Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stitching again.

We've been home for a week from our trip north. It takes a while to get chores caught up and back in the swing of home life. So I had not yet gotten my sewing machine out to do any piecing or quilting. Truthfully, I did not feel like sewing; I am always pretty tired after those trips and just a little blue. This time, with the stuff we brought home--the old sewing machine, various collections of my Mom's, the clothing that I plan to use for future projects--I was a bit more so than usual. So I was dragging my feet to get to sewing.
Which is completely silly! I always feel better after I finally get motivated and start pushing fabric bits under the presser foot. So after a morning of pinning and cutting for several of my old projects that are next to move to completion, I got the Bernina out.
First I made a couple of happy scrappy houses for a fellow HMQGer. She is planning a king-sized, double-sided quilt made with these cute little houses! (She needs 400 houses! She may be crazy!) I admit that they are pretty darn adorable and pretty fun to make. I may have to make a few for myself.

my house

purple cottage

I am ready to assemble the last quarter of the postage stamps; the wonky stars are nearly a top; the centers are pinned in place for the Dresden plates. More on these later when there is real progress to report.
I also did some thinking about what I may do with my Mom's and Dad's shirts. I got cut the shirts cut up ready to do something with. For some reason, cutting the buttons off these shirts kind of bothered me. But it is a process, isn't it?
I like a few of these ideas and am eager to start working on them.

thinking on paper

Monday, June 20, 2011

Home again

heading home

Shug and I are back at home after our car trip to the midlands to see our Moms. We are getting back to the normal routine and getting a little rested.

I haven't driven through Kansas in years. Now before any of you say anything, let me just say that I Love Kansas! My soul lives in Kansas. Many think that Kansas is flat and boring. Yes, it is pretty flat, but it is not at all boring. The winter wheat was ripening and being combined. (The furrowed fields gave me ideas for my next quilting project.) I looked and looked at those miles and miles of wheat and tried to describe the color; it is kind of a reddish amber, sort of the color of a deer's coat. Then we drove through the Flint Hills. Earlier in the year and earlier in the day would have shown the rolling prairie off to better advantage, but it was still just beautiful.

flint hills

We brought home quite a bit of stuff from my Mom's house. Her old Kenmore sewing machine, for one. I learned to sew on this machine; it was my first machine as a young bird just out of the nest. I haven't yet tried to see if will sew--it looks like it needs quite a bit of attention (I hope that rusty place will clean up.) But I am glad to have it here. I also got some bobbins and buttons and old irons.

the kenmore

sewing stuff

And I brought home a stack each of my Dad's shirts and my Mom's shirts. Dad's shirts are mostly polyester and I don't look forward to sewing with them, but I saw a project on flickr that used linen with polyester fabrics. I am hoping that the addition of a some rich linens will give some stability and depth to his old shirts. There is quite a bit of polyester in Mom's stack as well, though hers are slightly more "cotton rich". The prints are pretty loud. I may add some solids, but then again, maybe not. It will be a real heart-tug to work with them but I am looking forward to quite a few projects from these shirts.

dad's shirts

mom's shirts

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Pictureless Tuesday

I am visiting my Mom, so away from the home computer & unable (read, don't know how) to upload images from my iPad--so no pictures today.

I am uncomfortable when conversations linger too long on me. I am not good at receiving compliments. So I am VERY ill-at-ease with the attention I am getting for Skirting the Circle. I am completely humbled & staggered by the very, very nice things people are saying about it. Thank you all so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am not resting on my laurels though. I am thinking about my next finishes. When I got to the quilting of the last quilt, I posted requests for help and suggestions. I got some excellent advice and support.

But one suggestion kind of stung.
Bobbidink suggested that I take some classes, add to my tool box. In my reply to her, with my pouty lower lip implied, I said I've been quilting for years, taken free-motion classes, walking foot classes. I know HOW to quilt, I just didn't know WHAT to quilt. But the more I thought about her kindly meant comment, the more I wondered if I have a tool in my toolbox that I don't use, can I really say I "have" that tool? Perhaps not.

I have three finished tops, four more near completion. With these nascent quilts I am going to experiment--free-motion, walking foot, hand quilting. I am going to do something new! (Well, new to me.)

Thank you Bobbidink for your valuable comment. It hit home and, I hope, will make me a better quilt maker.

Addendum: I don't want anyone to misunderstand. I was a little hurt by Bobbidink's constructive criticism--at first. But she said to me exactly what I needed to hear! I did a lot of self-examination and saw that I was being a bit lazy, doing the same things over & over again. I am nervous, but I am now ready to push my boundaries. There may be some dismal failures but I know I will grow as a quilt-maker.
Again, my sincere thanks Bobbidink!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

On to the next thing!

It is done!!!
I have to admit that I am pretty pleased with this quilt. I want to thank EVERYONE who has supported me along the (long) way from blocks to completion of this quilt. If I had not gotten such good feedback, I might have let this languish as a WIP for much longer. But now it is done and here it is--


For those who don't know its story, this quilt began with a circle skirt of my Mom's from the 1950s. Back in my young and slender days, I used to wear this skirt (with a blue T top, I think) and I always got lots of comments when wearing it. I have carried it around with me long since I was able to wear it, for what reason, I don't know. A couple of years ago, I was going through my sewing room stuff and was *this* close to passing this skirt along to another person who loved vintage clothing when I stopped and decided to cut it up. The angular print seemed to ask to be 'calmed' with a circular pattern. A recent binge of solid fabric purchases provided the mustard and blue; a root through my stash brought out the solid (the back of a polished cotton) and the plaid-ish greys. The blocks were quickly pieced. And they remained a stack of blocks until I first put them on flickr. I got LOTS of support and urgings to finish it, so the blocks were moved from the back burner. I set the blocks together, added the line-segment extensions and quilted and quilted and quilted.
Again, my very sincere thanks to all who have held my hand along the way. I am so grateful.

I've decided to call this quilt "Skirting the Circle".

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Shoulder to the wheel, nose to the grindstone.

Why do I always have to exaggerate?!?

But this has been, is still, a big job. A while back, I blogged this diatribe-ish screed about not liking when people calculate the hours spent to make their quilt. Well, in true do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do fashion, I have calculated approximately how long the quilting will take: at X minutes per block times 42 blocks, that's Y minutes!, divided by 60, that's Z hours!!! But, I will keep the totals to myself. (Manda, you are sworn to secrecy!)

Anyway, I am 6/7th done. I hope to have an image of a finished quilt by the end of the weekend.

 back with quilting

For fun, Shug and I saw Stitched this week. It is a locally made, independent documentary about quilting, quilters, quilt shows, competitive quilting and I highly recommend it. Specifically, it follows Caryl Bryer Fallert, Hollis Chatelain and Randall Cook. We see a bit of how they began making quilts and the creative process that goes into their quilts. The film is made at the International Quilt Festival here in Houston and at the American Quilter's Society show in Paducah, Kentucky. There is quite a bit about traditional quilting versus art quilting, apparently something of a controversy--who knew! I particularly liked seeing all three of the featured quilters and their quilting process, since that is something I am struggling with right now.
If it is showing near you, see it. Or you can buy a dvd from their web site. Or do both!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Being prepared.

Today is the first of June, the first day of Hurricane Season. Six months of Hurricane Season.

It is time for we coastal residents to take stock of our stores of batteries, flashlights, radios, water, non-perishable food; time to get all the photos and important papers all together; time to evaluate what is essential and what is non-essential. Basically, what is essential is what I've listed above: what you need to survive, photos and documents, and your loved ones. Everything else can be replaced. Once I left my house believing that it would not be there when I got back and while it was a wrenching experience, it was also freeing. I am not so attached to my 'stuff' anymore. Don't get me wrong, I would be devastated if my beloved quilting room, my machines, my fabric (my FABRIC!), my quilts were all lost, but I would survive.
So now we are beginning to go through our stuff--we are low on D cells, need some more canned tuna and refried beans, some more water isn't a bad idea, need to keep the liquor cabinet well stocked. I'd like a battery powered fan and I would like to see about getting hurricane shutters for the second floor windows; I don't like Shug being on a ladder, nailing plywood over them. A can of gas for the generator, plenty of brickets for the grill. And a simple quilting project for my hand-crank Singer, that should help pass the hours when the wind is howling around the house and the days after the storm when the power is out.
I think we are pretty well set.

living preparedness

quilting preparedness