March 2010

The Stitches

by Karen on March 30, 2010

in gardening, quilts

I have had so many people compliment my quilting recently.  I say “thank you, thank you.” Working by hand is very satisfying to me.  It goes so much slower by hand than by machine but there you go.  Sometime if I get way too many tops piled up I might resort to having some machine quilted but not unless I have to.  It is possible sometime down the road I might try to machine quilt a baby quilt just to see if I can do it, but I might not :)   I do not stress over perfect tiny stitches.  A lot of hand quilters want to have about 10 or 11 stitches per inch or more!!  I have heard of some that do 14 stitches an inch how they do that I do not know – nor do I care to learn how to do that!!  I do not even try for that.  Normally I get about 7 to 8 stitches per inch I try to have them all the same size but they aren’t always the same, if it is really obvious I will pick the stitches back out and re do, but only if really noticeable.  If I try really hard and pay attention to every stitch I take I can get 10  — BUT — it takes too much energy on my part!! I have to watch what I am doing constantly to achieve that and I decided sometime back that I just didn’t care that much.  I have over the years become satisfied with what my stitches look like and from the experience it comes easily now.

The stitches up close and personal

More of the same block. Quilting with the smaller hoop to me is more comfortable than the large floor standing frame -- but quilting a big quilt is easier to do on the big floor standing frame. For one thing it gets too darn hot with a big quilt for most of the year. I think that is why I can finished the baby quilts and couch size quilts much faster using the hoop than I do when I have a big quilt on the big frame. It is harder to maneuver on the big frame because you can't turn it this way and that way - you have to twist up your arms and hands sometimes if you are going around curves.

I have been asked do I do a “rocking stitch” – yes I do that is the way I taught myself to do it.  Some people do a stabbing stitch but I never have done that – I find the rocking stitch easy to do if you have the quilt loose in the hoop or frame and not too tight – you will get that rocking needle easier that way.

I ordered 10 Scarlet Maple trees awhile back and after a bit of problems receiving them and numerous e mails exchanged I finally got them this week. They are small trees and therefore they were very cheap!  Trees grow so fast here and I already have tons of trees so did not matter how quickly they grow.  I thought these would look so lovely in the fall that is why I ordered them.  Now of course digging through this tough rocky soil is another matter!!  I have 3 of them planted so 7 left to do.  I could ask Mike to help but he is working on other things – I am not helpless – just not so much in the muscle department :) my goal is to try to plant one or two a day until I get done – give me a week LOL.  Now if they were very big trees Mike would be out there with a back hoe digging the holes!! Seeing as these trees are only 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet with very little in the way of roots I can do it.  It makes me use some muscle that I’m not use to using.  I am scattering them about the property.  So far I have put 2 of them a ways in back of the house on the edge of the woods and one over by the back of the workshop.  I am not sure where the rest are going – here and there most likely on the far side of our property.

One of the 10 tiny trees.

what they look like when grown.


A little accomplished

by Karen on March 28, 2010

in quilts

I know a lot of us quilters seem to go through little slumps in our quilting and I seem to be in one with little interest in working on my quilts this past week.  Maybe it is sore fingers and spring weather that is the reason for this?  I have gotten a little done while watching tv off and on but not a lot.

The quilting is really going well on the “So Charming” quilt just slower than I had intended.  I am more than half way done and if it was the only thing I was working on I would be finished with it.  I have 3 rows of blocks left to quilt.

These four rows finished. I didn't have the lighting quite right and between the polka dots and the lighting it is hard to see the stitching!

The back. I think the front polka dots makes me dizzy looking at them! The back is a litle better. With the polka dots though it is hard to see the quilting stitches.

Eight of the 24 flowers are now appliqued in place. I doubt I will bother with the embroidery that I originally talked about. I had thought of little green trendils out on the sides of the flowers now I don't know I kind of just want to get done with it so I can move on to the other projects that need working on. That is what happens when I start on too many things at one time.

I think I have 3 different kinds of daffodils of this small bouquet, I have two more varieties that have not opened. I only had about 4 or 5 hyacinths that bloomed this year. I don't know what is the problem with these bulbs, they did great the first year but each year since I have had less and less blooms. I might need to get some new ones this fall to plant. I always love the way they smell.

I have not touched the second Dear Jane quilt in about 2 or 3 weeks and really need to get back to work on it but I think I will finish the applique flowers first on the baby quilt and the quilting on So Charming.  It will feel good to have a couple projects finished.  I actually quilted just a little this morning on the Christmas Quilt and that was the first time in 2 weeks.  I really am working on too many things at once and need to stop doing that!

Sometimes I think working on so many projects has something to do with my blogging.  I never used to work on so many different things, now it seems I work on too many things as I want something to blog about perhaps?  I don’t know.  I might have to do less blogging and stick with one or two projects at a time instead.  I do know that I am on the computer much more than I ever was before.  This last year or two I have seemed to have gotten addicted to the computer :)  how the heck did that happen!


What did I do Today?

by Karen on March 26, 2010

in Joseph's Coat

I don’t know what I did today but the day is about gone and I feel like I have accomplished nothing!  I did laundry and worked a little on the applique flowers.  I am a quarter finished with the applique on the baby quilt so I know I have done a little work these past couple days.  I bet a lot of you have the same feeling of having done nothing some days.

It was pretty outside and I wandered around the yard pulling a weed here and there.  I did discover that I have 5 tulips buds!! The winter was cold enough after all to have something come from it.  I have flowers and plants coming up all over the place.  The peonies which were not above the ground just two days ago when I looked are now about 3 inches high.  The garden is growing and I have lettuce, beets, and radishes above the ground.

I have not touched the Christmas quilt in days once again and have not touched “Insanity Revisited” (second DJ) in weeks.  I am going through a slump! LOL   I have been working on a list for the Quilt Show in Paducah next month — what to look for at the vendors :) my little list has been growing as I have been thinking of this and that and know I will save on shipping and handling if I can find it at the vendors instead.

I had some funny e -mails to me about the large family I came from!  I know a lot of you are not from huge families and to me it seems so normal :) having lived it.  Someone wanted to know how many years apart between the youngest and the oldest – 17 years – 1 set of twins – I was the 3rd oldest – I was learning how to diaper when I was about 8 and that was with cloth diapers and pins! Laundry day was every day and one washing machine and no dryer – a clothesline was available in the warm months and clothes drying racks in the kitchen and bathroom the rest of the time.  Someone wanted to know how many bedrooms and bathrooms – 5 bedrooms 1 bathroom, we lived in an old farmhouse in Wisconsin next to Lake Michigan.   My mother didn’t get a clothes dryer until the family moved to Arkansas in 1971 and that is because it rained a lot and with the humidity it is hard to dry clothes outside here a lot of the time.

Of course because of the age difference some of us were out of the house shortly after the youngest ones were born.  When I got married at 19 my little sister (the baby) was 6.  My oldest sister has a son who is 2 1/2 years younger then that little sister.  Our generations very much over lap – my little sister’s youngest child a girl is the same age as my granddaughter (7) they are two weeks apart in age.

So I think that answers most of the question – no I don’t recommend having that many children and none of us came close to replicating it – but my parents were Roman Catholic so maybe that answers the last question – no we were not Mormon – we were Catholic :)

Now I guess there is still some time this evening to get some sewing out and do something.


The ABC’s of ME

by Karen on March 25, 2010

in Joseph's Coat

Several have posted this and I thought I would fill my answers out and post them too – I’m learning a little bit more of some people I have exchange mail with :)

The ABC’s of ME…………….

A. Age: 57

B. Bed size:   Queen size – no room for a king in my bedroom.

C. Chore you hate: Dusting

D. Dogs’ Names: No pets but I do have two granddogs if that counts :) Patty and Max

E. Essential food item:  Pasta – any kind I love it

F. Favorite color:  hard to say, I like a lot of different colors but I guess a lot of time I am picking out reds – blue’s and greens

G. Gold or Silver:  I do not wear much jewelry as I am allergic to some metals, both of my rings are white gold

H. Height: 5’8″

I. I am: hyper, maybe Attention deficit too :) I normally hop from one project to another

J. Job:  none at the moment I have in the past done a stint in a small hospice where I ran the office – my title was Administrative Secretary/Medical Records Manager – sounds impressive but what it really means is it was a small hospice and I was mainly the only person in the office :)

K. Kids:  Melanie and Jessica

L. Living Arrangements: a little north of Russellville, Arkansas in the lowest foothills of the Ozark Mountains in the country on almost 4 acres of land with my husband of  37 years (38 in June)

M. M is for more projects in my head than I can ever finish in this lifetime

N. Nickname: none (other than grandma and aunt)

O. Overnight hospital stay(s):  having my kids and one surgery

P. Pet peeve: Whiners

Q. Quote from a movie: Clint Eastwood “Make My Day”

R.ight or Left handed:  Right hand

S. Siblings:  3 sisters, 8 brothers – there were 12 of us but we have lost two of our brothers in the last 35 years.

T. Time you wake up:  either super early without meaning to or around 7

U. Unique thing about your car:  I drive a Honda CRV which needs a new windshield at the moment

V. Vegetable you hate:  turnips, parsnips, black eyed peas, collard greens – quite a few actually!

W. Ways you run late: I’m normally early and hate it if I run late – I would rather show up early than late.

X. X-rays you’ve had:  too many to remember

Y. Yummy food you make:  seafood fettuccine

Z. Zoo animal favorite:  monkeys – just love those little animals

So if you want to fill this out just cut and paste and then delete my answers and put in your own


Ready to stitch

by Karen on March 23, 2010

in applique, quilts, TUTORIALS

It is such a beautiful day outside – I have been in and out of the house admiring the sun!  It is so pretty outside.  But even though it is pretty outside I have gotten all of my flowers cut out and glue basted in place.  Now it is ready to start needle turn applique in between quilting on other quilts.

I won a give away on Jackie’s blog Canton Village Quiltworks.Quilts from the Salvage Edge” by Karen Griska.  I have never made one of these quilts it will be interesting to see how it is made.

I thought I would share how I do my flowers for those that have asked.

First I pick out the general area that I want the flower to go - I am not following a strict pattern and none of these are exact in placement - I just look and kind of eyeball it.

Now that I know the general area I want the flower, I move the pieces out of my way and start with the first piece - I use Roxanne Glue Baste It (available at most on line quilt shops) using the needle nose applicator I put generally about 3 or 4 dots on these small pieces and press in place. I leave the freezer paper on the pieces until it has sat a couple minutes letting the glue dry. ( Around each piece depending on the color of the fabric I use either the Mark Be Gone pen (blue wash out) or white chalk. I draw around each piece of freezer paper before I cut the pieces out. This will be my stitch line. You do not have to do this step if you don't want to - it is just how I do it, I generally have about an 1/8th of an inch for turn under purposes although I do not measure so they are not all the same, I've done it for so long though that they are probably pretty close). I cut all my shapes out with scissors not a rotary cutter - someone asked that in an e mail. I suppose you could use a rotary cutter but I like using scissors for this step.

After the glue has dried for several minutes I lift off the freezer paper with the help of a siletto. You could just do it with your fingernails if you want but I find this little tool helpful and kind of just slide it under and lift off.

The overall look. I'm not sure what kind of border I will do - it might be just a three inch border or so or maybe nothing. If I do put a border it will be thin and I think wavy edge. I am still thinking of embroidering little tendrils out of each petal in a green color of some sort - I will try it around one flower and see how I like it and decide from there and show you what I decide later. Also with the border I will wait until I am done with the applique and decide then what I want.


Sugar and Spice

by Karen on March 22, 2010

in quilts

I think that will be the name of this little quilt that I started on the weekend with the fabric Teri sent me.  I have been making flowers and glue basting in place off and on last night and today.   This will make a great little girl quilt.  Right now I have flowers glue basted in place on the top half and have the second half to make still.  I intend to have all the flowers glue basted by tomorrow night then I can start the stitch work.

Coming out of the flowers I will embroider a couple tendrils here and there in green I think.  I had thought to scatter some leaves around the flowers here and there but I think embroidery sometimes adds a bit of dimension and feel it will be good in this quilt.  I can have some longer than others kind of leading on to the next flower if you know what I mean.  The pattern that I choose to use for the flower indicated to use buttons for the centers but I don’t like to do that on a quilt that is intended to use as babies and toddlers are known for sticking things in there mouths – I will applique little yellow circles instead.  Here is the look so far – remember just glue basted for now!

I don't think I will change anything but like to throw it up on the wall now and then to see placement. Seeing as this is a small one I didn't want to get the big design wall out to put together so I just tacked some felt up on the wall over the wall hanging instead - easier when it is for something small that doesn't need a lot of work.

a close up

After I get everything in place I will step back and look again and maybe replace a petal here and there = not too sure on a couple petals :) you know how that goes.  I didn’t notice a few blocks here and there in the patchwork part of the quilt that I would have changed but have no intention of taking it apart now!  They will stay where they are but the petals aren’t sewed down yet so that can be changed easily enough.  Sometimes I just don’t look a quilt over enough before I start to sew and then I’m unhappy with some placement – but I get over it quickly!!

Funny how it goes but this quilt doesn’t look anything like the quilt I saw in the book that I was using for inspiration!!  What happened, I intended it to be a lot like it but now it is my design instead :)  it sure did inspire me though :)