Thursday, March 23, 2017

Peace, Love, Grinchmas Quilt

The BOM facilitator quit at month #10 for this Mystery. I am not sure if she had personal issues or was frustrated with the layout alternatives some participants posted or what. She just issued the last block, gave a brief summary of possible endings and was gone!

There were options for making more blocks that added to the two different ones already completed. I opted to lay them out as an A+B design and call it done. It comes out to a nice size for a personal lap quilt. Whatever plan she had for borders was not released, so fabric got set aside for it now waits for another project.

I used a beige with small holly on it for the first 3" border, and a flange in red as a separator between the first and second border which measures 4", and is the aqua Grinch fabric. Both colors are seen in the center of the quilt and coordinate wonderfully. I plan to look for an aqua tone on tone for the back to give one side a less busy look. It goes into the bin of other UFO projects waiting for my next purchase. I would like to finish three quilts before the holidays to get them shipped as gifts this year.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Neighborhood Top

Phew...this is a big quilt for those I usually make. It took a lot to trim to size and add extensions to a couple of ends.

Unfortunately, it goes back to being a UFO for now. Seams need checking and loose threads need to be clipped. Just not today. Sometimes when a quilt has endless details to it, I like to set it aside and work on other projects. I feel that way now.

And because it is such a dark day outside, the light doesn't show well into the room for a clear photo. However, the top is done. I plan to use the same green as binding and it is enough. As I worked on it, I thought about doing a back by joining 10" squares I have cut and are sitting in my stash. I might pull them out and see what could happen. There are so many random lines in it too that I believe machine quilting with a diagonal stitch would work on both sides.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Happy Spring!

I am posting this photo taken on a Sunday trip to San Juan Capistrano. The flower crown came to me as part of a SwapBot exchange. Many people commented on it as I walked the grounds. It was fun to wear and I plan to use it when I go out into town this Summer. I haven't had a photo for some years, so seeing wrinkles came as a shock. And its an 'Oh Well' sort of thing.

Row Houses

Measuring, adding background, pressing and measuring again. What I wanted to do was to measure from the longest row that was joined, which turned out to be about 61" and I am going with that first.

At this point, its all about the rows and not the order they go in. At least for now. This one is actually Row #3. It is my hope that they will go together without too much more juggling. It IS easy to rip a house block and change it. If the rows need more to make them all measure up, it is easy to add to one end. As I worked on them today, they ended up really close.

The first row has a red house, barn and silo. The big thing, yet again, with my quilts is that they are made from scraps in my closet. It gets to be busy so what will save it, even though it is also scrappy, is the blue sky background. Also the green sashing from one piece of fabric will help. It has a soft batik look to it.

The second row got that bigger house towards the middle, so I am strongly leaning toward switching the gray-castle-like one to fit at the other end. The top two shown here have threads clipped, are measured the same and pressed. This one needs all that work, and the last row which lays on third is yet to measure out correctly. 

The last row has a tent, which replaced a boat block on the original pattern. The flaps open and once the sashing is on, I will find a way to secure one of the flaps open.  It is a mighty busy quilt. Mighty busy. But my guess is that it will work very nicely. My next step is cutting the green for the sashing and side borders. Its going to be a rather large quilt with the house rows measuring 60" without a border, so I am not sure a second one will go on it. Things change, and all I can do is keep going on it.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Neighborhood Quilt

I set this BOM quilt away because the green fabric I had for sashing was being used underneath my Winter Village, which is down now & put away. Fabric is washed and ready to cut. 

Typical of the UFO's I work on, there is so much more to doing them when I return to the project. I left it thinking all I had to do was add sashing. Hah! Threads need clipping, and each row needs to measure up the same width. So I started doing that part, which could take me a couple of days.

I did finish hand sewing the binding on the camping towel tote while I was on the train yesterday. I need to buy strapping for it when I shop on the weekend.

I did not realize how much work meeting my commitment to work on and finish the UFO's in my closet would be. I mean it is really work. It starts with regenerating passion about the project. Luckily with the Neighborhood quilt, it will go to my youngest Great-Neice and is part of the quilts I plan to send to all of them (3 grrrls and a boy). There is no hurry as they were not planned for this year as gifts. And that is part of the downside of these projects. 

For such a long time, I pushed myself to complete them in order to ship them off as gifts. Now they are allowed to linger.

My gardens call for attention these days. Most of the work is weeding and pruning back winter kill on the larger plants. Its quite easy to fill the trash bin each week. I need to move some of the mulch from one section to another. It is best not to have bare ground and so the mulch will come from areas where the plants, like mint, have taken off already.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Gratitude Mystery BOM

Once again, this Mystery quilt is done without my knowing  an outcome. I don't know where the blocks will lay next to each other, nor do I know if I am selecting the correct colors.

The more I work on it, the more I think I want to call it Gratitude. After talking with my friend about these latest two Mysteries, she 'pre- selected' the other one called Seasons for her husband. There are two more months to finish up, plus borders for that one.  

She tells the story about how he gets up every day, makes himself an early breakfast with coffee, and then cuddles up on the love seat until it is time to go to work. Every day. He takes his jacket and covers up with it. Before she told me the story, I was leaning toward giving him Seasons and now believe it is his. He is a sweet man and is good to her.

Then I cut out, pinned, pieced, and quilted the three parts of the next tote; the body and 2 sides. Its ready for joining and then the binding will go on for hand stitching. I am planning a train ride down to Capistrano on Sunday so having hand work is perfect for 3-4 hours there and back again.

Friday, March 17, 2017

In Between Times

There is a long-standing tradition about the 'tween' times as holding magick; those times just before sunrise or sunset, just as the ocean touches the sand; or when you hold your breath and exhale; or that moment between being alone and falling in love. It is that space that separates one moment from another, one day from the next. We all have our own magickal moments that signal life and death, sadness and joy.

Well so it is with quilting projects.

Especially now that I have felt great joy in finishing one UFO and then looking at the list on my blog sidebar only to discover that there are others, more, next.

And so, the next thing I did in the studio was to bring out my warmer-weather clothes which are also kept in one of the closets, go through my kitchen towels converting some to rags, and exchanging Winter towels for Spring/Summer, and then to put away my Winter Village. The Spring Village is ready to go up, yet for another day. It was a still day and it was a good day.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Finishing the Mystery Quilt UFO

One thing I am quite aware of is that there is a huge sense of accomplishment when I finish a UFO.

Yet, when it is still unfinished, all I want to do is avoid it. This one was a Mystery Quilt, so I gathered two colors and a background color as per the instructions. Instructions were in reds and greens for the holiday, but I had made enough holiday quilts, and so decided to make more a patriotic theme. I forgot that reds and blues bleed. Before I basted it to the batting and back, I did wash the top with Color Catchers that both turned purple. The white in the top did not bleed. And so that was a smart choice.

The reason this quilt became a UFO was that I felt inept regarding the points. Close up is different that farther away. It is actually fine. Nice. Acceptable. The points look like they work. The first wash took out the potential bleed. A box of the Color Catchers with laundry instructions releases me of all obligations once it is given away.

I put on an audiobook while I finished the binding. I remember watching the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, so this book is fun. The reader has a southern accent; the book is written with Sookie as narrator of the story. It is fun to listen to and is the first of the series, so I hope to listen to them all. Audiobooks work for me while I quilt because I do not need to look up & its easy to pay attention to my work. Obviously, I could not do it if I need to cut.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

UFO Challenges - Healing Emotionally

I am not hosting a UFO Challenge, nor am I participating in one. I am working to complete a list of my own during this year. They are incredibly difficult. I've been trying to figure out why. 

First of all, when we abandon a project, because it is all about abandonment, so much is going on and it might be different for each project. I cannot help but think of people abandoning each other; children being abandoned, lovers; toxic relationships or situations.

In order to look at quilting projects that are my UFO's, being honest, means I personally have abandoned the ones that are now on my list to finish this year. While they are not little children, nor are they lovers, at one time, I did feel a strong connection to making them. Then, something INSIDE ME, walked away from the projects. 

I can see three reasons for this as I write this morning.

Honestly, sometimes, I got busy with wanting to finish projects that had deadlines. Those projects without deadlines to finish got put in a bin to work on later.

Sometimes, I found myself in over my head without the proper skills to work on the project or to finish it. As is said, I bit off too much to chew.

And then, I found one (so far) that I had no desire to finish.

When I looked at that project, it became quite clear that I would never want to work on it again. There was no one I wanted to give the quilt to, and I was simply done. I bundled up the quilt top/bottom/binding, PLUS extra like-themed fabrics that I knew I would not want to complete and sent them to another quilter who makes comfort quilts for others. Its in her closet now to make a choice to finish the first quilt and to start on another one. I am done with it.

That seems to be it, either they had less priority in my life, I needed more training to handle it, or I was done with it.

Organization played an important part in getting to this point where I could work on my UFO's. Next it was commitment to the project. If I wanted to finish it, then I really have been pushing myself to work on it. For instance, that Red/White/Blue quilt only has simple horizontal stitches, yet I find that it is taking so long. After each line is done, I flip it to make sure it didn't wrinkle. Then it gets rolled again to fit into the machine throat. I am not sure why it is taking so very long and already, because of the duration or the weight of it, I find myself wanting to set it aside. 

However, I am committed to finishing it before going onto the next project. And so I will.

Looking at them like abandoned children, lovers or toxic relationships has helped me sort things and make new choices. The thing we often fail to look at is the person who did the abandoning. It is always easier to make them the bad guy or gal, but when YOU are the one who does the abandoning, then it is easier to justify your reasons. It feels essential for me to take responsibility for my quilting projects and either ONE; get on with it or TWO; release it. In both cases, whether it is a person or a project, this is all about healing our previous choices in life.

Monday, March 13, 2017

White on White

I started machine quilting the Red/White/Blue quilt with white thread. The back is white too, and I decided to quilt the lines horizontal. It took me a little while to lay out the quilt and think of options.

Its hard to see in the photo because of the lack of contrast, yet that is the whole idea. Its about half way done and while this probably should be easy, it is still weighty. I don't really want to work on other projects until this quilt is done, from the machine quilting to the hand sewing of the binding. It was a UFO and so my goal is to complete it and not have it wait for another time. It is going to take me the rest of this week, I am sure.

Meanwhile I went outside to pull the first bucket of weeds. I barely got things done in front of the window here by my desk. Weeds are coming up I haven't seen for years, and of course they have DEEP roots already. I think weeding will be a constant task this year with as much rain has fallen.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Colorizing Scraps

I decided to make another tote...camping, beach. What it does is to carry a LOT of linens whether they are pillows or towels or other fabric items. It is big enough and works.

After asking my eldest Granddaughter if she camped and if she took such things on her trips, I decided to make another tote. Thing is, I have a lot more 4" squares than I do 5" which got thinned out in the last few projects. I went to the calculator and realized I could sew 6 across and 10 down to get the same size. Then the small bin they were in was such a mess. It is colorized now and this is what I pinned together in rows. 

Bobbins are loaded for quilting the red/white/blue quilt and so this project will wait until then.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Beach Tote #2

I was delighted to finish another one of the Beach Towel Totes. I liked using the 5" charms, as well as finding scraps for the inside lining and the two sides.

Here is the bottom of the Tote. Its the part of the tote that gets missed. I loved using odd combinations and lined them up in rainbow-like rows. The piece takes five across and 8 long to make the full outside of the tote. It is a large enough tote to carry pillows or towels. 

This time, I put in my rolled up lap quilt & a king sized pillow.

The top of the tote shows green fabric with pink flowers and green leaves for the lining, a side panel, the two straps and the rolled up quilt. Its so easy to carry with linens of any kind needed for the trip. The straps let you carry it over your arm. Its a hard tote to photograph so a person can see how it works. I just love it and hope that my Granddaughter will enjoy it when she goes camping again this Summer. 

I have become fascinated with totes and signed up for a tutorial that comes from a woman in Australia. She uses quite different words than we do...wadding instead of batting, for instance. Eventually, I would like to replace the cheap bags I have for fabric totes. Some time ago I made one to carry the quilt parts to the clubhouse for basting and I love, love, love it. It is far too large to carry really heavy objects in it but the quilting projects are perfect.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Solstice to Solstice BOM

This is the BOM that is radically different from the others. A new pattern is released on the 1st and the 15th of each month and there are many sizes to it.

This one is a Jacob's Ladder pattern and it is 12/25 for the quilt-along. I've done this block before and it is much easier if the fabric is not directional. I like how it turned out. The challenge will be where it goes on the layout and what is next to it.

The Light/Dark combination is often seen in quilting. Simply thought about it as an 'only a contrast' expression in our quilts, however there are so many more implications when the phrase is used elsewhere. 

Right now as I study my Jungian Psych class, it becomes apparent that every archetype, every complex, every neurotic act has many levels of being as we look for the shadow. And the phrase 'light/dark' has racial implications for some or simply a way to grade skin color. It can be a right or wrong evaluation to others for basic choices or critical morals. Why do we do this? Why cannot it be just contrast? Different. Complementary. 


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wolf Panel Finish

Someone once said that it is not where we come from, or even where we are that tells our story. It is where we are going that matters. 

I really love this panel quilt. Well, what I actually love is the Wolf. I love all the dreams and stories about wolves.

No matter which thread color I would have selected, it would look like 'damage' to the image, even though it is quilting and that is what a quilter does....she quilts. From this distance across the room, you cannot even see the stitches. I used the same brown to bind it as was on the last border. I wanted to make another green border and then add another brown, but scrap quilting uses what you have and I didn't have enough of the green to do it. The quilt measures 52x71, which is fine for a lap quilt. 

The pinwheels add a very nice dimension to it as well. I would have used that same white for the back except that it has a glitter to it that would make it scratchy. That was not appealing to me so I used a white muslin instead. Actually, I wish I bought a beige but thought white went better with the white pinwheels. It looks fine.

Because of the ROM (row of the month) quilt I am making, I realize the value of using small blocks in a row. And in this case, I love the look that came from it. My quilt projects evolved over time. I always thought I would do more of the free motion quilting and never got into it. Most of my work this year is finishing up those UFOs as well as using fabrics in my closet. Once I get those projects done, maybe, just maybe I can commit to free motion. No promises. No pressure. Not sure if that is where I am going.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Basted Wolf

I spent yesterday working on some Spring Equinox gifts for my Grands and Greats. Most of them are ready, and then I remembered that I need to ship this Wolf Quilt on Friday as well. It was too late to get the clubhouse so I took it to my floor.

Then half way through, I realized there were not enough basting pins so I thread basted. There is not enough of the dark green to do another border so it is what it is and is actually a bit larger than my own favorite lap top, so she will be fine with this size. I want to do an outline stitch around the Wolf, and some of the rocks and trees and then will do a simple shadow stitch on the borders. I selected a white muslin rather than the beige because of the whites in the pinwheels. That makes it a challenge for quilting threads. I have to keep going full out if it is going to be ready for Friday.

After a bad experience with a lost package, I will pay the extra to have all my quilts signed for from now on. The insurance was supposed to be for $50 and that is a joke.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

BOM Pieced

I went shopping today and picked up fabric for several projects, and ordered the Grinch fabric online. Most of the choices were out of stock already, however my first choice for the borders was still there, so I got a yard of it.

When I look at the Mystery quilt picture, I see things I might have changed, but have decided (at least in this moment) to let them go through as they are. What I want to take away from it is the lessons about fabric choices. Every one I am doing right now calls for selecting Light, Medium, Bright and Dark. When it is a Mystery, I can see how important it is to be very aware of those categories. I think I got confused for the Mediums in a few of the blocks. I may have edged them over the line and used them for Darks. It is my hope that the Grinch focus fabric will really take over. This one I just finished is not as pretty as some of the quilts other members made by buying coordinating fabrics or keeping it monochromatic with the combo. Well, I used up a LOT of scraps, and it will be welcomed by this man because of the Grinch. The back will be a plain muslin so a plain white thread most likely will work best for machine quilting.

With all the fabric I just bought, I will be keeping busy for awhile before needing a batting order, which will come next.

Friday, March 3, 2017

BOM Fail

For whatever reason one of the facilitators for a Block of the Month group bailed on month #10, posted some quick borders and gave an idea for a layout and left. One woman on the group voiced disappointment and her comment got a lot of defending comments for the group leader. Oh jeeze. Then woman #1 apologized. FOR SPEAKING THE TRUTH. The others 'accepted her apology and suggested she get on with it by finishing the project or finding another one'. I left the group.

Seriously, whatever happened to the facilitator, either she or one of her close friends might have explained it rather than to leave it to our own creativity. 

Done with that trauma drama.

I have pinned my blocks to the final suggested design. After it gets pieced, I will look at options for borders and am thinking I will order some Grinch fabric, which seems appropriate, and make it for one of my Godson's in Minnesota. The focus fabric will draw the attention to it and not the blocks inside the center. 

It took me awhile to trim the blocks to fit together. One of the suggestions from the facilitator was to make more blocks for a different design. I am not investing in more for it. Pictures will follow when it has more of a finished look. For now, it is a UFO.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

2 BOMs & a Birthday Gift

I was up late last night. I try not to cut or even use the machine just in case I am so tired that I damage my own skin as well as a project. 

Fabric selection starts first with any project. The 2 Mystery BOM's both have designated fabrics. This one is the Harvest collection and asked for a Light, Medium and Dark. The Light certainly takes over, but again, its a Mystery so I don't know how it will be used on the quilt and if I don't like it when the assembly takes place, I can re-do it.

The next one is almost the reverse calling for more Darks on the block. I've put it with the first two to show how they are coming. Its always a challenge for me to be in the Mystery, yet, as I learned and recently seem to say, I love how they turn out!

The other project I worked on is a mid-June birthday gift for one of my Granddaughters. I made myself one and love it so much that she might use hers to carry linens (pillows, blankets & towels) for camping. It is pinned for hand sewing the binding and then the straps go on. I love the lining fabric which was leftover and such a gorgeous piece I didn't want to cut into smaller squares. I will do that with the leftovers now which are all pretty much scraps.

And the remainder of my day is listening to Jungian lectures! 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Wolf Panel

I could not bear to cut into this panel. So I went into my closet bins looking for fabrics that would match and not detract from the print.

I found a Fall orange-ish batik fabric that has grays in it that I used for the first 1" border. It matches some of the trees as light shines on them. Then I found a couple of greens and made a 2.5" second border. The other green was a perfect match with white fabric that has pine needles and pine cones with a little snow sparkle to it. Right now, it measures 42" wide by 60" long. There is a bit of green pine left and some of that orange. I have a lot of white fabric and could use that for the back. My thought is that it needs at least 10" more on both sides, and about 8" more on top and bottom, which would come close to making it 62"x78". Of course, I am just guessing at this point. The remaining borders will go on as they do. I plan to get to the fabric store and would like to purchase a brown batik, but will take what I have made to match it. Right now it is pretty green and a darker last border will frame it nicely.

I am so glad I decided against cutting into it.