Friday, June 23, 2017

No Notes-To-Self

One of the real hassles with trying to finish my UFOs is that they might not come with notes-to-self. Writing them was something I did learn along the way, but some of these projects have been hanging around for awhile. This is probably not what made this project a UFO, as much as it was just working it during my early days of quilting.


When I took out this container, it was obvious that cutting had begun. However, nothing was marked; neither the pattern nor the cut pieces. That meant counting again. I don't know if fabrics are designated specifically or if they are just in the container as possibilities.


So the first thing I could do was to count the squares, and label what them. However, as I pieced what was there, it was clear that I didn't have enough of those purple squares. 


The quilt pattern is for a small 43" x 43" baby size quilt. It seems that I wanted to extend it from 9 blocks of 3 across & 3 down, to 16 blocks, or 4 across & 4 down. All I could make with the purple was 9 complete blocks and the remaining were partial blocks. Rather than give up and and have a lot of orphans, I am going to see if I can find the purple.

This pattern makes flying geese the old way & that is most likely why the project became a UFO. They were hard to assemble & get points correct, and still are. And the coordinating fabric makes some stars lose their points.

I am went as far on it as I could for now, made some notes-to-self and let it go for now. It can wait until the Halloween fabrics hit the stores. If I don't find the purple, I thought about making some tote bags with the extra and just making the smaller 9 block quilt.

So frustrating.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cognitive Non-Overloading

On my list of UFOs is one to make scrappy quilt backs. This is a GREAT way to use the squares I cut from scraps and finished projects. It seems ongoing & can be a bit intimidating to work on because there is no end to it. In the beginning of my quilting experiences, I was afraid to cut into fabric, even for the project it was meant for. 


Then the fear came that if I cut the lovely fabric, when I needed it for something, it would not be there. All those fears of cutting. Its an ongoing process. Its actually been satisfying to pull out the smaller bin with all the precut squares in it and just piece away until the right size of the back is done.

With fabric my friend sent me last month, I used a LOT already, have cut the pieces & joined them to make rail fence blocks. Is exciting. And so, I am self-compelled to keep cutting squares, sorting larger pieces into colorized containers for easy retrieval. 

I really do have enough projects for 2017 so do not need to start anything new for awhile. However, cutting or trimming means that fabric takes less room in my closet and is at the ready when I do want to use it. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Set Aside / a New UFO?

I am setting the Log Cabin quilt aside until I can re-baste it. It is way too frustrating for me to stitch a line, hold the sections taut & still end up with a couple of wrinkles on the back. I figure that all the time it takes me to rip the seam & re-do it is a waste of time. I am going to take it back to the clubhouse & start over as much as the 4 lines of stitches will allow me to do. I am going to ask for help & get it tighter in hopes that it will stop that silly nonsense.


Meanwhile, I pulled out one of the UFO's to take it to the next step. Years ago, my friend Rex & I decided to swap blocks we made & used one for each month to make a calendar quilt. Her blocks are stunning. We were both beginners but she took to quilting like a pro. And after she did what she wanted went onto other things. 

My Jung course asked me to find a symbol for this week about manifesting goals. I don't have critical issues in my life right now, but the underpinning theme for me is about TIME. When I saw my UFO list, this project was the one to be the symbol. 

As much as I can, I try to use fabrics on hand. There was this roll of leftover green from a binding strip that is the same as I would use for sashing. There was also a chunk of the same fabric so there was enough to make both sashing and the first border.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

WHAT is Happening?

I got four rows done on this quilt, yet found myself needing to go back and rip/re-do in several places. I am doing everything 'right' and still struggle with it. It is not the largest quilt I've made but feels so heavy and unwieldy. I don't get it and wonder if it was my choice to do a flannel back that makes it that way.


Someone once said that unless we accept our strengths that we would most certainly be overwhelmed by our shortcomings. 

And so it is.

 * I am enough * I like perfection * I am sufficient * 
I am a visionary * I attend to what needs doing 
* I am responsible * I perform right actions  
* I am secure * I love all beings & stand for them 

Its really hot outside so working on lots of fabric dedicated to keeping folks warm is not comfortable today. I still think it is the flannel. There is no deadline on this project. I want to do it right rather than quickly. Already, the choice to do an entire grid is changed to a simple diagonal channel stitching.

The plan is to do one to four rows of stitching each morning. Of course, the middle of the quilt has longer rows and will take more time. I won't let it get me down, and will keep at it, but will not push myself nor say mean things to myself when and if a row wrinkles. It is what it is.

There is a greater picture in my work, and sometimes when I have a project like this one where things are not going the way I want, I could get so frustrated that I set it aside. It would become a UFO. I am not going to do this. It needs to go out this year and there is plenty of time to finish it if I keep at it.

I woke up this morning thinking about a different solution. I think I will take this quilt back to the clubhouse and re-baste it, seeing if I can make it tighter. I am at such a loss for why it keeps wrinkling so want to give it a try. I have to call and get an appointment so I can have the room.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Watching for Wrinkles

Not watching for wrinkles on my face, though there are many more every day. As the machine quilting on the Log Cabin started, the first row of stitches produced two wrinkles on the back flannel. I had forgotten to put the walking foot on the machine!

The walking foot is the attachment that works best for quilting. The machine has what is called feed dogs that grip the fabric from the bottom and pull it along for the stitches. The regular machine sewing foot just presses the fabric down to work with the machine feed dogs on the bottom. 

When there are the three layers of the quilt (top-batting-back), there is a pretty good chance that the back will wrinkle or pucker with the regular attachment. That is what happened on my first row. I had to pick and re-sew in 2 places.

The walking foot also has feed dogs on it. The little arm near the top fits on the needle bar, so that the two sets of feed dogs work together to make the stitches as the needle goes up & down through the fabrics. 

I do not think I will trust the walking foot to just zip perfectly through the stitches, and plan to check each row out every time. I lucked out with the quilt I just finished and think it had a lot to do with the fabric choice on the back as well as how well it got basted. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Batting Pieces

In an effort to avoid that cognitive overload, I decided to join two of the larger pieces of leftover batting from the most recent basting I did the other day. Usually, I just put it in the bin and wait until I need some. 


In the end, this newly joined piece was large enough for the Neighborhood quilt that goes out next year to a Great-Niece. There was actually too much on one end, so it got cut to use elsewhere too. AND THEN, I joined some from the bin to work with the GBP Log Cabin quilt that I do want to send out this year. 

Both of these quilts are ready for basting, and there are smaller batting scraps in the bin for the future. For instance, there are some tote bags on my to-do list that will take some smaller pieces.

Batting takes a fair amount of space when it first comes in its package, so once it is loose from the plastic, then it takes even more space in a storage bin. There is no need for more of it this year. What I do notice is that the shrink factor has changed from 3% to almost 5% on the same product. That means it will shrink 5 inches for every 100 inches long or wide the quilts are.

I have mixed feelings about keeping my to-do list. I am the kind of person who would start new projects so need to know what is there to be finished. I like the idea of doing something right away, like joining these batting pieces and assigning them to a project that needs batting. In this way, I don't throw them away nor do I go and buy more. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

What are the Remaining UFOs

One of the Audiobooks I was listening to talked about cognitive overload that happens when a person makes lists. The guy speaking said that we need to do the thing rather than put it on the list to-do. And if we need to add it to our list, then something else should come off. Having a list, he says, brings all sorts of mental and emotional hooks.

I prioritized mine on the sidebar, took some off that hadn't even been started, and have these to finish in 2017:

  • UFO APRON - Sami
  • UFO Be A Star - Halloween Quilt (pin/piece) (Mason?)
  • UFO Calendar BOM with June Mystery Back (needs fabric)
  • UFO House Blocks (needs 8)
  • UFO Scrappy Totes (1: GBP for Tyler, 2: MN Wild for Jer)
  • UFO Tombstone Pillow (cut shape/piece/stuff)
Each of them presents a challenge. Clearly, I experience cognitive overload!! I either feel inept with what needs to be done, or avoid it for an unknown subconscious reason. They would all be easy and probably only take a day or two to finish. 

Six. There are six on the list which means I could finish one a month to get them completed in 2017. When I finish the 3 quilts going out this year, and take them off my list, my guess is that there will be a huge relief.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Basting Day

I got 2 quilts basted this morning. Pain never pays off. I called for help when I realized that the layouts for both of these quilts would be easier if someone helped me rather than if I went around and around the tables.

I pin basted on my own. This one hung over one side edge just about an inch so it was fine to do. I plan to quilt it with a neutral thread.

Batting, itself, is 100% cotton so has gone up in price along with other cotton products such as fabric and thread. It still makes so much sense to me to use up the fabrics in my closet first. The first quilt is made of fabrics I did buy, but the batting is pieced. I'd like to say the second one is from scraps and the blocks are, however, I bought the green border and the back for it. The batting is new as well, but was laid out in such a way that cutting off the excess gives me enough for another quilt.

Most of my scraps are going onto back projects from now on. And I have fabrics and patterns I made into 'kits' for new quilt projects. I will need to work up several of these scrappy backs before actually starting on the 'kits'. It would be nice to have more than a few of them done and ready.


Thursday, June 15, 2017

Grinchmas BOM

Early morning sun sort of washes out the photo of the quilt, so this was the best of a dozen pics I took.
I am glad to call this one done. It even has a label on the back. It won't go out until Fall of this year because of the holiday Grinchmas/ wintery theme it has to it. I am delighted to have used up so many of the small scraps in it. 

I've come to see that quilters who purchase fabrics select one each of the light, medium and dark colors to make their quilts. Of course, I have so much fabric in my closet that I want to use before buying. Key to this one was a yard of the aqua Grinchmas for the focus border. 

I will make an appointment at the clubhouse for Friday to baste the next two quilts, and will finish the top for the Log Cabin quilt.

What happened, because of the Jungian Psych course, is that I took off a lot of my usual pressure to get them done and have relaxed quite a bit. I did pin my godSon's name and address to this one in the event that someone else needs to ship it for me. Those notes-to-self have become very essential to my work.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

And On & On

This was Day 2 for machine quilting. It is boring. It is hard to handle the ever-increasing weighted project. And there are three more quilts to do after this one! 

Our circumstances do not improve unless we do.

To that end, I like to listen to audiobooks. Right now, the ones on my loop in You Tube are the ancient writings like Seneca & other ancient stoics and poets. It was Horace, the dead poet, who told us to "seize the day before its gone because we may not have another!" 


As I got to the end of channel stitch rows, there was a sort of exhilaration that this part was completed. I went on & finished the quilt stitches around the borders. It seemed that I was always looking for the end of it.

I started thinking how this is life. We are so excited in the beginning and then as life goes on, we start to see our shortcomings along with the successes. Days roll into years and if they are the same old same thing, then of course, it is tedious. The new projects we start, like the stitch rows around the borders bring in new energy. For awhile. 

I kept looking for the end of the four sides. If I faltered, the stitch could move off its margin. And if I didn't watch what was happening to the thread, there were several things that could also go wrong. I wondered if this was mid-life.

While this one is finished, I haven't made an appointment to baste the others yet, but soon.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

New Machine!!!

I started machine quilting on a project for one of my godSons. It is a simple channel stitch going horizontally, plus a couple of stitches around the borders. I am so impressed at how easily it is sewing! Tension is consistent too!


Only half of the quilt is channel stitched, and not quite all of that done with the two borders. The quilt went through the machine so smoothly & without any puckering on the back. The whole key is simply a well-working machine! Here I was, taking blame and finding fault with myself when things didn't work.

I loaded all the bobbins with red so when one runs out, another is dropped in the bobbin holder. There is no hurry to finish this, as it won't really go out until Fall, even though it will be done by mid-May. I may even go back and add more channel stitches between what is there now! There are two more quilts ready to baste; the last one for this year is ready for a flange and final border. There is most likely enough batting leftover to piece for that last sandwich. 

There is enough in life that puts us down that it is heartbreaking when we do it to ourselves. My machines work just fine when I get them and little by little they go the route of most mechanical things these days and within 3-5 years, they start to fail. They are throw away appliances. All of them. 

Yet, without fail, I take the credit for a lovely quilt, and think it is my waning skills that cannot get them to perfection. Well, few quilters achieve perfection even with high end tools. We are not made that way. We strive for it, but its hard.

I might like to take this as a lesson learned and not do it again, but the human condition seems to open us up to repeating our choices and mistakes...as well as our successes. It really does work both ways. I think I do learn. I bought this new machine before the old one stopped working. That was progress.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Weekend Away

It was interesting for me to have a full weekend of inactivity. I went into the hotel sauna, watched movies, shopped, drove up north and slept a lot. I found a place to buy the dark green fabric for the binding on the Green Bay Packer quilt and thin dark blue ribbon for the label on the back of the blue/white/yellow Log Cabin quilt, so am set to work on my projects.

At first, I mentally kicked myself for forgetting the scrappy back project for the Gratitude quilt until I realized that the quilt would not be ready to go out until 2019...two years from now. 

It can sometimes be hard to be gentle with myself. I am learning that things take time and to give them time, and that there will be enough time. Until I started working with this Jungian Psych course, I held deep fears that I would not finish all the quilting projects I wanted to do. Well, so? Everyone does what they can for as long as they can. And if one is lucky, they meet all their goals. You never know. So you live each day as if it was the beginning and each day as if it was the last.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

GBP Quilt

I started this quilt after receiving yellows from my dear friend in WI. There are 16 blocks and the first border assembled.


A part of me was hesitant to make a quilt for this young man who is not a blood relation but is part of the younger generation of family members...the Grands. I met him last Summer when I visited the midwest. I like him. He is sweet and he loves my Granddaughter. They live in WI and so love the Green Bay Packers. While the Pack has always been a team rival for those of us following the MN Vikings, loyalty is regional. I found that gray retro Green Bay fabric and have enough to make an outer border with it. 

I am in Beautiful Downtown Burbank for the weekend and forgot to bring the railfence back to work on, so plan to just relax. I tried finding a fabric store but its not that kind of town, so am content to use the sauna, watch TV and order room service, and spend time working on my Psych course assignments. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Gratitude

Whew! The last of the blocks were made and joined and now the entire quilt top is pieced. 

Huge! It hangs over the edge of my queen size bed. The friend who will eventually receive this quilt lives in Hawaii with his young Daughter. He is a tall man, a sweet man. I knew his Father and loved him well. Its quite a busy quilt and the rail fence stars on the back will be a little more tame. This isn't meant to be a bedspread but a quilt that comforts and warms. 

If Hawaii weather is anything like it is here in southern Cali, he will have his AC on and so having a quilt to take the edge off the chill is welcomed. 

There is no hurry to finish this quilt. And for as large as it is, it will take me awhile to finish the back and then machine quilt it all. It will be done when it is.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Next, the Layout

I finished making what seemed to be endless 6" rail fence squares for the scrappy back that joins up with the Solstice to Solstice Gratitude quilt. The final block pattern, Summer Rose, was released this morning and is what I plan to do later today. The last parts of the quilt top assembly will be ready as well. 

Thing is, I am done with quilting for the day and need to get outside to pull weeds. I got a bucket earlier, and need to get out there for a few more buckets before calling it a day.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Almost There

Strips are cut 2.5" wide in all the fabrics that would work for the scrappy back on the Gratitude quilt. With only one block pieced to 17", it would take five of them to make up 82.5" wide and long. That would make it 25 blocks with five across and five down. 

The first part is to make the 6.5" squares. Each pile is pinned with 9 squares for every 17" block. Layout can come later. What is essential, first, is to get rail fences made. However, the back needs a 3" overage for the basting & quilting process, or 90 more 6.5" squares. Whew. Cutting into strips are not a wasted effort. I have a sort of system going right now that joins three WOF strips first, cutting them into blocks and re-using the leftovers to make up another strip set. I've gone into my scrap stash to pull out coordinating colors. 


It takes ninety 6" squares to finish the back, most of which will be trimmed and tossed. What a tedious job this part is.

I am doing this week's homework while working on this quilt back. 


It is the second symbol we are to explore and as it happens, we were to select a meaningful movie. I chose ALIENS and while I am quite familiar with the storyline and Ripley, the protagonist, I am choosing to explore the minor female and the male characters for the assignment. Like reading tarot, like interpreting dreams, when you work with characters in a book, movie, play, song, etc., each of them is a part of your own psyche. 

I have the 90 squares to cut and piece so will keep at it. THEN, the challenge of layout begins.

Monday, June 5, 2017

A Scrappy Back Takes Time

When I started this, I thought  it would be a breeze to assemble. Hah! Its like making a free and happy life. It takes work. It takes time.


I started piecing the 17" blocks with the 8 star legs in deep yellow. And it is going to take a lot more of the 6" rail fence squares. This has got to be a random part of the quilt. It takes nine of the 6" squares to make up one of the 17" star blocks. It all will come from the same fabrics & their randomness continues as they get assembled.

Thing is, it cannot slip into becoming a UFO or there will be a resulting chaos. Its hard to leave such a project and trust notes will explain where it was left and where it needs to go.

I can do the machine quilting on the four quilts to go out this year, and keep working on this back. Part of the back is about counting squares and laying out the pattern.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Scrappy Back

It was exciting for me to have yellows, beiges, & more fall fabrics. It took the entire day to cut strips & piece them, cut them again into 6" blocks. Also, there was enough deep yellow to make the star legs. The front of the Gratitude quilt is in fall colors. The pattern says it finishes at 86" square. 


This Rail Fence Star pattern is a square & I am not sure how it large will finish. What is helpful is that if it needs more strips, there are some left to add. And if it is too large for the top, it can be cut down. It is about 1/4 done here with more strips to be pieced. While, yes, it is a lot of work to make a scrappy back, a lot of wonderful fabric gets used.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Sorting

The 2 flat rate boxes were stuffed with fabric from my friend. My challenge was to find space for them in my stash. Gleefully, I planned a new quilt and some quilt-back projects. However, first, fabric needed to get into its new homes by sizing and colorizing.


The object I selected for my Jungian Psych course assignment was one of my small clocks. It is supposed to be something that you really love. The assignment takes a person pretty deep into their unconsciousness. Then, this morning, I gathered some of them from their shelves and put them on my workstation. None of them are worth all that much. Most I bought. A couple were gifts.

Huge revelation is how addicted to the concept of time I am! I love time travel movies. I had these clocks to keep me on time when I was teaching and traveling. I got them because I have one of those bodies that breaks or stops timepieces worn on it. And over the years, I have given clocks as gifts.

At least 3 of these are going into the thrift store box for July. It is 'time' to let them go. 

How are they a quilting tool? Well, what they do, in fact, is pressure me to work faster. Pressure me in ways that really are silly in physical, mental, emotional & spiritual ways. There is no reward at being held hostage to something whose 'time' has passed. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

1 Block To Go

Actions have always meant more to me than promises. And that is one reason why I am pushing myself to finish those UFO's this year. Well, in complete truth, my promise to myself was to take as many to completion as I could and take the remaining projects at least to the next step. The apron projects are hardest for me.


This block is called 'Lucky Girl'. There is one remaining block in Solstice to Solstice Mystery quilt that I named Gratitude. This is a good thing that only one remains because I am running out of fabric I set aside for the project. And that is a good thing to have used up all those Fall themed fabrics. More than one reason to call it Gratitude.

I am starting to make more backs from scraps. I am always looking for patterns that I can use them in and often find them in the MS Quilt tutorials such as this one. There are often pieces leftover from binding, which is cut at 2.5" wide. Each of the blocks is made at 6.5" square, and they look best if they are done randomly. With all the whites I got from my friend, I can cut the 4" squares of white for the star legs, and make the blocks as I go so they have a plan. 

This pattern will look great on backs for both the Gratitude quilt, in its harvest colors, and the Rising Stars BOM I am working on. With all the fabrics my friend sent combined with the fabrics I have in my stash, I plan to start both backs and have them ready to baste.

It is always a challenge to make a back that completes and compliments the top or front of the quilt. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Log Cabin Quilt

Ok, so sometimes, I cannot help myself. As I started sorting all the new donated fabric I received from my friend, the yellows spoke to me and the Green Bay Packer Quilt evolved.


First of all, I measured what I had on hand for the 16-block pattern, and sorted out what new yellows would go with what I had! There was enough dark green to use as one color for the darkside AND enough of the GBP focus fabric I had for the outer 'light' rows. Red would not work for the center, nor any of the other yellows to golds. However, there was a green batik that blended into both green & yellow & went into the center blocks. Other fabrics were too busy & not in line with the theme.


The pattern book has several layouts. After some auditioning, this is the one that worked. At first the colors seemed bright & a stark contrast. However, it is a sport team quilt & these are colors of the Green Bay Packers. I selected a calmer layout, and while the pattern suggests borders, that part of the quilt is going to evolve with time. The gray team focus fabric makes another pattern. So very interesting to see this in the layout. I ordered more of it to make a final border and hopefully that will lighten it up just a bit as well as extend the sides a bit more.

Some of what I received needs to be trimmed. Its interesting how I can detour from working on the UFO's to making something that wasn't even on my to-do list! I need to have this 'distraction', if you will, in order to keep passion for the fabric art. Also, the new quilting machine should be coming in a few days. Facing endless challenges of finishing what I left undone goes beyond the physical exhaustion of quilting. It is emotionally, mentally, and even spiritually exhausting.

With every UFO, I face my darkness. I face feelings of ineptness, of breaking my own word, of putting myself down for my failures. I kick myself for not having 'notes-to-self' and all the other things either done or not that I judge as failures. Therefore, I NEED new projects from time to time, just as a reminder of the joy quilting brings to me.