Saturday, February 19, 2011 in crafty things

Paddington quilt

I am excited!

Friday afternoon, I went to Sew With Jo, and I *only* took 3 small quilts to quilt. Nothing to piece. Thereby forcing myself to get over the fear of quilting part. My plan was to use my walking foot on all the straight quilting I had to do across all three quilts, then use the other foot to do free motion.

Quilting in progress

I got all the straight quilting done on the blue Christmas wall hanging that Mom made me, and I got almost every line done on the Yellow, White & Red Paddington baby quilt. I even bought a new blue marking pen while there.
I marked on my quilt.

Then I ran out of bobbin thread. Did I bring extra? No. I can’t wind bobbins on the machine I had (long story) and Jo’s machine would not wind my bobbin. the store had no pre-wound bobbins. So I had to tell Ron to come get me. I had two and a half lines left until the quilt was DONE. Pooh.

I did finish it after I got home, and wound up starting supper a half hour late, even tho I left early.

This quilt is one in which I celebrate the mistakes. :) While I was trimming the batting, I accidentally cut part of the backing level with the edge. My plan had been to fold the backing over to the front. So along that one side, I had to add a piece. there was also one block with a tiny chunk out of it that I had meant to put along the edge. It wound up almost in the middle of the quilt and of course I noticed it while quilting it.

fixed

I just sewed extra stitching around it.

labelled

I also had a couple places where the binding didn’t quite catch and had to re-sew sections. If you look close, no doubt you can see these spots. I celebrated by stitching around my label, all the way through, so you can see a rectangle of stitches on the front.

front side

I used all cotton batting in it, which shrinks enough to make the quilt crinkle after your wash it, so I tossed it in a regular load and threw it in the dryer. Some loose bits showed up after that, and I just stitched them flat.

Paddington quilt

This quilt? This is one for a new baby boy. I expect it to get loved and used, so hopefully with the imperfections celebrated, the boy and his parents will happily drag it around the house, build couch forts, use as a cape, cuddle it, throw up on it, and generally love it.

Because it’s a quilt made with love. :) And I am heartily in love with the batting and how it affects the finished quilt.

Sunday, February 13, 2011 in what a guy I married

Words to describe my husband

stubborn
infuriating
obtuse
set (in his ways)
unyielding
crazy-making
vexing
perplexing
enigmatic
quiet
forgetful
dependable
reliable
honest
kind
playful
hilarious
joyful
loving
huggable
kissable
patient
forgiving
trustworthy
friend

Saturday, February 12, 2011 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

Fear of quilting

So, recently I have figured out some interesting things about the process of quilting. Yes, you’re thinking I have made a lot of quilts, but I want to make a distinction that I have made a lot of quilts *tops*. Now that I have this big pile, I seemed to have stalled at this point.

I noticed the same thing in sewing clothing. I once made Ron a dress shirt in three days. Collar, yoke, placket front, flat felled seams and triangle sleeve plackets. Three! Days!

And it took me two weeks to sew the buttonholes & buttons on.

Hmm, why is that? Well, in the case of shirts, I really dislike sewing buttons on. Especially a long line of them. And making the buttonholes – I have just realized why I always hesitated on them and why I hesitate on the quilting part of quilting.

See, the actual quilt tops I have finished all the way to completion is 5. Four, if you consider I got someone else to do the quilting on our nap quilt. Three, if you discount the quilting I did on Meaghan green & purple quilt.

So. I have sat here looking at my pile of quilt tops and basted quilts ready to go and wondered why I hardly did any sewing this week. part of it is a space issue. One of the waiting quilts is a fair sized – nap or twin, easy. The thought of wrestling it under my machine and knocking off everything else on my table is not something I have looked forward to. Especially on those days where I am cooking supper and waiting for the timer. Ten minutes? While I can sew a fair number of seams in ten minutes, when I get to the actual quilting part, ten minutes means I have the foot changed and the fabric smushed under and figured out where to start. And doing a line of stitching halfway down the quilt and stopping – leaving it in the machine – just seems wrong.

What if someone walks by and it pulls? What if I want to sew something else instead of continue? What if I screw it up?

Ahhhhh… here we get to the crux of the matter.

Every so often, I think of the term ‘perfectionist’ and how it applies to me. It can in some ways, and in others it does not. There are plenty of areas where close is good enough. I can fudge a few seams and not worry too much about it. At least not enough to rip it out and do it over and over if needed.

But, like placing buttonholes on the front of a shirt for everyone to see, the process of quilting those lines and shapes across the front of the final piece is permanent. It is one of those things that is not only painfully visible, but painful to unpick. In a word, if you screw up, you really screw it up.

And dang it, I wish I had an image of that Far Side cartoon, the one that says “Ray screw up” He’s in an orchestra with only one cymbal. That’s what I think about.

Lest we end on that note (I got distracted searching for the cartoon) I decided a shift in my thinking was needed, and now I look at it this way: every quilt in the pile is *practice*. And if it’s not good enough to my liking, I can just finish it off, give it away, and make another one.

Right?

Thursday, February 10, 2011 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

more stuff happens

So, after the last post I finally made it out to a quilt guild meeting. I signed up as a member right away, and skipped the ‘guest’ part. I did bring quilts for show and tell, and my joke was that I wasn’t sure if they needed to see my credentials before they let me in. “Oh, we let in anybody,” one lady said. :D

I held up the quilt I finished for Izzy, the new wave quilt and, when I unfurled the red and yellow one, the crowd of experienced (and new) quilters literally went, “OoooooOOooo.”

So yay!

And yes, I finished Izzy’s quilt and delivered it to her yesterday. She likes it! We patted it, and looked at it and played peek a boo with it and rolled around on it. And, even better, her parents like it too. I confess, I did the back for Kaytlyn as well. I call it:

DOUBLE RAINBOW ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE QUILT.

double rainbow

And the front:
Isabella's quilt

also, this is what we do when we go visit:
Worship the baby

because, why not? I mean, it was might hard to leave this.

not sure

Especially when she kept trying to crawl out the door with us. :) Silly kid.

Saturday, February 5, 2011 in crafty things

Red & yellow progress

The red and yellow disappearing nine patch quilt I am making is finally coming together.

Coming together

In total, it has seventeen different rows, seventeen different prints, gradated from a deep red to yellow. Some of the challenges with this particular design were ones of my own making. I had an idea in my head to start, so I know what I wanted the finished quilt to look like. Usually, I work backwards to that – knowing the pattern and picking particular fabrics usually winds up a surprise in what the actual top will look like. (Well, somewhat, but you know what I mean.)

In this case, I wanted certain colors in defined places. With the disappearing nine patch pattern, one usually makes a large nine-patch block (3 blocks by 3 blocks) and makes a cut horizontally & vertically through the middle blocks. Since I wanted particular placement of colors, I cut each one to start and worked row by row according to my diagram.

Tho at times I didn’t look at it. :D First small issue: in my zeal to finish, I had sewn every print block to a white rectangle in pairs, except the 3″ block rows have a block at each end, and the large block rows have a white rectangle at each end. So the other night, I had to unpick a white rectangle off the end of the smaller block rows and sew it on to the bigger ones.

If you look closely at the picture, you’ll see a ripple on the larger row with the red & white gingham. I hate that fabric. It has a higher polyester count, I am sure, and it slippery and prone to ravel. Because of that, my seams are off in this row and it is about a half inch longer than it should be. I’m being extra careful to match seams when I sew rows together, so this will take some easing when I sew it to the next row. The spray starch helps, but it can’t fix everything.

In the pic above, most of the rows have been paired. There are six more rows on my work table waiting to be assembled this weekend.

Ron also pointed out one row where I used a directional print, and half of the blocks go one way with the rest of them going another way. Small tiny issue, yes. This one doesn’t bug me. (much.) Otherwise, that’s it. There’s no complicated sewing, just straight seams. The small blocks are 3″, the large ones 6″ and the rectangles 3×6″. Cutting was extremely easy as those are the widths of my rulers.

The takeaway lesson here I realized last night when seeing how it all came together and where some fabrics were placed. There were some fabrics I had limited amounts of, and because of this, placed them in smaller rows instead of a larger one – a row which would have made a better transition of color to the next row. So: when planning a quilt with prints in particular places, don’t constrain yourself with fabric amounts. Get more. :D Substitute if you have to.

Also see when I cut it out and
when I planned the quilt. I took a while with it because I really had to think about the fabrics and the placement. Just restating that more fabric in some prints would have helped. For the curious, a fat quarter was more than enough. I just has scraps of some and tried to squeeze out what I could.

This is a quilt I would actually make again, and I am strongly considering writing up a pattern for it. It would mostly deal with how to pick the colors and where to put them, because the sewing bit is the easy part. I’m thinking next time, go from a deep blue at one end, to a green at the other. Ooooooooo…

Thursday, February 3, 2011 in I Forgot To Pick A Category

I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills

Did you ever wonder about some aspects of blogging? Like what it would be like when your children read your archives?

My children read my blog, and they are mostly grown. But I did start when they were younger, and long term readers have noticed that the stories change over time. less about them and the cute / funny / embarrassing things they have said and done and more about me. part of that may be due to me growing older and more introspective. part of it is the kids themselves are growing older, growing up (up, up, waaay up) and have their own stories to tell. I have been leaving those to them. (they say I can’t tell them right anyway. ;) )

But part of it has been a conscious awareness of the permanent state of the internet. The once you put it out there you can’t take it back part. The selectiveness of what is said. Of course, I don’t mention the dust elephants in the corner (I wish I were exaggerating) or the fact I rarely get fully dressed before noon, and sometimes not even after that, or I have to sometimes upload pictures carefully so you can’t tell that emma did actually wear that shirt 3 days in a row. huh.

It’s a mental sifting. Twitter is my brain dump and customer service – my work at home water cooler. My blog is my brain’s archive of my life. It is curious, this last child of mine. Her life is entirely documented (well, mostly) online. And while I am reading new articles cropping up at this being the norm for today’s parent, I still remember the small crowd of us starting out.

I think of it being ten years this July since my grandmother died and I still haven’t uploaded those entries. They were when I hand-coded the pages. Maybe this year it’s time.

I think of Emma coming into our office this afternoon, announcing that she heard blogging was dead and being replaced by twitter and facebook. Then we had an actual intelligent conversation about what that meant and if blogs really *were* dead. (not really)

I think of seeing Isabella on the webcam, when it’s too snowy to drive down to see them yesterday, of Addison saying my last blog entry was cute, and it meant it sincerely not sarcastically.

I think of Christmastime, showing Kaytlyn copies of my grandmother’s daily diaries. “Andrea up for Christmas,” it says. I spent my first Christmas at my grandmother’s house. My granddaughter did too.

I think maybe my blog is quite a lot like my grandmother’s diaries. Except not in boxes.

I did quilt a little today. Finished off one the other day, stuck a label on it. Couldn’t find the label I have that were Nanny’s, but I will. And I will take a picture of them together.

This climbing a mountain and turning around is very circle of life, and I am mixing my metaphors now.