Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Finish Number Two

Hey everyone, another finish to share.  First I want to thank everyone on my last post for all the kind words you left.  I really appreciate it!

This is a quilt I made after participating in a red/aqua disappearing 9-patch a few years ago.  You'll notice it's not a disappearing 9-patch at all but an Arkansas crossroads quilt.  After I received my 100 blocks and started working with them it was clear I had swapped with quilters who were a bit sewing challenged.  Of the 100 blocks I think I had 23 or so that were usable.  So I did what any perfectionist would (Ha!), and took them apart and made new blocks.  It wasn't as bad as it sounds.  It was fun seeing the variety of fabrics.

I've been working strictly from my stash for backings. Here I just sewed together some low volume white/reds.

And quilted straight lines with my Bernina 1530 in an all-over grid.

Well, two finished, 5,435 to go!  :)  It feels that way whenever I peek into my "studio" closet.  Whatever was I thinking!

Talk to you later!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Finish Number One and Giveaway

I set a goal for myself this year to try and finish some of my many quilt tops overtaking my "studio" closet.  Notice I didn't say all!  Even I am not that foolish.  I resolved to join just one sew along and I did that just so I could do some piecing in addition to machine quilting and sewing on binding.  Here's my first finish that occurred in mid-February.  Oh my, what a time I had with this top!

Before I go into that ordeal, here's the back.  My clothesline is too short to allow for it to hang right without dragging on the ground.

I hope you don't mind all the pictures but I am most proud I finished this top and now it's a quilt.  What's ironic is that I started with this top thinking it would be easy.  It's from a few years ago and made from all leftovers from other projects.  I first tried to machine quilt a zig-zag with my walking foot.  Ended up ripping out about five rows after not liking it.

Then I figured I'd use my Bernina Artista 180 which I hardly ever use.  I used stitch number 4 to make serpentines every half inch or so across the top.  I had such problems with just the top shifting.  I had pin-basted every 3-4 inches, and tried decreasing the presser foot pressure to no avail.  I'd quilt about 6 inches or so and run into such shifting I had to stop and unpin the basting, then re-pin the part I was sewing into.  I had to do this SEVEN times. The only thing I can think of is that I was sewing across the bias of the blocks.

I'm proud of my seam on the back and how well I matched the pattern! The backing is from Joann's from several years ago.  It's a really nice quality.
Here's another look at that seam  

The texture is great with the quilting. I could pet it all day.  

ETA:  It took a whole spool of Aurifil thread to quilt it, 1422 yards of color 2021.  That's amazing!

Now about that giveaway.  I was asked to try out a new product that's really neat called StoryPatches.  It came out a few years ago but I'd never heard about them.  I think the idea is rather clever.  It's a small patch that you sew onto the back of your quilt.  It looks like this, 

and is about two inches square.  The package has directions on how to attach audio, photos, or videos to the label via the website.  The account at the website is free.  To hear the message or see associated video that the person who used the label left, you scan in the QR code.  Pretty neat!  There are also iron-on versions of the label but the one I am giving away is sew-on.  

To sweeten the deal, I've got a book to giveaway along with 3 fat quarters,  

So leave a comment about whatever you'd like and I'll choose a winner for one StoryPatch sew-on label, A Single Thread book, and three fat quarters of Alex Anderson fabric. Be sure to leave an email where I can contact you if you're a no-reply blogger.  I'll choose a winner on Tuesday.

Giveaway Closed

~~~ Thank you for your comments!  The giveaway is closed and the lucky winner is Betsy.  I've already notified her by email.  A reminder, if you are a no-reply blogger you need to leave your email in your comment so I can contact you! ~~~

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Hey everyone, spring has most definitely started here in Florida.  Courting behavior of the huge variety of birds abounds!  Also spring sewing projects!  I joined the Fort Worth Fabric Studio Spring Mug Rug Swap, whew, that's a mouthful! and here's what my partner made for me.  I love it so much.  It's so pretty my lousy photo doesn't do it justice.  She used a variegated thread for the quilting which adds a nice zing.

Here's the back.  Cute!

And some extra goodies.  I love how the journal cover color coordinates with the mug rug.

~Talk to you later~

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Productive Sunday, Sort Of

I shouldn't have but I did, joined this little swap at the Fort Worth Fabric Studio's blog.  I say shouldn't have as I never seem to have much luck in getting a partner who's worth her weight in the sewing room.  But I am the eternal optimist and thought I'd give it another shot.

Here's what I made. My first quilt this small.  Amazing how quickly it all went together.  I think it took me longer to choose the binding fabric than to make the whole mini from start to finish.

The back, and yes, I did add a label later.

Also made a pincushion with some scraps and leftover crushed walnut shells.  Added some other goodies and it's on its way to my partner.

This poor top has been on my living room sofa waiting to be pin-basted since June.  That's embarrassing!  I thought I had some white batting but none the right size so a quick run to Joann's was necessary.  That's all basted and ready to be quilted.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Good Read

You'd think a book titled Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking would be about, well, Soviet food and how to make it but you'd be mistaken.  The title is simply a play on Julia Childs' famous  cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking as the author Anya von Bremzen is an accomplished food writer.  The book is really a memoir of the author's early childhood in the Soviet Union and what it means to be Russian, but it's also a behind the scenes look at daily Soviet life as much of the book relies heavily on Bremzen's Mother's recollections. It's also a decade by decade look at the history of the USSR beginning in the 1910s and culminating in Putin's Russia.   All in all, there's a lot going on here and it intertwines quite seamlessly until the last few chapters when appropriately enough the Soviet Union collapses and the book meanders.  

With tongue-in-cheek humor the author chronicles sparse Soviet life where indeed existence did revolve around the daily quest for food via hours long food lines for a stale loaf of bread all the while being told by the State how perfect Soviet life was.  We learn of the propaganda cookbook, yes propaganda even extended to cookbooks, The Book of Tasty and Heathy Food,  chock full of sumptuous pictures of alleged Russian dinners, dinners that were only available to the nomenklatura, or privileged.  We learn of Bremzen's black marketeer penchant as a child selling her fellow classmates  millimeters of Juicy Fruit gum or a 'touch' of an authentic Coca Cola bottle.  There are myriad episodes, often hilarious, other times tragic where Bremzen blends the "historical, political, and personal"  of the Soviet citizen.  

I found the book a fascinating look inside the USSR.  As a child growing up during the Cold War era and as a young adult the USSR was the epitome of bad, something fearful and to be scorned.  This book shows how much worse things were on the inside.  Ration cards, communal apartments shared with strangers, and stunted childhoods.  Bremzen's Mother anxious to flee a dysfunctional country and marriage, takes advantage of exit visa policy and emigrates with her ten-year old daughter to Philadelphia in the mid 70's.  

Quite an intriguing, darkly comical, and delicious read.  A must read for anyone interested in Russia and the USSR.

 A few of the recipes mentioned are included at the end of the  book.

I received this book from Blogging For Books for this review.  

Talk to you later.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Been Busy

Hello, everyone!
     I had a gift card and decided to buy some backing for my Grand Illusion quilt top.  Needless to say I had a bunch of options in my stash but they'd all have to be pieced so I decided if I was going to piece I might have well have it all match. I was desperate to do anything to calm this quilt down.  So here's what I decided on,

Ordered online as there was zero locally. It's from a collection called The Painted Garden by Dena Fishbein.  I seem to like her designs as I kept choosing her fabric wherever I surfed.  I'm pleased with it, and the price of $5.99/yard was another selling point.  The colors are perfect, at least to me, now to get it sewn together.  I'm still undecided as to whether I want to wrestle with this on my DSM or not.  I washed/dried it even though the top fabrics were not pre-washed.  I like to do that with the backing because of the large size and shrinkage with one piece versus small two-inch pieces.

I joined the Block Lotto site the end of last year and have been having fun participating in that.

I was one of the winners last month for a collection of Double 9-Patch blocks.  More on those when I receive them in the mail.

The maximum number of blocks to make varies each month.  The block for February is an arrow block.  I made them over the weekend.  I'd love a whole quilt  with them!

I was going to stop at two but kept going for a full set,

 Thanks for stopping by, what have you been busy with?