Thursday, June 27, 2013

She's Out of Control

Did you catch that new BOM in my sidebar? (Sigh). I am just such a sucker for applique.

Dear daughter's patriotic table runner is 99.5% complete. Just needs a label and a quick little spin through the washer and the dryer. Need to bind my copy of this so they can ride the washer together and go on display. I wasn't planning to work on my binding until tomorrow, but the hubs is tossing and turning and coughing and moaning (you know how it is when men have a cold....they believe they are dying .... this is why women have the children). He won't take Nyquil (I have no idea why not), so I may knock a side or two out tonight. At some point I'm going to have to crush up an Ambien and spike his water if I'd like to not be sleeping on the couch tonight.

Yesterday I received a fun little package I ordered last week. Took me all of 10 minutes to scavenge a frame from the basement....

Queen of the Lists...there's nothing like ornately framed chalkboard vinyl you can sit on your worktable where you can list out your UFOs and assign priorities
And even more fun...

No, I'm not writing on the Bernina! I also ordered whiteboard vinyl and cut a piece to fit on the machine where I can make note of what needle is in and when I started using it...along with whatever stitch length/widths I'm using on something (as they default back to manufacturer's settings when the machine is powered off). I just write on the vinyl with dry erase pen. Don't let the hubs see it...he'll just say I'm on my way to having the old Bernina propped up on cement blocks (a euphemism he used before when I put the colorful tomato cages on the tomato plants that I am growing in pots up the steps on either side of the front door....he asked how long it would be until he finds my car propped up on cement blocks (tires gone) in the front yard. (It's all either tacky or trashy to him).

Well, the hubs has miraculously stopped making noises. I suppose I should go in the bedroom and put a mirror under his nose to check that he's still breathing.

Enjoy your Thursday....the last hurdle to clear to the weekend.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Prepping, finishing, multitasking

Over the weekend, my good intentions for marathon quilting gravitated more toward 'part of one day' quilting.

Between Saturday night and Sunday morning I was able to sandwich and pin the two table runners and a table quilt. I busted on the mystery quilt when I went to lay out the backing and realized that it was still 'off the bolt' and hadn't been pieced together, and as I had the sewing machine all geared up for quilting, that one went back in the 'to do' pile.

On Sunday afternoon I managed to spend 2 hours each quilting those 4th of July table runners. Pulled out some stock Wrights binding (can you say LAZY?) and got that sewn to each. Then the daughter came home to pick up the Grandpup, followed by the hubs, who was returning from a 4-day softball tournament, and that killed any hope of finishing.

On Monday I attempted to speed things along and MACHINE STITCH that binding down. Ooops....bad idea. I probably spent as much time as it would have taken to hand stitch it ripping it out. I've done this would think I had learned my lesson. (Apparently not). So now I've got to find some time to hand stitch about 30 feet of binding down by the weekend so I can get these on their respective tables in time for the 4th.

Got up early this morning to prep some more for the Aiming for Accuracy Quilt-Along project. I started out identifying the colors I wanted to use and where and marked them on a layout grid of the quilt.

Once I had identified so many turquoise, orange, yellow, pink and green areas I started pulling what looked like it might be compatible from the Kaffe stash (aka 'hoard')
I narrowed it down to 20 different prints, three of which are not Kaffe (I know, it KILLS me, but I didn't have enough turquoise/green Kaffe selections so I had to will be ours (and Kaffe's) dirty little secret.
And late yesterday afternoon, during the hellacious thunderstorm, I unplugged the sewing machine and the laptop and took a few minutes to cut and bag and tag the black background fabric for this project.  The first block will be posted online Friday, so that gives me a couple nights to bind and maybe play catch up piecing the Christmas quilt. (though I suspect that there may be another applique block posted .... let me run and check.....phew, no, I'm still just 3 blocks behind. :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Aiming for Accuracy Quilt Along

As if we don't already have enough projects hovering at the edge of the Black Hole of UFO, how could I possibly resist this beauty?

I'm thinking raid the Kaffe Fassett stash, throw in a few yards of a Kona black (which I may have in the closet already), and I'm good to go.

Won't you join me? There's a link on my sidebar to get you started. Even if there weren't prizes to be awarded throughout this project (prizes? did I mention prizes?), the quilt itself is well worth the journey.

You'll find links to the fabric requirements, and a couple ancillary posts on tools and technique already uploaded to the Quilting Gallery site, as well as cutting instructions to get you pepped and prepped.

The project officially kicks off this coming Friday and continues weekly through October 10th. Wouldn't this make a lovely Christmas gift? Double your efforts each week and you'll have one to gift and one to keep for yourself.

I hope you'll join me.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Indecision or Procrastination.... Whch Is The Lesser of Two Evils?

Do I pull out the folding table and sandwich the 4th of July table runners?

Or maybe I relocate this basket to the cutting table and start cutting the pieces to make the crooked cross quilt?

On the one hand, the 4th of July is only 12 days away.


But on the other hand, these modern fabrics from the Comma line are calling to me, and I so love starting fresh projects...a new project is just like the first day of're all bright eyed and bushy tailed, anxious to take on the challenge, but then by the time you get about half way through you're checking off the days on a calendar in your locker until it's over with...sigh.

Okay, so maybe I should think about sandwiching and quilting that mystery quilt from last summer. I mean I am scheduled to be taking a class 3 weeks from today  with the woman who designed this mystery. Might be nice to bring in for a little show and tell Or maybe, I'll skip the' tell' one needs to know that this was finished in a couple of afternoons and has been left untouched for the past year.  Yeah, TMI for S&T.

Anyway, it wouldn't be fair to push that project in front of this drunkard's path table quilt I finished piecing last Spring. Poor thing has been hanging over the upstairs banister since Spring 2012. (Do UFOs have an expiration date? They should...maybe then I'd be as aggressive about finishing things as I am about cleaning out the fridge and the pantry.)

Well, considering that the machine is now set up for quilting, I think maybe it's best to haul the folding sandwich table up from the basement.

And since it looks like we've got a variegated blue thread loaded up, it looks like the 4th of July table runners are first in line.

Which is probably for the best since it appears that Lucky Cutting Table Kitty is waving us off from his domain. ("Ah Missy, very bad luck to cut new modern quilt when you yet to finish what you start one dynasty ago!")

Good old Tucker is no help at all. He doesn't care what we do as long as it doesn't require his involvement.....'Wake me up when you need me to come downstairs and sleep under the sandwich table --and while you're at it, a sandwich would be nice too...see if they've still got that stupid cat in that house across the street.'

Hmm....maybe I'll just throw a load of laundry in the washer, pull out the vacuum and give the house a once over while I rethink my choices. Crack open one of those wine boxes I picked up for Ladies Night.

Procrastination always trumps indecision.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Let The Mini Sewing Marathon Begin

Other than Happy Hour with the neighborhood ladies on Friday night at my house, and babysitting the Grandpup,

my dance card for this weekend is totally empty. It's going to be too hot to work in the garden, so that means too hot for housework as well, so what better than to set up camp in the studio with a pitcher of iced tea, crank up the ceiling fan, and work on some of these various projects I've got going on. Who knows, maybe I'll actually finish something. Wouldn't that be swell!

Last weekend in Annapolis was the local quilt shop's annual sale where they mark a bunch of fabric 40% off. Sadly, this sale started on Friday and we didn't get there until Saturday, but I still managed to find a few things.

I think these oranges might work well in a somewhat modern quilt with a lot of white. Or even together in a tote.
I was channeling my inner Geisha, so when I saw this I felt it necessary to just buy all that was left on the bolt. Yep, that would be shiny metallic gold accent going on there. It was as if I were a crow, swooping in to snatch everything shiny that crossed my path on Saturday.
This was my mission....fabric for my workshop at MAQ with Merry May...the Mariner's Compass block.
And yes, while the camera doesn't do it justice, that is metallic, shiny gold in those FQs.
And since they had a special buy 12/get one free, how could I resist dipping into the turquoise pond?
See that one on the left? That one took my breath away like no fabric before it has ever done.  It's a William Morris design with a somewhat Oriental feel. The vibrant blues and purples. The gold outlines. The strawberries. The birds. Sigh. It's lush, and rich, and once I got it home I realized that I had to have more of it, because this was a fat quarter that I would likely never be able to cut into. So I ordered 5 yards of it's scheduled to be delivered tomorrow.

I've justified its purchase by telling myself that this is THE fabric that I will use to back the William Morris indigo applique quilt that is on my list of quilts I'd like to make one of these days. Until then, it will be very happy to be nestled up against my Timeless Treasures Peacock collection in the studio closet, where I may revel in it's beauty every day.
This is one of those fabrics that I'm going to have to put a note on:
"If I should die before I quilt this, please do not sell this fabric at a yard sale for a buck" I wonder if there's an iPhone app for a Quilter's Will?
Have a lovely Thursday!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It's a Great Day!

Woke up this morning to find an email from Karen on the Aurifil Buzz blog  congratulating me for winning:

Woo hoo! First of all we all know how much I enjoy applique, but we also know that I am Aurifil Thread's biggest fan. And of the 12 spools of thread in that collection, there's not a single duplicate in my 81-spool (so far) collection. So cool. Going to the office today with a big smile on my face.

And bonus....there's a free lunch/party at the office today. You gotta love it when the one day a week you have to fight that 20 minute commute to work winds up being an all over stellar, not too hot and humid, not raining day.

So, what's up with me, besides planning to marathon some serious quilting between tonight and Sunday.

Well, last weekend we went to the Annapolis Quilt Guild show and hopped a couple of shops out that way. The quality of the work in this particular show is admirable.

The workmanship on this one was just so perfect. Notice the symmetry.
Okay, now I was super impressed when people in my Mimi Dietrich year-long Baltimore album class were using batik, or black background fabric, but this quilter used all black and white. This was fabulous!

Of course, it was a tough choice for me, but this William Morris applique won my vote for Best of Show. It was breathtaking, as well as the quilting on it. Can't wait to start mine.


This was just a fun wool piece. I'm a sucker for wool applique.

And this Diane Hire design caught  my eye. I have the book and it looks like such a fun paper piecing project. The hubs thought it a bit busy for something to sleep under, and he's probably right, but I still love it.
I picked up some sweet Asian fabrics for an upcoming class at the show, as well as some super 40% off fabric at Cottonseed Glory's sale, but right now I've got to jump in the shower and head out for the office. We'll pick this up where we left off in another post.
Enjoy your day...hope my 'winning' smile is contagious.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Short and Sweet

Not a lot of progress today. Instead of the patriotic table runner projects I flitted back to the Christmas applique project and finished the last small block that I was behind with. Hopefully I'll get the 3 pieced blocks done this weekend. I will say, that this one is my favorite of the applique blocks so far.

Tomorrow I need to put in some quality house cleaning time (I need the exercise) before and after the 'day job'. No fun Friday for me.
But, all is not lost, as come Saturday, I'll be heading out to the Annapolis Quilt Guild's annual show, and we're going to take the opportunity of being 'an hour off in that direction' to shop hop a few of the shops out that way that we never seem to get to. The last time we headed out that way was when I first started quilting in 2009. Looking forward to revisiting those shops (if we can remember how to find them--as if that would ever be a problem--wink).
Did I mention that this guild has a fabulous raffle quilt ? (fingers crossed).

If I play my cards right, get up when the alarm first goes off and skip reading the morning paper, I should be able to knock out all of the housecleaning tomorrow freeing up the weekend for all things quilty. Heck, I might even get in a little quality time with the sewing machine tomorrow night.
Sunday, the daughter is taking Daddy to lunch and a movie, so I'll definitely be taking advantage of the opportunity to fly solo in the studio.
Hope you're planning something fun for your weekend as well. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Taking Inspiration Where I Can Get it

As if I don't have enough to do already, I decided to take a detour and do a little organizing/purging in the studio.

Late at night I try to play 'catch up' with some of my favorite blogs that I may not have time to read daily (or sometimes longer :( ). Anyway, I read with great interest that Lane was doing a bit of cleaning in his studio. He was talking an inspiring game about his pulling things out of the closet that he hasn't regularly used, which made me want to evaluate my pattern storage plans.

I subscribe to all of the quilt magazines, and while I hoard absolutely no other magazine, I just cant seem to let these go when I'm done with them. So I file them in the Ikea cardboard magazine holders, and when I've got a full shelf of holders, I transfer those to the guestroom hutch and start a new set of files on the studio bookcase. I just got smart about a year ago and now when I read these magazines I put a Post It flag on the pages with patterns I'm interested in. Makes it easier to put a hand on later in the year and reevaluate that selection.

Anyway....prior to becoming a magazine collector I picked up a lot of patterns at shows and in quilt shops, and I downloaded a ton of interesting ideas off the Internet, which I printed out. For years they've taken up an entire shelf of my bookcase, filed in plastic page protectors in 3-ring binders. Yeah, that's handy.

I bought myself a box of hanging file folders and a plastic bin to hold them and set to work filing those patterns in a more user-friendly manner, purging all of the patterns that have become 'what was I thinking when I printed that one out?. I ended up with more room on the book shelf for books, and there's even space for a basket that's holding my next quilt project. (It's a modern quilt, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to not drop everything and start on it.)

Not too shabby. Managed to cut some scraps from the project below into the scrap drawers this morning before I left for work, so now the cutting table is clean and tidy..
I was even motivated enough to hang my cool pin cushion shelf that I picked up at Ikea not too long ago.
Now they're all spread about on the various shelves in the studio and there's room for more. So we'll be on the prowl (not to mention we've got a few to make -- maniacal laughter).
Anyhow, not as major an undertaking as some would go for, but I do keep things pretty neat and well-organized, so the little purges when I've got a couple of free hours before or after work are the ones that work best for me.
Speaking of work....we're probably gonna flit (back) to one more project tomorrow.

These are my wonky patriotic table runners. The panel on the right is the top, the panel on the left is the back--it's just a 'scrapped' back from leftover fabrics from the two quilt tops. There are two runners hanging for me, one for Jenifer. She was having second thoughts about taking one...said she could think of someone else whose year-round Americana decorating might better lend itself to this, but I pointed out that this is just a table runner that she can put out for a couple of weeks around Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day and then she can fold it up and put it in a drawer until next year. That gave her a new perspective on the matter, and she's back on board. I just need to sandwich and quilt and bind. Maybe tomorrow night.

I keep forgetting that when you're 29, you don't want your mom covering your house in quilted fabric, especially if your design aesthetic leans more toward modern/minimal. She's doing a pretty good job reining me in when I tend to suggest I make her a quilt for each season/holiday/room/occasion/because I have these fabrics that I think she'll just love (she usually doesn't)..

I'm okay with that, I'm a patient woman, and I know that once they have a child, all bets are off. I've got every print from the Goodnight Moon line of fabrics staged and ready for baby's first fact, there's probably enough fabric there for two quilts. I told my incredulous husband, who wondered why I would buy fabric to make a quilt for a nonexistent grandchild, that this is what is considered 'speculation fabric'. This is why we have stash. When the time comes, I will be ready. :)


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Applique Day

If you're a regular reader, you know I'm a flitter. I flit from project to project, most of which I finish, except for the applique blocks which always tend to be part of a much larger undertaking that I've not set any goals for. (So wrong)

Like this Fiesta (not KKB's Fiesta, but Fat Cat Pattern's Fiesta) block that I started...a foray into fusible/machine applique that never made it past the first block. I couldn't decide on a machine stitch...the one on the center flower wasn't enough, the one on the motif to the right of it took a week to stitch out and I calculated that it would take me about 15.7 years to finish the quilt if I went with that one--which happened to be more of the look I was going for. I guess I'm just not wired for machine applique, so the box full of fabric sits in a corner, and the sole block hangs in the studio closet, in applique limbo (do I go with the heavy stitch, do I rip out all of those stitches and cut new pieces for the ones I need to restitch, or do I trash the entire block and reconfigure the pattern to include 1/4" all around and do this one needle-turn?).

Ah, but I digress.

I've still got that Karen Kay Buckley applique block that I took a workshop for.
It's my foray into applique with know how there's always one person in your class/workshop who brings in the most beautiful batiks to use for their Baltimore album, and you're swearing about how your traditional-print fabric is fraying as you turn it under while they're ravel-free and sewing at twice your speed?  Yeah, that's what this was about. Of course I then learned that Karen appliques with the freezer paper under the fabric, which is probably the first method I learned (and it was miraculous that I came back for more after that). Not my favorite way to applique. Not to mention that I abhor the unnecessary 'surgery' of cutting my fabric to remove the freezer paper I've sewn inside. In trying to be true to the Buckley-style applique of the piece, and considering the fact that this winds up being an orphan block when done, it's easy to understand why this one is buried in an envelope in the closet.
We are one block away from a mini Aunt Millie's Garden. (Piece o' Cake Designs)
The fabric is so darn bright and cute, that we can't help ourselves from wanting to pull it out of it's little plastic bag and work on it now and again. This is usually our 'plane project', but we don't have any flights scheduled until November, and it would be a shame to let this sit for another 6 months, However, I am sewing it with DMC Broder cotton thread, instead of silk, which is more than enough reason to not want to stitch on this every day and finish it.
Last month, there was an opening in another guild's workshop with Barbara Burnham. Barbara is the woman who recreated and patterned the Baltimore Garden Quilt, which she published a book about.
The block we took on in the workshop was Miss Parker's Pompom Dahlias
I love a good Baltimore-style class, and I've got to say I learned a whole lot more than I had bargained for in this one-day workshop.
I learned to use a piece of foamcore to tape your pattern and backing to, and then stick pin your pieces down as you  baste them to the background fabric (yes, I said 'baste').
And I was also reintroduced to appliquing with freezer paper on top. At first I had my negative 'been there/done that' thought, but once I started stitching that way--because I always follow what the instructor is teaching us, even if they say you can do whatever you're comfortable with--I was glad I did, because for now, it turns out I like to applique this way.

This entire quilt only uses 3 colors of fabric, so I swung by Jinny Beyer's studio and picked up a background, a red, a green and a yellow from one of her 'mottled solid' fabric lines to use on this block. I figured that if it turns out well and I like it, I can select a few more patterns from the book and run over to Jinny's for more fabric to make a small wall quilt. But for now, this one requires a bit more prep and sew time than I'm willing to put in at the moment, so it's also bagged and tagged for later. Maybe this will become the November plane project.
My newest distraction is a Christmas BOM designed by Erin Russek and posted intermittently on her blog.  It's called 'Jingle', and it's going to include 9 pieced blocks, 9 applique blocks, and a large center medallion. Here's her 'representation' thus far.
Jingle Quilt-web_edited-1
If you'd like to get in on this, here's a link to the Jingle info on Erin's blog:

I've finished two of the applique blocks so far, I'm working on the third

(Note that I'm using the freezer paper on top technique)

(Yes, I need a manicure--badly)

The center medallion has been 'kitted', and I've got a box set aside with some appropriate fabrics and the pieced patterns. This one is high priority. Once I finish that small applique block above, I need to crank out the 3 pieced blocks before Erin uploads the next applique block and I'll be caught up. Then I can focus on the center medallion. I WILL have a 2013 Christmas quilt finished in time to display the day after Thanksgiving. (We are exercising the power of positive thinking here).

I'm also working on some non-applique projects -- I told you I was flitting about. But those are for another post, as my head is spinning from being reacquainted with all of these WIP appliques I've got looming perilously close to being sucked into the block hole of unfinished projects.

What are you working on now, and are you struggling to keep your head above water or lounging on a pool noodle raft with a pina colada?