Friday, May 22, 2009

Quilty Art

This weekend's project is to finish the quilt back for the black and white quilt. This is how it's going to play out. Dead center is a 36 HST block that measures 6" square. I'm thinking this is going to be my signature block and I do this on all quilts from here on out. What do you think?

It's set between two lengths of the green sashing used on the quilt front, bordered by 2 bands of black and then flanked with two wide widths of the backing fabric. I'm liking it. (This comes from white gloving at the guild show and seeing that there's more to quilt backs than just plain fabric.)

Instead of sewing for the past two nights, I've been 'paper quilting' some wall art for my studio. I've made a few framed 'collages' using handmade, textured paper (though normally they are torn and a lot more textural). I decided to model these after the next two quilt projects I'd like to do. The top one is called 'Strip Tease'. It's a paper take on a strip quilt.

The bottom is called "1st Convergence". It is my interpretation of a convergence quilt. It took a long time to strip together the papers, cut and restrip, cut and restrip. The worst was when I decided to throw in the diagonal cuts going both ways, then it became a puzzle to put back together on the textured, crystally background paper.

They measure 16 x 20 and are on the wall in front of my quilting table. I'll try to get a better photo in good light and post it this weekend. I'm pleased with how they turned out. Oh, and in case you're wondering what is on them, (I'm big on signatures, see above), I put a metal concho tied with either rough twine or leather on every collage, the two used on these are a brass finish, one is a circle, the other a heart, and they are tied with twine.

And, the biggest accomplishment of the day? I made my plane reservations for Hawaii in July and the Quilt Festival in Houston in October. Hooray!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Where Has May Gone?

Doesn't it seem like the month is just flying by? I'm working in the office today (bummer), but I'm counting the days to the long weekend, which I (hopefully) plan to spend finishing my daughter's quilt.

Saturday the hubs went with me to Sistos Quilting so I could pick up the Thangles BOM for my sister and myself. While there I took a quick (wishful) look at the Berninas. I'm still not over my 'close encounters' of Friday night.

I was tooling around surfing Parsons sewing cabinet because I think I'm pretty much set that I want to get rid of my sewing armoire and sub in something else more practical, with less maintenance (read: does not need to be sanded and painted). Anyway, I find one on Craig's list in Baltimore, only this one comes with the old Bernina 830 (mechanical), and it's a cool $350. What???? The post was from April 30th, so I'm thinking there is no way he still has it. Seriously, my sister has this machine, and I would love to have one of my own. It is a great machine for freemotion (if you can get over the no needle down thing). I email him, and then look for more.

I find a new 730e listed for sale, which includes the BSR for --sit down-- $1000. And it was just listed that afternoon. I immediately email that person, though I'm highly suspicious and wonder how someone who paid $7K for a machine 8 months ago is letting it go for $1K because they just don't use it that often. The BSR alone costs $500.

Saturday morning I get up, no response from the 730 person, but the 830 guy does still have the machine, though someone is coming over to look at it that afternoon with cash, and he promises that if they don't buy it, he'll email me and I can have a shot at it.

Now, there's another 730e listed, and this one is listed for $1500, no BSR. Both machines are from Washington DC, so by now I'm thinking someone has stolen these (sorry D.C.--you've got a bad rap, what can I say). I don't email on this one, which has just been listed, because it doesn't have a BSR. (Obviously, I'm an idiot).

When I checked back a few hours later, neither machine was listed anymore, and no one contacted me, so it just wasn't meant to be. Next time, I'm not going to be such an idiot and send emails asking questions, I'm going to send emails asking where I can bring the cash.

All in all, it wasn't a bad day. I got a new Pro 6 Kitchenaid stand mixer, (going to sell my old one on Craigs list). Already used it twice. Love it. Do you sense a pattern here with me and 'appliances'?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quilting Studio...Coming Along

I'm psyched. It's just about ready to go. Welcome to my sunny, fresh new quilting studio:

Let's take a tour...

New bright white trestle desk. Nice shelf space, lovely work area, not sure about the comfort factor on the chair, but don't want to bring in the black one and disturb the Chi.

Note the colorfully coordinating scrap bag. (Shh...don't tell Jenifer, but I whipped that up one evening when I should have been working on her quilt).

It's always nice to have a little white noise distraction, not to mention hoooking up the DVD player allows me to watch instructional videos (or sappy romances on Saturday afternoons).

No more ugly magazines stacked in piles. A few recovered plain cardboard containers from the office supply store, and wah-la, colorful storage.

Big ol' vase, toss in the extra spools of thread (lots are wooden spools) and you've got a pretty solution for holding rolls of Wonder-Under, template plastic and plastic rulers.

This is my favorite part of the room...the cutting table. It's not finished. There's a white finished top being cut for it that measures 30 x 48, should be here tomorrow. It's counter height, and the legs are 25-cubby shoe organizers from Lowes. Love, love, love them...look at all the fat quarters and half yards they hold. (Yes, I spent the weekend refolding fabric) Colorful, functional, pure joy. (See my South African indigos on the top left?)

Wow! Who knew I had that many fat quarters.

I almost hate to keep the closet doors closed:

There is an elephant in the room though.....

This is the sewing armoire with the electric machine lift I was given a couple years ago.

It's a marvelous piece of furniture and worked well in the cramped craft room. Kept the machine out of sight, away from dust and paint. But you couldn't quilt anything large on it as you ran your quilt into the cabinet as you were sewing. Quite awkward.

But, oh my, look at the storage. I really tried to bring it into the room, but then I was using up the desk trestles and the closet shelves to keep the thread and the little drawers full of pins, needles, seam rippers and the like. While you see 6 HUGE thread boxes there, that are all full (and arranged by color..."can you say 'obsessive-compulsive' boys and girls?"), I would have needed to buy more for the whites, beiges, blacks, metallics and invisibles housed on the door racks.

So I decided to drag it into the new studio space, just to see if I could work it in somehow (I shortened the cutting table by 2 inches to accommodate). If I decide to keep it, I can set the serger up on it, or when I get a new machine, the old one can go here...IF I KEEP IT. In order to keep it, I must paint it white, and in order to paint it white I must sand it, use one paint on the outside (it's lovely oak), one on the inside (the mechanical housing for the lift is metal, the door racks are plastic...I'm thinking spray paint for that). It just seems like a major undertaking.

I've got another white 30 x 60 tabletop cut which would get a custom machine cut out (the machine shelf would be suspended below the top with brackets. I could always use small cabinets for the legs to that table...maybe ones with glass doors. In that case, the armoire goes. I'll figure it out.

In the meantime, instead of worrying about painting, I'm spending my evenings in there soaking up the ambiance and working on:

And I'm loving it!