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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Cityscape / Red & Black Improv quilt
- Fabric of the Year 2015 (FOTY 2015)
- Food Quilt #3
- Flower Sugar donation quilt
- Food Donation quilt (did not quilt-just made top, back and binding)
Finished 2016 non-Quilt Projects
- Apron (need to take a photo!)
- Christmas Tablerunner
- Periwinkle Sew Together Bag
- 4 gift bags
- my Sew Together Bag
- Periwinkle Multi-tasker Tote
- 3 Thanksgiving table runners
- BAMQG Winter Extravaganza Palooza Swap gift: Flip Flap Bag
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 Quilt – on 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.
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.
- Aqua-Red Sampler – I made progress on the partial seaming tutorial and need to sit down to finish it.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
- Stepping Stones #3 using the Macaron pre-cuts from Hoffman. I have all the fabric in pre-cuts and am just waiting for space in my schedule.
What’s on your list?
Coral is ready to be sent off to my little niece for Christmas. I showed her at guild on Saturday. I even have the perfect box.
This all came about because I finally decided that Coral the Mermaid is finished. What the means is that I am not going to make her skirt. The skirt directions are too complicated. She can share Red’s skirt.
I visited the Granary last week and found a new panel in this series: Hansel and Gretel. I didn’t buy it, but I was sorely tempted. It would be fun to keep sending the girly these dolls periodically. I’ll have to think about it.
I do wish Moda would come out with panels of clothes for the various dolls. It would be fun to give them a new wardrobe periodically, though such a project might be more than I am willing to tackle.
Push has really come to shove on this project. I have to decide how to arrange the solids in the upper right hand corner. I have some strips cut and some ideas percolating, but this is where my design and construction style can run into problems.
I think the blues I have on the right will have to move up and I will have to use one that is darker to blend the dark-medium green more to the blues higher up.
There is a very strong diagonal line made from the greens on the middle right. I may need to figure out a way to smudge it as it is quite prominent.
As you can see, on the left, I also made the dark small hexies. They are not placed in their final location, but they will be towards the bottom left when all is said and done. As I have said 500 times, I need a larger design wall. Although, I fear if I have a larger design wall, my quilts will become larger.
The Winter Extravaganza Palooza swap was yesterday at the BAM meeting. Being the blog editor, I had compiled a giant list of tutorials and patterns a few months ago for inspiration. It is an impressive list, so take a look. 😉
My swap partner wanted a bag, so I pulled out one of the bag patterns I have had sitting around and tried it out. I know I could have used one of the tutorials I just crowed about, but I didn’t. I wanted to plow through some of the bag patterns I have purchased and this was the perfect opportunity.
I wasn’t hopeful that this bag would be successful (unlike me, I know!), so I was pleasantly surprised to find that this bag came out pretty well. The flap is a great opportunity to do some machine embroidery or applique’ or other type of embellishment. I chose some interesting, if black, modern fabrics for the outside, so it wouldn’t show the dirt.
The pattern is Flip Flap bag from Totes by Sandy. The pattern is not 100% clearly written, though the interpretation could have been my problem. I had some trouble with some of the steps, but it all came out in the end. I would have made the lining section much smaller. I did make it a little smaller, knowing from past experience that it didn’t need to be the same size as the outside. I didn’t make it small enough and the inside sags a little. 🙁 I don’t know what the normal reduction is for linings – half inch? a whole inch? I could experiment, but probably won’t.
I made the inside light so my partner could see her stuff.
I am thinking about making this again, as I think it is a good size. I wonder about adding more pockets. The handbag I use now has a section at the front for cards, lipstick, etc and I wonder if that could be incorporated into this design. Perhaps not with the asymmetrical flap.
I finally made some ATCs! After missing several meetings, then not having time to make any before the October meeting I feel like I have reached the summit of a high mountain. Additionally, I used the charms that have been sitting on my cutting table (or falling off repeatedly) for months!
I wanted a fall theme to go with the leaves and it is still Fall, though it feels like winter some days.
Today is the CQFA meeting, so we will see how they are received.
These dishes caught my attention when I was in Franziskanerplatz in Graz. Later I saw a set of four cups in an antique shop and I thought of buying them as a thank you gift for one of my friends. Unfortunately, the cups were 25 Euros each, which was out of my budget right at that moment. If I had a vacation house, I would buy a set for it. However, a person can only use so many dishes and I have enough at the moment. They are so bright and cheerful, though not clunky and chunky like some other colorful styles. I especially like the purple.
The dishes are by Lilien AT and the style is from 2010, called Daisy. I don’t know if they are still available, though I doubt it as they are not listed on the Lilien website.
This was an appropriate photo for this week since I, and my house, are still recovering from Thanksgiving. The colors are cheerful and springlike.
I had fun with the palettes. I was shocked at the default palette that the tool came up with. Can you believe all the browns and neutrals. It is as though the tool is design to select from the edges of the image. I was really shocked at this palette considering the bright colors of the dishes.
Of course, I got busy and moved the bubbles around. I wanted to try and get all those gorgeous springy colors. One thing I noticed was that within the colorful areas, it was possible to get different versions of the colors we see. For example, at one point Kona Maize was part of the palette instead of Kona Sunflower. There are shadows that are difficult to see in the photo and that affects the palette.
I tried again, still going for the bright colors and made a slightly different palette. Kona Maize is back instead of Sunflower and Kona Peach is in place of Kona Salmon. I forgot to move one bubble off the window frame, so Kona Juniper is also included.
It just occurred to me (DUH!) that there are tone-on-tones that I could match to this palette instead of going to buy the solids. Not sure why that leap of inspiration didn’t occur to me before.
I constantly try to find ways to reduce the huge environmental toll from holiday-related purchases. I have harped about this for years. One way is using gift bags. The fabric may not be terribly environmentally friendly to make in factories in Korea, but once the fabric is here and made into gift bags, they can be used them over and over. Fabric gift bags reduce the amount of paper we use during the holidays.
I practice what I preach and see so many advantages for using gift bags. The biggest negative is actually having to make them before you can use them. I have made gift bags to fit certain gifts in the middle of wrapping. They don’t take much time, can be as complicated as you like and are customizable. The biggest bonus is you get to see your holiday favorite fabrics over and over without actually having to make a holiday quilt.
Here is the tutorial using French seams to prevent raveling.
- Machine in good working order
- fabric (any kind of fabric to fit your holiday works well)
- basic sewing supplies
I press a double hem* on one side of a relevant size piece of fabric** and finish it with a decorative stitch. As a bonus, this is a good way to get to know the resources, e.g. time and thread, required to use your decorative stitches.
Once done, I fold the piece in half, wrong sides together, aligning the hem at the top. I put a piece of ribbon, folded in half, inside the piece. The fold of the ribbon will be sticking of the side a little bit and is placed about a quarter of the way down the side.
I sew down the side, starting with the hem. I sew less than a quarter inch from the side. I reinforce the start, the the ribbon and the end by backstitching over it a few times. Then I turn the bag wrong side out.
Trim any stray threads along your tiny seam allowance.
Once pressed, I sew again using a larger seam allowance to cover the raw edges. Make sure the ribbon closure stays out of the way. This completely encloses the raw edge.
Turn the bag right side out and press again. Your bag is ready to use.
I love using gift bags for gifts. Besides the fact that I am terrible at wrapping gifts with paper, I intensely dislike wrapping gifts with paper, tape and ribbon. The fabric feels so much nicer in my hands. If a tag falls off the gift you can easily open it, look in and re-tie. No harm done to a beautiful wrapping job.
*Note: I often use the selvedge instead of hemming to speed up the process.
**Note on fabric sizes: I make the most basic gift bags with a fat quarter, but also use half yards and yards, depending on the size needed. I have also pieced fabric together to wrap larger and smaller gifts, but generally like to use standard sizes and then put the gift into whatever bag size works. Leftover fabric from making pillowcases are good to use as well.
I found another update on the Pulse quilts in Orlando. This one has a slide show of a variety of the quilts.
Need some easy color work? Need to relax? Nerdy Mama has 20 free coloring pages for you.
My pal, Jill (Quilt Rat) has found another IoS creativity tool. I am so sad it doesn’t work on Android devices! It is called Amaziograph. With this app, you can create amazing kaleidoscopic designs a la color pages and La Passacaglia (without the color). Jill has written a blog post and created a basic video tutorial.
Projects, Patterns & Tutorials
Aren’t these monsters great? I love them and want to make one.
As per usual, Bonnie Hunter has released the first clue to her 2016 mystery quilt, En Provence. Download it now (she has a printer friendly version I save to my computer) as the clues go away in about 6 months. She has some excellent cutting tips in the first clue. It is always good to check in on our sewing technique.
Sara, over at Sew Sweetness, has posted a list of Cool Tools. Which do you use?
Definitely check out the sincere and lovely thank you from EQ.
My sister shared Christine Peloquin’s website with me. She commented that the art looked like ours would look if we were one person. I think it is true. I am not much of a face-in-quilt-form person (to each his own), but I do like the face painted over the quilt top. The imagery I saw on the day I looked (11/11/2016) was dominated by images of women. I thought the images were profound given the current discussions on the status of women. Christine is located in Florida.
This subsection will be called the Judy Martin section. I know many modern quiltmakers have never heard of Judy Martin, but I love her work and especially her block designs. She also has a very friendly newsletter. They are not high tech, but cheerful, upbeat and entertaining. They are archived on her website. Judy, seriously, makes me want to visit Iowa again. It sounds much more interesting that I found it to be when I visited my great grandparents for summers as a kid.
In the November issue of her newsletter, she mentions that the Electric Quilt Company has a new download product that originated as her book, Knockout Blocks & Sampler Quilts (now out of print).
She also has a quilt at the Iowa Quilt Museum, which I mentioned previously. Judy writes “Nestled in an old J.C. Penney storefront on the picturesque courthouse square of historic Winterset, Iowa is the new Iowa Quilt Museum. It’s not a huge space with a large permanent collection. Rather it’s a small, nimble space given over to interesting exhibits curated especially for the museum. Through January 24, 2017 the exhibit of star quilts features “State Fair Star,” a Feathered Star variation I made for Patchwork Among Friends. The quilt shares the airy, well-lit space with 29 other star quilts. If you’re traveling to Des Moines or simply passing through on I-80 or I-35, the Iowa Quilt Museum is worth stopping for.”
Judy also mentions “a web site for a socially minded company that is making fabric from empty plastic bottles! They are trying to create opportunities for people in Haiti and Honduras while reducing the ecological impact of littered plastic bottles.” She says that she hasn’t “sampled any of their products, but” that she is “intrigued by the whole thing and certainly support[s] their goals. Take a look and see what you think.”
[end of Judy Martin subsection]
Quilt World News
Christen Daniels has resigned from the MQG board due to time constraints. The Nominating Committee put out a call to assist with the task of filling the volunteer board elected seat. They sought candidates with strong strategic planning skills and knowledge for nomination by November 12.
Not Quilt Related
From the Doing Good-NQR Department comes an article about the Native Sons and their donation to the Craniofacial Center at UCSF. Much of this money comes from $1 raffle tickets, $5 chances on gift baskets and $10 dinner tickets rather than $10,000 donations from rich people. You can make a difference by making a donation.