Tuesday, August 19, 2014

An Update from The Wimpy Gimp

Nothing much to report here.  Still on crutches, still not doing much besides sitting and reading - and still a little whining.  Less whining than there was though, so that is progress!


This picture was taken just a day or two before my accident.  I was trying to determine how much border to add to the top.  As you can see, the Quilt Inspectors had to add their two cents.  It's all ready to send to my long-arm quilter and I hope to have it in the mail this week.  She tells me she can have it back to me quickly.  Yay!

Anyone that has spent some time on crutches will agree with me - it's amazing to discover just how much furniture and general stuff gets in the way when you're trying to navigate around the house on those crutches.  It gets pretty tiring.  And crutches aren't very comfortable to use.  

If I had been more able to sew when I started this little adventure, I would have made myself some cute quilted padding for the arm and hand areas!  Right now I have washcloths on the arm rests, fastened on with rubber bands.  Just soooo appealing.  And the hand rests started bothering my hands.  These crutches are about 30 years old, and the rubber is less than optimal on the hand rests.  So, I folded up some black fabric and tied it on with ribbon to cushion my hands.  It helps, but my hands are still getting pretty sore.  Those dumb ribbons want to keep slipping off the ends of the fabric and I'm constantly adjusting them.  I can't seem to get them tight enough.  I'm still considering the "remodel" with something cuter - but I'm hoping I won't be on the crutches long enough to make it worth the trouble.  The physical therapists tell me I'm making good progress, so that is encouraging! 

Hollyhocks and daisies - I haven't been over to this side
of the house in a month, so I don't know if these are
even alive anymore.

I have managed to get up to the quilt studio a few times, trying to work on the 9-patch blocks for the swap with Barb.  It's been slow going.  It's difficult to stand and cut for long, and really hard to move about the studio.  Frankly, most of the time I don't even use the crutches.  It's only a step or two away to get to the cutting table, sewing machine and ironing board.  And I'm being very careful!  I am making progress on the 9-patches, but it's slow.  I'm going to try again today to see what progress I can make.  And I have some things to finish up for the quilt show which is in October that I really MUST get moving on.  Cross your fingers for me!

I'll be going to the quilt shop tomorrow to buy fabric for the 9-patches for the swap.  I was hoping to make a scrappy assortment, but I think I'm going to have to go with only 4 or 6 fabrics and make them production-style, just to get done in time.  I think that will be faster and hopefully easier.  


Mary Arnold of Vancouver, WA came and talked to my quilt guild a few months ago.  I was really impressed with her quilts!  I took a bunch of pix and thought I'd share them with you, since I have nothing of my own to share with you.  



This quilt is a challenge quilt.  The challenge was to include a lime green horizontal line somewhere on the quilt.  I think this one is fantastic!



And this quilt is my favorite of Mary Arnold's.  This is a new technique for her.  


These pieced areas are only about 2 inches wide!  Mary said she sewed a bunch of pieces together, chopped them apart, then re-sewed.  Rinse and repeat to get them really small.


I love this!  What a great way to use up some scraps.  And isn't her quilting awesome?

border detail
I hope you have a creative week!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Ooopsie!

"Prepare yourself for a change of events in your personal life"

That's what the Chinese fortune cookie told me at dinner a week ago last Saturday.  An hour later DH, The Kid and I were playing miniature golf.  We were on the 3rd hole, I was winning (by one stroke), and I somehow missed my step going up a small but steep hill on the course.  I managed to get all the way across  the carpeted area and then take a face plant on the concrete edging. Ow!

The damage total was one pair of completely smashed glasses, a minor sprain of my right hand/wrist and a severe sprain (Level 3, they tell me) of my left ankle/foot. Oh yes, I got a cut on the bridge of my nose from my glasses, scraped my forehead and nose, and got a good size scrape on my upper lip as well.  And I'm very upset with myself for doing this too.

I am starting to heal now.  Still have an ankle brace and hand brace on and am still on crutches.  But the swelling is going down and my face is almost back to normal.  So I don't look so scary anymore.  *grin*  Next week I start physical therapy on the ankle/foot.

The worst part is that I still can't mange going up the stairs, so I'm living downstairs and sleeping on the living room couch.  Which also means I can't get to the sewing room!  I was "this close" to having two quilts ready to go to my long-armer. (Hi, Shari!)  Double Rats!  I could sew OK if I could get there, but no fabric cutting yet.  So, no quilts off to be quilted yet, no more work on the quilts on the design wall and I'm not getting my 9 patches done for Barb's swap that I signed up for. *sigh*  I know I'll get there eventually, I just hope I have something done in time for the quilt show in early October.

Can you tell I'm at the whining stage of recovery?  I've been enjoying being the lady of leisure and reading my Kindle (I love it!  And library books too!), but now I'm getting a little bored and antsy.  I have a quilt that I'm embellishing with buttons.  Tried that today, but am having trouble getting the button to stay put until I get enough stitches in to hold it in place while sitting in the chair with my foot elevated on a big pile of cushions.   And the cats want to "help" too.  So, more Kindle reading for awhile, I guess.

Stupid fortune cookie!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Less Stalling, More Doing

Yes, I've actually managed to complete something!  One done, one to top status.

"Lemonade"
21 in. by 25 1/4 in.

I finally got my challenge quilt done, and in time for the reveal picnic too!   Makes me wonder why I stall so much when I have to scramble to be done in time.  Read more about this project here and here.


The Potter came up with the name for this, and I love it!  You know the saying . . . "when life hands you lemons . . ."  Perfect fit, isn't it?  I'm really happy with this - it finished up much better than I thought it would in the beginning.  I don't even see the Ugly Fabric (lemons) anymore!

I dipped into my scrap bin for all the fabrics for this quilt.  I went way back in time for some of these fabrics.  I guess I now know why I'm saving all those old fabrics.  "Old" being a relative term - most of these are from the 90's, so technically not that old.  They are slowly getting used up.  Good thing too, because I'm getting tired of some of these fabrics.  And some I still love and enjoy.  But I'm not really into that antique-y look anymore.  I crave bright happy colors and fabrics now.


Of course, I only have to look at the back of this quilt to see the lemons.  I had to include them in all their ugly glory, just so I can remember which ones they are.  The scraps of the lemons went in the trash.  Nobody wanted them!  And the other fabric?  I used up a half yard of some unloved fabric in my stash plus a little extra of another.  You can see the quilting I did better on the back too.  I used white thread in the light parts of the log cabins and a dark blue thread in the dark parts.  I wanted to emphasize the zigzag design of the log cabin blocks.

I ended up making 99 half square triangles because I had no idea how many I needed for the borders.  The first ones I made weren't even close to being enough.  So I cut and sewed and cut and sewed until I had over 10 feet of half square triangles!  Yikes!  It was a staggering amount, to my mind, especially for such a small little quiltlet.


Dunkel wanted you to be able to judge the size of the quilt quickly.  Also, it didn't have enough cat hair on it.  Maybe not the most flattering shot of him?


I did manage to get a shot of his "better side".  He hates the camera.

"Leftover Lemons"
14 3/4 inches square
Remember the wrong size blocks I had?  (See my previous post)  Well, I came up with something to do with them.  And I couldn't just toss the rest of those HST's!  So I got creative for the borders, because I absolutely was not going to make even one more HST.  I really like this too.  Now to get it quilted and bound, which may be awhile.

both "lemon" quilts together
I almost like the border on the smaller one better than the border on the larger one.  And it would have been less work too.  I need to remember this!

Today I'm making and attaching labels to a few quilts that will go to the county fair tomorrow.  My labels aren't fancy or elaborate in any way.  I subscribe to the theory "finished is better than perfect".  If I waited until things were perfect, they'd never get done.  You'll notice that does not rule out doing it at the last possible moment.  *ahem*

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Avoidance Technique Projects?

I was lucky enough to snag a copy of Andrea Balosky's book "Transitions: Unlocking the Creative Quilter Within" (the link will take you to Amazon) at the Puyallup Valley Quilters guild's annual book sale for only $2!  Score!  (if you get the chance to read this book, do so!  wonderful insights into the artistic process!) So, this morning I was reading the part where she discusses the Creative Process and . . . *gasp* I recognized myself.  She was talking about when you are faced with doing something to your project that you'd really rather not do so you go into "avoidance mode" and do something else, like cleaning the studio or something.  Anything but what you'd rather not do.  I know you know what I'm talking about . . . I think we all do it sometimes.  You can call it stalling as well.

Well, I have to admit - mostly to myself - that I was stalling.  I need to do more to my Cherrywood project (see it here)  and I don't want to.  I've decided that I need to add more of the little inserts, which involves undoing parts of the top.  So, major avoidance is occurring.  I know I'm just being stubborn and I'll eventually get it done.  But it's truly amazing what else I can get done when I'm in avoidance mode!

17 1/4 in x 21 3/4 in without borders

Avoidance Project #1 - my Ugly Fabric Challenge quilt is nearing completion!  And about time, too, as it's due on July 11th!  I finally made up my mind what to do with the hideous fabrics I received.  I flailed around for awhile, and then I remembered Bonnie Hunter's saying "if the fabric is still ugly, you haven't cut it small enough".  Bingo!  What's the best way to use it?  Little pieces.  What's the best way to disguise it?  Put it with similar fabrics.  Thus, the log cabin.  So far, without the borders, the top is at 17 1/4 in. by 21 3/4 in.  Those center squares are 1 1/4 inches finished.  The border triangles will also be that size.  Pretty darn little, and kind of pain to make those HST's!  

arrows point out the Ugly Fabrics
This is a close up of the Ugly Fabrics and how I used them.  The middle fabric isn't too bad, so I used it as is.  The other two I've used the wrong side up.  Makes them play better with everything else.


At one point, after I had taken a break (the next day, I believe), I needed to cut more of the center blocks.  Well, apparently I didn't  measure correctly.  But I didn't discover my error until I was trying to assemble the blocks.  These blocks have a center square that measures 1 1/2 inch cut instead of 1 3/4 in.  That 1/4 inch is hard to see, but so important to the finished size of the block!  So, I have 10 extra blocks the wrong size.  *sigh*  We'll see what becomes of these blocks later, when I decide.

So, now I'm stalling about cutting more of the little HST's for the border.  Fortunately, I didn't fold and put away the fabrics yet.  So, that's what I'll be doing very soon.  That approaching due date is starting to motivate me!  So, even more Avoidance is going on around here!  (It's getting pretty bad, huh?)

Modern Disappearing 9 Patch
50 3/4 in x 64 in at this point
In the meantime, here are my other Avoidance Technique projects.  A.T.P. #2 is now assembled and ready for borders.  Fabric has been purchased for said borders and binding.  I need to get this done P.D.Q. so it can get to the quilter and back in time for the quilt show in October.

17 in x 24 1/4 in

A. T. P. #3: another preemie quilt.  I got it quilted at a guild workshop on Friday, now I need to find binding and do that.  No rush on this one.

detail shot
I don't have any baby fabrics, but I thought these worked OK for a little girl.

44 in x 58 1/2 in

A.T.P. #4: the String X quilt got borders!  I went to see the Keeper of the Guild Fabric the other day and found something that works.  It's not what I initially had in mind, but I like it.  Nicely bright and cheery.  This will go to a local facility for seriously ill and frail children.


The yellow fabric has little tiny bees all over it.  

So, I guess I've stalled long enough now!  But, didn't I get a lot accomplished??  Not finished, but accomplished.  Two different things - in my world anyway. *grin*  I amaze myself sometimes.  hee hee!  I really need to finish the challenge quilt because of the looming due date.  So, that is first on my agenda.  Then I think I'll move on to the Mod D9P so it can go to the quilter.  Then maybe I can actually pick up the seam ripper and work on my Cherrywood project so it can be done in time for the quilt show too.  Wish me luck!  Or maybe you should come over and give me a kick in the butt!

So, inquiring minds want to know:  what do you do when you're experiencing the Avoidance Technique?   Do you recognize it when you're doing it?  How do you move past it?  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sewing But Not Blogging

I just don't know where the time goes lately!  I can't believe it's been so long since I posted on here.  No excuses - just busy.  So much for my resolution to do better at posting this year.  


My sister came to visit a few weeks ago while my DH was off on a business trip.  We had fun, but it was low-key as she was still recovering from a serious infection.  We did get out her project to play with a little.  She got these wonderful appliques and embroideries a few years ago and wants to get them together into a quilt top.  They are so bright and cheerful and just fun!  We were just testing how well they play together.  The bright striped fabric is some woven placemats she found that seems to want to be included.  However, we're not sure those red flowers on black blocks work with the rest.  What she will do with them all remains to be seen someday in the future.  But what a fun shot of color!


I finally got the baby quilt all quilted and it's now on it's way to the local hospital's neonatal unit.  This will probably be gifted to an indigent new mother.  I had it ready to quilt way back here at the end of April and probably had it quilted by the middle of May.  The binding took me more time than I wanted to because I had to finish the corduroy quilt first (see last post), so the whole thing took me much longer than I had originally planned.  But it's done now, and I have another one perking along.  Sorry, no pix of that one yet.


I finally have my Cherrywood earth tones wallhanging (this needs a better name!) to a point that I'm happy with it.  Sorry for the not-so-great photo.  It's not hanging straight, and it's hard to capture the true colors of this in the poor light here.  I never did find any more of the brown fabric (that matched what I had used on the rest of it) after visiting multiple quilt shops, so I had to improvise and I think I like it better because of that!  I had to piece in some bits to make the borders for the sides long enough, and so I also added the striped bits you see.  Now, I like that so much I've decided that I need to unsew a little bit and add some of the striped bits to the top and bottom border also.  So, that will happen soon, I hope!  I want to get this done for the quilt show in October and I know I have to keep up on it for that to happen.


There is no progress to report on my blue Bear's Paw quilt.  I have been thinking and thinking of what I want to do with this, and am not happy with anything I've come up with.  So, I labeled the rows and took it off the design wall so I can let this percolate a little longer.  It may not get done this year after all, but I don't want to rush this just to get it done.  It's waited this long - a little longer won't hurt!

And now for something completely different, a la' Monty Python . . . .


This is what is now on my design wall.  It's all trimmed and ready to assemble.  This is the Modern Disappearing Nine Patch pattern, which I found here.  I found this a while ago on the internets and have been intrigued with this pattern!  Then I found a couple of charm packs of Comma by Zen Chic and fell in love with that too.  I've got some yardage of a couple of the prints too, but wanted something that would be "background" and set off the fun, graphic prints, so I picked this silvery grey solid.  I'm really happy with how this looks and I'm anxious to get it put together.  

But I don't know how soon I can get to it.  *sad face*

I'm on the quilt show committee this year.  Yes, I opened my big mouth volunteered again.  Next week is Shop Hop around these parts, so this week Candy and I are spending 2 days visiting a lot of quilt shops to get our show poster put up.  It's fun, but it's also time consuming and tiring.  Friday is a 4-hour class that our guild is hosting and I'll be taking that.  Also fun and time-consuming.  Today is laundry and grocery store day (time consuming and NO fun), so no sewing.  *sigh*  There is not enough time in my day, nor do I have enough energy, to do everything I want to do.  Does this sound familiar to you?  I'm sure it does.  How do you find time to do the sewing/quilting you want to do? It's not like it's not a priority for me, I just have trouble actually getting into the quilt studio.  I could sure use some tips, if you have any.

I noticed that I've just recently surpassed 100,000 page views!  What a cool milestone to hit!  So, to celebrate that I'll be having a giveaway soon.  Not sure what it will be yet, but you'll have to come back to see.  (isn't that a clever ploy on my part?)  I promise to not keep you in suspense too long!

Here's a thought for the day:

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."

Have a creative week!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Spring 2014 edition

It's time for another Blogger's Quilt Festival!  If you've joined me through the link on the Festival, Welcome!  I'm so glad you came to visit!  If you're a regular reader, well, you're just as warmly welcomed!  And a huge Thank You to Amy for hosting this fun Festival again.  It is so fun to see all the wonderful quilts, get some inspiration, and meet new-to-me bloggers.

11-11-11 - The Corduroy Quilt


Regular readers may recognize this, although it's been awhile since it's made an appearance on the blog.  But, I'm happy to report, this is finally a FINISH!  Yay!  This quilt/comforter has been a loooong time in the making.  

I made the quilt top in 2011.  This quilt is made from corduroy, and it was made to celebrate National Quilting Day on November 11, 2011.  In other words, 11-11-11.  The Date That Most Closely Resembles Corduroy.  Hee hee!  That date just happens to be my birthday too, so it was my present to myself!

Unfortunately, then this quilt languished.  I got it layered and pin basted and started to tie the quilt . . . and very quickly got bored with it.  I've worked on it sporadically ever since.  This past winter I pulled it out to work on it again, and was determined that this was the year it would be finished.  So, I still had a few fits and starts, but I persevered!  

Detail 1

This quilt almost never happened.  In 2011, I read on some of the blogs I regularly visit about making a corduroy quilt and thought it sounded like fun.  But I didn't have any corduroy and I didn't want to go buy corduroy either.  But someone in my quilt guild was giving away fabric - and I received 2 2-yard pieces of corduroy from her!  Then I mentioned making a cord quilt and another guild member gave me her corduroy scraps!  So, I took that as a message from the Universe that I really should make a corduroy quilt!  Who am I to argue with the universe?

Surprisingly, most of the colors worked well together, but I ended up over-dyeing the green.  It was just too bright.  I used a blue/turquoise dye, and that toned down the green nicely.  In Real Life, you can see some variations in the green, but I don't think it shows up well in the photos.  I used up every bit of the yellow, the green and the purple, and most of the burgundy and the black fabrics.

Detail 2

I've entered this quilt in the 'Original Design' category of the Festival.  It is my original design.  My inspiration for this quilt was the quilts made by the Gee's Bend quilters.  (If you don't know about the Gee's Bend quilters and their quilts, you can read about them here and see some of their quilts here.)  In other words, I worked in an improvisational manner.  

I decided at the very beginning that I would only use scissors, NO rotary cutting!  After a while, especially for the longer pieces and borders, I just tore the fabric.  (I found out what a mess corduroy can make when you do that! Fuzz everywhere!)  It made a disaster of my quilt studio, but I worked quickly.  Just cutting and putting bits up on the design wall, then sewing without agonizing.  It was so much fun!  I ended up with big borders on the top and bottom edges just to make the quilt be long enough so that my toes won't stick out the end.  *grin*  The quilt ended up being about 50 inches wide by about 70 inches long.  I say "about" because, just like the Gee's Bend quilts, it's not quite straight or square.  I purposely left it "wonky" - because I love how it looks!

I used a poly batting (Quilters Dream Request polyester) because I wanted warmth without weight.  I knew the corduroy would be heavy enough.  And I used brushed cotton on the back of the quilt, which is so soft and cuddly.  In the manner of the Gee's Bend quilts, the brushed cotton doesn't match or even quite "go with" the top, but it was in the stash and it was the right size.  I used regular quilting cotton for the binding.  I chose to go with black, but added a few touches of yellow in places too.

a glimpse of the backing fabric

I was afraid that quilting this would be difficult, so I tied it with black Perle cotton.  But it turns out that the needle goes through the corduroy and light batting like a knife through warm butter!  I will quilt the next corduroy quilt I make.

I love the way the corduroy almost looks like velvet.  It is so soft and snuggly.  And I really like how the fabrics change color depending on the direction that the nap of the corduroy is running.  I love running my hand over this quilt, not to mention snuggling up with it!  It will be my quilt to cover up with this next winter when I watch TV in the evening.

on the couch

I don't think this will be my last corduroy quilt!  I still have a few bits left, another 2-yard piece in tan, and friends are still giving me their corduroy scraps!  And I've discovered how much I love working in the Improvisational style.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Playing with Flowers and Fabric

Rhododendron

The weather here has been just beautiful this week . . . up to 84*, sunny and so beautiful.  All the rhododendrons and azaleas are blooming and are so gorgeous.  So, instead of doing much sewing, I went and got seduced by the pretty plants at Home Depot!  I've gotten half of the plants in the ground, and the rest are sitting out on the deck, waiting for me to do something with them.  I'm so easily swayed into buying the flowers, and am not really good at the planting part.  Most of them will go in the pots on the deck, which won't involve me getting on my sore knees. 

I'm discovering that many of the plants that I've put in in previous years aren't doing very well because we have too much shade and not enough sun for them.  So, now I'm rethinking what I'm getting AND where I'm putting it.  

Tonight the weather is starting to change, and we're supposed to have rain and highs only in the 60's by Saturday.  So hopefully tomorrow I can get some of those pots planted.  I've got a guild workshop tomorrow afternoon, so I'm not sure how many I can actually get done.  On second thought, I guess some rain won't hurt them.  hee hee!  



I made seven of the Bars blocks that Block Lotto is doing this month.  I found them difficult to do accurately, but I prevailed.  I'm going to be donating these this month.


This is where I am at now with my Cherrywoods project that I showed here.  I've got blocks for another project on the design wall, and so these were on the floor of the quilt studio.  I got tired of walking on or around them, so I finally got them sewn together.  Now I'm stalled until I go get some more of the brown fabric that I'm using for the sashing.  I only had 1/2 yard to start with, and I don't have enough left to finish those two edges that don't have the brown.  Not a problem (I LOVE buying fabric!), but it involves a trip back to the store where I bought it and that is about an hour's drive from here! I know I could put another brown on those two sides, but I want the entire outside to be the same fabric to "float" the blocks.  


Here is Shade inspecting my work.  This should give you an idea of the size of the piece.  Shade seems to approve!