Decide what to be and go be it.

Archive for the month “September, 2012”

I feel vindicated….

I wonder if many of you are like me.  I have a love/hate relationship with quilt shows.  I love to see the quilts.  I hate that I can’t touch them!  I practically have to walk through with my hands tied behind my back.  There’s always the quilt with that little thread on it that begs me to remove it.  I have to walk away fast!

I love the diversity of many of the shows.  People do things with fabric I would never dream of doing.  I always wonder why their minds work differently from mine.  Why didn’t I think of that?

I leave most shows with mixed emotions.  On one hand I am extremely inspired.  I want to go home and lock myself away in my room and sew for days.  And then, on the other hand, I feel woefully inadequate.  Why can’t I make quilts like these?  Why can’t I make a beautiful applique quilt?  Why can’t I make a stunning art quilt?  Why is it I don’t stitch tiny pieces of fabric together in a quilt that looks like a photograph?  Why don’t I put shape and color together to create movement or convey emotion?

I struggle with these questions after every quilt show.  And I have an answer.  I don’t want to.  It’s really pretty simple.  I just don’t want to.  Having said that, I then struggle with these questions….why don’t I want to grow as a quilter?  Why don’t I want to step out of my comfort zone?  Why don’t I push myself?  Same answer…I don’t want to.  I’m happy with my traditional way of doing things.  It makes me happy.  We should do the things that make us happy.  Growth is nice but we don’t always have to grow.  I guess I’m like a little bonsai tree.  A bonsai quilter.

I was thumbing through the latest issue of American Quilter  admiring the winners of the Grand Rapid show and beating myself up because my quilts don’t look like these.   Then I came across and article about Marti Mitchell.  In this article, Marti says “There is  nothing wrong with quilters wanting to buy fabrics and make quilts for their families.”  It occurred to me that was a true statement!  I was vindicated!  I don’t have to step out of my comfort zone unless I want to!  That statement has given me the freedom to admire all of those quilts that I like to look at but have no desire to make and still feel like a quilter.

Hello, my name is Candy and I like to make Nine-Patches.  Wow!  It feels good to say that!


Dang! It was operator error…..

You may recall these blocks and my rant about how they go don’t go together right and the pattern was wrong and so on and so on and so on.

My very first impulse was to toss them in the trash and be done with it.  I decided against that.  My second idea was to iron the snot out of them and hope for the best.  I tried that and the best I got was “eh..ok”.  I decided that “eh” was OK.  After  having slept on it, I decided to take it completely apart and start over.  I looked at the illustration that was given and I read it to mean to sew two dark triangles to opposite sides of the square and then construct the two remaining sides and set them in.  You see how that worked for me! 

So, I sewed the dark triangles to all four sides of the center square,leaving 1/4′” open at each end.  Then I set the larger triangles in and guess what!  It worked.

I had been relying on my memory to do the “Y” seam.  Now, everyone knows that women of a certain age should never rely on their memory.  🙂  Lesson learned!

All was right with the world….until I saw this week’s block.  Oh my!!  I did my best Scarlett O’Hara impression and said  “I won’t think about that today.  I’ll think about that tomorrow.”   🙂

Feel like a rookie…

Sometimes I feel like a raw rookie.  I’ve been quilting for a very long time and for the most part, I think I do a pretty darn good job!  But the last couple of weeks have been quite humbling.  In my last post, I showed you my Grandmother’s Choice block for the block of the week by the same name.  I tried to make poorly cut rectangles fit where they didn’t want to fit.   I should have known better.  Wait…I do know better.  I just thought I might get lucky this time.  Ha!  Don’t buy lottery tickets with this luck!  Then I decided I didn’t care so much for the fabric combination and was ready to toss it.  Some of you convinced me not to do that.  I fished it out of the trash and replaced the rectangles with ones that fit and a calmer fabric.  Now, I like it!

Looks a little less “nervous” and more calm.  I like this so much better.

Ready to move on to Week Two.  This block has me talking to myself.  I’ve pieced the first version three times and cut a second block that has the same issues.  This block has a “Y” seam.  I’ve pieced those seams before with little trouble.  Not this time!

Here’s Version One…third time through.

Click on the picture to get a better view of the mess!  You can see that the center is not square and it’s puffy.  The seams are not flat…they’re kind of folded over.  Not good.  I thought perhaps I just didn’t cut accurately.  So I thought I’d make another being very careful to cut accurately.  I reprinted the pattern and measured the center square piece as per the instructions.  The pattern piece for the square was the proper size.  So I cut fabric again…stitched and this is what I got.

It’s so frustrating!  This one was even worse!  I really think that the either the red triangles are just a bit too small or the center square is too big.  But my understanding is that if the center square measures accurately, the other pieces will fit.  So, is it pattern error or operator error?  I love both of these fabric combinations but I’m not sure I want to cut more fabric until I can figure it out.   Any tips on “Y” seams?

Just make myself feel better and remind myself that I don’t always screw up, here’s the snowman quilt I teased you with last week.

Week Three…here I come!


This is why you should not “multi-task” when quilting.The grandkids were over until mid-afternoon.  After I finished watching the ballgame (yes…they lost…dopes!), I went downstairs to sew.  My son decided to talk to me.  I know better.  I know I cannot carry on an extended conversation and sew.  I can barely chew gum and walk!  But, since time was limited, I decided to try anyway.  After I cut the first strip too narrow, I should have quit.  But I didn’t.  I cut the second strip too narrow.  I should have quit.  But I didn’t.  I read a quote that says “Every man is a fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists in not exceeding the limit.”  I blew right past that limit on Sunday and never looked back!   I wish there had been a speed trap–maybe I would have stopped.  But, sadly, no.

My son left and I continued to work on this poor, little block.  I cut the rectangles as per the directions.  I just forgot that I had made a slight modification to the corner squares.  The rectangles were a “smidge” too long.  You would think I would have learned a lesson by now…recut them.  Nope…how much could a “smidge” hurt?  One might not hurt too much, but four could be painful.  And, that’s how I ended up with this lumpy, puffy mess.  And to add insult to injury, the fabric just didn’t go together as well as it had in my head.  I don’t know when I’ve made an uglier block..if I ever have.

I was going to remove the offending rectangles since that fabric didn’t fit visually or technically.  Then my younger son called to check in as he does every Sunday.  So, I put it down, turned out the light and walked away…hoping it would look better in the morning.  It didn’t.  And, now it’s here.  Out of sight…out of mind…out of my life.

Moral of this cautionary tale:

Measure twice, cut once and don’t talk!  🙂

Quilting can be a humbling experience!

A few things…

Last weekend, my husband and I went to the AQS show in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He’s really a trooper.  Not many of my friends are quilters so he gets to be my BFF on quilt days.  He’s a good guy…he likes quilts.  He enjoys looking at the quilts and he enjoys going someplace nice for lunch.  But he does not like the vendors.  I think guys are genetically wired to dislike shopping.  Unless it’s for tools.  Then they can wander for hours in the hardware store.  I try to remember all the shows and shops I’ve drug him through every time I’m with him in Home Depot.  But I digress….  Bottom line is he will trudge through aisles and aisles of vendors without complaint.  He’s a keeper.

Every quilter who goes to a quilt show would probably agree that visiting the vendors is as much fun as viewing the quilts….particularly at a big, national show.  All of the big companies are there and so many of the pattern makers and authors.  You can find things that are just not always available at your local shop.  And they call your name and they follow you home!  I had one item that called to me.  It was the kind of thing that seems like a good idea at time…like the Tupperware pickle keeper that I had to have so many years ago.  🙂  This quilting item was appealing but it was pricey so I had to convince myself that I really wanted it.  So, I decided to continue shopping and if I really wanted it at the end of the afternoon, I’d get it.  Eventually I decided I couldn’t live without it.  My reasoning was that either way, I might be sorry….sorry I bought it or sorry I left it there.  So, back to the booth I went.  Eventually.  You see, we forgot where it was.  So CubFan and I were once again trudging down the aisles.  We finally found the booth and I walked away a happy camper.

So here is the object of my desire…Steady Betty.  It is a very unassuming pressing board.  I’ve been pressing on a towel on top of my cutting table…which, by the way, is warping my cutting mat.  I’ve been looking for a better method.  This is it!  It’s foam covered and the foam holds your quilt blocks in place while you press them.  It eliminates most of the distortion that can occur when you press your blocks.  I have no buyer’s remorse with this purchase…unlike the pickle keeper.  Check it out here.   As I said, it’s a little pricey but I think it’s worth every penny…again, unlike the pickle keeper.

My other major purchase was a product dear to my heart…thread.  I think it’s pretty well documented that I love thread.  I’ve had this love/hate relationship with King Tut thread.  I love it…it’s beautiful…it’s high quality.  My machine quilting just doesn’t look pretty when I use it.  Part of that is because my machine quilting just doesn’t always look pretty to begin with!  🙂  Out of desperation one day, I tried SoFine 50 weight and my stitches looked so pretty.  I think King Tut is just too heavy.  I needed to get some SoFine in neutral colors.  I talked about going to the Superior Thread booth for a week.  I walked right past it and CubFan had to direct me to it.  I was like a kid in a candy store!    I picked out some colors and some Masterpiece for piecing and a cone thread holder thingy and went to the register.  I told CubFan not to come to the register with me.  He wouldn’t understand.  He doesn’t care…he just doesn’t get it.  He once looked at my tackle boxes full of rayon embroidery threads and said “You must have $50 worth of thread in there!”  I did not set him straight.  If he’s happy believing that, I’m happy letting him.  🙂  I’m pretty sure I worked a couple of days for that thread.  But I think it’s going to make a big improvement.

Here is what I’m working on right now.  I’m pattern testing for my sister.  Her original is made in a more primitive colorway but I decided to try it in “snowy” colors.  These are certainly not the norm for me!  Here’s a sneak peek!

I’m hoping to share some quilt photos from the show as soon as I can get them edited.  Where does the time go!!!

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