Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Update on Floss Color Choice!


Well, another day of punching here and there and I think I have found the right color! Sometimes we have to remove our hard work for many reasons. Color choice can be one of them and it is SO hard for me to take out something I've worked hard on, but sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do to get it RIGHT! It's always worth it in the end, don't you think?


Monday, June 25, 2012

Away at the Beach! Punchneedle was an easy project to take along!


Last week we went away for a visit to Orange Beach, Alabama. A beautiful place for sure! Here was the view from our balcony while I did a little stitching. The sound of the waves was very relaxing and when I'd had enough watching the waves roll in, I picked up my project.

For those of you who have not done punchneedle, this is how it looks as you begin punching the shapes. They are a bit messy, but as long as you stay within the lines, the shape will sharpen up nicely when you fill in around it. Notice the berries and pineapple shapes...before and after filling in a bit!


I am auditioning background colors for the blocks in this little punchneedle quilt. I don't think this is quite right, yet I do like the varigated look.

Here you can see I have added a bit of solid ivory around the star.

Punchneedle was a great little project to take along on my trip. I was able to check with TSA at the check in desk and they approved me taking the needle on board. It was flat and small in my carry on bag and I got quite a bit done when I felt I was being to idle with my hands. I took it to the poolside, worked on it on the balcony and at the airport. You know us quilters and stitchers can't be empty handed for long!

Have a great day!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Rainy Day Projects...

I am plugging away at quilting The Appliqué Group charity quilt. Today it's been hot and rainy so I am working on lots of little projects inside. The pebble quilting you see above makes my hands tired so I am only working on it in small spurts of time!


When my hands are resting from quilting, I am working in little bits on other projects. This is a new punchneedle design I have started. It will be another mini quilt with punchneedle in the center. I can't wait to get going with more colors!

Have a nice relaxing afternoon!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Mmmm Fresh Salad Please!

We moved to Iowa about 8 years ago from a 2 acre lot to a standard cookie cutter sized lot. We had a big garden in Ohio...squash, strawberries, tomatoes, peas, etc. Here, I have learned to mix the veggies in with my flower pots on the porch..it makes for a small garden, but it works! This year I only have tomatoes and lettus, but it will be enough for a few fresh salads now and then!

The big pots of light purple petunias all came back naturally from last year! We thought they were weeds, but then noticed they were petunias. It was nice to have those pots ready to go at planting time

Spinach is in the three tiered planter...can't hardly see it since I just cut it! More leaves will be grown in a few days though! On the right is my new Stawberries 'n Cream Hydrangia ...the blooms are only yellow so I need to figure out what nutrients it needs to get the pink color to come!

The back porch flower garden...helps us feel a little less closed in and gives us something nice to look at besides the neighbors! LOL. You can see the lettus bowl on the railing next to the three tiered pot where the lettus is growing. My tomato plant is just off view of the camera to the left and has some nice tomatoes ripening. When the lettus is done we will put out more seed for the next round. Lettus grows quickly so it works well!

And since this is a blog about quilts...here is an old quilt I made in the early nineties during the mauve and blue phase of my life. It is called Cottage Flowers. I haven't had it out for a while, so it's nice for me to see it again! Have a great weekend!



Monday, June 11, 2012

Mariner's Compass Coaster

Punchneedle is one of my favorite crafts that can be done easily when things are busy around here. Katie is off to camp as of midnight last night and we had a busy few days getting her ready to go. I had snippets of time here and there and this coaster was one project that was done in a flash!

This took only about an hour or so in total. I love making coasters out of punchneedle. The colorfast 3-strand floss from Valdani does not bleed after being moistened by drops of water from glasses. I have used my punchneedle coasters for a few years and just wanted to add to my collection. For the base I use small sized cork and wood plant protectors from the big box home stores. The punchneedle is glued on the backside to hold the loops in place and at that time I glue it to the wood base with permanent glue. Works great!

One thing about punchneedle...the projects are small and we decorate baskets an other things to sit around, but making coasters and framed art are my favorite uses for punchneedled projects. You can see a few more at my online store, Traditional Primitives.  Click HERE to shop! You will see that I like to do larger projects as well. I have a rabbit quilt using punchneedle that I will show soon. It is something I work on occasionally when I am not designing.

Katie and her buddies headed to camp bought black hats from the dollar store and decided to use some bright fabrics to put their name on them. After they got started, Katie decided to do hers a bit differently...we made a cover for the top of the hat, stitched it on and then she did her name in black. It's cute as can be! I wish I had pics of the others...they all turned out darling!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

I LOVE English Paper Piecing!

G'Morning! Nothing more relaxing on a Saturday morning than sipping coffee and doing a little stitching!
This is my latest little English Paper Piecing project. I LOVE to work with this technique! You can take it with you very easily (Notice my little gold carry case-I've been dying to use it for something!), prep is easy and stitching the pieces together is easy! You may have seen my big fancy Anniversary Quilt to celebrate 25 years with my Hubs on my website. Hallbrookdesigns.com and on my blog profile page. Be sure to take a look at the website and read the description on both the Pattern page and the My Favorite Things page. The center hexies were done with the English Paper Piecing technique and that's how my obsession started...I am hooked!

You can see in this close up pic the basting stitches on two pieces...top left dark blue and top right dark purple. Using traditional basting stitches is the way most folks do this, but not me! I only used basting stitches on a few pieces because I was stitching in the car and needed a few more pieces and was in a bind without my trusty glue stick.
When I started on the hexies, I found I was just to lazy to baste those seams around the paper pieces! Yep...just too lazy! Actually, I couldn't do a good job on the basting.  I have taken several appliqué classes from many famous artists who use washable glues of all kinds on their quilts. I decided to try out glue sticks with my hexie pieces. LOVED how quick it was! I could prepare dozens of pieces in only a few minutes! This was for me! The other trick was that I accidentally printed the hexie pieces on photo paper instead of card stock. The photo paper worked perfect with the glue stick! The fabric pops right off when you are ready to remove the paper due to the slick paper finish. But it is important to wash out the glue before finishing the quilt. Sometimes we want to wash a quilt, but other times we like to leave the fabric unwashed...

For this project I am experimenting with purchased Paper Pieces (to save me cutting time) shown above as well as 404 Spray and Fix Repositional Adhesive (spray on repositional glue). This glue works like a sticky note glue. I am spraying it on in two thin coats and so far, it is working wonderfully! All you have to do is spray the paper, wait 45 seconds, repeat, and then place the unsticky side onto the back of your fabric piece. Fold the edges over onto the sticky paper and Voila!, the basting is done! I am having to spray again when I want to reuse the papers, but it is so easy, it is still quicker than the gluestick or basting with thread. The advantage of the spray glue over the glue stick is that it comes off the paper much easier and leaves no residue to wash out of the fabric... It's an option for some who want to use a different technique. 

***UPDATE- This has become a sticky mess and I have now developed a technique for Starch Basting EPP!  See the tab at the top of the page!!

I am just about done with the piecing on this project. This will be the center of the small quilt and then I will appliqué the borders...most likely a pineapple theme...will show you more soon! The finished project will be available as a pattern.