Author Archives: bycandyp.com

The purge continues…

but I still get the urge to do something creative. Last month, my friend, Jan W., brought a crocheted bowl she had bought to our monthly Van Go-Go Girls meeting. Then while shopping at JoAnn, I saw this yummy yarn on an endcap and bought it. I should have taken a picture of it before unwrapping, but it was Yarn Bee Stretched Taffy (Lollipop), 10 oz. (49 yards) of variegated bulky yarn that looks like wool roving. The yarn is wound into a large loop, so I just hung it around my neck rather than rolling it into a gigantic ball. Here is my round basket, apprx 7-inches diameter and 5-1/2 inches tall. If you crochet, the pattern is below. I used a P-hook and used the entire skein except for about 20-inches of yarn. You can adjust the size of your basket by making the base and side smaller.
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Make a magic circle loop.

Round 1: Make 6 sc in the loop. Do not join but mark the beginning of each round (I used a large paper clip).

Round 2: 2sc in each sc around (12 sts).

Round 3: (1sc in next sc, 2sc in next sc) around (18 sts).

Round 4: (1sc in next 2 sc, 2sc in next sc) around (24 sts).

Round 5: (1sc in next 3 sc, 2sc in next sc) around (30 sts). Base is finished. Do not tie off.

Round 6: 1sc in each sc, working in the back loop only. This starts the side of your basket.

Continue working evenly in sc for each round. I worked six rounds for the side and finished the top edge with a round of reverse sc. Finish off, pull the beginning tail to close up the center hole, and weave in the loose ends. You now have a utile work of art.

Till next time…

Budger is gone…

Our favorite hummingbird, named for a character in The Cowboys, has flown the coop. Last week we had five birds going crazy so Thursday I decided to film them. Battery in camera died; spare was dead, too. Rats. So Friday, I did manage to get a couple short videos, although we were down to three hummers. Now we are down to two, with fresh nectar (temporarily taken down because our roof is being replaced–hail damage from last spring). The last two are named Twitcher (won’t sit still) and Chirper (constantly chirps between sips). Hmm, can’t upload the videos. Will try to put them up on my Facebook page (bycandyp).

Moving on–since I’m not quilting right now, I gathered up my rocks and paints and have been working on Bella Vista AR Rocks. It should cool off in a week or so and then I’ll place them on the trails for relocation. I started with gesso.
P1130203 Then I painted one rock, and did all of the backs.
P1130216Here is my log cabin–what is wrong with this picture?
P1130217Here it is fixed, with the others, including the start of a ladybug.

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As promised, my new dresser in my studio–I managed to fit almost everything in the drawers and now my Ott Lite is off of the floor and handy.
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Next month I’ll be going to a quilt retreat and thought I would make some potholder bowls since I’ll be taking my travel machine. Go to the link below for 10 versions and pick the one you like best. I followed the first one but found the double Pellon Wrap N Zap batting too thick so ripped the first one apart and used one layer of batting. These are for my daughter. Next time I’ll try two layers of Warm n Natural. Just to be safe, use all cotton fabrics, batting and thread.
P1130225https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/make-microwave-bowl-potholders-2978118

It’s interesting to hear comments from non-quilters. We were discussing our new HVAC (coming soon) and one of the guys asked if my quilt was a bar code–cool.

Till next time…P1120896

Unplugged

Again. My Janome is in the carrying case, waiting for a trip to the dealer. I disengaged the dual-feed device (heretofore known as the walking foot) so I could do some free-motion ruler work. In the past, the needle bar has moved to left of center. This time, the needle is toward the back and hitting the bobbin case. I am going to make an appointment this time and have the repair person show me exactly what is happening and how to prevent it or fix it.

In the meantime, I decided to clean and rearrange my studio. I started by emptying the two rolling plastic dressers to see what kind of space I had for a real piece of furniture. I put the FREE bins in the driveway and went to town (they were gone by the time I got back). Having never been to Haverty’s, I made that my first stop. Manager Matt steered me to a dresser in the back, discontinued line, one off in WHITE, which was really what I wanted–for half price. It was two inches wider than my space but I knew I could make more room. All I had to do was move everything to the right. Two days later, I now have a 53-inch space. Here is my dresser, which will be delivered on Wednesday. That gives me several more days to work on the shelving on the other side of the room. Thanks to more efficient storage, I was able to place all of my jars of dry dye in two containers that I freed up. Hopefully I will be able to find things in their new locations…  Cut and paste the link to see the dresser or wait till my next post.

http://www.havertys.com/furnniture/bianca-single-dresser

Today I will be moving the rest of the dyeing/painting supplies to the shelf I emptied yesterday. I also managed to free up another shelf for fabric in a bin that has been cluttering up my space and my batting will go on the shelf below.

Last week, I started going through some items sitting around doing nothing but taking up space. I still had muslins from costumes I made for The Cemetery Club (more than 12 years ago) plus pants I was trying to make for myself. I cut off everything that had markings and now have white and ecru pieces that can be used with the scraps left over from Quilters.

Here is a sweatshirt jacket I started sometime in the last ten years. It never got finished and has been floating between my clothes closet and the studio. This is what it looks like now. I rolled it up like a jelly roll and put it in my strip basket. I am all done with sweatshirt jackets–they just don’t work for me. In fact I am all done with sewing clothes for myself, period. Time to move on.

That’s my story for this week. I’m going back to the studio to stir up some more dust and clear a path for the delivery people. It’s supposed to be a very cold, snowy winter for a lot of the country so I’m trying not to wish the heat of summer away (although I’ve really had it with the 80-90’s with high humidity). I just want it to cool off enough so I can dye some fabric in the garage and hit the trails again. Till next time…
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Making chicken salad…

… out of chicken scraps. Long ago and far away, my friend Rita F. gave me a baggie full of half-square triangles abandoned by other quilters. I used them, adding some of my own, to make a small top for a donation quilt.

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I was just going to sandwich this so I could practice some ruler work with my new foot and ruler; however, I thought it was awfully dull and searched through my stash. I found this piece which was going to be used for clothing–that never happened but it makes a pretty cool border.

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Stay tuned for part 2, quilting Chicken Salad. Till next time…

Three weeks ago…

… I drafted a post and rescheduled it three times. Then I unscheduled it–some posts just don’t make the cut.

LATEST PROJECT. My art quilt group, the Van Go-Go Girls, chose an architectural challenge. Take an actual building or a piece of architecture, design a quilt 30×30 to 40×40, add some orange, finish by November. Some years ago, we were in Puerto Rico and I took pictures of the tile floors because they were quilterly and chose one for this project.

I started by drafting a 12-inch block on paper, adding some extra lines to accommodate the size I wanted. Then I drew templates and added 1/4-inch seam allowances. I cut out a lot of pieces incorrectly (pesky angles) and my pencil marks were showing on the white pieces–I see another improv piece in my future. I used a scrap of black Grunge (why didn’t I buy a yard?) and cut out one strip 1/8-inch too narrow. I managed to use it anyway for the 2-1/2 inch squares, one side being 2-3/8 inches. Here are the subsets before piecing together for all four blocks.
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I partial-seamed the black square to the subset on the left, sewed the diagonal, finished the black square and then added the corner triangle. Remarkably, it all fit together. The center grey square was a little wonky but I managed to straighten it out when I quilted it.  I decided to add mitered borders to mirror the angled lines and they came out perfectly; however, they did get slightly distorted during quilting–and so it goes.

Quilting is straight lines with black YLI 100-wt. silk on the black border pieces following the inner piecing line and white Mettler Seralene polyester in the white pieces, traveling into the grey at times. I was able to quilt each quarter without breaking thread. After I started quilting, I woke up one morning and realized I had used no orange. I really didn’t want to blast in orange applique, so I quilted with a variegated orange Sulky 12-wt. cotton on the black in two places. You have to get up close to see it, but it’s there. You can see the print-out of the tile above, which was actually in black, grey, and white.
P1130056I have now taken a break for two weeks, redecorated the spare bathroom and have started making some new florals and freshening up existing wreaths and arrangements. I finally found more refresher at JoAnn (Panacea Decorative Accents Silk Flower & Foliage Cleaner), spraying outside. All floral sprays seem to work equally well, but some the flowers bled, perhaps because I forgot to shake the bottle. Here is the wreath for the bedroom. I wanted to maintain the wildness of the wreath while adding the colorful foliage.

 

Here I’ve auditioned placement, starting with five large sets of leaves, adding five smaller leaf sets and then three longer pieces with curlicue and berries–I took all the foliage from a large swag. I don’t have a wreath stand so I took a photo from above and then hung it on the door after hot gluing, filling in the blank spots. I used an old sewing machine needle for hanging.
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I finally put the snowmen away and replaced them with a new arrangement.
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The rest of summer I’ll be sprucing up the house so it looks like someone here actually cares, collecting things for Goodwill, and doing a general purge.

DIET AND EXERCISE. I quit exercising the middle of July–it was just exhausting me so that I couldn’t do anything else–and went off the South Beach diet. I have no appetite for hours after exercising and end up eating two meals a day. This is not effective. So, I’ll be resuming the exercise at an easier pace, adding Tai Chi for stress management, and going for a low-carb diet with lots of fresh veggies, fruit, and lean protein. I can’t quite do Keto or Atkins because I don’t tolerate fat very well. If this doesn’t get me to my goal, I am pretty much out of options.

RECYCLACRAFT. I lined these large lids with sticky-backed felt for bead trays.
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THE HUMMER GAMES. We have had a lot of hummers even with the heat. They are so fun to watch and they have the sweetest peep. The males chase each other off the feeder, then one sits in the Bradford waiting. Then they chase each other off again and finally one will get to feed. They were buzzing me while I was cleaning the florals on the landing. Till next time…

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I did pay attention in geometry class…

except for that one day, hot n humid, no a/c at school (Orlando), B.O.R.E.D., and I fell asleep. Sr. Ambrose, a big-boned gal (NOT from Southern Alberta), kicked me out of class. I was painfully shy even in high school, but the next day I came back to class and all was well. Anyway, I ended up with this odd-shaped table mat that I wanted to be a rectangle to fit on my hutch, and using a compass and figuring angles seemed tedious.
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First I traced around it on newsprint (I save packing paper, iron it, roll it up), subtracted 1/4-inch seam allowance, drew a rectangle, traced the odd shapes, added 1/4-inch seam allowance and indicated straight of grain. Woohoo. Since I didn’t need the pattern anymore, I inked it in so it would show up on camera.

I then added strip piecing to the two remaining corners. I just need to layer and quilt.
P1120976TIP OF THE DAY: Cover up the edges of your batting to prevent lint from transferring to your quilt top, especially if the top is dark and you’re using light batting.

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UPDATE: I am hand-stitching down the facing on Less is More. The long sides are done. This is my most successful facing to date (no pleats). I use Susan Brubaker Knapp’s method. The only thing I do differently is, in Step 3, I do not pivot at the corner. I sew the long seam edge-to-edge, and then sew from the unfolded edge to the folded edge. Find her excellent tutorial below.

bluemoonriver.com/tutorials—freebies.html
P1120967My domestic chore today is to put away my snowmen. I left them out because winter was hanging on for so long. I have meant to put them away several times and in five months I’ll be hauling them out again. Le sigh.

P1120959Final Answer: Microsoft Edge does not play well with wordpress. After a long live chat with wp, I tried Chrome, which I used to use to write this blog; however, Chrome did not even recognize me and I was having more trouble with that so, my links will have to be copied and pasted. And sometimes, there will be duplicate photos. I apologize, but that’s the way it is until Edge decides to use extensions. Sometimes, it is what it is. Till next time…

 

OD-ing on orange…

I have had the green claustrophobic blues–the shrubs on the roadside kiss the sides of my car, the trees form a tunnel of green, meeting in the middle of the road from both sides–so what better antidote than to take all my orange scraps and make a reversible table runner to go with my Aurora Borealis reversible quilt (see previous post). When I made the quilt last year, I had all these skinny strips left and made a sample block.
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I finally found where I had shoved all the orange scraps–into a drawer in the spare bathroom. We had company on Christmas Eve so I had to put some things out of sight so we could actually eat in the dining room. C’mon, a lot of you eat on TV trays, too. On finding my sample block, I decided I didn’t want to do this so I started playing. Didn’t like these either.
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In the end I decided to do some minimal piecing surrounded by the navy blend. (That’s a warm fuzzy given to me by a student years ago–I keep it on my design wall.)
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I added the trimmed strips left after squaring up the quilt as a 1-inch unfinished inner border.
P1120915Lastly I kept improvising orange blocks for the backing and added a border. I have now pinned the quilt sandwich, trying to keep the front and back lined up. I need to bring my machine in again and will quilt it when I get it back in a week or so. In the meantime, I will layer two potholders, one table mat and this odd shaped piece that I will turn into a rectangular mat for my hutch.
P1120947The orange scraps have traveled outside to one of my trees. I noticed this a week ago, but yesterday, I noted that the orange has multiplied. Maybe it’s the heat–it was 99 yesterday and so far, only 96 today. I’m melting. Till next time…

 

It doesn’t really matter…

This is my new mantra. It’s not that I don’t care; it’s just that I need to care less about things. Take for instance, my Less is More quilt. I was originally going to enter it in our local modern quilt show but ended up being laid up for several months. Quilting 20 minutes a day could not get the job done. Now I’ve blocked this quilt and will probably be able to save the arrow points, but not other points at the edge. This means I will not be entering this quilt into the modern quilt exhibit at Houston International. It did not need to be perfect, but better than what it will be. SO, it really doesn’t matter because this is for me and soon it will be on display in my dining room. I have another quilt design in mind to enter at Quilt Con in Nashville next year and it will be a better product. I got a new toy to aid in squaring up quilts–a laser level/square. I will also use this next time I want to hang framed artwork or photos.

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I finished this little (32×32) trip around the world quilt–it just needs a label.

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I was looking for some handwork in the evenings, so pulled out this hand quilting sampler which I started in 1991 or 1992. I finished the hand quilting, then did some machine quilting to frame it. I don’t know what to do with this–pillow, tote bag? It’s not perfect and my stitching would win no awards, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s a happy memory of how I started quilting–cardboard templates, scissors, hand piecing, beeswax to coat thread, and Monday mornings spent hand quilting on a frame with the Pine Needle Quilters in Carlton, Minnesota. Every year, we raffled off a quilt at the local nursing home and funds were used to purchase big-ticket items such as a big screen TV. After removing the thread basting, I pin basted and echo-quilted. The corners were getting a little off which signaled to me that I was either tired or it was time to be finished with this project. The stitching is not consistent or perfect, and there are some ruffles on the back, but it really doesn’t matter. Note to self: roll your projects to prevent creases.

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Next week, I’ll trim Less is More and face the edges. In the meantime, I’ll be hanging my summer quilt which is reversible. I made this quilt after watching a Sewing with Nancy episode with Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr (Magic Inch Quilts). Thanks to Dana Crocco for the suggestion of using swivel hooks to hang a reversible quilt. After I finish a table runner to match Aurora Borealis, I will attach the quilt label since I don’t want to sew it onto the quilt itself. Oh no–a quilt without a proper label. Sometimes, it really doesn’t matter.

Weight Loss Update: After two months, I have lost 6.5 pounds and 8.25 inches. I still can’t fit in my clothes (which made we want to give up), but it really doesn’t matter because my lab results (especially the cholesterol) show I am actually making a difference healthwise so I’ll keep on keepin’ on. In the meantime, I have walked 9 out of 10 days, despite the heat and humidity.. I only bring my camera one day a week so I can focus more on the exercise. It really doesn’t matter that I missed photos of a female blue bunting with baby, numerous blue heron photos (adult males, a pair, and two juveniles), some large turtles, and wildflowers that just didn’t make it in the heat. I am grateful that I can walk again relatively pain-free and my husband has started walking with me when he can. It’s all good.

Here are a few photos from last Sunday. It’s been too hot for kids to play on the playground equipment so several groups took to the water instead, including the turtles.

Trumpet vine, sweet peas, leaf eaters.

One final message, till next time:

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Happiness is …

avoidance. For awhile. Real happiness is putting an end to procrastination. I blocked my first quilt (Migration) yesterday and was surprised that the t-pins did not leave holes. The top and bottom are still a little wavy, but overall, the quilt is now square and flat and will hang on the wall more nicely. I had planned to send this quilt to Wisconsin for the Modern Mini Quilt Challenge at Quilt Expo, but after reading the rules, it was not eligible, having been already displayed in public. Rats.
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Less is More is drying. I really had to tug on it to square it up–the drawback of matchstick quilting. Next time I will make sure the design does not go to the edges and that I do more initial stitching to prevent so much warping. I am going to face the edges and then email a photo/s to be juried for a modern quilt display at Houston International (deadline June 22) if it turns out.
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Speaking of procrastinating, I still haven’t contacted Janome about my needle bar not staying centered. In the meantime, I decided to finish this donation quilt with straight-line stitching in the borders (instead of free-motion) and darned if the needle bar didn’t center itself after engaging the dual feed device–I guess it didn’t have any choice.  Happiness is also a new pair of Machingers quilting gloves.
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I finally hung Elefantino in my studio next to Mini-Tumbler (no fabric repeats, with scalloped border), a 2012 swap with Mini-Masterpiecers
P1120828Till next time–

 

2018 Mug Rug Swap

between NWAMQG and TULSAMQG. Last month we turned in our forms for this swap and received a form from a Tulsa member with color preferences, etc. My swap partner, Lora Whitfield, indicated all colors but that she loves a teal and red combo, NO BABY PINK, any style. I used up most of my red and teal fabrics for the wonky churn dash exchange, but happened to find these in my strip box – the one that is now sorted by color.
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These strips had been on the design wall for a couple weeks with no inspiration forthcoming. Writers have Erato for their muse–I need to invent a muse for quilting.

Friday I had 15 minutes before heading out to the Green Country Quilters Guild Quilt Show in Tulsa so I started sewing some pieces together. I was thinking about the MQG Challenge for 2019, using tiny piecing in a donation quilt. I was going to subcut this strip set and make a tiny grid (photo above) but Saturday I had a different idea. I started cutting up 3/4-inch strips and mimicked a quilt I have seen several times.

After piecing, pressing, and trimming, I layered this with Peltex (a stiff interfacing) and a backing with glittery Valentine’s fabric. I prefer Timtex (a little heavier than Peltex) but have not been able to find any for awhile. I left the red strips unquilted and quilted a line next to the border seam. This gives you a place to turn around with diagonal stitching. If you start at the edge, pivot/stitch/pivot and stitch back to the edge, you have no threads to weave in.
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Finally I traced around this metal end caps (given to me by dd, probably from incense stitcks container from BBB) to round the corners and satin stitched around the edge. The butterfly pin reminds where the round starts. Satin stitch using #8 zigzag on Janome with three rounds:

Round 1: 5.0 wide, 1.5 length

Round 2: 5.5 wide, 1.0 length

Round 3: 6.0 wide, .5 length

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Now I just need to make a label and turn in my mug rug at our August meeting. I have some small projects (camera strap cover, microwave bowls, pieced biscornu pincushion) to work on until I get my needle arm fixed–I just don’t dare do free-motion quilting and this is seriously putting me behind. Waiting to hear from Janome.

This was my viewer’s choice at the quilt show. Quilt by Janet Hoeltzel, quilted by Glenda Harkey, pattern by Mary B. Hayes; Thangles used.

BAB 14 – Shattered
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DIET UPDATE: After seven weeks, I have a net loss of 4.5 pounds and almost 3-inches. Whoopy-dip is all I can say that’s fit to publish.

Next posts: My Artful Log Cabin with exactly 50 log cabins celebrating our anniversary and photos from quilt show.