Half Holiday / Half Sewing

Quilt Decor
Quilt Decor

We did something different this year. We used a quilt for a tree skirt. I think it looks nice with the gifts wrapped in gift bags.

I made a tree skirt out of felt soon after I got my first tree. It has been looking ratty for a few years, but it looked embarrassing last year. I didn’t make a tree skirt, though I have a pattern. Perhaps next year, now that the Thanksgiving tablerunners are done?

Late Pre-Christmas ColorPlay

Nobody died, but I did have a slightly stressful week, which you can see on Instagram and Twitter, if you are interested. I post more about my life there. No quilt related emergencies. thus, the late posting of ColorPlay and little other posting this week. I also haven’t sewed much.

ColorPlay Christmas 2016
ColorPlay Christmas 2016

This is an old photo from a prior Thanksgiving dinner, but I thought it would make a nice themed ColorPlay this week.

ColorPlay Christmas n.1
ColorPlay Christmas n.1

The first color palette is the default. It is what the tool gave me out of the gate; I didn’t make any changes. I really like it, mostly because I got two in the red area right off. I also like the neutrals.

ColorPlay Christmas n.2
ColorPlay Christmas n.2

I fooled around with the dots a bit on the second option, keeping the reds, but changing up the neutrals. I also added some additional greens, which, though present in the first palette, were not representative of the theme of the tablecloth.

ColorPlay Christmas n.3
ColorPlay Christmas n.3

Finally, this is my masterpiece. I really like this color palette. I like the various greens – they are brighter – in combination with the two reds and only one neutral and think it would make a great quilt.

Peacock Solids

In my last post, I talked about how my design method can run into problems. Still, it is the way I work and I don’t want to plan out a whole quilt in each detail before I work on it as there would be no reason to make it. Therefore, I have to cope with design challenges as they come up. I really am struggling with what to place on the top of the quilt.

The other day, since I was determined to make progress on The Peacock, I pulled out all of the solids that were in the running for use and put them in order by color. The photos above don’t look very good. It is hard to see the subtle differences in hue. Still, it makes it easier to choose, which blue to put next as I move up to the top of the quilt.

 

Red & White Donation Quilt – Almost

Red & White Donation Quilt
Red & White Donation Quilt

Well, the Red & White Donation quilt is as done as it is going to get on my watch.

I am not happy with how long it took to get done or the way it came out.

I was under the impression that new, updated QAYG method would make making an entire quilt a breeze, especially since I had the blocks. This was my slap in the face that quilts take time. I know this. I want to make a nice quilt no matter if it is a donation quilt or one that will lay over my stair railing for the next 10 years. It was a good reminder that quilts take time. I know this, but was lured by a gimmick, I think.

Red & White Donation Quilt back
Red & White Donation Quilt back

In the process of putting the quilt together using the QAYG method, I lost sight of the design of the postage stamp blocks. You can see that I lined some of them up crazily. The general method is that the you quilt the blocks on the machine with only batting on the bottom, then you put the back on and quilt some more. Putting the back on and quilting more was like quilting the whole quilt. This is what confuses me.

The quilting you can see on the back is in addition to the quilting I did on the blocks. There is enough quilting through all three layers to hold the quilt together. I don’t understand why the QAYG method is easier?

Red & White Donation Quilt back - detail
Red & White Donation Quilt back – detail

The quilt as you go method that sounded so good when I heard about it. The good part is that I quilted the quilt. The binding just needs to be attached. I even sewed the binding by machine. All that needs to be done is handstitching.

I almost brought it to my SIL when I finished to get it out of my sight, but decided that I might do the binding after the Christmas rush. It is put away for now, but we will see.

I know someone will like it and it will keep someone warm, so it isn’t a disaster that needs to be tossed: just not up to my normal standards.

City Sampler Continued

City Sampler blocks
City Sampler blocks

I made more blocks. It took me forever to get these posted.

I was feeling like I wasn’t going to make any progress without seeing the #100blocks100days hashtag photos on Instagram. Seeing those photos was a real inspiration even though I wasn’t (and didn’t plan on) keeping up. I was only up to around 50 by the time they finished during the week of Thanksgiving.

I want to finish these blocks, make a quilt and move on. So, at Craft Night, I cut 11 more blocks. That was about all I had time to do, but it felt good. I now have up to 70 either sewn or cut.

30 more to go.

I am thinking about the Farmer’s Wife block book. 😉

ColorPlay December 16

ColorPlay December 16
ColorPlay December 16

More torture for you for the sake of color. This is an example of a standard sundae you can order at almost any Austrian cafe. I indulged several times with different sundaes while I was in Austria. I had this one in Steiermark near GroB St. Florian. I didn’t think much about what I was eating while I was there, though I didn’t stuff myself either.

This one is called Pfirsich Melba, I think, meaning Peach Melba. I’d give a lot for another one in Austria just now.

ColorPlay Dec 16 n.2
ColorPlay Dec 16 n.2

The first one, the standard made by the tool, has a load of neutrals as the others in previous editions had. I kind of like the coffee colors and the combination, but would probably never make a quilt with these colors. I get depressed using dark purple fabric in the winter. No pink; I’d get depressed and never finish it or toss it or give it to the Charity Girls. If I ever go live in Hawaii I’ll think about trying a neutral quilt.

ColorPlay Dec 16 n.1
ColorPlay Dec 16 n.1

I made some changes to the location of the circles to get some color.

I got some red and a kind of gold Kona calls Yarrow. I wanted to keep some of the neutrals to see how it would look.

More color. I needed more color. I didn’t have much with which to work.

ColorPlay Dec 16 n3
ColorPlay Dec 16 n3

The third time I put all the circles on the colored areas. Lots of red, mauve dusty rose, which are really called Cayenne, Sienna and Deep Rose in the Kona world.  Yarrow is back as well.

One thing that this exercise does is it makes me look – really LOOK – at the photos. After trying to get more pink or color, I finally saw the blue towards the base of the dish. The blue looks lighter to me than the Palette Builder determined.

ColorPlay Dec 16 n.5
ColorPlay Dec 16 n.5

Kona Everglade was added to the mix. As usual, the work paid off and this is the best of the lot.

Have you made something with one of the palettes. Let me see it.

Various & Sundry 2016 #13

Off Topic: Crafts

We had a meeting for NSGW Grand Parlor the other night, so the planning has finally kicked off. In an effort to show people what the boxes I want for the favors to be I went looking on the web. I found a couple of folded paper boxes tutorials, one from Origami Instructions and the other from Simply Notable. Both are essentially the same, but I find it good to get different perspectives, especially with the written word. These are great for gifts. Cut a second piece of paper 1/2 inch larger to make a top.

Projects, Patterns & Tutorials

Bonnie Hunter came out with part two and part three of her En Provence mystery quilt. You can find the pattern on her website. Download it now (she has a printer friendly version I save to my computer) as the clues go away in about 6 months.

This coffee ornament is a great Christmas ornament, but could also be used for other gift giving opportunities.

Gift Bag pattern and video from All People Quilt. I still like mine as it is easy to make, but it is great to have options.

FOTY 2016 – Early December

FOTY 2016 - early December
FOTY 2016 – early December

I have another group of squares for the project. For awhile they came fast and furious as I pressed and cut like a possessed thing. Now I am back to sewing up a storm. I have a bunch of fabric pressed, but not yet cut. It is such a frustration to have only two hands. This is one of the few times in my life where I’d like to be an octopus.

Everything Old is New Again

Carpenter's Wheel n.13
Carpenter’s Wheel n.13

I started in on Carpenter’s Wheels again. I finished n.13 over the weekend in the frenzy of sewing I did to heal myself from the shopping marathon we did on Sunday*.

I was able to finish this one without much extra making of parts, but n.14 needed a few new Flying Geese and some low volume fabrics.

I was inspired to do so by Karen, the Challenges chair at BAMQG. Her last challenge as chair has to do with putting words on a quilt. The Carpenter’s Wheel blocks have text fabric included, so I am going to try to get the top done before February. I know I started this out as an experiment in low volume fabrics and it will still be that.

Carpenter's Wheel Layout #8
Carpenter’s Wheel Layout #8

I want to do the round layout. I don’t want those two blocks in the middle, thus I needed two more blocks, which I am in the process of making. The new blocks won’t be unique layout like the others, but I think the layout of the entire quilt will be somewhat unique and I am excited about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Shopping is terrible, but this trip wasn’t completely terrible. DH made me pancakes for breakfast. He and I were able to spend the day together. We also accomplished a lot of niggling little tasks that comprise the holiday season. It feels good to cross things off the list. As soon as I said I had had enough, we finished up and packed it in. No arguments from DH. Finally, I ended up with 18k steps. That is almost a Disneyland day. Who would have thought?

Julie’s Gift

Julie's Birthday Gifts
Julie’s Birthday Gifts

Don’t you love this photo? We went out to lunch for Julie’s birthday and I took this in the restaurant.

Friend Julie‘s birthday is December 1 and generally it sneaks up on me, but this year I was prepared! I got a jump on it. In the frenzy of fabric pressing before Thanksgiving, I found some fabric I had bought to make napkins. I picked out some purples to go on the back and started some napkins. I also decided that Julie needed a One Hour Basket, so I made one of those as well.

I bought her some books and things as well, but I do like to make things for people who appreciate them. Also, I feel like I am sewing in place, so a couple of finishes was great.

Cutting Corners Donation Quilt Progress

Cutting Corners Donation Quilt
Cutting Corners Donation Quilt

I got a glimpse of my Cutting Corners donation quilt again. Pam is working on finishing it. She quilted it and is now binding it. I know I have said this a thousand times. I love it that I can make something and someone else in the guild will also work on it. It feels like my efforts are not completely mine and somehow more worthy.

Cutting Corners Donation Quilt back
Cutting Corners Donation Quilt back

I made this top and back in March. I knew then it wasn’t the most beautiful top, so I am not surprised it took so long for someone to pick it up and finish it. I think I need to try the technique again with more cohesive fabrics.

Creative Spark 6: Perfectionism & Messes

“Perfectionism is the enemy of the creative act.” pg. 29

The above quote cannot be learned. It has to be infused into your bones. The single thing that prevents it from being infused, possibly forever, is someone (mother, father, grandmother, well meaning person) crying “how did you get so dirty?” These simple, seemingly innocuous words can doom someone to a lifetime of cleanliness and perfectionism. I know this because I have only made some strides into messiness. When I am in the midst of projects, my workroom is terribly messy. The boys are scared to walk across the room lest they step on something important. The YM gives me dirty looks and stern admonishments as he walks through the bathroom he uses.

The strides I have not made are into dyeing and painting. I do both very occasionally, but they are just too messy. My godmother had a lot of good qualities, but encouraging and supporting messiness was not one of them.

However, it is important to encourage creativity and one way is to validate process and exploration. “Life is filled with opportunities and if you are worried about getting dirty or making a mess…then you will be limited in your possibilities” (pg.29).

Life isn’t a show. people are messy. Perfectionism “constricts and confines you” (pg. 29). Your life and work “doesn’t have to be tidy. It doesn’t have to be tidy. It doesn’t have to look perfect. But it does have to be true to you” (pg.30). I have started to get rid of fabric that I bought because people said I needed to add ugly fabric to quilts to make them sing. This is not my authentic style: out they go. I look at fabric in a quilt store in the context of the fabric I have at home not in the context of the quilt store, so I can bring home fabric that works with the fabric I have. Most fabric looks fantastic in a quilt store; not all fabric looks good in my workroom. I want the fabric I buy to be authentic to what I am making, so I can include it in quilts that will end up being my style.

The other thing is that allowing the messy part out allows you to grow as a person. “Allowing the messy part of the self-the unresolved part- to have a voice is a way of healing and a way of understanding yourself and the world” (pg.30). Not all of your work will be perfect. There will be tears and raw edges and corners that don’t match. You won’t ever get to perfect without these things.

In this Spark, I am reminded of the 10,000 hours. Someone said you had to do 10,000 hours worth of work in your chosen field in order to master it. I don’t know if that is true, but if things aren’t going well for me in my work, I think about that and tell myself I have to put in the hours.

I was reminded on Saturday, at the CQFA meeting, how much I enjoy hearing about people’s process and how they got to the piece they are showing. It shows work and a process and trying things out that might have sort of worked or didn’t work. It shows tweaking and thinking.

Anne Lamott wrote (and Bloomston shared) “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of hte people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life…Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend” (pg.31).

Nota bene: we are still working through Carrie Bloomston’s book, The Little Spark. Buy it. There is a lot more to it than what I am writing and it will help you.

 

 

More Progress on QAYG Donation Quilt

QAYG Donation Quilt - front
QAYG Donation Quilt – front

I had high hopes for this technique as you could probably tell from my earlier post. I am not quite as enamoured of it after struggling to get the top pieced and quilted.

As you can see from the main photo, the top is done. It has batting on the back as I, per the book, quilted the blocks and then sewed the blocks together already quilted.

QAYG Donation Quilt - back of front
QAYG Donation Quilt – back of front

The problem could have been that I didn’t make the batting large enough and then square up the blocks after quilting them. Not that there was anything fatal about that. Quilting the blocks using this method seemed to distort the blocks and that made them more difficult to put together.

I still have to quilt a back on to it, which seems to me to defeat the whole purpose, but who knows? At least it will be easier for the Charity Girls.

This is a donation quilt and, as Frances says, The Muggles Don’t Know. It will still be a nice quilt, if not show quality.

So I am not giving up yet, but I was reminded that anything that looks too good to be true probably is.

By Annie Mini Notebook Cover

ByAnnie Mini Notebook cover
ByAnnie Mini Notebook cover

In addition to the bag I made for my swap partner, I also took the opportunity to make up the notebook cover we received as a gift at the retreat.

I was pleased with the way it came out and enjoyed learning a different way to make a book/journal cover.

This pattern is by ByAnnie, so it came with a piece of Soft & Stable. I am not sure I would use that again, but it did the job. It is a little too puffy for me. I have to remember that this is a very small sized journal cover and the effect would be a lot different on a larger piece.

Inside pocket - Mini Notebook cover
Inside pocket – Mini Notebook cover

She also does not make an entire inside cover, which reduces bulk. I want to try that on one of my journals.

I am also interested in the pen holder. I would have to create the sizing for a larger journal cover, but it could probably be done.

Inside - Mini Notebook cover
Inside – Mini Notebook cover

You can see the tutorial for my journal cover on the tutorials page.

26 Projects – December 2016 Edition

I have been sewing fairly steadily for the past month or so. I am making progress, but don’t have any finishes – or any large finishes – to speak of. Somehow I feel like I am in a morass of projects and not able to move forward. It is as though I am sewing in place.

Finished 2016 Quilt Projects

Finished 2016 non-Quilt Projects

In Process
The  ‘In Process’ is used to denote projects on which I am actively working or pretending to stitch. I try not to put away projects, because that will ensure I never work on them.

  • Carpenter’s Wheel blocks – I still need to make a few blocks, though I did see a layout similar to the one I mentioned I liked in the new book I got from Sandy K from the BAMQG Winter Extravaganza Palooza Swap. The layout has the blocks laid out in a circle.
  • English Paper Piecing Project– half hexies – I am still making stars. I cut a big stack of fabrics for more stars over Thanksgiving.
  • Lobster – have more stitching to do and then I need to quilt it.
  • Octagon 9 Patch: ready to put together. Not sure what I am waiting for. Another leaders/enders project or do I want to lay out the blocks more carefully?
  • Peacock Quilton the design wall and sewing the top together is in process.
  • Pies and Points from Victoria Findlay Wolfe class. No further progress. I did find more of the background fabric when I went to Portland, so I can make a larger piece.
  • Stepping Stones #2 – I am in the process of making the border blocks after I designed them to be a little different from the first Stepping Stones quilt.
  • Under the Sea: class project; like the design and am happier with the colors. I bought a few spools of Aurifil 12wt and have been embroidering motifs with it and Perl Cotton. It might become a lush pillow for someone.

Still WIPs
I still have WIPs. Who doesn’t, after all? A project in the ‘UFO’ category means I am stalled. A nicer way of saying UFO is a WIP. The list is a lot shorter and the projects are newer, for the most part.

    1. Aqua-Red Sampler – I made progress on the partial seaming tutorial and need to sit down to finish it.
    2. The Tarts Come to Tea: I still haven’t worked on this since April 2011, though, it is in a prominent location so I have easy access. I am taking a machine quilting workshop soon (shock, horror, I know) and the focus is on background motifs. Just what I need!
    3. Pointillist Palette #4: Fourth is a series of 6 quilts; needs tiny square patches sewn together. I still haven’t worked on this project either, but I do think about it.
    4. Self Portrait: started in 2006 at a class at Quilting Adventures in Richmond, Virginia. My career counselor breathed new life into this project for me. She asked a simple question and the end result was inspiration for this piece, but I kind of lost steam again after printing images on paper to try out different designs. Lately, I have stopped feeling like I need to finish this piece. I am not ready to give up on it yet. I think it really needs major surgery.
    5. Serendipity Lady Quilt: no progress, though I have been thinking about her.

Ready for Quilting

  • Thanksgiving tablemat

In Quilting Process

  • Theoretically, the Tarts Come to Tea is in the quilting process.

Binding

None

Hunting and Gathering

  • Blue Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch blue rectangles
  • Blue Lemonade: cutting blue, green, purple 2? squares
  • Pink Gradation Quilt: cutting 2.5 inch x 4.5 inch pink rectangles
  • Spin Wheel: really not started, but supplies gathered. I probably have enough fabrics and just need to decide to start.
  • Windmill quilt: Still hunting and gathering. I am supposed to be cutting a variety of greys for the background. I bought a new template, so I should be able to get going again

Other

What’s on your list?