Thursday, August 27, 2015

I Love Organization

I should have made a career of it (but I didn't).

So a couple of nights ago, as if I didn't have enough projects going on, I decided to finish cutting the fabric for the Amish With a Twist II quilt kit that the hubs got me for Christmas last year (or was it the year before?).  A big incentive for this was the fact that I saw a photo of Amish With a Twist III and thought that it would make a nice addition to this year's Christmas list but knew that the hubs would have plenty to say about that if I hadn't finished the previous quilt (yes, he's saavy enough to keep track---he's still asking about why I never finished the Gees' Bend quilt kit he bought for me the first year I started quilting (2009.....I didn't really like the colors in the kit he picked for me).

 Well, we were able to take this Post It off the board this evening.

End result:  A basket full of Ziploc bags that contain the pieces and patterns for each block of this quilt.

Made easy by the fact that the day after Christmas I pulled a little memo book out of the desk (doesn't everyone have a supply of little memo books in their desks?)  and went through all the fabric, identified which fabric was which color, and made notes as to what needed to be cut from each color for which block.  Then I grabbed a box of Ziplocs (I'm a Costco shopper), labeled one for each block, and started cutting and sorting.  Because it wasn't easy identifying the colors in the kit (I blame Hancock Fabrics for being a bit lax on that front), I made sure that I used a glue stick and glued a swatch onto each page so that I had a color reference for later.

 Now, if you have a kit for this quilt from Hancocks of Paducah (or anywhere), that uses the dark blue background, and you haven't started on it yet....message me.  When I am done with my quilt, I am more than happy to send you my notebook to make it as easy for you to cut as it was for me.

Right now, I'm ready to start sewing blocks.  Yeah, yeah, yeah....I've got the surprise quilt. I've got the orange peel rows to sew together.  I've got the Halloween quilt.  Jingle is just waiting for someone to step up and volunteer to miter those damn borders for me, there's a QOV, a mystery, a Christmas runner and an early BOM hanging on a rack waiting for backs.....whatever.

The only thing holding me back is:  WHICH COLOR THREAD???????  Should I use white?  (There's a lot of dark colors)....or grey (there's also a lot of light colors).   Decisions, decisions.

But as far as organization goes....wouldn't I make a hell of a Doomsday Prepper? (ha ha, if I were so inclined).....
....or maybe not.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

10 Years After Katrina

On this 10th anniversary of Katrina's devastation of the City of New Orleans, the Washington Post has been running a series of daily essays related to the City, the storm and it's aftermath. Monday's article was about a lone guy in a boat who just motored around in a PTSD fog trying to convince people to leave. He was responsible for the single-handed rescue of hundreds of residents and his boat is now in a museum.

Tuesday's essay was written by a journalist who was a teenager at the time, whose mother wanted him to skip a party and evacuate to the Superdome. He wasn't having that, and when he couldn't reach his father to go stay with him, he wound up staying at a relative's house playing video games, which was much cooler than what his mother had in mind.  His father showed up just before the storm hit and loaded him in the car and headed off to Mississippi.  He never saw his mother again.  They found her in November, when the water receded, face down in the front hallway of her home. She never made it to the Superdome.

The stories of survival are disturbing and enlightening all at once. And so are the stories of restoration.  So many left their homes, having lost everything, with no intention to return.  And so many that returned, did so to find their City unfamiliar, their homes lost to gentrification. 

I think I need to take a trip to The Big Easy ...

Monday, August 24, 2015

Off On Various Tangents -- Surprises and Other Projects

No Rest for the Wicked......Idle Hands, Idle Minds.....never let it be said that I have nothing to do. While I may sit around acting like I have nothing to do, pay me no mind, that's a ruse to go out shopping (for more fabric).

This is just my partial list of more or less 'immediate projects at hand'.  Good Lord, I'd need an entire wall full of  PostIt Notes to list all of the projects I've started or have patterns or fabric or craft supplies for. No, that list is just me being 'realistic' (ha ha ha ha ha ha).

And not on that list we have

the SURPRISE project. Two weeks in, and I can tell you it's a finished quilt top. But that's all I can tell you. It'll be a while before this one makes a public appearance, but it will also be a finished quilt by the weekend.

My....considering the unfinished quilts in the studio, this one must be something special. (wink)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Off on Various Tangents -- What Happened to Sea Swept?

The County Fair ended yesterday, and Sea Swept slept blissfully through it, in the closet.

While my intention for this quilt was to finish it and enter it in this year's Fair, I decided that after 2014's disappointing showing of the 2,360 piece, double flanged, Kaffe Fassett quilt (5th place in the pieced quilts category--it didn't receive a single excellent grade in any of the judging criteria), that I was taking a break from the Fair.

2014 Fair Entry - 5th Place

Maybe by next year I'll be over the need to want my work validated with ribbons and I'll enter Sea Swept and it's 1829 pieces and their perfect (paper pieced) pointsr.  Or maybe not....not sure I can get past the 'Very Good' grade the judge gave me for 'piecing' on that Kaffe last year.

Well, since I don't have to go stand in line to pick up Fair entries today, I'm free to work on those pincushions.  (Or some other pincushions ). 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Off on Various Tangents -- Creative Deprivation

Having spent a week in Minnesota, away from my studio, finding no quilt shops, I was feeling quite restless. The hand sewing just doesn't cut it, especially when it's mostly embroidery with black thread. That just just gets old.

On one of my last days there I found this really cute pincushion on Facebook, so I decided that this was going to be my project the day I got back. (Heck with everything else).

A quick trip to Michaels for some unusual colored craft felt (not something I had in my woolfelt stash), and some supersize googly eyes, and wah la...

He turned out pretty well.  I think you do much better work when you've been away from it for a bit.

Shortly after that, I decided to work on some more pincushions.  They are going to be elephants.  For the Etsy shop. (Obviously that thrill was short-lived--they're stashed in a basket at the moment.) Maybe tomorrow I'll get back to working on them.  Or maybe next weekend. Or maybe something better will show up on Facebook......

Friday, August 21, 2015

Off on Various Tangents -- Anything But Sewing

At the end of July I had to go to Minneapolis for a week for work. We have relatives outside the city, so the hubs tagged along to abandon me in the hotel for a few days while he had some fun exploring Minnehaha Falls and the Mall of America and such fine places. And when he returned, he amused himself by walking to a Twins game while I was working at the Convention Center.  So, basically, one of us had a good time.

To prep for this trip, I figured I needed some hand sewing.....LOTS of hand sewing.  I had two lengthy flights, with equally lengthy airport waits.  I'd be hanging in the hotel room at the end of the day by myself, with nothing to do but try to figure out why the 11 o'clock news was on at 10--and how I managed to miss Big Brother--who's watching 'prime time' TV at 7 o'clock?  That's when you're cooking dinner and you've got Wheel of Fortune on for background noise.

A week or so before the trip, I spent two days rearranging my studio closet solely for the purpose of integrating that little 10-compartment canvas shoe hanger on the right that I got at Aldi for $4.99 one day because I thought 'Gee, that looks like a cute thing to put some projects into'...and while I'm at it, I can put together a bunch of hand sewing projects to take on my trip.

So, I packed up my cool little Vera Bradley bag with some Karen Kay Buckley applique work, a wool pincushion applique project,  another panel from the embroidered Halloween quilt, and a new Halloween banner embroidery. Tossed in a couple of Halloween panels (to embroider and frame), and two sashiko panels.

On the flight to Minneapolis I was totally amused by the fact that the seat in front of me had a video screen and I could plug in my headphones and watch a movie--for free.  Get outta town!  So after determining which movies weren't going to be longer than the flight, I settled in to watch Al Pacino in Danny Collins. (As usual, the hubs slept--what is it with men and sleeping on planes)

Once in Minneapolis I found myself going to 8:15 a.m. breakfast meetings, or being asked to show up for 9 a.m. meetings at 8 a.m.. I went from working all day at the Convention Center to walking back to the hotel to meet up with coworkers for dinner before heading back to the hotel room to do my regular work that I hadn't been able to do at the Convention Center. Never once did I delve into my project bag. (Heck...I never once opened the cute little bottle of Vodka I bought the day we got there.)

On the upside, there were no videos on the flight home, so I was able to get a little embroidery done.  Guess all those Halloween projects are ready for future trips, and (sadly) future Halloweens.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Off on Various Tangents - First Up, An Epic Fail

It's been a frenetic couple of finishes.

When I last left you I was working on an orange peel quilt. Well, the rows are together, but now they're hanging in the studio closet and I've moved on.  It became painfully evident that there was something seriously wrong with this Missouri Star tutorial/instructions/template from the get-go, and that these peels were not going to touch unless this was sewn together with something like a 5/8" seam.  I went so far as to use a 3/8" seam and call it a day. Maybe from a hundred feet away it will look like a 'real' peel.  Maybe if I had done this as a raw edge applique it would have worked, but no way in Hell was using their template, stitching to a fusible interfacing with a 1/4" seam, turning, and fusing to a 5" square going to yield points that met. It's my own fault for not measuring and double checking those instructions before I started.  I know better. 

By my calculations, if you used 100 wt. thread, sew a super scant 1/4" seam, use the thinnest featherweight fusible interfacing you can find, then the turned peel would measure just a fraction over 5-3/4". The diagonal length of a 5" square is 7". If you use a quarter inch seam to sew your squares together you've still got over a half inch of space between each peel--hmmm...not what Missouri Star represents in their videos and stills.  And I didn't use 100 wt. thread, my fabric wasn't all that thin, and I used regular fusible, so my turned peels measured 5-5/8"(sigh)  All I can think was that was a lot of EXPENSIVE French fabric. C'est la vie.  When I'm over the fact that it's not going to be a real orange peel -- the perfect quilt I thought I was making with the fabric I had saved for 5 years, and just some cute little 'posey' quilt, I'll go back to it. In the meantime, I'm seriously considering appliqueing a million little circles in the center of every set of  'petals' to hide the fact that those damn 'peels' don't touch.

Until then, you'll excuse me if I mutter curse words whenever I see Jenny Doan 'teaching' someone how to quilt.