Saturday, August 6, 2022

New Work

http://ninamariesayre.blogspot.com/2022/08/rosie-lee-tompkins-on-off-wall-friday.htmlFinally I have some sewing work to show. My fiber group, FiberWorks, puts on a show every year at the Newtown, CT library. We always have a theme and this year it was Light and Dark.  My thoughts went right away to my favorite birds, Penguins. I worked from a photo found on line, but it gave me so much grief. I hadn't done any appliqué in awhile and made every mistake you could. Still not happy with the way you can see the sky/snow merging behind the penguins. I added a second layer of white and you can still see it.

Then I planned to thread paint the shading and started on the yellow breast of one of
the big birds. It looked terrible, so I laboriously picked it out and switched to just coloring with crayons and pencil. Much better. 

It will be mounted on a 30" square black canvas, as will all the other pieces in the show. I am also using a piece I made awhile ago, but never showed anywhere, but I will show you that later. 



I am calling it "Family".

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, July 29, 2022

More bookmarks and day lilies

 I sent away for this cute punch to use on my bookmarks. It has a triple scalloped edge if you use 2 1/2 wide paper and less scallops if you use 2" or 1 1/2. It even punches the hole.


This time round I used two of my old favorite Hot Potato stamps (no longer in business) and watercolored and splattered after stamping. Of course I used my new laminating machine and added some pretty ribbons. These are just too much fun to do, but I have to stop before I am inundated.




I am very fond of day lilies. To me they are the almost perfect flower. They require very little care, have no insect or disease issues and are self cleaning, altho I do dead-head because it looks nicer. They come up year after year and spread their clumps in size.Their only enemy are deer, which consider them candy. So I spray, spray,  spray with nasty smelling stuff. My correct favorite is Repels All. The odor does not last, but the deer can smell it long after we can and they stay away. Aptly named, the flowers only last for one day, but there are always new ones coming behind.









As for sewing, I am working on a project which is giving me a lot of grief. I was almost ready to throw in the towel, but I brought it to my FiberWorks group today and they encouraged me to carry on. I will show it when finished.

Hop on over to Off the Wall Friday to see what some talented people are doing.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Bookmarks

 Haven't posted in about a month. Not much going on in my studio. I am working on a piece but it's not ready to show yet.

I have been having fun with my new "toy". I bought a laminating machine on Amazon. It was very inexpensive, as were the folders you use. I am a big reader and like to have a nice bookmark. Paper ones always get beat up and the laminated ones are so sturdy. When I borrow a book I like to return it to its owner with a nice book mark.



I used good watercolor paper and used a smooshing technique with Distress Inks for the backgrounds.  The Distress inks pads were  pressed down on a craft sheet, spritzed with water. Then I placed the paper on it and smooshed it around. The results are unpredictable but always pretty. Then I stamped them with black ink and various stamps. I especially liked the Tim Holtz flowers. The stamping is much more visible than in the photos, don't know why.

I brought them to my book club meeting and to my FiberWorkks meeting and had them all pick one or two.  

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Dyeing

 I have been dyeing my own fabric for at least twenty five years. I rarely use commercial fabric, altho I have a huge stash. Dyeing can be a bit of a crap shoot or very precise. Mine is usually the former. I can make a decent six way gradation using the zip lock bag method that I learned years ago in Adriene Buffiington's Hand Dyed Fabric Made Easy.

I have played around with snow dyeing and ice dying with some great results, but they are not very predictable. And thus my adventure this week. I am ready to put the binding on my big quilt and thought I would choose one of the blues in some of the squares, since I plan to hang it over the couch in my family room, mostly blue and white. I like the blue/green fabric that I had used on the back, but didn't have enough left and I really wanted it to be more blue with just a little green.

It would have been helpful if I had kept a record of what colors I had used. I have several different blues and the same with green. I held my little color swatches next to the quilt and thought I had picked the right ones. I wanted mainly blue with just a touch of green. 

While this is interesting and very pretty it is sooo not what I wanted. Where did all the purple come from? It must have been in the blue, which after all is ROYAL Blue. The dye crystals do separate when you dye this way, sprinkling dye powers over the ice that covers the fabric.



  I then just plain dyed a piece of a better blue( Bright Blue) but was quite solid and rather boring. (Sorry, no picures) so I ice dyed over it, using the same new blue.



Much better. I did not take the chance of adding green this time.



I do have some of this fabric left and I think I will piece it in here and there. 

I had another sympathy card to send this week. One of the bad things about aging is that we keep losing our friends or their husbands. I didn't have any sympathy cards left, so decided to use one of my water colors/pen and ink cards. I like sewing them onto blank colored cards. I plan to take more of these with different pen and ink drawings and water color additions.



Summer is really here this week, with temps in the 90's. I like walking in the morning when it is a lot cooler. Enjoy your summer wherever you are!

I'm linking up a little late with Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Finished, almost

All three of the segments are now pieced together. When I pieced them together I used a quarter inch seam and then pressed them open. I then fused a 1 1/2 " strip of fabric to cover the seams. I probably should have taken a picture, but I didn't.  I did a fair amount of piecing for the backing, but I think it makes it more interesting (or is that a cop-out for not having one big piece.) 




                                                                              Detail

I'm not sure what I'll use to bind it. Although I have plenty of fabric left, it is mostly green. I'm planning on hanging this over the couch in the family room, which is mostly blue and white. The quilt is 77" x 46". I will have to make a wide sleeve and buy a piece of board. I did this with the big quilt 50" x 50" that is hanging over the couch now. I had a carpenter cut it to size so that it was about an inch from each end. Then he put a big screw protruding from each end. Then he put 2 big screws in the wall so that the board could just sit on it. A very easy way to hang a big quilt. but there's no way that I could do it myself and be sure that it us perfectly level. I also try to avoid ladders in my advanced age. I will use a handyman.





It has been a nice June here, so far. In view of all the terrible weather going on in parts of the country, I feel very fortunate. I bought this beautiful Hibiscus and put it in a heavy blue pottery container. It will be treated as an annual here in CT because it would never survive the winter. But I will enjoy it all summer into the fall and the first frost. 

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.



Saturday, June 11, 2022

Success!

 A big thank you to my blog reader, Wanda, who told me about the Schmetz  Super Nonstick needles that are meant for sewing fabric that has adhesives. I found them on Amazon and they came the next day. 

Thank goodness....they work. No skipped stitches! 

It was a big mistake for me to wash the first panel, not only once, but twice. I think the washing made it stickier. My seams had originally been pressed open but the washing had them all scrunched together. It was a real chore to unstick them and press them open again. 

I have finished two panels and ,hope to get the third one finished this weekend. Then I can sew them all together. If I had know about these needles, I would have had the whole thing done and in one piece. Live and learn.


This carpet where I photographed the quilt is light beige, so the colors in the quilt are much lighter.

I did not want to do anymore spray basing on these panels, so I had to do safety pin basting. Fortunately the panel fit perfectly on my work table so I did not have to do it on the floor and my hands and knees. I taped the backing to the table to keep if from shifting while pinning. I did not close the safety pins until they were all in and could un-tape the backing. It worked out just fine. I took out the pins as I went along with the machine quilting.

I also had to make/remake new backings. Thankfully I had plenty of the blue/green ice dyed fabric. I'll show you the backs when I am finished with all the quilting.

I'm linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, June 3, 2022

The best laid plans of mice and men

 often go astray. And they certainly did this week. Last week I showed you my whole quilt of embroidery squares ready to be quilted on my dining room table. My plan was to quilt a quarter inch away from each seam, using my walking foot. I started with my #1 Bernina and it was skipping stitches. NOT GOOD! So I brought the very heavy machine back upstairs to my studio and brought my very heavy #2 Bernina downstairs and SAME THING.....skipped stitches.

Went to Youtube to see if there was any help and the only suggestion was to use a new needle. Did that.....still skipping stitches. Tried stitching on other sample quilt sandwiches and it was fine. So I thought that perhaps it was because it was too heavy, even though I lifted it as I stitched to avoid drag. And even tho I had quilted other big quilts with no trouble.

Soooo I laboriously picked out the bad rows of quilting and then picked out stitches to make it into three smaller pieces, about 25" wide and 42" long. I had to cut the backing to fit the smaller sizes,  resprayed with the basting spray and went back to quilting. Argh*&%%$#$%^&. STILL skipping stitches.

Now please understand that I have been spray-basting for probably 30 years. All sizes and shapes of quilts and I have never had a problem. Basting used to be my least favorite part of the quilt making process.  I hated thread-basting and I hated pin-basting, so when spray-basting came along, I was first in line.

But I thought that that might be the problem. I had spray-basted my flannel to my fabric squares and then spray basting the backing to the sewn together squares.  Also I had never used flannel as a batting.

Sooooo, I laboriously again picked out the rows of machine quilting and, held my breath and put the one section and its backing in the washing machine....cold water, gentle cycle. I did not put it in the dryer, but hung it to dry over the shower curtain rod. No damage to the embroidery, but I thought it still felt ever so slightly tacky on the back, so put it in the machine again. It looks OK wet, but I have to let it dry again and see what happens. With me luck.



On a happier note, I just bought this beautiful book. I have missed having my little squares on which to embroider and I saw this book on Mary Corbett's website. One thing I really like is that the backgrounds are watercolored right onto the fabric. Her instructions are fabulous. She tells you everything you need for each project and one is prettier than the other. I can't wait to start one, but I have to deal with the aforementioned problem with my quilt.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

 

Friday, May 27, 2022

Lots of squares

 I finally finished sewing all my little squares together and it is now on my dining room table. I pieced the backing yesterday using a yummy ice-dyed fabric in a blue-green. I went way overboard with dyeing fabric when I started this project, so I had two three-yard pieces to play with. I will show you the back after the quilting. I will spray baste it today and get the the quilting done soon. 


Wising everyone a happy Memorial Day weekend. The weather promises to be fair to middling for today and tomorrow, but splendid for Sunday and Monday. I'll take that! 

I am linking up with Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Stitching, gardening and Covid.

 A good friend from High School emailed me. She was worried because I had not blogged since I said I had Covid. Very sweet of her. Thank you, Judy. I am feeling better, but I still have a cough. I may call the doctor to see if that's to be expected. I felt very bad on Saturday and Sunday when I had the worst sore throat ever. It felt like I had a burning coal in my throat and when I coughed, which was often, it felt like someone was putting a metal rasp down my throat. Not fun. 

I thought at first....five days at home. I'll get a lot of sewing done or at least a lot of reading. I did neither. I was mostly vegging out in the couch. I watched 5 seasons of Grace and Frankie, so age appropriate for me and very funny. I had seen the first two season way back when and now I have seen it all. Jane Fonda, who is 84, looks incredible. And I loved her clothes! Lili Tomlin was also great!

I did finally sew all my little squares together. Now I face the onerous task of basting the backing on and quilting it. I am not using batting because each square is backed with flannel and that will be enough. As I said in my last post, I will quilt it on my dining room table, giving me lots of room to spread it out. Since I rarely use the dining room I can leave it there until I'm finished.

Here are a few of my favorite combinations.












I finally got out to the garden on Wednesday and Thursday, taking advantage of the cool, dry, sunny weather. Perfect for just about anything outside.


I'm very fond of New Guinea Impatiens and really loved the color of this one, that I found at Costco. They came six to a flat and I bought four flats. They must have just gotten them in because the soil was so wet, making it easier to plant.

I planted them along a section of my front walkway and they should spread and fill out to make a solid mass. Those are not weeds in the front, but the leaves from my grape hyacinths. They will eventually fade away

In the big pot at the corner of the walk I planted one big Dipladenia. It is a relative of the Mandevilla, but this variety is not a self twiner. It will just cascade and hopefully get bigger. I usually plant a blue Scaevola there, but thought this was a nice change. The Scaevola will go elsewhere on my front porch. I put in some links in case you are not familiar with some of these plants, but they are among my favorites.

I still have a lot of gardening to do, but it is still early in the season.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Stitching and Stuff

 I have the first half of the quilt sewn together and just have three more rows to do on the second half. I had thought I was going to quilt it in two sections, but changed my mind. I have often quilted large quilts in sections and then sewed the quilted sections together but they did not involve matching seams. This has a lot of seams. so I am going to quilt it in one big piece, which will measure eight feet by 42 inches. I did quit another big pieced quilt a few years ago, Brown Planet, a collaboration with Kathy Loomis that was the same size. I did it on my dining room, table which gave me lots of room to spread out. That one was done with free motion quilting and this one will just be straight lines a quarter inch from each seam using the walking foot. So hopefully it won't be too formidable.





I almost always have fresh flowers in the house, being so readily available at the super market. I also love tulips, but am dismayed by the fact they they only last about 5 days. I saw these faux tulips in Amazon and can't believe how realistic they are. They are called Real Touch, Faux Latex Tulips. They even feel real. They come ten to a bunch and I bought two bunches of each color.



The white ones in the living room are in a clear glass container.  I put water in the vase because you could see the stems. The stems are totally encased with the latex so I don't have to worry about them rusting.

This glass basket was my mother's and  I always use it for tulips. For these bunches I cut about 3 inches off the bottom. No need for water because you cannot see thru the basket. 

I ordered two other bunches from a different company and sent them back.


And on a less cheery note, I have Covid. Yes, I have been triple vaxed . I started feeling bad on Wed. afternoon. My cleaning lady was supposed to come on Thursday morning and I had an appt. at the hairdresser. So I took an at home test and it was positive. I don't feel good, but I don't feel horrible either, pretty much like a bad cold. Very sore throat, achy, coughing. I had a viral visit with my doc and he said to quarantine for 5 days at home and then for the next five days, wear a mask and social distance. 

My sister, who lives two houses down from me, also has it. I think she feels worse than I do. So just when we thought we could let our guards down, I guess we can't. I haven't been wearing a mask for awhile except at the doctor's office. 

So not much getting done here. I vegged out on the couch all day yesterday, watching TV and reading, same today. Things for which to be grateful.....this is not 2020, when you had to stand in long lines to be tested and then wait two days for the results and then quarantine for 14 days if you were positive. I did not have to go the hospital and this, too, shall pass.

I asked my doctor if I should do another test and he said not to because these tests are very reliable.

Cancelled plans for the weekend...a party for a neighbor couple moving away, Friday night dinner out with the "girls" and Mother's Day dinner with my sister and her daughter. 

Anyway, Happy Mother's day to all the moms out there.

I am linking up with Off the Wall Friday.