Catching Up

Posting on Instagram has been fun. Its easy to take a picture at the end of the day and write a sentence or two about what you’ve been doing. So here’s what I’ve been doing since my last post. My Instagram name is debbyschnabel.

I finished another kantha blanket. This is one I pieced last fall just before I went to Art Quilt Tahoe. I really liked the central tree panel, and just chose some nice fabrics to go along with it. Still needs to be washed and blocked a bit.

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Taking a break from embroidering on the Wonderful Counselor quilt. Considering next steps. I think I still need some embroidery in there between the words. And maybe some embroidery in the borders, although I do plan to machine quilt most of the borders.

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Close-up of the words. You can see I used the blue disappearing ink quite a bit on this quilt. I did a sample to make sure the ink would come out before I used it on this radiance fabric (hand dyed 50/50 cotton/silk)

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Close-ups of some of the embroidery:

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I started working consistently on the big PEACE quilt. While it was still on the design wall, I chose 12 spots to put verses and marked those spots with the blue disappearing ink, and chose 12 verses about peace. Its been fun to choose a verse, write it in the spot, and get it embroidered on there. I am hoping that this will be the next quilt I machine quilt.

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Right now this quilt is under the Juki. I am taking my time and trying to quilt it nicely. I made it a long time ago, and I still like it.

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I got it into my head that I should do another sample quilt from the quilt kits I put together. So fun to make small pieces like this. The small pink triangles are actually the leftover pieces from cutting out the big pink circle! I am teaching Quilted Embroidery at the Cotton Patch on April 21. 

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And since I finished my kantha blanket and am taking a break from the Wonderful Counselor embroidery, I needed something to work on. Out came the big mitered square blanket. I laid it out on my bed and marked how much larger I want it to be, so at least I now have an ending place in mind. Still a lot to do on it. I’m using bits and pieces of leftover yarns and some of my old handspun yarn too.

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Sunday my sister called and asked if I had ever made a jelly roll quilt. Well, once I made a top using hand cut strips, basically the same as a jelly roll. As I talked with her about the math and how to do it, I remembered I had a project box with some leftover strips in it–leftover from the big PEACE quilt. They were cut 1/2 inch finished and 1 1/2 inch finished. Most of the 1/2 inch strips were brights and darks. Most of the 1 1/2 inch strips were neutrals. So I started sewing those together. I couldn’t believe it when I sewed the narrow and wider strips together–they were exactly the same length! So then I did a little math, and realized that there still was not enough for a decent sized quilt. I did some more math, and decided that if I would make some 3 inch finished strips, that would make the quilt big enough. For the 3 inch strips, I used both neutral and bright fabrics. I sewed everything together without planning. And when I finally finished, and threw it on my bed, I was really pleased with how pretty it was. Now I’m just thinking about how to quilt it.

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Speaking of quilting, one thing I have been doing lately, is going to Joann’s when they have a sale on (haha, when do they NOT have a sale on,) and buying four or more yards of one fabric so that I have quilt backs for my never-ending box of quilt tops that I have not finished. Since I don’t seem to be too good at selling, I have enjoyed finding places to donate quilts for people that might enjoy them. A young couple I met are working with Afghan refugees that are coming to Sacramento. I told them I could send some quilts to them.

I hope all of you are enjoying your creative time. Just working consistently every day it is surprising how much you can accomplish.

 

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Teaching!

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I will be teaching my Embroidered Quilting class at The Cotton Patch in Lafayette! The Cotton Patch must be one of the oldest quilting shops in California–it was started in 1978! I am so excited and honored to be teaching there. The class is on Saturday April 21, from 10 am to 5 pm.

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I teach the basic embroidery stitches that I use, and variations of all of them. If there’s time I talk about writing on quilts and the methods I use for various forms of writing.

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The kit I provide has more than enough materials to make this project–this was a challenge to myself to use a kit that had colors I don’t like to make a little composition that I did like.

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Instagram!

Hi all. I am trying out Instagram. I thought it might be fun to add a picture of what I work on each day. So far I have shared these two pictures.

My big PEACE quilt:

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And my “cow rug.” I’m very excited about the changes I’ve made on this rug. I added large lettering, eliminated the field (there will be hills in the background behind the lettering.) I plan to add more cows and also need to add in the greenery to the redwood tree borders.

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My instagram label is debbyschnabel.

Finishing Stuff

Doesn’t it feel great to finish a project? Especially a project that you have neglected, and in fact despaired of actually finishing? That was the owl rug. I started it as a challenge to myself to work with a limited color palette. But I got very tired of that limited color palette. And then my knee surgery and more interesting and colorful quilt projects got in the way. And the poor owl languished for many many months.

Then it was time for the Anaheim rug retreat. So just to make sure I still remembered how to hook, I got out the owl. And I worked on it for a few days before Anaheim. When I got home, I thought, maybe I’ll finish that owl before I start in on my cows again. And what do you know? I enjoyed working on it and finished it in just a few days of consistent rug hooking!

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The beak was a huge problem for me. The way I had hooked it reminded me of a snowman’s carrot nose. So I kept looking at owl pictures. And realized that the beak was simply too long. I used a method Gene had shown me, and hand cut a piece of wool from fairly wide to narrow (basically an elongated triangle.) I am very happy with how it turned out. And I also made the decision to use just a bit of color for the beak. I used the leftovers from the hand cut beak to make his two claws that were showing.

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Anyway, it just made me feel great to finish that (I still have to do the actual steaming and finishing but that is just grunt work.) To celebrate, I took the next day off and did some fun stuff, like working in the garden and experimenting with a new finishing technique for small quilts.

Rug Report

I had a wonderful week in Anaheim, doing all things rug hooking! The very first day I got a good start and was off and hooking. Because I had questions. I didn’t know how to differentiate one hill from another, and I wasn’t sure whether to hook the cow or the hill first. Well, Gene (the teacher) suggested I go through my stack of wool, and designate certain colors for certain hills. Yes! That was what I needed to do. My hills will go from dark in the back to light in the front (which is the opposite of what Gene usually suggests, but is what my picture looked like to me.) I also had to make sure that there was enough contrast between the hill color and the cow that was on that hill. I am working that out as I go. I borrowed 10 plastic bags from Gene, and put each hill’s color in one bag with a number on it. You can see here that I numbered each hill.

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And then it was time to work on the cows. That takes me a LOT longer than working on the hills. A lot of anxiety and uncertainty. And then I just do it! And if it doesn’t look right, I re-do it. The animals are small, and the wool is relatively large, so you have to do things just so to get enough details that the animals are identifiable. Here is a closer picture of what I accomplished by the end of the week:

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During the week, I thought about my design a lot. I decided to eliminate the wolf and the mice, and make it just about God and the cows (“He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.”) And when I told Gene that, there was a lot of discussion about wording and borders. And I like the idea we came up with–the wording will be included in the design, and I might use redwood trees to make the border. I drew a sketch this morning, and I liked it.

On the last morning before class, I checked my email. And I got a most exciting letter–my rug, “He Holds All Creation Together” was chosen to be included in the Celebrations of Hand Hooked Rugs. There is only one big rug hooking contest in this country, so it is an honor to be included. I worked hard on that rug, and I do love it. Its so exciting that it will be included in the Celebrations book, and will also be displayed at Sauder Village in August, at a big rug hooking gathering.

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A Busy Fun January

I’ve just been doing a variety of fun projects this month. Finishing some very old projects and playing with some new ones. This is a quilt top I finished a LONG time ago. Its so pretty, and I finally made a sandwich and got it quilted and bound. I don’t think you can see, but the squares are put on there raw edge, so there is a bit of raggedness to it, which I think adds to the charm. I know I did this from a pattern, so that’s how I know it was a long time ago.

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You all know about my box of 2″ squares, right? Well one day in church I doodled this. It seemed like it might be a fun way to use up some of those squares. But then I realized it might be a bit harder to piece than I imagined. One night I dreamed about it all night (that’s what it seemed like) but by the morning I knew how it needed to be made. So I tried it out. This is about a 16 inch block. I’m thinking about making either 5 or 9 of them to make a big 9 patch throw.

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Then I had made all these “sparkly” blocks a long time ago with a lot of hand dyed fabrics and some other commercial fabrics. I had them all put away neatly in a project box. But the thrill was gone. I didn’t really want to make a lot more of these blocks. So I came up with the idea of setting them into a blackish background. Luckily for me, Joann’s had just the right black sparkly fabric.

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Its always a bit of a puzzle to piece these things together. It took a couple of days, but finally it was done. I had enough of the sparkly fabrics left in the project box to piece a background together.

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My friend who has been working on this home for women recovering from drug addiction (remember I donated a couple of quilts for this) had an open house Saturday. It was fun to see my quilts in the setting.

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I finally got out my owl rug hooking and started working on that this week, just to make sure I still knew how to hook loops. I do.

Hard

Does everybody know that January is rug hooking month for me? I go to Anaheim for a rug hooking retreat at the end of the month. For a long time I just didn’t know what I was going to work on. Then the phrase “He owns the cattle on a thousand hills” popped into my mind. I know the phrase from an old Sunday School song. Anyway, I consulted my brother, who knew the whole song, and then pointed out to me that it was in the Bible, and I knew I wanted to hook this. I had the fun idea of looking up cattle from all over the world, and hooking one large cow on each hill (obviously it would not be to scale.) I googled cattle, and found eight different cows I wanted to include in the rug.

Here’s the inspiration for it:

The Lord, the Mighty One, is God,
    and he has spoken;
he has summoned all humanity
    from where the sun rises to where it sets.
From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty,
    God shines in glorious radiance.
For all the animals of the forest are mine,
    and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.
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I know every bird on the mountains,
    and all the animals of the field are mine.
(The Message— the scampering field mice are my friends.)
Then one day I was driving down the road and I saw a scene I see so many times, and thought, wouldn’t it be great to use the hills right around where I live for the scenery? So one day I stopped on the side of the road, hiked up to the top of the hill, and took this picture. I swear it looks prettier from my car, but this would work.
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I had taken another picture of the hills that included a field in the foreground, so I spliced that into the hill picture. I am going to add a small forest to the side of the field, and a lone wolf will represent “the animals of the forest.” Three mice will be “the animals of the field.” But I can draw those in later. I will have plenty to work on for this retreat.
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I googled Mount Zion, and this was the first image that came up. I don’t even know if its the real Mt. Zion, I just liked it. It was just like I imagined it in my mind.
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 Then it was time to draw the pattern and get it enlarged so I could put it on my linen backing. That’s when it got HARD. In the middle of trying to figure out how to get the basic line drawing of the hills onto a piece of paper I almost gave up. I thought, I’m just going to buy a pattern and do that. This is just too hard to figure out. But that’s when I remember that sometimes I just have to sit and think. And then I remembered my clear plastic! And I already had some in my closet. Easy peasy! I fooled around a bit to make the drawing square. Then I was off to the copy place to have it enlarged 300%. That makes it super easy to trace onto the linen.
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I know. this looks so simple. How could I have almost given up?
I got ambitious and figured out how to re-size the cattle on my copier, and drew them on the plastic, and then placed them just so on the linen (that already had the hills drawn on it–that’s why there are hill lines through some of the cattle.) I’m so happy to have this much done!
And here’s my pattern, all drawn and ready for my retreat! This is going to be fun!
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Hexie Holidays

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I think I mentioned before that I’d been working on a hexi project. It turned out to be the perfect project to work on in the evening during the holidays. They are 3/4 inch English Paper Piecing hexis. I ran into some trouble when I tried to do separate pieces and they wouldn’t fit together. It seems impossible, but true. I finally figured out that I was putting some together clockwise, and others counterclockwise. Still, they’re all hexies, they SHOULD fit together. Anyway, that made me paranoid and I decided that I just had to work on putting them all together in one piece. The bigger the piece got, the harder it was to work with. One day in church I got an idea to make a quilt out of them called “I’m Done!”

But they were still in a very weird sorta diamond shape. Not what I envisioned for my new idea. So I put the piece up on the design wall and put my hexies just so to make it the shape I wanted–kind of an amoeba shape. Surprisingly, it was fairly easy to take it up and down off of the design wall and add the extra shapes. I pinned each one carefully with a safety pin so that there was no doubt about where it went and how it needed to fit together.

So here’s my semi-final composition. I still need to decide on a backing fabric, and put it back up on the design wall (thus the picture 🙂 )

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In the meantime, I also am working on a kantha blanket. Its just a large print of trees that I really liked, put together with some other really pretty fabrics that I had in my stash.

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I’ve progressed much farther than this (just doing straight kantha stitching) and the edges were starting to bug me. I used cotton gauze for the middle of the sandwich instead of batting (to mimic how actual kantha stitching is done). It made the edges very flimsy. So I put the binding on it! Much nicer.

I have so many projects that I am working on right now. Mostly just for fun, and finishing some series, making more quilt sandwiches and doing more quilting. I’ll be back later in the week to share some of these projects!

 

2017 Finishes

I wasn’t going to do this, but it is fun to look back and see that you’ve accomplished more than you thought you had. Because of the way I work, most of these were started in other years, and finished this year.

My Noah rug is one of my favorites this year.

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This is a little scrap quilt that I made for a woman’s shelter. I actually made a second one but did not document that one.

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The artful log cabin quilt from the Katie Pasquini Masopust class.

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And “My Flower Garden” made from the leftover strips from the above quilt.

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This was a top I made long ago, and just finished quilting this year. (Thank you, Juki!)

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Another top I made a LONG time ago, and also just quilted this year.

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A little improv scrap quilt. I like this one. I don’t know where it is right now :/

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Dust if you Must–made from an internet poster that was making the rounds. I changed it just a bit to personalize it.

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Worlds within Worlds.

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A second kantha blanket.

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The Light of the World. I enjoyed making this one, and it went fairly quickly.

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Pink is Pink.

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My Guide.

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O Death Where is thy Sting? Finished previously, but the cross was beaded this summer.

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As you might know, many other projects were started this year. I hope that I will be able to finish as many in the coming year.

 

Merry Christmas to All!

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This year the word I seem to use most often is relaxing. I say to others, “I hope you have a wonderful relaxing Christmas!” I wish the same to all of you, my friends.

For unto us a child is born,

Unto us a son is given.

and the government shall be upon his shoulder.

And his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor,

The Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.