Saturday, July 31, 2010

Summer Reading

Because you can't sew *all* the time.

The stack on the left has been read. I'm starting on the stack on the right. If I get a job and am no longer involuntarily retired (laid off) I might not get through these before Christmas! Ahh, the trade offs; money versus time, time versus money...

Picked up the Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd because I liked The Secret Life of Bees so much, who didn't? It was an okay read. I can't get behind a woman's quest for self when it means leaving her husband and getting involved with a monk, I'm just saying.
I've read several No 1 Ladies Detective Agency books and always enjoy the lightheartedness of the writing, a quick read.
I picked up Eat, Pray, Love because I liked the write up on the back and I got a great deal of enjoyment out of it. I honestly had no idea it was taking the country by storm and is soon to be a motion picture. I liked it for its honesty and heart.
Live a Little's tag line is Go ahead, eat that brownie, blow off your workout, stay up late and live a little. A great modern review of what we really need to be doing to be healthy, written last year.
I brought French Hideaways home because the photography is breath taking. I didn't read every word of the travelogue-esque details of what each chateau or rural manor has to offer the discerning traveler because I didn't really care. But again, the pictures were stunning, like browsing through another time.
I don't know much about the books I haven't read yet. DS2 recommended Good Omens; the rest were on the exchange table at work just before I left and looked interesting for one reason or another.
Happy reading!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Out With the Old!

I've been collecting quilt fabric for 27 years. I started out storing it in a few cardboard shoe boxes. When I out grew those I moved to cardboard copier paper boxes, and then finally extra long totes.

Recently I decided it was time to clean house! I stash dive all the time and I keep passing over the same small prints and calicoes, it really must be time to pass those on.

The red-orange-yellow tote before

During the sort: the pile on the left is to give away, the pile in the foreground is for cutting up, the rest went back in the tote.


It feels so much better! It was amazing to go through and look at and touch each and every fabric again. Do I want this? But will I really USE it?? And I have a new collection to cut up and refresh the squares and strips binds. I think I'll save that project for another day. :)

New Ventures

Do you find metaphors for your life?

This is me, sailing into the next adventure in my life, well minus the pigtails!

Mermaid draft

Frank creates digital art, I make quilts. We talk about the creative process, where inspiration comes from, light, shadow, color. Sometimes our hobbies intersect. Recently I offered to make one of his images into a quilted wall hanging.

Perfect for a stained glass quilt

Here it is without color - seems do-able

Last night we surfed Hoffman batiks, but we'll wait to buy them until we can see them in person.

I went to the LFS and bought one of these:

And I found out that this does come in 1/8" width. Well the picture isn't very good, it's Quick Bias, 11 yards on a roll, ready to fuse in place. Now that's a pretty cool discovery!

I'll keep you posted.

Just Sew

The draft's been drawn, the colors chosen, and the fabric pulled from the stash. The first half of the quilt is pieced so I know what it's going to look like when it's finished, now the interest wanes. I need to just put my head down and sew, don't think, just sew. Let's see, if I still need 24 blocks and each block needs two background corners, that's 48 squares that need to be sewn, trimmed and pressed. Can I get them done before bed time?

Clockwise from upper left: sewn, cut aways, trimmed blocks, pressed open

Hey, even the trash is pretty and bright!

Got those done, good! So I turned my attention to the pastel Ocean Wave that's been simmer in the background off and on for two years; made a few more of those. The accuracy on the alternate block is improving; it's still a bear to piece, but more of them are coming out close enough to five and a half inches that I'll be able to use them.

There's still time before the it's time to call it quits; I know, let's start something NEW!

Having fun with my new rotary circle cutter

Mix and match, love those brights!

First cut

Second cut, I finally found a use for my rotating cutting mat

Little Bulls eye blocks - 4.5" finished

I went to bed tired, but happy.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Stop Second Guessing Yourself

I've been captivated by Candy Box, sewing along happily, adding to the design wall daily; then the inner critic showed up. Do you know her?

"Why are you making this? You should be doing (fill in the blank). You're wasting your time."
"These aren't your colors, where did you get the idea you could work in this color scheme, it's not you so knock it off."
"Get out of the studio and go do something worthwhile, enough of this already."


Half done

Where to these jibs come from? I was tired, I knew that, I'd worked out in the yard in the heat of the day; but that's no reason to jump ship. I went to bed and decided things would look better in the morning.

I'm still sitting with the critic, she was with me at breakfast so I've been doing other things besides sewing. Is this really about being out of work and still feeling a lot of "shoulds"?

Friday, July 23, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

Almost the minute the continuous strip quilt was finished I dove into the stash and started cutting out another quilt. The clear, monochromatic, jewel-tone colors called to me and in a great departure from my usual color schemes, I jumped into this project. I have almost no idea where this one came from, I didn't plan to make this quilt, it just grabbed me in the lull following Crush. I decided to go with it, why not?!

I haven't taken Rossie's Process Pledge, but I try to show some of the steps along the way; I like looking back at the photo essay it creates. This pattern is called Road to Tennessee.

The fabric palette: as I pulled from the stash I found I didn't want any multicolored prints. Hmmm... very new for me, I usually have two or three blenders in the group.

Here I've chain pieced the first background square to the main color. I cut the chain apart so I could run them through again.

Here the second background square has been chain pieced to the main color. I drew a line where the stitching is and the red arrow points it out; click to enlarge. Then I cut the chain apart and trim the squares.

I trim to a quarter inch with scissors, eye balling the measurement. You can also use a rotary cutter and ruler but this goes faster and gives my rotary cutting arm a rest. Press the seam to the dark fabric.

Oooo... so bright and cheerful! The subunits are 31/2".

After these four are sewn, it measures 61/2".

This makes a 12 inch block when it's finished. I just keep making these, they're so fun, they're like candy. Hey, what a great name, Candy Box!

Time to Breathe

Since I've been home I'm getting caught up on my To-do list. You know, the cleaning, organizing, ironing, mending, stuff that waits for you to have time and the patience to get to. It's been three weeks since the lay off and I'm actually starting to feel caught up from stuff that built up over the winter.

Which means more time to sew. I usually have a hard time getting into the sewing room because I feel like there are all these 'shoulds'. Well there are less of those now. :)

I made another continuous strip quilt, this time for a customer. It was a joy to make, the colors are just so yummy! I've said in the past it's rare that I make the same quilt twice, but in this case I was willing to make an exception.

Here is the color palette, these are 2" wide strips of random lengths.

Pressing the first row open.

Sixteen rows, just before it goes from a vertical layout to horizontal.

Here's the finished top.

And here's the finished quilt. I pieced the border at short intervals to carry the color scheme.

The back is also a grape/vineyard color scheme but more garnet.

A close up of the machine quilting, click to enlarge any of the photos.

I named it Crush.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Sew Days

While DS1 was away on a gamecon trip, Danielle came for the weekend. We hid inside with the AC and sewed. I helped her piece her first quilt, a Three Rail Fence.

We worked in tandem, I layered the pieces to be sewn and she chained them together. It was a chance for her to learn to use the sewing machine and get used to the tools involved in piecing.

We put it on the design wall and decided to make more blocks.

Rotary cutting skills were learned too.

What a great way to spend time together, have fun and make a quilt. We took time out from the Rail Fence to spray baste a quilt I'm working on so she could see how that's done too. When she left the top was webbed and the first few rows sewn together. More pictures later.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Wild Goose Chase

I finished this little wall hanging today.

I really like the way the white on white free motion quilting turned out. Practice makes perfect.

I hope the customer will be pleased.

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