In the Garden Again

Here’s Wanda’s quilt on the longarm frame.  I’ve gotten a little done since she left.

WandasQuilt600x450The black print was a fabric we used in a challenge on The Quilting Post.  I think she did a beautiful job!

I’ve had a hard time being interested in sewing or quilting for the last 2-3 years.  I need something to get me kick started.  We need a new quilt for our bedroom but it’s just not calling my name.

On the other hand, if it weren’t so darned hot, I would spend all day outside gardening.

Just as we started getting thunder yesterday afternoon for our afternoon shower, I went to the garden to pick veggies and take a few pics.  Here’s one of the Marigolds I planted at the corner of a bed with corn and Yellow Moon and Stars Watermelons.

Marigold600x450And a basil planted in between a row of tomatoes.  I’ve been reading that not only does basil work to deter pests but it makes your tomatoes taste sweeter.

Basil600x460Wonder what that weird whitish stuff is?  It’s coffee filters from Don’s coffee pot.  He saves the grinds & filters in a peanut jar and when it gets full, he dumps them out into the garden.

I’ve really become interested in good gardening practices because if I’m going to do all this work….well….I want maximum results!

Do you have a favorite garden tip to share with me?

SherylSigRedFinal2

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Your Long Lost Friend

Hi to all of you.  Life has been very unpredictable for us the last several months.  I won’t bore you with details but at this moment, I think I’ll try to reclaim some of myself and maybe get back on course.

My last post was to give you the center of Strawberry Stroll.  I finally found a file on an old disk for the pattern….It was 2004 when I began to write this pattern.    I was having to recreate a file from a printed copy and that has been a major pia.  I tried to just scan the pages but it’s in gray scale and none of the graphics showed up well.

You can’t begin how happy I am to have finally found this file!  I still haven’t found the color file so this one will have to do.  Instead of giving the rest to you in installments, I’m going to give you the whole file….as a Christmas gift.

Thanks to those of you who checked in on me periodically to make sure I was still in the flesh.  Those messages were most appreciated.  Thanks also to all of you who chose to hang in there with me.

StrawberryStroll

SherylSigRedFinal2

Strawberry Stroll Winner

The random number chosen is:

strawberrystrollnumber

The winning comment is from:

NancyAngerer

 

Nancy, I need you to get in touch with your mailing address so I can get your fabric set in the mail this week.  Congrats and enjoy!

SherylSigRedFinal2

Original Strawberry Stroll Fabrics

If you haven’t left a comment on the previous post about the 1st Quilting Editions:  Strawberry Stroll…please go do that so you can be entered to win a pack of the original FQ’s used in the design.

This is the only pack I have of these fabrics.  I’m going to check my stash as we go along to see if I can put together packs for the other designs but don’t get your hopes up too high.  I know where one bag is that has some fabrics from the next one but I don’t think it’s the whole collection.  If I can make up packets, I’ll give one packet away with each design…but no promises.  🙂

Comments left on any other post will *not* be considered in the drawing.

When you’re choosing your fabrics, please keep in mind that the overall design is only 30″ square.  There are no large pieces so anything but small scale designs won’t show up well.  Don’t stress out about the small pieces.  We’re going to take this one step at a time and if you only work on one border at a time, it will go together quickly and easily.  Promise!  Right, Denise?

In order to help you with shopping your stash or buying new FQ’s, I’ve scanned the original fabrics for you.

fabrics600x

 

SherylSigRedFinal2

Quilting Editions #1—Strawberry Stroll

I didn’t forget about our Quilting Editions projects.  It’s been more than a little crazy around here the last few weeks.  Our boys all got haircuts last Monday and I’ll write more about that later.

Our first project is “Strawberry Stroll”.  You may use a different applique motif in the medallion center if you have one you wish to use.  I don’t have any alternates for you to use and just don’t have time to draw any but you are free to use artistic freedom.

Here’s the design we’re working on right now.

Strawberry Stroll--#1 in the series

Strawberry Stroll–#1 in the series

 Click here to download the supply list/cover sheet.

Get your supplies together and I’ll put our first set of instructions up on 4/27.  That will give you almost 2 weeks to find the fabrics you want to use.

 I have one set of original fabrics that were used for this pattern.  Leave a comment  *on this post * about what colors you plan to use for your Strawberry Stroll and if you’re going to use the pattern as is or substitute a different applique center. I’ll use a random number generator to choose someone to receive this set of FQ’s.

Only one comment per reader.  

Comments must be made no later than midnight CST 4/20/2013.

 

SherylSigRedFinal2

Ready For a New Project?

For several years I designed a pattern for the FQ Stroll for BerryPatch Art & Quilt Expo in Ponchatoula.  Because Ponchatoula is well known for it’s luscious strawberries, each design featured the lovely, red fruits except for the last one.  You could easily add a strawberry in the oval by using one from a previous pattern.

BerryPatch Productions is no longer in business and there’s no quilt expo in Ponchatoula so I’ve decided to share my designs with you.  It will be set up as a twice monthly edition pattern.   Let’s call it  “Quilting Editions”.

It won’t be like a mystery because you’ll know what you’re making and can easily choose your fabrics.  Twice a month, I’ll release a part of the design so that at the end…if you’ve been keeping up….your quilt top will be ready.

I’ll check to see if there might be kits still available for these if anyone is interested in using the original fabrics.  I’ll post that info later.

The designs will be offered in the order that I designed them.  Here they are just to get your creative juices revved up.

Strawberry Stroll--#1 in the series

Strawberry Stroll–#1 in the series

Strolling for Dessert---#2 in the series

Strolling for Dessert—#2 in the series

Berry Elegance---#3 in the series

Berry Elegance—#3 in the series

Tea With Marie---#4 and the final design in the series

Tea With Marie—#4 and the final design in the series

Do you think you’ll play along with this series?

SherylSigRedFinal2

Yes, She’s Still Quilting

And just to prove it…..

Here’s what’s on the frame right now.  This is one of those “It’s a Big Block” quilts I made from the pattern I designed.  You can see all the freebies I have posted HERE.

"It's a Big Block" pattern

“It’s a Big Block” pattern

This is “Coxey’s Camp”.  It’s a very easy quilt to cut and put together.  I’m still working on feathers so it’s being quilted with an all-over large feather design.

A few weeks ago, I finished quilting a top for Southern Samplers Quilt Guild to be sent for Wounded Warriors.  I used the EZ Arc Baptist Fan template on it.  It turned out pretty well.  I still have some practice to do in learning how to be consistent with placement.  I think the fan design is a good compliment to the piecing.

WoundedWarriorsQuilt400x600You can’t really see the quilting in this picture so here’s another picture with more detail.

BaptistFanDetail600x400

I have really enjoyed working with this tool and hope to get better with more practice.

So, that’s my quilting story for today.  Now, I have to go see my boys!

SherylSigRedFinal2

Something I Didn’t Tell You About

I’ve been a tester for Betty Bland for a new longarm tool used to make Baptist Fans.  It’s called “Ezy Arc” by “Top Anchor Tools“.   I couldn’t talk about it for several weeks due to a non-disclosure agreement and then the holidays were in full swing and then it was cold and nasty, rainy weather and I didn’t have any heat in The Barn.  I know I must seem whiney to those who get bombarded with snow, but don’t forget that anything under 60 degrees is cold to us!  I know I keep telling you the same thing over and over again but it’s really true.  🙂

Now that Don has the central heat running in The Barn, I’ve been working on my  test piece.  I finished it up today.  I want to share some pictures of the tool and my progress with it.

The  tool has a disc with a fastener on the bottom that affixes to the quilt top.  This is secured in place with a T-pin.  The green template fits down over the fastener and the magnetic cap holds it all together.  I love and use  DeLoa Jones’sLittle One”  and use it when I’m backtracking.

EZ Arc Parts

EZ Arc Parts

This is what it looks like in action.  There is definitely a learning curve because you have to lightly hold the template in place but you have to move the  machine & template in tandem…..but this thing is so neat.

Tool In Use600x400

It takes some effort to learn how to put the fastener in correctly and I’m still working on that part but I’ve pretty much got that mastered.   I think I’ve got it figured out as to how to insert the bottom pin of the fastener to make sure the template is in the right position.  I’ll take a picture of that part the next time I work with it.

If you’ll look at the upper left corner of the following picture, you can see how bad my first fan was.  Can we all say “Pitiful” at the same time?

Tsk, Tsk, Tsk.  Bad start, Sheryl!

Tsk, Tsk, Tsk. Bad start, Sheryl!

I got better as I went but that smallest arc just never looked like I wanted it to.  There’s a lot of backtracking with this so I need to sharpen up those skills too.

Bad 2inch600x384

So…..I decided to eliminate that one and I actually like the way the fan looks without it.

LargerCorner600x400

I want to show you something really cool about the Innova machines.  I’m using leftover batting on this so when I got to the point of adding more batting, I just lifted up the Gas Assist Bar.  That’s the bar that the top is fastened to.

Gas Assist Bar on Innova

Gas Assist Bar on Innova

You can see the cut edge of the batting.  This bar is great.  You can lift it to straighten your batting, add additional batting, and pick stray threads you don’t want to show through the top.  I love this!

New batting piece added

New batting piece added

I just very slightly tucked the new piece under the bottom of the old piece.  With this design, I’m not worried at all about batting bunching or getting out of place.  After you add batting, do your straightening or whatever, you just gently lower the bar back into position.Backing600x400

You can see the beginning which doesn’t look so great, but you can also see that the arcs do improve with practice.

Here’s the top after it was finished.  I really like the way the Baptist Fans compliment the beachy print.

FinishedTop600x400

After taking the test piece off Valentina, I loaded a quilt for the Southern Samplers “Wounded Warrior” project.  I had volunteered to quilt one for them last year so I’m going to get it finished so I can deliver it to them for mailing to a contact in DC.   I’m going to use the “EZ Arc” tool on  this quilt also.  I’ll use a blue thread and a BUSY background  backing to hide any “oopsies”.

Wounded Warriors Quilt

Wounded Warriors Quilt

I have no affil. to Top Anchor Tools other than being a tester of the tool for Betty but I think I love it.  No, I know I love it.  I have always wanted to be able to do the Baptist Fan and now I can.  Thanks, Betty!

SherylSigRedFinal2

Decisions

We all know that sometimes, decisions are just plain hard to make.  I’ve struggled for several years about staying in the local guild I belong to.   After reading Judy’s post about guilds, I thought this is the time for me to say what I think.

I’ve always tried to take a part in the activities within the guild.  For years, I was in charge of creating challenges & special projects for them.  It takes an untold number of hours to come up with ideas, write the guidelines, develop the patterns, plan & execute shopping trips for the projects…etc., etc., etc.  I didn’t mind for the most part because I enjoyed the challenge myself but after so many times of so few people following through, it became a task rather than a joy.  Why should I do all the work if no one is going to play?

In a way,  it’s almost like a smack to the face that the people I interacted with on a monthly basis were less supportive than members of our sister guild who participated often.  They (sister guild members) stuck it out and in the end have beautiful results from those challenges.   I want them to know how much I appreciate it and I hope they will continue to follow my blog and play along with projects here.

Don’t get me wrong….I’ve enjoyed many friendships because of the guild and there are people who I will miss.  Hopefully, we will continue to be friends.  If not, that part is out of my control.

I’ve come to a point in my life where I just don’t have room for crap.  Let’s just call it what it is.  A quilt guild should be fun and enjoyable.  It has become a stressor for me pure and simple.  It’s not my intention to hurt feelings about this but there’s no point in sugar-coating things. This decision is not about any particular person.  If someone reading this thinks this is about them.  Shame on them.  The world doesn’t revolve around one person.  Nor should a group such as a guild and  I’m not asking them to do that for me or change the way they choose to operate to accommodate me.  Instead, I’m taking myself out of the equation to a more comfortable zone for myself.

It’s time for me to move on.

SherylSigRedFinal2

Christmas Town Sampler Update

How many of you have finished your CTS quilt top?  Which size are you making?

Remember that my friend Denise was the brain behind this whole idea.  She dreamed it up and then every so gently twisted our (Susan, Judy, and I) arms to collaborate on the project.  It was a lot of fun for all of us.

Betty H. has completely finished her quilt and it’s a beauty!  She has generously agreed to allow me to post her picture here.  If this doesn’t make you want to get your project bag out and finish this quilt—I don’t know what will.  🙂  It’s drop dead gorgeous!

Christmas Town Sampler by Betty H.

Christmas Town Sampler by Betty H.

If anyone has pictures to share, just send me a comment telling me about it and I’ll get back to you.  If you already have my earthlink addy, just send the file to me and I’ll post them for you.

SherylSigRedFinal2

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