Friday Favorites: Bungalow Quilting and Yarn


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Welcome to Friday Favorites!

This is the first in a series of posts focusing on some of my favorites.  Each Friday I will shine my spotlight on a person, place or thing that draws my attention.  I hope you will find them of interest and perhaps check them out for yourself.  Enjoy!

There are so many fabric shops that can tickle the quilters fancy. This particular resource, located in Ripon, Wisconsin, is known as Bungalow Quilting and Yarn. Located in a cute little bungalow filled to the max with oodles of irresistible fabrics, yarns, books and notions, it’s a shop you just can’t miss.

Bungalow is well-known for their interesting classes. At the top of my to-do list is the one that teaches how to make your very own umbrella You simply must check this one out.

If you are ever in the area, stop by and visit one of my Friday Favorites.

 

Springtime in the Garden Mini Quilt


I’ve been a student of several Craftsy Classes. One of my all-time favorites is Stitch & Slash by Carol Ann Waugh. To-date I have successfully used the knowledge I gained to make two wall hangings. I will share one of them with you today.

Part of the fun of creating a Stitch & Slash item is selecting the fabrics. Carol Ann does a wonderful job of presenting the color theory behind the thought process. She walks you through the analysis one must consider when not only choosing the colors and patterns of your fabrics but also the order in which you will stack them.

For my project I chose four different fat quarters. I typically gravitate toward lively, vibrant colors so the four I chose definitely fit that trait. The most audacious of all was the loud blue, lime and black floral print showcased on a white background. Using this fabric as the jumping-off-point for the remaining three specimens I selected colors that would nicely compliment it.

With my four fabrics chosen it was time to decide in which order they would be stacked. One by one I auditioned each fabric as the main or bottom piece. After much consideration I arrived at the conclusion that the liveliest of them all would be the base upon which the rest would be added. Next to be placed was a blue batik then a blue and white striped piece and the icing on the cake was a noisy lime green.

Long before contemplating fabric selections I began visualizing both in my mind and on paper the stitch pattern I would use to secure my four layers together. The lines stitched, with my machine, would be like that of strokes made by the bristles of a brush. Designs from simple wavy lines to elaborate floral patterns were explored. My mind meandered through a trail that eventually came to rest on a simple combination of wavy lines and elongated circles. Having settled on a design it was time to sew my fabric sandwich together.

The Stitch & Slash technique utilizes two different stitches; structural and textural. The structural stitches are sewed on the backside of your fabric sandwich. The bonus of stitching from the back side is that you can pre-mark your stitching lines/design using whatever marker you prefer and nobody will see them. The drawback or important thing to remember through is that because you sew these lines from the backside your bobbin thread is what will be seen on the front. Make certain your bobbin thread is the color you would like to see and that your thread tension is adjusted properly.

Once my structural stitching was complete my piece was ready for slashing, decorative stitching and embellishments. If you would like to learn the steps and techniques used to complete those tasks you can purchase the class from Craftsy. Decorating my projects with embellishments is one of my favorite things to do. I added decorative stitching, ricrac and buttons to mine. I also added stuffing in key areas to add a three-dimensional aspect.

To add the stuffing I make a small slit on the backside in the area where it will be placed. Next I gently coax the stuffing in between the stitched rows. Any type of stuffing can be used. Being a long-arm quilter I just happen to have a huge inventory of batting scraps. I use those as my stuffing.

Once my stuffing was squeezed into place my project was ready for binding. I made binding from 2 1/2″ bias strips of fabric. I cut them on the bias because my piece had lots of curvy edges. Fabric cut on the bias is much more easily persuaded to form around those curves. Last to be added was a sleeve on the back to facilitate the hanging of my art piece.

Well, there you have it. My finished Stitch & Slash masterpiece! I’m quite proud of the final outcome. I’ve named it Flowers In the Garden.
Let me know what you think!

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Fragrances in the Air


IMG_5673My Little Cabin in the Woods has been the topic of several postings. Today’s entry is another one in that series. My topic of interest is the memories or experiences  detected by my sense of smell.

While living in the woods one is exposed to, or graced by a multitude of fragrances. Some of them are natural to the area and some are not. Some are pleasant and some are not.

On the natural and pleasant side is the strong scent emanating from the towering pines that surround me, the spell of moist earth, the perfumed fragrance of the abundant flowers and the fresh aroma of the forest just after a rainfall. Staying yet in the pleasing category I would also add the enjoyable experience of wood burning in a campfire as well as the fragrance of cooking food.

IMG_0363When thinking of those experiences that would be unpleasant I could only think of two. The scent emitted by a skunk and the undesired, nose pinching odor of sewage being pumped from my Little Cabin in the Woods. Both of them I would much rather avoid.

Whether pleasant or undesired, smells are everywhere. The way in which we react to them is different for each one of us.. Even though there are some things I would rather not experience I am grateful that my sense of smell is intact. My life is much richer because of it.

What Is It


IMG_7639_ffWe all have favorites. Favorite foods, books, movies, people, sayings, things, etc. Sharing these favorites with others makes them even more special. Just like everyone else I have my own list of favorites I’m just bursting to share.  So I’m hereby declaring Friday’s as my favorite’s day. Be watching for my first installment.

Special Olympics Raffle Quilt


Many moons ago one of my husband’s co-workers asked if I would be interested in making a fundraiser tee-shirt quilt. The subject of the quilt was the Special Olympics World’s Largest Convoy. At the time I was already swamped with piles of projects waiting for my attention. Unfortunately I had to take a pass on the opportunity.

Fast forward several months…..while strolling through the aisles of an outdoor art show we just happened to bump into the co-worker. During our interaction I ask her if she had ever successfully completed the tee-shirt quilt. Expecting her to say she had set the project aside, you can imagine my surprise when she announced she was nearing the end and was wanting to drop it off for quilting. I was not at all prepared for that response. Finding time in my schedule would mean I would somehow have to sandwich it in between a laundry list of jobs. Since this very special quilt was destined to be a fundraiser for a very worthy cause there was no way I could turn down the chance.

As was promised, the quilt was finished and delivered in fairly short order. No limitations were placed on the stitching or thread colors. I set aside the project I had planned on starting and loaded this one on my machine instead. Among the stitches used were my all time favorites bubbles, swirls, and square meandering. The border was a black, grey and white fabric filled with overlapping circles. Using black thread I filled the border with loads of bubbles. The tee-shirts were quilted with a square geometric meander. Each section was quilted with a matching thread. Changing thread color every time the blocks changed color added a lot of time but the end result made it all worth it.

When the last stitch was applied I stepped back to take a look at what I had just completed. Not to toot my own horn, but I was so amazed at how awesome it looked. After removing the T-pins that had secured the quilt layers to the leaders and carefully laying the quilt on a flat surface I grabbed my camera to document the finished project. After saving my photos on my computer I sent an email to the creator telling her that the quilt was finished and ready for delivery.

My husband had the pleasure of delivering the quilt. I would have loved to accompany him and share in the experience but timing wouldn’t allow for it. He did however relay that when she first made eye contact with the special quilt, a flood of tears welled up in her eyes. Every ounce of effort I had poured into that quilt was rewarded ten-fold by her reaction. The Special Olympics World’s Largest Convoy quilt was eventually put on display and sold at the fundraiser auction for $500. I received recognition for quilting the project in the event brochure.

Take a look…..

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Vital Statistics:

  • Size – 57″ x 88 1/4″
  • Hours Spent Quilting – 8.5
  • # of Stitches Applied – 170,704
  • Thread Colors Used – Too numerous to mention.
  • Special Note – The only fee charged for this project was my customary fee for batting. The fee for applying the quilting stitches was ZERO dollars.

Home Economics


4389af465812e662bb9501ab6859ab7fI learned how to sew way back in the 9th grade. It was the era when Home Economics was a required class for all female students. The curriculum for the class included cooking, poise, sewing, as well as many other topics. The instructor, Mrs. H., was a very tall, thin woman. Her attire was always professional with a very crisp and clean appearance. A vision we might associate with being prim and proper. Mrs. H. had very little tolerance for imperfection. Everything had to be just so. She was so serious that I can hardly recall seeing her smile.

Mrs. H demanded the same level of perfection from her students as she did from herself. Her very high standards made me extremely nervous. So uneasy that one day my nerves got the best of me. While learning how to make hot chocolate I made a tiny little mistake. Instead of measuring out and pouring in sugar I used salt. Now what’ so wrong about that? LOL! Unfortunately I didn’t realize this until it was time for Mrs. H to take a taste. She always sampled everything we made. Well I’m sure you can imagine her reaction when she took her first sip. She was expecting, or at least hoping for, a smooth, creamy, delicious hot chocolate. Instead she her taste buds were assaulted by the overbearing flavor of salt. I was so devastated and humiliated. That little goof was an experience I will never forget.

 

1970s-simplicity-patternWell, as I mentioned earlier, learning how to sew was also part of the Home Economics class. This was the section I most looked forward to. My Mom did a lot of sewing and I always marveled at how she could take a piece of fabric and turn it into something so beautiful. How proud I was to be the recipient of one of her home-made dresses. Unfortunately she never did pass her knowledge on to me. Why? I’m not sure. Of course I don’t remember asking her either.

Through the mentoring of Mrs. H and the Home Economics class I would learn how to sew. At the beginning of this section I was under the impression that we would jump right in to constructing a garment. All I wanted to do was buy some fabric, cut out a pattern and sew. But oh no! We had to first learn how to hand sew on buttons, snaps, clasps and even hand stitch a button-hole. The nerve of Mrs. H! How could she expect us to do such labor intensive, boring tasks!IMG_1807

When we finally graduated to making our first garment, Mrs. H. managed to stifle more of my enthusiasm by requiring that we pre-shrink our fabric. To pre-shrink it we were instructed to immerse the fabric in water then gently squeeze out the excess. The fabric was then to be carefully spread out on the floor making certain the fibers ran straight and were not distorted. While drying we were told to anchor it down with heavy objects to keep it in place. I used my Mom’s canning jars filled with her wonderful home-made pickles to secure mine. Although I did learn something about fabric through this exercise I wouldn’t even think of doing this today. If I even considered pre-shrinking my fabric I would use my electric washing machine and dryer instead.

After surviving the horribly boring task of preparing my fabric I assumed we would finally be ready to start our projects. I was so excited when I arrived in class with my fabulously pre-shrunk fabric. Once again Mrs. H. had other ideas. She felt it necessary to first walk us through the dynamics of working with a pattern. Included in the instruction were how to read a pattern, how to find and cut out the pieces you needed, and how to properly lay them out. She also taught us to utilize a tape measure to make certain the pieces were placed on the “straight of grain.” From there we were instructed on the proper technique for pinning our pattern pieces and how to use a scissors when cutting them out. Of utmost importance was the necessity to keep the bottom blade of the scissors in contact with the table at all times. If we lifted our scissors off the table while cutting fabric, the possibility was there for our cuts to be less than accurate. A messy cut could result in a garment which would turn out less than perfect; it could have a distorted appearance. Mrs. H tried very hard to turn us in to seamstresses. To her credit I did eventually finish my dress.

At the completion of the sewing project we were required to fill out a detailed self-analysis of our adherence to the prescribed sewing techniques. I, of course, thought I had done a spectacular job and thus saw no reason why I should not give myself a glowing review. Mrs. H, on the other hand, had been secretly watching my every move. Her review was not as rosy as mine. Among the critiques of my work was the inexcusable lifting of my scissors. Oh GASP! :0) My ego was a bit deflated after receiving her less than perfect rating but I lived to see another day, go on to sew miles of stitches and make oodles of projects.

Looking back over the memories I have retained from my experiences in Home Economics I must say they played a prominent role on my path to quilting. The effects of Mrs. H’s influence on my life are still evident today. I am a very particular sewer. I’m fussy on how my seams lay, how many pins I use, and the quality of my finished product. Mrs. H gets some of the credit for my success. Here’s to you Mrs. H!