Friday, December 30, 2011

Wonderful Wonderfil

Wonderfil.  - That's not a typo. Did it make you think of Lawrence Welk?   Wonderfil is a thread company.  I was thrilled when they asked me to make some samples for their booth to showcase their threads when they exhibit at sewing/quilt shows. They have a huge collection of threads.  The thing that caught my eye immediately was the vibrancy of the colors.  There is also quite a wide variety in fiber content and thread weights. 

I stitch with thread both by machine and by hand.  I use it to quilt, both by machine and by hand.  I use thread both for utility and also as a design element.  I also use it for embellishing.  If I can thread a needle with it, I will sew with it.  Needles are the key to making a thread "work".  Many problems can solved by changing needles. 
My first sample for Wonderfil is called "I Love Paris", just like the song. 
The Eiffel Tower is the centerpiece and it is fused and machine blanket stitched with D-Twist.
The background is quilted by hand with the big stitch and a 12 wt variegated cotton. 
 Metallic thread was used to blanket stitch the fused letters. The polka dots are accented with clear seed beads. And a small black button dots the i.

I handstitched the vine design on black silk dupioni with hot pink Accent, 12 wt rayon and then added flower like beads.

The three fleur de lisles in the border on the right side are cotton fabric fused to a white silk background, blanket stitched  by machine with a 40 wt rayon thread .

These little pieces are so much fun to do. I love adding the embellished top and bottom edges. 
 Final measurement:  11" h x 12" w

You can check out the huge variety of Wonderfil thread at their website:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Design Dilemma Solved

Thank you for all of your opinions about my scrappy quilt.

I have to tell you that my overwhelming desire to see what the orange peel blocks looked like butted together outweighed everything.

 I really do love the circular pattern that is formed.

But I couldn't let the 9 patches go to waste. 

I am not crazy about how the 9 patches worked out.  It looks a bit old fashioned.  I think when the quilt is on a bed and the 9 patches are the drop, it will look fine. 


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Scrappy Quilt Decisions

You all may think I am just playing in the Key West sunshine and my sewing machine is still packed.  I have been doing a lot of biking and walking and eating out, but I have also been sewing.

This is my set-up.  My sewing machine is on a 4ft pretty stable folding table.  It is placed right in front of a window facing the courtyard.                                  

Of course Bailey gets as close to me as she she possibly can.  If only I could teach her how to sew.
Sometimes she naps, but sometimes we both enjoy the view outside of the window.

My project has been a bit time consuming. I'm making a scrappy quilt for one of the beds in our mountain house. My goal is to make a quilt for each of the beds. 
 I cut out, fused and blanket stitched 288 leaves for half of the blocks for the quilt.

But I am getting ahead of myself. I brought a bunch of light and dark fabrics from home.  First I cut up my light fabrics.  I needed 72 - 6 1/2" squares and a bunch of 2 1/2" strips.  So I ended up with 4 piles:
6 1/2" Squares

2 1/2" strips

Leftover scraps for another project


In addition to all of the off white pieces, I also cut 2 1/2" strips from lots of colored scraps.  I then made 9 patch blocks - 70 of them.

This was the intended layout, alternating the 9 patches and the orange peel block.  I thought I would see a diagonal movement throughout the quilt. 

I like it but I couldn't help but wonder what if I put all of the orange peel blocks together. 

 I really like the way the blocks interact.  The petals will touch once the blocks are sewn together and give a circular look.  But what would I do with all of the 9 patch blocks? And I would have to spend days making more of the orange peel blocks.  But I could combine them - someyhing along these lines.

I think I need to sleep on this.  Any thoughts?  I would appreciate your comments.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I'm A Sucker For A Bike Ride

So what does a nice Jewish girl do on the 2nd night of Chanukah? 

Last night combined two of my favorite things - Christmas lights and bicycling.  The purpose was to tour the island of Key West to view the best decorated houses by bike. the organizers recommended that you also decorate your bike.

So I went to the dollar store and bought a few things.  I turned a fluffy stocking into a hat for Bailey.  I found this cool tie (for a dollar???) and added some foliage to my bike's handles.  We were definitely ready for the ride.

I didn't take any pictures of some of the most creatively decorated houses because I was too busy trying not to fall off my bike or swerve into another cyclist.  But in case you think I lost a few marbles on my drive down here, check out some of these other riders:

If you have not been to Key West, you can see from these photos, that anything goes here.

As we rode our bikes down the main drag (haha), Duval St,  instead of being the spectators, we became the spectacle.  It was a grand time.  I can't wait until next year.  In the interim, I have to find some of those battery powered twinkle lights.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Celebrating Hemingway

We have begun our sojourn in Key West.  It has been 2 years since we have been here. But thanks to good health, we are back. I am walking and biking and feeling great, as is my hubby.   I brought lots of sewing projects that I will share as I go.  But today, I want to pay homage to arguably its most famous resident, Ernest Hemingway.

My bicycle tour this morning (with Bailey in my basket), started with a visit to Papa Hemingway's house.  He arrived in Key West in 1929. 

 His house has been made into a museum and is open for tours. 

An interesting part of the tour is the cats.  It started with one.  The most impressive docents know all the names of the upwards of 40 cats.  What is unusual about these cats is that they have 6 toes. 

The cat population grew as these cats would leave the house and impregnate other cats on the island.  So the city of Key West told the museum that they had to contain the them.  This resulted in this wire grid above the brick walls to keep the cats inside.

Nearby Hemingway's house is a nice cafe type restaurant called the 6 toed cat.  Two years ago they had a breakfast special that included $5 mimosas.  I did not see that advertised this morning.
The most famous locale linked to Hemingway is Sloppy Joes.  It is a restaurant/bar with walls covered with photos of Hemingway, his friends and the results of his fishing expeditions.  We headed there for dinner tonight. 

He spent a lot of time hanging out here. 
The walls inside of Sloppy Joes are covered with photos and possessions of Ernest.

Including the photos from the annual Ernest Hemingway look alike contest.

I read that "his novel "To Have and Have Not", while not considered one of his better works (as a novel) represents an incredible "collection of short stories" that capture Key West during that time period".  I'm going to put it on my book list.  It would be fun to read it while here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The 1356 Mile Project

When going on vacation, the first thing I plan is what I am going to bring for handwork.  Sometimes it is an easy decision. Other times I have to come up with a new project.  I gather  all my materials along with my designs, thread, needlecase and scissors and put them in a zip lock baggie. It becomes difficult at this point to not start the project until I am on the road.  It is especially difficult if I am very excited about it.

The road trip that I just completed was from Pennsylvania to Key West, Florida - a total of 1356 miles.  We planned it over 2 1/2 days so that we could have a short visit with my sister-in-law. There was a bonus while visiting my SIL.  She asked if I would like to go see this house covered with lights.  I don't think she knew how much this Jewish girl loves Christmas lights - the more, the better.  Check this out:

The whole yard was fenced in.  Families were waiting for them to open the gates so the children could wander around.  We didn't wait.

For my project, I prepared all the applique and fused it to the background. It measures about 16"x20".
 I used 3 strands of floss to stitch everything down through only a piece of low loft batting.

I am not going to quilt it since I am placing it under a piece of glass.  I like using the batting to prevent my stitches from puckering.

 The project lasted me 2 days. I did run out of a tiny little bit of cotton floss. 

I love my little country houses.  It will be placed in a glass topped night table in the Poconos.  But I won't be able to do that until after the winter.  I'll keep you posted.

 Today is also the last day of The Blog Hop Party. I thank everyone for taking the time to visit my blog and my etsy shop to look at my dupioni silk.  I have used a random number generator to pick the winner.  The winner of a trio of silk is: Ariane.  Congratulations!  Your hydrangea colorway will be on its way as soon as I get your address.  Look for my e-mail. 

Also, to celebrate that I surpassed 200 Followers - yippeee! - I have chosen another winner that will receive one of my dupioni silk collections.  The winner is:  Peggy.  Congratulations and what fun this has been.