Sunday, September 25, 2011

Getting Better Organized

Color Inspiration for Nasturtiums Block

Too messy for my comfort!
Hi gang!  I hope everyone reading this is doing well and enjoying a change of seasons.  Here in Miami it's still HOT and HUMID.  That means Miami quilters are all still indoors with the air conditioning on high and busy working on projects.  If you are like me and busy in your sewing room, sometimes the mess gets a little out of hand.  I don't seem to work very well in disorganization so I'm always looking for organizing solutions. 

My latest find is called the Iris Scrapbook Cart

What I really like about this particular cart is that the individual drawers are closed containers that I can grab go!

That works well for transporting my projects to quilt group OR to the family room so I can sit with my family and still work on my projects.

Loaded with projects!

One holds all my tools, then each remaining holds a project!

I loaded all my hand applique tools into one container (and because it closes tight there is no fear of loosing needles, pins, thimbles, or other tiny tools).  I loaded the remaining containers with individual projects. 

Much neater!

My sewing room is still not perfectly neat but it's so much better!

Nasturtiums Block
 For those of you following along, here is my latest block in Jeana Kimball's Cottage Garden class.  I have never seen a Nasturtium flower in real life so I took my color cues from our tropical red orange/yellow flowers.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.     
Fabric Guard Dogs on Duty

I can't believe Lucy (on the left) and Ethel (on the right) are almost 1 year old.  They have grown into wonderful fabric guard dogs.  Ethel has an affinity for purple fabric and if I leave any within her reach it's hers! Lucy likes to lay close by and watch me stitch.

Until next time....
Best stitches,
Mercy in Miami

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Nature is carefree. Leaves are part of nature. Therefore, leaves are carefree!

I have been working on and off on a Teal Baltimore Album style quilt for a few years now.  I just love the project but sometimes working on formal style applique can be draining.  I decided this summer that I am going to approach all my projects with the intention of having fun and simply enjoying the process.  Here is the current block that I am working on (one I began May last year).

There are several elements in the block that required perfect placement to make sense.  For example, the eye of the peacock had to be located correctly in the head.   However, the 50 plus leaves do not have to be PERFECTLY placed nor do they all have to look identical.  I use Template Free (or Back Basting) almost exclusively for all my projects.  However, the thought of basting 53 leaves just zapped all the joy out of this block!  The same goes for freezer paper on top or prepared edge or...

But leaves ARE carefree.  They blow and twist in the wind.  They are all different colors and sizes.  So this is the technique I decided to go with to make stitching this block in the same carefree way as leaves exist in nature.  I chose a few general leaf shapes and cut them from freezer paper. 

I then stacked 5-8 leaf fabrics one on top of each other.  I placed the paper leave template on top of the stack, pinned through all the layers,  and cut out the shape adding a generous 1/8 inch seam allowance.

I then placed all the leaves in a bag and shook the bag to mix up the leaves.

I used the pattern to guide me placing the leaves. I pulled out one leaf at a time and I used my trusty Sewline glue stick.  It’s one of the few adhesives that is made from chemicals that do not attract critters.  In addition, it’s very tacky instead of wet so it sticks and dries almost instantly.  Woohoo!  I prepped a portable block to stitch on the go and it only took a single short session to complete!  Plus, the random nature of the fabrics and placement was lots of fun.

For those of you that this technique is way too carefree, a light box can be used to place the leaves.  If you don’t have a glue stick that you like, the leaves can be pinned and later thread basted to make the project portable.

The block is now ready for needle turn stitching.  After appliqueing for a while most of us can eyeball a standard seam allowance.  However, a bonus of this technique is that each leaf will be different without a lot of effort.  Remember, variety is the spice of life and the key to visual interest!

Happy Labor Day weekend to my USA blog readers!  I hope everyone has a wonderful long weekend surrounded by those you love.

Until next time,

Best stitches!

Mercy in Miami