A King Sized Project and Tension

Strawberries and More ... or maybe Flourishing Garden

I have dug into the Strawberry Fields fabric I got recently and did a lot of cutting and am ready to start putting together a king size quilt for our bed.  I decided I am going to use the same pattern I used on Tribal (pattern by Melissa from Happy Quilting and her Happy Quilt-a-long!), since it got such rave reviews from the mister.

In addition to Strawberry Fields (which I am just ga-ga for)... I am also using this handful of favorites I have been waiting for the 'right' project for and a Clermont Farms and Charleviox charm packs.  All of these fabrics have dainty flowers, yellows, reds, fruits, polka dots and total summer fun in common!!

 After cutting I enjoyed this stack high on my desk... some 432 five inch squares.

...but it didn't last long.  This pattern requires chaos and randomness.  So into a laundry basket they went.  Mix, mix. Stir, stir.  Never to be a perfectly stacked pile of fabrics again. 

Just one step closer to being a flourishing garden!

And... there is something about the thought of starting a king size quilt that made me want to do a once over on my machine.  So, I cleaned it a bit... and then did a few test lines to assure everything was in good shape. 

This is the front of my test scrap.  Everything looks in order.

Then, I flipped it over and found the bottom stitches look like more of a single line.  Not evenly spaced stitches like the front. 

This picture points to a "good stitch" (I think)

While this one points to that weird line of thread with loops over.. but doesn't look like "good stitches"  Hard to put into words, but do you see what I mean?

A little research has lead me to believe that my bottom tension might be too tight?  And I am thinking that I have probably been sewing like this for awhile.  sigh  I know so little. 

If you have any words of wisdom or if you have seen this before... I would surely appreciate any help that you might offer!

Katie Fiber Art

I have made little leaps with this fun piece.  But after breaking three needles in one session, I decided it was time to put this one aside for a little while.

X Marks the Spot 

I have my new vision picked out for this quilts design and I just need a few free moments to give it a try.  I know this one will go quickly once I have a few X's put together.

And I want to thank you all for your kind and encouraging words!!  Your reaction has really fueled me to put time into this one very soon!

Bottled Rainbows

I have a bunch of solids in my hand.  And I have to admit they are still in the plastic they came in.  Just so pretty and vibrant.  I will be digging into these soon as well, but I was a little burnt from cutting the king size quilt... that the thought of cutting more fabrics wasn't in the cards for me yet. 

Plus, I also know that once I really start this one... there is no way I am going to be able to put it down. 

Nope.  No way :)


Tulip Table Runner - I need to decide if this stays as a table runner or if I should just make a decent sized lap quilt out of the blocks I started.  Decisions... decisions!

Creweling Spring Flowers - still slowly plucking away at this one.  Note to self... don't try to sew while watching two puppies play.  Sewing and doggies... don't mix well.

This Week's Work in Progress (WiP) Stats 
Last WiP Wednesday Total: 6
New Projects: 1 ~ King sized quilt with Strawberry Fields
Finished Projects: 0
Total WiP's: 7 ~ I am about to enjoy a few sewing intense weeks and looking forward to having so many projects to choose from!

---Linking to W.I.P. Wednesday---

Much love for Japan  


Creative Tuesday: Springtime!

Happy Tuesday!!  And not just any Tuesday, it's Creative Tuesday time!

Creative Tuesday begs me to open my drawing pad and mind to fill in a page with inspirations from the theme over at Mr. Toast's Creative Tuesday's assignment!

This week's theme is Springtime.  That elusive season that does not seem to be coming any time soon here in NY.  Well, at least we haven't had any real snow in the last week.

Spring makes me think of a great memory.  A few springs ago, my mother in law was cleaning out her garden bed and came across a tiny little burrow full of baby bunnies.  So small and hopeful.  So soft and new.  I used this memory as the start of my drawing.

Here is the starting sketch.

I began to fill it in with watercolor pencils and then used a pen to add the black outlining to emphasize fur and whiskers.

Tulips seemed to be a natural fit for this little bun-bun.  The tulips in my garden are showing signs of growing.  They pushed through and have begun to grow leaves.  No signs of buds yet, but I am sure they will bloom quickly once we get a bit of warm weather.

This is the same picture scanned in.  I like the textures and bright colors of this one!  I enjoyed the process of dreaming up something to put on paper and then making it come to life.
Mr. Toast, thank you for gentle nudging to get back into the Creative Tuesday routine.  It's easy in life for me to say I am too busy for things, but this is one thing I shouldn't compromise.  I always come away from this experience feeling so satisfied and happy.  I look forward to accepting your next challenge!

I hope you will consider joining in this or the next assignment and check out other artists in the community here.

Much love for Japan


One Thing, One Week Challenge

Amy from Amy's Creative Side hosts a great motivator every now and then to get one thing accomplished...  take one more step in a project...  finish off that one last thing that's been lingering on your creative mind.  It's not meant to pressure us, but simply provide that extra nudge to get that one thing checked off!

For last week's challenge I said I wanted to finalize the design for my X Marks the Spot quilt.  You will remember the pieces have been sitting around sometime now.

So, I started by taking the stack of squares and putting them up on the design wall to get reaquainted. 



I am still so in love with this line and the concept I started (phew!)

I opened a small sketch pad and started to doodle different ways to connect the squares.  Seeing them on the wall again, I am remembering that the patterns and colors are very strong.  I remembered that I wanted to used bigger pieces and solids to help break up the chaos a little. 

I am still playing with the concept of X's or crosses.  I started drawing them out and realized I had a lot of little holes that weren't filled... I wasn't connecting them in the right way.  hmmm...

Start over.  new graph... free hand lines...

Then it hit me. 

What if I use those tiny squares I made with all the wildness and patterns as the 'center' of the X?  And then I use a mix of solids and large pieces of fandango print to fill in the rest of the larger X?  So, it would be an X within an X. 

In my doodle, the highlighter colors are meant to be either a solid or a large piece of fandango fabric, while the pencil drawn block is meant to be the squares I made (pictured in the beginning of this post).

I started to outline the bigger X's just to get a feel for how the pattern works and I am really liking the effect. 

I also realized that I don't like how an X is cut off or incomplete here.  I am leaning toward adding a border that would allow the arm of an X to reach toward the edge of the quilt.  The border would also fill in a void if there wasn't an X filling the space.

I feel a sense of renewed direction with this quilt now.  I am ready to tackle some of the math to decide what pieces I need to cut... then I will be off to the horses to really start assembling this top. 

I hope you enjoyed a look into my design process.  It's mostly messy.  It's probably unconventional, but at the end it's very much me.  Please tell me I'm not the only one who designs in highlighter and pen (ha!) 

Also, have a look over at Amy's to see what others have completed in one week!

Much love for Japan


Happy Moment #22: Snow Stomping Fun!

A Friday ritual with Soulemama.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  A simple, special, extraordinary, happy moment.  A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments too!

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
~Omar Khayyam

Much love for Japan


I'm Dreaming Of...

Busy day ahead.  I'll be dreaming of...

~ a walk at the lake

 ~ with this fuzzy doll

~ we'll check on the melting ice and setting sun

~ we'll dance in the puddles and Katie will make me laugh so hard my sides will hurt

~ I'll be happy to see these bright red flowers that are so tall stretching to the sky

~ I'll be thinking of spicy food like this homemade spicy tomato soup; every spoonful makes me smile

~ aaaand... I'll have quilting on the brain fueled by a package that greeted me in the mail box today.

Luscious Strawberry Fields! 

The floral prints... the strawberries... the polka dots.  I can't wait to dive into this fabric!

What are you dreaming of?

Much love for Japan


Straight from the Sewing Table


Katie Fiber Art

Totally new.  Totally on a whim.  Totally inspired.  Totally excited to add a ton more detail and realism to this!!

X Marks the Spot 

No real progress on this one last week.  I did pull the stack out of the basket, but really need to spend some time with my design wall to settle on the layout. 

I decided for my One Thing, One Week Challenge with Amy from Amy's Creative Side... I will work on this layout.  Yup, that's my goal!!  Looking forward to it!

Crewel Spring Flowers

Not technically quilting, but I will continue to include it anyway.  Still slow going, but the relaxing aspects of it can't be matched.  I am still working on the third flower of nine.  The reds in this one are so perky.  Can't wait to see what it looks like with the green stems and leaves added in!

Tulip Runner

I thought for sure this project was going to die before it even started.  But, after it's long run on the no progress list I had a break through and spent my FNSI... that's Friday Night Sew-in.... dedicated to making this come to life.  When you last saw it here, the blocks were still without leaves.

I have since finished the blocks -- 12 inches square.  I also picked an order for them and sewed them together -- it's five feet long, ha!  Yes, it's headed for a very big long table.  I am still deciding to add a border or not to add a border.  What do you think? 

And then, I will settle on a backing and get this one sandwiched together.  I should made good progress on this one over the next week!

Bottled Rainbows
I am still waiting for my solids to arrive. 
I have organized my scraps into what I think will be color groups to coordinate with the solids.  I also cut out all 16 plain centers.  I decided to use a nice crisp white.  So, I am ready to go as soon as I have all my materials in hand.  Can't wait! 
Read more about the Bottled Rainbows Quilt-a-long if you like.... or join even if you are thinking of still joining!!

--BACK BURNER-- *cricket, cricket*

You Can Sew-a-thon! - I have picked the next project and will announce it soon!

This Week's Work in Progress (WiP) Stats 
Last WiP Wednesday Total: 6?
New Projects: 1 ~ Katie Fiber Art
Finished Projects: 0
Total WiP's: 6 ~ I added one this week and still only count 6 total? *puzzled* counting... not my strong suite apparently.

---Linking to W.I.P. Wednesday---

Much love for Japan


Crocuses in the Snow

Even with the little bit of snow we got yesterday... the promise of spring is still holding strong!!

The proof is peaking through the snow!

Much love for Japan

Fiber Art Junkie in the Making

Monika, this is for you!  You've created a fiber art junkie!!

My sweet friend Monika, from My Sweet Prairie, put a magazine in my hands yesterday that really got my creative juices overflowing!  Thank you again for doing that... I am so lucky to count you as my friend!

It was the perfect reason to drop everything else (ironing included) and start making my first real fiber art piece.

And just so you know up front... it did pass it's first quality inspection!

So, how did I get there... first step was to pick a picture to work from.  I landed on this one of Katie to start with.

Next grab some fabric to be your background.  I am using a white linen as the base and then some khaki cotton -- it's just two strips I had left over.  I sewed around the edges of both of them. 

I did omit using a fabric stabilizer... as I'm still trying figure out what that even is... *blushing*  I did mention I have a lot to learn, right?

Next, I added a base body and head and sewed around those shapes.  I have used my normal walking foot so far for all of this.  This fabric is more burlap-esque.  Really cool texture and it has that perfect golden shine!

Next, I added the ears.  Here is one.  All the pieces are free hand cut using regular fabric scissors.  The ear is made from a more velvety fabric.

Here is an idea of what it looks like under the needle.

Before I started sewing, I cut a lot of the pieces I wanted out and laid them out together to see what they would look like.

I sewed the rest of the pieces down.  Aren't those eye brows just to die for!!

A closer look at the textures and shapes!

Time to measure it up to the real thing.  Katie did her normal two sniffs and then licked it.  Her mark of approval!

Hmmm.  Not a bad start.  I have a lot of ideas for other details I would like to add like the whites of her eyes, the wisps of hair on her ears, chest, and shoulders.  Whiskers, nostrils... all that good stuff that will make this more recognizable.

In the spirit of full disclosure.... this is a messy messy craft.  For some reason I didn't anticipate the amount if little fabric pieces I would have on my desk after.  Looks like I went a little scissor happy.

The last thing I did was to add two lighter shapes to Katie's body to reflect the lighter bands of fur she has.  I'm really liking the different textures together!

Tonight, I think I will be putting on my free motion quilting foot and starting to shade in certain areas to add fur detailing.  I'm really looking forward to the challenge and it's refreshing to work on a small piece before I dive into my next big quilt.

So, what do you think?  Have you tried any sort of fiber art?  Any tips you could pass on?  Should I eventually put batting behind this and sandwich it like a normal quilt?

Hug the ones you love dolls. 

I'll be back later today with a precious photo of flowers in the snow!  Yes, we got some snow yesterday.  But, this picture will make you want some, just you can photo flowers in the white stuff!

-- I am joining Fabric Tuesday at Quiltsory --
Much love for Japan
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