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Last month, my second oldest Grand Daughter, Mackenzie, graduated from high school! Woo hoo!!! She lives in North Carolina and unfortunately, I live near Seattle and no, I was not able to attend her graduation in person. Boo hoo!!

But… technology to the rescue! Her graduation ceremony was streamed LIVE and I was able to watch the whole thing in real time, sitting in front of my computer. To make things even better, my sister and my Mom and Dad, who all live in Illinois, were watching the same thing on their computer. We were doing group texts and conference calls during the ceremony and after. Even though we were all (literally) thousands of miles  apart, it was like we were all in the same room!

I even took a photo of my computer screen (on my cell phone) of Mackenzie getting her diploma.

Click on any photo for a larger view.

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Ain’t technology great!

And of course, Grandma Cindy made a quilt for Mackenzie for her graduation. She will be going to the University of Nebraska next month and she will be studying music.

I found some perfect fabric in the Keepsake Quilting Catalog, ordered it and began making her quilt. Since she is studying music I found a “music fabric” collection and also a collection of red batiks for the University of Nebraska.

To see the Fabric Collections at Keepsake Quilting Click Here

The piecing pattern I made was a Free Pattern that I found online called Garden Path. To view the instructions Click Here

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Mackenzie’s Garden Path quilt is completely done. It’s all quilted and I just finished putting the binding on it. If you click on the photo you should be able to see the fabrics with the music theme.

I quilted it with silver high sheen polyester thread using a free hand Swirls & Hooks pattern.

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Here is a close up of the piecing and quilting.

I used a black print fabric for the back. It is a very dark black, but in the photo it looks more gray.

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You can see the quilting better from the back of the quilt.

I wish Mackenzie lots of luck and fun times at college. Enjoy your quilt Mack-a-doodle! Grandma Cindy loves you!!!

Yum, Yum!!

For many, many years I have grown artichokes in my garden. In fact, when I first started growing artichokes, I started them from seeds! Over the years the original plants have had “babies” and I have supplemented them with new, purchased plants.

Generally the winters here in Seattle are fairly mild compared to other parts of the country. If it does get below freezing, which isn’t very often or for very long, I cover my artichokes with old sample quilts from my longarm classes. (To view a past post about using sample quilts as garden covers Click Here )

But sometimes, the winter is cold and nasty and a few of my artichokes do not survive. I now have two fairly large artichoke plants growing in my garden.

This spring, my artichokes have gone wild! Each of my artichoke plants has at least three artichokes on them.

Did I mention that I LOVE artichokes!

Here are some photos of my artichoke plants – click on any photo for a larger view.

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Artichoke plant #1 with four artichokes on it. Do you see the baby artichoke near the bottom of the photo?

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Artichoke plant #2 with three artichokes on it.

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A side view showing both plants and the artichokes growing on both of them. And there is one big artichoke on each plant ready to be cut and cooked!

Over the years I have cooked artichokes many different ways. I have boiled, steamed, baked,  roasted and microwaved my home grown artichokes. But this year, I’m using my crock pot!

I cut my artichokes, trimmed them, and put them in my big crock pot. I put some garlic through the garlic press and put that on top of the artichokes, along with lemon slices and lemon pepper. I put some water in the bottom of the crock pot, covered it up and set it on high for about 4 hours.

Here are my artichokes in my crock pot ready to be cooked!

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While the artichokes were cooking, I was back out in the garden trimming my wisteria!

This is what my wisteria looked like before I attacked it with the pruning shears! It definitely needs a haircut!

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After a bit of work……

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Oh my gosh, it looks SO much better! And there is a hosta at the bottom left! You can hardly see it in the before photo!

After working on my wisteria and other garden stuff, I’m back to my artichokes.

My house smells divine and my artichokes are tender and look great! Here is the one I ate for dinner

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It was SOOOOOO good! I dipped the leaves in some honey mustard sauce, yum, yum, yum!

All that is left is a pile of eaten leaves and the “spikes” from the inside of the choke!

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The other artichoke I cooked is in the fridge and I’m going to warm it up and have it for dinner tomorrow!

I have a dear friend who recently had shoulder surgery. I wanted to do something special for her and my first thought was to make a quilt for her. But, she is a professional quilter and another quilt is probably the last thing she would want. So I began thinking and I came up a knitted shawl!

With her shoulder surgery, she couldn’t get her arm into a jacket easily, so I thought having a shawl to throw over her shoulders would work well for her.

I found a simple shawlette pattern at my local yarn shop and began working on it. The pattern is from the book “Free Spirit Shawls, by Lisa Shroyer. For details on this book Click Here (The pattern I used is on Page 55.) I did change the lace pattern on the bottom of the shawl, but everything else was by the pattern.

My daughter, Katie, reluctant agreed to be a model, but I had to promise not to show her face. And being a good mother, I didn’t!

Click on any photo for a larger view.

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Here is a back view. The main yarn was a hand painted sock type yarn, knitted up “speckled” and it has bits of turquoise and aqua.

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The shawlette is not very wide, but it is LONG!  I blocked the shawlette on a 6 x 4 foot piece of Styrofoam insulation and it went from edge to edge.

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And here is a view from the front.

I have already sent this to my friend and she LOVES it. I hope it keeps her shoulders warm and cozy for a long, long time!

I just finished another quilt which is WAY, WAY TOO CUTE! It was made for a girl, Bryanna, who is having a 16th birthday  real soon.

Click on any photo for a larger view.

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The quilt was made by Bryanna’s Aunt and she did a great job with the piecing. There was a lot of “open” spaces and I had WAY too much fun quilting it!

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Here is a close up of the top half of the quilt. Notice the name quilted below the point of the heart! Also the hearts in the borders.

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And here is the bottom of the quilt. It is a bright sunny day outside and the bright sunshine is doing strange things with the colors – especially the white background fabric.

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There were a few extra blocks left over, so they were pieced into the backing fabric. I couldn’t control where the quilting would be on them, but it did turn out very well.

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One more view of the back of the quilt, near the top. I love the texture that is showing from the quilting in the pinwheel star block.

It is a bright sunny warm spring day and now I am going outside to work in the garden!

 

 

 

Hearts and Feathers

I finished these quilts this week and they are WAY too cute!!

This quilt is a Batik Irish Chain for a baby that I quilted with feathered heart wreaths and continuous curves. The quilt is 41 x 53 inches.

Click on any photo for a larger view

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I love the colors of this quilt! And here is the back of the quilt.

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I used Soft & Bright batting, Lavender and Sand Dollar Signature, 100% cotton thread.

When I make feathered heart wreaths, there is a “process” that I use. Here are some photos to show the basics of how I quilt them. Here is the un-quilted space.

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Then I mark the spine and the inner and outer boundaries of my feathers. On this quilt I used the Mark-B-Gone, water soluble marker. You can barely see the marker, enlarge the photo to see it better. I mark just enough that I can see the lines.( If you want more information on what I use to make the heart shapes Click Here)

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Now I quilt the feathered wreath free hand, including the spine line!

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And lastly, I removed the marker with a spritz of water. Here is the finished feathered heart wreath.

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I quilted the heart wreath with the Lavender thread and the background (behind the heart) I used the Sand Dollar thread to match the fabric. I LOVE the effect! If you look closely in the expanded photo, you can see the continuous curve quilting I did in the squares.

One More Quilt! This quilt has hand embroidered squares and (again) is WAY too cute!! This quilt is 34 x 45 inches.

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Here is a close up of some of the blocks. The embroidery was VERY well done!

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I used Signature Lavender thread in the printed fabric and quilted feathers in the borders and sashings and added “detail” quilting in each block. I also used Warm & White batting.

Like I said, WAY too cute!!! And here is the back of the quilt. You can really see the quilting!

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Here is a close up of the back of the quilt.

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Needless to say, I had a lot of fun working on these quilts!

 

 

 

 

Orchids and Wheels

I finished this quilt a few days ago and had to wait for the rain to let up before I could get some photos.

This quilt is beautiful!!! It was a Block of the Month by Sylvia Pippen called Hawiian Orchids. The background fabric is solid black, but it photographed a lot lighter than it actually is.

Click on any photo for a larger view. The photos really don’t do the quilt justice!

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Here is a closer view to show the piecing and quilting. Because the piecing and embroidery was so striking, I kept the background quilting simple with horizontal and vertical lines quilted in black, high sheen poly thread. The lines are done free hand.

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The photo below shows the border detail – Sashiko Ying Yang design, and also some of the Sashiko I did in the printed panels.

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Here is the back of the quilt. Again, the backing fabric is a dark, dark black, but it photographed as gray! Now you can REALLY see the quilting and the Sashiko!

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As I was working on this quilt, I kept feeling a “dragging” on my quilting machine and I couldn’t figure out what it was. It took a while but I found out that the when I put the green thread on the machine to do the Sashiko quilting, the black thread got wound around my front wheels. It was so thick that the wound up thread was affecting my quilting!

I had to take the machine head off of the carriage and flip the carriage over to get to the wheels. This is what I saw –

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Then I began to cut at the thread, pull at it and get it out of there! Then I had one more wheel to clean out. Finally, I got the thread cleaned out of the wheels.

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Here is a cleaned out wheel with a pile of shredded thread underneath it! Yeck!!

But now that the machine is back together, it is running MUCH better and NO dragging! Now, on to the next quilt!!

Batting Surprise

For about the last year and a half, I have been helping my Daughter-in-Law with a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group at her church. I get to work with the babies from newborn until they are crawling. I am thoroughly enjoying doing this.

In the Nursery where I work with the babies, there are some baby quilts that the “church ladies” have made. These quilts are pieced fairly well, but the quilts are tied and they have IMHO “icky” batting. So, with permission, I have been taking the quilts home, taking them apart, fixing them, re-quilting them and then bringing them back to the church.

Here are some photos of the process. (Click on any photo for a larger view.)

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This is a cute 4-Patch with all sorts of wonderful fabrics. The fabrics feel like good quality fabrics and the batting felt like it was pretty good. The edges were finished with the “birthing” technique – right sides together, stitch around all four sides, leave an opening and push the quilt, with batting, through the opening, sew the opening closed, then tie the quilt together.

I took the stitching out of the side seams, cut out the ties and this is what I found.

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The batting was completely gone in some sections. I took the batting off of the fabric and placed it on a piece of cardboard to show you what it looked like.

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I believe that the batting was a bonded polyester – I have NO idea what brand it was. I also have to say that these quilts are “rode hard and put away wet!” After they are used, even for a little bit, when the babies go home the quilts go into the laundry hamper. And they are “loved” only as a quilt can be loved by a baby!

I can’t remember if the ties on the quilt were in the places where the batting is gone or it’s the other way around. Either way, the batting, at this point, is NOT good!

I began to work on the quilt top and, because of the “birthing” technique and trimming the corners, I had to replace the corner squares.  I cut my squares too small and had to put some extra piecing in them, but I got them in there!

Then I added borders to the quilt and quilted it using wavy lines using a variegated thread. Can you see my corner squares?

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It was dark and rainy outside so I hung the quilt up in my studio for the photo.

So, what did I use for the batting? My favorite batting, Soft & Bright from Warm Company. I LOVE this batting! Soft & Bright is “built” the same way that Warm & Natural is built – with a scrim between the layers of the fibers, either cotton of polyester. I have used Soft & Bright in my own quilts and in my Grand Kids quilts for YEARS and the batting still looks great – even after being VERY well loved!

I also put new backing fabric on the quilt and bound it.

 

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Here you can see a close up of the quilting and the backing fabric.

My mission now is to do this with all the quilts in the church nursery and maybe the other child care rooms.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress and let you know how the Soft & Bright is holding up!

 

Happy 2016!!

I have been working on a few personal projects and here are some photos.

Before I had my hip replacement surgeries (almost 4 years ago!!) I told my family that if anyone needed a joint replacement, I would make them a quilt when they had their surgery.  Last year I made my Mother a quilt when she had her knee replaced. (You can read about that by Clicking Here).

Last September my Aunt Esther (my Mother’s younger sister) fell and broke her hip and had to have pins put in to hold it together. Then, a few months after that, she had her second knee replaced! (Yes, I made her a quilt for her first knee replacement. Read about that quilt by Clicking Here)

Aunt Esther is on the road to recovery and doing very well. When I heard she had broken her hip, I started piecing a quilt top for her – and got it quilted only a week or so ago!

Here is the photo of her new quilt (click on any photo for a larger view)

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The fabrics are a collection of Aunt Gracie fabrics from MANY years ago that a friend had given me – which is a perfect choice for my Aunt. Then I surfed the internet looking at scrap quilts and found a photo of this pattern.

To view the original blog post, along with the details on the pattern, Click Here The original photo is about half way down the page.

I kept the corners and the centers in the same fabric and added the 4 Patch border.

Here is a closer view of the quilt

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I quilted it using all over, free hand Feathers & Swirls using white cotton thread and Soft & Bright batting.

And here is the back of the quilt. The back is a light lavender print that looks vintage.

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You can really see the quilting!

Remember when I wrote about the socks I knit for my Grandkids for Christmas? (Click Here)  I had one pair left to knit for my youngest (14 month old) Grand daughter, which I started on Christmas morning and then finished both socks the next day. I was still in “sock mode” and knit another pair for the daughter of a family friend.

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The smaller socks are for Madeline and the larger socks are for Marley. I used the same yarn for both pairs and they turned out great!

Now I have to get back to quilting. I can’t wait to show you the photos of what I am working on now!