Touching Base

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It sure has been quite a spell, eh?

Well, we have been through a lot in the last several months and it seems things just refuse to slow down anytime soon here. I am now located in Republic, MO., and absolutely LOVE living here!! It is just so peaceful, there aren’t words that do it justice. Even though this environment is picturesque for a quilter(or even a writer or painter, ya know, those artsy-fartsy types as the hubby calls ‘em), sadly I have not managed to get much quilting done. Now I did say much, and not none. ;-)

Grandson(Alex) is obsessed with anything spiders or “skel’ton”, as he says, and has been asking for some time for a skel’ton blanket. Well, gramma finally got with it and got it done. The pattern is not mine, it is found in the “Dare To Be Square” book by Boo Davis. I love, love, LOVE this book! All of the patterns are so cute and easy to get together.
**I do not know if there are updates to this pattern or not, but I did find that some of the cutting instructions are in error. Make sure to read first and be prepared to swap out some pieces a few times to keep the pattern correct. I think I had 3 or 4 times where I had to swap like that or was short a piece**.
Alex picked out the fabrics from my stash and scraps, so it is truly all his. It has flannel for the batting and was quilted with a giant spider web motif using an off-white thread and my trusty walking foot. Bound by using the backing to wrap round the edges to the front and stitched in place using the serpentine stitch(~) on my machine. It really was a lot of fun to make, with very little brain power involved. I organized all the pieces into 3 piles, Blues, Greens, and White. Then just made sure blues and greens alternated.
As I said, we relocated from OKC to here back in late April.., well, most of my stuff is here except for my one and only cutting mat and all of my rotary cutters! Those are still in storage in OKC. :-( Now, how the hell did I miss packing those up for MO?? UGH!
So, all pieces for this quilt were marked and cut using the old template and scissors method. I see why rotary was so quick to catch on, let me tell ya. What an “experience” that turned out to be. I reckon all ya’ll wanna see the pics then, huh? Oh, alright.., let’s get to gettin’ then.

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Isn’t that just super cute?!! I just love this as it’s not too scary or macabre for a 5 yr old, and the color choices he made give it a sorta piratey/Caribbean flavor. The spider web sorta shows here on the back but, is much better in person. The effect turned out great as I never see an actual web until I have put my hand, or face rather, right into it. So, win-win.

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Now this pic(above) is the results of something new I tried. I have a hard time trying to make labels for my quilts that “fit in” with the overall theme. They always stand out  and take attention away from the actual quilt. So.., this time I added the label info into the stitching that holds the binding. It is on the front of the quilt and actually blends in very well. I am sure at some point(when the little guy learns to read) he will notice that it says “~Alex~Matheny~Love~Gramma~Paula~Matheny~Republic,MO.~July 30,2014~” along one side of the binding.   If not, I will be sure to show him. ;-)

Other than this one quilt, wow I am so behind my normal here, I have gotten the 8 pink inner star points done on our anniversary quilt. I just don’t know if I will ever get this one done, let alone what the hell WAS I thinking when I started it. LoL! My hand piecing has gotten much better and consistent though, so I reckon that is a plus. I have to mark and cut out the 16 blue points and then start on them.

But first I am back on the treadle working on a single Irish Chain I started last fall. I just love my old girl, she is such an easy-laid-back kinda girl and never gives me any trouble.

Well, shoot, I was gonna drop a pic in of that quilt top but forgot that the pic is on my cell and not the ‘puter. Have to work on that this week for ya. I reckon that’s all I got for now, maybe now that we getting all settled in I can keep up with this better..? I sure hope so, I miss all ya’ll stopping by. So, til next time Happy Quilting!

~theHippieQuilter

 

No longer in limbo…

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Sometimes ya just gotta step away and refocus. Or in my case, get my head straight and find that drive again. Which I did, I think. 

We currently have Dish Net for our ISP, which I do not recommend, and as such internet service is slower than old dial-up. Having said that, I must apologize for not being able to see where my blog left off. So I am just gonna jump in and go from here. If I miss an update ya may be curious about, please holla at me and I will catch ya up. That said, “Here we go, paw-paw!”

Superman has been shelved and needs an overhaul of the center logo. It has been ripped out and something else will be put in its place. Not exactly sure what just yet but am thinking something spiral-y to contrast the sharpness of the Trip Around The World. Still drafting that one out though so not much progress there.

The scrappy strip quilt did get finished in time for Christmas! I did take the suggestion of adding applique to it and quilted it using a butterfly panto. Bound with a scrappy binding and it was very well received by my sons fiance. Here is a pic of that one:

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Of course, that was before being bound. I always forget to get a final pic, too excited to have it quilt up good I reckon. LOL!

Let’s see what else I’ve been up to…? Oh yeah, I managed to crochet myself a warm but lightweight sweater. I love it a lot and wear it as much as possible. My oldest loved it so much he asked for one in green. Almost got that one done as well. 

Using a pattern from Marcia Hohn(sp?) over at quilterscache.com (Sweetheart Chain), I got this top done for a dear friends daughter:

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Contrary to the pic, it does lay flat. LoL! I added the appliqued hearts to perk it up as I thought it was a bit boring. Last Saturday, I got it all loaded up on the long arm and started the stabilizing stitching to get it quilted. Well…., “See, what happened was..” someone, not naming names here, kinda, sorta, forgot to tighten the screw that holds the needle in and.. well…   Ugh! It fell out and jammed in the bobbin casing. 20 mins and a pair of pliers later, I did manage to get all 3 pieces of the needle out of it and. Ah hell, I admit it, I broke it. It now needs re-timed and probably a trip to the repair shop as the thread take up ring around the bobbin housing just spins freely, which causes the needle to hit. Oh well, back to the dsm for quilting. It’s all good.

This is what I have done so far on it:

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I am using a variegated thread in purples for the quilting on this one. So far, I am liking the effects I am getting. The orange print for the pieced hearts is from the 1960s and has all the colors of the appliqued hearts in it. I am just not a fan of how purple the background became using this print. By itself, it was a very pale lavender. Funny how the print darkened it, huh?

Last up, is the Radiant Star I am hand piecing. This one is slow going but I really enjoy the process. I have never done hand piecing on this scale before but am glad I decided to go this way. I started with 5-6 stitches per inch and have progressed to 8-9 stitches per inch. I am shocked at the difference! I do pin, a lot, but do not use a thimble. That is just not happening. After a few hours of stitching, my fingers are rather sore so it sits for a few days and then I pick it back up. This pic shows only 3 of the 8 pink points, I now have 4 done. The other 16 points will be done in blues, with a white background. Not sure if I will follow the design for the border though, may do something of my own there.

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Once done, if ever, it will be hand quilted and set for an Heirloom quilt to pass down. I already see that I am gonna have to add something between the center star and the 2nd round as those blended way too much. No worries, I have a plan in mind already. Worse case, I will rip those 8 center diamonds out and replace. Reckon I will figure that out when I get them all done. 

So. That’s where I am at this point in time. Pretty sure I covered everything but most likely not. Something about too many irons in the fire is running through my head but, it is what it is. The life of a quilter. Happy Quilting everyone!

~theHippieQuilter

 

Progress is definitely a good thing…

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.., in the studio anyways. LoL! I know in my last post, I had said my mojo was gone. Which you all seemed to disagree with, thanks so much for the kind words and encouragement. Now that a week has passed, I do say that I agree with you guys! ;-)

Superman is coming along rather nicely and another mindless quilt keeps sneaking in for a bit of that progress too. I work a section of superman and then run a seam of the mindless one in between. Sadly, the mindless one is nothing more than a jelly race quilt but I am making it out of the 2.5″ strip tub so it is very scrappy. This one I started just to get some type of flow going again. I just started grabbing strips and sewing them end to end for over 2 hours. I didn’t realize just how many strips you could sew in that time! That first seam took forever!! But now the seams are running about 15 mins to sew and so far it measures 32.5″ but, looks to finish at approx. 66″ x 72″. Sounds like it may be a decent size for a throw or even a twin, if I add some borders. Not bad for mindless sewing, eh? However, it really didn’t make much of a dent in the tub so I may have to make a few more like this. LoL!

Maybe after I get the 2.5″ tub downsized, I will hit the 1.5″ bucket and see what I can get out of that one. Those strips are a lot smaller which will make the quilt even more scrappy than this one. Oh well, fun-fun and takes no math, designing or thinking. That I like!

So, here are a few pics. Superman and a preview of the Mindless one:

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I must admit, I have never started a quilt without a plan and never from the center out! Superman is all of those. After finishing what ya see above, I did sit down and draft a number chart of the remaining sections so I don’t mess it up. This was after having to frog 2 rows. Better late than never, eh? ;-) I’m pretty excited to get it done and see what I have come up with by winging it to begin with. Best part of all? The gal this is being made for, loves it! Now that’s what I call a win-win.

Up this coming week, hmm. I want to get more done on these 2 and then head back to the treadle to finish the double Irish Chain. All 3 of these will be Christmas gifts so time is running fast. No problem, I work best on deadlines. Remember the Hugs & Kisses quilt here: http://thequiltingshack.wordpress.com/2012/12/ ? LoL, I sure do!

Til next time, Happy Quilting!

~theHippieQuilter

Slow going “Mojo”

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Yeah, I am still trying to find my mojo and it is just not quite there… yet. Even starting a new project just didn’t do it but, I am still trying. Sometimes it’s just hard to get with the flow, ya know? So anyways, this is the new one I am working on. It is not in any way perfect, considering this quilter just can not draw a straight line, let alone quilt one! But, I will not let that little discrepancy stop me from trying it anyway. I started with a web site that teaches you how to draw anything and everything superhero related. Someone wants a Superman quilt, mixed with her fave colors of blue. Easy combination since the logo has blue for the background. I figure the logo will be the center medallion on a trip-around-the-world done in blues. I went from this:

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Which took 4 hours to get drawn. I think for me, this is pretty darn close to what it should look like. LOL!! So, how to put it in fabric? That was actually the “easy” part, once I had a base I was happy with. Took bright yellow-ish gold and appliqued the “S” in a nice red. Then satin stitched the black edges, bordered the whole logo in black solid then added a gorgeous blue to make it a shape I could work with. The logo finished at 24″ x 27″, roughly. I still have the TATW to finish but am off to a pretty good start. I cut my squares for the TATW at 3.5″ and being the nerd that I am, will piece these one at a time following my sketch. I don’t like to strip piece as it’s easier for me to get my seams right if I do them one at a time. No wonkiness then and any that may be there is easy to ease out. So here is the finished logo:

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Not too bad for someone that is in no way able to draw straight lines, eh? ;-)

As you can see, Harry Potter is still in progress. Very s-l-o-w progress but it has only been in the works since April of 2010. While paper piecing is great for accuracy and extremely small pieces, it is so very time consuming! Hubby keeps adding more and more things he wants in that quilt so I may just never get it done. As I go along with the HP quilt, I do find myself re-doing certain blocks to make them tie in better. Sometimes scrap quilts are just too scrappy and don’t really blend well, imho.  Maybe another 3 years and it will actually be ready to quilt..?

So, that’s what I’ve been doing. I love seeing what everyone else has been up to, it does help with inspiration, even if the mojo necessary to get going isn’t quite there. Thanks so much to all of ya that share your blogs and projects!! Happy Quilting!!

~theHippieQuilter

A Finish, finally!

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Have ya ever been so relieved to just finish something? I finished the dreaded silk quilt and still just don’t like it. But it’s done and my son will love it and that’s all that truly matters. Right? Then why do I still feel inadequate about this quilt? Mayhaps because it was so outside my “box”, or maybe just because the materials used just totally suck to work with? I am thinking the latter and can’t wait to toss the 2 bags that are left. LoL! Out of sight, out of mind eh?

Although, I do have to say this: It survived a washing beautifully. I was so convinced that washing it would make the seams all ravel out and it would literally fall apart in the washer. But it didn’t and I am happy about that. So, here is the final pic you will see of it, :

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Yes, it’s hanging sideways. It finished at 60″ x 70″, which is plenty for a couch quilt for my 6′ son. I used a meander on the body with loop-de-loops in the border. It is a bit stiff from all the quilting but still has some flex in it. 

Now that this one is done, I seem to have hit a rather bad slump. Just don’t feel any vibes and the fabric has stopped talking to me. :-( This does happen to me from time to time but still bites when it happens. Instead of a quilty project, I went back to my crocheted top. This is going pretty good and looks like it should at this point, considering this is a new area for me. Here is my progress so far:

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I am using a pattern out of a book from 1985 called “A Treasury of Crocheted Sweaters”. So far I can say the Crab Stitch is not one I enjoy! The effect is nice but the stitch is damn hard to get going on a row. Once I get about 5 in to the row, they do get easier. It is half done now. This pattern is worked in one piece with a separate yoke. I am anxious to see how it comes out. Just like quilting, some days are a breeze while others are very trying. 

On a side note, the last 10 days I have been busting my butt on a weight-loss journey. Goal is 30 lbs but more important to me is getting tone, even if the 30 stays. I am finally putting the Total Gym we got 2 yrs ago to good use! Watching the calories seems to be the hard point for me though. Who knew I was drinking most of my 1200 goal in Mountain Dews? I went from 6 a day down to 2, maybe 3 while increasing my water intake and eating small frequent meals and snacks instead of just one big meal a day. I have lost 1.6 lbs already with just these diet changes. Believe it or not, I get the biggest “bang for my buck” doing an old Richard Simmons Sweating to the Oldies video! I literally sweat buckets. It’s amazing, and I feel so motivated and energized. So in my opinion, it’s all win-win.

Today is Halloween, and this is what will be leaving my house to get some goodies tonight:

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Daughter and grandson will be haunting the ‘hood. Too funny! 

Hope ya’ll have a great Halloween and get lots of treats! Happy Quilting.

~theHippieQuilter

 

Still stitching, how ’bout you?

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Yep, I’m still working on several things. All at the same time it seems! I am just under 3/4 of the way through quilting on the silk quilt for my son. I still hate this one, working with it that is, but it seems to get harder to finish the farther I get on it. Do ya ever have a project like that? Here is a pic of it basted and ready to quilt:

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I am a huge fan of glue basting for quilting on a DSM but.., had to resort to spray basting this one as the glue and silks just weren’t playing nicely together. I do NOT like spray basting, that gunk gets everywhere!! And the smell… GAH! However, ya gotta go with what works and it does work.

So, it was basted and then it just sat some more until I could figure out how I wanted to quilt it. Not like another few days would make a difference at this point, it’s been a WIP for years already. After much searching, drawing, and tons of doodles I just decided to meander all over it. Still haven’t figured out a design for the border just yet but, I am sure I will by the time I get to it. Originally I was gonna back it in a white silk but that fizzled after seeing the damage the cat did to that piece! **NOTE** DO NOT LEAVE FABRICS LAYING OUT FOR KITTIES TO FIND!! Yeah, little too late for that info for me but mayhaps it will help someone else. Instead, it’s getting a cotton backing in Aqua. Which actually works better anyways, seeings how it’s Bub’s favorite color and matches the thread I am using perfectly! So that choice is now a “Design Element” and it’s win-win. ^_^ Here is half done:

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I love how the meander just seems to fit no matter what ya throw it on! Once ya get ya groove on, it really does stitch fast, and that’s another bonus in my book. Here’s another little thing I love about the meander:

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Do ya see it? The quilt is the Thousand Pyramid design and this little guy just appeared during the mindless quilting. I think he fits in just fine myself, since people built the Pyramids. LOL!! I just love all the little shapes meandering makes, you really don’t know how it’s gonna come out or what’s gonna show up in your mindless motions. I have found some atomic clouds, a few dinosaurs roaming around and even a cow looking shape! I always hope the recipient has as much fun as I do when noticing these shapes. This one has some words thrown in as well, “love mom” “October 2013″ & “For Tristan”. It will get a label when finished but just in case that ever comes off, it’s still in the quilting. :-)

As a side note here: the best benefit to free-motion quilting I have found yet..: You really can “quilt out” a LOT of the wonkiness or extra poof that keeps your top from laying flat! I swear, it’s totally true. I don’t like triangles or diamonds for this very reason, they NEVER lay flat for me. Until I get them quilted, that is.

I have been working very hard to get a sweater crocheted for myself. Now this is not as much fun as making afghans since I never did much with making clothes but the pieces do look pretty close to the pics in the book. Must be doing okay there, eh? LoL! I have the back and the right front done but put it down for a few days to regather myself. Then, the other night I started a lacy top using crochet thread size 10 and a 0 steel hook. I must say, this one is loads easier to work and I am having fun again. Plus, it’s worked in one piece so not a lot of joins or shaping like the sweater. Yay, lol.

This little guy just cracks me up! He was in here last night while I was working and he says: “gramma, are you working or arting?” I just laughed and told him I was working this time. In Chunky-speak, working=quilting and arting=crocheting. Where on Earth he picked up “arting”, I haven’t a clue but that’s what he calls it. This was the scene I witnessed while repairing a broken needle a few days ago:

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This little guy is silly as can be! Here he was, just chillin & watching gramma’s tv while I was working. I asked him how that could be comfy but he assured me he was most definitely comfortable, and then told me to just go back to work cause he couldn’t hear the machine working any more. LoL!

Which is what I should be doing now actually. HA! I hear him a-coming now so I best get to it before he gets on me again. Happy Quilting everyone!!

 

 

 

 

~theHippieQuilter

 

 

 

 

A much needed vacation!

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Well, it was sure hard coming back to OKC after spending 3 days in southeastern Missouri, I can tell ya that! So calm and peaceful there, I have found the place I’m going to end up in, that’s for sure. The views are spectacular, the people so nice and polite, I just couldn’t imagine a better place to live life. Having kin there is an added bonus, as there is always someone to visit with. I had a grand time visiting with my grandparents and even an uncle, spent most of the time talking quilting and crocheting with my grandmother actually. She sent me home with all kinds of goodies too! Lots of mags and books on quilting and crocheting, all of which she’s had since the 60-70s. I just love getting hold of them old patterns and techniques, I have spent the last 3 days just looking through them over and over again. After collecting quite a few books and mags myself, I do have to say… You just can’t find this older stuff, anywhere! Let alone the techniques and patterns/designs they used to use. I just love love LOVE it!!

Here’s a bonus she sent me home with:

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12 of these basket blocks she had hand-pieced back in 1963! It’s hard to see but she did date this one in the upper left hand solid patch. She says she had to shelve this project due to running out of the green polka dot. She has been searching for more of it all these years but has yet to find it again. So I inherited these blocks to finish as I want. I am thinking maybe sashing them in the a vintage red or possibly yellow and then quilting it simply. Just to keep her blocks the focal point. Whatcha think?

She also sent these with me:

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Now there are only 3 of these and I have no idea what the pattern is but they do measure 20 1/2″ each. So I am thinking of making 3 pillows, one for each of my kids, out of them to pass down something of their Great-Grandma’s. Neat huh? I think so. She’s pretty sure she hand pieced these back in the 60s as well.

Lastly, but definitely not least, she told me to do what I want with these as she just didn’t like how they were turning out so she scrapped that project. They were originally appliqued by hand, she does all her piecing by hand even now, to a square of muslin(in the late 60’s/early 70s) but she just cut the muslin off, thinking she would use them somewhere else. 

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I adore these blocks and her choice of colors. It is an added bonus, for me, that the fabrics are actually the remains of my 2 aunts and my moms old school dresses. Well, not the muslin grandma says. I am very excited about doing something with these but not sure which way to go yet. Still working that out but, hopefully it will be something I can spread out to my cousins as there are 5 of us between the 3 girls and 15 of these flowers to work with. That’s if they even want any of them, I don’t know but I reckon I should probably find out, huh? I wonder if mom remembers which fabrics were whose..? Hmm.

So, as I’m sure ya can imagine, I have loads of new and fresh ideas to play with and simply not enough time! I told Rob on the trip back that I definitely must live to be like 150 now. I just have to, there’s no other way to get done what I want to get done in less than that!! LoL Gotta love this crazy life, eh?

Hope ya enjoy whatever projects ya work on, Happy Quilting!

~theHippieQuilter