Friday, November 29, 2013

I Have Been Saved!

There is no 'Gloom, Despair or Agony' here any longer!  It took a little work, but I conquered the 'Big, Bad Fading Beast'!

I posted my 'Gloom' on Flickr and got a tip about Oxy Clean from Anne @ Play Crafts.  Plus, I got a link to this blog:  Material Culture that discusses this very issue.  After reading, researching and and a trip to the grocery store I was ready to tackle it.

After my first attempt:  Oxy Clean Gel Stain Remover, Oxy Clean Detergent and a Color Catcher - This is the results: 
So much better, but still not gone or good enough for me.  Last night I started again.  I put gobs of stain remover on and let is sit for 15-20 minutes.  I filled a bucket with hot water along with one Oxy Clean packet, color catcher and threw in the pillow cover.  I let it sit over night.

This morning I washed and dried it and Viola!  I am pleased as punch!  I do believe this gift has been saved!

Can you see it? 

And here they are...the Three Wise Men!  

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gloom. Despair. And Agony!

I recently joined our local Modern Quilt Guild.  I love meeting up once a month and sharing, talking and being with quilters!  Its just plain fun!
Of course there is a Secret Santa going on.  And of course I decided to participate.  It took a while for me to decide on what I would like to make, but I had a revelation!  This is the beginning:

Its foundation pieceing.  Lots of gorgeous colors.  It was so fun from beginning to end.

See!  This is going to be great!  

I machine quilted it to perfection.  (for me)
I even did some special and specific embroidering.  

And then...
It goes in the wash.  The best part, right?  
You get to experiance the quilting in a completely different way.

It comes are thrilled...a little rush of 'yippie' hits you!
And you end up with this:

Purples Suck!  
My heart sank.  I wanted to cry.  
I am now working feverishly on getting this fixed!  
I'm open to any advice, method or pep talks!

So, for now I will be in Gloom, Despair and Agony!

Linking up with Confessions of a Fabric Addict...Whoop Whoop!
Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Manly Man Quilt

I was working on this quilt yesterday.  Totally at peace.  In my zone.  Then I realized its been a month since I made a quilt!  How can that be?  I feel like I have made one...but I don't suppose 'thinking' about making them really counts!

I decided to call this my 'Manly Man' quilt.  Probably because brown is a good sturdy color. A good rough and tough color.  Manly.  Men need quilts too!

I made a quilt very similar to this one over a year ago.  Here.  I used a pattern from APQ called 'My Guy' for the first one.  

This one, I changed up.  Same kind of vibe as my first one.  I increased the width and length of the woven stripes (Kaffe Fasset).  I love the colors against the brown.  They seem to brighten it up, give some visual interest.  The strip between the stripes is a deep, dark brown.  

Brown is an interesting color, don't you think? 

What is your favorite background color?  Brown, white, blue...maybe black or grey?

Quilting be continued!

Brown.  A color produced by mixing red, yellow and black.  

At Freshly Pieced

Friday, November 22, 2013

Critter Love! Holiday Gift Idea.

In this day and age of technology, we find ourselves searching, researching and spending an enormous amount of time on our computer.  Not a bad thing.  Not at all.  

It's also a great way to meet people.  People who share common interests.  Every once in a while you meet someone you click with.  Cindy Friend is one of those people for me. We met over a year ago via Facebook and Etsy.  She is a great person, kind, funny and has a heart of gold!  I am thrilled to have a friend like her!

Today, I wanted to give her and her Etsy shop: HANDMADE BY COSMO a little blog love! I asked her a few questions about her art/craft and thought what better time of the year to share some unique gift ideas!

Christmas Reindeer
This little guy has always been one of my favorites!  The ears (oh my), the sweet little face (so kissable) and the attention to detail amazes me!

How did you get started creating your Critters?

I love working with my hands.  My hands have generations of talent in them.  I can't draw, but I can stitch.  When I was a kid, my favorite toys were firmly stuffed plush toys. Sometimes an idea hits you right in the middle of the brain and there's not much you can do but act on it! Most times it turns out to be the right move.

How do you decide what Critters you are going to make?

This is the best part of it.  Well, one of the best parts!  What I really like is working with the patterned or textured felt.  I love to make a giraffe with cow spots, or a horse in a pink cheetah print.  A flying zebra pig, you bet.  How about a giraffe print alpaca, or a painted pony pig?  That's what I like.  And the custom orders!  Making a Critter in someones favorite colors...I love the personal touch!  

A few adorable Critters in her shop!
Why do you do it?

I do it because I love it.  I love tracing the pattern, I love cutting it out.  I love making my stitches so precise.  I love stuffing it, as it comes 'alive' and I can see the personality coming through.  The best part is sewing on the eyes, which I do last.  Each of my Critters, while made from the same patterns, come out with a somewhat different look, every time.  Each one becomes a one-of-a-kind creation.
Check out the stitching!
Tips and advice for selling on Etsy?

Honestly, I have put my personal life in front of my sales and creating this year.  My daughter and granddaughter are staying with us while our son-in-law is deployed.  In April they will be going to Germany for a few years.  Right now I'm soaking up all the girl time I can.

Last year my shop was very successful.  You have to work it and work at it.  Promoting, connections, treasuries, facebook and blogging.  You have to get yourself out there.  Get business cards and pass them out...everywhere!

Lastly, believe in yourself.  What you are doing, what you love to do!  Your spirit is singing when you are doing something you love!

Last year Cindy made me a special Unicorn.  It was adorable!  Mary...the dog thought so too! She got a hold of it and chewed its horn, ears and mane to pieces!  I now call it my 'punk' unicorn!  

Cindy's Critters are amazing!  Seriously some mad skills here!  She is always coming up with some incredible combinations!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Happy Finish

I love going through the process of making a quilt.  From start to finish.  There are agonizing choices to make.  What colors, what fabrics, what design and how to quilt it!  

Sometimes it can drive me insane.  Sometimes it just comes together with little effort. And sometimes its a little of both.  Such is the case with this finished quilt.

42 1/2" x 63"

I knew what pattern I wanted.  This is the 'prototype' for a pattern I'm currently trying to put together.  (it is a difficult process!)

I had the back all figured out, quilt all pinned and then it sat there.  Waiting for inspiration. Quilt me.

Once an idea came to me I jumped on it!  Quick before I change my mind!

And I did!  Thirty different solids and 20-plus thread colors later, it is finished.  I rather like it.  Its bright.  A little bold.  Traditional block meets modern.    

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Evening WIP

I'm a couple days late (I think) getting this 'placemat proof' pieced together.  I was asked if I could make four placemats in blues, with just a hint of lime green.  I jumped at the chance!   

It doesn't look very lime green, does it?!  Nope!  It just hit me...I used chartreuse!  Chartreuse, not lime green.  As I said, this is a 'proof'.

I really love making anything I can rip through with my rotary cutter.  No measuring, no worries!  

Placemat WIP

I like to use a wide variety of fabrics and colors.  This one has some Shot Cottons (I am a shot-cotton-a-holic, I cannot lie) along with 'regular' cotton fabrics.  

Several different shades of blue, teal, aqua-ish.  A good color combination.  I find that I go back to this combination frequently.  It rarely fails me.  Soothing.  Calming.  I like it. 

Do you have a 'go to' color combination?  I'd love to hear what it is!  Comments are always welcome!  

At Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Baa Baa Black Sheep

What can I say about these booties?  Adorable, precious, cute...

First of all I have to say, I did not make these. My daughter did.  One of her long time friends just had a baby boy and she is on a mission to outfit this baby with handmade happiness!

Everytime I walk by these they make me smile.  They are so darn cute!  Especially the fabric!  Its a gorgeous blue will pretty little sheep - and the best part - the one random black sheep!

*This pattern was designed by ithinksew

My contribution to these little boots,  I picked the size and I hand stitched the seams! One little baby boy is going to stylin' big time!  

I talk a lot about my daughter Britt.  She and I share a passion for sewing/quilting/dyeing and whatever else she throws at me.  

She just started her blog HAG PALACE.  I know she would love for you to stop by!  

Not So Little Vincent James!

Welcome to the world little guy!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Quick Change Artist


Some times (a lot of the time) it takes me a while to figure out how to finish a quilt.  You know, the quilting part.  The part that can make or break your quilt!  

I have had quilts sit for days, weeks or months.  Folded nice and neatly just waiting for me to get that 'AHA' moment.  Yesterday morning I made a decision.  Diagonal grid.  Great. Let's do it!  

Oh, wait...thread color?  There are so many colors to choose from!  How can I pick one?! I couldn't.  This quilt was screaming for more color (like it doesn't have enough. 30 different colors!).  Okay, I'm using multiple colors.

Ready for Quilting

I got my handy dandy ruler and my new favorite tool out ready to mark my lines.  I kept hearing about the Hera Marker and decided it was time to get one and try it.  I'm so glad I did.  You can get them at your local craft store or favorite fabric shop.  Usually I use painters tape, but I was getting annoyed when it would get crinkled or not stick.  Time for an upgrade.  It makes nice crisp creases that are easy to follow during the quilting phase.

Hera Marker available here.  

You can see the lines in this picture.  Its so nice not to worry about following the tape line! I didn't have any problems following or seeing the marked lines. 

I marked my rows every 3", a few rows at a time.  I wasn't sure how long a crease would stay.

Add caption

Now here's where the 'quick change' reference comes in!  After every line, I changed to a new thread color.  Just for the diagonal lines, I changed the thread 48 times.  Bobbin out, thread off.  New color, new bobbin in, new spool on, thread it...GO!  

My count is currently at 21 different thread colors.  More crossed my mind, but I don't have enough bobbins!  You might ask yourself...'why not just use variegated thread'.  It never crossed my mind until half way through quilting  That 'AHA' moment was a little too late!

After finishing the diagonal grid, I decided I wanted something more.  Currently, I'm working on vertical/horizontal lines.  This will add triangles in the mix and hopefully break it up a little.  

I love getting to the end of quilting a quilt!  That means that soon, I get to do my favorite part.  Hand sewing the binding on!  But first, I must get back to quilting.

Sitting and watching the thread pile grow was so fun.  How could I not take pictures?  

I love getting super close-up shots of thread.   With a camera you can see the colors, textures and chaos!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Hand Dyed Offerings

How fitting that of all days - Halloween - our power should go out!  Crazy storms all day, trick or treating put off until tomorrow, sorry little goblins!  There isn't much you can do in the dark.  Candles are burning, ice-cream is melting and the wind is howling.  Lucky for me I have my iPad fully charged and have no excuse to put off writing a post!  

It's no secret that I love fabric!  I know, we all do.  There is nothing like a big fat stack of fiber goodness sitting in front of you, staring you down, daring you to cut them.  

My daughter Britt has a way of wearing me down until I finally give in.  First it was her wanting to teach me to quilt and then recently it was learning how to hand dye fabric.

She is currently a Fibers major at The Appalachian Center for Craft.  She has a couple years under her belt.  Long grueling hours in the fiber studio, soaking up the knowledge, and after all the hard work, wanting to share it with me.  Again, I was slightly reluctant.  Again she was right.  (Don't tell her!)  Another creative avenue, another process learned.  My favorite part honestly, is the time we spend together!  She doesn't think I will ever take the reins and dye by myself.  I could.  But it's so much more fun when we do it together! 

We have set up a little space in the basement for dyeing.  Lots of plastic covering the work bench and walls.  I like to refer to it as my 'Dexter' room.  A little dark humor, but I did get the plastic idea from that show!  We have our buckets, dyes, mixing gear and a sink.  Its all we need to dye our fabric on a small scale.  

One could certainly measure a blue...pop in a piece of fabric and call it a day.  That's okay.  That works. We like to be different!  We set out all our dyes, get a color idea and go to town!  A squirt of aquamarine, add some golden yellow, a squeeze or two of black...maybe that is good enough or maybe I'll splash a dab of pagoda red in it!  Take a chance!   I have been totally grossed out by a color, but gently i'm reminded that 'you never know'.  We have gotten some beautiful colors with this process.  Unique colors.  Colors we could never ever do again since we don't measure.  Awwwwww, its okay! 

We both have a love for fabrics, a love for creating.

We have people ask for our hand dyed fabrics.  I never thought about it.  We do it because we love it.  And so it seems others do as well.  Looking at our hand dyed fabric magically multiplying, we decided it was time.  Cut the apron strings, let our pride and joys fly the coop!
We have put together some delicious fat quarter bundles!  (And a couple fat 1/8th's too).  Great color combinations.  Perfect for small projects, adding some pizazz to a quilt or to use as a handkerchief!  The choice is yours!

There is something about hand dyed fabrics I love.  Maybe it's the unusual texture variations that occur, or the unique colors created or the feeling of accomplishment when it is all said and done!  We put a lot of love into each piece of fabric.

I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I do!    These are now available HERE in my Etsy shop, if you would like to see more!

As a side note:  After the first hour, the charm of losing power and having candles burning wears off.  I finally gave up and went to bed at midnight!  The power finally came back on at 2:01am!  This morning is a beautiful sunny crisp day.

Small Blog Meet

November is here...already!  It never really seems like I make progress on my ideas, want to do's and should get done projects.  Then I look back and see I did make progress!

It looks like I had a pillow month!  I got a couple quilts finished, learned some paper piecing and dyed tons of fabric!  I was more productive than I thought!

One goal for November.  Find and visit more blogs.  Leave more comments.  Sew, Quilt, Sew and Quilt!     

Lets see what November brings!
Link up at Lily's Quilts