Monday, September 15, 2014

Some Great News and BOM--Penguin Blocks

I received some very exciting news today--one of my pieces was juried in as a finalist in Infinity Gallery's on-line 2014 Fiber Art exhibition. It wasn't chosen for an award, but I'm thrilled to be included in this exhibit. If you'd like to take a look at the show, check it out here: Infinity Gallery 2014 Fiber Art Exhibit.

Now, on to some "traditional" work. I was a block behind on my "Penguin Cheer" blocks, so I got busy yesterday and finished the block for last month and this month. Here they are.

Block for August

Block for September

I even got the stitching around the fusible appliques finished. I must confess that I DID have to paint the bow on the green package. I thought using a satin stitch in turquoise to outline the bow would make it stand out, but the fabric I originally chose still didn't show up enough against the green batik. I ended up using fabric paint to make it darker; I like it much better now. If you'd like to check out the Penguin Cheer BOM, click on the link.

I'm still working on two "art" pieces, but it is SLOW going. Both are hand stitched, so they will take a lot of time to finish. I will take some pics later as there isn't much to show you right now.


Friday, September 12, 2014

"Quick" Quilts with My Sister

My sister, Pam, came for a visit this week. She IS NOT a quilter, but she does do some sewing. I had purchased two color ways of some really cute kids fabric--"Meet The Gang" by Marisa and Creative Thursday for Andover Fabrics. I thought we could have some bonding time in my studio while making simple "drag-around" quilts for the little girls in our lives. The last time she visited (and we had time) we worked on dinosaur tails for her grandsons. They turned out REALLY cute. You can see them here--dinosaur tails. This time, we concentrated on making quilts for her granddaughters. Here is a really simple way to make a fast quilt.

First, here is what they look like...

That's Pam with her finished quilts.

For the top (larger) one, we cut the main fabric approximately 44" by the width of the fabric (approximately 44"). We added a strip of coordinating fabric on the top and bottom. We cut the strip as wide as the widest band in the printed fabric. For the bottom one, we simply cut the main fabric approximately 37" by the width of the fabric. We finished the quilts off with an "envelope" turn--no binding. (We used a walking/evenfeed foot for all steps requiring sewing/quilting.) The final sizes of the quilts ended up 43" X 53" for the larger quilt and 36" X 42 1/2" for the smaller quilt.


(This is just the way we did it. Of course, you can do it however you wish!)

  1. Stack the fabrics and batting in this order--batting first, backing (face up), top (face down).
  2. Pin around the outside edge to hold all pieces together.
  3. Sew around all four sides using a 1/2" seam allowance leaving about 6-8 inches open to be used for turning the quilt right side out.
  4. Trim any excess material off the edges and cut excess fabric from the corners to reduce the bulk.
  5. Reach in and turn the quilt right side out. Poke out corners being careful not to poke a hole there.
  6. Iron the edges so the seam lies on the edge of the quilt. Iron the seam allowances under where you left the opening for turning.
  7. Pin the opening shut.
  8. Sew around the outside of the quilt a 1/4" from the edge. (Use a coordinating machine quilting thread). This step will make the edges flatter and will close the opening you left for turning.
  9. Using basting pins (bent safety pins), baste the three layers together. (Don't place pins too close to where you will be quilting. We found this step helped to keep the layers from shifting while machine quilting.)
  10. Quilt a straight line along the bands of the quilt top. (We used polyester batting, so we didn't have to quilt too closely. Of course, you can use any batt you want and quilt this any way you wish. This was, by far, the easiest quilting we could do. It was great for Pam since she is a beginner and had never machine quilted before. She had great, "quick" success, so I'm hoping we can tackle more quilting projects in the future.)

It was so nice to be able to share something I love to do with someone I love. We REALLY had a good time; I hated for it to end. What have you been up to?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

What Great Quilty Gifts and More

...and the birthday celebration continues...

My birthday was August 19th, but the celebration just keeps going. I LOVE IT! I received gifts and cards in the mail before and after my birthday. My husband and I went on a vacation during the week of my birthday. My son and his family had a birthday celebration for me (in Arkansas) last weekend. My daughter brought a cake and gift the weekend after my birthday. Today, in the mail, I received a gift from my niece Wendy. Later this month my husband is taking me to a Kandinsky exhibit at the Frist Museum in Nashville, TN, as my final birthday gift. (If you know me very well, you know Kandinsky is my favorite artist. My friend Sharon sent me the info about this exhibit. Thanks so much Sharon!) All these people know me pretty darn well.

Wendy combined my love of all things fiber with my love of wine. I can't wait to try these out!

My daughter got this book for me. I absolutely LOVE it--so many things I want to try.

My grandchildren call me "Mimi," and my son and his family did a family project to make me a tie-dyed tote and apron. I LOVE the colors. The apron is SO pretty that I hate to get it dirty in my studio. I'd use it when I cook, but that doesn't happen very often any more. :)

My friend, Robin, got me a book from my "Wish List" and lots of other great gifts. (I only took pics of those that were handy.)

My sister and son got me things for my "girly" side--flowers and perfume.

Aren't flowers wonderful. I LOVE these bouquets that have lots of color and all kinds of different flowers.

I LOVE this perfume and have wanted it since trying it for the first time on a trip to Boston a couple of years ago.

How wonderful it is to be so blessed!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

There is Nothing as Sweet as a Little Retreat

Some of my friends and I got together for a little retreat time away from home. I got to spend three days sewing--a reprieve from the handwork I'm doing on my latest "extreme embroidery" piece. I didn't work on any "art" type work; I simply pieced. I decided to bring my Featherweight machine to use rather than one of my bigger machines I always use. I had forgotten what a pleasure it is to use a simple machine. I just love the sound of that little Featherweight. Anyway, I finished my Country Threads block of the month for last month, I made more than 40 blocks for my kids' quilts (kids' charity quilts and quilts for the grandchildren), and I finished a nice size throw. Here are some of my kids' quilt blocks.

I LOVE the bright colors and cheerful feel of these blocks. They are SO much fun to make; it is hard to stop making them once you get on a roll. I haven't decided how I will put them together yet. Maybe I'll save that for another retreat.

I did get a few pictures of some of the things the other retreat attendees worked on. Donna is a "get her done" kind of gal. I've heard her describe her sewing/quilting style as "down and dirty." She makes quilts that will be used and loved (and she always wants to make them fast). She made five kids/charity quilts using the "Disappearing Nine Patch" method. (I'm showing you two of those, but that isn't nearly all she got done!) Cutting her pieces from fat quarters, she used a 17" square ruler to cut BIG squares and made a huge nine-patch block. She then cut up the block, sewed it back together, and voila...

quick and easy quilt tops.

Robin worked on (and finished the top for) this quilt top while she was there.

I love the quirky trails in this quilt.

Everyone else at the retreat got lots done too. I "fell asleep at the wheel" and didn't get pictures of anything else. I'll try to do better next time. I just LOVE going on quilting retreats. Spending time with people you really like doing something you love to do is just the best!

I have one more thing to share. I have a fiber piece in the 21st Annual Juried Art Exhibition at the Jasper Arts Center (in Jasper, IN). The exhibition runs from September 3-28, 2014, at Krempp Gallery (951 College Avenue in Jasper). You can read more about the show at The exhibition is open Mon and Fri from 8:30 am-5 pm, Thursdays from 8:30 am-7 pm, and Sundays from noon-3 pm. The opening reception is from 5-8 pm on September 4, 2014, if you'd like to come by. I'd love to see some of my friends there (and there are refreshments and a cash bar). If you can't come to the reception, come on by another time and check it out.