Archive for the ‘Quilting’ Category

Completing the Challenge!

February 20, 2019

I am working on the last project for the guild’s Unfinished Quilt Challenge. This is actually project 14 on my original list of 18. I turned one project into a tote bag and one project was shared early by mistake, so I’m completing more than 12 projects in this year-long challenge.

This top started with a square that my grandmother had marked to embroider. She used the famous blue pen, which is supposed to wash out but probably won’t as it has been sitting there for at least 25 years.

I may attempt to take out the blue dots by carefully applying water with a cotton swab. If that doesn’t work, I can always bead over them, or just keep them as a design element that will anchor the piece in a specific time of quilt history. As long as I’m finished, I’m going to be happy with it.

Luck and wisdom!

Fabric Design = Quilting Pattern

February 13, 2019

I hate to mark quilting patterns. Sometimes I’ll quilt loops or leaves when nothing else comes to mind, but this quilt included fabrics that didn’t call out for either. The fabrics convinced me to use their designs for my quilting pattern.

I didn’t concern myself with restricting the quilt design to the square. If there was a flower that I could extend to the next square, I did.

By the time I finished the center, I felt comfortable enough to try outlining most of the butterflies in the border.

Next time you just can’t make yourself mark even a simple grid for your quilt, listen to the fabrics. You might like what they suggest.

Luck and wisdom!

The Surprise Instinct and Cleaning My Sewing Room

February 6, 2019

I may have acquired a new means of tricking myself into clearing up the piles in my sewing room. Steven Johnson (in Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World) writes about the surprise instinct, a neural mechanism that kicks in you when you learn something unusual. Surprise “rewards you for breaking out of your usual habits, for stumbling across something that confounds your expectations.” I was looking for a quilt that I made a couple of years ago – which I haven’t yet found – and I ran across a little Valentine’s Day piece.

This quilt hasn’t seen the light of day in years. The pleasure I experienced finding it almost cancels out the disappointment of not finding the quilt I was looking for, and might be sufficient to make me put what I do run across in its proper place so I can find it again.

Luck and wisdom!

The Projects Strike Back

January 30, 2019

We all know pride cometh before a fall. I was so proud of myself for getting my projects sorted and ready to go that I forgot about the consequences. The projects are striking back, starting with this one.

I made the four blocks as part of a demonstration. Rather than stick them in the orphan block bin, I put them in a bag with some other fabric for a charity quilt. I envisioned a charming quilt for a little girl, what with the pink flamingos and all.

As I was unpacking the the bag, I found this.

This does not fit the theme of “charming quilt for a little girl” and is in fact not yardage but a panel for making boxer shorts. Don’t ask me where I got it, or why it found its way into my flamingo block bag. It just did.

The palm trees and pale fish fabric also found their way into the bag, and although they go with the theme, I’m coming to believe they want to be in an art quilt all on their own. So, instead of one project I’ve got two, and a shark panel. Oy.

                                                        Luck and wisdom!

Collaboration – Quilting

January 23, 2019

One of the best parts of belonging to a quilt group (or several quilt groups) is the opportunity to share ideas. Sometimes that sharing is in the form of collaboration on a project, even if the actual work takes place in pieces. I wanted to give a quilt to a friend, but was crunched for time. One of my quilting buddies, Lori Vogel, shared a top with me. I finished the project on deadline, and everyone is happy. I also got a chance to see how Lori approaches quilt design and color use, which helps me learn and grow as a quilt artist. Surround yourself with other artists, and take every opportunity to collaborate. You’ll thank me later.

Luck and wisdom!

Queuing

January 16, 2019

My sewing machine is in the shop for some well-deserved cleaning. While I usually take this time to sort, now I am tidying with purpose. I am queuing up a series of projects, like a river of creativity. The first two in line will be the last ones on my list for the guild challenge. Then I get to do this one.

The start of this project came from a workshop by Sandy Corbin. I told myself going in that if the blocks turned out they would become a charity quilt. I also told myself if they were ugly they would be tossed in the bin (I used remnants from other projects, just so I wouldn’t get too angsty over $1.37 worth of fabric). Well, turns out I love the project. It will still go to our guild’s quilt give-away, but I’m going to put it first on my list of new challenge projects as an incentive to keep going.

Luck and wisdom!

What to Name My UFOs

January 9, 2019

I have a support group for my 2019 challenge to finish projects. They came to the meeting with tidy lists of unfinished objects (UFOs). I came with a vision of stacks. Now I am trying to catch up by creating my own list, but what do you call something like this?

This is a stack on my ironing board that I believe I will turn into the Progressive Party star project. I suppose I could name it “star project” and hope for the best.

This is a little trickier. Most of the elements in this box are meant for a crazy quilt, but there are a few things that snuck in when I wasn’t looking. Okay, I tossed them in the box when I was too lazy to put them where they belonged. Still, how to name the collection? I might call it “project in box” as I believe it is the only one in a box in my sewing room.

This is the hardest one. Most of the fabrics come from a row-by-row project. They didn’t play well with the other fabrics, but I think they are destined to live together in another quilt. However, I suspect there are a few surprises in the pile. I see some magazines, and I don’t recall saving other patterns for the row-by-row project. This one can’t be called “project on floor” because there are too many stacks on the floor. I’m not even sure I could number them based on the compactness of the pile.

And this is why I challenged myself to finish half of the projects I could reach, not name.

Luck and wisdom!

Beginning the Year with Clutter

January 2, 2019

At least I can see a bit of carpet!

This is my quilting studio. In fairness, some of the piles are the result of the Christmas clutter, and will be sorted out quickly. The other piles, not so much. Nevertheless, I am optimistic that I can get things under control because several of my projects have firm deadlines and will be leaving the house. That is largely due to the Unfinished Quilt Challenge, where I was once again shown how pathetic I am without deadlines, and accountability. So, I’m telling everyone who will listen and many who won’t that my goal is to get half of the unfinished projects that I can reach finished by the end of 2019. Anyone care to join my challenge?

Luck and wisdom!

Story Boards and Story Scrolls

December 19, 2018

Here is a quick(ish) project for those of you who tell stories to young – or at least young at heart – audiences and want a different visual aid. Story boards can be made in minutes with scraps and glue. Story scrolls take a little longer, but use more scraps.

My friend and co-author Ann Anastasio and I made some Sunbonnet Sue story boards for a program we wrote ages ago. I recently unearthed the collection, which includes Sunbonnet Sue in the Odyssey (above), and Sunbonnet Sue on Safari (below). We cut simple shapes, glued them on poster board, embellished with puff paint and hot-glued binding strips around the edge.

For the last Challenge Group project, I made some scrolls from scraps. The assignment was to do something on the theme of A Winter Tale. I went more literal than Shakespearan, and made a set of scrolls. A long scrap of fabric within reach set the dimensions for the scroll. I layered batting and fabric scraps on the wrong side, machine-quilted everything together, and zig-zagged the raw edges. Leftover pieces of a dowel became the spindles, with flat buttons and a pyramid bead hot-glued on each end for finials. I looped one end of the scrolls around each completed dowel, sewed it in place, then attached a ribbon on the back.

I have no idea what sort of tale I might tell to fill a long winter evening, but it will definitely include space aliens.

Luck and wisdom!

Time for Traditions

December 12, 2018
Lani Longshore tradition-turkey-12-12-18

I am just about ready to start my holiday baking, and decided to use my quilt guild’s Unfinished Quilt Challenge to guide me. I bought a chocolate turkey for a Thanksgiving decoration but had no clear plan for what to do with it after Thanksgiving. Yes, I intended to eat it, but how? It’s a solid little bird, and I had no desire to be gnawing on it until Easter. Then I remembered the challenge, and how we were advised to repurpose old projects so we would have a reason to finish them.“Self,” I said, “repurpose that turkey into fudge.” My mom used to use a stick of butter, a bag of marshmallows, and a bag of chocolate chips to make a quick candy. I figured I could do the same, but I cut the marshmallows down to half a bag (because that’s what I had). Add a few maraschino cherries while it’s setting up, and you’re done.

Luck and wisdom!