Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Over Achieving Jane

As it recently dawned on me that I was 57 blocks behind on my Dear Jane goal, I decided to spend the better part of this past weekend in pursuit of a little Jane catch-up.  The fact that it was March 1st and snowing and sleeting on top of the already 12" of snow we got earlier in the week, I wasn't really going anywhere, so parking myself in front of my sewing machine seemed like a good idea.

I was really happy that I had previously prepped up little packets of Jane blocks with their patterns printed out and cut apart and the fabric cut for piecing, because that left me with a couple dozen blocks I could just grab and get to work on.  It made it a heck of a lot easier to make a dent in my goal.

I actually finished 11 blocks.  That's the 10 for March and one chipped away from the 57 block behind  list.

There would have been 12 but one of them got the best of me...

After sewing and ripping, and sewing and ripping, for about 6 tries to get them together into a square, I finally gave up the ghost.  I pressed the heck out of the worse for the wear pieces with Best Press and tucked them back inside a folder to confront another day.  At this point, I'm seriously thinking about slipping this one into the trash and using that duplicate block I had made--honestly, who'd notice? (Besides me).

It's not like me to let a little quilt block get the best of me.  I'm slipping.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Yes Virginia, There Is No Such Thing As An Ironing Fairy

I suppose I'm glad I pre-washed the batiks with the color catchers.  In my search for validation for prewashing batiks in a few online forums I ran across more than one post that said that Retayne, and Synthropol, and Color Catchers don't really work all that well in a front loading washing machine.  Well, I'm not about to go to the local laundromat (I reserve that trip for flannel rag quilts), so I decided that the way to approach this was to wash a small amount of fabric in a hot water wash with an extra rinse.  I separated the batiks into two loads and after drying them both I tossed them in together for one more wash cycle. As you can see from the Color Catchers above, I'm still going to need to use one when I wash the finished quilt the first couple of times.

So that left me with a basket full of ironing, which I left out in the kitchen in the hopes that the Ironing Fairy would come last night and press everything into submission.  Sadly, when I woke up in the morning, I tripped over the even more wrinkled than it had been the night before basket o' batiks on my way to the Keurig--damn her!

Luckily I have the Reliable steam iron, which, coupled with a bottle of 4 year old spray starch I found in the workshop (obviously I don't iron much), turned those wrinkled batiks into 'fresh off the bolt' batiks. I swear, you wouldn't know they'd been washed.  And now they even smell pretty good.  Mission accomplished.

Now all I've got to do is get back into slice and dice mode and cut out those 1029 pieces and commence to paper piecing, though I really, really should finish up Grand Illusion....tick, tick, tick.

Monday, March 2, 2015

You Can Never Have Too Many Frying Pans in the Fire

You're aware that I'm doing my usual 'wait until the last minute' dance to finish up Grand Illusion for our upcoming Guild Quilt Show.  I've managed to piece all 4 borders and actually sew 2 of them on.  And the other two are pinned and ready to go, but finishing them would require me to piece the back and 'rassle' the quilt into a sandwich for quilting on my Bernina.  So, tapping into that same energy I'm using to avoid doing the 2015 income taxes, I've begun to focus on my next project.

Now yes, I could have opened up one of my project notebooks...the one with the projects already started and ready to go, or the one with the ideas that have the supplies that have yet to be prepped, therefore freeing up some space in either the closet

or one of my cute little boxes full of 'kitted' projects

But noooooo, I am off on a new mission.

One that required an afternoon spent shopping online at Hancock's of Paducah's batik sale,

and another couple of hours searching the net for the perfect white on white background fabric,

and a half an ink cartridge printing out paper piecing foundations, and requires about 8 hours cutting out 1826 pieces of fabric.....

I've cut, bagged and tagged all 797 pieces of white, very carefully laying each one right side up (ha if I'm not going to have to rip a seam or two or twelve to fix a piece that's face down in a block).  As for the batiks, I had planned to spend a snowy/sleety/icing Sunday cutting 1029 pieces -- obsessing througout the process as to which color for each piece -- but for some reason 'the woman who never prewashes anything', had a little fairy buzzing in my ear Sunday morning that I might be truly sorry if, after all that work, I wound up with a light blue background.  So that stack of batiks was divided into dark and lighter and given a nice hot wash and are presently waiting patiently to be ironed and spray starched back to their original, easy to work with, new fabric stiffness. (Have I mentioned that 'the woman who never prewashes anything' is also 'the woman who hates to iron anything but seams on quilt pieces'?).  Sigh. I wonder if there's another project I can start?

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Oh Dear (God) ... Jane

Last weekend, facing the task of adding the borders to the Grand Illusion mystery quilt (yep, I meticulously pieced in 3/4" white sashing throughout all 90 some inches of it), therefore rendering it ready for the arduous task of sandwiching and quilting under my domestic (with no extra space) sewing machine, I sidetracked myself and picked up on Dear Jane.

The bad news is that I am 57 (yes, fifty-seven) blocks behind on my original goal of 10 blocks a month that I set for myself back in March 2014. The good news is that I've finished 63 blocks.

When you haven't paper-pieced for a while it takes a bit of time to get back in the rhythm of the process, as well as a lot of concentration as to which fabric faces which way.  At the end of Saturday I had finished 4 blocks, and had a new favorite block for Jane:

On Sunday I was able to piece more blocks, and before moving the design wall (which was making me claustrophobic in my studio, having been blocking off the closet for nearly a month), just for fun, I threw all 63 blocks up to get an overall idea of how my 'Dear Kaffe' is going to look:

Not too shabby.

Since I've managed to sideline the project I had planned for today (another roadblock I threw in the mix to avoid working on sandwiching Grand Illusion--more on that tomorrow), maybe I'll see if I can knock out half of this months' 10 blocks so I don't fall even further behind.