Thursday, February 26, 2009

Progress on the Table

Yesterday i was encouraged to find this lovely chunk of cherry under a horrible finish...
So I kept going...
And going...

And I'm officially half way done. And I am pleased! I wonder how much more I can get done today? I now have the other half under it's second coat of finish remover. I love progress!

Two finished!

This little quilt is finished now, I chose an orange binding and that went on rather quickly last evening.
I chose a brighter blue binding for this one, and did that one last evening as well. I debated for a while on how to shape the piece so I finally decided to give it this slight curve on the sides and a subtle wiggle in the bottom line. This is fun for me because all my life I've been sewing quilts in straight lines (except my first quilt which was a double wedding ring.)
I found this in my stash and decided to pull it out. I intend to machine quilt it when I get the chance but I'm not done with it yet. Those narrow borders aren't sewn on, so I need to decide how much white to leave. I think I must have done it that way to leave some space for quilting something interesting but I'm not sure my life goes at the kind of pace that it would require to actually hand quilt that border. So I'm undecided on that one. It might have to go back into the stash for a while longer.
The darker diamonds in this piece are all created from "crazy quilt" style scraps. So even though they "read" as fairly solid color, they are actually quite interesting up close.

I was in my sewing studio earlier enjoying the view. The weather has turned considerably warmer and the wood stove has cooled off and I had the sliding glass doors open. As I was standing at my sewing machine, Hope decided to see how things were looking outside.

She stood there for a few moments, looking beautiful and by the time I had my camera in place she needed to shake so her head so she became a blur. Then she decided to go explore until I called her name. So the second shot shows her coming to find out what I wanted with some wierd look on her face, but she is lovely creature and my constant companion. (Plus you can see them I'm still working at stripping that table as well.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

For the dining room table...

I finally decided to do these blocks all in a row, it was the easiest to translate it to a table runner this way. And then I did some machine quilting and then stepped back and tried to decide how to trim it.
I finally ended up making some curvy edges. I'm not very sold on this but it's not like I can't make one with straight edges if the desire should strike.
It is interesting in its own way.
I love what happens when these quilted pieces get out in the sun and the different lines that show up and the way the light catches the textures. It really shows off the quilting, and since I'm developing better quilting skills, I don't mind.
My other project for the day is to start refinishing this 100 year old cherry dining room table. It's got potential, but it's really ugly right now.
And believe it or not, when all the finish is stripped (I started with one of the leaves just to make sure I wasn't going to do some major damage) the dark murk gives way to a beautiful cherry that is quite fetching. So one of these days that table runner will go on this table. When it is finished. Which will hopefully be soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fabric, Roses, Guests, Projects and Warmth

I have started another quilt and I’m not real sure where I’m going with this one. I want something to go on the dining room table in a room that will have this painting on the wall. I painted it a few years back and even though there is a little damage to the surface of it, it still feels much like a personal statement since my name is Carmen Rose. I do love roses! The more vividly fuchsia/magenta they are, the more I love them!

I pulled out a piece of very special hand dyed fabric from Frieda Anderson and put a few things with it, all batiks. I just love these colors and wanted to try to bring out vibrant color by contrasting it with more muddy murky tones. I am pretty sure that was badly unsuccessful but it was an interesting experiment. Now I’m going to need to consider it a while and see where it wants to go from here. The temptation is to cut into it to bring some strong contrast but I am not quite there yet. I think it could be pretty all quilted up and on the dining table under a large glass bowl with water and loaded up with floating candles. Sounds good, right? I will continue to give it some consideration.

I have two girls coming to spend their Spring Break with us, that will be fun. I also have a few furniture projects I would like to accomplish this week. Will I have time to paint a bedroom, make curtains and get them hung? Never a shortage of things to be done. I’ll try to remember to take “before” and “after” photos. I usually forget the “before” photos because I’m so impatient for transformation.

Oh, I almost forgot my other great news! My hubby and friends have been working on a big wood stove for our basement. As I was working at this quilt project yesterday evening, they brought in this big stove dangling on a chain from an engine lift (the thing must weigh a ton) with wheels. The apperatus looks a bit like a miniature crane. Then they carefully lowered it into place and hubby installed the needed pipe and damper and it is a thing of beauty! Well… not physically beautiful, just lovely and warm! And now we can keep the fire mess downstairs instead of using the family room fireplace when it gets ultra cold. It is a cold one here today! Brrrrrr!! I don’t know if it will really heat the whole house or anything, but it certainly makes my studio a lovely temperature! I am lovin it! Fire is good!!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Kid's room quilty fun

Brrrr… it is cold in the studio today so I’ve been working fast. It is time for a snack and warm cup of tea, so I’ll take a break to post something and hope my feet warm up. I have a border collie who has settled in at my feet so it is only a matter of time. (Ah the life!)
So it all started with some really fun fabric sent to me by the lovely Sara that inspired a quick play time in the studio. I just copied those squares and made some yellow stripes to echo that line in the fabric.
What fun! And then they needed some triangle roofy shapes like the fabric. Plus a few hearts inspired by another spot in the fabric where there is a row of hearts.
Hmmm... what does it need now? A rainbow? (seriously?!) I could piece one... nah... life is too short! So I found some rainbow fabric in the stuff Sara sent and used that. I should also confess to being rather new to sewing the wavy lines. Nice and straight clean lines, that's what I usually like. (Although have you seen Robin's work? - her curvy lines are amazing!) This project wanted a little wiggle and tickle.
A little bit of rainbow and this and that. Plus, how about those leftover blocks?!
There it is pieced, I've got it partially machine quilted now. (Still waiting for my feet to warm up then I'll go back down and get at it again.)
And I sure did have fun quilting up this little long narrow bugga, it is now ready for the binding! I've got a little spot on a wall in the kid's rooms that will be perfect for this and it was so fun and fast I might have to make more of these. (Do I smell a series?) There are so many things I want to try!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Abraham's Star

This is the second quilt I started this year and it's finally finished. I'm pleased. It was fun! Slideshow on how to make this star available here.

Thank You Sara!

Bless her heart, Sara had added to my fabric for my children stash in a delightful style! Look at all this fun yardage and this “I love you fabric!” Sara tells me that she included a bit of this in each quilt she made for her two children, what a blessing! And to think that she passed on this last bit to me touched my heart! <3
Check out this cute fabric! I took a look at this and fell in love and started pulling out scraps to play with this in mind.

Before long I had a few wonky squares on the wall. Then this morning I checked out Sara’s blog and she’s making wonky stars that you really have to see! So now I must try that as well! This is SO MUCH FUN!
A friend of mine just gave me these little colorful bottles and I'm enjoying having them in the kitchen window. Right now the leaves are off the trees so we get a glimpse of blue distant mountains from the kitchen and I really love that. The leaves will be back soon enough. I picked up some roses at Food Lion for my hubby and they came in this red wrap that seems to be a cross between fabric or paper towel or something, so I cut a few hearts out of it and taped them in places where we could both enjoy them.

Dear Melody

Tomorrow as I babysit the gallery (it's a coop, we all have to work two days a month) I shall be playing with these:

Melody yarn, perfect for a Melody Johnson inspired project! (I'm one of her biggest fans!) And in some of my favorite colors no less. Now I do hope I can figure out how to knit a respectable sock, or at least how to unravel/knit/unravel/knit/unravel/knit a respectable sock. And after I'm done making the respectable ones, then I'll make some for me! Te He!

Look what smiled at me this morning from my kitchen table: (i have a long and checkered history with house plants, for a long time my home was a house plant graveyard.)
Hello gorgeous!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Jacob's Stairs

I finished a quilt today. I added a few beads and some quilting with embroidery floss. I came across a tiny little antique key while I was moving my sewing stuff into the new studio space and so I included it in the lower left part of the blue. I’ve hung it on the wall in my freshly painted kitchen where the turquoise batik comes pretty close to matching the wall. I don’t know if I will keep it there or not but I like it so far.

I was fighting a bad case of the ick last week and feel much better after a restful day Sunday. So that is a good thing indeed!

Tomorrow I’m going to visit my local yarn shop and see what I can find in the way of sock yarn. Melody has inspired me again and I am really curious to see what all they have now, I haven’t been there in quite a while.

I’ll be out of town most of the rest of the week and I’m hoping that knitting some socks may make the time go a little faster. Of course I could take along a quilt and do some hand quilting, that would also work. I’m just not great at sitting still for very long without something to do.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jacob's Stairs

It has been a beautiful day here, warm enough to leave the patio door open and allow the dogs to come and go as they please. I played for a while this morning then spent most of the afternoon on the couch trying to sleep off a cold that I haven’t been able to shake.
I took all of the quilting that I didn't like out of the piece I started yesterday and tried again with different machine quilting ideas to get something that I liked.
This was unintentional, but I see a door in this piece. It looks like a set of stairs in the doorway, drenched in light so I’ve decided to call it “Jacob’s Stairs.” I like the clean graphic nature of it but think it still needs something so I’m giving some thought to some embellishments
And so I picked out some beads that might work. It might be fun to suggest stars in the darker blue area above, I considered making them from polymer clay or going shopping for star buttons. Then there is the Swarovski crystal sort of sparkling star, that might be interesting. I have seed beads in any color and a bunch of other options. And I ran across this little tiny old skeleton key in my box of antique sewing stuff and it seems fitting that the key go on this piece somewhere. I have some floss and who knows what else. It will be interesting to see where this takes me!

There is a joy in this journey!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Quilt Jazz

I’m seeing folks trying “improv” with fabric. And this strikes me as a little funny since any time one engages in the creative process it qualifies as “improv” in my book. Finding a pattern and deciding what fabrics and colors to use for that pattern is all most quilt makers ever get of the creative process. So I guess it makes sense to call it improv in that context.

I heard some crazy man on a youtube video a while back. He was crazy enough to require rapt attention for 15 minutes! (That takes some doin!) He said the first time you create something – you’re an Artist. The second time – you’re an Engineer. The third time on – you’re a Technician. Well… I’m an artist full tilt every jot and tittle! And I like to work in series, but no matter what media I work in, I’ve never been able to stomach being a technician. Ever! I realize that this is how I was created and that it is different from most people and I don’t fight that as I once did. Patterns should be taken as clues and suggestions, not demands! Just because that’s the way it has always been done, doesn’t mean it needs to be made that way now! Yeah, I’m a broken record on that one. Innovation should be the rule instead of the exception!! Ok, I’ll get down off my soap box now. (But I do like it up there!)

So in my nicely organized quilting studio I decided to do a quick little project. And I decided to try the quilting improv “their way” that they call “improv.” So I popped a few strips on the wall and started playing around. Before long I had a small pieced top and I was really pleased with it. I thought it would be lovely on my turquoise wall in my kitchen. I drew a cool greek key design and quilted one section and loved it. Hmm… and THAT, my fine feathered friends… THAT was the high point of this project.

It went downhill from there. Yeah, so I’m not really “feelin it” with my efforts at machine quilting. Especially when hand quilting is so easy and my sewing machine just seems so contrary… So I’m not so thrilled with the machine quilting. So… either I’m going to get cozy with my seam ripper (at least I know where it is now) or I’ll toss this thing in a bin somewhere. Argh! And I DID love it. Tsk Tsk Tsk!

Ta Da!

Yay, I have order in the studio! How cool is that? And the lovely colors! Each box of color has a box on top with scraps and strips in those colors. Everyone is right there in reach! At the top are the blacks and whites plus some rainbow fabrics.

The back has my least favorite colors (red) and lots more fabric. Those boxes on the bottom have some of my ribbon, yarn and various fibers. I need to label them so I can remember what’s in there.

The antique wardrobe is full of batting, fusing and sewing tools, thread, and some upholstery supplies. I’m still not sure what to do with all the quilts that I have ‘in process” (code for unfinished.) So instead of dealing with that I started another lil quiltlet! LOL! What will I do next? Default position: start a new quilt!! LOL!

I ended up not liking the sewing machine at that height – I was bending over to use it with my neck in a weird crink-inducing position. So I added about four inches of nonsense under it to make it higher. I guess the jury is out on the sewing standing up. I can handle the peddle, that’s no big deal, just like playing keyboard standing up so I barely noticed that. I’m just not sure about the position it requires of my neck and back. And the whole idea was to find something that would reduce the ol quilter’s back fatigue. This is an improvement over the dining room table but I’m it will take a while to see if it is a long term option or not. I really did like the fluid working motion that can happen when I’m standing for everything though, loved that!

I’ve gotten a part in a local theatre production and so it looks like I’m in for a real adventure! This 40 year old is playing an 18 year old – isn’t that a lark?! Tonight is the first read through and I haven’t even seen the script so I should be able to get a feel for it tonight. I’m excited about that!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Move Over!

Well… it’s becoming time to move my sewing studio out of the family/dining room. It was fun but I’m growing tired of A) sharing the space and B) looking at the mess when I'm not working.

My piano is under a stack of fabric and when I tried to perform Tuesday night and Sunday morning I really had a dickens of a time getting my fingers to work. So I must clean off the piano so I can learn to play again – LOL!
(Really, there is a piano under all that! I promise!)

Plus… when I started sewing this Jan I never expected it to take over half the room. And I need to finish the renovations in the family room, so it’s time to pack up and move it all to its new home! And when we replace the family room flooring, maybe there will be less to move. (less to move = wishful thinking) Plus, Melody is such good inspiration – don’t you agree?!

We went to a local auction and scored some great furniture a while back. I know I was supposed to be happy about the solid cherry table with eight chairs that I got at a steal but I was THRILLED with THIS find. It’s a bench kind of thing, they called it a book shelf… but it didn’t look all that book shelfy to me! It looked like it needed lots of fabric and someone to love it. I think I paid $37 for it. And because it’s now next to a fireplace (that we don’t use now but plan to use in the future) I knew I better get that fabric under cover so that it doesn’t get really dusty. So after a trip to Big Lots I have BOXES! I don’t know about you but fresh clean organization and boxes make me HAPPY!
This side has shallow shelves This side has deep shelves that fit much bigger boxes.

I now have much more room for my design wall. I added a wardrobe for storage of clothing sewing supplies. And I added a rug for the floor to hopefully cushion the cement floors a bit. I’m not a fan of cement floors, I lived in a house that was all cement, glass and steel once – LOVED that house but cement is hard on the ol bones. But on the other hand, I’m not going to worry about doing damage to the floor! And this is next to my polymer clay/silver clay/enamel/jewelry kiln area and just down from my jewelry design studio. So chances are that I might end up making quilts embellished with beads, polymer and metal or glass! LOL! So I think lighting is still an issue and I’ve got one more black shelf to move downstairs but that’s not a big deal. Now it’s time to move my stash of stuff into my new studio! YAY! Move over chaos! It's time for ORDER! :)
Related Posts with Thumbnails