Sunday, January 23, 2011

Lots of progress with little to show for it.

Here's a sneak peak of my latest project.  It's the one I wasn't going to start until I finished a bunch of other ones.  Yea.  Right.  This is a crazy strip 8" wide and eventually about 100" long.

It's part of a queen sized quilt I designed to use up little bits and fabrics from the stash that seem to be lingering with no specific purpose.  This is the mock up I did with card-stock.  The green will be strip pieced and the fall colors crazy patch.   At least that was the plan when I started.  Now I'm having second thoughts as it is taking a lot longer than I'd expected.  It may transition to being all strips and the crazy patch I have done may morph into something entirely different.

I am officially finished with all the applique on the Ojibwe inspired quilt.  I decided not to add any more flowers and leave the gap as "a place to rest your eyes".  That sounds better than "I just don't want to applique on this quilt any more."  I plan to hand quilt with red and or yellow thread. But before I can do that, I have to finish the Joseph's Coat (I know that if I stop now, I'll never get it finished).  I did about 2 hoops worth of quilting over the past couple weeks.  I thought that would push me up to about 70% finished, but I did an official count and found that I'm only about 63%. DRAT.

I'm also in the process of designing 2 quilts for family members.  For the first time, I've named the quilts before the designs got put on paper.    "$2.25 plus tax" is for my brother Dan.  It is my goal to make him a quilt using only the 2 shirts and 1 king sized fitted sheet that I bought while thrift store shopping this past week.  Since one of the shirts has paint in spots, I may have to add some fabric from the stash to get it up to the goal size.   The other quilt being designed is " η καραμέλα κάνει εμετό" the recipient has requested something in Andes Candies green with swirling circles.  Thus the name, which translates from Greek as candy vomit.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Scribbles Love

One of the great things about the on-line quilt world, is meeting new people and discovering new talent.  I discovered Sheril thought the Blogger's Quilt Festival, and began to follow her blog.  Much to my delight, she has a new passion that I love, perhaps more than the original post.  Scribblesone launched with these.

It was love at first sight.  These are my boring-staff-meeting-horrible-lecture-doodles on steroids.  Working on the "it never hurts to ask" concept, I contacted Sheril and asked if  she'd consider doing a commission piece.  OK, maybe it was so I'd feel like a patron of the arts like the European aristocracy... but I asked if she'd consider doodling out a dragonfly for me in this style...since I love them so.  Being the amazing person that she is...she agreed!!! And here is Dragonfly1.

This bad-boy is hand-drawn on an 11" piece of fabric in permanent ink.  What's even better (if that's even remotely possible) is that I have permission to use the pattern for other quilt inspirations!!!  YUMMMM!!! (My UFO/WIP list is KILLING ME!)  I so want to turn this into a pieced/appliqued quilt.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch.... I asked Sheril about a 4 Scribble dragonfly  series....(I gotta get this done before the whole world sees how freaking wonderful she is, don't you know.)
Here's what will be coming my way next pay day...
Sheril is my total motivation to finish those WIP/UFO's.  I so desperately want this to become a quilt that it makes me weep.  

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ojibwe Applique - sections joined

My quilting progress this weekend was slowed considerably by a sore throat that came on Friday afternoon, necessitating gallons of herbal tea and excess sleep.

I finished up the detailed applique for Ojibwe inspired quilt and decided I needed to connect the 5 sections before I finished with the leaves.  Sadly, I couldn't find any notes from when I designed this in 2005 as to the measurements of each section and only a vague idea on how they were supposed to go together.  And to make things more frustrating, I don't seem to have any more of one green fabric for the corner leaves.

Here's the upper left corner in which all the applique is finished.  Now the weird thing to me is that even with the guess on measurements the vine turned out the shape I'd originally planned but there's a big gap with no leaves or flowers where the panels join.


I was really looking forward to being done with this.

The only other quiltish accomplishment was the purchase of this pile.  They came from 2 different thrift stores.  The bottom two are 100% cotton sheets that cost $2.50 each and are destined to be quilt backs.  The top 4 were the finds off the "all you can stuff in a bag for $1".  The brown are linen pants and the other 3 plaid cotton shirts.  The shirts I have in mind for a very functional quilt for one of my brothers.  I'm trying to convince myself to use linen in a quilt.  I'm just afraid how well it'll hold up in a bed quilt and regular laundering.

I think it's time for more tea and a soft pillow. zzzzz

Friday, January 14, 2011

Shannon's Quilt

Look what the UPS dude delivered about supper time.  Shannon Moe and I had been chatting on FB.  She's an old friend and a quilter who had inherited this applique project but had decided it was beyond her interest and/or ability.  Sight unseen, I said I'd be happy to give it a go.

This panel ( 2 x 6 sections) is finished.  There is a matching panel that has not been started, and a 1 square wide panel with 2 squares finished.  The pattern is these 4 panels repeated.

Instead of templates, the shapes are printed in white on this fabric with 1/8" seam allowance.  Unfortunately, the kit was made over 40 years ago and the lines are extremely faint to invisible.

 I am sure of the dating of the kit b/c I have a quilt made by my husband's grandmother that has this EXACT green calico.  It was also a kit.  She made "wedding quilts" for all her grandchildren in the 1960's.  When we were married in 1990, Harley Dude's dad, Papa Bear, pulled a quilt out of the closet that had been made when my DH was a teen for his wedding.  It is embroidered with his g'mas name and date: 1969.  It still had all the blue dotted lines for quilting on it when I received it.  I was pleasantly surprised that they washed out after all that time.

Shannon's quilt has assorted stains...probably water.  Anyone have advice on removing these stains?  I have similar ones on some of my g'ma's cross-stitch table cloths.  The stains can't be dealt with until after it's quilted since the quilting lines are printed on the fabric.  That requires a tremendous leap of faith...that after all that additional applique and quilting....either the stains will come out or you won't really care.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Heron, Knitting, Tech Support

Besides the Oingo Boingo Bowling shirt, I made great progress on projects until the International Communications Project this afternoon...aka calling tech support to fix internet and wifi problems.  The Quest rep with the Bangladeshi accent was most helpful.  Wish I could say the same for representatives with the British and and Indian accents working for Dell.  That experience was so bad that DH went and bought me a bottle of wine.  My applique has progressed rather slowly ever since.

  Saturday night, I finished the applique for the Heron.  It is both the Ancient/Modern Challenge with Ethne, and a sample for the Applique Addict Workshop in West Yellowstone, MT in May.

I'm not sure where I go from here.  My friend Barb has been begging and groveling...threatening to pay me money ..wanting it to be hers.  I'm starting to consider the offer, provided I can have visitation rights.

I've been studying the whole knitting thing for the past week.  This morning I attempted to teach myself to knit using the Continental Method.  This is my first serious attempt at knitting without someone standing over my shoulder coaching me.  I'm still struggling with yarn tension with my left hand.  I don't seem to be able to be able to manage both tension and stitches at the same time. After about 3 hours, I'd figured out casting on, knit and purl.  (There were 3 mini swatches that were knitted and ripped before this one.)

Have I mentioned the tendency I have of delusions of grandure?  Well, having gotten to a point that I thought my knit & purl were not truly hideous, I started the "Class Sock" from Charlene Schurch.  I checked out her  "Sensational Knitted Socks" from the library.   Her practice sock uses all the stitches needed for the real deal, but in a mini format designed to be encouraging.   Juggling 5 needles with a 32 stitch round was rather challenging.  And my tension problems got worse rather than better.  But those are things that should improve with practice. Right? (OK...I've only been knitting 1 day, it's hard to imagine things getting worse eh?)  This was my progress for about 2 hours (most of a football game minus replays and interruptions.)    I need to finish another 3/4" of K2P2 before I need to address the heel.

The center panel of the Ojibwe quilt is now finished.  One of the reasons I was discouraged and quit previously way the annoyance of doing the same pattern x 4.  I feel great progress (done with one of the side panels) only to discover that the other 3 panels are missing a couple major motifs.  If I ignore everything else and just focus on a finish....I'm aiming to get that one done by the end of January.

Sorry I don't have more pictures to share.  I'm blaming Tech Support.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Dead Man's Party Shirt

Here's a little mood music to get you ready for the new party shirt photo.  It's was running through my head all day as I finished up the shirt.  If you also know all the lyrics to this song, we're probably the same age.

Here's my dude modeling the new shirt.
The coral and white prints were the fabric I won.  The back yolk is white-on-white from the stash (also used on the underside of the collar.)  The buttons were from the stash, and amazingly I even had interfacing.  In other words...this fun party shirt was completely free (which makes it even more fun).

I just BARELY had enough fabric to cut out the front of the shirt, so fussy cutting was definitely out of the question.  But serendipity intervened and everything lined up perfectly!

There are some little bits of this left...only big enough for some fussy cut 2" squares or hexies.  Since Kate had 35 people interested in the fabric that she gave away, I'm going to see if she can find a home for the scraps.  Check out her blog if you're interested.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Morning

This morning, I was feeling sorry for perfectionists.  They miss out on so many opportunities for ingenuity.  This is one of my projects for today.  I'm filling in the missing bits from the Heron applique.  I had tried a machine, front basting approach for the first time.   To fix the parts I missed or machine basted very,very badly, I traced the sections on tissue paper including registration marks of the surrounding designs so it would be placed properly.  This time, I hand basted on the design lines.

I found that using a thick pin or needle to score the tissue paper, helped me to remove the paper while leaving the stitches in place.  The basting lines are the turning line.  This section is ready to stitch.  I still don't like this as well as back basting, but can see the benefit for working on dark fabric, or fixing omissions as I did here.

But you know me....just one distraction after another.  I won 3 yards of Day of the Dead fabric from The Quilting Professor.  It's even better than I imagined.   There's a yard of this and a yard of the same print with a cream background, plus a black background skulls with roses.  The reason I won it was that I promised to make a Hawaiian style shirt out of it for Harley Dude.

For reasons I can no longer remember, when we were newlyweds, I helped him to sew the shirt on the left.  I still have that pattern in the sewing stash.  Problem is, the shirt was made 20 years and 40+ pounds ago.  The shirt on the right is one that I know currently fits.  Good news:  the shoulder/yolk measurements are the same on both shirts.  Bad news: XL pattern calls for 2 5/8 yards and I have 1 yard of the coral and 1 yard of the cream.

I have made the adjustments and pre-washed the fabric.  Will keep you all posted.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sock Saga

Warning:  This post is about knitting.  If you are only interested in quilting, piecing and applique, you are excused from reading further.  Unless of course you are curious about the relationship between THIS quilt block  and my current knitting conundrum.

This all started because Anna gave me some fantastic yarn for Christmas.  I was stumped about what I could crochet with 50g besides a scarf.  So I stopped by a local yarn shop on the way home from work, hoping to find some yarn guru with a brilliant plan. Sadly, she was not helpful on that quest.  But she did say some fateful words...
"You should learn to knit.  Knitting takes much less yarn than crochet."

That certainly caught my attention since my renewed interest in crochet last year resulted in THIS top that cost me a day's wages in yarn.

As I was explaining this all to my BFF Emily, it's not as though I haven't attempted to knit (having finished most of a baby bootie from my mom's secret bootie pattern, and more recently a scarf from fluffy yarn and with big needles).  But it's like my plans to learn how to play the guitar.  The effort : payoff ratio just hasn't been sufficient to really get it.
     So I've been begging E via email to teach me how to knit socks, since she's a talented knitter and just lives across town when I get stuck. She claims that she's fine until she gets to the heel, then freaks out and rips it all out.    "AH HA!" I think.  That's going to be my plan.  I'll knit and unknit the same damn sock until I figure out how it works.
I headed to Michael's Crafts after work, figuring that I can find some inexpensive yarn that I won't feel bad about when I either wear it out from un-knitting, or get annoyed and throw it all away.  Quilters in fabric shops are not shy about asking other quilter's opinions about fabric selection and I decided to go out on a limb and ask the other lady in the yarn section if she was a knitter.  When I told her I was a very beginner knitter on a quest to learn to knit socks, she looked at me as though I had 7 eyes and a space alien bursting from my sternum.  Amidst the discouragement, I did glean that I should buy wood needles in a size 6 and not mess with the loop needle thingies.  (This is also how I refer to stuff related to computers to the computer geeks. "Do you mean the thingy that does X when I Y?")

But on the drive from there to the library I started getting seriously annoyed.  And this, my friends, takes me full circle to the opening photo.  It is the very first thing that I ever hand pieced and quilted.  You may note that it was not a 4 patch.  Or any other basic pattern.  The quilting is 14 stitches to the inch.  If you only count the front side (wouldn't that be 28 stitches to the inch to some?).  I had only embroidered/ cross stiched and used the same techique to quilt - the back is a terrible mess but the front looks really impressive.

And that was what I was thinking on my drive home.  " have no idea." Why was I headed to the library?  To check out knitting books of course.  I need to wait until next week when my Michael's 50% off coupon applies to go buy needles.  Meanwhile, I'll be surfing the net for ideas.  But for the record, my quilt mentor Anna (who coached me through that first quilt block) agreed that I'll do fine with socks as a beginner project.  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Extra Credit?

I had an unusual Tuesday off and was looking forward to getting lots of quilting done.  Instead, I ended up batch cooking to make frozen lunches.  Freezer is now full with a double batch of gumbo (16 servings over rice plus whatever went missing before it got portioned out), double batch of calazones (42 snack size in 3 flavors), and tested a new flavoring packet for General Tso Chicken (6 servings w/ rice and veg...not terrible, especially for $.88).

I'm exhausted.

I would like extra credit for the tiny bit of applique I did do instead of going to bed super early.  That would be those 9 mini yellow yo-yos.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Weekend Update (A bit late)

When my internet failed over the weekend, I didn't rush to remember how to fix the connection...and the result was more time to quilt.  Oh, and I put away holiday stuff, did laundry and generally tidied the house.

I finished another hoop-worth of hand quilting on the JC.  That brings my finished total estimate of about 58%.

I finished 2 more state blocks (that still need pressing and trimming.  "Lady of the Lake" for MN on the left and "Propeller" for NC on the right.

I'm now referring to this quilt simply as "Nadine" since the centers were scraps from Nadine's stash.  There are 25 squares total.  The colored "mats" are done, and now I'm adding the black frames.  Unfortunately, I joined the Fabric Diet Challenge before I realized I didn't have a stash of black fabric.  I finally dug up some, but am not sure I have enough to finish.  I did buy some pearl cotton in yellow, red and blue and am trying to convince myself to do some large stitching.

 This center motif for the Ojibwe quilt is very nearly finished.  The smaller paisleys are basted, and with luck may be finished before bed time.  I think there's a missing green leaf.  I need to decide if I should fix that or leave it for character.

In addition to these 4 projects, I also worked on the Heron applique.  I'm now ready to admit that the Monet quilt should be considered a UFO not a WIP, at least until I finish a half dozen other things.