Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm Dating...

I've been a dabbler.

I've tried lots of different needlecrafts.  In no particular order:
Cross stitch...
  Punch needle...
              And other crafts too. 

I have the stuff to do lots of that.  I have yarn and thread and fabric and tools and beads and a variety of goodies.  It was all... well... fun, but just okay. 

I was asked, "what's your passion?"  As in, that thing you love to do above all else.  Something that lifts your soul.  Well... uh... hmm... none of them felt like my passion (!).  Well shoot.  I wanted a passion.  I just hadn't found it. 

(Oh, and the person who asked?  Yep, had a passion.  Of course.  *grin*)

I think finding your passion is like finding your true love.  Some people know their true love the instant they meet.  The rest of us date.  We find someone we like.  And we date. 

I picked quilting.  (As in the broad term "quilting", from patchwork to applique, from hand to machine.)

So yes, we're dating.  We're going to try this for awhile.  We're going to get together often and see if we like each other.  To see if we find each other interesting. 

And so far? I think he might be the one. 

Okay you overachievers, settle down... some people DO have multiple passions.  (I better be careful about this parallel theme because that'd make them a polygamist.  LOL.)  For now, I'll start with finding one. 

Have you found your passion?

And since I'm supposed to show pictures, here goes.  My first quilting project is Nearly Insane, by hand. (I'm not a hand-stitching purist and have every intention of piecing with a sewing machine on other projects.)  For those unfamiliar, the pattern is made up of 98 unique 6" blocks. 

I'm doing it in greens and blues.  Here's block #21:

Block #6

Block #50:

Block #66:

The first one I made was #6.  (Sorry it's a little blurry.  Not trying to hide anything, just wasn't steady enough on the shot.)

My favorite is the last one. 

May your hands stay busy and happy. 

ADDED AFTER ORIGINAL POST:  I just checked my post and when I click my pictures they blow up HUGE.  I didn't intend on shoving my blocks in your face, so to speak.  What I want is so that you can click the picture and it fits in the screen, but you have that little thingy in the bottom corner that you can click to blow it up (go ahead, inspect away, if it makes you happy).  If anyone can help me out with that, I'd greatly appreciate it! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Creating a Summer Basket

You see, I wanted a basket of flowers. Something easy going. Not fancy. When I looked in this book...

I knew that this was it.

I worried a little before I started.

About things like 1/8" stems. And pointy points.  And handling such a large piece of fabric. 

You know, important things that matter in life.

I needed to learn techniques.  I have a few books and looked through them. I looked online (and found some great tutorials, thank you very much).  I purchased two DVDs that helped a lot, Becky Goldsmith & Linda Jenkins Teach You to Applique the Piece O' Cake Way and Hand and Machine Applique by Karen Kay Buckley.  Loved the DVDs.

Most of what I do is similar to what I learned from Karen's DVD.  I was happier with the results.  (Someday I hope to improve my needleturn applique, but I didn't have the patience.)

Here's a few of the tools I use. A sanding board (take 1 cute clipboard, 1 sheet sandpaper cut to size, spray the back with adhesive spray, and ta-da).  Good (enough) scissors (Clover serrated edge is the blue handle, Ginger 5" in silver, and a Fiskars to cut paper).  Spray sizing (that's the lid) and a small stencil brush.  Pins and thread (Mettler 60) and Thread Heaven.  I found that pencil holders are a perfect size for holding a collection of the small items that need to be organized.  And a lint brush... always handy.  Because I have a dog that sheds... and she's big huge.  (A Newf.)

I use a vinyl overlay.  I think I like it.  It seems to be working okay, but I do think about other ways, such as blue marking pens.  Maybe it's the size that I'm working with that has me on the fence.

Here's the pieces that I've prepped, some face up, some face down.

What I do... Trace the pattern on freezer paper, iron it to another FP sheet to make it stronger, cut each piece out, iron to back of fabric, cut out each fabric piece with a seam allowance, "paint" light sizing on the seam allowance and use a little craft iron to iron the seam allowance over the edge of the freezer paper.  (I remove the freezer paper before I stitch it down.)

It's tedious and detailed and (for me) takes time. But I learned you should try to find joy in each step in the journey if you can.  (Kind of funny that I have patience for this and not for needleturn.  Analyze that!)

There's been very little stitching this past week.  Too much going on.  This weekend should be a quiet one.  Hopefully filled with lots of time to stitch. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Summer in Fall

I took on an applique project.  It's my first.  Normally, beginners start with a beginner pattern, with easy curves and easy points.  But I didn't want easy.  My nature is to dive in. 

After looking at a variety of patterns, I found one in the book American Stenciled Quilts by Vicki Garnas.  You heard that right... stenciled.  No "A" word in the book.

The pattern is supposed to be enlarged 250%.  But I liked a smaller end size.  I enlarged 200%.  (Without a border, it's about 30" x 18".)

Got that?  I picked a non-beginner pattern, that's wasn't designed for applique, and made it smaller. 

Cuz that's what I do.

And I couldn't be happier.

Here's a picture of the traced pattern, reduced to a single sheet of paper.  (I hope the pics are okay.  I'm still learning.)  I wanted a pattern and fabrics that said summer. 

I've sewn the stems, blue petals, one bud and some leaves to the background.  The red flowers and some leaves are prepped, but not sewn in the pic below.  The basket will be out of a navy blue with white print.  The tulips will be an orange print. 

I tried a few applique techniques before I started this project.  I chose to go with freezer paper on the back of the pieces, painting the fabric edges with light sizing and and ironing the edges over the FP.  Most of the pieces have been prepped. That took a LONG time.

I am delighted with every piece that I stitch, watching the picture be revealed in fabric. 

I love how the sun lit the leaves on this tree in my backyard today.  There was a slight chill in the air. 

Outside it's fall. And inside I'm sewing summer.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Note to Self

Note to self:  in the future, do NOT post pictures of snowmen in October.

Because mother nature has a sense of humor.

And likes to join in the fun.

Note to reader:  do NOT think this means I'm one of those every day posters. Lower your expectations. LOL. Reality will strike soon and my wooziness will calm down. I've stepped into such a great world of friendliness.

Plus it won't snow every day.

At least not for awhile. 


(For you who wonder... a big warm up is predicted for the weekend and the only memory of this will be these pictures.)

In the next post, I'll share something I'm working on. Thanks for allowing this interruption.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Happiness is a Snowman

I'm working on a snowman BOM.  August is stitched.  The first of 12.  He wanted to look nice before I share, so he took a bath.

A little dry and a little press and here he is.  Happy guy.

Try not to melt while you wait for your buddies to be stitched.

There were so many decisions and learning before I took the first stitch on this.  Backstitch?  Stem stitch?  How do you do those?  How many strands?  What needle?  What size stitches?  To back?  Or not to back?  Knots?  Starting?  Ending?  Search, search, search.  Practice stitches on a muslin scrap.  Decide. 

Phew... glad that part is over. 

Eleven to go.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Today is the Day


My name is Beth and today is the day. Today I become a card carrying member of the blog world. Yes, it's just Beth, and Karese is my middle name. Why did I wait to blog till now? Pressure.

Because now I need to take pictures, and write, and respond to commenters. And most importantly to create.

I have Got from so many blogs this year. I feel like it's time for me to Give.

I need to pick up my creating pace. Truth about my first header? Abe (Lincoln) would say it was started it 1 score and 6 years ago. (Yeah, 1983!) You bloggers motivated me to finish it. Yes you did. And YES it's done! (Pics for another post.) Thank you.

Pressure can be good. I'll never live long enough to do every pattern that I love. I expect - and want - the pressure of this blog to keep my fingers moving. Because this will be pretty lame if I never create anything. I will make a tiny dent in my wish list.

Today is also the day before. The day before my O day. Indulge me a moment because it's been big on my mind. Tomorrow is one of those O birthdays. Two O birthdays start with an F. This is my second one. The first time, I was fine. I found this one is harder to take. But time rolls along and you gotta roll with it. If you're older than me, laugh at my silliness. If you're younger, nm. If you're my age, Hawaii and Alaska became states the year we were born. We're in good company. People enjoy their trips to those states. If you find your way back here again, I'll try to make your trip pleasant. Thanks for dropping by.