12/17/2014

Choosing and editing images....

 

I have about 50 images to narrow down to 12 and to edit (cropping and resizing) .. Some are already shades of sepia like this one on the left but I prefer a warmer toned sepia.

Some are more black and white like this one on the on the right..









 And some are colored.  After working  with the suffrage photos and lots of trial and errors, I found ways to get the best results and I will share the steps with you as I go along...







Then there are the media ads....   which are   either black and white or various shades of antiqued paper.

I never try to hurry through this process as I know unless I take my time with it, I'll never be happy with it.  The first step will be finalizing my choices which will not be easy because I have some great ones.  I started collected these in 2011 so there are many.





12/15/2014

Piecing multiple blocks the easy way!!!

(I combined two previous posts into this one.) I know many people love piecing blocks but for me it is a tedious chore at  best.  So whenever I am doing a batch I do a couple extra.  Since I have the whole mess out, it not that hard to do a couple more.  I keep a bag of the extras and sometimes I use them when I join a round robin or give them to a student to get them going...  I just want to get the blocks done as soon as I'm able and get to the fun part...

I've tried the Martha Green's crumb method,  Allie's curve method, and Judith Montano method's of piecing.  But I always go back to just paper piecing and mostly use the same pattern over and over... This time  I'm using  Sharon Boggin's block pattern - #28.  This means every single block is #28.  Once you rotate the blocks and embellish, no one ever notices that they are all the same pattern...  Believe me!!!! I  enlarged it a bit so I will have an 8" square block when done.  If want some advice on choosing a paper pattern I posted some here.

I don't even pay any attention to what colors are going to go where on a block when cutting.  Once I have my pile of fabrics I just start stacking and cutting at random ... trying to get as many different fabrics per patch as possible...  Then I will sorta deal them out at random, making any necessary adjustments.  Of course this works the best when you have a large selection of fabric like I did this time..

 

If you did a good job gathering fabrics which  are harmonious, it is nearly impossible to mess up from that point on.  If you look at your fabrics in a pile and like them, toss them around and still like them, they are going to look good on a block no matter what you do... This the "pile test".  I do this with trims with students even before they pick fabric because it you assemble a pile of trims that work together, you can work backwards and pick the fabric last..

Now I had several choices.. I could make blocks one each month, or in smaller batches or do all 12 at once.  Doing them all at once will give you a more consistent look if you plan to use them together.. I chose all at once because piecing is not my favorite and I wanted it over with.  Here is how I go about it.

First I had cut 14 assorted of each pattern piece.. no plan.  I just stacked random fabrics from the pile five at a time and cut.  You can see the pile of patches on the left. I put up two card tables and laid out 14 squares of card stock.









Then I took a pile of each pattern piece and just randomly put it on a square. Trying not to put two of the same fabric adjacent to each other.










Until I had them all out... Then I stepped back and tweeked a few here and there.  I try to balance out color, value, and patterns at this point...I'm not too fussy.  I had a lot of   patches from paisley ties and I wanted some on each block..  This goes VERY fast because I try to not overthink this at this point...  Any goofs I make at this point can be dealt with when I start embellishing.

The pieces of card stock act like trays and I can just pile them up and head to the sewing machine.




I set a small folding table next to the sewing machine, put a towel and my little travel steam iron on it so I can press each seam as sewn.  And off I go with the pieces already on the paper trays  next to the machine












Within no time I have them 14 done.
Although I pressed seams as I went along, at this point they need a good press and put on a foundation but the piecing is done for the entire year..




These are very rich blocks in this winter pastel palette.  Lots of silk, taffetas, and velvets. Most of the silk patterned patches are from a day we hit a thrift store with an overstock of ties that were only 49 cents a piece.













And what's a perfect day...?.  A cold wintry day with a fire, a white chocolate mocha and a dear friend to stitch with....














12/13/2014

Tips on picking a CQ paper pattern...

In the previous post I mentioned that for my CQJP2015 project I had chosen Sharon Boggin's Block 28 from the "I dropped the button box quilt".   All these block patterns can be found here   They are a fabulous resource and Sharon is so generous to make them available..    She has by far been the biggest influence on my crazy quilting and I can never say enough kind words about her.
 
I received a comment this morning from a newby that she was overwhelmed by the number of patterns available and thought she just might pick a number at random... NO NO NO... There are things to consider. First I chose number 28 because it has more patches than I usually do.... (because I have so many fabrics for this project).  It is also a very balanced block with the patches at random to each other..


If it were my first block I might chose one with fewer patches.  This block is also well balanced with a random layout.   In fact this is very similar to the one I used for my Morris block. For that  I had very wild graphic fabrics and lots of images so I chose a simpler block  ...











But there are other factors also... and many times it is just a personal preference.  I mentioned I liked the patches in a random pattern so I would not pick this block with all the patches in a row.... 










There are two things I always avoid  and that are patterns that will end up with small awkward corner patches... like patch #8 here..  If I were to use this pattern I would make that patch larger to begin with.  In fact I just worked on a block in a recent RR that had 3 tiny difficult corner patches.  I think I blogged about it..   So just be sure to look at all patches when considering a pattern....

The second  thing to be aware of is where seams intersect.  I try to avoid blocks where several seams come together like where pieces 4 & 5 meet at piece 6.  Depending on your fabrics and your skill level, this could be problematic.



Here your have seam 5 & 4 coming to piece 7 dangerously close to where you are also most likely have a seam allowance.  Multiple converging seams often have bulk that is hard to conceal and stitch through...  Keep an eye out for them.

This is a great block but I would divide both pieces 5 and 6 into two sections to make it more balanced... Keep in mind that you can always do that to any of the patches if you think ahead.













My second choice when I was choosing for this project was # 52 except I would divide piece 6 into two pieces...  I have printed it to use in the future...

Janet Stauffacher also  posts crazy quilt patterns.  Her blocks have allowed for an image.  She has a Free Crazy Quilt Block Patterns board at Pinterest at http://www.pinterest.com/j…/free-crazy-quilt-block-patterns/  Be sure to check hers also..

I did this post for Mary Ann, but  if you think you are going to be a paper piecer like me, this post is for you also...

p.s.  I actually have seen IN PERSON the "I dropped the button box" quilt and have endless photos of it...



























12/11/2014

Process for picking fabric for CQJP2015 - And button winners...

Off again... the big excitement of post #1500 is over.  I have many ideas to share and tutorials I want to do and many things that need updating so I hope you weren't here for just the party and that you keep coming back..

First on the list is choosing fabrics for CQJP2015.  First of all, whether you are a color expert or not, you MUST subscribe to Color Seeds.  It is a non-invasive little site that just drops these color palette in your email occasionally.  I keep a file of the ones that really speak to me... such as this one.

They work well as a guide. Pastels are my comfort zone and this is close but the colors have a dusky quality that I thought suited a vintage theme. I will leave out the dark green but add a deep rose instead.  Remember just a guide.
.
So this I bought a small fabric pack from Suziqu's shop because it had some gorgeous velvets, added another from Cathy's Crazy By Design to get more shades of beige, and found a fabric pack I won in Carole Samples class years ago that would work perfectly.  Then yesterday I made a trip to THE barn and the bins.. This is a year-long project and needs 12 blocks so it is surprising how much material that requires. 








Here is my main pile... As I was going through the bins I specifically looking for fun prints and patterns and textures to add interest to the blocks. Not all of these are suitable but I have a good selection to choose from.  DH will be out of town this weekend so I will do the blocks.






NOW HERE IS MY BIG TIP OF THE DAY: When you are pulling your fabrics together, keep a second pile of fabric that are close but don't quite fit... Most in my second pile are just too bright but if I overdye them they would work..  I especially liked the textured piece lower right and will dye it... For small bits I use coffee (just because we are not tea drinkers.)  The truth is I use cream in my coffee so it is not suitable but if the piece is small and DH is not guarding his cup... I dunk it...  In this pile I also add fabrics that may be the right color but far too fragile or flimsy for patches.  I can cut them up to make fabric flowers or trim.

Remember corsets are my theme.. that means I will get to use lots of lace, ribbons and tiny  buttons - all my favorites.  This is a sorely needed comfort-zone project...

And I want to announce the winners of the Forget-me-Not buttons...   Will the following please send addresses. Thanks to everyone who visited and left their name.  Do come again!!

Lesley in UK
Amy in LA
Carol Beads & Birds
Nancy Taber

12/07/2014

It was not all needles and threads......... post #1500

When I was thinking about what to put in this post I thought I would use excerpts from some of the Gerry's Journal posts... Then I noticed that there were 286 of them... You probably know more about me than most of my friends.. and you have been through it all with me....1500 posts and almost 1/2 million page views.

First of course is the farm itself... There were 64 posts about the farm...  Mostly about the wonderful magical barn.  The roof was rotting and the sides about to collapse when we moved here and rescued it.

























It has  had many transformations.  During the years of the nursery the milking side  of the barn served as a tea room and classroom.  I always have this fantasy that some day new owners will convert it back into a milking room and the cows will have flowered wallpaper and a view.
You have seen it at its best and its worst.










And of course there is my forest which I planted in 1995...all 5279 trees.  I posted about the forest many times.  The trees are now over 35' tall and home to deer, elk, coyotes, wild turkeys and many other forms of wildlife.  Not many people have their very own forest and you have watched it grow and was there when the eagle landed.

I had the blog the last years
of my beloved Fritz...a perfect gentleman and a perfect dog.  I didn't think I would ever stop grieving for him...








But along came Morris who was my bad boy and had the world's longest puppyhood...and I almost renamed him Mayhem.  But even Morris has finally matured into a perfect gentleman.

There were 40 posts about my sheep.  Most of you were with me every spring when it was lambing time with all its drama... You even were privy to all the shenanigans of my ram, Randy Andy, as he tried to move heaven and earth for sex.

You were there when the cougar attacked my flock and heard my heart break.

Again and again (at least 60 posts) I have shared the over 65 species birds that visit our property. And there were all the things I recycled, upcycled and painted because it was ugly.




And of course there is DH...who insists it should be HWCH (handsome, witty and charming husband).  I have shared the recipe for his favorite sour cream rolls and recounted all the times I served him chicken (which he hates) and told him it was turkey.  When I had the elaborate plot to paint the rainbow door, I blogged about it for 5 months and no one let him in on the secret.

He is a "chick magnet" for every old lady in town..  They all vie for spots on his tours and fight to sit by him on the bus...  And of course they are all hussies which was one of my favorite posts.   My dictionary actually defines a hussy as a "a brazen or immoral woman who is standing too close to Gerry's husband".





Here I am with TWO black eyes. You all gave me sympathy though my many injuries.  My doctor always tells me her other patients just get sick, I try to kill myself.  Over the course of these years I cut off one finger, mangled another in a belt sander, broke a leg, broke an arm, had surgery on two injured knees (one thanks to Randy Andy and the other falling off a ladder) and had two concussions.  One when I rode my bike head first into a wall of rock and the other when I fell and shattered all the bones on the left side of my face.






But I just kept going until "my door was no more" and then I had a complete melt down.  But now that I have a "new" old door, life is more or less harmonious except the house getting hit by lightening and the robber shooting at DH...

But Houston was a real boost and I will soon be stitching and blogging away again.  My heartfelt thanks to all who read my posts and hope you keep coming back...






12/06/2014

Do I look happy???? Post # 1499

Just one more post before the big day.  I've just been waiting for this appropriate moment to post these pictures. It happened several times in Houston and made my heart sing.  Someone would call my name or touch my arm and say the magic words.... "Gerry Krueger, I read your blog every day!" I was grateful when Susie was nearby to get a picture.

This is Sandra Baker from South Carolina who assured me that not only did she read my blog, but all the ladies in her stitching group read it also..






And this is Vicki Register (I hope we got her name right).  She is in a crazy quilt group in Wenatchee, WA...only about 3 hours away.  I would just love to get over and see all of them.
















This lady approached me during the fashion luncheon with those same magic words but we were unable to get her name.... I thought I could enlarge the picture enough to read her name tag but couldn't.... but so happy and grateful that she came forward to let me know that she enjoyed my blog.












In fact I had my picture taken with a lot of people and many times with my quilt....

I spend my stitching time isolated in my little corner of the world and often wonder if anyone is still reading after all these years.  I left Houston feeling really connected and it gave me a burst of new enthusiasm to continue blogging...




And there has to be the picture of myself, Susie and the quilt that made it all happen.






















12/04/2014

Button Giveaway - Post # 1498

I wanted to do something to celebrate the upcoming #1500 post and decided to do a special button for a giveaway.... I now am using my new magnifying lamp which I love.  It is like stepping through a looking glass into a world I can really see.  After I've painted a while I am hesitant to come back into my blurry world.

I have been experimenting with painting baskets and have several others done as well.  These buttons are barely larger then 1"....

There are going to be 4 winners so leave a comment on this post to be eligible to win.  I will do a drawing one day next week...

 Our orphaned fawn is staying close and fattening up for winter.  Morris loves to watch the fawn gobble up sunflower seeds.  He never barks or makes a sound that would frighten the fawn away...  The fawn is only about 3' from the house.











And Molly who   likes sunflower seeds as well has become "friends of sorts" with the wild turkeys who come for snacks also..  We love our wildlife.. 


So leave a comment and help me celebrate this milestone!!!  You might just be a winner.!!!

11/24/2014

Don't miss out on CQJP2015! - Post # 1497

It's time to register for the CQJP2015 (Crazy Quilt Journal Project) and you want to do it soon so you don't miss out.  Because 2014 was devoted to the finishing my suffrage quilt I didn't participate in CQJP and missed it all year.. I like having the structure and focus of a monthly block  and ending the year with a body of work. 

When I started collecting photos of suffragettes, I also collected photos and ads for corsets..  The whole constrictive aspect of corsets versus the fight for personal freedom seemed like an obvious connection and I originally planned to make a collage of the corset photos on the lining of the suffrage quilt.

But the corset photos really needed to be a project on their own..

But  now I want to do something with that collection and the CQJP2015 will provide the perfect opportunity..  The ads are so bizarre and this one makes one wonder how a corset can be the embodiment of grace and what made "flexibone" unbreakable.

In 2012 my theme was my dog Morris and in 2013  my theme was cottages and I love them both.  I not only like working with  a theme, I try to include specific techniques to experiment with.  This year I want to experiment with more floral surface embroidery than I usually use and I want to really make a dent in my stash of lace with these blocks.  I want to use this project to really go through and sort out my laces.. As I think it through I will post my final goals.

This journal project was founded by Kathy Shaw.  There is a blog site to register, see the rules, check out previous years and also a page for questions and answers.  There is a time limit to register so do go now and don't miss out... http://cqjp2015.blogspot.com/

11/21/2014

Painting and Sadder Note - post # 1496

This is one of the new buttons I've painted with my new lens.  Keeping in mind that this button is only a tad larger than 1", look at the detail in the basket. 

While I'm waiting for Nikki's blocks I have been painting and painting and painting...  flowers, owls, cats, frogs and ladybugs on parade.  They are in various stages of completion and then need to be sealed (which takes 3 days) so it will be a few days before they are posted.  I do not often paint cats.  I have a problem with cats...they all end up looking like dogs...

And if you do any craft or art work that required acrylic paints I have a great tip for you.. For years I used wooden skewers as  stirrers until I discovered that the cup stoppers from Starbucks are the best thing EVER...

I put out the word and everyone is saving them for me and I have a lifetime supply because they are easily wiped off and reusable...  The little flat knob at the bottom is perfect for getting just that small dab of paint...







Now the sad note! I planted this place for wildlife and it brings me great joy and I am perfectly fine with nature taking its course.  We are not overwhelmed with deer but we have them daily eating up the apples, and other fruit.  I love watching them day-to-day and have favorites. 

This year it was a beautiful doe who brought her fawn when it could barely hobble.  They have been in the garden every day fattening up for winter and to drink from the heated water pan we put out for them when it is freezing.

Here it is this morning cleaning up the sunflowers seeds the birds drop... It had been alone for 2 days and when I drove home from taking care of my mother yesterday  I saw the doe ... dead...  hanging from a hook in front of my neighbor's garage  If you remember a while back I was walking in my forest and heard a whiz/click and found a motion camera hidden in MY trees focused on MY trail on MY land.  Yep.. that same neighbor.   The same one who sits on his deck and shoots at owls, hawks and anything that moves... We tried to make this a no-shooting zone but couldn't get enough support.

The fawn eats a bit and spends the rest the day standing at the gate watching for it's mother...  Without mom it will be easy for the coyotes to pick it off..  Makes my heart so sad.

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