Thursday, June 20, 2013

Machine troubles - sort of...

Ok, before I post this; I don't want anyone to think I am in any way making fun of this person. We all started out somewhere... but, with that said - this cracked me up and I had to share!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Takin' quilt pics in the Public Gardens

My house is ugly... that's just the truth. I rent a floor in a house in a very scenic and old part of Boston - and my landlord's family has owned this particular house since it was built and he's become emotionally attached to the wallpaper - the old, falling-off-the-walls, someone-save-me-from-this-godawful wallpaper. Anyway, because of that, I don't like taking pictures of quilts in my house. The only room without the offensive wallpaper is my sewing room, and the walls are just plastered and not painted. If it were my house, I'd do something: but it ain't, so I have to make other photo arrangements.

I live in a beautiful city. Boston is old, clean (relatively), and picturesque and I had the idea to use the city as a backdrop. I am trying to bill myself as an urban quilter, after all. If I were trying to capitalize on my raising, I'd be a Louisiana swamp quilter; and that just doesn't sound as good.

One of my coworkers thought it was a horrible idea and that using park benches would make it look like I was making quilts for homeless people; which I'm all up for doing, mind you; I'm all about charity work. But, that wasn't really the idea I was going for, so I put the idea out of my head for a few months.

Monday I had some time to kill between work and a doctor's appointment, so I decided to go ahead and attempt it. The Public Gardens were full of tourists and I felt not unlike an idiot dragging out my quilts and fussily draping each one over a park bench and then crouching and twisting to get the right angle. I have a theory that has served me fairly well over the years; as long as you look like you know what you're doing, it's highly unlikely anyone will think twice about your actions; no matter how odd they may be.

I didn't have a lot of time and only found one angle I really liked, but I was very happy with the outcome...

Oh, and my local fabric store; essentially my Cheers, where everyone knows my name; asked me for a sample to hang in their store. I walked down there last Saturday with the intention of putting blinders on, dropping it off, and then fleeing... but ended up walking out with about 20 more yards of fabric.
I'm starting to think I might have a problem.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to turn yourself into a neurotic quilter

A friend requested a modern throw that would match his decor (red, black, and white) and I suggested quite a few patterns and he chose one by Modern Quilt Relish called Taffy Twists. Though I could have figured it out on my own, I feel guilty for not giving designers their due, so I ordered the pattern and got to work.

Hmmm. Maybe I should straighten
up between projects.
I am horrible at triangles unless they can be strip pieced (like pinwheels) and didn't take into account my weakness when cutting. But, I've always said that mistakes in quilting are fine, as long as you make the same mistake everywhere - and I usually do. With the top finished, I stepped back and panicked. This is where my apparently new-found neuroses fits in - there is soooo much negative space!

In the long distant past - like last year or something - this wouldn't have been an issue. I wouldn't have over thought this at all. But, Craftsy has ruined me and makes me over think everything.

With all of that negative space, I decided to take the easy route to use up the bulk of it. I used a store bought template to run feathers up the quilt on both sides of the twists. That posed two Craftsy inspired problems. Do feathers belong on a modern quilt and is it now too cliche to use prepackaged templates? Stupid questions; that made me sit and stare at the top for about an hour before I was able to start marking.

Then I thought I might add a little shadow to the feathers (thanks again, Craftsy) by using a light grey thread for the feathers. I did a test sample and decided the grey showed up too much and that I should just use white, letting the pieces have prominence and making the quilting all but disappear.

So, I settled in, started a movie on Netflix, and let my mind get into the "I'm going to be FMQ for the next few hours" trance. About 40" into the feathers, I realized I'd forgotten to take the grey off the machine. I use a black Frixion pen for marking, so it looked light against the ink as I was sewing. I finished the feathers with the grey (because it will be a cold day in you-know-where before I try to pull out that much FMQ), watching through tear filled eyes as the grey thread drew all over my white fabric. Ok, I didn't really cry, but I was really upset.

I finished for the night and went to bed. I dreamt that I had accidentally marked my top with a Sharpie. I would rather dream every night of being chased by wild dogs and demons than ever have that Sharpie dream again. I woke up an emotional wreck, just knowing I'd ruined the whole thing and needed to start over. After moping through breakfast and a shower, I trudged up to my workroom and pushed the door open. There, on my work-table, was a perfectly fine, unmarred quilt. It's not great. I wish I'd made the feathers go in the other direction and that I'd stretched them to make them mimic the twists of the pattern, but other than that, I spent an entire night in agony over absolutely nothing. I figure "in for a penny, in for a pound" and I spent last night running grey feathers up the other side of the twists too.

I blame Craftsy. I'm so glad that the things I learn on there are expanding my skills -  but, I really need to start pacing my class viewing - and I have thrown away all the Sharpies in my house.