Monday, September 30, 2013

Silk Fabric Changing Colors

This is a small swatch of the purple silk fabric I used in the miniature Serenade.  As you can see the fabric is woven from two different colors.  The threads running one way are hot pink and the threads running the other are bright turquoise.

This silk fabric is interesting as when viewed from one direction it is more blue, from another more purple or more pink depending on the angle you view or photograph it.  I really had a hard time photographing the quilt in it’s true color for this reason.  I figured that some of you were wondering why the colors of this quilt in my photos were not consistant; this is the reason.  Probably the closest color photos I got are in the last post.  The quilt reads purple most of the time.  Below are photos taken of the same swatch as above but taken from different angles.  Notice the color change.
Until Later,

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Serenade–Part 4

IMG_6194.jpg-2See, I did git it done with two days to spare, entered and even won a ribbon.  Here I am kneeling beside it with the first place ribbon for machine quilted miniatures at the Nebraska State Fair.  Kneeling, because it was displayed quite low and I didn’t want the photo taken of my belly button so got on my knees for my photo op. instead. I was and still am thrilled to win the blue ribbon.
Serenade 12" x 13"
 It is so much fun to enter and have my quilt on display and to win a ribbon makes it even better.  Here are some close up photos of the quilt for your inspection.  Each of the cropped photos cover 1.5”of the quilt so it really shows the detail of the stitching.  Actually the stitching magnified this much makes it look a little wobbly.
IMG_7288-detail-1      IMG_7288-detail-2
IMG_7288-detail-3      IMG_7288-detail-4
IMG_7288-detail-5      IMG_7288-detail-6
 Until Later,

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Trail Ride Along the Little Blue River

Trail ride Rita 652
Photo from Superior Express online
Last Saturday was the annual trail ride that our saddle club organizes and coordinates.  It was a beautiful day with temperatures; cool in the morning but warmed up to around 80 by noon.  It was a great day for man (and women) and beast…ok horses, not beasts.  I helped with the registration and with serving the noon meal again this year since I don't ride.  Not too hard a job and it is fun to see all the riders be excited to go on this approximately 15 mile ride.  Wow, over 90 horses registered this year! IMG_7239 One of our members does the cooking for the noon meal and the beef brisket sandwiches, beans and potato salad were so yummy, especially sitting at picnic table watching the lazy river flowing by the lunch area.    I forgot to bring my camera that morning when I went down to Oak for registration so only got a few photos at noon since I remembered to grab it before I left my house to get to the lunch area.

The landowner of the lunch area has done a lot of work the last few years to clean out the scrub trees and brush and takes such pride in keeping this stretch of the river banks so pretty.  The area is shaded by trees and he has even erected a flag pole across the river from the lunch area on a bluff.  The riders had to pass by the American flag before descending and crossing the river to get to the lunch area.IMG_7244
The local paper that came in Thursday’s mail had a great article about the trail ride.  The owner/editor also wrote a nice editorial about the ride.
To read the local paper coverage and see more photos click on this link.  When the webpage comes up click on the highlighted words Superior Express then scroll down to read article and see the photos.  Read the editorial by clicking on “Weekly Columns” and reading the one by Bill Blauvelt.  I don’t know how long this online version will be available so if you are interested in reading it I would do it before next Wed. when the next weeks news comes out.  You have to remember this is a small town newspaper that doesn’t have the resources the large newspapers have so I am not sure they save old stories.

The noon lunch is always fun with door prizes being given out, resting time for the riders and horses and of course the good food.  The riders all have stories to tell each other as they rest up for the afternoon ride.  They talk of the ride so far, the state of their horses, what breeding their horse have; they visit about their lives. Lots of laughter could be heard echoing through the area before they all climbed on their horses again for the return ride.  Great times for all. IMG_7252
The riders ranged in age from the very young, a 2 year old, to a fellow that is 85 years old.  The trail isn’t hard they say but does have some challenges and most of the riding is done through pastures and along fields to avoid traveling along the roads so they see lots of pretty areas.  The riders get back into the small village of Oak about 4:30 so it has been a long day in the saddle for everyone.

Until Later,

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Serenade–Quilting Part 3

IMG_9925Motifs are gradually getting quilted.  Notice the monogram in the center of the Mariner’s Compass star.  Hmmm, I wonder who’s initials those are?IMG_9927Look at the puff between the motifs – a bit like hills.  Also look the fabric on the outside of the quilted border; it is also out of control but I do have a plan.  It is always good to stop and consider a plan when things are not quite going the way you want it too, right?IMG_5933Well this was my plan – not elegant by any means but it did work to squish that poofy poof down so I could quilt it.  Notice the inside of the small feathered Mariner’s Compass.  Do you see the shadow of the number 2?  Well, I ripped it out as it just was not obvious to everyone what those numbers stood for….2012, one number in each circle for the year.  I had intended to finish it in 2012 but that didn’t happen either so just decided to rip out my stitching and go with plan B.IMG_5942This is what I came up with for the middles of those Compass motifs in the corners.  I did the background quilting all the same throughout the quilt, another thing I would have changed if I were to do it again.  I would have chosen to use more background fillers in different sections to add more interest.  Will draw out the background quilting motif on another post to show how I quilted those worm like motifs.IMG_5951All quilted!  I love the way the camera picked up the texture of the quilting.IMG_5959Took this photo so show the scale of the quilting motifs on this miniature whole cloth quilt.  That is my hand quilting thimble laying on the quilt.IMG_6000I always wash my finished quilt in the mild quilt soap, rinse well, roll in a towel to get some of the water out, then block it to square it up before trimming and binding.   The reason is that as I quilt, especially when I quilt this densely it tends to distort the quilt, and it removes the heavy starch I used on the fabric, plus any body oils or just plain dirt that has accumulated since it was begun.  Here it is all pinned square on a terry towel to dry. I measure from corner to corner and multiple places plus horizontally and vertically to make sure it is square before I pin it to the towel.  The countdown to the State Fair has begun.  Two days to go before delivery to the fair…will I make it?
Until Later,

Monday, September 23, 2013

Quilting Serenade Part 2

First I auditioned several threads to see what they would look like actually stitched out on the purple silk fabric.  I decided to quilt all the feathered designs in a bold color and quilt the background with a thread that closely matches the background.  The motif quilting thread I chose was stitched out on the bottom right and is Floriani Machine Embroidery Thread that is a 40 wt. 2 ply thread with a nice sheen.  The background thread is YLI Silk size 100 in a dark purple color.  I made a small quilt sandwich and quilted small feathers to judge which one of the bold threads I wanted to use and tried out several threads and colors.IMG_9898I tried something new to help grip the quilt under the needle and move it smoothly.  I like Machinigers gloves but this worked pretty well too as it was easy to readjust and still have use of my fingers to grab threads.  I cut two pieces about the size of my palm from rubberized shelf liner - you know the stuff you put on the shelves in the cupboards.  This worked very well and easy to reposition for quilting a new area.IMG_9901
The quilting has begun.  I used wool batting and as the feathered star points are quilted it puffs up around them.  My goal is to quilt down the background and then have those tiny feathers puff up instead once it is finished.
This puffiness was a bit of a problem as I had to make sure I squished it down flat as I quilted.  I sure didn’t want to quilt any pleats in the front or back of the quilt.  I had used basting spray to make my quilt sandwich but in hindsight I should have probably basted the three layers together very closely with thread and maybe some of that extra puffiness might have been controlled.IMG_9916
I had to concentrate intensely to quilt the tiny feathers that are less than 1/4” wide and about 1/4” long.  I took lots of breaks so the quilting didn’t progress too quickly so guess that is what I will do right now....take a break, not too long though.

Until later,

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Miniature Serenade - From Idea to Finish Part 1

IMG_9516Ever wondered how I design, well here is your chance to find out.  This was my initial sketch of the idea I had for a whole cloth silk quilt.  Rather messy to lay the least! IMG_9636After that initial idea I then drafted the Mariner’s Compass star on a oval shape marked with equal divisions to make it easier to draw.  After drafting it several times and drawing the feathers in the sections several times I pretty much had the center section designed but decided to tweak it a bit more but I didn’t want to keep drawing the feathers over again so cut out the parts I wanted to save that were drawn on white paper.  These were glued down to a large piece of newsprint where additional lines were drawn and that saved e a lot of time. The two types of paper is why it sort of looks like a spider web. IMG_9635 Next I wanted a feathered border and that got drawn several times too, tweaking it a bit here and there. The border started the same way with initial lines drawn, feathered, then mirror imaged.   I used my window to do the mirror image drawing rather than getting out my light box.  This  design was drawn and redrawn to add more curves, changing curves, etc. then traced to the newsprint.

By the way I have an end roll of newsprint I got from our local newspaper office.  The paper left on these rolls is not enough to go through the printing presses for the printing of the newspaper.   They either sell them for low cost or give them away at the newspaper offices around here so check out your area newspaper if you are interested in getting a roll.  Each roll has quite a bit of paper left on it and is great for designing and anything else where I need large paper.  I have lso agotten rolls for my grandchildren to use for their art and craft projects and they love it.IMG_9885  After getting one quarter of the border designed I scanned and printed it several times and taped it together with the center design then more copies were made.  As you can see from the scraps on the table I did a lot of cutting and taping.  Since this is a miniature I could do this but it might be a little more difficult to do a larger quilt this way.  Maybe not quite so much tweaking.IMG_9855Piles and piles of adjustments and changes trying to perfect my design.  Each tweak trying to make it better in my eyes.IMG_9887The finished design traced onto the purple silk fabric.  I used a piece of Plexiglas with a light under it to do the tracing.  I used Fons and Porter white chalk like pencil.   I love it as I can get a thin line that stays on pretty well and either brushes off or erases easily. IMG_9888I put my monogram in the center of the center feathered star then decided to add the year I started this quilt to the 4 smaller corner compass blocksIMG_9889Next installment - the quilting!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Garden Visitors–Praying Mantis or Alien?

IMG_6453No, not an alien, although praying mantis do really look like how some extra terrestrial's are illustrated.  Look at the triangle shaped head, big eyes and jointed hands or front legs.  As you can see from this photo he/she is looking directly at the camera.  When the camera beeped to say it was focused the bug swiveled it’s head in that direction.IMG_6452I  found this large one while watering my flowers one day.  It was about 4” long so startled me when it ran out of the flowers and up onto the deck right beside the flowers.  I had seen smaller ones earlier this summer but this is the largest I had ever seen.  Since then I have seen several others that were this large so we are not sure where they have come from or why we see them now.IMG_6466One of our curious kittens walked over on the deck while the praying mantis was still on the deck.  Hank, the kitten, was looking at me and coming over to be petted and didn’t even see this huge bug and the praying mantis was not looking at the cat either.  I still had my camera in my hands so snapped a shot of the two of them.  If Hank had taken one more step he would have stepped right on the praying mantis IMG_6456Thanks for checking back on me and reading to the bottom of this blog post since I have not blogged for such a long time.  I just have not been motivated I guess, plus the longer I went without blogging the harder it was to sit down and write.  I am a great procrastinator I guess.  Tonight, hopefully will be the start of more frequent blogging so please come back tomorrow.

As always – until later,


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