buriedinscraps

Decide what to be and go be it.

Archive for the tag “progress”

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!!!!!

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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!!!!

In a funk…

I’m in a funk.  I hate funks!  But I’m in a funk. 

lackadaisical-184714I had every intention of telling you about my third grandchild.  I was going to show you the crumb blocks that my sister made me make.  I was going to show you New York Beauty blocks that I completed.  But I didn’t do any of that.  Because I feel like that little turtle.  I’m on my back and no matter how hard I roll around I can’t seem to get upright.  I spin to the right and I spin to the left and nothing happens.  (Insert deep sigh here)   I believe that it happens to everyone once in a while and we help each other out of it.  It’s just no fun when it’s you!!  It appears that my creativity is on hiatus.   My imagination is on vacation.  And here I sit, waiting for it to come home. 😦

Anyone out there have a stimulus?  A kick in the pants? A smack upside the head?

Alas Zippy…we knew you well.

This is all that remains of the second incarnation of Zippy the Monkey.

zippyYeah, I know…he scares me, too!  Zippy belongs to my boss (Hi, Beth!) who has had him for 59 years.  Over those 59 years, he’s lost an ear and a nose and a hand.  Apparently, as a child, whenever she was upset with her mother, she would chew on Zippy.  I suppose it was cheaper than therapy!  Zippy appeared on my desk last week.  In a moment of weakness or insanity, I said I would try to fix him.  I promise you that I do not partake of the grape before leaving for work…although it’s the only real reason I can think of for the offer. 🙂  So, I’m looking at poor, little Zippy and trying to figure out where to start.  Perhaps a match? 😉

origina;For those of you, who are too young to remember Zippy, this is what he should look like!  We’ll see what we end up with!

nybAnd for my friend and partner in crime, here’s the latest of my New York Beauty blocks.  I only have four completed and many more to go.  But now, with the holidays behind me, I can get back to my machine.  Oh how I wish I could train my husband to remove the paper from the back.  Suppose I could get someone who needs community service?

I’ve been working on the quilt for MarioFan.  I’m really enjoying this one.  I believe I need twenty blocks and I have four finished.  They go together nicely.  After the Grandma nightmare, it’s refreshing to enjoy piecing once again!  Now to get back to free motion quilting.  I’m afraid you’ve all left me in the dust!

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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