Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lost and Found

I thought I'd lost a bunch of UFOs... not too many - just a few missing here and there... my blue raspberry parfait quilt, my french kitties quilt, my animal skin bento box, a few more.  So, my husband and I went through parts of the garage.  We found a lot of stuff we didn't need in the process... recycled some old boxes, took a truckload of stuff to Goodwill, AND found two bins of 'projects' - my UFOs!!!

So I started going through them today.  I opened and emptied one bin.  Most of what I found are projects I inherited from other quilters... projects I have no interest in completing!   Luckily, there is this wonderful woman named Gladys in Iowa who takes these PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks) and turns them into finished quilts for charity.  Here is one of two piles of these unwanted projects:

I will send these to Gladys tomorrow - they are all boxed up and addressed, ready to ship!  Yay... what a relief!

That leaves the stuff that I might someday want to finish... still far too many projects to contemplate... but I have to add them to my UFO list.  This bin has been sorted and it's all 'keepers':

This is the bin I haven't started on yet, but looks like (from the surface), mostly 'keepers':

What WAS I thinking starting new projects with all these old ones left to complete?  GAH!!!! 

But at least I found them... I will have things to take on retreat with me on Nov 10th-13th.  I will have to pick and choose from among these projects for things to work on at the retreat.  I have gone from 'OMG, I will have to fill four days with sewing projects and I have nothing to work on'  to 'OMG, I have all these projects to work on... what WILL I actually take with me???'  ... From famine to feast!

It feels so good to actually find what I was looking for though... there was a time before we organized things that I would never have found them, and they would have never been all together... Bless 'OrganizeThis' and all professional organizers... you are all amazing people and make miracles for the chronically disorganized - like me!

Monday, October 24, 2011

What haven't I done...

Everything!  Anything!  I've been so lazy this last week, I've done almost no sewing (I did make and send 2 fabric postcards), and little else besides.  I straightened up my studio a little, and cleaned my dining room, but haven't tackled any of the big projects yet.

I have been lazy lazy lazy...

Darnit, it's fall, I should be energized and ready to DO something.  And I do feel that way - I love the cooler weather and the overcast skies (which should be gone in 2 days since we are expecting santa ana winds on Weds).  Tomorrow, I have breakfast out with the girls, and I'm getting a pedicure (my first!)...  Hopefully after that I will feel like doing something...

For now, it's almost 5pm and I'm still in my jammies... tomorrow is another day!

On a side note: I took second place in The Quilting Gallery's weekly contest.  This one was for paper pieced quilts.  I will post what I won here when I find out what it is.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Homeliest Fabric...

I was watching Project Runway last night.  I couldn't help burst out laughing when Tim Gunn told Joshua "I think it's one of the homeliest fabrics I've ever seen.  It makes me want to weep."  First of all, I'm not a big fan of Joshua - he's my least favorite of the four who are left - as a person... as a designer, well, we'll see at the final runway show.  He has produced a lot of stuff I've liked, but none of it overshadows in any way what a jerk he is as a human being.

And as we quilters know, if the fabric is still ugly, you haven't cut it up into small enough pieces yet!  Any fabric works if you cut it up small enough.  I guess that doesn't hold true in couture like it does in quilting, but oh well.

Anyway, just wanted to vent a little bit and have another laugh at Joshua's expense...

Have a great weekend!  I'm off to sew a little, clean a little, and then go play D&D the rest of the weekend.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Zipper Border

So, I got a picture of my friend Mary's border for the quilt I designed. It reminds me of a zipper, and there are no seams to match up which makes it really easy peasy to piece.

Her quilt is done all in xmas fabrics so it's very different from my floral quilt I posted yesterday... but I love her border, and this is the one we will use when we publish the pattern, though we will probably offer the 6" unpieced border as an option.  Not everyone likes to piece borders - some folks want somewhere where they can really let quilting, like feathers or cables, shine. 

I think the quilt looks good both ways, but I especially love Mary's 'zipper' border.  Hope we can get it published.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Went to breakfast with girlfriends... got my nails done today... worked on fabric postcards for an exchange on the yahoo group postcardpizzazz... prepped for class tomorrow - mostly gathering things I need to take with me... changed ink cartridges in my printer (they seem to run out so fast - maybe I make too many color copies?)... generally had a quiet day, with a little productivity.  At least I feel like the day wasn't wasted. 

Tomorrow I have class.  Maybe I will get the binding on my Jellicle Moon quilt done - we'll see, I still have 2 sides to go.  I wish I could work on it at home, but there's just too much cat hair around here.  I love going to class, everyone is so talented and productive and our show and tell is always a lot of fun to watch. 

The teacher of the class and I have collaborated on a wonderful quilt pattern (I designed the center, she designed the border).  We are planning to submit it to a magazine in the hopes it will be accepted for publication.  That would be so awesome.  If not a magazine, maybe we can self-publish it as a pattern for sale.  Who knows?  This is the quilt with my boring border on it - Mary designed a wonderful pieced border that perfectly complements the quilt.  Together I think they are a wonderful marketable design.  I will try to get a picture of her quilt with the pieced border tomorrow.

I wish the colors on this were closer to the original, but the idea is there, the 'black' inner border is actually a beautiful rich green.

More to share tomorrow I hope. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

I did it!

I woke up this morning with the same resolve as last night - not to waste my days away and be left with nothing but regret.  I had breakfast and started sewing.  I made this block from Fandom in Stitches' new BOM, There and Back Again:

It is of course Gandalf the Grey.. can't wait to see what the next block is going to be. 

Mostly, I'm just happy I saw through with my resolve to work today.  Lately it's been hard for me to do that.  Now, I think I'll go take a shower and have my nails done.

Tonight I have to run a D&D game so no more sewing for me today I think...  Tomorrow is another day.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fantasy Freaks

OK, I admit it, I make no excuses for my passions.  In addition to quilting, I just love fantasy and science fiction.  I have been a Tolkien fanatic since 1964 when I started the first of many read-throughs of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I just found a new Block of the Month based on the Hobbit at a wonderful blog called Fandom in Stitches.  It is paper-pieced, and I love paper piecing.  I think I will actually do this one - it looks relatively simple, at least so far.  I intend to start tomorrow - we'll see how the day goes.

On a sad note, my aunt-in-law passed away this last weekend of cancer, and my dear friend's sister died of cancer this morning.  This has had me kind of down in the dumps all day as I contemplate how short life really is.  All the time I've wasted in my life seems so lost now and I regret so many hours spent watching mindless tv, or just not being productive.  These useless days and hours seem so trivial now and I look back with joy only on the hours I've spent doing something of more import.  Time to get off the couch and LIVE!

I guess that's part of why I'm so determined to work on that block tomorrow - so I don't waste my day away. 

May your days be joyful, whatever it is that makes them so for you.  I'm off to DO something now...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The naming of blogs...

The naming of blogs is a serious matter... it isn't just one of your everyday games.... OK, sorry for stealing from T. S. Elliot.  Dawn over at her blog asked why/how people named their blogs.  So here's my answer:  I love puns.  It's that simple... I loved the play on words.   No big deep secret here. 

But if you're here, feel free to look around.  Here's a little eye candy for you to enjoy while you're here:

I call this one 'All Colours are of God'.  It is based on Jacqueline de Jongg's 'Circle of Life' quilt, except mine has been miniaturized to 18.5x18.5 inches and I replaced the central lonestar with a spiral lonestar.  This quilt has won several awards, and has been displayed at Road to California and Houston, among other places:

This quilt was released this year at Bunny Hill Designs as a free block of the month.  It might still be available free, but not for long.  It is called 'Henrietta Whiskers'.  I just love squirrels, so I HAD to make this quilt.

My mini-group, The Stitchin' Sisters, are making seasonal quilts this year.  We have already made summer and fall.  This is my latest one, Winter Wonderland.  I am actually still quilting it, just the borders left to go.  

Thanks for stopping by!  Comments are welcome! :)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Enthusiasm again...

I have been enthused to work again.  I started quilting my winter wall hanging on Monday, finishing all the ditch quilting early in the day.  Today, Tuesday, I freemotion stitched around all the applique motifs.  Now I just need to quilt the borders.  I think I will use some swirls and stars for the borders... I don't have any matching thread, so I ordered some more aurifil online, including a light blue I can use for the border quilting.  Now, just have to wait for the package to arrive. 

Having done that, I've run out of projects I want to work on... I have lots of UFOs I COULD be working on, but my enthusiasm is for something new.  There is a new project on the cover of the current issue of Quiltmania magazine.  I am doing this project with 5 friends - we are makiing exchange blocks to make this very pretty quilt called Ryokan:
Each of us is doing two blocks, making 6 copies of each of them.  I'd like to start on this project, but my blocks are #9 and 12 - which won't be out in the magazine until probably February or March (it is being printed in segments spanning three issues).  So I'm kinda stuck in waiting mode. 

Still, I have all this pent-up enthusiasm for working now, so tomorrow after class, I will make SOMEthing... anything... just to work.  Hopefully that will spur me to work on some of my UFOs as well. 

It is supposed to get into the 90s for the next two days - definitely days to stay indoors as much as possible to enjoy the AC.  Maybe I can use this enforced 'inside time' to at least pick my fabrics for my Ryokan blocks.  Or maybe I will work on picking some projects to work on at my guild's quilting retreat in November.  I am trying to find as many hand projects as I can, so I can go to the retreat without my sewing machine.  I hope to have two quilts to bind to bring along - but maybe I should prepare some other hand projects as well... That will give me something to do for the next two days!  I have a plan!

I have also started to make to do lists.  For the past two days, I have taken care of a lot of little projects, errands and such that I have been putting off for a long time - I wrote to my sister, renewed my prescriptions, did some promised computer work.  It feels good to cross things off a list... a sense of accomplishment; endorphins released.  I need to keep these lists going on a daily basis... oh wait, I might actually have to clean the house if I start keeping up on projects lol.  Well, it's still a good idea.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

How to Tame Your Bindings.

It rained yesterday and a very little bit today.  I love rain, I call it quilting weather.  I love to sit in my studio and work and watch the rain coming down in the backyard and listen to it hitting the roof.  Yesterday I went to quilting class, stopped by the J-store on the way home to buy some fabric to make the binding for 'Under the Jellicle Moon'.  I found JUST what I was looking for - a white background with kitty paw prints in a neutral palette.  I made the binding while it continued to rain heavily all day.

I inserted an empty spool of aurifil through the hole in an old cd and wound the binding around the spool.  Then I set the spool, cd and binding onto the upright spool holder on my machine.  This makes a great way to hold the binding while I sew it onto the quilt.  Here's a few of pictures of what this looks like.

Here are the components - an empty spool from Aurifil Thread, an old cd, and the binding:

Here's the aurifil spool inserted through the hole in the cd:

Then I wind the binding around the spool.  This picture shows everything assembled and ready to use:

And here it is, set onto the spool holder on my machine, all ready to start sewing:

I use this method to 'tame' the binding - I can't stand working with a tangled jumble of binding.  This method makes it all hands free while I sew.  The binding just unwinds like thread off a spool while I sew.

When you're done, the left over binding just slides right off the spool, and you can store these prewound binding scraps for use in scrappy bindings later on. 

I had my friends over for Mah Jongg today, so while I sat out a couple of games, I sewed on the most of the binding, finishing it up after they left.  Tonight, I did the hand sewing on one side.  Three sides to go.

I am hoping to have it all done by October 29th.  We are having a 'reveal party' for those who were involved in the block of the month series that resulted in this quilt.  I shouldn't have any problem finishing up by then.  However, until I hear back from Road to California on whether or not the quilt has been accepted, I can only work on it in cat-free environments.  This means working on the hand sewing at home is just out.  I will work on it during class time.  If the quilt IS accepted, I want to have to do as little de-furring as possible.

Anyway - hope the little tutorial on how to tame binding helps someone.  Have a great weekend everyone.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Under the Jellicle Moon

I finally named my cat quilt and the quilting on it is done - by a very wonderful quilter named Georganna Hawley.  She custom quilted the entire thing with different motifs for every kitty.  I had to photograph it today without eyes because I needed to submit it to Road to California by the 1st to be juried in.  The kitties will have eyes very soon.

It still needs to be trimmed and bound too, but this is essentially it.  Making this quilt has been an exquisite journey for the past year.  I've loved every minute of it!

Here's a detail shot of one of the kitties showing off some of the great quilting:

Wish me luck with the jury process for Road...  

A Mysterious start to the year

Well, I finished one of last year's mystery tops... The Meadow Mist Mosaic Mystery.  I have to say I really like how this one came out.....