Think about this.....

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

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Change of Plans

Yesterday started out like any other day. Long arming first, select fabrics for the next bunch of arcs/points, turn on the sewing machine and load up Youtube. And then, somebody stops by. Somebody being my mom and her Saturn was done. I needed to take her over so she could pick it up. Needless to say, we took several detours and at around 4:00, we finally picked up her car.

I (finally) got back home around 4:30 and was able to start the arcs after speed planning the flat of flowers I purchased earlier in the day. I only got one set of those done when Jim got home for the day, so quilting was finished for the time being.

Jim is already nearing his last store this morning so I don't think I'll get much done today either. We have kitchen projects we need to run errands for and since it's a rainy kind of day, I think that's probably where we may end up.

I'll have to wait and see when he gets home what exactly he wants to do. Meanwhile, I'll build the last four arcs that make up the body of the quilt top which should take me until just about when he pulls in.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Great British Sewing Bee

Lately Pandora has been put on the back burner. While working diligently away at my arcs for Total Eclipse (my newest Judy Niemeyer project), I've been listening to, and kind of watching, The Great British Sewing Bee on YouTube.

It's pretty cool, even if you don't like to sew, or even if you don't particularly like British broadcasting. Season 3 will be winding down today and two of the three finalists are men; one served in the British Army and his sewing skills and ideas are stellar!

I think the house being too quiet is the recent shift in white noise, but it seems to keep me pretty productive. Here's where I'm at today after only four days of sewing these.

8 more to go
Eight more will wrap up the arcs above having the convex curve. 20 arcs with both a convex and concave shape will be constructed next. They are quite a bit larger and even though there are less, will probably take just as long to construct.

This particular pattern, so far, is being done solely with what I have in my batik scrap pile. I don't know if I'll have enough here at the house to complete it, so shopping for a consistent background fabric may be in order, but I have to wait and see what construction and laying of out pieces results.

I did long arm for a bit yesterday, but didn't get into my string blocks. I started feeling kind of out of it around late afternoon, and even skipped guild because I just couldn't muster the energy to get changed and get out of here. Maybe there's a front coming through or something?

I'm re-energized this morning; so much so I even painted my toenails. Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Mice and Lightning

Yesterday, during lunch, we had a round of three thunderstorms pass on through. Right after the first one hit, we lost our internet.

Today, while AT&T is here diagnosing the issue, informed me we are way over our upgrade capacity, and, Mr. Mousey decided to chew a hole in some of the wiring down the road (again). We seem to be back again and therefore, the late post today.

Mr. Mouse's wire is fixed, Jason, from AT&T is downgrading our most recent upgrade (which is some of why we were bogging down) and all is well again with our technology.

Ugh...I just get my iPad back and then this happens. What next?

Yesterday was much of what I did the previous day: Long arming, Judy Niemeyer, and string blocks, and today seems to be exactly the same.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pieces

It would seem the process of making a quilt is boring. Sew, sew, sew. Take out a few seams. Sew some more, and some more. And then some more. And even the pieces of the quilt can seem pretty boring, especially when using the same background fabric throughout.

But I love it. While I am a lively person naturally, something about putting fabric and thread together keeps me a little less wiggy and it keeps me calm. Each piece may seem insignificant; each seam or thread may seem insignificant, but when put together, they combine together to make meaning.

Yesterday I worked on two projects that are going to take some time to complete. I'll pursue them for the next couple of weeks and still don't know if completion will be obtained. They aren't complex pieces; in fact, they are quite easy to construct. Most of what I do in here truly is easy to complete. But it's the process and the steps taken to make a whole which makes all the pieces come together.

Between each of my two "easy" projects, I loaded DW with a new outfit. The borders are started already and I hope to start the yellow section today.

Braided in Yellow
I may venture outside of the two projects I worked on yesterday; it depends on my artistic mood and where I feel like going. Many things will slant which way I tend to wander during my time in here each day. Things like the weather, phone calls, what's on Pandora or the YouTube channels, who comes to visit or what's happening around the place, or, what errands I have to run that day.

For now, I'll continue to grow and enjoy life. I'm thankful for all I have available to me for my artistic expression. I don't know how many care/appreciate what I do, but I'm through trying to understand or figure this out. This is what I want to do; putting pieces of fabric together to make something whole. You do your thing...I'll do mine. It's differences in each of us that piece us all together to make something great.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happy 21 Son!

Today is my youngest sons 21st birthday! My youngest is 21!!!!!!!! I'll be popping into East Lansing to celebrate it with him and my 2nd son tomorrow. He has to work later today so we'll celebrate a day late.

Our family is like that. Dates don't mean a whole lot. We've always had jobs or activities requiring us to be somewhat flexible in holiday/special day celebrations and this is no exception. It doesn't mean the day isn't important; quite the contrary actually. But life has a way of wiggling into things and we just work with it, instead of against.

Like my blog posts. This weekend was filled with family, food, and fun. We worked and played all weekend and not much time was spent in here doing quilt things. It was good to get back yesterday!

Here's what I've been up to:

I stumbled on this little fabric box yesterday while listening to YouTube videos. It sparked my attention and I watched the whole video through to see if this was some little project I could whip out, which, of course, took longer then expected, but cute nonetheless.


Fabric Box
Prior to working on the box, I worked on a few more of these:

Just getting started
This is something I started on Friday morning. Forty of these have to be made and then 56 counter pieces to add to the arcs will be made over the next whenever.

This is a Judy Niemeyer pattern I've had laying around since about October. I was waiting to purchase fabrics to work on the pattern, but then saw a "scrappy" version of the very same pattern at the Chicago show. I decided I could pull all my batiks together and make what I could out of those instead. So far I've only had a few "shortness" issues, but think I've got them all worked out in my head.

And finally...
Strings and Prairie Points
...last night, the string quilt with embedded prairie points was taken off DW. Here it is as completed.

I love string quilts! Probably because I'm more partial to the scrappy look of quilts and find these not only pretty to look at, but very utilitarian as well.

Today will be more arc construction and then who knows where I'll go. It's a mystery for sure!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Meet Eliza

Isn't she cute? I know Tuesday is not normally small project day, but after working on the May BOM Arcadia Avenue block it was only early afternoon and there was still time to work on something small. Since I don't have a lot in the works right now, this seemed like a fun option.

The sales guy in Chicago told me it would only take about an hour to complete. Really? An hour? More like four hours because it was my first time constructing something like this. I had to read each step about a dozen times to make sure I got it right. Even then and well into construction of her, knew I was going to have to "wing" a few things.

Eliza the Chicky
Yesterday was Stitchers Garden class and we had a blast. I actually completed most of the block after I got home last night and have since finished all my homework for next months block. The owner of the shop told us yesterday she was going to possibly offer a Stitchers Garden II in the near future! Fun! Fun! Fun!

DW has a new outfit on this morning and I'm going to work on that and possibly my ASQ BOM Dale gave to us a few weeks ago. Actually, I think I'll start with that this morning and work my way into long-arming later after lunch.

We finally get to exchange our Row by Row's tonight. I'm so excited to see everybody's reactions to all the rows I made for them. Hopefully they are up to each persons standards and I hope I get my tote back as well.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Windows, Doors, and Quilts, Oh My!

Quilting construction pretty much came to a halt for a time. Classes, Quilt U, and house construction occupied the better part of the past week and half. Here's a glimpse of the window installation.

Something's missing here

Taking out the old picture window

Brand new, clean, windows in the studio
The picture window, which was located on the right, was replaced with three double hung windows that I can actually open.

Once the guys left from the windows installation, I had a brief morning to load this quilt onto DW before all the classes/Quilt U started up. While the sliding glass door was installed the following day after Quilt U I finished this up for charity.

Charity Lap Quilt for the VA
I didn't load anything else yesterday on DW because I spent some of it on my Arcadia Avenue May BOM. This one is called Blooming and it has 132 pieces.

Blooming
The remainder of yesterday was taken up with a pattern I picked up when I went to Chicago. I'll show you Eliza tomorrow, but I have to admit, she is simply adorable.

I have Stitchers Garden today and probably won't get much done in here for that reason.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Short

Today's post is going to be mighty short. Caleb and I were supposed to head to Gall Sewing yesterday after our bike ride, but time got away from us and the trip never occurred.

We're going to try again on Monday before I take him back for the summer.

What I wanted to obtain from Gall was a set (or two) of quilting templates to use under my long arm table. I need a longer straight edge, and maybe a set of ellipses; I have to look and see what they have available or what the gang suggests.

Happy Mothers Day weekend to all the moms out there!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Diversions

I knew I was going to yard sales with mom yesterday, but had no idea I'd be bringing home a new chair and love seat (two different locations for procurement). And of course, once you get them home, room has to be made for the new additions and moving other older pieces around to make them all work. This took up all my morning and half of my afternoon.

I wanted to do something (anything) quilty before I headed out for guild, so I whipped this lap quilt up for our nearby VA Hospital in Battle Creek. I had it nearly finished before I left, and put the last of the borders on this morning.

VA Lap Quilt
I want to put this on DW, but my level of providing batting out of my inventory for these charity quilts has reached the high mark about two quilts ago. I'll have to wait until next week to get batting from Carol so this can be done then.

Suffice it to say, DW is STILL naked.

Today's diversion occurs this afternoon when I go fetch the little kid from college. He's coming home for the Mothers Day weekend and will have to be returned next Monday afternoon since he's staying on campus through the summer this year (insert sad face here).

I'm trying to decide what else I can either: 1) Finish up, or 2) Start but easily set aside should it not be finished for Tuesdays window installers.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Here's the Lesson of the Day

Do not use substandard fabrics on a piece that means something to you...especially when trying to square up individual blocks and making sashing pieces to further square up the whole quilt.

Exhibit A:

The Garden Quilt
Notice the thin blue sashing pieces between each of the center blocks? The directions gave cutting sizes for each block and then after trimming down to the appropriate size, adding the blue sashing strip to each piece where needed. I only have a limited number of light blues in my stash, and I KNEW this was probably not a wise decision, but put it on the cutting mat anyway.

And, then I put it under my needle. And then I kept on repeating this insanity. When I got to the red/white checkered blocks in the second border section, things did not fit together as well as they should have. And, of course, like everything else, small problems compound into larger ones and suffice it to say, the last sections with the topiary trees, shovel, pitchfork, etc. were really becoming an issue once we arrived to that point.

Oh the colorful language coming out of my head yesterday. I was so frustrated I actually finished this top and promptly went out to weed the fruit plants. Yep, ya heard it here folks...I opted for working outside instead of in my studio. Lesson learned and now that fabric is living permanently in the trash can. (No, I won't even use it in a scrap quilt because it's that bad).

Dad
I forgot to mention this was now finished. This is my dad around the mid-70's. He's already taken a gander at this as I was constructing it, but I put the textile medium around it, shadowed it where needed, and added the rat tail border around the edges. I really enjoyed doing this type of art quilt and will be attempting another one like it for our picnic guild challenge.

Did a few yard sales this morning with mom and have to get ready for our new windows this coming Tuesday; which means more studio shifting for a few days.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Garden Quilt

Quilts with a lot of appliqué are so very time consuming. While the blocks I worked on yesterday were long in nature, the detail wasn't as great as the three blocks I worked on the previous day. Yet, I got less accomplished?

On a good note, the appliqué blocks are all completed and I'm now making sashing, border, and corner blocks to set everything in. I was in the midst of all of my construction when Jim arrived home from work, took his shower, and then said, "Are you ready to go?" I had no idea we were going anywhere.

I shut everything down and we jumped into the Jeep to head out to vote, and then he took me cross country to Mason to pick up our new wedding rings. We had new ones made for our 30th anniversary and they were finally ready.

They are so simple; just thick, hammered, silver bands but with a personal sentiment stamped on the inside with our wedding date included in each. They. Are. Perfect! Mine reads: "Living life...with you as my wife." Jim's says, "My heart, my soul." Needless to say, we spent the rest of the afternoon and evening playing around in Mason (one of our favorite cities) and enjoying each others' company.

Coming back and working in here wasn't going to be an option since we never returned until nearly 8:00, which was just fine.

DW is (still) naked and I don't know if I'll get anything on him even today. I really, really want to get the top of this garden quilt pieced together and will concentrate on that until I've accomplished as much as I can.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lighting

So much since Saturday morning; at least to me it's a lot.

Here are the borders decided on for the yellow quilt designed by Jenny Doan at MSQC. What do you think?

Magic Diamonds
I'll need to hunt around for a backing for this, but it's done for the time being.

On to the next project; Make it my Way.

While I was finishing up the Make it my Way quilt, Jim was working in the studio with me. But, he wasn't working on "quilting" stuff, per se, but rather the lighting replacement for the temporary lights he put in here when we initially moved in.

The old fixture wiring dangling between the new track rail

The first rail and wow! Look how long!

Getting the third rail in 

Isn't this awesome?
After he put the new lighting in (notice the third rail has no lights yet), I could immediately tell a difference in the perspective of color and hue in here. It was a "studio" before, but now, with the amazing new lighting, it truly is a STUDIO!!!!

Make it my Way
I did this why Jim was finishing up the lighting project. This quilt may end up going to the reunion. I don't know?!? It's quilted really nice and I love it's scrappiness, but...I just can't put my finger on it really. I just don't know, ya know?

Remember before when I pointed out the third rail didn't have any lights attached? Apparently there was a construction snafu requiring us to run into town yesterday morning to get a replacement, and I needed to pick up Quilt U supplies for Dales class anyway, so off to BC we went.

After we returned home and ate some lunch, Jim was off to work, and I headed in here to start on a old/new project: The Garden Quilt by Amy Bradley. This is the pattern I loaned to my friend a while ago and it took her a little while to return to me. Until I got the pattern back it's just been hanging around on the UFO shelves patiently waiting.

Since I was so engrossed in what I was doing in here, I totally forgot to blog (or do anything else for that matter). I'll continue on with the blocks in the Garden Quilt today and maybe get that pieced together after I get all the appliqué completed (most of the quilt is appliquéd). DW is currently naked, but hopefully I'll have that remedied by this afternoon.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

I love/hate electronics!

I love my iPad, my iMac, and my iPhone. I even like my little laptop PC as well as the Acer computer on my long arm. Except when they act like little gremlins; then I want to just chuck 'em across the hayfield.

My iPad started acting up a few weeks ago. The iPad guy was supposed to come and get it Thursday. He still hasn't called/shown. Now, my phone is being dumb. Jim has had to use it a few nights this week since he seems to "forget" his up at his big truck. My iMac is having hard drive issues. Where does it end?

After resetting the phone it seems to be working okay now. The iPad and the Mac are another thing. I think we need professional intervention where they're concerned.

I did get Make It My Way quilted out yesterday, but haven't attached the binding yet, so no pic. Nothing else was really accomplished in here because Make It My Way was custom quilted. I have a LOT of little things on my pressing table that need to be taken care of (Quilt U, art quilt, dolly quilt, and border material) so I think today we'll get those organized and/or finished.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Designing

This is an original design by Jenny Doan from Missouri Star Quilt Company. At least up to where I am is her design. She has the last border as the same as one of the fabrics within the blocks inside, but I don't want/have the desire to do that. I want to do something different.

This is what I worked on yesterday, and until this point, I've pretty much followed the pattern.
Magic Diamonds
I think with the leftover charm squares and yellow yardage I'll make some larger HST's and incorporate them into a wider border. Perhaps I should put this away for a bit and think about it.

Guild last night was fun listening to the ladies who just returned from Paducah and all they saw and bought. We have a block of the month we'll be doing from May through October and we were able to select a quilt design and size we'd like to do. 

Still need to long arm on Make it My Way (this one seems to be taking an extra long time and it isn't really that big of a quilt?!?), and I have two charity quilt kits sitting here begging me to dig into them; amongst other things.