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Friday, September 26, 2014


The sun behind the clouds
We're under a flash flood watch right now as a huge storm rolls in. It hasn't hit our area quite yet, but we have some spectacular skies while we wait. We really need the water, but getting it all at once is always a bit nerve-wracking. Here are a couple more photos:
More clouds
Rain in the distance

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Puppy Love

Yesterday I finished the hand work I was doing the other day when I posted. :) Remember these blocks, begun during a visit from my quilting buddy? The quilt is now finished, though it ended up being too wide (23" x 37") for the wall I'd hoped to hang it on. Drat. Oh well.

The "problem" was that the cocker puppy, which I simply had to use, of course, because of our own cocker, Bisou, was a horizontal block instead of the vertical blocks of the schnauzer and lab puppies.

That lab was in memory of Dexter, a lab/chow mix we used to have and who was the sweetest guy you could imagine.

I used the schnauzer in order to have more than two dogs on the quilt; my sister had a schnauzer, and we also had friends with schnauzers, so that was logical choice.  Once I had all of the blocks finished, they seemed to need a border, so I used the embroidered paw prints for that; they were in the pattern set.

All of the quilting, including the straight lines, was done free motion to facilitate the frequent switching of directions that was necessary. Naturally, I also added the corded piping I like so much next to the binding.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hand work

Gosh, I hadn't realized how much time had slipped by since my last post! I've had a few distractions to keep me busy, though, the most important of which was getting ready for my husband's surgery to mend his torn meniscus. Ouch! But he's doing well at this point, thank goodness.

Another "distraction" has been the installation of our solar panels. Now we're just waiting for everything to be activated.

However, I have been doing some quilting in all of that. :) In fact, I'm now starting the hand work on a machine appliquéd/embroidered quilt begun almost two months ago. Once the binding and hanging sleeve are finished, I'll make a label and go on to the next project on the list. LOL! Doing the hand work is very relaxing, especially with a little pot of tea to enjoy at the same time. :)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Quilting with my granddaughter

My seven-year-old granddaughter wanted to make a cushion for her bed, so she spent today with me. She'd already picked out the colors she wanted, and I pulled fabrics from my stash and cut them from the layout I'd done in EQ7 (for the Mac!) so we'd be sure to finish in the one day. She requested yellow and white, and we added some purple, her favorite color. She pieced the log cabin variation sitting with me in the chair for supervision, and then she had fun with the walking foot for the quilting. The addition of an overlapped back made the quilt into a cushion cover.

Here's my happy granddaughter with her accomplishment. She loves my Bernina! ;)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Fun with machine appliqué

My quilting buddy from Phoenix has been spending a few days here with me, and we had a project in mind to keep us busy and out of trouble. ;) We used our embroidery modules to appliqué some adorable puppies from this pattern.

They're so cute that we've been oohing and awwing at every step! I chose three pups to begin with, but I really had trouble making up my mind — except for the cocker spaniel puppy, of course, since our Bisou likes the same play position. LOL!

These three blocks are all that I have finished at this point, but I'll have to decide how I want to put them together and what other motifs to add to make everything fit together.

Edit: My quilting buddy has just posted photos of her Mixed Mutts dogs, too! Here's where you can find them.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Quick baby gift

A young couple we know has just had a first baby, an adorable little boy. :) I needed to whip up a quick baby gift, and Craftsy published this cute pattern for a bib. It was quite easy to make, though I did make one modification: I put a layer of vinyl in between the front and back layers so that liquids wouldn't soak through and get the baby or his clothes wet. Having the vinyl between the layers did, however, make the bib more difficult to turn right side out, but I think it will have been worth it. Oh, and I decided to make the owl slightly cross-eyed; he was cuter that way. ;)

Here's the back of the bib, with baseball-themed fabric for a baseball-oriented family. I had the fabric in my stash, and it seemed perfect for this! :)

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Modified machine foot

I've been reading Amy's Free Motion Adventures for a while now. She has some wonderful tutorials for free motion quilting, but she also has a wonderful foot for her sewing machine. It's just like the ones you see on long arm machines, but it fits her domestic machine and makes using rulers on that machine much easier. You see, the problem with using rulers on most domestic machines is that the free motion foot will slide far too easily under the ruler, leaving the operator subject to broken needles, machine timing problems, and even injury. Unfortunately, much as I love my Bernina, no similar long arm-style foot is available for it. I've tried doing some ruler work anyway, and it was very stressful as I tightened up all of my muscles in the attempt to keep everything safe and working correctly.  Ouch!

A recent post to a Yahoo group, however, got my mind working. What if I found something I could attach somehow to my #9 foot, which is the one that I'd most likely want to modify? A trip to my local home improvement stores netted me what I hoped would work. I already had a #9 foot, of course. But I bought some rubber O-rings and some Super Glue and then came home and pondered whether I really thought it would work. That took several days. ;)

Finally, though, I decided I'd give it a try. I put a thin ring of glue around the top of the foot and used a wooden skewer to nudge and tap the O-ring into position, letting it dry for about 30 minutes to be very sure it was secure. Hmmm. Not tall enough. I added another O-ring and let that dry. See the result? The angle of the photo makes it look like the O-rings are skewed, but they really aren't, I promise.

Okay, now that it looked to be the right thickness, all that was left was to give it a try with the curved cross-hatching ruler I'd tried to use previously. The ruler is from this site, and I think I will have to get another — straight this time — from them.

I need lots more practice, obviously, but I really think the modified foot is going to be very helpful! I did a quick trial on a diagonal half of the drawn square here, and the added height on the foot really made a difference in how relaxed I was as I stitched.

Here is a series of photos to show the progress on the triangular area:
Doing the first angle of curves

The second angle

Finished — mistakes and all! LOL!
I'm so pleased with the foot I've modified that I'm not even upset at having a bit of Super Glue on a couple of fingertips! ;)