June 2013 - Posts
My flower beds continue to bloom. Several lily plants have brightened the corners of my yard.
The fragrance of roses permeates the air. I also have a flowering plant blooming, which I purchased at a local farmer's market several years ago. I was told that it was a heliotrope, but it doesn't look like one, to me. It adds a nice purple color next to the orange lilies.
I'm continuing to work on my farm animal quilt. I finished another heart and a puppy dog. But, I need to get back to the applique borders for our guild's raffle quilt. At our guild meeting, on Tuesday, members provided nine patch blocks, along with scraps to use for the applique border. This will coordinate the border with the blocks in the quilt. Selecting which fabrics will be used for the hearts, flowers and bluebirds will add to the fun to this fast moving project. Everyone used such lovely, bright colors. The quilt will be bright and beautiful. Now, to get my portion of the border done in the next month.
I began a baby quilt for my niece at my last Sisters Sewing week-end. I had prepared fusible appliques of farm animals and hearts, using thirties reproduction fabrics. These were fused to 6-1/2 inch muslin squares. Now, I am outlining the edges of the applique shapes with buttonhole stitches. It makes a great take-a-long project. I could easily complete these squares on the sewing machine, but doing them by hand, I can take them with me anywhere. They may take longer to finish by hand, but I am actually finishing more of them doing it this way, because I haven't had much time in my sewing room, as late.
Here are the blocks that I have finished so far.
I have several more blocks to complete, but the process has gone quickly. I completed these blocks over the last week, during travel time only. Next, I have to make scrappy nine patch blocks, using the same fabrics as the appliques. These will be alternated with the applique blocks to make the baby quilt. It's a fairly easy pattern, but makes for a lot of fun. I really enjoy handiwork, so I find the buttonhole stitching enjoyable. This project should go together more quickly than some that I've done. And, it better, since I waited a long time to start it. My niece is due next month.
Today, was a day for preparing to make a quilt. I know that we all enjoy the part where we actually sew something together. But, at some point, we have to prepare for the sewing. Whether it's reading the pattern, pre-washing fabric, cutting, or winding a bobbin, the actual stitching cannot begin without some preparation.
I received a package in the mail today from Primitive Gatherings with a pattern that I had ordered. It is called Songs of Spring by Lori Smith. It is the next project for the Applique Club at my local guild. I reviewed the pattern and now need to go through my stash to see which fabrics I already have to use in the project. I will need to purchase a cream background fabric and something for the border.
I cut bias strips and stitched them together. Then, using my Simplicity bias tape maker, I created a 3/8" green bias vine for the applique borders on our guild's raffle quilt.
I pre-washed the backing fabric for a quilt. I know many of you do not pre-wash your fabrics, but I do. I find that it softens the fabric, removes the manufacturer finishes, shrinks the fabric, and removes excess dyes. The fabric has a brown background with multiple colors sprinkled across it that look like confetti pieces. The two color catchers that I placed in with the fabric turned a dark brown/black color. This fabric is now ready to be pieced for the backing on a WIP quilt. What's a WIP? This is the modern term for a UFO. WIP = Work in Progress. I like this modern term much better.
I also cut a bolt of bleached muslin into one yard sections. Then, I pre-washed these fabrics in warm water. After trimming the frayed threads on the edges, I folded the pieces and placed them into a box marked "fabric for dyeing", along with a project page from Quilting Arts TV that explains how to dye fabrics. I also made a list of supplies that I need to pick up at Wal-mart. Earlier this week, I purchased Rit liquid dyes on sale at JoAnn's.
I watched a great video from Craftsy of a lecture from the Modern Quilt Guild QuiltCon show. Lesson #7 features Jacquie Gering of Tallgrass Prairie Studio. Her quilts are beautiful. Her blog is inspirational. And, I am signed up to hear her speak at AQS in Grand Rapids. Check out the free lectures at Craftsy.
So, now I am prepared to work on a couple of projects. Preparation may not be as much fun as the actual stitching of a project, but it is necessary. Items are marked off my "quilting to do" list and I am one step closer to be a finished project.
After all the rain in April and May, June has bloomed. Although the weather remains cool, which I prefer, the outdoors is beginning to look like summer. The rose bush has had lots of buds and bloomed this week. The irises and peonies also bloomed over the week. The lilies are budding and should bloom in a week or so, depending on the weather. The flowers are fragrant and beautiful.
I've also been watching the birds, as they eat at the feeders. I have a feeder just off from our back deck, that is visible from the bathroom window. I can watch the birds without disturbing them, as happens when I sit outside. Looks like the feeders need filled again.
All this visual stimulation makes me think of quilting. I love to applique, and have a current project with an applique border of roses, tulips and bluebirds. Our guild is making a raffle quilt and several ladies from our Applique Club are stitching the borders. I began by tracing the applique shapes onto freezer paper. I like the freezer paper method to prepare the pieces, by pressing the freezer paper shapes onto the right side of the fabric, and adding the seam allowance as they are cut out. Then, I lightly trace around the shape with a pencil before removing the freezer paper. The shape is basted to the background and appliqued using the pencil mark as a guide.
I'm also progressing with my applique heart quilt, the 2011-12 guild project. You can read more about the progress of my heart quilt project here. I have so many projects going, that nothing gets done very quickly. I have been steadily working on this quilt, making quarter inch bias tape for the vine, preparing the applique leaf and berry shapes, and applying the vine. I started appliqueing the leaves a few weeks ago. Because of my shoulder surgery, I am unable to applique for very long, so I have only completed a few leaves. When finished, I plan to hire someone to hand quilt the top. I cannot imagine finishing this quilt on the machine, after all the handiwork that has been put into it.
Enjoy working on your hand project throughout the summer. They make great take-along projects and can easily be taken outdoors. Work in the flowerbeds a little, then settle down under a shade tree to applique, while watching the birds. That's my idea of a relaxing summer day.