Posts Tagged ‘finishing’

Writing Down The Dates

May 14, 2018

I was a history major in college, as were most of my roommates. We threw dinner parties to commemorate important dates. The Chicago Fire, the invasion of Poland, Pearl Harbor Day, Armistice Day – anything that came close enough to a free weekend so we had time to cook.

Dates and food are still important to me. I once made Cheesehenge Fondue for a summer solstice. As a writer, however, I want to do more. My friend and fellow writer Marlene Dotterer published her wonderful alternate history The Time Travel Journals: Shipbuilder to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking. I started writing a story that is set in World War I. While the 100th anniversary of the end of that war is fast approaching, the end of that story is not.

I decided part of my trouble was pulling myself out of the “what-does-this-date-mean-to-me?” role. Separating my ego from my words is job number one for getting a story written. One of these days, the right story for the right date will reveal itself. Until then, bring on the cookbooks. There’s always another anniversary to celebrate.

Progress and the Pixies Against Pride

March 28, 2018

At the risk of angering the Pixies Against Pride, I am celebrating progress again by almost completing something from my list of unfinished projects for the guild challenge.

It looks slaunchygoggle here, but it is straight and flat

Yes, this quilt looks horribly off-kilter. Trust me, the blocks are straight, but my camera angle wasn’t, and I suspected the pixies were trying to knock me down a peg so I let it go. I quilted most of the piece on my home machine, then decided to add a few beads with hand quilting.

White beads on white fabric = texture

My art quilt group is exploring texture, and I briefly thought about using this quilt because of the beads. It doesn’t really fit the parameters of the assignment, however, so I took another look at my list of unfinished projects and pulled out a collection of embroidered and appliqued blocks.

I’m not sure these blocks fit the assignment either, but I’ll try to get double-duty from the project. Just don’t tell the pixies.

Luck and wisdom!

Small Quilts, Large Stacks

March 21, 2018

My quilt guild’s year-long challenge to get things done is working. I finished the project due next month. It’s a small quilt, but it was on a large stack of projects so making any kind of a dent in that pile is a victory.

Trees in my neighborhood – palm, pine, deciduous

In the interest of full disclosure, I will probably add more beads to the quilt at a later date, but for now I’m satisfied with this one embellishment.

While I was inspired, I made a few more small quilts. This one is called Equilibrium, in honor of spring, which is today.

Not pastels, but still a spring quilt

I also finished one of the blocks from the Peggy Martin workshop for the Display Block Committee of Amador Valley Quilters. The guild has a collection of 16-inch blocks that we can show at schools, libraries, or other events.

Seeing all the progress in my sewing room made me take another look at the stacks by my computer. I have almost as many writing projects as I do quilting projects. As with my quilting, I envisioned creating a body of work that I could submit for contests. That didn’t happen. As with quilting, when those Call For Entry emails arrive they are usually accompanied by guidelines. I’ve tried writing artist statements that would convince a panel the quilt I had really does fit the contest, but those statements rarely made sense even to me so I knew a judge wouldn’t buy it. There’s even less wiggle room with writing contests. That’s why I’m going to start posting twice a week now–once for quilting, once for writing. Wednesdays will still be quilting day. I’m not sure which day will be writing day, but I’m leaning toward Monday. Now that I’ve put my intentions out to the universe, I have to be accountable. I’m putting myself on the journey to finishing what I start in all aspects of my life.

Luck and wisdom!

A Reminder About Favorite Fabrics

May 10, 2017

The universe took note of my efforts to finish projects quickly and decided to remind me of a few things. The project that I’ve been documenting on Instagram is a collaborative effort. My husband and I saw the hand-dyed solids at the Amador Valley Quilters recent quilt show and thought we could come up with a design together. I actually had the beginnings of a design, and he agreed it could work, but I consulted with him on each round just in case.

Design for us, and for Challenge Project “Deconstructing Stars”

Things went as I planned until the very end. We had decided on a concept for the final border, but not the fabric we would use. I chose to start this way.

This was when I discovered we had different visions of the perfect border

He still liked the concept, but the quilt was getting too dark for him. He suggested a very light – almost white – print. It didn’t work for me. I wouldn’t even take a picture of it, that’s how much I disliked the effect.

Then I remembered what Mary Ellen Hopkins said: “If your quilt isn’t working, take out your favorite fabric.” I also remembered that this quilt was intended to be a collaborative effort, and sometimes collaboration means you start again.

We’ll start again from here

We’ll be auditioning more borders over the next few days, or weeks, or however long it takes to get it right – which is always more satisfying than getting a quilt done quickly.

Luck and wisdom!

Anxiety Lesson Two

October 5, 2016

Apparently I didn’t get a good enough grasp on being calm. This was another week of fret fests, although I am delighted to say one issue after another was solved with a minimum of fuss. My family calls me Anxiety Woman, able to leap to the worst possible conclusion in a single bound. In an attempt to train myself to react better next time, I pulled out all my old mantras for courage. Then a new one came my way, in the form of a tee shirt.

Lani Longshore tee shirt

I’m only marginally Celtic, but I’ll take anything that keeps me from running in circles. Even knowing that anger and anxiety are often linked (anger being a fear response in many cases), the shirt makes me laugh, and laughing makes me less anxious, and that’s always a good thing.

Another good thing was finishing one of my Colors of the Vineyard challenges (and I do mean finishing, not abandoning).

Lani Longshore tree

I sewed on the last bead, took a deep breath and said, “Self, this is good.” The sleeve is attached and the label will go on soon.

Lani Longshore tree detail

Even better, it is now a perfectly reasonable time to bring out the Halloween decorations. This year I’m adding a new item.

Lani Longshore pumpkin with crows

The pumpkin is molded from heavy plastic. The beads are ready-made appliques. I couldn’t decide between two of the offerings at the store, crows or bats, so I got both. After all, the pumpkin will be seen from several angles. Why have a blank side when I can have bling everywhere?

Lani Longshore pumpkin with bats

Luck and wisdom!

Catching Dead Herrings

November 4, 2015

Dead herrings are kind of like red herrings, only they’re clues or plot twists the author meant to revisit but forgot. I have a lot of dead herrings in the sewing room, and this week I went fishing for them.

The back stack

The back stack

First on the list were backs for the pieces I want to bead. In the past I’ve made a back from something that was big enough regardless of whether it matched the top. I’m trying to break that habit, and I actually made an effort to have some connection between my tops and backs.

The batt stack

The batt stack

Next came digging out the batting. I have a couple of unopened packages, but I knew there were some pieces left from other projects that would be the right size. Miracle of miracles, I found the stash (at least I hope this is the only stash of leftover batting).

Lani Longshore space convergence

Finally, I made the piece I had originally planned for the Challenge Connections project. I wanted to make a convergence quilt with some space print fabric and some primitive prints. Then I found a square from a hand-marbling class that I took years ago. It made sense at the time to cut it in half and use for a top and bottom border.

Next week, if all goes well, I’ll layer and baste. Then the dead herrings will truly be caught.

Luck and wisdom!

Finishing a Few Things

October 7, 2015

Week two since we returned from vacation, and I’m almost back to a routine. I finished two things – or at least brought them to a point to meet deadline – and that’s enough of a victory to break out the ice cream.

Two Cubas

Two Cubas

This is the Challenge project about Cuba. I have an idea for beading, but have to quilt the project first. However, the rules only require that I finish the top, not the quilting and embellishing. The piece shows two images of Cuba – one desolate and alone, the other the workers’ paradise.

A wedding canopy

A wedding canopy

This was for a wedding. There are life symbols in abundance – the tree, the ring of blue for air and water, the ring of orange for the sun.

There are a couple more projects sitting on the sewing table that I would like to finish before the holiday rush commences. If all goes as scheduled, I might even get the Halloween decorations up (and down) before December 24th. Yes, I can hear the universe laughing.

Luck and wisdom!

My Kind of Forest

September 10, 2014

I was able to see forests and trees this week by turning dog bed forms into daybed pillows.

A tidy forest close at hand

A tidy forest close at hand

I brought my husband to the fabric store to show him the kinds of pillows I could make. As we strolled through the display, I noticed a clearance sale on small dog bed forms. My husband pronounced them the perfect size and squishiness.

When we got home, I showed him my collection of tree fabric. For once, reason prevailed – I held nothing back because in my heart I know I will never finish all the quilts my collected fabrics could make. Better to get them out as pillows than have them hiding in a pile. He chose some and I got to work.

Lani Longshore green pillow detail

My go-to design with home dec is a simple stripe. The best part is there is a decent sized square of this left over, so I’ll get to turn it into a small tree quit after all.

Lani Longshore mountain detail

I could never bring myself to cut up these mountains. I still haven’t cut them up, and I used them in a project. That’s a victory in my book.

Lani Longshore green fabrics

The last pillow will be made from these fabrics. When it is done, I’ll have reduced a fabric pile by one-third, made another corner of the house colorful and comfy, and put myself back on the path of finishing things. Time for the happy dance.

Luck and wisdom!

Transitions

October 16, 2013

The prison quilting class began a new phase this week. I conducted my last class as leader and passed the program on to new teachers.

 

My last load of kits and class projects

My last load of kits and class projects

 

Whenever I let go of one project – rare times, but they do happen – I imagine all the new projects I’ll tackle with the extra time in my schedule. One would think by now I’d have accepted the reality of transition time. One would think.

 

This is the notebook I re-purposed for the FCI quilters manual.

 

Lani Longshore notebook

 

Since I had been a committee of one, the manual was in my head. Part of my transition time was occupied by writing down the things in my head, which is always a scary business.

 

Lani Longshore title page

 

There is also the scary business of transferring all the stuff I still have for the program to the new teachers.

 

Stuff that must leave my house

Stuff that must leave my house

 

Admittedly, it will be scarier for them.

 

More stuff that must leave my house

More stuff that must leave my house

 

When all that is finished, I need to finish up my Christmas projects. Mom and I bought the fabric for her gifts together. Here is the block for one of the three dresser scarves I’m making for her.

 

One block, just one little block

One block, just one little block

 

This is what all three look like on my design wall.

 

What do the blocks say to you?

What do the blocks say to you?

 

I think there is some kimono work in my future, when I really do have that extra time I’m imagining.

 

 

The Joys of UFOs

October 9, 2013

I have an embarrassingly rich collection of UFOs – unfinished objects. We all do, of course we do. Usually our reward for such a collection runs along the lines of dust caches, spider colonies, and discovering you already have three fat quarters of that perfect rose print you just bought piled up in other places.

 

Yesterday, the universe was kind.

 

Soon to be an ex-UFO

Soon to be an ex-UFO

 

The leaf project from Laura Wasilowski‘s workshop has been whispering to me. I used some of her hand-dyed threads for small embroidered motifs.

 

Lani Longshore embroidery hand-dyed thread

 

Since there was no immediate place for this project to go, I figured it would be another UFO for some time to come. The next Challenge project, however, is on the theme of . . . LEAVES! Thank you, thank you, Linda Ballou and Kathy Levesque!

 

The best part of this theme is that they encouraged us to think of more than tree leaves. They even gave some examples – leaves in a book, tea leaves, Leif Ericsson. It just so happens I am writing a story about space Vikings, so I could make a quilt about that. I also drink a tremendous amount of tea, so I could aways tea dye some fabric and make a quilt from that. But I already have a UFO for leaves of a book.

 

Lani Longshore handmade booklets

 

The open booklet in front is from Doria Goocher, a quilt artist I met at the Studio Art Quilt Associates conference in Santa Fe. The covers behind are for the version I want to make for myself.

 

There are two other book leaf UFOs that are calling to me. One could use the badge I earned at Laura Wasilowski’s workshop as a book cover.

My Chicago School of Fusing badge

My Chicago School of Fusing badge

I also have a collection of hardware that I thought might make an interesting binding for a fabric book.

 

Lani Longshore hinges

 

The plan at the moment is to make a mixed-media travel book with fabrics from or referencing other countries, photos, mementos, and embroidery. Whatever comes from these experiments, I will at least experience the joy of finishing UFOs.