Liberty USA Mini Quilt, 1 (along with some “slow quilting”)

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I have always wanted a patriotic mini-quilt, so before surgery, I prepped up these little stars, fused them down to 2 1/2″ squares of fabric and stitched them together in a block.  I figured I could stitch on them while healing.  I would use some of those pearl cottons I’d collected while doing Oh! Christmas Tree, and blanket stitch around the shapes.
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The first day, all I could stitch was ten minutes.  liberty-usa-quilt3 I came back to it a week later and over a few days, finished them up. Now what?liberty-usa-quilt4

I taught my husband how to rotary cut, and we got some stripes together (short is 8-1/2″ x 2-1/2″; longer is 16-1/2″ long x 2-1/2″).  I swapped out my big machine for my teeny Featherweight, and stitched them together, one-handed.  At my first check-up the doctor gave me the go-ahead to do stitching, as long as I wore my sling, saying it would be “therapeutic.”  Oh, yes.liberty-usa-quilt5

Putting on these scissor-cut  1-1/4″ borders was not easy (finish at 3/4″).  I’m so used to man-handling the fabric for speed, I’d forgotten how to slow-stitch, or slow-quilt, or whatever you want to call it.  Before, I would grab the strip in front and in back and put some tension on it, floor my foot pedal, and force that fabric into place.  Since I only have one hand available to help guide it through the machine, this wasn’t going to work.liberty-usa-quilt6

Auditioning the next border, with the realization that there is no driving, either, so no running to the fabric store if I don’t like what I have.  I scissor cut the borders, laid out the little mini quilt face-up on the ironing board, and gave it a good press and smoothed it out.  Next I laid the border face-down on top, and again pressed it.  Since I can’t force these pieces together, I have to coax them.  I pinned them together in many places, and fed the seam slowly through the machine.  Flattest border I ever put on, with no puckers anywhere.liberty-usa-quilt7 liberty-usa-quilt8 liberty-usa-quilt8a_word

I had an old printout from the internet (couldn’t find the source when I went back to reference it) that had this word,  so I drew two lines, 5″ apart, then another guideline 1″ inside the top and bottom and freehanded the letters. I fused them on to the quilt.  They are about 5″ tall overall, as that outer border was 6″ scissor-cut.liberty-usa-quilt10

I sketched out a bud, figured out some leaves.  I drew joined leaves, inspired by my love of samaras, or those joined helicopter seeds from maple trees, but also inspired by this photo [PDF of pattern shapes is at the end of this post].  Above, I am trying Sarah Fielke’s method of prepping up shapes for appliqué.  It worked fairly well.

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I laid  out all the parts: leaves, byds (small and large), tubing for stems and more cut stars (on the pattern sheet), trying to decide if I like two leaf sets next to the word Liberty, or one.  I’ll appliqué or blanket stitch down everything…then decide.  Since I work in small segments of time, and ever so slowly, I might make my goal of July 4th.   Here’s the pattern sheet in a PDF document: liberty-usa-quilt-bits
liberty-usa-quilt-printingPlease be sure to set your printer’s settings to 100% so the large star will measure 3-1/4″ where noted. It contains: large flower bud (top and two sides), small flower bud (next to Liberty), joined leaf shape and the large star.  You can either shrink this star for the 16 stars in the central star section, or look for a star online that will measure about 1-3/4″ to 2″ across.

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My set-up is a pattern-cutting board laid out on the extra bed, a chair pulled up to it.

Keep stitching, however s l o w l y !

Deconstruction of Shimmery Tunnel of Memories • Four-in-Art Feb. 2107

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This is the deconstruction post for my recent Four-in-Art Challenge of Shimmer.

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First off: what a lame title.  I had another name picked for this (“Multiverse Snapshot”) which is a much cooler name, but I’d forgotten that I had chosen it, and instead on the label put this blathery clichéed title.  Now that you know how I really feel about it, I’ll tell you how I put this together. (And no, I’m not making another label.)

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I wanted to recreate the little specks of light from Multiverse (see previous post), so cut strips of silvery metallic fabric.  This is leftover fabric from my friend Lisa’s American Flag project (a flag the size of a basketball court); she rescued me when I couldn’t find my own lamé in my sewing room. Just for the record, that stuff is a challenge to work with: the strands kept going off on their own, as you can see above.shimmerytunnel_2

I wanted the vantage point to be off the piece, so I drew a dot on a post-it note off the paper, but when that didn’t prove to be a far enough vantage point, I went further to the left, making the radiating lines in red pencil.shimmerytunnel_3

I had some strips of solids leftover from this quilt, and put them into use.shimmerytunnel_4

After sandwiching the silver/black fabric, I cut it into narrow strips.shimmerytunnel_5

I seamed a couple of those strips end-to-end, laid the resulting longer strip in the center, and chose a bright solid to lead off the piece, and stitched down one side.  I went back and forth between doing this piece in a series of gray and black fabrics vs. rainbow, but knew that I didn’t have a wide enough range to get the effect of Multiverse, so changed it up to a muted rainbow.shimmerytunnel_6

I pinned it on, flipped it over and sewed on the drawn lines, for the most part.  Sometimes I went narrower, but used these lined to keep the correct angle going.shimmerytunnel_7

A good beginning.  You can see by the red cast of this photograph that I’m sewing at night.

A lot of times I’m tired at the end of the day and don’t want to sew, but then I say: “What do I want to have done before I go to bed tonight?” and head back into the sewing room.  Often just working for ten or so minutes will engage me enough to keep going at it for at least an hour.

I was feeling a lot of pressure to get this sewn up ahead of time, because I knew that I would have had a surgery when this posted (it happened about a week ago: a repair to a severed tendon on my rotator cuff) and I knew I’d be unable to complete this, or any sewing at all, for some time.shimmerytunnel_8

But hopefully it will be good to get the pain gone (cause is referenced here) and my shoulder back in working condition.shimmerytunnel_9

I almost like the back better than the front.  If I had any creative guts at all, I would have gone with this.  My professor in my digital art class once told me: “You have a problem with tidiness in your art.”  Yep, I’m all about the tidiness, as long as you don’t look at my garage.  Or sewing room.shimmerytunnel_10

I stitched around the outside edge to stabilize it, and went to bed.shimmerytunnel_11

After thinking it over and drawing all sorts of fantastical loopy lines on scratch paper, I went linear, quilting on the cottons, not that silvery shredding lamé.shimmerytunnel_12

Done.

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I backed it with this new piece of fabric, “Dropping Seeds” by Roseanne Morton.  Okay, I want this fabric in ALL colors; it’s terrific.  I chose a simple black very narrow binding, and did my usual two squares-folded-on-the-diagonal-and-sewn-into-the-top-corners for how I’ll hang it.  (I put a dowel cut to size in those “pockets” and suspend the piece on a pushpin or nail.) Happy Shimmering!

Next quarter’s challenge, due May 1st,  is Light in the Darkness.

This ‘N That • November 2016

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Quilt #171

First up is finally completing my little house quilt, which I titled Celebration.  I thought it was a 4th of July house quilt, but now I think it may be sort of Christmasy (or not), so I went vague on the title.  It’s made from my Home Sweet Home Mini Quilt pattern, and works up quickly.  I need to make a Halloween mini houses quilt.  Soon.celebrate-small-house-quilt_label

And since I’m still jet lagging, this is the label, so I can call it done.  I love that fabric on the back.travel-2016

Sometimes I get discouraged about the pile of stuff around my sewing room, and realize one reason why I don’t get a lot completed (which is why I pushed forward to get that little house quilt done) is because this has been a year of traveling.  Other trips not on here are Kansas City, San Diego, Sweden (which was in conjunction with Copenhagen), and Switzerland.  It’s been fun, but now I’m ready to stay home for a while.
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I snapped this photo of my daughter and my mother together (my mother’s namesake) while we were in Utah, another one of our trips.chucknohara1290

I finished up my final four Chuck Nohara blocks.  I really like this one, and plan to use this design again.chucknohara1208 chucknohara823 chucknohara612 spelling-bee-block-nov-2016

I finished up Cindy’s blocks for our Spelling Bee group.  Our group worked together for a year, swapping blocks with each other as we made words based on the alphabet on my Quilt Abecedary Blog.  She asked for dark fabrics on low-volume backgrounds for her words.spelling-bee-block-nov-2016_detail

Since her blog name is Live A Colorful Life, I couldn’t resist this black fabric with little bits of colorful triangles floating around in them.mcm-bee-block-nov-2016

I also finished Nancy’s blocks for her request on Mid-Century Modern Bee for November.  It was a slash and fill approach to making trees, one on light blue and one on green.  I hope she likes them.  She’ll trim them up to her preferred slant, so they are bigger than she requested (she wants them at 6 1/2″ by 12 1/2″ finished).  After four years of working together, our fearless leader decided it’s time to go, so I have only one more block to complete.

I see a lot of bees collapsing and going away, as people seem to have moved on to doing QALs or 100 Block Assemblies.  I am still part of one bee (Gridsters) which, as a mark of faith in the bee concept, begins next year anew.  I enjoy getting to know the women I trade blocks with over time, and will continue to follow them even though the bee is ending.

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Finally, a note about yesterday’s election: In 2004-2005, I lived in Washington DC for a year, while my husband took his sabbatical at the State Department.  I was able to attend the Inauguration Ceremonies of President George Bush’s second term.  I did not vote for the man, but attended this display of our nation’s ability to keep our system of democracy rolling forward.inaugurationgreentckt

That cold January day was an emotional day, full of patriotism and pride in our country.  When I was in DC a couple of weeks ago, they had already started building the massive platform which will hold the band, the dignitaries, the guests, and the future leaders of our country.  I applaud our country’s ability to focus on what’s important, and hope that I can some time soon feel more enthusiastic about our recently elected officials, in both the Executive and Legislative branches of government.

I still believe in our democracy, and am glad to have participated in expressing this belief by casting my ballot Tuesday morning.

Flag waving

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Final note: usually when I can’t decide how to typify my posting, I call it a This ‘N That post, and just throw stuff up.  The downside?  The title is so vague, if I scroll through later, I can’t tell what I’m talking about.  (I also have the same problem when I visit my friends’ blogs, looking for something.)  Thankfully, the search box on this blog is run by my software, so you can find just about anything by typing it in the box.

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My blogging software puts ads here so I can use their site for free. 
I do not know about, nor choose, the content, nor do I receive any money from these ads.
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Summer 2016 Goals

Pattern Cover SpectrumTo introduce my newest goal, I need to talk about my new pattern covers.  I made them in a new software I’m trying to learn, Affinity Photo, fearful that any day my upgrades on my Mac will render my old copy of Photoshop more obsolete than it already is.  And no, I don’t want to pay a monthly fee to use their software (are you listening, Adobe?)  I just heard that Affinity Photo is launching a beta version for PC users, too, although it was developed as a Mac software.  So this is the first of my summer goals.

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They also have Affinity Designer, which I’m also trying to learn, but since I don’t know Adobe’s Illustrator very well, it’s like banging my head against a wall.  When my friend recovers from getting her daughter married off, I’m going to bug ask her to teach me a few things.

Long Man Novel Cover

To keep reading is another summer goal, and this was the latest book I finished, while quilting up a few things for my Riverside Sawtooth post.  It set me down so carefully in time and place.  No, it’s not a grip-you-by-the-throat novel, but a quiet one, filled with well-drawn characters from a time in our past.  I listened to it on Audible, which I would recommend, as the narrator really gets the sound of the voices and it adds another dimension to the story, I think.

Cal Primaries 2016

Can I mention Summer Events?  Here’s about the only political statement I’ll make on this blog: we recently (and sadly) lost our ability to have a primary election here in California.  We’d all been so excited, actually asking everyone “who are you going to vote for?” and really getting interested in politics in general.  We are one of the final primaries on the Presidential Election Schedule, and for once, we were going to Have a Say!  Except now we aren’t, because of the recent events (which has made great theater, I have to say).  So, hope everyone else in the United States had a great time voting–as usual, our votes won’t count.  H o w e v e r. . . I will be watching the conventions. After teaching Critical Thinking a few years, and having my students watch the conventions and have them analyze the speeches, the rhetoric, looking for the logical fallacies and spotting all the weakness in candidates’ arguments, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.  It’s going to be a long, hot summer out here, and hey! we need something to compensate us for not getting a Primary Election.

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And it that’s not enough excitement (!), we can always watch the Brazil Summer Olympics, although with all the talk lately, it may end up being like our primary.  Click on the link at the end of the post to see this colorful Olympics design in action.

In other news, my garden is growing well, I’ve got a few more projects in the pipeline, but my main quilty goals this summer are as follows:

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1. Finish My Small World.

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2. Quilt Shine: The Circles Quilt

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3. Quilt Riverside Sawtooth

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4. Keep working on this quilt.  Remember this?  It was one of the units in the New Hexagon Millifiore Quilt.  I’m halfway through, and my friend Laurel is all done with hers.  And her quilt is gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous, so I need to perserve and Be A Finisher. (However, notice I didn’t say “finish this quilt,” but instead wrote “keep working on this quilt.”  I am reasonable.)

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5. Finish this quilt top, and if possible get it quilted, too.

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6. And… this one, too.
I am all done with the hand-stitching.  Now just to figure out the borders, and get it quilted.
Easy, peasy.  We are coming right along in our Quilt-a-Long, with Step 5 coming up on June 2nd.

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Other summer goals:

7. Be a good citizen and follow the national political process.  Every other week ought to be about right.
8. Visit my kids and their kids. And my parents.  And my husband’s family.  That’s about eight car trips right there.  I’d better work on #4–if only to have some hand sewing for car travel.
9. Celebrate my one-year anniversary of recovering from my surgery.  I think a night in front of the TV would be appropriate, in my nightgown with hand-sewing on my lap, to memorialize where I was last year at that time.

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10. And oh, yeah.  Vote in California’s Primary.  I’m so excited, yes yes yes.