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I'm glad you stopped by my blog. I am happy to share all the content with you and hope that you find something here that is helpful. However, everything here - text, photos, recipes, and so on - is my personal property and has my copyright on it. You may only copy and use any of it with my written permission. Ahh, but you already knew that, didn't you?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

What I'm Up To...

Hello to everyone!
I am doing a test post.  Trying to see if it's possible to do a post with a tiny Kindle.  I love my Kindles - yes there is more than one around here. This one has a camera and I wanted to see if it is good enough. Let me know how it shows up.
I have been sick for quite some time. Cataract surgery has been scheduled for me several times and cancelled due to other health problems. So, since my eyesight has taken such a hit, I have switched to crocheting and knitting.  Hopefully a crocheted lap size afghan will materialize, and am doing some gift packs of dishcloths. 
I would like to say hi to Jill and my other friends out there. Vern and I probably won't be able to make any meetings this year. He is working out of state right now and is coming and going with a crazy schedule. 
Well, I hope this works o.k.  I absolutely hate the computer in my studio. It is very difficult to get anything done on it and discourages me from blogging. Plus I haven't even felt like being in there.  Hopefully better days are ahead.
Till next time....
Sheila

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Checking in with you....

Here is a miniature that I actually finished at the end of 2015.  It was inspired by a quilt pattern in the book Family Ties Old Quilt Patterns from New Cloth by Nancilu Butler Burdick.  "Patterns and interpretations of the work of early quiltmaker Talula Gilbert Bottoms" is written on the bottom of the cover.  The other book is Legacy The Story of Talula Gilbert Bottoms and Her Quilts also written by Nancilu Butler Burdick.  Legacy was the first one, copyright 1988 and the other was copyright 1991. 
Talula Bottoms was a remarkable woman making between 200 and 300 quilts under circumstances and conditions that we today have trouble imagining.  Talula was born in 1862 in the south, so you can fill in the rest.  Her granddaughter, Nancilu Burdick wrote these books and her perseverance and research into her grandmother's quilts is to be admired.  I love both of these books.
Above is the quilt and pattern in Family Ties that inspired my miniature.  What I loved about Talula's quilt is the use of muted 1930's fabrics.  Sometimes the fabrics from that era can be overwhelming, but Talula chose fabrics that imparted a soft and calm look to the finished quilt.
I used 1930's fabrics as well, and the background of the blocks is actually a print, although in the photo it reads as a solid.  The blocks are 2.5" finished, the sashing is .25" wide and the overall size of the quilt is 13.75" x 16.25".  With not one exception, everyone of my friends that saw a block said:
"Aren't these kind of big for you?"
Well, maybe so, but it was the best I could do.  I needleturn appliqued the wings and bodies and then buttonhole stitched the wings by hand. Using a fusing technique would make smaller blocks possible, but the look would not be the same, in my opinion.   The antennae are hand embroidered.  My goal, as always, is to have it look like a full sized quilt in photos. Oh yes, I used vintage ric rac for an edge finish which is an idea I have been kicking around for a long time. I love working with 1930's prints and solids.  They are so much fun to put together.
 
Now for a big shout out to Wendy Caton Reed who is featured on a Barbara Brackman blog hehttp://civilwarquilts.blogspot.com/re. 
Way to go, Wendy!  Read Wendy's blog at http://theconstantquilter.blogspot.com/ 
Well, till next time..........
Sheila




Saturday, May 14, 2016

Grover and me,

Remember when I showed you a 4" bow tie block?  Well, I thought I did, but can't find it now.  It was part of this project.  Sue Reich asked me if I would make a 24" square quilt featuring Grover Cleveland for her Presidents Book. Grover and I  are shown together at the Civic Center in Paducah during the past quilt show. Here is a pic of the book.
Here is Grover on page 96:
Here are the rest of the quilts displayed at the Civic Center:



Sue had supplied us all with the photos of the presidents and gave us guidelines for size, etc.  She also requested that we use either period fabrics for our pres., or appropriate reproduction fabrics. I used all antique fabrics and hand pieced and hand quilted it.  I was honored to have participated in this project.
Enough about quilts! Here is a current pic of Gizmo:
He is on top of "his" cupboard on the very first quilt I ever made.  It might be the most awful quilt in existence.  I am thinking it is a perfect match for the Giz.
On a personal note, why haven't I been blogging?  Well, there is a couple of reasons.  I haven't been well and haven't spent any time in my sewing studio.  That is where my computer is kept.  So, if I'm not in the studio, I'm not blogging.  Hope to remedy that. 
Till next time....
Sheila








Tuesday, March 22, 2016

So, where have I been?????

Well, I've been here.  Just haven't been blogging.  We will discuss the reasons why some other time. But, anyhow, here I am now.
I made the above miniature quilt for The National Quilt Museum's auction next month.  The quilt is 7" square, the geese units are 1/2" x 3/4" and it is made with fabrics from the last quarter of the 19th century.  It is a color scheme that was popular with Mennonite quilt makers at that time.  It is one of those color combos that you will either love or hate.  I love it.  It is really nice for miniatures, as there are no prints to muddy things up - just solids. It is made with fabrics from the quilt top I purchased at the AQSG Seminar.

It had some bad stains on it, although they are not shown in the picture.
Well, I hope to deliver my miniature to the museum tomorrow and say hi to the Yo-Yo Ladies. It is always fun to visit the museum.
Take care out there in quiltland.
Till next time...
Sheila


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

2016!

Hello my quilty friends!
Yes, here we are half way through the first month of 2016.  I am just happy to be here.
Well, you are guessing that this is my first finish of the year.  Nope, actually finished it in December, but am just now posting it.  (Note: the background fabric is actually white, as shown below.)
Remember this?:
I have finished two quilts from this pile.  The little flower basket has been hanging around for years. It was time to finish it or pitch it.  So, I finished it.  Who can explain the design process or creativity for that matter?  For years I didn't know what to do with it and then in Dec., I sat down and in 15 minutes decided what to do.  Let me say that this quilt is the exception to the Portfolio Series.  Some background here.  I have been going through my notebooks and trying to get everything documented and tided up once and for all.  This series started in 2007 and there were rules.  All quilts would be about the same size, all would be hand pieced and quilted and appliqued - no paper piecing, fusing of appliques, etc.  All quilts would be made of antique fabrics.  The goal was to have a history of quilt making in America in miniature.  The flower basket center was prior to all this and was from my experimental phase. The hexies are EPP and the fans were partially foundation paper pieced.  So, as they say, every rule has its exception and this quilt is it.  The basket and fans are hand appliqued down, the squares were hand pieced and it is hand quilted.  It is 12" square with a 1/8" finished binding.  I am particularly proud of the fact that I managed to incorporate a feedsack into this quilt.  It is the lavender polka dot fabric in the plain borders. It is extremely difficult to find a feedsack with a small enough design for a miniature quilt.  Oh, yes, in yet another exception, some of the fabrics in the basket and fan are reproduction fabrics, although most are authentic 1930's fabrics.  There was a time when I considered mixing the new and old.  I ditched that idea.  
One more thing - New Year's Resolutions - I have one.  It is to spend more time reading my friends blogs and catching up on what they are doing.  
Till next time.....
Sheila 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays to all my quilting friends!  Gizmo didn't really care for the hat I made for him.  Have you ever seen an unhappier cat face?  Here's hoping all of you have happier faces for this Christmas.
The quilt in the background is an oldie.  It is made from a pattern that was in American Quilting and Patchwork Magazine a long time ago.  It was by Cindy Taylor Oates, I believe, and was for a crib quilt that I reduced by 50%.  It is a large doll quilt size or wall hanging size.  I machine pieced it and hand embroidered and hand quilted it.  I think I inadvertently swapped the red and white pieces on part of it, but I don't really remember now.  It was made before I ever thought about keeping an accurate record of my quilts.  It is cute to get out at Christmas time.  Although it looks off white in the large photo, it is actually a true white.


                          
Vern, Gizmo and I wish you the very best for the holidays and for the coming year.
Till next time....
Sheila


Monday, December 14, 2015

Documenting Your Quilts

My method of documenting my work.
 
While attending the AQSG Seminar this past year, some ladies saw my Finished Quilts Notebook and told me that I should blog about it.  I keep scrapbooking notebooks for both my design ideas and my finished quilts.  When some of your quilts finish at about 7.5" square, you are not going to be able to fit much of a label on them.  I use the same label for all my quilts:

 
 
This is a piece of vintage muslin that is stamped. I will add my name and the year the quilt is finished and then needle turn applique it onto the back of my quilt.  It is kept in my Finished Quilt Notebook.
This notebook contains plastic sleeve protectors with forms in it.  For a copy of this form, click on the upper right corner under Form #2 and you may print it out.  If it is something you think you might really like, right click and save it. 
 
Above is an example of what I keep in my sleeves.  The form shown is an older version, the one you are getting is a little prettier.  The sleeves contain a photo of the finished quilt and the filled out form.  It may also contain photos of whatever inspired it and samples of the fabrics.  Sometimes the pattern is put in there.  I don't have any hard and fast rules for this, other than the photo and the form.  Sometimes I have a sample block or sometimes fabrics that got changed for whatever reason. 

 

In my Quilts Designs and Ideas Notebook, I have a different form and some colored pencils.  (You never know when inspiration will hit!) I keep some graph paper notecards with common shape cut outs so that I can audition fabric quickly.  For instance I can lay a 1/2" triangle cut out over a piece of fabric and see if that fabric will work. This is just s quick way to determine if I am on the right track or if it is back to the drawing board.  The form is primarily to make some organized notes on my history quilt books and to make  notes of quilts I liked, what page they were on, and what I specifically liked about them.  Click on Form #1 in the upper right hand corner and you can have a copy of it.  This notebook also has clear plastic sheet protectors so that I can keep things handy.  Although it contains a color wheel (because Gerald Roy once told me I should have one) it seldom gets used.  Since my goal is to make miniatures that look like antique quilts, I just go with what worked for quilters in the years before us. There are reasons we like quilts, even if we don't always know why. A lot of times it is simply the color combo that appeals to us.

 

This notebook also may contain sketches, EQ drawings, magazine clippings, you name it.  Whatever will fit and whatever inspires.
Well, that's about it for now.  I hope this will help you keep your thoughts and quilts organized.
Till next time...........
Sheila

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Answers and WIPS

 
Hi to everyone out there in quilt land. To everyone that stops by and leaves a comment, I would like to say thank you.  Sometimes you feel like you are just sending stuff out into space and nobody reads it. On to questions:  Jill asked me what I was working on, since the hexagon projects are on hold.  Well, the above photo shows some projects.  I did a little cleaning and found some things that have been hanging around forever.  The Butterfly I am just now layering for quilting.  The little star quilt is one I started and didn't like, although now I think it might be o.k. and may finish it. The Streak of Lightening is awaiting inspiration for a border.  Sometimes I think borders are the hardest part. The flower basket is a real oldie. It  has hexagons that were English Paper Pieced and the corner fans were partially foundation paper pieced.  Whew - that was in my very early miniature days!  I may or may not do something with it. 
Judy D. stopped by and asked what the edging on the little fan quilt was.  It is just a scalloped edge.
But, funny you should mention rick rack, as I have been kicking that idea around for awhile as an edging.
Well, that's it for now.  I am still recovering from a vicious stomach flu and trying to get back into the swing of things.
Till next time........
Sheila

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The New England Quilt Museum

A miniature quilt I made some time ago.
 I made it for this sweet little antique folding bed.
 It is sitting on an antique doll quilt in my collection.

A close up of the bear I made from a Gail Wilson pattern.
My hand is actually resting on the bed, so that you
can get a sense of scale to the bed and quilt.





 
At the AQSG Seminar this past Sept., I met Pamela Weeks.  She is the curator for the New England Quilt Museum.  She asked me if I would let her show some of my miniatures for an exhibit that is going on now. I let her pick four of my quilts.  She chose these:


 
I sewed them onto a black drape and shipped them off to her. (That's scary business, as I never usually let any of them out of my sight!)  But Pam was such a nice lady and I enjoyed talking to her so much, I let her borrow them. The exhibit is called Small Wonders and is on display now.  I am honored to be part of it. (You can also visit the Museum's blog.)
The photos at the beginning of this post have nothing to do with this exhibit.  Seeing the cute little doll beds on line at the museum, made me dig this little guy out and take a pic. Miniature quilts are really at their best when they are on a little bed, I think.
Well, that's if for today.
Till next time..............
Sheila
 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Revisting Hexagons - Part Three

My newest "old" quilt.
 
Just found this treasure at a flea market this past weekend.  Couldn't resist it.  I love 1930's quilts and although this one has been used, it is still in really good condition.  The workmanship is excellent.
Plus, if fits right in with my Hexagon series.
O.k., you want to make one of these lovelies and you want to English Paper Piece it.  Where to start?
Well, let's start with the papers.  Paper Pieces is famous for their paper shapes.  They are pre-cut, accurate and ready to use.  Their website has a lot of info on it. I am not going to repeat all the info they offer here, so go there and read what they have to say about it all. 
There are other ways to get accurate paper pieces.  One is to buy a punch like one of these:
 
The white punch is fairly new and made by Fiskars.  You can find it at places like Jo Ann and Michael's.  The other punch is one I found at a flea market a long time ago.  The price is still on it.  Looks like it was $3.00.  You can punch your own papers and not have to worry about running out in the middle of a project.
Another way to get your papers is with a Sizzix machine.  Here is the one I have.
This one is an electric model, but they make hand crank ones as well.
You can visit the Sizzix website to see what they have to offer and how the machine works.  They are steel rule die cutting machines.  That means that you can not only cut paper, but fabric as well.  They are great machines. I have had various versions of them for years.  This past summer Hobby Lobby stores around here put their Fabi dies on clearance.  These dies are the same as Sizzix dies, but they put the new name on them and targeted the quilting market.  Guess it didn't work so well at H.L., as the were on clearance.  I bought these hexagon dies:
Don't know how well these show up.  They are on a box that has red handles.  The box has nothing to do with the dies.
Here are the sizes they cut:
 
The sizes of the sides are: 1/2", 3/4", 1" and 1 1/4".  This means that you can cut the paper with the 1/2" one and the fabric with the 3/4" one and so on.  Very handy. The dies are all the same outer dimensions, so the amount of pieces you get varies with the size.  You get 16 pieces with the 1/2" die, but since you can cut 8 layers at a time, one pass through the machine will give you 128 pieces.  Not bad.
 
I use inexpensive index cards that the Dollar Tree sells or magazine inserts for the paper pieces.

 
Above is a photo of the back of a feedsack project.  It is my summer project - something easy to do when we are RVing.  You can see both the index cards and the magazine inserts. I will put the project up for the winter. 
O.k., that about says it for obtaining your paper pieces. 
One of the reasons that I have changed my mind about EPP is the seam allowance problem I have with this project:
 
I have boxes and boxes of these hexies, stamped, cut out and organized.  The problem is that the piece is only 1/2" on the side and the standard 1/4" seam allowance is just too big.  I can either continue hand sewing them, and then trimming the seam allowance after fighting to get them ironed in the right direction - ugh - or switch to EPP where the seam allowance is at least split in two directions (so that it will be possible to quilt through them) and tamed somewhat.  Which brings me to a couple of points:
1. Some people just start with a scrap of fabric (not a hex shape) and baste the fabric down to the paper.  I am not a proponent of this.  I like a neat seam allowance.
2. I don't sew the fabric to the paper.  I just take a backstitch at every corner and  go around the piece.  That way the basting can remain in the hex and keep the seam allowance nice and flat.  Also, there is no need to remove the basting to get the paper out - it just slips right out.  I leave the papers in until the hex is completely sewn in to other pieces on all sides and then remove it. I just whip stitch all the hexes together.  There are different methods for this, but a whip stitch is the fastest way for me.
3. I like the fact that I can spray starch the pieces with the paper in and keep everything nice and flat.
Well, that's about it for this series. If you have any questions, let me know.
I leave you with this pic of an antique charm quilt I have.  The hexes are about 2" on a side.
 
Till next time...
Sheila