Wednesday, August 16, 2017

'Finely Tuned' :: Design to Quilting

The beauty of scraps!  I always get a little 'twinge' when I end up with a pile of scraps from a previous project.  Call me strange, but it's fun for me to reconfigure, twist and turn and come up with a quilt.

This is my funky creation from scraps I had left over when I made a whole slew of placemats. Check out Geometric Placemats to see the original source and From Trash To Treasure! The Process how I took the scraps and pieced the quilt.  
Finely Tuned
51" x 65 1/2"
It still takes me a while to come up with a quilting idea, and when the idea finally came to me I jumped in!  Which also led to...there's no going back!  Once I started I couldn't change my mind and flip the script.  Regardless if it was easy or hard, it was happening!

To be honest, I think I picked my thread colors before I knew what my quilting plan was!  I first used Aurifil Dark Pewter (#2630) and quilted in the ditch around most of the dark lines in the quilt.  Aurifil Aluminum (#2615) and Bright Pink (#2425) was used for the rest of the quilting.  


I set about mimicking the vertical design with 1/4" spaced lines in the center portion of the quilt alternating with ping and grey thread.  

The triangles were the only place where I quilted a different pattern than the rest of the quilt.  

The real fun began when I was able to start quilting in the border!  At first I thought it was going to be a nightmare, but soon found out that wouldn't be the case.  

I was able to wiggle and maneuver the quilt around pretty easily to accomplish the maze effect I was after.

In order to get just the right lines around the border, I would do a series of 1/4" lines using a ruler and my hera marker.  Once I had completed a round, I marked another series and repeated the process until the end and I was satisfied.

The back isn't quite as intriguing as the front, but you can get a sense of design a little better.  It does fit in with the front as far as colors are concerned!

Ignore the uneven lines please!  I'm quite sure after I wash it it won't matter one bit!  Usually I wash all my quilts before sharing the finish.  This time I just didn't have the time.

Which leads me to ask, do you usually wash your quilts before sharing?  I wonder about that! Also, if you are putting a quilt in a quilt show, is it common practice to wash quilts first or not? Curious George here!

I am not sure exactly why, but I decided to name this quilt 'Finely Tuned'.  For some reason all I could envision was an instrument being tuned.  The neck of a guitar, the scroll or tuning pegs of a violin and even the strings inside of a piano.  Actually, my Mom came up with the name and it grew from there!  All the more reason to keep it as 'Finely Tuned'!

What I like about these 'improv' or 'scrap' designs is hearing what others see or feel from looking at it.  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, art is objective and that's just the way I like it!!

If my last few posts have seemed scattered or not my usual style, it's because I have been in Oregon for the past couple weeks.  As of today, I'll be heading back home to Tennessee. It's time to get back to 'things', get back on track and readjust.  

So, thank you for sticking with me!  I am so, so thankful for all the support I have received from everyone.  Yes, it's true...Our quilting community is like no other!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Sunday Stash :: Distraction, Long Over Due

Nearing the end of a long few weeks, I'll be heading home soon.  It was nice to be with family and very much needed.  Today I was able to take a brain break from all that has been going on the past few weeks.  

Today I was out and about!  The perfect distraction at the perfect time.  My daughter's 'bestie' from first grade Anne, picked me up for a fabric diversion and lunch!  This was needed for so many reasons...I don't even know the last time I was in an actual fabric shop! Rather sad, I think!

Don't judge!  I can't take selfies...ever!  This is me and Anne at our first stop on our excursion.

So, Annie was a trooper!  I promised Britt I would be on my best behavior and try not to embarrass her too bad!  I don't think I did.  We had a lot of fun, laughs, shopping and food!   

Cool Cottons is a quilters paradise!  So many amazing fabrics!  From prints to solids...I was in heaven!  If you come to Portland, come here! 

After walking into the shop, Anne fell into conversation with the owner who she knows very well. When she asked if I was Jayne, I thought she was psychic!  How did she know my name?  Anne was just as surprised as I was!  Turns our Anne's mother, Bev left me a gift certificate!  Surprise and shock...Bev is the sweetest lady you will ever meet.  Thank you so much Bev!

I scoped the entire shop before I started grabbing bolts of fabric!  I was grabbing with reckless abandon!

I wish I could tell you the details of each fabric.  But alas, I cannot!  I am not current on any thing and tend to grab what I like regardless of who designed it or manufacturer.  

I saw this little print and about wet myself!  It was too adorable to pass up!  Carousel Unicorns!  I don't usually go for 'cute', but this is cute with a capital 'C'!

Naturally I wandered by the bolts of solids.  Bolts and bolts of Kona...which I did not buy, but drooled a little when I saw them!

Instead I hit the Studio E Peppered Cottons and Kaffe Fasset Shot Cottons.  The colors!!  I yoinked some colors I knew I didn't have in my stash.  Each one will properly petted and admired now and once I get home...I assure you of that!

Before heading to the second and last shop, we stopped for lunch and an adult beverage! Albacore Tuna Melt!  A short break to recharge ourselves.

Our last stop was Bolt.  Another fun shop full of fabric pleasures!

The neon pink caught my attention, thank you Cotton + Steel!  I couldn't resist and frankly, didn't even try!

Well, what can I say here?  Perhaps my favorite print ever!  Anna Maria Horner's Echinacea. This was a good find and rather unexpected!

The other two were impulse buys.  In actuality, all fabric from today was all about impulse! 

A few more solids made it in the stack because they were pretty...because I needed them...because, because, because...

The last piece and probably the biggest curve ball for me was this fat eight.  It's my first Liberty of London purchase EVER!  I was powerless when I saw it.  I!

The house, the colors and all those tiny details!  I may just stick it on the wall and stare at it! 

That's my story!  I don't often splurge like this, like a mad women!  But it had to be.  It was so much fun to touch, feel and ogle the hundreds of bolts from both shops.  I should get out more often! 

My day with Anne was wonderful and a day I won't soon forget.  This day I needed for many different reasons.  Moving forward isn't always easy, but a necessary step in the grieving process.  

Thank you Anne, Bev and all of you who sent prayers, thoughts and sympathy to me and my family.  I am forever grateful. 


Friday, August 11, 2017

From Trash to Treasure! The Process.

Not really trash!  I would never call fabric trash or scraps for that matter!  From one a little pile of scraps my mind always races with ideas.  But if you have visited me and my blog before, you probably already know that!

Early in May I made a placemat.  Sixteen to be exact!  These Geometric Placemats also got me thinking of other ideas, maybe even a pattern at some point.

Before I share the finished quilt, I thought I would share my process.  What I started with, where it took me and the flimsy finish.  Hold on to your hats...

Lovely, right?!  If I hadn't made sixteen place mats, I'm sure I wouldn't have kept any of the pieces.  The gauntlet was thrown down...the challenge began!


I put together several other blocks, added pieces of fabric to existing scraps and figured out ways to use pieces that were 'iffy' to begin with.

The plan wasn't to make each of these triangles the same shape or size.  I went with what I had when adding fabric and trimming them up.  That being said, I still wanted consistency with the shapes for whatever direction I was going to go in.  There wouldn't be perfection.  

I had to made a few extra of the triangle pieces (above) in order to get nine blocks for the quilt.  After those were finished I put them on my design wall for a few days to figure out my next move.  

The 1/4" dark grey lines are the connecting lines or the thread that binds it all together.  It made sense at the time for everything to link together.  Perhaps that's because there was sure to be a lot of negative space and I didn't feel like floating blocks would work.

You can see the inconsistencies of the pieces.  The blocks, the I said nothing would be perfect.  And I think that's okay.  There are times when things don't need to be. Then again there are times when perfection has to be spot on.  Either way, it's your choice.  

Of course there are places where I wish my seams had lined up better or perfect.  It just didn't happen and I didn't push it or myself.  Call me lazy!

Connecting the dots!  That's where the magic happens.  After days of planning and working on a quilt, getting it together feels so good!

I thought by adding the 1/4" grey border around the center would put the finishing touch on it, or contain the design.  My mind could only think horizontally when piecing the sections to make the top.  Maybe not the best way to go about it, but there's no turning back once I get a thought or idea!

I decided a simple pieced backing would be just fine.  Grey, pink and a rusty orange.  Now to make a quilt sandwich and get the quilting juices flowing!

I love a beautiful close up shot of most anything!  This quilt inspired me to get 'up close and personal' with it.  

After sitting pinned and primed, this quilt eventually made it to my quilting table.  It can take a very long time for me to figure out how I should quilt most anything.  Especially longer when I have negative space on a big project.  Quilting on a domestic machine has its limits, so coming up with something that I can do myself takes time.  

I'll be sharing the finished quilt very soon.  Because I'm still in Oregon, I don't have my notes on the fabric with me!  I know I used Kona Graphite, Shadow and dusty pink.  The orange and pink orange is a Shot Cotton.  Not a lot of info to go by...sorry!

Stay tuned!  More to come!


Monday, August 7, 2017

Let Me Tell You A Tale

I am so in love with the 'Tall Tales' paper pieced block!  I made a several of these blocks for my round of our Round Robin.  This pattern is so much fun period!  Regular or reduced.  Deciding what fabric for the front cover can be as simple as an all over print or a fussy cut motif!

I had a couple special ladies in mind when I made these two Tall Tales mini quilts.  My daughter Britt and her best friend Anne.  Childhood friends with a life long connection.  In fact, it was Anne's Mother who taught Britt how to quilt, and Britt passed her knowledge and love of quilting on to me.


This one is for Britt.  I reduced the pattern to 50% and picked a piece of fabric that I bought ages ago!  The block measured 2 1/2" x 3 3/4" before the border.  I loved the lime green monkeys and especially the one with the little pink bow tie. 

With this one, I wanted to have a title for the spine.  Something that related to her.  When I found 'Sketchbook', I knew it was the perfect, perfect title.  She's my little artist!  From the time she could hold a crayon she drew and filled many sketchbooks.  It was very appropriate!

Anne's was a little more difficult.  This one was reduced to 75%, or 3 1/2" x 5 1/4" without the borders. Mission #1 was to find a title for the spine.  It took a while but I found another perfect one! I paired it with Heather Ross' Briar Rose and viola!  Perfect pairing!  

The title is fitting because little Annie just got married!  And you know they are both feeling the 'everything's better with you' feeling!  They can write their own book together chapter by chapter!


Even though each book is tiny, they needed some kind of special quilting.  I took this opportunity to try a new thread option.  I've seen so many other people using different weights of thread that one normally wouldn't try.  Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl has done this often with amazing success.  She inspired me to give it a try.  My little mini's are not on the level she does, but I had to start somewhere!

My quilting is as simple as it gets on these!  Organic straight lines.  I grabbed a spool of Aurifil Off- White 12 weight Wool (#8021) for the top and Aurifil Light Beige 50 weight (#2310) for the bobbin.  I was curious, worried and pleasantly surprised at how well it worked with my machine and very pleased with how it looked on the top.

On Anne's book, I added a few lines of Aurifil Bright Pink (#2425) and Spring Green (#1231), both 50 weight. Britt's has the Wool and the Bright Pink.

You can get a better sense of the quilting from the back.  I kinda of love this pink and green combination!

5" x 7"

4 1/4" x 5 1/4"
I'm telling you!  You gotta give Tall Tales a try!!  Even at full size it's adorable! 


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Sweet Dreams, My Friend

This has been an exceptionally hard couple of weeks.  Loss is never easy, never kind or never anything that can be taken lightly.

Losing someone or something you hold dear to you is cuts deep.  The wondering if you could have done something or something more nags at you constantly.  The grief grips you like a vice and squeezes your heart.

My little lady Mary.  Mary came to live with us ten years ago.  My daughter rescued her, brought her back to health and eventually because of numerous reasons she ended up in our home.  She quickly became part of the family and stole our hearts.  We have often said when she came to us she won the lottery!

She was tough and stubborn!  A mind of her own is an understatement!  She would literally drag us around the block in record time leaving us gasping for breath!

She had a million quirks.  Her own Mary idiosyncrasies.  We loved every one of them.  Once she was comfortable with us, it didn't take long for her to be my TV buddy.  She'd hop up in my chair with me and snuggle under the quilt.  This girl loved to burrow and be wrapped in quilts!  

For ten years she was my constant companion.  My loyal friend.  That one constant that kept me on track.  She put up with all my quilting adventures.  And when she was ready for me to give it a rest...she let me know!  She would walk in circles around me, pawing at my leg, often unplugging my foot pedal or jumping at my side until I quit.  She knew when enough was enough for her and me!

She listened to me talk to myself.  She listened to me sing songs about her and call her all kinds of 'cute' names.  Mary Muffin took it all in stride!  I found myself singing about her yesterday...and I'm sure it will happen again.  

The memories are there.  The constant reminders will be seen at every corner for a long, long time.

She started her decline in health six months ago.  He little mind was going bonkers and her little body was letting her down.  The last couple months were the hardest as she required 24/7 supervision.  

If you knew Mary you knew she wasn't one to like a hug, or to be held or coddled.  The last months were different.  It was like she needed that contact and I was more than happy to grab her up and love on her.

The decision to let her be at peace and let her go was excruciating.  I struggled with that.  I clung to her, hugged her, cried with her...and eventually came to the decision that it was time.  

With heavy hearts we let her go with dignity, love, humanity and surrounded by the people who loved her with every ounce of our being.  

While our hearts are broken, we take comfort in knowing she is better now.  She has her spunk back and her wings!  

I'll remember her forever.  I'll keep those memories forever.  And I'll miss her forever. 

Sweet Dreams Mary Christmas!

Monday, July 31, 2017

In Memory

I rarely share a lot of my personal life on my blog or any social media.  It's something I keep to myself, and frankly it isn't all that exciting!  Today, I'm choosing to share the saddest of events.  As a therapy, as a remembrance, as a way to honor.

Friday me and my family learned that my oldest brother Michael had passed away from an apparent heart attack.  

The shock was terrible.  The grief unbearable.  My heart is heavy.  I don't have adequate words to express myself and how we or I feel.  We just got our Mother settled a couple weeks ago back in Portland, where she would be closer to many of her children.  She was looking forward to being with her son once again.  My heart is broken for her.

Michael was a grumpy old man!!  A grumpy old man with a heart of gold!  It was all part of his charm to me!  My children use to call him Uncle Bubble Gum because he would often stop by after work and drop a package of bubble gum through the mail slot for each of them.   
This photo is one of my favorites.  Gruff, but with a twinkle in his eye.  I loved him so much and he will be missed.  

Our family has a void that will never be filled with the loss of Mike The Spike! (a name bestowed upon him by our Grandpa)  

We will grieve together as a family.  We will come together as a family.  We will never forget our dear brother.  

Take the time today to tell someone you love them.  You could put if off until tomorrow...but don't.  

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Happy As A Clam :: It's A Finish!

I. Did. It!!!  It doesn't seem real!  I knew when I started this quilt that the biggest hurdle would be finishing it.  There were times when I wanted to stuff it in the back of the closet, or worse!  But I didn't.  I kept my wits about me (for the most part), hoping that if I stay calm and in control this quilt would not get the best of me!  

One day I might give it another try.  For now I will revel in my finish, but will say it again...this quilt was awkward for me to make!  Even so there is no denying the beauty of the Glam Clam!

Not only did I finish it, but I used a ton fabric from my stash!  Between the front and back there has been a significant decrease prints that have stared longingly at me for years screaming 'Pick Me! Pick Me!'.  And of course...I never did.  

Instead, I let them languish on a shelf because I never knew what to do with them!  Prints. My arch enemy!  My nemesis!  

The good news is it didn't hurt half as much as I thought it would using prints, and it gives me hope for those other purge worthy fabrics I have! 

Clams are quite pretty!  Regardless of the minor issues here and there, I do recommend giving it a try.  I may have had problems on my end but that doesn't mean you will!

There wasn't a lot of time between finishing the top and quilting the top.  Which is not usually the case.  I set about taking all my undesirables and piecing together the back. The more the merrier!  It only meant that I wouldn't be left with any of it in the end.  

You gotta love a scrappy back!  It was a matter of laying out each piece and figuring out the puzzle!

On to quilting!  Because there were a few bumps in a few seams, I opted for wavy horizontal lines spaced randomly.  Once the first lines were laid, I went back and added more.    

I used Aurifil Thread #2310 Light Beige for the blending factor.  Which it did perfectly.

Then I had the idea of circles, pebbles or as I was calling them 'pearls'!  It wasn't until I finished adding the pearls that I realized Clams don't have pearls inside them...Oysters do! One of those palm to the forehead moments!

When I took the Glam Clam class with Latifah Saafir, she showed us how to make a wide binding.  I tried my best to follow my memory and cryptic notes for the binding and I guess you could say...not bad for the first time!  Size does matter!  This is a 1" binding and quite a difference from my usual 1/4"!

One place that matters is the corners.  I had a difficult time whipping them into submission! Having done this chunky binding once, I'm really looking forward to giving it another try!!  I like it a lot!  I used Kona Breakers for the binding.  The color and the width perfectly framed the quilt!

After washing this quilt finished at 63" x 69".  A pretty good size lap quilt.  If I was do another, I think I may take a clam or two out of each row.  I guess I can make that decision when I get to it!

Glam Clam
63" x 69"
It does feel good to have a full quilt finished finally!  I hope you like the finish, the eye candy! I know I'm excited about it!