Saturday, August 19, 2017

Hand Sewing Binding

I like sewing binding by hand & have tried the machine method & fail miserably. I simply like doing it this way. Well, of course, the first part is anchoring it to the quilt and that is done by machine. You can find a tutorial on You Tube at: hand sewing binding
  • Single thread the needle with about 18 inches of thread.  (If you use more it may get tangled.)  
  • Fold the binding so that it covers the machine stitching line. I use Clover Wonder clips.
  • Pull needle & thread through. The only stitches that will be visible are tiny "bites" into the backing.
  • When you reach the corner, fold the binding so it forms a crisp miter. 
  • You can then whip stitch the binding at the corner, or just continue hand stitching the binding.
Right now, I am hand sewing binding on the Weekend Tote, smaller projects and the Disappearing 4-Patch Quilt, so its quiet work. Nothing is finished, & everything is waiting on photos. I have 60 of the Clover Wonder Clips. Smallest packs are 10 each and I may buy another pack just to extend what I can do in one sitting.

Friday, August 18, 2017

So The Top Looks Good

I worked quite hard to avoid winkles, crinkles, puckers & rumps on the back as I quilt. Straight pinning the lines only helped me think that it worked, yet I did it for every line. And the back still is not perfect. Is it me? Is it my need for perfection? Everything we do, is less than perfect. For all of us.


My guess is that it will wrinkle even more after it gets washed a few times and no one will be any wiser for my struggle. So why then do I struggle for perfection when I know it is an illusion? 

I want to be in the state of mind that sees wrinkles as kickers, like this Women's World Cup winner. Life has wrinkles in it. Things don't always go as we plan. We can go back and try to fix things and in the end, we simply have to do the best we can with whatever skills are left in our bodies to use.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Lesson Waiting to be Learned

As I quilted the first seam, of course when I got to the end of it, turned it over and found several wrinkles on the back. I ripped that line out and decided upon a different course of action. Much to my displeasure, it wrinkled yet again. The stress became so great that I could not return to the project.

Thing is, the stress factor was more than I thought would happen and whatever it was made me feel like not quilting.


Then the thought came to me that there must be a lesson about wrinkles that I am resisting. I hate this selfie but it is my reality, wrinkles and all. Not only do I see them spreading like that 'roadmap of my life' over my face, they are suddenly appearing on the backside of quilts! What's up with that? Now? After all these years of quilting there are wrinkles? I looked up the word and found this: wrinkle
noun
1. line or an arrangement made by the doubling of one part over another:
2. An indentation or seam on the skin, especially on the face:
3. Informal. clever, unexpected new trick or method:
Informal: kicker
Slang: anglekick
verb
To make irregular folds in, especially by pressing or twisting:
creasecrimpcrinklecrumplerimplerumple

What I wonder most is about the metaphysical impact of any cause when all I can see is the effect. A major part of this blog was set in place for me to learn spiritual lessons through my quilting. Well, here is one. Wrinkles. And I am not sure how to wrap my head around it.

Practically speaking, I decided to pin where I planned to stitch to keep it in place. Yet, the act of pinning was also too much. It seemed that I was trying to strong-arm it through the issue or problem. I thought about clamps because the two quilts this happened to both hung over the tables and might not have had the back tight enough. Practical possibilities.

However, that is not what the greater meaning was all about. The words that define WRINKLES are quite rich in meaning themselves. If I am ever going to accept what is happening on my face, perhaps the informal definition is key; words like kicker for instance. Isn't that a kicker? might be a better thing to say to my reflection in the mirror and to the quilt line on back.

Ah well, the roadmap to my life is there, and the only thing to do about it is called Radical Acceptance. However, those wrinkles on back of the quilt are a different story.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Finally Basted

I've heard it said that joy is a secondary effect of a primary action. When we create an environment that supports and encourages someone else, we find joy in the doing. Certainly my quilts do that for me and the recipients.


I've had these last 2017 quilts ready to baste, and got this one done today. It is a 72" square so just is over the edges of 2 lunch-room tables about an inch, and because I had a harder time taping down those sides, it took longer to baste and ensure that everything stayed in place.

I have to say that because the size challenged me, my mantra was 'spark joy, spark joy, spark joy' over and over to remind me. 

In the past when I had a larger quilt, I put three tables together but then had to almost crawl to the center of it to baste. That was yet another reason to keep them smaller. When I do a repetitive pattern like this one, I don't really know how big it will end up. Of course the border sizes could have been smaller, but its basted now and ready to machine quilt. 

I bought a lighter green thread, have the bobbins loaded and the quilt rolled to fit in the throat of the machine. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Scraps From Weekender

Often we can look right at something and not see it. Sometimes we see what we expect to see and sometimes we just miss what is right in front of us. Things are not always what they appear to be. I find that with scrap quilting. Sometimes I have to walk away from a project even if it means that it becomes a UFO.

Although scraps were small, with the very high cost of that poly batting, & the fact pieces were already quilted, I decided to make smaller, quite smaller totes from them.
I squared pieces and joined the smallest piece to make a small bag, which I will keep for myself. The binding was easy to do. I found some white cording and will need to come up with some sort of closure. I might look for a magnet thingy at the fabric store. My own small Coach strap broke, & this smaller quilted bag is perfect for my cell and credit cards. Its so Springy that I feel like its a take-off on the Game of Thrones House Stark words about Winter. 

"Spring is Coming."

The other one...well. I have another scrap to use as a side insert. I am not sure what kind of straps to put on it, so it will become a bit of a UFO if I don't get to it right away. It would be nice to finish and send to #4 Granddaughter with the Weekender. Not sure.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Weekender, Hah

It has been said that the world's greatest killer is the sense of inferiority. An inferiority complex. Clearly, it is chronic for me. On my good days, in the morning, especially, I start out with a new sense of self and go forward hoping to have success along the way.


This Weekend Bag Tote is a WIP (work in progress) and I wanted to do as much as I could while memory of instructions given during the last few moments of the class is still with me.This was Day 4.


It is rolled over & clippied for hand sewing. It most likely will take me to Day 5. However, its got to wait until I purchase dark green thread to hand sew the binding. I can consider it a UFO or a WIP. Either way, it sits in a bin for awhile and I need to go onto another project. All that angst. 

When will I ever learn?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Class

One reason I like taking classes is to get socialization. There is more to any process than just going to the class, conference, seminar or meeting. Yes, it is socialization, yes it is learning. What I needed and received was validation and support. 

With this particular project, there was no instant transformation, no shortcuts, in spite of great explanations for the project, & tips from the Instructor as well as from other participants. It was still hard work from the moment the class started. 

At home, I had really beaten myself up with how inept I felt. I hated how it looked. It made me sad on so many levels as I struggled to follow the directions, and longed for it to transform and saw only a mess that I thought was unfixable.

Remarkably, this project turned into a work of art.

I wonder how I can recall the way I felt when I was so frustrated and lost, and see the truth of it. I was so dangerously close to giving up with all the frustrations I felt. Of course, the very problem I had with putting it through my machine was something the other participants experienced.  

It took me 2 days of quilting. The class was 6 more hours, and I am far from the finish on it, easily taking a day or more. 

It was nice to be in the company of other women. We chatted, worked, laughed a bit, and supported each other with gentle affirmations.

An important lesson I wish I could keep is seeing how things do work out. Another important lesson is that I am not alone and can seek the company of others when something inside me yearns for those splendid others, people who like what I like and enjoy me being me.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Pushed Beyond My Comfort

As I worked on the pre-class work for the Weekend Tote, I felt very pushed beyond my comfort in endless ways. 


The 100% poly batting was stiff and hard to handle because it is stiffly made for totes. The first time I basted, one side wrinkled and the whole thing needed re-doing. Even with the walking foot & rolling one side, seams wrinkled, so I moved my machine out to the desk, found unused garden gloves, pinned the roll & kept on going. Okay, enough whining.

Although I cut 22 strips for the strip version, and am pleased with the combination, I decided that this whole cloth would be easier, and oh my, am I glad I took the easier way to go. At least, I saved myself the joining of all these strips in an attempt to be ready for class. The weight of the sandwich pulled at the machine and pulled fabric as well. Quilting has to be done before class so I pushed on, in spite of the feelings the work generated.

When a person undertakes any action, they want to feel a sense of accomplishment with the purpose. And when THINGS or parts of the project stop working as you hope or plan, it is easy to feel like it is your fault, or your lack of talent, and that you cannot do it. All those feelings hit me. Yet, I pushed on.

I am glad it worked out to make with this fabric and will go to one of the Granddaughters if it gets finished. I hope to get tips from the other members and instructor and with a little luck, the next time I go to make it, things will turn out. Personally, I think it is the stiff batting, but time will tell.

I don't want to put blame elsewhere, nor do I want to take it on myself. It would be nice to find a balance in all of this, and maybe that will happen in time.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

New Class

Benjamin Disraeli, who served two terms as Prime Minister of England, once said that the secret to success is consistency of purpose.


I am quite committed to shopping from my closet. I am quite committed to the consistency of this purpose. I signed up for a class at one of the local fabric stores to make a Weekend Tote using the MN Wild fabric I have, plus some coordinating fabric. The instructions would make the bag in 3 styles, so I need to measure the scraps I have to see what will work, and get started by cutting and quilting for the steps before the class.

I watch a lot of tutorials, and yet, NEED to get into a classroom setting every once in awhile to up my game plan a bit. Totes I have been making are quite, quite simple, using orphan blocks that end up being a smallish tote. This bag is larger and measures 22"x15"x8". It also has a clasp. If I am lucky with how it turns out, it will make a gift for my younger Son.

EDIT: The pattern includes three styles using whole cloth, a jelly roll, OR 5" charms. Once I learn the technique, I have another way to use up what I have. It looks like a purse from the photo, because the view from the side isn't shown. When I didn't have enough fabric to do the bag I wanted, I went into my stash and found pieces that I can cut into my own jelly roll.

The pattern says it takes 22 WOF at 2.5" so I need to get cutting and piecing. There are lots of blues/teals that will make up a bag perfectly. Unfortunately, too many of them are floral. I plan to shop at JoAnn's online to get what I need for my Son's bag.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Yaey, A New Quilt Kit

It took me awhile to label all the cut pieces in one bin, and now they are colorized too. I really wanted to make a quilt from the Halloween scraps I have, but there is not enough for any of the required parts to make it work.

I turned back to what IS there in the bin, and pulled out this combo, which DOES meet the requirements. This quilt pattern says it finishes at approximately 63" x 76" which makes a nice personal nap quilt. I am enchanted by house block quilts and this will have 4 machine embroidered house blocks.

I am taking a trip to the big city a little later and plan to purchase 5 yards for the back, and hopefully will find it on sale.

I am also going to look at the Halloween fabrics for an older purple with web fabric. One of the 'kits' I made needs a bit more of it. Its tempting to buy enough to use this quilt pattern, but the goal is to shop from my closet first and only go out shopping in stores to finish a project.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Nurse Mug Rug

Every once in awhile, I come across some 'word' patterned fabric and use it for something specific. Then it sits in my stash.


This fabric was for nursing. I still have scraps and decided to make a mug rug for my #2 Granddaughter who works in a WI senior care center. Her heart has always been sensitive to the needs of others, so it is a perfect profession for her. She is just starting out in her career & as any newbie in any profession, gets more of the work & less of the decision-making.


The other side uses up more of the fabric with two different highlighted words. I am not sure if she will take it to work or keep it at home. 

I used a different stitch on it...a sort of wavy line just to test how it looks. I may try it on one of the quilts going out yet this year. 

I have yet to make an appointment to baste. Our car is in the shop yet. The last part the mechanic needed is supposed to come today, hopefully meaning it is finished soon. I haven't planned to get to the PO until Saturday any way.

I have only one bin of fabric pieces and first colorized them. Then I measured each piece and labeled it with the size. It is getting harder to work with the scraps for quilt tops and I may need to start on the 'kits' I made sooner than planned or simply start finishing the 2018 projects sooner.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Black Cat Mug Rug

I have a lot of little scraps from Halloween that I used to make a mug rug for one of the swaps.

One swap pays attention to animals often symbolic of the holiday. I selected Black Cats to send out because I found this very cute 4" square that fits in the center of the mug rug perfectly. The Black Cat is in the bottom corner and a bunch more for the back!

The swap require other little things, so I printed off Edgar Allen Poe's famous short story called 'The Black Cat'. Its the one where the guy changes because of alcoholism, abuses and kills his wife, hiding her body in a false wall in the basement. When the cops come looking for her, they almost miss her until there are screams coming from the wall. Sure enough, the cat got walled in too. Its classic Poe.


I also found some Black Cat facts, like there is only one true breed that has real black to the root black ...the Bombay. I know this is true because I get my long-haired cats groomed and when they are cut close to the skin, the hair is so much lighter. I found a black cat tipped pen I have never used, made a black cat bookmark & found some paper accessories for other crafting. So my partner should be happy. I am.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

SwapBot Exchanges

I did post this pic on FB to show that I do more than quilt. 


And while I did more organizing around the studio, this was my only accomplishment. In one way, papers and simple crafts like this are completely related to quilting. It is about color and composition. The process to do an Artist's Trading Card (ATC) and the holder, is interesting. The card is a regular playing card that is painted so the paper sticks. Then I used a couple of small scraps, glued them & cut them to fit. I had a couple of stickers, and used a glitter glue to add the dots & drips. After it all set, I brushed it against a stamp pad to give it another layer. The holder is double sided paper folded on four sides to fit and it is tied with the rope. 

Paper crafting is not my thing. There are few papers left from when I did some scrapbooking and not many accessories or tools.

I agreed to take over this group and set up swaps. And I have one starting every week until Hallows. This one was #2 and thus far, I did 8. It pushes me to do something different. #3 is just sending soft goods. I have a small pillow and an oven mit in the envelope, so I try to vary craft and simple assembly.

One of the swaps selects a Halloween animal and asks participants to send goodies to their partner focusing on this one. I chose the Black Cat, just to be safe and am going to make a mug rug out of scraps I have. Pics to follow when it is finished and ready to ship.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Radical Acceptance

Quilting is an issue for Radical Acceptance.

Victor Frankl is quoted: Everything can be taken from me but one thing: The last of the human freedoms— to choose my attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose my own way.                         When I am no longer able to change a situation, I am challenged to change myself. Between stimulus & response there is a space. In that space is my power to choose my response. In my response lies my growth & my freedom.
I read his book MAN'S SEARCH FOR MEANING when I was in high school, more than 50 years ago. Yet, here I am full circle, finding him again. Now, they credit this quote as a way to find Radical Acceptance. It is when we acknowledge reality for our life and at its core begin to channel energy to move on no matter what it is we face.

I thought I understood it all those decades ago, and now it makes even more sense to me.
The storage issue I had was about not being able to see what was in the clear containers. They really needed an inventory label. I had been wasting countless hours pulling them all out to find what I was looking for. The heaviness of each box was draining my physical strength. After pulling them all out, going through to find what I need, packing them again and putting them back, the day seemed as spent as I felt.

OMGoodgoddess. It was just like issues in my life! These containers were not sparking joy for me and I couldn't see.
Personally, I was fighting against aging, allowing myself to become depressed & feeling hopeless about what I did, how my quilts looked, and how I looked. I couldn't see what was inside because I wasted time looking at my outside image.
In my attempt to solve this storage issue & how it wore me out, I pulled everything into the room again, AND printed off or wrote labels for everything inside a container. I put the 2019 projects on the bottom stack in the corner, with the 2018 projects on top. In front for easy access were the projects that could be ,or might be finished yet in 2017. Plus, I labeled fabric & batting bins even though I could identify them. 
The Bird Quilts are finished and ready to ship, just not yet. They are on the bottom yet in front. I like to go through them, shake them out and refold so they don't crease as they wait.
Radical Acceptance is about healing one's self. It is recognizing that while life might not be fair or not be what one wants, it is what it is. Healing comes when you can move on.
It has been a joy to use what I have in my closets & watch the stash of it all diminish. 
Funny, that is exactly how I feel about my personal skills. Change is inevitable & I just want to keep going until it is done. My stash & my life. Its not morbid to accept change. It is healthy and necessary to live full out at any stage. 
I stopped joining swaps, simply set up to exchange blocks. It didn't work for me because I never felt like I measured up, even if that was an inaccurate perception. Stopping the swaps was clearly radical acceptance. I had less control over what I needed for myself.

What I had been doing with my organization in the studio simply wasn't working either. It was vital for me to find a different way, and with the blessing of the old gods & the new, this way might work for a time. 

And as far as how I feel when I look in the mirror or how it seems I have less energy to quilt, well, I did something in creating these labels. I tried taking a selfie to post here, but after way too many blurry images or stupid head tilts, I gave up and gave in.
I've actually got two goals with my things in the studio, in my home and in my gardens. First of all, I only want to work with projects that spark joy for me. When I get to the point in working with something that no longer serves my heart song, or abilities, then it gets to move along. Secondly, most people leave things behind for someone else to deal with. When that happens, I hope my labeling helps.

Part of the Radical Acceptance is knowing that I need goals and meaning in my life. I need hope. Having bins with projects to finish for the next three years might get me through all this fabric. 

It is what it is, and will be what happens.

Friday, August 4, 2017

August BOM

When the August BOM for Rising Stars came out, I was delighted to start working on it if just for a change in what had become routine. HOWEVER, sure enough, the bin that I thought held the project was missing. That sent me back in the closet yet again. Even though my bins are clear and even though I label them, my own notes are less clear than I would like.

So while I had almost everything out on the floor again, I re-sorted. The only comfort I can take is knowing that when the quilts get finished they will go out the door. And the second comfort is in knowing my stash is diminishing with time.


The block wasn't easy, yet it is really lovely. Also in the bin are coordinating scraps gathered to use on a back. I even had a pattern. What I decided to do was to start on its back before putting the container away. At one time, according to a note-to-self, I decided to make these scraps into a Rail Fence pattern, which actually would make a good balance to the sampler style BOM on the front.

I got a few of the 2.5" strips joined and ran out of thread. I know, its another excuse to have a UFO. And so I went onto to something else.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

UFO Reality Check

As I looked at my sidebar for 2017/18 projects, I realized ALL of them are actually UFO's for some reason or another. It is maddening and quite frustrating for me that I didn't see what I was doing, or not doing. I followed up on my primary commitment earlier this year to finish the UFO's that caused me angst, so that was honesty. And done. However, even though most of the hard cases are finished, what remains is just a list of projects that simply needs finishing.


What I want to do is take each project one at a time & bring it to completion. There are some UFO's in my closet, invisibly tucked away in bins. No lie. When I come across one, I might put it to the top of the sidebar to-do list or might decide if it's time to put it in the giveaway box. Now that I have it in my mind about giving a 'spark joy' value to things, I am less likely to keep something I won't finish in the near future.

It is my hope to take the next 2017 quilt in for basting early in the morning some time soon; then machine quilt it, get binding on it, and have it ready to ship in September. 

One UFO on the list is for quilt backs from scraps, and as that is on-going until all the containers are gone through, I will do them whenever there is a pause in other projects. That helps me not get burned out too.

It only took a few hours for me to join rows to make one from 6" squares. These will be simple projects easy to work on between more complex quilts. However, the goal to use up what is cut & in the bin. I'd like to have a lot of them at the ready to use. They turn out so simple. I thought about making them into comfort quilts if there ends up being more than I need for backs.

Also, there are 2 quilt-alongs I joined this year that are high on the list to complete; one that needs fabric (purple with webs), or failing the find, must be a re-designed project. The majority of 2018 quilts are ready to baste and so next year will see me do a lot of machine quilting. 

I am much better at leaving myself notes-to-self, so that helps me to take out a project and get right to it rather than ruminating endlessly about my next steps on it.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

2-in-1

I finished binding a quilt that has a BOM Mystery pattern on the back and a Calendar BOM on the top. The top is a calendar quilt that my friend Rex & I made and swapped each month. So it has all the blocks she made, which are quite stunning. The back is a BOM we joined together and is extended to fit the top.


That means two quilt projects were put together and are now out of the UFO status to be of use. This mystery quilt was a challenge for me and used up what I had for all parts of the blocks and binding.

This quilt stays in my home so that the care of it is more secure. When Rex & I made our blocks, we traded off each month's ideas for the theme and then did what we did. I might have pics of what I made for her somewhere. However, this is my finished version.


I took on a bigger task than I realized to finish UFO's this year. 

(Shown here with a King-size pillow inside, and clips to do the binding.) I probably will finish the hand binding on the B&W tote and then can attach the straps. I used 40 of the 5" charms for the outside, two White & B pieces for the sides, and a B&W for the inside and binding. All of this came from my closet. I did a dark/light layout to maximize the contrast. It is a smart looking bag that will go with any outfit my Granddaughter wears. 

Finishing up the UFOs brings on a lot of emotions and mental angst. Yet, when each of them gets finished and is removed from the sidebar, the sense of accomplishment is grand. Interestingly, with all the fabrics that get used, there is still so much left.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

UFO Tote

My plans for this B&W Beach Towel Tote bag, sort of got set aside, which is what makes up a UFO. There was nothing really keeping me from it. I had fabric choices, batting and strapping.

Its interesting how things do get set aside. No way to know if it was how I was feeling either physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. There were no notes-to-self on the pattern that let me think this was any different than the 3 I made before. Now, that might have been it. Maybe I was going to rearrange squares and now won't. Time shifts things.

Maybe I was just burned out making them, and wanted to step back a bit. The important thing for me right now is not to stop. I know I cannot expect real rushes of emotion all the time, however, I want to make quilt projects I like, and hopefully that means recipients like them too.

The next goal I have for this project is to get the batting cut, and the three pieces pin basted. I do a simple stitch for quilting, and then its just adding binding & straps, and out the door.