Sunday, November 30, 2008

LQS4 on craftster

So here's what's been taking up a lot of my sewing time lately: I joined a block swap. I have this thing about group projects. They always look pretty fun whenever other people are doing them. Some don't inspire me, but others honestly make me want to get involved. However, there are always sooooo many reasons not to get involved. For me the biggest one is having so many of my own projects to work on - both those I have started and the zillion and one ideas that are so far just in my head. And time is always limited, so do I want to use that time for my own projects or a group project?

After much internal debate I finally decided to join the lap quilt swap on craftster. I made 11 packets of my fabrics and sent them out to the 11 other people in my group. They will make me a block with those fabrics and send it back to me. I can add one I make myself for a 12 block set to make a lap quilt (or whatever I decide to do with them). My part is that 11 people will send me little packets of fabric and I will make a block and send it back.

I convinced myself to join by considering that I could use one of those "collections of fabric that I am always setting off to the side because they are great together but that I don't necessarily know what to do with". I was excited to finally get something made out of one of those piles. This is what I chose to use, black, white, and grey with bits of color:


The commitment is really pretty minimal; making 11 blocks in three months is pretty doable even if I'm working on other stuff, too. Plus it's a good opportunity to meet some other people on craftster. I know not everyone is a craftster person, but personally I really enjoy it. The quilting board is an inspirational place. Although there are many quilts from more conventional quilters that are lovely and often very creative, there are also lots of quilts made by hobby sewists who have never quilted before, and/or random people who just thought it would be fun to make a quilt. The result is quilting with no filter, so to speak - quilts by people who don't know the "rules", haven't conceived of the quilt police, and haven't spent tons of time looking at what other people are doing. When I first discovered it I clicked around the board for hours.

The most trying part for me, as a person who usually has a complete unconcern for accuracy, is being meticulous in my cutting, sewing, and pressing in order to make sure the blocks are exactly 12.5". I spend twice as long on this blocks as I would on blocks for myself. It's probably good for me; it definitely makes me realize (or remember) why my accuracy is usually off - I don't make my 1/4 inches very (or consistently) scant, I don't measure and trim throughout the process, I just gooooo for it. So while I doubt I will ever be this careful when sewing for myself, it may help me develop better habits.

Here are the blocks I've made so far....


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

S l o w n e s s

**EDIT** Fixed! It was some code from a defunct website that I forgot was even on here. Thanks to my SUPER tech savvy Dad. If any of you used to use tracksy, go in manually and delete the code from your blog (on mine it was near the bottom). Otherwise that tracksy code will probably slow you down, at least on blogger but I assuming anywhere.....

A quick additional note...Quilty the Libster loads really slowly on both of the computers I use. Today I tried stripping off all the gadgets and everything I could possibly strip off and it made no difference. I have another blog with the same template also on blogger that has no bells or whistles, but is equally photo dense (or nearly) and loads fine. I'm stumped.

If you're using a feed reader it doesn't affect you that much, unless you want to click over to comment. However, it drives ME crazy, and I would like to be comment and new user friendly.

SO...does it load slowly for you all? Any other blogger users had this problem?

Color Block Quilt



This is my latest finished top. It is made from the backs of the t-shirts whose fronts became this quilt for my brother. It was/is an experiment - an experiment in quilting with knits. Hey, the Gee's Benders do it. If you've ever made a t-shirt quilt you know it produces a lot of waste. As I do plan to make more t-shirt quilts I will probably investigate other potential uses for the scraps. A rag rug, perhaps? Pot holders? But up until now this experiment has by no means turned me off on the idea of quilting with knits. I will probably try it again. I would just like to learn more about sewing with knits, rather than just treating them like quilters cottons and playing the "fake it till you make it" game.

I know you're thinking, why quilt with knits if you have no real need to. I mean COULD quilt with knits, but why?

Uhh...why not? Maybe?

I can't wait to see how this quilts up, so I'm moving it sort of close to the front of the machine quilting queue. Making it third in line. So I will have to wait quite a while anyway.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Greater Chicago Quilt Exposition

Be What You Is Detail
Virginia O'Donnell

I went to the Greater Chicago Quilt Exposition in Schaumburg over the weekend. The show features the "World Quilt Competition" and many smaller exhibits. Mom & I went to this show two years ago and enjoyed it a lot. The previous weekend was the big Fine Art of Fiber show put on by various Chicago area guilds, which I have never been to. We could only go to one of the two and ended up choosing the Exposition because it was a more convenient weekend and easier to drive to. Did anyone go to the Fine Art of Fiber?

Well anyway, it was a good show. I didn't feel quite as "wowed" by it as I did two years ago, but it's hard to say if that's a change in the show or me. But I still thought it was worth driving two hours for. (I've never really felt that way about the Chicago IQF, which I haven't been back to since the first year.) I also feel a little sad that I left the vendor section empty handed. Half the fun of big quilt shows is coming away with something amazing and unexpected or some unbelievable deal. Nothing spoke to me, however. Again, maybe it's me?

I didn't take tons of pictures because I was running out of space on my memory card, but here's a few of my favs, and you can see the rest in my flickr set.

"My English Garden" by Susan Jensen, from the Canada section:

My English Garden

"Little South African Picture quilt by Gina Niederhumer of South Africa:

Little South African Picture Quilt

"North to Alaska" by Anne Joule of New Zealand:

North to Alaska

Oh, one notable thing I saw in this show - a hand quilted all over meander. True story.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Trip Around The World...


I have finally finished my queen size Trip Around The World. If you are a long time reader with a good memory, you may recall that I was hand quilting this the summer of 2007, and trying desperately to get it finished before I moved to Texas. I came incredibly close - all I had left to do was 1/4 of the border, just one side. A little over a year later I finally finished that tiny bit of quilting, bound it, and here we are.



I really enjoyed piecing the Trip Around The World. It goes together quickly and it's really fun to see how the fabrics interact with each other in the final design. Pulling the fabric was maybe the most fun part, and I'm tempted to pull fabric for another one even though I'm not likely to make it for a long time.


With this finish I have finished three quilts in the one month since leaving Texas. This one barely counts since most of the work was already done, but I guess a finish is a finish. It's sort of funny for me to think about how I've used my time during this month. Creative activity in any form has no doubt been good for me. On the other hand, I haven't touched the scrapbook I bought for my Texas mementos. I haven't done much (hardly any) of the writing I wanted to do about my experience at the shelter. I've done some sewing, a little bit of that "trying to be serious about life", and a lot of...nothing. And by nothing I mean a lot of mindless activities that leave me wondering where my time goes. Things like minesweeper. Flipping channels. You know.

Maybe this "black hole" time (as I think of it) is just what I needed. Nevertheless, I am trying to think seriously about what I want my priorities to be and think of ways to make sure those priorities actually take priority. This period of downtime in my life is a huge blessing. I realize how privileged I am to have it and how short it's likely to be...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ducks in the Pond/Songs in my Head


As I continue to try to get serious about life (i.e. start a temporary job, do serious job searching, etc. etc.) I find my productivity in the crafty area grows and grows. Fascinating correlation, no?

I'm happy to say that this is now a finished top. It feels good to finally have reached stage 1 completion on this since it has been such a long term project.


The block, according to my source (the book "Great Lakes Great Quilts"), is Ducks in the Pond. I can't find it by that name anywhere on the internet. I was mistakenly calling it Ducks Foot in the Mud for a while, but that's a completely other block.


The two-tone border is due to lack of available yardage on hand. The first thing I thought upon laying it out to take this pic was - should have mitered the corners. It honestly had never occurred to me. But I think it's fine as is and I'm not likely to change it. It turned out to be a very purple-y quilt. From the quilt's inception all those many years ago I was planning a blue-green border. And yet when I laid that out:


I didn't really like it and ended up deciding that purple was a better fit. If I was doing it over again I think there's a good chance that I'd think about border options longer, but I do like it as is.

This is about 45" x 55".

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Pinwheels For Mari


This little pinwheels top that I originally blogged here is now a full fledged quilt. Baby quilts are so satisfyingly quick to finish.


I machine quilted around the blocks (about 5.5" blocks, the whole this is about 30" square) and hand quilted hearts in the a few of the setting squares.

I think it is so sweet that I basically just want to eat it. Instead I hope to send it to a woman from the shelter who just had her baby girl about 2.5 months early. Pinwheels are so cheery - high up on the list of general crowd pleasers, I would say.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Odds 'N Ends


This is what I was wearing one day. Not surprisingly I love color in my wardrobe, and I think clothes are a great way to try out color combinations that you only have to live with for one day. If you like them, however, you never know what they could be the start of...

This quilt was made for me by my grandmother. She is really more of a seamstress than a quilter, and that I know of has only made a few quilts, so I'm lucky to have one. This quilt used to have a doll that went with it. There are pockets in each block that allow you to put the doll into her cradle, bath, pram, or high chair. I was WAY into dolls as a kid, so I really loved this. Sadly I'm afraid that the doll has been lost to the ages... Then again, I have enough boxes in the attic here to make it possible that she has not.


Stay tuned for more quilts from my childhood! Hi mom!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Finished Medallion Quilt

Here it is, the big finish:

It is such a bright, cheerful quilt.

It's 60"x60".

I love medallion style quilts - I suspect that this will only be the first of many.

My Favorite Quilt Pics From Flickr Users