Monday, December 31, 2012

Last quilting entry for the year

Fell viciously ill yesterday afternoon, suffering from an intestinal bug....so, not much accomplished anywhere on anything for much of the day.  Boo.

[sigh]

Today, I am feeling much improved, but also feel behind the eight ball on so many levels.  I will try to get some (quilty) things done before daylight disappears and needful things get tended to, but I'm not enjoying feeling rushed to experience contentment.

Did anyone understand that?

Anywho - I will post a few last photos of the work completed thus far on Black Widow I, just to finish the year on a high note.  We can mark the progress from there, hey?  I also wanted to remind those of you who may view stashes as an unnecessary evil to reconsider.  Here's why:

The perfect stash item I'd forgotten I had
A couple of months ago, when I got it in my head to create the Black Widow (using scraps), I thought I might also be able to utilize a bunch of material from my stash wall for the backing, too.  Less (-to no) guilt, and a chance to make room in my stash and cull out, using things I probably wouldn't have for any other reason. 

See, I am harboring a good amount of fabric purchased back when the boys were much younger - and when material production for quilters was still rather dreary and calico-y -- not the vibrant lot you can find today (along with the more traditional calicoes and such).

At the time, those material purchases I made were good, current, and a deal...so it all made sense. Unfortunately, I never kept up with the influx of my purchases, and tended to buy more as/when I found it, and moved the older (more banal) fabrics to the back of the stacks.

Then manufacturers began to use designers who were artists and quilters themselves, and the shift to more fun and colorful designs became commonplace!  I thank Alexander Henry for that!  Hawaiian quilting helped to increase the use and manufacturing of batiks in everyday quilting circles, and things just improved overall!  Huzzah! 

Today, quilters have so many design houses and textile manufacturers to choose from, making the selection of fabrics for our beloved quilts - whether miniatures or king-sized - an absolute delight.  Unlimited.  Unimaginably rich!

Can I get a 'wahoo' from the choir?

Well, I had a lovely piece of batik that would have been perfect, except for the holes I found in it when I opened it out for the first time.  As I held it up to the interior border I was making for the back, here's what I found.

I know, I can hear you gasping along with me.

I wish I had opened this beauty sooner, and done the pre-wash just after bringing it home, instead of giddily folding it and placing it into the stash for future use.

Lesson learned.

Oh, sorry. Let's get back to the purpose of my blog today.
I knew the only way to complete the colorful Greek eternity chain border was to marry the black and primary blocks on one side with solid black, and a multi-colored something-or-other to the inside.  But what? 

I first attempted to use pieces of the multi-colored scraps I had been using to build a continuous strip for the purpose, but it looked all wrong - and I couldn't put my finger on why exactly.  All I could tell was that the look wasn't there for me.  So then I went to my stash in hopes of digging out bright multi-colored prints that I could use. 

You know....those blenders we buy just because they're too groovy to pass up. 

"What are you going to use that for?" asks your quilting enabler friend.

"I don't know," you answer hesitantly, "but I'll have it when I finally need it!"
And I am!!!  I am using something that tickled my fancy and was purchased just for the stash!  This Ricky Timms "Oodles of Doodles" was just the thing the Black Widow I needed for the border work.  Don't you think it's perfect?

Now, if I could only find something to swap out for that darned batik centerpiece with the holes in it.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Non-plus'd

Oh, sure.  I know the title is incorrect, but then, after viewing many online photos posted by quilters who blur the lines when categorizing their quilts, I suppose it now no longer matters if I spell things correctly (or, 'inventively').

I was looking into "coin" quilts to discuss ideas with an aunt who would like to make her first quilt (using cherished indigo print material she's collected over time from trips around the globe).  When I 'googled' images for that particular pattern I was met with a brilliant array of "coin" quilts that were anything but "coin" quilts.

So now I suppose you know the crux of this quilting rant - not my aunt, mind you, but the lack of care from others incorrectly calling their quilts something other than the proper pattern name.

I know it shouldn't irk me if somebody decides to call a string quilt - laid out in a spider web pattern (or any other string pattern) - a "coin" quilt....but it does!  Nor should I be bothered by some yahoo thinking they can get double duty out of their quilt by calling a decidedly log cabin style pattern a "coin" quilt, instead of what it really is....but it does!  It really, REALLY does.

There was even some sort of creative layout using triangles - with the tips at one end sheared off - and the pieces laying alternately side-by-side, titled a "coin" quilt - but it MOST clearly was not even close to a "coin" quilt!

C'mon, people!  Do your research and be prepared to correctly (and honestly) label your quilt with the right and proper pattern name!  There are new quilters who will be looking at your images and getting the WRONG idea as to what pattern they are making because some of you think just because you are laying strips of material side-by-side-by-side-by-side that it isn't what the end result becomes, but what YOU want to call it (pattern-wise). [breathe]

I suppose I should just be happy I stopped after several hundred images, and before finding a "rail fence" quilt under the improper "coin" heading, eh?

And while I'm at it - STOP USING THE WORD "WONKY"!

Thank you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Thanks for looking in from time to time and reading my posts.

Here's wishing you and yours a very wonderful holiday season, and a new year filled with peace, happiness, health....and lots of new quilts!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Oh, dear

I think I've created a monster. :^P

In an effort to use up any (and all) scraps remaining from the Black Widow I, it seems as though I really only managed to create an additional small pile of scraps.  Yikes!  This string quilt was supposed to eradicate my scrappy mess, not add to it. [smacking forehead]

My initial idea to create an interior border (for the back) using the Greek Eternity symbol worked so well in my mind, but I am wondering if anyone else can see the pattern forming?  It will be bounded by a larger black border to the outside, and something narrow (of multi-colors) along the right (or, to the interior/center).

With each new completed link I can see where I need to be careful of cutting the pieces too short or too thin before stitching them together.  Some corrections need to be made, but since this is the back (as well as a learning project for me) I am tempted to be forgiving of the awkwardness of the overall look.

Any thoughts, words of encouragement.......matches? 

;)

It will take roughly 10 of these 'links' per side to complete the interior border, and it's taking approximately forty-five minutes to an hour per link (right now).  Each one builds itself a little faster, and without interruptions, I may be able to get two whole sides assembled by Christmas....however, I am still puzzling over the corners: more precisely, how to turn them using this pattern.

Of course, I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Not for nothing, but....

...I've just reloaded a good number of posts I'd removed earlier in the year, hoping to keep my AQS quilt under wraps until the time came that I could proudly show some of the work that went into it.
If you search you will find them within the anals of the blog.  If not, take heart - the quilt will be shown in it's entirety soon enough!

Spent a small portion of the day piecing together a bit of the original border idea I figured out for "Black Widow I," and it may actually turn out OK after it's all said and done. 

If I manage to get four feet or so completed tomorrow (or Monday) I will post a photo so you can see what it is I have in mind for the backing border.  Until then, have a nice evening and let me know what you're working on.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The deed is done

Or, maybe I should have said: "THE DEED IS DONE!"

[contented sigh]

The entry form (and necessary) bits are on their way to Paducah for the AQS 2013 contest.  Next steps will happen for PQ1 after notification in early March!

In other news: I will be back to work on the string quilt, "Black Widow I," this afternoon. 

Finally figured out how I wanted to back it (weeks ago), but didn't do it as there wasn't enough time to get it done (thought I would be entering it along with PQ1), so I devised a back-up back, but still ran short on time for the quilting portion. S-o-o-o-o.... 

Now that the pressure is off, I can create the backing I wanted to in the first place, and save my secondary creation for another quilt top!  Wait 'til you see it!

I love scraps!

(photos around Christmas - if all goes well)

What are YOU up to?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Who'd-a thunk it?

Found myself short on material yesterday, and wondered if I would have any luck locating anything remotely similar to the deep, inky black, medium-tight weave, 100% cotton (I had already incorporated into  Black Widow I) at a nearby store. 

I figured I wouldn't need much, but then I hadn't calculated what I would want (or need) for the back, either, so I was pleased when today became a good day - and I never even had to leave the house!

I actually had a perfectly matching black in my stash!  Perfectly matching! 

Even more amazing?  It was 3+ yards!!

I have the uneasy feeling, though, that somewhere in this house there is now a quilt top without its backing.

Washed it up; ironed it out, and; cut the four border sides for the back out of it, and three-dozen-plus of the remaining negative space center pieces for the top!

Serendipitous!

I also paired out and stitched up the last of the black/bright patches needed for the front border before the daylight disappeared.  Still have no idea what I am going to do for the back. Thought I did, but I have been reconsidering it every five minutes - because you know I can never do anything simply.

Since there isn't a whole lot of time remaining before it needs to be photographed and the pictures sent in to meet the AQS deadline, I really am beginning to consider putting together a very simple backing for this one.  Sad but true.

Will keep you apprised.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Guess what I just did

So, I've just renewed my AQS membership for the first time since....u-u-m-m-m....

Huh.  [scratching head]

Since 1997 or '98, I believe.  Once the divorce began and crap hit the fan I let a lot of things fall by the wayside, and this was in that category.

But now I am geared up for entering a few quilts this year into the contests they host.

Bring it! ;)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Not a great photo...

...but a photo of greatness.  ;)

Just a quick shot of the progress on Black Widow 1, thus far.  Yes, "Black Widow 1" - because I feel a series coming on.

Sometimes, my favorite color sandbox (primaries) inspires me to keep going....and I can see all sorts of potential in this combination between color and quilt block.

More soon. :)

How are your projects coming along?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

And then...

...I fell smack dab into the middle of a scripty job for the next two weeks.

BUT, I am back at it with a vengeance and making headweigh (yes, that's THE correct way to write that phrase - the more accepted modern version is tosh!).  Current photos tonight or tomorrow morning.

Hello, again!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Let the cutting begin!

Woo hoo!  Everything is ironed and ready for the rotary work.

With any luck I'll be assembling a few patches by nightfall, and will have some border area attached either Tuesday evening or sometime on Wednesday!

What have I been up to?

Well........now I have a heap 'o' ironing to accomplish before I can get to cutting the strips of blacks I have decided to incorporate into the new Spider String Quilt.

WHA????? (ala Craig Ferguson)

"NEW"???
I know, I know. I thought I wasn't going to begin anything new until I had knocked off a few more unfinished objects from the considerable list, either - but...here it is.

I had fooled myself into believing I could have this phantom project in my periphery, giving it a little attention "here and there"; pulling it out once in a while, as time permitted and fabric scraps dictated. [sigh]

Ah well.
At any rate, I now have a lot of ironing to do, as a good deal of yesterday was spent scouring my stash for appropriate black material and then rinsing it out to be sure of their colorfastness ( - put a few more patches and squares together, too). I am determined to purchase nothing new for this project. 

Well, OK. 

I can see where maybe that's sort of unrealistic.  There will be a need for backing material when the time comes, but I am not there, yet, so there's time.  LOTS of time.

So tell me, what have YOU been up to?

Monday, October 29, 2012

If wishes were fishes

I wish - I truly wish - I had begun the black and primary spider web string quilt on a much smaller scale.

I really do.  Ah, well. [sigh] 

Lesson #12

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Had these together Friday afternoon...

...and after going through so much gathering and trimming (and the lot), I'm now realizing just how much more scrap this is going to take to complete!

Is there any sense in making strips, er...I mean, 'scraps' just to keep working on this, or; should I do exactly as I planned from the start and only make the larger pieced configurations from scraps when I have them (the actual scraps, I mean)?

Spent a good part of the day ironing scrap strips from the bag, cutting pieces to length, laying out matching color blocks, and assembling the 'pointed' ends (of the three-part triangles) so that I have a good deal of the grunt work done when I decide to sit and assemble more whole blocks some time in the future.

It just seems somehow sort of incongruous to intentionally begin an unfinished project...don't you think?

But, as I sit and stare at this photo - or the real thing in front of me - I am struck by how child-like it appears.  Maybe it would be more appropriate to say 'it puts me in mind of a child's perspective.'  It looks very much like an Eric Carle illustration, especially when viewed at a distance.  Bold colors; uneven but lovely, large 'brush strokes' of color - as if it had been applied from the palette before completely being mixed and blended.

Thoughts?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I think...therefore, I quilt!

I was finishing up construction on the blocks of a current project when I was struck by how much I am saving (in regards to scraps, "waste," pieces too big to just throw away).  There is a bulging sack sitting nearby as a reminder of my Scottish thrift, and yikes if it isn't getting pretty darned scary.

I am not Eleanor Burns - I can't just willy-nilly toss aside scraps which could be sewn together at a later date.  I don't have deep enough pockets that the thought of casting away perfectly good 1.5" to 3" pieces (or strips) doesn't just haunt me to death!

Oh, and yes....I do have a box of 'coordinated' scraps (also), but the bag was becoming way too full, and in danger of toppling and spilling the contents every time I moved it out of the way, then out of the way, then out of the way - again

Flop sees the bag and simply paws her way in whenever she gets the chance for a pre-blanket nap.  Cute but hairy.

Back when I had a much smaller stash - when I saved EVERYthing and sewed it into a useful block before putting that block away for "some day later" - the scrap bag was a good idea.  Now it's just another pile (essentially) and I have been working my tail off this year to pair down my piles and clean out my corners.  And it's been pretty satisfying, too.

Now, however, my stash is much too large, and I have been doing my best to part with material that others can use so it just isn't sitting here taking up space any more!  I've been donating yardage to neonatal blanket makers; giving it to friends in quilt guilds with charm square requirements; and I even tried to give it away here on the blog - with no takers!

Go figure.

I rarely do anything without some sort of planning.
So, in an earnest attempt to clean out the scrap bag, I decided to put together a quick and easy quilt (size as yet unknown), using my trusty primaries and the idea of a Spider String Quilt. 

I will keep you updated, but since this project isn't to fill a hot need for anything or anyone, it will be an ongoing sort of project.  Any time I am bored, though, or vacillating on some aspect of another quilt in progress, I will have something I can work on to pass the time away and not waste it!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Intentions & reality & quilt shops

Yeah, so, after all of the back-n-forthing over the Jacob's Ladder entry, I ultimately decided to drop that contest from my calendar in favor of other competitions scheduled farther 'out there' in the future. That decision would allow me enough time to plan, begin, and completely execute a quilt to enter - without needless rushing, agitation, pressure, and driving myself completely mad in the process!

Saves my kids' sanity (and the cats), too. ;)

Visited four more quilt shops in the immediate (depending upon your definition) area about two weeks ago. The locales literally drew a circumference around my town, but only two of them are worth the drive.

*Maybe "surrounding area" would be more appropriate.* 

Anyhow - Jean came down to visit after a day of x-ray schoolin', and we decided to shop hop the area, since there were enough in the (somewhat) immediate vicinity to hit before closing time.  We took off first, heading north to Ortonville, for a visit to Mabelena, and it was a delightful surprise for each of us. 

The store is a fairly large space (an old, converted PO) packed with a nice assortment of calico's and modern prints, and some repros from the '30s/'40s and Civil War era.  Not a lot of the latter, but if you're into that sort of colorization...there you go.  The layout and utilization of the space could be better, but overall, it was bright and inviting.  Lots more patterns and kits where there should be material, but overall, not a bad little shop in the middle of the sticks - and close enough to home for me if I ever get a 'jones' for something out of the realm of JAF (which is often). 

Jean called it "kitschy" with the wealth of non-quilting stuff hanging about and displayed on racks and across tables, I simply prefer a quilt shop to be a QUILT shop.  No dolls. No bags. No aprons or pinafores or pillowcase kits.  That stuff delves into crafting in my mind, and quilting is an ART FORM!

They also don't have a frequent-customer-type card or tracking system for discounts, but perhaps this will come over time.

From Ortonville we drove due west to Fenton, to the Quilters Garden (that's right, no apostrophe); a store I've visited on ocassion but never blogged about.

From the moment you walk through the door, their deep space is lined on one wall with a near-overwhelming selection of batiks.  Lately I have found a use for these beautiful fabrics as blenders and binding sources - and just plain works of art and color - so I have fun ogling and dreaming there! 

Not a tremendously overstocked store (for its size), but a nice selection of fabrics usually found online (without the added cost of shipping), and some stuff not seen elsewhere in the local quilt shop community.  Florals, chintzy types, tone-on-tones, mods and calicos, plus a delightful selection of clouds and blue sky materials all live here in Fenton, so take the drive and reward yourself.  Oh, and don't forget to look down around your knees.

"Why?", I hear you asking.

Well, because they have this really cool basket full of EOB and scrap pieces, loaded (stuffed, really) into bags that you can buy for $5 to $10 dollars (a few are less than $5)!  I have found a good number of stash-building baggies that were so worth my time to investigate and paw through (the basket, that is; the baggies are sealed).

Plus, Quilters Garden does have a rewards-type program...and you won't have to ask about it, either!

Our third stop was in Milford, the longest leg of our traipsing that afternoon. 

Once we found the poorly marked shop, we were somewhat disappointed with the effort.  Had it not been for the Thusday (ALL DAY) Farmer's Market in the downtown area, the trip south would have been a complete bust.

I love Milford, and was excited to think there was a quilt shop there (to give me yet another excuse to hop in my car and brave the tiny town congestion), but Google maps and directions have not been updated to the actual location of the shop as it now stands.  So, instead of referencing the addresses as we drove south along Milford Road, I relied on my knowledge of the downtown district (and the Google map reference) and parked us at a meter on the main street, eager to be close to the shop.  We walked two blocks in disbelief before finally asking a neighborhood barber about the elusive store.

Finally, we called the shop to ask "where are you!?" - but not before taking a stroll through the vendors at the Farmer's Market.  Thoroughly enjoyable!  Totally worth the hassle - even the nightmare traffic headache getting back out of town.

We eventually arrived at the quilt shop - Huron River Quilts - but found the shop did not live up to expectations.  At one time their website read they had the largest collection of Civil War era reproduction fabrics in the area...which we found just wasn't so (for that you need to head to Linda's, north of Davison).  Fortunately, we weren't in the market for repros, but we had hoped to find another worthy nearby fabric source. [sigh]  It wasn't meant to be.

If nothing else, Jean found a fun new town to put on her favorites list!

Our last destination found us driving back in the direction of home to a little out-of-the-way place you could literally miss if you blinked. 

A Little Quilt Shop is exactly that..."little." 

This tiny start-up shop has only been open since this summer, with not much to offer in the way of material.  There is a wall of do-dads and sewing aids if you're in a pickle one afternoon (and the nearby JAF can't accommodate your needs, for some strange reason), but the total material stock could fit into the back of my Scion!

The entryway and check-out counter take up more space than the selection of materials.  They have a purveyor of quilting touted to provide the finish stitching for your quilt projects - "reasonable and fast" - but the efforts on display were less than satisfying as evidenced by their technique and stitch repertoire.  Fortunately for me I can do my own quilting, and Jean is more of a quilt-as-you-go artist.

I wish this woman well in her shopkeeping future, but it's going to take a good deal of effort and material offerings to keep that little quilt shop afloat.

Apologies if the last two critiques offend anyone associated with those particular shops, but 'I calls it as I sees it,' folks, and for my (tight) money - and the cost of gas being what it is - my intent is to arm anyone interested in traveling to little out of the way shops with as much information as possible to help others make good choices.

Enjoy yourself!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My bad

I was very happy with the final product - this string quilt (which was a wedding gift). 

String: "Blue Moon Wedding" (Scrap) - 66.5" x 66.5"
The person commissioning it (Aunt Betsy) chose fabrics matching her niece's (and new nephew's) favorite colors, which were abundant in their wedding planning; and I'm understanding, they have now painted some of their home in these same colors! Would love to add a sleeve so the newlyweds can incorporate it into their decorating.

Truly loved the psychedelic/mod quilting I ended up creating; the flower power and grooviness of it all!  I even managed to please myself with the pieced block letters and (ultimately) the quilted portions of the bible verse, too. [Proverbs 3: 5-6]  If there had been more time, more available capital, and LESS HUMIDITY, I would have encased the entire border verse in the quilting motif (I had a hard time stopping myself from quilting all the way around).

As it is, it's still a nice bit of inventive quilting, and I am quite proud of it.  Thank you, Betsy, for the opportunity to help you celebrate your family's history.  I'm honored to leave a mark in this way.

[on the flip side]
Meant to post a photo of the final product weeks ago, but I was angry with myself for not having taken my usual snaps before leaving the house.  I was forced (I forced myself) to take this unflattering shot in a quilt store, under fluorescent lights; so not only did I not get a nice, square image, I also shot it upside down!

You'll notice, if you look closely, a bit of skewing to try and make the proportions and corners true up for the frame. Gotta love PhotoShop.

~ If you don't look too hard, it's a good representation of a perfectly square, not-warped-in-any-way, lovely lap robe.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Greetings, needlers!

UPDATE:
Yes, turns out this was not a legitimate request for help, nor was it worth your time (or mine).  Sorry to have troubled you all with this tripe.

*stupid spammers*

I had an odd question pop up from an anonymous emailer over the weekend; they were asking about how to locate a creative writing course in NY city (or, possibly online).  So, my quick resonse was just that....'what an odd question to ask me,' and 'sorry, I can't help you with that [particular issue].'

Besides which, I (sadly) don't live in the empire state. [sigh]

Not quite sure why this unknown person would ask a quilting stranger such a strange non-quilting question, so I will send it out to you folks looking in: can anyone offer any suggestions for NYC-centric creative writing classes...or even, something online?

Not ever having taken writing courses in college, I am at a loss as to which schools to suggest, but I assume they (my anonymous non-quilting-questioner) can manage to read and review suggestions others may provide.

We now return to you to your regularly scheduled stash sorting and dreaming.

(Of course, this could have been a way for a hacker or spammer to weedle into my email.  Curses if that's true!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A run for the money

This particular new quilt [sigh]....

Yes, I said "new". Don't roll your eyes in my direction!

This time, it's a literal 'run for the money.' A dash from start to completion (and entry) for the finish line.

Yes, despite my constant nagging at myself to finish my UFOs, I am going to begin yet another project - with an eye on a prize!

Trouble is that I am coming upon this particular contest late (much too late, in fact), and had made up my mind about two weeks ago that I wasn't going to enter it after all because the deadline is just too tight.

I reasoned why do that to myself? And I was alright with that decision; perfectly fine. Content. Relaxed. Busily occupied with other activities and plans.

Then, three or four days ago, I thought to myself you can do this.... you can do it!

So, after wasting essentially two weeks worth of prime planning, cutting, sewing and quilting time (of an already ridiculously-too-tight-deadline), I am jumping in with both feet.

I know. I know - I'm an idiot!

But this overwhelming feeling woke me from a sound sleep early Monday morning and wouldn't let me go. Visions and plans were alive in my subconscious....and it was a done deal, as they say.

So, wish me well, and keep your fingers crossed. Think happy, creative, forward-moving thoughts, and let's see what kind of winning entry I can create. ;)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Tickled pink on pins and needles

Heard the news that the wedding lap robe is to be delivered today!

Can't wait for the outcome. I'm as nervous as a, uh.........a BRIDE!


Friday, September 7, 2012

Great day to be a quilter

It was a great day to be a quilter! Had a busy day - and a fun one to boot.

Jean and I had errands to run (missions to complete), and since they were in pretty much the same area of Michigan (within a twenty mile radius, or so) we made up our minds to mix the business with a little pleasure....and what pleasure it was, too!

My "business" consisted of delivering the commissioned lap robe to the proud aunt who requested it. The honeymooning couple is off in Mexico, but will be returning this weekend, and she wanted to present it to them personally - hoping to see the looks on their faces as they open the package and see the quilt for the first time.

I do hope they love it.

Aunt Betsy said it was exactly the right set of colors for the most part - yea! - always a plus. We did the initial shopping together, but I ended up having to fill in with more when I found myself 'shy' while piecing the central portion of the top. Clever Aunt B also managed to finagle the young couples' favorite Bible verse from the bride (months ago) in such a way that the newlyweds will be surprised to find it pieced and stitched within the quilt border. Brilliant Aunt B!

While I had fun making that quilt....creating an alphabet and sewing words together for the first time - experimenting the whole while - and then the creative free-form quilting around the border (very mod and 60s-70s-ish 'flower power'), I am glad to have it done and in the hands of the owner(s). The weather was horrid and humid for easily the last month and a half, making it impossible some days to move the quilt on the machine bed in order to stitch. It put me days behind and was quite frustrating.

But now that it's all said and done, I am happy it's going home and I can move on to new (and older) projects. Phwew!

As for the pleasure portion of our day, well....

Jean mapped out a driving curriculum for us to follow which included four new quilt shops! OK, new to us, but well-established and known to others.

And while we were only able to make it in to three of the four, we do know that our new favorite shop is only a stone's thrown from the last little gem yet to explore. So, on to the reviews:

Our first stop was in Howell, MI, at a store right on Grand River Avenue called The Stitchery. Bright and roomy, and stocked with more modern and less homespun (or calico-y) materials to browse through and take home - and that is not a complaint! The space was overwhelming, and it seems to have been two different storefronts at one time which are now connected by a wide doorway created through the adjoining wall between, with a step or two down. The extra space is classroom/showroom (for the machines they deal in and some sewing gadgets and needful items). There is an additional enclosed classroom in the back of the original shop which is also quite roomy.

In addition to their 'modest' fabric stock, there's a nice selection of quilting books to purchase as well, and they managed to introduce me to a new marking tool I will be trying out in the near future.

The staff was friendly, but not overly attentive, and I was encouraged to join them at the next GAAQG meeting later this month. That was cool.

Oh, and before I forget, they also have "20% off Tuesdays" applicable to their wonderful selection of fat quarters! That will get me in the door again s-o-m-e-d-a-y, after I have a job and some extra cash to spend.

Jennifer's Quilt Shop in Pinckney was our next stop. It is a deceptively quaint little house re-worked to serve as a charming, kitschy little quilt nook. They've crammed a good deal of material into several rows of floor-to-ceiling shelves, and they carry a nice selection of quality fabrics; but it is a small shop, so be prepared to rub albows, shoulders, and hips with your fellow quilters as you look high and low to scout out some new prints you haven't found anywhere online.

Yes, the selection is limited, but the shop thinks BIG, so you hardly notice you're through looking a little more quickly than you'd like to be.

The staff has fun with their customers, and Jean and I were laughing and kibbutzing the entire time. If you're a regular they greet you by name, and then the conversations veer into what's new, what's up with your kids, and "how'd that *thing* with the *thing* end?" Always nice to be recognized and treated like a friend!

There's a 'freebie' basket if you're willing to get down and dirty to paw through the goods (I was, and always will be, one of those shmoes on the floor).

My favorite finds, though, were a selection of FQ black-n-white prints of materials I had seen online but never purchased - and there they were in Pinckney! We were even directed to a healthy selection of discounted (A.K.A. "sale") FQs towards the back of the store, so there are plenty of reasons to get yourself in to Jennifer's and say "hello" before the end of the month. Why wait?

It's a charming little shop with a big heart, and you won't be sorry you made the country drive to their door!

Our last destination proved to be the best discovery of the bunch. It's safe to say we will be heading back more often than once to Creative Quilt Kits (formerly All Ways Unique) in Brighton, MI - and it won't take much for me to make that drive!

Holy cow, what a store!

They have everything, and I mean EVERYTHING you've ever found online and wanted to see in person before buying. It's like going to Hancock's of Paducah without the drive (or the hotel bill)! It's Quilt Mecca for Michigan, and so much more.

Several large rooms of fabric greet you the moment you step through the door, and that was after perusing the offerings of EOBs outside on their doorstep! I found two I brought home. And the happiness didn't stop there.

One of their showrooms was nothing but Kona solids - in fact, MOST of the Kona line lives there, and by the time I got that far into the store, it was time to leave! But, that's OK, because I will be back. They have my newest love - In the Beginning fabrics - and have also begun to carry those lovely linen-esque Japanese materials, too.

That's not all; their materials are sorted by manufacturer in some cases, but more often than not you will find all of your cowboys and wild west together; everything Christmas, juveniles and unique beauties in delicious groupings or rooms of their own; Eric Carle prints, and impossibly hard to choose from dragons and princess goods grouped together near animal prints and butterflies. Good luck trying to take it all in without gathering armfuls of bolts to carry around!

The only thing that could improve the experience at Creative Quilt Kits is if they would have mini shopping carts to use for moving through the store with all of the fun things there are to grab.

OK, carts and getting there hours before would have been good, too. But that last one is totally on me.

If you can't get to Brighton to visit this shop, do yourself a huge favor and shop with them online. But you're doing yourself no favors by not walking through their door, trust me. This place is worth the drive!

























Friday, August 31, 2012


Managed to snap more photographs last evening, but the light was hideous so the colors are 'off' a bit.No time to waste, I need to get busy while the humidity is low and the temps are still pleasant. Can you believe it's going to zoom into the 90s*F again?!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Apologies

UPDATE - As of Wednesday, Sept 5, the questionable (and objectionable) Pinterest onlooker has been removed from the account. Thank you, Pinterest.

Original post:
My apologies to anyone who looks in on my Pinterest board.

Lately, I acquired a new follower (which normally, would be a good thing, but) who possesses questionable ethics - as far as posting photos within the Pinterest realm.

I understood Pinterest thinks of itself as a fairly PG sort of site, and warns people with accounts to mind their P&Qs and to be mindful of the sorts of images they post. But they don't mean it, those Pinterest people.

And I am not a prude...by ANY stretch of the imagination. I've nothing against the gay community, and I do not purport to tell anyone how to live their own life - so long as their activities cause none of my loved ones harm in any way, I feel people may live, worship, love, learn, paint, think, vote, marry, etc. as they may choose to.

Except you out there...you child molesters and rapists in general. You should all leave the planet. Shoo!

So, when this new 'follower' popped up, I was non-plussed to be able to see what sorts of things they were in to by the icon snaps viewable along with their name.

Holy crap!

Please know, that I immediately attempted to block this person, and then I contacted Pinterest to find out how to block or remove them, only to find out that it can't be done!!

I reported the graphic and obscene photos individually (as further instructed), only to receive a note of "what-do-you-want-us-to-do-about-it?" from them.

Not helpful.

This is why you are reading an apology from me. I at least care about what it is I do and how I contribute to society on the whole. I do not condemn the person for being homosexual, but I do completely dislike the images available on their own profile/account, and I am sorry if it causes any of you any distress.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Perhaps...

...I should try drinking a bit - just a glass or two of wine (maybe a bottle) - before I start any background quilting. I am so wigged-out by not wanting it to turn out badly, that I am unnerving myself, and consequently it manifests as some very rigid FMQ -- and I can do so much better than that!

However, I am going to carry on and pretend I don't dislike what I've already done, and maybe I will loosen up as I move forward from here. What do you think?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Snowflakes

Yeah.

I know I would never use a kit, but I have to wonder - why would anyone buy one?

I keep seeing offers online when I "window shop" and let myself dream of the yardage I would buy if I only had a job. [oh, jeez, i'd need a bigger house]

And then I see those offers in the ad column on FB where you can enter to win a kit.

Whoopee. [dripping with sarcasm]

[If you're a quilter, you're already artistic and creative, so why would you want a kit?]
Why would you want to make a copycat item?

Maybe - if you really like a design or a pattern - make one of your own. At least use your own colors, or sketch it up yourself...but don't use a kit! For goodness sake, BE ORIGINAL! That's the fun of quilting - and the beauty in it. No two quilts should be the same!

They should be like snowflakes, I tell ya.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Only a day late

OK, just a little bit to whet the ol' appetite.

I neglected to take a good static shot of it while it hung on the frame after stretching and basting, so I tried to get something while having Karl hold it.Ha!

Better photos to come. For now, I MUST get quilting!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tomorrow.....

[drum roll]

....PHOTOS!

I have been Stitching. My. Brains. Out. over the last two-and-one-half days. Lost too much time on Sunday (well, the entire day, actually), chasing a ghost.

I'll explain that tomorrow, maybe, too.

Glad to have the math and finagling and futzing and piecing all done - finally! I'll be able to take some decent snaps tomorrow of the front and back...just before pin basting it, then will get down to the nitty-gritty creative stuff.

Ha!

The quilting begins just in time for the return of hotter temps - wouldn't ya know. Or maybe it's the hotter weather returns in time for the quilting. ?

Doesn't matter, either way, I am on the home stretch, baby!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Growing by leaps and bounds


Don't worry, it's cock-eyed on purpose!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Progress!

OK, so even though I am switching gears - again - I did manage to get word one done.

I have a game plan and it's looking doable. More later.

Been too long

Just wanted to pop in and check up before I get started with Bernina. What has everyone been up to?

For my part it hasn't all been sewing, sad to say. The few days where I have managed timet working at the sewing machine, it hasn't all been on quilting.

I did get mom's quilt (A.K.A. XX XXX) finished to the point where I could present it to her for her birthday (when she arrived at Gram's in July). The bulk of the quilting having been completed, she could see it for what it will be...so I almost didn't feel like a bad person. Her instructions to me were to 'finish working on the commissioned lap robe before getting back to work on [hers]' - so that's what I've been up to since returning from my time at Gram's.

Well, that and starting some robes for a fraternity. But that was a lot of lost time from the quilt project (the robe day and being at Gram's), so I will be concentrating on the lap robe exclusively for the next several days, just to make up time on it.

Yesterday I concentrated on the main border - and that's going to take a bit of time. I have decided to put the requested biblical verse into print as the border, and not using FMQ to create the message.

It certainly looks homemade, but not too bad - even if I do say so myself.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Ack!

It's been so humid for the past week - but even more so over the last two days - that I can't machine quilt!

The material is getting hung up on the machine bed, and not slipping and sliding!!!! My shoulders and wrists are feeling it - just can't keep quilting in this weather.

Perhaps today is a piecing sort of day.

Piece out, homies.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A quick update

Hey there, Betsy ~Thought you might like to see just a smattering of the squares in phase one of the construction process. These will be seamed together and rows constructed from the blocks, and so on.

Hope you don't mind, but I ended up adding a few 'objects' from my stash. As I was laying the strips out and sewing together the smaller blocks, it began to feel as though the overall combination of colors was lacking towards the darker turq end of the scale; and so I hope you feel the punches of darker turquoise pieces scattered far and wide throughout the top are a good addition.

Let me know if you have any concerns or objections, otherwise I will continue to assemble the pieces tonight with everything now on the table.

Hope Noah is feeling better by now, and that everyone is relaxed and happy!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Roadblock

Having an emotionally difficult time choosing which way to attack and quilt the border region(s) on this quilt. I thought I knew what I wanted to do, I really did, but the time arrived (over a week ago) to begin marking and quilting......and I can't commit!

I could add a little mod quilting to the overall piece, and because it's so simple I don't think it would clash or detract from the quilt, but then I get just a bit scared.

Then I doubt the decision.

Then.................I do nothing.

I could stay completely "traditional" in the look and add two separate border components - one on each of those two borders - but then I think, "are they too similar, would it be overkill?" and "what would I do with the open chunks in those half squares, quarter squares, and medallion areas?" (you see, I really didn't want to quilt over the birds - around them, yes, but not over them).

I also get a little nervous about not doing any sort of quilting in the space consisting of the cream and wheat strip borders. It's a small space, but it feels like there should be something quilted over at least part of it.So, to fix that quandary I then began to sort through my stash of stencils.

I played with a large artsy oak leaf and acorn motif which could stretch over a greater portion of the brown border and into the next section. From this point I could then stipple quilt in the areas on both sides to fill it in, and make the leaves and nuts stand out.

Any thoughts from anyone out there? Do any of these combinations look like a winner?

I am at a roadblock and need to get moving to recover my lost time on this quilt. Help! Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Great combo

Hey, thanks Maria!

This is a neat way to combine what I love to do with what I should be doing.

Crop circles, schmrop circles - THIS is true talent!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mank Avenue

When you head out on a 'driving vacation,' do you tend to go straight from point A to point B, or do you meander a little?

Does your meandering happen by chance - all spontaneous-like - or do you formulate a plan? Do you have a mission? A quest?

Hey! You can have a meandering quest....don't look at me that way.

Jean had wanted to go visit one of her siblings in Traverse City (hi, Annie), and as it so happens, people quilt in that neck of the woods! Who knew?! So, being a good friend (and a wonderful enabler) she mapped out a dotted line from home to TC, then we hit the road bright and early Friday morning, connecting the 'dots' along the way.

We re-visited Material Mart in Midland - which we stopped into last year on a fluke (during their sidewalk sale) - and had fun kicking the trip off with one more little quilt shop (Park Bench Quilt Shop) in Midland before truly heading north.

Material Mart is a fairly good-sized shop, layed out with enough room for looking and maneuvering through their reported 3,000+ bolts of cotton (and other items). It is a pretty decent place to get your 'quilt on.' Plus, the staff is friendly and attentive! Make certain to ask for their version of the frequent buyers card - as I said, we were there last year and nobody mentioned it to us as we cashed out.

This year we made it a point to ask for each shops' version of a buyers card!

Park Bench was our second quilt shop stop along the journey, and it was tiny. She had maybe a few hundred bolts of material, but it was all quality cotton. Some of it I recognized from perusing manufacturers websites (while dreaming and searching online).

There was a wonderful collection of Kaffe Fassett, if you are in to super mod and bright, bright (sometimes strangely mixed) colors. But, by-and-large, her collection throughout had a more modern feel overall - very little to no 'calico' as your mom would see it.

It is a fun, hip, bright little store, but with a very limited assortment (in terms of volume/assortment). Still, if you're in the area, by all means stop in for a visit!

Back on the road, still heading north and west, we found ourselves in Cadillac. After a little searching (and a telephone call) we finally found Julie Ann Fabrics - behind the businesses on north Mitchell (with the even-numbered shops), sort of from an alley side and the parking in the rear.

Their 'website' is nothing much to speak of (no inventory, no photos, just a handful of their machines for sale), so you really have to head in to town if you want to see what they stock. For a small town, if you are in a pinch for some material in a 'New York minute' and there isn't a chain store within 30 miles, I suppose it would do nicely. They have an assortment of the perfunctory materials, solids, calico's, a little of this and a little of that, some reproductions and the like, but it didn't knock my socks off. The selection of stencils doesn't live up to it's hype, but if you aren't picky, I suppose....

Hey, you always have mail order through the internet at many really well-stocked vendors.

Their staff on hand was nice enough, but the young woman behind the counter for my transaction was on-again-off-again in her friendliness. And keep in mind you need to look at your handwritten receipt BEFORE YOU WALK AWAY - especially if you pay by credit card. I only saw my printed receipt at the time of the purchase and didn't get a look at the handwritten bill (which had been tucked into the bulk of my odd purchases) until I unpacked all of my bags at home. My clerk arbitrarily added a few extra dollars to the totaled sub-total, and then added the tax - but this I didn't discover until Monday morning! What a riot!

On our first full day in TC, we headed to the last of the two shops Jean had found in the area, the first being InterQuilten in Interlochen, MI.

Yes, it was another tiny shop, but not as small as it looked. They used every square inch of space to their advantage, and from the looks of it, their time in business has been well spent, too. It was perhaps the most shopped place we visited this trip - crowded with some new visitors and LOTS of repeat customers from the sounds of the conversations going on. For a small quilt store on the perimeter of the northern lower fringes, they were a nice place to visit! Definitely worth the visit, so go, they have a lot to offer in the way of lovely, quality cottons and so many ideas and neat projects to view.

The last shop on the list was actually going out of business! The Liberty Bell Quilt Shop in Cedar, MI, is no more.

We arrived at their door on their very. last. day. of business for them, and they were picked clean; although, we each managed to walk out with a little bit of something (despite the fact their shelves were about as bare as bare could be). I aquired a couple of scrap bags, two fat quarters, some heat resistant applique template plastic (for a STEAL), a stand for my quilting rulers (another steal), a larger quilting/embroidery hoop (for 50 cents), some lovely hand-dyed pearl cotton (not enough, but hey...); a veritable mish-mosh of fun stuff. But we were just too late to go shopping there.

Wish I could've purchased their old counter - it was large and lovely and perfect for cutting material (with bunches of storage). It was for sale, but there was just no way to pay for it or to get it home. Ha!

Anyhow, for what it's worth, I give you my opinion on four quilt shops in the mid-Michigan to upper LP (Traverse City) area. Hope you had a great weekend.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Would love to participate

There is a colorful monthly quilting challenge (called "The Color Palette Challenge") on a blog called Patchwork Times by Judy Laquidara. I have tried several times over the last three weeks (since finding the blog/challenge) to add the button along my sidebar, but the coding does not work - or 'Blogger' is blocking me from adding the link button - I can't figure out which or why.

At any rate, if you highlight and paste the name into the search bar, it should take you to a page where you can read all about the challenge directives and then click on the name of the current month to go to the color key and sample of the current challenge.

Yes, the color key changes month-to-month, and you only have each current month to start and finish your challenge piece to enter it into the running for a modest monthly prize.

What a creative way to get beginners thinking about using colors outside of their comfort zone, and a great way to get a motivational fire lit under our quilting keesters!

If I weren't fully engaged in two projects at the moment, I would definitely be having a little monthly fun participating in this challenge!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ulterior everything

Unbelieveably enough, I spent the majority of the week (since the last post) not quilting (herein lies an ulterior motive). That's right, NOT quilting.

[collective gasp]

"Why? Why would you choose to stay away from the one thing you can do...you love to do?"

Calm down, I hear you and I understand your astonished bewilderment. If it makes you feel any better, I did touch material this week. I reveled in my scattered stash and played with the colors. Took stock and made promises to myself (ulterior promises) to stay away from acquiring anything further for the forseeable future.

I cleaned up quite a bit and put away, sorted, folded, re-folded, color-coded and stacked all of the loose bits here and there, and consolidated a literal mountain of fat quarters, cut yardage, leftovers, scraps and stash leavings, which had commandeered living space over the last year.

Yes, I've reclaimed the library - and found an upholstered chair in there!

Boy, do I need to get the sewing 'room' re-established!

For the better part of the last 16 months, I have planned, daydreamed, schemed, plotted, and salivated over reorganizing and rearranging the area I've claimed for sewing space (ulterior motive). Even going so far as to move the portable wall and add a larger, more stable table to work on.

I even went to the extreme of beginning the cleaning process necessary to maneuver everything else around the reorg just to make the whole dream a reality! Then....I ran out of steam.

Why? Oh, I don't know. A million reasons (or just one really apt reason).

It's that darned "l" word.

I suppose I just need someone to give me a really solid, painful kick in the bottomside to get me moving in the right direction again.

But, besides the reason(s) keeping me from accomplishing what it is I want (and need) to do, there are the excuses; and we all know excuses are far worse than reasons - trumped up or legitimate. So this week, I decided to kick myself in the derriere and get moving.

Baby steps I grant you, but movement forward is better than no movement at all, right?

Now that I can see the mountain of material that needs putting away - back into its proper space - I am more determined than ever to attack the sewing area reorg (which means I would have to completely overhaul the entire lower level to make it happen - another ulterior motive)!

As soon as I return from my coming Grandma-mission, I intend to dive in and get it done - lock, stock, and barrel!

I hear you - and no...that wasn't an excuse, but it is an ulterior threat!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Update: quilt-@zz-kicking-thing

UPDATE TO THE UPDATE:

As of 7:29 PM, I have ten completed hexes quilted today! Only fourteen remaining to stencil and stitch and then it's on to the first of the two borders. Stay tuned -- that is, if you're keeping track.

Original post, earlier in the day -- 6 down!

Four more marked, and......

GO!

For my own benefit

Because the blogger gods are being turd-ish, and I am not able to post a link along the margin of my page, I am setting the link to an ongoing 'challenge' here.

Kicking some major quilt @zz

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dear diary,

Today, I did pass the halfway mark with the hexes. Happiness.

Tomorrow...who knows.

20 of 48 'down'

Still have the lion's share of hexes to quilt, then the borders. Can't tell you how much I am looking forward to moving on to the borders!

Today my plans are to keep chipping away at the hexes, hopefully whittling the to-do portion down to less than half. Tall order, but I feel up to it today. The weather is fine, and I am knuckling down.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Time

It is taking nearly as long to get the design stenciled on as it is to quilt each section, and this heat is not helping at all.

I am so drained after 30 minutes of hoisting the quilt and maneuvering it into position under the needle, straightening and smoothing and cajoling just to have a handle on it for guiding it to and fro, that I want to walk away from it until this heat breaks - but I know that is a bad idea. I cannot afford to lose the lead time I have for getting this particular quilt finished. I am ahead of schedule and I want to stay there!

The girls are as angst-y and fertummelt with the weather situation as I, but they refuse to head to the lower level for some relief during the heat of the day. They lie scattered around the room, ready to pounce onto the quilt should I walk away for a bathroom break or to refill my water glass.

If I were a smart cookie, I would forgo the stitching and get the lower level ready to work in and then move us lock-stock-and-barrel to the cooler area!

I am apparently not a smart cookie, and in truth, I am actually feeling more like a low average Twinkie right about now....maybe even an underachieving King Don.

Maybe I should just go wash dishes or do some laundry and spend some sweaty time away from the quilt. Probably would be better in the long run for the quilt, eh?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

First stitches are in!

May have to pull them out and re-do them after it's all said and done, but this train only runs downhill from here on out!

The camel-colored thread was a better choice than a brown. Thanks, Barb. ; )

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Two months to the day

To. The. Day!

I began the Ocean Waves in April - the beginning of April - while I was struggling with those two classes and studying like a fiend. Wasn't paying enough attention to the math portion of the quilt making process, and managed to put together a lovely set of mismatched-in-size hexes with the central square.

They were perfectly pointed and stitched together, but darn it all if they weren't a hugely wrong size for the center square they surrounded!

I lost a lot of time ripping out all of those seams, reworking the math and re-cutting those pieces, because I hadn't enough of the material for a couple of those fabric choices to cut new triangles! And it wasn't as if I could go out and buy more of the central square material, either. Some of those fowl fabrics were hard to come by in the first place; but the whole truth (or the greater portion of it) was that I hadn't the funds to do any more shopping....so I was sunk unless I could make the changes work and simply 'adjust' everything I already had cut.

Usually my way to cope with stress is to sit and sew - fairly mindless once you get into a rhythm...and usually fairly harmless, too. I can relax and ruminate, unwind a bit, and then get back to whatever problem it might be that I needed to get back to and conquer with a better attitude - and a game plan of some sort.

Well, since it was the sewing that was vexxing me, I really had a mountain of poo to shovel through.

I ended up re-sizing a tremendous amount of triangles by trimming off 1/8" from three sides of those already cut triangles - hundreds and HUNDREDS of them. And if you're thinking to yourself: "Of course she cut off the excess from three sides of the triangles - they only have three sides!" Think again!

If you're a real quilter [wink] you'll know there are five face cuts on a triangle - the two extra being at the two non-right-angle points.

Anyhow, I am digressing - of course.

I began the quilt initially on the fourth of April, but after discovering my error, and having to regroup, I put it aside until the 14th, and began the sewing anew with all proper-sized pieces at the ready! Today is the 14th of June, and I have the quilt sandwiched and pin-basted, READY FOR THE QUILTING PROCESS!! Two months to the day - and it feels good.

I, of course, will keep you posted on the quilting.

Tee hee, now I can begin to work on the commissioned turquoise and purple string quilt!

Monday, June 11, 2012

The borders are on...

...and the top is finished! FINI!!

Thought I had made a drastic error in sewing together the long strip components of the border (5 strips per side - three of them less than an inch finished), and was about ready to cry, then set it on fire. Turned out it wasn't a drastic mistake so much as a REALLY close call.

Mitered the corners this morning (yes, all five strips), and now I am trying to assemble the back so that I can get this monster stretched and basted...today!

Yup. I am on a mission - and so is Flop! She wants to be the first to sleep on the new quilt.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Arduous

Well, that'll teach me!

I have managed to wait until the last minute to perform the arduous (and boring) task of rinsing out the material for the borders and backing! Why? I don't know. With all of the down time on crap weather days, and the evenings (oh, the wasted evening hours), I could have (and should have) had the material rinsed and been certain of it's colorfastness by now!

In my own defense, however (and yes, I know, I'm arguing with myself), I hadn't been able to rinse out the lovely Robert Kaufman brown until now because I needed to find a sufficient quantity to purchase for the border, but that's no excuse for the rest of it....and there is a good amount to have to get through. Normally, I simply rinse and check it for bleeding once I bring it home, that way the deed is already done when I want to begin using it.

I guess I wasn't feeling 'normal.'

Well, shame on me, and nyah-nyah. [wagging finger at self] I broke rule #10, and I have to make up for it today.

The drill sargeant in my head is now yelling: "Step it up, woman! You're burnin' daylight! Hupp-two! Hupp-two!"

Guess I best get to it, this is going to be a long day with little to show for it except yards and YARDS of ironed material.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Wahoo!

Just four series of rows to join together and then on to the borders!!

[cheering, high fives, confetti]

When I sat down at the machine this morning, I still had a lot of triangle points to pin together (and sweat over) - and I wasn't looking forward to it. But now I can see the end of this particular tunnel, and I am jazzed again.

With a long time-out (in order to drive Bud to work), I am once again approaching the massive pile of pins and awaiting iron. While on the road, I took a few minutes to do some 'rithmetic and found that in just the major rows/seams alone, there were 184 points to match and pin! This does not include all of the incidental matching to get the smaller components of each block of triangles (within the hexes) to match.

I am now ever so glad I decided to make the Ocean Waves portion smaller and put a rather decadent set of border rows on instead. With any luck - and few interruptions - I should be able to piece together the border bits and hopefully get started adding them to the whole configuration before having to drive back to Fenton to gather Brian and get him back home.

Yup, I have made a good dent. Once the individual rows were together I still had 23 intersections (triangle joints) to match and pin for each pair of rows....eight times over! So, as I said, I am jazzed to be this far...........finally.

Wahoo, indeed!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Moving along

Three and one-half rows to assemble, then the borders!

OK, maybe not exactly. That's sort of wishful thinking, I guess.Maybe it's more like: Assemble the three and one-half rows, sew the rows together, then the borders....THEN the backing (assembling and stretching), and then I can sandwich, baste, and begin the quilting.

Wahoo!

But, in all honesty, because of the poor lighting (the sun and clouds are not cooperating), I am growing weary of pinning all of these dadblamed triangle points!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The things we miss

It's funny, isn't it, the things we miss when we're not at home (and the stuff we take for granted when we are).

Currently I am at my Grandmother's for a spell, and even though I brought things to work on, I am still sort of lost and wanting.

Humans are never truly satisfied, are we?

I am rinsing out and testing for colorfastness the purples and turquoises for a commissioned piece; my hope is to have this task completed shortly, and to get some of the cutting accomplished (if not all of it) so that I can begin to assemble it once I return home. Well....

I will be ready enough to begin it, anyway. I still need to get the XXX quilt top completely together, with its borders and then stretched. I finished the hexes the evening before I left, and have all but two of the half squares for the vertical sides cut and in place! That felt good to see it to that point - I feel it's taken entirely too long! As I said in an earlier post, I really wanted to have it stretched and basted so that I could have it with me to work on - turning the edges over to protect them while quilting and to get it marked, BUT it didn't quite get done. So, phooey!

Now I have itchy palms and want to be working on it, but it will have to wait. [sigh] I have grown so used to being able to sew a little almost every day - even if for a few minutes. Oh, how I miss it.

I did, however, manage to locate and purchase the last of the necessary material for the project - and I did that on the way to Grandma's house! Found myself a beautiful little shop on 12 Mile Road in Berkley, MI, called Guildcrafters Quilt Shop. It's deceptively tiny but gloriously stocked, and I've decided I must go back to look through the shelves I didn't get to in my rush to Gram's.

They do have a frequent buyers card with a great offer if you can/or do (but shouldn't) frequently buy quilting fabric. There's a two month time limit on the card for a free $40-worth of merchandise IF you accomplish getting it completely punched within two months of your initial purchase (a $20 freebie is yours if you can't get that much material purchased in such a small time frame).

Did that make sense?

But, you need to ask them if they have a frequent purchase program - they don't just offer it....or think of it. I asked as I was handed my receipt if they had anything like that, and that's when my clerk took a card from a drawer and filled it out for me.

Guildcrafters also has a minimum cut of no less than one-quarter yard, so my next pixelated project will require me to shop elsewhere. For pixel quilts I usually only buy 1/8 yard pieces if I have no need for something extra in my stash (and trust me when I say I have an adequate-enough stash).

Despite these minor issues, the shop looks to be a lot of fun to explore, and I will be back in the very near future. There were bolts to play with dream over and fabric to manhandle.

For now, however, I will have to get back to the rinsing and the ironing. It's a very rainy day here and not much else to do outside, so my indoor tasks will have to keep me busy and content. I am not working with my own computer - and this sweet old Mac doesn't like my thumb drive - so I cannot load the latest pictures of the XXX quilt. The next photos you will see will show a very different quilt top!

Until next time, stay happy....and let me know what you are up to.