Wednesday, May 30, 2012

High hopes

I had high hopes of having all of the piecing finished (including those blanketty-blank-#!%@ half squares along the sides and bottom), completing the rows and getting the borders in place, with even higher hopes of having the back together this afternoon. My grand desire was to stretch and baste the thing tonight/tomorrow morning, then be able to take it with me in order to turn the extra backing over the raw edge and to the front. Once that's basted in place I can begin quilting it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

By the way

I found it necessary to make private a number of older blog entries written while assembling a contest entry. So, if you are looking for a few specific photos and/or blog articles from late last year through February/March of this year, I am sorry to say they won't be visible again until after a contest entry date has passed.

Please continue to visit, as updates and those specific entries will be available again shortly. Until then, I will continue to post about newer quilts and wall art (most often with photos), and about favorite shops - online and in my 'neighborhood.'

Thanks for stopping by!


Sometimes we make decisions based on nothing....ab-so-lute-ly nothing!

Nothing intelligent, nothing rational, nothing of importance used to base the outcome on. No coins tossed, no rock-paper-scissors, no eenie-meenie-miney.

You get the idea.

I have, on occasion, searched online for material (specific material) for an ongoing project - we all have. And I have, on occasion, even purchased more than I needed to at the time.

[one of those (bad) decisions I discussed earlier]

Well, I was practicing my decision-making skills two weekends ago - practicing the reigning-in of my urges - when I drifted in to one of the online fabric stores I have shopped with in the past - Contemporary Cloth. Of course, I found more than I needed.

It took me over the course of the last two weeks to weed out and decide against so many cute fabrics, until I had my selection down to a measly dozen-and-one-half items.

I had eliminated all sorts of lovely material until I had the selection down to bare necessity Kona solids (and maybe a print or two). Hey! I did really well. Really! Sometimes you have to make the tough decisions.

There was so much more I would loved to have kept in my 'basket', but I knew I hadn't the funds for it all. Truth be told, I truly shouldn't have bought what I did, but it will be used. The reason for the purchase was to fill holes in my stash from the last two projects.

In the grand scheme of things, Contemporary Cloth may not be the biggest online purveyor of material to choose from, but their customer service and material selection are worth the effort. They carry a unique selection of cottons, and a fairly good selection of clothing knits, plus a wide range of decorator materials to boot. They even stock a fun selection of quality Japanese prints!

Whenever I have had to contact them I am always met with a quick (and fantastic) response from Sondra! So what more could you ask for?

Sometimes you just gotta do what you got to do!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's getting there

Slowly but surely, there is progress. I would have much more accomplished if I didn't let myself be so concerned with the placement of the hexes. It's supposed to be scrappy, and I am way over-orchestrating this bad boy!

My short range goals are to have the piecing and borders on the top by the end of the weekend; then get the backing done and stretched; the quilt pin-basted by the beginning of next week, and then to be able to; start quilting it before June arrives.

Lofty but doable....very doable.

Three more to piece today, then seven remaining to decide on.

It's getting there.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Quilting assistant

Everyone needs an assist once in a while - and Flop has offered to help with the ironing.Couldn't do it without her!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Some progress

Not enough, but some.

I actually managed to grit my teeth and commit to the layout, stitching together a good many of the hexagons and making it/them permanent.

16 more hexes to assemble (32 color matches to get together - some are already done, thank you Barb and Jean), and those pesky half squares and corners to cut, then it's all downhill to the border(s) and backing!

Good for me!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ahoy! (more quilt punning)

The brilliant AM celestial light was quite helpful this morning. It perfectly illuminated the current condition of the Ocean Waves quilt, currently underway (I promise, this will be the last nautical pun.....for this entry).

As you can see, I've painted myself into a bit of a mini corner over the past couple of weeks, but I believe I have also managed to extricate myself from the corner this morning. So, now - against my better judgement - I am going to forgo completing the last twenty or so hexagon combos before sewing together the next sections already pinned into (tentative) place. After having looked at (and loving) most of the current layout for the better part of this week, I am satisfied (enough) to commit the layout to permanence.

The color combinations were meant to be rich and off-kilter, dazzling and sparkly when viewed on the whole, but to be subtle in their eclectic-ness. I wanted it to feel like a very well-integrated old world brownstone, in a New York-neighborhood, without a care for social 'norms' - but not so hip that it rocks the boat.
Sorry, that last line was not an intentional nautical slip.

Oh!  Neither was that.


I fully intended to insert brighter and darker combos in punches throughout the top (without making a pattern of it), so when your eye takes in the entire piece, I am hoping the balance of colors - with those playful light and dark highlights sprinkled all around - will frame the birds and please the eye.

I guess the only way to know will be to keep working diligently on days like today, matching and cutting and laying all together....getting as much completed as possible, until the playing and fiddling is over and the quilt top is complete.

Wish me luck, I am diving in! More later.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Me too, Caron. Me too.

I did get what I wanted - this time. But I would have preferred not to have been forced to purchase more than I wanted of other fabrics the first time I visited, and gotten the wider selection I was after then. So, I agree with you in that they are not the easiest folks to work with - at least, they are not all the same in their work habits, that's for certain.

My out-of-the-way stops are few and far between as I have only just begun to actively look for local quilting shops over the last two years or so. (Unemployment plays havoc with desires and a budget.) I am happy to drift up to just beyond Davison once in a great while to visit Linda's Country Quilt Shop...have you ever been there? She has a tremendous supply of Civil War era reproductions, and a smaller selection of more modern fabrics, too (including some Kaffe Fasset). I've blogged about Linda's place before.

A small but beautifully stocked shop is The Village Quilt Shoppe in Lake Orion. Not too far from home (for me), and a great way to get in a bit of walking (around the entire village) before I treat myself to their remnant selection for my stash. I would classify their shop offerings as more a fun, funky, modern, far-from-traditional selection, with a pretty nice choice of Christmas materials! They do have some 'classic-type' materials - and a few of the modern repros of the 30's and 40's - but not much in the way of the darker, muddier prints offered everywhere. The VQS is always a great quick treat.

I know I need to (and I will) branch out over time, and I have already looked into some places in the Brighton area that I will have to check out. And from online searches I know there are plenty of shops to choose from right here in Michigan! I have even been to the storied Ice House in Grayling, but was not impressed much with the small selection.

Do you have any recommendations for shops to visit?

Ah, well. Must to get back to the XXX quilt - the light is perfect today and I have some time and sewing to make up for before it's back to the text books for another week.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A quick correction re: Country Stitches

I helped Jean move Barbie-dorm-stuff out of East Lansing today, and as a boon, she steered the hulking mass of Suburban to the newly discovered quilting store and gave me a few moments to peruse.


With assistance from Barb I very quickly strode from one end of the store to the other, searching for perfect wheat/cream fillers (among other things).

The woman cutting my material asked me that fateful question, "How much do you want of each?" I replied that since I had to buy a half yard as a minimum, then...I guess a half yard of each would do.

"No," she said, "you only need to buy at least a half yard of the sale fabrics, but you can get however much you want of everything else."

Well, huh. I guess that last clerk I had wait on me wanted to keep it simple, because she told me I had to get no less than one half yard, no matter what it was - and my choices weren't all on sale!

So there you go. Be certain as you're checking out that your clerk registers you in their database and then hands you a savings club card. After you have purchased so much, it is worth a great discount. Stop by and get the details - you'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Decisions, decisions

Have I covered this title already? Ah, well. Que serra if I have.

My love of scrappy quilts comes naturally from my great grandmother on my father's side. She was grandma's mother (and they were both diminutive women), and small as she was, she could move mountains, Grandma Biddle could!

Her entire life she was a go-getter, my great grandmother -- right up until the very end. And I am wholeheartedly convinced that she would still be around had she not been knocked down by a neighbor's dog and broken her hip! While she was bedridden she came down with pneumonia and died at the tender age of 96....and that was over nineteen years ago!

She was the one who instilled a love of quilts (and quilting) in me. Her treasures to us grand kids were lovely and lasting, and I believe I quilt today because I originally wanted to make a treasure for each of my sons (at least, I would hope they would be treasured), and to replace the quilt she made for me (which someone had stolen years back).

Where is she going with this? How does this have anything to do with decisions?

Fast forward many moons and you'll find me at any time sorting wistfully through a wonderful stash, attempting to pair just the right 100% cotton ingredients into a brilliantly colored scrappy-looking top. I think the beauty of those older gems is in the basic fact that the material assortment was not as varied and contrived as ours is today. Those quilters worked with what they had, or with what they could trade for - or scare up from discarded clothes and feed sacks. I admire that aspect of their creation process, and the lovely combinations they stitched together. Their decisions were limited to exactly what they had on hand - nothing more and nothing less.

When I plan a project I am always noticing that at some point in the accumulating process I inevitably veer into a scrappers mentality - without starting off that way or meaning to. I may have a great color scheme planned, and everything worked out around one or two basic materials, and all the material I need stacked up ready to go, and I will still begin to play with slipping in another dozen (or two) fabric pieces to widen the assortment and dazzle the eye!


I have no idea, but rarely do my quilts ever end up exactly the way I initially envision them, or plan them to look. They're usually better, but almost always different than the intended scheme.

And here I am, as usual, stymied for the moment trying to accommodate my hideous indecisiveness. I've made myself a pile of too many decisions, and now I need to pare it down. Waahhh!