Monday, July 31, 2017

The New Bird

Sunday I did some housekeeping and attended a birthday party. After making dinner I went into the studio to make a bird. But what should be the inspiration for this one? As I scrolled through my pictures, I came to this photo, I laughed, and knew it was as good an inspiration as any other.

Yeah, I made a barn bird.

I sent a photo to my brother and his wife (let's stop this nonsense right now. They will henceforth be known as their initials, P&J), and my brother texted back, "You should see the barn in the snow."

Now, I don't know what that has to do with anything bird and quilt, but I replied, "Send me a picture."

I don't get it either, but I love my brother and he always has had a very good sense of humor.

Which reminds me.

One of my readers, Mary, sent me this note earlier:

"In Spanish, el carpintero = the carpenter / woodpecker. Google Translate currently uses the phrase 'pájaro carpintero' [carpenter bird] for woodpecker.

"Now, take another look at the bird with the wooden bill you created to represent your brother.  How cool is that... linguistically, with a double meaning in Spanish, as well as artistically!"

Too funny! I can see my brother's eyes rolling right now!

If you are interested in making these free pieced birds to represent your friends or family members, please check out my tutorial for making them at my Etsy shop, here. The tutorial explains everything you ever wanted to know about making these blocks.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Saturday's Birds

This bird was inspired by the back of some kind of trailer, as seen in this photo:

The blues weren't exactly right, but the print had the effect I wanted.

I don't know where this bird came from. His body is made from the same fabric I used for the beak of the reddish bird (based on the red barns) I made a few days ago.

My dad and I at Hogback Mountain in Vermont, home of a 100 mile view. We went out to Hoosick Falls NY for lunch at Man of Kent, and then spent the rest of the day being tourists.
This is the shade garden, which faces North.
 Maybe this bird is visiting family from New Hampshire, where everything is lush and green right now, and my garden is a riot of color.

If you are interested in making some free pieced birds of your own, get my tutorial at my Etsy shop, here. It has everything you need to know about making these birds. They are easy to make, and lots of fun. And if you are interested in how I put fabrics together, get the Making Your Fabrics Work For You tutorial which will help you learn to look at your fabrics differently, so you can get more out of them.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Brother & SIL birds

As I've been making these birds, I've been sending photos to my brother and his wife. They've enjoyed seeing the progress.

"What color are my wife and I going to be," my brother asked?

"You: dark green, dark blue," I texted back, "Your wife, I haven't decided but light blue, maybe rose and soft yellow. Definitely not showy."

 So here's my brother's bird. Note I used the same fabric in his beak as I did on his barn. Not an accident.

Here's the bird for my SIL. She's actually taller than my brother. The green beak is a nod to her green thumb and gifts with flowers.

As for the rest of the inspiration for her bird, all you have to do is look at her shirt.

If you are interested in making unique birds without worrying about paper piecing or working from a pattern, get my tutorial Lynne's Liberated Birds here, at my Etsy shop. It has everything you need to know.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Blue Skies

The skies were so blue in Colorado, at that altitude. I simply had to have a blue, blue bird. This bird has a green beak, which is a nod to the landscape.

This bird was inspired by the metal buildings I saw in Fairview.

particularly this area:
And yes, I chose the grey fabric for the body of the bird above, because the designs on it reminded me of the wavy chain link fence.

Color stories like this are all around you.  You have to force yourself to stop and take a picture when something tickles your fancy. Or how about this - take a few random shots every day, and then try to find a color story in each one, and interpret that color story in a quilt block somehow.

If you want to make birds, get my bird tutorial here, at my Etsy shop. It has everything you need to know to make your own flock of improvisationally pieced birds.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Colorado Flock Grows

The inspiration for this bird was kind of amusing.

It's the grays in the dashboard and the yellow line on the road ahead.

The inspiration of this bird is the cluster of red barns of this ranch.

This bird is based on the colors of the ground surrounding the buildings.

What's funny is that these birds are inspired by a series of photographs I took in sequence. When my brother saw these birds and their inspirations he said, "I think you're still a hundred miles away from the house! That's a lot of birds!" 

Hey, I had to start somewhere!

If you want to know how I make my birds, you can get my bird tutorial here, at my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

More Colorado Birds

This is the third Colorado bird.

 and this is the view, just beyond Kenosha Pass, that inspired it.

Here's the fourth bird.

This bird was inspired by the greenery and ground at the far right of the photo.

If you are interested in making birds like mine, you can get my tutorial here, at my Etsy shop. It explains everything you need to know to make your own unique birds.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

First Colorado Birds

This is the first bird for the Colorado Quilt I'm making for my brother and sister-in-law.

This was the inspiration photo for the bird above. It's near Kenosha Pass.

 Here's the second Colorado bird.

This is the inspiration for the second Colorado bird. If my memory serves, it's just beyond Kenosha Pass.

If you are interested in how I make my birds, you can buy my tutorial for them here, at my Etsy shop.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Barn Builders!

I had an awesome group of students on Saturday at Quilted Threads for the Build-a-Barn class.  We were so busy I forgot to take a group photo in front of Julie's quilt, See Rock City.

Here are a few of the barns and their builders.

Almost everybody made a barn inspired by a real life barn.

Robin came into the class eager, but intimidated. She left, as you can see, happy and confident.

This is Kendall and her grandmother, Bonnie. They worked together to build a barn, and it was such fun to have them both in the class.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A New Friend

I had all kinds of problems with my sewing machine last week. It was working fine, and then it wasn't. It was taking too many stitches per inch, and it didn't seem to be feeding the material properly through the feed dogs.

I tried everything. I blew the dust out, I checked all the settings, I readjusted the settings, but nothing worked. The tension was a bit off too, and seams that usually sewed straight ended up with a curve that wouldn't lie flat. I knew I'd have to bring the machine to the repairman, but I wanted to finish the Colorado barn.

I finished the barn block, but since I had to teach a class on Saturday, I wouldn't be able to bring the machine in for repair until next Saturday, since the shop isn't open evenings, and doesn't stay open late enough for me to be able to get there after work before they close.

I really didn't want to buy a cheap machine at Sears or JoAnne's, but I couldn't see any other way out. I HAVE to have a sewing machine ready at all times.

When I was talking to Julie about the wonderful birthday present I received from her and her husband, she suggested I talk to Becky, the owner at Quilted Threads. QT is a Bernina dealership, and Julie thought Becky might know someone who had a used machine to sell. I did just that. Turns out QT does resell some used machines. After discussing my needs, she suggested I drop by the Bernina sales area at the lunch break.

Long story short, I came home with a Bernina 1260. It doesn't thread itself, and it hasn't got a thread cutter, but it does have a knee lift, and a whole complement of attachments. It even has the original owner's manual.

After I set it up, wound some bobbins, put in the 1/4" foot, I made a bird (above). This machine sews like a dream, and I can't believe how quiet it is. The tension is perfect.

I think I'm in love. Happy Birthday to me.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Sample Barn

 I like to have a lot of examples for my students when I teach, but some  examples should be in pieces, so students can get a better example of how things go together.

This is a closeup of a barn door and a window. When a barn has two doors, I like to include a thin contrasting strip down the middle to show that. And sometimes I like to indicate a windowsill, thus the gold underneath the windows here.

Some barns have windows in the upper story, and some just have decoration. Here I have cut up a floral print to indicate a kind of star design, and used some contrasting fabric to show it off.  Notice the fabric in this upper story is different than the one used in the bottom half of the barn. 

See the thin red strip along the roofline? That is to indicate this barn has a red roof.

Leaving this sample barn in pieces like this is the best way to tell students to build the body and roof of the barn separately. That way there won't be any sewing into corners or applique to get them to fit together.

This barn also has two different options for the eaves. Notice the left side is different from the right.

I'll be teaching barns at Quilted Threads in Henniker NH today.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Salt & Pepper

No, that's not the color of my hair, although that IS the color of my hair. These are the salt and pepper grinders gifted me for my birthday by my pal Julie and her talented woodworker husband Larry. He made them. They will henceforth have a place of honor on my dining room table.

Julie is the most practical, efficient, and organized person I have ever met, so I was not surprised to open the second box in my birthday box to find Salt and Peppercorns for grinding.

Thank you Julie! You and Larry made my day!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Happy Birthday Valerie!

This is one of my best pals, Valerie. She is a blogger from Nova Scotia Canada and is a charter member of the SSOBB (Secret Society of Barn Builders). It's her birthday today.

Happy Birthday pal! Hope you have a great day!