Saturday, June 15, 2024

Thoughts on Productivity

In my last post, I lamented that I haven't been very productive recently and that I haven't had time to sew at home because life has been filled with lots of other things that had to be addressed before I could sit and sew just for the sake of sewing. 

But...I did sew while I was in VA and that was wonderful. Truth be told though, I was working on projects that I kind of "had" to do. The Fall Foliage quilt below is a pattern by Krista Moser and since I will be facilitating a workshop she is teaching at Chestnut Ridge Sewing next week, I figured I had better get my quilt top done so I can help as needed and know what I'm talking about. LOL  I am very happy with the result!


This next quilt is a Bargello that I made using two identical 2.5" strip sets. The packages were a Fossil Fern - Bright from Benartex.


This is the second quilt I've made like this, but this time I was writing my steps as I was making it. I showed some people my first quilt and they asked me to create a class for it. Of course I said yes, but with the qualification that I had no idea when that would happen.

Since I was "exploring" when making the first quilt, I took my time while making the second quilt and jotted down notes about seam allowance, pressing, cutting, etc. It added time to the process, but that's ok. I need to do that when I'm making a quilt for a class - especially when I'm winging it. LOL  Here is a picture of the top half of the first quilt. Jack and I were playing with border ideas and snapped this picture. I do not have a picture of the completed quilt or top, but will try to get one soon. These strip sets were batiks, but I don't the information handy to share right now.


This quilt does not need a border and I won't be putting one on the second quilt. It is already a pretty good size at approx. 65" x 84". But, Jack liked the idea of making the first quilt a bit larger, so we decided to add two borders - one small framing border, and then a larger outer border. I am happy with both quilts - with and without a border.

So...back to my comment about productivity. I have come to realize that sometimes making a quilt with a deadline or because I "have" to is not fun. It changes my mood and I often feel stressed or anxious when I'm doing it. That is NOT what I want my quilting to be! 

Jump ahead to an email I received this morning from Erica of Kitchen Table Quilting in which she discussed how to be more productive. Of course my interest was piqued, so I clicked on the link and was happy to read that she was saying that it really isn't all about making MORE quilts, or keeping up with Sally who makes six quilts a week. She gives us permission to sew with fabrics we love, take a break when we don't feel like quilting, and to sew in a way that we can embrace the process. You can read the article HERE

Sew...give yourself some love and don't make excuses when you need a break.  💗

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Sewing - finally

Sometimes you just need to take a break from "real" work and sit down at your sewing machine. That's what I did for 45 minutes and and it felt so good! It's been a hot minute since I've been able to just sit and sew here at home. I did sew while I was in VA, and I'll share pictures sometime, but it's been a long time since I've done any sewing here at home.  

Imagine that...I'm sewing red, white, and blue fabrics.  LOL


I always have patriotic fabrics out for QOV projects and these were just sitting on the table so I decided to use them. I'm simply sewing some strips today and making my sub-cuts, but soon (a very relative term!) I will be putting pieces on the wall and sewing blocks and rows. 

I've got to get back to computer work, but I hope to share pictures before I leave for four days away from home. Please though...don't hold your breath. You may just pass out before I post again.  LOL


Sunday, May 12, 2024

Mom

 Happy Mother's Day

I love and miss you Mom!


Carolyn Schwab
August 12, 1926 - December 1, 2012

Some of my favorite pictures of Mom. 
No words needed...just pictures. I miss her!













You are always with me... 

Monday, March 25, 2024

Quilt Show Classes


I am excited to be teaching at the North East Ohio Quilt Show this coming July!

I will be teaching four classes
**Plays Well with Others
**Preserving Memories - T-Shirt Quilt Basics
**Granny Gets an Update
**Point the Way - A Paper Piecing Primer

Along with my classes, I am also offering a lecture - Math for Quilters.

For more information or to register click HERE

I hope you can join me!

Hello Old Friend

 


I have been quite busy the last few months and spending time at my sewing machine has suffered. Today, I am taking a break from "work" (prepping kits for upcoming classes, sewing samples, writing patterns, etc.) and am sewing on a project that I am making just because I want to make it. 

I'll be back soon with some pictures.

Do something for YOU today!

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

New Technique!

I've been busy trying to work on and finish projects. Most of the project are "work" projects that have deadlines, while a few are projects that I've started and put aside because I needed to "work." I'm trying to make a concerted effort to sew more for me - just because I want to. It isn't easy, but I'm trying.  

This little wall hanging is one that I made, just because I wanted to make it. 


This is small, only measuring 17" x 20" and the construction was very simple and quick. I grabbed my scrap tub and pulled out fabrics from the Together We Sew Along project that I hosted for a Facebook Group to which I belong. The two background (light fabrics) and seven of the pink strips were from the Sincerely Yours fabric collection by Sherri & Chelsi. 

The remainder of the fabrics, including the backing were pulled from the scrap bin; and as I'm sure you can imagine, this small project did NOTHING to help reduce the amount of fabric in that tub.  LOL

I wanted to try to face this quilt instead of adding a binding. I've done that before and haven't been totally satisfied with my results or the process. I read a few tutorials and then combined what I read. I then did what made sense for me. 

I am very happy with the results! As you can see from the picture below, the facing fabric does not show on the front and the edge is smooth and straight. I will definitely do this again. I see some art type quilts in my future and already know that I want to face them instead of bind them.


Have you learned or tried any new techniques lately? 
 

Friday, January 26, 2024

Binding

It's been a while since I've had a quilt to bind and it felt so good! 


This is a rather small quilt (55" x 65") and it didn't take long to bind it, but it sure felt good to do that last night. I love it when a quilt gets to the binding stage. 

Maybe this is just what I needed to get focused on finishing projects. :-) 

Saturday, January 20, 2024

The Best Winter Colors

If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you probably know that I enjoy watching birds from out of the many windows in my sewing area. I especially enjoy watching them when there is snow on the ground. Jack is diligent with making sure there is plenty of food for the birds when the temperatures drop and the snow falls, and this year has been no different. 

We haven't had much snow, so this morning was the first time that I sat with a cup of coffee and marveled at the birds and their beautiful colors. 

I wasn't thinking about taking pictures when I first sat down; but when I remembered that I hadn't shared any on the blog yet (or much of any content, for that matter), I grabbed my phone. It's difficult to see in this picture, but this is a blue jay and his color is beautiful. Do you notice how the smaller birds stay far away from the blue jay? Jack and I enjoy watching the dynamic of these birds and how they interact with each other. 


While this picture is even more challenging to see, this male cardinal is gorgeous. I love the bright red against the white snow. Beautiful!! The male cardinals don't seem to mind sharing the same space with other birds, but they do NOT like to share it with other male cardinals. And typically, the males and females take turns going to the feeders or to the seeds on the ground. 


As you can see in the pictures, there is a wooded ravine behind the birds. Because of that, we are blessed to see a lot of birds and other animals. Deer and fox are pretty common sights for us and we always enjoy seeing them as well. 

The trees bring out the woodpeckers and we often see a variety of them. I love the red head on this one so of course I took a lot of pictures.  :-)  





As you can see in the picture below, the woodpeckers generally are ok with sharing the area with other varieties of birds too. 


We didn't see any eagles or hawks today, but hopefully we'll get a chance to do so soon.

The birds provide color on cold and snowy winter day; and for that, I am grateful.

Monday, January 1, 2024

2024 Color Challenge

It's time for the 2024 
Monthly Color Challenge. 


Jen over at Patterns by Jen, always a great way to start a new year and 2024 is no different! 
Jen is the "hostess with the mostest" of the Monthly Color Challenge, and I'm thrilled to join her again for my 6th year. 

Each month, Jen will pick a color and a quilt block featuring that color. Not only does she choose a block, she provides instruction on how to make that block. The instructions are FREE during the featured month, but can be purchased for $1 after that. 

Jen always finds a fun way to introduce each month's color and she's done it again for 2024. Each month will be introduced via a fish, and I don't mean a simple, basic fish. Just take a look at this list! What fun!!    

January - Green Tiger Barb (Green)
February - Discus (Orange)
March - Cherry Barb (Red)
April - Electric Blue Hap (Blue)
May - Electric Yellow Lab (Yellow)
June - Harlequin Rasboras (Raspberry)
July - Duboisi Cichlid (Silver)
August - Purple Dottyback (Purple)
September - Kuhli Loach (Brown)
October - Wrought Iron Butterfly (Black)
November - Gourami (Teal)
December - Marigold Wag Swordtail (Gold) 

Jen's has lots more information on her blog, so why not jump over and read more about. 


Let's get started! 
January - The Green Tiger Barb


I have to be honest and say that I have never heard of the Green Tiger Barb. I did a quick internet search and found some lovely pictures; and I must say, this is quite a pretty fish. 


Thanks to its fluorescent green body, this fish will not be overlooked in any tank! While there are variations, the green body, with silver and gold blotches are topped off with really cool orange fins, making these fish a beautiful sight.

The Green Tiger Barb is know for being quite active and they like to have lots of plants in their aquariums. 
They also like their friends! Like most quilters I know, the Green Tiger Barbs don't particularly like being alone and should be put in schools of six or more.   


While Jen has made her blocks with two different greens, I chose to make mine with a single green and a white/silver dot background. The general rule is a fat quarter of light and a fat quarter of dark will be enough for each block.
The finished size of each month's block will be 12".

I will be keeping my background consistent all year. If you would like to do the same, Jen has all the information on how to do that, and even has information on how to cut the background for all 12 months most efficiently. WooHoo!

Use this link and scroll down the page a bit to find where to get the pdf for that. 

Here are the fabrics I've chosen. Don't you think the green texture kind of looks like fish scales? I do and am going to attempt to have each month's color print have a similar texture. 


This month's block is one of my all-time favorite blocks - Square in a Square.


Jen's instructions are very well written and one of the things I like is that block units are oversized and will be trimmed to the actual size needed. Doing this also helps keep all those beautiful points. No cut off tips here. I LOVE that!

This unit looks a bit untidy and rough... 


but once it's trimmed, it looks great! 


You will be making some flying geese units and those are oversized as well. 
Click HERE for my tutorial on how I like to trim those unit and get perfect flying geese every time. 

 

Jen provides pressing instructions for all of her blocks. While she likes to press seams to one side; lately, I've found that I am more successful with accurate points when I press my seams open. 


But...honestly, I don't think there really is a right or wrong way to press seams or do most of anything sewing-related. Generally, I say that as long as it's safe, whatever method is easiest for you and provides you with the results that make you happy, then that's the method you should follow. :-) 

I had a lot of fun making this block and I'm looking forward to making the remaining eleven. Who's going to join me?


Don't you think that my background in this picture looks like the bottom of a stream? I think so. It's actually our back patio, but I like it and plan to take pictures of each of my finished blocks there. We'll see if that happens, especially if there is snow when I finish the block.  LOL