Monday, July 2, 2018

Disappointment Can Turn to Happiness

Went to Quilt Emporium in Woodland Hills this morning and LO! they had not had a Row by Row winner yet. They let me take my choice of 25 fat quarters, and gave me a jelly roll as a bonus prize for having their row in my quilt.... Love my prizes... thank you, Quilt Emporium... They kept my quilt to hang in their shop for a while, which is a first for me (my 5th row by row win, but no shop has ever asked before. I'm honored and glad to oblige).

Came home and finished appliqueing my pumpkins and sewed all the blocks into rows.  Still need to press them and then sew the rows together.  I already have a back chosen for it, just waiting for the new bolt of batting I ordered.  That will give me two quilts ready for basting, to add to my 7 quilts in the binding queue for my backlog of projects (and those don't even begin to make a dent in my total UFO count). 

I have yet to begin my 20 minutes of working on one project (for the Stashbusters 20 minute challenge).  20 minutes a day to make steady progress on a project is something I SHOULD be able to keep up with, but I missed yesterday, July 1, completely - just spaced out and forgot all about the challenge.  Spent my quilting time yesterday looking for a shop to turn in my challenge quilt at, and then working on applique for the rest of the day.  I won't make that mistake again (the mistake being spacing out on the 20 minute challenge)!

Tomorrow is my mah jongg day, but I will get my 20 minutes in after the game... I have all night because Tuesday is my husband's radio night... I have the whole evening to myself.  (I am a ham radio widow on Tuesday, lol).

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Appointments and Disappointments

Well, I finished my row by row.. got it quilted, bound, labeled and embellished on Friday night.  Saturday, I went to play Pathfinder (a roleplaying game, similar to D&D) with friends... I was gone all day, so unable to take my quilt to a shop to try to win a prize.  This morning, I rushed off to one of my favorite shops, to find out they'd already had a winner on Friday!!!  So I went to another shop, and discovered that they'd had a winner on Friday, too.  My next nearest shops were both closed on Sunday, so I guess I'll find out tomorrow if they are still open to a winning quilt.  Sigh... I'm very disappointed.  I really wanted to win closer to home, especially at the first shop because they let you choose your own fat quarters instead of giving you a pack of Kona solids (which are cheaper fabrics, and ones I don't use... I rarely use solids, except black, and I don't like Kona solids, as they fray too easily imo).  We'll see what happens tomorrow, when I visit other shops.

Here's how it came out (with the final borders, though this picture doesn't show the buttons that I added):

Today I spent the day doing a little driving and shopping...  came home to start blanket-stitching some appliqued blocks I made before this challenge started.  I've got them maybe 1/3 of the way done... still plenty to stitch, but I think I'm done for the time being... time to relax a bit, recover and recharge my creative batteries.  I'm a little upset and disappointed in the events of the day, and need to remember that it's not about winning, but about doing.  I'm glad I made the quilt, even if I don't win, or have to travel far afield to find a shop that has no winner yet.  It's important to keep things in perspective. 

Tomorrow morning, my dog goes in for grooming...  I have some trepidation at the process even though I know everything will be fine (my older dog got groomed 2 weeks ago.  She always found grooming stressful, and her heart failed later that day).  My younger dog doesn't have a heart condition, and he doesn't stress over groomings, so I'm sure it will all be fine, but the wound is still raw and I miss my girl.  Here they are together, Maggie on the left, Chewiee on the right... RIP, Maggie-girl.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dancing to the Muse

So I've been trying to follow my muse today... but she's not speaking to me much... not sure what to make of that... I hope she returns shortly, I miss her... or is it him, or both, or it?  Can muses be any gender, or none at all?  whatever...

I've got my row by row top done... it has a couple of borders on top and bottom that aren't pictured here (yet)... (a blue border strip at the top, a white border strip at the bottom, both music themed)...

I also finished a couple of pillowcases... they are sandwiched, quilted, backed with a zipper closed backing and then bound.  Love how they came out... and yes, that peacock is cross-stitched (an old hobby that I'd pretty much given up on since I started quilting in 2003).  I made that pillowcase for my mother-in-law, Susie (Zetella), who passed away a few years ago.  My father-in-law just entered assisted living and this was one of the things he didn't take with him, so I brought it home, quilted it, put on a new back with a zipper and put an oversized pillowform in it to really fill it up.  The raven pillowcase is one I made for myself, just updated it by quilting it and giving it a zipper closure on the back. 

Tonight, I meet with my mini-group, a great group of ladies, who help keep me grounded and focused.  While there, I will pin baste my row by row quilt so I can start quilting it tomorrow.  If I can finish the quilting by the eob Sunday, I can rush to my local shop and claim a prize on Monday!

I know I'm too competitive, but that is what helps keep me driven and active... Speaking of which, the local county fair is coming up soon... and I've got to finish getting quilts ready for that as well... so much to do, so little time...

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Progress and Depression

Depression is an insidious disease/condition/whatever.  It has no outward signs like measles or chicken pox, but it can be devastating to those who suffer from it and their families.  It plays havoc with my enthusiasm for all things, including quilting. I have complete and thorough empathy with anyone who is dealing with depression, either personally or indirectly.

That said, I've been powering through with the help of some pretty heavy duty meds, which have their side effects, but totally worth them, most of the time. 

I've been working on hard on my 2018 Row by Row challenge quilt.  I've got 7 blocks completed, the 8th (and last) being cut and fused, ready for pressing, but I'm holding off because a friend wants to trace my appliques before I put them on the block (I had to reverse them because they were drawn for hand applique in the pattern, with double-sided sheets which made tracing in reverse with a lightbox extremely difficult.  Since I've already done it, I wanted to save my friend the headache.  I see her tomorrow, and once she has traced mine, I can finish the block... I think Thursday I will get to sandwiching and quilting  Hopefully I'll be done by Sunday... I know I'm not first, as someone in Oregon already turned one in... but it'll be done when it's done... I'm sure I'll get it in first somewhere (every participating shop can have a winner).

Here's mine to date:

My last block is antoehr 18" square, and I'll have to cut some filler blocks and/or panels to fill the side (haven't yet decided if the 18" squares will go on the front or the back though).  Anyway, I'm content with my progress.

I finished my Faerie Dreams quilt, two tops and two pillowcases.  Faerie Dreams was started about 14 years ago for a friend's young daughter... I never finished it, and now she's a grown lady and a bit of a goth, so this wouldn't go over well, even as a lap quilt for her.  I found the cut triangles pieces in a box when cleaning my studio and decided to finish it... If I don't get a granddaughter sometime soon, I'll probably end up donating it to Linus or some other kids charity.

This is Laundry Basket Quilts "Pumpkins" from a Quiltmania Magazine from last September/October.  Fell in love with it and wanted to make it... just got the blocks fused and ready for blanket stitching when Row by Row started... Had to put these on the back burner for the time being.

This elephants quilt, which I call "There's One in Every Crowd," was fun to make... also a Laundry Basket Quilts design.  Can't wait to finish the back and quilt it!

Maybe I'll get some pictures of the pillows soon.... Now, off to work on one of the many bindings I'm far behind on (I've got a current queue of 7 projects quilted, trimmed, and awaiting bindings). 

Busy week ahead, but I think I can squeeze in some sewing and quilting.  I wish I didn't have to squeeze time for such things into my day.  You'd think being retired, I'd have lots of time, but between lots of activities, and the depression, good time management is not something I can honestly put on my resume.

Spending this evening watching musicals on TCM... love Tuesdays and Thursdays this month!  Back to The Music Man...

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Diamond Tiles Border - Decision made and implemented

I agonized a bit over what to do with the Diamond Tiles quilt top... the borders were too plain... even with the square in a square corners.... I thought about taking them off and piecing them instead... but finally decided on some applique.  I drew the shapes, blew them up to 2 more sizes, then traced them onto fusible (eight times for each size), fused the black fabric, cut out the shapes, and then agonized a bit more over the thought of actually fusing them to the background... what if I put them on and hated it????

Finally, I took the plunge, heated up the Rowenta, placed the motifs and put iron to fusible-backed fabric.   I did the opposite (bottom right) corner as a mirror image to this top left corner.

I think I love it!  Whew!!!  What a relief.  Just have to sew all the pieces down, and I can call this one done, and ready it for quilting!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Piecing progress

I made 12 blocks from a pattern given to us during the 'Get-to-gather' at Quilt Emporium in Woodland Hills, CA... instead of using their civil war colors, I used something that appealed more to me, however.  The block is called 'All Roads Lead Home' and each block is 16".  I added piano key borders and mitered the corners, because I think that (or cornerstones) looks best with piano keys.

I also finished another top, including the borders this morning... no picture yet as I'm too short to take down the one above and hang the new one on the design wall...

The second quilt is made using Bonnie Hunter's Diamond Tiles block pattern, with a feline theme... fussy cut all these kitties on point to set in the tiles and chose some pawprints for the borders.   The white outer border might be a little stark, but didn't have anything else that looked remotely good with it. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

New Baby

Okay - not a baby baby, but this new-to-me Featherweight followed me home today!  Can't wait to get a chance to use her... but first.. a trip to the movies to see a preview of 'Ready Player One'....

Ignore the chaos in the background of course.  Isn't she a beauty???  Just my color and so pretty... She was born in 1953...

Now off to the movies!

Monday, March 26, 2018

If Hexagons are Hexies, does that mean Octagons are Octies?

Today I sewed some octagons from an awesome Australian design fabric I found at The original fabric looked like this:

I cut them into 8 identical strips, stacked those carefully matching the designs and cut them into groups of 8 identical triangles.  I sewed the triangles into pairs, the pairs into fours, and the fours into eights, making kaleidoscopic hexagons:

I love how they came out, and I will probably be making more of them... or maybe a mix of hexies and 'octies'...

Monday, March 19, 2018

Recent Work

I've been doing a lot of small things lately - working on bindings (I have currently 8 quilts in the binding queue), a couple round robins, and some individual blocks for Block of the Month projects.

Here are the round robins I've been working on (2-3 months of each challenge):  For my guild's round robin challenge: in January, I added flying geese in the same colors as the embroidery... February, I added the southwest themed appliques to the block.  In March, I added the green 'grassy' outer border and appliqued some bunnies in the grass.  


For my mini-group's round robin, which we started in February,  I added four different borders to the first block I got, each one slightly 'land-' or 'sea-' or 'sky-' scapelike, and for March, I was stymied for a long time... the first person added two borders (the blue and the ombre), and it seemed so 'complete'  (and big) already.  I had to think hard to do something original and special.  I ordered 3 yards of the border stripe fabric (one yard at first, but it wasn't enough, so then I ordered two more, but two would have been enough total if I'd thought about it and knew what I'd be doing before I ordered).   I cut it up into groupings of six identical triangles and sewed them into One Block Wonder hexagons... I put these all around the quilt... hope she likes it.

A local quilt shop (LQS for short) has a monthly meeting that several of my friends and I attend.  It is called 'The Get To-Gather'... they give us coupons (so we can feel good about spending lots of money there, lol) and a little freebie (usually fabric or a notion) and a new pattern each month.  This months pattern was a modern mini-bowtie quilt.  Here's mine:

I am also doing a couple of BOMs:  One is called Purrfect Moments and is all fusible applique, with a little piecing  Every  block is a cat with a birdcage... they are all different of course... Here is the beginning of my first block:

Thimblecreek quilt shop is also doing a mystery quilt, which they give out clues for every other week.  Here are my first six blocks for it... I am doing mine in all batiks...

Finished another top as well... Nine-Patch Madness is the pattern (from MSQC), and I used yardage instead of charm packs... I busted a lot of Asian fabrics from stash for this one... used a metallic gold for the first border (not shown in this photo), and still looking for a good border for it.  I love the chained look  of it, and the complex secondary pattern, but the blocks themselves were super easy. 

Looking forward to more of these, and a couple of new BOMs as well!  Sew many projects, sew little time, but at least my time in my studio should be more productive now that the sale is over!

I am STABLE !!! (STash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy)

I've been working hard the last 2 months, preparing for a major de-stashing sale.  I culled all the fabrics, kits, notions, tools, thread, embellishments, fasteners, and patterns from my stash that I no longer had the desire to work with (or that were duplicates).  I set the sale date as March 17th... a Saturday which was also National Quilting Day (or is it Worldwide Quilting Day - depends on which website you check)... Anyway... most of January was spent thinking about what I did and didn't want any longer.  February was spent starting to sort fabrics for the most part.  The last week of February and the first two weeks of March were spent advertising the sale and gearing up with final decisions on items and sorting more fabric.  Here's a couple of pics of a small percentage of what went into the sale:

The day of the sale was supposed to rain, but we set everything up indoors (in the garage).  I was afraid rain would keep people away.  But Lo! the day dawned bright and clear, with only a few remaining small clouds.  Crowds showed up right on time and it was almost overwhelming!  I was floored by the response, and much fabric and other items walked out with new owners... My husband was a great help because I was overwhelmed a bit by the response!

We made it through the day and closed up a bit earlier than expected (about 2:15 instead of 3pm), but everyone who wanted to come was gone by then, and we were tired.  We figured if anyone came late, they'd knock and we'd open up for them, no problem... there were no late comers though.

I sold my featherweight and LOTS of fabric and other items.

After the sale, I bagged up ALL the fabric into 12 yard-sized trash bags... four bags FULL for each of three charities - Project Linus, Simi Valley Quilt Guild and Camarillo Quilters Association.  I made sure each set of bags got about equal amounts of each color grouping so no one got stiffed on anything good.  Project Linus came by today and picked up their four bags.  The others will get theirs later. 

My big promise to myself was that NOTHING would come back into my stash.  I broke that promise for one (and only one) piece of fabric, which should never have been in the sale in the first place... I'm actually surprised it didn't sell, to be honest, but I'm glad it didn't because I would have sold it, reluctantly, but still would have.  I even sold most of the plastic bins that held so much of these items!  It feels great to be rid of so much 'stuff'.

I'm free of SO much burdensome crap... Feels wonderful!  To give you some perspective, here's what remains of my stash.. as you can see it is still quite ample... I'm not gonna run out of fabric in my lifetime!