Nov 29, 2007

Filing embroidery floss

I have a filing system for my DMC embroidery floss. I use shoe boxes and envelopes. I saved up the return envelopes from junk mail, and it didn't take very long until I had enough. I cut off the envelope flaps. I put each different color in an envelope and wrote the color number near the top of the envelope. Then I filed them in the shoe boxes. Before I made something that calls for specific color, I check the envelopes and chances are that I have what I need. I keep the boxes on my book shelves in my sewing room.

Nov 27, 2007

I'd like to recommend a book I just read. "The Country of the Pointed Firs" is by Sarah Orne Jewett. The book was written in 1886 or thereabouts and is about people living in Maine. It's a series of different stories. It really is interesting to learn how people lived then. But mostly I would say that the writing is poetic, beautifully descriptive and moving. I happened upon the book in a paperback form.

Nov 25, 2007

"I"ve got a little list" Gilbert and Sullivan

It's time for me to take stock, and get some projects finished. I made some place mats with a couple of orphan blocks today. Some time ago, I made two place mats but I lost one. It's out there with those vanishing socks someplace. I think that I put it in the linen closet, but I haven't found it so far. I bought a skirt hanger for multiple skirts, and I put it in the hall closet to hang up my place mats so I won't lose them this time.

And besides that--I made myself a stole. It's crochet. I saw some lady wearing a grey stole at a wedding I attended a last February. And I wanted a grey stole. But of course, I wanted to make mine myself, not buy one at the department store. So I picked out a pattern and ordered yarn. The yarn arrived, and I made two mistakes--first I found that the sport yarn I ordered was so slippery and shreddy that it was impossible to crochet with it. So I picked out a knitting pattern from my files, figured out how many stitches it needed, and started knitting. But the yarn was so much trouble to work with, I had to watch every stitch in order to avoid splitting it. Finally, I just put the yarn in a bag and donated it to the library where the knitting and crochet club was making things for Warm Up America. I hunted through my patterns further and found a pattern for a crochet stole in sport weight and I ordered some Paton's Astra yarn. What an improvement. Now my stole is ready for the next cold draft. And on to the next project that has been on the back burner of my mind for ages. I've got a little list.

Nov 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

After cooking forty Thanksgiving dinners, I now have the honor of being served a wonderful dinner by the younger generation! So, here I am, all dressed and ready to go in about an hour or so. Best wishes to all of you kind enough to look in at the blog.

Well, well--there's good news and bad news. The good news is that the Puff quilt is completed. I may embroider my initials and the date on the back, but it's as done as I can make it. And the bad new is "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men gang aft agley" Robert Burns. Yep, that quilt was a b%*&%h to finish. I was going to add a stuffed binding and la-de-dah. Very funny. I just managed to make a pillowcase lining. And done. That's the best I could do. It was like a wrestling match--no like one of those lion tamers who go into a cage with a tiger, a whip and a chair! Those puffs were stretching and not stretching, they were wiggling all over the place. I used safety pins and pinned it to the lining right sides together, and sewed the edge. It's a good thing I can adjust my machine to sew over heavy seams. I left an opening, and turned the quilt right-sides out. Then I sewed the opening closed. And I just quit right there. I couldn't stand to wrestle with it any further. It turned out, though, and it makes a warm cover, sort of like a comforter, rather than a quilt.

Nov 20, 2007

I haven't written anything for a few days now. I was away visiting friends for the weekend. Now, I'm getting back to normal here. I looked back in the blog, and I've been making this puff quilt for months and months. Now that I'm nearly to the end, I'm searching through some of my really old quilt books. I'm sure that I have directions someplace for a stuffed binding that would be perfect. Too bad that I didn't think to copy it. Anyhow, I'll keep looking, as I know it's here someplace. Aha! now I remember. And I realize why this old thing has been on the coffee table all this time. It's "Simplicity" Quilts & Patches" published in 1979. I bought it at my library's Used Book Store. If your library has a book shop, keep an eagle eye for old needlework books. And I went out to a cabinet I have in the garage, and found the end of a bolt of brown fabric that will make a nice lining on the back. It's half polyester and half cotton, so please don't tell the quilt police on me!

Nov 13, 2007

As far as my quilting goes, I'm happily putting together the puffs. Only a few more big seams to go. But I've been busy doing housework, and assorted errands. My big floor lamp in my work room conked out. (There's no ceiling light in here.) It's already been repaired once. I'm going to get a new one. I went to the stores today, and the kind of lamp I wanted seems to be cheaper than it used to be. Those floor lamps have a weight in the bottom, so I have to get one of my male relatives to take it apart and discard it, and help me to get the new one. I can't lift anything heavy. I've been thinking about my next quilt project. However, I have an unfinished quilt in my work box. And I've been thinking of taking all those assorted embroidery pieces I've made over the years and putting them together into a coverlet. There's no way I could frame and hang up all those things, and besides, I already have several needlework pictures that I made adorning the place. And forget about pillows--I'm guilty of making more of those than I need.

Nov 10, 2007

The value of value

Value is defined as the relative darkness or lightness of a color. I've been thinking about it because this week I acquired "Kaffe Fassett's quilts in the sun." It's another book full of beautiful color photos. Fassett's book has some quilts with a clear value pattern, like Lady of the Lake Quilt. But many of his quilts are a riot of wonderful color with little attention to color value.

Now, I'm not prejudiced--my crazy quilts and the puff quilt I'm making (good progress there, I've been sewing like mad this week and all the puffs are completed) have no respect for value either.

However, the first quilt I ever made, back in 1961--was a log cabin and that's all about value. People that I showed that quilt to back then were sort of shocked. They were surprised at putting all those assorted fabrics next to each other. And many of the classic quilt patterns such as Monkey Wrench, Shoo-fly, Anvil all required attention to the color values in order to bring out the design.

I'm inserting photos of a couple of my recent quilts with traditional patterns that show how the choice of color value makes a difference.

Nov 7, 2007

I saw on TV that some people make money from ads on their web sites. What do you think about it? I guess they have a lot of traffic on their sites.
The air has cleared of smoke from those brush fires we had around here. Now I can take my little morning walks again. It's lovely. And I'm only talking about the fresh air!
This TV writer's strike is going to put a crimp in some TV viewer's evenings. I suggest that people go to the library and check out some books.
I mailed those liberated quilts I made to my little cousins the other day. They received them and they like them. So good news there. And just in time for the winter weather. Usually relatives get quilts and warm sweaters from me when it's about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. I give them when they're finished, and that's that.

Nov 6, 2007

Ultimate scrap quilt

Here's my Ultimate Scrap Quilt. It's my first Internet quilt. If you Google those words, you'll find the pattern. It's still on the Internet, after all this time. True to it's name, this pattern used up just about all the stash I had at the time. I only had little bits and pieces left then, and the quilt used those nearly all up. It's a medallion quilt, and so I wasn't able to use my usual method of quilting a quilt in sections, so I tied this quilt. But tying is the best thing on a crazy quilt anyhow, and I ended up with a very cozy quilt. I made the off-white parts from a sheet, and I made them wider than the directions said, to make this quilt fit on a full size mattress. All of the embroidery is by hand.
I sewed a cross stitch picture into the crazy quilt. On the top of the photo, there's a little crochet motif that I sewed on, also.

Here's my little tea pot. This type of hand embroidery is called chicken scratch. It's embroidery on gingham, made to look like lace. There's some feather stitch on the side of the block, but it's hard to see in the photo.

Nov 4, 2007

Tea Pot wall hanging

Here's my flying teapot wall hanging. It also features a steaming coffee cup. This photo was taken some years ago at my old house (I don't live there now) and we had a clothesline. It was handy for taking pictures. But I didn't have a digital camera then. I love making appliques.

Nov 2, 2007

Before I was a blogger

You know, I've been making quilts for years and years. Some of them have passed on into old age and the rag bin. I love Sunbonnet Sue. I made this particular quilt with the patchwork edge twice, for two different granddaughters. And I have made some Sunbonnet quilts for babies. I like applique. This one combines applique and a little embroidery.