As many finishes as possible...

Work is hard right now.  I try not to complain because when I say hard, it's not anything compared to what other people go through.  It's just very frustrating right now and that's got me feeling pretty low.  I like being busy.  I like being challenged.  I like accomplishing a lot and being recognized for it.  And, none of that is happening right now. 

Anyway, my reaction has been obsessive sewing.  And, a little really strangely placed anger...you know the kind, right?  Anger at tiny small things because I don't feel like I can be angry about the stuff I want to be angry about. 

Anyway, my reaction to that has been compulsive finishing.  Not such a bad thing, I guess.  Certainly a way to get a sense of accomplishment.  And, there's some weird stuff, too. 

Like taking the blind hem applique stitches out of the double wedding ring and putting them back in by hand.

I've struggled and struggled with that decision.  The quilt is basically finished.  But, that edge, where I appliqued the outer rings onto the border fabric, I did it by machine, with invisible thread.  And, I didn't do a very good job.  And, as I did a lot of very nice quilting in that border, it bothered me more and more.  So, I'm going along that edge, removing the invisible thread and appliqueing it back along the same line by hand, with cotton thread and tiny invisible stitches.  It wouldn't be hard work at all.  Except when I was doing it by machine, I decided it would look better if I went around twice.  So, I have two sets of invisible blind hem stitches all the way around. 

Hey, ripping it out gave me something more interesting than scrubbing the kitchen floor to keep my hands busy.

I also finished a bunch of things.  Soon as I get the new valance hung in the studio, I can't wait to show it off. 

Okay, this is a beg.  Do you have any of this fabric?

It's an RJR fabric from 2011, so not that old.  It has pale olive green stars set with diagonal lines dividing them.  The line is Back to Basics.  That's all the selvage I have left.  Anyway, I only need a little bit...like 3.5"xwof, but I'd take more.  I'd gladly pay a fair price and shipping.

Just that little bit will finish a project and I can't seem to find it online.

The purple hair looks good.  She did a really nice job of it.  I thought I had a pic, but that didn't work out, so I'll have to take another.  In the bright light, you can see it.  And, it's bright.  But, in the natural light in the house, you can't even see it.  It disappears in the darkness of her natural color. 

And, she loves it, so it's all good.  But, she was in the salon all day and it was expensive.  So, yeah, I don't really think she'll be into that too often. 

Everybody have a great Monday!  The start of a new week.  I've noticed the strangest behavior in myself.  I know that if I walk around with a big smile on my face, people react to that positively.  When things get really frustrating at work, I get up and pull my smile out of my pocket and walk all the way around the perimeter of the building. 

By the time I get back to my desk, I'm not faking that smile anymore. 

And, the exercise is good, too.



Second time's the charm

The post title today is about this little quilt. 

This is that kit I bought at the quilt show last weekend and am giving it a second chance.  I'm really loving it.  It's a Keepsake Quilting kit from the about 2005.  I'm dating it there because I bought another kit from them about that time that used the same fabric line. 

This is the pattern.  As you can see, I don't follow directions very good.  I wanted to use up as much of the kit as I could, so I made more blocks.  And, I changed the outer border, and I don't plan to do the prairie points.  What they gave me for an outer border is enough for the back and what they gave me for the prairie points, I'll use in something else. 

When I was building the piano key, I very carefully planned the corners.  Then, I went to miter the first one and realized that was a BUST!

I had planned to match darks and lights in the miter and that turned out to be a distraction. 

But, when I did dark to dark and light to light, it formed a square in the miter. 

Much better.

Well, today is purple hair day.  Are you excited?  Sydney is so excited she may wet herself before she gets to the salon.  Like, aquiver excited. 

Her dads...less so.

We'll let you know how it turns out.  We've been real troopers, tho.  Handling it all just like the textbook says.  Which is basically, "don't freak out, it's only hair."

Everybody have a great Friday!!!



Quilting binge

On Saturday, we went to the Austin Area Quilt Guild show.  Oh, my.  So many beautiful quilts to see.  And, so much inspiration!

For some examples, This is the guild's raffle quilt. 

And, this was best in show.  So, you get an idea of the talent of the guild. 

Personal favorites.  You know how much I love whole cloth work. 
This guy traced the pattern for another quilt that I think he also entered onto this piece of silk and quilted the pattern here. 
Full sized, hand quilted whole cloth.  Yummm!!
And, you know I love a miniature. 

I think the strips were a quarter inch wide on this one.  It was made by a lady I worked on the raffle quilt with.  She did a fantastic job and had several quilts in the show. 

This is little psycho.  there was a larger version of it in the show.  These strips were absurdly (and fabulously) narrow. 

I'll show more later.  I haven't even been through all the pictures yet. 
I did pretty good in the vendor mall.  I took a certain amount of cash and knew that was all I had. 
Other than a credit card.
I bought two older kits for a few dollars each and a shopping bag and some random pieces of fabric and a ruler.  Not so much. 
But, I was so inspired I came home and started one of the kits...well, not right away.  I made myself work on a couple things I had already started first.  But, almost right away.  And, I got the whole center together.  I'm working on a piano key border from the scraps, now.  More later about that.  It's my first piano key. 
And, this is my leader/ender that I've been working on.  I'm assembling it now.  It's made from scraps from the DWR quilt.  I'd love to go one more round.  Then, it could be a triple nine patch, but I'm about out of white fabric.  I don't know if I made up the name triple nine patch or not.  Probably not.  But, it would be a nine block quilt made out of nine double nine patches, where the coloring made the nine blocks into a nine patch.  We will see.  I need to do some serious counting and measuring before I try that. 
Everybody have a great Monday.  The start to a great week, I hope!  I wonder if I have time to sew a few minutes.
Sew.  Work out.  Sew.  Work out.  A real quilter's dilemma.  What should I do?


Singing the Blues

A lot of people can just turn off current events.  Stop watching the news.  Stop reading about it. 

I am not that enlightened.  I cannot turn it off.  I cannot ignore it.  I cannot look away.  I wish I could. 

I am made sad by what I see. 

I still function.  I still go to work and make dinner and talk to my family about important things.  But, I am nonetheless affected.

I think a lot of us are.  We keep getting out and doing what we need to do.  But, there's a certain new fear.  Fear of "them", whoever your "them" is (heck, I might be your "them").  Because "them" are dangerous. 

Have we always been "us" and "them"?  I think so.  I think "them" has changed in appearance.  But, I think there's always been a "them".  It's human nature, I guess.  But, now either the us's or the them's have started to fight back.  And, that's scary.

What is even more scary is that my almost 19 year old daughter has decided to dye her beautiful hair.  And, we have had a textbook reaction.  We explained that her hair was beautiful and if she'd just take care of it, she'd love it again.  I even went so far as to mention that her whole "look" looked like she had stopped feeding it and it had gone wild.  But, no arguing or fighting or raised voices, even as much as we'd like to say "no".  But, she is an adult and she is determined. 

At least she's not going blond.  She's going purple. 

Okay, okay, it's not as bad as it sounds.  It's just going to be purple on the ends, from about her shoulders down.  Lots of girls are doing it.

And, then, maybe it will be out of her system. 

And, it has been mentioned that if it looks too bad, we'll get her a back door key so people won't see her coming in our house. 

But, it has also been mentioned that if she has enough available cash that she is not saving for school, maybe she ought to be paying rent.

Can I get an Amen?

Everybody have a great Friday! 



Halfway to a quilt

Friday night, I put the last stitches in the last Dresden Plate block.  Saturday morning, I washed them in Oxyclean.  They lay in the floor and dried, then I ironed them nice and flat and as square as I could. 

And, then I trimmed those several odd shapes into exact 15" squares. 

These blocks had been ironed and ironed and stretched and the shapes were out of shape.  And, the brown printed quilting lines didn't wash out.  I needed to consider all those imperfections as I tried to trim them.  Then, it was done and very quickly, they were sashed and bordered and we were half way to a very nice quilt.

I love the soft, buttery yellow sashing.  But am a little disappointed that I have a second yellow Dresden Plate quilt.  Oh, well.  Couldn't be helped.  But, these were the only two fabrics I could find in two quilt shops that were the right shade, that played well with the blocks and that fit the period I think they are from.  The blue border is daisies, which imitate the shape of the Plates and they have the right yellow centers and echo the darker blue from the blocks.   

You might have to blow up that last pic to see the printed quilting lines.  They're faint.  But, they're there.  And, there's still some staining in a few blocks.  I suspect these things will take time to wash out.  And, if they don't, they'll become part of the charm of the quilt.  When I showed these imperfections to Rob, he asked me how I was going to handle that and we looked at one another and simultaneously said, "Quilt the crap out of it", because we both know how many imperfections a little over-quilting can hide. 

I was hoping I wouldn't have to sash the quilt.  But, because the backgrounds were distorted when I appliqued the Plates to them, there are variations in how close the plate is to the edge of the square.  Some are 1 1/2" from the edge and some are almost 2"  That's because, when I trimmed the blocks, I measured from center of the green circle, not center of the applique.  That was one of those design decisions that quilters make.  Was it right?  I don't know.  But, it was how I chose to handle the imperfections.  I guess I've remade enough pieces to have learned to expect those imperfections.  The question is whether I let them stop me or not. 

I have another UFO that was started by this same quilter that I have my eyes on.  I stumbled up on it the other day when I was looking for some blocks.  I didn't even let myself take them out of the bag because I don't want to get distracted.  But, I saw them and remembered them and am anxious to get to them. I'm very much in the mood to finish things that are started.  Next up is these four blocks, left over from a quilt shop BOM that I didn't finish.  I only got four made, then dropped out.  There were problems.  Anyway, now these four are going to be a new valance in the sewing studio, soon as I get them quilted. 

I've been commissioned to make a block for my folks.  Their church does a raffle quilt every year and next year, my Mom wants to have a signature block in the quilt.  She asked me to make their block.  I have these two. 

I haven't decided yet.  I might even make a third one before I choose.  Rob might be willing to wrestle my Mom for that one on the left.  Or, I might have to make him one.  He really liked it.  I found the block online when I searched for blocks with a religious theme.  That one is called Joseph's Coat and I saw it first in one color, like the one I did, except it was blue.  But, I'd like to make another one in multiple colors, like Joseph's coat.  The one on the right is a paper pieced block that I drafted.  It's an interpretation of a cross and a crown, tho I'm not sure how successful I was. 

Either one would be nice.  Or, something else. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  The start to a new week.  A week full of possibilities and opportunities.  Rob and I spent a good bit of yesterday cleaning house.  The weather is cooling off a bit and we can open the house for a few hours, once in a while.  The house has been sealed up tight all summer, and it's nice to open it up and clean out the dusty corners.  I accidentally turned the TV to DIY TV the other day and it's made me ready to work around the house. 

Painting anyone?



I wish it was one of my favorite things

I don't hate applique.  I do it.  And, I enjoy it.  But, when I'm looking at patterns, I no longer gravitate to the applique patterns.  They're beautiful.  But, they're a commitment. 

When I pulled this quilt out of the UFO pile to finish, the plan was just to finish the one block that was unfinished, sew them together, and turn it into a quilt.  But, then I decided to take it all the way apart and start over. 

I can't complain about the time commitment on this one.  I'm nearly done and have only been at it for three weeks.  But, I will be glad when it is done.  And, I'll let what I've learned on this project guide how I finish another applique project that was much more of a commitment and that I've worked on, off and on, for many years.  In that project, I've drawn the shape on the applique fabric and positioned it and needle turned it.  On this project, I've had the shape on the background and laid the fabric over it and needle turned it along the lines.  I think I like that better. 

I think some people would object to me re-making this project.  It's feedback I've gotten before.  There are quilters that feel that UFOs should be left unfinished.

My feeling about UFO's is that at some point, that UFO was created because it didn't meet a design plan as it developed and all a UFO needs is a fresh set of eyes that doesn't know the original design plan to turn it into something wonderful.  And, while I don't plan to leave any UFOs (ha!), I do hope someone will finish them and that the fabrics won't just rot away, partially finished and sad. 

As for my own UFOs, I let them sit until I forget the original design plan.  And, then I often try them again. 

I love fabric and I love sewing and I hope someone just like me ends up with all my stuff.  Actually, I guess I have so much stuff that I hope several someones just like me end up with all my stuff. 

And, I hope they enjoy it, whether it's a sewing machine I've rebuilt or a project I've started, or just a stack of olive green fabrics to turn into something beautiful...and don't say olive green isn't beautiful just because you remember it from the 70's.

Oh, and an update on clothes shopping with Syd.  We had asked her the week before if she needed clothes and she said no.  But, after seeing what she bought, I think she went to college and decided maybe her high school shorts/t-shirt attire wasn't what made her comfortable anymore.  That girl is growing up right in front of my eyes. 

Everybody have a great Thursday.  Lane


The long weekend

Well, I didn't get out of Daddy/daughter day.  When I got completely ready to go and she was ready to go, I asked what her plans for the day were, and she said "shopping?"  And, I said, oh, you're going shopping too?  and she said "with you?"  and I said oh, you hadn't asked if you could go with me. 

She must have wanted to go pretty bad because she didn't dilly or dally before she asked. 

I'm liking this.  I made her come back to the car and thank me for a ride to work yesterday.  She's starting to take it more lightly and we can do this with smiles on our faces now.  Almost a game, but a game she's a good sport at. 

I've been working on the Dresden Plate blocks.  One of the things we did on Friday was buy sashing for that.  When I asked if she wanted to go to a couple shops, she said she'd go anywhere, she was so glad to be out of the house.  Eight blocks are finished and number nine has the machine work done and the hand work started.  I took the last three apart last night, getting ready to re-make them. 

And, I took a short pause to play with that kit that I bought a few days ago.  Nine 3.5" blocks.

I'm playing with a little color balance and have remade some blocks.  I remade the bears paw block but forgot the strips that subdivide it, so I'm not sure which one I like better.  The new one looks more like a star block.  But a weird one. 

Yesterday, I moved everything around in the sewing studio.  What was on the left is now on the right.  All for a better view of the TV.  Remember that Rob came home with a new TV not long ago and yesterday, he played one of my favorite shows and I realized, I couldn't watch it and sew.  So, I fixed that.  The TV hangs from the wall in the upper left of the picture below.   

Anyway, I thought I'd show it to you before I, like, live in it and muck it all up.

Even a nice place to sit for some hand work. 

And, the last thing for today is an afghan I finished last night. 

I have almost used up all the yarn in the bin.  There are two red, white and blue afghans worth of yarn left.  And, I might just take it to Linus and donate it with several finished afghans.  The brown yarn in this one came from my Mom and the green yarn was a sweater until a few weeks ago.  It was one of the first things I knitted.  I was sooooo proud of it.  I wore it to a work function.  And, when I saw it out of the studio and in the real world, it was hideous.  I might have worn it once or twice more. 

And, I became a better knitter and can wear my work now.  And, that old sweater is a Linus afghan.  A good end. 

Enjoy your Monday or your Labor Day, whichever you're celebrating.  I'm going to be enjoying my clean sewing space.  Lane


Daddy/daughter day

I'm pretty sure we're going to have a daddy/daughter day around here today.  I have the day off.  So does she.  She said she needed to go clothes shopping last night.  She hasn't asked me to take her yet, so I still might get out of it.  But I'm sure she will.

I took the day because I've started taking the first Friday of the month as a "me" day.  Something I can look forward to.  So it is actually kind of a big deal for her to ask me to do something for her.  But, I don't mind too much.  She's not the type to want to shop all day.  A couple or three stops should do it.  And, I have a few chores.  And, I plan to do some relaxing quilting.  Because that's what first Fridays are for. 

But, first, I need some kind of a plan.  Or, I'll end up spinning in circles and not making measurable progress on anything.  I've been looking for more information about that kit and I'm inspired to sew!!  Thankfully I haven't spent any more money. 

And, even Rob made a comment last night about needing to finish some of what I have going on. 

Everybody have a great Friday!  Wish me luck.  Lane