Saturday, October 18, 2014

Now, back to my regularly scheduled life . . . .

At least I hope so!  Now that the Quilt Show is over and done - only one last recap meeting tomorrow! - maybe things can get back to normal.   The show was fun, but it was also a lot of hard work, and it seemed to take up my whole year.  We had a LOT of committee meetings, not to mention spending 5 days out at the fairgrounds where the show was held this year.  2 days of set up, 2 days of show, 1 day of take down.  I'm actually still tired.  The building we were in seemed bigger than a football field and I can't tell you how many trips up and down the length of it I had to walk.

The quilt show went really well, I think.  All of the visitors seemed very pleased with the show, and most of the vendors too.  I thought the quilts all looked great!  We had over 300 quilts, which is darned good for a guild of about 60.  I had 10 quilts on display, including some newly finished ones, which  I will be sharing with you over the next few posts.

Let's start with this one.  I know I've shown it in various stages of production over the last few months, but here it is all finished and in the quilt show!

Ochre :: Strata
31 inches by 32 1/2 inches

(No, I didn't win an award on this quilt.  The ribbon on the right side was a Participation Ribbon that every quilt in the show received.)  That bottom edge is not wonky, it is curved on purpose.  It ended up kind of uneven after piecing, and I decided I liked it that way and trimmed it in a curve.  Which fits with the rest of the quilt because I don't think there's really a straight edge anywhere on this quilt!  This was my "artsy" quilt this year.  *grin*  All free-pieced and kind of my own personal challenge.  You can read more about it here.

not true colors in this photo

Here is a detail shot to show you some of the hand-painted fabrics (by Barb Sherrill) that I used.   They look "shiny" (they're metallic and really are shiny) and are in the approximate middle of each strata in this photo.  There's some painted fabrics scattered throughout the quilt.

true colors in this photo

Here is another detail shot.  I had my quilter Shari quilt this for me on her long-arm, and she followed my request for the not-straight lines.  I love it!  I could have done it, except for the time crunch I was in.  Thanks, Shari!

We had some visitors to the back yard last month.  Mama Deer had two babies this year.  The babies are getting so big it's hard to tell them from Mama.

The doe

the smaller baby
The 2 small deer discovered my small oak tree and thought they had hit the "salad bar" jackpot.  They ate all the leaves from the lower half of the tree!  Yum!

all 3 deer

My injury is finally getting healed!  I'm walking without crutches or a cane now - whoo hoo!.  I'm only wearing the brace when I go out, just for some security until my ankle feels a little more stable.  I'm still nervous on uneven surfaces, but getting better.  And I can climb steps just fine now.  (down is a little harder, but getting better)  I still get occasional twinges in both my ankle and my wrist, but I think I'm just about healed now.  I can't believe how long it's taken me to heal - it's been 3 months!

I'll be back with more finished quilt photos soon.  I hope you get some time to stitch this weekend!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Making Some Progress - and A Quilt!

What a slacker!  I can't believe it's been nearly a month since I posted!  I kept meaning to, but just never really got to it.  I composed lots of posts in my head, but never actually made it to the computer.  Hopefully I can break that trend.

Things are progressing around here!  The physical therapy that I'm doing is starting to pay off.  I'm finally off those darn crutches and am now using a cane.  (I should feel dapper, maybe, but I don't.)  And I am starting to wear a shoe - well, a sandal.  My ankle is still swollen and the shoe hurts, but I'm very tired of walking across parking lots and public restrooms in a mostly-bare foot.  (I still have to wear the brace)  The worst was the floor in the movie theatre - ick!  I'm starting to get around pretty well, and actually went to the grocery store by myself yesterday for the first time in 2 months!  Who knew that going to the grocery store would be something to celebrate?  hee hee!  It was a short trip, and I was pretty tired by the end, but I did it!  Just as an aside here - a cane and a shopping cart are an awkward combination, especially when the thing doesn't fit into one of those cute little carts.  The whole thing with this injury has been a lesson in patience, which I've never been known to have in abundance.  I think a little humility was thrown in there too.

"Vienna Melody"
53 x 74 inches

Here is a quilt that has actually been done for a while, but I don't think I've ever shown it here.  This was a charm square project.  I bought the charm squares and all the companion fabrics years ago, and finally got this finished.  The fabric was "Vienna Nights" by 3 Sisters for Moda, for those who might care.  Charm squares were a brand new thing then, just to give you an idea of how long ago it was!  

the quilting

It's not my favorite quilt.  It's lovely enough, and there's nothing wrong with it at all.  I just feel like it's got no "soul".  There was none of "me" put into this quilt, if you know what I mean.  No creativity. I made two quilts this way, and I learned my lesson.  (you'll get to see the other one as soon as I finish the binding!)  I don't think I'll ever make another quilt just from one line of fabric.  I guess I'm a scrap quilter at heart! 

I'm actually going to be trying to sell this quilt at the quilt show next month.  No one in the family is interested in it, I don't care, and maybe I can make some money to use towards a new computer.  (Mine is an XP, which is pretty much a dinosaur.)  I've never sold a quilt before.  Have you ever sold a quilt?   

"Leftover Lemons"
15 x 15 inches
I got my little "leftovers" quilt all quilted and bound now.  It feels good to have another finish!

I'm starting to put the finishing touches on my things for the quilt show.  Putting on bindings and labels, etc.  I have to have my quilts turned in by Oct. 1st, so the heat is on!

I thought I would share a little trick I use for putting on the binding:

After the binding is made, I do a fan fold with it.  Hopefully you can see what I mean from the photo.  I used to wind it onto a small ruler, but it always got all twisted up.  So I tried using the fan fold, which doesn't twist it at all.  My DH fan folds (instead of wrapping) all his electrical cords before he stores them, which gave me the idea.

Then, I take the fan folded binding and put it into a zip-lock baggie. I close the opening of the baggie except for a hole big enough to feed out the binding.  Then I drop the baggie onto the floor between my feet and start putting it on the quilt.  I've never had it hang up or twist on me, and it works a treat!  I don't know how others do it, but this is my way.  Anything that makes it easier to do is good to know.  Let me know if you try this and how it works for you.

It's been pretty warm here for the last few days, but I think that's just Indian Summer.  Leaves are starting to turn, and the nights are getting pretty chilly.  We were down in the 40's the other night.  The geese started flying north in mid-August this year, which to me seems really early.  Everything seems to be starting earlier this autumn, which to me says we just might be in for a bad winter this year.  I didn't seem to get enough summer this year, just because I couldn't get out and enjoy it so much after mid-July, when I had my accident. 

Hopefully I can post more often now.  I've got more to show you!

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


"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.

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!