Thursday, August 30, 2007

Quilter's Lasagna

For my log cabin I wrote about in the post before last, I am making the blocks "four fabric" blocks - a dark and a light brown opposite a dark and a light green or blue. (I may do some blocks that are green and blue opposite each other with no brown - undecided. There is no plan for this quilt). Using the four fabrics creates more of an optical illusion in the coloring, or that's my hope. In order to balance the two sides I am choosing the fabrics for each block individually - so rather than cutting a whole mess of pieces, or speed piecing (goodness no!) I am choosing four fabrics for each block and then cutting each block individually to keep it all straight and organized. Since I sit down and cut a bunch of blocks at a time I need some way of storing each block's strips until sewing. My best solution so far is this - quilter's lasagna. THe longest strip (12.5") almost fits perfectly across the lasagna pan. I can get four blocks in one layer, then a piece of paper to separate the layers, then four more blocks.


Not at all sophisticated, but it works. However there will be no actual lasagna until the quilt top is finished. However that is no big loss since it is WAY too hot to turn on the oven.

I'm realizing something about my quilt making "process" - I don't like to plan. I guess I knew that. I always kind of figured that I just started sewing without a plan because I was too anxious to start sewing and didn't want to wait, but I realize now that "making it up as I go along" is an important part of the process to me. When I have very little or no plan there are always "challenge" moments - like the moment when I have all the blocks done and have to get them to go together somehow - and the challenge moments are important to me. Maybe this just has to do with me being SUCH an attention defecit quilter - like the same reason I only make scrap quilts because using the same fabric over and over bores me to tears. When I DO start with a complete plan/design (an incomplete plan would be something like - okay the blocks will be blue, let's start sewing) I occasionally stick to it, but more often end up completely reworking it, either because I get bored with the plan or because I discovered that the planned design was way too static and boring. Not infrequently I can think of ways that my finished quilts would have benefited from a more complete design plan but - working without a plan keeps me sewing and I guess that's the important thing.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Quilt Museum!!

I visited the quilt museum in Paducah this weekend. It was my first time in Paducah for any reason. One of my best friends from study abroad lives in southern Illinois/southeastern Missouri (she basically lives in either or both, two towns right across the river from each other.) When she was growing up she and her friends went to Paducah on a Saturday for a change of scene (I think a lot of people had some close-by town like that in high school). She, however, had never been to the quilt museum, but was becoming aware that she was missing out on something big. So, since I was planning a visit anyway, we decided that the quilt museum was a must!


The museum was lovely. Of course I could not take pictures to share. I don't know how many pictures I really would have taken, though. Of course it goes without saying that the quilts were AMAZING, but I wouldn't have been taking many pics for the "inspiration" file as too few really had anything about them that I could ever DREAM of emulating. Truly master works - awesome to see, and yet pretty far removed from my quilting experience. Hmmm. But I'm sure I would have found plenty to photograph if given the opportunity - especially some really great uses of 80s fabric. I love 80s fabric.

I'm sure I could have spent plenty of time and money in Paducah but we decided to limit ourselves to just one other stop - Hancock's of Paducah, of course! Slightly funny since I recently got a big package from them - even saw a few of the fabrics on the "bolt ends table"! I am officially DONE buying fabric! But I spent less than thirty dollars so I congratulate myself on that. And it is only the fifth time that I spent less than thirty dollars on fabric in the last month...

Here are my treasures: lots for the log cabin, some for another new project, and couple "treats." I have not photographed all the fabric that has come in the mail...would probably get too depressing.


Me and the big muddy...nice.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Weekend Away

My last day of work was this past Friday. Now I've got some down time. Things for the big "NEXT" are slowly working themselves out, I'm just going to opt not to share details until everything is finally final. But for those who are worried about my financial situation, my resume, or my mental health - fear not; all manner of thing shall be well.

I decided to escape town for the weekend. Seemed like a great way to "celebrate" the end of my job, as well as get some mental down time and physical/mental distance from the rest of my life. Fortunately I have two girlfriends who share a beautiful condo with a guest room in a town about an hour away. It was a blissful weekend with lots of staying up late, sleeping late, sewing, journaling, and a healthy dose of Jane Austen.

Saturday afternoon my best friend Bekki and I (one of the condo girls) went thrifting. I did very well in the clothes department, and also bought this for $8.50:


It's an unfinished top, small twin or large throw sized. I feel a bit off my rocker adding another my top to my already voluminous "tops to finish" pile, but I couldn't help myself. It is just too great. It's wool fabric, most likely made from recycled clothes. There were quite a lot of unfinished tops in this particular store and I got so caught up wondering where they came from - some quilter passed away with no quilty relatives to take on her/his work perhaps. I'm proud of myself for limiting to just ONE top.

Good friends who make their guest rooms available at the drop of a hat deserve quilts. Ergo I have started another project:


8 down, 56 to go - hope she likes it!

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Finish


Yea, it's done!

I posted earlier about my "anything goes" attitude towards putting this quilt together. All along I have called this my "Gee's Bend Study". I have been so entranced and inspired by the quilts of Gee's Bend and I was trying to replicated that "free form" feeling. I can't say whether or not my techniques/methods/lack-thereof are very similar to the quilters of Gee's Bend and I can't say whether any of them would even LIKE this, but I tried to replicate the attitude of just "putting them together the way I like" that I've read about. I DO like it. I kind of love it. I made it bed sized and I'm not actually sure if I could handle that much of it, however. But it is very cuddly and will have a useful life.

Anyway, I should get a close up picture of the quilting and post it. It's pretty hilarious.

While I had a few willing quilt holders available, I dragged out the three other quilts I've finished this year but hadn't yet photographed. Yes, that means I have finished four quilts this year. I realize that to most people that is not an impressive number, however to me it is HUGE! I think I finished four quilts total in the previous 4-5 years of quilting. I am a short attention span quilter - I always have zillions of projects going and never finish much. I'm working on it.

Anyway, I really want to share this one, which I posted "bed shots" of earlier but not the whole thing:


If you want to see the rest you should be able to click either of the about photos and then click through my "Quilts!" photo set on flickr.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Show Me Your Uglies!!

I posit that few things are more dangerous than the combination of a debit card and an online fabric store.

Anyway, in light of the impending arrival of yards upon yards of fabric, today I decided that it was time to sort through the "new fabric receiving pile". It has been growing at an alarming rate and hasn't been cleaned out in about six months.

First step: sort fabric into piles according to what box they need to go in...


Second step: drag out the boxes that fabric needs to go into and realize they are full.

Third step: wonder why I covered my bed in fabric BEFORE nap time:


Anyway, I got to thinking about weird/ugly/unusual fabric. I'm told I buy a lot of it. In fact I pretty much started thinking about it when I realized how funny my mother will look at me if/when I show her the fabric I just ordered. She has said, in paraphrase, "You buy the weirdest/strangest/ugliest fabrics that I would NEVER buy...but I like your quilts so I guess you have an eye for it." Thanks, I'll take the compliment and leave the rest!

For example. I bought the following on a shopping trip with Mom & Aunt M who talked for days afterwards about me buying the following fabric, which apparently they thought was extremely weird:


Apparently they haven't caught onto the fact that I will buy ANYTHING with hearts on it. In the grand scheme of things, this has been one of the LESS weird things that I have purchased. I can't quite get over this one, which has these great pink and gold stripes the run the length of the fabric. A quilter sees nothing but potential in that, right? RIGHT??


I also remember the day back when I first started quilting and I came home from fabric shopping thrilled to death to have found this for $0.60 a yard. Naturally I bought a half yard of it for thirty cents.


I mean I could go on and on:




A while ago there was an article in Quilters Newsletter about a woman who apparently has the same problem/gift. I was, of course, tickled that I owned one of the fabrics featured in the article. I don't however see what's so weird about it:


Actually there are a few fabrics that even I find ugly after I buy them, but I will spare you those pictures for now. Anyone else out there have similar "issues" when it comes to fabric buying??

Friday, August 3, 2007

The New Project

So here's a hint about the project I started:


A Star Wars quilt? No, a t-shirt quilt for little brother - God willing it will be his Christmas present. (Technically I should have plenty of time to finish it, but I think we all know how many other things could happen.) My little brother is actually a bit of a clothes horse and had piles and piles of clothes in my parents basement. I'm told he would come over from time to time and look for something - just saw it as extended storage I guess! Finally Mom put it all in trash bags for the Goodwill, and told him to take out anything he wanted to keep. After he'd had his go at it, I went down to see if there was anything I might want - little brother's old clothes are an especially rich source of really great PJs. When I started going through I saw all these t-shirts that represented a lot of things from his past - that have "sentimental value" as a sister would put it. So I asked him if he would like to have them made into a quilt and he said yes.

That's right I volunteered!!

I have made one t-shirt quilt in the past. Actually, not surprisingly, it's still a not quilted top. But basically I knew when I volunteered that it's a tedious process - ironing interfacing onto the back of all those logos and cutting them to a usable size - bleh. It's slow going.

But I actually jumped at the chance to do it because I had an ulterior motive:


Yes that's right, I wanted to play with the scraps! I am making a "parallel" t-shirt quilt out of the non-logo parts of the t-shirts. I'm not using interfacing for this, so I've been experimenting with levels of starch. Heavily starched the jersey actually behaves quite well - although now I have to do some restarching of the bits I went too easy on. I mean you kind of have to be gentle with the jersey, but I'm not having much trouble sewing those nine patch blocks. (Oh yeah, I have no design plan for this. Basically I am cutting plain squares and sewing some nine patches and some sixteen patches. So far everything is 12" but I plan to through in some 16" bits. Then I will find some way to put it all together.)

Anyway, I've been thinking about doing a quilt like this for awhile, I think because I've been thinking a lot about "recycled" quilts and wanting to try to make some. Do not get me wrong, I love my stash, but I also love any opportunity to get back to my quilt making "roots". If you have ever made a t-shirt quilt you know that there is a LOT of waste. Last time I used those extra bits as rags in my old apartment, but it was still way more rags than I even needed. It seems like the quilty thing to do is stitch 'em together....

*Sigh* however I do not know how far I will get on this project. I really need to focus on getting my two big quilting projects quilted. Because if I move - well there is nothing worse than moving two big quilts in the process of being quilted, because WHO KNOWS how long it will be before they actually get finished then!!

My Favorite Quilt Pics From Flickr Users