Friday, September 30, 2016

A Study in Contrasts

I'm always amazed by the infinite variety of choices we have as modern sewists... how does anyone begin a project when the number of fabrics we can choose from these days goes way beyond the imagination of our fore-mothers who quilted from scraps.

ROY G BIV just doesn't begin to cover it.

I was thinking about this while perusing the Splendid Sampler site this week.

This sampler/group project is being run by Moda's crack team of Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson.  Well, I'm not sure they're actually "Moda's", but you get it, I'm sure. 

There will be eighty-some blocks of various types, pieced, appliqued, embroidered, etc.  And there are bonus blocks and projects using the bonus blocks.  If you worked on these free patterns for a year you would not run out of things to make!

There are two blocks revealed each week. Block 66 is designed by Vanessa Goertzen.  It's a variation of pinwheel plus flying geese.  Her fabric choices are so great, a navy, a light blue print and a white fabric for the geese.  The geese show up splendidly (pun intended) against the navy.

If you go to that site you can scroll down and see photos of the various blocks made by some of the participants, with their color choices in all their glory.

I'm not doing the SS -- YET.  I'm accumulating the patterns, and take them out for viewing when I need eye candy.  I want (need) to get some of my UFOs off the list and onto the F list -- that is finished... before I start something new.

Famous last words.

I pulled out my box of Phone Guy's Wife blocks.  I'm embarrassed to say how long ago these were started.  I'm going to try to make this one my October OMG (one month goal)...

This first block illustrates what I saw when I looked at Block 66 of the Sampler, dark, medium and light, all clearly defined and the contrast is evident.

High contrast, good balance.
This bow tie looked OK in person, but in the photo it's a little muddy... I should maybe have used a much lighter color than that light green solid.

In this block, same thing, the in-person differentiation is better than the photo.  Maybe I should have used the same fabric in the four quadrants and put a sunflower in the center??

Ugh, this one is just awful in the photo.  The dots are really white, and the center and corners are cream with green.

When I had them all up on the design wall all those ages ago, you can point directly to the stuff that doesn't work...  row two, block one.  Row three block two is the one above.  All that work of cutting and piecing those little squares and you can't even tell which is which.

The way I'm actually setting these is below, white sashing and dark cornerstones.  It helps a little, I think.  Trouble is, I ran out of the white and dark green and need to find something to match, or at least not clash with, what I already have sewn together.  More on that later.  Hopefully.
This is a twisted bargello that I started also in the year 1... and here's an illustration of why you should step back from your design wall to see what's really going on.  See the strip in the center, where the colors don't line up going across?  I think I had a couple of the strips upside down or something because clearly this was not the pattern as the designer intended...
See where the design went haywire?  Luckily I saw it in time...
I finally got this wall hanging sewn after a long hiatus -- I think it was maybe three years ago now.  But it's been in the UFO box ever since.  Really, there's no excuse except that with the effort it took to put it together, I got a little tired of it.

I think I'm ready to return.

I think it's beautiful... and it's all sewn together, just needs layering and quilting.  I can't decide if I should send this out or attempt it myself.  I'm calling this one my November OMG. 

The kit was assembled for me by one (or more) of the Quilt Angels at Quintessential Quilts in Reedsburg.   I love the gradations and the transition from brown to teal.  Just the right balance of contrast.

Time to get to work...

Sew on!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Yes But What Have You Done For Me Lately?

I'm working on a big intranet project with my company, trying to learn new things like how to post things to an intranet site, and how to organize pages so people can find things easily.

Big job... easier said than done too.

Just like I said about the sewer systems years ago when I started working for Water Engineers, I know way more about the internet now than I ever wanted to know!  (Note to self, it's a lot more pleasant than learning about sludge, wastewater and the like!!)

So that's keeping me hopping, and with family obligations I haven't had much time to spend in my sewing studio lately.

DH and I celebrated 45 years of marriage last Sunday...  and those years seem like they just screamed by me like Secretariat!!  I don't feel a whole lot different than I did back then.  Well except for the aching knees some mornings, or when it rains, or the exhaustion after a late night or several.  OMG when did I get OLD??  LOL!!

This is my latest project, the denim jacket patches for a coworker...very colorful.  There's one patch for every band he's seen live and in concert.

Do you see the cross on the right side of the photo above?  It says Black Sabbath.  It crosses a seam. Before I realized that I was doing it, I stabbed the needle down and it bent.  It didn't break, but it bent further to the right than I thought was possible.

Maybe the band name was an omen!!!   (music from Jaws...)

I put in a new needle, moved over, took another stitch and BROKE that needle.  I pulled everything out, changed the needle, and rolled the flywheel gently to see what was up.  The needle was hitting about a sixteenth or maybe a thirty-second of an inch behind the hole in the sole plate.

I bent my machine!  OH NO!!  (sounds of groaning...)

OK, that cannot be good.

DH took the machine to our local repair guy at the wonderful Frank's Sewing Center the next day.  I worried... what if they tell me they can't fix it?  Because I have done this before on this machine -- I braced for the bad new.

Three days later, they called and said it was fixed.  They left a voicemail, and didn't leave the cost in the message.

OK, bracing for the worst... DH went and picked it up.  When I got home from work I looked at his face, searching for the bad news that he had to take a second mortgage to pay for the damage I'd done...

<pregnant pause for drama>

It was only about $15 more than what it cost to have it cleaned and serviced for its annual checkup!!  Which they also did while it was there -- Brad, I love you man!!

The rest of the patches are below.  Enjoy the tour!

BTW here's a little app I have on my phone that will do a collage of the photos I have in my gallery.  I thought these pics from the Madison Quilt Exp made a cool grouping.

Last but not least, I used my Joann's 60% off coupon to replace my June Taylor Shape Cut last week. Now I can say goodbye to the broken piece...

Sew on...

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Funnies

Well, it really wasn't all that funny... 

I bought a kit for a cute table runner WAY back when my friend Marla had a quilt shop.  The pattern was one that someone had hand drawn, so I can't even Google it to buy it again.  It was so adorable, I think it was called Over and Under or something similar.  I made about six or seven of them along with some matching napkins.  It's not large, about twenty-four inches from point to point.

I donated one to a fund raising event.  Everyone loved it!  Of course someone asked me if there was a pattern.

Um, yes, somewhere...

My sewing room gets messy quickly, and I am constantly reorganizing.  I have a gazillion binders with patterns in them, along with piles of things that should be in binders, or sorted out and tossed.  It's the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Solution?  I could draw this up, right?  It's not that complicated... but OMG it's on an angle with partial seaming, and I kept having to refer back to the original for how those pieces went together.

I got out the graph paper, and after many tries, I think I gave myself a migraine.  

Cut a bunch of strips.  Sew some pieces together.

Arrange them a certain way

Remember where the setting triangles go...

Sew some partial seams.  Get the colors lined up correctly.

Make one end unit...

Make a second end unit for the opposite side.
I'm in the process of writing this up so I can walk through the steps and see if I remembered it correctly.
Meanwhile I'm waiting for my sewing machine to get repaired.  I bent something working on this:
I'm stitching on all the patches for every concert my friend Ben ever attended....

I'm not sure about his taste in music, LOL!

Be careful when sewing a big thick patch over the seams in a jeans jacket...  broken needles can ensue.  Ask me how I know.

Sew on...

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Haircut


I took Miss A for a haircut on Monday.  It went well, I think.  And now no more drama before school... no more crying, no more nests of tangles!!  Combing was a breeze today. THANK GOODNESS, I hate making children cry when it can be avoided.

Mom and big sister gave it the thumbs up too.  A friend commented that she looks so grown up, like a teenager.  She LOVED that.

Money well spent for peace in the house in the morning.

Rock on...

Friday, September 16, 2016

Google and Some Friday Photos

There evidently were some new features added to Google that I missed.  Figures I'm not that techno-savvy anyway, but this one I like!

I went to add some photos to a post, and the options now include "from your phone".

I used to have to email all the pictures from my phone to my office email because my Yahoo mail account would not let me email them from my phone to my home email account.  AAAGGHH!!  But now I can load them into a blog post without doing anything! 

Very cool.  Thank you, Google!

Here are some random shots for Friday...

This is the underneath side of Miss A's hair after a day of playing outside... and not brushing all the way to the bottom when she brushes in the morning.  I spend at least a half hour undoing all the snarls in the evening.
I feel so sorry for her... When I was small, my dad insisted I had to have long hair. But if you want me to confess to the Jimmy Hoffa disappearance or the Great Train Robbery all you have to do is pull my hair -- just a little.  Stop stop!  I confess!  Just don't pull it anymore!!  PULLLLEEEEZE!!!

At Quilt Guild we were given a new free pattern along with some fabric to take home and make donation quilts.  I pulled some scrappy strips from my bin, and a navy chunk for the outside edges.  All I need is a backing and some binding and this one is good to go.

We did some other strip quilts at family sewing night a couple of weeks ago.  These are from Aunt Zel's scrap basket...  Nancy sewed, I pressed, we got two tops done and a third started.

This is what happens when you leave Miss A in the back seat with nothing to do... she was playing with my Shape Cutter and snapped it into three pieces.  I won this as a door prize many years ago, so I supposed it IS time for a new one...

This amazing piece of work is the property of my cousin Amy.  All paper pieced and beautifully done.  I've always loved the Snail's Trail block.  Someday...

This is a pillow top done in Sashiko quilting that I finally finished.  I took a class at a convention from Nancy Schreiber about OMG I don't even remember how many years ago...  Sashiko is a Japanese hand quilting technique that was originally intended to create and mend clothing that the peasant class wore while working.  Layers made the clothing warm, and the quilting made it beautiful. 

It's more important for the stitches to be uniform than to be tiny, and there are rules about crossing stitches and how they meet at the intersections.  I did a decent job while in class, but then the piece got tucked away and forgotten.  When I pulled it out this past summer, I struggled to remember the rules. 

The next step is to find some coordinating fabric and complete the cover, and stuff with a 14 inch pillow form.

I guess we were on the ten year plan.
Happy Friday!
Sew on...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Quilt Expo 2016, Part II

This post is a continuation of yesterday's photo gallery of pictures I took at the WPT/Nancy's Notions Quilt Expo, at which I was a volunteer docent for three days.  Enjoy the pictures!  I didn't capture everything, just the ones I particularly liked or thought had interesting points to them. 
Acres of quilting...  but our rows got a little wonky on Thursday.  The amazing staff had it all restored on Friday morning!
I wish I had taken one of the 'socks' quilt...  it was made of little kids' socks with designs on them, including everything from Valentine hearts to the Pink Panther.  Boy you can make a quilt out of ANYTHING.
Crazy Quilt, with lots of embroidery.

The thread painting was incredible.  Check the detail on the bluebird.

Lovely floral quilt with lots of detail.  And bugs!  Sorry it's fuzzy.

This quilt has words quilted into the various areas like the stripes of light over the tomb.  And the Ten Commandments on the Tablet are embroidered in a darker color to stand out.  it was beautifully done.

Quilts come in all sizes.  And evidently all shapes.

The tried and true Log Cabin, the 'logs' are 1/2 inch exposures, so the cut strips were one inch in width.  ONE!

Optical Illusion quilts, there were at least 14 by Donna Woods.  Crazy!  Beautiful!

See below... gorgeous!  The photo doesn't do it justice.

The center of a large Dresden Plate. 

This had to have been my favorite... see Maxine from Hallmark?  Lower right corner -- Heads will roll!!

The reverse side says Whose Behind?  It has appliqued ladies from their 'other front' side, and a lot of words for 'BUTT'.  Including BUTT.  A crowd favorite to have the back turned.

I love redwork.  This is all hand embroidered and hand quilted.

Called Forty Shades of Green.  All Celtic symbols.

This one is by Chris Kirsch.  The fabric is LAME' -- you know, the dance costume stuff?  La-May.

One viewer said "some of this fabric is ugly, but what a nice quilt it makes".  I concur.
Can you see the rainbow?  It was a LOONNNGG wall and there must have been at least 300 panels on it.

I am in awe of the workmanship of everything I saw.  I say it again, I'm a piecer, not a quilter, but I admire anyone who does it and loves it. 

Quilt on!