Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Two Weeks of Nothing

Well, not exactly nothing.  I've been sorting, purging, tubbing ... and generally making a huge mess in the place.  Did I already say I hate this moving thing?  I did obtain estimates from moving companies.  They were about where I had estimated they would be - really really really expensive.  Of course, my brother said I should just hire a truck and do it myself.  "A truck"?  That one had me gasping for air after ROFLOL'g.  He hasn't a clue.  The sad part is that what seems like so much here (minus the quilting stuff) is going to be totally lost in the new house.  It seems furniture shopping will be on the agenda after I get there.  That's another thing that I hate doing - right behind car shopping and getting a root canal.

Of course, to add insult to injury during the past two weeks, I turned another year older.  That day was spent in an almost all-day meeting, an early dinner with my late boss' wife, and then home to return phone calls.  I was teased that dinner at 5:30 was for old people.  Hello.  I qualify.  'Nuf said on that!

I received a birthday package in the mail from Sally, my dear friend over in the middle of the country.  She had been posting about this project and I was following her progress for a couple of months.  Imagine my surprise when I opened that package and saw that she had sent it to me! 


It's a gorgeous table topper made from batiks.  I have studied this thing and I can't figure out how she did all of those edges.  There is no binding.  Sally is a true artist - not only with her beautiful piecing and creativity, but for the extra touches she adds to her quilts.

 
In each of the neutral blocks, she "painted" the leaves using Derwent Inktense Pencils.  I don't know exactly how they work, but you draw your design with the colored pencils and then wet them using some gel agent (not water) and feather out the color.  The result is gorgeous!  Then she beautifully quilted it to highlight the painted area.  True artistry!  I had an insane urge to get some of those pencils (check them out on Amazon) but cooler heads prevailed since I can't even draw stick figures that actually look like stick figures!  Sally, thank you so much!  You inspire me!
 
I said a couple of weeks ago that I had finished the binding on two quilts.  The binding color for this one threw me for a loop.  I tried every color in the rainbow but ended up going with red.
 



The red is too -- well, it's too "red."  I had three or four different reds and they were all too red, but no other color worked.  So red it was.  This was truly an instance of repeating over and over "not building a piano here."  It's done.  It'll be cute on the breakfast table or somewhere.  Maybe in the doll bed I rescued from Mom's attic thirty odd years ago.

Isn't it sad that I have nothing to report on the quilting/sewing front?  I have blocks that need to be assembled but no "design floor" that's not filled with boxes and tubs.  All of the blocks will be packaged up for assembly in the other LA.  I did keep out some of Carrie Nelson's Little Bites patterns.  The one that is on my cutting table is Sample.  A few weeks back Carrie offered kits and I snatched one up.  It'll be interesting making the sample blocks from mini charm squares.  I'm up to the challenge!  And speaking of Carrie, I know I can speak for everyone when I say how sad we are at the loss of her beloved Miss Rosie.  I am thinking of Carrie every day.

Maybe the next post will be more interesting.  I don't know.  I've kind of given up on "interesting" for the next three to four months .... but am still looking (perhaps hopelessly) for a glimmer of humor in every day.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Week of Sewing

I spent a lot of time in my sewing room last week.  I accomplished a lot, but only one picture to share this morning.  My home internet service is completely out - a change of service providers here and they only will sign me up for a two-year contract.  Since I'm only here for a couple of more months, I certainly can't do that as they do not service the little town I'm moving to.  So I'll just have to work off my iPhone tether until I get moved and get service there.  I feel so out of touch.
 
 

All of the Weeds blocks are made.  This is the cute Me and My Sister pattern.  I just need to press these and assemble the top.

I also picked up two of the many quilts I dropped off to be quilted, and I got the binding all done on those two.  One is the purple and green batik for my hairdresser, and the other is a small quilt.  I'll try to get pictures posted of those this week.  If I cross my fingers and hold my mouth just right I can get a picture downloaded!

I opened a box and found three or four mini quilt tops I made over the past couple of years. I'm just going to grid quilt those myself and get them done.  The backings were with them.  I'll try to get those sandwiched and pinned this week - after I get the two tops for Brenda Riddle's Quilted Comfort project off to the quilter.  I've put off doing those because I have a tough time piecing those backings with a limited range of motion in one arm and a bum neck and back.  (Dang, I'm falling apart in my old age!)  No more procrastinating, though!  Time to get them where they need to go!

You know how I always say I have to do everything twice?  Well, the hospital called me late Friday.  Apparently all the blood I gave them last Wednesday wasn't enough, so I have to go back this morning and do it all over again.  Naturally I asked if they would just do one more vial to get the amount they need.  Nope.  They need to just start the process over and get four vials this time instead of three.  At least I don't have to go back through outpatient registration; I can go straight to the vampire's den lab and ask for this guy.  And hopefully my new prescription glasses are in and I can pick those up while I'm out.  I found hand stitching those bindings down a bit challenging, even sitting under a light. 

My next projects are going to be whatever I can get my hands on here without unpacking tubs of fabric.  I should have planned better and kept some things out.  This past month has been so surreal.  Planning to move was absolutely NOT on my to-do list for this year!

Monday, August 04, 2014

Red Letter Day

I have been so sick with either the flu or a very bad cold for the past week.  I slept a lot, tried to drink a lot of water, and slept more.  The only good thing about not working and being sick is that I have been on the same tank of gas for almost three weeks!  :)

Since I wasn't quite so shaky this morning when I got up, I decided to get Red Letter Day off my sewing table.  I just had to sew the last three blocks together and then sew the last row on the top.  I almost gave up about halfway through, but a bowl of Corn Flakes and a glass of orange juice fortified me and I kept going.


I really like Thimble Blossom patterns.  They're well written and easy to follow.  That said, I didn't like so much these 22.5" blocks.  Maybe I'm just used to working on smaller blocks, but I found them cumbersome to handle.  It's probably just me.  I have a couple of other quilts in the works with big blocks and I found the same thing on those.  But the quilt is amazing, especially in all of the wonderful fabrics I've seen on blogs and on Instagram.  I'd say Camille struck a home run with this one!

My house is in such a state of upheaval.  I've started packing up some stuff, and realized it's maybe a little too early to start doing that.  I have paths through the downstairs between boxes and tubs.  There are things I wanted to pack and then leave the rest to the packers/moving company.  My very quiet life is upset right now and being sick didn't help at all.  Hopefully, though, I'm on the road to recovery and things will settle down here.

Penny is sitting over there staring at me.  I've neglected her so badly this past week or so.  Poor baby!  I need to spend some quality time with her today because she's just as upset as I am with all of the changes going on around here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Metro Scope Blocks Done

Excuse the "design wall."  I took down the pictures on a wall in my breakfast room to be able to hang them as they were being made.  Caught the edge of the countertop.  I'm looking forward to the Cottage where there will be a real design wall.


Since I lost one of the dark blues due to my cutting error, I'll have to rethink the layout.  It's okay.  The blocks are done.  I can figure out the rest of it.

But not today.

I'm heading to the Pacific Ocean in a little bit.  I have a bucket list of things I want to see or do before I leave SoCal.  This was one of them.  I have a friend who has a place in Dana Point, and I think a day or two of reflection while sitting on the beach is just what the doctor ordered.  Saw him yesterday.  He said I needed to relax and get rid of the stress in my life.  This will do it!

Speaking of the Cottage, I'm trying to figure out a time I can zip home for a week or so to plan the move from that end.  Between doctor appointments and meetings, it'll be tough to work out.  I think I need to get perspective from the other LA to make this LA work itself out.  LA2LA -- that would make a good license plate!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Cotton + Steel

Cotton + Steel has landed at the LA Quilter joint.  I'm anxious to break apart these packages to see what all the fuss is about!


All of the pictures posted of projects really peaked my interest, especially the one that Carrie of Miss Rosie's did.  I've always wanted to do a kaleidoscope quilt and I think this will be the one.  Think there's enough fabric here?

Thursday was my last day at my company.  I am still working one day a week for my late boss' wife until I leave town.  But I will have a lot of time to pack, get some sewing in, and generally relax after 43 plus years of working at two really stressful jobs.  One habit I need to break is automatically waking up at 5:00 a.m.!

Another thing I must do soon is move all the tubs of fabric from the offsite storage to my garage.  That will take many trips in my QuiltMobile, or one or two trips in a pickup truck.  Why-oh-why have I collected that much fabric?  I always joked that I was buying for my "retirement," that nebulous thing off on the horizon.  Reality has slapped me in the face and the time is now.

So what do I do?  Buy more fabric!

Seriously, I was considering getting rid of a bunch of it, but I decided to move it all with me to Louisiana.  I know myself well enough to know that I would be searching for the one piece that I no longer had and would be scouring the internet to find it.  Once I get there and fill up the stash closet, then I will make a decision on whether to get rid of the rest of it. 

On a nostalgic note, I wandered back in the plant earlier this week to watch them forge one more time.  It's such a fascinating process.  As I told a friend, I can't believe I got teary-eyed over titanium and steel -- or in quilting parlance, Titanium + Steel! 

I had to cancel lunch with a friend today.  My garage door decided to quit working, and the repairman is coming this morning to hopefully fix it.  I can manually open it, but it's hard for me to do that with a bum back.  Certainly don't want to undo any of the good works by the surgeons.  Yesterday morning I had to unlock it, open the door, pull my car out, go back in the garage to close and lock it, go through the house, out the front door and around to my car.  (sigh)  Penny was confused by it all.  Heck, I was confused by it all.

I am going to clear out my sewing room of some boxes of fabric, and then sit down and work on the Metro Scope quilt.  I love making those blocks, and have decided not to be discouraged by the miscut of one piece of fabric.  I'll just substitute another blue and forge on!  ("We're not building a piano here!")  I took nine or ten quilts to the quilter last weekend, and I'd like to get a few more to her before the move.  It's easier to move finished quilts than bits and parts, so UFOs, watch out; here I come!! 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

I Don't Like Today

I had an up-and-down night, but decided to make headway this morning on something, anything.  I am feeling all discombobulated these days.  After this coming week, things ought to settle down for me some.  However, the logistics of packing is overwhelming me right now.  I will just have to try to take it a day at a time.  It's not like I have to move tomorrow, but I'm looking at the forest - and I should be looking at the trees right now.

I decided to cut out the rest of Metro Scope.  The first block I ended up with having to piece a 1.75 x 5" piece.  I got it fussy cut to where you won't be able to see the seam.

The next block I don't know what I did, but I can't get the arcs out of what I cut and there's not enough left over from the fat quarter to cut again.

 
 
This fabric line won't be out until September.  You all decide what I should do:
 
1- Substitute another piece for this block that I don't like as much.
 
2 - Try cutting out the rest of the blocks, make those, and then wait until this piece is available.
 
3 - Put the whole project aside until I get moved and might be in a better state of mind.
 
To paraphrase a line from "Steel Magnolias," I'm so confused I don't know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Metro Scope Progress

Progress is being made on my Metro Scope blocks.


I decided to make the first few one at a time to see if I couldn't get some consistency.  I think I've worked out the kinks and can proceed to chain piecing component parts for the remainder of the blocks.

A friend suggested not using the Horizon fabric by Kate Spain because I needed more contrast.  Since I've started packing up some of my fabric, and since I had already ironed about half of the fat quarters, I thought I would go ahead and use it.  When I learn a new technique I always call the first quilt made my "learning quilt."  I think she was right about the contrast issue, but to quote my wonderful Dad, "We're not building a piano here"!!

I'm using only two colors in each block.  The outer rings will be dark blue, turquoise and green.  I'll use the purple only as the second accent color.  When I put these up on the wall, I thought they looked real summery with sort of a tropical feel.

I've made some adjustments along the way while making these.  Sewing the curves is easy.  The squaring is the most tricky part.  I need to get an 8" square ruler for consistency in squaring up those center blocks.  I found I needed to use a stiletto -- in my case, the seam ripper -- to hold the bottom end of the curve together as it goes under the needle.  I also found that setting the seams with the iron before pressing the curve helps to make it smooth.  You can tell the parts where I set the seams and those that I didn't.  The puckers came during the ironing process, not while sewing.  I'll repress those seams before I assemble the quilt.  And, finally, spray starching the fabric before cutting was a gigantic help.

Don't know if I'll get much done this week on them except for cutting the rest of the colored fabric, but I'm real pleased with these three blocks.  Making that test block first was a good decision.