Think about this.....

...the only thing scarier then reaching out to the unknown is settling for that with which we are comfortable.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Wood Grain Quilting

Talk about freeing! Wood grain is one of those quilting motifs I don't think you could really mess up on. Wood is so organic anyway and each slice of it is unique next to another slice of it so here it is when quilted.


It looks like I have a log sitting on my long arm.

It was too dark to check for stray threads last night so I put this up and got out another top from the spare bedroom pile and matched it up with a backing. I'll get that loaded today after working on the AQS piece for a bit this morning. I'll put the AQS piece away for the weekend 'cause I'm needing a break from it for a short while.

Have you every visited Pinterest? I haven't really spent a lot of time out there because I have such an addictive personality, but O.M.G.!!! I think I put about 50 pins into my quilt folder. I have so many great and broadened ideas about what to put into my quilting, and I didn't even start to scratch the surface. I definitely need to stay away from that site as much as possible.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Squaring Leaders

Every once in a while, something just doesn't seem right. I have struggled to know why my backing fabric on my quilt frame never laid straight. They always seem to skew to the right slightly despite my taking extra time to ensure their even application.

A few days ago, I looked across from the front leader to the back leader at a distance away to see if their center points lined up. It appeared they did not.

This morning, before Jim headed off to work, we checked and measured to see if they were applied at equal distances from the gear heads at the end of the leader bar. They were off by about 3/4 of an inch. No wonder I was having to crank up the side clamps to prevent any wrinkles or puckers. Problem solved!

I completed my second charity quilt of the year.

Charity Blocks

Charity Block Quilting
I quilted leaves throughout because the white within the quilt had a subtle flower motif inside of it and I thought this would compliment the overall design. I was going to custom quilt this one, but after laying out the finished top, decided it just didn't lend itself to customization.

Guild meeting was cancelled last night; the weather was getting pretty dicey.

I shall continue on with my AQS challenge piece today, and maybe dress DW in something different later on.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Glimpse

After working on my AQS Challenge yesterday for a lot of hours (and still, the painstakingly slow part is not nearly done) I had to put it away for a while. My wrist, my arm, my fingers, and even my eyes hurt. And, once again, I was fighting with the sun in the late afternoon, because of course, it had shifted around.

Here's a glimpse of what I've been up to for a few days now.

Challenge in Progress
I milled around the studio looking at some of the patterns I had made notations on wanting to work on. I tried to outfit one of them with some of the fabrics from my stash, but that didn't work out so well. I need to do some fabric shopping I think and working on scrap fabrics is getting kinda old.

I have a little paper pieced thingie I do when I can't settle on something so I worked on two of those while I was trying to decide which direction to head next. Stupendous Stitching didn't seem like fun; practicing free motion didn't seem like the solution; standing and staring at my WIP bookshelf got me absolutely nowhere.

"Hey, what's in this bag?"

Next to my WIP shelves I have a chair that I use to get up and down the sides of my walls to hang stuff with, and it's also to offer a visitor a place to park themselves to talk to me while I work. On the corner of that chair is my schlep bag I use to tote various quilt things around in.

It currently houses my next months sew-in project since I didn't get it done a few weeks ago at the last sew-in. Along with my in-progress blocks, were a few cookies (and yes, they were still good) and a charity project Linda G. gave to me two weeks ago. Hark! Something not strenuous to do!

I'm actually very excited to work on this today. Sometimes it's those simple things you can get excited about to make your day look up. Oh, and BTW...the sun is not shining outside, which is typical for a Michigan winter, so I'll make my own sunshine in here by making something warm for somebody else.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Camera Found!

I'll need to find a common place downstairs to put things if I'm shooting pictures down there. This is how the camera got lost in the first place.

Cheddar Stars is done. It's for sale or for charity, whichever comes first. I love the pieced border in this quilt. The stars are paper pieced. I had a lot more unsewing time yesterday on this quilt then I have in a long time.

I had to fix that wonky border that was out of square. I had to unsew part of the binding after attaching it because I didn't get some of the backing in when I was sewing it down. Unsewing is very unproductive, but a necessary event in our line of work I suppose.

Cheddar Stars
I worked on my AQS guild challenge yesterday. I found out that indirect sunlight is better at what I'm doing right now with it then direct sunlight. I worked on it yesterday morning and breezed right along. Yesterday afternoon, after the sun shifted around in the studio, found me struggling to find my thread, so I put that away for another day.

That's how Cheddars Stars became completed so quickly: I couldn't work on the portion of my guild challenge in the afternoon that I'm currently working on.

But, the sun is out today again (hey, this is three days in a row) so I'll work on that until lunchtime and then who knows where the day will take me. Maybe naked DW needs another piece of clothing put on?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Must Find Camera!

Getting photos from my mobile devices is quickly becoming a pain! Take the pic. Send the pic to email. Wait for email to arrive. Download. Move to iPhoto (multiple times before it will be picked up). Make sure it's actually in iPhoto. Delete download. Delete email. Now we can blog.

Worked on Cheddar Stars for a bit yesterday. This is one of my earlier quilts and it certainly is not square. The bottom, left corner is already bunched up and will need to be picked out once it's off the frame.

I don't know whether to quilt within the stars or not?!?

Cheddar Stars in Progress
And, my echo technique needs a bit of improvement. This is why I practice on my own quilts with something new. It really is nearly impossible to quilt a straight line diagonally for any long lengths.

Moving along. It took all day to outline stitch my AQS challenge top. I thought that was going to be the time hog, but come to find out, my next step is the real time killer. So. Painstakingly. Slow!

I found I need pretty good lighting to work on this part of the piece so I had to put it away fairly early last night.

Luckily today we have another sunny day so I'll work on this as much as my back will permit. I have to hunch over it the whole time and even though I'm working on my raised planning table and/or our high dining room table, I still find myself getting pretty close to the fabric to see what I'm doing since the thread I used is pretty well hidden within the fabric.

It looks as though I'll have a repeat of yesterday until I get too bored.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Missing Camera and Guild Challenges

Where is that darn camera? I took it downstairs to shoot a pic of this:

Half Dresden's
And now it's missing. It's not up here in the studio, nor is it downstairs where I was shooting this pic.

Transferring pics from my iPhone/iPad is a pain, pain, pain, so I need to find my camera. This pic didn't turn out very well from my phone either, as you may have noticed.

Oh, hello and good morning. Sorry about the rant. I hate it when I loose stuff. That's why I always put stuff back where it goes; SO much time is lost trying to find things when you lose them.

After obtaining the thread needed for the completion of the binding on this quilt, it is now finished. Hurray! My first self design and after three years, it's finally done.

Onward ho.

Our AQS challenge has been put into motion. I picked up fabric on Saturday, started working on it that night and again yesterday, and here's where I am this morning.

Oops...upside down. Oh well.
This is going to be a long process and will have to be chipped away a bit each day. I'm doing reverse appliqué and the design has been changed about eleven times already. This was a test letter actually within the actual quilt to make sure everything is going out as planned. It's not, but we'll adjust and I'm now moving (again) in a forward motion on it.

Cheddar Stars is currently on DW. It's not as big a quilt as I originally thought so it won't take long to quilt it up.

I have finished my Stitchers Garden blocks for January and have already completed my February homework.

Yesterday I also started a self BOM with a book I purchased a few months back. It's an Edyta Sitar calendar block book and I'll complete one each month so by the end of the year I have something to put into a full sized quilt.

The sun is shining today (at least for now it is) and except for the camera being lost, it should keep me pretty motivated for the remainder of the day.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Two, Two, Two Charities in One

Two charity quilts on DW in one day!

This is Dee's. I just quilted an open simple meander throughout. The top was quite busy (as you can see) and felt like this was about all that was needed here.

Dee's Charity Quilt
Onward ho!

I loaded the Dinosaur quilt without really knowing just how far I was going to get. Plugging away as the day continued found me actually finishing the top before leaving for guild.

It was starting to get a little dark, and continued on even further since I still had another hour and a half before thinking about leaving. Before I knew it, the quilt was complete (save for the label). I shared at guild last night and everybody seemed to like the back as much as the front. Thank you Katie for sharing your dino feet to incorporate into it!

Dino Quilt Front

Dino Quilt Back

We had a wonderful class last night at guild. Mary R. presented the second portion of creating art and it opened my eyes even further into what makes a good piece of artwork. I took a plethora of notes and have included them into the my quilt book library for further reference.

Speaking of art, our AQS challenge is in the forefront. I have had several ideas bouncing around in my head and last weeks meeting found us voting on the direction the quilt was to be made; the conundrum was whether to set it vertical or horizontal. Apparently it was decided at a way prior meeting to set it vertical. However, last week a vote was taken to now set it horizontally. This week presented an issue with that vote.

Making a quilt takes a lot of time, but making a "show" quilt is even further into the time investment category. A few of those who mentioned they would be participating wanted to have a count last night to see who would definitely commit. I mentioned it to our president after the class was finished, prior to our informal time as she was making last minute announcements.

I was lambasted. Not by the president, but rather the VP. Publicly. In front of 28 other guild members. I'm not sure exactly how what I asked for (commitment) was taken out of context, but I was told, loudly, how everybody would be putting forth their best effort. What?

After hearing from her, and I quote, "Well then I have to get snarky here," I basically was attacked verbally in front of all my peers. I. could. not. believe. it!

I grabbed my stuff and left as quickly as I could. A few members snagged me on the way out and talked with me about what just happened, and a phone call later from another member settled me down, but damn! I wasn't asking anything that anybody else who puts this time in wasn't wanting to have asked/said.

Where did I go wrong? I apologized to the whole room if anything I said was taken out of context and that sometimes I have a communication problem due to my lack of a socially structured lifestyle. I thought maybe the VP would call and discuss what was said, but I haven't heard anything as of yet. I'll get over it. I've been through worse. Much worse actually, but, well, a lot of the wind has been taken out of my sails and this is sad!

I will do the AQS challenge. I will put in my usual 110% and it will be something I'm proud of. Will I ever commit to doing another? How does the saying go; time heals all wounds? Maybe?!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Braiding and Baking Soda

This is what took me 45 minutes to do yesterday during class. We actually (kind of) braid with our open toe appliqué foot. It's hard going around these corners and you stitch one stitch at a time, very slowly, which of course, drives me nuts.

Braiding with an open toe foot
I came home all geeked out after class with every intention of finishing my two blocks. Everything was going wrong. I couldn't get my monofilament thread to go into my sewing machine needle. I couldn't get my new free motion couching foot to go on my machine. I ran out of yarn while couching. I decided to appliqué the sole plate of my iron instead of the fabric I was ironing on.

Just great. Fusible web all over the surface of my new iron. Ugh!

Cue rescue music.

Baking soda on a cold iron is a miracle worker. Pour some into a dry dish. Wet a corner of your strong paper towel or finer weave wash cloth/dish rag and scrub away. Miracle upon miracles! The iron looks brand new.

BTW...this also works on your toaster where everything gets all gross especially at the slotted part where the bread goes in.

Perhaps this morning will yield better results in whatever it is I decide to tackle. After last nights debacle(s) I decided to call it quits early and went in to play some stupid mind games.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Row by Row

If you are in my quilt guild and aren't supposed to see each of the rows we make, then don't look!

This is my row by row completed yesterday and I love it! My theme is Kitchen and I started with food items.

Kitchen Row by Row
The Half Dresden quilt is off DW. I didn't complete it because Mike is packed up for class later today. He does a much better job with binding then Laura does so I'll wait a day to get that finished. Still not sure about it and will take a better look through the lens of the camera tomorrow morning.

Loaded Dee's quilt onto the frame and will meander quilt later tonight or sometime tomorrow prior to going to guild. My goal is to have it to her at the meeting.

Stitchers Garden class is today and of course, it's snowing. Thankfully, Jim is home today and can shuttle me around before and after he heads to the doctor. It seems Caleb decided to share his upper respiratory infection with dad. Lucky guy. And, he brought home a flu bug last night too.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

This and That

Brief synopsis:

Thursday: Attended ASQ guild meeting and received Row by Row challenge. Received a Logo challenge (I will not be doing this). Received more directions re: AQS challenge (48" running horizontally---hurray!). Received a 4"-6" circle task. Wow!

Friday: Attended Sew-In and discussed Row by Row theme with other members of the guild.

Saturday: See Friday. Brought home a charity quilt from Dee for quilting.

Sunday: See Friday. Jim came in with me for a bit and worked on restoring Andrew's Spartan S Quilt. We had to "unbirth" the quilt after he removed all the ties used to keep the layers together. Decided on a Row by Row theme. Started pulling pieces for said theme.

Monday: Pulled theme together into a real idea and started assembling blocks. Quit at 9pm and the blocks are completed. I'll put them into their row today now that I've had a chance to look at them in the daylight.

Meanwhile...and all the while...have been long-arming the Half Dresden quilt. I don't like how I started each of the blades on the outside, but I do like what I'm doing on the inside blades.

Inside blade quilting
This morning I journaled about my Row by Row experience. I still have to assemble the blocks into rows, get a measurement of the length of my row and then sign one of the blocks. I have a tote downstairs I can probably put everything in and if not, I'll have to run later and find one somewhere.

I have made my 4, 5, and 6-inch circles. I made two of each. Do I need more? Maybe I should make more for others who forget/can't get them done?!? I'll do that later...if I remember.

My AQS idea is settled in my head and while I'm assembling blocks and long-arming today, I'll finalize my plan of attack on this piece. I may get started on it yet later this evening. Probably not because I have my Stitchers Garden class tomorrow I need to prepare for. Once I get going on this thing I have a feeling I'm not going to want to stop.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

No Electricity?

I woke up this morning to beep, beep, beep...

I thought maybe our smoke alarms were becoming low on battery life. Wrong. It was my modem letting me know our electricity was off. Apparently all of Olivet, Bellevue, and most of northern Battle Creek was out.

For the first time in my life I was actually happy to have to go to the dentist. It was much warmer there since our outside air temps this morning were at -14. The house was becoming cold, and fast!

I scooted over to moms after the dentist office and just arrived back home. The house is still chilly, but we have electricity again. This is why I'm blogging later then usual.

Here's a pic of the extension table I mentioned a few days ago.

Extension behind Mike

See how much more room I have when adding a binding?
The extension can be lowered if I care to do that, but it gives me some added room to set things when I'm not using it for its intended purpose. Until I run into it a few dozen times, I'll probably opt to leave it up.

The house quilt is done. I quilted a row of houses within each row of houses in the top. I added chimney smoke, steam, clouds, birds, and some suns in areas seeming too blank.

Houses
Since I did just arrive home, I'm not sure where I'm headed to in here today. I put the Colorful Dresden on DW yesterday and began quilting it after finishing the Houses. I thought today I had class in Portland but after checking our schedule, found it will be next Wednesday instead.

This weekend is sew-in so perhaps I should prepare for what I'm going to do for that? I'll be turning in my 20" challenge block tomorrow at guild and find out whether it will be DQ'd due to it being quilted rather then just a fabric block. Either way is fine with me since I love the piece and would be just as happy finishing it and putting it here in the studio.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Old and New

This is Andrew's old Spartan "S" quilt. It seems it has nearly reached it's pristine quality with our Restorative treatment to it. I say nearly. I have a few of the fabrics in my small stash bins from the original quilt and it's not quite up to par with them.

Spartan "S"
Notice the ties? This is the problem. We tied the quilt instead of having it quilted (if I recall, time was an issue to get it to him by Christmas that year). Most of the ties have stayed in throughout the green fabric, but for some reason, most of the ties in the white section have pulled through?!

Thankfully, Andrew is understanding and has come to grips this quilt will probably become a wall hanging once we get through working on it.

The original
I found a pic of the original quilt before we even gave it to Andrew. See how much it has faded?

After working with that for a bit yesterday I moved along to another little project, which actually turned out to be a half-day gig. Like I need more stuff on my studio walls, right?

Studio Wall Hanging
I started long-arming the house quilt and got three rows completed on that. From there, I moved along to my Stupendous Stitching piece and did some hand work on that.

The sun is actually out today and will bring warmth into the house. I have no idea where I'm headed in the studio since I've been running around trying to find greeting cards this morning for a dear friends mother who recently passed away. :`(

Monday, January 12, 2015

Totes and Bags

Ya gotta love free classes. Especially when they provide useful information and instructions. My love for Craftsy ever increases as I find free patterns and classes they offer.

This bag class provided me the opportunity to make some much needed shopping bags and to alter the pattern to a size (both with width and height) that Jim and I could live with. We're kind of particular about the bags we use at the grocery store and this was a way to make bags in sizes WE liked instead of being stuck with limited sizes offered.

With the weird fabric mom gave me, and since Sunday is small project day, I made the first bag as the original pattern indicated. After finishing that before lunch, decided we needed to make the bag a bit taller and a little wider. The second bag was made after we got back from the hardware store.

Shopping Bags
Since these are just shopping bags, I didn't get all fancy or particular about detail, and quite honestly, they sewed up rather nice. I used some jeans we had laying around for the bottoms for added strength, and they are both lined too. Washing them will be easy when that time arrives.

I think today I need to long-arm and start something new. I have a paper pieced piece I started late last week with the books I picked up from The Hen House. I also have the letter book in which I want to make a wall hanging with the word "QUILT" in it. I'm running out of wall space in my studio, but these two projects would be a cute addition to the room.

A quick and much needed "thank you" to the current men in my house: Jim and Caleb! They built, fashioned, and yesterday, attached an extension onto my "sewing desk" beyond where Mike is located. This extension will provide the added support of anything large (like when binding) or most anything I'm free motion quilting on my DSM. You guys are the best!!

One other project yesterday was the beginning of quilt restoration on Andrew's old Spartan "S" quilt. I brought it back from California when I went out in October. It turned out to be an all day project just for phase I and wow, what a project! We have it in the washer right now getting the last of the restorative out and in about 20 minutes, will be able to see just how we did. If (and this is a big if) it came out clean enough (meaning the whites are actually white and not too dingy) I'll start tearing it apart for Phase II: Repair work.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Batty for Batting

A quilter needs batting. We need it for quilts and other projects that happen to surface. Since I have so many tops in need of quilting, a bulk purchase in batting would be a wise choice. My current batting purchases have been buying each quilt individually at a retail cost, with only a few sizes to choose from.

It seems like the quilt I'm going to quilt has limited batting choices that are either just too small, or way too large. For instance, the house quilt I loaded yesterday. The quilt measures 73" x 61 1/2".

My batting choices were:
     A throw size at 60 x 60 or a
         twin size at 72 x 93.

Of course, the 72" is too small for the 73 inches I need so I'm wasting a whole 20 inches on the 93" side.

Enter, batting by the roll.

Batting by the Roll
It's a very low loft 100% cotton batting I am partial to for most of the projects I work on. I can always purchase a "special" batting for maybe that black quilt or one with a high loft requirement, but this should work for most of what it is I like in my quilting.

I think today I'll take some of the "weird" fabric mom found at some yard sale and make grocery/shopping bags to replenish our falling-apart ones.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Dreaded Paisley

While searching in the fabric library the other day, I wondered upon some fabric I dread. The stuff has been around far too long and my goal yesterday was to eradicate it from the library. Instead of getting the 8 required yards 18 or so years ago, I must have purchased way more then needed. Clearly. 18 years later and the stuff still surfaces. I swear it's multiplying in those shelves.

Awful Paisley
It goes with everything requiring a teal color, but enough is enough! During my shopping trip to The Hen House the other day, Elise pointed me to a pattern to make letters with. This is what I ended up making with the remaining piece that had surfaced.

Ben's Wall Hanging
The original purchase of this horrid fabric was used for Ben's first quilt many years ago. It was a much loved Irish Chain used in many fashions typical boys use their quilts for: A fort, a cape, to drag the dogs around with, to cuddle on the couch, for sleepovers, and for love. 

After making the letters I found I had enough left over to use for backing, and with two inches to spare, the binding as well.

The fabric will always be with us since I have incorporated it into so many of my scrap quilts, but at least when I go searching for something teal in my small or large cuts, this should no longer be an option. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Cancelled

I hung this up for a quick photo before heading out yesterday. After a year (or more) in the making, this is the Crumb Cake quilt. I love this quilt; it will not be offered for sale and will instead, make it's way onto our bed I think.

Crumb Cake Quilt
I don't know if you can see it clearly, but the binding matches each of the colors of the piano key border. This was a new experience I've never tackled before; bind-as-you-go. I don't want to repeat it in the near future, if ever again. However, it makes a wonderful addition to the quilt and decidedly enhances the effect I was going for in its appearance.

Then we were off for errands.

One of the few times our guild has ever cancelled a meeting was yesterday. The winter storm came in with a vengeance and we have a few new inches of poofy white stuff all over everything. The wind was howling and holy cow, it wasn't fit for anybody, let alone anything to be out in.

But that was later in the day. Earlier, Caleb and I met up with mom for a nice lunch and then off to the doctor's to see how Caleb was progressing before I had to return him to school. He was excited to get back into the swing of things and was happy to be back "home"; his second home anyway.

When I returned back to our neck of the woods, I had decided I hadn't been out nearly enough since I'd been locked away for over a week in the house. Quilt shop plug: The Hen House in Charlotte, Michigan.

I have decided you can never really know your local quilt shop to its fullest. They have stuff tucked away and strategically put all over their shops just waiting for discovery. What should have been a quick little trip in to find something new to do, ended up being an hour-long shopping adventure. A few battings, books, and ideas in tow, I finally left as the snow began to fall.

The ladies at The Hen House are so laid back. The new owner, Carolyn, is quick to offer ideas or things that may of be of interest, and her manager, Elise, is Johnny on the Spot when you ask her about a pattern you're interested in. I love these two women and how they are genuinely dedicated and in love with their shop; they have most of my future business as far as I'm concerned. Oh, and we receive a discount for being a member of our local guild.

I don't know where today will take me. Like I mentioned before, I have some new projects I picked up yesterday and just need to decide which direction to head for the day (weekend).

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I know

My MIL is famous for saying "I know" whenever you try to talk to her about common sense decisions. I interpret her "I know" more like a 'go away' gesture. I could use more colorful language then this, but you get the idea.

Well, I'm going to take a lesson (although I don't like doing this) from my MIL and say, "I know" about my blogging rule. This quilt is not completed. Not even close. But the top is finished and who knows when I'll have the resources (backing, batting, etc.) to finish it so here it is...the Bonnie Hunter 2014 Mystery Quilt top.

Bonnie Hunter Mystery Quilt 2014
It's now in the spare room closet patiently waiting with all the others to be finished. I'm not sure how I feel about this quilt. It will be a utility quilt for sure, and I think I've decided there will be no more mystery quilts for me. When the colors are suggested for participation, I feel like my quilt will be like hundreds of others out there. I don't like being like all the others, in case you haven't figured that out yet.

I feel like if I deter from the "recommended" colors, the quilt does not turn out nearly as well. So, this will probably be my last.

And on another note, it seems I have not one BOM for this upcoming year. The Sugar blocks aren't being offered this year, as Amy would like to regroup and focus on her family. Others (like from the LQS's) cost tons of money, and the few free ones I have found require certain fabric lines to make them look anywhere decent.

Caleb asked me yesterday how many WIP's I have currently going on and in all honesty, I have two. The Garden appliqué piece that my friend still has the pattern pieces she borrowed and my Stitchers Garden that I attend class for each month. That's it. Nothing else.

I do have a lot (and I mean a lot, a lot, a lot) of quilting to do, but this requires batting and backing and my supply is becoming extremely low. Sigh!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Getting Past It

I love what I did with my challenge! I usually don't particularly like some of my "experiment" pieces, but this one I really, really do.

Apparently, not many of my guild members agree. With over 13 people who have already viewed my Facebook post, only 2 have liked it.

It kind of bothers me...but then again...???

Here it is, the 20" block using a noun (hearts), a number (5), and a color (red-purple).

Quilt Graffiti
The quilting looks black in this pic, but it's not.

After completing this task yesterday morning, I moved onto my Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt in the afternoon. The blocks are together, the sashing is in, and I'm adding borders today.

I still haven't did anything with the Crumb Quilt on DW. Maybe if the mystery quilt borders set in easily this morning, I can long-arm this afternoon.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Muse

I started yesterday out finishing this commission piece for a customer. Isn't it cute? She saw one like it on my moms wall and asked if I would make her one. My mom's is a bit more colorful, but I actually like the other one a bit better. 

My Mom's Tree

Customer Tree
From there, I headed into "sewing" world. While my little zippered pouch turned out okay, I still don't know why Jenny's looks more polished. I worked step-by-step with her on the video and yet my piece doesn't look nearly as nice as hers. 

But, it was quite fun to make and I wouldn't mind making some smaller ones for a variety of reasons.

Finally, oh finally, my challenge inspiration hit me. Another guild member posted up what she did with her five yellow dogs, and Katie's five sepia suns turned out wonderful, which is why I was becoming a little intimidated about the whole thing. 

I too had the number five, and the last thing I wanted was a four-in-the-corner-one-in-the-middle design. I wanted something to appeal to the younger crowd and something that "wow'ed" everybody when looking at it from it's vantage point. 

I have not finished it so you don't get to see it yet. We were supposed to make a block and I actually ended up making a quilt sandwich for what it was I wanted to do. The piece may even be disqualified from entry?!? After today, you may get a peek at it, but we'll see where the very cold, snowy day takes us to today. 

The Crumb Cake quilt has been on DW for a few days now and I so I think sometime today I should probably head in that direction, but quite honestly, I'm itching to get over to Mike and continue on with my guild challenge. And, isn't that interesting? I was not at all about this challenge 24 hours ago, and now I can't wait to get back to work on it. Hmmm?????


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Challenges

The quilt guild I belong to threw out a block challenge last summer to be completed by this upcoming Thursday. It's a 20" square block with a noun, a number, and a color. It was a blind selection and I chose 5 red-purple hearts. Easy right?

The few blocks already submitted by other guild members, negated my first couple of ideas. The submissions thus far are cute, thoughtful, and downright gorgeous. Mine ideas were none of these things.

Last night, another fellow guild member reminded us we should probably get going on our challenge if we haven't already. My mind began to ponder and think, and wander and ponder some more. This morning I'm still vacillating about my direction in this challenge. My heart (no pun intended) just isn't into it.

We'll let it rest for another little while to see where I go. It may not happen this time, which is unusual for me. I love a challenge, but this one doesn't really reach out to me so much. I'm not sure why?

I think perhaps I have come to a personal revelation that not everything needs to be completed. This may be the reason my block wasn't done when the challenge was first handed out. I wasn't into it then, and it seems, after six months, I'm still not. So for once, I'm going to actually do what I want to do rather then what others are expecting of me.

This feels like shards of glass coming from my fingers as I write, but in the whole grand scheme of things, it's my life, it's my decision, and not one person is going to come up to me and say, "Hey, you actually didn't do a block for this challenge. Shame on you!"

Meanwhile, I think Mike and I are going to spend some time doing some free motion quilting today. I was commissioned to do a little "O Christmas Tree" piece for a friend of my mothers and have been working on this off and on throughout last week. I'm layering it this morning "as we speak".

Jenny Doan also has a new video out on a project I want to give a try. If (this is a BIG if here) I master zippers today, it might be a nice project to tackle for the Quilt Fairy for quilt camp this summer.

Let's put it this way; I'd rather try to master zippers today with the help of Jenny Doan, then work on, or deal with, my little guild challenge. I guess that sums up just how not into this thing I am.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Kaleidoscope Quilt (Finally)

To round out the end of 2014, this quilt, which has been well over two years in progress, has been completed. Many of my quilt tops are in this same situation since I have yet to quilt those patiently waiting to be finished.

Did I tell you about the Stitchery? The Stitchery is a quilt shop located on the east side of Howell, right along Grand River Avenue. What a great place! Mom and I were at the outlet mall in Howell doing some sale/Christmas shopping and  after our shopping extravaganza, decided to drive through town.

I knew there was a quilt shop near where we were and wow, what a find! The shop has a bin, right as you walk in the front door, filled with sale fabric on the bolt. All of it was $2 a yard and many of them had long cuts left! Many quilt shops have sale fabric, but at $2 a yard, who could resist purchasing nearly everything she had in there?

Needless to say, I obtained about four or five more backings for those tops laying in waiting. On another note about this shop; they are a Janome dealer, which means I have another foot/supply resource for my two Janome machines.

I digressed didn't I?

Here's the Kaleidoscope Quilt with some close-up detail of my newly learned quilting skills. While the backing for this quilt wasn't purchased at the Stitchery, the top was a bright, cheery quilt to have on DW during the holiday season.

Kaleidoscope Quilt

Quilting Detail
Bonnie released her construction details of the 2014 Mystery Quilt on New Years Eve, but I didn't pick it up until yesterday. While the guys were glued to the TV watching parades and football games, I took advantage of the alone time to work on getting blocks together.

Construction of all 25 blocks and the sashing strips commenced. Instructions given were to cut some more squares and hopefully today I'll at least get the basic top together. I don't know if I'll get into the two borders or not because I really don't know what color I should put in there for the first one. I have to wait until Jim gets home to ask his advice, although Caleb is a great resource for color also.

DW is now naked (again) and since the spare bedroom is now free, I can pillage around in there for the next quilting task.

Welcome 2015!