. The quilt is really much nicer in person. The large squares look gray in the photo, but they're actually a dark green and dark tan striped homespun.

If you're ever looking for a great place for a quilting retreat and you're anywhere within a few hours driving distance of north-central Pennsylvania, I highly recommend the Linck Hill Inn. My guild has already scheduled our retreat for the fall!

Quilting in the Country

I spent a wonderful day yesterday with about 15 other guild members making some charity quilts at this lovely location...

Look for a more detailed post with more pictures soon...maybe tomorrow...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Spring Is Finally Here!

This is my contribution for May to the AAQI (Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative) quilt-a-month club. The flowers were made using the directions in the book I blogged about last week.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Quick and Easy

My friend Moddy made this quilt using one jelly roll and the method explained in this video. I quilted it for her on my HQ16 with just some free-motion curves along the seam lines.

Here's a closeup...

I may have to give this a try myself. What a great way to use up strips, not necessarily from a jelly roll!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Better Than Nothing

Since spring seems to be so slow in getting here this year, I decided to keep going with making some virtual flowers from fabric. (There were a few in my previous post, if you remember.)

I decided to make myself a new guild name tag, using a folded flower pattern from this book...

I may try to machine embroider the name of my guild (Mountain Laurel Quilt Guild) on the name tag as well, but it may wait a while because I'm not sure how much I like the font. I may play around with the fonts on my computer first and then print the label on another piece of fabric. And make another flower, but that wasn't too hard once I got the hang of it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Picnic in the Park

April showers...

Cayuga Lake in New York State  Apr 30, 2011

 Bring May flowers...

I hope to see more of the real ones soon!