Friday, December 23, 2011

Quilting with Tourettes

I think you folks who like to FMQ, and have a regulation-sized machine - the average-sewing home owner's-type machine - will understand what I meant by "quilting with Tourettes."


Trying to manipulate your target area under the needle (to stitch your intricate design) while also navigating the bulk of the material (to the right of your working area) through the small space between the sewing bed and the motor of the machine will often sound like an orchestrated series of: thrumming machine, the steady kehrthwip-kehrthrip-kehrthrip of the needle rising and plunging through the material, and the intermittent expletives of madness when the bulk gets hung up on something making your stitches cramp up or jump in size when you least want it to.

@!*#%$!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Terrorfication (cont.)

I was looking SO forward to topstitching - to the quilting process - had it all thought out (or so I thought).

I had my templates cut and at the ready, and even had a game plan for which portions to tackle first, second, third and so on.

So WHY did it take me until 6:31PM tonight to put that first stitch in....to plant the needle for the first time and begin the quilting process?

I don't know either! I really don't, but once I started moving, and I took a deep breath and jumped in, it went fairly well.

It's that darned terrorfication I tell ya.

So now, I am taking a break to get some dishes washed (holy cow, do they stack up quickly when you aren't paying attention). I knew we were in a heap o' hurt when there weren't any more clean teaspoons for a yogurt or cup of tea yesterday.

8^P

Tomorrow is a whole new day and I am excited at the prospect of making a huge dent in the overall project, finishing up the portion I began tonight and moving on to more of the design.

Anyhow, the terror I was feeling a few hours back has abated, and while I would like to continue to quilt further into the night, I do realize the importance of knowing when to say "when."

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Just because...

Some people have been on 'pins and needles' waiting for a glance at the project under wraps.Due to the fact that it is almost Christmas I am feeling a bit charitable...but just a smidge.

Here are two photos to replace the last one (that horrible angle of the pinning process), and I hope they give you a thrill.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oh, yea!




Pinning.....ugh.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The day has finally arrived!

Oh yeah, baby! The piecing is at an end.

THE PIECING IS AT AN END!!

Of course, I still can't divulge the entire top just yet, but I am ready to move on to the backing and - perhaps tomorrow - stretching and basting. Wouldn't that be wonderful!?

Pssss-s-s-s-s-s-t! YES, that would be wonderful.

Here is a small sampling of what was accomplished today. Yup, the final block!

It's a "small" sample because this final block is one quarter the size of the full blocks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hate to admit it

I have a little guilt to confess to.

In an attempt to find a few pieces of that transitional blue-into-purple I need so very badly, I have traveled to no fewer than four area stores - and to one in East Lansing - with very little success. Had a chance to hit upon two others in Flint, but I didn't allow myself enough time to peruse. Oh.....so close.I have been able to get my hands on a little bit of a selection, and that I will have to make do with.

Although, I did manage to snag four of the six pieces I need for the binding (so not a complete wash on the search overall)! The final two pieces will materialize when the time is right so I won't sweat over that just yet - since I still have time before the binding is necessary. See me in another month, though, and we'll compare notes and stories.

Mucho thanks to Jean and Barb for playing along with my obsession....and for aiding and abetting this criminal(ly insane) behavior.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Not much of an update

I spent a good portion of yesterday morning doing other things before getting down to the business at hand. Layed out two and one half squares the evening before, and finished up (or, tried to) the layout of that third square until I realized I am minus some decent indigo! My transition from blue-to-purple is stymied.

Oh, and I did not get to the store for the binding material during the after Thanksgiving sale because, as I reasoned, the crowds would be too plentiful, the selection would be less so, and I am not at the point where I need it 'right now' - so why rush? Why stand in the mayhem? Why do that to myself when I could happily use the daylight to do what really needed doing................which it turned out I needed to go to the store to find something anyway in order to get it done!

Grrrrr [mumble mumble] Bah, shoot, darn-it-all!!!

Yes, I still believe I will have the top completed by the ninth. Let's see if my prediction can hold water.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Riddle me this

What's red and purple and blue and green and some of the colors that are in between...and some that aren't?That's right - this is!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Time flies

It's just after three o'clock in the afternoon and I have finished laying out Row 5.

The sunlight is on my side, streaming through the large picture window which faces west, and it is illuminating the entire area. It enhances the colors of the quilt, and the pieces piled on 'the palette'.

I'm left with 2.5 blocks to assemble before I can move on to rows 6 and 6.5...but I am SO close, it is thrilling!

Sewing began this morning as soon as daylight crept over the kitchen windowsill and erased many of the shadows of the night. Turning an OTT light on over my shoulder makes it easier to pin the corners to perfection, but I like to use the least amount of manufactured light that I can, so I turned the light off around nine A.M.

Time to take a break and stand back to stare at it before beginning the sewing process. Sometimes I can see little areas in the layout where a tweak here or there can make a difference, but right now - I am very satisfied with how it looks.

Geez! Is it really three-twenty-four already? I've got to get moving. More another time.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Oh no she di-int!

I am certain that this particular woman never fully understood the idea of quilting - whether art quilt or utilitarian - and the great source of pride we quilters have in learning, applying, and practicing to make perfect our techniques and skills.

I hope her curiosity gets the better of her, and that she takes more time to come to understand how broad the world of quilting is, and how all-encompassing we particular fiber artists challenge ourselves to become.

http://byrdandbelle.typepad.com/byrd_belle/2009/04/international-quilt-festival.html

But just for the record, I do agree that painting on a quilt - to achieve something more than can be accomplished by piecing or quilting (i.e; top stitching) - IS CHEATING.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Completely (& utterly) done with red

Today, somewhere around three in the afternoon, I finished with the reds! So I bagged up the remaining piles of color and set the baggy bundles aside, astonished at the amount of work that has gone into this particular project thus far.

It feels good to be clearing the decks and making space where once there were piles of standby material. Progress, progress, progress!

I had time to think back to a few short months ago and remember the selection process. Then I began to recall the rinsing and the ironing... and the calculating and the cutting (multiplied by 5,000) and the recalculating. OMGosh!!

Blissfully, I am now laying out and assembling Row 5, astonished at just how far I have come, and amazed at how well it looks as a whole (despite the things I wish I could do a little differently). Can't wait to share it with you.

What are you working on?

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gratified

I knew I must be on the right track when Brian said to me that he can't wait for the top to be together. He is hoping to help me stretch it!

Every day I have been able to work on the quilt - for large spans of time (since the last film wrapped) - he has managed to wander in to the area and question me as to how much more there is to go and, when do you think it will be finished?

"Will you be done in time for the first of the contests?" (which is coming up very soon).

It's nerve-wracking enough to bear down with my own sets of pressures, but his constant reminders of how much - or rather how little - time is left before the deadline, "...and you're not even quilting it, yet" is driving me to distraction.

I am now beginning to allow reality firmly in 'the door.'

"No," I reply. "Most likely I will not be done for mid-November."

This is a large change from my last response of "I'm still shooting for it. It could still happen."

In all honesty, there is really still too much to do, and I utilized too much precious time over the last three weekends doing other activities instead of keeping my head down, my eyes on the prize and keeping my nose to the grindstone. Foolish!

But I am very gratified that Brian wants to see this one finished. Even more so that he wants to help me get it to that point!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Puzzling

I chose to participate again this year in a bazaar that I sold children's books at last year. Why, with the project I have at hand, did I decide to take the time to spend an entire day away from the quilting process (which is already tedious and behind enough) to try and sell books as I did last year?

Well, I'll tell you why.

I truly thought the numbers would duplicate themselves, or at least come close, making the day worthwhile. Instead, I spent those hours wishing I were at my sewing table, whirring through seams of 1.5" squares, shaping several blocks and completing a good deal of Row 5.

The longer the day grew on without people visiting the bazaar - and the spartan sales each customer generated (despite attempts to satisfy them) - only served to amplify the dread of having spent the money on the tables (and the fuel to get everything there) and the time and energy to get it all set up and to just be there....left me with a bitter taste. Not to mention, I took two friends hostage to make the day happen (sorry J&B).

Of course, you don't know until you do it (whatever it may be), right? But I had great expectations as last year was so sweet.

All of the vendors said the same thing. Too few shoppers - surprisingly too few - and nobody willing to spend any cash.

So, today, I am poised over the last of Row 4, setting the final colors together, and I will be stitching the pieces together shortly. Row 4 is a done deal, and Row 5 is on the horizon. Tantalizingly close. Teasing me on!

I was struck by how much like a jigsaw puzzle I was going at this final block for Row 4 - almost like I had lost the picture of the final product, but if I keep fitting this piece and that into place, I would eventually find the one right piece, and so I keep maneuvering them so I can be happy with the final configuration.

I have come to realize, over the past several weeks, that I will always regret something about the way I laid out certain areas of the quilt, but overall it will look as it will - despite my finagling and fussing - and I am the only one who will see "imperfections" and have regrets as to why didn't this or that happened 'here' instead of that (colorwise).

It's just all too puzzling. It is what it is - live with it and move on!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Here's something!

Here is a quilt I made back in 2008 for a fellow student at Specs. An aunt of hers had made the Sun Bonnet Sue blocks decades before, and Denise had them stored, just waiting for an opportunity to have them turned into a quilt.
Then I happened along.

The majority of the work was in making them evenly (equally) squared and true, and in figuring how to assemble them - to do the adorable vintage blocks justice.
I think the resulting quilt was appropriate and perfect.

Please ignore the quality of the photos, as I was in a hurry to get them taken that day to get out the door.

The aunt who made the original blocks had appliqued the Sun Bonnet Sues onto muslin, and that was how Denise handed them to me. I added the window pane frames from material I had in my stash, and then selected the lovely green material that was used for the sashing and border.

The backside shows the integration of one SBS block that wouldn't work in to the configuration on the front. The goal with that touch was to make certain to center it with another SBS facing the right direction, so that when I finished the quilting, the stippling worked around the character as well as could be working blind from the top side of the quilt. As you can see, I was pretty darned close when working with the imperfections of the handmade SBS blocks.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The film is wrapped and I AM BACK!

My hopes of completing a square or two a week during the filming was all for naught. I actually only managed to complete sewing two 100-piece squares over the last three weeks....although, I did manage to lay out four additional full squares. Not a bad thing.

So, my objective today is to sew my brains out and finish row three and begin laying out row four.

DREAM BIG!


This is the LAST of the orange, and the last of the yellow is next!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

1,300 down

2,925 to go (not including the backing and binding).

At this point, I am just under 1/3 of the way through the top.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Moving on

Drifting out of yellow and into green. What a happy feeling.1.5 squares to assemble and then it is on to row 3! One-hundred-and-fifty pieces until I can move on. Wahoo!

Can you tell what I spent a portion of the day doing?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A little something

When I am stuck waiting with (or for) Karl for any reason - hospital stays, doctor's appointments, dental appts, while he is in class (rather than wasting gas driving back and forth) - I always have handwork to keep me occupied.

Handwork of the quilting sort (or sometimes a book to read).

Here's a little CQ something I have been needling on for the past good long while.

Out of pure frustration (and middle-aged-lady determination) I decided to devote some measure of time this year to finishing the Statue of Liberty, at least, before the toilet paper it was drawn on tatters any further.Yup, you read that correctly. I drew Lady Liberty on several sheets of toilet paper, stitched the sheets together, then basted the drawing to a section of the crazy quilt top.
After many failed starts (and many more successful retreats), I put the pieces of this quilt away in storage, meaning to someday get it out and finish what I started.

Well, someday is here!

In a few short hours I will have finished the embroidery, and will be able to remove the remainder of the toilet paper and basting stitches to reveal the entire work. I was too eager this afternoon to leave much of the unnecessary paper in place, and thus began removing some of it while still working on the crown and the hand holding the tablets.As you can see, it's not turning out too shabbily. I am very pleased with the results.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Update

To date, I have assembled 950 cut squares in to nine-and-one-half finished squares. By the end of today, I hope to be 200 pieces further.

Wouldn't that be wonderful?!

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE: Oh, lawsy, I forgot! I need to cut out more reds and oranges first! Dagnabbit!


Saturday, September 24, 2011

I am now on row two!!!!

I wish I could show you a photo of it thus far - I really do. It is looking so cool!! If you live nearby, come take a look, or I will meet you for an iced tea somewhere and bring it along to "show-n-tell."

Maria, I will call you soon to arrange a play date at your place...I want to see your sewing space with the new cabinet, and all of your ongoing projects.

Hope you are happily working on something you can enjoy this much.

P.S. That 'fat' fat quarter giveaway is almost at it's deadline....where are your inquiries? I have one wonderful friend to give some material to, and there are two more bundles that need a place to go.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Progress

I think lemony yellow is so renewing - for the psyche, for the soul, for the creative palette. It just looks SO edible!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Underestimating

Yes, I believe I underestimated the scope of this odd quilt.

I knew it would require a great deal of material resources to make the quilt work, but I hadn't really chewed and tasted the bitter pill of reality until a few days ago. Thought I had enough to work with, but found out very quickly that there is an undeniable requirement for each color value that hadn't quite been met.The purples aren't quite this blue, & the reds aren't as pink as they appear.

If I could have worked from my stash alone I probably could have managed it, but with the restrictions at play for the contest I have had to fill in with spats of new material here and there.

Holy cow!

To my delight, I am speeding through two sections (mostly layout, with one large completed square sewn) and am prepared to move on to a third area - transitions and all!! While laying out the blocks I have begun to think about the quilting pattern(s) I would like to use once I get to that point. It's nice to be able to envision that far ahead at this stage of the game.

How are your projects going?

Friday, September 9, 2011

What's up?

Maria, you know this is not aimed in your direction.

If there is no more interest in the 'fat' fat quarters, then I suppose that's the end of it.
http://truenorthquilter.blogspot.com/2011/08/regarding-fat-fat-quarter-giveaway.html
and
http://truenorthquilter.blogspot.com/2011/08/out-with-old.html

Geez, try to do something nice.......

Monday, September 5, 2011

That only took three hours

A little over two, actually, to stitch and press the seams just for one ten inch -by-ten inch block. Three hours if you take into account laying out the color squares in the desired configuration prior to assembling - and I am - and ripping out two small areas of seaming to re-sew where my corners weren't 100% .

Let's just figure three hours per ten-by-ten block, and I have roughly forty-one more to make. I can reasonably make two per day...but let's just count on one to make this little game seem realistic.

;)

Yikes! I am going to have to push it and seam these bad boys like crazy, just to keep ahead of the game. There may possibly be a day or two, here and there, where I may not get any sewing done at all - and that's the reality of it. So (realistically), I hope to have the squares compiled by the end of September, and be knee deep into assembling them in to rows by early October.

If I keep myself on task I should be able to attack the quilting process by mid-October.

Ambitious? Yes. Foolhardy....oh, yeah.

Of course, there are still all of these little squares to cut yet [smacking forehead].

Not to mention, on days like today (where the clouds are thick and daylight is minimal), I am going to have to have a bunch of prefabbed blocks all ready to assemble, because laying out a very specific color schematic is difficult to do (if not downright impossible) in bad lighting. That's the only way I'll be able to keep making hay after the sun stops shining - is to keep several 'prefabbed' blocks layed out and ready to assemble.

Well, I hope we have some sun tomorrow, because today was a natural light disaster, and I am already falling behind!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Can you see it?

The migration of color.

Can you see it? It's there, but because the colors are so 'electric' to the lens of my tiny Pentax, I think it 'blows the color reality meter' of my little digital friend. :^)There are 42 such sections to construct, and I am trusting that the handicap of very little room in which to maneuver and work in will not prove detrimental to the entire project. This is totally forcing me to work in an entirely different mode from how I am accustomed to building a quilt (and it is driving me nuts).

My fear is in looking at the larger assembled patches later, and seeing where I should have mixed the cut pieces differently to achieve the effect I am ultimately after.

More another time, for now I need to get back to it. This is 100 squares needing to be stitched together, and with 4,125 to go, I mustn't procrastinate any longer.



Monday, August 29, 2011

Eureka!

Managed to scrounge up several red-to-violet/purple fabrics from the stash, but boy - did I have to dig! Sorry to say that they were mostly solids, but I will make do.

:)


Then, of course, I found a couple of neat prints on "a shelf," so I bought just an eighth of each. It will have to suffice, but at least I have the necessary ingredients now.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Color pickle alert

Oh boy.


I am now knee-deep into cutting pieces for the challenge quilt, about one third of the way through it, with the selection of blues, greens, violets and yellows still ahead of me to dig in to. And I have realized for the sixth time (an estimated figure) that my collection of usable material for the red-to-violet portion of this particular challenge is about as thin as Donald Trump's comb over.

Thinner, maybe.

Sadly, because the rules state quite clearly that all products used in one's entry must come from a specific place, I am in a color pickle. I have been to several stores, hunting for my elusive quarry (remaining within the contest specifics), and have had very little success...but I am not giving up!

I suppose I will simply leave that section to last, and hope to come across something (or, several "somethings") that will work for my purposes (in small quantities) over a short period of time.

This is one of those moments when I wish I liked pickles - even a little bit. Blech!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Re: the 'fat' fat quarter giveaway

Dear Folks Not Residing in the US:

If you're interested in taking part in this giveaway, too, read on.

If the winner of one of the bundles (living outside of the US) is willing to pay for postage, I will cut the pieces as HALF YARDS instead of 'fat' fat quarters!

Of course, if you simply wish to receive a 'fat' fat quarter packet instead, that's your choice.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Out with the old

There is a new way of co-habitating with your space and your stuff, and I am not certain of the phrase or name for this concept, but the idea is that you don't bring in anything new without getting rid of something old (to make room for the new item, ya dig?).

Makes sense, doesn't it?

I believe most women apply this "rule" to their clothes closet, but in my domicile I will be putting it to work on my quilting stash.

I've been sorting through the material I already have to find colors that will work for my project (for an upcoming quilt contest), but that will also fit the perimeters of the contest. While working on this task I realized I have a lot more fabric than I (most likely) will ever use.

[Gasp and egads!]

How is this possible?

Some of it (OK, a healthy portion of it) I purchased just as quilting was becoming more accepted as a way of creating fun and useful end products, and not thought of as just a hobby for Grandma or that lady from church.

Manufacturers began creating a much wider palette of colors and patterns - and there were a growing number of designers and manufacturing mills joining the fray! It was an exciting time. But, because these fabrics were still only available in limited quantities and at limited local sources, quilters still had a long way to go before we actually had a tremendous selection at our fingertips to pick and choose and buy from.

This was a mere twenty-something years (or so) ago! That's right...just a stone's throw back to the eighties!

Fast forward those twenty or more years to:

- everyone having an Internet connection,

- area quilting shops springing up across nearly every state....

- and a pretty good supply at your nearest JAF or SoFro (now defunct) and Hancock Fabrics (on the decline in neighborhoods)

It's been a fun ride! Sorry to say, I did tend to buy more of some materials to build up a stash, but never quilted enough to keep up with the influx. Now, I am looking at a wall of beauties that I most likely will never fully use.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. [drum roll]

I would like to encourage those of you who look in to take a moment and say "hello," and to help you build up your own stashes.

I am proposing a giveaway. That's right...I want to give away several fat quarter packs. These are all 100% cotton materials that you will not find anywhere, but I'd wager you would love to add them to your quilts. They are a vintage-y look at where we've been...just since 1982 - the colors, the patterns. It's a chance to add a little 'old-fashioned' variety to your newfangled works of art & love.

If you're game, let me know. My goal is to (hopefully) 'meet' those of you who look in from time to time, and find out a little about you and what you like, what sorts of quilting activities you're up to, that sort of thing. I know that I have readers that trip in here from all around the globe - whether by accident - or because they saw (or read) something they liked - and then return periodically.

I would like to open this giveaway up to everyone, but because I am currently unemployed, posting a parcel to a foreign country will be cost-prohibitive. So, unless you can cover the postage for shipping to areas outside the US, I am unfortunately going to have to limit the giveaway to the contiguous 48.

If you are interested in receiving one of three fat fat-quarters, each pack comprised of no less than seven (7) random pieces of these (20) different materials [see above], please leave a comment on this entry and let me know who you are and where you are, what you do. Tell me why you think you would be the best recipient for one of these little gifts. Don't leave any personal information in your comment just yet (no last name or address, no phone or email, etc), and I will make my selection as to which three persons will 'win' a fat fat-quarters packs by the end of September.

At that time, I will notify the 'winners' via a blog entry (here, at True North Quilter) and give you an email to send your contact info to. From there, I can mail out the packs.

Let me hear from you...I know you're out there! :)





Saturday, July 23, 2011

It's b-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ck

Uh-huh, that's right. It's back, and soon you will know more...

see more...

read more.

It's back, baby - and so am I.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My sewing corner is buried

It's not dead, just inaccessible at the moment.

I got the crazy notion that I wanted to rearrange the lower level, and then I got a quarter of the way through the process and..........thbbppppt - ran out of steam.

Now, there's a chair stuffed into the open space of my beloved sewing corner, and other things piled on top (clean laundry, mostly) and in front of it, making room for the procession of furniture needing rearranging (and making it impossible for me to enter).

I also let myself become too absorbed in the gardening, plus I allow myself to become distracted in other ways (when gardening time is ended on any given day), then there goes my focus and desire.If you don't read my other blog, this is my overwhelming project. Once completely COVERED with weeds, now it's looking pretty good!

NO! Wait - that's wrong. My desire is not gone, it's just done in by exhaustion and big ideas. Oh, and fear. The fear of picking up and carrying on with the wrong next task. That leads to recrimination and self-chastising for wasting time doing the wrong thing.

Oh bother!

OK, so...new plan. When I come indoors today, after playing in the dirt, I bring the shovel with me and dig out my corner and weed - er, I mean...continue rearranging the indoor spaces. I will reclaim my sewing space!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A little May vacation

Boy, I hadn't realized that nothing had been written in May, but then I also haven't quilted since April, either!

Boo.

I was working a Scripty job from the end of April through all of May, and I would be working on another film gig right now....but I turned it down. (That's right, I was hired and I said "no.")

Yea and boo!

I had to (for several reasons), but I will not go into it at all here. Suffice to say I have been enjoying my down time in many productive ways, and while I miss working (the pace, the energy, the cash - inadequate though it $$ may be), I had several things I needed to attend to that would have been a larger problem had I not made the decision I did.

Did you follow that? Did that make any sense? Anyhow, I've begun a small sidetrack project for one of my sons.

Brian made himself a chainmail 'suit' (I'm sure that isn't the right word for his creation), but he needs a gambeson to wear underneath it. Once it is done, there will be a photo of the finished product and an image of Bud in it under his chainmail. This kid is gonna roast! But, he loves his Renaissance - has ever since his first Ren Festival - and if I can help him enjoy it in any way...then I am there for him.

More real quilting soon.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A decision

Nothing earth shattering, just a simple change.

Regarding the An Ocean Waves Garden project: When I do sit down to begin working on this quilt again, I think I will be piecing it quite differently. As I look at the photos (and the assorted bits here in front of me) it seems it could look more pleasing to the eye, and more complementary, with the colors positioned around the seed packet squares in complete groups, instead of in four seperate color assortments.

Does anyone want to weigh in on this thought process? C'mon, what do you think?





Sunday, April 24, 2011

Found another one

Well...another four, actually, but here are the pieces of an "Ocean Waves" I began easily fifteen years ago.

Why I put it aside I have no idea, but I do remember the attempt to locate colors to add to the project, and having the worst time in the effort.

This was back when only one or two stores sold 100% cotton materials strictly for quilting (with a very small number of - and usually remote - specialty quilting stores existed) - and the selection was small, small, small. Colors were still predominately drab and the patterns and designs were nothing like our palette of choices today.So, when you found a very cool print (like this lovely seed packet print, above) you had to gobble it up and hope to find something else truly inspiring to use with it (maybe later...somewhere down the road).

Today, you can walk into dozens of fabric venues within a short driving radius and find hundreds of fabulous materials. Oh heck! For that matter, you can sit at home in your PJ's and shop from an endless supply of fabric dealers.

Thank goodness things are a-changing. Maybe now I can finish this little colorful relic from my past.

Well, maybe not "now", but definitely some time this year (or next).


[chagrined]

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Just 'stuff'

"Little Brown Bird" by Angie Witting; 86"x86" Hand Applique/Machine Piecing


Without a doubt, this was the single most breathtaking piece at the quilt show happening this weekend in Detroit. There was a lovely vintage Grandma's Flower Garden which also blew me away, but this applique quilt was phenomenal (to say the least)!

Looking at Ms. Witting's applique work had two affects on me: 1) I just want to start learning and practicing the art of applique right now; and the other is to 2) completely forget about giving it a go, for fear of never being able to get close to her level of expertise.

The quilt guild putting on the event is the Detroit guild my friend Maria took up with more than a year ago, and they've since brought her to a new level of quilt excitement. It was very easy to see why.

There were quilts by individuals as well as quilts from several members representing a class the guild had sponsored. It was interesting to see different interpretations and color schemes of similar patterns and/or guidelines (like making your quilt from one or two materials only).

We had fun walking the zig zag path of quilts (at least 200 of them) and the astounding assortment of vendors.

There was an intricate PVC display system assembled for the display of the quilts, and I just had to study that, too.

I was completely in awe of the sizes of some of the entries, and I felt dwarfed by many of them. Then I found myself wondering how they managed to stretch and sandwich the largest quilts - what sort of rack would allow for such a huge quilt?!?

At any rate, there were a large number of absolutely gorgeous pieces on display, so it was thrilling to see that - even in the big city - the art of quiltmaking is not disappearing any time soon.

We spent hours walking and talking, observing and studying, and collecting inspiration (and dismissing those quilts that were not pleasing). It was a great way to point out things to keep in mind when choosing thread color and quilting stencils or patterns for the topstitching.

Despite the need to get other more pressing tasks done, first, I am so geeked to quilt today that I can hardly figure where to begin!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sometimes...

...a quilter's gotta do what a quilter's got to do.

Just finished cutting a much larger version of a stencil I bought for quilting the Ohio Star, simply because it needed an extra 3.5" - all the way around!

Three-and-one-half inches!!! That's seven inches of too tiny!

Was I sleeping when I read the description? Was the description worded incorrectly? Should I not be allowed near my PC with a credit card and a wish list? I don't know!

Perhaps it's a little from column "a" and a smidge from column "c". Maybe it's all column "b".

All I do know is that I am very happy to be at the point of actually stenciling the quilt now. It's all downhill from here, baby. ;)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Handwork

Handwork can be good for the soul.

This is one of two attempts at hand quilting (for myself). From the top it looks grand, but I have to do a lot of pulling and re-stitching (a second, and sometimes third time) to make it look as good on the back as it does on the front.

My great-grandmother was a hand quilter, and I imagine she got a lot of practice to refine her handwork.

In all honesty, I do not specifically remember the hand stitching on the quilt my great-grandmom made for me, because somebody walked away with it years ago while at a volleyball tournament. But I do have childhood memories of tracing the stitching with my fingers, and I do remember they were straight and prominent on both sides of the cover.

I will finish my two little (and I mean "little") projects (this Amish-style offering and a miniature Triple Irish Chain), but then... never again. I will save my hand stitching for my crazy quilting and binding application.
Oh, and maybe a wee bit of applique'.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Good point

Jean pointed out the fact I seem to be most concerned that the navy and green Flower Baskets is in the most needful condition (that is to say, I am concerned for the raw edges unraveling any further), so then - the decision has already been made.

OK...I will piece together a backing and get busy with the navy quilt next! (Besides, there's nothing that says I can't also work on assembling more blocks for Karl's quilt on the side....is there?

Thanks, Jean.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Re.: My quilting time

I think I've devised a plan that will let me divide my time among the things that need doing and the things I would like to do (as far as quilting goes - thbbppppt to the rest of it).

Without starting anything new, I can work on quilting the Ohio Star and get another quilt sandwiched (basted), which would require either assembling backs for one of two finished tops, or...............continue assembling the squares for Karl's quilt so that I can put that top (and backing) together while I finish quilting the P&BOS.

See, then I can just move on to quilting the next project and keep this whole process going. I do have a good selection of projects to choose from....but where to begin?

Simply put, I think this method will allow me to conquer the pile of existing projects more efficiently, whittling them down and not leaving anything in the dust. In theory I should be able to tackle the bulk of the existing projects (in their various stages) and come up empty-handed by the end of the year - free to begin new quilts (yea!) without guilt.

A new project without guilt! [squeal of joy] That sounds grand.

So, what do you think? Which of these should be next on the assembly line?

Flower Baskets: Navy and Green

OR
Snail's Trail 1: Orange and Brown

ORDouble Nine Patch: Funky Cats

ORKarl's quilt: Jewel Bugs

?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Next!

I couldn't stay up and lean over the quilt frame any longer last night, so I tidied up loose ends and went to bed somewhere around one o'clock in the morning. Falling asleep was not easy, but it did finally happen - and here we are!

This morning my fingers were sore from opening, manipulating & closing safety pins for hours, but I was eager to finish this process and move on. Perseverance paid off.

Step 1C - pinning backing sides #3 and #4 to the frame for stretching.

Brian went to work almost an hour ago and Karl (oddly enough) rose early, so I cajoled him into assisting me with the final bits of pinning (in place of his big brother).

No! Karl didn't pin anything, but he did help to un-pin and roll the frame making it easier to reach the center of the quilt and perform the last of that evil deed! A major milestone with this project, let me tell ya. Usually, I begin to pin from the center and move out to the edges, but the size of this quilt made that routine impossible to stick to.

I do have to admit I am disappointed with the way the mitered seams of the backing do not match the points of the corners of the top. Try as we might, no amount of shifting could make them match. At times, two sets of corners and seams would be spot on and two would be off. So....we'd make adjustments and then all of them would be off again, so I resignedly made the final decision to be happy with "close but not perfect." Ah well.

The distances are less than 1/2" all the way around, so it isn't too bad a mismatch. [heavy sigh]

It's just such a relief to have the grueling basting done, so now I can move on to quilting the beast. I will post photos as the quilting takes shape, 'til then I hope these inspire (or amuse) you.

For the time being, I need to move the furniture back in place; it's nice to be able to go from kitchen to front door without having to crawl under the frame (and suspended quilt) to get there! Then, I need to get busy and slipstitch the excess backing to the front (over the edges), to keep the top from fraying while it is quilted.