Thursday, August 28, 2008

Deceptively Charming


This is the original layout that I had in mind for the charm square pack you see here (there would be white on the other two long sides of course - just imagine it). I don't remember the name of the line of fabric, although I want to figure it out so I can get some yardage for borders. I just remember seeing it on clearance for some unbeatable price (like two bucks or something) and thinking it would be fun.

After having the original idea and cutting all the white strips, but before doing any sewing, I went through about thirty other design ideas in my head. The original idea pictured above seemed too boring. One that I stayed with for a while was this one:


Some how, though, I went back to the original idea and sewed white onto two sides of every square so I could play around with layout. Then I laid it out and once again wasn't sure if I liked it. Although the last thing I want to do is unpick the white, even with the white there are other options. This one for example:


It is also a candidate for a "faux disappearing nine patch" layout, but I'm not a huge fan of the disappearing nine patch. Although I briefly was set on the above layout, I think I might be back to the original now?? Is that possible?

I'm so indecisive. It's just a reflection of my life right now. So many decisions to make and so little deciding going on.

I have a 2-day right now (two consecutive days off - I only get that once a month) and so have had a little sewing time. I was going to use it to finish the salvage baby quilt, but I found that now that I don't have a recipient in mind for it I wasn't so motivated to finish it. I was being utterly indecisive about what to work on instead, but finally made a little progress on this. All I have to do now is choose a lay out. I think I'll sit with it for a while...

I've been happy to be able to blog a little more lately. I'm six weeks from the end of my original commitment here at the shelter. If I decide not to stay past those six weeks than I may not be doing much (or any) sewing or blogging for a while as I'll be focused on other things for my last six weeks. But then I would be back in the land of my stash, sooooo....! It would be back home to the corn fields to process this experience and make a decision about what the next one's going to be. At 26 I feel a little old for that, but if I have the opportunity I might as well take advantage of it...right??

Oh, while I'm blogging I think I'll post some "found quilt" photos. I had the opportunity to visit a house that regularly hosts student groups and church groups who come to the border to learn about the situation here and/or do a service project. Their dormitories have beautiful wooden bunk beds with cushy looking mattresses, each covered with a gorgeous quilt. Very welcoming, don't you think?



Friday, August 22, 2008

My Garden Growing


I thought it was about time for a Grandmother's Flower Garden Update. I'm happy to see that I have accomplished quite a bit in the last months - as it should be, since this is the only project I really work on consistently. I'm also happy to find that I like it pretty well - all along I've been worried that I would end up hating the color scheme since it's not my usual thing. According to "math" I have enough flowers done to make it twin size (about 60 x 80), although it didn't really look that big to me laid out. Regardless, I want it to be double size, so I can either make nine more flowers or do a border. I like the idea of doing more flowers, even though it's more time consuming, however I am out of suitable fabric - both in my stash and mom's stash (I'm pretty sure I exhausted the options on the last trip home).


So to do more flowers I could either purchase nine more fabrics ( a quarter or an eighth is really enough) or try to swap for them, which might be more satisfying, but also logistically more complicated. All the fabrics I've used so far are good quality quilting cottons. All the blessed hours of handwork that are going into this make me think of it as somewhat of an heirloom, and that makes me want to stick with quality fabrics. The other option is that I could forget 9 more flowers and just do a border. I feel like GFG quilts often (or "usually"?) don't have borders, and I also like the idea of an all over design. However a border would probably be easier than more flowers. I don't know; I'll be mulling it over for a while...


I've been meaning to blog about the four seasons tree quilt seen in this post. I was really struck by it, because it's soooo much like a quilt idea I've had in my idea book for at least the last 7 years. I scribbled a VERY similar tree on an order pad one night at work way back when I worked for Steak 'n Shake. I had the idea that I would do it as a four block "four seasons" quilt. I tucked the page from the order pad into my idea binder where it still is to this day. No one else ever saw it or knew about it. It just amazes me that two human brains could independently come up with the same thing like that, although there's absolutely no other explanation. (I know it's not the most complicated or unusual idea in the world, but still...) I suppose it's possible that we somehow both saw the same something that inspired us, although I don't even remember any particular inspiration. But maybe this kind of thing really happens all the time? Anyway, there's not much point to this except to say that I'm fascinated by it. Makes me wonder about the times when people get up in arms about having their idea "copied". I'm sure some people really do copy sometimes, and that sucks. But this proves to me that it is possible to independently have the same idea...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thanks Cheri!

Many thanks to Cheri for mentioning my salvage baby quilt in her excellent blog jovaliquilts. If by some chance you are reading this and you don't know Cheri, swing 'round and check it out. I especially love what she's doing with fungly.

I have to admit that I really love the fungly craze and can't wait to jump on the band wagon as soon as I'm anywhere near my stash. Another of my favorite fungly projects can be seen here.

In the meantime my work with salvage fabric continues. Today I was working on one of the pillow case quilts that was inspired by the great linen closest clean out. It's the first one I've attempted, and today I decided...that I dislike it enough to abandon the project. That's right, abandon it completely. That's saying a lot for a person who usually thrives on the challenge of "saving" wayward projects. But this one is just not inspiring me AT ALL, and my sewing time is WAY too limited to spend it on something I don't like. I was working on this particular project because I intended it for a friend here, but she recently made some comments about really preferring wild and crazy quilts and this one was super subdued yellows and tans. Now I think I can release myself from it and move on to other projects that I think I can actually get interested in...

In the meantime, I am once again trying to plot the course for the next phase of my life. First of all I'm trying to decide if I'll commit to staying here for six additional months or leave in October when my original commitment is up. Then I have to make some kind of decision about what I want the next step to be...probably more experimenting with different jobs/experiences till I hit on the right thing. But of all the possible options what will I choose to do next??? I told my mom I wanted to teach quilting to disadvantaged women...anyone know where I can get a full time job doing that? Speaking of Mom, she is taking a week long class with Carol Taylor on an island in Lake Superior this week...what a life!

Oh one last thing about the salvage baby quilt...the woman I was hoping to give it to had her baby two months early...and it was a boy! Oh well...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Vacation Show and Tell

Wait, what's that??

Could it be...?

It is! A quilt!



I know it looks pretty much just like the pictures of the finished top...but the point is, it's not! It's actually a 100% finished quilt, ready to be put in a box and mailed to my newlywed friends. I'm really pleased with it. I basically completely hated the quilting when I was doing it; I felt it was very "beginner". Which makes sense, as I am still very much a beginner when it comes to this whole "machine quilting" thing. But once it was bound, washed, and fluffed up nicely I found it didn't really look bad at all. It just looks like a quilt. (The back, to be fair, still does not look great. But it's not really about the back...)

I feel so great to have it done - that's at least one finish for the year 2008, and at least one finish for my time spent in Texas. And it's done within one month of the wedding it's a gift best finish time ever on a wedding gift. (I'm about to start quilting a quilt that I intended to be a wedding present for a wedding in 2005!!! I'm still going to give it to them, if it ever actually gets done.)

And amazingly that's not the only thing I've accomplished this week. (Well, I have been holed up in a house talking to no one...this is my vacation!) I also finished a baby quilt top out of all salvage fabrics. This used to be a sheet, three blouses, and a pair of pajama pants:



Design wise it's super simple, but it's sweet and soft and will make a nice blanket for a baby girl. (I have one expectant mother in mind...I'm convinced it will be a girl, but we don't actually know yet.) I'm finding it hard to photograph because the colors are pretty's a close up:


It's about 30"x30". I hope I will finish it soon rather than letting it languish in the "top" stage. I'm a little bit torn about whether I should use salvage material as batting, thereby making it a 100% recycled quilt, or go ahead and use the fusible batting that I have tons of right now. I think I might as well use the fusible. The only reason I can think of to use salvage (besides doing it on principle) is that I would probably use a flannel sheet and that would make it more lightweight. And that might be good?? I'm not sure. Decisions, decisions.

Today is the last day of vacation, and although I have a lot to do today, I hope to do some rotary cutting so I can have some things "ready to sew" for the limited craft time that I do get back at the house. I think I will be more likely to work on something if a lot of the "thinking" is already done...

All my best to the blogosphere! I've had a great time catching up on quilt blogs and discovering new ones this week...although now it's back to fully neglecting them...

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