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Archive for the category “Grandmother’s Choice”

UNCLE!!

That’s it!  I’m crying “Uncle!”.

hairI’m officially throwing in the towel on Grandmother’s Choice. I love my Grandma and I love all of the grandmas that fought so hard so I could vote and have equality.  But this grandmother is choosing to move on to another project.  I think I have sewn each block on this project at least twice.  And, no I’m not making two quilts.  I’m estimating that by the time I’ve cut and recut and sewn and “unsewn” that I’ve constructed each block at least twice….some of them more.  I don’t consider myself a quilting idiot but I just can’t get these blocks to turn out the correct size without stretching the bejesus out of them.  And then they’re all distorted.  I don’t know if it’s my measurements or if it’s her trying to fit a nine inch block into an eight inch square.  Don’t know.  I just know that I can’t be that bad every week.  I think I made the Capitol T block at least three times…literally.  The first one was not quite right so I tried it again.  The Flying Geese were flying out of formation!  Recut them…three times.  Resewed it and it was even smaller than the first.  I’m sooo tired of wasting good fabric.  So, I’m officially outta there!  Movin’ on up and all that good stuff…

If Barbara Brackman is reading this (and I’m pretty sure she isn’t. 🙂 ) I still love ya!  And I plan to sew along with the new Civil War block of the month tomorrow.  But quilting is supposed to be enjoyable and for me, this isn’t! 😦

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Oh happy day!!

Oh happy day!  As much as I love the Christmas holidays, I’m always a little bit relieved when they are over.  It’s finally time to relax just a little bit…a time to do things that don’t involve food.  A time to emerge from the sugar coma that sometimes comes to represent the holiday season.  A time to do some things for ourselves.  Don’t misunderstand…I love to do things for others.  It makes me feel good…makes me smile.  But sometimes I need to selfishly claim some time for me…to do whatever I want to do.  And that’s what I did today.

I tried to do that yesterday but it didn’t work out so well.  I started down to the sewing palace numerous times and was side-tracked almost every time!  Woke up late…started to watch Rachael Ray…liked what she was cookin’ for dinner.  That required a trip to the store.  Which usually means a trip to two stores…no store has everything.  Yesterday was no exception.  Two stores later, I was home and set to sew.  My husband came home for lunch.  After lunch, I caught a glimpse of the People’s Court on television.  (Don’t judge me! 🙂 ).  I finally pulled myself away from the TV and went downstairs…two thirds of the day down the drain.

Since I hadn’t sewn a thing but Barbie clothes and a Christmas stocking for weeks, I knew I had to piece.  But what?  Before the holiday season, I decided that I was going to deep six the Grandmother’s Choice project.  I wasn’t crazy about the fabrics I chose and just generally wasn’t feeling the love for it.  So, with the attitude that life’s too short to make quilts I don’t like, I decided the heck with it!  But when I entered the palace, I thought maybe I’d give it another try.  Of course I only had ten blocks completed and they were already on block seventeen and it seemed a little bit overwhelming.  But I cut out the pieces for the schoolhouse block.  There was a time I loved house blocks.  That time has passed as of last night.  I have no idea why I had so much trouble with this block.  I’m just glad I’m not a contractor…wouldn’t be in business long I promise you!  It was pretty lopsided building.  I pressed the heck out of it and it was OK…except on the bottom.  I was not about to remake the block so I hacked off the bottom and planted grass.  Guess I’m a better landscaper!

block_11After the housing crisis, I decided to give it up for the night.  Today, I got a much earlier start.  And what I also got was something even better than that…time alone!  There was no one here except me,myself and Irene!  I was giddy with excitement!  Then I needed to decide if I truly wanted to catch up with Grandma.  Yeah…I think I did.  So I dove into Block 12.  It looked a little complicated…dang Y-seams again.  But it actually went together quite well!  OK…one success…we’ll try another.

block_12On to Block 13.  I thought the directions were a little bit vague.  I cut a rectangle that was at some point supposed to become a pentagon.  The directions neglected to tell me when that would happen.  There were triangles that didn’t look nearly large enough so I cut others.  Those didn’t work either.  (Of course, they didn’t…they were the wrong size!)  I sat and looked at the pieces for several minutes and the solution finally came to me.  It would have been nice if the directions had included that little bit of information.  I’m hoping that those of you who have made that block know what I’m talking about.  I don’t want to be the only dummy!

block_13Isn’t this fabric just perfect for Grandmother’s Choice?

close_upNext up is Block 14.  No issues at all with this one.  A nice, simple Churn Dash type block.  A nice break from Y-seams!

block_14And finally, Block 15.  This went together very easily!  (Looks a little Christmasy, doesn’t it?) In fact, I decided to quit while I was ahead.  There’s always tomorrow.  I hope to be caught up soon!

block_15I’ve had some issues with these blocks finishing up to 8.5 inches.  They are all just a little bit too small.  I have two quarter inch feet for my machine…one with a blade and one without.  I was frustrated that some of the blocks were a little too small so I started to troubleshoot.  I’ve been using the foot with the blade.  I looked closely at it and I saw that the blade is not right next to the edge of the foot…there’s probably 1/16 or less gap between the blade and the edge of the foot.  Now if the edge of the foot is the quarter inch mark and if I’m lining the edge of the fabric against the blade, my seam is a “smidge” too wide.  Multiply those smidges by every seam and I’m guessing that’s why my blocks are just a “smidge” too small.  The last block I made today was made with the foot without the blade and it was fine. Have any of you had an issue with a quarter inch foot with a blade?

You’ve come a long way, baby…

My sister posted a picture of a quilt she made years ago.  She pointed out all of the mistakes that were in that quilt…all the reasons why she was going to trash it.  Then her daughter rescued it (Way to go, Sam!!) from the trash heap and loved it to death…literally.  Death of the quilt I mean…Sam is alive and kickin’!   And my sister brought up a point about how far she had come as a quilter.

Something to ponder.  How far have you come as a quilter?  I remember that day about thirty years ago when I took my first quilting class.  I was a raw rookie.  I became obsessed with quilting.  Everyone got hot pads or pillows for Christmas that year.  I was a pillow making machine!  I thought they were beautiful.  Ohio Star…hand pieced…hand quilted…with stitches about 1/2 ” in length!  When my husband’s grandmother passed, I was reunited with one of those pillows.  Yikes!!!  Were the quilting gods laughing at me?  Was it the result of bad karma?  Whatever it was, this couldn’t be the pillow I gave her.  Mine was beautiful….not this hot mess!

It all came back to me.  Yep…this hot mess was one of my first endeavors.  Then I thought about my first real quilt.  It was a sampler I made for my son….just blocks and sashing…no borders.  At that time my idea of quilting was to quilt just like our great-grandmothers quilted…by hand with cardboard templates.  And even more than that, I would use whatever fabric I found lying around.  Even fabric that belonged somewhere else…like my husband’s uniform shirt. 🙂 It was the perfect blue and it was old…sort of.  After he discovered that I cut triangles from it, he locked up the rest of them!  I wish I could show you a picture of that quilt but it’s 1200 miles away with my son.   Sometimes I think that’s not even far enough away!  I guess the miles have spared me the embarrassment of sharing. 🙂

I think that looking back at my early quilts, I can say I’ve learned a few things.  First of all I can’t believe that I would only hand piece and hand quilt.  I wouldn’t dream of going near a machine.  Now I’m convinced that if our great-grandmothers had access to a machine they would have gladly used it!  It took me forever and a day to finish anything that way.  I liken it to quilting in quicksand...just…can’t…move…  I don’t say this as a knock against hand quilters.  Hand quilting is a thing of beauty and I truly admire it.  And I understand the peacefulness it brings to hand quilters.  It just doesn’t bring me that same peacefulness.  I truly love the hum of my Bernina.  While it’s humming away on Project A, my brain is humming on Project B…and C…and D…

I’ve also learned to use the best quality supplies I can afford.  A bargain is not always a bargain.  My husband’s shirt may have been the perfect blue, but if it was old to begin with, it had two strikes against it when it’s sewn into a quilt.

I’ve also learned to step out of the comfort zone occasionally.  I always go back to what I love, but  a walk on the wild side from time to time is fun!

These are lessons learned the hard way…with quilts that did not stand the test of time.  They did, however, stand the test of love.

Here’s a picture of one of my earliest quilts.  Would you look at those colors!

How far have I come as a quilter?  Pretty darn far!  And there’s a long road ahead.  So, let me ask you…how far have you come as a quilter?

And speaking of far, here are my latest Grandmother’s Choice blocks.  I love this quilt.  It reminds how far women have come and how much farther we have to go.  So, no matter if you are pro-life or pro-choice or pro-whatever your issue is,  please be pro-vote tomorrow.  Vote and let your voice be heard….for Grandma!

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