She Dreams

I belong to a group of quilters both here in the USA and in Great Britain, the Endeavourers, who meet online quarterly for a challenge. The subject is chosen by a random drawing from a list of images or ideas. This quarter, ending on November 1, is the theme of dreams.

I don’t remember any of my dreams these days, but when I was young I dreamt frequently and some of them were happy and others sometimes scary. So I decided to show a young girl having some sweet dreams.

I found a fat quarter of a starry blue. I chose to fuse the images using Wonder Under. I cut out each one in a rough square and then fused them, using parchment paper to release them. Now that they were stiff it was easy to trim them down with sharp small scissors.

For a backing I fused this to a 9 x 12″ piece of Bosal N-R double-sided foam.

Finally I ran a simple pathway of stitching line going from the little girl then up and around all her dream images.

The challenge for me this time was to improve my fusing skills. Now I feel more confident and I’m happy with my project.

For the end of October we ended up with 8 inches of snow, a chance for some nice photos.

I’m linking up with Angela at Cynthia at

Let There Be Light

One thing I learned last week while working on my stained glass window quilt was the difficulty in working with black. My Pfaff sewing machine is very functional. It has an LED light shining on the stitching area, more than my other machines had. Other than that I have the ceiling light.

In order to see my stitching line with all the black, I had to get really close to the needle area to make sure it was lined up.

When the project was complete, a lightbulb went off in my head. Why don’t I have more light on the subject? My answer, as usual, was to check on Amazon to look for additional lighting.

I wanted a floor lamp with flexible lighting and found this model, which had more than enough features.

It arrived on Monday and was not difficult to assemble. It has a very heavy sturdy base and the top flexible LED lamp. It fits very nicely alongside my sewing table and is just what I needed for complete coverage of the area. I keep it on the brightest lighting level and there’s no need to change that.

Voila! Isn’t it great? I don’t know why I didn’t do this a whole lot sooner.

I really didn’t get any quilting done this week because I am still continuing to have physical problems which keep me from sitting at the machine for any length of time. I did manage to wind a few bobbins.

My project for next week will be finishing a challenge wallhanging for the Endeavourers.

The fall colors have been lovely here, but they are on the way out. With the cold weather setting in I hope you are all staying warm and in good health.

I’m linking up with Angela at Cynthia at

My Rainbow

My Stained Glass Window turned out better than I could’ve expected. Framing the batiks in black was something I have always wanted to do, so doing the charm squares as part of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge was the perfect answer.

Despite some lingering health problems I was able to finish the project this afternoon. It was just in time to get it photographed with the help of my friends. The indoor view looked nicely finished with the added 2 1/2 inch black border.

I’ve decided not to quilt it, but to keep it for myself and hang it where I can enjoy the colors. Quilting it would destroy the effect of the stained glass.

The weather cooperated perfectly. Despite on and off rain the sun came out in late afternoon just in time for the final photo.

if you look closely you can see the quarter-inch seams shining through, which gives the squares a three-dimensional effect.

I am really thrilled that this project turned out better than I expected. I now have my own stained glass window like those in beautiful cathedrals.

I’m linking up with Angela at Cynthia at

No Sewing

My goal for this week was to finish my Stained Glass Window flimsy. I didn’t have much left to get done, only one side strip and then a 2 1/2 inch border all around. It was frustrating work because the 1 1/2-inch strips were not pinked and were constantly fraying.

Then two days ago I woke up with very painful sciatica. I could hardly get out of bed and the only place I could sit was in my recliner, not on a regular chair. I looked online and found exercises that were supposed to help. I began to do them regularly and some kind friends brought me some lunch and dinner because I couldn’t do any cooking.

Years ago I had a bout of sciatica which lasted for weeks. This time I was very fortunate to get it cleared up today, Friday.

In order to have something to show for this post, I did some more work on fusing a small wall hanging, which I call Carnivale in Rio. This was my original idea.

I worked on it some more today and begin fusing the pieces. Then this new version came to a screeching halt with a sticky iron. I found a easy method for cleaning it but using baby powder on the cold iron, then heating it and the glue came right off. I am passing this on to you.

This is my latest version including the fireworks at night and the parade along the boulevard beside the beach. The fusing will have to wait.

i’m calling it quits for tonight. This Squirrley piece will be finished by next week, I promise.

I’m linking up with Angela at Cynthia at

Stained Glass Window

Batiks are my favorite type of quilting fabric because the pure colors are like jewels. They also can be muted and swirled, blending colors into something unique.

That was why I decided to use them in one of my Rainbow Scrap Challenge projects this year. For each month’s color I made six simple charm squares, each with a black border.

This was my first trial, later expanded with the addition of lime green.

I chose the pure hues of each color, with no mixtures or blending.

My goal for September was to combine all the colors to make eight rows. Then the fun process began. I stitched up most of them into pairs, played around with the placements and photographed each arrangement.

This week I worked on arranging them on the design floor and adding horizontal strips between the rows. For some reason, between the trips to the machine and the stitching it did not go easily and there was quite a bit of ripping.

So I did not quite make my goal of piecing the entire top, but most of them are finished and only one side strip remains to be done.

Isn’t it beautiful? I think I will have to keep it for myself, probably as a lap quilt.

Now that we have reached the end of the rainbow, I’m looking forward to seeing what treasures all of you have made.

I’m linking up with Angela at Cynthia at

Squirrel Time

We quilters tend to get sidetracked, dropping a work in progress to start something totally different. Sandra at mmm! Quilts likens it to a squirrel running across our path and we take off to follow it. That is exactly what I did this week.

In my last post I asked for input on backing for my stained glass batik quilt. Thanks to all your kind comments I chose the M&M fabric.

With a week full of distractions that was as far as I got. Then yesterday I started thinking about fusing again. I have used it for two wall hangings this year and it is the best method I have found for appliqué. I came across two excellent fusing tutorials on YouTube and dug into my fat quarter solids for inspiration.

For the background I chose a deep purple. In my scrap pile I found a little piece that I’ve had around for years but hated to waste it. This was what started me thinking.

This scrap brought to mind pictures of Rio de de Janeiro with its favelas. These are very poor neighborhoods built of scrap wood and whatever materials could be found, with wiring strung from one to unit to another. Most of them are brightly colored, expressing the vibrancy of the Brazilian people.

After a couple of hours rummaging through bins of scraps I added a few more pieces to suggest a hot summer night.

Here is my squirrel project so far, with no fusing done yet.

I seem to do my best work when I have a subject or image in mind. From here on it won’t take long to get this fused and ready to go, with fireworks lighting up the sky.

The other day I went on a beautiful long ride through the Wisconsin farmlands with perfect weather and a lovely breeze. The trees have not yet begun to turn but in October we will have lovely days to enjoy them,

I’m linking up with Angela at Cynthia at

Just Right Backing

This week I have very little to show as far as progress with my quilting. It seems I spent more time ripping than stitching. I had worked out a schedule to get the entire batik top finished by today, but each day brought some delays. Today was no different, because I had my apartment carpet cleaned and of course it had to dry out. The carpet cleaners did a great job and I’m not worried about our annual apartment inspection on Monday.

So my batik squares have been joined into strips with black sashing and i’m following my photo record of the layout. They really look like jewels.

Stitching on black is definitely no fun, especially when it comes to ripping. I have a tabletop ironing surface with not a lot of room to spare. I find that joining rows from the bottom strip on up is the easiest way, letting the finished part hang down in front. The bottom half is finished.

In one of my bottom stash drawers I discovered some backing fabrics that I had completely forgotten about. I must’ve bought them during part of my spending spree a couple of years ago. Here are some beautiful prints on black.

i’m trying to decide between number two and number four. It depends on who the user might be. For a feminine look the lovely floral on number two would be my choice. However number four has the wonderful bright colors, so playful. That would work for any age group. I think I have about 5 yards of that, so there will still be plenty for another project.

This will make a nice lap quilt and I may be tempted to keep it for myself. Otherwise it will go to our quilt group charity collection in October.

Our last 80° weather was today and fall will be here tomorrow with cooler weather just in time. Let’s all enjoy it.

I’m linking up with Angela at Cynthia at

A Treat for Myself

Last week’s trip to Quilt Expo here in Madison was a really eye popping experience, as I mentioned in my last post. I treated myself to a bundle of Cherrywood fabric and I’m just in the enjoyment stage with it.

The suede texture just begs to be petted and I can’t even think about cutting into it yet. I probably will wait to see what the next Cherrywood challenge will be. That will be announced in November. This year’s challenge theme was Prince, so of course all the entries were done in gorgeous purple.

Speaking of purple, it’s finally the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color for September. One of my monthly projects has been 10-inch Rail Fence blocks. I have been using my jelly roll strips, and finally coming to the end of some of those.

My stash also includes a large group of solid 10-inch pieces so I have decided to pair them up with the Rail Fence. I am not going to add brown or black to my rainbow selections, so this is one then I can piece this month by pairing them up with the strip blocks.

Here is my layout done this afternoon.

There is no red here, because the strip block I made earlier did not have 1/4-inch seams. With my new Pfaff machine that’s no longer a problem.

Since this grouping is 40 x 40″ I don’t think adding the red would be helpful. It will make a nice lap quilt at this size.

Lastly, this evening I made my 8 inch improv purple block.

I have accumulated a good size collection of 8 1/2 inch blocks over the last couple of years. I really haven’t used any in a quilt so I think this will be my chance to make a larger quilt.

Our weather here has been just beautiful so far this month and it’s really invigorating. I’m looking forward to the changing of the colors and have some favorite places to go to enjoy them.

I’m linking up with Angela at Cynthia at

Quilt Expo today

The week after Labor Day here in Madison, Wisconsin is the annual Quilt Expo, an overwhelming amount of quilting talent and beauty on display. I went with a group of friends today for a five hour visit. The curated display of about 300 quilts took us three hours to see it all. Checking out the vendor displays was one temptation after another.My only purchases were special pair of Kai scissors and a fat quarter of Cherrywood fabrics.

I took a lot of photos with my iPad and I’ll just share some of them here. A lot of them are close-ups of the beautiful piecing and quilting, with no identification. Please enjoy them.

This exquisite piece of quilting depicted the state flowers of all 50 states, including my home state of Rhode Island with its bouquet of violets.

I love this vibrant variation on simple strip piecing.

There was a lot of use of metallic thread stitching and crystals.

Here is a beautiful example of appliqué work.

This is a stunning example of 1/2-inch square piecing.

A hand stitched piece of shibori dyeing.

I like this improv piecing with just touches of color added.

A beautiful example of paper piecing.

Just a small example of the intricate piecing and quilting.

A modern version of scrap quilting.

A beautiful example of double wedding ring with star points added and done in batiks.

A really colorful combination of piecing and, again, intricate metallic stitching.

Finally, a whale of a finish.

This will have to last me until next year.

I’m linking up with Angela at Cynthia at

A Rainbow and a Finish

Fall is in the air, my favorite time of the year. I seem to have a new burst of energy with the coming of cooler weather. With the end of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge in sight its a good time to get my quilting projects finished.

Late this afternoon I completed my Chinese Coins top. Because of the late hour I had to photograph it on my small kitchen design floor, so it had to be folded in half.

I have more than enough of the green to do the backing and will probably throw in another strip or two there.

One of my other RSC projects has been neglected. I’ve been preparing charm squares using a rainbow of batiks and attaching a 1-1/2 inch black strip to five of each color. Today I opened the box and started sorting them out. By adding pink, lime green and turquoise I have 10 colors.

These rainbow batik colors surrounded by black will give me a stained glass effect. The placement of the blocks will be something to play with, whether a straight rainbow or a total mixing of the colors. There will be horizontal black sashing as well. I take photos of all my layouts to test them and to keep them in correct order for piecing.

I may finish this as a wall hanging or a small lap quilt for myself, a bright spot of color during the cold winter months.

I’m linking up with Angela at Cynthia at