I'm ready and so is the barn.... tomorrow!!!

If you were a follower last winter you remember the sewing room (12x30') in the barn looked like this...  I posted about the history of the barn.  Cathy and I mostly emptied bin after bin of "fancies" from under the counters so  the material on the racks is all still there...only folded .  It is all tapestries and home deco

This is what the table  looked like after my neighbor "Super Woman" Liz came and helped me  .

Today I nailed up heavy duty shade cloth over the long wall of window and hooked up 2 large box fans because it is supposed to be hovering around 90 degrees all week.. In February Cathy and I worked out there with big propane heaters and wore our coats and even gloves one day.  There's a long bank of double 8' fluorescent fixtures and I replaced all the bulbs  and hooked up the power cutter..  With two chairs, three sewing machines and a serger...we are good to go when Susie arrives. 

I'm thinking first we'll dive into tapestries and make our choices for our BoHo bags and in the process put together some tapestry packs to sell.  Then we can start sorting trims, ribbons, heavy laces etc. and make some final decisions on all the fancy trims for the pincushions...  During the hottest part of the day we'll have to retreat to the house and do hand stitching...  I'm so excited... I'll take pictures of it all....

As a special treat and eye candy extraordinaire I hung Lisa DuCoing's Arachnophobia quilt in Susie's room... It is one of my prize processions... Sorry the picture is not the best... it is so lovely..  I'd like to bring it to Colorado retreat with me...


It was a test and Morris failed!!!

Because he used to chew  up everything, Morris had to be left in the laundry room when we left home...  Well he rarely chews anything anymore and we were going to be gone about five hours so I felt sorry for him all alone in the laundry room and thought we would try once leaving him loose in the house with Molly....

This what we found when we returned... He had not only removed all the cushions and pillows from the couch, he had STACKED them... and to the pile he had added two throws, all the blankets from the dog beds, various shoes, toys, and a water bottle he found upstairs...  BUT to his credit he had not chewed up anything!

Remember when he was so little and innocent?

But his true colors soon emerged!

But how can you not adore a dog whose favorite thing is to nap with is your bra!!!

And of course he's always is the picture of innocence...  WHO ME????


Ritva's Artist RR block done...

Sometimes I finish a block and say YES!!!!! this time it all came together...  I'm going to keep it until Monday before I send it off to Hideko so I can share it with Susie who is coming Sunday evening...

And this is was my inspiration... Lace, flowers, and birds...what more can a girl ask for....


Next in line for the Artist RR - Helina's blocks

Gayle posted her work on Helina's blocks in the CQI artist RR... Here are the three that are completed... It makes my heart sing to see this kind of teamwork... The artist Helina chose was Helene Schjerfbeck, a Finnish artist. 

All three stitchers chose a very light, airy , minimal approach... They all did a couple seams and something floral...  So since I want whatever I do to fit in with their work I will have to follow suit... What??? No lace, no birds???  I'm thinking I'm going to look through a couple of my Helen Steven's books for inspiration...  She is by far my favorite needle person...  The blocks won't arrive until next week but I did look in the files to choose which block I will do.


Working on returned blocks....Part 2 -My Guidelines

Judging from the emails I received this is a topic of interest so I will proceed.  (This is a repeated post from Block Talk)  On the left is  another block in the same Seams Only RR I showed yesterday and it is still just as it returned home... 

Sometimes it is what I (or you) have written in the booklet that is part of the problem...  In this case I specifically asked that seam thread colors match the colors in the block.... and they did just that but they just don't show up... my error.  So I have lots of room to improve on this block.

 And sometimes I've requested something that may be out of participant's comfort zone... I really try to avoid that now.  So do really give some thought to what you ask for....

But in any case I have developed certain guidelines for blocks that come home....

1. First I always wait a bit.. I pin the block up and look at it for some time ...  And occasionally it grows on me or I change an opinion...

2.  My first option is what can I add...?.  I think about this before I think about removing anything and sometimes I can solve problems that way... embellishing and modifying.

3.  Then if I do remove something I try to see if I can use it somewhere else on the same block...  If I can't, I save it (or parts) for use on another block in the future...  So a motif removed from one block may appear on another down the road... I have a bag  of such pieces I keep handy... Reusing them does make me feel better...

Now having said all that there are two exceptions.... I do not like plastic charms or "doodads".  I remove them and they are gone...

The other thing  that I especially dislike are the little machine-made roses sold in craft stores...   Beautiful handmade roses (either with thread or ribbon) are the hallmark of CQ.  Nestle's chocolate (I think) used to have a jingle...."Care enough to send the very best"...  Well when I see those machine-made roses I think "Someone cared so little they send the very worst."  So they are snipped off  and discarded with NO regrets!!!


Adding to a block returned home.....

This little 6" block was stitched for me by Cathy LaBath in a "Seams Only" RR last winter.. Cathy's seams sorta morphed into motifs..and I love them. By the very nature of the RR there were some open areas in the bottom patches....  I have something special planned for this piece and wanted those areas filled in with some surface texture... more encrusted...

I chose to use what Cathy had done and just add more of it to fill in...  I matched the thread the best I could and am happy with the result. 

I had planned to add motifs to the other blocks in that RR  and use them on a jacket but it's not going to happen so I think I will add some of the "Girls with Dolls" images and some lace and combine them with the ones that will be coming home soon...


Button Button....Check out the buttons!

I've been busy painting this spring and trying to add new designs to my button offerings on Esty! They are all hand painted by me and about  the size of a quarter - 1".. .All buttons are signed and dated on the back The buttons themselves are vintage mother-of-pearl 70-80 years old. There is a metal shank on the back of the button.

 I’d love to see one of my buttons find their way to your project They are lovely on needlework and made into jewelry......

Progress Ritva's block

The block itself is finished and just waiting for me to do the birds... I did add more bullion roses to the left side and embellished with a lot of beading which doesn't show up too well in the photo.  I did manage to get in one nice seam  across the bottom which defines the lower patch...  I'm so glad I put the green lace on at the very beginning as I think  works better than adding even more stitched foliage.

Since it was so heavily stitched it was a bit puckery and  REALLY needed to be blocked...  So I have it stretched and pinned and will leave it a couple days...


Finally using this piece.

Susie Wolfe is coming for a visit in less than two weeks.  Mostly she will be helping me in the barn by picking up where Cathy K. and I left off...  But as a fun diversion we will be make some elaborate, fabulous, outrageous tapestry totes...

I have two rattling around in my brain and one will be using this dresser scarf I have been hoarding forever..  It is too large to use on CQ but would make a perfect pocket on the back of a tote... I really want to start poking around in the bags of tapestries but need to stay focus to keep my other chores on track..

It is hard though once a idea starts fermenting... I had to venture into the barn this morning for another ribbon and was tempted to pull tapestries out... Whenever there is something too large for me to prune or pull out, I tie a big ribbon on it... Eventually the garden becomes so festooned with ribbons that even DH can fail to notice... and it's getting to that point now... Beats nagging and is effective....


So much for self discipline also

 My car went on auto control and whipped into one of my favorite thrift stores as we passed coming home yesterday....  This wedding dress was the "tag" color of the day for 99 cents.  It does have a red wine stain but it is covered with venise lace motifs, covered buttons and other laces..  When my back starts aching today I will sit and cut it up...  Wasn't I just posting the other day that I had too much lace?  I think I am going to use most of it for my 1000 post giveaway....along with a list of other fabs.

Morris is immediately claiming it for HIS stash as you can see...  

And he was right in the middle of his arduous chore of moving the long runner rug from the kitchen to the living room... So Molly is stranded on the rug by the door as she won't walk in the lino.

My plans for a lovely day sitting in the park stitching yesterday did not materialize.  When I had called my mother to tell her I was going to take her to the public gardens, there was a loooooooong pause....  So I suspected that she was making her own plans.  When I picked her up she indeed had her own agenda and I spent the day pushing the wheelchair around Walmart, Target and KMart.


So much for going slowly......

 I vaguely remember saying that this was going to be my "take along piece" this month.. Well it has been so much fun I haven't been able to put it down... I need to finish all the knots for the baby's breath and will do that today when I take mom in her wheel chair to the public gardens... Hopefully we'll find a nice spot in the shade.  Then I'll add the beads to the floral area to give it some bling.... There will also be a nice long seam treatment on the one seam left showing..

Remember I am working from this painting that Ritva in Finland sent.  This round robin was "our favorite artist."  I'm far enough along that I'm thinking placement of the birds so started doing some cutouts different sizes and testing for placement... 
Now that I am looking at it on the computer I decided that maybe I need more bullion roses on the left...  so I popped it into photoediting to see and "sure nuf" so will take that thread along also..


Before and After Blocking

I did the  post on blocking for Beryl and she sent me the before and after picture.. The color is a little off as it was two different cameras but you can see what a difference the blocking did. It is all smoothed out and ready for finishing or framing.


Progress on Ritva's Artist RR.

I have been working on some off beat blocks and then all the somber colors of the suffrage quilt so doing these flowers is a real treat...  I think I'm off to a good start and will continue to build layers and layers of smaller flowers and foliage filling in... then some beads for overkill!!!

I really like the green lace as a background and decided to add a little brown lace to balance it out...  I bought some hand dyed Valdani pearle cotton from Maureen Greeson and it was all variegated shades of earthy greens.  She was closing it out last spring and I'm so happy I got some as I love the soft feel and texture of it... It was only sold by a "collection" so there was 12 balls of it... I can't imagine I'll ever run out.

I'm vacillating on whether to do the birds on felt or directly on the block...  They are quite small and would probably be fine doing direct.....but I love the dimensional effect of doing them on felt and they would complement Gayle's birds.   I have time to think about it.  I survived the bullion roses and it became easier..  Worked out bracing the needle against my stub was the best... BUT if you ever get anything from me with bullion roses on it, you KNOW I really love you!!!!

Just a side note:  Every time I get close to a relevant # of posts I think I will celebrate and then promptly forget until it's history...  But I figured out that probably in early September I will be doing post number 1000 and WILL do something special to celebrate... People who talk to much are referred to as talkative... I think that makes me blogative!!!


How I "block" a block..

This post is in answer to a question from Beryl....  How do I block a block to make it look its very best when finished?  I not only do this process at the end of working on a piece, I do it several times during work on one of my own projects.  I always "block" any RR piece I've worked on before I send it out...  I have several small, old  bulletin boards from thrift stores (but a piece of styrofoam works just as well..).  They are not on the wall so I can use both sides...

I start by pinning the four corners as square as I can and then start pinning from side to side and top to bottom....gradually stretching and pulling until it all is flat...  Sometimes it may take 6-7 pins on each side..  I leave it pinned like this at least overnight or even a day or two..

Then I take it down and put it face down on a thick towel and press lightly on the back to set the shape.....  That used to be my last step but since Allie has changed my life I now add a lightweight fusible KNIT to the back as the last step... It stabilizes the shape and secures all threads..  You won't believe the difference it makes.  Allie puts a layer of the knit on before she starts embellishing and after as well.  I'm doing that on my suffrage quilt.

In answer to Laurie's question... I buy it at JoAnn's fabric store..  Be sure it is the fusible knit not the fusible web...  It is very light and gauze-like and a dream to stitch through,


My digital Woe or "A Real Gardener is Willing to Sacrifice a Body Part!"

Someone asked how I managed to cut off my finger and I had actually posted about it several years ago....  My digital Woe or "A Real Gardener is Willing to Sacrifice a Body Part!"

I am very accident prone and yesterday I had to fill out some forms because I am going to a spine clinic tomorrow...  They wanted all previous surgeries listed and there were only four spaces...  I could easily count nine and all have been accidents except one..  Does that make me an overachiever?


Ritva's block - Artist RR

I wanted to get this started as it is a small and easy   project to carry along.... I have the flower pots done and even on a hoop the satin material puckered a little so  foliage will be necessary to camouflage it... I couldn't resist adding this delicate lace I dyed.  It will be in an area where there's a lot of foliage so I couldn't help myself...  No one  else had added lace but sometimes it just happens....

I have some lovely new cotton perle thread that I bought online from Maureen Greeson before CT and am anxious to work with it...

I'm hoping to do a lot of bullion roses on the left and maybe other bullions elsewhere.  I have to admit to being incredibly slow and clumsy doing bullions... I was standing stunned watching Sharon whip those threads around the needle.  I've decided I have difficulty because I am trying to do it with my middle finger.  Does anyone else use their middle finger to wind the thread?  Of course how many other people cut off their index finger?  Anyway I am going to really concentrate on speeding up the process or give it up...

Tonight I let the time slip by and it was really really dark when I went to check on all the sheep and shut gates etc. The trees and foliage are dense between the house and where the remaining sheep are locked up...  I heard a noise in the brush and my heart had stopped until Morris came bounding out... He had probably gone in after a rabbit...  I can tell the cougar has been back every night  cleaning up his last kill... so it will be looking for fresh food soon...  I'll not be going out when it's so dark ANY MORE!!!!

In answer to Amy's question

 I use a firm high quality felt in a neutral color or a color that blends...I use felt that is readily available at fabric or craft stores.. I find bags of it at thrift stores after the holidays...  Most any felt will work but you don't want something cheap that will pill or too stiff as some squares are....  All the directions are on my tutorial. http://olderrose.blogspot.com/p/bird-on-felt-tutorial.html


Another happy dance!

I posted about Gayle's block on Block Talk yesterday and  so delighted with her birds and the fact that she used my "birds on felt" tutorial...

 And today I see Flora used it also for this gorgeous bird.  Made my day!!!  Flora is working on a hanky block for Barbara in a CQI round robin and you can see it on Flora's blog..  Flora actually lives in the same state (albeit the opposite side, but the same state anyway)....only about a 4 hour drive.


Blocks #4 and #5 with Images....

Well I finished  my goal for this week.... sorta...  This is block #4...middle left side.  the outer edges of the outside blocks are all black... It look odd looking at them individually but it will all look OK when pieced together....I am happy with all the choices I made on this block and it is ready for embellishing.

This is block #5 and will be the center of the quilt and is overall lighter in color. I am not happy at all with the piece of lace down the right side of the main image...  It is too large and overwhelming and merges with the lace at either end of it.  But I went through bags and bags and drawers and bins of lace and didn't find the "perfect" one for now... So will move on and am sure I will find something I like better to replace it. When frustrated, just quit for now is my motto...  So then I started looking for black glass vintage buttons on ebay...equally frustrating because all the ones I liked were too expensive.  I have a LOT of fabulous vintage metal ones but wanted a few black glass to mix in...


Block 9 and a new trick for this old dog!!!

I've finished stitching the images on block nine...  Don't you just LOVE those posters... considering the importance of the bicycle to the suffrage movement, it was so appropriate to have a brand marketed to women entitled "Triumph"  Tonight I will finish the images on block four and should have block 5 done by the weekend...  Then they will be ready for  final touches on seams,beads, buttons and other embellishments...  I have been saving stuff for this specific quilt for ages and can hardly wait to start using it all

Then as often happens to me I discovered something I had been doing for years and years could be done in a better way... so I am sharing.... I have always basted down my desired images and then proceeded to embellish around them...sometimes with three layers of trim and then beading...  After about the third time sewing around the same images it is often not flat as I would like or with a slight. bulge or bump...

So this time I did NOT baste it down.  Instead I stitched the three layers of trims to the image  off the block and it is still flat and perfect ....  now I will stitch the whole assemblage to the block.... much better.

I should also mention that thanks to Allie I used lightweight fusible KNIT interfacing on the back of all images and what a difference it makes.. 

Addendum:  In case you miss the post on the bicycle and the suffrage movement:

For fascinating reading on this subject go to Women on Wheels: The Bicycle and the Women’s Movement of the 1890s.  And a book that I found invaluable is Wheels of Change: How women rode the bicycle to freedom by Sue Macy. This is a National Geographic book that I love and would be a perfect gift for a teen or preteen girl. If you have a daughter, granddaughter or niece of this age I highly recommend it and they will look at their bikes differently for the rest of their life.


Morris and his Stash!!

If Morris were human he'd be a crazy quilter...  He's 18 months old now and, except for the occasional paper plate, has outgrown the chewing stage...   But he's a corgi and a herding dog by breed and takes this breeding seriously... 

Every day he starts "herding" his stash into the living room...  Today (so far) it includes 3 blankets from the various dog beds, 1 leash, 1 DH's slipper, 3 toys, 1 Molly's bowl, 2 socks and a plastic clip...  Some things like the blankets are from other rooms and awkward to pull around corners and through doors... By the end of the day he'll add his bowl, the other slipper and probably one or two of my shoes at least..

He'll guard it for a while then gets up and wanders around the house until he finds something else unattached... At bedtime I put it all away and the next day he starts all over again.  He doesn't chew or destroy anything... just collects his stash...  Sound like anyone we know!!!! 

I readily admit I'm an out-of-control, compulsive collector and I truly believe it's an addiction... I have more lace (fabric, trim, wood, kitchen gadgets, dishes, etc.) than I can ever use in two lifetimes but will buy another piece in a minute if the price is right... Rationally I know I should stop...  If I don't have it already, I don't need it .....but.......  So somehow it's only fitting that I have a dog who compulsively collect things also....
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