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Monday, January 18, 2016

Zoiks it is back to college

Spring college classes are in full swing now. I am taking online Introduction to Computer Information Science this semester. 

Thrifting continues to supplement my T-shirt stash. I had culled through ones I had grown tired of or were too big. For less than $8, I picked up this lot at hospice, couple of yards of maroon Christmas themed fabric, red Dr. Peeper glasses, gray pair of lounge pants and a Blair red and white polyester shirt.

I couldn't leave behind the Scooby Doo tie.  This types of items usually don't catch my eye but these three might have resell possibility.

My second attempt at free motion quilting went a little better after I purchased these gripper gloves in the garden center at a discount retailer. I also buy replacement rotary cutter blades at a discounter rather than a fabric/craft specialty store, you can save a ton on a necessary quilting item. 

Found a desk for the Mr. at half off day for MLK at the thrift shop. It is in great condition, tongue in groove drawers, original hardware, all wood five drawer desk for $100. I adore buying furniture, so many pieces and so little room. 

I have been intrigued by art quilts. The latest addition to my hardcover book collection bound in pure white coffee table edition of a Barnes & Noble 2001 edition Quilts by Marie Salazar. 

Pattern of the Day is 50-year old survivor, 1966 Simplicity 6549.

I will be participating in 
Over at, posting a two-part story titled "Where in the World is Cupid?"

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Free Range Quilting and Fashion

What do free range quilting and fashion have in common? Only an excuse for me to dress in Western wear and link up with the gang at for Visible Monday. Admittedly, there isn't such a thing as free range quilting, but if there were I would liken it to plein air painting. Sewing up a storm out there on the prairie ...

Thrifted ensemble
Unlabeled hat
Jeanstar vest
Levis tank top
Bandolino skirt
Ariat boots (retail)

The title was to grab your attention as I venture into free motion quilting. Sewing together the piecework on a quilt is only half of the project, then comes the actual quilting process. Little did I know that there are all kinds of quilting stitches to choose from, free motion means you are in control of the stitch rather than the machine. You are only limited by your imagination and skill level. 

The majority of my quilting knowledge has been gleaned from YouTube tutorials. One online tip was to set up a comfortable work space by creating an "L" shape to the side of the machine. I rearranged my desk to add the foldout table you see to the left so the bulk of the quilt would rest on the desk and side table, rather than my lap.

I was happy to hear from the tutorials that it is possible to free motion quilt with a standard home sewing machine. I've heard mention of long arms and such but I am trying to keep the total investment cost of this hobby at a manageable level. 

It is recommended to practice on smaller pieces before beginning on a full-sized quilt. There are also "grabber" gloves I've also seen in tutorials that move the sandwich along easier. 

Update to post - my first attempt at free motion quilting was an unmitigated disaster. The quilt sandwich does slip around and without those ribbed gloves, I can see how it makes the task more difficult. I did finish preparing the backing, binding and batting for the trailer quilt log cabin style. I bought one of the bagged battings and along with two decent sized pieces the rest were in small sections. Even though I affix the batting to the backing with temporary spray adhesive, I baste all of the batting sections together, one of the behind-the-scenes tasks of preparing a layer for quilting.  

I aspire to this type of detail quilting. These images are examples of hand quilting from the 1963 Woman's Day Book of American Needlework. 

Since we are on the subject of Western, let's end with a Pattern of the Day with children's costumes of cowboys and native Americans. 

Friday, January 1, 2016

New focus for the New Year

What I enjoy about blogging is the ability to change the focus and direction of my posts. At my blog's inception I posted my thrift shop finds and participated in writing and photography challenges. Over time, I included my thrifted fashion ensembles and this past year my interest turned to quilting. 

My sewing interest began in childhood. I routinely "repaired" my friends stuffed animals that had become threadbare. My mother sewed many of my childhood outfits. Even my Barbie had mom-made couture clothing. 

My return to machine sewing is after a 30-year hiatus. I had been hand sewing repairs and fixes during that time. In my quilting journey, began in May of 2015, I discovered chain piecing and rotary cutters. One a great time-saving concept, the other a wonderful invention. 

My essentials tips for the newbie or wanna-be quilter:

1. Initial investment is less than you think, I spent around $200 for materials (a Brother CS6000i computerized sewing machine) and thrifted the majority of the fabric and thread.
2. Don't cut through more than 4 layers of fabric with a rotary cutter. 
3. Better to overestimate when it comes to fabric needs, those small  pieces can be used in scrap quilts.
4. Being precise is the key - keep to the 1/4 inch rule. 

Quilting goals for 2016 by quarter:

Q1:  Corn crib quilt for mom birthday in February. Rectangles are cut, this time around I will be more careful keeping to the scant 1/4" rule and perfecting assembly.

Q2:  Begin work on a scappy bear quilt. This is a bear paw pattern utilizing fabric scraps.  My inspiration is this blogger's creation at which she has named Squid Ink and Sorbet quilt. I have fallen in love - the gray a perfect backdrop to the color.

Q3:  Prepare Hawaiian shirt material for strip quilts in attempt to "bust my stash." I already have two bankers boxes full of thrifted material that I hope not to SABLE - stash accumulation beyond life expectancy.  

Q4:  Begin work on a Christmas quilt - pattern to be determined. This could be an opportunity quilt, meaning a quilt made specifically for a fundraiser.  


I have reached my goal of finishing the trailer quilt top at the year's end. Link to original project The-trailer-quilt-log-cabin-style

Free motion quilting is my next technique to learn. I figure if I know how to applique, it can't be too hard to learn. Quilting is an art, something that is perfected like any refined skill. 

Welcome to Quilting Journey 2016!