Friday, December 23, 2016

Quilting: Christmas Table Runner

My sister-in-law received her table runner in the mail yesterday and immediately put it on--love that and love when what I make has utility.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Quilting: Christmas Presents

I'm done with my grandniece Dani's nursery quilt, and I'm quite satisfied with the colors and the quilt stitches.

I actually posted this sampler quilt I had entered into the county fair on an earlier post, but I'm posting pics again as I'm saying good bye to it and giving it to my niece for Christmas.

Monday, December 12, 2016

In an Indigo State of Mind

This heart is a preview of my creative obsession with the hue between blue and violet.  This Bmix with grog Cone 6 heart was underglazed in marine blue in its bisque state for that smeary effect and then overglazed with white gloss because Bmix at a higher firing tends to go creamy beige rather than white.  I am planning to purchase a layer cake of shibori fabric and looking to sew more fabric projects to convey that Japanese aesthetic I adore.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Works in Progress: Free Motion Quilted Pillow & Binding for a Nursery Quilt

I took a free motion quilting class from Jill Schumacher, for which I sewed this Ohio Star pillow on which to practice and never did.  However, my Babylock Maria had only one speed (fast!)and didn't seem conducive to free motion quilting on a home machine.  Well now I've got the Babylock Katherine and an extension table for it (and quilted twice now on the Avante long arm), and so there's no excuse for not embarking on that free motion quilting outside of a sewing shop.  I've been watching Angela Walters's Craftsy class on dot-to-dot quilting before I use a Saturday to practice on this pillow.

I've also a nursery quilt to finish binding to give in time for Christmas, and so I spent last night sewing this 2.5" scrappy binding and then pressing and folding and pressing and folding.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Work in Progress: Hexagon Pillow and Zip Pouch

I'm wracked with cough and congestion, and so I stayed home the past couple days and sewed.  A charm pack of Cowboy stackers has been turned into hexagon patchwork for denim pillows and zip pouch as my holiday gift to a friend, originally from Wyoming.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Sewing: Quilt in Progress

Here's a close-up of one of my holiday projects:  a nursery quilt for my grandniece.  I had hoped to get this done before her first birthday in November 2016, but I'm glad I took my time and reserved to use this machine the day after Thanksgiving.  I decided not to have it quilted by an outsource, but to instead free motion quilt it on an Avante--it's the only way really to improve my free motion skills.  So glad I did because it was rather fun!  I practiced beforehand by taking a pen in my fist kindergarten style to paper.  At $58, it was cheaper than the $100 for a computer program to stipple it, and I'm very forgiving of the mistakes or the personalized loops here and there in my stippling.  What matters is not that it's perfect but that it's done.  I'm already ready for another run at the Avante;)

Sewing Work in Progress: Binding

I've sewn tops for holiday table runners and quilted them, and it's now time to bind them.  I watched three different tutorials--Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company, Ashley Nickles on Creative Bug, and Bill Kerr from Modern Quilt Studio.  I did not want to hand sew this time, and the most straightforward and easiest instruction for me to understand was Bill Kerr's You Tube video. 

Then it was a matter of figuring out how to adjust the needle on my machine for the right seam width.  I've had to take my seam ripper to my binding twice now, but that's how I learn what not to do! I love my Babylock Katherine in that I no longer have to use my 1/4" foot--it's much more accurate and easier to just move that needle left or right and then line up the outer edge of the foot with the outside edge of the fabric.  My machine's automatic setting of a 1/2" seam seems to be the perfect needle position because it sews an 1/8" seam away from the left edge of the binding.  I just noticed 
in my photos that I used my regular foot instead of my walking foot, but the fabric is moving and so I'm going to go with it!

I'm at a corner!  As you can see from the picture, I wonder clipped the miter, but I have to leave for work and pause this project for now.  I've been gripping the binding to the edge of the quilt to make sure the stitches catch the binding on the opposite side of the quilt as well as lifting the presser foot every time I see the seam about to pucker and ruin a fairly straight line.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sewing: Quilted Coasters

Materials:  Michael Miller Fat Quarters, Gutermann cotton thread, batting

I've a ceramics show and sale this coming weekend, and I've only a few ceramics pieces and so I went into overdrive on sewing and quilting textiles over my Thanksgiving break.  A friend at work said she likes these coasters and suggested I transfer these skills onto potholders.  I also enjoyed learning a new quilting technique. 

I recently read a blog of one quilter who used pot lids to quilt circles around an I-Spy themed hexagon patch.  Love it, love it, love it.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Work in Progress: Christmas Table Runners

I've had these French General Joyeux Noel charm packs for a few years now.  We put our pencil tree up, and my husband decided I needed to start sewing a tree skirt (that work in progress not pictured here) before the holidays are over. I'm watching Jenny Doan's tutorial to complete that tree skirt.  Stay tuned.  But in the meantime, I had 5" squares leftover and hence these table runner  quilt tops.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ceramics: Porcelain Bowl

Materials:  Hagi porcelain, King Tut's turquoise engobe, Cone 6 clear glaze

I haven't sold this bowl as it is holding my jewelry at the kitchen sink where I take off my rings before washing.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Ceramics: Plate

Materials:  Cassius Basaltic, Texture Roller, Cone 6 Rutile, Cone 6 Clear

This plate came out of the kiln recently.  It may be a bit too large in diameter for new dinnerware, but I do love the texture and much that I ate my sashimi lunch on it today.  More to come.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ceramics: Small Plates

Materials:  Black Mountain clay, Cone 10 glazes
I made these plates last year using Chinet paper plates as a mold and after they were fired in the ceramics class at the high school I work at, I started using them in the kitchen at my workplace.  Because they're Cone 10, they're incredibly sturdy despite my having rolled the clay thin.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Cooking: A Late Breakfast of Herbed-Baked Eggs

I'm celebrating my 51st birthday, starting today.  I called in sick at work and am packing and then spending the weekend at a modern quilting retreat in a modern hotel, the Wild Palms in Sunnyvale.  And since I'm giving myself the treat of a leisurely-paced morning, I cooked Ina Garten's recipe for Herbed-Baked Eggs.  Here's how:  step out into your herb garden and pick a sprig of rosemary and a couple of sprigs of thyme.  Add parsley too if you have it.  Denude the branches of the leaves and chop with a clove of garlic as finely as you can--you can add some grains of salt to further pulverize your garlic but I'm a low sodium girl and think there's enough salt in my butter and cheese.  Cut a pat of butter and put in a ramekin baking dish.  Splash in heavy whipping cream and then add in your chopped garlic and herbs, a couple of teaspoons or so of parmesan cheese and then put into a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 5 minutes to melt the butter and mellow the garlic as well as meld the flavors.  Then bring out your heated ramekin of seasoned delicious cream and crack an egg into it.  Pop your ramekin back into your oven for another 5 minutes or more, maybe 2 more minutes depending how soft or firm you want your egg yolk.  I like my yolk not firm and the egg whites creamy in which to dip my toasted sourdough and then eat with a spoon when I've run out of bread.  Yah I really don't measure, so if you want specific quantities see Ina's recipe.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Work in Progress: Amy Butler Strip Quilt Backing

I'm cobbling all of my Amy Butler stash, which is rather huge I'm ashamed to admit, into a backing for the strip quilt top I sewed a few months ago.  So far it's 75 1/2" x 79" but will need to be bigger I think.....And there's enough fabric for hotel style pillows and bolsters too.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Flower Arranging

My husband grows dahlias and also cares for some abandoned rose bushes at the community garden.  Yesterday he picked this bouquet for me, and I LOVE the color palette.  Seriously, I want to sew a quilt in these  fuchsias and salmon pinks.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Work in Progress: Crib Quilt Border

In all the artificial light of all the lamps turned on in my condo, you can't tell how vibrant the hues of pinks are in this quilt, but they are.  I took the seam ripper to it last night and removed a row on the top and bottom and then added more gray to the right and left sides.  On the whole I think it looks a lot more balanced and less oddly narrow.  I want this quilt to be dragged around for playing and napping by my grandniece, and so I'm hoping the dimensions of 51" x 68" will work.  Warm & Natural twin batting is 72" x 90" and I've already completed the backing with orphan blocks and extra coins.  This weekend I'm going to layer and pin and stitch in the ditch.  I'll attempt free motion the stippling over the embroidered text panel later.

On another note, I have lots of extra 9 patches from the wedding quilt I sewed and have bought more Essex linen to make another lap quilt.  This time, instead of long arm stitching the Irish Chain, I'm going to instead attempt Sashiko like this Purl Soho tutorial.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Work in Progress: Crib Quilt Borders

In looking at this quilt (and a friend iterated my opinion), it's too narrow.  I need to add more border lengthwise.  And so the plan today after work is to perhaps trim off the single strip edges width-wise and add more gray to all around.  And then audition more stacked coin borders lengthwise, for which I bought about a 1 1/4 more yards of pink fabric in light, medium and dark values.  Fingers crossed!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Sewing: Wedding Quilt + all the finishing touches = Done!

I finished embroidering the quilt label earlier this week and later went to a stationery store to purchase a gift box and wrap but  didn't like their offerings.  I instead went to the fabric shop and purchased orchid color cotton.  I then played with the fancy stitches on my computerized sewing machine, traced the bride and groom's name and wedding date on the sewn bag, which I then hand embroidered.  I'm quite satisfied that it's complete, storage bag/wrapping and all.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Ceramics: Jack O'Lanterns

Materials:  Bmix, black and white underglaze, Cone 6 clear glaze

Materials:  Bmix, orange and yellow underglaze, Cone 6 clear glaze

Materials:  Cassius Basaltic, orange underglaze, Cone 6 clear glaze

Materials:  Cassius Basaltic, orange underglaze, Cone 6 clear glaze

Ceramics: Wall Heart

Materials:  Bmix with grog, marine blue underglaze, gloss white cone 6 glaze