Yesterday we made our annual day-trip to Hampton for the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival. Some years the exhibits are better than others, depending on the entries they received, but all years are fun. I didn't take many quilt photos but if I have any worth sharing I'll edit and post them later this week.
I was well restrained with my shopping and came home with only a small bag of items. Unfortunately the car discussion has me dreaming of a new sewing machine and I'm going to try to talk myself out of that. I just bought a new machine 2 years ago and, aside from it's hatred of metallic thread, it's otherwise a wonderful machine.
I plan to spend the rest of the weekend hanging out with FloMo. We are going to finish this veterans quilt and hopefully 2 more. Then I want to get the Rainbow Quilt loaded and started. We'll see how it goes.
What are your plans for the weekend? I hope it's something fun.
Patricia Caldwell is one of the most prolific and successful fiber artists that I know and I am so grateful that she uses so much of my fabric for her art pieces. She sees things in the fabric that even I don't see. While I am away today at the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival getting some inspiration for myself I'll leave you with Patricia's latest pieces for your own mini quilt show today. You can follow Patricia and see how she develops her pieces on her Facebook page. If you want some of her work you will want to speak up quickly, they sell fast!
Arizona Copper and Sunrise on Doe Mountain are made with Crystals mandalas.
Raven's Sun uses the Gray Skies Gradient.
Vibrational Symmetry uses the Nightfall Gradient.
The Feather Circle uses a custom dyed mandala in the colors of the Beach Walk Gradient.
Yesterday was dyeing day but at the end of the day I had some spare time and decided to use it to restock my personal supply of lotion bars and lip balm. It took me all of 30 minutes to get out the supplies, make both batches and clean everything up. It's that easy.
Lotion bars are great if you have any very dry skin areas. For me, it's my feet. I use a lotion bar every night and sleep with socks on so I don't mess up the sheets. Plain lotion just wasn't enough so I keep a supply of lotion bars in a bag in the fridge and one on my nightstand. It works great.
It couldn't be easier to make.
First find a mold. I use my small soap molds but you could pour all of this into a plastic container and once it sets up just cut it into palm sized bars. Ice cube trays would work great too.
In a microwave safe container (I use a Pyrex measuring cup) mix together equal parts of:
Melt all that in the microwave. If you have Vitamin E on hand you break open some capsules and add some to the melted oils. That's a very messy affair so I usually leave it out.
Pour the liquid in your molds and waif for it to set up. You don't need to store it in the fridge but I find that's a safe place to keep it so I don't confuse it with my soap bars. This amount will last me and my friend, Cheryl, a year.
I primarily make lip balm for my Mom and friend, Becky. I rarely use it but I keep a couple of them around just in case. Making it is just as simple as the lotion bar from the perspective of mixing the oil but you do have to buy the tubes or pots. If you use the tubes you will want one of these tube trays. Where I buy my supplies the tubes are about a quarter a piece and the tops are a dime. Making this is a little messier and the recipe I use has more ingredients but I have them on hand already for my soap and lotion making. Given how cheap lip balm is, I don't think it would be cost effective to just make lip balm because the minimum quantities for the supplies would be way too big. But if you are already making soap you might want to give lip balm and lotion bars a try. Aside from the tubes and beeswax you probably already have everything on hand.
If you are interested there are tons of recipes on the web and the one I use is here.
One of my quilt club friends rents time on the longarm at The Longarm Network. She volunteered to come quilt some veterans quilts to get more practice. Usually I wouldn't do this because it would normally take me more time to do that than to quilt them myself. But in this case I knew that Marcy had been trained on the Innova and just wanted practice. While she quilted I worked on the last 2 sections of my wall.
These are 2 of the 4 quilt tops that my friend, Patty The Quilt Lady, sent me recently. We used gray thread so that it would blend and she would be more comfortable not worrying about any mistakes.
Patty is a very prolific quilter and we were thrilled to get 4 more tops for our veterans! I'm working on the other 2 now. I had to load one last night so that I would get away from the vicinity of the brownie plate in the kitchen. The distance and my headphones finally drowned out the "Eat me!" screams.
The back on these 2 is a pretty hand dyed turquoise. That gives me 6 of my 40 veterans quilts quilted for the year.
I've had lots of custom dyeing to do the past few weeks so haven't done a lot of new stuff. I am mostly keeping up with the popular gradients and have 4 back in stock today. The first one is Thrive and I have a new customer quilt to share.
Donaleen Kohn is a customer and blog friend and she loves the Thrive gradient and any other with a combination of green and yellow. She loves working with raw edges and hand quilting big stitch style. In this quilt she combined Thrive, Abundance Meadow Sunrise and some other gradients with hand dyed red. I just love the play of the cool colors with the red.
Another popular gradient that's back in stock is Gray Skies. Just as I was preparing this post I got a nice surprise in my email box.
Betsy Hughes made this art quilt using the top half of the Gray Skies gradient.This is exactly the kind of piece I imagined when I first developed this gradient.
The Black Gradient is also back in stock and it coordinates with Gray Skies. The darkest part of Gray Skies is the middle part of Black.
Ending on a bright note, Blue Sky is also back in stock this week. While I love the bright colors, my next quilt is planned to have the Black Gradient as it's background.
Working in the corner like this is really difficult and hard on every joint in my body. In other words, I'm not 17 anymore and had to finish this off in 3 sessions. But I got it done and now the last 3rd of the wall is ready for grouting. Technically I have until the end of the year but I'm anxious to get started on the next wall so I want this grouted soon. Maybe next week.
I either did mosaic in between dot making sessions or I made dots in between mosaic sessions. Whichever it was, I eventually finished both! All of the flower centers are made and basted to the borders near the corresponding blossom. Every where I had pins in the applique I replaced it with a little basting stitch. Who knows how long this is going to take and I don't want to risk pins rusting....although I'm not sure they do rust anymore.Regardless, I won't stick myself and bleed on the fabric either.
All of the leftover blocks, blossoms, lose petals and my drawings are packed up in this bin to be stored away until I get tired of seeing the bin and finally give the rest of this project away. I'm not ready to let go yet. Those blue blossoms are kind of calling me...because I'm borderline insane. As if the wall wasn't evidence enough of that.
The quilt top is safely stored in a cabinet but everything else I need for this project is in this bin. It has the binding fabric, 3 of the borders to be appliqued, the corners and extra floss.
As I work on a border I fold up the edges and safety pin them together and leave only the section I'm working on now. The pins won't hurt anything because I left some extra width that will be trimmed off when I put the quilt together. I cut floss into 3 lengths. Early on I measured how long pieces need to be for full petals, partial petals and centers. I have a ribbon length for each and can quickly precut a skein of floss into the right lengths. Looking at this photo I need to cut a skein of partial petals before I get back to stitching. All I need to carry with me are the thread reels, extra floss, little needle book an scissors. I wonder if I can get these scissors on a plane? Anyone know the answer to that?
This purple plastic folder has been my carrying case for this project from the very first petal. Hopefully it can hold together for the 4 borders.
The cutting table is clear and I'm ready to start a new project but it's a beautiful day today so Chris and I are going to take the day off and go for a little hike.
because the border vines and blossoms are all glue basted!
I got these finished last night! There are no duplicate fabrics in the blocks in the center of the quilt and no duplicates in these 4 borders. The woman who made these had an incredible fabric collection. Once I clean up the cutting table this morning I will start making the dots for the centers. All those little solid square are the centers for each flower. I'm quite excited to have gotten this far and see wrapping up all the prep work this weekend.
But there are leftovers and you won't believe how many!
I have 10 embroidered blocks that might go into a small quilt so that I can practice some quilting ideas. Or not.
There are still 30 basted flower blossoms, some partial blossoms and HUNDREDS of basted petals.
But that's still not all!
There are FIFTY FIVE basted blossoms in blue and not one duplicate fabric in the bunch. Amazing. What in the world was this lady planning with all of these?
But I can't think about these right now. The will be packed away for another time. I'm going to focus on the project at hand and hope that I don't leave it as a UFO for someone else some day.
Yesterday a friend came over to quilt a couple of veterans quilts. She has been through longarm training so it wasn't like I had to train a newbie. She just needed some practice and I was happy to oblige. I wanted to be nearby in case she needed something so I worked on the wall and finished the last full section.
It's the perfect ending to the best project I've ever done! I struggled for weeks to think of a good motif to finish off the wall and what could be better than a Featherweight? The sewing machine needle is a glass rod and once it's grouted it will be just a fine black line.
Filling in the backgrounds on the signature blocks is the last thing I have to do until I grout this side of the wall. I have to wait for a couple of warm days so that I can open all of the windows but will grout it as soon as I can. The background for the 17 block is dark blue and I think the background for the initials block will be olive green. I needed dark colors to contrast with the letters and numbers and those are the only 2 colors that I have enough materials to finish the blocks. That's as good a reason as any!
To answer your next question, yes, I'm going to keep going. I'm going to turn right at this corner and I have a plan for the next 5 feet of wall space. It doesn't involve clamshells or any symbolic imagery. I"m over all that. I have something planned that will use up a lot of cups of leftover pottery bits. I'll unveil that plan a little later. I think it's going to look pretty cool.
Today it's back to the applique. I need to get all the stuff off the cutting table so I can trim the newest veterans quilts to show you.
Yesterday was dyeing day and usually I'm too tired to do much else after that. But I was listening to a good book and that was enough to keep me company in the sewing room for a few hours.
I got 3 half borders done! I know this looks silly. Why would you prepare half a border? Well,, my template is half a border and to do the other half I have to flip it over and realign everything. I decided it would be easier to do this half on all 3 border and then flip everything to do the other half.
I was right, it is easier.
Just in case you think I'm being uncharacteristically carefree about the blossom colors, fear not. I printed out a photo of the quilt top and have the border sides labeled. I use this photo as a guide to pick the blossom and center colors. I mostly want to avoid reds and yellows next to each other since they stand out the most.
I'm even picking the corner blossoms as I go. Although I might move this one to corner 4. I'll see when I have all of the borders glue basted.
Today a friend is coming over to help me with some veterans quilts and while she is quilting I might get to work on my wall. I have my idea for the last block.
Before I left for Birds of a Feather I got one if my borders prepped for applique.
This is pretty much how I left my cutting table.
The ironing table is not much better. I need to get the other 3 borders prepped so I can get this project out of the way and start something else. I figure it's going to take a couple of years to do all of the hand stitching but I want it all ready to go so I don't have to think about this project again until it's read to sew on the borders and applique the corners.
I started by getting the rest of the vines cut.
The Clover bias tape maker is a miraculous little tool and turned those strips into vines in no time.
I have a paper mock up of the half a border on my cutting table and I start by marking the center and bottom with basting lines. I drew the curved border with a pencil since that's a cutting line. I use this to position my applique pieces.
I have another mock up of the layout on fabric and I use that one to steam press my vines into shape. Once it's shaped I move it to the border and use the paper guide to position it.
Next I glue baste the vines with tiny dots of glue. The glue is watered down Elmer's Washable School Glue. My friend, Becky, turned me on to it. She says it works just as well as Roxanne's. I have to dilute mine a bit because my glue dispenser is extra fine. As soon as this one is empty I'll switch to the new one I got at Bird. After I glue bast the vines I glue on the petals and pick fabrics for the centers. You can see the current border that I'm working on in the top photo.
I'm also picking the corner blossoms and centers for those too.
Each border has 10 long vines, 2 short vines, 10 blossoms and 11 centers. Then there are 4 corner blossoms with 4 centers.
I have 1.5 borders glue basted. Once those are done I will clean up this mess and work on making the centers - 48 of them if I did the math right. I'd like to have all of this done by the end of the weekend but I'm not sure if that's going to happen. I'll try.
Meanwhile, this is all of the stitching that's done. That top curve smooth. It looks wonky because the way the fabric is laying. If I measure my completion by blossoms I'm 2% done with the borders.
Maybe I won't track progress that way.
But today is dyeing day, not applique day so I'll be in the basement if anyone is looking for me.
I'm Vicki Welsh and I've been making things as long as I can remember. I used to be a garment maker but transitioned to quilts about 20 years ago. Currently I'm into fabric dyeing, quilting, Zentangle, fabric postcards, fused glass and mosaic. I document my adventures here.
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