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.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Murder and Mayhem -- Update!

I got up this morning determined to work with the Quick Curve Ruler.  I was the lucky winner of a give-away that Thelma had a month or so ago.  I know myself well enough to know that I'd best do a learning block first.  So I grabbed some fabric out of the scrap bin.

Cutting wasn't bad once I read the instructions 6,743 times and watched the video 2,917 times. 

I pressed my fabric and headed to the cutting table.  No matter how I laid down that ruler, I could not figure out how to make the cut.  Heck, I couldn't even see the fabric.  Okay, time for a break.  Walked Penny, took a deep breath, and cautiously approached my cutting table only to find this:

Nowhere -- and I mean nowhere -- in the instructions was I told to take the paper off the ruler.  Honest to Pete, I'm as dumb as a fence post sometimes! 

Okay, I had to laugh at myself on that one!  You have my permission to laugh, too!!

I managed to get the two colored fabrics cut okay.  The background, not so much.

This was my first attempt.  Public service announcement here ... only ONE fat quarter was murdered in the commission of this crime!  Grabbed another fat quarter and cut that one with no further problems.

I wanted to make one component part just to see if I could manage the curves.  I can see chain piecing these further down the line but not now for this newbie.

Then to square up that puppy took me the longest time, another couple of readings of the instructions, another look at the video.

Ta dah ... my first part that I've affectionately named the "4-Hour Part."

Oh, and if you see anything wrong with it, DO NOT TELL ME!  Sometimes I'm happy just to wallow in my own ignorance!
And just so I don't scare anyone off who was thinking about getting this ruler, sewing the curves wasn't difficult at all.  The squaring wasn't hard.  It's just different.  The rest of them will go much faster and better.  Thank you again, Thelma, for the ruler and insisting that I learn how to use it!!  :)

My brain cells feel like they're about to explode.  Seriously, I don't think I've thought about and studied anything so much in years.  But I am determined to make one complete block if it takes me the whole holiday weekend.

Speaking of that -- HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!

Back to the torture chamber my sewing room!


Another three hours and I completed the block.  Wow, it went so quickly after that first component.  I had to piece together scraps for the center gold, but, hey, it worked!  I'm hooked on this ruler now.  I'm going to quilt up this block and use it in the fall on my little black round table in the kitchen in Louisiana!