Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Endless Summer Sails On!

We have had a rush of one gorgeous day after another!
Although last week a snail was at the top of my post, I have to admit I am getting quite a bit done lately, in spite of the continual distraction outside.

At the top of the list is still "My Christmas Album"... it's entered in my guild show in less that two weeks. I think a full day of quilting and a full day of binding will do it. For quilting, I am trying to do swirls in the background of the blocks, stitch-in-the-ditch, and a grid in the plaid border. I have a competitive edge here-- absolutely none of this quilting will even show. LOL

 I saved some of my test embroidery stitch outs to practice quilting on. (You should, too.) While the swirls were going well, thank God I looked at the back, because little puffs of batting were punching through. It may be because I needed a fresh needle, but there's no way I am muffing this up at this point, so I stopped everything to wait and get some black batting. You can see I picked one of those gorgeous metallic Hoffman Christmas prints for the backing.

In the meantime, I digitized a cute label and sleeve-- it's at the top of the post. I intend to post this as a freebie (for you to finish your quilt) some time this weekend. We do have two more gorgeous days ahead-- maybe I should say Monday morning! If you're on our email list, you won't miss it.

August's Cross Stitch is next on the list! My birthday is this month-- I LOVE AUGUST. My seahorse needs a bit of seaweed, and the missing block is going to have a cute cottage. It will debut as early next week as possible, weather permitting, heehee.

So those are my day job projects-- as you know, my hobby is also embroidery and sewing, so here's a peek at my spare time projects!

Most of us love stitch 'n flip blocks-- I love designing them and our entire Summerhouse Quilts series was full of them.

Right now, I need a guitar.

I sketched this months ago and it's usually so easy to just measure and cut the pieces from a graph paper sketch. Unfortunately, this one is on an angle. As much as I love math, I knew I was getting into the weeds when I started multiplying by the square root of 2. (The mathematicians among us will know why.)

Not only do you get measurements like 3.8796523," but it turns out, I should have been using TWO grid blocks, not ONE for "x," in x times the square root of 2.

Lost you yet?

Suffice it to say, 
my pieces were going to yield one king size guitar!!

To double check the math, I made this tiny ruler on a sticky note... in a perfect moment of inspiration, I realized I could just use my little ruler to measure the size of the pieces-- no calculator required!

I started, very timidly, in the middle, 
and over-sized the pieces just in case...

Well, it turns out the technique worked so well, that any mistakes were caused by too large pieces-- my little ruler was flawless, and I should have completely trusted it!

 So I hope this encourages you to restart some problem quilt--
 if you can use the "little ruler method" or not. And as a metaphor for life, yes, pay attention to the "little things"-- they hold the key!

I now have all the blocks needed to finish this quilt for a "new sheriff in town"... can you tell what state this little guy lives in?

Thanks for reading!
Now get out there and enjoy some sunshine!


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Summer, Glorious Summer!

This is a symbol of how progress is coming this summer! Not only is there a garden, road trips, and beach calling, but there are too many projects going on at once here!

 So beware, this post is LONG and OFF-TOPIC for the most part, but if you quickly scroll down, you may see photos of things that interest you.  We have a set of amazing customers who are more than capable of stitching our designs out faster than we can produce them, so there's been a lot of questions lately on where this or that series stands so this post is for YOU!

Let's start where the last post left off!

If there's one thing at the top of the list, it's the My Christmas Album plaid borders-- so appropriate for July, don't you think!
The conundrum of the upside down bow has been solved with a bow that looks better upside down. This is an amazing, fully embroidered quilt-- right down to the plaid! We are fully stitched, but now we have the tedious process of writing instructions-- look for your borders next week. Lots of you have been following along with this one-- 
thank you for all of the encouragement!

Next, we had a bit of a summer road trip, through New York and New Jersey.

This is a beach town, Ocean Grove, NJ, where four generations of my family have summered over the past century. We try to make it down at least once a summer. After being devastated by Hurricane Sandy, it was nice to see the boardwalk finally refinished-- all in Trex, so no more nasty splinters. I'll skip the story when I was about eight and sat my little bottom down on the very EDGE of the planks to enjoy the beautiful view---


This is Clinton, NJ, where I spent most of my teen years, met my wonderful husband, and we partly raised our son and daughter until the San Francisco Stitch Co. adventure began. If you are driving by, DO NOT MISS IT. They have the mill, an art museum, and a main street with the best local shops.

While standing on the edge of the river (ha-- you see that I am constantly living on the EDGE of things) we watched a little mother duck sweetly trying to herd about 11 little ones out of the current and over to the shore!

And so, the next Cloud Club bird is on the way!

This is going to be a Wood Duck looking at his duckling... of course, the mill will be in the background. So that road trip was worth it, just for that inspiration!

Meanwhile, back home...

You may think that I am now using "A New England Album" as a lap throw on the couch... GOD FORBID... there is too much spilling in this house!

It is now off the wall, washed, and blocked for another adventure, this time at the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell, Mass. Every August, they do a showing of a quilt from each of the local guilds. I was beyond honored to be selected from my guild, The Bayberry Quilters of Cape Cod. Artists always pick nice places to live, and New England is FULL of them, so don't miss this show, if you are anywhere within a couple of hours. A "Viewer's Choice" award will be given, and then that person's guild gets their own entire show at the museum! Of course, I would love to win that for the home team-- so full of talent, so consider voting for my quilt!

This is the last time this quilt will be shown... 
Of course, my husbands laughs because I've said that more than once to him as he helps me take it off the wall.

Speaking of my guild, we are having our OWN show as we do each summer in the beginning of August. It is also well worth the drive. We have 300 talented members, many award winning, and also enough vendors to do some serious damage to your budget. It's on beautiful Cape Cod, in Hyannis, from August 8-10.

Come on Thursday to avoid traffic-- I will be volunteering all day so ask around for me and say hello! The Christmas Album will be finished and on display, knock on wood.

"Mon Cheri" will also be in the Challenge quilt category-- yes, I'VE FINISHED SOMETHING, right down to the label and sleeve! This was mostly an experiment to try lattice-- SUCCESS! and it is with some pride I announce that my hand applique skills have finally arrived! This is also Viewer's Choice, but this time, you're allowed to vote for someone else, (I won with the ship two years ago) and believe me, you will have no problem finding one you like as the guild is TOP FLIGHT.

Now here are some pictures of my garden, another constant source of distraction:

I spend a lot of non-embroidery time there, but it has the benefit of much inspiration! In the last picture, do you see the little snake peeking out from our rock wall? I was SO hoping he would come out... I really love all of God's creatures, except for maybe mosquitoes. Will there be a Snake and Insect BOM? I think not.

And let's finish with more Christmas!
This is my stocking that I started 22 years ago when "Caroline" was born. I pulled it out when I was starting to consider digitizing cross stitch for machine embroidery in January. I've been working on it, snail's pace again, for the past six months, just for a half hour when I drink my tea in the morning. I brought in on the road trip-- do your projects travel with you?

If you ever want a hobby that proceeds more slowly than the lightning fast pace of quilts-- cross stitch IS IT!


Nonetheless, I was pleased to pull out the picture I took in January, and I have made progress.

If you've noticed, cross stitch is having a bit of a revival right now. I noticed the newer designers, for the most part, don't add back stitching anymore.You know, that is after you finish all the crosses, you go back and outline every tiny shape!!

Most people hate it, but it's honestly the best part for me-- you don't have to keep referencing the chart--just stitch around everything!

I'm still not sure if this will be done for Christmas-- it's become a bit of a family joke-- oh, I'd LOVE to prove them all wrong!

Still there?

Thank you so much for your patience and for visiting my little corner of the world...
here's a blog-only reward for you!
Take 25% any purchase through Friday, July 26th, no minimum purchase required-- just use coupon code blather19.

Happy Summer!