Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bits of this 'n' that

This last week was very busy - Christmas notwithstanding.

I ran from here to there (hither and yon) good-deed-doing (repeatedly), making appointments, hustling a son to computer mecca for innards (good golly, the crowds), and teaching a last-minute crazy quilt class of eight folks.  That last bit materialized out of nowhere, but it sure did make an impact on our Christmas!

Thank you again, Rebecca, if you read this.

So much non-Christmas-y activity (at least, not Christmas-y for my own purposes), and still, a lot of what went on was meant for glad tidings for others. Strange that.

I did manage to make a small dent in "Peacock", finishing (for the most part) the stitching on one of sixteen blocks and beginning the stitching on a second block.  I have to make a final decision on how I intend to treat the round seam of the fan configuration, but I have narrowed down my options to essentially two choices - so that's something!  And I do have a bit of embellishment to do to two seams on the first block, but I have managed to embroider all of the seams down, and this works for me. It is a bit of accomplishment in order to free me for moving forward, rather than to feel as if I am standing still and getting nowhere.

Still would LOVE to find just enough dark blue (NAVY) velvet to cap the fans on at least two of the eighteen pieces....but my search for navy velvet is proving fruitless.  I shall keep looking, though, because at some point material outlets will have to restock it.  Right? ? ?

What are you working on?

Friday, December 12, 2014

In between

I now have eight of the sixteen necessary blocks created and basted for stitching, [looking around conspiratorially] and I even engaged in a teensy bit of stitching on one seam last night.

It felt self-indulgent, since I have other more pressing things to get finished.  But, oh!  To actually begin laying stitches into the silks and taffeta's of "Peacock" - it was as indulgent as eating two large pieces of dark chocolate......laced with whole hazelnuts!!

I have been doing the piecing in between fits of looking for a job, housework, errands, doctor and school appointments, other quilting projects (two of them SALES!), and, well....everyday life.  But it somehow makes me feel more *something* to be able to create another groovy something to work on; something fresh and new.  What is the word I want?
Do I feel more worthwhile as a person?
More necessary for the beautification of a tiny corner of the world?

At least, I don't feel so much an insignificant loser for not being able to persuade stupid would-be employers how ignorant they are for having looked me over and passed me up.  That makes them the losers, anyway - not me.

[sighs - one of contentment, one of disappointment]

Photos later, for now I need to get on with my day.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

For obvious reasons....

Plans were to help a friend with a drywall repair job, and then stretch my first applique' project for quilting, but a nasty knock-me-down-drag-my-butt-to-the-curb head cold has me mostly doing nothing but sneezing, keeping hydrated, and moaning because my throat is so sore.  Boo.  I hate being sick.

Oh, and moo.
I've named this experiment "Peacock" for obvious reasons.
To cheer myself up I laid out these squares using the lovely sunshine, thoughtfully provided by heaven and Mother Nature.  

For the time being I will be putting away the crazy quilted Christmas stockings and returning to VG with a vengeance.

Work will continue on the 'RWBQuad,' too, but only late in the evenings in front of the telly.

So why, with all these projects ongoing (and MANY more sitting sidelined), would I need to begin something new?  Oh, I hear you questioning me.  The answer is simple:

Monsieur Fowl simply needed to be let out of my brain.

Friday, November 21, 2014

In lieu of something soft and quilty

I had wanted my return to posting to be triumphant and colorful, but I am mired down with little sewing tasks and cleaning binges.  No real loss I think, but (truth be told) tidying up was not what I wanted to be doing.

It's necessary, this business of cleaning and straightening;
the chore of finding flat, stuff-free work surfaces;
getting your space back to 'square one', free of impediments and work stoppages.

Clean is always a good thing, but 'cleaning' kills the creative drive.  Cleaning-up stifles the rapid fire urges to make real those images that pop into the brain at a moment's notice.  It stymies creative juices when you have to put 'making' on halt in order to locate items for use and the space to create it in.

see-el-ee-ay-en.  C L E A N

Keeping a neat creative area is important.  Regular periodic effort put into neatening up every so often is a better way to maintain [my] space for when those pesky creative fairies strike without warning.  But it's still no fun.

A-l-t-h-o-u-g-h I must admit I have benefited greatly from less time spent searching for something I knew I had somewhere - some piece of material I knew I had cut from and placed aside for future use - because I had taken the time to put it neatly in a place of reverence for just such an occasion.  Yeah, [sgnort] that and I have been investing the time to clean up in between rows of my current long distance project.  This lesson I have learned over time.  After cutting well over 7,500 fussy cut pieces into 1" squares, and sewing together more than 5,800 of them into four-and-one-half rows of 1,130-pieces each, I feel well qualified to say that very regular bouts of cleaning are a necessary evil.  And it's probably more of a necessity when dealing with a limited amount of space.

My great grandmother was fond of saying "if you sweep the cobwebs out of your [rooms], you sweep them out of your mind."  I think she was most likely very close to the truth, though as a child that didn't hold the same meaning for me as it does now.  And, she most likely intended that homily to entice me in to helping her reach the corners of her rooms while standing on a chair - since we weren't allowed to stand on the furniture at any other time, and - since she was as small as a pixie and had a hard time making the broom stretch as far as I could.  I didn't mind, though, for I loved my great gran, and admired her earnestness and her take-no-prisoners attitude.  I would have ridden a Brahma bull on a cactus saddle for her.

So, while I reluctantly grant myself very little of the same sense of respect and admiration I would easily have afforded my gran, I still know enough to practice some of the same good cleaning habits.  Not as frequently, nor with as much diligence, but the work gets done (....after a fashion).  Thank you, Grandma Biddle, for a sterling example I still strive to achieve.

The next time you stop by for a read and a smile, you should also find some photos of current projects.  That's my wish, anyway.  Something colorful and soft and quilty.

What are you working on?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

That's what they say

I have been unemployed for far too long, and in my many hours at the computer looking for (and making application to) work I have also begun a facebook group for free motion quilters/quilting.  Today is the one year 'anniversary' of that page - or 'group'.

It began slowly.  V e r y  slowly.
In fact, SO slowly that no one noticed or requested to join until mid-January.  Two months!

For those first two months I had a hard time believing I was the only person interested in communicating with other FMQers (truth be told I conscripted my friend, Jean, at the start so there would at least be two of us milling about the site, but we speak all the time so there wasn't much happening on the fb page).  I would occasionally add an image or change the description just to make it look like there was activity, but it was really just me hanging about.

Then one day the first person actually joined, and it was like a party!  Soon thereafter the influx of people was astounding.  At one point I had to stop looking through the member request profiles and simply 'gang add' about 175 just to make it through a day without doing nothing else BUT review members and add people.  It was crazy!  From time to time it still becomes oddly busy, and the requests can jump erratically from two or three a day to thirty or more within minutes.  Still other times (and for the most part) it is a steady trickle of from five to ten folks a day - on average.

Many folks have left the group - a couple have even begun their own FMQ pages - simply because they didn't like the way I run the group postings.  But hey, as one of the members in FMQ on Domestics pointed out to me...it is my group page after all.  The format for posting activity on "FMQ on Dom" is stated very clearly at the top of the page AND in the ever-present group description.  The way I have it figured, the aim of the group isn't to promote yourself, but to share images of your FMQ as created by manipulating your quilt UNDER the needle BY HAND, while the DOMESTIC machine remains stationery.  It's also a place where quiltmakers can ask questions, get answers, and become confident that they can do it...they can FMQ!  Or at least to find out they aren't alone in their quandaries.

Also, links and tutorials and the like can be shared, but by using the "Files" page as a total resource site for everything promoting other places/links away from our group page.  By posting all such resources in one place it becomes easy for anyone at any time to simply head to the files and find the correct page for thread, or batting, or tutorials, etc, instead of asking the same old FAQs for the umpteenth time.  It's a perfect repository, and easier than scanning the timeline endlessly looking for that one answer buried in thirty comments under one conversational thread.

Ah, well.

They say the sincerest form of flattery is imitation.  Well groovy, then I'm flattered (at least two times over)...but I won't be bullied. You do things your way, and I'll do them mine.



As a PS to this entry -
I will be back to work and quilting - and posting images of very cool projects - after mid-month.  For the time being, I am prepping for a show next weekend, and for visiting family (for an early Thanksgiving dinner).  Stop by again for some real quilting fun in the near future.  Until then....thanks for looking in.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

A confession

Driven by quilt guilt, I feel compelled to confess an egregious act against a quilt top.

Yes, it's true, I have mistreated a quilt top I made.  Not by action, but by inaction.  (Is that a word?)

Over these last several months (totaling a year, give-or-take), I put aside a lovely little quilt top I made many years ago.  This lovely little quilt top is the darkest navy blue, with sixteen baskets of 'fruit' contained within the center area - in groupings of four, set on point in each corner.  There are cornerstones of a medium green - all various small prints - scattered throughout the background; and a quarter-inch 'piping' border of the same medium green surrounding the field of baskets.  It's all bordered once more by a 6 to 8"-wide navy band.

It is lovely in its simplicity, and I am proud of the piecing as all of the points match beautifully.  I made it early on during my early quilting zeal, and I can't remember what project I took on immediately after that made me push this little quilt off to the side, but the fact remains that I did.  I shunned it.

I did shrug this basket quilt off to storage from one place to the next.  From one decade to the next, in fact.  At this I am horrified.  Oh! And the history of my little navy blue basket quilt goes from bad to worse  [gulp]

This is not easy for me to confess - and I have ruminated over and over it for some time now (and it hasn't gotten any easier to face).

In my fecklessness I have allowed it to sit on a stack of papers and books nearby.  Over time it gathered dust and cat hair galore.  I even caught one of my less social felines growling at it, perhaps mistaking it for another cat in the kingdom.  Until recently, I would see the quilt laying there, but never really gave it much of a thought beyond, "I should really shake it out and quilt it up quickly," thinking that's all it would require.

However, my cats have revealed to me just how vile my HUGE blunder and wanton act of quilt cruelty has been.

Flop, who adores every piece of material I work with (because it has the possibility of becoming 'hers' when left unattended), showed me how little I understood about just how far afield my abuse had gone.  She wandered over to the stack the navy quilt top was perched upon and began to nuzzle it.  I stopped my activity to watch.  She is, after all, an adorable collection of frothy fur and ineffectual cotton ball feet.  She's sweet in her appearance and teddy bear-esque in build and mannerisms.  She began to paw at the quilt top, making me think she wanted to climb on it, or in it, to sit nearby and purr as I worked.

Then, her nuzzling and pawing became urgent, and I became as curious as she was eager.  Flop reared up on her hind quarters and pulled with both front feet, tugging the quilt top onto the floor.  Everything began sliding - it became an avalanche of books, manuals, and misfiled papers, topped by one somewhat-folded navy-blue-with-green dollop.  I don't know if she was frightened more by the noise or the torrent of items chasing her across the floor, but she fled momentarily, and then charged back to the quilt top before the dust settled.

My eyes were drawn to an odd brownish substance that appeared from folds of the material....and so were Flop's.  But she immediately began to chew as my curiosity became horror.  Mice had been stealing the kibble from the cats' food dish and squirreling it away in the quilt top for safe keeping. and my ineffective treatment of a sweet quilt top allowed for that to happen!

There, now I've said it.  It's out there and I am not proud, but I am willing to take the lumps if they also come with suggestions on how to wash out two small areas of mouse 'stain' so that I can go ahead and sandwich and quilt it before any more time passes.

I have taken it outside to inspect it closely and shake out a modicum of dust.
I've taped it and removed the bulk of cat fur, but the two small visible mouse stains are a concern for me.  I am aware I could simply hand wash out the areas and let them dry, BUT....we all know there is residual oil in the material from the cat food sitting for goodness knows how long.  A - n - d there's most likely some additional transfer of the mouse "stain" to other areas of the quilt top as they moved about  - and as the material had been folded on itself.  So, what I'm saying is, the need to get it all clean before quilting it is necessary.

I am ready to put it in the wash (although I am cringing at the thought of damage to the seams), and have it folded - seams facing inside - and placed in a smallish lingerie laundry bag.  The wash will be cold water and the cycle will be 'delicate' - so low, low, low agitation.  Will this work, do you think?  Sink soaking/washing and bath tub soaking/washing are not currently options.



Oh, and I checked. "inaction" is a word.  Huh.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Time flies

I played around a little today with a handful of scraps and my two favorite machines - my trusty Bernina and his best friend, my 20 year old Black-n-Decker iron (just don't tell my blender and 'the Duke' I said that).

Toyed with creating those earthy, not-so-perfect, free-form, cut-and-pieced circles.  It was fun, in a torturous sort of way.  Somehow, I managed to cut the first quarter-circle set and piece them without any issue, but when I went to cut and piece the second quarter - issue, i-s-s-u-e, ISSUE.  What the heck?  I think my mojo is on vacation.

Anyway, I will try it again tomorrow, and hopefully find my path back to happiness and ease.  But if I continue to misstep, is there anyone who can loan me a cup of breadcrumbs so that I can find my way back?

No...seriously.  Anyone?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Peeling another month off the calender

I have been ready to return to work on VGS, and even last month I stated I wanted to jump back in.
Eagerly and wholeheartedly.
Both feet.
Get back to the cutting and searching and finding and fussing and all -
....but I have still been mired in household stuff.  Mostly just lots of tasks needing doing to be 100% ready for the arrival of my mom for our early Thanksgiving dinner....mostly.  Also, to be ready for the inevitable hunkering down during winter.  You know what I mean.

But, here I am, no closer to having touched it and made any further progress since, what?  July?

What!?!?!  Is that even possible?

I have been seriously bent on finding a job, so lots of lost hours upon hours every day to that.  Then house stuff...just - ick.  By the time evening rolls around, I am either too spent to muster the initiative to turn on all the lights in my sewing corner and look for possible pieces to complete the yellowest portion, or I am just plain ready for bed.  And...I have been trying to finish a load of stockings for a craft show that is now 'just around the corner.'

My cornucopia is full, so I am promising myself to make up for lost time once 'turkey day' has come and gone.

Scout's honor.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Caron, ever the stateswoman

I am a member of your hand quilting group, thank you.
: )

You graciously admitted me when the numbers were in the mid- to upper-hundreds!  Before Janet became your assisting admin, even.  But thanks all the same for the invitation to join.  I will remain in the group, if it's alright to do so, even though I do the bulk of my quilting on my lovely old Bernina 1530 (despite my love - and practice - of crazy quilting BY HAND, and my new-found enjoyment of making quilts via the hand applique, needle-turned route).

My ultimate spew a couple of weeks ago (resulting in "Dumbfounded"), was out of complete frustration with a relatively small - but v e r y vocal - faction of the membership in the Celebrate Hand Quilting group.  It doesn't merit re-hashing, for now you have been made aware of the misdeeds, if not privy to the actual four (or five) nasty threads I read, politely countered, and finally teared up over.  It's not worth the anger I felt, nor the abuse (as a pretty darned fine FMQ-er) some staunch hand quilters seem to feel needs vocalizing at every turn.  I am certain there are far more vitriolic timeline 'conversations' I have never seen...and that's fine.

I love to see the craftsmanship applied to the quilts visible at your Fb page, and I admire the skills so many hand quilters possess.  Not to mention the hours upon hours of dedication given over to perfecting a uniform stitch.  The gumption to continue stitching through pain and blisters and all.  My great grandmother quilted by hand.  In her late eighties she finally gave way to piecing using a machine - she figured if her worsening arthritis was going to steal some of the time in which she could be making a quilt, she may as well do the most visible portion by hand for as long as she could.  It broke her heart, but she was quilting up to the end of her life, at 97 years old.  Bless her.

Any more, when threads turn anti-FMQ, I ignore them by simply removing myself for a few days.  It's sad, though, that people gifted with a needle - such a seemingly passive and lovely art - can be so negative and hateful towards other 'artists'.  Some of us take great pains to practice and acquire a skill set equal to the task of quilting with our domestic machines so that it is as attractive to the eye as it is to the body.  Some of my works are stitched with a purpose to overindulge...but those quilts are to hang on walls and tell a story.  The stitching is integral to the quilt.  However, I have also cuddled up under each one of my more heavily machine-quilted wonders just to hear it speak to me in my dreams.  They are just as cozy and pliable as any quilt my great gran ever hand quilted.  Gram would have approved wholeheartedly, because I was making a quilt!

What's not necessary are all of the derogatory comments.  If a hand quilter doesn't FMQ, that's fine, but why dip into the well of ranting and insults?  Not all FMQ work is "stiff," "soulless," "ugly," "unusable as a blanket," "overdone," "sub-standard," "low quality," and on and on.  

Can't those quilters agree to disagree and simply move on?  Can't we all just quilt together?

P.S. Before I move on, I really must thank you, Caron, for caring enough to ask.  Also, for your apology on behalf of those rather rabid hand quilters.  I thank you for being you and for sharing your time and knowledge and for being an effective emissary for the love of a beautiful art.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Back to it

Yesterday was a day spent largely in the car or in a chair at a workshop.

Too much sitting.

Too much driving.

Too little hydration or food (until the very end...thank you, my adoptive family).

Not enough sewing/quilting.
A new technique? Yes.
A 100% totally useful technique? Not so much.

I will admit there was a practical take-away, something I may be able to utilize in coming applique pieces, but by-and-large - while I loved the experience and seeing Vikki's quilts up close (and very personal) - I can't see using the actual sewing method to make a quilt top.  Perhaps I will change my mind in years to come, but the quilt purist in me is kicking and screaming at the stitching portion. [sigh]

I was drop-dead tired, but with the non-stop nocturnal interruptions (of the feline sort), my mind was churning all night (even in the fitful bits of slumber).

I need to get back to quilting....but first, a nap.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Decisions, decisions

I have been taking a break (for much of the past two months) from VGS, and I feel ready to get back to it.  Sort of.

I have accumulated a good selection of the background colors found throughout the far left hand side of the image (from row G through row J), and desperately want to move further down the image than normal just to 'play' with something other than yellows.  Say....two to three rows ahead, and just get that portion out of the way, but I feel that that would prove disastrous once I return to the area at hand.  Because, at some point in time, I would have to get back to what remains of E.

So I remain committed to finishing Row E first.

Steadfastly.
Resignedly.
Sadly.
Utterly.
Gloomily.
Committed.

However, during the time away from VGS I did manage to get other things accomplished, and I have sort of cleansed my mental palette of the nagging thoughts that there are other things I could/should do/finish/begin.  Here is one of those projects.  This weekend I will complete the colorful portion of this top, and when I can afford to get my hands on the necessary 'white' for the border (not to mention the backing and batting), I will stretch then quilt it, too.

Until such time (and funds) presents itself, I have decided I will (sort of) happily dive back into VGS.  It needs me.

And I need it.  Sort of.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

And so it begins

I have wanted to applique' since I began to make quilts in earnest, and that was a little over half my lifetime ago.

In all honesty, though, the urge (desire) to applique' probably r e a l l y didn't manifest itself in me until a few years after I began quilt-making, but that's neither here nor there.  What really matters is that the desire (urge) to applique' has only grown stronger over the last two or three years, mostly when I realized there were some quilts I wanted to make that could be created no other way than to applique' them.

So, here I am.

I am cutting my teeth on a fairly easy project as my quilt path diverges yet again.  It is a 2/3 portion of a Picasso line drawing, and the materials were supplied by the mom of the young person it is going to.  The photo is hours old by now, and since I snapped it I've finished sewing down the large black and yellow torso-and-arm piece.  I've also basted down the leg that will be to the far left, and have that appliqued in place (oh, about a quarter of it).

But now, it's time for a little housework and dinner, so all fun stuff halts for a little while.  If I can make myself stick with it tonight, I might be able to finish off the left leg, and maybe baste down the head for this whirling dervish figure before my eyes slam shut.

What are you up to?


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Dumbfounded

Once again I am completely dumbfounded and mystified by the words and thoughts of (of all people) hand quilters.

Yes, that's right. I said "HAND QUILTERS."  Not all of them, but there are too many harpies in that crew.

Mind you, I have absolutely nothing against those lovely people who can (and do) piece and quilt their works of wonderfulness all by hand - from the first stitch to the last.  NOTHING, do you get my meaning?  Am I coming through loud and clear?

I could even be tempted to admit I am envious of their time and gumption to piece by hand, but it isn't envy I feel, really.  There is a strong sense of admiration in my emotions I suppose, if it truly needed to be named...this feeling that I'm feeling.  In fact, it could almost border on respect if it weren't for the absolute superiority complex of a number of hand quilters I have come to read and know lately.

I cannot tell you on how many occasions someone has made a simple comment in a particular hand quilting Fb group - this comment having absolutely nothing to do with dissing FMQ, whatsoever - which was then completely blown out of proportion and dragged to the wrong side of the tracks by a small faction of simpleminded snobs, who then proceeded to make disparaging remarks regarding "machine quilters" for absolutely no reason.  These conversations are generally begun innocently enough, with nary a word against one quilting faction or another, when B A M !  Those nefarious aforementioned malcontents crawl out of the woodwork to slam FMQ with gay abandon, and without any provocation they hurl the same sad, nasty comments over and over.

Thankfully, today there was one kind soul who stood up and made some absolutely kind and (given the company of her brethren) generous remarks towards free motion quilters, and I could do nothing more than thank her profusely.  She could have been stoned - or excommunicated from the Fb group - had the Nasty Nellies had their way.

My point (because I feel my blood boiling just thinking of all the ways I wanted to respond but didn't)....my point today is this:

How can a lifetime of pursuing a pastime, of learning a craft and honing your skills with beautiful objects and soft materials, of relative pacifistic ways, be so filled with dislike - hate/loathing/just plain mean-spiritedness (you choose) - and have no room for new techniques or styles?

I am dumbfounded by those folks who can't be more open and accepting of other creative talents and bents.
And anyway, if there's one sort of quilting that doesn't belong, it's those appliqueing FUSERS.  There is no room for gluing pieces down to accomplish what should be rightfully done with a needle and thread.  If you want to applique, then learn how to do it the RIGHT way!  "Art quilts" my ass.  Raw edge quilts - pleh! Ptooh!

Great [pant, pant].
Well...I almost feel better.

Almost.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Holy smokes

As if VGS wasn't enough of a handful, I have decided to go ahead and start my first actual, all applique' quilt.  It's just a wee bit of a thing, but it's still applique', and not something I know much about.  In fact, aside from sort of appliqueing a two-inch lure/circle on a stocking, using a feather stitch (crazy quilting, don't ya know), I know nothing about applique'.

Oh, wait.
I do know I love looking at it.  LOVE it!  But I don't/can't/have never applique'(d).

So, here I am, diving into the deep end, beginning a thank you gift in exchange for a dining table and chairs.

More later, for now I just need to go pick up that needle before I lose my resolve.  More later - including images.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Go figure

I only managed to make a few measly entries in August, but I thought a lot about it all month - I promise I did. : )  Didn't get nearly as much quilt-making done, either.

Although, I did give myself permission to take the month 'off' and concentrate on a few other needful activities (away from VG).  It was not an easy thing to do, and thank goodness it's now September. [insert tremendous sigh of relief here]

I survived!

Yea!

What's that?  You want to know if it was worthwhile to abandon something so cool and wonderful, and in need of constant attention and work, in order to get other stuff finished?

HA HA hahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaahahahaha [gasp] ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaa!

Who said anything about getting other stuff "finished"?

Huh...although (again) I did finish an alteration. : )

Friday, August 8, 2014

PS to the lovely people at Country Stitches in EL, MI

Thanks for allowing me to show it off a little.

5,120

Someone asked me a question, and as I have been busy of late cleaning, and otherwise engaged in unquilty-like (or is it 'nonquilty-like'?) activities, I thought I would quickly answer it....then get back to work.
[moan]

The question was: "How many pieces are in the image posted of all of the quilt top so far?"
Answer: 5,120.

Alternate answer: Not enough. [sigh]

Completing just the next four blocks will mean just over one-third of the quilt top is finished! I love quilt math.

4 squares = 1/3
Of course it does.

Take that, algebra!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The phrase "biting off more than you can chew" comes to mind

Cannot believe how long it took to compile and stitch together E6, but the bloody thing is done, and this is an image of the upper left quadrant.
Enjoy....I need a drink, a - n - d to clean up once again.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Half a wish is better than nothing

In the process right now of sewing it together.
E5

Goal for today

To FINISH E5 and move on to E6.  Actually move on...as in pack up and board the plane to get well into E6 - and maybe completely finish that block and move on to E7.

Forgive me, I'm feeling a little feisty today - it's been a long, chaotic week where not a lot went right.

I just need to get back on track in oh, so many ways. Photos later.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

That only took forever

Managed to finish E4 yesterday, and was getting a healthy start on pulling E5 together when one of the lights in the sewing area fizzled out.  So, at some point this morning I will move the table around to be able to replace the traitorous light, BUT (and this will sound stupid, I know)..........

I am having (of all things) a light bulb conundrum. Yes, I am truly flummoxed as to whether or not to replace the burned out bulb with one of like kind or a florescent sort.  The large backyard sort would give me the same mix of light I have been working with all this time, but the newer florescent style would be cheaper to 'burn' - and may last longer.

It's always the little things, isn't it?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ugh

I allowed myself to become somewhat distracted yesterday while piecing together E4.

OK, in all honesty, I became COMPLETELY distracted, but for good reason, and I hope to be able to show you tomorrow - time will tell.

That said, I didn't get much more than 35 or 40 pieces into E4, and I so hoped to keep up the trend of a square every two to three days (it's helping to power through creating the rows).  But, there's a lot of cutting I need to do to saturate my palette again.  Over the course of the last several blocks I have drained what I have at the ready, and it is seriously slowing me down.  So, if I can give myself permission to use a day simply to cut and stock and stack, I should have an easier - AND QUICKER - time of it when I piece my way through the next four to five blocks.

Beth, I happily give you permission to do nothing but cut and clean and build that palette.

Great....but that will have to wait until I get back, though.  Today is a lost day.

Later, fellow quilters.

Friday, July 18, 2014

E4

Here I come.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

E3

Under construction (the piecing portion) later today!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Taking a little break

In the process of piecing together E1; I am taking a little break.
Just from simply pulling together the oranges for this block, I am now ever more keenly aware of how many more pieces I will need to cut for the remainder of the row.

Holy mother of pearl...what have I gotten myself into?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Just so you know

I did finish the last of RowD,
and I DID join together C & D,
and then AB to CD....
so I guess you know it's now ABCD, and it looks pretty darn good.

For the last couple of days I have been cleaning up, straightening the palette, finding (and RE-finding) loads of things I knew I had (and needed) but couldn't because they were buried under small mountains all around me.  There is a tremendous need to cut a lot of more 'orangier' pieces now; burnt oranges, 'dirty' and smudgy orange, deep and dark orange, brown-with-strong-hints-of-orange, umber, and so on.  Not so much on the school bus yellow-to-orange side any longer - although, that may return from time to time.  But the bent now is decidedly orange(r) and dark.  Will also need orange stuff with a green cast to it, too.  On the hunt again!

Took the time to press the life out of the entire configuration and lightly starch it to help keep the fraying in check.  Although, I am contemplating the addition of lining the backside with a very lightweight fusible interfacing to completely keep the reverse intact.  I also think this may be the way to thread paint the bulk of the quilt before adding batting and a backing.  Once the thread painting is complete, I would then 'quilt' it in a more laid-back and pictorial way.  I just feel that I don't want the thread painting to show on the reverse.

Vanity?

At any rate, I do know I will be compromising the seam allowances throughout the manhandling process of thread painting, so I am curious and eager to make it happen - but at the same time terrified and trepidatious with thoughts of ruining all of my beautiful piecing by not having a traditional sandwich in place during any quilting process/work.  Does that make sense?

Any thoughts or sage words of advice to a newbie thread painter from those who know?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Very exciting prospects

Tonight - not too long from now - I will begin to assemble the last block of RowD and then join the final five blocks to the already completed row (blocks 1-6), and with any luck (and if I can keep my eyes open), I will attempt pinning together rows C & D and stitching those into one complete unit, too!

I realize this is not something I should attempt while tired, as perfection in matching the seams is a huge goal - not to mention integral to the look of the quilt - so if I am sleepy I will certainly back off until tomorrow.  Simply finishing the row itself is enough!

Besides, I see that RowD went together in only one month and one day....so there is nothing to really be beating myself up over - especially if I end up only having to wait one more day to see the two larger units side-by-side.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Even with a late start

Yeah, it was a late start and lots of breaks today, but I've still managed to situate sixty-six of 130 pieces for D11 and 11.3.  Literally just of half the way 'there', and even when we take a grand break to celebrate Karl's birthday (at some point today), I could possibly get this last bit of RowD done and pinned and stitched to RowC.

Okay, so that's some grand thinking on my part....but it could happen.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Last strokes of Row D

Began working on the final block of the current row not long ago, and I am relieved.  However, there are 130 pieces to put in place, and I have only managed to sort out somewhere between 25-30, then pangs of familial neglect (and hunger) crept into my psyche.

So, dinner for now, and maybe a little more color placement before I turn in for the night.

dot dot dot

Simply want to finish this row, but there are roughly one-hundred and forty-four little things standing in my way.

Finished up yesterday with 14 (12 if I don't replace two pieces I am not happy with) spots to fill in before I can assemble D10.  All I want to do is get to the final square and one-third. Ugh.  Perhaps today's daylight will help in the task.

So close and yet . . . so far.
_________________________

UPDATE: As of 1:00 PM
Two weensy pieces away from assembling.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Who'd-a thunk it?

Working on and off all day today, and somehow I managed to piece together all but four pieces of D9.  If I hadn't run out of 'steam' and light, and wanted to stare at Jim Caviezel, I could have sewn it together, too.

Ah well, tomorrow is another day.

Whoops

Looks like I forgot to say I've been working on D9 already.

I'M WORKING ON D9!

Soon, D10....
...then D11....
....and 11.3

I've got a big ol' smile going on - wish you could see it.

I hope you're wearing a smile, too, whatever you're doing.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Moving along

Had to make myself stop working on D7 yesterday to start dinner and get something else accomplished;
CANNOT tell you how wrong that felt.

Surprisingly, a lot of green in this block, and just when I thought it would be primarily yellow.

I simply need to find fewer than twenty pieces to fill in the holes and stitch it up [laughing at the word "simply"].  Elusive little shits!
________________________________

UPDATE: As of 12:30 Noon EDT
Five to go.

Five.
________________________________

UPDATE: As of 3:54PM
Can begin sewing it together any time, now!  However, this is the first block that, after making three major changes to color pixels (deliberately placing yellow where I had had the right non-yellow pieces), I am very leery of assembling it.

But, I also felt uncomfortable with the 'correct' pieces in place, too. [shrugging]
Que sera sera, I suppose.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A little frustrated (has been updated)

Actually, somewhat annoyed with D6.

I have replaced (what feels like) the same 11 pieces over and over again, while still maintaining a hole of four missing bits just to complete the block.

The worst of it has been running out of a material I would have thought to have been utterly useless with regard to this project, and it's been my surprise 'go-to' too many times to count.  Ugh!

Just going to swallow hard, head back to that layout board and plop in four pieces as though it were nothing [she said with conviction....and a glass of ouzo].
_____________________________________

UPDATED: 9:12AM
OK, I am ready to sew - and so is D5.
Had to place the last four pieces drinking chocolate milk....I am out of ouzo.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

By the way

Yes, it did happen yesterday.

Finished D5 with a flourish and went to bed happy.  The colors are a bit off in this photo, and the light wasn't terrific....but you get the idea.

Arose this morning with specific plans to work a little on D6, help Karl study for his final test in Geography, maybe squeak out some housework, and return to D6.

75 pieces in place....so, perhaps tomorrow will find me finishing D6.  We'll see.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Bright and early [snort]

Will it happen today?

Too busy to post photos or go into much detail.  Getting started today 'bright', but far from early - as you can see.  Went to bed at a tame hour last night, but our deaf kitty decided an early morning wake-up call - complete with loud, intimate conversation regarding her hunger pangs - was necessary at 4:42AM.

....and again at 5:09AM (because obviously I forgot).

....and again at 5:14 (because I opened an eye to see if she were still there).

She was.

....and again at 5:32 (because she bathed and lost track of her request).

Around 6:00AM, one of the other girls was ill, so I decided since I was already up I would feed them, just so I could go back to REAL sleep.

I know, you can hear the Jaws attack music in the background, can't you?

By a little after seven Hobbes (deaf kitty) was back to tell me "thanks", and to discuss our sleeping arrangements, AND that the odor of the new litter in their box was not to her liking.  Mine either, but that wasn't a discussion I wanted to have at 7AM, when I hadn't had a good night's sleep to begin with.  Every time I rolled over she scrambled on top of me to perch and continue the cat chat.  At some point she got the idea that a sleepy human - while quite annoyed - will actually stop listening, even to very loud deaf kitties, and will go to sleep (sort of).

Anyhow, I am off to the sewing area to finish D5.  I made a large dent in one day, stopping last night with seventy pieces in place.  I aim to sew it together today and begin D6 this weekend as well.  LOFTY GOALS - I love 'em.

So, will it happen today?  Let's find out!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Done!

D4 is in the rear view mirror.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

And I should add...

Upon re-reading the amended entry from yesterday, I realized there was one interesting thing - maybe only interesting to me, but...eh.

I am exactly two rows ahead of where I was last year when I made the decision to put it all away for a while!  Yup, two rows to the square - isn't that cool?  Neat?  Odd?  A coinky-dink?

Also, when I proclaimed my excitement about arriving at D8, and that being notable because it's the one-quarter mark for the whole quilt - it's also only 500 pieces away, as opposed to the additional 330 it will take beyond that to have the row complete.

Hey, it's my 'woohoo' moment.  When you have your little 'woohoo' moments I cheer you on.  C'mon and share some love.

Besides, the next big marker won't be for another month and one-half or more.  At E10, after assembling eight blocks of E10, I will be officially one-third of the way through the quilt.  So you can see, I am taking the milestones seriously.  5,500 pieces is just a squeak over 1/3 of the whole, and that's how close I am to it!  Considering the halfway marker isn't for a good long while - and I mean, a good  l - o - n - g  while, I am joyously celebrating the points of note all along the way.

Come celebrate with me!

WooHOO!!!!


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Hello, D4 - alright, I added some stuff

'nuff said.
____________________________

OK, that was a little cheap - maybe.

D4 is cruising along, and it is a whole lotta yellow.  Oh, baby! I mean yellow with a vengeance, too.  At the end of this particular row there will be around one-hundred pieces of various other colors - that dark, muddier, multi-colored melange we've seen in earlier photos (of the ends of A, B, and C).  Are you ready for it?  I know I am.

However, it will be a little while before I am there, so I am settling for the happiness I will experience upon reaching D8.

"Why D8?" you ask me, with great curiosity.

Well, because D8 represents the quarter way point of the quilt itself.  With that square together, at 4,124.5 pieces in place, one-forth of the quilt is complete!  But I am getting ahead of myself, aren't I?

No....I am simply applying a lot of optimism.  At this time last year I was questioning what it was I had started - what I had taken on as a project.  After several weeks of gathering, cutting, sewing, assembling, searching for, sewing, searching, gathering, searching - well, you get the idea - after a lot of time to think, I began to question if I shouldn't clear away some of my unfinished works before wading any further into this one.  It was going to require a lot more than even I had allowed for.

Even though I had given rise to thoughts of "what if I want to quickly sew a garment or work on some FMQ on something else?" I hadn't anticipated the mess I would have to corral first, just to have the space clear and all of my important little puzzle pieces out of harm's way.

Holy katz!  I really had bitten off a little more than I could chew (or so I thought).  I slowed the progress on it to a crawl when the enormity became apparent, and doubt then crept in.
I stood back from it and swallowed hard.
I teetered...then I vacillated.
I regretted and then I cheered myself on.
I pushed myself forward, then I sat on my heels with doubt.
I did streams of math, figuring out a timeline for completion.
I hated the result.
I recalculated.
I recoiled at those results.
I pieced a little bit more, doubting myself the entire time - then put it all away in a large container.
I breathed a little bit, but in my heart I regretted that decision, too. Not the breathing bit, but the boxing it up and moving away from it for a while.

And well, you know the rest.  I pulled it out of its coffin several months ago, and have been working on it fairly steadily for quite a while.  I still rue the initial decision to walk away from it for all of those months, especially when I see (think about) how far I could have gotten with it had I just kept working.  But, we can't go back, can we?

Here I am....working on Row D, and I am not going to think any more about where I could be 'if only...'

NUTS to 'if only'.  It's what I'm doing now that counts.  It's all that matters.

If I have to (if I want to) work on something else, I will clean up and move things for a little while, that's all.  I am capable of that.  I can handle that.  Besides, that forces me to straighten up the mounting mess.  And straightening up actually is a boon; I have found so many misplaced colors that I knew I had.  It's forced me to be better at keeping track and re-organizing and staying on top of my palette in a much better way.  A necessary evil.

OK, sermon over.  I am heading to the mess which is my latest, all-consuming project.

What are you doing?

Friday, June 13, 2014

D3 update

Fifty-five and counting.

Perhaps there will be a D4 soon. [insert unbridled joy here]
_________________________________

UPDATE:  1:19PM EDT
Seventy-five down....25 to go!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Phwew!

At last, happily moving on to D3.
These two squares are D1 and D2, but the lighting was too bright (near an east-facing window), even though it was sunset.  Ah well, it cares me not (as an old German boss used to say).  I am finally past the hot pinks, lava reds, evil rusts, and combo pains for a little while.

I'll let you know when I reach the quarter mark - roughly 600 pieces to go!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Taking too long

Twenty-eight strenuous, stultifying, and tedious pieces to go.  These colored bits are harshing my mellow, I tell ya.

Oh, and if you are reading this from somewhere in Texas, please know that the first definition of the word "stultify" in the Oxford Dictionary is not abusive and insulting....so if you can help it, don't read past the first example.  Sorry, but I couldn't find enough monosyllabic words to use this post.

*sheesh*
-----------------------------------
UPDATE:
"Why are you picking on Texas?"

Well, I am not picking on the entire state, simply one (or two) characters living there.  See, if I had named them there would be bigger issues, so I simply mentioned where they lived to make my life easier. And if you'd like to read more, you'll have to head over to the other blog, where I feel this story is better told and the insanity best served.  And if you DO go over to read it, please keep in mind that the person I am referring to said y'all were simple - not I.

www.youmustbegin.blogspot.com


Saturday, June 7, 2014

30 - 32

Somewhere between thirty and thirty-two pieces to find before I can sew together D1.

"Why thirty to thirty-two? Don't you know how many pieces you already have in place?"

Yes, I know precisely what I have in place, and I also know I am not happy with three of the bits already laid down, and that I may end up switching them before I am satisfied enough to sew it together and move on.

My satisfaction at the moment lies in the knowing that I have more than two-thirds of this first block in the new row in place, and that I can knock it out today and move on to D2...perhaps by end of day!
____________________________________

UPDATE: As of 11:17AM EDT
Seventy-six pieces down.
____________________________________

UPDATE: As of 1:29PM EDT
Spent the last 50 minutes chatting with the lads, on a run to the bank and a side trip to the PO, but I have a measly seventeen pieces left to place.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Nailed it

Totally and completely finished RowC this afternoon, and have been cleaning up (or trying to) for the last good while. Tomorrow I would like to think I can begin accumulating pieces and placing them for D1, but I may well be cleaning and getting the color palette in order for a while, yet.




Sunday, June 1, 2014

Holy katz!

In a mere 9.3 squares I will have completed one whole quarter of the quilt!!!

Talk about re-energized...come to mama, baby!

Oh, yeah...and as of 7PM tonight, I began laying out C11 and C11.3.  YES, this means I laid out AND stitched together C10. BOOyah!!  RowD is within my grasp.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

C7, 8, 9

Tah-d-a-a-a-a-a-h-h.

Color me happy.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

C9 (plus updates)

I didn't get a chance to work on it much yesterday, and today I lost about five hours of perfect work time to other (one of 'em fun) activities, so I was making up for lost time late in the afternoon and into the early evening.

After making dinner, and yakking with the boys a bit, I am happy to report there remain only 28 pieces to find and place on this square.  Hoping to sew it together tomorrow.  I will post a picture if I manage to reach this hopeful - but lofty - goal.

Tantalizingly close to Row D now.  Wheeeee!

_______________________________________

UPDATE:  Fri., May 30; 1:23PM  (1/3)
Taking a bit of a break - just a smidgen, mind you - to get a snack of hummus and an 'everything' bagel, some carrots and celery, a-a-a-nd to fill up the ol' glass with more cranberry juice.  I have managed to find and place a few more pieces into C9, but I have also managed to replace an equal number with new finds -  so a lot of my time was spent (wasted) in frustration.

Began the day with just about 20 or so pieces to find and place; currently I have 12-16 to go.  Twelve if I leave well enough alone, and sixteen if I am an absolute idiot (and a glutton for punishment) and keep trying to find more perfect matches for pieces here and there that are already in place!

Somebody stop me. Argh.

I WILL HAVE THIS BLOCK FINISHED TODAY!!  I will.

I will. [said with some lack of conviction]

_______________________________________

UPDATE:  as of 3:21PM  (2/3)
Seven left to place, and I almost got here without futzing and replacing things.

Hey! I said "almost."

_______________________________________

UPDATE:  as of 5:22PM  (3/3)
Ready to stitch it together....this impossibly horrid-looking, grotesque group of one-inch pieces. For the most part, they fairly well match the image, it's just...well...I don't know how to say it, but this is the least satisfied I have felt (since beginning this ordeal of a quilt) with any one block (= 100-piece grouping).  On the whole, it looks less than pleasing.

Would it be OK if I moved to a completely different portion of the image and made some pretty blocks for a while - please?



Thursday, May 22, 2014

C8

-- is rolling along (as of late yesterday).

I must keep telling myself, "Try not to be SO fussy."

R-r-r-r-r-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ght. I'm a quilter.
_______________________________

UPDATE:  5/26, 8:12 PM - Began to piece it together.  Will have C8 done tonight!  Have to admit it feels so goooood.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

C7 Update

Seventy and thirteen.
70 placed for C7, and 13 in place for the two adjacent blocks.  Sheesh.

It was going fairly well, then - BOOM!  Brick wall.

So many similar rusts to sweet potato golds and oranges into sudden yellows. . . . . .and not just 'yellow,' but v-e-r-y particular yellows.

Many of which are demanding a slight green tinge in one direction or another.

Gaaaa-a-a-a-gh!

I'm going to clean the cat box then decide if I want to head outdoors or back to something very yellow. [whimper]

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Happily moving on C7

I couldn't stand it any more...I just couldn't.

While I was cultivating pieces for laying out C7, I grew eager to see what VS would look like with the six completed blocks of Row C sewn together and placed side-by-side with the section RowAB.  So I stitched the six blocks together and quickly ran to someplace with room, good light, and no mess, grabbing the camera on the way.

Here is the image I snapped earlier this morning, and it looks so good!

Mind you, the rest of RowAB was folded under for the sake of getting this photo taken - I haven't done anything silly or foolish like take it apart.  I just needed to see this portion as it compares to the original painting.

I am re-energized, to say the least!

Friday, May 16, 2014

A compromise of peace

A few years back I wanted to enter a quilt contest, and I was convinced that my entry should reflect the color wheel - in a really grand way.

Within the first few days of hearing about the contest and deciding to enter it, I changed my mind and decided the quilt should actually be based on that simple but groovy - universally recognizable - peace sign.

Over the span of about six days I teetered back and forth between these two design choices, driving myself (and my sons) nuts trying to decide.

Before long I then began to desire that my quilt should incorporate both elements, but how was I going to do that?  Then, one morning I woke with a start.  A cosmic two-by-four smacked me between the eyes and provided me with the perfect marriage of both artistic desires.

I spent a couple of days graphing out a very large peace sign, then colored in a wheel to lay under my image in order to decide where each section of the spectrum should fall.  I even sent several choices to friends for their input as to how to position the color portion.  A few days later that decision was made, and I set about collecting the materials it would require to migrate gradually from one color to the next.

This aspect would prove to be more difficult than anything else.  The company sponsoring this particular contest stipulated you could only use materials purchased from their store, and you had to have receipts to prove it!  Well, since this chain store was touting the contest as an 'annual event', I didn't even blink twice as I began to amass my collection.  MANY fat quarters (and eighth yard cuts) later I could begin cutting!  More than 170 different materials were used overall.

Long story short -

Sadly, the store discontinued their yearly quilt contest after only two years, but PQ1 is a joyous celebration of color...and of my determination to see it through.  If I could have known sooner into the assembly process  that my hands were't tied to such rigid obligations, I would have had a broader palette to select my fabric from, but I truly believe I managed to make the best out of it anyway.

PQ1: Let it Begin with Me took over 880 hours to assemble and quilt  (4,225 1.5" cut squares for the top and another 30 pieces for the back and binding; measuring 65"x 65"), and it was worth all of the effort because now I have the chance to share it with all of you visiting from  
AmysCreativeSide.com

The hardest decisions I have to make any more regarding this quilt have to do with categorizing it for shows and contests.  For Blogger's Quilt Festival I had a tough time narrowing it down from five category possibilities to two, but I think I settled on Original Design (OR ROYGBIV).  [Coin toss]
I am proud to say that EVERY portion of this quilt is original; even the templates I created by hand for the three large peace doves, right
down to the smallest four - are my work (with a little divine inspiration from Picasso).  And because I went a little crazy while cutting out the 1.5" pieces for the color gradation, I still have bags of usable pieces leftover.  To date, I have made several variations of my original design - including exact miniatures, and quad designs with varied color placement.  I love them all!

Thank you, Amy, for the chance to enter your festival.  And thanks to everyone who took the time to view my quilt blog.  Enjoy the festival....you'll find me there, somewhere, wandering and enjoying the work of others!


My sons - bless them - thought there should be a photo of the back, too. It's very windy ~


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

C6

- in process.
____________________________________

UPDATE: 5/14 - 23 more to go before stitching it together.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Oops, sorry

Guess it has been a few days.

If you're keeping track, C4 was completed days ago; I'm nearly finished laying out C5, and I hope to get it stitched up tonight or early tomorrow.

There may be a photo in your future.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

As of May 2

C3 completed...now laying out C4!
Image is of C3 before stitching it together


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

2,460...

...as of last night.

If I had been a smarter person (about my time and the given weather conditions), I would have spent yesterday outdoors working on odds and ends in the yard, and saved this bit of quilting configuration for today when it's drearier and cooler.

Ah, well.

On to C3!  Woohoo!

6:54PM
UPDATE Re: C3 - Managed to get sixty pieces laid out throughout the day, so tomorrow I will finish the process and sew it up!  Is it possible I can get one-third to half of this row completed before the new semester begins?!?  Wouldn't that be groovy!

Friday, April 25, 2014

2,360

I'm just sayin'.

[happy dance]

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Oops!

Forgot to post the number with the photos.

To date, the two rows together total 2,260 pieces assembled!

_______

By the way, I spent the day cleaning up and getting ready for other stuff.  I (re-)sorted the cut material, sorted out colors I will need for the first few squares of Row C, and generally cleaned off the sewing table.  I un-messed a bit...and it felt liberating.  I am MORE than ready to get elbow-deep into the next square, but I need to put together something appropriate for a somber occasion I fear may be soon upon my family.

What are you up to?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Nailed it!

I did get the last of the pieces placed yesterday afternoon, a-n-d the final 130-pc block sewn together during the evening news.  After joining the individual blocks to the rest of the Row B configuration, I then spent an hour pinning the two completed rows together.

That's right...an HOUR.  Okay, okay....fifty-one minutes - but it seemed like an hour.

From there it was a matter of time and patience (as if the pinning didn't take patience by the bucketful) to stitch them all together, carefully. But I was so determined to get the two rows together, I thought I would bust if I didn't.  A bit of ironing and "oh well"-ing, and voila!

I now have a bit of a confetti'd color mess to put back in order, and a lot of cutting to do, but all eyes are now on Row C!

[big sigh of happy relief]

Monday, April 7, 2014

Twenty-six pieces to find before the stitching can commence.

ONLY twenty-six!

I think one of us is excited.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The end to a lovely day

Were there other things I should have been doing?  YES.

Do I care?  NO.

No, I do not care.

[i might care a LOT tomorrow, but right now i am very pleased]

This is how my 'wasted' (LOVELY) day -

I am so close to being able to stitch the first two rows together I CAN TASTE IT!  I really can. And yes, of course...I did the math.  I have 65/100 of the full block laid in place, and 22/30 in place for the partial (last) block for Row B.  This means I only have 43 pieces to find and place before construction.

43

Pictured above is approximately four hours worth of work.  Another way of saying it is: there's another three-four hours remaining before I can begin to sew these lovely bits together.

"Why so many hours if there's only one-third left to configure?", I hear you asking. "That's way less than half," you scream.

Good question.  The answer is that it is always harder to match out the remaining holes if I have to work around them in patches (as pictured above).  I either don't have a great color in hand - at the ready - or I do have it, but it is in my stash box and has to be pulled out - o-o-o-o-r it is laying on the table, buried, and needs finding again.  All very time-consuming.

Legend -
  "Hard" = work.  
  "Work" = hours of searching, comparing, (maybe) fussy cutting.  And, then there's the inevitable mind-changing thing I seem to do about something already in place.  Aaaagh!

But, the eighty-seven pieces pictured did go together relatively quickly (all things considered), so it is just as likely I could breeze through the last third yet to go.  

Sunshine! Mother, may I?

Good fortune is smiling on us today -

it's SUNNY!

I am going to celebrate by giving myself permission to lay out the last block-and-one-third for Row B!  Or, to at least get as much placed before the sun moves to the other side of the house.

Mother says: QUILT!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Stolen moments

After realizing the error I'd made in laying out the first couple dozen pieces, I had a hard time concentrating on much else until I made the necessary fix.  It didn't take long, but it was exasperating.

Of course, I couldn't stop with just making the quick changes and letting it go.  NOPE.  I stepped in and filled in some of the holes AND made a few adjustments here and there with the newest materials to aid me.

PROGRESS!  Can you see my original gaff now that it's been fixed?

And what's more - it pleases me no end that I am now only thirty-three pieces away from finishing this block.  From there, I am only 2.3 blocks away from completing Row B.  Be still my heart!

Monday, March 24, 2014

UPDATE: A-a-a-nd I have a pretty good start on B9

Only two-thirds left to find and place (with several of the new materials having to be cut to make it happen).

UPDATE: Now, looking at this photo days later, I can see an error I made in laying out this block.  I'm glad to catch it early on, otherwise I would be driving myself AB-SO-LUTELY nuts in about twenty or thirty more attempts at matching (or, probably more like five-to-ten pieces).

Can you see my boo-boo?

Oh yeah, and by the way

Yup, I did manage to configure and stitch 1,930.  Nineteen-point-three completed squares.......BOO-YAH!

It needed saying.  Thanks, I feel much better, now.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

In truth

I managed to contain myself yesterday, while visiting three material stores. One was a big box, retail sewing store, which also sells crafts (so I think you know where I mean), but the other two stops were 'local quilt shops' that are not local to us...by any stretch of the imagination.

Luckily, Jean had to have her car serviced - and her dealership is in Lansing - so that meant: 'road trip'. She graciously allowed me to join her, and we had the usual gabfest-laugh-a-paloosa in spite of the early morning hour(s).  Following the time at the dealer, we joined one of her lovely daughters (and her beau) at a Lansing eatery known for their soup.  The wait for a table was forty-five minutes longer than we anticipated, so we were less game for poking around in stores after brunch, but we made it work.

Following a quick trip through World Market in East Lansing (the WM in Rochester closed years ago, and everyone here still misses it very much) we mosey'd over to Country Stitches (a favorite LQS, and a MUST if you're in the EL area) for a bit.  So much to look at, and so much fun, but it was overrun with little girls who were there for goodness knows what reason. They never sat in the classroom area long enough to get anything accomplished, and boy, were they an annoying bunch of bodies to shop around. I was there with a specific mission, so I was able to stay fairly well focused in the things I found/purchased.  Yes, I bought a little bit beyond the golds/yellows/ochre/rusts/cinnamons/ golden-oak/green-overcast-yellows/yellow-overcast-greens I was in search of, but was not as badly out of control as I really could have been....so pat me on the back.

In truth, I cashed a savings bond for this little foray, so I feel less guilt than normal, and I stayed under the limit enough so that I could stop in to A Quilter's Garden in Fenton on the way home. I had to check out their batik wall to see if there were any possible blenders I could pull into my palette for VGS.  And there were...so I did!  Again, I didn't go so overboard that I feel guilty, but I did pass my budgetary mark by a small bit - which I stole from the gas tank money.

All told, I bagged 35 new materials for the VGS palette, and I am a very happy camper. I even think I may have located a source for the perfect light grey to rework "Pink Lemonade"! But that will have to wait for a bit ($).

How was your Saturday?

Friday, March 21, 2014

Well, OK, then...I suppose

Never certain of why it is people do what they do (and I am not entirely certain those people I am referring to - i.e.; all people in general -  know any better the reasons that compel them in the instance of some actions), but in the specific case of Lee Eiseman, Executive Director with Pantone Color Institute, I am seriously doubting most of her 'color of the year' choices from 2007 forward.

It's not that I dislike purple, nor is it the fru-fru name they gave Color 2014 ("Radiant Orchid"), but seriously? Aren't we a little full of ourselves? They claim it's "a captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones..."
You'll have to visit their website to read the copy the posted over the image (above), as it didn't copy over.

Looking at the image of the lovely orchid, I can see the purples of the petals and the more deeply-colored veins; the fuchsia of the center and the edging of off-white; I can even find a soft pink on a small section of the flower furthest to the rear.  I find it very hard to conceive how Pantone made the jump-to-light-speed decision to choose the color they did, claiming it's a mixture of the flower presented. And I further find it difficult to swallow naming it anything "Orchid".

Look, it's a pretty color, but it's hardly "orchid".

Time to step down, Ms. Eiseman.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Eighteen-thirty!

Boo-yah!  Take that!

1,830 down...14,668 to go.  Phwew.  See, it's the little milestones that are giving me the biggest thrills these days, and I will happily take my cheap ol' thrills where I can get them.  In (fairly) short order I will have row 2 (or, more commonly referred to as "Row B") finished, then I will immediately join A & B - just for the thrill of it.

What's more, in less than two complete blocks I will have joined two thousand pieces.  2,000 one-inch pieces!!  That's a lot, but way less than measurable over the entire project.  3,300 pieces would knock off a legitimate 20% - or, 1/5th - of the quilt.  Then I will rejoice like a mad woman.  Let's see, where will that land in the picture?  Well, that would mean I would have to have everything but the last 100-piece square block complete.

So there you go.  When I am through with Row C, I will have finished j-u-s-t over one-fifth of the whole quilt.  That's crazy!

Monday, February 24, 2014

1,730 +


Row B-7: The tip of the iceberg.  Now, only eight stinky pieces vex me.  

This square is kicking my butt.  Seriously.  Literally.

OK, so maybe not "literally," but you can consider my 'can' kicked.  There are still innumerable yellows to cut out - along with many thousands more of the same thus far - and I am still mad as ever to really want to get more of this quilt project sewn together.  I don't know if this quilt is more of a distraction from schoolwork, or if the classwork is a greater distraction from the quilt.  All I do know is I really just want to dive into it and work out the remainder of row B and move as quickly as possible through row C.  No more piecemeal work of stolen hours here and there - I want to devote some serious time to it!

If I can nail down the last of this square and get it stitched up today, the count will be 1,830.  Until then, it's more like 1,822.  Sheesh.

Oh, and trust me when I say the pieces that look way 'off' in B-7 truly are a better match in person.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Say it ain't so

[sigh]

Have you ever had one of those days?  One of those moments when you simply wanted to smack your own self between the eyes with something heavy?  Have you ever just regretted an absolute waste of time and effort after realizing something you had just finished (and felt a great sense of achievement over) - and spent over 6 hours working on - was all for naught?

SIX hours!  Six hours of daylight and electricity (for overhead lights)!  A waste.  All of it an absolute waste.

Oh my gosh, I am still smarting over my latest spate of idiocy.  I'll never recover the lost time, so I am hoping to get over it soon....but for now it still stings.

Ah, what did I do (you are probably wondering)?  Well, let me show you.

Oh, wait, I can't do that, either. 

My laptop - with the necessary software for editing photos - is not working.  Currently, I am living moment-to-moment on my son's little laptop...which has no photo-editing capabilities.  It has the internet - and that's about it.  I can write out homework assignments and have them ready for printing before I turn them in, but I can't do fun stuff.  I can look for work and upload my resume'...so, I guess that's a lot.  But what I can't do - what I'd like to do  - is...I'd love to show you what I spent hours cutting, matching, compiling, and readying for sewing, only to find I had already constructed it!!!

Aaaarrrgh!

You'll see what I mean in a few days (if my laptop can be fixed).  I promise.  You'll look at it and wonder: "Why did she do that?"  I know I did.

I still am.

[sigh]