Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Flash From the Quilting Past

I wrote this picture dense post for Rejoice Always in January of '07, and even though I completely finished it at the time I just saved it as a draft and never published it. I'm not sure why. I think it's time it saw the light of day...

January 14, 2007

I spent Monday putting together a small challenge quilt to be auctioned off for Relay for Life. The challenge was to make a quilt featuring the color pink no more than 100'' all the way around. I discovered why people like to make small quilts...I had no idea I could put a top together in a day. I thought it would be fun to do step-by-step documentation of the process. Looking back over the pics it seems like I took a picture every two seconds at first and then towards the middle and end kept forgetting to take them, so there are some gaps in the documentation.

I started by sorting through my scrap box for any and all usable scraps. Comments on this step in the process: 1) Yes, I need a better system for my scraps, but that's a project for another day off. 2) My scraps look so red and blue...which I guess is why I didn't find too too many usable scraps for this particular project.


OK, here are my usable scraps pressed and ready to go. Now I look at them and start sewing them together pretty randomly based on which ones look similar in size and look nice next to each other. I trim liberally.




By the time I completed this unit below, I had pretty much exhausted my scraps and it seemed like a good place to stop. I broke for a cup of tea.


I had pulled every pink, spring green, and grey fabric in my stash and after my tea break I went through them and made my final choices for what fabrics I would use for the rest of the quilt top, pictured here:


Then, in the longest most tedious step of the process I pressed each piece of fabric and cut one strip from it, at a random widths. Most were straight although I cut a few intentionally off grain.


Then I added strips to my scrappy unit:


Then, using the scraps from the strips I just added to the scrappy unit (are you with me here?) I did this part to add in:


The finished top:



Edited to add this picture of the final quilt, hand quilted with baptist fans:

The Pink Quilt

Monday, January 26, 2009

Art Video

I realize that it would be smart to tackle the scraps a little bit at a time. That was, in fact, my plan. But now that I am so immersed in it, I find I have a single minded determination, and an unwillingness to do anything else. At all. (Except blog, apparently.) I have a cramp in my left hand, a blister on my right hand, and a pain in my back, but I feel I cannot rest until every last scrap is cut to size and sorted into its appropriate pile. And since I didn't get called to sub Thursday, Friday, or today, I have been a scrap cutting machine (possibly at the expense of some other things I probably *should* be doing, but why get into that???) I think I may have a problem.

Anyway, I'm taking a short break to share with you this video that I saw on this blog.

I've been thinking a lot lately about art and what it means to be an artist. And I really like this video. So yeah.

Friday, January 23, 2009


The great scrap organizing project of '09 continues.

A pile of 1.5" squares:
1.5" Squares

I have no ambitions to make a king size "postage stamp" quilt in which no two squares are alike. Nothing like that. But there seem to be a lot of people on craftster tackling these, so I thought I would package up some squares and small scraps to give away, and figured I might as well cut one set for me to play with...

Drunkard's Path pieces:
Drunkard's Path Pieces

This is to be my experiment in curved piecing. I decided to start small; a girl baby quilt from scraps.

This morning or today I should finish up the scrap overflow box. Ahem. Yes, that means I haven't actually touched the so-full-it-barely-closes scrap box yet.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Bright Moment

Quilt from Charm Pack

If you are snowed in, iced in, freezing, sub-freezing, or even just cloudy, here is a little dose of bright for you.

Quilt from Charm Pack

This top has been waiting for borders for a long time, but I wasn't sure what fabric to use or how to do them. Since this is a charm pack I wanted to use some fabric from that line, but I can't remember the name of the line and couldn't find any of the fabrics anywhere I looked. (And I was afraid to look too hard, because once I start looking at fabric I will start buying fabric. This has been proven.) I found this Laurel Burch print with the right colors, and it works for me. With squares laid out in a square, a square quilt seemed fitting. Pretty simple.

Quilt from Charm Pack CIose Up

About 60" square. I have a suspicion of who might have it on their couch someday, but time will tell.

Bleh - I usually don't name quilts, but then it is harder to talk about them. Anyone else have that problem?


In other news, Dionne tagged me to share six interesting/quirky things about myself. Why is this so much harder than it seems like it would be??

1. I don't own a computer and haven't for five or six years. I have relied on computer labs, libraries, and generous friends and relatives. Plus at the shelter we had a couple of community computers. It seems a bit weird that I've never owned a computer in the whole time I've been blogging (nearly four years).

2. I like almost all animals, including pigeons, squirrels, mice, and other frequently maligned species.

3. I have travelled to five of the seven continents since high school, and hope to hit the other two (South America and Antarctica) before I die. I took 2.5 years off between high school and college and spent that time working full time and spending the $$ traveling (even though I sometimes told people I was saving for college).

4. I worked in restaurants as a cook for years during high school and college. I strongly considered going to culinary school and I still really miss being in the restaurant environment.

5. I think tree houses are really really cool, especially the ones that adult people actually live in (or stay in occasionally).

6. Many of you know this, but I just spent a year as a full time volunteer at a homeless shelter on the U.S./Mexico border.

Here in central IL we fall into the sub-freezing category.  School was cancelled yesterday and today due to the extreme cold and wind chills.  It's been a slow week for me.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Three More

I have finished my last three blocks to send out for the craftster block swap:

Bachelor's Puzzle
Bachelor's Puzzle Block for MareMare

Basket Block for Audrey

Butterfly Block for glittergirl

I have six packets to pack up and put in the mail, then I can sit back and wait for my blocks to roll in. I technically still have one more block to make, for my own quilt, but I'm going to wait until I see more of the blocks I will be receiving so that I can makes something that "fits" or "balances" or whatever is needed.

I haven't done any embroidery for a long while, and doing the butterflies for that last block reminded me how much I enjoy it. Plus, it is so cute! It makes me want to start an embroidery centered project...we'll see what becomes of that :)

My mind is really whirring with ideas right now and I'm really not sure what I want to work on.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Tracking Compliance

In which we track the affect of the resolutions on my life in the short time period before I inevitably  forget about them.

I went to my LQS the other day, armed with a gift certificate I got for Christmas. My LQS is a crazy place. It is a tiny space absolutely CRAMMED sooooo full of fabric, books, fabric, notions, and fabric that two people can barely pass each other in the aisles. Half the merchandise is covered by other merchandise. I love it on a certain level, but it's pretty impractical. Often when I go in there I get seduced by the half price fabrics. The last time I went before this I spent way too much money on 1/2 price Jinny Beyer and Nancy Clark prints that are probably like 10-15 years old. The owner of this shop never gets rid of anything. But with my gift certificate I thought I should indulge in full price fabric, since all regular price fabric was 25% off anyway.

So anyway, shortly after I started looking around I remembered my resolution about buying fabric to fill in holes in my stash. That's a good goal, I just realized that I'm not entirely clear on what the holes REALLY are. I never really know what I need until I'm doing a project that calls for a certain thing and I don't have it. I thought about my list in my resolutions post. I mean yes, greys and oranges are areas of need that I identified a while ago, but I've been buying them for a while so I don't really feel that desperate for them anymore. Chocolate browns I really want and don't have, but the ones I looked at in the shop didn't really strike my fancy.  Solids I could probably get a better deal on at a chain shop that sells Kona. And polka dots? Are polka dots really a need??

I hope so, cause that's what I bought. Polka dots, border fabric for one of the soon-to-be-finished tops that was only waiting on border fabric (got fabric for the other one later), and a couple of pieces that I just loved. After all, it was a gift certificate. I have the right to buy SOME stuff just for fun if it's a gift.

Dots.  Why do I love them so?
Polka Dots

Border fabric on the left, useless multi-color prints that I love*, and Beatrix Potter fabric.

*Not really useless, I suppose, but this is exactly the kind of thing that I am ALWAYS buying and don't need.

I've started cutting and sorting scraps for seven, count 'em seven, scrap quilts. I made a list of scrap projects I want to do, figuring that I could cut several at once. There were too many, so I pared it down to the most essential seven. I don't have my scraps organized in any way, because I enjoy the process of digging through the bin and cutting and sorting when I'm ready to do a project like this. Doing seven at once is going to take a while, but so far I'm enjoying it. I need to clear off the table in the bedroom so that I can leave the cutting project spread out there, rather than putting it all away at the end of every session. The table is intentionally covered in my Texas scrapbook project, because I want to force myself to finish it. It is not a "fancy" scrapbook in any way. There is nary a sticker or a bit of decorative paper to be found. I just want to put pictures and memorabilia into a book in the plainest fastest way, and it's taking me forever. But, wanting to use that table for something else is a pretty good motivator.

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