Think about this.....

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

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Winner!

This quilt was the third quilt into the RxR 2015 experience country wide; and it was mine! For that I received a nice little prize package from the shop where it will be displayed until October and of course, it's The Hen House.

Row by Row H20 2015
I have already received several comments and congrats on the web and am grateful my work is being appreciated. It's finished. It was a great experience. But I think if I participate next year, I'm not going to put so much pressure on myself to complete it in such a short time.

I feel like everything else in my life was on hold for a week and after going back through my studio when returning home yesterday, found it to be true. I have so many things in the works right now that were just completely chucked aside. I was a nervous wreck during the whole process because I wanted to make sure it was a nice piece knowing it was going to be on display for the "inspectors" to look at.

As I'm writing this, I noticed I still had Jelly Baby's tentacles bundled up to make sure they weren't taken up in the binding process. Those are supposed to be hanging down as they are now that the quilt has been delivered.

Once I decompressed, yesterday afternoon I did a few test blocks on some of the patterns I have here waiting in the wings to become something. Thursday when I go "spend" my prize money at the shop, I'll know what to add to my fabric library because I've settled on a pattern I purchased at The Hen House a few weeks ago called Radiant Suns made mostly with bright colors. I'm lacking brights in my stash so adding to them will be fun!

Once test blocks were completed I got back into Beachy Bovines. The cows are all sashed and now I'm on to the little checkered borders. These are going to take a while! I think I need to get Total Eclipse on DW too. Perhaps I'll load that later today.

The fair is right around the corner and wrapping my head around what, from my quilt stash, I'm going to submit for entry has to be thought about. I need to go through those soon because I have to take them to moms on Sunday. She has to submit for me this year because I'll be at the DeGroot Reunion  during the submission time.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Another Shorty

I think tomorrow will probably make up for the short-esk-ish posts of late. The quilting is done! 12 hours yesterday and wow, was I tired. I made the binding after quilting and started to put it on Mike to get it on the quilt and Papa said, "No, your eyes are half closed and you're not going to be on you "A" game, so you need to put it away for tonight." And, of course, he was right.

Today I attach the binding, get the label on and then attach all the embellishments. IF, and this is a big if, I get all that completed prior to The Hen House closing at 5:00, it will be delivered. It will be (as of this morning) the 3rd RxR completed across the country since the official launch last Sunday.

Don't worry, I'll snag a pic prior to taking it up so you get the first look before Facebook and the rest of the country gets to see it.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

No Electricity

Right after I blogged yesterday we lost power. It flickered on and off a few times and then resumed being off for good until 7:48 last night. I'm a day behind. See yesterday's post for today's diary entry.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

More RxR

No pics today and a very short blog.

RxR top is completed! I added a wide border to the top and bottom to even out the measurements. It was actually 10 inches wider across the width and that looked stupid.

Prior to running to Lansing to assist the kids in their furniture move, Papa and I stopped by The Hen House to select a backing and binding. Since the quilt will be on display (hopefully) for a few months at a shop of my choosing, I wanted to have a nice back and binding to go with the overall theme of the piece.

Today we will actually celebrate Fathers Day for Jim. The kids are coming out and Papa will be home from work. I've already ran to the grocery store, prepared food for everybody for later on, and now I get to play until around noon. My goal is to get RxR loaded and started so I can concentrate on it more later tonight and tomorrow during the day. Perhaps if the boys are ambitious and assist with the kitchen floor, I can work on it for a bit while they're here too?!?

Friday, June 26, 2015

6 1/2-7-and-8

Here they are. After buzzing down to Marshall yesterday, was able to get that missing eighth row.

All the Rows
Now to figure out how to arrange them. I started playing around with the various ways to put them together and think, with the assistance of guild members, we came up with a winning idea.

I promised a pic of the quilt DW and I completed on Tuesday. I snapped this just prior to leaving for our weekly meeting and April was thrilled to get it back so fast.

April's Firehouse Charity Quilt
Quilt construction on those RxR's begins today. With any luck, the rows will actually be taking on a more "quilt-like" appearance.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

4-5-and Part of 6

I seem to be losing steam. No, that's not right. I have saved out the toughest rows for the last leg of my RxR. I think I should have did it the opposite way; hard rows first.

Here are four and five.

Rows four and five
Stanley the Sea Monster (5), from Sweet B's in Charlotte took most of yesterday afternoon and early evening. It doesn't look like it until you get pretty close, but he was a bummer to appliqué stitch!

The "pyramid" looking row is from Country Stitches called Row by Row (how original). The state of Michigan on the left hand side was not too hard to stitch and you can hardly see it, but I added a spot of white to denote our location on the map.

This next one, (6) is from Around the Block Quilt Shop in Portland. Wow! It's called "Quiltin' by the River" and talk about detail!! I worked on it until the sun starting going down last night and started making stupid mistakes so it was time to shut down for the night.

Row six ready to appliqué stitch and embellish
I'm back at it again today and may buzz down to Marshall after lunch to pick up that last row. I'm not sure what it even looks like, but to make the quilt complete the directions stated you have to have at least eight rows included to be considered complete. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

1-2-3

I began yesterday getting the quilting started on April's firehouse charity quilt. At least, that's what I thought I was doing. A few hours later I found myself at the end of the quilt and poof, it was completed. I didn't get a pic of it yet because it's still on the long arm, but later today I'll snag one.

The remainder of yesterday was pure heaven. Making blocks using piecing, appliqué, and creativity put me in my happy place for sure. And, I get to duplicate yesterday today, minus the long arming part. I could put Solar Eclipse on the machine, but I want to leave DW at the ready for the RxR.

Here's where we are at after last night.

The beginning of RxR 2015
The rows were obtained as follows:

"Dive In" is from Everlasting Stitches in Holt.
"Fun In The Sun" is from Kean's in Mason.
"Sailing Along" is from Yards of Fabric also from Mason.

After going through my pile of goodies, found the two hardest/most time consuming rows are going to be from the locations I most frequent; the two in Charlotte and the one in Portland. Let's get sewing!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Weird

Yesterday when we headed to Mason to pick up the two row patterns/kits from local quilt shops, we learned one of them had severe smoke damage as the result of the restaurant next door having a fire the previous evening. Electricity was off at the location, but they were selling RxR's out on their back deck.

Later last night, we learned that the quilt shop we stopped at last yesterday, underwent tornado conditions having an EF1 hit about six blocks away from their store. Straight-line winds of 100 mph and severe damage to the whole of downtown resulted in the town being closed until further notice.

Weird weather, weird week so far.

Our electricity blinked off and on during the course of the evening and into the night last night. The lightning was unreal and the amount of water we received resulted in our basement taking on what the soil could hold no more. We are saturated.

Today, between washing towels used to contain the seeping water, I'll long arm April's firehouse quilt, and perhaps, start getting into those rows.

Last night I did load Aprils quilt and here it is on D Dubs.

Firehouse Quilt for April
 The quilt gains momentum as you get further into it, so the pic doesn't do it justice.

The BOM from the Guild
After I loaded that quilt I remade the BOM's we were given a month ago to complete for this upcoming Thursdays meeting. I didn't like the colors I did the blocks in last time and decided to rethink/reconstruct with different colors. I like these much better.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Country-Wide RxR (Row by Row)

Since I used RBR to refer to the guild's Row by Row project, I'll change to RxR for the country-wide event. It'll keep everything straight in my head (hopefully).

Here is what we were able to get today (ignore upper left corner 'cause those are something else):

Minus 1
We have all but one because two of our sons called and told us to get home since there are bad storms headed our way. It's probably a good thing we did since we were running out of time for Jim to have to leave off for work.

We had fun visiting with all the shop owners! I really want to start digging into these right now, but I feel like since the day is half over, I would get started and then not put these down into well into the night. Therefore, I will leave them and instead start fresh tomorrow.

April gave me a quilt to throw on DW for the firehouse guys from our very productive sew-in weekend. I'll load that up and get it ready to work on between rows over the next few days.

I want to redo my guild BOM. I"m not at all happy with the colors I selected on the first go-around and I feel like I'll have more excitement about it if I can just get a better color scheme in my head and into the fabric. As long as we have electricity, I'll work on the BOM's because they're due on Thursday night.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Another Challenge

Carol R. threw out a challenge a few months ago. The quilt was to be based on a well known phrase, such as; One bad apple spoils the bunch, or When it rains it pours.

Can you guess what my challenge quilt phrase depicts?

ASQ 2015 Picnic Challenge Quilt
I wasn't going to participate in this challenge. I won't be able to attend the picnic because we'll be packing and heading up north for the DeGroot Reunion. Carol R. said she would present the quilt for me in my absence. I "manned" up and did this yesterday.

Prior to completing this cute and fast little bugger, I completed the guild RBR quilt. Here it is, temporarily hanging where it was supposed to go upon completion. Unfortunately, the longer it hangs there the more I'm liable to think it's too large to put in this particular spot and it probably will not stay.

ASQ 2015 Row by Row Project
This quilt is already the talk of the town. I don't know whether the talk is good or not, but I do not care. I love how scrappy and busy it is and I feel like I've really put a lot of piecing and quilting time into it to make it a much loved and cherished piece around here.

I want to thank Cathy S., Carol S. Jen M., and Mary R. for all their wonderful and amazing rows. It has a lot of eye candy within each and every little section within each and every row!

Today was spent at the library completing day one of two sewing together. I blanket stitched the rest of the Beachy Bovines and started another color (purple) of the selvedge quilt. I have to cut more triangles out of muslin before I leave tomorrow so I can continue on.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stitchers Garden; Month 10

Here is our block for our 10th month. I don't know if you can see the detail in the three oval flowers at the top, but they have thread fringe running around the edge of the yellow center. It's so cute!

Stitchers Garden block
Prior to taking off for class in the morning, I clipped the long threads I missed during the quilting process from the back of RBR.

After turning it over to check and see just how square the quilt was, snapped this pic of the top row I added when all the rows came back to me for quilt construction.

DeGroot Kitchen
These were the fabrics left over contributors did not use. I thought they needed to be put somewhere other then back in my stash; this is what I came up with.

After adding this row, the quilt grew substantially. The initial plan was to put it into the entry way of the kitchen but it may be a little too big.

I have Stitchers Garden homework to complete for next month, the binding to get on the RBR pictured above, redesigning and possibly getting the picnic challenge quilt started, get ready for our weekend sew in at the library, and DW is naked...again. Total Eclipse is supposed to get loaded next, but I hesitate to do so since I'll need him free to get the country-wide RBR on later next week.

I don't want to rush Total Eclipse. It's a pretty intricate piece and will require time to make it a true masterpiece. I have a few other not-so-delicate tops I can get on him instead, but we'll have to take a looksie and figure out where we want to head with all of that.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thread!

I'm starting to love thread. I don't know just how many colors/varieties I've used in my guild RBR, but here's an idea.

13 + 1
The +1 is for the bobbin thread not shown above. All of these threads are in the RBR somewhere.

At the same time, I don't like thread. Cotton thread is fickle. Tension adjustments have to be done constantly when the humidity spikes or dives (I'm finding out). When I move to a heavy poly thread, tension has to be eased back a bit. When I use a finer thread, I have to turn up the tension a quarter crank. Ask me how I know all of this.

At any case, and with diligent long-arming yesterday, I was able to pull RBR off DW before I shut down for the night. I'm checking out all the weird tension issues as I'm snipping threads off the back and I'm not very happy. I would pull them and fix all those nasty eyelashes, but this is a wall hanging and won't be laundered or used heavily so it's just going to have to stay the way it is. I'm hoping now that the quilt has been let loose for a while it will relax and fix some of the thread issues I'm concerned with (actually, I can see that it already has).

When I'm long arming, I keep the quilt probably a little to tight on the frame. I've never had any puckers or wrinkles on the back and I'd rather have a few eyelash issues then pleats or puckers thank you very much.

Class today, and prior to that I have errands to run, so no studio work, per se. I may come home and bind the RBR since I did get that made before shutting down last night and it's just sitting there waiting for me to attach it. Now the question is, since this is going to be displayed in a very prominent area of the house, should I machine bind, or hand sew? I'll have to decide before I get home this evening.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Chipmunks

Now that all our visitors are gone, and now that we have all our strawberry jams finished for the year, I can get back into my studio...at least for yesterday and today anyway; tomorrow is Stitcher's Garden in Portland.

My little studio assistant, Lily, is a West Highland White Terrier. Terror is more like it.

We have had rain, storms, and more rain for the better part of a week now. Today, the sun finally shows itself and all the little critters are taking advantage of the clearing weather. Chipmunks are no exception, but Lily had pretty much eradicated them last year.

Apparently the word didn't get out into the chipmunk community that our house is not a safe place to hang out because they're back; and Lily is on the hunt.

Unfortunately, we do not have a doggie door. This means when she sees or hears one, she whines incessantly to go out and chase the intruders away, or if she gets lucky, she actually gets one to reduce the population.

This means up and down or shut down and go around to let her outside (yet again). My progress may be stunted because of her rodent antics?!?

Yesterday was more productive then I fear today will be. Here is some of what is being put into the RBR from the guild contributors.





More of the same today. The countrywide Row by Row starts in less then a week! I wanted to get a feel for how it would be to quilt each row separately (but with a together-ness type of theme). It's a lot of thread changes (which I actually don't mind) and a lot of break thread moments (which I do mind), but it's fun and certainly not boring since each row provides a change of scenery, if you will.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Showering Experience

Here's something new to try. Take the shower head off the tube thing coming out of the wall on your shower. Now, turn the water on and take a shower. Talk about invigorating.

I didn't necessarily want to shower this way this morning, but Jim broke our rain shower head last night and the previous shower head we replaced was long gone so a new shower experience is off my bucket list.

Yesterday was RBR day. Here it is on the frame and I've already started doing some of the prelim quilting.

Kitchen Row by Row
This project took up most of the morning and afternoon. Once the evening started, I moved along to a few more cows. All the girls are buttonhole stitched and I started on the guys when Papa finally arrived home for the evening.

Jim's sister and BIL are coming for a visit this afternoon. We haven't purchased groceries in two weeks, and of course, we need to obtain a new shower head. I have to tidy up a bit around here and then we'll be off to shop and then come home for our visitors. This means virtually no work in the studio today (unless Jim's siblings want to see me quilt or show any interest about what it is I actually do around here...highly unlikely, but there's always hope).

Friday, June 12, 2015

Monkey Farts and PhD's

Tracy's Primitives, located in Marshall, makes her own soaps. The newest "flavor" she has created is called Monkey Farts and wow, does it smell wonderful. I was finally able to use it today as my other bar finally conked out. It makes the whole studio smell good while I'm in here sewing. Yeah!

Our DIL graduates tomorrow with her astrophysics PhD! What a huge accomplishment and I had to brag about her reaching her goals.

While I don't have a PhD, I am living my dream life. I can honestly say that it was not my initial aspiration graduating from high school, or even from college, to stay at home and quilt all day. Staying at home is a large change from my whole persona to start with, but sewing while doing it? The girl who barely passed her 8th grade sewing class never going anywhere to sit at a machine and put thread to fabric?

It's funny how life changes over time. Exploring the new can open those closed doors if turning the handle is something you dare. (See the top of my blog about change).

Congrats to Laura and her accomplishment! Congrats to me for having the courage to swing the door open.

Yesterday was a one-project kind of day. RBR. The guild row by row is still sitting here unfinished, but at least I've made some headway. I figured out (all by myself, thank you very much) what to do with the too long/short rows. I'm setting the sashing in (still) but it's coming along in a forward progression at least. I'll continue on with this until I get it done since it's occupying most of the studio at the moment.

No pics today. Sorry.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Darn Crows

We have a "herd" of crows nesting in the Locust grove west of the house. I think they believe waking me up at 6:30 in the morning is the right thing to do. I'm thinking this is not the right thing to do and if this keeps up, they'll be seeing some buckshot in their behinds this weekend.

The plus side to the darn crows is I'm up earlier, in the shower earlier, and chores are done earlier, meaning I'm in the studio earlier. Since today is guild day, I can only work in here until 6:00 or thereabouts so I won't be so overly tired even after getting up two hours early.

Here is Ginormous Hexagons all finished!

Ginormous Hexagons
Sorry the pic is sideways. I tried fixing it in my iPhoto, and it looks okay there, but aside from erasing this blog and reposting, it won't turn around the correct way.

I worked on my Beachy Bovines a bit yesterday. The first girl cow is buttonhole stitched. It took longer then I thought so I'll tackle a cow when the mood strikes me.

Since DW is now naked, I can either: 1) Load up Total Eclipse since I have backing for it and it's sitting there all pressed and ready, or 2) Impress the hell out of the guild folks and have my row by row completed by next Thursday's meeting. But, the RbR is still in the I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-it mode. Remember, the key rows are too long and I'm not sure how to fix them.

I cut the fabrics out for the next section of my selvedge quilt. They'll be dark green. I also drafted Valerie's quilt top out more to figure yardage requirements then actual placement of pieces. I only have one tan with the three yards I need, but Jim took a look at what I selected out of the stash and he said with my quilting the woodgrain in it should work fine.

Now, to get busy.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Surprise

Mary R. stopped by yesterday. It was a surprise, to say the least and a welcoming surprise at that. She dropped off her contribution row to the guild Row-By-Row quilts we've been working on. Now, I'm in a quandary.

The rows are (by far) not the same length. The row that simply has to be in the middle (because of its coloring) is too long, as is the last row as I have it on the design wall. They can NOT be cut back because of the way they are made; it would result in incomplete blocks and this would make the whole thing look stupid.

What do I do? I've selected the sashing and border fabric, which is a red/white checkered cloth tying in the whole "kitchen" theme. I think I need to consult the guild and just lay it out there to get their feedback because I'm truly stuck on this problem.

I was working on these characters when Mary stopped by. This is one of six cows total. This is one of the girl cows and we have boy bovines in the mix too.

Beachy Bovine
All the bovines are fused onto their backgrounds and now we buttonhole stitch them down. One of today's projects (if I get there).

After I finished the cows, I did two more selvedge blocks, giving me the first of nine sections I'm going to do for this particular piece. Here they are laid out (but not yet sewn together).

Selvedge Pinwheels
Before all this sewing occurred, I long-armed. After all this sewing occurred, I long-armed, and Ginormous Hexagons still isn't done. Custom quilting takes a long time to do!

However, I'm seeing light at the end of the roller so maybe today I'll be able to get it under the sewing machine for the binding?

I was also thinking about Valeries quilt yesterday. She wants me to do a book case type of quilt for her and I really, really want to have this ready for her by the reunion; in about a month. I priced wood grain fabric on the web and holy cow, it's expensive. $27 a yard at one location. Most are around $18/yd. I'm thinking I'll just use a wood colored brown and when I do the quilting, put the wood grain in there myself since I know how to do that from our AQS Guild Challenge and my Wanted quilt.

And then there is the paper pieced hexagon block (Arcadia Avenue) I haven't even started yet for June.

So much to do! Happy dance!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Messes and Reality

Sometimes a plan on paper doesn't look as good when reality hits. Sometimes it looks even better. How about this for the first set of four blocks in my designed Selvedge Pinwheels?

The first of many
The blue sashes aren't lined up very well on this first go at the design, but I was yapping on the phone with a guild friend while constructing the misshapen quadrant and wasn't paying much attention to what I was doing. It's a scrappy quilt of sorts so I'm going to leave it.

After two of these selvedge blocks, I moved along to my bovine friends. I'm in the midst of construction yesterday and in blows a huge thunder/hail storm in which I shut everything down in here; I needed to start monitoring the basement for water. This is where I left it last night.

Messy Bovines
Here's some quilting detail of one of the Ginormous Hexagon blocks from yesterday morning.

Ginormous Hexagons quilting detail
The hexagon quilt is so much fun to tackle. Each of the large negative spaces allows me to play and experiment with some of the designs I'm still wrapping my head around while forgiving my not-so-stellar moments with the busy-ness of each fabric.

Much of the same will happen today. I'm excited to get hexagons off the frame and get the Total Eclipse loaded. However, I don't think today is going to be that day. There is still a lot of quilt left on the front quilt top bar and who knows how much longer it will take. I'm in no hurry.

Monday, June 8, 2015

New Project(s)

Sunday was actually small project day. Lily needed a new mat to put her dishes on and I created this yesterday. She's much happier having her food and water back where they belong.

Lily's Food and Water Mat
From there I started drafting my next selvedge quilt. I have a plethora of selvedges guild members have been saving/giving to me and I'm ready to start digging in to them. Here's the design I finally settled on.


Drafting a new design
I wanted to start sewing it together last night after cutting out my initial triangle shapes to use as a foundation, but found out I had absolutely no white thread in my inventory. I had a light grey, but no white. So I measured and cut the first colorful shapes to go with the selvedge pieces so they'll be ready to incorporate into each of the blocks today.

This morning, before we had to run into town to pick up the missing white thread, and to have our annual physicals, I also got this little pattern out Carol R. gave to me to begin. Ya can't have only one project going; it's against the quilting law you see.

I have all the shapes traced out on to my fusible web and can work on this later too.

Beach(y) Bovines
When we were in picking up that darn thread, we also searched for a possible backing fabric for the Total Eclipse piece. We found one and after getting it home to match with the top (which we forgot to take along) I think it will work out okay. Not perfect, but good enough.

So, this is why I'm blogging late today, but hey, I have to get at those selvedges and crank up some tunes while doing it.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Worth It!

When I make a quilt for somebody specific, and the appreciation they exhibit upon receipt is near wordless, it makes it so worth all the time and effort. This is why I love what I do.

Not everybody has artistic talents and I rank right up there in this particular category. Drawing stick people is even difficult for me at times. But with all the available resources we have and with a little practice (because being good at something the first time is called a fluke), being creative in textiles is where I'm able to finally express the artist hidden in me for all these years.

My dad loved his portrait quilt.
Dad
I wanted to make him something special for Father's Day and his birthday; both within a few weeks of each other this year. This is a photo of him when he was much younger while up in Colorado skiing. He has lived and traveled abroad but he felt his roots were always here in Michigan despite having being born in East Berlin, Germany and living there during his formative years.

We got to spend the afternoon with dad yesterday. Walking, talking, catching up, going out to eat, shopping, taking pics, and enjoying an absolutely beautiful early summer day. When he returned home, he was able to unroll his quilt and take a good hard look at it. An almost instant email ensued with his thanks and gratitude.

Moving along...

I did a little long-arming yesterday before we left for Lansing to meet up with everybody. Today I want to make Lily a little mat to put her water and food dishes on. The old rug we were using before is now for outside use; the rug backing had disintegrated and she needs a replacement. Currently, while the new floor is being laid, she has her stuff in the small bathroom and she doesn't seem to care for this. 

I was originally thinking I would grab some of my left over Spartan and MSU fabrics for the project, but as I'm blogging, I think, instead, I'll head more towards the color scheme in the kitchen with the dark orange/light blue/black and tan theme we have going on in there. Hmm...more creativity! 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Pins

Total Eclipse has a lot of curved piecing. Originally, on Thursday, when I started putting this beast together, I wasn't able to use my fine, shorter pins to join the convex/concave curves together. Nor was I able to use my not-so-fine, shorter pins. Both types were occupied keeping the blocks on the design wall.

I started out using my longer 2" heavier pins and I did a lot of unsewing because puckers in nearly every curve started showing their ugly face. You wouldn't think a mere pin would cause such a difference in sewing pieces together, would you?

When I started out yesterday I remembered to change out pins and started using those beautiful, wonderful, amazing fine pins and eureka, no puckers. Here is the top of Total Eclipse ready for quilting!

Total Eclipse Top
A big thank you to Papa and Caleb for making the fabric possibilities work in this piece! I think this is one of my favorite quilts so far, and it may end up going to the fair, depending on whether I can obtain the backing and quilt it properly for such an event.

After this large undertaking, I moved to a smaller project on my table. We are playing bingo at quilt camp this year, and at guild on Thursday, I picked up my fabric pieces to make my bingo card. I whipped it out so quickly that I decided to play with some quilting within each square. It's not neat, but it was fun to just play on my machine for a change.

B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O, B-I-N-G-O and Bingo was his name-o.
Now that Total Eclipse is done, I can put up my row-by-rows given to me on Thursday; minus Marys row, of course. I'm going to do that right now before I finish blogging.

OMG, my rows are amazing. Each has its own personality and I have them up on the wall. Since I chose such a busy theme, it's going to take me a few days to see how I'm going to incorporate them together. On the wall, right on top of each other, it's way too busy. I'm going to have to set some sashing between each of the rows and around the borders I think.

Each row has some orange, green, and purple in them. This quilt will end up replacing Pie in the Sky in the kitchen and with our accent wall being a darker pumpkin-ish color and, the remaining walls being a lighter blue, I think I'll head that way with the sashing strips. So many possibilities!

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Fair Affair

I didn't blog yesterday because the morning started out running errands. One stop was the fairgrounds to pick up exhibitor tags for our upcoming county fair in July. Our fair is a week later then its usual since Independence Day falls later. Many questions were buzzing around the guild so answers needed to be had.

After getting everything done and returning home, the day progressed as usual; long-arming and putting together quilt blocks.

Total Eclipse is taking much time to construct. The blocks themselves are lining up well and even the curved piecing is the least of the time taker. It's removing all the pointy papers behind each seam hogging the process.

If the layout of the quilt wasn't so crucial, I would have taken the incomplete pieces to guild with me and solicited the help of other members. Since doing so would have amounted to an even greater volume of work, I decided to take my little flower wall hanging and finish the hand binding on it.

I decided to quilt each of the ginormous hexagons using the fabric as a guide for the quilting motif. If the hexagon does not lend itself to any type of motif, I'll use the Angela Walters book, Shape by Shape, to guide me in some filler options; she has one section alone on hexagon shapes.

Jim started laying our new kitchen floor last night while I was finishing up in here. There isn't much I can do to assist in his endeavor other then keeping Lily out of the kitchen. She likes to stick close to me and keeping myself busy in the studio is the best way to keep her out from under Papa's feet.

I received my Row by Row tote last night from Mary...minus Mary's row?!? She said she would probably have it done today and I have yet to open the tote up to take a peek. I can't put the rows on the design wall since my Total Eclipse is still stuck up there so I'll wait until I get that top put together before "unwrapping" my much anticipated row tote. I'm dying to get into it so with it being here is more then incentive enough to complete the Total Eclipse top perhaps even today.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Normalcy

Yesterday started out pretty much as the usual. Despite a horrible nights sleep, I was pretty productive and had so much fun in my little corner of the world.

I started out long-arming and then moved on to phase three of Total Eclipse. Each of the border pieces and the trim to go with them, had to be cut to a specific size by color. Then, phase four; laying out all the pieces.

Design walls are a good thing, but not very effective when the paper is still on the foundation pieces. Each piece had to be pinned (in two places) to keep them up there for a visual looksie. I moved quite a few pieces around and after staring at it for the remainder of yesterday and last night, seem pretty pleased with how it's laid out. Today I get to start painstakingly putting them together.

Before getting on the design wall
This quilt does not lend itself to just putting up the blocks into rows then sewing everything together. Each block has to have multiple sews done, as well as some cutting out of a quarter circle to fit the "rays" into each of the border/background pieces. Sound confusing? Good, because it is! This is most of today and tomorrows work.

After I put up the Total Eclipse and ate lunch, the other quilt was dry and here is the finished piece.
Braided in Purple and Yellow
There is one tiny little hold I had to repair after quilting this quilt, otherwise it may have been a fair contender. Too bad, huh? Moving along, I wanted to do something smallish to round out my day and remembered something from two weeks ago at our guild meeting.

Girl Scout Challenge
Katie was interested in some of us making some blocks for a girl scout in the Carolina's who is trying to obtain her gold badge, or status, or whatever it is girl scouts do equal to the eagle scout award in boy scouts. One of our members made a block with that awful blue and yellow combination in it. I had to teach her about correct color combinations. Here's my contribution. Go Green!

Still not satisfied I was ready to leave the studio yet, I then loaded DW up with his newest fashion wear and Ginormous Hexagons are on the frame!

Ginormous Hexagons
I haven't a clue how I'm going to quilt this thing. It'll have to sit while I think on it. I figured, as many times as I'll be going by it while taking pieces off and on the design wall during Total Eclipse construction, should bring forth some creative quilting ideas into my head. Hopefully!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Building

Sometimes I feel like a construction worker building a house. Things have to be done in a certain order and sometimes items completed have to sit for a spell until T's are crossed and I's are dotted. Quilting this quilt seems just like that.

I have marked this quilt during the quilting process and I feel like rolling the quilt while it's wet is not the right thing to do. Cotton is an organic substance which both shrinks and stretches when water is applied. After I quilt a marked motif, and before the quilt is rolled, I spray the markings out to ensure none of them are overlooked after the quilting process is completed.

After spraying I like to make sure the quilt is completely dry before moving on. I think that's why this smallish quilt is taking so long to quilt. Each day I do a row and then spray it, let it dry, and then find myself getting involved in something else; I then find myself moving out of the "long arm zone".

Did I mention I LOVE doing feathers now? Love, love, love them! Small. Big. Micro. Giant. Bring
'em on I say because with all the practice and instruction I've received, I feel like I want to do them all the time. This particular quilt lent itself to several and here's the start of one of them:

Feathers
Yesterday, while Jim was working on that darn ceiling fan in the kitchen, I long armed and then moved to my next phase of Total Eclipse. Judy Niemeyer quilts are certainly not quilts you complete in a day. 20 sections took me until mid-evening to complete and I worked diligently (no YouTube even) to get them completed before Jim returned with his trailer last night.

On to phase three today; background blocks and strips and getting it on the design wall. This should be interesting. I've only pieced each section individually and haven't put the two sections together yet to see what they look like. It may turn out to be total crap, but thankfully, batiks are pretty forgiving when combining them together and it should come up with a pretty good turnout once on the wall.

Monday, June 1, 2015

No Small Project

Sunday turned into another "no small project" Sunday. We had grocery errands to do in the morning, and then off to moms to pick up fence posts and for a visit. I did work on some hexagons (31) while we were there.

After returning home, Jim fixed the rogue light in my studio and then started installing the new ceiling fan in the kitchen. I started on the second phase of Total Eclipse; the convex/concave larger pieces. They look like this:

Total Eclipse second phase builds
The convex part of these pieces will come when building the quilt blocks themselves. A few of the background fabric pieces will be cut away during the block building process (I think). I love the batiks we picked up at the Hen House on Saturday!

Speaking of which, the Crankers were at the Hen House during our visit and what a GREAT bunch of ladies!!! We thoroughly enjoyed talking with a few of them and had a blast sharing in their cranking experiences as a way of sewing things together. Unfortunately, I'm too uncoordinated to work a crank sewing machine, but it was cool watching them work at their machines.