Saturday, December 28, 2013

Tommy here. Remember the MASSIVE sewing room cleanup? Well, it has spread to the rest of my house. I suggest you come back in the new year and hopefully then we can get on with our lives. Plus we can start the countdown clock for when the "no new fabric" resolution is broken. Bets anyone?

You're welcome!


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

Here's the kaleidoscope pattern from yesterday using a different colorway.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

I was asked to show the bookcases from yesterday's post from straight on. Here's the contents of the first bookcase.
And here are the contents of the second bookcase.
 And this is the third bookcase which contains the quilting books. I had never thought of taking a photograph of my books before, but I can see how this may prove to be quite handy.

And here's a kaleidoscope pattern using a swatch of books from the first bookcase. It has an odd Christmas feel with snowflakes.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tommy's Rebuttal

 I, Tommy, must offer a rebuttal to yesterday's outrageous posting. First, I am a pet therapist with an overwhelmingly needy client who has apparently become delusional. But more to the point, the images you saw yesterday are a hoax and the result of a MASSIVE cleanup because my client did not want to audition for Hoarders Buried Alive: Quilters' Edition.
By just seeing the sewing room, you may not have realized that fabric in hunks of a yard or more are stored in a separate room...what would normally be considered "the little girl's room" because of the pink carpet and walls. 
Art books (including quilt books) are in another room...what would normally be considered "the boys' room" because of the blue walls and carpet. Of course, framed pictures are left leaning in a pile against the wall because otherwise they might be decorative.
And finally, let's look behind the design wall in the sewing room. As you can tell, this could easily become a dark pit of despair except for the MASSIVE cleanup of the last few weeks. But now I am forever thankful to Vicki W. for spurring such a cleanup and hopefully she will make this an annual event.

You're welcome!


P.S. I have my own blog at where I give much needed fashion advice to shelter cats.

Friday, December 20, 2013

 Given I am a live-in home health aide, I basically have to fit my sewing activities around my client. And I mean literally. However, Vicki W. gave me special permission to show you my client's house as part of her REAL studio tour.
I don't get much time for sewing however, because my client likes to hold lots of endless staff meetings.
 This is the entrance to the room where we spend the most time. It's a large room over the garage.

 In the center of the room is my client's office. He only has three legs and at 17 years old is quite arthritic, so he needs stairs to get to his loft space with the window view. And his water is right next to the leg of the cutting table (right hand side), so I spill it daily. But if I move it, I'm guaranteed another staff meeting.
 I used to feed birds so my client and I could watch them from his loft, but a neighbor stole the bird feeder, took it into the woods and vandalized it.
This is the view from the doorway, looking to the left, where I have the elfa storage for cuts of fabric up to 1/2 yard. And this is my fancy electronic Bernina 1630 that I use for piecing. It stitches both forward and reverse!
 This is a longer view of the room. As you can see, the room layout is set up to maximize travel from one place to the other. But given I spend most of my time at my client's office in staff meetings, sewing efficiency is the least of my worries.
I use this sewing machine (Bernina 930) for quilting. It is housed in the sewing table that came with it. Notice how nicely it's laminate matches the faux wood of the formica dining room table behind it. (This was my family's dining room table when I was growing up.) But really the arrangement allows the long table to hold the bulk of the quilt as I'm machine quilting.
Looking back you can see the cutting table and newly constructed design wall that is attached to the back of two shelving units. I got the cutting table from a former employer back in the late 70s when they switched out wood furniture for metal. It was sold as surplus for $10, and is the perfect size and height for pin basting as well as cutting.

Monday, December 16, 2013

I'm working on another Quilt of Valor using a pattern from Amy Ellis' Modern Neutrals. This pattern is called sliced. Making the three-tiered log cabin blocks is a bit slow, but slicing and recombining is great fun.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

We woke up to a dusting of snow this morning. It really wasn't sticking very much so this photo was a bit strategic, and timely, because it didn't last long.

Friday, December 13, 2013

As part of Vicki W.'s REAL studio tour, I'm going to sing the praises of the best fabric storage solution of all time: the floor! And I know you all have them and take them for granted. But seriously, unlike other storage solutions, the floor happily takes small snips to large hunks of yardage. It doesn't fuss at you if you don't sort by color and size. Plus, the magic pull of gravity makes storage on the floor especially easy.
Yes, I use the plastic shelving units to store large flat folds of yardage. But the colors are supposed to be ordered by color and you have to fold them flat first. And as you can see in the picture, the shelves fill up fast to the point they can barely hold a kitten (using the fabric as his rock wall).
And yes, I have the metal storage baskets for storing hunks of fabric that are larger than a scrap to about half a yard. But again, each basket wants to hold a certain color or type (such as novelty: cat) and the fabric must be folded and it's such a tight fit!
I've even bought bins for scraps--in this case 1.5 inch strips. But again, you go to the store and all of the containers are empty. Such deceptive advertising! Once you get it home, the container is full and it takes supernatural strength to put the lid on it. And frankly, if those strips were just piled on the floor, they would become a fabulous cat toy.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday is a popular day for displaying work that is progressing on the design wall. However, today its the design wall that I'm showing...newly constructed today.  And its an improvised design wall because my original plan failed early, but I didn't want that to stop me!

My previous design wall was a blanket pinned to the back of two side-by-side shelving units that are only six feet high. I thought I was limited by a sloping roof and dormer. But as you can see, using a lightweight frame, the design wall extends into the dormer while using the shelving units as support. I used PVC piping to construct a square with a middle cross support (also PVC pipe). The piping was initially too long so I cut some down to a length that I could handle, resulting in a 90 inch square (roughly). 

I was going to put a fitted flannel sheet on the PVC square but the sheet was too small. So I slit the flat sheet edging and fed it through like a curtain. It was the perfect size once I shoved the excess around the bottom and under the shelving units. 

The PVC piping is attached to the shelving with bungee cords and the sheet is attached with safety pins. Because I am my father's daughter, no nails pierced drywall at any time during the process.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

 For our area, the freezing rain came overnight (Sunday into Monday). It wasn't as bad as feared and power was out for only 4 hours.
Tommy, ever the hard worker, soaked up as much warmth from the wood stove as he could.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

This area is expecting an ice storm tomorrow so I thought I would bring in a hummingbird floral pattern to lighten the mood. No worries. The hummingbirds left in the middle of September and aren't expected back until middle of April.

Friday, December 6, 2013

I have noticed that quilters often use the same color thread or even variegated thread because they loathe changing threads. As part of Vicki W.'s REAL Studio Tour, I would like to present my special tool for changing threads. My "Tommy" automatically unthreads the sewing machine and moisturizes the thread at the same time! Although I got my version at a Humane Society about 17 years ago, I think they are still widely available and come in a variety of sizes and colors.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Here's a second block. Weird. The first block was very choppy so I thought I would try a more open block. You may even notice that some fractured blocks made their way into this block. Overall, I'm loving the process if not the result.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I don't really remember when or where this fabric came from. However, I did try to use it for the fractured quilt-a-long but that first quilt failed fast. More recently, I have been reading through The Quilting Edge blog (wonderful!) and thought I would use this fabric as part of an improv quilt. Well, to be honest, I figured I could noodle around with this fabric and be happy to cut into it whether it worked out or not. Not quite the right mindset, but it's a start.

So I started by making a massive hunk of striped fabric, and then cut it into strips to use in a log cabin. The nice thing about a log cabin for an improv is that it gives you an obvious next place to go (the next log around the center), and you only have to make a decision about that next step. Improv for kittens, so to speak.

Now this is where I have landed (so far) with the hunk of patchwork on the right, and with additional testing strips on the left (because the original striped fabric is still in play, but enough is enough).  I may continue building this out, but another option would be to start another hunk or two and then combine those. Sounds like a plan!

Monday, December 2, 2013

A pattern from last year redecorated for the holidays.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Kaleidoscope pattern of maple leaves from this fall. This is one of the most colorful maples in my yard, but this year it turned mostly speckled brown, then threw in some brighter colors at the very end. Below is the photo that I used to make the kaleidoscope pattern. I took the photo by leaning out of a second story window.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A little quilt improvisation in Photoshop on a section sampled from the fractured quilt.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Here is the finished fractured quilt. I didn't get the binding on until this afternoon, hence the fractured shadows across the photograph. Below is a closeup of the machine quilting. I nixed the idea of a loopy line because it didn't seem to match the quilt, so I used an erratic straight line zig and zag instead. Thank you Vicki W. for hosting this fractured quilt-a-long, it was terrific fun!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Today we're revisiting a 8.5X11 inch quilt I made back in 2011 using fused batiks. Tommy says that if you want to see a real turkey, you'll have to visit his blog:

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A new pattern that combines circles and numbers. Broken down it looks like this...with the number pattern filling in the black sections below.