Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scattered in the Studio

Still having serious trouble staying on a single track. If I would just put my nose to that darn grindstone I'd be finished with Vintage Rouge by the weekend . It's just so much more fun to dial in my 'kid in a candy store' inner self and go for the instant gratification. Like making 'Perfect Circles' (at 2 a.m., no less) for the Piece O'Cake Aunt  Millie's Patio Garden we freed from Back of the Closet the other day.

What fun is a Wednesday afternoon spent in the dentist's chair for your second root canal in 3 days if it's not followed by a trip to the quilt shop? Okay, so I did have all my fabrics chosen/obsessed over for my Karen Kay Buckley workshop on Sunday, but for some reason, while spending 3 hours with my mouth chocked open I had this vision of this quilt block representing Hawaii....Hawaiian Ginger to be more specific. So instead of a nice cool study in shades of blue, I now had an itch to switch to bright lime greens and hot oranges/pinks. And while a bit spendy for a single quilt block, I figure I can use the leftovers in the wonky Christmas Tree project which is still incarcerated in Back of the Closet.

We all know how fickle I can be, so I didn't actually put the blues away. I tucked them into a separate basket, matched them up with the appropriate silk threads, and I'll tote that to class with me.......just in case (when) I change my mind. Must-be-prepared (I think I was a Boy Scout in a former life).
If you were taking this workshop, which set of fabrics would you choose? Here's a link to Karen's site and a photo of the block:

While attending to the prisoners in Back of Closet, I stopped to say hi to the Front of Closet gang and found this little project. Hmmm.....don't we now have a black dog?  (Heck, we've even got a ridden one time Schwinn ladies bike in the basement--a long ago birthday present--perfect!)  Can I not adjust that little dog's tail and ears to look more like Tucker's? Sure I can (and I can paint that Schwinn red too ). This project has now moved to the 'Good Intentions' pile.
\Tucker seems excited that we're going to represent him in a quilt, don't you think? Actually, he's not a happy boy today. I let him out on his lead last night and he took off after something in the yard (fox, deer, coyote) and just snapped his little puppy (cat) collar right off his neck--broke the clip. He was pretty proud of himself, in fact, so proud of himself that he actually didn't leave the yard, he simply strutted around, just outside the limits of the lead he had been connected to. Today he's got a new big boy collar on, and, well, think about wearing an underwire push-up bra as opposed to wearing a well-worn sports bra. No, he is not a happy puppy today.

Okay, so I know you want to know how I can possibly leave Vintage Rouge unfinished for these past few weeks.

See all those safety pins?

Maybe I'll put it back under the needle tonight...oh wait, Project Runway is on -- don't want to be distracted.

I'm thinking about the Aurifil Designer's BOM again this year. It's not embroidery, it's piecing--and from the block pictured, some of it is darn 'busy'. I've got this lovey coordinated collection of In The Beginning William Morris-y fabrics I could use, but I'm just a tad wary about cutting into them for something that's basically a 'Mystery Quilt'. Each designer does their own thing, and it doesn't always result in a cohesive collection of blocks in the end. I think this one is going to have to wait for a few more blocks to be revealed before I decide whether or not I want to burn an $80 fabric collection on it. What would you do?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

My Bags are Packed, I'm Ready to Go...

I spent a lot of time prepping and packing my applique bag for my upcoming workshop on Sunday with Karen Kay Buckley. Hours. No, days. I'm the Mary Poppins of the applique world, and this is my carpetbag. If you can use it for applique, it is in one of the pouches, pockets, sections of this bag......Thread Heaven? Check. More than 60 but less than 100 different applique needles? Check. 15 different fabric marking pencils and an 8-pack of Frixion markers? Check. You get the picture....I'd unpack it all for you to see, but then it would take me another couple of days to repack it, and I'd miss the workshop,  so you'll just have to trust me on this.

I've selected/obsessed for days over batiks as the fabric or this project, which is Block 3 from her Magical Medallions Quilt. Not exactly the block I'd choose, but it's a Guild workshop, so that decision was made for us.  Whatever. I just tell myself that it's not really about the block, it's about taking a workshop taught by Karen Kay Buckley. Basically, I could applique dead leaves to paper towels and I'd be just as enthusiastic.

If you follow me on Facebook you know that I've finally finished the last three (hand embroidered) blocks of the 2012 Aurifil Designer's Block a Month.

Here's a quick recap of the 12.  What's that you say? That October block sticks out like a sore thumb, eh? Yes, this is most definitely a case of 'one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, girl'. (Thank you, Michael Jackson for the fact that I shall now be singing this little tune in my head for the next week)

Yes, the orange and black is totally seasonal, yes, it's cute, yes, it makes the block look great, but.....

It's gotta go. Rip, rip, rip, and it's gone from the finished pile to the unfinished pile. I'll satin stitch some new recognizable candy corns and go back through the Moda Sassy layer cake and pick some fabrics more in tune with the other blocks. And then we shall come up with a setting. After that, I have no idea what I'm going to do with this. It was just one of those 'fun to make' projects. Who knows, maybe I can finish it in time to hang in the quilt show next month (maniacal laughter ensues).

Speaking of fun projects, how about those  wool applique banners I'm still behind on. That's November...totally finished, on the left. And January needs a backing and an all around blanket stitch and it's done (This is testament to why you should always have some 'applique to go' projects packaged and ready to go....I finished up both of these in the Emergency Room on Sunday while attached to an IV antibiotic drip.) Anyways, I haven't laid a stitch to December, and March (the last one in my series) hasn't been cut yet. So, if you see me at the Sew Cherished booth at Lancaster this year, come smack me upside the head before I sign up for another year of these (and you know I will do that).

Since nearly having my life flash before me this weekend (actually, it was just an out of control dental infection), I have swung full speed ahead into applique mode. Today I prepped the last block of Aunt Millie's Patio Garden (Becky Goldsmith), and I've managed to complete 3 of the 4 blocks, over an equal number of years. Now, bear in mind that I began this project when I first learned that applique was more than blanket stitching the edges of fabric I'd fused down--sign me up!!  In fact, the first three blocks in this were done with freezer paper adhered to the wrong side of the fabric, 1/4" edges pressed in (and fingers burned) using spray starch sprayed into the cap and applied to the fabric with a paintbrush. (No wonder it took 3 years to make 3 blocks). Fortunately, having successfully completed a year-long workshop with Mimi Dietrich, has quieted that finger scorching Niagara Spray Starch madwoman inside me, and this last blockwill be strictly needleturn, with Perfect Circle berries. Should go a lot faster.

I've jumped ship on Vintage Rouge for the moment. Sewing that crease in the backing took the wind out of my sails. Yes, I slapped her back on the table and put a million freaking safety pins into her that will have to be painstakingly removed, which might explain my sudden lack of enthusiasm to finish her. But she's done enough to take a photo and a measurement to register for the Guild's annual show (forms are due next week), so no rush. Show turn-in is mid-April. She will likely be the only quilt I hang, but for some insane reason, I'm okay with that. ....... Oh doctor........

Friday, February 1, 2013

(Expletive Deleted)

I've been's because I've been quilting. And while I did finish (finally) all the blocks that needed grids quilted, I decided to have a little more fun tonight while I was watching Project Runway and start to quilt some of the applique borders, rather than the multi-pieced blocks. Well, here's what you get when you don't pay attention to what's happening on the back of your quilt.

Had I stopped every so often to look at the back, or flipped the quilt to bury the threads on the backside instead of just burying the threads as I went on the front, I would have seen that my backing wasn't lying flat and that I was quilting creases into it.

And had I been quilting longer than I have been, and been a woman with far less patience than I can muster when need be, I'd have just kept calm and carried on and covered that mishap with the quilt label.

No, not me. My inner OCD demons preferred that I spend an hour and a half removing thousands of tiny stitches from half of that border to assure that I can repin it nice and flat and smooth and try, try again..

So now you know what I'll be doing tomorrow night.

On a brighter note, a couple of weeks ago, the hubs brought me home a little pot of forced daffodils from Trader Joe's. It was in full bloom the other day, and the interesting thing was that one stem had 3 blooms on it. I've got to say, a quirky mutant daffodil fits right in here at the Quixotic Crafter Quilt Studio. It's just about finished blooming (one flower left to open). If you see the hubs, you might want to mention that to him .
Hopefully I'll get that stitching replaced tomorrow and make some more progress. It would be great to finish up Vintage Rouge this weekend. It would be nice to hand sew that binding while watching the commercials during the Super Bowl on Sunday (GO RAVENS!).
Who are you rooting for?