Posts Tagged ‘quilting life’

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!

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!

A Journey With Embroidery

November 7, 2018

There is something about embroidery that turns my fingers into a (nearly) perpetual motion machine. The top for On To Africa needed more embellishment, so I started adding a few lines of embroidery here and there. Before I knew it, the journey to a quilting-ready top was finished.

One side of the top is more heavily embroidered than the rest, but I’m okay with that. Most of this work was done by another artist (and I still don’t know who – none of my friends remember where I got the blocks either), and I’m perfectly content to let her work get all the attention.

I first thought I would leave the center appliqued panel alone, and fill in the open space with quilting. Then I realized the jacquard will absorb all the quilting, so I might as well embroider the living daylights out of it.

Shameless self-promotion alert, embroidery on the journey into space is a pivotal plot point in The Chenille Ultimatum. If you need a good giggle, give the book a try.

Luck and wisdom!

On To Africa

October 17, 2018

The expedition in my sewing room took another turn. I finished a simple pieced quilt, and now must start pulling random blocks, most with African-themed embroidery, into a coherent piece. This is the finished quilt:

These are the blocks that need organizing:

I appliqued the tree block and made most of the embroidered blocks, although a few were done by someone else. I don’t remember how I managed to acquire the patterns, thread, and partially completed blocks. Perhaps I bought them at a silent auction, perhaps they were given to me by someone who knows I like to embroider, perhaps they were left on the doorstep in the dead of night (no, I would probably remember that).

In any event, this is my next project, and On to Africa is the working title.

Luck and wisdom!

Coast to Coast with Confidence

October 10, 2018

In one of those moments when the universe says, “Just get on with it,” the quilt I absolutely, positively had to finish was the one with the heron. I’ve called the quilt Coast to Coast, and it was just the confidence boost I needed.

Quilted, bound, and labeled

My foot still doesn’t like to be down for any length of time, but I had to change threads often for this quilt. What under ordinary circumstances would have been discouraging turned out to be practical – thirty minutes with my foot down, ice and rest, repeat. Even with all the thread changes, the quilting went much faster than I expected.

The dreaded heron and the many quilting threads

I also made a feature out of a bug by using yellow thread around the center of the flowers. My original intent was merely to hide the little boo-boo when the yellow meandered over the black, but I like it better this way.

The pattern called for one tree and a house, but I made three trees representing the palm trees, deciduous trees, and pine trees that can be found together on every street in my town.

This quilt was years in the making, since I was afraid to make the appliqued heron, nervous about changing the pattern, and concerned that I really couldn’t put all three Row By Row kits together to make a coherent piece. Furthermore, I was truly terrified that my injury wouldn’t let me get back in the sewing room at all, much less in time to finish the quilt for the guild Unfinished Quilt Challenge. Because of my fears, once I got started Coast to Coast became a huge confidence builder.

Luck and wisdom!

Chipping Away at Obstacles

September 19, 2018

I had hoped my row quilt would be done by now, but stuff happened. I was able to chip away at enough obstacles to finish the top. A qualified success is still a win.

I call it “Coast to Coast”

Although I complain about life getting in the way of quilting, the good news is I have things to do, places to go, people to see. Yes, I want to complete my projects, but my life is more than my work. Sometimes I need to be reminded of that. My friend Jan Maxwell made me a potholder featuring a woman wrapped in purple, with a cup of hot tea. Sometimes, despite obstacles and nagging to-do lists, life is good exactly as it is.

It’s okay to just be happy

Luck and wisdom!