Friday, November 1, 2013

Not so much

I did finish piecing together one 100-piece block, and I have one more laid out and ready to assemble - so I consider my goal 75% achieved! Hey, 3/4 is far better than nothing (or, in this case 50%).

AND I managed to pull out a huge assortment of yellow fabric from the stash - which took quite a bit of time. Yellow-into-gold, dirty-green yellow and gold-ish orange, school-bus-yellow (which is really some sort of yellow-orange), pale and vivid and smudgey and....well, you get the idea; yellow, y-e-l-l-o-w, YELLOW! Working into a portion of the top of VG's 'thing,' which is just the tip of the yellow iceberg. Once I begin the next row, I will require in the neighborhood of 60-to-68% of my yellow color palette for the bulk of this project. Each successive row of the next three will call for an ever-widening array of yellow, until finally working into a shadowy array of oranges, rusty browns, and dingy yellow overtones of greenish browns. That will ultimately finish off the 'item.'


Good thing I like color...and that I have a 100% color spectrum field of vision. I know this because I've been tested. Thank you, God, for the excellent vision You have given me.

What are you working on?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

1,530 down!

Only 14,968 to go!!

My goal is to get another two squares completely together by this evening. Yes, I said "TWO." No, the boys won't have a warm meal at dinner, and the cats will go without attention and lap time, but I feel I must get two more squares knocked out by the end of the day. PLUS, finishing two more squares puts that row at more than half-way complete. If I can achieve this then I feel I can perhaps manage another two this weekend - despite the fact I haven't even begun my next essay, yet.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

That's just wrong


If you've arrived here via a link you've created (or used once too often) from a pornographic site - PLEASE STOP! I would prefer it if you used another avenue to get here, like, say...SAVE IT TO YOUR FAVORITES. Please. I'm afraid you're going to drag some creepy cooties or a stain of some sort onto my quilts. I'm just sayin'.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Change of heart - change of mind

Some time ago (as far back as June), I decided I would put away "VS" and get to work on something more immediate and quicker to finish. However, in all of the time that's passed since I loaded up and packed it all away, I have found myself pining for it.

YES, you can pine for a quilt project!

I pass the large box, packed to the brim with bits and pieces: thousands of already cut one-inch squares; two complete rows configured and beautifully pieced; piles of my stash ready to go under the ruler and rotary blade....I see that box and my heart sinks. I have lost all momentum, and as much as I know I will look at other projects as I get back to work on "VS", I can't help but be excited at the prospect of pulling him out of his box and getting back to work on such a large-scale, all-consuming task.

Oh, baby, I had better get to work. As much as I will need to piece together (after I manage to lay them out), I still have thousands upon THOUSANDS of pieces to cut.

More later. What are you working on?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Jury's still out

First quilt competition; last quilt competition? Eh, we'll see.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Today is the day!

I wanted to make a quilt that people would remember in some way, and to represent the groovy flowerchild in me -- I think it's a pretty good attempt!
Currently finishing the quilting on a miniature version, and multiple color studies of (this) my original pattern/design and altered original pattern/design.

Peace and thanks for looking in!

By the way...this is my first entry into an AQS quilt show/competition, too!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Good day

It was a good day.  A HOT day, but good otherwise.  Scary.  Personally (read: "emotionally")  challenging...but good.

Jean, thanks for 'holding my hand' and kicking me to do the last bit of necessary packing to ship PQ1 to Paducah - and THANKS for the groovy tape, too!  You hang on to it so we have it for the next shipping assignment.

My quilt is now on it's way to the international AQS show that will take place August in Grand Rapids, MI.  Can't wait for you all to see it! 

Right now I'm just doing the dance (you know the one) and mentally wringing my hands in excitement and worry.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I'm back - is there anybody out there?

Hooray! The blogger thingy is working again! Things are bit skewed and farked around on the screen, but it's better than having no voice - so I'll take it!

Today will find me packing PQ1 into it's traveling attire so that I may post it tomorrow. Yup, I am ready to send it on to Paducah! From there, those wonderful quilt-loving people will ready her for display at the International Quilt Festival in Grand Rapids, MI, less than one month from now!

What are you up to?

Sunday, July 7, 2013

By definition

Everybody has their own take on any given thing.  What may be deemed 'good' by some folks may only be mediocre (or worse than mediocre) in the estimation of another.  It all comes down to one person's opinion in the long run.  And let's face it, there are millions upon millions of opinions out there.

By my definition, yesterday was a pretty good day. It included friends - old and new; a nice trip to a favorite place for a needed activity; a positive result for that needed activity; a new found spot for needlework supplies; lots of laughter, and; a good meal.  You almost couldn't ask for anything more.

The original intent of the foray was to have my accepted entry into the GR AQS competition in August (and yes, I am going to repeat this several more times before the end of the competition) appraised for insurance and shipping value.  A very neccessary step.

I drove to Jean's place north of Flint, and from there she drove us all (Jean, myself, and PQ1) to Bay City for the meeting with Margaret, the AQS certified quilt/textile appraiser. 

Margaret spent about an hour asking questions, sussing out information, measuring, inspecting, feeling, folding, and answering questions I had from time to time.  All along the way she had kind, very kind comments and a couple of suggestions to help make PQ1 one of those 100% entries!  I listened to every word and committed much of it to memory.  And while I still have one remaining question for her, I will have to reserve it for some time in the near future.

I am anxiously awaiting Margaret's appraisal so that I may finish the one remaining piece of paperwork I have not filled in yet, to send back to the AQS folks - ahead of sending the quilt to them.  Without a valid, written insurance value, I would be 'up a creek' if something were to happen to the 'old girl'....ever! was a great day - and my definition is the only one that matters at this moment in time.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Another road trip

Short but sweet it will be. 

Heading to Bay City to have PQ1 appraised for insurance purposes.  I will need to ship it very soon to Paducah to take part in the Grand Rapids competition, so today is a monumental day for me - and for PQ1.

In fact, one in a string of quickly approaching monumental days!

Have a great day, everyone.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Happy dance!

I can't stop my leg!  Well, both of them, I suppose.  I am "happy dancing" up and down the street!!

Received the packet in the mail today -
my PQ1 was accepted! 

That's right....juried into the AQS Grand Rapids International Quilting Competition!  PQ1 is one of 328 entries which will be hanging in the DeVos Place Convention Center.  Happy, HAPPY, HAPPY dance!

[happy sigh]

Now, all I have to do is maintain composure and make it through the next couple-a months.  R-r-r-i-i-i-i-ght.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Success and submission

I have succeeded in 'murdering' another spool of thread.  Always a fun lil' extra boost to my psyche when I can throw another spent spool onto the "been there, done that" pile.  I couldn't tell you why exactly, but just know that this little milestone gives me a cheap thrill.

Currently busy putting together the last of those little 100-piece squares.  Yes, the last one............for a while.    No!  I haven't finished the thing!  Heavens!!  To accomplish that over the last three weeks or so would have meant never having slept, eaten, showered, gotten Karl back-n-forth to class, etc, etc.  :^O

No, over the last few days I've applied logic and reason to the situation - and my heart lost out.  Here's where I submit to what I know to be the smart thing to do.  It's taken me a long time to come to terms with cleaning off the table top to make room for finishing up a few things before proceeding any further with this large (time-consuming) quilt. 

Spent the better part of this morning putting away all of the cut 1x1s, and folding up any and all necessary fat quarters, cut yardage, scraps, etc. I am employing for this project.  It's killing me, but it is the right thing to do 'momentarily.'


So, when I can get back to work on VS I will find I have only 15,068 pieces to go!  Just think, after only one more square I will have gotten the overall number down into the 14-thousands!!

Talk about your success stories.  I think this little bit of submission will go a long way.  ;) 

How about you; what are you working on and how is it coming along?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Just a smattering

I love the sound of the word "smattering".  It puts me in mind of the sound of bacon frying in a pan and the smokey-yummy flavor it leaves on my tongue.
At any rate, here is a smattering of the colors I managed to bring home after my recent expedition with Jean.  These are all obviously yardage and/or FQs.... and therefore does not represent those lovely bits of fabric scrap finds from Bay City.

And YES, I have already used a good many of these new recruits in row number two!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Those lil' expeditions

I hinted at this particular entry in my other blog - - sharing that Jean and I had driven to a handful of quilt shops on Friday, and that I hoped to be able to elaborate with our assessments of each of these new material destinations in short order.

So, I am about 12 hours later than I wanted to be, but who cares - right?

I understand all-too-well that small business owners spend their every waking moment either being at their place of business or thinking about something regarding the business.  Proprietors are never off duty. Never!  I know this because I once owned and operated a children's bookshop, and it was heaven fringed in hell.

I didn't hate any of it...not a bit, and I thought it only fringed at one end.  However, I did completely abhor the time it took away from my sons (at their young-ish ages).  That was my own ONLY personal, less-than-bright-spot of business ownership.

At any rate, I brought up that little crumb to illustrate my total understanding of the time-sucking aspects of business owning and operation.  And yet, I don't get why most quilt shops are not open past four or five in the afternoon!  It's confounding, since I would think many of their would-be consumers are at work during the same hours of operation, making it impossible to spend time shopping as they would like.

That all being said, we found ourselves visiting only five shops Friday, from the opening bell to the closing gong.  We had only originally planned to see three shops, the farthest flung being in Bay City, but ended up adding two additional names to the list - one of which came to us from the sales staff at The Fabric Fair.

"Ooo-o-o-o-h-h-h-h-h," I hear you MI quilters sighing with envy.  "The Fabric Fair."  [heads nodding with approval]

That is where we began our shop hop, and boy, what a gem!  It was like waking up in Oz. 

From the large basket of find-it-yourself scrap grab to the rooms and aisles of material [squeals of delight].  They live in a lovely old store (two, really, because they went through a wall into an adjoining business) with LOTS of fabulous daylight streaming in the large front windows.  Glorious shopping environment!

We arrived bright and early and began ooo-ing and aww-ing over the collection of mini-bolts nearest the door (their layout needs a bit of retooling to make it more shopper-friendly), until we encountered the basket of scrap goodies laying in wait at the end of a cutting counter.  Holy gobstopper!  Must have spent half an hour just sorting through each and every piece in it making three piles - "yours, mine and no thank you."  We divided and conquered a monstrous mound and left there with a sack each of exciting possibilities.

Personally, I walked away from The Fabric Fair with a lovely assortment of (mostly) large-ish scraps and about eleven eighth yard cuts in new colors for the current project.  Out of the heavy bag of scraps I've identified thirty-nine (yes! 39), new colors to use in my insane project alone!  AND, we found enough strips of other groups of colors to make an entire laprobe - at least!

Definitely a destination store to re-visit.  Jean and I agreed that TFF in Bay City is nearly equal to the wonderfully stuffed CQK in Brighton.  You just can't have a limited budget when you visit either one because there aren't many/any discounts or frequent buyer cards/clubs to make multiple full-priced purchases at either one a commonplace event.

From there we hit Bittersweet Quilt Shop in Pinconning.  It's a sweet old church across the street from a local school, and it was unassuming as we drove past it.  An innocuous sign pointed to the building, but left us quite confused as to whether the actual perish building was the quilt shop or if it was around the back.  We ended up driving around the block and coming up alongside the parking area, finally convincing ourselves we needed to enter the old church itself. 

Once inside, we were charmed with the decor - but not with the overall lighting.  I took issue with the stained glass (lovely as it is) casting a very heavy yellow pallor over the material.  Spotty indirect incandescents were of little help with all of the dark corners, shadow-heavy shelving, and low shelves, so I fixated on the interruptions and additions of all of the antique-y and crafty 'stuff' sprinkled everywhere throughout the space. 

Their website photos of the "retreat" space downstairs give the impression that the lighting may be better there, but I like to see my material in a more natural (and well lit) way before I make a purchase.

Cute idea, but the material selection was pretty well a copy of everything seen everywhere else, with the exception of a few more children-oriented prints in a couple of collections I have seen in other locales. 

However, I do have to admit to being pleased with the selection of white-on-whites I'd not encountered anywhere else, and had I the capital I would have purchased a bit of each.  Otherwise, no big shakes - but a lot of wit and charm....just not a quilt shop per se'.  If you're in the area, check them out.

Stop number three found us at one of the three originally scheduled destinations: Quilted Cottage in Saginaw.  It was neither a "cottage" nor very 'quilty.'  A very dated strip mall and tacky window display signalled what was to meet our eyes on the other side of the door.

Very little to offer in the way of fabric, and the selection is dated for the most part.  Lots of space at the front of the store for a haphazard notions area with [eh] patterns thrown in for good measure.  To the rear of the store (which equalled more than half of the depth) there were more tables and ironing boards filled with very opinionated women bitching (rarely stitching) than bolts of material, and apparently more time put into Christmas decorations on a shelf containing a scant seasonal selection.

Not worth the drive.  NOT worth the drive.  NOT.

The Front Porch Quilt Shop was another adorable, older Victorian-style building (a brick home), and this one is located in Frankenmuth.  One or two blocks off the main drag of that delightful town, it was the last of the 'planned' shops for our Friday hop.  This little shop was stuffed nearly full and had fresh arrivals piled around the door!  A fun little local haunt for those who don't drive too far from home, I suspect.

The layout leaves a lot to be desired, since walking space is at a premium - especially when more than three shoppers are in the store at one time.  Their working sewing table should be up near the register, in the dead space there.  HINT: Leave the floor space (where the sewing table currently resides) available for more display; better organization.  Too much wanna-be-cutesy-like-other-quaint-shops-and-use-cupboards-and-the-like-to-display-sh*t takes up space better used for getting bolts up off the limited floor space and for ease of shopping.

If I can't get next to the shelves and really look at a bolt, I won't bother.  I don't like leaning over leaning bolts, stacked on the floor, to get close to something that intrigues me. 

Another downer is that I never checked my receipt before walking out - DARN IT ALL!!!  I was overcharged a dollar for a clearly marked scrap bag.  Not cool, since the overcharge takes away from the "sale" price given for the pre-cut FQs they were offering for the holiday shopping.  Could have simply been an error on the part of the woman ringing things/cutting things (since she was a bit flustered with the growing line, and since she was the only person there in the store to service customers). 

Just be diligent at the point of sale, that's all I'm saying - everywhere.  Even in the excitement of the moment - CHECK YOUR RECEIPTS!!!

Otherwise, this shop had some neat offerings - materials I haven't seen elsewhere, or have only found online.  It was nice to have a fresh assortment of fabric candy to fondle and drool over.

Our last shop stop was also in Frankenmuth, in fact, at the Woolen Mill.  It lists itself as a quilt shop, and so we eagerly traversed the store until Jean happened upon the actual selection.

Oh, well.

While they do have the least expensive selection of FQs we've ever found, the whole assortment of cottons they offer for sale could fit inside a small walk-in closet.  Not really a go-to location if you are on a time budget, so no recommendation for this so-called quilt shop, either.

So, there you have it.  My (our) reviews of Friday's efforts.  I hope they are of some help in one way or another.  Have fun out there, and let me know if you have any shop recommendations or comments you'd like to add pertaining to these shops, or any others written in the past.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Nothing to say beyond -

Thinking of the people of Moore, OK, today.

My thoughts and prayers are with you.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Holy Moses!

Row A (or, row number one) is officially complete and hanging off to the side; and as excited (and eager) as I am to begin laying out and sewing together Row B, I see that I absolutely need to cut piles of new colors to add to the working palette before I can get started.

Yes....I must

AB-solutely must!  Can't lay out the first square (or the second, for that matter) of the second row unless I add color to the color selection.  Without a wider variety of creamy peaches, pinkish tans, greyed-up flesh tones and taupes, I am going to end up wasting more time trying to find things than actually assembling - as I did on the first row.

I've learned my lesson!

Besides - despite the fact that I just spent a good deal of time sorting and straightening and neat'n-ing up the joint just to find the ironing board surface, I still need to bring some necessary order to the remaining chaos once again.  If I do it every so often with this project, I find I am better able to maintain a little bit of calm in laying out multiple 100-piece blocks.  And, it's always faster (and more fun) to have as many of the color pieces cut and at the ready instead of searching out the right little something-something just to make a few inches of progress.

Who knows, it may make my daylight hours more productive overall.  I'll let you know in a day or two.  Oh, and I'll add a few photos next time to show you what else I've been up to.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Ugh, uh-oh, ummmm

Hello, friends.

Hello, acquaintances.

Hello, family.

I have yet to sign myself into an asylum as I am not quite screaming bonkers (to this point).   Signs to the contrary are - well....they're contrary.

The first one-thousand pieces are together, and (hopefully) Row A will be complete by nightfall. 

Yes, I am still working on the 16K monstrosity.  Computations show I've managed to cut nearly 400 different materials (grammar police, do your thing) to get to this milestone!

=^. .^

There is no sun today so I will be assembling the final square-and-1/3 using overhead lights.  I find that tends to muck with the color values to some degree, so I end up comparing each piece with previous color choices from earlier blocks to keep the quilt even and true to itself.  It's a bother and takes more time, but I need to finish this first row today.  I have to have this progress for myself.

Each row consists of 1,130 pieces; those are sewn into 11.3 blocks (yup, that last 1/3 block is really a strip block of 3x10).  With the completion each row I will have assembled the equivalent of approximately one-quarter of PQ1!  By the time I finish with this 'masterpiece' I will have sewn through the equivalent of more than three-and-three-quarters PQ1s!!  3.9 PQ1s to be more precise.  That quilt is 4,225 pieces, not including the back and binding.

Hhmmm....maybe a whole cloth quilt wouldn't be a bad idea, eh?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

When your cat decides she can help with the layout

If your kitty is demanding attention, JUST GIVE IT TO HER!
This is the result of hours of work undone when my persistant cat decided to get my attention one way or another. 

It took an hour to undo the damage from Hurricane Hobbes.

Many tears, a bit of searching, and the good sense to have taken photographs all along the way.  Sadly, the changes I had made to the completely laid out block had to be fudged (no photos of the changes made), but I think it's about as good as it's gonna get - and I suppose I am satisfied.

Next time, 'Beana,' I will not ignore you for the sake of cutting one more necessary fussy-cut piece! I can't afford to.

I need a drink!

Just as an example

So, you know each block is 100 pieces, and I think I've said there are a LOT of blocks in this one (equating to an insane amout of pieces/piecing).

Here are the first few blocks together just so you can get a small idea of what's happening.

Above is a snap of the first three blocks alongside the portion of the pixelated image they correspond to.  Below is a close-up of block number four and the image I am matching to.  Well, actually, the image is to the left, and the piecing is to the right...but you get the idea.
Now, maybe, this will help to illustrate the enormity of the scale.

M a y b e.

Saturday, April 27, 2013


I had so hoped to get it down to less than fifteen-four by the end of the weekend, but I don't think that's going to happen.  All the same, 700 (tiny) one-inch squares, stitched together and ready to go is still rather satisfying. 

However, today's count only served to reinforce the fact that it is going to be the better part of an entire year just to get it pieced.  Shoot!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

16,198 - take THAT!

Thing is, I need to get some serious cutting done (in fairly quick order) so I can finish off this pesky first row. 

Actually, if I can manage to make myself buckle down and cut about 2,100 1" squares of just the material I have currently pulled from my stash (for this project), I will be able to think about piecing the entire first row AND begin work on the second row, too!

There are ten-point-three (or, 10-and-1/3) columns, and 14 rows of  (plus a little bit of an extra) 10x10 blocks to construct overall, and it's starting to make me sit up and take notice.  Yes, that's 16,498 pieces, all starting out as one inch squares.  You read me right - ONE INCH CUT SQUARES!

And as if to make myself completely doubt my own sanity, I started thinking.  Never a good thing for me to do - at least, not without chocolate and dubious amounts of liquor at the ready. 

The thought I thinked while thinking, you wonder.  ANSWER: The realization that these first two rows will be the equivilent of just over half of PQ1!....but hardly a dent in this particular quilt.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Make that 16,398!

Yup, the first block of 100 is together!

I can do this (just not as quickly as I would like to).

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Another new mess
Lots of stuff to do...lots of ongoing projects (aka "unfinished"), and a fair amount of projects I would love to dive into. 

Ping! Ping! Ping!  Thoughts zip into my brain at lightening-like speeds and deliciously colorful visuals smack around in my head, bouncing off one another and igniting exciting ideas; my pencil and notebook always at the ready.

I know, I know - "one at a time."  But is there anyone who can hold themselves happily to creating just one thing at a time when your brain is churning out so many lovely fabric dreams and desires??

Very recently I began making a mess with a little something I have been itching to get going on for about a year.  Made up my mind which one of two ways to construct it, then stared at the model for this wonderful 'thing' for an additional two months! The whole while I debated my sanity for even considering it. 

The undertaking of cutting well over 16,000 one-inch squares has only just become daunting, and I haven't even finished laying out the first 100, yet!  However, the prospect of sewing all those 16,000++ squares is now sinking in, and while I am terrified at the thought of devoting so much time to it all, I am confident and eager, too. 

Being crazy has its advantages. ;)

There is a lot of math I could throw at you, but I won't.
OK, I said I wouldn't, but just as an example: I would need to finish three 10x10 blocks a week to have the top completed in fifty-five weeks.  Or, if I worked at it more as an 'all-consuming-and-only' sort-of project, and completed 4-5 of those blocks in a week, I could conceivably complete the quilt top in less than a year. 

Somehow, to my crazy brain, this second thought seems much more palatable and satisfying - never mind the unreasonable and insane aspects!

I mean, who wants to plan on taking more than a year to start and finish a quilt?  Just because we allow this to happen on a fairly regular basis (thereby creating a pile of UFOs as a quilter's gold standard), doesn't mean we should plan on it!  Does it?

Lots of questions.  Lots of what-ifs and maybes.  Lots more piecing ahead, but even more fussy cutting in my immediate future.

More in a while, right now I need to make lots more mess.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Here's a crazy thought

Yes, there's quite a bit more.  I just didn't get it all in the frame, yikes!
What if I simply began to make quilt tops using up the sizable stash I've managed to amass? 

That is to say, I would continue to complete whole quilts - commissioned pieces, competition stuff, personal quilts and the like - but what if I focused mainly on putting together a large assortment of tops and then went to art & craft fairs with these quilt tops to sell.  Just displayed the tops and let folks decide they liked a certain top and then commissioned the quilt to be finished. 

. . . .

And, if someone liked a pattern/design, but not in the color way displayed, I could simply get their color preferences and make a whole new quilt based on their desires.  Sort of like how people buy cars....right?

It would use up the ol' stash in a significant way, and it may entice people to actually see the quilts in the work stages that make up a quilt, and not just a finished "blanket."  People always try to undervalue and dicker down the price on a quilt (no matter the size), I believe, because they don't understand the work which goes into the entire object.  The time, the planning, the piecing, electricity, materials, effort, the talent, the practice and patience, the love, etc., everything that becomes the quilt.

Perhaps seeing a quilt in process would help folks understand the work and time and effort and value of the finished project.

Perhaps I'm just dreaming and need someone to pinch me.

Friday, March 29, 2013

A little bit o'hand stitching makes it all right

Applied the binding to mom's quilt this morning, so now I just need to spend about four (to five) hours or so turning it to the back and blindstitching it in place!

Oh joy!  I love getting down to the final strokes!

You may notice a slight variation from the wide border material (lovely brown marbled Robert Kaufman "Watercolour") to the binding (also a gorgeous brown crosshatch by Kaufman called "Quilter's Linen"), and that is only because by the time I realized I wanted to bind the quilt in the same material as the final front border, it was too late.  I couldn't find any more available yardage of any kind...anywhere!  Not online, not locally, not using pleading messages via the blog.
As it was, I had to hunt to find the 2.5 yards I located for the border - and even then I was cutting it close...figuratively AND literally!

Anyway, with eight borders of varying widths between the back and front combined, the binding was going to be the very least of my issues.  And, as you can see, it really isn't any sort of an issue at all.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Y&G-lovers unite!

Here you go, Jenny - hope you found it worth the peek. 
Found at

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Closer to completion

Have about two-and-one-half-to-three-feet left of outer brown border to finish quilting, then on to the roughly 6" square bird centers.  After all of this time I still have no idea what I will do in those portions. 

During the quilting process this afternoon I think I figured I also need/want to quilt the larger sections that remain open between the border area (I am currently finishing up) and the quilted hex sections.  Just don't feel quite comfortable leaving that much open space to the whims of use and time (to say nothing of the cleaning it will receive from my mother).  Yup, those open sections need (DESERVE) quilting.

But what?  Hmmm-m-m-m-m--m--m---m---m.....

Under quilter's arrest

I have enough projects that need finishing, BUT
I really want to dive into something new!

[squeak, sigh]

I need to force myself to finish the quilting on 'mom's birds'.....and then I can parole my rotary cutter, pins, machine, and imagination to roam into new territory. 

I have less than one week.  Doable, doable torture.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When is 'enough' too much?

That is to, ask, when can you tell if you've too much material? When is your stash adequate?  How will you know when you've accumulated too much enough and need to stop buying?

Well, the flip, sarcastic quilter in me wants to say, "When fabric manufacturers stop manufacturing - that's when!"
"What? You mean at some point we have to stop buying fabric?"

Yeah, I know that (tired) old adage: "She who dies with the most fabric wins."   Thhhbbbpppppt!  I don't want to die with an awesome accumulation of marvelous quilting goods!  When I go, I want to be leaving scraps in my dust! 

I want to have created a fabulously tall pile of quilts to mark my existence and craftwomanship, and to have littered my history (and the floor of my sewing area) with nothing but string quilt and postage stamp possibilities for anyone who dares snoop among the remains.

Unfortunately, in my current jobless circumstances, 'enough' has to be "enough for now," and that's quite alright, because I do have a substantial amount to work with.  I will be content to create with what's on hand, I just have to stop dreaming and scheming beyond my material means for the time being. 

No more window shopping and what-iffing for a while. [sniff]  I can do it!  I can.

I CAN!! 


Thursday, February 28, 2013

Holding my breath

Tomorrow is the day!  [sommersaults and cartwheels]

Tomorrow is the day the AQS has designated as the first opportunity they will take to begin sending out notification letters for the final jurying of their 2013 competition!

Sometime next week I expect to find something exciting in my mailbox.

My own personal countdown has been running close to a month, now...but it's nearly over. [phwew]  Can you feel the excitement mounting?  Think I'll try to calm myself by sorting some material from the wall.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Success and sour grapes

One of my returning pupils (from an earlier class as a "sewing" instructor at JAF) brought in her last project to show off - and it was hard to say who was more proud: mama or pupil.  I was pleased they were so happy.

The youngster was attending another project session, a much simpler project than the previous one, and by all rights, even simpler than the first class that I instructed and she attended.  Yes, if you're keeping score, she was having a third class with me.  I now have that "following" the 'educational director' spoke about.

The folks at JAF are not fond of thinking about the order of the classes according to skillsets (of the attendees) and simplicity-to-difficulty for the learning process.  Nope.  For the corporation, it'$ all about getting customer$ $igned up for the cla$$e$ and letting the instructor deal with any/all of the fallout issues.


And now I am understanding that the inane cheapness of JAF (as regards the PITIFUL wages earned by the contracted instructors) has sunk to a new low.  BOGO!  That's right - BOGO!!

Buy one, get one.  I know, I know. You thought that was just for shoe stores. Me too!

Nevertheless, here we are.  Now, not only am I making a mere 60% of the class price (most often sold at half-off. Ex: $55 full price is usually sold at 1/2 off = $27.50 -- 60% of $27.50 = $16.50...divide that by hours spent teaching AND the add'l 1/2 hour we are to be there BEFORE the start of the session{s} to ready the space, and there's the hourly 'pay'), but with the BOGO factor customers can buy two different classes at the half-off price, lowering the contractor amount even further!

I now have three new sessions scheduled, but unless they amend the amount to be paid to the contract instructor to remain at no less than 60% of the half-off amount, I am going to resign.  It truly doesn't pay!

Yes, I need a job - and the capital it should be paying - but I refuse to make less than a panhandler on a moderately busy street corner in Detroit City!

Oh, and the kicker?  I still (to this date) have not received a payment for the last 10 classes taught since mid-January!  Oh, yeah.  I'm excited to be working, but not in a good way.

Sorry about the sour grapes today.  Hope I didn't splash anything on your quilt projects. 

Does anyone know of a quilt shop or group looking for a real, experienced, excellent instructor?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

All a-quiver

It's j-u-s-t over a week before the AQS begins to send out their notification letters to those whose quilts are selected for the final jurying process (for the 2013 Paducah competition).  I've been trying to maintain a calm demeanor and relax about it all, but the butterflies have risen in my soul and in my psyche.

I'm ready!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Just do it!

Holy crap.

I was looking back through the blog for something [else] when I [read an earlier entry and] realized it had taken me one month to [start and] finish the [or, at least it took me that amount of time to finally begin the actual moving and] reconfiguring of my sewing space.

But, in all honesty - and fairness - to myself, I truly believe my intentions were good and my heart was in the right place, but that I kept putting it off and working on projects that were simply too loosey-goosey to move.  When I finally did pack up and make the decision to move my tail feathers (and all of the walls and material and table and machine, etc., etc.) it really wasn't such a long and arduous endeavor.  I should have done it months ago!

I guess my message for today is simply this: 
Whatever you make up your mind to do, just dive in and begin.  Don't doubt yourself, and don't allow the words of others to sway you from your desires - no matter what "it" may be.

See you back here later.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

By the way

I can't remember if I mentioned that I re-worked the layout of the sewing area, so here is a quick snapshot of the new configuration.
Obviously, this is a composite picture, but I will have a better photo or two (or three) to share with you shortly.  Plus, the bag of trash is no longer there, the purses and other items have been put away, and the paper towel squares (under the wet table feet) have been replaced with felt pads to make moving the table a breeze (and less harmful to the floor). 

Managed to unload the more than 6'x6' storage 'wall' of its material hoard; move the wall to it's new position/location (with help from Karl); then reload it before Downton Abbey aired - all in one  afternoon-into-early-evening (not long ago)!  The purpose for pushing myself on one Sunday afternoon (before my beloved DA) was to be certain I would get it done!  And it worked!!

I know myself well enough to understand I can become easily distracted and fall off task in the wink of an eye - especially in the sewing realm.  There was a need for speed and high momentum....and, since I had dragged my feet long enough in even beginning the whole rearranging bit in the lower level, putting it off was no longer an option I wanted to exercise.

"Move it! Move it! Move it!" the drill instructor in my head kept yelling.

There is space to the rear (far left) of the table (with another smaller storage system holding books and extra material, projects in process, etc.), and since moving the larger table into the expanded sewing space, I have managed to change my mind several times - pushing the table here and there, turning it lengthwise across the floor space - and then back again - to find the best working set-up.  Yes, there is ample room for the ironing board (no matter how I position the table), and I can always access the wall of lovelies whenever I want.

More photos another time, for now I need to get back to looking for work and getting little nagging tasks done.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Goal almost met

I had wanted to get two blocks sewn together, but ended up laying out three and piecing one, so....nearly the same effort/accomplishment.

Other plans have been scheduled for the better part of the day, but sewing will factor in somehow.  I'll let you know how it all shakes out.  Enjoy your day - I hope you can get some quilting in!  :)

Friday, February 1, 2013

P.S. on the day

The blogger is finally working properly once again and I am able to load photos!  So without further delay, here are a couple of pictures of Black Widow I.
This was taken upsidedown, as I forgot to snap a pic before stretching.

More another time.

Lofty goals

I have set a fairly lofty goal for myself for today. My mission (and yes, I have chosen to accept it) is to get two more blocks completed before end of day.

"Why is that such a lofty goal," you may wonder; and if you're not wondering, well, I'm gonna tell you anyhow.

I am working on a slightly miniaturized version of PQ1.  It will be 36" square versus the original 65", so....yes, 'slightly.' 

That nearly twenty-inch difference will mean a world of difference during the quilting process!

Incidentally, I've managed to streamline my quilt design even further, and have come up with a much smaller version - so 'quilt legal' miniature copies can be made (24" or smaller).  Although, if I had made this current version with 1" cut pieces, it would be a 'quilt legal' miniature version, because the scale would have been correct, and the finished 1/2" blocks would have made an 18" finished quilt top.  (Did you follow all of that?) 

Ah well.

"OK, but you still haven't answered why two blocks is a lofty goal," you insist.

Ah, my bad.  Sorry. 

"Lofty" = 162 pieces.  Yup, each block is 81 pieces of one-and-one-half-inch cut squares.  Meaning the finished quilt top will contain 1,296 1" pieces.   But that's nothing.  PQ1 is 4,225!  Of course, I also intend to lay out another block or two to have ready for assembling the next time a few hours presents itself.  There is an urgent need to get this quilt top copy finished before mid-February, so I am trying to be a good girl and work diligently on this one.

This one's a cinch (comparatively speaking).

What are you up to today?

Friday, January 25, 2013

All's well that pulls out easily

Yeah, but I have the distinct impression that this won't be the case.

As I could muster the courage to jump into quilting Black Widow I - even though I wasn't using the thread I initially wanted to use - I have stopped and started work on it several times.  I simply can't get excited with the results each time a section is completed.

I figure walking away for a day or two, then sitting down and looking at it anew will rekindle the joy of it all (or, at least in part), but it's not happening.  So here I am, at a crossroads; teetering heavily towards picking out the many feet already stitched and abandoning altogether the single flat black "metallic" thread I've been using. 

Perhaps, as a finale....a specular highlight (so to speak), I will overstitch with it after everything else is done.  We'll see.  For now, I am thinking of returning to more conventional quilting thread for the bulk of the work.

Yes, removing those already sewn areas will be a pain in the needle, but in the log run I believe I will be happier.  Ultimately.  Hopefully.

Where's my seam ripper?  Time to get started.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Let the quilting begin!

Yes, indeedy, the basting is done and I think I have a handle on how I will be quilting Black Widow I, so let the fun begin!

I was falling asleep last night as I rolled the excess backing to the front and basted it down (to protect the raw edge during the quilting process), but managed to get that task accomplished before turning in for the night.  I think that little nugget alone allowed me a great night's sleep.  Go figure.

The back looks primitive, childlike, and perfect, and used up more of the scraps made while assembling the top, and I think the mend to the center batik will hold - especially after the quilting is completed.  Since this is meant to be a (contemporary) wall hanging, more so than a utilitarian quilt, it shouldn't get much 'use', and so should survive a good long while.

What are you working on?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Oh, rats!

That means I can't show you how the sewing 'room' turned out, either.



Stretching and basting Black Widow I today.  WAHOO!!!

I would love to show it to you, but the blogger tool to upload pictures is still on the fritz!  Sent them notification about a week ago, but there is still no response or help forthcoming, s-o-o-o-o.....pheh!
By the time they get around to fixing the issue I will have another quilt done.

What are you keeping busy with?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Guess what!

The table has arrived!!

That's right.  I went shopping in my own home and decided the old dinner table - a lovely oak trestle table I've been sewing (instead of serving dinner) on, lo these many years - is the new designated "quilting table." 

As the sun threatened to set on a beautiful opportunity, I guilted the boys into walking the heavy table out the front door, around the house, and down the hill to the back door, where they deftly (but pissed-off-ed-ly) squeaked the weighty item through the door and into the lower level.

After a few minutes wait - while the feeling returned to their fingers (and their humors returned to a normal level) - they walked the table a few last feet into it's new work space....and it looks WONDERFUL!

Thank you to my strapping, thoughtful lads!

Tonight I will locate the felt pads I wanted to affix to the feet of the table (and clean up the last bit of futzy stuff in the way on the floor), but tomorrow I will pull up a chair, position the table in the room exactly where I want it, replace my Bernina to it's rightful spot, and become accustomed to sewing once again in my original locale.

[I'd like to insert a photo here, but the BLOGGER TOOL is AGAIN, BROKEN!]

I can't tell you how many times I have imagined this whole area looking just this way.  It's been a long time coming, but now I am tickled pink and extremely happy!  Just look how beautifully the table and floor match; and the relocated (and restocked) stash wall is a perfect view!  Of course, when I imagine the space, I sort of pictured it painted and with floor trim.  BUT, I will take what I can get for the moment. 

One step at a time.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

First entry: new year

I've been spending a good deal of time re-engineering my sewing quarters.  Once that's finished I will be back at the quilting and making up for lost time. 

Stay tomorrow afternoon!

I'm SO excited!