Happiness Abounds

On this the day to honor fathers, happiness abounds.  The HuMan is hanging out with the water hose.....watering the back garden on this hot June morning, doing what he enjoys on this, his day as a father.  He's dressed for his special day in his favorite summer uniform - short, shorts and t-shirt. 


And I, on the other hand am hanging out my just rinsed Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics. 

Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics  hanging out to dry
The white fabric hanging out to dry isn't from Cherrywood....it's a scrap that I thought to overdye while rinsing, but the dye didn't hold.  That's what I get for not buying my own dye. 
Lesson learned.....thou shall not steal dye from Cherrywood Hand Dyes !
Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics
After drying and pressing, this load will become a part of what is already on the shelf. 
I have two projects that are calling these fabrics by name.
Cherrywood hand dyed fabrics

My flight was cancelled !

Now, why would my flight being cancelled concern me?  Perhaps because I don't have an airline trip scheduled ! !

So, why do I feel as if a trip has been aborted?  You know when you have a trip to make and everything gets frantic and with the checking this and checking that and back and forth on what to pack and what to leave out.  Well, that's the way it's been around here lately.  Except I don't have an airline trip scheduled ! !

Oh.  Well.   Perhaps things will be calm today and I can get the sewing studio quieted down and get some projects finished.

 Let's see, I can start with this wheel of fortune block -  a paper-piecing workshop taught by Gayle Wallace in May for the quilt makers of Piney Hills Quilt Guild, Ruston.

Wheel of Fortune Paper-Pieced Quilt Block

 I 'm hoping to get at least a table runner made.....maybe more since I have enough fabric for 12 blocks. 

I'm enjoying the process even though my distraction quotient has been quite high these weeks just passed.  And, I'm feeling quite bored with my three color choices.  I'm sure I can come up with some kind of fabric diversion to get me excited and keep my attention to the finish line.  Even though the fabric was on sale didn't mean I had to buy two yards of it.   (what was i thinking hand slap to head)

The attention we gave to Gayle's paper-piecing techniques paid off for me.  I learned a new trick.
Oh.  And.   I am super excited to have just returned from Bryan/College Station, Texas.  The Lone Star QuiltWorks with Jen Kingwell.  My Texas stars........what a trip.  My head is still spinning with new applique information. 

Me with Jen as she signed her "Quilt Lovely" book for me


I'm truly doing somersaults over Jen's  big thread, big stitch....quilting without a hoop, hand quilting technique.  I've tried it already and am on a hand-quilting roll.  


But, was it just yesterday that I visited the Red River Quilter's Guild meeting in Shreveport and came away newly inspired to continue my domestic sewing machine quilting.  Great information from domestic machine quilter, Jackie Pierce.  

Quilting decisions can be tough.  Hand quilting? Domestic machine quilting? Long-arm quilting? 
Oh, My! 

All about QuiltCon, 2016

I'm invested in The Modern Quilt Guild........so much so that I recently purchased the latest QuiltCon magazine.  It is quite the hefty price....but the contents thereof....well worth the price.  I've already pulled some of my Cherrywood hand dyes for a quilt inspired by "Mesa" a Nancy Purvis original pictured in the QuiltCon mag.  Nancy is a member of the Triangle MQG in North Carolina. 

Cherrywood hand dyed fabric

So much to do, so little time.  It's a good thing my flight was canceled.  I need to keep my feet on the ground for awhile. 


A little snippit of practicing what I preach ~

I like to stay organized but I must admit that I've allowed my bags and bundles and baskets of silk fabrics that have been given to me to get totally out of control.   Today I sorted and trashed the soiled silk ties.  I washed the rest of them and what came out unscathed got cut and pressed. 

Bucket of silk

Silk on a pellon roll.  Now we're working it ~

silk on a pellon roll

I took all those beautiful silks that have been gifted to me and pressed as many as my time allowed onto Pellon SF101 fusible.  I think it's the stuff garment makers use to support collars and  other areas that need permanent stability.    I buy it by the bolt....just in case I need more stability in my quilt-making~

There you go -   I'm practicing  what I preach....that is, to use any and all kinds of fabric in those improv quilts!  I don't care if you stay organized or not !


I'm hearing very well, thank you ~ REALLY?

We (the HuMan and I)  had a large lunch yesterday so together, we decided on a light tuna salad for dinner last night.   And the thought was that we could have the left over tuna salad on croissants for lunch today. 

On a good day, my hearing isn't hearing very well!  I tell folks more often than not that if my response to their question seems not as it should be, then I didn't hear the question. 

Take this morning's conversation for example. The HuMan said to me......."i think i'll go to the grocery for sausage and chips" which of course didn't make any sense to me.....why would we want sausage when we are having the left over tuna salad from last night.   So I asked him as he was walking out the door why he was going for sausage.  Taken aback is putting it mildly.  He had no clue what I was talking about.  Then it hit him right between the ears.   I had not heard his statement correctly. So, in a slow voice, he repeated ....."i'm going to the grocery for croissants and chips."

I just said, yes, dear.....I heard you the first time! 


My No. 1 rule around the house is that life taken too seriously is for the birds.


And decisions were made ~ finally

Improv quilt top - marty mason and loree odom


Being indecisive is such a waste of time! Oh, I know that making a decision too quickly can lead to bedlam; however ~ I've been working (on and off) on this quilt for weeks.  When finally, I realized what was so scary about this one....I had three blocks in here that Loree made and I really, really wanted to showcase her blocks.  I allowed indecision to set in, wondering how she would set her blocks....wondering what border she would use....wondering, wondering until I was almost frozen.

Pondering....is the background too weak for this cross?   Decision....well, maybe.  But in the scheme of things, one off block is okay!  Think placement....marty....think placement and get moving! 

or is this yellow too bright and what about those two pieces of the cross mis-matching...Is that okay?    Decision made....no, the yellow is not too bright.  And when using scraps, use what you have in your hand!  DUH! 

And is the white floral too cutesey?  Decision....of course not! It's a light spot.  Think balance.  Doesn't every quilt need a little light, medium and dark!   Get over it and get a quilt made.

Puzzling....does that red really look good with that magenta?  Decision....a resounding YES!  I love it.  I can now keep sewing - I think I've seen the light among all that indecision.  
After I cut this big mama block in half, it fit in perfectly. 

See how the blocks nestle now and the orange and red and magenta are enjoying the moment together.

Oh, yes, decisions were made and my newest improv is ready to be quilted.  

Improv quilt top - marty mason and loree odom


Well! Hell's Bells ~

This half-rectangle triangle quilt was finished yesterday and I got up early to search for just the right binding.

Improv pieced and free-motion quilted half-rectangle triangle quilt by Marty Mason

See that little spark of magenta.  That's the color I was wanting for my binding.

Improv pieced and free-motion quilted half-rectangle triangle quilt by Marty Mason

Oh, yes, I found it!  Well, Hell's Bells.....there's only one little piece of it here....not nearly enough to bind my quilt!  I spent two hours searching online for this Michael Miller Stitch Circles in the magenta colorway and notta is to be found! 

preferred fabric choice for binding the half-rectangle triangle impro pieced quilt by Marty Mason

Went to plan B - the aqua Ink and Arrow Fabrics worked just fine......but again, I only had a fat quarter which is about half a yard short of required!  Well, Hell's Bells times 2!

Not to be deterred.  I finally found the (almost) magenta in a solid Kona, or is this a Moda solid? It was my third choice, but at this point, it doesn't matter.  It's almost the right color and I have enough of it on hand. 

fabric choices for binding the half-rectangle triangle impro pieced quilt by Marty Mason

....Well, Hell's Bells ! The HuMan wants to go nursery shopping for even more Azalea bushes for the back garden and wants my help so I guess putting the binding on will just have to wait awhile.

Happy dance, happy dance.....I interrupt and edit this post after receiving a comment from a most knowledgeable blog follower.  Swooze, AKA Suzette,  really knows how to help a befuddled quilt binder.  Suzette took me to a u-tube video on how to stretch binding fabric.  I've used this technique before so knew it was a quick way to sew binding on with the sewing machine, but never, ever gave a thought that it was stretching fabric! 


I still didn't have enough of the magenta Stitch Circle fabric, but you know that aqua fat quarter I had on hand?  Talk about going from not enough to having  excess.  Well, Hell's Bells!  I have a finished quilt.  Thanks Swooze. You are slick. 


Was it only

yesterday ........Ethel gave me this 18" square - a beautifully hand appliqued block made by Ethel's friend, Mary Crew.  Was it only yesterday that I told Ethel that I would think about how I might use it and if I didn't come up with a use for it, I would return it. 

and my friends think I'm a fabric hoarder so they bring me every little bit of ugly fabric  they no longer want.  Thing is, I didn't really think these ugly green diamonds were ugly! 

your trash, my treasure -

 Well, I barely got home before with the applique block and my scrap of fabric, when I started prowling around in my scrap bin for add ons where I found these two orphan blocks that I had purchased at a guild rummage sale ~


and this pieced rectangle strip that was given to me.  I thought the colors really enhanced the fabric in the applique block. 

Now, I had a plan and set about putting it all together.  I first surrounded the applique block with improv pieced scraps which set the rest of the story in motion. 

hand applique by Mary Crew

3-4 hours later, it is done.  Not yet quilted - I'll need a little more time for that.

 Do you see the two orphan blocks?  And the pieced rectangle that I split in half to add interest to an otherwise boring piece?  Do you see the strip of ugly green diamond fabric?  Amy, do you see your red Blank Quilting fabric?   Friends of Mary Crew, do you see her beautiful hand applique work? 

Improv quilt top

Thanks Ethel and thanks everyone who laughs as they hand over their scraps.  I love when I can put your trash into my treasure. 


Oh, Henfeathers!

.....and I just got home from a delightful four days to and from Fredericksburg, Texas.  What a treat it was to learn new quilting tricks from Hannah @Hannah's Quilts and Crafts and rug hooking how-to from Dolores @ Lakadaisies and to laugh out loud with friend Kathy. 

What'd we do while there?   Lots! I bought fabric and then even more fabric, I found a linen blouse and some new summer shoes....but one of my favorite shops among what seemed like a thousand, was Henfeathers.  The shop owner described her shop as being filled with 'good things to feather your nest'....and her fenced front garden and porch overflowing with baskets and buckets and pots filled with flowers just drew me in....(sorry, picture not included.)  Click on the Facebook link and you'll see what I mean.    After wandering about while drooling all the way, I finally decided to come away with these two scarves.  

Scarf - ready to apply fusible backing and be pieced into a modern improv quilt

You most probably won't see me wearing these dots around my neck but you will definitely see them again in one or more of my improv style quilts.   I loved that the second scarf I selected had a flower garland running the whole distance, top to bottom.  What a quilt border that will make! 

Scarf - ready to apply fusible backing and be pieced into a modern improv quilt

Be good to yourself today and say Oh, Henfeathers and you'll be smiling before you know it. 

Henfeathers - a gift shop in Fredericksburg, Texas


Into the second solstice already?

And here I am shame-faced.....Into the second solstice already and I've not gotten one blog post completed. 

But, I've been busy.  As I say that out loud, I am reminded of how often I hear that phrase....."I'm so busy" always said slowly for impact and in just a bit more alto-ish husky voice than the speaker normally speaks.   Okay, truly, I've not been that busy....but I have been easily distracted while the winter and spring solstice is quickly passing me by.   I was first distracted by this, my first floating squares quilt made with the tutoring of Sherri Lynn Wood's "Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters."

Floating Squares - Score No. 1 by Marty Mason

and then I quite calmly pieced up what I call my "walk on the wild side" quilt.  One of my very first completely free-motion quilted project!
mprov piecing- free motion quilted - Marty Mason
And then came my graffiti improv also one of my very first freely free-motion quilted in a most graffiti quilting style.

mprov piecing- free motion quilted - Marty Mason
 Participating in March in a Bargello quilt workshop with Gayle Wallace resulted in this one.  I decided to add borders in an improvisation style....first round of borders using 4 fabrics of different widths.  

Bargello quilt with improv borders ~ Marty Mason
and the second border in the same improv style with a family of Tina Givins fabrics for Free Spirit.

Bargello quilt with improv borders ~ Marty Mason

Oh, yes, I've been busy quilting and participating in quilt workshops and enjoying two week long quilt retreats. 
But was it just yesterday that I took time off?  You see, the HUman is going to have cataract surgery and he needed me to take my personal calendar to the doctor with him so he could get it scheduled.  Luckily I did have a few blank spots in the May calendar so his much needed surgery is now scheduled.   So please fellow quilters, do not ask me to get involved in any new projects until this is over.  I would hate to have to hire a nanny to watch over him while I'm having quilting fun. 
Life is so good ~


Score No. 1 - One part finished....several to go ~

I've taken the challenge....it's the 2016 Improv Handbook Quilt-Along.  Ten scores (or frameworks) over the next 12 months from The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters by Sherri Lynn Wood.

And why is this a challenge?  I ask!  I think I'm already pretty good at improvisational quilt making.  But then, Sherri Lynn Wood says I need to go ruler-free.   She says in her book that going ruler free supports spontaneity and play.  She says going ruler free will help me to respond to happy accidents and allow me to grow to trust my own authority!    I like that. 

This morning I started on  Score No. 1.  Sherri Lynn calls it floating squares.  I set a fabric limit for the first part of the score to 2 fabrics, plus a filler.  All the fabric has to already be on hand....no rushing out for more.  I cut blocks from each fabric at approximately 2" and more at approximately 5".  Once I started sewing these together for larger squares,  the other thoughts in my head disappeared.  I forgot to remember that I had grocery shopping to do and that lunch wasn't ready.   I forgot that the litter box needed cleaning and that the bed wasn't yet made.  It was improv piecing at its best.  Two size squares, two fabrics, no ruler, no rotary cutter.  Just sew and cut and sew and cut and then add filler fabric to get the finished size block of the moment. 

More fabric  has already been pulled to get a head start on the next block for Score No. 1.  Not sure yet how large this quilt will be.....that's a decision for another day.  When I decide that it's large enough, then I'll call it large enough and move on to the next score.