Monday, April 30, 2012

Sew-in Day for (most of the) Mavens

Fabric for spool blocks exchange
Before Mavens got together today I grabbed these fabrics and started cutting them for the blocks that the Piecemakers are making for our annual exchange.  This is what I was looking at when the Piecemakers walked in through the front door.  I thought we were all working on our blocks for this exchange, but Jan was done with hers already which was no surprise, Stella was working on her hand sewing project, and Melinda was working on a project that is due this week.   Somehow I failed to take a picture of Jan's work which was cutting for a quilt she's working on in teal and orange.   The spool block exchange is going to be pretty cool.  I got 12 of them done today, I need to finish another five I'm pretty sure I'm in good shape at this point.  :)  We missed you Lynda!

Stella giving another block of hand stitching.
The spool blocks I got finished
Melinda's exchange project due this week

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quilts of Valor, Wounded Warriors, Women and oh, something ready to be quilted, finally!

 I made the backing for the Sherwood Forest Romance, so it's going to Melinda tomorrow for long-arm love.  I've only asked her once before and I have to say that I have great emotional attachment to that quilt although I didn't love it at all.  I can't wait for her to quilt this one because I do love it already.
Sherwood Forest Romance & backing

My bee group "The Piecemakers" made quilt tops for Quilts of Valor last week.  My guild did quilt tops for Wounded Warriors.  I managed to work in both sessions through the week. (Then spent days resting, including Saturday which basically took 22 hours of sleep, but unlike our wounded heroes I will get better and be fine in the next few months!)  
Of course JAN finished her quilt top, LOL
Wounded Warriors Quilt

Some of the Piecemakers 
Pam having no fun at all!

Also Quilts of Valor in Progress

A quilt Jan & I made last year... thank goodness she quilted it!


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Well, That Didn't Work

 While cleaning up the studio space (which will soon become Kay's bedroom and I'll be moving the studio across the hall to her current bedroom space) I found a lot of things that were practice pieces or workshop try-outs.  I found this block.  I'll be darned if I can remember which teacher had us doing it.  It's got paper scraps in some of the seams, so it was obviously paper pieced.  I love red and would love to use this block, maybe as a round robin style setting.  I love doing groups of borders around a single block.  I also found a ziplock bag with green square in a squares.  I thought they would work.  I put them aside to try with the block.

Last week I put the center block and the setting blocks on the design wall together.  I had six of the square in square blocks.  I could make some more and get the first border done.  Making 10 of them wouldn't take any time at all, right?  LOL  I'm still doing things on the not so impressive schedule of getting things done.  First I had noticed that these blocks had the same background fabric as the center block.  I realized I must have thought of this back when I made the block.  Funny that apparently the same thought came to me then.  I looked through my fabric and miraculously managed to find both the background fabric (not much of it) and the green fabric in my stash.  WOW!  So I made 10 more squares and surrounded the block with them on the design wall.

At which point I decided I HATED them.  Hmmm.  Well, this is maturity.  Deciding before I sew the quilt together with borders I know I'm not going to like it.  This shade of green with this shade of red brown and yellowish cream does not work for me.

So now, I'm thinking about what I might do in the future with this block, and putting the new square in squares back in the ziplock.   There will be another 12" block to be bordered at some point.  Now I can move on a bit.  Also, I'm almost done cleaning the stack & whack quilt top and I've figured out the backs for that one and the one I'm giving to Melinda to quilt.  Today I'll be taking on a new project that I'm hoping to do for a friend's birthday, something really small but fun.  Hopefully I'll have something to say about it (and maybe even pictures) before the end of the week.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Making Progress!

Last week I began working on this quilt top.  I think I've shown you the blocks when they were on the design wall last week.   I had bought some fabric for sashing during shop hop day (my quickest trip EVER to Tiny Stitches) and I think I had two windows of time to work, about 15 minutes long each, and began sewing the vertical pieces to the blocks and making rows but then I discovered I didn't have enough of that fabric for the border around the rows as I was going.  A fret began to grab me, even as I was too tired and weak to work more.  I began to think about what I would do next if I couldn't get more of this fabric, oh, and I called my dear sweet Melinda who works at the shop and in fact was going in to teach that day as luck would have it.  I emailed her pictures of the fabric and asked her to buy me another half yard please.  She was willing but couldn't find the fabric in the green section.  She asked Mindy to look for it the next day.  I was hopeful but beginning to thing I'd have to go to plan b.  Don't ask me what it was, I can't remember any more.  LOL.

A friend of mine came to visit me on the next day and I asked if she could please take me over to Tiny Stitches.  I was still not feeling good but I really wanted to look for myself.  We drove over there and I walked in, Mindy was working and knew immediately that I was coming to find this fabric.  Of course I had a scrap of the green, she looked at it and said, oh that looks blue to me.  She went right to the blue section and found the bolt immediately.  I love Mindy a lot but I really do think it's green fabric, definitely on the blue half of green rather than yellow which is much more popular these days, but green at any rate.  I didn't care, I was just glad she got the bolt.  I bought extra too, so I could use it for binding too when I get there.  These blocks were a little wobbly but I think the quilt will do well when it's quilted out.

It took a lot of work and effort but I did finally get the horizontal sashing on and the inner border and then cut and pieced on the outer border.  There's no way this 1990's fifth ever quilt in my life is ever going to look like anything but a 1990's quilt, but honestly, I love the floral fabric and I'm glad to be getting it re-worked to something I actually might have enjoyed better.  I'm going to use it to practice some of the more challenging quilting options out there that I tend to chicken out on.  Right now it's just a big enough wahoo that I got the top finished.  I'm slowly working my way through it cutting out all the loose threads that are every where from having dismantled the original setting that was so awful.  It's the kind of work that I can do while watching NCIS, it's going to take a while but that's okay.  :)  It enough to say I have a completed top.

Actually, I have 2 completed tops.  For reasons I'll explain another time I was able to put my hands on a lot of UFO's in the past few weeks.  One of them is Sherwood Forest Romance which I loved when I made it during a Tiny Stitches retreat in January 2011, and finished the top the same week of the retreat if I recall correctly (and posted pics here, I think) but didn't love the border I put on.  I showed it to Melinda while she was here recently and agreed that the border doesn't need to be removed, just cut down.  Yesterday I cut it from 12" to 7.5" and I love it so much more.  I turns out I have more of the floral fabric to make the backing I think so I'm going to have Melinda who is a professional quilter go ahead and complete this one for me.  So really, that was finishing 2 tops this week.  Not bad for a girl still doing serious recovery from brain surgery.  LOL

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

How I Know I'm Getting Better

Sharon Schamber and a beautiful red quilt.
On Friday I took a chance and went to the East Cobb Quilters' Guild meeting, mostly because they had a teacher I really wanted to see give a lecture.  I was really bummed at not being strong enough to take a class with Sharon Schamber, but I was glad to see her quilts and hear her talk about her design methods.  It was very exciting to hear her talk about how she perceives color, too.  She is the first adult I've ever heard say some of the things I've experienced in color.  While she seems to see auras, which I don't, she is overwhelmed by color in ways that I sometimes am.  I sometimes experience colors along with emotions, words, and experiences.  Most of her lecture focused on how the colors she experiences end up her quilts.  It was very cool indeed.  I spoke to her for a minute or two after the lecture and told her how encouraging it was to hear from another person who feels color in unusual ways like I have since I was a kid.  She also offered a healing energy exercise so that God could be active on my brain and asked me what color I was experiencing and when I said it was green she laughed and said that was the color of healing.  It was pretty cool.

I have a few pics from the meeting, they were not great pics, but if you sense how great her quilts are, let me encourage you to go to YouTube where many of her lessons are presented in video.  She said a couple of times during her lecture how she makes all her techniques available to people for free.  If you admire anything you've seen here, I encourage you to go look at some of her lesson videos.

Going to the meeting undid me.  I did some serious resting for the weekend AND I finally came off the awful drug.  The good news is that doing so didn't cost me as much physically as it did the last time I tried, and in fact I am remarkably better this week than I have been all along.  It's a good sign that real recovery will happen with better engines from here on out.  Thanks so much to all of you who have encouraged me and gotten me through the worst of my post-surgical experiences.

Here are some pictures of Sharon's applique, quilting designs and a couple of large quilts, one with detail shots.