Friday, September 21, 2012

Needle & Thread Update #2

I didn't have a lot of sit-down-and-stitch time at home this 2nd week of the challenge as my daughter and grandson were here most nights.  I did squeeze in some time several nights after they left and before my eyelids got too heavy to see through and finished 3 more tablerunners.

I attended the FCE Regional Meeting in Manchester, TN.  My Improv Quilt was entered in the cultural arts competition and although I didn't win a ribbon, I was told that it was in close competion for 3rd place with the embroidery stitched dresden plate that won. 

I brought along a jelly roll quilt that needed the binding stitched down and  finished about 2/3 of that while listening to reports and presentations and during waiting times between judged events.

That said, I squeezed in about 5-6 hours of handstitching time during week 2.

Week three is almost done (today is Friday already!) and I haven't sewed a stitch.    I have been rushing to meet a variety deadlines this week, both work and personal.  It hasn't helped that I broke my glasses on Sunday and have had to resort to using an old pair to get by until the new ones arrive... in 10 days!  aaack!  This, unfortunately, has resulted in some nasty headaches and blurred vision making hand-work impossible.

 I promise to do much more sewing in the next week to make up for it.


Check out Bonnies update blog on the challenge plus updates from those who are participating here:

unfortunately I will not be doing any sewing (hand or machine) again this week... I am travelling and I kitted up my bowtie blocks into 2 small plastic containers and slipped them into my suitcase.   when i arrived, I discovered that somehow only one of the containers ended up packed!  I have the color squares for the bowties and thread...but none of the cheddar or needles!!!! is going to be a long sew-free week
  : < {

Monday, September 10, 2012

Needle & Thread Challenge ... update 1

In honor of National Sewing Month Bonnie Hunter challenged us to work on our hand stitching for one hour each day to see what we could accomplish this month.

The first  hand sewing project I was able to work on this week was to stitch down the ends of the table runners I was making.  I completed 4 of the 8 I need to do.

The second hand sewing project was to blanket stitch the applique on these basket blocks.  I completed 3 and started on the fourth.

I was able to find only 5 hours this week to sit with needle and thread and sew... but I am happy with what I accomplished so far.

Here is a picture of my well-used chair... next to it is my hand-quilting-in-progress (Rosewood Cottage) quilt and hoop.  I didn't get to work on this project as I can't find my hand quilting thread!  It will have to wait until next week when I'll have time to get to town and find some.

Here are just a couple pictures of some of the quilting I have done on it in the past.  Mostly outline stitching and cross hatching.  I got braver as I went along and on the pinwheel block I did a heart shaped kind of thing.

That's it for last week... I'll report back next week on this week's tasks.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Hope Academy

A local Methodist church hosts Hope Academy on Wednesdays during the school year.  It is a safe and supervised environment for 20-somethings with disabilities to socialize, exercise and play games, and take outings around town.

As last year's school session ended everyone agreed that they would like to make a quilt block and I would make it into a quilt/wall hanging to display in the church hall.  We talked about colors and shapes and how it would go together.  Over the summer I came up with some simple shapes that they could fuse and then stitch down. 

We spent our first class tracing shapes onto the fusible

Our second class was spent pressing to colored fabric and cutting

In advance of our third class I prepared some simple heart shaped blocks for practice and gave each of the adults a quick lesson on the buttonhole or blanket stitch.  Adults and students paired up, but after some frustrating attempts most decided to switch to the easier running stitch.    The blocks came out great!

Top:  Trey & Carole
Row 2:  Suzie& Janey, Blake & Brenda
Row 3:  Matthew & Bob, Ashley & Julie

 Due to frustration levels, teachers decided to not have the students sew their individual shape blocks.  I'll be busy the next few months stitching them down and making the quilt.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Needle and Thread Project

Bonnie Hunter is back from Bali and setting up a new challenges for us.

First, I believe it was before she left for Bali, she challenged us to make Spool Blocks as leader/enders.   I won't be participating that challenge any time soon as I'm still working on last year's Cheddar Challenge.

Her newest challenge is inspired by her desire to finish hand quilting her pink/brown Dear Jane quilt (using just needle and thread) and she has invited us to sew along with her for one hour each day.  She set up her comfy chair with all the necessities so there is no excuse not to work.  Here is her post:

My days are filled with church activities and customer quilts so I will have to do my stitching at night.  That said, I will not be able to stitch every night as I often have my grandson.  He is known to spontaneously jump up into my lap and I don't want that to happen when I have a needle and thread in my hand!  But, I will sew as often as possible.

I have a couple little hand projects I want to finish first so they don't remain in the UFO pile for years.
I am going to work on blanket stitching down the fused flowers on this little wall hanging I started in class on Friday.

I also have some hand stitching to complete on 8 holiday table runners I have made for upcoming shows.... those triangular ends need to be stitched down.

On Fridays league bowling has started again and I will be working on my Cheddar Bow Ties.  They were Bonnie's leader/ender challenge last year, but I chose to do them by hand as I was heading out of town at that time and needed something to work on.  I have 81 bow tie blocks made and am working on sewing row 8 together.  I felt I had to frog and restitch several of the pinkish wavy blocks (see that extra one sticking out on the end of row 8) the waves were turned in all different directions and looked funky to me.  Once all these rows are stitched together, then I make another 81 blocks for the 2nd quarter of the quilt. 

I do have a quilt top I started for me in January 2006 that has never been completed.  The top was pieced and done in 6 months and then just laid there... it was too hot for me to sit and hand quilt with this on my lap.  When the cold weather arrived  I pulled it out again and did a light basting on my quilter.    It is a sampler quilt called Rosewood Cottage.  I did some quilting on it that winter... the first three rows of the center of the quilt... and then I showed it to someone in guild who told me I need to do a lot more quilting in each block.  That kind of discouraged me and I ended up putting it away.  So I have two more rows of the center, the applique'd border and the final border to work on... and I have decided not to listen to the quilt police and just quilt it how I like. If I want to add more quilting later I can.  I think it is definitely time to work on this and get it done!  I just need to find my hand quilting thread.   If you want to see close ups of the stitching I've done so far let me know and I'll do another post later.

What will you be working on?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A day of Sewing

My friend Becky was hosting a piecing class in her newly opened quilt barn.  
See her blog here:

This is the planned project for the day, but some will be making quilts or wall hangings.

 We start with a string swap... We each brought a quantity of 1.5inch strips then took turns walking around the table make 16 piles of assorted strips.   This gave each of us a nice assortment to work with.

 Then the sewing began.  I didn't get pictures of individuals sewing... I was busy sewing myself!  But I did take this picture to remind me how to line up the pieces so I don't cut off the points on my basket base.

Becky's husband, Rick, prepared a nice lunch for all of us.... salad, corn muffins, cooked vegetables and beef and gravy.  YUM!

Here are just some of the blocks completed by mid afternoon.  Some were made with dark backgrounds...

 This one was made with some pieced strips!  See.. there in the middle the one strip is part gold and part blue batik... and to the right of that is a pink/green pieced strip.

Some blocks on the design wall showing alternative layouts.  

 Here are my blocks laid out.

It was a fun day and plans were made for another gathering next month.... maybe an overnight stay!

As I was loading my gear back in the car I noticed this beautiful butterfly garden!  I tried to get a picture with the wings wide open... they were beautiful... but fast!