Monday, May 19, 2008

Is there a better way to spend a Monday?

I was fortunate to spend Monday at my LQS in attending a workshop with Libby Lehman. Actually the LQS wasn't that local - about two hours from home but well worth the trip even with rising gas prices. The workshop was titled "Super Machine Stitching". Libby demonstrated various satin stitching techniques including mitered corners and satin stitched circles which we were able to practice -- many of us (including me) still need practice but at least we have the idea. And with a bit of practice one can perfect these techniques. We also played with the many decorative stitches on our machines that we never seem to use. My best machine has 180 plus stitches but it seems I always use the the same one -- the straight stitch. While learning these techniques, we used many decorative threads such as metallic and rayon. For the first time I used a double needle. I also broke the double needle but at least I know how to thread it and how cool satin stitching looks for two different colored threads.

And although I don't have much to show for the 6 hours spent in class today --- two 12 inches squares of fabric with some stitch samples, etc. on them, I also don't have another UFO to add to the pile.

Have a great week!

Productive Week

Although I haven't spent much time in blog land this week, I have been busy working on civil war blocks and a couple of purses.

First my latest civil war blocks. I need to create a design wall and lay them out so I can do a sense check on my color choices. I think I may be heavily weighted in the blue/browns.

I was also able to finish my hobo bag that I started a few weeks ago. I quilted it on Monday night, started sewing it together and realized I didn't understand the directions. Luckily Caryn was going to the shop the next day and was able to look at the shop sample. The hard part was explaining to me over the phone how to piece the sides together. Not an easy task since I tend to be a visual person. However, Caryn did a great job explaining the construction method. Now I have to remember so I can tell her when she gets around to making her version of the hobo. This was the first time I had quilted the orange peel. It was not as difficult as I thought it would be -- I just need to remove my chalk marks.

On Saturday afternoon DH was called into work, my older DS was also working and the younger DS was out and about. Hmmm what to do in a quiet house with no interruptions for a few hours? Make a purse, of course!

Start to finish I don't think it took me more than 3 hours. I am already planning the next one. The metal handles are designed in such a way that you can easily remove them and use them for a similar bag in different fabrics. Perhaps something a bit more elegant that can be used as an evening bag? And it only uses 3 fat quarters! After the initial investment in the handles -- around $15, you can have a new purse for less than $10 and a couple of hours of sewing. How cool is that?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day! I hope you are able to spend the day doing what you like to do --- reading a book . . . working in the garden . . . sewing, whether by hand or machine. Since the sun is shining in the Northeast today I think I will spend my day working in the flower beds. I may even find some time to do a little handwork on the deck this afternoon.

Enjoy the day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More Civil War Blocks

I managed to piece 3 more civil war blocks last night --- at first I wasn't sure about my fabric selection for the Panic block (top left). But now that I have seen it in the photo, I think the choices are just fine.

Here are the two blocks that will make up my 30's quilt I mentioned in yesterday's post. One of the reasons I decided to make this quilt was because of the pink flower in the center of each of these blocks.

Does it surprise you that all of the easy blocks are complete? The white space will be a great place for a nice quilting design . . . maybe a circle of feathers? Perhaps I should research quilting designs of the 30's and pick a design from the time period.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Catchin' Up

Last week was DH's birthday --- I usually struggle with gift ideas but this time was different. He had been asking for an iPod so I thought it would be a good gift. DH loved it! He is like a little kid going through our CD collection and uploading the songs to his new toy. Alas, the perfect gift . . .

Sewing was on the light side last week but I did manage to finish a few more civil war blocks and even picked out fabrics for several more blocks -- now to press and cut the fabrics.

And one more lone block . . .

Saturday was Sew Day with the firehouse ladies. A few months ago the auxiliary ladies asked if we would each make a few blocks so they could put together a quilt for the tricky tray later this year. On Saturday, we made the few remaining blocks and were able to layout the quilt top. Before the end of the day we had the blocks sewn into rows and the rows sewn together. All that is needed are a couple of borders and the quilt top will be off to the long arm quilter. Unfortunately I did not have my camera so I cannot share a picture of our work in progress. It always give me a good feeling when I use my talents to help others.

Fortunately I was also able to make some progress on my "firehouse" project. I always struggle with the decision of what to bring on sew day. In January I decided I was going to choose one of my UFO projects and bring it to the firehouse until it is completed. I am making progress on my "Jenny's Flower Garden Quilt". It is a triple Irish chain in 30's fabrics. Of the 49 blocks needed, I have 30 completed -- so far my theory seems to be working.

Have a great week!