Paper piecing and driving...

...not at the same time.

I was absent last Monday.  I drove to see my family in Louisiana.  My Mom's been sick and in the hospital for a few days and it was a good time to go check up on them and see how things were going.  I cooked and visited and tried to help her get settled.  It was a good visit and I got to visit with most of my immediate family.  I took a different route there and another different route back.  I enjoyed that and got to see different parts of the state of Texas; some lovely, some sad, but of course hardly any city shows it's best face to the highway, so no telling what it would have been if I'd had time to explore. 

When I got home, it was work, work, work.  We trimmed the tree limbs off the roof line on Saturday and I could hardly move yesterday from the bending over.  Yesterday, I worked on the grill.  The summer was not good to it.  I bought a new grill (more expensive than I've ever bought) and had it delivered a couple weeks ago.  While I was gone last weekend, Rob started to put it together and found it was damaged in shipping.  So, we returned that and instead of new, I bought parts (for about 1/7 the price) and spent yesterday cleaning and putting on the new parts.  I grilled a piece of chicken last night and it worked perfectly (as good as that new grill would have worked, anyway).

But, my fun time was spent working on the arc quilt.  The pattern is called Illuminata and it's by quilt mavens Deb Karasik and Janet Mednick.  I got the last 12 blocks assembled and started playing with layout. 

This was the first, random layout.  I was just putting the blocks on the floor in the correct positions, no plan.  The corners will be plain black squares...but I admit I'm thinking of making arcs to fill them, so I'm not cutting squares for now. 

I like this layout.  But, it lacks something.

Rob suggested I match the colors in the small arcs so they look like the beginning of the large arc.  That worked well in most places, but I didn't make the arcs with this in mind, so there were some issues with the dark/light . 

So, then I tried matching dark/light and instead of matching colors where the arcs come together, I matched warm colors to warm and cool colors to cool.  And, I think that's the one.  It has flow and movement and doesn't look matchy-matchy.  The only thing I might change is a couple of the comma shaped pieces are not as bright as the others and I might replace those.  That would be easier than it looks and it would keep that one piece from disappearing. 

Next are the borders, and they're 27 inches of those paper pieced points.  But, for them, I'm going to be more planful.  I'm going to lay the fabrics out for the whole strip at one time.  I'm going to be making two strips in tandem.  The corners have a match point where there is a large and a small arc, much like the blocks, so I'm going to make both 27" sections at the same time.  And, I'm going to be planful of color temperature and shading. 

So, lots of paper piecing still in my future.  I was sorting scraps yesterday and it hardly feels like I've used any.  There were two boxes full when I started and there are two boxes full right now.  I swear, they're multiplying in the box. 

Everybody have a great week!  I think it's going to be a busy one for me.  I finally feel like I've found my footing on the new job and can relax a little.  There's not much that's different, except the way they think of things.  All tree, no forest.  I've been trained to work on the forest and find a way to catch that tree and all the trees like it and take the same action on all of them.  It's okay.  I'll bring my bosses around to the right way of thinking soon enough. 



Getting it all done

It's finally cooled off here.  Temps are below 100*.  Some mornings, I even need a jacket to walk the dog.  That's a very welcome relief, but the heat this year left my garden looking a mess.  I spent about an hour yesterday cleaning up and still have many jobs to do, but at least it was a start. 

I spent most of the weekend in the new studio.  Loving it in there.  I worked on the star quilt and finished the last block and got it assembled and the borders on.  I'm not very happy with the one dark border side, but hey, it is what it is.  I'm hoping that when it's bound with a dark binding that won't stand out as much.  I've also thought about taking the top and bottom borders off and moving them to the opposite sides.  That star in the corner kind of merges into the border and if I move it to the other side, it will contrast with the star blocks better.  But, we'll see if I do that.  I really enjoyed making this little quilt, coming up with the blocks and making them from a limited quantity of fabric and making it mostly of leaders and enders.  I used almost all of the fabric and am happy with the results. 

I also worked on this.  It's the real priority.  Rob's niece is going into the hospital for an extended treatment stay and he asked me to make a quilt...in two weeks.  We went through the tops I had already assembled and there were some nice ones, but I cautioned that someone in treatment was less likely to use a very nice quilt, fearing they'd damage it, so we picked this Linus top and Saturday morning, I got a back ready and pin basted it and started the quilting.  I finished yesterday afternoon, got the binding on and have started to hand sew that to the back.  I quilted it in a swirly wind pattern and it came out really great.  Much better than in my mind's eye. 
I asked what her favorite color was so I could pick a back.  They said autumn colors.  My answer was "you know that's not really a color, right?"  But, we picked a lovely falling leaves pattern for the back.  I'm sure she'll love it.
Last week,  I really let my star shine.  What I thought was dinner with the team on Monday night turned out to be dinner at a very fancy restaurant for the team and 30 retailers and their plus ones.  I wore jeans and a shirt that didn't fit very well, but had at least been ironed.  I was very out of place.  The next night, I was dressed to the nines and fit in much better.  It's weird how much  feeling underdressed played with my mind, but I didn't let it stop me.  When it was time to sit, the rest of the team jumped to tables with their biggest and most profitable retailers.  I sat in the back with two very out of place looking young women.  We were joined by another member of my team who should have been a comedian and then another couple.  We had so much fun.  We laughed and talked and told kid stories and work stories and celebrated a birthday.  The next day, someone said they heard I was at the fun table.  Okay.  We had our meeting on Tuesday and all went well...and I was appropriately dressed. 
Tuesday night, there was another dinner.  I sat at the table with a very out of place "country" couple and a nice lesbian and a friend of hers.  Again, we laughed and told stories and joked and poked fun at the company I work for and it was another great time. 
The next day, someone said "you were at the fun table again last night."  I answered honestly, without realizing it was going to be funny.  They weren't the fun tables until I got there.  I'm glad I can look past who the big players are and make sure everyone has a good time.  And, I'm very proud of my ability to relax and do what needs to be done instead of standing in the corner, trying to disappear before anyone realizes how very uncomfortable and out of place I feel.  Life is good. 
Everybody have a great week!!!  We'll see what I get up to.  Whatever it is, I hope it's fun. 


Still organizing

I accomplished a lot this weekend, but everything took so long.  In the sewing room, I'd have to first set up whatever tool I wanted to work with and then I'd have to clear off some space and put whatever needed to be moved into its new home (yes, there are still things on my sewing surfaces that need to find their permanent homes).  I cleared out bobbins and sorted and organized my hand sewing drawer, which left me with several empty containers to deal with...not throwing them away until everything is in its new place because soon as I toss that little tin that holds needles so well, I'm gonna need it. 

But, I did reward myself with some fun sewing.  I finished the next block for the star quilt.  I was out of ideas for the fourth block and brought it up in the car the other day and Rob just popped out the perfect idea.  You'll have to wait to see it tho.

My other sewing project was storing the crazy quilt.  This quilt is the real deal.  It was given to our friend Linda's aunt to repair.  Then, the lady that had asked her to repair it was killed in a plane crash, along with her daughter.  Nobody ever came to get the quilt and it ended up in Linda's hands.  It was in pretty bad shape, so I brought it home and did the repairs I could, but honestly, it wasn't worth it.  For every piece of silk I replaced, another piece shattered.  So, I decided it was best to preserve the quilt in it's current condition. 

It had been folded up for years, and I had been storing it folded and I knew that wasn't good for it, so I made a plan.

I took a small pool noodle and shoved it inside a larger pool noodle so I could get a large diameter roll, then I ran an old shower curtain rod down the middle to keep it from bending and covered all that in silky polyester lining fabric.  The string is so I could tighten that around the end and completely cover the pool noodle. 

Then, I cut a piece of the lining in the size of the quilt and serged it and we laid the lining down, then the quilt, face down on top of that so the quilt surface would be stretched instead of crinkled in the rolling process, and then rolled it onto the noodle.  It was supposed to get another sleeve on that, but after it was made, I realized I couldn't push this into the next sleeve without messing up the outer edge of the quilt, so will need to make another cover that goes on the outside and ties instead of being a sleeve.  That should be easy enough. 

Then, the plan is to hang the quilt by those knobs on the end so I can take basically all the pressure off the silks.  It's a good plan.  I'll have to let you know if it works, but it's been successful so far and I don't see any reason the next step wouldn't be, too.

I've also made significant progress on the Linus afghan.  Just a few more rows and I will have used up almost all the acrylic yarn I own.  What I'm left with is small balls, about 1.5 inches in diameter.  Those won't make a row here, but I'm going to use them to make a granny square afghan like Amy Farrah Fowler's.  It is bright colors surrounded by black so that the blacks join.  It's a beautiful afghan...and it's the best I can come up with to use the very last of that yarn.  Waste no, want not!

Okay, that's it for me.  This week is all business meetings.  Tonight there's a dinner where I will meet some of my co-workers and tomorrow morning a meeting with our retailers.  Tomorrow night, I'll have dinner in San Antonio to meet another set of co-workers and then Wednesday morning, another retailers meeting.  Then, Thursday, I get to have lunch with my friend Lyn. 

Everybody have a great week!  Lane


Blogging on a Tuesday...not my fault

I want to start with a bit of a rant.  Please forgive me.  I know that companies look for their names on social media to see what people are saying about them.  Microsoft, your ability to support the products we use is crap.  You have forgotten what a customer is and how to take care of your customers.  Soon as I can, I will be moving to an Apple product.  So far, they still remember the role customers play in a business relationship.  If, like me, you've been screwed by the September update to Windows 10, I was able to restore my laptop to before that update was installed and am here today.  I read an article that Microsoft layed their entire testing team off and that's why we have so many issues.  That certainly seems to be a bad decision.

Okay, so what about me???  I'm all moved back into my studio.  The smell of wet paint has started to go away.  And, I'm loving it.  I celebrated by making the rest of the small stars for my second star block.  I'm loving everything about this little quilt, except the fact that I'm about out of dark blue and am going to have to find more.  I haven't found any of this particular shade of black/blue in my stash, so maybe that credit I have at the quilt shop is going to finally get used. 

I showed pics of the painted studio last week.  Since then, I have cleared out the studio closet, which took a day and a half because I was going through everything and getting rid of as much as I could and re-organizing, re-folding, and re-packing the rest.  It's a big closet.  After it was empty, it took me another day and a half to paint it because of the sheetrock repairs that had to be done and the brush work around all the corners and edges.  The tape along the ceiling had torn from the ceiling when they leveled the house and that was a lot of work to fill the crack and make it pretty.

Then, I started to fill it.  It's a big closet.  It holds a LOT of stuff.  I decided to pull my UFOs and WIPs out of their boxes and corners and hang them on hangers above my stash.  That way, the next time I'm pulling fabric for a new project, I'll have to look at my already started projects.  Hopefully, that will shame me into finishing something instead of starting something new.  Maybe. 

Books in the middle, and fabric collections on the right.  Those include an Asian bin, a batik bin, a homespun bin and others, including bright fabrics I save for Linus quilts. I know it looks crowded, but it's so well organized that I can reach in and grab whatever I'm in the mood for.  Rob reminded me that it will stay that way until I stop putting things back where they belong.  He's right. 

I also finished moving into the studio.  I know, it looks a lot more crowded than it really is.  But, well organized.  There's a LOT more space than there was before.  Space to move around and space to lay a quilt on the floor.  (two huge bags of trash and a very large donation pile and a pile for the free table at the next guild meeting I go to)

And, my sitting space, which I think I'm going to enjoy most of all. 

That's it for me today.  I spent all my blogging time getting this laptop up and running.  But, hopefully it's resolved now and I won't have any more issues, as long as I don't shut down or restart until the bug is fixed. 

Everybody have a great week.  It was hard to go back to work yesterday.  I sure enjoyed my time spent at home.  And, the office just wasn't the same as being here.  But, I had to go there because there was no way I was going to be able to focus on work with this lovely room to play in.