Monday, September 18, 2017

Completing Projects

I finished the binding on my Sea Holly Hunter's Star quilt just in time for September's Breakfast Club. The club is meeting tomorrow. I made my own border design but used the construction method from the Missouri Star Quilt Co.,  Block magazine holiday issue from 2015. I had a layer cake and jelly roll from the Hoffman Sea Holly Bali colorway hiding in my stash. The background is also a Hoffman Bali dot 885 colorway, #413 Watercress. Beautiful fabrics.


I have found that quilting  with parallel lines along the border tends to distort the border...I know my piecing was spot on when I made the top and this is the second quilt I have noticed this issue occuring. I am always learning.

I finished another cross stitched Santa ornament, Musical Santa. 


On Saturday, I had some new visitors to my yard, three horses that got loose from my neighbor. They roamed our street for a few hours which made my dog, Logan, absolutely crazy. 


And the end is in sight for my autumn landscaping projects. Little bits of rock left to move. I'm not tackling any new  landscaping projects until spring of 2018. 


It is raining today and my list of indoor projects is extensive...but getting ready for Breakfast Club will be my number one priority.

I missed the August Breakfast Club because I woke up that morning to a very sick dog. As it turns out, McKinley, most likely had a bacterial infection caused by eating rabbit tainted with Tulameria,  also known as Rabbit Fever. Antibiotics took care of the illness. It was very scary for about 24 hours. We are experiencing a boom in rabbit numbers this summer throughout Alaska. There are cycles to the rabbit population...who knew? The owls in our area leave rabbit parts from their hunting excursions and I am often pulling rabbit parts out of the dogs' mouths. 

Monday, September 11, 2017

Changing Quilts for Autumn

Always fun to change the decor up a bit. "Henrietta Whiskers," above my treadle machine, was the easiest switch...my existing curtain rod for hanging was staying in place. This is an Anne Sutton pattern that was a free block of the month on her blog many years ago. It was very different from my usual tastes but I did it in batiks with wool applique and made it mine. All the materials were from my stash. 


Next, was my entry way. I took down the curtain rod  I was using and did cabinet knobs along the top edge of my wall. The advantage is the quilt hangs flush against the wall.


Here's a better look at the knobs I used to hang the quilt. This is a very fun and quick strip pattern called, "Strip Lash."


Last spring I put knobs all along three sides of my breakfast nook. At Christmas I added the knobs above my windows to hang garland and stockings which gave me the idea to do all three walls and hang a quilt on one side.


My husband says this quilt is one of his favorites because of all the different textures. Tough to get a good photo on a gloomy day. The pattern is, "Perfect Ten," which uses 10 fat quarters.


And this is our mud room off the garage entry. This is another easy quilt called, "Irish Mist." Got it as a kit at the Houston quilt show several years ago. This quilt hides lots of ugly things; two circuit breaker panels and a series of wall mounted units like a router and cable TV box.


The gloomy weather continues so I am hoping to get the quilts changed in my master bedroom and add some knobs in other spaces for more quilts. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Landscaping Updates

September is finally here! May and September are my two favorite months in Alaska. Our weather is usually pretty nice and I find those two months are my most productive.

I had whittled away my last pile of fractured granite rock so it was time to get another load. Only 48,000 pounds in this pile! It needs to be gone by the time snow arrives which is do-able if the weather cooperates.


I am still working on getting rock around the slope of our parking pad. I had a tricky area under the metal grates for the pole barn..

Before...


After.


A different angle...before...


After!


I lovingly refer to this landscaping work as my rock gym. Lots of rolling and propping stones on a furniture dolly to get it where I need it. 

I am also working on an area in the front of my house...a gravel walk way that needs to go around the side of the house.  This is where I was when I ran out stones.


And a little progress on getting to the side of the house. 


The black plastic has been in place for months to kill the grass in this area. More rock and a shrubbery bed  planned for this general area.

Poor Eli got his first bath this morning. He had a messy bottom. We have a glass enclosed shower that he was trapped in while I cleaned him. He wasn't thrilled but it went better than expected. No scratches or bites.


He does look a little miffed but I think he was ultimately glad to be clean. He looks incredibly scrawny without his fluffy fur. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hunter's Seaholly Star

It is always a good feeling to take a quilt off the frame. 

My challenge with this quilt was to use time saving techniques on a longarm that Angela Waters shared in her class this past summer. Mainly...do as little marking as possible. I was definitely doing some extreme marking.

I had intended to use one variegated thread throughout but the need to use a light and a dark thread screamed at me pretty early in the quilting so I switched to using two threads...that led to a lot more stopping and starting than I had planned. It is a start to speeding up my quilting process.


Half of my studio lights are turned off for the next two pictures to show more shadowing on the quilting. No sunshine in the forecast for natural lighting pictures.


Months...possibly years ago...I was inspired by the quilting done by Michelle at mmm Quilts when she did a Hunters Star design quilted in a mock wedding ring look. It really stuck with me so almost from day one in making this quilt I had a good idea what my quilting would have rings.


If you check out the link to Michelle's blog you will get the added bonus of seeing her quilting on a client's quilt done in my pattern Batiki Argyle. Love that rich purple background. Yummy.

I've been trying to stay consistently working on my Bucilla projects in the evening. As Christmas draws nearer my readership on my Facebook page increases with questions on making these kits. 

I started this kit, Santa Delivers the Mail, on August 15th and predicted it would take me two weeks to finish it. Got it done on  August 29th.  I just worked on it in the evenings, one to three hours a night. Technically...I guess it isn't done...still need to make it a stocking but I tend to add the stocking backs in mid-October, doing all the kits I have made since last Christmas. 


I've made four stocking tops since last Christmas and three ornament sets. My personal goal is ten Bucilla kits a year. Three more to go. I think I can do it! 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I Need A Time Machine

Hello. It has been awhile...so much for my plans to blog more frequently. 

I have started down another rabbit hole. Like many quilters...I was originally a garment sewer. As a young professional I made all my clothes. Then I became a stay-at-home mom so I converted to a  jeans and T-shirt wardrobe. I have one small box of clothing patterns I saved.

A blast from the 80s...I loved this pattern. Never made any of it. The top still interest me. Maybe I can length it to wear with leggings...those super baggy pants aren't in "Vogue" anymore. And of course I love that is says it is a "Paris Original." Excellent!


My renewed interest in sewing garments was mainly ignited by reading another quilter's blog, Suz at All The Good Ones Are Taken. She made some really cute dresses for her work wardrobe.

I have also been noticing all that pretty batik rayon fabric showing up on websites and in my local quilt shops. So...I went pattern shopping. Wow...prices have really jumped in 20 years. The patterns were 40% off at JoAnns so I grabbed a few. The pattern from the 1980s above retailed at $9.50. The most expensive pattern I bought a few days ago was $30...before the discount. Even 25 years ago you never bought a pattern at full price. Some things never change...there is always a sale on patterns.

Back to the new patterns. My favorite of the bunch is the top below that really looks fun. It has a knit base that you layer with three different fabrics you texture with pleats and yarn. Nothing new here...I have always gravitated to challenging projects and almost always changed up the original patterns.


Some more practical designs, basic tops that should work well with rayon batiks that I can pair with leggings. I do wear mostly leggings in the winter time...easy to slip my snow pants over for a quick walk outside.


I have a few pieces of fabric left from my garment sewing days that I might be able to resurrect. These are a stash of hand dyed Cherrywood cottons that have a wonderful suede texture. 


Here's a vest I made 25 years ago out of  a Cherrywood colorway. 


Please sewing fairy...help me actually follow through on my clothing plans!

I found this pretty batik rayon yardage on sale via the internet. Pretty scary to open up this Pandora's Box of sewing clothing again...


I have been trying to finish a quilt but I seem to have gotten sidetracked for almost a week now. And...Breakfast Club is Thursday (no idea what I will work on...sigh) and I am going to the state fair on Friday to see how my quilts have done this year. I entered three pieces. Maybe I can enter garments next year! (I do need my head examined.)


I always seem to have time to buy more fabric. I have been eyeing this set of strips for months and they went on sale so I just had to buy them...these are the interior colors of my house. 


On a sad note, my Tutto sewing machine cart needs a wheel replaced. The new parts came promptly several months ago but it requires using a rivet gun to make the repair. After months a waiting for my airplane mechanic son to help me...I am giving up and planning to ship it to Tutto for repairs. I really need this fixed by winter...it gets dragged through the snow and ice at the quilt shop...might be why  I need a new wheel.


Here's hoping I do a little better at blogging more regularly...

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Ricky Tims Master Class Lecture


We are so fortunate in Anchorage to have a fantastic quilt shop, Seams Like Home, that brings internationally renowned quilters to our part of the world. I attended Ricky Tims' two-day lecture  on Friday and Saturday. Those two days were the warmest and sunniest of the entire summer so far...it would have been torture to be inside all day...but Ricky rocked my little quilting world and I didn't want to miss a minute of his lecture.

Above is the cover to the 120-page syllabus/book that comes with the lecture series. It is like getting four separate quilt books and covering all the details of those books in two day. It was intense.

Normally, he brings a trailer load of quilts to his lectures but since he flew to Alaska he brought a smaller sampling. We were allowed to touch all the quilts...really inspect them. One of my favorites was his self portrait.


He shared four unique binding or finishing techniques he created...two of them work great for pieces without straight edges.


The show stopper was his Bohemian Rhapsody quilt. I definitely want to explore his techniques for making this style of quilt. There were no seams to make the pointed corners. Definitely a master with his machine. 


There were several moments where I thought, "Why didn't I think of that???"


Ricky is a great entertainer. If you get a chance to take his seminar...do it.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Busy as a Bee

Yesterday, I got a wonderful email from a woman who viewed my series of Youtube videos on how to make Bucilla felt kits. She shared her completed project and I found her way of making the name for the stocking wonderfully unique. The instructions call for embroidering the name but she did her's as a felt applique. Love it!


Of course, I thought....why didn't I think of that?  I learn so much from others when I share.

My latest landscaping project is a success. I used plant support cages to block of an area of lawn that needed to be leveled and reseeded. With two young, large dogs in the family, keeping them off the new dirt was the toughest part. After three weeks I had a good crop of grass and one weed in the middle.


My perennial flower garden is bursting with color.


My only frustration is the delphiniums I planted have turned out to be white...usually they are purple. I want purple. 


Since Breakfast Club was Thursday...I got a quilt top finished in time for show and tell. Love the denim color of the blues. Lots of piecing with this quilt design. I cut the fabric at the April Breakfast Club. I felt like I was working Bonnie Hunter design with all this piecing,


Roughly, 71 x 89. The pattern is Chain Log Cabin from the book, "Moda All-Stars Scraps Made Simple," designed by Laura Boehnke.

I also got the first set of pillow shams completed. Happy Dance!!!


So much has been going on...one not good thing was our cat went missing...four days. I was so sad...and then he came home!


We have not been letting him go outside except in our enclosed dogrun. He seems to be okay with being an inside cat. I think he is close to 20 pounds now and a little over a year old. He looks perfectly healthy...guess he was just enjoying hunting for a few days. Kind of hard to work on my computer when he decides to spend some quality time with me. I am so happy he made it back home from his adventure.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Quilting?

It has been a while since any actual quilting has taken place in my world. The rain clouds broke up and I have been outside most days...but I ran out of energy for landscaping so I took a couple of days off to bond with my midarm.

I have four shams to match quilts I use regularly on my bed. The bed quilts are both seven years old...hopefully I will get these made into pillow shams before the quilts turn eight. I used a simple muslin fabric for the backing as the backside will be completely covered once the shams are constructed. 


I got really hung up on what to "quilt" on the Iditarod shams. Finally I decided done was better than exciting! They are just pillow shams!!! 


I love these feathery designs...something so eye catching about combining the straight lines with feathers...and making little frames inside of frames. Love these.


I am going to wash the quilted sham tops before I do the final pillow sham construction. Something I have learned from experience. Though, this time I used dream puff batting which doesn't do a lot of shrinking.

Here's a peek at one of my hanging baskets. Our summer started with grey skies and rain so the coral geraniums in the center of this basket gave up on showing themselves. Still pretty!


I have been working in the evenings on a set of Bucilla ornaments that go with a Christmas stocking that features a gnome. Pretty darn cute!


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fabia and Cub

June 28th, after 9 p.m. on the street in front of my house. This is Fabia and her solo cub. He is adorable.  My neighbor took this photo from her front porch with a nice camera. Not her iPhone. It was a cloudy and gloomy evening so I am so pleased she got this photo.


I saw her yesterday morning at the bottom of our mountain but didn't even know she was up on our street until I heard my dog barking from the top of our driveway. It was a bark that said an animal had been spotted but we had seen a bull moose earlier so that was what I thought I would see.

Fabia has been viewed in our mountain community for several years. She was originally called "Fabio," until it because obvious the he was actually a she. 

Just a quick post. I need to get packed up and drive into Anchorage for Breakfast Club. Raining all day today so a perfect day for sewing with friends.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Backyard Fire Pit Complete

This is what our fire pit looked like at the start of  the 2017 non-snow season. Cute...but I am a quilter that loves big borders and this little circle needed more.


A new outer border was slowly added.


Then, of course my mind kept wanting to add a connection to the rest of my landscaping. So I marked an additional area to dig up and add rock.


I'm calling the fire pit officially complete. I am not good at making beautiful, lush lawns. My current thought is to bring in top soil next spring, level out the lawn and reseed. The dirt around our house was sprayed with hydro-mulch five years ago but was left to go wild so there are plenty of weeds in the mix. Any advice about cultivating a lush lawn is greatly appreciated.


Our summer is turning out to be cloudy and cool which is pretty much normal. We are spending quite a bit of time sitting around the fire pit in the early evenings. 

So my next summer project was to stain the new awning extension over our deck door. We had it built in March and we are so happy to have it. We didn't realize when we built the house how often we would use the deck door. With two dogs, it is our main door and when it was raining or snowing we were getting hit with moisture whenever we opened it.

Before the new awning was stained...


After!
 Just took a few hours.
The day started out sunny but almost as soon as I started working on it the dark clouds began to gather. I stained the areas that would be exposed to the rain first and hoped the stain would set enough before the rain came...if the rain came. 


Oops...I see in this photo that I left some of the blue painters' tape where I need a ladder to reach it. Most importantly...it is done and looks great. We had a few light sprinkles but nothing that was bad for the new stain.

I don't think the "garden boxes" are going to get much action this summer. I did plant raspberries in one section. I still have some rock work to finish around the two bottom garden beds. You can also see our lovely and important generator that powers half of our house when we lose power. My studio is hooked up to the generator so the quilting can always continue. We do lose power in the winter time when there is heavy snow or high winds.


I have had a little success with one of the unique plants we can grow in Alaska, a blue poppy. They are pricey plants, about $15 for one plant. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it winters over for many years to come.


Breakfast club is this Thursday so I hope to spend some time at the sewing machine. I have two existing projects I am planning to take instead of starting the official new project...but I just might change my mind.