Category Archives: Sewing/Quilting Projects

Sea Glass

Do not be confused. We are nowhere near the sea. Sea Glass is the name of the quilt pattern my sweet daughter asked me to make for her baby.
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As beautiful as this pattern is (and I really did love it), my first thoughts were “Wow, look at all that applique. And is that hand quilting?” True confession – I’ve been quilting (in various degrees of intensity) for about 40 years, and I must admit that applique has never been my strong suit. And I hadn’t hand quilted in many a year.  But it was just a small quilt (I said to myself), and it was for Little Miss (now we know her as Alexandra, but at the time she was Little Miss) so I took on the challenge! Lara and I were able to shop together to choose the fabrics, and before I knew it I was cutting out all manner of pink petals.

It went together pretty well (thank goodness for fusible web) and I have to admit that the hand quilting was quite therapeutic. I’d forgotten the quiet joy of handwork.
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All in all – in spite of my insecurities – I think it turned out quite nicely!
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Alexandra wasn’t too impressed, but I think her mom was pleased.
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And for now, anyway, it’s found its home on her wall.
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If there’s one thing that I’ve learned in our years on the road – in regards to sewing/quilting, anyway – is smaller is usually better. Or at least easier. And making quilts (or placemats or snack bags or Christmas stockings or purses or whatever) for a grandbaby (of any age) is always a joy!
In fact, this little pile of cheer
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is fast becoming a baby quilt for this little guy.
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🙂
No pictures of that until he gets it!

Since we were talking about the cabin…

We were, weren’t we?
For years now I’ve been wanting to do a fabric postcard of the cabin for my sisters for Christmas. And I decided that 2014 was the year it was going to happen! I called upon my good friend Lynne (who is an amazing fiber artist) for some assistance and we scheduled a studio day at her home and got to work!
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First we had to choose what view we wanted of the 8472 (give or take) pictures I’ve taken of the cabin over the years. While I was leaning toward the classic “pond cabin reflection” shot,
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we decided that one that had more detail of the cabin would be better.
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We copied it, enlarged it, cut it apart
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and then started choosing fabrics for our pieces of art!
While I was working on sky and hills and rocks, Lynne tackled making the cabin itself. Let me say right here that Lynne is my hero. She’s an expert with shadows and using net and tweezers, and thoroughly enjoyed making these 2″ cabins.
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Three of them, no less!
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Even before she finished the cabins we were working on getting the sky and background right and figuring out the hills and rocks.
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Oy – so many choices!
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By the time our studio day was over Lynne had finished the three cabins, and I had roughly put together one of the postcards.
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Emphasis on “roughly”.
There was still a lot to do, but the day was done. We packed up the fabrics and the postcards and those three precious cabins, and she sent me on my way. I was on my own, but psyched to get them done.
By the time I got back to them several months had passed. The being psyched had been replaced with being terrified. What was I thinking? My mentor was thousands of miles away! Thankfully, Lynne was actually only a phone call away, and she coached me through my jitters and insecurities. Once I got started again, it became fun (I think Lynne knew that would happen) and before long (well, it was a couple of days) all three were done!
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All the same, all different! The ones for the sisters got frames,
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and mine is still just hanging out at my place having not quite made it to a frame yet.
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But it’s hanging out with the original, so that’s kind of fun.

Thanks for stopping by!
Steph

And so it goes….

Did you have a good Valentine’s Day? And a good week last week? We’ve been keeping busy and I trust you have been too! Gary has been very focused on his HVAC/Electric job over at the job site.
Good thing knows what he's doing, right?
With only two weeks left in our time here, he wants to leave “his area” as organized as possible!
wires!
Yikes!
Needless to say, he has some great job security!
I’ve been bouncing around, helping out where needed. I often cover the front desk at the school, sometimes I work in the job site office, and if Gary needs my expert wire-pulling skills – well, I’m there for him too! And then there is also our Sewing Class –
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And so it goes – busy days, doing what we’re called to do. And loving it!
Yesterday, while Gary was busy wiring away at the job site, 6 of us SOWER ladies enjoyed the 2014 Rio Grande Valley Quilt Show!
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(I really need to work on my “group selfie” skills!)
But oh, what a grand time we had!
So many colors
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So many textures
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So many ideas!
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We were inspired by the presentation of a quilt to a veteran
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and moved by a quilt made out of the shirt pockets of a beloved husband, now home with the Lord.
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We were challenged with new techniques (well, at least ones we hadn’t yet tried)
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and encouraged to see the classics presented in a new and exciting way.
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Our breath was taken away with the intricacies of some
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and we found rest in the calm of simplicity.
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There was beautiful hand applique and hand quilting
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along with great ideas to do it all by machine!
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We picked up some ideas to use up our stash
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and also picked up some inspiration to start something all together new!
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(OK, so realistically, I doubt I’ll be doing THAT one, but there was just SO MUCH INSPIRATION!).
After a sweet lunch out, we all returned to our rigs to figure out just what to start sewing on first!
So many ideas, so little time!

My Valentine’s Day ended out with a trip to a local pizza joint with my sweetie
Even the pizza place is all about Valentine's Day.
and enough leftovers to feed us through the weekend!
Hope you all have a great weekend. I think I hear some fabric calling me……

Finished

(Spoiler Alert – it’s not the A/C {yet})
Eighteen months ago I signed up for a free class over at Craftsy.com. (which is a great site for all kinds of crafters, BTW, not just quilters! Check it out sometime!) It was the 2012 Block of the Month class and I figured it was a great way to use up my plethora of fabric (aka The Stash). Each month they presented a different technique and had you construct two blocks (usually with a little modern twist) using that technique. The premise was that by October you’d have 20 blocks, November you’d sew them together, and by the end of the year you’d have a completed quilt. I must say that the true beauty of the course (and every course offered by Craftsy) is that the classes are always available, so even if you get a month or two behind, you can still watch March’s class in June. Just sayin’. In case that might ever happen to you.

And so I got started – all Stash, all the way!
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By January of 2013, I had all the blocks completed!
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Next came the quilting! By this time, the good people at Craftsy (in their infinite marketing wisdom) were offering a course called “Free Motion Quilting a Sampler” based on (you guessed it) the 2012 BOM Quilt! Along with the traditional method of quilting a full quilt top, it also taught a ‘quilt as you go’ technique that really appealed to me, given my limited studio (i.e. kitchen table) space. So I set out to quilt each block individually, following the expert guidance on the computer! Borders added (full disclosure – I did purchase the border and joining fabrics) and backing selected (also from the stash), ready to quilt!
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It was great to only have to handle a 15 inch square instead of a 60 x 75 quilt top,
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and while I still have a long way to go in my free-motion quilting, I’m definitely a lot better than I was.
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BOM Start
The joining of the blocks went a bit more quickly that I thought it would (thankfully – I was a little nervous about how that would all work!), and by noon yesterday, a mere 18 months after I started the project, it was FINISHED!
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Quilting each block individually gave me the opportunity to use up a batch of fat quarters that have lived in my stash for about 15 years (they came as a bonus with my sewing machine) as the backing. And that made for a pretty interesting back too!
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It feels pretty good to wrap up that project.
But here’s the thing.
Back in January 2012 when I was starting the whole project I decided to do two sets of blocks each month. One with my green/gold/ecru stash and one with my blue/yellow/white stash.
And those, dear friends, are still staring me in the face!
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All in good time. All in good time. Next up on the quilting agenda is a Baby Quilt! 🙂

Whatever your hands find to do

One of the benefits of being a Sower On Assignment (a long-term SOWER assignment that generally involves a specific task or job – as in, we’re here to do the A/C installation), is that we have a fair bit of flexibility. This is especially true right now as we are just ramping-up the project again, and we’re waiting for some key elements before we can really begin in earnest. So Gary can start his day as early as he chooses and he can work until he’s at a good stopping point. It also means that since we are a team, on the days that he doesn’t need my extra set of hands (and my excellent fetching skills) I get to enjoy a couple of “light-duty” days. This week he’s been getting started with the returns and supplies. I won’t go into all the fun we had deciding on the location of the holes (picture Gary in the rooms with the drill and me in crawlspace with the cobwebs…… 🙁 ), but since most of his work this week has been in closets
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he hasn’t needed me quite so much. I mean really, where would he even put me? I was called on today to do a bit of clean-up, since he does make a bit of a mess-
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But with a little sweeping, a bit of vacuuming and a good damp cloth,
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it wasn’t a very hard job to get things back to normal!
So what have I been doing during my ‘light-duty’ days? Well, in-between times that Gary does need me, I’ve been playing catch-up – with housework, work-work, and laundry. And when I felt like things were at least moderately under control, I pulled out the sewing machine!!! Yippee!
Have you ever visited the Craftsy webpage? It offers video classes on all types of crafts – quilting, knitting, spinning, weaving…whatever! I love that once you’ve purchased a class you get to take it at your own pace and it’s available (in its entirety) forever. I started a Block of the Month class back in January 2012 (which was free – and still available. Just sayin’) and I was anxious to get back to it. I have the blocks made, and I’m machine quilting them using a quilt-as-you-go technique (another Craftsy class, geared to the BOM quilt) and as of today, I have six of the twenty done!
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Except for the border fabric, I’ve only used fabric from my ‘stash’, so that’s why it has a somewhat eclectic feel!
I’ll keep plugging away at it –
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and see how far I get before my ‘light-duty’ days are gone!
I also might get a bit distracted because I have another quilt I need to get working on. And that would be a baby quilt!  I’m excited to share the wonderful news that Toby and Tammy are expecting a baby in September!  This little one will join 4 very excited siblings who can’t wait to meet their little brother/sister (we can’t either!).
That house is getting pretty full – it’s a good thing we usually bring our own bedroom! 🙂

Better get some good rest tonight – I think Gary said something about “back in the crawlspace” for tomorrow. Gulp. Guess the quilting will have to wait!