Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tasting Table Tuesday - Family Ties Progress Report

Last week I washed the ties, and this week I dissected them.  After many hours with my seam ripper, the wheat has been separated from the chaff, so to speak...
The pile on the left is the "chaff" or unusable scrap/waste - and the pile on the right is the "wheat" or the usable remains of each tie.  Somehow, the two piles combined seem even larger than the original pile of ties!

The process involves opening up the seam that runs the entire length of the tie, removing the interfacing that's inside each one, cutting out the lining on each end, and of course - removing the labels.
I always save the labels when I dissect the ties.  I don't know if I'll use them in any of the projects or not, but it's nice to hang on to them, just in case.  You never know when inspiration might strike.

The dissecting process is a very tedious, laborious task, but it's a nice break to just sit and do mindless work like this sometimes, and reading the labels is so interesting.  They come from all over the world, and as I sit and pick out the stitches my mind wanders and I think of all the places these ties might have been in their lifetime...

Now it's time to start pressing and fusing interfacing to them all...
'Till next time...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tasting Table Tuesday - Tie Quilts

Wow - do I have a huge project on my Tasting Table Today!  I received a custom order request from this Etsy listing of my Haberdashery quilt.  My client has requested four queen-sized quilts using their 50-year collection of ties.  I was a little overwhelmed at the thought of such a big undertaking, but after mulling it over for the last week or so, I've finally gotten my mind wrapped around it and I'm really looking forward to it now.  Such an exciting project!!!

We've settled on a design, and the process has begun.
First, they shipped their collection of ties to me, 18 pounds worth!!!

and I spent this afternoon on my carport washing them all.
I knew my grandmother's drying rack would come in handy some day!

A little cold soapy water, a cold water rinse, and drip dry in the fresh air is all they need.  I was a little leary about washing them at first, but after consulting with a textile expert, she convinced me that it was not only safe to wash them, but necessary.

When you think about it, neckties are probably the dirtiest items we get when making memory quilts.  They are rarely cleaned.    However, the only thing that really gets distorted in the washing process is the interfacing, and that gets thrown out when I "disect" the ties anyway.  The fabrics are all fine.  My client isn't concerned about the stains, as they add "character" to the quilts, but I wanted the fabrics to be fresh and clean while I worked with them, so the delicate hand-washing process just freshens them and rinses out the surface dirt and odors.  Make for a much-more-pleasant sewing experience...

I plan on blogging about this work-in-progress as I go, so if you're interested in quilts made from neckties, check back frequently and follow along.

By the way, my Haberdashery quilt will be on display at the Quilts, Vines and Finger Lakes Wines Quilt Show this Saturday in Watkins Glen NY.  Stop in if you're in the area.  Looks like it's going to be a great show!


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dancing with my Roller Foot

I've been busy doing the "quilt-as-you-go" on my latest quilt.  I'm using my Bernina Leather Roller Foot #55 and it's working out great.
This foot gives me a controlled stitch length, since the feed dogs are engaged, but allows me to stitch nice smooth curves.  As I stitch these softly undulating curves, the song "Moon Dance" in running through my head - one of my favorite songs since I watched the movie "August Rush" a couple of years ago.  So that's what I'm naming this quilt - Moon Dance.  The colors in this quilt look like what you would see in an October Sky, as the song says...  If you have music in your soul, and you enjoy a good love story, you'll love this movie.  It's a marvelous night for a moon dance...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tasting Table Tuesday - old is new

It's been a busy, productive week in the Cotton Cellar.  I finished piecing the top and the back of my grandson's quilt, and dropped it off at the longarm quilter this morning.  I enjoy quilting my own quilts on my domestic machine, but not when they're this big.  It's so nice to have a good relationship with a local longarmer for large quilts like this.

I also finished a custom purse order this week, so now I decided to work on a fun project for a bit.  I started this quilt ages ago when I took a class from Carol Taylor, called Sensuous Lines and Curves.  The project used these blocks around the border of the quilt, and there was a center panel covered with couched yarns and fibers.  The center panel wasn't my "thing", but I loved the skinny curves of the border blocks.  So I decided to make more blocks and make an entire quilt out of them, and skip the couched center.  Artistic freedom, right?
Just a few more blocks to go, then I plan on trying out a new Quilt As You Go technique that I've been reading about.  I'll share more about that as it progresses...


Friday, August 9, 2013

Challenge Quilt Results Are In!!!

Back in June, you may remember me mentioning that I was making a Challenge Quilt.

Gyleen X. Fitzgerald of Colourful Stitches, was a guest speaker at our local Quilt Guild, and she threw out a challenge to the guild members.  Make a quilt using a fabric specified by her and her new Polygon2 ruler.

The original deadline was extended from July 1st to August 1st, so I've been patiently waiting for the results for weeks.  Yesterday I got an email from Gyleen - and I WON!!!  The judging was based on the
"most creative use of the ruler and challenge fabric to design a quilt" .

I spoke with Gyleen on the phone yesterday and she gave me her permission to post pictures of the quilt, so here it is...

I've named it "Zig Zag Beach" and it will be published in Gyleen's next "Polygon Affair" book, due out in February 2014.  That's a first for me - it's so exciting to realize that one of my quilts will actually be published!  I'm thrilled speechless - almost...  :)

It is made entirely of Pyramids, fussy cut so the challenge fabric follows the zig zags.  The solids are all complimentary colors of Kona Solids.  I quilted it on my Juki TL98 with 60 degree cross-hatching to follow the angle of the pyramid blocks, using a light gray Aurifil 50 cotton thread.  Love that Aurifil!!!

Besides having my quilt published in her book, Gyleen also gave me a gift certificate to my LQS, Needles Quilt Shop, so I went on a bit of a shopping spree.  Besides stocking up on some favorite fabric staples, I also picked up some handy dandy new tools...

I'm now the proud owner of:

The Polygon Rulers are great!  You can cut Pyramids (like I used in my quilt), Hexagons, Diamonds, and Cones.  The "dog ears" are already trimmed so they fit together perfectly.
I can't wait to try her Pineapple Ruler next!

Thanks Gyleen, for hosting this challenge, giving me this opportunity, and selecting my quilt as the winner.  I'm humbled and thankful.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Tasting Table Tuesday

Life has gotten in the way of sewing since my last post.  So, instead of a sewing post, here's a funny story... (and it's a true one!)

A friend stopped at a local thrift shop to see what goodies he might find.  He found an egg peeler/slicer or some such device.  Thought to himself,
"my wife might like that"...  so he bought it.
Got home and showed it to his wife - she said,
"that looks just like the one I dropped off at the thrift shop last week!".
Sure enough - he paid good money to buy back the item they owned and donated the week before...

Reminds me of my own experience...  I was shopping at the same local thrift shop and saw a beautiful, handmade vest - sewn and quilted using a beautiful collection of batik fabrics.  Of course, I couldn't leave it there.  It was only a few dollars, and the fabrics and workmanship were lovely.
But it was too small for me...

I bought it anyway and gave it to a friend I'll call "S" (don't want to embarrass anyone by using their names).  Both "S" and her mother "C" are very tiny and petite and I was sure it would fit one of them.  So I gave it to "S" and it didn't quite fit her, but she thought it would fit her mother "C" (both women are sewers and quilters), but mentioned,
"gee - this looks familiar - I'm sure I've seen it before".
She passed it on to her mother who laughed and admitted that it was the same vest that she had made herself, then donated to the thrift shop the week before.  So I paid good money to buy it back and return it to her.

What are the odds...

At least the money goes to a good cause...

Have a great week!