Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mrs. Phebe gets dressed!

(By way of expanation, I'm calling the people on the quilt Mr. & Mrs. Phebe.)

Looks like Mrs. Phebe has finally settled on something to wear. For a while there, I was imagining her saying, "I have nothing to wear!" This was the third outfit I made for her, both of the others were brown which seemed way too dull. Originally, I thought a red outfit would be too much red in one area. I hope I've made the right choice because I don't want to rip out!

Mrs. Phebe still needs quite a bit of applique work but if you click on the photo, take a look at her hair. I decided to make Mr. & Mrs. Phebe mature adults. Phebe has streaks in her hair and Mr. Phebe, who is still only a paper template, will possibly have what we call salt and pepper colored hair.

Also, I took away Mrs. Phebe's poofy sleeves and originally wanted her to look "fluffy" but decided to be kind. Now Mr. Phebe, on the other hand, is looking like he might enjoy good food a little too much!  

This afternoon, I decided to make one of the 80 - 4 1/2" finished Ohio Stars which will also be part of the quilt. I was inspired by Heather of Happy Appliquer blog who has begun working on Ohio Stars for her Phebe quilt! I can tell I'll need to work on the accuracy of my blocks. Its been a little while since I've pieced blocks this small. What surprised me is how long it takes to cut out all the pieces and refold the fabric!

If all goes well, I hope to be finished with the center block of the quilt by next weekend!

Till then, Mayleen

The Cat in the Hat quilt

I don't want you to think my entire current quilting life is about Phebe so here's a photo of a Dr. Seuss "quilt" made from Minky which I just finished for our grandson!

For those of you who have never sewn with Minky, its a very soft pile, 100% polyester and stretches if you're not careful while stitching. It leaves ALOT of little fuzzies behind when cut but will not fray later. Like I said, its very soft and while I've seen some adult lap quilts made of Minky, its usually used for baby quilts.

I used Minky for the top, back and binding. The Dr. Seuss panel was very long and narrow which makes the "quilt" larger than our grandson needs at present. I'm hoping that this will become a favorite snuggle quilt as he grows up. Since there's no batting, I machine stitched around Dr. Seuss and did some simple line stitching in the borders to hold the front and back together.

This is the backing, another Dr. Seuss print. As you can see our cats, Bonnie & Clyde, approve! Maybe they're hoping I'll make them something with the fabric leftovers?

When our children were younger, the Dr. Seuss books were favorites. Yesterday evening while I was reading a quilting magazine at Barnes & Noble, I saw a child's quilt made from Green Eggs & Ham fabric. That fabric's going to be hard to resist if any of the quilt shops in our area carry it!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Phebe, y'all!

Last weekend, my husband and I took a trip to the Ozarks and, of course, I took Phebe along intending to work on her in the evenings. Ha. I just could not bring myself to do it because I didn't like the dark brown centers of the blue flowers in the picture. The brown fabric wanted all the attention so Monday morning, off those petals came. I actually liked the blue/brown contrast but fabrics must play nice with each other! I'll show you what replaced it later this week in my next post.

During our trip, I visited three quilt shops and one wool shop. IF you are ever in the Rogers, Arkansas area, I highly recommend stopping by The Rabbits Lair in their historic downtown district! Their website:  This is my kind of shop - reproductions/Jo Morton on one side of the store and Moderns/Kaffe Fassett on the other. Loved the antique furnishings, cabinets, staircase in the store too. I'm sorry I wasn't able to get pictures for you to see but check out their store in the latest Quilt Sampler Magazine!

I'm sure my flat Kansas accent must have made me stick out a mile as being a tourist. Its easy for me to pick up local accents and I caught myself saying "Y'all" at least once!

Till next time, Mayleen

Friday, April 12, 2013

Phebe - sequins and sheep

Phebe - Week #3

This was a week of trial and error, mostly error on the apples. They measure approximately 5/16" and are definitely the smallest applique I've ever done! Every method I tried resulted in pointy apples, as my husband called them. As you can see, I did eventually figure it out and here's the story.

One very early morning when I couldn't sleep, I searched the internet for ideas on how to make tiny round circles for applique and I came across a blogger who used sequins. Unfortunately, I don't remember which blog this was so I can't give credit to her. In any case, I don't wear sequins so I just kind of filed it away in my memory as something someone else had tried and definitely never thought it might be a possibility.

I tried again to make my 1/4" plastic circle templates work and not very successfully, I will add. After losing several of the templates, I was down on my knees feeling around on the mat under my sewing desk when what do I find? Well yes, a sequin. Since I don't wear sequins, I can only guess it came from my attempt to add them to my daughter's wedding veil. A story best told another time, maybe.

My first thought on finding the sequin was something like, "Toss." But then I remembered that blogger so, why not try to make an apple with the sequin? The templates haven't worked for me so why not?

Actually, I think it was a combination of many things that made the sequin method work! Cutting a very narrow seam allowance, using small basting stitches and being able to press the drawn up bulk into the cup of the sequin all worked together to make acceptable (to me) apples.

The other major accomplishment this week is the flock of sheep. Please tell me they look like sheep. My husband recognized them so I'm somewhat relieved. I'm not so sure the one with the wavy fleece is going to be able to stay. Also, the one in the lower right seems to be sniffing the air. Do sheep do that?

We didn't have sheep on our farm when I was growing up. However, my maternal grandparents kept sheep for a few years and I remember being taken out one very cold morning to see the new lambs. I don't know why this stuck in my memory but when I saw the sheep on this quilt, I was instantly taken back to that time. My grandparents were very dear to me so happy memories! 

Next week - the dreaded inner curves on more flowers and oak leaves. By the way, last week I thought there might be a dozen oak leaves left to make. Ha. I checked the pattern and found a total of 33 still needing to be made!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Life with Phebe, Bonnie & Clyde!

Okay, week 2 with Phebe and boy, is the honeymoon period of making this quilt over!!!

If ever a quilt could mock me, this one did all week. Phebe is a challenge, for sure! I may have it under control again. (Is that snickering I hear coming from the sewing room?) I got it that way by starting completely over on Monday. Yes, you read that right. I wasn't happy with several things and there were some obvious mistakes on my previous start and so instead of picking them out and redoing them, I just started over and reused what I could.

This is what I've been able to accomplish since Monday evening. There are some things I'm not happy about on this one too but they're not bad enough to start over! Because next week could be a busy one for me, I really concentrated on Phebe this week. I'll probably not be able to devote as much time on this quilt from here on out but I may be surprised.

I'm using either needle turn applique or the starch method on the applique work. Which method I use depends on how it turns out. My leaf points are getting better and they're becoming enjoyable to do but this is my second try at those oak leaves, they were not easy to do. In fact, it would be perfectly OK with me if there weren't any more of them on the quilt but I think there are at least 12 more.

People who have read my blog for some time read about Charlie, the orange tabby cat who showed up the night we moved into our house and decided to stay for 13 years. Sadly, we had to have Charlie put down two weeks before Christmas. The house was very quiet but we didn't want to get a new cat right before our trip to Florida to see our son and his family.

In mid-January, we adopted a brother sister kitten pair from a cat rescue group near us. They were very dependent upon each other and we couldn't imagine separating them. We wanted two kittens who could keep each other entertained while they entertained us!

Bonnie is the larger of the two and is like a sensitive child. Is her coloring a Tortie? She's a lap kitty when she trusts you, a little aloof and independent. All business and may be a good mouser when she matures. Doesn't meow, squeaks instead. Has been known to do naughty things but is usually not the instigator.

Here's a very rare photo of Clyde laying still. Doesn't he have an innocent face? He's smaller but is the alpha cat. Eats first, plays first and wants all the attention you can give him. He's a lover boy, your personal assistant and is on the go most of the time. He doesn't understand the word, "No" and if he were a human boy, his school teachers would recommend he be on medication.

We thought they were adjusted to us. A few days after our daughter's wedding, we came home and found they'd started stripping our dining room wallpaper! I don't think they appreciated our house guests - two young families both with a baby under 6 months. In fact, Bonnie was very jealous of the attention being paid to the babies. For now, I'm artfully arranging furniture and plants to hide the wallpaper or lack of it!

I admit I'd been thinking of stripping the wallpaper myself but not till fall or even next year. We're still trying to repaint the living room, entry and hallway one wall at a time so I thought there was plenty of time to consider what to do with the dining room walls. Apparently not. Guess what job got moved up on the "to do" list? I insist that I get time to work on Phebe though!