Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The "Staring" Phase

Hi there...

Several people have asked how a linen quilt is born, so I thought I would take you along on a journey.

I do use the word 'born' purposely - I don't think I "plan" or "design" it...  rather, I serve as a midwife.

This is my next 'delivery'  : 


It's a gorgeous piece of Madeira linen, probably from the 1930s, probably made in Portugal.  Madeira linen later became very popular and was eventually overproduced for the tourist trade - there are some rather poor examples from that period.  But this one has the grace and elegance of an earlier work. 

It's all wrinkled, sorry - no need to iron it yet.  I just got it from England, on ebay... 

Step One?   Staring... I will just leave it on this table, and stare at it for a few days.  I will try to think about the need to enhance the original needlework, not to detract from it...  and I will think about the need to balance details and larger designs, and I will think about colors of thread, and of backing fabric.

I will not think about how long this will take - that's simply inconsequential. 

Let me show you some of the beautiful embroidery and cutwork:





After I have stared at it for a bit, I will try some different colors behind it and see what looks good - I'll take some photos to share !

Have a great day, hopefully finding a few moments to quilt or sew!


Kate

Sunday, December 14, 2014

"Still "

Hello everyone - -

Well, it's starting to feel a lot like Christmas - I even put on some Christmas music yesterday - it must be coming soon !!

My post is entitled "STILL"... BECAUSE THAT'S MY THEME....


I am STILL quilting on this quilt,  the "Enormous Hexagon Quilt" .  Yes, I am quilting this on a domestic machine, not a long-arm, so I can stop and start at will...  finding the WILL is the hard part... I have a rule that I must work on it every weekend...  so I do, usually on Sunday morning.  Slowly, gradually, I am getting there, but no finish in sight yet !


I am also STILL quilting on this Bonnie Hunter mystery - I can't remember the name or the year - wasn't last year, maybe two years ago...  I am doing this on my sit-down APQS machine, so that should be easier and faster... 


Like all quilters, I have an occasional disaster.  I was trying to create a simple little piece to use as a sample...  lovely little doily, and fabulous background fabric from Cherrywood fabrics.

But, I guess I forgot to prewash it, cause when I soaked it to get the marks out of it, it bled and the linen piece is now a soft peach color...  I'm going to try another wash with a color catcher, but I am not optimistic.  Rats - I bet I don't forget to prewash again !!!!

My rule of thumb is that all fabric gets prewashed - it's a simple "better safe than sorry.  And, since Cherrywood, which I love, is a hand-dyed fabric, it was even more important !

Well, it can still be a class sample, but it will teach a different lesson... now, won't it?

Well, I'm going to go do some power sewing on some scraps before my Sunday drifts away.  Homemade soup is in the crock pot, so it will be a yummy day.

Good luck getting all your Christmas projects completed !!

Kate

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Nearing the Finish Line ..... hooray !

Hello hello hello, I hope you are still feeling the glow from the holiday ! 

I had the whole week off, and just had a glorious time sewing and quilting...  and made significant progress on this little linen quilt...  that is now almost, almost, almost finished...

It's made from a Madeira vintage table runner, placed on some gold Radiance fabric, and quilted with Kimono silk thread... lots of it!!   Pardon the garage table - when it's totally finished, I will get some better photos !


Here are some detail shots...  I quilted in a line of little leaves to complement the leaves on the original piece - they were so fun


 I originally quilted the center feathers in white thread, but they just didn't show up, so I hand-embroidered over them using some Magnifico thread - much better !  Add a little bling, too!




BUT - you know how, no matter how hard you try, there's always something yucky on every quilt?  Well, I had several thread nests on the back...  and they were quilted over many times - in fact they were completely flat, and picking them out was going to be impossible.  I was sick...

and then I remembered that Cindy Needham often decorates the backs of her linen quilts - aha - an idea was born !!




 
I'll need to scatter a few of these lovely vintage coasters around the back to cover the uglies and to make it look like decoration instead of 'emergency' ... 
 
That's my 'state of the needle'  for today - hopefully in another week or so I can finish up all the last stuff, label, sleeve, etc.  I would love to call this a 'finish'.
 
Happy Sunday...  heading toward Christmas...
 
Kate
 
 
 
 




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

WAY TO GO, MACY'S


Are you ready for one of those 'feel-good', make you cry stories?

Well, Macy's in San Francisco has done it again...




This is Union Square at Christmas - packed with people, pretending that it is cold, and Santa's shaking their bells - and an ICE SKATING RINK !!!! 

Macy's has fabulous windows on the square, and the crowds shop the gorgeous windows...

For the secon year, Macy's has set aside one of their fabulous windows, on the very busy Union Square section of the city,  for the SPCA, who brings kitties and dogs there for adoption, during the Christmas season... 

And it works - nearly 300 adopted last year !

Grab a tissue... and click below.

http://www.examiner.com/article/union-square-macy-s-features-spca-holiday-windows


Kate


Monday, November 24, 2014

What Happened to November ???

What Happened to November ?  Where did it Go?  Goodness it's been a while since I posted !

Boy have I been busy... work, travel, AND sewing...........

Very soon I will have some finishes to share with you... 

But today I get to start something new, which is always fun....

I've been trying to get some small pieces finished that I can use as class samples... 

Look at this little piece of gorgeous linen I found on eBay...

 Isn't it just gorgeous?   And it has lots of nice detail...



I like this sort of raspberry background - not a color I usually use, but I have vowed to try to vary my color schemes a bit with my linen projects... 

Stay tuned for more updates on this lovely project...

Finishes?   Yep, finishes - coming soon... lots of gorgeous stuff is near completion... 

What else have I been doing?  Charity quilts...  let's see....this one was a little piece I quilted, from a friend's top - Miss Bit thought it was a picture of her - looks like her, doesn't it???


This one is from Bonnie Hunter's pattern - in fact, I was originally going to make a full-size, then never finished, so found the blocks and made a kid-size from it - love it love it!
 
It's been a little nippy, even here in California -  so Bit is staying warm -  she has 'trained' DH to put a dishtowel on her for a blanket when she naps...  in this photo, she seems to have THREE blankets on, but she looks very comfy !! 
 
 

Hope you are all enjoying preparations for Thanksgiving...  my preparations include getting a new dishwasher today - yippee - finally the old one died...  and DH is doing the cooking - we decided not to travel - too many people, costs too high, you know........

So, I will be QUILTING !!!!

Kate








Sunday, November 2, 2014

New Toys and Lazy Sundays

Hello my friends...

Today I have a new toy to share with you.

I don't know if it's just me, but I find cutting a truly square block the very hardest thing to do, especially if the block size is larger than my rulers, or is an unusual size.  

And, since I do a fair amount of applique, I just MUST be able to cut a block square... darn it ! 
I took a wonderful class in New York with quilter and teacher Sharon Stroud  (hi, Sharon)   about rotary cutter techniques - and I got a LOT better - but I still am always on the lookout for just the right tool.

So, last week I sprang for this beautiful box:

Even if there was nothing in it, I would want the box - gorgeous, isn't it?

It's Karen Kay Buckley's tool, called "  Perfect Square ".  


Inside the box are lots of pieces of cut plastic that snap together to make a ruler the size you want it to be...  almost any size...  with a cut out in the center... so it looks like this:


 In the center, you thread some strong thread or string through some holes, so you get a perfect X for the center of the block. 

After trimming, a perfectly square, centered block !!!


I have a few more to go !!!  And this isn't even all of them!  This is Sue Garman's design called "Sarah's Revival"... 
Can't wait until they are all neatly trimmed...  yippee............................

I've also been playing with these:


oh I do love crumb blocks, and I love them even more with black to set them off !  

What will I do with these next?  I really don't know... stay tuned.

Happy Quilting,

Kate

Monday, October 27, 2014

Still Quiltin'

Hello my friends

It's been a while since I have posted on this blog - life has just kept me pretty busy ! 

But, I have been plugging along on several big projects -

Remember this piece?  The final details are just taking a long, long time............





All the little cut-work windows have been stitched down, one by one - oh wow did that take a long time !!




And a lot of little tiny beeds have been added - with more to go.


 Yes, that is hand-embroidery around the feather... I decided it just didn't stand out enough, so I am hand-embroidering with a stem stitch around the feathers - I think it is just going to be gorgeous... you can see in this photo how the feathers show on the right, but are not noticeable on the left...  lots more to go !

Working on something like this tends to make me feel color-deprived, so I often sew on something for kids just to enjoy using some screaming color...  like THIS - just the beginning of a heartstrings quilt... 


 hmm, do you think the sock adds to this photo ???  Boy this is bright !!

Everyone take care, and keep quilting and quilting, and then quilt some more !

Kate


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