buriedinscraps

Decide what to be and go be it.

Summertime…

…and the livin’ is easy. Or hectic. My summer has been hectic. Lots of fun…but hectic. Each year my “summers off” have become shorter and shorter. And I try to cram as much into my summer off as I can manage!

We went here:

more_presidents

and here:
crazy horse

and here…where we saw little peeks of snow on the ground in July:

deadwood

Then we went here:

GC1

and here:

rocks

We came and took MiniStitcher and MarioFan here:

Unknown

We were home for a few days and went here:

Progressive-Field-Home-of-the-Cleveland-Indians

and here:

roh

where we saw this:

couch

and this:

cub_scout

Two thoughts on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame–I loved seeing all of the “stuff”. But, I wonder, do we really need to see Jimi Hendrix’s family couch? Nothing better to display?

And even though I’m assuming that Jim Morrison wasn’t always the Lizard King, I could not wrap my brain around him being a Cub Scout.

I’m guessing you can see why the blog posts have been slim pickins lately. Not much sewing, quilting or stitching going on. But back to work now. I think I need a vacation from my vacation.

Who thinks this stuff up?

How do you go from this

beforeto this?

rushmoreWho looks at a mountain and says, “I think I’d like to see George Washington’s face on that mountain.  And as long as I’m carving, why don’t I just add Tom and Teddy and Abe so George won’t be lonely.”  When I look at a mountain, I see rocks and not faces.  But Gutzon Borglum saw faces and went to work to be sure that we saw them also.  Some well placed explosives, drills, lots of time , blood, sweat and tears and there are four president’s faces looking back at you from the side of a mountain.

I get the thought process…the creative vision.  What I don’t get  is the actual process.  I don’t get how you look at this huge expanse of rock and say if I put X pounds of dynamite in this little, drilled hole and press the plunger, I’ll have Washington’s nose big enough to see it in Wyoming.  Well, maybe not Wyoming, but you get the idea.  Someone had the patience and vision to take a small sculpture and reproduce it on a grand scale.

Aren’t we quilters similar to Borglum?  Obviously, not on such a grand scale….although who wouldn’t want to see a quilt the scope of Mount Rushmore?  I think if I had time I could piece it and still have stash left over!  But we are very much like the sculptor.  We take a piece (or pieces) of fabric and we see a quilt.  And we all have our own vision.  I know that I could show a piece of fabric to ten different quilters and see ten different visions.  Some would see flowers, some would see faces, some would see landscapes and some would see abstract shapes.  We would all see something different…something uniquely “me”.  And we would create something that may be similar to something else; (I adhere to the theory that there is very little that’s new under the quilting sun.)  but at the same time, something that speaks to us alone.  And the best part is that we can do it without one stick of dynamite!  Unless we want to…….

And here it is….

southwest…my paltry haul from my trip west.  Can you believe this?  Two shops and just this!  My second stop was at the Quilter’s Store in Sedona, Arizona where I found these.  Really nice shop also…just not my “stuff”.  But if you like batiks, this place is for you!  Nice ladies and great service.  I also purchased another pattern that didn’t make the team photo above because it had to be ordered.  It nearly beat me home!  I had it in less than a week.

The shop is for sale.  I told my husband that since he’s retired and I will be shortly we should buy it.  Go home, sell the house and buy the shop.  It would give us something to do and we could live in drop-dead gorgeous Sedona!  Sounds like win/win to me.  He just turned the radio up louder!  Go figure…..

It’s a miracle!

While visiting a small town in South Dakota,  we drove past a quilt shop.  Later in the day we took walk down the street to visit.   And….wait for it….I didn’t buy snything!  Not one fat quarter.  Not one spool of thread.  Not one needle.  My husband is still stunned.  I may leave him stunned…he’s much quieter that way

In fairness, the shop was small and very nice.  Just didn’t have things in my “style .  It’s interesting how fabric trends are different in different areas.

Another one bites the dust!

I’m beginning to love that song!

quiltYes!!  I have another finished project.  I purchased this pattern about a year ago.  I put it on the back burner for a while.  I guess I lit a fire under that burner when I decided I wanted to learn wool applique.  I added the last border on my own.  I didn’t think it looked finished without it.  I like it very much!!

quiltingHere’s a close-up of my quilting on this piece.  I used a stencil for this corner.  I didn’t trust myself to do this free-hand.  If you click on the picture you can see my freehand leaf border.  Now, that’s something I like!!  I have the leaf design down pretty good!

pumpkinAnd here’s my first  attempt at wool applique.  I learned something while stitching this.  I didn’t know that perle cotton came in different weights.  I know it now!  This was like stitching with a rope.  I’m sure it would have been easier and the stitching finer if I had used lighter weight perle cotton.  Ah well!  Live and learn!  I’m just glad I didn’t learn it on my Noah’s Ark project I plan to begin shortly.  I’m going to a new quilt shop Saturday.  I’ve called ahead and found that they carry Valdani perle cotton in various weights!  So, that’s next on my list!

Two unfinished projects now finished!  Whoohoo!!!!!

One more down!

Last year, my husband and I took a trip to Shipshewanna where I purchased this church window.  I liked the shape of it and I could see an old quilt behind it.

open_window I took it home and put it away for another day.  It was a good idea when we bought it but then I had to actually do something with it.  I’m not one to cut up old quilts…even if I had one.  So, I knew I would have to make something.  There it goes….up on the Later Tater pile!

Then I fell in love with hexies.  So I began to make hexies.  What to do with the hexies I was making?  The church window came to mind so I stitched enough hexies to fit behind the window.  I stitched all the way to Florida and back.  A long as I was stitching with the window in mind, my husband stopped asking me when I was going to do something with it.

hexiesThey were finally pieced.   I knew they needed to be quilted.  This was a perfect opportunity to practice free motion quilting.  It was a nice, big piece, it had a purpose and it would hang above the front door so no one would ever be close enough to see mistakes!  Win-win!

I quilted on this piece for about three hours and when it was done, I thought it looked pretty darn good!

quitingAs soon as the quilting was done, I wanted to staple it to the back of the window.  My sweet husband gave me the staple gun.  I actually thought he would staple it for me.  Ha! Who was I kidding!  He sat in the recliner and offered direction.  I was tempted to use the staple gun on his lips but thought better of it.

windowNow it’s finished…  At least my part is finished.  It’s up to him to figure out how to hang it on the wall.  Let’s see how long it takes him….

 

Baa, baa black sheep…

…have you any wool?

Any wool appliquers out there?

I decided I needed something to do with my hands while watching my beloved White Sox circle the drain on a daily basis.  Something to keep me away from all the sharp objects in the kitchen.  I decided on this pattern:

patternThe fact that I’ve really never done much applique didn’t deter me.  So, I’ve been collecting wool for this project.  WOW! Not an inexpensive venture!

basketThis is my first really big jump into wool applique.  I love this pattern but the directions are rather vague.   I’m assuming (yeah, I know…bad idea!) that I would proceed like any other applique project—block by block.  Should I stabilize the back?  Would that make it harder to embroider later on?  Floss or perle cotton?

So many questions!  Does anyone have any tips for this woolen rookie?

Yikes!  Hang on to your hats!  Another adventure!

I love a new beginning….

I love starting new projects.  I just have trouble finishing them.  When I go into my sewing room, I always intend to work on finishing something.  But then I get like that cat that sees a sun ray on the floor…bat, bat, batting at it.  So easily distracted.  Oh, don’ t those fabrics look good together.  What can I do with them?   And I’m off and running with a new shiny thing.

I know that I can never have the discipline to finish one thing before I start another.  I just have too much churning around in my brain and everyday I have less and less time and I just have to see how this might look.  The birth of a new project.  But I firmly believe it’s the birth of a new project that keeps my mind fresh.

Yesterday I saw that I had too many projects in various states of completion.  Something had to give.  And I know I can’t stop myself from starting something new.  I’m sweating just thinking about it!  I have convinced myself to finish one project every month.  So here is my Completion #1–my inner hippie quilt that I believe I’ll call Peace Out, Man.

quiltIn this post, I told you why I stepped out of my box and made this.   I finished the piecing and applique and hit the brick wall I always hit–how to quilt it.  Free motion quilting and I are not best buddies.  We try to be and we’re cordial but we aren’t friends.  I suppose it’s because I haven’t taken the time to really get to know him.  (It must be him because he’s so aggravating! :-) )  I love to piece but don’t really like to actually quilt.  So, I delay the inevitable until the very last possible minute.  I’m told the key to FMQ is practice, practice, practice.  But since I set aside completed tops in hopes that the quilting fairy comes in and quilts them at night while I’m sleeping (she doesn’t), I don’t practice much.  Each time I decide to FMQ, I’m starting over.  So, on this quit I decided to practice feathers…once again.  I have not given up on feathers!  I feel like the details and stippling in the center of the quilt look pretty good.

close_upI saw the improvement from first feathers to last.   Not my best work, but at least they look like feathers!

feathersThere’s hope for me after all!  But, most importantly, one down and who knows how many to go!

My last post was buried in the reader so I’ll ask this again.

threadSee the pretty notch?  When I’m FMQ-ing, the thread sometimes gets caught in there.  Usually it’s when I’m on a good roll.  I wish thread companies would do away with them.  But until they do, are there any remedies out there?

You’ve come a long way, baby!

I can remember when I first began to quilt.  I thought that I had to quilt like our grandmothers did. (Well, not my grandma..Maddie was way too modern to quilt! :-))  But you know what I mean.  I thought everything had to be done by hand and all fabric should be “recycled”.  That idea actually didn’t last long!  I came to love my sewing machine and rotary cutter and acrylic templates and quilt shop quality fabric and all that good stuff!  But what about our quilting ancestors?  How did they quilt?

At our last guild meeting, we had a presentation by Cathy Grafton.  Cathy came in period costume and in character to tell us how our great-great-greats sewed and quilted in the early 1800s.  It was a fascinating program!  I think what surprised me the most was that women of that period purchased new fabrics for quilts.  They did not use old clothing because they wore their clothing until they were basically rags.   And I thought I hung onto clothes for a long time!

She told us how precious needles and pins were at that time.  They were difficult to obtain and many times were shared.  At that rate, my husband has had a million dollars in and out of his feet over the years!  Needles and pins were treasured.  Think about how many we toss away.  I can see the look of horror on Hannah’s face!  Scissors were availabe but obviously not anything like the rotary cutters we’re so accustomed to using.  Items like that were carried with the woman in either a pocket that hung around her waist or a chatelaine that hung around her neck.

Of course, she also brought along some reproduction quilts that she made in the manner of the era.

Although it was an interesting evening, I have no desire to give up my sewing machine and all the modern notions.  We’ve come a long way, baby!

Here’s a question for you!  I was machine quilting a piece yesterday and I had a problem with a thread spool.  This spool had one of those little notches cut into the top and the thread kept getting stuck there.   I think it’s a cruel joke…they put a notch for every quilter that’s going to get thread stuck there!  I’m sure I’m not the only one this happens to.  What do you do to fix that?  It’s soooo aggravating!!!!

Darn you, Bonnie!

Darn Bonnie Hunter!

Why does she have to make such awesome scrap quilts?  And why does she have to be so darn organized?

I love my scrap boxes!

scrapsI love digging through them.  I pull out little reminders of quilts completed, waiting to be completed and those booted out of my life forever! The red, green and black quilt comes to mind…a challenge quilt that my sister and I were going to do.  Fabric looked great in the shop…not so much on the design wall.  No matter how I arranged those squares and triangles, nothing looked right.  I waited for my sister to throw in the towel.  She didn’t.  I blinked first and she happily agreed to trash the project.  So all of those squares and triangles went into the scrap box.  I still shudder when I pull one of them out remembering what almost was.  Then a little smile because I still like the darn fabric!  But, of course. I digress!

As much as I love pawing through the box when I have nothing else to do  (like when does that happen?), I hate digging through it in search of that one print/color for a scrap quilt.  What a time suck!

Enter Bonnie Hunter by way of my sister.  (I have to start ignoring her. :-) ) She purchased one of Bonnie’s books and bought into the whole organize your scraps theory.  I can see her now, feverishly cutting strips and squares in various sizes.  Well, maybe not feverishly–but cutting none the less.  What I can’t see is me doing the same thing.  If there’s one thing that anyone who knows me knows it’s that I do nothing-and I mean nothing-feverishly!  But my dear sister (the Enabler) convinced me to try.

OK…my turn.  On her recommendation, I purchased this book.

bookI discover that I love the quilts.  However, I’m pretty sure I’m not cutting up shirts to make scraps.  Here is what I would have to work with.  Obviously, my husband is neither flashy or flamboyant.

shirtsEven if I wanted to go that route (I don’t) I couldn’t.  He’d be a little upset if I did.  He’s still mad at me because I gave away his safari jacket.  Seriously, he still brings it up in the occasional argument.  Now, I have thought about cutting up his Cubs shirts…for that just right Cubbie blue triangle but I like living in this house. :-)  Would probably be a deal breaker.

So I started slicing and dicing my scraps into usable squares and strips.  I was a human Vegomatic!  I’ll admit it will be very useful when I have enough.  (Do we ever have enough?)  But it will be a long road from this

scrapsto this.

organizedCuz I’d rather stitch ‘em than cut ‘em!  How about you?

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