Sunday, March 10, 2013

Quilt beyond Measure...

Well, mostly anyway...

Every morning for years now, I've bounced, crawled, whined, or clawed my way out of bed and to my notebook to write my "morning pages"; three continuous pages of long-hand writing with no stops. The advice in The Artist's Way has been wonderful; I use MP's as a purge, a spark, a journal... for nothing and everything. It doesn't matter what I write because it's all garbage, most of it screaming to be tossed and a tiny (the tinniest) bit wanting to be expanded.

I thought that maybe I could use that free-for-all technique on a quilt - and it was a blast! I've had this material for a while...

I bought it in one of those fabric shop frenzies where I see something; immediately know exactly what to do with it; say to myself, "That is going to be BRILLIANT;" and then forget that brilliant idea by the time I get home. Anyway, it's been sitting in my stash for a while, and when I got the idea to make no plans, keep my graphing notebook closed, and just grab a rotary cutter and go for it, this was the canary I sent into the cave and these are the results (which could use a good ironing, now that I'm seeing the pictures).

The only thing I did measure was the eventual 16" blocks and that was only because it was the width of the two rulers I used put together, so it was completely arbitrary. This is just the top, and they always look too flat and plain compared to the finished product, but I'm pretty happy with my cutty/sewy/mishmashy outcome so far. I will not let this sit around and become a UFO; I hope to have it quilted within the week.

So, here's to throwing caution and fabric to the wind!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

My (new) favorite mistake

I don't need any more quilts. Right now, I have three on my bed (Winter in New England and all), two hanging on walls, and three throws... but I love doing it. So, for the love and adventure of it, I keep making them and I release them into the world when I'm done - unless they are messed up. And my new one is (thankfully) messed up - because I love it and want to keep it.

I'd been looking for a pattern I liked that would show off my new obsession with Tula Pink's fabrics and when I saw Brigitte Heitland's "OHO" quilt, I knew I'd found the right venue. So I constructed everything and quilted in the ditches, quilting ESS (every single stitch - I have another adjective I use when the piecing is intricate) before I started on the free-motion.

and found a horrible seam. It wasn't just bad, it was beyond bad. Curved piecing is a weak-point for me, so I usually compensate accordingly by adding a half inch to each of the outside pieces and then trimming after the block is done, but I was so excited to make this that I just didn't.

But, I'm actually a little happy about this. Once it's finished, the galloping horse adage will definitely apply and now I get to be a little more creative. When I was going to release this one, I thought that the quilting needed to be somewhat uniform, but now that it's mine, I'm going to go a little crazy. I've only marked the inside of one of the shapes so far. (Thank you Frixion pens) But I have all sorts of things I want to try, mostly to see how they will show up when used with a cotton batting that hasn't been preshrunk.

So this mistake will end up being my pride and joy and I will just try to convince myself that my subconscious wanted me to mess this up (so not true).

Someone just asked me why I don't just go back and fix it, and that's a fair point. But since the mistake was made before the quilt was even as put together as the photo below, it just isn't possible.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Long February Roundup

This has definitely been a busy month, but before I get into that, I have a question for all the great quilters out there.

A long time ago, I saw someone recreate Monet's Waterlilies with a pixelated quilt and I've been cutting all the scraps I would usually throw away into 1 1/2" squares with the thought that one day I will try to do something similar (it will be named The Most Tedious Project Ever), but my question concerns shades and tones. I vaguely remember some sort of colored film that a person could look through that would take the color out of fabric so you could just compare shades and hues instead of color and be able to sort fabric that way. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Tiny percentage of 1 1/2" madness
On to last month:

Beginning of Nemo
I've been in my sewing room 4 hours a day on weekdays and up to 12 hours a day on weekends, helped along by quite a few snowstorms that left nothing else to do anyway. I've been so concerned with making enough money to help pay my tuition that I've been making easy quilts that I don't necessarily love. Don't get me wrong, simple 9 patches are cute and I like them, but there are so many other things out there that I've sort of burned myself out on them. But, in my first month in business, I've sold two quilts... so it's not too shabby. But, I've decided that I will only make one simple quilt a week and spend the rest of the time working on more challenging, fun things. (Mom, in case you are reading this, you were right... I started to burn out.)

I'm still in the middle of several projects, but the finished February quilts that weren't custom orders were,


And I also did something I swore I would never do again. On the day I mastered hand stitched bindings, I stood on my sewing table and, not unlike Ms. Scarlett on the hilltop, declared to the world that I would never machine attach a binding again. But, wow, it's so much faster. I keep seeing listings on Etsy that declare machine bound quilts "for long-lasting durability" and they make me cringe. I have a utility quilt (everyday use) that my great-grandmother hand bound and of all things that are giving way on that thing, the binding ain't one.

But, I machine bound the last two quilts... and you will probably see me listing my time-saving laziness on Etsy under the cover of "long-lasting durability." I'll just try not to think about it.

B's of the M

I'm doing two blocks of the month this year. The first is Craftsy's where I'm hand stitching the blocks in purple for a quilt for my grandmother and this is how that's shaping up...

And the other BOM is through Quilt Doodle's blog where she is running a great group. The more I look at the block I did for Feb. the more I'm disliking my color shade choices (and that one stupid seam that didn't line up)... but I'll think about that later. I did some rudimentary thread painting for the fossil that I talked about here.
I want to jump in on Sew What's Cooking's BOM too, but every time I think of it, I'm at work and it slips my mind by the time I get home. But, I'm scheduling in some catch-up time this weekend.

Plans for March

Well, a few more 9-patches, obviously. But I've been hording Tula Pink fabric, waiting for something to catch my eye, and a quilt in the March/April edition of Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting did just that. There's a quilt designed by Brigitte Heitland that I think will be perfect. I am going to cut the pattern in half to make a smaller quilt, but I think it's going to be wonderful. I've already started cutting.

I also want to do something with this fabric (I love the pictures but despise the brown background) and an applique using this big teddy bear that I printed out with Excel... see last post.

And, because one of the last yarn stores in Boston, Windsor Buttons, is closing down, I made one last pilgrimage and bought a couple of arm loads of yarn. This is the only thing I have started so far; just a simple striped, ribbed scarf to work on during my lunch-breaks at work.

Well, that's enough rambling. I hope you all have a fun and productive (and warm) March.