Picking the pattern for cq garment

I did have some criteria in mind looking for a pattern.  I wanted :

1. for it to be lightweight so silks would be great
2. for it to have a little shape or style
3. suitable for indoor wear.

But on the other hand it had  to be suited to CQ....the pattern has to be quite simple and that has been the problem... Every few years I would get the urge and search for the "perfect" pattern but to no avail.. They all needed major restyling so the project would be shelved again.

Finally I found the "nearly" perfect pattern, Butterick 5789.  It has some shape and still a  very simple construction...  The only problem I see is that it is too long in back and that can be fixed.. It's especially too long for someone as short as I am and also I don't want to be sitting on stitching.

 I am doing the pattern in a size larger than I need because I know things "shrink" with lots of stitching.

Now a couple very important tips for doing this type of project.... creating your "fabric" before construction

 First I made some modifications in the pattern (shortened the length of the back) and then traced it on muslin for the foundation...and am not cutting it out on the lines.....leaving plenty or room around the pattern.  It is much easier to cut something back then add extra later....  I almost goofed and drew 2 right sides...  Only the body of the jacket will be CQ

A antique quilt Allie posted on facebook recently inspired me.  I do want bright colors which are way out of my comfort zone but what I like the most is that it is all embroidery.... no charms, lace etc. Also by using only embroidery, I can do a lot of it on a hoop which will reduce the shrinkage.  So you see with this project  I'm not straying too far from the Victorian era I love.

 My Carole Samples stitch book will be my bible throughout this endeavor..  I'm sure you could find every single one of the stitches on these quilts in her marvelous, inspiring research.


News from the farm

I'm still here and finally seeing the light of day.  Being gone 16 days and coming home sick set me way behind on what needed to be done....besides some days the weather made working outside impossible. 
 Two things were critical and needed to be done immediately if not sooner.  First was repairing the pig damage and that was hampered by a very short window of time that things were transplantable before they got too large.  I did get that mostly done and can do no more until fall.
The second thing was an outdoor wire-enclosed area for the chickens now that I only have two left... This is probably of little interest to anyone but I just have to share because it is one of the few times that I had an epiphany at the right time.  I usually FINISH a project and THEN realize how I could have done it better. I was so happy to have my epiphany in time that I could hardly believe it...so I share.
My chicken house is divided into two areas. The inner area (B) is completely double wired and is where they are locked at night. It is only about 6x12 but since they are only in there at night it doesn't matter.  It has their elevated roost unit  and the nesting boxes. The other area is about 12' x 12' and has their food and water and room to scratch before I let them out to free range.   
Now that I can't let them free range my initial plan was just to add an outside pen right next to the larger area of the coop.  I am getting some new pullets and have to keep them separate for about 4 months..  In the past I have just wired off a section but the older hens would get in, eat the pullet's food and terrorize them.  It was at this moment the light in my brain came on and the bells and whistle began to ring. 
Just by shifting the new pen back about 3 feet I could have an entrance from the inner area and keep the entire   area  A  for the pullets. Such a simple solution....no extra work and it makes life so much easier for me and much more pleasant for the sweet new pullets.  Lest you worry about the pullet's safety at night they are secured in a large dog crate at night. I will eventually add a second entry to pen from area A when the pullets are big enough.
So I became thinking it would be a two-day project but it took about 6 days with weather interruptions and me getting tired quicker than I expected.   I started by gathering the old lumber from when I dismantled the lambing pens and this wood was from the original corral when we bought the place 37 years ago. Using this old lumber, lots of chicken wire and many screws and  staples I finally finished. I felt so good to be doing something physical outside and pounding out all my frustrations... I still swing a mean hammer.....
Cost - $0.00. DH brought a load of gravel tonight to top dress the floor of the inside of the chicken house.  Just in time for the new girls...any day now..


Wow.. and easy patching technique

What a special treat to be "chatted up" by one of my favorite people and definitely my favorite crazy quilt artist...Sharon Boggon!!!!

Pop over to TAST and read the interview...

More about vest project....the patches.

Of all the steps in crazy quilting, piecing is my least favorite... I always want to get to the fun stuff as fast as possible....seams and embellishment... Must be a closet drama queen.

I mentioned in a previous post that I preferred paper piecing but thought I was going to have to assemble this   patch by patch to get the look I wanted...  But Marilyn Nepper suggested I paper piece large chunks of it and fill in between.   I thought that was a great idea.  I've sketched four (about 9") areas and will clean them up a bit.  I avoided 90 degree angles because I did not want the jacket to look like it was assembled blocks. I also strived to have all patches close to the same size with no little odd bits or angles...

I stacked materials and cut the patches in threes by just randomly grabbing fabric... I made no attempt to coordinate colors at all.. 

After I had them all cut I kept them organized in baggies pinned to the master sheet.  This has all gone so smoothly and I'm really grateful to Marilyn for suggesting it...

Doing the patches in bunches went so well and so fast...   Then all I had to do was to connect them with similar patches and this I did by hand.  I can heartily recommend this technique to anyone wanting a whole cloth look achieved quickly by paper piecing.

 Now did I want to include black.  I'm was really on the fence with this decision and it has to be decided at this point.

 I spent time looking at a lot of antique quilts and most all of the ones I loved incorporated black with the bright jewel tones..  This color palette is so alien to me that I'm had a hard time getting a feel for it.

I know that the black makes the colors really pop so I went go for it.


The making of my vest...

 I didn't get my lace jacket done in time for the trip so I took my "My Garden Birds" vest.  I wore it the nights of the captain's welcome and farewell dinners.  It received a lot of comments and certainly stood out.  It had been a long time since I had worn it and it was a good reminder to wear it more often..

The inspiration and process for this garment is sort of scattered in the blog and I've been meaning to put them in order for some time.  Now is as good a time as any..

In The Beginning: 

As usual I had a set of goals before I started. I like to have specific goals and I always add extra challenges for myself. And this doesn't mean that both the goals and challenges aren't flexible and subject to change ...which happens often.
1.  I wanted to use all jewel tones which would be clearly out of my comfort zone....both to work with and to wear.   I had to search my stash, make a couple thrift store trips  and then Cathy Kizerian sent me a much welcomed bundle.

2.  The next challenge I wanted it to be a "whole cloth" look rather than individual squares pieced together.  I had attempted to do this before using both Allie's and Martha Green's methods of piecing but was never happy with the result...  The patches were inconsistent in size and so irregular in shape that it looked weird to me... This meant I had to figure out my own method.. which I will share next post on this.

3. Last but not least I wanted the theme to be birds of my garden.  I would stitch them all off block and add them later.. Luckily I am blessed with a large variety of colorful birds in my garden..  Here are the birds I chose to use on the garment.  Of course there were a few interlopers such as my dog Morris, a lamb etc.


Home and spring in Amsterdam

Well we are home and had just a fabulous time.. Here we are in Bamberg, Germany  enjoying a wonderful cappuccino after an equally wonderful croissant... Unfortunately I came home with a killer cold and am just now recovering..  And of course there were a long list of things needing done post haste in the garden... I haven't even downloaded the rest of my Germany pictures but will tuck some in now and again through the summer.

On our very last day in Amsterdam we went to the Keukenhof Garden.  There were 79 acres and seven million bulbs and we were there at the absolute peak of their season... it had rained all morning and when we arrived at the garden after lunch the sun came out for the rest of the day.
Here are a few of Ron's photo for you to enjoy.


Eye candy while I'm gone

Just some close-ups and details of the anniversary quilt for you to peruse while we are on our anniversary cruise from Vienna to Amsterdam.
Here is the entire piece..  many of these hankies belonged to my late mother-in-law.. The base is a vintage table linen with crocheted edge.  The entire piece is about 34" square.
We had our first date on Halloween and flew to Hawaii 3 weeks later on Thanksgiving and got married.  It was definitely love at first sight.  We met at a bridge game and 40 years later he tells me almost daily that I'm still his favorite partner.  Here are close ups of different sections..
Here you can see the button trail upper right.

I'm really happy with the way the border turned out.

This brooch is one I have save for years and years and this was the perfect spot for it...

And as a recap my inspiration for this project was this counted cross stitch sampler I did when we got married in 1976.


 It is less than a week now until we leave on our long awaited and long planned anniversary cruise.  I wanted to do something special for the 40th anniversary and  it became my most beloved piece of CQ.  ..  

The inspiration for this project was a piece of cross stitch I did for our first anniversary.   So I began  by doing the main focal point  of a floral heart and bluebirds.
Now what to use for a foundation?  I had an vintage tea table cover of lace and linen.. The linen had several holes and was stained spots.  I had just waiting for the perfect project...  The linen center is about 20" square so it is a substantial piece.  It not a piece I can carry about to work on.

I had been collecting hankies for years and had all these lovely hankies.. and with all the hearts and roses it seemed like a match made in heaven.  Many of the hankies belonged to my late mother-in-law.

Once I got started the rest just seems to follow...I surrounded the focal piece with laces and began the secondary bluebird images. Except for replacing one hanky that didn't work, there were really no big problems or decisions...  It all just flow from my heart.  I never worked on it that I didn't think of our marriage and all the memories.

Our first date was Halloween 1976 and we eloped 3 weeks later Thanksgiving weekend...flew to Hawaii and got married..  Everyone thought we were crazy but it has been the best decision I ever  made...



Daffodil days - finally!!!

 Daffodils at last... My favorite spring flower.  I had to buy these at the grocery store as it is still a couple weeks away before any bloom in my garden.  It has been such a long hard winter and we were having company for dinner Sunday.. I just couldn't resist setting a yellow table.. daffodils and goldfinches...


Lily's portrait on a button

Beloved Lily is Nicki Lee's theme for CQJP2017 and she had me paint her portrait on a button... Have you ever seen a dog with such a happy smile.  It kept me smiling as I painted it... The portrait is on a antique 2" MOP button.

I'm so grateful I can still paint on buttons... In  fact it is the only stress-free  hobby I have now...  The only really useful vision I have left is the peripheral vision in my left eye.. and it is nearly impossible to keep anything focused as either things or my head shifts.  But because the size of a button is such a small field of vision and I can keep it both it and my head still, I can still enjoy painting....or course the large magnifying lamp is a godsend..


Talk about nit-picky!!!

There were times when the chickens got table scraps and were glad to get them but my chickens are not only particular about their scraps, they are particular about how they are served.  I had lots of squash I grew for them last summer and every week or so bake one for them... One time it was a larger squash so I put half in their usual paper bowl and wrapped the other half in aluminum folil.   The following day I folded the foil back and put it by their chicken food.  By the end of the day they had not taken ONE bite of the squash.  I took it back in the house and served it to them the next morning in a paper bowl and they gobbled it up.

 Sunday we had breakfast out and I brought home a carry out container with grits, biscuits, and  cooked apples. Wasn't sure they'd eat the grits but I KNEW they'd love the biscuits.... Yum!  They refused to even look at it.  So this morning put it all in one of their usual paper bowl  and they were immediately fighting over it,

They  will eat stale bread but pick at it...  They prefer I put some broth or soup on it.  They will not eat vegetable peelings unless I cook them in the microwave.  I was a mom who was relentless about her kids eating everything served to them and here I am coddling these silly chickens...

And I suspect they sent me this email!....
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