Decide what to be and go be it.

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Still pluggin’ along…

What happens when you don’t practice, practice, practice?  You get rusty, rusty, rusty!  I’ve been away from fmq for a few weeks.  In the pursuit of my Summer List, I got out my Gettysburg Sun quit and began to quilt.  I had forgotten that I have sooo much trouble quilting a straight line.  You would think a straight line would be easy.  You would be wrong.  If I took my eye off of it for even a nano-second, the stitches were snaking all over the place!  And I just couldn’t get the “feel” of the motion.  The stitches were tiny and then they were big.  I think I can attribute some of that to “lumpy seams”…. a product of small blocks with lots of pieces.  Sometimes, I just don’t know how to press seams to eliminate the bulk in a small block.   I was very unhappy with some of the stitches…so I ripped ’em out!  I like the quilt too much to leave all of the mistakes in.  So, I ripped out stitches…even the microscopic stitches we sometimes get.  Please tell me that sometimes you have them also!  Even if you have to lie to me.  🙂

See what I mean?

Another issue I’m having is I can’t see the designs I’ve marked on dark fabrics.  I meticulously marked my dark fabrics with one of those white pencils.  I believe I wasted my time.  The marks rub off by the time I get to them.  😦  Of course, I took my time to mark the border and of course, most of the markings are gone.  Can you say frustrated?  So, I’ll get out my little stub of a white pencil and try to mark it again. How in the world do you mark dark fabrics?  Is there something out there that everyone else in the world is using except me?

Being a glutton for punishment, I decided to try a free motion feather.  Stitching in the ditch wasn’t challenging enough…I had to try swirls!  I had been drawing them for weeks with minimal success.  But at some point, I knew I would have to put down the pen and put thread to fabric.  Here’s the result.  Not too shabby.  But I suspect that birds all over the world are laughing their tail feathers off right about now!

My Summer List showed me that I am a prolific piecer but not much of a quilter.  This feather shows me that I’m a curvy, swirly quilter and not so straight arrow.  Somehow, I think that my just reflect my personality!


Almost summer….

This quilt makes me think of summer!

It’s almost summer and I’m almost on vacation.  I have six wonderful weeks away from the daily grind.  Just enough time to get used to being a lady of leisure and then BAM!–back to reality.  My days with umbrella drinks on the deck are severely limited.  So, for the first time ever, I’ve decided to go into summer break with a plan.  This post is the kick-off to the inaugural “At Least Do Something Constructive”  summer break.

I’m putting my plan out here for all the world to see…and to shame me into completing at least some of it!  There are those of you out there (and you know who you are) who will push nudge me along in this endeavour.

So, here is my summer To-Do list–in no particular order:

  • Finish quilting Gettysburg Sun
  • Quilt this guy with feathers
  • Quilt Midnight Stroll
  • Quilt my coneflower quilt  with Leah’s “zippling”
  • Make mug rugs and assorted goodies for my guild’s boutique in the fall
  • Get my Civil War Tribute quilt to the long arm quilter.  I know this probably really shouldn’t be on my to-do list but I think I can actually do this one!  🙂

OK….that’s enough!  I have to leave some time for the umbrella drinks on the deck!

Happy Summer!!!!

The wait is over!

It’s been well documented on this blog that I have enough UFOs  to last a lifetime.   So why would I want to begin a new project?  Beats the heck out of me!  But I did.  I had this fat quarter bundle of fabrics that I wanted to use.  They were a little bit outside of my comfort zone and I was waiting for them to “speak” to me.  I thought they were going to speak about curvy, flowery designs….but they didn’t.  In fact, for a while, they didn’t say a word.  Until I saw this.   Then they began to whisper and then to shout.  “Hey crazy lady!  Look at this!” So, here is my take on it.

My first thought was to challenge myself to use just the fabrics in the bundle.  Nothing in the bundle worked for the first border so I had to add that fabric.  Then the pieces in the bundle were not long enough for the last border so I pieced it.  I think I like it better than I would like a solid border.  I also like the nine-patch look of it.  All in all, I like the darn thing!   I really enjoyed the challenge.

Course it isn’t a quilt until it’s quilted.  I’m thinking about some kind of a fat plume in the unpieced squares.  The border kind of lends itself to practicing feathers.  I’m never going to learn how to do feathers if I don’t practice so this is where I begin!   I posted the feather part because I’m hoping that by putting it in print I will shame myself into actually doing it!

So, now that I’ve teased you for a few days, I hope it was worth the wait!

Do you hear something?

They’re speaking…..

And at last, I can hear them!

Catching up…

I had such a busy weekend–stove shopping (old one bit the dust), grandkids on Saturday night, Mother’s Day and a wedding on Sunday–it left little time to sew.

My plan was to sew for most of the day…MiniQuilter had other ideas.  Last week, she convinced Grandpa that she and her brother should make Mother’s Day breakfast for me.  She sent him to the store for berries and flowers and all kinds of good things.  She’s very good at spending someone else’s money and she’s only eight!  What a bright future she has!  🙂  It wasn’t a bad idea until the stove decided to croak.  Darn burners wouldn’t shut off.  Of course, my husband was going to shut them off one way or another.  Took the pliers to them and, of course, broke off the stem and the rest is history.  Managed to shut off the gas completely.  The stove was old so a new one was in our immediate future.

What to do about my “surprise” breakfast?  Sausage and eggs on the grill!  I had to stay in bed and pretend to be asleep until breakfast was on the table…not an easy feat for a woman of a certain age…if you know what I mean!  🙂  But it was worth it to listen to Grandpa (who has little patience with anyone else in the kitchen) try to cook with two eight year old mini-chefs!  At last I was allowed to awaken for the feast.  Food was good and the company exceptional.  Had to watch a few dance routines to some Beatle songs.  I guess you can see where my sewing time went.  But I’d gladly give it up for those memories.  I’m just sad that the battery in my video camera wasn’t charged so there were no incriminating images of the dance routines to use at a later date…like prom night or something!  heh  heh  heh…..

Then waiting for the stove to be delivered.  Believe that–delivered on a Sunday.  While waiting for its arrival, I went down into the palace and thought I’d practice fmq.  I knew I had some “sammies” ready to go.  Do you think I could find them?  Heck no!  Since I revamped  the place, I can’t find anything!  Searched for about a half an hour and found them right in front of my nose.  By then, it was time to get ready for the wedding and I sewed zero stitches.  😦

But here’s the plan for this week,  I finished piecing this charity quilt and I want to put it on my frame.  I want to see if my research into needle, bobbin and thread combinations will help my persnickety Juki play nice with my frame.

I have this fat quarter bundle that I’d like to put into a small quilt.  When I bought them, they spoke to me.  They have since become mute.  Or I’ve gone deaf!  Either way, we’re not communicating!  I’ll keep poking around for a project.

And my little “sammies”—I vow to practice “zippling” and get back on track with Leah’s project!

Thinking outside the box

As much as I wanted to sew last weekend, I didn’t.  Not because I didn’t want to…but because I had to catch up.

One of the things I had to catch up on was my photography class.  I realized that I had a class on Monday and nothing to show.  Got out the old camera and fired away with the shutter!  Then I had a plethora of photos to edit.  I’m a slow editor since I’m still not completely comfortable with the process.  I click the Preview button in Photoshop to see what impact my editing has had on the image.  It’s like having an eye test–which looks better…A..click or B..click.  So many decisions!  Here are two images that I played with and was happy with the result.

Since this is a quilting blog, I have a quilt related idea.  Uh oh!  Ideas can be dangerous!  I’m looking to step out of my comfort zone.  I never do pictorial quilts, but I think I  may like to try one.  I feel “drawn” to the tree image.  Here’s where the trouble begins!  I know enough about myself to know a couple of things for certain.

  • I’m no artist, so painting this image on fabric is a joke.  Unless I want a Picasso kind of look!  (Which I don’t )
  • I’m not much of an appliquer–so cutting little leaves is out of the question.

I’m thinking of transferring the image onto fabric through my printer.  I don’t have very much experience with this technique.  I’ve used the letter sized pre-treated fabric pieces.  I don’t like the stiffness of the fabric.  And I would be limited by the size.  I have a wide format printer so I could go larger than letter sized.  Has anyone had any experience with this technique?  I know I can Google it but I’m looking for someone who has actually done this and can hold my hand!  🙂

See…I can see this with fancy threads, maybe some couching, definitely some beading.  OK…I’m scaring myself!!

Trip down memory lane

This past week, I read a couple of blog posts about old sewing machines–an old treadle machine that belonged to Grandma and an old Viking that belonged to a late Mother-in-Law.  They made me think about my first sewing machine.  I was probably around 14 or 15 (back in the days before electricity my boys would say) and I decided I was going to learn how to sew.  I scoured the papers for a machine I could afford.  Trust me…I couldn’t afford much!  I ended up with a machine that looked like this:

Nope, this isn’t the original.  I didn’t have enough sense to know that someday I would yearn for that beautiful wooden cover.  In a sense, I was proud of that machine.  It was all mine!  And then again, I was ashamed of it…it was so old.  No, I had to have newer someday.  I plugged along on it.  It witnessed my joy at completing a project and my frustration at unsewing my many mistakes.  But, I learned to sew on that old machine all the while coveting something better.  If I knew then what I know now…  How about a nickel for every time we’ve said that!

When my aunt got a Singer Golden Touch and Sew (who remembers when that was the cat’s  *#$@**^% ….pajamas?), I inherited her Kenmore.  Good bye to moldy old past and hello to a glistening future.  A future filled with zig-zags and buttonholes and blind hems!  WOW!  I was in high cotton!

Thus began the progression of machines.  From that old singer through a few Kenmores to a couple of Berninas to the awesome Bernina I now own.  And, although I’ve liked every machine I’ve ever owned, I don’t think I miss any of them like I miss that old Singer that I kicked to the curb so many years ago.  Don’t know if I’d still be sewing on it, but I’d like to reconnect with the memories hidden under that beautiful wooden cover.

I’ll bet you have memories of your first sewing machine!

At long last…

…I can sew again!

Last week I was jolted into action when my sewing cabinet was delivered days before it was even scheduled to ship.  It was a very long weekend of cleaning, tossing, assembling and reorganizing.  I’m not sure what was my least favorite.  I can say that the tossing was the hardest.  After all this time I’ve developed a relationship with my “stuff”.  But all things must end, so toss I did.  Fabric, patterns, threads, software–seriously, who has a floppy drive any more?  It was amazing to me that I could haul out so many bags and boxes of “stuff” and still have “stuff” left over!  Where in the world had I been putting it?

My husband assembled the cabinet in two days with little difficulty.  Ran into a few missing parts but Kangaroo Kabinets mailed them out immediately and sent along a cute little tote for my trouble.  Great…more stuff!!

Saturday morning was the trek to Ikea.  What a cool store!  My first time in an Ikea but not my last, I’m sure!  By late Saturday afternoon, my husband had the cutting table assembled and I could begin to bring things back into the room.

Here’s the biggest lesson learned!  My focus was on the cabinet.  Where would it fit the best?  Would there be an issue if it were completely opened up?  All of those measurements were taken before (know where I’m going with this?) we built the cutting table.  It’s not as wide as the table I had been using (good) but deeper than said table (bad).  The sewing cabinet doesn’t reeeeeaaaally fit with the quilting leaf opened up in the back.  Thanks goodness both pieces are on casters..  So with a minor bad word or two and a little maneuvering, I can make it work.  That was close.  Moral of the story….measure, measure, measure!

My husband installed a shelf for my stereo and another above the computer for my pictures.  Add a mini fridge and I may never have to leave!  My little kangaroo, Pockets, has a home near my machine.  Cute little guy has his ears on backwards!  MiniQuilter wants to know how he can talk on the phone.  Wow!  Is she a child of the times or what!

Sunday began the great migration back to the room.  The grands were over and MiniQuilter decided to “help”.  I told her she could have a little cubbie in the cabinet for her “stuff”.   Believe me–she crammed a lot in a little space!  She’s certainly Grandma’s girl!

In the past, I left my ironing board up all of the time.  (Couldn’t see the top of it half of the time!)  Without the ironing board in there, I have so much breathing space!  I’m almost giddy–I could dance in there if I wanted to dance. Ooooo…that’s not a pretty picture!  🙂  The euphoria didn’t last long.  Enter my husband with the darn ironing board.  Right now, it’s folded up behind the door and I’m using a folded towel on the cutting table to press seams.  I figure if we need to iron a shirt (does anyone really do that anymore?), we can set it up and take it down…My question to you:  What do you use in your sewing space to press seams?

Enjoy my little slideshow of the “after”.  You’ve seen the before here!  I’m going to go sew….finally!

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