Thursday, November 7, 2013

The same old story

Distractions . . . They always seem to lead me down a different path than the one I intended to travel.

I had a great time at the knitting retreat this past weekend.  We even had sunshine on Friday and mid-afternoon on Saturday.  Pouring down rain the rest of the time - loud enough to wake everyone that was sleeping upstairs.  That's one perk of being on the planning committee - I got there early enough Friday to claim a lower Swedish bed downstairs. (See the picture on the left half way down the page.)

By the time the retreat committee (me and three others) organized the Friday night potluck, had dinner and recruited people to clean up it was only a couple hours until bedtime.  So I decided to knit awhile on the sock I brought rather than quilt.  Yes - you guessed it.  I enjoyed the knitting so much that I kept at it on Saturday, resulting in a finished sock and a partially done mate.

(This picture makes my foot look HUGE!)
Yep - I didn't touch my quilting all weekend.  And thus I must change my completions for October.  It is definitely too far into November to call anything I do now an October finish - especially when I haven't finished anything yet! 

I did work on applique yesterday, and Donder and Blitzen is finished except for part of one star that  I'll finish today.  My son-in-law has laid claim to this quilt, so I think I'd better finish it so they can use it for decoration this Christmas time.

The first three blocks for the Farmer's Wife quilt have been chosen by our project leader, so I want to start - and finish - those.

I ordered a few more project boxes from Joann's - some are extra large - because I've run out of boxes for all the quilts I'm working on plus my BOM's which need to have all the "parts" kept together.  I'm eagerly awaiting their arrival so I can have an organized sewing room once again.

I also want to finish the mate of the above sock.  I knitted Tuesday, going back to the knitting group that I've not visited in almost two years.  It was really nice seeing people again - many of whom I'd just seen at the knitting retreat.

Lastly, I got up at the crack of dawn yesterday - 6:15 - and went back to Weight Watchers.  All I've done on my own is let the pounds gradually creep back on.  I really want to fit into the clothes I own, and want to return to looking like my profile picture.  So I'm making this public declaration of intentions and will report in every Wednesday after weigh-in.  Being accountable to my readers helped me a lot last time, and hopefully will again.

And now you know the rest of the story . . .  .

Thursday, October 31, 2013

October goals

At the beginning of the month I talked about the stretch goals I'd written.  One or two of you thought they might be a little too challenging.  You were right!  I finished five of the 10, though technically two are just "almost finished".  They'll be done by the end of retreat so I'm going to count them.  My goals, my rules LOL!

I will carry the rest into November.  Early next week I'll decide whether or not to add more.  Right now I'm thinking "No."

What's that you say? Knitting? What's that?

Back in February when I got back into blogging action I said I would need to find a way to spread my time over three hobbies.  Here is the post I wrote.

Obviously this has been a dismal failure.  The lure of quilting sucked me in no quickly that I wanted nothing to do with other hobbies.  People who have been following me for some time probably forgot completely that I was going to try to hand spin and knit in addition to quilting.

Last week I attended the Vancouver Handspinners meeting, and my fingers actually remembered what to do!  I spun all afternoon before the meeting so I wouldn't look like an idiot in front of the others.  That is the first time I've touched a spinning project since mid-April!

The retreat I'm attending tomorrow through Sunday is the Fort Vancouver Knitting Guild retreat.  I'm on the retreat committee so I figured I'd better spend at least part of the weekend knitting.  Today I got out my bin of partially finished projects - 11 of them!  I chose two different pairs of socks to work on.  I hope to come home with at least one completed sock.  I picked the two I thought took the least amount of thought - knitting and visiting is a recipe for disaster when knitting a complex pattern.  Here are the two I'm taking:

"Tidelines" by Anne Hanson

"Coquettish Clown" by Melissa Morgan-Oakes
Now that wool sock weather is back I feel the need to have some new socks.  It's a good thing that 10 of my 11 unfinished knitting projects are socks!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I did accomplish something today

It wasn't what I'd hoped - I didn't get any quilts basted - but I cut batting for every small quilt I've finished.  Here you see eight quilts rolled with their battings.  This eliminated the stack of batting pieces that have been filling corners in the sewing room, making it hard to organize them - hooray!
Next week I'll work on cutting backs and basting all of these.  Hopefully the last two will get the applique and embroidery finished this weekend so I can do the same with them.

It will be nice having all these ready to go.  In the meantime I've been quilting away on "Peace on Earth", which is closer and closer to being finished.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Give Away #3

This is a drawing for the "Dash of Spring" quilt pattern that you see in this post.  If you want a chance to win please leave me a comment telling me how you celebrate Halloween (if you do).  If you are "no reply" then please include your email address.  I must be able to contact the winner by email.

Good luck everyone!  I will draw names the second weekend in November.

Give Away #2

This is a drawing for the "Donder and Blitzen" quilt pattern that you see in this post.  If you want a chance to win please leave me a comment telling me your favorite season and why.  If you are "no reply" then please include your email address.  I must be able to contact the winner by email.

Good luck everyone!  I will draw names the second weekend in November.

Giveaway #1

This is a drawing for the "Scarecrow and Sunflowers" quilt pattern that you see in this post.  If you want a chance to win please leave me a comment telling me your favorite quilt designer.  If you are "no reply" then please include your email address.  I must be able to contact the winner by email.

Good luck everyone!  I will draw names the second weekend in November.

Another "almost finished" top

And a top that is actually put together correctly LOL!

All that's left to do is applique the bird by the Christmas tree, the five stars on the top border, and six tiny ultra suede bird legs.  This one will also go with me to the retreat this weekend.

I finished 12 Cracker Box blocks for still another 30's group swap.  They went into the mail today.  I feel very good about that - the deadline isn't until December 2nd!  That's it for swap blocks until the new year.  Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture before I mailed them.

I've even straightened up the mess in the sewing room.  Tomorrow I'm going to baste a bunch of quilt tops.  At least that's the plan!

Coming up - some new giveaways!

Oops! This time I'm going to live with it just the way it is.

This entire quilt top is together now.  I finished the machine sewing this afternoon.  All that is left is to applique the large sunflower to the right of the scarecrow and embroider all the finishing  touches.

When I took the picture for the blog I realized my mistake.  Take a close look at the quilt top.

Now look at the picture on the front of the pattern.

I would prefer the red-orange star points, but I'm NOT going to rip it apart to change things.  Too many seams sewn with too small stitches.  It isn't awful the way I did it, but I think the colors would balance better if I had done it the way it was designed.  I'll always look at the quilt and think about how it is supposed to be, but I'm going to live with it the way it it.

Two days left in the month and I have many goals I didn't accomplish.  Of course, I didn't plan to be sick.  I also didn't plan to become addicted to the "Candy Crush" game on Facebook.  Anybody else play that?  I started playing about when I got sick, and have spent way too much time doing that.  I'm blaming my lack of posts on the game addiction.  I have it under control now, I think - I hope - time will tell.

I'm not going to do the hand stitching on this right now.  I'm heading out Friday afternoon for a knitting retreat that lasts until Sunday afternoon, and I'm going to take quilting handwork as well as knitting - including this project.  It won't be done by this fall, but certainly by 2014.

Monday, October 21, 2013


I finished the fourth set of 12" sampler blocks tonight - hooray!  I will mail them in the next couple days to the swap hostess, and then I can cross this off my list.  I'm not going to complete the goal list for this month but am happy with what I have accomplished so far.  Darn virus bug got in my way!

"X Quartet"

Swap Blocks Set 3

I'm happy to report that I'm moving right along - one more set to make.

Contrary Wife
If you like 30's fabrics you should check out our group on Yahoo Groups.  We're planning our activities for 2014 now.  I'm very excited about one thing we are doing - we are making the quilt "Farmer's Wife" out of 30's fabrics.  Seems quite appropriate to me, considering these fabrics are reproductions of those used for feed sacks.  We will make two blocks a week - one an easy one and one a more difficult block.  I'm eager to get started.

(Yes, I know.  That will make still another ongoing project for me.  Oh well - I guess I'll just accept what I am LOL!)

Another set of blocks

This is my second set of blocks for the 12" sampler block swap in my 30's group.  This block is "Hovering Hawks".  I would pop the blocks in the mail for the swap and cross this goal off my October list - however! - as usual, I'm a glutton for punishment.  I decided to make two more block sets for the swap.  Today I hope to finish the "Contrary Wife" blocks, and then on to "X Quartet".

A couple of these blocks are quite wild!  Not what one usually thinks of when "30's fabrics" come to mind.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Six done - six to go

Today I actually got dressed and left the house (dinner out).  I had more energy than I've had for almost two weeks though I had to take frequent rest breaks throughout the day.  This allowed me to get back to cutting and machine sewing.

I need to finish 12 blocks in 30's fabrics - six each using two block patterns from the 30's - and get them mailed by the end of the month for a block swap on the 30's yahoo group.  Today seemed like a good day to start.  My two blocks were in an old book and used templates.  Easy peasy - just measure the templates for rotary cutting directions.  Whoops!  Both blocks contained quite a few measurements that included 16th's of an inch.  Ick!  I'd already started the first block in which 3 of the five shapes measured X x/16".  I forged ahead and finished one and it turned out OK.  It actually wasn't that hard to cut half way between two of the eighth-inch markings.  The block is called "Tea Party", and is in this book, published in 1988.  I'm very pleased with how these turned out!

These fabrics are bright!
Oh my goodness - as I was typing the caption I see the lower center block has an "oops"!  Bet that was the last one I finished.  I knew I was too tired to forge on - why don't I ever listen to my body?

Here is what is left.  I'll deal with this mess tomorrow.  (And I'll fix that block.  If I'd not looked at the picture I never would have noticed that!)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

How many of you are like me?

I would really like to know!  I think it is a disease - I know I've had it since early on in my quilt life.  How many of the rest of you are infected?  (You can skip to the bottom of the post now for the questions if you don't want to read the rest.)

A few days ago I was adding still another "ongoing project" to the list on my left sidebar.  Currently it looks like this:

 1.  Girl Gang Feathered Star Quilt(2003)
 2.  Mid-century Album (2007) 
 3.  Civil War Diary Quilt (2008)
 4.  Civil War Applique (2008)
 5.  Civil War Love Letters (2008)
 6.  Afternoon Delight (2013)
 7.  30's Basket blocks (2013)
 8.  Sweet Memories (2013)
 9.  Baltimore Autumn (2013)
10. Turn of the Century Revisited (2013)

These are large, time consuming projects that are slowly becoming complete quilt tops.  I don't call them UFO's because they are all being worked on as their turn comes up.  They are not projects I've abandoned.

Notice the dates - these are the dates the projects got started.  Between  2003 and 2008 I really focused on shrinking the list - I had over 80 when I started.  I'm pleased with how I've whittled that list down by either finishing the quilt tops or abandoning (and giving away) the project.
Looking at the list now it appears that it is once again growing.  I don't think I've taken a single project off the list this year, and I've added 5!  There is only one project listed that is anywhere close to being a finished top, and it is one I've not touched since I started quilting again in February.

There are so many quilts I want to make, and every so often one refuses to be put away and demands that I start working on it.  And thus it gets added to the list.

Now for the questions:

How many of you have several complex (defined in this case as taking a considerable length of time to finish) projects going on at the same time?

How many of you stick to one or at the most two complex (same definition) projects at once, and refuse to allow yourself to start another until you finish one?

(The above question presumes you slip several (or many) quick-to-finish projects in between sessions of working on long-term project(s).)

How many of you stick to only one project at a time, whether it be simple (quickly finished) or complex (same definition as above) before you allow yourself to start another.

When it comes to your quilting, how successful are you at disciplining yourself?  (I've decided I'm a total failure!)

(These questions refer to finishing the quilt top only.  Having a giant list of finished tops needed to be quilted is an entirely different issue!)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

What's been happening

I returned home from our son's house late last Wednesday night.  With the beginnings of a nasty cold (sorry if I already mentioned that - right now thinking takes almost more energy that I have).  Now, a week later, I'm  still trying to feel better.  It's strange - when I was a kid my colds lasted about 3 days.  Mom put us to bed and nursed us with toast points, chicken noodle soup and mustard plasters.  (Anyone else remember those?)  These days I don't stay in bed - I'm either at the computer in a congested stupor playing computer games that don't take any brain power, or I'm sitting in my sewing room doing mindless handwork.  I've not left the house since Thursday morning, when I returned the defunct red iron to Fabric depot and got the new lenses put in all three pairs of glasses - regular, close-up, and sunglasses.  (Amazing - I can really see better now, and I don't get double vision when I'm doing applique!) 

Enough already - I'll quit whining now.

I've crossed two things off my October goal list.  I bound and labeled "Angel Dance" - that's 13 quilts on my "completed quilt" list for 2013.  What a great feeling - 10 of which were UFO's from prior years.

I also finished appliqueing the first block for the "Sweet Memories" quilt.  I've very happy with how it turned out.  I'm going to do the other 8 blocks gradually, interspersing them between working on

other projects.  As you can see in this post, there are a limited number of fabrics in this quilt.  It's been YEARS since I made a quilt with so few fabrics.  I know if I tried to do the blocks one after another I would get so bored that I might never finish.  One every month or even every other month is a good goal IMHO.

The sewing room is a mess right now - stuff everywhere - as is the rest of the house.  There is no way I'm cleaning until I feel better, and there is no way I can get to the cutting table as is.  I have the applique prepared for one more small quilt on my list, so that's what I'm working on next.  Once that is done I will HAVE to find the cutting board, as I'll have quite a few applique blocks that need trimming before I can complete the two quilt tops.

The "Sweet Memories" block is the first I've done in which I used all the preparation and stitching methods I learned in Pearl P. Periera's DVD.  I first taught myself to applique in 1989, and have tried many different methods during the ensuing years.  I'm happy with my skills, but I believe I can always learn new tricks - that's why I bought the DVD.  I'm thrilled with this method, and believe anyone can learn to applique using it.  Even if you are scared witless by the very idea of applique.  Even if you've tried applique before and felt you failed.  I will eventually post a "tutorial" of what I did, but it won't be everything because I respect Pearl's copyright.  I have no relationship whatsoever with Pearl - just a very, happy, satisfied customer.  I rate this DVD as A+ - the best resourse I've ever seen for teaching applique.  I like it even better than what I learned in various expensive classes I've taken from renowned teachers through the years.  If you really, really want to do applique, then this is the method you should try.  JMHO, of course!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Simple and complex quilts

It was so much fun reading the comments I received on the last post.  Of course, this "Tally" is in no way indicative of anything, but it was fun to see the results anyway.

6 people prefer making simple quilts
11 people prefer making complex quilts
8 people make both

When I posed the question I didn't define that I meant by "simple" and "complex".  Different commenters interpreted the question in different ways.  I knew what I meant when I posed the question, and was surprised by some of the answers.

(I've answered all the comments I can, so if you didn't receive an answer then you are a "no-reply" person.)

I'm taking this a bit farther because reading the comments brought so many questions to my mind.  I'm hoping many of you will respond to these new questions.  I will report the "stats" in my next post.after people have had a few days to comment. 

* * * * * * * * * * 

"What do you think of when you think of a simple compared to a complex quilt?"

Is it the size of the quilt?  Can a small quilt be complex?  Can a large quilt be simple?

Is it the number of pieces in the quilt?  Or the number of pieces in each block?

Is it the number of fabrics used in a quilt?  Can a scrap quilt be simple?  Can a quilt with six or fewer fabrics be complex?

Is it the difference between piecing and applique?  Or the combination of piecing and applique?

Is it the shape of the pieces - squares, triangles and rectangles vs. hexagons, octagons, etc.?

Is it the difference between a quilt that can be rotary cut and a quilt that must be made from templates?

* * * * * * * *  *

I love quilts with many pieces in each block.  I love quilts with many different blocks in one quilt.  I love quilts with many different fabrics.  I love combining piecing and applique.  I love to machine piece and hand applique.  I can piece by hand, and find it enjoyable, but prefer to save "hand sewing time" for applique and quilting.  I love hand quilting, but realize that many of my quilts need to be machine quilted because of time and physical constraints.  There is no quilt pattern that I'd be afraid to tackle as I believe my skills are equal to the process, but there are many things I've never done because I've not yet had enough time.  I prefer traditional quilts, have not made a quilt that is not traditional, and doubt if I ever will.  Doing "art quilts" will NEVER be my thing.

* * * * * * * * *
As quilters we all have things in common when it comes to our quilting.  But even more, we all have taken different paths in our development as a quilters.

Why do you read my blog?  Are my quilts similar to yours or very different?  If you love modern fabrics and/or art quilts and yet you read my blog, I wonder why?

I'm hoping many of you will share with me so I can get to know you all better.  Thanks ahead of time?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Looking for a fabric

Mary Jo (no blog) is looking for one fabric to finish her Jan Patek sampler.  It is the red acorn fabric seen in the middle picture in my previous post.  If anyone knows where she could get (trade, buy) a yard please let me know.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

This post is for Mary Jo

Here are the borders on Jan Patek's red sampler.  I tried to send the pictures to you via email but for some reason the message didn't want to go with the pictures attached.

One or two borders are a single fabric.  At least one is made from two fabrics.  I'll try to get better pictures of the border tomorrow.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

New goals

I'm back in the groove now with 10 goals set for October, as well as a new set of quilting goals for 2013.  It is definitely possible for me to achieve Octobers, though it will take some diligence on my part.  I wonder how many I'll finish?

I've listed them on my left sidebar as usual, and updated the lists of stage completions for various projects.  I'm excited to be back to visible finish lines in the not too distant future.

I got home around 3:30 this afternoon, but must head out tomorrow morning again and won't be home until Wednesday night.  I'm going to Newberg to help my daughter-in-law who is recovering from surgery.  We are taking the tent trailer so I'll have a place to sleep and have "me" time after the girls are in bed.  Fred is driving me down to help set up the trailer, and then will come back to pick "us" up Wednesday night.

This will be back to back 3-day sessions away from Fred - I'm really going to miss him!

A very stormy time was had by all

I've always wanted to stay by the ocean during a big storm.  I got my wish this past weekend.  My Tangled Threads quilt group rented a house just south of Arch Cape, OR (which is just south of Cannon Beach on the northern Oregon coast).  We were right on the ocean - the view was magnificent.  We quickly talked through what we would do in the event of a tsunami, cleared out the cars and settled in for the weekend. 


Here is the "sunny view" from the deck.

Unfortunately we didn't get the "sunny view".  It was pouring rain throughout the 2 hour drive to the house (not counting a stop at Center Diamond, the Cannon Beach quilt shop).  By the time the cars were unloaded we were drenched.  Wind and rain was our pleasure the rest of Friday, with the addition of lightening during the night.  The wind was blowing too hard to hear any thunder.

Saturday was worse.  The remains of a typhoon arrived early Saturday morning, with driving rain and winds around 40 MPH with gusts up to 60.  The huge windows across the ocean front must be very strong glass, because they didn't move at all when the wind hit them.  The above umbrella was folded up but still attached to the table.  The table was blown backwards down the side deck and tipped over to lean up against the spare propane tank next to the barbecue.  The very large, heavy grill was rolling back and forth from one part of the deck to another until brave Sue donned her rain gear and moved it up next to the house at the far back of the side deck.  The chairs were blown off the balcony and into the yard.  Your can imagine the fabulous wave action we got to see all day Saturday.

We stayed cozy warm inside with this view and this large table for quilt projects.

Luckily the wind died down about noon, and the rain let up a little - just long enough for us to head into town for lunch at our favorite restaurant in Cannon Beach (the Lazy Susan - fabulous food!).  As another storm front was due mid-afternoon we decided to buy a large pizza, more salad fixings and snacks, and wine before heading back to the house.  That way we didn't need to venture out again.  Good thing too - as the second storm front did arrive shortly after we got back.

I didn't take any pictures - it was just too dark, gray and stormy for anything to photograph well with my small camera and small skills.  (I "borrowed" the above pictures from the vacation rentals page for the house). Believe me - it was a marvelous adventure.  It rained all the way home today also, though there was little wind (thank goodness!)  No slides to block highway 101 so we were trapped on the coast.

I did manage to finish the binding on three quilts while we were gone, plus a little quilting on a fourth quilt.  I didn't touch the applique I took.  Isn't it always the way - we think we can accomplish three times as much quilting as we actually do in the time allowed. 

All have light colored backs so I will write the labels directly onto the back of the quilts.  This gave me a great feeling of accomplishment!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

NIX the new iron

Day 2 - it has stopped working after smoking a bit.  I thought it was starch on the soleplate so I cleaned it off.  Smoked a bit more then quit.  No heat at all.  Indicator light doesn't come on.  Back to the store with this tomorrow!

I'm sorry about this as I really liked the way it felt in my hand and how hot it got.  Back to my trusty Rowenta travel iron.

One block is prepared

I love how this is looking!

And I give two thumbs up to Pearl Periera's applique method.  The only difference between hers and mine is that I still use the stiletto in my right hand and my left fingers to help turn under the seam allowance, followed by the iron.  She has the stiletto in her left hand and the iron in her right and does it all in one step.  Her left hand is obviously more talented than mine.

On Monday I picked up a new little iron to use for this process - it is similar to the one Pearl uses in her DVD.  It is VERY light weight, has no steam vents so the entire soleplate is hot, and a nice pointy front end.  I like it a lot!  It's tiny - my pressing mat (which looks like it's time I retired it) is just over 12" square.  The handle comes off and is stored by sliding it onto the base.  I found it at Fabric Depot in Portland OR.  They have them in the online store as well as in the actual store.

Now I'll have some lunch, clean off the cutting table and start making bindings!

I knew it wouldn't last

My vague quilting goal worked well for the summer.  Now it is starting to bother me.  A lot.  I've accomplished much in the last three months - started a bunch of new quilts - and have finished nothing.  Now that autumn is "officially here", I'm once again feeling the need for some goals.  I'm missing that marvelous feeling I get every time I finish something.

I'm almost done finishing the first block of "Sweet Memories" to take to the beach.  That's all I'm going to do on that quilt before I leave.  I have five small quilts that are in need of binding in order to have five more finishes.  It is now their time - I hope to have the binding machine stitched on each one so I can finish them at the beach. 

When I get back home in the middle of next week I'll do some serious goal setting.  I'm drawn to making progress on some of my long term projects.  "Civil War Diary" is calling for my attention - when I'm in the sewing room my eyes keep going to the design wall and wondering what the next finished row will look like.

"Progress made on many new and ongoing projects" was fun while it lasted, but now it is time to get back to the business at hand.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

I couldn't resist buying this pattern!

I think I might have to make this just so I can hang it up as a warning to Fred when it is one of those days.  This will be easily made from scraps.  I'm resisting starting it - I must stay focused as the weekend is coming!

I'm still here

I am surprised to see how long it has been since I posted.  It shows you that I've been doing nothing of photo value.

I have finished making all the templates for Baltimore Autumn except for the large center block.  In doing so I used up the second roll of freezer paper that I bought all those years ago.  Those of you new to quilting and/or new to applique probably aren't aware of the "Great Freezer Paper Scare" of

the early 1990's.  The Reynolds company announced they were no longer going to produce freezer paper - or so the rumor said.  The applique lovers of the quilting world panicked and started stockpiling freezer paper.  We all tried to determine how many rolls we would need so we wouldn't run out before we died.  Freezer paper flew off the store shelves.  It was very hard to find.  Word would spread when a store got in a shipment and the rolls would disappear off the shelves in record time.  A letter writing campaign to Reynolds began.  I, myself, bought two rolls, then two more, then two more, always afraid I'd never have enough.  I think I had 8 or 10 rolls when I finally stopped buying.  Eventually Reynolds announced they had no intention of stopping the production of freezer paper and the madness ended.  I sold several of my rolls in the following years, and now have four or five left.  In 20 years I've used two of them.  Just the thought of our madness makes me laugh.

I'm ready to start choosing fabrics, but had to put that aside to make sure I have plenty of handwork prepared for this next weekend.  My Tangled Threads buddies and I have rented a house at Arch Cape, OR for the weekend.  We are right on the ocean and are hoping for nice weather.  It's been about 18 months since we got away together - we can hardly wait.  I knew I would never be able to prepare any Baltimore Autumn blocks in time, so I pulled out a kit that I've had for years and years and will have it ready to go.  I'm excited to start this one.  It is called "Sweet Memories".  It is from the booklet "Lovina's Pressed Flowers" by Blackbird Designs (Barb Adams and Alma Allen), copyrighted in 2003. 

Easy, large applique, so this should be fairly quick to do.  My goal is to prepare 3 blocks for the weekend.   Here are the fabrics - I just love how they look together!

Of course I'll take my basket of hand quilting also, for when I get tired of doing applique.

We are going to have such a great time!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

It is dead.

Really dead.  My beloved IPOD, which has given me hundreds and hundreds of delightful listening hours.  It has turned up its toes.  Stuck its spoon in the wall.  (For all of you out there who love Regency romances like I do).

I can't remember when we bought this - I know it was years ago.  We bought this one for both of us, and realized right away that wouldn't work so bought another too.  This model hasn't be sold for a long time.  This one had twice as much storage as Fred's, so this one holds all the audio books.

I was near the beginning of the third book of a trilogy, so had to keep reading.  I managed to listen to that one on my tablet.  For some reason my phone won't seem to accept the newest downloads. I've ordered a new one - expected it today - but just learned it won't get here until next week.

How am I going to entertain myself while I deal with this?

I'm just not in the mood for TV or a movie - especially something new that I need to actually watch.

I'm in search of a solution to this dilemma.  Wish me luck.

UPDATE:  I deleted the audible app on my phone and reinstalled it.  Hooray!  That worked.  Now I'm happily listening to my newest book while ironing fabric.  Turns out the temp wasn't nearly as high today as expected, so I washed two loads and decided to chance it.  I'm tolerating it, as long as the fan is aimed directly at me!

Partial Success, plus a lot more!

My experiment with a wavy (pinking) blade in the rotary cutter was a partial success - enough so that I'll continue with the process in the future.  I was thrilled to pull a bunch of fabric from the washer to find there were no knotted-together fabrics and no fabrics tangled together with strings.  There were still strings that needed to be trimmed, but not nearly as many as before.  This took much less time than stitching all the edges would take, that's for sure.  The wavy blade has lost its "new" sharpness after cutting so many edges; I hoped it would last longer for the price.  It is still sharp enough to trim the edges of applique blocks to prevent them from fraying during stitching - I don't know why I didn't think of this before!

These next pictures are a bit scary looking - especially considering I've stated numerous times that I'm putting myself in the "no buying mode".  I've come to realize that I'll never be able to stick to that mode unless I cut up all my credit cards, delete my PayPal account and put all the family accounting into Fred's hands.  Which would quickly lead to my insanity and a financial mess (my husband is a darling in many ways, but he isn't organized enough to manage finances, in spite of being a retired math teacher).

These are this year's purchases sorted by color, waiting to be prewashed.  I was on a roll, and then hot weather hit again.  We've been in the high 80's and low 90's - setting temperature records for September - which means I'd be standing in a sauna if I tried ironing slightly damp fabrics in my sewing room.  So these piles are waiting for cooler weather before being washed.

The reality is that most of these fabrics are filling the color "gaps" in my stash.  There are many blacks, purples, yellows, madder reds and oranges, and a few grays.   There is space on my shelves for most of them - thank goodness!  A few are for a specific quilt I will make in the future - I had to get these particular picture prints while they were still available.  Yes, I bought some of them just because I wanted them.  This last category is the one where I'm working to curb my buying.  So here is the better pledge for me.

I hereby place myself on a Fabric Diet.  I will make only healthy fabric purchases.  This includes batiks as my collection is very small and I will use them in most future applique projects.  This also includes necessary fabric bought for a current project.  The only exceptions are the monthly block of the month kits for programs I've already subscribed to.  I will not allow myself to subscribe to any more BOM's until I've completed tops from all those I'm already getting.

I believe this is a pledge I'll be able to keep.  It will allow me to do some fabric shopping when I feel the urge, but will restrain me from buying fabric I really don't need and have no room to store.

Speaking of storing fabrics - I found a solution to storing my 30's and 40's collection that won't fit on the shelves.  I was in Tuesday Morning - a store I rarely enter - for something else and saw these baskets.  Right away I knew they would be perfect for storing these fabrics, making them so much more accessible.  I transferred the fabric into them as soon as I got home, and they are PERFECT!  There is just enough room left for the 30's and 40's fabrics - color gap fillers - waiting to be prewashed.  These baskets sit on the floor in front of fabric cabinets, and are easy to move when I want to get into the cabinets.  Much better than having these hidden away in the closet!

I'm spending a lot of time on quilty activities, but they are the kind that result in nothing much to show or talk about - besides trimming fabric edges and washing fabrics, I've been making templates for the Baltimore Autumn quilt.  I've completed 7 blocks, with 5 more to go, not including the large center block.  During this process I decided to order the applique techniques DVD made by Pearl Pereira (the designer of Baltimore Autumn) to see how she handles the very tiny pieces in her applique patterns.    

I found the DVD very helpful in that it presented a few new techniques I've not ever seen before.  I'm very eager to try them out.  Interestingly enough, she doesn't use an overlay to place her pieces while constructing the block.  Instead she uses washable glue to attach her pieces together, and builds the block on top of the pattern.  Finished large units of applique are then placed on the background with the pattern underneath the fabric and using a light box when needed.  So I've stopped creating overlays for these blocks, and will try both methods to see which I like the best.  As the quilt progresses, I'll tell you my of my experiences with both methods, and decide which I like the best.  She prepares her pieces using her templates the way I've been doing the last couple years, but uses starch instead of water.  It is different from the starch method I tried years ago and decided I didn't like.  This will be a great learning and discovery process.  (In case you are wondering about the large tissue box - I use these for my "garbage container".  Very handy, and a good "repurposing" of the empty box.)

Prize winners - nope, I've not gotten to the post office yet.  When hot weather hits I stay inside as much as possible trying to stay cool.  I promise you all they will be in the mail by the end of this week.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I have winners!!!!

Sorry to be so late with this ladies - I apparently am suffering from a bit of procrastinationitis.  Decided this morning I'd better get with the program!

Here are the lucky winners of the latest giveaways:

Jack at the Gate - Gayle!

Frosty and Friends - Fiesta!

Where Liberty Dwells - Kay!

Heirloom Stitches - Marsha B!

Congratulations ladies.  Please send me your snail mail addresses so I can get your prize out in the mail ASAP.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

What's going on . . .

I needed some handwork these last few days, so I completed this little top.  Super simple applique and piecing.  Another finished top to add to the list.

Dash of Spring designed by Jan Patek
I've put away the machine and piecing for now to give me a work table for my new applique project.  It's been a VERY long time since I did a complex applique design.  This will be the first time I've used an overlay.  I'm eager to try it.  Previously I used the light box with the fabric over the pattern and pinned pieces in place.  Many pieces mysteriously migrated a bit as they were sewn down.  Not a good thing when the design is as complex as these.  This is the third of the overlays - two done and one nearly done.  I'm so eager to start choosing fabrics for these blocks!  I'm very excited, as this will be done from all those stacks of non-reproduction fabrics!

I'm sure everyone is waiting for me to do the drawings - I've just not gotten around to doing it.  By the end of this week for sure!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A prewashing experiment

I know there are still MANY of us who prewash all our fabrics - for various and sundry reasons.  For me, the main reason is an allergy to at least one of the chemicals used to process fabrics, as well as getting excess dye out of the fabric.

Those of you who are prewashers - I'm sure you hate the stringy mess and twisted together fabrics that come out of the washer as much as I do.  I was hoping having a front loader would solve that problem - it didn't.  Supposedly cutting off the corners works - it doesn't.

So, I'm trying a little experiment.  I always pinked the seams of most of the garments I made when I sewed clothing to prevent seams from ravelling.  (For you younger folks, we used "pinking shears", which cut a sawtooth edge instead of a straight edge, were very expensive and almost impossible to sharpen.)  So I stopped by JoAnn's after my morning Starbucks and bought a "pinking blade" for my rotary cutter.  I used it to cut my 11 yards of "Baltimore Autumn" background fabric into manageable pieces before washing.

Here are the results. Next to no strings.  No tangles.  No knots.  Of course, this was just three large pieces of fabric.

Now I'm pinking the edges of a bunch of fat quarters.  With raw edges on both the crosswise and lengthwise grain, they will be the true test.  I have my fingers crossed.

Friday, August 30, 2013

For your information - just in case you want a pattern enlarged

I am very conscious of copyright rules, and try to never infringe on someone's copyright.  It has always been my understanding that by buying a quilt pattern you have permission to make one copy for personal use only.  This makes sense - who wants to mess up an original?  Sometimes this is clearly stated on a pattern.  Sometimes the copyright notice on a pattern doesn't state it clearly.

That is the case with Pearl P. Pereira's "Baltimore Autumn" pattern.  Here is what it says:

"No part of this pattern may be reproduced in any form, including electronic copying or mechanical photocopying.  The contents of this pattern are intended for personal use only and are protected by federal copyright laws."

I drove several miles to our local Fed-X/Kinko's copy store, and was turned down..  OK.  Not a problem.  I emailed Ms Pereira via her website, told her that I wanted to make a larger version of her quilt, and asked her permission to have enlargements made.  She graciously responded within the hour, giving me permission in straightforward, easy-to-understand language.

I printed her email and returned to the store.  This time I was told an email - obviously from the copyright owner - was not sufficient.  A form needed to be filled out and signed by the copyright owner before they could make the enlargements.  I asked why I wasn't told that the first time, and got a shrug for an answer - after the person at the order counter checked with three other people.  (The person who helped me the first time wasn't where I could see him.)  They said I could put in the order, they would email the form to the designer, and when they heard back they would make the copies.

I went to have coffee and do some shopping - batik fat quarters on sale at Craft Warehouse! - and then called the store to see if they had heard from the designer.  They had, and were working on the job.  She also told me they "figured out another way to do it in case she didn't respond".  I drove back to the store and sat in the parking lot reading a book until my order was ready.  The email they'd received from Ms. Pereira said she'd never had to fill out a form when giving permission before this, she was on vacation, and was having to do this on her phone.  She did manage to send back the form.

A HUGE thank you for Ms. Pereira for taking vacation time to do this for me.  What a classy lady!  So, be aware that printed permission from a designer to make a copy of a pattern may not be enough for some copy shops, so be prepared.  Especially if it is a Fed-X store!

The final irony is this - when she rang up the sale the printer spit out a "how did we do?" form for me to fill out, with $5 off my next copy order of $25 or more.  Yes, I will be filling it out.

Now I'm really all over the place!

Week before last was the Pacific West Quilt Show in Tacoma, WA - a little over 2 hours north of us.  I've been looking forward to this show for a LONG time.  Three of my Tangled Threads friends and I headed north for a wonderful day . . . the other was totally envious as she had to go to a wedding. 

The group, formerly known as the Association of Pacific Northwest Quilters, includes the states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington,and Wyoming in the US, and British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories in Canada.  The juried show is held every other year, and is always spectacular.

This year was no exception.  Amazingly spectacular quilts, including several from our guild, Clark County Quilters in Vancouver WA.  I took lots of pictures, but I'm going to include only a few.  I was so enthralled that I forgot to take pictures of the labels, and I really don't like to post pictures without giving the maker credit.

The reflections are created with scraps cut with pinking shears!

Made by Helene Knott, Portland OR

I've already set myself a new goal - to have a quilt juried into the 2015 show.  Wish me luck!

Of course, I did some damage in the merchant mall.  I bought more batiks to add to my growing collection, and I bought another pattern.  It is one I've loved ever since I first saw it.  Every fall I tell myself that this is the year I'll actually start a fall quilt.  This year I'm going to do it.  Come September all that calls to me are yellows, oranges, reds, greens, golds, and browns.  So what did I choose?

Baltimore Autumn by Pearl P. Pereira
 The blocks are 12", which is smaller than I want, so today I'm taking them to Fed-X today to have them enlarged to 15".  That will give me a bed size quilt instead of a wall quilt, and the applique pieces won't be quite so small.  I've bought my background fabric, and have plenty in my stash for the applique.  Once I bring my enlarged patterns home I don't know if I'll have the will power to not start it right away!

An added aside:  When I showed my purchases to my friends I learned why the quilt looked so familiar to me.  One of them already had the pattern, and two more of them are getting it as a block of the month.  Makes me smile - so often our group has similar tastes!  No one has started making it yet, however.  I plan to be the first to start.