Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The Old Becomes New and Something in Blue

I've been feeling the blues lately... not in my mood, but rather, it seems that all current projects are in shades of blues.  Maybe it is a "winter" thing?  The cold temperatures, etc...  I have been piecing blocks for my new(ish) Brides Quilt II in a variety of blues.  I have one section of the "non-traditional" layout ready for quilting.  

I have also been admiring blue dishes and remembering the summer mornings when I would wake at my grandparent's house in Tucson and have a bowl of cereal in their Wedgewood style cereal bowls... 

A card that came from an aunt before Christmas featured some paper embroidery... I picked the book up and looked through it.  

Last week, after seeing @imfeelincrafty add some embroidered balloons to a b/w photo I thought I might jump in! And that is what I did.  

I finally gathered the courage to pull out a book that I picked up from a deep discount clearance sale.  I mean, why would anyone pass up a book for $1.70???  "Embroider the Psalms" includes 12 different photos and instructions so that you can add embroidered embellishment to create a lovely and delightful photo that you can frame. Paper embroidery is so different... but I like it.

The method of paper embroidery is much slower than traditional embroidery because you have to carefully handle the photo taking care to not bend or fold and take each stitch completely individually.  

To begin, using the very tip of a sharp needle, you perforate the paper where you want to create your stitches.  I am taking one small section at a time.

Is this something that I will continue to do, beyond this one photo?  Perhaps... it may be a camping activity when I complete our Camping Journal Quilt.  I can keep a variety of thread colors on hand with the book and it won't take up much room.  It definitely is not as easy to do while riding in the car/truck, but then again... it is a slow-stitch project... so what's the rush?

Since my supply of blue thread was lacking an ample supply of a deep dark blue, and it called for several medium and light shades (which I do have) I opted for the use of a variegated blue for some of the details. I am pleased with the look.

Dave gave me skeptical look when I started the process... he asked questions about what I was doing, why and... "what are you going to do with it when you are done?"  

Why do we have to have an answer to such a question???  

Sometimes a project just satisfies the "create drive" that we all have.  How it manifests will vary.  Some will design clothing or do interior design...  Others build guns or guitars...  Some design buildings, roads or lego villages... Still others will use a tractor to move snow (or dirt so that when the snow melts, it goes where the designer wants it to.)  Some will cook, some will draw, others will paint.

Why does the result of a creative session have to have an actual use or purpose?

My apologies... This actually turned more into a rant than an expression of creativity... Apparently his questions struck me in an odd way... Sorry :( 

Keep Creating,


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Sunday, January 28, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ January 29, 2024

Well... another week has passed and we are peeking around the corner towards February!  Wow... 10 days of water restrictions or no water are now a thing of the past.

The mountain of laundry is becoming manageable a few loads at a time.  I certainly don't want to contribute to a problem with water over-use should the pumps not be able to keep up. No, no, no... that would be very bad!

You may be wondering, what was your first load of laundry?  It was a load that included two quilts and a few towels.  A quilter has to have her priorities in the proper order, right?  I needed one of the quilts to be gift wrapped and ready to deliver to the 15-year-old boy!  

All-in-all, I have realized that we have more than enough clothes!  Ten days... and we still had the daily necessities of socks and underwear to last a few more days.  The second load was made up of jeans.  While the stack of jeans in the closet was declining, we still had a few more.  Shirts were getting slim, but we managed, and linens were aplenty in the closet.  So, just why do I do laundry so often???  Probably because I don't like the baskets overflowing... or maybe because it just became a habit when the girls were still living here.  I had to do a load or two every few days to stay ahead of the overflow.

Should I purge?  Nah... that would just take time away from my studio. LOL!

And I have had plenty of time in the studio.  As I waited for the water service to be restored, I quilted a sweet Valentines table topper and hosted the weekly TGIFF party.  Did you see/hear my informal announcement for my new Sew Along event?  

The Bride's Quilt II will begin in a few weeks... I don't have a firm start date, but for now, you can begin a fabric pull.  

Recently, I have been influenced and inspired by and her single colorway quilts/kits. Go check her out on Instagram. :)

I have always been drawn to the Wedgewood and Currier & Ives blue dishes.  Several years ago, 2011, I made these two quilts for couples that had invited us to their weddings.  

I am drawing from Amanda's influence and will be making another "blue work" quilt.  These patterns are the same blocks that were part of the Pieces in the Garden quilt in 2022... but a larger size.

Since publishing that announcement, I am tempted to go with an optional layout that would require 16 blocks 12" blocks and eight 6" blocks.  It is a non-typical layout that I could see being done as a Quilt-As-You-Go in 4 larger main sections like the picture below.

What's your preference?

Traditional sampler quilt layout?  Or a non-traditional layout?

No matter your decision, I will likely offer directions for both layouts.  

This would be a beautiful quilt in any color... purple would be like a field of lavender (I'm thinking that I will make the traditional layout in this scrappy colorway) or yellows (with a little blue/green) could be like sunflowers and daisies... or a variety of pinks would be like a rose garden... greens could be like a beautiful meadow. 

There are so many options!

Which will you choose?  Will you plan on joining the sew along?  Watch for more details!

It is now time for this week's feature... Not Afraid of Color's Feathered Star block is part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge and is absolutely beautiful and the "star of the party."  Her choice of background fabric will be fabulous when all of her blocks are put together.  Go show her some love!

Keep piecing,


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Thursday, January 25, 2024

TGIFF & The Bride's Quilt II ~ A New Sew Along

Welcome to TGIFF ~ Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday and Melva Loves Scraps.

I am excited to be announcing a new(ish) revamped Sew Along ~ The Bride's Quilt II!  I have been allowing an idea to marinate and develop for some time.

But first
... I'll share my most recent finish.  This vintage postcard panel is our newest table topper for the season. This type of project is a great way to practice FMQ and to refresh the muscle memory of your movement for size and timing. I did stippling in the background areas (though it is hard to see), twisted ribbons in borders, outlined details of the flowers and leaves and a cross-hatch over the "medallion" area.  You might notice a small tag in the lower left corner... it was one of the tags from my Advent calendar that I bought - Kylie & the Machine tags... there was an assortment of fun little tags with cute sayings, and I thought "MWAH" was a perfect addition to this table topper. πŸ‘„πŸ’–

Here are a few shots of details...

On to my announcement... 

In 2022, I hosted the Pieces in the Garden Row quilt that was based on the story of a Bride's Quilt and the life of my Maternal Grandmother, Tressie Teegarden.  This quilt was a row quilt made of 15 different blocks, varying in sizes 3-inch, 4-inch and 6-inch.  Some of the blocks were quite challenging just because of the tiny pieces... as well as the need for multiples of 8, 12 or 16.  

I was more than pleased with the finished quilt but have to admit that it ended up being much more a challenge than I had anticipated.

The Bride's Quilt II, a sampler quilt, will have 12-inch blocks.  Here's a few photos of quilts I made a several years ago... in 2011.

The sew along quilt will include 12 blocks, all traditionally pieced. 

I have a fat-quarter bundle in various shades of blue on order and have begun re-writing patterns from the Pieces in the Garden.

In previous sew alongs I have had a story accompany the block/pattern.  This one will be a little different... This time I want your quilt to tell your story.  I will have pages with a series of questions included with the pattern. Here's a sample...

Watch for details of start date... I'd love to hear if you are interested in joining in.  Leave me a comment. :)

It is now your turn... share your recent finish in the party.

(I was asked to kindly note that this linkup is for finishes... but I'll just leave it up to you to define "finished". 😁   I know that I have several "finished" steps... the main part of a quilt top prior to adding borders, a completed top, a quilt that has the quilting completed... and then there is a finally finished quilt with binding.... like I said, I'll let you define finish. πŸ˜‰)  Thanks for joining me!

Keep Piecing,


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Sunday, January 21, 2024

Sew & Tell ~ January 22, 2024

It's been a week... and what a week it's been!

The record low temperatures over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend shattered record lows of 90 years.  It caused a freeze in a 4-inch water main in the small water system that serves our small neighborhood.  Small as in only 60 or so houses are on this system.  Dave is the president of the board as well as the head maintenance guy for the system.  

The "fun" began early Tuesday morning with a text message stating that a residence had no water. Uh-oh... bad news.  As other residents began their days more calls and messages came in.  It became clear, very quickly, that there was a serious problem.  
After determining the location of the freeze (a section of line that crosses a deep cut where railroad tracks once existed) the team of professionals and volunteer residents were able to separate the system so that the 15 houses without water would once again have water service restored directly from the system's pump house.  The remaining residents were unaffected (including our house) since we were supplied by the direct line from a water storage tank.

However, because there was no way to refill the tank, we would need to conserve water.  This means no long showers, dish washers, or laundry.  Dave was gone most of the days, though still nearby, so I had extra time for quilting and sewing.  

And, honestly, I never realized just how much time is taken up with doing laundry!  As was not typical, I had just done all of the laundry just before the freeze... (God's timing and wisdom is just amazing) So, we are doing fine with not needing to go naked... yet. With fingers crossed and our prayers spoken boldly, we hope to have water full, yet temporarily, restored by Tuesday.  But... as things have progressed, it has been determined that there are multiple leaks within the system in both sections. **sigh** 

Enough of my whining... here is what I got done!

I completed the custom order of a table runner that looked like the Colorado flag as well as a set of 4 soup bowl cozies.  You can read all about them on the Red Letter Day story.

I prepared my semi-annual supply of file holders to be sold to gunsmithing enrolled in the program at the local college. These help the students to protect the pricey investment of files they need for gunsmithing and allow them to be contained in one place for easy transport.

And finally, I quilted our grandson's Denver Nuggets quilt.  How fortunate that one of the jerseys I included in the quilt was "15"... and Tyshan turned 15!  
The all-over grid spaced at 4 inches went quickly.

What will the coming week hold, other than water woes?

I am preparing to announce a sew along!  I'll be piecing blocks, determining layout options and writing patterns.  The announcement will be made when I host TGIFF ~ Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday.  Be sure to come back and plan to join that party as well.

This week's Sew & Tell feature is Brenda at Songbird Design.  She shared her pretty little batik bird sitting atop a spool of thread as her center medallion of her Stay At Home Round Robin quilt. Lovely!  I've included the link to her post with the details of the event.  Check it out!

Keep Piecing,


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Thursday, January 18, 2024

Red Letter Day

It's a red-letter day!  You may ask, "Why?"

Because I finished the custom order for a Colorado flag table runner and bowl cozies! And that red letter is a C.

The table runner (20" x 40") perfect for a table, cedar chest or buffet.  I used prairie points to make the mountains and I appliqued Fishers Peak in the yellow sun - Fishers Peak is a prominent landmark and the newest addition to the Colorado State Parks system.

The bowl cozies are a bit fancier than the normal... Piecing in that C took a little bit of quilt math and extra time, but the result was more than I could have hoped for.   The bowl cozy pattern came from Happy Hour Stitches.   

That's all I have for now... but before you go,

Tell me about one of your favorite state or national parks.  
Why is it your favorite?

Maybe we'll add it to our list.

Keep Piecing,


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Sunday, January 14, 2024

A Slow Stitched Sew & Tell

It's Sew &Tell time... Welcome!  I had a super productive week with two fabulous finishes that I shared late in the week.  You can read all of the details here.

I am still in a holding pattern for finishing the Denver Nuggets basketball quilt. The backing fabric should be delivered on Tuesday.

After a thorough cleaning of the house and bathrooms, I turned my attention to our Camping Journal quilt. I made a few more park signs and then I created a few kits for the blocks I decided to include to represent each night of our stays.  Below are two for our stay at Palo Duro Canyon State Park where we enjoyed plenty of hiking... 

The scene represented in my block above

As I sat and stitched and enjoyed a variety of shows (Little House, a hallmark movie about a veil, Heartland and others, I kept thinking, "I have other projects I should be starting."  But I told myself to just sit and enjoy... So... I did.  It was relaxing and cozy.

For the coming week, I will allow my attention to turn to a few new projects.  I had a request for another Colorado Flag table runner and a set of 4 bowl cozies in the colors of a Colorado flag.  

The table runner will be easy and quick... I need to think on the bowl cozies. As luck would have it, I happen to have the 100% cotton batting required for the cozies since I had a customer request a few microwaveable potato baker bags before Christmas.

Let's take a look at this week's feature... Nann at With Strings Attached shared several finishes, but her nine-patch with gold-ish/cheddar setting squares captured my attention.

It is a bold color and as an "unofficial" challenge to myself this year, I have a desire to use more bold colors and quilt-outside-the-box in some of my projects.  

Does the fact that I stated that here make it official now?  If so, disregard it!  

I have a friend who loves purple and encourages me to use it more in my quilts.  I find myself naturally drawn to greens in many of my quilts... blue is my favorite color... Orange is probably my least used color in quilting... How about you???

What color is your favorite to use in quilts?
What color is your least used or favorite?

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Stay warm and Keep Piecing,


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Thursday, January 11, 2024

Double Finish

The weather outside was terrible... it was cold... It was snowing and it was windy.  It was wintering outside like it hasn't wintered for a while.  I was quite content staying inside, whether in my studio quilting the TOPS quilt or in the living room as I hand-quilted my sweet, silky elephants.

The interstate was closed in both directions. Yet, Dave was out in this storm clearing our driveway...and it was still snowing and drifting.  Then he went to a nearby neighbor who is 70+ years.  Then... then... then... He was really enjoying his time on his tractor.  Boy and their toys, right?  When the snow stopped, the sun returned shortly after and we were off to my Mom's house.  She and two other houses share a long driveway that is just off the highway.  The highway was open... the driveway is private and no one was available to clear it. **sigh** I will be glad when the snow removal is no longer our responsibility.  Twelve inches of snow was a lot to remove by shovel and snowblower.  No fun...

However, as I stated, for as long as I could, I was content with my quilting.

The TOPS quilt was my first "storm" finish.  It is approximately 40"x60".  The grid, on point, is spaced at 3 inches using navy thread.  The binding is a flange style binding with a bright pink and a floral/bird print I located in my stash.  I have no recollection of where it came from, but it was just enough... and it was perfect.

And the reverse tie-dyed fabric was right at home in the supporting role of backing.

The Silk Elephants table runner was not far behind in the finishing line up.

I love the final result! The wool batting, once washed and dried, really offered some extra texture to the runner.  After some shrinkage, it measures 28-1/2" x 9-1/2".  I'm sure it will find the perfect home... though it may not be mine since I have absolutely no idea where I would place it.

A small snowbank from the blizzard and snow removal did make a nice background...

I know that much of the United States is bracing for the arctic blast of temps and as I write, we are getting more snow.  Though this storm is supposed to have less accumulation.  For this, I am very grateful.  I am already dreaming of a trip to warmer temperatures.  We are planning to head to Arizona in March...

We are currently looking at options.... mainly around Tucson and Phoenix. 

Do you have any suggestions?  
Are there any quilt shops or guilds that I should contact?

Places that are a "must see" or a "don't stay here" are all welcome. Leave a comment... we want to hear what you have to say.

Keep Piecing,


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Sunday, January 7, 2024

Sew & Tell Party ~ January 8, 2024

Welcome the weekly party I call Sew & Tell!  Wooo!

I've been busy in my studio.  Let's take a look. Using the few Denver Nuggets pieces I had, and some leftover blocks from a jumbo Irish chain project, I put together the main portion of a top for our Grandson's birthday later this month. 

It seems very plain to me.  But I keep saying to myself, "it is for a teenage boy. Boys don't want anything fancy."  Am I right?

Once the top was complete, I decided to place an order for some basketball fabric for the backing.

Since I had done all I could do with the Nuggets quilt, I turned my attention to another t-shirt quilt. This one is for my friend's TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) group. They are having a big rally in the spring and will be selling raffle tickets for the chance to win it. Each person that buys a chance will get a one of my brochures that has the price list and order form for a custom quilt of their own.

I am using the reverse tie-dyed fabric from last summer as the sashing strips and backing. I'll need a contrasting binding to finish it... watch for a finish soon! It is a small throw, 40" x 60" and will be finished with an all-over grid, on point.

Evenings and late afternoons found me unwinding with hand quilting my silk elephants. All three have been outlined and one complete with quilted details. Dimple quilting was used wherever there are dots.  There is just something so very therapeutic about slow stitching. ❤️ 

In addition to all of this, I have actually taken the first step in compiling an email list of participants of my on-line sew along events.  I will soon be adding to the list with quilt guilds/clubs and fabric shops that I think might be interested in having me offer a class or program. Would you like to have me come to your area?  Send me an email and we can discuss the possibility.

Overall, I've had a very productive week few days since the grand-daughters left on Tuesday.

How 'bout you?  
What have you been doing?

Feel free to tell me in a comment or link up a blog story or social media post.  I'd love to hear from you.

But before I go... let's take a look at last week's party feature.  Joy shared a tutorial for making recycled upcycled Christmas tags.  Take a look.  These would make great bookmarks too.  

Keep Piecing,


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Thursday, January 4, 2024

The Dust Has Settled

We survived!  We had a grand time with the grandkids... (sans the two meltdowns from the toddler) We did a train ride from Trinidad, CO to Raton, NM. We enjoyed two different parks for them to run and play, slide and swing.  There was a visit to Grandma Carol's (my Mom). There were a few movies enjoyed, baseball games, crafts made, card games played and food consumed.

We sent them home with clean clothes and kiss and then collapsed in our chairs with a celebratory beverage as we finished watching the movie they selected for that afternoon's sleeping entertainment - Night at the Museum. 🍷🍺

After a good night's sleep with no toddler in the middle, we were refreshed and enjoyed the quiet... Shhhh... don't disturb it. LOL.  I did a little more laundry and mopped the floor (Note to self::popsicles are an outside treat) and then pulled out a project that I located as we waited for the grands to arrive on the 30th.  I was anxious to start and had to practice extra restraint and patience.

This scarf was in with a stash of hankies that belonged to my Grandma T.  I have no idea where it would have come from, but I think it is silk.  I thought it would be a fun "slow stitching" project. I pulled out some wool batting leftover from a quilt 2 years ago and decided that would be perfect for it.  I chose a backing, also from leftovers, of my Mom's rail fence quilt.  

I spray basted the sandwich.  I wasn't completely satisfied with the way it was sticking and decided to baste the sandwich around the edges.

I did some quick research and learned that elephants are known to represent happiness, good luck, loyalty, power, or stability. It was also stated that they often symbolize power, royalty, and wisdom, but numerous meanings are associated with this majestic creature. "Elephants represent many positive influences, ranging from strength and good fortune to health, happiness, and spiritual well-being," says Johanna AΓΊgusta.  "They are loyal companions that remain determinedly protective over their families, never forgetting the bond which ties them together," she adds.

It sounds like the perfect project at the start of this new year. πŸ˜πŸ’—

In other quilty goodness news, I am working on a t-shirt quilt for our grandson.  He will be turning 15 this month and is a basketball player.  His 8th grade team won the championship play-off between the two Pueblo School Districts.  I thought he would like to have a Denver Nuggets quilt.  I don't have many pieces for the top... only 5, but I am creatively adding pieces to expand the size.

The snow is falling outside, and I am happily warm and sewing/quilting.

What is your first project of the year?  

Leave a comment... I'd love to hear from you!

Keep Piecing,


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