Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Hello October !!!

YAY !!!! October is here !!!  I think autumn is my favorite season .  I just love the colors and the crisp cool weather.  AND, as you can see,  I love taking pictures of the colors and scenery.  

Now, because I'm not easily distracted enough already, I recently acquired a fancy shmancy phone from my husband ( who didn't like it and let it sit on a shelf for the past year)  ...... AND I figured out how to take pictures with this fancy phone and ( drum roll please) .... I figured out how to post them on facebook  ALL BY MYSELF !!!  My college boys didn't even have to help !!!!

So,  anyway ..... as I said ..... I'm already easily distracted ...... and now, with this fancy phone , I  must have stopped a zillion times yesterday and today during my work day ( making physical therapy home care visits)  ..... and took pictures .....

lots of pictures of the GORGEOUS autumn scenery that I pass everyday making my rounds ........ and then I posted them on facebook !  ( and I'm sure my college boys are rolling their eyes and groaning ....... and thinking "enough already Mom!!!").

OK ..... so enough with the scenery pictures ( for now.....) .  Instead, here's a picture of a yet to be finished table runner /wall hanging (not sure yet which category it falls into)  that I started last year ...... and hope to finish this year......... :)
Well, I've piddled around enough today ...... got to get back to work!
Be back soon!
Mary Anne ( aka Mare)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Big Stitch Hand Quilting Quilt As You Go

So today I had a chance to pretend I was Aunt Bee sitting on my porch just relaxing and hand quilting and enjoying this beautiful September Sunday afternoon ( with NO HUMIDITY !!!).   This is my "Lazy Days of Summer " quilt I blogged  about in my last post back in July ( and yes, the summer FLEW by .... but technically it's still summer until Sept. 22nd right ?)  

I'm hand quilting each block separately (i.e. Quilt As You Go) ..... using Big Stitch quilting ( only because my hand stitching automatically qualifies for that technique  ...... no bazillion stitches to the inch no matter how hard I try!  So thank goodness monster stitches are now "in" !!!)
I found some very good and helpful info on "Big Stitch" (aka "Pick Stitching") quilting using perle cotton  #8 embroidery thread from 2 articles.   This article Getting to The Point- About Hand Quilting Needles  was very helpful with what needles work best.  Then I found a tutorial for the general technique of "Pick Stitching " on Mollie Flanders Makerie.   And the "Quilt As You Go"  technique of hand quilting each block first before joining the blocks I learned WAY back in the first class I took in 1986  ..... it was a class based on the original Queen of Quilt As You Go,  Georgia Bonesteel's books and method.
So,  one block partially hand quilted .....and a bunch more to go ......but this quilt is for me and I'm not going to stress about it or how long it may take to finish  ...... it's my "de - stress quilt" and I'm determined to enjoy the process !!!
Be back soon!
Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lazy Days of Summer ...............

 I LOVE the idea of the "lazy days of summer".  It just makes me think of Aunt Bee sitting on the front porch with a glass of lemonade and doing some hand quilting , while Opie and Andy go  down to the swimming hole for a quick dip to cool off.    I think that 's what I was thinking when I started these quilt blocks  ( awhile ago !!!!).   I thoroughly enjoyed hand stitching  the 6 Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks (many summers ago).

 I decided I needed to make the quilt bigger, so I made some Honey Bee blocks ( machine stitched ) to alternate with the Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks .   The "bees" ?? ( those leaf things) I made double sided  with another smaller green plaid "leaf" in the center of each of the bigger leaves. Then I appliqued (machine stitched through all layers) the center green plaid smaller leaves , and left the larger leaf edges un attached.  (Don't ask why ..... I don't remember !!  I guess I was trying to be fancy and three dimensional !).   I only have one of those blocks finished with the "leaves" or "bees" appliqued down ....... have to finish sewing on the "leaves" or "bees" on the rest of the Honey Bee blocks ( by machine).   Then, I think I'm going to do this as a Quilt As You Go quilt .......and get this ...... I think I feel like doing hand quilting (I'm channeling my inner Aunt Bee I guess) ........ this will probably take me 50 years to hand quilt ...... BUT at least it'll be in bite size pieces !!  (and I can pick it up and do a few stitches here and there in the middle of my paperwork marathons for the day job).

Sam and Shadow , the definition of lazy .... have found the sunny spot next to and on my quilt blocks.............(you'd think I would have pressed all the blocks first before taking their picture ..... )

Anyway...... here's my original drawing /design of this quilt .......from 2006 !!!!  ......hmmmmmm, looks like I was planning on more applique on the borders and corners .......  I'll have to see how old I am when I finally get all the blocks quilted and if I have any energy left to do all that extra stuff in the borders ....  :)

P.S  I'm linking up with

Be back soon !
Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Last one .... DONE !!!

FINALLY, FINALLY FINALLY finished this graduation quilt ..... from 2009.  It was the last one in a pile of quilt tops I had waiting around to be quilted and bound.  I finished 3 last summer plus a baby quilt ( a record breaker for me !! ) .... then hit a slump (that darn day job gets in my way ALL THE TIME !!)

   And this is what it looks like when it's not rolled up (and not yet quilted ).

 My Motto !!!! ( compliments of Quiltville .... found on Facebook) ....... makes me feel like I'm not the only slacker in the crowd !!   :)

Be back soon !
Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Saving My Sanity One Stitch at a Time ........

See that pile of work ?  This and many similar piles of work have been the bane of my existence for the majority of the past 34 years.  Sometimes the piles are bigger .... and sometimes the piles are smaller ....... and occasionally (but rarely) the piles will be caught up for a few days ...... but then they return and continue to pile up.   Sometimes I ignore them and do something fun ..... like sew ...... but then I get even farther behind as the pile just keeps growing.  It's like waking up everyday during finals week in college with 6 finals to study for and 5 papers to write ....  just like the movie "Groundhog Day" ...... the same thing day after day , week after week (including weekends) with no end in site .......UGH !!!!!  Such is life as a home care physical therapist.   The thing is ,  I LIKE doing home care and have met many, many wonderful people and have been in some really great old homes ....... but whoever decided all this endless documentation (that I swear nobody reads)  is necessary can GO FLY A KITE !!! (and that expression was cleaned up for a PG rating ).  Anyhow,  since actually sewing at my sewing machine seems to be asking too much most of the time,  I have to keep my sanity ..... I can't tell you how I crave the feel of nice quilting fabric between my fingers and need to see pretty colors and prints ..... it instantly takes me on a mini vacation right here in front of this &*%$@# work laptop !!!

So,a few days ago,  to help alleviate just a smidge of stress and total burn out ,  I dragged out a project that I started hand piecing about 8 years ago .   See how nicely it dresses up the paper work piles and laptop !!  I can take a few stitches here and there while my work program decides to unfreeze ( which it does fairly often, adding to my desire to throw my laptop under a truck ..... except it's my laptop.)

ANYWAY.   here are the blocks I've finished so far ..... I have no idea if they'll actually fit together ...... but right now I don't care ..... the stitching of pretty fabric is giving this physical therapist the therapy she needs to prevent burn out !!!!
Well, thanks for listening to my rant !!!  Fun time is over ...... back to the paperwork pile ......:(
Be back soon !
Mary Anne ( aka Mare)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Sewing Room Sunday & the 5 -> 10 year plan

 5 years and counting for this graduation quilt !!!   I've been able to do some machine quilting here and there over the past week and now can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel !  (and I'm only doing straight line quilt in the ditch quilting .... nothing fancy)

  ...... and 10 years (or more) and counting for this pile of fabric ...... which I wrapped up all pretty with a birthday bow and an I.O.U. note for my sister's 40th birthday ....... which was 13 years ago TODAY !!!  So, Happy Birthday Sis !!! This is how far I've gotten on that quilt I promised you  ...... so give me another 10 years or more and it should be done !!  (just don't change the color of your living room !)   
Good thing I have understanding relatives and friends !!
Be back soon!
Mary Anne (aka Mare)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Batting that works like a charm !!!

I really really really like Mountain Mist Gold-Fuse  Baste Free FUSIBLE Cotton - Polyester Batting !!!!  ( and , No,  they do not pay me to say that ...... but if they want to, that would be nice !!) .  Anyhow,  so far , I have used this batting for the past four bed size quilts I have made .... and I love how they came out !!!   NO PUCKERS on the back !!!!!  I don't know if it's me, or my sewing machine (or possibly both of us cause neither one is a spring chicken anymore), but no matter how meticulously I lay out my quilt layers, and tape down the backing, and smooth out the layers, and pin every few inches using non - fusible batting,  I end up with smooshed up or puckered quilt backs as I'm machine quilting ( with a walking foot) ........ grrrrrrrr !!!!!    So, a few years ago,  I switched to Mountain Mist Gold- Fuse and I think I'll "stick" (no pun intended) with it !!! 
 This is what works best for me .....on our ping pong table in the basement,  I lay out and smooth the backing out;  then tape down the edges with blue painter's tape.  Then I spread out the fusible batting , trying to get out all the little wrinkles as best I can.  Then, the quilt top

 Next I loosely pin baste it to keep it together since I have to pick it up and take it upstairs to iron/fuse it .......( I have been tempted to just iron/fuse it on the ping pong table, but I'm pretty sure that wouldn't be a good idea)

 I start in the center , removing safety pins as I press out to the edges ....... shoving all wrinkles towards the edges.   When everything on the top is nice and smoothed out.......

I flip the quilt over and press the back......

....starting in the center and smooshing all the wrinkles out to the edges and off into the atmosphere......  When the back is smooth and wrinkle - free...

 I flip the quilt over and give the top one final press to smooth out any new wrinkles that may have popped up from pressing the back.  At this point, or at any point during the pressing,  you can pull the layers apart easily to do any readjusting you might need to do.

When it's all nice and wrinkle - free,  I loosely pin baste it again ( since I'm never sure just when I'll actually get around to doing the machine quilting).

...... and there it is ....... nice and crisp !!!!   Another fuse- basted quilt ready for machine quilting.
Now I haven't really had to buy this batting lately  since I bought about 6 rolls online a few years ago and still have one more roll left.  I'm guessing a lot of places might not carry it and you probably have to just "Google"  Mountain Mist Gold Fuse batting and see what comes up and who might carry it.  I really hope they still make this because I swear by the nice finished quilts I get when I use it.  If  any of you know where you can buy it could you leave a comment for me with the info ?  Thanks !!
Be back soon !
Mary Anne ( aka Mare)