Wednesday, April 25, 2007

My Oldest UFO...

Or, why I have an aversion to handwork. Over the past few weeks I've seen quite a few quilting bloggers post about their oldest UFO's. I have even commented on a few, with encouragement to finish them up. All the while my oldest project has been languishing in a trunk in my basement. While I only began quilting in the summer of 2001 (I had made a couple of one block "blankies" before then -- you know a single block of fabric sewn together with a nice fluffy polyester batting and tied with either yarn or Perle cotton? umm -- while nice enough in their own right, I'm not going to count those as "quilting" maybe as inspiration to make a "real" quilt, but not quilting as I now know it), I have been a crafter for many years. It's something of a family tradition. I am currently the only quilter, but we have knitters, embroiderers, cross stitchers, seamstresses, etc. Fiber arts are well represented as well as painting, decorating, etc. So, my oldest UFO is one that is PQ (pre-quilting) and has been hanging out for the past 11 years.

This one may also explain why I have mentioned here and other places why I am not all that enthusiastic about handwork and/or the color blue. It is a Mirabilia cross stitch pattern called "Mother's Arms" on linen. For those of you who do cross stitch, please don't ask me the gauge, as I really can't remember. Tiny. Small. Possibly smaller than my vision now wants to play with. If you click on the link on the title of the pattern you can see how terribly far I still have to go on this one. Despite the fact that I have worked on this one on and off for years, I tend to do so in spurts and it has never been systematic. I work for a bit, see how much more I have to do and then put it away.

Why did I even start it? Well...this is one of those projects that someone else saw, loved and said -- here's the stuff, do it for me. Normally, when people do that to me I kindly look at them, tell them I have no time, and say I would be happy to teach them how to do it themselves. Why not this time? Um...well, because said person was my mother (oh she of the fantastic Easter bunny presents), the same lady who made me my shiny blue fairy costume as a child, the same lady who helped me create my Rubik's cube costume (actually easier than the blue fairy), the same lady who TAUGHT ME how to do cross stitch. Yeah, that one. I can't say no to her. Just not possible. So -- this one will get done some day. I am thinking it may be a summer project to try and get more of it done. I'm thinking a Buffy-thon. I have all 7 seasons on DVD. An hour of vampire slayer fun, an hour of cross stitch (ok, or maybe 2 or 3). And if Buffy is not enough (and she probably won't be -- see all those blank spaces on the close-up? SOME of them get filled with floss, most will be filled with metallic thread and/or beading) there is always Angel. Maybe I should add this one to my list of UFOs to finish and stop calling it my "Lifetime Project." If anyone is interested, I will even post pictures of my progress (even though it is not a quilt project -- hey, there is a cross stitched quilt wrapped around the baby) although you may be disappointed that after several hours worth of work you will see a very tiny area completed.

On more sewing related topics -- dd's pants have two hems, some elastic and a couple of ties and they will be done. I'll get a photo when they are complete. Other than that -- I will be trying to post/read/comment over the next week but Mom (see above mention) will be here tomorrow for a visit and the computer room is also "her" room. I don't have a sewing room -- but we do have a room dedicated as a computer room/library/guest room. I am contemplating taking it over as my own domain -- but then where would dh go to play with things electronic? Hmmmn...something to think about.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Project in Progress

I promised in my last post I would share some photos of my progress on my current project made with the yummy Heather Bailey fabrics. This one is not quilty, though it involves fabric, thread and a sewing machine. And thanks to a wonderful spring (almost summer day, we had temps in the low 80's F) despite the fact that we had snow a week and 1/2 ago, I was able to get some wonderful pictures.

I really only meant to have dd try this on this morning so I could check the fit. It's big, but that's good -- she can wear it all summer. I really did mean to then take it off of her so I can finish the pants that are going to go with it. But...she wouldn't let me. She kept on feeling the fabric and playing with the little ruffle. She ran away when I suggested she put on her favorite Elmo shirt instead. Who am I to argue with that? And, ok, it made me feel good that she loved it so much she wanted to wear it. So -- add a pair of jeans, send her outside, and this is what I got.

A trip to the park after being scared by a big dog in our "soccer field" (a grassy area near our townhouse -- the dog was visiting a house separated from the area by a hedge. Seems we got a bit close and she was being protective of the little girls the dog guards. Nothing more than the dog running towards her barking, but a 45 pound dog is 2x the size of my little one -- I see a dog double my size running after me and I will start freaking out too!), and all is right with the world as she follows her mother's regard for the way things are "supposed" to be done (dh was close by, I just cropped his hand and foot out of this picture).

I still need to finish the pants, but she wore the shirt all day long. It has some red jello dotting the front, a few grass smudges and lots of dirt on it. I need to re-do a line of top stitching to make sure the hem doesn't unravel when I wash it, and I couldn't be more pleased. It has been worn, loved, and used and she looked adorable while doing it. What more could I ask for?

For anyone who is curious, the outfit is from a Burda pattern and will, when I am done with them, have a pair of pants to go with it out of the yellow/blue green/pink striped Fresh Cut fabric I bought at the quilt show. I know there are some of you out there who are talented enough to just make up outfits like this -- I am NOT one of them. Clothing is not really one of my talents -- curved and odd shaped seams (um, I LIKE my mostly straight seams), having to go back and finish seams (hunh? doesn't the batting cover this?), and a 5/8" seam allowance (that thing looks HUGE compared to my normal 1/4"). ONLY for those I love would I attempt this -- although this went together so easily, I am contemplating adding to the insanity. I may change my mind after having to work with elastic, I'll let you know.

I've also been playing with the odd sized scraps left over from cutting the pattern pieces. Since they are so oddly shaped instead of going into my scrap bag, or being cut down into strips, these have been my way to "test drive" my new yo-yo makers. Can I just say these things ROCK? No fuss, no muss, no having to press down the seam! Just snap in the fabric, trim around the edge, needle in an out of the pre-marked holes, pull a thread, and voila! instant yo-yo! I've been working on these while I watch TV at night, I think I've already made about 30 altogether. I know one or two are going to be a hair thingy (don't you love my technical terms) for dd's outfit, but what I am going to do with the rest -- well, I'll figure it out. I still have scraps from the outfit left, so I have no idea how many I will end up with, but boy are they fun!

So, there is my current fabric therapy, just about the speed I need right now even with the challenges of seams that don't exactly match up without easing them together and that don't lie flat when you iron them because, well, people aren't flat! I'll post another picture when I finish the pants, and if anyone has any suggestions for all of the yo-yo's, I will gladly take them!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fabric Therapy

Let me start by saying that last week Thursday was awful. Nothing had gone right. My daughter didn't want to go to daycare. 15 minutes of screaming and clinging on to my leg as only a toddler can do later (and a pass off while she was still sobbing to her teacher), I was able to get out the door to make it to work on time. Barely. When I got there, only 1/5 of my students decided to get themselves out of bed to come to class. So much for staying up until 3 a.m. the night before to finish grading their exams. For any other teachers out there -- can we say instant re-evaluation and change of lesson plan for the day? In football (American) terms I threw a Hail Mary pass. (luckily we had a good discussion, but when only a handful of students get the benefit, you begin to wonder) Another student decided to post a message that insulted my subject, my teaching, the university, and the other students in class. As soon as I had conferred with my boss and decided on a plan of action about it, another student responded to her/him and told him/her off. Ok -- now I have to deal with this student as well. Oh, and all of this was before noon and I had run out of Diet Coke (my caffeine intake of choice) at 7:30 am. Can anyone say stress???

So, when the going gets tough what is a dedicated quilter to do? Retreat to the sewing room and play with fabric of course! I went home and ignored the pile of work I had to do and the phone and the nagging feeling I should be cleaning and went to work with my orphan blocks. This time I decided to invert the colors and make the white the points of the stars. I wasn't sure about them at first, but they have grown on me. So I had four blocks made out of orphans --

Hmmn...wait a minute here -- that looks kind of good, I like the way they go together, but the points aren't going to work -- sashing! That's it, sashing. now what to use? I still have a ton more scraps from all of the pink and white and green projects I've done in the past few years...I could dig, cobble something together...

So, after auditioning some of my scraps (although I must admit I wasn't too picky about it -- mostly I looked for things I had large enough scraps of to actually use. The unfinished blocks ended up being 11 1/2" by 11 3/4". Also -- note to self -- when measuring blocks, measure BOTH sides, just because it looks "kinda" squarish, doesn' t mean it IS -- re: look for more scraps to cut new sashing strips for lengthwise sashing). And, well, sashing isn't enough, I need cornerstones -- yes, that will work -- but if the sashing is going to be scrappy, the cornerstones should be the same color -- some continuity -- and, well --

There you have it. By the time I had to go pick up dd, I was refreshed, relaxed, and no longer ready to bang my head up against a wall (just to make it feel good when I stopped). Who needs a therapist? I've got fabric.

There's only one problem, these little blocks are no longer just orphans to "play" with, they are developing a life of their own. They are speaking to me. They are saying they want another border. They NEED another border. And, they even are telling me they want me to make crumble blocks. (please tell me I am not the only one who has fabric talking to them -- otherwise I may have to invest in that other kind of therapy) It's not like I can't accommodate them, I have the scraps, I have the know-how, I have a total disregard for most quilting "rules" that allows me to free-piece if I choose. What I don't have is time. So I've had to tell the quilt to shut up -- umm, rather to be patient -- I will get there, but for right now, I have finals coming up, projects due, more student papers to grade, research to do, and my mother coming for a visit next week. So, the little orphans have gone to marinate with summer sorbet until after finals.

And, so that I didn't feel totally guilty for taking an hour or so to veg out in front of the television, I have a UFO I finished! While not really "quilty" I have seen more punchneedle embroidery in quilt shops than anywhere else so I'm thinking it is fair game. I started this one a bit over a year ago as a take-along for a family vacation to Arkansas to introduce dd to one set of her great-grandparents. I thought it would be great -- easy, fast, can finish it in a week -- HA! It is handwork, no matter how easy or "fast" and it took me over a year. The nicely ironic thing is, knowing this, I still started the second one I purchased at the same time as soon as I finished this one! I must be a masochist.

I also spent part of today indulging in some fabric play -- I hope to have pictures of progress soon. I know I shouldn't have started this project, but ooooh those Heather Bailey fabrics are just tooo yummy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Quilt Festival photos...

I know, I forgot my camera, but luckily there are other quilters who are not as memory challenged as I am. If you would like to see some of the quilts I was raving about (and the goodies these ladies brought home from the show) you can go to Dawn's blog Quilts and Pieces and Debbie's blog at DubiQuilts. Or to see another take on the day and more goodies Pat's report at Gatherings.

Thanks to Sassenach at Force Majeure Farm for two of the links (I read Dawn's blog regularly so I saw her photos first).

I do promise, I will post my own creative work soon -- until then, enjoy the eye candy!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Back from the Quilt Festival...

I'm tired, I'm a bit poorer, my feet are a bit sore, but I am happy, thrilled and sooooo glad we got to go! Wow -- what a day! I'm not even sure where to start. I suppose at the beginning works, but so much happened and I'm not sure I can keep it in order so forgive me if this post seems to wander around a bit.

We started out the day relaxed and taking our time -- yes, I did want to get to the convention center, but hey -- try to rush an almost two year old and get tears. Relax, treat it as an adventure, and you may have a recipe for fun. Am I ever glad that is what we did. It may have meant that it was after lunch when we got there -- but it did mean that we all had a good time.

The first thing we saw when we got into the show were the beautiful quilt displays. I forgot my camera so no pictures, but these quilts were simply works of art. I got to see this quilt in person (the first one listed -- all of the squares and circles in bright colors) and I must say it looks good in the picture, but even better in real life. What the post about it doesn't mention is that each of those satin stitch appliqued circles is about the size of a US dime (sorry for those of you from other countries -- I really can't think of anything else to compare it to and don't have the dimensions for a dime handy). It is absolutely breathtaking! I also got to see so many other quilts, some that I've seen pictures of in magazines, a few antique -- all, just such beautiful examples of the art of quilting. *sigh* I don't know if I will ever have the skill to create something like that -- or even the patience -- but the inspiration to take home and to use in my own humble creations -- now that is priceless.

After perusing the quilts (not long enough there but as long as dd could keep from wanting to touch and would stand for staying in her stroller) it was off to the vendors. Oh my -- the booths, the fabrics, the notions, the celebrities...bliss! When we left for the show there were two things that were on my "I will buy" list -- some of Heather Bailey's Fresh Cut fabric and the Clover Yo-Yo makers (I know, I know -- Yo-yo's are simple to make, you don't need a gadget, etc. etc. But I kept reading about them from here and here and since I am usually slow to do any handwork I thought these would be an encouragement so I could do some clothing embellishment for dd). I MOSTLY stuck to my own rules. As you can see from the picture, a few other items managed to seduce me.
The first purchase that was not on my list was a copy of the first issue of Quilter's Home Magazine. For any of you who haven't checked it out yet -- really, you must! Not a lot of patterns (which is more than fine -- I have enough projects on my plate already), but great articles and some good tips about products, life stuff, recipes, etc. Plus, always Internet related goodies -- I started reading quilt blogs because of an article in one of the issues and look at me now! I started reading this one with issue number 2 and immediately tried to find number one -- no luck, sold out everywhere. The CT publishing booth (I think that's the name) had copies and, more importantly, Mark Lipinski, editor and contributor extraordinaire was at the booth signing copies of the magazine! If anyone who has read the magazine is wondering, he writes like he talks -- so much fun. I was kind of chuckling while he was trying to explain to one of the women waiting for his autograph what the magazine was about and that he started it because, yes, indeed, HE is a quilter (she seemed to have the most trouble with this point) and wanted something that talked about quilter's lives. I also had to add in when one of them saw me buying my copy and asked if I thought it was any good "It rocks -- hard" maybe not the most articulate of answers, but accurate.

So, my first purchase was not on my list -- but still made me seriously giddy. After a quick check-in with dh and the little girl who were having fun in an open space at the end of the booth area, I went back to the booths on a hunt for my "must have" items (for any of your who are parents and are having horrified thoughts of a small child being able to wander off in a large crowd, dd was out of her stroller, yes, but was attached to dh with this. Yes, I'm awful, I put a leash on my child when we are in crowded public areas. But she is an active and curious child without fear -- it allows her to walk on her own while we feel a bit less panicked about the idea of her simply scampering off. Otherwise we'd have to confine her to her stroller or being held. We're working on the whole, stay with mommy and daddy, hold our hands thing, but she's not even TWO yet! Plus, she loves her puppy backpack and will even ask to put it on at home.).

My next round of aisles included the Clover booth where they were demoing the Yo-Yo makers and had samples of the new shapes that are coming out this summer. (side note - the rep at the booth said probably July before the new ones are available even though the official release date is in June) I had alredysearched every booth featuring notions I had come across and had not found the sizes currently available anywhere. And, of course, the Clover booth was not selling anything -- but the person doing the demos knew of the ONE (in a huge convention space with hundreds of vendors mind you there was ONE) booth that had them available. So, booth number in mind, I raced to get my darned Yo-Yo makers! If you think I am being silly (and, alright, I probably was) I was not alone in my mad dash. Another woman and I were dodging quilters, counting booth numbers and searching out these things like it was a military search and destroy mission! We recognized the same "must get the Yo-Yo maker" light in each other's eyes and were laughing at ourselves while doing it -- but you can see for yourself -- SUCCESS! I now am the proud owner of two sizes, and I also picked up a couple of marking pens. I have been slowly working my way through the various marking tools trying to find out what works the best for me -- so thought I would try these out as well.

My Yo-Yo success deserved some celebration so I picked up dd and dh and off we went for a snack. (note - is it really necessary for the concessions at large venues to serve the same bad hot dogs and cruddy snack selections?) After refueling, it was off to the vendors again in search for my Heather Bailey fabrics. Up until this point I had seen Kaffe Fassett, Amy Butler, Batiks until you could almost cry (and I LOVE batiks), and reproductions, reproductions, reproductions but not a single Heather Bailey. ARRGGHHH! Dh and dd were with me now too, so if I didn't find the fabric I wanted soon, it was not going to happen. While on my quest for the fabric I've been drooling over, I saw the Collett Fenske booth. I had just seen her website the night before by following a link from some one's blog so I had to check it out. I started chatting withCollett (so weird using her first name but Ms. Fenske just is too formal for this sweet woman) and told her I had seen her site online. She was thrilled as the site is new. I just wish I could have given credit to the blogger who had linked to her lovely hand dyed fabrics -- I will have to look for the blog, I know I read it in the past day or so (or, if you are the person, please let me know so I can send an e-mail with the information to Collett). While I didn't bring any of her delicious fabrics home with me (and they are delicious), I did have to bring home the patterns to these little wall hangings. This picture does not show how cute these are -- and I have another wall hanging pattern I also purchased but I didn't get a good shot. I'll try again tomorrow. (for that matter, I apologize for the photo quality on all of these pictures, but I just couldn't wait until tomorrow to get these photos up and to post about the show) I also got this adorable sachet filled with lavender and made with her hand dyed fabrics. Little girl could not keep her hands off of it and kept smelling it the rest of our stay at the show.

While I was at Collett's booth and the other booths next to hers I saw Marianne Fons of Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting. I kept my cool and did NOT rush her to say "Oh my gosh -- I JUST finished making a quilt from your magazine and I'm just such a fan." It was close, but I didn't do it.

I did however, have another fabric/textile arts fan moment. Also while I was at those booths, I saw Elinor Peace Bailey. She makes the most fantastic dolls and just looks as though she enjoys the heck out of life. I kibitzed on a conversation someone was having with her about her outfit and complimented her yummy lime green lace trim (have I mentioned that I think lime green is a neutral color?). And in case anyone is wondering -- Bailey -- where have we heard that name -- oh, the Heather Bailey fabrics, but no, there couldn't be a connection. Um -- actually, yeah, there could. Elinor Peace Bailey is Heather Bailey's mil. So now comes my quilt show celebrity, feeling like a potential weirdo stalker moment. By this point, I was desperate to find those fabrics -- and the mil of the designer is right there. Maybe, just maybe, she MIGHT know if any of the vendors have the fabric? Kind of a "hey look at what my son's wife did" kind of thing? So, yes, I did ask. Thankfully, she is a very kind person and said that she had been told by several people that they had seen the fabrics, but didn't know where. (ok -- a fabric sighting at least -- hope springing that I can actually find it!) We also had a lovely conversation since I had mentioned that I had seen the fabrics on HB's blog and she asked if I had seen her daughter, Laura Gunn's blog as well. I admitted that I had (umm -- both of them are bookmarked and are regular reads) and that I was in love with Laura's paintings. The entire time I am feeling somewhat like this uber cyber stalker. She was so nice, and even complimented me on dd's jacket and mentioned wanting to convince the Bernina folks about using blogging to reach young (oh, what a nice compliment -- someone please tell my students about this one) quilters and crafters who use the Internet. All I can say is that Elinor Peace Bailey is one classy and sweet lady.

Armed with the knowledge that, indeed, there was some of the fabric I wanted in the building, we moved on with our quest (given the length of this post and the time it's taken to write you would think it was an epic quest). Wouldn't you know, further down the row I found it! Not all of the fabrics I was looking for -- but in one case, a better choice. Even better, it was a booth that was selling yardage rather than just pre-cut FQs, half-yard and yard cuts. I grabbed the bolts I wanted and gladly waited in line. Of course, wouldn't you know that in the next aisle over, there was another vendor who also had the Fresh Cut fabrics and who, moreover, had the ones I had originally wanted as well? Oh, the quandary -- I already had my fabric, but, oh, they are just way too delicious. What is a fabric addict to do? Oh, please, of course I bought some more. Just because I changed my mind about the one project, does not mean the fabrics I originally fell in love with will go without a project for long.

So, fabric and notions purchased (plus a few extras), it was time to head on home. On the way out, I had another quilting celebrity sighting. As we were walking to the end of the row of vendors we passed the Bernina booth. Who was sitting there? Alex Anderson. When my dh heard me gasp, he asked what was wrong. I said, ever so intelligently, that's Alex Anderson! Who? Where? So? (his response). I pointed her out through the crowd surrounding her and his response? "Oh -- the 'Simply Quilts' lady." I had to stop and giggle at that one. I am amazed he has paid enough attention when I have had the show on to recognize her, and because I even assumed that he would know the name. I think he gets husband brownie points for the recognition. He even asked if I wanted to brave the throng surrounding her to get a book and an autograph. I did join the crowd for a few minutes and listened to her talking a bit about her new show with Ricky Timms, but it was getting late, dd was getting tired, and I had really spent all I needed to spend (and a bit more, but just a bit) for the day. So, I passed on getting Alex Anderson's autograph but she did seem very nice and friendly and I did stand not more than 2 feet away from her.

Wow is this a long post -- if you have made it this far, you probably deserve some kind of reward. But I'm not going to share my new fabrics! I went through too much to get them! So, home again, dd sound asleep after an exciting day (and may I say she was sooo good, I am so proud of her and she will benefit from my fabric buying spree), dh sleeping too (he wasn't when I started this post, but he is now -- I can't believe the time) and deserving of major husband brownie points and thanks, and me, ready for bed with visions of playing with yummy fabric and yo-yo's galore in my future. I will post about the other fabric play I have been doing soon, I promise, but later.

Quick Hello -- and wish me luck

This is just a VERY quick hello. I can't believe it is Saturday already! I have posts I want to make, pictures to show, some fabric therapy that turned out well, but dh gave me a huge surprise this weekend. I've always wanted to go to the Rosemont Quilt Festival near Chicago -- but for one reason or another, I've never gone. I pretty much thought this year would be the same. BUT dh heard me talking about it -- said why not -- so we are packing up dd and the car and on our way out the door (I just needed to print out some driving directions). So -- off I go to see way too many vendors -- and temptation. I WILL try to be good (finances dictate I be nothing else) but I will share what I come home with! Wish me luck!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Play time --

Since I've finished dd's new heart quilt, and work and school are about to become very busy I am at a point where I really don't want to start a new quilt. (ok, not quite true -- I WANT to start about three quilts, I have an idea for the Dick and Jane fabrics, there is my mil's Christmas present, and a few other "projects" I've had on the back burner for so long I need to revisit them. But TIME, TIME I won't have for another month.) So, what to do? More bags are an option -- I have tons of FQs left from dd's quilt and in addition to the drawstring bags I've shown here, I have a few other patterns that don't call for much more. Plus, really, how hard could it be to come up with my own little bag without a pattern?

But -- well, I really wanted a chance to play a bit. What to do? I had seen this post from Tracey at ozcountryquiltingmum about what she had done with some extra HST blocks. I had a stack of orphan HST's (thanks to Tonya for the name "Orphan" block -- I like it much more than either mistake or leftovers. Mistakes -- well, who wants to admit to or deal with them? Leftovers give me visions of the nasty containers that get shoved to the back of the refrigerator and eventually find their way into the garbage. But orphans -- orphans I feel for. They deserve to find a home.) from the quilt I made for my mother for Christmas this year (still looking for a picture of this one - I swear it's around here somewhere). I decide to play!

It was a lot of fun just cutting them up and mixing and matching to see how they could be arranged. The two blocks I ended up with (with a couple of squares of other scraps from Mom's quilt) I really like. I still have some more orphan HST's -- I'm thinking about reversing the colors and having the white be the points rather than the background.

Other than this bit of fun playing, the weekend was pretty laid back. A trip to pick up my mil at the airport ended up in a stop on the way home at a quilt shop I love but don't get to often because of distance. I found a few things -- but not as much as I could have. My mil bought some fun fabrics for me to turn into a purse for her and a fun little crafty project that makes fabric origami stars and bags. We got to play with these on Easter Sunday when the inlaws came over for dinner.

The Easter Bunny brought dd a bubble blowing dragon (the package says dinosaur -- but who ever heard about a bubble breathing dinosaur? Now a bubble breathing dragon I will buy) and it was sunny for long enough for us to take him outside for a test drive. She loved chasing after the bubbles! All in all, a great weekend -- a bit of the cleaning I mentioned before done, most not. But I think I spent my time much more productively playing with bubbles and fabric than with dust bunnies!

Saturday, April 7, 2007


I've been busily sewing away at my current project all this week. Today during dd's nap I decided to say finis, I am done. Here it is, and I've named it "Hearts-A-Plenty." I wish I could have photographed it flat, but the floor in the living room was a disaster of toys and other accumulated junk and before cleaning I wanted to finish sewing. (hmm, clean or quilt, clean or quilt -- QUILT!)

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with this one. Each of the "inside" fabrics is a heart print. I started collecting these awhile ago with no real plan and I finally got to use them. I've been fascinated with circles lately and this pattern from Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting (Sept/Oct '06) let me play with some. I don't know about anyone else, but I tend to get stuck on a technique or a shape and play with it for awhile. I think circles are going to be showing up again soon, but not necessarily this block.
You can see from this detail picture some of the machine blanket stitch (not bad for my first time though it got a bit tedious) and some of the heart fabrics. The edges are supposed to be folded in and stitched down as well to make all of the blocks "square" but I am liking the rounded edges and that you can then see how the blocks are constructed. I'm still kind of debating about whether or not I should do more blanket stitching around the outside edges to "finish" it -- but I don't know. Any opinions?

This one was fun to do -- though if I were to use the technique again I would probably choose to not use any batting at all and make a summer spread. The pattern called for using flannel and that would probably be less bulky than the thin cotton batting I used -- but I think it would be easier to manage if it were just two layers rather than three. Why didn't I use flannel? Mostly because I didn't have any that was light enough. All of the flannel in my stash would have shown through the white prints, and I wanted to make this one entirely from my stash. Oh well, lessons learned (always a good thing), quilt finished (maybe - I may decide to add that additional stitching), 36 fat quarters and a quilt entirely from my stash, and dd has yet another nap time quilt (I am going to have to stop making this child quilts at some point -- I will make her the Dick and Jane quilt and Summer Sorbet but after that I think she's done for a few years at least).

Now I just need to tackle some of that cleaning that needs to be done -- and after that some homework -- a stack of papers to grade -- and somewhere in there sleep. Hmnn -- I think my next project is going to be something quick, at least until the semester is over (thankfully soon). Since I tend to get obsessive about my projects and want to work on them when I should be doing other things, quick and simple is going to be my mantra until the beginning of May. I see more bags in my future!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I MEANT to be good...really...

no, seriously, I did. But you know what they say about good intentions...

This weekend I was working on my current project. This one requires quite a bit of machine blanket stitching and I decided it would be the perfect time to play with some variegated thread I've had hanging around. Plus, I had it here at the house and that would mean the entire quilt is from materials on hand. Good for me so far. That is until the @#!*&% thread kept on breaking on me. Every single seam. Every time I hit the lightest color. Ok, so, try a larger needle. The Sulky thread I'm using is pretty thick -- a 90/14 needle should solve the problem. Yeah, not really.

I wasn't sure exactly what the problem was, but I boiled it down to either a) bad thread or b) I'm doing something wrong (always a possibility). So, ok a trip to the LQS. I can look for thread, ask a question or two, either way it should solve the problem. I am ONLY buying thread, I can stick to this month's budget and be able to get the Fresh Cut fabrics I've been drooling over. I started with the new LQS (why drive 45 minutes if I don't have to?). No luck. No variegated thread in sight. Ok, longer drive -- but, I can do this. I can still just buy thread.

Yeah, right. Where have I heard that one before. I was actually doing well until I went into the store's clearance section. Even then, I only found a few things at 65-75% off. Under $10.00 worth of items. And for under $1.50 I just could not resist this lovely beaded fringe. I can think of a bag I've been wanting to make that is just screaming for some limey green fringe!

But then -- not even in the clearance section, I found these. I've been eyeing these hand-dyed fabric panels since I saw them the first time last summer.

The price has always made me go -- no, no not today. So why did three of them come home with me? Well...turns out they were on sale. They had the clearance "dot" but were in the main part of the store. When I asked about it, the owner told me to please take them as they couldn't get rid of them. Being as cheap as I am, I also realized that the next day they would be 75% rather than 65% off -- and said I would come back. They looked at me and said since it was 10 minutes to closing I could have the additional 10% right then. I ask you, HOW could I resist? I couldn't!! I really couldn't! Oh well, I will eventually get the Heather Bailey fabrics I want, but in the mean time I have some vibrant new colors to play with. I even had dh agree that at that price, they really did need to come home and play with me.

And what did I NOT buy at the LQS? THREAD. They didn't have any of the color I'm using, but I did pick up a set of embroidery needles after talking about potential problems with the owner. Turns out it worked like a charm. I just needed a different TYPE of needle in addition to the larger size!

Oh, before I forget, I have a correction to make per dh. He clarified his position about my usual color choices for my quilts. He does not refer to them as "retinal burn." He much prefers to refer to them as "retinal fatigue." Isn't that much better? But hey -- in the interest of accuracy and all!