Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Peek - stitch-slash-stitch

Since I haven't sewn anything all week, I had to do something.
This little pillow said "Hey, remember how you made me?"
"Yes, I do"  I replied.  Then it hit me.  I have only used the very cool Stitch & Slash method for that one pillow.  And I messed up err...changed the directions when I made it. So, why not try the method again and see if I can get a bit closer to the right way.
Here is a peek:
This method it taught in the Craftsy Class Stitch & Slash by Carol Ann Waugh.  I fell in love with Craftsy early on.  I am an affiliate, so if you click that link, I do get a little credit.  Those of you that have used my affiliate links - THANK YOU!!!

Starting May first there will be some new classes.  I will tell you about them as soon as I can. There will be new classes on sewing clothing, quilt piecing, cake decorating, and even a form of embroidery.   Then a week later there will be a few more new classes.

Craftsy is a great way to learn new techniques, skills etc.  I can't wait to get this new piece finished so I can show you a full picture of it.  I am thinking it will be a pillow like I did with the other one. This technique makes them very textural and cuddly not to mention eye-catching.

PS.... I have to work tomorrow (Sunday) so it may be a few days before I finish this.  (did I mention that I really really don't like working on Sunday?)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Time to Wash Up

I haven't been very productive the last few days.   I have been trying to get things back to normal. Work has been busy also.   We did make a couple of "road trips" for work. Luckily I got to ride and didn't have to drive. So I decided to take a little hand work along.
As I was putting away things I took to the Gee's Bend class, I found something I had started stashed away in a tote bag.  Hmmmm... this looks perfect for working on while I ride, I thought.  

I suppose it was!  I now have three nice new crocheted dish cloths.
I used two different variegated yarns, both Peaches and Creme brand.  That is important because it is 100% cotton and that is best for a dish cloth - at least in my opinion. So I did one with the bright, then one with the pastel which makes me think of Easter eggs.  then I took the leftovers and made one with  a combination of the two (it is on the right of the picture.)
If you crochet, these are super easy to make.  I chain stitched a row about the size I wanted. (you can see they are not the same sizes - but that is okay.) Then I did two extra stitches to turn the end and in the third stitch started single crocheting in each chain.  At the end I did two more chains to turn the corner and repeated until it was big enough.
I like a finished edge so I did single crochet all around the outside.   Now all I have to do is wash them when I do laundry and they will be ready to use.

So,  maybe I didn't get any sewing done, but I did a lot of stitches.

What are you stitchin' on?

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Little More Fun

One of my faithful readers saw the post yesterday and said that  she thought it would make a great quilt label.  Needless to say, I couldn't resist making a "mini me" quilt label.
So here it is.
The rest of my day was washing clothes, catching up on other chores and -- blah blah blah...
So I had to have just a little fun. Ha ha.

Playing with Embroidery Ideas

Sunday night I decided to open EQStitch and play with some embroidery design.  I used a curve tool to start and inspire the idea.  I do this in a similar way to starting a ZenTangle design.  A curved line is the basis for the design.
The nice thing in EQStitch is that I can change that curved line without erasing.
Here are the two variations of my design

They are almost identical but adding the eyes and a different nose makes the second one look more like an adult.
Bea has a cool tutorial on her blog today showing how to use  some of the tools in EQStitch.  I will definitely try using some of those tools like she shows.  I am sure I can improve my designs and get more precise results.

And just for the fun of it, here are a couple of pictures from the Gee's Bend class.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

More of My Work from the class

There are three of the pieces that I made in the class that didn't make it into the window before I took the pictures.
So, first let me share those with you.
 This one above looks similar to one of the others I made.  In the window, it looked like stained glass.

This one is a fairly simple block that I cut a diagonal line through and added the blue strip. This was my first try on this way of altering a block, although the block was already "free-pieced."

This third one was dubbed "Pickles and Peanut Butter" by Julie who sat next to me.  I showed her the two pieces of fabric and said "I am going to use these two pieces in a block"  She replied "What?!?!  That is like pickles and peanut butter."  She didn't think they went together at all. It is a bit unusual but I think I like it. I used what I remembered of a technique that I learned in a book.  Of course I didn't remember the exact method, so I had to just wing it.

There was plenty of fabric to play with.  China and Mary Ann brought in several bags and tubs of fabric. It was all piled on or stashed under two tables. I call this the "Pile o' fabric"
This photo was AFTER the students had gotten fabric and started sewing. However, it was different again at the end of the class.  I know that I added some from my scrap bag back onto the table.  I probably used more fabric from the table than from what I took with me.  I have fallen in love with using solids.  I think there is a Zen feeling that solids can bring.

One of the students sewed everything by hand.  At lunch we were discussing it and she said "I work in front of a computer all day. I just didn't want to be sitting in front of another machine."  She had lots of pre-cut strips laid out and sewed them into  strata. Here is a picture of her basting them onto the batting and backing while China visits her.
And here is her quilt pin basted.

She did all of this by hand in the class time from Monday night until Thursday morning.

Now, let me show you the two pieces I have made since getting back.

For the first one I took a piece of fabric that I had embroidered on and used it as the center. I pieced pieces together and worked out and around from there. 

For the second one, I simply started piecing odd bits together and "making" fabric.  In both of these I added some bits of muslin that I had stamped with fabric paint and my leaf stamp.
In doing this process  of free piecing, I have learned to use my scissors more than I ever did before. it is much easier than jumping up to go to the cutting table to trim a seam.

Let me challenge you to try making this type of block.  There is no pattern, no templates, and best of all no rules!  Let yourself go and try things.  Don't over think it - that limits your creativity.  Just play like you are a kid and the fabric is your box of crayons.  Color outside the lines.  Trust me it is fun!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Picture it - Gee's Bend Class

I think I will let the pictures speak for themselves.  The classroom was full of creativity. All of the people in the class were friendly and willing to share both supplies and knowledge. Enjoy the art from our class.











 Okay, I just had to say - Yes I did do some hand quilting! There I am with Cherrye (classmate-right side of the photo) and China Pettway of Gee's Bend (on the left.)
She may kill me if she sees this - look at the blocks behind her....she was in a serious discussion. 
Hopefully tomorrow I will show you some of the things I made yesterday after getting back from the class.
If you are interested in the class, it is listed at  Alabama Folk School  I don't know when the classes for next year will be listed. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

What a week!

Yesterday, I left the backwoods of Alabama.  The Alabama Folk School session ended at noon on Thursday with a concert and art show.  All of us in the Gee's Bend quilting class had our pieces hanging in the windows of our classroom. We had cleared our  tables and pushed them to the walls so that the Bluegrass classes could come in and give us a concert.
I had a wonderful and freeing time in this class. The big surprise for me was that I was not the only man in the class. Charlie and his wife, Nancy, were there sharing an antique machine.
Isn't that the coolest machine?  I wish I had taken a picture of the bobbins - they are not at all like the bobbins we use every day. 
I think both of them were new to quilting, but they did great.  Charlie is a retired surgeon and a darn good "old time" singer. This lovely couple performs together and they are both good musicians.  For one of our concerts they sang a song called "Seeing Nellie Home."  The chorus has the line "It was from Aunt Dinah's quilting party, I was seeing Nellie home."  They were a lot of fun and very creative.  Charlie also happens to be on the board of the Folk School.

The instructors for the class were China and Mary Ann Pettway. They frequently sang during classes - sometimes I could not resist joining in. And of course I had to have my picture made with them.  Mary Ann is on the left and China is on the right. We were laughing a lot so I did not get a "perfect" picture of the three of us. China has a funny look on her face in this one.  The hot Alabama sun was shining through the windows and my hair looks even thinner than it is. But, who cares.  We had a great time.
I promised to show some of my work, so here is a picture of my window area display.

The sun was so bright that parts of it washed out in the picture. I will be posting more pictures in the coming days.  Also I had one piece that didn't make to the display before I took this picture.  I will add a picture of that also.
Here is a better picture of the pieces on the left. (ignore the little man on the right of the picture.

I made many new friends, both quilters and musicians.  One of the mandolin students also had a penny whistle.  We went to the chapel and played a couple of tunes together.  The acoustics there were amazing.

When I got in late yesterday  I was exhausted.  However, my creative muse is pushing me to get back into the process of creating some more pieces to go with these.  I hope to get more made today and perhaps built on these.
I have so many more things to tell you about this class. Please,  come back tomorrow visit with me again.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Class Act

Yesterday I mentioned that I am off this week to a class taught by two of the Gee's Bend Quilters. One response I got was from a friend I have known since high school.  When I replied to her, I practically wrote this blog post. I have edited it just a bit and embellished it some.

I have never been to a quilting class out of my home town.  However, I have gone to this camp for art classes in the past.  I am used to going to art classes where they tell you exactly what to bring. Typically it is a list that is at least a full page sometimes two and very specific. They tell you brand and colors of paint that you will need to have.
This class is a change for me. Here are the requirements for this class:

Bring your heart and mind and be ready for a good day's work!  If you prefer to bring your own fabrics, please do.  Mary Ann and China will have plenty for you if you do not.  If you have a sewing machine and/or extension cord, please bring them.  There will be a sewing machine for the class to take turns on.  There will be a mixture of machine and hand stitching.  A thimble and pair of scissors will also be helpful.

I am probably WAAAAY over-packed.

I have two bags of fabric, rotary cutter and mat, of course I am taking a sewing machine - and thinking I will take my Gidget table to put it on. I have an iron packed too. LOL.... I need to see if I have a thimble in my stuff. If not, I can stop at Hobby Lobby on my way to the camp.
Oh, the blue "American Heart Association" bag of fabric is for anyone in the class that wants it to use. Sharing is part of the fun of it, I think.  Everything in the bag comes from my scraps  I ironed them so they wouldn't look quite so bad. The ivory bag in the back is packed tight with fabric also. You can see the end of my cutting mat sticking out, but other than that it is fabric.
The trunk of my car will be very full once I get it all in there along with my suitcase, bedroll, pillow etc. And there are a few other supplies already in the trunk.
Now, you may think this is a lot to take.  For art classes I have filled the trunk and the back seat with supplies and equipment.  I feel like I am forgetting something important. But I am sure I have plenty.
This is called The Alabama Folk School.  There will also be other classes going on. Some of them are Bluegrass music classes. Bluegrass comes from roots of Celtic and other music.  So I am taking my penny whistle and hoping to get in on an evening jam session.

After I see how this goes, I may see if I can lobby to teach a quilting class there next year.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Don't Pay the Ransom!

No, I have not been kidnapped, so don't pay the ransom. Ha ha.   Yes, it has been a few days since I posted here, but I am fine.    I have not wanted to start any big new project as I am off Monday to start a class. I will be in a class taught by two of the Gee's Bend Quilters and I am excited.
The class is SOLD OUT according to the website. I put out an invitation on this blog back in December.  Then I promptly forgot to register. Then in March, I remembered and registered.  The next time I looked it was booked up.  Whew!!! That was close.

I have almost everything in order:

  • clothes packed- check
  • supplies packed - check (unless I decide to take more stuff) 
  • house sitter lined up - check
  • car serviced - check
  • excitement under control --nope heehheee

I did one small crochet project this past week while I was enjoying a few episodes of Doc Martin on Netflix. One of my co-workers has been crocheting scarves and selling them.  I found an interesting "yarn" at a local store at a great price so I decided to try it myself.  Here is the scarf:
It is actually one long strand that is folded in thirds and tied at the ends.  I love the color.  If I were a woman, I would keep it for myself.  However, it looks a bit absurd on me.  So I am considering listing it on Etsy.  Is anyone interested?

Oh case I didn't mention it - I will be in class next week and may not have internet access as this place is really back in the woods.  The last time I was there I did not have cell phone service - and if I have internet at all, that will be my internet connection.
Y'all have fun. I am hoping to bring back some fun pictures to share.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013


The April Showers Mug Rug Hop started yesterday.  Today I get to share my creations.

When I joined this hop, my first thought was that I would digitize a design for my mug rug.  So I tried several designs.  I digitized an umbrella that looks pretty good.
But it wasn't what I wanted.  
I digitized another umbrella

Still not what I wanted.

So I took the first umbrella and added some words to it. 
I even made the mug rug - it says "April Showers water our lives"
It looks pretty good, but I didn't think it was what I really wanted either. 

Finally, I had an idea that I liked.  Rain, frogs and flowers--now that is April to the little boy that still lives inside me.
 A close up of the design
And my finished mug rug makes me smile.  The edges are rough and wonky - like I am.  I didn't want to bind it, so I did it pillowcase fashion and sewed the edges rounded. The quilting is a design that Leah Day calls paisley, but it reminds me of drops of water also.
I think this will be a fun gift for someone.

For those of you that do machine embroidery, I will offer the embroidery file "Frog and Flower in the Rain" to six people.  Ask in a way that makes me smile or even laugh out loud.  Be sure you are not a no-reply blogger or I will pass on to someone else.  Be sure to tell me the machine format that your machine needs so I can send it to you in your format.   If you are a follower that will make me happy too, but it is not required.

Now if you want to know where all the other stops on this fun Blog Hop are located, here is a list:

Erin @ Sew at Home Mummy
 Patty @ A Stitch in Time
Jenny @ Squawk That
Stacey @ The Tilted Quilt
Daryl @ Patchouli Moon Studio
Lisa @ In The Boon Docks
Julie @ Jolie Maxtin: the project girl
Beluah @ Sowing Stitches
Karen @ Bungalow Bay Quilts
Cyndi @ Stitch, Stitch, Stitch
DeAnna @ Georgia Girl Quilter
Gina @ Sew Much and More
Sharon @ Vroomans Quilts
Theresa @ Bumbleberry Stitches
Jennet @ The Feathered Nest Studio
Patti @ A Yankee in Queen Liz's Court
Gene @ Gene Black - Alabama Artist
Susan @ Susan's Scrappy Domain
Bente @ I Like to Quiltblog
Deb @ Quilting & Other Craft Therapy
Megan @ AnnieOak Designs  
Hayley @ Mrs. Pickles
Karen @ Sew Much 2 Luv
Mélanie @ Les passions de Cliodana
Cindy @ Quilt Doodle Doodles
Jamie @ Busy Bee Quilts
Judy @ That Other Blog
Regena @ The Distracted Domestic
Amy @ Domesticity and other Ponderous Things
Denise @ My Whittle Adventures
Heather @ a Reformed Heath'n
Marica @ ~Englating~
Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures
Jill @ Apple Avenue Quilts
Cathy @ Cathy's Chatter
Quilter Kathy @ Kathy's Quilts
Marsha @ Quilter in Motion
Pat @ Life in the Scrapatch
Connie @ Shepody Mountain Crafter
Vickey @ Gingersnaps Quilts
Danielle @ A Geeky Crafty Life
Gwen @ Get More Done...Today
Rachel @ Sew Happily Ever After!
Bobbie @ From This to That
Leslie @ Les Quilts
Kristen @ Meadowbrook
Lavonna @ ZellerWear
Lynn @ Thimblemouse & Spouse
Amy @ Sew Incredibly Crazy
Martha @ Living Life
Shawn @ Creative Inspiraciones
Rhonda @ Sunrise at Ravelly's!
Toye @ Quilting Adventures of a Ginger
Cathy @ Cate's Linens
Nicola @ Sunshine Reflections
Martina @ Sunshinequilting
Judith @ Frimart
Anita @ Anita's quilts en handwerken
Linda @ Sew Nicely
Kris @ krislovesfabric
Laura Ann @ The Fuzzy Hat Quilter
Carol @ Just let me Quilt
Selina @ Selina Quilts
Mary @ Crooked Gulley Art Quilts
Marisa @ Passion et Couture
Cathi @ Quilt Obsession
Jane @ Jane's Fabrics and Quilts
Heidi @ Nutz4Redwork
Cherry @ Cherry'sPrairiePrimatives
Christine @ Quilt Monster in my Closet
Vickie @ More Stars in Comanche
Pauline @ Stekje
Jan @ Jan's Art Friendzy
Nissa @ Nissa Made Stuff
Robin @ As Sweet As Peaches
Lyndsey @ Sew Many Yarns
Eleni @ That Other Blog
Wednesday, April 17
Jen @ Quilter in the Closet
Marjorie @ Marjorie's Busy Corner
Elita @ A Pieceful Perspective
Green @ So Sew Green
Mara @ Greco Mara
Wendy @ Why Knot Kwilt?
Gmama Jane @ GrandMama's Stories
Debby @ Debby Kratovil Quilts
Britt-Inger @ Hill Valley Quilter
Connie @ Freemotion by the River
Beth @ Words and Stitches
Kathy @ iHeartSquishy
Thursday April 18
Merry Gay @ Merry Gay in Stitches
Mary @ Sew Maybe I Can
Joanne @ Everyone Deserves a Quilt
Linda @ Buzzing and Bumbling
Mary @ NeedledMom
Sherry @ Peanuts Patchwork
Fredrika @ Feltfree på Åsly 
Shauna @ Welcome to Shauna's World
Sharon @ Dancing thru Threads
Madame Samm @ !Sew WE Quilt!