Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Triangle Frenzy Swirl

Here is the second table runner I made using the Triangle Frenzy Swirl pattern by Bunny Cleland. 2015-10-26 08.39.55
This one was made from a striped snowman fabric and I will use it on my table at Christmas and the rest of the winter.  As I said before, this is a very simple pattern to make and can be whipped up in just a few hours.Triangle-Frenzy-Swirl-sewing-pattern-Bunny-Cleland-front
The pieces are cut with a 60 degree triangle and you use striped fabric or could use fabric that is seamed together to make stripes.  I used a Creative Grids ruler I already had but a blunted top tip of a 60 degree ruler is really helpful for making this table runner. 

I have several striped fabrics on hand so may whip more of these up when I have a few extra minutes.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!!!  We don’t get any trick or treaters here but I like to decorate my house with a few Halloween items anyway.

I have several Halloween wall hangings I put out each year and just finished a table runner.  2015-10-26 08.39.06Will talk about this more later but it was easy and used striped fabric, a 60 degree ruler and the pattern Triangle Frenzy Swirl by Bunnie Cleland.2015-10-31 09.13.06This is my oldest Halloween wall hanging that I made in 1990.  I remember I had to use a poly/cotton orange fabric because at that time I could not find any bright orange 100% cotton.  It is about 32” square.2015-10-31 09.13.58This 17” x 20” pattern is from the Which Witch & The Who by Leslie Beck for Fiber Mosaaics.  It is fused with a pieced border that I bought as a kit from a fabric store and finished in 1995.IMG_3247-2  I finished this wall hanging in 2008 after it sat unfinished for several years.  The center design is by Rebecca Carter in the book Two-Hour Mini Quilt Projects but I needle turned the applique instead of fusing it.  I pieced the points and the background as an example in a class I taught on piecing Mariner’s Compass blocks and didn’t finish it until much later.  Here is a detail of it below and you can read about it starting with this blog on August 28, 2008.  I usually leave it up all fall as it doesn’t scream Halloween.IMG_3248-2This is a close up of the corner quilting motif.  Maybe in a few years I will be inspired to make something else new for Halloween.

Until Later,

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Mini Professional Tote With Changes

IMG_5562I started with this pattern for the Mini Professional Tote and fully intended to make it just like the designer intended……until my good friend stopped in and showed me the Professional Tote she made for her granddaughter. The Professional Tote is like the papa bear to the mam bear Mini Professional Tote.  I liked the size she made so decided to just make my bag bigger by 2” each direction.  Sounded like a good plan but wow there were a lot of pieces to adjust.  I had to double check my figures on all the pieces and luckily I didn’t cut anything wrong.IMG_5547Here are the front and back sections all finished.  I used black leather from one of the coats I purchased from Goodwill for the bottom and straps.  I figured that the leather would be easier to clean and be better for when I used the bag for travel.  Easy to wipe off and clean.  The main fabric is a denim but happens to have some stretch to it.  I liked the pattern and think it should not make any difference in how the bag holds up and wears.

Back to the coat....It dawned on me about a year ago that if I purchased inexpensive leather coats at thrift stores I could disassemble them and use the leather in a variety of ways so now every time I make a trip to our two larger towns about 1 and 1 1/2 hours away I check out the thrift stores for any new leather coats.  I make sure they are pure leather and not the look alike vinyl.  I also check to see if there are areas of the coat that have larger pieces.  Leather coats tend to be made of small pieces seamed together so I like to find men's coats that have larger areas of leather pieces. 
IMG_5549Back to the tote.....Here are the end pieces with two pockets, one made with matching fabric and one made with black mesh.  I added the pink fabric to encase the elastic at the top of the pockets.IMG_5555All finished front with a pocket in the front between the straps.IMG_5556Back of bag – a large pocket across the width of the bag with the straps stitched just to that layer.  Above it a zippered pocket.endsThe ends of the bag all finished.  I did make the mesh pocket the size to fit a water bottle.  I pinned the bag pocket and tested the size before I stitched it.  Both pockets have a pleat stitched in to make it fit the width of the bag.  That width was taken up with elastic on the top.IMG_5559Taking photos of the insides of bags is always a challenge but I forged ahead.  The bright pink rectangle is actually a zippered, padded pocket made to hold a tablet, kindle or other item that needs a little more protection.  It is stitched into the center of the bag so both sides of it could be packed with clothes if traveling or papers and other items if carrying it for work.  As you can see there is a zippered pocket against the outside wall of the bag.IMG_5560Now here is a look at the other side of the inside of the tote.  This side has a pink patchwork pocket to fit a cell phone and an elasticized pocket with a tab closer to hold other items.IMG_5561
Last photo is of the tote with the top zipper all zipped up.  I do like this bag but have to admit that it is a little heavy unloaded so might just be a bit too heavy to carry if it is packed with all my goodies.  That is probably because of my choice of fabrics.  The leather and the denim are more dense and heavier fabrics so make the bag heavier too, oh well can't do anything about it now.

I have yet to carry the bag but did enjoy finishing it up.  Not sure I will ever try to enlarge a bag with as many pieces ever again as it was a real challenge and worry if it would all fit together in the end.

Until Later,

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Nebraska State Fair 2015–Quilt Show Winners

Best of show at the 2015 Nebraska State Fair was made by Patricia Pressler of Lewellen.  Beautiful appliqued and pieced quilt that is machine quilted.IMG_2691IMG_2692Reserve Best of Show was made by Kathy Reilly of Grand Island.  The motifs were appliqued, machine embroidered, and machine quilted and so well done.IMG_2693IMG_2694Congratulations to both of these fantastic quilts and quilters.

Until Later,

Friday, October 9, 2015

My Nebraska State Fair Quilts

I know it has been a while since the state fair but I just have not had time to sit down and write a blog post about it.  I entered 4 small quilts and was very pleased to receive 4 ribbons.  Please ignore the wind blown hair but John took these photos after a long hot windy day of visiting the fair.  I really don’t like to see photos of myself as I see myself differently than the camera does!  Oh well I am what I am.

This quilt received a first place ribbon for small pieced quilt a thrill for any ribbon and a first place, even more thrilling.  I blogged about it here and here.IMG_3675IMG_3701This quilt got a second place ribbon in the group quilt category.  This was a group quilt challenge pieced by 3 friends and me and quilted by me.  It did look strange at the fair though as they hung it a quarter turn around, besides the fact that I had a sleeve at the top.  You can read about making it here and here.IMG_4856This quilt received a 4th place ribbon at the state fair.  This is the family tree quilt I made for my mother about her family.  To read about the symbolism and the making of the quilt you can read about it here.IMG_4980This final quilt won a second place ribbon in the competition miniature class but the Nebraska state Fair also has special classes that any of the competition quilts can be entered.  I was so very excited to win the best machine quilting award with a domestic machine.  This was something I had been trying to win for many years so it really means a lot to me.  IMG_5462
IMG_5452There were over 600 quilts entered this year at the Nebraska State Fair.  That is a lot of time and talent from man,y many quilters.  It was so much fun to walk the isles admiring all the different sizes, techniques, and colors of these pieces of art.  Each year the quilters in the state step up and enter their precious quilts.  I appreciate all the ribbons I got this year and in past years as I know every quilter entered their best and hoping to win a ribbon.

Until Later,

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Monarch Butterfly Migration

v2-6182v2-6149I feel so very fortunate to be able to see thousands of Monarch butterflies resting overnight on the trees in our windbreak on their migration to the south.  I did some mowing late afternoon and noticed many Monarch butterflies as I mowed and was fascinated just watching them flit from one place to another but a lot were landing and sitting along the edges of a mud puddle out by our barn. I presume they were stopping to get a drink.  As it was nearing sunset my husband, John and I started walking around looking for where they were going to rest for the night and discovered several places on the west side of the cedar trees west of our house.  I have never, ever seen this many Monarch butterflies before and it is magnificent to see so many of the beautiful insects clustered on the cedar trees.  John was lucky to see a display like this a few years ago down at one of our pastures.  He said the trees were just alive with the thousands of butterflies.  Not sure how many are here but I would guess 100s and maybe even up to 1000 and they were still arriving when I finally went into the house at 7 pm.  I went out again this morning and got more photos and at 7 am they were mostly all hanging upside down with their wings closed.  If I wouldn’t have know they were butterflies at first glance they looked like dead leaves just hanging on the branches which is probably how they avoid getting eaten by the birds.v2-6172v2-6155None of the bunches of butterflies were hanging low so used my zoom lens to try and get close up shots of them.  My zoom lens did a pretty god job though.v2-6140
v2-6180v2-6183From what I have read the Monarch butterflies that are here in Nebraska and other places east will migrate clear down to Mexico but the butterflies found west of the Rocky Mountains migrate to southern California.  It is hard to imagine the delicate looking butterflies flying that far.  Here are a couple of websites that tell about the migration.
USDA Forest Service Monarch Butterfly Migration

This is an experience I will never forget and the photos I have posted just don’t give the total feeling of awe I felt watching them. 

Until Later
Lynn Greer

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Thistles and Feathers–Miniature Quilt

IMG_5452This is just a teaser photo of the whole cloth brown silk miniature I made that I call Thistles and Feathers.  You can see from the photo and the bobbin sitting on the quilt the size of motifs I worked with on this quilt.  Read on for more and to see the finished quilt in it’s entirety.   IMG_5015Time to make another whole cloth silk miniature and here is how I start.  I love to draw my designs by hand but this time I used my recently purchased The Ultimate Stencil by Cindy Needham to shorten the design time.  I purchased  the set of stencils and downloaded the free paper master grid originals and made copies to help draw the designs for this quilt.  Cindy offers the free downloads to anyone so check it out.  With a little math and geometry anyone can draw the designs but I found this to be a real time savor for me since all I had to do was print the grids out and start sketching.  I do plan to use the grid stencils to help plan and draw quilting lines in the future.IMG_5132After many revisions, tweaks and corrections my design is ready to trace onto the silk.  I take my sewing machine out of my sewing table, lay a piece of Plexiglas over the opening and slide a flat bar light onto the shelf that holds my machine and turn it on.  I tape the design over the Plexiglas as I will have to move both it and the fabric that is taped over it to be able to see the entire design for tracing.  This makes such an easy and cheap light box so give it a try.  If you don’t have a large piece of Plexiglas you can always take out one of the storm door windows from a outside door, clean it up and lay it over an opening.  I will caution you though if you do this that the glass can break and it will break into a million pieces.  You might ask how I know but as you can guess I have had the lovely experience so please get the Plexiglass or some stiff plastic if you can.  You might look for a poster frame in a hobby store as a source of Plexiglass/plastic as they use it to cover the poster.IMG_5134As you can see my silk is brown and you can see the design  lines through it very well.  I use a white chalk pencil to trace the lines, turning off the light every once in a while to check for missing lines.IMG_5136After the design is all traced I layered it with the wool batting and silk fabric backing and pin it together with straight pins.  A new way I am basting the quilt and have found works very well is using Vanish Lite thread from Superior Threads.  It is a water soluble thread so I use it in the top and bobbin for my basting. 
IMG_5146I basted a grid, starting in the middle going each way so as not to stretch the top or backing.  I did use the walking foot to do this basting.  As you can see, for this small 13x13” square my basting lines are no wider than 1 1/2” apart one way and a bit farther the other.  After quilting the vertical lines first I decided it didn’t need so many going the other direction.  This held everything together so well and I could snip the thread if it was in the way or leave it to be rinsed out later since it dissolves in water.  I think this will be my preferred method of basting from now on.IMG_5158I used 50 wt. silk thread to machine quilt the design areas first.  As you can see I snipped out the basting lines in the middle but not in other areas.  It just depended if the basting thread was in the way so I couldn’t see my lines.  One change I did make on my design was to change the thistle blossom.  My original design had several rows of zig-zag lines of quilting curved over the top to form the flower.  I stitched one first on a practice sandwich and found I could not stitch that small of zig-zag so changed the flower to radiating lines.

The two photos below show the same area of the quilt with my first attempt at doing some background quilting with black thread and the second one with the dark green background thread.  If you look closely at the one with the black thread I crossed over lines and kind of had a mish-mash of lines.  Why you ask, well the problem was that after I stitched a line with the black thread I could no longer see it well and therefor crossed over my lines.  I was using the magnifying lens attached to my machine and very bright lights from all angles but just couldn’t see it very well.  After spending parts of 2 days ripping out the 100 wt. black thread I changed to the dark green thread and got along fine.  I kept the thread dark so it would recede into the background but light enough for me to see when I was stitching.  In real life it isn’t quite a bright as it shows up in the photo though.IMG_5170
IMG_5462Thistles and Feathers – 13”x13”

Blocked and bound and ready to enjoy. 

Until Later,

PS Sorry about the color variations of the photos.  The true color is closest to the finished quilt photo that is the last one on this post.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A Walk Through My Flower Garden

Yesterday was such a beautiful day and a good day to spend with my camera outside.  I have not taken time to get any photos this summer of my beautiful flower beds and yesterday I tried to get some close up shots of a few.IMG_6006Probably one of the last roses this summer, and this one has such a lovely scent too.IMG_5991IMG_5980IMG_6057The bumble bees, flies, wasps and other insects really like the sedum flowers.  They leave you alone if you leave them alone and believe me I do not want to make a bumble bee mad.  I used my  zoom lens and cropped the photos to get the close views of them.  Don’t their wings look like plastic? IMG_5952Lantana is one of my favorite flowers as it grows so easily and this variety is such fun with the multicolored flowers.IMG_5965Even a dandelion seed head can be beautiful but I sure snapped it off and disposed of it after taking it’s photo! IMG_5967Grasshoppers are such voracious plant eaters but luckily I didn’t have too many munching on my garden this summer.  IMG_6018The fall mums are just starting to bloom so will have bursts of color until we have our first freeze.

Until later,


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