Sunday, August 31, 2014

Migrating Geese Race

Migrating Geese

The geese are migrating in all four directions for my Lansing Leaves quilt, and they are racing to the finish to see which group will get there first.  There is no method to my madness.  I started with one row to see how it would work, and started another so that I could chain piece them. Eventually I decided that I should press with an iron instead of finger pressing, and it seemed more efficient to start another row.  The last row took a while to start because I was trying to decide which fabric should be able to go first - should it be my favorite or my least favorite that needs to be "unsewn". Do I even like one fabric better than another.   Finally, I decided to pick a random one and the race began for all four rows. You only see three rows in the photo, because the longest one is in the sewing machine.

I also don't know how many geese I will need, so I am going backward and doing the first step of sewing and cutting the individual geese from time to time.

Border Contrast

This border scares me a bit.  This quilt has the least contrast between the fabrics (dark vs. light) than any other quilts I have made.  I tend to make sure there is strong contrast so you can see all my hard work.  The borders have even less contrast than the blocks.  I keep telling myself that it will be fine - after all, that's what happens in the fall, all the colors jumble together into one glorious pile, and you can't tell one leaf from the next until you look closely.  

Photo Story

I've been thinking about a blogger/designer who talked about a photo story.  Instead of having a simple picture, add other pictures around it to make it a theme and create a mood.  I looked up online collage makers to try this, and found picmonkey.  I remember that site - I might even have used it before.  I added some random photos of Lansing Leaves. I know it isn't very creative - all of the photos are of the quilt - but it does tell a story behind the scenes of the hotel room where it started and the yard sale table that serves as the design wall. This table was also used to stage the house I was selling, and I remember sitting in the breezeway reading a book as I was waiting for a contractor to finish.  The collage also reminds you of the curved piecing aspect of the quilt. It shows the improvement of my sewing skills over time, as I found curved piecing to be rather easy.  The hint of the improv quilt on the wall tells its chronology in line of the quilts I made, and that part tells the story of secrets yet to be revealed.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Quilt Trends

I drove my daughter to a job interview, which happens to be very close to Quilt Trends in Columbus. I hadn't been to the store, so I decided to stop in.  It is a cute little store. They had a variety of items, and a long arm which they rent.  I am still on a strict budget, particularly since I haven't finished organizing the studio yet.  They had a lot of quilts on display, and their Christmas display was especially striking, and I couldn't resist buying the pattern book so I could make a similar display for the holidays. I also bought a stiff brush to use with the fabric paint sticks I got as a gift.

And just to prove that progress is being made on the Lansing Leaves quilt, here are the pieces for the migrating geese border. I did have to add new fabric, but will also use as much of the original fabric as possible.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

 Hello and Welcome! Today, I am going to tell you a little bit about myself as I participate in the Around the World Blog Hop. I'm not sure who started it, but I heard about it from A Quilting Life.  The concept is pretty simple. Just answer the following four questions:
  1. What am I working on?
  2. How does my work differ from others?
  3. Why do I write/create what I do?
  4. How does my writing/creative process work? 

I'm so happy you asked. As I answer, I grabbed some random pictures from my blog to give you a taste of what types of things I have made. These are older quilts from when I started this blog.  I don't think they show the variety of quilts that interest me, but they will give you an idea about what I've made.

What am I working on? 
My current plan is to work on projects that have already been started.  I still like these projects, so there is no point in abandoning them just to start something new.  I am working on a quilt I started last month. I am calling it Lansing Leaves because it was started in Lansing. I also have a couple of other projects that I started earlier this year that I want to go back and finish before tackling even older projects.

I also write a variety of articles for HubPages as you can see in my sidebar. There, I write about genealogy, quilting, health, finance, relationships, and anything else that occurs to me at the moment.

How does my work differ from others? 
 My work is very eclectic - I like improv quilts, crazy quilts, modern quilts, traditional quilts, two color quilts, scrap quilts, reproduction quilts, small quilts -  I like them all.  I tend to flit from one project and one type of project to another, and sometimes it is hard to make the adjustment, especially when I flit from something very casual like an improv quilt to something that requires more attention, like a Jane Stickle block. 

I like to make sure that my work is different from anyone else's, so I try to use a different fabric than others (even if it is similar), or try to change up a pattern. I am also trying to develop more confidence to create my own patterns.

 Why do I write/create what I do? 

Because I would go crazy if I didn't!  I thoroughly enjoy creating - whether it is cooking, quilting, or writing an article - it nourishes my soul.  I also like the fact that there is an end result - a quilt, an article, something I can eat.  It makes me feel productive and avoids feelings of guilt for simply wasting my time.

How does my writing/creative process work?

I find something I like, and I work on it, and then something calls me and I move back and forth as my interest calls.  When I am designing my own quilt or writing an article, I have a general plan in my head, and then I just start and let it take me where it goes. I stop as needed to do research if I get stuck or need help.   The end product is generally very different from what I originally envisioned, but it is usually much better.

I hope you've enjoyed learning about me. If you would like to write a post answering these questions, I would love to read it. Please let me know in the comments if you do!

[Edited to add:

It turns out that the way this blog hop works is that you get tagged by someone to write yours, and then you tag others to write theirs.  Angela from soscrappy has been kind enough to retroactively tag me.  Instead of specifically tagging people, she stated that she would tag the first three people who wanted to join in.  I like that plan.  If you want to be tagged, let me know, and I'll tag you in a future post.]

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lansing Purchases

I usually document my purchases of fabric on my blog. I don't know why really. Maybe it is so that I ask myself, "when was the last time I bought something?," I can look it up.

When I went to Lansing, I noticed that there were two craft stores on my way from the freeway exit to the job site.  There was a Michaels, a Hobby Lobby. I later discovered that there was a Joann's not too far away, and just a little more driving would take me to a quilt store.  Yes, there were four, count them - four-  places for me to shop!  I haven't been buying many quilt supplies lately, mostly because I have too much already, so it was a little dangerous going to these places. But, yes, I did go to all of these places.  After work, I would stop by at one of the places just to window shop, but I did pick up a little bit at each place.

I was tired, and I remembered that I didn't want to buy too much stuff, but I did realize that this isn't a touristy place, and I couldn't find the usual souvenir bricabrac, so I decided that I could buy souvenirs that would remind me of my Lansing journey in the form of fabric.  My quilting budget would be spared!

When I went to the Joann, Michaels, and Hobby Lobby, I was disappointed in that they looked like the stores in my home state.  In fact, they were smaller than the ones here, so there wasn't much there that I hadn't seen before.  I also didn't have coupons with me and no time to find or print them, so that limited me even further.

Let me show you the souvenirs I got. 

Since I was limiting fabric purchases to quilts I was actually making, I decided to look at ribbons and beads.  Here are the things I got from the box stores.  Yes it looks like I am going to have to work on my crazy quilts really soon. There are quarter yard pieces of different ribbons I can use on a crazy quilt.  Some beads. A charm of a snake.  On the bottom right, there are charms of elephants - that's my favorite purchase of the trip.

At the quilt store, there was more temptation there in the form of fabric.  I allowed myself a few pieces since I was having a hard time deciding. There are two quarter yard pieces, two 5" packs, and a book to go along with the ribbons. In case you are wondering about the sashiko in the background, that's something Tanya made for me.

That's it. That's all I bought in the entire month!  In case you are wondering about the progress of my Lansing Leaves quilt, I have started cutting the fabric.It looks pretty good as a table topper for the dining room set I got at a yard sale.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lansing Leaves Quilt Progress

Okay, I have to admit that there hasn't been any physical work done on the Lansing Leaves Quilt.  [edit, I put the leaves border on].  I have decided that I want to use Migrating Geese as a border instead of leaving it plain.  I'm pretty sure now that I "borrowed" at least one of the fabrics out of this kit, and I don't have any big pieces that work well as a substitute.  I did find a fat quarter collection that does work, so I have decided to piece a border.  I think this will also make me feel better about using a kit, because with this change, the quilt will not look very much like all the others that were made from this kit.  I am actually pretty excited about this, because I think flying geese will work well with the leaves in this fall quilt. I've been trying out different sizes of borders to see what I like better.

Since it was Pets on Quilts day, I decided to let Zeus showcase my progress so far. I had to put the quilt on top of him, since otherwise you wouldn't get to see the quilt!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Lansing Leaves Quilt

I am a slow quilter - just methodically working a few minutes a day here and there and making slow progress.  This means that my blog rarely has a final ta-da Here's the Quilt I Made Today posts.  What it is supposed to have is some in progress shots to show what has been happening so you can see the quilt unfolding over time.

The one quilt I made this year, I couldn't show you, because I was testing a pattern that will be published in a book.  It was disappointing that I couldn't show you, because it left for little quilty blog fodder during the time I was making it.

Recently,  I started a new quilt, and I couldn't show that one to you either!  This time it was because I couldn't transfer the photos from my camera to my computer. So instead of slowly seeing the unfolding, you can see all of the photos at once.   My job sent me to Lansing for a month. I like to think that the hotel cleaning staff enjoyed seeing the quilt progressing, but I hardly saw them, and when I did, they didn't mention it.  I was working crazy hours at work, and just had a few minutes here and there to work on the quilt in the hotel room, but over the month, I think I made pretty good progress.

It all started with a fabric from a kit and a photograph in the quilt shop brochure.   They were teaching a class on it.  I also had a template from a book I got from the library.  A kit was faster to pack then trying to figure out what make and whether I had everything I needed.

Next step was to cut the fabric and sew the strips together that make up the leaves. That's where I discovered that taking a bigger ruler would have helped. I only had a six inch square ruler.

After that, it was time to use the template to cut the fabric.  I had to buy some scissors. I was planning on rotary cutting, but scissors worked much better.

Here's a look at my sewing space. I had to move the sewing machine to cut the fabric.

For some reason, I thought that the leaves in the center were bigger than the leaves on the sides, and that I was missing parts of the template, so I wasted some time making the missing templates, but I finally figured out the blocks were the same size and these three templates really fit together.

Checking the layout on the design bed.

I found a walking path in the neighborhood, and everything is very green.  It seemed strange to come back and work with fall colors.

  All the blocks are now pieced.

The blocks have all been trimmed and the rows have been sewn together. Time for the inner border. Since I didn't have a pattern, I had to try to figure out the border sizes, after long days of work. I also wasn't sure where Borders 1, 2 and 3 from the kit were supposed to go. There are four fabrics in borders, so I wasn't sure whether one has to be used in more than one place or whether I "borrowed" one of the borders for another quilt.

After I had finished cutting and sewing, I realized that I had done the math incorrectly (forgot to add one of the seams), so the border would be too small for the next round of leaves. I didn't have enough fabric to cut all new borders, so I made just two of the borders slightly larger than the others.


I was going to have time on the weekend to put together the rest of the top, but I wound up working all that weekend too, and then it was time to start packing up.

I'm home now and I have housework to do again, and preparing my own food. It seems like it may be a little while before I can finish this quilt.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Red and Black and White Awards Banquet Quilt

Here is my latest quilt, in progress. It is another small one. It started innocently enough. I had some black and white fabric left over from another project, and I decided to make a small quilt out of it instead of putting it away. It was a simple matter of sewing the more white than black strips next to the more black than white strips, and cutting them into triangles and sewing them to each other. There wasn't a lot of fabric left, and it made six blocks.  I decided that the six blocks didn't look good right next to each other, and would look better on an on point setting.

The fabric from the center squares was also from the sewing room.  It all went well until I needed fabric for the setting squares.  The whole point of using fabric that was already in the sewing room was to keep from digging into the supplies, but I needed other fabric for the setting squares.  Since black and white goes with almost anything, I wound up auditioning a lot of different fabric - more black and white fabric, green, red, and yellow.

I found the pretty red, which is one of my favorite fabrics.  It turned this scrappy, use up what you have, into a beautiful quilt that was worth the effort.  I also spent a lot of time auditioning the border fabric.  I participated in a black and white fat quarter swap when I first discovered that quilting groups were on the internet.  Most of my black and white fabrics are from this swap, and I think they have waited long enough. I discovered the internet quilting groups just in time to know that I had jut missed the millennium swaps.   There had been many people who swapped fabrics for the end of the century.   Before that, I was a lonely quilter, trying to figure out everything from magazines.  Anyway, the border fabric has cows on it, and the word "moo, but it looks like 2000 to me when I first saw it, and it made me feel that I had a late chance to participate.  One of the black and white fabrics has chickens on it, so a cow fabric isn't out of place.

I had originally cut the setting triangles incorrectly, and decided to play around with putting the bad triangles on the front of the quilt.  I like it!  I can add them as prairie points so I can still use the border.

After sewing the raw edges, the triangles would be smaller than they were pictured. I decided I wanted the triangles even smaller, so I folded them in half instead of cutting more and sewing them to each other.  Here they are cut and ready to sew into the border.  I'm wondering if I should add something (applique? embroidery? and if so, what?) to those center black squares or leave them as is.

I am also working on helping my daughter sew a blouse.  I am not used to making clothes, but it is turning out quite nicely.