Monday, again

This weekend, it wasn't about the number of projects, but the fact I got some big projects done.  On Saturday, the battery in Rob's phone gave up the ghost.  We were there when the Apple store opened at the mall.  It took a long time to update the new phone there and they weren't successful, so sent him home to update from his computer.  But, it was a password problem, so coming home didn't make it any better and we spent the day wondering if he'd find the right steps to get it to update, or have to go back to the mall.  We really didn't want to go back to the mall and were both very glad he found what he needed. 

I spent the day working on projects I could easily walk away from.  So, I finished the little card trick quilt.  I looked at it Saturday morning when I had 9 squares done and thought I could go on, make more.  Make 16.  Or 25.  Or, accept that the challenge had gone out of tiny card trick blocks and I either needed to make some other blocks to go with it, or finish this one off and move on to some other challenge.  Like the eighth inch wide strip in the white border. 

I've started the quilting now.  And, remembered there's a reason I let quilts sit for a while between piecing and quilting.  I need some time to refresh and collect new inspiration by looking at quilts, with this quilt in mind.  I tried to rush and quilt and will probably have to remove what I've done so far.  But, that's okay.  It happens sometimes.  It's part of my process to re-do.  And, fortunately, I stopped before I went too far. 

I got the binding on Radiate and got it all sewn down.  A nice yellow binding.  Something bright, but not distracting  to frame it all with. 

I'm going around that binding again, hand stitching it to the back.  It's a very full binding and going around a second time is pulling it nice and tight and giving me a perfect edge on front and back. 

We also worked in the yard and there was a large bout of cooking yesterday that ended with homemade cinnamon rolls.  And, the subsequent washing of dish mountain. 

The things I get myself into.

So, how about that giveaway.  I did random number generator in excel.  And, rounded to the nearest number between 1 and 6 and the winner is Michelle W!  Michelle, I will reply to your comment in email and get the box in the mail...well, soon as I find a box.  But, that won't take long because we are box hoarders around here. 

Everybody have a great Monday!  Next project, clear out a two foot section of the sewing studio closet and put the things I absolutely have to have back.  And, send the rest away.  About two square feet is all I can handle at a go.  The longer I work at it, the more I keep, so better to do it in short, cleansing bursts.

I'm feeling lighter already!



instructions are not laws, right?

I've proven I don't follow instructions well.  We're all going to pretend that makes me flexible and spontaneous and artistic.  But, really, it's more like rebellious and impetuous and not quite afraid enough of making mistakes. 

But, the results are wonderful.

This was the pattern. 

I had done the center and eight of the log cabin blocks.  And, I picked out all but the dark sections of the log cabin blocks.  The yarns for the rest of it were variegated.  And, the quilter in me was not happy with that.  The colors didn't come out like the picture.  In the dark background of the center block, there were black sections and brown sections.  And in the leaves, there were rust sections and brown sections.  And my brown sections kept ending up next to brown sections with no contrast.  Similar thing with the gold yarn.  it's variegated pink and green and gold.  And, I kept ending up with big pink blots and big green blots. And, since I was starting over, why not start with something that had more contrast than those leaf blocks and maybe wasn't quite so dark.  So, I drafted a feathered star.  I do not quite know how.  It took a half dozen tries using 1/8" graph paper, but suddenly the stitch pattern was on paper and then it was just following it with a needle.   I pulled out my number 5 pearl cottons and we went to the store and bought some off whites to add to it and this is what I came up with. 

But, I'm not a needlepointer.  I don't need another hobby.

Anybody out there still buying that? 

Okay, let's give something away (how's that for a distraction?)  Many years ago, a friend and fellow blogger shared two kits with me.  She had a friend that collected kits and then lost interest and gave them all to my friend.  She shared them with her followers, including two with me. 

One was the Simply Delicious quilt.  And, yes, I'm going to show it again...every time I get a chance...

The other was Lotusland's Water lilies quilt. 

It is unstarted and came with all 10 block kits, including the fabrics for the flowers and the pattern.  Block 1 has a large piece of dark blue to cut the backgrounds from.  Block 10 is that wonderful border.  And, it has all the 50 wt silk thread needed...I'm not going to count the 100 yd spools, but let's say 35 or more spools.  We're a smoke free home, and while these have been in a plastic storage box for years, I'm not gonna swear they're dust free.

It's a beautiful quilt, and the reason I'm not making it is that most of the blocks have 75-100 tiny pieces and it doesn't look fun for me.  I have Ruby McKim's state flowers quilt patterns that I'd rather make for a flower applique project.  So, I'd like to share this kit with someone that will actually make it (and free up that bit of space in my sewing room closet).

If you're interested and you have a continental United States mailing address where you can receive packages, leave a comment by Sunday night at midnight and I'll announce the winner in Monday's blog post.  Don't leave your personal info in your comment below.  We'll exchange emails after the drawing.  I don't give much away, so I reserve the right to make up new rules as needed in case I forgot something.  That's called fine print. 

My boss gave me some feedback this week.  A lot of what I do is researching problems, crafting original solutions, and telling people how to execute those solutions successfully...without breaking the law.  I'm successful for the same reasons I stated at the top of this post...I don't follow instructions well.  I think outside the box.  He said people don't follow my instructions at work because I use too many words.  They get bored after 140 characters and stop reading. 

Holy crap!  I'm never going to fit into the modern workforce.  Look at how many words I used just to say Holy Crap!

The weird thing about the feedback is that the people younger than me, the ones that communicate in 140 characters or less, read my instructions and follow them to the letter.  They trust that I know what I'm talking about and that I'll stand behind it if it doesn't work.  It's the people older than me that aren't following the instructions.     

Somehow, I don't think it's the number of characters I'm using. 

 Everybody have a great weekend!  I'm taking a bit of time off, so trying to figure out how I want to spend some days that should be beautiful working in the yard weather.  Will I work in the yard?  Or, will I quilt?  Because it's always beautiful quilting weather (unless it's storming and the power goes out...okay, there's an exception to everything.)



Making the most of a weekend

You all know how I squeeze every minute I can out of a weekend.  And, this weekend was no different.  Well, a little different.

Work has been hard and I was drained.  So Saturday, all I did was needlepoint.  Rob and I went to JoAnn's and lunch and the hardware store, but other than that, it was pretty much sitting on the sofa in the studio, doing needlepoint.  I have a piece I had done about 2/3 of and wasn't liking it.  So, I took almost all of it out and am replacing it.  More about that later because I'm replacing parts of it with my own drawn designs, and I'm pretty proud of that.  It was a great way to recharge and be indulgent and Sunday, I felt more like myself. 

I got up off my duff and got some things done.  First thing I did was put the Simply Delicious quilt in the washer with two color catchers.  I had been so nervous about not prewashing the reds.  One catcher came out dark brown.  The other came out stark white.  Not quite what I expected, but I didn't see any run in the quilt.  So, we laid it in the living room floor and I blocked it. 

I should always remember to take pictures before dark. 

The quilt has a ton of little squares.  I thought those were going to make it impossible to block, but it was the opposite.  They were like little guide marks as I worked my way around the quilt.  I used those and pinned it to the carpet at seam lines.  And, it came out nearly perfect.  There is one little spot that I think a dog tried to jump over and pulled in a small section but I believe that came out when it was hanging last night. 

We played a little on the deck, putting on furniture and plants.  We are very excited.  And, the deck is wonderfully built.  We paid the man off on Friday, and gave him a nice sized tip and explained that we didn't think his bid was sufficient for the work he'd done and we were very grateful.  (the pics make it look like it's not level, but that's because we live on the side of a hill.  I could not get the perspective right in the pics.)

It rained on Sunday, so we made Sydney go lay across it to protect it. 

We're looking at stains and things now, to decide what to ultimately do with it.  But, it needs to dry for a few months before we do anything.  Every time we open the back door, I smell fresh lumber.  It's wonderful.  Some things needed cleaning and repair before we put them on the new deck.  That's what we're working on now.  And, we bought a mat to go under the grill so we don't splatter grease on it.  Now that we've got a deck that you can sit on, we're finding new uses for it.  What we had before wasn't a place we wanted to sit and it's going to take some time to get used to having something new.

On Sunday, I started cleaning the sewing studio closet.  That had gotten a little away from me over the years and I was dreading it.  I keep the areas I can get to pretty neat.  That's the stuff I use all the time, so it needs to be accessible.  But, behind that, there's a layer of storage that needed sorting through.  I filled a trash can and half filled a large box for goodwill.  There's still more to sort, but there's also the collection of UFOs and fabric and started projects and things I started and didn't enjoy.  And, figuring out what to do with it all.  Some to keep.  Some to give away.  All the supplies for my many and various hobbies.  Which is fine, except I've given up some of those hobbies and would really like to get move the supplies on to someone that's still doing that.  (anybody still do cross stitch?  I have some stuff I'd share.)  I also just put a bunch of stuff away.  It's amazing how much stuff I can pull out and pile up instead of putting it away, so every so often, I need a putting away day.  That's generally preceded by spilling something because there was no good place to put it, so I had to stack it on top of a pile that was unstable.  Fortunately, I didn't let it get that far this time. 

We have a good life, but abundance can sometimes be oppressive. 

And, the rest of the day was filled with chores and cooking.  Chores and cooking.  Chores and cooking. 

The borders are on the Christmas quilt.  I knew that paisley was going to be perfect.  The backing is the same paisley and it's made, too.  But, when I looked at it all yesterday morning, I decided I need a light layer of white muslin between as an extra color barrier or the backing and batting are going to show through the white quilt top.  Grrr.  But, glad I thought of it now.  It would be much harder to add later. 

I pulled the fabric  for the Radiant binding, but somehow managed to get too busy to cut it.  A project for another day.  I think I got a little tired of that while I was quilting it and I need a little bit before I can pick it up and finish.

Everybody have a great week!  Hi-ho, it's off to work I go.  Rob has to go to court.  He saw a car that had run off the road and he called the police.  That's all he did.  But, he has to go to court as a witness because the drunk driver is fighting the conviction so hard.  An abuse of the court system...the guy was drunk enough to drive off the road, hit a tree and pass out in the car.  What else is there for the jury to know? 



Slow and steady wins...something

As the contractor and crew have built the new deck, I have been working in the studio.  Slow and steady.

I've been working on Radiant.  I've done nearly as much picking out as putting in.  But, I have the basis of the quilting done.  I think at this point, all I can do is bind it and then decide if it needs any more quilting in the border to fill in the spaces.  I won't know how big the spaces are til it's squared and bound. 

I couldn't just do a straight line with feathers along it.  Believe me.  I tried.  I put in my basting for marking and I put in the spine.  And, I put feathers down one side and figured out how to do the corners.  And, I sat down Saturday morning and picked it all out.  And, I marked again.  This time, I used tissue paper to mark the spine and two marking lines to quilt between so I could make uniform feathers, then feathered between them, added the echo, and then picked out the two marking lines.  Easy-peasy, right? 

Easy may be overrated. 

I also put the Sew Fresh Christmas quilt together.  This will be the next thing I quilt. 

Just needs a couple borders.  A narrow green and then the fabric that inspired this quilt; a paisley in reds and greens that I've been waiting to use in a holiday quilt for years. 

Here's the progress on the deck so far.  There's a huge pile of lumber in the back yard.  Today, they'll dig the rest of the post holes and set the posts in concrete.  Tomorrow, they level the deck and start adding the decking.  Slow and steady.  That's how you build a deck.  And often how I make a quilt. 

It's very funny to watch the dogs try to get into the back yard.  The beagle jumps over, the small dog goes under.  Sometimes they get stuck in a square and need encouragement, or they just stand there and look confused.  But, the crew is really doing a great job and leveling the ground under it so it will drain...we can already see the difference in mosquitos in the yard. 

Well, it's off to work for me.  Time to face the crazy.  Everybody have a great Monday. 

This has been rolling around in my head all weekend. 

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us - that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion - that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain...and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.  Abraham Lincoln, The Gettysburg Address.



Friday catch upo

It's another Friday off.  I could really get into this as a permanent thing, if we could afford it.  But, today I'll mostly be home because we are having a new deck built and someone needs to be here to keep the dogs from just standing at the back door and barking all day. 

We wanted to build a deck.  But that's a lot of work to do it right, and over time, we decided we didn't want to build  a deck.  We have plenty of other home repairs that we can spend our time on that don't take days to finish and don't require all that heavy lifting and post hole digging. 

In 1974, my Papaw, the contractor, would have said we've got more money than sense.  And, I'm glad of that.  And, so is my back.

Our contractor is an older gentleman.  And, we assumed he works a crew of younger men.  But, we were wrong.  The first day, he showed up with a slightly younger gentleman than himself and, like two old men will do, spent a LOT of time talking.  So much talking that early in the day, I was worried that this was going to take forever.  But, they plodded at a steady pace and by the end of the day, the old deck was deconstructed, cut into 2 foot board lengths and packed into two pickups for hauling off.  Yesterday, the contractor brought a much younger and stronger helper and they got the ground leveled off so that we wouldn't have a standing puddle (otherwise known as a  mosquito nursery) under it anymore.  And, they got started digging post holes and building the frame. 

Yay!!  I can't wait to see it finished.  When I moved into the house 17 years ago, there was a deck and an extension had been added.  I didn't like it, so I took the extension apart and rebuilt it as a large rectangle, added to the original deck.  I actually did a pretty good job for an amateur.  My framing still looked good.  But, over the last couple years, the decking had started to rot.  And, once that started, it seemed to go really fast. 

But, in a few days, we'll have a brand new place to sit.  And, since I like to take a featherweight out there and sit at the table and sew, I hope to be able to get back to some of that. 

I finished my first needlepoint pillow last night. 

Another parallelogram, but now that I've blocked one of those out, I know I can do this one.  And, this one isn't nearly as distorted as the last one was.

Okay, so now to get up from here and get something done.  I want to quilt.  I want to work around the house.  I want to continue to clean up in the sewing room.  I want, I want, I want.  But, what will I do? 

Probably just quilt. 




Right now, Radiate is the working name for this quilt.  It's taken a long time to quilt.  There was  a lot of delay while I figured out what I wanted to quilt in it.  But, once I had that figured out, I was off to the races. 

Yesterday afternoon, I had to pick a bunch of quilting out of the center.  After I'd done all the rest, some crooked and badly placed lines needed to be moved.  But, that's all done now too. 

I've really enjoyed working on this quilt.  The piecing was a pain because that's a whole lot of bias.  And, we all know what bias likes to do.  And, there are a ton of mistakes.  So many that even I was worried whether they'd quilt out.  And, a few did not.  But, most of them either quilted out or the quilting distracts you from being able to see them. 

I put the feather wreath in the corners, then decided what to quilt in the centers.  I was pretty sure it was going to be an eight pointed star.  That star was the hardest part of the quilt to mark.  It's a simple shape, but I really had to think about how that star is made and what goes into it to be able to get it right.  And, draw 3/4 of it.  Four times. 

I guess you can see why I'm calling it Radiate.  An active verb.  For an active quilt. 

Now, it's just the borders, which I'm going to feather...because that's what I do.  Nothing fancy.  A straight line down the center and feathers to the edges, in a square.  I can hardly wait to get started.

I also took a few minutes to piece some of the card trick blocks.  I got 7 made. 

They're coming out just like I expected.  They are 3.5", so they'll finish at 3".  And, I am using every skill I learned from Sally Collins.  One of the most valuable is ironing pieces, then laying a ruler on top of them and letting them cool.  That weight makes them lie very flat.  A lot of nesting seams and sliver trimming to exact size. 

I was using a very small 2.5" ruler to sliver trim the 9 individual sub units. It just made so much sense when trimming a 1.5" block, right?  But, I kept thinking, you're going to cut the tip of your finger off.  And, then I switched to a larger ruler, 6", and that made it so much easier to hold the ruler down and get my fingertips out of the way.  Because I need the tips of my fingers.  They are very important.  So, learn from me.  Sometimes, bigger is better. 



Me and my compass

I haven't made progress on my broken star quilt in a while.  I've been stumped about what to do around the outer star, including the corners.  I've looked at a LOT of ideas.  I've seen a LOT of beautiful star quilts.  And, finally, I saw the one.  It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but it was the right inspiration for me to envision exactly what I wanted. 

This is hot off the machine, just this morning.  Only needs the background, and I'm still not quite sure what I want to do there...but now that I've seen it completed, I'm leaning one way over the other.  You'll just have to stay tuned to see it.

This is my new compass.  I finally found one that will accommodate a water soluble ink pen.  With that, it only took a few seconds to draw the circles that I'll need to make that feather wreath. 

I think I might be able to knock another one out this morning.  I have today off.  And, no plans but to quilt, meet a friend at a quilt shop and have lunch after, and then some more quilting.  In fact, if it wasn't for this pesky devil of a hurricane, Nate, I'd have the whole day to play.  Instead, I get to monitor that thing all weekend. Ah, the joys of being gainfully employed...

On Monday, I turned in the baby quilt to the baby bundles group.  I walked up and first thing I said was "I don't follow instructions very well".  And, she got a worried look, but like the trooper she is, said "That's okay, we don't do instructions very well."  I handed her the quilt and the leftover pieces and she unfolded it and her smile came back.  And, when she did her officer's presentation to the guild, she showed the quilt I'd brought in and a couple others as inspiration for folks to participate. 

The flanged binding worked well...the second time.  There was no "heft" to the quilt (because of the poly batting), so when I tired to fold the binding to the front, the part of the quilt that should have been inside the binding didn't give me enough resistance to be able to feel it, so some of it got folded over and some didn't and I ended up with a very curvy binding.  So, the second time, I used a seam gauge along the edge and folded over a straighter line.  And, it only slowed me down a little bit.  So, I'll be using that binding technique again. 

Quilting my hand print in the quilt didn't work like I planned, so I tried something different and it worked.  I quilted a hand in each block.  And, I was all proud, thinking that the Mom might think  that someone would always be holding the baby in their hands and wasn't that a nice sentiment.

And, then I thought the Mom might think that some stranger will have their hands all over that baby all the time, and isn't that creepy?

But, I didn't pick the hand prints out.  So what if it's a little creepy.

Everybody have a great Friday.  Enjoy your quilting!!!  Lane



Quilt Show Inspiration

Amidst the cooking and cleaning that we're so heavily invested in right now...until that mood passes, we went to a quilt show on Saturday morning.  We had a good time.  We picked up our friend LD and went to the show and then went to a nice lunch and then home where Rob took a nap and I turned into an inspired whirling dervish of a quilter. 

But a whirling dervish doesn't get much done, right? 

I had no plans to buy any fabric.  Nope.  I don't need fabric.  No more. 

But, I'm running low on red stash from using it (which is what I have stash for).  So, I picked up some red fat quarters.  And, the guild was selling fabric for $4 a yard and I bought several large pieces in random colors. 

Lane is a very bad boy. 

This was our favorite quilt.  Soon as I saw it, I knew Rob, who enjoys Hawaiian shirt Friday at work almost every Friday would love it.  (Sorry about the pictures.  The aisles were narrow and there was quite a crowd.)  Rob got to meet the young lady that made it when he was filming the show. 

This was my vote for viewers choice.

And, this was Rob's vote for viewer's choice.

You can tell, there's lots of talent in this show.  Our first quilt show, so many years ago was this guild's show and we try to come back every time.  They do a very nice show.  It's also special because when Sydney and I met our dear friend LD, it was at this show, so it was nice to be back there with her again. 

If you want to spend a few minutes at the show, via Rob's video, it's posted at his u-tube channel, here

It's so nice to be recognized at quilt shows.  I sure saw a lot of faces I recognized and I got to talk to a few people that I knew.  It's definitely a community. 

I'm having a really hard time not starting something new.  I'm inspired.  I want to make a miniature quilt.  One of the impulse purchases I made was four tone on tone fabrics in the same print, but different colors.  I've tried to make a quilt out of same prints before and I want to try it again.  As I tried to figure out what to do, this is the leading plan right now. 

This is a test block from scraps, but it's a 3" card trick block.  A bunch of those in a quilt, separated by plain blocks.  My fingers are itching to start.  But, to make this work, I need a fifth color of the inspiration print.  I have red, orange, green and beige.  I'd like to use the beige as a background and get a blue for the cards.
Tonight is quilt guild, where I will, no doubt, continue to be inspired.  I'm taking the baby quilt to turn in and I'm taking the green quilt as show and tell.  And, the speaker makes portrait quilts.  And, there will be all kind of other quilty goodness going on. 
I foresee additional difficulty in restraining myself from starting something new.
Keep my Mom in your thoughts, please.  She's having knee surgery today.  And, keep my Dad in your thoughts for about the next four months.  He's taking care of her after her knee surgery. 
Everybody have a great Monday.  Last Thursday, my boss gave me a huge project with a short deadline.  I'm so glad it's busy at work.  The days pass fast and I get to move on to more fun things.  Like quilting.