Nellie"s Needles

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Loving My Juki

I'm loving this machine! The quilting is going fast and there's little disruption with just a few breaking threads. This is taking a bit of getting used to after not being able to stitch more than an inch or two without that happening on the Brother. One little "buggaboo" on this wonderful machine is the automatic needle threader. I'm not finding that part easy to operate. I finally dug up one of those little silver wire needle threaders to speed getting the thread through needle along.

As much as I like this new machine, I had liked the Brother. It worked well up until it started punching loops of top thread to the back and then shredding it. I had it professionally cleaned, oiled, and greased. There was a minor improvement. On the recommendation of quilting friends (in particular, Loretta Painter), I ordered this one. The Brother will be taken to the dealer it was purchased from when I get back to Tennessee to see if the problem can be fixed. I don't know what I'll do with it then. In less than a day I'm spoiled by the Juki.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Flower Centers

A week ago I ordered a new machine, Juki TL-98Q, since my other workhorse of a machine, Brother 1500, refused to stitch properly ... even after being serviced. It arrived this morning and was immediately put to service sewing the centers into flowers.
I'd like to share the method I've devised to make the centers for the Cone Flowers. The materials I use are on the right side of the photo below. There's wool roving, trimming from woven wool fabrics, and yarn. Bits of all those are pulled and cut apart for one flower center on the left side of the photo.
I spritz a few drops of water on that bit of "stuff" in my hand.
Then it's rolled around between my palms to mat it into a ball shape. If I don't care for what I see it gets pulled apart and rerolled.
The ball of fibers is laid in place. There's a bit of shaping and stuffing and maybe rearranging done til it looks "right".
A piece of tulle netting is pinned over the ball of fibers to contain them in the desired shape. The excess is trimmed away after the stitching on the center is finished.
Here you can see some already sewn and some waiting their turn.
This is a finished panel of the Prairie Flower installation piece with the just sewn centers in the Cone Flowers as well as the yellow Rosinweed flowers.
Now, to see how the Juki quilts the many lines of stitching with numerous different weight threads on the three panels that are pinned and have been waiting their turn.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

I've Figured IT Out!

Finally, I figured out how to transition from the foreground realistic flowers to the abstract ones on the horizon of this field of flowers.
I've been fretting for some time about this ... studying what visually happens while looking at many patches of wild flowers on our recent trip to Colorado as well as surfing the net for photos to analyze. Last night furniture was moved to lay the vertical row for the center of the piece out on the floor.
Woo Hoo! It works. Now I feel on a roll to get on with this project.

This panel, the one second from the top, gave me the most concern in achieving a seamless transition into the horizon that was already finished.
That first layer of fabrics was softened and blended with wool and silk roving arranged over the hard lines.
Then I pulled threads and yarn as well as fabric ravelings from this supply ...
to create abstract flowers in that far off field.
Silk flower petals were snipped into gradated pieces and sprinkled into place.
Now, to get on with the other rows to create a whole field of prairie flowers.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Forty-six Years Ago

... today I married this man.
Time flies when you're having fun!
Tomorrow is his 74th birthday. Elvis beat him to that age by seven months.

Friday, August 14, 2009


"Come With Me to the Kasbah" has been displayed at Good Good's Gallery in Saugatuck, Michigan since last fall. Fifteen minutes after I had stopped in there to say "hi" to the staff this afternoon that piece sold. Woo Hoo! They think I brought good luck ... especially in this economy. Think I may stop in more often if that's the case.
To read about the creation of this piece go here.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Shadows and Relfections in the Rockies

The most obvious play of shadows and sunshine is on the trails.
The more subtle ones are of individual trees on the rocks and boulders.
I happened to look down before my husband and I began walking after looking at a view across Bear Lake to catch our shadows together.
And a few days later I caught our side-by-side shadows reflected in Lily Lake.
Looking across Bear Lake to see the reflection of the trees in the water.
A future post will explain those brown colored trees.

More trees reflected in a small puddle of rainwater caught in the dip of a boulder.
The hollow of a huge boulder cradled this puddle that reflects the sky.
My husband was standing on the other side of a much larger puddle along a hiking path that reflects a lot of sky.
Plus, there are a few dappled shadows from the trees shading the path.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Sunshine in the Rockies

We awoke to a clear blue sky on this last full day for us in Estes Park. This is what we saw out of our bedroom window.
Later this morning we took a walk around Lily Lake.
There was evidence of the rainy weather we've had all week in the hollow of this rock ... a naturally formed birdbath.
All of our walks during this last week have looked much like this photo. If wasn't actually raining, there was the threat.
On the walk around Sprague Lake in the photo above there were many puddles to traverse on the trail.
In spite of, or maybe because of, the weather I'm feeling the beneficial relaxation of being on vacation. I'm on my fourth book and not thinking much about mid-west prairie flowers ... at least not with that tinge of panic I brought with me.