I Love My Design Wall!

No, this post is not about Valentine’s Day! It is about something I would not want to be without in my little world of quilting…my design wall.

This post really came about just today, as I was looking at my design wall. The design wall, it occurred to me, is my favorite thing! I get to PLAY here!

Some examples of the wall in use:

Every Which Way But Straight definitely needed to be laid out to see how the lines would work…

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This charity quilty for MQG 2017, Mountains of Hope, was a work in progress, as blocks came in all sizes from Mississippi and Oregon and then was quilted in Texas!

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This is looking at blocks from my Stash Bee, Hive 5, which I originally planned to cut up, but the wall helped me see them as wholes and now I have to decide again!

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And I could NEVER have finished this one, Ali’s Graduation Quilt, without the help of the wall!…

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Sometimes the wall is a complete hodge-podge…

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Today, the wall has the next charity quilt in progress…

20181003_114630~25387386205147338113..jpgThese are just half the blocks for the quilt, as my friend and sew mate, Jude, and I are working together on this. I believe we also have a quilter lined up, but until that is confirmed, I will keep that under wraps.

The “play” is that with a design wall, you can change the layout in any way, take a picture, and then try another! This is such an important part of the creative process! It is also a great way to audition fabric selections before you ever start cutting or making blocks. Here are the same blocks above, in a different arrangement, as an example…

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How cool and easy was that?!? Be sure to save pictures of you arrangements so you can get back to what you like. BTW, taking a picture REALLY helps more than just looking at the wall. I am not sure exactly why, but it is true!

If you don’t have a design wall, get creative and see what you can come up with. Depending on your space availability and budget, there are many ideas on the web…just search for “quilting design wall” and you will find everything from portable and small, full-wall to free-standing, and more!

Being a bit on the frugal side (and interested in having more $$$ for fabric) I found a blanket I would not want to sleep under (if I didn’t have to) at the thrift store. It was already finished around the edges and hemed, so I just put it on a curtain rod on my wall and used push pins to hold it close to the wall. Voila! It is bed-sized, so it works wonders for most projects.

The one thing I DON’T like about my design wall…photogrid_15386724263057062131341135938484.jpg …when it is bare!!!

Remember, that if all else fails, there is always the floor or a bed. If you can, you will find working upright very user-friendly though!

How do you lay out your quilting? Do you have a design wall? I would be interested in your thoughts!

Happy Quilting!

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Catch-Up Time!

All we can do it the best we can do! Whoever said this was absolutely correct! I was feeling pretty pleased at the time of my last post (July 23), that I had been keeping up with at least one post per month. I know that isn’t much, compared to many bloggers, but it is all a process, right? I am not going to beat myself up, but just try to catch up a bit today.

Having not been blogging, you might guess that I was not keeping up with my monthly planner either. You would be right! That doesn’t mean I have not been busy in my sewing room…or other places!

Since my last post, I have completed all my stash bee blocks and another round of wonky stars swap. These are the wonky star blocks I sent out…img_20180811_161010_0427480597515168081610.jpgI just love these crazy things and am getting quite a collection! I think a few more will be arriving, as the swap deadline is this month, so I won’t post the collection I have yet.

In August, I was Queen Bee of the Stash Bee Hive 5. I selected a simple 9-patch block so it would be easy for everyone during the busy summer month. I was so lucky to receive 17 blocks! Some folks made multiples, so it almost fills my wall. Originally, I had planned to cut the big blocks up into smaller squares and make a unique arrangement something like this…

 

At this point, after putting them all up on my design wall, I am not sure. I love the simplicity of these blocks, just as they are, and the pops of color!

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I am going to have to look at this for a while and play with the blocks!

In August, we also went on a cruise to Alaska. It was a time spent with my son-in-law and his family. We had been before, but it was a different kind of trip for them, as they would usually choose to travel to a tropical climate. The highlight for me, since I had not seen it on our previous trip, was the glacier. They got very close for such a big ship! This was the Dawes Glacier and they take you up the arm of the fjord slowly because of the icebergs. Once they get as close as possible, they rotate the ship 360 degrees, so everyone can see, even if they want to stay inside. This time of year, it was quite cold! We stood on the bow of the ship for about 3 hours!

 

The boys were more interested in playing basketball, actually! I guess that is to be understood, but their parents did make sure they stopped to be part of swinging the ship around and they made it a game to get to all sides of the ship, as it turned! I do believe they thought it was pretty cool, after all!

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A few other pics from the trip…

Since the cruise, I have been trying to use my time to clear out some works-in-progress … that ever-growing UFO pile can be daunting!

In no particular order, here are the finishes, so far…

 

I am not sure how many months ago, I asked photographer, Ric Ergenbirght, if I could try quilting the picture on the right above. He kindly allowed me to give it a go. Something I had been wanting to try and have had no lessons on. I guess it came out okay for a first try. I think I need some training!

 

I call this lap quilt Caribbean Courthouse Steps. I am thinking of donating it to a good cause. Perhaps a hospital, cancer center, or senior living home.

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This little piece has been a thorn in my side, as they say. It started out to be part of the Sienna Sunburst QAL, with Then Came June. I really just couldn’t get into it, so I asked my hubby to pick some fabric. He only asked for something very plain and simple. Well, he got that in the fabric. I got the bright idea to make it bigger and that was another thing I had never done. It was not perfect, but HE liked/s it. I guess that is a good thing. He also want no batting, no quilting, and he even said no binding! He just wanted that unfinished flimsy hanging on a wall. That was not possible for me, so I compromised on what you see…no batting, but it is backed in a simple fabric and slightly quilted with a variegated thread. Phew…another one out of the stack!

Fall always seems to bring many projects and I now have two projects in the works. I expect more to come.

 

My friend and sewmate, Jude, and I have started a charity quilt using these beautiful Marcia Derse fabrics above.

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Above is a peek at a “special request” quilt that is in the works.

More to come as these and other projects unfold this fall.

Today is September 1. I am so happy to have fall in the air. It is a favorite time of year for me! I got a good start on the month by completing the September Stash Bee Hive Five blocks. Cute little kitties aren’t they?

 

This year is the first time I have been in a Bee and it has been great! I hope I am invited to play again next year!

Well, friends, this is a long post, but I needed to hang in there with my blogging and catch up! Thanks for reading. What are you up to?

I hope you enjoy a beautiful month of September. I hope the fires stop burning and that people are not suffering! Thank you to the firefighters!

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I will wrap up with this…an IG post from @blissfulheart (by Ram Dass) that spoke to me…screenshot_2018-09-01-15-22-37~23191375327874516317..png

Peace and happy quilting!

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Fabric Quality for Quilting

My meter is in the middle this morning!

This morning I have been (once again) reading online about the difference between LQS and chain store fabrics.  My quilting has advanced to the point that I am more comfortable spending more money on the fabrics, but curious if fabric standards have changed over the years and considering just how I should look at my fabric purchases.

Having just finished a major quilting endeavor, I cringe to think that it won’t hold up over the years, no matter what fabric is in it. Love, sweat, and much joy does, indeed, go into a big quilt project and it would be nice to know it will be around after a few washings!

I have learned to feel the fabric, the “hand” of it, the differences in thread count, does it bounce back when you crush it in your hand, and all those kinds of tests. I have learned that it probably is a good idea to wash and press before using (depending on the final use of the item being made). These are all things that I knew from being a seamstress for years before taking up quilting. I still find myself drawn to pretties in chain stores, sales, and simply the other part of quilting…collecting fabrics.

Using good fabric from a chain store sometimes fits the bill for me for backing, for fun prints, or for fillers. Also, when testing a pattern or trying something new, I might use a lesser quality. Yes, I do have some fabric quarters that came from the chain store when I first started quilting – and that don’t compare. They will have to be used for who knows what…bookmarks? bibs? or nothing!

Here are a couple of pictures grabbed from my stash this morning:

20180612_0955301154601776.jpg 20180612_0954451909094044.jpgI know you would have to do the “touchy feely” thing, but these are all a mix of fabrics from LQS, chain store, and even sheets!

I plan to use them all!

 

 

 

 

When I was reading online this morning, I ran across this comment that I found compelling…

MaryAnn had this to say:

“Don’t be fearful. Buy what you like but pay attention to it. If it is a cheaper fabric, but you MUST have that color or that pattern, just be aware of it’s possible weaknesses. Example: If it’s not a good tight weave, then don’t use 1/4″ seams; use wider ones. Not all fabric is created equal, but all fabric is wonderful and can be useful… if you pay attention and get to know what you are working with. (Quilting since 1975) And I think it helps to remember our grandmothers who made their quilts from shirts and dresses and flour sacks… and hoarded every scrap that came their way.”

Your thoughts? I would love to hear what you think. Sometimes, I fear we become too snobby about everything in life! (Forgive me…no judgement intended!) Let’s just have fun and love what we do!

And remember…Life is short - buy fabric

Be IN-joy and Happy Quilting!

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June is Here

What to do in June???

I did finish my big secret sewing project on time…just two or three days before deadline! It was a great challenge and a great finish.

However, that leaves me in June with a little less than strong intention and focus! Is that always a reaction to finishing a big project for you? Do you need a little down time to recuperate? Here I am trying to figure out what to do next. Yes, I do have at least one specific project in mind, but not quite ready to start it…no deadline.

So, here is my reasonably blank sheet for June goals…20180605_092217358716420.jpg

Looks like the plan is to finish up some WIPs!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to try to decide what those…or even one…might be, I spread things out on my work table, chairs, and design wall.

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Oh my!  I have so many and all the stars don’t even show! ( I can say here that if another wonky star swap comes up this month, I WILL join 🧡💛💙 I love them!)

Speaking of Stash Bee, I didn’t post about my blocks for May, but I did complete them.

20180523_092251775921263.jpg Julia requested blue and gold stars. I was excited, as I love stars (repeating myself here), but these felt just OK. She was sweet about them though and said she liked them. I always find that blocks added to a bigger group look better than alone!

The June Stash Bee project looks fun, as usual. I will get to that too!

Back to all those WIPs. DH (Dear Hubby) want me to finish the giant Sienna Sunburst, as a wall hanging. I am less than excited about that, as noted in the linked blog. BUT…it would be a fairly easy finish!

People like different parts of quilting. I get that! Some like to just make blocks, some like to make flimsies, some like to hand quilt, some just long-arm, I have not decided what part I like best, but I don’t like cutting! I would say that might be why I like improv so much!

One thing I have heard said…

Jenny Doan - a finished quilt So, I had better finish something!

Oh, and then there is this part of quilting…which takes LOTS of time…and is a favorite!

Life is short - buy fabric

I guess future posts will tell how it goes in my room this month. I don’t want to rush through beautiful June, but there are some things on the calendar for July that involve quilting and I am looking forward to them!

I am trying to be a better blogger, but you can follow me on InstaGram, @facetfully, for more frequent posts.

See you around…and be sure to be IN-joy!

Happy Quilting!

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Oh, and one more PS…I don’t really like my new Bitmoji, but I cut my hair, so I changed it. They don’t offer a short hairstyle with bangs!!! 🤷‍♀️ I know, who cares!

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Process Pledge…Sienna Burst QAL

Hi Friends! Well, it is the last day of March and I fear it has not been the best month for my goal sheet. Actually, I have made much progress on some not-to-be-mentioned projects and I have done the things on my list, BUT I am falling off the Sienna Burst QAL wagon.

  

If you follow me on IG, you know that I super-enlarged the block and planned to make four giant blocks for the top. I also had DH (dear hubby) pick the fabrics. It just isn’t my favorite. Here is the flimsy, hanging on the railing, as it will be (at DH’s suggestion), whenever it does get finished.

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It will be bigger, of course, when completed, but it will be just this one big burst, I think.

These kinds of things do happen…I suspect often…and we don’t always report on what feels unsuccessful. However, that is part of the Process Pledge, so here you see it!  I do really like the pattern and will likely go back and try again…with MY fabric choices. It is part of the discovery process and I could also use some lessons on enlarging patterns. It is not as simple as make each piece bigger!

At any rate, I remain very busy and happily working on projects daily. I will try to come up with a report on all that for my April goals report.

Keep on keeping on and enjoy the process!

Happy Quilting!

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Feeling Frugal…Starch your $$$$

Ha! Gotcha’ didn’t I? I could call it STRETCH your dollars, but this was more fun!

Well, if you are a quilter…or love to iron things to a nice crisp finish…I am blogging about something I have been wanting to try for a long time.

Everyone…I mean EVERYONE knows how nice Mary Ellen’s Best Press is! I love it too!

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We all also know there is a plethora of info on Pinterest. Some time ago I saved this post about “Quilter’s Moonshine”  and finally tried it this morning. Maybe because I used my last spritz of Best Press and didn’t have a backup!! Woe is me!

The recipe calls for starting with a gallon of distilled water, but I wanted to test it out first so cut the recipe down, using only 1/4 of the ingredients.

Quilters Moonshine Ingreds The very expensive ingredients…NOT…use the cheapest vodka you can find.

Quilters Moonshine recipe

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used 4 cups distilled water (I actually used filtered water), 1/8 cup (2T) starch, and 1/4 cup vodka.

 

 

The result is a little on the cloudy looking side…

 

 

So, I put it to the test. No sticky residue on fabric or iron. The finish is a bit softer than Best Press, but that would only mean adding a bit more starch to your recipe for your personal preference.

Quilters Moonshine 2

Just look how much it makes. If you are frugal and want to give this a try, I am thinking you will not be unhappy with the result. I pay $9.95 (if not on sale) for one bottle of the great Best Press. I am NOT knocking it AT ALL! This concoction, which I do not plan to drink, by the way, was just a few cents for this batch!

Happy Quilting…Happy Pressing!

I will post if I have any further results to share.

Home Feels Welcome!

Flowers from IsraelFlowers from Israel…© Valorie Webster

We have just returned (very exhausted from the travel) after spending nearly a month in Israel and Greece. I looked through over 1000 images to find one to depict my feelings this morning. I decided on these flowers.

It takes me a while to sort through all the feelings I have after these trips, but today I want to say that I am grateful. We have so much in our country…some more than others, as in every country. Our worst days pale in comparison, however, to people who have lived their entire lives with religious wars, homes lost, all retirement funds stripped away and more. Yet, they continue…most with relative happiness.

If I write more blogs regarding this trip, there will be mixed emotions and differing opinions than you may have. That is okay. What I know, for myself, is that world travel points out all our differences…AND all our similarities.

Flowers seem to find a way to bloom everywhere! May we be at peace!

Are You There Yet?

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Fred the Needle (aka Susanna Di Milo) posted a great and thought-provoking article on her blog last week.

Finding Your Passion…

https://fredthethread.wordpress.com/2017/02/19/finding-your-passion-you-actually-dont-have-to-find-it-it-will-seek-you-out/

If you read it, which I recommend, you will be certain to think about what you believe on the subject of finding your passion. Thank you for this, Susanna. I commented on the post and she asked me when I was a child, what did I want to be when I grew up. Interesting to remember that. I wanted to be a mom. I was very lucky to get to be that and honestly, it was probably my favorite job ever!

After that, I would say that I chose happy and have often said that the search for happiness led me down a long and winding road of, yes, some happiness, but lots of struggles and heartache too. It comes down to being all about choices and one choice might be to let everything be decided for you. I am not sure this is what Susanna means when she says your passion will seek you out. Or wait, maybe she does mean just that! I lived a long time just doing what came next…”one foot in front of the other” was my mantra, more or less. I think the Universe, or whatever you choose to call it…God, Spirit, Mother…may just know and keep directing us somehow.

Along the way though, you have to put yourself out there. You have to be open and try things and trust the guidance you are getting. You need to trust your own guidance too; your intuition, your gut. You will make some mistakes, most likely, but learn from them and get up to go again. It has been said that if you haven’t made some mistakes, you have not tried enough things.

In my lifetime, I have been a daughter, sister, mother, wife, aunt, friend, homemaker, sewist, photographer, writer, crafter, seeker, adventurer, lover, seller…gee, I have been blessed! And if I look back, I do believe something was guiding me. I am grateful. I am loved. I can finally say I am HAPPY!!! Happy is not about ego. Happy is not just about taking care of yourself. Happy means you can do much more for others. Happy means you can share light and joy in this world that really needs it.

How do you perceive the quest in your life for what you have been looking for? What has your greatest lesson been? Are you open to possibility? Do you have your blinders off so you can recognize the nudges you are getting?

a-year-from-now-karen-lamb(Image from the Internet and Karen Lamb)

 

Merry Christmas!

At book club this week there was a new member who asked about the members. I guess some people out in the blogosphere also want to know more about the people they follow, so here is a recap of our year…

It is two days before Xmas and all around our house, there is so much snow we can hardly get out!

2016-shoveling

As we sit by the window watching the flakes blow, we decided to bore you with some things you may not know.

One of us (guess which one) really doesn’t like this endeavor, but when she puts on her thinking cap she thinks she is really clever!

Cuteness aside, let’s get on with the telling, it’s been a pretty good year, as we’re no longer selling!

Yes, indeed, we are both retired as Val turned in her papers and will collect Social Security starting Jan 1!  This leaves us fancy free to do whatever we want.  It seems like the thing we do most is travel.  Our trips this year included…

Travel from Vancouver, Canada on Via Rail to Toronto in March……beautiful scenery, great food on the train and in Toronto and met some really nice people.  It was COLD everywhere we went.  Got to see the Hockey Hall of Fame and a great play, Disgraced.  Also on the train trip we stopped in Saskatoon and had a brief visit with Val’s Facebook friend she had never met.  Mavis Ens…it was a pleasure!

In July our grand-daughter, Ali, visited for 10 whole days!  We are so pleased that even at the advanced age of 20 she found enough time on her schedule to visit Granny and Gramps!  She is a junior at Kansas University, studying Psychology and Dance.

Dear friends visiting us throughout the year were the Potts, Ehrlichs, O’Connells, Sevciks, and other Websters.  Speaking of Websters, we had a family gathering at Lake Tahoe in August with Roy, Sandy, Randy, Val, Chris, Madelyn, C.J. and Ty.  The favorite event was baseball!

In early September we went with Michelle and Dave Mindolovich to the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness for a few days of back-packing.  We hardly ever saw them on the trail as they are much faster than we are, plus Randy was battling gout (I don’t recommend getting this!)  Next year will see some leadership changes to this group, as this might be an annual event!

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Our longest trip of the year took us to SE Asia where we spent three weeks in Laos and Cambodia.  We went with Roy and Sandy Webster who still aren’t sure whether to forgive Randy for some of the planned events, i.e. an elephant ride and river crossing, bike riding in the jungle in what seemed like 115 degree heat, and an overnight stay “off the grid” with only solar power (no AC)….and in tents!  But they never complained about the cooking lessons they took on the last day of our trip!

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In all honesty, it was a trip of a lifetime, with some great experiences!

Our final trip of the year was a last minute hop to Maui with Roy and Sandy (they are good sports)!

Val continues to stay active at home with quilting, genealogy, Spirit Sisters, and she joined a new book club.  Randy continues as a mediator for Deschutes County Court System and Community Solutions as well as golf (love/ hate relationship) racket ball, pickle ball and genealogy.

In 2017 the big trip on the books so far, is Israel and Greece.  Val is also excited about a long overdue visit to Kansas City in early January to catch up with family and friends on their turf!

merry-christmas-card-design-base-deer-34943390(Image from Internet)

We hope that you and yours have a happy, healthy, holiday season and that you have something to look forward to in 2017.

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Love and good cheer to all!

 

 

 

Safe With Me

I have wondered about Paper Piecing for a while now, but frankly, could not get my mind around it. When I saw the pattern for the safety pin, Safe With Me, I knew this was the one I wanted to try and so I delved in.

safetyImage © Valorie Webster

First, let me thank Craftsy and The Night Quilter for providing the free pattern.

I consider myself to be pretty crafty and a good sewist, since I have been sewing for about 50 years! That said, paper piecing took me some serious thought and this pattern is not exactly the easiest one to start with. After watching a couple of tutorial videos, I decided to just go for it. I am happy with the result. I love the white pin, signifying purity of heart and thought to me, and the bright Kaffe Fassett print, the colors representing the wide variety of people that the new (to the USA) symbol represents.

I do not choose to make this a political post! So, here are a couple of tips from a newbie at paper piecing:

  1. Choose a simple pattern to start with.
  2. Print your pattern on light-weight paper, if you can.
  3. Do use a smaller stitch length, but also DO remember that if you have to rip out a seam, those tiny stitches are a challenge. (The voice of experience!)
  4. As with all new things, give yourself permission to learn. Rome was not built in a day!
  5. Take it slow and steady. Think about the process. #3 above only came about because I got in a hurry and thought I had it all figured out! Slow and steady wins the race!

So here’s to trying a new project! Stretch yourself in different ways. It will expand your horizon!