Saturday, July 21, 2018

Labor of Love or Lovely Labor?

Now that my floral baskets are sewn together, it’s time to raise the bar again! I wasn't quite happy with my hand stitching on the back. The thread color I picked was too light for some areas, my seams didn’t match, and they became very obvious where the darkest part of the cloud fabric met the lightest part. 


I decided to add cream grunge strips to cover all of the seams. I've been thinking about doing it for all long time, and I’m happy to say, it’s going more quickly than I thought. That being said, this is the point where someone said, 

“Oh! That’s a labor of love!”

I don’t listen to anything when I sew— I like to let my mind wander, so I had plenty of time to mull over that expression. it always sounds like a task is so painful to do... LABOR... more suited for a chain gang... but I am enjoying it immensely. It’s very relaxing to make the strips, measure, cut and stitch them slowly along the edges.

First, I'm cutting the strips 2-1/8" wide. I heavily starch and press a quarter inch seam on one side. Then, it gets pinned in place, and I fold the other side to match the actual width. Since the width between satin stitching varies, each piece is a custom fit.

I then glue them down and wait for them to dry.

Since hand stitching is what got me into this mess, I am then MACHINE stitching them down the merest fraction of an inch from the edge. I can do this while being confident that the front will look fine, because the satin stitching goes through to the front.

This is how it looks on the front. I know that it looks a bit wriggly, but next I will machine embroider quilting the those areas... if you think the expression "it will quilt out" is only a  euphemism... it is not. Machine embroidery can neatly smack down even the most unruly of borders!

I guess the puzzling part is that this is the BACK of the piece. I’m not sure why I am pouring all this love into it... It’s not like it will end up as a lap throw (I HOPE NOT) but it’s a wall piece. I imagine that people who take an interest in it, enough to lift it and look and the back, will get a lovely surprise! To me, it resembles a trellis with blue skies showing through.

I am having a really enjoyable summer. The weather has been PERFECT-- just a little heat, a lot of sun, and my mom is staying with us. It's so fun to take her out to lunch in our seaside town. Did you ever notice how you avoid touristy places when you live there, but then when company comes, you visit these things. Here we are sharing a HUGE plate of fried seafood!!

And just as much work is going into the real flowers this summer as opposed to the embroidered ones. I took a really relaxed approach this year, and instead of doing massive plantings, just made some pretty vignettes here and there. We live in the woods, so coleus and ferns are so easy to plant.

My DH did me a "favor" last fall and cut my huge hydrangeas just about down to the ground. I privately said last rites over them, but look at this:
Not only have them come back, but I now have both PINK and BLUE bushes? The acidity of the soil is supposed to determine which you get-- we must have really weird soil.

One of DH's favorite plants-- caladium-- and so I dig them up and replant year after year, and also add a few new ones each spring. We have a nice assortment of leaf colors going, but they don't start really getting big until August. We are being overrun by bunnies this summer and they are nibbling. An expensive salad. 

I have always had a Japanese Maple wherever I live. And marigolds can't be beat for EASY.

So that's summer! I have sadly reflected that August is almost here, but it's been a very productive while relaxing season for me.
Hope yours is, too!


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

I Succumbed.

After seeing photo after glorious photo of the Brimfield Awakening block on Instagram, I finally jumped in. 

Reading the story of how two people discovered this orphan block at at flea market, but then actually saw it for what it was and turned it into their own company, really sucked me in.

 To stick my toe in, I purchased the set of paper pieces for just one block. The package was tiny, so I put it in a "safe place" so when I was ready, I could get my hands on it right away.

If you enjoy the game of "I Spy,"  you'll see why a couple of months went by before I got to work!

Nonetheless, the thrill of discovery when I went hunting for a screwdriver was probably as much as Kim and Nisha had when they found the original block.

Then this happened--

The perfect fabric and the perfect pattern came into alignment just like the stars and planets.
This is "Lemonade Stand" by Tilda.

Perfect, huh!
Look at the details!

 I spy two birds...

I spy a bird cage, a chandelier, a unicyle, and Mary Poppins!

I spy a camel, a witch, a piano, a bear, and a bobbin, for scale! 

But of course, a little grunge does not hurt anything.

Who isn't a fan of English Paper piecing-- but who has the time for it? I used my cardboard pieces and can of starch to make appliques, and to further speed things up, I am machine stitching these down. So far, it went incredibly fast.

Instead of making every block different, I am going to make them all the same. I have never made a quilt with all of the same blocks-- that will be really out of my box!!


But can you spy the best part of this block ???

Right in the middle there???


It's an opportunity for a gorgeous embroidery design!!
and I already have an idea of what it will be-- 
let's just say, this quilt already has a name: 

"A Few of My Favorite Things."

Happy Fourth!