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 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


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......


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


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 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!

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


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


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.


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.